Follow TV Tropes


Master Poisoner

Go To
"Sadi could poison one person at a banquet with a thousand guests."
Garion of Riva, The Malloreon

A Master Poisoner is a character who is an expert in the preparation and administering of poisons. They can tailor a toxin to any situation: to paralyse, to knock out, to kill, or even other, more exotic, effects that others would consider beyond the realms of conventional toxicology.

The whole point is to be able to poison practically any victim (or victims) while not appearing to be the least bit involved, should they be so inclined.

Normally a mundane variation of Poisonous Person, though the two can overlap if the character is crafty enough.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Assassination Classroom:
    • Professional hitman Somg specializes in poisoning people. He is obsessed with a quality of his poisons and makes all of them himself, in his own laboratory. On top of regular poisons, he is able to create deadly artificial viruses and can tailor their effects for various situations - like a virus that makes a target appear seriously sick but becomes inactive after a few hours, leaving only minor damage. His talents work even beyond the poisons - for example, he creates highly effective nutrients.
    • Manami Okuda is a master poisoner in training; she's very good in science in general, and uses that talent in the class to make poisons to try and kill Koro-sensei. However, her delivery needs serious work: her introduction has her politely ask Koro-sensei to drink her poison. In the epilogue, she and Takebayashi use their scientific talents to develop universal artificial blood.
  • One of Yau-si's methods of assassination in Banana Fish. He's said to be extremely talented at it, though we don't see him use it often.
  • Shinobu from Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba makes up for her lack of physical strength with her skill in concocting wisteria poisons that can kill demons within minutes, which she can inject into a demon's body with her uniquely-made sword. She's also skilled with pharmaceuticals in general.
  • Due to his... unusual... hobbies, Count Cain Hargreaves of Godchild is very knowledgeable in — and collects— poisons. This becomes relevant to the plot surprisingly often.
  • Assassin of Red, a.k.a. Semiramis, of Fate/Apocrypha. Her Noble Phantasm, Sikera Ušum: Arrogant King's Alcohol, allows her to create a plethora of terrifyingly deadly poisons while inside her fortress. This includes being able to give her magecraft or even the air itself poison attribute, have her poison be composed of such things as Hydra venom, and even summon poisonous beasts such as the Basmu from Mesopotamian mythology. This is actually why she's summoned as an Assassin and not a Caster. Despite having the powers and skill set for the mage class, her legend of being the first poisoner is more famous, so she is placed in the class of elusive killers.
  • In Gankutsuou, we also have the below mentioned Madame de Vilefort. Subverted: it was the Count who gave her the poison ring she tries to use to kill her husband and stepdaughter.
  • Himeko of Get Backers, and also her brother.
  • Mathilda Toulonchamp from Honoo no Alpen Rose may be too young to be called a full-fledged master poisoner, but she still manages to use it to slowly poison Helene to make her ill, and it's heavily implied that she tries to do the same thing to Jeudi aka Helene's daughter Alicia by poisoning her food, but she doesn't get the job done.
  • Inuyasha has several, including Sango, Yakorou Dokusen, and Mukotsu from the Band of Seven who almost succeeded in killing half the titular character's team.
  • Choza in Itsuwaribito, which is why his poisoned claws are his weapon of choice, he knows exactly which of his poisons will kill his opponent or simply knock them out and how much of it is needed to achieve the desired effect on that person.
  • In Kurokochi, Susanoo's Cherry Tree has been secretly perfecting chemical weapons and poisons for decades after the end of the war. Their latest product is a timed poison that becomes lethal only when the target ingests two innocuous drinks, which works even at a one-hour interval and thus making the culprit untraceable.
  • Sucy of Little Witch Academia is supposedly a general potions specialist, but all we really see her do is make poisons. And she is very good at it; in the first film, one of her concoctions turned its victim into a pile of goo, which then melted through the solid stone floor!
    (creepy giggle) "I guess it was a little too strong."
  • Abe no Kaii in the Lone Wolf and Cub.
  • Naruto:
    • Sasori. All his weapons are equipped with a very special poison he created himself which makes the victim suffer extreme pain for three days before dying if he decided not to finish the victim off in the first place.
    • He learned this, and his puppetry, from Chiyo. Chiyo's poisons during the 2nd ninja world war were often cured by Tsunade, whose own pupil Shizune is also a poison master.
  • One Piece features Magellan, warden of the impenetrable prison Impel Down and a Poisonous Person who has entirely mastered his powers. Among other things, he's learned to secrete such a diverse array of poisons that it's impossible for any living being to be immune to all of them (including him - his Drama-Preserving Handicap is that the poisonous food he ingests to diversify his arsenal does a real number on his stomach).
  • The herbalist Pink, of the Sibling Team of Pink & Link, from Ranma ½. The former specializes in plant-based poisons, the latter, in medicines, but both of them are deadly at their craft. Kodachi Kuno is a lesser example: she uses paralyzing dust quite often, but we never learn if she's the one who makes them.
  • Megumi Takani of Rurouni Kenshin could be considered this in her Dark and Troubled Past. She worked as the assistant of a doctor who doubled as a drug dealer under the thumb of Corrupt Corporate Executive Kanryu Takeda, and she ended up being forced to produce opium after said doctor was murdered. She knows all about different poisons but now cures them (among other roles befitting The Medic).
  • Dr. Katsuragi from Sakura Gari made his own drugs and poison, using hemlock and arsenic among other things. He used these to poison Lady Saiki to death and later he began to slowly poison Lord Saiki. Also, he slipped a roofie in Masataka's tea to kidnap, torture, and rape him.
  • Coco from Toriko not only able to create and secrete various poisons in his own body - he is also an expert in all kinds of poisons, which is suitable since his enemies often have immunity and he has to get crafty to kill them. Not only he can create poisons with various effects, from ones that paralyse targets to ones that make their flesh melt away, he also developed virus poison, which can adapt to immune systems of the target and strike down foes, who normally would be immune to it. He is so skilled, that he can poison even robots - by using gases, which turn into highly corrosive acid on certain metals. Surprisingly, he is the most nice person out of Four Kings.

    Audio Plays 

    Comic Books 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Search: None other than Prince Zuko's mother, Ursa, is revealed to be this. She knew how to make an odorless, colorless, lethal poison that was next to impossible to detect. She ended up offering a deal to Ozai; she would concoct the poison and give it to him to do as he pleased (the idea being he'd poison his father and then take the throne) and Zuko (who was going to be executed as a punishment to Ozai) would be spared. Ozai accepts.
  • Batman:
    • This was Poison Ivy's original shtick before she became a Poisonous Person.
    • The Joker is a prodigy at this. In both the 1989 movie and the animated series, he develops "binary compounds" by which he can succeed in murdering victims with the second exposure, thus appearing not to have been directly responsible for their deaths. The man's chemistry skill is such that he can create incredibly toxic compounds out of nothing but the contents of a janitor's closet.
    • The Scarecrow concocts fear toxins to give targets nightmarish hallucinations.
    • Professor Milo's expertise in chemistry has allowed him to develop toxins for a wide range of effects. These have included a dust that caused Batman to develop a fear of bats and a gas that drove him into a suicidal depression.
    • Ra's al Ghul's League of Assassins generally keeps a few in its employ, most commonly Cheshire, who keeps her weapons drenched in poisons. Other poisoners associated with the League include "Viper", a non-combatant whose entire job revolved around creating new poisons and whose concoctions once nearly killed Ben Turner before he came up with the code-name Bronze Tiger.
    • Poison is listed as one of Red Hood's specialties, and he is able to showcase this in Batman (Grant Morrison) when he secretly poisons a prison cafeteria, killing 82 and leaving others severely ill.
    • Red Robin: Funnel of the Council of Spiders takes pride in creating quick-acting, incredibly painful poisons and is insulted by other poison-using murderers whose poisons don't fit what she thinks a perfect poison should be or are "boring".
  • Captain America: The Red Skull has this as part of his spy/assassin tradecraft. His Calling Card is the "dust of death" poison, which kills the victim within seconds and causes their face to shrivel, their hair to fall out and their skin to turn red, thus making them resemble a red skull. He's been shown to use various other substances over the years, always to good effect.
  • Diabolik:
    • The title character is one, and his lover Eva learned from him.
    • The late Cen Fu taught Diabolik, and was much better. How much? Well, Diabolik has to use needles, sprays, or get to your food, but when you enter Cen Fu house he has already poisoned you, and only he has the antidote.
  • Stinger, a minor foe of Green Arrow and Black Canary. He is able to deliver a dose of curare exact enough to paralyse Black Canary's vocal cords without doing any additional harm to her.
  • In the Angel Gang from Judge Dredd's rogue gallery, this was Fink Angel's specialty skill.
  • Mouse Guard: Abigail in the Winter arc. She sabotages Lockhaven's food stores, nearly kills Rand and attempts to poison the well.
  • In Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter, the Viper creates poisons for the League of Assassins.
  • Mejai from The Scorpion is a gypsy assassin who specialises in the use of poisons.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics): Patch, Antoine's Mirror Universe counterpart, was revealed to be this during the time he impersonated Antoine on Mobius Prime in a bid to take over the Kingdom of Acorn. To this end, he poisoned both King Max and Antoine's father using a toxin native to his own dimension, with Dr. Quack being unable to pinpoint the cause of their deteriorating health until after Patch was exposed. By that point, however, the damage is done; Max is left wheelchair-bound once again, and Armand, who was given much heavier doses thanks to Patch lacing his food with it, ends up dying in the hospital.
  • Teen Titans rogue Cheshire is considered one of the greatest poison experts in The DCU, possessing a vast amount of knowledge about chemicals and toxins, to the point she has created some positively awful concoctions to unleash upon her opponents while also making them almost undetectable and has made herself immune to most of them. Most of her weaponry is also coated in poisons, making a single scratch extremely deadly.
  • Doctor Poison from Wonder Woman is an expert in the use of poisons, toxins, and plagues.

    Comic Strips 
  • Newsuit Nan in Dick Tracy is a chemist who specializes in the creation of blood-based toxins which she uses in poisoned nail polish and injects into her victims by scratching them with her Femme Fatalons. Her creations include an instantly fatal poison, a 100% reliable Truth Serum, and a poison that saps the target's free will, making them a puppet.

    Fan Works 
  • Queens of Mewni: Nixie the Queen Poisoner, who used Lacrimosa poison to murder her sister Hemera, Hemera's husband Roman, Nixie's husband, and herself, all to get revenge on Hemera for 'stealing' Roman from her. It's also very likely Nixie tampered with Hemera's food to cause her three miscarriages.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • This is the specialty of Poison Pete in Accident Man.
  • The fact-based Holocaust drama Amen has an unintentional example in Kurt Gerstein, an SS scientist responsible for refining and producing chemicals, including Zyklon B, though he is ignorant of the true purpose of the gas.
  • In Big Nothing, the Wyoming Widow can make a deadly poison by mixing a whiskey with high-concentrated thallium.
  • Black Butler: The killer's weapon of choice is a virus that causes near-instant mummification. The murders are testing this virus so that it can be released on Tokyo.
  • Le Capitan, set in 17th century France. Conspirators Concino Concini and his wife Leonora Galigai are shown using the services of an expert poison-maker, who's also a dwarf. When asked where his deadly talent is coming from, he answers "Nature has played a mean trick on me. I'm not done paying it back."
  • The serial killer protagonist of Hunting Humans reminisces about the time he killed one of his neighbors by inserting a lethal amount of codeine into eggs, which he resealed and gave to her.
    Aric: She was dead two mornings later. Cops came, made their rounds, but there was nothing to be found. They knew how she died, but they just assumed it was some psycho who was poisoning eggs. Big egg scare after that, though it was nothing compared to the Tylenol-cyanide thing.
  • Pak Yong Qi in Killing Gunther; a haemophobic Agent Peacock who primarily works with toxins and acids as he believes them to be "more elegant" and "sophisticated" than other means of homicide.
  • In La Reine Margot, Réné the Florentine is rumored to be this as well as Catherine's perfumer. Turns out, it's true.
  • In Waxworks, the czar takes physical delight in watching his victims die, after poisoning them. Ivan's "Poison-Mixer" writes the name of the victim on an hourglass, and once they are poisoned, the glass is turned over, the man dying just as the last sand falls.
  • The lead character in The Young Poisoner's Handbook fits this to a T, due to being based Real Life Serial Killer Graham Young.

  • The Accursed Kings: Béatrice d'Hirson has some good records at that game, including a minister and two kings (supposedly), and even her own employer and her daughter.
  • The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi: Dalila is infamous as "Mistress of Poisons", an expert in everything from knockout drugs to horrific acids. Amina notes that while she can kill someone in a fight, Dalila can strike down a victim with perfect precision from the next city over.
  • Beyond Birthday from Another Note drugged all his victims before killing and dismembering them.
  • Arrethtrae: Lord Malco, from Lady Carliss and the Waters of Moorue, uses esca venom. He uses humans to feed his lizards.
  • Beast Tamer: A common tactic Rein uses is the contracting of poisonous creatures to subdue enemies. He has a thorough knowledge of which animals can do what, as he uses different poisonous beasts each time he uses this trick. Against Tania he used poisonous ravens he detected in the area, against the Jet-Black Fangs and Arios he used bees, and when rounding up corrupt guardsmen he incapacitated them by trapping them in an enclosed area into which he sent butterflies with paralyzing poison scales. In the last case Rein and company can watch from the area's upper floors because he's aware of the scales being heavier than air.
  • The Belgariad: First introduced as a reluctant antagonist, Sadi is shown to be exemplary even by Nyissan standards, especially after becoming a protagonist in The Malloreon. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of, and incredible skill at, pharmacology, drug dealing, and anything related to potions and chemicals in general. He is creative, clever, and wily, able to weaponise almost any chemical concoction, favouring Poisoned Weapons, and is a rare fictional example of a truly badass eunuch. Garion's statement on his skill is Not Hyperbole, as Sadi eventually proves through some excellent people-watching skills and a poisoned spoon.
  • Best Served Cold has Morveer, a master poisoner for hire. He's very paranoid, noting that poisoners tend to die from their own wares. In one scene, he decides to make amends with his co-conspirators by cooking them a fine meal. Everyone refuses to even touch the feast made by the master poisoner, causing him to take offense.
  • Book of the Ancestor: Sister Apple is a Sister of Discretion in the church of the Ancestor, which means she specializes in espionage, shadow-magic, and, most of all, crafting using, and countering poison. Among the novices in her convent, she is known as the poisoner: in their first lesson, she will poison the newest novice with a mild poison with visible effects: and, although they all know about it before, none has yet escaped the poisoning.
  • Two of the antagonists in The Chronicles of Ancient DarknessTenris and Seshru — are shown to be prehistoric versions of this trope. The former uses his knowledge to create a terrible sickness that drives the victims insane before killing them, spreading it across the Forest as a plague through poisoned juniper berries. The latter shows more subtlety by sedating a polar bear to make it easier to capture and poisoning crowberries Torak eats. Said berries render him unconscious and when he wakes up, his limbs are paralyzed and he can do nothing but argue with Seshru.
  • Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer: Due to Ward's training in medicine and necromancy he is very well versed in poisons and herbs thus he creates a poison that mimics sickness but not death to distract a man in the first book.
  • In The Count of Monte Cristo, the poisoner Madame de Villefort is frequently compared to Locusta. She's an aversion to the trope, though; she doesn't prepare her own poisons, misusing medications acquired elsewhere, and she's very prosaic and repetitive about how she administers the poisons. It's in what people are drinking, every time.
  • In The Demon Princes, the planet Sarkovy's Hat is brewing and finding creative ways to administer poisons. The higher ranks of their grand masters can be Poisonous Persons, although in a touch of realism, these people tend to die rapidly themselves. Hero Kirth Gersen spent several instructive years there, to the point of being able to outwit and infect a rival Master Poisoner.
  • Discworld:
    • Lord Downey, head of the Assassins' Guild, is rumored to be this. There is no record of anyone Lord Downey may have wanted to inhume ever being poisoned, however. Which may just indicate that he's really good at it.
    • Lord Hong, the main villain from Interesting Times, is one as well. At one point, his poison causes a man to explode.
    • The Duke of Sto Helit, the main villain of Mort is known to be this, which is why his cousin the king doses himself with every antidote known to man. He's very surprised when the Duke hires a man to shoot him instead. (Although he gets some satisfaction from learning the Duke provided the assassin with a packed lunch.)
    • Vetinari is also rumored to have studied poisons at the Guild and be an expert on them (and according to the Assassins' Guild Diary he has the Guild degrees to indicate this) but like Downey, he has no confirmed poisoning victims. Not even when Moist von Lipwig thinks he does.
  • The Dolphin Ring: In The Lantern Bearers, Rowena gets rid of Vortimer and precipitates an Enemy Civil War amongst the British by anonymously sending him a hawking glove with a poisoned pin stuck in one of the fingers.
  • In Dune poison is almost an accepted science. Definitely a favorite (after the Hormu kick) of the Honored Matres in Chapterhouse: Dune.
  • Hestera Spikesap from The Edge Chronicles is a master of potions one and potions all, from elixirs that revitalize the body to powerful alcohols, but poisons of all kinds appear to be her greatest talent. She knows how to give disobedient servants bad stomach aches, and ends up poisoning her master Vox to have him all to herself, forever.
  • Sister Mattie in The Finishing School Series, who teaches the girls to be the same.
  • One of Fu Manchu's numerous nefarious talents.
  • In Galaxy of Fear: City of the Dead, a handful of swallowed cryptberries will kill someone almost instantly. After doing this to one twelve-year-old boy, the better to test his zombification serum, Dr. Evazam injects another with diluted cryptberry, which puts him into a deathlike coma for long enough that he can have a funeral and be Buried Alive.
  • Ismae from Grave Mercy is trained to be a Master Poisoner because she is completely immune to all poisons; the most she might feel is a light tingling sensation, and only if the poison is exceptionally strong. It's one of the rarer perks of being a daughter of Mortain. Ironically, it turns out that she is also a cure for any and all poisons. Prolonged skin-on-skin contact will draw poison out of anyone afflicted.
  • The Assassins in Journey (2014) are very good at this. Also, Ruen concocts poisons for his sister to use.
  • Sitilvon from Kane Series story "Misericorde" is fascinated with poisons and studies them methodically, conducting experiments on unlucky travellers kidnapped by her family. Once she killed forty children to test the potency of various parts of monkshood plant. She dies from poison administered by a man she was trying to kill.
  • Ouyang Feng, the Old Poison, in The Legend of the Condor Heroes.
  • In Maledicte, Vornatti and Mal share an encyclopedic knowledge of poisons, notwithstanding that Mal prefers using his sword.
  • Murder for the Modern Girl: Ruby Newhouse's main method of killing is through poison. She has a wide variety of poisons and learned how to make them from common chemicals and plants. Her poisonings are diligent enough that the people she killed had their deaths recorded as suicide, accidents, or disease, letting her get away with murder. She is also able to put her poisons in needles and jewelry to use as weapons.
  • The Nevernight Chronicle: Mia's specialty as an assassin. Her skillset extends to the ability to diagnose poisons administered to her or those around her, as well as to cures or medicinal alternatives.
    • Spiderkiller who trained Mia. She even leaves Mia a present for conquering the Red Church - ultimately gifted to Ashlinn - and then callously ensures that the various options for the antidote are all empty.
  • Durzo Blint, of the The Night Angel Trilogy is a wetboy ("Wetboys are to assassins like a tiger is to a kitten.") who excels at poisoning.
  • On the nose for Liz Williams's The Poison Master, alchemist Alivet Dee and alien master poisoner Arieth Mahedi Ghairen are on a quest to create a poison to kill the otherwise indestructible Lords of the Night.
  • Thomas Griffiths Wainewright is a master poisoner, according to Oscar Wilde's essay, Pen, Pencil, and Poison.
  • In Rath and Storm, Starke "has some familiarity" with drugs and poisons, and sabotages Vuel's rite of passage by lacing his war paint with bitterleaf and thoughtsease.
  • This is a large part of Fitz's training in Assassin's Apprentice, the first book of the Realm of the Elderlings series.
  • Farran the Poisoner in the Redwall series. He never speaks, never shows any emotion (except at his death) and very nearly causes Salamandastron to fall to the enemy by sabotaging the food and water supply, killing two hares in the process. Lord Urthstripe takes an extremely dim view of such dishonourable tactics, and executes Farran by force-feeding him his entire remaining stock of poisons.
  • The Reynard Cycle:
    • Reynard himself is the best example from the series, though he uses poison exclusively to knock people unconscious.
    • Ghul, Chanticleer's primary assassin, is able to poison the entire crew of a ship for weeks without anyone knowing. He doesn't realize that Reynard swapped out his poison for seasoning until it's too late.
    • Baron Dendra studied abroad to become one of these. When Persephone is poisoned, his fellow conspirators assume it was his work.
    • Barsine, one of Chanticleer's assassins, is this. She is apparently persuasive enough to get her victims to drink mysterious liquids knowingly.
  • In River of Teeth, Houndstooth hires Hero Shackleby based on their reputation as both a Demolitions Expert and a master poisoner, but since their former talents are more relevant to the job the only time any poison comes into play is when Hero slips it into Houndstooth's drink on their first meeting.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has several examples.
    • Maesters of the Citadel, when fully trained, are healers by profession. But, there is a flip side to that coin: a few indulge in this trope when asked to, when they deem it appropriate to meet their obligations or when euthanasia is required.
    • The Faceless Men are professionally trained assassins who naturally use a wide range of drugs, toxins, and poisons as a part of their arsenal, many with possibly magical ingredients. They specialize in Make It Look Like an Accident-type assassinations.
    • Oberyn Martell is well known to use complex poisons: it even helps supply his moniker of "The Red Viper"... and Tyene, one of his bastard daughters collectively called the Sand Snakes, takes after Daddy, as well. When she briefly touches her uncle's hand after an argument, Prince Doran's maester hurries over to inspect his hand for puncture marks and expresses concern over poisons that can be absorbed through the skin.
    • A surprising number of the plots Littlefinger has had a direct influence on have involved poison in some capacity at some point. There's a reason for that: he supplies it to proxies to use. Or, encourages the use in other ways. For a lord, he knows more on the topic than the average, even if he may not be in the same league biochemically as some on this list — what he is, however, is a master at getting away with it completely unsuspected.
    • The Crannogmen of the Neck are infamous throughout Westeros for using poisoned weapons and guerrilla tactics during warfare, which are both considered unmanly by Westerosi culture at large. They specialise in dealing out theatrically Cruel and Unusual Death, both as a warning and deterrent to others watching the death. However, since those toxic attacks of theirs often resemble a mixed tape of known, very nasty illnesses cranked all the way up and on speed, other options aren't off the table when they might feel like downplaying things.
  • Septimus in Stardust, whom the text notes is "one of Nature's poisoners".
  • In Three Dark Crowns there are people with different types of gifts. One of them is poisoners' gift, which makes its owner immune to all types of poison. Naturally, many poisoners are also masters of creating poisons, especially the infamous Arron family.
  • Troubled Blood: Janice Beattie is revealed to have a whole house full of poisons, be they chemicals, prescription drugs, or naturally poisonous plants. She also uses her nursing skills to judge how much poison will kill and how much will just make someone sick. She is able to judge the dose of the sedative she gave to Margot Bamborough just finely enough that Margot is incapacitated on the way to the pub, rather than before or after, something that is key to Janice's spur-of-the-moment plot to murder her.
  • Vampire Huntress Legend: Lucrezia Borgia was known for her skill in poisoning her enemies while she was alive. Even as a vampire she retains this skill and uses it against the Neteru guardian team.
  • Whateley Universe: Jobe from Whateley Academy creates toxins in his lab to carry around just in case somebody attacks him, and injects himself with the corresponding antitoxin to prevent self-poisoning. He creates a new toxin daily so people cannot become immune/create their own antitoxin.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Centauri in Babylon 5, in the past, regularly used poisons in their power games among the nobles. The practice apparently holds as of the time of the show, as Londo relies on a practitioner of the art for a poison to kill Emperor Cartagia and casually slips a terrifying poison to one of his political rivals in "Ceremonies of Light and Dark" (merely to pressure him: the first component is harmless until it's combined with a second).
  • The Borgias:
    • Micheletto. Lucrezia Borgia may become this in the future, depending on how many of the rumors about her the show runs with.
    • Averted with the anonymous kitchen hand who botches the poisoning of Djem the Moor.
  • The Caesars: When Tiberius accuses Livia of ordering Germanicus' poisoning by Piso and Plancina in "Tiberius", she happily admits that she has "had a good many people put to death one way or another in the past sixty years". However, in contrast to I, Claudius, we never actually see her poison anyone. Likewise subverted with Piso and his wife, who are likely innocent of the charges of poison against them, and quite possibly with Sejanus and Livilla as well—in all cases, we never are actually shown the poisoning, leaving it ambiguous whether the "victim" was murdered or not.
  • Dead Man's Gun: Lillian/Tanya in "Black Widow". She murders her first husband by injecting poison into the bottle through the cork; concocts a poison that she sinks into the cloth cage cover and drapes over the lovebirds' cage to kill them; and kills Stanford by serving him a toxic mushroom that is completely harmless, unless consumed with wine.
  • Stahma Tarr of Defiance prefers to let her husband and his goons do the wetwork. But when she's required to do it, she favors a bevy of lethal poisons to do the job.
  • Dexter's Hannah McKay. She has killed at least 3 people with poison without leaving any traceable evidence.
  • Locusta in the Doctor Who serial "The Romans". Described as the 'official poisoner to the court of Caesar Nero', she is portrayed as comically untroubled by the macabre nature of the service she provides.
  • The villain of the pilot of Forever, a former chemist who uses aconite, a near-instant and incredibly painful poison from the monkshood flower, and who is planning to use it in gas form to distribute through Grand Central Station as revenge on the train companies who were "responsible" for his wife's death on a subway track.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Littlefinger turns out to be one. Not only does he work with Olenna Tyrell to have King Joffrey poisoned during a lavish banquet, it's later revealed that he had Lysa Arryn poison her husband Jon Arryn, kicking off the War of Five Kings storyline.
    • "The Children" reveals Oberyn poisoned his spear with manticore venom.
    • One of Oberyn's bastard daughters, Tyene Sand, is knowledgeable about poisons just like daddy. She poisoned Bronn with her daggers during their fight in the Water Gardens and later, gave him the antidote for it while in prison. In "Mother's Mercy", she is also the one who gave Ellaria the poison to kill Myrcella Baratheon when she left for King's Landing.
  • Xavier St. Cloud from Highlander regularly used poisons and poison gas.
  • Vanessa in Hostages, who offs Quentin by poisoning his drink and never suffers any suspicion, at least not yet.
  • Livia, and later Agrippina, from I, Claudius. Livia's simple "Don't touch the figs" will send chills up your spine. One scene has Livia talking shop with Martina, another Master Poisoner. The two debate the relative merits of different poisons and their antidotes over dinner, only for Martina to go white with fear at the sudden thought that Livia might have poisoned her. Livia laughs it off, but the viewer expects Martina to drop dead at any moment, and her ultimate fate is left unspecified.
  • Fan Xian, the main character of Joy of Life, is a Combat Pragmatist who is specialized in and uses poisons to fight. The mentor who trained him in this, Fei Jie, and the rest of the Overwatch Council's Third Bureau are also this.
  • Luke Cage (2016): Tilda is a doctor who now specializes in herbal remedies, which include nightshade. She uses her skills to murder Mariah with poisonous lipstick.
  • Mahabharata:
    • Puthana applies a lineament to her breasts that poisons any infant she breastfeeds.
    • Shakuni shows himself to be one in S 01 E 36.
  • Millennium (1996): Art Nesbitt in "Loin Like a Hunting Flame", who's picked up his skills through his legit job as a pharmacist. He is a killer driven by sexual neuroses and who uses mood-altering drugs to gain control of his victims.
  • Played for Laughs in Porridge with 'Arsenic' Riggs, who is rumoured to be this, and who now works in the prison kitchens, much to the Governor's disquiet.
  • Claxton in the Ripper Street episode "The King Came Calling", who creates a poison to mimic the effects of cholera by combining antimony and ergot and uses it to contaminate the flour supply in an attempt to become more famous than Jack the Ripper.


    Myths & Religion 

    Tabletop Games 
  • 13th Age: The Poison Sage was a dark elf alchemist whose studies of poisons led her to breed all sorts of monsters and explore the underworld for ingredients for her creations.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Assassins in all editions that has them as a class or kit.
    • Dragon Magazine #39 has an article titled "The Anti-Paladin NPC". The Anti-Paladin is an aficionado of the art of poisoning, who considers poisoning to be an aesthetic pleasure and a means of artistic expression. They have collections of poisons that they use on a regular basis.
    • Dark Sun bards are known for such a practice and learn to prepare and use more poisons with the level advancement.
  • Games Workshop games:
    • Necromunda: The 3rd Edition background material mentions that the alchemical skill of House Escher has led them to become masters of developing poisons and toxins. From bespoke venom designed to kill a specific enemy to psychotropic gases and toxins that can liquefy flesh, the chemists of House Escher produce a wide variety of exotic substances for their gangs to utilise. This is represented in the rules by the Escher having access to a number of weapons with the Toxin ability from creation.
    • Warhammer 40,000: The Venenum Temple of Assassins. Unlike the operatives of some of the more overt Temples, Venenum Assassins work behind the scenes, poisoning high-priority targets before the battles can begin, with good training in stealth and such a devastating array of poisons they can kill anything, even daemons, with the right toxin. One piece of Flavor Text details the successful assassination of all thousand members of an anti-Imperial planetary government by the Venenum Assassin Urua Thereaux who spent three days poisoning the chairs of their council chamber.
    • Warhammer Fantasy:
      • The Dark Elves are amongst the foremost poisoncrafters in the setting, though the Skaven are also very good at it, and the Chaos Gods Nurgle and Slaanesh have several excellent poisoners amongst their followers.
      • The Dogs of War special character Lucrezzia Belladonnanote  is extremely skilled at the art of brewing and delivering poison, and not coincidentally all of her husbands have perished from various kinds of toxicity-related incidents. In-game, she has a number of special rules and items involving poisons, such as poisoned weapons and the Phial of Poison that can be used on enemy characters before a battle.
      • The 2nd Edition Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay bestiary contains numerous quotes from commentators, ranging from common yokels to more knowledgeable experts. One such "scholar" is Rikkit'tik, a Skaven assassin, and all he has to say about various monster entries is his preferred method of poisoning them. He recommends arsenic for his fellow Skaven, for example, and he's got enough expertise to have recommendations for undead including skeletons (though wraiths are out).
  • Gods of the Fall: Aladurra crafts deadly poisons that often cause additional deleterious side effects (such as intense pain before death).
  • Legend of the Five Rings: One of the skills that fits under the Scorpion Clan's hat. The Shosuro family in particular kept large gardens full of various plants that could all be turned into some kind of poison.
  • Pathfinder: A number of classes such as rogues, assassins, and ninjas are proficient poisoners, but it's the Alchemist, which can not only make poisons but becomes completely immune to them, can refine them into a more deadly, harder to resist form, make them last longer on the weapon and make them in a fraction of the time with reduced material costs.

    Video Games 
  • Command & Conquer: Generals has the notorious Dr. Thrax, one of the GLA's generals. Under his command, almost all of the units that normally use high explosives instead use a biochemical cocktail called Anthrax Beta/Gamma. He got his degree in bacteriology from a mail-order college.
  • In Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance, Chapter 4's Netherworld, Poisondise, is a tropical vacation destination with completely toxic water. Hedler, the overlord of this Netherworld, is a Winged Warrior (the name of the moth class) who specializes in utilizing poison instead of brute strength, going as far as poisoning his entire Netherworld to defend it from invading armies. After defeating him and defending his Netherworld from the invading Lost Army, he joins your group. He still obsesses over poisons, going as far as to openly contemplate poisoning everyone's food for his amusement.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In the series' lore, the Kota-Vimleel tribe of Argonians are esteemed alchemists known for creating the most deadly poisons in all of Tamriel.
    • King Hlaalu Helseth of Morrowind is reputed to be one of the greatest and most subtle poisoners in the world. The in-game book A Game at Dinner and rumors regarding the death of his predecessor as King support this reputation, as well as speak for his subtlety.
    • A Master Alchemist in Oblivion can produce a staggering variety of poisons with Status Effects beyond all those listed in the trope definition. Though poisons in-game aren't as instantly lethal, a full stack of damage-over-time effects make it a foregone conclusion. Replace one of those with fatigue-drainer, and you can safely look your opponent in the eye as it dies.
    • From Oblivion onwards, poisoning is a subset of the Alchemy skill. In Skyrim, the master trainer of Alchemy is a young vampire and a Dark Brotherhood assassin who is this trope. You also can become this, and the Brotherhood offers you a unique poison ingredient for the assassination of Emperor Titus Mede II (however, it's strong enough to take half HP from the Ebony Warrior).
    • Leveling up your pickpocketing skill in Skyrim and selecting the appropriate perks also allows you to poison opponents by putting vials in their inventory without them realizing it until they drop dead.
  • League of Legends
    • The champions Teemo, Cassiopeia, and Twitch can all use poison.
    • Singed runs around and leaves poison trails.
  • Alfyn Greengrass from Octopath Traveler is primarily a healer who just wants to help people, but is certainly capable of using his knowledge as an apothecary to inflict harm when needed. One of his class skills, Empoison, always succeeds if the target is vulnerable to poison—and the vast majority of enemies, including most chapter bosses and several of the setting's gods, are. He can also mix items to Concoct harmful powders that have a chance of inflicting various Status Effects, including poison, to the whole enemy team. In-story, he carries a plant called slumberthorn whose toxin not only pulls the victim into a deep sleep but plagues the victim with horrifying nightmares if they have any evil deeds weighing on their conscience. He uses this to subdue and partially reform the Chapter 2 boss after their battle.
    • In Octopath Traveler II, we have Castti Florenz as the apothecary capable of inflicting poison via an axe attack, as well as making enemies vulnerable to poison. In her story, Trousseau uses his apothecary knowledge to become this to devastate a village with poison rain after crossing the Despair Event Horizon and becoming a Straw Nihilist as a result. His attack on the village was what also led up to Castti initially losing her memories at the start of her story.
  • Salandit and its evolution Salazzle in Pokémon Sun and Moon are Poison/Fire type Pokemon with the unique ability "Corrosive", which allows them to poison all Pokemon, even Steel-Types and other Poison Types, both of which are normally immune to the Poison status.
  • Sakura Dungeon: Slimes use poison skills quite a lot and they're quite useful because of it. Noblewomen later in the game also almost exclusively use them. In fact, they possess almost every possible poison skill in the game.
  • The Silent from Slay the Spire has this as her modus operandi, if she isn't shivving her enemies to death. She can summon poison clouds, use Poisoned Weapons, or throw flasks with lethal poison. She can even double or triple the poison's effectiveness if her poisons don't work fast enough.
  • In World of Warcraft, one of the abilities of the Rogue class is applying poisons (usually to their own weapons). The Assassination talent tree partly focuses on this particular ability. One of the talents in the tree is literally called Master Poisoner.
    • Hunters, meanwhile, poison with certain abilities like Serpent Sting. They can also set a trap with venomous snakes.
    • Some bosses definitely qualify. Cataclysm has introduced Vanessa van Cleef, who administers literal Nightmare Fuel to all party at once, and renewed High Priest Venoxis, with extra ham.

    Visual Novels 
  • The specialty of the Hebi Clan of serpent ayakashi in Enchanted in the Moonlight.
  • In the first case of The Great Ace Attorney, Foreign Exchange Student Jezaille Brett is studying and researching the toxicology of various poisons as part of her medical coursework. She uses this knowledge to kill Dr. Wilson with curare, a chemical that won't show up on the setting's forensic tests because it hasn't yet been used in Japan.


    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series: The inevitable showdown between the Rogues Gallery's two master poisoners occurs in "Harley and Ivy" when the Joker comes looking for Harley Quinn after she had gone to live with Poison Ivy. Joker has his goons grab Ivy and sprays a mist from his poisonous lapel flower in her face. Ivy is completely immune.
  • Carmen Sandiego: Lady Dokuso (who's name means Lady Poison), a member of V.I.L.E, is one of these. She has a masterful knowledge of all kinds of poison and is capable of using any number of means to poison her targets, from darts and blades to innocuous things like chopsticks.
  • Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness: Scorpion was once the Valley of Peace's best healer, skilled with the expertise of using medical herbs and experimental flowers that grew in the Valley's rich soil as cures for various sicknesses, such as the use of sun orchards as the cure for river-fever. One day, she stumbled upon a hypnosis potion and injected herself with it, poisoning her body and mind. She uses her expertise with herbs to become the mistress of poisons and mind-control drugs.

    Real Life 
  • Lucrezia Borgia is often portrayed as this; see Dated History for a discussion. All of the Borgias had the reputation of poisoners, not just Lucrezia. It was probably untrue of Lucrezia and Rodrigo (a.k.a. Pope Alexander VI), but likely enough in Cesare's case. Of course, nowadays powerful Italian families have streamlined their operations somewhat and tend to stick with lead poisoning as their method of choice, generally of the acute variety.
  • Locusta, who may have assassinated the Roman Emperor Claudius and several other people. She was rewarded by the infamous Emperor Nero.
  • Graham Young, aka "the teacup poisoner". Obsessed with poisons from a young age, Young began poisoning school friends and members of his own family by lacing their food and drinks with antimony and thallium, resulting in the death of his stepmother. He was eventually caught and sent to Broadmoor psychiatric hospital at the age of 14. Upon his release several years later, he landed a job as a tea boy at a factory, where he proceeded to poison his co-workers, two of whom died. He was convicted of two murders in 1972 - his conviction was aided by a detailed diary he had kept of his poisonings - and spent the remainder of his life incarcerated at Parkhurst prison until his death in 1990.