On November 24, 2018, I run the second session of the Witcher campaign with Casimir, Nat and Mar as the Player Characters. For various reasons, we changed the system from OHET to FU, so it took us a while to convert character cards.
The previous session ended when the heroes reached Vizima and sold some of the loot taken on Scoia’tael.
After concluding the barter, they noticed another shop opposite, with a signboard showing two crossed swords and the griffin’s head and the advertising slogan “Witcher products GMO-free“.
Upon entering, they felt the mixture of exotic fragrances that attacked their nostrils. The assortment of the store included a lot of mysterious bottles and jars, bombs and traps, as well as daggers, arrows and bolts which were glinting silvery in the sun shining into the interior.
Behind the counter there was a gray-haired man who interrupted the writing of the book at the sight of the entering customers. Nat had noticed the title of the book: “On fleders, bruxas, katakans, tax collectors and other bloodsuckers“. The seller stood up and the heroes could see him better:
After a moment of conversation, they learned that the shopkeeper is called Kendall and is a witcher from the School of Griffin, who decided to end his long career as a monster killer. For the money collected for fulfilling many contracts, he bought a house in Vizima. His source of income are now giving professional advice, teaching Signs and selling witcher accessories (except for potions that are strongly poisonous for anyone who has not undergone mutations – hence the advertising slogan).
Witchers are generally outcasts, but King Foltest has a weak spot to them since certain Geralt of Rivia has helped his daughter Adda, who was enchanted into a striga. Therefore, Vizima is probably the only city where a witcher can safely “retire”.
The heroes were very eager to learn some Signs and purchase some goods, but when they found out how expensive they are and how time-consuming is learning the Signs, they decided to return to it later, and to deal with the more pressing matter in the first place: a letter they found after fighting Scoia’tael.
Nat decided to hand over the letter to the prioress of the Melitele monastery in Vizima, the highest-ranking representative of the cult, with the exception of Mother Nenneke in Ellander, who is unfortunately at least a few days of travelling further.
The heroes went to the monastery district, noticeably poorer than the shopping district and neighboring non-human district.
Thanks to the rank and attitude of Nat, Casimir and Mar were treated in the refectory, and the priestess herself was admitted before the prioress Adeltrauda. She told her about the events of the last days, leaving only the details of the fate that had met the three Scoia’tael taken alive.
The Prioress was quite shocked by the letter, and the words: “Send your soldiers best acquainted with … <blood stain covers a few words> to me, they will be needed at the Belleteyn Festival in Vizima” prompted her to take immediate action without consulting Mother Nenneke. Belleteyn Festival was due on the following day!
Mother Adeltrauda mother therefore decided that the letter must be immediately forwarded to King Foltest and that the heroes must also report to him how they came into its possession.
Due to the critical meaning of the letter, Adeltrauda felt that they would need an escort on the way to the royal castle. So she sent one of the novices to the nearby barracks of the city guard, from where several guards soon came, including their commander, Vincent Meis.
In spite of Adeltrauda’s fears (or perhaps thanks to the escort?), the walk to the castle passed without any hindrance. On the way, Casimir got into conversation with Captain Vincent, whom he inquired about the news he had heard the evening before about the recruitment organized by Vernon Roche. The captain gave the archer valuable advice: not to touch the subject of Roche’s origin. He also warned Casimir that Roche accepted only the best in the Blue Belts’ ranks. When the archer praised his achievements in the fight against the Scoia’tael, Meis only smiled in a wolfish manner.
Adelerrauda and her entourage were greeted by Velerad, the burgomeister of Vizima.
The authority of the prioress soon led them to a chamber where they were received by Foltest, the king of Temeria, prince of Sodden, sovereign of Pontaria and Mahakam as well as the senior protector of Brugge and Ellander.
The king listened to the heroes’ accounts and read the letter. For its delivery all three have been generously rewarded. Foltest announced that they were free for the time being, but they could expect his call soon. He decided to convene a meeting, but not the Royal Council in the usual composition, which included Duke Hereward and Wilmerius, the main Temerian hierarch of the Cult of Eternal Fire. The content of the letter prompted Foltest to decide to invite Adeltrauda instead of Wilmerius. Adeltrauda was satisfied with the sudden increase in her position. Nat used it and asked her to pay the extra sum from the monastery treasury to Casimir in order to ensure his discretion and support for Cult of Melitele.
The heroes returned to the monastery, and then, with the purses heavy from gold, to the Kendall’s store. Mar made a deal with the witcher – he bought a piece of draconid leather (which he planned to use to strengthen his armor) on a relatively low price, but in return he pledged to make the second armor that Kendall would offer for sale. Mar went to the forge to fulfill his part of the deal.
Casimir bought arrows with silver arrowheads, a few bombs and a trap. Together with Nat, they also undertook to learn the Signs: archer decided to learn Aard Sign, and the priestess – Yrden Sign. Learning proved to be exhausting and time-consuming, as did Mar’s work in a nearby forge. Night came and the heroes intended to go to sleep, but Foltest’s envoys found them and led them to the municipal barracks. There they met Velerad, who made them swear an oath that they would not reveal to anyone what they would see and hear. Next, the man led them to the maze of underground corridors, which, as it turned out, extended under Vizima. After a long walk, the heroes reached a spacious underground chamber, a place of secret councils.
They saw here not only Foltest, Adeltrauda and Vincent Meis, but also several other people who were presented to them as Vernon Roche…
Fercart of Cidaris…
Keira Metz of Carreras …
and Triss Merigold of Maribor.
The last three turned out to be wizards advising Foltest. Foltest, after making sure that the heroes took the oath of silence, revealed his plan to them. Because Scoia’tael strive to escalate the conflict between humans and non-humans, it is necessary to identify their agents in Vizima, but also influential non-humans reluctant to Scoia’tael (“traitors of the Elder Blood”) who in exchange for privileges granted by the royal edict would be willing to cooperate with Temerians and actively counteract Scoia’tael and their agitation. The three wizards offered to surround Nat, Casimir and Mar with illusions that would make them look like elf, gnome and dwarf respectively, and thus ease gaining the trust of nonhumans.
Foltest also decided to double the guards during the Belleteyn Festival and to forbid guards to drink (they are to receive an allowance for the moral losses incurred in connection with this prohibition). The heroes were asked to patrol the suburban meadows the next night, hoping that they would be able to detect in time whatever the Scoia’tael were planning to do.
After the Belleteyn Festival, Foltest intends to send Blue Stripes to their Baptism of Fire: they are to go to the place where Scoia’tael attacked our heroes, find and interrogate the priests of Veiopatis if necessary, and eventually locate the Scoia’tael hideout and make order with the terrorists.
The king promised his generous rewards in return for help in these endeavors. Will the heroes accept the royal offer?
We’ll find out at the next session!
Game Master’s comments:
The direct impulse to lead the continuation of the adventures of Casimir, Nat and Mar was writing the report from previous sessions, as well as its warm reception (at least the Polish version of it).
The reasons why I decided to change the system deserve a separate text.
I am currently preparing a Witcher mod for FU, will let you all know when it’s ready.
The session was relatively short, and converting character cards and explaining new rules to players took much of the time. I only used a small part of my ideas.
The session, unlike the previous one, was not a pure sandbox, but I tried to give players maximum freedom. They had made optimal decisions (both from the point of view of their characters and mine), but they could have made completely different ones.
An example of such an optimal decision may be bringing the letter to Adeltrauda. The heroes would not have been so easily allowed to meet king Foltest, and his attitude could have been much less trusting if they hadn’t had the companionship (and authority) of the prioress.
One of the consequences of changing the system was replacing the scrupulously counted coins with abstract Wealth Points. Each of the Player Characters got one such point at the beginning of the session (reflecting the profit on the loot sold at the previous session). Then they each got another two as a generous Foltest reward, and Casimir got one more thanks to the skillful diplomacy of Nat. They spent it very sensibly: learning the Signs cost Casimir and Nat one point each, as did Mar’s acquisition of drakonid skin. Casimir also spent a Wealth Point for silver arrows and another for a set of five bombs and traps. Bombs and traps are single-use, but used properly and with a successful roll, they can prevail over the outcome of the skirmish.
Never before I’ve seen RPG session with as few dice rolls as described here. This is due to the fact that the heroes have never been in any danger. Had they tried to learn the Signs themselves, they would have faced quite difficult rolls, but because they paid the professional to teach them, I only ordered a d3 roll to determine the number of “Fatigue Points” (and indirectly the duration of learning). Both of them rolled the maximum result, so if the council meeting will last too long, they can fall asleep while standing due to the exhaustion.
Before we will be able to meet again (which may take several months), I am going to write reports from another RPG sessions.
My other posts about RPG: