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Mastering the Wild

Harvesting Poisons

Source Ultimate Wilderness pg. 142
While some think of poison as an assassin’s tool, the herbalists and naturalists of the world know that poison carries in it no more inherent evil than fire or water. Indeed, in the wildlands of the world, harvesting poison to give a hunter an edge or to aid in the production of antivenom is a time-honored practice.

While Craft (alchemy) is necessary to brew long-lasting poisons, there are many natural sources of poison in the world, and poison crafters who wish to avoid the expense of purchasing raw ingredients may seek to harvest poison from natural sources instead. The following section presents rules for harvesting poisons from the wild.

Unless a dose of harvested poison is preserved (see Preserving Harvested Poison), it remains potent for 24 hours after it is harvested.

Harvesting from Dead Creatures: Once a venomous creature is slain, its venom sacs can be removed, allowing 1 or more doses of its venom to be harvested for later use. In order to harvest venom, the creature must have been dead for less than 24 hours. Every hour the source creature has been dead reduces the lifespan of the harvested poison by an hour. Removing venom sacs is a messy and time-consuming process, requiring 10 minutes of work, access to surgical tools, and a container to store the venom in. If proper surgical tools are not available, a dagger or other light slashing weapon can be used, although this imposes a –2 penalty on checks to harvest the venom. The harvester must succeed at a Survival check (DC = 15 + the dead creature’s CR) in order to successfully harvest poison. On a success, the harvester acquires a single dose of the creature’s venom, plus 1 additional dose for every 5 by which the result of this check exceeded the DC (to a maximum number of doses equal to the creature’s Constitution modifier, minimum 1). Failing the check causes all of the venom to be lost. Failure by 5 or more exposes the harvester to 1d3 doses of the creature’s venom unless she has the poison use class feature.

Harvesting Poison from Hazards: Some hazards, such as poison oak and spider vines, feature poisons that can be harvested by those who know how to do so. This process requires 1 hour and an alchemist’s lab or alchemy crafting kit. If the harvester succeeds at a Survival check (DC = 15 + the hazard’s CR), she collects 1 dose of poison. Harvesting poison from a hazard in this way requires getting close enough to it to touch it, which may expose the harvester to the hazard’s effects.

Milking Venom: Venom can be harvested from a living creature without harming the creature, although the process is dangerous unless the creature has been trained for that specific purpose (see the Handle Animal skill). For most venomous creatures, this involves stretching a thin canvas over a jar or vial and then coaxing the creature to bite into the canvas before massaging its venom glands, causing the venom to drip from its fangs into the container. Similar methods are used for creatures that deliver venom in other ways, such as with a stinger.

Milking a single dose of poison from a creature takes 10 minutes of work and requires a successful Handle Animal check (DC = 10 + the donor’s Hit Dice + the donor’s Wisdom modifier). Failure by less than 5 indicates that the venom is not collected, but the handler suffers no other ill effect. Failure by 5 or more indicates that the creature bites, stings, or otherwise injects the handler with its venom. It automatically hits the handler with one of its natural attacks that delivers its poison, and it applies the effects of the attack normally. The creature might continue to attack the handler after doing so, possibly initiating combat. Milking venom from a cooperative intelligent creature doesn’t require a Handle Animal check but presents a 5% chance of exposure to the venom.

A creature can produce a number of doses of venom in this way each day equal to its Constitution modifier (minimum 1). A creature that is milked of venom this many times in one day (whether or not the attempts are successful) loses its poison special ability until the next time it rests.

Preserving Harvested Poison: Poison harvested from a creature or hazard remains potent for 24 hours. If a character wishes to preserve harvested poison for a longer period, she must treat it alchemically, as if crafting the poison with Craft (alchemy) but using the poison dose as the raw ingredients normally needed to brew a dose of the poison and thus avoiding the gp cost to craft the poison.

Crafting Antivenom

Source Ultimate Wilderness pg. 143
While antitoxin, as presented in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook, presents a generalized tool for protecting oneself from poison, more specialized antivenoms can provide even greater protection against specific poisons. Creating a dose of antivenom requires a dose of the specific poison that the antivenom is designed to protect against.

Antivenom Effects: A single dose of antivenom automatically neutralizes the first exposure of the specific poison it is made to combat and provides a +8 alchemical bonus on saving throws against additional exposure to that specific poison; this bonus decreases by 1 every hour, until the effect ends after 8 hours.

Crafting Antivenom: To create a dose of antivenom, a living creature must first be exposed to a half dose of the poison in question. The creature suffers the poison’s effects normally, except the saving throw DC to resist the poison is reduced by 2. In order to be able to produce antivenom, the creature must succeed at the necessary saving throws to be cured of the poison. If the poison’s duration expires without the creature being cured, no antivenom can be harvested.

Once the creature has resisted the poison’s effects, a viable sample of the creature’s blood can be extracted with a successful DC 20 Craft (alchemy) or Heal check. This blood must then be refined to extract the natural antibodies that combat the poison in a process that takes 1 hour and requires a successful Craft (alchemy) check (DC = 5 + the poison’s saving throw DC). Success yields 1 dose of antivenom.

Antivenom can also be harvested in the same fashion from a creature that has been afflicted by a full dose of poison, rather than a creature deliberately given a half dose for this purpose. Regardless of how much poison the creature is exposed to, the antibodies in its system can be harvested only for 24 hours after it has recovered from the poison.

Purchasing Antivenom: Antivenom is not particularly expensive, but because it is highly specialized, it can be difficult to find. A dose of antivenom has a market price equal to half the market price of a dose of the poison in question, but it is treated as though its price were five times the market price of the poison for the purposes of determining its availability in any given settlement. Alternatively, if 1 or more doses of the poison in question can be provided, most alchemists will supply as much antivenom as they can produce from the doses for a fee of 10% of the market price of the poison.