|If you acknowledge any gods... start praying, now.|
|- Dettlaff to Geralt|
Dettlaff van der Eretein, also known as The Beast of Beauclair, was a higher vampire who was responsible for regenerating Emiel Regis Rohellec Terzieff-Godefroy with his blood and nursing him back to health after he was killed by Vilgefortz in the Assault on Stygga castle. Regis became forever indebted to Dettlaff for his selfless actions.
Not much is known about his earlier years, although, like the rest of his tribe, he stayed within the regional area of the North and the Nilfgaardian Empire. Dettlaff's emotions were notably intense, as demonstrated when he was in Lyria around 964, where a monster known as the Brute of Lyria plagued the area and killed around 200 people. While initially unmoved, Dettlaff subsequently heard that the beast killed a young boy who had earlier offered him an apple and expected nothing in return. Enraged at this, Dettlaff found and slew the monster but, not wishing to draw unwanted attention to himself, he planted the dagger with a nearby sleeping hunter so that the people would praise him for slaying the monster instead.
Many years later, after the assault on Stygga Castle in 1268, he found what remained of Regis and, using his own blood and a significant amount of time and patience, nursed the other vampire back to full health. In the process, Regis noticed Dettlaff's tendency to overreact to his own views on what was right and wrong in society, possessing a very black and white outlook on morality. As Regis understood humans were more nuanced than that, he tried to gently guide Dettlaff and curb his behavior.
Eventually, the two parted ways for a time and Dettlaff ended up in Metinna, where he ran into a young woman who immediately figured out what he was and trailed after him. Intending to just scare her off, he tried to jump out at her in an alley, baring his fangs, but instead of sending her running, the woman, who went by the name Rhena, became intrigued. The two then met up several more times before they became romantically involved. However, sometime prior to 1275, Rhena disappeared without a word.
Dettlaff then made his way to Toussaint. While there, as he waited to get his boots shined by the local bootblack, a man rudely cut in front of Dettlaff. As the vampire tried to control his outrage at this behavior, another waiting customer, Louis de la Croix, reprimanded the rude customer before sending him away and offered the seat back to Dettlaff. Admiring de la Croix's actions, the two soon became friends.
The Beast of Beauclair
By 1275, Dettlaff got word that his beloved Rhena had been abducted and was being held hostage and the only way to free her was for the vampire to do what the abductors instructed: namely, kill 5 people whose names would be delivered to him by individual letters. He then took up residence in the abandoned Rocking Horse shop, using it as his base of operations, when he received the first letter and name: Vladimir Crespi, who he was to kill and then display his body against the town's pillory. Once this deed was done, Dettlaff soon received the next one, this time of Ramon du Lac, whose body was to be posed with a bed warmer instead of a sword. After this death, word began to spread of The Beast of Beauclair and Duchess Anna Henrietta sent two of her knights to track down the famed witcher, Geralt of Rivia, for assistance.
While Geralt was on his way to Toussaint, Dettlaff got the third victim's name, this time of his friend, Louis de la Croix. Having no other choice, when de la Croix took Dettlaff on a tour of his family's old mill, the vampire asked the Count to forgive him before he fatally pierced his friend's heart. Then, as instructed by the abductors, he stuffed a bag of florens down the Count's throat and quartered the body before sending all the pieces into the river. Highly upset that he had killed a friend, Dettlaff also cut off the hand that had pierced de la Croix's heart and threw it into the river alongside the rest of the body parts.
By the next morning, the body pieces were discovered and taken to Corvo Bianco, with none of the men noting they had a third hand among the remains. Realizing it could result in his capture and therefore Rhena's death if the wrong person got a hold of his severed hand, Dettlaff sent one of his favorite bruxae to retrieve it. However, Geralt had arrived by then and found the hand in question. Before he could act on this, Dettlaff received the fourth name: Milton de Peyrac-Peyran, who'd just returned from his trip in retrieving Geralt. With this, Dettlaff soon carried out the order by killing Milton as he hid in the Palace Gardens as part of the annual Hunt the Hare event. As he did though, Geralt came in, moments too late to save the knight. Dettlaff quickly ran off, trying to escape the witcher, who gave chase across the gardens and eventually to a warehouse in Beauclair. There, the two briefly confronted each other and fought until Regis appeared, blocking Dettlaff from killing the witcher as he declared Geralt was a friend of his. Relenting, Dettlaff then disappeared into the city as knights closed in on the building.
Sometime later, Dettlaff and Regis met once more at the former's hideout and Regis managed to convince Dettlaff to accompany him to talk to Geralt at Orianna's estate. There, the three conversed along with Anna Henrietta and Orianna. At one point, Orianna asked Geralt his opinion on fighting monsters, to which Geralt responded by saying that not all monsters are evil, signaling to Dettlaff he didn't consider him the enemy. Orianna continued, asking what a monster might say to a witcher, and Dettlaff, referencing his own predicament, noted that they might wish to apologize for killing, but also acknowledging that there is sometimes no choice. Geralt and Regis later left the table for a bit, leaving Dettlaff to continue talking to Orianna and the duchess, turning the topic to Nazair.
Soon after, with Regis' help, Dettlaff learned that the witcher figured out his beloved Rhena was being kept at Dun Tynne Castle and the two set off to help with the rescue. After zealously cutting down the castle's defenders, Dettlaff entered the tower where Rhena was being kept and they had a brief reunion, before Geralt, having arrived just before, revealed what he just learned: Rhena and Syanna were one and the same person and the kidnapping had been a farce, having used Dettlaff to kill the knights as she knew he'd do anything to protect her. While initially doubtful of this, Dettlaff finally understood the truth and became enraged. He then threatened Syanna, ordering her to meet him in three days time at Tesham Mutna to explain everything, otherwise he'd raze Beauclair to the ground. With that, Dettlaff then disappeared into the night.
Skills and Capabilities
Being a higher Vampire, Dettlaff is already inherently powerful, possessing his kin's common trait of supernatural strength and speed, ability to assume human form, transformation into cloud of mist, and nearly immortal. This makes him not only a dangerous opponent, but also near impossible to track down.
Dettlaff can assume his monstrous form, in which lengthy claws will grow from all ten digits of his front limb that can be used as weapons. These claws can easily cut through human bones, and Geralt at one point claimed that they are as sharp as a witcher's blade. Dettlaff can push this transformation further into a humanoid monstrosity with wings and bat-like features, in which he possess nightmarish abilities akin to magic; among them the ability to summon hordes of bats as weapons and conjuring ground traps seemingly made of blood.
Dettlaff proved to be a skillful fighter, even by higher Vampire's standard; in the scenario where the Night of Long Fangs culminates in conflict, Dettlaff manages to knock Regis off from majority of the fight after only a short engagement, even after having assistance from Geralt.
Dettlaff is also unique in his skills, having an indomitable will that can force lesser vampires to assist him, something Regis described as "herd mentality". Dettlaff can use this power to amass an an army of lesser vampires and launch full-fledged assault on settlements, as he did to Beauclair.
Blood and Wine expansion
- It was horrifying to watch... that gentleman suddenly turned into a ghastly beast, with claws, and... tore those men to shreds with the precision of a master butcher...
– a witness to Dettlaff's attacks
- Dettlaff is a higher vampire and one of the most terrifying creatures the world has ever known. Some vampires of his sort live among men easily and inconspicuously, sometimes even gaining the respect and admiration of their community. Yet even the most civilized vampire can be incredibly dangerous if provoked, and Dettlaff... Dettlaff was far from civilized.
- When in his two-legged form, Dettlaff strikes in surprising and unique ways, so one must be extremely alert and attentive. His razor-sharp claws, wielded with great strength and precision, are his chief weapons, yet he can also wield weapons of human devising with extraordinary skill.
- Like all higher vampires, Dettlaff can turn into fog and envelop opponents. When fighting a vampire in this form, one must watch out for magic puddles and attacks from the air. When wounded, Dettlaff tends to assume his winged form, using these powerful appendages to stun his foes near effortlessly.
- One must remember higher vampires are immortal creatures and thus do not fear for their lives while fighting, meaning they take every risk. They are able to turn invisible and can regenerate strength during combat. All in all, they are supremely difficult foes, even for a witcher.
- Milton's murderer was very swift. Even with years of witchering under his belt, Geralt could barely keep up with him. Soon, it became clear the killer was as clever as he was fast, by entering an old warehouse where he set a trap for Geralt. In this way Geralt had his first face to face encounter with the Beast of Beauclair – and discovered it was a higher vampire named Dettlaff.
- A fight immediately ensued which might have ended very badly for the witcher, had he not been saved in the nick of time by an old friend, Regis, who put a stop to their battle. After that, Dettlaff fled away in a puff of fog...
- When Geralt went to Orianna's residence with the duchess, he was certain Dettlaff was somewhere far away, safe in Regis' care. He was wrong, as he found out while watching both vampires stroll into the room, his surprise quickly turning to irritation. In the conversation which followed, the duchess had no idea she was talking to the murderer she so wished to have slain. In fact, the Beast of Beauclair even came off as... charming.
- Afterwards, Geralt set off for Dun Tynne, but not before first extracting a promise from Regis to keep Dettlaff at a safe distance this time.
- At Dun Tynne Geralt was dragged into a fight against bandits with considerably superior forces at their disposal. There's no knowing how this might have ended, had the proverbial cavalry not ridden to his rescue. Birds in service of Geralt's vampire friends had been following him the whole time. Thanks to them, right at the battle's pivotal moment, Dettlaff and Regis appeared to fight at his side.
- Believing he was battling the men responsible for his beloved's kidnapping, Dettlaff killed with unseen passion. He only stopped when there was not a being left on the battlefield giving out the least sign of life.
- Upon learning the woman he loved was using him for her own ends, Dettlaff lost all will to keep on living. The only thing left to him was longing for vengeance – blind, unrestrained vengeance. Dettlaff issued a clear ultimatum: Syanna was to meet with him alone and explain everything. If she failed to do that, Beauclair would be awash with blood. No one had any doubts Dettlaff meant exactly what he said.
- If Geralt visits the Unseen Elder:
- Geralt and Regis arrived at the meeting with Dettlaff, but without Syanna. As predicted, Dettlaff flew into a rage. This time, however, Geralt was ready for him and stood to fight. After an exhausting battle, Dettlaff had been defeated.
- Yet no man can truly kill a higher vampire – that takes another higher vampire. As he died, Dettlaff harbored no hard feelings for Regis, knowing death was his best option, there no longer being anything in this world he wished to live for.
- If Geralt brings Syanna...
- ...and gave her the ribbon:
- Regis and Geralt brought Syanna to Dettlaff. Clearly not having grown one iota less enraged with Syanna, Dettlaff slashed out at her with his razor-sharp claws, hoping to rip her to shreds. She was saved, however, by a magic ribbon taken from the Land of a Thousand Fables, which transported her to a safe place in the nick of time. Dettlaff, more furious than ever, then attacked Regis and Geralt. In the fight that ensued, Dettlaff was defeated. Yet no man can kill a higher vampire – that can only be done by another of its own kind. As he died, Dettlaff harbored no hard feelings for Regis, knowing this was the best option for him. There was no longer anything in this world he wished to live for.
- ...and didn't get the ribbon and let Dettlaff go:
- Regis and Geralt brought Syanna to Dettlaff – and the vampire murdered her without blinking an eye. Geralt understood the vampire's pain and did not hinder him in his vengeance. Dettlaff appreciated the witcher's neutrality and stated he had no more quarrel with him. He also had no reason to stay in Beauclair and decided to leave. As his friend, Regis decided to go after him. He knew Dettlaff would need him now more than ever.
- ...and didn't get the ribbon but did attack Dettlaff:
- Regis and Geralt brought Syanna to Dettlaff. The vampire then murdered her without blinking an eye, Geralt attacked him and a final fight took place in which Dettlaff was defeated. Yet no man can truly kill a higher vampire – that takes another higher vampire. As he died, Dettlaff harbored no hard feelings for Regis, knowing death was his best option, there no longer being anything in this world he wished to live for.
- ...and gave her the ribbon:
Dettlaff is a Monster faction leader introduced in the Crimson Curse.
Reward Tree entries
- Scroll 1: Dettlaff once tried to live among people in peace. He muzzled his bloodlust, mastered the Common Speech, and perfected the basics of courtly etiquette. Over time, he began to make friends of humans... And in one in particular, he found a lover.
- Scroll 2: His beloved's name was Syanna. Dettlaff's love for her was absolute. He was prepared to do any and all for her. In fact, Syanna made ample use of his love-driven dedication... That is, until the day she vanished without a trace or a word.
- Scroll 3: Syanna likely assumed that Dettlaff would swallow the bitter pill of rejection like all her lovers before him. Alas, the reasoning of vampires works differently than in men. And so, too, did Dettlaff's fury burn more fiercely.
- Scroll 4: Dettlaff felt scorned not only by Syanna, but by the entire human race. He took them all for traitors, hypocrites, and deceivers. Unfortunately, even but a brief look back on the Continent's history shows us he is not altogether wrong...
- Chest 1: Witchers used to classify higher vampires as a distinct species. However, their logic was not fully sound, for each possesses its own unique character and abilities. Regis, for example, was a loner endowed with extraordinary intellect. Dettlaff, by contrast, seemed destined to lead a flock. Lower forms of vampires such as katakans, ekimmaras, and bruxae answered his every call without delay. The inhabitants of Beauclair would quickly learn the disastrous consequences of such overwhelming control...
- Chest 2: Perhaps the most distinctive piece of Dettlaff's attire is a jewel-encrusted brooch crafted in the shape of a moth – a gift bestowed to him by Regis. Dettlaff viewed the token as a symbol of his connection with the night. Regis, however, held a different association in mind. He knew his friend, driven primal urges, would – like a moth – always be drawn back to the light. Even if that meant he would one day be consumed by the flames.
- Chest 3: After Dettlaff slayed four knights of Toussaint guilty of despicable acts, he became known to Toussaintois as the Beast of Beauclair. Sentenced to death for the killings, the Toussaint court summoned a witcher to track and kill the unknown monster. Dettlaff could but watch on in utter disbelief, for the widely adored Duchess Anna Henrietta has condemned dozens to the scaffold for much, much less! Even the monster slayer called to Toussaint had more innocent lives on his conscience than the alleged beast he was commissioned to kill! This was the tipping point. Dettlaff decided to no longer adhere to the laws of men. He would instead impose upon them the vampiric code of honor – a system founded on the harshest punishments...
- Dettlaff van der Eretein has the surname of Marta Dettlaff, a Concept Artist at CD Projekt RED. Marta also said that Dettlaff is her favorite character.
- Dettlaff is voiced by Andrew Greenough, the same actor who voiced Ge'els in the base game.