Poison Use in Pathfinder Society


Pathfinder Society

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Oregon—Portland aka xebeche

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I've been interested in trying to build a poison use character within Pathfinder Society for a while. The alchemist always seemed a natural as they can apply poisons very quickly. With Pathfinder Player Companion: Champions of Purity the Celestial Poisons discovery became available, making poison even more versatile with their ability to effect undead and evil outsiders. With this I set out to compile the options and came to some disappointing conclusions.

Say by 10th-level an alchemist player character can bring a giant wasp poison from DC 18 to DC 24 through the use of Concentrate Poison and Malignant Poison discoveries. Giving the benefit of the doubt to the player character, lets say they know that they are able to spend a full-round action preparing this enhanced poison immediately before combat with a Glabrezu demon (CR 13). Lets also say that the party of adventures manages to apply the shaken condition to the Glabrezu, reducing its Fortitude save to +16. This means that there is a 35% chance that the Glabrezu will fail a save under these ideal conditions for the alchemist, which is still not very good odds. On the other hand, this character's use of poison might be more discriminating, like any class ability. Unfortunately, even with these silver linings, these poisons will not become more potent while creature Fortitude saves will only rise. Short combats also penalize poison use. Lastly, poisons are expensive over the long haul.

How can alchemists craft in Pathfinder Society Organized Play?
"Alchemists can use the Craft (alchemy) skill to produce items with their Alchemy ability. Follow the Craft rules on pages 91–93 of the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook as well as in the alchemist’s Alchemy ability description. Any item created must be properly noted on that scenario’s Chronicle sheet. Under "Items Bought", note the amount of gold spent and the item created. Alchemists are assumed, for Pathfinder Society Organized Play, to carry the necessary items and tools with them to use available resources to create alchemical items. If they have a base of operations from which to do so, they may use an alchemy lab to gain the +2 bonus on their Craft (alchemy) check. Alchemists may never sell any of their created items nor may they trade them to another PC. However, they may allow other PCs to borrow or use items they’ve created (so long as the alchemist class ability being used allows them to do so)." —Pathfinder Society FAQ

How do poisons work in Pathfinder Society Organized Play?
"Any character with the Poison Use class ability can purchase and use poisons. For now, they are the only classes that have a list of “always available poisons” (those noted below)—no other class may purchase poisons unless they appear on a chronicle sheet. Alchemists, ninja, and poisoner rogues may only purchase the following poisons from the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook:

—Giant wasp poison [210 gp, DC 18, 6 rounds, 1d2 Dex damage, 1 save]
—Large scorpion venom [200 gp, DC 17, 6 rounds, 1d2 Str damage, 1 save]
—Medium spider venom [150 gp, DC 14, 4 rounds, 1d2 Str damage, 1 save]
—Shadow essence [250 gp, DC 17, 6 rounds, Initial Effect 1 Str drain, Secondary Effect 1d2 Str damage, 1 save]
—Small centipede poison [90 gp, DC 11, 4 rounds, 1 Dex damage, 1 save]" —Pathfinder Society FAQ

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Rival Guide —Legal as per Additional Resources
—Cockatrice Spit [1,000 gp, DC 12, 4 rounds, 1d2 Dex damage (a creature who takes Dexterity damage equal to its Dexterity score from this poison becomes petrified; each day, a petrified victim can attempt a new DC 12 Fortitude save to recover from the venom and become unpetrified with an amount of Dexterity damage equal to 1 point less than its Dexterity score), 1 save]
—Fiddleback Venom [500 gp, DC 13, Onset 1 minute; Frequency 1/minute for 6 minutes, Initial Effect nauseated 1d4 rounds, Secondary Effect 1d3 Str damage and 1d4 Con damage, 2 saves]
—Hag Spit [1,500 gp, DC 16, 6 rounds, Initial Effect blindness for 1d10 rounds, Secondary Effect 1d4 Wis damage, 2 saves]
—Rainbow Jellyfish Toxin [400 gp, DC 14, 2 rounds, Initial Effect staggered for 1d6 rounds, Secondary Effect paralyzed for 1d6 minutes, 1 save]

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Equipment —Legal as per Additional Resources
—Black Adder Venom [120 gp, DC 11, 6 rounds, 1d2 Con damage, 1 save]
—Bloodroot [100 gp, DC 12, 1 round onset, 4 rounds, 1 Con and 1 Wis damage and 1 round confusion, 1 save]
—Greenblood Oil [100 gp, DC 13, 4 rounds, 1 Con damage, 1 save]
—Malyass Root Paste [250 gp, contact, DC 16, 1 minute onset, 1/minute for 6 minutes, 1d2 Dex damage, 1 save]
—Nitharit [650 gp, contact, DC 13, 1 minute onset, 1/minute for 6 minutes, 1d3 Con damage, 1 save]
—Terinav Root [400 gp, contact, DC 16, 1 minute onset, 1d3 Dex damage, 1 save]
*These are in addition to those listed in the Core Rulebook.

Lesser poisoner’s jacket (12,000 GP) —Ultimate Equipment, page 222
AURA faint conjuration and necromancy CL 5th WEIGHT 3 lbs.
Three times per day, the wearer of this dark jacket can create a vial containing one dose of any poison from the Core Rulebook that costs 300 gp or less. The jacket’s poison always looks like a murky amber fluid. This poison becomes inert after 1 hour.

Greater poisoner’s jacket (58,000 GP) —Ultimate Equipment, page 221
AURA strong conjuration and necromancy CL 15th WEIGHT 4 lbs.
This jacket has the abilities of a lesser poisoner’s jacket, and once per day the wearer can create a vial that reproduces the effect of any poison in the Core Rulebook that costs 4,000 gp or less. The jacket’s poison always looks like a murky lime fluid.
This poison becomes inert after 1 hour.

Immunities Constructs, plants, undead, oozes, daemons, demodands, demons, devils, and elementals are immune to poison. In the case of the crypt breaker, constructs and corporeal undead are especially vulnerable to alkahest bombs. Further, with the Celestial Poison discovery, undead and evil outsiders become vulnerable to poison, but usually have strong Fortitude saves despite this. This leaves plants, non-corporeal undead (if they still cannot be poisoned), oozes, and elementals unaffected by poison, or another Crypt Breaker Alchemist ability.

Discoveries Concentrate Poison (50% duration, +2 DC), sticky poison (6th; a single dose of created poison lasts Int mod), celestial poison (8th; good; poison undead and evil outsiders), and malignant poison (10th; +4 poison DC; no onset)

Dropping Fortitude Saves Shaken, sickened, pernicious poison (no save, but subject to SR), Con damage, and anything else that drops a creatures Fortitude saving throw, directly or indirectly, will make poison use reasonable.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Not every option is going to work sadly.

Liberty's Edge

Poison is basically too expensive to be a common and useful way of doing things in PFS .. considering every character has a limited total pool of coin. That sort of character would work best in a non PFS game.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Alaska—Anchorage aka Dragnmoon

Matthew Pittard wrote:
Poison is basically too expensive to be a common and useful way of doing things in PFS .. considering every character has a limited total pool of coin. That sort of character would work best in a non PFS game.

Alchemist pay 1/3 the price because they can craft them.

Shadow Lodge

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Manufactured poisons are for suckers. You'd have a much easier time taking Skill Focus: Diplomacy and Eldritch Heritage: Serpentine. Or just taking levels in Sorcerer.


Dragnmoon wrote:
Matthew Pittard wrote:
Poison is basically too expensive to be a common and useful way of doing things in PFS .. considering every character has a limited total pool of coin. That sort of character would work best in a non PFS game.
Alchemist pay 1/3 the price because they can craft them.

alchemists can also make use of sticky poison and/or poison conversion to make poisons even cheaper. (or malignant poison to make a cheaper poison stronger)

At 20 intelligence, a poison conversion sticky-poisoned bloodwine will effectively cost 6 gold per dose to cause DC 25 sickened. (edit: Well I suppose this example actually doesn't apply to PFS though, since it doesn't seem to be mentioned in additional resources.)

Sesharan wrote:
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Manufactured poisons are for suckers. You'd have a much easier time taking Skill Focus: Diplomacy and Eldritch Heritage: Serpentine. Or just taking levels in Sorcerer.

so you're saying the only way for poison to be viable is for someone to spend 2 feats (and likely some charisma) in order to use a melee-only medium-DC slow-acting con poison? It's not terrible, but that doesn't seem like the only options around.

The DC is reasonable since it scales, and con dmg is nice, but there's nothing too great about it. Since it only takes 1 save to cure (until CL 9), it will probably only trigger 2-3 times if it works at all, dealing 2–4 con damage, but also requires melee use.
It's not terrible, but is all that worth 2 feats and [likely] some ability points?
Then again perhaps you're only refering to PFS, at which point I'm not sure which poisons are all available (the OP didn't list them all, did he?)

When It says they can only BUY x poisons, it doesn't mention crafting. is the crafting limited in the same way? shouldn't that be clarified?
If that's the whole list of poisons I'd say poison isn't really practical at all to use (which I guess is more or less agreeing with sesharan)


kinda necro but tagging for my own benefit


I've been wanting to combine poison and a ranger lately. I've been exploring it a lot and would love some clarification on the poisoning aspect of PFS myself. Especially the crafting ability of poisons. One thing that stumps me is there is a ranger archtype "Trapper" that has a poison trap. Yet you need to supply a dose of the poison for the trap for one specific use of it. However, as a Ranger you can't buy poisons.

Silver Crusade

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Darksandman: might I suggest a dip in ninja?

Also, there was a clarification about which poisons are always available, and it is worth mentioning here because of all the great info here.

Clarification: As clarified by Mike Brock here, the list of always available poisons (to those characters with poison use) from the Core Rulebook includes the following:
— black adder venom,
— bloodroot,
— giant wasp poison,
— greenblood oil,
— large scorpion venom,
— malyass root paste,
— Medium spider venom,
— nitharit,
— shadow essence,
— small centipede poison,
— terinav root.

The FAQ is incorrect and has not been updated.

(Basically, all of the poisons listed on Additional Resources for Ultimate Equipment also appear in the Core Rulebook. Mike clarified that either book is a legal source for those poisons.)


Ah thank you very much. I was thinking of a single level of Ninja for poison use and then continueing on with Ranger. My ultimate goal is to get a snake pet and teach it a trick to bite the wax stopper of a vial to milk poison from it once a day.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Alaska—Anchorage aka Dragnmoon

Darksandman wrote:
Ah thank you very much. I was thinking of a single level of Ninja for poison use and then continueing on with Ranger. My ultimate goal is to get a snake pet and teach it a trick to bite the wax stopper of a vial to milk poison from it once a day.

Sadly you would not be able to do that's you can only gain tricks already printed in books and authorized for PFS.

The only way you can make your own Poison would be to take levels in alchemist or 3 levels in rogue poisoner archetype.

There is no way you can Milk your companion that I know of.

Scarab Sages 4/5

Hopefully, eventually, the Investigator will be added to the list of classes that can craft poison in PFS, though as many have pointed out, poison use is a situational thing at best in PFS given the cost and low DCs.


Dang. I wish they'd let the Daggermark Poisoner Archtype in. It'd fit my style so beautifully.

Dark Archive 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Georgia—Atlanta aka TorKa

If you can come up with a Vishkanya Boon, then you could add your blood and spit to the available poisons for your list....and it's free. You even increase the DC for the save by increasing your CON and/or your level.

1/5

2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Since the Vishkanya Boon was mentioned, I wanted to ask if people believed a Vishkanya could buy poisons. The race gets the Poison Use ability, but one could argue that since it's a racial ability and not a class ability it doesn't count.

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