What would you rate an Immunity to Poison to be, Lesser or Greater?
The main rulebook quotes "Fire" and "Iron Weapons" as examples of Greater Immunity, with no examples given for Lesser Immunity. Lesser Immunity states, however, that the character is immune to "some hazard that is either rare, or not deadly, or both."
In my opinion, poison would probably fall under the "rare" category. After all, how often have you seen poison used in your respective sagas?
Note that, to me, an Immunity doesn't need to be total. A very strong and deadly poison might end up making the character sick and/or weakened -- it just wouldn't kill him.
I know that there has been discussion regarding Greater/Lesser Immunity in the past, and that it is one of the vaguer virtue pair in the rules. I'm not looking to re-hash those discussion, just looking for opinions on the specific value of an immunity to poison. Should it be limited to some kind of poisons to fit a Lesser Immunity? Note that this would be more of a "color" virtue for the character -- I don't expect him to be exposed to poisons very often, although this could happen once in a while.
I played a magus with Great Immunity poison. Any and every poison he could drink it like water. Of course I also gave him Difficult Longevity Rit to reflect his nature being resistant to ANY such poisons.
I think specific branches of poisons.... Natural poisons, Terram poisons, Herbam poisons, poisonous gas, poisonous liquids, ect I think specifying them like that would be good for lesser immunity.
To add, that character also could not enjoy or be affected by alcohol, because I considered it a poison as well. My poor little Tytalus poisoner apothecarian would have to create a massive dose of precisely mixed poisons so that he good get the buzz or high he was looking for... mixtures that could kill half a dozen men.
Greater. Without doubt due to how extremely wide the definition of "poison" is.
For it to be Lesser, i would want to restrict it to some type of poison, or perhaps to poisons from animals, poisons from plants, poisons from nonliving sources and so on.
In most sagas, lesser, just because, despite the wide number of possible poisons, it usually is rather infrequent, and that's what's important.
I mean, compare poison and steel. Both are deadly.
Yet, how often in your gaming have you seen someone die of poisonning compared to a blow from a sword or dagger?
Likewise with poison and fire. Note that, in a magicless setting, I could very well see Fire being a minor. It is, IMO, major only because of CrIg and Flambeau (Oh, and dragons).
Of course, if your saga is a "cloak and dagger" one where most people uses poison on a regular basis, it should be major.
I agree. The Virtues talk about how "common" or "rare" the hazard this. I think this should read in the context of your saga. If the immunity will save your character practically every story, then its "common". If it will only save your character a couple of times in the whole saga, it's "rare".
Of course, there is a bit of survivor bias here --- if your character knows he is immune to poison, then he's more likely to start bothering asps at every opportunity.
As always, as long as your troupe is happy, you've made the right pick of "lesser" or "greater".
My guess is that, in the stories we tell in Ars Magica, neither poison nor disease are common. However, in the setting, diseases were certainly a common source of danger. Poison perhaps a bit less so. A specific kind of disease might be a Lesser Immunity.
I've recently also come accross Greater Immunity: Poison in HoH:MC p.41, under the "Lizard" entry for Beasts of Legend. The "Eagle" entry has Lesser Immunity: Blindness, whie the "Weasel" entry has Greter Purifying Touch: Venom.
It seems from these examples that Lesser is for a quite narrow field. But of course, as stated by another poster, the final decision rests with the troupe.
You choose Lesser or Greater, then your SG adds venomous creatures to the extent that makes your choice pay for itself. That is, if you choose Greater, you are voting for a -lot- of Toxic creatures, on a "As useful as the Gentle Gift" level.