How does crafting poisons work?

  • So I have been playing D&D for some while now, since 3.5 (skipped 4e) and crafting in D&D has always been something I detest as its REALLY poorly handled in my opinion as a game designer myself.

    I am currently DMing a game and one of my PCs is a rogue who has a poisoners kit and wants to develop poisons to coat his weapons. I can easily homebrew some stuff up if needed. But I was curious if there was anything in RAW (either DMG or PHB) that states what it takes to actually create your own poisons, and what poisons a player can create. Page numbers to support claims is highly preferred. I have looked through the books but was unable to find anything substantial except for the Poisoners Kit which says something along the lines of "Allows the Player to create poisons".

    If there are no RAW solutions to this problem I have something in my back pocket for it so that isn't really what I am looking for.

    Do you have a copy of the DMG available to read?

  • nitsua60

    nitsua60 Correct answer

    5 years ago

    The DMG pp. 257-258 has a bit of what you're looking for: descriptions of fourteen sample potions, with damages and costs. A few individual descriptions contain enough detail to make (some) ingredients obvious--see Carrion Crawler Mucus and Serpent Venom, for example.

    As for crafting poison...

    During downtime between adventures a character can use the crafting rules in the Player's Handbook to create basic poison if the character has proficiency with a poisoner's kit. At your discretion the character can create other kinds of poison. Not all poison ingredients are available for purchase, and tracking down certain ingredients might form the basis of an entire adventure. (DMG p.258, emphasis mine)

    Even combined with the PHB Poisoner's Kit (p.154: "Proficiency with this kit lets you add your proficiency bonus to any ability checks you make to craft or use poisons.") and Crafting (p.187) sections, there's not much here to go on. Combining all three sources could go something like this:

    1. Character would like to make Assassin's Blood poison (DMG 257-8). It costs 150 gp to purchase.
    2. Crafting such a poison will take 30 days along with proficiency in the poisoner's kit (PHB 187).
    3. At the end of the 30 days character will make a check to see if the crafting was successful. Let's base this check off of the example of Serpent's Venom on DMG p.258:
      1. It's a DC 20 Nature check to harvest the serpent's venom, which creates a poison with a DC 11 Con save. Since the Con save for Assassin's Blood is only 10, your crafting DC for the Assassin's Blood poison should be less than 20.
      2. Failing the harvest-check badly can go badly for the character. Ditto brewing Assassin's Blood (or distilling, or decanting, or whatever).

    I think that's all the rules have got for you.


    And here's my bonus inspiration for GMs that read this far: the bottle of 'wine' I saw at my doctor's office this afternoon...

    Vietnamese Snake-Wine

    Yes, that's a bottle of wine with an entire cobra in it. And yes, in the cobra's mouth is a whole scorpion.

    @nitsua60 I just checked in the SRD and it does indeed say "you make progress every day in 5-gp increments until you reach the market value of the item." You may want to add the relevant text to your answer.

    @nitsua60 I wanted to add that I did find a crafting "cheat sheet" online that shows 25gp/day increments. Maybe that's from the playtest or maybe it's an additional rule from the DMG. The cheat sheet also shows the different types of poisons that could be created (from the example poisons in the DMG). IIRC the PHB only has "Poison, Basic."

    That cheat sheet's wrong. (Crafting a magic item progresses in 25 gp per day increments, but all other crafting's at 5 gp per day.) I don't really feel a need to dilute the answer by blockquoting the text: I've got the reference to the proper page right there on that line. (I feel like the question at its core is about poisons, not the general crafting rules.)

    Crafting and harvesting are unrelated. Crafting has no check, harvest takes only 10 minutes.

    It's not p 278, it's 258. I edited it but couldn't save because edits must be so-and-so many characters. which is dumb.

    @Sandra good catch--thanks!

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM