As much as I love In Nomine, Healing is one of the places where the system falls flat on it face. Not only is the Medicine Skill an idiosyncratic mess, but it is also rendered almost entirely redundant by the Song of Healing which can heal more faster with a minimum of symphonic disruption.
That said, laying on hands is an iconic part of both role playing games and christian mythology. Removing the Song of Healing is out of the question. There is also some good ideas in the existing rules that I want to make sure I preserve.
By default damage heals at a rate of 1 Hit/Week. Body Hits heal one day faster for each Strength (to a maximum of 1/day). Mind Hits heal one day faster for each Intelligence (to a maximum of 1/day). Soul Hits are more stubborn, they heal one day faster for every 2 Will (to a maximum of 1/day).
NOTE – the core rules do not include any provisions for faster Soul healing, but let’s be honest: someone strong willed should be better able to cope with trauma to their sense of self.
The medicine skill is useful for healing physical trauma, curing disease, countering poison, and mitigating corporeal disadvantages. It can’t do anything for discords (which are a reflection of damage to the soul).
There are four time frames to consider when healing physical trauma: first aid/urgent care, same day, and extended recovery. The patient may benefit from healing during each time frame.
First Aid must be administered immediately. If a scene ends with no healers on site, the opportunity for first aid passes. Any healing during this phase is effectively instantaneous, and represents damage prevented rather than actual healing. If a celestial is restored to positive body hits by first aid, their soul will not be sent to limbo or their heart.
Same Day aid can be rendered at any time within 1 day of the injury. It takes a full day of recovery after care to receive the benefits of this healing.
Extended Recovery is generally only needed for more serious wounds. It can be offered any time after the first day but before the first week is over. The benefits of this healing should be spread evenly over the course of a week.
The effects of a Medicine skill test depend on the sum of the CD and the practitioner’s skill
1-4: No Hits are healed, but someone who has taken the maximum number of Hits can be kept alive into the next time frame.
5-7: Restore Body Hits equal to the lower of the subject’s Strength and Corporeal Forces
8-9: Restore Body Hits equal to the higher of the subject’s Strength and Corporeal Forces
10+: Restore Body Hits equal to the sum of the subject’s Strength and Corporeal Forces
The Corporeal Song of Healing takes effect immediately for First Aid and Same Day healing, but is spread out over the course of a week if it is used during Extended Recovery.
Only the best result (as measured by Hits recovered) counts for any given time frame. Medicine and the Song of Healing do not stack.
Emergency Surgery acts as a bonus “time frame” that requires the use of the medicine skill. Regardless of the outcome of the skill roll, attempting Surgery imposes one level of a Corporeal Disadvantage. Because Celestials do not get Disadvantages, they cannot benefit from Surgery (though this will not be obvious to the surgeon).
Because of the Hippocratic Oath, most doctors will only perform Emergency Surgery on someone who would otherwise die. Should anyone with less than level 4 Medicine attempt Emergency Surgery, they are considered Unskilled [-4].
While Surgery can keep someone alive, the imposition of a Disadvantage means it will almost always be considered a form of harm for dissonance conditions.
If someone suffers from a new injury after healing but before a full recovery, only the newly inflicted Body Hits may be healed by a new application of Medicine or the Song of Healing.
Botched Medicine Roll
If someone fails a Medicine roll with a CD of 6 they make matters worse. This can either be additional injury (not subject to re-injury rules), or infection.
The purpose of Corrective Surgery is to remove a Disadvantage (or to provide the mortal world a reason to accept the removal of a Physical Discord). As such, it is recommended that GM’s require players spend CP and automatically declare the surgery a success if it is paid.
However, sometimes a player might have cause to remove a Disadvantage from an NPC (for example, to get rid of the dissonance caused by Emergency Surgery).
As with Emergency Surgery, anyone with Medicine skill below 4 is considered Unskilled [-4].
The procedure causes a number of Body Hits equal to twice the subject’s Strength, but if the roll is successful, one level of the targeted Disadvantage is removed (subject to GM approval*) and the outcome of the roll may be immediately applied as First Aid.
Poison & Disease
Although the poison & disease rules are just as ideosynchratic as base healing, fixing the medicine rules for those circumstances is beyond the scope of this blog entry.
While Medicine is the skill for healing Body Hits, it doesn’t do a lot for Mind Hits. However, the three timeframes rule still applies.
Ethereal First Aid must be available within the scene where the Mind Hits are taken even if that’s inside of a mortal Dreamscape, Same Day has to occur within a day of the trauma, and Extended Recovery can take place any time within the same week.
Ethereal First aid can be administered in the Corporeal or Celestial Realms using the Ethereal Song of Healing or the Psychology skill. In the Ethereal Realm it instead requires the skill appropriate to the logic of the local Domain or Dreamscape. Mortals can also self-administered Ethereal First Aid by using the Dreaming skill.
It is not generally possible to stay in a Dreamscape for days or weeks at a time, so Same Day and Recovery require either the Psychology skill or Ethereal Song of Healing.
When healing Mind Hits you can use the chart above replacing Corporeal Forces with Ethereal Forces and Strength with Intelligence.
Emergency Surgery is not usually an option for healing Ethereal Hits, but Therapy can serve a similar function to Corrective Surgery. If the therapist succeeds on their Psychology roll, the patient may take advantage of one of the following benefits for a number of days equal to their Will + the CD: they can reduce the effective level of an Ethereal or Celestial Discord/Disadvantage by 1 or they may reduce their effective dissonance by 3. However, these effects are only temporary unless the CD was a 6 (and even then usually require an expenditure of CP)
On a successful Psychology roll, the therapist will also learn the nature of the Discord/Disadvantage they are treating. Most are bound by law if they think a patient is a danger to themself or others (Angry, Berserk, and Murderous are the three most likely to get this reaction).
The benefits of Therapy do not stack and a GM is also within their rights to decide that the Celestial Mind is beyond human comprehension (either barring the use of this mechanic with regard to Celestials, or else treating all mortals as Unskilled [-4] when they try to treat Celestials).
Celestials are immune to most drugs, so Psychiatry doesn’t normally do them any good. However, for mortals a successful Psychiatry roll allows the doctor to prescribe a medication that will effectively convert one level of an Ethereal or Celestial Disadvantage into a level of another Physical, Ethereal, or Celestial Disadvantage which is less disruptive to the patient’s life. Additional side effects can be present, but unless the GM is familiar with actual psychotropic medications, I would encourage making the side effects mild.
These effects can stack. But as with any drugs, there are costs to repeated use.
If someone is taking psychiatric medications, the Corporeal and Ethereal songs of Purity could be considered a form of harm, as you are taking away the medications they need to manage their conditions. This could be a good “mundane” explanation for a botch or negative intervention on such rolls.
Mortals have not developed any skills to heal the soul. However Therapy (as outlined above) can help mitigate the consequences of Spiritual Traumas caused by dissonance.
At GM discretion a Celestial in Heaven or Hell can use the Medicine skill on another Celestial to heal Soul Hits. Unless the battle happens in one of the two Celestial realms, this means that First Aid is impossible. Even then, preventing the loss of a force by use of the Medicine skill requires the intervention of a Superior or a Wordbound Celestial directly associated with either healing or medicine.
You can use the chart above, but Celestial Forces replace Corporeal Forces and Will replaces Strength.