If you have Magic Healers, why are there still diseases?

White Mage from Final Fantasy

White Mage from Final Fantasy

This is a fair question since magic can do so much, especially when you have healing potions and magic doctors.  So many people get confused when people are dying of diseases and injuries.  It gets even more baffling when you have priests who heal people for free.  That removes the concept that people can’t afford a healer, which happens a lot in an attempt to either explain the existence of diseases or make all priests in the world come off like greedy bastards.

Windemere has a few reasons why diseases still exist.  The smaller reason is that priests are not everywhere.  You get sick in the wilderness, at sea, or in a town without a healer then you can die.  Priests are also not stationed everywhere so there are areas where you need to send for one or pray to the gods that one happens by.  Even then, there is no guarantee that the disease can be cured.  That brings me to the main reason people still die from getting sick.

I’ve mentioned a few times that everything in Windemere has a magical aura.  I mean EVERYTHING!  For example, inanimate objects have them even though they rarely put up a form of defense against magic.  So it isn’t too hard to believe that disease possess their own aura and magical resistance.  This means that a priest needs to get his or her aura to override the disease, which factors in the following:

  • Experience of the priest.  Younger followers will be weaker and only get stronger through experience.  Old priests with a high cure rate rarely travel too because of their age.
  • Severity and duration of the disease.  The longer and more severe, the harder to cure.
  • Resistance of the disease much like how we have Antibiotic Resistant Viruses.
  • God of the priest.  Neberith the Goddess of Healing would give more oomph than Skragor the God of Disaster.
  • Overall health of patient’s aura.  A priest can boost their own success by utilizing their patient’s inner magic, but you have a problem if that has been weakened.

So you can see how curing a disease in Windemere isn’t as easy as hurling a fireball at a goblin.  This is why priests don’t charge for the service because they can never guarantee success.  There are a few potions that can do it, but those take a long time to make and cost a lot.  Potions, scrolls, and other items like that are how temples make money beyond donations.  Even then, there’s always a chance that the disease might react poorly to the potion and the situation gets worse.

Guess now everyone can see why Aedyn Karwyn spends so much time praying.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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21 Responses to If you have Magic Healers, why are there still diseases?

  1. Kylie Betzner says:

    A very good point . . . a plot hole a lot of us fantasy writers fall into.


  2. L.S. Engler says:

    We have amazing medical advances and technology these days, but people still die of disease and sickness. Why would magic be any different? It can do a lot, but it can’t do everything. To me, the biggest thing keeping such things alive in a world of magic is the ability of the healer and the fact that magic can’t solve everything. There are limitations, as well as consequences. This is a really cool post, Charles, definitely something to keep in mind when we throw in our potions and spells.


    • Thanks. Funny how people hate when magic is used as a flawless problem solver, but also get annoyed when it isn’t used to remove an issue. I think this falls into a ‘just can’t win’ situation with some body. To be honest, most fantasy worlds have limited magic or only combat spells to begin with, so it isn’t hard to believe that they wouldn’t be adept at healing.


  3. twixie13 says:

    Ooh…haven’t really thought too heavily on that. Something to keep in mind for one character in particular, though, seeing as he’s fond of healing spells and sometimes uses those to augment his pre-existing skills as a doctor. But, yeah, I could definitely see magic not being a full-blown cure-all.


    • I was surprised when someone asked the question too. I always figured it was obvious that magic couldn’t clear every disease from the world. As someone else said, we can’t even do that with technology. I like the idea of a doctor who uses magic to help. Usually it’s either all magic healing or all medical knowledge. You rarely see them combined.


  4. This makes so much sense. Well done Charles.


  5. This makes so much sense, and I love the way you write about it. It’s like explaining the rules of a video game :-).


  6. aldreaalien says:

    I find it rather easy to imagine limitations to magic that doesn’t fall under ‘just because’. Skill, power, the overall health of the healer (I wouldn’t expect someone who’s exhausted to do as well as a rested person)… so many things to affect the abilities. And when one gets into potions … I can’t help but wonder about shelf life as it were. A small crack in the seal could vastly decrease the chances of things working.

    But hey, in my world of healers and herbalists, they still haven’t stamped out the “rotting death”.


    • Potions always bring in strange mechanics. Shelf life is a big one that you don’t see mentioned very often. Rarity, time of creation, ingredients, and power of the healer making it are other factors. I will admit that I pull out a lot of potions in my latest book because one character was already pointed out as having a stockpile in case of an emergency.

      Rotting death does not sound fun or pretty.


  7. Pingback: Post Revisited- If you have Magic Healers, why are there still diseases? | Legends of Windemere

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