4 thoughts on “So how exactly does the cleric spell contagion work?”

  1. I think the spell is worded like much of Dungeon World: the spirit of the spell is explicit (you make a creature miserable with a disease) but it’s up to the player and the GM to figure out the particulars. My initial thoughts on what to discuss: What does the cleric want, and how does that disease get the cleric what they want? Why is the cleric’s God willing to bestow that disease in particular? What’s the experience like for both the target and for the cleric casting the spell? And, the all important question for shady-ass spells, how does the rest of the party feel about it?

    If “brain cancer” makes sense in your particular Dungeon World, then that’s awesome. In my games I would rather stick to more medieval sounding, fantastical D&D diseases. You know, classics like filth fever and the black plague and whatnot.

    For example, if I were a cleric of filth and disease and I wanted an orc patrol to stop tracking us, giving the patrol lead some sort of delirious fever that causes hallucinations would be useful to throw them off our tail. Or if I wanted to strike fear into the heart of the local magistrate, I hit him with something more flashy like a disease with oozing boils and coughing up tar. My two cents: I feel that “I want kill that guy with brain cancer” is a pretty boring application of the spell, but that’s up to your group.

    (Also: “My cleric just got access to it and wants to start hitting people with brain cancer” is one heck of a sentence. Really made my morning!!)

  2. Our setting is a weird one. My group became obsessed with SaO so we decided to go for the idea they are trapped in a video game setting. His whole thing is he is a druid who got cleric spells through multi classing. The cleric in this case wanted to stop an orc from chopping his head off so he used the spell and thought brain cancer would be a good way to make the orc stop because in advanced stages the orc would be dead.

  3. Ya, I feel that the spell isn’t called “Kill with Disease” for a reason.  It shouldn’t just kill instantly.  I like Jonathan Spengler’s answer.

    In your example with the head-chopping orc, brain cancer could cause enough motor spasms and hallucinations in the orc to allow the cleric to evade the ax, and to make the orc an easy target for subsequent attacks.  On a roll of 6-, the brain tumor might make the orc a genius, or give it psionic powers.

  4. I had a cleric in one of my games cast Contagion on a massive earth elemental, and the disease he chose was something like “rock rot” – it was basically a bacterial infection that rapidly dissolved stone into sand.

    It was an instant-win for that specific scenario, yes, but the player basically handed me a weapon to use sometime down the road.

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