The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the latest major installment in CD Projekt RED's role-playing video game series. The Witcher 3 is the first in the series to feature a true open world for players to explore. Whether it's on the back of the witcher's trusty horse Roach or on a ship in the open seas, players are given countless paths to trek across. The work of Geralt is never done, and players will find themselves hunting deadly monsters, completing quests, discovering lost places of power, or just having fun with horse racing, gambling, and brawling.
The backdrop of the Witcher series is the massive unnamed Continent. In previous titles, Geralt primarily explored the reaches of Temeria, Kaedwen, and Aedirn of the Northern Kingdoms. These kingdoms have been fighting bloody conflicts against the expansive Nilfgaardian Empire. In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Geralt treks across areas in Temeria, Skellige, the brutal No Man's Land, and more as he attempts to find the lost Child of Prophecy, Ciri.
The Northern Kingdoms
The Northern Kingdoms are a group of human states north of the Amell mountains. Their inhabitants are called Nordlings by the Nilfgaardians. Aside from humans, a number of dwarves, elves, gnomes, and halflings live in the Northern Kingdoms as second-class citizens. They are often subjected to racial tensions and violence from Nordlings.
The Northern Kingdoms were invaded and partly conquered by the Nilfgaardian Empire.
Temeria is one of the Northern Kingdoms. It's neighbors are Redania, Kerack, Kaedwen, Aedirn, Mahakam, Lower Sodden, Brokilon Forest, and Cidaris. Temeria is the one of the strongest Northern Kingdoms and played a key role in the war against Nilfgaard. Temeria is ruled by King Foltest and its capital is Vizima. One of the fiefdoms of Temeria is the dukedom of Ellander and the magical Thanedd Island, that houses a school for young female adepts of magic. Geralt is no stranger to the land of Temeria, having worked closely with King Foltest.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt opens with Geralt and Vesemir traveling toward the town of Willoughby. Geralt receives a letter from the sorceress Yennefer who requests them to meet her there. However, the road is perilous and plagued with violence. An army has beat the witchers there and burned the small town to the ground. With no other leads, the duo trek towards the capital Vizmia in hopes to find her there.
Skellige, or the Skellige Islands, is an archipelago and one of the Northern Kingdoms. The group of six islands is situated in the North Sea, off the coast of Cidaris and Verden, and northwest of Cintra. These islands will be one of the major explorable areas in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. There are several alluring areas within this archipelago. Hindar is a sacred grove on the island of Hindarsfjall. Kaer Hemdall is a great rock off the coast of Hindarsfjall island and reflects an important place in the beliefs of Skellige residents. Also on the islands is the Temple of Freya that houses a priestess named Sigrdrifa.
Major Cities and Keeps
No Man's Land (Velen)
No Man's Land, also known as Velen, is the area of land conquered by Nilfgaard during the Third Northern War. This area will be an explorable location in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Using Foltest's and Demavend III's deaths to his advantage, Emperor Emhyr var Emreis conquered most of the land between the Yaruga River and the Pontar Valley. Murky swamps and dark primeval forests cover this land, with monsters lurking behind every tree. The fields have been stripped bare by passing armies. The land is truly without rule, and dangers are abound at every turn.
Kaedwen is the largest of the Northern Kingdoms, and the second largest country in the world following the Nilfgaard Empire. Its neighbors are Aedirn, Redania and Caingorn. Portions of the Fiery Mountains, the Kestrel Mountains and the Blue Mountains also run through the kingdom. Henselt, the king of Kaedwen, quarrels frequently with neighboring Aedirn over the ownership of the Pontar Valley. The area is known for its cold and unforgiving climate, along with the many forests within its borders. The witcher stronghold of Kaer Morhen is located within this kingdom. Kaer Morhen has been the headquarters of the witchers' guild for centuries.
Aedirn is one of the Northern Kingdoms. Its neighbors are Kaedwen, Redania, Temeria, Mahakam, and Lyria and Rivia. Its eastern border includes the Blue Mountains. Dol Blathanna, the Valley of Flowers, is also located within Aedirn and is ruled by the elven sorceress Enid an Gleanna. The capital city of Aedirn is Vengerberg, the home of famous sorceress Yennefer. The king of Aedirn is named Demavend.
Cintra is one of the Northern Kingdoms. Cintra's neighbors are Sodden, Brugge and the Nilfgaard province of Nazair. It's capital is the city of Cintra. Cintra was very powerful in the times of queen Calanthe, but was conquered by Nilfgaard during the First Nilfgaard War. After the Second Nilfgaard War, the kingdom became a nominally independent state, but is actually ruled by Emperor Emhyr var Emreis of Nilfgaard due to his marriage to Empress Cirilla. The Child of Prophecy, Ciri is a princess of this Kingdom.
Kovir and Poviss
The kingdom of Kovir and Poviss is a Northern Kingdom located on the Gulf of Praxeda. It is ruled by king Esterad Thyssen of the House of Thyssen and maintained neutrality during both wars with Nilfgaard. The kingdom is the largest exporter of mineral resources in the known world, and has acquired huge profits from trade.
Lyria and Rivia
Lyria and Rivia is one of the Northern Kingdoms, located north of the river Yaruga. The kingdom neighbors are Mahakam, Aedirn, and Angren. The kingdom is ruled by queen Meve. During the Second Nilfgaard War, Lyria and Rivia were invaded and conquered by Nilfgaard without any formal declaration of war. It was, however, liberated in the later phases of the war. Geralt's title of Rivia comes from the kingdom, despite the witcher having no true connection to the area.
Redania is one of the Northern Kingdoms. It's neighbors are Kovir, Caingorn, Kaedwen, Aedirn, and Temeria. King Vizimir II of Redania was assassinated during the Second Nilfgaard War. The capital of the kingdom is Tretogor. The University of Oxenfurt, the largest university in the world, is located within this kingdom. During the interregnum, the country was ruled by a Regency Council headed by Sigismund Dijkstra, the head of Redanian Intelligence.
Cidaris is a small member of the Northern Kingdoms that can be found on the western shore of the Continent. It's ruled by king Ethain. The river Adalatte in the south forms a natural border between Cidaris and Bremervoord. East of the kingdom lie Kerack and Temeria.
Brugge is a small member of the Northern Kingdoms and can be found on the Old Road. It is separated from its neighbors by the river Yaruga, its tributary Ribbon and the river Trava. Brugge is surrounded by Sodden in the east, Cintra in the south, Verden in the west and Brokilon in the north. Brugge was originally an independent kingdom under the sovereignty Venzlav, but afterwards Venzlav served as a vassal to Foltest, the monarch of Temeria.
The Hengfors League, also known as Niedamir's League after its current king, is one of the minor Northern Kingdoms. During the reign of king Baldwin Thyssen, Kovir lost control of the Eastern March, and the land was divided into minor kingdoms and duchies. These areas were later re-united by Niedamir of Caingorn. The capital city of the league is Hengfors, also stands as the capital of Caingorn. The region is situated between the Dragon and Kestrel mountain ranges on the Braa.
Members of the League
Verden is one of the minor kingdoms within the Northern Kingdoms, located at the very mouth of the river Yaruga, with Kerack and Brokilon on its northern borders, and Cintra to the south. Verden is ruled by king Ervyll at the beginning of the Witcher saga. He is later succeeded by his son Kistrin. The capital city is Nastrog.
Nilfgaard is the most powerful empire in the history of the known world. It is located in the southern part of the continent and boasts both a thriving economy and a strong, well-trained army with talented commanders. It has expanded mostly through the conquest of foreign countries, which were then turned into provinces of the Empire. The Empire's inhabitants believe that "real" Nilfgaardians are only those born in the heart of the Empire, and not those born in the conquered provinces.
The provinces are ruled by either stewards or kings (in cases where a king willingly surrenders, he retains his throne but is subject to the Emperor). The empire has expanded throughout the years, conquering new lands and going as far to the north as the Yaruga River during the reign of Emperor Emhyr var Emreis.