Welcome back to Come Roleplay With Me, my weekly dose of public humiliation where I’m shown to be the terrible gamer that I really am.
This week, in honor of the Witcher 3 being released (Dale’s review is on its way, but in the meantime you can read his pre-review impressions), I decided to play the Witcher 2. As I wanted to fully avoid anything to do with the main questline, I thought it would be fun to roleplay Geralt as dirty, sleazy man -monster hunting is just a means to an end, and that end is having a good time. It’s just a way to make money so Geralt can gamble, fight and acquire the services of the ladies of the night. As always, I played in one sitting and under ironman conditions – once I died, that was it. I decided to skip the intro of the game, so my journey began in Flotsam (the first area where you’re given the freedom to be a sleazy bastard).
Grab your tankard and leave your morals at the door: Geralt’s gonna be a bad boy.
Sex, drugs and drunken trolls
Geralt’s journey began in the village of Flotsam, a backwater village in the middle of nowhere. It was surrounded by a great forest, full of all sorts of beasties that desperately needed a witcher’s touch to clear them out. He smiled to himself as he thought of all the idiots who’d bother with all that nonsense. He had 300 orens in his purse and was on a quest of his own – find the brothel. As he wandered through the village, he spotted two familiar faces – Dandelion the bard and Zoltan the dwarf. They were two of his oldest friends and were about to be hanged. He considered simply slipping back into the crowd, but he thought better of it. These were two of his best drinking buddies, so he knew he had to help them.
He approached the gallows and tried convincing the authorities to let them go. As he expected, this failed. Why was he surrounded by idiots? He quickly realized it was time to call on two of his other best friends – his fists. As an expert brawler, he easily fought his way through the guards, angrily kicking one of them in his nether regions as he lay on the ground. The threat of violence spoke better than his mouth ever could, and his two friends were set free. They both thanked him and quickly showed him to the nearest brothel – he knew he’d saved them for a reason.
On his way in, he passed a notice board full of work suited for a witcher. At least he knew he had an option if he ran out of money, which he most certainly would. He didn’t fancy having to pawn off his silver sword again. They were pretty hard to come by. Before entering he noticed that one of the messages made mention of a drunken troll who wasn’t fulfilling his duties. Geralt laughed to himself. Let him have his fun, he wouldn’t be bringing the rotten justice of some backwater hole on a kindred spirit. He’d raise a toast to his drunken friend inside.
As he walked through the front door, Geralt knew he was home.
The familiar smell of alcohol, pipe-smoke and various other unsavory aromas filled the air, filling the room with the stench of lust and debauchery that had come to signify a welcome respite from the harships in the outdoors. Geralt was still pretty pumped up after his tussle with the guards outside, so he quickly made his way over to a small group who were having arm wrestling competitions. He challenged the first of them and beat him with ease (he was pretty sure he heard the familiar click of a broken wrist as he slammed his hand to the table). His next opponent was a flimsy little scrub who took less effort than the first. His final opponent was a burly chap, but he too felt his hand slam to the table in shame.
With his purse now 60 orens heavier, he got up from the table and happily looked around for his next challenge. To his dismay, he couldn’t find anything. What kind of brothel was this?
After a sad pint at a corner table, he suddenly noticed a stairway leading down.
Thank the gods.
Geralt stumbled to his feet and almost ran to find out what delights awaited him in the downstairs of the brothel. The stench of sin grew stronger with each step he took. He heard the familiar clack of dice and grunts of fist fighting. Maybe today was going to be a good one after all.
As he took everything in, he realized there were a few mysterious figures that stood out – a dwarf at the bar smoking a pipe, and what looked like a monk in the corner of the room. To a normal adventurer, they might have had some allure. Not Geralt. He made his way to the dice table, ready to win big or lose big. After countless games he found that he’d ended a few coins richer, everything seemed to be going well today.
He stood up, a little giddy from his winnings, and noticed that there were a few worthy looking opponents at the fist-fighting corner. He felt the familiar rush of adrenaline as his enhanced witcher body prepared itself for a fight. It hardly seemed fair, he thought to himself.
After roughly half an hour, Geralt returned to his seat, battered, bloodied and beside himself with glee. He’d defeated even the toughest opponent in the ring, most of which were now lying in pools of their own blood and shame. He took several deep breaths and gulped down a swallow potion. He immediately felt his wounds beginning to heal. If it weren’t for people expecting you to fight a bunch of monsters, being a witcher would be great.
As he sat resting, he noticed another door which he hadn’t yet seen. Could it be? He got to his feet and tentatively pushed it open. Yes, it was.
He entered and found himself surrounded by ladies who provided a particular service, a service that he just so happened to be looking for.
“Care for a little fornication?” he heard from his left.
He turned and saw a young lady making eyes at him. Perhaps it was time he spent his hard earned winnings.
“Yes, yes I am” he said.
After offering her 150 orens, she took him by the hand and led him towards the back room. As she opened the door he saw a large bed in it and smelled the intoxicating aroma of burning incense.
Today was going to be a very good day.
Of all my Come Roleplay With Me articles, this is the one I enjoyed the most. Not because I’m a pervert (despite what my girlfriend sometimes says), but because I loved completely ignoring the admittedly fantastic story and just doing my own thing. It was great fun playing Geralt as a sleazy bastard who only cared about having a good time. It was also strangely satisfying knowing that I was squandering the gifts of the greatest witcher to have lived, thus robbing the world of its hero (this also made my challenge much easier, which was nice too). I’d highly recommend having a go at something like this if you’re into roleplaying in games at all.
For next week I’m going to take a step into the past and play one of my favourite games of all time – The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. I played Morrowind to death in my youth, and I want to go back and have a go at roleplaying in it. With Morrowind, Bethesda perfected its formula for open-ended role-playing, and in my mind it’s a game that the developer hasn’t bettered since. Oblivion and Skyrim may have wowed with their vast, open worlds and sheer breadth of content; but Morrowind, despite featuring a much smaller geographical area to explore – at least on the surface – managed to cram in an unprecedented level of depth to the whole experience, with quests relayed not through simple “go here and kill these monsters” speeches delivered by uncanny-valley inhabitants, but through well-written reams of text.
While Skyrim and Oblivion take place in well-worn fantasy settings, the realm of Morrowind and its peripheral territories felt utterly alien at times. You didn’t fast-travel on a horse; you fast travelled by hitching a ride on a towering insect resembling a hair louse from your childhood nightmares. Morrowind is also famous for a quest which remains one of the cruellest and most hilarious cases of a developer trolling players in the industry’s history. Despite all the hoo-ha surrounding Skyrim, it simply doesn’t hold a candle to past efforts – so I can’t wait to abandon the snow-capped mountains of Skyrim and verdant fields of Oblivion to return to a world crafted instead from mud, stone and volcanic ash.
I’m going to go back to basics with this one and have a more normal playthrough – attempting to reach level 10 in one sitting and with permadeath on. I’ll be playing as a loyal Imperial spellsword, equally adept at combat and magic. I’ll be trying to join the Imperial Legion as soon as possible and do all I can to improve the position of the Imperial presence in Morrowind (as you might have guessed, I love the Imperials).
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on roleplaying – whether they’re stories of your own, or suggestions of what I should do next. In the meantime, I hope you have yourself a great week, and Come Roleplay With Me again next time.