Scoring the total indicated above (or scoring higher) means the weapon has no effect (death ray, polymorph, paralization, stone, or spell) or one-half effect (poison scoring one-half of the total possible hit damage and dragon breath scoring one-half its full damage).It's a peculiar section, because it implies that poison deals damage rather than simply being save or die, as longstanding tradition would have it. Likewise, there's the 4th-level clerical spell neutralize poison, whose description in the same volume states that it is
A spell to counter the harmful effects of poison. Note that it will not aid a character killed by poison, however. It will affect only one object. Duration: 1 turn.That, too, is pretty peculiar, because, once again, it implies that poison deals damage rather than instant death. However, no poisonous creature in the LBBs seem to deal damage with their venom that I can find and even the fact that they deal death is more a matter of interpretation.
In AD&D, a 2nd-level clerical spell is introduced, slow poison. Its description notes that it can restore "even .. a supposedly dead individual" back to life, if they died from poisoning within a number of turns less than or equal to the level of the cleric who cast the spell. That description suggests that "real" death from poison occurs not immediately upon failing a saving throw but some time afterward. AD&D's description of neutralize poison is roughly consonant with its OD&D predecessor, in that it doesn't seem to affect someone who's been killed by poison (though, presumably, it could be used in conjunction with slow poison), but, rather, could be used to make poisonous food edible or even de-venom poisonous creatures. Interestingly, the 1981 Expert Rules seem to combine the effects of AD&D's slow poison with OD&D's neutralize poison.
This spell will cancel the effects of poison and revive a poisoned character if cast within ten rounds. It can also be cast on a poison or poisoned item to make it harmless. It acts only on poison present at the time it is cast.It's a bit of a muddle, if you try to go with just the bare text, unless, as is quite likely, I'm missing some crucial passage somewhere in the LBBs that clarifies it all. That's why, back when I was preparing to start the Dwimmermount campaign, I briefly contemplated having poison deal damage rather than death. The problem I had was trying to figure out just how much damage it ought to deal and whether that damage ought to be in addition to the damage dealt by the attack that delivers it. That is, if a giant spider deals 2-8 points of damage, does that include the poison damage or is it in addition to it? I never came to a satisfactory conclusion and, the more I thought about it, the more questions it raised, so I simply decided to ignore the implications of those passages in the LBBs and go with the "traditional" understanding that all poison is deadly poison.
I'm still not sure that was the "right" decision, but it's a decision that worked -- a few dead henchmen and hirelings to the contrary.