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Drow Poisons

By Susannah Redelfs

Velkyn Ogglin ("Invisible Foe")

Number of Doses: 3
Type: M, Contact, Neurotoxin 
Onset: 1d4 minutes 
Damage/Result: 20 fail, 5 save 
Frequency of Active Ingredient: Rare 
Cost Per Dose: 175 gp in Underdark, as much as 800 elsewhere

This rare poison is taken from the toxin sacs of the uncommon *dakhree* fish that swims in certain Underdark lakes. The brewer must remove the sacs with gloves on his hands if he wishes to avoid being poisoned himself. The sacs are located all over the fish's six-inch body, and are tiny, requiring a steady hand and delicacy to remove effectively, hence the rarity. The dakhree fish hunts by rubbing against its prey, releasing the toxin onto its victim. On most fish, the effect is instantaneous, though humanoids take longer. At the time of onset, the poison causes the victim to convulse as the potent substance attacks his nervous system. The victim begins grand mal seizures and suffers spinal damage, his back arching and twisting violently as his body jerks involuntarily. If the poison is not neutralized before it has run it's course, the victim will require a cure serious wounds spell to recover from the nervous system damage: bed rest alone is not sufficient to cure him of the debilitating aftereffects.

Khaless ("Trust")

Number of Doses: 12 
Type: D, Injected, Neurotoxin 
Onset: 1-2 minutes 
Damage/Result: sleep as in wizard spell (fail), no effect (save) 
Frequency of Active Ingredient: Uncommon 
Cost per Dose: 15 gp in Underdark, as much as 50 elsewhere

This is the famous sleep-poison of the drow, used on their crossbow bolts to immobilize an enemy so that he can be killed at leisure. The active ingredient comes from the spores of the oloth'arr mushroom. While the mushroom itself is fairly common, harvesting the spores is not an effortless chore. Still, it is common enough to be almost trademark. The poison attacks the central nervous system, causing the victim to fall asleep as per the wizard spell for 20 rounds. Unlike the magical version, elves are vulnerable to this effect, as it is biological and not magical.

Belbol d'Elghinn ("Gift of Death")

Number of Doses:
Type: F, Injected, Hemotoxin 
Onset: Immediate 
Damage/Result: Death if fail, none if save 
Frequency of Active Ingredient: Very Rare 
Cost per Dose: 300 gp in Underdark, as much as 1,400 gp elsewhere

This powerful poison, greatly prized by drow nobles for assasination, is also known as Elash Elghinn, "Silent Death", after the venomous water serpent of the same name. The venom takes effect immediatelty, causing damage to the victim's blood vessels and causing dramatic and extensive hemorrhaging. Within minutes, the victim will gush blood from his mouth, eyes, nose and ears. He will have time to develop bruises all over his body before he mercifully dies. Drow find death caused by this venom to be particularly entertaining. However, there are certain individuals who seem to be immune to Belbol d'Elghinn, and upon whom it has no effect at all. However, when it does work it causes a spectacular (if regrettably short) show.

Orbb'st Ssrin ("Spider's Kiss")

Number of Doses:
Type: I, Ingested, Septicemic 
Onset: 2d6 minutes 
Damage/Result: 30 if fail, 15 if save 
Frequency of Active Ingredient(s): Uncommon to Rare 
Cost per Dose: 150 in Underdark, as much as 500 elsewhere

This poison is brewed from venoms of five different spiders. As all spiders are sacred to Lolth, the venoms must be carefully harvested without killing the spiders. All of the spiders used are huge in size, allowing for more easy harvest of the venom. The collected venoms are then dried to a powder and added to a strongly-flavored food or drink, as it does have a slight sour taste. The poison causes chills, fever and prostration for several hours, and, if not halted by a neutralize poison spell, does permanent damage to the body's immune system. This makes the victim more susceptible to disease and poison in the future (-2 to all poison saves and Constitution/Health checks vs. disease), a weakness that can only be counteracted later by use of a *heal* spell.

Golhyrr del'Ilharess ("Trap of the Matron")

Number of Doses: 1 (6 parts) 
Type: J, Ingested, Cumulative Irritant 
Onset: Special 
Damage/Result: Death if fail, 20 if save 
Frequency of Active Ingredient: Rare 
Cost per Dose: 400 gp in Underdark, as much as 1,800 gp elsewhere

This poison is the flesh of the rare krashyll mushroom. Successful administering of this poison to one's enemies is seen as quite a victory of cuel'a'cul (the drow ritual of slowly, over time, destroying one's enemy while remaining blameless). It must be given in six stages, its poison slowly building in the body, in doses no more than a two tendays apart. Since drow are a suspicious race, it is easy to see why success with this poison is greatly admired, worthy of the twisted, centuries-long plots of the Matron Mothers. It's name also suggests that it requires the power and subtlety of a Matron Mother to use effectively. After administering the sixth dose, death will strike its victim in half an hour, causing the throat to suddenly close up in massive anaphylactic shock. The victim dies of asphyxiation within minutes unless an antidote or neutralize poison spell is used. Note that while choking to death, a priestess cannot cast any spells!


Jal wun Jivvin ("All in Fun")

Number of Doses:
Type: P, Injected, Debilitative Irritant 
Onset: 1d3 hours 
Damage/Result: All ability scores reduced by half for 1d3 days, no effect if save 
Frequency of Active Ingredient: Uncommon 
Cost per Dose: 25 gp in Underdark, as much as 60 gp elsewhere

Compared to some of the other poisons used by drow, this is no more than a gentle warning. It is not directly fatal, though the poisoned one might wish it were otherwise. It could become lethal if the poisoner is able to strike while his victim is weakened. The poison is brewed from the venom pouch of the rakhyrr, a blind species of underground toad. The victim is plagued by intense nausea, vomiting, fever, chills and malaise. A neutralize poison spell will take care of it immediately, limiting its usefulness against the priestesses of Menzoberranzan.

Rathrae Dos ("Behind You") 

Number of Doses:
Type: O, Injected, Neurotoxin 
Onset: 2d12 minutes 
Damage/Result: Victim is completely paralyzed for 2d6 hours, no effect if save 
Frequency of Active Ingredient: Uncommon 
Cost per Dose: 25 gp in Underdark, up to 75 gp elsewhere

This is a poison greatly favored by Matron Mothers for use in their torture chambers. Brewed from the venom of the ghostyk, a strange insectoid creature that resembles a praying mantis, it attacks the central nervous system, rendering its victim completely incapable of movement, though fully capable of feeling pain. Why it should be so prized by the drow should be obvious. Note that this is a biological, not magical or terror-induced effect: elves are fully susceptible.

Haszak ("Mind Flayer") 

Number of Doses:
Type: Injected, Special 
Onset: Instant 
Damage/Result: As the 5th-level wizard spell feeblemind for 1d6 days, save as spell 
Frequency of Active Ingredient: Very Rare 
Cost per Dose: 1,500 gp

This is not strictly speaking a poison, but a very potent alchemical creation. Using a certain nerve cluster in the brain of an illithid, the potion is magical in nature. It's cost reflects both the rarity of its active ingredient and its unusually long duration. It is an effective, if expensive, toxin to use against a spellcaster, as it acts in almost all respects as the feeblemind spell. It does have an interesting variation, though: rather than reduce the victim to a state of retardation, it causes hallucinations and paranoid delusions for its entire duration, punctuated only by interludes of catatonia. This is a potion dearly loved by the sadistic drow.

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