Paladins with Poison Minion racial trait


Rules Questions

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Scarab Sages

Diego Rossi wrote:
I hope it is not on the Approved Sources list.

It's PFS legal, if that's what you are wondering. Was kinda surprised, honestly, since most racial traits that mention drow get banned from PFS seemingly just for mentioning drow.

Diego Rossi wrote:
Murdock Mudeater wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:


If the poisonous Paladin does everything in her power to prevent creatures from suffering from her poisonous blood, I find it great

If she uses being poisonous as a weapon, just like the CE drows intended, I shall not be amused

That sounds fair.

One of the problems is that it is a way used by drow to enhance front line warriors and slaves.

If you were a slave maybe it is acceptable to become a paladin (hard to guess where you learned the code and the appropriate behavior), but if you were a drow front line warrior, a Janissary like fighter for the drow, becoming a paladin has about the same level of difficulty as becoming a paladin for a demon. You would have done so many atrocities that practically nothing could remove the stain on your soul.

Up to the GM, I suppose, regarding their interpreation on "washing out the stains from your soul". Though nothing in the description of the Racial Trait indicates that the character has done any atrocities. I was under the impression, based on the wording and that it was a racial trait, that it could be inherited from your parents (like if you were the child or grandchild of a former drow slave). Seems like you could have this trait and know nothing of the drow (which is probably closer to the PFS legal version, since Drow are very uncommon in PFS).


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I've GMed for a few paladins throughout my campaigns, and played alongside them in a few other campaigns, and have been keeping an eye on codes of ethics (not as a way to 'catch them wrong', but to just kind of observe that they're actively following a paladin-like way of behavior).

Among this, I certainly noticed... that absolutely everything that has either bitten or tried to bite any of the paladins has died. Generally, on the basis that they are an enemy, and if they possess bite attacks, they are either a wild animal or they are a fiend. I don't see how the paladin happening to be poisonous would have a significant influence in the survival rate of the enemy.

Paladin Code of Conduct wrote:
not using poison

This quote is relied on a few times, but what is generally omitted is that it is part of a subset. The entire part it is referencing...

Quote:
act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth)

...is all supposed to be examples of "act with honor". Is it honorable to set out to poison an enemy? Of course not. Is it honorable to intentionally lie to someone in order to gain an advantage? Definitely not.

But the paladin is not trying to use poison. He is not acting dishonorably by having had a history of unwanted fleshwarping. He happens to be poisonous, but is not setting out to use it to his advantage.

If he knew he was poisonous, then he may feel obligated to treat the poison in his 'victims'. But to do so in the middle of combat borders on Lawful Stupid, and after combat, the grand majority of enemies that would have been poisoned by biting the paladin are dead anyways.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Murdock Mudeater wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:
I hope it is not on the Approved Sources list.

It's PFS legal, if that's what you are wondering. Was kinda surprised, honestly, since most racial traits that mention drow get banned from PFS seemingly just for mentioning drow.

Diego Rossi wrote:
Murdock Mudeater wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:


If the poisonous Paladin does everything in her power to prevent creatures from suffering from her poisonous blood, I find it great

If she uses being poisonous as a weapon, just like the CE drows intended, I shall not be amused

That sounds fair.

One of the problems is that it is a way used by drow to enhance front line warriors and slaves.

If you were a slave maybe it is acceptable to become a paladin (hard to guess where you learned the code and the appropriate behavior), but if you were a drow front line warrior, a Janissary like fighter for the drow, becoming a paladin has about the same level of difficulty as becoming a paladin for a demon. You would have done so many atrocities that practically nothing could remove the stain on your soul.

Up to the GM, I suppose, regarding their interpreation on "washing out the stains from your soul". Though nothing in the description of the Racial Trait indicates that the character has done any atrocities. I was under the impression, based on the wording and that it was a racial trait, that it could be inherited from your parents (like if you were the child or grandchild of a former drow slave). Seems like you could have this trait and know nothing of the drow (which is probably closer to the PFS legal version, since Drow are very uncommon in PFS).

AFAIK fleshwarping isn't genetically inheritable.

I can be wrong, but, based on what I know, you need different magics to make a genetic change.

Scarab Sages

Diego Rossi wrote:

AFAIK fleshwarping isn't genetically inheritable.

I can be wrong, but, based on what I know, you need different magics to make a genetic change.

That's just it, "Fleshwarping" is not part of racial trait description. Here (Top of the list of racial trait options for the Wayang)

The *only* description given is that Drow are "augmenting" their slaves and warriors by making them toxic. Zero mention of how they are doing so.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Murdock Mudeater wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:

AFAIK fleshwarping isn't genetically inheritable.

I can be wrong, but, based on what I know, you need different magics to make a genetic change.

That's just it, "Fleshwarping" is not part of racial trait description. Here (Top of the list of racial trait options for the Wayang)

The *only* description given is that Drow are "augmenting" their slaves and warriors by making them toxic. Zero mention of how they are doing so.

The error of taking for checked what other write.

So here is the text from the original booklet:

Shadowborn Alternate Racial Traits wrote:


The influence of shadow alters those it touches, from individuals to entire races. For some, the transition occurs naturally over generations, due to environmental factors or exposure to dark energies. For others, it manifests after a single magical event. In very rare cases, these powers are the result of a shadowy ancestor of a different species. A character with such a background can select one or more shadowborn racial traits. Such racial traits replace one or more normal racial traits for the character’s race. If you are using the race builder rules from Pathfinder RPG Advanced Race Guide, the Race Point (RP) cost for each shadowborn racial trait is given. Otherwise, each trait lists the racial trait it replaces if taken by certain characters of the eight core races.

So you are right, it is inheritable. The drow using fleshwarping was only an interpretations of how it was done.


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The Raven Black wrote:
Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:

I agree with Dave. A paladin with a poisonous body is not actively employing poison or venom to harm people. Anyone trying to eat the paladin has itself to thank if it doesn't like the taste.

A player who purposefully chooses to play a poisonous Paladin and hides behind the "not my character's fault" argument is IMO gaming the system to try and get away with using poison while still keeping the Paladin's package

That kind of "I am smarter than the GM" attitude is NOT welcome at my table

The Poison Minion trait is something forced upon creatures more often than not. It's done through Drow experimentation. These are usually not done willingly and forced on Drow slaves and soldiers. A former drow slave who had this happen to them is probably not happy about it either, and especially not a paladin.

And now that this is a part of their physiology, I wouldn't punish them at all for it taking effect. This does not fall under the paladin's code of conduct at all, since the paladin is not actively or purposely employing poison against their opponent. They just happen to BE poisonous.

If their intention was to game the system by employing poison (for whatever reason that might be), sure, talk to them and remind them that this isn't acceptable. If it's because they want to highlight something about their character, particularly something as horrific as having their physiology messed with and turned into a living weapon, I wouldn't be so quick to punish.


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Frankly, any paladin worth his salt would fall on his sword should he learn that his entire anatomy be poisonous to another creature. Wouldn't want some accidental nips to result in a poisoning, now would we? That's simply DISHONOURABLE towards the horrid creature trying to eat you and the village people.

I'd also expect the same thing of any paladin caught with poison in their bloodstream! Imagine if a creature were to bite them in this moment and accidentally ingest their poison-riddled blood! Even if they chances of said poison actually transferring to the biter are next to impossible, it is simply UTTERLY UNSPORTSMANLIKE for the paladin to not then inform the biter that they are currently poisoned and that they might be exposed.

Even if they inform the biter, the paladin should IMMEDIATELY FALL FROM GRACE for having blood in their system in the first place!

It is only right and just, of course. You have Lay on Hands for a reason you know!

Grand Lodge

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David knott 242 wrote:

I did once have an eidolon put up no resistance to being swallowed whole in order to tear apart a monster from the inside -- but I don't think the Poison Minion trait would inflict further doses of poison on a creature that has already swallowed a character with that trait.

Because the skin was too thick on the outside? Did he single-handedly defeat the beast?


Sometimes the safest place to be is in the belly of the beast.

Example: Tarrasque.


I have played a vishkanya paladin (divine hunter), and kept her toxic racial trait, specifically to get the racial feat for sleep poison a bit later.

As a GM, I see nothing wrong with a paladin using their own racial poison qualities, IF, it non-lethal, and done to avoid the need for further killing or pain.

Putting guards to sleep with a sleep envenomed arrow (and no, not killing them while asleep) sounds completely ok to me. Big difference between using viskanya sleep poison, and say, buying a dose of deathblade to "bring the holy pain".

On the topic of the Poison Minion racial trait, I agree with Waifu, it is not the creatures fault, and so long as the player is not just trying to "game the system" but in fact is doing something interesting and paladin appropriate in all other ways, I see no reason not to allow them to roll with it.

(alas, my poor vishanya paladin did not make it through the campaign, but she did die in a spectacular and very paladin like moment of sacrifice. Let us just say, investigating something, even in a city, without your weapons, armor, and gear can be...hazardous. It is a long but darn good story)


GM_Beernorg wrote:
I have played a vishkanya paladin (divine hunter), and kept her toxic racial trait, specifically to get the racial feat for sleep poison a bit later.

This 100% violates the paladin code as written. It doesn't matter that the poison only knocks the victim unconscious, using poison is blatantly against the paladin code.

But being poisonous to something and using poison on something are two different.


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I feel like if "You happen to ingest my blood/sweat because you attacked me and ended up poisoned by doing so" is a violation of the Paladin code, paladins also have to watch out for any antagonists who happen to be allergic to whatever the Paladin is. This is probably not a problem for humans (although who knows what outsiders might find human blood toxic), but might be for catfolk or some sort of sapient humanoid lobster species.

So if you end up poisoning something not because of any action you took, but because "something tried to eat you and your bodily fluids didn't agree with them" it should not be a violation of the Paladin code. You are not "using" poison if you are standing there and being bitten and something dies because your bodily fluids that you did not intend to have been ingested turned out to be toxic to the thing that bit you.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
claudekennilol wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:

I did once have an eidolon put up no resistance to being swallowed whole in order to tear apart a monster from the inside -- but I don't think the Poison Minion trait would inflict further doses of poison on a creature that has already swallowed a character with that trait.

Because the skin was too thick on the outside? Did he single-handedly defeat the beast?

The funny thing is that I did this years before Guardians of the Galaxy 2 was a thing. But by the Pathfinder rules, a creature's inside indeed has a lower AC than its outside in most cases.


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Murdock Mudeater wrote:

{. . .}

The character has to be bitten for this to have any bearing. The GM could easily get around this by not biting the paladin. {. . .}

If the *GM* is biting Paladins, I would be highly inclined to find another table.


UnArcaneElection wrote:
Murdock Mudeater wrote:

{. . .}

The character has to be bitten for this to have any bearing. The GM could easily get around this by not biting the paladin. {. . .}

If the *GM* is biting Paladins, I would be highly inclined to find another table.

How would that even work?


^I don't know, but I wouldn't recommend sticking around to find out.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Is the GM assaulting the player or damaging his mini?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Don't forget the debate as to what deity specific paladin codes do. If they replace rather than supplement the generic one, then any paladin who has a deity specific code could take this racial trait no problem.


@ Claxon

Opinions and table standards vary, and indeed, as written poison is forbidden as per the standard paladin code. And thus I sought and did get GM permission for my own paladin and poison character.

I respect that others opinions will differ, how I saw the viskanya sleep poison was a way to avoid killing. I put folks to sleep several times expressly so the rest of the party would not need to kill them.

Often it was non-evil guards, some horribly lied to and misled commoners, and the like. Of note, also I refused to let party members kill anyone I put to sleep while they were helpless.

Had my GM disagreed, I would have simply traded out the trait, or played something different. Perhaps I am just a more of a rules as a guideline sort of GM when it comes to stuff like this at my table. But what works for your table is right for your table, just so happened, a sleep poison viskanya paladin was right for that table in that game.

(note, this does not qualify as something to copy and paste to try and help badger your GM into letting you be a poison paladin when they do not agree LOL)


I only brought it up because there isn't even the slightest inkling of permissive in the rules for it.

My personal feelings don't really play into the statement I make, nor do house rules on the specific topic affect me one way or the other.

One thing for me though would be to question, how would the GM have felt about drow poison? It does the same thing, putting someone to sleep. But drow poison comes from the especially evil drow...so where do you draw the line?

Just food for thought.


I won't disagree on that point Claxon, most certainly GM's should be asking anyone wanting to play a poison paladin their motivations, set forth the rules if OK is given, etc, etc. (session 0 questions!)

For my part, as the player in question, I just never used any poison other than my own, actually never even considered ever buying any, despite the poison use bonus feat, but I confess, I may be a corner case on this one.

(I am so very glad that Drow do not exist in my home games!)


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The difference here is that a Vishkanya has to take specific actions to use his natural poison, while a character with the Poison Minion trait does not -- so a Vishkanya can pointedly refrain from using his poison. I am not aware of any way for a Vishkanya to poison somebody involuntarily.


Ahh, the interesting debates we can make round these parts! This is a pretty good one.

Scarab Sages

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Regarding paladins and knockout poisons, I agree that they are against the paladin code, but I also think it's weird that knockout poison is banned while nonlethally bludgeoning them to unconscious is perfectly legal. I'm not contesting it, I just find it strange.

One of the best paladin player approaches I encountered, was a Paladin sunderer build with an adamantine weapon (Core PFS). He'd just destroy all the weapons, armor, and items that the non-evil NPC had until they surrended, which he'd ask each round. Huge pain for the GM, those sunder rules, but it meant that the paladin was able to defeat the NPCs without actually hurting them. Very much to the ideal of a paladin.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Murdock Mudeater wrote:
Regarding paladins and knockout poisons, I agree that they are against the paladin code, but I also think it's weird that knockout poison is banned while nonlethally bludgeoning them to unconscious is perfectly legal. I'm not contesting it, I just find it strange.

Poison is banned for the Paladin not because it is evil, but because it is dishonorable

It is not straightforward, while attacking them is

I see the same difference as attacking an opponent in an ongoing battle and attacking an opponent under a flag of truce

Scarab Sages

The Raven Black wrote:
Murdock Mudeater wrote:
Regarding paladins and knockout poisons, I agree that they are against the paladin code, but I also think it's weird that knockout poison is banned while nonlethally bludgeoning them to unconscious is perfectly legal. I'm not contesting it, I just find it strange.

Poison is banned for the Paladin not because it is evil, but because it is dishonorable

It is not straightforward, while attacking them is

I see the same difference as attacking an opponent in an ongoing battle and attacking an opponent under a flag of truce

Except that it isn't banned only when used dishonorably. If my friend is reacting poorly to his medication (perhaps an alchemist potion), becomes violently confused, lashing out at friends and family, it seems hardly dishonorable to use a poison to make my friend unconscious so he can sleep off the effects. OR I could just keep punching him until he passes out. One is definitely allowed by the paladin code, while the other is vague.

And for that matter, defeating an opponent who isn't in their right mind, who is sick and reacting poorly to medication, is hardly an honorable battle, but it needs to happen if I want to protect my sick friend and his family.


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"Not using poison" is very clear. Are you shoving your arm into a creature's mouth so it bites you and gets poison? No? Then you aren't "using" poison.


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Somewhere, somehow, a paladin falls because this thread got to page two. :P

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