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Diseases In D&D 5E [How To Bring Realism To Your Campaign]

  Written By: Ashish Arya
Updated On: 11/10/2023
Est. Reading: 7 minutes

Imagine rolling a d20; your character is battling against a menacing troll in the murky depths of a dangerous dungeon.

Your Dungeon Master suddenly declares that your character has contracted a mysterious ailment.

Unprepared and anxious? Don’t worry! The unknown might seem threatening, but knowing diseases in D&D 5e could turn the odds in your favor.

This article, “Diseases in D&D 5e explained,” goes beyond merely describing what these ailments are.

It offers insights into how they work, how you can utilize them in enriching your gameplay, and even ways to counteract their deadly effects.

Being prepared is often the thin line that separates defeat from victory. And who knows? Your character might even discover an exotic cure or two along this journey of discovery.

Let’s unravel this together for you to make wiser decisions in those crucial gaming moments.

What are diseases in D&D 5E?

Within the sprawling universe of Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition (5E), diseases represent a variety of afflictions that can plague your character.

What are diseases in D&D 5E?

They are not merely consequences of failed saving throws but serve as immersive elements, infusing stories with unexpected turns.

In D&D 5E, diseases can affect any facet of your character, from their physical strength to mental fortitude.

Initialization of a disease can occur due to various reasons – interaction with monstrous creatures, journeying through hostile environments, or even as a result of supernatural spells and curses.

Diseases vary greatly: some may cause temporary disadvantages on ability checks, while others might reduce Hit Points or even lead to certain deaths if not treated.

Keep in mind that every disease presents opportunities for creative storytelling and intriguing plots.

Lying therein is their true essence, making your D&D gaming experience more engaging and dynamic.

By understanding the nature and effects of these diseases, you can enhance your overall gameplay experience by utilizing strategic actions against them.

Also Read: Warlock 5E Class Guide DnD [Abilities, Playing Styles, & Tactics]

All the Diseases in D&D 5E

Your thrilling journey in the D&D universe might come with some dangerous surprises – illnesses and ailments.

All the Diseases in D&D 5E

In D&D 5E, there’s an array of diseases that your character can contract, each with unique symptoms and effects.

These can range from magical maladies like the Sewer Plague to natural illnesses like Filth Fever.

They add a layer of complexity and challenge to your gameplay, making it even more immersive.

It’s crucial to understand these diseases, their impacts, and the ways they can be dealt with.

So buckle up because we’re about to dive into this fascinating aspect of D&D 5E.

  • Abber Flu: Contracted from the foul smog of aberrant creatures, it’s a disease from the far realm that affects the lungs.
  • Abyssal Flames: This disease consumes your soul, leading to a dark and mysterious demise.
  • Acid Plague: Victims suffer from painful sores filled with corrosive acid, causing severe discomfort.
  • Acne: A common skin condition that results in the formation of pimples and blemishes.
  • Alkali Fever: If the air smells metallic, it’s a sign to run, as this disease follows the scent of metal.
  • An Arsonist’s Curse: When too many things burn, the afflicted person also starts to burn, a tragic consequence.
  • Arachnomania: This disease transforms individuals into monstrous spiders, even more terrifying than Driders.
  • Black Fly Filth Fever: Spread by flies, it causes a slow and rotting decay in those affected.
  • Bleeding: As the name suggests, this disease causes profuse bleeding when injured.
  • Blowfat Syndrome: A sickening disease that leads to significant weight gain and bloating.
  • Botularia: This mind-devouring infection is characterized by moldy skin and a bad taste.
  • Burning Thingy: An affliction that starts with tingling sensations and escalates into a sudden, painful sensation between the legs.
  • Cheese Touch: A horrifying affliction that turns the affected person into a social outcast.
  • Coddrow: This disease instills an unnatural and sudden fear of sharp objects.
  • Coping Mechanism: Shutdown: A mysterious ailment with unclear symptoms and effects.
  • Creeping Oak: Slowly turns its victims into trees, an eerie transformation.
  • Cyenzak’s Brainworm (5e Spell): A spell with undefined effects that likely involve some form of brain affliction.
  • Dance Fever: An illness that causes uncontrollable and involuntary dancing.
  • Dead Frog Disease: Found in wet tombs and sewers, it’s a deadly disease with no known cure.
  • Death’s Touch: This disease brings an icy and deathly grip that encloses the victim’s bones and soul.
  • Dementia: A devastating and sad disease that affects memory and cognitive function.
  • Demonify: This disease leads to a transformation into a demon, altering one’s physical form.
  • Dimensional Hiccups: Manifests as hiccups caused by dimensional instability.
  • Dracoshift Flu: Slowly and painfully transforms those infected into dragons.
  • Dread Esqueleto: A dangerous disease that turns the infected into living bone structures.
  • Flame Venom: Contracted through contact with a dragon’s tooth, it leads to a dangerous affliction.
  • Fluvium: An infection causing fever and vivid, lucid dreams.
  • Fog of the Mind: Originating from mushroom spores, it clouds the minds of those afflicted.
  • Food Poisoning: Results from consuming contaminated food, often leading to nausea and illness.
  • Form Reconstruction: A disease that causes the infected to melt and spread the disease to others.
  • Foulmonella: A waterborne disease characterized by slimy secretions and indifference.
  • Glitched: Involves the transfer of one’s glitch to another host, with unclear consequences.
  • Hanahaki Disease: Begging for love in return, this ailment causes the afflicted to cough up flower petals.
  • Impassioned Perception: Allows the sensing of emotions in others nearby.
  • Infected Heart: Spreads infection through the victim’s heartbeats, leading to dire consequences.
  • Infection: As wounds fester, death becomes imminent for those afflicted.
  • Innanonfeall: Causes internal organ swelling, making movement painful.
  • Ironrot: Slowly transforms individuals into ferrous materials, like iron.
  • Ligma: A rare disease that often affects Fortnite streamers, with unspecified symptoms.
  • Miners Plague: Contracted from Underdark mushrooms, it eventually leads to the host’s explosive death.
  • Morph Fever: Results from overuse of polymorph or exposure to other magical sources, causing transformational effects.
  • Necrotic Disease: Contracted from the deadly bites of dead dogs, it leads to a fatal outcome.
  • Night Terrors: A condition that causes terrifying and distressing nightmares during sleep.
  • Night Terrors; Persistent Variety: A prolonged form of night terrors, causing continued distress during sleep.
  • Nyctodiafora: Implies that more horrors are yet to come for those afflicted.
  • Otug’s Disease: Inflicts uncontrollable rage upon those affected by this ailment.
  • Paranoia: A mental condition that induces irrational suspicion and delusion towards others.
  • Plague of Thorns, Variant: The afflicted grow spikes and lose their hands as part of the disease’s progression.
  • Pneumania: Causes chills and intense fear with a microscopic infectious form.
  • Radiation Poisoning: Results from exposure to radiation, leading to various sicknesses and afflictions.
  • Random Change: The nature and effects of this disease are unpredictable and ever-changing.
  • Rigor Vitalis: Causes bodily stiffness and immobility in the living.
  • Rotscale: Results in flaky skin and eye infections, potentially turning victims into nightmarish creatures.
  • Sailor’s Strait: Leads to early morning deaths and crying.
  • Salmon-ella: An affliction that causes vomiting of fish.
  • Scale Sickness/Dragon Lycanthropy: Despite its promising name, this disease is less appealing than it sounds.
  • Scrabies: An insect-borne disease with itching rashes and hallucinatory infestations.
  • Shadowflame Corruption: Dark fires consume the soul, inducing paranoia and unsettling eyes.
  • Shivers Disease: Common and causes extreme vomiting, heat sweats, and uncontrollable shivering.
  • Shrinking Sickness: Spread by certain animals and plants as a defense mechanism.
  • Sigma Virus: Taints Constructs and turns them violent or even into Sigma’s puppets.
  • Silent Screams: Victims suffer silently, unable to vocalize their suffering.
  • Sleeping Sickness: Causes extreme fatigue and prolonged sleep, often accompanied by vivid nightmares.
  • Snow Sickness: Affects travelers in cold regions, leading to various cold-related ailments.
  • Soot Skin: Gradually ravages the skin, turning it into ash-like tissue.
  • Spawn: A mysterious affliction that helps the victim find their inner center.
  • Sphinx Pox: Gradually transforms individuals into sphinxes, a slow and mysterious process.
  • Spore Rot: Contracted from spores, this disease leads to rotting and decay.
  • Staphobia: An aggressive infection characterized by necrosis and cannibalistic hunger, with a microscopic form.
  • Stoneheart: Thickens the blood and makes the body difficult to move.
  • Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT): A heart disorder that causes a rapid heartbeat.
  • Terrortoma: A cancerous infection that results in weaponized polyps but increases volatility.
  • The Plague: A slow and agonizing disease that ultimately leads to death.
  • The Red Plague: A blood disease contracted from contact with vampire minions, potentially causing transformation into a vampire.
  • The Soups: Unpleasant symptoms involving simultaneous vomiting and diarrhea due to fear.
  • The White Plague: Effects unspecified.
  • Thief’s Burn: Symptoms and effects unclear.
  • Transformational Plague: Victims begin to transform into creatures they’ve touched.
  • Troll Thickening: Effects unclear.
  • Tunnel Vision: Distorted perception.
  • Useful Adventurer: Causes creatures to become unnaturally useful, with painful consequences.
  • Vile Polypore: A fungal disease that debilitates the host, turning them into a mindless automaton before death, with a microscopic form.
  • Viral Bullosa: Causes delicate skin, making injuries more likely.
  • Walter’s Syndrome: Afflicted individuals constantly speak in an angry tone.
  • Weaver’s Fever: A flu-like disease that is annoying but not lethal unless you’re a wizard.
  • Werepyre Curse: The result of being bitten by both a werewolf and a vampire, leading to a complex transformation.
  • Wonky Body: Random and awkward body transformations that can be debilitating.
  • Zombie Virus: Contracted from zombie bites, it turns victims into zombies, spreading the infection.

In a world riddled with these mysterious and often terrifying diseases, survival and resilience become the ultimate test of one’s mettle.

Read More: Zombie 5E Monster [Its Traits, Statistics, And Strategies]

FAQs About Diseases In D&D 5E

What are the common ways for characters to contract diseases in D&D 5E?

Characters can contract diseases through exposure to contaminated environments, creatures, or specific magical effects.

Are there any spells or abilities that can cure diseases in D&D 5E?

Yes, spells like “Lesser Restoration” and “Greater Restoration” can cure diseases, as well as certain class abilities and items.

Can diseases in D&D 5E have lasting effects or consequences for characters?

Yes, some diseases can have long-term effects or lead to permanent conditions if not treated in time.

Are there any homebrew rules or supplements that introduce new diseases to the D&D 5E system?

Yes, Dungeon Masters often create custom diseases for their campaigns, and various supplements offer additional disease options.

How can characters protect themselves from diseases in D&D 5E?

Characters can take precautions such as maintaining hygiene, using protective spells or items and seeking the aid of healers to reduce the risk of contracting diseases.


  • Ashish Arya

    I'm a tech enthusiast and lifelong gamer, hailing from the beautiful city of Chandigarh. My passions range from immersing myself in worlds like GTA V, COD, SIMS, Roblox and Minecraft to exploring the latest innovations in laptops and technology. Armed with a Bachelors Degree in Computer Application, I love sharing my insights through writing and engaging with fellow enthusiasts. Join me on my journey through the ever-evolving realms of gaming and tech!