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Poison Ring

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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.

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Examples:

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    Anime & 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Marvel Team-Up #92: Spidey and Hawkeye are taking on the second Mr. Fear. When Mr. Fear turns Spidey's own taunts against him, the webslinger foolishly lets the villain take his best shot. Mr. Fear does so, and his Poison Ring injects Spidey with a full dose of the Fear Formula.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Black Lizard: When jewel thief and criminal mastermind Black Lizard realizes the jig is up and there's no escape, she flips open her ring, dumps some poison in her mouth, and dies.
  • In the 1920 film adaptation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Hyde's girlfriend has one of these, which Hyde takes from her. Jekyll winds up taking the poison to avoid turning into Hyde forever.
  • In Im Juli, a female seductress uses a Poison Ring to drug the hero.
  • Phillipe, the Evil Twin impersonating Louis XIV in The Iron Mask, has one of these. He uses it to dump poison in his mother's wine goblet. He then does the Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo right in front of her.
  • Johnny English: Johnny wears two hypodermic rings and mistakes his "sleeping draught" ring with his "truth serum" ring. Hilarity Ensues.
  • The Director's Cut of Kingdom of Heaven adds a scene of Sibylla sorrowfully using such a ring to slip poison into the drink she gives to her own son to peacefully euthanize him after it's discovered that he's contracted leprosy just like her recently deceased brother King Baldwin, and Sibylla didn't want him to suffer like his uncle did.
  • An agent in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol uses one of these to poison a mark.
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    Literature 
  • Lara from The Bridge Kingdom Archives, being a well-trained assassin, has a "cleverly designed bracelet", which allows her to hide a vial of chosen poison—although she mostly uses narcotics to induce sleep.
  • Part of the equipment Butler Parker often equipped his female associates with was a ring with a releasable spike, coated with sleeping poison.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Lyra of His Dark Materials claimed that, during a Jordan College meeting, a delegate from the Izmir University attempted to poison her uncle Asriel's wine cup but that her uncle detected this attempt and managed to have the would-be poisoner drink his poisoned cup.
  • In The Hunger Games, Glimmer's district token, a ring, is confiscated because the gem twisted out to reveal a poisoned spike.
  • 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.
  • 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 the Tommy and Tuppence novel The Secret Adversary, Mr. Brown carries one of these and uses it when he gets caught, since a genius like him is unwilling to submit to a trial for treason.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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.
  • Parodied in Le Cœur a ses Raisons: Brad's "discrete tortoise ring" which contain a sleep-inducing poison is easily as big as his hand.
  • 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 
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Theatre 
  • 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.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • In Batman and Harley Quinn, Harley sucker-punches Nightwing with a poisoned ring that gives him a weakened version of Joker Venom (it just makes him laugh a little and lose consciousness for a short time, since Harley has renounce being a villain).
  • In the fourteenth episode of Il était une fois... l'homme, set during The Renaissance, Renaissance Nabot uses this kind of ring to kill Renaissance Teigneux. Teigneux in turn stabs Nabot In the Back.

    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 Markov 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 Markov 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.
  • In 2018, a ring like this was found in the fortress of Caliacra, the former capital of a medieval Bulgarian feudal state.

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