It's been a couple of weeks, but I needed a small break. I'm back with R. Talsorian's The Witcher RPG based on the video game based on the series of dark fantasy novels by Andrezej Sapkowski. This time around, it's time to create a Witcher, since that's what the game is named after. Again, I'm not familiar with the setting, only what I've read in the game. But, the game looks thorough.
So, tally ho!
1. Choose race.
Easy enough. Only Witchers can be Witchers. They start as human, but get mutated, so they get their own entry. Witchers get a bonus to Reflex and Dexterity, but have dulled emotions, hurting Empathy skills.
2. Run a life path,
Witchers get their own lifepath to reflect their training and the changes made to them. Think of Witchers as similar to Slayers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, except instead of on, there were many, though not recently in the game's timeline.
First, when the character, let's call him Brynmor, became a witcher. There's three options - infancy, early childhood, or late childhood. The d10 roll is a 10, so late childhood, giving a +2 to the Trial of the Grasses later. Next, another roll to determine which Witcher school Brynmor. The roll is 4, getting the Gryphon School, adding 2 to Vigor, allowing for more control over magic.
Now that Brynmor is in training, next thing to check is what happened during it. The first is early training. The roll, 7, means a bad reaction to mutagens, leading to a -2 during the Trial of the Grasses. The Trials themselves is next; Brynmor now has a net +0 on the roll. The result is 6, passable mutations, with no bonus or penalties. Could have been better; could have been worse.
Brynmor now gets an important event that happened during his training. The roll, 10, means he gained fame after defeating a monster. No bonuses as a result, but a pleasant memory in a dark fantasy setting is its own reward. Brynmor did well and was treated well as a result. Finally, where is Brynmor once the game begins. I'll roll again, getting another 10, and Brynmor is a dangerous criminal. That warm memory is just that, a memory.
With training done, what has Brynmor done with his life? I'll need to figure out his age. The game states that a Witcher is somewhere between 50 and 260 years old. I'll use a lower age, 76, to keep the number of rolls reasonable. I could have gone with 200, but with a roll for every ten years of life, that's a lot to do. However, a Witcher begins his travels in his 20s, so the early years can be ignored. There's also one more choice for each decade - how much risk was involved. The first two decades of adventuring will be risky, the next two non-neutral, and the last as normal risk.
The first decade starts with the danger roll on percentile, or d100. The roll is 40, so there was danger. The type of danger is determined by a d10 roll, with a 4 resulting in a wound. Wounds result in penalties; Brynmor's wound is (d10=1) a stiff knee, resulting in a -1 to Speed. Now that the danger is dealt with, the next thing to check is what else happened, again a d10 roll. The roll, 6, gets Brynmor an ally. The next three rolls - 6, 7, and 4 - determine who the ally is, in this case, a duchess who hired Brynmor. They are (d10=5) acquaintances, and the duchess is (d100=79) still alive. That's probably how Brynmor was wounded, working for the duchess to clear out monsters.
The next decade is also risky. The danger roll is 81, so no risk of injury. The outcome roll is 6, another ally. Same rolls as before, this time getting a woman who was a former teacher, meeting up with her in a tavern. They are bound by bond, and the woman is still alive.
The third decade is less risky. The danger roll is 1. The type of danger (d10=4) is another wound, this time a (d10=8) a damaged nose. Brynmor's ability to track by scene is reduced. The outcome (d10=4) is another ally. Going through the same rolls as above, the ally is woman bard that Brynmor met in a tavern. She, too, was bound by bond to him, but died (d10=5) in a monster attack.
With his injuries and lost friend, Brynmor is taking it more carefully, as noted above. The fourth decade starts with a danger roll (d100=20) and still manages to get into trouble. This time, Brynmor (d10=7) has made an enemy. This could be when he becomes a dangerous criminal, depending on the next few die rolls. The next five d10 rolls - 1, 1, 5, 10, 7 - gets Brynmor on the wrong side of a nobleman who betrayed him. The nobleman has magic in his command and is out for revenge on Brynmor. Yes, this is how Brynmor became the dangerous criminal. I'm not even checking to see if the nobleman is alive or not - he's more interesting alive. The outcome for this decade (d10=8) is nothing noteworthy happened. Being hunted by a nobleman is excitement enough for one year.
Finally, the last decade. The danger roll (d100=70) means Brynmor stayed relatively safe. The outcome of the decade is a benefit. Checking the table, the d10 roll is 1, the Law of Surprise. Brynmor invoked the Law and got (d10=6) a barrel of ale. He probably still has it.
3. Pick profession.
Witchers can only be Witchers. They start with a Vigor of 2, but Brynmor's school boosts that to 4. They get all basic signs as a magical perk and Witcher Training as a professional skill.
4. Pick statistics.
I'll roll for these, nine d10 rolls, with 1s and 2s rerolled. I get 9,3,8,10,9,7,3,7, and 6 to distribute. The 10 will go into Reflex, to help with the Witcher's main task, fighting monsters. The 9s will go into Dexterity and Body for the same reason. Intelligence gets the 8; investigation skills tend to fall there. I'll place the 7s in Speed and Will. The 6 goes to Empathy, with the 3s going to Craft and Luck. Now the modifiers. Witchers' Lightning Reflexes provide a +1 to both Reflex and Dexterity, but their Dulled Emotion means a -4 to Empathy. The stiff knee caused by a wound reduces Speed by 1. Brynmor is not a charming person, but you want him on your side in a fight. His derived stats are listed on the character sheet below.
5. Select skills.
Like the previous characters, Brynmor gets 44 points to distribute among his professional skills and another Intelligence plus Reflex for pick-up skills. For the professional skills, I'll start with Witcher Training and Swordsmanship at 5 each. Awareness, and Deduction each get 4. Alchemy and Spellcasting cost double, so with 4 and 6 put into those, the skill levels are 2 and 3, respectively. Ride will get 2 points, Stealth and Athletics 4 each, leaving enough points to put Wilderness Survival and Dodge/Escape at 3 each.
Brynmor gets a total of 19 points for pick-up skills. Since he's not good at being friendly, he's going to go with being scary and gets Intimidation at 4. Resist Magic looks like something useful for a monster hunter, so I'll put 8 points there to get a skill of 4. To round Brynmor out a bit, I'll grab Brawling at 3, Social Etiquette at 2, and Physique at 2.
6. Get money.
Witchers start with 2d6x50 crowns, the lowest of the professions. This is offset by the gear they get at the start, though. Brynmor gets (2d6=10) 500 crowns to spend and save.
7. Spend money on gear.
Witchers start with several items that no other profession has access to. Brynmor automatically gets a Witcher medallion, a Witcher's steel sword, a Witcher's silver sword, two potion formulae, two blade oil formulae, and one decoction formula. The formulae are found in the magic section. For the potions, I'll choose Petri's Filter, giving Brynmor a bonus to magic when used, and Swallow, to heal damage while fighting. The two should not be used together, though; Witcher potions are toxic. Brynmor's blade oil formulae are Beast Oil and Specter Oil, giving him extra damage against beasts and specters. Finally, for the decoction, which mutates Brynmor a little more when used, I'll take Griffin, which hardens his skin each time he gets hit. Brynmor also gets to choose two more mundane items and takes a double woven gambeson and an alchemy set.
To finish Brynmor's shopping spree, the first place I'm checking is armour. He has good weapons already; he just need to protect himself. A chain coif will protect his head. I'll ignore the legs for now; anyone trying to hit him there deserves what they get. He also needs the same necessities the mage and the archer bought - a satchel, a bedroll, a couple of torches or a lantern, food for a week or so, 20m of rope, and a waterskin - which comes out to 58 crowns. A dagger is useful as a tool, so I'll add that to the list. Finally, a belt pouch to hold his remaining 135 crowns.
And that's a Witcher in The Witcher RPG. The lengthy sections of character creation are the lifepath, especially for older characters, and the gear. Even there, everything is straightforward. I went with rolling to see what came up; I could have chosen details along the way. The benefits a Witcher gets is offset by the risk of injuries and a gruffness that will isolate him from society if another character doesn't step in. When the campaign begins, Brynmor is a wanted man, further causing problems. Here's Brynmor's full character sheet.
Social Standing: Hated & Feared (Tolerated in non-human areas)
Enhanced Senses - +1 to Awareness
Dulled Emotion - -4 to Empathy
Resilient Mutation - immune to disease, can use mutagens
Lightning Reflexes - +1 to Reflex and Dexterity
Defining Skill: Witcher Training 5
Awareness 4 (5)
Social Etiquette 2
Wilderness Survival 3 (-2 when tracking by scent)
Resist Magic 4
Spell Casting 3
Health Points: 40
Punch Damage: 1d6+4
Kick Damage: 1d6+8
Became a Witcher When?: Late Childhood
Witcher School: Gryphon School
Early Training: Bad reaction to mutagens
Trial of the Grasses: Passable mutations
Most Important Event: Gained Fame
Where Are You Now?: Dangerous Criminal
Age 30 - Risky - Danger: Wound (Stiff Knee, -1 SPD), Ally (Duchess, hired by her, acquaintences)
Age 40 - Risky - Ally (former teacher, bound by bond with her)
Age 50 - Non-Neutral - Danger: Wound (Damanged Nose, -2 to Scent Tracking)
Age 60 - Normal - Danger: Enemy (nobleman, betrayed, magical power, hunting revenge)
Age 70 - Normal - Benefit (Law of Surprise, a barrel of ale)
All basic signs
barrel of ale
Witcher's steel sword
Witcher's silver sword
Potion formulae - Petri's Filter, Swallow
Oil formulae - Beast Oil, Specter Oil
Decoction formula - Griffin
Double woven gambeson
20m of rope
As always, please let me know if you use Brynmor. He should be a viable character, but no PC ever survives contact with the GM.