Craft Your Own Diseases for 'Dungeons & Dragons'

A new supplement provides detailed rules for crafting diseases to use in Dungeons & Dragons.

In the loosely medieval-equivalent fantasy worlds of Dungeons & Dragons, the biggest threat to players are monsters or trap-filled dungeons. However, real people who lived in medieval times were much more likely to die of diseases like the Black Plague or dysentery than from invading armies or natural disasters.

Last year, reported on The Malady Codex, a supplement that provided Dungeons & Dragons DMs with magical and non-magical diseases to use in their games. Creators Jason Bakos and Themis Paraskevas have now published The Malady Workshop, a new supplement that provides DMs with the resources they need to craft their own terrifying diseases.

Bakos and Paraskevas are medical students and The Malady Workshop approaches crafting diseases with a somewhat scientific eye. While The Malady Workshop is about crafting fictional diseases (often with magical origins), the supplement describes both how to make a disease seem realistic and dangerous. In addition to listing potential origins, ways for the disease to spread, symptoms, and potential cures, The Malady Workshop also explains how players might diagnose a disease or how palliative care might work inside a clinic or hospital. They're little touches, but it makes The Malady Resource feel much more like a true guide, than a basic set of tables and rules.

The Malady Workshop provides a Malady Point System to track how potentially deadly a disease is. Each part of the disease (symptoms, ways to contract it, and even potential cures) has a number of Malady Points assigned to it, with the disease becoming more potentially deadly the more Malady Points it has. The Malady Point system helps DMs track how terrible their disease is becoming and keep them from creating a potential plague when they want to make the common cold.


The Malady Workshop is a detailed, authoritative look at diseases in Dungeons & Dragons. The supplement provides DMs with the tools they need to terrify their players in unexpected ways, but doesn't overwhelm the DM with too much superfluous information.

The Malady Workshop is available for $3.95 on the DMs Guild.