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The Weeping

Written by EmberMagic

She sits in the corner now, barely moving, barely breathing, barely existing. From an embodiment of joy to a perfect statue of sorrow. Rivers of woe run down her cheeks and those once glorious golden locks have dulled to an unwashed slate grey, limpley draped round the wilting tips of her pointed ears. I have never seen such a tragedy as this.
— A description of a victim of the Weeping
The Weeping, a name given to this magical plague by the common folk, is an almost incurable disease that has recently become a pandemic, present in almost every major civilisation. This terrible affliction leaves its victims incapacitated with an unshakable sorrow and sense of melancholy.

Transmission & Vectors

The Weeping is spread in one of two ways. The first, and more easily avoided way of catching this affliction, is physical contact with the tears of an affected creature. Before the Weeping became so widespread, many people became infected in this way - and many still are. For, what parent can resist wiping away the tears of their child? What lover would not seek to comfort their partner? However, now that more is known about the Weeping, and the terror of the masses has grown to the point of hysteria, anyone with even a hint of a glisten in their eyes is regarded with fearful suspicion. The second, subtler way that the Weeping can be contracted is more complex. It occurs when the sadness of a creature affected by the disease begins to influence another. For example, an infected creature might begin to ramble about something that has upset their plague-affected emotions and a listener might start to empathise with them, and their feelings may begin to be influed by this as well, which is when this insidious disease can take root in them too.


The symptoms of the Weeping initialy manifest as emotional sensitivity - even the smallest, most trivial thing, like the death of an insect, can evoke an unreasonable level of despondancy in the victim. As the disease progresses, so does the level of sorrow. After only two or three days, a victim will often have a constant stream of tears rolling down their cheeks. After about a week, the melancholy gripping the victim will rise to the level where they are no longer able to muster the will to move, which leads to the victim also ceasing to eat or drink, unless another person is caring for them and providing them with these things. At this point, the victim normally dies of dehydration after only a couple of days (quicker than normal due to the incessant stream of tears) but, if they are lucky enough to have a carer, they can survive for longer - maybe even months - but eventually, the victim will waste away, until all that is left is a sallow skeleton of a person, and die.


When someone catches the Weeping, it is often treated like a death sentence because there is no reliable treatment for it. A very small minority who possess an uncommon level of willpower, perhaps less than one in a hundred, will recover on their own, which is very much a testement to the mental fortitude of these individuals, since the magical energy responsible for this plague is formidable indeed. Only exceedingly talented mages are powerful enough to reverse its effects through magic and these people are few and far between, often charging the equivalent of a small mountain of gold for their services. Occasionally, more minor magics will be able to cure the affliction, or help the victim to fight it, however, instances of this are quite rare and, if stories are to be believed, often result in the one casting the magic becoming infected, or even a permenant warping of their arcane abilities.


There are currently no known preventative measures or protections against contracting the Weeping, other than simply avoiding the infected. This, however, has not stopped the multitude of phony physicians, known as quacks, traveling from town to town, peddeling their false amulets and herbal remedies, which are mostly just alcohol flavoured with a few medicinal plants. Because of this opportunity to take advantage of, many a swindler has become wealthy at the expense of the desperate, so, in some places, quackery has actually become a punishable offence, but, since the scammers are normally long gone before their deceptions are discovered and, due to the lack of enforcement of law in most places, hardly any of these people are ever caught.


The Weeping is thought to originate from the cursed islands on the western edge of the world, called the Tearlands. An ancient tragedy befell the civilisation that once dwelt there and the sorowfull, magical rememants of some great arcane catastrophe still taints this small archipelago with supernatural sorrow that overtakes anyone foolish enough to visit. Scholars have theorised that, since the symptoms of the Weeping and the ambient effect of the Tearlands are so similar, it makes sense to assume that the two are connected and that it is where the plague originated. It is presumed that the disease was first contracted by an adventurer there, and that they then brought it back to the rest of the world.
Note: These rules are still a work in progress.

For Use in D&D 5e

  • When a creature makes contact with the tears of an infected creature, they must succeed on a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or become infected.
  • When a creature has a conversation with an infected creature, they must succeed on a DC 10 Wisdom saving throw or become infected.
  • An infected creature can attempt a DC 22 Wisdom saving throw once per day. On a success, they are cured.
  • An infected creature gains a level of exhaustion every two days until their exhaustion reaches level five. If the creature has a carer looking after them, then they can survive for 1d20 * CON modifier more days while this care continues. If not, then the creature gains the sixth level of exhaustion after a number of days equal to their Constitution modifier. These levels of exhaustion cannot be removed in any way while the creature remains infected.
  • No spell lower than 5th level has any effect on this disease and for the purpose of spells, it counts as both a disease and a curse. For example, greater restoration can cure the Weeping but remove curse cannot.
  • An attempt to cure this disease with a lower level spell has one of the following unexpected effects (roll a d20): 1-10, nothing, 11-13, the caster of the spell takes 1d6 necrotic damage for the next 1d4 + the spell's level days (this effect can be dispelled by remove curse or a similar spell), 14-18, the spell's caster gains the following flaw for the next 1d4 + the spell's level days -"I can no longer see the point of living in this miserable world" (this effect can be dispelled by remove curse or a similar spell), 19-20, the DC 22 saving throw that the infected creature must succeed to be cured is lowered to DC 15.

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