Perhaps the most fundamental and useful ability an Empath has is to take on the wounds, scars, and injuries of other adventurers. With skill, one can even snatch a fallen adventurer away from the jaws of death itself.
TOUCH, by default, tells you everything you need to know about the health of your patient. If the Familiar window in your front end is open, the diagnostic messaging will be displayed there for easy reference instead of in the Story window (this is highly recommended!).
Sometimes the situation dictates that you ignore certain wounds. By specifying the severity level and/or the keywords WOUND or BLEEDING, the diagnostic messaging will only display information about wounds you are concerned with. This refinement of the Touch ability is based on skill, and if you fail the attempt, you will be notified.
By touching, you have established a diagnostic link with that person. This is necessary for the Link ability and Shifting as well as healing. The diagnostic link will wear off after a short while, the length being dependent primarily on your Empathy skill.
You may TOUCH a player to get information about their injuries and to establish a connection to them that will allow you to transfer their wounds to you.
Experienced empaths may optionally ignore less significant injuries. The following modifiers are eventually available: TOUCH <player> <modifier>
- WOUND or WOUND <injury severity>
- BLEEDING or BLEEDING <injury severity>
Healing your patient
You've decided to take some of the patient's hurts. How to do so depends on what you wish to heal them of.
note: see the list of body parts below for acceptable values of <body part>
Wounds and Scars
It requires 6 ranks of Empathy to take internal wounds, 7 ranks of Empathy to take external scars, and 8 ranks of Empathy to take internal scars.
A vitality transfer will occur when you don't specify a body part (or disease, shock, or poison). Be careful when taking vitality from characters who have higher stamina than you do, as this runs the risk of vit death. For the same reason, most Empaths avoid taking vitality from deaders under any circumstance.
These keywords can be used instead of DISEASE to specify a specific ailment:
- CONSUMPTION (plague)
When transferring poison, you can optionally specify a body part to take the poison from a specific area of the body. This is helpful in targeting the more severe items when multiple poisons are present.
||<patient>||[optional: <body part>]||
By default, TAKE/TRANSFER tries to grab the entire wound. If you are concerned with over-healing, it might be better to only take a portion of the wound instead, and this is done via the keywords PART, HALF, or MOST. The ability to perform a limited transfer is, naturally, based on your skill. There are four possible outcomes:
- you fail to take anything
- you lose focus and take the whole wound
- you successfully take the specified portion
- you get a wild transfer (entire wound transfers either immediately or at a faster than normal pace, running the risk of over-healing)
Additionally, you can control the speed of the transfer. By default, the wound transfer occurs at NORMAL speed. By specifying the QUICK or CAREFUL keywords (FAST and SLOW are synonyms), you can make the transfer go faster or slower than normal.
A QUICK transfer will teach a bit more Empathy skill than a NORMAL one, and is more difficult to perform. Quick transfers are an incentive for experienced Empaths to continue healing patients when they reach the point that Normal transfers cease teaching well. Likewise, a CAREFUL transfer teaches a bit less Empathy than normal, but it is easier. This can be helpful for novice Empaths to more easily maintain their links.
The most important thing to know, once you learn how to start a transfer, is how to stop it. This is done with the BREAK command.
- BREAK <player>
- BREAK ALL
Breaking is used to immediately stop a transfer from completing. There are several reasons why you would want to do this:
- You realize after the fact that you are taking a wound that will kill you if you finish the transfer.
- You are taking vitality from a deader, or your vitality is running low and you are taking vit from someone with higher stamina than you.
- You attempted a partial transfer which failed, instead starting a full or wild transfer.
- You start taking a wound your patient doesn't want you to take, such as a bleeder, or you realize after starting to heal that your patient is an Empath.
BREAK <player> will stop the transfer of one injury each time you enter it, so for safety it is best to spam the command until you get the message that you no longer have any active links. Note also that at high levels of skill, you will take wounds very quickly so the window for breaking a link can be very short.
Healing links will only continue if you are in the same room as your patient, so another way to break all links is simply to leave the room. Additionally, you cannot transfer wounds etc. from a prone position, making the FAINT, FALL, and LIE commands similarly useful for breaking all links at once. These other methods may incur a slight delay before the healing links actually stop, so in a real health emergency BREAK is more reliable.
- TAKE [PLAYER] LEFT ARM will take external wounds from the left arm.
- TAKE [PLAYER] ABDOMEN SCAR PART will attempt a partial transfer of external scars from the abdomen.
- TAKE [PLAYER] HEAD INTERNAL SCAR MOST QUICK will attempt a quick transfer of most (but not all) the internal scars from the head.
- TRANS [PLAYER] CAREFUL will start a careful transfer of vitality.
- TAKE [PLAYER] LEFT ARM POISON QUICK will start a rapid transfer of poison from the left arm.
- TAKE [PLAYER] SHOCK will transfer some of an Empath's shock.
- BREAK [PLAYER] will halt the transfer of a single wound or other injury.
Acquiring a Patient
Stationary (Guild) Healing
Generally, patients come into the room and request healing. Alternatively, you may whisper an injured person and ask if he would like to be healed. (It's best not to heal without asking, even if the person is in a known healing area.) When no patients are coming, Empaths sometimes gweth about their availability.
Once an Empath has touched a patient, guild etiquette holds that other Empaths should refrain from touching that patient unless the first Empath either requests help or declines to heal.
The most important difference between triage and regular healing is that multiple Empaths may heal the same patient without running afoul of guild etiquette.
Triage patients are likely to be more seriously injured than regular patients. As such, there is a higher risk of over-healing, and most people don't recommend triage to inexperienced Empaths.
The Empath's first priority is to avoid over-healing. A dead Empath only adds to the workload. Moreover, since Empaths don't learn empathy by healing other Empaths, most won't be eager to drop what they're doing to heal a careless Empath. If you accidentally over-heal during triage, the most courteous practice is to depart (especially if there are other patients).
Unlike regular healing, triage Empaths aren't usually focused on getting someone fully healed before moving on. Rather, the focus is on getting wounded fighters back into battle or getting bodies ready to be raised.
The general order of priority for triage patients is:
- Live front-line fighters
- Live support personnel (Clerics, Bards, Paladins, etc.)
- Dead front-line fighters
- Dead support personnel
- Live people who aren't fighting or helping triage
- Dead people who aren't fighting or helping triage
- Some people would add AFK scripters at the bottom of this list.
There are a few ways to go about field healing. Some Empaths patrol hunting areas for patients. (If you choose to do this, make sure you can safely handle the monsters that prowl the area.) Another method is to hunt with someone you know.
Healing in combat is a bit trickier then normal. You'll have to monitor both your health and the person you're healing. Unlike normal patients, combat patients may receive new injuries while you are healing them. These injuries will be transferred to you if you have an open link. Partial or slow transferring of wounds is recommended. Ideally, you should heal your wounds right away instead of letting them accumulate.
You will want to keep Refresh and Sphere of Protection active at all times.
List of body parts
There are a total of fifteen major body areas, including the tail, where wounds may occur. If you don't have a tail, then you will of course be unable to take a tail wound. Each area has an internal and external component, and wounds may be fresh or scar, making a total of sixty different wounds that a patient may have. And that isn't counting vitality, disease, or poison!
- Right Eye
- Left Eye
- Right Arm
- Left Arm
- Right Hand
- Left Hand
- Right Leg
- Left Leg
- Skin (Nerves = internal skin)
This is a collection of bits of experience and advice fellow empaths have picked up over the course of their careers about the healing ability.
Over-healing occurs when an Empath inadvertently allows a critical body part to have a useless-level wound or scar.
Critical body parts include:
- tail (S'Kra Mur only)
Over-healing will occur if an Empath transfers all of a useless-level wound or scar without pausing to heal himself. However, the gradual accumulation of minor wounds or scars to a critical body part can also be lethal.
The most common cause of over-healing is the gradual build-up of scars, which are often ignored because they don't bleed. (The HEALTH output may hide scars if you already have both an external wound and an internal wound to the same body part.)
Some people claim that it is also possible to die from simply having too many non-fatal wounds or scars. I've never seen this happen before. The more likely explanation is that the Empath had a lethal scar that was hidden from the HEALTH output.
Over-healing is normally regarded as a beginner's error. Overzealous Empaths who routinely over-heal may be regarded as incompetent.
Although mistakes happen, fellow Empaths may be reluctant to drop what they are doing to heal an Empath who died from carelessness or greed. (Empaths don't learn empathy by healing fellow Empaths.) As a result, most Empaths who over-heal choose to depart.
Non-Lethal Wounds and Non-critical Areas
A useless-level wound to a non-critical body part is not immediately lethal. However, it is still possible to bleed to death or develop a dangerous infection.
Non-critical body parts include:
Severe wounds may interfere with other activities. Some common Empath activities that may be hindered by wounds:
- transferring additional wounds/scars to that part
- tending wounds (arm or hand wounds)
- holding cambrinth (missing arm or hand)
- harnessing mana (nerve wounds)
- using cambrinth (serious but non-lethal head wounds)
- defensive ability in combat
Keep in mind that if you are holding something when your arm or hand acquires a useless-level wound, you will drop that item. The system will prevent other people from picking up that item for some time, but if you leave the room, the protection will cease.