The Cursed Planet Malice V
The most insidious threat facing Acolytes, and indeed the Imperium as a whole, is the corrupting taint of Chaos. Encounters with Daemons, dark rituals and even the knowledge that such things are possible are all paths to corruption. Quite aside from the malevolency and manipulation of Daemons and their mortal followers, there is immense danger in exposure to the substance of the warp itself. The swirling tempest of psychoactive energies and pseudo-matter that make up the fabric of warp space is more deadly than any radiation. It can instantly destroy, but it can also inflict hideous transformations on material, body and mind, far beyond anything found in a sane universe. To most, corruption is a doom to be avoided at all costs, but some, once they find themselves walking the path to damnation, will seek to embrace the darkness.
Mechanically, Corruption is represented by Ranks and Points, similar to the way in which Faith is tracked, with each Rank divided into 10 Points. When a character accumulates 10 points of Corruption, he gains one Rank and his points reset to zero. However, whereas Faith can go up or down as events dictate, Corruption generally only goes in one direction: up.
The Malignancy Test
For every new rank of Corruption a character reaches, they must make a Willpower roll to see if his corruption has manifested as literal damage to body and soul. The TN for this roll depends on the character’s Corruption Rank, as per the table below. Additionally, as the character reaches Corruption Ranks 3, 6 and 9, they must make a Mutation Roll.
|Rank||Degree||Malignancy Test TN||Mutation|
|3-5||Soiled||15||Ist Mutation Roll|
|6-8||Debased||20||2nd Mutation Roll|
|9||Profane||25||3rd Mutation Roll|
|10||Damned||–||Character no longer playable|
If the Test is failed, the character’s corruption of spirit is given form. These metaphysical and psychosomatic scars are called Malignancies, and are randomly rolled on the table below. If a player rolls a result that he has previously suffered for failing a previous Malignancy Test, he must roll again.
|01–10||Palsy: The character suffers from numerous minor tics, shakes and tremors with no medical cause. Reduce his Agility by 1.|
|11–15||Dark-hearted: The character grows increasingly cruel, callous and vindictive. Reduce his Fellowship by 1|
|16–20||Ill-fortuned: The character permanently loses 1 Fate.|
|21–22||Skin Afflictions: The character is plagued by boils, scabs, weeping sores and the like. He takes a –20 penalty to all Charm Tests.|
|23–25||Night Eyes: Light pains the character, and unless he shields his eyes, he suffers a –10 penalty on all Tests when in an area of bright light.|
|26–30||Morbid: The character finds it hard to concentrate as his mind is filled with macabre visions and tortured, gloom-filled trains of thought. The character loses 1 point of Intelligence.|
|31–33||Witch-mark: The character develops some minor physical deformity or easily concealable mutation. It is small, but perhaps enough to consign him to the stake if found out by a fanatical witch hunter. He must hide it well!|
|34–45||Fell Obsession: This is the same as the Obsession Disorder (see page 237). However, in this case the character is obsessed by a sinister or malign focus, such as collecting finger-bone trophies, ritual scarification, carrying out meaningless vivisections, etc.|
|46–50||Hatred: The character develops an implacable hatred of a single group, individual or social class. The character will never side with or aid them without explicit orders or other vital cause, and even then grudgingly.|
|51–55||Irrational Nausea: The character feels sick at the sight or sound of some otherwise innocuous thing such as prayer books and holy items, bare flesh, human laughter, fresh food, shellfish, etc. When he encounters the object of his revulsion, he must Test Toughness or suffer a –10 penalty to all Tests as long as he remains in its presence.|
|56–60||Wasted Frame:The character’s pallor becomes corpse-like and his muscles waste away. The character’s Strength is reduced by 1.|
|61–63||Night Terrors: The character is plagued by Daemonic visions in his sleep. See Horrific Nightmares, page 237 for details.|
|64–70||Poor Health: The character constantly suffers petty illnesses and phantom pains, and his wounds never seem to heal fully. The character’s Toughness is reduced by 1.|
|71–75||Distrustful: The character cannot conceal the distrust and antipathy he has for others. He must take a –10 penalty to Fellowship Tests when dealing with strangers.|
|76–80||Malign Sight: The world seems to darken, tarnish and rot if the character looks too long at anything. The character’s Perception is reduced by 1.|
|81–83||Ashen Taste: Food and drink hold disgusting tastes and little sustenance for the character, and he can barely stomach eating. The character doubles the negative effects for levels of Fatigue.|
|84–90||Bloodlust: Murderous rage is never far from the character’s mind. After being wounded in combat, he must Test Willpower to incapacitate or allow his enemies to flee, rather than kill them outright, even if his intent is otherwise.|
|91–93||Blackouts: The character suffers from inexplicable blackouts. When they occur and what happens during them is up to the GM.|
|94–00||Strange Addiction:The character is addicted to some bizarre and unnatural substance, such as eating rose petals, drinking blood, the taste of widows’ tears etc. This acts like a Minor Compulsion (see Disorders, page 237), but is freakish enough to cause serious suspicion if found out.|
Albinism: Your skin and hair become deathly pale, perhaps even stark white. This is very unsettling in appearance, but can be concealed with cosmetics. You suffer a –1k0 penalty to social rolls if your true appearance is known.
Beast of Fu Leng: The most terrible of mutations, this causes you to completely lose human form, distorting into a bestial or monstrous body – typically a quadruped or a bloated, ogre-ish humanoid. This severe deformity cannot be hidden, and causes a Fear 3 effect in anyone who sees it.
Demonic Eyes:Any time you are in darkness or shadow, your eyes glow with an unnatural blue light. This allows you to see through darkness or other visual impairment (such as smoke or fog).
Discolored Skin:Your skin turns an unnaturally pale or dark shade. This can be explained away as the result of an indoor or outdoor life, but regardless, it infl icts a +5 TN penalty to all Social rolls.
Distorted Limbs:One of your arms or legs, randomly chosen, becomes misshapen or twisted, rendering it useless. This is an obvious deformity that is extremely diffi cult to conceal, although it can probably be explained away as the result of an injury. If the deformed limb is a leg, you gain the Lame disadvantage.
If it is an arm, you suffer a –3k0 penalty to any rolls made with that arm.
Extra Digit:You sprout an additional fi nger or toe.
This is an obvious but minor deformity. It does not automatically suggest the presence of Taint, but it does make those who notice it uneasy, causing you to suffer a –1k0 penalty to all social skill rolls. If the digit is cut off, it will re-grow within 48 hours.
Extra Eye: An additional eye sprouts somewhere on your body. This grants you +1k0 to Perception rolls and Perception-based Skill rolls, but the eye must be uncovered (and thus possibly noticeable to others) to gain this benefit.
Extra Limb: Your character sprouts an additional arm or leg. This limb is obviously Tainted, with discolored skin, claw-like nails, etc. It is 50% likely to be nonfunctional, hanging limp from the body, in which case the resulting obstruction and clumsiness causes you to suffer a –1k0 to all Agility-based and Refl exesbased rolls.
Forked Tongue:Your tongue becomes long and forked, like a snake’s tongue. Concealing this mutation while speaking or eating requires a roll of Acting / Awareness at TN 20.
Foul Odor:You manifest an exceptionally putrid and disgusting body odor, impossible to ignore. No amount of bathing or perfume can suppress it. You suffer a –1k0 penalty to all Social rolls.
Jigoku’s Blood:Your blood becomes black and foulsmelling. Anyone who sees you injured will recognize this as an obvious symptom of the Taint.
Tentacles:You sprout one or more tentacles, which you are able to partially control. You can use them to pick up small objects, to make attacks with Small weapons, or to initiate a Grapple. Anyone seeing these tentacles will immediately recognize you as Tainted.
Tough Hide: Your skin becomes rough and leathery. This causes you to appear unnatural or diseased, infl icting a –2k0 penalty to all Social rolls. However, your unnatural skin does provide some resistance to harm, granting you Reduction 5.
Undead Visage:You gain the outward appearance of being undead, with deathly gray skin, visible skin decay, and deeply sunken eyes. This deformity cannot be concealed, and causes a Fear 3 effect on anyone who sees it.
Vile Teeth:Your teeth become distorted and/or discolored, to the point of appearing inhuman. They might become pointed or jagged, sprout animal-like fangs, turn a deep brown or sickly yellow color, etc. Concealing your grotesque teeth while talking or eating is difficult, requiring a roll of Acting / Awareness at TN 20.
Above the Elements: The power of Jigoku renders you resistant to normal (non-maho) magic. All normal elemental spells that could affect you suffer a +10 TN penalty to their Spell Casting Rolls. However, you are more vulnerable to the power of the kansen, and any maho spell that targets you gains a Free Raise. Any shugenja who casts Sense within range of you will notice a distinct absence of kami around you.
Blackened Claws:You have claws of obsidian, concealed within your fi ngertips, which you can extend as a Free Action. The claws grant you a DR of 2k3 with unarmed attacks (in place of the normal 0k1) and are considered obsidian for the purpose of bypassing Reduction and Invulnerability. However, you feel the urge to use these claws every time you fi ght – you must make a Willpower Roll at TN 10 any time you enter a fi ght with a weapon other than the claws.
Blessing of the Dark One: You have an unnatural resistance to pain and physical harm. Your Wounds at each Wound Rank are increased by 3.
Blood Knows Blood: You may continually sense the location of any portion of your blood or fl esh (anything but hair and fi ngernails), no matter where they may be. If you also possess the Blood Domination power (see below), you can track the location of any creature that has consumed your blood.
Child of Darkness: The power of the Taint protects you from other servants of Jigoku. Shadowlands creatures will not attack unless you threaten them fi rst. If you can communicate with them, they might obey your commands, especially if you seem powerful or persuasive.
Jade Sense:You have an innate sense for the presence of sacred substances such as jade. You can detect the presence of all jade, crystal, and obsidian near you, out to a maximum distance equal to Earth x10 in feet. Concealing magic can obstruct this sense. You cannot detect Jade Petal Tea.
Master of Blood: The kansen are your friends, and you have an innate talent for casting maho spells. You may cast maho for one less Wound than normally required, and the amount of Taint you gain from casting maho spells is reduced by your Earth (to a minimum of 1 point of Taint). All non-maho spells you cast, however, are at a +10 TN penalty.
Master of Shadows: You have an unnatural affinity for darkness and shadows. You may add your Taint Rank in unkept dice to all Stealth Skill rolls you make. You gain the Discolored Skin mutation if you do not already have it, as your skin develops a dark and shadowy tone.
Mind of Darkness:You may embrace the Taint to enhance your rolls with mental Traits (Intelligence, Willpower, Awareness, and Perception) in the same manner as you would normally enhance rolls with physical Traits. If you become Lost, you may add your Taint Rank to the total of all rolls made with mental Traits as well as all rolls with physical Traits.
Monstrous Strength:The Taint suffuses your muscles, giving you a swollen, unnatural build that unsettles those who meet you. You suffer –1k0 to all Social rolls. In return, you add your Taint Rank in unkept dice to all Strength rolls, Strength-based Skill rolls, and Damage rolls you make.
Uncanny Speed: The Taint grants you speed greater than should be possible for someone of your size and strength. Your Water Ring is considered to be two Ranks higher for the purpose of how far you can move with a Simple or Complex Move Action. In return, you are fi dgety and nervous, unable to sit still for more than a few minutes.
Unholy Stamina: You may go without rest or sleep for up to three days with no penalties of any kind. This power must be reactivated after three days, requiring another roll to resist gaining Taint.
Beside the Darkness: You have the ability to temporarily suppress your Taint, making it impossible for others to detect. If you meditate uninterrupted for a period of 2 hours and make a Meditation/Willpower roll at TN 20, you can “metabolize” your Taint for a period of 8 hours. During that time, you are not considered Tainted for mechanical purposes, and spells and Techniques which target Tainted creatures will not affect you. Physical mutations (such as extra limbs) will remain in place, however. This power cannot be ended before its duration expires. While it is in effect, you cannot use any of your other Shadowlands powers, cannot cast maho, and cannot embrace the Taint to enhance your rolls.
Blood Domination: Your blood carries your will, and any creature who drinks or otherwise ingests so much as a spoonful of your blood (equal to 1 Wound) will be subject to your demands. You may make a Contested Willpower roll against such a target to force them to obey your commands for a number of hours equal to your Taint Rank. You cannot force them to directly kill themselves, but all other commands – including potentially lethal orders like, “Fight that oni” – must be obeyed. If you fail the Contested Willpower Roll, the target will be aware of your attempt, and you may not try to command that target again for one full day.
Chosen of Fu Leng: The Taint grants you an unnatural strength of will, allowing you to shrug off any attempt to infl uence your mind or opinions. Any attempt to infl uence you with Social skills or Techniques, or to control your mind through spells, will automatically fail.
Drawing Out the Darkness:The Taint has the power to evoke Taint in others, spreading corruption far and wide. If you can maintain physical contact with another creature for at least 1 minute, you may make a Contested Willpower roll. If you win the roll, the victim gains a number of points of Taint equal to your current Taint Rank. If you fail the roll, nothing happens, although the victim will feel a sense of unease and perhaps a physical chill.
Father of Lies: The Taint thrives on deception, and strengthens your own efforts to trick, deceive, and manipulate others. You may add your Taint Rank in kept dice to any rolls made with the Temptation or Intimidation skills or with the Deceit emphasis of the Sincerity skill.
Feeding on Flesh: The Taint draws strength from unnatural acts, especially the taste of blood and raw meat. You may take a Simple Action to feed on the flesh of a person or creature who is either dead or helpless to resist you (e.g. Down or Out, bound securely, etc). This infl icts 1k1 Wounds on the target (if they are still alive) and heals you a number of Wounds equal to 5 x your Taint Rank.
Protection of the Dark:You are considered to be Invulnerable, in the same manner as some creatures. Whenever you ignore damage due to this Power, your skin glows with a throbbing black energy that is impossible to hide.
Strength of Madness: You can draw on your own physical essence to enhance your actions, much in the way that normal humans draw on the Void. A number of times per day equal to your Earth Ring, you may suffer Wounds equal to your Earth to replicate the effect of spending a Void Point. This power cannot be used to reduce damage, but any other normal effect of Void Points – including activating School techniques or awarding a +1k1 bonus to rolls – can be duplicated.
Thy Master’s Will: The Taint will not allow you to truly die – you are too useful to Jigoku’s purposes. If you are killed, you will return from the dead at some later time, as an intelligent undead creature. You retain all Rings, Traits, abilities, School techniques, and Skills, but no longer have a Void Ring. Your body is undead, and will begin to rot and decay over time.
Undead Strength: Your body does not feel pain, and continues to function normally even after suffering devastating injuries. You do not suffer Wound penalties – no matter how many Wounds you suffer, you continue to operate at full effect until you are actually killed.
Unearthly Regeneration: The Taint infuses your body with a horrible vitality, healing injuries within minutes. Each Round at the start of your Turn, you heal a number of Wounds equal to your Taint Rank. Healed injuries leave no scars behind, and while you do not regrow lost limbs, such limbs will reattach if held in place for a few minutes.
Unholy Beauty: Jigoku considers you to have use as an infiltrator within the Empire. You do not suffer any outward, visible effects of the Taint, and any physical mutations you already possess will fade away. You may still gain Shadowlands Powers normally but they do not exhibit any perceptible physical symptoms. However, your body will mutate internally to compensate for the lack of external change, exhibiting redundant or distorted organs, cancerous tumors, and other distortions.