Feats; Improved Poison Use

author: Ruemere (Patryk Adamski)
email: ruemere@poczta.onet.pl
date: 2003-06-09
status: test

The king Illyrion the Second is dying. Prayers and spells serve only to prolong His Majesty's suffering. They say there is no cure for the old age, but you, you know better.

A champion, Natianna Waverlee, has been summoned for a trial by combat. Her cause is doomed for while she's strong of will, her martial prowess is no match for sir Darian the Hungry, the Bane of the Dead and the Heir to the Blade Legacy. People already weep for the foolish maiden. You don't, you know better.

Tarmouth, an orphan, is barely clinging to his life thread, his face and chest burnt by merciless flames. The poor cannot afford a healer. But they can afford you, and you, you are about to ease child's suffering.

An Ugly Term

There is a certain problem with d20 poison rules - they are meant only for combat use, not for politics, subtle influencing of odds and judgements, or healing. The term "poisoner", while obviously derogatory, is also, under basic rules, not as important or threatening as it should be, for unless the poison is administered in many (or large) doses, it is unlikely to affect anyone significantly with Delay Poison spells readily available.

In order to allow for more subtle and more campaign oriented uses, my dear reader, is a feat and a set of suggestions are offered for you viewing pleasure. One word of caution though: there is an ugly term, "Divination". Using this lockpick term it is quite easy for a smart player to foil your intrigues and, while perfectly acceptable ruleswise, it may be a good idea to prepare a countermeasure to make the investigators earn their pay through hard thinking. Unless you are going to ban certain Divination-related spells and abilities, consider these two tactics:

  • For one, the players are (or non player characters) are unlikely to suspect foul play if the poison effects are subtle. An old man is going to die, right? So, if the poison is of contact variety and only speeds up natural process, it would take a little paranoia or cleverness to guess the real reason behind king's malady.
  • Also, a poisoner can light a candle for his god, right? Supposing that this one devoutly pays respects to his god, it would be perfectly understandable for the poisoner's patron to muddle divinations a bit (losing worshippers leaves bad stains on deity's reputation, though a reasonable bargain can always be struck).

Improved Poison Use

Prerequisites: Alchemy skill - 6 ranks, Heal skill - 4 ranks.

Benefits: You are skilled in poison manufacturing. You never risk accidental poisoning yourself and if poisoned, you are allowed a Heal check at poison save DC to avoid secondary damage instead of Fortitude save (no retries allowed) - if failed, you are still allowed to try to make ordinary Fortitude save. When identyfing poisons, make Alchemy check versus poison DC with modifiers for unique poison types at GM's discretion.

Also, the poisons you manufacture can gain one or more Advanced qualities. For each poison you make you must pass Alchemy check with +2 DC for each Advanced quality you are trying to add. Each Advance quality can be added only once. Base check DC is equal to poison DC with +4 bonus if using alchemical apparatus. Increase poison price by 10% base price per each Advanced quality and recalculate manufacturing time accordingly (see Craft skill description for cost-time dependencies).

Note that many qualities cannot be combined, so enterprising poisoners are strongly advised to use common sense. Some of those qualities may be applied to non-harmful substances to produce positive effects.

Advanced Poison Qualities

Diluted: you're trying to dilute poison to double amount of doses. Each dose you make this way has Poison DC lowered by 2.

Strengthened: your poison is going to be more difficult to resist. You receive half as many doses, but the Poison DC is increased by 2.

Tertiary (and Quaternary, Quinary, Senary, Septenary, Octonary, Nonary, Denary) Damage: the poisons gains the ability to inflict tertiary (and subsequent) damage. Each of these damages is a separate Advanced Quality and in order to add next quality, you have to have added all the previous qualities of this type. The subsequent damages happen one after another once the period equal to that between primary and secondary passes (if the base period is one minute, the tertiary damage takes place a minute after the secondary damage, quaternary damage - one minute after tertiary and so on). Each damage after secondary is equal to the primary damage (sorry folks, no multiple saves vs death) and manufacturing each damage phase poison takes double the amount of the previous phase doses (i.e. double for Tertiary and double Tertiary for Quartenary).

Quick: the secondary damage takes place after 5 rounds (halve the secondary damage period).

Delayed: the primary and secondary damage periods are extended to hours. Specify a period between 1 minute and 24 hours. The GM secretly rolls (d20-10) and adds the number to the period specified, however the specified period cannot be made shorter than 1 minute (for durations shorter than 2 hours) or shorter than 2 hours (for durations equal or longer than two hours). The secondary damage takes place at the end of this period and primary damage in the middle of the specified duration.

Spread: as Delayed with regard to period (i.e. minutes or hours), however the damage is administered at the rate of one point per time unit (minute or hour) until the poison runs out of effects.

Contact, Digested, Inhaled, Wound (Four separate qualities): in addition to primary administration method, the poison can also be used in one of these additional ways. The DC increase is +4 in case of Contact quality as it is superior to other qualities.

Dust: this poison is administered as a fine, flour-like, dust. Gain Inhaled quality. Takes doubled number of doses to produce. Poison DC becomes a DC for making a Spot check to notice the dust, however identifying its true nature is another thing. Holding one's breath or other means of stopping oneself from inhaling the dust yields +10 circumstance bonus to saves versus poison effects. If the poison possesses also Contact quality reduce this circumstance bonus to +2.

Gas: as Dust, but the poison becomes a toxic gas.

Liquid: as Dust, but the poison becomes a toxic liquid.

Anaesthetic: primary damage comes with additional effect - the feelings of pain and discomfort are greatly lessened (+10 to massive damage threshold, +8 to any pain related saves), however secondary damage also decreases balance (treat as armor check penalty of -8). The effects wear off after 1d4 x 10 minutes.

Pain: primary damage additional effect - you are more sensitive to pain (all damage inflicted causes additional 1d6 subdual damage). No additional secondary damage effect. The effect wears off after 1d4 x 10 minutes.

Sleep: primary damage additional effect - the subject becomes drowsy (-2 to Spot, Listen and Initiative), secondary damage additional effect - the subject will go to sleep, and will sleep for 1d4 hours unless interrupted.

Hallucinogen: primary damage additional effect - mild hallucinations (whispers, sounds, strange colors, wrong taste, -2 circumstance penalty to all checks), secondary damage additional effect - strong hallucinations (the subject sees and interacts with nonexistent people and objects, the subject ignores real people and objects - Will save at poison DC required to take one Standard action affecting real surroundings). The effects wear off after 1d4 x 10 minutes.

Slow: primary damage additional effect - you are slowed as per Slow spell. No additional secondary damage effect. The effect wears of after 1d4 minutes.

Relaxing: secondary damage additional effect - you experience feeling of security and comfort. Your attitude shifts by two steps toward Friendly. You are at +4 versus Mind-Affecting effects, however you also experience -4 circumstance penalty to all Intelligence based tests. No additional primary damage effect. The effect wears of after 1d4 x 10 minutes. Repeated uses may cause addiction (Will save at poison DC to resist taking another dose).