Poisons: S

-2 Brawn & -2 Resolve / 12 hours / 24 hours

This tasteless, odorless yellow powder is the bane of pit fighters, Swordsmen, and professional duelists of all types. Typically slipped into a combatant’s food or drink the evening before a significant battle, it has no effect until half a day has passed. At that point, it causes severe muscle cramps, weakness, and tremors that sap a victim’s strength and lower his capacity to withstand exertion and endure punishment.

The telltale side effects include a faint yellowish tinge to the skin which may or may not be noticeable and a painful sensation in the chest that a modern victim might mistake for heartburn. It is most commonly used by ambitious gamblers looking to capitalize on inside information regarding a highly-favored fighter’s “sudden misfortune,” jaded lovers hoping for greener pastures once freed of an unwelcome paramour, and rivals (through an intermediary, of course), seeking an edge in the following day’s combat.

Notes: This poison inflicts damage only once, twelve hours after initial exposure. Once another twelve hours have elapsed, the victim will recover fairly quickly, regaining lost Ranks of Resolve and Brawn within a few minutes. Multiple exposures to this poison within a twenty-four hour time span are not cumulative. A Perception Check against a TN of 20 will allow someone to notice the victim’s discolored skin.

-1 Finesse / 30 minutes / 8 hours

Scorpion smoke is a more potent distillation of nyctos resin. Translucent and sweet smelling, the resin that creates the smoke is typically mixed with wax and melted into candles. Left to sputter overnight in a victim’s bedchamber, a candle producing scorpion smoke will almost certainly kill everyone within that chamber via slow, mind-numbed asphyxiation.

Under ordinary circumstances, a victim must remain in the vicinity of a burning candle for the entire duration to suffer the poison’s full effects. If all doors and windows are closed in the chamber, as on winter nights or during a storm, the poison is fully effective. In a well-ventilated room (e.g., by opening all windows and doors), the interval is doubled to one hour, greatly reducing the poison’s effectiveness. Likewise, a scorpion smoke candle burning in an open, outdoor area is no danger to anyone unless it is held to a victim’s face for an extended time.

When a victim’s Finesse is reduced to zero, scorpion smoke inflicts no further reduction of Finesse, but the victim experiences the full-body numbness and total paralysis of its source poison (this time including the paralysis of his lungs), and begins to suffer the effects of drowning. Once the full duration of the poison has elapsed, victims who survive will regain all Ranks of Finesse after a full day of rest.

1 Dramatic Wound / 1 hour / Special, see below

Information on the background, symptoms, and treatment for sculpting death can be found on pages 2 – 3 of The Fantasy Poisoner’s Handbook.

Notes: As mentioned in the source material, the duration of the poison is dependent upon the type of food or drink served in a vessel crafted from sculpting death, according to the following table:

Cold Food1 hour
Hot Food2 hours
Weak Alcohol4 hours
Strong Alcohol8 hours
Very Strong Alcohol12 hours

10 Flesh Wounds / 5 minutes / 5 hours

A crystalline powder with a strong, bitter taste, strychnine is one-third of the poisoner’s “holy trinity” (along with arsenic and cyanide). Its primary sources on Théah are the small orange fruits, velvety seeds, and spicy blossoms of the dog-button tree found in southern Cathay, the Crescent Empire, and in a few isolated groves scattered among the Islands of the Midnight Archipelago. A victim of strychnine poisoning suffers violent muscle spasms which leave him folded up in death, with bulging eyes and a perverse grin. The spectacular nature of a victim’s demise makes this poison popular among assassins wishing to make a public statement with their work.

Like arsenic, strychnine can be easily detected in food or drink. The blossoms of the tree are less effective than the seeds or fruit, however, they have a less repugnant flavor (rather like curry) and can be more effectively administered in foods. Highly-trained poisoners may be able to distill the ingested poison down to an inhaled dust which is fully effective. Regardless of the source or method of strychnine poisoning, the victim becomes highly sensitive to light and noise. Keeping the unfortunate soul in a dark, noiseless room will help ease the convulsions.

Notes: A Perception check against a TN of 10 will detect the regular poison in food or drink. Using floral blossoms for the poison reduces the damage to 5 flesh wounds per interval, but raises the TN for detection to 20. A Wits + Poison roll against a TN of 30 is required to distill one dose of the poison to a dust. If a victim of strychnine poisoning is kept in a dark room with no noise beyond an occasional whisper, the interval increases to 10 minutes.

-1 Finesse / Special, see below / 1 hour

Brewed from the spores of several species of mildly toxic mushrooms, mixed into a slurry with a combination of vinegar and alcohol, stumbler is a concoction that makes a subject slower and less graceful. It was originally developed in the Crescent Empire as a means to capture escaped slaves without killing them, but its use spread to Vodacce through the Bernoulli Family’s trade connections with the Empire, and it has since proliferated throughout mainland Théah.

Notes: Stumbler causes injury only once, one Phase after the poison is introduced through a wound. Each fresh exposure carries the loss of another Rank of Finesse. No Ranks of Finesse return until the last dose of stumbler has run its course, at which time they return at a rate of one Rank every ten minutes. When a Hero is reduced to a Finesse of zero, he suffers tremors so severe he cannot walk without assistance, and must spend a Drama Die to perform even a simple action such as cutting food. A weapon must have stumbler reapplied after every strike in order to remain effective.

1 Dramatic Wound / 1 hour / 12 hours

Swampsalt is a blue, crystalline solid that has minimal effect on any target which has not been exposed to the Wasting Disease. Essentially, it is only harmful to inhabitants or extended visitors to the Königreich of Heilgrund in Eisen; anyone else suffers only a moderately upset stomach, which can be overcome by drinking plenty of clean water.

Swampsalt is an ingested poison. Dissolved in water, it has no flavor.

1 Dramatic Wound / 1 hour / 12 hours

The sweet sisters are two sugary, transparent liquors which are harmless when only one is ingested, yet extremely deadly when taken together, and not necessarily simultaneously. (In modern parlance, this would be called a binary poison.) A dose of either sister will remain latent in a living victim for about two weeks; once he or she is exposed to the second compound, the poison will take its deadly effect.

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