Sometimes the Deadliest Enemy Comes From Within
Poisons and diseases have been a part of the 3.5 OGL and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game since the beginning, but for many, they have never quite measured up. Any poison that didn’t do Constitution damage was a nuisance, not a threat, and poisons and diseases alike were treated as something for the cleric to wave away between combats with a convenient spell or two. Add to that the fact that few poisons and diseases have DCs high enough to be much of a challenge after 5th level or so, and that neither poisons nor diseases generally have any effect more interesting than ability damage, and the result is an entire component of the game that many players and GMs learn to avoid out of habit.
This book attempts to completely re-imagine poisons and diseases from the ground up, and creates an entirely new system of rules to handle them. Most of the basic elements of the poisons and diseases presented in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook are still present: you still make saving throws to resist their effects, and those effects are bad. Beyond that, though, the differences start to exceed the similarities. Both enhanced diseases and enhanced poisons (the terms for the new versions of these afflictions presented by this book) have multiple stages, and affect their victims differently in different stages. In addition to the effect, which is suffered when a saving throw is failed, as with normal diseases and poisons, each stage also has a symptom, a constant effect that applies for as long as the subject is in that stage, regardless of whether he or she succeeds on saving throws or not.
Of course, in reality, poisons and diseases are quite different from one another, and this is reflected here as well: enhanced diseases have new rules regarding how contagious they are, while, poisons have a toxicity rating, which measures how much of the poison is present in the victim’s body: the rising and falling of toxicity causes the poison to progress to different stages. Enhanced diseases and enhanced poisons also have CRs, and grant XP to characters that survive them. Enhanced poisons have rules for buying and crafting them, making them easily accessible to PCs.
In addition to all of these new rules, 100 new enhanced diseases and poisons are also provided (50 of each), ranging from CR 1 all the way to CR 20. Healers will have their hands full with every disease imaginable, from minor nuisances like swamp cough and salamander chills, to the exotic witch pox (which cause the victim to polymorph uncontrollably) or midden sickness (which causes you to release pheromones that attract swarms of vermin), to the truly deadly diseases like apocalypse spores and lillend’s revenge, while assassins will rejoice at a wealth of new poisons, from the simple knock-out poison, the specialized, like shifter’s bane (which returns shapeshifters to their natural form and harms them if they try to change back), or the inevitable, like diamond dust, which is all but impossible to cure, and so much more.
Imagine a world where poisons and diseases are as fun and engaging as combat encounters. Inflict these horrors on your party (or your party’s enemies) today!