The opening cutscene depicts Yennefer fleeing some unknown danger in the midst of a large battle and Geralt and Vesemir several days later tracking her escape from various signs left in her wake. At the scene's conclusion the story officially starts with Geralt in a guest room at Kaer Morhen, the stronghold of the witchers in the Blue Mountains. After proceeding through brief tutorials on movement and combat mechanics, and the sudden and terrifying appearance of the Wild Hunt, we learn that the time Geralt is actually dreaming about the events at Kaer Morhen. Geralt awakes to discuss his dream with Vesemir and they resume their tracking of Yennefer's flight as seen in the opening scene.
Vesemir and Geralt make their way to White Orchard where they learn that Yennefer was last seen speaking with the Nilfgaardian captain before she raced off. The captain agrees to tell Geralt where Yennefer went in exchange for ridding the town of a griffin that has recently been attacking villagers on the main road. Geralt examines the beast's nest and sets a trap for the griffin and with the help of Vesemir soon defeats the griffin. The nilfgaardian captain says that Yennefer has rode on to Vizima. Just as Geralt and Vesemir are about to depart they are approached by none other than Yennefer herself. Yennefer insists that Geralt follow her back to Vizima for an audience with the emperor Emhyr var Emreis. Vesemir decides it would be best if he returned to Kaer Morhen.
Even when crossing the short distance between White Orchard and Vizma, Geralt and Yennefer cannot have a quiet moment as they are soon set upon by hounds of the Wild Hunt. Fortunately for our hero no harm comes to either Geralt or Yennefer and they arrive safely in Vizima where Emperor Emhyr enlists Geralt's aid in finding the emperor's daughter Ciri who is believed to have the Wild Hunt closing in on her. Geralt agrees to help and meets with Yennefer to formulate a plan. Geralt intends to begin his search in Velen and meet with Triss Merigold to join forces in the search. Meanwhile, Yennefer departs to investigate a magical disturbance in Skellige that might be linked to Ciri.
Geralt finds himself traveling the road alone now in No Man's Land, also known as Velen, a region devastated by the war between the Nilfgaardian Empire and the Northern Kingdoms. Geralt can choose to begin his search here by seeking out emperor Emhyr's spy, Hendrik located in nearby Heatherton. Upon reaching the small village it is immediately clear that something evil has visited this town beyond the normal destruction caused by warring nations. From the clues the Witcher is able to gather from what is left of the now deceased spy's notes two possible leads on Ciri's whereabouts are deduced.
The first clue is that Ciri met with the local warlord and now de facto ruler of Velen, Phillip Strenger nicknamed the Bloody Baron. Seeking out this self-proclaimed ruler enthroned at nearby Crow's Perch, Geralt must trade with the Baron his own time and skill locating the a missing wife and daughter in exchange for information about where Ciri may have gone. This seemingly simple task for someone as skilled as a witcher will take Geralt all over Velen and even into the city of nearby Novigrad. The stresses of alcoholism, infidelity, abuse and warfare combine to form a predictably poor outcome for the Baron and his family and leaves the Witcher having to make several difficult decisions between greater and lesser evils.
The other lead Geralt may follow is a note that a woman fitting Ciri's description was seen to have quarreled with a witch. The people of Velen being very superstitious folk, a witch could mean anything from a local healer to a powerful sorceress, leaving not much to go on at first. In fact, the Witcher's first witch encounter turns out to be the wrong witch, when he finds Keira Metz living nearby the village of Midcopse. Long time friends, off and on lovers, the two team up to search for a mysterious elven mage whom Keira claims may have been helping Ciri. Unfortunately The Wild Hunt reaches the mage's underground cave first and the resulting fight and search of the caverns under The Mire yields little to no info about Ciri's whereabouts. Before leaving Keira suggests Geralt investigate Crookback Bog a location known to be home to a trio of Crones, maybe the witches that Ciri was heard to have tangled with. Geralt's investigation in the bog and meetings with its residents has a surprising tie-in with the Baron's search for his family and is overshadowed by an epic struggle, between the powerful Crones and a mysterious spirit, on which the lives of many depend.
All clues in Velen exhausted, Geralt continues on to Novigrad, relying on the Baron's last memories of Ciri saying she would ride there and seek shelter from The Wild Hunt that sought her.
Geralt must muster additional forces for the forthcoming battle in Kaer Morhen with the forces of the Wild Hunt. Geralt takes on several tasks to bolster his allies before the coming battle. The aftermath of the attack is also presented, too.
Geralt's path comes to a close, and the decisions you made throughout the adventure come back to help (or haunt) you.