What is Dragonrot?
Even though Sekiro is more accessible than any other From Software game out there, it has many ways to throw you a curveball. One such thing is Dragonrot – a mysterious illness that afflicts NPCs as you perish in battle – meaning that yes, you are causing this with your constant dying. Doing so will reduce “Unseen Aid”, which can prevent you losing Sen – the game’s currency – and half your experience towards a new skill level upon dying.
Play through the game, revisiting the Shrine until you see the doctor – Emma – go to tend to the old man in the temple. She’ll ask for a sample of blood. This can be found from the old woman in the burnt out house – close to the Outskirts Wall – Gate Path Sculptor’s Idol, whose first interaction should have resulted in you receiving a bell. Go to her and take the blood sample. When you next speak to her, she’ll give you a Dragon’s Blood Droplet to use at the Idol in order to cure everyone who is affected. It’s unclear if anyone can become reinfected with Dragonrot.