The Wench and the Rapists
Once Geralt wakes up-fresh and sober-leave the Country Inn and take the road north to find Vesna Hood being bothered by some “Bandits”. If you’re playing a “consummate” Witcher-or a neutral one, as the case may be-you’ll realize that this incident really has nothing to do with you, nor your profession. Still, it’s hard not to step in, given the circumstances. Regardless of how you feel about politics later on, it’s hard to play a Geralt that would leave somebody in this predicament-especially a pretty lady. As far as gameplay goes, if you don’t step in, Vesna’s dead. No quest, no experience, no “Vesna” Sex Card . So, presented with morality and an unrewarding alternative, we might as well help out poor Vesna. The two “moral” Witchers will always help Vesna, of course.
Approach Vesna and her “friends” and they’ll tactfully tell you to shove off. Threaten them and a fight will ensue. Despite acting tough, they’ll all die from two combos of the Group Style. When they’re dead, Vesna will ask you to escort her home, seeing as how unsafe the world clearly is for a bar-wench in the Outskirts. Again, it has nothing to do with Witchering-save for the fact that you’ll be protecting somebody from monsters… wait, that DOES sound like Witcher’s work. And of course, you get experience for helping her. Save your game now, in case something goes wrong during the escort.
|For rescuing Vesna from the Bandits||500 XP|
Take the western path to town, past the Royal Huntsman. Stay close to Vesna so you can protect her-she’s got more health than a normal Townsperson (at least, she shouldn’t die in two-or-three hits) but she still has virtually no chance of fending for herself. She makes it difficult by staying a screen away from you most of the time. Just take it slow. When you reach the second “Eternal Fire Shrine” along the road two Barghests will appear and attack. Dispatch them and Vesna and Geralt will have some very short dialogue. At the third “Eternal Fire Shrine” you’ll encounter another group of Barghests-this time three of them. You know, it seems like these shrines are doing the exact opposite of what they’re supposed to be doing. A religion whose militant branch fights monsters has shrines that draws Barghests!
Anyways, you’re almost there now. In fact, make a dash for her house (which is conveniently the first house of the village strip approaching from this direction) and wait near the door. When Vesna catches up she will chat with you, asking how she can repay you. Pick the first option to ask for a date, or the second option to be a boner and leave without getting a reward. If you pick the first option she’ll tell you to meet her by the Mill at dusk tomorrow-and bring some wine. If you pick the second option… well, nothing happens, she just leaves.
|For escorting Vesna safely home||1000 XP|
Helping Haren Brogg
Now, lets do some things along the way back. Head down to the riverside and enter Haren Brogg’s House. Talk to him and present the ring the Reverend gave you to get him to open up. Ask him about dice and get him to play. Beat him in a match to secure yourself your second Novice victory. When that’s done, ask him what he sells, and be sure to buy the Blue Meteorite off of him if you have the 300 Orens. Lastly, ask about Witcher’s work and he’ll tell you about some Drowners that come out of the river and threaten his goods. This starts the quest “Strangers in the Night” , which we’ll conclude shortly. Note that once you have gained Haren’s trust (by showing him the Reverend’s ring) you can rest here, free of charge.
|For defeating a second Novice player||100 XP|
After you’re done talking to Haren, head outside and continue east, as if you were heading to the Merchant’s Bridge… which you are, just not yet. Along the way you’ll be attacked by numerous Drowners. Kill about eight of them and the quest will update. Don’t dread the numbers, eight sounds like a lot, but you’ll probably only have to deal with three or four at a time, tops.
Once they’re dead an elf-a member of the Scoia’tael-will show up and demand that you hand over the goods-or rather, allow them to take what belongs to them. Apparently Haren is a Hawker, a merchant who illegally sells goods to nonhuman rebels. Regardless of whether you intend to favor nonhumans or humans later, refusing to hand over the goods isn’t a bad idea. Not really for any moral reason-giving aid to partisans or letting them starve-either way, people are going to die-but because letting those goods go with the non-humans gets an NPC in the next chapter killed (see the note below for guaranteed-but useful-spoilers). Granted, not a hugely important NPC, but still.
On the other hand, the consumate Witcher shouldn’t care what happens to Haren’s goods now that the Drowners are dead, and gladly pockets the extra 200 Orens the Scoia’tael will give you for letting them take the goods. If you refuse them, you’ll have to fight the Scoia’tael leader, a Dwarf, and two Elven archers, which is a sadly easy fight. Use Fast Style on the leader and the archers, and Strong Style one the Dwarf. Either way, report to Haren when you’re done for your reward.
|For killing the Drowners near Haren’s goods||500 XP|
|For allowing the Scoia’tael to take the goods||200 Orens|
|For reporting your success to Haren Brogg||3500 XP 200 Orens|
A Bridge to Nowhere
During our stay in the Country Inn earlier, you might have noticed that a man named “Kalkstein” was at the tavern when we first reached Chapter 1, but no longer can be found there. Head to the Merchant’s Bridge (where we met Mikul earlier) where you’ll find Kalkstein trying-unsuccessfully-to gain entry into Vizima.
Talk to him and you’ll be interrupted by Salamandra assailants. If you fought the Frightener, this group will include a “Mutated Hound”-signs that the fact Geralt’s delay in reaching the laboratory allowed Salamandra to steal more than they otherwise would have, and have since progressed with their stolen mutations. If you went with Triss you’ll only fight some regular Salamandra bandits. Use the Strong Style to dispose of the Mutated Hound and the Mage that comes with it-hopefully you’ll get lucky and be able to stun the Mage with Aard. If it’s just normal Salamandra thugs, the Group Style works just fine to kill most of them. When you’re done Kalkstein and Mikul will both comment.
Once that threat has been dealt with, talk to Kalkstein, who will babble on about alchemy, and be just a bit too forward with Geralt. Give him his Ghoul Blood to finish that quest. He might be absent-minded and annoying, but it’s hard to hate NPCs who reward you well.
|For bringing Kalkstein three vials of Ghoul Blood||3000 XP 100 Orens|
When you’re done with Kalkstein, talk to Mikul and ask him about dice. Get him to play with you, and then challenge him to a round of Dice Poker. Beat him, and finish the final leg of the “Dice Poker: The Novice” quest, then tell him about the crypt. Mikul seems distraught about the dead girl, whom he calls “his Ilsa”. All Mikul will do now is whine about Ilsa. Fair enough, we’re done with him, anyways.
|For defeating a second Novice player||100 XP|
|For becoming a Novice at Dice Poker||500 XP|
|For telling Mikul about the Ghouls||300 XP 200 Orens|
Head back to the Country Inn, and along the way pay Abigail a visit. She’ll tell you about the man outside her hut at the beginning of the chapter, who apparently was a bit too forward with her. Talk to her again and exhaust her dialogue options. She’ll offer to sell you the recipe to Specter Oil for thirty Orens. Considering what we’re up against, it’s a good investment.
You can also ask her about Alvin, for what good that does us. Turn in ten Barghest Skulls to complete the quest “The Barghest Contract” , and then see what Abigail has for sale. She’s got several books, various alcohols, greases, and powders (the bases required to create potions, oils, and bombs), and a Red Ribbon, which repels Drowners. The latter is an uncommon item, but you can just wait until the next chapter to purchase it, if you wish. Drowners will cease being a threat shortly, no matter their numbers, but they’re still annoying enough that having an item that just makes them run away might come in handy. Needless to say, if you have any alchemical needs, Abigail is the one to see-although she’ll rip you off if you’re buying completed potions or oils, or if you buy any Alchemical Ingredients. Consider buying some alcohol and some grease, then leave.
|For bringing Abigail ten Barghest Skulls||2000 XP, 100 Orens, Mandrake Root x2|
Return to the Country Inn and stash the loot you’ve gained. Take out a bottle of Mettina Rose or Toussaint Red, and any three bottles of strong alcohol-that’s right, it’s almost time to make some Potions. If you want to be a little ahead, grab some grease, too. It should be morning now, or at least nearly so. If not, it doesn’t really matter, it’s time to take our second lap around the Outskirts, which mostly just sets up tonight’s activities.