The Shape Of Corruption

Corruption comes from many sources, whether drawing on Broken Communion directly, performing Broken Communion miracles, or suffering from certain psychic diseases. Characters who suffer enough corruption gain see their character points lowered and they gain new disadvantages. This takes 25 points and a failed roll for a new quirk, or 125 points to automatically suffer a -5 disadvantage. The GM can inflict any disadvantages he wishes, but the Paths offer some good ideas (and following a path is a good way to gain a measure of control over what disadvantages one gains from corruption).

Actually seeing the results of a failed corruption roll can take a very long time. Consider that even History-Shaping Miracle will only inflict an average of 20 corruption, while characters with the Hunger psychic disease will only gain around 5-10 corruption a day. GMs who want to see more dramatic results from Corruption may wish to inflict metatraits on characters who suffer from Corruption. In addition to applying disadvantages, the GM also applies advantages as a package deal; as long as the “package” is worth the same or less than the points lost to corruption. This could even include a change to the characters racial template! This allows for a very rapid change of the character despite a fairly small loss of points, and makes certain psychic diseases or even brief exposure to Broken Communion to be more dangerous.

When it comes to Corruption, the GM should work with the players to determine an appropriate disadvantage to inflict on them. Players might not appreciate suddenly having a substantial portion of their character changed as the result of a relatively minor exposure. Thus, the GM should consider limiting major corruption changes like these to just NPCs, especially minor NPCs.

Characters who have gained major metatraits or who changed racial templates can, of course, recover from the effects. This requires that they pay the difference and, given the small costs involved, this should be relatively easy. To make these changes feel more substantial, the GM should consider imposing “recovery times” on par with recovering from a crippled limb; Esoteric Medicine helps in this recovery equivalent to the Physician skill aiding in the recovery of a limb, while Psychic Healing assists in speeding up the process as though healing an injured limb. Characters healed by a True Communion Miracle may recover immediately.

The Broken

-1 point

Some of those who enter regions of Twisted Psionic Energy find that they cannot return again! This change tends to result from general exposure to High or Very High Broken Communion sanctity, though sometimes it can come from the Devouring Taint psychic disease. When the character fails their roll to resist Corruption, they find themselves metaphysically inverted. Twisted psionic energy no longer applies its effects to any psychic powers they might have; instead they suffer a penalty when in a region of high or very high True Communion sanctity, as though they were Broken Communion ghosts. In fact, they cannot willingly enter such an area. Worse, they carry some of the effects of the twisted energy field with them: any attempts to use psionic powers on them incurs a -2 penalty, and any critical failure results in critical failure. Finally, they can no longer leave regions of twisted psionic energy: if they leave such an area for a full day, they suffer 1 HP of damage per hour until they return.

This does come with some benefits, however. They become healthier, and corruption by the twisted psionic energy slows (but does not completely stop). They can see better in the dark, eat garbage, and move with haunting silence. Finally, they cease aging completely or, at least, can survive for centuries. Most importantly, it leaves their sanity and free-will intact, unlike some other forms of corruption.

The Broken have a strange, deathly pallor to them, with sunken eyes and snowy skin. The ill-informed often mistake them for attractive Gaunts or Tarvathim. Entire tribes of Broken Ranathim live in shelters or villages on the shattered worlds of Styx.

Attributes: HT +2 [20]

Advantages: Cast Iron Stomach [1]; Night Vision 2 [2]; Resistant (Psychic Disease; +8) [5]; Silent 1 [5]; Twisted Energy Generator (Does not count for their Dependency -0%) [15]; Unaging [1];

Features: Can be turned by True Faith [0].

Disadvantages: Dependency (Daily, External Twisted Energy field) [-30]; Dread (True Communion) [-10]; Supernatural Feature (Pallor) [-10].

The Twisted Thrall

Those who spend too long in a region of high or very high Broken Communion sanctity, especially those associated with an Eldritch God, may become infected by a peculiar madness. This particular version represents a mounting religious fervor. This tends to work best when the Corruption results of the action of a specific entity, such as wielder of Broken Communion or an Eldritch God; the GM might also impose them in place of new quirks if the character gains one as the result of a failed roll against Terror, Confusion or Awe.
This template is tiered, representing the character’s slow descent into total thralldom.

Twisted Thrall 1

-1 point

The character has been touched by the corruption of Broken Communion. She comes to sense that, perhaps, this isn’t so bad, and either begins to enjoy the experience of being in a region of Twisted Psionic Energy, or is metaphorically marked by the Eldritch for some purpose; in the case of the latter, if this is discovered, the character may gain -1 Reaction from locals, the enemies of the Eldritch God, etc (treat as Trivial Reputation). In return, the character begins to have strange, predictive dreams, or momentary but useful visions, and those who serve the eldritch god sense her unique connection and respond to her uniquely holy status with a +1 reaction (“One of us.”)

Advantages: Blessed (Unconscious, Uncontrollable -50%) [5]

Disadvantages: Delusion (Twisted Psionic Energy/specific Eldritch God isn’t dangerous) [-5]; Choose one of Likes Twisted Psionic Energy [-1] or Trivial Secret (Chosen of the Eldritch God) [-1].

Twisted Thrall 2

-2 point

The character’s metaphorical mark by Broken Communion becomes literal: she gains some obscure, arcane symbol imprinted on her skin, or strange marks appear in her eyes, etc. This Witch’s Mark requires a Hidden Lore (Communion) or Occultism roll to recognize, if noticed, and those who recognize it for what it is will react to the character at -2, and gain +2 to learn her secret.

She also comes to believe that the Eldritch God and/or Broken Communion is fundamentally good, that it provides a benefit to the lives of those who embrace it; when people realize she believes this, they’ll react to her at an additional -3. In return, those who serve the Eldritch God recognize her unique status (+1 reaction) and she can receive visions from her Eldritch Lord. Furthermore, once per session, she may boost her ST by 1d for the next 3d seconds.

This metatrait replaces the previous metatrait.

Advantages: Blessed [10]; Blessed (Heroic Feats; ST) [10]

Disadvantages: Delusion (Broken Communion or this Eldritch God is good for you) [-15]; Supernatural Feature (Witch’s Mark) [-5]; Likes Twisted Psionic Energy [-1]; Trivial Secret (Chosen of an Eldritch God) [-1].

Twisted Thrall 3

-3 point

The character’s thralldom is complete. She now worships the Eldritch God with fervent abandon, and gains +3 Will to resist any attempts to pull her from Its service or to betray It, and she is willing to sacrifice herself in Its service. Outsiders who learn of her worship react to her at a -5, both for her crazy beliefs and the appalling adoration of such an abomination. She comes to abhor True Communion: those with True Faith miracles can turn her, and she will resist any attempts to cross the threshold into high or very high True Communion sanctity (though the compulsion fades once she’s crossed the threshold). In return, she remains the chosen one of her Eldritch God, its servants react to her at +1 and she receives visions from It; once per session, she may improve her ST by 2d, her DX by 1d, and this lasts for 3d seconds.

This metatrait replaces the previous metatrait.

Advantages: Blessed [10], Blessed (Heroic Feats; 2×ST and DX) [30]

Features: Can be turned by True Faith [0]

Disadvantages: Delusion (Broken Communion or this Eldritch God is good for you) [-15]; Dread (True Communion; Cannot be Trapped -50%) [-5]; Extreme Fanaticism [-15]; Villain Worshipper [-1]; Supernatural Feature (Witch’s Mark) [-5]; Likes Twisted Psionic Energy [-1]; Trivial Secret (Chosen of an Eldritch God) [-1].

The Doppelganger

-1 point

If one delves deeply enough into the Akashic Mysteries, one can find the notion of branching or parallel timelines. Some use this to explain one of the stranger experiences that occur sometimes within broken Deep Engine sites, or deep within the depths of Labyrinth worlds. Characters go in and come out changed. They return with a few differences (a different hair style, a tattoo that wasn’t there before, a died lock of hair, etc) and seem to remember the world differently from what it actually is, such as remembering a different set of past relationships, or being unaware of a parents’ divorce in her childhood, etc.

Treat this as Delusion (False Memory) [-1] for very minor cases; the differences can escalate with additional corruption until the character is fundamentally a different person at Delusion (False Memory) [-15]. In cases where the “new person” returns with the character, treat this as Enemy (Evil Twin); The simplest “evil twin” is no stronger than the character, is a Watcher (that is, curious about their weird twin) and has no great interest in the character (appears on a 6 or less), and this is worth [-1]. More dangerous evil twins, naturally, increase the Enemy cost.

Gnarlspawn

-5 points

Gnarlspawn appear across the galaxy, but especially in the bowels of city-worlds or deep in the labyrinth. The people of Caliban call them the Morach, and Denjuku scientists call them “kyrtomorphs.” These monsters generally result from infections of the Hunger, which means the galaxy treats them like a dangerous plague, especially as their claws and teeth can pass the sickness along.

The body of humans fully in the thrall of the Hunger twist up on themselves. Their skin turns into this coarse, muscle-like structure full of whorls and ridges like their flesh took on the texture, but not the hardness, of wood. Their bodies become slender, their arms longer and their legs bent in a digitigrade posture. They can stand, but only while not moving. They gain long talons and blackened fangs that bite with a ferocity similar to that of a vibro-blade. Their faces remain recognizably their own, only with a mouth filled with razor teeth and with the ability to open wide enough to bite off the head of a child. They no longer speak, they no longer function as sapients and retain only a fraction of their previous identity. They do roar and scream though, bone-chilling screams as though they were dying. And, true to their origins, they hunger for human flesh. They will race after and hunt down members of their former species; most of the time they’ll devour whomever they catch, but they’ll often scratch or bite more victims, who must then roll Will-3 to keep from getting the Hunger themselves. Fortunately, people can seek sanctuary from them in sacred spaces.

Some characters simply change into Gnawrlspawn. If so, when they reach -5 points (125 points of corruption) they simply change. Alternatively, some victims shift between a normal human form, and their gnarl form, giving them hope of returning to a fully human state. If they only change whenever they become excessively hungry, this is a disadvantage version of Alternate Form (Broken Communion -10%) [-9]. If they can change at will except they also change when they get excessively hungry or stressed, then it’s an advantage: Alternate Form (Broken Communion -10%, Uncontrollable) [9]. If they’re in total control of their change, then it’s Alternate Form (Broken Communion -10%) [14]. This last can be a Miracle of the Other, requiring a Neutral Reaction, and can be taken as a Learned Prayer if the character has Broken Communion 4 and Archetypal Reputation (the Other) 1; it costs 3 points.
This is one example of monsters one can find in regions of Twisted Psionic Energy. See the Path of the Other for additional ideas.

Attributes: DX +2 [40]; IQ -3 [-60]

Secondary Traits: Perception +5 [25], Basic Move +2 [10]

Advantages: Born Biter [1]; Combat Reflexes [15]; Discriminatory Smell [15]; High Pain Threshold [10]; Flexible [5]; Infravision [10]; Innate Attack (Natural Attack Enhancement, 2d cut; Armor Divisor 5 +150%, Melee Attack C -30%) [6]; Innate Attack 1d cut (Talons or Teeth; Cutting; Armor Divisor 3, +150%; Melee Attack, C, -30%, ST-Based +30%) [6]; Penetrating Voice [1]; Pestilent [1]; Striking ST +11 [55]; Sharp Teeth [1]; Talons [8];
Features: Can be turned by True Faith [0]

Disadvantages: Appearance (Monstrous) [-20]; Berserk (12 or less) [-10]; Bestial [-15]; Cannot Speak [-15]; Dead Broke [-25]; Dread (True Communion Sanctity) [-10]; Easy to Kill -3 [-6]; Semi-Upright [-5]; Social Stigma (Monster) [-15]; Unnatural Appetite (Human Flesh) (6 or less) [-30], Unnatural Feature (Human Face) [-1].

Just the Stats: Gnarlspawn

ST: 10/21 HP: 10 Speed: 5.5
DX: 12 Will: 7 Move: 7
IQ: 7 Per: 12 Weight: 150 lbs
HT: 10/7 FP: 10 SM: 0
Dodge: 9 Parry: 10 DR: 0
Fright Check: -0
Claws: 3d(5) cut or 3d(5) imp
Traits: Appearance (Monstrous), Berserk (12 or less), Bestial; Cannot Speak; Combat Reflexes; Discriminatory Smell; Dread (True Communion); Easy to Kill -3; High Pain Threshold; Flexible; Infravision; Semi-Upright, Penetrating Voice; Pestilent; Sharp Teeth; Talons; Unnatural Appetite (Human Flesh) (6 or less); Unnatural Feature (Human Face).
Features: Can be turned by True Faith [0]
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