Witcher Dev Note #5: The Feel of the Witcher
As we start filling in the descriptions and writing for the Witcher RPG, I thought it would be good to do an update on the feel of the Witcher RPG. After all, no one who's read the books or played the games can call Witcher “Standard Fantasy”.
Besides the dark fantasy elements of the Witcher, one of the most important parts of the setting is it's anachronistic touches. In the original set of stories Geralt is effectively a detective who happens to kill monsters as well. He solves mysteries, hunts down clues and does a fair bit of negotiating, only really drawing his blade when absolutely necessary. The games, especially Witcher 3, get this feeling across excellently. You just know that Geralt has his own internal narrator and it doesn't take much to imagine Geralt as a gritty film noir hero. Aside from Geralt we see mages who are effectively mad scientists, locking themselves away in towers and experimenting day and night on morally dubious experiments for the furthering of science. We see cross dressing boutique owners and collectable card games, on par with Magic the Gathering, sweeping the nation. But still the Witcher is heavily rooted in fantasy.
No matter how dark the world may get much of it still has this fractured fairy tale style to it that lends to the atmosphere. While many classic fantasy plots still show up, many side quests and stories unfold like classical fairy tales and usually people, especially Geralt, tend to be fairly aware of this, making wry comments about princesses trapped in towers and young lads venturing off to defeat dreaded beasts. In fact the first collection of short stories reads almost like a book of fractured fairy tales with Geralt stumbling into stories very similar to Beauty and the Beast, Snow White and more.
As we sit down and write the descriptive and setting pieces for the Witcher RPG we are trying to keep these factors in mind. We want the Witcher RPG to be unique in it's field just like the Witcher games and books are.