The Drow Elite Warrior does 3d6 extra poison damage (no save!), it's not a magical sword but an ability of the creature. So that same sword in the hands of another character is just a sword, it's the super special drow elite poison that makes the damage. I'd feel cheated if I were a player, considering that according to the DMG errata injure poisons stop working after being delivered through a wound.

Injury poison can be applied to weapons, ammunition, trap components, and other objects that deal piercing or slashing damage and remains potent until delivered through a wound or washed off.

The rules say nothing about this, that I could find. Any suggestions about how to handle it in a game, particularly while playing Out of the Abyss? If they by some strike of luck manage to kill or subdue an Elite, they are going to want to have that super-powerful sword. Or the first time they poison their swords they are going to be annoyed that the poison just works for one attack... Probably they won't notice, but I rather be prepared.


As you stated in your question, this is a creature ability, not a weapon bonus. You can think of this as an elite fighting style where the drow are trained to keep their weapons poisoned as part of the fighting style by whatever theatrical method you choose.

Perhaps the elite drow keep the outer layers of their greaves soaked in this poison, and after each successful hit, they draw the length of their sword along their greaves as part of the motions for readying for the next turn.

Ultimately though, the players who pick up these swords will not gain the benefit unless of course you choose to rule that the weapon has been poisoned per the rules and is effective for one successful hit, but that's your call.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually, drow poison exists (DMG 258) and can be applied to weapons but has another effect. In Out of the Abyss, you can even find vials of it that the drow use to treat crossbow bolts (OotA p. 12), which then gives the effect as described in the Hand Crossbow action of the drow elite warrior (MM 128). However, the sword's effect can't be explained as easily... maybe they use something similar :) (which would imply that they have to apply the poison regularly) \$\endgroup\$ – Yotus Feb 12 '16 at 15:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ The poison and vials don't really have to do with how it's applied to the weapon. Obviously arrows, bolts and quarrels are multiple weapons so when you treat a quiver of them, they are all poisoned at once but get used individually. However the rules for poisoned weapons are still the same no matter which poison is being applied. So the elite drow warrior must be practicing a technique that allows them to continuously recharge the poison on their blades. I just posed a single theatrical mechanic of how that might be accomplished, but it's really only an example. \$\endgroup\$ – Escoce Feb 12 '16 at 15:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ An unofficial Crawford tweet from April 2018 supporting this ruling: "Sometimes a monster's stat block lets a monster deliver a special effect through an object, such as lightning damage through a scepter. Unless a rule says otherwise, the special effect is a function of the monster's use of that item, not a function of the item itself." \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Nov 3 '19 at 5:26

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