I must first tell you I am by far not an expert healer, and am not writing this as a guide to stand alone, but to add some thoughts to the incredible work that was done by Ellie Linderleaf, as her guide has been my inspiration and my bible. There was so very much I did not understand as a young empath, and I've so much still to learn, but I thought I'd document at least some of the lessons I've learned so far in my journeys, so that perhaps a younger empath can learn from my mistakes and not repeat them and experience some of the pain I've endured.
My first advice to anyone wishing to become an empath is to get and read Ellie's guide... the second thing.. is to read it again. Keep it nearby, as it will become invaluable to have near you at all times. There are answers there to most any question you might ever have, and a fine list of herbs and how they heal.
The first few years are probably the most difficult and trying time for an empath, as we are really able to do so little, and it is so frustrating to not be able to help those who most need us when healing is our calling and we can do so little. The quickest way to launch into being an empath is to simply explore the town. From level 0 to level 1, all you need is a map of town and some widely opened eyes. Visit every single place there is to go, the furrier, bakery, gem cutters, etc.... just duck inside and look around and go on to the next. You'll level 1 without lifting your sword once.
From level 1 run messages (for clerk in Moot Hall) from until you level ... I believe it is 4 (?) t and you can no longer get them. From level 4 to level 6, the best experience is gained from hunting in the catacombs, fighting rats, salamanders and cave gnomes. Thyril's are richer than the others, but are difficult for us to hit. Of course noone would have the tolerance to run messages for 4 consecutive levels, but I assure you it is the quickest way, and profitable too. As you get bored with messages, as you inevitably will, alternate with hunting.
It seems we can't do much as an empath, or do any kind of effective healing until we hit level 7 and can take on bleeding limbs. Along the way, we are very frequently drawn to our profession to heal, and help as much as we can when we can. Because our abilities are limited, this is the time we need to exercise the most caution, as I can tell you first hand, it is not fun to die from overhealing... and take it from me, I've perfected the art.
When you are young and healing, typically you will take on a victim's health points (HP's) first.... be sure... be absolutely sure to check your HP's before you do the transfer, after you've done the transfer, and once you've healed your own HP's! I cannot tell you enough that the most important command you could type is CON, and keep track of those HP's!
The next thing to remember is that before level 7, you cannot take on any bleeder's, as you are not able to heal them. However, since you can take on minor wounds, it is very easy, too easy, to take two minor wounds on in the same place and wind up with a bleeding wound you cannot heal down. So along with being very aware of your HP's, be also aware of your health at all times, and be sure and heal yourself down before taking on additional wounds.
The early levels are the toughest to deal with, because our abilities are so limited, and we feel so overshadowed by our elders who are so incredibly proficient at healing. It is easy to feel useless when you are young, but I assure you, as I've grown, I treasure having a younger empath nearby.
Because I am able now to take on all wounds, I try to only take on the severe wounds first, and leave the minors for younger empaths to gain the exp. and to conserve on my manna to allow me to be able to take on the next bleeder that shows up. There are no hard and fast rules about healing, and if there are, they change so rapidly it is most difficult to keep up. The conditions change to deal with the current circumstances, and we have to be ready to adapt. While I say there are no rules, the only exception to that I can think of is when a person asks a specific empath to heal them, don't interfere.
Beyond that... jump in and help out... least that is my philosophy. If other empaths feel differently, they will quickly let you know, and we all understand what a difficult role we play, and so rarely hold grudges. I can only speak for myself, and so might not reflect the feelings of all empaths, but as I said, I suspect if you take an action that offends another, they will quickly let you know.
As you progress through the first 5 levels, you will find yourself journeying in places with friends, or not, where people frequently get wounds that are beyond your years. There are 4 herbs I always carried with me when I was younger, that I found invaluable to have on me, and they were pothinir grass, ephlox moss, aloes stem and acantha leaf (or yoballium fruit). The first three will reduce a major wound to a minor wound you can take, depending upon your level... and acantha restores HP's, probably faster than you can, and so will be helpful when a friend is hurt badly and needs LOTS of HP's and you find yourself unable to keep up.
They are costly, but when used wisely very worthwhile to carry. Quite often I would recover the cost of the herb in the tip, and was just grateful for the experience I gained from it. Again, it is a matter of priorities...
Perhaps the thing that is least understood by a younger empath, is the incredible way you are able to help your elders and how important it is. I never really understood cleanup until I was about level 9 or so... and I wish someone had explained it to me when I was young so I'd have been more helpful to all those empaths so much wiser than I who were so supportive and willing to help me. I wish I'd known there was something I could have done to help them in return for their kindness.
Basically, what cleanup is a process we empaths go through to rid ourselves of damaging scars that are left from severe bleeding wounds. They range in severity from a slight mangle of a limb, to permanent mutilating scars on our chests. While the "old battle scars" we empaths pride ourselves in will do nothing to impede us, the serious scars can reduce our ability to cast spells and hunt and skin, so clean up is incredibly important.
How cleanup takes place is simple... and works like this. On any one (empath or not), if there is a scar and a wound in the same place, when an empath takes the wound, the scar is removed as well... no matter how bad the scar might be. As an empath healing a severe wound, what we will do is heal it down to a minor wound, and then ask another empath to take the wound from us. By taking the wound, the scar I have is taken along with it. I then take the wound back and heal it the rest of the way down, resulting in an old battle scar, which is a symbol and something to be proud of.
As a youngin, I had really no idea of the importance of what I consider now to be my most essential 4 skills, as a level 12.. and they are manna sharing, first aid, edged weapons and shield. I've triple trained at each level for both manna share and first aid to advance there as quickly as possible. As you get to be older, manna is spent at incredibly rapid rates, and so the ability to share it becomes most crucial! Your ability to send or receive is dependent on both your and the other who you share with's skill. Healing a snapped neck for example will cost 22 manna, or a seriously bleeding back 25... so you can see how quickly manna can be exhausted and so it to me has been the most essential skill.
Second was first aid for two reasons.... first is the obvious, and that is the ability to tend, or bandage, someone's wounds. As a youngin, there is little we can do for those who bleed to death in front of us, but stopping their bleeding is a blessing that will allow one who hurts the time to get to help. Secondly, and perhaps most important, is that the better you are at first aid... the better you are able to skin your kills, and this gets you fame as well as experience points, not to mention a fine pelt to sell at the furrier for silvers.
Edged weapons and shield help you to up your AS and DS, respectively, and as you get to hunting more later on, these are critical! Training in armor will reduce your round time (RT) and so this should be hit at each level.
Physical training yields additional health points, and so is also an essential skill to further quickly as you are young. Constitution will affect how far along you can further this, so when first rolling your character, remember this.
Beyond that, it is mostly a matter of preference... I've asked advice from different empaths and gotten many perspectives, I've even read up on different professions and what they train in to get some ideas. It is all about priorities and what is important to you... be open to suggestion and change.
Another area I did not think a lot about when I was young... save, save, save those silvers! As you get older, a good weapon and shield become essential, and so you will need a LOT of money in the bank for these essentials. You will inevitably also consider such things as house membership (which requires dues), and other expensive things in the lands and saving your silvers is the only way to accomplish these things.
Perhaps the most important aspect of your journeys is meeting people and making friends. As an empath, I can tell you that you are already viewed in a favorable light by most people in the lands. People like having you along on a hunt, because you can add an element of safety to the party. But you will not earn the trust and respect of people simply for what you can do for them, or because you are an empath. As in real life, friendships are built and develop, and make living in the lands an incredibly rewarding experience.
There are so many people I've come to know in these lands, and so many that I love dearly and they have become, to me, the most important reason for my existence. I get as much pleasure from having a few ales with my friends in Helga's as I do from killing multiple critters and becoming wealthy, perhaps more. If you are giving with your friends, you will find them to be equally as willing to give to you... and that, at least to me, is the most rewarding and fulfilling part of living in Elanthria. I will, and have, dropped what I'm doing in an instant to race across the lands on a rescue mission for a fallen friend and am so grateful for being able to help. On the flipside of that, I tend to be a bit bold for my own good, and so often find myself in harms way and in need of help myself. I can tell you how lonely it is to die, or how terrifying it is to be bleeding to death... but I will also tell you how incredibly reassuring it is when your friends come to your aid when you most need them.
Perhaps the most significant journey anyone may take is the one that will lead them to the altar of marriage. Do not be afraid to give of yourself, trust your heart and follow your instincts and you will build friendships, relationships that will fulfill the deepest of needs you will have and perhaps last a lifetime.
Each profession has its advantages and disadvantages, and its own rewards and makes a contribution to the betterment of all of us. As an empath we are able to take on the wounds of those hurt, and it can be incredibly demanding and rewarding all at once. Remember to take care of yourself and not be afraid of what is around the next corner or bend in the road. Be honest and true, and you will grow and learn with each passing hour and day. As you journey through these lands, take time to smell the roses, pet the kitten and sit and talk to the single most important element of the lands... its people.
Live long and prosper....
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Last modified 22 August 1996.