Ptolus Front: The Malady

From DivNull RPG

A Dungeon World front for Dissolution, involving the events surrounding the malady lock.

During their sortie into the Banewarrens, the team sent by the lich Aggah-Shan recovered a number of artifacts, including the malady lock. The undead wizard isn’t afraid to use them to further his plans, tricking an ambitious underling to sacrifice themselves by releasing the Malady.



Type: Machiavellian lich

Impulse: to necrotize this prison planet

Grim Portents:

  • Goth Gulgamel conquered
  • The power of the entropy sphere harnessed
  • The book of inverted darkness located
  • Præmus killed with necrotic energy

Impending Doom: Rampant Chaos

Infected Hordes[edit]

Type: Plague of the Undead

Impulse: to spread

Grim Portents:

  • √ Prostitutes in the White House suddenly start biting customers
  • √ Infected chaos cultists swarm Midtown
  • Infected penetrate Dalenguard
  • Malady escapes Ptolus, infects world

Impending Doom: Pestilence


Type: Misguided Good

Impulse: to contain the infection, no matter the cost

Grim Portents:

  • √ Ptolus sealed by order of the Commissar, districts isolate themselves
  • √ Someone or something surrounds Ptolus with a spell that prevents teleportation in or out
  • √ City Watch stops fighting infected, focuses on suppressing movement of population
  • √ Metallic dragons destroy citizens fleeing city by air
  • Ptolus and all its inhabitants sterilised by mass-destruction magic

Impending Doom: Destruction


Type: Demon Princess

Impulse: to replace all order with her own

Grim Portents:

  • √ Activity seen within the Dark Reliquary, even during the day
  • √ Headquarters of the Knights of the Pale sacked, shrine corrupted
  • √ Demons setup infection free zones for any willing to pledge fealty and their soul
  • Demons expand their zone throughout the city

Impending Doom: Tyranny

Cornering the Market[edit]

Type: Thieves Guild

Impulse: to take by subterfuge

Grim Portents:

  • √ Fesamere Balacazar commandeers the protection racket preying on temples on Street of a Million Gods and starts imposing her will to form a “mutual defense force” of the various temples to fight the infection and infected. Armed members of the guild congregate on the street to defend the public.
  • √ The Temple of Ahaar mysteriously burns down after its main priest publicly refuses to join the mutual defense.
  • √ Costs for religious services increase, and must be negotiated through “acolytes” (Balacazar members), who turn away those who cannot pay (or who are known enemies of the Balacazars).
  • Balacazar thugs and the Shuul clash openly, in a proxy fight between Balacazar and Killraven.
  • Attempts by the Lothian Archbishop to recruit priests from other temples into a larger, more organized effort to help people rebuffed by Balacazar.
  • Knights of the Dawn and other Lothian forces sortie into the Street of a Million Gods, putting “suspect” temples to the torch and demanding pledges of loyalty to the Holy Emperor.

Impending Doom: Usurpation

Power Vacuum[edit]

Type: Cabal

Impulse: to control Ptolus’ resources

Grim Portents:

  • √ Various groups (guilds, organized crime, the shuul, Inverted Pyramid) take up the mantle of the (decimated) City Watch to protect neighborhoods
  • √ In reaction to the death of Kirian Ylestos, son of the holy Emperor, the Church becomes much more active in seizing control of locations, by force if necessary.
  • Groups openly clash with both “official” organizations and each other to exert control over territory
  • Government dissolved and replaced with a new order

Impending Doom: Usurpation


  • The Unlikely Six
  • Aggah-Shan, trouble-making megalomaniac
  • Cassiadora, dragon with a long view of history
  • Maeda Von Rustal, high priestess of the Temple of Teun
  • Nireus Pard, overlooked bishop of Lothian
  • Matthias Fenta, male human cleric of Melann (Goddess of Farming) (probably dead)
  • Fesamere Balacazar, youngest child of Menon Balacazar, making the best of having been stealing a relic from a temple when the districts were sealed.
  • Martigan: Longfinger thief recruited by Scoffney to…

Curate Eldris March[edit]

solitary, divine, intelligent, magical, organized
Mace (close, d10 damage), 14 HP, 3 armor

As a curate of the Church of Lothian, Eldris serves as a bespoken priest charged with tracking down relics. The Church knows enough about the Malady to know of the Malady Lock and, once it starts being used, will dispatch March to track it down and take control of it. Instinct: to serve the Church without question

  • Uncover what is hidden
  • Curse an unbeliever
  • Command the righteous

Knight of the Dawn[edit]

group, divine, intelligent, organized
Spear (close, reach, b[2d8] damage), 8 HP, 3 armor

The white and purple armor of the Knights of the Dawn mark them as the personal forces of the Holy Emperor. While all knights are true believers, the Church tends to shuffle the more irredeemably violent of their flock into their ranks. Instinct: to protect the Church

  • Cite the authority of the Holy Emperor
  • Repel the unholy
  • Bring forth light


Bite (close, d6 damage), 7 HP, 0 armor

Not all infected by the Malady are truly undead, but behave so for all intents and purposes (though curing an infected will return them to the living if they were not properly dead in the first place). Instinct: to feed

  • Attack with overwhelming numbers
  • Corner them
  • Burst when defeated

Energetic Infected[edit]

group, magical, organized
Aura (close, d6+2 damage), 7 HP, 0 armor

Infected who could harness arcane magic in life crackle with arcane energy. Instinct: to burn the living

  • Call infected to feed
  • Explode when defeated

Necrotic Infected[edit]

group, magical
Draining touch (close, d6 damage), 7 HP, 0 armor

Infected who could harness divine magic in life surround themselves with a wispy, necrotic energy. Instinct: to drain the living

  • Heal the infected with stolen life
  • Invigorate nearby infected when defeated

Profane Infected[edit]

group, organized
Claws (close, d6+2), 11 HP, 1 armor
Special Qualities: Regeneration, Immune to Fire

Infected already tainted by evil exhibit slightly more free will than other infected, and tint a sickly green. Instinct: to pursue the helpless

  • Call for help
  • Undo the effects of an attack
  • Undermine defenses


The White House[edit]

A brothel controlled by Aggah-Shan provides the first vectors for the Malady. The diversity of the clientèle allows the disease to slip into many otherwise well guarded places (several noble houses, the Holy Palace, etc.). When the Malady is first released, Aggah-Shan will be in the catacombs beneath.

Pythoness House[edit]

An early casualty of the Malady, even briefly infecting the dragon Cassiadora.

Goth Gulgamel[edit]

Aggah-Shan’s phylactery is holed up in Goth Gulgamel, along with the malady lock itself. Both remain hidden from a totally unrelated contingent from the Pactlords of the Quaan who have moved into the fortress. Reaching this location requires somehow getting past the air quarantine.


The home of the Knights of the Pale initial provides a safe haven for citizens; however, Lilith has it in her sights, so its safety may not last.

The Temple of Teun[edit]

The temple’s iron walls and community-facing staff provide excellent protection from the infected, making it a fortress against the Malady. Those lucky enough to reach it before it was sealed fair better than most, though collectively, those inside are forced into some hard choices.

St. Valien’s Cathedral[edit]

Infected are driven from the Cathedral by a holy aura erected around the the place. Bishop Nireus Pard has stunned everyone by turning the place into the center of operations for the more militant actions of the Church in “fighting the infection” and taking over various places, while the archbishop pursues more humanitarian goals. A teleportation circle under the cathedral greatly assists movement of church forces.

Custom Moves[edit]


Bite of the Infected[edit]

When you take damage from someone infected with the Malady, you become infected as well.

Infection Spreads[edit]

When you are infected with the Malady, each hour roll+CON. On a 10+ nothing happens. On a 7-9, temporarily loose a point of Constitution (and associated HP). On a miss, temporarily loose 1d3+1 points of Constitution (and associated HP). If your Constitution hits zero, you die. If you die while infected, you soon rise as a zombie.

Malady Lock[edit]

Unleash the Malady[edit]

When you open the malady lock when the disease is fully contained, the Malady escapes and, in a burst of necromantic energy, everyone nearby is infected with the Malady and you instantly die. You rise as a ghost a few hours later.

Command the Malady[edit]

When you feed the Malady lock your blood, take 1d4 damage and roll+CHA. On a 10+, hold three. On a 7-9, hold one. Spend hold to issue one of the following commands to the lock:

  • “Rest” causes all infected with the Malady to become non-contagious until the sun next rises.
  • “Stop” makes the Malady very vulnerable to disease curing magic. If someone is cured of the malady, all infected nearby are also cured.
  • “Spread” invigorates the Malady, increasing the Save DC needed to resist it by +4 until the sun next rises. This cannot be issued in the same period as “Rest”.
  • “Reveal” allows you to instantly know the location of every being infected with the Malady until the sun next rises.
  • “Look” allows you to see instantly through the eyes of any being infected with the Malady you know of (including knowledge gained from a “Reveal”) for the next 10 minutes.

Contain the Malady[edit]

When the Malady infects less than one hundred beings, the following command is added to the list of those that can be issued

  • “Shelter” commands the Malady to return to the box on which the malady lock is mounted. Any that remain die instantly, as the Malady kills them out of spite.


  • Who will control the Malady lock?
  • Will Ptolus continue to exist?
  • Will Lilith be able to unseat Raguel?