9 April 2022

Poisons, Toxins, Venoms

Someone was bitten by a creepy crawly thing, or inhaled colourful fumes, or their meal tasted funny. The following tables can be used to roll up a new, exciting poison on the fly, or just use the flavour and make the mechanical effects whatever you like.

d4 The Toxin Must Be...

  1. ingested,
  2. inhaled,
  3. injected,
  4. absorbed through the skin.

d20 Relatively Normal Poisons

  1. A pang of pain followed by nasty rash: One-off extra damage
  2. Rapidly worsening breathing difficulties: Asphyxiation damage over time
  3. Anticoagulant: Haemorrhaging damage over time
  4. Vomiting or diarrhoea: Cramping damage over time
  5. Weakness and fatigue: Strength damage
  6. Convulsions: Dexterity damage
  7. Tachycardia threatening a heart attack: Constitution damage
  8. Confusion or hallucinations: Intelligence damage
  9. Clouding of senses: Wisdom damage
  10. Blisters: Charisma damage
  11. Drowsiness and sleep
  12. Fainting, unconsciousness and coma: Sleep resistance doesn't help
  13. Inflammation and fever: Penalty to further poison and disease Saves
  14. Blurred vision followed by blindness
  15. Increased anxiety, increased salivation: Penalty to fear Saves
  16. Irritability, irrationality and sudden bouts of rage
  17. Splitting headache: Staggered or stunned, cannot act properly
  18. Cyanosis: Progressive paralysis
  19. Shivering and chills: No natural healing
  20. Bleeding from orifices followed by massive organ failure: Instant death


So, what are we breathing today?
Poison Mist by Louise Goalby

As a bonus, here are some magical poisons with weirder effects.

d20 Exotic Poisons

  1. Youth concentrate: Like an elixir of youth, but stronger. De-ages the victim 2d100 years, likely killing them.
  2. Polyjuice: There will be no evidence left if your poisoned needle polymorphs the duke into an ant. Polyjuice only has temporary effects, but repeated exposure may result in mutations or the roiling polymorph syndrome. Strangely also occurs in nature; the recently-discovered fawlish serpent injects its victims with polyjuice venom, transforming them into a fattened, easily swallowed prey animal.
  3. Lethe water: Strong amnestic. High doses leave the victim effectively brain-dead, all of their memories completely erased.
  4. Water of Unn: While its classification as a poison is often times disputed (especially by the regular users), water of Unn is commonly employed as such due to its effects not dissimilar to the slow spell. In low dosages, it is however also used for its calming effects, numbing the mind as much as it slows the body. The aforementioned regular users seek out the water not only as a sedative and relaxant, but because its slowing effect is said to slow ageing as well. How is doubled lifespan worth it when you only have half the capacity to make use of it is anybody's guess.
  5. Water of Nyanneechuan: A single cursed fountain is the only known source of this poison, which induces a painful sex change in the victim. Famously used by the Fajuna women who wish to escape their lot in life and become warriors. Infamously used by lord Godrick the Gracious to secure both his wife, prince(ss) Jean, and a male heir, before he succumbed to royal bane.
  6. Royal bane: This slow-acting poison causes nightmares, paranoia and bouts of madness. Sadly, it accumulates in the body and does not metabolize nor react to healing magic, making an advanced stage of poisoning incurable. When caught early, it can be staved off or kept latent by regular consumption of pearls dissolved in vinegar.
  7. Warp gas: Naturally occurring around unbound portals and rift, or created through alchemy, this gas causes unpredictable, uncontrolled spatial displacement. This teleportation leads in nearly all cases to telefragging or falls from great heights. Scarily, the gas is colourless and odourless, plus the teleportation is often delayed in cases of mild inhalation.
  8. Octiron poisoning: Fine octiron powder is sometimes employed to assassinate magic-users. Poisoning disrupts the ability to channel magic, with prolonged exposure leading to permanent lowering or loss of spellcasting abilities.
  9. Reifmilch: Causes shivering and paleness, then rapid body heat loss (cold damage over time). Can be slowed by proximity to fire, but unless treated it invariably leads to the victim being frozen solid. Used in trace amounts to treat fever and common fire.
  10. Breath of catoblephas: Inhalation causes rapid petrification. Also works through skin contact, albeit at a slower, more painful rate.
  11. Midas' venom: Extremely rare venom gathered from the scarce and deadly giant gold spiders, it has an effect similar to the breath of catoblephas, except the flesh is turned into gold. Midas' venom works only on living flesh, no matter the efforts of many an alchemist.
  12. Xorian lymph: Causes massive swelling in both size and mass. With each failed Save, the victim grows a size category larger, until they max out the size table and die in an explosion of gore and meat. This poison is thankfully relatively rare outside of Xor.
  13. Chronolisk venom: A misnomer, as this "venom" is spat by the chronolisk and effective via skin contact. The victim is frozen in time, with the duration of the effect dependant on dosage. Small doses are sometimes used medicinally. In contrast to its rarity, chronolisk venom is rather well-known due to the infamous failed mass poisoning in Tam Ruat, where an extremist group of void monks attempted to contaminate the water sources of the city with the venom.
  14. Colourless ooze: A kidnapper's favourite, this poison induces full-body paralysis and invisibility in the victim.
  15. Zombie dust: Causes feeble-mindedness, obedience and extreme suggestibility. While a dried up, powdered zombie brain is the main ingredient of this poison, it requires a complex alchemical process to catalyse and prepare.
  16. Mum-mist: A single lungful of mum-mist is enough to steal the gift of speech from a person for a full day. Some druidic orders induct their novices by making them meditate for days or weeks in caverns with naturally occurring mum-mist.
  17. Ectoplasmic residuum: More coarsely known in the graverobbers' business as grandfather's jizz and a prime reason why one should wear silver-lined gloves when looting an old tomb; ectoplasmic residuum semi-permanently shunts the victim to the ethereal plane. The unprepared victim will then likely be killed by the various hungry ghosts, lesser daemons, rabid psychopomps or other threats on the Other Side. Can be quite easily treated with a neutralize poison spell, but that unfortunately doesn't work cross-plane.
  18. Runic honey: An insidious and expensive poison, it distorts and prevents all restorative magicks cast upon the victim. Not only does this reverse the effects of cure wounds, but spells like neutralize poison or restoration will have no effect at all.
  19. Erototoxin: A whole class of toxins used by the cupid warriors to poison their arrows and blades. The cupids are widely feared for dismantling the whole societal structure of their enemies through clever usage of their poisons. Different kinds of erototoxin cause overwhelming euphoria and bliss, sudden orgasm, obsessive sexual desire (even against one's preferences, morals and taboos), or emotional imprinting (similarly to a love potion).
  20. Colloidal silver, brine water and holy water: While mostly safe for humans, these three "poisons" are classic tools when fighting demons, werebeasts or the undead.