Coughs and Sneezes

Magic_CircleI have been reading through the Symbaroum core book and picking up areas that warrant more detail – or where adding more detail makes sense because of what I’m doing in other areas. Along the way, I found references to disease without any specific mention of how diseases work mechanically or handling them as something more than just a Medicus-backed [Cunning] test.

The core book offers:

…many who argue that the mountain passes should be closed off. And maybe they have a point – how much will the Promised Land be worth if buried under a tidal wave of diseased scavengers?

Strong… covers the capacity to withstand physical pain and to resist poisons and diseases.

Medicus… keeps diseases from spreading. A character with the Medicus ability can diagnose and cure diseases.

In respect of the last reference, Medicus (novice) refers to the character surgeon-like abilities to heal, which for me represents a gross understanding of medicine and healing rather than handling stuff like diseases. To my mind, the subtle handling of disease is not the same as combat triage, so I suggest a character requires Medicus (adept) to handling the cure of disease.

The information below outlines a Monstrous Trait, representing a virulent disease like rabies. For other diseases, you can use similar handling, but a period of 1D4 weeks may elapse before the character experiences the damaging effect of the condition. Before that, they may feel under the weather but will have no reason to believe themselves ill and a Medicus (adept) [Cunning] test (modified by the level of the Trait as a penalty) will only reveal that infection, not cure it.

Use of Powers, like Purging Fire or Elixir of Life (see page 145 and 153, respectively), can remove the threat of disease before the onset of the condition.


The creature’s unarmed attack or Natural Weapon (see page 199) is diseased and each hit that wounds an enemy will also pass on the infection it. The disease effect is ongoing until someone administers a cure. Healing the wound alone will not provide a cure, as the penetrating strike delivers the disease into the victim’s system.

Someone infected with the bite of a Diseased creature must make a Strong test penalised by the level of the Diseased Monstrous Trait (between -1 to -3) each day. During the period of sickness, success halves the damage taken. As an alternative, a character with the Medicus Ability at Adept level of greater can roll their Cunning instead to achieve the same reduction – or combine with a Strong test to reduce damage to one-quarter (but never less than 1).

At the end of the period set by the disease (for example, on the 3rd day for Diseased I), a success of this test (either Strong or Medicus) will shrug off the disease completely – else it continues causing damage at the same rate until success or cured by some other means.

Attempts to cure disease require skill or the application of powers. Attempts that involve a [Cunning] test (e.g. Medicus) suffer a penalty equal to the level of the trait (between -1 to -3).

A Disease may harm a specific Attribute instead of Toughness, including Strong, Cunning, Vigilant or Resolute (similar to Alternative Damage, page 198). For example, a disease which causes delirium will reduce Cunning while one that causes blindness will affect Vigilant.

In extreme circumstances, a character might complete a Purging Fire ritual to burn away their bodies corruption, with the disease treated as equivalent Corruption to the rank of the Trait. Alternately, an Elixir of Life will also purge a disease from the character’s body as part of the regenerative process.

I Passive The disease is weak and deals 2 points of damage for 2 days.
II Passive The disease is moderately strong and deals 3 points of damage for 3 days.
III Passive The disease is strong and deals 4 points of damage for 4 days.


  1. Thinking of creating an ability similar to Iron Fist, called Finesse. It enables the PC to attack using Quick, rather than Accurate, at Novice. I am unsure about Adept and Master. I might simply use Iron First as a blueprint, or try to come up with something more creative. Thoughts? I know that there is an a ability in the PH that utilizes knives.

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