Sickness & Starvation
Sickness & Starvation
Diseases are spiritual in nature, and come either from God's own judgment or the awful possession of a demonic entity. Each disease is linked with a certain sin, and the people of the Throne view these horrible maladies as either just punishment or regretful consequence of an impure lifestyle. In the case of either Judgement or Possession, a priest of Benalus can attempt to rid the body of the infirmity by appeasing God or by driving out the demonic taint.
Characters gain Diseases in two ways - either by infirmity of body, whether through a naturally poor constitution (the Sickly flaw) or from being worn down by starvation, or by miasma in the area. When the sickness is upon a city, it strikes at will.
In this dreadful world, Diseases of Possession are the most common. Unclean spirits that serve Kuarl, the crimson lord, often leap into new victims through the bite or blood of one already possessed, often inspiring madness and aggression. Some possessing spirits, those which serve Tarranthalus, Master of Slaves, infect a sinner through physical union, and mark the unclean. Wicked spirits that serve Lazarolth, the one who waits beyond death, often cause rot, whether inside or out, vomiting, death-like sleep or paralysis, hacking and retching until there is little left of a man, and are the most feared of all.
Some diseases might require the Downtime be spent in bed-rest, some require specialized medicine, and some may not be curable at all.
There are also Diseases which are believed to come directly from God, not possessions but rather Judgments upon sinners, or tests for the righteous. These Diseases need no contact with the unclean, they strike as God wills it.
Every Disease has symptoms Mild, Severe and Crippling forms, and a Power rating which determines how likely it is to affect a victim. If the character has Grit equal or better than the Disease' Power, they do not become sick. 1 less Grit than the Power means the sickness will only advance to the Severe form, 2 less the Mild, and 3 or more less, the disease will take its full measure on its victim. Many Diseases have Power 0, and only those with the poorest constitutions (the Sickly flaw) might be seriously threatened by them.
Outbreaks of disease happen when a miasma of wicked spirits are nearby, and when that happens, everyone in the region is affected, their Grit tested against the Disease.
Some diseases are so terrible that the spirit comes to live inside the victim, using the body like some hideous nidus until it can boil forth with new terrors on those around them. These most terrifying of Diseases, called Plagues, have an additional effect. The diseased can leap from person to person and behaves as if the person were Poison, delivered either by Contact, by Intravenous - perhaps through biting, or blood - or Inhaled (See Herbs, Drugs and Poisons for more information about Poison and delivery methods.) The Plague effect often has different, separate effects than the original contagion.
Poor health is often the cause of many weaknesses of the body, and this often comes from poor diet. Each character needs to consume 3 crates of Vegetables or 1 side of meat over the course of aChapter, else become malnourished, deliverable just before or just after the Downtime. Without, they are considered to have scraped by somehow over the course of the Downtime, and won't simply die of starvation between events, but will be in quite poor health when they do enter play, suffering the conditions of Fatigue as well as gaining a Disease determined by Staff.
Sickly characters gain a Disease regardless, though if they eat properly they do not suffer Fatigue. Characters who benefit from a Feast are considered well-fed enough to not gain a Disease next game, even if they are Sickly, though if they do not continue to eat, they will still suffer the Fatigue.
The effects of such poor nutrition are deeply ingrained over the course of weeks, and one or two meals had in real time during the game does not make enough difference to abate the symptoms of starvation right away. The Fatigue from starvation lasts the entire event.