Drowners inhabit both natural and artificial bodies of water, from rivers and lakes to mill ponds and city sewers. It is commonly thought that these creatures are drowned men, somehow arisen from the dead to prey on the living. This opinion is as widespread as it is false, for the beasts are in fact another post-Conjunction relic.
The drowner, a frightful creature of mud and scum, drags people down into mires and bubbling eddies. It feeds on young women who bathe in rivers and on occasion will pull men off their horses or carts as they cross a bridge or weir. Drowners arise from the bodies of villains who meet their end in running water or in undertows that appear after storms. These watery creatures embody the spirits of those who can not rest after death and are sometimes born of fetuses aborted by magical means. They are ugly in appearance, skinny, tall and bony. Their bodies are slimy and green, as is their hair. Wherever a drowner steps, pools of their slimy substance form. This creature can be fought using ordinary weapons.
- "Drowners are scoundrels who ended their wicked lives in the water. Drowned alive or thrown into deep water after death, they turn into vengeful creatures which stalk the inhabitants of coastal settlements."
- see also: alternative game description
- Outskirts of Vizima, by the fishing village and by the Old Mill.
- Vizima sewers
- Vizima dike
- Lakeside, on Black Tern Island, and the Naiad's bathing spot near the village.
- Swamp cemetery
- In Chapter I, an "Old townswoman" will tell Geralt a tale about drowned dead in exchange for food. This conversation results in journal entries for Drowners (not Drowned Dead), Drowner Brain Tissue, Cadaverine, and Ginatz's Acid.
- Spending a Bronze talent on the Monster Lore option adds bestiary entries for Graveirs, Ghouls, Drowners and Barghests.
- Swamp Monsters
- Geralt can loot the bodies of Drowners for Cadaverine and Ginatz's Acid before he has a bestiary entry for Drowners or ingredient entries for those items. However, Drowner remains will not contain Drowner Brain Tissue until Geralt has the journal entries.
- In the Prologue, Lambert urges Geralt to limit his use of the Group Style to only Drowners at first. However, the conversation does not result in a bestiary entry.
- In Chapters II and III Geralt can give an Old woman in the Temple Quarter some beer or mead after asking her "Why so tight-lipped today?" At first, she will tell him a story about the Mage's Tower. Giving her another drink on a later visit, she will tell a story about Drowners. Whether or not this conversation would result in the Drowner bestiary entry has not been confirmed.
- Sometimes a drowned man returns as a monster, to haunt the living. Tormented with his death, he murders his victims. He prefers to draw them beneath the water's surface, tearing the drowning victim to shreds with sharp claws, and eat them like a wet biscuit. Such creature is called a drowner. They are quite often found at the banks of the Pontar, since the huge river with regular shipping and riverside villages provides them with ample sustenance.
- "When monsters are really crappy, ganging up makes them happy". Drowners are not the mightiest beasts in the world, so they hunt in groups, in accordance with the above saying. They are surprisingly fast on land, but are a threat only to fishermen and washerwomen. They can best a witcher only if he is drunk or in love. Sometimes, however, a more robust specimen is found among the drowners. It is called a drowned dead and can command the entire band. Thus it's best to eliminate it first.
- One could say that if drowners chatted among themselves, Geralt would be highly esteemed among them after his exploits in Vizima. Yet drowners do not chat - they are dumb like a left shoe. And good. Fast style should be used when fighting them, and one must spin swiftly before they flee from a witcher's blade. Enough said.
- As they are already dead, drowners do not fear poisons, and even a large loss of blood makes no impression on them. This ends the list of the monsters' strong points, however, as the rest of the witchers' arsenal is extremely effective against them. Thus the drowners can be killed with fire, immobilized by traps, knocked down and, above all else, sliced and diced until slime spills from their ears.
Developer CD Projekt's characterization of the drowner taken from the monsterbook, which was enclosed with the Collectors Edition of the computer game The Witcher for Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic:
One of the most popular creatures in the game, the drowner is initially a worthy opponent, but become cannon fodder as the game progresses, an excuse for increasingly spectacular displays of Geralt's mastery of the sword. Frequently appearing creatures need to be created with particular attention to detail, so unsurprisingly we spent a lot of time refining the drowner's final appearance. This was probably the most often modified model in the game.
Skinny and humped, with its huge head, slightly protruding belly and concave chest, the drowner became a creature that is half-scary, half grotesque. Its eyes are round and fishlike, granting it a rather dumb expression. It also has wide palms and membranes between its fingers as well as a fin. Like its color, these elements reveal much about its natural environment. This creature clearly lives underwater and is awkward when on dry land... unless it happens to be hungry and there is an unsuspecting traveller nearby.
- When at the water's edge, you gotta be quiet. First of all, so as not to scare the fish. Second – so you don't attract drowners.
– Yanneck of Blaviken, fisherman
- A drowner resembles a corpse dredged from the bottom of a pond. It is sickly blue or green in color, with slime and sludge oozing out of every pore and the acrid stench of rot wafting off of it. That is why it is often thought drowners - along with their more dangerous cousins: vodniks, mucknixers and drowned dead – arise from the bodies of those who drown in shallow water: lost travelers falling into bogs, children who swim too far from the shore or, in the case of vodniks, inebriated peasants who stumble off narrow swamp trails.
- Like so many other beliefs about monsters, this one is false. While drowners do look like humans from a distance, witchers, who have the dubious pleasure of examining them from close quarters, have reported the numerous ways in which their anatomy differs from our own. Their scaly skin, gills and dorsal fins suggest drowners and their like are an entirely foreign species.
- The adaptations mentioned below make drowners excellent swimmers, well-suited to the muddy waters of the ponds and lakes in which they dwell. They often cluster near human settlements, which are for them an excellent source of food.
- Cowardly creatures by nature, they usually stick to eating scraps they dig out of rubbish piles and animal carcasses. Yet if a lone traveler or careless fisherman strays into their territory, they turn from scavengers to fearsome predators. They can attack with lightning speed, taking their victim by surprise and pulling him into the water to drown. If not particularly hungry at the moment, they will keep their prey under the water for a few days, aging it until it grows deliciously tender and rotten. Drowners are particularly active at dusk and during the night, especially if the rain is falling – at such times they will even leave their watery homes and venture inland.
- Drowners, mucknixers, vodniks and drowned dead all live in putrid, rotting filth, and so have developed a high resistance to poison. Though humanoid in form, they are primitive creatures no more intelligent than carp or pike. That is why spells affecting the mind, the Axii Sign included, are ineffective against them. Yet they are particularly vulnerable to magic drawn from the element of fire, including the Igni Sign.
Drowners are predominantly pack creatures by nature, usually in groups of three or greater. You know they have spotted you if they burrow into the ground. This is a sure warning sign that they're preparing to ambush if you encroach further on their territory.
Drowners are quite weak to Igni, susceptible to being lit afire and stunned while they screech in agony. When attacked by multiple drowners, it's possible to catch the pack in an Yrden trap, then blast the drowners with Igni. You can counterattack the claw swipes from a drowner, causing a bit of extra damage to them.
However, this can be quite difficult when multiple drowners are attacking. Not only do they usually attack in numbers, their attacks are quite fast and can have surprising range as they usually do leaping jump-strikes; above all else, don't let yourself get surrounded by them. They can interrupt your counterattacks with their own attacks. Drowners try to leap at a witcher from beneath the ground. Watch for disturbances at your feet, and roll or dodge to safety. Drowners react to the deaths of their fellows by screaming in pain. This show of mourning leaves them defenseless for several seconds.
- In Danusia Stok's translation of The Last Wish, she translates the word "utopiec" as "vodnik" in the short story "The Witcher" and as "drowner" in "The Edge of the World". She also used the word "vodnik" for vodyanoi.
- See the GWENT standalone game version card: Drowner