Blight

Table of contents


No one is quite sure what caused the Blight — or if, perhaps, the Blight caused everything else. Something, many centuries ago, killed off all but a small minority of the population of the planet of Newgulf, leaving only around ten thousand people left alive. As time has past, these numbers have grown to the hundred thousand alive in the Turritella and on the surface below.

However, the Blight still wreaks havoc on the survivors.

The Biology of the Blight

The Blight takes many forms, and little is known about its nature. The Blight infests the land, air, and water, slowly spreading across the world. Through hard work and constant vigilance, it can be pushed back, forming small pockets of civilization nestled in the wastes, but nothing can stop a Blight Storm from rampaging through and laying fresh Blight across everything in it's path.

The most obvious form of the Blight is Blight Rot. It is a dark, moss-like fungus that grows over every available surface on Blighted land. Since the moss is saturated with numerous deadly toxins, it is essentially impossible to grow anything edible on Blighted land. Blight rot will eat away at buildings and equipment, and will eventually eat away at anything but the most durable materials, meaning that equipment that is exposed to the Blight must be constantly cleaned and greased to remain functional.

Blight Smog is a black mist filled with millions of tiny, sand-like Blight spores. The dark, acrid mists hang everpresent over Blighted land, turning the sky gray and limiting visibility. In high concentration, the mists can be dangerous or even fatal to breathe. Deep beyond the lesser Blight lie the deep wastes, where the smog creates an eternal night, and is thick enough to cauterize lungs in a single breath.

Dark winds carry the Blight to fresh land, and permanent, wandering Blight Storms? weave their way across the land, randomly saturating everything they touch with the insidious contagion.

Effect on flora and fauna

For the most part, the effect the Blight has on any existing wildlife is simple: it kills it. However, in rare cases - around one in a hundred - it causes the creature to mutate instead. Unrecognizable from it's original form, these bizarre creatures often thrive among the Blight, somehow gaining the ability to digest Blight rot and survive its mutagenic onslaught.

Such Creatures are known by many names: Blight Touched, Ravagers, Rot Stalkers, Death-Beasts, Nightmares, or a dozen others. They stalk the badlands with mad fervor, attacking anything they see with blind fury. They often have strange, unpredictable abilities, and vicious speed. They grow more powerful as they grow older, lending some basis to the tales of the unkillable Leviathan? - the father of Blight, who lurks in the deepest wastes, waiting . . .

While only a very small percentage of infected animals become Blight Touched, the badlands are infested with such creatures. It is generally believed that they do not age and do not often attack one another, so nothing threatens their dominion over their tainted lands.

The Disease

As a disease, The Blight takes numerous forms, but the basic underlying principles are the same. The Blight causes uncontrolled mutation in its victims. Like radiation, the most common result is similar to a cancer, in which clusters of cells begin behaving erratically and dividing uncontrollably. Like cancers, the specific physical symptoms vary greatly. Victims may grow tumors, skin blemishes, blisters, or dark rashes. They might have trouble breathing, a persistent cough, a sore throat, or itchy eyes. In fact, some rare victims show no outward symptoms at all until they simply keel over dead. In some instances, the Blight attacks the brain, causing dementia, psychosis, hallucination, paranoia, or even (rarely) violent sociopathy.

As in animals, humans sometimes become Blight Touched. They generally rapidly mutate until they are unrecognizable, and develop violent, psychotic tendencies and erratic behavior. Soon, they lose all connection with humanity and become nothing more then ravening, rampaging monsters, indistinguishable from other Blight Touched. When one sees a Blight Touched in the wilds of the badlands, it is often impossible to tell what they once were - even if they were human. Many a hunting party has suddenly lost their nerve when they recognized the necklace of an old friend hanging around the tentacle node of a 20-foot-tall nightmare-beast.

The Blight is utterly incurable, and has a near-100% mortality rate. It's symptoms are generally incurable, even through flesh magic, and it is generally impossible to reverse or even slow the progression of the disease. It varies widely in it's progression, sometimes spreading with virulent speed, and sometimes lingering over the course of decades. It is rumored that Anvarite monks are able to protect themselves from infection, and that Void Eaters are able to survive infection, but there is little evidence behind either theory.

The Legends

There is a lot of mythology about the Blight, many versions of its history.

Everyone has a different theory about how it came to be, and what - exactly - the Blight is. Few of these theories agree with any of the others, and there is no real consensus. Just about the only thing that's universally (or almost-universally) agreed upon is that it's bad, and that it's definitely somebody's fault - usually somebody else.

The Blight is a common element in Anvarite Parables, where it usually represents chaos, degradation, change, unpredictability, ignorance, and/or thoughtlessness, and is often posed as the counterpoint to Anvari the Wise, who represents stability, forethought, meditation, improvement and wisdom.

The Void Eaters are said to worship the blight. It is rumored that through dark rituals and old magic, they are able to create Blight Touched, perhaps even becoming one themselves. It is rumored that they created the Blight through a supreme act of void magic, or that they were created by the Blight, through the same. Whatever the truth is, it would seem that the Void Eaters and The Blight are inseparably intertwined.

Blightstorms

Enormous superstorms rage across the surface, dwarfing mundane hurricanes as they ravage the land. The core of the storm is pitch black with Blight smog with winds strong enough to effortlessly rend steel and air caustic enough to eat it away in minutes.

Nothing can withstand the onslaught of a Blight storm. The only way to survive is to either leave the atmosphere entirely and live in the Turritella, or conversely, take shelter in a deep underground bunker until the storm has past. Such bunkers are priceless resources, as they generally must be hundreds of feet deep.