U returned to town and reported in on most of the tasks I was assigned by various people. The rewards alone got me back up to a nice sum of money, which I used to buy some upgrades and stock up on more potions.

Further investigation in town, combined with some information I gathered at the swamps brought me back to Raymond, the private detective, who was now also back in town. We concluded I should probably do an autopsy on the criminal who passed away at the hospital while I was away.

The Witcher, Crypt

It’s cool that computer-controlled characters have a routine, but it’s annoying when you can’t find them on a quest.

First, I went to the local shops to stock up on books about human anatomy as well as pathology. Then I went to talk to the guard captain, hoping he would have some useful knowledge to share, but he was his usual ignorant self, so there was no luck there. Finally, I went to the gravedigger, to get the body. I had to bribe him with some dwarven liquor, but he agreed eventually. The autopsy will be performed at the hospital, at first nightfall.Since Shani was trained in medicine, I decided to ask for her help. She was hesitant, but after some persuasion, she agreed to do it. In order to prepare everything, though, I still had some work to do.

Before I forget, I also talked to a few people about reviving one of the golems at the tower, in order to get one of the Sephiroths. I was told I needed electricity, so I had the blacksmith make me a lightning rod. All I need now is a storm, and I get the feeling that the druids might have a way of dealing with that part.

I had a lengthy session today, so I managed to explore most of the swamp and clear a bunch of quests along the way.

I started at the shrine, which was devoted to the same goddess as the one in Vizima, but I didn’t have anything of “nature’s harvest” this time. I decided to go back to the dock and start exploring the area from there. On the way back, I stopped by an abandoned brick making site infested with drowners. I cleared the area and found the bodies of a couple of Salamandra, as well as the witcher I’ve been tracking since I entered the Outskirts. I guess that quest is over.

I got to the docks and spoke to the guard there, who offered me money if I bring him ten wolf pelts. Nearby was a brick maker’s village. An old woman who was their leader wanted someone to get rid of the drowners I already killed, so I got my reward right away. She also asked me to find a missing boy and pointed me in the direction of the druid camp to the north.

The Witcher, Gramps the Cannibal

Apparently, Gramps is a cannibal.

Then I went to Gramp’s house, where I got a surprise. It turns out Gramps practices cannibalism. I had the option to either kill him here, or let him live. Since he promised me some scrolls if I spare him, I agreed, hoping I’ll be able to deal with him later. However, once I agreed to spare him, the game wouldn’t let me chose the option of killing him anymore. I’m probably gonna pay for that later, but at least I got a new potion recipe.

I kept getting attacked by drowners further north, so I went back south, all the way to the shrine. I bought some dried fruits from the village elder, so I offered them at the statue and got some minor item I can’t remember anymore. Further from the shrine, there was a wolf cave, so I got my pelts there. In one of the rooms, there was also a crypt, as well as a wraith defending it. Once the wraith was dead, which was tough because I had to fight a bunch of wolves alongside it, I checked the crypt and found another Sephiroth, meaning I was only missing three now, possibly even two, I can’t remember. In the same room, I found another circle of elements, which taught me Quen. This is a rune I actually intend to train in, since it casts a damage absorbing shield.

The Witcher, Gnome

I guess this is a gnome, but I’m not sure.

I got out and continued in the same direction, finding a lumberjack camp soon. Their leader, who I think is a gnome, but I’m not sure, offered me gold if I gather some swamp plants and deliver them to the ferryman at the docks. I agreed, of course, and continued in the northern direction, since I went as far southwest as I could.

Further to the north, I finally got to the druid camp. The only dried there told me there’s no way they would abduct the missing kid, as the village elder was claiming, since they would have no use for him. Apparently, only girls can become dryads. From one of the druids, I bought some books, describing some local plants. It cost me a fortune, but I would have probably had to buy them eventually.

The camp also contained another circle of elements – Yrden. This one creates a trap that slows enemies passing through it, which probably isn’t to useful for me, but time will tell. Finally, I talked to an elf there, who asked me to deliver a message to Vivaldi in Vizima. I agreed, since I was soon going there anyway.

The Witcher, Druid

Regular fantasy druids here!

The druids told me the herb I was looking for grew to the northeast, so I decided to complete the circle and continue in that direction. I found the plants, but I’ve also found plenty of enemies, so I nearly died a couple of times. I ran out of Swallow potions during the initial escort quest, so I had trouble during the entire exploration, but it was really getting risky by now.

Because of this, I went back to the druid camp and spent some money buying alcohol so I could brew more potions. With a stack of five Swallows, several White Gulls and a bunch of others, I went back northeast and cleared most of the area. I passed the first ruined tower of the alchemist, but I didn’t go to the one that was still standing yet. Instead, I went as far east as I could and found a Squirel camp, but there was nothing I could do there, so I went back.

This time, I finally went to the middle of the whole area, where the tower was. There wasn’t much I could do there, but I did manage to nearly kill myself by messing around with some pillars surrounding a frozen golem, causing lightning to strike me.

I got back to the docks, delivered the pelts to the guard, as well as the herbs to the ferryman and then paid him to take me back to Vizima.

It was morning, so I made my way to the docks, but the guard wouldn’t let me through the gate. I apparently needed permission from Vincent, the guard captain. The thing is, he tried to use me during a quest I did but didn’t write about, so I told him what I thought of him. There’s no way he’s giving me permission.

My two choices were to either wait for the merchant to come to the temple district, which he does rarely, or pay off the guard. I gave him 100 oren and he let me through. The merchant, Declan Leuvaarden, was easy to find. It took some convincing, but he eventually admitted he’s part of a secret society which is trying to destroy the Salamandra. Since our goals match, he agreed to provide help from time to time.

The Witcher, Deckan

Declan looks far too much like Odo.

The swamps were a huge area with a large number of new quests and new areas, so I didn’t manage to explore it all today. What I did do is take care of the annoying escort quest which was the last thing I did on my last attempt to play through this game. There’s this old guy called Gramps, who needed an escort to the local shrine. The problem is, the escort route leads me through the area where a really tough enemy that’s part of another quest is located.He also asked me to get rid of some drowners attacking the docks at night, to which I agreed. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure if he meant the docks on this side, in Vizima, or on the other side, in the swamp. In any case, I went to the swamp next, which cost me 5 oren for the ferry.

The Witcher, The Swamp

New area, new quests.

This time, I remembered what was going to happen, so I drank a few potions and sharpened my silver sword before I went there. This meant I only nearly died this time. I got to the shrine, Gramps thanked me and invited me to his hut later, saying he has books and knowledge he would be willing to share.

For now, that was it for me.

Since it was still night when I reloaded the game today, I decided to visit the prisoner at the hospital. Sadly, he didn’t get a chance to say much, what with us being attacked by a group of thugs. He did manage to say one name, though – Kalkstein. The alchemist is definitely hiding something.

The thugs worked for Ramsmeat, though, so he was higher on my priority. Sadly, he’s either a really good liar, or completely innocent, because he simply said the thugs were there to get his lackey free and he had no idea I was going to be there to. The story makes sense, so again, I have nothing on him.

The Witcher, Rich Guy

“Rich” guy promised me money he didn’t have for the wine he didn’t have. I kept the wine.

The problem was, when I got the wine back to him, he wouldn’t pay. I decided to keep the wine for myself in that case, so I’ll get some value out of it. The experience was worth it anyway. The other newcomer to the inn was a messenger I already heard rumors about. Apparently, he’s working for some unknown rich guy who has him paying 10 oren per Salamandra insignia I bring. I sold him all of mine first, before I got him drunk and made him tell me the name of the rich guy. Apparently, it’s a merchant who’s working at the docks. I waited for the night to pass and decided to get there in the morning.There were some new people at the inn, though, so I didn’t walk all the way there for nothing. A noble from the trade district was there, looking for someone to “recover” some good wine from an abandoned house nearby. The problem was, the house was infested with the undead, so this was actually the first time I almost died. Thank god for tactical combat and pausing.

Luckily, the game autosaves, so the last crash didn’t take me back to far. I reloaded at the point where I just entered the local hospital. It’s a good thing I did, because I forgot to write about that.

As I previously said, Kalkstein wants me to find the entrance to the tower in the swamp. By reading a book I got from Vivaldi, I discovered I need ten magical stones to enter it, called sephirots. I already got a few by various means, but there was one here that made me really proud to figure it out.

The Witcher, Novice Nun

The novice nun was extremely helpful.

Other than that, I tried to visit a wounded criminal being guarded at the hospital, but the guards wouldn’t let me talk to him. I managed to pay one off, so he told me to come back at night. Then I, again, tried to visit Kalkstein and this time avoided crashing. Kalkstein explained himself, so he wasn’t a suspect again, for now.There was a statue of a goddess at the hospital. The nun praying there helped me with a hint for one of the stones. Apparently, the stone required a sacrifice to the goddess, in the form of “nature’s harvest”. I didn’t even consider to actually try and make a sacrifice at the statue, but after a few minutes, it came to me. I could actually click at the statue and use an item on it. The nun told me “nature’s harvest” would be some sort of fruit or vegetable, so I used some blueberries and the sephiroth appeared in my inventory.

Next up, I explored the local slums, where I got a few more quests and talked to Ramsmeat, whose lackey is the criminal at the hospital. As you might guess, Ramsmeat is no man of the law either. Raymond linked him to the Salamandra as well, so I questioned him, but he wasn’t cooperative and I didn’t really have anything concrete on him.

The Witcher, Lady of the Night

The Salamandra, constantly harassing hard working citizens.

As was the case with the inn in the Outskirts, there was another fight club here. I beat the few of the toughest fighters there and that was it. I decided to go help the girls at the local brothel next. It seems they have problems with Salamandra thugs harassing them during the nights.

Most of my time in this session has been spent walking around the temple district of Vizima and talking to people, trying to track down anyone involved with the Salamandra. This is something a lot of modern RPGs are badly missing. I managed to actually get two levels of experience just by talking to people and solving quests that way.

The Witcher, Raymond

Raymond has a personal issue with the Salamandra.

I ended up talking to most people outside of the slums and getting plenty of quests I’ll be able to do later. Pretty soon, the day was over, which meant I could spend most of the night killing stray dogs. It’s not something I’d do in real life, but hey, there was a quest for it and Geralt really doesn’t seem the type who would take pity on a dog. It’s role playing, after all, which means I’m supposed to play a role that isn’t me.I went to a local private detective who pointed me in the direction of several notable people in the district. Most of them had minor dealings with the Salamandra, but nothing that would actually indicate they worked with the organization.
Once the day finally came back, I got some information which indicated Kalkstein might be involved with the Salamandra, so I decided to go talk to him. On the way there, I stopped by the merchants to sell excess loot and then the game crashed on me.
It seems the Enhanced Edition isn’t completely patched yet.

Now that I got my gear back, I was finally able to explore the district properly. It was a huge district, though, so I couldn’t cover all of it in one sitting.

The first thing I did was to go to the local market and sell some of my excess items. I was now swimming in money, what with having over 2500 orens to my name. Of course, everything costs more money in the city to, so a single book about alghouls would take a fifth of that away from me.

The Witcher, Medicine Symbol

The snake is a symbol of medicine here as well.

I met up with Zoltan Chivay again, who apparently also found a way back into the city. I told him about my dice game conquests, so he directed me at four other professional gamblers in the city. Other than that, we had some philosophical discussions, but nothing important was really said. He has thoughts about his future marriage and Geralt has his worries about what the world is heading into and his future career.

I managed to find the house belonging to Shani, but instead of her, I found an old hag there, who soon threw me out. Next up was the house of Kalkstein, the alchemist who I did work for in the outskirts. This time, he has a far bigger job. Apparently, there’s a magical tower in the swamps, built by some other alchemist who’s long gone now. There’s something in the tower that creates monsters in the area and Kalkstein wants it. The problem is, no one knows how to enter the tower, so he wants me to find a way. For this, he offered 1000 oren as well as an item that would allow me to teleport between places of power and his laboratory. Definitely worth it, in my opinion.

The Witcher, Kalkstein

Kalkstein’s looks are… peculiar.

On the route from the sewer to the dungeon, there was the house of the local fence, whose name I forgot. He has a unique look to him, so gaming tropes make me think he will be important for something later on. For now, I just bought an axe from him that was stronger than the one I had and left.

Finally, I got to the hospital and met Siegfried again. Since he wasn’t the one who killed the cockatrice, he was put on guard duty. I guess things would have been different if I accepted his offer to join forces, but hey, at least he’s alive now. Someone needs to be on guard duty to.

I got out of the sewers and immediately went to the dungeon to report in and get my stuff. I passed a few stores I took note of on the way there, but decided not to get into anything else until I got my gear back. I entered the dungeon and accidentally clicked on the grate on the floor.

I entered the sewer again, and it was a one-way passage. This was, of course, extremely annoying, but it ended up being profitable. As I was leaving for the second time, I stumbled into a knights corpse. On it was a key and a note about some cultists hiding in the sewers. The key was supposed to open the passage to their area.

The Witcher, Darkness

Yeah, it was dark. I had to use my last cat potion.

Apart from the circle and the enemies, there were two chests in the area, both stocked full of alchemical supplies. Overall, I’d say the accidental misclick was definitely worth it.I found the passage soon enough and started to clear the cultists lair. I was exclusively fighting humans here, so my silver sword didn’t do as much damage as a steel one would, but I did well enough. Eventually, I cleared out the whole area and even found another magical circle. Actually, now that I think about it, I’m not completely sure if it was a new sign and, in case it was, if I actually learned it, so I might actually come back to the sewers for the third time. In any case, I’ll let you know later, once I get to it.

The Witcher, Vizima

The graphics have aged. Not too badly, but still…

I made my way back out of the sewers, back through the city, and finally back to the dungeon. This time, I was careful with my mouse, so I managed to navigate around the grate. Vincent gave me some money as a reward for the head I brought to him, and the guard in charge gave me my gear back. I took most of it, but had to leave some behind, because my bags were full of loot I got in the cultist’s lair.

While I had fun trying to roleplay through my writing about the first chapter of The Witcher, it seriously takes up to much of my time, so I wont do it from this point on. I actually ended up spending more time on writing than on actually playing the game.

I got captured by the guard and was taken prisoner. Coincidentally, the Professor was imprisoned to and got himself released just as I was taken in, so we exchanged a few words. It looks like he has friends in high places in Vizima or something.

The Witcher, The Professor

The Professor has a face I’d love to punch, kind of like Joffrey Baratheon.

I played a game of dice with a captive elf and then the guard captain, Vincent, I believe, entered the cell, offering freedom to anyone being able to kill a cockatrice in the sewers. Some random idiot volonteered first, so I had to kick his ass before they would let me do it. It seems cruel, but as Geralt said to him, it probably saved his life.

I didn’t get my gear yet. Instead, I just got a silver sword and some potions. The sewer was mostly infested with drowners, so there was no real danger. Almost as seen as I entered, I met Siegfried, who was a night of the Order of the Flaming Rose. Apparently, their order is based in the city and they handle monster slaying in the area. They also do it for free, which means they are a serious competition for the witchers.

The Witcher, Sigfried

Siegfried is an OK guy, if you ignore the religion.

Siegfried seemed like a nice guy, though. He even offered to join forces, but I decided to refuse. I soon found the cockatrice’s lair and managed to kill it without much difficulty. Siegfried was still there, so he directed me at the exit, even giving me a spare key.

I took the cockatrices head for the reward and left the sewers.

I was tricked!

I arrived at the inn to see Shani ambushed by another group of thugs. A few minutes later and she would be worse off than Vesna. I disposed of them and got the key from the innkeeper’s body. I told Shani to wait there and made my way to the hideout. I was obviously lied to by the reverend and most of the village. It was time to clear things out.

Two Salamandra lackeys were guarding the entrance and several more were inside the house. Once I cleared the place out, I’ve found two things. First of all, there was a shipment of crates with Haren’s markings on them. He was obviously working with the Salamandra. Secondly, there was a trapdoor, leading to an underground set of caves.

The Witcher, Crate Shipment

I guess money’s all that matters.

Alvin led me to a collapsed passage I could clear with my Aard sign.Past it was Abigail, preparing a spell she intended on using to save herself and Alving. She was more forthcoming now and finally told me about everything that was happening. Odo killed his brother. This explains why he had issues with Echinops plants in his garden. These plants usually grow on graves, so he must have buried his brother there. It would also explain the dog’s behavior.I descended and found another group of thugs to dispose of. Once they were dead, a bunch of children came out of hiding, including Alvin. Apparently, the villagers were giving them to the Salamandra as some sort of tribute. It was now certain that the reverend was in on it.

Mikul and some other villagers raped Ilsa. She hid in the crypt and drank the poison herself, not being able to live on with what happened. He might have had affection for the girl, but it was a dark, twisted kind of affection. As for Harren, that part was already obvious. He was nothing more than a profiteer. He would sell his stuff to anyone, regardless of what would be done with it.

The reverend, of course, was aware of it all. He approved, and even instigated a lot of the things that were happening in the village. He even exiled his own daughter, after she got pregnant, condemning her to a life of prostitution inside Vizima. None of them deserved to live.

The Witcher, Angry Mob

Mob mentality.

The battle was difficult, but thanks to some of Abigail’s spells, I prevailed and the beast was dead. The celebration as short, though. The reverend assembled his three lackeys and decided to try his luck, hoping I would be exhausted from battle. I was tired, but not tired enough to be beaten by a bunch of degenerates. In a few moments, they were all dead.I left the cave and Abigail followed. Most of the village, led by the reverend, was waiting outside, hungry for blood. Once the reverend was scared of, though, their courage dissipated and most of them dispersed. It was now time to deal with the beast.

Mikul was the smart one, though. He was nowhere to be seen. I took a city pass from the body of one of them, which would now allow me to finally enter the city. I got to the only open gate, at the old mill and found Mikul on his guard duty. At first, he seemed cooperative, accepting the pass, even though he knew it wasn’t mine, but it soon became apparent what his intentions were.

The gates opened and a squadron of the city guard, led by the captain, arrived and surrounded me. There was no point in fighting them. If I wanted to enter the city, it had to be through a jail cell. I dropped my weapon and let them arrest me.