Dungeons & Dragons offers a variety of poisons for players and DMs. Each has their own advantages, but which are the best?
Poisons are a notable aspect of Dungeons & Dragons which too often remains unexplored. The game features a variety of predefined poisons that can be purchased or crafted. If players and dungeon masters understand them well, they can be an extremely useful tool, but what poisons stand out as the most powerful (and fun) options available in Dungeons & Dragons?
The Dungeon Master‘s Guide offers a table with a variety of poisons that each perform their own function. In general, it takes action to apply poison to a weapon, but the different poisons have a variety and versatility that can extend their use outside of combat. Each poison deals poison damage and the poison condition, but, just like poisons in the real world, that doesn’t mean they’re all equally lethal.
Perhaps the best (if not the cheapest) option players start with is 150 gold per Assassin’s Blood vial. Assassin’s Blood is an ingested poison that thieves and other sneaky classes can slip into another character’s food or drink, forcing them to make a Constitution saving throw before being poisoned and taking damage. . While the damage may be low at just 1d12, inflicting the poison state means the victim will take disadvantage on all of their attacks and ability checks for the next 24 hours. This can be a valuable asset if players expect to fight the victim within 24 hours.
Spending more gold naturally comes with additional damage and effects, and crafty characters can even go so far as to make their own toxins. While the cheapest poisons may be fine for beginners, it’s only a matter of time before players want to use the deadliest poisons available in the game. Purple Worm Poison deals the grossest damage with the highest difficulty check for the Constitution saving throw is DC 19. On a failed save, a creature damaged by a weapon coated with Purple Worm Poison takes 12d6 devastating damage.
Worse than taking damage is being made vulnerable to even more damage. Drow Poison and Torper both plague those who are poisoned with unconsciousness or incapacity, so that they cannot defend themselves against the damage they take at all. It also means the creature is unable to cry out for help, and savvy players who deal their arrows with Drow Poison have an instantly effective way of sneaking up against even powerful guardians without alerting the master of those dwellings. While spells typically deal more damage with a greater variety of effects at higher levels, having a range of poisons available to deal with weapons helps bridge this gap as long as weapon bearers remember that. the option is even available to them.
The last poison each group should have in their arsenal is a cheap 150 Gold Truth Serum which, if successful, renders their victim unable to lie as if subject to a Truth Zone. It may be difficult to collect information in Dungeons & Dragons, but keeping Truth Serum close at hand makes any interrogation a snap.
DMs who keep this information in mind do well to remember how they can all be used against players as much as it can help them. With preset traps for poison darts and poison needles in the Dungeon Master Guide, there is a wider variety of effects that can be incorporated into any dungeon or environment. Put players’ builds to the test and give them a valuable lesson in guessing their food before they figure out what their seemingly friendly host has to offer.
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