Vorel's phage is exceedingly rare disease and has only been reported in southeastern Varisia, specifically in or around Foxglove Manor on the Lost Coast. It is generally only passed when contaminated body fluids such as saliva come into direct contact with an open wound. The onset of symptoms is incredibly quick, generally within a single day, and can include painful and disfiguring facial tumors, and a slow sloughing-off of the dermis over the entire body. Eventually fatal if left untreated, the painful disfigurement often causes the victim to go insane before dying.1
Vorel's phage is magical in origin, the result of a failed attempt at achieving lichdom. In 4644 AR, the wizard Vorel Foxglove was interrupted by his wife Kasanda in the final stages of the necromantic rituals needed from him to become a lich. The magical backlash consumed his body within seconds, killing Vorel and creating Vorel's phage in the process. The disease also killed Kasanda, their children, and all the servants of Foxglove manor, but did not spread further.2
Over forty years later, Vorel's great-nephew, Traver Foxglove, bought the decaying manor home in 4676 AR. He soon became infected with the phage, but with him, as with all members of the Foxglove family, the disease only affected his mind. Slowly driven insane, he eventually killed his wife as she was attempting to burn down the house, committing suicide thereafter. His children, among them his son Aldern, were saved and given to family members to be raised.2
In 4706 AR Aldern returned to Foxglove Manor, and like his father became infected with Vorel's phage. In a tragic repetition of his family's dark legacy, Aldern was driven insane by the malady and strangled his wife Iesha the following year. Penniless and desperately trying to avoid his crimes, Aldern borrowed money from a secret organization called the Skinsaw Cult in the nearby city of Magnimar. They lent him the money in return for samples of Vorel's phage.2 The Skinsaw Cult were themselves hired by the Red Mantis assassins who were searching for strange and new diseases to use in their trade. Together with the Chelish doctor Reiner Davaulus and a cult of the goddess Urgathoa, a less virulent, but much more contagious form of the phage called blood veil was developed and let loose on the the Varisian city of Korvosa.3
While working with Reiner Davaulus to perfect blood veil, the necromancer Rolth discovered that about one in ten Varisians (or those of Varisian ancestry) were immune to both blood veil and Vorel's phage.45 Unbeknownst to both men, the immune Varisians were all related to Kasanda Miromia-Foxglove, the wife of Vorel Foxglove, the phage's progenitor. It seems that Kasanda is still watching over her kinfolk from the grave, protecting them against the misfortune caused by her insane husband.6
- “Bestiary” in Seven Days to the Grave, 83. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “The Skinsaw Murders” in The Skinsaw Murders, 23. Paizo Inc., 2007 .
- “Seven Days to the Grave” in Seven Days to the Grave, 7. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Seven Days to the Grave” in Seven Days to the Grave, 34. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Campaigns in Varisia” in Varisia, Birthplace of Legends, 28. Paizo Inc., .
- “Seven Days to the Grave” in Seven Days to the Grave, 56. Paizo Inc., 2008 .