Sunday, August 09, 2015

#RPGaDay 9: Media Adaption RPG

A day late again, apologies, but I'm a real sour-puss when it comes to forthcoming RPGs. I really feel most of the products I'm interested in are already published, and I don't think I own any media-adapted RPGs, so finding something to comment on was difficult.

Enter the newly announced Witcher RPG - based on the set of novels by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski and the trilogy of video games set after those novels (though declared non-canonical by the author). Imagine a mix of medievalism, Eastern European mythology, with a hodgepodge of a post-apocolyptic events, a little bit of the samurai and even a little wild west.

The titular Witchers are an order of warrior-wizards, mutated (in the X-Men sense) in infancy with an influx of herbs and poisons, to fight the foul creatures that inhabit the world. They are distrusted and outright hated by the ungrateful populace and travel on "the path" from town to town, dealing with monsters in exchange for ludicrously low fees.

All the standard fantasy tropes and races (elf, dwarf, halfling) are in Sapkowski's world but subverted. There's a wonderful murkiness of morality and a refreshing political incorrectness in the Witcher's world. Demihumans have been sidelined by the advance of human civilization and are treated as 2nd class citizens, distrusted and often the victims of pogroms when things go wrong. This is largely not helped by the actions of the Scoia'atel, a terrorist organisation dedicated to fighting a guerilla war against humans and reclaiming their dominance.

Kings and nobility are generally a horrible lot, and have been practicing incest long before George RR Martin made it cool. Add in scheming sorceresses, pyromaniac witch hunters and xenophobic human knights and priests and you have a pretty dark setting where often times the supposed monsters are actually the nicest characters! Indeed, part of the meditations of the books and games are who truly is the monster?

If you really want to get a feel for the world I recommend the novels (I'm currently on the 2nd book, which was inexplicably translated from Polish after Books 1, 3 and 4), but playing the first chapter of the first game pretty much encapsulates the entire series's mission statement, having the feel of a horror game mixed with a little bit of the first story in the Dark Tower Cycle.

One I'll be checking out.

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