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Rules Index | GM Screen | Player's Guide

Chapter 2: Tools


Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 116
Wherever there is life, there are insidious perils that threaten the health and well-being of living creatures. Some of these afflictions, including many diseases, are inherent to the natural world. Others, such as drugs, are crafted by people the world over for recreational, unscrupulous, or other uses. And some—curses being the most notorious—exist solely to cause harm to others.

Afflictions strike creatures with potent and often escalating results. This section presents a variety of curses, diseases, and drugs for use in your game. A broad sampling of poisons can be found beginning on page 550 of the Core Rulebook, and the rules for afflictions start on 457.

Depending on the tone of the campaign, the GM might want to roll secret saving throws for PCs affected by an affliction. This is particularly effective when the affliction is an element within a survival or horror game, or when it’s part of a mystery.


Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 116
A curse is a manifestation of potent ill will. Curses typically have a single effect that takes place upon a failed saving throw and lasts a specified amount of time, or can be removed only by certain actions a character must perform or conditions they must meet. Rarely, curses will have stages; these follow the rules for afflictions.

Curses may come from a malicious action, such as a lich’s Paralyzing Touch or a spell from an evil spellcaster. Guardians of a tomb or treasure might ward their charge with a curse as protection against thieves. In some rare cases, a curse might manifest as a response to a terrible act, such as a massacre. When using a curse in your game, assign the curse to an item, location, situation, or similar element. Then, decide on a trigger for the curse—such as a creature attempting to steal a warded book, destroy a work of art, or slay a specific creature. A curse can even be tied to a specific location, in which case it functions as a simple hazard. Once that trigger occurs, the curse affects the triggering creature or creatures. Each affected creature must attempt a saving throw against the curse; if they fail, they are subject to the effects specified in the curse’s Effect entry.


Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 118
Exposure to disease can be a hazard, such as when PCs come into contact with a plague-ridden corpse; such hazards grant XP as a simple hazard of the disease’s level. When a disease gives a sickened condition that can’t be reduced until it runs its course, that typically means the disease has symptoms such as a difficulty swallowing, loss of appetite, or nausea that make eating and drinking difficult but not impossible. Despite the condition’s prohibition on eating or drinking, a creature can slowly and carefully eat and drink as long as they aren’t in an encounter.


Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 120
Drugs offer short-term benefits with harmful side effects and long-term consequences. These short-term benefits, such as euphoria, draw many to drugs, but addiction keeps users hooked long after their first dose. A character can voluntarily fail their initial save against a drug, but for each dose they consume, they must attempt a saving throw against addiction, a disease that represents cravings and withdrawal. Addiction is unique to each drug, so a character can be affected by multiple instances of addiction at once.

Certain drugs alter how addiction works for that drug, adding the virulent trait to the addiction, limiting the maximum stage a character can reach, or adding additional stages beyond those listed in the base affliction.