The Witcher video games are masterpieces inside the RPG style.
Each game depicts complicated characters, nuanced ethical decisions, and a richly-detailed world to get misplaced in. Now CD Projekt RED has partnered with R. Talsorian Games to formally convey this setting to tabletops with The Witcher Pen & Pen RPG.
If you weren’t capable of seize The Witcher throughout its Gen Con debut, the digital copy is out there for buy now whereas a post-errata print run within the works. Yet even in its present state, R. Talsorian has accomplished a outstanding job of adapting Geralt’s world to a tabletop RPG setting.
The Witcher Pen & Paper RPG is about between the occasions of Assassin of Kings and Wild Hunt. The Nilfgaardian Empire is invading from the south, whereas the Northern provinces collapse or rally to the authoritarian King Radovid. Soldiers and villagers alike are dying in giant numbers, drawing monsters and ghosts to the killing grounds en masse. In different phrases, it’s a good time to be a monster looking witcher.
While the game’s timeline takes place through the Third Nilfgaardian War, there may be greater than sufficient data to run a marketing campaign in different time intervals. The Witcher Pen & Paper RPG gives a abstract of the world from its earliest recorded historical past to the founding of the witcher orders, the occasions of the unique fantasy novels, and all three games. Major areas from the identified world are mentioned in ample element, and R. Talsorian Games features a record of main decisions from the CD Projekt collection so you’ll be able to tweak the world state to your liking.
“The Witcher” could also be prominently displayed on the game’s cowl, however you don’t must play as a monster hunter right here. A variety of character varieties can be found, together with bards, mages, males at arms, craftsmen, and extra. You may even play as a travelling service provider should you’re so inclined, shopping for and promoting items throughout the continent with out caring about grand quests or political strife.
What’s extra, gamers have many choices for crafting wealthy backstories for his or her characters. The Witcher Pen & Paper RPG makes use of a “lifepath” system to randomly-generate a private historical past. Just a few cube rolls decide your loved ones background, surviving siblings, any earlier (or present) lovers, and even perhaps a sworn enemy or two. Lifepaths are included for Northerners, Nilfgaardians, Elderlands elves, and Witchers, all of which might even encourage future marketing campaign occasions.
Character varieties range wildly in fight talents, since The Witcher goals to simulate a particular fantasy world – not balanced preventing. It can be unwise to ship your bard out alone to struggle a griffin. (Then once more, in the event that they survive, they’ll have a superb story to share!) By the identical token, when your witcher begins busking on a avenue nook for further money, it’s simply going to disappoint bystanders greater than anything.
If you’re working a combat-heavy game, this creates all types of steadiness points. Parties made up solely of witchers or mages will breeze by means of most opponents, whereas a celebration with out witchers will discover fight to be difficult and insanely deadly. Yet by having a mixture of character varieties, everybody within the occasion can embrace a unique playstyle and get an opportunity to shine within the highlight.
Yes, your group will hunt monsters. They’ll additionally participate in courtroom intrigues, interact in skullduggery on metropolis streets, or expertise the satisfaction of crafting legendary weapons. A marketing campaign the place the occasion is an entourage for a witcher knight can be a super framework in The Witcher Pen & Paper RPG, giving everybody a singular position to play.
The predominant problem is focusing your group’s character choices to keep away from inter-party battle. What occurs if one participant is allied with the freedom-fighting Scoia’tael, whereas one other is allied with human kings? What if one participant is a sorcerer, however has to work alongside a mage hunter? The Games Master information chapter has little recommendation on bringing these parts collectively, which implies gamers would possibly need to focus their backstories beforehand. Then once more, a part of The Witcher’s attraction is coping with deep-seated private conflicts – dealt with accurately, it’d improve the marketing campaign.
On that observe, racism and prejudice are frequent themes within the Witcher collection, and full credit score to the designers for not shying away from these realities. Humans, elves, dwarves, mages, and witchers all have guidelines for a way NPCs view them in varied areas – starting from irritated tolerance to outright hatred. GMs must determine how far to take the topic, nevertheless it’s a strong start line for teams which are snug exploring these matters.
On a mechanical stage, The Witcher Pen & Paper RPG does a superb job of adapting each system from the video games. Silver swords do further injury to monsters, whereas metal swords are extra sturdy when used in opposition to humanoids. Almost each Mage spell seen or described within the books and game trilogy are represented right here – together with the complete record of witchers indicators. Levelling up is visually represented utilizing Witcher 3’s perk timber, and all witcher potions and sword oils are offered as effectively.
The game in all probability may have stopped there, however its designers have gone the additional mile with granular particulars. Weapons and armour put on down and should be repaired. Crafting diagrams will be collected and brought to a blacksmith for distinctive gadgets. An in depth alchemy system tells you what herbs and natural supplies are wanted to craft potions and weapon oils. Each monster within the bestiary even contains a mean bounty value and loot drops, if you wish to play in a monster looking sandbox.
Players don’t essentially have to make use of these programs – you might simply rent somebody in a village to do the handbook labour for you. But they create a way of depth and authenticity, and supply nice alternatives who gamers who prefer to dive into the nuances of an adventuring life.
Then you will have fight itself, which is extremely lethal. The first web page of the fight chapter instantly warns gamers to keep away from preventing enemy teams wherever attainable. Even a celebration of skilled witchers will uncover that preventing a number of fiends directly is crushingly troublesome.
Just just like the video games, The Witcher rewards gamers who put together for a struggle. You can do intelligence rolls to recall particulars a few explicit beast, or search out analysis supplies from witcher retains. Each monster has particular weaknesses – normally within the type of a specific sword oil – which makes the probabilities of success much more possible.
While the tone of battle preparation has been well-adapted, the arduous half is juggling all of the calculations the video games did for you. There are many overlapping, number-crunching programs at play throughout each fight roll. You should contemplate armor safety, armor injury, poison results, potion boosts, silver injury in opposition to monsters, cowl penetration, and extra.
On the opposite hand, most fight tends to be so deadly and fast-paced that you simply received’t spend lengthy in every struggle anyway. And should you survive, therapeutic for non-Witchers is a prolonged course of, so that you in all probability received’t rush into frequent battles. But it stays an awesome stage of element to account for, even for a veteran tabletop participant.
The Witcher does a outstanding job of adapting the tone and mechanical depth of the video games to a tabletop RPG system. It affords a stage of complexity that can possible confound first-time tabletop gamers, however you probably have a veteran GM who’s good with pacing, there’s a substantial amount of potential right here.
If I had one main disappointment, it’s that The Witcher doesn’t fairly really feel like an entire game. Oh, it’s definitely a complete core e-book, particularly when it comes to mechanics and game programs. Yet it additionally appears like R. Talsorian Games is saving content material for future dietary supplements.
Significant enemies just like the Wild Hunt aren’t featured within the monsters chapter, whereas the Games Master instruments are fairly restricted given the wide selection of character choices. By comparability, the Dragon Age RPG from Green Ronin had an entire set of sources for gamers and GMs alike, with out relying too closely on superior mechanics.
Regardless, The Witcher RPG is aware of precisely what sort of tabletop expertise it needs to adapt – one with all the issue and character nuance of its wealthy fantasy world. On that rating, it’s immensely profitable.
Digital copies of the game are at the moment accessible from internet retailers like DriveThruRPG, with a print run within the works quickly.