Monday, July 11, 2011

Draft Disease Rules

Version one of a set of disease rules, if I ever decide to actually have mechanics for this sort of thing. These do take some elements of 4e disease rules as an influence.

Diseases are defined by the following five traits:

  1. Exposure: how a character is exposed to the disease.
  2. Incubation Period: how long it takes for the disease to manifest.
  3. Effect: progressive effects of disease on the infected.
    • Stage 1: Initial infection.
    • Stage 2: Ongoing infection.
    • Stage 3: Advanced infection.
  1. Treatment: non-magical ways to help a person recover.
  2. Recovery: any lingering aftereffects of the disease.
  • On initial exposure, the character must save vs. poison or become infected.
  • After the incubation period, the disease begins taking effect.
  • Each day, the character must make a save vs. poison or move on to the next stage of infection.
  • If the character is given treatment, each day they may also make a save to improve to a lower level of infection (stage 3 to stage 2, etc.) A successful save for patients at Stage One leads characters to the Recovery stage.
My first impression is that this may be too mechanical for regular use, but could provide a way to run a significant disease, like a plague. So in this case, let’s make up a plague to run rampant through Haven, the Red Death.
  1. Exposure: contaminated drinking water or food.
  2. Incubation Period: 1d6 days after exposure.
  3. Effect: progressive effects of disease on the infected.
    • Stage 1: Fever, stomach cramping, weakness. Cannot engage in extended physical activity and takes -1/-5% penalty to all actions.
    • Stage 2: Fever, light bleeding from tear ducts, bloody stools. Cannot tolerate solid food. Cannot engage in extended physical activity and takes -3/-15% penalty to all actions. Moves at half speed.
    • Stage 3: Fever, sores, light bleeding from all orifices. Not able to engage in combat or significant action. Barely able to stand or move. Cannot hold down food at all. Hallucinations. Will die in 2d6 days in absolute misery.
  4. Treatment: Clean water, cold compresses, liquid diet, bed rest, bloodwort tea, leeches.
  5. Recovery: After recovery, patient is still exhausted. Cannot engage in extended physical activity and takes -1/-5% penalty to all actions for 1d6 days.
This means that to recover, barring a cure disease spell, a character must be on bed rest with cold compresses, drinking soup and bloodwort tea, and getting leeches under the eye of a helpful caretaker to get better, or linger in illness -- or worse, progress closer to painful, debilitated death.


This can be a useful conundrum in a situation where time is of the essence, and a PC is needed to be on the case, but the plague is spreading at the same time. Maybe. I don't know, but I'm putting it out there in case someone else feels like tinkering or using the rules, too.