Arcane Deterioration Condition in Etharai | World Anvil

Arcane Deterioration

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Arcane deterioration is a magical condition caused by extreme overuse of Thyic above one's personal capacity. It is almost always a lethal condition, but it is very preventable with the proper means and education.


Arcane deterioration is a negative energy disease. This means that it causes the body to have a negative threshold for magic, which then causes imbalances within a patient's body.

Transmission & Vectors

While arcane deterioration is generally acquired through overuse of Thyic, it can also be transmitted to other individuals in its later stages. This type of transmission is much more deadly, as often the person who has contracted the disease is not aware they've contracted it until much too late.


When administered carefully, the effects of arcane deterioration can be reduced through the use of Amyth. Because this condition is a negative energy disease, proper use of Amyth in less severe cases can restore a person's arcane threshold above negatives, reducing the condition to the less severe energy death.


The practice of knowing one's limits when casting spells and harnessing magic is taught at the most basic levels of any sort of magical learning in schools, and is the main key to preventing this condition. To prevent the disease from transmitting from a diagnosed patient, arcanopathologists work in ABSL-3 labs.
Chronic, Acquired


Stage 0: Infection

Stage 0 is the stage of the condition when it has just been contracted. This stage has relatively few symptoms, and is sometimes hard to catch. For the first few days after contracting arcane deterioration, a person will experience occasional nosebleeds and soreness around the throat, and feel extremely tired and sometimes fatigued. This stage lasts for a typical minimum of 2 days and maximum of a week.

Stage 1: Temporary Recovery

After stage 0 is over, a patient with arcane deterioration will recover and feel fine. Usually this stage is also accompanied by semi-intense cravings for random foods. The patient tends to feel very energetic during this stage, and will often insist that nothing is wrong with them. Over the course of this stage, the patient will feel the need for less and less sleep, and sometimes will experience insomnia alongside this.

Stage 2: Hallucination

Around 3-4 weeks after stage 1, a patient will begin to experience hallucinations. These hallucinations are believed to be caused with Auras interacting with their visual fields, along with the sleep deprivation caused by the previous stage, and can be either audio or visual, or even audiovisial in more extreme cases. These hallucinations can lead to paranoia and a further lack of sleep, leading to stage 3.

Stage 3: Pain & Hunger

Stage 3 begins around a week after stage 2, and during it, a patient will experience extreme pain, sometimes compared to that of being stabbed repeatedly around the chest and head areas. While some have been able to maintain function during this stage, the vast majority of people are debilitated by this pain and become bedridden. They will also begin experiencing excruciating hunger, which cannot be relieved with any amount of food. When treated by an uneducated professional, this can lead to overfeeding and sickness due to that.

Stage 4: Paralysis

Typically a month or so after stage 3, a patient will begin to experience paralysis, starting from their extremeties before making its way to their torso and head. In order to stay alive in this stage, a patient must be externally fed. They are still aware and fully conscious in this stage, and this is the stage where the condition becomes communicable. This stage lasts for about 3-5 months before progressing into the next stage, and it is the last stage where treatments to regress the progress of the disease are possible.

Stage 5: Arcane Rot

Upon reaching the final stage of arcane deterioration, a patient experiences what is known as arcane rot. This syptom target the body's muscles, which have generally weakened enough due to lack of use from the previous stage. A patient's muscles will begin to disintegrate and dissolve into the body in a highly painful process for the still-conscious patient. At this stage, there is no known cure for the condition, and the patient's loved ones will often request a medically-assisted death for the patient by the time they reach this stage.

Cover image: Pink Sphere Splashed by Green Liquid by Pixabay


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Jan 7, 2024 16:35 by Aster Blackwell

"Arcane rot" is such an intimidating concept. What a slow and agonizing way to die!

Jan 7, 2024 17:16 by spleen

i imagine its an incredibly terrifying condition to have. thankfully it can still be cured decently far into its progression!

Jan 12, 2024 03:39 by Aaron Burr

The idea of a magic based sickness from overusing magic is super cool. Symptoms are very interesting and severe. Glad there is a lot of time (especially between stages 5 and 6) for the patient to be cured. I wonder how it is transmitted in stage 5 since it is contacted from over use of a type of magic? Is it because it starts to effect that force around other people?

“Almost dead yesterday, maybe dead tomorrow, but alive, gloriously alive, today.” — Robert Jordan, Lord of Chaos   My current project: Elturia
Jan 13, 2024 01:36 by spleen

it's based on how magic in etharai works! it has to do with fields of energy surrounding things. A living thing needs a certain amount of this magical energy to survive, but generally has a lot of excess, which slowly refills by taking from things known as bloodlines.

So in this case, the condition occurs when a person has used more magic than they can replenish, so their body starts to panic and try to minimize the effects. When this doesn't work, in the later stages, it starts trying to take magic from everything around it, not just any nearby bloodlines. Then, taking too much magic from someone else without them realising it can trigger the condition in them. (This is also why most hospitals in Etharai are located right on top of bloodlines)

Thanks for the question! I'll probably edit the article to include that bit once the judging period for WorldEmber ends.

Jan 13, 2024 05:50 by Aaron Burr

That is such a cool concept! Thanks for taking the time to explain.

“Almost dead yesterday, maybe dead tomorrow, but alive, gloriously alive, today.” — Robert Jordan, Lord of Chaos   My current project: Elturia