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A school of surgeons, now almost completely faded into a handful of rituals.
Nickname: This school of magic stopped working long before the tradition of nicknames began.
The Hippocratic Oath mentions surgery only in the most euphemistic terms. A doctor would swear to leave the removal of kidney stones to "such persons as practice it." Surgeons were not doctors;a doctor was a lofty trade and a surgeon was a low trade. The idea of cutting open a human body, and especially of practicing on corpses, was considered repulsive, immoral and unclear.
While surgery had a good medical reputation in many ancient cultures, in Western Europe it was looked down upon. The profession of surgeon (more closely associated with a barber than a learned man) was considered dangerous, dirty, and disreputable.
And so, back in those times, the field of surgery was just the right kind of forbidden knowledge to get a person involved with the Medieval Western Europe Occult Underground. Barbers and gravediggers sometimes found that if they went mad enough in their disgusting trade, they could make the impossible happen.
In time, surgeons began learning in schools, applying such techniques as sterilization, cauterization, suture, and anesthesia. The profession became acceptable, and in time it even became prestigious. There was no longer secrecy or shame, and so there was no longer paradox or magick.
Still, some rituals remain from the grim and grimy glory days of Chirurgeomancy.
Charging: It used to be that a minor charge required a few hours surgery, a significant charge required lifesaving surgery, and a major charge required lifesaving surgery upon a sovereign king. These days, it's all rituals, but the significant charge has evolved into the Knife Song charging ritual.
Taboo: Chirurgeomancy used to have a taboo against causing harm to a person outside a surgical context, but these days, that's faded too.
Symbolic Tension: The symbolic tension used to be that surgery, an inherently violent and sinful act, actually helped bolster and protect life, which is a gift from God. These days? The closest thing to a symbolic tension is "surgery is hard to do!"
Random Effects Domain: Sin and virtue made manifest in the flesh. Of course, the days of random chirurgeomancy effects ended before Columbus was born.
Blast: When chirurgeomancy was still around, the blast caused the wounds that the victim had inflicted upon others to appear on himself. These days, all that's left of that is the Lemon Wound Curse.
Once, adepts could open wounds, disfigure sinners, preserve corpses, make honest people stronger, and increase or reduce pain. Now, instead you get three rituals.
Lemon Wound Curse
1 minor charge
You can only use this attack spell on someone who has personally injured you with a weapon (it doesn't need to be recent, though), and you need the weapon. The victim doesn't need to be present. Wave the weapon in the air for an hour while you shout threats and insults about the person. Then throw the weapon down and piss on it, and then leave it there. The victim gets a wound the size of a papercut, which stings like it had lemon juice in it -- only 1 damage, but -20% to all rolls for about two seconds. The victim will have a faint but specific inkling that you caused the papercut somehow. You can only use this ritual once per weapon.
Writ of the Wart
3 minor charges
Write down a detailed accusation against someone for telling you a specific lie, in triplicate. Send one copy to your clergyman (any faith, but the ritual will fail if you haven't been attending services), one copy to the address of a specific monastery outside Rome (which burned down in the 18th century, but fortunately all you have to do is write down the address and drop it in mailbox), and keep the last one, rolled up into a scroll and tied up with a hemp string. Approach the person and thwap them on the face with the scroll (which requires a Struggle roll). If they did indeed lie as you described, they'll immediately get a wart on the spot you hit. Before that monastery burned down, you could get a really ugly wart, but these days it's just a little one.
Knife Song (Charging Ritual)
10 minor charges
Can only be performed inside a room with stone walls and a single blue and white curtain or tapestry. The room must also hold: one bear, one snake, one dying person with a condition that would cause them to die within three months without surgery, and one parent of that dying person (a step-parent, adoptive parent, biological parent, or legal guardian also works, it turns out.) Smear your hands with serpent fat (wearing no gloves) and perform life-saving surgery on the dying person, while the parent sings a song praising the virtues of the dying patient (it doesn't have to be good or original.) The surgery must also use a specified style of cutting and a bronze knife. (Because of these awkward conditions and restrictions, you get a -20% shift to your Surgery roll to perform the surgery.) If the patient survives, you gain a significant charge.
When Chirurgeomancy had significant formulas, an adept could animate the dead, surgically remove sins and curses, kill murderers, create living bodies out of ideas and personality traits, and create man-animal hybrid monstrosities. Now they're left with a few rituals.
Animate the Dead
1 significant charge
Tie a stick of oak to each thighbone of a corpse in any state of decay or preservation. The corpse will move under your command. You must give each command very specifically, describing what body parts to move and how far - you couldn't just tell a body to walk, for instance. Also, you must give the commands in Latin, and make a Charm roll (or similar) to convince the body to take each motion. If you fail a Charm roll, you can continue trying to give commands, still making a Charm roll for each, this time in Greek. Once you fail a Charm roll in Greek, you can't animate that corpse ever again.
2 significant charges
Implant a goat's fresh stomach in someone's digestive tract, right above the normal stomach. This causes 20 damage and requires a Surgery roll. You also need to wear a leather hat while you perform the surgery.
The ritual magically assures that the subject's immune system won't reject the foreign matter. The subject will be able to eat anything safely: poisons, diseases, sharp things, very hot things, anything that's small enough to go down the throat or soft enough to chew. The goat stomach processes it into digestible food. However, under the stomach is removed (which requires another Surgeyr roll and causes another 20 damage), the surgery wounds won't heal and the subject will need to make a Body roll every week to avoid infections.
Wasn't sure whether to post in rituals or adepts, but posted in adepts because I posted two other adept schools today and they all share a theme (pain and violence).
Hmm. Interesting. Perhaps it could be viewed as an offshoot or subschool of Epideromancy? Also, isn't there still a degree of symbolic tension in the idea of cutting someone open (doing them an injury) in order to heal them?
Asarelah | profile | Aug 01, 09 | 1:17 am
I doubt the Tension would be enough to form any more than Minor school anymore, even if that Ive been toying with writeing up a dead school as well maybe i'll do it now
Only thing I have to say is that the Knife Song ritual would probably do well to have it's charge cost lowered to 6 or so.
Requiem_Jeer | profile | Sep 02, 09 | 5:55 pm