Med Students Craft Terrifying Diseases for 'Dungeons & Dragons'

A pair of medical students have developed 12 deadly diseases to terrify players with in Dungeons & [...]

A pair of medical students have developed 12 deadly diseases to terrify players with in Dungeons & Dragons.

While Dungeons & Dragons often use powerful dragons or ruthless magic-wielding tyrants to threaten medieval-based fantasy worlds, the biggest danger to those living in real medieval times was disease. Luckily, The Malady Codex, written by medical students Jason Bakos and Themis Paraskevas, provides detailed breakdowns on 12 diseases specially crafted for use in any D&D campaign.

Dungeons & Dragons already has rules for dealing with disease, but most of these illnesses are usually caused by a monster and can be cured either with successful Constitution saving throws or one of a handful of different healing spells. The diseases in The Malady Codex are a lot more complex, with detailed origins, causes, symptoms, potential cures, and how to use each disease to advance a particular storyline. Several of the diseases are also magic-resistant, which means that a paladin's "Lay on Hands" ability won't instantly cure the disease.

Most of the diseases from The Malady Codex are derived from real world maladies. The Druid's Curse is a black plague-like curse spread by fleas and cured by brewing a tea out of flowers picked from shambling mounds. Oxitorus's Toxic Breath is a malady that resembles cholera and the Mindflayer Network loosely mimics some of the symptoms of mad cow disease. The Malady Codex explains the real world inspiration for each disease, along with how the diseases were changed for either flavor or to fit within a fantasy world where monsters are real.

The supplement also contains a handful of magic items that either tie into the diseases or can help with cures, and a couple of monsters that relate to the potent Mad Mage's Virus, a virus that absorbs magical energy from its host and eventually takes its own form.

The Malady Codex is perfect for DMs that are looking to either add a touch of "realism" to their campaigns via the threat of disease or finding a plot hook that can't be solved via violence. There's diseases for just about every potential scenario, which makes The Malady Codex great as a source of inspiration about where your campaign should go next.

The Malady Codex is available for $2.95 on DMs Guild.