Corruption (re-write/edit of original Taint effects from Oriental Adventures. SUBJECT TO RE-BALANCE IF NECESSARY)
The World has a type of spiritual pollution that is referred to as Corruption. It should be avoided if possible as it’s known to cause horrible mutations. Corruption is gained by exposure or through certain actions, some of which are not necessarily evil. “Do the right thing” is not as important as ‘Doing the correct thing’. As such, this will make playing a Paladin particularly…interesting.
The Corrupted are creatures that have succumbed to or embraced their corruption.
Corruption affects the body, mind and spirit. It mars the flesh, maddens the brain, and poisons the sould. It causes unnatural growth and infuses the flesh with virulent cancers, eventually transforming its victims into corrupted puppets; tattered husks under control of some otherworldly intelligence. It affects the mind as well as the body, causing terrible madness in its victims. Irritability and aggressiveness escalate into paranoia and delusions, culminating in extreme homicidal mania.
Corruption can be measured by the Corruption Score and Corruption Rank. An initial exposure typically results in a score of 1d3, and accumulation is typically fairly rapid after that initial exposure. For every 24 hours spent exposed to Corruption, a character must make a Fortitude saving throw. The DC is 10, but it increases by 5 for every consecutive 24 hours the character spends exposed to areas of Corruption. Once the character has accumulated (level * 10) Corruption Points they receive a Corruption Rank.
A character’s Corruption Rank applies a penalty to to his Constitution and Wisdom scores. Thus, a character with 16 Constitution and 14 Wisdom who acquires a Rank of 4 has an effective Constitution of 12 and Wisdom of 10. These penalties reflect Corruption’s impact on the character’s physical and mental health.
The penalties experienced by the character manifest in a variety of ways, from mild nausea, joint pain, or disorientation to rotting flesh, severe skeletal warping, and irresistible murderous urges. There is never any game effect other than Constitution and Wisdom loss.
As terrible as the Corruption effects are upon the living, they are even worse on the dead. Any creature that dies within an area of Corruption animates in 1d4 hours as an undead creature, usually a zombie of the appropriate size.
The most reliable defense against Corruption is turquoise. Turquoise absorbs the tainted energies that would normally corrupt the character using it, slowly darkening and softening as its purity gives way to the corruption it’s taking in. A ‘finger’ of turquoise, or a like amount, protects the character for seven days before it’s purity is exhausted, eliminating the need to make Fortitude saving throws during that period. Multiple fingers of turquoise protect a character for a longer time, but only to a point: Two fingers last 12 days (not 14) and three fingers last 16 days (not 21), four last 19 days (not 28) and five or more last for 21 days. A single finger of turquoise has a minimum cost of 100gp.
No artificial form of turquoise carries the same divine balance of elements as natural turquoise, so using magic to create turquoise is no protection against Corruption.
If a character’s Corruption Rank ever reaches 5, the character is overcome by exposure and becomes a slave of evil. Such characters feel an irresistible urge or pull, abandoning their loved ones, friends and society, never to be seen again.
Corruption can be reduced slightly with divine spells: Cure disease or remove curse will reduce a corruption score by 1 but will never remove it completely. A Heal spell will reduce the score by 3, but never below 1.
Mystics are the only people that have a way of fully removing corruption.
Corruption can be temporarily blocked by having turquoise in close proximity to individuals. As such, turquoise is extremely rare to find in abundance. It was recently discovered that burial mounds from about 10,000 years ago may be a good place to look for items containing turquoise.