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The makings of a 3E Solar Physician

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  • The makings of a 3E Solar Physician

    So I've had an idea rolling around my head for a year or so now and an opportunity to manifest the character has presented itself recently. However, I thought I would draw on the collective experience of the community here.

    I'm looking to make a Solar with the skills of a wandering physician. Based upon a somewhat confused interpretation of 3E's rules, I am operating under the assumption that while it says medicine is the ability for treating ailments, would it not be craft to process the actual medication into something usable? Also, would an ability like survival be similarly crucial for identifying and collecting ingredients for medicines just to enable these treatments to even take place? This is 3 somewhat beefy abilities to invest in just for the mundane aspect of things, not even addressing supernatural maladies or plagues yet.

    Suffice to say, the longer I've mused over this thread of thought, the more I've started seeing separate paths: one skilled in diagnostic medicine, one skilled in pharmaceutical work, and another in ritualistic treatment (such as sorceries and exorcism). Each of these paths interests me to an extent, so I am stuck between Zenith and Twilight as caste options while trying to reign in my imagination so I have enough room to build other secondary skillsets into the character (namely combat survivability and miscellaneous utility).

    So, those who have played the role of a Solar healer or physician, what have you found to be the most important to filling out the concept? Things like ability distribution, key charm picks, hearthstones, artifacts, and the like would all be appreciated for reference purposes. The edition is still young, but that doesn't mean there isn't a large amount of material to review.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Aredin View Post
    I'm looking to make a Solar with the skills of a wandering physician. Based upon a somewhat confused interpretation of 3E's rules, I am operating under the assumption that while it says medicine is the ability for treating ailments, would it not be craft to process the actual medication into something usable? Also, would an ability like survival be similarly crucial for identifying and collecting ingredients for medicines just to enable these treatments to even take place?
    Craft can be used to acquire the materials needed to perform treatments in the absence of any other available means, which I think should only really be assumed to come up in cases where it's dramatically appropriate, or when engaged in a story where it might be seen as necessary to develop and implement medical supplies on a scale beyond what an individual is achieving. For the most part, I think it can be taken as a given that a character with a few dots of Medicine is generally going around with adequate supplies to provide treatment to people, which will generally take the form not so much of cures as it will ways of keeping somebody healthy despite the symptoms and general draining effect of disease, as it tends to in reality.

    On top of that, Solars have Charms that release them from the usual assumptions of requiring medical supplies personally.

    Originally posted by Aredin
    not even addressing supernatural maladies or plagues yet.
    Note that supernatural diseases aren't necessarily more deadly than mundane ones, just that their progression is accompanied by weird effects upon the body of the sufferer, beyond merely wasting away as the toll of the symptoms makes them weaker and weaker. Puppeteer's Plague is actually easier to avoid contracting and survive than mundane plague and haemorrhagic fever, it's just that as it gets worse your skeleton comes to life and starts messing you around, and at the end of things there'll be an undead skeleton going around (although arguably, the kind of bleeding that the fever incurs is a more horrific way to experience or watch somebody die from). It might be regarded as being helped by some more exotic treatments, but the basic process is still going to consist of keeping the victim in good healthy until their body fights it off.

    {checks again} Haemorrhagic fever and plague also progress more quickly then bonus eruptus does.

    The Great Contagion is generally distinct as a magical disease in being something that put all of its energy into extra killing power, resistant to all but the most powerful healing magics.

    Originally posted by Aredin
    Suffice to say, the longer I've mused over this thread of thought, the more I've started seeing separate paths: one skilled in diagnostic medicine, one skilled in pharmaceutical work, and another in ritualistic treatment (such as sorceries and exorcism).
    The game's Medicine system doesn't really draw a distinction between this, excepting where capital S Sorcery is not allowed to be a more efficient means of treating and healing people than Exalted Medicine Charms are, and exorcism is really only in cases where a person is outright being tormented by a spirit or similar, that can be told to go away and take its malady with it. There are forms of treatment in the setting that will utilise methods and components that look more mystical, but those are basically stunts, they still require the Medicine Ability.


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    • #3
      I've been running a campaign with a Solar doctor as one of the players for a while now, so here's my experiences with it.

      Medicine is definitely the ability you want first, most, and hardest. The Medicine charms will make you an extremely effective physician when it comes to curing people who are right in front of you, no matter what other abilities you have or don't. While Medicine might not be able to brew up tinctures or potions, with the right charms, you won't need to. People will just get better if you slap some dirt on their wounds, or rearrange their chakras, or just breathe on them.

      Second to Medicine, I would say, is actually Lore. If you have Medicine but no Lore, you'll still be an effective healer, but you won't be a particularly knowledgeable one. You'll know what to do, but not necessarily why. And Lore's utility to declare facts cannot be overstated when it comes to healing. Got a tricky disease that's infecting people faster than you can cure them? Declare a fact that its foul miasma is dispelled by burning a certain mixture of sage, sweetgrass, and cedar, and *bam*, all of a sudden the contagion rate has slowed right down. This is particularly helpful with magical diseases, which can be resistant to the Medicine charms on their own. Trust me, if the ST throws something like that at you, and you ask to declare a fact that there's actually a cure for it, you'll just need to visit the friendly neighborhood shadowland and fight those nemissarries to get it, a good ST will thank you for the opportunity.

      Craft is certainly handy if you want to create material cures, particularly in significant batches. I'll generally allow Medicine to brew up a single dose of an antivenom or inoculation or something, but if you want to pump it out in city or even village-sized lots, that's the domain of Craft. Also, while Medicine is very good at healing people when they're right in front of you, it's not quite so hot at helping the absent. The ability to use Craft to mass-produce cures that can be distributed is handy here.

      Finally, Survival can come in handy if you're focused on being a herbalist, but that's a bit niche. Medicine or Lore will tell you which plants to use to cure people, anyway, and it's really only when you want to gather them yourself that you'll need Survival. Better to just send someone else to find some athelas. :-)

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      • #4
        I think an important consideration before getting too far, is if the character was a skilled mortal physician that Exalted (and thus would need a greater variety of back up Skills to support their role), or a character that Exalted and decided to take that forward into the life of a wandering physician?

        On the mechanical side of things Medicine Charms make the majority of dealing with things besides exorcisms pretty easy, but you're not going to get the 'skip the need for tools/medicines' stuff at start unless you go Medicine Supernal. And Medicine Supernal is really useful for this concept, which makes it lean towards Twilight. The ability to jump up to the Master Chirurgeon Meditation branch off the bad is kinda crazy good. Contagion-Curing Touch, Instant Treatment Methodology, and Flawless Diagnosis Technique are probably the core cluster to get ASAP for the concept in terms of getting past too much worry about materials and so on.

        Twilight also means you can get a spirit familiar which would need to be home brewed for this purpose, but could easily be a spirit related to healing or something to supplement your character's own abilities.

        Craft isn't going to hurt, but you shouldn't really need any Charms unless you want to get to CNNT for super-speed pharmacology. Survival is probably better for the travel part, but the finding ingredients isn't going to be a bad thing. Survival's familiar boosting tree is also still useful for a Twilight since they can use it on their spirit familiars (which can increase your combat utility without dipping into even more stuff).

        Don't overlook Lore here, since it's going to be very, very, useful for dealing with obscure diseases your character hasn't seen before. It can also help with not needing to rely on Craft or Survival as much. "Oh, I remembered, the leaves of this common weed that's growing right over there brings down fevers, just like we need!" and so on.

        Occult is, of course, very important to the exorcist angle, and gets you Occult which can also replace a lot of Crafts and Survival too via Sorcery.

        There's not too much support in the hearthstone area, yet at least. Twice-Striking Lightning Prism is generally useful esp. for Supernal bought Charms that rely on Essence for effect, so they're more effective for you. The Purity Gem and the Health Gem are very useful for stopping the cause of an outbreak or whatnot, even if they doesn't cure those already afflicted. Hierophant's Eye is great if you're going to use some Sorcery in this.

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        • #5
          Thanks everyone. You've given me a lot of great input on this.

          I think my caste choice will ultimately boil down to resistance or medicine supernal for this particular character. You all have certainly helped reign in my scattered thoughts as far as total scope is concerned.

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          • #6
            I have an old dev quote that I've kept in my notes for a long time about this topic. I don't have a link but I have the text:

            Mantra of the Solar Hospitaler:

            If you want to know the illness, which medicine to use, and the dose: Medicine
            If you want to know which plant or animal parts are used to make the medicine and where to find them: Lore
            If you want to avoid dying in the jungle or touching dangerous plants while harvesting medicinal herbs: Survival
            If you want to synthesize medicines from harvested herbs: Craft
            If you want to figure out how people are getting infected: Investigation
            If you suspect a plague spirit might be behind it: Occult
            If you think market practices are to blame: Bureaucracy
            I think it was from Morke back when it was his show but I follow the logic.


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            • #7
              I’m a medicine supernal solar twilight and medicine is definitely the way to go especially in a low essence game the high essence medicine charms are worth it especially if you trying to regrow someone’s face on multiple occasions . Imo things like survival and investigation are more outside of your scope and that’s what you have other circle mates for. No man is an island even if he is a solar. You can’t be doing everything yourself and have other players sitting there spitting in the ceiling . While you are treating the sick the eclipse could be investigating what caused it a zenith could be out looking for herbs and dawn caste battling the plague spirits and night caste would be taking care of corrupt officials with his bureaucracy and assassination etc
              Last edited by Beast of Bitter Oblivion; 03-19-2019, 12:05 PM.

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              • #8
                Just because the character has dots in an ability, doesn't mean he won't cede the lead to a character with greater expertise and just provide support. I'm personally very well practiced in building characters with broad skillsets that are both still effective and great at teamwork.

                This also means I tend to put a lot of time in thinking through the minutiae of what defines the character and how do I expect them to grow over time. Part of this to me means laying out, what "should" they know as a consequence of their profession.

                My local group tends to play alot of GURPS as well, so template-esque flavor in side skills has become a fun part of writing a character for me.

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                • #9
                  Craft and Survival might be useful but they need very little and you'll get most of what you want from them with just the excellency.
                  Originally posted by Beast of Bitter Oblivion View Post
                  I’m a medicine supernal solar twilight
                  Now I know who to blame when there isn't a cure for cancer yet.


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                  • #10
                    Craft (Apothecary) would be the Craft to make medicine. And also I really like the word "apothecary" for some reason.

                    Solars don't really need medicine or tools to cure people, but if you're going to play a doctor, you might as well make medicine to sell on the side. You won't always be there to cure every disease or ailment that comes up.


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