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No one heals themselves by harming one another, except the lykorthios of course!

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They are fierce creatures of the night shaped with the semblance of primates but with a mixture of canine features. Having long and sturdy claws as strong as teeth they use their hands to strike foes. Damaging enemies increases the speed at which they heal, numbs the pain and makes them even stronger than normal. Cases of lykorthios healing grievous wounds within hours during conflicts just by striking down enemies or regrowing finger tips within minutes are quite common.

How can this ability to heal by striking someone be explained?

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    $\begingroup$ Vesrei why did you make yourself a new account? Why not use the one you already started? worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/users/76440/vesrei $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Jun 16, 2020 at 21:26
  • $\begingroup$ How ring of vampiric regeneration... $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Jun 16, 2020 at 22:24
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    $\begingroup$ I suspect my cat is trying to murder me... it is making an angry purr to annoy me to death ;D $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Jun 17, 2020 at 2:49

2 Answers 2

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Adrenaline, opiates, and metabolism: So assuming we want this to be biology, not magic, we need to break this down into its components. You have a creature that becomes strong and feels no pain during fights, and is able to heal quickly if it kills/harms enemies. An explanation for regeneration is a bit of a separate question, so I'll focus on the whys more than the hows.

  • The natural fight-or-flight response is geared to allow animals to do things in a time of stress they couldn't possibly do when stress free. People really DO lift cars off children, and leap up trees, because of the ability to increase the percentage of muscle use. The incredible hulk is over-dramatization more than pure fiction. OF COURSE you creature is stronger and faster in a fight, but it's response is highly evolved. I would also suggest these things probably overheat quickly and collapse in exhaustion once the fight is over.
  • The same responses control the production and release of opiates. OF COURSE your creature feels no pain, because fighting is like shooting up with heroin to it (literally, as the drug mimics the brain chemistry).
  • I'll assume your creature heals pretty well regardless of fighting, but it will need a very efficient digestive system, or possibly a bypass that allows it to incorporate proteins somehow directly from its enemies. Maybe it even has a way of interconnecting it's circulatory system and nervous system with other critters. You critter is eating its enemies and fueling a wild metabolic regeneration process. Some kind of immunological shunt lets it incorporate partly finished components to enable rapid healing and growth. Maybe your critter is even stealing the body parts from its enemies and replacing its own lost pieces. Over time, it breaks down the stolen parts from the inside and replaces the foreign cells with stem cells that migrate in.
  • The immunology of this process would be really challenging to justify. Vital organs should still be critter-only so you could "dispose" of the foreign tissue if it was a problem without dying. Usually your immune response will attack foreign tissue, so in this scenario your critter would work best fighting new kinds of enemies it hadn't developed a response to yet. In an alternative scenario, your critter has adapted to incorporating the parts and proteins of known enemies, and the rules are reversed: You heal more from enemies you have fought before because your body already knows what to do with them. Unfortunately, in either scenario, your creatures will be plagued by arthritis, cancers and parasites due to their ability to suppress the immune response to foreign proteins and the long-term responses to the foreign proteins.
  • This functionally would be a lot like Achilles choice - a long and uneventful life, or a short life of glory. The more you incorporate foreign material, the more you need to suppress immune response, and the less you incorporate, the less cancer and disease you suffer. Dying of old age would be a humiliating thing for a warrior, and culture would be passed on by females who would need to stay healthier to raise children.
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Adrenaline positive feedback.

The only way I see this happening is adrenaline having different functions in their bodies. Adrenaline is a hormone mostly responsible for the flight or fight response in the body, stimulating the heart and lungs to work more, constricting more external blood vessels to reduce bleeding, dilating the pupils etc. However, the stress caused by such response is usually associated with a slower healing process and reduced immunologic activity in humans, which is also why stress is bad for your health.

In your race however, unlike us who redirect the energy mostly for combat, higher levels of adrenaline has a positive feedback towards cellular division, stimulating mitosis and regeneration, which allows them to fight more, being more stressed and releasing more adrenaline. The harsher the battle, the more stressful the situation is, more adrenaline is released into the bloodstream and the more signaling to initiate mitosis the tissues receive. Regarding the numbing of the pain,adrenaline is already wonderful at doing that: enough adrenaline in your blood and you might not even notice a knife lodged in your back.

This process will come at a price though: 1-they will naturally have less energy available to fight, as a noticeable chunk of resources is being sent to damaged regions so that the cells can multiply at such speeds. 2-your creatures will need lots of measures to avoid mutation and cancer, because apparently it can regenerate lost structures to an extent and it can do it fast (regenerating fingertips within minutes is still a noticeable feat that will require cellular division at levels that might be beyond cancerous). 3-as their regenerative abilities are tied to positive adrenaline feedback, the more peaceful members of this species might have some problems healing wounds, so the healthier members might be the ones who are more stressed out and more easily aggravated ( might develop in a way similar to Spartans, as being stressed can be good for them). 4-they might be more susceptible to bleeding, as they can't afford as much to cut circulation to the tissues when they're in need of nutrients and energy to ensure successful regeneration, so they might bleed little more than an equally stressed human. 5-they will need a very efficient digestive system, as well as good ways to store the components necessary to regenerate lost structures.

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