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In the game series, while Jen puts Uma through the Trial of the Grasses​, Vesemir tells us that it's the first Trial for 50 years. Also all the Witchers are not very happy about all of this mess.

So why are there no Trials anymore? Is it so rare? Don't they see themselves as a necessary evil (monster hunting)? Is it connected with the reason why the different schools vanish?

I know the games are not canon, but the game only cover about 10 years, so it seems this "problem" already existed before.

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In the Blood of Elves novel, Triss does mention it at the start of the book.

(Emphasis mine)

It’s clear, she suddenly thought, feeling a passionate arousal of an entirely different nature. It’s obvious. They want to mutate the child, subject her to the Trial of Grasses and Changes, but they don’t know how to do it. Vesemir was the only witcher left from the previous generation, and he was only a fencing instructor. The Laboratorium, hidden in the vaults of Kaer Morhen, with its dusty demi—johns of elixirs, the alembics, ovens and retorts . . . None of the witchers knew how to use them. The mutagenic elixirs had been concocted by some renegade wizard in the distant past and then perfected over the years by the Wizard’s successors, who had, over the years, magically controlled the process of Changes to which children were subjected. And at a vital moment the chain had snapped. There was no more magical knowledge or power. The witchers had the herbs and Grasses, they had the Laboratorium. They knew the recipe. But they had no wizard.

So we know of this that the Witchers of Kaer Morhen still had the tools to perform the trial, but Vesemir was the only one from the previous generation where it was more common. As by another account of Triss upon finding a young trainee on the the trail towards Kaer Morhen that no witchers had been trained from children for a quarter of a century.

She wanted to catch a glimpse of the little witcher once again — children had not been trained in Kaer Morhen for near to a quarter of a century.

The main problem for the witchers was that they didn't really know how to perform it since it was usually done by Wizards, and by an account of Triss in the same chapter I think it is reasonable that the witchers were hesitant to ask for the aid of wizards.

I can understand that, thought the magician. A child trained to be a witcher, a girl, at that, who has not undergone the mutations, should not be told such things. A child like that should not hear about the massacre. A child like that should not be terrified by the prospect that they too may one day hear words describing it like those which were screamed by the fanatics who marched on Kaer Morhen long ago. Mutant. Monster. Freak. Damned by the gods, a creature contrary to nature. No, I do not blame the witchers for not telling you about it, little Ciri. And I shan’t tell you either. I have even more reason to be silent. Because I am a wizard, and without the aid of wizards those fanatics would never have conquered the castle. And that hideous lampoon, that widely distributed Monstrum which stirred the fanatics up and drove them to such wickedness was also, apparently, some wizard’s anonymous work. But I, little Ciri, do not recognise collective responsibility, I do not feel the need to expiate the events which took place half a century before my birth. And the skeletons which are meant to serve as an eternal reminder will ultimately rot away completely, disintegrate into dust and be forgotten, will disappear with the wind which constantly whips the mountainside. . .

So they had all the tools to perform the trial, but no one was left with the knowledge of how to use them, and they lacked a wizard to help them do it.

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There were no more Trials of the Grasses because there's no one to perform/endure the Trial any more:

  1. The general public considered witchers monsters, and did not want their children to become witchers, which considerably lowered the number of candidates available for the schools to perform the Trial on.

  2. Only 3 in 10 survived the Trial, severely reducing the number of of people who became witchers, who would collect more children for their schools and/or support the schools.

  3. The recipe was kept secret, and was lost when Kaer Morhen was attacked. Since the games are not canon, they were able to get the recipe through Yennifer.

With few people joining, even fewer surviving to the end, the dangerous job, society making life generally difficult, and the secrecy around the recipe, there were few people to support the schools and/or knew how to perform the Trial completely. This made it easy to lose the recipe, which it was, when Kaer Morhen was attacked.

If I remember correctly from The Witcher 3, Ciri was the last person to train as a witcher at Kaer Morhen, but never went through the Trials.

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  • 3
    In a side quests (can't remember which) where you need to bring a child to it's aunt. She asks to take the child with you. In times of war and in an medieval society, there should be plenty of people willing to give theirs children away before starving
    – Mruf
    Apr 3 '19 at 7:15
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    @Mruf The side-quest you're referring to is "Where The Cat And Wolf Play".
    – Mike Scott
    Apr 3 '19 at 9:32
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    @Mruf One exception wasn't about to rebuild the school of the wolf. Besides, one of the subplots of the games is the slow decline of the witcher profession through societal fear/hatred, so although people were probably willing to give up their children to not starve, they would rather starve than allow for their children to turn into what they saw as monsters.
    – calccrypto
    Apr 3 '19 at 13:06
  • Piggybacking on what @Mruf said, isn't Lambert someone who was put through training because of being given up? I don't remember the whole story but Lambert at one point tells Geralt about how he ended up becoming a witcher. Apr 3 '19 at 16:53
  • And also witchers could invoke the law of surprise and thus receive a child as reward which will go into training to become a witcher.
    – RigaCrypto
    Jan 14 '20 at 7:20

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