“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.