It's pretty clear with contact and injury poisons - how they work. One dose is enough to poison weapon for one strike and the first who'd be hit with it - gets poisoned.

Inhaled poison is said to fill a 10-ft area for one minute and every creature, who enters it suffers.

But are there any official rules, errata or comments on how many people can suffer from a single dose of ingested poison?

For example - if poison is added to a bottle of wine that is shared by two people - would both suffer? Or only the first one, who drinks it? What if the wine is shared by ten people? What if single dose of poison is added to a barrel of wine? If poison is added to single dish - is it enough to just have a taste of it for poison to work or should the dish be finished for it to work?


1 Answer 1


One dose is sufficient to poison one creature

The general rules for Alchemical Poisons (core rulebook p. 550) state:

Each poison’s stat block includes the Price and features for a single dose

So the described effects for a poison are the effects for a single dose. Under Methods of Exposure (core rulebook p. 550), the methods for applying the poison are listed: Contact, Ingested, Inhaled, and Injury. For Ingested poisons, it states:

A creature attempts a saving throw against such a poison when it consumes the poison or the food or drink treated with the poison.

You need to consume all the poison, or all the food or drink treated with it. "The poison" here is one dose of it.

Paracelsus already realised centuries ago: The dose makes the poison. In reality, if you only took a sip of the poisoned wine, you may get stomach cramps but not die. It's not binary, as it is in the game. The game only gives you an all or nothing option, so you need to make it work within that framework.

How large a volume of food or drink can you poison with one dose, before the poison is diluted too much to work? It may be worthwhile to look at the extremes to see how this must work: it certainly would require more than one dose to poison an entire city's water reservoir in a way that would poison every drinker of a glass of that water. So you need enough doses to achieve a high enough concentration to trigger the save for a given volume consumed.

If you poison a bottle of wine, do you need to drink the entire bottle to get poisoned, or will a glass suffice? If you only put one dose into the bottle, you'll need to drink the entire bottle (or at least most of it, see below). If you want enough poison in the wine to have a glass suffice, you need one dose per glass. The fact that you need to consume "the poison" indicates so.

Do have to consume the food or drink entirely, to consume the dose? You never really fully empty out a bottle, and unless you are licking it off, will not consume all the food that is on a plate. So for practical purposes, you need to consume the majority of the poisoned food. If there is a dose of poison used, and you consume more than half of it, you would make a save; you would not make a save for the reminder.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I'm exactly interested in whether there are any official rules on how many people could be poisoned. For all other poisons, there are quite strict rules, allowing to easily calculate - how many people can be affected - one strike for contact and injury or anyone entering zone for one minute. But with ingested poison - there is no guidance. Even some approximate, like 'one dose is enough to poison about ten people', so, when players ask 'how much poison do we need to buy if we want to poison enemy village' - there would be at least some answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sarge
    Commented May 10, 2022 at 15:37
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ The rules say "Each poison’s stat block includes the Price and features for a single dose", so whatever effects are described apply to a single dose. In the case of ingested poison, you need to consume the dose. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 10, 2022 at 16:08

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