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A few of the more common diseases encountered in the Old World are detailed here, together with their effects and the procedures for dealing with them in the game. The gamesmaster can create more diseases if desired, following the general pattern of these examples.
Black Plague: This disease is spread by rats; the organism that causes it infects fleas which feed on the rats, and the disease is passed on when these fleas bite people. Unfortunately, nobody in the Old World knows this. The opinion of medical science is that the disease is caused by 'unwholesome vapours' carried on the air, and the standard precaution is to hoist a side of beef up a flagpole and leave it there for two days, then take it down and bury it in a deep pit, together with the 'unwholesome vapours'. Not surprisingly, these measures do nothing to halt the spread of the plague, and it can decimate whole countries. Fortunately, the Black Plague is very rare; the last known outbreak anywhere in the Old World was almost a century ago.
A character explosed to the Black Plague must make a Disease test. If this is successful, the character is unaffected and further rolls against the same disease are made at +10%. If the roll is unsuccessful, the plague takes a hold on the character.
After an incubation period of 2D10 days, the Plague victims will begin to suffer from nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting, and will be completely unable to keep any food down. This has an understandably wearing effect on the constitution, and the character must make a test on each characteristic in turn every day (except Move, Wounds and Attacks), losing 1 point or 10% as appropriate for every failed test. If Strength and Toughness reach zero, the character dies.
The disease lasts for 2D10 days, after which surviving characters will begin to recover lost characteristic points at the rate of 1 point or 10% every two days of complete bed rest; attendance by a character skilled in medicine will reduce the recovery time as for wounds (see Medical Attention in the Combat Section). At the start of the recovery period, however, they must make two 50% Risk tests; if the first one is failed, the character loses D3 Strength permanently, and if the second test is failed, the character loses D3 Toughness permanently.
Red Pox: The red pox can only be transmitted by contact with someone who already has the disease. Character who have had contact with a carrier of the disease must make a Disease test with a modifier of -10%.
If the test is failed, the character will break out in red blotches D10 days later. The blotches last for 2D10 days, and during this period the character loses 1 point each from Strength and Toughness and D10% Will Power, as well as 3D10% Leadership, Cool and Fellowship. Once the disease has run its course, all characteristics will return to normal except for Fellowship, from which D10% will be lost permanently owing to scars left by the spots.
Tomb Rot: This disease is sometimes carried by mummies, zombies and other undead creatures - see the relevant entries in the Bestiary for precise details. Any character who is wounded by an undead creature carrying the disease must make a Disease test after the fight, with a -5% modifier for every Wound point lost fighting the creature.
If the test is failed, the character is infested with the rot, and must make a similar test every day or lose 1 point of Toughness and 10% each from Dexterity and Fellowship. Once the rot has set in, it can only be removed by the Cure Illness skill or by magical means. Characteristic points are lost permanently, and can only be regained by subsequent advance schemes.
Wound Infection: Some animals have a chance of carrying infection. Full details are given in the Bestiary. A character who is wounded by an attack which may cause infected wounds must make a Disease test with a -5% modifier for each Wound point lost fighting the creature.
If the test is failed, the wound is infected. The area struck becomes swollen and inflamed over a period of D4 hours, during which time the character loses 3D10% Dexterity. Wound points from an infected wound are recovered at only half the normal rate, although medical attention will shorten recovery times as normal. However, the character must make a successful Toughness test or lose one Wound point permanently; if 91-00 is rolled, one Wound point is lost from each wound caused by the attack.
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