I don’t like 99% of poisons, venoms and similar dosings being save or die. Never have, never will — and it’s probably been fairly obvious from my own game stuff over the years. I’ve got better (and sometimes more deviltry-creating) things to do than wipe out a character with a single roll. On top of any other reasons I could reel off, it’s boring.
I’m sure it will aggravate any OSR Purists[tm] reading this the same way I’m sure it did when I cheerfully ignored save-or-die poisons posting on my old blog back in the vicinity of 2009. Didn’t care then, dont care now. Lol.
So in that vein, here are a dozen unpleasantnesses that do a variety of weakening, complicating things. They might lead to a (near-)death, but they don’t flat-out inflict one:
01. Pea-On-The-Skin: Skin hypersensitivity; silk feels like sandpaper. Concentration is virtually impossible, as is rest. 2d12 hrs.
02. Gravetaint: Cannot heal; curative magics instead wound horribly. 4d6 hrs.
03. Founder’s Curse: Inflicts a random elemental weakness, taking double damage. 4d6 days.
04. Greylily Tincture: Lowers physical abilities by one-third. 1d6 days.
05. Martyr’s Yearning: Mortifies the flesh; all injury is increased by one-half again. 2d4 hrs.
06. Moonsnail Venom: Sluggish, delayed reactions; always responds last. 2d8 hrs.
07. Wounded Angelcap: Paralyzes a limb. 2d6 days.
08. Skyjewel Essence: Confusion and hallucinations; cannot tell friend from foe. 3d4 hrs.
09. Crimson Kiss: Thins the blood; all injuries continue to lose minimum damage each action unless immediately treated. 1d4 hrs.
10. Palelily Tincture: Sprouts scaly growths, twisting visage into a demonic one. Diplomacy fails two-thirds of the time. 1d6 days.
11. False Flight: Appears dead; spirit is turned loose as a “living ghost”. 3d4 hrs.
12. Perfection Of Marble: Slowly petrifies flesh; one physical ability lowers by one/day. 4d4 days.