Monday, September 24, 2018

Making a Living - Healers

DragonQuest is somewhat unique in that characters who wish to improve in skills, weapons or spells must spend a defined period of time before achieving that next rank in the skill.  This varies from days for spells to weeks for skills to many weeks for weapons.  Because of this it is not unusual for some members of an adventuring group to be stuck in town waiting for weeks as their companions are advancing their skills.  As hanging around town costs money, many players will have their characters spend that spare time earning money to cover those expenses.  Some of the DragonQuest skills already provide some guidelines for earning money such as Alchemists, Courtesans and Mechanicians.  The other skills provide little or no guidelines.  In my own campaigns I've developed some rough formulas for myself and recently decided to gather the information together to share with other DragonQuest players.

While most skills are pretty straightforward, Healers are fairly complex and so, of course, I started there.  What follows are my house rules for determining what a Healer might earn while in town.  I've included a bit of rationale for my choices and how Healers are played in my campaigns.


Add the typical threats to life and limb found in a medieval environment with the additional dangers of magic and fantastical monsters and you'll find that Healers are pretty much always in demand for their Rank 4 and lower abilities.  Higher level abilities will also be in demand but applying those higher ranked abilities takes longer periods devoted to a particular patient and this will limit how many patients may be attended in a given period.  To put some structure on this the Healer abilities are separated into three groups for the purposes of determining how much a Healer may earn.
Minor Abilities:  Soothe Pain; Cure Infections, Headaches, Fevers and Diseases; Heal Wounds; Neutralize Poisons; Graft Skin
Major Abilities:  Preserve Dead, Repair Muscle, Repair Bone, Repair Tissue, Repair Organ
Miracles:  Resurrect the Dead, Regenerate Limb, Regenerate Joint, Regenerate Trunk, Regenerate Head, Regenerate Organ
For each ability, or group of abilities, the typical fee paid to a Healer is given in the sections below.  Where it says "Ability Rank" that is the Healer Rank at which the ability first becomes available to the Healer.  Where it simply says "Rank" that is the Healers Rank with the skill.  Treatment duration is also noted and are the values given in the DragonQuest rules except where no duration was provided by the rules.

Fees for Minor Abilities

For Minor Abilities, Healers will typically only charge as much as the patient can afford.  When treating the poor or average tradesman, payment will often be in the form of goods or food items.
The treatment duration for Minor Abilities is 30 minutes or less and they may be performed a number of times each day limited only by the Healers Fatigue and the need to eat and sleep.
The poor and middle-class tradesman will gladly come to the Healer and wait in line to be treated while the wealthy, and those with power, will expect the Healer to come to them so that they may be treated in the privacy and comfort of their own homes.
Minor Abilities
Patient Type
Soothe Pain; Cure Infections, Headaches, Fevers and Diseases; Heal Wounds; Neutralize Poisons; Graft Skin
D10 cf
Middle class
Ability Rank * D10 sp
Upper Class
20 + (Ability Rank * [D-2] * 5) sp
The keen-eyed may have noticed that Prolong Life is missing from the list even though it is a Rank 2 ability.  GMs should include it in the list of Minor Abilities if they so desire.

Fees for Major Abilities

Generally only the well-off can afford to pay for these services.  The Major Abilities other than Preserve Dead will require that the patient be treated in some type of facility whether a simple cot in a communal ward or a private room in a healing hospice.
The wealthy will often have Healers use their Preserve Dead ability to keep the recently departed presentable for funeral services.
The other Major Abilities take 20 to 45 hours spread over multiple days to complete the treatment.  This will typically limit a Healer to treating only one or two patients during a given week.
Healer Ability
Treatment Duration
Preserve Dead
(60 - [5 * Rank]) minutes
50 * Rank sp
Repair Muscle, Bones, Tissues, Organs
(50 - [Rank * 3]) hours each
50 * Rank sp

Fees for Miracles

While their may be a significant demand for these services only highly-ranked Healers can perform them which limits how often and for whom they may be performed.  In particular, Resurrect the Dead, will be performed only rarely and this for a couple of reasons.  First would be the religious beliefs of the society and the deceased.  Some deities may take it poorly if a Healer is constantly pulling back the spirits of their worshipers from their just reward in the afterlife.  Second is the manner of death.  Someone that has died of natural causes will not only require resurrection but also significant repair to the systems of the body that failed leading to death.  This is likely to require multiple well-ranked Healers to keep the recently resurrected alive long enough to get them stable.  Those that have died through misadventure are often in the same situation with significant damage to their bodies which, again, will may require the services of multiple healers after resurrection.  Coming back from the dead will not be an inexpensive proposition in either case.
Healer Ability
Treatment Duration
Resurrect the Dead
(Days since death) hours
2000+ sp
Regenerate - Limbs, Joints, Trunk, Head, Organs
(15 - Rank) days
100 * Rank sp/day
Regeneration of damage that is not fatal is still going to be expensive as it takes several days of a highly-ranked Healers time.

Quantity of Patients

The following table provides a baseline of rolls to determine how many patients call on the Healer for each level of need.  The Social Level of each patient is determined by a separate roll as indicated.
Needs Patients/Week Social Level of Patient Requires
Minor Ability 2D10 1D10: 1-4, Poor; 5-7 Middle; 8-10 Upper Healer Rank 1+
Major Ability 1D10 – 5 1D10: 1, Poor; 2-6 Middle; 7-10 Upper Healer Rank 5+
Preserve Dead 2D5 – 5 1D10: 1-6 Middle; 7-10 Upper Healer Rank 5+
Miracles 1D10 – 7 1D10: 1-3 Middle; 4-10 Upper Healer Rank 8+
GM's should adjust all values to align with their own campaign style and the demographics of the world the characters live in.  While a GM might roll to see how many patients approach the Healer for abilities outside of the Healer's capability the Healer would not get paid for treating those patients.

For reference, in my DragonQuest world, Adventurers comprise about 0.1% of the population (1/1000) and trained NPC Healers are about the same percentage of the normal population.  Healers tend to be more common in the populated areas just because they are actively sought out and recruited into those areas.  In the rural areas, those with the potential to be Healers may never discover their potential and will spend their whole life as a normal farmer or miller.  In my campaigns, being a Healer is a potential that a PC or NPC either has at birth and or they do not.  They cannot be taught to be a Healer if they lack that potential.
I will be putting together the information on earning money for the other DragonQuest skills and posting that in the not-to-distant future.
As always, questions or comments are welcome.


  1. Nice summary. But... Since there is also a FT cost to these endeavors. even a healer with 20 FT ends up with only 5 neutralize poisons before resting. Further complicating the schedule.

    1. Absolutely. That is also why I set the random number of patients pretty low and did it in terms of weeks not days. They just aren't going to be able to attend to everyone that comes to them. Working out any kind of detailed schedule accounting for FT use and such would just be way over the top. What is there is easily automated in InspirationPad Pro or other table rolling products. I did it in MapTool macros for my use. Spits out a list and then I make any adjustments needed.