4
\$\begingroup\$

As the title suggests: Does Concentrate Poison Stack with itself?

This is one of those weird questions that I honestly would have expected to have been asked somewhere, especially here, but I haven't actually come across anything in searching.

For Reference,

Concentrate Poison

The alchemist can combine two doses of the same poison to increase their effects. This requires two doses of the poison and 1 minute of concentration. When completed, the alchemist has one dose of poison. The poison’s frequency is extended by 50% and the save DC increases by +2. This poison must be used within 1 hour of its creation or it is ruined.

Source Pathfinder SRD

Now, I can see a few options here and I honestly don't know what it is supposed to be RAI. First, you can concentrate only once and it doesn't stack. Second, You can keep concentrating as long as you have doses of poison and make an unbelievably powerful one (I hope that isn't RAI)

Third is a more likely scenario. You can concentrate, but it is a recursive thing. IE: You need two doses of concentrated poison to concentrate it to the next level and two of that level to go on, etc. Now, with the one hour time limit, this method would force a permeable limit on how concentrated a poison can get. But, would the timer start again when you re-concentrated it or would it maintain the time it had before?

As a completely bonus question. What is the maximum concentration you could get a poison to by yourself and what would the cumulative effects be?

P.S. Despite my searching, it is entirely possible this question has been asked before. If so, I apologize.

\$\endgroup\$
7
\$\begingroup\$

First of all the process does not state that it cannot accept its own product as an input. In order for the product not to be a valid input, it would need to specifically exempt it, as it also specifies both that the process works on any poison that comes in doses (not exempted, of course) and that the end product is such a poison.

Next, the ability does state that you need two doses of the same poison. While a case could be made that the base poison and its extra-strong form are the same poison, it seems pretty clear from context and the workings of similar rules that they should not be. So, particularly given your balance concerns, of the two equally RAW interpretations the one differentiating between concentrated and non-concentrated poisons is probably the better choice, especially if Paizo ever publishes a poison variant of the contagion spell.

With outside assistance, there is no maximum limit to the concentration of poison, though the resources required to achieve each level past the soft cap are exponential in growth. Without outside assistance the total time required in minutes is \$2^n - 1\$ where \$n\$ is the desired concentration level of the poison, and the cap is hit when the difference between a level and the previous level is more than 50-60 minutes (depending on GM ruling as to when the dose is used, RAW seems to slightly favor the shorter time limit. We will see later it turns out not to matter, though). This makes the rule:

$$(2^n-1)-(2^{n-1}-1) \le 50$$

or

$$2^n-2^{n-1} \le 50$$

or

$$2^{n-1} \le 50$$

so the cap is at 6, since the 7th level would require 64 minutes of preparation to make, and the 6th level only requires 32. Conveniently, this eliminates any need to resolve our previous ambiguity as to when, exactly, a dose is used.

The 6th level of concentration results in a poison that costs 64 times as much, takes 63 minutes to make and is spoiled by even the slightest interruption, lasts for only an hour itself, and provides a 1039% increase to duration (~11× as long) and +12 to the save DC. This is a fairly expensive option for the meager power it provides, but certainly goes a long way towards making poisons of the less combat oriented type much more viable when used (since you will generally have time to prepare them safely).


Ok, so, for curiosity, I've been trying to optimize the solo crafting order to maximize the highest level of potion created. This is pretty much just a math problem; don't continue reading this unless you are interested:

My best so far is: first hour: get 60 level 1 poisons from 120 level 0 poisons (regular doses)

second hour: get 30 level 2 poisons from 60 level 1 poisons; get 30 level 1 poisons

third hour: get 16 level 3 poisons from 32 level 2 poisons (two of which were crafted at the end of the cycle using produced level 1 poisons), get 30 level 2 poisons from 60 level one poisons (leaving us with 28 left for next time), get 14 level 1 poisons

fourth hour: get 8 level 4 poisons from 16 level 3 poisons, get 14 level 3 poisons, 8 level 2 (one produced from lv 1 poison from this turn), 30 level 1 (28 at end of turn)

fifth hour: 4 level 5 poisons, 8 level 4 poisons (1 produced from threes made this turn), 4 level 3 poisons (leaving 2 for next turn), 15 level 2 poisons, 28 level 1 poisons

sixth hour: 2 level 6 poisons, 4 level 5 poisons, 2 level 4 (1 using poisons produced this turn), 8 level 3 (1 using poisons produced this turn, leaving 6 at end of turn), 14 level 2 (leaving 12 at end of turn), 30 level 1 poisons

seventh hour: 2 level 7 poisons (1 using poisons produced this turn), 2 level 6 poisons (0 at end of turn), 2 level 5 poison, 3 level 4 poisons (1 at end of turn), 6 level 3, 15 level 2, 30 level 1 poisons

eighth hour: 1 level 8 poison, 0 level 7 poison, 1 level 6 poison, 1 level 5 poison (from 1 level 4 produced this turn), 3 level 4 poisons (2 at end of turn), 8 level 3 (1 from 1 level 2 produced this turn, 15 level 2 (14 at end of turn), 30 level 1 poisons.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ sigh... no mathjax. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Feb 11 '16 at 8:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Definitely a +1 here. That's almost exactly how I took the wording as well. With some shenanigans you can actually get the recursion to the 7th level, but there's a bit of fudging you have to do (You take the first 100 doses and concentrate them twice, the second concentration taking only 25 minutes, then you take the remaining 28 and concentrate them twice, giving you another 21 minutes. The oldest dose is now only 46 minutes old.) I'll wait a day and then likely accept this unless anything else comes up. \$\endgroup\$ – Naryna Feb 11 '16 at 16:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BrandynBaryski Yeah, I noticed that but I couldn't figure out how to maths it yet so I was hoping it wouldn't turn out to be relevant because exponents. Will update with better maths sometime maybe, but you aint getting past like 8 or 9 for sure. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Feb 11 '16 at 16:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BrandynBaryski the highest appears to be 8, by trial and error, but I'm not convinced 9 can't be done solo. Also note that additional alchemists rapidly pushes away the cap. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Feb 11 '16 at 17:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm surprised you got it to 8. I figured the fact that the first recursion level would take 128 minutes would make it impossible no matter how you split it up. Really impressed. I'm going to edit the bonus question to make it be solo only. No need to get into crazy shenanigans of having hundreds of alchemists brewing "The God Killing Poison". \$\endgroup\$ – Naryna Feb 11 '16 at 18:28
-3
\$\begingroup\$

Given that in 60 minutes of work you could use up 1.15 quadrillion doses to get a poison that lasts 30x as long with a DC of +120,

I would assume thecommon sense interpretation to be "does not stack".

\$\endgroup\$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.