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Darklord: Dr. Victor Mordenheim
Lamordia info in 3e: RL3E / RLPH, Gaz 2, LotB
Second edition: Black Box (Realm of Terror), Red Box (RL Campaign Setting), Domains of Dread
Adventures: Adam's Wrath, Book of Crypts (Bride of Mordenheim), Chilling Tales (Surgeon's Blade)
Novel: Mordenheim

Other selected interesting sources: Darklords and Book of Secrets (Merilee Markuza)


Mad Skipper

Early last evening in Ludendorf a dishevelled mariner came ashore and checked into the Breaking Wave. Within moments of gorging himself on a plate of food, the feverish man began to mumble a most disturbing tale involving the disappearance of the Lamordian colonists on the isle of Markovia: bizarre experiments are being conducted by the island's inhabitants, resulting in the creation of hideous creatures neither man nor beast. The horrible fate of the colonists lies in the workings of these experiments, and this old skipper claims to bear witness.

The ghastly details of the experiments are proof enough for some of those that gathered around the rasping wild-eyed man. Furthermore, it was discovered by several of the Breaking Wave's staff that the deranged mariner had undeniable proof waiting for them on the dock. Differing versions of the old man's tale have spread throughout Ludendorf like wildfire, and it is said that the schultebott is planning a meeting later this morning to thoroughly discuss the matters at hand. But action is already being taken by one of the local supply merchants.

Werner, a young man whose brother had left with those colonists that dissappeared in 748 BC, and his younger sister Teresa have been busy all morning gathering locals that will crew an expedition to the island. The local authorities have arrived and are denying the siblings and their crew access to their waiting vessel, as they patiently await official word from the gathered schltebott. But with murder in the crew members' eyes and a growing mob gathering harbourside, things are looking to get quite out of hand...

Once the Forum

Ironclad: In Ludendorf, the PCs hear a massive crashing sound coming from near the docks. If they rush to the source of the noise they'll see that a huge steam ship mostly made of metal has smashed into a bank of ice just beyond the docks. A crowd has gathered near the water to watch the drama, and none of the locals have ever seen a vessel like it.

A frantic group of militiamen and would be heroes are trying to organize a rescue party to see if there are any survivors. The PCs are invited to help, but they must accept fast, as the vessel is beginning to sink. What's more, its own machinery is still functioning, pushing it further into the ice and threatening to tear it apart. The ship is completely enclosed, with no open deck, and is bristling with cannons. Its passageways are all either locked or jammed by sturdy metal doors, the damaged machinery throughout it constantly releases bursts of scalding steam, and the icy water flooding it is rising unpredictably.

Worst of all however is that most of the crew has gone mad for no discernable reason, and will attack those who came to help them. The captain is the only survivor to have maintained his sanity, mostly because he was knocked unconscious when they encountered the threat that drove the crew mad. He is seriously injured however, and will be bed-ridden for some time. When he is lucid enough he will explain that he is a minor nobleman from Leidenheim (made up town further south along the Lamordia coast) who created the unique ship (an ironclad) to hunt pirates. He has no idea what happened to the crew or why they crashed near Ludendorf...

NPC: Gatnom, paranoid fool and Useful Red Herring. Despite his perpetually sleepy looking eyes Gotnom is filled with barely contained manic energy. His every gesture is tersely melodramatic. He wears a heavily customized uniform of the militia, but in fact left the service a year ago. He now works as an assistant bookbinder.

Gatnom has deluded himself into believing that a moderately popular new book on philosophy called "Auto-Apotheosization" is really a tool of subtle indoctrination being spread by drug dealers from Sri Raji, who intend to brainwash the population of his beloved hometown. He recently saw a group of mercenaries purchasing an innocent book on elephant husbandry from a Sri Rajian merchant near the docks, and concluded that it was the latest edition of the insidious tome. He proceeded to steal the book (which he could not read since he does not understand Sri Rajian) and then attempt to burn it, but the exotic chemicals that had been used to weatherproof its pages resisted the flames.

Gatnom has since been going around making wild accusations, becoming a laughing stock of the town in the process, since anyone who actually reads "Auto-apotheosization" quickly realizes it's just another dull self help book. His employer is almost ready to fire him, but the paranoid youth is just getting started. He is now engaged in a campaign of espionage on several key figures he believes to have been brainwashed, including the schepmeista, and with every scoffing dismissal of his theories he gets a little bit closer to doing something illegal…

The Oranger Greenhouse (location in Ludendorf): This ring shaped, single story structure near the center of Ludendorf is built out of glass and gleaming brass, and serves as a small public park that is very popular with the gentry. The temperature inside is maintained at a mildly tropical level through the clever use of steam powered heaters. Although orange trees are obviously the main attraction here (especially their fruits and blossoms, which the visitor must pay for), many other tropical plants imported from Sri Raji are housed here. Doctor Mordenheim frequently visits this structure during his trips to Ludendorf, as the orange blossom was his wife's favorite flower. The Steam Jet (location in Ludendorf): The Steam Jet is Ludendorf's most easily overlooked landmark in spite of the fact that it was intended to be its most visible one. This large machine near the town's main docks was designed to turn sea water into a continuous pillar of cloudy steam that would be visible for miles, but the lighthouse staff complained that it obstructed their light, and for safety reasons the mechanism was toned down.

Here's an atmospheric situation the players could encounter upon first arriving in Ludendorf: ...just as you were beginning to think no strife could possibly form in such a place, you hear the sound of mean-spirited, aristocratic laughter. The source of the tittering turns out to be a dignified cluster of local gentry, dressed in expensive but very subdued clothes that are bereft of color and adornments. This very orderly group is standing around a raised wooden stage in front of a solid, one story stone building. Upon the stage, a young man in handcuffs is standing dejectedly, absolute embarrassment inscribed on his downcast face. Next to him stands a white haired official with a pointing stick, who is using the implement to draw attention to each of the younger man's features in turn.

"Notice the wide amount of space between his eyes ladies and gentlemen," says the official with a theatrical arc of his eyebrows. "That is a sure sign of inferior breeding, which has resulted in a reduced intellect. I would surmise that this unfortunate boy's ancestry has roots in the deep south of the world, where people's minds are predisposed to dullness. The dirtiness of his brittle nails speaks for itself, but it might draw you attention away from the length of his hands, which indicate a tendency toward laziness and rebellion. I ask you again good sirs and madams, is it any surprise this wretch would stoop to petty vandalism? If we weren't keeping him in our jail he might soon be on his way to becoming a pickpocket!"

There is a gasp from the small crowd, followed by smug tittering.

Just some random bits of flavor text for Ludendorf:

  • A very strong chemical smell reaches your nostrils, and you look around for its origins. You spot one of the cleanly dressed public sanitation workers carefully pouring a keg of some whitish liquid along a gutter. The word "Chlorine" is written in large white letters along the side of the container.
  • For a moment you watch a young lady dressed in aristocratic furs trying out a strange contraption in front of a clockmaker's workshop. It resembles a parasol, like the ones gaining popularity in the cultured realms of Richemulot and Mordent, but this one is capable of folding down like a flower, and seems much sturdier.
  • An enormous, shaggy dog with a small keg of alcohol tied around its neck comes playfully running up to you [One of the local rescue dogs, trained to find victims of snow accidents. The keg is for helping the victim to keep warm until a rescue party arrives.]
  • You spot a clever device hanging from the roof corner of one of the houses. It uses mercury to measure the temperature outside, although you are unfamiliar with the unit of measure it displays.
  • A strange shadow falls on you. You look up to see that the sun is being blocked by a hot air balloon flying overhead. One of the aristocratic pilots waves at you.
  • Everything stinks of whale oil!


Once the Forum wrote: he is a minor nobleman from Leidenheim (made up town further south along the Lamordia coast) who created the unique ship (an ironclad) to hunt pirates. He has no idea what happened to the crew or why they crashed near Ludendorf...

Leidenheim isn't a made up town. Dr. Mordenheim began his practice as a hospital surgeon there in 671. (or '03) by the Lamordian calendar. [M pp. 62-4]

The captain could tell details about Lamordia in ('91). Prehaps in all that time there has a lot of new scientific discoveries and there is new equipment on the ship to hunt the pirates? He would also be surprised to hear where he is since those places disappeared. 'Ludendorf? LUDENDORF did you say? But that disappeared 76 years ago!'

Since the domain was pulled in in November I would hazzard a guess that '15 was one of the worst winters on record. (Think 'Stephen King's Storm of the Century') These towns disappeared without a trace. The Dr. Might want to get his hands on this survivor or want equipment and materials retrieved from the ship (think old school deep sea diving suit and diving bell if it sinks).

This could also be a nice way to bring more advanced technology to the Core as many fans seem to like the idea of a more enlightened setting. Since this inventor is not a nut, maybe some of his ideas will catch on. Modern-day Lamordia '91 could be as advanced as Paridon was.

This idea might even be tweaked to the ship is just grounded in the ice, and some of the crew has crossed the ice for help. Or maybe it wasn't even after pirates in Prime material Lamordia but is a scientific vessel? Or a large carrier shipping cargo? The ship could be 'run-of-the-mill' in present day prime material Lamordia. It's a nice 'fit' to add in some inventions for those that want a more scientifically advanced setting.

Scientist or learned survivor: 'What do you mean Neufurchtenburg is cut off for the winter?' What about using an airship to get over the mountains?'
Lamordian: 'What's an airship?'
Survivor: 'It is the latest incarnation of the hot air balloon my good man. Do you not know?'
Lamordian: 'What is a ba- looon?'
Survivor:*Sigh* 'You have any whiskey by any chance?'


On July 2nd, in the year 1900, The people of Friedrichshafen, Germany came out to witness a momentous occasion. For two years a huge floating building had been anchored on lake Bodensee and in this building, the local Count, Ferdinand von Zeppelin had been spending all his time and resources with a small band of engineers and builders. As the building had progressed, the Count was often made the object of ridicule and jokes. Many thought that the count was squandering his family's savings on a ridiculous idea that could never work. That afternoon, the people of Friedrichshafen would get a glimpse of the future. A steam launch chugged over to the shed and slowly proceeded to draw out a huge cigar shaped airship.

Although air ships had been flown for almost 50 years, this was a special airship. This was the very first of the ridged airships. The first to have a skeleton built around bags of lifting gas. The Count's reasoning for attempting this new and radical design was for several reasons. First, the Count reasoned that a solid outer shell would allow an airship to travel at much greater speeds with out worrying about air pressure buckling in the nose of the airship. Second, he hoped that this design would make for a solid long range scout ship capable of military service. Something that could be used for missions of great duration and could bring it's crew home with vital information from the enemy lines. Another reason for the aluminum skeleton, was to make the airship strong enough to fly through less than ideal weather conditions with out deforming or simply folding in on its self. Something that was a very real threat to the nonrigid ships being flown at the time.

As the Count and his workers had the airship towed out of it's hanger on the water, the crowd got it's first glimpse of the LZ 1. "L" stood for "luft", the German word for air, and "Z" for it's inventor. The first flight on that early July day was not very impressive for the thousands who crowded the shore of the lake to watch the "Crazy Count" try out his new flying machine. Although the LZ 1 was a marvel to watch as the 416 foot long ship glided into the air, trouble erupted almost immediately and after only 18 minutes the ship settled back down on the water and was towed back to its shed. During the flight the engines had proven to be temperamental and worse, the frame had been bent in several places and would need to be fixed.

The LZ 1 would not be ready to fly again until October 17 of the same year. This time, as the long ship was towed out of it's dark, floating hangar, the people watching on the shore were mostly locals who wanted to see if their count could make his invention work. As the engines were started up and the ship slowly lifted off the surface of the water the crowd of towns people cheered. The LZ 1 slowly spiralled its way up in to the sky and cruised over the middle of the lake.

Actually as I type this post, I think we found the 'Ravenloftian' version of a floating castle!

THAT would be an interesting pocket domain. A giant airship. Or a GHOST airship with tears and such, something that just should not still be able to fly. A strange recluse who was paranoid. As the years went on he became more unstable. He even killed a few of his servants/crew.

Eventually they mutinied, weapons fired, the skin on the ship was ruptured and they began to decend, went into a cloud... and now the ghost airship is in Ravenloft.

Anyway, there are some funky ideas for y'all.

Once the Forum: I always thought the entire sky of the core would make an interesting domain. Imagine, ruling so much and yet so little and never being able to return to the ground. A suitably frustrating prison methinks...

ScS of the Fraternity: The airship idea is a neat one, and its not without its precedent - what with the Lemont's theatre, the Horseman's road, or the Phantom Lover's bedroom. It might seem a little silly looking if it was to pass over the Core - perhaps a little too steam punk. However, if the airship was always shrouded in storm clouds it would fit in perfectly. Few people would bother to look up into the grey nimbus of the roiling sky, and even those who do catch a glimpse of the behemoth within might dismiss it as a trick of the eye. Thus, no one knows of the great sky-castle, forever denying the Luft-lord the fame he so desires. Still, it does leave one to wonder how the players would get on such a contraption. I'm guessing one idea would be for them to encounter it kind of like in Gulliver's travels.

The PCs, lost at sea, are near death. The storm clouds gather, causing the despair to deepen, when suddenly, they hear a horn from far away. The low mournful trumpeting calls again, louder and closer as the storm approaches, and soon the PCs can detect a throbbing hum over the lapping of the waves. A sharp eyed player suddenly detects a rope through the mists, dangling as if from thin air. They hear a call "ahoy!" and suddenly a mighty grey behemoth breaks through the cloud front like a giant whale breaching.

The PCs are pulled aboard the fantastic air ship, rescued by the eccentric Count Luftwald, who wines and dines them upon his lavish floating castle. Little do the PCs suspect that beneath the veneer of luxuries lies a hidden corruption.

daffy72: Perhaps once a year (on the anniversary of the mutiny) a landing rig appears. For that one night its like the cursed ship in Ship of Horror... the ship looks to be in perfect shape, he's looking for a crew... players might get on because its so unique...

As the day is about to end a 'storm' rolls in and it gets dark. I like the idea of the players on the ship in the storm... I'd look to the rules for Bluetspur lightening strikes for what to roll, dangers etc.

I don't know about other RPG groups but we always always had lots of rope or cat gut with us. so getting down might not be that hard. perhaps if players break the curse they are 'rewarded' with a fully functional pristine airship.



A madman that studies the abilities of the mind and how it is brought to insanity. He is a loner, a psion/scientist living in a cold cavern a few hours from a small village in Lamordia. Every once a while he kidnaps travelers or beggars and performs horrible experiments on their minds. The PCs have to stop this man.

The "children" of this madman are like "mental" broken ones. While their physical bodies are almost humanlike (although they are tough), their minds are wrecked. They all suffer from at least a lost madness effect but have gained some mental abilities from this. Their former personality is almost unrecognisable, as the madman transforms their minds, reversing some aspects of their personality, leaving others the same, erasing some aspects and adding some at whim.

When the PCs go to the cavern to stop this evil man. . . They discover two mind flayers instead of a human.



Chiurgeon Prestige Class, the gothic doctor

My disamusement with the utterly ungothic family prestige classes for the Mordenheims from LoB, has provoked me to convert to 3.5 Wyatt's brilliant Chiurgeon from the Kargatane Book of Secrets.

And the next step would be to do something similar with LoB's spell casting Scientist who wouldn’t know a flesh golem of obsession if it slapped him about the ears.

The chiurgeon is a profession pioneered in Lamordia where its practitioners are generally held in high esteem both within the university and beyond its walls. Outside of that land, chiurgeons can be found in most universities and in the large and small cities, and even the towns, of advanced states such as Dementlieu, Zheresia, Richemulot, Mordent, and Borca. But they are neither numerous nor respected. Practitioners of magical healing openly brand them butchers and most people with gold enough to secure aid from priests freely repeat the accusation. The less well off tend to view chiurgeons slightly more charitably, as they often make their services available at eminently reasonable prices. Still ugly rumors and lurid stories lend even the best of chiurgeons a sinister cast. Only the bravest and most charismatic members of the profession venture openly into more backward lands, where death at the hands of a mob is a threat to be taken seriously. In Flatonia, however, chiurgeons are readily conscripted into the army where they can easily spend the rest of their lives enjoying, by the abysmal standards of that land, a significant degree of security and comfort. A chiurgeon may also secure similar employment in the navies of our world and the merchant marine.

Chiurgeons are not to their last atheists, but they do not believe in 'miracle' workers or practitioners of 'magic' generally. In Lamordia chiurgeons and their patients are almost invariably atheists and so are very much made for one another. Elsewhere, chiurgeons have learnt to shun the subject of religion, at least beyond the walls of the university. The attitude of many Peruvians towards religion has, however, made that land somewhat less hostile to the chiurgeon than comparable backwaters. When confronted with a manifest display of 'magic' a chiurgeon typically protests that it is either 'smoke and mirrors' or the work of a yet undiscovered natural principle. Anyone actively seeking to persuade a chiurgeon otherwise is likely to be accused of being either naive or a charlatan.

The least ambitious chiurgeons stay well within the limits of their craft, avoid controversy, flee danger like the Crimson Death, and are a boon to their community. The most ambitious see their work as a crusade, where this may mean saving as many lives as possible, waging war upon death itself, and usually both. The path paved by the good intentions of these chiurgeons is often a grimmer one than any might readily foresee. Chiurgeons as a profession also have something of a propensity for grave robbing. When a legitimate and bountiful source of cadavers is available, chiurgeons committed to high level research can be perfectly law abiding and even upstanding citizens. When this is not the case, they can easily find themselves entangled with the worst sort of people.

A thug who mistakes a chiurgeon for easy prey may end up being a chiurgeon's patient or worse. Chiurgeons are skilled wielders of scalpels, razors, knives and cutlasses and are deadly if they manage to catch opponents at a disadvantage. It is not uncommon, especially in less urban settings, to find a thoroughly vicious but well trained dog at a chiurgeon's side.

Hit Dice: d6.
Requirements: To qualify to become a Chiurgeon (Chr) a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
Cultural Level: 8+.
Alignment: any.
Skills: Heal 8 ranks, Knowledge (nature) 5 ranks, Profession (herbalism) 5 ranks.
Feats: Skill Focus (heal).

Special: To become a chiurgeon, a character must be trained by a chiurgeon. This often, but not always, takes place in a university setting. Chiurgeons are not necessarily atheists but they do not believe in miracle workers or practitioners of 'magic' generally. A character that can cast arcane or divine spells cannot become a chiurgeon. Likewise a character with ranks in Knowledge (arcane), Spellcraft or Use Magical Device cannot become a chiurgeon without renouncing such 'talent' as fraudulent and making no further use of it (4 ranks may be transferred to another skill with every advancement of a level). A chiurgeon acquiring ranks in Knowledge (arcane), Spellcraft or Use Magical Device or one acquiring the ability to cast arcane or divine spells from another class cannot gain new levels as a chiurgeon but retains all current chiurgeon abilities. A chiurgeon does not attempt untrained Knowledge (arcane) checks. A chiurgeon may wield or bear magic items with neither command words nor ostentatious magical effects, but will vehemently insist that their potency is simply the result of superior craftsmanship. Confronted with a manifest display of 'magic' a chiurgeon will insist that it is either 'smoke and mirrors' or the work of a yet undiscovered natural principle.

Class Skills: The chiurgeon's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Handle Animals (Cha), Hide in Shadows (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (architecture & engineering) (Int), Knowledge (geography), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Knowledge (nobility & royalty) (Int), Move Silently (Dex), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Speak Language, Spot, Survival, and Use Rope (Dex).

Skill Points at Each Level : 6 + Int modifier.

Table: The Chiurgeon 
Lvl 	BAB 	Fort 	Ref 	Will 
1st 	+0 	+0 	+2 	+2 	Medical Science, Diagnosis, Weapon Finesse 
2nd 	+1 	+0 	+3 	+3 	Bleeding, Healing Science, Scalpel attack +1d6 
3rd 	+2 	+1 	+3 	+3 	Surgery, Chemistry 
4th 	+3 	+1 	+4 	+4 	Trepanning, Pharmacology, Scalpel attack +2d6 
5th 	+3 	+1 	+4 	+4 	Deft Surgery, Weapon Focus 
6th 	+4 	+2 	+5 	+5 	Skill Focus (Profession (Herbalism) or Craft 
					(chemistry)), Obsession, Scalpel attack +3d6 
7th 	+5 	+2 	+5 	+5 	Transplantation, Poison Use 
8th 	+6 	+2 	+6 	+6 	Improved Critical, Scalpel attack +4d6 
9th 	+6 	+3 	+6 	+6 	Advanced Transplantation, Skill Focus (Profession 
					(Herbalism) or Craft (chemistry)) 
10th 	+7 	+3 	+7 	+7 	Reanimation, Scalpel attack +5d6 

Class Features

All of the following are Class Features of the chiurgeon prestige class.

Weapon and Armour Proficiency: Chiurgeons are proficient with simple weapons, light martial slashing weapons, and the rapier. Chiurgeons are not proficient with armour or shields.

Scalpel attack (Ex): When afforded a sufficient opening a chiurgeon puts his knowledge of anatomy to deadly effect. A chiurgeon may make the equivalent of a rogue's sneak attack but only with a melee slashing weapon and only against humanoids, monstrous humanoids, animals and magical beasts.

Medical Science (Ex): Long study of biological principles, of modern medical techniques, and of countless cases has afforded the chiurgeon an exceptional talent for healing. A chiurgeon may substitute his intelligence modifier for his wisdom modifier when making Heal skill checks. Moreover a chiurgeon adds a +1 bonus per chiurgeon level to his Heal skill checks when treating humanoids or animals. Although monstrous humanoids and magical beasts may be similar anatomically, the differences are sufficient to deprive a chiurgeon of the clarity of mind that he normally brings to his work and thus this bonus.

Diagnosis (Ex): A chiurgeon learns to recognize even the most obscure signs of sicknesses and poisoning and to draw sound conclusions from even the scantest of evidence. A chiurgeon adds a +1 bonus per chiurgeon level to his Search skill checks when ministering to humanoids or animals. A chiurgeon may attempt to diagnose illness or poisoning by making a Search check against the save DC of the disease or poison. A diagnosis takes d20 minutes and provokes attacks of opportunity. A fast diagnosis may be completed in d10 rounds with a -5 penalty and provokes attacks of opportunity. A chiurgeon loses his +1 bonus per chiurgeon level to his Heal skill check when treating a patient that he fails to diagnose. A chiurgeon may attempt to identify a given magical disease, but will dismiss its supposed 'eldritch' nature as 'groundless peasant superstition' and will be unable to successfully treat it should it require magical curing. A chiurgeon may make a Search check to determine the cause of death by performing a dissection. A dissection takes d6x20 minutes.

Bleeding (Ex): A chiurgeon understands the medicinal value of carefully controlled bleedings. A chiurgeon can as a standard action which provokes attacks of opportunity apply leeches to an open wound or use a scalpel to open a wound. The leeches inflict 1 hit point of subdual damage and the scalpel inflicts 1 hit point of damage. Either affords a +2 bonus to the patient's Fortitude check or the chiurgeon's Heal skill check against the secondary damage of poison. A chiurgeon may also use leeches or a scalpel to afford a +1 bonus to the patient's Fortitude check or the chiurgeon's Heal skill check that is made daily against a disease. Normally leaches afford a +1 bonus against the secondary damage of poison and are ineffective against disease. Leeches are fine vermin with 1 hit point.

Healing science (Ex): Through the application of first aid, medicine, chemicals, needles, clamps, precise physical manipulations and even electrical currents a chiurgeon may accelerate natural healing. Upon making a successful Heal skill check for giving Long-Term care a chiurgeon can immediately attempt a second Heal skill check as a free action which if successful doubles the rate of healing from 2 hit points per level to 4 hit points per level for 8 hours of rest and from 4 hit points per level to 8 hit points per level for a full 24 hours of rest.

Chemistry (Ex): A chiurgeon often finds himself obliged to manufacture his own anesthetic and ether. A chiurgeon adds a +1 bonus per chiurgeon level to his Craft (chemistry) skill checks.

Pharmacology (Ex): A chiurgeon understands the medicinal value of drugs. A chiurgeon may substitute his intelligence modifier for his wisdom modifier when making Profession (herbalism) skill checks. A chiurgeon adds a +1 bonus per chiurgeon level to his Profession (herbalism) skill checks. A chiurgeon may use Profession (herbalism) in place of Craft (poison) to produce plant based medicines or poisons. In particular a chiurgeon can take a poisonous plant and create a medicine that retains from it one or more of its effects either at full strength or at a reduced strength. For example a chiurgeon is in possession of Baron's Bane from Forlorn which has a DC 20, drains permanently 1 point of Wisdom and 1 point of Constitution as initial damage, and does 1d4 points of Wisdom damage and 1d8 points of Constitution damage as secondary damage. With a successful DC 20 Profession (herbalism) check the chiurgeon could produce an immune system suppressing drug with a DC 20 that drains permanently 1 point of Constitution as initial damage and no secondary damage.

Trepanning (Ex): A chiurgeon may attempt to cure madness by strategically drilling holes into the skull and grey matter of the patient to relieve the pressure that, according to medical science, is responsible for the condition. Each minute of drilling does 1d2 hit points of damage, provokes a Fortitude save with a cumulative -1 bonus to avoid losing 1d6 points of intelligence permanently, and affords a Recovery check (a Madness check against the initial DC) with a cumulative +1 bonus which if successful returns the patient's abilities scores to their previous level (minus any losses resulting from trepanning) and wholly cures the madness. For every five levels in the chiurgeon class apply a +1 bonus to the Recovery check and to the Fortitude save. In any case, a patient suffers 1 point of permanent Intelligence loss as well as must make a Madness check with DC 10 + 1 per minute of drilling.

Surgery (Ex): A chiurgeon may attempt to restore lost or missing functionality to joints, limbs, and readily accessible structures and organs such as the tongue, the nose, the eye or the ear. The chiurgeon must make a Diagnosis. For loss connected to physical damage the DC is 20, for loss connected to aging or for functionality missing from birth the DC is 30, and for loss connected to non-damaging magic (the Blindness/Deafness or the Bestow Curse spell for example) the DC is 40. On a successful check the exact cause of the problem is diagnosed correctly and an appropriate surgical procedure is known, save for in the case of loss connected to non-damaging magic. On a failure of less than 5, and on a success in the case of loss connected to non-damaging magic, the exact cause of the problem or a surgical solution is unknown. On a failure of 5 or more the exact cause of the problem is misdiagnosed and an inappropriate surgical procedure is known. Patients would be well advised to get a second opinion, but outside the hospitals and institutions of the largest and most advanced cities such is rarely possible. The length of the surgery is DCxd20 minutes. The exact duration of an operation cannot be foreseen accurately, but the chiurgeon does know that repairing problems connected to physical damage is relatively simple (taking on average 3.5 hours), fixing problems connected to aging or birth defects is fairly complex (taking on average a little over 5 hours), and addressing other problems is very difficult (taking on average 7 hours). The patient loses 25% of his remaining hit points per hour on the operating table to a minimum of 1 hit point (round down). At the beginning of every hour of an operation a to hit roll is made and on a natural 1 the operation fails in the end as a consequence of clumsiness. Should a patient have but 1 hit point when a natural to hit roll of 1 occurs the patient dies on the operating table in 1d4 minutes (unless stabilized and restored to at least 1 hit point with the aid of magic, something that a chiurgeon will resist strenuously on hygienic and ideological grounds). An operation fails if the wrong surgical procedure is attempted. An operation fails if the chiurgeon fails his Heal skill check. A second operation fails automatically if the chiurgeon does not in the interim advance at least one level. An operation that fails because of both a natural to hit roll of 1 and a failed Heal check renders the problem forever incurable by surgery.

Deft Surgery (Ex): An excellent chiurgeon is as dexterous as he is intelligent. The length of a surgery is reduced by 15% per +1 of Dex modifier to a maximum reduction of 90% at +6 Dex modifier, greatly improving the odds for the patient.

Transplantation (Ex): A chiurgeon may attempt to reattach severed extremities such as toes, fingers, feet, hands, arms and legs as well as cut off or cut out structures and organs such as the tongue, the nose, the eye or the ear. The body part may even come from another creature of the same species (with a -4 penalty). The fresher the body part the better (-1 penalty per 3 hours) although wrapping it in cold wet cloth or better placing it in ice retards decay (by 6 and 12 hours respectively). For toes and fingers the DC is 25, for feet, hands, noses and ears, the DC is 30, for arms, legs and tongues the DC is 35, and for eyes the DC is 40. The length of the surgery is DC x d20 minutes before any modification by Deft Surgery. The patient loses 25% of his remaining hit points per hour on the operating table to a minimum of 1 hit point. At the beginning of every hour of an operation a to hit roll is made and on a natural 1 the operation fails in the end as a consequence of clumsiness. Should a patient have but 1 hit point when a natural to hit roll of 1 occurs the patient dies on the operating table in 1d4 minutes (unless stabilized and restored to at least 1 hit point with the aid of magic.) An operation fails if the chiurgeon fails his Heal skill check. In a failed operation the body part is ruined in the unsuccessful attempt to attach it to the body. An operation that fails because of both a natural to hit roll of 1 and a failed Heal check kills the patient. If the operation is successful and the body part was from another creature, save for a twin, the patient dies in 1d6 days of organ rejection unless either he fails a DC 20 Fortitude save (which cannot be voluntarily failed) or his immune system is suppressed within 24 hours of the transplant by a permanent reduction in Constitution of at least 1 point (typically achieved with a drug derived from Baron's Bane). (Organ rejection is not a disease and cannot be successfully treated with Cure Disease. It can, however, be resolved by Heal.) A body part that is either of a different color or otherwise is distinguishable from the rest of the body adds +1 to the patient's Outcast Rating.

Advanced Transplantation (Ex): A chiurgeon can attempt to make a Heal skill check to replace extremities such as toes, fingers, feet, hands, arms and legs as well as structures and organs such as the tongue, the nose, the eye or the ear with the same part from an other species. The other species must be a humanoid or an animal within one size category of the patient. For toes and fingers the DC is 30, for feet, hands, noses and ears, the DC is 35, for arms, legs and tongues the DC is 40, and for eyes the DC is 45. The length of the surgery is DC x d20 minutes before any modification by Deft Surgery. If the operation is successful, the patient dies in 1d6 days of organ rejection unless either he fails a DC 15 Fortitude save (which cannot be voluntarily failed) or his immune system is suppressed within 24 hours of the transplant by a permanent reduction in Constitution of at least 2 points (typically achieved with doses of a drug derived from Baron's Bane). After 1d6 months a patient who received a body part with an extraordinary ability such as low-light vision or darkvision that he did not previously possess masters the use of that extraordinary ability. A body part that is from a creature of a different size than the patient adds +1 to the patient's Outcast Rating. Equally a chiurgeon can attempt to make a Heal skill check to replace an internal organ. When the patient and the donor are of the same humanoid or the same animal species the DC is 40, when of different humanoid or of different animal species the DC is 45, and when one is a humanoid and the other an animal the DC is 50. The species must be of the same size category. A new heart adds 1d6 years of life to an older patient for each difference in age category. A new brain affords its donor a new body and is usually the death of the donor of that body. A brain in a new body takes 2d6 days to master its mundane abilities and 1d6 months to master any extraordinary abilities new to it such as low-light vision or scent that that body might have. Organ rejection again is a problem as described previously

Reanimation (Ex): A chiurgeon may cheat death itself. As a special boon offered by the Dark Powers, a chiurgeon may restore life, after a fashion, to the recently departed. This boon allows for any one of the following or any thing that a DM should deem comparably horrific: the permanent preservation of the individual on life support; the restoration of the individual in a hideously warped mockery of the norms of its species; the restoration of the individual with its body in pristine condition but its mind utterly broken; the restoration to consciousness of the individual by the suspension of its brain in a fluid filled vat. Five living creatures of the same species and perhaps gender as the individual must be sacrificed as material components and 20,000 gp of supplies are consumed. Reanimation can be applied repeatedly to the same individual in an attempt to remedy the fatal flaws of its newly acquired condition, but this only results in their replacement with other fatal flaws. Normally an individual must be dead not more than twenty four hours, but so long as some attempt is made to preserve the corpse, the Dark Powers may wave this restriction.

Obsession (Ex): Chiurgeons can channel madness itself to inspired ends. Whenever chiurgeons fail a Madness check it is common for them to be seized by the obsession of creating life. Quickly passing bouts of Madness may only lead a chiurgeon to giving serious thought to the possibility. Long bouts of Madness, especially when triggered by the death of a loved one, may well yield a flesh golem of obsession. DM's should not, however, exclude the possibility of the obsession turning in other directions. Further, it is by no means assured that the obsession itself is always of creating life. The obsession of saving life by preventing the spread of disease, for example, could well lead to the serial murder of prostitutes.

Power checks:

  • Grave Robbing: A chiurgeon with a conscience but who is unable to obtain bodies legally may seek to plunder the remains of criminals or villains. A chiurgeon unconcerned by such niceties or a chiurgeon who steals the wrong body invites a Powers check.
  • Defilement: A second advantage of the remains of criminals or villains is that they may be excluded from sanctified ground and often are buried unblessed making them difficult to defile. A chiurgeon who defiles a body invites a Powers check.
  • Breaking an Oath: A chiurgeon who takes unnecessary risks with the life of a patient for the sake of his own research invites a Powers Check.
  • Routine Torture: A chiurgeon who maintains a captive as a test subject in the furtherance of his research risks a powers check.
  • Sadistic Torture: A chiurgeon who harvests a body part or parts from a living donor without killing the donor when a cadaver could have been found and used instead invites a Powers Check and potentially engages in an act of Ultimate Evil.
  • Premeditated Murder: A chiurgeon who performs an operation or engages in research which he knows will kill the subject invites a Powers check.

Tools of the Trade:

Chirurgery Kit (+2 circumstance bonus to Heal skill checks consuming in the process one of the kit's ten uses; +2 circumstance bonus to Search skill checks for diagnosis which does not expend in any way the kit's supplies; 5lb, 75gp, CL 7+, varies (20); VRA p 19)

Healer's Kit (+2 circumstance bonus on Heal skill checks; exhausted after 10 uses; 1lb, 50gp; SRD)

Leeches (10; tiny vermin; 1 hp; 1sp; VRA p 19)

Sanguine Pump (1lb, 50gp, CL 9, glassblowing (20), VRA p 19)

Syringe (10gp, CL 9, glassblowing (20); VRA p 19)

Chemical Field Fit (portable chemical lab requisite for making Craft (chemistry) skill checks away from home; 10lb, 100gp, CL 5+, glassblowing (20); VRA p 17)

Anesthetic (ingested, Fort save DC 15, initial damage loss of physical sensation for 5 minutes (1/2 damage from subdual damage, +4 circumstance bonus to stunning effects, -4 Dexterity reduction), secondary damage none; multiple doses extend the effect; 50gp, CL 4+, Craft (alchemistry or chemistry) (25); VRA p. 60)

Sleepglass Anesthetic (injury, Fort save DC 30, initial damage 6d6 subdual, secondary damage 1d6 temporary Dex; subject remains unconscious until hit points lost to subdual damage are regained; Gaz II, p 90.

Ether (inhaled, Fort save DC 15, initial damage 3d6 subdual damage, secondary damage none; holding an ether rag over an individual's nose and mouth requires a successful grapple check an provokes a Fort save each round; a creature knocked unconscious by subdual damage is staggered; 50gp, CL 4+ Craft (alchemistry or chemistry) (25); VRA p. 60)

Immune System Suppressant (injected, Fort save DC 20, initial damage 1 permanent point of Constitution damage, secondary damage none).

Smelling Salts (automatically wake up a sleeping or unconscious individual; a creature who was knocked unconscious by subdual damage is staggered; 10gp, CL 4+, Craft (alchemistry or chemistry) (20); VRA p. 60)

Lightning Flash (generates a slight electrical charge that affords a +2 circumstance bonus to Heal skill checks for long term care; 75gp + 40gp maintenance/3 months, CL 8+, BoSc 191-2)

Plaguemask (+4 circumstance bonus to resist inhaled diseases and poisons including stenches; -4 listen and spot checks; blocks Scent ability; 1gp, 2lb, CL 6+, leatherworking (5); VRA WE)

Restraint Board (VRA p 19)

Straight Razor (1d4, x3, slashing, 1/2lb; RCS p 56)
Sword cane rapier (1d6, 18-20/x2, piercing, 4lb, 25gp, CL 4+, weasponsmithing (15); VRA p. 12)
Cutlass (as per shortsword except slashing rather than piercing)

Cure adds:

I tried to provoke thought on four fronts:

  1. Given that Mordenheim is a sworn atheist and a sworn rationalist/positivist, and that Lamordia is an elongation of both to the extent that it has been proposed that spell casting is stifled in that land, does it make sense to invent arcane and divine spell casting classes for his 'family'? If it does or if there is no problem here of consequence, people are invited to say yes.
  2. Is there a fundamental conflict between science and religion such that using Scientific Knowledge to trigger spell effects is just plain wrong and a better addition to the flavour of Ravenloft would have been the cloistered cleric whose knowledge is compatible with his beliefs? If there is no conflict or no problem worth worrying about, people are invited to say so.
  3. I tried to think of the most ungothic thing that I could. A baby elephant that flies with the assistance of his oversized ears and was brought to us 60 years ago by Disney seemed a better choice than Bambi. If people find that there is something profoundly ungothic about a scientific divine spell caster who is no way torn between the commitment of his heart and the commitment of his head, they are invited to say so.
  4. The chiurgeon strikes me as a superior creation for being logically coherent, historically representative, and an answer to how Lamordians / atheists / rationalists / positivists get medical treatment in the Lands of the Mists. If people agree, they are invited to say so.

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