Archives of Nethys

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Source Starfinder #10: The Diaspora Strain pg. 41
Corruption is an insidious affliction of the soul. A number of different corruptions exist, from the mind-rending horror of ghostly possession to the monstrous physical transformation of lycanthropy. However, all corruptions function in a similar way. When a character first contracts a corruption, it shows itself in minor symptoms—brief bouts of melancholy or a mild fixation on unusual stimuli or a particular environment. The corruption eats away at the victim’s mind and spirit with the promise of dark gifts that come with frightful drawbacks. Fighting these temptations is draining on a victim, and some spend their entire lives on the verge of giving in. Others believe they can control their corruption, and allow the corruption to progress in order to gain the power it grants. Such beings eventually become completely defiled as corruption takes a permanent hold over them.

The following pages describe how corruption affects a Starfinder character, starting with general rules. Then shadow corruption, which is used in the Signal of Screams Adventure Path, is provided as a fleshed-out example. Finally, other possible corruptions are described.

Contracting Corruption

A character can contract corruption in numerous ways, from an ancient curse to a technomagical virus. A corruption’s origin is usually supernatural, and contracting one requires failing a saving throw against the corruption’s cause. When corruption first takes hold, it begins at stage 1 and is dormant. A victim might not grasp the nature of the affliction for some time. During this period, dark urges or horrific nightmares might occur, but nothing more.

Corruption Progress

When you’re afflicted with a corruption, you must attempt a saving throw against the corruption’s progress at the end of each day, before taking the normal 8 hours of uninterrupted rest to regain spent Resolve Points and daily abilities. If the corruption is mental, this is a Will save. A physical corruption requires a Fortitude save. The save DC is equal to 10 + half your level + the number of manifestations you have (see below). If you fail, you can instead spend a number of Resolve Points equal to 1 + the number of manifestations you have in order to succeed. If you can’t or don’t spend the required number of Resolve Points, your corruption progresses one stage. Every time the corruption progresses to an evennumbered stage, such as from stage 1 (dormant) to stage 2, you gain a manifestation.


Corruptions become evident through manifestations, which alter your mind and body in strange ways. A manifestation grants a power, known as a gift, but it also imposes a detriment, known as a stain. When you gain a manifestation, you choose which manifestation to receive, but some have prerequisites that must be met before they can be selected.

Saving Throws: Unless stated otherwise, for gifts that require a saving throw, the DC is equal to 10 + half your level + your key ability score modifier.

Refusing Gifts: When you select a manifestation, you can refuse its gift and accept only the stain. If you do, you gain a +1 bonus to further saving throws against that corruption. This bonus stacks for each gift you refuse. You can change your mind and accept a gift at any time, however, losing the corresponding bonus to saving throws against your corruption and risking your soul.

Alterations: The number of manifestations you have affects your personality and appearance, as detailed in a given corruption. If you accept five gifts or have nine manifestations, you succumb to corruption and become an NPC under the GM’s control. This change can also alter your other statistics, depending on the corruption.

Multiple Corruptions: In the rare case that you gain multiple corruptions, you must attempt separate saving throws against each, and gain manifestations from each corruption you fail the saving throw against, in order. You still succumb to corruption when you have five gifts or nine manifestations, however, regardless of the source. Therefore, having multiple corruptions only speeds your doom. When a specific corruption’s feature is based on the number of manifestations you have, you count only the manifestations that arise from that specific corruption.

Removing a Corruption

Corruptions are hard to remove. Each requires a specific set of deeds or circumstances as detailed in the corruption’s description. Remove affliction can suppress the gifts and stains of a target’s corruptions for 10 minutes per caster level. In addition, one casting of break enchantment or remove affliction can remove one manifestation, but only if the victim meets the cure conditions of the corruption or hasn’t accepted the gift associated with that manifestation. The DC for such spells is 15 + three times the number of manifestations the target has. Removing a manifestation in this way doesn’t cure the corruption.