Radiant Sickness Condition in Arc Sagas | World Anvil

Radiant Sickness

"An eerie green-orange glow emanated from the room beyond the threshold. I felt the press of a hand against my shoulder as one of the medics goaded me forward. The twisting of the knob felt like the same twisting deep in my gut. The door slowly opened, revealing the room and its irridescent contents. There was a viscous, luminescent substance coated on everything, as if there was an explosion of neon paint coating the entire room in patchwork splashes. In the limited darkness, the haunting luminescence cast strange pale shadows that seemed to flicker beneath our Lanterns. In the center of the room, we found the reported deceased, their bones covered in slimy, radiant ichor. It was plain to any Coroner what had caused this grisly spectacle- death by Radiant Sickness."
— excerpt, a report from Inspector Jakl Court on the case of a local disappearance

Radiant Sickness is a fatal condition that occurs when a subject is exposed to severe amounts of Radiant energy from the Source of Light & Life. While this magic is used primarilly in Restomancy magic as a means to heal and cure people, the truth is that long-term and concentrated exposure to Radiant light may eventually cause Radiant Sickness. Though this is a rare condition, the symptoms are immediately noticeable within the suffering.

There are three stages of Radiant Sickness: the Glowing, Radiant, and Death stages. Coroners must be cautious when preparing those who have died from this illness as Radiant Sickness can infect others upon their Death alone. Otherwise, the only way to contract Radiant Sickness is through exposure to lethal amounts of this Source.

Transmission & Vectors

Radiant Sickness occurs not only when one is exposed to too much radiation from the Source of Life & Light (Fate), but it can be caused through certain spells and spell-like abilities. If a person dies with Radiant Sickness, they contaminate the immediate area, which can infect others with the contagion. Once it has been transferred in this manner, the disease is much more effective and harder to treat using conventional methods. Dark quarantine is the most effective method of healing somone afflicted with this condition. Objects that have been contaminated through death exposure can also spread the contagion.

Casters of the Restomancy House of Magic must be cautious when using spells from this Source to heal others. Most spells contain safeguards and measures to prevent Radiant Sickness but wreckless or unwitting Healers have been known to do greater harm than good.


If a subject is healed more than half of their total HP in health by a Source of Light, they must make Vitality checks (DC:15+ the amount over half of the total HP). If the subject fails, the incubation period is 1d3 days and continues to affect the subject until they are cured or they perish. Even if the HP has been reduced during that time, the Glowing stage indicates that it is too late. Radiation Sickness has begun.

Radiant Sickness is caused when someone has been exposed to too much energy from the Realm of Light. Whether it is through traveling through dimensions that border the Realms of Light & Shadows or through contamination from a corpse that had contracted it, Radiant Sickness effects the subject's body by rapidly growing new cells and mutations. Exposure to an individual alone won't cause contamination but death acts as a catalyst for the condition, causing it to spread within the immediate area. Death causes the mutated cells to become infectious. Objects that contract Radiant Sickness through death exposure begin to emit their own Light; left alone, these items can begin to infect people as well.


There are 3 stages to Radiant Sickness: the Glowing, the Radiant, and Radiant Death.

For each day that a subject is in the Glowing condition, they must make Vitality saves (DC:20+1 per day). The subject takes 1/4 of their Vitality in damage per day (rounded up). As a side effect of Glowing, subjects can't be healed through the use of any magic, whether it is a Light Source or not.

For each day that a subject is in the Radiant condition, they must make Vitality saves (DC:20+1 per day). The subject gains 1/4 of their lost Vitality per day (rounded up). If this would increase the subject's Vitality past it's original score, then it will continue to do so by increments of a quarter of the Vitality score. Subject can't gain HP, either from spells, treatment, or the increases of Vitality from this effect.

Objects contaminated with Radiant Sickness possess an odd glow that is almost indistinguishable to other magical items. Other items around them may begin to take on their odd glowing characteristic. This is the mark of a contaminated item and should be dispelled immediately.


Dark quarantine is the treatment for Radiant Sickness. The following lists the treatment options for a person or object contaminated with Radiant Sickness:

A person within the Glowing stage wraps the affected area in a special black bandage. Light can't be allowed through the affected area. A blindfold is wrapped around the eyes, regardless of where the affected area is. The contaminated person is kept inside of a dark room. They are kept away from any Source of magic, including other people and objects, except those administering care. This accelerates the healing process. Routinely, dispeling magic is cast on the subject after a few hours. Treatment lasts for several hours or until the affected area ceases to glow. Special vitamins and water are given to the subject afterwards.

Those within the Radiant stage receive the same treatment, except they are bound by the bandage, wrapped from head to toe. They may also be restrained to prevent them from hurting themselves. If the condition has progressed this far, treatment of Radiant stage can take two or more days. Though if the sickness has reached this stage, it may be too late.
If an object has been contaminated with Radiant Sickness, then a special black paint or black wrapping must be wrapped around the affected area. As a person, the object must be kept in total darkness for several hours until the Glowing has diminished. If the item was magical to begin with, the whole item must be dispelled. An enchantment will store the sickness, therefore, magic items must be destroyed through this process. Treatment is successful once the item is no longer Glowing.

Those who survive the effects of Radiant Sickness bear patches of scar tissue known as a Radiant Scar. The wound will always appear in some way discolored compared to the rest of the body. Items bear this scar as well, which appears as a porous area with hatch-marks about the surface. The object also appears slightly discolored, no matter how much paint or laquer is applied.


The following is a list of symptoms for the three stages of Radiant Sickness:

The Glowing
Glowing is the first indication of contamination by Radiant Sickness. This occurs in the complete absence of healing magic. Lesions on the affected area begin to form as the skin begins to scrape and peel away. These patches continue to spread around the affected area and develop into neighboring organs. In sources of darkness, the eyes will give off a pale glow. This indicates an incubative period of the sickness and continues through the Radiant stage of effect.
The Radiant
The second stage is much more severe, having penetrated through the body and spreads through the nervous system. Affected areas begin to swell, doubling in size and tearing the flesh from beneath. Blood and light emit from the cracks that continue to pulsate. When the condition has reached the Mind, the eyes and all other affects areas burst, spraying bright and radiant blood and viscera.
Radiant Death
The final stage of Radiant Sickness is Radiant Death. Subjects that have been slain in this fashion can't be revived through any magical mean short of a Wish spell. Their Soul has been eviscerated by the Light.

Those who have perished through Radiant Sickness can be turned into Radiant Zombies- a special type of Undead that bears the Radiant Sickness. These types of Zombies appear in the Realms of Light frequently. A more powerful version of this Undead, the Radiant Mummy, can also be made from a corpse or Zombie affected with this sickness. Unlike normal Undead, if an Undead has Radiant Sickness, it is immune to Radiant energy and therefore can't be damaged by healing magic.


If the subject has incubated the sickness, the immediate sign is glowing from beneath the affected area. As the sickness progresses, light begins to crack through the tears of the skin. When it has penetrated into the deeper tissues, the light will begin to change colors- this indicates that the next stage is about to occur.


Most spells that have been designed for Healing with the use of Life & Light Source have safeguards within their Spellcraft to prevent the extreme levels of Radiation Sickness but it can still occur, either through direct force of a Spell that can cause this condition or exposure to the Realms of Light. Special spells and suits have been designed to prevent the radiation from this Source.


There have been a few cases of outbreaks throughout history, as a result of wreckless Healers. Trading and selling magical items that were contaminated also transmits the condition. It may take months or years before an object possessed with the sickness transmits it, but until that time, it is dangerous to have around.


While there have been mild epidemics throughout history, the worse event occurred in a small town that contracted Radiant Sickness. Many of the people died before the sickness was understood. The inhabitants perished, leaving the whole site irradiated for years before Healers were able to clean the mess.

Chronic, Acquired


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Dec 12, 2023 14:00 by Marc Zipper

What a cool disease definitely like the image of a glowing zombie and being protected from light magic cool article

Let's have fun creating the impossible, building new worlds, and all types of possibilities. Valcin
May 5, 2024 17:44

Are there regions of the world that had to be abandoned or quarantined due to one of the serious outbreaks creating a large and persistent area of contamination? Could be an interesting place to have an adventure. All in all, very cool article.

May 5, 2024 18:02 by Myth Cross

I've given it some consideration but nothing concrete yet! : D I believe that in an Age before the Modern Era (perhaps the Industrial Age), that there were wars at the time that these items and techniques arose from. I think you make a great point, as it would be interesting to explore an area of the setting that was impacted by Radiant Light Sickness.   It's definitely illegal to own or manufacture the types of weapons & tools that promote Radiant Light enchantments or healing, but that doesn't mean that they won't pop up in underground markets or places of antiquity from time to time.


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