I think it would be interesting if during a random month before winter people could become infected by the plague maybe if they are running around bare foot for more than 30 mins. The plague could act very much like rezz sickness or even more dangerous and DoT health. The plague could then be transmitted by proximity. Maybe this could also be decreased by healers. I wouldn't make the sickness last a super long time but it would be interesting to see folks getting quarantined or whole settlements getting shut down.
Then blight have some random event happen where a certain type of crop across the world dies. One day all wheat just disappears randomly and unpredictably.