STORY 23 - Brothers In Arms: Novigrad
Recommended Level: 22
Objective: Talk to Zoltan
Fast-travel to Novigrad to find the dwarf surrounded by a gang of thugs outside his tavern.
A Dangerous Game
Recommended Level: 12
Location/ Obtained From: Zoltan, outside his tavern in Novigrad
Objective: Get the Fringilla Vigo, Isengrim and Natalis cards for Zoltan
After watching the scene play out and the thugs making their exit, Zoltan will tell you about his new plan to sell his card collection. Of course he needs some help locating some of the remaining rare cards he needs, so it's time to start collecting (if you weren't already).
Your first port of call is a collector by the name of Zed who may have the missing cards in his possession, so head around the corner to his house. When you knock at the door, Geralt will hear sounds of a scuffle on the other side of the locked door. Looks like we're going to need to take the scenic route.
Objective: Find a way into Zed's home
At the base of the stairs leading up to Zed's door, look for a ladder leading upwards to some scaffolding, this will take you to the upper levels of Zed's house (you will need to jump across a gap in the walkway to reach it). Open the door to walk inside Zed's attic.
Objective: Search Zed's home using your witcher senses
Clamber down the ladder to find the body of Zed on the floor below. Looks like someone had a rather violent word with him. Head down to the ground floor to trigger a scene with the killers.
Objective: Find Zed's ledger using your witcher senses
Despite the objective, you'll need to deal with the two thugs first. They should drop fast if with a few hits from your steel sword. After the fight, use your senses to locate scratch marks on the floor underneath the stairs. Screw being subtle and use your aard sign to blast the boards out of the way and you'll find the ledger.
Objective: Find the Isengrim card
Serch the bodies of the thugs to find one of the three cards you require for Zoltan.
Objective: Bring the card and Zed's ledger to Zoltan
Leave Zed's house and bactrack around the corner to where Zoltan is waiting for you. When you hand over the ledger, Zoltan will tell you a bit about the people who bought the cards and will come up with a plan to get one the card away from one of them.
Objective: Meet Zoltan in front of Caesar Bilzen's house
Note: This and the Ravik objective can be done in either order.
At the side of the main square, you'll find Zoltar waiting beside Caeser's place. Talk to him to begin your infiltration and find out Zoltan's plan. While Zoltan and Caesar talk, select responses until Zoltan sends you to fetch some more wine from upstairs (wink wink, nudge nudge).
Objective: Search upstairs in Caeser Bilzen's home using your witcher senses
Exit the room and walk up the stairs to the upper level of the house. On top of a cabinet, you'll see a knife outline in red. Examine it to open a locked draw in the cabinet. Loot the now open drawer to obtain a triangular key. Hmmm, where could this go? Turn around and examine the triangular hole in the bookshelf behind you to open a hidden passage to Caeser's collection. Examine and loot the objects you like before approaching the card on the stand at the back and nabbing it.
Note: You can take a white figurine/ statue from a cabinet here to trigger the sidequest - The Soldier Statuette
Objective: Let Zoltan know you've found the card
Now that you have what you came for, retreat back downstairs to inform Zoltan it's time to go. As you leave, a couple of Cleaver's thugs will arrive and attack Caeser, you can choose to help or just ignore the fight. Either way it doesn't impact anything. Leave the house with Zoltan.
Objective: Get the John Natalis card from Ravik
Follow the marker on the mini-map across town to the lower level of the Golden Sturgeon tavern. Where you'll find Radvik playing a rather unfriendly game of Gwent. During the scene, you can choose to play for the cards and Ravik's life, or just try to take it from them. As long as you've got a decent deck, the thug shouldn't be too hard to beat, either way you'll face off against the Duke's men in battle.
As usual for human opponents, take advantage of counterattacks and the quen sign while you slice them to ribbons. Once the second body hits the floor, take the card from Radvik and leave the tavern to return to Zoltan.
Objective: Bring the cards to Zoltan
Back at Zoltan's tavern, Zoltan will arrange to meet a buyer for the cards.
Objective: Go to the meeting with Zoltan's buyer
Follow Zoltan to the meeting place and suprise suprise, Duke's men are waiting for you. Never saw that coming. Unlike usual however, Zoltan will fend off the thugs and leave chasing Duke up to you.
Objective: Chase Duke
Despite this being a 'chase,' there is no time limit and it doesn't matter if Duke gets out of your sight range (Grand Theft Auto and Assassin's Creed's tailing missions could take note of this). Simply follow the trail up and down ladders until you eventually enter the sewers.
Here, you'll need to deal with a few drowners before finally reaching the injured Duke. Choose to kill him or not (no story impact) and backtrack all the way to Zoltan to finish things up. Zoltan will offer you coin or the three rare cards. Since the cards are one of a kind and money is plentiful anyway, it's not a really tough choice, is it? After that business is over, so is the quest.
Once the quest is over, ask Zoltan to join your forces at Kaer Morhen and he'll go gladly.
Objective: Talk to Triss
You'll find her lodging on the top level of a leaning house. Knock on the door to talk to the landlord and then head upstairs to meet her.
A Matter Of Life And Death
Recommended Level: 12
Location/ Obtained From: Triss, in her Novigrad hideout
Objective: Meet the Vegelbud's servant at the fishmarket. He's wearing a blue shirt and has keys hanging from his belt
After hearing about the situation from Triss, you'll need to scope out the people wearing blue at the nearby market. There are quite a few people wearing blue at the market, but if you examine their belts for keys, you'll find one at the South edge of the search circle next to the bridge who matches the description (the keys will be highlighted in red with witcher sense). Talk to him to trigger a scene.
Objective: Follow the Vegelbud's servant
And you're off. Trail after the servant after he crosses over the bridge... and immediately is set upon by three ruffians (apparently in the employ of witch hunters).
Objective: Help the servant fight off the bandits
Stab, slash, counterattack, blerg, dead. By this point in the game, dealing with basic human enemies should be second nature. After the scuffle, the servant will fill you in on all the details and Triss will agree to help the lady's son (eighty-five desserts notwithstanding). As usual with sorceresses, Geralt will instantly agree to follow along with her plans. But as it's a masquerade, Triss recommends he doesn't show up in his usual bloodied tattered armour.
Objective: Buy a mask to wear to the masquerade ball
Objective: Buy a fox mask for Triss Merigold
Optional Objective: Buy a new outfit. Doublet, trousers and boots
Time to pay another visit to Elihal (the cross dressing elvish tailor on the outskirts of Novigrad), for all these objectives. Buy the items you need (and the new outfit items if you like - or are trying to romance Triss),
Objective: Bring Triss the fox mask
Equip the new clothes in your inventory, return to Triss' lodgings, complement Triss on her dress and leave for the masquerade.
Objective: Meet Ingrid Vegelbud
After arriving at the grounds of the estate, follow the main walkway up the stairs until you reach the guards barring the way to the courtyard. After dealing with an acquaintance of Triss and a drunkard, you will make the acquaintence of Lady Vegelbud.
"It's me, the trout buyer." (Classic introductory line as you first meet the lady of the manor. Smooth Triss)
After organizing everything, you still need to find the errant son, so leave Lady Vegelbud to look for him.
Objective: Find Albert Vegelbud. He's wearing a panther mask.
The young Vegelbud can be found flirting with several ladies at the Southernmost search area. Talk to him to inform him of your intentions. Afterwards, you'll have some free time (while all the nobles get progressively more drunk) before you have to leave.
Objective: Wait on the bench with Triss Merigold
Objective: Find Triss Merigold in the labyrinth
Wander over to the marked bench and watch the scene play out, finding her in the maze and kissing Triss or not depending on which romantic partner you are aiming for.
Objective: Get out of the labyrinth
Follow the trail on the mini-map to make your way towards the maze's exit. As you get close, you'll be stopped by one of the ladies from earlier. And cue goons (how did they even get past the guards?).
Objective: Defeat the witch hunters
You'll engage the group in manly fisticuffs, but unlike some other fist-fights, you'll still have access to your signs and potions. So take advantage of quen or igni to make the fight much easier and heal up if you need to. Once the final hunter hits the deck, leave the maze while straightening your tunic with a dignified air.
Objective: Meet Triss and Albert in the stables
Head over to the nearby stables by following the marked trail to watch Triss escort the young man out of the estate as the fireworks burst overhead. And the quest is complete.
Objective: Talk to Roche
You'll need to head to the cave where the Temarian resistance was hiding out during story quest 13 - Count Reuven's treasure. Bypass the guard and have a chat with him to begin a sidequest.
An Eye For An Eye
Recommended Level: 12
Location/ Obtained From: By talking to Roche at Temerian Partisian Hideout (location discovered during story quest 13 - Count Reuven's treasure when you have to talk to Roche, but can be accessed earlier)
Objective: Meet Roche by Hanged Man's Tree
Exit the cave and use the fast-travel sign to teleport to Hanged Man's Tree (you are guaranteed to have this sign, as it's where you first entered Velen). Trundle over to meet Roche at the base of the tree.
Objective: Kill all the Nilfgaardians
Objective: Save Ves
Well, time to kill two birds with one stone (or kill one and save the other, anyway). After the conversation with Roche, rush alongside him to the village and start smacking down the Nilfgaardians. There are a few to deal with, but they shouldn't pose much in the way of a threat. Take advantage of counterattacks, the quen sign and any other techniques you want to use to cut them down and rescue Ves.
You'll get to decide the fate of the final soldier in the scene after you save Ves, but it doesn't make any difference either way. Roche will thank you for your help and take Ves with him back to the cave (reminds me of the father and daughter in the movie the Croods).
Return to the cave and request Roche's help for him to join your forces.
Now Or Never
Recommended Level: 14
Location/ Obtained From: Triss, after completing sidequest - A matter of life and death
Objective: Meet Triss
When you reach the top level of the lodgings that Triss is staying at, you'll find her arguing with the landlord over payment. During the scene, you can let her hand over her necklace, or change her mind. Either way, you're going to be trudging through the sewers in short order. But first, we need to check on one of the other mages in the city.
Objective: Follow Triss to Berthold and Anisse's hideout
Leave the lodgings and immediately get attacked by the city guards. Triss will help out while she is with you during this sidequest with fire spells and acting as a general distraction. Shake and bake the guards with counterattacks and the quen sign. Once the coast is clear, Geralt will continue following Triss. Do so carefully and when she stops and crouches down, make sure you are behind her and out of sight to avoid roaming patrols. If you're quick enough, you can avoid every fight and reach the hideout unmolested.
Climb up the stairs to the upper floors when you arrive. When you reach the top floor, you'll find that the people sheltering the mages have betrayed them to the witch hunters. Cue fatality music as Geralt repaints the walls red. Afterwards, the rescued pair of mages will agree to follow Triss.
Objective: Follow Triss
Back down the stairs out of the house, repeating the cautious method of advance from before. You should be able to avoid the witch hunters and make it to the tavern without incident. When you arrive however, that's another story.
Objective: Kill the witch hunters
Objective: Enter the mage's hideout and follow Triss
Quickly deal with the trio of witch hunters to trigger a scene and meet the rest of the fleeing mages. Watch the long scene play out and talk to Djikstra for a bit before listening to Triss's plan. Ugh, sewer duty.
Objective: Find a path through the sewers
Descend the stairs (making sure Triss is following you). During the trek through the sewers, Triss will talk to you and call out whenever she finds a dead end. Usually a hint for you to find an alternate path. At the second corner, you'll meet a pair of drowners. Bring them down with the usual combination of igni and light attacks (there are a fair few to deal with in the sewers so expect to repeat this several times). After finishing off the lone drowner in the next room, Triss will begin to complain about the dead end. Roll your eyes and use the aard sign to blast open the weakened wall next to you, revealing a hidden library and new path forward.
You can loot the library for books if you wish and Triss will talk about coming back to retrieve the tomes at a later date. However, you need to press on. Blast down another wall at the back of the library to continue along the brick passages. Another pair of drowners await on the other side for you to deal with. Keep heading downwards and you'll emerge on a ledge overlooking the room which has a horde of rats waiting below.
Objective: Find a way to cross the rat's feeding ground
Well, stuff complicated tactics and just run down the stairs and start swinging at the rats. Triss will follow you down and begin bathing the area in flames. Once all the rats are dead, you can continue your exploration.
After the rat room, continue following the stairs and rooms deeper, finding bodies drained of blood and claw marks lining the walls as you go, You can probably guess what you're about to encounter shortly. Yep, a Katakan (vampire). This enemy has multiple weaknesses to take advantage off. Moon dust bombs, and devil's puffball work well against it. Vampire oil will increase your damage. Sign-wise, you should use yrden to reveal it when it becomes invisible and igni for damage during the fight.
The vampire will use invisibility to attack you from behind, as well as swinging at you with it's sharp claws. Triss will support you during the fight, so take advantage of her distractions when she attacks. As long as you time your attacks well, the vampire shouldn't take long to bring down. Make sure to loot the chests here before leaving the room. Trekking through a couple more rooms will lead you out into the fresh air once more, to find yourself at the docks.
Objective: Meet Djikstra at the docks
Approach the docks to meet Djikstra for a scene. A few seconds later, you'll be attacked by witch hunters (how many of these guys have we killed by this point?). Finish off the group to trigger a scene and watch as the mages flee Novigrad, finishing the sidequest.
Results: The mages escape the city safely, but as a result the witch hunters begin to target non-human races and other 'different' people.
Triss will appear at Kaer Morhen at Yennefer's request after this sidequest is completed.