Friday, 12 February 2021

2 Curse Templates: Doom of the Sleep-flower Smoker | Lycanthropy


In PARIAH, powerful curses are represented by curse templates. Inspired by Emmy Allen’s lateral advancement trackers (particularly wendigo sickness and the wounded daughter) templates provide the opportunity to inflict a doom on a pariah over an extended period rather than removing them from the game immediately—providing the opportunity to remove the curse, or at least having some fun in the attempt.

This is the basis for ghouls in PARIAH:

Each template has triggers which initiate a roll on the affliction table. Each entry reveals one (or more) afflictions: beneficial, baleful or both. Each curse has a point at which the player must surrender their character to the GM, though it is down to the table to establish when that point might be (suggestions are provided). A pariah may suffer multiple curses concurrently.

Curses are thus diseases, a monsters, and a weird mode of lateral character progression (but not necessarily in that order)...

Doom of the Sleep-flower Smoker

Sleepflower by Abigail Lingford

Sleepflower is a powerful entheogen: used without caution it can be lethal... but even cautious shaman may begin walking a path darker than that which leads to the realm of the dead...
Rules for use of the entheogen sleepflower are including in the free edition of PARIAH available at the following link:

The moon is demanding, and indulging in her poppies brings you closer to her attention. Pariahs using sleepflower more than once in sight of the same moon will be unable to sleep without it. This starts as an inconvenience and turns into a waking nightmare.

  • Without sleep pariahs cannot recover hit dice and cannot heal
  • Going without sleep also has other effects (see below). It is therefore imperative that they get some. 
  • Initially, only a low dose (resin from 1-4 poppy heads) of sleepflower is required, but every time it is taken make a roll on the affliction table below. 
  • For repeat entries read the next entry down, unless otherwise indicated:

1d8 Sleepflower Doom AfflIcitions

  1. Parasite spirit
  2. Increased tolerance
  3. Invisible scabies
  4. Sensory Alteration
  5. No effect. Phew!
  6. Moon body
  7. Thirst
  8. Increased tolerance
1. Parasite spirit

A spell-spirt of the Moon Realm is bonded to the pariah. However:

    • It takes half of all the pariah's sustenance, whether food, sleep, magical healing or otherwise. The pariah recovers of any HP/stat damage they are due, and must eat twice as much food.
    • It can be commanded like a spell-spirit but its response is dependent on a reaction roll:
      • 2-5 hostile spell effect is directed against the pariah
      • 6-9 indifferent no effect (equivalent to a fizzle)
      • 10-12 cooperative spell works as well as usual (still open to interpretation as per a usual spell)
2, 8. Increased Tolerance
    • The pariah requires an increased dose to receive the anticipated effects of that dose (i.e. they require a powerful dose to receive the effects of a low dose).
    • Tolerance stacks and can be rolled multiple times.
    • Increased tolerance effects the dose required to induce sleep.

3. Invisible scabies

The pariah's skin crawls with irritating parasites. No one can see them but the pariah can feel them. The intensity of the itching increases during social encounters. The precise mechanical is up to the player and GM.

4. Sensory Alteration

Eyesight and hearing dull, with whatever mechanical effects players and GMs feel is appropriate. Scent improves, but only with regard to the ability to detect sleepflower... especially burning sleepflower resin.

6. Moon Body

The pariah becomes increasingly withdrawn from their physical reality.

    • Pariah grows slow. During encounters, they always act at the end of the round, regardless of both their side's initiative and their prospective action.
    • In contrast, in the moon-realm they perform at an enhanced level. This manifests in a manner fitting to the nature and tone of the campaign.

8. Thirst

As the pariah becomes increasingly withdrawn from the physical world:

    • their animus becomes the victim of spirits of death known as blood-drinkers
    • They receive the thirst curse template
    • Each night that they sleep a wraith rises from their corpse to drink the blood of their friends.

Curing the Effects of Sleepflower Doom

The cumulative ill effects of sleepflower addiction are straightforward to remove: for every night that the pariah witnesses the moon by night without ingesting sleepflower, remove one affliction.

Tolerances are removed before any other effects, after which the afflictions are removed at random.

Once all afflictions are removed, they may once again sleep naturally.

Of course, a night without sleepflower means a night without sleep.

Roll a d6 on the sleep depravation table below. Add "1" for each night without sleep. Move down the list for any afflictions already in effect, with the exception of cracked, broken and drained, which may repeat.

Sleep Deprivation

1-3 Tired: 
Pariah is skittish and paranoid, but there is no mechanical effect.

4-5 Wired: 
Disadvantage in all roads.

6.-7 Afraid:
Pariah is unable to act in a threatening situation without damaging WIS/CHA (save may prevent?)

8-9 Cracked:
Take 1d4 CHA damage, with all the usual effects 

10 I see Dead People:
Pariah experiences the effects of a low dose of sorcerer's sage AT ALL TIME.

Take 1d4 WIS damage, with all the usual effects

12 The Past Becomes the Present: 
During moments of calm the pariah can see into the future and the past, though which they are experiencing is not always clear. When an encounter breaks out, roll a die:
  • evens mean the pariah can work out how things are going to go down, and receive bonuses/advantage a appropriate.
  • odds is the opposite.
13 Drained:
Take 1d4 CON damage, with all the usual effects.

14+ A Waking Nightmare:

Every time the pariah encounters a stressful situation, make a roll versus spells: failure results in them slipping into one of the seven realms of beyond

Remove no more than 1d8 sleep deprivation effects after each night of sleep (whether under the influence of sleepflower or not).



Standard public domain image of werewolf.

Werewolves are humans that are cursed to transform into dire wolves by the light of the full moon. Those that fully embrace their curse are able to assume the form of a wolf at will, though they especially favour an intermediary state: powerful, hirsute humanoids with the head and hindquarters of a wolf.

Werewolf *

HD 3d10+2
Attack: 1 bite or weapon or both
Attack value: 14 (damage 1d10 or 1d8+1 or both )
Defence: 12/14
Speed: 60’ (40' in humanoid form)
No. app 2d6
Morale: 9
Size: Large (medium in human/humanoid form)
Mind: 5 (9 when in full human form)

*The gm may opt to use "ordinary" human stats when in human form.

  • In wolf form the werewolf can only be harmed by silver or enchanted weapons.
  • In wolf/human form they regenerate 1d4 HP of mundane damage at the end of every round.
  • In human form they are totally vulnerable and unable to regenerate.
  • Pack tactics: when multiple werewolves attack a single target after the first successful hit:
    • each additional werewolf hits on a "miss"
    • ...crits on a "hit"
    • Does double maximum damage on a "crit"

Any creature that survives being reduced to 0 HP by a werewolf contracts lycanthropy. They obtain the 1st affliction of transformation: each full moon they assume the form of a dire wolf, losing consciousness in the process. 

The GM and players resolve the outcome of this, but broadly speaking players roll an additional affliction:

  • Every time they transform.
  • Every time they make a kill in their transformed state.


  1. Form of the Moonlight Hunter
  2. Wolfspeak and Wolfthink
  3. Keen Ears
  4. Eyes of the Wolf
  5. Tireless Tracker
  6. Power of the Wolf

Each time the player rolls an affliction they pass through 3 stages: if they receive an affliction 3 times they become an NPC under the GM's control.

1. Form of the Moonlight Hunter

  • First affliction: Every full moon the pariah loses consciousness and transforms into a dire wolf, regaining their human form at dawn.
  • Second affliction: At a full moon, if the pariah can make a save against spells (DC 13) they may retain consciousness while in wolf form. They may also assume a human/wolf form at will.
  • Third Affliction: Pariah has complete control over their transformation. However, the call of the wild is strong, and they abandon the party to finds others of their kind.

2. Wolfspeak and Wolfthink

  • First affliction: Animal brain: roll 1d4. Deduct this from INT (do not reduce below 2) and add the same to WIS (maximum 20). Characters with 2 INT become an NPC. 
  • Second affliction: Pariah adds +2 to all reaction rolls with canine creatures excluding domesticated dogs. Can communicate simple present tense phrases with wolves.
  • Third affliction: believing themselves to be wolf first, human second the pariah leaves the band and joins a nearby wolfpack.

3. Keen Ears

  • First affliction: Pariah plagued by high pitched noises and develops strong aversion to mechanical and/or droning sounds.
  • Second affliction: Increase listening skill die by one size. 
  • Third Affliction: Ears become pronounced and pointed. The wolves call the pariah away to the wild, an NPC under the GM's control.

4. Eyes of the Wolf

  • First affliction: Pariah loses the ability to see in colour.
  • Second affliction: By moonlight a pariah can see as well as  daylight.
  • Third Affliction: the world swims in spirits and magic; the pariah can no longer tolerate their comrades and flees into the wilderness as an NPC.

5. Tireless Tracker

  • First affliction: Pariah's sense of smell becomes more complex. Everything is more potent. Can recognise friends and comrades by scent.
  • Second affliction: Sense of smell grants advantage on tracking rolls. Can identify mundane creatures by scent.
  • Third Affliction: A world of scents: the pariah's world is a living painting of curious odours. They lose their sense of self in this sensuous landscape, abandoning themselves to the wild as an NPC.

Power of the Wolf

  • First affliction: Bestial characteristics including (but not limited to) a strong odour and involuntary growls and snarls. Permanent 1d4 CHA damage. If CHA falls below 3 become an NPC.
  • Second affliction:  the pariah gains the "pack tactic" described above when aiding a comrade in melee.
  • Third Affliction: Strength and constitution increase, but pariah is now an NPC under GM control.


Okay so obviously sleepflower is fantasy opium but its effects are not meant to simulate opiate addiction. 

The idea of not being able to sleep without a substance was cribbed from The Lair of the Lamb:

(specifically purple lotus flower)

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