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Path of Health

Source: M. A. Lloyd

The Path of Health is magic that manipulates the life force (pneuma, vis vitalis, chi, or kundalini energy). The principles apply equally well to healing, inflicting harm, and subtler alterations of the body. Beneficial health rituals usually involve the laying on of hands and herbal preparations (potions, oils, herb bandages, or at least aromas) though some modern traditions depend on light and crystals.

Overview

Rituals
Dose: Path of Health -0
Draw Milk: Path of Health -0
Ease: Path of Health -0
Evil Eye: Path of Health -7
Fertility: Path of Health -2
Malaise: Path of Health -5
Remove Blemish: Path of Health -4
Strike Barren: Path of Health -2
Succor: Path of Health -4
Vitality: Path of Health -4
Mysteries
Immortality: Path of Health
Resurrection: Path of the Dead and Health

Sample Rituals

Dose: Path of Health -0

Cures a disease. The healer must have an accurate diagnosis (within the tradition, it not necessarily as viewed by modern medicine). If there is no possible diagnosis (e.g. he made the Diagnosis roll, but it is a new disease) treatment is still possible, but at -2.

If the ritual works the target is functional within a day, and completely cured in the usual recovery time (if there is one) or 3d days, whichever is less. Modifiers: If the patient's HT is less than 10, subtract (10-HT). For minor infections (infected hangnail, common cold, worms, athlete's foot) there is no penalty. Severe infections (fevers, pox, pneumonia, plague, gangrene) and minor internal maladies (asthma, allergies) are at -2. Major maladies (cancer, heart disease) are at -4. Chronic problems (malaria, AIDS, lead poisoning, many maladies) are at an additional -4 for more than a temporary remission.

Draw Milk: Path of Health -0
Hostile if resistance attempted. Resisted by HT.

Increases lactation in female mammals. The usual targets are new mothers with insufficient milk and economic milk animals. Each point of success margin increases milk production by up to 10% of the species norm. Most versions work on non-lactating females, particularly the magician herself, though the effect may be reduced on those who have never been pregnant or are past menopause. The reverse is a common curse. In either case, assume backlash produces chronic breast pains (-1 to all activities) in male or non-mammalian casters.

Ease: Path of Health -0

Removes the symptoms of a disease. It is not cure though it appears to be if the patient recovers naturally before the duration lapses. The symptoms begin to fade almost immediately and most vanish within an hour, though obvious symptoms (skin lesions or hair loss for example) may take longer to vanish completely. Note the severity of the disease is not an issue. Ease works on diseases in the broad sense; perhaps the most common application is to childbirth pains.

Fertility (Conception): Path of Health -2

Nonstandard duration. Hostile if resistance attempted. Resisted by HT.
The target is more likely than normal to produce a child, add the success margin to pregnancy rolls made by the target or their sex partner(s). The usual unmodified odds are a 5- for a single sexual contact, 7- for a month of regular sexual activity, -4 for typical birth control precautions. The difficulty modifier is for the minimum duration, one month.

For an additional -2 to skill, the magician can specify features desired in the child (usually sex, but sometimes elements of appearance, or specific birth defects as a curse). If that outcome is at all possible and the modifier makes the difference to the conception roll, the baby has the desired feature; otherwise ordinary chance determines the results.

Strike Barren: Path of Health -2
Nonstandard duration. Hostile if resistance is attempted. Resisted by HT.

This ritual prevents the target from producing offspring conventionally. At the GMs option, it may also prevent cloning or other technological methods of reproduction. Some traditions regard this as inherently evil, but if the target consents there is no backlash risk. The difficulty modifier is for the minimum duration, one month.

Remove Blemish: Path of Health -4

Permanently erases a selected blemish - a birthmark, scar, wart, mole, off color eye etc. It can also erase wrinkles or freckles, thin or thicken hair, lighten or darken skin, or do most of the other things claimed by cosmetics advertising. This may be used to justify a level of improved appearance if the target has the necessary points.

Succor: Path of Health -4
Nonstandard timing.

As VO p75, except Initiation level has no effect. Instead allow one (HT+1) roll per day per point of success margin, up to a maximum of 12 rolls in addition to normal healing or medical care.

Vitality: Path of Health -4

Protects the target from illness. As VO p75, except the casting time is reduced to the normal 1 hour.

Malaise: Path of Health -5
Hostile. Resisted by Will.

Inflicts a disease. As VO p75. The text is somewhat confusing, the initial Will resistance is against the ritual to avoid the effect entirely; the HT reduction is to future HT rolls to survive or throw off the now natural disease. The disease is seldom really at the whim of the spirits. Most traditions allow the magician to select a severity, to inflict a merely irritating or incapacitating illness for example, and chose at least some of the symptoms - fevers, blindness, hallucinations, miscarriages and sexual impotence are common choices.

Evil Eye: Path of Health -7
Nonstandard onset. Special Resistance.

Allows the magician to kill with a glance. As VO p75. This is not a Hostile ritual, it has a built in greater risk in the contest of Wills. GURPS assumes the range of eye contact is three hexes; a voice variant in which the magician forcefully tells the target to drop dead is fairly common, trading a little better range for the loss of subtlety.

Mysteries

Resurrection: Mystery of Health and the Dead
Hostile if resistance is attempted. Resisted by Will.

Restores an intact corpse to life. The spell can perform minor repairs, but it will not work on those killed by wounds reducing them to more than -2 x HT. The resurrection is permanent, but there is a duration penalty equal that for the length of time the target has been dead. The Mystery may be resisted if the soul is happy where it is - on a backlash the mage joins the soul in the afterlife.

Immortality: Mystery of Health

This Mystery prevents the target from suffering any of the harmful effects of aging. The basic form arrests aging, granting the Unaging advantage. Some variations set a target age he ages to at the normal rate (backward if he is already older!) before aging stops, or allow his apparent age to be set instantly to a desired point. If either of these options is used, apply a penalty of -2 or -4 respectively. In most traditions this ritual is either extremely dangerous or comes with some sort of drawback. The Taoist version for example involves drinking deadly poisons, if the Mystery fails the target dies in agony. Other versions simply delay aging, if anything breaks the spell the years return, ancient subjects may fall to dust instantly. Some versions require a continuing price; each of your children you sacrifice allows you another decade, or you suffer the Bloodthirst disadvantage that can only be quenched by the blood of infants.... Immortality rituals always require the cooperation of the target, though the mage may neglect to mention the risks or drawbacks.

--Construction Zone--

Neccessary Expansions

Waybread, sustenance, poisoning, cure addictions, prevent miscarriage

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