The Witcher 3 is renowned for having an expansive world jam-packed with monsters, quests, combat, and incredible visuals. When the game reached our screens back in 2015, it offered some of the most intriguing, morally challenging, and downright amusing side quests we have seen to date.
With the new season of The Witcher on Netflix on the horizon, we figured we should look back on what made The Witcher 3 so great! Today we will be looking over the best side quests, most of which fall into one of the aforementioned categories. To make it fair, we will not be looking into quests from the DLCs or ones where there are a lot of specific tasks to complete in order to even acquire the quest.
Spoilers to follow… (duh)
10 - A Frying Pan Spick and Span
This was the pinnacle of quests that make you question "what just happened?"
A Frying Pan Spick and Span is short and sweet. Plus, you can find this right near the start of the game. If you are scratching your head, let us remind you! You stumble across an old woman outside her hut who seeks your assistance to retrieve her beloved frying pan from a thief who has barricaded himself inside her home. As you make your way inside, to your horror you find a corpse and some other suspicious clues which nod towards Thaler from the first game. Once you return the frying pan to the old woman, the quest ends, so there is no deep intricate storyline, but it is certainly on the bizarre end of the spectrum!
Complete with Geralt’s witty character, this quest certainly is one to remember.
9 - The Master of The Arena
To take a complete 180 from the previous entry is The Master of The Arena, which sports a bit of a tragic backstory. Located in Hov on Spikeroog, you will learn of a wraith that is haunting the arena, causing warriors to refuse to fight there. If you speak to the guards in the tower beside the arena, you will learn the truth of this phantom. It was actually a warrior called Ulle who lost every fight he had. One day he was pitted against the jarl, and he was ridiculed so much that he killed him! The jarl cursed Ulle to never win a fight, and thus he became Ulle the Unlucky. Every time someone fights and beats the ghost, he only returns a few days later.
So, the dilemma falls to Geralt! The trick is to let Ulle beat you and then the curse will be lifted. We like this quest due to the ghostly fascination, tragic background, and the fact there is no other quest in the game quite like it!
8 - Return to Crookback Bog
Now this one does vary slightly depending on your actions in The Whispering Hillock quest, but the essence is the same. We like how Return to Crookback Bog explores the Baron’s storyline and sees the outcome of your morals from The Whispering Hillock quest.
Essentially, you hear word of a band of witch hunters heading to the swamp, presumable lead by the Baron’s daughter Tamara. You will be faced with various foes such as drowners before reuniting with Tamara and explaining you are there to find Anna. After searching the buildings, you will find Anna but not the way you thought you would. Anna will either be mad or a water hag! Before you can try to undo the Crones’ curse, you will be faced with a fight against some drowners, water hags, and finally a Fiend, with everyone chipping in to help. What happens next will greatly depend on your choice! If Anna is mad, the Baron will take her away to Oxenfurt with the hope of finding a cure, whilst Tamara reluctantly lets him go. If Anna is a water hag, it is a far more tragic story. Long story short, Geralt will speak to Johnny the godling who will reveal that the Crones punished Anna for letting the children go. Here you will have a choice between four magic dolls which could have Anna’s hair weaved into them. If you pick the wrong doll, Anna will burst into flames! If you pick the Hollyhock doll, Anna’s curse will lift but unfortunately that is not where the Crones’ cruelty end as Anna will die soon. However, it grants an opportunity for the not so happy family to make some amends. No matter what way Anna dies, if you return to Crow’s Perch you will find the Baron has hanged himself.
Not a cheery quest, but it is certainly one to get invested in!
7 - Ghosts of The Past
This one is a sure favorite for those who love recurring characters! But even without that, Ghosts of The Past is an interesting and morally questionable quest. When stumbling upon the area or taking on The Fall of the House of Reardon contract, you will find a densely booby-trapped estate. After some poking around, Geralt will happen upon fellow Witcher, Letho! Naturally, since the events of The Witcher 2, Letho has been in hiding. That is when some men happen upon your hiding spot, and Letho reveals that only one man knew his location, Louis, who he believes has double crossed him. Your choices are limited here as Letho will drag you into the fight with the soldiers, but you will then have the choice to go with Letho to hunt down Louis.
You will find Louis in a camp, where Letho concludes he is a traitor. After some fighting, Louis will beg for mercy and reveal that Arnout Vester tipped him off. Your next destination is Lindenvale, where you are told cryptically not to interfere. Although a conversation takes place between Arnout Vester and Letho, a soldier will shoot Letho in the shoulder with a bolt. Here is where the situation gets tricky! Geralt can intervene or stay out of the situation. If you intervene, a fight will unfold. However, if you attempt to defuse the situation, Geralt convinces them to take Letho’s medallion as proof of his death. Seems like the end, right? Wrong! You will soon learn that Letho used a poison to make himself appear as dead, which was his plan from the get-go!
Old friends and some old-fashioned revenge!
6 - The Volunteer
Going from immersive stories, we are now heading to plain strange and entertaining! However, it does bring in a moral dilemma too. Around White Eagle Fort, Geralt will pick up on a strange sound which turns out to be a singing troll, affectionately called Trollololo. Upon further inspection, Trollololo is far more than a singing troll. He believes he is a Redanian soldier after being asked to guard some boats the soldiers stole from some peasants. Here is where the dilemma comes in. Naturally the peasants came to attempt to take back their boats, so Trollololo tried to help the soldiers but accidentally killed everyone in the process. Furthermore, Trollololo figured to not let the bodies go to waste so proceeded to cook and eat them. That escalated quickly!
So now Trollololo’s fate rests in your hands. If you spare Trollololo, you will be asked to retrieve some paint, which you can buy in Oxenfurt. He will then ask you to paint the Redanian coat of arms which you can choose to do or refuse.
The quest is a great one for the bizarre but also really lets you be a judge of actions and character!
5 - The Last Wish
This quest is for those who are invested in the overarching storyline and continuing themes. It is also great if you root for Geralt and Yennefer!
The quest essentially revolves around helping Yennefer find a djinn to remove the link between herself and Geralt. It kicks off with Geralt and Yennefer sailing out to sea together, where the sorceress casts a spell enabling Geralt to breathe underwater. Here you are tasked with investigating various shipwrecks to look for clues where you will encounter various enemies like sirens and drowners. After finding one half of the seal, you will be teleported to the other half of the ship which is on a mountain. Not something you typically see! Anyway, from here you find the other half of the seal which Yennefer uses to summon the Djinn. Naturally, a fight ensues against this magical foe, after which you must decide whether you wish Geralt to romance Yennefer!
The Last Wish mixes up a lot of elements from great scenery, quirkiness, and important choices.
4 - Wild At Heart
There is no quest that is as gut-wrenching and that toys with morality quite like Wild At Heart.
The quest can be picked up by various noticeboards or by talking to Niellen in Blackbough. You learn Niellen’s wife Hanna disappeared one night. He suspects that she went into the woods. After further talking to people in the town, you are again pointed in the direction of the woods. Prepare to face some wolves as you follow the trail. Shortly after, you are approached by Margrit, Hanna’s sister, who asks you to stop looking for her as she is concerned for Niellen. She will try to bribe you, which you can accept, but the quest will end there.
If you refuse, you can then examine a dead dog which shows it was killed by something big. Soon after you will find Hanna killed in a similar fashion. After following the clues, you will be led to an isolated shack which can provide some additional clues. These will lead you under the shack into a lair. Now the fight takes place. You will take on the werewolf and a few wolf pals. However, once the werewolf gets down to low health, it will fall. Margrit will make her reappearance and plead for you to stop, revealing that the werewolf is in fact Niellen! Margrit admits to knowing for a long time as she was in love with Niellen. She also reveals that she wanted to show Hanna what Niellen was in the hopes that she would leave him. However, Niellen accidentally killed her. Niellen is understandably furious with Margrit, at which point you have your difficult choice. You can choose to kill Niellen or leave Margrit to her fate. If you allow Niellen to kill Margrit, he will emerge from the cave and ask Geralt to put him out of his misery.
No matter what, this quest is undeniably tragic as you really have to question what the right choice is!
3 - The Lord of Undvik
This quest is definitely one of the longer side missions in the game, so we won’t go into too much detail here! The Lord of Undvik is quite convoluted and takes various twists and turns. A lot of decisions you make ultimately change how this quest plays out, hence why we love it so much!
Your job is essentially to find Crach and Craite’s son, Hjalmar, on Undvik. As you progress through the quest you will observe an ice giant and find an old madman named Octo in the frozen ship. He provides some clues to Hjalmar’s whereabouts, which you can follow, leading you to a cave of trolls cooking "soup." Well this soup ends up being an archer called Folan who is screaming for help. To save Folan you must answer a simple riddle. As you follow the path, you will find Hjalmar’s dead soldiers and eventually an alive and well Hjalmar in Dorve. Now here is when the anticipated battle takes place! You will find Vigi the Loon in a cage, who you have the option to free. But to do this you must tread lightly and not walk on the snow or the giant will wake.
After you defeat the giant, Hjalmar suggests that you take the victory which you can choose to accept. The Lord of Undvik is an explorative, decision-based, and at times a challenging quest that is a firm fan favourite!
2 - A Towerful of Mice
A Towerful of Mice is certainly one of the spookier quests in the game, but this one is shrouded in mystery and a sad storyline.
To start your Ghostbuster side hustle, head on over to Fyke Isle where you will encounter various drowners, ghouls and rotfiends. Proceed on over to the tower and equip that trusty magic lamp to uncover what happened on the isle. As you head on up to the laboratory you will discover the curse’s origin: the ghost of a woman named Anabelle. You learn that Anabelle was presumed dead by everyone, including her lover Graham, as she took a heavy sleeping potion. When she awoke, she was subjected to arguably one of the most gruesome ways to die: devoured by rats! The quest title does not seem the same now, right? Now you have your choice. Help Anabelle or fight Anabelle. If you help the woman, you will agree to take her remains back to Graham. You can give them to him in a nearby village. However, as you are leaving Graham’s home, you hear a scream. So, it turns out Anabelle is a Plague Maiden, but now that the bones are off the island the curse is broken although the spectre is free to roam.
If you refuse to take her remains to Graham, Anabelle will reveal her true nature and attack Geralt. After you hit her a couple times, Anabelle will flee. You then go to seek out Graham yourself and explain the tricky situation that if she forgives Graham, the curse will be broken but he must go to her. Geralt and Graham head back to Fyke Isle where you will have to fight off wraiths before heading into the tower. Graham explains he still loves her, and she returns to a human form, but Graham dies.
It is a quest that will haunt you, but it is certainly a layered one!
1 - Carnal Sins
One thing we never expected to be doing in The Witcher 3 was channeling our inner Sherlock Holmes! There is always something so fascinating about solving crimes in games that are not specifically about crime.
Carnal Sins takes that to another level through layers of mystery and genuinely surprising twists that leave you speechless. Just to remind you, this quest takes place after Priscilla is attacked and left with serious injuries, similar to those of a dead victim. Your job is to find out who did it and why! You team up with Joachim von Gratz to help Geralt uncover the truth. You embark on a winding path of examining the deceased’s injuries, bumping into unsavory characters such as Reverend Nathaniel, finding clues, and meeting with the victims’ families.
After some examining of the areas where victims were attacked, you find that there has been another murder. Geralt returns to the morgue where the examining doctor, Doctor Hubert, shows you the body. After finding a note on the body, listing the next victim, Geralt sets off to save Patricia Vegelbud, but it is too late. You chase the escaping killer, but due to sheer bad luck, the guards mistake Geralt for the murderer! Yikes. After checking Patricia’s body, Geralt learns the next victim is Sweet Nettie. After arriving at Crippled Kate’s, we find Reverend Nathaniel preparing to burn the would-be victim. However, in another twist, Reverend Nathaniel is not the killer! You have to ask the right questions to learn who the real perpetrator is.
When you arrive at the warehouse you catch the killer red handed. It is Doctor Hubert! Whats more, he is a higher vampire! This is a fairly tough fight, but it is a fun challenge. This quest is the perfect example of how not everything is as it appears, as there are a lot of twists and turns with a sense of peril throughout.
The Witcher 3 undoubtedly has some of the most exhilarating side quests, from quick time decisions, to story-changing choices, fearless foes, and dark horses. Do you agree with our ranking? Let us know!