The Darkest Space: Disease mechanics

Note: This post applies only to the upcoming Fanseeth prequel, The Darkest Space.

At The Darkest Space, there will be a disease beginning in Act II. The disease involves marks on the skin and an envelope with a symptom list. If you are infected, you will not escape as your character from the doomed ship. Basically: if you agree to be infected, your character will die.

At check-in on the day of the game, you will be asked whether you wish to be infected. This will be marked on your name tag using a piece of string or ribbon. Possible answers are “yes”, “no”, or “ask me when the time comes”. It is perfectly acceptable to say “no” to this, and there are no consequences in or out of game for refusing. You may choose for your character to escape in the final act if that’s your desire.

If you have consented to be infected you will be told when/if you are infected by an NPC (portrayed by a doctor who will be investigating and attempting to treat the illness in-game) and you will be given the envelope with the symptom list we are proposing for you in a progression format (basically “you will develop these symptoms, and then these, and then these). If you don’t like the specifics, make up what you are comfortable with, but please try to keep with the “feel” of what you’ve been given. If you don’t want your skin marked, or only are comfortable with it being marked in specific ways, just let the doctor know. On our end, we’ll be using body-art pens for marking your skin.

You may also choose to approach the doctor and ask (out of game) to be infected any time after people begin to show signs of illness.

Example symptoms

Early stages

  • Mild paranoia (you think people are out to get you, but not in the “oh gods I need to run” over-the-top sort of way)
  • Being unable to read, suddenly, or reading things that aren’t there (subcategory: benign things, for example you convert a list of equipment to a list of ingredients for a cherry pie)
  • Marks on the skin
  • Weakness
  • Irritability

Middle Stages

  • Sporadic vertigo
  • Hydrophobia (fear of water—but please stay hydrated from an OOG standpoint)
  • Disorientation

Late Stages

  • Sporadic panic attacks
  • Avoidance of crowds
  • Spontaneous bursts of agitation, anger, fear
  • Death

None of these should be continuous (except death, naturally). They should come and go once you enter that phase. You may be aware that this is not your usual behavior—it’s up to you to play it either way.

From an OOG perspectives, some things need to be emphasized:

  • If you are infected you do not get to survive the end of game. You can die before that point, but if you aren’t dead by the end of the game, your character will be dead after that.
  • You cannot be cured. There is no cure in game at this time.
  • If you aren’t having fun with it, feel free to change your symptoms around. Symptoms changing are completely in keeping with the nature of the disease and you won’t break the game, even if your symptoms stop appearing entirely (asymptomatic != cured).
  • The specifics of the disease—where it comes from, etc—aren’t a solvable problem in (this) game, but you should feel free to investigate them.
Written by: David H. Clements