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Disease Descriptions

Diseases have various symptoms and are spread through a number of vectors. The characteristics of several typical diseases are summarized on Table: Diseases and defined below.

Disease: Diseases whose names are printed in italic in the table are supernatural in nature. The others are extraordinary.

Infection: The disease’s method of delivery—ingested, inhaled, via injury, or contact. Keep in mind that some injury diseases may be transmitted by as small an injury as a flea bite and that most inhaled diseases can also be ingested (and vice versa).

DC: The Difficulty Class for the Fortitude saving throws to prevent infection (if the character has been infected), to prevent each instance of repeated damage, and to recover from the disease.

Incubation Period: The time before damage begins.

Damage: The ability damage the character takes after incubation and each day afterward.

Types of Diseases: Typical diseases include the following:

Blinding Sickness: Spread in tainted water.
Cackle Fever:
Symptoms include high fever, disorientation, and frequent bouts of hideous laughter. Also known as “the shrieks.”
Demon Fever: Night hags spread it. Can cause permanent ability drain.
Devil Chills: Barbazu and pit fiends spread it. It takes three, not two, successful saves in a row to recover from devil chills.
Filth Fever: Dire rats and otyughs spread it. Those injured while in filthy surroundings might also catch it.
Mindfire: Feels like your brain is burning. Causes stupor.
Mummy Rot: Spread by mummies. Successful saving throws do not allow the character to recover (though they do prevent damage normally).
Red Ache: Skin turns red, bloated, and warm to the touch.
The Shakes: Causes involuntary twitches, tremors, and fits.
Slimy Doom: Victim turns into infectious goo from the inside out. Can cause permanent ability drain.

Table: Diseases


Infection DC



Blinding sickness

Ingested 16

1d3 days

1d4 Str1

Cackle fever

Inhaled 16

1 day

1d6 Wis

Demon fever

Injury 18

1 day

1d6 Con2

Devil chills3

Injury 14

1d4 days

1d4 Str

Filth fever

Injury 12

1d3 days

1d3 Dex, 1d3 Con


Inhaled 12

1 day

1d4 Int

Mummy rot4

Contact 20

1 day

1d6 Con

Red ache

Injury 15

1d3 days

1d6 Str


Contact 13

1 day

1d8 Dex

Slimy doom

Contact 14

1 day

1d4 Con2

1 Each time the victim takes 2 or more damage from the disease, he must make another Fortitude save or be permanently blinded.

2 When damaged, character must succeed on another saving throw or 1 point of damage is permanent drain instead.

3 The victim must make three successful Fortitude saving throws in a row to recover from devil chills.

4 Successful saves do not allow the character to recover. Only magical healing can save the character.

Healing a Disease

Use of the Heal skill can help a diseased character. Every time a diseased character makes a saving throw against disease effects, the healer makes a check. The diseased character can use the healer’s result in place of his saving throw if the Heal check result is higher. The diseased character must be in the healer’s care and must have spent the previous 8 hours resting.

Characters recover points lost to ability score damage at a rate of 1 per day per ability damaged, and this rule applies even while a disease is in progress. That means that a character with a minor disease might be able to withstand it without accumulating any damage.

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