Occult Skill Guide: Classic Corruptions (SFRPG)
This installment of the Occult Skill Guide-series clocks in at 17 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
This review was moved up in my reviewing queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreon supporters.
So, theme-wise, this pdf obviously makes corruptions work in conjunction with SFRPG, but it should be noted that these corruptions are NOT simply a straight adaptation from PFRPG, instead making full use of SFRPG’s engine.
We begin the supplement by explaining how the mechanics work: Corruptions measure their progress in corruption points and have a six-step corruption progression track, analogue to e.g. diseases and similar afflictions. The progression track is: Uncorrupted-Latent-Stage 1-Stage 2-Stage 3-End Stage. And yep, end-stage MAY mean becoming NPC, but that is left up to the GM’s prerogative.
A character has a corruption threshold equal to the ability SCORE (NOT modifier!) in the corruption’s associated ability, +1 per 3 CR or levels the target has. Each corruption also has a virulence line that lists actions or activities that, when taken, cause the accumulation of corruption points.
A corruption is classified as a type of affliction, and initial exposure means that the target must succeed a saving throw; and on a failure, they lose the uncorrupted status for the respective corruption, starting the latent step, which also jumpstarts the accumulation of corruption points as noted in the corruption’s virulence.
When the corruption points accumulate up to the Corruption Threshold or multiple thereof of the respective character/creature, the victim must succeed another saving throw, and on a failure, the corruption advances, with the type of save and the DC determined by corruption, victim level/CR and the current step on the progression track. Progression DCs thus do increase to represent the inner struggle – thus, a high-level character can’t simply become immune to the threats posed by the corruptions. Corruptions have unique end-states, and conditions imposed by corruptions override immunities to conditions and similar effects, so no cheesing these either.
Corruptions also have a cure entry, which means that the victim has to fulfill certain criteria; when they manage to fulfill the cure conditions, they decrease the total number of corruption points accumulated by a specific number, which allows for the reduction of progression steps. Reaching the uncorrupted stage cures the target. Remove affliction does not cure a victim of corruptions, unless the corruption specifies otherwise.
Some corruptions also bestow so-called manifestations upon their victims as part of the effects; these are special abilities that alter the victim’s body, and when these reference the victim’s level, character level is meant. Removal of physical alterations makes the modifications grow back quickly – there is no easy way to curing a corruption.
The corruptions come with an easy to grasp standardized presentation method, and the pdf then proceeds to present a total of 5 different corruptions, the first of which would be Decouplement. This corruption represents a weakening of the cellular bonds, allowing for the adjustment of the body’s shape, but at the risk of collapsing into a fleshy sludge. You can basically become Batman’s Clayface – first, you can assume generic forms, and at higher corruption stages, you can even modify your size, and gain amorphous or compression. Interesting: ¼ of your total Resolve Points (should probably state something like “minimum 1” or have a “maximum” after that) or accepting 1d6 corruption points allow for the reset of the duration of this effect, which is interesting and retains the cost. Stage 2 of the corruption allows for the expenditure of Resolve Points to gain burrow speeds and a variety of other abilities, though doing so does entail corruption points. The pdf also provides universal monster rules for oozelike creatures, and a level 15 serum that helps reconstitute targets that had their bodily integrity compromised. Really awesome: The curing procedure entails being petrified, grounded down, set in a mold and then slowly reconstituted – awesome!
The second corruption included would be genewarp, which represents e.g. mishaps, intense radiation or similar polymorphic events. It initially grants you some potent powers, but makes you gain corruption points when regaining Stamina, representing a unique type of timer. The corruption includes the aberrant universal creature rule (somewhat akin to plant-like, just for aberrations) and the unstable genotype disease that may only be cured with potent magics. The manifestations of this corruption starts slow with some numerical enhancements, and then proceeds to provide enhancements and then even ties in with the polymorph form abilities at the third stage. Yes, this does allow you to go Kafka’s “Die Verwandlung”, which made me geek out just a bit. Cool: The cure requirements actually do take into account how you got this corruption, and the corruption’s cure ties in with aforementioned disease, which is surprisingly clever.
Psychomutation represents a rampant expansion of consciousness and evolving psychic powers. As such, the corruption does include abilities like telepathy, telekinesis – basically spell-like abilities that increase in power as the corruption progresses, but there is, obviously, a price to be paid, with corruption point increases. Nice: The corruption is supplemented by the telekinetic fists technomancer spell, which comes in 6 different spell levels. The spell nets you untyped damage, akin to natural weapons. (As an aside: Still think SFRPG’s core rules should have codified damage types there, but since the core rules provide the precedent, I won’t ding the pdf for this.) The cure here is very interesting, having serious consequences for the treatment.
A big personal plus re nomenclature: Therianthropy. That’s the proper name for animal-hybrid causing diseases; “lycan” refers to lupines. The virulence of this one is tied to a planet’s full moon phases, and the corruptions handles silver weapons in an interesting manner. And yes, before you ask –w e do get mechanically-relevant belladonna rules as part of the pretty tricky cure-rpcedure. The manifestations here obviously provide interesting weaponry, forms, etc as well as a pretty massive template graft. Really nice take on the classic concept!
The final corruption included would be vampirism (based on moroi), which nets the hungering maw manifestation and nets you shapechanging, blood draining, etc. – and this corruption can be pretty dangerous foe the infected target, but it also allows clever (and lucky!) players to juggle the corruption…though the Constitution drain this one causes when not indulging properly can make this an interesting tightrope act. We do get a fully fleshed out moroi vampire template graft.
Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. The pdf comes with the full-color2-column –standard of the series; the pdf sports quite a few nice original artworks of a consistent style. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks.
Alexander Augunas’ corruptions add something really cool to Starfinder: Not content with simply reproducing corruptions, he has gone a step beyond: The corruptions here tiptoe the thin line that is hard to get. You see, the corruptions are potent and can really help you realize unique changes of character concepts, and sometimes manage to allow you to portray unique, classic concepts, all while remaining dangerous – they exert allure in their tempting tricks, showcase a powerful array of options, and their cures and virulences allow for roleplaying galore. This is a really great little booklet, and the engine presented will be used in all my SFRPG games. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval, and this gets the EZG Essentials tag for SFRPG games – if you’re as excited as I am for the Grimmerspace setting to come (or the darker parts of blood space!), then consider this to be a must-buy indeed!
You can get this amazing pdf here on OBS!