Strong Drink and Bitter Herbs~Remedies for What Ails You

Photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash

Arden of Granden Hall looked nervously at his man-at-arms. A bandit’s spear had pierced his leathers and drove deep into his shoulder. Arden had been a farmer with little taste for combat until his home was overrun by orcs. He shuddered, thinking about the wholesale slaughter at his lord’s manor. It was a long time before he could close his eyes and not see the fire or hear the screams.

“Arden, hand me the linen bag in my backpack, if you will,” Martin spoke, bringing his attention back to the injured man. Martin, the knight templar-in-training, was the most skilled among them in healing.

“Meklin, there’s no broken bones, I’ve staunched the bleeding, but you need to lie still,” he said while directing Thane the dwarf to boil some bitter herbs in a small kettle.

Ten minutes later, Martin gave the hot tea to the man-at-arms. Meklin grimaced, “Bitter…”

“Yes, but good for you regardless. Now drink it all down while I finish a poultice for your dressing.”

Thane the dwarf looked with contempt at the proceedings. “Hrmmphhh! We’d not be brewing tea in the Five Kings. Bitter herbs as they come, straight out of the sack!”

Martin smiled at his dwarven friend, “Yes, and you know that dwarves have iron stomachs, no? I’ve seen dwarves eat things that would kill a mountain goat!”

“Well, that’s ’cause we wash it down with Shoveler’s Lament or any other brandy we had on hand,” Thane grinned wide, his two front teeth missing.

Martin just smiled, nodding his head, “Hmmm….interesting.” He wondered if the dwarf hadn’t rotted his teeth out with that brew. Martin thought he’d tried Shoveler’s one time, but couldn’t remember any events of that night in the tavern.

“Well, Thane, I suppose a good stiff belt of something could shock the system and provide some temporary benefit. Regardless, I’d rather stay with my bitter herb tea.”

Melkin, the man-at-arms, rested by the fire. The herbs were working. His color was returning. Martin was relieved to see this. The cleric did have the power to channel some divine energy into healing, but he kept this ability in reserve for the most dire of situations. The tea would suffice for now.

Notes on healing remedies.

[My take on healing herbs is slightly different from the rules (Pits & Perils) as written. The main difference is that I am having the user make a saving throw on the first use and also on subsequent uses. Also, if the user brews a tea, the adverse affects are lessened.]

Healing herbs such as comfrey, St. John’s wort, willow root, feverfew, and many others can be found by searching the woods for a few hours. The seeker must make a saving throw (7+ on 2d6) to find one bunch of healing herbs. An outstanding success (12+) means that 2 batches are found. Wisdom ability adds +1 to the roll.

Healing herbs chewed or brewed into tea can restore 1 hit point.

Chewing the herbs can make the user violently ill for 1 turn if they fail a saving throw. The herbs will still heal one hit point of damage, but no further healing can be done with the herbs that day. Additional uses will cure 1 hit point so long as no saving throw has been failed.

If the user takes the time to brew a healing tea, 10 min or so, then the saving throw is not necessary and drinking the tea will heal one hit point. Any additional brews will require a saving throw as if chewing the healing herbs, but with a +2 bonus to the saving throw.

Strong Drink

Any type of strong drink (brandy, fortified wines, etc) will restore 1 hit point. If the user takes a second or third drink, they may gain additional hit points BUT will have to make a saving throw or become intoxicated for 1 to 2 hours (all attack rolls and saves will be at a penalty equal to the amount the imbiber missed the saving throw.) Example…Arden takes one swig of dwarven brandy. He regains 1 hit point and all is well (no save needed). He decides to take another belt of his dwarven brandy and must make a saving throw. He rolls a 4 but needed a 7…failed his save by 3 points. Arden will be at -3 to all attack and saving throws for 1 to 2 hours. Failing two saving throws in a row while using strong drink to heal means the imbiber has drunk himself into unconsciousness! He will need to sleep it off for 1d6 hours.

I will revisit this in the future with additions and possible changes.

Other types of healing need to be discussed…healing ointments, poultices, and also the effects of broken bones and other injuries.


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