Some places and items are so evil that exposure to them marks, or corrupts, a character in a very real and difficult-to-cleanse way. What follows is madness, sickness and vile deformity. Corruption is evil. It is an evil so deep it warps the very plane of reality. A weapon used to slaughter thousands of innocents, a forest grown on land soaked in the blood of ritual murder, a book bound in the flesh of an archfiend for his own horrible purposes, and the prolonged presence of an evil deity are all sources of corruption. Then, of course, there are rings…
Corruption And Alignment
Simply having an evil alignment is no defense against corruption, it is far too profound an effect for personal beliefs or moral codes to ward it off. Only undead, aberrations and creatures with the evil subtype such as fiends can ignore corruption. Even creatures such as the Dhampir are effected by corruption, although at times, it is hard to tell what is true corruption and what is innate.
Corruption can be gained in multiple ways; exposure to a corruption source, such as looking into a portal to the far-realm, touching a corrupted item, or learning something unknowable, spending time in a corrupted area, or being grievously wounded by a corrupted creature.
Initial exposure to a corrupted place or corrupted object gives a character 1d4 points of corruption.
Falling asleep near a corrupted source invites dark and sinister forces to eat away at your body and mind. A character must make a Wisdom saving throw to resist this degradation. Consult the table below.
|Proximity to Source||Uncorrupted
(1 - 5 Points)
(6 - 10 Points)
(11 - 15 Points)
(16 + Points)
(Source Visible /
Within 10 feet)
(Within 100 feet)
(Within 500 feet)
(Within 1 Mile)
(Within 5 Miles)
Effects of Corruption on the Living
A corrupted character experiences it in a variety of ways, from mild nausea, joint pain, or disorientation to rotting flesh, severe skeletal warping, and irresistible murderous urges. Your resistance to corruption gets worse, the closer you are to the corrupting source and the more severe your current corruption becomes.
(1 - 5 Points)
(6 - 10 Points)
(11 - 15 Points)
(16 + Points)
|1||Corrupted Senses||Hallucinations||Deeply distracted||Eyes of shadow||-|
|2||Corrupted Mind||Compulsive behavior||Jittery||Paranoia||-|
|3||Corrupted Health||Chronic nausea||Body parasites||Umbral crust||-|
|4||Corrupted Willpower||Wracking cough||Chronic fatigue||Broken will||-|
|5||Corrupted Morality||Recklessness||Moral decay||Murderous||-|
|6||Corrupted Nerve||Mildly Phobic||Moderately Phobic||Severely phobic||-|
|7||Corrupted Shape||Cosmetic deformity||Withered flesh||Warped form||-|
|8||Corrupted Taste||Odd Appetite||Insatiable Hunger||Vile Glutton||-|
Effects Of Corruption After Death
Corrupted corpses are the perfect breeding ground for alien minds or dark spirits. Corrupted creatures rarely stay dead for long. 24 hours after a corrupted characters death, they may immediately rise as an undead creature. Creatures that are exceptionally powerful become twisted reflections of their former selves, often growing beyond mortal understanding.
|HD at Death||Mild Corruption||Moderate Corruption||Severe Corruption||Complete Corruption|
|2 or lower||-||Zombie||Zombie||Ghoul|
|3 - 5||Zombie||Zombie||Ghoul||Ghast|
|6 - 8||Zombie||Ghoul||Ghast||Wight|
|9 - 15||Ghoul||Ghast||Wight||Bodak|
Mild - Hallucinations
Strange visions and source-less whispers occasionally tug at your perception. You have disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks.
Moderate - Deeply Distracted
Your mind has grown scattered and easily clouded. You have disadvantage on all Intelligence checks.
Severe - Eyes of Shadow
Your eyes grow jet black and sink into their sockets. You gain darkvision for 120ft, but are considered blinded in normal light such as sunlight or torchlight. When you are not blinded, you can see invisible or ethereal creatures and objects as if they were not invisible or ethereal.
Mild - Compulsive behavior
You begin to exhibit a mild compulsive ritual of the DM's choice. This can manifest as a categorizing of collected loot, or needing to thoroughly clean yourself after every challenge. It takes 1.5 times longer for you to complete a short rest.
Moderate - Jittery
You become far too easy to spook or startled. You have disadvantage on initiative rolls
Severe - Paranoia
You no longer trust even your closest allies. You no longer count as a "friendly" creature to anyone, nor does anyone count as a "friendly" creature to you, in regards to spells and abilities. The only creature your beneficial spells and abilities can target is yourself.
Mild - Chronic Nausea
Strong movement, smells, stress, or the sight of blood make your stomach churn painfully. The first time you fail a skill check, saving throw or fall below half health forces the character to make a Constitution saving throw (DC 10+your total corruption points) Failure inflicts the Poisoned condition upon the character until the end of their next turn.
Moderate - Body Parasites
Parasitic worms infest and writhe throughout your innards. Any hit points regained through non-magical means such as resting, spending Hit Dice, or the fighter's Second Wind ability are halved.
Severe - Umbral Crust
Black, lichenlike growth spreads across your skin, constantly flaking off and regrowing. This growth drinks in divine energy before it can reach your body. Any hit points you would regain via divine spells are halved.
Mild - Wracking cough
You develop an uncontrollable cough that seems to bubble up whenever most inconvenient. You have disadvantage on all Dexterity (Stealth) checks against creatures that can hear you.
Moderate - Chronic Fatigue
Your body has difficulty with continuous physical activity. If you do not take a short or long rest directly after a combat that has lasted longer than 1 minute, you suffer 1 point of exhaustion.
Severe - Broken Will
Your willpower has crumbled, leaving your mind vulnerable. You have disadvantage on Wisdom checks and Wisdom saving throws.
Mild - Recklessness
You become impulsive in the face of dangerous situations. The first attack made against you in any combat encounter has advantage on the attack roll.
Moderate - Moral Decay
Your disposition towards the world around you shifts towards the darkness that twists within you. Your alignment shifts once horizontally and once laterally, towards Chaotic Evil. For example, Chaotic Good will become Chaotic Neutral. Lawful Neutral will become Neutral Evil and so on.
Severe - Murderous
You suffer irresistible murderous urges at the sight of the helpless. If any creature you can see is incapacitated (friend or foe) you must make a Wisdom saving throw (DC 10+your total corruption points). On a failure, you spend your turn moving directly towards that creature and attacking it, if possible.
Mild - Mild Phobia
You acquire a mild fear of a certain creature type of the DM's choice. During the first round of combat with a creature of the chosen type, you are frightened.
Moderate - Moderate Phobia
Your mild phobia becomes a moderate phobia. When you enter combat with a creature of the chosen type, you must make a Wisdom saving throw (DC 10+your total corruption points). On a failure, you are frightened of them for one minute.
Severe - Severe Phobia
Your moderate phobia becomes a severe phobia. When you enter combat with a creature of the chosen type, you become frightened of the creature for 1 minute and must make a Wisdom saving throw (DC 10+your total corruption points). On a failure, you are stunned. You can repeat this saving throw at the end of your turn.
Mild - Cosmetic deformity
Your flesh warps in disturbing but not physically harmful ways. You have disadvantage on all Charisma (Persuasion) checks against anyone who can see your deformity.
Moderate - Withered Flesh
Your body has twists and withers. You have disadvantage on Dexterity ability checks and Dexterity saving throws.
Severe - Warped Form
Your body has become so twisted and warped that using normal items becomes difficult. You lose proficiency with all weapons and armor. You gain a slam attack that deals 1d6 damage.
Mild - Odd Appetite
You lose any and all taste for normal food. Only raw meat, blood, or offal can prevent exhaustion.
Moderate - Insatiable Hunger
Your body swells to an alarming size as you nearly double in weight. You constantly hunger requiring 4x the normal amount of food and water to prevent exhaustion. You no longer benefit from the effects of magical potions or food.
Severe - Vile Glutton
Your body swells even further, doubling in weight again. Your movement speed is halved. You have disadvantage on Dexterity skill checks and saving throws and advantage on Constitution saving throws. You now must eat every day to avoid the effects of exhaustion.
Complete CorruptionA completely corrupted character must roll a Wisdom saving throw (DC 10+your total corruption points) after each long rest. Failure results in the character succumbing to the darkness around it and attempting to willingly end their own life. They will use any means at their disposal to do so, often fleeing from their companions and seeking a dark hidden place to perform the act. If a completely corrupted character is prevented from killing itself, it will lash out and attack anyone that it deems as an obstacle before retreating to a hidden place and killing themselves.
Completely corrupted characters retain their class levels and raise after death as a powerful undead creature seeking to corrupt and turn others.
It is possible to remove corruption from characters in several ways, including through the use of spells, the performance of good deeds, and cleansing in a sacred spring. corruption cannot be removed unless the corrupted character wants to be cleansed.
The following spells can reduce corruption scores when cast outside corrupted areas. No character can have his corruption score reduced by any particular spell more than once per day (though different spells can reduce corruption if cast on the same character in the same day).
- Heal This spell reduces a character’s corruption score by 1 point per three caster levels, but it cannot reduce a corruption score below 1.
- Miracle/Wish These spells cannot remove corruption except by duplicating the effects of other spells mentioned here.
- Remove Curse, Remove Disease These spells reduce a character’s corruption score by 1 point, but they cannot reduce a corruption score below 1.
- Restoration This spell reduces a character’s corruption score by 1 point per four caster levels, but it cannot reduce a corruption score below 1.
- Greater Restoration This spell reduces a character’s corruption score by a number of points equal to the caster level of the cleric casting greater restoration. Greater restoration can reduce a corruption score to 0.
Simple good deeds are not enough to remove corruption. What constitutes a good deed is determined by the DM. Performing sacred rights, acts of self sacrifice, and providing for the sick and injured would be considered good deeds.Good deeds may reduce a character’s corruption score to 0.
Holy sites, such as sacred springs, major temples, druid circles or areas under the effects of the Hallow spell may be able to cleanse corruption. For each day a character spends resting and cleansing himself through prayer and meditation within these areas, his corruption score is reduced by 1 point. A characters using this method to reduce his corruption score can undertake no activities other than resting, eating, sleeping, and normal conversation.
Cleansing at a hallowed site may reduce a character’s corruption score to 0.