Q: Dear Sage,
When do "add-on" effects such as poison occur? For example, if an assassin delivers a death attack with a weapon bearing wyvern poison, does the poison take effect first, thus potentially reducing the target’s Fortitude save against the death attack?
As a general guideline, whenever the rules don’t stipulate an order of operations for special effects (such as spells or special abilities), you should apply them in the order that’s most beneficial to the “controller” of the effect.
In this case, the assassin is the “controller” of both the poison and the death attack, so he’d most likely choose for the poison to take effect first, and then the death attack.
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