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The Sage’s Answers, Part 5

A new week begins and we move onward towards magic! Just to remind everyone, here we’ll be answering questions players and GMs have asked about The Witcher TRPG with the goal of turning them into an errata and updating the book down the line.  Today we’re answering ten questions!

Cody Pondsmith, our line developer, will be answering five to ten questions each time we post. We’re going to shoot for either every day or every other day, schedules allowing, and when there’s going to be longer breaks (such as this weekend) we’ll try our best to let you know in advance. We’ll be posting each The Sage’s Answers on our blog, our Facebook, and on the r/WitcherTRPG subreddit. On our blog, I’ll be tagging each entry with “sagesanswers” to make them easy to find.

And on we go!

RickAll asks…

Speaking of inconsistencies, Looking at the witcher’s race ability named “lightning reflexes” says that it grants a +1 bonus to dex and ref and it can raise the stat above 10. But, looking at the statistics paragraph I can’t see any reference to a hard cap at character creation whatsoever.

If there’s actually a cap of 10 at character creation and the witcher’s racial ability grants to raise it to 11, does the +1 dexterity from rolling a 10 in the trial of the grasses entry in the witcher’s lifepath table does that as well, making possible to have a 12 in dexterity right away?

Cody answers…

Hey, Rickall! The Statistic cap at the start is 10 and it can only be raised above 10 by racial modifier and Lifepath. If you are a Witcher you can have a Dex up to 12 at the start thanks to racial ability and the right Lifepath choice/roll.

Umbreto Cammarata asks…

the witcher in the example on page 172 draws his sword and casts axii, so we have to consider the sign cast an attack (with the -3 for the fast draw)?

Cody answers…

Hey, Umbreto! The sign cast would be considered an attack in this situation. The attack should have been made at a -3 taking into account the penalty for the extra attack.

Umbreto Cammarata asks…

Is the ROF included in some monsters’ attack description, a “Rate or Fire” for the attacks (number of attacks per round)?

Cody answers…

Yes, ROF is “Rate of Fire” and it establishes how many times per round an enemy can use an attack. To clarify: enemies like monsters and bandits don’t use strong and fast attacks. Those are reserved for PCs and major NPCs. Instead, each round a monster can make ONE of the attacks listed (unless it has an ability which says otherwise) if it isn’t doing something else which would use up its attack action (such as a fiend’s hypnosis ability). The monster can make that one attack a number of times per round equal to its ROF for that attack. For example: a griffin has two attacks listed, claws and bite. Claws have a ROF of 2. Bite has a ROF of 1. Assuming its using one of these attacks, the griffin can either claw twice (perhaps at two different adjacent opponents) or bite once (which does more damage and might cause bleed).

Mgshammer asks…

Choosing spells as a brand new character. The mage class specifically states it learns Novice spells, but there’s no such restriction for rituals, hexes, incantations for either the mage or the priest. Can they learn any level of those types of magic (novice, journeyman, master, arch priest)?

Cody answers…

Hey Mgshammer! It should be noted that all magic learned at character creation should be Novice Spells, Novice Invocations, Novice Rituals, and/or Novice Hexes. We’ll clarify this in the book.

Mgshammer asks…

Over Drawn Magic. What’s the difference between this and Over Exertion (page 166)? In the magic combat chapter, it defined over exertion as taking damage when you spend too much stamina over your vigor. In the side bar, it talks about Overdrawn Priests and how they use the Elemental Fumble Table when they use too much stamina. Do they use this in addition to the Overexertion rules or instead of the overexertion rules?

Cody answers…

Over drawn magic and Overexertion are the same thing under different names and anyone casting magic can suffer from it, not just priests. The title of the effect changed over time. We’ll be fixing this in the update.

Mgshammer asks…

The Magic chapter (page 100) eludes that casters can experience elemental effects when they have drawn too much magic. However, it doesn’t say to see the Elemental Fumble Table or to see the Overexertion rules. Is this the same reference to the Overdrawn Priest section? Or maybe the Overexertion section? Do mages experience the Elemental Fumble Chart when they overexert? Or only when they Fumble? Nowhere here does it talk about using the Elemental Fumble Table on overexertion, unless you Fumble (Fumble Chart, results 7-9 and >9), but page 100 eludes to it.

Cody answers…

You use the Elemental fumble table when you overexert as well as when you fumble. We’ll clarify this in the update as well.

Mgshammer asks…

The Magic Fumble rules say to roll a d10 and reference the chart. Should they instead say to roll a d10 and subtract from your Base, and then reference the chart? Or perhaps reference the Fumble rules on page 156?

Cody answers…

If the spell is opposed by another player (an attack spell, for instance), when you fumble you roll a second d10 and subtract that value from the initial roll in order to determine if the attack is a potential success or failure. As always in this situation, the d10 explodes so if you roll a 10 on the second roll, you roll again and subtract that value as well. You then consult the fumble table on page 166 using only the value rolled on the second d10 (any additional rerolls of the d10 beyond that initial second one doesn’t matter since the fumble table only goes up to >9). If the spell is not opposed (cast on yourself, for instance, or beneficial for an ally, or simply environmental) there’s no subtraction at all. You simply roll a second d10 and consult the fumble table on page 166 using the rolled result.

For example: Buttercup attempts to cast Puro Dwr, a novice water spell, to ensure the water she just pulled from a nearby spring is safe to drink. Unfortunately, she rolled a 1 on her d10 to cast the spell. Since this spell has no opposing roll, she does not have to worry about subtracting the value of a second d10 from her BASE + roll. Instead, she just rolls a second d10 to determine the fumble result. She does so and the result is a 7. Consulting the fumble table on page 166, she learns the spell fails. Worse, she also suffers an elemental effect. This is a water spell, so she finds herself covered in a layer of frost and ice. She suffers 7 points of damage (damage in this case is equal to the fumble die result) and is frozen. Hopefully her comrades can build a fire to help her warm up.

Mgshammer asks…

Can a spell critically hit?

Cody answers…

Some can! Spells which have physical components (anything that hurls something or would physically strike the opponent) can critically hit. The critical hit is determined the same as it would be with any other weapon. Spells which have no physical component cannot critically hit.

Alisdair James Smith asks…

So heliotrope and dispel ONLY work on spells that have magical barrier as a defense? Otherwise, why specify “magic shield” as a defense for specific spells and not others?

Cody answers…

Hey, Alisdair! Dispel and Heliotrope can be used against any spell. The usage of “Magical Shield” is less useful in the final version and more confusing. We’ll be fixing that in the update. For now, its probably best to just ignore “magic shield” as a defense type in spell listings.

Aapo Toivonen asks…

What is the correct order when counting damage?

Cody answers…

Hey, Aapo! Here’s how damage goes:

First, roll damage and add bonus damage.

Second, roll to determine hit location.

Third, multiply by 2 if a strong strike.

Fourth, lower the weapons damage by the target’s armor.

Fifth, multiply the remaining damage by any appropriate modifiers (location modifiers, Monster resistances, or susceptibilities).

Lastly, if you have scored a critical you apply the unmodified Critical Damage.

There’s ten today! We’ll return tomorrow with more.

Keep your blades sharp!

4 thoughts on “The Sage’s Answers, Part 5 Leave a comment

  1. I have a few doubts:

    First, “starting crafting gear”. Witchers get to pick some alchemical formulae at character creation (which I guess can only be Witcher alchemy stuff) but Craftsmen get none. So, should I assume characters with Craft/Alchemy can start with memorized recipes? Or should they buy them at start? I’m not sure about humans, but a century old Witcher or a couple century old dwarf blacksmith should start the game with (at least) some memorized recipes.

    Also, how does memorizing these recipes work in-game? Can you just memorize a formula you read if you have “free slots”? Do you need to craft it a few times?

    About starting gear, a similar question has already been answered, regarding the twin fangs of Viper Witchers, but should Bear Witchers start with a heavy armor instead of a light one? Their training seems to focus on mobility when wearing heavy armor, so they should leave Haern Cadwch wearing one.

    I loved Cyberpunk Lifepath system and I love this one too. Still, I’m missing a “basic timeline” section for long-lived characters. My party consists of a 70-year-old witcher and an 80-year-old elf and I wasn’t able to accurately depict the historical and political panorama during their early development. I know information on that regard is scarce, but a timeline including key events, like Nilfgaardian wars, some Scoia’tael history or the destruction of Witchers’ keeps would really help in shaping early characters and granting them some more immersion.

    Lastly, I know you’re expecting questions and not suggestions, but given the number of tables needed in-game, a Table Compendium could prove very useful, be it a standalone PDF or an annex of some sort.

    Nevertheless, we’re loving the game. Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks for the questions. Some we have. Some we’ll add to the list. The table compendium idea is quite a good one and I’ll pass that along to the team.

      Your first question: Already in our sights. We will be answering it down the line.

      Your second question: If you have free slots, you can just memorize a formula. There’s no specific requirements. As a GM, you’re free to suggest they have to craft something from it once or twice or at least spend a few days with it.

      Your third question: As noted, there’s no provision for allowing a Bear witcher to start with heavy armor. This could be for in game reasons (perhaps his last set broke and he needs to find/buy a new one) but if the GM wants to switch this up, that’s a good house rule.

      Your fourth question: You roll once per every decade of life on the Your Life Events table. The events listed are broad enough to allow a player and GM to work together to fill in blanks as to how they happened. Find a Combat Teacher (4 on the Fortune table) might be a result of the PC being in a war, for example. I do understand your meaning and more specific Lifepaths may be included in future books.

  2. Nice, thanks for your answers!

    About the Lifepath, your suggestion is mostly what I did with my players. I like the Lifepath system a lot, and, though I’m not at all against expanding it or make it more specific, what I meant is that I had to resort to other sources (Witcher wikia, for instance) to acquire the timeline knowledge, so as to let my Witcher player know when his School keep was destroyed or give my elf player some political knowledge about Dol Blathanna and the Scoia’tael issue. Maybe a Nilfgaardian needs to know when the Emperor gains back his throne.

    Maybe you already understood it, but I wanted to be specific, just in case. I like the Lifepath and like to fill in the blanks, I just couldn’t find the knowledge to fill in the blanks in the book.

    Thanks for your time!

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