"It's one thing to see the Voidwalkers only once, it's another when you see them everywhere you go." - Rendall Honeystrew, recovered Voidshattered patient at the Rising Hopes Asylum in Revellon
The Voidwalkers, are terrifying and mysterious as they are, don't do the most damage to Targonia's societies when they make attacks. Rather, the aftermath of their attacks leaves far more lethal and demoralizing repercussions, in the form of affliction called Voidshatter. Voidshatter occurs when an individual from the Material Plane experiences the first-hand encounter with a Voidwalker, whether it's by fleeing or fighting it. Days after the incident, the victim suffers from minor cases of dementia, as they slowly forget details they had once known. Then it develops into more major episodes of dementia, and if left unchecked, could cause worse-case symptoms like paranoia, insanity and eventually suicide. As to how it precisely works and develops is yet to be understood, but the popular theory is that the presence of the Voidwalkers eats away at the Waylines they enjoy destroying when they make an attack, and when a person meets one, they carry that same image of them with them, still eating away at the Waylines but the one that has them connected to the Wayline. It explains why not even magic could cure those Voidshattered in the second phase, but as to how that actually works is still a mystery. As of now, all commoners are encouraged to not look at a Voidwalker when they happen to be part of an assault.
Individuals that manage to survive a direct confrontation with the Voidwalkers may begin the early stages of Voidshatter, where they slowly forget minor details about their lives. Talking about the subject does not develop Voidshatter within an individual, though second-hand experience (like visiting a site Voidwalkers appeared beforehand) can cause Voidshatter, although at a lesser success rate.
Individuals slowly forget minor details about their life (but not the encounter), like what day it is today, who visited them before, and what they ate. It then slowly develops to affect more important matters like the name of the town they live in, their relationships with other individuals, and sometimes their own names. If they don't receive treatment immediately, they then become hyperactive in their daily routines and become sensitive to loud stimuli, resemblingly paranoia. After that, paranoia fully sets in, with the subject of worry being the Voidwalkers themselves. Finally, the worst of symptoms include visual and auditory hallucinations like Voidwalkers around the corner and the constant gnawing of their teeth. This drives the individual into insanity, and if not checked, may result in one ending their life, but with wounds resembling that of Voidwalker bite marks and claws.
There is no affirmative treatment for Voidshattered individuals that are past the second stage: their minds rotted with paranoia, insanity, and insecurity that even magic is not able to undo, the current theory that the Voidwalkers literally "ate" the connection between the individual and the Waylines that makes affecting an individual with magic possible. Most are sent to hospitals, churches or asylums to be taken care of until they naturally develop better (though extremely unlikely). Those in the first stage, however, can reduce the severity of their dementia by visiting churches and praying to their respective gods. The explanation is that using the gods to clear one's mind before their connection with the god is severed, they are able to potential "cleanse" the mind of Voidshatter. The most successful members to recover from Voidshatter are actually acolytes, clerics and clergymen. Regular commoners also find success, but at a slightly lower rate.
Voidshattered individuals suffer 2 main stages: the first occurs mere days after a traumatic or over-exposure session with the Voidwalkers. This typically develops over the course of a few months, and the severity of such symptoms varies on the precise encounter with Voidwalkers. Scarcely seeing them, and they are expected to make a full recovery. Fleeing from such an encounter or fighting against them, however, transitions individuals into the second stage of Voidshatter, where they begin to suffer from bouts of paranoia, and then afterward, insanity. Most are driven to suicide nearly 6 months after the incident, but some manage to hold on, though rarely.
The only preventative measure against Voidshatter is to not personally see one in person. This is mostly doable, since Voidwalker attacks are extremely rare and occur mostly in the wilds of Targonia. However, in the event of an attack on a settlement or city, commoners are encouraged to not make direct eye-contact with the Voidwalker, and block out all the noises they can make, and flee the area. After an attack, wait for officials to clean up the mess, and then everything resumes normally. Voidwalkers have never made an attack twice in the same location.
Since Voidshatter only affects those that have seen the Voidwalkers, it doesn't spread like a conventional virus. There is a small caveat to that: it is specified that Voidwalkers need not be alive for Voidshatter to be inflicted. Corpses can radiate the same fear responses that can cause Voidshatter, though the actual infliction is far more likely and less pervasive when it does set in, making it easier to combat, and certain individuals can even gain a sort of tolerance when subjected to Voidwalkers in that way.
Ever since the first Voidwalker attack occurred in 1013 AFT at the town of Laxsorus in Revellon, commoners, guards, and adventurers have suffered from decreasing mental states after they witnessed Voidwalker attacks. The symptoms displayed by an individual is different in the way of how it progresses and how pervasive it was in one's life that made it different from other mental retardation cases. A cleric by the name of Gornar Rainfeller was the one to coin the term "Voidshatter" to describe this phenomenon, as the Void shatters the individual's mind and spirit as well as their connection to the Wayline that grants the creature free will and sanity.
Victims suffering from Voidshatter are often met with prayers and wishes to get better, but not much as been terribly done to support those beyond that. A few churches like those of Lathandar and Bahamut have taken in the Voidshattered and cared for them to their dying dies, and nations like Revellon, Osia, and Maladakova have open asylums where one could be administered for better care, but for those outside of those options, they often suffer and are sometimes made outcasts as to not demoralize the town further.
- Chronic, Acquired