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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Witcher 3: Kings Gambit Walkthrough and the Ruler of Skellige

Nathan Garvin
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At this point in the story, you’ve likely rescued both of Crach’s children, so you might as well go collect your reward. Fast-travel to the “Bridge to Kaer Trolde” signpost and head to the keep, where you’ll discover that the wrangling for succession has already begun. Because of Geralt’s help, however, he’s an honored guest at these proceedings, and who turns down a free meal? Follow Arnvald into the main hall, and as you walk he’ll express his concerns about the event. However, its not all as it seems, as you’re immediately greeted with Witcher 3’s Kings Gambit quest. To help guide you through, we have curated a Kings Gambit walkthrough for this very particular moment.

Witcher 3: Kings Gambit Walkthrough (Level 18)

When you reach the main hall you’ll witness some sibling rivalry, If you chose to investigate it further, you head near Crach’s room and run into Bran’s widow, Birna, who is somewhat biased about her political preferences. After chatting with her a bit, you’ll talk to Crach. Chat him up and he’ll talk about his own political ideals, as well as talk about the strengths and weaknesses of his two children. Ask about your reward for your previous quests while you’re here, and he’ll give you a gift most befitting a Witcher. Afterwards you’ll hear a commotion from the great hall, and the two will rush off to investigate that starts your King’s Gambit quest.

Objective Reward
For claiming you reward from Crach 500 XP / Fate

Geralt and Crach investigate the commotion in the main hall to find the place under assault by most unusual foes (left). Defeat the rampaging Bears (right), then decide on a course of action that will affect Skellige for generations to come…

Put down three Bears (level sixteen) which are terrorizing the feast-goers. Note that these bears require a silver sword to significantly harm, and they regenerate - albeit slowly. After the supernatural bears are slain, grief and accusations will reign amongst the survivors. Fortunately, calmer heads prevail, and a course of action is set upon; it’s up to Crach and his clan, as hosts, to seek out and punish this transgression.

Objective Reward
For killing the Bears 300 XP

Who to help in the Kings Gambit quest chain?

Now it’s decision time. You have three main decision. Note that all three have their own impact on who rules Skellige, so you’re playing king or queen maker regardless of what you do:

  • Choose not to help and resolve the issue between themsevles - after all, you’re a neutral Witcher
  • Pick Hjalmar
  • Pick Cerys
The Ruler of Skellige, and its later impactShow Spoiler

If you opt out of this quest by leaving it up to Clan an Craite to investigate the incident at the party, Svanrige Bran - son of the late king Bran and his widow, Birna - will become king of Skellige. Otherwise, the new king (or queen) will be whomever you back during this quest, either Hjalmar or Cerys. Backing one of Crach’s kids can prove helpful during the quest “The Battle of Kaer Morhen” , and of course, the long-term effects on Skellige this decision has is obviously pretty significant.

We have hidden the spoiler impact of what happens if you don’t do anything, and the impact that has on your future story. Click the box to reveal what happens if you don’t mind the potential spoiler on your save.

If you are opting to play through the Witcher 3’s Kings Gambit quest, then Hjalmar’s storyline is the following section of this walkthrough. If you want follow Cerys’ plan, follow the hyperlink to jump straight to that option and skip over the Hjalmars storyline.

Hjalmars Fury: The Second King’s Gambit option in the Witcher 3

Geralt and Hjalmar will ride to the village of Fornhala, where Hjalmar tells you of his suspects - the Vildkaarls. Talk to him and he’ll continue to be a hot-headed Skellige traditionalist. An eye for an eye… simple, but effective, if you pluck out the right eye. Apply some Cursed Oil to your blade then head up to the village. Hjalmar will point out a corpse to you, and sic his Witcher bloodhound (that’s you!) on it.

This town is full of lootable containers, so keep your loot googles on as you search around. Activate your Witcher Senses and head up some stairs to the south, then, when you reach a fork, head west to find a grisly shrine. Inspect some clothes, then examine a corpse. Finally check out the shrine, which Hjalmar will identify as belonging to a god named “Svalblod”, a god which was too brutal for even the Skelligers.

In the village of Fornhala, Geralt and Hjalmar will discover a shrine to Svalblod-a god so fierce, even the Skelligers don’t worship him (left). Find a hidden trapdoor in one of the houses (right).

After the chatter follow a scent trail to the south-west, then up some stairs to the south-east. Examine a corpse then follow some tracks which eventually lead to a house along the southern end of the village. Head inside, where you can find some tattoo dyes, bloody gloves, and some mushrooms. Follow the trail west to find a trap door hidden under a bearskin rug. Climb down a ladder and head down some stairs before continuing south, then east to reach a chamber.

Objective Reward
For finding the Vildkaarl’s den 200 XP

Halgrim the berserker openly acknowledges involvement in the Kaer Trolde massacre (left). Needless to say, you’re not going to be friends (right).

When you enter the chamber a Berserker named Halgrim will speak to you, and claim partial responsibility for what happened at Kaer Trolde. This conversation is bound to be short, as both Hjalmar and Halgrim have no taste for sustained chatter. Defeat Halgrim (level seventeen) and he’ll pull a transformation trick. Put this form of Halgrim down, too, then after Geralt exchanges some words with Hjalmar head south and climb a ledge to venture further into the caves.

Continue south and drop down a ledge until you find a chamber where more berserkers are performing a ritual. After witnessing how baby Vildkaarls are made, head south-east, then south before climbing a ledge to the west. Continue north-west, then north to reach the ritual chamber, where you’ll encounter the Druid who led the ritual. He’ll admit to the attacks at Kaer Trolde, but decides to risk fighting a Witcher rather than telling who he was working for. In the fight that ensues you’ll have face the Druid, Artis (level eighteen) who will summon Bears (level eighteen) to aid him. Ignore the Bears and focus on Artis. He’ll attack with his staff, both physically and magically, but he’s all but helpless before the good old Strong Attack/dodge combo.

In the depths of the caverns under Fornhala, you’ll stumble upon a mysterious ritual (left). Defeat the druid leading the berserkers to put an end to this threat… even if you don’t uncover the hand behin their action (right).

When he dies Geralt will find a letter, which reveals that Cerys’ approach might have been wiser. You broke the tool, but the hand that wielded it is still at large. Still, blood vengeance was all that was required to restore Clan An Craite’s honor, and blood has been spilled in that pursuit. Hjalmar will return to Kaer Trolde and report his findings. So ends “King’s Gambit” , skip down to “Coronation” to conclude this quest line.

Objective Reward
For restoring Clan An Craite’s honor by implicating the Vildkaarls 300 XP

Cerys Vengeance: The third Kings Gambit option in the Witcher 3

Talk to Cerys and recount the dead, Blueboy Lugos amongst them (which is why you did the quest “The Cave of Dreams” before any of this business). Geralt notes that there are only three contenders for the throne who survived: Hjalmar, Cerys, and Svanrige, and considering that this is a massive shame for Clan An Craite… well, the motives point to Svanrige. That’s not enough to settle anything, though.

Activate your Witcher Sense and examine a bear corpse to determine that it’s no normal bear. Duh. Next examine the bodies of the guests for more information - interesting, if not useful - then examine the large metal bowls in which mead was served. The one in the center of the room matches the scent in the bear’s mouth, a scent Geralt can now follow. Follow the scent trail north to find a drinking horn near the doors, where Geralt will find the substance the mead was spiked with.

Geralt will call Cerys over, and she’ll confirm that the “bears” were actually Berserkers, and suggest that you talk to Hjort about the mystery ingredients used to spike the mead. Head through the door to the east and go down stairs to find Hjort, who is praying for vengeance against the traitors. Present drinking horn and he’ll immediately identify the mushroom as Mardroeme.

After talking to Hjort, Cerys will decide that the mead must have been spiked before it reached the feast, and will direct your search to the cellar. Before you go, however, loot some containers on a wooden platform to the west, then optionally talk to the Jarls to the north if you want to get their opinions on the matter.

When you’re done messing around outside, follow Cerys back through the main hall and to where the castle smiths ply their trade. Go through an door to the west, down more stairs, first west, then south, then west again, finally going through a door to the south to reach the cellar. Be sure to loot your way to - and through - the cellar, as there’s plenty of alcohol and other goodies to pocket along the way, and nary a guard to stop you. Once you reach the cellar head down some stairs to the east and search some barrels along the eastern wall, the southern-most one being the correct one.

Instead of rushing off with Hjalmar, investigate the scene of the crime (left). Follow the clues through Kaer Trolde… scoring the Place of Powr hidden in the keep’s bowels (right).

Place of Power

Once Geralt identifies it, however, somebody throws a torch down into the cellar, igniting some spilled Mahakaman Spirit, whose purpose is now all too clear. Head north and blast some stacked barrels with Aard to reveal a doorway. Head inside and continue north until you find a Place of Power. Draw from it, slurp up that lovely ability point, then follow the tunnel south-west, then south, before returning through a door to the cellar.

Loot the room you’re in, then head through a door to the south-east and loot this room, too. Continue up some stairs to the south-east, then turn east and activate your Witcher Senses. Examine a broken bottle on the ground to reveal some foot prints, which you should follow back upstairs. When the trail ends, search a sconce on the wall near the stairs to find a clue that all but identifies the traitor.

Objective Reward
For finding a key clue 300 XP

Ride down Arnvald to learn about the conspiracy (left) then make your accusation in front of the Jarls (right).

Return to the main hall to spot Arnvald riding past out of the keep. You’ll automatically mount Roach. Chase him down and give him a good whack with your sword, and when Cerys catches up she’ll interrogate him. He’ll spout some politics very similar to what Birna believes, and hand over some letters, which will have to be good enough evidence for the Jarls. Geralt will go with Cerys and present their evidence to the Jarls. In the end, though, nothing you present serves as good enough evidence… but a most unexpected accuser steps in to reveal the traitor. This completes the quest “King’s Gambit” , skip down to “Coronation” to conclude this quest line.

Objective Reward
For restoring Clan An Craite’s honor by implicating Birna 200 XP
Trophy/Achievement Icon


Complete the subplot about choosing Skellige's ruler.

Trophy icon

Depending on your choices during King’s Gambit (if you bothered with it at all, that is, either Hjalmar (left) or Cerys (right) will take the crown of Skellge.

Coronation (Level 18): Finishing up with the King’s Gambit Questline

After helping either Cerys or Hjalmar, Crach will talk to you and discuss the messy business that occurred, then speak about a new king’s election being imminent. Agree to go with him to witness the Jarl’s decision and the coronation of either Cerys, or Hjalmar, depending on who you sided with during “King’s Gambit”. Afterwards, feel free to talk to Crach and his kids to get their views on things, if you wish.

Objective Reward
For helping Crach’s kids… again 25 XP / Death From Above
For witnessing the crowning of a new king… or queen 200 XP
Trophy/Achievement Icon


Complete the subplot about choosing Skellige's ruler.

Trophy icon
1 Comment
User profile pic

"Head through the door to the east and go down stairs to find Hjort"

And now you can loot everything without guard watching you! upd: Oh, it's in the guide but a little later..))

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User profile pic

"Head through the door to the east and go down stairs to find Hjort"

And now you can loot everything without guard watching you! upd: Oh, it's in the guide but a little later..))

Back to top
Guide Information
  • Publisher
    CD Projekt
  • Platforms,
    PC, PS4, Switch, XB One
  • Genre
  • Guide Release
    24 June 2015
  • Last Updated
    18 July 2024
    Version History
  • Guide Author
    Nathan Garvin (Haeravon)

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You are Geralt of Rivia, a professional monster-hunter known as a Witcher. You’ve fully regained your memories since your miraculous revival and escape from the Wild Hunt, and have cleared your name of the false accusations of regicide. In the wake of the assassination of Foltest, king of Temeria, the north have been rent by warfare as Nilfgaard launches its third major invasion, and the northlands have been united under the insane king Radovid. Overshadowing these petty politics is the mysterious return of Ciri - Geralt’s adopted daughter, who is now being pursued by the Wild Hunt.

The guide offers the following:

  • A full walkthrough that’s more than just a listing of quests-it’s an “ideal chronological order” that will get you through the whole game and allow you to see and do everything the game has to offer.

  • Side quests, including monster contracts and treasure hunts for obtaining powerful Witcher sets.

  • Descriptions of decisions, quests, and events that influence the various endings of the game.

  • Crafting and Alchemy information.

  • General strategies on how to take down foes large and small, monstrous and humanoid, boss or mundane.

  • Information on how to complete all the Gwent quests and obtain all the Gwent cards, including detailed Gwent strategies.

  • Trophy/Achievement information.

MASSIVE UPDATE: 7th September 2016 ongoing

  • Added DLC quests “Fool’s Gold” and “Scavenger Hunt: Wolf School Gear”.
  • Organisational changes in the Velen section of the walkthrough to reflect the increased level of Griffin School Gear.
  • Organisational changes throughout the walkthrough to provide a “no skulls” path through the game.
  • Added Death March difficulty tips and commentary throughout the guide.
  • More XP reward numbers included.
  • Walkthrough now includes additional information based on patch changes.
  • Various typo and grammar fixes.
  • Added DLC pages for Blood & Wine, Heart of Stone
  • Lots more quality of life improvements

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