"I'm not sure how I feel about this adventure. Sure, these untamed wilds are beautiful, but eerie. I'm not even concerned about the fauna. That I can deal with. It's the landscape itself that worries me so."
Transmission & Vectors
On first glance, the flora seems less hostile and actually inviting and beneficial. A pleasant fragrance emits into the air akin to jasmine, and at the meeting point of the fern like leaves is a small bulb that, when opened, appears like a crimson red, peeled plum with veins mapping the surface. It even tastes extremely similar to the fruit, and is said to be quite nourishing. The real problem comes in the parasites that often inhabit the plant, extremely small and very difficult to make out to the untrained eye, appearing often like little black specks which could be mistaken for seeds.
"Well, it's day eight out here and we've already run into a problem. Tiller, our cook, is having to frequently pause to vomit...probably something in the water. Because of this, meals have been peckish to fleeting, and we've resorted to living off of the land. At least the birds are delicious...when you can catch them."
"Things are worse than we thought. Tiller went mad in the night and bit out the throat of one of our guards. We had to put him down. Morale is low and most people are getting sick, myself included. It feels like the trees are out to get us. We heard shambling during one of our camps and found these twisted monstrosity. Dwarves, Elves, and Humans, only in minor traits...but warped to something worse. They were clearly not of sane mind and could not be reasoned with. What's worse is I can feel something changing in me. Just the other day I scratched at my arm until a handful sized chunk of meat fell free. I am ashamed to admit it, but while I felt disgust, which is only natural...I also felt an intense hunger. Even though that came off of me, I salivated...I wanted to devour it ravenously. I don't know what's happening to me. I just hope we get out of here soon."
During the expulsion stage or before, detoxing can slow or even cure the victim. Drinking boiling water, or another extremely hot substance, while dangerous and painful, may be a better alternative than letting the person submit to full infection, and could kill the parasites. Divine magic/restoration can also cure the subject up to and including this stage, but once it reaches the brain, stronger spells will be required. If a body is trained to handle poison, not only will it find it an easier time to resist the parasites, but drinking a non-lethal dose of poison could also help, however, because of the dosage size required, previous poison tolerance would be necessary.
The victim will be compelled to feast on humanoid flesh as other food sources will feel unwholesome or have a repulsive taste. Digestion of this meat will slow down, allowing one source to feed one infected for a minimum of one month. The body can also tolerate eating rotten or rotting humanoid meat, but strongly prefers it as fresh as possible. This is why, even if one corpse is still viable for consumption, it will be quickly abandoned if fresh prey enters the vicinity. If the victim does not eat for three or so months, they will eventually die and the parasites within as well, making the meat viable for any surrounding infected who will quickly cannibalize the corpse.
"Not sure what happen. So itchy. So hungry. Jumped and bit man. Tasty. Ran into forest. Scared..."
What meat is left on the infected corpses, cannibalized or otherwise, often contains parasites or parasitic remains, which will feed the soil and work its way into new Rageleaf plants.
Only humanoids are affected. Animals, although they do not favor the fruit for consumption, cannot contract the parasite.
There are experimental medications for Rageleaf Madness, but it has only a 60% success rate. Organizations like The Sacred Flask are reported as working on more reliable medication and even a vaccine for the parasite, while other businesses, such as Toxins & Tinctures Apothecary are looking to weaponize it.