“Writhing vermin, fungaloid spores, infected and mutated flesh. Such a creature, its combination should be impossible! Such a bonding of disgusting things, it makes no sense. What mad arcanist would perform blasphemous rituals to create a redundant and putrid nightmare like this? Why, I’ll inform you and shed the bliss of ignorance. From the dark art of necromancy arose the magics of pathomancy, a school of magic devoted to diseases, infections and other maladies to afflict one’s health. While one could debate the good in necromancy, pathomancy is almost certainly evil. Its sole purpose is spreading illness wherever it goes. Perhaps it is the ultimate in biological terror and weaponry. And from these dark arts, evil creatures are spawned. One such being is the Viral Undead, a zombified horror that is brought back to life through plagues rather than raw negative energy. However, such creatures are the only beginning of such vile rituals. There are far worse… I speak of ghoulish things that control the bodies of the dead; plagues, fungi, vermin… seemingly corrupted by darkness and made into a weaponized hivemind. There is only one title for an anathema to all that is holy, Walking Disease!” – Rambles of a mad archivist on the Walking Disease.
The Walking Disease is among one of the foulest necromantic beings ever created. This thing is an incubator of some of the most foul and dangerous illnesses and parasites known to many, and some to few. Disgusting environment, combined with magically enhanced organic tissue lends itself to the perfect breeding ground for a device of mobile biological warfare. While it is certain this is a work of dark magic, such monsters thrive in environments like fetid swampland, damp and dirty dungeons, sewage tunnels and other environments hampered by humid moisture and/or rampant decay. Some consider densely populated areas with little regard for hygiene as well as space to be perfect breeding grounds for the walking disease as well. Sometimes, when eldritch arts go awry in the right conditions, the walking disease is made entirely by accident, usually from someone who passed on in such a disgusting environment. The reason for such beings is unknown beyond forbidden magical power. Some say that the specialized necromancers seek to perfect plague magic as a weapon against their enemies. Others say cults devoted to gods of Death and Disease want to appease their dread masters any way possible. Perhaps they were simply an experiment that went horribly wrong.
This sad thing is bloated and warped beyond any recognition of its original self. Discernible anatomy is replaced by pus spewing boils, sickly sores, asymmetrically placed tumors, stretched necrotic lesions, chitinous-like plates, assorted fungal growths replacing some features entirely, chains of undead insects wriggling and swarming about, among other grotesque features. Worse yet, almost every victim suffers these deformities and mutations in different revolting and shocking ways. Despite its staggered appearance, the walking disease boasts supernatural strength and is surprisingly agile, making it a surprising and truly terrifying foe.
On top of this, it’s seemingly more observant and aware than other undead. When not posing as a body being fed on by the wretched wastes around it, it might hide in a wretched hive of filth and grime. While it feels no physical pain, its existence is prolonged by endless mental anguish and hatred. Only a complete fool would be willing to actively engage such a monster. And those who do often suffer a slow and agonizing death… only to rise up as another shambling colony of plague and despair.
Author’s Note: Considering I only posted one monster, I wanted to craft a second one for you all! This one is a conversion of a conversion. In other words, I updated one of my very first blog posts to Fifth Edition. The original post was a quick and easy conversion of the “Walking Disease” from a somewhat obscure D20 accessory book called “Into the Black.” For those who haven’t heard of it, the book is a great resource for subterranean and dungeon adventures. I’ve used it a small handful of times, myself. Also, the idea came to me while thinking about tons of horror and sci-fi monsters: The Flood from Halo, the Infected from The Last of Us, Spawn of Nurgle from Warhammer/40k, etc. While this is a translation of the original monster, those creatures played their part in making this too. Also, there’s nothing that gives me the creeps like medical horror. We all fear illness and disease, so a perfect creature of horror is a literal incarnation of it. The end result is a horrifically deadly creature that can slay its victim in mere moments, if not careful.
The Walking Disease
Medium Undead, Neutral Evil
AC: 18 (Natural Armor)
HP: 135 (18d8+54)
Speed 30 ft.
STR 19 (+4), DEX 11 (+0), CON 18 (+4), INT 9 (-1), WIS 15 (+2), CHR 12 (+1)
Skills. Intimidate +5, Perception +6, Stealth +4
Condition Immunities. Disease, Poisoned
Damage Immunities. Poison
Damage Resistance. Acid, Force, Necrotic, Thunder
Damage Weakness. Fire
Senses. Darkvision 120 ft. (Dread Vision), Passive Perception 12
Languages. Understands Common
Challenge 10 (5,900 XP)
Create Spawn. A creature slain by any the Walking Disease will become one themselves 1d4 days after death.
Dread Vision. The Walking Disease can see through magical darkness, as if it were regular darkness.
Sunlight Sensitivity. Being used to dark and shady environments, the Walking Disease suffers from disadvantage on attack rolls and Wisdom (Perception) skill checks while in direct bright sunlight.
Multiattack. The Walking Disease may use up to 2 Sickly Slam attacks per round. It may substitute one of these attacks for one of its other attacks, once per round.
Sickly Slam. Melee Weapon Attack. +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8+4) bludgeoning damage. The target must make a Constitution saving throw (DC 16) upon being hit. Failure results in taking an additional 7 (2d6) poison damage. The Walking Disease can forgo damage to grapple the target instead. However, they must still save versus poison damage for that attack.
Debilitating Touch. Melee Weapon Attack. +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target whose grappled. Hit: 9 (2d4+4) necrotic damage, and the target’s Constitution score is reduced by 1d4. The target dies if their Constitution score is reduced to 0 HP. Otherwise, reduction lasts until the finishes a long rest.
Wave of Parasites (Once per Day). Ranged Weapon Attack. Dexterity saving throw (DC 16), 20 ft. cone, all targets within cone. Failure: 14 (4d6) piercing damage plus 7 (2d6) necrotic damage. In addition, afflicted targets must make Constitution saving throws the following rounds when they begin their round or take 14 (4d6) necrotic damage. Upon success, they manage to suppress the parasites and stop taking damage. However, the target gains the poisoned condition until they are fully cured, following rules for disease.
Massive Infestation (Recharge 6). Melee Weapon Attack. Constitution saving throw (DC 16), reach 5 ft., one target whose grappled. Failure: The walking disease transmits countless lethal pathogens to the target. They immediately take 1 level of Exhaustion. Each round following this, the target must make a new Constitution saving throw at the end of their turn or take another level of Exhaustion. Upon success, the target no longer has to make Constitution saving throws. However, they take 7 (2d6) necrotic damage. Once cured, exhaustion levels caused by this effect will end once the target takes a short or long rest.
Image Credits: Bloater – Last of Us
Made by Doctor Necrotic, for Doctor Necrotic Media.