log in or register to remove this ad

 

5E Poison Use

Galendril

Explorer
I have a paladin/rogue in the group I'm running. He's starting to ask questions about poison. I've found pretty solid rules governing harvesting poison, but I'm concerned about the application part. He's already wielding a flame-tongue, can divine smite, and get sneak attack (under the proper conditions).

I'm thinking the flames on the flame-tongue will burn away any poisons applied. I know according to RAW, the item doesn't say it does that, but does everyone think that's reasonable?

Also, how long does purple worm poison last? Would the radiant damage from divine smite have any affect on the poison?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

bleezy

First Post
Good call on the flametongue. You should not allow the PCs to apply poison to a flaming sword. I don't see why there would be a conflict with divine smite, unless there is a religious issue. A good deity might not allow its followers to divine smite w/ poison.
 

Adding poison, divine smite, and sneak attack all together sounds a bit much. I could see that going munchkiny really quickly.

I’d probably not allow poison damage to be added to a weapon that’s already got some sort of damage type going with it, but as the DM, that’s your call. Fire and cold are pretty straightforward, but I’d argue that even radiant and necrotic would damage the integrity of the poison, making it useless.

If there aren’t firm rules on how long poison lasts once applied, I’d just go with “until used or the party takes a short/long rest.”
 


Lidgar

Adventurer
Player: "My Paladin/Rogue applies poison to his flametongue sword"

DM: "Your Paladin/Rogue is dismayed to see the poison burn away the moment the sword ignites, spreading a poisonous gas to all within 5 feet of it. Please roll a Constitution saving throw..."
 

Also unless an NPC in the campaign has a purple worm farm, finding a reliable stock of high-end venom would be an adventure unto itself.

Hmmm...."purple worm farm".....

I CALL DIBS ON FRANCHISE RIGHTS!
 

SunGold

First Post
Your ruling on the flametongue is reasonable, but I don't see any conflict with divine smite and poison.

As for the purple worm poison, I'd just have the save DC degrade by a point or two per week from the moment of harvest.
 

Does the character have proficiency in a poisoners kit? If the answer is "no" then I'd flatly rule "You don't actually know how to poison a weapon without harming yourself or having the poison evaporate harmlessly." and "You don't actually know how to harvest poison without harming yourself ." and "You don't actually know how to process and/or store poison effectively."

Poison use on weapons is a pretty esoteric skill. A default ability roll isn't going to work.
 

pming

Adventurer
Hiya!

My players all know that using poison is "campaign wide commonality". This basically means that if they start using poison, monsters/NPC's start using it. If they start stocking up on anti-poison, monsters/NPC's start stocking up on anti-poison. I like to think of it as "mutually assured destruction". And, surprise surprise, poison has never ever been a 'thing' in any of my campaigns since about 1983 or so (a few years after I started my DM'ing role).

Another thing about poison 'harvesting' is very much a DM-style thing. A player can't just say "I gut the creature and take any valuable spell components", or "I skin it", or "I harvest it's poison"...and then expect to make a simple d20 roll. I'm more 'old skool' with my DM'ing. That basically means the player has to tell me exactly what he's looking for, and basically how he's doing it, and then maybe state a skill he wants to use that he thinks his character can use to get the job done.

Basically, the player needs to say "I'll use my skinning knife I bought last week. I clear an area to work in, put down my 5x5 oiled canvas, and take my time to cut it. I'm specifically interested in being able to have enough large area's to make a pair of fine boots. I have Nature Lore, Survival, and Animal Handling as proficiencies, and I did grow up on a farm". So, in a nut shell, I want to hear preparation, purpose, tools and skills. A player can say "I use my skinning knife I bought last week to skin it" if he wants to...and I'll ask for a Dex check with a DC 10. I'll then tell him how/what his character does and ends up with based on his roll (e.g., if he blows it and gets a 6, he "Quickly cuts it up and is done in 15 minutes, with about a dozen miss-matched pieces of skin he can use for knife sheeth's, maybe a make-shift belt, or a small belt-pouch"). If the player says "But I wanted to make boots!", too bad...his character obviously didn't think of that until after he was half-way done and already mangling the :):):):):) out of it.

If a player wants a specific result from success, he needs to give me specifics about how his character is trying to achieve that. Poison harvesting...same thing. If the character is a thief who grew up in the mean streets of Irongate, then there's a very high chance of not knowing what or how poison is generated in a purple worm...or even where to start looking. A paladin? o_O Uh...less likely than the thief.

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Galendril

Explorer
All great suggestions! I especially like the link to the information which states ultraviolet light breaks down enzymes/proteins necessary for poison.
 

ehren37

Explorer
Hiya!

My players all know that using poison is "campaign wide commonality". This basically means that if they start using poison, monsters/NPC's start using it. If they start stocking up on anti-poison, monsters/NPC's start stocking up on anti-poison. I like to think of it as "mutually assured destruction". And, surprise surprise, poison has never ever been a 'thing' in any of my campaigns since about 1983 or so (a few years after I started my DM'ing role).

Another thing about poison 'harvesting' is very much a DM-style thing. A player can't just say "I gut the creature and take any valuable spell components", or "I skin it", or "I harvest it's poison"...and then expect to make a simple d20 roll. I'm more 'old skool' with my DM'ing. That basically means the player has to tell me exactly what he's looking for, and basically how he's doing it, and then maybe state a skill he wants to use that he thinks his character can use to get the job done.

Basically, the player needs to say "I'll use my skinning knife I bought last week. I clear an area to work in, put down my 5x5 oiled canvas, and take my time to cut it. I'm specifically interested in being able to have enough large area's to make a pair of fine boots. I have Nature Lore, Survival, and Animal Handling as proficiencies, and I did grow up on a farm". So, in a nut shell, I want to hear preparation, purpose, tools and skills. A player can say "I use my skinning knife I bought last week to skin it" if he wants to...and I'll ask for a Dex check with a DC 10. I'll then tell him how/what his character does and ends up with based on his roll (e.g., if he blows it and gets a 6, he "Quickly cuts it up and is done in 15 minutes, with about a dozen miss-matched pieces of skin he can use for knife sheeth's, maybe a make-shift belt, or a small belt-pouch"). If the player says "But I wanted to make boots!", too bad...his character obviously didn't think of that until after he was half-way done and already mangling the :):):):):) out of it.

If a player wants a specific result from success, he needs to give me specifics about how his character is trying to achieve that. Poison harvesting...same thing. If the character is a thief who grew up in the mean streets of Irongate, then there's a very high chance of not knowing what or how poison is generated in a purple worm...or even where to start looking. A paladin? o_O Uh...less likely than the thief.

^_^

Paul L. Ming

Jesus, if you're going to go through that much "pixel bitching" and assume skinning an animal is something a trained person fails a significant amount of time (DC 10 dex check? that's :):):):)ing ridiculous)... just say no. You clearly dont want the player to succeed, so why have them jump through hoops to give an illusion of impartiality. Just say "no, cus DM whim" and save everyone some time.

The entire reason we have skills is so a player doesnt have to know how to do something. I hope you make everyone describe the sword thrusts they make.
 

Eubani

Adventurer
Jesus, if you're going to go through that much "pixel bitching" and assume skinning an animal is something a trained person fails a significant amount of time (DC 10 dex check? that's :):):):)ing ridiculous)... just say no. You clearly dont want the player to succeed, so why have them jump through hoops to give an illusion of impartiality. Just say "no, cus DM whim" and save everyone some time.

The entire reason we have skills is so a player doesnt have to know how to do something. I hope you make everyone describe the sword thrusts they make.
There is a middle ground here. Whilst a player should not have pin success on explaining skills or knowledge the player does not possess a little bit of flavour sprinkled in by the player goes along way than just a roll by itself.
 

Anakzar

First Post
I used to trap and sell furs when I was in high school. Skinning animals is not that hard, even if you make a mistake its at most a small cut that can easily be sewn up before stretching. So I don't get how one could make a mistake big enough to ruin a fur while skinning. However skinning is only the start of the process. You then have to flesh the hide, scrapping off the fat etc. there you could make cuts or thin it more than intended... though you are still not going to ruin a whole skin doing that either. Then you have to tan the hide and work it into a garment. Its mainly just time and hard work to skin and tan a hide to make it into a garment. A lot of time... and boring hard work. This explains the high cost of fur coats...
 

Lanliss

Explorer
Jesus, if you're going to go through that much "pixel bitching" and assume skinning an animal is something a trained person fails a significant amount of time (DC 10 dex check? that's :):):):)ing ridiculous)... just say no. You clearly dont want the player to succeed, so why have them jump through hoops to give an illusion of impartiality. Just say "no, cus DM whim" and save everyone some time.

The entire reason we have skills is so a player doesnt have to know how to do something. I hope you make everyone describe the sword thrusts they make.

I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for more than "I roll nature to get its poison". I probably wouldn't go as deep I to as Ming, but I would at least want to know where they are looking, and maybe have a slight of hand check to make sure they don't butcher whatever they want out of the creature. A poison gland won't do much good if you cut in half while removing it.
 

Anakzar

First Post
I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for more than "I roll nature to get its poison". I probably wouldn't go as deep I to as Ming, but I would at least want to know where they are looking, and maybe have a slight of hand check to make sure they don't butcher whatever they want out of the creature. A poison gland won't do much good if you cut in half while removing it.

That reminds me of skinning Spotted Skunks they were worth $8. Keep in mind this was 25+ years ago so $8 went a lot farther than now. Soo anyhow the first one I skinned I accidently squeezed a bit too hard and got a face full of skunk scent! ewww!! I never made that mistake again. So anyhow I could see a chance of poisoning ones self while trying to harvest an unfamiliar critter. Perhaps start with a higher DC and drop it lower after each success.
 

Lanliss

Explorer
That reminds me of skinning Spotted Skunks they were worth $8. Keep in mind this was 25+ years ago so $8 went a lot farther than now. Soo anyhow the first one I skinned I accidently squeezed a bit too hard and got a face full of skunk scent! ewww!! I never made that mistake again. So anyhow I could see a chance of poisoning ones self while trying to harvest an unfamiliar critter. Perhaps start with a higher DC and drop it lower after each success.

Sounds reasonable to me, depending on the circumstances. Make the first time harvesting from a purple wurm something like a DC 25, assuming this is someone who is not familiar with their biology. Like a common person trying to perform a surgery, the chance of success is low.
 

pming

Adventurer
Hiya.

Jesus, if you're going to go through that much "pixel bitching" and assume skinning an animal is something a trained person fails a significant amount of time (DC 10 dex check? that's :):):):)ing ridiculous)... just say no. You clearly dont want the player to succeed, so why have them jump through hoops to give an illusion of impartiality. Just say "no, cus DM whim" and save everyone some time.

The entire reason we have skills is so a player doesnt have to know how to do something. I hope you make everyone describe the sword thrusts they make.

Uh, sorry? If I think something is impossible, or absolute, I just say it. My players have no illusions about me "deciding stuff". Most of the time, however, I ask for a roll and use that as the factor to determine success or failure and the degree of either. I always decide a DC first, btw, and almost always tell the players the number needed before they roll.

The reason I like descriptions of what and how a character is doing something is because they (and I) like it. It helps us all with the whole believability thing. It also helps us all be on the same page and avoid illogical things (E.g., a monk somehow being able to skin a deer when he has no knife or other sharp weapon/object capable of doing it).... and illogical things later (E.g, "Hand me your knife, quick!"..."Uh, I'm a monk, I don't have a knife or dagger"... "What?! How did you skin that deer yesterday?").

Anyway, play style and DM style. Obviously you wouldn't' like my game. Fair enough, 5e is a great game because so many people can play it so many different ways. :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
Does the character have proficiency in a poisoners kit? If the answer is "no" then I'd flatly rule "You don't actually know how to poison a weapon without harming yourself or having the poison evaporate harmlessly." and "You don't actually know how to harvest poison without harming yourself ." and "You don't actually know how to process and/or store poison effectively."

Poison use on weapons is a pretty esoteric skill. A default ability roll isn't going to work.
Interesting restriction, but this would not be following RAW. Applying poison to a weapon just works in 5e (see basic poison and injury poison). Poisoner's kit allows a creature to apply proficiency bonus to "ability checks to create or use poisons," which seems to refer to something more than just applying it to a weapon.

As to the original poster with the paladin and the flametongue, I like the idea that someone posted of the flame burning the poison and creating a 5 foot radius gas cloud. The paladin could always use another weapon, and barring roleplay reasons, I don't see a problem with combining poison with radiant damage from divine smite (radiant damage is actually rarely from an effect that says it is sunlight).

That being said, a lot of paladins save their divine smite for a critical hit because the radiant damage also doubles. If the paladin (or anyone, really) crits with a poisoned weapon, the poison damage is not doubled because it comes from an additional Constitution saving throw rather than the attack roll.

Edit: Also, there is no restriction on the shelf life of poison unless you add one. Purple worm poison would normally be expensive/dangerous/difficult to procure. Would getting multiple doses be easy enough that causing it to have an expiration date would be necessary?
 
Last edited:

CapnZapp

Legend
I have a paladin/rogue in the group I'm running. He's starting to ask questions about poison. I've found pretty solid rules governing harvesting poison, but I'm concerned about the application part.
Here are my rulings on poison use:

By spending an action you can apply a dose of poison to either three pieces of ammunition (good for one hit each) or a bladed weapon (good for three hits). The poison lasts one minute (10 combat rounds) before losing its potency.

To do this without accidentally poisoning yourself, make a Dexterity (Poison Kit) skill check. The DC is equal to the Constitution save DC of the poison as detailed by the DMG. Failure means you suffer the full consequences of poisoning yourself, and the dose is still used up.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Here are my rulings on poison use:

By spending an action you can apply a dose of poison to either three pieces of ammunition (good for one hit each) or a bladed weapon (good for three hits). The poison lasts one minute (10 combat rounds) before losing its potency.

To do this without accidentally poisoning yourself, make a Dexterity (Poison Kit) skill check. The DC is equal to the Constitution save DC of the poison as detailed by the DMG. Failure means you poison yourself, and the dose is still used up.
Comments:

Yes, dangerous poisons are harder to apply. This is mostly a game balance thing - with great rewards come greater risk. A static DC 10 check would perhaps be more realistic, but it would also make it too easy to build a poison-optimal character. Already there are easy ways to mitigate the risk of poisoning yourself (Dwarves and Halflings having advantage on poison saves and taking half poison damage). So the real equalizer is the action required - a level 11 Fighter can use up all three hits in a single round, but will then only attack every other round.

The way the poison doesn't last long means you can't prepare poison ahead of time - in most cases, you can only apply poison "for free" in ambush-type of situations.

Remember that poison damage dice isn't weapon dice and thus aren't doubled on criticals.

Also: certain monsters still use their own poison rules, including monsters that use manufactured rather than natural weapons such as Drow. (Mainly meaning they autoapply poison to each and every attack without having to spend actions or to make checks)
 

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top