Knowledge (poisons)

Knowledge (poisons) encompasses not only a poison's appearance and usage, but its history, antidotes (if any), makeup, and common organizations that might use it, as well as natural ways of counteracting it.

On a DC 15 check, the character knows if a particular poison has a medicinal use.

On a DC 20 check, the character can tell if a particular malady or condition might benefit from a certain poison or drug.

Table 1 lists the base DC by rarity of poison type. The factors from Table 2 are applied to the character's roll when he makes the Knowledge check; the following checks use the base DC plus a modifier, depending on how hard the information is to find out.

On a DC +5 check (base DC for the poison type, +5), the character knows the poison's most common use – incapacitation, killing, or merely to inflict suffering – as well as if the poison's effects and common cures.

On a DC +10 check, he can name well-known individuals and organizations that use the poison.

On a DC +10 check, he knows who first developed the poison (if this is known at all) and for what purpose.

On a DC +15 check, he can name less well-known individuals and organizations that use the poison.

Table 1: Poison Rarity

Type of Poison DC
Common (arsenic, cyanide) 10
Uncommon (stonefish venom, belladonna) 15
Rare (blue ring octopus venom) 20
Very rare (unique poisons) 25

Table 2: Poison Factors

Factor Modifier
Character has the poison and/or symptoms described in detail by another source +1
Character can examine the victim +3
Character tests poison by delivery method (tasting for ingested, smelling for inhaled, etc) +71
Character tests the poison another way (tasting an inhaled poison, or smelling a contact poison) +22
Character can examine some of the poison or a poisoned article +7
Character has knowledge of the poison that was used (i.e. he has experience with using it or has seen it before) +10
Character is unfamiliar with the poison used -5
Poison has multiple components -5/comp.

1 Testing poison in this manner is very dangerous; the character must make a Fort save with a +6 circumstance bonus when testing small amounts.

2 As above, but the character must make a Fort save vs. half the poison's DC.

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