Yes, this Gassy Gnoll has been put down by a virus this week. And through multiple rounds of tossing and turning and trying to shake it off, I began to wonder about the use of diseases in gaming.
Honestly, the closest I came to running a game with diseases wasn’t with diseases at all… It was poisons. That is until the GM for the current group I am with kicked us in the teeth with a multi-stage chaos ailment that has all sorts of fun side effects. One of our party members (a dragon lord) looks a bit like a dinosaur crossed with a cthuloid beastie and is in stage three. Any time he rolls dice to perform an action there’s a chance it will work a bit better than expected or a bit worse.
But as I am wracked with coughing fits I wonder at the downside of using such techniques. Heroes are supposed to be tough, not suffering from sneezing, coughing, or vomiting. As a temporary effect, maybe it would be ok. However, I would hope that the effects wouldn’t last too long. My friend the dragon lord has been afflicted for all of one session and part of another. It does get old after a while.
What sorts of diseases have you used in your games? How long did they last? Do you have any cool house rules around them?
Or do you generally avoid them like the plague?