Quantum Enlichment Condition in Earthend - The World of Thundarr the Barbarian | World Anvil
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Quantum Enlichment

Your group approaches the outpost at last. Hidden away in the deep tropical zone, you are glad to get out of this heat and refresh yourselves. One of your companions trips over a muddy mound, and a blinking drone pops out. Curiously you look at the video display and decide to see what was on it.

Footage from "Z Nation", RedPencil art
Sound from "Abbatoir 8" Grimmerspace adventure and Voicechanger.io

In a hostile world, humanity has little opportunity to grow old. Life expectancy has dropped to an average age of fifty. If a settlement still has elder leaders, any decisions that go wrong because of forgetfulness or slow processing of situations could cost human life. Most settlements celebrate the 50th year for anyone reaching the mark and pass the role to a younger, proven leader.   Some groups cannot afford to lose anyone. Especially if the person has some extraordinary talents. On rare occasions, an elder might have been attuned to a Wizard weapon, a magic item or a hybrid of engineering. No one is quite sure when the condition begins or perhaps it is an exposure threshold that makes it happen, but the human changes.

Transmission & Vectors

Almost all of the Lichenified are in close contact or proximity to alien power sources. Wizard Weapons, items or reverse engineered equipment are found in every lair or haven.


Prolonged exposure or direct contact to alien radiation is the suggested reason. Why only senior humans appear to be affected is unknown. Perhaps genetic resistance factors are depleted or previously suppressed dormant mutagens get activated? No one really understands this phenomenon.


The few reports of encounters with the Lichenified describe a degenerative process. Some have few physical defects, called "Lich Marks" others have massive aberrations in physical appearance. The eyes change first, sometimes a dull haze is seen which casual observers could attribute to aging, while advanced conditions have eerie reflective eyes. Vision is initially reduced, but strangely enough, it improves to unusual clarity over time.
The behavior is the afflicted is subtle at first. Possessive habits, especially regarding the Wizard items, is a common observation. The next phase becomes Obession. The afflicted feels the item or place provides essential qualities for existence. If the item is forcibly removed out of range, the afflicted lich goes into a rage, with unnatural strength, to wrest it back. If there telepathic bonds with the item, this is when it is observed. Delusions - the lich at this stage feels the item is a part of his conscious or perhaps a living entity that can speak to him/her. They will start conversations with the item, sometimes for hours. They become more and more reclusive, eventually, leave any social relationships with humanity. Another type of Delusion is the Lich feels empowered to become a leader. If the item is powerful enough, the Lich convinces the others that he/she alone can protect them all. Pledge loyalty or similar demands are placed on the community. Those unable to drive out the Lich become slaves. The Lich will then desire to infect the community to expand his/her influence. Fortunately, we only heard of a few instances of a Lich getting this powerful.


Remove the Wizard Item from the afflicted as early as you can. Symptoms stop, and the mental trauma subsides, but there is always a yearning for that object. The best way to explain it is an addiction. No one knows for sure if the lichenification condition is curable, but it is manageable.
Magic has not been effective in reversing the condition to date. And if the Lich fully turns you have to destroy it before it decimates your outpost. They are very resistant creatures and will regenerate quickly if they are not pulverized or doused in highly acidic chemicals.


There is no cure once it is found. Settlement leaders resort to exiling the afflicted if they are unable to find out the cause of the problem. Some insidious Wizards have been known to "poison" village elders with small fragments of their imbued materials to weaken a village or fortified settlement. That being said, Wizards do not appear to control Liches, though if they can control the item that possesses the afflicted, they may have influence over the Lich. Wizards are researching this phenomenon and its terrifying.


Hair loss, facial distortion, skin sloughing, and the ravenous desire to obtain Wizard energy


No standard radiation protective measures can prevent the process, though it significantly slows the onset and its progression. More work is being done to figure out a way to overcome this devastating sickness.


Some reports if a Lich is in the area, people become agitated, having nightmares, delusions or sometimes yearn to find the Lich. The Lich usually seeks out Wizard power sources. It receives sustenance from these sources and becomes stronger. Liches are cruel and only seek interactions with others if the end goal is Wizard energy. Liches who manage to afflict others have authority over the minion lichifieds. The process of "siring another" Lich is a rigorous process and they do not undertake such efforts unless necessary. No one knows how a Lich can create another from a healthy adult. These afflicted liches are more like undead replicas of their former selves instead of true liches, but they are formidable creatures to encounter.

Lich - A malevolent creature that arises from the genetic transformation of aged humans who have been exposed to Wizard technology or radiations. They have extraordinary resistances, survivability skills and wield Wizard magic.

Lichenification - the process of "turning" into an abomination with the semblance of an undead Lich.

Lichenified - A term given to those who have lost all humanity and exist as a Lich.

Lich marks - symptoms consistent with the affliction of Lichenification
Chronic, Acquired
Women are not immune to the effects of Lichenification. Elder women are much more difficult to detect and eradicate because the signs are usually located in the back, torso or inner thighs. The afflicted usually doesn't know what's happening for months. They become ashamed and fearful of being exiled so they hide their condition until they go mad.

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Cover image: by Daniel Johnsson


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