Alteris is no stranger to illness and disease. There are dozens of afflictions, many with no cures, that can befall adventurers and citizens of the Kingdoms of Atleris. But the most terrible affliction of the past century is without a doubt the Starblood Scourge of 820 ME.
At the beginning of 820, the year appeared as any other. By the end of it, nearly every nation of Alteris had suffered incredible hardships at the hands of the unexpected outbreak of an unknown, magical illness. It began simply: the clouds above the Osoroshi Ocean turned heavy and dark, and from them fell a thick oil, opalescent and shining. The shoals of Osoroshi to the Tulang Coast of Filenfoe were awash in the unusual material, which quickly came to be called starblood.
It was found to have incredible magical properties, allowing for fast transference of earth magic to anyone who was exposed to the substance. At first, it was viewed as a blessing from the gods, quickly becoming a commodity traded amongst the magical communities of Alteris. But those who used it did not fully understand the risk they were taking in their exposure to starblood.
Early side effects of starblood exposure included clairvoyance, increased magical aptitude, and precognition. Within three weeks of exposure, people began to complain about headaches, nausea, fever, and confusion. It is in this stage that the illness became contagious, but the community at large was unaware of this fact until much too late. Over a period of two months, exposed persons could no longer sleep, they pooled sweat and they described uncontrollable pain throughout all of their body. The final stages of starblood exposure began at three months, and left the afflicted bedridden. More than half of the victims succumbed to the illness entirely at that point. For those who survived, recovery was a long and painful road.
Starblood Scourge led to a total travel ban all throughout Alteris. As the Healers Union of Filenfoe struggled to fight the effects, their numbers dwindled, their own healers succumbing to the terrible plight. Magical societies across the world gathered their best casters, in hopes that they would be able to purify the disease, or at least halt its progress. In the end, the only solution that could be utilized was to establish a new magical community, dedicated to the destruction of the starblood. There was only one known method of destroying the substance though: for an individual to absorb it. Otherwise, the fluid would remain a threat. It was even tested to just dump the starblood into great pits, but doing so leeched into water sources, or corrupted the natural world around it, killing plants and animals.
The new order formed for the purpose of ending the Starblood Scourge called themselves the Star Scarred. They took upon themselves the terrible task of absorbing the oil into themselves, and faced the consequences thereof. Many died. It was found for those who undertook this task that continued doses of starblood would prolong their lives. But the contagious nature of exposure remained. The Star Scarred have since removed themselves to an unidentified island somewhere in the Orsoroshi ocean, where they operate a magical conservatory dedicated to ensuring no more starblood ever makes it to the shores of Alteris.
Recovery for the world of Alteris has taken time. Only recently have roadways been reopened for travelers to embark upon. But so far, there have been no more instances of the unusual oil appearing on the shores of the world. It is unknown where it came from or why. Some suggest it was a curse, one that drifted into the world from the edges of the Dark Dimension where the hastu fight the dark gods. Some think it could be a left over magical storm from the ancient Dragon Wars before the Fall. But whatever caused the Starblood Scourge, one thing remains clear: that without the sacrifice of the Star Scarred, there would be no respite from this terrible affliction.