The name refers to the roach (Rutilus rutilus), a common European fresh water fish. It has nothing to do with the cockroach, and nothing directly to do with the either the French given name "Roche" or the character Vernon Roche. Though the English term for the fish ("roach") does in fact share its origin with "Roche": both terms come from the French word for "rock".
It's worth noting that the original name for the horse in Polish is "Płotka", a diminutive form of the word "Płoć" (meaning "roach"). Diminutives are endearing in Polish, so a more direct translation would have been something along the lines of "Roachy" or "Roachie".
Moreover, the Polish word is female gendered which corresponds with Geralt's preference for mares - it would be odd for a stallion to be called "Płotka". The tender tone as well as the gender of the name is lost in the translation.
However, "Płotka" has another meaning which is "small fry". In the Polish version of the third game, this is brought up during Broken Flowers if Geralt beats Morvran Voorhis in a race, who will praise him by saying "Impressive rider skills from someone for whom every horse is a small fry." In this meaning the name becomes gender neutral, thus can be used for a stallion as well.
The horse Geralt owned throughout the game is named Roach. There is a number of equipment available for Roach: saddles, saddlebags, and horse blinders. Saddles let Roach gallop full speed longer, saddlebags increases Geralt's inventory limit, and the blinders decreases the rate that Roach's fear level rises.
In a contrast to the previous games, trophies gained from contracted monsters appear tied to Roach's saddle instead of on Geralt's person. If Geralt visits Emhyr after he finds Ciri, and does not accept the coin offered, when he leaves he is granted a black Pure Bred Nilfgaardian thoroughbred stallion. After this event, whenever Roach is called, a black horse appears instead of the original bay mare.
Blood and Wine expansion
- A horse is more to a witcher than merely a means of locomotion - just ask any bandit who has taken a well-aimed hoof to the head during combat. Additionally, many a witcher has talked over the nuts and bolts of his current contract with his horse while staring at the stars shining above the lonely road, though few would ever admit to this.
- Geralt named his every mount Roach, though no one really knows why or what Geralt had in mind with this name. When asked, Geralt would dodge the question or give an evasive answer. Perhaps this had just been the first word that came to his head? Roach, for her part, seemed to accept the name with no reservations.
- Geralt would grow annoyed and curse whenever Roach panicked and tossed him in the middle of a battle, as well as when she would suddenly turn a different direction that he wanted while he was riding at full gallop towards some urgent destination. In truth, though, he was very attached to her and would never trade her for any other horse. Not even one which, when summoned, would never stand helpless in front of a seemingly easily surmountable obstacle, such as a low fence or stray piece of timber. Nor even one which would sometimes, in some incomprehensible fashion, wind up dancing on some peasant's roof. "Well," Geralt would say with a shrug. "A witcher's horse isn't a normal animal. Constant contact with magic beverages and Signs must have left a mark."
- While completing a contract in Toussaint, Geralt had the chance to find out exactly how serious Roach took her role and how well-versed in the arcana of the witcher's trade she was. He also discovered she was an entirely pleasant conversation partner.
- During the quest Beyond Hill and Dale..., Geralt has the option to ride a white unicorn. It is possible to save the game and create a New Game + over the save once you discover the unicorn, which will change your mount from Roach to the white unicorn and is your new permanent mount throughout the base game and expansions.
- Roach (Rutilus rutilus) is a species of small, fresh water fish, common in many of Poland's lakes and rivers. It's perfectly edible but many people dislike is due to its relatively small size and quite a lot of fish bones.
- In The Witcher, the only time Roach appears is in illustrations.
- In The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, Roach again only appears briefly during a final cutscene.
- In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, there were plans for Roach to be able to ride on boats, so Geralt could travel over seas with her.
- See the GWENT standalone game version card: Roach