View Full Version : Pathfinder Problem with Corruption/Affliction system

2017-07-21, 12:38 AM
Hello, I been working on a homebrew campaign based on the pathfinder system. My idea is a setting that is constantly ravaged by eldritch storms and frequently random portals appear to random parts of the universe, anyway the end result is something akin to Magical Fallout with a Mad Max vibe. Large contaminated wastelands, strange monsters, harsh and difficult survival and wild magic.

One of the key features is the idea of a sort of contamination that appear everywhere, something like magical radiation. I initially wanted to use the radiation poisoning rules that exist in pathfinder, however this rules are not comprehensive enough, radiation is treated like a one time poison check everyday you are exposed to it. I wanted to create a system in which character get progressively "sicker" by the magical fallout.

The system I created works like this.

Corruption is a magical effect that permeates most of the setting with different grades of intensity. If somewhat follows the rules of cold environment damage in which for each unit of time exposed to the corruption in the environment the characters has to roll a fortitude check that increases for each unit of time the player is exposed to the corruption. If the player fails the check they receive 1d6 points of "corruption damage" this damage is tracked separately and is not hit point damage. It keeps building up until it reaches a threshold. (51-101-151 and 200). When the player reaches the first threshold it rolls in a table of magical mutations, and as they reach higher thresholds they roll in different tables (Low, mid and High corruption).

The mutations are interesting changes that give disadvantages and some of them small advantages usually with drawbacks.

Healing corruption is hard, the idea is that treatment is a costly and a time consuming effort. This with the idea of avoiding the common problem with environmental hazards that become irrelevant fairly quickly as many spells and feats make them trivial.

I decided that mutation can be heal depending of the nature of the affliction because curing the damage will not remove the “mutation” even if you go below the threshold . Some of them are physical, requiring a heal check, some of them are curses requiring remove curse, (I am still thinking of other classifications and treatments). The idea is that the skill check or caster check required is DC 10+1/10 of the current level of corruption the character has.The idea is that the more infected the character is the harder is to remove the affliction.

Now here comes the problem.

How to deal with cured afflictions and re infections?
Let's say the character reaches the 51 threshold and rolls in the affliction table and gets... let's say, a third eye. The player rushes to a healer and it successfully removes the eye with a heal check.
Now the character is sitting in 51 infection but no mutation whatsoever. So, there are two ways to handle it. You could say that now the character is immune to reinfection until it reaches the next threshold (At 101). Or you could say the next time it takes damage a new affliction will appear.

I dislike both approaches, the first one makes it too trivial. Acquiring the next 50 points of infection will take a great deal of time and the player will become effectively immune during that period, and if it gets close to 200 (reaching 200 will kill the character) and reaches all three thresholds and cures the character is now completely immune.
In the other hand acquiring infection is fairly common in this setting so taking damage again is almost certain, therefore making healing kind of irrelevant, because you will end with a mutation no matter what.

So, I am stuck here.

What do you all think? What do you think about the system in general? And what solution can be used for the reinfection problem? Also does anyone forsee any more problems?
Sorry for the long post. And also for my sup par english.

2017-07-21, 12:51 AM
You could allow healing to reduce corruption and require a certain amount of reduction to remove an affliction (half?). So, let's use your example. A character hits 51 corruption and ends up with a third eye. To remove the eye would require healing 26 points of corruption, putting them below half the threshold. Then when they hit 51 again, they roll for a new affliction. Rinse / repeat.

Have you looked at the Taint system from Heroes of Horror? I don't remember much about it other than it exists and I think it was an exposure type system like you describe.

2017-07-21, 01:19 AM
Thanks Kaskus

The problem with linking HP healing and corruption healing is that, first corruption does not deal HP damage so I will be connecting two systems that have nothing in common, and also healing HP is fairly common so healing 50 points of damage can be done in a couple of days. Right now healing is done, with prolonged resting in taintless areas, some potions and not be consumed too often, and some spells that heal some points based on level. For example lesser restoration heals 1d4 points. And restoration heals one point per caster level. I will have to create a complete list of spell uses.

As for the Taint system I think is great, as you mentioned I went back to read it. However it does not serve my idea. The taint system is very focused. Taint instances are great moments that happen rarely. In my setting this magical corruption is everywhere. The idea is that character need to use items that give corruption damage reduction. (Respirator, masks, gloves, magical necklaces and whatnots, this is to increase the mad max/fallout flavor with a mechanical justification). The taint system uses very small numbers giving me no room for a variety of items and spells for the characters to wear and use and also to represent the constant wear of surviving the magical wasteland.

2017-07-22, 12:02 AM
How about a device that reduces corruption? I'm thinking something large like a detox cell or magical dialysis machine. You could also create a set of new spells for reducing corruption.

Alternatively, if a character is over the threshold and has had an affliction removed, you could have them make a save at a scaling difficulty. 51 = get third eye. Then, have eye removed. At corruption 60, make a fortitude save. If failed, welcome back eye (or new affliction). Have eye removed again. At corruption 70, roll another save, etc. Etc.