Role playing diseases and afflictions

Does anyone have campaign examples of contagious diseases and afflictions striking turbs and Covenants?

Eg your farmer or baker upsets the faeries of the field (or hearth), and they curse the Covenant with egotism.
Did you roll for each infection and transmission, or handwave and say X members become afflicted?
Presumably only those outside the AotH.

Addendum I meant "ergotism" not "egotism" as pointed out.
I just grabbed the quickest affliction that came to mind - replace with disease of your choice of it helps

I think that you meant ergotism, spellchecker does pull funny ones sometimes.


Generally we handwave in my troupe. If it's of clearly magic origin, then grogs get infected while the magi and anyone with a relic seems strangely immune so as to give us a clue where to start looking.


Ars Magica's medieval paradigm precedes germ theory, so contagions aren't really the result of diseases jumping from people to people or from animals to people. They are the result of humors soured from bad thoughts or bad diet, a result of bad air emanating from harmful (usually rotting) materials, or supernatural influence.

If you stick to this interpretation, people should not catch disease from each other - they might catch it from corpses, which, even in the early stages of decay, are one of the sources of bad air.

(I don't usually do disease because I believe the Aegis neutralizes most supernatural influences, and the other factors do not apply. I did hit people who spent time in cities with disease before but that was a small party so I just had them roll)


I ran a game, where a Kolobok, a bread-faerie had been infected with ergot that drove him mad. He was creating golem-like bread creatures to defend him, and was also contaminating all good breads and grains around, turning people mad and violent.

The mages had the option to kill the Kolobok, or try to cure him. Although it was a faerie creature that was infected, I decided to handle it as a disease instead of a curse. So the PCs tricked the mad Kolobok into absorbing some good, fresh dough, spiked with the cure (a blend of magical herbs).


I ... want to steal this idea. So much!


Wikipedia is such a lovely resource. From Kolobok I found the gingerbread man, then Feldgeister and Roggenwolf.

Direct contact with these "corn demons" cause illness.
This has so much story potential. A mage visiting the fields can't depend on AotH, only his own Parma....

That's a pretty funny twist on the Kolobok story that my son gets read to him:

The Kolobok story was the following:

The Kolobok lived since many years in the bakery, never seen, but people suspected and more important believed in his existence. The baker would always leave a small amount of freshly made, uncooked dough in a basket, behind the oven and every morning, the basket would be empty.

He got one bag of spoiled flours (containing ergot) and made the same fresh dough to give a small amount to the Kolobok.

The change was gradual. In fact, the Kolobok had two personalities for many months, slowly getting worse. In fact, due to the ergot, the kolobok slowly shifted from Seelie to Unseelie court. Initially, he would be Unseelie only for a few minutes, the bad side being unable to do much during these episodes. But as the ergot spread within his body, the crisis would become more frequent and lasted longer, allowing the dark Kolobok to seed more and more chaos, until it becomes clear that something was wrong in the village - not immediately pointing to the Kolobok or the baker:

  • people will get more touchy, prompt to fit of anger
  • frequent complains of objects stolen or missing (including various cookingware, that he would need to bake his golems)

It is at this stage that the PCs got news and started to involve themselves in the story.

The dark Kolobok does not have much more agenda that seeding chaos, fear and nightmare - once people will start to make offering to appease him (without having identified the source), he will get even more powerful by getting more vitality. At this stage, it is possible to consider that he is becoming semi-cognizant, and would possibly consider expending to other village by dividing himself into two Koloboks, with extra dough (yes, it is a capitalistic story, about the importance of dough :wink:). It never reaches that stage in my game, but I had that in mind if the PCs were too slow to act.

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