Wow, I thought that I disliked the poison rules in Fantasy Craft... On Sunday I listened to one of my players going on at length.... He really does not like them. (One of his catch points was that a fast-acting paralytic poison only knocks you out for one round....) I do agree that tying onset time in with duration does not make sense, even the one paralytic poison that I could brew acts a heck of a lot faster than the duration. (Deadly nightshade - onset in less than an hour, duration days.)
He says that now
, but wait until the GM uses a "realistic" poison on a character he's built up for months....
Eric is making noises about not wanting to run Master Craft,
Oh, he is
a GM. Then of course he wants realistic poisons.
Seriously, I would simply never run a game with realistic poisons - it's not even remotely fun. I say this not to shut you down but rather as a counter-point: there are people who would put the book down for the opposite reason, and my designer gut tells me I'm not in the minority.
All that said, your point has been taken - repeatedly. We've said we'll include more realistic poison upgrades in future Fantasy Craft volumes and we will - with the appropriate warnings about how they run just as real a chance of ruining your game, of course.
Actually, he had no problems when I did
use a realistic poison on his character.
I mentioned it more because I was surprised by his vehemence than to restate my position. I have strong opinions, but his were... possibly overboard.
Mind you, he was also the player who had problems with the mere idea of subplots, and now he has completed more subplots than any other player....
Also a point worth making - I do tailor my poisons to fit the game. I would not, for example, poison a PC with a polonium-210 pellet. I might well poison an NPC with one, and give the PCs the fun of picking up some serious rads during the investigation and cleanup, but not give a PC a 'bang, you be dead' poison.
But I do
want the players worried when their friend or team mate Bob starts convulsing, arching his back and screaming. I want them to taste the coffee, and notice how very bitter it tastes.
Nightshade, with all its symptoms, yes. Aconite, no problem. Meadow orchid, the same. Inky cap - heh, heh, heh....*
Destroying Angel would not be fun to use on a PC (get sick, get better, die). But could give the PCs a false sense of security that an NPC is pulling through, only to have the character to die of general organ failure. (I have seen Destroying Angel once in the state of Maine.)
Fly Agaric is another that can be entertaining - it has two significant properties, one is poisoning, the other is as a predecessor to Viagra. (Spanish Fly.) Depending on dosage, I can have all sorts of fun.
When Nappy's hair takes on a healthy sheen over the course of months, followed by lethargy and a greying of his skin, I want them wondering what is afoot on the Isle of Elba.
Other poisons can be handled simply because the warning signs and treatment are well known - decocting peach pits to make cyanide, or serving the pits, slivered, over noodles in a white sauce... The smell of bitter almonds and treatment are well known.
Realistic does not necessarily mean instantly or certainly lethal, but it can add a level of verisimilitude that I feel the current rules are lacking. (I liked those in SC2.0 better, but still tweaked them).
It may be worth noting that I read one heck of a lot more mysteries than I do fantasy or espionage. I enjoy the plotting of poisons.
The Auld Grump, and all this is why I will never kill anyone with poisons, antique guns, or explosives... too many people would look my way....
* Inky Cap remains the only poison that I have knowingly ingested or served to other people. It is delicious, and nontoxic unless ingested with alcohol. Even then the symptoms are limited to vomiting and diarrhea. A 'Sickening' poison. Onset is a matter of minutes.
*EDIT* In other words, I prefer changing the system to fit the real poisons, rather than tell the PCs that they are suffering from Gobbledygook Pseudoscience Toxin.
*EDIT 2* It is perhaps worth noting that Aconite (or Aconitine) has only been used successfully twice - once in 1881, the other in 2009. While deadly it is treatable, and the symptoms easy to recognize.