diseases that make you stronger (and then kill you)

I just recovered from a 24 hour flu. In honor of which, enjoy these plagues.

The Dancing Death: In its first stage, which lasts for weeks, this disease has no effect. In its second stage, which lasts several days, the victim feels energetic and manic, doesn’t sleep very much, and probably seeks out scenes of feasting and celebration. Finally, in the third stage, which lasts about a minute, the victim begins a dance which becomes more spastic and terrifying, and dies. Anyone who sees the dance is infected.

Black Eyed Beauty: Stage one is a minor cold. When you recover, your eye color changes to black. Your charisma is now 18. Even people who know you’re diseased must make a will/wisdom save to leave your presence. During this period, you spread the disease by touch. After a week or two of this, you die, leaving a beautiful corpse.

Brain Fever: Stage one: You are bedridden with a dangerously high fever for three days. You must make a DC10 Con check to survive, with appropriate bonuses if someone is tending you. Stage two: your intelligence and wisdom increase to 22. You can read at 10x speed and have perfect recall. If you’re already working on a project, you become obsessed with its completion. Otherwise you become obsessed with the first project that’s suggested to you. After three days of this, you die. During stage 2, Cure Disease does not work on you. When you die, a small spider crawls out of your mouth. Anyone bitten by the spider must make a DC 12 save or become infected. Evil wizards sometimes harvest these spiders and purposely infect peasants to act as their research assistants.

8 Responses to “diseases that make you stronger (and then kill you)”

  1. kevin says:

    There should be one that improves your physical stats.

    Herculosis: Stage 1: On any attack or strength check, you can choose to act as if your strength is 22. If you do, blood trickles out of your mouth and your maximum HP goes down by 2. Stage 2: You can no longer control it: your strength is 22 for all relevant attacks/checks. Stage 3: When your maximum HP is 5 or less, your strength increases to 30 and you go into a mindless rage.

  2. Matthew Gordon says:

    soo evil. u r teh genius

  3. Rhenium says:

    Quicksilver Disease: Caught from a spoiled potion of haste.

    Effect: You cannot be still, each turn your base speed increases by 1 foot per round.
    Stage 1: You’re faster and faster, faster than any foe.
    Stage 2: Faster and faster you go. Eating and drinking is difficult, you’re contagious to other fast moving creatures.
    Stage 3: You’re only visible to quicklings. Eventually you’re battered to death by air molecules, assuming you didn’t run into a mountain, tavern wall or tree first.

  4. canageek says:

    I’d love to see some guidlines on how to cure them, other then cure disease. Getting an instant death sentence is kind of pointless, whereas getting something that you can use its powers to (quickly) go on a quest to cure yourself is a cool plotline.

  5. Rowboat says:


    Dancing Death could perhaps be cured by finding a dance partner able to keep up with the death dance, something like that! If so, the dance lasts up to an hour, gradually slowing down until the patient is finally able to stop (alive and cured), and doesn’t infect witnesses.

  6. paul says:

    Rhenium: Eventually you become one of the tick-people that lives and dies within a moment. Every object is a statue that you can’t affect.

    Canageek: I used the Dancing Death in a campaign and there was a big quest to cure it. In general, it’s cooler when Cure Disease can’t make theproblem go away and you need to take some other course to cure it. I particularly like Rowboat’s cure for the Dancing Death.

  7. paul says:

    Speaking of cures, last week I wrote a wordpress plugin to block the tons of spam that this site gets. There should be a lot less new spam from now on. email me at blog of holding if you ever get false-flagged as spam.

  8. paul says:

    Oh, I like it when it is harder to cure, though the timeline of how fast the disease cures you means you basically have to have the cure within a day’s travel.

    I do like the partner to keep up with you; I can see a party in a last-ditch buff-fest to try and keep the master dancer they found on their feet.

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