I had never played a Tabletop Role Playing Game (or TRPG) before, and I didn’t really have an idea how to play it. But if you see the kids fighting the Demogorgon in Stranger Things, then it does seem like a fun game.
And suddenly a couple of months back, IGN featured an article about a free TRPG set in the Witcher universe! I recently finished the Witcher 3 on my Playstation, and it’s still too long until the series premiere on Netflix. So this is an excellent way to fill the Witcher gap in between.
I downloaded the free version from DriveThruRPG, and started reading. It took some time – and some youtube videos – to understand the game.
And then we assembled, with a party of 3 and myself as the game master. We had a wonderful adventure together. The best part is the freedom you have. In a computer game, there are always some restrictions. But here, really anything is possible.
As a game master, I took my time studying the various rules. However, the players had no advance knowledge whatsoever. As long as the game master is well prepared, the game goes smooth.
One of the coolest parts is the unpredictability of your players. Everything went well, so I had no idea that they would suddenly start murdering a whole village. Or who would dare to play the lute in the middle of a hostile environment? But since this is a TRPG, everything is possible!
I used a whiteboard to draw a rough map, and I used a couple of Games Workshop miniatures of Lord of the Rings.
Here’s a summary of our adventure (I suggest you skip this if you plan on playing it yourself):
Mage Fringilla Vigo, Elven bard Andras the Blue and Witcher Letho of Gulet are on the run for Nilfgaard. They are looking for a place to cross the river Pontar towards Redania, when they are hailed by a Scoia’tael scout.
They learn that there’s a ferry in a village nearby, but that village is controlled by the Scoia’tael. The party agrees to help the Scoia’tael to fix their broken gate, in exchange for a ferry passage.
When they reach the village, there’s a hostile atmosphere: The Scoia’tael aim their bows towards the party. But then Andras takes out his lute, plays a couple of songs, and manages to put everyone at ease.
After a night’s rest, the party starts with the gate repairs. Everything goes fine, until Andras fumbles a bit with the glue, and the last bit of glue is lost and can’t be used on the final broken piece.
Then – instead of trying to solve this small problem – the situation takes a drastic turn. Witcher Letho decides to kill the nearby guard, while Fringilla creates a distracting fog. The Scoia’tael are killed one by one, including their leader Ciara.
When they loot the bodies, they find a note on Ciara, which says that she only wants peace for her people. Ouch, was all that killing really necessary after all?
But to end the story with a happy note, they decide to burn the village, take the ferry, and then burn the ferry as well.
Now they are safely on the other side of the Pontar, away from the Nilfgaardian threat, and ready to start a new adventure!