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Veterinary Medicine

Medical treatment of a non-sentient animal requires related skills to those that assist its more intelligent relatives, with a penalty due to treating a different species, in a similar sense, but to a lesser degree, to treating an alien being. Medicine on a species of the same biological class (such as, on Earth, a person trained to treat human beings working on another mammal species) takes a +1 penalty, while treating a species of the same biosphere but not as closely related (for example, the same character treating a bird, reptile, fish, cephalopod and so on) suffers a +2 penalty.

A campaign that frequently calls upon medical treatment of many exotic lifeforms might benefit from a more rigorous and complex treatment, detailed by the GM as needed.*

New Skill: Medical Science-veterinary medicine
Tech Op, 2 Skill Points. This skill cannot be used untrained.

Learning to heal ailments of a range of animals requires study of varied biological systems and reactions, besides difficulties of helping patients who are unlikely to be able to describe their symptoms or cooperate with treatment.

Training in this skill reduces penalties to treat varied species within the biosphere familiar to the character. At rank 1, such penalties reduce by 1 step.

The veterinary medicine skill can also be used to answer technical questions as a form of medical knowledge.

+ Rank 4: Reduce penalties by an additional step.

* Those details:

Medical Science and xenomedicine

For more complex relationships, a character's training in the Medical Science broad skill can be understood as relative to medical knowledge of a chosen species (for biological sentient medical practitioners, most often their own, but for medical robots, veterinarians specialising in what we already call "exotic" animals, or other unusual cases, the Medical Science broad skill might refer to another designated species).

Medical Science penalties and the veterinary medicine and xenomedicine skills then refer to distance of genetic origin. For example, a PL 5 Earth exotic-animal veterinary practice might have a member who bases her Medical Science skill on an Earthly bird species (for most purposes, it doesn't matter which bird) and with veterinary medicine 1, can treat other Earth birds without penalty, and non-avian Earth lifeforms, including humans as it happens, at +1. The exotic animals practice might (if needed) have different people specialising in reptiles, fish and so on, or might have a couple of highly experienced partners with veterinary medicine 4 who have equal chance to treat any Earth creature. I ignore phylum and mostly kingdom, giving only two steps of penalty within a biosphere, though see below.

Veterinary medicine gives no benefit to treat species (sentient or otherwise) of different biospheres that require the xenomedicine skill for the character, specific to each foreign biosphere concerned, and likewise relative to the reference species for which the character trained in Medical Science.

A lifeform both distant in genetic origin and very different in physiology, such as an Earthly plant in relation to humans or an alien species with a different chemical life series, might impose an additional step penalty to that required for biological relationship. Various combinations, say for something that looks like a tree but lives in thousand-degree temperatures with lava running through metal veins, might stack penalties up to a maximum of +5. Anything more exotic, such as energy or machine life, I might argue not to consider biology or medicine at all.

Lifeforms on some planets feature species that are more or less chemically compatible but derive from different origins of life. A character competent to treat multiple species across such complexity requires a specialty skill similar in cost and function to xenomedicine. Familiarity and early training might reduce the cost of such a skill for veterinarians native to and trained on the world in question.

A GM might decide that medical treatment of a mutant of the species for which the character trained in Medical Science takes a +1 penalty, or even higher for more significant grades of mutant advantages and drawbacks, unless reduced by an analogous medical knowledge skill, mutant medicine, most likely costing only 1 Skill Point as a base.