Pact Maladies

Pact maladies are rare and unusual supernatural conditions that typically occur when a binder or a character who is similarly associated with pact magic has a hampering encounter with occult forces. The debilitating effects of a pact malady increase the longer a character is afflicted by it and they cannot be removed by conventional means, save the remove pact malady† spell, though a successful use of remove curse can stop a pact malady from progressing for 24 hours, though this doesn’t suppress the pact malady’s effects.

Unlike other magical effects, a pact malady persists in an antimagic field or an antispirit field†.


Gaining a Pact Malady

There are many ways a creature can become afflicted with a pact malady. These conditions can be gained by way of a bestow pact malady spell or a similar effect, as well as spontaneously with a number of unusual circumstances, some of which are detailed below. GMs are encouraged to bestow pact maladies upon characters for other, similar reasons.

Maledict Areas

Areas exist where the boundaries between the Material Plane and the Spirit Realm are weak and the mere act of using a granted ability can endanger the binder. Each time a binder uses a major granted ability in a maledict area, she must succeed at a Will save or become afflicted with a random pact malady (DC equals 13 + the level of the activated granted ability’s spirit). Due to the unpredictable nature of these locations, the effects of maledict areas are seldom consistent. There are areas that inflict a single type of pact malady consistently, and areas that are easier or harder to resist with each granted ability used.

Curses and Other Spells

All pact maladies can be inflicted upon characters with a bestow pact malady† or greater bestow pact malady† spell. Bestow pact malady can bestow any minor pact malady while a greater bestow pact malady is required to afflict a spellcaster with a major pact malady. Other spells may inflict a specific pact malady or may allow the caster to select any pact malady as part of the spell. A successful saving throw against the spell prevents the pact malady from taking hold.


Optional Ways to Acquire Pact Maladies

GMs may include the following ways of acquiring pact maladies.

Antispirit Field

The first time a binder attempts to activate a granted ability within an antispirit field†, there is a chance she will spontaneously gain a major pact malady. The caster level must succeed at a Will saving throw or become afflicted with a random major pact malady (DC 15 + the caster level of the antispirit field† or DC 23 if there is no caster level for the effect). Expelling a Spirit: When a binder uses Expel Spirit† or a similar ability to terminate a poor pact made with a spirit early, she must succeed at a Will save or become afflicted with a random pact malady (DC equals 13 + the spirit’s level). This is a major pact malady if the spirit is 5th level or higher; otherwise it is a minor pact malady.

Failed Exorcism

When a spellcaster fails to exorcise a spirit with dismiss pact spirits† or a similar effect by rolling a 5 or lower on her caster level (or binder level) check, she risks invoking the rage of the spirit in the form of a pact malady. The spellcaster must succeed on a Will save or become afflicted with a random pact malady (DC equals 13 + the level of the highest-level spirit that is bound to the targeted binder). This is a major pact malady if the spirit is 5th level or higher; otherwise it is a minor pact malady.

Horrible Reaction to a Spirit

When performing a pact ritual, if the binder fails her binding check by 10 or more or rolls a natural 1 on her binding check, she must succeed on a Will save or become afflicted with a random pact malady (DC equals the spirit’s binding DC, including any modifications made to this DC such as by the Flexible Pactmaking† feat). This is a major pact malady if the spirit is 5th level or higher; otherwise it is a minor pact malady. On the other hand, a binding check result of a natural 20 never invokes a horrible reaction to a spirit, even if the binder fails her binding check by 10 or more.

Interrupted Ceremony

If the pactmaking process is interrupted for any reason after the spirit has manifested, such as the seal becoming breached, the binder and all creatures within 10 feet per level of the manifested spirit must succeed at a Will save or become afflicted with a random pact malady (DC equals 13 + the level of the manifested spirit). This is a major pact malady if the spirit is 5th level or higher; otherwise it is a minor pact malady.


Removing Pact Maladies

While the symptoms of a pact malady are often hardly noticeable at first, they quickly spiral out of control if left unchecked for too long and become increasingly difficult to remove. The caster level check DC to remove a minor pact malady is 20. The caster level check DC to remove a major pact malady is 30. For every week that a pact malady is active on a creature, the caster level check DC to suppress it (such as with remove curse) or remove it (such as with remove pact malady†) increases by +1. A pact malady with a caster level check DC of 50 or higher cannot be removed except by divine interaction or similarly extraordinary means.

In addition to remove pact malady†, each pact malady lists a specific means for its removal. These tasks are often trying, difficult, and can serve as inspiration for a race against the clock as the PCs attempt to remove a dangerous pact malady before it consumes them completely. When a spell is noted as an alternate means to remove a pact malady, the caster must succeed at a caster level check as if she were using remove pact malady† and she takes a –5 penalty on her caster level check to do so unless noted otherwise. Any pact malady with a caster level check DC less than 50 can be removed automatically by miracle or wish while a pact malady with a caster level check DC that exceeds 50 is removable only by divine intervention.


Pact Malady Descriptions

Below are examples of pact maladies that can affect a character. Pact maladies often replicate insanity effects (for more information on insanity, check Chapter 8 of Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Mastery Guide). Because maladies are occult in nature, apply any bonuses on saving throws against supernatural powers (such as protection from the supernatural†) against pact maladies. Table: Pact Maladies lists minor and major pact maladies. When called to randomly determine a pact malady, refer to the minor result or major result in the table, as appropriate.

Table: Pact Maladies
d10 Minor Result Major Result
1 Inscribed skin Called by the grave
2 Inspire disdain Gender bending
3 Lingering spirit Normalizing anomaly
4 Occult addiction Personality clash
5 Occult phobia Return to nature
6 Possessive spirit Return to the womb
7 Spirit aphasia Solipsistic syndrome
8 Spirit fugue Soul amnesia
9 Spirit palsy Soul decay
10 Stolen identity Roll twice and refer to column at left, applying both results.

Minor Pact Maladies

The following is a list and description of many of the most common minor pact maladies.

Inscribed Skin

Your body becomes covered in horrible boils, rashes, and scars that form the likeness one spirit’s seal; this spirit is either one you were bound to when you became afflicted by inscribed skin or one that was involved with your gaining of inscribed skin. If neither apply, the GM randomly determines which spirit’s seal manifests across your body.

While afflicted with inscribed skin, you suffer a –2 penalty on Charisma checks and on Charisma-based skill checks. In addition, you take a –1 penalty on Fortitude saves. Each week that you are afflicted by inscribed skin, the penalty on Charisma checks and Charisma-based skill checks increases by –2 and the penalty on Fortitude saves increases by –1, to a maximum of –14 and –7, respectively. Additionally, if you possess the Amateur Pactmaker† feat or the bind spirit class feature, you gain a +2 bonus on binding checks made with the spirit whose seal is inscribed on your skin.

A suppress sign spell can suppress inscribed skin for 1 day.

Inspire Disdain

You are perceived as ugly, maladapted in social situations, and generally unpleasant. You take a –2 penalty on Charisma checks and on Charisma-based skill checks. In addition, the DC for you to use the aid another action increases to DC 15 and when an ally uses aid another to assist you, the bonus you receive is reduced by half (minimum 0). Additionally, you are always considered to be a spirit’s favored enemy, even if you would normally possess an ability that would allow you to be treated otherwise.

Inspire disdain is suppressed against creatures who are unable to see your face. Covering your face using mundane methods (such as a full-face mask) cause you to become blinded or treat all creatures as though they had total concealment depending upon the methods used, as you take these penalties against creatures who can see as little as your eyes.

Lingering Spirit

The presence of bindable spirits lingers about you long after your pacts have ended. You are forced to show one spirit’s sign and suffer its personality influence while afflicted with lingering spirit; this spirit is either one you were bound to when you became afflicted with lingering spirit or one that was involved with your gaining of lingering spirit. If neither apply, the GM randomly determines which spirit’s physical sign and personality influence you take. Additionally, penalties accrued for disobeying a spirit’s personality influence do not reset while you are afflicted with lingering spirit.

A dismiss pact spirits† spell or a similar effect cures lingering spirit, but only if you are bound to no other spirits when the spell is cast and only if the caster succeeds at a caster level check, as detailed under removing pact maladies.

Occult Addiction

You feed off of occult power, but suffer rapid withdrawal when the source of that power vanishes. After activating a granted ability, you gain a +2 morale bonus on ability checks, attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws, and skill checks until the end of your next turn. On any round that you do not activate a granted ability, however, you become sickened from withdrawal until the end of your next turn. Occult addiction is cured by any effect that removes confusion, insanity, or disease. Creatures that are immune to mind-affecting effects are immune to occult addiction.

Occult Phobia

You become afflicted by an irrational fear of occult phenomena. While afflicted with occult phobia, you suffer a –4 penalty to your binder level. This penalty increases by –4 for each week that you are afflicted with this pact malady, to a maximum of –16 after four weeks (minimum 0). If your binder level reaches 0, you cannot seal pacts with spirits out of sheer fright. Additionally, while bound to a spirit or in the presence of such a creature, you are shaken.

Occult phobia can be cured by sealing a pact with a spirit that matches your alignment every day for one week, taking no actions each day except for those vital to your survival. At the end of the week, you receive a new saving throw against this pact malady. You only receive this one opportunity to save again against occult phobia. Additionally, creatures immune to fear effects are immune to occult phobia.

Possessive Spirit

Your mortal coil is constantly beset by a jealous spirit. While you remain unbound to the spirit associated with the event that granted you possessive spirit, you suffer a –4 penalty on ability checks, attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks. If no spirit is associated with the event that afflicted you with possessive spirit, the GM randomly selects one 1st-level spirit to be associated with possessive spirit.

A dismiss pact spirits† spell or a similar effect cures possessive spirit, but only if you are bound to no other spirits when the spell is cast and only if the caster succeeds at a caster level check, as detailed under removing pact maladies.

Spirit Aphasia

Your voice becomes unrecognizable and you cannot speak any language except for gibberish that no one understands. While afflicted with spirit aphasia, all language-dependent spells and effects that you use automatically fail and you are treated as knowing no languages. As a result, telepathy and similar abilities cannot help you overcome spirit aphasia. Furthermore, spells such as tongues or comprehend languages do not allow others to discern what you are saying.

Spirit aphasia can be cured by sharing a full-mouth kiss with a creature with the truespeech ability, such as an agathion. After completing the kiss, which must last at least 5 rounds, you receive a new saving throw against spirit tongue. You only receive this one opportunity to save against spirit aphasia. Additionally, if you fail this Will save the creature that kissed you must succeed on its own Will save (DC 20) or also become afflicted with spirit aphasia.

Spirit Fugue

You are constantly besieged by an endless whispering of pact spirits that fills your ears. While afflicted with spirit fugue, you take a –2 penalty on all Wisdom checks and Wisdom-based skill checks but gain a +2 insight bonus on all Knowledge skill checks that you possess at least 1 skill rank in. This penalty increases by –2 for each week that you are afflicted with spirit fugue, to a maximum of –16 after four weeks. If this penalty is ever equal to or greater than your Wisdom score, you become permanently deafened until spirit fugue is cured.

A feeblemind spell suppresses spirit fugue for 1 day, regardless of whether or not you succeed on the spell’s saving throw.

Spirit Palsy

Your body is constantly wracked by pact spirits, causing you to shake uncontrollably. While afflicted with spirit palsy, you take a –2 penalty on attack rolls, damage rolls, Reflex saves, skill checks, Strength and Dexterity checks, and Strength- and Dexterity-based skill checks. Each week that you are afflicted with spirit palsy, these penalties increase by –2, to a maximum of –14.

A restoration spell suppresses spirit palsy for 1 day while greater restoration or heal cures spirit palsy.

Stolen Identity

You have lost your very identity to the denizens of the Spirit Realm. While afflicted with stolen identity, you are unable to speak your name. Additionally, people normally familiar with you begin to forget who you are, as though all memories of you were removed by modify memory.

This effect triggers the first time during a day that the individual encounters you and lasts 1 day. Such a creature must make a Perception check to identity you (DC equals 5 + the number of days that you have been afflicted with stolen identity). On the first week that you are afflicted with stolen identity, this effect is applied to individuals who would recognize you on sight, but have no further connections to you. On subsequent weeks, this penalty allies to your friends or associates, close friends, and intimate relations on the second, third, and fourth weeks, respectively.

A glibness spell or a similar effect suppresses stolen identity for 1 day. Additionally, stolen identity can be cured if you manage to inform 10,000 people of your name and identity in a single day. After informing 10,000 people of your identity, you receive a new saving throw against stolen identity. You only receive this one opportunity to save against stolen identity.


Major Pact Maladies

The following list details some common major pact maladies.

Called by the Grave

You become steadily older while afflicted by called by the grave, causing you to become one age category older each week. Adjust your physical and mental ability modifiers to reflect your new age. If you are a Venerable adult who is afflicted by called by the grave, you reach your maximum age the next time that your age category would be increased, causing you to immediately die of old age.

Instantaneous aging effects can be used to undo the alterations caused by called by the grave, but doing so does not cure or suppress the pact malady. Other aging effects can change your appearance and return your ability scores to normal, but since they don’t prevent you from dying when your time comes, they offer little protection against called by the grave. If called by the grave runs its course, culminating with your death, you cannot be returned to life except by divine intervention.

If called by the grave is cured before it runs its course, you do not return to your true age instantaneously, instead returning to your proper age category at a rate of one category per week. If you become afflicted by return to the womb while afflicted by called by the grave, the two pact maladies essentially cancel each other out, curing you of both pact maladies.

Gender Bending

Your body’s gender is altered to match the gender of one spirit while you are afflicted with gender bending; this spirit is either one you were bound to when you became afflicted with gender bending or one that was involved when you gained this pact malady. If neither apply, the GM randomly determines which gender you take. If you and the associated spirit have the same gender or the associated spirit is genderless, you become asexual.

Gender bending can be suppressed for one day by greater polymorph or any similar polymorph spell that allows you to assume a form of the same type as you. For example, if you are a humanoid creature, the polymorph effect must allow you to assume a humanoid form.

Normalizing Anomaly

The spirits rewrite your past, transforming you into an ordinary commoner. While you are afflicted by normalizing anomaly, your base attack bonus, binder level, and all class levels you possess are reduced by an amount equal to the number of days that you have been afflicted by normalizing anomaly by for the purpose of determining the effects of your class abilities (minimum 0). When this penalty equals your effective character level, all of your class levels are exchanged for a single level of commoner.

A greater heroism spell can suppress the effects of normalizing anomaly for 1 day. Additionally, performing an act of incredible heroism while taking the penalties of normalizing anomaly, such as sacrificing yourself to save an entire kingdom of people, automatically cures the pact malady.

Personality Clash

Your body becomes assaulted by a myriad different pact spirits, causing you to become confused while suffering from personality clash. Additionally, each time when you roll “act normally” from a confusion effect while bound to a spirit you must reroll your result and use the newly rolled result.

Personality clash can be suppressed for 1 day by spells or effects that remove confusion or insanity.

Return to Nature

Your body slowly transforms into that of an animal or vermin that qualifies as the favored ally of one spirit; this spirit is either one you were bound to when you became afflicted with return to nature or one that was involved with your gaining of return to nature. If neither apply, the GM randomly determines which spirit’s favored allies are used to determine the kind of creature that you transform into. If multiple animals or vermin qualify, the GM decides what type of creature you transform into.

Each week that you are afflicted with return to nature, you take a –4 penalty to Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma, gain one random ability that the creature possesses from among those listed by beast shape IV or vermin shape IIUM, and lose the benefits of one randomly determined racial trait (except for your ability modifiers, type, size, movement speeds, or language).

These alterations stack. Return to nature is a polymorph effect and while it is active, you cannot benefit from other polymorph effects, even if you have the shapechanger subtype. After four weeks, you become permanently polymorphed into a creature of the chosen type as polymorph any object.

Return to nature can be cured by slaying a mythic version of the animal that you are transforming into (see Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Mythic Adventures) and having the associated spirit’s sign painted onto your body in its blood during a full moon. At midnight, you receive a new saving throw against this pact malady. You only receive this one opportunity to save again against return to nature and if you fail your saving throw by 5 or more, return to nature’s effects immediately advance by one week. Creatures that are immune to polymorph effects are immune to return to nature.

Return to the Womb

You become steadily younger while affected by return to the womb, causing you to become one age category younger each week. Adjust your physical and mental aging modifiers to reflect your new age. If you are a Youth who is afflicted by return to the womb, you gain the young simple template the next time that your age category would be reduced, transforming you into a Child. If you are a Child who is afflicted by return to the womb, your size is reduced by one additional category the next time that your age category would be reduced and your ability scores are reduced to 1, transforming you into an Infant. If you are an Infant who is afflicted by return to the womb, your physical body disappears the next time that your age category would be reduced and your soul impregnates the nearest creature of your race who is suitable to serve as your surrogate mother, as spirit birth†. Instantaneous aging effects can be used to undo the alterations caused by return to the womb, but doing so does not cure or suppress the pact malady. Other aging effects can change your appearance and return your ability scores to normal, but since return to the womb eventually causes you to become unborn, they offer little protection against return to the womb.

If return to the womb culminates with your disappearance, you cannot be restored to your original form except by divine intervention. If return to the womb is cured before it runs its course, you do not return to your true age instantaneously, instead returning to your proper age category at a rate of one category per week. If you become afflicted by called by the grave while afflicted by return to the womb, the two pact maladies essentially cancel each other out, curing you of both pact maladies.

Solipsistic Syndrome

A parasitic thought that convinces you that you are the only thing that truly exists overwhelms your mind. While afflicted with solipsistic syndrome, you cannot see or hear any other creature as though you were permanently blinded and deafened. Each week that you remain afflicted with solipsistic syndrome, your condition worsens. After being afflicted with solipsistic syndrome for one week, you lose the ability to detect other creatures with all of your mundane senses, such as smell or tremorsense. After being afflicted with solipsistic syndrome for two weeks, you lose the ability to detect other creatures even with magical means, such as clairvoyance or detect animals and plants. After being afflicted with solipsistic syndrome for three weeks, you become incorporeal to all other creatures and cannot detect them using any of your senses. After being afflicted with solipsistic syndrome for four weeks, you disappear from reality and can only be restored via divine intervention.

Solipsistic syndrome can be cured by bringing you to a place of significant importance to your life, such as your childhood home or the place where your parents are buried. If you manage to realize where you are, you receive a new saving throw against this pact malady. You only receive this one opportunity to save again against solipsistic syndrome and if you fail by 5 or more, solipsistic syndrome’s effects immediately advance by one week. Creatures immune to the blinded and deafened conditions are immune to solipsistic syndrome.

Soul Amnesia

Your memories are slowly consumed by the denizens of the Spirit Realm until nothing but a hollow husk remains. Each week, you gain one permanent negative level that cannot be removed until soul amnesia is cured. Instead of dying, if your negative levels become equal your level your Intelligence score is reduced to 0, causing you to fall into a coma. You cannot be awakened from this coma until soul amnesia is cured.

A modify memory spell can be used to remove one negative level per day if the spell is cast on you while you are on the Plane of Dreams. Creature that are immune to mind-affecting effects are immune to soul amnesia.

Soul Decay

Your soul crumbles as it is slowly devoured by occult entities. While you are afflicted by this pact malady, you gain the granted abilities associated with one spirit; this spirit is either one you were bound to when you became afflicted with soul decay or one that was involved with your gaining of soul decay. If neither apply, the GM randomly determines which spirit’s granted abilities you gain. If you are a binder, this spirit does not count against the maximum number of spirits you can bind to your soul, but your binder level is reduced by half when determining the effects of the spirit’s granted abilities. If you do not possess a binder level, you are treated as though you had a binder level of 1 for the purpose of these granted abilities. You do not suffer the spirit’s personality influence but you must show its physical sign and you never gain its capstone empowerment. Each week that you are afflicted with soul decay, you take 1 point of Charisma drain. This ability drain cannot be healed until soul decay is cured. When your Charisma reaches 0, your soul is completely devoured and you die. If this happens, you cannot be returned to life by anything less than divine intervention.

A banish pact spirits† spell prevents you from accruing additional Charisma drain for 1 week, but you lose the benefits of the spirit’s granted abilities. Suppressing soul decay in this manner does not suppress any Charisma drain that you have accrued prior to the casting of banish pact spirits†.

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