Poison

The new treatment of spells and magic items in DDN has been interesting; in particular, I've enjoyed how magic powers and abilities seem to be geared toward actually having some kind of noticable affect when used - something cool, memorable, and that a player might actually be interested in doing, attempting, or maybe even having to overcome.

  The same cannot be said for poison.

  I realize that "poison, basic" suggests that there will be more powerful and interesting types of poison forthcoming - but I would like to take this opportunity to declare that I firmly believe poison should have a considerable effect when employed.

  For combat balance purposes, I understand the desire for poisons that simply allow a saving throw, then possibly deal some kind of damage (or maybe even ability damage).
  That's neat and all, but any self-respecting assassin from any universe outside of Dungeons and Dragons would be forced to slap the black market peddler who sells a toxin that, at its greatest lethality, causes mild discomfort.
  I mean, 1d4 can barely even knock out a kobold or a goblin.
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I would like to see poisons that are unforgiving.  
  Introducing a true poison into a campaign should not be done willy-nilly; it should require a specific task or quest to acquire even a single dose - or, determining the true potency of such a poison might require special attention.
  Once a true poison is acquired, administering it to a target should be the real important part.  How anticlimactic can it be to trick an evil baron into drinking the serum of unequivocal death, only to have him succeed on a few Constitution saves and suffer next to no ill effect?

  Creatures with powerful venom, or enemies that employ true poisons in combat, should not be trifled with.  When some kind of paralytic tentacle gets ahold of your leg - it should be a life and death situation, not a minor inconvenience.

  The only obvious objection to my suggestion is that it could all too often spell the demise of the players, or allow them too great an advantage if they gain such poisons.  My solution for this issue is to simply take care when introducing poisons - just as you should take care when introducing enemies or magic items.
  Simply do not have true poisons readily available for purchase.  If you plan to give the local goblins heart-attack inducing neurotoxins in common supply, you need to give the players some opportunity to contend with such a challenge - from a chewable herb that suppresses the toxins effects, to a simple warning that the goblins ahead are feared far and wide for being able to slay their enemies with but a scratch.

  In closing, I'm not saying that a poison should never allow a saving throw - but that a successful save should not be enough to eliminate the poison from your body.  Maybe a common healer's kit is all you need to be rid of some poisons - but I think if you get stabbed with a venomous blade, two weeks from the nearest healer, and you don't find any way to counteract the venom, you should die.
Agreed. People in the real world are terrified of a creature that has a poisonous bite or sting. Poison should be a game-changer. In the span of a little over a decade, we've gone from "Type F poison: save or die instantly" to 1d4 damage. Let's make poison scary again.

The counter-argument to this is that players will abuse it. There's no way to eliminate player abuse, but I'm sure there's a way to make it work. 
There are plenty of interesting poison effects in the bestiary already: instant damage, paralysis, cumulative loss of movement and armor class, disadvantage on attacks and checks, and more.

When players use poisons, I'd rather the poisons taste like weak-sauce and be extremely expensive. I'd rather see feats and class features handle the balance issues, not merely gold pieces.
It's not just the poison that sucks. All of the consumable offensive items (acid, alchemist's fire, holy water, etc) are pitifully weak, and yet cost 25-50gp. You pay all that money, spend your action, and do ...1d4 damage. Pathetic. You're far better off just using a regular weapon attack, which costs nothing! They really need to buff these items. They should be about as powerful as 1st level spells, IMO. At the very least, they need to be better than a basic weapon attack, not weaker!
Would be nice to see the consumables rise to 1st-level spell status.
As a player who loves Rogues and Intrigue, I totally agree with you and I have complete faith in The Writers that the poisons are coming.  I feel like Poison Use was trotted out for rogues in the last packet and then someone realized there were no cool poisons to play with.

Poison is a tricky area because no one wants to break out a calculator to handle old school damage to ability scores.  So how does one mechanically describe poison for PCs beyond straight damage?

I firmly believe its just poison time yet, but it will be.

Vampire Class/Feat in 2013!

I prefer Next because 4E players and CharOpers can't find their ass without a grid and a power called "Find Ass."

Poison is a tricky area because no one wants to break out a calculator to handle old school damage to ability scores.  So how does one mechanically describe poison for PCs beyond straight damage?



Poisons should do in the game the knids of things they do in real life, not just damage, but also nasty status effects like causing sickness, weakness, intoxication, stunning, paralysis, unconsciousness, blindness, deafness, or even death.
As a player who loves Rogues and Intrigue, I totally agree with you and I have complete faith in The Writers that the poisons are coming.  I feel like Poison Use was trotted out for rogues in the last packet and then someone realized there were no cool poisons to play with.

Poison is a tricky area because no one wants to break out a calculator to handle old school damage to ability scores.  So how does one mechanically describe poison for PCs beyond straight damage?

I firmly believe its just poison time yet, but it will be.

Well we have decent mechanics for that now. Instead of Ability Damage, you simply provide disadvantage on all Dexterity checks, attacks and saving throws (for instance).

Poison, type A:
There’s enough poison in this vial to coat one slashing or piercing weapon or up to three pieces of ammunition such as bolts or arrows. Applying the poison takes an action. A creature hit by the poisoned weapon or ammunition must make a DC 11 Constitution saving throw. Failed Save: The creature has disadvantage on all Strength checks, attacks, and saving throws for 1 hour. Once applied, the poison retains potency for 1 minute before drying.

Type B: the same but Dexterity
Type C: the same but Constitution
Type D: etc.

Obviously there is the matter of also increasing the DC. Other effects would be fantastic, and I do hope they appear soon.

Poison is a Rogue's scroll.
I'm going to throw in with the OP here. Poisons are hella scary in the real world. In D&D, they're really, really not.

I got bit by a brown recluse spider while camping once and could have LOST MY ARM. Years later, my mage was bit by an f'ing GIANT spider and suffered a minor inconvience to his CON until the morning.

I liked the mechanic in previous editons that liked poison use to evil - not necessarily because I think that poison use is inherently an evil act, but because it REALLY made the PC think twice about using something that was SO frought with evil intention as to make it a real choice. That's one of the reasons that the "ravages" type poisons of 3.5 were so very awful. Angels really use poisons on devils? Right, 'cause angels are all about causing suffering even to their enemies...

A CON save is typical, I gues. The higher, the more potent the poison. But really, even a high save won't save you from the actual effects of a poison. Drain-o is poisonous, and if you drink it, your chances of surviving aren't good, but it's possible to survive. In game terms,  you've just made your save. Congratulations! You're free from all the awful side effects now, right? Hardly - you're screwed internally, for life probably.

In game, I think that having more "realistic" effects would make a lot of sense, and having real poisons be pretty rare would be also a good thing. By realistic, I mean that healers should still have the magical ability to negate adverse effects (it's a miracle, after all), but that the poison in question is a true hardship. For instance: The giant centipede bite inflicts -1 AC, and Dex saves for up to 6 hours on a failed DC 9 save. Okay, now I'm going to collect the venom from d4 of them and distill it down to make a concentrated poison.  (so right there it's harder to get)

Giant Centipede poison
   CON save DC 12, must save five times, effects accumulate with failed saves
   On a failed save, the target takes -1 to AC and Dex saves\attacks\skills (cap -5 to each)

So unless you've got an antitoxin kit handy, or a priest, you're going to probably be in a bunch of pain. In this case, enough to hinder your ability to use your armor effectively or use fine motor skills. And it would last until you cured the poison...
 
Suffering disadvantage is equivalent to a -2 to -5 penalty (depending on the target DC). Everyone is arguing for something more futzy to arbitrate, and it's much easier just to use the disadvantage mechanic.
Veggie-sama - you're right. I'm looking at it in the manner of 3.x and less in the new style. I think that envoking the disadvantage rule is fine... but I'm also not sure if that goes far enough in the case of poisons, if we're trying to make them more realistic.

Maybe something along the lines of:

Giant Centipede Poison
   CON save DC 12, must continue making saves each round until five successful attempts are made
   On a failed save you take 5 poison damage  

   Secondary damage: You have disadvantage to Dex based saves\attacks\skills until cured

Thoughts? 
I believe the intention behind low impact consumeables is providing access to certain abilities without dominating the game. Poison can be a dominating resource. High impact effects can also stop progress in low level or under prepared parties. Powerful poison should be a plot device rather than a road block or a skeleton key.
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