Author Topic: The Photophobic Plague  (Read 5612 times)

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Offline Ted

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The Photophobic Plague
« on: March 21, 2011, 04:49:46 PM »
I'm running a 4e D&D campaign, and want to introduce a plague that the players must stop (or watch the world die around them), but it needs some fleshing out.

The Photophobic Plague is actually an insidious parasite that was crossed with a hemorrhagic fever, making the parasites into carriers to deliver the biological payload.

Photobic Flu Parasite:
The parasite is born small, nearly as large as a grain of rice. The creature has four distinct legs, each with a flat 'foot', intended mostly for swimming. The parasites naturally move through ecosystems fecal-orally, through contaminated water, and through natural predation. During the initial infancy stage of life, the parasite seeks only a host to inhabit.

Upon entering a host, the parasite moves towards the optic nerve, attaching onto it. The parasite initially feeds off the electrical pulses traveling down the nerve, until reaching maturity, when it starts producing young. The young move to exit the body and inhabit their own host. The blind are oftentimes immune to Photobic Flu Parsite, for their optic nerve cannot sustain them through the birthing process.

At this point, the host has intense photophobia, is experiencing flu-like symptoms, and has trouble standing. The parasite usually survives up to two weeks before perishing.

Extremely bright light can cause the optic nerve to become active enough to kill the parasite. Getting a patient to endure the light while photophobia is in full effect can be seen as cruel however.
Magic can be use to exorcise the creature, kill it, or nullify it.
Otherwise, the body's own immune system will usually kick in after a week or two.

Blister Blight:
Blister Blight is an aggressive hemorrhagic fever, spreading through water droplets exclusively. The blight begins with a violent fever that lasts a few days, before disappearing up to a week. During this time the afflicted individual is most infectious.
After the respite from fever, blisters, boils and lesions start appearing on the body. Mucus membranes begin to bleed (Nose, Eyes, Genitals, Mouth, Lips), leading to a rapid painful death.
Treatments: Immediate clerical or other aggressive healing.

Its only route being water droplets and its quick lethality make Blister Blight outbreaks small, contained and fast. The disease cannot spread far before killing its hosts.

Photophobic Plague:
Blister Blight, upon being crossed with the Photobic Flu Parasite increased the infectiousness of the Blight, allowing its use as a weapon. The photophobic effects serve as an early warning, however, and the Blight relies singularly on the parasite to continue production of the blight pathogens.

Symptoms (In rough order of appearance):
Trouble Standing
Fever subsides
Fever, Boils, Lesions, Blisters

Infection Vector:
Photobic Flu Parasite

Removal of the parasite from the optic nerve increases survival chances greatly because the blight no longer relies on the host (where host is the sap infected with the parasite) to continue production of the blight.
Clerical Healing can meet success if the parasite is removed.

I intend to have my players meet the man responsible for crossing the parasite with the blight- after those in the group who are inclined to drink too much contract the Photobic Flu of course. His work will be slowly revealed to them (first the lab where they discover the work he did to isolate the parasite, then where his first attempts to cross the two happened, finally they have to stop him from releasing the plague), causing a mad dash to stave off pestilence.

He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. When one gazes into an abyss, he is gazed into by the abyss.-Friedrich Nietzsche.

Offline Strolen

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Re: The Photophobic Plague
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2011, 01:51:16 AM »
How would it get from oral/fecal entrance to the optic nerve I guess is my only question. Especially when it is pretty large (rice size) and made for swimming... Are they intelligent or how do they search for their next host?

These kind of things are awesome but sometimes the detail is lost in the play. Important parts are symptoms and cure. The rest, unless the players are hard core scientists or part of the play is figuring out the cure, gravy. The light cure will be found on accident, hopefully noticed, and exploited. Otherwise they are sick for 2 weeks and their immune system kicks in. Rough but survivable?

I like simple is better. I think perhaps you could concentrate, instead on the basic contamination factors maybe you concentrate on this eye thing. They should be light enough to float like those small dust particles in the air, they could even be visible and can propel themselves in the air. Their main entrance is orally or through the eye. If they are inhaled, the host will be sick but not fatal. If it gets in the eye then it can attach to the optic never and, if not treated, the eyes start changing color, blood shot and within 2 hours of that if they aren't hit by a big dose of bright light then that will kill them. That puts them needed full face protection, if the critical hours of the optic part happen at night they have to find a strong light source, if it happens during they day they have to debate between some sun blindness, death, or finding a different strong but bright source to do it etc.

Lots of options for protection as well, spraying water in front of them, fans and as simple as goggles and masks. If they enter a dusty area it would be hard to tell the difference between the parasite and normal dust etc. Rays of sunlight would be deadly reminders as the visible dust would be unsettling...and if they thought they saw one move.

Amend your symptoms to be more optically centered too. Sensitivity to bright light would be obvious, dilation, temporary blindness, see spots, hallucinations? Swallowing should have some other specific things to make it known that it is this vs every other disease you can get.

Plaques need some unusual spice, otherwise they are just another plague ya know.

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Offline Ted

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Re: The Photophobic Plague
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2011, 01:18:18 PM »
My group is making extensive use of google docs to maintain campaign info, so I can easily distill the information to them in 'handout' format- finding research notes for example.

Your suggestions are absolutely great strolen. You'll probably see this subbed in a day or two once I polish it.
He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. When one gazes into an abyss, he is gazed into by the abyss.-Friedrich Nietzsche.

Offline Murometz

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Re: The Photophobic Plague
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2014, 07:00:00 PM »
How would it get from oral/fecal entrance to the optic nerve I guess is my only question

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