drugs vs. immunities


Rules Questions


Undead, many outsiders, and 9th level druids are all immune to poisons but can still benefit from potions and other consumables. Then what happen when they take drugs, which have a mixture of good and bad effects, ability damage, and additions?

If things immune to poison are immune to the negative affects of drugs, then is there any reason for them to not use drugs frequently and with indiscretion? And if they are totally unaffected by drugs, then they aren't really gaining the benefit for what they consume.

In the Serpent's Skull adventure (2/6) one of the NPS, who is a devout worshiper of Gozreh, has the players use a drug to gain a useful vision (unless my GM just added in that part). If using vision inducing drugs may be part of Gozreh's religion, at least for some ceremonies, then it would be strange for highly experienced members (level 9+ druids) to be unable to meaningfully participate in those ceremonies.

What thoughts (hopefully with references) do people have on the subject?


Drugs are alchemical items, not poisons. Addiction is a disease. Have you read the drugs section in the GMG?


Tarantula wrote:
Drugs are alchemical items, not poisons. Addiction is a disease. Have you read the drugs section in the GMG?

Thanks for the answer and references, I appreciate it. But poisons and drugs are both make with the Craft: Alchemy skill,and are therefore both alchemical items. Therefore I am still unsure if they are both the same class of substance or not.

Although I had read the GMG section on drugs, I honestly forgot that addictions were treated as diseases. But if a creature is immune to poisons, and the drugs are the initial cause of the disease then does the creature avoid being subject to the disease in the first place? For undead, certainly yes, for others I'm not sure either way yet.


Yes, but drugs are classed as "alchemical items" while poisons are "poison". In other words, drugs are made by alchemy, but are not a poison.

Quote:

Drugs are alchemical items that grant effects to those who make use of them. What sets them apart from similar items is that a drug's effects manifest as both a short term (usually beneficial) effect and an amount of ability damage. In addition, those who take drugs also risk addiction, a type of disease of varying severity depending on the type of drug used.

When a character takes a drug, he immediately gains the effects, an amount of ability damage, and must make a Fortitude save to resist becoming addicted to that drug (see Addiction).

Its like antiplague. It is made with alchemy, but can be drunk by someone immune to poisons and still get the effect. In fact, in UE, Alchemical Remedies, Tools, and Weapons are all separate from the category of Poisons.

Shadow Lodge

Drugs may not be considered poison by strict RAW, but the fact that they are alchemical materials that inflict ability score damage due to toxicity causes many GMs/groups to extend immunity to poisons to immunity to drugs (both positive and negative effects). See discussions here, here, and here. As referenced here, 3.5 Book of Vile Darkness indicated that magical protection from poison also protected against drugs.

My group used this interpretation in a recent campaign and it was almost entirely a matter of flavour - the druid and alchemist found themselves no longer affected by the occasional night of drinking in town, and the alchemist started using Polypurpose Panacea to get a similar effect.

relativemass wrote:
If using vision inducing drugs may be part of Gozreh's religion, at least for some ceremonies, then it would be strange for highly experienced members (level 9+ druids) to be unable to meaningfully participate in those ceremonies.

I resolved this issue by stating that highly experienced druids are able to enter in a meditative state that is receptive to such visions without the drug - that the drug is used as an aid to the majority of the participants who are not capable of attaining this state on their own.


Tarantula wrote:

Yes, but drugs are classed as "alchemical items" while poisons are "poison". In other words, drugs are made by alchemy, but are not a poison.

Following is my conclusion on the subject, and if you disagree with me that is fine. All that is really important is that each gaming group comes up with a solution that works well for them.

From the GMG I noticed that opium (printed as a drug) fatigues its user and deals 1d4 Con and 1d4 Wis with every dose, without a savings throw, and can administered as part of an injury. Therefore weapons coated with opium would be very effective at disabling opponents since opium only costs 25 gold and doesn't allow a save to resist its effects.

On the other hand, Belladonna (printed as a poison) was historically diluted and made into eye drops used by some women to dilate their eyes and make them look more attractive. Although this hasn't been printed by Paizo it was still done historically. That is, belladonna was used to gain a chemical based advantage, if the user was willing to risk the effects of a little of the poison in their body. In Pathfinder terms that would be an alchemical bonus with mild ability damage.

Considering opium and belladonna, it seems to me that if a drug overdose is essentially identical to a poison, and if a low dose of poison is essentially identical to a drug, then drugs and poisons must be essentially the same. Therefore if a creature is immune to the damage of one it would be immune to the damage of the other.

Alcohol (printed as a drug) affects neurotransmitters, leading to happiness in small amounts. In large amounts, the affect on neurotransmitter leads to alcohol poisoning and potentially death. Therefore immunity to the poisoning affects is also immunity to the same affect that causes happiness. The same argument can be made with belladonna, which causes both dilation of the eyes and heart/lung failure by the same neurotoxic chemicals.

Therefore, I would also conclude that, immunity to the damaging affects of drugs also makes users unaffected by the benefits of the drug. Therefore, I would agree with Weirdo that poison immunity also makes one unaffected by all drug affects, both positive and negative.

You don't have to agree with me, but that is my conclusion.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Wait.

Where is this thing about drugs being Alchemical?

They are poisons, function as poisons, and are nearly identical mechanically to poisons.

Alchemical Items are basically pseudo-science magical items.

Are you saying Cocaine is made with magic?


There have been a few 3.X resources and perhaps Pathfinder as well that deal with drugs and poisons. They are often treated as different toys altogether. For example, the Book of Exalted Deeds has the Vow of Abstinence feat that grants a saving throw bonus against both poisons and drugs, specifically called out as such. Tarantula has pointed out that drugs and poisons are mechanically similar in operation, but not in implementation; poisons, after all, are not considered addictive in Pathfinder, while drugs are. Also note there are no rules for using drugs on weapons per se; your opium trick I like, but not strictly legal.

As for your historical data and medical info relativemass, it's good stuff. Alas, this is the rules forum....

Also, just because I use the Craft (alchemy) skill to make something, it does not follow that all the things I can do with that skill are identical; methinks your logic that because drugs and poisons come from this skill they are identical in implementation on all fronts is faulty.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I just reread the newer version of Drugs.

They are Alchemical.

That is some weird science.

So, magic Cocaine huh?


The rules on either are a little iffy. Part of this is the fact that drugs were never included in the core rules for PF or 3.5, but added by supplements later.

From 3.5, as Lathiira noted, one feat gave a save bonus to poisons and drugs, calling them out separately. But as Weirdo pointed out, in 3.5 immunity to poisons also gives immunity to drugs. From a realistic standpoint, there really isn't any difference - poisons are a type of chemical that has deleterious effects, which includes drugs.

Ultimately, we'd need an official Paizo answer, and until then it's up to GM discretion.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

I just reread the newer version of Drugs.

They are Alchemical.

That is some weird science.

So, magic Cocaine huh?

Poisons are pretty nuts, too. A fatal dose of hemlock being more expensive than masterwork full plate, for example.


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see wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

I just reread the newer version of Drugs.

They are Alchemical.

That is some weird science.

So, magic Cocaine huh?

Poisons are pretty nuts, too. A fatal dose of hemlock being more expensive than masterwork full plate, for example.

Imagine Assassins in Pathfinder being able to take out PCs because they grew some weeds and put it in their stew.


Lathiira wrote:

Also note there are no rules for using drugs on weapons per se; your opium trick I like, but not strictly legal.

Also, just because I use the Craft (alchemy) skill to make something, it does not follow that all the things I can do with that skill are identical.

You are exactly right, there are no rules printed for drugs being delivered by weapons, only for poisons being delivered by weapons. I, personally, can't find any rules detailing drug delivery methods. All I can find is that the delivery methods mentioned for poisons are printed in the information blocks for drugs the same way they are printed for poisons.

And I don't think I would let a player get away with using opium, or any other drug, as an unstoppable poison. I was just trying to point out that a drug overdose acts pretty much the same as a poison, with only minor differences.

My reasoning was not that drugs and poisons are the same kind of thing because they are both considered alchemical, I was making that point because Tarantula was under the impression that drug were alchemical and poisons were not, which would have been good evidence for treating them different.

At some point Paizo will probably print some book that will officially answer the drug/poison immunity question. Hopefully when that happen they will also address what See pointed out about a single dose of poison, harvested from a reasonably common plant, costing an enormous amount of gold.


I always add this into the poison threads...the formulas work out great and can be add a lot for people that want to make poisons but hate the "sample" list that PF gives us :) Most of the poisons on the sample list come out (near)perfect with his formulas

Have at it

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