Black Plauge

1,190 XP

MP Cost: 20
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: One day
Range: One mile per level
Area: One mile radius per level, or 10 foot radius per level; see below
Duration: One week per level
Saving Throw: Fortitude negates
Prerequisites: Magic attack bonus +5, raise corpse

This is a dreadful spell capable of driving hundreds or even thousands of victims to horrible, tormented deaths. It creates a great wind propelling a foul, stinking miasma which can strike down all within its path. The effects of this spell closely resemble a disease, though in fact sorcery is responsible for the victims’ demise. The black plague has two different forms: one is designed to strike terror into a population; the other is designed to wipe out the sorcerer’s enemies wholesale. In either case, once the plague strikes, it is rapid and lethal from its onset to the victims’ death a few minutes later. A Fortitude saving throw (DC 17) must be made. Failure causes the targets 1d4 Constitution damage and turns their bodies purple. After 3d6 minutes they take another 1d4 Con damage and their bodies turn black. From that point onwards, they are dealt a further 1d4 Con damage per minute until they are dead.

The first form of black plague affects a random scattering of individual humans throughout the area of its effect (which is one mile radius per level) at a rate of one per the sorcerer’s level per day. The sorcerer may not specify which individuals are affected in this way. This form of black plague tends to significantly demoralize the population through which it is sweeping, for they can see no comprehensible reason for its spread. This is likely to have a number of effects at the Games Master’s discretion, including disruption to the area’s economy, widespread looting or other lawlessness and an unwillingness among the population to become involved with other issues (such as fighting a war) until the problem of the plague is resolved. A further side-effect of this form is that it gives the sorcerer a +4 bonus on any Bluff, Diplomacy or Intimidate checks he makes to deliver news by the greater sorcerous news spell, so long as he can plausibly tie in the effects of the plague with the message he is attempting to communicate. This will usually be most effective if he is able to present the plague as a divine punishment or warning of some kind. The devastation that this form of black plague inflicts on the community is further heightened by the scorching, blasting effects of the wind that drives the disease-ridden miasma. This wind blasts corn in the fields and fruit in the trees alike, withering plants and slaying animals. The precise effects of this on crop plants are up to the Games Master but if nothing else all creatures of the animal subtype within the area of effect must make Fortitude saving throws just as the small number of humans did, or die themselves. In the often shaky economies of many nations, such loss of food crops and animals can weaken or destroy entire communities even more effectively than the direct effects of the plague.

The second form of the spell is much more extreme in its devastation of humans but affects only a small area and has no effect on animals or plants. All humans within the specified area (a 10 foot radius per level of the sorcerer) must make Fortitude saving throws (DC 17) or die as above. A successful saving throw protects them for a week, but if they re-enter the area after that they must save again. Furthermore, with this version of the spell, the sorcerer may concentrate to move the area of effect at a speed of up to four miles per hour. This requires almost all the sorcerer’s attention, as is usual for a concentration type effect; also, Concentration checks may need to be made if he is attacked or otherwise distracted while moving the area of effect. Note that the plague is not actually contagious in either version. The plague will last for the entire duration of the spell. The only way for the sorcerer or anyone else to end it prematurely is by somehow taking control of the weather in the area and sweeping away the miasma with a great storm. Unlike with true diseases, conventional physicians using the Heal skill cannot alleviate the plague, though certain spells and magical objects may be useful for this.

Material Components: Essences collected from certain tombs in Stygia, to a value of 1,500 silver pieces.

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