Cody Pondsmith, Design Lead on the Witcher table top RPG, here! It’s been about a bit since Total Con and we here at Talsorian are hard at work! We got a lot of great feedback and input at TotalCon and it was amazingly fun! So, much thanks to Angelia, everybody at the Con and Jay Libby, (for dragging us away from our computers). But on to Witcher!
The Witcher RPG has been in development for a while and I got a great chance to test it out at TotalCon with some fresh faces and show it to some industry professionals. What I learned was this:
Convention players will cook and eat a sentient creature as long as it looks enough like a fish monster…
But in all seriousness, the game I was able to run at TotalCon was a great look into the RPG. I had 6 wonderful, (if somewhat derranged), players who played members of a raiding crew from the Skellige Isle of Spikeroog. We had:
- A dwarven craftsman who believed he was doomed to die since he had escaped death on a previous raid,
- An elven criminal who was the stoic bowman of the party who probably racked up the most kills,
- A human priestess of Freya who spent most of her time out of combat but aided now and again with her Spell Bomb Jars and hazy visions of the future,
- A human bard who had a hell of a time in combat, (markedly bad roll), but made an absolutely amazing roll to convince the enemy captain to surrender,
- And twin human mercenaries, named Hans and Franz, (Who were the best fighters and also the life of the party).
Through the course of the adventure they fought a siren, (which, sadly, killed one of their NPC crew), battled a Nilfgaardian transport cruiser, adopted a captive Nilfgaardian mage, and battled a lamia, which nearly killed them.
It was a ton of fun and everyone had a great time with it. But you probably noticed there were no actual Witchers in the game. That was done on purpose. I wanted to test whether the game could be done and be fun for everyone if there was no Witcher. Obviously Witchers will be playable in the RPG but they are rare and I wanted to show that you could have just as much fun in the Witcher world as a human, elf or dwarf. In the world of the Witcher, Witchers are rare, almost extinct, and while you definitely can have people in your game playing a Witcher it’s much more likely that it’s only going to be one, or MAYBE 2 players. The other players will be other types of adventurers. And I didn’t want any of those other players to feel like they got the short end of the stick. To that end, the Witcher RPG will have 4 playable races and 9 playable classes.
The 4 Races being:
The Humans: Well respected, socially powerful and accepted by society.
The Elves: Sneaky, talented in the wilderness and excellent archers, though hated by society.
The Dwarves: Tough & strong as stone with an eye for appraisal and tolerated by society.
The Witchers: Rare and stoic super soldiers, who are feared by everyone.
Each of these races will give the player 3 abilities or bonuses and a social standing which determines how each faction will treat them.
The 9 Classes are:
Bard: Charismatic entertainers who can befriend anyone, inculcate themselves into societies and worm their way into their opponent’s minds.
Craftsman: Talented artistans who are skilled not only in crafting weapons and armor but also craft alchemical concoctions and can make augmentations to weapons on the battle field.
Criminal: Smooth operators who can crack any safe, take a man’s life with no witnesses and rally gangs around themselves.
Doctor: Calculating physicians who are trained in field surgery allowing them to treat wounds with double the efficiency, or cause grevious wounds with their anatomical knowledge.
Mage: Scheming politicians and manipulators, removed from power and now using their often earth shaking power to escape persecution and get revenge.
Mercenary: Grizzled warriors with ages of combat experience who can calculate their opponent’s moves, take down targets from extreme range and unleash devastating attacks.
Merchant: Canny salesmen who know the power of coin. They can use their knowledge of product to find vulnerabilities in armor and track down cheap suppliers and when need be they can acquire favors & allies to break the competition.
Priest: Men and women of the Gods who use ancient blood rituals to commune with nature, heal the sick and injure or hunt down heathens and burn them with holy fire.
- Witcher: Restricted to those with the proper mutations, Witchers are consummate monster hunters who dabble in mutagenic potions, simple field magic and incredibly deadly sword play.
Each class will have a skill tree that holds special abilities that only that class can acquire. As you progress you can follow each of these branches which will tailor your character into exactly what you want to play.
In the end I want people to have myriads of options for their characters and to have fun, eclectic parties. After all, if 5 Witchers all walk into town, half the town would probably run in fear or bar their doors. Expect more Witcher Notes on a regular basis detailing more of this bizzare adventure to create the Witcher RPG!