Old Friend of Mine is a quest which begins after Geralt has won his freedom from prison and begun checking out the Temple Quarter in Chapter II. He finds Shani, whom he rescued from the Outskirts Inn in Chapter I... and so begins the quest.
This quest is also known as "Shani's Party", but it begins much earlier and only culminates in the gathering at her place. The eponymous "old friend" is Shani herself, but at the party we are properly introduced to Dandelion whom we are told is Geralt's best friend, so the title could be said to refer to two old friends, not just one. (see Notes)
The quest itself actually begins when Geralt first encounters Shani (either at St. Lebioda's hospital during her working hours, at home, or while she walks from one to the other). They converse about her work and the plague situation, which leads the medic to ask the witcher to gather five bundles of celandine (which he may already have from his travels in the outskirts) for the patients. When the herb is delivered, Shani will teach Geralt about drowned dead, bloedzuigers, or fleders if asked for a monster anatomy lesson.
Later our hero must ask for Shani's help with an unofficial autopsy. The "crown witness" in the Salamandra investigation has been killed and someone needs to get to the bottom of things. This collaborative effort largely shapes the direction of several related quests. It is only the third time they meet that the witcher gets to have a more social exchange with Shani. She mentions that she is having a little gathering in honour of Dandelion, an old friend and celebrated bard who is in town. However, before the party actually begins, Shani needs Geralt to do a little grocery shopping for her. Geralt must go purchase the liquor for the party. Shani request some Mettina Rose, Temerian Rye and some Cherry Cordial Spirit. All of these can be purchased at the Hairy Bear Inn in the slums.
Shani's party takes place almost entirely upstairs, and the conversation is mainly being between Dandelion and Geralt. He tells the witcher about higher vampires and his old friend Regis, who was one. Geralt scoffs and asks derisively if he also had a dragon friend. (In the books, he did!) Geralt also converses with Shani, who tells him more about the Battle of Brenna, which elicits some (possibly drunken) praise from our hero. As the party wears on, the invited guest (either Zoltan, Siegfried or Carmen) arrives and joins the party.
Soon, the guest suggests a caper involving sending Geralt downstairs to forage for some item. (Zoltan is hungry and would like some pickles and lard. Siegfried would like to have some cordial. Carmen suggests playing truth or dare; the dare is to take something from Grandma downstairs.) Naturally, Geralt goes to fetch the item in question. While downstairs he has to avoid the fireplaces, otherwise Grandma catches him drunk and kicks him out of the house.
A bit more conversation follows; then it is time for a song from the guest of honor.
- Zoltan is Geralt's guest: When Dandelion sings (a rather amusing ballad about a wolf - hmmm), you notice that Geralt and Shani are playing a little game. He looks at her, she turns away. He turns away, she looks back. Finally their eyes meet. Very sweet... and the party ends on a good note.
- Siegfried is Geralt's guest: When Dandelion sings, Siegfried joins in and sings too. Shani's impressed with him, and for a while it looks like she is going after Siegfried, but he does not reciprocate - the silly boy has taken a vow of celibacy! (Though he does not actually say so.) The party ends on a good note.
- Carmen is Geralt's guest: When Dandelion sings, Carmen starts acting in a decidedly unladylike manner around Geralt - much to the consternation of Shani. One thing leads to another and basically, a cat-fight breaks out. The party ends on a less-than-good note.
Geralt is probably wasted at this point, and usually ends up passed out on the ground just outside of Shani's house. After picking himself up, he decides to bring her some flowers to say thank you (or should that be sorry?). He asks what Dandelion meant the other night when he said he had interrupted them in Oxenfurt. Shani decides that showing the witcher would be easier than explaining ... cue the soft lights and music.
Song for Zoltan
By the woods can you see,
Wolf in all his might
Grinning madly, wagging gladly,
bouncing with delight.
My, oh my, what a sight!
Why no melancholy?
Must be that still not wed,
that is why so jolly.
Aoo, aaoo, aoo!
In the grass can you see,
Wolf just limps along,
Looking down, awful frown,
crying like a dog.
Why is this mighty beast
so badly rampaged?
Must be that freshly wed
or lately engaged.
Song for Siegfried
Autumn's scents have pervaded the air,
The wind stole the words from our lips,
That's the way it must be, please don't shed,
Those diamonds that run down your cheeks.
Your home all surrounded by snow,
Glassy frost covers rivers and lakes,
That's the way it must be, please don't show,
This yearning and grief on your face.
When the spring comes along with the rain,
The sun will warm up us both,
That's the way it must be for we burn,
Song for Carmen
It's no wonder dazzling ladies
are so hard to score,
Like them maples reaching higher,
more it takes to soar.
Yet with ladies and maples,
there's no need to frown.
Lay them down, on the ground,
- This quest can only be completed in Chapter II.
- It is best to save before giving Shani the 5 bundles of Celandine as the anatomy lesson Shani gives is random (although she seems to give the one for Drowners most often) and it's best to get the entry for Fleders as there is no other way to acquire it in Chapter II. While the entries for Drowners and Bloedzuigers you can get from the Swamp Monsters book, which you can find a free copy of in Chapter I. So whenever Shani gives you a lesson on Drowners or Bloedzuigers simply reload and try again until you get the one for Fleders.
- This quest can only progress to the phase "A Favor" before the quest Anatomy of a Crime is completed.
- However, if Geralt has learned the "Grand Truth"(See Vizima Confidential for its meaning), this quest can be continued without any restrictions.
- But be warned, progressing this quest pass the phase "Invitation" will either fail Anatomy of a Crime instantly, or remove the dialogue option to start it if it's not started already. Keep this in mind if you wanted to do the autopsy.
- Even if you pick Zoltan or Siegfried as a guest, Geralt still asks Shani what Dandelion interrupted when Geralt choose to romance her, even though Geralt could only know this if he invited Carmen.
- Only red roses will (at the end of a longer conversation) elicit an intimate response from Shani and end the quest. Yellow roses signify friendship, and white ones sincerity, but even though she appreciates these she will still "drop a hint", which will leave the quest open until you have delivered red roses.
- There is no way to complete the quest and earn the 1500 XP without initiating the intimate response. Simply proceeding to Chapter III will remove the quest from your list for completionist players who do not wish to romantically pursue Shani.
- In the Polish (original) version, the title of this quest uses the feminine form of "friend", clearly denoting Shani. In another language the title can be ambiguous, given that both Shani and Dandelion are old friends and both are part of the quest.
- It is much easier to just scout around downstairs and grab whichever item you will require from Grandma for the party before heading upstairs. This way, you already have it handy when the guest you invited requests it.
- Zoltan is best at being 'the life of the party'.
Shani is a great girl. Maybe I should stick around a little bit, see how things go? I should visit Shani in the hospital. Maybe she could use a hand.
Shani asked me for a small favor - she needs five bunches of celandine. I couldn't say no. I need to go to the swamp, that is where it is supposed to grow. I am to go to the swamps and gather 5 bunches of celandine.
To the Hospital
I have the herbs Shani asked me to gather. Now I have to bring them to the hospital. I must bring the herbs to the hospital.
I got celandine for Shani. I'm in her good books now. I need to talk to her more often, maybe she'll ask me for another favor? For now I think she owes me one. I think Shani owes me one. I should talk to Shani more often. (500 XP)
The autopsy is finished with Shani's aid. The poor thing is very tired - she should rest now. I reckon there is something she wants of me. Maybe I should talk to her when she finishes her work. Shani was very helpful. I should visit her one day.
I promised Shani I'd bring alcohol to the party. She wanted some rosé wine, and some cherry liquor for Dandelion. I prefer rye vodka. I must supply Shani with rosé wine, cherry liquor and Temerian rye vodka.
I brought Shani the alcohol, it's time I thought about my companion. Whom should I invite? I must consider the people I know, perhaps somebody wants to join the party. I must invite one person to Shani's party.
- Zoltan: I invited Zoltan to the party. Now I should go to Shani's house. I invited Zoltan to the party at Shani's place. I should go there. (500 XP)
- Siegfried: I invited Siegfried to the party. Now I should go to Shani's house. I invited Siegfried to the party at Shani's place. I should go there. (500 XP)
- Carmen: I invited Carmen to the party. Now I should go to Shani's house. I invited Carmen to the party at Shani's place. I should go there. (−100 + 500 XP)
- Zoltan: Yet another person reacts rather weirdly upon seeing me. Dandelion maintains he saw me die. I think I need a drink. I think I need a drink.
- Siegfried: Another person who reacts in a strange way to my presence. Dandelion claims he witnessed my death. I need a drink. I need a drink.
- Carmen: Yet another person reacts rather weirdly upon seeing me. Dandelion maintains he saw me die. I think I need a drink. I think I need a drink.
- Zoltan: Me and Dandelion had a discussion. My head is spinning... The party is going on...
- Siegfried: I had a discussion with Dandelion. My head is spinning... The party is going on...
- Carmen: Me and Dandelion had a discussion. My head is spinning... The party is going on...
- Zoltan: At this pace some of the guests will end up under the table rather soon... The party is going on...
- Siegfried: If we keep the pace, soon some of the guests will fall off their chairs... The party is going on...
- Carmen: At this pace some of the guests will end up under the table rather soon... The party is going on...
Lard and Pickles / Liquor / Diary
- Zoltan: Zoltan asked me to bring him some pickes and lard from grandma downstairs. Considering the state I'm in, this might be hard to achieve without making a hell of a lot of noise. But hey, I am a witcher after all... Zoltan asked me to bring him some pickles and lard from grandma downstairs.
- Siegfried: I promised Siegfried I'd bring him some fruit liquor from grandma's cupboard downstairs. At this stage of the party it might be difficult to do it without making a lot of noise. On the other hand... I am still a witcher, aren't I? I promised Siegfried that I bring him some liquor from grandma's cupboard downstairs.
- Carmen: I am to bring something interesting from grandma. Considering the state I'm in, this might be hard to achieve without making a hell of a lot of noise. But hey, I am a witcher after all... I have to bring something interesting from grandma downstairs.
- Zoltan: Well done, got the lard and the pickles. I have to take the lard and the pickles upstairs.
- Siegfried: Well done, I have the liquor. I must take the liquor upstairs..
- Carmen: Well done, I've got grandma's diary. I have to take grandma's diary upstairs.
Dandelion decided to sing something. Let's see what he has prepared for this occasion... Let's see what Dandelion sings.
The party is over. I'll sure be hung-over in the morning... Maybe I should visit Shani, bring her some roses and say thanks? Perhaps it would be a good idea to bring Shani some roses and say thanks?
Shani reminded me of certain interesting events from my past. Very interesting events. Shani reminded me of certain interesting events from my past. (1500 XP)
I've missed my chance. I devoted too much time to the investigation, not enough to Shani. I'd really like to get to know Shani better - again... I missed that chance.