Krendel Characters: The Cutter

Took a weekend off to visit Canada, so I missed posting. Given that I’ve been sick since, it’s kind of appropriate that today I talk about the Cutter (aka the medic, old saw bones, croaker, leech, physician, etc.).

Often when we think healing in fantasy settings we think magic, typically priests of some sort. Where magic can heal, biological technology is fairly advanced in Krendel, thanks in no small part to what some would consider unethical practices by House Karithay and others. With proper development, a medic focusing only on core powers can be a more effective healer than someone with a spell and less investment.

Background: Medic
Elective Traits: charismatic (good bedside manner), intelligent (wary)
Skills: Influence (Charming, Manipulative) 2, Intuition (Reading People) 2, Melee (Balanced) 1, Ranging (Urban) 2, Reflection (Centering) 1, Science (Biology, Chemistry) 2
Powers: apothecary, determined, empathy, medic, triage
Equipment: Personal Blade, Medical Kit, Science Kit (Chemistry)

Charismatic sets the character up to be talky. If you like, you can take the cutter down a path similar to the Scion. Arguably, a more effective choice would be Perceptive so you could pick up a second Ranging expertise, but I like Charismatic’s descriptor.

Intelligent gives the second Science expertise, which is pretty key, as our Cutter will dive down both paths for healing and supplementary crafting.

Influence should already be clear from Scion. Most Cutters have to interact with patients, some lean into it more than others.

Intuition should also already be clear from previous archetypes. Here its mainly for telling if you are being lied to.

Melee is for self defense. Balanced is for knife work, which fits the theme of a Cutter. A more effective choice may be Projectile.

Ranging, as we know, is for navigation, but also for finding stuff. Sometimes you just need to scrounge around for supplies. Taking Wilderness as an expertise instead could be to your advantage when gathering your own ingredients.

Reflection isn’t a skill we’ve covered before. It is most strongly associated with willpower. Where its other expertise, Meditation, is about mental resistance, Centering is more concerned with tapping your reserves. With just basic training, you can try to center yourself to get a karma boost to tap when performing one specific task that day. It’s useful for everyone willing to take ten minutes out of their day to center themselves.

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Science is your meat and potatoes. Biology is the meat. All your healing attempts run off this expertise. To start out, you can only perform first aid, which heals subdual damage. When dealing or healing damage you can convert subdual to normal and vice versa at a ratio of 2:1. It needs to be noted, that you can only receive healings once per day, which is faster than reality but can still feel slow. Anyone with Science can try this. It’s not much, but it’s a place to start. Chemistry is for mixing poultices and the like. Where anyone can use these, you need powers to make them. This crafting set up is new for this version of Krendel.

And that leads us to the first power. Apothecary lets you craft lesser chemical agents. These include simple things like a healing poultice (+1 recovery), coil (an energy drink), and cure all (+1 to remove conditions).  You don’t learn all lesser recipes automatically. Some are secret recipes. You can to find these or innovate them. You can also mix up lesser bombs, like the violet shell, which spreads fatiguing spores over an area. Of course, you need to acquire the ingredients to make these things in the first place. Ranging can help with that.

As with the previous archetypes, Determined gives extra Health. Everyone in a High Campaign starts with it or Fortitude.

Empathy was mentioned under Scion. The Cutter has it for its fourth bullet: “If you successfully treat condition, then, for the next day, your target gets a +1 to counter the next condition associated with the same skill as the removed condition.”  Treat condition used to be a Medical action with a side bar saying that any skill could be used in a more limited capacity. That’s been reversed, so it’s now a universal action (like in early playtests), but medical training just means you’re going to be better at treating others. Thanks to empathy, people the Cutter removes conditions from can be more resilient against the next such condition.

Medic is a boost that makes Science (Biology) actions faster. This means you can heal someone in the middle of a fight as it changes first aid from a short action into an instant action.

Triage allows you to remove long term conditions. Treat condition only affects conditions with encounter duration. Triage affects physical conditions with up to a one day duration.

The basic paths are already laid out for the Cutter. As you advance, you pour on the Science. You can flirt with other directions, which will be touched on below, but Science will be your focus.

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The Cutter starts with almost all the lesser Science powers. Harvest Lesser Materials (does exactly what is sounds like) doesn’t do much for the Cutter directly, but it sets up a later power that may be of interest. So as you increase your Science, you’ll be looking to grab the following powers. These include Analyst (re-roll a Science test), Chemist (fabricate greater chemical agents and bombs), Doctor (remove multiple physical conditions while performing first aid or surgery), possibly Extract Venom (exactly what it sounds like, requires Harvest Lesser Materials), Surgery (slower than first aid, but it heals normal damage directly), and Toxicologist (makes chemical agents more effective and lets you combine a healing chemical agent with a healing action so together they only could as one use of healing). That’s a lot of greater powers. There’s a couple of epic powers too, one of which lets you heal someone multiple times a day.

Developing a Cutter’s Influence and Intuition (Reading People) looks a lot like the Scion, so I’ll refer you to that post.

I’ll save a full work up of Ranging for a write up of the Ranger, but suffice to say that it can enhance your ability to find stuff, which is great if you are the apprentice that has to go find ingredients for your master or you just have to live on the cheap.

Reflection is a bit different. You can pick up things like Abiding Soul (increase essence burden so you can carry more artifacts without mutating), Determined (extra Health), Disciplined Mind (free Reflection Counter), Mental Power Font (more power well to fuel actions like surgery), Pour Water from the Well (better power well to power pool conversion ratio), Sieve the Soul (use Reflection to remove any encounter condition from you), and eventually Awaken Steel (certain artifacts are easier to use), Empty Vessel (re-roll Reflection), Jaded (ignore some favor), and Stare Down (cow someone with your willpower).

An interesting direction you could take your Cutter would be to pick up the Sorcery expertise for Science. You could spend the XP to get it in addition to Biology and Chemistry or take it instead of Chemistry. This, of course, opens the door for a variety of spells and rituals. Going that route, powers of the blood element, notably practiced by the afore mentioned House Karithay, can complement the Cutter’s abilities. Specifically, Preservation (prevent decay or possibly bleedout), Mother’s Kiss (convert lethal damage to subdual), Purge the Flesh (cure short term physical conditions), Ravening Fever (cure chemical agents and diseases, which can’t otherwise be treated), and, eventually, Knitting the Flesh (double effectiveness of healing and recovery for the target). On its own, blood magic isn’t quite as good as straight core powers for healing, but when combined they become exceedingly potent. Plus blood magic opens up other bags of tricks (animate the corpse of someone you didn’t save as a fleshy minion!), but getting them requires more focused attention on powers than you would need with core powers.

Combining core healing with sorcery almost requires you to also develop Reflection because sorcery requires a lot of fuel (power pool and power well), and Reflection helps offset those costs though Mental Power Font and Pour Water from the Well. You’ll probably also need to pick up Literacy so you can study sorcerous grimoires. We’ll talk about sorcerers more later, but this is a good, quick intro, enough that I’ll probably skip blood magic when we get there.