View Full Version : Assassin bonus to poison DC

2015-08-10, 03:35 PM
Quick question. I'm starting a new campaign and one of my players wants to play an assassin, but asked me if I could do something about the relatively low DC's that poisons have. I agree with him about the low poison DC's so I was thinking of letting him give up the assassin spellcasting in exchange for adding his intelligence modifier to the save DC of his poisons. Does this sound reasonable?

Business Scrub
2015-08-10, 04:04 PM
Unfortunately this isn't an easy question to answer. However, as the DM it's always your decision.

The 'problem' with poisons that they have low DC's and very punishing side effects. This makes them very hard (but not impossible) to balance. The obvious question is how much do you plan to increase the DC's by? If I were you, I would experiment with different systems until you find one that seems pretty reasonable. Some ideas that come to mind are a flat bonus of (+1 to DC per two assassin levels) and being able to increase the DC by consuming a spell slot with (+1 to DC per spell level consumed). The former is more constant but weaker (I think), and the latter is stronger but uses the assassin's resources.

Then again, those are just things that quickly jump to mind.

2015-08-10, 05:17 PM
I'd try to aim around the standard formula for DCs, or perhaps just use it instead of the normal poison DCs.

The 'standard' DC is 10 + 1/2 hd + one ability modifier. This is what most monster abilities run on, what the dragonfire adept uses for its breath weapon, the basis for spell saves (that is, a fullcaster's most powerful spells will have an equivalent DC). In your case this would be 10 + 1/2 character level + int mod.

The way I'd probably handle it is to have the more powerful poisons be harder to come by at low levels (this is partly handled for you already since they're more expensive), so the character won't be provoking what amounts to 'save or die' until other people have access to similar abilities. You can play loose with this as the story needs- having one dose of some rare poison for the right moment is probably fine.

You might also want to consider allowing the character access to a ready supply of some lesser form of poison, something they won't have to pay for. After all, poisons can get expensive and their effectiveness can taper off fast. Free access to say, centipede venom isn't going to mess anything up, or doses of spider venom later on.

2015-08-10, 06:39 PM
Thanks for the feedback! The player and I talked more and are sitting down to design a "poisoner" class. The "standard" DC is one of the things we discussed, like a spellcaster but with poisons instead. We also talked about a concept where the class has a standard rogue sneak attack progression but can trade sneak attack dice for a bonus to the DC of his poisons. So if he's ninth level, he has 5d6 sneak attack. Each round that he would be allowed a sneak attack against something, he can trade up to 5d6 sneak attack dice for every attack he makes that round and get up to a +5 bonus to the save DC of whatever poison is applied to his weapon.