Rotten Spots

Rotten Spots is a rare condition that is mainly known in the Ventsea island. It is caused by contact with one of the native plants of the island and causes extreme itchiness with rapid necrosis as well as other symptoms like blue spots. It is a harsh condition that leaves death or heavy scarring on its victims and works fast.


Caused by skin contact with a substance secreted as a defensive mechanism by the plant named Bleeding saffron. The condition cannot be obtained in any other way and can be better or worse depending on how strong the substance is.

Originally, the substance was only found in the Bleeding saffron but people have started making venoms with it. And same sort of people that are doing venoms and toxins with it, have started exporting this plant outside its native location, whether to experiment on more venoms or because some people offered money for the plants.

Chemical Compound
Affectes species
Aquatilis, Dracolis, Terrelis


The condition's first signs are the blue spots on whatever part of skin it has been in contact of the substance barely an hour or so after contact. The places tend to be extremities (legs, arms, and less commonly, tails and wings). These spots get immediately itchy.

After a few hours (or a day for the lucky) the itch persists but it cannot be temporally calmed by scratching in the place. This happens because the blue spots contain certain chemicals that destroy the synapses of the sensory neurons in the location and the brain gets confused.

In most the cases, the itching can still be temporally calmed with scratching, by scratching in the same position but in the mirrored place of the body, for example, if left lower arm is itching, one must scratch the right lower arm. Tails are a tricky place to get the blue spots on as no place in the tail seems to be able to calm the itchiness, unless the person has two tails which is highly rare (caused by mutations).

A few days later (or a week if lucky), the skin dies around the blue spots, followed by the muscles, bones and sooner than later the whole part of the body. If left untreated, the necrosis will spread around the body and will cause a slow agonizing dead.


There are two ways of treating this condition, none being painless:

  • Cut it out - only possible when the spots are located on an limb.
  • Burn it out - burn individually each one of the blue spots, being carefully to not let its chemicals splash to healthly skin. Can only be done before the first signs of necrosis.

Both treatments are dangerous on their own, being able to cause infections if not dealt with properly which would only worse the person's health.


When entering the Ventsea island one must be well covered with clothes, the more shown skin, the higher the possibility to be affected by the Bleeding saffron's venomous substance.

When reaching a safe place (a place that has been confirmed to be free of the saffron), the clothes can be changed carefully, making sure no substance falls to the skin and if any falls, it has to quickly be cleaned with water. The contamined clothes must be cleaned before being used again.

Scales can temporally protect the skin from the substance (because its more goo than liquid and takes a bit to move around) but should be cleaned as soon as possible once reached a safe place. Skin that has either been covered in clothes or be left exposed should also be cleaned as soon as possible, in case the substance has managed to go through the clothes.

There are warnings about leaving the safe spots of the island uncovered everywhere, both for travellers and inhabitants. At the verge of the safe spots, there are also walls with doors that have guards on them, to stop clueless people to enter the jungle unprotected.


Most of the infections happen in the Ventsea island during late spring to mid autumn, when the plant causative of it blooms. It mainly affects careless travelers and people entering the jungle in a rush. Nowadays, prevention is really important on the island and thus the yearly cases of the Rotten Spots decrease year after year a bit more. Deadly cases on the island are incredibly rare as people learned to be extremely perceptive on first signs of the condition both on themselves and other people.

While they are a small quantity (although they are slowly growing to be more common), the worse cases of this conditions happen out the island, where the plant has been illegaly exported or its toxins have been used on people.

Aquatilis are the species with least amount of cases of this conditions, as they mainly live underwater, out the reach of the plant, but not the toxin. They also are the species which know less about this conditions, causing dead to be highly probable when contracting Rotten Spots.

Dracolis are quite knowledgeable about this condition (although not as much as Terrelis) and contact with the toxines does not mean they immediately get the condition, thanks to their scales, but once they get it, it is more painful than others to treat it through burning as first they have to pluck their scales to be able to reach the blue spots and then burn them.

Terrelis are the species with more cases, both for not having some sort of protection (other than clothes) and because they are the main species living in Ventsea island. They are the most knowledgeable about this condition but also the ones exporting the plant to other places and making toxins with it.


Elves have a hard time with this condition because their bacteria. The bacteria will quickly go to attack the blue spots on the elves' skin, which causes the chemicals in the blue spots to act quicker and in a wider area and thus the necrosis advances much quicker. Elves tend to only survive the Rotten Spots if they cut whatever body part is infected.


Because how dangerous this condition is, people from the island try their best to share their knowledge about it as much as they can. Because Ventsea island is used as a stop in long sea travels, people try to have information about it everywhere on the island in as many languages as they can. False prevention ideas are badly seen and if someone is underestimating the condition, people will let them know how bad it is.


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8 Dec, 2022 16:26

Holy, this chemical is not messing around. What would happen if not an extremity gets smothered in the blue spots but let’s say the belly? Would there even be a chance for survival?   Remind me not to take vacation on ventsea island >.>

Creator, artist and writer of the science fantasy world Kingsmaker.   Check out my Worldember page.~
8 Dec, 2022 16:38

Trick Soulwing into going to Ventsea island Just kidding, glad you liked it!

The only possibility of surviving when getting it in the belly (or a non-extremity place) would be to burn the spots before its too late. If not, dead is the only outcome.

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8 Dec, 2022 16:50

Truly a nasty bit of chemical atrocities. Terrifying!

Creator, artist and writer of the science fantasy world Kingsmaker.   Check out my Worldember page.~
Sage SailingOcelot
Sailing Ocelot
8 Dec, 2022 17:31

Hi Catoblepon, thank you for letting me know about this article via your AMAZING WE 2022 spreadsheet <3 What a terrifying condition you have created here! Great description. I found the image with the lady hiding her face with her mittens to be hilarious and on point :D I wonder what kinds of warnings the locals may give travellers about this disease? If it is so dangerous, how well do folks understand it? I wonder if its so easy to get the condition, why travel to Ventsea island? Do people underestimate the condition, or do they have no idea it exists, or believe in a false prevention ritual? What is special about the island? I'm very curious~! Have a great Worldember :D

~~~~~~~~ SailingOcelot
8 Dec, 2022 18:01

These are some good questions! I'll try to answer them soonish!

I'm glad you liked my silly lil spreadsheet and condition :D

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9 Dec, 2022 02:36

I love this condition for two reasons. One it is chemical, and in a lot of fantasy, chemical agents are often forgotten, and not given nearly enough love. Two it is proper terrifying. I am reminded of the sort of terror the word 'anthrax' can incite in the right circles in regards to the plant that produces this chemical. I could picture a progression of time where some nation or power weaponizes this stuff in the same vein of anthrax in some far off future. That to me, is the sign of some very well written naturally occurring chemical that cause notably deadly/dangerous illness. That thought experiment of projecting forwards, could this end up in that sort of realm? I see this example, and think "Absolutely!"   So really well done Cato!!!

Keon Croucher, Chronicler of the Age of Revitalization
9 Dec, 2022 08:39

Glad you liked it! I love making my conditions terrifying apparently and making them all magic based is boring, gotta add the fun weird evil biological and chemical things!

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10 Dec, 2022 22:04

The condition is terrifying and I can quickly feel how an itchy spot can turn into a horrible nightmare.   I like the idea of a false recovery after the initial symptoms, when the neurons are attacked. It offers nice room for developing a situation with a character, plus raises the stakes drastically when the next, bigger symptoms kick in.   I really wish there was an article on the Bleeding saffron — wanna know more about "the culprit" in question. :D   What would happen if one had a protective layer on a skin, say of fat&clay, similar to the one people African Himba tribe use? This kind of touches on the fact whether it is solluble in water or fat (or something in-world). I guess I would love to see the article about the substance too. :D   Trick question: "Suppose a hunted game gets a few spots, does that mean the disease will only spread throughout its body? Or could it be passed onto the hunter, who eats part of it?" Burning seems to be neutralising the substance. Would a less intense heat treatment work as well, e.g., would a well-done steak be potentially deadly or not? Do people use it as "a dangerous food" like Fugu fish? :D   Thanks for a wonderful read. It really worked on my imagination.

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11 Dec, 2022 09:48

The Bleeding Saffron will absolutely have an article and the toxin as well! Hopefully, both will be written during this WorldEmber...

I hadn't heard before about the protective layer of fat & clay, I will absolutely read about that and then decide on the answer to that (both here and in the toxin article).

As for the food part... I'm not an expert in biology here, just a nerd, but I would say that the disease wouldn't spread to the hunter. BUT! Because it is a toxin that spreads through cells I'm guessing the hunter might get some necrosis if not careful. I don't think a less intense heat treatment would work, because it needs high temperatures to destroy the toxin and make it useless. I've never read about the Fugu fish so I'm unsure how to answer that part.

Glad you liked it and thanks for all these wonderful questions! Will try answer them soon!

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6 Jan, 2023 22:12

Your description about Rotten Spots certainly supports your Rotten Spots title. The article also made me want to read more about the Terrelis and their exportations.

A fictive age writer lives and completes her daily work like any other age builder who inhabits her own worlds long enough to write and tell her stories.   Current Novel Read: Alpha Test.
6 Jan, 2023 23:25

Then feel free to follow the world and stay around! Cuz the articles are on the To-do list but ain't written yet :D

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20 Jan, 2023 07:40

Thanks for letting me feature your article on stream! ❤   I loved getting to chat all about it, and reading through was a delight. This is such a nasty affliction, and I love the descriptions on how different species in your world experience the condition! Definitely not something you want to mess around with!

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20 Jan, 2023 08:09

Thank you for reading it on stream! Had a great time! Im glad you liked it! :D

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Love to code, but this one is driving me crazy!
My world Shattered won as the "Most ground-breaking premise new world"!