Okay, like many of you, the third game created a deep appreciation for this series. Personally, this has manifested as working my way through every single bit of Witcher media there is to consume, and and you also might be slightly pedantic about lore accuracy and such in the games. So, to appease fans like myself that craves the truest Witcher experience available, this guide will go through a variety of mods, tweaks and gameplay choices that will slightly enhance your experience to be more suited to canon without sacrificing the core tenets of the game. This guide will begin with modded changes then gameplay tips.
Section 1. Visual/cosmetic changes
For the most part, CDPR did a fantastic job with Geralt aesthetically, though it strays quite significantly from how he is described in the books, so the mod list for Geralt's appearance changes go as follows.
Geralt face improved (retexture) : This makes changes to Geralt's face a little less handsome. In the books, while never being called outright ugly, he's described as being pale and with an unpleasant smile. This mod seems to be a good balance of attractive main character and mutated killing machine (just avoid the 4k texture file, it seems a little out of place with the rest of the game).
Real Witcher eyes – Geralt : This mod offers several eye colours and types, so lean toward the darker shades. From there, it's a matter of preference as to whether you prefer Geralt with a cat pupil or a human pupil (the books suggest both, his eyes seem relatively normal but he can constrict his pupils to cat like slits on command).
New hairstyles and beards for geralt (DLC2 improved) : There are a few mods that do the job we need but, due to the extra features you could enjoying playing with, I'm recommending this one. For the sake of this guide you will be using the "Long, with a headband (alternate)" style. This gives Geralt his signature long white hair a leather headband as described in the books. (Please note this mod has several headband styles, so you may prefer another from the list.)
Sezon Burz Witcher's gear : A gear set that heavily resembles manticore gear. Dark coloured leathers and silver studs to match what little description we have of Geralt's book equipment. (Note this mod also features an amazingly accurate sword set, and even horse equipment!)
More robes : Another cosmetic option that offers several outfits, mostly returning items from TW2 and some repurposed ones from TW3. This one can be skipped, it just broadens your horizons.
Hoods : A simple, well made mod. offers several cloaks and hoods similar to the one Geralt uses to hide his unique features a few times in the books.
I debated even making this a section due to the minimal changes, but accuracy is accuracy.
Eskel face texture mod : Go for the bonus version. This fixes the scar that traces Eskel's face. It always annoyed me how different his scar is, especially with how clearly it is described in the books. "he had an entirely human face, deformed by a long, ugly, semi-circular scar running from the corner of his mouth across the length of his cheek up to the ear."
Book inspired medallion : Once again fixes a minor inconsistency. The books describe the medallions as flat plates with an insignia inscribed on it. This fixes every medallion, hence why it wasn't included in the Geralt section.
CDPR did an astounding job with Yen, so only subtle changes here.
Lore friendly face and eyes for Yennefer : Thins down her face slightly, sharpens her jawline and makes her slightly paler. Pretty much how I would've pictured her in the books. As icing on the cake, it also gives her the curls she's supposed to have, instead of the straight hair we currently have.
Lore friendly black and white dress for Yennefer : Does what is says on the tin. Gives Yen a completely black and white dress, removing the dark blue and brown accents from her normal outfits. On top of that, Yen frequently wears very long extravagant dresses, so bonus points there. (though the mod does offer a recolour of the trousers she wears in the base game if you prefer the practical design she usually rocks.)
Though I love what CDPR does with her design, she deviates quite heavily from her source material (more than most of the main cast) so lets get to fixing that.
Rokenz Triss : Offers several modified looks for Triss. Go for option D, this replaces her hair colour to a more realistic redhead instead of the neon red she comes stock with. This mod is primarily to make Triss appear younger. In the books she's described as looking exceptionally youthful, even among sorceresses, with her looking somewhere in her early twenties. Also grants her blue eyes, just like in canon.
TW2 Triss : The goal here is to cover up her chest. Triss is stated as never wearing plunging necklines due to the burn she receives in the Battle of Sodden Hill. Though this doesnt outright fix the problem, it covers it up with a lore friendly outfit.
Section 2. Practical changes
There are several small annoyances that come hand in hand with a game of this scale. This could be something as simple as content that feels like it should be implemented but never was, or a tweak to gameplay. This section will cover all mods of this variety.
Beatable guards : This should be bog standard with the game. An lone pikeman from a village in the middle of nowhere shouldn't be able to lay Geralt flat on his ass, end of discussion.
E3dodgesystem : aims to "fix" how Geralt fights. Replaces his dodge roll with a pirouette and his small dodge with a slight step back. Creates a far more dance-y feel to combat as opposed to rolling around on the floor like a madman just to flank someone.
Steel is all you need : A mod that allows you to effectively use steel against monsters and vice versa. Mainly included because book Geralt infrequently uses his silver blade, and certainly wouldn't blunt it on a pack of nekkers. Also, be sure to install the version that also allows you to use silver on men, just for realism.
Enemy health multiplier increase : Designed to combat the late game godmode that becomes a frequent issue. Geralt is a mutant, not a superhero, so his strength should be limited (god knows we're all sick of killing a leshy in three or four hits). I personally use the x5 version but x3 will suffice for the early game.
Galloping in cities : This one also probably doesn't need much explaining, it's yet another quality of life mod.
Item levels normalized : Once again, this should be pretty self explanatory. Geralt is a Witcher, there's no reason he should be restricted from using certain kit until you level up enough. This one is very optional, but I never run this game without it these days.
Random encounters : Almost essential for the post game. Adds random combat encounters with both men and monsters. Offers a metric ton of customisation options too, though it can be sort of a pain to get it functioning.
Multi companion mod enhanced : Definitely essential for the post game. Allows you to spawn in pretty much any man or beast from the files to run alongside you and assist in combat. Plus, some of the more important characters like Triss, Yen and Ciri all have (minimal) dialogue trees you can use.
Memory of a blade – new silver sword : Adds a sword used by the Witcher Coën in the books. Geralt receives this sword in the first game, so he should still have access to it.
Improved sign effects : Makes signs more visually engaging. That's it.
Section 3. Gameplay choices
This is where things get juicy. Without outright modding brand new skills into the game, we will be aiming to make Geralt's skills and abilities as book accurate as possible. The basis for this is using potions for tougher fights and having a strong emphasis on quick combat. This assumes you have B&W installed for the mutations and that you are either using a mod that allows for levels above the cap or you are on a NG+ run, as this build would be extremely hard to put together on your first playthrough. We will discuss each skill we take and why, in order of the tree they appear in.
a) Combat tree
Muscle memory 5/5 : Self explanatory. Makes fast hits hurt more.
Precise blows 5/5 : Gives bonus critical damage and chance to occur. This will make you feel godlike on the rare occasions that you get blow after blow of crits.
Whirl : An obvious choice to compliment the fighting style Geralt uses. This pairs very well with precises blows as the rapid strikes leave ample room for a few good critical hits.
Crippling strikes 5/5 : Applies a bleed effect which will make our mutation effect viable, which will be discussed later.
Arrow deflection 3/3 : All of the book Witchers are capable of knocking arrows from the sky, so this is a clear choice.
Fleet footed 5/5 : Pretty much essential due to the way that TW3 handles damage received. This will help you avoid a few pointless death to the spaghetti monster beneath the hood. Plus, it will allow you more leeway while you get used to the new dodge mechanics.
Deadly precision 2/2 : A slight chance to immediately kill your opponent the more adrenaline Geralt has. Fairly book accurate, as Geralt sometimes goes too far in a fight, hurting an opponent far more grievously than necessary.
Resolve 5/5 : Stops adrenaline from dropping when getting hurt. This makes sense in canon as Geralt is shown multiple times being badly wounded but maintaining his poise and finishing his opponent efficiently.
Razor focus 5/5 : Geralt enters combat with a full chunk of his adrenaline bar, mirroring the way Witchers immediately sharpen their senses in combat.
b) Sign tree
Aard intensity 5/5 : Aard will be basically the only sign you use. Geralt frequently uses Aard when in combat to throw his enemy off balance, try to emulate this with a powerful Aard blast and then flanking your opponent for good damage.
Active shield 3/3 : Acts the same way quen is used in the books, With the sign needing to be actively maintained to shield Geralt. (I ended up with very little in terms of signs in this build. Book Geralt has a variety of signs but uses them all infrequently, with the exception of Aard. This tree should make you do the same.)
c) Alchemy tree
Heightened tolerance 5/5 : A given for anyone who uses potions, you want to be able to neck a few decoctions down before a big fight, so this is a must.
Side effects 5/5 : I included this to act as the way the body of a Witcher seems to completely change when under the effects of potions. This could definitely be traded for a skill of your own choosing.
Synergy 5/5 : Must have skill for any build. This doesn't have much in the way of lore accuracy, but is important for survivability and damage output.
Killing spree 5/5 : Fits very well with the bloodlust that allegedly overcomes a Witcher under the effects of his decoctions. Basically, the more you kill = the better you will kill for the remainder of the fight, similar to how, in the books, Geralt slaughters Renfri's entire group in Blaviken, getting progressively more efficient in the way he dispatches them.
d) General tree
Focus : This is the only skill you will take from general, it serves for both damage output and lore accuracy (further tying into the idea that a Witcher gets progressively more bloodthirsty as a fight progresses.
e) Mutation choice
For your mutation you should pick Metamorphosis. It further strengthens the blood lust idea when paired with the Crippling strikes skill (giving you a short decoction bonus whenever you land a hit) and the secondary perk it gives is sight in the dark when using your witcher senses. This is a perfect mirror of how Geralt's eyes work in the books, allowing him to manually allow or block light with his cat eyes but also requiring a cat potion to see easily in the dark and focus on fighting.
This is far from a perfect list, closer to an unpolished work in progress for the moment. I intend to update this with further mods or changes in the skill tree as time goes on. Also, I'd greatly appreciate any and all input from you all. There's plenty I am sure to have overlooked and I want more than anything for these tips to be as accurate and accessible for anyone who wants an experience closer to the books.
Thanks for the read.
- Anyone else feel uncomfortable over how Geralt is treated?
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More about The WitcherPost: "Lore friendly TW3 guide" specifically for the game The Witcher. Other useful information about this game:
- CDPR’s Witcher: Long Dream of Sapkowski’s Geralt
- 2nd Playthrough on NG+ DM and its Brutal!
- I’m genuinely surprised by how well The Witcher 1:EE holds up, and how often it respects your intelligence.
- Just finished Lady of the Lake…
- Reasons of State might be my only true disappointment so far with this otherwise perfect game.
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