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Oneirophysics, Chirurgeons, and the Hippocratic Oath

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  • Oneirophysics, Chirurgeons, and the Hippocratic Oath

    The Hippocratic Oath (and the various versions and translations thereof) is one of the most well-known and widely-sworn oaths in the modern world. Everybody knows that the first clause of the Oath is "First do no harm". Would a changeling who has taken the Hippocratic Oath be bound by that oath in a literal sense, finding him- or herself unable to inflict any kind of damage on enemy combatants without punishment from the Wyrd? Would a fae doctor (or for that matter, an ensorcelled mortal) be required by their Oath to care for combatants on both sides in every violent conflict? Does the Hippocratic Oath apply to fetches, hobgoblins, Huntsmen, and True Fae? What about undead supernaturals like vampires and Prometheans?
    Last edited by Super_Dave; 11-16-2020, 12:06 PM.


    Author of Motor City Breakdown, [New Seeming] Mechanicals, and [Entitlement] Divers of the Cerulean Pearl
    Co-Author & Accuracy Consultant for Ashes of the Motor City
    Major Contributor to Tenebrous Seas

  • #2
    Not unless they meant it, mystically speaking. Just swearing an oath isn't the same thing as Swearing An Oath, and pledgecraft only compels behavior through incentive and disincentive. A specific changeling might develop frailties that further push them to follow the tenets of the Hippocratic Oath, as seen by some examples in 1e, and it would probably constitute a minor Clarity breaking point to violate the Oath, but unless you've invested a statement with faerie word-binding of some degree, just being fae and making a promise doesn't substantially affect you when you break it.


    Resident Lore-Hound
    Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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    • #3
      Perhaps worth noting that "I will do no harm" shows up in neither version of the Oath in your link. It is also worth noting that there are many versions of the Oath, and that Physicians are not actually required to swear it. There are far more complete and regularly-updated ethical codes they follow these days, which are generally legally binding.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Satchel View Post
        Just swearing an oath isn't the same thing as Swearing An Oath, and pledgecraft only compels behavior through incentive and disincentive.
        Isn't there something in the rules (in 1e at least) about high-Wyrd changelings being unintentionally bound into their own promises? Like, if you say "I won't sleep until I find his killer", the Wyrd will make you unable to sleep until you do so? I feel pretty sure I remember reading that somewhere...

        Originally posted by Satchel View Post
        A specific changeling might develop frailties that further push them to follow the tenets of the Hippocratic Oath
        That's probably a better solution, IMO. Instead of making the player take the entire oath literally right from the beginning, that would be a good way of easing them into it, gradually allowing them to lay more restrictions on themselves when they see fit for their character.

        Originally posted by Satchel View Post
        it would probably constitute a minor Clarity breaking point to violate the Oath,
        It would, but (according to 1e rules, the ones I'm most familiar with) only if you're Clarity 8 or higher. At high Clarity, even breaking mundane promises is a breaking point.

        Originally posted by Maina View Post
        Perhaps worth noting that "I will do no harm" shows up in neither version of the Oath in your link.
        Whoops! I just watched the episode of Voyager where The Doctor was taken over by an alien weapons system, and he recited the Oath afterwards as a way to center himself. I must have subconsciously substituted his wording for the more precise translation "First do no harm" (Latin: Primum non nocere). Sorry about that!

        Originally posted by Maina View Post
        It is also worth noting that there are many versions of the Oath, and that Physicians are not actually required to swear it. There are far more complete and regularly-updated ethical codes they follow these days, which are generally legally binding.
        That is good to know, and would definitely ease the restrictions on a fae healer, since breaking that oath would only be a problem if you're Clarity 8+. Fortunately, my newest character never finished med school and never formally took the Oath, so it's not a problem for him in any case if he violates it. ;-)


        Author of Motor City Breakdown, [New Seeming] Mechanicals, and [Entitlement] Divers of the Cerulean Pearl
        Co-Author & Accuracy Consultant for Ashes of the Motor City
        Major Contributor to Tenebrous Seas

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Super_Dave View Post
          Isn't there something in the rules (in 1e at least) about high-Wyrd changelings being unintentionally bound into their own promises? Like, if you say "I won't sleep until I find his killer", the Wyrd will make you unable to sleep until you do so? I feel pretty sure I remember reading that somewhere...
          There's nothing like that in the 1e book on the subject of high Wyrd changelings and high powered games, Equinox Road.
          Second Edition introduces sealings, a type of pledge which is used to force someone who has stated a promise to be bound by it, but this requires the deliberate intervention of another fae, and sealed fae can just spend a single point of Glamour to shrug the sealing off.

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