Diseases and Poisons

The stabilization serums have virtually wiped out disease on Gor. With the exception of those listed here, the only other consideration is infection. Even with the aid of the serums, one can die from infection.


Bazi Plague

Originated from Port Bazi, it is transmitted through bites of lice. Some were found immune to it but lethal to others. Those who survive transmit this immunity to their offspring. Slaves who were infected with the disease were often killed. This port was closed by the merchants for two years. It is how the pox was prevented in spreading to other cities, eventually ending. An infected person is described to have dry lips, yellow eyes, and on the skin are broken open, erupted, black, blister-like scattering of pustules. There is no known cure. Also known as the Pox.


The literal translation of Dar-Kosis is "the Holy Disease" or equivalent "the Sacred Affliction," a disease similar to Earth leprosy. The disease is named so because it is regarded as being holy to the Priest-Kings. Those who suffer from it are regarded as consecrated to the Priest-Kings. It is regarded as heresy to shed their blood. On the other hand, the Afflicted, as they are called, have little to fear from their fellow men. Their disease is so highly contagious, so devastating in its effects, and so feared on the planet, that even the boldest of outlaws gives them a wide berth.

The Afflicted enjoy a large amount of freedom of movement on Gor. They wander the countryside in shroudlike yellow rags beating a wooden clapping device to warn men from their path. They are warned to stay away from the habitations of men, and, if they approach too closely, they are sometimes stoned. Oddly enough, stoning the Afflicted is not regarded as a violation of the Priest-Kings' injunction against shedding their blood.

As an act of charity, Initiates have arranged at various places Dar-Kosis pits where the Afflicted may voluntarily imprison themselves to be fed with food hurled downward from the backs of passing tarns. Once in a Dar-Kosis pit, the Afflicted are not allowed to leave. Those who contract it are regarded by law as dead.

The Caste of Physicians worked on a cure and were set back by the Caste of Initiates hiring men to destroy their work. This suggests that the Initiates, representing the Priest-Kings, do not desire a cure to be developed, perhaps using the disease as a control method. The Caste of Physicians has determinedly resumed their work on it.


Since most poison on Gor is fast acting, according to the Scrolls, there is little chance to treat it in a timely manner. It is usually a death sentence, as in the case of an ost bite. For those poisons that are not immediately deadly, there are antivenins or antitoxins available. Gorean medicine is advanced enough to produce them, even though it may not have been mentioned. However, man-made poisons may have become stronger to counteract the resistance to it, since a formula could be adjusted to produce a stronger solution.

Poison is considered against the codes of the warriors and unworthy of men. It is usually regarded as a woman's weapon.

Animals and Plants

Cosian Wingfish: This small, delicate fish has three or four slender spines in its dorsal fin that are poisonous.

Kanda: The root of the plant, dried and ground, makes a deadly poison. The leaves of the plant may be chewed for a narcotic effect. The poison can be made into a paste that melts by body heat. This paste can be applied to weapons, such as knives and arrows, for a deadly effect. Likewise, the past can be applied to the pins of locks. Barrels of kanda are used to poison an area's water supply.

Marsh Moccasin: A snake about five feet long, having a small, triangular head. It often glides along the surface of the water in swamps and marshes. It is an uncommon animal. Slower in effect than the ost, it is still quite poisonous.

Ost: The banded ost is a variety of ost, yellowish orange and is marked with black rings. It is exceedingly poisonous. The poison works so quickly there is no time to treat it.

Rennel: These are poisonous, crablike desert insects. They tend to gather and move in swarms.

Seaweed, Waters near Schendi: Many fish in these tropical waters are poisonous to eat, a function of certain forms of seaweed on which they feed. The seaweed is harmless to the fish but it contains substances toxic to humans.

Sullius Maximus' Poison: Sullius Maximus was knowledgable in poisons. One particular use mentioned was paralyzing a man who was an enemy. The unfortunate was paralyzed from the neck down. There is an antidote.

Tropical Fish, Waters near Schendi: They are toxic by reason of the seaweed on which they feed.

Uses of Poisons

Fang Ring: The name comes from the fact that it is worn like a normal ring, but there is a place to press which causes a "fang" to raise up. The venom or poison is stored inside the ring, the fang is just like a snake's fang, hollow and when it punctures the skin, the poison is delivered through it.

Free Women: Drugs and poison are often the tools of a Free Woman, since most are not trained in other ways to defend herself. A Free Woman may carry a poisoned knife or needle concealed in her clothes. She may also use poisoned pins to style her hair. Such weapons can also be concealed in a room or area known only to the woman.

Poison Girls: A person can be slain by the bite of a chemically prepared slave. It is also possible to breed a girl with poisonous saliva.

Poisoned Drinks: Poison, such as kanda or ost is added to a drink.

Poisoned Teeth: Artificial teeth placed in the mouth, such as upper canine teeth. Poison is delivered when the teeth are used in a bite. Merchants may use this most often, since they do not learn skill in arms.

Suicide Pellets: Special pellets formulated to kill. They are taken when a person does not wish to give up information that may be tortured from him.

Water Sources: Poison may be added to a place's water supply to spoil it and cause death and confusion.