So, is poison just useless?


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At one point during a campaign, a player attempted to harvest the poison from some miscellaneous beastie. I pointed out that the player would have to roll to see if they were exposed to the poison, but the player retorted that, since their character wore gloves, there wasn't any way for the poison to affect them.

This got me to thinking...

Poison in general is almost comically useless. Applied to a weapon, it only lasts for one hit, and any opportunity that players could be exposed to it while attempting to harvest or apply it, they'll invariably be wearing gloves or other kinds of protection - especially since the typical explorer's outfit is explicitly stated to come with gloves.

In addition, most poisons do a pitiful 1d2 or 1d3 of ability damage every minute or so, and are essentially only capable of reliably killing someone with a below-10 ability score in that stat.

Even the strongest of poisons have a chance of actually killing, and they cost more than a lot of minor magical items and have DCs of around 20 - fairly reasonable for a number of martial characters.

Oh, and did I forget to mention that, since all poisons require fortitude saves, almost all monsters with high fortitude saves (that is to say, almost all monsters) will shrug off the poison as if it was nothing?

Honestly, I'd rather chug a bottle of poison rather than fight just about any monster. It's most likely the safer option, after all. Seriously, poison seems to be a threat only to characters below level 3 or so.

And yet, players invariably go crazy over poison, going into a panicked frenzy whenever some monster injects them with something and eviscerating any monster with a sickly-green tinge to it in search of the beastie's precious sack of useless, useless poison.

Are poisons really just that lame, or is there something I'm missing? Some sort of feat that makes poisons to triple ability damage or doubles the DC or something?


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Monster poisons are awesome, ones you buy are trash.


Pretty much, yeah...


Yeah, in addition poisons are pretty awesome for NPCs because they can always walk in perfectly prepped for battle. It's a little more awkward for players because there are very few efficient options to apply them. It pretty much feels like waste a turn in combat to coat your weapon or use a poison sheath and hope you fight something that can be poisoned in the next hour.

Walking around fighting nothing but zombies and skeletons for the next hour, in hour three you finally manage to stumble into the cleric that raised them. Seems like a great use of poison to me. Either that or hold on to the vial of poison until you face the cleric, of course your barbarian cuts him down before your next turn and again you're left with a poisoned weapon and a horde of undead. I know my example is pretty specific but it really feels like there are too many situations in Pathfinder that would negate effective poison use.

A liquid blade seems like it has potential. Probably a Paizo oversight but it looks like poison lasts indefinitely once it's added to the mix.


Back in the early days of the game, poison was very dangerous. It was often a save-or-die situation. Very dangerous.

I think two things changed that.

The first is that poison in movies and books often does not kill the main characters. It serves more as a threat that puts them out of action for awhile, or a trope for sustaining tension as you wait to see if the character will make it (but they do 99.9% of the time, so it's only effective for less experienced readers/viewers). If you're real lucky, the poison ends up leaving the afflicted character with some permanent disability. But usually not. People often forget that the game is structured for heroic adventure, so a lot of the mechanics are set up to emulate such tropes.

Second, and relatedly, the whole change for saving throws in general, beginning with 3.0, created a softer system for effects such as these. In some ways it makes saves for other things, like diseases, more realistic, in that the effects harm abilities and over longer periods. But for shorter term effects, such as poison, it creates more opportunities to overcome the affliction. Again, that serves the trope, but not realism. So the question becomes, how much realism do you want, and does that harm the fun? For some players, it does.

I'm not a big fan of too much realism in the game, in that sense. And, to be honest, I was never a huge fan of save-or-die. My first AD&D character, in 1981, died in his first encounter, in his first adventure, at my very first game session, in the first five minutes of the game, because he did not spot a spider, who bit him, the save was high, I failed, and he fell right over on his face. Game over for me. Not fun.

That said, I do miss the heightened sense of danger such mechanics provide.

For me, now, I see poison as something that is a greater threat against solo characters with no magic on them, and as a tool for assassins and rogue-types, whose sneak attacks maximize the effectiveness of poison, particularly at lower levels. In that sense, it is an alternative to something like a bleed effect, though you really will have access to that sort of thing soon enough.

So, yes, poison is not what it once was.

However, getting back to you player's comments, mechanically speaking, gloves by themselves do not thwart the possibility of your character getting hurt by poison. That's what the poison use ability does.


Bruunwald wrote:
That's what the poison use ability does.

A class feature that should be traded out whenever possible. *Looks at ninjas and sighs in disappointment*


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I've always thought the 3.x poison DCs were laughable. I miss Save or Die poisons.


As a player, you have to fight hundreds, THOUSANDS of monsters, killing them all, often in large numbers. A single-use stat-point sinker of any sort is going to be pretty useless.

As a monster, you and your hundreds or thousands of brothers have to kill 5 adventurers, and if 1 of you dies after failing to poison the humanoids your brother may yet succeed, and if they do succeed then suddenly they are weaker, dimmer, easier to kill and even if they win THIS fight, they must either withdraw from your home while you set up new traps, or fight on while weakened. Moreover when they withdraw they must wait anywhere from a week to several months to return, because while only 3 days are needed for the warrior to overcome the poison damage, his PLAYER won't be able to get the gang back at the gaming table until Bob can find another sitter and Sue gets back from her 6-month tour teaching English to little Japanese kids.

Joking aside, poison's problem is the same as save-or-die spells. If it WORKS and works really well then the fight with the big bad is over too soon. If it DOESN'T work then you just wasted a lot of cash on something useless. And it has to be expensive so you don't have every level 3+ rogue packing save-or-suck super-poison.

And just for fun, Scishow on poisons.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

we had a fight with a Quickening that liked to stick people with oil of taggit, if we didn't have a dwarf in the party everyone would've been knocked out and turned into adorably life like stuffed adventurers in a f&~+ed up faery's vivisectionist display room:)
so no not useless:)


If poisons could stack, be used multiple times, or simply be readily applied without wasting action economy then I think it will be ok.

For example a 1d2 Con damage poison that could stack every turn for 3 turns or so and be applied by some glove device would be awesome.

1d2 damage the first round, 2d2 the second, and 3d2 the third.

Minimum 6 Con damage over 3 turns. Maximum 12. Average Con Damage 7.5


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Bioboygamer wrote:
At one point during a campaign, a player attempted to harvest the poison from some miscellaneous beastie. I pointed out that the player would have to roll to see if they were exposed to the poison, but the player retorted that, since their character wore gloves, there wasn't any way for the poison to affect them. [Emphasis added]

I'd just like to point out that even for contact poisons (IRL that is), the bolded statement isn't necessarily true. And to my knowledge, Paizo doesn't have any rules about how impervious gloves or other clothing are to different poisons.


Cheburn wrote:
Bioboygamer wrote:
At one point during a campaign, a player attempted to harvest the poison from some miscellaneous beastie. I pointed out that the player would have to roll to see if they were exposed to the poison, but the player retorted that, since their character wore gloves, there wasn't any way for the poison to affect them. [Emphasis added]
I'd just like to point out that even for contact poisons (IRL that is), the bolded statement isn't necessarily true. And to my knowledge, Paizo doesn't have any rules about how impervious gloves or other clothing are to different poisons.

There is a substance called blackfingers that does the same thing so I cannot see the flaw in that logic. At 50 gp a dose and a direct application to the hands I'd wager it would be cheaper to make mundane gloves of poison use for 200 gp.


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Poisons are extremely useless.


Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:

Poisons are extremely useless.

Drugs are better.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Poison is not supposed to be used in pitched battle. That's never what it's been for. Poison is supposed to be administered in secret, by stealth or by guile. Sneaking into an enemy camp and poisoning their stew or wine, for instance. Or firing that one poison-dipped arrow from the shadows. If you're trying to use poison AFTER rolling initiative, you've messed up.


Yes, but why?

Having a poisoned blade in battle makes sense since you can nick one enemy and then wear them down. It works better for classes with active defensive measures like Swashbuckler's ability to Parry. You just keep them from hurting you till they are too weak and exhausted to damage you, then you kill.

Perfectly viable strategy, not usable since poison is weak and not effective in combat.


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Cuuniyevo wrote:
Poison is not supposed to be used in pitched battle. That's never what it's been for. Poison is supposed to be administered in secret, by stealth or by guile. Sneaking into an enemy camp and poisoning their stew or wine, for instance. Or firing that one poison-dipped arrow from the shadows. If you're trying to use poison AFTER rolling initiative, you've messed up.

But the poisons aren't deadly enough for that to be effective.


Poisons are useless... unless you are an Alchemist who has invested their life's work into becoming a master of poison use. There are a number of Alchemist discoveries that allow you to drastically boost poison DCs and even convert poisons to different types (useful because some powerful poisons are ingested-only, for example, but can be converted to work on contact).

Additionally, Celestial Poisons can allow poisons to affect undead and outsiders, hugely boosting the overall efficacy of the combat style.

The Master Alchemist feat makes it feasible to actually create poisons without completely bankrupting yourself, as well.

So the short answer is 'Yes, unless you have at least 8 levels of Alchemist or another class capable of taking alchemist discoveries'. Actually, I don't quite recall if Investigator can take all of the poison-related discoveries, but if so they might make the best poisoner by dint of being able to snag the one or two rogue talents that boost poisons (assuming they have access to those as well, and they actually do something, which I don't quite recall).


I really prefer the way just about every other edition of D&D has handled poison to 3rd. PC poison use absolutely is totally worthless, and it makes me very sad, because I'd love to be an Alchemist focused on biological weapons.

The problem is that poison does ability damage, but that's too dangerous/powerful to make it easy, so they nerfed actually applying it into the ground. 4e and 5e might have the right idea of it by just making it deal "poison damage" to your HP instead of abilities.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If you're poisoning the stew, you can add multiple doses, to the point where it becomes unbeatable without a nat 20, which the majority of those eating will not make. Once your targets are at low strength, wisdom, constitution or dexterity, THEN you attack. Or, y'know, just go the classic route and pick a poison that causes unconsciousness, like Oil of Taggit.

The poisoned arrow is to weaken or debilitate someone right before battle. True, most of the poisons listed in the CRB are extremely weak for the first round, but if you inflict it before the combat, then it will have dealt that much more damage once combat actually starts. 1d3 Con damage from Deathblade sounds pretty weak, sure, but shoot them then wait 36 seconds, and you might be looking at 6d3 Con damage, which will outright kill many humanoids where they stand.

Additionally, the CRB says the poisons listed are "just some of the possibilities when creating poisons". If your GM is amenable, you can design your own poisons that have more lethal effects.

Bottom line is that poison is very very good if you plan ahead, but almost always a waste of time in combat.


They're also expensive as all hell.


GMs will tend to make enough poison in the stew to give multiple doses to each person eating it rather easily detectable. And as TCG says, expensive. The guerilla sniper is more efficient but it gives plenty of warning to the target, and if they make those saves you might be looking at a lot less than 6d3 Con damage.

Really, it's not even a niche use for PCs in PF.


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No, you don't just do stat poisons:
Do Dhabba Spittle (acid damage/nauseated + dex), Rainbow Jellyfish (staggered + paralyze), Magebane (-10 caster checks), Hag Spit (Blind + wis), .

Dhabba Spittle: Cost 50 gp. Type: (injury); Save Fortitude DC 12; Frequency 1/round for 6 rounds.
Initial: 1d6 acid damage and nauseated; Secondary: 1d4 Dex;
Cure 1 save.

Rainbow Jellyfish Toxin: Cost 400 gp. Type: (contact, injury); Save Fortitude DC 14
Frequency: 1/round for 2 rounds. Effects Initial: staggered for 1d6 rounds; Secondary: paralyzed for 1d6 minutes;

Mage Bane: Cost 500 gp. Type:(contact); Save Fortitude DC 20. Onset 1 minute; Frequency 1/minute for 6 minutes; Effect -10 to all caster level checks for 1 hour; Cure 2 consecutive saves.

Hag Spit: Cost 1,500 gp. Type: (injury, ingested); Save Fortitude DC 16.
Frequency 1/round for 6 rounds.
Effects Initial: blindness for 1d10 rounds; Secondary: 1d4 Wis damage; Cure 2 saves

Except for Dhabba Spittle (nauseated is awesome effect): most poisons are expensive for what they do.

Mage Bane makes casters fail concentration checks, Dispelling, SR, etc. It can't stop casting sadly.


ShroudedInLight wrote:

If poisons could stack, be used multiple times, or simply be readily applied without wasting action economy then I think it will be ok.

For example a 1d2 Con damage poison that could stack every turn for 3 turns or so and be applied by some glove device would be awesome.

1d2 damage the first round, 2d2 the second, and 3d2 the third.

Minimum 6 Con damage over 3 turns. Maximum 12. Average Con Damage 7.5

For a one shot I ran a Vishkanya using poisoned Vishkanya spit on shiruken from a pouch with cast abundant ammo on it. It was mildly useful, but nowhere near awesome.

----edit:----
note it was a one shot at level 8 so while my build got around the cost and action economy problems, it wasn't enough experience to be conclusive. Just enough experience to convince me it wasn't worth the effort to try something similar for a full campaign.


Playes can make pretty awesome use of it. BUT it is NEVER EVER cost effiecient to do so..

I really want some magic items for poisoners:
.. and alchemical attack items as well
Like gloves that you can enchant with ehancment bonuses that bestoy the enhancment bonus to alchemical weapons (like flask, and liquid blade, and upping the standing damage of Shard Gel making it a worth while version of caltrops). Using it you could alos bestoy properties to it. Then either an enhchanment (or preferably a straight cost, doesn't add to +#) that allows the enhancment bonus to increase the Dc of any poison used while wearing the item.

With that I could play my alchemical item guy at a level where he has the money and skills to put them to good use. and the items won't be pointless because they're so far behind.
I would totally weild mostly Liquid blades and throw Shocking/flaming +2 Alchemical fires at people XD.

That item + Poisoner's Jacket would make a very expensive but doable way to have a poisonish guy.


There just aren't enough ways to lower the crafting cost or up the DC (without spending a lot of buff rounds doing it). So it's prety centric NPC style.
Plenty of ways to make poisons SUPER FAST though.

would be cool if there was a magic item or spell that produced poison based on your stats sorta like how creature's poisons areI guess.

yeah long story short. Yeah I'm extensively a poison centric player but I havent found any way to stay relavent while being poison user. Other than jus building a good character who on once in a very long while uses poisons...
Another alternative would be to change poison rules slightly.
When I (and by looks of it quite a few people on the boards) started playing we read poison rules like this. "Every application of poison i na round increases that new check's dc by 2" So if I was shot by 8 Drow bolts with drow poison on me. The last check would have gained a +16 to the DC. Doing it this way made sense to me.. since more in your system makes it harder to do. And it's even supported by how stacking inhaling poison works.
But in actuallity the DC doesn't go up until you fail the first time, then the DC will go up. So it makes it almost useless in later cases instead of just needing a plan. At least that I think was how it was later clarified to work. Honestly with the DC and costs of poisons it seems built way more like it wants to stack by exposure...


ShroudedInLight wrote:

Yes, but why?

Having a poisoned blade in battle makes sense since you can nick one enemy and then wear them down. It works better for classes with active defensive measures like Swashbuckler's ability to Parry. You just keep them from hurting you till they are too weak and exhausted to damage you, then you kill.

Perfectly viable strategy, not usable since poison is weak and not effective in combat.

Role-play argument? Excellent! Let's grab this and run with it!

First: let's consider poison in common tropes...literally all I can think of is Shakespeare. This is probably a failing on my part, but I'll just roll with what I got.

In Romeo and Juliet the poison was ingested, it could only be afforded by royalty, and it was pretty effective. It could only be FOUND from specialist apothecaries who had a "witch in the woods, old man of the mountains" vibe associated with the kind guys that make magic swords and hand over enchanted chainmail. Pricey stuff. In Hamlet only two people actually had it and both of them were royalty, it was used sparingly, and it tended to screw over the poisoner as often as the warrior. Again, pricey stuff.

In Pathfinder Poisons can do d6s of ability damage. You just have to spend a lot of money on them. So we have a pattern there. Admittedly it falls short when the PF poisons don't do save-or-die, but we'll get to that in a moment. Let's change gears and talk about price in terms of game balance.

You're buying Black Lotus Extract. It does up to 6d6 points of con damage at DC 20 fort save. It costs 4500 gold. That's the price of a 7th level use-activated magic spell, and the same DC. Blue Whinnis: a level 2 hold person spell with a higher save DC (but a delay, and a more variable duration) for slightly less money.

Now admittedly, any way you slice it the nonmagical poison option is less effective than magic, but this is true for everything everywhere in the game. And while there is no save-or-die poison, that's been the migration pattern of spells and effects for quite a while.


Poison used on weapons in things? Shady duels with dastardly villains (Redwall), Faked Gladiatorial Ability (Dune), Deadly Arrows (Once)...etc

Even if for mechanical reasons we cannot gain better ability damage potions cheaply, what about simply damage potions? Or potions that reduce movement speed, AoOs, causes status effects, or etc? Usable poisons, available cheaply enough that people can use them or even potentially grow them.

It is the argument for Splash Weapons, Scrolls, Spell Absorbing Ioun Stones, and Wands. Why waste your gold on something temporary or something with charges if it does not provide you with enough value for their gold?

I'd personally love some ability to at least reduce action economy on current weapons. Perhaps some kind of magical upgrade that stores a number of poisons equal to the Enhancement value (1-5) that can be activated and coat the blade as a swift or Immediate Action.

That might make SOME poisons useful, even if just for that one Alchemist that can make one type of poison into another.

Even then, I'd rather just make my weapon flaming since by the time most poisons will take effect...I could have just killed them already! Poison is wasted on Mooks because it costs money and also wasted on bosses because Poison has crap for DCs.

Honestly, maybe if they ever rework the Rogue they could make him a poison master with scaling DCs for poisons and worthwhile poisons. Might make them and the class useful >_>


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Honestly you're better off using drugs to "poison" your foe, namely opium. Since drugs allow no save for the the initial effects it deals 1d4 Con and Wis damage as well as fatigue to anyone you hit. It does give them some benefits but they're quite minor. Best of all it only cost 8.3gp per dose if you make it yourself.


Bioboygamer wrote:

At one point during a campaign, a player attempted to harvest the poison from some miscellaneous beastie. I pointed out that the player would have to roll to see if they were exposed to the poison, but the player retorted that, since their character wore gloves, there wasn't any way for the poison to affect them.

This got me to thinking...

Poison in general is almost comically useless. Applied to a weapon, it only lasts for one hit, and any opportunity that players could be exposed to it while attempting to harvest or apply it, they'll invariably be wearing gloves or other kinds of protection - especially since the typical explorer's outfit is explicitly stated to come with gloves.

Exposed skin between the gloves and sleeves, holes in the gloves, porous material like leather or cloth, etc. Harvesting and applying poisons has a chance of effecting you regardless of what they're wearing unless your setting has hazmat suits or similar and you spend at least 1 minute putting them on and taking them off with sufficient care that you have no exposed skin while wearing it and you don't come into contact with the outside of your protective gear while you're taking it off. Your player is wrong.

Bioboygamer wrote:

In addition, most poisons do a pitiful 1d2 or 1d3 of ability damage every minute or so, and are essentially only capable of reliably killing someone with a below-10 ability score in that stat.

Even the strongest of poisons have a chance of actually killing, and they cost more than a lot of minor magical items and have DCs of around 20 - fairly reasonable for a number of martial characters.

Oh, and did I forget to mention that, since all poisons require fortitude saves, almost all monsters with high fortitude saves (that is to say, almost all monsters) will shrug off the poison as if it was nothing?

Why are you using poisons on High-Fort enemies? Isn't this a lot like complaining that Enchantment spells are useless because enemy casters usually have high Will saves?

Poison are like any other offensive tool in the game, good if you target the enemies weaknesses, bad if you target their strengths. This low DC Con dmg poison won't do much good against that brute, but he might fail against a low DC Int/Wis dmg spell. Doesn't matter which attribute you bring to 0, they all pretty much agree if it happens you're dead.

Bioboygamer wrote:
Are poisons really just that lame, or is there something I'm missing? Some sort of feat that makes poisons to triple ability damage or doubles the DC or something?

Pretty sure the Alchemist has a few abilities that can play with poison DC's as well as improving the action economy for using them, even let you use them more than once per application. You have to invest a fair amount in it but that's true of most builds that rely on the target rolling badly.


Another note: think of poisons as nonmagical debuffs. They do ability damage for the most part, so if they work, they're applying penalties. A few do ability drain, which if you are in a campaign with lots of villains with escape plans, might even be useful. Also consider this: use them to make captives more tractable, not as a weapon. Someone who has been hit with enough poison will start failing saves (especially if hit with multiple doses consecutively). Reduce their strength to one and they'll barely be able to stand up with a bucket of water, let alone hit you with a weapon. That kind of thing.

That said, I agree that poisons are usually too expensive for what they do without dedicated effort to make them better. Might be more useful in say, a thieves' guild campaign (rogues have bad Fort saves) or in some low-magic campaigns, but in most campaigns...not so much.


One of the members in my group uses a knock out poison. Very effective.


ShroudedInLight wrote:
Poison used on weapons in things? Shady duels with dastardly villains (Redwall), Faked Gladiatorial Ability (Dune), Deadly Arrows (Once)...etc

Ah, good point. The ones I recognize of those still had the "hard to get, or expensive to get" issue. Either the dude using it was the dude making it or they were freakin' royalty or royal assassins or the like.

Also? Generally kinda evil.

ShroudedInLight wrote:
Even then, I'd rather just make my weapon flaming since by the time most poisons will take effect...I could have just killed them already! Poison is wasted on Mooks because it costs money and also wasted on bosses because Poison has crap for DCs.

Meh, it's good for an assassination attempt or a boss. Yes, it will usually fail, but if you poison everyone's weapon before a strike you have an added kick to that first brutal attack.

As for a poisonmaster rogue. Sounds like a good idea. Function similar to an alchemist's extracts (except all being poisons) and have a special ability that allows for quickened applications. Still gonna ring as evil though, because the rules of narrative are pretty clear, nobody likes poisoners.


Lathiira wrote:

Someone who has been hit with enough poison will start failing saves (especially if hit with multiple doses consecutively). Reduce their strength to one and they'll barely be able to stand up with a bucket of water, let alone hit you with a weapon. That kind of thing.

Well that still requires them to fail the 2 doses before the dc starts going up. (The first initial failed save---not exposure. will help the next attempt). So you can go though A LOT of money while trying to get it to work. (and even then if you have an alchemist or rogue with the right choices, it's better to just mass convert to inhaled and toss it at him)

poison FAQ
is a good explaination. Even if I think its SO MUCH more useful if it the dc goes up with exposure not with failed saves.
Though I truely wish they would alter rules and especially crafting
(you should really be able to add to the craft DC (but not cost) in order to change variables-like adding to DC, or requiring another save etc)

also not being liked cause your sneaky poison user =/= evil automatically. but thats neither here nor there really for this


Very true, Zwordsman. I never said it was efficient, or easy, mind you. And I never will, either :) Just putting a couple thoughts out there for consideration, I do that from time to time.


Lathiira wrote:
Very true, Zwordsman. I never said it was efficient, or easy, mind you. And I never will, either :) Just putting a couple thoughts out there for consideration, I do that from time to time.

Yup yup always good too! I just wasn't sure if you were hitting the same misunderstanding as I did. Until that faq came out I thought the DC went up with each exposure to poison. Regardless of pass or fail in a round. Thought it'd be easier to link for anyone else too.

and yeah.. it's sadly never easy but boy do I love using poisons!

Silver Crusade

Here's what I wrote up on poisons

They're not great, and require intelligent use to use just well enough, mostly by making them inhaled, stacking the hell out of them, and making your own so the prices don't drive you bankrupt.

Being blunt, they're not a PC tool. They're something used against the party (as well as a nice way for NPCs to burn wealth so the PCs don't get it), and require abusing rules to make into a valid tactic.


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N. Jolly wrote:

Here's what I wrote up on poisons

They're not great, and require intelligent use to use just well enough, mostly by making them inhaled, stacking the hell out of them, and making your own so the prices don't drive you bankrupt.

Being blunt, they're not a PC tool. They're something used against the party (as well as a nice way for NPCs to burn wealth so the PCs don't get it), and require abusing rules to make into a valid tactic.

This is the major problem, poisons should be totally usable by PCs. Rogues, Ninjas, Slayers, Rangers, and anyone else who likes to pull off shady tactics would LOVE to have access to poisons that work. Instead of just dipping their arrows in bloody Opium.

WHY IS OPIUM THE BEST AND MOST RELIABLE POISON IN THE GAME??

I mean, seriously. I would rather get my GM to house rule Poison Conversion to work on drugs than bother with current poisons. That is DUMB. There is no reason that poisons should be as weak as they are, or as expensive.

For example, Hemlock. It costs 2500 gold. THATS INSANE! I can go into the woods and gather Hemlock myself. It is not an uncommon plant by any stretch of the imagination. Randomly making the good poisons unable to be used due to cost is just dumb.

Again, Opium is 50g for a guaranteed 1d4 Wis and Con damage.

**** I might just end up having a stash of Opium on any alchemist I play. Its so much better than any other poison I could ever think of using.

EDIT:

On the subject of making Poison useful. An alchemist dedicated towards poison use can make Poison last rounds = to Intelligence and can apply poison as a swift action at level 6. With the ability to change poison types at level 6, an alchemist could potentially make use of poisons with the feat that reduces their cost to Silver rather than gold. That means you are no longer stuck with poison once per round. On the flip side there is no way to apply this conveniently to multiple attacks, since at level 6 an alchemist will only have 1 attack a round OR will be attacking with multiple natural weapons which means you will need to use your swift action multiple rounds in a row to add different poisons to them all.

Should your GM rule that drugs are a type of poison, this would make your Alchemist quite powerful.

Should they not, then you are stuck with the crummy poison DCs unless you play as a Nagaji in which case every 3 levels boosts the DC of the poison by 1. Plus you can still coat your arrows/claws in Opium because why not eh? Though I need to find a way to do that, perhaps with Alchemic glue or some kind of water mixed with it to create a paste...

I guess you go Guild Poisoner at level 7 and take Toxic Magic at Character level 8 so you can Accelerate Poisons as a SLA to avoid onset time. Why do alchemists NOT have access to accelerate poison on their spell list?

That is dumb.

Actually, I wonder if Drugs count as poisons...I kind of want that FAQed. Since drugs are technically just a poison with an upside and an addiction chance.


Alchemist player in my current group is playing a Poison specialist and it's been kind of a mixed bag of results.

He has a lot of the poison discoveries so the base DC gets up faily high if he has time to prepare by concentrating does and such. He's got the sticky poison one so that he gets more than one hit in so a few successful hits ina round ampts the save DC some more. He also recently got a whole bunch of Drow poison

When it works it succeeds very well and monsters just drop to the ground for us to deal with later.
When it fails you hardly notice his character was even a part of the fight.

regardless he had to put a huge amount of work into making poison effective and only has a couple of discoveries devoted to other things


Poisoning the prisoner can work if you have a familiar or animal companion with poison.

Poison can also be used as part of a kitchen sink debuff approach where the idea is to give out as many penalties as possible from as many avenues as possible. They aren't remotely the most effective part, but they do help here.

Poisons are really tools of asymmetrical warfare, only the weak use it (unless it is produced naturally) because only the weak are desperate enough to waste money on something with a very low success rate.

It isn't useless, but it isn't a good idea unless you produce it naturally for players. Maybe get everyone poisoned up before the boss fight in addition to using your consumable buffs, but not for everyday use.

Shadow Lodge

I miss poisons that still had an effect even if you made the save. Good old Death/40 damage. (That means fail the save, you die. Make the save, you still take 40 points of damage.)


So what you do is before combat you take a bundle of arrows and you coat them in Alchemic Glue

The glue is tacky after one minute, and then you coat your arrows in Opium Powder at 25g a piece. After an hour the arrows are cured and you now have Opium Tipped Arrows.

A single use of Alchemic Glue coats 20 2-square inch areas, which gives you 20 arrows per use of Glue. Opium costs 25g a use, so that is 500gp of opium arrows.

I am unsure of what happens when drugs are applied rapidly within the same period of time. Opium has a duration of one hour, while the Alchemic Bonus to Fortitude Saves would not increase...would the ability damage occur each time?

Questions questions questions...

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Maybe they will address poisons in Pathfinder Unchained.


The real base problem with poison is that it's illogically expensive. One way to solve this would be to make an Investigator archetype capable of harvesting/crafting poison much cheaper than usual, kind of like the alchemist ability with Craft (alchemy). I figure the reason stuff like hemlock is expensive (other than outdated ideas of "balance" from 3.5) is because the number of people who know what it does and where it is is slimmer than in the modern world. Transporting stuff isn't easy if you don't have animal messenger prepared, after all, so getting ahold of these obscure poisons isn't always easy.


I think making Investigators able to harvest the poison would be a mistake. They honestly can't use poisons all that well. Sure they have poison lore, and that feat that adds studied strike(1/2) to poison dc but thats sorta it. Alchemist would make a lot of sense and follow with the idea. I suppose you could turn all poison use into poison lore and wrap the ability up in poison lore.... but that front ends a lot ability into those classes.

but rather than having to retcon classes to change it. I would want to make a new Prestige class thats poison centric and better than the daggermark poisoner. Maybe one that scales up the DC as the prestige class goes up. and able to skill rolls to reduce cost of things. --You likely could make a formula for reducing costs by Survival roll score.. Or just a scaling fractional cost reduction as you level up reducing crafting costs. Granted in this fictional prestige class. I would want it focused on poisons AND Alchemical weapons because they have no love either and combo pretty well with each other. Alchemical weapons would just be a matter of bonus damage, or more preferably pseudu Ehancment bonuses to damage or dc.

Daggermark is pretty close to good but has a few less useful points-enough that it's hard to see ever going past 5 on a player character. drop sneak attack, trapster, sneak attack to dc. Change the capstone slightly.. Full action at a lower level, move action at 10. tAt high end levels Create some way to bypass some immunities like the few Alchemist discoveries.

Some bizzaro thing like this..

TLDR
I think it would be pretty well fine for another prestige class to be made that makes poison valid. Even if it ended up being the only real way for poison to be player usable. Since thats what prestige classes are for ya'kno? Specific things that wouldn't be a whole class.
I totally want a alchemical weapons prestige class. That makes alchemical weapons and poisons usuable at later levels~ It'd be one weird/out of the norm prestige class though


An investigator archetype seems more intuitive to me, considering alchemists aren't as much about fighting with bow and blade so much as bomb and buff (save for one hour per day), but it's not really important.


Guild Poisoner is nearly as good as an Alchemist focused on Poisons and even then an Alchemist can use a 2 level dip to make the poison act instantly instead of over time.

That prestige class works fine.


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ShroudedInLight wrote:

Guild Poisoner is nearly as good as an Alchemist focused on Poisons and even then an Alchemist can use a 2 level dip to make the poison act instantly instead of over time.

That prestige class works fine.

Assuming it was a reference to me. Didn't say it didn't work fine. I just would like a PRC that works slightly differently. Something like the supply end of the guild that focuses on producing for less. Or and make poison more readily usuable in a straight fight. or at least a cool reason for later levels. Its oddly missing a real valid capstone ability. Guild poisoner's traps on arrows are some mean tasty business with some lovely bonuses. Guild poisoner is a great npc class. But it's more about surprise/trap/sneak attacks. Which works fine in some groups but it would be cool to have a prestige class for the semi-classic tropes of the tricky up close fightery guy who uses lots of tools and has nothing but poisoned blades. Can't think of any good examples most people would know..

Granted that more or less just sounds like Alchemist. So I guess one could easily make it an archetype that gives up bombs for poison buffs or scaling Int uses per day poison. I would readily drop bombs for something like that. Poison that scales based on either Alch lv or Int. then some Discoveries that lets you alter things to different types of damage/application etc. Combined with the current discoveries and some guild poisoner it would be quite useful for the folks who want to be Poison Lords

Scarab Sages

I had someone use poison in a game I ran and I've be mucking around with various houserules to make them more potent since, however I've yet to make a variant balanced enough I'd be happy to include it in a game. Here's the top 3 I've got currently in order of preference see what you think.

1) Poisons always apply the initial damage on exposure, you don't save to resist this but rather to negate further damage from future saves. I.e. Eat poisoned food take 1d3 con damage and save to see if you'll take a further 1d3 12 hours later.

2) Increase all poison DCs by 1/2 of class levels with the poison use feature e.g a ninja lvl 6 with poison use increases DCs by 3. I thought full level progression seemed a bit high hence the 1/2 level.

3) Increase all poison DCs by 2 and double all poison damage.

Right now I'm strongly considering introducing 1 or 2 to a game to see how they run.

As for that character gathering poisons with their gloves how do they take the poison coated gloves off and on?


Terrifying in early dnd
Nearly pointless in 3.x
Nicely fixed in 5th btw

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