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From the board, Skills and Feats, Combat and Weapons

Real Poisons in D&D

From UNIPSI, April 20, 2003 12:11 PM

Ok, before I list these poisons let me state that these are REAL. Each Poison I list is an actual poison that could potentially harm someone. That being said, DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS IN REAL LIFE!!! By doing so you could potentially harm yourself or others and I take no responsibility for your actions. I only list these because I believe that the WoTC poisons SUCK! So here are some real poisons to add some realism to the game.

Now for the WizO's, if at any time you feel that this post becomes inappropriate, PLEASE DELETE IT! I would rather it be deleted than anyone be harmed because of what I post. Granted everything I post I found on the Internet, but still…

Ok now on to the poisons: (Note that if there is no craft check assigned, I leave it up to the DM as to how hard it is to create based on how it is to be applied)

Pick your poison:

Death by Plant

Death Cap Poison

Amanita phalloides

Ingested DC 24

Incubation period 5d4 hrs

After the incubation period nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea begin (1d6 con + 1d6 str). These initial symptoms (1d4 hours later) are followed by a brief period of apparent improvement (1d4 hrs), but without treatment, severe liver damage and kidney failure often result in coma and death. The first fortitude save needs to be made when the incubation period has passed (DC 24), the second save needs to be made immediatly following the brief period of improvement(and only if the first one failed). If the second one fails, there is a 50% chance that the victim goes into a Coma (1d6 subdual per minute), 50% chance of death (1d6 Con Dmg per minute). This poison is made simply from harvesting Death Cap Mushrooms and making the victim ingest them. Price of mushrooms = 5 sp per mushroom. One mushroom is needed per “dose”. If 2 mushrooms are ingested at the same time it is not treated as being poisoned again. Instead increase the save by 2 for every mushroom past the first that is ingested. These mushrooms can be found growing on the roots of trees.

Myristicism Poison

Injury DC 20 / Ingestation DC 18

Derived from Nutmeg, you can extract a poison called Myristicism. Extracting enough of this poison to do harm takes time. A failed craft check creates this poison, however it only has a hallucination effect. At full potency, the victim falls unconcious after 1 round (injury only). If ingested, effects take place after 1 minute. Myristicism also occurs in small amounts in black pepper, celery and carrots.

Craft DC 28
Cost 4000 (ingredients are cheap, but it is expensive to refine)

Rhubarb (Rheum rhaponticum)

Description: A dark green leafy vegetable with red stems that originated in Asia. The stems have a very sour taste and so are stewed with sugar as a dessert, pie filling, or jelly.

POISON NOTES: The stems are safe to eat, but the leaves contain high amounts of poisonous oxalic acid.

Symptoms Eating rhubarb leaves can give you abdominal pain and diarrhea. Large amounts of oxalic acid can cause coma and death.
Delivery Ingestion
Craft DC 24
Save Fort 16
Initial dmg Abdominal pain and diarrhea 1d4 hours after ingestion
Secondary dmg (1d4 + 4 hrs later) (DC increases to 18) 2d6 subdual damage per hour until unconciousness, then 1d6 Con dmg per hour.

Seed of Death poison

Apples aren't poisonous…or are they? The seeds of apples, pears, peaches, apricots and plums contain cyanide! Large doses of cyanide produce abdominal cramping, diarrhea and vomiting and may even cause death. This usually isn't a problem unless you eat dozens of them…or you have a skilled alchemist to prepare it in a dish

Preperation Just seeds, in excess of 24.
Delivery Ingestion
Save Fort DC 16
Primary Effect abdominal cramping and vomitting
Secondary Effect diarrhea
Price A few Silver? I dunno, eat some apples and save the seeds!

See bottom of post for rules on extracting cyanide for other delivery methods.

Wild Cherries (Prunus species)

Description: Several kinds of wild cherries are found in the woods all over North America. They include chokecherry, bitter cherry, black cherry and pin cherry.

POISON NOTES: Cherry fruit is great to eat, but the leaves, bark, twigs and pits of wild cherries contain dangerous amounts of a cyanide-producing compound. Children are sometimes poisoned by swallowing lots of cherry pits.

Symptoms Eating a few cherries with their pits will give you a stomach ache. Big doses of cyanide can cause shortness of breath, spasms, coma and even death.
Delivery Ingestion
Craft DC None for the pits, leaves, bark, and twigs
Save DC 12 natural form
Initial Dmg 1d6 Con (Shortness of breath, spasms) (If natural form, first save is 1d4 hrs later)
Secondary Dmg 1d6 Con (If natural form, second save is 1d4 + 4 hrs after ingestion)

For liquid/gas see below post

Potato (Solanum tuberosum)

Description: Potatoes are starchy tubers produced by plants that are members of the deadly nightshade family.

POISON NOTES: Potatoes are good for you, but all of the green parts of the potato plant contain poisons called alkaloids. Even the potato tuber can be poisonous when it is left in the light and begins to turn green. Avoid any potato with green skin.

Symptoms Eating green potato parts can cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, weakness and sleepiness. High levels of alkaloids cause a drop in blood pressure and heart rate and can lead to coma.
Delivery Ingestion Only
Craft DC None (simply find green potatoe)
Save DC 12
Initial Dmg (1d4 hours after ingestion) Vomiting, dizziness, 1d6 str dmg
Secondary Dmg (only if large amounts are eaten) Effects begin 1d4+4 hours after ingestion - 2d6 subdual dmg per hour until unconcious (Coma) then 1d6 actual dmg per hour until death.

Avocado (Persea americana)

Description: Dark green, pear-shaped fleshy fruits that grow on trees and are native to Central America.

POISON NOTES: The avocado fruit's flesh is safe to eat. However, the seeds and skin of the fruit and the leaves and bark of the tree are poisonous to cattle, horses, goats, rabbits and other animals.

Symptoms: Animals who eat the poisonous parts of the avocado can experience loss of appetite and sometimes liver and lung damage.

(No serious ill effects vs humanoids.)

Lima Beans (Phaseolus lunatus)

Description: Limas are tropical beans named after Lima, the capital city of Peru. In the U.S. we grow large, white lima beans selected especially because they contain very small amounts of the poison cyanide.

Fact: The small red lima beans that are grown in Asia contain 20 to 30 times more cyanide than the white varieties.

POISON NOTES: Boiling lima beans in a pot with no lid releases the harmful cyanide poison as a gas. Eating small amounts of raw, green, sprouted or roasted limas is probably not harmful, but these are not the safest ways to eat the beans.

Symptoms Eating too many raw limas can cause abdominal cramping, diarrhea and vomiting. High levels of cyanide prevent oxygen from getting into blood and can cause death.
Delivery Ingestion / Gas (inhaled)
Craft DC None for natural form
Saves Natural form DC 12
Initial Dmg (natural form) 1d6 Con (1d4 hours later)
Secondary Dmg (Natural form) 1d6 Con (1d4 + 4 hrs later)

For liquid/gas see below post

Cassava (Manihot esculenta)

Description: A tough tropical plant grown for its fat starchy roots. The roots are boiled and eaten in soups and stews, or ground into flour and made into dumplings, puddings and breads, and used as a thickener for sauces and pies.

POISON NOTES: Cassava roots contain cyanide but can be made safe to eat by boiling or peeling, grating and washing repeatedly to remove the poison. The little bit of cyanide that remains may actually be beneficial.

Symptoms Eating raw cassava can cause abdominal cramping, diarrhea and vomiting. High levels of cyanide prevent oxygen from getting into the blood and may even cause death.
Delivery Ingestion Only
Craft DC None
Save DC 12
Initial Dmg (1d4 hours after ingestion) Vomiting, dizziness, 1d6 str dmg
Secondary Dmg (only if large amounts are eaten) Effects begin 1d4+4 hours after ingestion - 2d6 subdual dmg per hour until unconcious (Coma) then 1d6 actual dmg per hour until death.

Poison Ivy / Oak

Ok, you didn't think I would post all of these poisons and not leave the DM with a tool to get back at ya did you? Foolish mortals.

About 15 percent of the 120 million Americans who are allergic to poison oak, poison ivy, and poison sumac are so highly sensitive that they break out in a rash and begin to swell in 4 to 12 hours instead of the normal 24 to 48. Their eyes may swell shut and blisters may erupt on their skin.


  • Only 1 nanogram (billionth of a gram) needed to cause rash
  • Average is 100 nanograms for most people
  • 1/4 ounce of urushiol is all that is needed to cause a rash in every person on earth
  • 500 people could itch from the amount covering the head of a pin
  • 1 to 5 years is normal for urushiol oil to stay active on any surface including dead plants
Delivery Contact
Craft 14 (must separate oil from leaves)
Dose One dose is very small and can infect an unlimmited amount of people in the course of 5 years (after which it fades) unless washed off the contact surface.
Save DC 30 (Special) 15% chance you are serverely allergic. See details above and be creative.
Initial Damage None
Secondary Damage Severe itching on affected area (see above description for when it takes effect). If area is on hand, you will be unable to hold a sword or weapon properly and will take -4 to attack rolls. Spells with somatic components also have a 10% chance to fail if using affected hand. The poison lasts for 1d4 days if victim washes the area, otherwise it persists for 6d6 weeks or until washed with soap and water.

Note for all cyanide plants

Ok, I have a lot of plants that produce cyanide, so I am posting this post to clarify my rules on extracting the cyanide. This supercedes any rules I may have already posted for cyanide.

Extracting Cyanide from Plant DC 20
Extracting as a gas DC 25 (add 50 gp to cost and must have alchemist lab)
Save DC (Cyanide liquid) DC 20
Save DC (Cyanide Gas) DC 18
Initial Dmg 1d6 Con (1 minute after ingestion)
Secondary Dmg 1d6 Con (2 minutes after ingestion) + 1d6 Con per hour after that (continues until victim saves successfully once).
Initial Dmg (Gas) 1d6 Con per round in gas + can only take partial actions while in gas. (coughing and such)
Secondary Dmg (Gas) 1d4 Con

Death by Animal

Africanized Bee Poison

The difficulty in obtaining this poison is high because of the risk envolved in obtaining the bees in a safe manner. You must then extract the poison correctly to use as a injury poison.

When an Africanized bee stings, it marks it's victim with a chemical marker that attracts other bees from the hive. Thus, if one threatens a hive of Africanized bees one can expect to be pursued by thousands of bees. These bees have been known to pursue people for long distances. This is useful for poisoning darts with this poison in the wild and poisoning your prey with it. The poison leaves a marker that will attract all africanized bees in the area to the target. Africanized bees move their hives fast and often and can create a new hive in a matter of minutes! Direct effects of the poison include the area around the injury being pale and surrounded by redness.

There is a 5% chance the victim is allergic to the poison. Signs of a severe reaction include flushing and anxiety which are almost always present. Facial swelling, especially around the lips and eyelids may be present. The victim may have difficulty breathing, feel as if the throat is closing, or may lose consciousness. The first time the victim is injured by this poison you determin weather or not he is allergic. The outcome is permenant. If allergic, victim begins to suffocate 1d4 minutes after infection.

Delivery Injury
Price 1 gp per Bee. Add 50 gp to price per dose for refining. (High cost reflects risk in obtaining bees. If you obtain bees yourself, you van bypass the cost and only pay the refining cost.)
Dose One dose for a dart / arrow requires 50 bees
Dose One dose for a slashing weapon requires 500 bees
Craft DC 20
Save No Save (special)
Initial effect 1 pt subdual dmg. Being injured by this poison carries no serious ill effects, just minor irritation and swelling (unless allergic as above). The main use for this poison is to “mark” the victim with a scent that other africanized bees can smell from up to 1000 ft away. Upon smelling it, all bees will attack until the victim is dead….and even then may persist. If someone summons a swarm, and the swarm contains bees, the bees will attack anyone marked by the scent.
Secondary Effect Itching and Irritation. Enough of these injuries (determined by the DM) should carry misc effects such as loss of sleep, subdual dmg from scratching all the time, etc. Bee creative <img border=“0” title=“” alt=“[Big Grin]” src=“biggrin.gif” />

NOTE: Careful! Do not leave the vial unstoppered, or pre-poison weapons as the bees will be attracted to this as well. The mark lasts for 7 days or until a remove poison spell is cast on victim / item.

Blowfish/Pufferfish Poison

The notorious Blowfish kills about 100 people each year and yet people still won't stop eating them!

Ingested - Read Description for save Once ingested, the victim becomes paralyzed 3d6 minutes later (no save). 1d4 hours after that, the victim must make a fortitude save every minute or loose 1d6 Con. The DC starts at 15 and increases by +1 every minute.

Many parts of the blowfish (including the liver, muscles, skin, and ovaries) contain an extremely strong, paralyzing poison called tetrodoxin. This poison is about 1,250 times deadlier than cyanide. There is no known antidote for this poison.

Giant Toad Poison

Injury DC 26/Ingestation DC 22


This poison can be extracted from the poison glands located behind the eyes and in warts surrounding the eyes of the Giant Toad. The toad uses this poison as a contact poison, however once extracted, it only becomes effective as an injury or ingestation poison.

Once this poison enters the bloodstream, the victim starts to “see things”. That is because this poison is a hallucinogenic. The hallucinogenic effect lasts for 1d4 hours.

(1d6 Dex)+(1d6 Wis) on initial failure

(1d6 Dex) Secondary damage

Poison Arrow Frog - Phylobates terriblis

One of these frogs can contain enough toxin to kill up to 10 adult humans!

NOTE: These could make good familiars for Assassin/sorcerors

Named Poison Arrow Frogs (or Poison Dart Frogs) because their skin contains a poison that can be used by rubbing your arrow tip on it. Once the poison enters the BLOODSTREAM of the prey, the prey will begin to feel dizzy as paralysis sets in shortly followed by convulsions and death. The food caught in this way is not going to affect you as the poison has to gain entry in to the bloodstream for it to act. (injury only)

One other feature that all the Poison Arrow Frogs share with a few exceptions is the vibrant colours and marking on their skin. Ranging from purest black through bright reds, gold's, greens and even bright blue - some almost seem to be metallic. Of the most colourful ones around 50 or 60 species are kept by hobbyists because of their colours, over a period of time the frogs will loose a great deal of their poisoning abilities and toxins as they are thought to be gained from eating forest insects which have the poison in their system, once the frog eats the insect it passes to the frog for use. In captivity they don't get the insects they would in the rainforest so the toxin diminishes over time. Captive bred frogs never really attain the full potency of the wild ones.

Other species of Poison Dart Frogs

Pipedobates Tricolor: poison-dart frog from Ecuador, products epipedobatidine - nicotine derivative with very strong analgesic activity.

Epipedobatidine is 200 times actrive than morphine

Note: If you use this frog as a familiar/animal companion, you must feed him insects or else his poison will become less potent.

Sea Wasp Poison

This is a cheap poison to make beause it is relativley easy. The difficulty and price should come in obtaining the animal. They are very hard to spot and only live in North Australian / Philippine waters (very warm water for D&D terms). Because of this the DM should make it excedingly difficult to obtain.

The Sea Wasp is the deadliest creature on earth, as far as pitting its poison once for ounce against other creatures and in the speed that it kills. Most people do not even see the tentacles as they are near invisible, but after ocntact with the skin (even something as thin as nylons can prevent the poison from being injected) victims die in 30 seconds to 4 minutes.

To collect this poison, you must capture the Sea Wasp alive. Then you put it in a container of water, add alcohol (this releases the poison), then filter out the poison from the alcohol/water solution.

Delivery Contact / Injury / Ingestion (special)
Craft DC 22
Save DC 28
Cost Price of animal + 50 gp for refining / dose
Initial Dmg 1d6 Con + 1d6 Dex + 1d6 Str
Secondary Dmg 1d4 Con per round until cured or dead.

Alternativley, you could prepare the tentacles in a glass of water / food, etc. or just use the liquid poison to add to it. If used in this way, lower the save DC to 22 and remove the secondary damage as the victim will vomit the poison out of his system.

Death by Mineral

Lead Poisoning

Ok, here is a poison for those of you who want a slow death for your victim. Only one dose can be given per meal (2 max a day).

Lead poisoning symptoms indicate brain or kidney damage commonly linked to lead exposure, especially in children. Lead poisoning symptoms include headaches, irritability, vomiting, abdominal pain, difficulty learning/concentrating, slowed speech development, and hyperactivity.

Devoloping Lead Poisoning is difficult as it must be in precise measurements as to not be noticable and yet enough to do damage.

Delivery Ingestion
Craft DC 18
Price per dose 4 gp
Save DC 15 (+1 per dose received)
Number of doses and effect (damage persists until 1 day per 10 doses has gone by without being poisoned.)

Doses reflect number of doses victim has failed checks on.

Previous dmg acumulates every 10 doses. Ex. 10 doses = 1pt cha, 20 doses = 1pt con + 1pt cha, 30 doses = 1pt con + 1pt cha, 40 doses = 1pt wis + 1pt con + 1pt cha, etc.

  • 10 doses - headaches, irritability (1pt cha Dmg)
  • 20 doses - abdominal pain, vomiting (1pt Con dmg)
  • 40 doses - difficulty learning/concentrating (1pt wisdom dmg)
  • 60 doses - Slowed speech development, hyperactivity (1pt int dmg)
  • 100 doses - Coma - (Death in 1d6 days unless cured by cleric)

* Coma actually comences when a stat reaches zero. If a stat reches zero before or after 100 doses, that is when the effect starts.

A cleric can cure the ability damage as if it were permenant ability damage.

Detailed Info on Cyanide

Cyanide acts almost instantly and only a small amount is needed for a lethal dose. The average fatal dose is only 50 or 60 milligram. Cyanide is used as gaseous hydrogen cyanide (H-C=N) and as solid salts, which contain the cyanide ions (H=N). The gas is used for extermination of insects and rodents in ships, warehouses, and railway cars and on certain fruit trees.

Cyanide has more affinity with iron atoms. So it gets tied immediately with the iron atom, which forms haeme part of the Haemoglobin. This makes the iron atom unavailable to carry oxygen atom to the tissues through haemoglobin. So oxygen deficiency at the tissue level occurs. This is called Hypoxia.

Since the poisonous substance causes it, it is also called histotoxic hypoxia. In histotoxic hypoxia the brain is affected first. It results in loss of consciousness in 10-20 seconds and death in 4-5 minutes.

Cyanide blocks the oxidation of glucose inside a cell by forming a stable complex with the oxidation enzymes. Certain enzymes of our body cells, like cytochrome oxidases, contain iron and copper atoms. They normally act by providing electrons for the reduction of oxygen in the cell. Cyanide ties up those mobile electrons, rendering them unavailable for the reduction process.

Thus, cyanide brings an abrupt end to cellular respiration. When this process, which is holding the life of an individual is stopped abruptly, it causes death in a matter of minutes, since all the cells in the body die immediately.

Administration of antidote for cyanide poison is not possible, since the fatal end comes immediately within minutes to a person who has consumed the poison. But if the quantity consumed is below the lethal dose sodium nitrate and sodium thiosulphate may be used to treat cyanide poisoning.

More info on Cyanide (gas)

Sodium cyanide (solid) when combined with stomach acid creates cyanide gas. This is useful as an ingestion poison. You can also mix with other potent acids to create gas.

Technical process of creation:

  • Sodium cyanide is manufactured by the Andrussow process using ammonia, air, natural gas and caustic soda. The process reacts ammonia with natural gas and air over a platinum/rhodium catalys to produce hydrogen cyanide gas. Typically the production of one tonne of sodium cyanide requires: natural gas - 36 gigajoules (940m3)
  • caustic soda - 0.95 tonnes
  • ammonia - 0.65 tonnes
  • electricity - 0.67 MW

More Poisons

From UNIPSI on May 09, 2003 11:37 PM

Internal Flame of Death:

Note: Potassium permaganate poisoning is easily identifiable by discoloration in the victim's mouth, throat, stomach, etc. Do not attempt this in real life as you will probabbly be spending the next 20 to life in jail.

This one is a particularlly nasty one. First you take potassium permaganate (a powder that is an oxidizing agent and can be used as a general external disinfectant) and mix it with a liquid. Red wine works best for masking the reddish color and of course the taste. Then you have the victim ingest glycerin (a natural by-product of the soapmaking process).

Glycerin is a neutral, sweet-tasting, colorless, thick liquid which freezes to a gummy paste and which has a high boiling point. Glycerin can be dissolved into water or alcohol, but not oils. On the other hand, many things will dissolve into glycerin easier than they do into water or alcohol. So it is a good solvent.

When the potassium permaganate and the glycerin mix, it instantly forms a chemical fire! Since the victim's mouth, throat, and stomach are coated with the stuff, you can imagine the consequences. I would hesitate to determine the damage done by this since it is an internal fire so I leave it to the DM. The DC to make depends on if you can buy the ingredients. If not then you have to make soap to get glycerin, and make potassium permaganate.

Potassium permanganate is prepared by fusing manganese dioxide with potassium hydroxide to form the potassium manganate and then electrolysing the manganate solution using iron electrodes at about 60 degC.

Again I will cop out on this one and let the DM decide the DC for creating these substances. If anyone has any suggestions for dc's, please post them.