We here at Casa de Kudzu have been laid up with a nasty vomiting bug this week, so this is a short post to discuss illness in RPG. How often have you used them? did you ever rely on the dread 'random chance of infection' table from the 1st edition DMG? What's the coolest one you've ever had in game?
In my cases the answers are 'seldom', 'not more than once before the players rebelled' and... well, there's a longer story to that.
In my aforementioned Star Trek game I put the USS Carter in the path of a plague ship, the Lysestrata. Said ship was harboring a virus that, while women could carry it, would eventually kill any male that came in contact with it. This being one of my games the player group was half women, and the PCs (each player had major and minor PCs) were more than half; the captain, the doctor and the PC in engineering were all women, so the ship would continue to function. This meant that the focus could be on the disease, either the impending death of the men or the quarantine isolation and survivor guilt of the women. Obviously the player characters found an answer to the problem, but the whole episode felt nicely like The Deadly Years without relying on the same 'aging disease' effect. It was a chance for the players to emote and chew the scenery as well as work on a mechanical solution to the problem and that highlighted some new aspects of their characters.
And how are you feeling?