Poisons are substances that may cause potentially lethal disturbances to organisms, usually through chemical reaction, when a sufficient quantity is absorbed by an organism. The fields of medicine and zoology often describe a poison as either a toxin or as a venom: Toxins are poisons produced by organisms in nature, and venoms are toxins that are injected by an animal’s bite or sting. Note that the differentiator between venom and other poisons is the method of delivery.
In the Star Frontiers rules, poisons, toxins and venoms are considered the same. For convenience, the term Poison will be used throughout to describe all three.
Poisons can be either ingested (must be eaten or drunk to have effect), injected (introduced into the bloodstream through a cut, bite or injection) or inhaled.
Poisons are rated by their strength (S) and duration (T) or (D); (T) is measured in 6-second turns, while (D) is measured in 10-hour periods. The poison causes a specific amount of STA damage every turn. A S5/T10 poison (such as that delivered by the standard poison gas grenades) will cause 5 points of damage every turn for 10 turns. Neutralizing a poison (using a shot of Antitox, for example) stops the poison from causing any more damage, but does not heal damage the poison caused on earlier turns.
Healing from Poison DamageEdit
Damage from poison can only be healed through rest or through the use of Stimdose.
Poison damage heals naturally at a rate of 1 point for every 20 hours the poisoned character spends resting. Resting means doing nothing more strenuous than taking short walks. A hospital can heal up to 20 Stamina points per day, at a cost of 1 Credit per Stamina point healed, plus 50 Cr per day.
A shot of Stimdose given by a medic will immediately restore 10 Stamina points if the points were lost to poison, disease or infection. These 10 points are restored even if the character is unconscious. If the character's Stamina has been reduced to -10 or less, however, Stimdose will not save him, because only one dose can be given effectively in a 20-hour period. Stimdose will not restore Stamina points unless the poison, disease or infection has been neutralized or cured with the proper drug, or if the poison has run its course.
Biocort has no effect on poison damage.
Optional Rules Edit
The following house rules may be used to add extra dimension to the Poison rules in Alpha Dawn.
Toxicity/Difficulty of TreatmentEdit
Some poisons are more or less toxic than others, adding a positive or negative modifier to the STA check to resist the effects of the poison. This modifier may range from a +20 bonus to a -20 penalty for a particularly toxic poison.
Likewise, some poisons are more difficult to treat than others, generating a bonus or penalty similar to that of resisting the poison, but applied to the treating medic’s Neutralizing Toxins skill check.
A given poison may have none, one, or both of these modifiers, and they need not be similar, for example, a venom may be very hard to resist (-10%), but extremely easy to treat (+20%).
A poison’s toxicity is not related to either its strength or duration; a S1/T1 poison might be extremely difficult to treat or to resist (-20% on both), while an extremely deadly poison (S20/T20) could be extremely easy to resist and treat (+20% on both).
Alternate Attribute-affecting PoisonsEdit
Standard poisons do lethal damage to a character's stamina (STA), but other types of poison may exist that affect other attributes. These are designated by the attribute affected thus: Sx(ATT)/Tx.
Stamina is still used to resist the damage, regardless of the targeted attribute. A character who has a non-Stamina attribute with a current score of 0 or less is either unconscious or paralyzed, depending on the affected attribute. There is no limit to the negative numbers an attribute can reach (e.g. a character exposed to a particularly strong anti-LOG poison may have a LOG score of -60 after the poison has run), leaving the character alive, but unconscious or paralyzed. However, given the rate of healing, the character will likely die of starvation, dehydration, exposure, or predators/scavengers long before consciousness or mobility is regained.
Characters heal from these alternative poisons in the same manner as they heal from standard STA-affecting poisons, but with the addition that since damage can be lower than -10, it can take much longer to recover consciousness or functionality. Multiple attribute damage heals simultaneously when healing naturally.
Stimdose will restore 10 points of whatever attribute has been reduced by the poison. In cases where a character has been affected by more than one type of poison, Stimdose will affect the attribute that is currently lowest; for example, a character has lost 25 STR and 30 LOG from two separate poisons; the Stimdose applied by a medic will be applied to the character’s LOG. After 20 hours, a second application of Stimdose will affect STR. If damage to LOG had been 40, then the second dose would have affected LOG again, since it would have still been lower than the STR damage. If two attributes have been reduced by the same amount, then the attribute that is lowest has priority. If all affected attributes are equal AND have been reduced by the same amount, the medic chooses which attribute to affect with her Neutralizing Toxins skill check.
- Strength (STR): Strength-affecting poisons weaken a character muscles, sapping their strength and reducing their carrying capacity and their Punching Score. Characters with Strength attributes of 0 or less are conscious but paralyzed, incapable of any voluntary movement whatsoever.
- Dexterity (DEX): Dexterity-affecting poisons affect a character’s nervous system, inflicting spasms that make it difficult to exert fine motor control or proper hand-eye coordination. Characters with Dexterity attributes of 0 or less are conscious but effectively paralyzed, with uncontrollable tremors that leave them incapable of any voluntary movement whatsoever.
- Reaction Speed (RS): Reaction Speed-affecting poisons affect a character’s nervous system in a different manner than DEX-affecting poisons; these poisons cause the nervous system to delay signals to the body, effectively slowing down reaction time without affecting fine motor control. Characters with Reaction Speed attributes of 0 or less are conscious but effectively paralyzed, as their brains signals do not reach the rest of the body, leaving them incapable of any voluntary movement whatsoever.
- Intuition (INT): Intuition- affecting poisons affect a character’s conscious mind, reducing their perception of the world around them, making it hard to think straight or remember facts. Characters with Intuition scores of 0 or less are rendered effectively unconscious (catatonic) until their INT scores are 1 or higher.
- Logic (LOG): Logic- affecting poisons affect a character’s higher brain functions, making it hard to apply logic to any situation and allowing their baser emotions or instincts to become more prominent. Characters with Logic scores of 0 or less are rendered effectively unconscious (catatonic) until their LOG scores are 1 or higher.
- Personality (PER): Personality- affecting poisons affect the social centers of the mind, effectively inducing passivity which inhibits the victim’s ability to interact with others. Characters with Personality scores of 0 or less are effectively rendered effectively unconscious (catatonic) until their PER scores are 1 or higher.
- Leadership (LDR): Leadership- affecting poisons affect a character’s decisiveness and ability to project ideas to others. Characters with Leadership scores of 0 or less are effectively rendered effectively unconscious (catatonic) until their LDR scores are 1 or higher.
Reference benchmarks Edit
Some real world poisons described in Star Frontiers terms for comparison:
- Black Mamba (snake) venom (injected) - S0.25/T300 (S0.25 = 1 STA every 4 turns)
- Cyanide (ingested) - S20/T3
- Cyanide (gas) - S2/T30
- Komodo Dragon (lizard) venom (injected) - S4/D16
Notes & ReferencesEdit
- Source: Star Frontiers: Alpha Dawn Expanded Rulebook