Assassin's Use of Poison-

- - Poison Types - -
Character Classes - - - DMG

Assassins use poison iust as any other character does, according to the dictates of the DM.
That is, they use the normal tables for poison types (q.v.).
When an assassin reaches 9th level (Assassin),
he or she may opt to make a study of poisons.
This decision should come from the player in the case of a PC,
i.e. do not suggest it or even intimate that such a study can be undertaken.
The study will require many weeks and cost from 2,000 to 8,000 g.p. per week.
The assassin must find a mentor --
an assassin who has already made such a study and actually has put the techniques into practice.
In most cases this will be a NPC assassin of 12th or higher level,
who will charge the variable amount.
The cost reflects both time and the poisons used in the training.
If a player character is involved,
he or she must actually have a wide variety of animal, vegetable, and mineral poisons on hand for the training;
but he or she can also set the fee as he or she sees fit.

It is not the place of this work to actually serve as a manual for poisons and poisoning.
Not only is such a subject distasteful, but it would not properly mesh with the standard poison system used herein.
Therefore, the assassin must spend 5-8 weeks to learn each of the following poison skills:

    - proper use of all poisons effective in the blood stream only
    - proper use of poisons effective through ingestion only
    - proper use of contact poisons and poisons effective when in the blood stream or ingested
    - the manufacture of poisons and their antidotes

Thus, after 20-32 weeks of study, the assassin will have complete knowledge of 90% of all poisons known.
He or she can then use poisons at full normal effect and have the following options as well:

    - choose to assassinate by an instantaneous poison
    - elect to use a slow acting poison which will not begin to affect the victim for 1-4 hours after ingestion
    - elect to use a poison which gradually builds up after repeated doses and kills 1-10 days after the final dose

The assassin must compound the poison, of course.
The DM will have to adjudicate this manufacture as he or she deems best.
To simulate such manufacture, it is suggested that a week of time and a relatively small outlay
(200-1,200 g.p. for materials, bribes, etc.)
suffice for any poison.
Instantaneous and very slow, undetectable poisons should be more time-consuming and costly, but not greatly so.

This does not guarantee the assassin success, naturally,
for he or she must still manage the poisoning ond then escape.
However, it will give a far better chance and also provide leverage with regard to a slow poison by knowing the antidote.
Note that the assassin can stop his or her study at any point,
knowing only the knowledge gained in the completed course of study.
Also during any course of study,
the assassin may not engage in any other activity,
or he or she must begin studying again from the beginning of the course.
This means that during from 5-8 game weeks the assassin character will be out of play.

One type of poison which assassins can learn to compound is blade venom.
Blade venom (always an insinuative poison; see Poison Types) evaporates quickly.
For the first day after its application it does full damage, the second day half, and by the third day none.
It is likewise removed by use: on the first hit it will do full damage, on the second hit half damage, and by the third it will be gone.
Partially evaporated or used death poisons allow the victim a +4 on his or her save.

Poison Types:

The poison of monsters, regardless of its pluses or minuses to the victim's saving throw, is an all-or-nothing affair.
That is, either they do no damage,
or they kill the victim within a minute or so.
Poison potions generally do the same,
although you may optionally elect to have any given one be slow-acting,
so that the victim will notice nothing for 1-10 hours after quaffing it.
Monster poisons are all effective by either ingestion or insinuotion into the body and blood stream of the victim.
Poison potions must be ingested.
If you allow poison use by characters in your campaign,
users can purchase ingestive or insinuative poisons only,
having to obtain dual-use poisons from monsters.

Purchased poisons are classified and priced as follows:


Poison Cost/Dose Onset Time Damage if Save Damage if No Save
A* 5 g.p. 2-8 rounds 10 h.p. 20 h.p.
B** 30 g.p. 2-5 rounds 15 h.p. 30 h.p.
C*** 200 g.p. 1-2 rounds 20 h.p. 40 h.p.
D**** 500 g.p. 1 segment 25 h.p. death
E 1,000 g.p. 1-4 turns 30 h.p. death

Poison Cost/Dose Onset Time Damage if Save Damage if No Save
A* 10 g.p. 2-5 rounds 0 h.p. 15 h.p.
B** 75 g.p. 1-3 rounds 0 h.p. 25 h.p.
C*** 600 g.p. 1 round 0 h.p. 35 h.p.
D**** 1,500 g.p. 1 segment 0 h.p. death

* Saving throw at +4, chance of tasting/smelling/seeing poison 80%.
** Saving throw at +3, chance of tasting/smelling/seeing poison 65%.
*** Saving throw at +2, chance of tasting/smelling/seeing poison 40%.
**** Saving throw at + 1, chance of tasting/smelling/seeing poison 15%.

Assassins use all forms of poison, other than those listed above,
at an efficiency which gives the victim + 1 on the saving throw;
all other character types use them at an efficiency level which allows the victim +2 on saves (in all cases).
Assassins who have studied poisoning have no penalty. (See ASSASSINS' USE OF POISONS.)

Question: The Assassinsí Guild in my D&D town is after me
because my henchman bought some poison, but not from the
guild. He also pocketed the extra money he made from the
deal. Is there any way I can talk to them without being killed?

Answer: This is an interesting problem. However, since I donít know
the mythoi that your DM plays with and I donít know the henchman,
etc., all I can say is, send them a message first explaining what happened
and hope for the best. What happens next will be up to your DM.
Good luck.

Poisons of the Forgotten Realms
The poison recipes have not been
made known by Elminster; in his
words, "They are largely simple to
make, and recipes will undoubtedly fall
into the wrong hands, given your sometimes
too efficient communications."
For adventurers, however, he has provided
the means of identifying the substances.

Lhurdas (also known as "the yellow
death" and "Beltyn's Last Drink") is a
wine-based poison. It has a sharp, dry
white-grape wine taste, and will readily
mix with such wine. It reacts with the
digestive acids in the stomach (and is
effective in human, orc, and elvish body
chemistry) to eat away internal organ
tissues. Ingestion produces rapid (within
two rounds) nausea, convulsions,
and terrific internal cramps and burning
pain, doing 1-6 points of damage in
its first effective round, 2-12 in the second,
and 1-4 in the third. Thereafter it
will do no more damage, regardless of
dose, and further exposure to lhurdas
will cause discomfort and inhibit healing,
but cause no greater damage to the
body for a period of 3-24 days. It is ineffective
if applied externally. (Save for
half damage.)

Varrakas is a black, thick syrup. To
avoid detection, single drops are usually
added to gravy or dark sauces, but
the effects increase with the dose
ingested. Varrakas has a slightly oily
taste, but no strong flavor. Every drop
of varrakas does 1-4 points of damage
when it enters the bloodstream (it
passes the digestive system masquerading
as a nutrient), and does not act for a
period of 18-24 turns after ingestion.
Varrakas is harmless if applied externally,
and is effective in all mammals.
(Save for half damage.)

Prespra (also known as "Mother"s
Bane") is an odorless, colorless liquid
that mixes readily with all drinkables
except milks and products made from
them, from which it separates. Effective
only in humans and only when
ingested, it causes sudden dizzy spells
and visual distortion, beginning 1-3
rounds after contact and lasting for 1-
12 rounds. During this time the victim
moves unsteadily and fights at -2 to
hit, +2 (worse) on AC if having only
normal (distorted) vision, or - 1 to hit
and + 2 on AC if endowed with infravision
or heightened visual senses. At the
same time the victim endures 1-2 points
of damage per round as surface blood
vessels burst all over the body (giving a
blotched, reddened appearance to the
skin). Each round a successful saving
throw will avoid such damage, but if
the victim suffers an injury through
combat or misadventure during the
round, no saving throw is allowed (the
cause and shock of the injury aggravates
the sudden fluctuations in blood
flow and pressure prespra causes; it
works by alternately and erratically
constricting and expanding blood vessels
throughout the victim?s body).

Belpren is a luminescent blue, acidic
substance that does 1-12 points of damage
instantly upon contact with skin or
internal tissues. (No save.) Further
applications of belpren to affected
areas will not cause any further harm,
but the damage given above is for a
roughly hand-sized area of body exposure;
for each additional such area of
skin affected, an additional 1-12 points
of damage will be suffered. However,
no additional damage from ingestion is
possible; immediate and involuntary
vomiting will be induced by any further
belpren applied to affected internal
areas. Belpren will not corrode metal,
nor will it harm cloth or cured leather.
It dries and becomes ineffective in just
over one round when exposed to air,
and so cannot be used on weapons.
Belpren can be neutralized by the application
of lamp oil. It is effective on all

Orvas is a translucent liquid with a
green cast and a bittersweet taste. It
does 1-6 points of damage upon entering
the bloodstream (immediately if by
insinuation, which must be through a
scrape or wound, or in 18-24 turns if by
ingestion), and 1-4 points of damage
each round for the following two
rounds. A successful saving throw
means that orvas is ineffective against
the target creature. Orvas is an antidote
to varrakas (see above) if introduced
into the bloodstream before varrakas
has run its course. Orvas works in all

Huld (also called "Leap" or "Deathdance") is an odorless oil that is effective
on non-humanoid creatures--except for
demi-humans and humans--and works
only by insinuation. Its effects are the
same regardless of dosage, and appear 1-
4 rounds after the application. (Save for
no damage.) Huld causes severe muscle
spasms involving nausea and the loss of
motor control, balance, and speech, lasting
for 1-6 rounds. During this time a victim
is helpless but by no means an easy
target for physical attack, since he or she
is usually thrashing and moving about
rapidly and wildly. Mental processes are
entirely unaffected (i.e., psionic or other
communication can be initiated or will
continue, and in some cases can be used
by the victim, as well as others, to control
the poison's effects). A particular individual
will be 95% resistant to huld for a period
of 10-21 days after an exposure to it,
and thus repeated dosages in a single
encounter will almost always not be
effective. Huld is generally thought to
affect all individuals, but some apparent
immunities are reported and conjectured.

Jeteye is a glossy (i.e., reflective) black
liquid that affects all mammals upon
ingestion. (Ineffective if insinuative contact
only; save for half damage.) It
causes the pupils of the eyes to go black
(although this does not affect vision)
and causes 1-8 points of neural damage
immediately. No pain is felt by the victim,
however, for Jeteye kills all pain
and tactile sensation for a period of 9-16
rounds (the "black eyes" sign will be of
the same duration as this anesthetic
effect). Jeteye is sometimes voluntarily
used before torture or immed.
after battle injuries (preventing a system shock survival roll).
It has a bitter, black walnut-like taste and is hard to
conceal in food or drink.

Ulcrun is a milky-white, viscous liquid
that is effective on all warm-blooded
creatures, by insinuation only. (No save.)
Two rounds after contact, it
causes 1-4 points of muscular damage,
weakening and softening tendons, ligaments,
bones, and cartilage. On the following
round it causes 1-12 points of
damage, and 1-4 points on the round
thereafter, whereupon its effects pass.
Until healing processes (natural or magical)
counter its effects, the creature
affected will have lost 1-4 points of
STR and one point of Dexterity.

Dwarfbane is a rare, gummy oil that
is poisonous only to dwarves. Insinuative,
it is commonly smeared on weapons.
It does not dry out, but prolonged
exposure to air lessens its potency; it is
effective only for 26-31 days. Upon contact,
dwarfbane does 1-8 points of damage
with a pain "like blazing skewers,"
and a further 1-6 points on each of the
following three rounds. (A successful
saving throw will halve all damage suffered.)

- The Nathlum

Originally Posted by mistere29
I would like your thoughts on posion and level drain in OAD&D.

Do you agree when some gamers say they are too deadly. If not, why, and did those dangers see frequent use in you campaign?


No I don't agree with those wimpy whiners who are afraid of a few living dead <stickouttongue>
There were always plenty of them in the adventures I ran, and likewise in those that I was playing in.
For example, in one Jim Ward scenario, the first monsters we encountered were liches attacking us with rods of cancellation.
This was likely in revenge for some of the perils Jim had to face with me as DM, such as when a vampire had his PC trapped.
Darned if Jim didn't roll well enough to force the vampire to dust-mote form while I couldn't hit his PC no matter what.

To answer specifically:

First, a cleric or two with a party means the threat is lessened dramatically.
Second, m-us have plenty of long-range spells to deal with undead.
Third, most other PC types have enough armor to make hitting them pretty difficlt.
In general the alert and wary party will not be surprised by undead, be able to stay at a distance to make touch by the undead difficult.
Wise players know when to have their PCs run away.
In extremis, le=ost levels can be restored by use of wishes and clerical spells,

Next those cry babies will be moaning about being turned to stone.

Tell the complainers they should be playing a CRPG where they can save and thus avoid all real danger--ues cheat codes too 


Originally Posted by WyzardWhately
3. Poison was mostly Save or Die back in the day, as I recall. Did you have it take effect immediately (it bites him and he falls over stone dead), or was there a grace period of gradual deterioration, cold sweats, and such? I'm curious about this, as I wonder if the cleric would have time to 'fix it.' (I"m also imagining rolling the save in secret, and gradually applying damage, where the player wouldn't *know* if the poison would kill him or not. Mwuhahaha.)

As rounds were of one minute length, not much beyond a minute was given for poison to prove fatal.
If a cleric was on hand to neutralize the toxin, then fine, it was allowed by me and all the DMs I knew.

BTW, there were a few poisons that did xdx damage, save meaning only 1/2 xdx damage was taken.

<check neutralize poison: something above doesn't click>