Knowledge (apothecary)

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Synonyms: Apothecary, Herbalist, Pharmaceutics, Poison, Antidotes,


The character has an encyclopedic knowledge of the substances of plant, mineral or animal origins, able to affect living bodies. Which ones exists, how to recognise the symptoms of their use and how to use them in all sorts of ways, including poisons and counter-poisons.

The character can analyse any substances within few hours (10 min IRL time) to know if it is a poison and make a preventive antidote for up to ten persons.

He can reverse the effects of most poisons over the course of few days.

He can make brews to kill, sedate, stimulate and influence people in many ways.

From Hippocrates' treaties to Socrates' hemlock, to Mitridate; from Abu al-Abbas al-Nabati to Hildegard of Bingen, to Romeo and Juliet; the medieval world inherited an extensive knowledge of substances that can affect humans, both as dangers and helps. Some of it academic knowledge, some of it empirical or oral tradition transmitted word of mouth or from mothers to daughters since the dawn of time. In the middle ages, the apothecaries are open to the public and anyone can purchase medicinal substances from them. But most remedies can be used to kill, too, and poisoning became a fairly common technique of assassination. In parallel, antidotes started to become more and more well known.

However, all of these knowledges varied widely from one specialist to another. Additionally evaluating how concentrated in active ingredient a given product or a direct extract was, required a lot of experience.

Pharmaceutics is mainly used for healing, but can also help with lots of other things: soporifics, sedatives, stimulants of all sorts, even contraceptives. And although anaesthesia wasn't invented yet, some substances existed to help deal with the pain.

The whole discipline was also heavily shrouded in religious of magical thinking, sometimes bordering on black magic: A few drops of belladonna dilates the pupils, making women more attractive to the opposite sex -a love potion-; unguent are made using animal fat, but using human fat makes them more efficient; mandrakes, toad mucus, mushrooms... all of these can help with the mood, sometimes even the soul.

Poisoning being very common, it isn't necessarily a much more inconspicuous way to kill than.. say.. an axe in the head.

The character isn't a medical doctor, he can't help much with broken bones or aching teeths, but can certainly assist for healing the most mundane diseases.

All characters with a specialised « Knowledge (something) » Feat are very literate. They are fluent in latin, greek and have at least some bases of a foreign language of their choice. They can read and write any languages they know.

If the character is attempting an action related to the general Knowledge Feat, he must roll a die six. With no possibility to roll again for this whole situation.

On a 1,2,3,4 this Feat has no effect.

On a 5 or 6 the character is considered to have the Knowledge Feat momentarily.

Both disciplines being related, the character may also try to roll in similar conditions to reproduce the effect of the Knowledge (medicine) Feat.