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I have a question about the Pathfinder alchemist's Poison Conversion discovery.

By spending 1 minute, the alchemist can convert 1 dose of poison from its current type (contact, ingested, inhaled, or injury) to another type. For example, the alchemist can convert a dose of Small centipede poison (an injury poison) to an inhaled poison. This process requires an alchemy lab.

When you convert a poison, does it maintain its frequency? For example, if you convert an inhaled poison with a frequency of minutes into an injury poison, does it keep a frequency of minutes, even though injury poisons typically work in rounds?

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Yes, frequency is not changed

Nothing in the discovery itself states otherwise, which means we have to fall back to the general rules for Afflictions and specifically Poison to look for an explicit link between type and onset/frequency.

In the affliction rules, the type section does not mention frequency and frequency does not mention type. As @HeyICanChan pointed out, the poison rules are more specific.

Contact: [...] Contact poisons usually have an onset time of 1 minute and a frequency of 1 minute.

Ingested: These poisons [...] usually have an onset time of 10 minutes and a frequency of 1 minute.

Inhaled: These poisons [...] do not usually have an onset time. [...]

Injury: These poisons [...] do not usually have an onset time and have a frequency of 1 round.

These onset and frequency values are incomplete, as there is no typical frequency given for the inhaled poisons (the text does mention requiring a save every round, but that is only for the initial contraction). They are also not rigorous, as indicated by the use of the word "usually".

An attentive reader might have noticed the irregularity in the text for injury poisons, which actually explicitly state that injury poisons "have a frequency of 1 round". Grammatically, this is because the negation for the onset part was moved in front of the "usually"*, effectively changing the logic by turning "usually (A and B)" into "(usually A) and B".

However, the existence of several injury poisons which don't adhere to this rule, such as Sea Urchin Venom (1/min) or Woundweal (1/day) proves that this rule is just as weak as the other ones.

Overall, I'd say the frequencies of typical poison types are more what you'd call guidelines, and in the absence of anything that would explicitly change the onset and frequency of a poison converted via this Alchemist discovery, it stays the same. Do note that while this makes turning something into an injury poison a bad idea, you can create some nasty spiked drinks.

* Pure speculation on my part: This mistake might have been created by copy-pasting the first part from inhaled and appending the rest, or even during proof-reading of the rules. Someone changed "usually do not have" into "do not usually have" (which is formally correct), without taking the context into account.

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Ask the DM

I could find no official word on the alchemist discovery poison conversion, and when rare discussions of the discovery occur and this question's raised, the question is left unresolved (e.g. 2012, 2013, 2013—this last claims to have had one or more of its questions added to a FAQ, but the discovery is unmentioned in the Ultimate Combat FAQ).

Given this dearth of information, I suggest a conservative middle ground:

  • If a poison possesses a different onset time and frequency than is typical for its category, post-conversion the poison's onset time and frequency remain unchanged.
  • If a poison possesses the exact same general onset time and frequency for its category, post-conversion the poison's onset time and frequency change to that of its new category.
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There is no official or a clear answer for this, though as what i understand the frequency and the onset if there is stays the same as the original. I am playing a level 10 alchemist and i have poison conversion, and usually i convert nightmare vapore from inhaled to injury, because when enemies understand there is inhaled poison im the air, they try to resist it. But when it is injury, it is a bit harder.. But the dc, frequency, effect and everything stays the same except for the poison type. hope that helped

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