The Taint of Decay
"Not all magic is dangerous. Not everyone who uses necromancy is evil. And not everyone who suffers from this disease is a monster that you need to fear."The Taint Of Decay is a rare disease that only seems to infect those who practice necromancy. Both wizards, sorcerers, witches, and clerics have been known to acquire this condition. As such, whenever the populace discovers someone with this unnatural yellow tinted skin, they are extremely fearful and given to panic. Many undeserving people have been driven from their homes and some have been outright killed for contracting this ailment.
Transmission & Vectors
This condition is transmitted through the direct touch of an undead creature or animated body that carries the disease. It is also assumed that eating the flesh of the carrier will also infect the person along with causing many other issues. Fortunately it seems that the living person who is infected cannot transmit the disease to any other living people. It is almost as if that particular person has been specifically targeted for some reason. It is unknown if they can transmit it to the undead as they never show any signs of the disease.
What little we do know of the cause of this disease comes from the correspondence from Yasli Occulta to the Clararton Curative Clinic in Bartolara. She believes that the negative energy associated with the undead form a link, bridging the negative energies of those who use necromantic spells and abilities to the undead. The more that one has used those energies in the past the stronger the bridge is and easier for the transference of the disease.
Several minor symptoms include an aversion to bright light, cold clammy skin, and a loss of appetite but with an overwhelming desire for eggs and meat when eating. Only one symptom is immediately noticeable compared to the rest. This is the intense yellowing of the skin and reddening of the eyes. This coloring is unmistakable and an instant indicator that something is very wrong with the individual
Those wishing to be cured of this condition must be treated by a healer or cleric and undergo three spells, Cure Critical Wounds, Cure Disease, and Heal spell. They must then stop the use of all necromantic and negative energy spells, abilities, and items for one year and one day. Next they must then have a healer or cleric successfully cast a Cure Disease and Remove Curse spell. Finally they must once again refrain from using any necromantic and negative energy spells, abilities, and items for another year and a day. Over the last few months of this time the symptoms will slowly fade away and be gone. If for any reason the infected person uses any negative energy then they must start the entire process over again.
If left untreated the symptoms will magnify over the years. The yellow skin will become much brighter almost glowing and the person will begin to smell of sulfur. They will undergo dramatic weight loss and remain cold and clammy in any environment, which can be fatal in polar locations. Their light sensitivity and strange new eating habits will remain as well.
All humanoid species are capable of being affected by this disease. However it appears that only those who have magical or divine abilities have contracted this condition. This combined with the carriers and professions of the infected has led many to speculate that those who have this disease must therefore practice dark magics, specifically necromancy.
Hosts & Carriers
This disease is said to be carried by the undead and animated corpses, in particular the skeletons and zombies. While they are not affected by it themselves, they do pass is on and infect those who come into repeated contact with them.
The best way to avoid this disease for most people is to simply not be near or come into contact with the undead. For those who fight the undead or must deal with them quite often, the Ashen Alliance has created a small amulet that when worn can ward off the effects of any negative energy disease that the person may come into contact with. Although the Amulet of Negative Negation is relatively affordable for those in the business it is not very wide spread yet. Those who own one are cautioned to keep it a secret lest it becomes a connotation for dark magic and therefore cause people to become persecuted because of ownership.
Although there is usually a great amount of fear that the disease will spread throughout the population, the illness is not transmissible from person to person. Only those who use necromantic magics and abilities have cause to be concerned. They will often seek out and destroy any local undead so that they do not accidentally become infected as well.
According to the ancient records of Alma Terveys, the first case of the disease occurred when a starving necromancer ate the flesh from one of his animated zombies and was subsequently killed by a group of adventurers. His master, Thassir Verval then raised him up as a zombie and contracted the illness from his contact with his former apprentice. While cases of this disease have been historically extremely rare, they do turn up from time to time. Coincidentally there have been recent reports out of the Mirusi Lands that several people have contracted the illness over the last few years, alarming many of its citizenry.
When the common people see someone with this condition they immediately assume that they have to be some sort of practitioner of the dark arts, for they know that the only way to catch the disease is directly from the unholy undead. The people that show signs of this illness are immediately shunned. Once word of the person’s arrival is spread wide enough, a vicious mob usually forms and they proceed to drive the person out of their village or outright kill them. Very few try to look for other explanations besides that of the presence of evil. Even more rare is when an overly compassionate person will try to harbor or treat those who are afflicted with this disease.