After a bit of googling and not finding what I’m after, I’m asking here:

After a bit of googling and not finding what I’m after, I’m asking here:

After a bit of googling and not finding what I’m after, I’m asking here:

I’m curious how everyone deals with poisons/venoms vs players. Is it a simple case of “Defy Danger + Con vs”, or do you do something else?

14 thoughts on “After a bit of googling and not finding what I’m after, I’m asking here:”

  1. I don’t see why Defy Danger isn’t perfect for it, unless poison is going to be an incredibly common thing, only then would I think it would require its own move.

  2. My short answer: Don’t think too hard about it, just keep the fiction first.

    My long answer: Poisons (and curses and broken arms and other nebulous non-damage hazards) didn’t make sense to me. I was starting by thinking up custom moves and rolls and coming up blank, but I was putting the cart before the horse!

    Think up the nature of the poison: what are its nasty symptoms? How quickly does it progress? What’s the ultimate fate? What’s the cure? Describe the hell the PC is going through and have them defy danger (with Con probably) as they try to adventure with those symptoms. Sprinkle on a debility or debilities if it feels like there should be an immediate nasty consequence, but that’s just a cherry on top.

    Just a simple example off the top of my head: an dream-touched poison that causes lethal sleep in three days. It causes overwhelming drowsiness in the victim, causing them to be uncoordinated and distracted during the first day, prone to sudden uncontrollable and ill-timed naps during the second day, and plagued by pleasant but unshakable waking dreams/hallucinations the third day. After the end of the third day, the victim peacefully falls asleep and never wakes up. Dehydration is the final killer.

    That oddball poison doesn’t need anything else to it! You can just have the player Defy Danger with Constitution as they try to perceive their surroundings, swing swords, concentrate on magic spells, or cross country without having their fellow adventurers have to carry them Bombur-style.

  3. Defy danger works great.  Don’t forget debilities as poison/venom effects.  I created a threat for my game called “The Taint”  When they came in direct contact with The Taint roll +con.  On a 10+ they get a glimpse of the plans of the outsiders, 7-9 you resist but take minus 1 forward as you fight it off.  If they fail I had them put “taint” on the character sheet and make a clock with 4 sections, and fill in 12-3 oclock.  When you are touched by corruption at start of session, roll +wis.  6 minus advance corruption 1 step, 7-9 choose 1 (take -1 ongoing as you fight the corruption or advance your corruption), 10+ reduce your corruption.  As corruption advanced it caused problems.  3-6 oclock the corruption could spy through the eyes of the corrupted, 6-9 oclock they would have to defy danger to act in direct opposition to the corruptions goals, 9-12 they become an empty shell controlled by the corruption.

  4. Casey McKenzie​, great examples! Those, for me, are custom moves. I agree with the other when they said that don’t overthink, but in key scenes/villains/etc. I believe that is great make some remarkable effects, always in fiction, of course.

  5. Mostly: what Jonathan Spengler said. That’s gold, there.

    Figure out what the poison does. If the answer is “kills you,” ask yourself “how?” Some poisons paralyze you to death (shutting down your breathing, heart). Others cause cell necrosis, often accompanied with infection. Others overwhelm your nervous system, triggering pain and seizures so severe you can go into shock. And that’s all real-world stuff!

    Start with what the poison does. Describe that, along with the other crap going on. Ask what they do. If the poison would get in the way, tell them so and ask if/how they push through. Let the Defy Danger (or whatever other move they were going to do but with -2, like someone was interfering).  No matter what action they take, on a miss (or even 7-9 on Defy Danger), escalate the symptoms of the poison. Maybe tack on a debility or some damage, depending on what the poison does.

  6. Note on poisons: slow acting poisons make for richer fiction in your game.

    Insta-kill poisons tend to kill the fiction along with their direct victims(“You’re/they’re dead, so that’s over, now.”); slow lingering poisons, on the other hand, can generate a lot of fiction before reaching their end result (“You feel yourself getting sicker… and sicker… and sicker…”)

  7. If you use a hard move to poison them, they don’t necessarily get to defy that danger.

    It is useful to make sure you are not simply thinking of Defy Danger as a saving throw. It is, instead, a catch-all move for someone actively avoiding some danger.

    Once the poison is in you, you might just be poisoned….

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