Master Poisoner (Ex)

At 3rd level, a poisoner can use Craft (alchemy) to change the type of a poison. This requires 1 hour of work with an alchemist’s lab and a Craft (alchemy) skill check with a DC equal to the poison’s DC. If successful, the poison’s type changes to contact, ingested, inhaled, or injury. If the check fails, the poison is ruined. The poisoner also receives a bonus on Craft (alchemy) skill checks when working with poison equal to 1/2 her rogue level.

Does a poison's onset and frequency change to be of its new type (assuming the poisons matches the default rules for its old type). Almost all poisons appear to follow these rules.



These poisons are delivered the moment a creature touches the poison with its bare skin. Such poisons can be used as injury poisons. Contact poisons usually have an onset time of 1 minute and a frequency of 1 minute.


These poisons are delivered when a creature eats or drinks the poison. Ingested poisons usually have an onset time of 10 minutes and a frequency of 1 minute.


These poisons are delivered the moment a creature enters an area containing such poisons and do not usually have an onset time. For most inhaled poisons, 1 dose fills a volume equal to a 10-foot cube. A creature can attempt to hold its breath while inside the area to avoid inhaling the toxin. A creature holding its breath receives a 50% chance of not having to make a Fortitude save each round. See the rules for holding your breath and suffocation. If a creature is holding its breath and fails the constitution check to continue doing so, rather than suffocating it begins to breathe normally again (and is subject to the effects of the inhaled poison if still in the area).


These poisons are primarily delivered through the attacks of certain creatures and through weapons coated in the toxin. Injury poisons do not usually have an onset time and have a frequency of 1 round.

I ask because the ability in principle is really cool. However, there is almost no point in stabbing someone with Belladonna if its going to take ten minutes to kick in.

Note: You can assume that if frequency changed, duration specified in frequency would as well by the same factor (aka, same number of checks). Mostly though, I'm looking at onset times.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ On the other hand standard ingested poisons get obsolete when you can take a blade venom, and make it ingested but with a 1 round frequency... \$\endgroup\$
    – Tim B
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 15:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yep. Hence the question. Poisons still have a fairly high cost per use, especially at low levels. And the ones with a good DC do tend to cost a lot. Though most adventurers only really need the "you fall asleep" ones. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mourdos
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 15:15

1 Answer 1


The ability doesn't say it changes the onset time or frequency. If it did, it would say so.

If it did, King's Sleep would become absolutely amazing, especially if your party could land a bestow curse or other save-reducer first.

And could you picture maybe earlier in the fight hitting with a Deadly Cocktail (preferably with Lasting Poison so you can hit with it twice for the DC bump) of Sassone leaf residue and Wolfsbane?

Clearly, this is WAY too much power for a 3rd level ability, especially if you read the frequency change as not affecting the duration (so those two poisons would hit once per round for six minutes, sixty hits assuming no successful save). This does limit the usefulness of certain changes in some situations, but remember you can use a modified poison (to contact or injury) to nail someone fleeing, someone you're about to flee from, etc and then the onset isn't a real concern. Likewise, you can use it to change a poison with no/little onset into an inhaled poison to use against swarms... since when is the rogue the swarm-handler? Poisons in real life usually aren't instant-effect, either, but it doesn't make them useless. Stabbing someone with an onset poison and then running away (to your wizard with teleport, maybe) still kills them. Just not while you're still standing there fighting them.

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    \$\begingroup\$ ' Poisons in real life usually aren't instant-effect, either' Poisons in D&D are, real life comparison isn't really valid when the rule work differently. It is a valid assumption that changing frequency would change duration for the purpose of this question, I'll go add it in to be explicit. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mourdos
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 15:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ King's sleep is one of the poisons that does not follow the standard rules for Onset and Frequency, so isn't included in the question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mourdos
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 16:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ King's sleep doesn't seem to indicate it doesn't follow the standard rules. Onset 1 day, Freq 1/day. If you could change it to Onset - Freq 1/round, it's just the most egregious example. What about changing Drow poison to something else, then changing back into an injury poison to give it Freq 1/round so it kicks in 9 rounds faster? Having Master Poisoner change the onset and frequency makes no sense. Also, many poisons (both in game and in real life) are not instant effect, although a few (both ways again) are... not that it matters, since that was just a "It's still useful!" throwaway. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 18:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ I do notice that King's sleep doesn't have a max duration, but really, most poisons (besides maybe Drow) don't usually manage to run the full duration. In the six to ten saves most of them give, they get lucky at some point. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 18:34

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