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Spoilers from the books and/or games to follow!

The third Northern War broke out soon after the failed summit in Loc Muinne and where the Nilfgaardian Empire, once more, invaded the North, this time around 1271.

Start of War Edit

Following the first two wars, the Northern Kingdoms were left devastated economically. This led to increased civil strife and religious fanaticism, in particular for the Cult of the Eternal Fire. Simultaneously, the rulers of the North used the non-humans as scapegoats for the worsening state of their kingdoms. This contributed to the continued guerrilla activity of the Scoia'tael, further weakening the north.

In 1271, after the assasinations of Demavend and Foltest by the Kingslayers, the remaining Northern kings, sorcerers, sorceresses and Nilfgaardian ambassador, Shilard Fitz-Oesterlen, assembled in Loc Muinne. The assembly was to decide the future borders and powers in the Northern Kingdoms following the recent regicides, as well as restoring the Council and the Conclave of Sorcerers. However Letho of Gulet, working for Emhyr var Emreis, was able to pin the blame for the deaths of Foltest and Demavend on the Lodge of Sorceresses, which led to a witch-hunt in the North.

Break of warfare Edit

Tw2 Nilfgaardian invasion

Nilfgaardian army crossing the Jaruga

At first, Nilfgaard's offense carried on without much resistance from the Northern Realms. Due to Demavend's assassination by Letho of Gulet and Prince Stennis either dying or fleeing, Aedirn was left in an unstable position. Lyria and Rivia, being almost entirely dependedent on Aedirnian commerce, fell almost immediately after the invasion started, with Queen Meve going into hiding. The leaderless Aedirn would fall shortly after. Regardless of Temeria's fate from The Witcher 2, John Natalis, the Hero of Sodden Hill and a veteran of both Nilfgaard Wars, rallied what was left of the Temerian Army to fight against Nilfgaard. They single-handedly held the Nilfgaardian advance northward for 3 days before faltering, running to the hills, and fighting a guerilla battle against Nilfgaard. During the guerilla campaign, John Natalis disappeared and was not seen nor heard from since, though survivors claim he did not fall in battle; he simply vanished without trace. In Spring of 1272, Nilfgaardian troops commanded by Peter Saar Gwynleve conquered White Orchard during a last battle and then headed to Velen. Phillip Strenger, nicknamed the Bloody Baron, used this anarchy to assert control of Temeria's leaderless territory in Velen. For his alignment to Nilfgaard, he was promised the title of ruler over Velen after the war ended by the new Field-Marshal Havart var Moehoen. Some Temerians, like those led by Roche, fled northward to the highlands on the Redania-Temeria border, where they harassed Nilfgaardian transports, patrols, and supported the Redanian military in the conflict.

Earning the ire of both sides of the conflict, King Tancred Thyssen of Kovir has pledged neutrality, unlike his father who supported the Northern Realms at least indirectly through financial loans and mercenary companies. He has also opened his realm to all mages, including those belonging to the ostracized Lodge of Sorceresses, who were implicated by Nilfgaard in a plot to destabilize the North, leaving it weak to its blows. Tancred did, however, divide the quarreling Hengefors League with Redania, with Kovir taking the majority of the dissonant realms.

Radovid's plan Edit

After easily conquering half the North within merely two to three weeks, the Nilfgaardians invaded Kaedwen, and believed Radovid would be intimidated enough to sue for peace, and so they waited for the first snows. Instead of acting as expected, Radovid used the winters as time to invade Kaedwen and either kill Henselt on the battlefield and assume control of Kaedwen's army and defense, or attacked a kingless Kaedwen whose defense was going poorly thanks to their lack of a clear ruler, and joined Radovid, who used the reinvigorated Kaedweni army to drive Nilfgaard from Ard Carriagh. The Kaedweni front still remains the worst, however.

In Velen, a massive but indecisive battle took place, during which The Order of the Flaming Rose was sacrificed and their remnants mockingly given a series of foothills and swampland north of Oxenfurt for their "important sacrifices on the battlefield." Meanwhile, their armories, treasuries, and estates were seized by the now-militant Church of Eternal Fire, leaving them with practically nothing. The Redanian Army took control of the offensive, which pitted them against Nilfgaard's armies in the mires of Velen. At the end of the battle, both sides retreated. Redania remains on the north side of the Pontar, ready for another Nilfgaardian offensive, while Nilfgaard stands by on the south side of the river, awaiting reinforcements from the heart of Nilfgaard (which the Merchant's Guild and noble houses are constantly blockading from going to the frontline, who are in fact tired of Emhyr's conquests northward which always end in failure.)

Status quo on Pontar Edit

Tw3 The War

As Emhyr is waiting for forces from the south to defeat Radovid, and Radovid tries to press the Nilfgaardians by funding and arming Vernon Roche's resistance group, both rulers turn their eyes to Novigrad, a rich Free City on the Pontar River which could provide men, ships and most importantly, gold, to which ever side possessed it.

In the meantime, Novigrad has fallen under the influence of the Church of the Eternal Fire (thanks partly to Radovid's influence, who, in collaboration with Caleb Menge, seeks to crush opposition so he can practically walk in and seize the city). Its population of non-humans and magic users are being held responsible for causing the war. A major purge has begun, with Radovid's approval, and with the Church forming a band of armed men known as witch hunters.

Eastern Front Edit

In the East (specifically in Kingdom of Kaedwen) Nilfgaard's armies have besieged Ard Carraigh, and engaged Radovid's forces in a series of battles. The fighting was implied to be particularly brutal as it is mentioned by several Redanian soldiers. Also, Ban Gleán was said to be often attacked by troops of General Voorhis without much success, as it is a fortress that stations a huge number of mercenaries. There is also a guerilla campaign in Kaedweni wilderness that makes it more difficult to progress and proceed much further.

The War's End Edit

If Geralt doesn't take part in Radovid's assassination: Radovid managed to defeat the invading Nilfaardians, absorbing all of the North under him and turning it into a Northern Empire. In his new empire, Radovid carried out his plan to eliminate all mages and magic in general; he continued to burn non-humans, mages, herbalists and anything alien to humans. However, Radovid neglected the advancement of any war technology or strategy and proved unpopular outside of the Redanian heartland. Unsatisfied with Nilfgaard's failed wars in the North, Emhyr var Emreis was assassinated by the opposition and replaced by Morvran Voorhis.

If Geralt helps to assassinate Radovid but lets Dijkstra kill the Temerian patriots: Dijkstra took over the North and turned it into a powerful empire rivaling Nilfgaard, centered around industrialization, technological advancement, and more importantly, the allowance of magic in the North. Many of his liberal and progressive policies are unpopular with the general populace, but they are forced to bear them regardless. Additionally, Dijkstra begins to strengthen the military, knowing that it would be necessary for long-term survival. If this ending occurs, Emhyr var Emreis is also assassinated by internal opposition and replaced by Morvran Voorhis.

If Geralt helps assassinate Radovid and saves the Temerian patriots: Left practically leaderless, the Northern Realms are taken over by Nilfgaard, losing their independence barring Temeria, which negotiated for vassalage status in the Empire, and Kovir, who Nilfgaard signed a peace treaty with during the days of the first war. After achieving victory, Emhyr initiated a sweeping purge to all those who opposed him, consolidating his rule over the empire.

If Ciri becomes empress: Afterwards, Emhyr ceded the throne to his daughter Ciri.

Combatants Edit

  • The Northern Realms
    • Redanian Armed Forces
    • Temerian Armed Forces (officially destroyed early in the war, assists Redania via guerrilla warfare; halts operations against Nilfgaard after negotiations)
    • Kaedweni Armed Forces (via Redania)
    • Witch hunters
    • Council and Conclave (optionally)
    • Order of the Flaming Rose (disestablished after the Battle of the Pontar)
    • Aedirnian Guerillas (allegedly)
  • Nilfgaardian Empire
    • Nilfgaardian Army Group Center
    • Impera Brigade
    • Nausicaa Cavalry
    • Northern Volunteers

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