Core Rules: Illness

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Illness and disease inhibit your character's ability to do things.

There are 4 facets to illness in Echelon: Contagion - how likely you are to catch it, Severity - how deadly it is, Effects - the number of symptoms, and Length - how long it lasts.

Testing Against Illness

Once every in-game week, the GM should roll a contagion test: 5d10, and comparing the result to the contagion scores below. The GM can roll this per character, per group or for the entire party if they please. If the roll is above the contagion chance(s), then the character or group has been exposed to something. If there is a chance that more than one illness would strike, the GM may randomize which, or opt to select any or all for particularly filthy environments.

If there is the chance they'll catch something, then they must pass a constitution test (Tgh + Wil) to avoid contracting the disease. Some illnesses will offer penalties to the constitution test.

The contagion roll can be modified by the environments that the character(s) or group has been in for the past week. The GM may wish to roll this secretly.

Here are a few ideas:

Environment and ActionsModifier
Grasslands, wheat fields0
Streams, brooks, etc., and drinking untreated water from these (relatively) cleaner sources-1
Towns, Cities-2
Being unprotected in the cold for too long, already having a cold, larger waterways.-2
Crowded inner city, crowded ships, eating undercooked food-3
Major city waterways - the largest rivers going through a big city-5
Prison, eating rotten food, drinking stagnant water-6



Contagion is a measure of how contagious it is, and how likely someone is to contract it. This is what is rolled against when taking a contagion test.


Severity is a measure of how deadly the disease is. Some diseases are merely a nuisance, others fatal.

  • Pass a constitution test each in-game day or take fatigue equal to the severity rating. This can be recovered with rest.
  • Pass a constitution test each day or take 1 permanent fatigue per 2 levels of severity, rounding up as normal. This fatigue is only removed when the illness is recovered from.

The GM can make these seperate tests if they deem it necessary, or combine the two to speed things up.

A character can become exhausted through fatigue gain as a result of an illness.


Effects are the symptoms, and often range wildly. The intensity of an illness's symptoms can be defined by its effects rating. Some illnesses may have fewer but more potent symptoms, others a large range of symptoms.

  • Reduce your Str, Tgh and Agi by the illness's effects rating
  • Reduce your Int and Ptc by half the illness's effects rating (rounding up)

Here are a few different symptoms. The GM is free to think of more if they need:

General discomfort in certain body parts. These effects are abstracted in the effects and severity scores of the illness.
Chills and/or Fever
Either of these symptoms causes further discomfort and impinge on abilities:
You suffer a -2 penalty to all tests (cumulative with other modifiers)
You no longer add your strength bonus to physical attacks
You no longer add your intelligence bonus to magic attacks
Coughs, Diarrhea, Sneazes
Each of these symptoms make the spread of the illness easier. Their effects are abstracted in the effects and severity scores of the illness.
Once you lose half of your levels of fatigue, you are exhausted. Some illnesses cause exhaustion automatically. Whilst exhausted:
You suffer a -4 penalty to all tests (cumulative with other modifiers)
All of your movement rates are halved
You no longer add your strength bonus to physical attacks
You no longer add your intelligence bonus to magic attacks
You feel super extra tired. You must sleep for an extra 1d6 hours per day. This can be rolled for the duration of the entire illness, or per night
Feeling sick enough that it seriously impinges your style. You can't attack, defend, train, or cast spells, but you may move - take note of the reduced Agi from the illness's other effects.
You feel super extra thirsty. You must consume double the amount of water you would need normally.
Reduce your Per by the effects rating of the illness.


Simply how long an illness will last. This will most often be expressed in days.


Most illnesses pass with time, unless they kill you first.

After the illness has run its initial length, reduce the severity and effects ratings by 1 per in-game day until either are at 0. Once either are at 0, the character is no longer effected by the illness and can carry on as normal.

If you do recover from a particular illness, it's highly unlikely that you'll catch it or something similar again. With the exception of some particularly stubborn diseases such as colds and flu, you can be considered immune to a disease after you catch it and survive.

Example Illnesses

These examples represent a selection of the most common illnesses likely to be encountered.

Common Cold

-2 penalty
122D5 days

Symptoms: Coughs, Sneezes, 20% chance of Fever.

You cannot become immune to this disease.


-6 penalty
541D5+2 days

Symptoms: Thirst, Nausea, Diarrhea, Exhaustion.

You cannot become immune to this disease.


38+246d10 weeks

Symptoms: Aches, Coughs, Exhaustion.


-4 penalty
442D5 days

Symptoms: Aches, Coughs, Exhaustion, Chills.


-4 penalty
233D5 days

Symptoms: Coughs, Sneezes, Exhaustion, Fever.

You cannot become immune to this disease.


-4 penalty
433D5 days

Symptoms: Aches, Diarrhea, Nausea, Fever.

You can only contract this disease if you have been in warm countries (such as the Lutin Peninsula, Southern Veridias, Nacarta and Sechera) and around standing water.


38+231d5+2 days

Symptoms: Aches, Coughs, Exhaustion, Rashes.


-6 penalty
663d5 days

Symptoms: Aches, Chills and Fever, Exhaustion, Gangrene, Hypersomnia, Nausea, Rashes.

Each day whilst effected, you must take a constitution test or succumb to delirium for the rest of the illness.


39+352d5 days

Symptoms: Aches, 50% chance of Coughs, 20% chance of Exhaustion, Fever.


-6 penalty
364d10 weeks

Symptoms: Rashes, Vision, 20% chance of Delerium, 20% chance of Incontinence, 20% chance of Paralysis, 20% chance of Blindness

The profile here refers to tertiary syphillis. A character cannot catch Syphillis if they are a virgin.

Scarlet Fever

-4 penalty
341d5+2 days

Symptoms: Aches, Coughs, Sneezes, Fever, Rashes.

Small Pox

-10 penalty
583d6+6 days

Symptoms: Aches, Exhaustion, Fever, Nausea, Rashes, 30%chance of Blindness.


-10 penalty
1064 days

Symptoms: Delerium

You can only catch rabies if you have been bitten or attacked by an animal.


-4 penalty
441d3+1 weeks

Symptoms: Aches, Fever, Diarrhea, Nausea, Delirium, Rash