Void Sickness Condition in Cairne | World Anvil

Void Sickness

There are numerous afflictions within Cairne that can kill rapidly, but of all of these none are as efficient as Void Sickness, which can wipe out an entire settlement in an evening if left unchecked. This is by far one of the most dreaded maladies to touch the Outlands and remains one of the most lethal by far, a fast burning epidemic that holds sway in life and death.   Diagnosis The symptoms of this infection take hold so quickly and ravage the body with such haste that it is almost without need of diagnosis. From the moment of infection the damage begins. It is a violent reaction of negative energy coming into contact with the life force of the patient, causing a cold burning deterioration in the adipose tissue and extreme hypertonic dehydration occurring mostly in the patient's musculature. As the body deteriorates, a large amount of the connective tissue will be absorbed in the reaction, causing the loss of many extremities such as the nose and ears. By the time the patient's heart stops, which is usually in a matter of minutes, (the infection causes 1d4 negative energy damage per round until cured or the patient is killed), it is too late and the damage is significant enough for the Void energy to fully take hold of the corpse, using it as a vehicle to transport more of the same viscous Void energy to another potential host.   Pathology This infection is spread through surface contact, the viscous Void energy that is expelled when a Blighted Aberration "vomits" on a victim. It is quickly absorbed through the skin as contact with the substance is so toxic and corrosive to living tissue that even the slightest amount will almost immediately gain access to the bloodstream this way. Once inside, the infection will seek out and target the gastrointestinal system, filling it by self replicating. Self-replication in this case is achieved by absorbing living material. Every bit of living matter it absorbs is returned as negative energy infused, viscous Void energy. As it quickly integrates into every part of the body allowing the infection to gain complete ambulatory control over the corpse upon the death of the host...sometimes even while the host is still alive and aware of what is happening. The infection will then attempt to spread itself further by spewing the stored viscous Void energy onto other living creatures. Luckily, the creature can only do this twice before the organic material is so damaged that it will collapse and liquify into an infectious puddle of the remaining substance. Contact with the remains will also cause further infection.   Epidemiology The Void is a force of consumption, blindly seeking to devour and expand always. The creature known as a Blight Born is a physical manifestation of this, and the best means to that end for the Void itself. The creature, when unleashed, will leave a trail of death until it is destroyed or somehow routed away from the living. Each of these bodies will rise in turn, and continue to spread this infection allowing a further foothold for the Blight to grow uncontested. The spread is fast and potential epidemic when it does happen, and many small fringe settlements have fallen in this way, leaving none standing in its wake.   Etiology For there to be any chance of saving the patient, they must be removed from the infected presence quickly and brought into as sterile an environment as possible. A concentrated infusion of Essence of the Wyrm will halt the infection from spreading for 2d6 rounds, but after that cannot be used in this way again, leaving the Benevolent forced to work quickly. A vigorous debridement must be done on the points of entry, scraping away the dead and infected fleshy areas that have come into contact with the viscous Void energy. Following this, the Benevolent must surgically remove as much of the infected organs as possible, usually requiring a cholecystectomy to remove the gallbladder, an appendectomy for the appendix, and often requiring a bowel resection to remove further parts of the bowel that retain any further infected tissue. Should these procedures be successful, the patient will require a minor skin graft to replace the flesh lost during the debridement and suffer a permanent -2 constitution loss unless an organ transplant is successfully implemented. Barring this, the patient will be limited to a bland diet and must avoid alcohol going forward. Breaching these dietary requirements will result in a further -1 constitution loss for a period of 6 hours following imbibement.   Thanatology Provided the remains can be acquired prior to the body fully disintegrating, no physical contact with the infected corpse should be initiated, as the risk of contact based infection still exists. The body will need to be fully immolated in a contained furnace, as the gasses released as the infected organic material burns is toxic, causing 1d6 poison damage per round to all those within the area affected by the smoke. The smoke however, is not infectious. The ashen remains must be collected without physical contact and mixed with a tincture of Essence of Wyrm in a glass vial and evaporated, the process repeating until there is no sediment left and then the bottle itself should be melted down and the remaining glass buried, just to be safe. Should the body completely liquify before there is a chance for this to happen, the remaining liquid material remains will taint the ground they fall on with no way to reverse the process. In most cases the process is to close off the area and leave warnings that the area has been fully tainted and claimed by the Void. Should it be completely necessary to cleanse the area, the tainted ground must be dug up to a depth of three feet minimum, and the moved to an area that will pose no risk to anyone, such as an area already claimed and tainted as there is no true way to remove the Blight from the earth once it has been claimed.


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