Umberwell is plagued by outbreaks of disease; some areas of the city are perpetually quarantined. Necrophagous Fever, for example, causes an elevated temperature, rasping cough, cadaverous appearance, and skin discoloration, until the progress of the disease leads to eventual transformation into a mindless zombie that hungers to kill the living and devour their flesh. Patent medicines of varying efficacy, such as Korokov's Blood Tonic and Paolo's Venerable Elixir, are sold throughout Umberwell to treat the Fever and a multitude of other complaints. The superstitious wear scrimshaw charms in hopes of staving off infection.
RUMORS ABOUT NECROPHAGOUS FEVER
Necrophagous Fever originated on the wild continent of Hygaea. It was brought to Umberwell accidentally by intrepid explorers.
The plague is man-made; there is a government conspiracy that aims to thin the population of Umberwell's underclass through biological warfare.
- The Fever has an unknown connection to a number of neighborhoods that have been consumed by demonic fungus.
Doctor Althena Roxandra, lead physician at the Aspmoore Sanitarium in Cirqus, has discovered a cure for the Fever, but is holding her serum for ransom until an exorbitant price is met.
The contagion is an act of sabotage perpetrated by agents of the Azrakhan Emirates to keep Umberwell from joining the War of Blue Orchids in support of Duvaria.
Shout outs to Paolo Greco of Lost Pages; Paolo's Venerable Elixir is so named in tribute.