Created By: DrakeClawfang on July 23, 2013 Last Edited By: DrakeClawfang on July 29, 2013
Troped

Deceased And Diseased

undead beings are crawling with poison and disease

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
In works of fiction, the undead are common enemies for the heroes to face. A common trait of them is for the undead in question to be portrayed as poisonous or filled with disease, and they may spread death wherever they go.

On the surface, this seems a perfectly logical conclusion. Zombies are likely going to be rotting corpses with bodies filled with who-knows-what types of disease. In the world of gaming, this gives undead enemies an elemental affinity with disease and poisons, though darkness is another common trait. General status ailments are also liable to be in their arsenal of attacks. This overall makes the undead, which tend to be weak and easily dispatched, more dangerous without necessarily making them more powerful in direct combat.

Compare Zombie Infectee, The Virus, Poisonous Person

Examples

Anime

  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yami Yugi forces a Fusion Dance between his undead Mammoth Graveyard and Kaiba's Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon. The improper fusion between a living and undead creature causes the Blue-Eyes to become diseased and begin to decay and lose strength every turn.

Literature

  • In Twilight, vampires don't merely drain their victims of blood, they transform them by injecting them with actual venom that infects and transforms them. Said venom can be extracted from a vampire and injected to turn someone without needing to bite them.

Tabletop Game

  • Vampire: The Masquerade. Some products noted that vampires could act as carriers of blood-borne diseases. This meant they could infect any human they fed upon if the vampire didn't drain enough blood to kill the victim.
  • Dungeons & Dragons, many types of undead can inflict poison, disease, and other debilitating ailments like level drain.
    • Dragon issue #25, article "Varieties of Vampires" . A human spattered by the blood of an Anananngel vampire is afflicted by sores and diseases that incapacitate them.
    • Mummies inflict a rotting disease by touch that drains 2 points of Charisma per month, neutralizes Cure Wound spells, reduces the natural healing rate to 10% of normal and is fatal in 1-6 months.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has plague zombies, who are humans who have fallen victim to one of Nurgle the plaguefather's many plagues. The diseases they are infected by allow them to become almost incapable of feeling pain, making them walking meatshields.
  • Shadowrun. Several Awakened creatures were the basis for Earthly legends of the undead (ghouls, vampires, wendigos, etc.). All of them were human beings infected with a magical disease that caused their condition: the HMHVV (Human Meta Human Vampiric Virus), with many variants that each created a specific undead.

Video Games

  • Final Fantasy, undead enemies often inflict status ailments.
    • In Final Fantasy VI where Poison is treated as one of the eight elemental affinities, the Skull Dragon represents poison but is clearly an undead entity, and fights with status ailment attacks.
    • In the same game, the undead Phantom Train uses status attacks, most prominently Diabolical Whistle, which inflicts one random status ailment on each party member. When the Phantom Train reappears as a Guardian Force in Final Fantasy VIII, its special attack inflicts every status ailment in the game on enemy parties.
  • Pseudo-example in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. The Ghouls are actually humans who have been heavily mutated, but look, act, and are regarded by many as traditional zombies. Their attacks infect the player with radiation damage.
  • Appears in some of the Heroes of Might and Magic games:
    • In III and V, zombies can be upgraded to inflict diseases when they attack living enemies, reducing the damage they do.
    • In VI, the necromancer armies deploy lamasu, zombie sphinxes which are infected with plague magic and then sent to spread disease amongst the enemy army.
  • There are mummified undead enemies in Diablo II which release a cloud of toxic corpse gas when defeated.
  • The Undead faction in Warcraft III can research the Miasma ability, which lets their Abominations and siege weapons create clouds of poisonous gas when attacking.
  • The Elder Scrolls series treats vampirism as a disease. There are different strains of the disease with names like Porphyric Hemophilia and Sanguinare Vampiris, which will cause the PC to mutate into a vampire if they are infected with them and don't cure themselves quickly enough.
  • The undead provinces in the browser MMORTS Utopia usually have the "Spreads plague" property, which means that every time you attack or steal from them (or vice versa), there is a chance of carrying The Plague into your province, which can then spread into other provinces the same way.
  • In Shadowrun Returns, ghouls are able to infect characters (including robots) they hit with their claws and deal Damage Over Time.
  • In the earlier Disgaea games, many Zombie skills can inflict the poison status. By the third game, the Poisonous Person class has been relegated to the Slimes.
Community Feedback Replies: 26
  • July 23, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    not many examples from me but it's a staple of horror films for zombies to infect victims and in video games for undead to do the same, so I'm sure there's many others people can add :)
  • July 23, 2013
    MrRuano
    Zig-zagged in Dead Rising. While in the game, the player can get bitten as many times as possible without ill effect, in-story things change. For example, in the first game, After the helicopter crashes, Frank gets attacked by a zombie and is then somehow infected now of all times, requiring the help of Isabela to stave it off. The second game continues this trend with the introduction of the drug Zombrex, which allows users to stave the symptoms for about a day, as is the case with Katey, but Chuck can get bitten repeatedly throughout the story and survive.
  • July 24, 2013
    Generality
    I think this is just where Zombie Apocalypse meets The Virus, and not a distinct trope.
  • July 24, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    It is not exclusive to zombies or turning other people into zombies. It refers to undead generally being associated with poison, disease and infections.
  • July 24, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    bump
  • July 24, 2013
    FastEddie
    Duplicates The Virus.
  • July 25, 2013
    Frank75
    Well, the fist part of the Laconic is correct.
  • July 25, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    This isn't The Virus for reasons I explained to the first person.
  • July 25, 2013
    Astaroth
    • Appears in some of the Heroes Of Might And Magic games:
      • In III and V, zombies can be upgraded to inflict diseases when they attack living enemies, reducing the damage they do.
      • In VI, the necromancer armies deploy lamasu, zombie sphinxes which are infected with plague magic and then sent to spread disease amongst the enemy army.
  • July 25, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    adjusted description to be about undead specifically being disease-ridden, so any overlap with The Virus is gone.

    ^will add, thank you.
  • July 25, 2013
    jayoungr
    Does vampire venom show up anywhere besides the Twilight series? I'm not up on vampire lore, but I could swear I've heard people saying that was a new thing in that series (like sparkling).
  • July 25, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    If so then yeah, that can be removed from the intro, though I would still think it could count as an example
  • July 25, 2013
    MrRuano
    Warhammer 40000 has plague zombies, who are humans who have fallen victim to one of Nurgle the plaguefather's many plagues. The diseases they are infected by allow them to become almost incapable of feeling pain, making them walking meatshields.
  • July 25, 2013
    Astaroth
    • There are mummified undead enemies in Diablo II which release a cloud of toxic corpse gas when defeated.

    • The Undead faction in Warcraft III can research the Miasma ability, which lets their Abominations and siege weapons create clouds of poisonous gas when attacking.

    • The Elder Scrolls series treats vampirism as a disease. There are different strains of the disease with names like Porphyric Hemophilia and Sanguinare Vampiris, which will cause the PC to mutate into a vampire if they are infected with them and don't cure themselves quickly enough.
  • July 25, 2013
    Koveras
    • The undead provinces in the browser MMORTS Utopia usually have the "Spreads plague" property, which means that every time you attack or steal from them (or vice versa), there is a chance of carrying The Plague into your province, which can then spread into other provinces the same way.
  • July 26, 2013
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • Vampire The Masquerade. Some products noted that vampires could act as carriers of blood-borne diseases. This meant they could infect any human they fed upon if the vampire didn't drain enough blood to kill the victim.
    • Dungeons And Dragons
      • Dragon issue #25, article "Varieties of Vampires" . A human spattered by the blood of an Anananngel vampire is afflicted by sores and diseases that incapacitate them.
      • Mummies inflict a rotting disease by touch that drains 2 points of Charisma per month, neutralizes Cure Wound spells, reduces the natural healing rate to 10% of normal and is fatal in 1-6 months.
  • July 26, 2013
    KingZeal
    For a Punny title, what about The Deceased Are Diseased?
  • July 26, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    heh, gonna reword it but I like that, thanks :)
  • July 26, 2013
    KingZeal
    Here, have a hat, sir.
  • July 26, 2013
    Bisected8

    I assume it's the same with the tabletop game it's based on, but it's better not to assume.
  • July 26, 2013
    TrueShadow1
  • July 27, 2013
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • Shadowrun. Several Awakened creatures were the basis for Earthly legends of the undead (ghouls, vampires, wendigos, etc.). All of them were human beings infected with a magical disease that caused their condition: the HMHVV (Human Meta Human Vampiric Virus), with many variants that each created a specific undead.
  • July 27, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    So, we think this is good to launch or do we need more varied examples beyond video games and tabletop games?
  • July 27, 2013
    DAN004
    Moar examples plz.
  • July 28, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    bump for more examples and/or hats
  • July 29, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    once more, will launch if no one objects or contributes.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=4y9jy17e8lvbipuhi1mdt45y&trope=DeceasedAndDiseased