7/29/2014

Poisons of the 13th Age

When I came to 'poison' in my list of potions to make for 13th Age, I quickly realised it deserved a more thorough writeup than a single entry. This is the result. 


Adventurers, particularly those of a more amoral or mercenary bent, often make use of poisons. Poisons are usually ingested, but some very vile concoctions can kill merely through contact with the flesh and others might be a dust or gas. 

Rather than being bought by tier, like other potions, poisons are purchased with different effects in mind. Each effect you wish your poison to have increases its cost and if a incredibly deadly poison is desired the DM may determine that it may take some time to concoct, or that specialist, hard to come by, ingredients may be required. Whilst there is no limit to the number of effects you can combine into one poison this is, again, likely to substantially increase the time the poison requires to make and the rarity of ingredients.

When constructing your potion you will need at least one method of affliction (ingested, inhaled, or through skin contact) and one effect. 

In the vast, vast, majority of cases the victim will not willingly take the poison. In this situation you must attempt to conceal your vile concoction in such a way that it will afflict them. Common places are in a meal, or drink although the only limit is your imagination! The base difficulty for this is a hard environment appropriate roll. Making the potion more difficult to detect, such as making it tasteless, can decrease the difficulty of this check. A particularly ingenius method may encourage the DM to lower the difficulty also! The consequences of being spotted will depend entirely on how you're attempting to conceal your poison! It's possible you may get another chance. Of course, it's entirely possible it won't be spotted until after you've left the scene. 

As a final note, I encourage you to come up with exotic and interesting names for your poisonous creations! The deadlier the effect, the fouler name it deserves! 

Note: The prices indicated expect a party to club together when buying poisons, especially for the most terrible effects. Poisons can be quite powerful and game changing, not something you want being used too frequently. You may wish to reduce the prices accordingly if only a single player character has any interest in poisoning their opponents! Halving the prices in this case should be sufficient. 

Effects: 

Blindness - Victims of this poison will be robbed of their eyesight (in combat they are weakened and vulnerable). Saving against this effect is  hard (16+), and the interval taken depends on the amount spent on the effect. 

CostSave Interval
625gpEvery day
1625gpEvery week
3250gpEvery month

Colourless - Cost: 500gp - The poison is colourless and will add no tint to any other liquids it is placed within. It decreases the difficulty of the conceal check by 3. 

Deafness - This poison robs the afflicted of their hearing (in combat they are dazed). Saving against this effect is  hard (16+), and the interval taken depends on the amount spent on the effect. 

CostSave Interval
500gpEvery day
1250gpEvery week
2500gpEvery month

Delayed Effect - Cost: 50gp an hour - It can often be advantageous to have a poisons effect, or effects, occur at a later time. It is even possible to stagger effects, having a victim first suffer one indignity, then another, before finally succumbing. Each individual delayed effect must be paid for separately. (so for a poison that causes blindness immediately, then delusions an hour later, and death two hours after that, the cost would be as follows: 50gp for delaying delusions for an hour, and 100gp to delay the lethality effect, for a total of 150gp extra gold pieces)

Delusions - Whatever is in this poison causes terrible hallucinations and delusions in the victim (in combat they are confused) and will cause them to act unpredictably. Saving against this effect is  hard (16+), and the interval taken depends on the amount spent on the effect. 

CostSave Interval
875gpEvery day
1625gpEvery week
3250gpEvery month

Exotic - Cost: 2000gp - Rare, unusual, ingredients such as basilisk tears or gelatinous cube jelly make this poison incredibly expensive, but much harder to detect and identify. Conceal attempts with this poison are decreased by 8. The expense of obtaining such ingredients may be prohibitively expensive, but perhaps enterprising adventurers may be able to find them on their travels. 

Ingested - Cost: 210gp - This poison will afflict its victim upon being ingested. It will usually be foul tasting, however.      

Inhaled - Cost: 1050gp- Either as a gas, or dust, this poison can be inhaled. If in a glass or ceramic bottle it can be thrown as a weapon, afflicting d6 nearby creatures. 

Lethal -  Utterly deadly, this poison can kill instantly. Even if you were to survive, you may wish you hadn't. If the victim has less than the threshold hit points, they die instantly. If they have above this amount, roll the dice to determine damage - there's still a strong chance they'll die, but even survival will leave them significantly weakened. 

CostDeady To (HP or less)Damage Dealt if above HP threshold (average)
1050gp541d100
2125gp1082d100
4250gp2163d100

Odourless - Cost: 500gp - This poison has no detectable scent, making it harder to detect before it's too late. The difficulty of the conceal check is lowered by 3.

Paralysis - Seizing and numbing limbs, this poison is incredibly debilitating. (in combat, the victim is stuck)  Saving against this effect is  hard (16+), and the interval taken depends on the amount spent on the effect. 

CostSave Interval
500gpEvery day
1250gpEvery week
2500gpEvery month

Permanency - Cost: 1000gp - Making an effect permanent is a little more expensive, but often worthwhile. Purchasing this effect on top of the cost of the longest duration for the effect you wish to make permanent guarantees the victim a torrid time. (e.g. a permanent blindness would cost 4250gp; the base cost of 3250gp for the longest period of blindness, plus 1000gp for permanency)

Petrification - Cost: 3250gp - Turning flesh to stone is a terrible effect, but is at least reversible through ritual magic. Some of the time. As a bonus you get a realistic statue and if you're really lucky it won't be contorted in a death grimace. This poison will petrify a target with less than 216hp. Vigorous exertion can see off this effect; thus, if used in combat the victim must fail four hard saves before finally succumbing. 

Sickness - Cost: 100gp - Vomiting and diarrhoea are the unpleasant symptoms of this poison. Debilitating, in their own way.

Skin Contact - Cost: 850gp - Some rare poisons can afflict even upon skin contact. Careful handling required. 

Species Specificity - Cost: 1050gp - Only a foolish king has a food taster from a different race. There a lot of foolish kings. Poisons with this effect only affect the species designated at purchase (e.g. dwarf, human, high elf etc.).

Tasteless - 300gp - With no detectable taste, this poison can be safely sprinkled over a meal or a glass of wine. The difficulty of the conceal check is lowered by 3.

Unconsciousness - Causing a deep slumber, or perhaps a total blackout, this poison is a non-lethal alternative, particularly when combined with permanency. Saving against this effect is  hard (16+), and the interval taken depends on the amount spent on the effect. It may also be possible that the victim can be woken by other specific means - like a good, hard, thump or the kiss of a beautiful prince(ss). Entirely up to you.

CostSave Interval
625gpEvery day
1625gpEvery week
3250gpEvery month