Poison blades have always been a staple of the Rogue in RPGs, and when I was looking through the Pathfinder 2nd Edition rulebook, the Dagger of Venom caught my eye. Yes, I am a Rogue player at my blackened heart, but I also enjoyed the twist in mechanics present in this latest edition. It would be incredibly easy for the game developers to say “add 1d4 poison damage” and simply move on, but here we get an added affect on critical strikes, and a rather strong ability that can be used once per day.
By limiting the dagger’s abilities to critical strikes and a once-a-day affect, this item won’t unbalance your game at lower levels, but adds that cool factor to your party Assassin. However, don’t feel like you have to limit this item to a Rogue. Keeping in mind your player’s backstories, it would be interesting to gift this dagger to a Paladin that comes from a criminal background. I mean, he/she was not always a member of the holy order, right? Also, one could mix up the status affect if you are playing a different system or just wanted to flavor the dagger another way. Changing the affect to something along the lines of “on a failed save the poisoned target receives a -2 to Intelligence/Wisdom checks” or “the target auto fail concentration checks”, and presto-change-o, you have a Dagger of Mind-numbing!
Of course you can reward your players with this weapon by having them loot a dead villain, but below are a few story hooks if you want to mix it up.
- A package is delivered to a member of the party signed “From an old friend”. It can be a player with a criminal background or Rogue of the party, but have this mysterious sender lay low for awhile, and suddenly approach the party looking to bring this player back into the fold of their criminal network.
- An underground guild (thieves or Assassins) gifts the party this dagger in return for a favor or to seek revenge against a rival.
- The party finds a dagger that appears to have been used in an assassination attempt and is designed to inject a dangerous venom, however, it has long since been used up. The party can then attempt to use Alchemy to create their own poison or seek out an experienced Alchemist to assist. This way the player can help mold the dagger and its affects by choosing what kind of poison he or she creates.