How does corruption work out in practice?

Hi, new to the game. I love the concept of black magic that tempts people with power but has a price. However, the corruption rules seem like a one-way trip to ruining one’s character. Even someone playing an occultist or other evil type would be better off casting white and grey spells only. Did I miss a rule stating that some casters can only cast certain shades of magic? Or are black spells just so much stronger? Or is it that characters would only find and learn certain spells in the campaign, and so might have to cast a black spell for lack of a grey or white spell that would do the job? Or are corruption effects not that bad? Or are the ways in the rules to purge or recover from corruption, so that an occultist could conduct a blood sacrifice or other foul ritual to attempt to avoid paying the price? I’d like it to feel more like dancing on the edge of ruin rather than an inevitable ever-steeper slide.

Conversely, for those who go all in, is there a point when the character becomes a creature of chaos and further corruption doesn’t harm him? Would a Chthonic priest living on a sinkhole of evil constantly suffer new ill effects? Again, new to the game so apologies if there are rules somewhere dealing with this.

Most players choose one of two options:

  1. They commit to playing “good” and avoid ever learning or casting Black spells.
  2. They just go all-in on black magic and simply accept that they are going to get lots of corruption.

The key rule to remember is that you cannot have more Corrupting Weakness than the level of eldritch spell you can cast. So if you only can cast 1st level spells, you cannot get more than 1 Corrupting Weakness. Thus the maximum number of weaknesses will be 1 at 1st level, 2 at 3rd level, 3 at 5th level, 4 at 7th level, 5 at 9th level, and 6 at 11th level.

A character with weaknesses is quite playable. Many ACKS characters end up with the equivalent of such disabilities from Restore Life & Limb tampering with mortality effects.

That said, player tolerance for such things varies widely. If a character concept is “sexy sorceress” and the player rolls for the character to get some terrible disfigurement, some players might get really upset about that – they don’t like randomness intruding on their plans. Such folks are well-advised to steer away from black magic.

Ah, that is a key rule that I did indeed overlook. Thanks!