can we take a moment to just think about how incredibly scary magical healing is in-context?
You get your insides ripped open but your friend waves his hands and your flesh just pulls back together, agony and evisceration pulling back to a ‘kinda hurts’ level of pain and you’re physically whole, with the 100% expectation that you’ll get back up and keep fighting whatever it was that struck you down the first time.
You break your arm after falling somewhere and after you’re healed instead of looking for ‘another way around’ everybody just looks at you and goes “okay try again”.
You’ve been fighting for hours, you’re hungry, thirsty, bleeding, crying from exhaustion, and a hand-wave happens and only two of those things go away. you’re still hungry, you’re still weak from thirst, but the handwave means you have ‘no excuse’ to stop.
You act out aggressively maybe punch a wall or gnash your teeth or hit your head on something and it’s hand-waved because it’s ‘such a small injury you probably can’t even feel it anymore’ but the point was that you felt it at all?
Your pain literally means nothing because as long as you’re not bleeding you’re not injured, right? Here drink this potion and who cares about the emotional exhaustion of that butchered village, why are you so reserved in camp don’t you think it’s fun retelling that time you fell through a burning building and with a hand-wave you got back up again and ran out with those two kids and their dog?
Older warriors who get a shiver around magic-users not because of the whole ‘fireball’ thing but the ‘I don’t know what a normal pain tolerance is anymore’ effect of too much healing. Permanent paralysis and loss of sensation in limbs is pretty much a given in the later years of any fighter’s life. Did I have a stroke or did the mage just heal too hard and now this side of my face doesn’t work? No i’m not dead from the dragon’s claws but I can’t even bend my torso anymore because of how the scar tissue grew out of me like a vine.
Magical healing is great and keeps casualties down.
That stuff is scary.
shit just got creepy
Or maybe magical healing doesn’t leave scars or damage. It is magical, after all.
So after years of fighting, your skin is still perfect. Unmarred. In fact, you’re actually in better shape than regular people who don’t get magical healing when they fall out of trees or walk into doors or cut themselves while cooking dinner. You’re in such good shape that it’s unnatural.
And the really good healing magic takes away more than just the obvious injuries. You first start noticing it after about ten years when you go home and haha, you look the same age as your younger sibling, that’s funny.
Not so funny ten years later when they look older. Or forty years later, when you bury them still looking like you did at twenty. When do you retire from this gig anyway? How much damage is too much damage?
How many times do you glimpse the afterlife, or worse, how many times don’t you? What do you live through, get used to, show no outward sign of except a perfectly healthy body, too perfect for any person living a real life.
How many times are you sitting in a tavern with your friends and you hear the whispers, because the people around you know. How can they not know? Your weapons shine with enchantments and your armour is better than the best money can buy and there is not a damn scar on you. You hardly seem human to them.
How long before you hardly seem human to yourself?
And you find yourself struggling to remember the places where the scars should have been, phantom pains that wake you screaming, touching all the old injuries and finding nothing there. It’s all in your head. Was it ever anywhere else?
How long before you’re fighting a lich or a vampire or some other undead monster and you wonder…
…what makes me so different?
Here we go someone who GETS IT.
Maybe I’m just bad at humaning but I don’t see the downside to option 2
This is such a deliciously dark twist on a concept that is almost always accepted as being completely beneficial.