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Corruptions are 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 character, starting with general rules. The shadow corruption is provided as a fleshed-out example. Finally, other possible corruptions are described.

Contracting a 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 even-numbered 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.

Corruption Descriptions

Shadow Corruption

Those who spend extended time on the Shadow Plane, are repeatedly exposed to shadow magic, or fall under the sway of creatures such as velstracs, certain undead, or shadowy fey, risk contracting shadow corruption. Shadow corruption is an affliction with the following parameters.

Type mental corruption; Save Will DC = 10 + half the victim’s level + the number of manifestations the victim has; on a failure, a victim can spend a number of Resolve Points equal to 1 + the number of manifestations the victim has to succeed instead

Frequency 1/day

Cure Destroy the creature, object, or effect that caused the corruption, or the victim can purify themselves by spending 1 month spreading joy, experiencing joy, and living in the light of a habitable world’s sunlight. At the end of each month spent this way, the victim can refuse a previously accepted gift, allowing break enchantment or remove affliction to remove the related manifestation. Using a gift from any corruption while undergoing purification means the victim has to start that month over.

When the corruption first takes hold, it’s dormant but gives you regular nightmares. In these dreams, you walk through familiar places, but many of the details are subtly wrong. You feel like you’re being watched from the shadows, a belief that lingers for a few moments after you wake. These visions don’t affect your health, but they make you irritable or jumpy for an hour or so after you awaken. After a few days, sudden flashes of bright light cause you to flinch, and you start to catch glimpses of movement in the shadows out of the corner of your eye.

Shadow Progression

When you gain your first manifestation, your nightmares grow vivid, showing you individuals who have the faces of your loved ones but are wrapped in chains and hanging from the ceiling or walls, writhing in what might be pleasure or pain. You still feel as if something watches you in these dreams. During your waking hours, you can sometimes hear the jingling of the nightmare chains, especially when alone with your thoughts or in times of great stress. Sources of joy start to lose their appeal—colors are muted, sounds are muffled, smells and tastes are bland or bitter, a touch that doesn’t bring extreme sensation might go unnoticed.

When you gain your second and third manifestations, feelings of being disconnected from the world increase dramatically. If you accepted your gifts, you feel this detachment enlightens you, and upon accepting your third gift, if your alignment is good, it shifts to neutral. Accepting your corruption by using its gifts makes your nightmares seem more like peaceful dreams, and you might attempt to recreate these dreams in the real world. To feel anything, you turn to pain and other extreme experiences. Forays into self-harm might be easy to hide from others, but your need for more slowly increases.

Once you accept your fourth gift, your normal emotions are nearly dead. Your greatest pleasure comes from causing harm and being harmed. You believe the corruption is a personal improvement and try to explain its benefits to others. If you see someone who has shadow corruption, you sense the affliction even if it’s dormant. You focus on encouraging such people to give in to the darkness.

If you accept a fifth gift, the corruption takes complete control of you, and you become evil if you’re not already. You undergo extreme body modifications and augmentations that cause consistent if not constant pain. You might believe yourself to be a prophet of pain, and you share this pain with others, perhaps killing them in the process. Alternatively, you could disappear into the Shadow Plane, where those like you, who watched you from your nightmares, wait to embrace you as one of their own.

Shadow Manifestations


The chill of the deep shadows has inured you to cold.

Gift: You gain cold resistance 5. If you have three or more manifestations, this resistance increases to 10.

Stain: Your appearance becomes disturbing. Reduce your Charisma score by 1.

Coldblooded Touch

Your touch is infused with the life-sapping gloom of the Shadow Plane.

Prerequisites: Coldblooded, one other manifestation.

Gift: As a standard action, you can make a melee attack against EAC that deals 2d4 cold damage for each manifestation you have. If you deal damage with this manifestation, the target must succeed at a Will saving throw or become unable to benefit from morale bonuses for 1 minute. You can use this manifestation a number of times per day equal to the number of manifestations you have.

Stain: Your body withers. Reduce your Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution scores by 1 point each.

Deadened Emotions

You are hollow inside.

Gift: You gain a +2 insight bonus to Bluff checks and saving throws against mind-affecting effects. If another creature attempts to read your mind (such as with detect thoughts) and you succeed at the saving throw, you can render that creature shaken for 1 round as a reaction. You can do the same to a creature that fails a Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate check against you by directing your lifeless gaze at it. This is a mind-affecting fear effect. A creature affected by your deadened emotions becomes immune to it for 24 hours.

Stain: Reduce any morale bonus you receive by 1.

Eerie Perception

Your eyes turn dull gray, milky white, or glossy black, and you become more accustomed to the dark.

Gift: You gain low-light vision and darkvision with a range of 60 feet. If you already have darkvision, its range increases by 30 feet instead. In addition, if you are aware of a creature’s location and that creature is hidden only due to dim light, darkness, or invisibility, you are considered to be observing that creature until it moves out of Line_of_Sight”>line of sight or successfully hides from you again.

Stain: You gain light blindness: you’re blinded for 1 round when first exposed to bright light, and you are dazzled for as long as you remain in an area of bright light.


Fear is another tool in your arsenal, and you use it skillfully.

Gift: You find joy in scaring others, and have a knack for knowing how to do so. You gain a +2 enhancement bonus to Intimidate checks, and the save DCs of your fear effects increase by 2. You can use Intimidate skill demoralize others as a move action.

Stain: Your mind is so focused on spreading fear that you are susceptible to mental manipulation. You take a –2 penalty to saving throws against mind-affecting effects that aren’t illusions or fear effects, and you lose any bonuses against or immunities to such effects. If you fail a saving throw against such an effect, it lasts 1d3 additional rounds.

Frightful Cruelty

You have learned how to hurt those who are afraid.

Prerequisites: Frightful

Gift: Once per round, if you damage a creature that is shaken, frightened, panicked, or cowering, you deal extra damage equal to half your level. If you damage multiple fearful creatures with one attack or effect, choose only one of them to take this bonus damage.

Stain: You are off your game in combat until you hurt or scare someone. Therefore, you take a –2 penalty to attack rolls and can’t gain morale bonuses on your attack rolls until you deal damage to a significant foe or render someone shaken, frightened, panicked, or cowering.


Your corporeal form can flicker into insubstantial shadow.

Prerequisites: Two other manifestations.

Gift: You have a 20% chance to treat a critical hit as a normal hit, allowing you to ignore the critical hit’s extra damage and critical hit effect. If the attack affects incorporeal creatures normally, such as a weapon with the ghost killer fusion, you can’t ignore it in this way.

Stain: If an ally targets you with a beneficial spell that has a range of touch, you have a 20% chance to gain no benefit from it. The spell is still cast and expended.

Pain Refuge

The lines between pleasure and pain are blurred for you.

Gift: The first time you take Hit Point damage in a given combat, for 1 round you can roll attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks twice and take the better result. You can do so again the first time you drop below half your Hit Points in a given combat. During this time, however, you can’t benefit from morale bonuses.

Stain: Increase any damage you take by an amount equal to the number of manifestations you have, up to a maximum of double the original amount of damage.

Painful Clarity

Pain clears your mind.

Prerequisites: Pain Refuge.

Gift: As a reaction when you fail a saving throw against a mind-affecting effect, you can use a weapon you’re wielding to deal yourself 4 damage, subtracted directly from your Hit Points. If you do so, you can reroll the saving throw. This benefit has no effect if you reduce the damage you inflict on yourself by any amount.

Stain: You thrive on pain, and thus you always have a number of self-inflicted wounds. Reduce your maximum Hit Points by a number equal to half your level.

Shadow Cloak

You easily blend in with shadows.

Gift: Provided you are in an area of dim light or darkness, you can use Stealth to hide even while being observed.

Stain: Your muscles weaken. When you attempt any Strength-based check, roll twice and take the worse result.

Shadow Jaunt

You can jump from shadow to shadow with little effort.

Prerequisites: One other manifestation.

Gift: As a full action, you can teleport, as if using a dimension door spell, from one area of dim light or darkness to another, transporting only yourself and objects you wear or carry. If you are overburdened, this teleportation fails. Further, you can teleport only up to 60 feet. Once you teleport, you can’t do so again until you take a 10-minute rest during which you could regain Stamina Points. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to the number of manifestations you have.

Stain: You are apathetic and difficult to stir into action. When you roll your initiative check, roll twice and take the worse result.

Unnerving Gaze

With a glance, you can fill your foes with regret for their wasted potential.

Prerequisites: Frightful, one other manifestation.

Gift: You gain a gaze attack that causes foes within 30 feet of you to become shaken for 1d3 rounds unless they succeed at a Will saving throw. As a swift action, you can suppress or reactivate this ability, which is a mind-affecting fear effect. A creature that succeeds at the saving throw is immune to your unnerving gaze for 24 hours.

Stain: You have an unsettling aura. When you attempt a Bluff or Diplomacy check, roll twice and take the worse result. It also takes you twice as long to use the gather information task of the Diplomacy skill.

Velstrac Durability

Infused with shadow, you take on a trait of the velstracs.

Prerequisites: Pain Refuge, Painful Clarity.

Gift: You gain an amount of damage reduction equal to twice the number of manifestations you have. Good-aligned weapons and silver weapons overcome this DR.

Stain: If you touch a good-aligned item, a holy weapon fusion, or a silver item, including being struck by a good-aligned or silver weapon, you are sickened for 1 round. Your immunities don’t prevent this sickened condition, and you can’t remove it early by any means. You can hide your aversion with a Bluff check opposed by Sense Motive checks.

Velstrac Rejuvenation

You exist in a state between mortal and velstrac, placing you at risk of becoming a velstrac when you die.

Prerequisites: Pain Refuge, Painful Clarity, Velstrac Durability.

Gift: Twice per day, you can grant yourself fast healing 3 for 1 minute. Your fast healing functions only while you have 1 Hit Point or more.

Stain: Whenever you gain the dying condition, you lose 1 Resolve Point. In addition, it costs you 1 extra Resolve Point (maximum of 4 instead of 3) to stabilize yourself. If you die, you have a 50% chance to reincarnate as an NPC velstrac (an outsider) on the Shadow Plane. If you do, you can be raised from the dead only via miracle or wish along with a soul beacon as if casting raise dead on an undead target.

Void Heart

The darkness in your soul can draw on the life force of allies.

Prerequisites: One other manifestation.

Gift: Once per day when you take ability damage, ability drain, or Hit Point damage, you can divide the damage or drain evenly between you and one ally within 30 feet of you. The ally knows what you’re trying to do and can attempt a Will saving throw to resist the link. This ability takes no action on your part, and you can use it even if it isn’t your turn.

Stain: You struggle to remember the meaning of friendly bonds. You can’t benefit from or use the aid another action.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Starfinder Adventure Path #10: The Diaspora Strain © 2018, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Chris S. Sims, with Stephen Glicker, Jason Keeley, Epidiah Ravachol, Owen K.C. Stephens, and James L. Sutter.