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The Fantasy Poisoner's Handbook (Codex the First)Click to magnify
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The Fantasy Poisoner's Handbook (Codex the First)


I was angry with my foe;

I told it not, my wrath did grow

What does it means to be a poisoner?  It has its roots in anger, long-standing grudges, hatred concealed behind a smile and a friendly word, and an absolute lack of forgiveness or charity.  Deception and guile are its trademarks.  It is, at its heart, a cowardly act, finding its treacherous completion in darkness, from a distance—preying upon a victim’s frailties while the poisoner lurks unnoticed in the shadows.

All of that sounds pretty bad, but none of it holds a candle to this, the most grievous sin of  a proper poison:  it’s darn near impossible to model in roleplaying games.  Poisons—meaningful poisons—shouldn’t be something that a couple die rolls can reduce to a hiccup.  But attempts to put a bit of kick back into poison often result in making them too lethal:  no one wants to see a favored character taken out by a “save-or-die” mechanic.  Even with a 95 percent chance of success, we’re left with a 5 percent chance that months of game time are about to go up in smoke (or rather, down in a pool of black ichor, but I digress).

This book is about poisoning not as a game mechanic, nor as an enhancement to attacks that, quite frankly, don’t need any more enhancements.  It is about plot devices.  Mysterious afflictions which carry an element of the unknown, which demand genuine urgency in finding a cause (and a cure).  Eight new, system-free poisons with notes on crafting, detecting, and treating them, and which send a very clear message:

I want you dead.  I’m coming for you.  And I know how to get to you.

Happy gaming, everybody.

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Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
August 3rd, 2013
Opening with a discourse on poisons in RPGs - the balance between being too deadly and just plain not scary enough, and their use as a plot device rather than as a combat option - this neat little product provides no less than EIGHT ingenious and well- [...]
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File Last Updated:
August 01, 2013
This title was added to our catalog on August 02, 2013.