It is widely known throughout Chaddamar that the Desolation is rampant with disease. While this is true, there is one disease in particular which has caused the Desolation to be called "cursed". This disease is called the Scourge. It will quickly infect and kill any humanoid who ventures into the wasteland beyond the Wall.
Humanoids venturing into the Desolation will become infected with the Shidaran virus within 24 hours. The virus progresses rapidly with symptoms including weakness, blurred vision, uncontrollable shaking, sweating and headaches. The symptoms worsen until the victim is overcome by convulsions and, finally, paralysis. Death usually occurs in less than a day.
In truth, the victim does not die. Although he will appear dead to witnesses. In actuality, all biological functions have slowed to an imperceptible level. Assuming that the body is not destroyed, a fibrous husk will form over the corpse within hours. While "cocooned", an amazing transformation is tacking place. This transformation lasts about 12-18 hours. During the process, the Scourge is rewriting the genetic code of the victim. Once this process is complete. the victim will awaken and rise as a Desolation Wight (also known as a Shidaran Zombie or Desolation Wight).
A Desolation wight appears as a sickly, emaciated humanoid creature. The creature is thin and gaunt with a sickly palor to the skin which is stretched tight over bones and muscles. The creature is mostly hairless with eyes that blaze white and pupiless. The flesh is sunken and pulled revealing fangs and long claws.
A summary of changes in the victim:
|All body hair falls out.|
|Skin becomes tough, scabrous hide.|
|Wrinkled with ropey veins.|
|Fingernails lengthen into claws.|
|Teeth elongate and sharpen.|
|Eyes become coated by a milky white membrane which is sensitive to life energy and magical emanations.|
|Intellect is reduced to that of a wild animal. No language.|
|Attack all living creatures (except other desolation zombies) on sight.|
|The zombie carries the Scourge virus and infects with bite or claws.|
|Zombie is immune to pain and regenerates quickly.|
|Zombie is immune to poison and disease.|
The disease makes their body unable to metabolize fat and certain proteins. They must consume flesh (preferably humanoid flesh) to obtain the fat and protein they lack. They are fairly mindless, insane creatures. They live like animals. They have lost all language.
This disease wiped out the city of Shidar ages ago and the lands around it. Hence, the Desolation is filled with the ruins of castles and cities that the wights have abandoned. Now this entire region is dangerous to travel. The wights feed on anything they can catch, but they won't hunt each other.
These creatures are known as "Shidaran Zombies" and "Desolation Wights". Both names are used depending on the region and context.
Desolation Wights are NOT TRUE UNDEAD. They are biologically active creatures. They are alive. They are NOT undead. Therefore, they cannot be turned. And magic effects them as if they were a normal animal or humanoid.
This website was last updated October 5, 2021. Copyright 1990-2021 David M. Roomes.