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Old 03-12-2014, 04:19 AM   #11
vicky_molokh's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Kyv, Ukraine
Default Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora

Q: Some poison descriptions in High-Tech are confusing. Can I get some clarifications?

A: Some Krommwords on more specific answers:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post

With formatting.

Originally Posted by BraselC5048

If an effect (such as seizures) happens regardless of a HT roll, how long do they last once you pass a roll? Or if they happen on a failed roll, how long do they last after you pass the second or later rolls?
The non-injury effects of a poison depend on which of these options the poison uses:
  1. Per p. B438, symptoms triggered automatically by injury persist until HP recover to above the relevant threshold: 1/3, 1/2, or 2/3 of HP. (Poisons may use fatigue thresholds and FP instead, but it's the same idea.)
  2. Also per p. B438, effects triggered by failed resistance rolls specifically for those effects, separate from any rolls to resist injury, normally endure for minutes equal to margin of failure.
  3. Ill effects that don't fall into the first two categories share the poison's duration: until all remaining cycles are up. Effects end when the final cycle ends. If a poison offers resistance rolls, then "all remaining cycles" means however many cycles you fail rolls for; if the poison cannot be resisted, then that's the full course of cycles.
Specific poisons might make exceptions but if no exception is noted, then assume none is needed.

Originally Posted by BraselC5048

Botulin Toxins - Seems I've been able to figure out that you keep rolling until you get the antitoxin, and if you fail a roll, you're not only paralyzed, but need to be on ventilation, or you die. In other words, respiratory paralysis, or in game terms, choking, not paralysis.
This one is indeed unclear because the wording sounds like option #2 above but doesn't fully respect those rules. As far as I can tell, it's really option #3 with open-ended cycles, meaning that the effects don't end until someone gets treatment for time equal to that needed to recover from a lasting crippling injury. However, the effect is actual paralysis (i.e., you can't move) it just includes being unable to breathe as well.

Originally Posted by BraselC5048

With Strychnine, it's still not clear. Do you have to make dozens of rolls to avoid choking, or do you only have to pass one? If dozens or more, it's really deadly - effectively a 100% fatality rate. If it's one, then the fatality rate is about 50%. And of course, the "how long do the seizures last" question. If you do suffer chocking, can being put on ventilation in a hospital keep you alive?
The seizures last for 2d hours, since that's how long the poison lasts. The rolls to avoid choking occur every five minutes during that time until you pass one. This is spasmodic, not paralytic, so I'd use the standard rules for duration: minutes equal to margin of failure. I would allow ventilation to work if choking occurs.

Originally Posted by BraselC5048

Ricin - Now I know that choking is if you both fail the first roll and a future roll (it was ambiguous, but now it makes sense). If you pass a roll, do you still have to make future rolls? And how long do the effects last, of course, plus would ventilation help if you do start choking?
This appears to be a standard case of rules option #3: The effects last while you continue to fail resistance rolls. The first successful resistance roll ends the cycles (again, per p. B438). As long as you keep failing, though, the non-injury effects persist. If choking sets in, then yes, ventilation would help. Ventilation is a specific treatment for choking regardless of its cause.

Originally Posted by BraselC5048

Curare - Only a 41% fatality rate for Joe Average, is that right? And nobody really knows if the total number of rolls is 4 or 5.
As with all cyclic poisons, "repeats" implies an initial cycle. Something that repeats four times has a total of five rolls. The average HT 10 person is going to fail all five HT-6 rolls (90.8% chance), suffer the full run rather than shake it off early, take a net 10d injury (avg. 35 HP), go to -2HP, have to make two HT rolls to avoid death (75% chance of failure), and thus die of pure injury 68% of the time. Of course, if he critically fails by rolling 14+ against HT - 6 = 4 at any point, he'll choke as well and be even more certain to die without ventilation.

Originally Posted by BraselC5048

DMSO - Just came up with the question, can you use more then one dose at once (for 2 doses of poison)?
Yes, you can. If you have n doses of poison, you'll need n doses of DMSO to deliver it, but that's fine. Realistically, huge puddles of DMSO would tend to diffuse, cover too much area to fully contact the skin, and of course be visible. I'd say that each doubling of dosage gives +1 to rolls to notice the poison. I'd also say that the multi-dose benefits of poison stop at four doses, if you're relying on casual contact rather than literally pouring the entire dose on someone, but that the +1 per doubling to rolls to notice the poison continues.
And a bit more:

Originally Posted by Kromm
Originally Posted by BraselC5048
So for Botulin Toxins and Ricin, you suffer the damage listed on each failed roll? I had no idea that would be the case. Makes them a lot more deadly, then.
For ricin, the damage does indeed cycle:
Regardless of the roll, he suffers 3d toxic damage, nausea, and vomiting; failure means he also experiences coughing. This repeats at eight-hour intervals for 10 cycles . . .
For botulin, it does not:
At the next 12-hour interval, he must make a HT-1 roll to avoid paralysis . . .
Note that that it says nothing about damage being repeated. Botulin kills you by paralyzing your respiratory system semi-irreversibly, not through immediate toxic shock.
Vicky 'Molokh', GURPS FAQ and uFAQ Keeper
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