Witcher of the School of the Griffin.Appearance:
Reaching almost 6’4” at his full height, the witcher known as Morgan towers over most men. However, while his slender build has packed on the typical layer of whipcord muscle that gives witchers their lightning-quick bursts of speed and strength, he lacks the bulk to truly make him an imposing presence. His body is covered in scars, left there by tooth, claw and blade alike, and his skin has a permanent paleness to it -- partly because of his Koviro-Povissan heritage and partly because of his mutations. Aside from his remarkably long fingers and toes, there is nothing particularly out of the ordinary about Morgan’s physique, especially not for a witcher like himself.
His face is somewhat gaunt and drawn, with deep lines and sallow cheeks, and his formidable nose and high cheekbones give him a serious and authoritative countenance. His hair, short on the sides and messy on top, is a strange mixture of listless, flaxen blond the longer it grows and dark hair near the roots. His full beard and mustache, complete with sideburns, are the same, with silver having crept into them a decade or two ago. Morgan has a scar over his left eye and down his right cheek but he counts his blessings in that regard, having seen the way some of his fellow witchers have been mutilated over the years. But most prominent, of course, are the feline eyes that set his kind apart from other humans, marked by their vertical slit pupils and the bright, unnatural color of their irises. His is a cold gaze, bereft of compassion or empathy, that often appears to look straight through someone with keen analysis and little regard for their humanity.
is functional and quite sober in its appearance, which goes well with his personality. Once dyed in an unassuming olive green, though most of the paint has flecked off by now to reveal the barren steel and leather beneath, the armor is reinforced with chainmail and scales, like the hide of a dragon, and borrows a little more strongly from knightly influences than most other witcher gear. A black, hooded cape, woven from sturdy wool, hangs from his shoulders down to his ankles. Personality:
Whether the mutations actually stripped him of his emotions or whether Morgan merely buys into that theory a little too much is hard to say, but the undeniable truth is that the Griffin seems to be as stoic, rigid and unflappable as anything. The expression on his face only seldom wavers from a neutral and inscrutable mask of stone and emotive displays of any kind are just as rare. Morgan takes his cause and calling as a witcher quite seriously, but the paranoia and outright hostility that his kind has been the subject of throughout recent history has ensured that Morgan has little desire to interact with people for an extended period of time. He shows up, looks for work, asks around a little, and if there isn’t any to be found he departs again just as quickly. If there is work fine; he does the job, accepts his pay and then, too, he is gone before nightfall.
That said, Morgan is not entirely without personality. He is proud, independent, resourceful and curious -- not about people, but about places, events and esoteric knowledge. If and when he feels more comfortable with someone he reveals he possesses a sharp and perceptive wit, and to those he counts as friends, the Griffin is a steadfast and dependable ally. He gets along better with non-humans and mages than he does with ordinary people, though that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Morgan isn’t above playing into the stereotypes that exist about witchers among the ignorant and uneducated in order to scare them into paying him. Axii, too, can come in handy in such situations. He has long since lost faith in most of humanity and only continues his work as a witcher because it’s what he’s good at, and he figures that he might as well slay monsters on the off chance that there are still innocents left in the world who he might save from an ignoble death in doing so. As such, Morgan isn’t exactly readily helpful to strangers without the promise of coin but he maintains a moral code and displays loyalty to people he values and respects.
There is a nugget of self-loathing and self-pity at the core of his being, born from the harsh and lonely life he has been forced to live as a witcher. Morgan wants to love humanity but has been forced to resent it by their own behavior towards him and his kind. Because the witcher mutations are permanent and cannot be undone, he sometimes laments the fact that he was subjected to them in the first place and his dreams are haunted by a normal life, where he could have friends, family and the respect of his community. He struggles to separate mankind’s beliefs on his nature as a loathsome mutant and their ignorance about the true necessity of monster slayers from his own self-image. All across the Northern Kingdoms people erroneously believe that monsters are dwindling fast and that witchers are unnecessarily relics of a barbaric past. Being told something often enough can cause one to start believing it, and Morgan sometimes wonders, despite knowing better, if they aren’t right after all and his raison d'être is no longer valid. Due to all of this, being the mutant that he is, Morgan will not shed any tears in the afterlife over his own inevitable demise in the line of duty. He sees no other destiny left for him and his kindred and has resigned himself to ending up in a shallow grave somewhere desolate without having ever known love.History:
When the witcher Arthur finally slew the fiend that had been terrorizing the highlands of Poviss, after the towering beast fell to the earth and breathed its last, he turned to face the farmhouse that the monster’s rampage had destroyed during their epic struggle. Bodies had been crushed or flung clear of the structure entirely, landing in crumpled, bloody heaps amidst the amber waves of grain. An entire family perished, surely. A regrettable loss but their deaths would be the last that the fiend would ever claim. The witcher caught his breath, cleaned his blades and prepared to claim the monster’s head as a trophy when he spotted two eyes staring up at him from the wreckage. They belonged to a boy, small for his age, short and scrawny to boot. But Arthur saw a fire there, despite the death and destruction. Or perhaps because of it.
Winter was fast approaching and Arthur had already intended for this to be his last contract of the year, so the witcher decided to take the boy with him to Kaer Seren -- the seat of the School of the Griffin. He cried when he was picked up but stopped after a few hours on horseback, and fell into a sullen silence. Arthur never learned the boy’s name, which was fine. He didn’t need one yet anyway. If he survived the Trial of the Grasses, he would get a new name. The harvest had been good that year -- there were thirteen boys to train at the seaside fortress, his included. Their ages varied, but none were older than ten. Arthur handed the boys to the instructors and set about to doing the same things he always did when he wintered at Kaer Seren; drinking wine, swapping stories and resting.
Outside, in the muddy, half-frozen courtyard, the boy trained, beating others twice his size as they wrestled, his face contorted with rage.
Arthur left in the spring, after the thawing of the icy ports of the northern north heralded the end of winter, and returned each year like clockwork. And each year the boy was still there, somewhat to his surprise, because if he was completely honest with himself the truth was that he had expected the runt to die. He survived the initial training, he survived the herbs and tinctures given to him to prepare his body for the witcher mutations, and he survived the Trial of the Grasses too -- though it was an agonizing, drawn-out affair, and the masters of Kaer Seren had thought him dead a few times during the nights of the week-long ordeal. Arthur, feeling a sense of obligation, attended the Trial and watched over the boy, wiping the sweat from his brow and feeding him herbs to soothe the pain. Occasionally, the witcher would talk to him, whenever he fell silent between his bouts of screaming, crying and gurgling.
The boy that awoke was formidable, and he called himself Morgan.
Fueled by the powerlessness that Morgan had felt when the fiend had destroyed his home and killed his family, and deeply troubled by the deaths of most of the other thirteen boys at the keep, latched onto the power of the Signs immediately and with prodigious talent. His tutors and masters saw great potential in him and he was given almost free reign of Kaer Seren’s famous library on all matters arcane throughout his teenage years. Before long, the boy had learned to turn the gust of flame of Igni into a torrent of fire and was able to flatten foes all around him with Aard. He knew what his purpose was -- to kill monsters, to have his revenge, and to make sure that the deaths of his friends would not be in vain -- and felt that the simple magic he wielded at his fingertips was the key to success in that quest. Arthur was proud. Even George of Kagen, destined to later perish in Velen as the famous Dragonslayer, was impressed with Morgan’s talent.
He completed the Trial of the Medallion as one of only three out of thirteen to ultimately survive to become full witchers in their own right. The Griffins were an honorable sort and had instilled a profound respect for the code into Morgan, and he set out onto the Path with hope and optimism in his heart. These feelings quickly proved mistaken. Morgan discovered the world to be one full of ignorant and hateful people with deep and troubling misconceptions about the nature of witchers, and even when he did find work he was frequently cheated out of his reward by deceptive peasants and nobles alike. Disillusioned, but without any alternatives available to him, Morgan persevered in his thankless task, making precious few friends along the way. One of them was an elf, a mage named Duatheryn, that rescued him from the grasp of a water hag in a godforsaken swamp somewhere in Temeria. He laughed at the witcher’s biting wit instead of reacting in anger and therefore earned his lifelong respect. Morgan would continue to seek out the mage’s advice on magical matters that exceeded his knowledge, especially after the famous library of Kaer Seren was tragically destroyed.
Most of the monsters that Morgan slew were ordinary and base creatures, as most of the formidable ones had already been destroyed or forced far away from human civilization in the centuries that preceded his birth. Still, there were a few notable contracts that he completed: the higher vampire of Lyria in particular, who eluded Morgan for almost a year before the witcher finally tracked him down and slew him in a thriller of a duel that ended with him collapsing a barn on top of the vampire with a powerful blast of Aard. Bizarrely, Morgan remembered in the midst of battle the way the fiend of yore had killed his family, and used that unbidden memory as a flash of inspiration. The lord that had posted the contract, for the vampire had killed one of his sons, was so grateful that he offered Morgan full room and board for the winter, free to eat and drink to his heart’s content. The witcher enjoyed great respect within the lord’s household and the winter was one of the most enjoyable of his life. He felt almost normal for a while, and found a taste of what love could be with the lord’s daughter. But it could not last. When spring came it was time to return to the Path and find work again.
Contracts became increasingly few and far between as the years wore on, and Morgan was quickly used to living in poverty and ranging across all of the Continent in search of work. The Path was a lonely existence and while he still sought comfort here and there in the beds of women, he also believed that a witcher could not be a real lover. Work was always far away so Morgan could not stay for long, and his self-perceived lack of emotions made him an unsuitable partner. He never developed any relationships worth mentioning. With monster contracts being rarer and rarer, Morgan begrudgingly swallowed his pride and turned to other types of work that accepted anyone that could swing a blade. He felt that his talents were supremely wasted as a trading caravan guard, a bouncer or a bounty hunter, but there was gold to be made and he was in desperate need of it. The hostility that witchers faced in the 13th century, resulting in the destruction of the witcher keeps and the scattering of the Schools seated there, made his place in the world difficult to maintain and an increasingly bitter Morgan sank to taking on jobs he had always believed to be firmly below him in order to stay alive. For a long time, his steel sword saw a lot more action than his silver blade, and the rivers ran red with the human blood he washed off it time and again.
Kaer Seren, where he had spent many of his winters together with the witcher brothers he loved dearly, was destroyed by mages that were jealous of the Griffins’ collection of knowledge in the library of the seaside fortress. The ruins were rendered practically uninhabitable and most of the witchers were killed in the magical avalanche, for the mages struck in the heart of winter. It was through sheer luck that Morgan was wintering elsewhere -- he was with Duatheryn in the elf’s Novigrad home, as it so happened -- and therefore survived the slaughter only by virtue of his absence. The destruction of his home and of his School was a terrible blow to Morgan’s faith in the people he was supposed to protect and he gave up witchering out of bitterness and anger for almost ten years. Instead, he turned to a life of brigandry.
Morgan, though his name was unknown to all, even to the outcasts that joined his ragged band of merry men, became an infamous bandit throughout the Northern Kingdoms that was known rather simply as the Witchman. This had the unfortunate side effect of making life for the other witchers in the world even more difficult. It seemed to all those whose path he crossed that he was confirming all of the worst stereotypes about him and his kind. He came and went and left naught but heartache and woe, with pockets full of coin of gold, and ample blood on his blade and fury in his eyes. He burnt the corpses of his victims -- which was to say, anyone that dared to resist -- to a crisp with Igni and nailed them to trees and signposts by the side of the road. He took prisoners, kept the women for himself and ransomed the men back to their families. The Witchman was well on his way to spiraling out of control when his camp was ambushed at night, his men slain and Morgan himself kidnapped by the most unlikely of assailants: Arthur.
The old witcher had survived the destruction of Kaer Seren and been on Morgan’s trail for years, having recognized his old protege from the artfully burnt corpses left in his wake. Morgan had always had a particular fascination for Igni. Arthur brought him, bound and gagged, back to the ruins of their keep. A tribunal of his fellow Griffins, four men he had considered brothers for decades, waited for him there: all that remained of their once-proud and powerful School. Arthur unbound him, removed his gag, and before he could say anything, snatched the medallion from his around his neck. Morgan, outnumbered, unarmed and well aware of his crimes, listened in silence while Arthur explained what the purpose of his actions was. The Griffins were well within their rights to execute him on the spot and prove to the world that they cleaned up after their own, but Arthur also understood and sympathized with the aimless anger and grief that he saw in Morgan’s eyes. He, too, wrestled with those feelings, but it was important that they did not succumb to them. It was important that they did not prove the humans right about witchers. Arthur was insistent: he refused to give them the satisfaction. As such, if Morgan confessed, expressed remorse and ran the entire gauntlet of Trials one more time, Arthur and the others were willing to wipe the slate clean and restore Morgan to the status of witcher once more. After all, the identity of the Witchman had never been known to the world and it did not have to be… if Morgan cooperated.
He did. Confessing to his crimes and giving voice to his remorse was the unburdening that the conflicted witcher desperately needed, and for the first time in decades Morgan felt the sting of hot tears on his cheeks as he talked. In solemn acknowledgement, the witchers nodded and took up position around the ruins of the keep. The exact Trials as they had been administered in the days of yore could not be replicated, but the Griffins improvised. Morgan succeeded, desperate to prove himself to his old comrades, his old family,
and using that desperation to push himself to the limit. Arthur placed a hand on the panting witcher’s head and whispered his absolution. With that, the Griffins disappeared into the night and left Morgan to tend to his wounds and alone with his thoughts.
Ever since, he has returned to the Path with newfound resolve to stick to the ways of the witcher until the end of his days. He would suffer the paranoia and hostility of the human race in silence as he traversed the Continent. Morgan still believed that the time of his kind had come and gone and that there would never be a need to restore any of the Schools, but he also understood that the least he could do was not to give humanity any more of a reason to despise him. That said, it was equally difficult for Morgan to pretend to love them and so he became the man he is today: detached, fiercely independent, always on the move, pragmatic and, above all, alone.
Only the Path awaits. Skills:
As a witcher, Morgan’s strength, speed, reflexes and metabolism have all been enhanced by the mutations bestowed upon him in the Trial of the Grasses. In addition, his senses were made superhumanly sharp and the aging process of his body was significantly diminished. As a result of all these changes and the extensive training received at Kaer Seren, Morgan is a competent swordsman and an accomplished alchemist, capable of brewing powerful potions, harmful blade oils and even strange decoctions derived from monster mutagens, and the bombs used by him and other witchers are the envy of any army engineer.
Morgan’s combat style matches his personality in its unflinching pragmatism. He fights without any concept of honor and will do whatever it takes to win, and that includes the usage of stealth to kill opponents without giving them an opportunity to defend themselves and the utilization of the environment to his advantage, like throwing enemies off cliffs or collapsing a tunnel on top of a group of rock trolls with a mixture of explosives and Signs. His armor, balanced between protection and mobility, allows for him to be flexible and varied in his approaches. Specialty:
The Griffins poured all their scholarly pursuits into pushing the envelope of what their quick-casted form of combat magic was capable of and Morgan was no different. His Signs are more powerful than those of other Schools and he has found several creative ways of applying them, like turning Quen into a spherical shield that sends any attacker reeling when struck, using Axii to turn enemies against each other and even burning them to a crisp with a sustained jet of torrid fire. This enhances his ability to be flexible and adaptable in the moment, and very few enemies are ever prepared to face a swordsman with that level of arcane aptitude at his disposal. Equipment:
- Alchemy supplies: herbs, monster parts, chemical materials and alcohol; enough to refill his existing alchemical arsenal a few times and to create new potions, oils and bombs to combat a few of the more common monster types.
- Potions: Swallow, Tawny Owl and Petri’s Philter.
- Oils: Hanged Man’s Venom, Necrophage oil and Spectre oil.
- Bombs: 2x Dancing Star and 3x Samum.
- His witcher’s medallion, representing the proud and majestic griffin.
- A steel longsword fitted with runes that glow in the crimson shade of blood in the darkness, sporting a pommel in the shape of a griffin’s head. Throughout all of his travels and travails, Morgan has never found better steel anywhere and therefore still uses the blade he left Kaer Seren with when he first struck out on the Path.
- His silver sword makes up the other half of the twinned pair of blades that his masters bestowed on him as a gift before he departed. Its crossguard is angled more sharply and the runes in the gleaming blade are a bright and fiery shade of orange instead.
- His years of brigandry have taught him the value and versatility of daggers. Morgan keeps two of them on his person and has taught himself how to use them as throwing knives as well, which has turned out handy in a pinch a few times already.
- As described in his appearance, Morgan wears a set of Griffin armor in the style of the one worn by George the Dragonslayer. It is not as cumbersome as heavy armor and yet not as liberating as light armor, instead striking a nice balance between the two that Morgan and his training both favor.
- A mixture of florens, orens and crowns, amounting to roughly 150 coins in any of the three currencies in total.
- A waterskin and some dried meats.
- A deck of gwent cards and a set of playing dice.
- Two old wanted posters with hilariously inaccurate sketches of the brigand known as the Witchman.
- A black warhorse, a stallion, named Charlemagne.
- A lute. Decades of strumming away to pass lonely nights has turned him into a veritable virtuoso, but Morgan never plays for company.
- A pipe and enough tobacco to last him a few weeks.