Monday, July 26, 2010

So Has Anyone Else Noticed (Poison)

So in the monster section of my Companion, I was doing a little editing 'cause I realized I had made a note about POISON that the effects of a blown save did not generally equate to instant death...that a failed save could result in shaking and shivering for a few rounds (and thus perhaps allowing an opportunity for a cleric to cast neutralize poison, or for some form of anti-toxin to be administered).

I edited this because it didn't jibe with my overall idea that the Companion doesn't change the Basic and Expert set rules, but only supplements (i.e. adds to them). I'm not, for example, changing the cleric's low-level spell list or giving energy drain a saving throw. If DMs want to house rule such things, they're totally allowed to do so under the letter of Moldvay's Basic Set. It's not my place to do anything but compliment these rules (and add some extra OPTIONAL rules).

But then, as I read through the monsters in Moldvay's Basic set last night, I noticed (apparently for the first time since I didn't remember this AT ALL!) that many of the monsters with poison attacks...including the medusa and giant have a certain period of time before poison takes effect; sometimes several ten minute turns even! the heck did I miss that?! I always found it bizarre in play that there was this cleric with the neutralize poison spell, and this attack form (poison) that instantly killed players...I mean, when is the spell supposed to be administered? Does it perform a kind of "raise dead" on poisoned characters? By default I usually allowed it to be case within one round of poisoning to actually neutralize the venom (I think that's what I do,'s been awhile since I can recall such a circumstance occurring in game).

Apparently, I should read my monster descriptions a little more carefully; obviously, Moldvay was a sharp guy (I don't think the Monster Manual provided "delayed" poison, but I'll have to check that later) and I, personally, do not know B/X quite as well as the back of my hand like I thought.

More on this later (perhaps).


  1. I've been looking over B/X lately, seeing what I can mine from it, and did notice this on some of the monster descriptions. I think it's a good idea, although I personally created a few classes of poison to systematize things (which I'll be describing in my blog with props to your post here).

  2. in BECMI the Expert sets states that Neutralize Poison it can be cast up to 10 rounds after the subject died of poisoning to neutralize the poison and BRING THE CHARACTER BACK TO LIFE.


    re:B/X vs BECMI: I miss the X part of B/X.

  3. @ Wayne: Thanks!

    @ Tsoj: the same rules for Neutralize Poison are present in the Expert set (and dare I say, they were there before BECMI). I just read that a little later this morning AFTER my post.
    : )