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In my fantasy world, there is a King afflicted with leprosy. He is in his mid-to-late 40's, and has recently been diagnosed with this horrible disease. What are the disadvantages (and advantages, if any) of ruling with this affliction? Could he expose himself to others if he wore thick layers of clothing or a mask? What might his vassals think? This is a low-fantasy world, heavily based on 12th-14th century Europe.

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    $\begingroup$ Is this fantasy world based off of any particular real-world culture? Such as Europe in the 1300's? 700s? Or maybe the Mongol steppes in 4 BC? $\endgroup$ – PipperChip Jan 20 '16 at 17:38
  • $\begingroup$ This is a low-fantasy world, heavily based on 12th-14th century Europe. $\endgroup$ – RedBadgeOfCourage Jan 20 '16 at 17:46
  • $\begingroup$ Not the first time in history that this would have happened. Just google it, you'll get lots of info on leprosy afflicted kings. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Jan 20 '16 at 17:51
  • $\begingroup$ Case in point, check out Baldwin the leper king. $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 Jan 20 '16 at 17:56
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One example from history is Baldwin IV of Jerusalem, who ruled Jerusalem in 1174.
He was diagnosed with leprosy when he was a child.
He was crowned at 13 and reigned for 11 years before his death.

Disadvantages:
Because he got the disease at a young age, he never married and had no heir.
Instead he appointed his nephew as king.
He had to be careful in battle while leading his troops, since he wouldn't be able to feel wounds. Even something like a saddle sore could give him a lot of problems, since he wouldn't know it was starting, and it could get infected.

Can't think of any real advantages

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    $\begingroup$ Can you think of any fake advantages? $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Jan 20 '16 at 18:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre There are none, except he could have lots of pet leopards. $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Jan 20 '16 at 18:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre Any advantages are probably political, in that he doesn't have much to lose, since he only has a short time left anyway. The guy in the question is 40, so he may already have an heir. If not, he may be able to use the succession as a major political chip. $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 Jan 20 '16 at 18:50
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    $\begingroup$ Meh. Do it for the leopards. That should balance. Right? :) $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Jan 20 '16 at 18:56
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    $\begingroup$ Advantages: this makes imposters (body doubles) really hard to find. Not only do they need to look like the king, but they must also impersonate having leprosy. Small bonus to intimidation; I mean, that angry man has skin falling off him and still wants to kill me/us/them. $\endgroup$ – PipperChip Jan 20 '16 at 22:46
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Others have already covered all the disadvantages I can think of so I'll just focus on the advantages.

Advantages

1) You get to choose your heir. Many times in history the son of the king really wasn't suited to the throne.

2) It would be a good morale booster. "The king is sick and he's still out here fighting with us!"

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I can think of two other advantages albeit closely related. The king could use the fear people have of becoming infected to impose his will or he could use his horrible appearance to intimidate people, like an ogre.

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