Fantasy Heiler

The role of the healer appears quite frequently in fantasy stories. Novels, movies or videogames utilizing elements of the hero’s journey usually reach a point at which the hero is in need of a skillful healer—who usually turns out to be the one who saves the day, especially since, at times, he is even able to bring a dead companion back to life. In a way, the term ‘healer’ conflates all types of characters possessing medical skills and knowledge that they employ to treat wounds or cure diseases. A healer can be a field medic, a physician, a medicus, an alchemist, an herbalist or an herb crone, a witch, or a shaman. By the same token, healers can either be luminaries in their field or, just as well, quacks.

Every culture on Earth has its own variety of healers, allowing for a lot of latitude in creating your own character.

The tasks of the healer during an adventure

When an adventuring party sets out on a dangerous quest, the healer usually functions as their life insurance. While the warriors charge into battle, the healer stays behind, protected by the rest of the group, and tries to survive the fray without getting injured—for a wounded (or, worse, dead) healer jeopardizes the entire adventuring party. The healer gets to work primarily between and after the skirmishes; as soon as a member of the party is wounded. Once the fighting is over, the healer expertly treats the injuries of their fellow adventurers—undoubtedly a daunting task to perform in a caliginous forest or a flooded vault.

For the most part, healers are not the ones slaying the dragon in the end, so they rarely find themselves being praised or showered with glory. Yet without someone who possesses healing skills—or potions and poultries crafted by a healer or alchemist—every dangerous quest would be doomed to fail right from the start.

The healer’s clothing and equipment

Healers usually wear practical and sturdy clothes that won’t impede them while tending to their patients, will protect them from blood and grime, and can be easily changed: often, this will include an apron, which can be a kitchen apron or a butcher’s apron, or some sort of lab coat.

In order to treat wounds and a variety of ailments, healers also require elaborate equipment and special instruments (‘healer’s toolkit’), including hooks, tweezers, pincers, serrefines, bandages, and tinctures. The healer’s toolkit is usually secured in a large bag or stored in a variety of small insertion pockets in the apron—and is always kept within reach.

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