When you’re new to BX D&D / Old-School Essentials, the terror of saving throws (such as a save vs. poison) can be palpable.  But death isn’t the only outcome from such saving throws. Let’s take a look at some great examples of creative uses of saving throws (in this case, saves vs. poison) in the excellent The Black Wyrm of Brandonsford by Chance Dudinack.

  • Mold: Touching the mold releases a spore cloud; save vs. poison or 1d2 damage.
  • Spoiled Food: Eating it deals 1d2 damage and the character must save vs. poison or vomit.
  • Dragon’s Poisonous Bite:  Save vs. poison or take 1d6 STR damage. A character brought to 0 STR dies. (The author doesn’t specify if, how, and when STR would recover; I’d have it recover like the normal HP healing rules).
  • Giant Spider’s Bite: Save vs. poison or die in 1 turn

So poison can be handled in a variety of ways, some annoying and comical, others progressively lethal, and some leading to death in just 1 turn. Throw some variety into your games! You can even house-rule the effect of a poison in pre-written adventures on the fly.