Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Hello, Nurse!": Healing in the City

The adventurer's life in the City is made a little less convenient by the absence of readily available clerical healing.  True faith healing is rare (though claims of it are a bit more common), and priests that bother to learn thaumaturgy don't usually spend a lot of time on the simple healing arts.  Medical technology is, of course, more advanced than in your standard Medieval setting, but accessing it sometimes brings questions adventurer-types would rather avoid.

The corner drug store offers a solution. On its shelves, various alchemical tonics and medications can be found that offer restored energy and faster healing. Many of these function similarly to standard cure light or (less commonly) medium wounds potions found in other worlds, but with an important difference: They offer the equivalent healing of 8 hours of restorative sleep plus enhanced energy in the form of temporary hit points. These dissipate within 12 hours.

Further consumption can extend this time period, but at diminishing returns. Consuming another dosage within a 24 hour period confers only temporary hit points--and these last 6 hours.  Further doses do nothing--most of the time.  Sometimes they shock the system and act as a poison causing light wounds.

Though Union laws require drugs to be pure, no human or animal testing is required prior to marketing. Sometimes alchemical medications have unintended consequences, and there are rare and tragic instances where they are outright toxic.  It's probably best to consume them only as directed by a physician.


12 comments:

The Angry Lurker said...

I could do with the medium wounds potion sometimes especially with the SWMBO in a funny mood!

Tim Shorts said...

Strong coffee and some hydrogen peroxide will get you through the day. Once in a while a needle and thread are needed. And never ever leave home without a bottle of Crossroads Whiskey.

garrisonjames said...

Excellent post. Are there competing formulas/brands? (Like Johnson & Johnson versus Aunt Willie-Mae's Cure-o-Creme, etc.) Are there any recalls of particularly bad batches or tainted product? Is there any regulation of the tonics to prevent them from lurching into a full-blown Cola-War between curative/restorative drinks that people find tasty and desirable even when they aren't hurt or injured? A lot of sodas arose from various tonics and elixirs, Coca-Cola was only available in drugstores, originally...this could be a fun angle to examine...and it might lead into a lot of weird directions as well.

So what about cures for diseases contracted in the underworld? Or infections. Any miracle cures for the stuff that is likely to show up after a trip to (ahem) those places with the funny little cartoon books, or what about parasites (ick)...what the heck does an adventurer do about those nasty wriggly-things that one can catch off of the ghouls or from associating with the Barrow-men? Not that adventurers ever plan to spend time with those sorts of folks. But, hey, the job carries risks as well as rewards...

Bard said...

Thanks to that top picture I feel better already. (Wait...did I just say that out loud?)

I like this idea, especially the diminishing returns. You could even have less expensive versions on the street (with even fewer questions asked) or maybe a whole black market with even greater promises of return, and great potential risks involved. Real snake oil salesman meets drug dealer kind of stuff.

Trey said...

@Angry Lurker - Might even need a cure heavy for that.

@Tim - Words to live by.

@Jim - Good questions. Absolutely, there are competing brands (I though about providing some of those, but it was late and I was tired. :)) There have been some recalls in other parts of the Union, but the City has avoided that so far. Tonic drinks, colas and the like, may have some minor alchemical effects, but not the restorative powers of true medications (despite their claims). While most of them are more mundane, there are some drinks with the quainter "Harry Potter-ish" effects for the teen soda fountain set.

There are antiparasitals and "anti-disease" alchemical meds (while the germ theory of disease is understood, alchemical science finds it more convenient to treat disease in a more holistic fashion, mostly).

@Bard - Thanks. Yeah, there is a whole spectrum of this stuff. Haste potions and the like are probably as abused as they are used appropriately.

garrisonjames said...

Awesome. Hey, are there homeopaths operating in The City? I was just re-reading some stuff on Bach Flower Remedies and it struck me that that sort of thing might also work for you. Then there are the notorious hoodoo cures, all available via mail-order from the back pages of certain not so reputable and quite lurid pulp magazines no doubt...

You're doing great stuff! I'd very much like to pick your brain for some of the Wermspittle things that we're working on right now.

Trey said...

Ooh--good question. I would suspect the answer is yes, but they're viewed as more part and partial of magical/folk healing traditions (and some more "low class" than scientific practices).

Sure, man. It's always great to hear about Wermspittle.

seaofstarsrpg said...

What about the various military organizations? Do they buy off the shelf? Or are they special military alchemical lab producing potions in bulk?

What happens to military alchemical past their use by date? Are they dumped? (And what weird effects do they cause when they are?) Or resold (illegally?) on the civilian market?

Matt said...

Just give me that nurse and I'll be fine.

Trey said...

@seaofstarsrpg - Good questions! Military supplies would mostly be similar stuff but packaged for them. In Ealderde in the Great War there were higher grade medications used and some performance enhancers. Past self-life alchemicals aren't seen as a problem in the unenlightened age of 5888: they're dumped. The resultant sludge sometimes leads to ooze and slime formation and probably has longterm effects on wildlife.

I would suspect some supplies are diverted by criminal types. The various factions in the civil war in Zingaro are always in need of pharmaceuticals.

@Matt - You're saving money for the healthcare system. ;)

The Happy Whisk said...

Guys and nurses. Too funny.

But in seriousness, this was well-written.

Cheers and boogie boogie.

Trey said...

Thanks, Whisk. Boogie boogie to you. For what it's worth, despite (or maybe because of) my career in medicine, I've only dated two nurses in my life--and neither wore the sort of nursing uniform pictured above, alas.