Guide to Being an Empath in Elanthia (book)
Originally written by Battle Empath Alyenah Teplo of the Gryphon Clan
Remastered by Living Compendium Zamara Chrefra, Munan and Hub Matron
Table of Contents:
What is an Empath?
What is the Empath guild?
Who are you as an Empath?
Getting started with Empathy & Healing
Healing Basics (Transference, Spells, Herbs and Staying Alive)
Triage & Advanced Healing
Politics & Necromancers
Doing more with Empathy
Empathy is the natural force in Elanthia that links all living creatures. At birth, most living creatures, if not all, have some level of natural empathy. However, as individuals grow and mature this empathic ability becomes dulled. As a result, only those who actively pursue the ability are able to use it with any effect. Those people are referred to as empaths, and most are part of the Empath Guild.
You can find out more about the history of the Empath Guild and the Empath Guild leadership in the book "Khalo: A Student's Primer". The primer is often available in libraries along with this one.
Empaths primarily serve as healers in the realms. We are the only Guild able to heal others with our abilities. While everyone has access to healing herbs and potions, these are slow, not effective on severely damaged body parts, and do not work at all if a body part has been completely destroyed. This makes empaths vital to other adventurers around Elanthia.
In order to use empathy, an empath must give up direct violence against living creatures. Any action that causes direct harm to a living or undead being will cause an empath's empathic senses to dull. An empath who continues to cause harm to others will eventually reach the point when they have no more empathy than your everyday adventurer. This is known as empathic shock, and for this reason, many empaths are pacifists, and often seen as harmless or in need of protection.
However, being able to heal does not mean that is the end-all-be-all of an empath, nor should it be for you. Not all empaths are friendly healers, and some have even been war criminals. For more information on Elanthia's most notorious war criminal Empath, read the book "Jomay's Story."
Perhaps you heal for money, fame, and fortune? Perhaps a haunted past drives you to serve others? Did your family pressure you into joining the guild? People from all walks of life join the Empath Guild. The guild does not require a pledge of nonviolence. It is up to you to decide how to use your abilities and who you are.
Getting Started with Empathy & Healing
When you first join the Empath Guild you will be given a lesson on how to heal and taught your first healing spell, Heal Wounds. To heal as an empath you first TOUCH your patient, TAKE the wound from your patient's body to your body, and then heal the wound on yourself. At first, you will not be able to transfer very fast, and you will not be able to transfer all types of wounds. The traditional way for a young empath to start out is to find another empath to assist you with what you cannot handle. The Empath Guild is big on assisting each other, so this should not be difficult to do in large cities and near our guild halls.
There are several types of wounds and damage you can heal as an empath. Wounds can be a combination of fresh or scars and internal and external. Fresh wounds once healed, will leave scars. For this reason, it is recommended you heal the fresh wounds and then the scars as piling up scars in one location may prove fatal. Internal and external wounds do not directly impact each other, and can be healed in any order. External wounds are mainly on skin and muscles. Your internals are your guts, organs, nerves, and bones. Poison and disease are additional types of injuries you will encounter, and we will cover those later.
When an empath touches someone to transfer a wound, a Diagnostic Link is established between the empath and patient. Through this link, the empath can 'see' and feel the patient's wounds. Each wound transferred will tax your fatigue and concentration, so you will want to go slowly until you get a feel for how much you can handle. Keep in mind that it is possible for you to destroy parts of your body by transferring too many wounds. This could prove fatal to you if you transfer injuries to any vital part of your body. Once you become more skilled with empathic links, you will be able to transfer only half or part of a wound, which is extremely helpful on more severe wounds.
If you become too overwhelmed by a link or realize you are about to destroy a part of your own body, you can BREAK ALL of your links and wound transfers. You can also leave the area, if you are able to walk, as you must be near your patient to transfer wounds. However, breaking the links is the safest method of stopping the transfer. Always remember that a good empath manages to heal their patients without killing themselves. Speed is not as important as making sure that both you and your patient survive. A dead empath can heal no one.
If you are having problems healing your own injuries, try using herbs. Many guildhalls have locations where these are stored for free. You can also try to forage them up on your own, but that takes some practice. Other empaths can also assist you with healing your wounds; however, we do not learn any empathy experience from transferring wounds from each other.
Your First Spells
During your career as an empath, you will learn several healing spells and have the option to learn other types of spells. The first two spells that every empath learns are heal wounds and heal scars. You are taught Heal Wounds when you first join the guild. Once you circle, you will be able to choose [[Heal Scars]] as your next spell. Both of these spells are used to heal wounds on your body only. They can both be used to heal internal and external wounds of the corresponding type for the spell.
For your third spell however, you have several choices: Refresh,Vitality Healing, Mental Focus, Iron Constitution, and Blood Staunching. I will not tell you that any specific spell is better for you early on, but I will make my own recommendations.
If you are having trouble and becoming too tired while healing then find yourself too fatigued to transfer additional wounds, the best spell for you to learn is Refresh. Refresh will improve the rate at which your fatigue recovers and is more powerful with more mana in the cast. This spell can also be cast on others, which can be a big help to younger empaths. Feel free to ask your guild mates if they can help you out with this spell. I highly recommend Refresh for your third spell.
Next I would recommend learning Vitality Healing. While healing patients, you will sometimes need to transfer them some of your own blood, and often this can save lives. This spell will allow you to recover that lost blood quickly. Without this spell, it is entirely possible to die from blood loss. Be sure to tend your patient's and your own wounds to lessen or prevent blood loss.
In the same vein as Refresh, Mental Focus will assist in recovering your concentration lost from transferring wounds. It will also provide a small bonus to your intelligence. Once you have both Refresh and Mental Focus, and as long as you remember to keep both of the spells on you, you will find healing will go quicker and smoother.
Then I would recommend learning Blood Staunching. This spell temporarily halts the flow of blood from your wounds. You can even cast the spell before you have a bleeding wound and it will activate once the blood begins flowing. Since your body needs to be capable of handling bleeding wound, this spell is not really useful very early on. That is why I recommend learning the other spells first. Also, keep in mind that this spell prevents bleeding only. It will not prevent your death if you give your patient your entire spinal cord or other organs.
Once you have learned Blood Staunching, you will be allowed to learn Flush Poisons and Cure Disease. You will learn to take poison from your patients around Circle ten, and disease shortly after fifteen. Unless you find yourself diseased or poisoned often before those circles, I would recommend picking other spells that will more directly assist you. Similar to Blood Staunching, these spells can be cast before you receive poison or disease, and will activate once you are so afflicted. This can be done with Flush Poisons and Cure Disease only if you have learned the Adaptive Curing metaspell, which is only available as a scroll spell and is not taught directly by the guild. If you are interested in this ability you can ask adventurers who hunt creatures if they have come across this scroll. Often, many people will give it away as they have no use for it.
Once you have Heal Wounds, Heal Scars, Refresh, Vitality Healing, Mental Focus, and Blood Staunching, you will be able to handle just about any healing situation that comes your way. The last two spells that I will cover here you can choose in any order. There are still many more advanced spells as well as some with combat applications that you may select at any time, provided you meet the guild's requirements to do so.
Heal is a more advanced version of heal wounds and heal scars. Heal may be cast without targeting a part of your body, and it will attempt to heal the most damaged parts of you that it is capable of doing. It can also be directed to heal only scars, or only fresh wounds. Heal may cure injuries on different parts of the body at once if the caster has enough skill and provides enough mana.
Gift of life is a spell that is often overlooked by many empaths. This spell will provide a boost to your natural empathy skill, your ability to form and maintain links, and to your stamina. Combined with Refresh and Mental Focus, you will notice that you have the ability to heal many wounds or many patients without stopping.
Later on, you can explore other spells such as Regeneration and Fountain of Creation, two spells that will expand your self-healing capacity. There are also many spells which can provide boons to your skills and abilities in the guild's spell books depending on which way you want to focus your training.
I recommend getting the Guardian Spirit spell at thirtieth circle if you have not already by that point. This spell will summon an alfar warrior, a fae creature, to you which can protect you and attack your enemies. The warrior can be COMMANDed to behave aggressively, which will allow it to attack engaged enemies and any creature in the room, or defensively which will allow it to attack anything that advances on you. This is useful for those who take the more battle oriented route in their training, as well as those who are in need of protection.
If you want to remember anything the guild taught you about your spells, try to DISCERN the spell's nature. This act of recall can help you remember many details that may have slipped your mind, as well as remind you of your personal casting limits for the spell.
It is also possible to conduct magical research which will allow you to gain some knowledge in one or more magical skills without having to cast spells again and again. In order to conduct magical research you will need knowledge of the Gauge Flow spell, which you can acquire on a scroll at the Crossing Artificer's shop. The types of research available to you will vary based on your Arcana experience. Once you know the spell, simply cast it on yourself and then begin to RESEARCH the magical field of your choice. This can help overcome any gaps in spell knowledge you have.
Triage & Advanced Healing
From time to time, things will happen to Elanthia where empaths are sought to heal large quantities of injured folks. It may be that someone is having a sparring event, two families have come into conflict, or there may even be an attack on the town or province you are in by wild creatures. It is easy to get flustered during triage; however, you should do your best to focus on what you can do and how you can help and go only at the rate that you are capable of. Remember that a dead empath heals no one and will only create more work for the other triage workers, including your fellow empaths.
During triage, the dead and the injured are brought to empaths and clerics to be restored. Be cautious when healing dead bodies that you do not transfer the entirety of a destroyed wound to yourself for a vital area such as your head, chest, neck, abdomen or back. Keep in mind with enough skill you can TAKE only PART or HALF of a wound. With everything going on, it is easy to become distracted and forget that you do in fact need a head or chest cavity to live.
Priority for healing should be given to the living, since it is easier to keep someone alive than it is to have a cleric bring them back from the dead. When the city or province that your are is under attack, you also want to heal the living so that they can get back out there and continue fighting. It is not necessary during triage to fully heal the body before it can be revived by a cleric, the body only needs to be able to hold life which generally means no missing body parts and no severe bleeding wounds. Once a body has been healed to the point where it can hold life, be sure to announce it so that the clerics will know the body is ready to begin the process of being raised. Often times, a single empath or cleric will take on the role of calling out who is ready for a raise.
Once you have access to learn Regeneration, you can learn this spell which will constantly heal wounds on your body. More mana in the preparation will increase the healing power of the spell. I recommend learning the Magic Feats from a trainer for Raw Channeling and Efficient Channeling to go along with this spell, which will allow you to easily maintain Regeneration while healing patients or casting other healing spells to spot heal your more severe wounds. Regeneration is a cyclic spell, which means it stays on you as long as you supply mana to it, and pulses to take mana from you. This can be done by harnessing mana to it, using a cambrinth item, or via the Raw Channeling feat. Raw Channeling allows cyclic spells to pull mana directly from your attunement. Efficient Channeling reduces the cost per pulse. This spell can be very helpful when constantly healing patients during triage. Combined with herbs, you will find yourself renewed very swiftly.
Fountain Of Creation is a complicated spell to master, but when cast it can heal many wounds at once, more than even Heal does. This spell is very taxing, and will tire you out and leave your body strained. It can be cast while Regenerate is healing you, so that you can quickly rid yourself of many wounds. It also helps to have Refresh, Gift of Life, and Mental focus active on you. An empath who has mastered all of these spells is a torrent of healing power.
Politics And Necromancers
Not every person you encounter is going to be friendly towards you. These days, most adventurers choose to settle their conflicts with violence. As an individual and an empath, you can only control your own actions, and if you choose to get involved in an ongoing conflict, you need to be prepared to accept the consequences for doing so. While many empaths abhor violence, there are those who enjoy it thoroughly.
Healing any party involved in an active conflict is considered by some a hostile action, since you are giving aid to their enemy. In the past, empaths have been tried for various war crimes for aiding certain unlawful characters. Your empathic power is a great responsibility. Keep in mind that through you others are given new life, and not everyone may be deserving of that gift.
Many guilds and adventurers believe in the innocence and defense of empaths, but not all do. While some may choose to use their status as an empath to their advantage for protection, there are those that learn to defend themselves. I encourage you to rely on your own power and ability, and learn to defend yourself. You never know when your allies will be around, or what they may ask for in exchange for their assistance. The only ally you can truly rely on is your Guardian Spirit.
The Empath Guild has no rules requiring empaths to heal every person that asks for it. It is up to you to decide how you use your ability. Many empaths even choose to charge for their services, while some refuse to take any compensation for healing others. Both of these philosophies have some merit, and you may choose your own path.
The guild does frown on empaths assisting dangerous sorcerers and necromancers. Necromancers are type of sorcerer who bind life to the dead, giving them a false life. The magic necromancers use is profane, outlawed in nearly every civilized town, and is fundamentally incompatible with an empath's abilities. Attempting to heal a necromancer is dangerous, and can cause harm to the empath attempting to do so. It is possible to get shock from trying to heal the more profane necromancers, which will cause your abilities to dull. Be careful who you offer a healing touch to, especially if they seem shady.
You can run into trouble yourself with the Inquisition or the local law enforcement if you practice low sorcery or wild magic. Low sorceries are the casting of spells of another type of mana than your own, which for an Empath would be any non-life magic spell. This is dangerous for many reasons, and the results are often violent - both for the caster and anyone in proximity - when the mana explodes.
Doing more with Empathy
Empathy can be used for more than just healing. It is possible to learn the ability to form deep links with others from a fellow empath who knows the ability. Deep empathic links allow you to link to a willing party and borrow some of their knowledge in a given topic. Though these links are too strenuous to maintain during combat, they can be very beneficial in certain situations. The most common use of a deep link linking to a teacher, who may or may not be an empath, for an additional bonus to scholarship while listening to their class. This gives the teacher a better student, and allows the empath to learn more than they would normally. You can learn this ability from any other Empath after you join the guild.
In addition to deep empathic links, the link ability may be used to form persistent diagnostic links with your patients. This will allow you to continue to see your patients wounds without having to touch them over and over. This ability can also be taught to you by one of your fellow Empaths, once you have expert empathy. Knowledge of this ability is required to learn the Hand of Hodierna link, which allows an empath to continuously transfer wounds from a patient. While this link ability is slower than traditional transference methods, it can be used in battle and on multiple patients at once.
A common use for empathy is the ability to perceive and sense the life force of others. Once you have the ability to sense the life force of others consistently, you can gain experience in the with empathy by sensing these life forces. Many empaths take long walks simply sensing the life force of those around them. It is possible to sense whether a creature is cursed or undead with this ability, and even the most skilled in stealth will be unable to hide their life essence from an empath's senses. As your skill grows, you will find you are able to sense poison, disease, and even blood loss and those around you. Of course, this ability also allows empaths to recognize those who also have the empathic gift.
Once your empathic ability has reached around dilettante skill level, you can learn the ability to manipulate wild creatures from an elder empath. Manipulating creatures will teach you some empathy skill, and allows you to hunt on your own. There is some debate about the ethics of using a creature in this manner to kill for the empath, as the empath's will supersedes the creature's own. I will leave you to figure out your own moral compass. Empaths are not capable of manipulating more than two creatures at once. You will find the ability to maintain the manipulation on the creature strains your concentration, so use the spells we discussed earlier such as Mental Focus to keep your strength up.
Empathy plays a small role in in many of our spells, and is required to be able to heal our patients. A fully shocked empath cannot heal anyone except their self, or use many spells and abilities. An empath with just a little shock will find that some abilities are less effective than without it. Shock is caused by doing direct harm to a living being. Hitting undead also causes shock to empaths due to how they are created by necromancers. While I am no expert, I have been told that a necromancer forces life into a being to create undead. While this life is false, it is still life to an empath. There are also creatures known as constructs which have no life and are animated by magic. It is possible for an empath to cause harm or directly fight a construct without suffering shock.
You can take shock from your brother and sister empaths to share their burden, but you will suffer from the penalties just as they do. You cannot get a permanent shock scar from sharing the burden. After a time, your abilities will return to their normal levels. Often, Empaths construct a 'shock circle' where members take shock from one another to continue to halve the load until each member of the circle is shock free.
I often find that many younger empaths want to know what train. In my opinion, you should learn everything you can about everything. Knowledge is its own form of power. Here are some miscellaneous tips to get you going though:
Anatomy charts are available in shops, and can be compiled into compendiums. These can be studied and will teach scholarship, first aid, and empathy. First aid is an important skill for empaths the master. Wounds that are properly tended will not bleed as often and cause blood loss. This is useful both for your own wounds and in the event there is a line of patients waiting to be seen. There are also some injuries which require tending before being healed by an empath. Things such as blood mites, leeches, lodged ammunition, and other fragments embedded into your patients will continue to cause harm if not removed. You may also find that a patient is hemorrhaging faster than you can transfer blood to them, and tending their wound may be life saving.
When using your magic skills, you'll find that arcana and magical devices known as cambrinth may greatly aid your spell casting. You can ask your fellow empaths about these, or visit the local Mentor Society for information and perhaps a free device. There is a drink called kirmhiro draught which can restore mana attunement. Mana is never lost or destroyed, but you do lose the ability to manipulate it from time to time. If you know the Refresh spell the draughts are a fine thing to keep on hand, as they will make you feel tired but will recover your attunement in a pinch.
Herbs can be valuable and a tight spot. My favorites are hisan salve and cebi root. The salve will heal nerve injuries, while the root will heal external scars. Many find the root quite bitter, so perhaps it is an acquired taste. There are many other herbs and potions, try asking around to find out more.
Thieves often find that young empaths are easy marks. Be sure to visit the gem shop and tannery frequently to sell gems and skins given to you as tips. Also frequently visit the bank and deposit your coins. It is not necessary to accept everything you are given, whether it is a gift or a tip. I find that many empaths, after just a few years, become overburdened by meaningless possessions.
While many empaths focus their training on mental abilities and stamina, do not neglect the ability to defend yourself or your physical abilities. The mind is nothing without the body. Get some armor of your preference, a shield, and a parry stick and try your luck at defending from rats and goblins. If you need starting protective gear, check local donation shelves, the mentors, and crafting halls. Often the older members of society give things away to those younger once they outgrow it, and many crafters will make decent gear for free if they know it is going to good use.
Armed with this knowledge, I wish you well in the Elanthian world,