In the Dungeontech series of articles, I offer suggestions and alternate mechanics for introducing fantastical technology into your Dungeons & Dragons games. In this article, I introduce three tech-based diseases. Technology has its dark side. By exposing people to pressures, energies and environments that they were never built to endure, technology can expose people to new and unusual diseases.
Level 3 Disease
This heroic-tiered condition occurs under conditions of rapid depressurization. The debilitating pain slowly renders the target helpless. Death only occurs if the person is unable to feed himself.
Endurance Improve DC 17, maintain DC 13, worsen DC 12
Attack: +6 vs. Fortitude
Cured: The target is cured. ◄ Initial Effect: -2 on all attacks, damage and Skill checks ◄► Effect: Initial effect plus Slowed ◄► Final Effect: Helpless.Space Sickness
Level 14 Disease
This paragon-tiered condition occurs from extended travel in low-gravity environments, which deteriorates one’s muscles, psyche and will. Unlike other diseases, space sickness improves with an Athletics check, not an Endurance check, representing vigorous exercises to restore or maintain one’s physical and mental health.
Endurance Improve DC 23, maintain DC 18, worsen DC 17 or lower.
Attack: +17 vs. Fortitude
Cured: The target is cured, but penalties continue until target leaves Deep Space ◄ Initial Effect: -1 to all Ability modifiers ◄► Effect: -3 to Ability modifiers; outside low-gravity environments, the character is encumbered ► Final Effect: -5 to Ability modifiers; outside low-gravity environments, the character is immobilized.Radiation Poisoning
Level 26 Disease
Prolonged exposure to irradiated areas causes this epic-tiered condition. Radiation poisoning is often fatal, causing nausea, hair loss, organ failure, and death.
Endurance Improve DC 29, maintain DC 25, worsen DC 24 or lower.
Attack: +30 vs. Fortitude
Cured: The target is cured ◄ Initial Effect: The character incurs a -2 penalty to attack rolls, skill checks, and ability checks ◄► Effect: In addition to the initial effect, the character cannot use any healing surges ► Final Effect: The target dies.Illustration bySchoenherr for "Space Viking" by H. Beam Piper (1962) from Analog “Science Fact—Science Fiction” (Nov. 1962 – Feb. 1963).