A Call to Glory S06 – The Witcher

Continuing at the same challenge in the Level 1 dungeon A Call to Glory from TSR’s Dragon Quest, introductory adventure game, I aim to try more of the fantasy RPGs in my collection, this time with The Witcher.

I’ll be using a diverse party of 3 characters from Witcher Easy Mode, the free quickstart. I’ll try to include as many different demihuman races and careers as possible to have a party that can deal with most tasks.

My main issue with this playthrough is the ingrained rulesystem and setting. For goblins and kobolds I’ll be using the Nekker stats, and for orcs and larger, the Ghouls.


The Party

Pregenerated

  • Orban Madars, Dwarf Criminal
  • Ada of Ban Ard, Human Man at Arms
  • Andras the Red, Elf Bard

The Adventure

The heroes have been called before Gustovan, the Burgomaster of Torlynn. Torlynn is a small village set in a quiet, hilly area near the mountains. The heroes have lived here for many years and think of Torlynn as home. Gustovan is known as a wise and kind mayor.
He asks of the heroes to go explore the old, abandoned, dwarven, iron mine, because strange lights and sounds come from within. They’re to find out if there is something wrong there or if the reports are false.

The heroes enter the dungeon. It’s entrance is a rough cavern, cut from the stone long ago by dwarves. They check their weapons and start down into the mine, with the wind blowing in their backs.

The heroes enter the dungeon. It’s entrance is a rough cavern, cut from the stone long ago by dwarves. They check their weapons and start down into the mine, with the wind blowing in their backs.


A. Tunnel

Wandering monster check: None
Wandering monster check: None
Wandering monster check: None
Wandering monster check: None

The wind fades away as the heroes move into the mine. A long tunnel leads onward, to the next room.


B. The First Lair

NameInitiative
Orban8+3=11
Ada10+7=17
Andras5+9=14/7
Nek15+9=14/15
Nek25+8=13

Orban is in front, followed by Ada and Andras. Ada and Andras can’t move until after Orban moves, so they hold their actions, thus the Nekkers move first.

Round 1

Nek1 charge at Orban vs Reposition: 18/23: Orban moves aside.
Ada moves and attacks Fastx2 at Nek2 vs Dodge: 20/18: Hit: Torso: 7 Damage, 25/18: Hit: Torso: Simple Critical (Foreign Object): 11 Damage +3, Nekker is down
Nek2 charge at Ada vs Block (shield): 31C/17: Hit: Torso: Difficult Critical: Sucking Chest Wound: 0 Damage +8
Orban attacks Nek2 vs Dodge: 21/17: Hit: R.Arm: 2 Damage
Andras shoots Nek2: 14F:(No major fumble)/18: Miss

Round 2

Ada attacks Fastx2 at Nek2 vs Dodge: 19/16: Hit: Head: 36: Nek2 is dead.

So the adventure book states that if the heroes have a hard time, give them an extra Kur's Drink potion. This time, I decide as a GM to let them sweat it a bit. I know there's a Kur's drink at the Gnoll Lair. Suffocation causes 3 hits per round damage. Will they make it in the remaining 11 rounds that Ada has to live?

They find a leather armor and a pouch belt.

As the heroes enter the room, they notice a couple of beds. Probably used to be the miners’, but now they have new occupants. The vile creatures jump off and charge at Orban who’s the first to enter the room. He quickly moves aside, giving room for Ada to hack twice at the monster with his battle axe, hitting it at the torso both times, killing it.
This has left his side open to the other nekker, who digs it’s claws deep at the his chest, opening a gaping hole at his lungs.
Orban hits the Nekker with his blade, but he barely wounds it, as Andras tries to get a bow and arrow ready. The sight of blood distracts him and he stops short.
Gasping for air, blood in his throat, Ada of Ban Ard brings his battleaxe down at the nekker’s head, killing the creature. They search the room quickly for anything to help Ada with his condition but they find nothing, so they quickly search onwards not wasting any time.


C. Jagged Cavern

I won’t make a wandering monster check.

Nothing of interest in this narrow cut cavern in the stone. Only the occasional splashing of water driping from the ceiling.


D. Orc Lair

I’ll be using the Ghoul stats for this opponent.
Only Orban and Andras will enter the room. Ada is right outside.

NameInitiative
Orban8+6=14
Andras5+9=14
Ghoul6+5=11

Round 1 (3)

Orban moves and attacks Ghoul vs dodge: 23/11F(No major fumble): Complex Critical: Ruptured Spleen: 5 Damage +5, 21/20: Hit: L.Leg: 2 Damage
Andras shoots Ghoul vs dodge: 17/25: Miss
Ghoul claws Orban vs reposition: 9F(No major fumble)/22: Miss

Round 2 (4)

Orban attacks Ghoul vs dodge: 24/19: Hit: Torso: 5 Damage, 18/19: Miss
Andras shoots Ghoul vs dodge: 16/20: Miss
Ghoul bites Orban vs reposition: 17/16: Hit: R.Arm: 0 Damage, 06/25%: Bleed

Round 3 (5)

Orban attacks Ghoul vs dodge: 22/12: Hit: Complex Critical: Ruptured Spleen: 5 Damage +5, Ghoul is down

As soon as the heroes enter this small room, the stench of rotten meat fills their nostrils. They see a ghoulish figure as they move in to engage. Orban hits it right in the torso, rupturing it’s spleen, and follows with a weak hit to the leg. Andras shoots at it and misses, while Ada stays in the rear, trying to keep his wound closed. The Ghoul claws at Orban, but the dwarf moves aside, and strikes back, hitting the necrophage in the torso. Andras shoots again and misses. The ghoul growls and jumps at Orban, biting his arm, and causing severe bleeding. The dwarf furious hits the ghoul again at the same spot, this time the creature can’t withstand any more wounds, and perishes. The dwarf notices a loose stone slab on the floor. Pushing it aside he finds a bag of gold, probably the treasure belonging to some of the miners.


E. Trapped Room

Orban: Practiced paranoia: 19/18: Detects the trap

A small empty room, with a funny smell. Black ash and soot cover the floors and walls. A steel door with an iron handle sits in the middle of the floor.
As the dwarf tries to open the door he notices a trap mechanism connected to a stem for something to pour out. He prefers to leave this door alone lest he suffers.


F. Gnoll Lair

I’ll be using the Ghoul stats for this opponent.
Only Orban and Andras will enter the room. Ada is right outside.

NameInitiative
Orban8+10=18
Andras5+2=7
Ghoul6+4=10

Round 1 (7)

Orban moves and attacks Ghoul vs dodge: 27C/30C: Miss, 21/34C: Miss
Ghoul claws Orban vs reposition: 21/10F(No major fumble): Hit: Complex Critical: Broken Ribs: 0 Damage +5. 11/30 hits.
Andras shoots Ghoul: 0F/15: You strike one of your allies with a ricochet. Roll location on a random ally within range. Orban: R.Leg: 3 Damage 14/30 hits

Round 2 (8)

Orban attacks Ghoul vs dodge: 19/28C: Miss, 17/23C: Miss
Ghoul bites Orban vs reposition: 20/21: Miss
Andras shoots Ghoul: 29C/16: Difficultt Critical: Torn Stomach: 6 Damage +8

Round 3 (9)

Orban attacks Ghoul vs dodge: 24/14: Complex Critical: Ruptured Spleen: 3 Damage +5, 33C/6F: Deadly Critical: Septic Shock: 3 Damage +10, Ghoul is down.

Orban is at 10 hit points when he drinks Kur’s drink: 20 hit points healed, bleeding stops.
Ada is at 10 hits points when he drinks Kur’s drink: 10 hit points healed, Stabilized.
Ada drinks once more, healing 25 more hit points. He’s at full health and Treated.

The heroes enter a room and a dozen of small insects buzz past them. Biting flies are everywhere. A large ghoul sits in the room, and as he sees them, attacks.
Orban slashes at the creature, but fails to land a hit as it dodges and evades. It claws back at the dwarf, and breaks his ribs. Pain sears through Orban’s body. Andras shoots, but as the two combatants are entangled, his arrow finds Orban’s right leg instead. The dwarf curses at the elf, and misses his next attacks against the ghoul, but manages to avoid it’s bite.
Hoping to redeem himself Andras the Red aims carefully and this time his arrow strikes true, tearing the ghould’s stomach apart. The creature shrieks and Orban finds the opportunity to hit it twice in torso, his poniard rupturing the spleen and tearing the guts sending the ghoul down in septic shock.
Searching the room, they find an invigorating honey-like potion. Andras recognizes it for a potion of healing. Kur’s Drink. They decide to share it between Orban and Ada, and by magic, their wounds heal. Only Ada feels a bit weary, but he can breathe again.


G. Empty Room

Wandering Monster Check: No monster

I decide not to search the pile of dirt in the room.

The heroes go through a rough room like a cave, a small pile of dirt is at one corner of the room. The party moves onward.


H. Broken Room

Orban dodge: 4+8=12/14: Failure: Hit: R.Leg: 6 Damage. 24/30 health.
Ada dodge: 27+10=37/14: Success
Andras dodge: 4+5=9/14: Failure: 18 Damage. 12/30 health.

As the party goes through this large chamber cut from the stone, they notice the walls and ceiling are cracked, and huge chunks of stone have fallen on the floor. Their vibrations cause some more to fall as they pass through, hitting Orban to the leg and Andras to the chest.


I. Narrow Tunnel

NameInitiative
Orban8+7=15
Ada10+5=15
Andras5+3=8
Ghoul6+1=7

With no room to maneuver, Orban faces off the Ghoul one to one.

Round 1

Orban charges Ghoul vs dodge: 10F(No major fumble)/4F: Hit: Head: 27 Damage: Ghoul is down

The heroes find another narrow tunnel. They go through in a single file, the dwarf in front, the elf in the rear, and the man at arms in the middle. Suddenly the door at the end of the hall swings open, and a foul ghoul, cries out and marches towards them.
Orban charges and finds the ghoul at the head, killing it instantly.


J. The Story Room

I’m not rolling a wandering monsters check since the next room has a major fight.

The heroes enter a large chamber that has been polished smooth. Ancient dwarvish runes are carved into the walls. Orban reads them out aloud. They tell of the story of the digging of the mine and the work that the dwarves did there. Near the end, it mentions that the dwarves found a vein of glowing iron unlike anything they had seen before. They mined this strange ore, which they called eisenmond and found they could make weapons of great magic with it.
As they mined for more eisenmond they discovered some dark and evil secret about the mountain, without saying anything more than that they packed up and left overnight.
The story ends by saying that they left behind a large nugget of eisenmond which glowed brighter than the rest, in the care of someone called the Stone King.
The heroes realize that this is the key to the secret of the mountain, and what Gustovan sent them there to find.


K. The Iron Mine

I don’t feel that Ghouls and Nekkers fit well with the story, so I’m going to place 4 Knockers here, from A Witcher’s Journal.

NameInitiative
Orban8+8=16
Ada10+10=20
Andras5+10=15
Knockers6+2=8

Round 1

Ada charges at Knocker4 vs reposition: 22/22: Miss
Orban moves and fast attacks Knocker1 vs reposition: 23/17: Hit: L.Leg: 1 Damage, 10F(no major fumble)/16: Miss
Andras shoots Knocker4 vs reposition: 21/17: Hit: R.Leg: 2 Damage
Knocker1 attacks Orban vs reposition: 17/21: Miss
Knocker2 moves and attacks Orban vs reposition: 22/16: Hit: R.Leg: 3 Damage. 21/30 Health
Knocker3 moves and attacks Ada vs block: 15/21: Blocked
Knocker4 attacks Ada vs block: 19/21: Blocked

Round 2

Ada attacks Knocker4 vs reposition: 22/20: Hit: R.Leg: 4 Damage ,18/17: Hit: R.Leg: 4 Damage
Orban attacks Knocker1 vs reposition: 19/33C: Miss, 30C/17: Hit: Difficult Critical: Torn Stomach: 4 Damage +8
Andras shoots Knocker4 vs reposition: 17/17: Miss
Knocker1 attacks Orban vs reposition: 17/22: Miss
Knocker2 attacks Orban vs reposition: 19/18: Hit: Torso: 0 Damage. 21/30 Health
Knocker3 attacks Ada vs block: 22/11: Complex Critical: Lost 2 Teeth: 2 Damage +5. 38/45 Health
Knocker4 attacks Ada vs block: 19/23: Blocked

Round 3

Ada attacks Knocker4 vs reposition: 15/21: Miss, 15/16: Miss
Orban attacks Knocker1 vs reposition: 21/16: Hit: Head: 10 Damage, 21/15: Hit: R.Leg: 2 Damage
Andras shoots Knocker4 vs reposition: 16/16: Miss
Knocker1 attacks Orban vs reposition: 15/25: Miss
Knocker2 attacks Orban vs reposition: 15/15: Miss
Knocker3 attacks Ada vs block: 25/19: Hit: L.Arm: 0 Damage
Knocker4 attacks Ada vs block: 16/17: Blocked

Round 4

Ada attacks Knocker4 vs reposition: 24/17: Hit: Simple Critical: Foreign Object: 13 Damage +3, 18/22: Miss
Orban attacks Knocker1 vs reposition: 19/16: Hit: L.Arm: 1 Damage, 7F/21: You damage your weapon severely. Your weapon takes 4points of reliability damage.
Andras shoots Knocker4 vs reposition: 18/21: Miss
Knocker1 attacks Orban vs reposition: 17/18: Miss
Knocker2 attacks Orban vs reposition: 18/21: Miss
Knocker3 attacks Ada vs block: 21/24: Blocked
Knocker4 attacks Ada vs block: 15/24: Blocked

Round 5

Ada attacks Knocker4 vs reposition: 24/21: Hit: R.Leg: 3 Damage, 18/23: Miss
Orban attacks Knocker1 vs reposition: 23/19: Hit: Torso: 5 Damage, Knocker1 is down, attack vs Knocker2: 9F/20: Your weapon glances off and you are staggered
Andras shoots Knocker4 vs reposition: 17/17: Miss
Knocker2 attacks Orban vs reposition: 22/19: Hit: L.Leg: 4 Damage. 17/30 Health.
Knocker3 attacks Ada vs block: 13/30C: Blocked
Knocker4 attacks Ada vs block: 20/17: Hit: L.Arm: 0 Damage

Round 6

Ada attacks Knocker4 vs reposition: 22/9: Hit: Difficult Critical: Sucking Chest Wound: 10 Damage +8, Knocker4 is down, attack vs Knocker3: 25/23: Hit: Torso: 10 Damage
Orban attacks Knocker2 vs reposition: 23/11F: Hit: Complex Critical: Broken Ribs: 2 Damage +5, 18/16: Hit: R.Leg: 1 Damage
Andras shoots Knocker3 vs reposition: 16/18: Miss
Knocker2 attacks Orban vs reposition: 15/17: Miss
Knocker3 attacks Ada vs block: 22/25: Blocked

Round 7

Ada attacks Knocker3 vs reposition: 25/15: Hit: Complex Critical: Broken Ribs: 11 Damage +5, 43C/22: Deadly Critical: Separated Spine/Decapitated: 36 Damage +10, Knocker3 is down
Orban attacks Knocker2 vs reposition: 21/19: Hit: R.Leg: 2 Damage, 21/21: Miss
Andras shoots Knocker2 vs reposition: 17/8F: Hit: Simple Critical: Foreign Object: 3 Damage +3
Knocker2 attacks Orban vs reposition: 18/21: Miss

Round 8

Ada charges Knocker2 vs reposition: 22/17: Hit: R.Leg: 5 Damage
Orban attacks Knocker2 vs reposition: 34C/19: Hit: Deadly Critical: Septic Shock: 2 Damage +10, 26C/14: Hit: Complex Critical: Sprained Arm: 1 Damage +5
Andras shoots Knocker2 vs reposition: 21/16: Hit: L.Arm: 2 Damage
Knocker2 attacks Orban vs reposition: 3F/22: You are knocked off balance and are staggered.

Round 9

Ada charges Knocker2 vs reposition: 15F/9: Hit: R.Arm: 6 Damage, Knocker2 is down

The heroes enter a vast chamber that is roughly carved and still being worked. Small veins of iron ore still line the walls. Four monsters work the mine, and as they see the party they howl and attack.
As the two sides clash, they fail to hit each other, still trying to read their opponents. Ada charges at two of the knockers, while Orban engages at two others and Andras shoots from the corner of the chamber at them.
Ada hits one of his opponents twice at the leg, and blocks his counterattack with his shield, but the other punches him in the face so hard, that it knocks out two of his teeth. Orban lands a strike at the knockers, slashing at the abdomen, tearing it’s stomach. the creature cries in pain as stomach acids fill it’s guts. Orban manages to avoid both their strikes, while Andras shoots and misses.
They all exchange blows, some hit some miss. Orban’s blade is damaged as it hits the hard floor, but finally, after a series of wounds he brings down his wounded enemy. He tries to hit the other knocker quickly, but he loses his balance and is staggered, and the knocker counterattacks with a hard punch to his leg.
Ada hits the other knocker dead in the chest with his battleaxe, tearing off it’s lungs, and wounds the other assailant as well. His large shield blocks all their attacks.
Andras shoots arrow after arrow, but worrying if he might hit his companions, he prefers to miss any risky shots.
Orban slashes with his poniard at the tough goblinoid, his blade breaking a few ribs. The creature screams and tries to hit back, but Orban evades quickly the attacks.
The fight continues with Ada bringing his axe blade horizontally right where the knocker’s head connects to the rest of the body. The connection is severed and the head flies off to a wild direction, as the body falls to the floor, blood pumping out of it’s major arteries.
The last remaining knocker is ganged up by the heroes who quickly finish him off.
Searching through their opponents belongings, they find a cool silver ring, and a coil of rope. The dwarf takes them both.


L. Tunnel of Death

Orban: Practiced paranoia: 30C/18: Detects the trap, and knows how to avoid it. +2 To Dodge Checks.
Orban dodge: 4+8+2=14/14: Failure: Hit: L.Leg: 7 Damage. 10/30 health.
Ada dodge: 17+10+2=29/14: Success
Andras dodge: 8+5+2=15/14: Success

The heroes enter a smooth and straight tunnel. The floor is marked with the dark stains of dried blood. As they reach the door to the other side, Orban detects a mechanism, that upon opening the door, releases several rocks to their heads. They try to be careful and the elf and the human avoid them, but the dwarf is hit on the leg, and is bruised.


M. Mysterious Fountain

In the center of the room is a stone fountain, carved in the image of a large dragon that coils around itself and sprays water out of its mouth. The water lands in a polished stone pool that has been cut into the floor around the statue. The air is sweet with the smell of fresh water. The heroes drink from the water to quench their thirst, and in a magical way, all their wounds and fatigue disappear.
They look around the room and see that there are no more doors, and it appears to be the end of the mine. But knowing that they haven’t found either the Stone Kind or the large lump of eisenmond, they start searching for a secret door.

Orban awareness: 12/16: Failure
Ada awareness: 0F/16: Fumble
Andras awareness: 27C/16: Success
They find the secret door.
Wandering Monster check: Monster: Ghoul

NameInitiative
Orban8+6=14/14
Ada10+8=18
Andras5+3=8
Ghoul6+8=14/15

Round 1 (7)

Ada moves and attacks Ghoul: 18/17: Hit: Head: 33 Damage: Ghoul is down

As they find a secret door and open it, a ghoul was lying in wait right behind it. It hisses, but Ada is waiting with his battleaxe. He brings it down on the necrophage’s skull, finishing it off in one swift strike.


N. Sloping Passage

The tunnel has been cut downards at a sharp angle. Walking down is very dangerous, but with the rope, the heroes descend it with great care.


O. The Eisenmond Mine

The heroes finally enter a rough stone chamber, with flakes of a mysterious glowing ore flickering in the walls, floor and ceiling, making the dark walls shimmer like a starry night.
In the center, sitting on a small stone pedestal, is a short statue carved from a single granite block. It depicts a dwarf with a pick and other mining gear, missing it’s head which is tossed in the corner. The head sports a rusty crown, fashioned from iron, The statue’s hands are open and held out as if it was holding something.

Okay, so here’s a puzzle concerning players and not characters, but it can be resolved with Deduction (INT) checks, which I will test.

Orban Deduction: 1F/14: Fail
Ada Deduction: 10/14: Fail
Andras Deduction: 22/14: Success. He finds a secret compartment with two nuggets of eisenmond, that fit perfectly on the eye sockets of the statue’s head.

Orban Deduction: 13/14: Fail
Ada Deduction: 11/14: Fail
Andras Deduction: 14/14: Fail

2nd attempt:
Orban Deduction: 19/14: Success. He considers placing the head back on the statue.

Searching around for secret doors, Andras finds a small compartment in the pedestal that contains two nuggets of eisenmond. His keen senses tell him that they fit perfectly to the head, and he proceeds to place them there.
The party looks at the head. Then Orban decides to re-assemble the statue.
As soon as the statue is assembled, a strange light fills the room. The stone body of the statue glows and the mouth moves slowly. In a voice deep and old as the mountain around, the statue speaks.
It says about how the mine belongs to the dwarves, and how good it is that the heroes have arrived because a great evil has tainted the spirit of the place. The priceless magical stone called the Eisenkern was stolen, and along with it, the power to trap the beast that lives at the heart of the mountain. If the Eisenkern is not returned, that terrible beast will be freed, and a horrible evil will come upon all who dwell in these lands.


Ending the Adventure

The heroes return and report their story to Gustovan, who seems troubled by it. He rewards them and takes thought of the matter.


The System

The Witcher TTRPG is a great mid-crunch system. It seems like a perfect fit for people used to concepts like Hit Points, but want to try something that makes more sense than the abstract concept by the d20 rulesets. The system is skill based and doesn’t need to be balanced in order to avoid being broken.
I liked the critical wounds system, as they can happen quite often, and the hit locations, which when combined can end a fight quickly. I didn’t like the divisions involved in most of the damage calculations. It could become too troublesome to run.
The rules where nicely written with several details in the sidebar, but I found an odd place or two where they could be better explained.
In basic combat, it was nice having different attack (Fast/Strong) and different defend options (Dodge/Block/Reposition/Parry), but ultimately in the defences, it didn’t feel too much like an option during combat, and more like an option during character creation (this one blocks, this one dodges, etc).
There were points where combat felt like dragging, but overall it wasn’t too much.

What about the Dungeon Crawl?

Considering I didn’t have a healer with me, I was lucky to survive the dungeon. If I didn’t know (meta knowledge) about the healing potion, a regular party might have perished (though to make things fair I did go through all the rooms in order of appearance like in all my previous plays). Of course, if I had a Witcher character with me, it would have been a lot easier, but it was nice to pit regular characters in the fight.
I feel like The Witcher is a nice fit for a dungeon crawl, where the hit points mechanics along with the mid-dragging combat speed give room for a party to maneuver. The nice thing is that it doesn’t go without a nice amount of criticals and effects.

Summary

Overall as a unique, d10 system, The Witcher TTRPG is very enjoyable, and has managed to hit a sweet spot between traditional d20 systems, skill based d100 systems, and computer RPGs. This combat based dungeon crawl only showed one part of it’s capabilities, and I’m certain that it has much more to offer in the rest of the RPG aspects, and especially the awesome Witcher setting which I haven’t gotten a chance yet to try out.
Regarding it’s solo capabilties, I’d say it’s possible to be soloed. Bookkeeping can be a chore, as there are many stats and conditions that you have to monitor through combat, but if you keep combatants at a moderate level, it won’t be a problem.