The volcano Moira has been spewing ebony ash into the atmosphere of Avalon for ~30 cycles. This ash mixes with the water cycle and has been steadily contaminating the ecosystem, slowly driving creatures to behave more violently. Sometimes a black storm will form and drop especially concentrated black rain. The shadow of death follows these clouds.
Under unknown conditions (a complex ritual performed by a Deep cultist, the precise location and breadth of storm may vary due to errors in the ritual) the ash is concentrated and a storm forms, dropping black rain over some area. The rain has the same properties as water, though an unmistakable oily black residue remains after the water flows away. A particularly unsavory character might collect this residue for use as a deadly poison.
Black storms reduce the local concentration of corruption in the air temporarily.
Exposure: Passive (impending storm)
Effect: Emotional amplitude is increased.
Prognosis: Cured on long rest after storm.
Exposure: Minor (a few drops)
Effect: Bloodshot eyes and shock symptoms. Irritable and violent. DC 10 WIS to remain in control.
Prognosis: Antidote < 1 hour or progress.
Exposure: Major (prolonged contact)
Effect: Oily blood leaking from all orifices. Powerful muscle spasms. Constant thoughts of rage and murder. DC 15 WIS to remain in control.
Prognosis: Antidote < 10 minutes or progress
Exposure: Complete (immersion)
Effect: Skin thickens and chars, muscles grow and bones elongate and protrude. The mindless aberration seeks absolute death and will attempt to kill anything it recognizes as living.
Antidote: The spell Heal will cure the affliction if administered before a critical amount of time has passed determined by exposure.
It is thought that a concentrated garlic potion combined with the dried and ground gills of a merfolk will halt the infection, though rumors of being fully cured abound.
Healers capable of casting the level 6 spell Heal are in high demand across Avalon. Often held against their will to protect a city’s noble class, a healer risks their life working with an artificer to cast Heal on scribed rune stones that are to be distributed to remote towns and villages.
Cities – Chaos cult allows shelter within its grotto, otherwise as below
Towns – Shelter in local temple, otherwise as below
Villages – Stay inside, away from windows and doorways
Wilderness – Find or build temporary shelter, a protective suit might offer mobility
Folk will generally attempt to aid travelers and others who may be caught in the rain. Heal stones are usually reserved for important public figures. When an aberration is discovered, the guard, militia, or adventuring party is called to act. Often, a funeral is held to consecrate the corrupted being who is believed to be innocent.