For the Dark Haunt campaign, we will be using a simplified version of the Taint mechanic from the PHB2 (and listed on d20srd.org). For one, only activated Veritan equipment can be “tainted” (since it directly uses soul energy to power itself).

Any changes to the rules are noted in green text:

Taint And Alignment

Some places and items are so evil that exposure to them marks, or taints, a character in a very real and difficult-to-cleanse way. Taint is evil. It is a corruption so deep it warps the very plane of reality. A weapon used to slaughter thousands of innocents, a forest grown on land soaked in the blood of an evil deity, a book bound in the flesh of an archfiend for his own horrible purposes, and the presence of an evil deity are all sources of taint. Then, of course, there are rings…

…taint can be used in addition to alignment. While characters with a minor amount of taint aren’t necessarily evil, they probably are. The more taint they acquire, the more evil they become. The GM should monitor taint carefully and provide a warning when a character disregards its effect, just as he would when a character acts outside his alignment.

If you include taint in your campaign, you can add a detect taint spell to the cleric’s spell list. If you are not using alignment, change the paladin’s detect evil ability to detect taint.

The detect taint spell or spell-like ability is identical to detect evil, except that it detects the presence of taint within a creature or object. When determining the power of a tainted aura, refer to the table in the detect evil spell description. Find the creature or object’s taint score on the row for “Cleric of an evil deity”; the aura’s power corresponds to the column in which the taint score is contained.

Becoming Tainted

For each round a character uses an activated example of Veritan technology (belts, gauntlets, breastplates, etc.), that character must make a Fortitude save to resist the onset of Taint. (This mandatory save also applies to each round of an ongoing effect, such as a personalized Haste spell, until the effect is turned off.)

Instead of Fortitude saves that increase in difficulty based on number of days used, the ones in Dark Haunt use a simple equation:

Taint Fortitude Save = 10 plus the user’s character level

If a character fails this save, they gain 1d3 points of Taint.

(In the original Taint system, a character could ignore the mechanic for days at at time, until a point where it was suddenly almost impossible to succeed. With this simplified version, characters will find themselves more resilient to the sway of Taint as they progress in level. However, even the most hardy individual might fail once or twice a day, if fate is set against him.)

Because of their good Fortitude saves, most barbarians, fighters, monks, paladins, and rangers resist taint better than members of other classes. Bards, rogues, sorcerers, and wizards are much more susceptible to taint.


Effects Of Taint

A character’s taint score applies as a penalty to his Constitution and Wisdom scores. Thus a character with a 16 Constitution and a 14 Wisdom who acquires a taint score of 4 has an effective Constitution of 12 and an effective Wisdom of 10. These penalties reflect the taint’s impact on the character’s physical and mental health.

Characters who embrace taint (see below) and make use of it can ignore some of these penalties. Though it reduces ability scores, the effect of taint is not treated as ability damage, ability drain, or any other penalty to an ability score that can be removed by magic.

A tainted character experiences the Constitution and Wisdom penalties in a variety of ways, from mild nausea, joint pain, or disorientation to rotting flesh, severe skeletal warping, and irresistible murderous urges. Table: Taint Effects is categorized according to whether a character is mildly, moderately, or severely tainted. A character who has lost 25% of his Constitution to taint is mildly tainted. A character who has lost 50% of his Constitution to taint is moderately tainted. A character who has lost 75% of his Constitution to taint is severely tainted. The effects on Table: Taint Effects are primarily meant as role-playing features, though the GM can apply minor game-related modifiers to represent some of these effects if he so chooses.

If a character’s Constitution score reaches 0 from the effects of taint, he dies—and 1d6 hours later he rises as a hideous, evil creature under the control of the GM. What sort of creature he becomes depends on his character level before dying.

Click to Expand: Taint Effects

Cleansing Taint

It is possible to remove taint from characters in several ways, including through the use of spells, the performance of good deeds, and cleansing in a sacred spring. Taint cannot be removed unless the tainted character wants to be cleansed.


The following spells can reduce taint scores when cast outside tainted areas. No character can have his taint score reduced by any particular spell more than once per day (though different spells can reduce taint if cast on the same character in the same day).


This spell can remove taint, but with limits. First, it always requires a quest. Second, the caster decides how much taint to remove when casting atonement, up to a maximum equal to the caster’s level. Atonement can reduce a taint score to 0.


This spell reduces a character’s taint score by 1 point per three caster levels, but it cannot reduce a taint score below 1.

Miracle, wish

These spells cannot remove taint except by duplicating the effects of other spells mentioned here.

Remove curse, remove disease

These spells reduce a character’s taint score by 1 point, but they cannot reduce a taint score below 1.


This spell reduces a character’s taint score by 1 point per four caster levels, but it cannot reduce a taint score below 1.

Greater restoration

This spell reduces a character’s taint score by a number of points equal to the caster level of the cleric casting greater restoration. Greater restoration can reduce a taint score to 0.


Tainted Prestige Classes

There are several prestige classes available for players interested in taking advantage of Taint, including the Tainted Sorcerer and Warrior. Talk to your DM if you’re interested in pursuing one of these.

Click to Expand: Tainted Warrior