A conviction has arisen amongst both mages and the hoi polloi that witchers barely rise a hair's breadth above animals, that they are deformed and bloodthirsty mutants, and that in slaking this thirst they do not limit themselves to the fluids of monsters. Meanwhile the research and observations of Virgil of Ban Ard paint an entirely different picture of the caste.
Of course, it is an indisputable fact that the mutations witchers undergo influence their temperament, immune system, strength and endurance, yet one cannot consider them unthinking beings forged only for killing as a result. In fact, witchers cultivate a unique culture, a specialized body of knowledge, an effective training system and even a code of honor. They know an incredible amount about the effects of ingesting various organic and inorganic substances, and also a small amount, but nevertheless something, about the fundamentals of magic (by which I mean the simple spells they call "Signs"). On the surface the witchers appear to be a homogeneous social entity, but in truth their fighting styles, training regimens and world views differ significantly depending upon the school to which they adhere. The best-known witcher schools on the Continent are the School of the Wolf, the School of the Bear, the School of the Griffin, the School of the Viper, and the School of the Cat.