Alaric von Innsbruck

A figure clad in a travel-worn cloak sits apart from the crowd, sipping a mug of dark ale. His complexion is so pale you can almost make out the veins under his pallid skin. Dark wavy hair frames his face, and the unkempt stubble of weeks on the road is not far from a beard. A polished silver medallion hangs from his neck, fashioned in the shape of a wolf's head with bared fangs.

The man's most striking feature, however, are his eyes. They peer with a keen intelligence out from under the cowl of his cloak, yellow irises with vertical pupils like a cat.

When the man stands, he moves with a lupine grace that bespeaks of extensive combat training. Under his cloak you catch a glimpse of leather armor reinforced in vital areas with metal chain and plates. A gruesome trophy hangs from a steel hook on his belt - the enormous head of a black-furred wolf, its eyes glinting a malevolent red even in death.

He wears a longsword at his waist, hilt wrapped in ruddy brown leather with a flat, fig-shaped pommel. It is clearly a war sword, broad at the base but gently tapering to an acute point, an elegant balance between cutting and thrusting potential.

Oddly, the man wears a second sword slung over his back, its lacquered wooden grip visible over his right shoulder. The sheath itself is wrapped in wool, ostensibly to protect it, so you can’t tell much about it other than that the crossguard looks to have an additional protective ring on one side. When drawn, it’s obvious to any with a martial background that the weapon is a Kriegsmesser, a wicked two-handed blade with a distinct curve, capable of delivering horrific cuts. Most interestingly however, is the metal of the blade itself, which appears more highly polished than typical.

Even common farmers have heard the tales. A wandering stranger with pale skin, cat eyes, and carrying two swords…there can be no doubt that this man is a witcher.

Concerning Witchers

Witchers are a guild of professional monster-hunters, set apart from the rest of society by their calling as well as by their inhuman appearance (pale skin, catlike eyes). The pursuit of their quarry is not driven by religion, ideology, or altruism; witchers are professionals, pure and simple. Where there’s no coin to be had in killing a monster, there’s no witcher to be found.

Misinformation and misunderstandings abound, and rarely is a witcher ever met with trust, much less kindness. The superstitious see them as ill-omens, as it is common knowledge that they are not human, and that trouble follows in their wake (though an academic would point out that the causality might well be the other way around).

At best, they are considered a necessary evil; a convenient method for dealing with the dark threats that prowl on the edges of civilization. At worst, they are deemed no different from the monsters they are hired to exterminate.

A witcher is immediately recognizable and remarkable wherever they go, despite the fact that witchers number few and far between, and that most people have never encountered one outside of tales. Such attention is generally unhelpful, usually unwelcome, and sometimes malicious.

The exceptionally well-traveled or well-educated might know that witchers are (or were once) humans, mutated in the course of their training by being subjected to a series of highly toxic alchemical substances. While almost always fatal, the few who survive are turned into something much more, with heightened senses, uncanny reflexes, and the ability to tolerate alchemical concoctions that would kill a human outright.

Those who have closely studied or worked with a witcher in the past might be aware that witchers are not, in fact, a guild, but rather a loose association of professionals that can be grouped broadly by which organization or ‘school’ of training they hail from. Broadly speaking, all witchers are primarily physical combatants, but they augment their abilities with simple magic, alchemical potions, unguents, and tinctures, as well as alchemical explosives. The school that a witcher belongs to largely determines their particular approach to their profession, and which aspects of the witcher toolkit they favor.