DMs Guild Review – The Malady Codex

A supplemental guide to diseases for D&D that’s nothing to sneeze at.

A review copy of “The Malady Codex” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

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Designed by: Jason Bakos & Themis Paraskevas

dms guild reviewDisease and pestilence are as much a part of D&D as anything else, yet few would dare create an entire supplemental guide exploring new and virulent maladies. “The Malady Codex” features nearly a dozen diseases designed by medical students based on many real-world diseases, effectively applied to a fantasy universe.

The diseases are organized by their origins as Magical, Divine, or Natural. Each disease is divided up into an easy-to-read series of notes, including the disease’s Cause, Symptoms, and Cures.

Each disease is also given a potential plot hook for how to include it in a campaign. Some of these are well thought out, with original NPCs involved in the disease’s origins, such as the dragon Oxitorus the Choleric or the mold-spreading beholder Biathocax. Others are disappointingly vague and generic.

I appreciated that almost all the diseases are based on real-world, well-known diseases, whether historical or modern, such as the Bubonic Plauge, Mad Cow Disease, Cholera, Leprosy, and even a whole category of interracial STDs. The real world links establish an easy touchstone for understanding these afflictions and how they could work within a D&D universe.

dms guild review

Not all diseases are a pandemic. Many are actually non-lethal – but still a literal pain. The variety presented here helps provide an assortment of options depending upon how severe you want the disease to be – and whether or not that’s a focus of your storyline or merely a by-product.

Necrophorum, for example, could be an easy excuse for a low-level party to help out a farmer, or a farming village dealing with diseased animals. The Mindflayer Network and Demonic Virulence would be effective in campaigns that feature Mindflayers and Demons respectively (or both –  hello Out of the Abyss!), while the Mad Mage Virus could add an interesting twist to an encounter with enemy spellcasters.

The appendices at the end offer a nice little bonus of disease-themed NPCs as well as a few statblocks and magical items. I wish this were a bigger section. The parasitic Medtroid-like Malady is very cool and thematic and I would loved to see more creatures, either disease-ridden or literal walking maladies themselves.

Pros:

  • 11 D&D-friendly diseases, organized by Origin, Symptoms, Cure, and potential Plot Hooks.
  • Many of the diseases are based on real-world counterparts, such as Tetanus, Cholera, and Leprosy.
  • Disease-healing abilities and spells are listed at the beginning.
  • An appendix with several NPCs, statblocks and magical items with a disease theme.

Cons:

  • Mad Mage Virus is a neat idea but a  bit overly complicated.
  • Some of the plot hooks are just a few generic notes rather than specific stories.

The Verdict: With nearly a dozen diseases inspired from real-world maladies, “The Malady Codex” provides a variety of interesting and terrible afflictions to add to your campaign.

A review copy of “The Malady Codex” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work via Patreon.

Goodreads Review – Raising Steam (Discworld #40)

Raising Steam (Discworld, #40, Moist von Lipwig #3)Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Even a mediocre Discworld book is still pretty good. In the Discworld series, the Moist von Lipwig books are solidly at the bottom. They’re as much about the city of Ankh-Morpok and the steady march of progress as anything else, and Raising Steam is no exception, with the invention of the locomotion. Unfortunately a good chunk of the novel is spent on a wider lens look at the city, the inventors, and the Patricians’ machinations.
I do adore the Patrician but it’s mostly a snooze-fest, and I never did care about the locomotion pair of Dick and Harry, whom we spend a lot of time with.
The final third of the book picks up steam (sorry) into a nice little ending, and I did love the inclusion of Commander Vimes and the City Watch as supporting characters.
Note that although it’s a Moist book, the surrounding plot is a sequel to the Troll-Dwarf war story in Thud!, nearly making it required reading to know what’s going on. Of course, you’ve already read all the Discworld books, right?

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Tomb of Annihilation Session 10 Recap

We travel up the River Soshenstar toward Camp Righteous, dealing with crocodiles, waterfalls, and dinosaurs.

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Previously on Tomb of Annihilation

Starring:
Mannix, level 3 Human Inquisitive Rogue
Khaless, level 3 Half-Drow Assassin Rogue
Gillian, level 3 Triton Bard of Whispers
George, level 3 Tortle Battle Master Fighter
Therin, level 3 Hill Dwarf Druid of the Moon

Chult is a dangerous place, which in D&D terms means a healthy dose of random encounters while traveling in the jungle. Traveling via canoes down a river allows for faster travel, and I house ruled that the party can’t get lost on the river.

But the rivers aren’t entirely safe either, as the party has to deal with crocodiles, waterfalls, and dinosaurs.
Continue reading “Tomb of Annihilation Session 10 Recap”

Let’s Play – Darkest Dungeon Episode 07: Secret Treasures and Brigand Cannons

Weeks 19 and 20. Looking good after my last stream. Headed for another new boss in the Weald, the Brigand 8 Pounder, which is a big ass cannon. It’s still a level 1 boss so not too terrible. After that it was a short jaunt into the Ruins with a Level 3 mission that yielded some very nice treasures.

Weekly video game adventures. Streamed live twice a week.

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