Setting Seeds: The Witcher

Posted on : 22-04-2010 | By : Brian | In : 4th Edition, D&D, Musings, Setting Seeds

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A while back I read The Last Wish, by Andrzej Sapkowski, and I really enjoyed its dark, moody take on fantasy tropes. I’m currently playing my way through The Witcher, a computer game based on the book. I’m really digging it, and I keep thinking that this would make a great setting for D&D.

The basic idea would be that players are witchers: professional monster-hunters who have undergone genetic mutation in order to make them better at what they do. They are a necessary part of society because monsters are everywhere, and they threaten normal people on a regular basis. Normal people, however much they need the witchers, despise them for what they have given up: their humanity. They have an essential otherness that makes them automatic outcasts, and many see them as abominations of nature.

It would be fairly easy to model witchers in D&D. Before becoming witchers, every PC was human. They still get to choose a race, but the race they choose represents some of the mutations they’ve undergone to become what they are. Alternately, maybe all of the races are available normally; The Witcher does include elves, dwarves, and gnomes. Here’s the thing about nonhumans, though: they are also largely despised by the dominant human race, and are subjected to a lot of hatred and bigotry.

In D&D, the idea is that the PCs are heroes: they’re special, more powerful than normal people. In this setting, the same would still be true. The difference is that it doesn’t make them heroes in the eyes of the common folk; it makes them abominations. They may be necessary, but most folk see them as a necessary evil at best.