Ah yes side quests, the additional things you can do in an RPG game designed to distract you from the game’s main story so you’ll never complete it. We have dismissed that claim.
Actually, the beauty of side quests in any game is that they add additional story to the game, even if it is not the main story. Some of them can be very well done and stay with you forever. Since I’m covering a lot of ground with my Witcher III content and their side quests are so memorable, I’m going to talk about which ones are my favorites.
Prior to choosing a new ruler of the Skellige Isles, Crach an Craite needs his son and daughter to be present as they have ran off after the previous feast that honored Bran. His daughter Cerys, is particularly concerned with the jarl Udalryk an Brokvar who claims to be hearing strange voices that command him to harm himself.
After much investigation and seeing injuries, Geralt concludes that the jarl is possessed by a hym: a rare form of a Specter that feeds off of the victim’s guilt of having done something terrible by tormenting them in voices and visions, without revealing itself, that drives them to inflict harm on themselves and commit acts of violence in other ways.
This is what made me start to like Cerys as a character, she was always looking for the absolute to solve a problem. In this case, Udalryk’s act of failing to save his brother Aki is what attracted the hym.
For is quest, I decided to trick the hym, and was shocked when Cerys told me to take the baby and throw it into the oven, but I did so and realized the hym was about to latch onto Geralt until the steward appeared on the other side with the baby safe. Having been tricked, the hym left.
The Warble of a Smitten Knight
Available in Blood & Wine, Geralt meets with the knight Guillaume, who was injured in the fight with the shaelmar, and asks him to take his place in the tournament hosted by Lady Vivienne.
He believes she is under a curse and wants to help her due to his feelings for her. The tournament itself can be a walk in the park if you practice beforehand, but I always found myself losing at least one of the rounds. But what I enjoyed about this side quest was learning the truth about Vivienne.
Perhaps it would have been too straightforward to make her a bruxa. Geralt discovers within a clearing in the woods at night, that Vivienne suffers from a curse that transforms her into an oriole; a bird that dwells in the Toussaint forests, which symptoms are getting worse.
The whole scene where I learned about the curse from Vivienne just had the perfect setting: a clearing at night and beautiful sad music. This is why curses in the Witcher universe are so unique yet disturbing at the same time. I really wanted to help her, but remembered in this game, neither choice grants 100% satisfaction. Vivienne can either transfer the curse to Guillaume and put up with bird puns for the rest of her life from him, or undergo an egg ritual, which will free her but will only give her seven years left to live: an oriole’s average lifespan. The latter would have had no change to her life if the curse was cast after she was born.
I decided to play and reload to see the outcomes of both choices, I concluded that transferring the curse to Guillaume was a better option because it didn’t shorten Vivienne’s lifespan, and although she kept turning Guillaume away, I was able to convince her to listen when he confessed his love and was perfectly okay with taking it from her. Of course, I didn’t pick this as my final choice because I wanted her to couple up, but I wanted her to live a life free of the curse without consequences because seven years can go by quickly. The curse was weaker on him after the ritual was completed and Vivienne was free to live a normal life which she then filled with balls and travelling the Continent with Guillaume.
The Last Wish
Based on the short story in the first Witcher book of the same name, in this side quest, Yennefer needs Geralt’s help in locating a djinn. They are powerful creatures, elemental genies of air, and Yen wants to find one located in Skellige to undo the magic bond between her and Geralt.
While the beginning of this quest was annoying having to dive underwater several times, never mind the fact that I don’t have to worry about breathing since Yen casts a spell to prolong oxygen, it was those damn Drowners. (What was worse for me was having to dive into a really deep pond to retrieve a coin in another quest, I should have brought a Killer Whale)
It took me a while to find all the pieces on the ship, but once the djinn is dealt with, the bond is torn. I was bent on giving Yen a chance and had already started to like her, so I chose to have Geralt declare that he still loved her. It seems that when they kiss in this cutscene, it varies whether they are standing or sitting, the latter I saw and I think she pinched him somewhere!
Still a good quest that allowed me to enjoy Yen as a character more.
Reason of State
Radovid dies in this one! What goes around, comes around, that’s what I would have said if I was Philippa blinding him before killing him.
Now, you have to do a lot of other side quests that you can’t miss in order for this quest to become available. I was looking forward to helping Vernon Roche because he is such a bro-type of character, even if I didn’t go to help him in my first run of the second game, he still always has my back.
What did suck about this side quest is Dijkstra tries to get you to kill Roche after the deed is done and I was was like, hell no leave Roche alone and then I had to kill Dijkstra. Some fans wish you didn’t have to choose between the two, but I don’t like him that much so Roche it is!
A Towerful of Mice
If you want to pursue Keira Metz as a casual romance option, this is one of the quests you need to do. The only part I didn’t enjoy was the journey to the island where the tower was located. I could have just swam there the first time because I’m not really a fan of boating in this game. There’s no Sirens in Velen, but still, boats move ridiculously slow in this game that I don’t use them unless it’s mandatory.
Keira has asked Geralt to lift the curse on the tower of Fyke Isle and gives him a magic lamp that allows him to commune with the souls that wander the tower as well as many rats. One of the ghosts in particular is Anabelle who fled to the tower from her home during the third Nilfgaardian invasion. A peasant riot took place for unknown reasons so she planned to commit suicide, but the potion she drank only paralyzed her and she was eaten alive by the rats.
When I found her ghost, I wish I could remember what I chose to do, but I’m pretty sure I took her bones to her lover Graham (a relationship her father did not approve of) since my Geralt was the type of witcher who only killed monsters when there was no other option, and if there was a way to resolve something peacefully then he would do it.
The only thing I regret after this quest was I did eventually get sex with Keira, but when I found out the deal she made with Radovid, I lost my cool and killed her because I felt used at that time. I should have just told her to go to Kaer Morhen instead.
Another side quest that comes from the Blood & Wine DLC, I stumbled upon this quest while I was just exploring around Toussaint, and found a hut overlooking a lake where a hermit lived.
The hermit tells Geralt that she is being hunted by a demon but it can only be seen if one drinks the special brew she’s made. Geralt learns that the unseen demon is drinking the hermit’s blood and when he drinks the brew, it allows him to see the phantom in the form of a dark horse, and a side effect of the brew makes Geralt’s horse Roach talk!
Now that was a funny add, I liked listening to the conversations they had together while chasing down the dark horse! We eventually come to a cemetery where the source of the phantom is a knight who needs the hermit to forgive him. Pinastri, the hermit is the knight’s former lover must have left him after he beat his own horse to death, nobody knows why. I chose to let Roach forgive the knight and he left in peace to torment Pinastri no more.
The brew began to wear off by the time I returned to Pinastri and Roach was upset because she still had so much to tell Geralt, but it was cut out by her whinnying once again. I had no idea Roach was a mare, I always thought of Roach to be a stallion, but I guess Geralt prefers mares but I think since the word in Polish is female-gendered, that is why.
This side quest can only be accessed if you help both Cerys and Hjalmar with their own quests and they return home to await who is crowned king.
The feast is interrupted by a massacre of beserker bears that kill more than half of the people in the dining hall. Now I remember this is why I was afraid to go camping for the first time, despite it being very unlikely since bears are more interested in our food, from what I’ve been told. But these are not real bears, they are beserkers who transform upon the feeling of bloodlust.
After the attack, this is where you have you choose whether to help Cerys or Hjalmar. After seeing all that bloodshed, I chose to help Cerys because she was determined to find out who was behind the massacre. I’ve always liked Cerys for her witty personality and strong sense of commitment, even justice to a degree. Hjalmar on the other hand just wanted rush out and find the traitors yet he didn’t even know who or what he was looking for.
Sure, helping Cerys involves a lot of searching and talking to others, but in the end, it’s all worth it to learn that Birna Bran was behind it all, she had schemed to ensure her son would get the throne. Had I gone with Hjalmar instead, she would have got away with the crime, so helping Cerys was worth it and Birna got what she deserved, well sort of, I think she deserved a cleaner death. You can actually go find her chained up dead already later on. Cerys will make a great queen.
This is a side quest you can download and can be accessed early in the game when you first arrive in Velen and it involves a lot of pigs. Well, actually a village inhabited by pigs and Geralt teams up with a man named Yontek to learn the truth of it.
Geralt then discovers an underground altar with a chest full of gold. A lone pig roams there and it was entertaining to watch him try to communicate with it like: oink twice for yes and once for no. Rounding up the pigs was fun but dealing with…. was it nekkers en route to the altar to lift the curse was annoying, made me realize that I didn’t really like the combat in this game that much.
The curse was lifted and I think I chose to let Yontek be handed over to the villagers.
Those are my favorite side quests in this game. I’m certain these are not all of them, this game has the most side quests I have ever seen, and I failed to mention any contracts or treasure hunts I enjoyed! No matter, these ones are the best.
I wish we got a side quest were we can put an end to the Eternal Fire worship in Novigrad, their practices are outrageous burning people alive.
What are your favorite side quests?