Poisons that are not deadly.


Even though the descriptions of some of the poisons note that they are deadly, the mechanics do not support this. Am I missing something?
The descriptions for Cobra Venom and Curare both speak to their lethal effects. Unfortunately, the ability score damage they inflict, Str and Dex, do not have fatal consequences unless some other mechanic is used. Very few poisons are actually deadly in the game.
Well, just looking at the poisions included in the core book we have Apple of Derketa (and its deivatives), Black Lotus Juice, Black Stygian Scorpion Venom, Great Serpent Venom and Green Lotus Blossom that all deal Con damage.

Plus it's prety easy to develop new poisions as a GM. Just use the sample poisions in the book as guidlines when setting DC, damage and cost and you should be good to go.

Yes, I noticed that too. Not sure what to do about it. Maybe make dropping any stat to zero lethal ?

Mad Dog
Same here, so I added a little house rule, to make poisons deadly, especially the ones with a high DC save. Generally I find poisons pretty lame, so I beefed up the rules :twisted:

House rule
Poisons continue to do their secondary damage each minute as long as a victim fails his/her Fortitude save. If/when the Fortitude roll succeeds, the victim suffers from half the secondary effect.

This little house rule took care of all the lions and every player was happy, they where not as happy when they discovered the giant spiders in the tower, but noone died from them. They have learned that poisons are not to take easy :wink:

Hope anyone finds this useful :)
nice house rule.... :)

another variant:

increase the save DC for every poison by 2

increase the "damage die" by one category (d6 -> d8 etc)
Nice suggestions.

The poison that Taurus used in Tower of the Elephant dropped the Lion instantly; very hard to represent that in the rules. It should work that way for the value suggested.
Thanks for the responses. I think making the damage more persistant is cool (and even matches something I did in my d&d game based on an article from SeanKReynolds). Dose stepping actually increases the DC per Tito's. Making any "Lethal" poison deadly if it reduces it's target ability scores to zero is also cool. My players are not going to like what happens next.
Or maybe they will. They have a stock of curare.
MadDog said:
Yes, I noticed that too. Not sure what to do about it. Maybe make dropping any stat to zero lethal ?

Mad Dog

CON = 0 = dead

I believe that's stated in the book. When a character's CON reaches zero, he's dead and no FP expenditiure would work (since it's not a HP loss that got him dead).

Black Lotus is , what, 2d6 initial with a DC24? That's rough, but only at lower levels. To make it more in line with its deadly reputation, I'd take into account how poisons actually work. They get in the body system and, at different rates, affect the body.

Alchohol is a poison, a drug, but it takes a while for the body to be affected, and then geting drunk is the most dertrimental of effects. However, 1 beer is putting the drug into the system, so the save DC should be more easily failed but have an increasing depletion effect: maybe -2 WIS per failed attempt, cumulative, with each hour spent resting/sobering recovers +1 WIS.

Snake bits are deadly in about 2 minutes (codras and rattlers and the like - there are worse and there are less potent) so the model of making another DC check a minute after initial "exposure" makes some sense, but people do build up tollerances represented by incresing FORT saves over increasing levels. However, getting that snake bite is putting venom into your body and the effects start to happen over the course of that first minute. Maybe, in game terms, it is a CON-X÷10/round where X=the amount by which the poor sod failed his save!. DC25 venom with a roll of 12 would result in 1 point lost per round...now that's deadly!!!

Then you have antivenin and other inhibitors...

If someone (ahem) wher eto go through and look at the poson DCs and come up with actual rates of "poisoning" it would be complicated and daunting, but maybe create a more accurate representation of what poisons do in the body and how DCs are representing that in the game.
CON = 0 = dead

I meant to say make it for all, not just CON. Give those min-maxers who like to nerf CHA some scares. : )

Mad Dog
Well, there's differnet effects for different stats reaching zero. I believe it's in the SRD and I'm 98% certain it's in the "ablity loss" section on taking damage in Conan

CON 0 = dead
WIS 0 = catatonic
DEX 0 = paralyzed
CHA 0 = catatonic
INT 0 = coma
STR 0 = paralyzed

Something like that.
Sutek said:
Well, there's differnet effects for different stats reaching zero. I believe it's in the SRD and I'm 98% certain it's in the "ablity loss" section on taking damage in Conan

CON 0 = dead
WIS 0 = catatonic
DEX 0 = paralyzed
CHA 0 = catatonic
INT 0 = coma
STR 0 = paralyzed

Something like that.
Here's the hypertext SRD ruling: http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm
Ability Score Loss

Some attacks reduce the opponent’s score in one or more abilities. This loss can be temporary (ability damage) or permanent (ability drain).

While any loss is debilitating, losing all points in an ability score can be devastating.
  • Strength 0 means that the character cannot move at all. He lies helpless on the ground.
  • Dexterity 0 means that the character cannot move at all. He stands motionless, rigid, and helpless.
  • Constitution 0 means that the character is dead.
  • Intelligence 0 means that the character cannot think and is unconscious in a coma-like stupor, helpless.
  • Wisdom 0 means that the character is withdrawn into a deep sleep filled with nightmares, helpless.
  • Charisma 0 means that the character is withdrawn into a catatonic, coma-like stupor, helpless.
Keeping track of negative ability score points is never necessary. A character’s ability score can’t drop below 0.

Having a score of 0 in an ability is different from having no ability score whatsoever.

Some spells or abilities impose an effective ability score reduction, which is different from ability score loss. Any such reduction disappears at the end of the spell’s or ability’s duration, and the ability score immediately returns to its former value.

If a character’s Constitution score drops, then he loses 1 hit point per Hit Die for every point by which his Constitution modifier drops. A hit point score can’t be reduced by Constitution damage or drain to less than 1 hit point per Hit Die.

The ability that some creatures have to drain ability scores is a supernatural one, requiring some sort of attack. Such creatures do not drain abilities from enemies when the enemies strike them, even with unarmed attacks or natural weapons.
Ability Damage

This attack damages an opponent’s ability score. The creature’s descriptive text gives the ability and the amount of damage. If an attack that causes ability damage scores a critical hit, it deals twice the indicated amount of damage (if the damage is expressed as a die range, roll two dice).

Points lost to ability damage return at the rate of 1 point per day (or double that if the character gets complete bed rest) to each damaged ability, and the spells lesser restoration and restoration offset ability damage as well.
Ability Drain

This effect permanently reduces a living opponent’s ability score when the creature hits with a melee attack. The creature’s descriptive text gives the ability and the amount drained. If an attack that causes ability drain scores a critical hit, it drains twice the indicated amount (if the damage is expressed as a die range, roll two dice). Unless otherwise specified in the creature’s description, a draining creature gains 5 temporary hit points (10 on a critical hit) whenever it drains an ability score no matter how many points it drains. Temporary hit points gained in this fashion last for a maximum of 1 hour.

Some ability drain attacks allow a Fortitude save (DC 10 + ½ draining creature’s racial HD + draining creature’s Cha modifier; the exact DC is given in the creature’s descriptive text). If no saving throw is mentioned, none is allowed.

Points lost to ability drain, is permanent, though restoration can restore even those lost ability score points.
Note that the notation on Poison is about 3/4 of the way down the above url. Since this lists game effects on poisons, different poisons effects (in purely D&D terms in a table) and effects & secondary effects, these should have been covered in Conan sources like the core rules (Atlantean Edition), SoS, Tito's Trading Post, & etc. so I didn't include the Poison notation in a quote here, but you can find it easily enough by scorlling down the Hypertext SRD url listed above. Hope this helps with the matter. 8)
Thanks Sutek. Hey, it got me to get their website on my computer's favorites! :) I was away from the forum for a while, and was very suriprised when I came back to find all avatars missing. I had copied Dean (the dancing pig) from the artist's web site, can't get a url for it as it's cluttered with stuff. I liked your avatar too, never got around to looking for it.

Several websites (like White Wolf's) are set up the same way, so I guess Mongoose just followed suit. :cry:
Well, back to the topic.

Do you agree that a one-off knock to stat is goofy, particularly in Conan given it's greusomely accurate and deadly combat and magic systems?

It seems like co-opting the SRD toxins system is the way to go, but I'd be up for trying to make up something better - more progressive (round by round damage) and more deadly.
Poisons have been progressively nerfed from 1st edition AD&D to the present OGL version. By playing Castles & Crusades once in a blue moon, we're going through AD&D adventures and TSR (basic) Dungeons & Dragons adventures, and have been reminded how lethal they used to be (make a save or die, sometimes there's no save - you just die :evil:). While 1st ed. was incredibly lethal and highly arbitrary, it did seem more "realistic" than we have now via WotC's rendering of the game system Conan is based on.

I think you're right on the money by thinking of co-opting the effects of poisons. As regards to the earlier example of the lions in the adventure Tower of the Elephant, I'll read that part of it now, keeping in mind Taurus' use of the powder and it's instantaneous effect. If I have to, I'll follow your and Sven's suggestions looking at the SRD definitions as well, keeping in mind that old lethal 1st edition feel.

Hmmm, I just opened my TSR Conan boxed set, because it has the adventure of "The Tower of the Elephant" in the rule book. There is no writeup for Taurus (stat-wise) and NO mention of his poison in that book, although a fragmentary sentence about encountering the lions is given with their stats. I see Mongoose's adventure gives the value of the drug and doses, but leaves the stats to the core book. (p226AE). I agree, it is not necessarily lethal; the initial and secondary damages highly favor the recipient.
With a Generated stat coming from 3d6, losing 2d6 and then a further 1d6 could knock that out. However, the Mongoose TotE adventure is reccomended for minimum 4th level characters, who would have had a stat bump by then. My (rather obvious) point?

The Conan stat bumps make poisons worthless for killing people.

Take a 20th level noble, an utterly evil and tyranical dictator, who puts his stat bumps on CON only half the time. That's (I think) +6 to CON. The deadliest poison in all of the known lands can't hope to kill him off - Assassins are out of a job and someone has to, bodily, whack hi min the head to take him out. Silly.

I like the notion of afflicted characters taking, say, 1 CON per day until the wash in waters of the Yadda Yadda River, drink the the blood of a virgin or locate some counter-herb in the far East or some crap. It's a lot more book keeping to have ever-preseent, progressive toxins like that instead of "this round you lose X CON", but I think it's more realistic and more story driven.
There's an OGL supplement for the D20 Modern system called Toxicant, from Mad Kaiser Games which has alternative (and much more realistic) rules for poison, as well as lots of examples of real-world poisons.

Instead of poisons just dealing ability damage, they can have all kinds of fun effects. Here's an example:

Common Name(s): Mediterranean Yellow Scorpion
Dosage: .14oz (4.25G)
DC: 30
Onset: 1d4 Minutes
Duration: 1d4 Hours
Symptoms: Convulsions/Seizures, Diarrhea, Dizziness, Excessive Sweating, Fainting, Fever, Incoordination, Intense Thirst, Nausea/Vomiting, Numbness, Rapid Pulse, Swelling (Sting), Severe Localized Pain (Sting), Weakness.
Damage: Mild Cardiac Failure 2d20+30 (hit point damage)
Save: Save vs Mild Cardiac Failure (Reduces Damage by 65%), Reduce Duration by 20%.

Now several of these symptoms have nasty ingame effects, described in this book. It's probably too realistic for most Conan games, but if you want ideas for deadlier posions, this supplement has some.