I don't mean to imply that I'm all about instant character death — I hope it didn't come across that way.
It just seemed like a neat facet of the time period to me, so I thought I'd explore it. I can understand how it would be a difficult thing to control in an RPG, but I thought it interesting enough to ask.
And what's the difference between defending oneself against having poison put in their food, and learning Karate? Alertness, and certainly being physically robust, are just as important as being able to throw a good punch, especially in a time period where sickness and poison are common. And, as I said, it's much more likely that a woman would be able to dump poison into your wine, than to ha-cha at you through corset and pettycoat.
That was where my mind was going when I asked about poisons; I just wanted to clarify that. And, again, I do understand how it could be hard to incorporate such a thing into an RPG — I was just interested to see what people might come up with.
The Toxicology sounds neat — I'll keep an eye out for it. Thanks for the quick responses, everyone.