Darkest Dungeon in D&D: The Crimson Curse

This week, I’m doing some more Darkest Dungeon homebrew, with a rules set for the Crimson Curse vampirism that appears in the Crimson Courd DLC. This variant rule set is designed to work alongside my Stress System variant rules, but can still be used without them.

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The Crimson Curse

Characters that suffer damage from any of the insectoid vampires have a chance to be infected with this rare form of vampirism. When a creature suffers damage from a Vampire’s “The Thirst” or Gather the Blood” melee weapon attack, roll 1d6. On a 5 or 6, the damaged creature must make a DC 18 Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, the damaged creature is inflicted with the Crimson Curse in its Passive state. The Crimson Curse has four different stages, and a character switches between these stages in their infection, starting from the Passive state at the point of infection. 

Over the course of a few months, an infected creature may develop a variety of insect-like traits, including long rigid hairs that poke through the creature’s clothing, an elongated nose that begins to resemble a mosquito’s proboscis, compound eyes, or canine teeth developing into mandibles. These traits disappear and the affected creature’s appearance return to normal over the course of a week

if the Crimson Curse is cured using the cure, or immediately if 

the Crimson Curse is cured using the spell greater restoration.

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Stages of the Crimson Curse:

Passive
While you have this condition:

  • You increase your Dexterity score by 2.

  • You are immune to all diseases.
  • Every 7 days after gaining the Passive condition, you must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw, or change your Crimson Curse condition to Craving.
  • If you spend an action to drink a pint of blood or more while you have the Passive condition, change your Crimson Curse condition to Bloodlust.

Craving

While you have this condition:

  • You increase your Dexterity score 4.
  • You are immune to all diseases.
  • You reduce your maximum hit points by 10%

  • You have a -10 to your rolls on the Affliction and Virtue table.
  • Each day after gaining the Craving condition, you must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw, or change your Crimson Curse condition to Wasting.

  • If you spend an action to

    drink a pint of blood or more while you have the Craving condition, change your Crimson Curse condition to Bloodlust.

Wasting

While you have this condition:

  • You reduce your Strength, Dexterity and Constitution scores by 2.
  • You are immune to all diseases.
  • You reduce your maximum hit points by 20%.
  • Every minute, you gain 1d4 stress points.
  • Every 30 minutes, you must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, you gain 1 level of exhaustion, which can only be lost when you take a long rest and no longer have the wasting condition.
  • If you spend an action to drink a pint of blood or more while you have the Wasting condition, change your Crimson Curse condition to Passive.

Bloodlust

While you have this condition:

  • You increase your Strength and Dexterity scores by 2.

  • You are immune to all diseases.
  • You gain a +2 bonus to your initiative rolls.
  • You gain advantage on Constitution saving throws.
  • After 1 hour, change your Crimson Curse condition to Passive.
  • If you spend an action to

    drink a pint of blood or more while you have the Bloodlust condition, you immediately gain 10d6 stress points, and for the next minute, you gain +5 to your melee attack damage rolls and your initiative bonus is increased by 5. 

Curing the Crimson Curse:

Creatures suffering from the Crimson Curse can be cured from this condition using the greater restoration spell. 

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The Crimson Curse also can be cured with a sacred tincture of unknown origin, simply referred to as “the cure.” This item can be treated as an uncommon magic item, and included on rolls for magic items when the party of player characters includes a character suffering from the Crimson Curse.

Crimson Curse Magic Items

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Coven Signet
Ring – Rare (requires attunement)

While wearing this ring and attuned to it, whenever you would gain stress points while you have the Crimson Curse, reduce the amount of stress you gain by ¼, rounding up the amount it is reduced by.

Ancestor’s Vintage
Wondrous Item – Rare
When carrying this item, if you have the Crimson Curse, you may take a sip of the fine wine mixed with blood contained within as a bonus action. If you do so, the time period between your Crimson Curse Constitution checks you must make is doubled (this cannot be used to double one time period multiple times). The bottle contains enough vintage for 20 uses before it is emptied.

Mantra of Fasting
Wondrous Item – Rare (requires attunement)
While attuned to this item, while you are in the
Wasting condition, you increase your Dexterity score by 7, and you increase your maximum hit points by 40 %.

Rat Carcass
Wondrous Item – Rare
While you have the
Wasting condition, you can as an action

gnaw on this bloodied rat corpse imbued with dark magic to prevent yourself gaining a point of exhaustion.

Sanguine Snuff
Wondrous Item – Uncommon
While you have the
Bloodlust condition, you may spend a bonus action to inhale a pinch of this red-coloured snuff. If you do, for one round, you gain +3 to your AC, and your weapon attacks score a critical hit on a roll of 19 or 20. The vial contains enough snuff for 20 uses before it is emptied.

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Darkest Dungeon and The Crimson Court, and all art used in this post belong to Red Hook Studios. 

You can find more of my Crimson Court D&D homebrew here, and all of my Darkest Dungeon content here! If you want to help support my work, you can make a donation to my ko-fi here, or support me on Patreon here!

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