Dark Power

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In this realm of dread, good and evil are vital and omnipresent, locked in eternal struggle. Characters who preserve their innocence are subtly protected from the forces of darkness, while those who commit evil acts risk falling to these eldritch powers, their minds and bodies slowly warping to reflect their inner corruption. Those who wholly embrace the lures of evil may eventually find unwanted “allies” in the darkness.

Dark Power Checks

Dark acts, those distinctly evil or corrupt, call out to the dark powers. Repeated acts are even more likely to draw the attention of those evils who lurk in the nearby planes. Eventually, evil is answered by evil.

Each time a character commits a dark act, the character gains one dark point. (Very dark acts provide two dark points.) She must also make a dark power check. Roll percentile dice. If the result is higher than the character’s accumulated number of dark points, nothing happens. But if the result is equal to or less than that number, the character loses all dark points and progresses to the next stage on the Path of Corruption.

Dark acts include assault, betrayal, extortion, lying, theft, grave robbing, threats of violence, breaking vows, casting arcane spells, casting divine necromancy spells, using evil magic items, laying curses, and similar activities. Very dark acts include desecration, murder, torture, corruption of innocence, casting arcane necromancy spells, casting warlock spells, using magical warlock class features, and similar acts.

The Path of Corruption

The path that descends to ultimate corruptions spirals steeply and swiftly downward. Each of the six stages bestows a curse, of increasing severity, but each stage also comes with a dark gift. The first two stages are described here.

Stage 1: The Caress

The corrupted character gains a minor boon and an embarrassing curse, the sort of which can usually be covered or hidden with minimal effort. The DM decides which effects apply, remembering to link the two conceptually. For example, a bonus to speed might only work when the character lopes on all fours, or a bonus to Strength might make the character’s features grow subtly course and ugly. Following are some example boons.

  • Natural attack form (bite, claws, horns, or the like) dealing 1d3 damage.
  • Advantage on a certain type of saving throw
  • + 1 bonus to an ability score at night
  • + 5 bonus to speed
  • + 20 ft. darkvision

Stage 2: The Enticement

Once the corrupted character proves her willingness to commit dark acts repeatedly, the dark powers of the land are eager to grant her further assistance. At this stage, the advantages are more pronounced, as are the drawbacks. The curses of this level can be frustrating to the character’s goals or regular way of life. The character may develop a ravenous appetite for vermin, or may gain a twisted physical feature that is harder to conceal.

  • + 1 natural armor
  • + 2 bonus to an ability score while having fresh blood somewhere on the skin
  • Advantage on all skill checks for one Ability
  • + 10 bonus to speed
  • + 40 ft. darkvision
  • Know one cantrip from the sorcerer spell list (Charisma is the spellcasting ability)

The details of the next four stages (Invitation, Embrace, Creature, and Darklord) are known only to the DM. They represent steps where redemption is all but impossible. At the pinnacle of the path the character becomes a non-player character, a being of terrible and powerful evil. The boons for these stages grow increasingly potent and varied, but the curses become quite terrible. Serious mechanics penalties are applied for later boons, and the corrupt character appears less and less human.

Redemption

Characters within the first two stages of the Path of Corruption can still be redeemed. While the road to damnation is swift and certain, it is possible for a character to recoil from her evil deeds and, with time and toil, return to the light. If a character is truly penitent, and her repentance proven over time, she just might find redemption and shed her connection to the evil of the land.

Exact mechanics for redemption are left to the discretion of the DM. The system is inversely related to the mechanics for regular dark power checks.

Dark Power

Mists of Shadow Moor Randy Randy