The Gloom is a plague affecting the city. Symptoms start with infected people hearing voices or talking to themselves. Later they start to try to poke out their own eyes to stop seeing the visions or damaging their ears to stop hearing the voices. In last stage they display self-harming and eventually suicidal tendencies; they may attempt bite off their own tongues, choke themselves, cut their wrists, hang themselves, or even jump to their own deaths. The disease is quick, so that someone can appear to be healthy one day but be dead by the next. Many infected have signs of heavy opiate use.
It is also hinted, within The Watch Barracks, that The Watch are permitted to kill a person if they have valuable assets as long as it looks like the victim died of the gloom i.e slit wrists or 'fallen' off a high point.
Official App LoreEdit
The gloom appears to largely be a sickness of the mind with physical side-effects and was not greatly understood by early medical observers. In addition to general loss of physical health, victims are afflicted with melancholia, manic-depression and ultimately suicidal tendencies fuelled by internalized voices and visions in the head.
On the basis of people's fervent desire to find a cure for the gloom, countless examples of charlatans and tricksters flooded the black market with their own cures in bottles and philters of every shape and size. The only official attempt at a cure came via Doctor Troy, possibly the most well-known physician within The City.
With his upstanding reputation, Troy's research into a cure for the gloom reportedly delivered a believable remedy but the truth of this was ultimately challenged when Troy seemed unable to produce a working sample for actual use.
Below is a text compiled by Troy & Co. from his research:
Observed symptoms and expected prognosis
- Onset of chronic depression; general fatigue; loss of appetite; lack of self-esteem; headaches and general symptoms of cold or flu (coughing, sneezing) possibly due to a lowering of the immune system. - Extreme withdrawal; loss of social function; depression considered at a clinical level; all appetite gone; physical wasting begins; coughing becomes painful. - Depression elevates to manic; psychological deviations manifest; imagined voices and sounds experienced without cause; extreme nightmares when trying to sleep. - Severe body pain; terrible headaches; psychological disorder reaching insanity levels; imagined voices are considered unbearable; sleep not possible; visions of extreme negative nature while awake; suicidal tendencies manifest. - Subjects will push objects into their ears to stop the voices or push in their eyes with their thumbs to make the visions go away; most take their own lives to end the trauma. - Majority of subjects commit suicide before death occurs by malnutrition, lack of sleep, malfunctioning biological process and/or organ failure.
It was found that the gloom could be slowed by ingesting opium, distracting the user perhaps and delaying symptomatic depression. As a cure this proved expensive and not easily accessible to everyone. Opium dens such as the House of Blossoms became much more popular than normal within rich circles. The general supply of opium powder and poppy milk (a liquid form) quickly became a lucrative black market trade.
Political effect of the gloomEdit
Fear of the gloom led to sanctions being placed on certain goods/imports. These were largely fallacies devised by the Baron and his cohorts to serve their own business ends. The gloom was treated as if it was something akin to the plague, and although the deaths were real, the sickness was more supernatural. Therefore none of the measures put in place had any discernible impact and were eventually dropped.
Post-game: the unreal cause of the gloom?Edit
On some level it appears that the Primal interacts and has an effect on the psyche of the people who live in and around its influence although how this works exactly remains a mystery to practically everyone.
When Erin fell into the ritual at Northcrest Manor the mysterious energy known as the Primal somehow merged with her mind essentially fusing The City with her emotions and memories.
As long as Erin was sedated with poppy milk, the influence on the Primal was hard to discern. But as the opium trade began to waver, Erin began to temporarily regain consciousness and a subsequent wave of negativity and anger swept through the people of The City.
These negative feelings eventually grew worse and worse as Erin continued to destabilize amidst the already angry and mistreated population. People began to see and hear more and more terrible things in their own minds which ultimately led them to being overwhelmed with feelings of manic-depression and a desire to end it all.
Through this, the gloom also took the nickname of the Suicide Sickness.