A Guide to Healing in the Field
Author - Lord Stephenmaturin deCatalan
Another way to heal
When I first started my career as an empath, I knew that healers hung out at Town Square Central and the North Gate, and I'd heard about a few places in the wilds where healers worked. When I started trying to work the gate or TSC, I discovered that I wasn't well suited for that working environment. Things happened too fast, I couldn't keep up, and there wasn't much opportunity to interact with the patients.
Fortunately, one can practice as an empath in all
of Elanthia. I soon found that healing outside of town was easier (for me)
and much more fulfilling.
My favorite place to work, however, is in the field, and this article is primarily a guide to healing alongside the hunters. There are many reasons to heal in the field. From a service perspective, there's nothing like field healing. Getting healed is rarely the primary pleasure of an adventurer's life, so bringing the healing to the adventurers is greatly appreciated, and can at times be lifesaving as well as convenient. There's scarcely anything in the profession as exciting as working with a slightly overmatched group of adventurers in a swarm of monsters. In addition, healing in the same hunting grounds on a regular basis allows the building of relationships with patients that simply aren't possible in crowded healing areas.
There are significant negatives to field healing, though. It's a lonely profession, without the collegiality of stationary healing work. And it can be dangerous.
Staying alive -- your airwall is your friend
In order to avoid becoming some other empath's patient, it's highly desirable to avoid having one's head blown off when healing in the field. Before blithely marching into a new area to start healing, do your homework. Find out what lives there, how dangerous it is, what attack forms it has, and what defenses you'll need to survive. Be especially alert to creatures that cast warding spells -- you may need to cast some blues or opals, or get mass brills, before you heal in certain areas. I got a head bleeder from a snow crone when they first were seen in the lands because I didn't know about their elemental warding spell and went out without any extra warding defense. Maneuver-based attacks can also be a problem, you may be loaded with herbs, tips and junk, and empaths rarely have extensive combat maneuver training before reaching Legend status.
You should plan on being able to survive if you're knocked down, or if your Spirit Barrier (a.k.a. airwall, a.k.a. the field healer's friend) goes down while you're recovering from healing down a major ab bleeder in a swarm. In general, if you depend on spells to survive, be aware of when they're going to collapse and try to avoid being caught. I often renew my airwall in a swarm as a matter of routine unless I remember casting it very recently -- there's nothing more embarassing than being dragged home to your colleagues because your airwall went down at the wrong time.
Make sure you know the geography so you don't accidently wander into an area you're unprepared for.
The most logical place to field heal are the places you usually hunt. You'll be familiar with the monsters, and if you can hunt them effectively should be almost invulnerable in guarded stance with an airwall up, so you can concentrate on healing. But be a little cautious as well -- if you're just healing you won't have the benefit of your own attacks in keeping the monsters from hitting you.
Triage and technique
Healing in the field is pretty similar to healing in town, bleeders first then cuts and bruises. However, I do modify my practice somewhat to reflect the more acute setting and different needs of hunters in the field. In addition, cleanup may not be readily available, so efficient healing strategies are more important.
A quick transfer of blood, even before taking bleeders, can save a life if you walk into a room and see someone down and stunned or with multiple wounds. In general I'm much more likely to restore blood in the field than at a healing spot, since blood loss affects combat power and it may be dangerous for a hunter to stop and heal with herbs in the middle of battle.
Oak wands and the unstun spell can also be lifesaving.
Head and nerve wounds, even minor ones, can interfere with a hunter's searching and skinning ability, and should get priority.
If you're going to be far from cleanup, always carry aloeas stem, ephlox moss, and bolmara potions to give to the patients. That way an otherwise crippling head or nerve wound or severed limb can be reduced before you take it.
Woth flower and brostheras potions for reducing head and nerve scars, and sovyn clove for severed limbs are also part of my field healing supplies. You may also want to carry the herbs for healing eye scars, but it's not as critical as these are comparatively rare wounds and you've got two eyes.
Try to get to a relatively safe place before you heal scars, it takes a long time.
First aid is of little value; it can take too long in a dangerous environment.
Always carry a gold ring set to town for emergencies, or have another way home.
You may be tempted to mix hunting and healing. It's possible, but difficult. Every time I've tried I've either ended up just healing or I've gotten badly wounded. I carry a lot more herbs and junk to heal than to hunt, and end up being very slow. Unless you're using twisted wands (very expensive and inefficient) you can't hunt effectively through an airwall, so your defenses will be weaker than if you're just healing. Hunting spells can consume a lot of mana. And healing and hunting require different thought processes as well. It's something to try, but I've never been very successful, though that might not hold true for people who've trained 30 or 40 times who're less herb-dependant and may have more mana. Except I always carry a couple twisted wands for either emergencies or particularly annoying critters.
Before healing in a hunting area I like to look in at the closest healing spot (e.g. the AI office if planning to heal in the hill troll area) and make sure there's an empath there covering. There's no strong obligation to cover these spots, but if it's uncovered and you're working nearby you should at least drop in when you're nearby and make certain there's nobody waiting to be rezzed with a huge neck bleeder.
In addition, it's very important to thank your colleagues for cleanup if you drop by a healing spot for that reason, and to provide any needed cleanup in return. That's true any time you get cleanup, but especially if you're field healing and only drop in on a stationary healer for that purpose. After all, you weren't there for them 15 minutes ago when that empath had a severe head scar and nobody nearby.
I like to think about having a wider role than just being a healer as well. Empaths have useful defensive spells that can be given out when you've extra mana; it's rare to find a warrior or rogue who'll not benefit from some light blues or spirit defense. Defensive spells are also fine rewards for those big tippers. Be aware of people who're getting badly cut up and try to help them out with some defense; and if someone seems to be really over their head, a tactful word to the wise is not out of place.
I probably spend half my time stationary healing, and half in the field. Both are fine ways to work; stationary healing allows me to develop relationships with my colleagues, and field healing is an exciting way to meet other adventurers. And if you hunt Stone Valley, you'll likely run across me wandering about; or more likely being dragged across the countryside by a troll.
Your humble and obedient servant,
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