# Poison Frequency and Effect Clarification

### Rules Questions

 Owners: Jason Weymouth & Julian Rodriguez - Emerald Knights Comics and Games

Let me see if I understand the Pathfinder version of poison effects.

A 5th level paladin is in the scrap of his life with a wyvern. Their battle endures for 12 rounds before the wyvern is dispatched, on the first and sixth round of the battle the paladin is stung. The paladin needs to succeed on 2 consecutive Fortitude saves to “cure” the effect and no longer suffer from additional poison damage.

On round one of the battle, the paladin needs to make a DC 17 Fortitude, but fails – upon that failure – the paladin immediately suffers the effect and loses 1d4 CON points, correct? Additionally, the paladin needs to continue to save each round for the next 5 rounds and if he succeeds in making two consecutive Fortitude saves he no longer suffers any additional poison damage, but the initial damage remains.

On round sixth of the battle, he is successfully stung again and now needs to make three additional Fortitude saves with a DC of 19 in order to prevent further CON damage.

Say he succeeds on round 7 and 8 he suffers no additional CON damage - only the initial CON damage from the round one sting and Fortitude failure, yes?

If the paladin fails all his Fortitude saves for the entire nine rounds he has suffered a total of 2d4 CON points and can recuperate them either daily or by magical means, correct? He does not suffer 1d4 CON for each Fortitude failure, only 1d4 CON for each frequency in this case 6 rounds, nine for the double sting, yes?

Assuming he has a beginning +8 Fortitude, but is reduced by 4 to his CON due to wyvern poison he makes his next Fortitude save a +6. As he has a +10 Heal check, he would be able to treat the poison to himself to gain a +4 on his next Fortitude save each round he succeeds on the heal check in order to gain a +4 competence bonus. And once he succeeds on two consecutive Fortitude saves, he no longer fears further wyvern poison injury, yes?

Treat Poison: To treat poison means to tend to a single character who has been poisoned and who is going to take more damage from the poison (or suffer some other effect). Every time the poisoned character makes a saving throw against the poison, you make a Heal check. If your Heal check exceeds the DC of the poison, the character receives a +4 competence bonus on his saving throw against the poison.

Thanks all!

Wyvern Poison | type: injury | DC 17 | no onset time | frequency: 1/rd. | duration: 6 rds. | damage: 1d4 Con | cure: 2 saves. (from the PRD)

So on round one, dc17 fortitude, fails and takes 1d4 con. Every round after that he has to make another dc17 fortitude save vs 1d4 con damage, until he makes 2 consecutive successes or the 6 rounds are up.

If he made successful dc17 saves on rounds 2 & 3 then he doesn't have to make any more saves, poison is done. At round 6 he gets hit again, and has to start over again, hopefully making a successful dc17 save in rnd 6 and rnd 7 to end it unscathed, except for the 1d4 con dmg in rnd 1.

If he's having a bad day, and only makes every other save, then at the start of rnd 6 he's taken 3d4 con dmg (rnds 1, 3, 5) and his 2 successful saves (rnds 2 & 4) didn't end the poison because not consecutive. However, he makes his 6th and last save attempt on the wyvern's action before it attacks again, so succeed or not the rnd 1's poison's out of his system and it just starts again.

Now if he's having a reallly bad day, and the wyvern hits him again on rnd 5 right after he failed that dc17 save for the third time, on the bright side he doesn't have to make an immediate save again, since the second dose is just going to enhance the first. In this case, the dc goes up to 19 and the duration has increased from 6 to 9, so on rnd 6 he gets to make a dc19 save, and will have to continue making dc19 saves on rnds 7, 8, & 9, unless he gets 2 consecutive successes, hopefully for his sake right away on 6 & 7.

Here's my understanding of it. . .

First, some definitions.

PRD wrote:
Poison (Ex) Sting—injury; save DC 17; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d4 Constitution damage; cure 2 consecutive saves.

For this poison to end, you must save 2 times on it. If you do, the poison effect ends -- there's no more saves to make.

On round 1, the paladin is stung by a wyvern! He immediately rolls a fortitude save and fails the DC 17 save -- he takes 2 points of Con damage. This is the first round of damage.

On round 2, at the beginning of his turn, the paladin passes the save! No damage.

On round 3, at the beginning of his turn, the paladin fails the save -- he takes 1 point of Con damage.

On round 4, at the beginning of his turn, the paladin passes the save! No damage.

On round 5, at the beginning of his turn, the paladin fails the save -- he takes 4 points of Con damage.

On round 6, at the beginning of his turn, the paladin fails the save -- he takes 3 points of Con damage. Since the poison has already assaulted the Paladin for 6 rounds, it is no longer in his system.

After this -- on round 6 -- the paladin is stung by the wyvern again! He is affected by a fresh poison, so the DC does not change and there is a new duration (6 rounds).

If you had mentioned that he was stung on round 5, then things would be different. But if you've made 6 fortitude saves -- 1 per round -- and the poison "hits" for 6 rounds, then the duration of the poison is over. It's mainly because the save for the poison occurs before the wyvern gets a chance to attack again.

Let's say the paladin is stung on the 5th round. The duration of the original effect extends by 50% and the DC increases by +2, so the poison effect on the paladin is:

Quote:
Poison (Ex) Sting—injury; save DC 19; frequency 1/round for 9 rounds; effect 1d4 Constitution damage; cure 2 consecutive saves.

So since we're in the 5th round, he has 4 more saves to go -- at the beginning of each round -- at DC 19. The damage and the 2 consecutive saves needed to end the effect holds.

PRD wrote:
Treat Poison: To treat poison means to tend to a single character who has been poisoned and who is going to take more damage from the poison (or suffer some other effect). Every time the poisoned character makes a saving throw against the poison, you make a Heal check. If your Heal check exceeds the DC of the poison, the character receives a +4 competence bonus on his saving throw against the poison.

The person giving heal checks would need to spend a standard action each round treating poison. If the heal check beats the base DC of the poison, the person rolling checks gets to add +4 to his save.

The intent of the new poison system was to make it much deadlier. Poison in 3.5 was an afterthought after a certain point.

Reading pg 555-558 very carefully, I've got a slightly different interpretation.

It looks like there are 3 phases for all afflictions, initial contact, onset, and ongoing effects.

This is how I see it, breaking the rounds out by participant, and assuming the wyvern is first to act and they don't adjust their initiative counts.

Round 1
wyvern: Stings paladin. Paladin must make an immediate DC 17 save. If he succeeds, he's not poisoned. If he fails, he's poisoned, but doesn't suffer any effects until he fails a save after the onset period.

The onset period for this poison is immediate, so he needs to make his first DC 17 save to avoid the effects right now. The poison will be gone after 2 consecutive saves during the ongoing effects period (which I assume he doesn't), or after 6 rounds of effects.

When the paladin saves moving forward is determined by the wyvern's initiative count.

Round 2
wyvern: Paladin makes 2nd DC 17 save to avoid CON damage, then wyvern attacks.

Round 3
wyvern: Paladin makes 3rd DC 17 save to avoid CON damage, then wyvern attacks.

Round 4
wyvern: Paladin makes 4th DC 17 save to avoid CON damage, then wyvern attacks.

Round 5
wyvern: Paladin makes 5th DC 17 save to avoid CON damage, then wyvern attacks.

Round 6
wyvern: Paladin makes 6th DC 17 save to avoid CON damage, and poison has run its course. Bummer, paladin stung and we replay just like Round 1

Note, if you were to make the saves on the paladin's turn, the paladin would still be poisoned when the wyvern stung him in round 6 and would face a DC 19 to avoid extending the duration.

Also, if the paladin was to go before the wyvern, the effect of resolving the poison on the paladin's turn would be he'd potentially be hit with CON damage twice in the first round before he can act.

Round 1
wyvern: Stings paladin. Paladin fails save to avoid poison, and fails save to avoid immediate effects, losing 1d4 CON

Round 2
paladin: Paladin fails save loses 1d4 CON, dying before drinking a potion of lesser restoration.
wyvern: snickers

That's why resolving this on initiative count is important.

If the wyvern had hit the paladin on round 5 instead of round 6, when he had 1 more round of duration left, then this what I *think* happens.

He immediately makes a DC 19 save to avoid the additional poison. If he succeeds, he just needs to make one DC 17 save in the 6th round to be free of the poison. If he fails, the effect is immediate, and it is to extend the duration of the poison 3 more rounds (up to round 9), and increase the DC to 19 for rounds 6-9.

The other possible interpretation is that if you are poisoned and are hit again by the same poison, you don't get that DC 19 save to avoid extending the duration and the effects just happen. This would be good to get clarified.

 Owners: Jason Weymouth & Julian Rodriguez - Emerald Knights Comics and Games

Hmmm. After some additional reading and perusal of other gamers here, the consensus is as such:

We are wondering if the damage is not calculated as such:

On round 1, the paladin is stung by the wyvern. This round and for the next six rounds he must succeed on a Fortitude Save DC 17. If he fails, then he must succeed on rounds 2, 3 or 3, 4 or 4, 5 or 5, 6 to prevent the poison for harming him. If he fails all these Fortitude saves then he suffers 1d4 CON damage.

Now if he is stung again in any round before the 6th, the Fortitude save increases to 19 and the effect endures for an additional three rounds. Failing to make two consecutive Fortitude saves for the entire confrontation would result in a TOTAL OF 2d4 CON loss at which point the poison coursing through his body is rendered inert.

Or does the paladin take a 1d4 CON loss for each failed Fortitude save? At which point the paladin is in deep trouble as he could very well lose points to his Fortitude saves for the CON loss.

Since a wyvern’s primary attack is its stinger, one wonders how easily any character could fall to such a beast. Say the wyvern uses it stinger each round for the 12 round battle and hits half of the time, would the poison be in effect for the next 21 rounds? And does the +2 increase stack? Is the paladin expected to make two consecutive Fortitude saves in the 23 to 27 range?

Poison (Ex) Sting—injury; save DC 17; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d4 Constitution damage; cure 2 consecutive saves. We agree on this point: For this poison to end, you must save 2 consecutive times. If you do, the poison effect ends - there's no more saves to make.

Thank you.

J.

I got myself twisted up, but think I have my head around things now. I just undid my correction to my first post. This is a bit complicated and could be made a bit clearer, so this may not be accurate. Anyway.

Jester King wrote:

On round 1, the paladin is stung by the wyvern.

He gets a DC 17 save initially to avoid contracting the poison.

Core pg 556 wrote:
Save: This gives the type of save necessary to avoid contracting the affliction, as well as the DC of that save.

If he makes it, he's not poisoned. If he fails, he's poisoned and needs to make saves after the onset period.

Every time he fails a save at this point, he takes 1d4 CON damage. If he makes the save, he takes no damage. He makes a DC 17 save after the onset period, which is immediately, so he saves again on round 1.

If he succeeds on saves:
1,2: no damage and the poison is done
2,3: 1d4 CON from round 1 and the poison is done
3,4: 2d4 CON from 1-2 and the poison is done
4,5: 3d4 CON from 1-3 and the poison is done
5,6: 4d4 CON from 1-4 and the poison is done

Otherwise, the poison lasts from round 1 (initial sting) through round 6, and he takes Nd6 CON damage where N is the number of failed saves after he was afflicted.

Jester King wrote:

Now if he is stung again in any round before the 6th, the Fortitude save increases to 19 and the effect endures for an additional three rounds. Failing to make two consecutive Fortitude saves for the entire confrontation would result in a TOTAL OF 2d4 CON loss at which point the poison coursing through his body is rendered inert.

Almost.

Jester King wrote:

Or does the paladin take a 1d4 CON loss for each failed Fortitude save? At which point the paladin is in deep trouble as he could very well lose points to his Fortitude saves for the CON loss.

Yes.

Jester King wrote:

Since a wyvern’s primary attack is its stinger, one wonders how easily any character could fall to such a beast. Say the wyvern uses it stinger each round for the 12 round battle and hits half of the time, would the poison be in effect for the next 21 rounds? And does the +2 increase stack? Is the paladin expected to make two consecutive Fortitude saves in the 23 to 27 range?

Yes, it stacks and increases the duration by 3 and the DC by 2, although I would probably start dropping the DCs as each dose of poison ran it's course (6 rounds for first, and 3 for subsequent). Not sure it is RAW, but that seems reasonable.

Jester King wrote:
Or does the paladin take a 1d4 CON loss for each failed Fortitude save? At which point the paladin is in deep trouble as he could very well lose points to his Fortitude saves for the CON loss.

This interpretation seems correct to me. As per the PRD:

"PRD, Glossary, Afflictions wrote:
Effect: This is the effect that the character suffers each time if he fails his saving throw against the affliction. Most afflictions cause ability damage or hit point damage. These effects are cumulative, but they can be cured normally.

That seems pretty clear to me. Every time the Paladin fails a save, he takes the CON damage.

I hadn't noticed that it was consecutive saves before, I assumed it was just two over the duration of the affliction. Nasty.

 Owners: Jason Weymouth & Julian Rodriguez - Emerald Knights Comics and Games

Wow.

And let us not forget, since Fortitude is CON-based, those DC's are going to be very hard to make when any poison-based CON damaging monster is encountered.

If in the example provided, the paladin's CON is reduced by say average 6, his base +8 Fortitude is now +5 and needs a 14 or better to avoid the poison. If he is hit anytime thereafter, an increased DC of 21 - seems almost unattainable - needing two consecutive 16 rolls!

Truly Nasty.

You only get to use the initial Onset save to negate the affliction if it does have an Onset delay. Ingest and Inhale poisons have no Onset delay, not just an immediate Onset, so no extra save there. Just the immediate save for round 1, and the save at the beginning of the poison's initiative each round.

The frequency says how often it tries to damage you and you get a save to negate, the cure says how many consecutive saves you have to make to end the affliction early, the duration is the max rounds.

Second doses of the same poison stack, so they'll still damage on the initiative of the original affliction, not adding an extra poison save vs damage on their addition, just adding half the base duration again and increasing the save by 2 for the next save vs poison damage, so you never make more than one save per round per affliction type.

And yeah, if the pally in question has hit such a run of bad luck and bad tactics to not only get stung this many times but fail all those saves, it's unlikely to turn around. Poison seems to be one of those things that you fight off early or go down and hope you've got a competent team around that includes a healer.

Christopher Vrysen wrote:

You only get to use the initial Onset save to negate the affliction if it does have an Onset delay. Ingest and Inhale poisons have no Onset delay, not just an immediate Onset, so no extra save there. Just the immediate save for round 1, and the save at the beginning of the poison's initiative each round.

This is what had me twisted up earlier. I see this in the rulebook under Affliction.

core pg 555 wrote:

While each of these afflictions has a different effect, they all function using the same basic system. All afflictions grant a saving throw when they are contracted. If successful, the creature does not suffer from the affliction and does not need to make any further rolls. If the saving throw is a failure, the creature falls victim to the affliction and must deal with its effects.

Then under Saves.

core pg 556 wrote:

Save: This gives the type of save necessary to avoid contracting the affliction, as well as the DC of that save.

I finally convinced myself that this:

core pg 556 wrote:

Onset: Some afflictions have a variable amount of time before they set in. Creatures that come in contact with an affliction with an onset time must make a saving throw immediately. Success means that the affliction is avoided and no further saving throws must be made. Failure means that the creature has contracted the affliction and must begin making additional saves after the onset period has elapsed.

doesn't mean that afflictions with no onset were denied saving throws to contract the affliction. Instead it was intended (to me at least) to indicate that if an effect has an onset time, and you fail the initial save, then you start additional saving throws for effects after the onset period.

It didn't say anything about what happens if there is no onset period, so I think the first two quotes still hold.

I might be over analyzing the wording, but that's how I came to my current way of thinking.

The only possible anecdotal evidence I can find might be Curse of the Ages.

Curse of the Ages
Type curse; Save Will DC 17
Freq 1/day
Effect age 1 year

No onset time, no cure

I'd be a little surprised if you automatically contracted that upon exposure without an initial save.

My read would be you'd make a DC 17 save initially to see if you contract it or not. If you do, you make an immediate DC 17 save to see if you age 1 year. You then do that again every day until magically cured.

But, I could be wrong.

Actually, here's a smoking gun.

Unluck
Type curse; Save Will DC 20 negates, no save to avoid effects
Frequency 1/hour
Effect target must reroll any roll decided by the GM and take the worse result

If afflictions with onsets were the only ones allowed to negate the affliction with an initial save, there's no point in listing a DC 20 save for this curse. Once you contract it, you no longer make saves.

Crap, that "All afflictions grant a saving throw when they are contracted. If successful, the creature does not suffer from the affliction and does not need to make any further rolls" seems pretty clear, don't know how I missed that. I hate it when I post a reply in hopes of helpful to find out I was wrong. Grr.

I just hate the idea of giving two chances to save and negate all the 1 save cure poisons, never taking any damage even if they fail the first one as long as they get the second. I don't know if it would be a full on house rule or actually a valid interpretation, but I think with immediate onset poisons, they'll get their initial affliction save to ignore it, but if they fail then they'll just immediately take the damage as if they'd also failed their first post-immediate-onset save. So, catch it on roll 1 and it's done, if not then wait for round 2 for your next chance.

Thanks for catching my error, FarmerBob, sorry for the erroneous post.

I guess I got the timing of the poison wrong, after thinking about it.

I said the paladin suffers poison damage at the beginning of his turn -- like bleed damage.

But I guess it would make sense for the poison to act on the initiative count it was delivered on. It doesn't really make sense for the poison to delay or speed up to your particular initiative. Good to know!

Christopher Vrysen wrote:

Crap, that "All afflictions grant a saving throw when they are contracted. If successful, the creature does not suffer from the affliction and does not need to make any further rolls" seems pretty clear, don't know how I missed that. I hate it when I post a reply in hopes of helpful to find out I was wrong. Grr.

Thanks for catching my error, FarmerBob, sorry for the erroneous post.

No problem. Took me awhile to carefully go over what was written, and I had in fact corrected my very first post to match your view at one point. The Onset section got me until I realized it didn't apply to afflictions that simply had no onset.

Ok, I think I've got this down, but what about the dose rules? One dose of a poison coats one weapon of any size, but only effects one target before it wears off. Unless it's an inhaled poison, in which case it effects everything in a ten-foot square.

So, if I want to use poisoned weapons, I have to carry multiple, pre-poisoned weapons or spend every-other round poisoning my weapon? Can I apply multiple doses of an injury poison to my sword?

dthunder wrote:
Can I apply multiple doses of an injury poison to my sword?

I don't think so.

PRD wrote:
Applying poison to a weapon or single piece of ammunition is a standard action. 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.

This text mentions "the dose of poison", not "doses" or otherwise pluralized language. Also, when you expose yourself to poison, the action "consumes the poison on the weapon", which implies the whole dose. If you want to be efficient with poison, you'll need to poison multiple weapons or pieces of ammunition. Bow/arrows and/or crossbow/bolts probably make the best poison dispensers. Quick Draw might be needed to make poison on multiple melee weapons/throwing weapons work best.