Poisoning People with Mundane Poisons

The CrAn 40 spell Venomous Velites in HoH:TL on page 139 includes "It is important for magi with weak Parmae Magicae to ensure they bear the mark." in reference to the created scorpions. Presumably, this is because a Parma can provide protection against the effects of the spell.

Sure, but there is more to it than mundane v. Might. If you CrAn an animal without momentary w/ vis, it is a magical mundane animal rather than just being mundane or being an animal with Might. Consider CrAn to make wolf as well as other wolves and if their bites (a mundane action) must bypass Parma Magica:

  • Momentary CrAn ritual mundane animal - not resisted
  • Other CrAn spell/effect mundane animal - resisted
  • Actual mundane animal - not resisted
  • Momentary CrAn ritual animal with Might - not resisted
  • Other CrAn effect animal with Might - resisted
  • Actual animal with Might - not resisted

You can see the active spell/effect issue in that list. The created thing may well be mundane but also be and active spell/effect at the same time.

Having a look through Hedge Magic, it turns out only a few things allow you to do this - Gruagachan curses make it easy to inflict a minor flaw, but there's nothing to reduce poison resistance, and reducing Stamina has a base of 15. Learned Magicians - Vulnero Salutem harms people like PeCo, and does not actually make you more vulnerable to regular health hazards like poison or disease. Vulnero Fortunam can reduce rolls involving characteristics so you can reduce Stamina rolls a little. This is a shame, as Learned Magicians can gain Mythic Herbalism as a virtue and the rules are reprinted in their Virtues & Flaws section.

Now Vitkir - they are perfect for this. The question is do you count poison as a disease (covered by Kauno) or something else? Berkanan specifically includes physical injuries, but not sickness from diseases or poisons. Kauno covers fevers, diseases, things causing sores and burning pain as well as heat and light. I suppose a venom wound counts as a burning pain associated with injury and sickness, so close enough. Kauno runes carved on the underside of the drinking vessel with the poison in should make for a nasty attack.

Rival magic - Amazon Soma magic just rips people apart and kills, or heals. When you can kill a seen stranger at sight range as a level 20 spell, I guess poison is for your mundane friends. The Augustan Brotherhood don't do magic affecting the human body or mind, but they recruit from people clever enough to make decent doctors of medicine. Soqotran magi can add to your soak against specific attacks, but can't make you more vulnerable.

Muspelli - now they get all the vicious stuff. Hex can force someone to automatically fail an important task, so you could curse someone to fail their next poison roll and then poison them. Muspelli Ettin-mod can develop the venomous Quality and keep stacking it. Threads of Fate utiseta can force extra botch dice or using the lower of two dice rolls, so could be useful for this. They can use Shapeshifter to go beyond usual size ranges and affect other people, so could turn minions into snakes. Summon Animals has an example given of summoning a magical lindwurm. A muspelli who worships Nidhogg could make for a horrifying serpent cult of poison.

That's a useful summary - thank-you.

Thinking about Vitkir a bit more, they seem to have one major downside when it comes to poisoning people (or, at least, getting away with poisoning people); namely that the rune script becomes an arcane connection and "intangible-tunnel-alike" to you (and has your name on it if you don't take the -5 penalty to avoid that, but I think that one can largely be ignored). You can't engrave the script on the food, as that's going to be destroyed as soon as it's eaten, thus ending the effect, so you need to engrave it on the utensils and hope you can retrieve them afterwards before anyone looks at them too closely.

Muspelli - I don't think Nidhogg (or his allies) give Hex? You're probably better off with Gullveig, for all she doesn't have quite the same venomous connotations as a giant serpent, or Leikin. Threads of Fate Utiseta (which Leikin gives access to) can force your target to roll a zero, which isn't as good an an automatic botch, but can still bring the Ease factor you need down significantly.

Other options:

Solomonic Physic: An Incapaciting Wound with EF 12 would be a level 30 spell, but you need to penetrate. Whilst casting it as a ritual doesn't change the penetration requirement, it does have the interesting features of the option of delaying its start, and of preventing the poison from being healed naturally for as long as the spirit maintains the spell.

Woe: Not much use, especially as the effects immediately reverse upon the spell wearing off.

Faerie Antipathy: At first I thought Granting a Faerie Antipathy to poison might have potential, but it only applies to Ability rolls, so it wouldn't affect poison resistance.

Maleficia: Incantation/Consumption lets you permanently transfer the debilitating aftereffects of poison to another character, whatever exactly that means in practice, but will need to penetrate. Incantation/Maladiction allows you to give the target a penalty equal to twice the magnitude of the effect to all rolls of a specific type (such as, say. poison resistance rolls), plus the same number of additional botch dice .

Well I thank it was in TL but it was in fact in Hoh:S. I'm sorry !

I was talking about the "Summoning the Creeping Death" spell which does state the snake's attacks may be resisted. But it seems once a character has been bitten, the poison cannot be resisted. (The spell simply tell to follow the poison rules of the core book).

You cold use a fairy sympathy to boost your herbalism or medicine roll to make a poison.

There is also a minor virtue in RoP:Infernal which grants +3 for a particular sin (poisining is one of the examples).

That could help any method discussed here.

My first reaction to this was that it wouldn't work, because there isn't generally a roll involved in the production of Theriacs. Reading RoP:F more closely, though, I can't actually see that sympathy traits only affect rolls; just that they turn any simple rolls into stress ones. Reading further (pg 105), it is possible for a magus to add an appropriate Sympathy trait to his lab total in a few circumstances:

  • Using it as a speciality to his magic theory ability. In this case, the magus must experiment
  • As part of the Shape and Materials bonus to enchanting a device, if the Sympathy is appropriate to the shapre/material. This is subject to the overall Magic Theory cap on total shape and material bonuses.
  • By designing an enchanted device as a charm. This means that the device must always be activated in secret.

I think only the first one is really translatable to theriacs. To be consistent, I'd expect it to be possible to apply a sympathy trait to your medicine/herbalism score, but you'd have to experiment (and due to the way experimentation with theriacs work, you wouldn't get the benefit of a simple die, just any risk modifier, and only up to the new total medicine score). It's therefore a viable but risky way forward with theriacs.

It doesn't help with Mythic Herbalism, as that's a supernatural ability, and therefore not eligible for sympathy traits.

Aptitude for (Poisoning), by contrast, I think might work to add +3 to the Mythic Herbalism roll, but not to theriacs, as there isn't a roll involved in the lab total.

As you state, the snake's attack is explicitly magically resisted, and the poisoning its target is part of the attack, so therefore subject to said magic resistance. The rules in the main book then go on to state an ease factor of 9 for the stamina roll to resist an asp's venom. I don't think it makes sense therefore to say it's not resisted.