|This article is about the person known as the Bloody Baron. For the quest named Bloody Baron, see Bloody Baron (quest).|
| ||The world might seem black and white to you witchers, but for us common folk it's shades of gray. As is my family's story.|| |
|- Bloody Baron to Geralt|
Phillip Strenger, commonly known as the Bloody Baron, was a self-proclaimed baron located in Velen. He took up residence in Crow's Perch after its previous owner, Vserad, fled to Fyke Isle with his family due to the threat of approaching armies.
Phillip served in several wars fighting for Temeria throughout his life. During the Battle of Anchor, he took a spear in the shoulder and was tended to by Anna. Once he'd recovered, he asked her to marry him and the couple appeared to be happy and soon welcomed a baby girl, Tamara. Shortly after she was born though, Phillip was sent to Cidaris to fight in another war, this time to aid King Ethain on King Foltest's behalf. As he was seldom home, Phillip turned to drinking and soon become so dependent on it, he couldn't stop drinking even when he was home. This led to one of Tamara's first memories of him drunk and caked in mud under the stairs.
Several years into the marriage, he came home one day to find Anna and their daughter gone. In their place was a note, with Anna saying she didn't love him and she'd left him for a childhood friend and the man she'd been having an affair with for the past three years, Evan, and had taken Tamara with her. Phillip then headed out to bring the girls back, but when he saw Evan, something snapped and he ended up killing the man. Upset at what Phillip did, Anna began to yell and claw at him before picking up a knife and trying to stab him. Phillip moved out of the way just in time and, not knowing what else to do, beat her. This event marked the change in their relationship to an abusive one.
Life at Crow's Perch
Many years later, during the Third Northern War, Phillip's unit was all but destroyed near the start of the invasion. Having no hope in regrouping, they began to wander north and soon other deserters and broken men joined them. By the time Phillip reached Crow's Perch, which had been abandoned by its previous lord, he had a sizable group under his command and decided to settle there, including his wife and daughter. Phillip then decided to back Nilfgaard, realizing it was impractical to resist them, and hoped to be made an official baron once they won.
In 1272, he had another drunken fight with Anna, who was pregnant again, before passing out. When he came to, he couldn't remember all that'd happened but found the fetus dead in their bedroom, believed to have been a miscarriage, and Anna and Tamara gone. He proceeded to hastily bury the stillborn in a shallow grave and had all his men out searching for the women, but nobody could find a trace of them. A short time later, a peasant brought Ciri and a little girl, Gretka, to him as Ciri was injured and both were hungry. He took them in, giving Gretka a place to stay (as sending her back to a starving family wouldn't do any good) and let Ciri stay as long as she liked.
Phillip and his men went on at least one hunting trip with Ciri, who impressed the group with how she killed a boar, before she extended a friendly challenge to Phillip in the form of a horse race after seeing one of his nice horses. The next morning, the two raced against each other, only to be interrupted by a basilisk. They fought against it but it got the upperhand and carried Phillip up to the top of its tower, intending to kill him. Using her powers, Ciri appeared in front of the basilisk and proceeded to kill it, stunning Phillip. However, as the Wild Hunt could sense when she used her powers, Ciri was forced to flee once more so Phillip helped her out and gave her a letter of safe conduct so she could get to Novigrad safely.
Sometime later, Geralt arrived in hopes of finding information on Ciri and, recognizing who he was from what Ciri told him, Phillip talked to the witcher before offering a trade: if Geralt would help him find his missing wife and daughter, he'd tell him where Ciri went. Having not much of a choice, the witcher agreed and set out to find them.
Phillip, however, hadn't told Geralt the full story of the night the women disappeared, nor the abusive relationship between him and Anna. When Geralt was visiting the Pellar, Phillip got drunk once more and the barn at Crow's Perch was struck by lightning, engulfing it in flames that nobody dared to put out as Phillip was in his mad, drunken state. When Geralt returned during all this, he had a brief fistfight with Phillip before dunking him in water and demanding he tell the full story, as the Pellar had filled the witcher in on some of the details. Phillip came clean on the abuse and where he buried the stillborn before Geralt informed him the baby had turned into a botchling and needed to be dealt with. Phillip then begged the witcher not to put his child through anymore pain.
- If Geralt turns it into a lubberkin: Geralt guided Phillip through an ancient naming ritual and Phillip named the stillborn Dea before burying her under the home's doorway.
- If Geralt fought the botchling: Phillip became upset at the witcher for killing his child once more, though nothing else could be done then.
After the botchling was dealt with, Phillip refused to tell Geralt anymore on Ciri until he found Anna and Tamara.
- If Geralt found the women: Phillip, while upset neither woman had been brought back to Crow's Perch, thanked the witcher and began to make haste for Crookback Bog to save his wife. Before he did though, he told Geralt about Ciri's time there and that she'd headed towards Novigrad.
- If Geralt did Return to Crookback Bog: Phillip traveled to Downwarren and, with Geralt's help, traveled through the swamps to find his wife. At the orphanage, they ran into a group of witch hunters and Tamara, who wasn't too pleased to see her father there.
- ...and killed the spirit or released it before getting the task: the group found Anna, but she had lost her mind and was babbling about nonsense. Phillip, filled with regret and sincerely wanting to make up for it, decided to take his wife to the Blue Mountains where a powerful hermit lived, in hopes he could cure Anna. Tamara, who couldn't go with them due to other obligations, made her father swear he'd take care of her before they left.
- ...picked the wrong doll: Anna burst into flames and died. Suddenly very stoic, Phillip merely told the witcher to come to Crow's Perch for his pay. Before Geralt did though, Phillip proceeded to hang himself off the tree in Crow's Perch's courtyard.
- ...picked the right doll: Anna turned back into her normal self, but as her life was tied to the curse, she knew she'd soon die. Phillip apologized to her for everything he'd done. After Anna died, he then told Geralt he could collect his pay at Crow's Perch. Before Geralt did though, Phillip proceeded to hang himself off the tree in Crow's Perch's courtyard.
The baron's attire is a personalized mix of military gear—a well-worn gambeson, a studded jacket, a metal breastplate and greaves—with sumptuous, expensive outer robes that undoubtedly once belonged to the former lord of Crow's Perch. Completing the ensemble are a leather belt and a shoulder strap from which hang a knight's short sword and a bandit's knife.
- During his first encounter with "Baron" Phillip Strenger, Geralt found the man's many contradictions puzzling. This former Temerian soldier was clearly an opportunist who, after his army's resounding defeat, served, dealt and negotiated with the occupying Empire of Nilfgaard. The local peasantry anointed him the "Bloody Baron," a clear indication that he did not handle his vassals with kid gloves. On the other hand, he proved a surprisingly gracious host to an unexpected guest who was also a stranger and a hired monster slayer.
- His treatment of children and young women, towards whom he demonstrated wholly sincere, near fatherly-concern, likewise contradicted his bandit-like appearance and terrifying monicker. Ciri had learned this for herself, finding care and shelter under his roof.
- In exchange for information about Cirilla, the baron ask Geralt to find his wife, Anna, and their daughter, Tamara. Both had disappeared without a trace some time ago, and Phillip was slowing losing hope of ever seeing them again. Under these circumstances, a witcher was a gift from the gods.
- Yet the baron had hid certain facts from Geralt, such as his wife's recent pregnancy, her subsequent miscarriage and his own predilection towards strong drink and violent quarrels.
- It turned out the baron would drink regularly and to excess, and Geralt got a first-hand view of how dangerous he can be to those around him during such moments when he returned to talk to the baron about what he had learned from the Pellar. Phillip had known from the start that his wife and daughter had fled, not disappeared, but, torn between shame and concern over their fate, he had tried to save face while still doing all he could to find them.
- On this subject there was no denying his determination. Paying no heed to the fact that a confrontation with the Crones might end tragically for him, he decided to ride into the swamps and try to free Anna from their clutches.
- If the Baron's wife survives:
- They say that a man's true nature is revealed in times of crisis. The baron's reunion with his wife was certainly such a time - her deplorable state shook Phillip to the core. Yet when he learned there was a sliver of hope that Anna could be cured of her madness, the baron seized that thought with all his strength and decided to ride with his wife to the very end of the known earth, to the Blue Mountains, and seek help for her tortured mind there.
- If the Baron's wife dies:
- Despite the combined efforts of the baron, his men and Geralt, Anna could not be saved. Alas, this was not the end of the bad news - Tamara, who had also ventured into the swamp to save her mother, made it painfully clear to the baron that she no longer wanted to have anything to do with him. Having lost on all fronts and without uttering a single word, he trekked back to Crow Perch alone...
- Not long afterwards Geralt learned that Phillip Strenger, the one-time terror of all of Velen, had hanged himself out of grief and despair, desolated by the loss of all that he had loved in his lifetime.
- After Return to Crookback Bog is completed (no matter the outcome), Sergeant Ardal takes the Baron's place and begins a harsher reign of terror.
- You will not be able to win the gwent card from the baron in the quest Gwent: Velen Players if you complete the quest Return to Crookback Bog first. With Patch 1.20, you can find his card in a box in his office.
- He got the moniker the "Bloody Baron", when he was still in the Temerian army and he tracked a group of Nilfgaardians to a dye works, where instead of starving them out, he charged straight in. The Nilfgaardians surrendered and one of his men accidentally knocked a can of red paint into the river, making the common folk believe that he had killed all of his prisoners and spilled their blood in the river.