This begins your adventure through The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. This article includes all of the Main Quests in the game's prologue, including tips to killing the Griffin.
Main Quest: Kaer Morhen
Following the opening cut scene, your objective is to use your Witcher Senses to find the key to the bedroom door. It's worth noting that Geralt’s Witcher Senses will highlight items of interest with a red hue, and there are several items to inspect in this area. The one you're looking for above the rest is a key that sits on a book near the north side of the room.
After opening the door, walk to the lower level and speak to your mentor, Master Witcher Vesemir. You can answer him any way you’d like, then decide whether you want to join Cirilla and run the walls. We suggest that you do this, since it gives you a tutorial on how to maneuver in The Witcher 3. When the tutorial is complete, return to Vesemir and decide whether you wish to try some combat training. We again advise that you do this. When the training is complete, sheath your sword to complete the quest.
Main Quest: Lilac and Gooseberries
Preceding this quest is a cut scene, and when it's complete you'll need to kill the ghouls. This can easily be done with a few swings of your sword, but the most important part of the process involves looting their bodies after they fall. This is a habit you should develop early on in The Witcher 3, because looting dead bodies can produce weapons, Crowns and alchemic ingredients.
With that portion of your quest complete, hop on your horse and begin to follow Vesemir. You'll come across a trader whose dead horse is being torn to bits. Scare away the griffin, then speak to the trader to learn about White Orchard, and more specifically a tavern where you can get further information.
Continue to follow Vesemir as the two of you go to the tavern in White Orchard and ask travelers about Yennefer. Dismount your horse and head inside, then speak to the bar-woman. She'll tell you to speak to the travelers if you're looking for information about the women you seek. Do this and look for a bald man sitting by the window. He tells you the Nilfgaardians may know more.
Tip: Speak to the scholar on the far side of the bar to learn more about the card game, Gwent. This will play a big role in your time with The Witcher 3.
Exit the tavern and take on the three men outside in hand-to-hand combat. Don't bother drawing your sword. Instead, use your fists and hop on your horse. You'll need to head northwest so you can ask the Nilfgaardians about Yennefer.
The best way to reach the Nilfgaardian garrison is by following the river bank as you move west. Continue following it northwest and into a swamp, being mindful of the wolves and drowners. Move beyond an archway of a broken bridge, some exercising troops and then under another archway. You can dismount from your horse at the jetty and climb the wooden steps. Smooth talk the two bruisers standing guard at the entrance and they'll allow you to pass through. Speak to the garrison commander at a broken brick tower to the southeast, agreeing to his terms in order to continue.
Note: The Lilac and Gooseberries main quest is still active at this point, but you'll continue with another and leave this one suspended.
Main Quest: The Beast of the White Orchard
Continue your conversation with the officer to receive the following new objective: Ask the herbalist about buckthorn. You can use the signpost outside and down the stairs to fast travel if you’d like, or you can hop on your horse and take the scenic route. Since the herbalist is the closer of the two people you need to speak with (the second being a hunter), head there first.
You'll find the herbalist to the east of the Sawmill, and if you're having trouble you can follow the waypoint to make things easier. When you arrive, head inside and speak to her. This will trigger a cut scene, and when it ends you'll need to get your hands on some Buckthorn. Go northwest to find a yellow circle on your map, then swim to the middle of the lake. You can use your Witcher Sense to locate what you're looking for, then dive under the water to collect it. You only need one Buckthorn to move this quest forward, but you can grab a couple before surfacing for air.
Follow the waypoint to the hunter's cottage on the southwest side of White Orchard. He won't be there, but you can use your Witcher Senses to find the hunter. Follow the tracks until you reach the Vulpine Woods, locating Mislav, who is investigating the ground for evidence of wild dogs. Ask the hunter where he found the bodies when you can, and he'll give you the information regardless of whether you helped him or not.
Head out and examine the site of the Nilfgaardian soldiers' deaths. Investigate the area by examining the bodies, then follow the Nilfgaardian soldiers' tracks using your Witcher Senses. When you reach your destination, search the griffin's nest using your Witcher Senses, then return to the tavern in White Orchard to talk to Vesemir.
We're getting awfully close to the game's first boss battle, but before that can happen, prepare to fight the griffin. This can be done through meditation and brewing the Thunderbolt potion. Following this, meet Vesemir in the field where you plan to ambush the griffin.
Boss Battle: Griffin
Loot: Raw Meat, Monster Brain, Monster Claw, Monster Eye, Griffin Mutagen, Griffin Trophy
Minimum Level: 2
Recommended Level: 3
There are a few different tricks you'll need to use if you want to kill the griffin. For starters, take the crossbow that Vesemir gives you, using it to shoot the griffin when it's in the air. This will cause the beast to fall to the ground, at which point you can approach and hit it with your silver sword. You want to save your crossbow for when the griffin is in flight, as your sword is more effective on the ground.
Hit the griffin with a couple fast attacks, but disengage before it regains its senses and launches a counter attack. If you wait until the monster moves its wings before backing off, you will find it difficult to dodge. Continue with this strategy until your foe has 50 percent health remaining.
Losing half of its health will cause the Griffin to take off. Beckon your horse and follow it, using your Witcher Sense if you lose sight of your target. When you finally track the beast down the battle will resume.
For the second portion of the battle, the griffin will stand on its hind legs and emit a sonic boom attack. If you are in front of the beast (even in front and off to the side) it will stun you, so do your best to remain at its side or even behind it. When you're in position and out of the way of the sonic boom, continue to pepper the monster with fast attacks, getting out of the way before it can counter. Before long you will have won your first boss battle in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
With the beast dead, take a trophy from the griffin's corpse by inspecting it and cutting off the head. This is the Griffin Trophy you will need to collect your reward from the Nilfgaardians. With that in hand, head back to the Nilfgaardian Garrison. You can either accept or refuse payment, ending this quest and continuing with the Lilac and Gooseberries main quest, as well as The Incident at White Orchard.
Main Quest: The Incident at White Orchard
This quest will be active at the same time as the Lilac and Gooseberries main quest. In fact, you will have an active objective (from Lilac and Gooseberries) that requires you to prepare to leave White Orchard with Vesemir. There is a solid chance you won't even realize you began or completed The Incident at White Orchard.
Still, head back to the tavern in White Orchard to meet up with Vesemir. After your conversation you'll have to kill the bandits. There's no way to talk your way out of this one, so attack and take each one out as quickly as possible. When the battle is over a cut scene will take place. This marks the end of both Lilac and Gooseberries, as well as your current main quest, The Incident at White Orchard.
Main Quest: Imperial Audience
When this quest begins, you must get dressed and talk to the chamberlain. To do this, walk over to the three outfits and choose the one you want to wear. Equip it in your inventory menu, then loot the other two garments if you wish. When this is done you can speak with the chamberlain and rehearse your bow. Select the option for "Extend left leg forward, place right hand on chest" to proceed.
Around this time you will have a conversation with Morvran Voorhis. If you played The Witcher 2 on PC and still have your save file, this chat will be pretty easy. If you don't have that save file or you are new to the franchise, you might have a bit more trouble. Here are the conversation options and consequences.
If you killed Arjan LaValette (or say you did) in The Witcher 2, your interactions with a woman named Molly are different during the Broken Flowers main quest.
The path of Roche or Iorveth
This choice will only impact a brief conversation during the Get Junior main quest, where you visit Roche's camp for the first time.
Sile de Tansarville
If you allowed this person to die during The Witcher 2 (or you tell Voorhis this), she will not appear in The Great Escape main quest.
The Witcher Letho
If you mention that Letho is still alive, you'll be able to take part in the Ghosts of the Past secondary quest later on. If you mention that he's dead you cannot access this quest.
You'll need to follow the chamberlain if you hope to get an audience with the emperor. He does most of the talking, and his comments will change depending on whether you chose to bow in front of him or not. When the conversation is over, follow the chamberlain again until he leads you to Yennefer's room.
Talk to Yennefer about Ciri, what she looks like and where you should search for her. When the chat concludes, retrieve your equipment from the chamberlain, remembering to equip everything. You can also visit and converse with Ambassador var Attre in the next room, as well locate a Nilfgaardian nobleman and play Gwent with him. He may not be here later, so if you want his card you should get it now.
When you're ready to travel to Velen, leave the castle using the large doors in the great hall. This will conclude this quest, as well as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Prologue.
Ready to stand against the Wild Hunt? Prima’s official strategy guide provides a comprehensive walkthrough to help make decisions, navigate the vast game areas and reach the ending you want. The collector's edition offers even more, with 32 pages of bonus content.