This FAQ is intended for the fans who have enjoyed, played and finished The Witcher at least once, and are now wondering what quests, and other goodies they may have missed. In short, the FAQ is written for those that want to get more out of the game!
Note: I am assuming you more or less know how the game works, i.e. you learned the basics from playing The Witcher. If you want to be informed of things that go beyond "just winning the game", keep reading.
The FAQ makes extensive use of The Witcher Wiki, mainly highlighting things of note. Should you miss specific details, feel free to check with the wiki, it is quite content complete.
Overview – Gameplay Mechanics Edit
Should you have played several other RPGs, here you will find a compact summary of how The Witcher works:
- Basically you talk to NPCs (quest givers), solve quests, gain experience (XP), level up (character build), loot, trade, read books to learn about monsters / plants, explore the world, and progress in the storyline like in any other RPG. But there are quite a few differences...
Vitality, Endurance, and Toxicity Edit
- The most important player stat is Vitality (zero health means death), together with Endurance, and both luckily automatically regenerate over time. So, in theory you would not have to consume anything to replenish either, like the normally typical health and mana potions.
- Geralt can meditate at fireplaces or other safe locations (inns). Several hours of meditation replenish Vitality, Endurance, and also cure Toxicity (poisoning after drinking contests, or the intake of several potions), plus perform Alchemy.
- To slightly replenish health, Geralt can eat food.
- Drinking bottled water restores Endurance.
- During combat these regeneration methods are usually too slow, the witcher needs to drink potions.
Looting, Trade Edit
- The Witcher does not have a crime system (i.e. stealing), so you can loot without any repercussions.
- Note that killing guards (e.g. guarding the Outskirts inn, or the city guards in Vizima) can have severe repercussions. A headhunter will hunt you down!
- Most of the loot is not worth very much, especially food can be sold off for a few orens (the gold currency in the game).
- By default Geralt cannot collect plants, he requires the Herbalism skill to identify and harvest plants, plus has to read books on herbs.
- Differing from other games the Merchants' buy/sell prices for loot are always the same! So you can sell "junk" to anyone who will pay for it. Note: There are a very few exceptions, e.g. Kalkstein.
- Also differing from other RPGs, the traders will not buy everything, they specialize:
- Merchants will keep everything you sell them in their inventory, letting you buy back items, if need be. This seems to be true only for the current Chapter though. Rare items in their inventory may return into stock after some time, after a day or so.
- The game makes it very difficult to earn additional money by trading goods, since your sell price is only 1/5th of what you need to pay to buy it (e.g. ingredients, weapons). Only valuables like jewellery (e.g. diamonds) have a better buy/sell ratio of 2:1.
- You should be aware that anything that falls to the floor (e.g. Remains) will disappear once you leave the area (load screen) to then return. Especially fighting many foes, you can only pick up a maximum two weapons (three towards the end)! For exceptions, see The Witcher FAQ/Character#Storage opportunities.
Item Respawn, Inventory, Storage Edit
- Again differing from other RPGs, the collected plants will grow back after a relatively short time. This means unlimited plant resources.
- Items in chests (loot) stay there until you empty the chest. These items do not respawn. Exception: Between the Chapters II and III loot in e.g. chests reappears again.
- Alas, it is not possible to stow away excess items from the Inventory in normal chests. But you can store them with e.g. an Innkeeper. Magically, any person with such a storage option will let you access your goods, even beyond the chapter limits. For more information, see The Witcher FAQ/Character#Storage opportunities.
Leveling Up, Talents Edit
- Solving quests, or slaying monsters will gain the player experience points (XP). With enough XP you will automatically reach the next level and earn Talents.
- Your abilities on level up can be upgraded, by investing gold, silver, or bronze Talents into skills. Thus making the witcher more competent / powerful.
- The Witcher has a 24-hour time cycle (accelerated compared to real time), so you will experience sunrise, noon, sunset, and midnight. Note: At night you will stumble into dangerous opponents, even in Vizima. Also note some NPCs will only appear at certain times in the day, e.g. at noon.
- 24 hours in-game (one virtual day) are equivalent to 1 hour 36 minutes in the real world. For an hour to pass in-game you need to wait 4 minutes. The time scale factor is 15.
- Some quests require the witcher to be present at a certain location at a specific time, this does not pertain to the day though. So you can visit the location several in-game days or even weeks later.
- Use Meditation to time skip to the time of day you require or prefer.
Combat, Magic & Signs Edit
- Only two weapons are actually important for the witcher, his Steel sword (against humans) and his Silver sword (against monsters).
- Three distinct Witcher fighting styles (group, fast, strong) can be employed, depending on the opponent.
- The witcher cannot equip shields and there are none he can trade, only some guards carry them.
- Armor is basically limited to very few Leather Jackets.
- During the game the witcher will learn five different forms of magic, called Signs.
- These spells use up Endurance, thus the importance of regeneration.
- The Signs are an important addition to sword fighting, providing: Flame attacks, stun, magical shields, traps, and mental manipulation.
- If everything else fails you can usually outrun your foes, who will give up the chase after a while.
Non-Continuous World Edit
- The Witcher is not a continuous world, e.g. like Two Worlds, but a sectioned / partitioned world.
- Each chapter of the game "uncovers" a set of location the player can freely explore (excluding locked areas).
- Entering caves or buildings or sectioned areas requires a level load.
- Several times during the game, finishing a chapter will permanently close off that part of the world, so be sure you finish all quests first. Note: Some quests span more than one chapter.
- Stored items (with innkeepers) usually transcend the chapters. There might be the issue of finding a NPC providing storage access late in the game though.
Interaction, NPCs Edit
- The main NPCs usually have unique green names floating above their heads, marking them as potential quest givers. Other NPCs with generic blue names, like Townswoman, normally only spout one phrase, but otherwise are used as decoration.
- To make things more complicated some of the latter NPCs actually do have quests or untracked tasks for you. E.g. a peasant women in the Outskirts wanting a certain flower type (Romance card).
- So talk to everyone you meet, even when they have a generic name. And talk to them more than once.
- After solving a quest for a quest giver, be sure to talk to them again, they may have additional information or another quest.
- Solving a main quest, can have repercussions on some of the other NPCs, thus it can be quite rewarding to talk to them again.
- To make it easier for the player to detect new dialogue options, when talking to NPCs, all new dialogues are highlighted in blue, old dialogues are greyed out.
- The Alchemy system at first glance is daunting but turns out to be quite simple. Per se you cannot create something new, you can only guess at recipes that could also have been learned from scrolls.
- All ingredients contain one of six possible basic (primary) substances.
- Not the ingredients but the basic substances they contain are relevant for alchemy.
- Ingredients can have one of three additional (secondary) substances, these yield additional stat bonuses.
- To create potions use alcohol as a base, for oils use grease, and for bombs use black powder.
- You need certain skills to make Alchemy work:
- Ingredients sources are plants, monsters, and minerals.
- It helps to learn the Monster Lore skill, to recall information about common monsters. Note: You have to know about monsters to extract ingredients.
- The skills alone are not enough, Geralt needs to read (books) or hear about plant and monster descriptions.
The Witcher uses quite a few new terms, and the FAQ needs to refer to them at times. To make the Q&A easier to read, here are all the commonly used abbreviations explained:
- 50 orens (the official gold currency)
- PC - Player Character (you! and your avatar Geralt in the game)
- NPC - Non-Player Character (anyone else you can talk to in the game)
- XP - Experience Points (controls leveling)
- Q&A - Question & Answer (the meat of any FAQ)