Alternate rules for poisons

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Alternate rules for poisons

Post by ratmanof »


I never liked the save or die poison as it was in the old days. Just one roll and all is decided. No drama. I mean Yes - the poison has to be deadly but I always wanted the mechanic to be a bit different.

So, thinking on 3rd edition I compiled something like that as my House Rule:


All poisons have primary and secondary effect. Primary effect is instantaneous, secondary happens one turn later. You get a save against secondary effect as well.

Most common are deadly poisons, but there can be other types - sleep, paralytic, blinding, debilitating, etc.

Deadly poison damages Character’s CON score. If CON drops to 0, the PC dies.

Strength of poison ... Initial/secondary damage
Weak poison ... 1d6/1d6
Moderate poison ... 2d6/2d6
Strong poison ... 3d6/3d6

Why I like it - it can still be deadly at the first contact. High Con players have a better chance of surviving it (at least for a while). There is a good point for having neutralize poison spell (and clever players may attempt something to help the poisoned character to survive the secondary effect even without the spell). I let my characters recover 1 point of each lost ability score per week - so even surviving the poison has long lasting effects.

What are Your opinions?

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Re: Alternate rules for poisons

Post by merias »

I like the CON loss as opposed to HP loss (this would also work well for energy-draining undead - either CON or STR loss - as opposed to level drain). Recovering 1 point per week seems slow - I would probably do 1 per day, but then again time between adventures is usually hand-waived anyway, so maybe it doesn't matter.

There is some precedent for non-lethal poison - in the original rules, in Men & Magic, there is this note below the saving throw table:
"Scoring the total indicated above (or scoring higher) means the weapon has no effect (death ray, polymorph, paralyzation, stone, or spell) or one-half effect (poison scoring one-half of the total possible hit damage and dragon’s breath scoring one-half of its full damage)"

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