Healing without clerics/druids/templars/etc

In my old Masque of Red Death campaign, I had a physician/mage villain who produced undead viruses. He combined the late 19th Century discoveries with magic and managed to replicate the undeath onto the microorganisms. These viruses killed other viruses and bacteria, rose them as undead, then spread over the host’s body draining life force out of it. I don’t see why you couldn’t have ‘elemental subtype viruses / bacteria’ that’d enhance healing.

The chief problem here is, I don’t think anyone on Athas realises bacteria or viruses exist. As such, this kind of healing would be more of a ‘condition’ than a method. You’re either lucky enough to get infected or not; it’s not like anyone can get you infected on purpose. Or, if there’s a known way of getting that sort of infection, it’d reap an exorbitant price.

I think Rolemaster shows the biggest weakness of this approach: The crunch threatens to bring the game down to a halt :wink: Also, I’d be very cautious about stressing the random elements of combat. My experiences with such mechanics were comedic and frustrating in equal measure. At times, combat was a contest of ‘who rolls less natural 1s’ - which made us feel like we’re extras in a game of dice reality show.

Personally, I like the Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play approach: When you go below 0 HP, you roll on a critical injury table. It’s modified by the amount of negative HP you sustained (how far below 0 you dropped). It replaces the ‘regular’ death mechanics where you roll to save after dropping below 0 HP.

The result can be anything from a mild concussion to losing limbs, to slow bleed-out to instant death. The only way to die is through the critical injury roll… Which means you can end up with a crippled character who just refuses to die, but who becomes unfit for adventuring.


I think that’s because most people don’t know how to use it right. No offense intended.

I’ll brag on my GM a little bit, but when using his custom approach, it didn’t slow the game down at all… despite the fact that my character referenced the Sweeps and Throws, Strikes and Kicks, Blunt, Slashing, Ice, and Cold damage/critical tables for offense, and Light Armor for defense. Not to mention that you can shift your Combat Value between Attack and Defense from round to round.

In fact I think it ran faster than D&D combat… My GM was a 50%+ combat type GM back then, so that’s really saying something.

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None taken. I used to run relatively smooth MERP games myself, back when I was younger and more healthy. I was the only GM in my town who could pull it off (that I know of). Most others MERP games were… Traumatic. Which is why I wouldn’t recommend it to others - it takes some dedication to make it work.

Also, I don’t think I’d be able to pull it off in my current condition. 3e. is probably the top of my ability, and I’m growing to really appreciate the 5e. for its fun and simplicity.

@Sysane - Great resource - thank you for sharing!

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And yet it’s not Saka but Sa-shaw. Agis is indeed similar to Aegis.
His pronunciation is off.
Many a proper name have historical pronunciations, sometimes based on other languages than English, meaning the name is a loan word, or loan name.
I PMed Troy Denning with the examples and he confirmed that the audio artist’s way is not how he would have done it.

Darn that muddies the waters for me. I was hoping for a definitive pronunciation and assumed since the audiobooks are officially licensed that would be my answer. Now I find out Denning himself would have said it another way. Arrrrrgg. 25+ years and this still crops up.

I swear it’s the geek argument that just won’t die.

Thanks for the info though Pennarin. Despite my complaints I’d rather an uncomfortable truth to a comfortable lie.


This would be great if Denning ever had more of a continued presence. With his current care level, it means nothing. If you get him nostalgic, like explaining his OG concept of silt, that’s one thing. But he seems to have no care to revisit Athas proper.

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Denning has the memory of a goldfish. He can’t remember one damned thing about what he wrote about Dark Sun or what he was thinking at the time.


Do you ever feel that when we ask Brown or Denning about Dark Sun specifics that it is like convention goers asking William Shatner or Leonard Nimoy about the minutiae of the Star Trek universe? :wink:
Not a perfect analog, I know, but to be fair, for them this was probably just one of many projects and over the history of the product there were many fingers in the pie.