One of my players is playing as the poisoner. They wanted to slip an antagonist some poison, but had used their "Planning Poison" for another task. But it would seem odd to lock the Poisoner out of poisoning people.

Also, there's no clear description of what poison will do to either minor minions or minions with a luck score.

I chose to say that the poisoner always has some default poisons to hand that can cause sickness or kill. I then made them successfully roll to slip the poison to a fellow team member posing as a barkeep, and judged that the poison would incapacitate the antagonist and his goons. If I'd wanted to draw out the scene, I might have given the antagonist a luck score to beat.

It worked well in the moment, but is this an acceptable way to play out a use of the Poisoner?


So, first of all: your way of ruling it is totally great, if that worked for your group!

When I have a poisoner at the table, I always remind them to create some poison, even if they don't have a specific purpose for it just yet, during every planning scene, including the initial, free planning scene at the start of the Job. That way, they always have something in their pocket.

In situations where the player doesn't have the thing that they need at the moment they need it, I always fall back on Influence as the way for them to get it. If they don't have any Influence, and they haven't created a poison during a planning scene...well, sometimes the fun of the heist genre is not having the tools you need at the moment you need them, and improvising! I might have allowed the player to whip up an improvised poison during the scene, letting them narrate combining certain liquors and other, possibly illicit substances they stole from behind the bar. In such a case, interesting tension could come from needing other players to nick the ingredients without the bar staff being made aware, or mixing up a concoction in the middle of a public place without being noticed. I can just see in my mind the poisoner huddled off in a booth, trying to quickly whip up a poison without being spotted by the other patrons walking by! Having them create the poison in-scene is a great way for them to do their schtick, and get a die roll out of them...and die rolls are where heat, complications, and other drawbacks come into the game, making things more interesting.

As for using poisons against enemies, at the end of the day you can treat it just like any other attack, using the poisoner's skill just like you would use any other skill to attack. If the player managed to poison a whole squad of minions, I'd give them some advantage dice (see the "Attacks that Should Hit Multiple Minions" sidebar in the Judge Rulebook) so they can take out many members of the squad. Otherwise, their roll would just deal damage to a character with luck as normal. I'd be liberal with advantage dice if the players' creativity led them to create a poison that should be particularly effective.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks! "Using the poisoner's skill just like you would use any other skill to attack" - I guess my question is "Which skill" in this instance? There isn't actually a "poison people" skill, afaics. \$\endgroup\$ – deworde Aug 21 '19 at 15:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry! I meant "skill" as in whatever skill they were using to poison someone; probably Conceal an Object or Distract Someone are the most likely, but I can certainly imagine circumstances where Outdrink Someone or Use an Alchemical Object might be warranted, based on the situation. \$\endgroup\$ – Scratchpad Publishing Aug 23 '19 at 4:36

I'm presently GMing a DCO campaign that includes a poisoner. Typically she's making sure to concoct a poison every planning, but I get where you're coming from. Looking over the specialty sheet, I think it is fairly justified that the kit of poisoner's tools might include some base ingredients that can work by themselves. Having them roll to slip the poison was a good call (maybe also with some challenge dice if there's a risk of being caught?).

As for enemies with luck, one way you could handle that is either make the result of the "slip the poison" roll damage to their luck (perhaps with a damage bonus?), or give your player advantage dice to represent the poison taking effect on future rolls, and have the poison fully work when the luck runs out. On the whole though, I think you're making some good calls.

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