"Medical Science" in Ferelden

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"Medical Science" in Ferelden

Postby Elfie » Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:32 am

So with a combination of medieval medicine and magical intervention, I wonder what level of medical science might exist in Ferelden.

As an example, if a woman becomes pregnant, would she be able to know the sex of the child? Would she be able to know if she were having twins? Would these answers come from a mundane source or would they have to be magical?
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Re: "Medical Science" in Ferelden

Postby mxninja » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:09 am

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midwifery

Mundane! Midwifery is a long and noble profession.
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Re: "Medical Science" in Ferelden

Postby Elfie » Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:10 am

I'm familiar with midwifery :) We had one when my son was born. But modern midwives use modern tools to answer the questions I'm asking. Would a medieval midwife be able to identify the sex of a child or the presence of twins?
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Re: "Medical Science" in Ferelden

Postby shonuff » Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:40 am

Judging by the level of technology, I would assume Thedas is the equivalent of the high/late middle ages. There is widespread reliance on poultices/herbs, and there has been the introduction of gunpowder from the Qunari.

The availability of magic and the relatively frequent blights would hinder scientific and technological advances, in my opinion.

So, I doubt they would have scientific means to sex a child, but if it were necessary, it might be possible to contact or observe the fetus within the womb magically. This of course opens the question as to when life begins, and whether or not a fetus can exist on the Fade, or embryo, or whatever stage the unborn is at.
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Re: "Medical Science" in Ferelden

Postby Crazydwarf » Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:23 am

I think verifying twin presence is very possible.
The size and possibly shape of the belly late:ish in the pregnancy might cause the midwife to suspect it, and then activly listening for two sets of heartbeats.

Shortly prior to the delivery of my youngest daughter, they wanted to take a quick listen to the child.
But rather than hooking up all the modern apparatus for this small thing, the nurse opted for using a small, wooden trumpet or funnel like thing that I can easely imagine being a really old-school tool.
Determining the gender of the baby before it is born however, I'd guess would require magical divination.

I'd think other medical sciences in Thedas might vary with region.
I can imagine Denerim or other large cities have advanced to Trepanning and bloodletting/Leeching
Aswell as amputations and simpler surgeries.
In the farmlands I think they stick to prayer/superstitions. And in some few cases where the Templars havent noticed, magic and herbs frome some local wiseman/witch

I guess it's a toss up wich has higher mortality rates :P
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Re: "Medical Science" in Ferelden

Postby Crazydwarf » Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:48 am

This is from Fable 3 I belive, but I just couldnt resist posting it >:D

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Re: "Medical Science" in Ferelden

Postby kwanzaabot » Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:59 pm

Whenever the topic of non-magical healing comes up for me, my mind always goes to leeches.

And lots of them.

Headache? Take a leech.
Genlock tore your arm off? Leeches.
An underlying genetic condition that's rendered you deathly allergic to leeches? Sounds like a job for leeches.
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Re: "Medical Science" in Ferelden

Postby Giorgio » Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:42 am

DARPG is in my view a GURPS Late 3/Early 4 Tech Level game, transitioning from late medieval to early renaissance. Here is a part of the GURPS TL in question, hope it helps. (The full list can be found online.)

TL3: Medieval (pre-1450)
Biotech: Farming leads to a practical understanding of basic heredity; plants and animals bred for desired traits. Microbes exploited to make bread, wine, and cheese.
Construction: Shelter; monumental architecture; keystone arch, dome
Energy/Power: Fire, slaves; draft animals (horses and mules); water wheels; windmills, water mills; horses with horse-collars
Food: Hunting, gathering, horticulture; agriculture, herding; two-course field rotation; three-course field rotation
General: lever, language; writing; mathematics with zero
Materials: Wood, leather, stone; bronze, ceramics; iron, concrete, glass, steel
Medicines: Herbs; supportive treatment, military surgery; bleeding and purging the sick; chemical remedies; amputations and crude prosthetics, extracts
Tools: Hand tools; machines
Transportation: Walking; canoes; sledges; the wheel; horseback; horse-drawn carts; sailing rafts and small galleys; riding (horseback with a saddle); ocean-going galleys; stirrups; sailing ships
Warfare: Fists, stone weapons; shields; metal weapons (metal-tipped spears and arrows; bronze swords), leather armor, chariots; infantry formations, artillery, galleys. Iron swords; shields; scale armor; armored cavalry; Steel weapons; lances, flails, crossbows; plate and chain mail; castles

L4: Renaissance/Colonial (1450-1700)
Biotech: Farming leads to a practical understanding of basic heredity; plants and animals bred for desired traits. Microbes exploited to make bread, wine, and cheese; optical microscopes make cells visible.
Construction: Shelter; monumental architecture; keystone arch, dome
Energy/Power: Fire, slaves; draft animals (horses and mules); water wheels; windmills, water mills; horses with horse-collars
Food: Hunting, gathering, horticulture; agriculture, herding; two-course field rotation; three-course field rotation
General: lever, language; writing; mathematics with zero, gunpowder, printing
Materials: Wood, leather, stone; bronze, ceramics; iron, concrete, glass, steel
Medicines: Herbs; supportive treatment, military surgery; bleeding and purging the sick; chemical remedies; amputations and crude prosthetics, extracts; experiments that killed the patients
Tools: Hand tools; machines
Transportation: Walking; canoes; sledges; the wheel; horseback; horse-drawn carts; sailing rafts and small galleys; riding (horseback with a saddle); ocean-going galleys; stirrups; sailing ships; fully-rigged ships; hot-air balloons
Warfare: Fists, stone weapons; shields; metal weapons (metal-tipped spears and arrows; bronze swords), leather armor, chariots; infantry formations, artillery, galleys. Iron swords; shields; scale armor; armored cavalry; Steel weapons; lances, flails, crossbows; plate and chain mail; castles; black-powder muskets; cannon; sailing warships
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Re: "Medical Science" in Ferelden

Postby Ghostdanser » Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:32 pm

Here are a few basic web site links to give a general view of medieval medicine...nothing too in depth, but gives an idea of what was in practice.

http://www.maggietron.com/med/humors.php
http://strangehorizons.com/2003/20030317/medicine.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humorism

On a less serious note...here is an abbreviated scene from Blackadder Series II that came to mind...

Edmund develops feelings for a male servant (who is actually a woman in disguise, but of course Edmund is unaware of this). He seeks medical advice for his "condition" of having urges towards this manservant...

Doctor: I think you're in luck though. An extraordinary new cure has just been developed for exactly this kind of sordid problem.
Edmund: It wouldn't have anything to do with leeches, would it?
Doctor: I had no idea you were a medical man.
Edmund: Never had anything you doctors didn't try to cure with leeches. A leech on my ear for earache, a leech on my bottom for constipation.
Doctor: They're marvelous, aren't they?
Edmund: Well, the bottom one wasn't. I just sat there and squashed it.
Doctor: You know the leech comes to us on the highest authority?
Edmund: Yes, I know that... Dr. Hoffmann of Stuttgart, isn't it?
Doctor: That's right, the great Hoffmann.
Edmund: Owner of the largest leech farm in Europe.
Doctor: Yes, well, I cannot spend all day gossiping. I'm a busy man. As far as this case is concerned I have now had time to think it over and I can strongly recommend...a course of leeches.
Edmund: Yes. I'll pop a couple down my codpiece before I go to bed?
Doctor: No, no, no, no. Don't be ridiculous. This isn't the dark ages. Just pop four in your mouth in the morning and let them dissolve slowly. In a couple of weeks you'll be beating your servant with a stick, just like the rest of us.
TTFN,
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Re: "Medical Science" in Ferelden

Postby Lynata » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:52 pm

Ghostdanser wrote:On a less serious note...here is an abbreviated scene from Blackadder Series II that came to mind...
Hahah, I had to think of the exact same scene. It's so great when he goes to the doctor's counter and the entire wall behind him is stacked with hundreds of glasses labeled "LEECH". :D

As to the topic at hand, yeah, I think it'd be safe to say that a look to the real world middle ages seems appropriate. Magic is extremely rare and only available to a small portion of the population (usually the nobility) - aside from the common folk often fearing the very idea of having magic performed upon them due to the horror stories they are taught by the Chantry (that are actually even half-true mostly). Stuff like having a mage divine the gender of an unborn babe may well be regarded as a sign of hubris before the Maker (who is obviously in charge of determining if it becomes a boy or a girl :P), not to mention that some people may even fear a lingering taint of the arcane as if the child would be cursed after having been "touched" this way. Remember: Many people see magic as a curse, and a child born a mage isn't exactly the happiest occasion.

The relative unpredictability of whether a newborn becomes a normal child or a mage may have well given rise to superstition such as pregnant mother gets touched by a mage: BAM, kid becomes a mage, too - "obviously" this would be the only explanation when neither the father nor the mother were a mage! And if they didn't know of any mage or mage-descendent that had contact with the mother, this just means that somebody in that village must be a hidden apostate... >:)

The exception from this, of course, would be the Tevinter Imperium where mages are a bit more respected (yet still rare), and Rivain, where I could very well imagine "wild arcanists" (seers) go from village to village to mix herbal medicine with mysterious rituals, and even provide services for pregnant mothers - from gender determination up to easing the pain of childbirth, including to ensure the survival of both mother and child. Something that would normally not be taken for granted in such a setting.
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Re: "Medical Science" in Ferelden

Postby Ghostdanser » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:18 pm

Lynata...glad to know I'm not the only one around here to have seen Blackadder... :green:

For game purposes you can also look to superstition for inspiration.

There was a long tradition of using a pendulum or crystal to determine the sex of an unborn child. If the pendulum swung in a circle it was thought to be a girl, if the pendulum swung in a straight line it was thought to be a boy.

I've seen statements where midwives stated they could tell the sex of a child by the shape of a mother's stomach (round = girl, oblong = boy), and other midwives stated they could tell by the speed of the heartbeat (slow = boy).

Lest we forget other divining methods like tarot, astrology, geomancy, numerology...etc.

Real life accuracy aside...any or all of these practices could exist in Thedas. It's up to the individual GM to determine how it fits into their world...and just what the penalty for incorrectly identifying the sex of a preborn child might be...or just what it would mean if the pendulum swings in a triangular pattern...
TTFN,
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