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Old 09-04-2017, 10:59 PM   #10
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: Surgery - How does it work?

Let's consider what all surgery is used for in the real world, and what the closest GURPS equivalent would be.

A big one is stopping internal bleeding by patching things back together, and GURPS handles this readily - many forms of internal bleeding require Surgery (at a penalty, even) to treat, otherwise the character will simply bleed out or recover on his own. This isn't going to restore lost HP, but will prevent the character from continuing to lose it from bleeding.

Next up is repairing damaged organs. In GURPS, an organ that is sufficiently damaged enough to require Surgery is either a case of crippling (broken bone, torn muscle, etc) or is a Mortal Wound. Note this type of surgery can also serve to remove other Disadvantages, like Chronic Pain, Terminally Ill, or Wounded. Additionally, this may go beyond simple repair, with the surgeon adding some sort of implant or graft, such as a pacemaker, artificial heart, cybernetic limb, skull plate, etc. Again, no HP restored, but rather functionality is restored.

Up next, body modifications. Some of these are aesthetic in nature, such as facial surgery (reconstructive or elective), but others are more intense, such as amputations and removal of internal organs. In the former case, the character is gaining a modified appearance (changing Appearance levels, avoiding recognition, gaining Distinctive Features, etc). The latter are either done because the surgeon is (working for) a sadistic bastard or, more likely, because failure to do so would likely kill the patient (due to blood loss, infection, etc). In Ultra Tech settings, amputation could instead be a prelude to cybernetic augmentation. As you are carving away bits of the person (and possibly adding in some sort of filler material), I think it's pretty clear HP gain should not be expected here.

Finally, removal of foreign bodies. Presence of foreign bodies can outright prevent healing of an area, encourage bleeding, render the organ unusable, make the character sick (due to toxin, infection, or even just the body's response to the foreign body), result in severe pain, and/or cause further damage as the foreign body shifts (due to normal body movement, later impacts, etc). Removing these doesn't eliminate the damage that was originally caused, thus no restoration of HP, but most of the above is handled by various GURPS rules such as Lasting Wounds, crippling, etc.

Something like nanosurgery (which does repairs on the cellular level) can restore HP, but using it is completely unlike using the Surgery skill, being more akin to Physician.


All that said, in a cinematic setting, putting someone under the knife resulting in them recovering HP more quickly could be highly appropriate. I'm not certain what sort of mechanics would be balanced, however.
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Varyon is offline   Reply With Quote