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DARK HORSE BOOKS


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CD PROJEKT RED
ART DIRECTOR
KATARZYNA REDESIUK

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER


RAFAŁ JAKI

CAPTION WRITERS
MARCIN BATYLDA, TRAVIS CURRIT,
BORYS PUGACZ-MURASZKIEWICZ

DESIGN DIRECTOR
PRZEMYSŁAW JUSZCZYK,
IRINA MORARU, KAROLINA OKSIĘDZKA

PROJECT MANAGER
JOANNA WIELICZKO

ADDITIONAL THANKS TO
ADAM BADOWSKI, PAWEŁ BŁASIAK, URSZULA BURNO,
GUY COSTANTINI, MICHAŁ DOBROWOLSKI, BENJAMIN LEE,
KAROLINA LEWANDOWSKA, KATARZYNA LUDWICZAK, AND
MATEUSZ TOMASZKIEWICZ

DARK HORSE
PUBLISHER
MIKE RICHARDSON

EDITOR
IAN TUCKER

ASSISTANT EDITOR
MEGAN WALKER

DESIGNER
ETHAN KIMBERLING

DIGITAL ART TECHNICIAN


ALLYSON HALLER

SPECIAL THANKS TO
THE GWENT TEAM AT CD PROJEKT RED AND
NICK MCWHORTER AT DARK HORSE COMICS.

CD PROJEKT®, The Witcher®, GWENT® are registered trademarks of the CD


PROJEKT Capital Group. GWENT game © CD PROJEKT S.A. All rights reserved.
Developed by CD PROJEKT S.A. The GWENT game is set in the WITCHER universe
created by Andrzej Sapkowski. Dark Horse Books® and the Dark Horse logo are
registered trademarks of Dark Horse Comics, Inc. All rights reserved. No portion of
this publication may be reproduced or transmitted, in any form or by any means,
without the express written permission of Dark Horse Comics, Inc. Names,
characters, places, and incidents featured in this publication either are the product
of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons
(living or dead), events, institutions, or locales, without satiric intent, is coincidental.

Published by Dark Horse Books


A division of Dark Horse Comics, Inc.
10956 SE Main Street
Milwaukie, OR 97222

DarkHorse.com

To find a comics shop in your area, call the Comic Shop Locator
Service toll-free at (888) 266-4226.
International Licensing: (503) 905-2377

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available.

First edition: September 2017


Digital ISBN 978-1-63008-787-6

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CO NT E NTS
7
FOREWORD
BY KATARZYNA REDESIUK

9
CHAPTER I: MONSTERS

53
CHAPTER II: NORTHERN REALMS

91
CHAPTER III: SCOIA’TAEL

125
CHAPTER IV: SKELLIGE

167
CHAPTER V: NILFGAARDIAN EMPIRE

201
CHAPTER VI: NEUTRAL FORCES

225
CHAPTER VII: SPECIAL CARDS

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FOREWORD
THE WORLD OF THE WITCHER is mesmerizing. Full of powerful magic and fantastic beasts, it’s
charmingly wondrous and disgustingly realistic at the same time. It seamlessly shifts between straight-
forward and metaphorical storytelling to fully show the duality of human nature—both the ugly and
beautiful sides of it. Nothing is simply black or white here, much like nothing is good or evil. Every
aspect of the world is carefully placed within a morally gray domain, leaving much open to interpretation.

Gwent: The Witcher Card Game represented a great opportunity to explore this rich universe. We
wanted to show players more than what they’ve seen in our previous games. It was incredibly challenging,
especially considering that with each card we only had a single image to tell an entire story. With that
in mind, we put a lot of work into ensuring the illustrations would be strong enough to be inviting to
gamers unfamiliar with Witcher lore. Our artists focused on capturing the intensity of the action and
emotions; they put a lot of effort into making sure everyone would quickly grasp the essence of the
portrayed scenes.

To achieve this, the illustrators always worked together closely. Peer reviews gave them an opportunity
to share ideas, stories, and problems they came across along the way. In creating each image, we went
through numerous sketches and iterations, consulting with each other as well as with experienced
storytellers and lore masters. We believe this collaborative approach not only allowed us to create
captivating artwork but also helped each individual involved to grow as an artist.

It is a great honor to present to you this selection of illustrations. Not only is it a collection
of beautiful art, but it also provides insight into the artistic journeys of many talented
individuals.

Katarzyna Redesiuk
Art Director

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MONSTERS
CENTURIES AGO, WORLDS COLLIDED. No one knows the exact nature of the Conjunction
of the Spheres, save that it opened a bridge between dimensions, and across it came monsters.
Suddenly, voracious beasts with no natural predators, against which neither animals nor men
nor elves could defend, roamed the land. Venturing out after dark, traveling from one village
to another, drawing water from a well—such simple aspects of everyday life now carried the
risk of brutal death by long claws or sharp fangs.

Yet not all the evil stalking the world arrived during the Conjunction. For centuries, a spectral
cavalcade known as the Wild Hunt has galloped across the night sky, murdering or kidnapping
the inhabitants of remote villages. In its wake comes a merciless cold, thought to be the first feel-
ers of the White Frost—the force which, according to prophecy, will bring about the world’s end.

Though the Hunt’s riders are not specters but flesh-and-blood elves, they are intent on a
cause so destructive and sinister, that the dark legends are as good as true. Both vicious
and calculating, they make natural leaders for this faction. Eredin, the Hunt’s commander, and
Ge’els, his general, are joined by Dagon, a dark aquatic demigod, as the faction’s leading triad.
With endless hordes, enormous beasts, and the weather itself to command, they can more
than hold their own against anything a foe might throw at them.

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10 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

SHADOW
Nemanja Stankovic
Fear not the shadows, but the light.

Shadows prowl Gaunter


O’Dimm’s mysterious domain.
Whether they’re Master Mirror’s
own handiwork, his victims’
ghosts, or natives of that strange
plane, no one knows. Yet it’s
clear they serve the Man of
Glass loyally, damning all living
souls who dare defy their lord
and master.

How do you portray beings


that are the embodiment of
gloom without winding up with
dark patches? You use a bright
backlight to bring out Master
Mirror’s minions in contour
and detail.

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MONSTERS 11

WILD HUNT HOUND


Marek Madej
Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs
of war.

Merciless predators from a


nameless world beyond time
and space, their masters are
the Wild Hunt riders, specters
before whom the hounds spread
a biting frost as if it issued from
their very gorges.

“I wanted to emphasize their


dominant features while still
showing them in their natural
environment. Their muscle-
packed bodies, toothy maws,
sharp spike-like claws built to
clutch and rip—all these identify
them as beasts that have evolved
to hunt and kill.”

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12 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

ANCIENT FOGLET
Bartłomiej Gaweł
Many primal fears lurk in the
hearts of men. The fear of the mist
is well founded . . .

Relics of the Conjunction of the


Spheres, when the dimensions
aligned and beasts migrated
between worlds. Ancient foglets
prefer to come out and feed
when fog rises, so swamps,
boggy woodlands, and mountain
ravines are their usual haunts.
Mist is a plaything they fashion
into apparitions that deceive
travelers into traps.

Bartek opted for a head-on


view. This allowed him to
capture minute details the
ancient foglet’s victims rarely
note before turning to flee.

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MONSTERS 13

FOGLET
Bartłomiej Gaweł
Fog creeps on little cat feet.
Foglets creep over the bodies of
their victims.

Though far more common


than their larger cousins,
foglets are otherwise very
similar, sharing the same
habitats, repulsive appearance,
terrifically bad teeth, and
predilection for human meat.

“They smell disgusting . . .


probably. And they look
repulsive. I think that’s because
they have deformed—yet
human—body parts. You can
see it in their skulls, jaws, and
teeth. Monsters with human
traits are always a little more
disturbing because their
existence seems just a little
more likely.”

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14 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

NEKKER
Adrian Smith
These little guys are almost cute, if
you ignore the whole vicious-killer
aspect.

Their glistening fangs bared in


hyena-like grins, their eyes fixed
in a mischievous stare, nekkers
come across as evil cousins
of the gremlins and imps of
fantasy worlds. Yet unlike these
more humanoid creatures,
nekkers are beasts through and
through, deprived of reason or
fancy and driven only by an
instinct to hunt and kill.

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MONSTERS 15

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16 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

WILD HUNT
RIDER
Marek Madej
First the buffalo horns atop their
helms penetrate one’s view, then
the crest betwixt them, and finally
the skull-like face exposed
beneath their visors.

With their breastplates resem-


bling exposed rib cages, their
visors forged of jawless skulls,
and their mounts clad from
head to hoof in jagged armor,
the Wild Hunt’s riders look
every inch the supernatural
specters people mistake them
for. This triptych shows them
pounding through a portal torn
in the fabric of time and space,
commencing their invasion of
an unsuspecting world.

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MONSTERS 17

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18 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

DROWNER
Adrian Smith
Though the witch-man lusts for gold,
for the smiting of a drowner thou
shalt give him but a silver penny, or
three halfpence, at most.

Drowners so closely resemble


soggy human corpses that many
believe them to be drowned
men reemerged from watery
graves to gobble the living. In
fact, they are post-Conjunction
creatures who migrated from
another realm to take up
residence in the muddy rivers
and dank ponds of this world.

Drowners belong in the dark,


where the imagination fills with
untold horrors. Adrian drew
them lurking in muck under a
mossy wooden dock, poised to
grab a dangling ankle with their
bony hands. Their naked, hair-
less bodies and bloodshot,
bugged eyes make them easily
mistakable for perverted speci-
mens of humanity gone awry.

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MONSTERS 19

1 2
1. LESSER GOLEM
Ilker Serdar Yildiz
Marek Madej
Bartłomiej Gaweł
“Lesser does not mean worse!”
—Master Istredd of Aedd Gynvael.

2. GOLEM
Nemanja Stankovic
Does not drink. Does not eat. Does
walk, however. And fight.

3. LESSER FIRE
ELEMENTAL
Bayard Wu
A certain mage considered them
cute. His fate gave rise to the
saying “Don’t play with fire.”

4. LESSER EARTH
ELEMENTAL
Chris Rallis
Bogna Gawrońska
Easily mistaken for rocks. Many
a troll’s been unpleasantly surprised
by gastric grief on that very account.

3 4
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20 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

WOLF
Anna Podedworna
Surrounded by that pack of wolves,
we felt like the Three Little Pigs.

Wolves aren’t usually a threat to


humans . . . save travelers who
lose their way in the woods in
winter, when animal quarry
grows scarce. Yet when a
powerful being like a leshen
or werewolf takes control of a
pack, things change.

Anna adores wolves, so she


was thrilled to produce this
illustration. The setting is
romantic—a moonlit night. Yet
it’s made disturbing by the glow
in the predators’ eyes, suggesting
they are in thrall to an evil force.

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VRAN WARRIOR
Anna Podedworna
They sat still on their horses,
seemingly relaxed. He saw their
weapons—short spears with wide
tips. Swords with oddly forged
guards. Battle axes. Toothed
gisarmes.

These reptilian humanoids’


golden days ended eons past
with the arrival on the Continent
of elves, then humans. Yet a
few small pockets are still said
to inhabit remote regions of the
Blue Mountains. Naturally,
vrans have little love for the
warm-blooded species.

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EKIMMARA
Bartłomiej Gaweł
Who would think that overgrown
bats would have a taste for gaudy
jewelry?

Bartek plays with form and style


here. With its tight framing and
tangle of figures, the image is
dynamic, the horse’s wild-eyed
glare drawing the gaze. The
juxtapositions are intentional—
the grotesque and repulsive
against the noble, the desperate
will to survive versus merciless
bloodlust.

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MONSTERS 23

GHOUL
Adrian Smith
If ghouls are part of the Circle of
Life . . . then it’s one vicious circle.

Ghouls generally avoid the


living, seeking nourishment
in old cemeteries, abandoned
tombs, and catacombs. Yet in
times of war or plague they
abandon their usual “pastures,”
forming packs that feast on
corpses piled high. Sated, they
gain confidence to go after
fresher meat.

Adrian focused on the anatomic


features that help ghouls find
food. With their muscular arms
and long claws, they dig up
buried corpses, their sharp teeth
tearing flesh, their strong jaws
crushing bone.

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24 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

ARACHAS
Marek Madej
Ugly. Nature’s way of saying,
“Stay away.”

This species manages to


combine the most hideous
aspects of crabs and spiders
and make the whole yet more
repulsive than the sum of its
parts. In a sad manifestation
of nature’s unbounded capacity
for rather clever ugliness, the
resulting bulging, warty, spiny
creature blends in quite well
with its surroundings.

Sapkowski described the


arachas as having an orchid-
like appendage whose exotic
look and bright colors drew
the gaze away from the more
threatening parts of its anatomy.
In Marek’s illustration, the faux
flower entrances a mouse which,
like the viewer, cannot draw its
eyes away from the vibrant
splash of red in the hazy tangle
of browns and greens.

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MONSTERS 25

HARPY EGG
Grafit Studio
A harpy egg omelet—a delicious
delicacy, good sir. Quite dear
too, for as you might surmise, the
wretches don’t part with their eggs
willingly.

Like the birds they mildly


resemble, harpies build cozy
nests of twigs and branches
in which to nestle their young.
Unlike birds, however, they
adorn these nests with weapons,
armor, human remains, and
layers of smeared blood. While
lending the nests a curious
charm, this inarguably detracts
from their coziness.

The artist has placed the harpy


hatchling just beginning to peek
out of its egg at the center of
the ghastly swirl. The resulting
composition fascinates, disori-
ents, and, as even the bravest
among us must admit, frightens.

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26 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

1 2
1. GRIFFIN
Anna Podedworna
Griffins like to toy with their prey.
Eat ’em alive, piece by piece.

2. HARPY
Bartłomiej Gaweł
There are many species of harpy,
and all are kleptomaniacs.

3. WYVERN
Alejandro Mirabal
Imagine a cross between a winged
snake and a nightmare. Wyverns
are worse.

4. WILD HUNT
WARRIOR
Marta Dettlaff
The White Frost is coming.

3 4
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MONSTERS 27

ARACHAS
BEHEMOTH
Marek Madej
Like a cross between a crab,
a spider . . . and a mountain.

Some claim that these creatures


are the experiments of a rene-
gade mage. Others believe
them to be exceptionally old
specimens of the base species.
Whatever the truth, few have
seen one of the monstrous
beasts and lived to tell the tale.

“In the world of The Witcher,


monsters are a part of everyday
life. You might go to the woods
to pick mushrooms one fine
day, and—lo and behold—there
one will be!”

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28 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

FIEND
Marek Madej
A fiend looks a bit like a deer.
An enormous, evil deer.

Relics of a bygone time, fiends


prowl the darkest, most remote
forests. Woken from a slumber,
they can terrorize nearby
settlements, their third “evil
eye” addling the mind of any
caught by its gaze.

This eye and what it does is


the image’s central motif. In the
subtly unreal, foggy wood, its
tangled branches echoing the
beast’s horns, the fiend’s glow-
ing eyes draw the gaze of the
beholder as they’ve drawn that
of the poor soul in the image.

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MONSTERS 29

FRIGHTENER
Marta Dettlaff
“What have I done?” the mage cried
out, frightened of his own creation.

Frighteners, a renegade mage’s


botched experiments, are
formidable beyond measure.
Even large, well-outfitted armed
units would do better to flee than
fight one. The beast’s ability to
camouflage itself, combined with
its speed, leaves foes little time
to react and almost no chance of
surviving an encounter.

The first Witcher game featured


a mantis-like frightener. Marta’s
concept for Gwent draws on that
form. The death’s-head moth
markings on the beast’s head
are a new detail.

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30 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

OLD SPEARTIP
Bryan Sola
Do not disturb.

The training program for


witcher cadets was rigorous.
One of the toughest trials
entailed sneaking past this old
cyclops. Alas, Speartip had at
least a dozen novice witchers
on his conscience. The bones
of these unfortunates blanch on
the cave floor. Though seated,
it’s clear he is enormous and
dreadfully powerful.

Bryan uses the victims’ remains


to highlight the size difference
between Speartip and the
average man. He simultaneously
leaves no doubt that waking
him could prove fatal.

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32 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

CRONES:
WHISPESS,
BREWESS,
AND WEAVESS
Bartłomiej Gaweł
I’d be your best—and last.

We’ll cut you up, boy. A fine broth


you will make.

I sense your pain. I see your fear.

The Crones call Velen’s swamps


home. Among the world’s oldest
beings, their origin is, and shall
forever remain, shrouded in time.

Gwent had to include the


horrific Crones of Crookback
Bog. Their cards are a horrifying
symbiotic triptych— one of
several in the game.

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MONSTERS 33

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34 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

GRAVE HAG
Adrian Smith
Their long tongues’re for slurping
marrow—and whipping prey.

Their skin covered in pustules,


these large hags are a rare
species. They forage alone,
exhuming things both fresh and
weathered to use in a soup or
to wear as macabre mementos.

Adrian focuses on mood build-


ing, capturing the hag digging
up a forgotten grave, squatting
low to use the tombstone as a
shield against the setting sun.
Her limbs misshapen, her eyes
blank, her tongue serpent-like,
she is clearly no human, but a
monstrous, ravenous thing.

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MONSTERS 35

WATER HAG
Adrian Smith
Seen a lot o’ ugly critters in me life—
morays, lampreys, blobfish . . . But
never nothin’ like this!

Distant relatives of grave hags,


these creatures prowl swamps,
riverbanks, and lakeshores,
pouncing on unwary travelers.
Though bulky and hunched,
water hags are excellent
swimmers who move about their
natural habitat freely and easily.

“It looks terrifying. I mean, if


looks could kill . . . So I didn’t
need to show it lunging toward
the beholder. I opted to focus
on the story, presenting one
particular ‘dame’ returning to
her lair with her last kill, her
‘beau’ for the night.”

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36 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

1 2
1. ARCHGRIFFIN
Anna Podedworna
It’s a griffin, just more . . . griffiny.

2. KATAKAN
Bartłomiej Gaweł
Drinking the blood of the Continent
since the Conjunction.

3. MANTICORE
Marek Madej
We know little about what
manticores look like: though many
have seen them, very few live to
tell about it.

4. NEKKER WARRIOR
Adrian Smith
Take heed, gents—there’s nekkers
under this here bridge.

3 4
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MONSTERS 37

1 2
1. CELAENO HARPY
Bartłomiej Gaweł
Common harpies feed on carrion.
Celaeno harpies . . . they feed on
dreams.

2. GIANT TOAD
Marek Madej
Big, bad, ugly. Squats in the sewers.

3. FIRE ELEMENTAL
Bayard Wu
Can’t stand the heat? Then you
don’t stand a chance.

4. EARTH ELEMENTAL
Bogna Gawrońska
How do you fight an earth
elemental? You don’t. You run.
Fast as you can.

3 4
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NITHRAL
Marta Dettlaff
Each Wild Hunt warrior has
gone through a rigorous selection
process, but Eredin’s personal
cavalcade includes only the most
brutal and most ferocious of the
Aen Elle.

While lesser wielders of


martial magic conjure simple
ice barriers, Nithral defends
himself with frozen works of
art. He weaves frozen water
into intricate fractal spheres,
palaces of crystal that provide
both protection and aesthetic
pleasure. When he arises to
attack, he shatters them merci-
lessly, a consummate artist
unafraid to kill his darlings.

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ICE GIANT
Bartłomiej Gaweł
Fled one time in my life. From
the Ice Giant. And I’m not a bit
ashamed.

The sagas of Skellige frequently


mention heroes who faced
giants. Yet if these tales are true,
the time of these creatures is
long past. The Ice Giant that
roams the Isle of Undvik is likely
the last living member of his
species. Bartek admits he made
up the scene he depicted, pre-
senting the giant in his natural
environment, juxtaposed against
armed men who resemble toy
soldiers. Thus there’s not the
slightest doubt how this con-
frontation will end.

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40 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

RUEHIN
Marta Dettlaff
No one has ever entered that forest
and lived to tell the tale . . .

The forests of Malleore


absorbed a deluge of elven
blood in their time. Now, they
hide an ancient demon who
long lay imprisoned—until he
possessed an innocent, threw
off his fetters, and the wood
was his to rule.

“Created especially for Gwent,


I had a lot of room to play with
when designing this character’s
card. But the final composition
is simple, emphasizing the
contrast between the girl’s frail
frame and the repulsive, insect-
like limbs that hold her.”

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MONSTERS 41

KAYRAN
Bartłomiej Gaweł
How to kill a kayran? Simple! Take
your best sword . . . then sell it, and
hire a witcher.

This Pontar River prowler


was yet another renegade
mage’s experiment. Residents
of nearby Flotsam called the
creature Old Man River, as
they believed the kayran had
lived in the Pontar since time
immemorial. They also thought
it had never stopped growing,
thus its gargantuan dimensions
at the end of its life.

“The creature Geralt faced and


defeated in The Witcher 2 was
not nearly this big. On the
Gwent card, I drew it HUGE!
Sign of the times . . .”

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42 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

DAGON
Alejandro Mirabal
That is not dead which can eternal
lie, and with strange eons even
death may die.

In dark, watery depths dwell


creatures that remember the
world’s inception. One such is
Dagon, an ancient, terrifying,
half-forgotten deity worshiped
by fish-men called vodyanoi
and a small group of human
faithful. Dagon’s followers
wait for the day when the
waters will rise and cover
the lands, and their lord will
extend his dominion over all.

Inspired by the works of H. P.


Lovecraft, Dagon was a boss
in The Witcher, where Geralt
fought the god and his aquatic
attendants.

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MONSTERS 43

DRAUG
Nemanja Stankovic
Some men cannot admit defeat.
Some keep fighting from beyond
the grave.

Born of hatred, violence,


fear, and suffering, this beast
is the uncontested king of
haunted battlegrounds. He
commands legions of fallen
soldiers, all dead, all damned.
Draug, the warped, wraith-like
personification of the cruel
General Vandergrift with his
lust for battle and blood, was
an iconic character in The
Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.
But would you expect anything
less of a walking, talking, fight-
ing bonfire?

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EREDIN
Lorenzo Mastroianni
Have some dignity. You know how
this will end.

Nearly all tales of the Wild


Hunt, oft whispered in terror
by night, mention the retinue’s
leader, a dark, phantom king
clad in armor designed to
impress. Few realize the King
of the Wild Hunt is Eredin
Bréacc Glas, ruler of the Aen
Elle, an elven race that inhabits a
parallel yet distant plane. When
the Hunt rides, however, both
mount and horseman look like
wraiths, sowing fear in all foes
and in a few friends, too.

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MONSTERS 45

GAUNTER O’DIMM
Nemanja Stankovic
He always grants exactly what
you wish for. That’s the problem.

Master Mirror, the Man of


Glass—just two of the many
monikers of this seemingly
harmless peddler of reflective
surfaces. Whether he’s a demon
or some other powerful being,
no one knows. Suffice it to say
he controls time and makes the
wishes of some come true if the
“price” is right. Gaunter is play-
fully demonic in the image, and
few would suspect the spoon
he balances on his fingertip is
actually a murder weapon.

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46 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

IMLERITH
Marek Madej
Ladd nahw! Kill them! Litter the
earth with their entrails!

Eredin’s lieutenant, an
armor-clad giant; a veteran
of thousands of battles, he
has fought in dozens of worlds.
Fierce, merciless, and invincible
on the field, he draws pure
pleasure from destruction
and slaughter.

“I wanted to highlight the


warrior in him, his height,
mass, and strength seemingly
expressing brutality. It’s not a
drastic scene, yet the viewer
has no doubt what will happen.
Background events are inten-
tionally blurred, the coup de
grâce will be dealt front and
center.”

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MONSTERS 47

CARANTHIR
Marek Madej
A favorite son who chose a life
of villainy.

The second of Eredin’s trusted


lieutenants possesses the unique
power to open portals through
which the Hunt traverses space
and time. At his commander’s
side, Caranthir leads Aen Elle
warriors in their forays to
conquer other worlds.

His role as the Hunt’s navigator


inspired this illustration, which
captures him at the instant
before he opens a gate between
planes. The Aen Elle army await
passage behind him, while
the bow of their grim longship,
Naglfar, hovers above.

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48 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

GE’ELS
Marta Dettlaff
Paintings should convey emotion,
not words.

Eredin’s lieutenant and ally,


and in the king’s absence, regent
among the Aen Elle. A capable
politician, seasoned negotiator,
and efficient manager, Ge’els
ranks high at Eredin’s court and
in Aen Elle society. He differs
from the power-hungry king in
his honesty. Some see this as
his strength, others as his
weakness—they number about
the same. White-haired Ge’els
is an art connoisseur and
amateur painter who experiments
broadly. Here, he devotes
himself to his passion ever
so calmly.

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MONSTERS 49

AVALLAC’H
Marek Madej
You humans have . . . unusual
tastes.

When he first encountered


Avallac’h, Geralt had no idea
the mysterious elf was an Aen
Saevherne, an elven Sage; not
least because Avallac’h was
hard at work at a peculiar task—
the copying and embellishing
of primitive human cave
paintings for a reason known
only to himself.

In Gwent, Avallac’h appears


on two cards assigned to
different factions. Here we see
the elf during that first meeting
with Geralt, long before fate
would reunite them for
weighty adventures.

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50 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

CARETAKER
Marek Madej
There are more things in heaven
and earth than all the world’s
philosophers have dreamt.

The grim servant of a noble


house in ruin . . . summoned
years past by the owner, who
dabbled in black magic. With
his mistress dead, the Caretaker
nonetheless continues to
discharge his duties, treating
intruders and guests in the
same grisly manner. The image
clearly references horror films,
the perspective highlighting the
Caretaker’s size. The foreground
vegetation partly obscures the
view, placing the beholder
within the scene, hiding and
observing the creature at its
ghoulish chores.

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WOODLAND SPIRIT
Marek Madej
We never hunt in these woods. Not
even if it means the whole village’ll
starve.

The shape-shifting, undisputed


lord of the wilderness; wolves
and other forest denizens are
his minions, and even trees and
thickets do his bidding. The
skulls of those who venture into
his domain hang at the ancient
being’s waist, wondering what
the hell happened . . .

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NORTHERN
REALMS
NOBLE, CHIVALRIC REDANIA; ambitious, martial Kaedwen; powerful, wealthy Temeria;
proud, quarrelsome Aedirn—these are only four of the dozen kingdoms and duchies known as
the Northern Realms. Linked by a shared history, culture, language, and religions, bound by
blood in the vicious wars against the elves, the Northern Realms still bicker and fight each other
seemingly without end, yet join together to make common cause against mutual threats.

The North relies first and foremost on the rank and file of its armies, hardened by centuries
of battle with neighboring realms and bloody nonhuman uprisings. Yet it also recognizes the
role of stellar individuals, heroes of remarkable ability and incredible strength.

In Gwent, the Northern Realms faction seeks to dominate the battlefield by continually
bringing in fresh troops and providing boosts to those already deployed. Leading them in
these tactics is a triumvirate of their most accomplished royal commanders: King Foltest of
Temeria, King Radovid of Redania, and King Henselt of Kaedwen.

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54 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

BALLISTA
Anna Podedworna
What crossbows want to be when
they grow up.

The North’s best minds


toiled tirelessly on this fiend-
ish machine, hoping it would
supplant the heavy cavalry as
“Queen of the Battlefield.” Seen
from above, their brainchild
boils down to a set of simple
shapes: a taut triangle of arms
and cord, a bisecting heavy
iron bolt, and a trio of
operators. Their leader’s
outstretched hand turns our
attention back to the dizzying
drop in the background,
emphasizing that they stand on
high ground and are about to
launch death on those below.

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NORTHERN REALMS 55

FIELD MEDIC
Diego de Almeida
Stitch red to red, white to white,
and everything will be all right.

The medic wields her blade


with surgical precision, a
paragon of focus and calm
despite her frenzied, thrown-
together surroundings. The
wounded warrior, chest heaving,
seems freshly pulled from the
battle raging outside the tent.
He stares at the medic with
skepticism and apprehension,
seeking reassurance in her
confidence. Like him, we wonder:
will he arise from the table to
fight another day, or will this
simple plank prove to be his
deathbed?

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56 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

BLUE STRIPES
COMMANDO
Anna Podedworna
I’d do anything for Temeria.
Mostly though, I kill for her.

Your enemy fight dirty? Fight


dirtier. That’s what Temeria
did when it brought together
its scrappiest soldiers, hardiest
hunters, and bawdiest brawlers
to form the Blue Stripes—a
special forces unit charged with
exterminating the Scoia’tael
pest once and for all.

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NORTHERN REALMS 57

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58 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

DETHMOLD
Lasahido Lius
I once made a prisoner vomit his
own entrails . . . Ah, good times . . .

Dethmold—even his name reeks


of villainy. This mage made
spines crawl in The Witcher 2:
Assassins of Kings with his acts
of cruelty, sadism, and overall
unpleasantness. Yet he was not
a nemesis without nuance:
though he served a flawed king,
he served him faithfully, and his
viciousness was said to spring
from his brother’s death at the
hands of the Scoia’tael.

Dethmold specializes in wield-


ing wind, emphasized here by
his weathervane-topped staff,
the storm raging around him,
and his sensibly weatherproof
garments.

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NORTHERN REALMS 59

ARETUZA ADEPT
Grafit Studio
The adepts’ every whim is catered
to—they live like princesses at
Aretuza, and in turn, half the city
lives off servicing them: seam-
stresses, milliners, confectioners,
delivery boys . . .

It is a truth universally acknowl-


edged that any well-situated
young lady in the Northern
Realms showing a spark of
magic talent should attend
Aretuza Academy. There they
learn to bend the elements to
their will and become powerful
sorceresses, or, at the very least,
amusing dinner companions.

Though the academy’s tutelage


is rigorous, it does not deprive
its adepts of material comforts.
Here we see a cozy reading
room adorned with flowers and
its occupant provided with an
ample supply of fresh fruit.

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BLUE
STRIPES SCOUT
Marta Dettlaff
Blue Stripes and Scoia’tael are
similar in one regard—hatred fuels
both.

A poacher can bag a grouse


without disturbing a twig, and
a game warden can hear one
squawk from a league away—
thus the Blue Stripes recruit
scouts from both trades, to keep
the unit from being bagged by
the Scoia’tael.

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NORTHERN REALMS 61

DUN BANNER
LIGHT CAVALRY
Lasahido Lius
Stay calm, everyone. And be
alert. The true owners of those
cloaks and beaver-skin caps
might be elsewhere.

After this regiment tipped the


scales to a Northern victory
at the Battle of Brenna, their
distinctive beaver-fur hats
and namesake banner became
widely recognized symbols of
valor. Within the Kaedweni
army, riders of “The Dun,”
as it came to be called, were
envied and admired in equal
part by their brothers-in-arms.

This cavalryman’s steely


face and sturdy steed suggest
skill in battle, while the
Kaedweni unicorn insignia on
his chest and the beaver pelt on
his head show both his colors
and a certain flair.

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62 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

KAEDWENI
SIEGE SUPPORT
Filipe Pagliuso
Alicja Kapustka
“You gotta recalibrate the arm by
five degrees.” “Do what by the what
now?”

Siege machinery requires


countless joints, hinges, springs,
gears, and pulleys, all working at
maximum efficiency. Needless to
say, rain or snow can muck up
those works, causing rust and
slippage that can turn a well-
aimed shot into an embarrass-
ingly botched misfire.

Thus in times of inclement


weather, or whenever grease
needs to be smeared in just the
right places, Kaedwen brings in
highly trained siege technicians
like the fashionably bearded
fellow in this illustration.

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NORTHERN REALMS 63

TREBUCHET
Anna Podedworna
Castle won’t batter itself down, now
will it? Get them trebuchets rollin’!

When your enemy cowers


behind thick walls, it’s time
to build a trebuchet. These
machines smash guard towers
into dusty mounds and turn
ramparts into steppingstones
for storming troops.

“Old manuscript illustrations,


photographs of modern
trebuchet reconstructions—
I pored over these, learning
how all the parts fit together,
how to depict them. Then I
placed this beast against the
backdrop of a castle aflame,
turning it into the protagonist of
this dynamic, dramatic scene.”

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64 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

POOR INFANTRY
Marta Dettlaff
I’s a war veteran! . . . Spare me
a crown?

The Vizima peasants that


joined this regiment had never
dealt with the concepts of
right and left before, so they
strapped hay to one leg, straw
to the other, and marched to
the call of “Hay, straw! Hay,
straw!”—punctuated, of course,
by more colorful terms.

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NORTHERN REALMS 65

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66 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

TEMERIAN
FOOT SOLDIER
Marta Dettlaff
Temeria! Temeria! Gods shed all
grace on thee! And smite thy foes
with horrid woes, for all eternity!

Temeria’s army lives and


dies by its heavy infantry units.
Encased in steel and armed
with long halberds, they fight
in tight formations of death-
dealing metal.

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NORTHERN REALMS 67

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REAVER SCOUT
Nemanja Stankovic
Haven’t had much luck with
monsters of late, so we enlisted.

To get a bird’s-eye view of a


flying reptile takes some work.
The dragon-hunting Crinfrid
Reavers’ scouts thus combine
the skills of a deft tracker with
those of an expert mountaineer—
all while maintaining their band’s
distinct aesthetic style.

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NORTHERN REALMS 69

1 2
1. REINFORCED
TREBUCHET
Anna Podedworna
Feel that? The earth trembles
whenever Big Bertha lets loose
a stone.

2. REDANIAN ELITE
Nemanja Stankovic
I’ll die for Redania, I’ll kill for
Redania . . . I’ll even eat worms for
Redania!

3. KAEDWENI SIEGE
EXPERT
Form Language Studio
Bogna Gawrońska
I never miss twice.

4. DUN BANNER
HEAVY CAVALRY
Grafit Studio
Always wondered—how the blazes
do those lads handle nature’s call?

3 4
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70 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

REAVER HUNTER
Bartłomiej Gaweł
See this here tattoo? ’At’s me, hackin’
at a dragon. A dragon, m’lady.

Dragons, slyzards, forktails—


if it’s scaly, flies, and gobbles
cattle, the Reavers hunt it.
In fact, they hunt just about
anything, if the price is right.
Yet dragons remain their
favored prey, and, with their
clever traps and foolhardy luck,
they actually manage to rope
one occasionally.

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NORTHERN REALMS 71

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72 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

REINFORCED SIEGE
TOWER
Noah Bradley
Marek Madej
The latest rage in assaults on
walled cities.

Northern Realms commanders


love their siege towers. Sure,
they require a jaw-dropping
amount of lumber and an
unspeakable number of man-
hours to construct, but wheeling
an entire division to the top
of the enemy’s defenses with
minimal casualties—that is truly
priceless.

The artists modeled the tower


in this illustration after those
used in medieval Europe. Their
walls were soaked with water or
covered with wet hides before a
battle to reduce their risk of
being set alight and roasting the
soldiers inside.

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REINFORCED
BALLISTA
Noah Bradley
Never manages to hit the same
place twice, which, upon further
reflection, might constitute a real
problem.

The North’s wild-eyed tinkerers


love to push the limits of the
possible. Make a ballista that
can withstand enemy volleys?
Why not? And send ten-foot
missles flying toward targets
half a mile away? Ha! Make it
a mile! And hit the same spot
twice in a row? Now let’s be
reasonable . . .

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74 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

REDANIAN KNIGHT
Nemanja Stankovic
For glory! For Radovid!

In Redania, feudalism runs


deep, championed by knights
who fiercely protect the
privileges it gives them. In
return, they form the backbone
of the realm’s army, clad in
heavy plate and astride armored
war mounts furnished at their
own expense.

In this image, the knights’


armor, based on that of late
medieval and early Renaissance
Europe, radiates wealth and
power. It is clear these are no
petty nobles, but the cream
of their nation’s elite.

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NORTHERN REALMS 75

1 2
1. FALIBOR
Nemanja Stankovic
Loyal vassal of the old baron of
Tridam. Currently a wanted man.

2. JOHN NATALIS
Grafit Studio
Bartłomiej Gaweł
That square should bear the
names of my soldiers, of the dead.
Not mine.

3. MARGARITA
LAUX-ANTILLE
Filipe Pagliuso
Bogna Gawrońska
I care only about what’s good for
Aretuza and my pupils.

4. TROLOLO
Hugo Richard
Marek Madej
Join me King Ravodid army. Order
got—guard boatses.

3 4
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BLOODY BARON
Bartłomiej Gaweł
I’ve not been a good father, I know,
but . . . perhaps it’s not too late.

Legends swirled about Philip


Strenger’s moniker after he took
the castle at Crow’s Perch and
proclaimed himself ruler of
Velen, yet none claimed it
referred to his bleeding heart—
for he and his band of marauders
oversaw a reign of pillaging and
violence. Ultimately, the baron’s
life crumbled. His wife and
daughter left him, his unborn
child perished, and his heart did
not merely bleed . . . it broke.

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LUBBERKIN
Bartłomiej Gaweł
I name thee Dea and embrace thee
as my daughter.

An unborn child that is cast off—


abandoned—can transform into
a hideous creature called a
botchling. Yet, if the appropriate
ritual is performed, a botchling
can in turn be changed into a
lubberkin, a friendly guardian
of home and hearth.

“I wanted to emphasize the


blending of the material and
the supernatural, contrast the
muddy farmyard against the
lubberkin’s unearthly glow. The
barking dog is clearly frightened
by the specter’s aura. The bare
branches reflected in the dark
puddles heighten the scene’s
eerie feel.”

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78 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

BOTCHLING
Katarzyna Redesiuk
Admit your mistakes and bury
them proper—else they’ll come
back to haunt you.

Botchlings are cursed creatures


arising from expectant parents’
cruelly dashed hopes. These
misbegotten, discarded would-
be offspring turn into monsters
that sneak into homes and slurp
the strength of pregnant women
at night. The botchling illustrated
here arose after the Bloody
Baron assaulted his wife and
caused her to miscarry.

The little beast’s animal-eyed,


deformed head exhibits nearly
no human traits. Its double
rows of teeth reference Slavic
legends about strigas, which,
like botchlings, are born of
dead children.

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NORTHERN REALMS 79

1 2
1. PRISCILLA
Tokkun Studio
Bogna Gawrońska
Picture Dandelion in a dress and
you’ve got the general idea.

2. SÍLE DE
TANSARVILLE
Form Language Studio
Bogna Gawrońska
The Lodge lacks humility. Our lust
for power may yet be our undoing.

3. SABRINA
GLEVISSIG
Paweł Świeżak
Bartłomiej Gaweł
The Daughter of the Kaedweni
Wilderness.

4. ODRIN
Darek Zabrocki
Drinkin’ without Odrin is like rowin’
without a paddle.

3 4
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80 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

FOLTEST
KD Stanton
Don’t need advisers and their
schemes. I place my trust in my
soldiers’ blades.

King Foltest is without a


doubt one of the most powerful
rulers in the Northern Realms.
Thanks to his skillful politicking
and well-planned alliances,
Temeria not only fought off two
Nilfgaardian invasions but also
put down a nonhuman uprising
and the seditious Order of the
Flaming Rose, all while expand-
ing its borders and gaining
influence over neighboring
kingdoms.

Here Foltest’s proud bearing,


his regal attire, and the troops
smartly arrayed for review below
show him as a true warrior-king,
a proud ruler surveying the
might of his kingdom.

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NORTHERN REALMS 81

VERNON ROCHE
Bartłomiej Gaweł
A patriot . . . and a real pain in
the rear.

Vernon Roche—famed special


forces commander, fearless
warrior, and Temerian patriot.
He advanced from simple
soldier to right-hand man
of King Foltest, for whom he
would have given his life and
after whose death he became
the fiercest proponent of the
Temerian cause.

Vernon’s appearance was


developed in great detail for
The Witcher 2: Assassins
of Kings. Here he stands in full
Blue Stripes regalia, complete
with his trademark chaperon, a
historical head covering popular
in the waning Middle Ages.

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82 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

TRISS: BUTTERFLY
SPELL
Bartłomiej Gaweł
Cap’n . . . our arrows, they’ve . . .
they’ve got wings!

Mages draw energy from


the elements and bend it with
their minds. The complicated
tapestries of jaw-dropping
wonder they weave sometimes
shock even the casters
themselves.

The incantation developed by


Triss Merigold known as the
Butterfly Spell was first cast
near Flotsam, when she was
ambushed by Iorveth’s
Scoia’tael commando. The
magic barrier she erected
protected her and her
companions from a hail of
arrows, which turned into
harmless, though strikingly
colorful, butterflies.

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NORTHERN REALMS 83

PRINCE STENNIS
Lorenzo Mastroianni
He wears armor made of gold. Of
course he’s a jerk.

Son of the murdered King


Demavend of Aedirn, Stennis
inherited a realm plunged into
chaos and torn apart by war,
its subjects having no wish
to make him their new ruler.
Despite all this, the arrogant
young prince did not waver
on his path to reclaim his
father’s crown.

“The crown on the table, glowing


in sunlight, is clearly the young
prince’s greatest desire. Yet the
shadows darkening the prince’s
face contrast sharply with the
gold of the crown and his armor,
hinting at something sinister
behind all this bling.”

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84 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

1 2
1. NENNEKE
Bryan Sola
Few know more about healing than
Nenneke.

2. RADOVID
Nemanja Stankovic
A king should be merciless toward
his enemies and generous to his
friends.

3. VES
Anna Podedworna
Better to live one day as a king
than a whole life as a beggar.

4. DIJKSTRA
Anna Podedworna
Really believe you can dupe me
with that tale you just pulled from
your arse?

3 4
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NORTHERN REALMS 85

PHILIPPA EILHART
Diego de Almeida
Soon the power of kings will
wither, and the Lodge shall seize
its rightful place.

Philippa Eilhart soared to


great heights, roosting in the
Supreme Council of Mages,
perching atop the Lodge of
Sorceresses, and nesting in
the Redanian Regency Council.
Her lofty ambition and predatory
ruthlessness earned her the
enmity of the mad King Radovid,
who had her captured and then
personally gouged out her eyes.
Maimed yet not defeated,
Philippa fought through her pain
and, crimson tears streaking her
cheeks, flew the coop in a blaze
of magic fury.

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SHANI
Lorenzo Mastroianni
I’m a medic. I tend to know what I’m
doing when I prescribe something.

Shani is that rare brand of medic


who, having sawed off count-
less oozing limbs, still blushes
when given a bouquet of linden
blossoms; that rare brand of
scholar who looks on the world
with hope and optimism; that
rare brand of person who would
give her life for a friend. Here
we see her resuscitating a
soldier while knee deep in sewer
muck, heedless of the risks or
what uniform he wears.

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NORTHERN REALMS 87

THALER
Anna Podedworna
Piss off! We aren’t all philanderers.
Some of us have depth . . .

Cobbler, fence, soldier, spy—


Bernard Ducat, alias Thaler
(or is it the other way around?)
wears all these hats. Yet the one
that best fit his hairless, foul-
mouthed head is that of
incognito director of Temerian
Intelligence. In that role, his
scruffy exterior proves the
perfect cover for his razor-
sharp mind, on which countless
enemy agents cut themselves
to surprised shreds.

“I wanted to show Thaler as an


inveterate improviser who keeps
his cool even in hopeless situa-
tions, a gambler who always
has an ace up his sleeve.”

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88 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

KAEDWENI
SERGEANT
Ilker Serdar Yildiz
Forward, you sorry sods! Forward,
or you’ll see the Nilfgaardians are
the least of your worries!

The heat of never-ending


strife with every neighboring
realm burned all weakness and
cowardice out of Kaedwen’s
officer corps. Even its sergeants
possess more battle experience
than the solidly grizzled
generals of other armies.

This sergeant wears heavier


armor than those around him—
perhaps a sign of his rank,
perhaps because he has learned
to expect the worst. The feathers
in his helm distinguish him as a
leader to be followed, both in
combat and couture.

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NORTHERN REALMS 89

1 2
1. DANDELION
Lorenzo Mastroianni
Dandelion, you’re a cynic, a
lecher, a liar—and my best friend.

2. KEIRA METZ
Bogna Gawrońska
If I’m to die today, I wish to look
smashing for the occasion.

3. HENSELT
Grafit Studio
King Henselt did not look like a
thief, but, with all due respect, that’s
more or less what he was.

4. PAVETTA
Bartłomiej Gaweł
They said the queen was prone
to outbursts, but I did not expect
that . . .

3 4
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SCOIA’TAEL
THE SCOIA’TAEL ARE NONHUMAN REBELS, guerrillas fighting for a hopeless cause. Most
are elves, members of the proud Aen Seidhe who once dwelled in beautiful towns and soaring
castles across the North, and now must scrape out a partisan existence in the woods. Others
are dwarves who, having lived by the humans’ side, grew tired of their ever-increasing
discrimination, open hatred, and bloody pogroms.

All Scoia’tael share a longing for freedom—and for revenge. Years of persecution prompted
them to take up arms, and the bloody reprisals that came after only hardened their convictions.
For some time they were allies of the Nilfgaardian Empire, but were then betrayed and left to
fend for themselves. Hounded and outnumbered, they fight bravely to escape their fate—or at
least to die with dignity.

In Gwent, the Scoia’tael are the most mobile of factions, able to react quickly to their opponents’
moves and to employ guerrilla tactics like ambushes, traps, and feigned retreats. Special Cards
find special synergies in Scoia’tael decks, letting the faction seize control of the battlefield and
fight enemy armies on its own terms. With Francesca Findabair, Brouver Hoog, and Eithné
each providing a different arrow in their strategic quiver, the Scoia’tael channel scrappy versatility
and slippery gumption, very much like one would expect from fighters nicknamed “Squirrels.”

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92 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

DWARVEN
SKIRMISHER
Grafit Studio
Worked a pickaxe all me life.
Battleaxe won’t be any trouble.

The Scoia’tael send strike


groups to disrupt enemy supply
lines and pull off surprise flank-
ing maneuvers. These dwarves,
who can run undetected through
brush and woods, often catch
enemy soldiers with their pants
down—sometimes literally.

Lightly armed with one-


handed axes and lightly
armored in chain-mail vests,
dwarven skirmishers employ
hit-and-run tactics, though their
ferocious efficiency often turns
these into hit-hit-hit-and-watch-
the-enemy-run tactics.

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S C O I A’ TA E L 93

DWARVEN
MERCENARY
Grafit Studio
The key’s mixin’ pleasure an’
business—like smackin’ foes and
gettin’ coin for it.

Dwarves who leave their


homeland of Mahakam must
make their own way and build
lives for themselves in a largely
hostile world. For some, these
tribulations provoke an
ideological fervor that drives
them to join the Scoia’tael. For
others, the Scoia’tael are an
employer like any other, one
that pays hard coin for their
expert fighting services.

The dwarven mercenaries


shown here kill with solemn
resolution furrowing their
brows. For them, such skir-
mishes are just another day
on the job.

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94 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

COMMANDO
NEOPHYTE
Grafit Studio
Many nonhumans, fed up with
the racism and xenophobia they
encounter in the cities, decide to
join the Scoia’tael.

New recruits flock to the


Scoia’tael banner equipped
with limitless rage, undying
rebel spirit . . . and little else.
They wield whatever makeshift
weaponry they can find and can
rarely afford the luxury of even
the shoddiest of armor.

The artist chose to accent


the elf’s lithe, wiry body and
his confident determination.
Despite his scant equipment,
this fiery new commando
member is sure to prove a
dangerous foe to any he
encounters.

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S C O I A’ TA E L 95

1 2
1. VRIHEDD
VANGUARD
Bryan Sola
Temerians, Redanians, all the same.
Better off dead.

2. VRIHEDD
BRIGADE
Grafit Studio
“Vrihedd? What’s that mean?”
“Trouble.”

3. VRIHEDD
OFFICERS
Grafit Studio
“Hatred burns brighter than
any fire, and cuts deeper than
any blade.”

4. DOL BLATHANNA
ARCHER
Ilker Serdar Yildiz
Take another step, dh’oine. You’d
look better with an arrow between
your eyes.

3 4
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MAHAKAM GUARD
Grafit Studio
Only one punishment for disturbin’
the peace in Mahakam: a hammer
to the heid.

In times of war, the elite


Mahakam Guard serves as
the frontline of the dwarven
enclave’s defense. In times
of peace, its members act as
watchmen, keepers of order
and protectors of Mahakam’s
elders. Membership in this for-
mation is considered an honor;
serving in it often becomes a
family tradition, passed down
from amply bearded father to
amply bearded son.

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MAHAKAM
DEFENDER
Grafit Studio
I’m telling ye, we’re born fer battle—
we slash straight at their knees!

Mahakam is guarded not


only by impassable cliffs and
unbreachable fortifications, but
also by well-trained squads of
battle-hardened veterans. Their
heavy pavis shields arrayed in a
tight phalanx, these defenders
become a wall on which every
enemy attack will break.

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98 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

1 2
1. HAWKER HEALER
Ilker Serdar Yildiz
Sure, I’ll patch you up. Gonna cost
you, though.

2. HAWKER
SMUGGLER
Ilker Serdar Yildiz
I fight for whoever’s paying the best.
Or whoever’s easiest to rob.

3. HAWKER
SUPPORT
Ilker Serdar Yildiz
Elf, dwarf, makes no difference—
long as they’ve got coin.

4. DOL BLATHANNA
MARKSMAN
Bryan Sola
You might manage to hide from
them, but once spotted, don’t
bother trying to run.

3 4
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S C O I A’ TA E L 99

VRIHEDD
SAPPER
Bryan Sola
No matter what you may have
heard, elves don’t take human
scalps. Too much lice.

The Vrihedd Brigade includes


an ancillary division of sappers,
or engineers, who erect
fortifications and crossings.
Thanks to them, its cavalry can
storm across rivers at lightning
speed to attack the enemy’s
exposed flanks.

This sapper’s left shoulder


bears his brigade’s emblem—
three lightning bolts on a black
field. Though he is clearly
engaged in construction, two
swords on his back suggest
the work is being done on the
frontlines.

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100 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

DOL BLATHANNA
TRAPPER
Bogna Gawrońska
They track like hounds, run like deer,
and kill like heartless demons.

These hunters and trappers


turned saboteurs are experts at
covert operations and fiendishly
clever traps. Once snarers
of animals and collectors of
furs, they are now scalpers
of humans, equipped with a
diverse arsenal and able to
sow absolute terror in enemy
ranks with devilishly elven pyro-
technics that deafen, blind, and
maim.

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S C O I A’ TA E L 101

VRIHEDD DRAGOON
Grafit Studio
Bartłomiej Gaweł
Stare into their eyes. Feast on their
terror. Then go in for the kill.

Riordain’s fame preceded


his time as a Vrihedd Brigade
officer, dating to when, as a
Scoia’tael commando leader,
he led a daring raid on a gold-
laden Verden tax convoy. After
that, the price on his head
quintupled.

Since the Vrihedd Brigade


is technically part of the
Nilfgaardian Army, its officers
wear black-and-white uniforms
modeled after those of their
imperial peers, rather than the
browns and greens of typical
Scoia’tael garb.

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BLUE MOUNTAIN
COMMANDO
Bryan Sola
By the time we’d heard them, it was
already too late . . .

Blue tones mark a diagonal line


through this illustration, from
the dark paint over the elves’
eyes to the pale morning light
falling on the crates, leaving
corners of warmer yellows
and greens. Front and center,
however, is the shining dagger
clenched in the center elf’s
hand, sterile and cold for now,
but promising to soon drip a
hot crimson.

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S C O I A’ TA E L 103

ELVEN WARDANCER
Bryan Sola
You mean to say the she-elf
danced amid the fray? Have you
lost your mind, corporal?!

Iorveth’s troops are the best-


trained and most effective of
the Scoia’tael fighters. Hardened
in dozens of skirmishes against
the Northern Realms’ special
forces, they’re prepared to
follow their leader till death
and beyond.

“This is definitely one of my


favorites. The dynamic elf,
captured midjump, right before
landing her death-dealing blow,
contrasts with the hazy outlines
of the shocked soldiers. Her
face reveals focus, determination,
and nothing else. Though out-
numbered, she clearly has the
situation in hand.”

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104 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

IORVETH
Anna Podedworna
King or beggar, what’s the
difference? One dh’oine less.

Once an officer of the Vrihedd


Brigade, Iorveth went on to
become the most effective—and
most hated—Scoia’tael leader.
Despite the concerted efforts
of the Northern Realms’ special
forces, for over a decade he
conducted a private war on
humans, fighting for a better
future and for revenge.

This illustration shows


every key attribute of Iorveth’s
appearance–from his red head-
scarf through his distinctive
double-limbed bow to the
badges of decimated special
forces units on his sash. Most
strongly, however, it highlights
his essence as death descending
like a cruel, cold dawn.

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S C O I A’ TA E L 105

1 2
1. YARPEN ZIGRIN
Grafit Studio
Ever hear o’ the dragon Ocvist?
From Quartz Mountain? Well,
Yarpen Zigrin and his band o’
dwarves did ’im in.

2. ELVEN
MERCENARY
Grafit Studio
I spit on the Scoia’tael’s ideals, but
not on their coin.

3. BRAENN
Miles Johnston
Nemanja Stankovic
Mona . . . ? No . . . no. I’m Braenn.
A daughter of Brokilon.

4. BARCLAY ELS
Grafit Studio
Our mead smells rotten, do it?
Easy to fix—I’ll break your nose!

3 4
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106 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

SCHIRRÚ
Grafit Studio
Time to look death in the face.

The half-elf Schirrú has no


use for Scoia’tael ideology,
yet the Scoia’tael often have
use for an experienced assassin
with no moral qualms. Schirrú
accepts their coin and treats
the pleasure he gets from killing
humans as a welcome bonus.

In this scene, it matters little


what Schirrú is torching and
why. It matters little that two
private detectives—Codhringer
and Fenn—will perish in the
blaze, or that their death will
temporarily halt Geralt of
Rivia’s search for his adoptive
daughter Cirilla. What matters
is Schirrú, distant, unmoved,
ice amidst the flames.

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SAESENTHESSIS
Anna Podedworna
I care not for kings and their titles.
In the East lives one who truly
deserves a crown.

In human form, the dragon


Saesenthessis goes by the
name Saskia the Dragonslayer
and the Virgin of Aedirn. She
lived a ruse, you might say. Yet
in the fight against Kaedwen for
a free nonhuman homeland, she
was steadfast in pursuit of the
ideal and brought her claws
and maw to bear against
Henselt’s far superior forces.

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108 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

AELIRENN
Lorenzo Mastroianni
Better to die standing than live on
your knees.

To the Scoia’tael, Aelirenn,


the White Rose of Shaerrawedd,
remains an unfailing symbol of
courage, resistance, and
sacrifice. She led the elven
youth in a first, desperate
uprising against their human
conquerors, for which she and
her rebels paid the ultimate
price.

Banner in hand, atop a pile of


the fallen, she resembles Liberty
from Delacroix’s famous
painting. Just her lithe figure,
pointed ear, crown of thorns,
and well-bloodied blade seem
departures from Eugéne’s
idealized personification.

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S C O I A’ TA E L 109

TORUVIEL
Anna Podedworna
I’d gladly kill you from up close,
stare in your eyes . . . But you reek,
human.

Like many Dol Blathanna elves,


Toruviel joined the Scoia’tael
to take revenge upon humans,
after years of exile, hunger,
and war taught her to hate the
dh’oine with near overwhelming
passion.

In this drawing, Anna shows


Toruviel enjoying an idyllic day
in the countryside. Butterflies
flit around her bringing a wide
grin to her face as she mutilates
the corpse of a fallen knight
using his own blade. The
juxtaposition of joy and cruelty
suggests Toruviel, in her hatred,
has become dangerously
unhinged.

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110 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

1 2
1. AGLAÏS
Anna Podedworna
Brokilon bleeds . . . and not even
I can heal it.

2. ELE’YAS
Diego de Almeida
Love justifies madness in any
of its forms.

3. MALENA
Nemanja Stankovic
I hate you, dh’oine. You are all
the same.

4. IDA EMEAN
Anna Podedworna
I am a Sage. My power lies
in possessing knowledge. Not
sharing it.

3 4
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S C O I A’ TA E L 111

MILAEN
Lorenzo Mastroianni
The old baron treated poachers
mercilessly. Luckily for Milaen, the
old baron was dead and his men,
desperate outlaws.

Milaen is an elven poacher


and tracker for hire. Though
she willingly takes coin from
any who offer it, her attitude
toward dh’oine is less friendly
than she would ever reveal to
her clients.

Milaen is a new character,


set to make her first appearance
in Gwent’s single-player
adventure. In this illustration,
she wears a simple yet stylish
outfit in browns and greens that
stops short of true camouflage
but still allows her to blend into
the thick forest undergrowth.

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FRANCESCA
Lorenzo Mastroianni
To live in peace, we first must kill.
This is human oppression’s cruel
finale.

Considered by many the most


beautiful woman in the world,
the elf Francesca Findabair is
also one of its most powerful
sorceresses and the ruler of
Dol Blathanna, the Valley of
Flowers. After two long centuries
of struggle to reestablish elven
control over her homeland,
Francesca is prepared to do
everything in her power to
preserve its dearly bought
independence. She will even
conjure infinite snakes.

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S C O I A’ TA E L 113

MORENN
Bryan Sola
Lady Eithné’s daughter had
inherited her sublime beauty and
her wild hatred for all that is
human.

Morenn, like all dryads,


began fighting humans the
moment she learned to wield a
bow at a very young age. She
also quickly mastered how to
set the snares and murderous
traps that make the paths
through the Brokilon Forest
so infamously dangerous.

In drawing Morenn, Bryan


strove to grant her a wild, even
primeval appearance. She is a
merciless huntress who does
not hesitate to use live humans
as bait to lure, catch, and kill . . .
more humans. Is that a spot
of drool at the corner of her
mouth?

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114 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

ISENGRIM
Grafit Studio
It dawns on them once they notice
my scar: a realization of imminent
death.

Isengrim’s scar-pocked face


raises bile in dh’oine throats,
not out of revulsion, but from
the terrifying recognition of the
one whom they behold. This
Scoia’tael commander and
former Vrihedd Brigade colonel
is renowned as one of the
bravest, most ruthless, and
most elusive Aen Seidhe ever
to raise bow against members
of the human race.

The artist has shown Isengrim


inspecting a prisoner, his face
not twisted in an expression
of cruelty or menace, but
bearing in a satisfied smile.

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S C O I A’ TA E L 115

EITHNÉ
Dário Coelho
The dryad queen has eyes of
molten silver, and a heart of
cold-forged steel.

For centuries, Eithné—ruler of


Brokilon—has led the dryads in
defending their forest homeland
against encroaching humans.
To replenish her ranks of
warriors over that time, she had
to resort to unusual means, for
dryads birth only daughters,
sired through infrequent
liaisons with elves or humans.
They can, however, also
adopt girls of other races.
Administered Brokilon’s magic
waters from Eithné’s own
hands, such a child is stripped
of all memories and becomes a
dryad, a defender of the woods.

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116 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

SHELDON SKAGGS
Paweł Świeżak
I was there, on the frontlines! Right
where the fightin’ was the thickest!

This broad-shouldered, red-


bearded, scar-faced dwarf is a
veteran of numerous battles—as
he’s sure to mention several
times if you spend but five
minutes in his company. He
thought he’d fought his last
when he settled in Vergen, yet
his axe did not hang on the wall
long. When Kaedweni
aggression and a wave of
nonhuman persecution
threatened his new home, he
hefted his weapon again and
marched straight to where he
felt best: the frontlines.

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S C O I A’ TA E L 117

CIARAN
Bryan Sola
The path to freedom is paved
in blood, not ink.

Ciaran aep Easnillien, aide-de-


camp, companion at arms, and
personal friend of Iorveth,
earned wide recognition among
Scoia’tael fighters for his loyalty
and effectiveness. He stood by
his commander through all the
trials and tribulations of guerrilla
life, fought beside him in numer-
ous battles, and saved his life on
many occasions. When he was
captured, neither death threats
nor imprisonment nor torture
were able to break his spirit and
convince him to betray his
friend. Not a single fault in
character. Is he even real?

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118 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

DENNIS CRANMER
Grafit Studio
I know how to carry out orders,
so take your advice elsewhere.

As a mercenary, captain of
Duke Herevard’s guard, and
officer of the Mahakam
Volunteer Regiment, Dennis
fought Nilfgaard for years
on the side of the Northern
Realms. Like many other
dwarves, he received little
reward for his faithful service,
solidifying his conviction that
it is foolish to expect gratitude
from humans.

Described as calm, composed,


and dutiful, Dennis here seeks
to forestall a brawl in which his
more hotheaded friend Zoltan
Chivay longs to take part.

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BROUVER HOOG
Bryan Sola
That doddery dolt? Ye cannae even
tell if he’s alive or stuffed!

Conservative in his views and


stiffly adherent to archaic laws,
the elder of Mahakam is not
particularly well liked by his
fellow dwarves. Yet none can
deny that he performs his
duties with extreme diligence,
making every effort not to draw
Mahakam into open war.
Besides, with his beyond
impressive chin mane and
scepter that doubles as a battle
axe, he definitely represents.

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120 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

MILVA
Bartłomiej Gaweł
With each arrow I loose, I think
of my da. He’d be proud. I think.

Born to a long line of forest-


dwelling hunters, Maria
Barring imbibed the ways of
the woods with her mother’s
milk and had mastered the bow
by age eleven. When one day
the dryads caught her on their
terrain, they took her in and
dubbed her Milva.

In the novels, Milva


accompanied Geralt on his
quest to find Ciri. They traveled
all the way to Stygga, where she
perished in an archer’s duel
with one of Vilgefortz’s
henchmen. Oh, that a fraction
of a second can mean the
difference between life and
death . . .

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S C O I A’ TA E L 121

ITHLINNE
Bryan Sola
Famed for constantly prophesying
the world’s doom. Not much fun at
parties.

The legendary elven oracle


Ithlinne Aegli uttered many
prophecies, the most famous
being the Aen Ithlinnespeath
(Ithlinne’s Prophecy), in which
she foretold the coming of the
White Frost and the world’s
death and rebirth in the Elder
Blood.

Bryan chose to draw Ithlinne


in the throes of a prophetic
trance. The elves gathered
around her suggest the event
was anticipated, perhaps as
part of a ritual. Their faces are
rapt with attention as they seek
to take in and decipher her
words, their truth seemingly
confirmed by their assumption
of a misty yet material form.

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122 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

YAEVINN
Ilker Serdar Yildiz
We are the drops of rain that
together make a ferocious storm.

Yaevinn once believed in


peaceful coexistence between
elves and humans. Yet years of
human persecution, harassment,
and oppression convinced him
to join the Scoia’tael, enlist in
the Vrihedd Brigade, and strive
later on to crush the racist
Order of the Flaming Rose.

The illustration depicts Yaevinn


deeply taken aback. Having led
a Vrihedd Brigade foray into the
Temerian camp, he stormed the
field hospital to discover a
wounded Nilfgaardian colonel
in the medic’s care. His face
expresses a mix of surprise and
confusion, yet we cannot know
their source. Is he shocked to
see an example of human
compassion, or does he fear
they might be ganging up on
him again?

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S C O I A’ TA E L 123

ZOLTAN: THE
BRAWLER
James Daly
Drinkin’ alone’s like crappin’ with
company.

Zoltan Chivay maintains a


certain distance from the non-
human uprising. As an
incorrigible optimist and
pragmatic altruist, he adheres
to the principle of “live and let
live.” Yet in the face of human
contempt and brutal massacres,
even this jolly dwarf sometimes
loses his patience, leading him
to take matters, his parrot (more
on that later), and his long
sword into his own hands. No
slouch at explosive substances
and their timed detonation, the
inferno behind Zoltan is also
most likely his own handiwork.

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SKELLIGE
SKELLIGE IS A GROUP OF ISLANDS inhabited by a series of bellicose, quarrelsome clans.
They neither till nor sow, but live off piracy and overseas raiding of any settlements their long-
ships can reach. When a powerful leader or external threat manages to unite them, the disparate
clans band together into a harmonious army and set off to war, which their skalds will sing of
for generations to come.

The courage and ferocity of Skellige warriors are legendary. In battle, each fights with full
dedication and fervor, paying no heed to fatigue or wounds, knowing the deeds they perform
will be made immortal in tales and sagas.

In Gwent, Skellige’s cult of battle and posthumous glory lets them strengthen units that
have suffered wounds and bring back those already dead and buried. Led by King Bran, Jarl
Crach an Craite, and the legendary Harald the Cripple, and joined by shape-shifting berserkers,
powerful druids, and fierce priestesses, the islanders march forward relentlessly, growing
stronger the more rounds they fight and the more wounds they endure.

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126 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

CLAN HEYMAEY
SKALD
Grafit Studio
The deeds of Clan Heymaey will go
down in history.

Skellige’s skalds fling themselves


into battle alongside the warriors,
blaring courage into their hearts
with pipes and horn, and gutting
foes with axe and sword. When
the day is done, they set about
composing songs praising the
battle’s heroes, condemning its
cowards, and honoring its dead.

As befits poet-warriors deeply


immersed in their land’s tradi-
tions, skalds dress in typical
Skellige attire: bear-fur cloaks
for warmth, metal spaulders for
protection, and florid trousers
for panache.

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SKELLIGE 127

CLAN TUIRSEACH
AXEMAN
Marek Madej
Swords are for wenches. Get yourself
an axe.

Clan Tuirseach is feared


throughout the isles and
beyond, in no small part due
to its axemen. With their extreme
brawn and deft axe work, these
elite warriors chop through
enemy forces like saplings.

Marek put the focus on the


axeman’s arms, which rear back
to swing with brutal force. The
background is blurred, for only
the action, the instant, matters.
The warrior radiates composed
confidence. His opponent
exposed, nothing can hinder
his axe on its deadly journey.

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128 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

RAGING
BERSERKER
Grafit Studio
Anna Podedworna
The skalds’ ballads indicate a
berserker transformed in the heat
of battle cannot be distinguished
from a true-born bear.

Berserkers draw their


strength from anger. While
an elven archer might cultivate
inner calm, a berserker stokes
uncontrollable fury, feasting off
distress and pain until rage
overwhelms and, ultimately,
transforms him.

This illustration, the first the


artist drew for Gwent, shows a
berserker recklessly attacking a
group of foglets. The monsters
think victory is nigh, yet the
berserker’s rage-contorted face
enveloped by a gaping bear
maw hint that they are in for
quite a surprise.

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SKELLIGE 129

RAGING BEAR
Alicja Użarowska
Roooaaar!

Both massive bears born of


the Skellige woodlands and
berserkers transformed into
their guise routinely devour
humans. Stumbling over a
mauled corpse while on a
stroll through a Skellige forest
is thus a commonplace
occurrence.

“Skellige is a brutal land, with


predators that treat humans
like any other prey. To figure
out how to portray this, I studied
a great deal of material—some
of it quite graphic—about real-
life bear attacks. That definitely
helped shape the illustration,
but also made me terrified to
ever go camping again.”

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130 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

1 2
1. CLAN AN CRAITE
WARRIOR
Grafit Studio
Our clan’s bards will sing of my
deeds long after you’re dead and
forgotten!

2. CLAN BROKVAR
HUNTER
Grafit Studio
Better believe we can hunt. Thing is,
not much game on Spikeroog . . .

3. CLAN
TORDARROCH
SHIELDSMITH
Grafit Studio
Remember me words—a good
shield can save yer life.

4. CLAN TUIRSEACH
SKIRMISHERS
Marek Madej
Friends we show heart, foes we
show our axe. Remember that.

3 4
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SKELLIGE 131

PRIESTESS
OF FREYA
Anna Podedworna
Bartłomiej Gaweł
Modron Freya, the Great Mother,
is the goddess of love, beauty, and
bounty.

Surprisingly enough for a


land of such male bluster and
bravado, Skellige’s supreme
deity is a goddess, Freya. The
center of her cult lies in the
sacred grove near her temple
on the Isle of Hindarsfjall,
where priestesses conduct
ceremonies under boughs
of ancient elm and oak.

Both the ceremonies and the


priestesses’ clothing are simple
and modest—the goddess’s
handmaidens shun pomp and
embrace the common folk and
their ways. They usher
Skelligers in and out of this
world, bringing them comfort
in life and, more importantly,
everlasting glory after death.

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132 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

LIGHT LONGSHIP
Marek Madej
Escape them? In the waters of
Skellige? Good luck.

Aboard the expertly wrought


decks of these vessels, Skelligers
earn their well-deserved renown
as the world’s best sailors.
Though not as majestic as the
cogs of the Northern Realms
or Nilfgaard’s galleons, Skellige
longships perform much
better on open seas and along
treacherous, reef-lined coasts.

This longship’s appearance


was modeled after historical
Viking ships. As a nod to the
fantasy setting, sirens swoop
down toward the sailors, who
do not even acknowledge their
presence. These bloodthirsty
monsters are the gulls of
Skellige water, annoying yet
hardly noteworthy.

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SKELLIGE 133

CLAN DIMUN
PIRATE
Grafit Studio
Can see the fear in their eyes. Fear
o’ me . . . fear o’ Clan Dimun!

Every Skellige clan plunders


foreign vessels and coastal
villages, yet Clan Dimun has
elevated overseas raiding into
something of an art. Others
deride them as “bloodthirsty
brigands” and “scurvy sea
hyenas,” epithets they wear
as a badge of honor.

The artist drew inspiration


from various seafaring-raider
archetypes. The heavy blade
with a Viking-inspired decorative
crossguard firmly grounds him
in the Skellige context, while his
curved knife and eye patch are
nods to classic pirate attributes.
The result? A combination of our
wildest childhood fantasies: a
Viking-pirate.

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134 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

CLAN
DRUMMOND
SHIELDMAIDEN
Grafit Studio
Marek Madej
They’ll shatter on our shields like
waves on a rocky shore.

The women of Clan Drummond


command respect as fierce and
hardy warriors. With their tight
formations and unbreakable
discipline, they’ve made the
phrase “you fight like a maiden”
an expression of high praise.

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SKELLIGE 135

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CLAN AN CRAITE
WARRIOR
Grafit Studio
Anna Podedworna
Our clan’s bards will sing of my
deeds long after you’re dead and
forgotten!

Clan an Craite is the second


most powerful in the isles and
the most important ally of Clan
Tuirseach, longtime holders of
the Skellige throne.

An Craite warriors often


slaughter wolf packs to keep
up their form, in a cruel and
bloody Skellige take on
CrossFit.

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CLAN TORDARROCH
ARMORSMITH
Grafit Studio
Ye’re in for a poundin’.

For centuries before the Ice


Giant chased its members into
exile, Clan Tordarroch was
famed for having the best
smiths in all of Skellige. A gift
of armor forged on that isle
would make any warrior giddy
as a schoolgirl.

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138 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

BERSERKER
MARAUDER
Marek Madej
Now finish your soup, or a
berserker’ll come and swallow
ye whole.

Skellige legends whisper of


berserkers, savage warriors
who shed their humanity in dark
rituals and emerge able to turn
into bears. Storming into battle
clad only in raw furs and rough
kilts, they strike well-founded
fear in the hearts of their foes.

Marek drew this berserker


as a massive, hulking figure
with “savage” elements: his face
twisted in an enraged grimace,
his teeth bared, his beard . . .
actually, that’s tastefully
groomed. But the rough fur
and swinging bear claws around
his neck make it clear this is a
man of the wild.

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SKELLIGE 139

BEAR
Alicja Użarowska
We’re going on a bear hunt! We’re
going to catch a—THAT THING’S
HUGE! RUN!

The skalds’ ballads tell of


giant bears that once roamed
the isles and grappled with
Hemdall and other heroes of
lore. True or not, Skellige bears
do indeed grow to be gargantuan
beasts, and seasoned berserkers
turn into even meatier monsters
when enraged.

To convey this bear’s


massiveness, the artist drew
it on its hind legs, dwarfing the
man cowering in the foreground.
The disproportion between their
size and heft suggests the poor
fool will be a trailside pile of
droppings in a day or two.

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140 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

CLAN DIMUN
PIRATE CAPTAIN
Grafit Studio
Marek Madej
Haul together! Hoist the colors high!

Clan Dimun’s longships are


captained by its most grizzled
raiders: experienced sailors with
saltwater in their veins and not a
shred of compassion in their
hearts. Undeterred by mounting
casualties or unfavorable odds,
they jump ashore with the first
raiding party to give their men an
example of courage . . . and to
grab the lion’s share of the loot.

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SKELLIGE 141

WAR LONGSHIP
Grafit Studio
They say Hemdall’s heart swells
whenever the longships sail out on
a raid.

For larger raids and all-out war,


Skelligers embark on longships
that span nearly fifty yards and
sail through the waters aided by
thirty pairs of oars. Though
capacious enough for an army,
their shallow draft makes them
useful in coastal and riparian
waters. Riverside settlements in
Nilfgaard dozens of miles in-
land can vouch for this, having
awoken many times to see
striped sails and grimly grinning
figureheads emerge from the
morning fog.

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142 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

QUEENSGUARD
Nemanja Stankovic
The queen is guarded by the
hardiest and fiercest shieldmaidens
Skellige’s ever known.

Shieldmaidens wishing to join


the queen’s personal guard
must first prove their courage
and valor, preferably by the
repeated shedding of blood—
their own or others’. Those
deemed worthy stand shoulder
to shoulder with the best of
their sisters in Her Majesty’s
service. Purportedly, despite
their subtle smiles, they do a
pretty mean tortoise.

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SKELLIGE 143

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144 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

CLAN BROKVAR
ARCHER
Grafit Studio
So ye can hit a movin’ target at two
hundred paces? Me, too. In a storm.

Many centuries ago, the


jarl of Clan Brokvar retreated
from a battle in the face of
overwhelming odds. Disgrace
and a reputation for cowardice
have haunted all members of
his clan ever since. Even their
mastery of the bow is attributed
by rivals to a fear of fighting the
enemy at close quarters. Yet
each time a handful of these
archers keep entire clans
pinned behind their defenses,
this disdain grows more absurd.

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CORAL
Bryan Sola
Her true name’s Astrid Lyttneyd
Asgeirrfinnbjornsdottir, but that
never fit on any forms.

None know what inspired her


name: the shade of her mane,
or her favored shade of lipstick.
What’s certain is this Skellige-
born sorceress possesses an
astounding mastery of magic
and a temper as fiery as her
hair. Her wrath often finds
vent in deftly cast compression
spells that turn armies of offend-
ers into harmless porcelain
figurines.

Coral’s simple yet daringly cut


dress reveals a colorful tattoo
of a striped fish on her hip—but
who doesn’t have regrettable
souvenirs from the halcyon days
of youth?

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146 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

MORKVARG
Marek Madej
The vilest man Skellige’s ever known.

A monster in human skin


while he lived, the bandit
Morkvarg despised men and
gods alike. Desecrating Freya’s
temple, however, brought him
his overdue comeuppance. He
was condemned to suffer as an
eternally reborn beast unable
to satisfy his howling hunger,
for every morsel of which he
partook turned to ashes.

Hunger, rage, and brutal


strength—Marek emphasized
these traits in drawing this
cursed wolf-man. With his
scarred torso evincing every
eviscerating blow that proved
unable to end his starving
existence, he is the perfect
embodiment of the term
“hangry.”

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SKELLIGE 147

SAVAGE BEAR
Grafit Studio
“Tame”? Och, lad, Skelligers
might train bears, but that don’t at
all mean they tame ’em . . .

Sometimes disease or an
overstrong taste for man flesh
ignites a bear with blinding,
unending rage. Rabid and
ravenous, such bears wreak
havoc on sheep and shepherds,
cows and milkmaids—in fact, any
and everyone they come across.

The artist portrayed this


frenzied killer confronting a
flock of sirens, derangement
having stripped it of all survival
instincts. These otherworldly
monsters seem confident they’ll
finish what the hunters who
riddled the bear’s back with
arrows started. Yet who knows
what will happen when the
beast brings its claws and maw
to strike . . .

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148 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

UDALRYK
Grafit Studio
Anna Podedworna
The gods have spoken: a sacrifice
is needed.

They thought the gods spoke to


Udalryk, they thought the gods
demanded his cruel offerings of
self-mutilation. Instead, it was a
hym, a demonic entity that fed
off Udalryk’s pain and the guilt
he felt over the death of his
brother when they were children.

Here Udalryk struggles


desperately against the hym’s
madness. One hand, gripped
by a dark force, pushes a dagger
toward his eye, while the other
tries with all its might to stop
it—the perfect portrait of a man
at war with his own demons.

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SKELLIGE 149

DONAR AN HINDAR
Grafit Studio
I’ve gathered all the jarls together.
Now make your case.

Donar an Hindar, the eldest


jarl, can match any young buck
pint for pint and blow for blow.
The immense respect he
commands comes not from his
strength, but from his wisdom,
piety, and ability to keep cool in
all situations not involving his
bitter rival, Madman Lugos.

Donar is shown here mid-


brawl, resolving a difference
of opinion in the cherished
Skellige fashion. The jarl’s face
reveals no hint of vitriol, only
calm concentration as he
prepares his fist for another
impactful journey.

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150 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

SVANRIGE
Grafit Studio
The emperor also thought him an
accidental king. At first.

Royal son, mummy’s boy,


brooding youth, and . . .
future king? Svanrige’s strikingly
un-Skelligan reserve hid a
burning ambition and cutthroat
determination that came to the
fore in his quest for the throne.

Here, while his cohorts carouse,


he nurses a tankard and
ponders. A crown suggestively
lies by his side while beneath
the table he grips an axe, ready
to fight for his honor, his rights,
and his due.

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SKELLIGE 151

MADMAN LUGOS
Grafit Studio
WAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!!

This jarl bears the epithet


“Madman” proudly, believing
his erratic, violent behavior
makes him a shrewd negotiator
immune to manipulation.
Unfortunately, it also renders
lasting peace impossible,
meaning years of unending
conflict for Clan Drummond.

Here Lugos’s mad rage is


at its height, and, for once,
justifiably so. The bear he
faces is a transformed
berserker who just struck
down Madman’s only son,
Blueboy Lugos. Twisted in
raw fury, he embarks on a
vengeance-fueled rampage.

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152 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

BLUEBOY LUGOS
Grafit Studio
I’m near ready to puke from
boredom.

Madman Lugos unsurprisingly


made for a difficult father.
Blueboy’s nickname came from
the marks he’d earn rough-
housing with peers, yet most
believed them made by the
fists, belt, and rod of a father
with exacting expectations and
a red-hot temper.

Here we see Lugos during his


journey to the Cave of Dreams.
In those legendary depths,
the Skelliger faced demonic
embodiments of his worst
fears, and deepest anxieties
. . . as well as a coven of lusty
spirit maidens.

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SKELLIGE 153

SPECTRAL WHALE
Katarzyna Redesiuk
“Ehh, too big for a humpback.
That’s a finback.” “A finback? With
a snout that short? Those herbs’ve
gone to your head!”

Legend has it the Cave of


Dreams shows different fears
to different men. Yet all who
return speak in awed tones of
an enormous, ghostly whale that
swims majestically through the
murky air of its tunnels, singing
a plaintive song.

Appearing in The Witcher 3:


Wild Hunt as but a minor part
of an optional quest, this whale
evokes whimsy and wonder that
earned it a prominent place in
players’ memories and its own
card in Gwent.

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154 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

1 2
1. DRAIG BON-DHU
Bartłomiej Gaweł
Katarzyna Redesiuk
Hear ye now the tale of the heroic
deeds of Clan an Craite.

2. SIGRDRIFA
Bartłomiej Gaweł
Fall on your knees and beg
Modron Freya for forgiveness.

3. CHAMPION
OF CHAMPIONS
Nemanja Stankovic
He’ll not reveal his name till he’s
defeated. He’s a troll errant, see?

4. JUTTA AN DIMUN
Nemanja Stankovic
Some call her the “Iron Maiden.”

3 4
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CRACH AN CRAITE
Grafit Studio
Bartłomiej Gaweł
Nilfgaardians call ’im Tirth ys
Muire, the Wild Boar o’ the Sea.
Use ’im to scare their kiddies!

Crach an Craite, fierce warrior


and prolific plunderer from his
earliest years, turned into the
scourge of Nilfgaard in his later
life. The cause? The empire
invaded Cintra, killing his kin,
King Eist Tuirseach, and Queen
Calanthe, Ciri’s grandmother.
For the an Craites live by a
principle: whatsoever ye do to
my brethern, that I shall do
unto ye.

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156 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

1 2
1. HARALD THE
CRIPPLE
Tokkun Studio
Bogna Gawrońska
No one knows how he got his
nickname—no one’s dared to ask.

2. DJENGE FRETT
Grafit Studio
When a warrant says “dead or
alive,” most bounty hunters’ll just
kill you. Not me. Should I catch
you, you’ll hang, and I’ll tickle
your feet as you expire.

3. HOLGER
BLACKHAND
Grafit Studio
Now let’s drink to the emperor
of Nilfgaard—may he die of
somethin’ hideous!

4. BIRNA BRAN
Grafit Studio
Katarzyna Redesiuk
Skellige must have a strong king.
No matter what it takes.

3 4
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SKELLIGE 157

1 2
1. LORD OF UNDVIK
Diego de Almeida
This master turned the Isle of
Undvik, once home to the proud
Clan Tordarroch, into a sorry
shadow of its former glorious self . . .

2. CRAVEN REVIVED
Nemanja Stankovic
True though it be that the Conclave
has outlawed necromancy, what is
out of sight . . .

3. SKJALL
Bruno Biazotto
Strike his name from the Saga
of Elders! No one dare grant him
shelter or sustenance!

4. GREMIST
Bruno Biazotto
An archdruid, a master of alchemy,
and the grumpiest old fart in the
Isles.

3 4
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158 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

KING BRAN
Marek Madej
No one can replace Bran. Though
they’re sure to try.

King Bran was truly a ruler for


the ages. He united Skellige’s
quarrelsome clans, led them
on richly profitable raids, and
married off his brother to form
an alliance that seated remote
Skellige at the same table as the
most powerful dynasties
of the Continent.

Here Bran towers over his


honor guard, sword drawn,
gilded chain mail shining, and
long cloak fluttering in the
wind. Adorning his flowing
white locks—the iron crown
of Skellige.

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SKELLIGE 159

HJALMAR
Grafit Studio
Instead of mournin’ the fallen, let’s
drink to their memory!

Brave well beyond the point of


recklessness, Hjalmar reminded
everyone of his father, Crach an
Craite, in his younger years. Yet
to win the crown of Skellige, he
would need a healthy dose of
the mature Crach’s clearheaded
reckoning as well.

This he did not display when he


vowed to slay the Ice Giant, an
enormous monster who had
laid waste to an entire isle. Here
we see Hjalmar draw blood as
the beast stands transfixed by . . .
the tartan armband, a bit of
Skellige trickery on the way to
eking out a victory against
overwhelming odds.

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160 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

CERYS
Grafit Studio
They call me Sparrowhawk. Know
why? Because I eat rats like you
for breakfast.

In their youth, Cerys was her


older brother Hjalmar’s constant
companion and rival. Yet still it
came as a great surprise when
she declared herself his
competition for Skellige’s throne.
While wishing each other the
best, both intended to give no
quarter in their quest for the
crown.

Cerys an Craite here fights


shoulder to shoulder with Clan
Drummond shieldmaidens,
demonstrating the power of
unity between the clans which
she seemed best set to inspire.

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SKELLIGE 161

ERMION
Grafit Studio
Only the ignorant dismiss the
importance of myths.

The druid Ermion has played


a key role in Geralt’s saga
from nearly the beginning.
He helped the witcher quell
Ciri’s mother’s magic rage
during a fateful banquet in
Cintra. Then, years later, he
helped Geralt trace Ciri’s path
across Skellige and stave off
the Wild Hunt.

Ermion is both a master of


magic and an expert herbalist.
The artist depicts him at his
worktable, the sliced-up snakes
on it hinting at what has gone
into his oozing brew.

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KAMBI
Anna Podedworna
When the time comes, the
cockerel Kambi shall crow and
awaken Hemdall.

Skellige myth claims the


cockerel Kambi will crow to
awaken Hemdall and announce
the arrival of the Naglfar, a
demonic vessel from the night-
marish land of Mörhogg. This
will mark the start of Ragh nar
Roog—the last battle between
good and evil.

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SKELLIGE 163

HEMDALL
Anna Podedworna
When the time of the White
Frost comes, Hemdall will sound
the call for battle.

Legend speaks of quasi-


divine heroes who mingled
with gods and men in ancient
Skellige. They founded the
clans and influence the living
still, defending them from harm
and urging them on to glory.
One, Hemdall, waits in slumber.
When the golden cockerel crows
and the Final Age arrives, he
will sound his horn and rally
the Skelligers to a final battle to
decide whether night will fall
forever or the sun shall dawn
once more.

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164 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

AN CRAITE
GREATSWORDS
Barłomiej Gaweł
Ahh, ye gave me a good laugh
there, Nordling! Why, this bastard,
ye couldn’t even grip it, let alone
gut me with it.

While Clan Drummond has


made an art of fighting with
shield in hand, some Clan an
Craite warriors have ditched
shields entirely, preferring to
keep both hands free to better
grasp their massive swords.
These weapons can span over
two yards and penetrate three
Nilfgaardians at once in a move
that’s come to be called the
“Skellige shish kebab.”

With his steely gaze and rugged,


scar-ridden, heavily tattooed
face, the warrior Bartek has
clearly seen dozens of battles,
gutted hundreds of foes, and
spent countless hours hefting
sizeable boulders.

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SKELLIGE 165

WILD BOAR OF
THE SEA
Bogna Gawrońska
Merely mention this name to
a Nilfgaardian, and they’ll feel
a spreading warmth in their
knickers . . .

Which came first—Crach an


Craite’s nickname, “Wild Boar
of the Sea,” or the boar’s head
on the prow of his longship?
Arguments for the former claim
the jarl crafted the tusky maw
to embrace the Nilfgaardians’
epithet for him. Others say the
Nilfgaardians came to associate
the emergence of that prow
from the mists with the terror
wrought by her captain. Crach
himself was always far too
busy pillaging and maiming
to comment on the matter.

“I like boars, no matter the


form—in the wild, at the zoo,
in sausage—so I jumped at the
chance to draw this card. For
the figurehead, I drew inspira-
tion from both Scandinavian
longships and the boars that
crop up in Celtic art.”

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NILFGAARDIAN
EMPIRE
THE CITY OF NILFGAARD lies in the Continent’s far southern reaches, but the empire that
bears its name stretches far to the north, to the very borders of the Northern Realms. Gold,
diplomacy, steel—the Nilfgaardians used all these and more to dominate all the lesser kingdoms
and duchies between their capital and the Amell Mountains. They then stormed through the
mountain passes and swept into their first northern realm, Cintra, starting a long, bloody war
of conquest they have waged, with brief intermissions, ever since.

Strongly centralized and militaristic, the Empire seizes every chance to expand its sphere
of influence, cutting down potential rivals and dominating them one at a time using ancient,
tried-and-true, divide-and-conquer techniques.

In Gwent, this faction is led into battle by one of three emperors: the feared and respected
Emhyr var Emreis; the young and ambitious Morvran Voorhis; or Jan Calveit, the people’s
tribune. Nilfgaard’s strength lies not only in the powerful and well-equipped army it recruits
from every corner of its dominion. It also takes the form of the spies that inform of its foes’
every move and covert agents that paralyze through bribery and assassination.

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168 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

SPOTTER
Bogna Gawrońska
The North has nothing with which it
could surprise us.

Nilfgaard tasted bitter defeat at


the Battle of Brenna in no small
part due to its scouts’ failure to
detect the North’s secret
reserves. After that, the Empire
placed a strong emphasis on
reconnaissance, forming
special spotter units equipped
with the latest in spyglass
technology.

Bogna illustrated this spotter


in a well-worn uniform of
Nilfgaardian blacks and yellows.
His quiver holds arrows with
different-colored fletches, used
to convey basic messages at
long distances.

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NILFGA ARDIAN E MPIRE 169

IMPERA
ENFORCERS
Lorenzo Mastroianni
Members of the emperor’s fanatic
bodyguard fight to the bitter end.

The fanatically devoted Impera


Brigade exists to execute the
emperor’s will. Its arbalests,
which can turn recalcitrants or
renegades to pincushions with
clockwork precision, are the
brigade members’ favored
weapons and have earned them
the nickname of “Enforcers.”

In this illustration, the Enforcers


carry distinctive cutaway shields
which Lorenzo modeled after
historical examples. A hooded
man kneels behind one of
them, reloading a crossbow, an
example of the supporting roles
that greased such units’ finely
tuned gears.

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170 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

ALBA SPEARMEN
Bruno Biazotto
Death and glory!

In addition to their namesake


spears, these units wield massive
shields and a foundry’s worth
of armor, giving them the
sturdiness and resilience needed
to handle whatever the enemy
throws their way.

“To add dynamism, I portrayed


the spearmen just as they lift
their wall of shields and mount
a counterattack. The reddish
ambient light and eerie glow
in the soldier’s eyes lend the
scene an apocalyptic feel.
This is what the Alba spearmen
might look like to a terrified
opponent.”

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DARKHORSE.COM
NILFGA ARDIAN E MPIRE 171

1 2
1. BLACK INFANTRY
ARBALEST
Grafit Studio
I aim for the knees. Always.

2. AMBASSADOR
Grafit Studio
A spy? No, that’s saying far too
much. I consider myself more of an
observer.

3. MANGONEL
Diego de Almeida
This model specializes in slinging
corpses and ripe dung.

4. ALCHEMIST
Sławomir Maniak
Two ounces of calcium equum, one
ounce of rubedo . . .

3 4
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172 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

1 2
1. COMBAT
ENGINEER
Grafit Studio
Bogna Gawrońska
Want irrefutable proof of the
advance of civilization? Look at
war. Men get better at killing with
each one.

2. NAUZICAA
STANDARD BEARER
Diego de Almeida
The emperor will teach the North
discipline.

3. EMISSARY
Bruno Biazotto
But . . . but there’s no justice in it!
One does not kill the messenger!

4. VICOVARO MEDIC
Lorenzo Mastroianni
The world has known as many
plagues as it has wars. Yet both
war and plague always take men
by surprise.

3 4
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DARKHORSE.COM
NILFGA ARDIAN E MPIRE 173

NAUZICAA BRIGADE
Marta Dettlaff
They call us Death’s Heads.
Care to find out why?

The storied riders of the


Nauzicaa Brigade usually
cut through foes like a scythe
through tall grass. They earned
the skulls adorning their armor
by countless triumphant
charges leaving piles of bodies
in their wake. Yet at the Battle
of Brenna, these elite, superbly
armed troops were stopped
by a poorly trained, poorly
equipped—just plain poor—
infantry division from Vizima.

The imbalances of that famous


contest are depicted here. The
ornately crafted Nauzicaa
cavalryman’s armor stands in
sharp contrast to the Temerian
infantryman’s dented iron and
rough woolens. But fancy dress
will only get you so far.

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174 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

ALBA PIKEMAN
Lorenzo Mastroianni
Pledge your allegiance to our
Emperor, Emhyr var Emreis . . .
Or die.

After their defeat at Brenna,


Nilfgaardian leaders took note
of the crucial role northern
landsknechts and pikemen
played in the battle. They
pushed through a raft
of reforms augmenting the
cavalry-focused Alba Division
with infantry units—over howls
of protest from uppity knights.

“While working on this


illustration, I needed a model
for the foremost soldier’s face.
Luckily, a coworker with just
the right rugged good looks
was eager to take the job. So
congratulations, Ryan—you’ve
officially joined the Alba
Division!”

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DARKHORSE.COM
NILFGA ARDIAN E MPIRE 175

DAERLAN FOOT
SOLDIERS
Alicja Kapustka
Learned a lot at Braibant Military
Academy. How to scrub potatoes,
for instance.

All know the Seventh Daerlan


Brigade, an elite division of the
Nilfgaardian Fourth Cavalry
Army. Few, however, have heard
of the Daerlan Foot Soldiers,
the unloved companion infantry
unit contemptuously referred
to as “the Seventh’s bastards.”
Reliant on boot leather in a
milieu that honors only horse-
shoes, these men nevertheless
serve as best they can, one step
at a time.

“I wanted to allude to the


recruiting slogan ‘Join the army,
see the world!’ Based on their
drooping heads and staggered
steps, these soldiers have
already seen more of it than
they ever wanted to.”

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176 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

JAN CALVEIT
Lorenzo Mastroianni
A sword is but one of many tools
at a ruler’s disposal.

Witcher lore includes snippets


about Nilfgaard’s succession
following the events of
the books and games. In these,
Morvran Voorhis takes the
throne after Emhyr, and is
followed by Jan Calveit, who
begins his rule by releasing and
rehabilitating those Voorhis
imprisoned for their political
views. Less militaristic than
Voorhis, Calveit rules as a
reforming emperor, enjoying
the unwavering admiration of
his subjects throughout the
entirety of his reign.

“Calveit’s face is partly based on


a mash-up of Clint Eastwood
and Rutger Hauer. I drew on
those actors’ iconic looks to
hint at this ruler’s character. A
potent blend to say the least.”

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NILFGA ARDIAN E MPIRE 177

IMPERA BRIGADE
Nemanja Stankovic
The Impera Brigade never
surrenders. Ever.

The Nilfgaardian emperor


knows generals can betray and
officers falter. He thus maintains
a division of unswervingly
devoted veterans at his personal
command—the Impera Brigade.
As a token of recognition for
their service, he wears an Impera
officer’s uniform while traveling,
suggesting he is one of them
and, by extension, they should
defend his life like their own.

The Impera Brigade soldiers


in this illustration wear lighter
ceremonial armor befitting a
palace guard. Still, every element
of their posture clearly states
that anyone seeking to harm
Emhyr will have to clip their
wings first.

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178 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

FIRE SCORPION
Diego de Almeida
Not the best for taking cities, but
great for razing them to the ground.

When capturing cities or level-


ing fortresses, Nilfgaard prefers
modern technology over magic,
the latter being prone to failure
and reliant on conniving mages.
Indeed, since the fire scorpion
can launch flaming missiles
great distances with tremendous
force, magic seems obsolete—
though the machine’s operators
grumble that working with even
the most drunken, psychotic
mage would be less stressful.

“From the start, I knew the


scene's central element would
be the green glow of alchemic
fire, but finding a color scheme
that would complement this
proved a massive challenge.
After making a ton of preliminary
sketches, I finally found the right
mix and felt a bit like a success-
ful alchemist myself.”

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STEFAN SKELLEN
Nemanja Stankovic
My mark scars the face of our
future empress. That is my proudest
achievement.

When the emperor’s daughter


went missing, he turned to an
unlikely functionary to track
her down—the imperial coroner,
Stefan Skellen. The emperor
counted on Skellen, known
as the Tawny Owl, to use his
cunning and gift for spy craft
to carry out his task, little
suspecting Skellen instead was
using them to plot a coup. His
conspiracy uncovered, Skellen
was hanged, leaving his suc-
cessor a traitor's corpse to
examine.

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180 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

ALBRICH
Bryan Sola
A ball of fire? Why, naturally.
Whatsoever Your Imperial Majesty
desires.

Gifted with enormous talent,


backed by the vast resources
of the imperial court, and
motivated by harsh threats and
tantalizing promises, the mage
Albrich still could not accom-
plish his task and locate Cirilla
of Cintra. This failure turned
him into a lazy, incompetent
layabout in the emperor’s eyes—
the only eyes that count.

Albrich fits the stereotype of the


Nilfgaardian mage. His clothing
is simple and functional, his
posture servile. He tries his
utmost to please, realizing if
he fails, unemployment is the
best he can hope for.

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NILFGA ARDIAN E MPIRE 181

MORVRAN VOORHIS
Anna Podedworna
Summer sun reflecting in the
quiet waters of the Alba—that’s
Nilfgaard to me.

Morvran Voorhis was born


with a silver spoon in his mouth
and an imperial scepter dangling
over his cradle. Scion of an
ancient family with close ties
to House var Emreis, from birth
he was considered by many the
most likely successor to the
imperial throne. He spent the
rest of his life proving them right.

A true Nilfgaardian, Voorhis


bears the sun’s full brunt with
stoic calm, even while wearing
heavy black armor. Only the
beads of sweat rolling down his
temples and cheeks reveal heat
affects him just as it does other
mortals.

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182 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

CYNTHIA
Grafit Studio
Cynthia’s talents can be deadly.
She needs a tight leash.

This talented and ambitious


sorceress pretended for years
to be Philippa Eilhart’s fawning
pupil, gaining access to the
inner circles of magic in the
Northern Realms. This made
her a rising star of the Nilfgaard-
ian secret services. Her ascent
turned stratospheric after she
explored the ruins of Loc
Muinne with Geralt of Rivia,
discovered the lab of a
legendary alchemist, and found
the secrets he had stowed away
there. Here we see her facing
one of said secrets, transformed
into ire embodied by a botched
negotiation.

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NILFGA ARDIAN E MPIRE 183

THE GUARDIAN
James Daly
Stone fists to stop intruders armed
with swords. Ironclad logic to stop
those armed with lies.

Those who found their way


to the alchemist Daerhenna’s
lab had to face the Guardian
as their final challenge. If they
got past him peacefully, they
would survive. If they made him
their enemy, they would die a
certain and painful death.

The Guardian card appears


in the opponent’s hand when
Cynthia’s card is played,
a fitting reflection of their
antagonistic relationship.
This creature’s rock-hewn
heft leaves no doubt as to
his physical prowess, while
the fiendish glint in its eyes
suggests it is no mindless
golem, but a magic being
capable of thought, logic, and
long conversations on esoteric
matters.

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184 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

XARTHISIUS
Anna Podedworna
Astrology, hydromancy, haruspicy,
ceromancy. Ovomancy, spodomancy,
metroscopy, brontoscopy . . .

This aged astrologer and seer


earned the emperor’s esteem
by helping remove the curse
that afflicted him as a young
man. He lost that esteem,
however, when his unique
blend of magic and quackery
failed to pinpoint Ciri’s location
to the emperor’s satisfaction.

“In the books, Xarthisius is


described as an eccentric seer
who locks himself in a tower
and fiddles with astromancy.
I decided to emphasize that
lost-in-the-stars kookiness
by showing him peering at a
stylized magic projection of
the night sky, oblivious to such
earthly concerns as whether
books make comfortable
cushions.”

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FAKE CIRI
Bogna Gawrońska
“Here she comes,” he thought, “our
imperial interest. A mock princess,
a mock queen for Cintra. A mock
ruler for the mouth of the Yarra,
future lifeblood of the empire.”

Emhyr var Emreis knew the


girl whom he crowned queen
of Cintra and named heiress
to his throne was in truth an
impostor, a mere doppelgänger
of his missing daughter Ciri. Yet
he approved each of these
measures in silence, guided
by realpolitik and raison d’état—
or, according to some whispers,
by a face that reminded him of
someone he had lost long ago.

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186 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

ASSIRE
VAR ANAHID
Anna Podedworna
Nilfgaardian mages do have a
choice: servile submission, or the
gallows.

This sorceress’s family hailed


from the North, which might
be why Assire had difficulty
finding her place in the
state-subservient milieu of
Nilfgaardian mages. Afforded
a chance to join the newly
forged Lodge of Sorceresses,
var Anahid seized on it almost
at once.

In the image, Assire is attired


in line with the dominant trends
among Nordling sorceresses—in
a well-cut, elegant dress that
flatters her shapely figure. Anna
portrays the mage with her pet,
a black cat named Merlin, a
name so preposterous one has
to wonder how she came up
with it . . .

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DARKHORSE.COM
NILFGA ARDIAN E MPIRE 187

1 2
1. VILGEFORTZ
Nemanja Stankovic
We are all pawns on his board.
Playing a game whose rules we
don’t know.

2. VATTIER DE
RIDEAUX
Lorenzo Mastroianni
There’s never been a problem
a well-planned assassination
couldn’t solve.

3. PETER SAAR
GWYNLEVE
Lorenzo Mastroianni
These are not the hands of an
“Excellency,” but of a farmer. So
we speak peasant to peasant.

4. FRINGILLA VIGO
Diego de Almeida
Magic is the highest good.
It transcends all borders and
divisions.

3 4
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188 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

EMHYR VAR EMREIS


Nemanja Stankovic
They do not call me the Patient.
Take care they do not call you the
Headless.

Emhyr var Emreis—the White


Flame Dancing on the Graves
of His Foes, the emperor of
Nilfgaard, possessor of a litany
of other titles, lord of an
enormous empire, and man
before whom nations tremble—
is not known to be merciful to
those who let him down.

In the books and game, the


emperor was famous for a trait
he had honed—extreme self-
control, which he exercised even
when events aroused his wrath.
In the image, Emhyr’s face
expresses little beyond mild
irritation. The soft, dismissive
gesture with which he brings
the audience to a close,
juxtaposed against the panic of
the courtier being hauled away,
leaves no doubt as to what
order was just given and what
scent lingers in the room.

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NILFGA ARDIAN E MPIRE 189

VICOVARO NOVICE
Bruno Biazotto
Mages in Nilfgaard are disposable.
If one disappoints the emperor, a
dozen others await to provide what
he requires.

Adepts of the magic arts


hailing from Vicovaro are highly
esteemed within the Imperial
Academy, where mages are
schooled. Those who survive
the torturous program of study
and pass the final exams receive
positions at the imperial court—
in counterintelligence, no less!—
thus becoming productive
members of imperial society.

In the image, the artist subtly


references the theme of “the
sorcerer’s apprentice”—wherein
a novice to the magic arts gets
ahead of himself in experiment-
ing. Whatever the creature
presented in the foreground, its
sudden appearance is clearly a
none-too-pleasant surprise for
the young mage.

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190 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

1 2
1. SWEERS
Chris Rallis
And hands off the girl! Whatever
we may be, we’re not savages.

2. SERRIT
Diego de Almeida
We do what we must. I am
not ashamed of that.

3. CEALLACH
Bryan Sola
“Your Imperial Highness . . .”
blurted out the seneschal, whose
presence until now had been
thoroughly ignored. “I beg your
pardon, but Cahir . . . My son . . .”

4. VANHEMAR
Chris Rallis
For a fire mage, he’s not very . . .
flamboyant.

3 4
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NILFGA ARDIAN E MPIRE 191

MAGNE CAVALRY
Bruno Biazotto
I know the emperor defends all
his lands . . . but a garrison in this
blasted waste is like a chastity belt
on a grave hag.

When a Nilfgaardian cavalry


officer steps out of line, he’s
likely to get reassigned to the
Korath Desert. A few months
patrolling the endless sands of
this “frying pan” will purge him
of any hint of insubordination,
and replace it with a frantic
willingness to do absolutely any-
thing to avoid being sent back.

“Soldiers sent to suffer in the


desert—well, there are some
more recent examples, but I felt
the Crusades would be the best
inspiration and modeled these
knights’ armor and weaponry
on Crusader equipment. I
decided to show most of them
on foot, suggesting they’ve run
into some trouble—and in a
desert like this, trouble usually
means death.”

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192 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

JOACHIM DE WETT
Lorenzo Mastroianni
To describe the manner in which
Duke de Wett led the Verden Group
as “incompetent” would be far
too kind.

Duke de Wett, commander of


the Verden Operations Group
on the western flank during the
Second Northern War, made
up for his lack of competence
through extreme cruelty. In
leading a campaign against the
guerrilla fighters of Verden, he
chiefly targeted civilians, thus
inciting the region’s previously
docile population to full-scale
rebellion.

“In drawing the character, I


sought to emphasize his cruelty
and an aristocratic arrogance
that stands between him and
the beholder. This is de Wett,
gazing down from atop his
mount upon someone kneeling
before him, begging for his life.
The duke’s face bodes ill for
anyone hoping for mercy.”

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NILFGA ARDIAN E MPIRE 193

MENNO COEHOORN
Nemanja Stankovic
I’ll take an attentive reconnaissance
unit over a fine brigade any day.

Field Marshal Menno Coehoorn,


imperial viceroy of the province
of Cintra and commander of
Army Group Center during the
Second Northern War, enjoyed
the unbounded trust of the
emperor himself. Yet his trium-
phant career and, in fact, his
life ended abruptly and tragically
with the defeat he suffered at
the Battle of Brenna, a defeat
resulting from erroneous
information provided to him
by an incompetent scout.

The marshal’s description


in the books paints him as a
tyrant harsh toward those of
his men who failed to fulfill their
duties or broke discipline. In this
scene, he coldly observes the
execution of Nilfgaardian
soldiers—no doubt guilty of
some “unpardonable” offense.

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CANTARELLA
Bryan Sola
Men require constant alluring.
Mystique and refinement do the
job quite well.

Carthia van Canten possessed


a cunning mind, a mastery
of disguise, and an unfailing
ear for secrets. Yet Vattier de
Rideaux, head of Nilfgaardian
Intelligence, was too distracted
by her charms and talents of a
more corporeal nature to notice
any of these other qualities. His
failure to see a brain beyond
her bosom worked to the benefit
of the sorceress Assire var
Anahid, to whom Cantarella
related his every word.

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NILFGA ARDIAN E MPIRE 195

TIBOR EGGEBRACHT
Grafit Studio
Tibor’s zeal was legendary. It was
said when the emperor passed, he’d
not so much bow as do a somersault.

One must possess a powerful


voice to lead a division of
heavily armored, lance-wielding
knights. For when hooves are
pounding, armor is clanking,
horses are whinnying, and
men are screaming, to be heard
above the tumult takes the vocal
might of a star baritone. Tibor
Eggebracht, leader of the Heavy
Lancers of the Alba Division,
had just such a voice and used
it with great zeal in his emperor’s
service.

Eggebracht made his appear-


ance in the last tome of the
Witcher saga. The illustration
alludes to the moment when he
led the Alba in a suicide charge
against the Temerian infantry
during the Battle of Brenna. His
mouth is open, bellowing out a
command. His head is bald,
even, dare we say it, a bit eggy.

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196 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

CAHIR
Lorenzo Mastroianni
His eyes flashed under his winged
helmet. Fire gleamed from his
sword’s blade.

This Vicovaran-born knight


was once vested with the task
of “abducting” a certain young
princess named Ciri out of
Cintra. That moment changed
his life and linked Ciri’s fate to
that of Geralt of Rivia for all time.

“In the books, Cahir is described


as a twenty-something, dark-
haired man. He was a master
swordsman, so I decided to
give him a dynamic, aggressive
pose . . . and a bit of stubble.
When you wander the back
roads alongside a white-haired
monster slayer, looking for his
adopted daughter, shaving is a
low priority.”

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DARKHORSE.COM
NILFGA ARDIAN E MPIRE 197

1 2
1. NILFGAARDIAN
KNIGHT
Grafit Studio
Sons of noble houses, born in the
City of the Golden Towers, form the
elite backbone of the Imperial Army.

2. RAINFARN
Grafit Studio
Your death will be as painful as that
of the pathetic traitor Windhalm.

3. ROT TOSSER
Grafit Studio
Let historians debate whether
spreading plague in a besieged city
is ethical. We just care if it’s
effective.

4. COW CARCASS
Bruno Biazotto
That a bird? That a griffin? Nay!
That’s a . . .

3 4
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LETHO OF GULET
Lorenzo Mastroianni
Witchers never die in their beds.

This renegade remnant of


the handful of witchers from
the School of the Viper who
survived the pogroms offered
his blade and his skills to the
emperor. In exchange, he was
promised that the school would
be rebuilt. On the emperor’s
orders and at Letho’s hand, two
great Nordling kings, Foltest
of Temeria and Demavend of
Aedirn, died violent and pre-
mature (albeit picturesque)
deaths.

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DARKHORSE.COM
NILFGA ARDIAN E MPIRE 199

AUCKES
Bryan Sola
Letho’s got a plan . . . What could
go wrong?

The renegade witcher brethren


Auckes and Serrit tied their
fates to that of the Kingslayer,
Letho of Gulet. The speed and
mastery of the sword they had
gained in hunting monsters
served them well in their new
trade as assassins for hire.

Auckes was a character


developed for The Witcher 2:
Assassins of Kings. One of the
three surviving witchers of the
School of the Viper, he decided
to throw his lot in with the
emperor of Nilfgaard, Emhyr
var Emreis. So he was granted
a personality, a backstory, and
a tragic end.

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NEUTRAL
FORCES
IN TIMES WHEN PARTISANSHIP reigns supreme and it seems everyone—man, elf, and
even beast—is locked in mortal combat with someone, there are still those who do not claim
allegiance to any faction. Sublime dragons, damned souls, underworld ringleaders, proud
sorceresses, and neutrality-loving witchers rarely make it a point to join the struggles of others.
Yet if circumstances prompt them to throw their lot in with one side or the other, they can
become valued allies able to change the course of entire wars.

Neutral cards in Gwent are not a faction per se, but rather complementary forces that can be
added to the decks of the other five factions. The abilities these magic beings, mighty heroes,
and smooth operators wield can fill in a deck’s weaknesses or add to its strengths, saving a
bad hand and making a strong one even stronger.

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202 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

ROACH
Anna Podedworna
Geralt, we gotta have a man-to-
horse talk. No offense, but your
riding skills? They leave a bit to
be desired, buddy.

Roach is Geralt’s trusty steed,


constant companion, and
favorite conversation partner.
In fact, there have been many
Roaches—Geralt gives that
name to every horse he rides,
be it mare or stallion, for
reasons he never could quite
explain.

In The Witcher 3, Roach’s


behavior exhibited a great
many . . . let’s call them
“unplanned features.” This
illustration shows a classic
example of those charming
little tics that made this mare
steal gamers’ hearts . . . and
gallop right into a fence with
them.

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NEUTRAL FORCES 203

CHORT
Bartłomiej Gaweł
A member of the Bovine Defense
Force. Semper fi!

Chorts, relicts from the


time of the Conjunction of
the Spheres, usually stick to
wild, uninhabited woodlands
and only rarely attack human
settlements. Sometimes,
however, the smell of fresh
blood lures them out of their
burrows and adds further fuel
to their natural aggression.
Woe then to anyone unlucky
enough to cross their path.

The inspiration for this card’s


illustration was, of course, a
certain memorable chort
encountered in White Orchard
in The Witcher 3. Everyone
forced to confront it knew deep
down that they thoroughly
deserved the wrath of this
ruthless “bovine defender.”

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OCVIST
Bar tłomiej Gaweł
The Master of Quartz Mountain,
the Destroyer, Trajan’s Slayer. In
his free time, he likes long walks
and candlelight dinners.

Before the dragon Ocvist


finally fell to the axe blows of
the dwarf Yarpen Zigrin and his
five comrades, it terrorized the
hamlets near its mountain roost
for many years. These events
were commemorated in “The
Ballad of the Fall of the Lord of
Quartz Mountain,” which,
though not without its stylistic
flaws, captured the courage and
heroism of the dwarves who
dared confront this terrifying
creature. The dwarves them-
selves, though, didn’t give a
rat’s hinderparts about the
ballad—the reward they sought
was in the dragon’s treasure
trove.

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NEUTRAL FORCES 205

MYRGTABRAKKE
Marek Madej
Never get between a mother
dragon and her young.

The appearance of the she-


dragon Myrgtabrakke after
she awoke from her long
slumber caused quite the
ruckus in Woefield and the
surrounding lands. Even King
Niedamir, ruler of Caingorn,
took part in the failed attempts
to hunt down this powerful
beast.

“Showing this massive,


overgrown lizard midflight
emphasizes that this is a
legendary, unreal creature
on the one hand, and grants
a degree of levity to the
composition on the other. So
in a nutshell, it gives flight to
fantasy.”

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206 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

UNICORN
Anna Podedworna
They say unicorns are fond of
virgins. Since finding a virgin these
days is as hard as finding a unicorn,
no one has been able to verify the
theory.

Unicorns make an appearance


in almost all works of fantasy,
a fact for which Witcher lore
provides an explanation: these
magic beings travel between
dimensions. They can take
others along on these journeys
as well, something the elves of
the Alder Folk exploited to
conquer other worlds, earning
them the unicorns’ undying
enmity.

The unicorn in this illustration


was captured in midtransition,
as it passes through a portal
to a parallel universe. With its
undead pallor, billy goat’s
beard, and tormented expres-
sion, this creature is clearly
no princess’ mount or friendly
magic pony, but a dark twist on
an old archetype.

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CHIRONEX
Anna Podedworna
“Gods, that’s no unicorn! That’s—”
—Last words of Vilemar, famed
collector of curiosities.

According to legend, when


a horse traversing the desert
collapses of thirst near a Place
of Power, its corpse arises
as a chironex—a demonic,
unicorn-like creature born
of magic mixed with scorching
heat, intense suffering, and a
miserable death.

The more prosaic truth?


Chironices are necrophages,
cousins of ghouls and rotfiends,
who migrated to the Korath
Desert during the Conjunction
of the Spheres. They are thus
not born of horses or magic or
overwhelming thirst, but begat
by their own kind in a process
best left unimagined.

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208 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

1 2
1. SARAH
Aleksandra Wojtas
Little Sarah wants to play!

2. PRIZE-
WINNING COW
Anna Podedworna
Mooooo.

3. OLGIERD
VON EVEREC
Nemanja Stankovic
At least you now know I don’t
easily lose my head.

4. JOHNNY
Marta Dettlaff
Life without savoring the sound of
“surreptitious shananacking” is like
licking snails through a cloth.

3 4
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NEUTRAL FORCES 209

1 2
1. ESKEL
Chris Rallis
I’m a simple witcher, Wolf. Don’t
fight dragons, don’t fraternize with
kings, and don’t sleep with
sorceresses . . .

2. LAMBERT
Bryan Sola
Now that’s the kind of negotiating I
understand.

3. DUDU
Marek Madej
A mimic, among the many other
names for his sort: changeling,
doubling, vexling . . . or doppler.

4. OPERATOR
Bryan Sola
As time and space collapse before
us, they expand behind us. In that
way one moves forward through
them both.

3 4
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210 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

VESEMIR
Bartłomiej Gaweł
If you’re to be hanged, ask for
water. Anything can happen before
they fetch it.

How old is Vesemir? Who the


hell knows, but this mentor of
young witchers and swordplay
instructor at Kaer Morhen has
cut down more beasts than any
of the monster slayers he has
trained. And his ripe old age
only serves as the highest
recommendation.

In this scene, Vesemir wrestles


a griffin that desperately fights
to stay alive. The witcher’s
foe is no slouch, yet to this
seasoned professional it’s just
the quarry under yet another
monster contract.

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NEUTRAL FORCES 211

FIELD MARSHAL
DUDA: AGITATOR
Grafit Studio
Zoltan’s parrot had the
extraordinary ability to irritate
anyone who spent time with it.
Including Zoltan.

Zoltan Chivay bought this


parrot from a merchant for
what seemed like a dirt cheap
ten thalers. Yet the bird proved
so foul-beaked, Zoltan began to
wonder who had made the
better deal.

“I heavily referenced this—


for the parrot anatomy and
feathering. I amassed so much
material, my friends started
saying I wanted to breed the
birds. So in a bid to help, they
sent funny parrot pictures,
videos, and animations. Some
were actually inspiring . . .”

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212 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

FIELD MARSHAL
DUDA: COMPANION
Grafit Studio
Knows one hundred words—eighty
of them curses, the rest, connectors.

The bird showed signs


of being just a bit clever, so
Zoltan set about teaching it
a few tricks. “Fetch,” though,
proved a big mistake. The
bird became convinced there
was no such thing as private
property. Problems and
misunderstandings ensued.

In Gwent, given its mechanic,


the card sows mayhem on the
battlefield. The small, harmless
bird fleeing town watchmen
brandishing crossbows and
halberds is a comic take on
this ability.

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ZOLTAN:
ANIMAL TAMER
Grafit Studio
Apologies. My exotic pet’s a clever
birdie, but a wee bit lewd. Paid ten
thalers for the beaut.

This Zoltan card was designed


to cohere with the two Field
Marshal Duda cards. This effect
was achieved via minor details,
such as the feathers drifting
toward him or the shadow of
a parrot on the cobblestones—
small touches that mark the
Field Marshal’s presence in this
scene. Then there is Zoltan's
subtly proud grin . . .

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214 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

KING OF BEGGARS
Bryan Sola
I might just discover I look great
without ears . . . or hands.
Apparently the King of Beggars
accepts both as partial payment.

Francis Bedlam, as the King


calls himself when feeling
casual, is one of the quartet of
underworld bosses controlling
all clandestine activity in
Novigrad. In addition to
thieving, grifting, and, of
course, begging, his band of
tramps and transients smuggles
wanted persons to safety, a
service many mages called
upon during the Witch Hunters’
persecutions.

“The pose—a grateful sorceress


kissing her benefactor’s hand—
is a clear Godfather reference.
The details, though—candles,
leather and wool, gold coins
on the table—set the scene
squarely in a medieval context.
That interplay of fantasy and
modern—well, it was a dynamic
I just couldn’t refuse.”

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NEUTRAL FORCES 215

VILLENTRETENMERTH
Anna Podedworna
Also calls himself Borch Three
Jackdaws . . . He’s not the best
at names.

The golden dragon Villentreten-


merth, one of the last remaining
members of its species, used
its innate polymorphic abilities
to create a human alter ego, a
knight known as Borch Three
Jackdaws. This name might just
be the only known example of
dragon humor, for Villentreten-
merth, loosely translated into
the Common tongue, means
“three blackish birds.” Though
even in dragon form Villentret-
enmerth feels fondly toward the
human race, when provoked, it
is more than capable of showing
its displeasure. Then its
charming attempts at dragon
humor give way to terrifying
torrents of dragon fire.

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216 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

REGIS
Marta Dettlaff
Men, the polite ones, at least,
would call me a monster. A
blood-drinking freak.

Emiel Regis Rohellec Terzieff-


Godefroy, to be exact. Alche-
mist, herbalist, eccentric, and
higher vampire—likely sole
among his brethren to call a
witcher a friend. Peculiarly for
his species, he considers blood
a savory but addictive and
dangerous vice.

Regis was a favorite of


Marta’s, so she was thrilled to
design him for Blood and Wine,
then for Gwent. She fleshed the
character out—as a serious
scholar with a special relation-
ship with crows . . . impressive
birds, by Regis’s reckoning . . .

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NEUTRAL FORCES 217

REGIS:
HIGHER VAMPIRE
Marek Madej
He can turn invisible at will. His
glance can hypnotize one into a
deep sleep. He then drinks his fill,
turns into a bat, and flies off.
Altogether uncouth.

Higher vampires are not


bound by the limitations
constraining their lesser
cousins, in fact, they are
endowed with mind-boggling
powers. One of these is the
ability to transform between a
humanoid form and one more
monstrous and beastly—in
Regis’s case, that of a gigantic,
muscular bat.

In designing this card,


Marek sought to depict a
dynamic scene showing the
final seconds of an attack by
this supernaturally quick and
agile monster—the beast that
slumbers in every higher
vampire, even the calmest
and best able to control his
wilder instincts.

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218 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

GERALT: IGNI
Anna Podedworna
A twist of a witcher’s fingers can
light a lamp . . . or incinerate a foe.

Witcher Signs—spells that


require no incantation, only
concentration and gestures—
were developed to provide
quick, simple magic that can be
used in combat. Igni stands next
to Aard as the most iconic of
the witcher Signs. It harnesses
the element of fire in a direct,
easy-to-use offensive spell.

When drawing this illustration,


the artist chose to give us an
unusual perspective—a view
usually only available to Geralt’s
foes, a split second before the
flames engulf them.

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CIRI
Anna Podedworna
I go wherever I please, whenever
I please.

Ciri’s incredible powers let


her bend reality to move from
one place to another in a split
second. To the Lady of Time
and Space, distance is no
obstacle and no delay is
insurmountable.

The nature of Ciri’s ability


dictated the dynamic of this
illustration. Her opponents fall
one by one before they realize
what is happening. Those she
has slain are slightly blurred,
trapped in the past. Ciri and the
last wolf standing are drawn in
sharp focus, captured in the
moment before Time claims
another victim.

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220 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

YENNEFER
Anna Podedworna
Magic is chaos, art, and science.
It is a curse, a blessing, and a
progression.

Few wielders of magic, even


the most accomplished, can
rival the spell-casting might
and dexterity of Yennefer of
Vengerberg, who famously
managed to turn an entire
garrison into toads with a few
twists of her foot.

Here Yennefer lets loose a blast


of magic energy while elegantly
dressed in her favorite colors,
highlighting both her might and
minimalist fashion sense. A
stormy swirl of raven-black hair
frames her slender, triangular
face, which is fixed in a
composed stare showing very
little emotion, even as she
commands enough Power to
rend bedrock asunder. One
can easily see how this face
could haunt Geralt's dreams
and nightmares.

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NEUTRAL FORCES 221

1 2
1. GERALT: AARD
Bartłomiej Gaweł
A blast of concentrated energy that
pummels everything in its path.
Great for when you forget your keys.

2. GERALT:
SWORDMASTER
Marek Madej
If that’s what it takes to save the
world, it’s better to let that world die.

3. CIRI: DASH
Marek Madej
Know when fairy tales cease to be
tales? When people start believing
them.

4. TRISS: MISTRESS
OF MAGIC
Marek Madej
I can take care of myself. Trust me.

3 4
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222 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

IRIS
Anna Podedworna
I remember so little . . . Yet when
I think of my rose, I begin to recall
what was.

Olgierd von Everec’s barbed


deal with the nefarious Man of
Glass claimed many victims,
perhaps the most tragic of
which was his wife, Iris. This
Redanian aristocrat would have
abandoned wealth, family, and
status to be with her beloved,
yet in the end, his heart
hardened, her beloved aban-
doned her, and even after her
lovesick flesh withered and
died, she tarried as a spirit in her
family estate, tormented by woe.

Iris von Everec appeared in


the Hearts of Stone expansion
both as a ghost and, in flash-
backs, as a living woman. Ania
chose to present her ghostly
incarnation, wearing a traditional
Redanian mourning gown and
clutching Olgierd’s last gift—a
violet rose—to her breast.

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NEUTRAL FORCES 223

CYPRIAN WILEY
Alicja Kapustka
One of four bosses who control
the city’s underworld—the others
being Sigi Reuven, Carlo “the
Cleaver” Varese, and the King of
Beggars.

Son of a hardened criminal


and, if his nickname is accurate,
a woman of ill repute, Cyprian
Wiley came into this world
rotten and only got worse. After
helping his father to an early
grave, Wiley took over the
elder’s band of brigands and
began a spree of acts so
depraved, so perverse, so vile
as to make even the most jaded
cutthroat’s stomach churn.

“I tried to emphasize the


contrast between Wiley’s
rather unassuming face and
the messed-up sadist lurking
somewhere beneath. This is a
guy who’d watch his dogs tear
your guts out and eat them
without blinking an eye—in fact,
he’d get a big kick out of it.”

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SPECIAL CARDS
IN TIMES OF WAR, blaring horns and pounding hooves mix with cries of distress and ear-
splitting magic explosions. Torrential downpours stop the progress of heavy war machines,
while fog hides archers’ targets, rendering them unable to support their army. Coin slipped
in secret to the right pouches converts allies to enemies. Magic potions and mysterious brews
pour new strength into weary shoulders. When plague decimates an army’s ranks and assassins’
daggers reap a bloody harvest among officers and generals, the courage and dedication of
common soldiers lift them to the ranks of true heroes, made impervious to trifles such as
weather or blows from their inferiors.

Special Cards represent specific effects, events, and objects that have a life-saving or death-
dealing effect on the battlefield. They can strengthen or heal allies, weaken or beguile opponents,
and, played at just the right moment, change the outcome of a battle.

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226 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

COMMANDER’S
HORN
Bartłomiej Gaweł
Plus one to morale, minus three
to hearing.

A well-timed trumpet blast


can work wonders—flush fatigue
from weary arms, regroup
scattered riders for a final
charge, and instill hope where
all was lost. Thus every good
commander keeps a horn blower
close at all times, ready to blast
forth a tide-changing toot.

“Special Card illustrations


are, well, special—they show a
universal effect, not a specific
character. Here we focus on
the sounding horn, with only
a sparse background of simple
banners to suggest the army
answering its call.”

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SPECIAL CARDS 227

QUEN SIGN
Lorenzo Mastroianni
The witcher raised a hand and
quickly traced a path with it in
the air. The crowd’s rumble rose,
the stones flew thicker. Yet the
sign curved their course, pushing
them aside. They simply passed
their target, protected by a
shield unseen.

Witcher Signs are spells


stripped to their barest essence
to enable their rapid use in
combat. For Quen more than
any other, such speed is
essential—if erected in time,
this magic barrier can block
blows seconds before they
strike true, turning sure death
into extra life.

“I illustrated a hail of arrows


foundering against a Quen
shield, with the assailants
out-of-frame and the witcher’s
face hidden. Simple and general,
the card communicates its
essence at a glance: this will
save you.”

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228 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

REINFORCEMENT
Nemanja Stankovic
Sound the retreat! Regroup!
And wait for reinforcements!

The hardiest soldiers tire. The


bravest battalions take losses.
The most dedicated officers
need leave to tend to home
and hearth. Fresh troops must
be brought in to replace the
weary, the wounded, and the
wifeward bound.

“By showing only the soldiers’


backs and highlighting their
fresh, standard-issue uniforms,
I wanted to show a well-oiled
war machine as it churns
through another wave of human
resources.”

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RENEW
Lorenzo Mastroianni
Medicus curat, magicae sanat.

Spells able to revive those


thought well beyond death’s
door require extraordinary
skill, boundless stamina, and a
healthy appetite for risk. As a
result, even the mighty enjoy
their benefits but rarely, and
when they do, the event turns
to legend, a miracle recounted
far and wide.

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230 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

TORRENTIAL RAIN
Bartłomiej Gaweł
Even the rain in this land smells vile.

In war, rain can be a curse or


a blessing. One side’s caravans
and siege engines stick in the
mud, slowed to a worm’s crawl,
while the other side gains time
to regroup and swoop in like
hungry gulls.

The tired soldiers in this


illustration, partly obscured by
a gray curtain of rain, struggle
to move their heavy equipment.
For them, war is not glory or
grandeur, but one sodden step
after another.

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SPECIAL CARDS 231

1 2
1. BITING FROST
Bartłomiej Gaweł
Best thing about frost? Bodies of
the fallen don’t rot so quickly.

2. WHITE FROST
Anna Podedworna
Behold Tedd Deireadh, the Final
Age. The world destroyed by the
White Frost.

3. IMPENETRABLE
FOG
Bartłomiej Gaweł
A good commander’s dream . . .
and a bad one’s horror.

4. FIRST LIGHT
Bartłomiej Gaweł
The sun’s shinin’, Dromle! The
sun’s shinin’! Maybe there’s hope
left after all . . .

3 4
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232 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

EPIDEMIC
Grafit Studio
Epidemics are no respecters
of persons or borders.

In many campaigns, pox


reaps a far weightier harvest
than steel or arrow. Piles of
unburied dead become ideal
breeding grounds for all
manner of foulness, tainting
water supplies and attracting
flesh-rending scavengers.

“To illustrate an epidemic, I


knew there had to be rats, the
plague’s bearers and also its
beneficiaries, given an endless
feast of rotting flesh. I set the
scene in a town deserted save
for hanged civilians and a dead
soldier, showing that disease
obliterated both sides of this
battle mid conflict.”

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SPECIAL CARDS 233

MONSTER NEST
Marta Dettlaff
Damn, the filth’s o’errun us . . .
We need a witcher or there’s no
livin’ ’ere!

Monsters nest in secret, safe


places, not only for their own
protection but for that of their
young. Even the foulest of
beasts care how the next foul
generation will come into this
world.

“To me, this is the perfect


Mother’s Day card. In the fore-
ground we’ve got a darling little
monster hatchling, with its loving
mother behind it, watching.
Sure, it might be slimy and vile,
but to her, it’s a beautiful miracle.
With all the oozy, translucent
surfaces, this illustration wasn’t
easy, but definitely worth it.”

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234 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

1 2
1. SPORES
Katarzyna Redesiuk
"You ever see that rubbish, believe
you me, mate—pinch your nose
tight and run like the win—"
"Ugh! That reeks! What is it?!"
"Leg it!"

2. NATURE’S GIFT
Marta Dettlaff
The earth gives freely to us what
you must take by force.

3. DIMERITIUM
BOMB
Lorenzo Mastroianni
An important part of every Witch
Hunter’s kit. In one muted flash, it
turns the most powerful sorcerer
into pork jelly ripe for cutting.

4. RESTORATION
Bogna Gawrońska
Those cursed sorceresses are
stealing our thunder! Why ever
should folk choose a procedure
taking several hours, when some
perfumed tart can solve their
problem with a wave of her hand?

3 4
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SPECIAL CARDS 235

1 2
1. STAMMELFORD’S
TREMORS
Lorenzo Mastroianni
The sorcerer Stammelford moved
a mountain that obscured the view
from his tower. Rumor has it he
could only do so because he’d
fettered a d’ao, an earth elemental.

2. FIREBALL TRAP
Anna Podedworna
Careful! One more step and you’ll
be turned into molten glass.

3. SCORCH
Marek Madej
Geralt took one step back. He’d
seen men hit by Scorch before.
Or more accurately, seen what
remained of them afterward.

4. ALZUR’S THUNDER
Lorenzo Mastroianni
We stand not the slightest chance
of incanting a spell so complex as
Alzur’s Thunder. It is claimed Alzur
had a voice like a hunting horn and
the diction of a master orator.

3 4
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RAGH NAR ROOG
Anna Podedworna
In the Final Age, Hemdall will
come forth to face the evil issuing
from the land of Mörhogg—the
legions of wraiths, demons, and
specters of chaos.

Skellige mythology revolves


around an end time called Ragh
nar Roog. Every warrior worth
his sword longs to take part in
this final battle against the forces
of chaos. Every fishwife worth
her lutefisk longs to send her
sons to die in it. Every reason-
able person considers the
Skelligers mad.

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SPECIAL CARDS 237

1 2
1. SKELLIGE STORM
Anna Podedworna
This ain’t no normal storm. This
here’s the wrath of the gods.

2. AEROMANCY
Bogna Gawrońska
The druid Vaedermakar controls
the elements. He soothes storms
into silence, musters destructive
hail, summons lightning to turn foes
into ash. So I advise you well . . .
treat him with utmost respect.

3. ADRENALINE RUSH
Lorenzo Mastroianni
The beast rushed at them wildly,
with fury in its eyes, immune to pain
and any strikes the defenders could
land. Nothing stood to stop it . . .

4. MERIGOLD’S
HAILSTORM
Bruno Biazotto
The sky dimmed of a sudden, and
clouds amassed over the town. It
grew fiendishly dark, and a cold
gust swept in. “Oh my,” gasped
Yennefer. “We’re about to make
quite the mess, I think.”

3 4
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238 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

LACERATE
Anna Podedworna
A sight more horrid you’ve
never seen . . . The poor soul lay
shredded as the beast lapped up
its blood from the ground all
around.

Sever a man’s head, and he


dies in a moment. Sever his
tendons, and he hobbles for
a lifetime, unable to pose a
threat, yet able to serve as an
example, source of information,
or bait. Monsters, swordsmen,
and Gwent players all must
know when a wound will do
more for their cause than a
deathblow.

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SPECIAL CARDS 239

THE LAST WISH


Anna Podedworna
A djinn, good sirs, fulfills but
three wishes. Thus freed, it flees
to dimensions unknown.

Genies, beings embodying


one of the four elemental planes,
wield powers far beyond those
of the most skilled mages. The
wishes they grant know virtually
no limits. With a genie at his
service, a man enters the realm
of the gods—which is why mages
will sacrifice anything to
enslave them.

The card’s name is a reference


to the short story about Geralt
and Yennefer’s first meeting,
when Geralt made the fateful
wish which bound his and
Yennefer’s fates forever.

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240 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

1 2
1. DECOY
Marek Madej
When you run out of peasants,
decoys also make decent arrow
fodder.

2. PROMOTE
Nemanja Stankovic
Not wealth or fame but intentions
true—that’s what makes a hero
of you!

3. TREASON
Nemanja Stankovic
Many believe the empire’s power
rests upon the shoulders of its
disciplined army and dutiful mages.
In truth, the Nilfgaardian floren
rules the world.

4. MANTICORE
VENOM
Alicja Kapustka
Kills quicker than you can
recite the emperor of Nilfgaard’s
title in full.

3 4
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SPECIAL CARDS 241

MARDROEME
Anna Podedworna
Eat enough of them, and the world
will never be the same . . .

Every year, Oxenfurt Academy


hosts a lecture on the hallucino-
genic properties of plants and
fungi. Every year, the lecture
hall brims with upperclassmen
eager for this highly pertinent
information. They leave with
heads full of ideas and note-
books full of scribblings about,
among others, mardroeme, a
rare fungal species famed for its
powerful mutagenic and toxic
properties.

“The Mardroeme card can


either damage or boost units.
The illustrations for both options
contain bears and mushrooms,
but the first has a bear’s desic-
cated skull, while the second
shows a living bear, out for an
afternoon stroll.”

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ASSASSINATION
Alicja Kapustka
“How much is a human life worth?”
“That depends. Yours, for instance,
I’d put at about a hundred orens.”

Targeted murder is a time-


honored tool in the battle
for power and influence. The
Nilfgaardian Empire in particular
has seen it make and destroy
many great fortunes and families
over the past centuries. In the
last hundred years alone, at
least three emperors were
killed by hidden daggers and
crouching killers.

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SPECIAL CARDS 243

1 2
1. SWALLOW POTION
Aleksandra Wojtas
Symbolizing spring and rejuvenation,
the swallow lent its name to this
potion that accelerates the rate at
which wounds scab over and heal.

2. THUNDERBOLT
POTION
Anna Podedworna
The witcher’s face changed . . . his
mien turning inhuman, horrifying.

3. BEKKER’S
TWISTED MIRROR
Lorenzo Mastroianni
Gaze long into the abyss, and the
abyss will gaze back into you.

4. WARCRY
Nemanja Stankovic
Some fight for Temeria. Others fight
for Nilfgaard. I fight for the Heron.

3 4
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244 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

ALZUR’S DOUBLE
CROSS
Anna Podedworna
A few of Alzur’s monstrous
creations roam the world still. Not
least among them is the horrid viy,
which massacred its mage creator
and destroyed half of Maribor
before fleeing into Riverdell’s
gloomy woodland.

Alzur, a famed mage, did much


for the betterment of magic.
Yet most mages gloss over his
highly unethical experiments
concerning mutagens, animal
hybridization, and monster
husbandry. Rumor has it some
of his most dangerous creations
still roam the world, including the
enormous centipede which killed
Alzur himself, destroyed half of
Maribor, and escaped into the
woods of Riverdell.

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SPECIAL CARDS 245

BLIZZARD POTION
Grafit Studio
Anna Podedworna
The witcher moved with unnatural
speed. Too fast for the human eye
to register.

To survive when outnumbered


or overwhelmed, witchers take
shelter in Blizzard. Once
imbibed, it lets them perceive
and act several times faster
than normal, as though the
world around them slowed to
a crawl. Side effects include
near-lethal levels of blood
toxicity and distorted vision—
a small price to pay for living
to fight another day.

“To perfectly capture that look


of light scattering through half-
frozen liquid, I made models at
home for reference. Sadly, my
favorite whiskey glass didn’t
survive this experiment.”

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246 G W E N T: A R T O F T H E W I T C H E R C A R D G A M E

DIMERITIUM
SHACKLE
Nemanja Stankovic
The mage’s arms were twisted
and bound behind his back.
The Redanians gave the fetters
a good shake. Terranova cried out,
lurched, bent backward, bowed
forward, then retched and groaned.
It was clear of what his manacles
were made.

Multiply extreme rarity by


supreme usefulness, and you
get one extraordinarily valuable
material—namely, dimeritium,
which muffles the magic abilities
of anyone who comes in direct
contact with it. Cuffs forged of
an alloy containing this metal
render most mages harmless,
no matter how intricately they
twist their fingers or tie their
tongues.

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SPECIAL CARDS 247

RALLY
Grafit Studio
It’s just the three o’ youse?! That’s
our ploughin’ grand rally?! That’s
s’posed to save the bloody day?!

Sometimes, all seems lost.


The enemy stands at the cusp
of victory, your own forces
discouraged, depleted,
despairing. Then, on the
horizon, you see a speck of
light. As it grows nearer, your
heart soars. The cavalry has
arrived, reinforcements are
here, and the day is not yet
lost. With a triumphant roar
you return to the fray, fighting
side by side with your newly
come saviors. And the blood-
letting goes on . . .

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Whether played on the exotic felt tabletop of a palatial casino, or on a rough-hewn bar
in a tavern’s smoky din, the game of Gwent is never a dull one! With cards that feature fantastic
art that only adds to the strategic thrill of crushing one’s opponent, Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
offers a singular gaming experience. Now, Dark Horse is proud to present each card’s gorgeous
artwork in a stunning hardbound volume. Celebrate wondrous artistry and cutthroat
game play with Gwent: Art of The Witcher Card Game!

DarkHorse.com | CDProjektRed.com | PlayGwent.com ®


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