tl;dr: Yes, learning all the antidotes is likely a waste on a new PC, because your opportunity to use it is minimal.
Murders are rare full stop, and the most common form of poisoning in play is probably “Steel poisoning” (Stab them), because it’s fast, cheap and effective. It’s also very rare to get the chance to administer an antidote, because you only have 30 min to do it, and the wrong antidote will kill the patient. So unless people are desperate, they won’t necessarily want to risk that Some Random Apothecary won’t mess up the diagnosis.
As a new player, you’ve got the most chance to get involved in events if you start with some skills that come up often and give you reasons to engage with people. Any chance to be proactive and memorable. The big trouble with Apothecary is that you can make as many potions as you want at once. Meaning the entire field could, in theory, be served by one Apothecary making massive job lots. The other point is that unlike doing a 2 min ritual on someone, you don’t get to show off. You might not want that though, which is fair. Apothecary isn’t bad if you have a strong concept of what you want to do, and you don’t need character skills to do it.
I would definitely advise basing your backstory on what you want to do in play, and not the other way round. It’s really common for players to pick what they think they “should” have for the character’s past story, and miss the skills that will create story at the event.
- Apothecary + 3 sets of poison recipes is 6 out of 8 XP on one thin slice of game. It also needs a stock of herbs.
- Magician + Purify is 3XP, and works for the VENOM and WEAKNESS calls, Gutwrench, etc. You’re a specialist in dealing with simple poisons, and can happily write notes and things about snake bites, toxic plants etc if that’s what your fun is. It also buys you a pass into the Conclave game, talking to Eternals, joining a coven etc.
If you want reactive game of saving people from poison, a Day Ritualist with Purify and Heal is definitely worth considering. As with Day 2 you could also sell useful buffs like “Give someone else the ability to cast Purify”. If you’re willing to go to battles as a backline character, you can get a lot out of that sort of build vs the Druj for example.