Players using poison


Rules Discussion


Okay. So my party's rogue took the alchemy craft thing where he can make common poisons.
He has been bombarding me with questions. I'm looking thing up as much as I can. But maybe some people have more insight.
He wants to know can he just poison all his arrow tips at the beginning of the day. He says that since there was a poison scabbard in 1st edition, that he should be able to have one in 2nd edition (I don't think 1st edition should really apply to anything; it's a whole new game).
Anyway. Kind of overwhelmed. Just wondering if anyone has done extensive reading on poison use and might have knowledge or advice.


Yeah. I'll try to come back tomorrow for more stuff (i'm currently procrastinating a project due in 3 hours hah). But yeah don't apply anything from 1st to 2nd. Just a bag of worms. They might make one down the line but currently I'd just not do that.

quick mini info bit.
He could just poison his weapon in the morning and leave it poisoned. But if he wants to repoison his weapon in combat he'll need Poisoned Weapon for a 1 action. Otherwise it takes the 2 actions newly done in the Eratta recently (prior it was 1action to draw 3 actions to apply).

As for the arrows. There are two current prevailing ways--and you as the GM can choose which.

Ammo is ammo, but its also on the weapn table so some say its also a weapon.
you can only poison weapons. Meaning if ammo is not a weapon you can not prepoison the arrow--you techincally can only poison the bow which is the weapon. Its very weird but strictly speaking that is super RAW on the term "weapon" in the poisoning rules. Mechanically its probably to prevent the storehouse of poisons for anyone who isn't a throwing weapon user. (who prepoisons standard throwing weapons and quick draws them etc)

The other way is that Ammo-like arrows-are on the weapons table so they are weapons. And that it just makes narritive sense that you can poison the arrow heads. Usual justificatoin is that poisons are expensive anyway-or its the alchemist's main resource so making it more usable is fine.

Off hand. I've played in games with both. And to me, both are fine. I can buy the idea that yo ucan only poison "the bow" (which fluff wise is the Arrow I am holding and ready to use with the bow. Because it would rub off with all the other arrow heads in the quiver. While a blade in the scabbard isn't moving or scraping except when drawing (and even then its relatively little compared to jostling and always shifting quivers)

So you as a GM get to decide which. If you're unsure-you could specify you'll let him prepoison on a testing basis but you will switch if it gets complicated. Just be sure to keep track of what is poisoned with what.


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The new errata specifically says you can poison ammunition. So it seem completely legal to poison your arrows whenever he crafted some.


Technically (if it is an injury poison, if it isn't an injury poison it doesn't work on weapons) you apply it to the weapon using the number of actions stated in the entry for the poison.

The fluff version of this would be the rogue applying it to the arrow just before knocking it to the bow.

You can as a GM rule that they can apply it to heaps of arrows, but rules as written it doesn't work that way (the in universe reason could be that the poison won't survive for long on an arrowhead).

Poison can add a bunch of damage to your attacks, and letting a character apply it to a full quiver or to a scabard might be a bit broken.

Let's walk through the lowest level injury poison to illustrate why;

(For saves, all poisons work on crit fail - advance 2 stages, fail - advance 1 stage, success - reduce 1 stage, crit success - reduce 2 stages)

Giant Centipede venom
DC 17 save (no onset, so it happens instantly)
On being hit, if they fail their fort save, they are at stage one, and take 1d6 poison damage (already a reasonable amount of damage at level 1)
The next turn, they make the save again - on a success, they are fine. On a failure, they advance to stage 2 and take 1d8 poison damage and are flat footed. On a crit fail, they advance to stage 3 (1d12 poison damage, flat footed, clumsy 1).

Once they are at stage 2, a success just reduces them to stage 1, and at stage 3, a critical success reduces them to stage one.

The poison lasts up to 6 rounds.

The potential damage from one poisoned strike (if the enemy does very poorly on its saves) is whatever the weapon damage is, +1d8 +5d12, just from one dose of a level 1 4gp poison, not to mention the flat footed and clumsy status debuffs.

Now imagine that being 3 attacks a round because of a quiver full of arrows all being poisoned (which is why its 3 actions to apply and only to a weapon).

Edit: oh, it got erratad, that's a touch annoying


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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Errata v1.0 wrote:
Page 550: Under Method of Exposure, in the Injury section, change the first sentence to read “An injury poison is activated by applying it to a weapon or ammunition, and it affects the target of the first Strike made using the poisoned item.” This allows you to poison ammunition as well as weapons.


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Mellack wrote:
The new errata specifically says you can poison ammunition. So it seem completely legal to poison your arrows whenever he crafted some.

Oh did it ? SHiny goodness. I missed that part then.


The errata quoted by CrystalSeas allows us to stop arguing that "ammunition is weapons" in order to use injury poisons on arrows.

CRB p. 550 wrote:
Contact poisons are infeasible to apply to a creature via a weapon attack due to the logistics of delivering them without poisoning yourself.

Some have read this line to mean contact poisons can NOT be used on weapons, but that's only implied. Contact poisons feature prominently among traps that injure their victim, so there is precedent for using injury as the method of exposure for contact poisons. But that's totally your call as GM how you interpret it. If I was GMing a PFS game, just to keep things simple I would disallow it. If YOU want to allow your players to apply contact poisons to their weapons, I recommend making them jump through some hoops like protective gear or assign some risk like a flat check (and not an easy one - I'd make it flat 16, or 11 at the least) to avoid poisoning themselves on a miss, and have that be the automatic penalty for crit missing on the attack.

There is no stated expiration for injury poisons applied to a weapon or piece of ammunition until they are used in an attack, so a player could poison all of their arrows (up to the number of doses they have, natch) in the morning. There IS an expiration for anything created from Alchemist daily prep free reagents, so any poison applied to weapons or arrows would evaporate/spoil/go stale/whatever upon the player's next daily prep if that's where they're getting their poison.


Okay. This is some good discussion.
My only other question would now be (and someone actually touched on this) how much poison for ammunition.
If you spend X amount of gold to craft a dose of poison, that dose goes for X amount of uses. So, if you dose your arrows, does it take a dose per arrow tip?
I don't want 20 arrows dipped in a jar of one dose of poison, but yet they each still get a full use.
Gonna try to read some more of this in a little bit.


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

1 dose of poison is one dose of poison, whether you put it on a knife or an arrow.


One dose is enough to effect one creature. That is probably for simplicity. It doesn't matter if you put it on an arrow or a polearm. It also doesn't matter if you are hitting a goblin or a storm giant.


Okay.
I really appreciate everyone's thoughts on the matter.
Basically what I need to decide is: Either tell him that the poison won't survive exposed to the open air all day, and he must apply it as he goes.
Or: Say it will survive one day (so use it or lose it). And just count on the fact that he can't afford to spend 4gp per dose (or whatever the cost is for a particular kind).
Also, if it's melee weapons, it's not a huge deal to per-poison them (he could do it right before a fight, after all). And if it's arrows, he might just miss anyway.

I think the poison is a fine idea. And I like to see my player getting so excited about game elements. I just want to make sure no one runs roughshod over the game balance.


Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:

Okay.

I really appreciate everyone's thoughts on the matter.
Basically what I need to decide is: Either tell him that the poison won't survive exposed to the open air all day, and he must apply it as he goes.
Or: Say it will survive one day (so use it or lose it). And just count on the fact that he can't afford to spend 4gp per dose (or whatever the cost is for a particular kind).
Also, if it's melee weapons, it's not a huge deal to per-poison them (he could do it right before a fight, after all). And if it's arrows, he might just miss anyway.

I think the poison is a fine idea. And I like to see my player getting so excited about game elements. I just want to make sure no one runs roughshod over the game balance.

Keep in mind that, while a poisoned weapon will stay poisoned until you use it (which makes a quiver of poisoned arrows seem super jacked), ammunition is destroyed when it is fired. So hit or miss, he will be shooting 3 gold or whatever every time he fires one. Increasing the cost of an arrow by a factor of 300+ is no small fee, considering that the arrow has to hit and THEN the target has to fail the fort save.


Agreed that poison ammo is not overpowered, and the player should be allowed to use it as written without extra restrictions. There are many chances for the poison to be ineffective:

1. On a miss, the poison is lost for no benefit.
2. If it does hit, they get a save to negate it straight away.
3. On subsequent rounds they can save to reduce or eliminate the effects.
4. The creature can die from other attacks before the poison runs its course.

Because of its expense, you want to save poisons for where it really matters, against bosses. But their better saves against a poison DC at or below your level means they will likely resist it entirely. Mooks who are less likely to save also die quicker to your allies' attacks. So poisons are already pretty hard to use effectively without more restrictions added on top.


BellyBeard wrote:

Agreed that poison ammo is not overpowered, and the player should be allowed to use it as written without extra restrictions. There are many chances for the poison to be ineffective:

1. On a miss, the poison is lost for no benefit.
2. If it does hit, they get a save to negate it straight away.
3. On subsequent rounds they can save to reduce or eliminate the effects.
4. The creature can die from other attacks before the poison runs its course.

Because of its expense, you want to save poisons for where it really matters, against bosses. But their better saves against a poison DC at or below your level means they will likely resist it entirely. Mooks who are less likely to save also die quicker to your allies' attacks. So poisons are already pretty hard to use effectively without more restrictions added on top.

That's why you use poison against the mooks IN the boss fight, to quicker free up your party to focus. ;)


Baarogue wrote:
That's why you use poison against the mooks IN the boss fight, to quicker free up your party to focus. ;)

Yay! Someone else has grokked the new paradigm!

This is also an excellent time to whip out those incapacitation spell effects for the same purpose.

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