Poison was a detriment that players and monsters may suffer when they were attacked by a poisoned weapon. Also, the Smoke spells from the Ancient Magicks could poison targets. Many non-player characters were also able to poison. The damage could range from 10 (Poison almost worn off) to over 900 (Har'Lakk the Riftsplitter's accumulating poison), and it struck every 18 seconds (30 ticks). Poison could be cured by an antipoison, which was handy to have with you when fighting poisonous monsters.
When a player or monster was poisoned, a number would appear with a green splat () instead of a red one, indicating the amount of damage the poison had dealt to their life points (for example, a player who suffered 68 poison damage would lose 68 life points). Poison wore off over time, decreasing by a value of two life points every time it struck. After poison damage was reduced to 10, it disappeared and the poison had abated.
For instance, if a player was hit by another player wielding a poisoned dagger, they would be hit for 48 damage after 18 seconds (or 30 game ticks), then 46 damage after 18 seconds, then 44, 42, etc., until the damage was reduced to 10 and then the poison would be gone.
It is worth noting that an attack with a poisoned weapon did not actually need to inflict direct damage to inflict poison. Whether this was a programming oversight or intentional is not known. Some monsters, such as tribesmen, Kalphites, or K'ril Tsutsaroth had to inflict damage in order to poison a player (Prayers such as the Protect from Melee could not negate this, and even if they hit zeros due to the prayer's effect, you were still poisoned). Others, such as Cave Slimes and Saradomin wizards, as well as other players, could inflict poison even if they hit a zero (unless the player was protected by an antipoison potion). Being hit by a poisoned weapon did not guarantee becoming poisoned.
Players would not take damage from poison during cutscenes, but their health still regenerates normally.
You did NOT gain any experience when doing damage with poison, so when training, if every experience point counted, players did not use weapon poison.
Clean, unpoisoned weapons could be poisoned by weapon poisons made through the Herblore skill. There were several types of weapon poisons which dealt progressively more damage. Only spears, arrows, bolts, darts, throwing knives, javelins, daggers, and hastae could be poisoned.
- Weapon poison - poisoning dealt 48 damage initially with melee weapons, 28 damage with ranged. Weapons with this poisoning had the suffix (p) on the end of their names (for example, Dragon dagger (p)).
- Weapon poison+ or Extra strong weapon poison - hit for 58 damage with melee, 38 with ranged. Suffix (p+).
- Weapon poison++ or Super strong weapon poison - hit for 68 damage with melee, 48 with ranged. This was the most popular type of weapon poison since it was tradeable and dealt the most damage, along with Karambwan paste. Suffix (p++).
- Karambwan paste (made from partially cooking a Raw karambwan) - hit for 68 damage. This poison could only be applied to spears and hastae, and cannot be traded. Suffix (kp).
- Emerald bolts (e) - hit for 58 damage. Mithril bolts can be made with level 53 Smithing and level 54 Fletching. Emerald bolt tips could be added at level 58 Fletching, then enchanted with level 27 Magic, and fired from a mithril crossbow at level 36 Ranged.
If you poisoned a monster while fighting it, you would not receive experience from the poison damage. Some monsters, such as Wall beasts, Turoths, Waterfiends, and the God Wars Dungeon bosses, were immune to poison.
Poison could be removed from weapons with a cleaning cloth, obtained by using Karamjan rum with silk. A new poison could then be applied to the weapon. If you attempted to apply poison to an already poisoned weapon, nothing interesting happened. This was the case for all poisoned weapons except when you used a poisoned karambwan paste on a spear or hasta. For example, if you had a dragon spear p++ and you also had poisoned karambwan paste, you could use the paste on the dragon spear p++ without needing to wipe off the p++ with a cleaning cloth. Notable is that for example the effect of karambwan paste and super strong weapon poison was impossible to survive without food, antipoison or life points boosts (it dealt a total of 1170 damage while, unboosted, the maximum life points were 990).
Poison could be cured through antidotes. Anti-poison potions were the most popular antidote and they came in various levels which provide progressively longer immunity to poisoning. All regular poisons could be cured by regular antipoison, even that inflicted upon players by K'ril Tsutsaroth, which hit 168 to start. Some antidotes provided temporary immunity, during which you could not be poisoned.
- Super antipoison
- Prayer book (no immunity)
- Strange fruit (no immunity)
- Guthix rest (reduced poison damage per hit by 10)
- Sanfew serum
- Oo'glog thermal bath
- Cure Me (no immunity)
- Cure Other (no immunity)
- Cure Group (no immunity)
- Right-clicking "Cure" on the Unicorn Stallion familiar would cure poison and disease. However, it did cost the player some summoning points, and would not grant the player immunity.
- Wearing an Anti-poison totem in the shield slot provided full immunity to poison. This required 60 Defence, 60 Dungeoneering, and 70 Herblore. The totem could not cure poison; it only prevented players from becoming poisoned.
- Using the poison purge aura would cause all poison to heal you instead of damage you for ten minutes. It has a cooldown period of one hour.
Another free alternative if you were really low on health was to teleport to your respawn location. This way, when you died, you could instantly obtain your items again. This was not advised in the Wilderness, as you could not get a gravestone there, and your items would be immediately visible to others. If you were attacked and damaged by a player killer, they would get your items instead, even if they only caused one life point of damage. In addition, untradeable items were replaced either by tradeable versions of them or coins.
Another safe alternative was to teleport to your house, so that when you died, you would not lose items and instead be teleported outside of your house. A faster method involving the house to cure poison was to simply leave the house by using the teleportation methods available in the house (e.g. Mounted Amulet of Glory, the Portal Chamber or simply leaving your house through the Exit Portal). This would cure your poison completely.
- Logging out to lobby every 5 seconds would stop poison from hitting you. Unknown if this is a bug/glitch or not.
- When the player was poisoned, the life points meter to the top-right the minimap turned green with a "Use cure (p)" option.
- You could not rest while you are poisoned. The reason for this is unknown. This could be due to the life points regenerating effect of resting, which could decrease the poison damage done to the player or even counter it.
- Players did not experience the effects of poison whilst wearing the Ring of stone, an Easter ring, or a Bone brooch, but received the damage of poison instantly as soon the player returned to his or her normal form, if it was supposed to occur. This may be a glitch.
- Players did not experience the effects of poison whilst solving a Puzzle box from a Clue scroll.
- Using the special attack of a poisoned Dragon dagger seemed to increase the chance of poisoning a target, but this was unconfirmed. However, since the special hit twice, it was possible that there was a higher chance of poisoning the victim.
- Although extremely rare, it was possible to kill a target with poison without damaging it. This was done by using the special attack of a poisoned Dragon dagger. The poison splat could hit before the red splats, resulting in a killing blow on monsters who had a total of 68 or fewer life points (when using poison++).
- With the Constitution update, the total damage for poison was increased disproportionately to other forms of damage. Normal weapons' poison went from a total of 4 hitpoint damage (40 life point damage) to 57 total life point damage.
- The effects of poison wore off after around two minutes, depending on the potency of the poison.
- If you were poisoned and are somewhere remote, it was possible to pause the poison's progress by opening any interface. This allowed you time to regain life points. It is unknown whether Jagex did this on purpose or if it is a bug/glitch in the game.
- A low level player could easily incapacitate a larger foe with a strong poison. For example, using a Dragon dagger (p++) at level 65 on a Giant frog (level 99) and hiding behind something could prevent you from being hit, but the poison would still kill the target.
- It was possible for the poison splat to read 0, but this could only happen when you are dead. This could be done if you are already poisoned, and after a specific time, you died with regular damage but the poison that was supposed to inflict damage upon you would read zero because you would have no life points left.
- If a player was poisoned by a p++ weapon, the total life point lost until the player is unpoisoned was 1170 (this would take a total of 9 minutes. 1 life point is generated every 6 seconds).
- When using the home teleport spell, poison damage was paused, but when you reached the teleport place, you were hit with all the damage you would have taken. This was useful when you were about to die by poison and you teleported to a spot that was closer to your grave. This was due to an update, after many players complained they couldn't teleport due to the poison disrupting the home teleport. Also, because the spell is mainly to help low level players, it was paused.
- It was possible to take poison damage while logged in on a free-play world, but only if you had been poisoned before logging onto the world.
- When picking nettles without gloves, you appeared to take poison damage with a green hitsplat, even though it only struck once.
- When you managed to die because of poison inside a Clan Citadel, you got kicked out of the citadel and you were sent to the lobby.
- Poisoned weapons aren't actually discontinued. Monsters that had poisoned weapons in their drop table are still able to drop them.