The Social Implications of Magic: Lay Healer Base Lists

Copyright R. Dan Henry © 2009

Edited by Peter Mork for The Guild Companion

"Neither, however, is as cool as a glass arm! (Especially if the glass involved is laen."

This is the nineteenth in a series of articles consisting of notes on each of the spell lists in the RMSS version of Spell Law. While it occasionally considers various other ideas concerning the spells, the primary focus is on the commercial or societal use of spells in order to see how they might influence the shape of a culture that employs them.

Lay Healers add yet another healing factor into the Rolemaster world and most of the commercial and societal impact is the same as the Healer or a Channeling-based healer. However, with the Prosthetics list, they have their own distinct potential as the creators of magical cyborgs.

Blood Mastery

This is a good list, but mostly similar to the Blood Law (Closed Channeling) and Blood Ways (Healer Base) lists. There are a few spells worth mentioning individually.

Suspend Life spells give the Lay Healer a version of Lifekeeping ability similar to a Cleric.

Regulations would be very useful when performing surgery (which is still necessary to remove foreign objects even with all the healing spells).

Bone Mastery

This list is again like lists already considered, namely Bone Law (Closed Channeling) and Bone Ways (Healer Base) The primary benefit compared to conventional medicine is the swift recovery times, resulting in fewer days lost to accidents.

Bone Lore is probably more significant on this list, because a Lay Healer is more likely to have the skills needed to use this spell to augment non-magical medical treatment.

Cartilage Repair spells could be used to treat, perhaps even cure, many arthritis sufferers. This may allow elder crafters to create better work over a longer active career. Certainly, the wealthy would pay for relief.

Limb Preservation could provide specimens for medical schools or models for prosthetics.

(Rapid) Bone Transplant allows the Lay Healer to replace lost bones surgically, but what is the source of these bones? Giving up a bone might be a severe criminal penalty or there may be a donor program such as exists in modern medicine. On the battlefield, of course, one would simply take from the enemy. At high level, the Lay Healer can bypass this difficulty by regenerating bone.

Concussion Mastery

This list is much like the Surface Ways (Healer Base) list and similar, but clearly superior, to the Concussion's Ways (Open Channeling) list.

Muscle Mastery

Here is another healing list that resembles ones we have considered before, namely the Muscle Law (Closed Channeling) and Muscle Ways (Healer Base) lists.

The Lay Healer is the magical healer likely to benefit most from Muscle/Tendon Lore.

Could Joining be used to allow attaching non-original equipment? The Lay Healer can perform other transplant operations, so it is not out of the question. An alternative to the Prosthetics list might be a Transplantation Mastery list developed to deal with rejection issues. Lower level spells could be used for matching donor and recipient to ensure lack of rejection. Higher-level spells could adapt the biology of the conjoined forms to create an otherwise unviable chimera.

Nerve and Organ Master

This list combines the Closed Channeling lists Nerve Law and Organ Law in a more powerful form. It is likewise analogous to the Healer Base list Organ Ways, which also includes nerve repair in the spells, though not the list name.

This list also has a lore spell, Nerve/Organ Lore, best exploited by Lay Healers who augment their magical healing with "mundane" medical skills.

Numbing may have uses beyond the medical (where it serves as a local anesthetic). It can be used for performances of pain-endurance feats, to help endure wearing uncomfortable clothes, to prevent itching (and the ensuing scratching), and to help with premature ejaculation. Done covertly, it may be used to undermine the effectiveness of torture.

Organ Preservation is useful in research and teaching, as well as preserving organs for transplant operations. It can also be used to protect an organ under stress. For example, it could protect the liver during drinking binges.

I am disappointed that Organ Transplant does not allow brain transplants. The level 19 slot needs a spell. Why not Brain Transplant? Let the much-beloved cheesy plot device into your campaign.

Suspend Life II on this list has a listed duration of P. The 1 day/level duration given for the matching spell on the Blood Mastery list seems more plausible.


Prosthetics are for those cases where a limb could not be Joined because it was lost, the necessary spells were unavailable at the time, or the limb was destroyed or damaged beyond repair.

Mold (Substance) spells allow the working of wood, glass, and normal metals like clay. While intended for shaping prosthetics, it can also make various other items if the Lay Healer has time to work on other crafts.

Measure and the Fit (Substance) spells allow the Lay Healer to provide properly fitted prosthetics. Working with an Alchemist or someone with similar abilities, the Lay Healer can even provide magical limbs. Not only can the prosthetic be of enchanted materials for superior durability, there is no reason it cannot also have additional enchantments placed on it.

Animation spells allow for the use of prosthetics as if they were normal limbs. Enchanted limbs will likely have Animation built in. Otherwise, Animation of limbs may provide steady work for Lay Healers until a (very) high level Lay Healer can be found and employed to provide the permanent version.

Artificial Flesh is useful for concealing a false limb; Artificial Flesh True does a better job. Neither, however, is as cool as a glass arm! (Especially if the glass involved is laen.)

Does Animation include the sense of touch? If not (and such an effect is not listed), there is room for an additional spell on this list. Another obvious lack is the ability to provide artificial organs.

Craftsmanship should be able to go beyond what can be done with Mold (Substance) spells, so metal limbs might have mechanisms that go beyond the original limb's capabilities. An artificial arm might include extendable claws or spikes, poison-releasing compartments, or a flint and steel fire starter.