The Witcher and Skyrim have been fertile crossover ground for years. The Witcher has great characters. Skyrim has great mods. There are dozens of follower mods for Skyrim—custom characters to join the Dragonborn on their adventures when you tire of Lydia carrying your burdens. A few modders have created a series of Witcher-themed followers based on their looks and lines from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. With The Witcher heavily on the brain since its TV debut, I decided now was a perfect time to take my favourite trio for a monster hunt in Tamriel.
When I start out my new Skyrim save as Geralt, I wake up in the Companions guild hall in Whiterun thanks to the Alternate Start mod that allows me to begin the game as someone other than a prisoner on the chopping block. Ciri and Yennefer don’t appear to greet me though. Like Geralt in Wild Hunt, I’ve got to find them. Luckily, mod creator Levionte gives away where they are. Unluckily, they’re both at The Winking Skeever.
If you don’t have Skyrim’s entire map memorised, The Winking Skeever is in the town of Solitude which is in the northwest part of the region. It’s a fair trek from the centre of Skyrim and the road to Solitude quickly becomes a headache. Geralt is level one and I am far too impatient to hold his hand as we make our way north. I get chased by two sabrecats. I give some side-eye to the two giants always lurking just west of Whiterun.
Eventually I shimmy down a cliff and stumble into a bandit encampment blocking the side of the river I’d been following. They’ll make a great warmup for monster hunting. All five are easy to dispatch with the help of a few potions and poisons (which I’d decided I should make heavy use of as a witcher) and I carry along my way towards Solitude.
Finally inside the city, Geralt heads for The Winking Skeever. At first, I don’t spot my two would-be followers and I worry I’ve gotten something wrong. I finally find Yennefer and Ciri upstairs, as true to their Wild Hunt appearances as I could hope for. Levionte has done a great job sculpting both faces and has them set up so that their lips move with their dialogue.
Those, Levionte did borrow from Wild Hunt, repurposing voice lines as greetings, combat yells and other various responses. Yennefer in particular often comments on our surroundings whether we’re in a bar, dungeon, or adventuring, with appropriate lines. She does have a habit of repeating one particular line, “I can scratch it if it itches, but I fear that’s all.” I can’t for the life of me remember the original context of that one... Otherwise, they fit remarkably well into Skyrim without some of the little tells—absent or low-quality voice work—that usually give away modded characters.
There’s no joyful reunion to be had, alas. I simply speak to both Ciri and Yennefer and tell them to follow me and we’re all set to go. Back outside, I sniff out our first contract. The executioner near the town’s entrance needs help finding an escaped bandit that’s fled to a hideout north of town. That’s not exactly a monster contract, but I’ll take it anyway.
I won’t waste much space on clearing Broken Oar Grotto. Yennefer and Ciri made absolute wreckage of every bandit inside. Geralt struggled to unsheathe his sword before they thoroughly annihilated the entire operation. Yennefer relies on magic and fights at range. Her primary ability is Palpatine-ing things to death by shooting purple lightning out of her fingers. She’s also able to necromance dead enemies back to life as her mindless thralls. More than one bandit was sent to kill his still-living brethren. Ciri opens most fights by teleporting behind an enemy through a portal meant to mimic her Blink ability in The Witcher 3. Once she closes in, Ciri dispatches most enemies in just a couple sword swings.
After thrashing Hargar and his mates, I decide we need to find a proper monster hunt. We fast travel to the spooky-looking cave called Orotheim that I passed en route to Solitude. It’s full of human bandits, which we kill. I try Hamvir’s Rest next. It’s got undead skeletons, but only a couple. Yennefer and Ciri keep making short work of each. At a loss, I decide we’ll harass the giants. Finally, something is able to give my two bad broads a run for their coin.
The giants are a tougher fight, soaking up Yennefer’s lightning and swatting Ciri straight up into the sky. Both are downed more than once, forcing Geralt to dance around dodging oversized cudgels waiting for a rescue. He’s still level one, you see. Eventually we manage to taunt both giants into following us into the nearby Greymoor Fort where a group of bandits help us take down the beasts. We kill them too, since we happen to be in the neighbourhood. So far we’ve only managed to hunt down several groups of bandits and a pair of giants that really didn’t deserve to be hassled. If this were The Witcher 3, Geralt would have even made friends with the big guys. I pull up my map, trying to recall where to find some real monsters, which is when I spot Morthal.
Morthal is spooky, but it had been long enough since my last visit that I’d forgotten what kind of quest I’d find there. Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer saunter into town and wouldn’t you know it—there’s a mystery afoot. The local jarl is into some mystical hoodoo and a local man’s house has burned down, killing his wife and daughter. This sounds like Geralt’s brand of grim and twisted story.
Not long after Hroggar’s house burned down with his family inside, he shacked up with a new woman named Alva. The rest of Morthal’s townsfolk assume Hroggar murdered his family to start up with this new woman—because of course he did. After a conversation with the jarl, our trio sets about town for leads. I suppose I was meant to talk with folks to gather clues, but Geralt is itching for a proper monster fight and the fact that people keep telling me not to go out at night suggests there are definitely monsters about.
I cut to the chase and break into Alva’s house. It’s empty, at first glance, but adventuring into the cellar below puts us face-to-face with Alva herself. She’s sleeping in a coffin and not at all thrilled to be awoken. Before Geralt can take stock of the situation, Ciri, Yennefer and Alva are in the thick of it. The lady vampire is no match for Geralt’s Angels. After dispatching the lady vampire all-too-quickly, I flip through her diary. More vampires at large, it says, and they absolutely had a hand, or fang, in killing Hroggar’s family.
This wouldn’t be a case for Geralt without a touch of the supernatural (beyond vampires, that is) so we track down the ghost of Hroggar’s young daughter to let her have her say. It turns out she was the collateral damage in a plan to enthral the entire town as a permanent blood drinking source. The vampires mucked up making her death look accidental.
With his name cleared, Hroggar and the other townsfolk decide they’d like to go on a real vampire raid. Torch and pitchfork style. We all march out of town together in the dead of night, grimly serious and seeking retribution. The would-be militia chickens out at the mouth of the lair, of course, leaving Ciri and Yennefer and I to go first.
The ladies make quick work of the vampire’s thralls in the first few rooms of the lair but near the back we’re finally face-to face with the master Movarth himself. It takes more than just a few strikes to do away with a master vampire, finally a monster worth hunting in Skyrim.
Like two super saiyans, Morvarth and Yennefer shoot brightly coloured attacks at one another as Ciri dives behind him with her blink ability. Geralt stands on a ledge above taking screenshots because he is somehow still level one. Morvath succumbs to Ciri’s silver sword and our crew collects a hefty reward.
In the end, Ciri and Yennefer ended up a bit overpowered as companions go, but they fit in so well that I’m tempted to string up an entire collection of Witcher mods for a new playthrough. We hunted more men than monsters by the end of the day, but that’s the life of a Witcher after all, isn’t it?