• Justin Handlin

The Malady Workshop: Tools to Create your Own Fantastical Diseases for Dungeons & Dragons

The Malady Workshop

Crit Academy covers the best-selling Dungeons and Dragons supplement, The Malady Workshop. This supplement is written by medical students with a love for tabletop roleplaying games. Inspired by the vast array of fantastical diseases, and the medieval myths that once surrounded them, they embarked on a mission; to enrich other worlds with fantastical diseases. In the Workshop, they give you all the tools you need to create your own fantastical diseases.

Deep in each civilization’s roots, there are myths, remedies, and folklore, all revolving around the ailments that affect its people. When each Dungeon Master wants to expand on the details of the societies that unfold before their very eyes, tools that spice up the process become a vital weapon. This supplement will hopefully become one of them, as DMs create their own diseases, fully fleshed out and based on the grim, epic or mundane conditions of the human body and mind.

Do not underestimate diseases. Part of the Dungeon Master’s art is to be able to stir feelings up in their players, and few human conditions could accomplish that better. Used as a way to advance a storyline, to expand a character arc or to create conflict, the stories you can tell with your diseases are infinite!

In this book, you'll find everything that you need to weave your own disease, including:

  • General guidelines that will help you understand how to design maladies best, in order to excite your players and tell better stories. These include its origins, causes, diagnosis, cure, and most importantly, over 80 mundane and magical symptoms to choose from!

  • Extensive tables full of ideas to help you decide on the details of each disease.

  • Beautiful art and symbols, designed to assist you in the creation stages, by Phil Beckwith of P. B. Publishing himself!

  • Entertaining notes from the Mad Mage, master of disease crafting and torture, who guides you through his workshop.

Give your worlds a touch of fantastical realism and watch as your players dive deep into the stories you create with this toolbox!

As a DM I love diseases and poison effects. So much so, that my players would say I use them too much. Searching for food and roll a low survival check? Those nice-looking mushrooms you were certain were safe...well now half the caravan is vomiting, and even some of the old ones passing away. This amazing tool just enhanced my love for the spread of these diseases. The supplement is well written, and far more thought out than anything I've planned out in my games. Thank you so much for this amazing 5-star product. Check out the show for our full thoughts as we review a few of the diseases and have great fun doing so! Watch our video and join us as we walk through this infectious Dungeons and Dragons supplement.

Unearthed Tips and Tricks! We bring you new and creative content for you to bring with you on your next adventure

Character Concept:

Those who slay together, stay together

Patron Gabe:

So, I came up with a character concept a while back that is a married couple. Imagine a husband and wife, who always wanted to go adventuring but hte own a business and they can’t afford to close up shop just to go gallivanting off in search of treasure. So instead, one of them stays ack and tends the shop, while the other joins the party and goes adventuring. But periodically, they switch places - the husband went adventuring last time, but this session he’s staying home while the wife picks up the sword and shield and goes in his place. In my mind, they would both be the same class(so as to keep good party composition) but each has their own specialty - maybe he’s more defensive and she’s more DPS, or he’s more knowledgeable and she’s more stealthy.

Then, at the end of each adventure, they meet up back at home and take turns telling each other about their day while rubbing each other’s feet.

Monster Variant:

Greenscale Darter

Origin: Lizardfolk

Lost Features:

Javelin, Shield , strength score becomes 10

New Features:

Dex score becomes 15

New weapon Blowgun

Diplopia Dart: On a hit must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or they are poisoned for 1 minute. They begin to see two images of objects and creatures all attacks on the creature have advantage while they are poisoned by this effect.

If a target succeeds on the saving throw they are immune to this effect for the next 24 hours.


• Attacking at long range doesn't impose disadvantage on the darter’s ranged weapon attack rolls.

• The darter’s ranged weapon attacks ignore half cover and three-quarters cover.

Sniper: A hidden darter that misses with a ranged attack remains hidden.

Tactic: Greenscale darters hide in the undergrowth, attacking with their blowguns and using their stealth and sniper skills to remain hidden.


From Challenge Accepted!


The Priestess turns her head to the pews. Gesturing with her holy symbol, as she bids you to sit. “Why is it you seek the aid of my templars?”

Setup: Our heroes are attempting gain the assistance of a local NPC. The challenges length of time can vary, from a short conversation, or stretch days of negotiations. Our heroes being assigned tasks to complete to earn the NPC’s favor. The characters need the NPC to provide assistance to help overcome their challenge.

Complexity: 3 (7 successes before 3 failures).

Primary Skills: Deception, Persuasion, Insight.

(It’s important to note, the challenge isn’t limited to these skills, but are just a reference for what is likely the best choice in a given situation. Remember to be flexible. Each skill challenge comes with sample descriptions for you, the DM to use as reference. You can add, change them in any way to fit your needs.)

  • Deception(hard DC): You attempt to encourage the NPC to aid your quest using false information.

  • History(easy DC): You make a remark about the significant event from the NPC’s past.

  • This is available only after one character has gained a success using the Persuasion skill, and it can only be used once in this way during the challenge.

  • Insight(medium DC): You empathize with the NPC and use that knowledge to encourage the aid needed.

  • First success with this skill reveals that any use of Intimidation earns a failure.

  • Intimidation: The NPC refuses to be intimidated by the characters. Each use of this skill earns a failure.

  • Persuasion(medium DC): You entreat the NPC for aid in your quest. First success with this skill opens up the use of the History skill.(the NPC mentions an event from the past that has significance to her).

Total Success: The NPC agrees to provide aid that is within reason to the characters.

Success: The NPC agrees to provide aid, but has a special request of them.

Failure: The characters are forced to act without aid from the NPC. The encounters difficulty is increased, either by more enemies, an additional trap or some other circumstance.

Magic Item:

Hammer of Storms

Weapon(warhammer), rare(requires attunement)

When you wield this hammer, the power of the storm rages within you, when the power is released it blasts your enemies with thunder and lightning.

When you score a critical hit with a melee attack using this weapon, you may choose to speak the command word and cast the thunderwave spell from it at its lowest level with a spell save DC 14. Half the damage is converted lightning damage. This property can't be used again until the next dawn.

(this weapons damage dice is also doubled due to the critical hit rules)

Dungeon Master Tip:

NPC extra’s!

Playing a lot of different NPC’s can become a lot of work. Especially when it comes to creating different personalities for you to play out. Consider asking a player at the table to play an important NPC. Some players revel in the opportunity to play out more than one character. Especially if they are a DM themselves. Consider giving them an NPC you plan to have as a recurring role. This could be a noble, a merchant, or even just the strange village idiot.

If you wanna get real interesting, considering giving them an important villain role. This can pull a lot of weight off your shoulders, and end up giving some very surprising results.

Player Tip: Don’t be a Dick

Threats and Intimidation!

Intimidation checks are pretty fantastic. A great way for an adventure to strut their stuff. Sometimes though we just leave it to the throw of the dice, or a simple “I’ll hurt you!”. This is generally good enough. But with a little research, we can come up with some pretty memorable one-liner threats. Movies are great for this.

Why don’t you shut your mouth or I’ll kick your teeth down your throat so far you will have to eat and talk through your asshole!

If you don’t tell me what I want to know...sure I’ll let you go, but one night, I’m going to come to you while you’re sleeping and I’m going to slit your throat!

If I so choose, I can use my magic to make you think turning your brain to mush was a birthday present.

You better not mess with me buddy or I’ll kick your ass so hard you’ll have to untie your tunic to take a shit!

I’m going to give you exactly three seconds - to wipe that stupid-looking grin off your face or I will gouge out your eyeballs and fuck your skull!

Don’t mess with the minotaur fool, or you’ll get the horns!

If you don’t do what I want, I’ll make you dead, your family dead. I will burn down your house the ground and piss on the ashes.

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