The Poisoner’s Handbook (debut)

I began working on a poison crafting system because I was sick and tired of an assassin asking me about poisons. It wasn’t their fault. At level three in Dungeons & Dragons, assassins gain proficiency with the “poisoner’s kit”. What does that do? Make a basic poison? Who knows! The official content doesn’t give us much to work with.

I wanted an immersive system for creating poisons. I wanted something more interesting than just buying basic poison ingredients, spending a few hours on it, and pow, you have a poison! When adventurers run across venomous monsters, they should be able to extract that venom for crafting. It’s an intuitive, interesting, and fun way to interact with the world.

Over the course of writing this crafting system, I found more holes in the D&D basic rules. For instance, the amount of poison entering the bloodstream doesn’t seem to affect anything. Hitting an enemy with a poisoned dagger once, twice, or five times is treated like any other attack. The effects of the poison don’t stack. I couldn’t just leave these glaring gaps. Then one patch led to another, and then another, and then another. All of a sudden, I found myself with an entire book about poisons.

Image found within the Poisoner’s Handbook

Time to Publish!

After play testing, reviewing, and rewriting this system, I realized The Poisoner’s Handbook could be used in more games than D&D. The mechanics are consistent and self-contained. Yes, the math between systems varies quite a bit, so to help bridge the gulf between game systems, I did include a chapter for suggestions on conversion.

Ultimately, I started out intending to make a small homebrew supplement for my table, but the idea just kept growing. As I put more and more time into crafting this book, my goal shifted to something bigger. I wanted a supplement that could be used at a variety of tables, that would make GM’s lives better, and would be fun and immersive for players. I think that’s what I got, and I really hope that’s what you’re going to get out of this book.

What Am I Getting?

I wanted to make a product that truly offered value to the DM/GM. The book itself is 57 pages and contains original art by Athena Victoria. The font, paper texture, borders, and layout were crafted with care and intent. But you’re not just getting a single book. When you purchase the Poisoner’s Handbook,

you’ll download a zip drive containing 5 individual files.

In addition to the Poisoner’s Handbook, you’ll also receive a players edition and a black-and-white players edition. I removed the poison recipes, poisoner weapons, and some of the back-end mechanics from the player’s edition. I wanted the GM to be able to hand a rulebook to their players but keep a few surprises up their sleeves.

Image found within the Poisoner’s Handbook

(Of course, the black and white version is meant to make printing a little more convenient)

You also find 2 more files titled “Poison Recipes” and “Poison Weapons”. These are convenient, printable versions of the poisons and weapons found in Appendix A and Appendix B. They’re designed to be cut out and handed to players. I kept the busy GM/DM in mind.

What’s in the book?

The book itself contains:

  • A system for stacking poison effects.
  • A system for crafting poisons.
  • A system for identifying poisons.
  • A chapter for converting this supplement to other game core mechanics.
  • 8 weapons any assassin would love to get their hands on.
  • 15 poisons and their recipes.
  • A glossary with inner-document links to quickly access specific chapters.
Image found within the Poisoner’s Handbook

What’s next?

This will be the first of many books published and distributed by The Wizard’s Respite. We want to have a positive impact on the TTRPG community, so we intend to produce more supplements, continue the blog, and even work on an original core rule system. There is a long road ahead but were eager to get walking.

To that end, however, we would like to hear from our readers. Let us know your thoughts. We want to move toward our community, so we need to listen to that community. If there’s a specific type of content you want to see, let us know.

Image found within the Poisoner’s Handbook

For now, keep an eye out for our next review, how-to, or industry news article. Thank you for reading my work, and I hope you have an enjoyable time inflicting agonizing death upon your enemies!

Until next time, assassins, happy murdering!

-Ash Alder

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