In Velen, Geralt finds the Nilfgaardian spy he was supposed to contact, tortured to death. The spy’s notes lead Geralt to look for Philip Stenger, known as the Bloody Baron and the Ladies of the Wood. The Bloody Baron tasks Geralt to find his wife and daughter in exchange for info on Ciri. After learning of the Baron’s abuse of his wife and dealing with a botchling of the Baron’s miscarried child, the search leads to a fisherman who saw the wife get taken by a Fiend and the daughter move to Oxenfurt. On the search for the Ladies of the Wood, Geralt meets sorceress Keira Metz, and after running into the Hunt in an ancient elven laboratory, find the lead on the Crones of Crookback Bog. After meeting “Gran” and the orphans she is taking care of and finding Johnny in the bog, Geralt completes a task for the Ladies, dealing with the Whispering Hollock, in exchange for info on Ciri. He also learns that the “Gran” is Anna, the Baron’s wife. Optionally in Velen, Geralt can meet up with Letho (if he survived The Witcher 2), clear a tower of a curse for Keira Metz, and help the Baron to try and free his wife from the Crones, which leads to different outcomes determined by how Geralt dealt with the Whispering Hollock.
In Novigrad, Geralt finds leads on who would know Ciri’s whereabouts through Triss Merigold and a dreamer, Corinne Tilly. This leads Geralt to find Whoreson Junior and rescue Dandelion, who was captured after a failed heist. Geralt finds Junior through the help of Sigismund Djikstra and King Radovid, who was hiding him. Geralt and Zoltan Chivay rescue Dandelion from the Witch Hunters, with the help of the doppler Dudu and Priscilla, a trobairitz who is Dandelion’s friend. Optionally in Novigrad, Geralt can help Triss help mages escape the witch hunters of Novigrad (and lead to a romance with her), help Dandelion open his cabaret as well as dealing with a serial killer who attacked and nearly killed Priscilla, and help form a plot against Radovid with Djikstra, Vernon Roche, and Thaler.