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.

On the way back to the reverend, I decided to take a detour and explore the area on the other side of the river, bellow the city walls.

I soon stumbled into the cave that rich merchant from the inn was talking about. It was immediately obvious why his friend was missing. The cave was infested with carnivorous plants and the friend didn’t manage to get away. I found his body at one of the deeper parts of the cave, after fighting through most of the plants.

I returned to the reverend and told him of my findings. He wasn’t happy about what I said, obviously hoping I would somehow find Abigail to be the culprit, but he accepted it. He decided not to be of any further help, though, so I was stuck.

Odo, Haren and Mikul were obviously the most influential people there, but they would not cooperate without the reverend on my side. Fortune favors the helpful, though. As I was heading back to the inn, I was stopped by a beggar, asking for my help. The old woman was sick and needed White Gull to get better. It just so happens I had a few of those on me, so I gave her one. She was so grateful for what I did, she gave me a ring she stole from the reverend after he refused to help her.

The Witcher, Odo

Odo’s looks match his character.

Haren had slightly bigger issues. The riverbank next to his house was plagued by drowners every night and his merchandise, which was stored outside, was in danger of getting destroyed. I got rid of the drowners easily, but got into trouble afterwards. It turns out; the shipment was meant for a band of Squirrels.With the ring in hand, I managed to convince Haren, Odo and Mikul that the reverend sent me. Odo had a problem with some weeds of the extremely dangerous type in his front yard. I disposed of it, but not after he got me seriously drunk, hoping he would convince me to accept a smaller payment. It worked, to a degree, but I still took a lot of his money. As I was leaving his house, I noticed his dog acting extremely suspiciously, like he was guarding the spot where the carnivorous plant was.

The “Squirrels” or the Scoia’tael is an activist group, mostly consisting of non-human races, which appeared in the north as a consequence of the rampant racism. Apparently, Haren was trading with them. Of course, he wasn’t there to confirm that, so I had to resort to my own judgement. I decided to trust their claims and let them take the shipment. Luckily, I was right. Haren confirmed the shipment was for them when I returned.

Last was Mikul. He needed someone to clear a crypt nearby, so I was the perfect guy for him. He gave me the key, and I immediately went to it. I made a campfire near the entrance to rest and brew a couple of Cat potions, so I could see in the dark better.

The cave was infested with ghouls, but it also had something very valuable. There was a circle of elements inside, teaching me the Igni sign. I can now use magical fire against my enemies. There was something else inside the cave, right at the entrance – a body of a dead woman, with an empty flask in her hand. Whatever it was she drank, was obviously poisoned.

The Witcher, Dead Girl

For a moment, I thought the dead girl was Abigail.

I returned to Mikul and told her about the body. He said it must be “his bellowed Ilsa”, but his grief was not very convincing. In fact, come to think of it, each and every one of them – Odo, Haren, Mikul, even the reverend; they were all hiding something.

It was time to find out what. I returned to the reverend to find out he finally took in Alvin. I spoke to the boy and he seemed fine with it, so I decided not to say anything. I told the reverend what I did and demanded he gave me some information about the salamandra. He told me there was an abandoned home they use as a hideout and sent me to the inn to get the key to it from the innkeeper.

I was finally close to my goal.

The rest of the road was uneventful and I soon arrived at the hut of Abigail, the local witch. She seems to share the same issues that the non-human races have in the Northern Kingdoms. People are uneducated and, frankly, stupid. Uneducated and stupid people tend to fear things they don’t understand, so there’s racism aplenty. There’s also a significant surplus in fear against magic and magic users.

Abigail was not surprised the reverend was suspicious of her, but there was no reason for me to trust him over her. After all, she was the one to take in the orphaned boy, while the reverend was nowhere to be seen at the time.

The Witcher, Abigail

Abigail lacks the warts of a proper witch.

I decided to return to the inn to check up on the latest rumors. On my way there, I encountered a group of local idiots pestering Vesna, who works as a waitress at the inn. Thing’s would have gotten ugly for her extremely fast, had I not arrived when I did. As it was now, the thugs were easy to dispose of and I’m sure no one will miss them. Vesna was so grateful; she offered to “repay” me if I meet her at the local mill after dusk. I’m not sure I’ll take her up on that offer, but it’s always good to have options.Once I reassured her, she offered to help in my investigation. The beast is definitely supernatural in origin, so she got the idea to use Alvin, the boy, as a conduit to commune with whatever forces that caused the beast to appear. In order to do that, she needs to brew a potion and I am to acquire the ingredients. I agreed, but for now, there are other things I must do.

I returned at the inn and spoke to the dwarf Zoltan. I acquired a set of dwarven dice, so I asked him about it. He explained the game they are used for, which is basically poker with dice. I played a few games with him and even won some money, so he directed me towards a few active players in the area.

The Witcher, Dice Poker

The easiest way to make money in the game.

I was just about to leave, when a rich merchant walked in. He was looking for his friend and offered two hundred oren for any information about him. I was interested so I spoke to him in detail. His friend apparently used a cave beneath the city walls to smuggle goods, so that’s probably where I should go first.After the game, I’ve spent some time earning money at the local fight club. Most of the fighters were local drunkards, so I had no difficulty in beating them. I also spoke to Shani, but she didn’t have anything new to tell me. A merchant that was staying there sold me a few books about the local flora and fauna, but other than that, nothing of importance happened.

I left the inn and started looking for the plants Abigail needed. Thanks to one of the books I bought, they were easy to identify and I soon had more than enough for the potion. It took a while for the brewing process to complete, but she was done eventually and Alvin drank it.

It worked almost instantly. The spirit possessing Alvin was aggressive and angry, speaking of the beast as a punishment the village rightfully deserves for its wickedness. Things started to look ugly, so Abigail repelled the creature before Alvin got hurt. She sent the boy to bed and I decided to visit the reverend with the information I now had.

I arrived at the outskirts of Vizima to find the place haunted by a demonic dog beast. No one knew where it came from, but it has been happening for weeks. The city of  Vizima itself is under quarantine due to a plague, so there was no help from there, leaving the farmers and villagers to fend for themselves.

I got to the local in just in time to see the beast attack a woman and a child. I managed to save the child, but it was too late for the woman, sadly. As the fight was over, some sort of spirit took over the child and started issuing warnings about a coming doom. It seems the child is a medium of some sort. This is probably why the local witch, Abigail, immediately offered to take him in.

At the inn, I was greeted by Shani, a young medic who seemed to know me, although I had no memory of her, due to the amnesia. We exchanged a few words before I moved on. I decided to leave the inn and patrol the outskirts during the night, to help fend off the beast’s attacks. To the east, there was a house belonging to Odo, one of the richer villagers. The man was obviously a drunkard, which in no way explained the fine set of armor he had on display in his home. I tried to get some information out of him, but he would not speak before I spoke to the local reverend.

The Witcher, Shani

Shani looks a bit out of place when the game introduces her.

I moved on, and soon arrived at the cluster of houses surrounding a chapel. The reverend’s house was next to the chapel so I immediately went to introduce myself. The reverend very obviously belonged to the worst type of religious folk – the overly zealous. I took a firm stance and eventually managed to get his cooperation. He asked me to light the shrines of the Eternal Fire scattered throughout the outskirts, hoping their flames would scare away the beast. I was skeptical, but I decided to listen, hoping it would get me a bit further with him.

The first shrine was at the village, so I lit that one immediately. I started following the main road and lighting one after the other. Eventually, this led me on a circular route through the outskirts and back to the chapel. The reverend was thankful and started to get more talkative. He revealed his suspicions that Abigail, the witch has something to do with the beast.

The Witcher, Zoltan

Zoltan is Geralt’s other friend.

Her house was at the other side of the outskirts, so I decided to take the northern route there, hoping to explore more of the area. At the riverbank, I’ve encountered a bunch of tugs threatening the dwarf. I do not share the racist tendencies most of the simple folk have, so I decided to help him out. It turned out; this was another person who knew me before I lost my memories. His name was Zoltan Chivay and he’s stuck in the outskirts, trying to enter the city.

I agreed to meet him later, at the inn, and continued towards the witch’s hut.

This is the third or fourth time I’m giving this game a shot and I have no idea why that is.

Don’t get me wrong. It looks and feels like an amazing game, so I definitely know why I keep going back to it. What I don’t understand is, why do I give up on it? For some reason, I get through the first few areas and then I just forget about it, usually around the time when I get to the swamp area. This time, I decided to go through it all the way, and I’ll use the blog as a tool to make myself do this.

THe Witcher, Amnesia

Amnesia is a trope, but tropes aren’t always bad.

After a while recovering, the castle gets attacked by some bandits led by a guy they call The Professor and a couple of sorcerers. The witchers soon realize the attackers are after their mutagens. The witcher mutagens are extremely powerful potions that allow witchers to do their work, which is mostly contract work involving disposal of various magic related issues.Again, I started out on the middle difficulty and started with the tutorial area. The basic story is that you’re the legendary witcher Geralt, the White Wolf. You were missing for a while and somehow stumbled back to the castle your fellow witchers control. However, you have amnesia, so you have no idea what happened or where you were.

The Witcher, Professor

The first two big baddies.

During the battle, one of the younger witchers gets killed, the attackers manage to get away and Triss Merirgold, a sorceress working with the witchers, gets hurt. After she recovers, the whole group decided to leave the castle in search for bandits, since there was nothing really keeping them there anymore. Each of them chooses a direction to go to and Geralt decided to go south.

Well, that’s the story so far. The gameplay, on the other hand, was mostly a tutorial. I was taught (for the fourth time now) how to use my sword, how to switch fighting styles, make potions, get stronger, etc. The game sort of plays like an action RPG, but it’s far more complex than that. During fights, you have to switch between three different fighting styles on the fly. One is suited for faster opponents, the other for strong, slow opponents, while the third is well suited for fighting larger groups.

Outside of that, alchemy is extremely important in this game. The potions you can make have effects that last for quite a long time and the game actually encourages you to use them often enough. Some parts are actually quite hard or even impossible to do without the potions.

Leveling works via skill points you distribute among various skills. Each skill adds different bonuses to both attack and defense, adds new moves and abilities, or just unlocks features in the game, such as better material gathering or foraging.

Your equipment is basic, but still quite complex. You get to carry several different weapons with you. First of all, there’s the steel and silver sword. These are your main weapons and the weapons your whole move set revolves around. Steel is used in fights against other humans, while silver works better on monsters. Other than these two, you can also carry a few other weapons, but they are mostly situational and aren’t really used that often.

Overall, it’s a nice, complex RPG with plenty of things you can do and deep gameplay. I hope to enjoy it fully this time and will do all I can to do so.

For the last few days, I’ve been mostly playing Civilization IV, so nothing special there. I’ve also played some other games.

Far Cry 2 (PC)

Reached 52% on Far Cry 2 and stopped there. The game started out good, but now it’s getting really boring, really fast. It’s just the same old thing over and over again. It turns out I got it a bit wrong. Those faction leaders weren’t really faction leaders, but just the local bosses, so there’s a whole bunch of guys to kill. I also got a few new buddies. I hope they won’t die this time.

The Witcher – Enhanced Edition (PC)

I started the original, but never completed it. Since this came out, I decided to try again. I didn’t play much; just the tutorial intro, up to my first meditation.

Final Fantasy XII (PCSX2 – PC)

Since some PCSX2 plugins got updated, I can finally play this game on the PC. It works almost flawlessly. In five hours of gameplay, it crashed only once. I got to the part where I have to save Penelo with the airship. Vaan is level 10.