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Poison and Drugs

Poisons are described by their Mode of delivery, Speed (Spd), Damage Rating (DR), and Duration (Dur).


The mode is the manner in which a poison or drug is introduced to the victim. Whenever a poison is introduced to a person, the victim must make a HLT attribute roll using a target number based on the substance's mode (the TN for each mode is listed in parenthesis). This roll is made immediately upon successful introduction of the poison. If the roll is successful, then the poison's effects are halved. A failed roll means the poison is at full effect. This roll is made for poisons and drugs alike, including beneficial drugs; some substances just don't "take."

Topical (TN 15)

Topical poisons and drugs are introduced by contact with the victim's skin. They usually take the form of a cream or ointment. The poison is then absorbed into the victim's skin. Topical poisons are near useless in combat. Topical poisons can be mixed with makeup, perfume and even medicinal herbs. Topical poisons are generally the slowest type of poison.

Ingested (TN 24)

Ingested poisons must be eaten or drunk. They usually are in powder or liquid form. Ingested substances are usually mixed with food or drink, but may be introduced directly to the victim's mouth via water dropper, spit, blowpipe or any of a number of ingenious means. Ingested drugs and poisons are generally slow, though faster acting than topical ointments as a rule.

Inhaled (TN 21)

Inhaled poisons and drugs must be introduced to the lungs of the victim. This can be accomplished by use of a powder, vapors or smoke. Inhaled substances are generally faster acting than ingested ones, though not as fast as those introduced directly to the bloodstream.

Blood (TN 18)

Blood poisons and drugs must be introduced directly to the victim's bloodstream, through a cut or abrasion. Blood poisons may be put on a blade or needle, but such applications are only effective for one strike and the strike must penetrate any armor and deliver penetrating damage to the victim. Whether or not the strike delivers the poison, the dose of poison is "used up." Blood poisons are the fastest type of poison, as a rule.

Speed of Poisons and Drugs

Speed (abbreviated "Spd") measures how often the poison or drug's effects are applied. When a poison is introduced, it first takes affect as soon as an amount of time has passed, based on the poison's Speed. The poison's effect occurs again after each passing of this time.

A poison with a Speed rating of 10 minutes is introduced to a victim. After 10 minutes the victim will suffer the effects of the poison, and again after another 10 minutes have passed, and so on.

As a general rule of thumb, ingested poisons are faster than topical poisons, inhaled poisons are faster than ingested ones, and blood poisons are faster than inhaled poisons.


The Effect (abbreviated "Eff") represents the amount of damage or other effect caused by the substance. The effect is rolled once each time period (based on the Spd of the substance) for each dose that affects the victim. Being exposed to two doses of a substance doubles the Effect of that substance. All dice rolls for Effect are cumulative.

For harmful substances, this damage may be subtracted from a character's LIF or from an attribute, depending on the type of poison. A drug or poison need not be fatal; knock-out drugs also work by accumulation, with "damage" subtracted from different point pools depending on the type of effect.

For example, a sleeping drug rated at DR3 will cause 3d6 of stunning damage. Once the victim's LIF reaches zero, they are asleep.

Beneficial and medicinal drugs work by adding to an attribute or LIF.

For example, a stimulant rated at DR2 will add 2d6 to REF and LIF.

Duration of Poisons and Drugs

Duration (abbreviated "Dur") is the total amount of time that a poison can affect someone after it is introduced to the victim. The effect is applied to the victim (or patient, as the case may be) once each time period listed based on the drug or toxin's Spd, until the poison has either dissipated or "run its course," or (in extreme cases) until the affected person dies.

Chin-doku has Eff 2d6, a Spd rating of one minute and a Duration of 10 minutes. This means that the poison will cause 2d6 of effect every minute, for 10 consecutive minutes.

Treating Poison Victims

Characters suffering the effects of any poison may not heal, nor recover any lost LIF or attribute points, until the poison has run its course. They may recover LIF lost to stunning damage, unless the poison itself causes stunning damage, in which case the character doesn't recover any LIF points at all.

Once the poison has exceeded its duration, the character may begin to heal normally. Characters recover LIF and primary attribute points per the Core Rules (see Recovery in the Core Rules).

Torando was bitten by a sea snake and failed his HLT roll. Torando suffers 18 points of Sp/L damage and loses 3 points from REF. Luckily, Torando was quickly treated by a physician and survived the bite. Torando has a HLT of 7, and begins the healing process. Torando is in a Cinematic level campaign, so the recovery period is one day for lethal damage and one week for attribute points. Torando will recover 7 LIF per day and 1 point of REF per week.

Characters making a successful Physician (TN 21), First Aid or Herbalist (TN 18) skill roll can determine that a person has been poisoned. If the person treating the victim makes a second successful roll at -3, they will know which specific poison was used and how to counter it.

To stop a poison's progress, the victim must be given one dose of healing herbs or medicine, as prescribed by the attending doctor. This dose will immediately halt the progress of the poison; the person will suffer no additional damage. Any damage already suffered remains, but it may be healed normally, as the victim will begin the healing (i.e., Recovery) process.

Making Poisons

Characters with the appropriate skills can concoct healing and medicinal drugs.

To create a poison the character must first obtain one unit of the necessary raw materials. The materials and their weight will vary depending on the type of poison, but GMs can assume a basic weight of .1 kg of raw materials is needed to create one dose of poison. Some raw materials may be purchased in a market, while others will require the character to go to some effort to locate them. This could involve a trek into the mountains (possibly requiring a local guide), a quest or some other circumstances which can serve as the basis of an adventure itself.

Once the material components are gathered, the character must spend time preparing the materials, extracting the toxins and creating the final lethal product. The time it takes for this process is up to the GM, but should be no less than 1 hour for each dose of poison being created.

The final step is for the character to make a skill roll, with a target number determined by the GM, based on the skill being used. Recommended skills and target numbers are given below. Not all skills will be available in all settings.

Skill TN Setting
First Aid 18 Primitive
Herbalism 15 Fantasy/primitive
Chemistry 15 Fantasy/Primitive
Chemistry 18 Modern
Chemistry 15 Sci-fi
Pharmacology 12 Modern/sci-fi
Physician 21 Fantasy/primitive
Physician 18 Modern

 Success means that one dose of the desired poison is created. A critical success provides two doses or increases the Speed by one step up the time table (player's choice). A failed roll indicates that some mistake was made during the creation process, rendering the poison ineffective. A failure with an EN of -6 or more indicates the character has poisoned himself.