I suspect this question has a very easy and very specific answer, but I'm of the opinion that lack of a positive does not confirm existence of a negative. So, maybe one person who knows the rules a bit better can help me with this.

I have recently been going through the poisoning rules in Pathfinder (crafting, application, etc.). All in all, I ended up feeling very underwhelmed. It isn't that poisons feel necessarily weak, it's more that they almost all end up doing a variation of one thing; Ability Damage (At least all the poisons I found). There were a few with abilities like paralyze or confuse, but there just wasn't enough in my opinion.

So, off I went in a quest to see if there were any existing rules for being able to create your own poison effects, kind of like crafting your own magical item. Only, I haven't found anything that says yes or no.

What I am hoping to find is some kind of existing rules that might let me craft poisons with effects other than the standard. Effects similar to the spells Charm, Fear, or even Rage. Obviously, duration would be dropped to standard poison durations and they'd get save chances every round/minute. I'm not looking to add this affect in addition to Ability Damage, I'd rather be creating something without the Ability Damage all together.

As an additional question: Would poisons with the effects described above be overpowered or underpowered in comparison to existing poisons? This one appears to be a bit more opinion based, but I just wanted to see if such an idea was going to break the game in some such way.

A few Edits by way of Comment Questions:

This question is coming from a player perspective. As such, I'm looking for an existing rule or guideline for the creation if it exists. Homebrew is the last resort type of thing.

I'm specifically looking into an alchemist class with the Vivisectionist archetype (losing bomb probably means I lose whatever the alchemist can do to emulate this). However, the ultimate goal is the same whether I was using a rogue, fighter or alchemist. It just doesn't seem like craftable poisons do anything bus Ability damage (and the two or three that cause small effects for a large amount of gp).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Big Question... are you the GM or a player for this question?, as the answer can differ because of this. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 21, 2015 at 4:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ You may want to mention in the question whether you've looked at what the Alchemist class can do, and whether/how it doesn't satisfy your goals. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 21, 2015 at 4:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TheAmusedMuse Player, hence the desire to see if a RAW solution exists. My suspicion is that no such thing exists, but it's always better to ask and be proved right. \$\endgroup\$
    – Naryna
    Sep 21, 2015 at 4:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ What is your DM's general opinion on using DnD 3.5 material. Pathfinder is semi compatible with that, but it's always the DM's call? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 21, 2015 at 4:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TheAmusedMuse This doesn't have a specific use yet. I simply like to do my research (probably more than I need to). I'd be more than interested to look at the 3.5 rules if they would help the situation. Then bring them to a DM if I decide to try and make the character. \$\endgroup\$
    – Naryna
    Sep 21, 2015 at 4:17

3 Answers 3


Making Better Poisons

I recommend taking a gander at Arsenic and Old Lace, a poisoner's handbook written for 3.5 DnD. While the poisons rules were changed alot in the creation of Pathfinder, it will be a handy guild for thinking of things you can make poison out of, their effects, and a relative pricing schema. Whether you want to stun, sicken, nauseate, paralyze, render unconscious/sleeping, slow, exhaust, daze, confuse, blind, induce a disease, render mute, or just suppress the scent ability it will have a poison for you.

These make great jumping off points for discussions with your GM, if nothing else.

Making Poisons Better

The best class for being a master poison maker, is as far as I can tell Alchemist. There are quite a number of class features and alchemical discoveries that make you a great poisoner.

  • Celestial Poison lets you poison undead and evil outsiders, despite their inherent immunity to poison.
  • Concentrate Poison lets you combine two doses of the same poison to increase the DC by 2 and the duration by 50%.
  • Malignant Poison lets you increase a poison's DC by 4, extend it's duration by 2 frequency increments, and removes the onset time entirely.
  • Poison Conversion lets you change if a poison is a contact, inhaled, ingested, or injury poison.
  • Sticky Poison lets a poison you apply to a weapon stay on it for your int mod number of strikes.

To round this out, you can also get poison bombs, which are loaded with cloud kill effect, and the Poison Touch Grand Discovery to have the spell Poison on hand when ever you need.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @ Sandwich: The alchemist is a Pathfinder class. At bare minimum the question will help an alchemist pick which discoveries will allow for the best poison making. Additionally, as Pathfinder has a policy of allowing 3.5 material at GM's discretion, there is a good chance that the poisons from the handbook could help a player and a GM come to greater on ideas for homebrew poisons. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 21, 2015 at 4:48

In addition to the poison list here, which I assume is the one you have looked through, you can craft any poison in the game via a craft(alchemy) check (ibid). There are several with interesting effects, though almost all also deal ability damage and most require the ability damage to take effect for any special abilities to occur. Some interesting poison abilities:

Additionally, many critically acclaimed 3PPs have released poisons much better at fitting your criteria than those published by Paizo. Some examples:

You can find more such results by flipping through the Bestiary results for Poison here

Assuming this doesn't fit your needs, you can craft or purchase potions (or magical food items) of low level spells whose effects you wish to apply as a poison, though such 'poisons' must, in general, be ingested to take effect. You can also craft any such spell into an oil, but applying oils to hostile creatures is exceedingly difficult. A Poisoner's Glove will allow you to apply potions as poisons to enemies with a touch, as will the Touch Injection Alchemist spell. Charm Person, Cause Fear, and Rage are all low enough level and have the appropriate targeting conditions to be made into potions via the Brew Potions feat, though Rage still only works on willing targets (but see Murderous Command).

  • \$\begingroup\$ The poisoner's glove and touch injection seem like they should be higher in this answer. They allow potions to be delivered unto others via a touch attack, and that could totally include potions of charm monster, confusion, and fear. (Such potions would normally be slow movers as they'd usually affect the drinker.) That's about as custom as Pathfinder (pseudo-)poisons get. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 22, 2015 at 0:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I agree, but I'm not sure how to rearrange it so that it still easy to follow/readable. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 23, 2015 at 4:06

An adaptation of already existing rules could be your best solution. But will most definitely have to be run by your DM to insure its alright.

Rules for creating liquids that emulate spell effects already exists in game in the form of Potions. However, those potions currently only have beneficial effects, so a possible solution would be to create potions which have effects as if you had cast a negative effect such as charm person, etc to create the effects that you're seeking to emulate. By design the description of potions states, "Potions are like spells cast upon the imbiber." So creating one that gives a negative effect shouldn't be too much different than creating one with a positive effect.

To do this it wouldn't be too hard, the potion cost formula is (level of the spell × the creator's caster level × 50 gp), and the DC of the potion could be the same as the formula for any other magic item of its appropriate level. (This would change based upon the caster level of you, the potion creator) You would likely just have to run something like this past your DM and if he gives you the green light take the Brew Potion feat to get started.

You'd obviously have to hash out the details to make the Negative potions more similar to poison (instead of imbibing a potion or rubbing the oil you can inflict via injury to emulate a poison or via ingestion to simulate the similar poison mechanic) but once you and the GM work that out you should be good to go.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Potions only have beneficial effects? Since when? You can make potions (and oils which work much better as poisons) of any spell of the appropriate levels that targets one or more creatures or objects (and etc etc etc rules, none having to do with being beneficial). A Potion of Shatter is certainly not 'beneficial', nor is an oil of Inflict Moderate Wounds. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 21, 2015 at 4:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ d20pfsrd.com/magic-items/potions Where's a potion of shatter? Or inflict Moderate wounds oil? I don't see them on this list. This IS Pathfinder we're talking about. It provides a list of potions but lists no effects that could harm anything. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sandwich
    Sep 21, 2015 at 4:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Try here and here for the relevant potion-crafting rules. Your linked table is just a list of some random potions for DM use as treasure/shop inventory in D&D 3.5, though the rest of that page is also occasionally important Pathfinder potion rules. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 21, 2015 at 5:46

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