Transmission & Vectors
Pallid Blight is acquired by consuming either food or water contaminated by spores of the White Harbinger fungus. Creatures infected with the Pallid Blight pass White Harbinger spores through bodily waste, allowing it to germinate and flourish again. The blight cannot flourish outside of a creature's digestive track and as such cannot be caught via respiratory infection or skin to skin transmition. However, consuming the digestive track of an infected creature will allow the blight to be transmitted.
Pallid Blight is caused by the secondary life cycle of the White Harbinger fungus, a tall thin mushroom with white cap and ivory stem. The mushroom produces spores that contaminate nearby food and water, lying dormant until they reach the acidic environment of a digestive track. There, they develop into a form of parasitic fungi that dwells in the digestive track, producing the enzymes that cause the symptoms of the disease and spores that are carried in the creature's solid waste. These spores develop back into the original mushroom, repeating the process.
Infection by the Blight produces a chemical that causes extreme sensitivity to sunlight. Afflicted creatures skin will develop first degree sunburns in under half an hour of direct sunlight , worsening with continued exposure. Furthermore, these creature's pupils become heavily dilated; providing weak darkvision but ocular sensitivity to bright light. Beyond this, milder symptoms include stomach cramps and mild nausea, occurring shortly after eating.
The Pallid Blight can be treated with a week long course of antifungal medication; reaching remission at the three day mark. Castings of cure disease send the Blight into remission immediately, causing symptoms to pass by the end of the day, but will require futher treatment or a second casting in a day's time to eliminate entirely.
Healthy individuals will with time overcome the Blight on their own, given around two weeks of recovery time. Without proper nutrition and hydration, the disease can occasionally last for up to a month before passing through the creature's system.
The Pallid Blight is not common above the Underdark, with the exception of towns near trade routes leading into the earth. In the Underdark, the Pallid Blight is viewed much like the common cold- you are likely to catch it, pass it around the community, and move on as your system adapts. On the surface, however, the disease is considered much more debilitating as the sunlight sensitivity requires either immediate treatment or confinement to indoor areas.
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