One of the features that distinguishes a fantasy horror game
from a more typical fantasy campaign is the idea, prominent
in the horror genre, that evil is a corrupting force. Though
a paladin might remain entirely virtuous in her actions and
even her thoughts, long years of struggle against the forces
of evil can erode her body and soul. True heroes refuse to
allow the taint of evil to spread, warding it off through magic
or penance. Sometimes, however, even well-intentioned
characters end up embracing the taint within them, using
it to increase their physical or mental power.
Characters can acquire taint by entering a place suffused
with evil, by coming into contact with a horribly evil object,
through the attacks of certain monsters, and by performing
evil acts. This 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. Typically, characters acquire 1 to 3 points of corruption
or depravity from exposure to evil. Prolonged exposure
generally has the potential to bestow an additional 1 point
of corruption or depravity for every 24 hours of exposure.
The specifi c amounts of taint acquired from different circumstances
are detailed elsewhere in this book—see Horror
Environments later in this chapter, Dread Magic in Chapter
5, and specifi c monster descriptions in Chapter 6.
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.
Any time a character acquires more points of corruption at
one time than her current Constitution modifi er, she must
attempt another Fortitude save (DC 15 + points of corruption
acquired). If this save is successful, she is sickened for 1d4
rounds; if she fails, she is nauseated for 1d4 rounds.
Similarly, any time a character acquires more points of
depravity at one time than his current Wisdom modifi er, he
must attempt another Will save (DC 15 + points of depravity
acquired). If this save is successful, he is dazed for 1d4 rounds;
if he fails, he 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 penalties due to these taint scores,
but they can use them to qualify for feats or prestige classes
(see Chapter 5).
EFFECTS OF TAINT
Both 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 a high Constitution can acquire
more corruption before displaying physical symptoms, while
a character with a low Wisdom quickly manifests mental
symptoms of her depravity.
To determine the severity of a character’s taint symptoms,
fi rst fi nd his Constitution score in the leftmost column of
Table 4–1: Taint Thresholds, and read across until you find
the column to the right that includes his current physical
corruption score. The top of that column indicates the severity
of his physical taint symptoms. Then repeat the process
with his Wisdom score and her depravity score to determine
the severity of her mental taint symptoms.
Table 4–1: Taint Thresholds
Con or Wis No Mild Moderate Severe Dead/
Score Taint Taint Taint Taint 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 fi rst point of taint
crosses the threshold into mild taint and must receive a
restoration, heal, or greater restoration spell and have her taint
reduced to 0 within 24 hours or be permanently affl icted with
mild taint. If a character retains mild taint after 24 hours, she
manifests one minor physical or mental symptom from the
descriptions below. A character with mild depravity and mild
corruption manifests one physical symptom and one mental
symptom. Once a character manifests a minor symptom, only
a miracle or wish spell can remove the symptom and return
the character’s taint to 0.
Moderate Taint: A character who gains enough taint to
cross the threshold into moderate taint must receive a heal
or greater restoration spell and have his taint reduced to mild
taint level within 24 hours or be permanently affl icted with
moderate taint. If a character retains moderate taint after
24 hours, he manifests one moderate physical or mental
symptom from the descriptions below. A character with
moderate depravity and moderate corruption manifests one
physical symptom and one mental symptom. Once a character
manifests a moderate symptom, only a miracle or wish spell
can remove the symptom and return the character’s taint to
mild. A character with moderate taint keeps the symptoms
he gained from mild taint in addition to the new ones gained
from moderate taint.
Severe Taint: A character who gains enough taint to cross
the threshold into severe taint must receive a greater restoration
spell and have her taint reduced to moderate taint level within
24 hours or be permanently affl icted with severe taint. If a
character retains severe taint after 24 hours, she manifests
one severe physical or mental symptom from the descriptions
below. A character with severe depravity and severe
corruption manifests one physical symptom and one mental
symptom. Once a character manifests a severe symptom, only
a miracle or wish spell can remove the symptom and return
the character’s taint to moderate.
For example, Regdar has a Constitution of 14 and a Wisdom
of 8. If he acquires 4 points of corruption and 4 points of
depravity, he displays only mild physical symptoms (one
mild physical symptom), but moderate mental symptoms (one
mild mental symptom and one moderate mental symptom).
When his corruption and depravity scores each reach 12, he
has moderate corruption (and manifests a moderate physical
symptom) and severe depravity (and manifests a severe
If a character’s corruption score ever exceeds the severe taint
threshold, she dies, and 1d6 hours later she rises as a tainted
minion—a hideous, evil creature under the control of the DM.
The tainted minion template is described in Chapter 6.
If a character’s depravity score ever exceeds the severe
taint threshold, he goes irretrievably mad. He gains the
tainted raver template described in Chapter 6, and (if a player
character) falls under the control of the DM.
To determine the exact nature of a character’s physical
or mental taint symptoms, roll 1d10 and look up the result
on Table 4–2: Corruption Effects or Table 4–3: Depravity
Effects. If the character later gains more taint and crosses the
threshold into a higher level (mild to moderate or moderate
to severe), he gains the next symptom to the right on the
table. For example, if Regdar’s mild level of corruption is
expressed as the mild physical symptom “feet curl,” then if
his corruption score rises to moderate, he will in addition
manifest the symptom “joint pain.”
Table 4–2: Corruption Effects
d10 Mild Moderate Severe
1 Dead eye Lips shrink Lich eyes
2 Ear scabs Fingers and toes fuse Shiveled fl esh
3 Gums swell Bones thicken Great swollen growths
4 Feet curl Joint pain Spine twists
5 Lumps Eruption of sores Wrigglers
6 Odor of decay Paralyzed face Nose rots
7 Palsy Uncontrollable seizures Skull deformed
8 Skin seeps Blood eruption Internal corruption
9 Skin sloughs Skin thickens Skin lichen
10 Winded Chronic illness Lungs eaten away
Corruption manifests as physical symptoms: muscular
degeneration, illness, frailty, and the like.
Mild Corruption Effects
Dead Eye: Your eyes begin to cloud over, obscuring your
vision. In combat, every time you attack an opponent that
has concealment, roll your miss chance twice. If either or
both results indicate that you miss, your attack fails.
Ear Scabs: Your ears fi ll up with a crusty, scabrous substance.
You take a –2 penalty on Listen checks.
Feet Curl: Your feet warp and curl inward. Your speed is
reduced by 10 feet.
Gums Swell: Your gums swell, bleed, and rot. You have
diffi culty pronouncing words clearly. Whenever you cast a spell with a
you must succeed on a
DC 20 caster level check
or the spell fails to activate.
Lumps: Burning hot lumps rise up
all over your body. You have a constant fever.
Every time you try to run or charge you must
make a DC 20 Fortitude Save or become fatigued.
Odor of Decay: You give off an unhealthy odor of decay.
Animals fi nd your smell repellent. You take a –2 penalty on
Handle Animal, Ride, and wild empathy checks.
Palsy: Your muscles are prone to tics and quivering shakes.
You take a –2 penalty on ranged attack rolls.
Skin Seeps: Your skin seeps greasy, yellow ichor. You add
a +2 circumstance bonus on Escape Artist checks and on
grapple checks made to resist or escape a grapple or to escape
a pin. You take –2 on your Climb and Sleight of Hand checks.
Opponents add +2 to their attack roll when attempting to
Skin Sloughs: The skin on your face peels off in long, papery
strips, leaving unsightly red patches. You take a –2 penalty on
Diplomacy, Gather Information, and Perform checks.
Winded: You are constantly short of breath and feel like
you can’t get enough air. You are staggered during the third
round and any subsequent rounds of any combat.
Moderate Corruption Effects
Blood Eruption: In moments of intense activity, blood
gushes from your nostrils and ears. At the beginning of any
combat encounter, you must make a DC 15 Fortitude save or
be sickened for 4 rounds.
Bones Thicken: Your skeleton warps and thickens. Raise
your Strength score by 2, and reduce your Dexterity score
Chronic Illness: You are plagued with a phlegm-laden,
wracking cough. You also suffer occasional bouts of vomiting,
often at specifi c times of day. You
take a –3 penalty on Fortitude saves.
Eruption of Sores: Open, painful
sores, some leaking blood or pus, erupt on
your body. You take a –1 penalty on Strength- and Charismabased
ability checks and skill checks.
Fingers and Toes Fuse: Your fi ngers and toes web and
fuse. You take a –2 penalty on your attack rolls. Whenever
you cast a spell with a somatic component, you must succeed
on a DC 20 caster level check or the spell fails to activate.
Joint Pain: Your joints, particularly your knees and elbows,
sometimes fl are up in sharp pain. You take a –3 penalty on
Refl ex saves.
Lips Shrink: Your lips pull back into a frozen rictus, exposing
your teeth and gums at all times. You take a –2 penalty on
Charisma-based ability checks and skill checks.
Paralyzed Face: Your facial muscles grow so feeble that
you can no longer smile, frown, or show any emotion. Food
dribbles from the corners of your mouth when you eat. Gain
a +1 bonus on Bluff checks and take a –1 penalty on other
Charisma-based ability checks or skill checks.
Skin Thickens: Your skin thickens, cracking and turning
leathery. You gain +1 natural armor, and take a –2 penalty on
Dexterity-based ability checks and skill checks.
Uncontrollable Seizures: You suffer from uncontrollable
seizures that wrack your body with spasms. You take a –4
penalty on initiative rolls.
Severe Corruption Effects
Great Swollen Growths: Great swollen growths appear
on your body. You take a –2 penalty to your Armor Class.
Internal Corruption: Though your corruption is not visible
to others, the inside of your body is a festering cesspool
of corruption. Bloody pus pools in your body cavities, strange growths develop on your organs, or tiny limbs or heads bud
beneath your skin. Reduce your Constitution score by 2.
Some prestige classes allow a character to take this symptom
in place of any other one. This symptom allows you to hide your
corruption because it is all internal. This symptom can even
be taken to replace a mild or moderate symptom if desired.
No extra bonus feat is granted if this symptom is taken to
replace a mild symptom (see page 67).
Lich Eyes: Your eyes rot away, leaving eerie green fl ames
in their empty sockets. You gain darkvision out to 60 feet,
or add 30 feet to the range of your existing darkvision. You
also gain light blindness: Abrupt exposure to bright light
(such as sunlight or a daylight spell) blinds you for 1 round.
On subsequent rounds, you are dazzled as long as you remain
in the affected area.
Lungs Eaten Away: Your lungs are eaten away from the
inside, resulting in wet, labored, painful breathing. Your
physical ability scores (Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution)
are each reduced by 1.
Nose Rots: The fl esh of your nose rots away, leaving skulllike
openings. Reduce your Charisma score by 2.
Shriveled Flesh: Your fl esh shrivels and clings to your
bones, making you unnaturally gaunt. When you manifest
this symptom, subtract your Hit Dice from your hit point
total. Thereafter, subtract 1 from the number of hit points
you gain at each level. This effect can reduce the number of
hit points you gain to 0 (but not below).
Skin Lichen: A black, lichenous growth spreads across
your skin, causing a constant itching that interferes with
any physical activity. You take a –2 penalty on Strength-,
Dexterity-, and Constitution-based ability checks and
Skull Deformed: Your skull becomes enlarged, distorted,
and deformed. Reduce both your Intelligence and Wisdom
scores by 2. You also take a –3 penalty on Will saves.
Spine Twists: Your spine twists and your back hunches.
Reduce your Dexterity score by 2.
Wrigglers: Parasitic worms protrude from your sores,
sapping your strength. Reduce your Strength score by 2. You
gain a +2 bonus to Intimidate checks and take a –4 penalty
on other Charisma-based checks.
Table 4–3: Depravity Effects
d10 Mild Moderate Severe
1 Aggressive Treacherous Murderous
2 Bestial Deranged Unbalanced
3 Compulsive Hysterical Unresponsive
4 Crazed Jittery Craven
5 Disoriented Hallucinating Paranoid
6 Mildly phobic Moderately phobic Severely phobic
7 Neglectful Distracted Enthralled
8 Opinionated Solipsistic Hubristic
9 Prophetic Delusional Apathetic
10 Sycophantic Weak-Willed Fatalistic
Depravity manifests as mental symptoms: growing paranoia,
visual and auditory hallucinations, and other problems that
could be described as madness. It is important to note that
madness in fantastic horror is not an illness that affl icts good
and evil alike: It is an expression or a result of evil gnawing
away at the mind and soul.
Mild Depravity Effects
Aggressive: You are easily angered and cannot hide your
feelings. In combat, you try so hard to hurt your enemies that
you neglect your own defense, and you take a –1 penalty to
Bestial: You take on a ferocious, wild demeanor. You gain
a +2 circumstance bonus on Handle Animal, Ride, and wild
empathy checks. You take a –1 penalty on other Charismabased
ability checks and skill checks.
Compulsive: Pick a compulsive ritual to adopt. For
example, you and your equipment are never clean enough.
You can only break out of the compulsive pattern by eating
bugs, which sometimes disagree with you. Once each day,
make a DC 10 Fortitude save; if you fail, take 1d4 points of
Crazed: You can no longer easily cope with sudden changes
in circumstance. If you are surprised at the outset of an
encounter, for your fi rst action you have an equal chance of
charging the foe or running away.
Disoriented: You lose track of events. If you are surprised
at the outset of an encounter, you are dazed for 1 round.
Mildly Phobic: You gain a mild phobia, which requires
you to succeed on a Will save or become shaken whenever you
encounter the object of your phobia. The DC of the save equals 12
the CR of the challenge that is the object of the phobia. (Treat
CRs of less than 1 as 0.) See page 61 for more about phobias.
Neglectful: You disregard hygiene and cultural mores.
You take a –2 penalty on Charisma-based ability checks and
Opinionated: You are so wrapped up in commenting on
everything you hear that you are often caught off-guard. You
are always fl at-footed in the fi rst round of combat.
Prophetic: Your dark dreams torment you with strange
visions of things that might occur in the future. You zealously
proclaim a different prophecy each week, making sure
everyone you meet knows what is about to transpire. Your
DM determines what prophetic insight you envision each
week (10% are actually accurate!). In addition, you take all
the usual ill effects of continual nightmares (see Dreams and
Nightmares, page 52).
Sycophantic: You fi ll the air with a torrent of unctuous
fl attery of your companions, opponents, or imaginary friends.
You take a –2 penalty on Listen checks and Spot checks.
Enemies gain a +2 bonus on Listen checks to hear you.
Moderate Depravity Effects
Delusional: You’re convinced that the world is an illusion
and that you and your companions are being controlled by
inhabitants of a distant, alien realm. You take a –2 penalty
on Wisdom-based ability checks and skill checks.
Deranged: Your grasp upon reality becomes tenuous. You
take a –2 penalty on Intelligence-based ability checks and
Distracted: You pay more attention to the whispers in
your mind than to your surroundings. You take a –2 penalty
on skill checks.
Hallucinating: You see things that aren’t there, and often
have trouble sorting reality from your imagination. You take
a –6 penalty on initiative checks.
Hysterical: Everything you meet is hilarious. It takes
a short time to perceive the humor; then a laughing jag overwhelms you. During the second round of a combat
encounter, you can take only a single move action or standard
Jittery: You are easily startled and spooked. If you are hit
while fl at-footed, you become panicked.
Moderately Phobic: You gain a moderate phobia, which
requires you to succeed on a Will save (DC 14 + the CR of
the challenge) or become frightened whenever you encounter
the object of your phobia. This symptom replaces your
previous symptom of mild phobia. See page 61 for more
Solipsistic: You believe that you are the only thing that
matters in the universe. As a result, whenever you are struck
in combat, you have to make a DC 20 Will save. If you fail
the save, you take an additional 1 point of damage per die of
Treacherous: Any time the chance to make an attack of
opportunity presents itself, whether against an opponent or
an ally, make a DC 20 Will save. If you fail the save, you must
make the attack of opportunity, even if the target is your
closest ally. If presented with multiple targets, determine
randomly which you attack.
Weak-Willed: The constant presence of demonic voices
whispering in your ears has sapped your will. You take a –3
penalty on Will saves.
Severe Depravity Effects
Apathetic: You withdraw into yourself, losing contact
with the world. Reduce both your Charisma and Wisdom
scores by 2.
Craven: You become a lily-livered coward. When casting,
you must always cast defensively. When attacking, you must
always fi ght defensively.
Enthralled: You are drawn to and fascinated by evil. You
no longer have the will to strike it down. Whenever you fi ght
an evil opponent, you always attack at –4 and any damage
you do counts only as nonlethal damage.
Fatalistic: You become oppressed by negative, defeatist
thinking and are convinced there’s little you can do to save
yourself from a horrible fate. Take a –3 penalty on your
Hubristic: You regard yourself as superior to all things,
even the gods. Divine healing has no effect on you.
Murderous: You experience irresistible murderous urges.
If an opportunity to deliver a coup de grace is available, you
must take this action. You cannot distinguish between an ally
and an opponent—if anyone is helpless, you must deliver the
coup de grace.
Paranoid: You grow overly suspicious, even of your closest
companions. In combat, you cannot avoid watching for
signs of treachery. Whenever one of your allies engaged in
combat makes an attack and fails to hit, you become suspicious
that the ally is secretly a traitor to your party. You
take a –1 penalty to any rolls you make during that turn,
since some of your attention is focused on monitoring the
suspected traitor’s activities. If more than one ally fails to
hit, the penalty is cumulative.
Severely Phobic: You gain a severe phobia, which requires
you to succeed on a Will save (DC 16 + the CR of the
challenge) or become panicked whenever you encounter
the object of your phobia. This symptom replaces your
previous symptom of moderate phobia. See page 61 for more
Unbalanced: Your unstable mind makes you unpredictable,
particularly in combat. You are automatically
confused on your first turn in any combat and every other
Unresponsive: Your senses are dulled and you lose the
ability to discern the truth of the world around you. Reduce
your Wisdom score by 2.
Taint and Bonus Feats
When a character reaches moderate taint, and again when he
reaches severe taint, he gains a bonus feat. This can be any
feat for which the character has the prerequisites.
Since taint is cumulative, a character with a feat whose
prerequisite is a specifi c level of taint retains access to that
feat even after she acquires enough taint to rise to the next
taint level. For example, a sorcerer with the Corrupt Arcana
feat (see page 120), which has mild depravity as a prerequisite,
still benefi ts from that feat if her depravity rises to moderate
or even severe.
By contrast, falling below the specifi ed taint level for a
feat renders that feat inoperative. For example, a character
with the Tainted Fury feat (see page 124), which has moderate
corruption as a prerequisite, cannot benefi t from that feat
if his taint falls to mild but regains access to the feat if his
corruption later rises to moderate again.
There are natural substances that absorb taint and thus protect
those who carry them. Some examples include a pure jade rod
the size of a human fi nger, a sheet of vellum prepared from
the skin of a month-old lamb, an intricately carved piece
of lightning-struck oak, or a silk sash. The DM can create
other examples appropriate to her campaign. Regardless of
the shape or substance of the item, taint-absorbing items
cost 100 gp each.
As the item absorbs taint, it darkens, softens, and gradually
rots. During this time, it absorbs all taint to which the carrier
is exposed, to a maximum of 7 points (enough to protect the
carrier for a week of travel in a tainted area). Multiple items
protect a character from more taint, but only to a point, as
described in Table 4–4: Resisting Taint. If a character carries
multiple taint-absorbing items, they all decompose gradually
at the same time, distributing the absorbed taint among
every item carried. The presence of multiple items seems to
amplify the taint even as the items absorb it, causing them
to decompose more rapidly.
Table 4–4: Resisting Taint
Number of Items Points Absorbed
TAINT AND ALIGNMENT
A character’s alignment can be affected by acquired taint. As
a character acquires more corruption, and particularly as he
acquires more and more depravity, he is increasingly inclined
toward evil acts. The stench of evil clings to a character with
at least moderate taint, causing him to register as evil to a
detect evil spell. Any actual alignment change is up to the DM’s
discretion, but as a rule of thumb characters with moderate
taint are neutral at best, while characters with severe taint
are usually evil.
Deities and Codes of Conduct
Clerics of good deities risk divine displeasure if they acquire
too much taint. Divine warnings might begin when a cleric
acquires moderate levels of corruption or depravity, or perhaps
even sooner. If a cleric of a good deity acquires severe
levels of taint, she is considered to have grossly violated the
deity’s code of conduct and loses all spells and class features
until she atones and reduces her taint to at most moderate
levels. (This restriction does not apply to clerics in Eberron,
where the deities do not enforce alignment restrictions on
A paladin who acquires moderate levels of taint loses all
paladin spells and abilities and cannot advance further as
a paladin until she atones and reduces her taint to at most
It is possible to remove taint from characters in several ways,
including through the use of spells, the performance of good
deeds, and cleansing in a sacred spring. Taint cannot be
removed unless the tainted character wants to be cleansed.
If an increase in taint causes a character’s corruption or
depravity score to cross over into a higher taint level (for
example, shifting from mild to moderate), neither taint score
can be reduced to a lower taint level unless quickly treated
(within 24 hours) or through use of an atonement, miracle, or
wish spell (see below).
The following spells can reduce taint scores when cast outside
tainted areas. No character can have a taint score reduced by
any particular spell more than once per day, although different
spells can reduce taint if cast on the same character
in the same day.
Atonement: This spell can remove taint, but with limits.
First, it always requires a quest. Second, the caster chooses
a number up to his caster level when he casts the atonement,
and the spell reduces the target’s corruption and depravity
scores by that amount. This use of atonement, which costs the
caster 500 XP, can reduce taint to a lower taint level.
Heal: This spell reduces a character’s corruption and
depravity scores by 1 point per three caster levels. If used
within 24 hours of the target’s acquiring enough taint to
qualify as mild or moderate taint, heal can reduce taint
below that threshold.
Miracle or Wish: These spells remove suffi cient taint to
place the target at the highest threshold of the next lower
taint level, regardless of how much time has passed.
Remove Curse: This spell reduces the character’s depravity
score by 1.
Remove Disease: This spell reduces the character’s corruption
score by 1.
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, it can reduce taint below
Greater Restoration: This spell reduces the character’s corruption
and depravity scores by a number of points equal
to the caster level of the cleric casting greater restoration. If used within 24 hours of a taint threshold being crossed, it
can reduce taint to below that threshold.
Simple good deeds are not enough to remove taint. A character
wishing to reduce her depravity score through good
deeds must undertake a specifi c ritual under the guidance
of one of her deity’s clerics. The ritual prepares the character
to undertake the deed.
Each deity’s faith has a list of ritual good deeds the faithful
can perform to prove their dedication to the deity. For
example, the faithful of St. Cuthbert can choose to put on
garments sacred to their faith (and which identify their
faith to anyone who sees them) and patrol a particular part
of their home as part of the militia or city guard. Adventuring
is never part of such a good deed, and a character who
undertakes an adventure prior to completing her deed
must begin again with the ritual (but see the alternate
The good deed must be repeated every day for a week. On
completion, the character’s depravity score is reduced by 1
point. The character can continue the deed for another week
to continue losing depravity or can return to the temple to
undertake the ritual again and begin a different deed.
Alternatively, good deeds might be quests undertaken
on behalf of the deity. After the quest ends, the character’s
depravity score is reduced by 1 point per week required
to complete the quest.
Springs sacred to a particular deity or cause are located
in remote regions and can be reached only by long and
dangerous travel. For each day a character spends resting
and cleansing himself at a sacred spring, his corruption
score is reduced by 1 point. A character using this method
to reduce his corruption score can undertake no activities
other than resting, eating, sleeping, meditation, and
TAINT AND ORIENTAL ADVENTURES
The taint system presented in this book is derived from a similar
system that originally appeared in Oriental Adventures, with some
modifications introduced in Unearthed Arcana. The rules in this
book are an update and revision to the earlier rules, and replace
the earlier system. If you wish, you can easily use monsters,
maho (“blood magic”) spells, and other rules from Oriental
Adventures with this taint system.
The Shadowlands: Spending time in the Shadowlands increases
a character’s corruption score, which can be resisted
with successful Fortitude saving throws, as described in Oriental
Magic Items: Oni armor and tainted weapons both increase
the target’s corruption score.
Monsters: Creatures with the Shadowlands subtype are considered
to have corruption and depravity scores equal to half
their Charisma score. Undead creatures add +1 to this number,
while outsiders add +2. Creatures that have taint scores specified
have corruption and depravity scores equal to the specified taint
The attacks of a mamono increase the target’s corruption
The akutsukai’s command the taint ability functions on characters
with corruption or depravity scores. If neither the target’s
corruption nor his depravity is severe, he gains a +2 bonus to
resist being rebuked or commanded. If both his corruption and
his depravity are no greater than mild, he gains a +4 bonus to
resist being rebuked or commanded.
The akutenshi’s breath of taint ability increases the subjects’
Maho and the Taint: Each time a character casts a maho spell,
she must make a Will save (DC 10 + spell level) or increase her
depravity score by 1. (This is identical to the “evil spells and
taint” variant rule presented on page 125.)
The cloud of taint and tainted aura spells increase their targets’
Taint Suppression: Characters with the maho-bujin and mahotsukai
prestige classes no longer manifest physical symptoms of
their corruption. Their depravity manifests in the normal range
of mental symptoms, but they can replace any physical symptom
of corruption with the internal corruption symptom. If such a
character enters a tainted area, his corruption immediately manifests
externally again, and he regains the physical symptoms he
exchanged for internal corruption, if any. These physical symptoms
disappear again 1d4 days after he leaves a tainted area.
Otherwise, it is impossible to tell from external appearance that
the maho-bujin or maho-tsukai carries corruption.