By Andrew Peregrine
In Dune: Adventures in the Imperium there are several character types that offer special powers and abilities. We call these faction characters as most have a form of dual allegiance to both the House they serve and the faction that trained them.
In this series, we look at each of these: what they can do, what powers they have and what sort of characters you can play. However, it is important to note that all of them have options beyond what we detail here. The faction gives them advanced training and a background, but the potential is limitless.
There are many forms of healer in the Imperium, but the Suk doctors are renowned as the best, without equal. Their skills do not come without a price, though. Their fees are high, but that is only fair when anything they cannot treat is probably untreatable. While their skills are impressive, their medical training is not the main reason the Suk doctors are in such high demand among the nobility. What is most prized is their Imperial conditioning.
As part of their training, Suk doctors are subjected to an extreme form of mental conditioning that removes their ability to cause harm to their patients or to take human life. This extends not only to their own actions, but gives them a drive to always act in the defense of life. The protection of life is not just a moral position, but a deep-seated directive that guides all their actions. They are therefore the only people anyone can ever truly feel safe with. A Suk doctor, identified by a diamond tattoo on their forehead, will never allow their patient to come to harm. No bribe, no twisted loyalty, no inducement of any kind allow them to be the cause of harm to a human being.
Some examples of potential player character Suk Doctors are:
The most obvious position for a Suk Doctor is that of a healer. It is what they are trained to do, and the wealthiest Houses often keep one on retainer. The trustworthiness they engender makes them valued members of the highest levels of the House’s ruling family. While knowledgeable healers, a Suk Doctor is also familiar with a range of medical technology and can use any tool to help their patient.
Not every Suk Doctor focuses entirely on healing. While most work as healers to support themselves, for many their first love is medical research. Some take positions in a House to secure a research base for themselves, enabling them to continue to expand the boundaries of medical knowledge. Even with the technology of the Imperium being so advanced, Houses continue to find new and inventive way to hurt each other. There are many diseases that still cannot be cured, and treatments that could be made more effective. Many Houses are also pushing the frontier of cybernetic technologies, making many within the Imperium uneasy, given Butlerian proscriptions against artificial intelligence.
While no Suk Doctor would consider poisoning even their enemies, the same cannot be said for anyone else. So some Houses take on a Suk Doctor as a defensive measure. In this case, the Suk Doctors use their medical knowledge to watch for and defend against human weapons, poisons, and biological agents that might be deployed against a House. They can research antidotes, root out spies with biological or mechanical enhancements, and otherwise stay one step ahead of the House’s enemies.
As academics, Suk Doctors are often employed as teachers and even nannies by some Houses. This is not just for their knowledge and understanding, but because there are very few people in the universe one can absolutely trust with one’s children. Some Houses spend years training and infiltrating agents into a noble House, with the express mission of getting close enough to threaten the children of their enemies. There is no better threat or leverage than taking such hostages. So having someone one can trust to keep them safe, and who also has a keen mind as a teacher, is a peace of mind many Houses will pay handsomely for.
While many Suk Doctors wait for patients to come to them, some prefer a more ‘front line’ approach to healing. A team of agents might need a medic in the field at any time. While wounds are an occupational hazard on a mission, so are poisons and biological traps. Some might be so deadly that a patient simply won’t live long enough to reach treatment if a doctor isn’t right there. These field medics are experts in fast and effective treatments as well as emergency techniques to keep a patient hanging onto life for as long as it takes to get them to a better facility. These Suk Doctors are true miracle workers when it comes to saving lives.
If you can afford it, there is no better personal companion for a noble or important House dignitary than a Suk doctor. Such personal service is worth the expense, especially for a VIP who might put themselves in danger regularly, or be a particular target for an enemy House. To have the best medical care in the Imperium on hand can be the difference between life and death. For the Suk doctor it is an incredible opportunity. Accompanying a noble means getting to attend the most impressive affairs and travelling across the galaxy. Given how closely they attend their charge and the level of trust placed in them, many such partnerships also turn into close friendships.