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Old 08-06-2010, 10:21 AM   #1
Alden Loveshade
 
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Default Does Pharmacy (Herbal) Default to Physician?

We're dealing with a character who has some of the same skills at various tech levels. Ordinarily, if you have an IQ skill at one TL, you have the skill at one TL lower at -1 by default (GURPS Basic Characters 4th edition pg. 168). For example, Physician/TL5 would default to Physician/TL6 -1.

The problem is the skill of Physician/TL4 and lower does not exist in most gaming worlds (GURPS Basic Characters 4th edition pg. 213), but instead "physicians" use Esoteric Medicine or Pharmacy (Herbal). In a particular world, the equivalent of Physician/TL4 is Pharmacy (Herbal)/TL4.

So my question is, would Pharmacy (Herbal)/TL4 default to Physican/TL5 -1?

Last edited by Alden Loveshade; 08-06-2010 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 08-06-2010, 10:30 AM   #2
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Default Re: Does Pharmacy (Herbal) Default to Physician?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alden_Loveshade View Post
We're dealing with a character who has some of the same skills but for various tech levels. Ordinarily, if you have an IQ skill at one TL, you have the skill at one TL lower at -1 by default (GURPS Basic Characters 4th edition pg. 168). For example, Physician/TL5 would default to Physician/TL6 -1.

The problem is the skill of Physician/TL4 and lower does not exist in most gaming worlds (GURPS Basic Characters 4th edition pg. 213), but instead "physicians" use Esoteric Medicine or Pharmacy (Herbal). In a particular world, the equivalent of Physician/TL4 is Pharmacy (Herbal)/TL4.

So my question is, would Pharmacy (Herbal)/TL4 default to Physican/TL5 -1?
I would say no. In the first place because it looks a lot like a double default, and those are illegal. In the second place because there really isn't a skill of Physician at TL4, and imagining a purely notional skill of Physician/TL4 to justify a Pharmacy (Herbal)/TL4 default from Physician/TL5 is reaching. In the third place because Pharmacy (Herbal) doesn't default to Physician at any TL anyway.

Besides, the history doesn't really support this. TL5 physicians didn't compound drugs themselves; they told the patient what to take and sent him to the apothecary to get it. Physician, surgeon, and apothecary were three different jobs. So there's no reason to suppose that the physician would even have Pharmacy (Herbal)/TL5 by default.

If you want the TL5 physician to know how to make old-fashioned herbal remedies, have him put a point into Pharmacy (Herbal)/TL4.

Bill Stoddard
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Old 08-06-2010, 12:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: Does Pharmacy (Herbal) Default to Physician?

Just because the text says to use Esoteric Medicine and Pharmacy (Herbal) instead of Physician at low TLs, that doesn't mean that Pharmacy (Herbal) defaults from either of those skills! If that were the intent, it would say so.

Pharmacy (Herbal) defaults from IQ-6, Biology-5, Herb Lore-5, or Naturalist-5. There is no default from Physician at all, at any TL.

Now, if you want to have it default from Physician in a particular game world or setting, go for it. Tweaks like that can make a setting interesting. But there's no RAW support for it, no.
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Old 08-06-2010, 01:06 PM   #4
Alden Loveshade
 
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Default Re: Does Pharmacy (Herbal) Default to Physician?

Thanks for your responses; it's nice to get answers from some seriously qualified GURPites (is that a word?)

Part of the confusion has to do with translating 3rd edition GURPS Physician/TL4 into an equivalent skill in 4th edition. In 3rd edition (GURPS 3rd Basic pg. 56), Physician/TL4 naturally defaults to Physician/TL5. With at least one point spent in Physician/TL4, First Aid/TL4. Veternarian/TL4, Physiology/TL4, etc. default to Physician/TL4. But they don't default to Pharmacy (Herbal)/TL4 in 4th edition.

ADDITION: GURPS Basic Characters pg. 213 says of Pharmacy (Herbal), "Before TL5, this is the only specialty available. It replaces Physician...." Sorry I didn't think about adding that before. Does this make a difference in your opinions on defaults?

Last edited by Alden Loveshade; 08-06-2010 at 01:23 PM. Reason: clarification and ADDITION
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Old 08-06-2010, 01:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: Does Pharmacy (Herbal) Default to Physician?

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Originally Posted by Alden_Loveshade View Post
GURPS Basic Characters pg. 213 says of Pharmacy (Herbal), "Before TL5, this is the only specialty available. It replaces Physician...." Sorry I didn't think about adding that before. Does this make a difference in your opinions on defaults?
Not as a RAW, no. If a GM wanted to allow a default I wouldn't think it was an unacceptable house rule.

Bill Stoddard
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Old 08-06-2010, 08:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: Does Pharmacy (Herbal) Default to Physician?

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Besides, the history doesn't really support this. TL5 physicians didn't compound drugs themselves; they told the patient what to take and sent him to the apothecary to get it. Physician, surgeon, and apothecary were three different jobs. So there's no reason to suppose that the physician would even have Pharmacy (Herbal)/TL5 by default.
Though there is no reason to assume people called physicians have much of the GURPS skill named Physician. Most modern ones probably don't have a lot of it, their primary professional skill is Diagnosis, Physican is primarily the skill of nurse practicioners these days.

Of course I think the GURPS medical skills are somewhat poorly divided and much more poorly named, and strongly disagree that Physician doesn't exist at TL 0-4. But still, I wouldn't have a default between Physician and Pharmacy at any TL, there are a few tasks that could be rolled against either skill, but there certainly isn't enough overlap to justify a default.
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Old 08-06-2010, 11:47 PM   #7
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Default Re: Does Pharmacy (Herbal) Default to Physician?

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Though there is no reason to assume people called physicians have much of the GURPS skill named Physician. Most modern ones probably don't have a lot of it, their primary professional skill is Diagnosis, Physican is primarily the skill of nurse practicioners these days..
As a physician (defined as one who is trained in the art and science of medicine, I certainly take exception to that. Yes, there are a lot of internist dweebs out there who are more apt to talk to your shoes than at your face, but there are plenty of good doctors who know how to lay hands on a patient ("art of medicine') in a direct manner. The "science" of medicine (perhaps Diagnosis, perhaps the Biology/Biochemistry skills associated with it) is pretty self-explanatory, but is perhaps the biggest distinction between a doctor and an allied practitioner these days.

What about those of us who are "surgeons?" Sure we can slice/dice, but can we diagnose? Not nearly as well as our internist.

Undoubtedly, allied professionals like NPs, and PAs are becoming a bigger part in Primary care medicine because there are few in medical school who graduate to go into primary care. That is because our health system is screwed up... concentrating on fixing medical problems, not preventing them. AND that is the main cause of health care costs these days, the treatment of disease (vs prevention).

Any Health Care Reform must eventually change the focus of care AND the habits of American society and its approach & expectations towards healthcare.

Sorry for hijacking the thread. I know no harm was meant, but I felt obliged to reply.
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Old 08-07-2010, 12:08 AM   #8
Alden Loveshade
 
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Default Re: Does Pharmacy (Herbal) Default to Physician?

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Originally Posted by ImperialOne View Post
As a physician (defined as one who is trained in the art and science of medicine, I certainly take exception to that. Yes, there are a lot of internist dweebs out there who are more apt to talk to your shoes than at your face, but there are plenty of good doctors who know how to lay hands on a patient ("art of medicine') in a direct manner. The "science" of medicine (perhaps Diagnosis, perhaps the Biology/Biochemistry skills associated with it) is pretty self-explanatory, but is perhaps the biggest distinction between a doctor and an allied practitioner these days.

What about those of us who are "surgeons?" Sure we can slice/dice, but can we diagnose? Not nearly as well as our internist.

Undoubtedly, allied professionals like NPs, and PAs are becoming a bigger part in Primary care medicine because there are few in medical school who graduate to go into primary care. That is because our health system is screwed up... concentrating on fixing medical problems, not preventing them. AND that is the main cause of health care costs these days, the treatment of disease (vs prevention).

Any Health Care Reform must eventually change the focus of care AND the habits of American society and its approach & expectations towards healthcare.

Sorry for hijacking the thread. I know no harm was meant, but I felt obliged to reply.
I have no problem whatsoever with you hijacking this thread. I haven't had medical training beyond some basic anatomy and physiology, nutrition, first aid and CPR, and I don't remember half of that, so I'm largely ignorant.

But I have read that America spends twice as much per capita on medical care as any other industrialized nation, and yet has one of the lowest expected lifespans and one of the highest infant mortality rates.
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Old 08-07-2010, 12:10 AM   #9
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Default Re: Does Pharmacy (Herbal) Default to Physician?

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Not as a RAW, no. If a GM wanted to allow a default I wouldn't think it was an unacceptable house rule.

Bill Stoddard
Thanks. I'll run that by my fellow GM.
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