The good thing about hospitals is that they don't turn anyone away. The bad thing about hospitals is that they don't turn anyone away. -Norabruck Grumblespine, dwarven Circuit Priestess of NamiMuch like historical real world medieval hospitals, Scarterran hospitals were not like modern real world hospitals. They are places of hospitality, not places of healing. Essentially they are alms houses that will take in almost anybody and provide them with food and shelter for free. Hospitals vary from location to location but they often accumulate the undesirables of society, often housing the ill, the infirm, and the extremely destitute. Not everyone who stays in a hospital is the riff raff of society. Ordinary people sometimes stay in a hospital while traveling, generally finding staying in a hospital preferable to sleeping in a ditch (though many Scarterrans are too proud to even consider staying in a hospital and would prefer to sleep in a ditch). Almost every town has a hospital. Most cities have several hospitals, often with specialized hospitals for different types of boarders. Maybe one in three villages has a hospital in or near it and a few hospitals exist on their own along major trade routes. Hospitals might also be attached to feudal bishoprics. Almost every priesthood is occasionally affiliated with hospitals but the establishment and operation of hospitals is especially important to the Tenders and Rovers.
While there were altruistic people and traditions in ancient times, there are no historical records for hospitals existing in the First and Second Age or anything like hospitals. No one is sure when or where the tradition of hospitals emerged, but most assume that humans invented the concept. In the year 1837, hospitals are very common sites in human lands. When nonhuman societies create hospitals, they are copies of human run hospitals. A relative rarity in Scarterra as it's usually humans that assimilate the customs of other races rather than the other way around. Hospitals are uncommon in elven lands, only popping up in larger population centers, and very rare in lands dominated by dwarves only seen in the largest cities. The Tenders claim that one of their number created the first hospitals. Most people believe this claim because most modern hospitals are sponsored by a priestly order and the Tenders have a lot of sponsored hospitals. Once in a while hardliner Terrawans or Walchese sometimes argue that their faction created the first hospitals but most @Tenderbelieve that hospitals became an institution before the Terrawan/Walchese schism.
Each hospital is different, but they are all dependent on donations from someone. It's very rare to see a hospital that always has adequate funds, so a lot of the buildings are run down and barely maintained enough to avoid falling down with leaky roofs and vermin issues. Food is usually very bland and simple and not always adequate. Turnip stew and assorted gruel being the baseline.
Most hospitals are sponsored by religious organizations. The plurality of hospitals are sponsored primarily by the Mera's Tenders with the Rovers as a moderately distant second. Walchese tend to favor a small number of large hospitals and Terrawans tend to favor several smaller hospitals. Lanterns and Guardians are frequently co-sponsors of hospitals along with he Tenders. On rare occasion they will sponsor their own hospitals. Lanterns support hospitals because their code wants them to stand up for the outcasts and lowly. Guardians code of chivalry charges them with safeguarding the weak and hospitals have the weak. While it's relatively uncommon for hospitals to have institutional support from these organizations, individuals from the Keepers, Masks, Stewards, Rovers, and the Cult of the Compact are common sponsors of hospitals. Children and Testers rarely support hospitals but they are oddly likely to spare hospitals their wrath despite their values being quite opposed to what hospitals stand for. It's speculated that a lot of traveling Children and Testers quietly move about the population of numerous hospitals. Some hospitals take donations from the general populace or sympathetic nobles, but in most cases such donors prefer to filter their donations through religious organizations. When a secular prince decides to become the sponsor of a hospital the ruler the ruler is either motivated by altruism, very image conscious, or they are very paranoid and want to keep tabs on the local riff raff.
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