Would you like to play a Chinese doctor and herbalist, or an Asian explorer representing a highly successful medical company? Here’s a draft of an item for the 1879 Companion, a medical aid that comes originally from a small shop in Rangoon, Burma, and has become known throughout Her Majesty’s Armed Forces and their friends.
Ban Kim Ewe, “Bankum”
Cost: regular jar, £2; golden jar, £20
Weight: 6 oz
Availability: regular jar, Unusual; golden jar, Very Rare
Aw Chu Kin, son of a Chinese herbalist and a brilliant entrepreneur and marketer, opened an apothecary in Rangoon, Burma, in 1870. Known as Eng Aun Tong, the Hall of Eternal Peace, it offered the customary remedies, but also Mr. Aw’s own concoction, Ban Kim Ewe, Ten Thousand Golden Oils, a salve good for relief of muscle strain, body pain, and headaches. British soldiers serving in Burma discovered the aggressively marketed salve, and took to carrying a jar of “Bankum” in their pocket as a cheap local remedy. Officers in the medical corps took notice. The ointment proved more effective than British made liniments. It was also both less expensive and much easier to obtain, partly due to the shipping costs and constraints of British products in Asia, and partly due to Mr. Aw’s clever marketing, putting a stock of Ban Kim Ewe in any store that would give it counter space, complete with a brightly painted wire rack for display. Mr. Aw found himself needing to build a new production facility when the British army offered him a contract to supply his ointment to the medical corps.
Ban Kim Ewe has become known throughout the Empire, especially among the military and those associated with Her Majesty’s Armed Forces. Representatives from Eng Aun Tong distribute the salve throughout the Terrestrial Empire and into the Gruv, where they also send out expeditions looking for local substitutes for the ointment’s ingredients. Eng Aun Tong herbalists and explorers may be found in the field, talking with Saurid shamans about natural medicines, cataloging plants, and testing potentially useful specimens. Since the opening of the Rabbit Hole, a special golden-jar edition of the salve has been produced in very limited quantities. This version not only relieves pain but can actually heal injuries on application. Mr. Aw has become very wealthy from his little jars of ointment, has married, and declares that his children will learn both Eastern and Western medicine and business methods, once they are born.
Mechanics: One application of Ban Kim Ewe relieves Step 6 points of Strain, and removes 1 step of action penalty due to sprain or other minor injury, for 6 hours. Only one application will have any effect within that six hour period. The jar contains enough salve for 20 applications. The golden jar edition only contains 5 applications, and costs ten times as much as the regular jar. One application of golden jar Ban Kim Ewe relieves Step 12 points of Strain, removes 3 Steps of action penalty for 6 hours, and will heal either 1 Wound or Step 8 points of damage (player’s choice). Only one application of golden jar ointment in any 24 hour period will have any effect.