The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a massive action RPG much loved by fans and critics alike. Created by the acclaimed CD Projekt Red, this game seemingly has it all: Vibrant characters, a huge world to explore, and deeply engaging quests that are anything but black and white. One of the greatest examples of said quests is the "Family Matters" quest-line, where you must help out the Bloody Baron in exchange for information on Ciri's location.
It's a memorable quest not just for its length and breadth, but also because of how murky it becomes. This becomes particularly apparent as more harsh truths are brought to light. But there are also many different tidbits of lore and experiences in this quest that are easy to miss. Here are 10 such easily miss-able things in The Witcher 3's "Family Matters" quest.
In your drive to find Ciri as Geralt, you run afoul of the Bloody Baron and must help him in his quest before he will tell you anything. Eventually, the Baron gives his permission for you to search his room and his daughter's room.
Since you only need to search his room to advance through this quest, it's easy to forget to search the second bedroom. If you choose to ignore his daughter's room, you miss out on three different items of interest. The first is an ugly doll which you can talk to the Baron about, it leads to some amusing dialogue. The second is a Letter to Tamara, which hints very strongly that not all is as it seems. The third is a pair of items, some incense and an old key which. Perhaps the most interesting of the items, they lead you to a locked room in the basement which contains an altar to the Eternal Fire.
As you continue through the quest and learn more of the terrible truth, you will eventually be required to visit the nearby Pellar to learn about a talisman. After a small side quest, the Pellar will inform you that the Baron's wife, Anna, miscarried at the Baron's own hands. When the "dead" baby was buried, it became a botchling.
Now, you are given two different choices: Either try to "save" the baby by removing its curse, or kill it. Saving it can be tough and if you don't succeed, it will result in you having to kill it anyway. If you succeed, it will transform into a lubberkin. In the course of the fight, the botchling will transform, spouting spikes on their back. To make the fight easier, you can cast Axii in order to get it to retract them and later when it starts regenerating its health, Axii will stop that as well.
The way the Botchling is created might seem like something pretty horrible and creepy. This is especially true if you read the bestiary, which mentions that it likes to lurk by the bedsides of expecting mothers, draining both the mother and her unborn child's strength.
It gets worse though. When the mother is weakened enough, the Botchling will sink its sharp fangs into her and drain her of all her blood. This may sound like the stuff of nightmares, but it's actually from Slavic mythology. The Botchling is based off of the Poreniec, which was believed to have been a very powerful demon because of its unrealized life. The Lubberkin's counterpart is known as the Klobuk.
During the course of this long quest-line, there are a couple of opportunities for extra experience that can easily be missed or ignored if the player is too focused on the main parts of the quest. One such opportunity can be found after learning of the Botchling's existence and returning to Crown's Perch.
You will see a fire and be presented with the opportunity to save the horses and stable-hand. If you choose to save the stable-hand, you will have to quickly run to the stables, climb the exterior ladder, use Aard to clear the debris, climb down the next ladder, talk to him, and then open the main stable doors. This will reward you with 20 crowns. The next opportunity is much simpler. After the Pellar's ritual is complete, walk him home. This rewards you with extra experience.
At one point in "Family Matters," you will find yourself in need of traveling to Oxenfurt. But if you don't prepare yourself properly, gaining entry can become kind of a pain. Luckily there are a couple of different ways to make this easier.
The first, and arguably best, way to enter is to be sure to talk to the Baron beforehand. Talking to him before searching for Tamara will result in him giving you a doll and a letter of safe conduct. Additionally, you will unlock more dialogue with Tamara later on. The second option is gaining the fake transit pass during the Fake Papers quest. Both of these will reward you with experience, but the first option is more appealing if you're here for the story.
If you have no desire to visit Oxenfurt at this time then it's not actually necessary to do so. In order to complete this questline and gain your information about Ciri, you don't need to visit with Tamara.
But if you do choose to ignore her, you'll be missing out on hearing her side of the story, and immersing yourself more deeply into the lore and world-building that the game is known for. And you'll also miss out on XP. If you visited the Baron beforehand and got the doll and then visited with her, you will be rewarded with even more experience.
A word of warning for those of you who want to get as much dialogue and story out of this quest as you can. Because of the openness of the world, you can more or less choose when you want to do different quests, though there are consequences. Because of this, you can find Anna after talking to Tamara and before returning to the Baron. When you do this, you are given the option of who you bring up first. Be sure to mention Tamara first. If you mention Anna first the ensuing conversation prevents you from mentioning Tamara.
Perhaps the most distracting and beloved past-time within The Witcher 3 is that of Gwent. You get to challenge a large variety of people and earn their unique cards - and the Bloody Baron is no different. Initially, it was possible to completely miss his Gwent card as, after a certain conversation, it is no longer possible to challenge him to a game of Gwent. That has since been fixed in a patch. But if you did happen to miss out on his Gwent card, don't worry, you can still find it. After the quest is over, simply go to his office and you can find it in a box, waiting for you.
The ultimate outcome of the Baron's story doesn't actually happen within this quest, strangely enough. Rather, the conclusion is included in the follow-up quest, Return to Crookback Bog. If you choose to accept the Baron's request then you will continue with him to hopefully save his wife, Anna.
But quests in The Witcher 3 rarely have happily-ever-after endings and this one is no different. There are three different outcomes for this secondary quest: In one outcome Anna goes mad but the Baron promises to find a way to save her. In another, he finds Anna in the form of a water hag. Depending on his choice of doll, she will either burst into flames or revert back to human form, but still die from the crone's curse. In either outcome, the Baron hangs himself. It's up to the player to decide which of these is "happiest."
In many ways, this quest can be considered to be a microcosm for the rest of the game since it represents so much of what The Witcher 3 is about. Not only does it lead you to a variety of different quests that interact with each other in much the same manner as the rest of the game, but in each and every one of these quests, you must make choices. And these are hard choices that will determine the outcome of the characters involved.
Your actions will determine the fate of these characters, good or bad. Additionally, if you put in the effort to explore these quests you will be rewarded, both from a lore and world-building standpoint, and from a gameplay standpoint.