Concept: Healing in Fantasy (pt.3)

In the last entries of this series, we observed Natural Healing and Divine Healing. Today, we turn down the lamps and pull closed the shades as we delve into the dark arts – what I like to categorically call Vampiric Healing.

This is more or less parasitic healing. Vampires would like to consider themselves Lords of the Night or Top Predators or whatever, but if you ask me, they’re parasites.

We do not speak of sparkles.

Vampiric Healing, as a general term, is what I use when referring to any spell along the classic “drain” or “leech” – you’re inflicting damage upon a foe (or maybe a loved one if they’re into that), in order to steal their health/blood/vitae to replenish your own. I hear this is frowned upon and in most fantasy settings, it’s pretty nasty business. There’s often lots of blood involved and usually there’s someone getting the short end of the stick. I’m sure you’re all familiar with that.

Don’t mind if I do. (Force Drain from the Star Wars wikia.)

Considering there’s outright theft, sacrifice, pain and suffering involved, it’s no wonder healing of this variety gets a bad rap. Though I suppose when the powers deliberately age, inflict pain or suck out the target’s soul, well, a humble scholar might think of this as appropriate. Selfish magic is, no matter how fantastic, still selfish.

I’ve been thinking about a circumstance in which Vampiric Healing could be construed as positive, or used in a good way. Trouble is, I’ve read or played no such instance where someone willingly offered themselves up as a sacrifice to have their life stolen. Brainwashed servants or bred slaves don’t count, and neither does it count (in my book, anyway) than if some heroic soul somehow “gives their life force” to someone else in order to save their life, it’s still not parasitic

So how can Vampiric Healing be good? How could a parasitic spell ever be used for anything but self-preservation?

Not as far as I can tell. Chances are there’d have to be a very well-orchestrated scenario for this to work, but in the end, stealing health is still stealing health. Even using dark magic to steal and inflict pain on dark creatures is awesome, it’s not exactly kosher.

But I’d love to hear your theories. In your mind, is healing of this nature ever good?


2 responses to “Concept: Healing in Fantasy (pt.3)

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