Better Poisons (3.5e Variant Rule)
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The default D&D rules for poisons are very unsatisfying. They are either extremely overpowered or extremely underpowered, depending on whether you abuse them or just use them. The rules for creating poisons are extremely unclear and at times contradictory. Simple use of minor creation would give exceptional power to characters at very low levels. Once you hit the double digits, the power of poison would immediately fall off a cliff, as everyone began making their static DC. We want to improve this situation and make poison-users a viable and desirable character to have on the team. To that end, we introduce the following rules to poison:
- You need a Craft (Alchemy) check to make poison. The DCs are given in the poison table below.
- The poison DC will scale. It is a fortitude save, equal to 10 + ½ CR + the Int or Wis mod of the creator, whichever is higher. Poison with the "magic" makeup has a minimum DC, listed in the table in parenthesis.
- Poisons have a specific makeup they are crafted from. This is either animal, vegetable, mineral, or magic matter. Yes, this means you can use minor creation and similar spells to create poisons, so long as you make your Craft check. Magic matter can't be created short of a polymorph any object or spell specifically designed to create the matter.
- Secondary damage does not exist. Nobody cared about it anyway, because 10 rounds was after combat ended. Now you don't have to track another number. Some poisons have delayed effects and don't work in combat times; this is marked on the table.
- Only one status effect per round. Regardless of whether they make a successful save or not, a target can only take the effect of any single non-damaging (including ability damage) poison per round. So if someone is targetted with two Drow Poison arrows, and they save against the first, they can no longer be affected by non-damaging poisons that round.
To balance out poisons, we have introduced a new poison table. If you see something, like animal parts, that should be poisonous but aren't on the table, use the closest available item on the table. For example, the venom of most snakes would fall under "Wyvern Venom".
|Poison||Type||Craft (Alchemy) DC||Makeup||Delay||Damage||Price|
|Black Locust||Injury||15||Vegetable||Instantaneous||1d6 Con||5 gp|
|Drow Poison||Contact||25||Magic (14)||Instantaneous||Sleep (5 rounds)||300 gp|
|Hypnotoad Extract||Contact||25||Animal||Instantaneous||Confusion (10 rounds)||300 gp|
|Id Moss||Injury||15||Vegetable||Instantaneous||1d6 Int||5 gp|
|Lich Dust||Inhalation||30||Magic (18)||Instantaneous||Paralysis (permanent)||600 gp|
|Magic Mushrooms||Ingestion||25||Vegetable||1 Hour||2d8 Cha||150 gp|
|Myconid Extract||Injury||20||Animal||Instantaneous||1d8 Cha||50 gp|
|Nightshade||Injury||15||Vegetable||Instantaneous||1d6 Wis||5 gp|
|Poison Dart Frog||Contact||25||Animal||Instantaneous||Daze (2 rounds)||300 gp|
|Purple Worm Poison||Injury||20||Animal||Instantaneous||1d8 Str||50 gp|
|Scorpion Venom||Injury||20||Animal||Instantaneous||1d8 Dex||50 gp|
|Snakeroot||Injury||15||Vegetable||Instantaneous||1d6 Str||5 gp|
|Striped Toadstool||Injury||15||Vegetable||Instantaneous||1d6 Cha||5 gp|
|Terinav Root||Injury||15||Vegetable||Instantaneous||1d6 Dex||5 gp|
|Treant Sap||Injury||20||Animal||Instantaneous||1d8 Wis||50 gp|
|Troll Blood||Injury||20||Animal||Instantaneous||1d8 Int||50 gp|
|Wyvern Venom||Injury||20||Animal||Instantaneous||1d8 Con||50 gp|
Poisons should no longer have a power curve that looks like exponential decay. It is expected that characters who want to use poison (mainly rogues and similar classes) and are willing to make the skill investment will have access to all the basic ability-damaging poisons from a very low level, thanks to psionic minor creation and the use magic device skill. This should be okay, and they get some cool status effects on top of their sneak attacks, but it isn't an instant-kill on everyone ever like it was in the old rules.
As these characters level up and gain access to spells like major creation and can make the higher Craft DCs, they gain access to more awesome status effects in-line with other abilities available at their level. This is controlled by the Craft DC. In addition, if the DM feels like dropping some awesome poison into the party's lap (via a corpse of a slain enemy or something), they can do that with the Magic poisons that aren't otherwise creatable by lower-level spells.