Artemius Coil's practice is situated on Lily Street in the Upper Maul, in a small, shabby and nondescript two-story building squeezed in between a pawnbroker's shop and a cheap hotel. The entrance is set back a distance from the street and cloaked in shadows, making it easy to miss for anybody that does not know it's there.
Likewise, there's no sign or indication as to what goes on behind the low, deep-set door covered in flaking red paint, but to the citizens of the Maul, Artemius Coil is a godsend, their only real source of affordable medical care and more importantly: one who knows to keep his mouth shut when treating the gunshots and knife wounds of the local gang bangers, the overdoses of the street junkies or the bruises and bite marks of a prostitute hurt by an abusive customer.
Coil usually keeps his practice open during the dark hours, although he probably won't turn a day-time caller down, if he or she is in desperate need of attention. However, in the daytime, he can be hard to wake (and probably less reliable) as he usually spends these hours in a drug-induced torpor, rendered insensate through his use of the Red Honey.
The medical practice itself consists of two cramped, filthy rooms on the ground floor, fitfully illuminated by flickering carbide lamps. The walls of the front room are lined by row upon row of narrow shelves filled with hundreds of brown-glass bottles, jars, flasks and tubes, in which Coil keeps a comprehensive stock of medicinal powders, ointments, tinctures, salves and pills, a selection rivaling even those of the major up-town pharmacies.
The back room, separated from the front by a grubby, suspiciously stained curtain, holds a make-shift operating theatre a sturdy, restraint-fitted wooden operating table and wall-mounted racks of sinister-looking bone-saws, scalpels, syringes and other, more intricate, worrying tools of the surgeon's trade.
From somewhere, Coil has procured a modern, high-powered limelight - a ceiling-mounted, brass-and-glass monstrosity of the type used in up-town hospitals and theatres - to illuminate his work. In one corner a squat, carbide-fuelled stove provides the only source of heating in the establishment, doing double duty as Coil's sterilization unit.
The second floor consists of a low crawling space under the eaves, filled with an untidy, stinking mess of sweat-stained blankets and clothes in which Coil sleeps or spends his days dreaming Honey dreams.
If one were to look closely at the piles of books and pamphlets that litter the floor, one would see that they are, in fact, very sophisticated medical literature, perhaps one of the foremost collections in the city.
Artemius Coil, Physician
Artemius Coil is a short, pudgy, olive-skinned man with excessive body hair and unpleasant body odor, his receding hair plastered to his scalp by sweat and grease, and with the unhealthy complexion of someone who seldom see the light of day. He is in his late 30's, but look at least twenty years older.
Coil dresses in an outdated, white physician's coat, covered in the stains of every disgusting bodily fluid imaginable, and wears thick, round glasses that magnify his sad, bloodshot eyes. His drooping eyelids and slurred speech betray his long-time addiction to the Red Honey, without which he breaks down in violent delirium. He appears mildly disoriented and never speaks above a mumble.
Once a promising young surgeon, a top-notch graduate of one of the finest medical colleges in Locastus and a man of great intelligence, Coil was brought low by his love for the Red Honey. After losing his license to practice medicine, Coil set up shop in the Maul, where niceties such as university diplomas and official license count for very little compared to actual results.
Despite his odious habits and unpleasant demeanor, Coil is not an evil man. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of medicine, and provides cheap and surprisingly sophisticated medical care for the population of the Maul, no matter what the patient's affiliations.
Although it got him expelled from the University, his addiction has done nothing to limit his abilities as a brilliant surgeon. His connections with the alchemists and apothecaries of the Maul allow him to find medicine for even the rarest diseases.
Artemius Coil is currently kept on the payroll of Mowar Dusk, crime lord of the Upper Maul, to provide medical care for him and his henchmenw. Part of his compensation comes in the form of a steady supply of his favorite poison, the Honey.
Er, I'm not sure what to make of this one, except that it is a flavour piece. It's one of these characters that I've always been able to visualize clearly and that won't let me rest until I've made a formal write-up of him.
Although I can't really see him being the driving force of a campaign, he could probably be dropped into a campaign if the need for medical attention arises (as it is wont to do) or as a pure flavour piece. Seeing your wounded PC's panic as Coil absently pulls out a bone saw can be hilarious.....
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? Responses (9)
YUCK! What a disgusting place and the same goes for the man. I don't think anybody would want to go there willing.. I do have a few questions. Does the good doctor make house calls if it is Mowar Dusk or one of his henchmen that needs medical assistance if so does he try to clean himself up a little or not give a shit because Mowar Dusk is his Boss? Since he knows most of the alchemists and apothecaries, do the Red Honey addicts come to him for a "prescription or is it more expensive to get a "prescription" from him rather than from the street dealers? Is the Red Honey that he gets for himself purer than the Red Honey from the street dealers? Does he ever prescribe red honey for medicinal purposes or is Red Honey only for recreational purposes?
Sorry about all of the questions but as you know "curiosity kills the cat" and as I am all feline I am very curious.
Well, I bet no-one, no matter how deranged, would risk pissing Dusk off, so I guess he puts on a fresh shirt when called up the hill. And I´m pretty sure Coil uses the Honey as a sedative when doing surgery, so I guess its not impossible that he does a bit of distribution on the side as well - perhaps the more refined, select stuff? Good idea, by the way!
Now go to sleep, pussycat!
Yes, he is easy to visualize, and it's easy to see what role he will play, and what to use him for. He is an archetype with many connections to his world, and plenty of plot hooks waiting around the corner.
But could there be more for the man himself? I don't know, perhaps a girl still waiting for him, or something... anything to make him more than a sophisticated wreck, a glimmer of hope, if there is one.
I think he is very useful, both with the locastus setting, and other Maze-like places. Well done!
This is a great minor character. You won't try to hang a scenario on him, but he has enough depth and color to expand any scene you get involved in. Besides it is always good to have a medico ready to go. Player characters are always ready to get hurt somewhere.
Add the Healing freetext! Join the swarm! :)
I think this is really great, so well visualized and a very useful and complete side character. Nicely done thank you
Excellent flavor for a minor character and well visualized as others have said. I have been watching Strange and Norrell lately and this guy would seamlessly fit right in there!