The typical vran is tall, covered in scales with characteristic ruby-red eyes which cover half of their face and give them infravision: an ability to see heat sources even in absolute darkness. They have venomous fangs which can be used to make their weapon toxic. A typical vran female is distinguished from a man by voice timbre and being slightly shorter.
Despite being humanoid, their physiology is entirely different from that of mammalian humanoids. On top of being cold blooded, medics of other races have to study vrans for years to even operate on them.
There is also an entirely separate sub-race or breed called "Vran Warriors" who have smaller eyes, much more intimidating posture and large tails, making them more similar to vigilosaurs than common humanoid-like, bipedal vrans. They are sometimes shown on vran monuments.
Vrans are calm and cool-headed, much less emotional than other humanoids. Members of the race are startled by the human passion for cruelty, though it's alleged that they lack compassion.
Vrans do not normally possess any innate magical abilities, but certain individuals manage to master the Chaos despite natural limitations. These individuals, called Operators or Guardians, possess great power, allowing them to manipulate time and space.
Some Nordlings had a conspiracy theory which attributed a doppler-like polymorphism to vrans or at least a caste of them, an ability which they supposedly used to impersonate influential individuals including Emhyr var Emreis. This is likely nothing more than a superstition.
Clothing and weapons
Vrans wear dark greens, especially on their cloaks, and solar-themed jewelry. They prefer to fight on horseback, wearing gambesons encrusted with iron plates and leather helmets with steel nosepieces dividing their eyes. They wield short spears with wide spearheads, swords with bizarre quillons, bardiches, and gisarmes. Their mounts wear green caparisons.
While most of the vrans living near humans speak Common Speech fluently, they have their own language. Many aphorisms contributed to vrans and translated to Scholar are popular in academic society.
At the peak of their civilization vrans created carefully planned cities of unique architecture style, with massive towers, walls, and monumental amphitheaters. Doors and interiors were decorated with a green or metallic pattern similar to scales. One example of such a city was modern-day Loc Muinne.
Religion and philosophy
Vrans do not worship any deities – they believe that only the life they are living right now matters. For this reason, they venerate the life as the sanctity most high, because if there is nothing but life, taking it away from anyone and therefore making the joy of it no longer possible is unthinkable.
In ghettos and reservations
While living in human settlements vrans try to mind their business, in fear that sticking nose in someone else's affairs would bring them trouble – ranging from few racial slurs to decapitation in hands of an angry mob. Though hardly trustful, they pack with werebbubbs proving the idea of bonds with other races isn't a concept unknown to them.
In non-human reservations, vrans participate in some kinds of ritual fights or games with werebbubbs.
The dawn of vran presence on the Continent remains shrouded in mystery. According to some theories, they were one of the most ancient races inhabiting these lands, dating back thousands of years before humans settled into the area, while others suggest they came during the Conjunction of the Spheres. Their homeland was reportedly located east of the Blue Mountains.
Interaction with elves
At some point in history before the First Landing, one of the vrani cities was settled by Aen Seidhe and named Loc Muinne. The reasons behind the disappearance of its original inhabitants remained unknown for a long time. The elves claimed that the absence of vrans was caused by little ice age which forced them to leave their seat. Humans, on the other hand, suspected purposeful genocide after finding dismembered vran skeletons in nearby caves. The truth was discovered by mage aep Dearhenna during his studies of city chronicles in Black Academy. Vrans died because of a bacteria created by elves, as one of the culprits, Goeveth, reported.
Apart from Loc Muinne, the elves attacked several other ancient vrani cities strewn across the foothills of the Blue Mountains, amidst several civil conflicts. These cities are now ruins and caverns underneath them are littered with reptilian bones.
The arrival of mankind
The vrans experienced difficult times after the humans came. Reptilian look – less appealing than dwarven or hobbity – quickly became one of the reasons for their persecution. Priests of Kreve, indignant at their opinion on the afterlife, claimed them to be demons. As a result of several pogroms and regular military conflicts cause the vrani population to decrease more and more. One of the last wars took place more than ten years before Geralt of Rivia was born when human forces were led by voivode Grozim. Due to this many vrans retreated beyond the Blue Mountains, while the majority of the rest were enclosed in reservations with werebbubbs.
Nine months before Geralt's birth at least 8 vrans belonged to the band of Koshchey's Men who terrorized the Klamat Pass area. Not long after a couple of them were killed by Korin in Klucz, remaining ones avenged them by shooting Korin with a poisoned arrow.
Although vrans had a hard time assimilating into Nordling society, at least some of them managed and lived in human towns by the 1220s-1230s as evidenced by the presence of a vran named Dziega in Blaviken during the infamous slaughter at the marketplace.
- Andrzej Sapkowski came upon an idea for a race of tall humanoids with huge red eyes after seeing similar creatures on the cover of some sci-fi novel in a Berlin bookshop. They were to play an important role in the book he planned. However, after the unexpected success of The Witcher short story, he shortened the novel into Droga, z której się nie wraca. Later, when he joined it with The Witcher world, he decided to abandon further development of vrans and werebbubbs because he wanted it to be inhabited mainly by more classic fantasy races like elves and hobbits.
- The reason above was probably why Bogusław Polch decided to base vrans on another popular fantasy archetype of reptilians and snake people.
- Due to Sapkowski's interest in Celtic languages, it is possible that their name is based on Middle Welsh brân, meaning "a crow". It appears spelled this way in the name Morvran, a character in the Saga.
- Alternatively, it is possibly based on the Serbo-Croatian word "vran" ("вран" in Cyrillic), which is an archaic version of the word "gavran" (гавран), meaning "raven", or an archaic verb for "black". Another possibility is that it's based on "vrana" (врана) which simply translates as "crow". Either way, both Celtic and Slavic names ultimately draw from Proto-Indo-European wornéh or wernéh.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 The Witcher Role-Playing Game
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Parowski's and Polch's comic series
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 Wiedźmin: Gra Wyobraźni
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Droga, z której się nie wraca
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 The Witcher Battle Arena
- ↑ The Art of the Witcher: Gwent Gallery Collection
- ↑ Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales
- ↑ The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 2nd Edition of Wiedźmin: Gra Wyobraźni
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 The World of the Witcher