Slough-skin Condition in Araea | World Anvil


  Slough-skin is a disease that strikes those who spend extended time in damp and wet caverns. Most common among the working poor, it's sometimes called Miner's Cough or Farmer's Fungi, but can strike any who do not take care to avoid it. What starts as merely unpleasant and debilitating can become a life-threatening condition if left untreated. It is such a common infliction that almost every working family has their own home remedy to treat it.      


  Slough-skin is not a contagious disease, but a condition brought on by staying too long in wet caverns without any time to dry. Industrial pollutants, common additions to already horrible working conditions, make the disease far worse and often add debilitating mutations to what is already a murderous illness. While the cause of slough-skin is relatively known, these complications do much to muddy the prognosis and treatments.    


  At the early stages of the disease, the skin begins to turn a ruddy red or dark blue. If left untreated, the skin and flesh begins to rot and swell. Already at this stage, the disease can leave permanent scars on those who do not treat it in time and the smell of decay is rank and obvious. As it processes, the skin begins to split open with blisters and open sores that refuse to heal. In particularly bad cases, the sick can swell and decay to be nearly unrecognizable.  
The decaying flesh of a slough-skin sufferer is fertile ground for any number of aggressive and infectious fungi to take root in. This is particularly common for farmers who spend all their time around fungi and mushroom. It makes a bad situation even worse, though some Medikari use the spread of fungi to determine just where to apply the bone-saw.
  The disease strikes at the extremities and the face first, but can spread across the body. If left untreated, gangrene can set in and threaten the sufferers life and limbs.      


Bring the saw.  
— Shun, Medikari
  Slough-skin is relatively easy to avoid or prevent, at least in theory. Getting out the damp and avoiding prolonged immersion in the wet caverns stops the disease from taking hold. At the earliest stage of the disease, this can be enough to recover. Once the disease has set in, there is a number of treatments to help the poor soul recover. They range from effective, like keeping the sick dry and treating the decaying areas with ointments, to useless superstitions that force the sick to sleep upside down. In the end, staying dry and clean is the most effective way to treat Slough-skin, at least at first.     Once the disease has really set in, it becomes much more difficult to treat. Gangrene can force a doctor to amputate fingers or entire limbs to save the patients life. Swellings are sometimes lanced and drained, but this often results in further infection.      

Scourge of the Caves

  Slough-skin is an unfortunately common affliction, with many forced to work endless hours in horrible conditions. Pollution and waste aggravate the troubles already faced and unsympathetic taskmasters can turn an easily treated illness to a crippling, scarring conditions. The Kaia are another group who deal with the disease, staying for days on end far away from civilization and in the sort of moist conditions where the illness thrives. But among the Kaia, the disease is more rare - weeks or months of immersion are typically required for Slough-skin to really take root.    

Charm and Trinkets

  For every effective, proven treatment there's is a talisman or trinket that do nothing. Medicine in Araea sometimes confuse symptoms and indulge in superstition. Among the two major medical theories of Araea, there is little agreement about how Slough-skin is best treated.   Read more about Atma and the Medikari   Read more about Deva and their medicine        

Regional Variants

  While the disease remain the same, getting afflicted while in the Harorao Region is to be particularly unfortunate. The spore-rich air of the Harorao can easily cause fungi of especially aggressive variety of take root in the unfortunate's flesh and the wet, sponge-y environment leaves few places to easily dry. The disease here is so virulent and striking that those who frequent the region have taken to calling those so afflicted "moss-men".    
Miner's Cough   If the disease reaches the throat and lungs, the sick are afflicted with terrible, rattling cough and shortness of breath to go with the other symptoms. While colloquially known as Miner's Cough, it is no more or less likely to strike anyone else than it is miners.

Cover image: by Richard Dorran


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Dec 1, 2018 21:56

I feel the image used as your main article header would appear better in the sidebar, otherwise the layout is nice and well-divided. The content itself conveys a truly disturbing condition that gives rise to many questions!   I'm curious if Slough-skin has influenced the technology of Araea and if so, how? What measures are taken by workers and cave-goers to prevent it, for example have they developed special suits to keep them dry or inoculations? The exact cause of Slough-Sickness seems unclear. Is it caused by a specific fungus, multiple ones, or have physicians yet to determine the true culprit? Is spelunking considered too dangerous a hobby or even illegal? You also mention farmers being primary victims of the disease. Does this mean that the condition can be caught in any wet area such as a swampland or are the farmers of Araea required to venture into caverns? Finally, what kind of superstition and mythology (if any) surrounds this illness? Do the people of Araea pray to a deity for healing, do they tell stories of a mythological cave-dwelling creature that afflicts trespassers as warning?   I'm eager to know more!

Feb 11, 2019 14:35

Okay! I'll look into finding another header and move that one. :)   It has: almost every family in areas where it is common has a folk-remedy to treat it, and it is something both schools of medicine fight with. No special suits, yet.   The cause is.. Basically trenchfoot, but for the entire body (which has given it a pet name: trench-face). Prolonged exposure in damp, cold and unsanitary conditions cause necrotizing of the tissue. The fungi come in after.   Spelunking is sort of a way of life, since the entire setting is mostly underground. :)   Same answer for the farmer question: all agriculture take place underground, which is why it's so common. Cramped, damp caverns full of shrooms and fungi that you're stuck in for hours or days on end, working constantly.   There probably is and they probably do, but that varies between culture. Some example superstitions could be a lot of fun though, so I'll look into adding that   Thanks! :D

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