Our feature this week is about poison in AD&D. Sparked by this post on Dragonsfoot, we went back to Dragon magazine #81 for a read of Chris Landsea’s article, “Taking the sting out of poison: Another view on how to use toxic cocktails.”

Unsurprisingly, Vince & Nick split with Jayson on readings of the article – we’ll leave it to Dear Reader to guess who felt the article was a treasure trove of tables and text, and who thought 8,000 words was too much to devote to a subject that gets less than a page in the Dungeon Masters Guide.

Interested readers may want to dig up a copy of Dragon 81 (January 1984) to find the article, which includes:

  • A table of monster venoms, listing the number of doses that can be extracted from a given monster, its value per dose, deadliness, saving throw adjustment, onset time / run time, and more
  • Detailed tables of ingestive, insinuative, contact, and gaseous poisons; including different damages, saves, strengths, possibilities of detection, etc.
  • Specific effects of holy and unholy water on poisons
  • Suggested rules for “hitting” with ingestive poisons
  • A table for determining how many doses of poison can be used to coat various weapons
  • Contact poison dosage and usage for items such as needles, doorknobs, and other items you may want to trap
  • Percentile chances to recover venom from a monster, based on the manner in which it was killed
  • Antidotes listed by cost, effectiveness, and type
  • Poison potion tables

We also discuss the idea of creating a new monster venom table to include monsters from Fiend Folio, Monster Manual 2, or other sources.

How do you handle poison in your game?

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