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I've got a player who wants to harvest the poison from a ghoul.

Is such a thing possible? If so, are there mechanics for this?

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    \$\begingroup\$ <argument removed> The question is fine. The votes are fine. If the question wasn’t legitimate it would have been close voted, not downvoted. Legitimate question can and do get downvotes, because votes aren’t related to legitimacy. The purpose of votes (both up and down) is to sort our database of questions by quality and usefulness to future readers. (What the current state of this question’s votes seems to indicate is that voters think it’s a legit question that is useful to only a few people.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 6, 2018 at 1:14

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Ghouls do not use poison

The source of a ghoul's paralysis is not overwhelmingly clear, but it appears to derive from whatever magic Orcus used to create them. The Monster Manual says:

Orcus transformed Doresain into the first ghoul.

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an incursion by Yeenoghu, the demonic Gnoll Lord, robbed Doresain of his abyssal domain. [T]he elf gods ... took pity on him and helped him escape certain destruction. Since then, elves have been immune to the ghouls’ paralytic touch

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RAW, there is no mechanic to "harvest" toxin from a Ghoul

This is because there is no "official" Ghoul venom in the game, though many people often believe so because Ghouls cause paralysis from the claws just like many poisonous creatures, they are immune to poison like several poisonous creatures, and also because they are creatures associated with diseases and poisons both in D&D lore and in myth.

So, in a RAW game, you cannot harvest Ghoul venom because Ghouls do not possess a venom or toxin to distill.

However, if you are looking to homebrew a solution, I would suggest looking no further than the Poisoner's Kit and crafting mechanics in the Dungeon Master's Guide, using Ghoul flesh as a component, should this fit with your campaign.

The rules for crafting poisons are summarized pretty-well in this answer, and are found on page 278 of the DMG:

During downtime between adventures a character can use the crafting rules in the Player's Handbook to create basic poison if the character has proficiency with a poisoner's kit. At your discretion the character can create other kinds of poison. Not all poison ingredients are available for purchase, and tracking down certain ingredients might form the basis of an entire adventure.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't believe ghouls are associated to poisons in D&D lore. Disease sure, but do you have a source that connects them to poison? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 6, 2018 at 4:40

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