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Recuperating is described as a downtime activity option on Basic Rules Version 1.0, page 71:

You can use downtime between adventures to recover from a debilitating injury, disease, or poison.

After three days of downtime spent recuperating, you can make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw. On a successful save, you can choose one of the following results:

  • End one effect on you that prevents you from regaining hit points.
  • For the next 24 hours, gain advantage on saving throws against one disease or poison currently affecting you.

Suppose character Alpha is afflicted with Sewer Plague, the bite of a diseased Giant Rat, or some other disease, injury, or long-acting poison on an adventure, and another party member Delta has proficiency with Medicine. No potions or spells are available to either of them. Alpha's choices are to use downtime to Recuperate, or ask Delta to use their Medicine proficiency to help Alpha recover.

Intuitively it seems like Medicine should help, but the mechanics for using Medicine to treat a patient are (perhaps deliberately, I know) fuzzy. Under strict RAW Delta can diagnose Alpha but there's no clear generic method for treating a "patient" using Medicine proficiency, though a character can Recuperate unassisted as described. I didn't find anything in Sage Advice. Are there any other rules that are relevant or references that might help a DM rule for their table?

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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch The aim is to better understand hypothetical interactions between Recuperating and Medicine to treat a patient, so exactly which effect Alpha has is less important than how Medicine works and how it might replace or affect recuperating. If Cure Wounds and Lesser restoration are the answer for everything, it almost begs the question of why are Medicine and Recuperating even a thing? \$\endgroup\$ – jamesb Jul 8 at 22:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related on Is there a real use for the medicine skill? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jul 8 at 23:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ it almost begs the question of why are Medicine and Recuperating even a thing To accomodate a variety of play styles. (See gritty realism variant in the DMG for example). \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 13 at 17:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ related to How can a disease be removed... \$\endgroup\$ – jamesb Jul 13 at 18:46
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This is up to a DM.

A character with Medicine proficiency should in theory be able to help another character more easily recover from injury, disease, or poison. Honestly, the explanation of how to recover unassisted is better explained than how to use the medicine skill to deal with disease, injury, or long-term poisons. How the two might interact is wide open and up to the DM. The common factor seems to be that Constitution saving throws can eventually throw off effects of disease or poison, or sometimes result in death with enough failures. The Recuperating activity gives Advantage on these throws, and should aid in recovering from many diseases or poisons.

In XGtE, pg 130, optional rules for Herbalism kit proficiency give advantage in using the Medicine skill proficiency to treat illness and injury (suggesting it's RAI to be able to do it), but is unclear how that is done with Medicine proficiency to start with. Number of rolls, frequency, the DC, the impact on the Con save, all are not defined.

Other than stabilizing the dying (one action) or diagnosing an illness (no specified duration needed), using Medicine is infrequently mentioned in the core books.

The Lingering Injuries optional rules on DMG pg 272 includes Festering Wound which takes ten days and a series of DC 15 Wisdom (Medicine) checks to heal. There are also some wounds that continue to do damage until a Wisdom (Medicine) check is used to treat the wound:

  • Sword of Wounding, DMG pg 207
  • Glaive of a Bearded Devil, MM pg 74
  • Tail of a Horned Devil, MM pg 70
  • Claw of a Nycaloth, MM pg 314

These other examples could have but didn't mention how either the Medicine skill or Recuperating applies to injury, poisoning, and disease:

Might make an interesting session zero sort of question to a DM when deciding if anyone will take the Medicine skill at all. In the related question there are a lot of investigational uses for the skill that are useful. Personally I might pick it anyway just for the RP flavor.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It may also be worth noting that antitoxin is 50gp and "A creature that drinks this vial of liquid gains advantage on saving throws against poison for 1 hour. It confers no benefit to undead or constructs." \$\endgroup\$ – goodguy5 Jul 8 at 15:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ yes, but the game models a system improving saves and increasing recovery. "50 gp for 1 hour of advantage" is a mechanical implication that can be used as a model. \$\endgroup\$ – goodguy5 Jul 9 at 12:00

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