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Specifically looking at poisons of type Injury:

Injury: These poisons are primarily delivered through the attacks of certain creatures and through weapons coated in the toxin...One dose of poison smeared on a weapon or some other object affects just a single target. A poisoned weapon or object retains its poison until the weapon scores a hit or the object is touched...

If a poisoned weapon deals damage and that damage is less than the DR or Temp HP (or DR + Temp HP), does that count as "scored a hit" for purposes of injury poison?

My instinct is to rule that failing to beat DR + Temp HP implies "no actual injury".

Does anyone have any RAW reference for / against this?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Scores a hit


Attack Roll

An attack roll represents your attempt to strike your opponent on your turn in a round. When you make an attack roll, you roll a d20 and add your attack bonus. (Other modifiers may also apply to this roll.) If your result equals or beats the target's Armor Class, you hit and deal damage.

It doesn't matter if your damage surpass DR or THP. Hit from your weapon take place if your attack roll greater or equal than target's AC.

Temporary Hit Points


Temporary Hit Points

Certain effects give a character temporary hit points. These hit points are in addition to the character's current hit point total and any damage taken by the character is subtracted from these hit points first. Any damage in excess of a character's temporary hit points is applied to his current hit points as normal. If the effect that grants the temporary hit points ends or is dispelled, any remaining temporary hit points go away. The damage they sustained is not transferred to the character's current hit points.

When temporary hit points are lost, they cannot be restored as real hit points can be, even by magic.

Even if you didn't surpass THP amount it's still counts as a solid hit. Supernatural ability or magic, that grants character/monster THP, just pull all damage from regular HP to THP. Any poison effects take place as intended, since there was damage to target. Because of THP target became tougher, not immune to certain amount of damage.

EDIT: Clarifying about THP and immunity

Q: But they are in fact immune to a certain amount of damage. If I gain 10 THP then take 5 damage, then have THP expire, I'm still at full health. Did I suddenly go from "injured" to "healed" by virtue of losing HP? Does the PC go from looking "beat up" to looking 100%?

A: @Gates VP - to clarify I need to quote this thing:

Hit points mean two things in the game world: the ability to take physical punishment and keep going, and the ability to turn a serious blow into a less serious one.

Immunity means there was no damage at all. In case of DR, if damage is too small to surpass certain amount - it's ignored. De-facto there was no damage at all. In case of THP you've recieved this damage. It was not ignored, it damaged you a little. But because of magic, or abilities it was not enough to hurt you seriously. To make an example:

False Life

You harness the power of unlife to grant yourself a limited ability to avoid death

You recieve damage, but because of magic you can live a bit longer, survive a bit longer.

In case of feats

Drunken Brawler (Combat)

When you drink a tankard of ale or strong alcohol, you take a –2 penalty on Reflex saving throws, but gain a number of temporary hit points equal to your level...

Have you ever heard expression that drunken people are tougher(not talking about stronger - it's a nonsense)? But in case of toughness they feel pain a bit less than sober. That helps them to endure some blows better.

Damage Reduction


Whenever damage reduction completely negates the damage from an attack, it also negates most special effects that accompany the attack, such as injury poison, a monk's stunning, and injury-based disease. Damage Reduction does not negate touch attacks, energy damage dealt along with an attack, or energy drains. Nor does it affect poisons or diseases delivered by inhalation, ingestion, or contact.

Attacks that deal no damage because of the target's damage reduction do not disrupt spells.

In that case you still score a hit, but because of some supernatural ability(or magic) your hit didn't do any damage to target. At all. Since there was no damage - there can't be any poison effects.

Why did I mention 'scores a hit' rules at the beginning

In both cases you should remember that poison works on 1 hit only. Even if you didn't surpass target DR or THP it doesn't really matter.


A poisoned weapon or object retains its poison until the weapon scores a hit or the object is touched (unless the poison is wiped off before a target comes in contact with it).

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“So as you can see THP works here as intended,” on what basis do you claim to know how it was intended to work? –  KRyan Mar 10 at 4:18
No, my point is that you don’t actually know that the authors didn’t actually intend something else. They may have. Unless you have outside confirmation, or feel like doing a big textual analysis, you should avoid asserting that you know authorial intent. Your statement only makes sense if we assume that the authors intended that damage to THP is sufficient to inflict an injury poison, but we shouldn’t assume that, particularly since that is the question in the first place. –  KRyan Mar 10 at 11:47
Yes, the edit improved things. I still have no idea what you mean by "work as intended by rules," since we have no information on what the intent was to say that the way the rules work matches that intent. –  KRyan Mar 10 at 13:53
@KRyan I think it simply meant "this seems to make sense", and was not worth the bashing. At least, that's what I would say UtherTG intended. –  Cristol.GdM Mar 10 at 18:07
@Scrollmaster Actually, I'd "bash" that too, on the basis that it's asserting his personal opinion of what is sensible is, in fact, a universally-held opinion. Which is clearly inaccurate in the face of a question specifically suggesting that the opposite makes more sense to the querent. –  KRyan Mar 10 at 18:11

Damage Reduction is covered in the special ability section, under Damage Reduction.

Whenever damage reduction completely negates the damage from an attack, it also negates most special effects that accompany the attack, such as injury poison, a monk's stunning, and injury-based disease.

Emphasis mine.

Temporary hit points are not covered specifically with regards to poison, as far as I know. This would indicate that their presence is not a factor in determining whether the target is affected by poison.

As for whether poison is retained on the weapon, we are in murkier waters. It hinges on the reading of "negates the special effect". It is not clear whether it is the effect of the poison that is being negated, or if it is the special ability to use poison that is being negated.

Again, Temporary Hit Points do not come into play.

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