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.

Support my work via Patreon.

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.

Tomb of Annihilation Session 10 Recap

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

Streamed, recorded and uploaded every week. Subscribe for our weekly adventures. Join us live on Fridays at 7pm Pacific/10pm Eastern!

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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”

DMs Guild Review – Grimm Encounters II

A dozen D&D encounters drawn and inspired from classic Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

A review copy of “Grim Encounters II” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work via Patreon.

Designed by: JVC Parry (+ Alex Clippinger, Beatriz T. Dias, Jeff C. Stevens, Ken Carcas, and Molly Meadows)

dms guild reviewFairy tales are classic story-telling devices, but the ones featured in “Grimm Encounters II” aren’t exactly the Disney-fied versions with singing and happy endings. This collection of 12 D&D encounters written by six different DMs Guild authors is based on the original, and sometimes very dark, Grimm’s Fairy Tales from the 19th century.

Each encounter is 2-5 pages long and designed to easily drop into a multitude of situations and environments, ranging from a single combat encounter to full on one-shots. The level ranges differ for each, with a generic Tier listed instead of specific levels (most are Tier 1 or 2). Since they’re based on fairy tales, expect to see several overlapping themes and archetypes, including evil witches, curses, and polymorphed victims. Continue reading “DMs Guild Review – Grimm Encounters II”

Tomb of Annihilation Session 9 Recap

The players reach level 3, spend their hard-won cash in the city, and set out on their adventure via the river.

Streamed, recorded and uploaded every week. Subscribe for our weekly adventures. Join us live on Fridays at 7pm Pacific/10pm Eastern!

Support my channel via Patreon!

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

Our official excursion into the jungles of Chult finally began this week with Session 9, though it was hampered a bit due to some connection issues with YouTube and some problems with Roll20. We are nothing if not adapt at dealing with technical adversity, however, so after a delayed start we finally kicked off our adventure. Continue reading “Tomb of Annihilation Session 9 Recap”

Crafting Annihilation 10/25

REMINDER: Tomb of Annihilation airs TONIGHT instead of tomorrow this week. Same time!

Behind-the-scenes DM-only live stream of building and preparing our ongoing Tomb of Annihilation series.

Streamed live every Thursday.

Support the channel at https://www.patreon.com/Roguewatson

DMs Guild Review – Children of the Fey

Nine new fey-based player races, along with over two dozen NPC statblocks.

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

Support my work via Patreon.

Designed by: Steven Wallace

dms guild reviewWhile the Monster Manual (and other monster compendiums) contains a fair share of faerie-based foes, most are drawn from European folklore (hell, much of the entire fantasy genre is distilled from Tolkeinesque medieval Europe, but let’s not get sidetracked).

The concept of faerie player races isn’t exactly new, but “Children of the Fey” has a distinctly international flavoring, drawing in cultural nature and spirit beings from around the world, including Australia, Celtic, Japanese, African and Inuit, creating a rich tapestry of faerie races and subraces, as well as a full NPC bestiary using each race.

Continue reading “DMs Guild Review – Children of the Fey”

Tomb of Annihilation Session 8 Recap

The day of the great Dinosaur Race is finally here! Can the PCs win big with their wildshaped druid?

Streamed, recorded and uploaded every week. Subscribe for our weekly adventures. Join us live on Fridays at 7pm Pacific/10pm Eastern!

Support my channel via Patreon!

Previously on Tomb of Annihilation

Starring:
Mannix, level 2 Human Rogue
Khaless, level 2 Half-Drow Rogue
Gillian, level 2 Triton Bard (out this week)
George, level 2 Tortle Fighter
Therin, level 2 Hill Dwarf Druid of the Moon

It’s the day everyone’s been waiting for – Race Day! I’ve been teasing the dinosaur races ever since my players arrived at Port Nyanzaru. I wanted to save it as one of the last things they did in the city before entering the jungle proper, and I think it was worth the wait.
Continue reading “Tomb of Annihilation Session 8 Recap”