There are a few things to remember about the video game adaptations of The Witcher. Firstly, the books do inform much of the games, but one doesn’t need to have read the books to understand the games’ stories. Second, a lot of the first two games see our protagonist Geralt suffering from amnesia and at multiple points through the games, memories are returned to him as they become relevant. Third, The Witcher games have always employed choice as a major mechanic in its story and those choices have varying effects on the overall plot of the video games. Some choices change entire plot points, others just change how side quests end or color the perspective of Geralt himself.
With those out of the way, we begin the story with our hero being dragged back to Kaer Morhen.
The Witcher 1
Somehow, despite rumors of his death, Geralt of Rivia is found passed out in the forest outside of the witcher stronghold of Kaer Morhen. Confused and bereft of memories, but among friends, Geralt begins his recovery with the help of fellow witchers Eskel, Lambert, and Vesemir, as well as the sorceress Triss Merigold of Maribor. Geralt only remembers a little bit of his previous life, including the fact that Triss was somehow important to him.
It isn’t long before the relative peace Geralt finds at Kaer Morhen is disrupted. A group of strange bandits arrive at the gates of the stronghold and break through the front portcullis. They speak the name of a strange group, the Salamandra, and are led by two people, someone known only as The Professor and an unknown male sorcerer.
It’s revealed that the Salamandra are at Kaer Morhen with the goal of stealing witcher secrets from the passages beneath the keep. Namely, the secrets of the mutagens and elixirs that make normal men into witchers, as well as the recipes to make said mutagens. The Professor and the sorcerer successfully steal the mutagens and recipes and teleport away before Geralt is able to stop them.
Not wanting to risk dangerous witcher secrets getting out, Geralt and the remaining witchers scatter to the corners of the world, determined to find the Salamandra and take back what was stolen. Geralt and Triss agree to meet in Vizima, capital of the Northern Kingdom of Temeria.
While waiting for entry into the city, seeming to be quarantined after an outbreak of the Catriona plague, Geralt finds a strange child nearly devoured by monsters. The boy’s name is Alvin and soon after meeting him, the boy reveals the otherworldly power he wields.
As though speaking with two voices, Alvin quotes a prophecy that warns of the end of the world by ice and a rebirth by the new sun. He foretells the world being reborn of Elder blood, of Hen Ichaer, of a planted seed that will not sprout but burst into flames.
While in the outskirts of Vizima, Geralt is reunited with a few old friends. He finds the dwarf Zoltan Chivay, who actually saw the incident which apparently killed Geralt, and Shani, a doctor trying to help those suffering from the Catriona plague. He begins investigating the Salamandra and finds that many people he deals with during his witcher work are in their pocket. Outside the city is also where he is introduced to the Scoia’tael, a group of non-human rebels fighting ferociously for equality. During one of his hunts, Geralt is faced with the ghostly visage of the King of the Wild Hunt, a group of spectral riders that herald and bring doom wherever they go. Geralt is oddly familiar with the King of the Wild Hunt, and the King informs Geralt that he is watching him closely, ensuring that “Destiny” is fulfilled.
As he attempts to enter the city proper, Geralt is arrested and thrown in prison. Only by agreeing to hunt a monster in the sewers is Geralt free to leave. While trekking through the sewers, Geralt is introduced to a man named Siegfried, a knight of the Order of the Flaming Rose, an order of knights that Geralt would soon become intimately familiar with. His adventures in the city reveal strange, mutated abominations, the results of experiments conducted with witcher mutagens.
Amongst rising conflict between the Order of the Flaming Rose and the Scoia’tael, Geralt begins his investigations of the Salamandra’s operations. With the help of private investigator Vincent Maarloeve, he puts together clues that lead him to important targets related to the crime syndicate. The good investigator is unfortunately found dead in a crypt and Geralt realizes that the man he has been working with is in fact the same sorcerer that led the assault on Kaer Morhen, his name revealed to be Azar Javed. He confronts the sorcerer as well as the Professor, but is knocked unconscious and teleported away before the two can finish him off.
Geralt awakens to find that Triss has saved him once again and has the powerful boy Alvin with her. He begins investigating Alvin’s unusual powers with the help of either Triss or Shani. Alvin is discovered to be something called a Source, someone with immense magical power that is not completely under their control.
After discovering a plot to take over the kingdom of Temeria by Princess Adda, a girl that Geralt had once saved from a terrible curse that turned her into a monster called a striga
1In “The Witcher” (1986), the first written depiction of Geralt of Rivia, which was later included in The Last Wish. Much of “The Witcher” is adapted in the pre-main menu cutscene of The Witcher 1.
, Geralt eventually meets up with The Professor and Azar Javed again. While Javed escapes once again, Geralt ends The Professor and is met by Princess Adda and knights of the Order of the Flaming Rose. Before Princess Adda can execute him, Geralt is teleported by Triss across Vizima’s lake. With him, he finds Alvin and his long-time friend and famous bard, Dandelion. Alvin’s power, still extremely unstable, continues to grow and Geralt and Triss try to stall this process by forcing him to wear an amulet made of dimeritium, a metal that suppresses magic.
Murky Waters, the town that Geralt finds himself in, needs his help dealing with numerous problems. These include a wedding gone terribly wrong, its participants turned into specters, as well as needing to play the mediator between Murky Waters and the Vodyanoi, non-humans that live beneath the water.
Unfortunately, the conflict between the Order of the Flaming Rose and the Scoia’tael boils over into Murky Waters. The resulting battle scares Alvin so much that the boy teleports away to parts unknown. Geralt and Dandelion decide that the Salamandra must be stopped and sail their way back to Vizima.
Upon arriving, the city is in flames. The Scoia’tael have caused an uprising and the Order of the Flaming Rose has responded by retaliating against all non-humans. The King of Temeria, Foltest, tasks Geralt with getting his city back under control and dealing with Princess Adda, whose striga curse has resurfaced. For his help, King Foltest reveals the location of the main Salamandra base, and subsequently the location of Azar Javed.
Allies in tow, Geralt assaults the Salamandra stronghold, fighting his way to Azar Javed. He is able to dispatch the sorcerer and dismantle the Salamandra, but he finds out even more troubling news. Javed was working for someone, the true mastermind behind both the theft of the witcher mutagens and the conflict between the Order of the Flaming Rose and the Scoia’tael.
Jacques de Aldersberg, Grandmaster of the Order of the Flaming Rose, was the one who originally ordered Azar Javed and The Professor to steal the witcher mutagens. This allowed him to use the mutagens to create powerful superhuman mutants. Making his way through the fortress of the Order of the Flaming Rose, Geralt confronts Jacques de Aldersberg alone.
Jacques tells Geralt that he had a reason to create the mutant superhumans. He needed a force to save humanity against the future he foresaw for the world. He shows this terrible future to Geralt by teleporting both of them to a vision of said future. All is covered in ice, frozen and dead. Jacques’ superhumans were to be the guardians of humanity, saving them from the fate of the rest of the world.
Unmoved by the apparent madness of Jacques de Aldersberg, Geralt challenges and defeats the Grandmaster, but is stopped just before he can finish the battle. The King of the Wild Hunt appears before the witcher, demanding the soul of the Grandmaster. Geralt is given a choice, to give up Jacques’ soul to the Wild Hunt or fight the King himself.
Either way, Geralt is returned to the present time, and finds the Grandmaster’s body clutching a familiar looking amulet. A dimeritium amulet eerily similar to one that Geralt had given to Alvin in the days past, but this one seemingly aged and worn down.
Geralt receives a reward from King Foltest for his deeds and begins to leave. However, something catches his attention before he leaves the palace. He finds dead guards and watches a cloaked figure rushing toward the King. Geralt is quick enough to stop the assassination attempt from succeeding. The game concludes with the reveal of the assassin’s face, a man with the same glowing slits for eyes that Geralt possesses. A different witcher had attempted to kill the King and a new conspiracy has been unfolded.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
The beginning of the second Witcher game finds our hero, Geralt of Rivia, once again indisposed. This time, he’s in prison, for regicide of all things. After a few beatings from the guards, Geralt is introduced to Vernon Roche, the commander of the Temerian special forces group The Blue Stripes. Roche asks Geralt to start from the beginning.
Geralt starts his tale with Triss Merigold and himself being appointed to Temerian King Foltest’s inner circle, Geralt as a bodyguard and Triss as a sorceress advisor. In a ploy to use King Foltest’s illegitimate children against him, some of the Temerian noble families have risen up against the King and hid away the children, causing him to call both Geralt and Triss into his service for a siege against the families holding them.
The siege of the castle is made all the more hectic by the appearance of a full-blooded dragon that ravages both sides. Avoiding the dragon and fighting their way forward, Geralt finally reunites King Foltest with his children. Their unity is short-lived. The monk that was watching over the children up to that point was no monk at all, but instead another witcher in disguise. The cloaked assassin slits King Foltest’s throat and, before Geralt can stop him, jumps from the castle’s window to escape with the help of a group of Scoia’tael waiting below.
With no one else around, and Geralt hovering over King Foltest’s body, Temerian forces rush in and arrest Geralt, believing him to be the murderer.
Back in the present, Vernon Roche believes Geralt’s story and vouches to set him free. Either quietly or loudly (by burning the prison to the ground), Geralt escapes captivity and sets off to find the real kingslayer. Meeting up with Vernon Roche and Triss at the nearby docks, the party settles on sailing to Flotsam. The nearby port town would have to have been the first stop for the assassin after he fled.
Geralt and company arrive outside the town of Flotsam and run into Iorveth, an elven outlaw and leader of the Scoia’tael. The interaction with Iorveth goes poorly, resulting in the Scoia’tael assaulting the party of three, though they manage to escape thanks to Triss’ magic.
Geralt arrives in town with perfect timing, as the center of the village is abuzz with activity. A public execution is taking place, the accused being two elves, Geralt’s dwarven friend Zoltan Chivay, and master bard Dandelion, who’s been up to his old debaucheries. The prejudiced townsfolk seem to have come up with reasons to hang the non-humans and Geralt steps in to stem the madness before his friends meet the noose.
Loredo, commander of the town’s militia, tasks Geralt with slaying a kayren, an enormous kraken-like monster that has been ruining the fishing and sailing village’s economy. In doing so, he would free Zoltan of all charges that placed him in-league with the Scoia’tael. During this investigation, Geralt meets the sorceress Síle de Tansarville, who helps Geralt with the kayren on the condition that she receive rare spell ingredients for her own use.
After dealing with the kayren and resuming his hunt for the assassin, Geralt begins searching for Iorveth once more. A Scoia’tael soldier reveals that the name of the assassin is Letho and that he very quickly betrayed the Scoia’tael once he had thought they were no longer useful.
During this interaction, certain lost memories begin to return to Geralt. Triss tells Geralt about a “rose of remembrance” and the two go searching for the item in order to restore more of Geralt’s memories.
While Triss works with the rose, Geralt and Zoltan attempt to find Iorveth and get answers. Iorveth offers to meet with Letho while pretending that Geralt has captured him in order to prove Letho’s betrayal of the Scoia’tael. A fight breaks out as Vernon Roche also joins the fray and Geralt is given the option to return Iorveth’s sword to him or leave him unarmed.
As Letho and Geralt fight one on one, Letho proves too powerful and tells Geralt that he is going after Triss. His words were not just bluster, as Geralt returns to town to find that Letho has indeed kidnapped the sorceress. It is here that one of the game’s biggest decisions is made and that choice affects the rest of the game.
Choosing to side with Vernon Roche has Geralt storming Loredo’s home, discovering him to be a spy as well as having done many things to hurt the people of Flotsam. Choosing to side with Iorveth has Geralt cutting his way through town and commandeering a prison barge to escape the town.
Chapter 2 (Choosing Iorveth)
If Geralt chooses to side with Iorveth, they sail to the Dwarven city of Vergen and meet up with Saskia, the warrior-maiden who is leading the rebellion against King Henselt of Kaedwen. An otherworldly mist has overtaken the battlefield thanks to an ancient curse and is reanimating spiritual warriors to fight against both sides of the conflict.
With the help of another sorceress, Phillipa Eilhart, Geralt sets on quests not just to remove the cursed fog from the battlefield, but to also cure Saskia of a deadly poisoning she suffered during a war council. The antidote requires a familiar object, a rose of remembrance, which Geralt knows Triss has, reopening the investigation into her disappearance. Triss is being held by King Henselt’s Nilfgaardian emissaries and, after being captured by the Nilfgaardians, Geralt is shown that Triss has been shrunk down and imprisoned in a statuette.
Geralt gathers ingredients for Saskia’s antidote and lifts the curse and the fog from the battlefield by fixing the mistakes of the past in the bodies of fallen soldiers. On the side of the rebels, Geralt protects the city of Vergen. When fighting against an enemy mage, Geralt is saved by Saskia when she reveals her true form, that of the great dragon that originally attacked Geralt during the Prologue.
The Chapter ends with King Henselt losing the battle and paying reparations to the rebels led by Saskia, now the leader of the Pontar Valley region. Phillipa, Saskia, and Henselt head to the old city of Loc Muinne for a royal summit of leaders. With Iorveth mentioning how Saskia seemed to be acting strangely, he follows Geralt to Loc Muinne to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.
Chapter 2 (Choosing Vernon Roche)
After Loredo is dealt with, Geralt joins Vernon Roche’s group and joins up instead on King Henselt’s side outside of the city of Vergen. As he tries to uncover a group of conspirators that are accusing King Henselt of colluding with Nilfgaard, Geralt is lead to the information about Triss being held at the Nilfgaardian camp, but they escape to Loc Muinne before Geralt can stop them.
After lifting the battlefield’s curse, two witchers attack and attempt to assassinate King Henselt. Geralt is able to kill one and, using necromantic magic, enter the mind of the deceased assassin.
In the dead witcher’s mind, Geralt discovers that Síle de Tansarville and Phillipa Eilhart are both working with Letho and the other assassins.
The conspirators against King Henselt turned out to be Vernon Roche and the Blue Stripes, the latter of which the King has hung for their crimes. Despite Vernon’s desire for revenge, he and Geralt flee the conflict and make for the city of Vergen through the ensuing battle. Upon arriving, the city has already been taken by King Henselt, with Letho, Phillipa, and Síle de Tansarville having gone to Loc Muinne. After dispatching the King’s guards, Geralt is given the choice to allow Vernon to wreak his vengeance on the King that killed his men, or to spare him and save the Northern Kingdoms from further destabilizing. Either way, the two decide there is only one place left to go, Loc Muinne.
Chapter 3 (Choosing Iorveth)
Geralt and Iorveth sneak into Loc Muinne and find the sorceress Phillipa Eilhart imprisoned by King Radovid of Redania. Radovid, angry over Phillipa’s individual goals not lining up with his, has the sorceress’s eyes gouged out. It’s from here that Geralt has the choice to either help Phillipa escape or to go on and find Triss. If he helps Phillipa, she gives him a dagger that can lift the magical control that she has on Saskia the dragon.
The summit being held at Loc Muinne is a whirlwind affair of treason and backstabbing. The mages of the individual kingdoms, collectively calling themselves The Lodge, are intent on using Saskia’s draconic abilities to secure a mage-run state of their own. This plan was put further into action by The Lodge contracting Letho to kill off the Northern kings one by one.
Chapter 3 (Choosing Vernon Roche)
In the Roche path, Geralt is on a mission to secure one of the deceased King Foltest’s illegitimate children, the ones from the Prologue, in order to secure the Temerian royal bloodline. The children have been kidnapped, the charge being led by the Kaedweni mage Dethmold, and it’s discovered that only King Foltest’s daughter remains as his son has already been killed. Another choice is presented as now Geralt must choose between helping Vernon Roche save King Foltest’s daughter or going forward to rescue Triss.
Chapter 3 (Convergence)
Geralt tracks down Síle de Tansarville who reveals a large part of the mages’ plan and then attempts to teleport away. Unfortunately for her, the device she was using to teleport had been sabotaged by Letho and Geralt has the choice of either saving her or letting the sabotaged device tear her apart.
No matter what he does, the enthralled Saskia attacks Geralt in one of Loc Muinne’s towers and the resulting battle sees Geralt triumph, only being able to truly free Saskia if he has the dagger that Phillipa gave him.
With everything having gone more or less according to plan, Letho invites Geralt to speak with him and he’s given the choice to listen or to attack Letho right away. If Geralt listens to Letho, he tells him that the emperor of Nilfgaard put into motion a plan to destabilize the Northern Kingdoms by removing their leadership, thus planting the seeds for an all-out invasion. In exchange, the Emperor would reinstate Letho’s defunct witcher school, the School of the Viper. While Letho killed King Demavend of Aedirn and King Foltest of Temeria, he made other witchers attempt to assassinate King Henselt so he could pin the attempt on The Lodge.
It’s here that Geralt finally unlocks his memories in full. The memories reveal how Geralt and his paramour, Yennefer of Vengerberg, were killed during a pogrom in the town of Rivia. However, both of them are quickly resurrected by a young ashen-haired girl named Ciri, Geralt’s ward and witcher-trained adopted daughter, who vanishes shortly thereafter. While recovering, Yennefer is whisked away by the King of the Wild Hunt, the spectral hunting party that often searches for and kidnaps powerful Sources, people like Alvin from the previous game or Ciri herself. Geralt begins a desperate search for the Wild Hunt as he tries to find Yennefer, even recruiting other witchers to assist him, including Letho, after he saves the latter from death.. When they finally meet again, Geralt trades his own soul for Yennefer’s. He agrees to ride with the Wild Hunt and trusts Letho and the others to take care of Yennefer.
For an uncertain number of years Geralt traveled with the Wild Hunt before he appeared, seemingly out of nowhere and with no memories, outside of the witcher stronghold of Kaer Morhen, thus beginning the first Witcher game.
Geralt again has the option of killing Letho for his crimes against the kings of the Northern Kingdoms, or letting him go in exchange for keeping Yennefer safe. Whatever choice is made, Geralt reunites with Triss and begins heading to Nilfgaard, as that is supposedly where Yennefer is being kept.
The final scene we see is that of a small village on the border of the Northern Kingdoms and Nilfgaard, ransacked and burning as soldiers converge on its position. They wear the iconic black armor and carry the banner of Nilfgaard, the golden sun. As the camera pulls away, we see the invading Nilfgaardian forces on a warpath, determined to make the North theirs.