Archives of Nethys

Pathfinder | Starfinder

Curses | Diseases | Drugs | Poisons


Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 414
Curses, diseases, drugs, and poisons can all have effects on a character that continue long past the character’s first exposure. This deterioration in physical or mental health is often represented by what is called a “progression track.” Diseases and poisons each have default progression tracks whose steps have specific rules consequences; drugs use the relevant poison track (for example, drugs that affect Wisdom use the Wisdom poison track). Some specific afflictions have their own unique progression tracks defined in their stat blocks. Curses generally do not use progression tracks—their effects continue until they’re cured without progressing through stages.

Before an individual is subjected to an affliction, she is considered healthy in terms of the affliction’s progression track, if any. When initially is targeted by an affliction, she must succeed at a saving throw to avoid its effects; if she fails, she is subject to the affliction. If the affliction has a progression track, she is no longer considered healthy with respect to that affliction and immediately gains the effects of the first step on its progression track. For diseases, this is the typically the latent state; at this step, the victim can pass the disease along to others if it’s contagious, but generally suffers no ill effects from it herself. For poisons, the first step on the progression track is usually the weakened step. A truly deadly affliction might cause the victim to start further along a progression track than normal.

Diseases and poisons each have a listed frequency specifying how often a victim must attempt subsequent saving throws to prevent the affliction from progressing. Success could help the victim recover (see Curing an Affliction below); failure means that the victim moves one step further along its progression track, gaining the effects of the next step and keeping all previous effects. A character using a drug must attempt a saving throw each time she uses that drug. Victims typically fail voluntarily, progressing along the drug’s progression track in exchange for benefits, and withdrawal from the drug acts as a disease (see the stat block for Addiction on page 418).

Each progression track has an end state—a point at which the affliction has progressed as far as it can. Once an affliction has reached its end state, the victim keeps all current effects (but doesn’t suffer further effects) and can no longer attempt saving throws to recover from the affliction (see below). By default, diseases, poisons, and drugs have an end state of dead, but some afflictions have less severe end states, while others might have no end state, allowing victims to continue attempting saves.

Some afflictions cause the same effects as a condition (such as sickened; see page 277). Effects that modify, prevent, or remove those conditions do not apply; only effects and immunities against the appropriate affliction apply.

Curing an Affliction: Diseases, drugs, and poisons can be cured if they are treated before the victim reaches the end state. In the case of a disease, the victim must fulfill the conditions in the disease’s Cure entry (usually succeeding at one or more consecutive saving throws). Each time she does so, she moves one step back toward healthy; once she reaches healthy, she is cured. Poisons and drugs work differently—fulfilling the cure condition (or reaching the end of a poison’s duration) removes a poison from the victim’s system, but she remains at the same step on the track and recovers gradually. For every day of bed rest (or two nights of normal rest), a victim moves one step toward healthy. This rate of recovery is doubled by successful Medicine checks (see Long-Term Care on page 143), though tenacious poisons might require a longer recovery period.

Curses can be cured only by fulfilling the unique cure conditions listed in their individual stat blocks or through magic.

Usually, the spell remove affliction (see page 373) immediately cures a victim of an affliction (moving the victim of a disease, drug, or poison to a healthy state on its progression track). However, once a disease or poison has reached its end state, only the most powerful magic or technology (such as miracle or wish, or in the most extreme cases, reincarnate or a regeneration chamber) can remove its effects.