This is not a walkthrough; you should know the game well enough by now. These are just a few observations that have helped me along the way. Many are covered in other guides, but I wanted to put down in one place the things I need reminding of when I play.
The game is easy enough even on hard difficulty that you should not have much trouble winning most fights while ignoring the secondary effects that can be exploited when brewing up alchemical potions. Nevertheless there are times when it is nice to have the lowered toxicity to allow you to take just one more potion before a fight, and fights where an extra 20% damage bonus to every kind of attack with any kind of weapon can make a big difference, plus, those who will buy certain potions, such as Kalkstein, will pay an extra 20 orens for a potion if it contains a dominant substance.
There are 3 possible secondary substances in alchemical ingredients.
|Albedo||reduces toxicity of consumed potions||lasts 1 hour|
|Nigredo||increases damage inflicted by 20%||lasts 4 hours|
|Rubedo||accelerates regeneration of vitality||lasts 4 hours|
White Gull can also be mixed to contain a dominant substance and be used as a potion base. If it has a dominant substance, the rest of the ingredients need to match that or you'll get a normal potion. If it contains no dominant substance while the rest of ingredients all contain, say, Rubedo, then you'll get a potion dominated by Rubedo. Potions made with White Gull containing a dominant substance stack with potions made with regular White Gull and seem in no way to be distinct or superior, so it's not worth making the effort to brew them and you're better off without.
To get the best advantage from these effects, it is best to spread them out over several commonly used potions. Find a combination that uses ingredients that are easy to find in quantity. Use other ingredients for bombs and blade coatings where a dominant substance makes no difference.
Take the Tawny Owl potion first to reduce the toxic effect of all three.
This is the most usual set you will need before a fight, unless for some strange reason you're not in a crypt or a cave, in which case, skip the Cat and take a Wolverine instead. Blizzard is nice too, but it takes practice to get the timing of your sword fighting right if you're used to fighting at normal speed. Take the the potion with the Albedo first and get less toxicity from everything.
I found that making Wives' Tears with Albedo gives no toxicity at all.
Books:These are the books you should buy to get the most out of the game; you need some others, but you can find them quite easily before you need them.
It seems that 12 hours pass between meeting with Abigail in the cave and the final battle with the Beast, so any buffs you apply to your sword will still be in effect, but any potions you take will not. At the start of the battle therefore, put some distance between yourself and the Beast and take a Tawny Owl laced with Albedo, then run for more breathing room and take a Swallow. There's no point in killing any of the barghests, as they will all die when you kill the Beast, so run if your health is low, and turn and fire Aard at the Beast; if you stun him, one coup de grâce blow will kill him, and that's all you need. Keep running and firing Aard at the Beast until this works.
Do not go back to Vizima or delay very long in the middle of Yaren Bolt's second quest or you will fail it.
For Shani's party you need cherry cordial, Mettina rosé wine, Temerian rye, and any other alcoholic drink.
|If you bring||you need|
|Zoltan||Grandma's Pickles & Lard|
Bring Shani red roses after the party. You must do this before finishing chapter 2 at the tower in the swamp, otherwise it becomes unavailable and Shani's attitude toward you in chapter 3 is just a little bit different as you haven't slept with her, although not for long if you send Alvin to Triss.
The first time you talk to him in this chapter, Kalkstein relieves you of some surplus quest items in your inventory, including the tower tarot card, his notes on the sephiroth, and the teleporting crystal he gave you in chapter 2, which no longer works anyway.
Be sure to at least visit the workshop and the gambling den (at night) before doing A Posh Reception, or their inhabitants may never spawn.
The alchemist in the workshop in the merchant quarter in chapter 3 will give you a book of Samum (Samum bomb and Brown Oil) and a book of the Secrets of the Southern Masters (Devil's Puffball and Zerrikanian Sun) if you follow the correct conversation path—to wit:
After getting Alvin, depending where you send him, Shani wants a silver amber ring or Triss wants a gold ruby ring.
Siegfried took a vow of chastity for the Flaming Rose, and is a virgin.
Remember, if you missed getting Harvall from the body on the Wyvern island in the swamps, either in chapter 2 or 3, then the first time you enter the Fields region, kill the wyverns and collect Harvall from the eastern edge of the fields. In fact, you can get it twice this way.
You can do the whole death of Alina bit in one afternoon if you accept Julian's request to find her no later than 2pm (14:00). This gives you time to find her among the raspberries, talk to Dandelion, fetch the mirror shards, and go to see the blacksmith by 5pm (17:00). Give him the shards and duck into his house and out again, then pick up the mirror and go back and see Alina again. Now run back to Dandelion and get him to write his poem and you can run back to Alina one last time. Dandelion should be there already. After putting Alina to rest, run back to leave the Fields for the village and immediately return to the Fields to lay Celina to rest. Now you can return to report to Julian by 7pm (19:00) and get a drink at the bar.
If you want to keep your nice silver rune sword, put it in storage before going to Black Tern island to kill Dagon and use Igni to kill the wyverns, as the Lady will give you Aerondight when you tell her of Dagon's death. Not that you'll need it again after this, and you're not able to sell it either. Still, you may be able to import it with your saved character into The Witcher 2 when it comes out!
If following the neutral path and Kalkstein is to remake Raven's armour for you, he will tell you to find Agnes of Glanville's old magic formula, which he says is somewhere off the old mine. It isn't; you get to it via the wayfarer's stone in the same refugee cave that you find Zdenek in. The key is Aard, Igni, Aard.
The fight with the Zeugl shouldn't be too hard if you buff well beforehand, finally having a use for that Bindweed potion, and using a rune on your silver blade that provides an increased chance of critical hits. With luck, you'll chain a couple and the fight'll be over before it gets going. If it drags on, just run away from everything until Swallow brings your health back up, and go back to whacking tentacles as necessary (fast or group style), the beast whenever possible (strong style), and embellishing all with plenty of Igni.
Last updated 2020-03-23