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Burrito
2007-07-14, 09:25 PM
Why do you have to be "evil" to use the really good stuff? Why is deadly poison evil? You can't stab someone with a knife that is coated in poison...but you can stab someone with a sword that does X d whatever in fire/acid/cold/etc damage? What the frick? I have always had a problem with this, I just never really fought it with DM. Seriously, considering the cost of everything else, a really good poison can really even out the playing field for lower level characters. It doesn't have to be deadly, constantly trying to vomit due to poison will compleatly incapacitate someone in battle. Anyway, just thought I would throw this out and see what others do.

JellyPooga
2007-07-14, 09:33 PM
I dislike the Poison rules full-stop. I mean, one immediate effect and another exactly 1 minute later...and that's it. Uh, what? How many poisons do that? How many poisons have any effect at all within a single minute?

I totally agree with your sentiment about the whole alignment thing (though Ninjas get Poison Use and don't have to be evil)...what makes Poison any more Evil than a Sword (let alone a magical flaming sword)? Surely it's how you use a tool that has any moral implications...a 'poison' that knocks the 'victim' unconscious could just as easily be used in surgery as it could in combat...how is it Evil in that circumstance? According to the rules, surgeons either have to be Evil (or Ninjas) to not risk knocking themselves unconscious when doping a patient.

No, the Poison rules (like the trap-crafting rules), including the general inclination the game has towards using it being Evil, are something that I am working on discarding and replacing with something that actually represents what it's supposed to be.

Counterpower
2007-07-14, 09:42 PM
I don't think that poison is inherently evil, just dishonorable. I have no problems with my players using it, and I'm not going to knock them to an Evil alignment for it. I wouldn't allow a paladin character to use it without falling, but I don't have any right now, so no problem. I think most of the Evil inclination that poison seems to have (note the "seems to", can anyone post core rules that suggest that it's evil?) stems solely from the fact that Paladins are barred from poison due to its dishonorable nature, and Paladins are the paragons of justice. In other words, I'm not really sure that the rules have any real preference on poison use's alignment connotations. Basically, in answer to your question, I say, "What makes you think the rules imply that deadly poison is evil?"

As for the mechanical aspects, I'm ambivalent. Really, I don't want to try to change them, and it's not like they're completely unworkable.

JellyPooga
2007-07-14, 09:45 PM
"What makes you think the rules imply that deadly poison is evil?"

1)Paladins can't use it
2)Blackguards and Asassins get 'Poison Use' as class abilities (both require Evil alignment)

edit: as far as Core stuff goes anyway

de-trick
2007-07-14, 09:46 PM
there is a feat forget the name and book but lets you use poison without a chance of poisoning yourself

Bassetking
2007-07-14, 09:51 PM
I dislike the Poison rules full-stop. I mean, one immediate effect and another exactly 1 minute later...and that's it. Uh, what? How many poisons do that? How many poisons have any effect at all within a single minute?

I totally agree with your sentiment about the whole alignment thing (though Ninjas get Poison Use and don't have to be evil)...what makes Poison any more Evil than a Sword (let alone a magical flaming sword)? Surely it's how you use a tool that has any moral implications...a 'poison' that knocks the 'victim' unconscious could just as easily be used in surgery as it could in combat...how is it Evil in that circumstance? According to the rules, surgeons either have to be Evil (or Ninjas) to not risk knocking themselves unconscious when doping a patient.

No, the Poison rules (like the trap-crafting rules), including the general inclination the game has towards using it being Evil, are something that I am working on discarding and replacing with something that actually represents what it's supposed to be.

Surgeon AND a Ninja (http://www.drmcninja.com)

Counterpower
2007-07-14, 10:02 PM
1)Paladins can't use it

That actually doesn't indicate that poison use is evil. I did address this in my first post, actually. Is everything that Paladins are prohibited from doing Evil? Obviously not. Paladins are prohibited from using poison because it's dishonorable, not because it's evil.


2)Blackguards and Asassins get 'Poison Use' as class abilities (both require Evil alignment)

edit: as far as Core stuff goes anyway

That doesn't imply a relationship. So those classes get posion use...... so what? They like using poison. That doesn't mean it's an evil act. Oh, and you can dip outside of core if you'd prefer.

Really, what I'm saying is there's an underlying assumption to your questions that needs to be examined. You're assuming that the rules call deadly poison evil, but I'm pretty sure they do nothing of the sort. Rogues get special abilities, right? What if one of those abilities was poison use? It would make sense, for a freaking rogue to be able to use poison proficiently.

JellyPooga
2007-07-14, 10:10 PM
I'm not saying that the rules explicitly call the use of Poison evil, I'm just saying that they imply that it is through those that they permit to use it without risk of harming themselves (i.e. those that train to use it). If you go outside of core, Ninja gets poison use and that's the only class/PrC that does that doesn't have a requirement of being Evil (that I know of anyway).

I'd be quite happy for Rogues to get Poison Use myself...but they don't. The implication is that only Evil Assassins use poison...which is another thing I dislike about D&D's approach to alignment...Assassins have to be Evil...but that's a different argument.

Dervag
2007-07-14, 10:11 PM
There is a cultural consensus in most societies that poisoning people is wrong on a level that stabbing them is not. Now, I'm not saying that's a correct consensus, but let's look at the reasons why it exists rather than just saying it sucks.

Most poisons work by making the air you breathe, the water you drink, and the food you eat into weapons against you. They are very difficult to detect, and they can very easily kill someone other than their intended target.

Moreover, everyone needs to breathe, drink, and eat. There's no escaping it. Which means that everyone is vulnerable to poison. There's a mutually assured destruction aspect to the stuff, because I can't really stop other people from poisoning me any more than they can stop me from poisoning them.

The thought that your air, water, and food might be hostile and lethal agents that will kill you is very frightening. Look at all the food poisoning scares, let alone the panics that rumors of terrorists armed with chemical weapons can cause. Nobody wants to live in a world where air, water, and food cannot be trusted.

Hence, most people are reluctant to use or tolerate the use of poison. It undermines a sort of social contract that stabbing people does not.

Thus, while it may not be an evil act to use poison in and of itself, using poison against intelligent beings is most likely to be done by people who care more about personal convenience than about the social contract. In other words, people who are evil.

Now, I would argue that using a harmless, pseudo-toxic material (like anesthetics) is not an evil act because it isn't really a 'poison' in the sense that I use the word above. And using poison against unintelligent beings such as crocodiles or termites is not an evil act because intelligent beings cannot have a social contract with unintelligent beings.

But wherever some sort of social contract can apply, that contract tends to make attacking the air, water, and food of one's enemies off limits.

AtomicKitKat
2007-07-14, 11:25 PM
BoVD went into this, I think. Poisons are "evil" in the same way that some Necromancy spells are "evil". Ability Drain/Damage don't kill your enemies(which would be "merciful", if they couldn't be rehabilitated), but inconvenience them, cripple them, etc.

TheOOB
2007-07-15, 12:06 AM
Poison is a painful, nasty way to go, and it's considered very unfair, but it's not evil, nor does the rules even hint at it being evil.

Paladins can't use it for they same reason they can't lie, they have an anal code of conduct that has nothing to do with their alignment.

Assassins get the ability because it's useful to them. They are evil because they kill people for money.

Blackguards get the ability because paladins cant use it at all. They are evil because thats literally their job description.

Fishies
2007-07-15, 12:12 AM
I wouldn't allow a paladin character to use it without falling

DM: The tavern has a rat problem they need you to take care of.
Paladin's Player: Let's put out rat poison!
DM: You fall.

Serenity
2007-07-15, 12:24 AM
BoVD went into this, I think. Poisons are "evil" in the same way that some Necromancy spells are "evil". Ability Drain/Damage don't kill your enemies(which would be "merciful", if they couldn't be rehabilitated), but inconvenience them, cripple them, etc.

Now that's just total BS. Killing is good, subduing is evil? How in the world does that work?

You're up against a much stronger opponent, but you can count on getting a stab or two in. Normally, you'd be in trouble, but by applying the juice of a certain herb to your blade, that stab can cause them to falter and slow, or even knock them out. You level the playing field, or even perhaps have the chance to tie them up and cart them to prison alive. And this is evil, while cleaving skulls in twain with a +3 Icy Burst Battleaxe gets a free pass as long as they're goblin skulls?

13_CBS
2007-07-15, 12:45 AM
Alternatively, one can consult the Book of Exalted Deeds for Ravages, which are basically "good" poisons that only work on evildoers.

skywalker
2007-07-15, 12:45 AM
BoED actually specifically states(in the "ravages and afflictions" section) that using poison that causes ability drain is an evil act, because it causes undue suffering in killing or incapacitating the target.

There is nothing specifically in core about poison use being evil, and I agree, it's not particularly evil, but it's definitely non-good in most situations. It depends on the type and use of poison. You're certainly capable of doing good acts and having a good alignment while using poison(or traps, for that matter), but it's a more nuanced and complicated character than most D&D players are willing to play.

Batman does some rather "evil" things in the sake of good.

AtomicKitKat
2007-07-15, 12:53 AM
Personally, I'd just drop the "evil" tag in the case of poisons that instantly kill/knock unconscious without ability loss in between. Since they don't "suffer" between being stabbed and being knocked out/dead(beyond the initial loss of HP, if any. Or inhaled), it should not be "evil".

TigerHunter
2007-07-15, 12:59 AM
I would have thought that poison was more chaotic (read: dishonorable) than evil. It's a sneaky way of making sure that you win--even if your opponent kills you, they still get poisoned later, possibly killing you.
That's my interpretation on why paladins can't use it, anyways.

Kyace
2007-07-15, 01:10 AM
A magical +1 sleep arrow costs 132 gp and when hit, forces the target to make a DC 11 will save or fall asleep.

An arrow with drow poison costs 75 gp and when hit, forces the target to make a DC 13 fort save or fall asleep.

:/

Xefas
2007-07-15, 01:37 AM
I would have thought that poison was more chaotic (read: dishonorable) than evil. It's a sneaky way of making sure that you win--even if your opponent kills you, they still get poisoned later, possibly killing you.
That's my interpretation on why paladins can't use it, anyways.

I agree with this guy, and its how I'm running it on my tabletop game at the moment. Poison is illegal to craft, sell, buy, or use in any civilized society except in extreme circumstances (the equivalent of the SWAT team chucking in tear gas). But, that just makes it inherently chaotic, and not inherently evil, though there are, of course, evil uses for it.

The idea that just because an evil classes is proficient in it makes poison evil is...well...flawed. It'd be like saying punching people in the kidneys is inherently good because Slayers of Domiel get Sneak Attack.

TheOOB
2007-07-15, 01:40 AM
Unless you are a paladin it doesn't matter if poisons are good or evil. Just because a fighter coats his weapon in black adder venom doesn't mean his alignment changes.

Turcano
2007-07-15, 02:09 AM
BoED actually specifically states(in the "ravages and afflictions" section) that using poison that causes ability drain is an evil act, because it causes undue suffering in killing or incapacitating the target.

...As opposed to poking him with sharp bits of metal, which I hear is a quite pleasant way to go.

The "evilness" of poison, as far as I can tell, was basically grandfathered in from 2nd Edition, where, IIRC, it pretty much caused instant death. It makes no sense in the context of 3rd Edition rules, so it's best to just throw it out.

Hunter Noventa
2007-07-15, 04:27 AM
Funny that this shoud come up, as I've been playing a character that uses poisons quite a bit and is neither good nor evil.

Basically for one, we came up with a feat that duplicated the Poison Use ability, and two I've barely had a chance to use any because even with Craft: Poisonmaking, it's very expensive to make.

But in my opinion, poisons aren't evil, it's how you use them. Just like how a sword or gun isn't evil (unless it's Unholy), it's all about how you use it.

Callix
2007-07-15, 05:43 AM
The BoED stuff on poisons is just screwy. Stabbing the guy in the kidneys and letting him bleed to death won't cost you your Exalted feats, but slipping something in his tea to soften him up for Dominate Person will? I'm talking 1d3 Wis here. Nothing lethal, just a bit fuzzy-headed for a few days, and Dominate Person lets you interrogate the BBEG, dismantle his network, then let him go a few days later, completely unharmed. At which point you inform the local guard. Much less harm done than butchering him and all his cronies, but this path is "evil"?

IMO, poisons are evil because no hero ever uses poison, or at least none the developers knew about. It wasn't the sort of thing they wanted PCs to do, so they made it Evil. With a capital E.

AtomicKitKat
2007-07-15, 05:58 AM
If you're resorting to Dominate Person, you're probably already on the path to Evil(PfE will block you from exercising control via DP).

And Sneak Attack isn't always about "stabbing the kidneys". It could just be a solid crack across the back of the skull(remember, in fantasy, nobody ever goes into a coma from a "light tap across the skull", nor suffers concussion, etc.), the classic "gut punch" to the solar plexus to short-circuit their bladder control, etc.

Kurald Galain
2007-07-15, 06:06 AM
What's even stupider is that if you coat a blade with poison, you have a chance of accidentally stabbing yourself with said blade, thus poisoning yourself. Although assassins are immune to this. That is, like, totally ridiculous.

Borogove
2007-07-15, 06:16 AM
What's even stupider is that if you coat a blade with poison, you have a chance of accidentally stabbing yourself with said blade, thus poisoning yourself. Although assassins are immune to this. That is, like, totally ridiculous.Actually, that makes a certain amount of sense. You're only going to put either contact or injury poison on a blade, so, at the worst you have to nick yourself with the blade and you're poisoned. That doesn't seem too far out of the realm of possibility for someone untrained in the application of poison to weapons. With a contact poison, you don't even have to draw blood. So, not that impossible.

KIDS
2007-07-15, 06:46 AM
I never linked poison to evil, though I'd forbid Paladins from using it (because it is dishonorable and etc.). But evil, no way. The fact that assassins get poison use and they're evil shouldn't mean anything - you can be a LG Ninja and use it just the same, and even as a move action!

Ravages and afflictions, while a nice conept, are in my mind just a hypocrisy - an attempt for the WotC to run away from its foolishly instituted "poison = evil" feel.

OzymandiasVolt
2007-07-15, 07:45 AM
Indeed. Arguably ravages and afflictions cause just as much 'undue suffering' as poisons. Did you see that beholder? He didn't exactly look calm and relaxed.

The_Werebear
2007-07-15, 10:22 AM
If you're resorting to Dominate Person, you're probably already on the path to Evil(PfE will block you from exercising control via DP).

PFE just blocks any mental effect. Protection from Good would do the same thing to Dominate Person.

Swooper
2007-07-15, 10:42 AM
Consider this:
A paladin of Heironeous coats his sword with deadly poison, in preperation for combat against the minions of evil. Not having read the small print in his contract, he didn't realize this was wrong, but knows better now that he is stripped of his powers by his deity.

Meanwhile, his LG Cleric of Heironeous buddy happily uses the Poison (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/poison.htm) spell to kill the same minions of evil, and up in the Seven Heavens Heironeous cheers.:smallconfused:

Meh.

CockroachTeaParty
2007-07-15, 01:53 PM
Often times, if I'm not playing a spellcaster, I like my characters to have a plethora of non-magical items to use. They often wind up with alchemical items, such as thunderstones and tanglefoot bags, and a few doses of poison. Most poisons are non-magical, so you can sneak them past 'detect magic' and other sensors. Most of my characters are very Indiana Jones-ish, and they have a trick up every sleeve. But few of them are out and out evil. Some of the best heroes in fiction are wily scoundrels, and I think poison is just another tool to use against one's enemies.

Kurald Galain
2007-07-15, 03:11 PM
You're only going to put either contact or injury poison on a blade, so, at the worst you have to nick yourself with the blade and you're poisoned.
Contact poison, maybe. Injection poison, ridiculous. A moderatly trained fighter does not cut himself on his own friggin' blade.


Consider this:
Meanwhile, his LG Cleric of Heironeous buddy happily uses the Poison (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/poison.htm) spell to kill the same minions of evil, and up in the Seven Heavens Heironeous cheers.
I fail to understand why the Poison spell, which does 2-20 ability score damage, is not considered "evil", whereas the Contagion spell, which does way less damage, is "evil".

BCOVertigo
2007-07-15, 03:25 PM
A moderatly trained fighter does not cut himself on his own friggin' blade.

Raise your hand if anyone, among even the commoner population here, would apply poison with your bare skin? Anyone? Thought not, that is an idiotic rule. Use a freaking brush or something.

mostlyharmful
2007-07-15, 04:26 PM
never mind the alignment issues, that's always going to be a no hoper when you try to shovel all moral codes, even the insane, into a nine slot grid. the thing that gets me is how rubbish poisens are in the DnD-verse, the nastiest mundane nerve gas you can knock up has a DC around twenty, if you involve alchemy adn magical ingredients you can crank it up to the midtwenties but almost all toxins that caost less than your average house has a save in the midteens.... what?

i stab you in the arm with something nasty and you have about a fifty-fifty chance of just ignoring it? a wizard spends a small fortune to create the most toxic goo the universe has ever seen adn a high con fighter can be resonablly safe, doubly so if he has the forethought to chug a bottle of "antitoxin" which works on everything, and if he doesn't? does he instantly die in cinematic ways? heck no, take a bit of abillity damage then have anouther go, thats it.

poisens need a ground up rethink, with those who write it up consulting a medical textbook on how incredibly easy it is to foul up one of the innumerable processes that we all need to keep on breathing.

Arbitrarity
2007-07-15, 04:29 PM
A character has a 5% chance of exposing himself to a poison whenever he applies it to a weapon or otherwise readies it for use. Additionally, a character who rolls a natural 1 on an attack roll with a poisoned weapon must make a DC 15 Reflex save or accidentally poison himself with the weapon.

Apparently, you have a chance of cutting yourself on your own friggin' blade.

Stupid demifumble rules

goat
2007-07-15, 05:02 PM
DM: The tavern has a rat problem they need you to take care of.
Paladin's Player: Let's put out rat poison!
DM: You fall.

Exactly.

That Paladin should be out buying an item of permanent Speak with Animals, so that he can go into the tavern and attempt to convert the rats to following his deity, causing them to see the error of their ways.

If that doesn't work, he has to challenge each of them to a duel, with their choice of weapon.

Kurald Galain
2007-07-15, 05:06 PM
Here's a thought... if you use Craft: Alchemy to create any kind of poison, you must make a DC 5 wisdom check to avoid tasting it to check if it works. Yeah baby!

Dervag
2007-07-15, 05:56 PM
Consider this:
A paladin of Heironeous coats his sword with deadly poison, in preperation for combat against the minions of evil. Not having read the small print in his contract, he didn't realize this was wrong, but knows better now that he is stripped of his powers by his deity.

Meanwhile, his LG Cleric of Heironeous buddy happily uses the Poison (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/poison.htm) spell to kill the same minions of evil, and up in the Seven Heavens Heironeous cheers.:smallconfused:

Meh.Paladins cannot fail to read the small print on their code.

They know their code. The player might, hypothetically, not know it. But in that case it is the DM's duty to inform the player that the action they propose to take is a code violation, just as it would be for any other critical piece of information that the character knows and the player does not.

A paladin will simply not use poison if their code prohibits it. If they accidentally use poison (say, by nicking an assassin with his own poisoned knife while trying to wrestle said assassin off a balcony), then they will regret the fact and try to atone. That's the way paladins work; they don't just live with their code, they embrace it. If you don't want to live by the paladin code, you do not become a paladin.


Contact poison, maybe. Injection poison, ridiculous. A moderatly trained fighter does not cut himself on his own friggin' blade.A moderately trained fighter is not, most likely, trying to carefully paint chemicals onto the edge of his own blade under normal circumstances; this is not something that fighters train to do. Therefore, the risk that the fighter will accidentally allow a bit of poison to get into an open cut, or nick themself with the poisoned blade while painting chemicals onto the blade, or spill a quantity on themself sufficient to produce an effective contact poisoning (when a much lower quantity would suffice for injection), is real.


Apparently, you have a chance of cutting yourself on your own friggin' blade.

Stupid demifumble rulesChalk it up to the Laws of Narrative Causality if you like. If you don't like, remember that the cut in question would not normally inflict any damage, not one point. It is only because the weapon is poisoned that it poses any threat.


Here's a thought... if you use Craft: Alchemy to create any kind of poison, you must make a DC 5 wisdom check to avoid tasting it to check if it works. Yeah baby!Real chemists have failed this check.

Karl Wilhelm Scheele was a Swedish chemist who worked in the late 1700s; he was one of the founding figures of the modern science of chemistry. He discovered many new elements and chemicals.

Unfortunately, Scheele's system of classifying chemicals included their smell and taste.

Even more unfortunately, among the chemicals Scheele discovered were chlorine gas, hydrogen fluoride (a potent acid), and hydrogen cyanide (yes, cyanide).

Surprisingly, he survived smelling and tasting all these things. But in the process, he gave rise to the Zeroth Law of Laboratory Chemistry:

Don't lick the spoon!

goat
2007-07-15, 06:03 PM
Surprisingly, he survived smelling and tasting all these things. But in the process, he gave rise to the Zeroth Law of Laboratory Chemistry:

Don't lick the spoon!

But how else will you know what it tastes like?

Bassetking
2007-07-15, 06:04 PM
Paladins cannot fail to read the small print on their code.

They know their code. The player might, hypothetically, not know it. But in that case it is the DM's duty to inform the player that the action they propose to take is a code violation, just as it would be for any other critical piece of information that the character knows and the player does not.

A paladin will simply not use poison if their code prohibits it. If they accidentally use poison (say, by nicking an assassin with his own poisoned knife while trying to wrestle said assassin off a balcony), then they will regret the fact and try to atone. That's the way paladins work; they don't just live with their code, they embrace it. If you don't want to live by the paladin code, you do not become a paladin.

A moderately trained fighter is not, most likely, trying to carefully paint chemicals onto the edge of his own blade under normal circumstances; this is not something that fighters train to do. Therefore, the risk that the fighter will accidentally allow a bit of poison to get into an open cut, or nick themself with the poisoned blade while painting chemicals onto the blade, or spill a quantity on themself sufficient to produce an effective contact poisoning (when a much lower quantity would suffice for injection), is real.

Chalk it up to the Laws of Narrative Causality if you like. If you don't like, remember that the cut in question would not normally inflict any damage, not one point. It is only because the weapon is poisoned that it poses any threat.

Real chemists have failed this check.

Karl Wilhelm Scheele was a Swedish chemist who worked in the late 1700s; he was one of the founding figures of the modern science of chemistry. He discovered many new elements and chemicals.

Unfortunately, Scheele's system of classifying chemicals included their smell and taste.

Even more unfortunately, among the chemicals Scheele discovered were chlorine gas, hydrogen fluoride (a potent acid), and hydrogen cyanide (yes, cyanide).

Surprisingly, he survived smelling and tasting all these things. But in the process, he gave rise to the Zeroth Law of Laboratory Chemistry:

Don't lick the spoon!

The first law being: "Hot Glass and Cold Glass look EXACTLY ALIKE"

Kurald Galain
2007-07-15, 06:17 PM
Chalk it up to the Laws of Narrative Causality if you like. If you don't like, remember that the cut in question would not normally inflict any damage, not one point.

I think not. It fails the Law of Karma, and the Law of Drama, and the Law of Logic. No dice.

Dervag
2007-07-15, 09:35 PM
But how else will you know what it tastes like?That's exactly the point of the zeroth law: to make sure that you never know the bitter, lemon-almondy taste of hydrogen cyanide.

Anxe
2007-07-15, 10:17 PM
Swords can be used in self-defense. Normal poison, which is ingested not stabbed into someone, can only be used for murder. That's why it's evil.

Bassetking
2007-07-15, 10:22 PM
Swords can be used in self-defense. Normal poison, which is ingested not stabbed into someone, can only be used for murder. That's why it's evil.

I take it you never Paint, or clean your kitchen, or drive, or cure leather, or...

"Normal Poison" has millions of normal, everyday uses. Poison is everywhere around you.

Fishies
2007-07-15, 11:03 PM
Exactly.

That Paladin should be out buying an item of permanent Speak with Animals, so that he can go into the tavern and attempt to convert the rats to following his deity, causing them to see the error of their ways.

If that doesn't work, he has to challenge each of them to a duel, with their choice of weapon.

Uh-oh, you broke my sarcasm detector.

Rofl-Falafal
2007-07-16, 01:38 AM
I love the idea of poisons that deal permanent charisma damage. Who engineers a poison whose sole purpose is to make it harder for a person to interact with those around them?:smallconfused: I can see it as an after-effect of losing points of wisdom or intelligence, but to have poisons that bypass it as a secondary effect and go straight to charisma damage is absurd. You inhale Ungol Dust and suddenly other people just seem to suck more. Is it just to screw over the party's bard?

Even worse, what happens if the party's half-orc barbarian gets hit with it? Suppose he had a 10 charisma to begin with, which is average, but it got reduced by 2 'cause of his orc heritage. Now, he bombs his saving throw vs Ungol Dust and gets hit for 7 points of permanent charisma damage. A character whose social ineptitude was not his fault but his ancestors', is now made totally antisocial and angsty because he inhaled a whiff of dust?:smallannoyed:

Green Bean
2007-07-16, 01:49 AM
I'd rule that the CHA poison does physical disfigurement, stuff like melting your face, meaning people aren't going to listen to you, much less go near you

Merlin the Tuna
2007-07-16, 02:05 AM
I'd rule that the CHA poison does physical disfigurement, stuff like melting your face, meaning people aren't going to listen to you, much less go near youSo it's evil in the same sense that the Ark of the Covenant is evil, apparently.

AtomicKitKat
2007-07-16, 10:47 AM
Domination is still considered "Borderline evil" though, although I guess I should say it's definitely more anti-Chaotic, and would probably cause a "Rage Mage"(not the Prestige Class, necessarily, but basically a Barbarian+Mage) to "fall" and lose his ability to Rage(if it required him to be Chaotic).

Contagion is "more eviller" than Poison(the spell) because Disease requires multiple Fortitude saves to cure. Poison either works(or works extra potently, if you fail both saves), or it doesn't. Neither save affects the other(except in so far as a Constitution damaging Poison makes the secondary effect harder to save against).

mostlyharmful
2007-07-16, 01:41 PM
yet at the same time everyones favorite big army destroyer Cloudkill is completely neutral even though what you're basically doing is conjuring a cloud of nerve gas which doesn't stop giving you fort saves against con damage and a successful save doesn't even save you.

lukelightning
2007-07-16, 01:48 PM
This is why lawful good paladins always kill coatls on sight. Sure, coatls are lawful good outsiders, but they use poison! They are eeeeeevil!

If poison must be "aligned" I'd say it is chaotic. or "not lawful." But in a world of magic I can't see how poison is evil but burning someone to death with a fireball isn't.

tainsouvra
2007-07-16, 02:04 PM
If you're resorting to Dominate Person, you're probably already on the path to Evil(PfE will block you from exercising control via DP). If your villain is utilizing Dominate Person, he's probably already on the path to Good (PfG will block him from exercising control via DP).

Wait, what?

lukelightning
2007-07-16, 02:12 PM
yet at the same time everyones favorite big army destroyer Cloudkill...

And the cloud keeps moving...you kill the orc raiders and the cloud keeps moving into the town and kills all the peasants on main street. Fun!

Nevar
2007-07-16, 02:55 PM
Ok here is possibly one reason poison is considered evil. How many times in literature has the Dudly do right used poison? How oftan has the BBEG?

On a side note I would say poison is Def not a good act however it's not explicatly evil.

However if it bothers you then there is always a talent that makes not class skills class skills or if it isn't out there then house rule it. Believe it or not House rules over-rule book rules for the most part.

Fishies
2007-07-16, 03:00 PM
Personally, I think of poison as a tool. Like swords and magic are tools. It all depends on how you use them.

PlatinumJester
2007-07-16, 03:05 PM
I think maybe using certain poisons such as Drow Poison, Oil of taggit or Carrion crawler brain juice is not evil since subdues a target rather than hurting it or killing it. However stuff like Sassone Leaf Residue and Deathblade are pretty evil since they cause unnnesserary andpossible death.

WhyBother
2007-07-16, 03:08 PM
The primary reason for poison being evil is based (like pretty much everything in D&D) around combat.

First, let's recognize that it's not "using poison" if you say "I have a poisoned blade holstered near my boot, just in case." Once you draw the blade in combat, that's using poison, so no weird moral quandries arise immediately out of owning poison. Let's also assume that the poison has a high enough DC to actually affect whatever you use it against. (Otherwise, why would you waste the money?)

Now, once you've committed to using a poisonous weapon, you've basically acknowledged (to yourself, if not your enemies) that once battle is joined: I will not allow wounded foes to surrender; I will not allow disabled foes to live; I will not allow wounded foes to flee; I will not allow foes to parley, reconsider, or negotiate. All of these are acts of an evil combatant. The poison forces you to take this stance, because once you've hit an opponent, you have no control over the poison. Maybe it will kill an opponent whose already been disabled a minute earlier. Maybe it will kill an opponent after he flees or surrenders. There are no real mechanics is place for antidotes other than magic, which in D&D is only really meant to be available to players: those classless bugbears and low-level orcs are just SOL unless they stick around for help from your party cleric afterward). By using poison you have resigned yourself to use a weapon that does not distinguish between friend or foe, nor combatant or non-combatant, nor allow for a ceasation of hostilities. The fact that most opponents don't know your blade is poisoned makes the act even more insidious.

Further, even if the poison is not deadly, it still causes damage (suffering) or ability damage (suffering leading to at least short-term disability). Maybe it stiffens their joints (DEX damage) or weakens them (STR), or makes them frail against other ailments (CON), or just gives them a horrible stutter (CHA). regardless, even though combat is over, their sufferring continues.

If you want to use a weak poison that won't kill or maim: don't; it's too expensive to waste money on an ineffective posion, and poisons either work or they don't.
If you want to use a "benign" poison that just knocks out a foe without ill effect: there's one (drow sleep poison). Good luck getting that.
In general, poisons are evil because the non-evil exception is very rare, and because poison mechanics are simplified to the point that they are either useless, or crippling. The fault, if any, lies in the rule system for not having a wider variety of poison mechanics to add moral ambiguity.

Weird cases brought up earlier:
* cloud kill: I honestly forget if you can dismiss this at will. I never use cloudkill, and never really had the need to stop a spell early, but I suppose you could if the enemy called for a truce. As such, it is still a weapon under your control (unlike poison, in which you cede control for damage)
* coatls: Yes, the use poison. Still, they are good themselves, and would probably not fight anyone that they didn't intend to kill from the start, and would then only target evil/ non-good targets. The fact that they are in inherently good restricts their actions in ways PCs are not. Plus, their venom is natural, so they have no control over whether they have it, just whether they use it.
* rat poison: Arguably, since you intend to kill every rat anyway, as quickly as possible, it is not necessarily an evil act. Vermin are mindless (not subject to the same courtesy/respect as larger/smarter races, or even animals), and the poison should be enough to finish them instantly, rather than cripple them or over a prolonged period. You were never recognizing them as combatants with rights, nor even as animals with feelings, nor do you seem to be required to, but you manage to make their suffering as short as possible.

EDIT: incidentally, this just gave me an idea to run by my DM: summon Wall of Text.

Telonius
2007-07-16, 03:12 PM
The thread reminded me of a quote ...


O, mickle is the powerful grace that lies
In herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities:
For nought so vile that on the earth doth live
But to the earth some special good doth give,
Nor aught so good but strain'd from that fair use
Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse:
Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied;
And vice sometimes by action dignified.
Within the infant rind of this small flower
Poison hath residence and medicine power:
For this, being smelt, with that part cheers each part;
Being tasted, slays all senses with the heart.
Two such opposed kings encamp them still
In man as well as herbs, grace and rude will;
And where the worser is predominant,
Full soon the canker death eats up that plant.

Kurald Galain
2007-07-16, 03:30 PM
The primary reason for poison being evil is based (like pretty much everything in D&D) around combat.

This all hinges on the rather illogical assumption that lethal poison is more common than a simple tranquilizer, like laudanum.

WhyBother
2007-07-16, 04:27 PM
This all hinges on the rather illogical assumption that lethal poison is more common than a simple tranquilizer, like laudanum.

The thing is, D&D pretty much takes the common/background stuff for granted. You don't see a listing for the price of, say, stew at a local inn, but it is presumably one of the things you could get there. Recreational drugs aren't represented in the game crunchwise (or at all really) until the BoVD (which, I might mention, doesn't include laudnum). Medicines aren't mentioned either, their use being subsumed into skill checks like healing or profession (herbalist). Does that mean they're not in any world represented by D&D? No, just that their mechanics are covered (if at all) by rules other than those for poison. For that matter, D&D doesn't use real-world-applicable classifications for things like animals, why should it do so for things like drugs/medicines/poisons? The simplest reading would be that any drug that has a combat-ready application either requires role-playing (all fluff, like when a DM says "the room fills with a strange green gas; your eyes feel heavy and you fall into a deep slumber") or poison mechanics. All listed poisons (with a handful of exceptions) fall subject to the problems that make them evil to use, so the rules declare (in general, unless otherwise mentioned) poisons are evil to use.

In other words "there are no good uses for poisons, because a drug put to a good use is no longer necessarily a poison."

Ghostwalker
2007-07-16, 06:47 PM
First, let's recognize that it's not "using poison" if you say "I have a poisoned blade holstered near my boot, just in case." Once you draw the blade in combat, that's using poison, so no weird moral quandries arise immediately out of owning poison. Let's also assume that the poison has a high enough DC to actually affect whatever you use it against. (Otherwise, why would you waste the money?)

Now, once you've committed to using a poisonous weapon, you've basically acknowledged (to yourself, if not your enemies) that once battle is joined: I will not allow wounded foes to surrender; I will not allow disabled foes to live; I will not allow wounded foes to flee; I will not allow foes to parley, reconsider, or negotiate. All of these are acts of an evil combatant. The poison forces you to take this stance, because once you've hit an opponent, you have no control over the poison. Maybe it will kill an opponent whose already been disabled a minute earlier. Maybe it will kill an opponent after he flees or surrenders. There are no real mechanics is place for antidotes other than magic, which in D&D is only really meant to be available to players: those classless bugbears and low-level orcs are just SOL unless they stick around for help from your party cleric afterward). By using poison you have resigned yourself to use a weapon that does not distinguish between friend or foe, nor combatant or non-combatant, nor allow for a ceasation of hostilities. The fact that most opponents don't know your blade is poisoned makes the act even more insidious.

Further, even if the poison is not deadly, it still causes damage (suffering) or ability damage (suffering leading to at least short-term disability). Maybe it stiffens their joints (DEX damage) or weakens them (STR), or makes them frail against other ailments (CON), or just gives them a horrible stutter (CHA). regardless, even though combat is over, their sufferring continues.

If you want to use a weak poison that won't kill or maim: don't; it's too expensive to waste money on an ineffective posion, and poisons either work or they don't.
If you want to use a "benign" poison that just knocks out a foe without ill effect: there's one (drow sleep poison). Good luck getting that.
In general, poisons are evil because the non-evil exception is very rare, and because poison mechanics are simplified to the point that they are either useless, or crippling. The fault, if any, lies in the rule system for not having a wider variety of poison mechanics to add moral ambiguity.


With the exception of Con draining poison you cannot kill the target with poison alone. Also as you can deliver poison weapons doing just 1 point of damage or even just contact, you can easily drain a stat to 0 without any risk of killing them, except Con drain but when you use that you know what you are doing, giving you control of the fight and the ability to choose how it ends with almost no risk of accidentally killing the target of your allies. Unlike a normal fighting were a lucky critical even a first level character could do over 50 points of damage and most area affect attacks donít distinguish friend from foe (Wizards casting there first Lightning bolt in a confined space comes to mind). Of course once the target is disabled, through poison, you can parlay, offer surrender, let them escape (You will need heal them first or make sure they are in a place were they can heal naturally, then again same applies if you reduce them to 0 or less hp), or of course kill them. And as there is no rules for suffering in the D&D mechanics by your logic I would say poison (provided it not Con draining) is good and conventional attack are evil, as you has far less control of the outcome of the fight. And unless you character walks around with a name tag clearly stating his class and level for all to see any attack made on poor defence less orcs should be considered even more insidious (After all they have no idea how powerful you are :smallbiggrin:).

I hate poison is evil argument especially when stabbing them in the back, dousing them in flaming oil, throwing acid in there face ,sending them insane, asleep or into a state of delirium though magic or in fact any other type of combat spell, turning yourself into a 20ft killing machine, ect is good and fine. There are a lot of issues with poison and honour but most of the above mentioned are also considered equally unacceptable acts to someone who believes in the same code of honour.

Serenity
2007-07-16, 08:26 PM
The primary reason for poison being evil is based (like pretty much everything in D&D) around combat.

First, let's recognize that it's not "using poison" if you say "I have a poisoned blade holstered near my boot, just in case." Once you draw the blade in combat, that's using poison, so no weird moral quandries arise immediately out of owning poison. Let's also assume that the poison has a high enough DC to actually affect whatever you use it against. (Otherwise, why would you waste the money?)

Now, once you've committed to using a poisonous weapon, you've basically acknowledged (to yourself, if not your enemies) that once battle is joined: I will not allow wounded foes to surrender; I will not allow disabled foes to live; I will not allow wounded foes to flee; I will not allow foes to parley, reconsider, or negotiate. All of these are acts of an evil combatant. The poison forces you to take this stance, because once you've hit an opponent, you have no control over the poison. Maybe it will kill an opponent whose already been disabled a minute earlier. Maybe it will kill an opponent after he flees or surrenders. There are no real mechanics is place for antidotes other than magic, which in D&D is only really meant to be available to players: those classless bugbears and low-level orcs are just SOL unless they stick around for help from your party cleric afterward). By using poison you have resigned yourself to use a weapon that does not distinguish between friend or foe, nor combatant or non-combatant, nor allow for a ceasation of hostilities. The fact that most opponents don't know your blade is poisoned makes the act even more insidious.

Further, even if the poison is not deadly, it still causes damage (suffering) or ability damage (suffering leading to at least short-term disability). Maybe it stiffens their joints (DEX damage) or weakens them (STR), or makes them frail against other ailments (CON), or just gives them a horrible stutter (CHA). regardless, even though combat is over, their sufferring continues.

If you want to use a weak poison that won't kill or maim: don't; it's too expensive to waste money on an ineffective posion, and poisons either work or they don't.
If you want to use a "benign" poison that just knocks out a foe without ill effect: there's one (drow sleep poison). Good luck getting that.
In general, poisons are evil because the non-evil exception is very rare, and because poison mechanics are simplified to the point that they are either useless, or crippling. The fault, if any, lies in the rule system for not having a wider variety of poison mechanics to add moral ambiguity.

Weird cases brought up earlier:
* cloud kill: I honestly forget if you can dismiss this at will. I never use cloudkill, and never really had the need to stop a spell early, but I suppose you could if the enemy called for a truce. As such, it is still a weapon under your control (unlike poison, in which you cede control for damage)
* coatls: Yes, the use poison. Still, they are good themselves, and would probably not fight anyone that they didn't intend to kill from the start, and would then only target evil/ non-good targets. The fact that they are in inherently good restricts their actions in ways PCs are not. Plus, their venom is natural, so they have no control over whether they have it, just whether they use it.
* rat poison: Arguably, since you intend to kill every rat anyway, as quickly as possible, it is not necessarily an evil act. Vermin are mindless (not subject to the same courtesy/respect as larger/smarter races, or even animals), and the poison should be enough to finish them instantly, rather than cripple them or over a prolonged period. You were never recognizing them as combatants with rights, nor even as animals with feelings, nor do you seem to be required to, but you manage to make their suffering as short as possible.

EDIT: incidentally, this just gave me an idea to run by my DM: summon Wall of Text.

As stated above, it's very hard to kill someone with poison in D&D. Far, far more likely is you cause stat damage that hinders an enemy's ability to fight back, and perhaps making it easier to subdue them rather than murdering them.

In the high-magic default assumption of D&D, the damage the poison inflicts can most certainly be remedied once the target is safely in custody. And considering that your average adventuring party runs around hacking apart, immolating, etc. various goblins, kobolds, bugbears, trolls, etc. without any thought of quarter unless they have the specific goal of interrogating someone...

DiscipleofBob
2007-07-16, 08:46 PM
My first character, a ninja, was doing good with poisons (mostly due to an error on my part that realized just how little you got per dose). My biggest problem was there are very few poisons with a high enough save to be decent in combat. Most of the saves are low enough that even a weak little caster could make the save with a decent roll. And unless it did Con damage or was called Sassone Leaf Residue (2d12 damage on a dc 16 save), it really wasn't worth it in the long run. I thought poisons were supposed to kill people outright, not give them indigestion.

AtomicKitKat
2007-07-16, 10:01 PM
If your villain is utilizing Dominate Person, he's probably already on the path to Good (PfG will block him from exercising control via DP).

Wait, what?

I was going to bite my tongue on this, but I'm deciding to respond. What exactly, does your post add? Someone already pointed out the flaw above, and all you're doing is basically going "Me too". Seriously.:smallconfused:

Edit: Okay, I'm going to explain why I dislike this sort of thing, before people start saying "What a sore loser" and other such. I've been on forums before, where posts start to degrade when one poster posts exactly the same thing as another poster, but replacing terms with opposites(this was more with political posts, and it gets ridiculous when the replacement person has obviously never done what the original person mentioned in the first post has), and then the first poster will pick a slightly different term, and mock back, until a mod has to come along and lock it. I don't want to see that happening here, so I'm going to point it out now, and hopefully nip it in the bud.:smallfrown:

Kurald Galain
2007-07-17, 04:28 AM
Somebody was saying "DP is evil since PR-Evil blocks it" - he was countering by saying that PR-Good also blocks it. Reductio ad absurdum.

AtomicKitKat
2007-07-17, 05:28 AM
Somebody was saying "DP is evil since PR-Evil blocks it" - he was countering by saying that PR-Good also blocks it. Reductio ad absurdum.

Yes, but C&P is rather crap. I already acknowledged it, and moved on. Quoting with opposite terms adds no value whatsoever to the discussion, which is why I instantly associated it with "Troll". I'm just glad I'm not as impulsive as I used to be, which would have resulted in me lashing out with an angrily worded post immediately after reading it.

lukelightning
2007-07-17, 06:31 AM
Poisons are evil because the game and many DMs think that poisons are powerful. The truth is they are not. They have a static DC and few are more potent than DC 17, and they are expensive; it's often more cost effective to buy a scroll or magic item.

Dausuul
2007-07-17, 09:23 AM
I love the idea of poisons that deal permanent charisma damage. Who engineers a poison whose sole purpose is to make it harder for a person to interact with those around them?:smallconfused: I can see it as an after-effect of losing points of wisdom or intelligence, but to have poisons that bypass it as a secondary effect and go straight to charisma damage is absurd. You inhale Ungol Dust and suddenly other people just seem to suck more. Is it just to screw over the party's bard?

Remember the association of Charisma with "force of personality" in 3E. I interpret Cha poisons as being quasi-supernatural in nature, attacking your spirit, your sense of self, and your will to live. Think of the knife the Witch-King uses against Frodo in "Fellowship of the Ring."


Poisons are evil because the game and many DMs think that poisons are powerful. The truth is they are not. They have a static DC and few are more potent than DC 17, and they are expensive; it's often more cost effective to buy a scroll or magic item.

Poisons can be very powerful in the right circumstances (typically against caster-types); the problem is that those circumstances are extremely specific, so it's seldom worth investing in poison.

Jayabalard
2007-07-17, 09:50 AM
Poison is evil in the game because it's evil in the real world. The fact that it's not backed up by game mechanics that are true to the real world doesn't make it any less evil, that's just the way it has to be for game balance. You can't justify poison being "ok" by pointing at it's game mechanics, or lack thereof.

There's no game mechanics for pain that you inflict when you kill someone... when you kill the Chaotic Good priest, he goes instantly to his eternal reward, drinking well aged cognac and smoking cigars rolled in poorly worded legal documents; where's the evil in that from a strictly game mechanic point of view?

The evil is only apparent when you start including what it means to do it in the real world; there's quite a bit involved in killing someone, or in poisoning someone than what is included in the crunch of the game mechanics.

Kurald Galain
2007-07-17, 10:15 AM
Poison is evil in the game because it's evil in the real world.
So is stabbing someone with a big honkin' greatsword. No dice.

Aris Katsaris
2007-07-17, 11:13 AM
In the real-world poisoning a weapon/knife is a deliberate act that ensures the eventual death of the enemy with a single wound.

It's not that useful for you in winning a battle, or defending yourself. It's a tool of assassination instead. Or even vindictiveness ("haha, you may have just killed me, but I have also killed you by that scratch I delivered).

Now you may argue that there's nothing inherently evil about *assassination*. But that's a different topic -- point remains that the implication of poison as evil, derives from its perceived association with assassination, which is itself perceived as evil.

Fishies
2007-07-17, 12:11 PM
Poison is evil in the game because it's evil in the real world.

Evil like setting things on fire? Stabbing things with a sword because you want their stuff? Or perhaps certain animals are evil because their bite contains venom?

Jayabalard
2007-07-17, 12:41 PM
Evil like setting things on fire? Stabbing things with a sword because you want their stuff? Or perhaps certain animals are evil because their bite contains venom?I set the charcoal in my grill on fire... I'm not understanding how that's relevant to the discussion.

Re: Stabbing things with a sword because you want their stuff - yup, evil. Not as evil as poisoning someone.

Re: Poisonous animals - Not really relevant to people using poison as a weapon against other people. Generally, animals aren't considered either good or evil, since they lack the capacity to understand such things. On a related side-note: a venomous serpent is pretty universally a symbol of evil, even though snakes in general can be symbols of either good or evil.


So is stabbing someone with a big honkin' greatsword. No dice.nope... in the real world that is not evil in and of itself.

To use a more real world comparison: Shooting someone with a gun (ie, a regular weapon of war, like "a big honkin' sword") in war is expected, and while noone is going to argue that it's good, that doesn't make you evil; shooting someone with a gun to take their stuff is evil; using chemical weapons (ie poison) is even more evil; it's universally condemned; people that do it aren't just dishonorable for breaking the rules of war, they're evil; they're portrayed as the worst sort of monsters.

Captain van der Decken
2007-07-17, 12:45 PM
That's because chemical weapons, generally, cause an undue amount of pain and suffering.

There are painless poisons. Using those could be argued as less evil than conventional weapons.

lukelightning
2007-07-17, 12:57 PM
I highly recommend the book Greek Fire, Poison Arrows and Scorpion Bombs (http://www.amazon.com/Greek-Poison-Arrows-Scorpion-Bombs/dp/158567608X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-6148103-7099262?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1184695270&sr=8-1). It explores the use of biological and chemical weapons in antiquity, and addresses the issue of poison use.



Poisons can be very powerful in the right circumstances (typically against caster-types); the problem is that those circumstances are extremely specific, so it's seldom worth investing in poison.

In my experience, if you carry poisons around you end up fighting lots of undead and elementals (all immune to poison). And so many monsters have incredible fort saves.

Dausuul
2007-07-17, 05:39 PM
I set the charcoal in my grill on fire... I'm not understanding how that's relevant to the discussion.

Re: Stabbing things with a sword because you want their stuff - yup, evil. Not as evil as poisoning someone.

Depends on the poison, now doesn't it? If somebody were going to kill me, I'd much rather they slipped me an overdose of morphine, rather than drive a sword into my guts and leave me to bleed out.


To use a more real world comparison: Shooting someone with a gun (ie, a regular weapon of war, like "a big honkin' sword") in war is expected, and while noone is going to argue that it's good, that doesn't make you evil; shooting someone with a gun to take their stuff is evil; using chemical weapons (ie poison) is even more evil; it's universally condemned; people that do it aren't just dishonorable for breaking the rules of war, they're evil; they're portrayed as the worst sort of monsters.

Chemical weapons are condemned because of their indiscriminate nature and their habit of leaving people to linger in agony for years. But if you had a localized chemical weapon that killed instantly and painlessly, and didn't have any lasting effects on survivors--like, say, cloudkill--I fail to see how that'd be any worse than dropping a bomb.

Serenity
2007-07-17, 05:57 PM
Poison, in D&D terms, would seem to be an umbrella term for various debilating, incapacitating, and/or lethal substances. Thus poison use could include, say, slipping something into an enemy leader's food to knock him out so you can capture him and force his army to stand down, preventing further bloodshed. It's not honorable, certainly. I might well even accept that it's not a weapon that an Exalted hero would use. But Evil? No way. It's a tool, and like like any other tool, it can be used for good or evil, but is itself neutral.

Aurion
2007-07-17, 06:01 PM
*Prepares for use of The Just War Theory*

Ok, this is how it goes. Poisons, as it has been said, are condemned mostly because of their indiscriminate nature. The same goes for bombs and any other weapon which may destroy a target that it was not intended for. This is where things get blurry however because if you think about it, AOE moves like fireblast or fireball are also indiscriminate and may kill innocents, this is where it falls down to the shoulders of the caster/user. If the user of the ability does so in such a way that the weapon won't kill an unintended victim, such as a civilian, then it is acceptable. But then if you adopt a utilitarian philosophy, as long as the good outways the bad, for instance the atom bomb, then it is acceptable. Even the just war theory rationalizes that anything which ends the war faster and potentially minimizes civilian casualties is acceptable, so therefore poisons which are used in a way which may save lives, are good. So I say go ahead and use poisons with your chaotic or neutral good characters, because in their minds the fastest way to end the battle, even if it might hurt an innocent, is the best because it may save other innocents.

Rofl-Falafal
2007-07-17, 11:22 PM
In answer to the queries about why the save DC is so low most of the time, keep in mind that these DCs are always made assuming that the poisons are to be used on commoners (often by other commoners). Adventurers, though they are the focus of the books, are usually not the majority of people in the world. If everyone in the world took character classes in stead, then of course the DC would be higher. But thinking about it, what is the majority of society composed of? Commoners with no fortitude save bonus and no constitution bonus. Well, what are these commoners likely to roll, on average? A 10 (though some will always be higher and some always lower, it levels off mathematically at 10). Who would design a poison more potent than that if its most common use would be to eliminate some low level moron?

Granted, most people worth assassinating are high enough level to probably have a few points of con bonus or a better fort save. That's where the high-powered stuff comes in. That's the kind of stuff you get when you ask the poison...makey...guy for something that is "sure to do the job" (i.e. has a higher save DC).

The flipside is of course, why would being a high-level anything give you a better chance to survive something that would have killed you otherwise?! Literally, the only thing making you higher level is interactions with others. Whether you got the XP by killing them or roleplaying with them is irrelevant. Why should that make you any better at surviving a lethal toxin? Your body is the same as that of a commoner, unless you have a con bonus, in which case yours is a little better. Why should you (high level PC), whose body is anatomically exactly the same as that of Joe Blow down the street (1st level commoner) be any better at surviving a dose of cyanide in your soup just because you've killed more orcs?

The only way I could see a higher level character being any better at making his saving throw vs. poison is is he's a member of the Poison Survivor prestige class.

argentsaber
2007-07-18, 12:16 AM
I would have thought that poison was more chaotic (read: dishonorable) than evil. It's a sneaky way of making sure that you win--even if your opponent kills you, they still get poisoned later, possibly killing you.
That's my interpretation on why paladins can't use it, anyways.

I completely agree. In point of fact, social aversion as mentioned several times IS a chaotic tendency (alignment speaking). Dishonorable? Yes. Sneaky? Yes. Does my druid poison his blowgun because he is immune to the consequences of failure if he selects the correct poisons? Absolutely!

Brazeku
2007-07-18, 04:40 AM
Look, the reason that poisons were considered dishonorable back in the day is not because they are especially 'evil' or immoral, it's because they were a method of assassination that the nobility had little power to stop or control. Hence food tasters, etc. You can't hide behind your wall of yeomen and your crazy ass armor and cavalry when it comes down to poison.

Of course it never stopped anyone from using poisons and their ilk anyway.

Nowadays, poison is usually a more humane death - used when you want to put down animals gently, for many of the more painless suicide methods, and certain types of execution (although really they could've chosen better chemicals than the ones they use for LI).

Kurald Galain
2007-07-18, 06:15 AM
I should note that, per D&D rules, a farmer who wishes to rid himself of rats and employs... rat poison... is therefore an evil farmer.