Poisons

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Mixster
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Poisons

Postby Mixster » Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:39 pm

So today, we had a discussion about poisons work exactly.

It says you roll an opposed test vs the potency of the poison. So is it:

A. The poison always scores it potency, you simply roll your resilience and need to score more than the potency of the poison or crit to ignore it.
OR
B. The poison rolls against it's own potency, a failure meaning it fails to take effect, and you roll against that score.

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Poisons

Postby Loz » Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:45 am

Mixster wrote:So today, we had a discussion about poisons work exactly.

It says you roll an opposed test vs the potency of the poison. So is it:

A. The poison always scores it potency, you simply roll your resilience and need to score more than the potency of the poison or crit to ignore it.
OR
B. The poison rolls against it's own potency, a failure meaning it fails to take effect, and you roll against that score.

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Poisons

Postby DamonJynx » Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:51 am

Ah, that's interesting. I thought if the poison failed it's Potency roll it still took effect but you only had to roll under it's Potency. So for example (IIRC) Blade Venom has a Potency of 55%, it fails its roll, your Resilience roll only has to be under 55% and whatever your Resilience score is if lower. Whereas if the poison passed, with say a roll of 49%, you would have to roll a crit or between 50% and your Resilience score to pass.

I must remember in future that if a poison fails its Potency roll, there is no need for the victim to roll Resilience.
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Re: Poisons

Postby Dan True » Tue Nov 29, 2011 8:32 am

So potency also reflects "easy of injection", since one can assume that if the poison fails its potency it must be because too little was injected or injected in a wrong body part.

Hm, makes sense, and makes poison a lot less deadly than the other.

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Re: Poisons

Postby Ulric » Wed Nov 30, 2011 7:24 am

I am always a little confused by the examples for opposed roles.
In the example above - going by the general rules for opposed roles - the poison doesn't hurt, when it "rolls" above its potency? Right?
So there would be no need to roll a reslience check for the poisoned victim?
I'm asking because in the post above it seems that the poison takes effect, even if it rolled over its potency and the victim only has to roll higher? That seems strange to me, but maybe I misunderstood the post above.
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Re: Poisons

Postby RangerDan » Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:07 am

Ulric wrote:I am always a little confused by the examples for opposed roles.
In the example above - going by the general rules for opposed roles - the poison doesn't hurt, when it "rolls" above its potency? Right?
So there would be no need to roll a reslience check for the poisoned victim?
I'm asking because in the post above it seems that the poison takes effect, even if it rolled over its potency and the victim only has to roll higher? That seems strange to me, but maybe I misunderstood the post above.
The poison opposed roll rules as per the book are as Loz and Dan True explain:
1. If the poison fails to roll under it's Potency it has no effect, for whatever reason. The poisoned character need not actually roll.
2. If the poison rolls under it's Potency it can be resisted by the poisoned character's Resilience as per normal opposed roll rules (ie highest success wins, followed by highest roll).

I think DamonJynx's explanation above is an alternative rule that makes poison a little more dangerous (especially weak poisons).

Mixster's option (A) in the opening post is also an alternative rule that would make poison very effective indeed.
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Re: Poisons

Postby Ulric » Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:23 am

Thank you RangerDan, I actually hoped that this would be the resolution.
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Re: Poisons

Postby DamonJynx » Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:28 am

My take on it was based on something I'm positive I read in the forums. I'll have a look around and see if I can find the OP.

The thing is most common poisons are either injected or ingested. So you are either damaged and have the poison administered via the wound or you swallow the poison for it to get in your body. Therefore regardless of what happens you have been poisoned. I guess the roll for Potency is to determine whether or not you received a dose strong enough to harm you. If you had been deliberately attacked, I would suggest that the poisoner would most likely know enough of their craft to ensure you received a sufficient amount of 'quality' poison to do the job. In the case of poisonous creatures it's the same thing, if they're delivering attack does HP damage, you should be poisoned to a greater or lesser degree, not get off scot free because of a dud roll.

But I'll have a look for that other post now.
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Re: Poisons

Postby Mixster » Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:45 pm

DamonJynx wrote:If you had been deliberately attacked, I would suggest that the poisoner would most likely know enough of their craft to ensure you received a sufficient amount of 'quality' poison to do the job.
I think applying poison properly is very hard. First, you smear something on a sword which needs to stick, and then you need to hit a place were the poison will be properly dispersed in the body by the blood. Then the poison needs to do it's business on the right organs, which may be bigger or larger depending on the person (or monster).

The same goes for ingested poisons, people who are big need more poison than small ones. If a person has just eaten there's a smaller chance that the poison will get broken down and digested properly.

I think this is reflected well in the potency roll and was a little confused at option A, since I saw it as very unlike that if you smeared a sword in poison it worked more than 50% of the time on just about anyone you hit with it.

Thanks for the answers guys. I assumed it would be B, but option A, although less realistic, is a simple way to make poisons about 3 times as deadly.
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Re: Poisons

Postby DamonJynx » Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:49 pm

Mixster wrote:I think this is reflected well in the potency roll and was a little confused at option A, since I saw it as very unlike that if you smeared a sword in poison it worked more than 50% of the time on just about anyone you hit with it.

Thanks for the answers guys. I assumed it would be B, but option A, although less realistic, is a simple way to make poisons about 3 times as deadly.
@mixster

While I understand the reasoning behind the poison failing to take effect if it fails it's Potency roll, thereby negating the need for an opposed resilience roll, I'll still be playing as it as per my OP above, i.e. the PC or NPC still has to make a resilience roll, but it only has to be under the poisons Potency. The reason for my decision is that in my opinion, if you're poisoned, you're poisoned. If the poison fails its roll, it just makes it a lot easier to 'shrug off' the effects. YLMV :wink:
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Re: Poisons

Postby Mixster » Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:59 pm

DamonJynx wrote:
Mixster wrote:I think this is reflected well in the potency roll and was a little confused at option A, since I saw it as very unlike that if you smeared a sword in poison it worked more than 50% of the time on just about anyone you hit with it.

Thanks for the answers guys. I assumed it would be B, but option A, although less realistic, is a simple way to make poisons about 3 times as deadly.
@mixster

While I understand the reasoning behind the poison failing to take effect if it fails it's Potency roll, thereby negating the need for an opposed resilience roll, I'll still be playing as it as per my OP above, i.e. the PC or NPC still has to make a resilience roll, but it only has to be under the poisons Potency. The reason for my decision is that in my opinion, if you're poisoned, you're poisoned. If the poison fails its roll, it just makes it a lot easier to 'shrug off' the effects. YLMV :wink:
I totally understand, and I like that this makes poisons much more deadly.

It is quite easy to create a pretty dangerous poison after all, so it makes sense too.
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Re: Poisons

Postby Titus » Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:33 am

DamonJynx wrote:My take on it was based on something I'm positive I read in the forums. I'll have a look around and see if I can find the OP.

The thing is most common poisons are either injected or ingested. So you are either damaged and have the poison administered via the wound or you swallow the poison for it to get in your body. Therefore regardless of what happens you have been poisoned. I guess the roll for Potency is to determine whether or not you received a dose strong enough to harm you. If you had been deliberately attacked, I would suggest that the poisoner would most likely know enough of their craft to ensure you received a sufficient amount of 'quality' poison to do the job. In the case of poisonous creatures it's the same thing, if they're delivering attack does HP damage, you should be poisoned to a greater or lesser degree, not get off scot free because of a dud roll.

But I'll have a look for that other post now.
I, too, am sure I saw somewhere that if the opposed resilience/poison potency roll has a failure for the poison, you are still poisoned unless you succeed on the resilience roll. I can't remember if it was on the forum, but I don't know where else it would have been. And I can't swear it was from an "authority", but the impression I have is that it was.

I believe the sense of the statement was that you have been poisoned. The poison is already successful. It is the victim's attempt to resist the poison that is being tested with the opposed test, not the poison's attempt to harm the victim. If the victim fails to resist the poison, the poison does its harm. If it is a multi-stage poison, a successful resistance at any stage halts the progress of poison and recovery begins. (EX.- nausea, then paralysis, then asphyxiation)
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Re: Poisons

Postby DamonJynx » Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:09 am

Titus wrote:I, too, am sure I saw somewhere that if the opposed resilience/poison potency roll has a failure for the poison, you are still poisoned unless you succeed on the resilience roll. I can't remember if it was on the forum, but I don't know where else it would have been. And I can't swear it was from an "authority", but the impression I have is that it was.
Thank heavens, I'm not going nuts. I thought it was Loz that posted it up on the forums but I couldn't find anything. It may have been Pete Nash. I'm absolutely certain it was one of them...
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Re: Poisons

Postby Deleriad » Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:41 am

DamonJynx wrote:
Titus wrote:I, too, am sure I saw somewhere that if the opposed resilience/poison potency roll has a failure for the poison, you are still poisoned unless you succeed on the resilience roll. I can't remember if it was on the forum, but I don't know where else it would have been. And I can't swear it was from an "authority", but the impression I have is that it was.
Thank heavens, I'm not going nuts. I thought it was Loz that posted it up on the forums but I couldn't find anything. It may have been Pete Nash. I'm absolutely certain it was one of them...
That's the rule I play. I asked on this forum a long time ago but didn't get an answer at the time. I prefer it for the reasons above. If the poison has to win then you need pretty high potency in order to have a reasonable chance for the poison to work.

I also used that mechanism in the stuff I published and had a general house rule that if you wanted to poison someone in combat with say a bite or a sting or a poisoned weapon that you needed a CM to do it.

So it may be me you're thinking of and I'm not an authority of anything but my own imagination...
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Re: Poisons

Postby Ulric » Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:27 am

I think the whole process of opposed roll against the poisons potency is quite complicated.

When you check against its potency, it can get a critical, a success, a failure and a fumble.

And the victim can get the same results.

So what happens, if poison gets critical, and victim fumbles - you have to invent an especially nasty result for each poison?

And what about a poison failure and da victim fumble, does the poisons effect work even if it failed its test?

Or even better, poison fumble and victim critial.

That would call for escalating levels of poison effects, which roughly correspond to attacker only combat actions and defender only combat actions.

Attackers Effects: Victim poisoned, heavily poisonend, critically poisoned

Defender: Victim "develops" or (begins to know of) resistance bonus for resilience checks against particular poison, greater resistance, immunity for class of poisons

I remember old d% systems with a simple resistance table or stuff like that. So you have maybe the average of SIZ and CON, 12 for a typical human. A Poison with a potency of 50% that would be 10 on Attribute Scale. And then the poison would have a 40% chance of actually damaging the victim, because it had 2 points less potency than the attributes ... one might think, that this could be a reasonable base for working out initial success, after that there's resilience to check when and if the vicitum succeeds in shrugging of poison effects.

But now with Resilience, which starts a maybe 22 for an average human and a potency of 50% the poison would have an initial chance of 78%, but that maybe would be ok?

Hmmm, so much to think about ... and its only poison? But one of my players just started with playing a sorcerors apprentice in Age of Treason which was ousted by his master for tampering with a book about poisons, he's not evil, more a kind of sheldon cooper like genius with INT 18, so I will need something to rule for poison.

And pardon my english, I'm no native speaker, which I suppose will becoming clearer the more I write.
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Re: Poisons

Postby RangerDan » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:27 am

Titus wrote:...if the opposed resilience/poison potency roll has a failure for the poison, you are still poisoned unless you succeed on the resilience roll.
Deleriad wrote:If the poison has to win then you need pretty high potency in order to have a reasonable chance for the poison to work.
Very interesting discussion. The main argument being put forth is that poisons with a low Potency are not very effective using these rules. The problem I have with the offered solution (insofar as you can have a problem with things like these! :D ) is that what you are basically doing is making all poisons effective, regardless of the Potency.

I will try to illustrate with an example, supported by some basic math. Please don't crucify me math experts if the figures are a little off! It's more about the trend than the exact figure :wink:
  • Our sample PC, Joe, has a Resilience score of 35%.
    Joe's enemy, Frank, wants to poison him with Black Lotus (Potency 90).
    Frank creates two doses of Black Lotus.
    Unfortunately, he botches one of his Alchemy rolls and produces one batch of the weak Gray Lotus instead (Potency 30).

    So what happens?
    Under normal rules, the Gray Lotus (30) only has a 24% chance to affect a person of average health like Joe. It is a weak poison after all. The far deadlier Black Lotus (90), has an 81% chance of affecting Joe.

    Under the house rule, even the weak Gray Lotus (30) has a very good chance of taking Joe out of action - 70%. And what about the Black Lotus (90), with three times the potency? It is only somewhat more effective at 88%.
This effect become less pronounced as Resilience scores increase, but basically the trend is there - using this house rule makes Potency =/= the relative effectiveness of a poison.

This of course may be your goal all along! I will only add then that I believe you can achieve the same by just tinkering with the Potency of poisons in your setting.

My apologies for the wall of text.
Deleriad wrote:a general house rule that if you wanted to poison someone in combat with say a bite or a sting or a poisoned weapon that you needed a CM to do it.
EDIT: Just wanted to add that I like this idea a lot.
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Re: Poisons

Postby Deleriad » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:34 am

Those numbers are about right. Point definitely taken about higher potency having diminishing returns but the same is also true in reverse if the poison has to overcome resilience and succeed at its own roll. E.g. someone with a Resilience of 90% is probably going to resist a poison regardless of whether it is 30% or 80% potency.

It's really a question of preference. Part of the reason I prefer a "poison wins" unless resisted system is that most creatures have poison potencies of (IIRC) around CON*3 to CON*5. This actually leads to relatively weak poisons under a "poison fails" unless it overcomes resilience approach. For the record, standard human NPC has a resilience of 43 (CON*3+10).

I like having poisoned bites and stings being really scary but then requiring a CM to deliver them. (The other method I allow is to impale then leave the impaling item in and spending another CA to deliver the poison.) Similarly, when trying to poison someone by (e.g.) spiking a drink I would allow the drinker a Perception roll (opposed by Craft [poison] if the poisoner has it) to notice the poison before enough of the dose is consumed. Things like sleight, Influence, Seduction and so on can help or hinder.

Finally, and this is a house rule, I assume that a crafter produces an item of a quality equivalent to their skill under usual circumstances. So if your craft (poison) is 60% you make a poison of potency 60%. Under unusual circumstances if you need to make a roll then failure means potency is reduced by 25% while critical means increased by 25%. (Fumble is complete botch.) Generally then there isn't huge variability in the outcome of your skill. After all, a crafter of 60% will tend to produce chairs of certain, consistent quality. Same with making poisons.

So production is more consistent, delivery is harder but once poisoned, poisons are more likely to be effective.
That ended up being alonger description than I intended.
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Re: Poisons

Postby RangerDan » Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:32 pm

Deleriad wrote:Part of the reason I prefer a "poison wins" unless resisted system is that most creatures have poison potencies of (IIRC) around CON*3 to CON*5. This actually leads to relatively weak poisons under a "poison fails" unless it overcomes resilience approach. For the record, standard human NPC has a resilience of 43 (CON*3+10).
Interesting, I think this is a key difference.
I've always seen average human Resilience at around 32 (base value CON*2 + 10).
I also play with the rule capping Resilience at CON*5 (and Persistance at POW*5).
With those scores even weak poisons are dangerous!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this Deleriad, you've certainly given me some nice crunch ideas to think about.
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Re: Poisons

Postby Deleriad » Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:57 pm

RangerDan wrote:
Deleriad wrote:Part of the reason I prefer a "poison wins" unless resisted system is that most creatures have poison potencies of (IIRC) around CON*3 to CON*5. This actually leads to relatively weak poisons under a "poison fails" unless it overcomes resilience approach. For the record, standard human NPC has a resilience of 43 (CON*3+10).
Interesting, I think this is a key difference.
I've always seen average human Resilience at around 32 (base value CON*2 + 10).
I also play with the rule capping Resilience at CON*5 (and Persistance at POW*5).
With those scores even weak poisons are dangerous!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this Deleriad, you've certainly given me some nice crunch ideas to think about.
no probs. I like mulling over this kind of stuff. The *3+10 figure comes from Monster Coliseum. It does show how even in a relatively modular system like BRP that there are more subtle and important connections than is regularly realised.
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Re: Poisons

Postby Dan True » Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:55 pm

Deleriad wrote:E.g. someone with a Resilience of 90% is probably going to resist a poison regardless of whether it is 30% or 80% potency.
Well, one could then simply say thay truly deadly poisons, such as Cobra poison, have a Potency of 100+.
Deleriad wrote: I like having poisoned bites and stings being really scary but then requiring a CM to deliver them.
To me it depends on the situation. If I smear my sword in a poison.. or horse manure ... then I like the idea that it has a fairly low chance of affecting the target. Especially since the target will probably be hit quite a few times.

But, I would then also introduce a CM for really injecting the poison into the target. This could be used by a trained individual only, say an Assassin with a poisoned needle or a Cobra. This CM makes the injected poison automatically roll it's Potency on the opposed roll, thus making it extremely hard to resist.

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