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Witcher Watch: Tome of Chaos Preview & Witcher Core Update

Greetings! We’ve two tales to tell this week!

Core Rulebook Update

First, as many know, we’ve recently gone to a third printing for The Witcher TTRPG core rulebook. We do new print runs for a simple reason: the old print run sold out. So, thank you for helping making game a success and driving us to a new run.

As always, whenever we do a new print run, we took a moment to look through the book and your feedback and makes changes and updates. Those updates are incorporated into the new print run and used to create a new digital version as well. If you have The Witcher TTRPG in your DriveThruRPG or Bits and Mortar library, you’ll can now go there and download, for free, the 1.35 update. If you own a first or second printing of the physical book (check the bottom of the title page) you can download v4 of the errata here. We’ve also added alt text to all the images to help the PDF work better with text readers and added hyperlinking throughout.

If you’d like a list of the errata changes, check the end of this post. For now, though, a preview from Cody Pondsmith of A Tome of Chaos.

Tome of Chaos: Ley Lines

Hello to everyone walking The Path! To kick off our discussion of A Tome of Chaos I’d like to begin by talking about Ley Lines. These magical pathways crisscross the world of The Witcher, acting as natural channels for primeval chaos. Where two Ley Lines of the same type intersect, you can find a wellspring of power. Centuries ago, the Aen Seidhe placed standing stones at many of these intersections, creating safe, magical fonts known as Places of Power.

Four Places of Power, each tied to a different element (earth, air, fire, and water).

Ley Lines are invisible and intangible however, making them difficult to find without the proper training. Mages can learn a spell to detect Ley Lines but there are other ways. Those attuned to magic are physically affected when they come close to a Ley Line, suffering a cramp in their ring finger, but others must look for the signs created by the presence of elemental magic. The natural world around a Ley Line distorts slightly based on the element of the Ley Line, causing visible effects like frequent dust devils, prevalent plant growth, strong heat haze, or the unnatural flow of water.

In game, Ley Lines can be utilized to increase a magic user’s power. Mages, Priests, and Druids can tap into these Ley Lines to gain bonuses to their spell casting and unique effects based on the element of the Ley Line. However, this comes with some danger as they are juggling far more direct power than they normally would be. While tapped into a Ley Line, a Mage can only use spells of the element of the Ley Line and all magic user’s fumbles and overdraws have additional effects based on the element of the magic. For instance, while tapped into a Fire Ley Line, a Mage would add 2 additional damage dice to any fire spell they cast and raise the chance to light a target on fire to 100%. However, if they overdrew or fumbled a spell the fire magic would run wild, forcing them to spend extra stamina to cast the same spell they fumbled again with a random target. For mixed casters like Druids and Priests who temper the Ley Line’s magic with other elements naturally, they always gain a +4 to their Vigor Threshold while tapped into a Ley Line but on a fumble or overdraw, they lower their Vigor Threshold by a cumulative -2 for the next 6 hours.

Beyond their mechanical benefit, Ley Lines can be used to find Places of Power. If you follow a Ley Line it will eventually lead you to a Place of Power of the same element. Even if you don’t find an established Place of Power, you may find an intersection of Ley Lines and with a new ritual in A Tome of Chaos a powerful magic user can create a new Place of Power at that intersection.

With the rules for Ley Lines we really wanted to utilize the personalities of the different elements of magic, described in The Witcher novels. Each element’s benefits and penalties are based on these personalities. Earth magic is recalcitrant but unyielding, Air magic is malleable but difficult to mold, Fire magic is powerful but difficult to control, and Water magic is easier to manipulate but prone to affect the mind.

Next week, we’ll dive head first into the topic of Mages, talking about the training of Sorcerers and Sorceresses, and the unique Lifepath A Tome of Chaos brings to the table!

New Core Errata

As promised, we’ll finish off this week with a list of what’s changed in the core rulebook for third printing/v1.35.

  • The AE column has been removed from all Shield listings.
  • Page 63. Patch Job has been updated to note it can restore weapons and shields to half their full reliability.
  • Page 65. The following sentence has been added to Zweihand: Zweihand can only be used with melee weapons.
  • Page 70. Iron Stomach has been changed. It now reads: After decades of drinking toxic witcher potions, witcher bodies adapt to the toxins. A witcher can endure +5% more toxicity from drinking potions and decoctions at level 1 and +5% every 2 levels after. At level 10, a witcher’s maximum toxicity increases one last time to 150%. This skill can be trained like other skills.
  • Page 102. The following sentence has been removed from the Cenlly Graig spell’s Effect: Each roll counts as its own attack.
  • Page 104. The following sentence has been removed from the Carys’ Hail spell’s Effect: Each roll counts as its own separate attack when determining location and dealing damage.
  • Page 105. The Effect of Rhwystr Graig has been updated to note the wall can be created anywhere within 20m and not 10m.
  • Page 114. Yrden has been updated. The Effect now reads: Yrden creates a large magic circle on the ground around you. Anything that steps into that circle takes a penalty to SPD and REF equal to 1 plus 1 for every 2 points of STA spent beyond the first, up to a maximum penalty of 4.The penalty lasts until they exit the circle. Any incorporeal creatures that enter the circle become corporeal.
  • Nilfgaardian Helm (Investment 537): Dark Steel (x4), Hardened Leather (x1), Darkening Oil (x2), Drake Oil (x2), Linen (x1), Ashes (x10) Oil (x1)
  • Page 155. The section on Staged Penetration has been changed. It now reads: Attacks that hurt you also damage your armor, making it less resilient to further attacks. Each attack that penetrates a piece of armor and does damage to the wearer reduces the SP of the armor by 1 point. When the SP reaches 0, the armor is fully broken and no longer soaks any damage.
  • Page 156. The section on Reliability has been changed. It now reads: Reliability determines how easily an item can break. It applies if you attempt to block with a weapon or shield (see Defenses, pg. 164) and to fumbles (see Criticals and Fumbles). When an item’s reliability reaches 0 it’s useless for blocking or attacking. The item can be fixed with an appropriate crafting roll (see the Crafting section).
  • Page 164. A sidebar entitled Defense and Full Round Actions has been added. It reads: You can use a standard defensive action even if you’ve made a full-round action during the round. For example, you can still Dodge a sword strike even if you’ve spent the entire round in a Run.
  • Page 235. The choices for Is Sile De Tansarville Alive? were backwards, with the “Yes” text under no and vice versa. This has been fixed.
  • Page 271. Added Brawling +6 to the Bandit’s skill list and removed the extra Courage skill at the end.

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