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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Return to Crookback Bog

Nathan Garvin

A Witcher’s job is to kill monsters, but Geralt has in the past found himself conflicted when it comes to peaceful, intelligent monsters, especially relicts which are usually more of a nuisance than a threat. The Crones of Crookback Bog are decidedly not harmless, however, and while Geralt has squared off against vampires, wizards and even dragons, the Crones at times seem disturbingly close to the divine. Despite warning the Bloody Baron against his planned expedition into the swamp to reclaim his wife, Geralt finds himself accompanying the Bloody Baron in his foolhardy rescue attempt. This page will provide a walkthrough for the main quest Return to Crookback Bog in The Witcher 3, covering the differences that arise depending on your choices during The Whispering Hillock.

Quest Objectives

Starting Return to Crookback Bog

After you complete Ladies of the Wood the long-dorman quest Family Matters will kick up, instructing you to report back to the Bloody Baron in Crow’s Perch. Do so and he’ll begrudgingly tell you his third and final “Ciri’s Story”, Ciri’s Story: Out of the Darkness before shamelessly begging you to help him rescue his wife from the Crones of Crookback Bog. Whether you decline or refuse, the Bloody Baron will head off to Downwarren, where you can accompany him and his retinue whenever you’re ready to get started.

Meet the Bloody Baron at Downwarren

Fast travel to Downwarren to find the city… well, it was better off the last time you were here. Numerous peasants are dead and the cause varies depending on what choice you made regarding the Ghost in the Tree during The Whispering Hillock. If you liberated the spirit, it decided to attack Downwarren, resulting in the casualties you see before you. If you killed the spirit, then the cause of the town’s misery is the Cult of the Eternal Fire. Either way, the townsfolk of Downwarren have been harshly punished for their faith in the Ladies of the Wood Aside from losing access to the merchant here, however, the changes are mostly cosmetic.

(1 of 2) Meet the Bloody Baron at Downwarren, where you’ll discover the town has been ravaged - either by the spirit in the tree or the Witch Hunters.

Meet the Bloody Baron at Downwarren, where you’ll discover the town has been ravaged - either by the spirit in the tree or the Witch Hunters. (left), Escort the Bloody Baron and his retinue through the swamp, fending off Drowners, Rotfiends and the odd Water Hag. (right)

Escort the Bloody Baron to the Orphanage

Approach the Bloody Baron and after some words with the Ealdorman the Baron and his retinue will head off into the swamp. Follow them and they’ll indulge in some chatter to pass the time as you advance through the bog, but if that’s not enough excitement you’ll also have to defeat some monsters as you go. First you’ll encounter a group of Drowners (Lv9), while later on you’ll need to defeat a Water Hag (Lv8), Rotfiends (Lv6) and the odd Drowner (Lv9).

When you reach the orphanage you’ll find that your mission to rescue Anna isn’t the only one. Looks like the Cult of the Eternal Fire made good on their promise to help Tamara. Despite their good intentions, they’re not professional monster slayers, nor are they armed with silver, so lend them a hand and help them kill the Drowners (Lv9) attacking them, after which you’ll get a few scenes. The outcome of this varies depending on what choices you made during The Whispering Hillock: If you freed the spirit after talking to the Ealdorman, the orphans will have been rescued, resulting in Anna being cursed - turned into a hag. If you killed the spirit or freed it before you talked to the Ealdorman, the orphans were taken by the Crones, and the resulting loss drove Anna mad. Either way your reunion will be interrupted by the arrival of some monsters.

(1 of 3) When you reach the orphanage, dispatch more monsters in the form of Drowners and Water Hag,

Defeat the Fiend

First you’ll be accosted by several Drowners (Lv9) and a pair of Water Hags (Lv8). Between the Baron’s men and the Witch Hunters there should be plenty of bodies around to distract your foes, making it easy to pick your spots and attack at will. Just keep Quen up to avoid the odd bit of damage and once these monsters are dead a more dangerous foe will arrive - a Fiend.

A gigantic relict, Fiends are great, horned monstrosities that seem to be some mix of moose and bear. They usually rely on their prodigious strength, attacking by ramming foes with their horned heads or swiping with their clawed hands. As with most big critters you can keep yourself relatively safe by performing strong attacks, then dodging away immediately, rinse and repeat, using Quen to soak up the odd mistake. The presence of allies makes the Fiend a bit more unpredictable, as it’ll likely focus on them a fair bit, making it harder to avoid its attacks, but most of the generic Witch Hunters and Baron’s men will probably die sooner rather than later.

Despite its durability and strength, fighting a Fiend is a pretty simple affair. At least this Fiend, surrounded as you are by allies to distract it and soak hits. You only need to be wary when the Fiend retreats, as it may attempt to hypnotize you, darkening your vision and making it difficult to see what’s happening. This has a moderate duration and you should be able to just dodge until it ends. The Fiend can also perform an incredibly powerful charge attack. Normally Igni is a potent sign to use against Fiends, but with all your allies constantly attacking it, the damage-over-time effect won’t get to do much damage, so you’re better off sticking to Quen.

(1 of 3) Fiends attack with sweeping claw swings,

Defeat the Fiend and If the orphans were taken by the Crones, the quest will end here, with the Bloody Baron finally playing the good husband and Tamara finding out that the Cult of the Eternal Fire it’s a charitable organization. If the orphans were rescued by the spirit, you’ll need to lift Anna’s curse (see below).

Track Down Johnny to Find Out What Happened to Anna

To lift the curse on Anna you’ll first need to find out what actually happened to her, and with the orphans gone and Anna incapable of communicating, that leaves only one possible witness - Johnny. Make your way northeast towards Johnny’s burrow, stopping to kill some Drowners (Lv6) en route and some Drowners (Lv9) and a Water Hag (Lv8) outside of the burrow. After these monsters are slain, call for Johnny at the entrance to his burrow only to find him predictably absent. Use your Witcher senses to find some tracks, then follow them southeast until you find Johnny hiding in a temporary shelter. Talk to Johnny and you’ll get the information you need

Choose the Correct Doll and Lift Anna’s Curse

Return to the orphanage and inform your fellows what happened, after which enter the largest, easternmost hut - the Crone’s hut - and head down into the cellar. Here you’ll trigger a scene, finding numerous dolls laid out over an altar. Your companion will display an uncharacteristic knowledge of black magic, and it’s clear what use the Crones made of Anna’s hair. To lift the curse you must choose the correct doll, and this requires you to have paid attention and make some deductions. Investigate all the dolls, if you wish, but the one you need to choose is the Doll with the violet hollyhock bloom.“, as this was Anna’s favorite flower, as related to you by the Bloody Baron. Pick the wrong doll and Anna will suffer a miserable death by fire and Geralt will look awfully incompetent. Pick correctly and Anna will regain her true form, albeit temporarily. Watch the ensuing scenes and Geralt will be told to meet the Bloody Baron back at Crow’s Perch to acquire his reward.

(1 of 3) If Anna was cursed, fight your way through the swamp to find Johnny Burrow,

Return to Crookback Bog Outcome: Anna Was Driven Mad

If you found Anna alive (albeit mad) the quest will end after you defeat the Fiend. The Bloody Baron will pay you and take his wife away for treatment and Tamara will leave to begin her servitude to the Eternal Fire. The quest ends quicker this way, but it also unlocks some extra encounters when you return to Crow’s Perch.

Enter Crow’s Perch by crossing the bridge and you’ll find two of the Baron’s Henchmen robbing a peasant. Intervene and you’ll have to kill them (Lv8) - one has a shield and the other wields a two-handed weapon. Axii can neutralize one while you focus on the other, and after they’re dead you’ll get a small amount of EXP. Head up to the castle and you’ll discover the newly unlocked Castle Village signpost, which makes it much more convenient to do business in Crow’s Perch. You’ll also meet the Baron’s Sergeant, who has been left in command in the Baron’s absence, and he’ll claim credit for this bloody, more oppressive regime.

(1 of 3) If Anna was driven mad, the quest will end early and the Bloody Baron will depart with his wife to seek treatment,

Return to Crookback Bog Outcome: Anna Was Cursed

On the other hand if Anna was turned into a hag, you’ve a bit more work to do before the quest ends, whether you successfully lifted the curse or not. Return to Crow’s Perch and you’ll discover the Bloody Baron’s fate, but true to his word he’ll have left 150 Crowns as your pay. If you loot under his feet you’ll find Tamara’s Cloth Doll. His Sergeant, now apparently in command of Crow’s Perch and the Temerian renegades, promising a harsher rule

If Anna was cursed, you’ll need to return to Crow’s Perch to find out what happened to the Bloody Baron and collect your reward.

Either way, you’ll earn a massive amount of EXP and the Bloody Baron questline will finally end. Assuming you’re completing main quests based on their suggested level, it’s now time to leave Velen behind and travel to Novigrad, where the next mainline quest Pyre of Novigrad awaits.

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Guide Information
  • Publisher
    CD Projekt
  • Platforms,
    PC, PS4, Switch, XB One
  • Genre
  • Guide Release
    24 June 2015
  • Last Updated
    19 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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