Is a Poison / Venom focused character actually viable now?


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Grand Lodge

I got some more reading time today and was looking over some of the various poisons...and they actually looked like something that could be useful (unlike in 1e)

It looks like a Rogue with Alchemist Dedication -or- an Alchemist with Rogue Dedication could make a pretty nice 'Ninja', tossing smoke bombs, coating weapons in poison, etc.

Anyone played with this idea at all? I'm trying to come up with a character idea for society play, and taking advantage of poisons is something that never really worked before...so that would be new and interesting for me to experiment with.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Better off going with a rogue. They get poison weapon which for now, allows them to coat contact poison on weapons.


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Alchemists could coat some daggers at the start of the day with poisons if you wish, because they only go out if you crit miss the attack or apply the poison.


For smoke bombs, make sure you get some Cat's Eye elixirs to ignore that pesky concealed condition. If you have rogue as your primary, you probably want to use smokesticks for the smoke bomb, actual bombs are a rather limited resource.


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On top of these notes, I hear a coming book has a Poisoner archetype, so that'll probably help. But yeah, Rogue and Alchemist can both work well, playing in different ways depending on the primary.


I haven't fully gone through them, but they do seem to have some promise. One thing that will hopefully be fixed with later books is that the highest level injury poison in the book is the Lvl 13 Purple Worm Venom. So at high levels, the DC will be a bit too easy for your enemies. There is an alchemist feat which raises them by 4, which will help. And injury and inhalation poisons are the only ones with a fast enough onset to really be useful in most combats. Contact has that 1 minute onset and ingested can be up to a day.

I'm rather confused about the rogue feat "Poison Weapon." Is this required simply to apply an injury poison to a weapon? That sounds like a terrible feat tax and class gating of a rather simple thing. Or is this just a way of doing it as a single action instead of more by default (then what does it normally take)? Or is the mention that when you hit apply the poison effect mean you just bypass the saving throw and start with stage one? And what are the stages and save DCs for the simple poison it allows you to make? Is it just an extra d4 of damage of the poison type and doesn't use the full poison rules?


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Doktor Weasel wrote:
I'm rather confused about the rogue feat "Poison Weapon." Is this required simply to apply an injury poison to a weapon? That sounds like a terrible feat tax and class gating of a rather simple thing. Or is this just a way of doing it as a single action instead of more by default (then what does it normally take)? Or is the mention that when you hit apply the poison effect mean you just bypass the saving throw and start with stage one? And what are the stages and save DCs for the simple poison it allows you to make? Is it just an extra d4 of damage of the poison type and doesn't use the full poison rules?

Applying an injury poison to a weapon is usually 3 actions. The number of actions required is listed in each poison's stat block.


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Doktor Weasel wrote:

I haven't fully gone through them, but they do seem to have some promise. One thing that will hopefully be fixed with later books is that the highest level injury poison in the book is the Lvl 13 Purple Worm Venom. So at high levels, the DC will be a bit too easy for your enemies. There is an alchemist feat which raises them by 4, which will help. And injury and inhalation poisons are the only ones with a fast enough onset to really be useful in most combats. Contact has that 1 minute onset and ingested can be up to a day.

I'm rather confused about the rogue feat "Poison Weapon." Is this required simply to apply an injury poison to a weapon? That sounds like a terrible feat tax and class gating of a rather simple thing. Or is this just a way of doing it as a single action instead of more by default (then what does it normally take)? Or is the mention that when you hit apply the poison effect mean you just bypass the saving throw and start with stage one? And what are the stages and save DCs for the simple poison it allows you to make? Is it just an extra d4 of damage of the poison type and doesn't use the full poison rules?

Poisoning a weapon otherwise requires 3 actions to accomplish, the rogue feat reduces this to 1. Also it gives you free poisons to attack with. Also it is the only way to get contact (not injury) poisons on weapons. So you can start any fight with a poisoned blade, but only rogues are going to re-poison the blade mid-combat.

EDIT: Ninja'd


LOL Yeah, actions is hidden under the individual poisons: that's what too me long enough that 2 other people ninja'd be because I didn't recall where I'd seen it. ;)


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Thebazilly wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:
I'm rather confused about the rogue feat "Poison Weapon." Is this required simply to apply an injury poison to a weapon? That sounds like a terrible feat tax and class gating of a rather simple thing. Or is this just a way of doing it as a single action instead of more by default (then what does it normally take)? Or is the mention that when you hit apply the poison effect mean you just bypass the saving throw and start with stage one? And what are the stages and save DCs for the simple poison it allows you to make? Is it just an extra d4 of damage of the poison type and doesn't use the full poison rules?
Applying an injury poison to a weapon is usually 3 actions. The number of actions required is listed in each poison's stat block.

Ah. Thanks. Yeah, I just found it. I was looking for a general Apply A Poison action or something, and neglected to look in the individual entries until just before I saw your post, doh! I think this is how it was presented in the playtest too, but I didn't run into any confusion there. So I think the issue here is me. I feel dumb (well more than usual).

This sounds good. Poisoning a weapon is probably something you'll want to do before an encounter normally, but can do in combat with the feat. Perhaps Poison Weapon should have been called something like Quick Poison to bring out it's role a bit more, as it currently sounds like it's required to poison a weapon, but this is fairly minor. It also lets you use contact poisons on weapons, which normally can't be done (but the onset is still bad). As for the effects of the simple poison, it looks like it just does damage of the poison type, it doesn't mention any additional effects, so there are no stages or saves, just extra damage. This feels a little inelegant, but not too big of a deal. I would love to see a mathematical breakdown of expected poison success rates and damage done. Like what citricking is doing with other aspects of the game.

I've liked the new poison system since the playtest, it's just the DCs weren't quite right. As long as the DCs are reasonable, it does look at first glance that poison could be very satisfying and fun to use, and potentially very deadly. Especially when we get other poisons to fill the gaps like lower level inhalation poisons and higher level injury ones.

Grand Lodge

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I'm not a huge fan of having to reapply poisons after every single hit, and losing the poison on a critical failure...it's not like you are taking and wiping the blade off on the enemies clothing.

Other than that, the damage and DCs for poison seem reasonably viable to build around, and I think I saw something about doing inhaled poisons via smoke bombs? If so, that could be pretty nasty.

A lot do digest in a 600+ page core book.


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I built (but not played) a poisoner alchemist, with rogue dedication.
I had thought to do Rogue with Alch dedication.. but I decided I want the poison to be the focus. So I wanted the poison to level with me, so I could get higher level poisons for free. Since what I wanted from rogue was Quick Draw and Poison Weapon, primarily. But even the dedication I kinda hate (Surprise Attack) is fairly useful when you're trying to do a poison start.
Lower level plan was to prepoison dartts to throw (or crossbow bolts).

Edit:
Also.
it is also nice to get Powerful Alchemy, because then I could even p ay and craft low level poisons for (relatively) cheap/decent cost to slap on stuff or to carry around to spike food/drink, trap a door, etc. The non injury poisons that I'm less likely to build day to day, but would like to have.
Cheap up to class DC version isn't terribly thing to pay for with downtime crafting.


Zwordsman wrote:
Lower level plan was to prepoison dartts to throw (or crossbow bolts)

You can't poison ammunitions, only weapons. So no crossbow bolts. I think it's for balance purposes as it would be quite strong. Still, you can poison the crossbow, and apply poison with it's first hit.

I have hard time determining if a poisoner build is viable. Clearly, you have to be Alchemist, as multiclass Alchemist poisons have too low saves. Also, you'll be happy to have a few Bombs on the side for when you face an Undead.

I see 3 builds:
Rogue Dedication: Every time you hit with your weapon, you apply poison afterwards using Poison Weapon. Poisons are quite strong, so it's efficient in my opinion. Drawback: You have to wait for level 8 before being able to do it.
Rogue/Ranger Dedication: You specialize in thrown/range weapons. Every time you hit, you draw a new poisoned weapon using Quick Draw. It's the most efficient build if you want multiple poison application per round. Also, as you make ranged attack, you can target the low fort save enemies in the back row. Drawback: You need a lot of weapons, so they won't be magical. If you face a DR you can't pierce, your damage will be reduced to 0 and your poison won't kick in.
No Dedication: You use poisoned range weapons. Every time you hit, you draw a new one with an action. It's the worst of two worlds, but it doesn't ask for a single feat. In my opinion, every Alchemist should be able to do that as soon as they have enough Reagents.


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SuperBidi wrote:
Zwordsman wrote:
Lower level plan was to prepoison dartts to throw (or crossbow bolts)

You can't poison ammunitions, only weapons. So no crossbow bolts. I think it's for balance purposes as it would be quite strong. Still, you can poison the crossbow, and apply poison with it's first hit.

I am going to argue both RAW and RAI here

RAI
= Blowdarts (the ammunition) description) says that they are often hollowed and used to deliver poison.
- Hand Crossbow description talks about it being often used to deliver poison tipped crossbow bolts to targets.

RAW
- Any ammunition that deals piercing or slashing qualifies as being an improvised weapon in most cases. And thus would count as a weapon that you could apply it to. (sucks to be you sling bullets)
- Ammunition exists in the weapons tables.

(Outside of that you can take a blowgun and then poison a bunch of different blowguns which are then stored in a bandolier that can be used with quickdraw for the dumbest imagery you can imagine, if a ranged weapon can be poisoned directly.)


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The Gleeful Grognard wrote:

RAI

= Blowdarts (the ammunition) description) says that they are often hollowed and used to deliver poison.
- Hand Crossbow description talks about it being often used to deliver poison tipped crossbow bolts to targets.

It's not inconsistant with the fact that you can only poison weapons. If you "poison a crossbow", we all expect the darts to apply the poison, not the crossbow :)

The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
- Any ammunition that deals piercing or slashing qualifies as being an improvised weapon in most cases. And thus would count as a weapon that you could apply it to. (sucks to be you sling bullets)

And you would apply poison when doing an improvised attack. Not when you use the bow for the attack.

And the "any object can be an improvised weapon" argument is often an abusive one. An improvised weapon is no weapon. It's an object that you use as a weapon.

The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
- Ammunition exists in the weapons tables.

They are there for simplicity. Ammunitions are no weapons unless it's explicitely said.

I completely agree that poisoned arrows are logical. But the rules are not supporting it, and I can see why. Being able to deliver poison attacks at each and every hit without a single action required for them to be poisonous is just overwhelming. You are nearly doubling your damage output, making the bow ranger the top damage dealer of the game as soon as there's an Alchemist in the party.


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Blowdarts mention poison, the blowgun does not mention poison.

I am still arguing rules as intended on that one, hopefully we get an answer in the FAQ.

As for the weapons argument, Not any weapon, any weapon that could deal slashing or piercing damage. If someone makes a crude wooden spear it should be reasonable to assume that someone could apply poison to it. Nothing RAW states that you cannot, it just requires GM approval like any other improvised weapon.

The issue with poisons being delivered that way is that they do not stack (unless something changed from the playtest that I didn't see). So while it does make it more likely to deliver a poison.

And hey, it can already be done with quick draw and thrown weapons. So I am not seeing where it breaks many things.

As for your argument RAW that the ammunition isn't being used for the strike, that may hold.

This also touches on creating ammunition from special materials actually, because if ammunition does not count as a weapon then you cannot RAW create silvered arrows or bolts for dealing with were creatures as far as I can see.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
The Gleeful Grognard wrote:


And hey, it can already be done with quick draw and thrown weapons. So I am not seeing where it breaks many things.

Well that is easy. 50 thrown weapons are a) way more expensive (especially when potency starts to be expected) and b) way heavier than a bow and its ammunition.


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Paradozen wrote:
Also it is the only way to get contact (not injury) poisons on weapons.

Yeah I was thinking, cool I can use contact poison as well as they are more potent than injury ones but unfortunately the onset time seems to be a killer e.g. 1 minute for Blightburn Resin for example so that doesn't seem like a viable combat option (I haven't checked all of them).

Doktor Weasel wrote:
So at high levels, the DC will be a bit too easy for your enemies.

There is also Powerful Alchemy which makes the DC scales with your level (so proficiency + int modifier). That and Potent Poisoner (+4 DC) should help poisons be relevant all along.


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The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
The issue with poisons being delivered that way is that they do not stack (unless something changed from the playtest that I didn't see). So while it does make it more likely to deliver a poison.

They kind of stack and they do it very well. Every time you fail a save against a new poison application, your current stage increases by one and you take the damage from the new stage. So, the more you stack poison, the more damage the enemy take for a new application, and the less chances it will manage to cure itself. Once you're at stage 3, you're as good as dead.

Poison is a boss killer because of the way it stacks.

Liberty's Edge

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Here's a quick poison based melee combo:

-Get a pair of doubling rings.
-Hold magical weapon in left hand.
-Prepare numerous poisoned weapons (probably something small, like daggers), wield them in right hand, then drop them after the poison is used, then pull a new one (a single action).

This results in all your poisoned attacks getting the default magic weapon stuff (including striking), at the low cost of using two weapons (ie: not a shield or two-handed item) and a cheap magic item (doubling rings are 50 gp).

This combo gets even better with Quick Draw, which you can grab at 4th if multiclassing into Rogue, in preparation for Poison Weapon at 8th.


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Malk_Content wrote:
The Gleeful Grognard wrote:


And hey, it can already be done with quick draw and thrown weapons. So I am not seeing where it breaks many things.

Well that is easy. 50 thrown weapons are a) way more expensive (especially when potency starts to be expected) and b) way heavier than a bow and its ammunition.

Returning does help with the price of thrown weapons, although in that case you need to reapply poison each time. And you only lose the poison on a hit or critical miss, so if you just plain miss you can try again, something you can't do with bow or crossbow.

But I've got to say, applying the poison to the bow or crossbow instead of the ammo is just silly. It makes no sense, poison doesn't work that way, pouring it on a bow isn't going to make an arrow poisoned. It's poison, not magic. And it only seems to be a thing based on technicalities discovered by a hyper-literal reading of the rules rules and disregarding common sense. It might be rules as written, and just maybe it's even intended (I'd really like to here form a dev on this). But I'd apply the Rule of Common Sense and say no, you poison the ammo, because otherwise it's just dumb. It goes too far in the way of 'balance' at the expense of anything resembling logic. Much like the peasant conveyor system in PF1. Rules say you can move objects an arbitrary distance in 6 seconds if you have enough people in a line, delaying until the person behind them hands an item to them and then hand it over the next person (1340 people will get it supersonic). As far as I know this is still possible in PF2. But that doesn't mean it should be allowed.

Is it somehow less balanced to poison ammo than poisoning only the actual weapon? Maybe, but I'm not willing to suspend logic that far for some dubious amount of balance. There's a point when things just get too nonsensical, and for me, this is one of them.


Can an alchemist make poisons with their free daily batches?
I saw rogue had a feat that gives them X amount of free poisons per day. I kinda wanna try rogue with that, and alchemist for free stuff, and ranger for free snares.


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Corvo Spiritwind wrote:

Can an alchemist make poisons with their free daily batches?

I saw rogue had a feat that gives them X amount of free poisons per day. I kinda wanna try rogue with that, and alchemist for free stuff, and ranger for free snares.

Yeah, infused poisons can totally be made free daily with Advanced Alchemy. They only last the day, so no stockpiling enough poison to kill the world. For high level alchemical items, it's really basically required. They get absurdly expensive if you're paying full price for them. Purple worm venom is 500 gp a pop. But that's a bargain compared to Tears of Death with 12,000 gp for a dose.

Getting free Simple Poisons from Poison Weapon, free infused poisons from alchemist class and free snares form Snare Specialist makes you Thrifty McCrafterson: The Frugal Hunter.


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I have found that if you take Alchemist Dedication your poison DCs cannot keep up with enemy Fortitude saves, assuming equal CR adversaries.

Also the Powerful Alchemy feat doesn't help that build (would have to be level 16 to take it, and you're only trained in Alchemist Class DC, so it doesn't add a lot).

Poison might work with for a actual Alchemist though.


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Doktor Weasel wrote:
But I've got to say, applying the poison to the bow or crossbow instead of the ammo is just silly.

Sorry to say that, but you also get too literal. Applying poison to a bow of course means applying the poison to the arrows. But, in terms of game logic, only the first hit will trigger a save. So you are both logical and compliant with the rules. It's true that the rules allow you to draw another poisoned bow and continue, but I think noone will do that considering how silly it looks.

If you allow to poison each and every ammo, you easily double an archer's damage output, so everyone will just take bows and the game gonna be boring considering how the devs have made sure everything gets balanced.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
-Get a pair of doubling rings.

I hadn't seen that item. It's absolutely incredible with poison...


Uchuujin wrote:

I have found that if you take Alchemist Dedication your poison DCs cannot keep up with enemy Fortitude saves, assuming equal CR adversaries.

Also the Powerful Alchemy feat doesn't help that build (would have to be level 16 to take it, and you're only trained in Alchemist Class DC, so it doesn't add a lot).

Poison might work with for a actual Alchemist though.

Powerful alchemy also only works with poisons that you quick alchemy that turn, so quick alchemy-ing a poison, applying it to a weapon, and getting a strike in is going to be tricky.

You'd need however many rogue dedication to get quick poison use and also probably enduring alchemy.

Technically the quick alchemy generated poison, even with feats, will stop working at the end of your next turn.


SuperBidi wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
-Get a pair of doubling rings.
I hadn't seen that item. It's absolutely incredible with poison...

What makes it good with poisons? Just curious since I just learned about the ring. Is it about having a good mainhand, then for example throwing mundane poisoned knives, which get the good mainhand bonuses free?


Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
What makes it good with poisons? Just curious since I just learned about the ring. Is it about having a good mainhand, then for example throwing mundane poisoned knives, which get the good mainhand bonuses free?

As a side note, you can't use the ring with thrown weapons.

The main issue with poison is the time to apply it. A way to circumvent that is to have it preapplied, but then you can only do it on mundane weapons, dealing nearly no damage by themselves, and thus not applying poison as soon as you meet a damage reduction.
With the ring and Quick Draw, you have the best of both worlds: A good weapon and preapplied poison. You just need a lot of mundane daggers and a good weapon on right hand.


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SuperBidi wrote:
Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
What makes it good with poisons? Just curious since I just learned about the ring. Is it about having a good mainhand, then for example throwing mundane poisoned knives, which get the good mainhand bonuses free?

As a side note, you can't use the ring with thrown weapons.

The main issue with poison is the time to apply it. A way to circumvent that is to have it preapplied, but then you can only do it on mundane weapons, dealing nearly no damage by themselves, and thus not applying poison as soon as you meet a damage reduction.
With the ring and Quick Draw, you have the best of both worlds: A good weapon and preapplied poison. You just need a lot of mundane daggers and a good weapon on right hand.

Good to know. I was mainly going for two weapons, so the ring alone as is, is pretty dang great way to save money :D


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

My impression from the CRB is that trying to execute a character that simultaneously has the best poisons and also has good enough melee capability to use them effectively is a fools errand. I think the best poisoner is actually a bomber alchemist who uses advanced alchemy to prep enough poisons to pre-poison their martial friends' weapons prior to each fight.

Wyvern poison's 5d6 dmg on first failed save is no joke, and purple worm gives that and enfeebled 2 on top. When delivered at no action economy cost, its a potent opening round. Meanwhile trying to repoison weapons costs more DPR than its worth, even if you can do it with a single action.


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I could definitely see a Toxitician Alchemist research field, or a Poisoner rouge racket in the future that could make these valid options.


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Cellion wrote:
Wyvern poison's 5d6 dmg on first failed save is no joke, and purple worm gives that and enfeebled 2 on top. When delivered at no action economy cost, its a potent opening round. Meanwhile trying to repoison weapons costs more DPR than its worth, even if you can do it with a single action.

I couldn't agree more. That's why I consider poison to be a boss killer. When the whole party is focusing on the same monster, if there are 3 or 4 poisoned weapons used, chances are great for the boss to quickly get to stage 2 and poison to start pilling damage and status effects on him for the duration of the fight.

I also think poison is one of the best assets, if not the best one, of the Alchemist class. It cost no actions, it's quite powerful, and it stacks with absolutely everything other classes can do.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

Here's a quick poison based melee combo:

-Get a pair of doubling rings.
-Hold magical weapon in left hand.
-Prepare numerous poisoned weapons (probably something small, like daggers), wield them in right hand, then drop them after the poison is used, then pull a new one (a single action).

This results in all your poisoned attacks getting the default magic weapon stuff (including striking), at the low cost of using two weapons (ie: not a shield or two-handed item) and a cheap magic item (doubling rings are 50 gp).

This combo gets even better with Quick Draw, which you can grab at 4th if multiclassing into Rogue, in preparation for Poison Weapon at 8th.

Make the base weapon a gauntlet or spiked gauntlet and you have a free hand too. For fun, put a buckler on the arm that has the gauntlet for some free AC action.


Doktor Weasel wrote:

I haven't fully gone through them, but they do seem to have some promise. One thing that will hopefully be fixed with later books is that the highest level injury poison in the book is the Lvl 13 Purple Worm Venom. So at high levels, the DC will be a bit too easy for your enemies. There is an alchemist feat which raises them by 4, which will help. And injury and inhalation poisons are the only ones with a fast enough onset to really be useful in most combats. Contact has that 1 minute onset and ingested can be up to a day.

I'm rather confused about the rogue feat "Poison Weapon." Is this required simply to apply an injury poison to a weapon? That sounds like a terrible feat tax and class gating of a rather simple thing. Or is this just a way of doing it as a single action instead of more by default (then what does it normally take)? Or is the mention that when you hit apply the poison effect mean you just bypass the saving throw and start with stage one? And what are the stages and save DCs for the simple poison it allows you to make? Is it just an extra d4 of damage of the poison type and doesn't use the full poison rules?

Its a feat tax if you want to apply poisons in combat. Its pretty straight forward during rests or during prep time to apply poison to weapons/darts/daggers to give you a more potent initial hit in a fight.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
kaid wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:

I haven't fully gone through them, but they do seem to have some promise. One thing that will hopefully be fixed with later books is that the highest level injury poison in the book is the Lvl 13 Purple Worm Venom. So at high levels, the DC will be a bit too easy for your enemies. There is an alchemist feat which raises them by 4, which will help. And injury and inhalation poisons are the only ones with a fast enough onset to really be useful in most combats. Contact has that 1 minute onset and ingested can be up to a day.

I'm rather confused about the rogue feat "Poison Weapon." Is this required simply to apply an injury poison to a weapon? That sounds like a terrible feat tax and class gating of a rather simple thing. Or is this just a way of doing it as a single action instead of more by default (then what does it normally take)? Or is the mention that when you hit apply the poison effect mean you just bypass the saving throw and start with stage one? And what are the stages and save DCs for the simple poison it allows you to make? Is it just an extra d4 of damage of the poison type and doesn't use the full poison rules?

Its a feat tax if you want to apply poisons in combat. Its pretty straight forward during rests or during prep time to apply poison to weapons/darts/daggers to give you a more potent initial hit in a fight.

Hunh? That is a valuable effect, reducing actions by two. That does not seem at all like a “tax”


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I don't think poisons are good/viable.

Like at all:

Their saves are around what you'd expect a caster to have at that level BUT:
A)
they are the only damaging "saving throw" option that actually does absolutely nothing on a success.

Add the fact that you first need to also hit, and it drops even lower in effectiveness.

B) even if you hit AND they fail their save, the damage isn't that great. In order to do great damage you need them to fail a second consecutive save.

So, now, we have a 3ple check in order for them to actually be good.

C) Fort is the best monster saving throw, especially in higher levels, AND it's by far the hardest to debuff.

D) poison resistance /immunity is still one of the most, if not THE most prevalent monster resistance.

So, all together, we have an attack that:
Targets the best save and the best resistance and needs to simultaneously pass both an attack check AND a save to do anything at all. It also needs to pass 2 consecutive saves to become actually good.

Don't get me wrong, it is better than PF1, but until/if we get super specialised poison archetypes, I don't think it's a good player tactic at all.


Uchuujin wrote:
I could definitely see a Toxitician Alchemist research field, or a Poisoner rouge racket in the future that could make these valid options.

I can almost guarantee we see this as an option sooner rather than later. Poisons are really the fourth major branch of alchemy so that likely is the next research field added.


shroudb wrote:


C) Fort is the best monster saving throw, especially in higher levels, AND it's by far the hardest to debuff.

Yes (drained) but mostly no (frightened and sickened from will save attacks). The specific save debuffs (clumsy, drained, stupefied) are kind of fringe, only if you want it long lasting (Touch of Idiocy/Feeblemind), want stronger effects than a general debuff (Touch of Idiocy), have access to a high level effect (Synesthesia/Feeblemind/Polar Ray/Wail of the Banshee), or are happy with a short lived lesser effect that is long lasting even on a successful save (Feeblemind/Synesthesia).


Xenocrat wrote:
shroudb wrote:


C) Fort is the best monster saving throw, especially in higher levels, AND it's by far the hardest to debuff.
Yes (drained) but mostly no (frightened and sickened from will save attacks). The specific save debuffs (clumsy, drained, stupefied) are kind of fringe, only if you want it long lasting (Touch of Idiocy/Feeblemind), want stronger effects than a general debuff (Touch of Idiocy), have access to a high level effect (Synesthesia/Feeblemind/Polar Ray/Wail of the Banshee), or are happy with a short lived lesser effect that is long lasting even on a successful save (Feeblemind/Synesthesia).

It's not only the duration, it's also the degree.

Yes, Frightened will drop all by 1,but stupefied/clumsy 2 as an example will drop will/ref by 2 and it's easy to apply.

Fort doesn't have that luxury


Flat Footed don't drop reflex saves, only AC.

Anyway, the good of the poisons is that you can use them before battle, making that an Alchemist can apply poison to the sword of the fighter that want to stab an enemy with that sword anyway.


Kyrone wrote:

Flat Footed don't drop reflex saves, only AC.

Anyway, the good of the poisons is that you can use them before battle, making that an Alchemist can apply poison to the sword of the fighter that want to stab an enemy with that sword anyway.

Yeah, my mistake still, clumsy is much easier to inflict than Drained.

Also, while you can preapply, it's still a terrible use of reagents imo.

Reagents are extremely tight on early levels and poison is kinda irrelevant on later levels.

Wasting one on something that has 50-70% to do absolutely nothing doesn't seem like a good option imo.

So you have better uses of those reagents.


It depends.

The group usually have long adventure days? Then poison will not be good.

The group have only a few battles or even only one during a day? Then poisons will be a great way to use reagents because it's better to finish the day with an empty tank than let half of them spoil because they were not used.


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Kyrone wrote:

It depends.

The group usually have long adventure days? Then poison will not be good.

The group have only a few battles or even only one during a day? Then poisons will be a great way to use reagents because it's better to finish the day with an empty tank than let half of them spoil because they were not used.

If you have extra reagents, bombs are far better option.

Much higher average damage, debuffs and damage even on a miss.

You won't have enough reagents for both bombs, elixirs and poisons.

And poisons are by far the weakest option, so they are the ones you cut.

P.S.
You don't need "a long day" to run out of reagents. 3 battles is already pushing it till high (10+) levels.


shroudb wrote:
Kyrone wrote:

It depends.

The group usually have long adventure days? Then poison will not be good.

The group have only a few battles or even only one during a day? Then poisons will be a great way to use reagents because it's better to finish the day with an empty tank than let half of them spoil because they were not used.

If you have extra reagents, bombs are far better option.

Much higher average damage, debuffs and damage even on a miss.

You won't have enough reagents for both bombs, elixirs and poisons.

And poisons are by far the weakest option, so they are the ones you cut.

It's just action economy, poison you can use before battle, the bombs you will have to spend actions in battle.

Battles last between 2-4 rounds, so in a single batte without Quick Bomber you can use 6 bombs in 4 rounds using all your actions. With Poison you spend no action in battle to try to get the benefit of the extra reagents and spend these actions in what you usually do.


shroudb wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
shroudb wrote:


C) Fort is the best monster saving throw, especially in higher levels, AND it's by far the hardest to debuff.
Yes (drained) but mostly no (frightened and sickened from will save attacks). The specific save debuffs (clumsy, drained, stupefied) are kind of fringe, only if you want it long lasting (Touch of Idiocy/Feeblemind), want stronger effects than a general debuff (Touch of Idiocy), have access to a high level effect (Synesthesia/Feeblemind/Polar Ray/Wail of the Banshee), or are happy with a short lived lesser effect that is long lasting even on a successful save (Feeblemind/Synesthesia).

It's not only the duration, it's also the degree.

Yes, Frightened will drop all by 1,but stupefied/clumsy 2 as an example will drop will/ref by 2 and it's easy to apply.

Fort doesn't have that luxury

I think you erroneously left "easy to apply" in here from your previously edited out mistake about flat-footed applying to reflex saves.

These are the only spells that inflict clumsy: Volcanic Eruption(level 7, clumsy 1 on a failure), Synesthesia (Level 5, clumsy 3, for one round even on a success, this spell is awesome), Raise Dead (impractical...), Nature Incarnate (Level 10, green man form has an attack that can do it on a fort save fail), Enlarge (willing only). The spear specialization critical inflicts clumsy 1, as does the encumbered condition. The class feats that inflict clumsy 1 are all 10th level. So not easy at all.

Spells that inflict stupefied all require a will save to avoid...taking a penalty to your will save. Spells that can debuff your will save without you first failing a will save are: Feeblemind (level 6, stupefied 2 on a success for 1 round), Spiritual Epidemic (level 8, same), Touch of Obedience (level 1 focus spell, stupefied 1 on a success). Not easy.

Also these require two actions (except Touch of Obedience, which is pretty decent), vs one to demoralize, and fear spells have the advantage of imposing the condition even on a success and sicken spells generally have other effects, too.

Frightening is the smart way to go on save reduction. You can hit an already frightened creature with a further debuff if you want or need to try for something stronger or longer lasting. It's true that fort doesn't have the same things, but frightened 2 isn't that hard to pull off, and few clumsy/stupefied effects will beat that. In any case, the difficult of drain isn't the issue, the relative easy of frightened is.


Kyrone wrote:
shroudb wrote:
Kyrone wrote:

It depends.

The group usually have long adventure days? Then poison will not be good.

The group have only a few battles or even only one during a day? Then poisons will be a great way to use reagents because it's better to finish the day with an empty tank than let half of them spoil because they were not used.

If you have extra reagents, bombs are far better option.

Much higher average damage, debuffs and damage even on a miss.

You won't have enough reagents for both bombs, elixirs and poisons.

And poisons are by far the weakest option, so they are the ones you cut.

It's just action economy, poison you can use before battle, the bombs you will have to spend actions in battle.

Battles last between 2-4 rounds, so in a single batte without Quick Bomber you can use 6 bombs in 4 rounds using all your actions. With Poison you spend no action in battle to try to get the benefit of the extra reagents and spend these actions in what you usually do.

I haven't played a single pf2 battle that was over in 2 rounds.

I'd say the average duration of a combat is 5-7 rounds.

And again, even in 2 round combats, using a second bomb attack (which is bad in general) is better than poison.

The main issue is that you can't really expect someone to fail 2 consecutive Fort saves just to be a good reagent use.

50-70% "do nothing" is a terrible use of a reagent even accounting the action economy discount.

Reagents are MUCH more valuable than "1 action discount per battle".

Just 3 bombs per battle, 1 Mutagen for you and an ally, a single healing elixir, and just 1 reagent for Quick Alchemy for an emergency, is already 3.5-4 reagents.


For me, poison seems fine if the person is already going to be making a weapon attack: it's an extra chance for free damage. As to better than a bomb, IMO it'd depend on what feats you pick for bombs: if you stack every feat on bombs, they can do a lot but if you don't they aren't too exciting.

SO IMO, it depends...

PS: I'll be curious if we'll start to see more poison feat and/or a real poisoner Research Field/Racket that leverage then more efficiently.


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shroudb wrote:

I don't think poisons are good/viable.

Like at all

They are in my opinion the best tool the Alchemist has :)

shroudb wrote:
Add the fact that you first need to also hit, and it drops even lower in effectiveness.

Well, if your Fighter/Barbarian doesn't manage to hit once in a combat, the issue is not with poison. So, it's a non issue.

shroudb wrote:
B) even if you hit AND they fail their save, the damage isn't that great.

What??? You deal the same damage than an average blow. 5d6 at level 8 is actually pretty high. At low level, they are more debuff poisons than damaging ones, they still deal a pretty good amount of damage considering the low damage characters are dealing at that level.

shroudb wrote:
C) Fort is the best monster saving throw, especially in higher levels, AND it's by far the hardest to debuff.

I agree with this argument. It still doesn't make poison bad. Free damage is free damage.

shroudb wrote:
D) poison resistance /immunity is still one of the most, if not THE most prevalent monster resistance.

Not anymore. Devils/Demons/Oozes (at least) are no more poison immune. It's now mind affecting the most common immunity.

shroudb wrote:
Much higher average damage, debuffs and damage even on a miss.

Bombs don't deal more damage compared to a bow. So, it's just debuff and damage on a miss. And poisons debuffs can be applied during more than one round, so poison is clearly ahead.


SuperBidi wrote:
shroudb wrote:

I don't think poisons are good/viable.

Like at all

They are in my opinion the best tool the Alchemist has :)

shroudb wrote:
Add the fact that you first need to also hit, and it drops even lower in effectiveness.

Well, if your Fighter/Barbarian doesn't manage to hit once in a combat, the issue is not with poison. So, it's a non issue.

shroudb wrote:
B) even if you hit AND they fail their save, the damage isn't that great.

What??? You deal the same damage than an average blow. 5d6 at level 8 is actually pretty high. At low level, they are more debuff poisons than damaging ones, they still deal a pretty good amount of damage considering the low damage characters are dealing at that level.

shroudb wrote:
C) Fort is the best monster saving throw, especially in higher levels, AND it's by far the hardest to debuff.

I agree with this argument. It still doesn't make poison bad. Free damage is free damage.

shroudb wrote:
D) poison resistance /immunity is still one of the most, if not THE most prevalent monster resistance.

Not anymore. Devils/Demons/Oozes (at least) are no more poison immune. It's now mind affecting the most common immunity.

shroudb wrote:
Much higher average damage, debuffs and damage even on a miss.
Bombs don't deal more damage compared to a bow. So, it's just debuff and damage on a miss. And poisons debuffs can be applied during more than one round, so poison is clearly ahead.

A) it's more about WHEN they get applied to the enemy. Each miss delays them. Also, crit misses do exist and instantly waste the poison.

B) 5d6 at 8,vs 1 target, with a limited resource, is actually terrible damage. Compare any limited resource to that damage and see for yourself.

C) it's not free. It costs reagents. Reagents are much more valuable than doing cantrip level damage one time per combat even if it's a "free action".

D) O was talking more about elemental vs poison, haven't checked mind affecting damage. since it's not applicable for Alchemist.
Damage wise it's the most easily resisted/immune that he can do with 0 vulnerable. Is that better wording for you?

E) it's not 5d6. It's 50% 0, 25% 5d6, and etc (increasing damage as % decreases)

It's extremely unstable damage with very high Peak (like 4 failed saves in a row) but averages quite low.

A bomb doesn't have that peak, but deals respectable damage and has a floor of 4 damage at that level.


shroudb wrote:
A bomb doesn't have that peak, but deals respectable damage and has a floor of 4 damage at that level.

Let me take an example to explain you what I mean:

Level 1 "Poisoned" crossbow VS Level 1 Alchemist's Fire.
2 actions to load and attack (with a feat, you can compare a "poisoned" bow and Quick Bomber Alchemist's Fire, it's exactly the same).

On a hit, both deal 1d8 damage. Alchemist's Fire deals 1 persistent damage and 1 splash damage. Poisoned crossbow gives a save for 1d6 extra damage and potentially more damage after one round (hence highly improbable).
On a miss, Alchemist's Fire deals 1 splash damage. On a miss (non critical one), poison is not expanded.

So, in my opinion, poison's better. We may argue on that, but stating that bomb is plain better is clearly false.

shroudb wrote:
C) it's not free. It costs reagents. Reagents are much more valuable than doing cantrip level damage one time per combat even if it's a "free action".

I completely disagree with that. A level 1 Alchemist can do roughly 10 alchemical items. Giant Centipede Venom has a damage expectancy of 3 points against an average CR1 creature. We are speaking of 30 points of damage for free (and I insist on the "for free"). A wizard using cantrips will need 10 rounds to catch up with that amount of damage, rounds during which I'll be a paysant with a crossbow, still, I'll continue to do damage. If he doesn't get into his limited spells, he'll be behind.

So, that's far from cantrip damage, it's potentially very good.
And you get more and more reagents by gaining levels, doubling them by level 6. So, the reagent issue becomes less and less of an issue.

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