Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pick Your Poison

I adore the Red Box, I really do. BEMCI in general rocks my socks (except for the I part). But one place where I do feel the need for a little more variety is in how it handles poisons; so, I've been tinkering with those a bit.

Because I've been mulling the notion over for a day or so now, I offer up a handful of unusual poisons. Some are relatively harmless, some rather more insidious. Admittedly most of these are pretty brutal to inflict on Red Box PCs, but it's no worse than "save or die"; in the next day or two I hope to post up a list of lesser and more "low level" poisons.

Needles in locks, smeared on weapons, dropped into someone's morning grog; whatever works!

Nightsable: Named for the black and gold variety of rose from whose sap the poison is distilled from, nightsable is a dark amber-coloured and stickily resinous substance. If a saving throw against poison is failed, nightsable puts the victim into a deep sleep for 2-8 hours, during which the victim suffers wild and often horrific dreams.

Ur'tik'ti: Surprisingly enough, this thin pale syrup -- though made from the fist-sized jeweled land urchin -- is not extracted from the urchin's spines, but instead from a combination of the "coral" (the gonad) and lymph of the creature. A failed saving throw against the effects of ur'tik'ti causes the victim to suffer a -4 penalty to all rolls for the next 12 hours.

Prime Tincture: A magical poison, prime tincture (or ffessa) has four variations, as would be expected for a poison composed of concentrated elemental essence. All four look identical -- a perfectly colourless fluid -- and evaporate to leave a faintly-shiny but still potent residue. Ffessa deals 6d6 points of damage (air, earth, fire or water) over six rounds, one die of damage at a time.

Hllak: An unlikely and unpleasant combination of the venom of the scarlet scorpion and distillate of cinnabar crystals, hllak is thick, grainy, and virulently red in colour. A failed save against a dose of hllak causes a mosaic of symptoms: 1-6 hours of paralysis, 2-16 points of damage, and a lingering weakness (-2 penalty to all rolls for 24 hours). Against spellcasters hllak has an additional and terrible effect -- it cuts off a spellcaster's access to one randomly-chosen spell until an antitoxin is found and administered.

Jade Mushroom Powder: The deeply verdant jade mushrooms may be effective healing, but their spores are crippling whether served in food or mixed with oil as a binder for needle or blade. The emerald-black spores cause a -4 penalty to the poison save, and the victim must save or die as the spores burst in their bloodstream or gut. A successful save still results in 9d6 points of damage.

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