4 thoughts on “Critical poison

  1. I stumbled on this via reddit, and I have some concerns. I can understand a non-Injury poison not gaining the benefits of a crit, but Injury poisons viably should despite the saving throw based on the requirement of a successful attack in order to apply the poison’s effect. The saving throw determines the extent of the effect (in the case of the Basic Poison for the PHB, this means no damage on a save), not whether the poison has an effect. I don’t see this as much different from an attack spell being able to crit.

    Take Shocking Grasp as an example. You could separate cause (touching a creature) with effect (lightning effect causing damage). Which should correlate to cause (stabbing a creature) with effect (weapon damage, sneak attack, poison, smite, etc.). Yet Shocking Grasp can gain crit damage while a Poison can’t? How does that make sense?

    I’d argue that any effect with an integral attack component should be able to crit. That’s just for consistency. If injury poisons are too strong for this consistency (which arguably purple worm poison likely is, though in it’s defense and given how extremely difficult it is to harvest, it should be potent), then their damage should be reduced to match.

    • Zoltar says:

      Brainy Kevin

      Poisons is something that Master Jeremy is thinking about as you can read in this rules bug: http://www.sageadvice.eu/2015/02/24/poison-bug/
      So there’s no answer for now, just house rules.
      If you want my opinion based on these rules I think that shocking grasp differ from poison because shocking grasp is a lighting that if touch particular body area (head, spine) could be more lethal than a injecting poison. Poison take time need to affect body life system.

      But please, this is just my opinion, in geneal this is DM’s call

      Have fun

      • I’m glad you’re looking into poisons for errata, and I do see your point.

        We can’t fully compare these actions to real world scenarios, however, if we could, it makes more sense to suffer a mild electrical shock to the chest or head with no ill effects (especially if you account for the variance in bodily impedance) than to have your heart, liver or brain exposed directly to a poison. The time it takes for the body to fight off a poison is related to whether the poison can rapidly gain access to these systems (among others). With some poisons, there’s no possible treatment once it reaches the heart and gets fully circulated around the body through the bloodstream.

        In a gaming system, this type of lethality doesn’t make sense because it would be too powerful. Damage rolls simulate the pain and effect to the body’s systems (possibly even collapsing) from the poison warring with the immune system. Magic can take the place of limited medical science to cure what should be impossible. Consistency is a unifying factor that aids belief in the system, and currently I don’t think crits are consistent.

        I’ll definitely be talking this over with my DM and group. I eagerly await your future rulings on this subject and others.

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