The Whispering Madness Condition in Charron | World Anvil

The Whispering Madness

"Do you hear them? Do you? The music night and day. The voices. They speak of the Standing Stones. The moons. They speak of the stars. They told me about you. They want the forms. I must make them. Dance as I did then. Now. Forever."
    The Whispering Madness is an affliction primarily of the Qijon people - the so called "Pink skins", of the eastern Esereti Frontier. It has been seen rarely in explorers and adventure seekers in that same region. It is a mental affliction- part curse and part disease that healers can not cure, spiritualists have not been able to curb and leading to increasing delerium, confusion and violence. The sufferer hears whispers speaking secrets great and terrible into their ears. They become easily frightened or driven to frenzy while also having episodes of writhing contorted dance to music only they hear. Bright light disturbs them and pains the eyes, so they prefer shade or drapes drawn.  The end is always the same - death.

Transmission & Vectors

The condition only appears in those who have spend large amounts of time in Qijon ruins and sites or are of Qijon families or blood. There are no spirits of disease associated with them and only sometimes spirits of madness or chaos. Priestly cures fail though exorcism quiets the voices for a time.


It starts with the sufferer hearing voices- faint whispers. At first the voices are so faint as to not be deciphered. Gradually the voices get louder. Subjects say the voices tell them secrets of others, of the great void of the Rift, of the march of the stars and of shapes. The delusional voices talk of cities  unknown- as if these places are real. The sufferer is possessed of visions of stange creatures and buried cities. They develop a preference for raw meat - a condition very similar to some advanced forms of Corruption as seen in Arcane Crystal exposure Crystal and Corruption.  Gradually the voices are joined with pipes and musics and the subject is possessed of an uncontrolled urge to dance or contort themselves.  They become rapidly older, stooped and hunched and abandon self care.  The eyes bulge and become ever increasingly sensitive to light until they shun daylight entirely and prefer shadows and dark places.  Rooms and chambers seem to indice a claustrophobia and they seek escape outdoors, which seems to calm them at first.  Eventually they may attempt to run away entirely and many do- even leaping from windows or roofs of tall buildings.  Their mania lends them a strange strength as most are never found after such escapes.  It is believed that the madness runs it's victims to death within a few months as Qijon families report.  Others who have been imprisoned have always managed to escape, clawing out of rooms via tunnels, ripping at doors or squeezing out windows and vanishing into the night.


Treatments with herbs and medications have availed nothing, aside from providing dream free sleep in the early stages.  Appeals to miraculous cures of disease and illness have failed.  Exorcism quiets the voices for a few weeks before the progression starts again.  Shamanistic intervention with binding or banishing spirits has little effect - the spirits that are found are frequently those attracted to the emotional states (fears and a maniacal delight) or general malign banes or madness/ chaos spirits. Seeing a connection to some forms of Corruption has lead to attempts at lifting curses and following methods to slow or prevent growth and Spread of Corruption.  These seem to only slow the process rather than prevent it, and the condition is extended from months to perhaps a year or two before it's conclusion.


To date there is now cure- only things that slow it. Holy Church and exorcism effects suggest some malign entity is involved though none has yet been found. Eventual death seems the conclusion with increasing madness, erratic behavior and mania.
Show spoiler
The condition is similar to Corruption, but the source are Dark ancient Gods. Subjects roll daily vs Spirit or suffer -1 there after on Condition. As Condition falls the symptoms increase. Voice are heard - are they the voices of the sufferer's thoughts? The thoughts of others around them? Secrets whispered by the Dark Gods? Signs and rituals to perform under certain aspects of Moons and stars. The strange music and urges to dance or twist the body into contorted stances. That the subject is chosen.  Is special in the eyes of the Gods. They must find ways into the underground.  At negative Condition the physical changes start- gaining one at each successive minus: hunched back, Str+1 die, penalty in bright (noon day sunlight -1, then bright light, then clouded, then candle or lantern, then even moon light), Dark vision, bite of 1d4, claws that do STR+ 1d4, hair becomes thin and white. The penultimate stage is walkwalker ability and finally full transformation into a Morlok.


The exact cause is still unknown but is most associated with the Qijon, their habitations and ruins.  Perhaps they exude some miasma that corrodes the spirit and will. The wise will likely limit their exposure to these people and their cursed blood.

Cultural Reception

Amongst the Qijon it is seen as simply a sad acceptance of the condition and eventual loss. They do very little aside from contain sufferers in locked chambers.  Eventually they escape or die. 

Show spoiler
. Qijon knew the Whispering Madness is the touch of their ancient Gods and the afflicted are taken and released to the family crypts where they vanish into the tunnels. They do not prey upon kinfolk, but emerge at night to attack travelers or go to underground cities where they dance and serve strange Dark Gods, eating the fungi and creatures they may hunt in the tunnels and caverns. Qijon cover for the afflicted and make up stories.  

The Esereti have a distaste for dealing with Qijon. Stories abound on the unclean habits, histories and Corruption touched madness that is potentially acquired from prolonged time in and around their habitations and ruins.  Imperials simply see them as degenerate and a dying out breed. Anything else is primitive superstitions.

Taurien know of the decline of the Qijon population and the Corruption like condition they may suffer.  It doesn't affect them the same way - it instead acts as Kwi path Corruption.  Taurien are very careful in dealings with Qijon people.

The fae may likewise be infected with the Madness which becomes the voice of the Abyss. They suffer the same decline as humans but end up becoming The Dark Fae .   As a whole Fae don't know any more than the humans around them and assume it is an inherited illness of Qijon people.

Bahku, Lizard Kings and other non humans become transformed into Demon Beast versions of themselves as Condition declines.  They gain Kwi path Corruption powers and one Corruption path.   If dwelling in or around old ruins, these place are said to cursed and to be avoided.  They see the Qijon as just strange, maybe diseased humans.

Cover image: by mutterwolf


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