Medicine

NOTE: This guide is ONLY intended for purposes relative to ‘Souls roleplaying.
In absolutely no way should you rely on these statements as factual. While this guide has been researched for realism, this guide in no way constitutes medical advice that can or should be ported to the real world.

Roleplaying Medicine Realistically

Luperci are limited to more traditional health practices and beliefs rooted in plant, animal and mineral-based medicines, spiritual therapies, and manual techniques and exercises. So, while they do not have access to a sanitized and cleaned hospital bed, they may still be able to treat many ailments, injuries, and illnesses.

The advanced medical knowledge and expertise that humans had died with them. It is very incorrect for a Luperci to refer to themselves as a toxicologist or immunologist. Medic, healer, apothecary, or herbalist are more appropriate.

Medicine is most easily learned through apprenticeship. Experience is the best teacher, and watching a mentor is one way to gain experience without hurting anyone. After all, it can be tough to find a Luperci guinea pig. Mentors and apprenticeship are therefore generally quite important in the study of medicine. Experimentation is possible in herbalism, though misjudging a plant can have disastrous consequences.

Coyote with Mange
This coyote has been infected with mange, a common skin infection in canines.

Medic Roleplay Realism

  • Just because your character is “a medic” does not mean they know everything. There are a vast number of different things that can go wrong with a body. It is common for Luperci medics to have one specialty — e.g., midwifery, herbalism, physical injuries, etc.
  • Stores of manufactured pills, antibiotics, and other health aids have been rendered unusable by time and various damage. The advanced sciences required to create these items are incomprehensible to canines.
  • Stores of non-perishable human medical supplies — e.g., scalpels, gauze, casting plasters, etc. — are likely to have degraded or become unsanitary. If not, other Luperci are likely to have looted these items, as they are unimaginably precious and rare in a post-apocalyptic world.

Herbalist Roleplay Realism

  • One of the issues inherent with natural medicine is that nature is not nearly as uniform as a pill treatment. Even two of the same species of plant growing side by side may contain different amounts of a certain chemical — good or bad. Herbalists must be especially careful when administering dosages and treatments.
  • There are several skills involved in herbalism. A character may not be good at all of these skills: for example, a medic might only know how to apply a salve, not how to make it. Someone who makes the salve may not know where to go to pick the plants or how to cultivate them, or when the plants are ripe, etc. These skills are simple enough that one canine can learn them all relatively well, but a Luperci medic knowing only one part of the process extremely well is also commonplace.
    • Identification of plants used to create healing agents
    • Mixture of plants used to create healing agents
    • Identification of injury or ailment in Luperci
    • Administration of the correct dosage for the severity of a given injury or ailment.

Specific Practices

The following is a non-exhaustive list of possible Luperci medical practices.

It is definitely worthwhile to note — injuries are unlikely to heal as cleanly as they would in the real world. Scarring, crooked bones, pain, and other evidence of old injuries may remain a long time. Illnesses also may take far longer to recover from.

Possible

Not Possible

  • Correcting birth defects (e.g., a small cleft palate or intestinal hernia)
  • Healing all manner of minor illnesses (e.g., topical infections and rashes, stomachaches, headaches), including some very minor psychiatric problems (e.g., administering St. John’s Wort to a depressed character)
  • Healing all manner of minor injuries (e.g., cuts, burns, scrapes, punctures, lacerations, etc.) as well as some more major injuries (e.g., broken bones, sprains)
  • Alleviating some minor dental problems (e.g., replacing a broken tooth or removing an infected one)
  • Treating some more serious infections (e.g., a minor-to-moderate infection after a finger amputation) and illnesses (e.g., bronchitis and pneumonia)
  • Minor preventative medicine (e.g., advising warm poultices for an arthritic character even when the pain is not present)
  • American Civil War-styled amputations, done with blistering speed under minimal anesthetic and cauterized), may be possible for Luperci
  • Correcting major birth defects (e.g., a clubbed foot or a fingerless hand)
  • Treating major injuries (e.g., strokes, heart attacks, traumatic brain injuries, etc.)
  • Curing chronic diseases, illnesses, etc. (e.g., cancer). Some treatment to alleviate symptoms may be available, but many terminal illnesses are simply fatal to Luperci
  • Major or deep infections (e.g., a leg is amputated and the infection sets into the leg and spreads into the pelvis). Once an infection has passed beyond a minor-to-moderate stage and has begun spreading to other parts of the body, treatment is much less certain
  • Major preventative medicine (e.g., advising on the benefits of vitamins in preventing certain cancers or identifying a trend of stroke in a character’s family and advising a certain diet)
  • Deep internal surgery (e.g., caesarian section or repairing an internal organ bleed)

Herbalist Medicine

For more information about specific plants, their properties, and where they can be found, see the Flora guide.

Raw Plants and Herbs

Various herbs and plants can be eaten raw and whole, and some can be ground into helpful powders after simple drying. Raw consumption can be highly unpleasant, however; many substances have powerful and bitter tastes as well as strange textures.

Prepared Plants and Herbs

Liquid Mixtures

Prepared liquid mixtures (teas, decoctions, infusions, macerations, etc.) consist of a plant or herb steeped in some kind of liquid and then prepared (e.g., by boiling).

Injured Dog
This dog has been injured, and its leg has been wrapped.
  • Tinctures, Elixirs, & Vinegars
    Tinctures, elixirs, and vinegars consist of a plant or herb steeped in alcohol (tincture), water, oil, vinegar (vinegars), another liquid, or a mixture of different liquids. Tinctures are prepared by combining a herb and the desired liquid(s) in a waterproof container, then leaving it to steep for several weeks. Plant matter may be strained out or left in the tincture.
  • Alcohol is advantageous as a solution because it often covers some of the taste.
  • Alcohol and vinegar can also act as a preservative. Tinctures may keep for many years if created with high content alcohol. By contrast, simple liquids made with oils or waters spoil quickly.
  • Vinegars are not taken alone. They are generally used for added flavoring on food, and thus they are quite easy to administer to even the most obstinate of canines. They are also good for low-dose preventative medicine (e.g., a Stinging Nettle vinegar for arthritis).
  • Tea
    Tea-drinking is a very old way of administering medicine. Hot water is generally poured over the plant matter (which is generally either contained in a specially-madedevice or thin piece of rawhide) and allowed to steep for a few moments.
  • Decoctions & Infusions
    A decoction is boiled for far more time (10+ hours) than tea. Decoctions are useful for tougher plant parts (bark, roots, berries, skins, etc.). Infusions are prepared as decoctions, but with oil as the base solution. Infusions are prone to spoilage (especially if not properly stored).
  • Macerations
    Macerations are “cold infusions.” Maceration is typically only done in plants with a high mucilage (a thick, gooey substance found in many plants) content — e.g., aloe vera, cactus. The plants are chopped into small pieces, mashed, and left to steep in a solution for around ten hours.
  • Syrups
    Syrups are made similarly to decoctions — they are boiled for a very long time (several days) or macerated for an even longer time (several weeks). Syrups also differ in the addition of sugar. High sugar content yields long-term storage in a properly-prepared syrup. Honey is often a component in syrup as part or all of the sugar content
  • Oils
    Oils are high-purity oils created from certain plants (not all plants can produce an oil with the technology available to Luperci). Oils generally should not be consumed orally or even applied to the skin in undiluted form.

Administering Medicine

Orally

Sick, Skinny Dog
Malnourishment can make the healing process much more difficult and lengthy.

Many medicines can simply be taken orally — e.g., tea, vinegars, tinctures, decoctions.

Salves, Creams, Balms, Ointment, & Lotions

Salves, creams, balms, and lotions can treat many external injuries and even some illnesses. These are typically created from some form of raw, powdered, or prepared (e.g., in a decoction) herb. Different types of these semi-solid topical preparations have different uses — some penetrate for old injuries and arthritis, while others are stronger and intended for acute illnesses and healing wounds.

Poultices & Compresses

Poultices and compresses are specific forms of delivering a semi-solid topical preparation such as a salve or ointment. The topical medicine is applied a bandage or cloth, which is wrapped around the wounded area. Open poultices, where there is no bandage or cloth and an especially thick layer of the ointment or paste is applied to the wounded area, may also be used. Drying poultices are widely used to cure topical and mild infections.

Aromatherapy

Inhalation and aromatherapy are particularly effective in fighting problems in the respiratory system. Plant parts are typically steamed in very hot water, which the patient can then inhale. A steam room or other enclosed area may also facilitate treatment.

Last updated: February 7, 2014

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