Strange Diseases Picked Up While Adventuring

[ASIDE] NOTE: Uhhhh….this one sat on the backburner a long while (My draft data says like 5 months)  and I’m trying to clear up posts that were nearly complete pre-Kickstarter and just needed editing and finalizing. I know it might not be the…best time for this post? But I’m just going to leave it here and hope someone gets some use out of it. [/ASIDE]

Adventurers get really weird diseases. It is part of the package. They delve into unexplored regions of the earth, tromp through the deepest, darkest jungles, and travel between alternate realities. They stick their hands, feet, and other bits in places they absolutely don’t belong. If it is even remotely edible, an Adventurer will eat it and sometimes even when it is, by all logic, inedible. These are some of the weird illnesses that adventurers might come across. I created each with a class in mind, but there is no reason why there cannot be cross contamination! 

Sludge Blood: In an attempt at subjecting “barbarian” tribes, the Magocracy introduced this disease into their ranks. It resulted in a series of tribal reforms, an up-welling of education, a keen interested in meditative marital arts and the eventual destruction of the Magocracy at the hands of a vast eerily calm army. 

This disease thickens and slows the blood in response to intense emotions. In the throes of battle it can be somewhat beneficial as the infected form scabs so quickly that bleeding out is near impossible. However the infected are also much more prone to fatigue, gaining it at a doubled rate and becoming fatigued after 3 rounds of heavy exertion. Any spells that would affect emotional states are halved in effectiveness as the blood is less able to move the hormonal responses around the body. Truly intense emotions such as a Barbarian’s Rage overtax the infected’s heart and they must Save vs. Death each round while under its effects or have a heart attack.

Note Leeches: Bards, goliards, and the like get some of the weirdest diseases imaginable. In a fantasy world where giants and dragons and cthulhu are roaming about, being someone with a willingness to bed nearly anything is an extreme sport. This is why Note Leeches are a thing. Don’t ask what lute-strumming maniac bedded what creature originally to cause Note Leeches to spread, but it is an STD so that must have been how it happened. The Note Leech starts its life as a bundle of cocooned eggs looking not dissimilar to tonsil stones. When passed between two beings, the cocoons hatch and release the young Note Leeches. These Leeches sustain themselves on sound, specifically the sound of their host’s voice. In the early stages, this will mildly reduce the volume of the host’s voice and may cause occasional cracking of their voice. However as the leeches mature (eventually leading to the survival of only one Leech) they become specialized in the consumption of one note. Thus there are seven varieties of known Note Leech: Do, Ri, Mi, Fa, So, La and Ti. While bad enough, these leeches are fully asexual and thus an adult leech can spawn additional leeches in a short period of time. For every adult leech, the infected host has a 1-in-6 chance of being incapable of an action that relies on speech (such as diplomacy, some forms of magic, etc). 6 leeches renders the host complete mute and the 7th leech is enough to fully asphyxiate the host. 

Once a host has died, the seven adult leeches would presumably starve, but they have another terrible trick up their metaphoric sleeve. Working in concert, the adult leeches undergo a metamorphosis, using their host’s corpse as a cocoon of sorts. The creature that eventually emerges is a Solfeggian.

Solfeggian
HD 7
Appearance: As a somewhat bloated and disheveled bard, until it opens it mouth to reveal seven massive flailing leech-tongues.
Wants: Noise
Armor: As Chain
Move: Normal, Spider Climb, Swim
Morale: 10
Damage: See Below
Mimicry- The Solfeggian is a perfect mimic of sounds, anything it hears it can reproduce again.
Silent Feeding– When the Solfeggian feeds, it creates sphere of silence around itself. This is not, strictly speaking, magical Silence, rather it is all sound being consumed by the Solfeggian. While still, the Solfeggian’s sphere of silence expands at a rate 30′ a round up to a mile. While mobile, the Solfeggian can only keep up a 10′ radius of silence.
Cacophonous Vomit- If the Solfeggian has fed for a round, they are able to regurgitate that noise as a concussive sound blast. For every round fed, the sound blast may increase its damage by 1d6 or its range by 10′. Baseline is 1d6 damage and a 10′ cone.

God Head aka Inflammation of the Third Eye: Those who commune with the divine do so via a link through their pineal gland, the so-called third eye. This gland is able to filter the information received from Divine Light and translate it into miracles. Furthermore it is able to translate prayers into Divine Light and literally beam it to the heavens. Sometimes, however, this small gland can cause major issues. When inflamed by injury, sickness, or curse, the Third Eye starts to malfunction. It continues to receive the Divine Light of the gods, but its ability to translate and emit that light is no longer reliable. 

As the gland continues to receive Divine Light, it swells the patient’s head and begins to leak. Minor miracles pop up randomly with early stages causing halos, stigmata, and tears of glass. During this stage there is a 50% chance of any divine spell cast to be randomly replaced any any other divine spell. Later stages causing random mass multiplications of fish and bread, nearby bodies of water turning to wine, and sudden plagues. Divine spells cast are completely randomized and doubled in potency. At the final stage, the infected Pineal gland explodes, firing a concentrated beam of divine light skywards. This beam can be seen from hundreds of miles as a great golden light, bringing tears and strange miracles to all who witness it. 


1d20 Weird Miracles

  1. It starts to rain manna, but in really big heavy chunks that fall like hailstones.
  2. Living things in the affected area eventually give birth to offspring that resemble angels. The weird ones.
  3. Every book and written word within miles of the area turns into a random, unrelated snippet from the Akashic Records.
  4. People witnessing the beam turn into pillars of salt
  5. Statues weep blood that heals people if ingested.
  6. Everyone feeling a vague yet inescapable feeling of religious guilt.
  7. Animals buddy up unnaturally, lions and lambs, wolves and rabbits etc. 
  8. 1d6 peasants from the surrounding countryside have prophetic dreams and gain messianic followings.
  9. Works of art that have been previously defaced during iconoclastic crises spontaneously regenerate all of their features, except now they look angry.
  10. All water for a Hex-sized area (including the inside of living things) turns into wine.
  11. A religious thought-plague begins to spread among groups of nearby people causing them to aggressively virtue signal at one another and perform escalating “holier than thou” displays of piety until it devolves into open brawling.
  12. Affected people start compulsively reciting pieces of scripture they may or may not have ever read before, but only the really out-of-place and awkward parts like that Biblical thing about donkey emissions.
  13. The fist of an annoyed, sleepy god comes down through the clouds and smacks the origin of the beam of light while a thunderous voice mutters something about “just five more centuries…”
  14. A localized Apocalypse occurs: small scale war between angels and demons, plagues, etc. 
  15. All demons, curses, and diseases (for they are the same thing) within the area are banished/cured.
  16. Everything dead in the region comes back to life (50/50 True Life or Zombie Plague)
  17. Tulpas incarnate across the region based on the local noosphere. 
  18. It rains 1d6: 1 Fire 2. Fish 3. Frog 4. Undifferentiated Meat 5. Blood 6. Rocks
  19. A spring of healing water bursts forth from the ground.
  20. Roll Twice, if 20 is rolled again a massive angel shows up carrying a very small scroll which he tries to get someone to eat. It tastes like honey but it kinda makes your stomach sour. Something something seven thunders and there “WILL BE NO DELAY” 

After the Divine Light finally dies out, the previously infected individual saves vs. Death. On failure they crumble to ash. On success, they “survive” with a huge trepanned hole in their head. They are now, for all intents and purposes, a divinely powered lich. Every day they must Save vs. Death again or experience sudden Rapture.  

Mega Rabies: A disease cooked up by the Druids, Mega Rabies was originally used as a method of druidic ascension before a more virulent strain was developed and it became a weapon. Like regular rabies, Mega Rabies is transferred via the bite or exposure to the saliva of something already infected. Victims experience hyper aggression, hydrophobia, regression of higher thinking, loss of symbolic thought, extreme hunger, and random transformations into dire forms of predator species. It is a little known fact that many supposed cases of lycanthropy are in fact rampant Mega Rabies. Mega Rabies in animals causes similar symptoms and a rapid swelling into dire forms. All Archdruids have Mega Rabies.

Hate Fugue– Adventurers are fueled by a plethora of whims and goals with gold and fame being the two most popular. There are some, however, that are fueled by racism *COUGH* RANGERS *COUGH*. These horrid sods are so one-mindedly obsessed with their hated targets that they dedicate large swaths of their mental power to knowing every possible detail of their foe. This much hate combined with this much knowledge sometimes fuse into a neurological disorder called The Hate Fugue. While in this fugue, the victim will perceive everything around them as reflection of their “favored enemy.” Any sort of bonuses that apply to damaging or otherwise harming their hated enemy applies to any target. They are also unable to tell friend from foe and must save every round not to immediately attack any other living (or unliving) creature. Pretty much the only way (barring magic) to cure the Hate Fugue is to find a way for them to come to terms with their hate (and lose any hate related abilities.) A creature who dies while in the throes of the Hate Fugue rise as a Revenent the following New Moon to continue their vile work. 

Sticky Fingers– This one is a fungal infection (oh joy) that you can get from sticking your hands places where they don’t belong. The initial symptom of Sticky Fingers is excessively sweaty and clammy hands. Over the course of a few days, the sweat becomes increasingly sticky. At first this might actually appear to be a boon! The stickier grip gives advantage (or equivalent) on resisting disarming, on climbing, or pickpocketing and essentially anything where a sticky grip might come in handy. After a week, however, it becomes an increasing issue. The infected individual must make a strength check to remove anything from their grip (and hopefully didn’t use their other sticky hand to release the grip.) At this point the stickiness spreads, slowly making their entire body sticky. Their speed halves as the the oozing glue spreads from their feet, overflowing out of boots. It becomes necessary to cut them out of clothing and armor is only removable with outside help and taking 1d6 damage from it tearing off of your skin. After two weeks, your sweat is now equivalent to Sovereign Glue and it is impossible to detatch from anything without application of the Universal Solvent. At this point, unless constantly scrapped and bathed, the victim will slowly become a sticky white statue either dying of hunger, thirst, or asphyxiation. 1d6 days after the victim perishes, the Sticky Fingers glue/fungus flakes away into myriad spores and leaves a dehydrated mummy corpse behind. Early stages of this disease can be treated with constant bathing with soap and water, requiring at least a bath a day and a scrub after any sweat-inducing activity. Later stages can only be cured with exotic anti-fungal medicines or potent magic. 

Hyperrealism– The source of a Sorcerer’s power is that they are MORE REAL than everything else around them. Well mostly everything else. This might come from a fluke in dimensions, heavy exposure to magic (the realest thing) in the womb, or having the blood of something extremely magic flowing in their veins (dragons, fairies, etc). Sorcerers have a tendency to be megalomaniacs who eventually explode. Hyperreal Sorcerers are megalomaniacs who eventually go thermonuclear.  Hyperrealism is usually caught via extended stays on other planes, exposure to sufficiently higher-dimensional beings (Cthulhu), long term exposure pure Octarine light or ingestion of Occultum. 

The first symptom of Hyperrealism is an increasing narcissism and megalomania, both of which are unlikely to be noticed in Sorcerers. A week later this is followed by a stabilization of their power as they cast with 1 less Instability die (or gain an additional use of some blood related power etc.). This, of course, swells the Sorcerer’s megalomania. The sorcerer must save each day after this time. Each failed save decreases the number of ID they gain in a day by 1. At 2 less ID, the Sorcerer is swathed in a corona of magic making stealth impossible. At 3 less, the Sorcerer is incapable of taking mundane actions and depends upon their magic for everything more complex than breathing. At 4 less, the Sorcerer treats everything as an Illusion and may roll to Disbelieve in something (it and the sorcerer are unable to see or affect one another.) At 5 less, the sorcerer’s soul collapses into a magical singularity before exploding with the force of a nuclear weapon. The immediate 1 mile radius is completely destroyed baring extreme magical protection. Anything within 2 miles takes 10d6 fire damage, is blinded, gains Wizard Vision, and 2d6 Supernatural Mutations. Everything born in the region for generations will have a biological mutation and a supernatural mutation. The sorcerer themselves is catapulted upwards into the 11th Dimension and becomes something resembling Yog-Sothoth.

Contract Sickness– A sickness mostly felt by Summoners, Warlocks, and others who made deals with supernatural entities. When a supernatural contract is made, a link is established between the Patron and the Contractee. This link is primarily a spiritual one, but can manifest as physical signs. In witches, for example, we sometimes see this manifest as strange blemishes or extra nipples. These manifestations are caused by bits of the Patron’s power overwriting bits of the contractee’s soul, and thereby affecting their body. The manifestations of Contract Sickness are unique to each contract, but here is a sample of how it might go:

Buer Contract Sickness: The first sign of Buer Contract Sickness is the adoption of a very circular and annoying speech pattern. Eventually the contractee will experience strange hair growth patterns around their head and neck resembling a lion’s mane. Soon they’ve find their torso and arms slowly withering and shrinking while fleshy nodules grow from their scalp. When complete, the Contractee will be a a BUER MINION

Only by completing completely selfless acts can one hope to stave off this fate.

Weird Wizard Diseases– These following are two of the most common ailments of wizards and why wizard school is so expensive. You see, it costs a lot to keep someone on staff who is an accomplished gem-cutter, professional troubleshooter, and dentist. As discussed elsewhere, Wizards tend to go a little weird from all that magic they keep caged in their head. Luckily, Teeth are quite effective at grounding some of that random magic and is why Wizards only horrifically mutate sometimes. You’ll notice that many of the most magical creatures often have a pretty significant number of teeth (Dragons and Beholders stand out.) Unfortunate things happen when the balance of Teeth to Magic is thrown out of wack.

Hyperdontia is the presence of far more than the standard 32 or so teeth. The sudden influx of additional teeth are not only quite painful, but reinforce that grounding of magic by a significant degree. Wizards experiencing Hyperdontia do not suffer Mishaps, but MD never return to their pool naturally. To have their magic return to them for the next day they need to not only get their rest as normal, but they must pull and swallow one of their magically infused teeth (dealing 1 damage per MD.) If Hyperdontia is not dealt with, the teeth will eventually absorb too much magic and start animating. This agonizing process brings back the chance for Mishaps and adds a Tooth Die that is rolled and counts towards Mishaps and Dooms. Every time a Mishaps occurs, the effects happen as normal AND one of the teeth grow tiny limbs and leap from the Wizard’s mouth. This tooth is infused with one spell the Wizard knows and 1 MD. It will use this spell to cause havoc, casting the spell until its MD does not return and it shatters. Should the wizard die with spells loaded in their head OR their final Doom should occur, ALL of their teeth flee the Wizard’s head in a similar manner. The best cure for Hyperdontia is extraction by a specialist followed up by cauterization and a low calcium diet. Regeneration magic can potentially cause the Hyperdontia to return.

Hypodontia is the reverse problem, it is having too few teeth. By not having enough grounding for their magic, the Wizard experiences strange and dangerous surges of magic. All MD cast by a Hypodontic Wizard have +1 added to each die to a max of 6, increasing the spell’s power but reducing the likelihood of the magic returning and slightly increasing the chances of Mishaps and Dooms. When a Mishaps occurs, the Wizard takes the mishap AND suffers the Random Mutation Mishap. A wizard with no teeth whatsoever has +2 to every MD roll AND faces a potential random mutation with each spell cast. This is why especially old wizards tend to be especially weird. This is also why Liches often replace their worn out teeth with gems. The best way to deal with Hypodontia is to get dentures fashioned from the teeth of other wizards or rare gems. 

Spell Sickness can happen to anyone who interacts with spells. This highly varied disease stems from inviting a sick spell into one’s head. Spells are, after all, living things after a manner and are thus equally capable of falling ill as we are. After interacting with an infected scrolls, victims find that they cannot actually cast the spell and may think it a dud. Symptoms will be begin manifesting within 24 hours. These symptoms usually manifest as cantrip-level affects related to the spell that gradually worsen if not treated. 

Examples: Fireball Sickness– Low grade fever worsening over time, flaming sneezes, boiling hot sweat, aggressive temperament, literally exploding. 

Grease Sickness: Sweaty slick palms, increasing klutziness, explosive diarrhea, constant bacon smell, extreme over production of sebum.

Mage Hand Sickness: Random minor poltergeist activity, hand seizes up, hand gains a mind of its own, hand detaches itself and attempts to escape. This is actually how crawling crawls happen. 

5 thoughts on “Strange Diseases Picked Up While Adventuring

  1. Thank you, these are both funny and very dangerous.
    But which one is for regular, ordinary front-line fighters?
    I mean, aside of usual devil fever, mummy rot and partial-invisibility STDs?

  2. Good catch actually, I just realized that I didn't include my fighter diseases by accident. I'll make another post with them (there are several including Iron Grip and Octarine Patina).

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