With the vast multitude of options made available to players in dealing with corruption, the real threat of corruption has all but disappeared at the tables I play at. Namely, abilities like strong gift, and the relative ease of access to adept levels of traditions are particularly strong at reducing the threat of corruption.
Players are so worried about corruption that, with the standard 50xp buy in, pretty much everybody goes adept (tradition), and two novice abilities (typically mystic powers/rituals). But this turns corruption into what seems to be a non-factor. Being able to use an ability 7 times safely is enough that most encounters are over before you have to worry about your corruption levels. And if you are a mystic, having any less than 15 resolute is inefficient.
One way that I’ve managed to maintain the threat of corruption is:
on powers that you have to roll a resolute test to pass with, on a critical failure they cause 4 temporary corruption if you’re rolling a 1d4, or 1d4 temporary corruption if you would normally only take 1 TC.
This pushes players a little harder, forcing the threat of corruption to be more noticeable.
Another method that I’ve only recently begun to consider though is swapping the master and adept bonuses of the traditions. It would mean that:
Mystic powers of witchcraft, wizardry, and theurgy require the master level before you can safely use powers with only 1 TC while giving school specific bonuses at adept.
It really emphasizes the connection that theurges have with healing, and that wizards have with spells like confusion and brimstone cascade. Meanwhile, it forces witches to really master their powers, which definitely include the strongest and most flexible of the mystic powers in their tradition, before they can safely use them repeatedly.
I have yet to use the traditions found in the Advanced Players Guide, but it seems like the traditions found in it are leaning in the same direction I have been.
- Staff Magic gives the player two chances to roll their temporary corruption until master level
- Troll singing provides no protection against temporary corruption
- Symbolism has very limited functionality in exchange for no permanent corruption to learn and only 1 temporary corruption per use (although can become very, very powerful with enough time).
Strong gift becomes more interesting too, with this mechanical change. The novice level functionality is incredibly useful- a character that is really built around a single ability can utilize its functionality and safely level their power of choice, taking permanent corruption, without having to commit to a tradition. A focused mystic can use a single combat ability safely but it experience spent on something other than their powers/tradition. And it doesn’t make sorcery obsolete- 10xp for novice sorcery vs 30xp to master a tradition (with my proposed revision) is a solid buy when you’re focused on a single school of spells. Witches have even more incentive to turn to sorcery- it becomes a very cheap way to become very powerful.
The cost of the adept level of strong gift is its biggest prohibitory factor. 20xp that, again, isn’t being spent on powers or a tradition is a rather hefty investment, but can be incredibly useful for a training sorcerer or traditionless mystic.