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Walkthrough by Nocturnia77 / Haeravon

Version: 1.00 | Updated: 06/27/15

Table of Contents

  1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  2. Tutorial
    1. Quieter Times in Kaer Morhen
  3. White Orchard
    1. The Hunt Begins
    2. Exploring White Orchard Village
    3. To the Ransacked Village
    4. Exploring the Battlefield
    5. Exploring Southern White Orchard
    6. Exploring Northern White Orchard
    7. Exploring Western White Orchard
    8. The Beast of White Orchard
    9. Imperial Audience
  4. Velen
    1. Crossing the Pontar
    2. Griffin Swords
    3. The Nilfgaardian Connection
    4. Enroute to Crow's Perch
    5. Bloody Baron: Meeting the Bloody Baron
    6. Bloody Baron: Of Barons and Botchlings
    7. From Crow's Peak to Lindenvale
    8. From Lindenvale to the Ferry Station
    9. From the Ferry Station to Oxenfurt
    10. Other Quests in and Around Oxenfurt
    11. Griffin Armor (Part One)
    12. From Blackbough to Midcopse
    13. Hunting A Witch
    14. Helping Keira Metz
    15. More Fun on Fyke Isle
    16. Exploring Around Oreton
    17. Ladies of the Wood
    18. Return to Crookback Bog
  5. Novigrad
    1. The Wilderness South of Novigrad
    2. Two Taverns and a Crossed Witcher
    3. Pyres of Novigrad
    4. The Great Gwent Diversion
    5. High Stakes Gwent
    6. The Dreamer and Dandelion
    7. Fencing Rosa and Gwenting Roche
    8. Count Reuven's Treasure
    9. Get Junior
    10. An Eye for an Eye and the Eyeless
    11. Witcher's Work in Novigrad
    12. Dealing with Dandelion
    13. A Dangerous Game
    14. Cabaret
    15. Carnal Sins
    16. Scavenger Hunt Under the Temple Isle
    17. In and Around Oxenfurt
    18. Aeramas' Abandoned Manor
    19. Boots Around Benek
    20. A Favor for Triss
    21. A Deadly Plot
  6. Skellige
    1. From Novigrad to Kaer Trolde
    2. Skellige Traditions
    3. From Kaer Trolde to Rannvain
    4. In the Heart of the Woods
    5. From Fayrlund to Fyresdal
    6. From Rannvaig to Arinbjorn
    7. Working for Madman Lugos
    8. Finishing Up Eastern Skellige
    9. Sailing to the Whale Graveyard
    10. Dealing with Druids
    11. Echoes of Gwent
    12. Hindarsfjall
    13. Larvik and The Last Wish
    14. Possession
    15. The Lord of Undvik
    16. Card Collector
    17. Master Craftsmen
  7. The Wild Hunt
    1. To Kaer Morhen
    2. Lifting the Curse
    3. Gather Allies
    4. The Isle of Mists
    5. The Battle of Kaer Morhen
    6. Revenge
    7. Blindingly Obvious
    8. Payback
    9. The Great Escape
    10. Reason of State
    11. Final Preparations
    12. Through Time and Space
    13. Battle Preparations
    14. Child of the Elder Blood
    15. The Final Battle
    16. Something Ends, Something Begins
  8. Crafting Information
    1. How to Craft
    2. Armor
    3. Crafting Components
    4. Crossbow Bolts
    5. Silver Sword
    6. Steel Swords
    7. Tools
    8. Upgrades
    9. Witcher Sets
  9. Alchemy Formulae
    1. Alchemy Substances
    2. Alcohol
    3. Bombs
    4. Decoctions
    5. Oils
    6. Potions
  10. Gwent Information
    1. Basic Gwent Strategies
    2. Gwent in White Orchard
    3. Northern Kingdoms Strategies
    4. Gwent in Velen
    5. Advanced Strategies
    6. Gwent in Novigrad
    7. Nilfgaard Strategies
    8. More Gwent in Novigrad
    9. Scoia'tael Strategies
    10. High-Stakes Gwent
    11. Gwent in Skellige
    12. Monster Strategies
    13. Finishing Up the Collection

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Version: 1.00

Written by: Nathan Garvin (Haeravon) and Rebecca Johnson (Nocturnia77)

Email: Theendbringer (at) Hotmail (dot) com (Haeravon)
Email: deliriousdevil (at) Gmail (dot) com (Nocturnia77)

If you're going to email us about this guide, make sure you put "Witcher 3" in the subject, or we'll probably end up deleting it as junk. If you would like the text version of this guide, e-mail Haeravon and ask for a copy.

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I have no affiliation with Warner Brothers, CDProjekt, or any other parties involved with this game. This is a fan-made guide. If you wish to post, mirror, or quote this guide, feel free to do so. Credit would make me happy, an email would make me feel good. Let your conscience be your guide, just like all good people.

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Tutorial

Quieter Times in Kaer Morhen

Guest Room

The game begins pleasantly enough-the sexy feet that frustrated Conan so much belong to Geralt of Rivia, who just so happens to be enjoying a warm bath... Until he gets molested by a crustacean, the machinations of his sorceress lover Yennefer. She proceeds to chastise him about training Ciri, the two get dressed, and a day in the life of a Witcher begins.

Or rather, the game's tutorial begins. You first task is to procure a key for the door, which you've rather wisely locked to keep prying eyes out. Aside from pointlessly extinguishing candles and examining various objects and getting some commentary from Geralt and Yennefer, there's not much to do. In the north-western corner of the room, on a book on a table near the door, you'll find your wayward key. Of course, you're supposed to be trying out your swanky new "Witcher Senses" [L2], so hold that button down and, if you've played any of the recent Batman games, you'll understand the purpose-it highlights interactable objects. In this case, the key we need. Grab it and open the door. Yes, the game even gives you a tutorial for opening doors. Turns out you have to face them and press [X]. Who knew?

Note: All directions will be given in relation to the mini-map. It's a pretty nifty tool that'll make both our lives easier.

Unlock the door and strut downstairs, Geralt-style. Once on the ground floor, Geralt will note that his master-Vesemir-who was supposed to be watching Ciri, has failed at his duties. Instead of some dull book work, Ciri decided to terrorize some training dummies while Vesemir caught forty winks. After some chatter with Vesemir, Geralt heads down to chastise the young aspiring Witcher. After chatting with Ciri for a bit, she'll ask if you want to "run the walls", which is a handy, more in-depth tutorial covering basic mobility.

Running the Walls

If you chose to "run the walls", start out by heading west and climbing a ladder [X], then scale two platforms to the north [Circle] and climb onto a wall to the west. Drop off a ledge to the north, then another to the south before climbing down a ladder to the east. Head down some stairs to the south and climb down another ladder, then navigate some wooden walkways to the west, going down two more flights of stairs and another ladder. Once all this is done, your goal is to head east into a sunken courtyard to find Vesemir, who is waiting with Lambert and Eskel, two other resident Witchers.

Note: Kaer Morhen seems to have retained at least some of the same basic design from the first game. Very cool touch.

Vesemir will give Ciri the angry old man treatment before finally moving on to combat training. Accept the tutorial if you wish to learn more about combat (why wouldn't you?) or pass.

The Fundamentals

Choose to "start with the fundamentals" and Geralt will claim a sword for him to use. The game will briefly introduce you to the three basic tools of a Witcher-swords, signs, and alchemy. For now, we're focusing on swords. Press [Left] on the D-pad to quick-draw your steel sword (useful for fighting humans, who tend to be clad in pesky armor). Silver swords [Right] will come into play later when we're hunting monsters, who are vulnerable to silver-plated weaponry.

Once your sword is out, lock onto Vesemir by pressing down on the [R3] button, then perform a series of Fast Attacks [Square], followed by Strong Attacks [Triangle]. Next up, dodging [Circle]. Vesemir gives ample warning before he attacks, so you should have no trouble scoring two dodges that this task requires. Next you'll need to roll out of the way twice [X], which is more of the same, except Vesemir's attacks are even more obvious. What's the difference? Dodges are shorter and faster, best for dodging quick enemies and retaliating. Rolls are good for dodging heavy, slower attacks. Parrying is the next order of business-simply hold down [L2] to parry all of Vesemir's attacks. Finally, it's time to practice ripostes. Hit [L2] as Vesemir attacks to block-and-counter him.

Now it's time to move onto Signs. Press [L1] to to open the Quick Menu, from which you can select your Signs. The first up is the Quen Sign. Select it, then cast it by pressing [R2]. Quen blocks damage, and is eminently useful for mitigating damage. Cast it and let Vesemir hit you-to no effect. Then switch to the Igni sign, which projects a cone of fire at your foe, which is handy for harming or dispatching a group of weaker foes, or perhaps setting a stronger critter on fire. Next up is the Axii Sign, which Geralt can use to disorient foes. It's also handy for gaining the upper hand in diplomacy. Last up is Yrden, which places a magical trap on the ground that slows enemies who enter.

Swords and Signs are done, which leaves only alchemy. First up are bombs. Press [L1] again and access the lower half of your radial, which contains equipped alchemical items (potions, bombs and oils). Once selected, chuck a bomb at Vesemir [R1], then head to the selected spot and toss some more bombs at some training dummies, this time holding down [R1] to free-aim.

You can now freely train with Vesemir, and it's nice to have the gloves off. Practice dodging, countering, attacking... all that good stuff. The training ends when you sheath your sword. After an unsettling intrusion, so does the dream in which the tutorial occurred.

White Orchard

The Hunt Begins

In the Army's Wake...

Geralt will wake up, and the old Witcher, Vesemir, will start chatting with him. Either reveal the details of your dream-tutorial, or not. Afterwards the two will decide to head out. According to a letter Geralt received from Yennefer, their destination was Wiloughby, a rendezvous somewhat complicated by the fact that the town was slightly pillaged. War rages in the northern lands, and where armies pass, Necrophages follow.

This fact is punctuated by the Ghouls that will show up and attack you here. They're not challenging foes-dispatch them by using Fast Attacks with the Silver Sword, then loot them for any Venom and Ghoul's Blood they might drop. If you get injured, you can meditate by touching the [Touch Pad] and heading to the "Meditation" screen. At this point in the game, you've got more time than disposable healing items on your hands.

Note: Geralt naturally regenerates one point of Vitality per second. Sadly, since he starts the game with 3500 Vitality, this amounts to... well, frankly, piss-poor regeneration. It will take nearly an hour to regenerate from near-death to full health.

When you're done picking on Ghouls, return to Roach and from him head north-west, just past as small trail, where, with your Witcher Senses active, you should spot a Crystal Skull lying on the ground. Geralt will guess this odd object belongs to Yennefer. Might come in handy.

Note: Using Witcher Sense will cause interactable (usually lootable) object to glow yellow. Quest-related interactable objects will glow red. Monsters will be shown as white ripples (of varying size, depending upon proximity). Objects that can be affected by specific Signs will have that Sign's symbol over them-typically objects that can be destroyed with Aard or ignited with Igni.

That's enough goofing around for now. Time to head over to Roach, mount up, and follow Vesemir. Don't worry, we'll return to explore this area in more detail shortly. Summon Roach by double-tapping [L3]. While riding, hold down [X] to canter, double-tap and hold [X] to gallop, press [Circle] to jump, and hold [Circle] to dismount. [Square] and [Triangle] attack from horseback, but it's not an ideal way to fight.

There are two larger dirt roads that eventually connect to the south-you want to follow the eastern of the two. Vesemir will comment on the state of the war as you ride, showing a decidedly un-Witchery view of politics (which Geralt doesn't fail to comment on.) When the road turns from heading south-east to south you'll spot a gallows east of the road with three swinging corpses in various states of decay. Follow the road south-west to find a "Ransacked Village". War hits the poor the hardest, and so it is here. Leave the people in
peace for now and continue to follow Vesemir south, then south-east, eventually crossing over a small bridge.

Note: Signposts serve as fast-travel waypoints. To use one, simply approach it and hit the [X] button, then select any other discover signpost to travel there.

The Griffin and the Tavern

Some time later, Geralt and Vesemir will run across a merchant being harassed by a Griffin. The Witchers will succeed at chasing the beast off (although, not in depriving it of its meal) and Vesemir will be superficially wounded in the process. Afterwards, the maligned merchant will emerge from under his cart and offer to pay you for your good deed. If you demand payment, you'll find yourself 50 Crowns richer. Afterwards, the merchant will overhear you talking, and refer you to the tavern in the village of White Orchard.

ObjectiveReward
For asking the merchant for a reward50 Crowns

If you bother checking out your map you'll note that you've traveled north-west from where you were before the cutscene, and you should continue west along the road from the "Ford" marked on your map. Vesemir and Geralt will discuss the Griffin's odd hunting habits. Seems Witchers will gladly attribute any odd monster behavior to human activity. Keep riding east, cross "Woesong Bridge" to reach the village of White Orchard. Follow Vesemir to the tavern and he and Geralt will dismount and head inside.

Witness some tension in the tavern, after which Geralt and Vesemir will talk to the innkeeper. If you didn't shakedown her cousin earlier, she'll be thankful and give you four Roasted Chicken Legs. Keep talking to her to learn that there's no contract for the Griffin yet. The Witchers might speculate on why the Griffin has chosen abnormal hunting habits, but the reason why there's no bounty can fully be blamed on the war. Other than that, she sells some food and alcohol, and hasn't seen Yennefer... although somebody else in the tavern may have.

Note: Merchants have a fixed amount of money on them at any given time. Fortunately, the entire economy of the world isn't dependent upon our actions-if you meditate for a while, eventually the Merchants will replenish their money, and some of their wares.

ObjectiveReward
For not taking the merchant's money earlier and talking to the innkeeper4 Roasted Chicken Legs

Start out by talking to a pair of Peasants sitting north of where Vesemir roosts. They're a pair of jack-asses, but if you use the Axii Sign on one of them, you'll get the information you seek-Yennefer passed through here a few days ago. In quite a hurry.

ObjectiveReward
For using Axii to get the Peasant to talk25 XP

Of course, it's not the most reliable of information, so we might as well keep asking. Ignore the threesome playing cards east of the Innkeeper, and instead talk to Gaunter O'Dim further east. As far as tavern patrons go, he's a rather swell chap, if a bit wearing on the patience. Play as nice as the dialogue options will allow and you'll score some Nilfgaardian Lemon for free, as well as the information you seek. He not only knows Yennefer by her description, but he knows you, as well. Seems Dandelion's tales travel far. The Peasants from before were right, but lacked sufficient information. The local Nilfgaardians might know more.

A Game of Gwent

Talk to the threesome sitting at the table, and one fanatic will chase the other two off. Ask him about his war correspondance, what he meant when he mentioned the "Horsewoman of War", and chat about Novigrad's future as far as the war is concerned. Once that's done, go to leave and he'll ask you to play Gwent with him. For more information on Gwent, check out the heading "Gwent Strategies".

Play your first match of Gwent with the Scholar, and with any luck you should win. He's not too bright, despite his name. If you play powerful, diverse unit cards, he's really got no chance. Just don't play all your cards in one round-you rarely get to draw new cards. If you build up a comfortable lead (five Strength or more higher) you might just want to pass. This will end the game for you, and there's a chance he'll spend himself to victory, but if he does this on the first round, there's a good chance he just won't have any cards left to compete with on the next two rounds.

When you win (best two out of three rounds takes the game) you'll get the "Zoltan Chivay" Card, a Close Combat Card that has no alliance-it can be played in any deck. Sweet. You can also buy more Gwent cards from the Innkeeper-she sells five, including another Foltest Leader Card, three high-Strength cards with the "Tight Bond" special ability (cards that amplify duplicate cards when played together) and a "Decoy" card. In any event, the Scholar will mention a certain "Stjepen" you should look up later in your travels. All this starts the quest "Collect 'Em All". Seriously, be sure to buy these cards as soon as you can-you might not be able to later, and missing out on the "Decoy", "Catapult", "Blue Stripes Commando" and "Crinfrid Reavers Dragon Hunter" cards would be a shame.

ObjectiveReward
For defeating the scholar at GwentZoltan Chivay Card

Exploring White Orchard Village

Notice Board

Leave the tavern, whereupon you'll discover that the thugs who occupied the tavern earlier are waiting for you outside. Hatred of Witchers tends to come paired with the lack of sense to avoid provoking them. And so it is in this case, as well. A fight ensues regardless of what action you pick in response to them, but if you use the Axii Sign you can earn some extra experience and take one of them out of the fight. Wisely, they choose fisticuffs as their weapons, so smack them around.

ObjectiveReward
For using the Axii Sign on the Thug40 XP
For beating up the Thugs350 XP

It's finally time to start exploring-the Nilfgaardians can wait, they're not going anywhere any time soon. We'll start with the town, where one would expect to recieve plenty of work, and then move on to exploring the wilderness, focusing on points of interest as we go. Whenever possible our area of exploration will be centered around a nearby Signpost (which also double as a fast travel locations), but when that's not concise enough, geographic features (a battlefield, a swamp, a village) or simple directional bias (the north-eastern corner of the map) will be used.

Anywho, first things first, head down the road from the tavern to the east a bit-there are a few containers near the stables worth looting, but as a general rule every box, crate, and sack won't be pointed out (unless they have something particularly note-worthy inside, of course)-where you'll find your old pal the Merchant. You remember him? He was almost eaten by a Griffin. Seems he salvaged some of his stock, but wagon repairs take time and are expensive, so he's eager to sell off what goods he has while he waits. While it's nice to catch up with him, he doesn't really sell much of interest... unless you installed the Temerian Armor DLC, in which case, he'll have a full set of that gear in his inventory. It's the best armor we'll immediately have access to, and if you've got the coin, it's worth buying.

Turn around and follow the road west, looting houses and grabbing herbs as it pleases you. It's a good way to score some food, components, and perhaps a few Orens. Posted on a tree to the south of the road you'll find the notice "Wanted: honeycombs. Will pay top coin. Large quantities welcome. Tomira, the herbalist." Good to know.

Continue west until the road forks. At the fork you'll find the Notice Board-that staple of Witcher games which bestows quests upon us. Even better, just looking at the Notice Board (even without taking any of the notices) will update your map with a variety of "Undiscovered Locations". These range from Monster Nests, Guarded Treasures, Bandit Camps, and other optional places worth exploring to score loot and experience. The notices worth grabbing are "Contract: Devil by the Well" which starts a quest of the same name, and "Brother Missin" which starts "Missing in Action". If you save and reload your game, new notices will appear, but since none of them start new quests, there's not much point in bothering.

Twisted Firestarter

From the Notice Board head south to find a very angry Dwarven blacksmith cursing as he works at his forge. Talk to the poor guy and, as one would expect, he's rather snippy. Keep cool and he'll tell you that somebody set his hut on fire-an act of arson he feels was brought on by tensions that arose when the Nilfgaardians came. Offer to help him for a price and he'll agree to give you whatever he as left to find the cause of his misfortune. This begins the quest "Twisted Firestarter".

First, note the Grindstone to the north-east. Using it is free, and will sharpen your weapons, giving you the "Enhanced Weapons" boon for 15 minutes. Score. Head behind the blacksmith's house and search to the south-east using your Witcher Senses to spot some evidence on the ground. Investigate them and Geralt will deduce the arsonist's actions. Further south-east Geralt will find footprints, which seem to belong to a large man. Follow them or less east to a tree, where Geralt will detect the smell of piss and vodka-a common combination. Keep following the tracks east to reach a road, then north-east until they terminate near a boat. As drunk as our arsonist was, he was at least wise enough to try and cover his trail. Loot a chest to the north and pass under the bridge to find where the tracks continue, north of the bridge. Signs of a struggle are noted-apparently our arsonist was attacked by Drowners and lost his boots in the scuffle. The trail continues to the west and onto the road that runs through White Orchard. Follow the wounded arsonist's trail to a house just south of the tavern.

Head inside and Geralt will comment that we'll be able to spot our arsonist by the wounds he bears. Search the eastern room to find Napp, who is obviously drunk and injured. Talk to him and he'll confirm that blacksmith's suspicions-a combination of racism and hatred of the Nilfgaardians led the arsonists to torch the business of a suspected collaborator. Knowing that he's in trouble, however, he'll offer to give you some loot to let him go. If you accept, the blacksmith will be upset you couldn't find the arsonist, but he'll still offer his services to you... which is really the point of all this.

ObjectiveReward
For talking to the arsonist25 XP
For letting the arsonist go25 XP
For telling the blacksmith about your failure50 XP

Alternatively, you can attempt to apprehend him. Doing so will provoke him to attempt to fist fight you. You can indulge him and pummel him into submission, or you can use the Axii Sign to subdue him and get him to come along peacefully. In the former case, you'll appear back near the blacksmith, in the latter case, you'll have to escort Napp to him. Either way, the outcome is the same-Willis calls some Nilfgaardian soldiers over, who decide Napp's arson constituted sabotage, and set out to hang him. Once they're gone, Willis decides the Nilfgaardians aren't so bad after all, and will offer to work his forge for you.

ObjectiveReward
For using the Axii Sign on Napp25 XP
For bringing Napp back to Willis25 XP

One way or another, we have a blacksmith at our disposal, which allows us to repair our gear, craft new items, break down old items for components, and of course, peruse his wares. Dismantling hides, tools, and inferior weapons is a good idea, as it's a fine way to score components at little cost. You also are able to turn more refined components into more generic ones (Ingots into Ore, fore example), but at this point in time, there's little need to do so. Consider dismantling all your Junk, while leaving Crafting Components and Alchemy Ingredients alone. For more information on crafting, see the section "Crafting Information".

Of particular interest in his inventory are the Saddlebags, which will increase your maximum inventory weight by 30, a boost of 50%. They cost nearly 200 Crowns, however. Also, you might have-or nearly have-the components required to upgrade your armor to the Warrior's Leather Jacket, depending on how diligently you looted the houses in White Orchard. All of this costs money however, and right now the best way to earn money is by selling the herbs we pick. They're plentiful, they grow everywhere, and each one is worth a coin. Killing animals works, too, especially if you use the Igni Sign to save wear and tear onyour weaponry. Or... we could start exploring. That's an option, too. There's nothing stopping you from hunting game, killing monsters, and picking herbs while we explore, either. In fact, it's recommended! Yeah... let's do that.

To the Ransacked Village

Head east back through the village to reach Woesong Bridge. It is here we'll start. Cross the bridge and loot a Nilfgaardian outpost, then cross another bridge to reach an island. Not too much going on here-there's a house in the center of the island with two chests in it, one of which contains a diverse bit of Alchemy and Crafting items. The woman in this house-Liseje-has nothing to say at the moment, which is just fine. Another chest outside (north of) the house also contains some Alchemy and Crafting items.

Leave the house and follow the road leading to it back south and continue until you reach a road running east-west along the southern end of the island. South of this road are some ruined docks, near which you'll find a sack, a crate, and a chest worth looting.

Guarded Treasure

Cross a shallow ford to the south-east to reach the woods near the Ransacked Village. If you explore to the south along the beach you'll find some Drowners brazenly walking about during the day. At this point in the game, Drowners are best fought solo, and they really only become dangerous in groups. Igni works well on them, especially if it catches one on fire, as they can be further punished with melee attacks. Don't try to parry them, however, as their physical attacks can stun you whether you block or not. Dispatch them, then continue following the shore counter-clockwise. Across the river to the south-west you'll see more Drowners near a beached boat. Swim across (aim to land a bit away from the Drowners) and kill them. Once done, loot the treasure they were guarding, which includes three crates, a sack, and a chest. In the partially submerged crate and chest you'll find particularly interesting loot.

Note: The items you'll find in chests tends to be random, even important ----- loot like Diagrams, Formulae, and equipment. The locations where you'll find superior loot, however, is static. What you'll get, exactly, is hard to say, but where to look for the best gear is more or less going to be common to all players.

Bandit Camp

Swim back across the river (to the north-east) and explore the southern end of the forest, where, near the center, you should find a Bandit Camp. Hit and run tactics work to take them out one at a time. Focus on killing any archers first, if you have the opportunity, and use the Quen Sign to protect you. Once they're all dead, loot the sacks south of their campfire for rare crafting components, while the chest contains rarer loot.

Smugglers' Cache

Return to the shore and follow it east until you reach a bridge connecting the Ransacked Village to the land to the south. Under the bridge is a Smuggler's Cache, which is a good bit simpler than the last two events we completed-just approach the bridge from the east and loot the packages lying about. The loot isn't as unique as it was in the last two events, but hey... can you really complain? You didn't even have to fight anything.

Bandit Camp

From the bridge follow the road to the north-east until it turns north-west. At the bend, veer off the road, continuing north-east up a short hill. Climb a collapsed brick structure, scale a rock ledge above it, then turn north and jump a gap to reach another stone ledge, then climb up onto more brickwork to find a Bandit Camp. Dispose of the ne'er-do-wells here, then search a ruined brick building to the south to find plenty of lootable sacks, crates, and a chest. Investigate a note on the floor, which discloses the location of a Bandit Camp. In the chest you'll find an odd bit of static loot-an Interrogation Report and a Diagram: Serpentine Steel Sword. Picking up the former starts the quest "Scavanger Hunt: Viper School Gear". The Serpentine Steel Sword is a nice upgrade, but it requires Emerald Dust. Unless we're lucky and find some, it'll set us back some 500 Orens to buy it from Willis.

Guarded Treasure

Pick your way down back the way you came, then head south until you reach the shore again... that's right, back to this business. Follow the shore north-east to eventually find another Guarded Treasure. You'll need to drop into the water near the bridge at first, but it beats dropping off the ledge later. Along the way you'll find a pair of Drowners guarding a beached boat and some sacks with minor loot in them. Further on is the Guarded Treasure, protected by the expected quartet of Drowners. Once they've been slain search the two chests in the sand they were guarding.

Exploring the Battlefield

It's time to finally pay attention to the Ransacked Village, itself. All around you'll find peasants mourning their loss. Life is hard when you're on the bottom. Of course, it'll be even worse if monsters are terrorizing them. With that logic, feel free to loot whatever minor possessions they still had. One of houses will have to be opened by gentle application of the Aard Sign to the door.

Bandit Camp

Once the looting is done, head to the Ransacked Village signpost, and from there head up the road to the north-west. Follow it west, then when it joins with another road, continue along it to the north-west. Along the way you should find a ruined wagon along the western side of the road, including a chest which can hold some superior gear. Continue north along the road until you find a Bandit Camp consisting of three weak bandits. Smite them, and loot their chest west of the road, near a bridge. The loot was nice, but mostly we eliminated this camp just to clear the way for a quest we can do-one that'll give us an excuse to explore further north.

Missing in Action

First, however, we need to return to the Ransacked Village. Along the road south of the sign (near where the road turns from running mostly south to south-west) you'll find Dune, sitting alone save for his dog. Talk to him and he'll tell you that his brother, Bastien, was involved in a battle with the Nilfgaardians a while back, and has since gone missing. Tell him to walk the battlefield and he'll relate the not-so-surprising news that necrophages prowl around there, and almost made a meal out of him when he last went searching. He just so happens to be in need of somebody who can fight such critters. Offer to help out, then follow him to the battlefield, which is north-east of the Crossroads signpost.

Along the way you'll find the wholesome sights of war, including impaled corpses and the remains of a military camp. The impaled corpses, one should note, are all wearing Temerian blue. The Nilfgaardians aren't always as civilized as they claim. Search the bodies along the road and in the camp to find a variety of sub-par weapons (which can be either sold or broken down for components) ashes, or water.

Talk to Dune and you'll plan a course of action-searching for Bastien's body won't be easy, but it's what we've come to do. For now, Dune and his dog will follow you around... although the dog does like to make a nuisance of itself by nudging you occasionally... Continue north past a large tree and scour the camp for some intact chests. There are four of them in total-one in the remains of a ruined Temerian tent along the western end of the camp, another rests to the south, along some stakes, the third third is east of a tree that stands in the center of the camp, while the forth and final chest is even further east, at the end of the camp, in a tent.

Once you're done looting the four chests, you can turn your gaze north, where you'll find a fine test for your OCD. Bodies litter the ground-obviously the remains of a not-so-long-past battle. Bodies that can be looted. Do you really need that many Blunt Axes? Probably not. Draw your silver sword and dispatch a trio of Ghouls, then activate your Witcher Senses to search for the shields that might bear the mark that identifies Bastien. There are four shields you can search-one is north-east of the center of the search circle, another is near the north-western edge (at about 10:00), a third is at the southern end (6:00) while the final one is also at the edge of the search area-at about 8:00.

After searching the shields Dune will explain that the dog has found Bastien's scent, and the search area will greatly expand. Head south-west to find a cabin in the woods. When you approach you'll overhear a Nilfgaardian soldier talking to a Temerian soldier. Geralt interrupts, and Dune shows up to identify Bastien. Apparently the two are fellow deserters, although originally from different camps, they found common cause... which of course complicates things, because now Bastien won't desert his friend. The rebel Bastien can chuck his armor and stand a chance at recovering anonymously, but the deserter will be hanged if he is caught... and so will any who aid him, as Dune points out.

If you talk Bastien into abandoning his friend, he'll agree to leave, but persist in trying to help. Rhosyn will hear none of it though-he knows he's being left to his inevitable fate. On the other hand, you can convince Dune to show what Nordlings are really made of and show some compassion, which will convince Dune to take the Nilfgaardian in. Either way, the quest is complete.

ObjectiveReward
For convincing Bastien to abandon Rhosyn25 XP
For convincing Dune to take Rhosyn in25 XP

Monster Nest/Place of Power

Return back to the battlefiend and explore to the north-west, where you'll find a couple of things. First, there's a road that leads to the "Cackler Bridge" signpost, which is of limited use to us now, since the gate west of it is closed, and must be opened from the other side. North-east of here you can find a Ghoul Nest (complete with four new Ghouls waiting to be smote). While we can clear the Ghouls, we can't yet deal with their nest... not until we can make bombs, anyways. On a more positive note, just north of the Ghoul Nest rests a Place of Power. Be sure to clear the former and activate the latter, as it'll bestow one Ability Point to you when you do so, which is very win.

Note: Places of Power in the first two games simply gave temporary stat bonuses. They're far, far more interesting in The Witcher 3.

There's one more thing we can do here before we turn out attentions elsewhere-under the Cackler Bridge you can find a corpse and a chest to loot. Trouble is, both sides of the river are pretty steep. If you travel back to the Ford signpost (where the merchant was attacked by the Griffin) you can head north along the shore to reach the treasure.

Exploring Southern White Orchard

Devil By the Well (Part 1)

Return to the village of White Orchard, sell, repair, dismantle equipment as necessary. Our next goal is to explore the areas south and south-east of the village. Since the quest "Devil by the Well" also occurs down there... well, we might as well tackle that, too. To start this quest head to the large house west of the Notice Board, where you'll find Odolan. His daughter has fallen ill from drinking river water, which was polluted by all the corpses desposited during the last battle. According to a local herbalist, whatever she's contracted requires her to stay hydrated, and the only source of pure water around is the well, which has been haunted for some time. Back when the river water was pure, this wasn't an issue, but now... now the ghost must be dealt with, or the girl will die.

Pretty clear-cut case. This is Witcher's work. Ask the farmer to describe the ghost and he will. After that, you merely have to accept the job, haggle for more coin, or decline. Haggling is simple enough-the farmer will start at a base rate (in this case, 20 Crowns), and you'll have to raise. Go too high, and the farmer will decline and get annoyed. Your goal is to start high, and drop the rate until you both agree. Every time you ask for more than the farmer is willing to pay, he'll get more annoyed (by an amount proportional to the money you're asking for). 23 Crowns is about as high as you can expect to go here, which makes one wonder whether it's even worth haggling over. Do what you will, but ultimately accept the quest.

Leave Odolan and travel south along the road. You'll pass a house, and shortly south of that the path forks. The south-eastern path leads to our objective, so naturally we want to head south-west, first. As you head south-west the path will split temporarily, and at this point you'll find broken trees and large patches of blood on the ground. Wonderful. Continue south-west to find the Broken Bridge signpost, and further beyond that... a broken bridge. How fitting. Leap over the broken bridge and continue following the road and it'll veer south-east temporarily, then turn back south-west.

Bandit Camp

At this point you'll want to head west off the road until you find some bandits guarding their camp. Dispose of them, then loot their camp. All of their goodies are located under a tent, near a pair of cots. Must have been hot-bunking. This loot includes a chest, which has a chance to contain exceptional gear.

Place of Power

Return back east until you reach the road, then continue east past the road until you find a Place of Power. Draw from it and enjoy your bonus Ability Point. From here if you head north and slightly east you'll find the Griffin's nest... or at least, what remains of it, and nearby is the body of a rather dead Griffin. This might have something to do with our rampaging Griffin. Despite pointing this out, you should avoid the Griffin's nest for now, as discovering it early will mess with the progression of a quest later and cost us some experience.

Devil By the Well (Part 2)

Head back to the road and follow it back to the fork, at this point following the south-eastern fork we neglected earlier. Continue on this road until you find the Abandoned Village signpost, beyond which is our... well, abandoned village. Head inside and have a look around, making use of your Witcher Senses to look for clues. Examine the scorched grass around the well, then investigate a crispy body west of the well. From this evidence, Geralt deduces the ghost we're after is a Noonwraith.

Now turn your attention to the surviving houses, of which there are three. The western'most one contains a variety of loot, most of which is junk. Use the Aard Sign to clear some collapsed wooden beams so you can loot the south-eastern end of the house. In the central house lurks a pair of chests with better loot in it, notably Alchemical and Crafting Components. Finally head over to the eastern-most house. Under a wagon outside is a chest, and various sacks and chest with minor loot inside await near the door. Venture inside the house to find a small wooden chest in the main room, then turn north-west to find a larger chest against the wall. Near this chest you'll find a Yellowed Diary which, as Geralt suggests, might be useful.

Time for some reading. Enter your inventory and read the Yellowed Diary. Seems an over-bearing and cruel lord caused the former inhabitants of this area to settle here in the first place, and that a latter meeting with the lord-before which the journal ends-might have caused the Noonwraith to spawn. If our hunches are correct, this ghost might be attached to a certain bracelet... Next look at the bestiary entry for Noonwraiths, which if anything lends more weight to our suspicions.

It's time to search for more clues. Fortunately, we need not look far. Turn around and search the corner of the room opposite where we found the Yellowed Diary and use your Witcher Senses to highlight some remains, which Geralt identifies as the body of someone who was stabbed, and died on the spot. A blood trail leads away from the scene however. Follow it using your Witcher Senses, searching once near the corpse, and again near the door to get Geralt to deduce that our search will lead us to... you guessed it, the well. Search a rope tied to the well to make a ghastly discovery. It's no wonder this woman can't rest easily, and while what happened to her was regretable, she can't be allowed to haunt the living any longer. Her bracelet ties her to this world, and it looks like we'll have to hop down into the well to find it.

Hop down into the well-there's enough water to break your fall, don't worry-and dive [Square] to explore under the water. Use your Witcher senses to locate the bracelet, then surface by hold [Circle] once the Ornate Bracelet is in hand. Climb up onto a ledge to the north, then go down a tunnel to the east to find another pool of water. Dive on in and swim to the north-east until you reach another large chamber. Search to the west to find a submerged chest with a variety of goodies inside, including the formula for the Water Hag Decoction. Follow the bubbles and surface to get a breath of air, then swim down a tunnel to the east until you surace a small pond. Get more air, then search near the center of this pond, as there's another submerged chest worth looting. Geralt will suggest preparing for the Noonwraith, and it might not be bad advice. All you really need, however is the Yrden Sign and a Silver Sword.

Head south-west to return to the village. When you're ready to fight the Noonwraith, burn the body near the well and the Noonwraith will show up. Her attacks are pretty basic-dodge around and wait for her to leave herself open. Once in a while she'll vanish, blind you, and summon some decoys. She'll take much more damage when she's in the area of a Yrden spell, so cast it whenever you can and wait for her to engage you in the Yrden spell's area of effect. Using the Stong Style aggressively, then quickly dodging back works quite well. When she dies, loot her remains to gain some goodies. The drops are, of course, random (always including a Noonwraith Trophy, however). The Noonwraith Trophy will, when equipped, give you a 5% experience bonus from humans and nonhumans (quick, what's 5% of next-to-nothing?). You can also score a Noonwraith Mutagen if you're lucky, which will increase your Vitality by 50. Another useful item includes Emerald Dust, which can be used to craft a Viper Steel Sword.

ObjectiveReward
For slaying the NoonwraithXP 50

Return to Odolan and tell him the good news. Geralt's curiosity gets the best of him and he asks about the dead peasants around which the quests resolved. The local herbalist mentioned a Claer, and it's definitely something to keep in mind for later. Odolan will then offer to pay you-money that was meant for his daughter's dowry. His reasoning is simple-better she live to get married off with a lesser dowry than not live to get married at all. Either take the dowry (a whopping 20 Crowns) or be a nice guy and pass. Since you can pick a handful of flowers to get the same money, the latter seems nicer. Despite being a nice guy, Odolan won't leave a debt unpaid, and will give you an Amethyst for your trouble, which is worth over twice as much as the coin would have been. Sometimes, good deeds are rewarded.

ObjectiveReward
For returning to Odolan after defeating the Noonwraith50 XP
20+ Crowns or
Amethyst

The quest is done, but there's still more to do down south. Return to the Abandoned Village and take the road that exits the town to the east. Ignore the first smaller trail that branches off from this road and instead take the second one, which leads to an abandoned lakeside cottage, wherein you can score some loot. In particular, in a room to the south, between two beds, you'll find a chest that contains a Velen Longsword.

Abandoned Site

Leave the lakeside cottage and follow the larger road east until you find an "Abandoned Site" along the road. Abandoned, presumably, because of the Ghouls lurking around. Exterminate them and some Peasants will return to their shrine. Among these are a Herbalist, who will sell you a variety of goodies, including formula for White Gull, Dwarven Spirit, Grave Hag Decoction, Earth Elemental Decoction, and Nightwraith Decoction. The prices are, however, cumulatively steep. Also of note is the fact that he sells Saltpeter, which is an ingredient we need to make bombs. Buy yourself some Saltpeter, then make yourself a Samum bomb by going into your menu and picking the "Alchemy" sub-menu.

ObjectiveReward
For clearing the Abandoned SiteXP 90

Note: Making a Samum bomb will add two of the devices to your inventory-the most you can have on you at any one time. Used bombs will be automatically replenished when you meditate by consuming various alcohol that might be in your inventory.

Place of Power

Before we get to those Monster Nests-and believe me, we will-head south-west of the Abandoned Site that's no longer quite so abandoned. You'll shortly come across another delicious Place of Power, which is guarded by a level 6 Bear. As intimidating as the black behemoth might seem, however, its attacks are predictable and pretty easy to dodge. Use the Quen Sign to absorb any accidents and perform the tried-and-true Strong Atack and dodge strategy until it's defeated. Once done, draw from the Place of Power and enjoy your extra ability point.

Monster Nests

There are two Monster Nests we can destroy now, and by doing so we can consider all the north-eastern part of the map more or less complete. First, and obviously is the one near the Place of Power by the battlefield. Simple enough, fast travel to Cackler Bridge, walk up to the nest (destroy any Ghouls who may have respawned in your absence) and with the Samum bombs equipped, simply walk up to the nest and press [X]. Walk away like a badass and let the nest explode, then loot the remains of the nest. The second nest is near where we began the game. Head south-east across the battlefield, through the ruined camp, and to the road beyond. From here continue south, pass over another, smaller road, and head downhill to find another Ghoul Nest (this is south-east of the Crossroads signpost). Eradicate any Ghouls and repeat the process above. Looting nests should earn you a Gold and Ruby Ring, which is worth a bit of coin, but can also be broken down into a Gold Nugget and a Ruby. All in all, it might be a better idea to hang onto them, in case you need to scrap them later.

ObjectiveReward
For destroying a Ghoul Nest20 XP
For destroying... another Ghoul Nest!20 XP

Exploring Northern White Orchard

Return to White Orchard village, repair, sell, all that other fun stuff. When you're ready, it's time to set out again. This time we're going to be exploring the broad stretch of land north of White Orchard, across the river. To start out, head to the river north of town and, when you find a dock, dive in the river and swim up the river to the north-west. Keep your Witcher Senses active as you swim, and you should spot treasure in the water-one treasure chest under a fisherman in his boat, and two more chests as you swim up river, all possibly containing quality loot.

A Frying Pan, Spick and Span

Once you score the third chest, surface and turn south-west to spot a house on the shore. Swim to shore, loot the sacks on the smalldock nearby, then talk to the Old Woman standing outside. This is a mistake. The Old Woman goes off on a mighty tirade. Long story short, she needs you to break into her house and recover her pan.

Use Aard on the door then head inside. In the first room you'll find a number of containers to loot (including a chest in the corner which main contain a diagram, formula, or piece of equipment). Head north-west into the second room to discover a corpse-one of the two men the Old Woman mentioned earlier. Loot the room, including a chest lying on its side that might also yield worthwhile gear, then activate your Witcher Senses and search the Silver Monocle on the floor, then the corpse. head into the room to the south-west, activate your Witcher Senses, then search the stove to discover soem partially burned papers near an oven. Finally, loot a shelf then grab the pan the old lady keeps whining about. Geralt will notice that the pan-described as old and sooty-has been scraped clean by her guests, and the soot was used to make a crude ink. Leave the house and given the Old Woman her pan-and some advice. She'll decide one good turn deserves another, and give you a reward... such as she can afford.

ObjectiveReward
For returning the Old Woman's pan10 XP
Bread x5
Apple Juice x5
Baked Apple x5

Hidden Treasure

From the Old Woman's house follow the road running along the river to the north-west until you find a bridge leading north-east across the river. Be wary along this road, as Wolves prowl the wilderness west of the road, perhaps led by the odd Warg. Wolves are fast, like to attack in packs, and can present a somewhat difficult target. The best way to fight them is to keep your guard up, and when you block an attack, instantly counter with some Fast Attacks. Using Igni whenever you have the Stamina for it will also help shorten fights, and it provides some crowd control.

The situation isn't much better when you reach the bridge, which is likely crawling with Drowners. North of the bridge, on the western shore, you'll find the body of a soldier. Search it to obtain the Temerian Lily Key. Once this is in your possession, head into the water north of the bridge and dive to discover a chest, inside of which you'll find, amongst other loot, some Blood-soaked Military Orders. Grabbing the Military Orders starts the quest "Temerian Valuables", and reading them in your inventory will update the quest. You can also swim up the river a bit and nab some Buckthorn from the river bottom. You'll need this stuff later, but it doesn't hurt to grab it now. As if that's not enough, if you swim south of the bridge you can find more Buckthorn and another generous treasure chest-this chest isn't part of any quest, however. Just a reward for being diligent... and willing to get your feet (and everything else, for that matter) wet.

Temerian Valuables (level 4)

Cross the Bridge to the north-east, then follow the road until it branches off into many paths at the "Mills" signpost. Follow the road to the north-east, up a hill and under a wooden structure decorated with a deer skull. East of the road are some buildings worth exploring. The southern-most one-the mill-has a variety of containers around it that can be looted, at least, along the eastern and southern sides of the structure. Under a more modest, straw-roofed structure to the north-east you'll find a chest which may contain some exceptional loot.

The building further north-east is, at a glance, empty, but inside, along the south-eastern end of the house, you'll find some poorly concealed stairs leading down into a cellar. Head down the stairs and use your Aard Sign to coax a door open, then proceed beyond the debris to find no fewer than four chests waiting for some certain Witcher to loot them. Looting the chest furthest from the door (it glows red when using your Witcher Senses) requires the Temerian Lily Key we found earlier, and doing so will complete the quest "Temerian Valuables".

Place of Power

There's another, less interesting farm house build upon (and into, really) a hill to the north, but it has a door that's determined to keep us out, Aard be damned. There are a few sacks that can be looted out front, however. Return to the Mill signpost and follow a smaller road north to reach the White Orchard Cemetery. Pass a statue (probably of the goddess Melitele) to find a Place of Power in front of a modest chapel. As you approach you'll be attacked by a Wraith. This incorporeal critter likes to teleport around and attempts to score cheap shots while doing so-keep Quen up to deflect the lucky hits it may land, and dodge to keep these to a minimum. When it leaves itself open, respond with a Strong Attack. Once its health is reduces to around 50% it'll vanish. Jerk. Draw from the Place of Power to gain another ability point, then head over to the chapel.

Guarded Treasure

Search near the door with your Witcher Senses to spot some odd hand prints. Hmm... Strange. Blast the door open with Aard and head inside. So much for subtlety. Go down some stairs and through an open gate door and our friendly Wraith from earlier will appear, still wounded. Same thing as before, except in an enclosed space, it might be somewhat more difficult to dodge. Once the Wraith is dead, let the sweet, sweet looting begin. To the east you'll find two corpses to loot, one of which presumably belongs to the Witcher we read about in the "Interrogation Report" who was falsely accused and chose a trial by combat. Seems he didn't fare so well against the Wraith. To our gain, though, he had on him a "Letter From Witcher Kolgrim of the Viper School" and the Diagram: Serpentine Silver Sword. Like the Serpentine Steel Sword, this Silver Sword is likely a nice upgrade over what we're currently using. Alas, it too requires Emerald Dust, which is quite expensive, but it can be purchased from Willis. To the north, against a wall, you'll find a chest containing some nice loot, and nearby another corpse is resting against a pillar.

Leave the crypt, the chapel, then the cemetery entirely, heading north until you find a road running... more or less east-west. Travel west until you spot some hanged corpses north of the road, which mark the edge of a Nilgaardian camp further north. More of that Nilfgaardian "civilization" it seems. The camp is occupied by a few soldiers, but more importantly, it's got some loot. Of course, this stuff doesn't belong to you, and unlike peasants, the soldiers will get angry if they see you molesting their goods. Most of the stuff isn't worth bothering with, but behind one of the tents is a chest full of quality loot, including the Diagram: Exploding Bolt. Just wait until there aren't any soldiers who can see you, and loot the chest (you'll get a warning if you're spotted, which gives you a chance to back out.) Before you get cute, these guards tend to be around level 15. Yes, that means any common Nilfgaardian Soldiers is more than a match for a century-old legendary Witcher. It makes no sense, but that's how sequels are...

Monster Nest/Place of Power

From the Nilgaardian camp head north-east into the wood. Eventually you should come across a number of out-of-place standing stones, in the midst of which is a Place of Power... and as near the battlefield, a Ghoul's Nest is nearby. Maybe Ghouls like nesting near Places of Power? Or maybe Places of Power like springing up near Ghoul Nests? No, that's stupid... Anyways, kill the Ghouls, plant a bomb, blow it up, loot the nest, and gain your Ability Point from the Place of Power.

ObjectiveReward
For destroying yet another Ghoul Nest20 XP

Note: Occasionally, when you go to blow up the nest, more Ghouls will appear to defend it. Killing these reinforcements will earn you 75 experience.

Hidden Treasure

Return back south to the house near the mill (the one where the treasure from the quest "Temerian Valuables" was located) and from this house head north-east into the wilderness. Eventually you should come across a campsite-Nilfgaardian, by the look of the shields lying around. Now, however, all you'll find here are a pack of Wolves and maybe some Wild Dogs. Try to avoid fighting them all at once, and when they're slain, loot the camp. There are plenty of sacks and barrels to loot, but the real prize is the chest in the tent. Inside, amongst various quality loot, you'll find some "Scrawled Notes". Picking them up starts the quest "Dirty Funds", and reading them updates it. Just so happens the Bandit Camp mentioned in these notes are east of here. Well, it would be a shame not to follow up on this information...