what else can you do with your Symptoms?

Written by Vree

Tell is something that reveals that the Infected is not healthy. Tells usually become evident if the character's Symptom is violated, but can be hidden otherwise.(Looking unhealthy is not usually a problem, but Infected also get into situations where they need to avoid being spotted as the one carrying the Pathogen among a group of people, and someone calling for a doctor out of concern can also cause problems.)

Weaknesses are meant to create a cinematic effect, and also to give the Infected an Achilles heel similar to that of the other "races" (sunligh, silver, cold iron); however, the Infected do not have a shared weakness, but gain separate ones based on their Symptom. A weakness deals Aggregated damage to an Infected. An attempt can be made to guess a weakness with a Science roll, or an Occult roll in rare cases. (This works the same as Occult rolls to guess things about other supernaturals.)


What is happening?: Your lungs are being reformed, probably turning you into an aquatic breather, form a giant gas bag inside, or make you exhale something other than CO 2.
What is affected?: Respiratory system (lungs)
Misdiagnosis: pneumonia, common cold, asthma
Associated hazard: Shortness of breath, drowning.
Tell: Coughing and deeper or higher pitched voice.
Penalties: Cannot Hold Breath; penalty on any Athletics ability that calls for the use of Stamina such as Foot Chase (will be out of breath before long); can't perform Stealth too well (heavy breathing and coughing fits will usually give the person away).
Weakness: The character is especially vulnerable to airborne diseases like the common cold. He has to wear a surgical mask and wash hands regularly (many are active germophobes). [This may be easier in countries where wearing a mask is socially accepted, like Japan.]


What is happening?: It does not matter if you normally have bulking muscles - the body just feels weak, and there is no power behind them.
What is affected?: Muscular system
Associated hazard: Muscle fatigue. (Completely paralyzed & in a wheelchair in the worst case.)
Tell: Character dropping things and tripping more often.
Penalties: Penalty on any Athletics ability that calls for the use of Strenght such as Climbing or Jumping; penalty on Lifting/Moving Objects (even small ones); penalty on Breaking Objects.
Weakness: ? The presence of something makes the character lose all strenght and unable to spend ATP or use Subversions (Kryptonite radiation?)


What is happening?: The Pathogen is modifying the character's brain. This may result in increased intelligence and reflexes, or even psychic powers, but risks damaging it in the process.
What is affected?: Nervous system
Associated hazard: Brain damage.
Misdiagnosis: migraine, depression
Penalties: Minus dice on Composure and Manipulation rolls.
Weakness: Noise. High frequency sounds always damage the character (sonar weapons, amplifiers, and opera singers).


What is affected?: Integumentary system
Associated hazard: Damage. The Dermis take +1 Bashing Damage from any physical attack. Itching may also give penalties due to the distraction.
Tell: Scratching, avoidance of touching things and avoiding exposure to sunlight, bandages, scars, wearing gloves.
Weakness: Choose a specific material (gold; moonlight; radiation; water etc.) When encountered, mere skin contact is enough to cause damage to the character. Just touching the skin will deal 1 point of Bashing Damage (the person will jump back as a reflexive action). If used as a weapon, it upgrades the normal penalty.

Hunger/Weight loss:

What is happening?: The character is drawing all nutrition from the rest of the body to feed itself.
What is affected?: Digestive system
Associated hazard: Deprivation. The Famished must eat 3x the normal amount or suffer the effects of malnutrition. Your character must buy food or use the Foraging skill to find more, even if it means stealing. You can use Streetwise to locate places where you can find food in an urban area, and Survival when out in the wild.
Misdiagnosis: anorexia, smoking, intestinal worms
Weakness: Poisons. Also, pick a specific type of food (human flesh, strange mushroom, water and sugar, broccoli etc.) The character has a special dependence on this food, and must consume it regularly, and its mere presence may drive him into frenzy when hungry.


What is happening?: The Pathogen is invading the mind.
Associated hazard: Fatigue. The character must sleep for twice as many hours each day or start to suffer from sleep deprivation. This works the same as Fatigue (Wo D Rulebook p. 179) but the cumulative -1 penalty only affects rolls related to Mental attributes (Intelligence, Wits and Resolve). Due to this, reflexes (Reaction to Surprise, Defense), Perception, Memorizing and Remembering are all more difficult. Hallucinations, difficulty to differentiate between dreams and reality may set in if the player goes on for several days with only normal sleep.
Weakness: Drugs. While harmless for most others, they transport the Insomniac into the nightmarish world he is trying to avoid. (Panic, seizures, uncontrollable movement, self-destructive actions and permanent derangements are all likely.)


What is happening?: The Pathogen is using the host's body as its energy reactor to produce more ATP.
What is affected?: Thermoregulation.
Associated hazard: Temperature Extremes. Even a few degrees drop is enough for the character to get gethypothermia-like penalties.
Weakness: Extreme cold.
(Note: I have been searching for/making advanced rules for Temperature Extremes; turns out that there is one in "Second Sight" under "Thermokinesis".)

New Symptoms

Written by pkfan 2004


I feel like hammered shit. I’ve gone through two packets of those stupid cough drops and at least box of tissues. I’d chalk it up to my allergies, but it’s not even the right season for them. I’m running out of sick days, but the coughing and sneezing won’t subside no matter how many “cures” I use. But with all the blood I’m hacking up…I don’t think I’ll be going back any time soon.

It’s amazing how many people just shake off or try to ignore the effects of the international common cold, going about their day with a wad of tissues and saline spray. One would argue it’s a constant of life: everyone gets afflicted every so often. Unfortunately, the beginning stages of a Cold Infection often go unnoticed by victims, and they simply try to wait it out.

Not easily deterred, the Cold quickly amplifies in volume and intensity. The infected are plagued with raw throats, painful sneezes and gouts of viscous scum with every hacking cough. They often end up paranoid about cleanliness and order to “eliminate” the any sources of the cold.

The Buildup

As the infection progresses, the infected become more and more obsessed with order and sterility, taking to wearing gloves, carrying sanitary wipes and keeping things neat. Physically, their bodies are racked with spasms from powerful, booming coughs and sneezing, ending up rasping in hoarse voices or coughing up blood due to damaged esophageal tissue. As a result, the infected avoid open spaces without protective covering or tissues, constantly afraid of spreading their affliction. These feelings of compulsion and obsession subside when the infected are in a small, controllable space or designated clean room, and as a result their symptoms subside psychosomatically. The host suffers a -2 Dice Pool Penalty to social or composure rolls in wide-open or heavily crowded spaces.

The Bad News

The infected tends to be interrupted by frequent coughing and sneezing fits, something with doesn’t go unnoticed. As a result, they suffer from a -3 penalty to Athletics or Stealth rolls due to the chance that an episode might interrupt attempts.

The Good News

Their obsessive habits and previous attempts to find a localized source of their afflictions has granted the infected a greater knowledge for Investigation and Medicine. As a result, Cold-sufferers gain the 9-again rule on Medicine and Investigation.


I thought I was going to be okay, that I was going to be pretty without the weight. But now, I’m a bag of bones. I feel like a strained trash bag barely hiding its contents. They think I’m anorexic, or bulimic, or whatever, but I can’t get enough food these days. I wish I could explain why I look like I’m at Death’s Door…but I don’t think anything can, at this point.

Loss of color, loss of hair and weight: the signs of Terminal symptoms are all too similar and easily mistaken for a much more insidious condition by an unaware host. The Terminal are the most likely to go running to a doctor at the first sign of trouble, often dismissed as anemia, hypochondria, malnutrition or an unhealthy diet. Should symptoms persist (and they will), doctors are likely to sit the host down and talk about funeral arrangements. Unfortunately for them, their problem is worse than leukemia, cancer or life-threatening diseases; theirs fight back in a much, much dangerous way.

The Terminal starts off with losing skin tone and complexion, gaining a strong hunger in the process. Their cheeks become gaunt and hollow, and co-workers and loved ones immediately become concerned for their well being; a concern that grows on a daily basis.

The Buildup

The infection works quickly and ruthlessly: the host sloughs off weight rapidly, loses hair in clumps and starts to develop a distinct paranoid personality. They become more and more aware of the attention that their condition draws, leading them to dress up in wigs, baggy clothing, hooded jackets or heavy make-up. The Terminals feel a strong compulsion to uphold the status quo when around others, treating their affliction as a dirty secret that must be kept hidden at all costs, instinctively distrusting anyone who expresses a little too much sympathy. They’ll start avoiding the doctor out of a primal sense of self-protection; daylight and harsh lighting become their natural enemies, stinging and irritating their pallid skin and eyes much more than a normal human. As a result, the distractions of the sun, UV or heavy fluorescent light cause a -2 Dice Pool Penalty for mental rolls, unable to focus against the irritation.

The Bad News

Terminal infected tend to display physical and athletic issues due to their naturally weakened nature. The host’s Health Pool is reduced by one or two due to their struggling immune system and state of body.

The Good News

The Terminal often ends up slender and lithe as a result of massive weight loss, and it works to their advantage when it comes to dodging or feats of evasion. The infected gain +1 or +2 to Dexterity, only gaining the +2 buff if they suffer a -2 Health penalty.

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