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Poison question

Rules Questions

A player of mine has decided using his Profession:Hunter skill to butcher the giant centipedes we've come across. Rolling a natural 20, I decided not to look too hard into it and let him earn what he was butchering. He went after the poison glands of the beasts.

He then proceeded to ask about poisons and their effects, how he would be able to use these to his advantage. So i explained the craft rules, how it would take forever to craft(closes poison being in kind is giant wasp poison), and he just looked at me dumbfounded as in "why can't i just squeeze this on my spear tip...and stab an enemy later?"

So my question is, be it preference or rule im over looking, how do other DMs handle this? Do I allow/award him for his thinking? Or do I adhere to the rules? I'm assuming 1 paid dose of poison covers 1 Weapon/Arrow for 1 strike? I would really prefer not to pull out "Cause im the DM and it works this way" so quickly, but I can't seem to find any alternative rules to poisons.

Yes, 1 dose of poison applies to 1 single attack.

Personally, I think I would be okay with his desire to "squeeze-and-stab" without the need for a craft check to create the dose. But I'd rule that 1 poison gland would be one dose of poison. I would also rule that this would require a Fortitude save to avoid being exposed to the poison.

Perhaps more importantly: Does the player have "poison use" or some other similar ability that allows him to not be affected when he applies poison to his weapons?

PRD wrote:
Whenever a character applies or readies a poison for use there is a 5% chance that he exposes himself to the poison and must save against the poison as normal. This does not consume the dose of poison. Whenever a character attacks with a poisoned weapon, if the attack roll results in a natural 1, he exposes himself to the poison. This consumes the poison on the weapon. Characters with the poison use class feature do not risk accidentally poisoning themselves.

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Pathfinder PFS RPG Subscriber

The biggest reason is that poisons do not necessarily "keep" well outside a living animal. Remember, they are biological compounds--essentially complex chains of proteins--and are as prone to decay as any other biological matter once it is no longer being refreshed and/or tended by the appropriate physical systems.

The craft (poison) check to make a poison incorporates, among other things, the use of stabilizing agents to keep venoms from breaking down when they are removed from a creature. So, there's the first problem: cutting the poison glands out of a centipede is only the first step. They are highly unlikely to "keep" indefinitely.

Here's a second problem: if he literally meant he wanted to squeeze the poison onto a spear tip now, and stab someone later (as in, not in the next minute or two), the odds that the poison would not have gotten wiped off, evaporated, or otherwise been rendered useless are virtually nil.

Sovereign Court

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At best I'd allow the poison to last 1 minute/CR of the creature until it become inert, denatures, or evaporates. If he wants more potent toxins he needs to take Craft (Alchemy) or buy poison in the next town (if it's even available).

--Toxic Vrock Syndrome

More potent toxins based off a Craft skill?

Monster poisons are almost universally better than crafted poisons. It's the biggest reason a player would even have a "milk the poison gland" request in the first place.

I mean, compare Tears of Death with the poison from a Tarn Linnorm. Tears of Death is basically the most expensive, most deadly, hardest to resist poison option you can craft, and it's significantly worse than what the Linnorm can provide.

I agree with King of Vrock's idea if you want to go with the rule of cool. If you want to go with the rules then he has to craft them as normal.
I would probably give him a discount on the price though if he had the base poison handy, but he would still have to pay for whatever he needed to keep the poison from going inert.

King of Vrock, Wraithstrike: Have you ever hunted Rattlesnake? A bit of a rule: If you don't want to get bitten AFTER it dies, don't touch the head! :D

Ive cut Rattler heads off before, the rule of thumb is, let them sit for 1 week before they are safe. Now, I am not saying it takes an actual week for rattlesnake heads to become safe, that is just the rule of thumb. They are still quite dangerous for at least a day though. It is amazing to watch a dead rattlesnake head bite things, but it does happen.

I think that 1min/CR is way too short a time. Hours would be a more likely result. Note: this is based on some little experience I have with hunting Rattlers (and eating them) and not major experience with other biological poisons. But, I think if rattler poison lasts that long after death, so could other biological poisons.

Also: I would not base the duration of the poison on CR. Poison DC handles the CR element well enough. I would give a flat rate based on the method of harvesting.

- Gauss

I have never hunted anything, but I am aware that an animal's nervous system can run after it is "dead". I have never seen anything move a day after it died though.

Wraith: The head is only active for an hour or two after death. The poison is what remains active for much longer.

- Gauss

Gauss wrote:

Wraith: The head is only active for an hour or two after death. The poison is what remains active for much longer.

- Gauss

ok. I looked around for how it works. Other cold blooded animal also stay active for a while after they die.

Wraith: Yup, only thing Ive ever actually hunted was rattlers. Idaho desert has a lot of them. Cooks like fish and tastes like chicken.

Well, Ive caught fish too...but that isnt hunting. :)

- Gauss

You should catch the fish with spears. :)

I have heard that rattle snakes taste like chicken. I have never had it though.

I'd say this is a case-by-case thing, but I'd rather let players keep some of the poison they gather. Hell, it happens in real life too with certain frog and snake species too. Though now that you brought it up, I might wanna let my Changeling Druid add some poison on her claws now.

Sovereign Court

Minutes may not be realistic Gauss, but it's still pretty powerful in terms of game balance. I mean a significantly hih CR creature's poison could remain potent during the exploration of quite a large area in Local Movement. While you want to let your players do cool things if you have to look at other benchmarks in the game when throw out houserules like my harvested posion one above. I would even consider reducing the DC of the save by 1 per minute as well.

--VRock Python

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King of Vrock: All you need to do is count the poison as consumable treasure with a GP value. Problem solved.


- Gauss

Wow, I did not expect to generate this much response. Reading over what everyone said(was at work), I think i've got a conclusion, at least for this group.

Now, I haven't read too far into the AP, but I'm assuming there aren't going to be too many poisonous animals aside from what I throw in, or a spiders here or there, so I'm not too worried.

I had the same Idea as King of Vrock at first, but I'm not really big on making a player spend a week to craft something like that--its far easier to just buy then.

And going off of Gauss' knowledge(I've seen the rattlesnake thing plenty myself), i decided to go look up some information. Turns out that some herpetologists did some research and took vials of rattlesnake venom and stored them in numerous ways. They all pretty much held together on their structural level.

So i'm thinking of doing a combination of the two. If they want to craft the poisons, they can harvest the goods, get a discount on the overall craft and 1/3 price. But if they want instant gratification, let them hold the "Sacs" or "juice" for up to a week. After that, null and void. Once applied, they have a game day.


Sovereign Court

Gauss wrote:

King of Vrock: All you need to do is count the poison as consumable treasure with a GP value. Problem solved.


- Gauss

That's actually a pretty damned good idea Gauss... that way you can just include any doses as its treasure.

King of Vrock:

It is scary, sometimes I do come up with good ideas. I think someday I will come up with one good idea too many and itll destroy the world. :D

- Gauss

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