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- In Noir, Shaoli delivers deadly poison with a mere scratch of her fingernails. She's treated as objectively villainous, and her request to join Soldats is turned down...by Chloe's blade.
- The Pokémon TV show loves this trope.
- Jessie and James of Team Rocket originally started out with an Ekans/Arbok and Koffing/Weezing. Jessie later owned a Seviper and James an Amoonguss.
- Paul, a Jerkass trainer who puts his Pokémon through Training from Hell, has a Drapion, a Nidoking and a Magmortar that knows Smog.
- Two of the commanders of Team Galactic, Saturn and Jupiter, have a Toxicroak and a Skuntank, respectively. In addition, the Galactic Grunts each own at least one Golbat.
- Hunter J's minions also have Golbat and Crobat, while J herself uses a Drapion and Ariados in battle.
- Inverted with Ash's Muk, however. It's a very friendly Pokémon that loves giving hugs. His dependable Bulbasaur is never seen taking advantage of its type, and Brock's aloof yet effective Croagunk usually only uses its Poison Jab as a Moment Killer Running Gag when its master is in danger of making a fool of himself. (It did use it offensively on Jesse in one episode, but it was to protect the other good guys.)
- Played with in One Piece via Magellan, the warden of the prison Impel Down. His Devil Fruit, the Venom-Venom Fruit, allows him to generate poison from his body at will. While definitely an antagonist, as the Impel Down arc has Luffy breaking into the prison to rescue his brother, Magellan is also the last line of defense keeping many of the worst criminals in the One Piece worldnote from seeing the light of day.
- There are also plenty of villain who aren't afraid of using poisoned weapons, including Don Krieg, Crocodile, Wanze and Duval.
- Bizarrely exists in Naruto where despite everyone being assassins, mostly only villains rely on combat that involves something other than direct confrontation. For the pre-timeskip some of the only users of poison are the 2 rain ninja during the start of the Zabuza arc, and Kankuro (who becomes a good guy but his poison focus is introduced when he's a villain). Later on we get Sasori who focuses on poison in the same way Kankuro does and it's not until MUCH much later does Sakura use her expertise in medicine to make a poison kunai as one of the only purely good guy examples.
- The few times that poison has been used in Berserk, it has been the province of villains, such as Adon Corbowitz's use of poison in his duel with Casca, or the conspiracy to kill Griffith.
- In Fairy Tail, one of the many "second generation" Dragon Slayers that Natsu encounters is Cobra, the Poison Dragon Slayer. He is, unsurprisingly, evil.
- While Monster features a lot of killers and murderers, the only ones who ever employ poison are Johan Liebert and Franz Bonaparta.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! duelists who use poison-themed decks are rare, but they tend to be evil:
- Professor Cobra was the Big Bad Wannabe of season three of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, and his Venom Deck was not only designed to destroy opposing monsters, but weaken and hurt them first. He was a sadist.
- In Yu Gi Oh Zexal, Mr. Heartland had a henchman named Kurage, an unholy cross between a human and jellyfish, who could poison his enemies. Not only was he clearly evil, he was as arrogant and sadistic as the higher-ranking villains. He first poisoned Rio to blackmail Shark into dueling him, and as if that weren't enough, poisoned Shark to make him weak, giving himself a clear advantage. (If this guy was designed with the intent to make a heartless villain, the writers succeeded, and his use of poison only helped.)
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Yuri had already been established as a sadistic Psycho for Hire willing to trap anyone who gets in his way in a card, but it's capped off by the reveal that his Iconic Item dragon's name is Starve Venom Fusion Dragon.
- All times when poison comes up in the Evillious Chronicles involve it being used to kill people—a particular example is the light novel Gift From The Princess Who Brought Sleep, with the titular gift being the wrong kind of gift.
- Ilulu from Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid can breathe corrosive poison and was introduced as an Ax-Crazy maniac who loved destruction. Subverted when it turned out she was a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds and performed a Heel–Face Turn.
- Poison and horrid drugs are common among Batman's enemies:
- The Joker is famous for his Venom, which not only kills people, but leaves them with a ghastly smile.
- The Scarecrow uses a variety of chemical toxins that cause fear and otherwise alter emotions.
- Combining this Trope with Drugs Are Bad, Bane uses a highly addictive steroidal compound on himself which is also called Venom which, if taken too much, might as well be poison. (This was emphasized in the adaptation Batman Beyond, where years of taking the stuff reduced Bane to a helpless invalid on life support.)
- Poison Ivy, of course. She has altered her body to the point where she can enchant men with pheromones and slay them with a kiss. Her blood is deadly.
- Spider-Man's enemy Mac Gargan used poison only in one version of his costume in his identity of the Scorpion (which is odd, considering the arachnid he'd named after) but it was a very potent three-part toxin. The first dose would cause weakness and pain, the second convulsions, and death within twenty-four hours, and the third (if he was being truthful) instant death. He was able to inflict doses one and two on both Spidey and J. Jonah Jameson before an antidote was found.
- The Red Skull has used a concoction called "Dust of Death" over his career. Similar to Joker's Venom, it kills a victim and causes the skin on the victim's head to shrivel and turn red, making it look like the victim has a "red skull" for a head. The Skull himself became a victim of his Dust, and while he survived due to an antidote, still suffered the secondary effect, making his head a living red skull.
- Wonder Woman has an entire legacy of villainesses called Doctor Poison. They are all expert in the use of poisons, toxins and plagues.
- Red Sonja has the Queen of Plagues arc, which reveals the plague to actually be broad-scale poisonings. The villain responsible used it to wipe out enemy militaries, then dispatched his general to execute the survivors on grounds of preventing the spread of disease. The poison's inventor was a medieval physician depicted as cowardly and unnatural.
Films — Live-Action
- Inverted in The Princess Bride.
- Played with in 9 to 5, when Violet fantasizes about killing Mr. Hart. She imagines herself as a Snow White-style Friend to All Living Things, yet bumps him off by poisoning his coffee, to the general rejoicing of animated Woodland Creatures and desk-chained employees. An animated vaporous skull-and-crossbones appears above the coffee cup when she pours in the toxin.
- Though Kill Bill has assassins as major characters, Elle Driver, the most evil and treacherous of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, is the only one in the saga to make extensive use of poison. She tries to poison the Bride while she's in her four-year coma, only to be warned off by Bill, who considers the act to "lower" them, and later uses poison in her killing of Budd (who she sics a black mamba on) and Pai Mei (whom she gets rid of by poisoning his fish heads).
- In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, Snow's choice method to rid himself of rivals and dissenters is poison. Finnick presents this as a massively cowardly and evil thing to do.
- In A Brother's Price, the kind, loving father of the princesses was poisoned. Even without spoilers, it is obvious that the poisoner must be evil, as the royal family is shown to be competent and reasonably humble.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, poison is commonly seen as the weapon of a coward or a woman. Or, when it's convenient to blame one for a poisoning, a dwarf. Oberyn Martell's tendency to poison his spears, even in duels and trials by combat, is seen as highly dishonorable, and it's mentioned right up there with his reputation as a Depraved Bisexual. While he's a Hot-Blooded jerk, he's not as evil as his reputation would imply.
- Mentioned in Interesting Times: Cohen the Barbarian and his Silver Horde are appalled at the use of poisoned food, because while the approved barbarian method of trickery is inviting your enemy over to a feast, get him roaring drunk then kill him (any barbarian stupid enough to fall for it deserving it), you never know when you might get hungry yourself.
- There's also Glenda Sugarbean, who would never poison food. Not so much because she thinks poisoning people is evil, rather because it would ruin perfectly good food. The Sugarbeans are famous for their cooking. Notably, Lord Vetinari and the Assassins' Guild agree with her. Poisoning food for someone else while you're out to inhume them is one thing. Poisoning food made by Augusta Sugarbean at the Guild house is just not done.
- It shows up in The Count of Monte Cristo. Once in a story about the Borgia, and as the murder weapon of Mme de Villefort.
- Much discussed in the Dorothy L. Sayers novel Strong Poison. Mystery novelist Harriet Vane is tried for poisoning her lover Phillip Boyes with arsenic. Despite a mistrial, she is widely assumed to be guilty and vilified on that account. Norman Urquhart's cook comments on this to Bunter, "...but the horrors of slow poisoning, that's the work of a fiend."
- In Raiders of Gor one of the five claimants to being the ruler of the city-state of Port Kar is a skilled poisoner and is looked down upon. (He's also a bit fey, which doesn't help.) After being exiled from the city, in Hunters of Gor he secretly supplies poisoned swords to enemy fighters, and they poison Tarl, paralyzing him. In Maurauders of Gor the leader of those enemy fighters approaches Tarl to give him an antidote; when the king of their city-state had learned of the treachery he forced the other man to create an antidote, then poisoned him to test it. On Gor generally, poison is dismissed as a woman's weapon.
- In Dune Feyd Harkonnen is shown using poison frequently: weakening his slave gladiators so he always wins his fights, attempting to poison his uncle the Baron through the thigh of a sex slave, and using a secret poison needle in his belt buckle in his combat against Paul Mua'dib.
- The Eyes of the Dragon has sorceror Flagg utilize an excruciating poison (one that he's even wary about) on the king to put his younger Enfant Terrible son on the throne, framing the king's elder son for the crime. Why? Because he can.
- Subverted in an obscure 1980's series of historical novels by author William Morrell. The heroine (a Dutch noblewoman who has been trained in ninjutsu while living in Japan) uses poison to kill an evil Spanish nobleman that she is being forced to marry.
- Also done in the first book in The Mark of the Lion series, where young noblewoman Julia poisons her violently abusive suitor to be rid of him. It's tempting to count this as an inversion since he was such a vicious brute, but considering Julia goes on to condemn the heroine Hadassah to be fed to lions in the Colosseum, it's still a pretty straight example (at least until both women get better in the second book).
- Inverted in Agatha Christie's Halloween Party. When Hercule Poirot asks the gentle, kind Miranda how she would kill someone, she replies that she would use poison—specifically a sleeping draught—because she wouldn't want to cause anyone any pain.
- Inverted in Butler Parker: Parker and his protégé, Lady Simpson, often use poisoned dartzs, needles etc. - though they only ever use sleeping poisons. fatal poisons are used by criminals, very rarely.
- Villains by Necessity: Our protagonist, Sam, is an assassin with a vast knowledge of toxins and poisons, which he carries plenty of at all times, having spent years building up immunities to them. He also readily employs Poisoned Weapons and owns a Poison Ring.
- Inverted in Merlin in which it is heroic Merlin who uses poison to try and kill Morgana, thus breaking a near-fatal spell over Camelot that she was inadvertently causing. Played straight later, when Morgana uses poison to kill a witness to her Face–Heel Turn.
- Also played straight very early on, when Nimueh tries to kill Arthur with poison-Merlin got it instead, and Arthur had to go find the Magic Antidote.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Reunion": Chancellor K'mpok announces he's dying, murdered by a slow-acting poison. It's stated that a Klingon who kills without showing his face has no honor and must not be allowed to lead the Empire. Picard is tasked with finding the killer and preventing him ascending to the Chancellorship.
- In Babylon 5, the Centauri, who are not an evil race per se but certainly a very "dark grey" race, treasure poison needles the way humans treasure swords or Mimbari treasure their fighting staffs.
- In Breaking Bad, Walter White's use of poison in the Season 4 finale is generally held by fans as the point where he crossed the Moral Event Horizon from Anti-Hero/Anti-Villain to full Villain Protagonist. Though part of this was also due to who he poisoned.
- One of the oldest heel tricks is to soak a rag in ether and hold it over the face of an unsuspecting opponent should you be in danger of losing a match. Traditionally the heel would then, in his haste to hide the foreign object from the referee, throw it away too far and into the reach of fans, who would identify the smell and inform the referee of the attempted poisoning. Despite its once ubiquitous status, ether in the USA became heavily associated with The Midnight Express, Smokey Mountain Wrestling and all else associated with "ether bunny" Jim Cornette, to the point Joey Styles referenced him directly when Raven used the trick on Pitbull #2 in ECWnote .
- Averted on the Dominican Republic television program International Wrestling where the baby face equivalents were known as "The great Poison técnicosdel fighters". "The block luchadoresrudos Lightning" were the heel equivalents. This was due to top stars Jack Veneno and Lightning Hernandez.
- Downplayed in Ring of Honor, where hardly anyone was cool with Delirious's use of poison or the shocking, out of character acts of his red persona in general. However, most of his peers agreed that the targets his poison, Hangmen 3, deserved it for, well, going around hanging people. However, it was played straight when Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team made use of an ether soaked rag against Mark Briscoe, a tactic so heinous Nigel McGuinness found it inexcusable even in a Fight Without Honor.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- While poison itself is usually treated as no more inherently evil than any other weapon, evil characters tend to have more options when it comes to specialising in it.
- In AD&D 1st Edition Assassins (who were always Evil) had special abilities with learning about and using poisons.
- Evil clerics could use poison, non-evil clerics could not. Likewise, evil bards could use poison, non-evil ones couldn't.
- Any non-assassin NPC would assume anyone with Poisoned Weapons were assassins and attack them, call for the city watch or both. Meanwhile assassins won't like when people break their "monopoly."
- Some suggestions on how DM's should handle poison use:
It is also likely that the DM will establish sanctions regarding the use of poisons on a continuing basis, i.e. characters of good alignment cannot use such toxic substances as it constitutes foul and unfair practice; or characters found with poisoned weapons will be immediately slain and their corpses burned and ashes scattered. In a similar vein, most communities view poisoning and poisons as highly undesirable due to the difficulty of protecting against ingestion of such fatal substances. Any individual (or group) making indiscriminate use of poison will have social pressure and/or legal action brought against him or her.
- Use of a Dagger of Venom (which injected poison) could cause alignment problems for Good aligned characters.
- In 2nd Edition all of the references above were removed except for the Dagger of Venom. Now a few Good critters like Couatls used lethal poisons too.
- The Always Chaotic Evil Anti-Paladin class in an early Dragon Magazine article. An Anti-Paladin was an "aficionado of the fine art of poisoning," who considered "poisoning to be both an aesthetic pleasure and a means of artistic expression." He used poison at every opportunity, including to test a new poison just distilled for him, to determine if his stock of vintage poisons was still potent or simply to see if he can get away with it.
- Dark Sun as a Darker and Edgier setting was one of few exclusions — bards learn to use poisons without any Character Alignment considerations.
- In 3rd Edition, using poison is still generally evil. Like previous editions, Poison Use as an ability (apply poisons to weapons without the risk of poisoning yourself) is found mostly in evil-only classes, though races like Warforged duplicate the effect by simply being immune to poison.
- A non-lethal knockout venom exists that is the exception: It has no worse side effects than "unconscious for 2d4 hours", and the books specifically mention that even paladins could use that one with little moral quandary, provided the intention is to knock someone out rather than kill them (like capturing a criminal for courts). Of course, in a fine bit of irony, it's called Drow poison and is relatively unknown on the surface - the Drow use it for live captures of slaves.
- Book of Exalted Deeds spells out poison that does ability damage or drain as inherently evil because it "causes undue suffering in the process of incapacitating or killing an opponent." It also introduces "ravages", which have exactly the same effect as poisons, except that they are okay because they inflict damage via the creature's evil rather than via its biological processes. Confusingly one of of the listed ravages is "purified coautl venom", drawing attention to how couatls still have poisonous attacks while being Always Lawful Good.
- The Book of Vile Darkness introduces a few magical poisons that are literally evil, called Psychic Poison Oils, meant for use by Assassins.
- The Pathfinder Alchemist is alignment-unrestricted, and receives the Poison Use skill, so poison's evilness has been diluted a bit.
- In 4th Edition, poison isn't evil any more, and anyone can use it with impunity.
- Traditionally, the only "iconic" dragon with a poison-based Breath Weapon is the Green Dragon, one of the Usually Chaotic Evil Chromatics and known for being particularly malicious and cruel.
- In Warhammer, it is notable how much more common poisoned attacks, weapons and spells are among the Forces of Destruction. Witch Elves, Dark Elf and Skaven Assassins, Ghouls, Crypt Horrors, Gutter Runners, Plaguebearers, Forest Goblins, some Forsaken and Chaos Champions to name but a few - virtually all of the Forces of Destruction have plentiful access to poisons; whereas of the Forces of Order, only the Lizardmen use them, only really getting a pass because they are jungle-dwellers (when one sees a blowdart, it's expected to be poisoned). Dwarfs, High Elves, Empire, Bretonnians and even Wood Elves don't have any poisoned attacks at all.
- Similarly in Warhammer 40k, Dark Eldar and Tyrannids make heavy use of poison as do certain Chaos units like Fabius Bile. Out of the Forces of Order, the only poisoned ammo exists for sniper rifles, that Eldar ammo that causes heads to explode, the character Sly Marbo and other rare assassin types. Oddly out of the more benign armies, the one that uses poison the most are the Space Marines who have plenty of snipers and can make extensive use of hellfire ammo (a mutagenic acid).
- Magic: The Gathering averts this in the Theros block. Pharika, a snake-like goddess associated with poisons, is also the patron of healers due to her pharmaceutical skills. That said, messing with her is still a bad idea.
- In Fire Emblem, only enemies can use Poison weapons, unless you somehow manage to swipe one off them (and in some games they end reverting to normal weapons if you do that). Averted in Radiant Dawn, after defeating a lategame boss with a poisoning magic tome you get it and can use it to poison enemies.
- In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, Izuka urges the party to capture a nearby prison camp by dumping poisons in the camp's water supply. The protagonists disapprove, claiming that not only will they will lose the support of the citizenry for it, but it makes no sense from a strategic stand point (the mission is to liberate the prisoners to gain a manpower boost, which is impossible when they are dead.).
- In Fire Emblem Fates, members of the Ninja class can use the Poison Strike ability, including not just enemy Mooks but also the playable characters Kaze, Saizo, and Kagero. Saizo can be a Jerk Ass, but Kagero and especially Kaze are straight-up heroic characters, despite their use of Poisoned Weapons.
- Averted and played straight in Pokémon: The villainous teams of each game tend to favor using at least one line of Poison type Pokemon, but there's also a Poison-type Gym Leader in Pokémon Red and Blue, as well as one in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, and nothing stops you from using Poison types, aside from their general crappiness in battle.
- Also, as of Generation VI, there are actually no Poison-type Legendary Pokémon, not counting Arceus holding the Poison plate, while every other type has at least one Legendary.
- In addition, in the first games the only Ghost types were also Poison types and they were somewhat evil (possessing channelers in the Lavender Tower).
- There's at least one Poison type on the obligatory team of bad guys in each installment of the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series, though there's also a few neutral/good Poison types present in each, as well.
- In World of Warcraft, the rogue class can use Poisoned Weapons. The only two playable races who are unable to be the rogue class are the Tauren on the Horde side and the Draenei on the Alliance side. Each of these two races is the most noble race among their respective faction.
- However, both of those races can be Hunters, and shoot poisoned arrows at people with impunity.
- Averted in The Reconstruction; plenty of characters with Noxious skills and affinities are perfectly nice people.
- In the Ace Attorney series, there are at least three incidents involving poison and beverages. There is also a case involving poisoned cold medicine and a case involving poisoned nail polish. All are the work of villains. Phoenix Wright says at one point that the two things he cannot forgive are poisoning and betrayal. Though he's pretty justified in his opinion: One of those cases turned out to be a plot to murder him.
- In Battle for Wesnoth, only the orcs and undead have the ability to poison.
- Zig-Zagged in Assassin's Creed. In the first game, the eponymous creed specifically forbids the use of poison; in the second game, however, it's stated that the Assassins have adopted the use of poison in order to adapt to changing times. (Twisting the trope further is the fact that poison is one of the less subtle weapons in the protagonist's arsenal - a poisoned foe will go berserk and attack everyone around him before dying!)
- In Final Fantasy VI, Kefka's use of poison at Doma (read: "mass murder of an entire city"), even in war, is the point that the Empire's soldiers and citizens consider him to have crossed the Moral Event Horizon. That said, your characters can learn Poison-elemental magic fine.
- Just like the ones in Dungeons & Dragons, Egoboo paladins cannot use poison.
- In Emperor: Battle for Dune, both the evil Harkonnen and the decidedly amoral Ordos use weapons based on toxins and poison, as do the tleilaxu. The noble Atreides and the fremen, meanwhile, do not.
- Averted in AdventureQuest Worlds. Rogues of either alignment will use poison against their enemies, and one of the most skilled poison-makers in Lore, Alina, is also one of the most kind-hearted and sweet-natured people of the setting as well.
- During the tournament in The Legend of Dragoon, if you lose something will happen that makes you the winner by default. Both of the opponents dubbed to be cheating did so by using poison.
- Played with in the Arcana Heart series. On one hand, the Arcana of Evil, Dieu Mort, has moves that can poison the opponent, and is the only one that can do so. On the other hand, the main user of said Arcana, the occultist Yoriko Yasuzumi, is not evil in the slightest.
- The Gorgon of Evolve deals poison damage with three of its abilities and is by far the most horrific and unsettling of the monsters.
- F.A.N.G from Street Fighter V has a moveset that is based on wearing down his opponents gradually with different kinds of poisons. He is also Sagat's replacement in Shadaloo as M. Bison's Number Two.
- Defiler demons from Nexus War games have Defiler Poison, which not only rapidly kills enemies but persists beyond death, potentially killing its victims in respawn after respawn in a setting where death is frequently a slap on the wrist otherwise. In the second game, anyone can use Poisoned Weapons but these use a weaker poison that lacks both the potency and persistence of Defiler Poison.
- Inverted in Axe Cop, where it's the good guy who poisons everyone. He seems to have a poison for every villain he comes across with some bizarre method to get it into them.
- In Girl Genius, Lucrezia is well aware of this trope.
Lucrezia: Oh Klaus, I will miss you. [..] I'm afraid you really will have to go.
Klaus: [speech slurred, holding the empty drink] By drng. Hyu pzind by drng.
Lucrezia: Not poison, silly. I'm one of the good guys now, remember? Goodbye darling.
- In French law, poisoning is still defined as a crime independent of murder itself. It used to be punished by harsher sentences because poison was seen as a vile and dishonorable way to kill someone.
- The use of poisoned weapons or chemical warfare is a war crime under the Second Hague Convention and the Geneva Protocol.
- In the United Kingdom, before capital punishment was abolished in 1964, there was an unwritten rule that poisoners were always hanged. Poisoning was considered as the most vile form of murder, and poisoners were never pardoned. Albert Pierrepoint, the most notorious British executioner, mentioned in his memoirs that the poisoners he hanged died as cowards — murderers who'd used knives faced the noose most bravely, while all poisoners broke down and begged when they were escorted to the gallows.