Characters can acquire taint by entering places suffused with evil, by coming in contact with tainted objects, through channeling corrupted magics, or through the attacks of certain monsters. The taint can manifest physically, in which case it is called corruption, or mentally, in which case it is called depravity. Both corruption and depravity are measured in points. The amount of taint acquired varies depending upon the source, but is rarely more than 1 to 3 points at a time.
In most cases, a character can attempt a saving throw to resist the effects of taint. Corruption allows a Fortitude save, while depravity allows a Will save.
Anytime a character acquires more points of corruption at one time than her Constitution modifier, she must attempt another Fortitude save (DC 15 + points of corruption acquired). If the save is successful, she is sickened for 1d4 rounds; if it fails, she is nauseated for 1d4 rounds.
Similarly, anytime a character acquires more points of depravity at one time than her Wisdom modifier, she must attempt another Will save (DC 15 + points of depravity acquired). If the save is successful, she is dazed for 1d4 rounds; if it fails, she is stunned for 1d4 rounds.
Creatures with the “Evil” subtype and undead creatures are immune to any negative effects from taint. They automatically have effective corruption and depravity scores equal to one-half their Charisma score, +1 for undead or +2 for outsiders. They take no penalty from these taint scores, but they can use them to qualify for feats or prestige classes.
Effects of TaintBoth corruption and depravity manifest in mild, moderate, and severe symptoms. The relationship between a character’s taint scores and her Constitution and Wisdom scores determines the severity of the physical and mental manifestations of her taint. A character with high Constitution can acquire more corruption before displaying physical symptoms, while a character with low Wisdom quickly manifests symptoms of her depravity.Taint Symptoms
To determine the severity of a character’s taint symptoms, find her ability score on the leftmost column of the following table, and read across until you find the column that has her appropriate taint score. The top of that column indicates the severity of her corruption or depravity, as appropriate.
Con or Wis Score No Taint Mild Taint Moderate Taint Severe Taint Dead/Insane 1-4 0 1 2-5 6-13 14+ 5-8 0 1-3 4-11 12-27 28+ 9-12 0 1-5 6-17 18-41 42+ 13-16 0 1-7 8-23 24-55 56+ 17-20 0 1-9 10-29 30-69 70+ 21-24 0 1-11 12-35 36-83 84+ 25-28 0 1-13 14-41 42-97 98+ 29-32 0 1-15 16-47 48-111 112+ 33-36 0 1-17 18-53 54-125 126+
No Taint: A character with no taint manifests no symptoms.
Mild Taint: A character who gains her first point of taint may receive a restoration, heal, or greater restoration spell within 24 hours to have her taint reduced to 0. After 24 hours, the character manifests one mild mental or physical symptom of the taint, and the mild taint becomes permanent.
Moderate Taint: A character who gains enough taint to cross the threshold into moderate taint must receive a heal or greater restoration spell within 24 hours to have her taint reduced to mild taint. After 24 hours, the character manifests one moderate mental or physical symptom of the taint (in addition to her minor symptom from mild taint), and the moderate taint becomes permanent.
Severe Taint: A character who gains enough taint to cross the threshold into severe taint must receive a greater restoration spell within 24 hours to have her taint reduced to moderate taint. After 24 hours, the character manifests one severe mental or physical symptom of the taint (in addition to her minor and moderate symptoms), and the severe taint becomes permanent.
Dead/Insane: If a character’s corruption score ever exceeds the severe taint threshold, she dies, and 1d6 hours later rises with the “Tainted Minion” template; she becomes a hideous, undead creature. If a character’s depravity score ever exceeds the severe taint threshold, the character goes irrevocably mad, and gains the “Tainted Raver” template.
Corruption manifests as physical symptoms: muscular degeneration, illness, frailty, and the like. Depravity manifests as mental symptoms: growing paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, and other problems that can generally be defined as madness. Note that this is not madness in a traditional sense, though; rather than an illness, depravity is the expression or result of evil gnawing away at a character’s soul and mind.
Mild Corruption EffectsBenefits of TaintPhysical: Uncomfortable rashes; discolored hair; nervous tics; frequent nosebleeds; boils; muscle spasms; nausea and vomiting; pain in joints; skin thickens and turns leathery; skin seeps greasy, yellowish sweat; wracking cough; pale, dead complexion; sunken eyes and cracked lips.Moderate Corruption Effects
Mental: Occasional memory lapses; mild paranoia or xenophobia; auditory hallucinations; irrational fear of a particular substance or item; skewed speech patterns; increased aggressiveness.
Physical: Bones warp and thicken; black, lichenlike growth across skin itches constantly; hair falling out in clumps; profuse bleeding from the pores; reddened, burnlike sores and scars; eye clouds or blood vessel breaks, obscuring vision; lips shrink back from gums; gums bleed, swell, and rot; bleeding from eyes, nose, ears, or lips; uncontrollable seizures that wrack the body with spasms; eruption of painful sores; sores ooze blood, pus, spiders or insects, thick pasty substance, maggots, acidic slime, etc;Severe Corruption Effects
Mental: Extreme paranoia; radical and frequent mood swings; wild hallucinations; speaking in unknown languages; fits of extreme violence; fits of uncontrollable, disturbing laughter; disregard for hygiene and cultural mores.Physical: Rotting flesh; additional limbs; new orifices; development of inhuman body parts (such as claws or chitinous plates); spine twists, back hunches; severe warping of skeleton; great, swollen growths on body; lungs eaten away from inside – wet, labored, painful breathing; eye falls out, leaving gaping socket that glows with eerie green light; skin peels off in papery sloughs, exposing raw muscle.
Mental: Unnatural hungers; extreme psychosis; aversion to sunlight; clearly hearing evil voices; delusions of identity; reduced to primitive behavior; extreme apathy; fascination with evil.
The taint often grants powerful abilities to those it infects, enhancing existing strengths or granting the character new abilities.Bonus Feats Whenever a character reaches a new taint level of either corruption or depravity, she gains a bonus feat of her choice. Should she later reduce her taint score to a lower level, she loses access to the bonus feat granted by her previous level of taint.Cleansing TaintSpells
The following spells can reduce taint when cast outside tainted areas. No character can have a taint score reduced by a particular spell more than once per day.Heal: This spell reduces a character’s corruption and depravity scores by 1 point per 3 caster levels, if used within 24 hours of the target acquiring the taint. This spell is capable of reducing the subject’s taint below the mild or moderate taint thresholds, but may not reduce any taint the subject has possessed for more than 24 hours.Ritual Cleansing
Miracle or Wish: These spells remove sufficient taint to place the target at the highest threshold of the next lowest taint level, regardless of how much time has passed.
Remove Curse: This spell reduces a character’s depravity score by 1 point.
Remove Disease: This spell reduces a character’s corruption score by 1 point.
Restoration: This spell reduces the character’s corruption and depravity scores by 1 point per four caster levels. If used within 24 hours of the target’s acquiring enough taint to qualify as mild taint, the caster may reduce the taint below that threshold.
Greater Restoration: This spell reduces the character’s corruption and depravity scores by 1 point per caster level. If used within 24 hours of the target’s corruption score crossing a threshold, the caster may reduce the taint to below that threshold.A character wishing to reduce her depravity score may undertake a special ritual under the guidance of one of her deity’s clerics. The ritual prepares the character for mental and spiritual cleansing.Sacred Springs
Each deity’s faith has a list of rituals the faithful can perform to prove their dedication to their deity. Adventuring is never part of such a ritual, and a character undertaking an adventure prior to her ritual’s accomplishment must begin again with the ritual.
The ritual must be completed every day for a week. On completion, the character’s depravity score is reduced by 1 point. The character can continue the ritual for another week to continue reducing her depravity, or can return to the priest and attempt to begin a different ritual.Sacred springs tend to be aligned with either Ayna or Avenal and are usually located in remote regions which can only be reached after a long and dangerous journey. For each day that a character spends resting and cleansing herself at a sacred spring, her corruption score is reduced by 1 point. A character using this method to reduce her corruption score can undertake no activities other than resting, eating, sleeping, meditation, and normal conversation.