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Old 06-20-2015, 04:41 AM   #1
johndallman
 
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Default [Basic] Skill of the week: First Aid

First Aid/TL is the IQ/E skill of giving basic, immediate treatment to injuries. This includes treating wounds, burns, poisoning, drowning, and so on. Obscure or unusual problems require a Diagnosis roll first. It takes Physiology modifiers, and defaults to IQ-4, unmodified Physician or Esoteric Medicine, or Vetinary-4. Diagnosis defaults to First Aid-8, Physician to First Aid-11 and Surgery to First Aid-12.

The basic use of First Aid is treating injury and shock, which has not changed much since GURPS 1e. Injuries, Illness and Fatigue, B420-444, has lots more uses for First Aid, and it has specified applications for the disadvantages Bad Back, Haemophilia, Unhealing and Wounded. Being Numb handicaps your ability to do First Aid on yourself. A first aid kit is light and cheap, at $50 and 2lb, and gives +1 to skill, probably the easiest skill bonus from equipment in GURPS. Bandages are basic equipment, and a crash kit gives +2, but at $200 and 10lb, isn't something everyone can carry. IV fluids, and hence TL6, are a requirement for equipment to give +2 or better to First Aid.

Bio-Tech has more details and more equipment, and points out that many First Aid procedures which appeared at TL6 or higher don't require equipment, and thus could reasonably be invented at lower TLs in the right kind of society.

First Aid is really important for people who do dangerous and exciting things; it is not accidental that all modern soldiers, police and firemen are taught it. In modern societies, training is often available free of charge from voluntary organisations. First Aid training for all soldiers was introduced by the Prussian army in 1870, spreading rapidly from there, and being taken up by charities and volunteers. It's a good idea for all adventurers since using First Aid takes long enough that queuing up for the "party healer" can impose serious delays.

First Aid is very common on templates for modern action-orientated characters, and an option for professional combatants at any TL. Action 2 and DF2 deal with the conventions of injury and recovery in their genres, and other books in the DF series have extra equipment and treasures to help with the skill. High-Tech has TL5-8 equipment, and Low-Tech has TL0-4, including some tricks worth using at higher TLs. Infinite Worlds is notable for the number of templates which have First Aid as a compulsory, often primary skill; cross-time travellers often don't get backup. Magic's rules for "worn" items imply that one can remove arrows, etc., stuck in a person with a First Aid roll. Martial Arts explains how Body Control can replace First Aid on yourself, and its Severe Bleeding rules explain the limitations of First Aid, although Low-Tech has a technique that helps with that for some hit locations. You're still in trouble when bleeding from the vitals, though. Monster Hunters lets you inject psi-drugs with First Aid-4, and PU3 and PU7 have examples that include the skill. Enhanced Senses has an ability that helps medical skills. Thaumatology points out that First Aid can't necessarily help with HP lost to spell casting, and provides a ritual whose effects can be improved with First Aid. Ultra-Tech has a lot of medical equipment and a weapon that needs First Aid or Surgery to counter.

In campaigns with several sapient species that aren't wildly different, it might be worthwhile applying the optional specialisation rules in reverse to skills that take Physiology modifiers. That would produce skills like First Aid (All Fantasy Humanoids)/TL, IQ/A, of which the RAW First Aid (specific species) would be considered an optional specialisation. You'd have to apply familiarity penalties per-species.

The best GURPS medic I've ever played was an Action/Reign of Steel medic who improved his Physician skill over the usual 20, to get instant First Aid on better than skill 10. The best straight First Aid user is probably in the Weird War II campaign, who started with skill 14 and has bought up his IQ two points since then: he got quite insistent about teaching it to an IQ 16 party member who didn't see why he needed it.

What has First Aid done for you, other than be a life-saver?
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Old 06-20-2015, 05:36 AM   #2
Donny Brook
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: First Aid

Lots of my builds include First Aid, pretty much unless there's a specific reason not to.

I wonder though, is there any use of First Aid that is not also under Physician?
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Old 06-20-2015, 05:54 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: First Aid

I don't think so. Note that First Aid defaults to Esoteric Medicine or Physician at no penalty. You would have a hard time learning First Aid-specific techniques I suppose.
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Old 06-20-2015, 10:35 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: First Aid

I put a point of this on my wizard PC to get a skill level of 11. I think our thief had it at 12, along with some points in Veterinarian and maybe a couple others. I didn't get a lot of use out of it, but one of my long-term goals was to eventually get it up to 26 so that the -11 default to Physician would give me an effective skill level of 15 and negate the crit fails on my healing spells (it was only TL2 or TL3, you see, and the book says the Physician skill doesn't get invented until TL5). A short term goal was to learn Resurrection, even though the energy cost is so high there was no way to cast it.
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Old 06-20-2015, 10:54 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: First Aid

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I put a point of this on my wizard PC to get a skill level of 11. I think our thief had it at 12, along with some points in Veterinarian and maybe a couple others. I didn't get a lot of use out of it, but one of my long-term goals was to eventually get it up to 26 so that the -11 default to Physician would give me an effective skill level of 15 and negate the crit fails on my healing spells (it was only TL2 or TL3, you see, and the book says the Physician skill doesn't get invented until TL5). A short term goal was to learn Resurrection, even though the energy cost is so high there was no way to cast it.
(a) You built a wizard PC with only IQ 11? That's not a design choice I'd make unless I were totally starved for points.

(b) In a campaign that doesn't have Physician skill, I would allow a mage to take Esoteric Medicine skill as a substitute. I don't know if GURPS Magic explicitly allows that, but it seems to me it makes sense; otherwise healing magic is often pretty crocked at the TLs of most fantasy campaigns.
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Old 06-20-2015, 11:22 AM   #6
simply Nathan
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: First Aid

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(a) You built a wizard PC with only IQ 11? That's not a design choice I'd make unless I were totally starved for points.
IQ 11, Magery 3. I took what I could afford on my budget; though this being my first character, naturally he was far from optimized. I wanted a warrior/wizard with self-sufficient outdoorsmanship skills and a few traits to indicate that maybe he wasn't fully human. I wound up with IQ 11, HT 12, Rapid Healing, Eidetic Memory, Catfall, 30-ish spells, and one or two points each in over a dozen skills (half of them melee weapons).

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
(b) In a campaign that doesn't have Physician skill, I would allow a mage to take Esoteric Medicine skill as a substitute. I don't know if GURPS Magic explicitly allows that, but it seems to me it makes sense; otherwise healing magic is often pretty crocked at the TLs of most fantasy campaigns.
No Esoteric Medicine skill because of my GM's distaste for a lot of things labeled as "cinematic". And GURPS Magic doesn't specifically allow it, which is why clerics in DF having Esoteric Medicine instead of Physician always puzzled me.
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Old 06-20-2015, 12:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: First Aid

It is a skill I rarely take and rarely see used . . . . it takes a very long time, and heals very little (especially at low TL), healing is something best left to spellcasters or spending money on potions and such is my general approach

I see Physician or Esoteric Medicine more often, as those seem to be useful as a general knowledge skill which can be handy

Now that I am reminded the '-10 for instant use' exists, I do intend to use it on 1 of my characters

Sister Jessi, Half Beastman Cleric of Gaia, has 22 per (and 22 Will), Esoteric Medicine is Per based, so she is totally going to put a point into it and have an 11 or less shot at healing 1d-3 (I think? TL 3) instantly
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Old 06-20-2015, 03:07 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: First Aid

It's against R.A.W., but I think First Aid should cover all similar species. It's not like treating broken dog/cat/wombat legs are that different from a human's.
The Physiology details are more long term species specific Vet specialties.
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Old 06-21-2015, 02:23 AM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: First Aid

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
It's against R.A.W., but I think First Aid should cover all similar species. It's not like treating broken dog/cat/wombat legs are that different from a human's.
The Physiology details are more long term species specific Vet specialties.
If going full-realism, probably depends greatly on the specific task. Of things that I suspect are quite different: proper rules of joint positioning during bandaging, arterial positioning (important when plugging an arterial bleeding directly), dosage and other specifics of first-response medchemicals etc.
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Old 06-21-2015, 05:44 AM   #10
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: First Aid

I had a traitor PC in one of my very harsh, life is cheap campaigns who used First-Aid as an assassination technique. He set up a signal ahead of time, then established himself as the party healer. Whenever he gave the signal, I announced he'd crit failed the roll and done a bunch of damage to the subject. He took out two PCs this way.

P.S. Before people call me out as a horrible GM for allowing/encouraging that, I really do mean it was a life is cheap campaign and that was announced well in advance. It had a similar approach to death to a game of Paranoia and the party was basically doing very slightly toned down DF style things on 35 points each.

Other than that, First Aid is the one skill I rarely make a character without. It is just so useful. I also strongly encourage every party in my campaigns to have at least half the characters have it if there is going to be any combat at all.
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