Magic Hospital (money making scheme)

This particular effect has come up for discussion on the boards a few times as a good way to make money, and it seems solid. But how would you go about doing it to maximize profits, minimize risks and costs in the set up?

Here's the breakdown of the scheme. In a town or other suitable population center, you take a room or a whole building even, and use magic to give at least one room a healing bonus of say +9 to disease and probably a second effect to give +9 to effect injuries. These can be higher if you want (and that might be important for the economy of he effect). From there you charge for the use of the room, the sick or injured convalescing in the room until healed, the room would ideally be managed by grogs or intermediaries to limit the magi's involvement. That's the basics of the scheme and ideally would make decent money if there are noble or merchant families nearby or even just townfolk that are employed.

Now then, that's the basics, but there can be obvious flaws, drawback and stories that come up for this scheme. To try and minimize these, how would you go about it?

For example, you might enchant an item of a religious nature, or claim it is a relic. This would likely spread word fast and far, but also open risk of the church getting involved and possibly the item being stolen by others (or the Church).

So starting with the source of the enchantment (let's assume the sigil is negligible), how would you produce the effect? (some possible ideas)

A circle or ring (can't be stolen then, and can be hidden or concealed)
A large piece of furniture (bed, reducing range to Touch instead of Room)
A small item, unrelated to the item that is claimed to heal them (a floor tile while there is a nonmagical statue of a saint with candles on a shelf for example)
A charged item to save on vis (and also puts the idea of scarcity on the healing, potentially making it more valuable. Potions and poultices might not attract much attention either, but will likely go against the limit of selling items in a year)
Sneak a magus in to cast a spell of Moon duration and target Room (no item to lose and the magi can just cut their losses and run if things go bad)
Enchant an item that looks like it has healing significance (you get what you pay for)

Then the scheme.

Have a grog or non-affiliated mundane run the room or building as a hospital or maybe a pharmacy if using potions.
Have it located on the covenant grounds and run by covenfolk or possibly even one of the magi
Have it located far away from the Covenant to cut off as much association to the covenant and use magical or nonmagical means to collect the funds

From there what about the story and method? You’d need some consistency for what people are being told, otherwise it could fall apart. Does the one running it tell them it’s based off of philosophical and natural means (humours for example) or do you go with a religious or mysterious explanation. Any and all explanations can potentially arouse unwanted suspicion and attention, I guess the goal would be to minimize it.

So how do you think you might go about it?

I'd give them the honest explanation and warn them that overuse will unquestionably lead to warping. Failing to do this would lead to... interesting stories. Hmm. perhaps I'd lie after all, that might make for a more fun game than being smart about it.

Story Issues: First off, its not a ton better than a good doctor and chirgin. Which means that the doctors will attack you, and no one will actually trust you. No money. Mythic Europe hasn't invented statistical analysis, or even the right mindset to apply it. Just like in Historical Europe people will continue going to doctors despite the worse outcomes.

Now you could involve an actual doctor. He'll be the one who is supposedly doing the work. Eventually after he shows vastly maybe word will get around. But... IIRC, from Art and Academe the Church has something to say about overcharging and general doctoring. Sure he'll do better but not amazingly so. And of course as a doctor he probably thinks very highly of himself so he'll demand some of that extra money!

Now you could get multiple doctors in on the scheme but that is a story in and of itself! They all give you a chunk of change and you are getting somewhere. Of course, large organizations tend to generate their own problems. Accusation of witchcraft, the Church demanding something out of them, people wanting a raise. Its great fun.

The proposed scheme - setting up a place for healing (without doctors) and then charging for its use - actually worked in the 1220s. Even without Hermetic magic.

Some springs reputed for healing operated from antiquity well into the middle ages: e. g. 1227 Emperor Friedrich II visited the baths of Baiae. Such springs were typically looked upon askance by eager churchmen: Bernardino of Siena had some destroyed in Arezzo as late as 1428.
Most towns set up hospitals for foreigners and 'pilgrims' in the 13th century, because there was a strong necessity for places to put those up when they were sick or injured. These hospitals were paid for by the towns, and donations of the wealthy. The Franciscan order thrived around them in its early years.

The trick for an Ars campaign making use of this is:
(1) have a storyguide research / invent the history of such places close to the covenant,
(2) have the magi know / find / research them,
(3) and then have them take over a place, set up their healing room there and start enhancing its reputation.
No matter whether the magi target the wealthy coming 'to take the waters', or get money from the burghers of a town to help travellers falling ill along the road: the covenant has a new source of income, and of stories.


Actually it is, or can be. A +15 recovery bonus is about as good as it gets, it's unlkely there are many (if any) doctors get even close to that. From there anyone else getting to that kind of bonus is likely using some kind of magic or similar effect. And let's not worry about the money and overall lack of coin used in the middle ages, what we're obviously talking about is valuable resources people trade for the benefit of healing. I know barter is more used than coin at this time, the scheme is more important than a discussion on the real systems of exchange. Brought down to game terms, this scheme would be a source of income worth X amount of Mythic Pounds a year, even if plenty of those pounds are actually chickens, salt, furs or favors.

OK and nonsense. People go with what works and what is ecnomical, and when desperate will try just about anything, that hasn't changed. I'm not saying that they'll be kicking down the doors to pay for the use of the room as soon it's open, but given time and results this can and will pay off. And of course there are better and worse ways of implementing it and factors such as the region it's opened in can make a big difference.

This is a good idea, it gives the scheme some legitimacy.

He can demand anything he likes, that doesn't mean he'll get it, and Magi and their Companions can likely handle this. But, it is one of the drawbacks of any scheme and would likely need to be handled.

This would defeat the purpose of the scheme, but of course it can be a natural consequence (having ambitions to expand the enterprise).

If you work with a doctor (preferably one associated with the covenant) then as word spreads you can bring on additional student doctors, and some cases may wind up being transferred to different wards where the bonus is not needed, keeping the more critical cases in the bonus room. And while overcharging for medical services is frowned on, charging more for a better room is not... even if the typical meaning of better room doesn't include the magical bonuses to healing.

It might be the most convenient to set up the hospital through a front, somewhat like setting up a covenant with a "puppet" lord. A local confraternity, monastery, or dioceses could have set up the hospital, perhaps with the patronage of an aristocrat or senior clergyman. The Knights Hospitaller are also an interesting option, with the benefit of being legally insulated from other local institutions and kick-ass grogs.

Historically, Europe was very cash poor, so only the wealthier strata would have actually been able to pay considerable amounts for treatment. Payments in kind are a possibility, but they're difficult to transport and prone to going bad. What really kept a hospital running were the benefices and feudal rights over land which would have been allocated to it at its formation, as well as continued donations of lands and goods by grateful patients.

The front operation is a good way to conceal it, th main issue would be the concern that the front might look into it. Having the Knights Templar or Hospitaller guarding the gate would likely make the magi pretty nervous. But I agree, something like that would be good to give it legitimacy.

Why bother with a doctor and special rooms?

Set up a spa bath. Enchant the spa bath. Charge people for the privilege of the medicinal wonders of your spa bath. Add tourism and entertainment in the form of a zoo and a water park in the process. For bonus points, set it up at Hellbrun just outside of Salzburg.

Your target clients are rich nobles.

That sounds like an excellent cover and requires very little as fas as explanations go. You could even save on vis by making it a large bath and having Ring/Circle for the spell, and no one would likely think twice, it would just seem like decorations.

The problem is they need to be under the effects of the ring/circle for the whole healing process. If you are going the standard CrCo route at least. If you made an enchanted item that auto-targetted the wounded sure, but not just a ring/circle.

Now there are a couple other potential pathways. Perdo (all four elements) to destroy unbalancing humors and other dangers. ReCo, to get the body aligned to better healing processes. A breakthrough allows a bonus to healing with just an instant spell. (Or a much higher spell guideline if the GM is nice.) Whatever, but without a breakthrough it would be comparatively small.

These are some different ways, but I don't think they would work quite as well as Creo, which is always intended to heal and repair.

The idea is to provide a recovery bonus, not heal the wound with magic, with that in mind, anyone who needs healing would have to be exposed for a lengthy period of time. The original idea was for a room, so everyone/anyone in the room would get the bonus; and also be Warped over time. The Ring makes no difference from that other than you don't need to make an item with vis.

I woudn't allow these in my game without a lot of work. ReCo, could bandage a wound, clean a wound. Providing a minimal recovery bonus, in that it duplicates a chirurgeon's efforts like Craft magic does. Perdo makes things worse, so involving it in healing is dangerous or difficult. Initially i would say it wouldn't work at all, unless targeted specifically at an egregious source of foul humours. But with a breakthrough perhaps, I could see it providing a recovery or living condition bonus. On its own though I only see it as useful in destroying existing noxious humours, so it wouldn't provide a bonus but could negate a penalty maybe.