Leshy

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Leshy in the Wiedźmin: Gra Wyobraźni PnP RPG. Illustration by Jarosław Musiał

A leshy (Polish: Leszy, in English sometimes spelled Leshii or Leszi), also known as spriggan or leshen in The Witcher game series, is a forest monster that is described as something that "lives only to kill". When they kill something or someone, they do not leave much for any carrion eaters.

I looked for the words "Witcher urgently needed". And then there'd be a sacred site, a dungeon, necropolis or ruins, forest ravine or grotto hidden in the mountains, full of bones and stinking carcasses. Some creatures which lived to kill, out of hunger, for pleasure, or invoked by some sick will. A manticore, wyvern, fogler, aeschna, ilyocoris, chimera, leshy, vampire, ghoul, graveir, were-wolf, giant scorpion, striga, black annis, kikimora, vypper... so many I've killed.
— pg(s). 116 & 148, "The Voice of Reason 4", in the collection The Last Wish (US edition)


The leshy isn't described in any more detail in any of Andrzej Sapkowski's books, except The Tower of the Swallow.

In Wiedźmin: Gra Wyobraźni[edit | edit source]

In the Wiedźmin: Gra Wyobraźni PnP RPG, leshy is described as a forest-dwelling, iron-resistant, highly intelligent monster. For unknown reasons, many peasants consider him to be a spirit that protects the forest. In reality, it is a very dangerous creature that hunts woodland creatures and lone wanderers. It has the ability to polymorph. In its natural form, it is a wildcat-sized creature that looks like a cross between a wildcat and a bear, with mighty fangs and sharp claws. It mostly lurks among the tree branches, from which it quickly jumps on its victims. It usually devours the whole prey. Its mightiest weapon is the ability to shift shape. It can morph into a humanoid being that looks like a harmless, old man or into a tree branch that is practically identical to real ones.

In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt[edit | edit source]

Leshen
Tw3 journal leshen.png
Details
Class
Relict
Boss
Yes
Variations
Ancient leshen
Kernun
Woodland Spirit
Occurrence
Forests
Immunity
Axii
Vulnerable to
Dimeritium bombs
Relict oils
Igni
Tactics
controlling surrounding animals and plants; temporarily disappearing
Loot
Leshen resin
Leshen mutagen
Monster bone
Fiber

Leshens in The Witcher 3 are ancient and powerful forest spirits. Possessing a deer skull as a head and tree-like limbs, a leshen can call for aid from crows or a pack of wolves.[1] Furthermore, in some circumstances, a leshen can only be "permanently" defeated if the person it chooses as its “link”, or familiar, is banished or killed as well. Geralt may also have to destroy a leshen's warding totems to rid a forest of its presence.[1]

Information from the official The Witcher 3 site[edit | edit source]

Humans have long been fascinated by the wildwood—living in it’s vicinity was the source of tales about creatures ferocious and benign, friendly and hostile. As they started to settle deeper and deeper into the forests, respect for the unknown diminished. Lumber was gathered, stone abodes were built. As the pestilence that was humanity grew bigger, so did the forest’s and its inhabitants’ wrath.

At the heart of the forest lies a secret. In a place born of darkness and primeval nature, resides a mighty and terrifying guardian. Immune to human steel, it is believed the Leshen is nature’s way of protecting the forest and the animals that live within it from the threat humans started to pose upon their ravaging expansion deeper into the lands.

Along with the animals it commands, the Leshen became a force to be reckoned with. Sometimes worshipped, this creature can heal other woodland animals and summon nekkers or crows to protect the forest. Its attacks are slow, but deadly—be cautious not to get shackled by its underground roots.

― the official The Witcher 3 site - Leshen


Bestiary entry[edit | edit source]

We never hunt in these woods. Never. Even if it means the whole village starves.
— Mulliver, ealdorman of Hoshberg in lower Aedirn
Leshens dwell in dense, primeval woods. Fiercely territorial creatures, they hunt with stealth and cunning as their only companions. They use their inborn magic to control the plants and animals within their territory — and so when stalking them, half the battle is merely getting near enough to strike. Leshens old [sic] enough to earn the appellation "ancient" wield advanced skills and tactics that make them particularly dangerous.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

In The Witcher: Adventure Game[edit | edit source]

Leshen can cross your path in The Witcher Adventure Game. This creature is very hard to defeat (level: Gold).

To defeat them you need:

  • Sword:5
  • Shield:0

Successful Sword: Receive 2 VP.
Failed Sword: Suffer 1 Death for each Sword you are short.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • In Slavic mythology, the term "leshy" comes from the Slavic term for "forest" ("les"). Historically, Slavs held great respect for forests, mountains and water. A leshy was something akin to a master of the forest. It was everywhere in the forest and disapproved of people entering its domain, but never left the forest. If a human spied a leshy in the forest, it was most likely that he had lost his way. Folk tales told that to find his path again, he had to turn all his clothing inside-out.
  • A leshen wallpaper was the "Week 3" event of CD Projekt RED's "Killing Monsters" special for The Witcher 3, published on the 26th June 2013.

References[edit | edit source]