Disease spread?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Just to make sure I'm not missing anything here... but there aren't any rules for how you spread a disease once infected, right?

(Rules for diseases are in the CRB, but all actual diseases are spread throughout the Bestiary.)

Several diseases have a Stage 1 saying "carrier with no ill effect".

But I can't find a single instance of how one afflicted PC infects his friends with the disease?

Aren't there any diseases that are actually contagious? (Just find it a bit odd that it's taken for granted that disease can't actually spread, excpt through the attacks of monsters; that the rulebook says nothing of why there aren't any risk of spreading a disease once you have it?)

Scarab Sages

5 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm not seeing any specific rule, but I'd think that when you are the carrier, you spread the disease the same way it is described as being transmitted.

For example, Ghoulish Cravings says "You touch the target to afflict it with ghoul fever...the target must attempt a Fortitude save...Stage 1 carrier with no ill effects (1 day)"

How I read this is if you have Stage 1 of Ghoul Fever, you show no ill effects, so you don't know you're infected. During this time, if you touch someone, they have to make a Fort save or they also get Ghoul Fever and also don't know they have it until they start to show symptoms.


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I read it the same way as Kios.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Ghoulish Cravings is spread by unarmed attack, I believe, but aside from that I have the same reading. Ghouls have to connect with an attack and damage the target.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kios wrote:

I'm not seeing any specific rule, but I'd think that when you are the carrier, you spread the disease the same way it is described as being transmitted.

For example, Ghoulish Cravings says "You touch the target to afflict it with ghoul fever...the target must attempt a Fortitude save...Stage 1 carrier with no ill effects (1 day)"

How I read this is if you have Stage 1 of Ghoul Fever, you show no ill effects, so you don't know you're infected. During this time, if you touch someone, they have to make a Fort save or they also get Ghoul Fever and also don't know they have it until they start to show symptoms.

Now you're talking about the spell - that's the only disease in the core books that's even close to ambiguous.

Can we agree there isn't any disease that transmits the "normal" ways in the game? (They all transmit through combat; basically by killing you and turning you into a new monster, so your attacks can spead the disease)

Not saying this is wrong. Just a bit odd, maybe, that the devs didn't even consider to spell this out, as if disease that spreads through a cough or a sneeze was inconceivable to them...?

https://imgur.com/AYzR6E3


5 people marked this as a favorite.

It's not inconceivable it's just not the kind of thing they expect the majority of the player base to care about. It's a system designed to tell stories about fighting fetid beasts that carry horrid diseases not about fighting diphtheria.

Scarab Sages

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Yeah, I used the spell as the example because it was the easiest example to find, though it probably isn't the best. Diseases aren't easy to find info for on Nethys and I often don't have my books by me during the day.

Many diseases seem to hint toward how they are spread without directly calling it out. As this is a very important bit of information about a disease, I really would love for designers to spell it out.

Goblin Pox does a good job of describing how the disease is spread - but only if you read the Goblin Dog description. It spreads through dander. If you touch something with Goblin Pox, you get Goblin Pox. If you scratch (because it's itchy, though again, that is not spelled out well), then you spread it to adjacent creatures.

Daemonic Pestilence is another disease where you are a carrier, but it doesn't describe how it is spread. If you look at the Leukodaemon, the creature applies the disease to its jaw, claws, and longbow, so it would seem that the disease spreads by touch and stays on objects. However, the Leukodaemon also has an aura of disease, so you could argue that the aura spreads the disease. Knowing which is true could be important, especially if a second Leukodaemon were to appear after part of the party is infected.


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I like giant rats as an example. They bite you, you get filth fever. You bite someone else, they get filth fever. Simple.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Malk_Content wrote:
It's not inconceivable it's just not the kind of thing they expect the majority of the player base to care about. It's a system designed to tell stories about fighting fetid beasts that carry horrid diseases not about fighting diphtheria.

Please don't make it look like I want a stupid diphtheria simulator.

I just find it slightly odd that "disease" in the game works nothing like most real disease, yet uses that term... all without even mentioning it, as if it's blindingly obvious to everyone that disease never spreads like disease spreads...

That's all.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kios wrote:
Yeah, I used the spell as the example

I would love for you to be correct, but it does seem like the Rules As Written interpretation is that a player character infected by a disease never spread it any other way than what's expressly stated by each disease entry.

Which basically boils down to "never, unless you die and become a ghast or something".


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Ravingdork wrote:
I like giant rats as an example. They bite you, you get filth fever. You bite someone else, they get filth fever. Simple.

I would love for it to be that simple.

And I'm sure it works that way in your home game.

But I'm talking about the general rule. For example, when you play a PFS game where the GM isn't allowed to deviate from the rules as writtenn.

Cheers


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

How is that a deviation?

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

It’s a deviation because the rules don’t state that a victim of Filth Fever ever spreads Filth Fever. A Giant Rat spreads it because the rules state that and how it does.

The stages of Filth Fever in the Giant Rat entry are:

Giant Rat wrote:
Stage 1 carrier with no ill effect (1d4 hours), Stage 2 sickened 1 (1 day), Stage 3 sickened 1 and slowed 1 (1 day), Stage 4 unconscious (1 day), Stage 5 dead

No stage mentions a bite attack that spreads disease.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Luke Styer wrote:
It’s a deviation because the rules don’t state that a victim of Filth Fever ever spreads Filth Fever.

Thank you.

(This thread is a bit... surprising. In most other threads, I encounter posters who only look at the RAW, refusing to see any larger context. Here it's been almost the opposite.)

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

My guess is, the thinking went that PCs who get sick will try to get their diseases cured ASAP, so contagiousness was never really thought of as an issue.
Though plague was a plot point in the 2nd Adventure Path, so wouldn't it be simple to add a line about diseases that "if you catch one, the disease info box has a line on how it's spread"?

On the plus side, RAW means you won't need to get quarantined and for plague doctors to get all done up and poke you with sticks; they can just touch you with their unwashed hands to cast curative spells, or smear alchemy disinfectants all over you!


3 people marked this as a favorite.

It can't hurt to repeat for the third(?) time I don't mind untransmittable disease. After all, it is no fun if the rational decision by your mates would be to leave you behind, adventuring without you.

All I wish to discuss is the weird way the designers seem to take this for granted!

I mean, just like every other rpg, the rulebook explains how polyhedral dice works, and the role of the Games Master.

Yet, it never occurs to them to maybe spell out how "disease" in this book is a fantasy game construct, where there is no risk of contagion from Filth Fever (or whatever) by close proximity, contact or even intimate relations!

I guess I expected replies along the lines of "yeah, never thought about it that way, you're right". Or, just maybe, "rules for that traditionally appear only in the GMG" (or similar), where we agree they could have added a short sentence to that effect.

Nothing more nothing less :)

Silver Crusade

10 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

While you're at it, the rules also don't tell you how often do you urinate/defecate (and what happens if you for some reason don't) and what are the rules for sexual intercourse, yet somehow, magically, babies happen. Also, the rules don't describe a common cold, does that mean that nobody on Golarion ever catches one? Inconvincebabble!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Gorbacz wrote:
While you're at it, the rules also don't tell you how often do you urinate/defecate (and what happens if you for some reason don't) and what are the rules for sexual intercourse, yet somehow, magically, babies happen. Also, the rules don't describe a common cold, does that mean that nobody on Golarion ever catches one? Inconvincebabble!

... 3rd D&D did have a book for the baby part actually. I never was able to pick up a copy of that particular one however.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
While you're at it, the rules also don't tell you how often do you urinate/defecate (and what happens if you for some reason don't) and what are the rules for sexual intercourse, yet somehow, magically, babies happen. Also, the rules don't describe a common cold, does that mean that nobody on Golarion ever catches one? Inconvincebabble!

I wanted to say it, but it seemed I was pushing buttons already.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Rules for diseases spreading, especially between party members, seems like something that could be fun in an adventure specifically designed around that idea, and antifun other times due to splitting the party or removing a character from play. The 2e rules seem to draw out an intentional "line in the sand" quite often, preferring to spell out rules for playing the game and allowing DMs to do what they want for more book-keepy or verisimilitude-related things. I expect specific rules for the spread of a plague-type disease will show up if and when an adventure is written which needs such rules, and will not generally apply to every disease in CRB.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

It seems to me that the "carrier" condition does not automatically entails infectious. But then the examples we have are terrifying diseases. Not the more common diseases. There was not really a need for these and rules of contagion in the CRB. Maybe we will get them in the GMG. In the meantime, I consider a carrier of the currently known diseases to not be able to contaminate others.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Gorbacz wrote:
While you're at it, the rules also don't tell you how often do you urinate/defecate (and what happens if you for some reason don't) and what are the rules for sexual intercourse, yet somehow, magically, babies happen. Also, the rules don't describe a common cold, does that mean that nobody on Golarion ever catches one? Inconvincebabble!

What's your point, Gorbacz?

Did you post only to insinuate that my case here somehow is unreasonable or what?

Why not simply admit that "yes, using the term disease for things that have no spread mechanism outside combat is slightly weird?"

Silver Crusade

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

No, I'm here to suggest that if you're looking for this level of granularity in verisimilitude, you'll be soon spending most of your time trying to figure out how do things that obviously happen in the game world but are not covered by explicit rules work, instead of doing actual gaming, let alone sleep or other activities.

The game glosses a lot of stuff over. It's a game, not a semi-medieval life simulator. It falls apart if you try to look closer to the economy or society. And that's fine because it's ultimately a game that's about plundering tombs and fighting demons, not about trying to figure out just how does ecology work if T-rexes and dragons share the same ecosystem and are both apex predators. What happens with diseases beyond them being afflictions that hurt the PCs until they shake it off is just one such area where Pathfinder is more a game and less a simulator.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I mean, with what I said, I don't mind. I'm just wondering if/when/how it'd get implemented for when it can become a plot point. Maybe in the GMG?
Plus, it lets GMs decide which ways what diseases are spread in which ways, if at all.


Yes, it is a little weird. But Gorbacz’ points are still valid. Not everything is going to be covered by a game mechanic, and it appears the game designers opted not to include spreading disease. I imagine that if there were rules for spreading disease, then the threat level of diseases would be much higher.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Also, players would abuse the heck out of it, which might also be why it's not readily detailed. Perhaps it's meant to stay in the realm of plot, and not potentially abusable mechanic.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
James Johnson 10 wrote:
Yes, it is a little weird.

Thank you.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Huh, how can players abuse non-infectious diseases? I mainly see this as a problem, though purely for Urgathoan anti-champions of the "Gotta Catch 'Em All!" mindset.

Liberty's Edge

TBH I feel that if the diseases we currently have were supposed to propagate through a carrier, the devs would have given us the rules for when a PC carrier comes into contact with the other PCs or with NPCs.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I am not suggesting anything was supposed or that there's a "problem".

I am merely finding it weird that there's not even a casual mention of the fact disease doesn't transmit, except through combat/death. Don't you?


3 people marked this as a favorite.

What's really weird to me is that the game takes pains to differentiate "carrier without symptoms" from "onset period", as if "carrier" means something, and then basically just treats "carrier" like a synonym for "onset period".

It bothers me not for "verisimilitude" reasons, but because I feel like it's basically designed to confuse newbie GMs and make them feel like they're missing something. Like, words mean things. You can't just toss in "carrier" without leading people to think some disease is being, well, carried.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Well I think the idea is that 'carriers' can spread diseases depending on the specific lore of the disease, just that there's no unified explanation of what counts as exposure. Leaving it up to the GM to decide what makes sense for them and their story, and if they want to bother with tracking something like a highly transmissible disease, seems sensible to me.

Like tuberculosis would make sense to spread with enough contact/coughing while blinding sickness seems like it would only spread if a carrier bit someone (unless maybe the carrier was a water elemental).


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yeah, but shouldn't that be in the rules? Even as just, "while the exact rules of disease spread are up to the GM, here's some guidance if you're new to this/it's best to assume disease is never spread by PCs unless you're prepared to take on extra challenge". I was genuinely perplexed by the mention of a "carrier" with no additional clarification--which is why I found this thread.

It just seems sort of messy and "unwritten rule"-ey for a system that is usually really good at not resorting to messy unwritten rules.

Liberty's Edge

Many things in PF2 are left for the GM to decide so that they can choose what fits their game and table best.

It is not a bug, not even a feature, but a fundamental principle of PF2's design.

Sovereign Court

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I don't think there was room in the book for several pages on modeling epidemics. Spread of the disease just happens at the speed of plot.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Kobold Catgirl wrote:

What's really weird to me is that the game takes pains to differentiate "carrier without symptoms" from "onset period", as if "carrier" means something, and then basically just treats "carrier" like a synonym for "onset period".

It bothers me not for "verisimilitude" reasons, but because I feel like it's basically designed to confuse newbie GMs and make them feel like they're missing something. Like, words mean things. You can't just toss in "carrier" without leading people to think some disease is being, well, carried.

Honestly I'd chalk it up to the first bestiary/early in the life cycle and the author forgot/reviwer missed that "onset" already exists for "asymptotically infected' instead of adding a stage 1 carrier.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

It seems pretty intentional using the most applicable definition of carrier I found:

Merriam-Webster wrote:

Carrier - a bearer and transmitter of a causative agent of an infectious disease

especially: one who carries the causative agent of a disease systemically but is asymptomatic or immune to it


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Exactly, Walrus. "Carrier" carries specific meanings, and if you don't want those, you'd want to choose a different word. Don't call them "carrier" without offering the GM guidance on how to handle someone being a carrier. There's a difference between "leaving it up to the GM to handle" and "referencing rules that don't exist".

I'm not gonna respond to the bad-faith "they didn't have time to teach the GM how to model a pandemic" takes because that's so transparently not my issue it's not worth engaging with.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
NielsenE wrote:


Honestly I'd chalk it up to the first bestiary/early in the life cycle and the author forgot/reviwer missed that "onset" already exists for "asymptotically infected' instead of adding a stage 1 carrier.

This is my guess, too. It's obviously just a minor error, or an unfinished rule they never remembered to explain.


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

My other hypothesis, is I seem to recall some edition/game system/maybe different undead disease, where if you die any time while afflicted by it, you rise as one. (Both 1e and 2e appear to have 'die from ghoul fever', not die while afflicted, so I'm either misremembering 1e or something else). But that's a place where the author may have intended a difference between onset (you don't rise as one) and symptom-less stage 1 (where you do). That's definitely the type of nuance that I could see leading to the current situation after a couple rounds of editing that lost track of what hair was trying to be split. In which case 'latent' is probably the better term.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I think that "spread by whatever means the disease was received" is a reasonable read of it (so, ghoul fever is spread by biting people, filth fever is spread by using swarming attack presumably biting and clawing people?, etc). It's messy, because PF2 is normally a very clear system that avoids unwritten rules like "carriers spread the disease", and I really didn't like how people lashed out at OP for correctly identifying that awkwardness.

Even just one paragraph, one sentence, could have averted any confusion. Sending newbie GMs like me hunting through the rules, and then the forums, to work out if "carrier" is a Defined Thing is clearly not intentional game design.

Oh, and reacting to confused newbie GMs with defensiveness and scorn is not a good way to welcome people to the game. I've been around here for a while, but I am new to PF2, and it's very hard to learn it sometimes when these forums are so prickly.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

One thing that annoys me is that it feels like "Carrier (1 day)" could have been "Onset 1 day", especially with the lack of any specific rules for what being a Carrier means. There is a slight mechanical difference between the two but it feels like a line explaining why Carriers exist when onset mechanics are waiting to model that behaviour of "You're sick but haven't shown symptoms yet." In some cases I'd have preferred Onset over Carrier because a Carrier might get lucky in their second save and never even know that they got infected, while on the other hand if they get UNlucky on the path to recovery they might stop showing symptoms but then resume the same disease again.

--

As an aside, I almost forgot about Zapp and their various threads and the arguments spawned therefrom during this time. Either way the central question of this thread certainly merits a non-snarky response. If carrier was supposed to mean nothing, regardless whether there was room to define it, a simple (if less evocative) way to write it might have been "No effect" or again just use the existing Onset space...


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I have been told Zapp had a context to their posts which might have been lost on me in necromancing this thread. :P


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Here is the thing... you can reach stage 1 both at the start of the disease, as well as towards the end of the disease, so stating Onset 1 day would not make sense for when you move from stage 2 down to stage 1.

During stage 1: You have no symptoms, but you technically fully 'have' the disease/affliction, it just gives you no detrimental effect at that stage. You might go down to stage 0 next save (getting rid of it) or you might go back up to stage 2 for instance. But at stage 1 you have the disease, you just don't have symptoms that produce any kind of effect.

Onset would be specific, basically, saying you don't get the disease, or don't get any impact from the disease until after an 'onset'. If they said onset 1 day, instead of carrier for 1 day, then people might argue that someone at stage 1 that used to be at stage 2 might still get the other effects from stage 2 since they are past the 1 day onset?

I agree that per the rules, the developers don't really describe how these afflictions could be contagious. Which leaves it up to the GM of course, which may well have been intentional. However, it might have been nice to at least show an example of a contagious affliction with something showing perhaps something showing an effect at stage 2 and higher saying direct physical contact could cause the individual to need to make a Fort roll. Just as an example. Such an example could also specify if the save is made it is good for 1 day against that affliction of the specified DC/level.

Such would have/could demonstrate, just being a carrier, or at stage 1 doesn't have to mean you are inherently contagious. It also expresses that it is an effect that could be tied to any stage, including stage one for diseases whose story would make it appropriate. You could even have stage 2 be contagious by contact, and stage 3 indirect contact, or stage 4 contagious by proximity range/time.

Actually, specifically thinking of the ghoul affliction, as an example, it might be nice to know if the literal reading which is that the afflicted person has to survive past some pretty nasty layers and live until they actually just outright die, for them to come back as a ghoul. Or does anyone who hits a certain stage (even say stage 4), and dies rise as per stage 6. It seems like they don't but it makes the risk seem really low for anyone by higher level entities, meaning in theory there would be few peasant ghoul infestations.

I don't know if for example the Slithering is an example of a disease that its stat block may well have included information about how it is transmitted. Although I will probably be the one who eventually runs it, I wasn't 'assuming' as much and reading through it for details yet.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Interesting point about The Slithering, it seems to offer some insight though there are definite spoilers for that adventure:

The Slithering:
An affliction with clear examples of spread is detailed, with a format similar to - Stage 1 carrier with no symptoms, but anyone who touches or is touched by the carrier (skin-to-skin contact) must save against the affliction

Using the most relevant definition of 'carrier' still seems like what's intended with the distinction between Onset and Stage 1 carrier, but this does show how specific transmission vectors could be described.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Second Edition / General Discussion / Disease spread? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.