#RPG A Witcher Class for the Dragon Warriors RPG

Geralt_of_riviaWitcher Class: For Dragon Warriors

Dragon Warriors is a brilliant ‘Old School’ RPG, reincarnated by Cubicle 7. It has an innate old-Europe feel, somewhat different to standard fantasy fare and well in keeping with The Witcher, which makes it a perfect system in which to run Witcher style RPG sessions.

You can get the PDFs HERE.

Minimum Requirements

A player who wishes his character to become a Witcher must roll scores of at least 10 for Reflexes and Strength and at least 9 for Intelligence and Psychic Talent.

Sign Casting

Witchers may cast their signs an unlimited number of times (there are no magic points) but they must have a hand free to do so and can only cast a sign every third turn.

Witchers and Armour

Witchers can wear any kind of armour but cannot (or at least do not) use shields. Witchers are primarily trained to fight in light armour however.

  • A Witcher can wear armour with an armour factor of 1-2 without penalty.
  • A Witcher can wear armour with an armour factor of 3-4 with a penalty of -2 to Attack/Defence.
  • A Witcher can wear armour with an armour factor of 5 with a penalty of -4 to Attack/Defence.

Witchers and Weapons

Witchers are extensively trained in the use of one-handed weapons only, to an insane degree of expertise. They are much less effective with other weapons. Two handed-weapons suffer a -2 penalty to Attack. This includes ranged weapons, with the exception of pistol-crossbows.

Pistol Crossbow: Damage: D6, 3 points. Short 0-15m, Medium 16-25m, Long 26-35m. 75F.

Health Points

Witchers start with 1D6+6 Health Points.

Combat Factors

Attack 13, Defence 5

Magical Combat Factors

Magical Attack 12, Magical Defence 4.

Evasion

A Witcher’s starting Evasion Score is 4.

Stealth & Perception

A Witcher begins with Stealth 14 and Perception 8.

Initial Equipment

A Witcher starts play with:

  • Gambeson armour (1 armour).
  • A steel sword (d8, 4 points).
  • A silver sword (d6, 3 points). Silver swords can strike incorporeal opponents. Against supernatural monsters a silver sword gets +2 to its armour-bypass roll and +2 damage. Only Witcher-forged silver weapons have these abilities.
  • A backpack.
  • Flint and tinder.
  • A dagger.
  • 1d10 Florins.

The Special Abilities of a Witcher

Witchers have a few innate abilities and a very broad degree of customisation.

They begin with the following abilities:

Heightened Senses

Witchers have an (already) boosted Perception and can see clearly in low-light conditions, but not in total darkness. They start play with the Track ability, as per the Knight class.

Poison Resistance

Witchers consider their Strength to be two points higher than it is when resolving poison effects.

Ranking Up

  • +1 to Attack each time the character increases in Rank.
    +1 to Defence at 3rd Rank and every 2nd Rank thereafter (3,5,7,9…)
  • +1 to Health Points each Rank.
  • +1 to Magical Attack and Magical Defence at 2nd Rank and every 2nd Rank thereafter (2,4,6,8…)
  • +1 to Evasion at Rank 5 and another at Rank 9.
  • +1 to Perception at 2nd Rank and every 2nd Rank thereafter (2,4,6,8…)
  • +1 to Stealth at 4th Rank, 7th Rank and 10th Rank.

Each time a Witcher ranks they get two Skill Ranks to spend, which can be spent to buy the following (though they may only increase their Rank in any ability by 1 each time they Rank up):

Alchemy: You must be at least Rank 6, this gives you access to the Potion making abilities of a Sorcerer but you only have access to Dexterity, Occult Acuity, Strength, Healing, Poison, Theriac, Smoke, Amianthus, Truth, Love and Sleep.

Armour Piercing: As per the Assassin ability.

Armour Training: Offset your armour penalties for heavier armour by 1. You may take this up to four times to completely offset armour penalties.

Arrow Cutting: As per the Warlock ability.

Disarm Technique: As per the Knight ability.

Main Gauche: As per the Knight ability.

Major Enchantment (Armour): As per the Warlock ability.

Major Enchantment (Weapons): As per the Warlock ability.

Minor Enchantment (Armour): As per the Warlock ability.

Minor Enchantment (Weapons): As per the Warlock ability.

Quick Draw: As per the Knight ability.

Ride Warhorse: You can now ride warhorses.

Sign (Aard): A telekinetic wave is projected from the Witcher’s hand. This has a Speed of 13 and does 2 damage out to a range of 5m. A critical hit (double 1) knocks the target over. Extra Skill Ranks can be invested in this ability to raise the Speed, Range and Damage by +1 each per rank, to a maximum of Speed 18, 10m range and 7 damage.

Sign (Axii): Axii allows you to stun an opponent. Make a Magical Attack against an enemy and, if successful, they are stunned for one turn. A critical hit makes them fight on your side for that turn. Extra ranks spent in this sign increase the duration, up to a maximum of 6 turns. You can also use this ability in roleplay to try and subtly bend people to your will.

Sign (Igni): A blast of fire is projected from the Witcher’s hand. This has a Speed of 12 and does 3 damage out to a range of 5m. A critical hit (double 1) sets the target on fire for 1 damage per turn. Extra Skill Ranks can be invested in this ability to raise the Range, Damage and Damage per turn by 1 to a maximum of 10m, 8 damage and 6 damage per turn. You can also use this ability in roleplay to light or extinguish torches, candles, lamps and small fires.

Sign (Quen): Quen creates a magical barrier around you which can resist one hit from any attack. This operates like a shield (blocking on a 6 on D6) and lasts 1 turn. You can spend extra Skill Ranks on this sign to raise its duration and blocking ability by 1 per rank to a maximum of blocking automatically and lasting up to 6 turns.

Sign (Yrden): Yrden drops a magical trap at your feet which lasts until your next turn. Any enemy in the trap area (5m diameter) takes a penalty of -1 to Defence and if incorporeal is rendered vulnerable to normal attacks. Extra Skill Ranks can be invested in this ability to raise the duration and the Defence penalty by 1 per rank to a maximum of 6 turns and a -6 penalty.

Swordmaster: As per the Knight ability.

Unnatural Toughness: Add +1 Health Point. You may take this as many times as you like.

#RPG Where Mechanics & Aesthetics Meet

red_sonja_by_warlordwardog-d51rfhxI’ve been playing The Witcher and it has me thinking about the interaction of mechanical and aesthetic choices for players in games, as is Liana Kersner’s complaint about the secondary character Ciri.

Starting out in the game I appreciated the chance to play Geralt as a silver-fox, a good looking guy in sexy armour. The whole leather-and-chain look was great but since that first set of armour the only stuff that has looked good for him is a shirt.

Now, I like the swashbuckler aesthetic and I like, generally, to play light, nimble, rogueish characters. My response to the complaints about Ciri would be that she is a fast, mobile character (her one available magical power is a localised ‘teleport’ to avoid harm) and that, as such, she wears lighter armour. The problem with this is that the mechanics of the game don’t line up with that.

In order to do well at the game I am forced to compromise my aesthetic and roleplaying preference for a light/fast/roguish character style and to take whatever the heaviest armour available is. There’s no penalty for doing so, I’m not slowed down in a fight, it doesn’t penalise my adrenalin recovery or anything and – equally – there’s no bonus for choosing the lighter armour. I could tone down the difficulty to preserve my aesthetic/RP choices, but that feels a bit like a cheap cop-out.

Choler1Mechanics can often force you to go for the heavier weapon when you’d rather be more accurate or skilful, the heavier armour when you’d rather remain mobile. These choices are often not rendered meaningful because there is no downside to choosing the heavier weapon – it just does more damage.

This can be a reason for verisimilitude in games, to take a more ‘simulationist’ bent when making your designs. Heavy armour that penalises your initiative, your ability to dodge, how fast you move and so on, trading it for greater protection. Lighter armour that doesn’t slow you down or even, perhaps, makes you more mobile, faster and the trade-off being that you’re more vulnerable.

Tabletop games tend to simulate this better, but usually in a relatively soft manner by limiting certain bonuses or capping certain skills. Computer games do it less often and their workarounds, where they exist, often break immersion. Lord of the Rings Online had an ‘aesthetic armour’ option, where you could load one set of armour for appearance and another for effect – an elegant workaround, but one which still left you feeling disconnected from the gameworld.

There’s two ways around this problem, either…

  • The narrative becomes king and armour becomes primarily an aesthetic choice, mechanically equal.
  • The simulation becomes king and armour choices represent a meaningful choice between different fighting paradigms.