The Great Dark One is a pulsating, corruptive force, always seeking to drag more souls into its cancerous maw. It is inside your dreams, your actions, your fears and desires. Tribes and races in Nurna have defended themselves of this force by centuries, using the divine power of the Tribal Traditions and Commandments. But, sometimes, these are not followed. When this happens, the Dark One pushes in the hearts of the impious, and starts to corrupt their minds. Some people can fight back this "taint" but others let it grow, until they become simple monsters.
TAINT RULES Taint, in the game, acts like an "reverse Inspiration" (see D&D 5 rules). Just like Inspiration, the DM can give it, but it acts like a punishment, instead of a gift: any time a player doesn't follow the Tribal Traditions and Commandments his or her character has, the DM can afford them one point of Taint. Unlike Inspiration, Taint doesn't fades after a session, and continues in the player sheet until he tries to purify himself (see below for Purifying Quests). Furthermore, if the character uses his or her Taint points it will only afford them even more Taint points.
THE WILL OF THE DARK ONE The Dark One is a grateful disease, and Taint can be used in order to achieve Advantage in some situations. Just like Inspiration, characters can use Taint points during an attack roll, saving throw, or ability check. Spending your Taint gives you advantage on that roll. However, unlike Inspiration, Taint isn't "spent" when used: on the contrary, every time a character uses one of their Taint points, they will retain their current Taint points, and can achieve another Taint point. DM can choose to not give Taint points in this kind of situations but the Taint points pool of the character will always remain the same unless they try to purify themselves. THE MARK OF THE DARK ONE Accumulating Taint points has a full variety of results. More Taint points means that the character is closer and closer to madness and evil. Depending of the number of Taint points achieved by the character, he or she will suffer one of the following conditions:
- 0-1 Taint Points: the character seems normal
- 2-4 Taint Points: if the character has Good allignment change it to Neutral. For instance, Lawful Good will be Lawful Neutral, Chaotic Good will be Chaotic Neutral. Neutral Good characters will be turn into True Neutral characters.
- 5 Taint Points: the character becomes corrupted. He or she shows signs of madness and his or her pressence indicates clearly that its corrupted (a frightful aura, black marks, fang-like teeth...). The character will always have Disadvantage in Charisma-related rolls with Good-alligned creatures.
- 6-7 Taint Points: change the Neutral allignment (in the Good-Evil axis) of the character into Evil. For instance, Lawful Neutral will become Lawful Evil, Chaotic Neutral will become Chaotic Evil. True Neutral characters will become Neutral Evil characters. Change his or her deity to the Great Dark One
- 8+ Taint Points: the character becomes an Evil NPC under the control of the DM. It can no longer be used by the player and will attack his or her party allies.
THE ROAD TO REDEPMTION... It is possible to clean the influence of the Dark One in any point of its corruption, but it's not easy. usually, this process implies ascetic actions like avoid contact with people for a time, meditation in sacred places, fill out divine tasks... Clerics and druids can guide this lost soul if it needs help. One character with up to 4 Taint points can clean one of their Taint points in any moment by spending one sleepless night in one of these places:
- Inside a temple of his or her deity
- Over the ancient tomb of a hero of his or her race
- Inside one sacred place for his or her race
- 1-2: Exile. The character must spend a number of days away from anyone (including its party) equal to the difference with the CD of the Arcana/Nature roll. For instance, if the cleric obtained a 24 in a roll that required a 15 the character must spend 9 days exiled (24-15=9).
- 4-5: Ascetism. The character must spend a number of days without eating, sleeping and/or any other material pleasure. The cleric or druid may choose what will be prohibited. The number of days is calculated the same way as in the Exile result.
- 6-7: Quest. The character will have to kill one type of monster, or seek an artifact. The DM is free to choose what will have to find the character.
- 8-9: Dream Voyage. The character must find a temple or sacred place in which he will have a voyage into the Great Dream (it acts like Planar Travel). There, he will have to kill a monster, or find an artifact. The DM is free to choose what will have to find the character.
- 10: Divine Intervention. The cleric or the druid has an epiphany, and summons the power deep inside the Great Dream. The character will suffer 1d10 points of damage, in he form of a ray of light or a sudden thunder. If he survives, he will be automatically cured.
Hosts & Carriers
The taint is rarely "carried" like an infection, but some places and creatures seem to drag people more easily into the clutches of the Dark One. Old temples, goblin or sauroid lairs... all of those places seem to "smell" like the Dark One, and sometimes the smell just sticks to the adventurers that remain in those places.