Follow TV Tropes


Poison Ring

Go To

Many combat-oriented characters will have some concealed weapons on them. The Gun Nut will have holdout pistols, the Knife Nut will build sheaths into all his clothes, and so on.

But how does a Master Poisoner keep his "supplies" on him? Often, it's with a Poison Ring — an elaborate ring with a hidden compartment just big enough for a stash of high-powered poison.

Most often, a Poison Ring holds a pellet or some powder that can be dumped into the victim's dinner. A subset of these rings overlaps with Poisoned Weapons, and inject the toxin by some means. A Poison Ring could also be used for cases where the victim is to be drugged instead of killed.

While rings are the most commonly used poison holder, any item of personal adornment can go here.

No connection at all to Rings of Death. Compare Cyanide Pill, where the poison is intended as a means of suicide to avoid being taken alive.



    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Godchild,
    • Riff's estranged ex-fiancee Lucinda tries to poison Cain with one of these in Revenge by Proxy for Riff's supposed part in her lover's death.
    • Merryweather's mother commits suicide with poison pills hidden inside a bracelet.

    Comic Books 
  • In Asterix in Switzerland, the corrupt Roman governor wears several of these rings on his fingers. To his annoyance the first two rings are empty, implying that the quaestor he's about to poison isn't the first to meet their demise this way. "I must remember to get refills."
  • In one Spider-Man story, the Scourge of the Underworld hits Spidey in the face with the back of his hand. First, it looks like it was just a slap, but seconds later Spider-Man starts to tumble and the Scourge reveals the poisoned needle on the ring he is wearing.
  • Batman: In "Where Were You on The Night Batman Was Killed?", The Joker's testimony involves him getting in a fight with Batman, and accidentally injecting him with a fatal dose of Joker venom when the poison ring he is wearing discharges during the struggle.

    Film — Live-Action 

  • The Tamuli series. When Khalad needs to come up with a way to conceal Sparhawk's ring, he has a jeweler take a poison ring apart and mount the "lid" so it completely covers the ruby.
  • In The Three Musketeers, Milady poisons Constance using one of these.
  • Discworld:
    • Assassins Guild teacher Lady T'Malia has both hands full of this sort of ring. Wise pupils watch her fingers, not her body.
    • In Making Money, Cosmo Lavish wears several rings that suggest this, but Moist doubts if someone who personally kills people would bother to advertise that much.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Poison was smuggled into a feast in a hairnet — changed to a necklace in the TV series. Subverted in that the wearer of said jewelry, Sansa Stark, knew nothing about the plot: Lord Petyr Baelish planned this surprise as Sansa's introduction into the world of intrigue.
  • In The Hunger Games, Glimmer's district token, a ring, is confiscated because the gem twisted out to reveal a poisoned spike.
  • Part of the equipment Butler Parker often equipped his female associates with was a ring with a releasabler spike, coated with sleeping poison.
  • Sam carried one in Villains by Necessity, but despite being a professional assassin, the only thing he used it for professionally was to store allergy medication during the pollen season.
  • Safehold: Members of the "Fist of God" carry poison at all times so they can kill themselves if caught. Several female members hide their poison in a necklace or pendant, and at least one male agent carries his in a large ring.
  • In Hawksmaid, the Abbess uses a poisoner's ring to poison the Bishop of Ely's dessert. Matty and Friar Tuck conspire to prevent him from eating it.
  • No Time Like The Past: Poison Tongue Piercing, actually. K'Mara has a ruby tongue stud that's actually a miniature hypospray containing a deadly toxin; she uses it to kill a Red Shirt in a brawl.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Played with and ultimately subverted in Agent Carter. Agent Dooley goes to Nuremberg to interrogate a German officer who is facing imminent execution by hanging. He pops open his watch to reveal that it is a fake watch that holds three cyanide tablets. He offers one to the German officer, who then talks. As he's leaving, Dooley pops the watch open again in the presence of a guard and offers the guard a breath mint.
  • Doctor Who: In "Boom Town," Margaret the Slitheen first attempts to kill the Doctor by pouring some poison out of a compartment in one of her rings into his drink when he isn't looking. He switches glasses as soon as he turns back around. She then attempts to use some of her species' natural poisons, and those fail as well.
  • In the "Our Man in Leotards" episode of Get Smart Max has a ring which injects "Immobilo", which causes instant paralysis.
  • Stargate SG-1: In "Summit," Daniel uses a ring with a retractable needle coated in Reol toxin, which causes someone injected with it to hallucinate that the user is actually someone else they know. He uses it to impersonate Lord Yu's personal servant. In the later episode, "Company of Thieves," Cameron Mitchell uses a similar ring to pose as a reclusive Lucian Alliance underboss.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: In "State of Flux," Maje Culluh commits a Sickbed Slaying on a Kazon rescued by the Voyager with a nerve toxin hidden in his ring before the Voyager's crew can stop him.
  • Whodunnit? (UK): Used by the murderer in "A Piece of Cake". A spike on the ring injects a lethal dose of snake venom into the Victim of the Week when the murderer grasps his his wrist.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • The second edition splatbook "The Complete Thief's Handbook" note  included "Pin Rings," which could be used to inject poisons or knockout drugs.
    • One of many 3rd Edition third-party supplements detailed an "Assassin" base class and several "tools of the trade." These tools included rings for stealthily delivering poisons by contact, ingestion, or inhalation.
  • The video that accompanies the Clue VCR Mystery Game (and forms part of the game play) includes a dinner scene where one of the character uses one of these rings to poison the drinks.

  • In Verdi's Il Trovatore, Leonora, who is in love with Manrico, commits suicide by drinking poison from her ring to prevent the Count di Luna from having his way with her.

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Lucrezia Borgia, of the infamous Borgia family, was said to have used one of these to poison her family's enemies. Later historians consider this propaganda invented by those same enemies.
  • Georgi Makarov was a Bulgarian defector who, after finding shelter in London, became a fierce critic of the People's Republic of Bulgaria. Then, in 1978, after feeling a stinging pain on his way to work, he fell mysteriously ill and died days later. An investigation and autopsy later confirmed that he was assassinated by order of the Bulgarian government, with aid from the KGB, by getting shot with a small pellet containing ricin, a powerful poison that kills with minute doses. Although the "gun" used to administer the pellet was never found, an account from Makarov before he died had forensic researchers suspecting the weapon was an advanced shooting device hidden inside an umbrella (with the barrel shooting out of the umbrella's tip), of all places. A similar attack on another Bulgarian defector was recorded in Paris days earlier. This one also used a ricin pellet, but it failed. After surviving, the victim claimed that the suspect was not carrying an umbrella, which begs the question as to what exactly was the assassin's weapon disguised as. It was almost certainly though, an example of this trope.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: