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07 September 2011 @ 11:13 pm
Meta Month, Day 7: The Limits of Healing  
After having to deal with a very displeased digestive system last night, I found myself thinking about healing staves and what they can and can't do. It seems pretty well established in FE8 anyway, that staves can heal injures but not illnesses. After all, nothing can be done for Vigarde, and when Lyon talks about his research with the Dark Stone he goes on to say "Maybe we can use it not only to heal wounds, but also to stop diseases." So staves work on injuries. Okay.

Even when it comes to injuries, we know staves can't fix everything. Lyon mentions using the Stone to treat a burn victim who couldn't be helped by staves. There's the matter of Seth's wound that he says hasn't fully healed. And then there's the bit where L'Arachel offers to heal Ephraim's scars. Now, why can a staff heal a scar but not help Seth's wound?

When I write fic, one of the most important things I try to do in terms of battles is not make things too easy. If staves are a cure-all then there's little risk to the characters. I like to write it so that really serious injures, even if they can be healed by staves, may require several treatments over a period of days. Probably how soon the wound is treated affects how well the treatments works. I also think some wounds can't be treated. I you lose an eye on the battlefield that's that; it's gone. If your leg gets crushed to a pulp by a wyvern, there's not going to be enough material for the staff to reconstruct and they're going to have to amputate. Healing is also draining to staff users so I imagine a lot of triage has to be done when there's a whole army to treat.

As for the scars, my guess is that since that's only a cosmetic detail, then perhaps that's a simple matter to heal.
Manna: AAML-TeamRockethooves on September 8th, 2011 05:05 am (UTC)
I have to agree with you. I have my own thoughts (saving for my own meta), but I really like the way you sorta explain away what looks on the surface like a contradiction-- re: can heal scars but not Seth's wound.

We can assume Seth had his wound long enough, or that it's BAD enough, anyway, that it will bother him for a long time-- perhaps forever, like someone might complain of their knee knowing it's gonna rain.

Anyway, I agree 110% with staves being a "cure-all" being too easy.

Mostly because I feel there should be danger involved. Now, don't get me wrong-- an epic battle on the battlefield that just, never ends and drags on until one side literally tires out and can't go anymore sounds kind of neat in its own terrible way, but in reality it just sucks. A fatal blow should be a fatal blow, and if there are enough bad injuries you're going to lose people-- period. Someone's lying on the battlefield bleeding to death, and unfortunately they're not necessarily going to make it back to GET treated. It's sad, because it could be a curable injury (say, something a little worse than Seth's injury), but it's not going to be curable when they can't get to help. And if the battle drags on for 1-4 days, they're lying in the sun/rain/dirt/mud/whatever and not eating/drinking/in a clean environment, sooo without help they're likely to die.

Despite having what could possibly be treated...if they'd made it back to help.

Buuut I like to think there's risk involved, you know? That in a REAL novelization of any of the games, death happens, even if it is to some random squire/mercenary/knights that Innes recognizes/etc, and not the main cast themselves. Because it just makes sense. People are going to die in battle. If they don't (re: small band like FE7's) it should be heralded as a miracle and there are bound to be a lot of close calls.

Either way, I can't help but imagine there are limits to staves. Like you said, they can't heal illness. And scars? Well, I always look at that kinda like plastic surgery-- maybe not the EASIEST thing ever (for the healer, probably painful for the person receiving the treatment) but it's definitely doable by a good cleric/healer. Thing is, it's totally cosmetic, also unnecessary.

But I also like to imagine that healers aren't exactly pouring out of the woodwork-- they're actually harder to come by, hence Serra being sent all the way to Bern for training (from Ostia).

I also like to imagine it like this: but it's very rare to find anyone who can heal more than a few scratches and it's quite wearying to both the healer and the patient, because saffiremoon21's comment just makes sense.

But sometimes in a particular story I'll need healing to work a different way, sooo there's that, too. P:
wolfraven80: FE: RD - Rhyswolfraven80 on September 9th, 2011 03:27 am (UTC)
Someone's lying on the battlefield bleeding to death, and unfortunately they're not necessarily going to make it back to GET treated.

That sounds a lot like the situation in World War I. Medics tried to pick people up but couldn't always do it. Your odds were much better if you could drag yourself back to your own lines where they could get you to a dressing station (though even there your odds weren't great).

But I also like to imagine that healers aren't exactly pouring out of the woodwork

Yeah, I'm not sure how common they are. It seems to require a good deal of study and training since most of the healers are part of an Order of some sort so it doesn't seem to be the sort of thing just anyone can learn. We have a lot of highborn people in the game so obviously they've always had access to healers, but that's probably not the cases in smaller towns and villages.