These substances will affect a target as soon as they touch or are touched by them. There are two ways to use contact gels: either through application on a stable surface (such as a table or a doorknob), or by applying them to a weapon so that they can be used offensively in combat. When applied to a stable surface, the Alchemy tag must be applied to the item. Contact gels will last until used. Once touched and thus activated, the effect will last for the normal duration for that type of effect. A Sleep contact gel, for instance, would affect a target for five minutes once touched. The tag must be prominently placed in such a way that a person inspecting the item could see it and know that there was something on the item (though it does not need to be visible without close inspection). If the person applying the substance comes in contact with it, he or she will be affected by the substance.
Example: Finther sees two locked boxes in front of him. The first one has a prominent Oil of Slipperiness tag placed upon it. This tag represents the contact poison on the box. Since Finther has Herbal Lore, he can inspect this gel tag for a minute and tell that it is an Oil of Slipperiness. He doesn’t see a tag on the second box so he picks it up and then feels the tag. Oops! He looks closer at the box and sees, taped to the back, a Paste of Stickiness tag. He immediately realizes that his hands are stuck to the box for five minutes.
When a contact gel is instead applied to a weapon, the tag is simply attached to the weapon via tape or some other temporary measure. Used in this way, the coating will remain active on the weapon until it strikes a valid target - a blow which is blocked by a sword or shield, or misses entirely, will not disable the coating so long as the coating’s effect is called with each swing. If the weapon is destroyed in some way, the coating is also destroyed. No more than one coating may be applied to any weapon at any single time, and a new tag must be applied every time a new coating is applied even if it is of the same type as one which was just used. If you do not call the coating in your verbal, then the coating is used up.
A coated weapon can be swung normally by anyone with the appropriate weapon skill. Its damage does not change, but instead of being called as whatever the standard carrier and effect of the weapon would be, it changes to “X Poison <Effect>”. The only exception to this is the Vorpal coating, which does not affect anything about the weapon swing except its amount of damage
To place a weapon coating on an arrow or bolt, you must rip the “unused” flag off the tag and then attach the tag to your skill ring next to your arrow or bolt tags. This represents that some of your arrows or bolts have been covered with the weapon coating. Once a missile has been so coated, it can be used at any time. Each coating will cover two missiles.
A character who owns an Alchemy workshop can place weapon coatings on arrows/bolts at the rate of four arrows/bolts per weapon coating. This must be done at Logistics or a Crafting station but does not cost any Production Points. The marshal will initial the Alchemy coating tag and staple it onto a tag of four arrows/bolts (or more if multiple coatings are used at once), ripping the “unused” flag from the Alchemy tag(s). If your missiles or quivers are stolen, shattered, or lost, the tags for the coated missiles must be turned over first.
Coatings applied to weapons will go inert over time. After a coating has been applied to a weapon, it will expire if not used by the end of the event.
As with any Physical delivery attack that uses a special carrier, the specific Poison effect will only affect the target if it does body damage to the target. Any valid defenses against any part of the swing will negate the entire attack—for example, a Resist Poison, a Parry, or a Poison Shield would all stop a coated weapon swing from affecting the target.
Once a coated weapon lands a valid swing against an enemy, the coating tag should be removed at the earliest opportunity (though this should not interrupt combat or force a Hold to be called).
Example: Finther, who has Herbal Lore, applies a Weakness contact gel to his dagger by taping the tag to the weapon and ripping off the “unused” flag. He runs into battle with his short sword in his right hand and his dagger in his left. He strikes at his arch enemy Vorin with his short sword until he is certain that he has gotten past Vorin’s armor and then strikes with his dagger, saying “1 Poison Weakness .” Unfortunately for Finther, Vorin responds with “Poison Shield!”, so the poison has no effect and Vorin will take no damage from that blow.
The minimal time needed to apply a contact gel (whether on a stable surface or a weapon) is the actual time to tape the tag onto the item, but never less than three seconds. In both cases, the “unused” flag of the tag must be removed as the tag is attached. Applying any contact gel requires the Herbal Lore skill, even when done in an Alchemy workshop to bolts or arrows.