Exploring the castle
You will receive this quest automatically after meeting with baron Philip Strenger in Crow's Perch (M3,3). It happens during the main quest Bloody Baron. Follow the baron to the higher floor. There are two rooms to explore there, you can start with the one closer to the stairs. Check the closet and collect the Rusty Key and Incense. Go to the bedroom and examine the doll lying next to the bed.
Now you must activate witcher senses and follow the smells marked with red color. They will lead you to the basement. Reach the room left from the sleeping guard. You will find closed door that can be opened with previously obtained key. Walk to the altar and take A Prayer from it. Examine the large bowl.
Return to the highest floor and enter the room in which the baron can be found. Activate witcher senses and start investigating interactive objects - the damaged wooden candlestick, vase with flowers, empty place on the wall and the painting on the neighboring wall. Examining the painting will lead to uncovering a hole. Check the wooden furniture on the other side of the wall. After listening to Geralt's comment, return to the candlestick and examine the tracks of spilled wine. As before, you must follow the red smells visible after activating witcher senses. Reach the staircase, walk down and examine a wooden desk. It will allow you to collect a Talisman.
Now go back and meet with baron. Talk to him about the doll in the bedroom, fight tracks found in the room with the candlestick and about the talisman you found. You will receive 150 experience points and Strenger will send you to meet with a Pellar.
Meeting the Pellar
Pellar's house can be found in the forest west from Crow's Perch (M3,7). After reaching it, you will notice a group of baron's men trying to get inside. You can react in three ways.
First option is attacking the bandits. They are on sixth experience level. After the battle starts, you should dispose of crossbowmen as quickly as possible (you can obtain rare types of bolts by looting their bodies). Second option is asking baron's men why are they visiting the Pellar. After that, you can offer healing their friend in exchange for leaving the Pellar alone. Last option is available only if you have a developed Axii sign. You can use it during the conversation to gain control of bandit's mind and convince them to leave (you will receive 40 experience points). No matter how you acted, knock to the Pellar's house and talk to him about the wife and the daughter of the baron. The man will not be willing to help Geralt until he reclaims his goat for him. You will search for the animal in A Princess in Distress quest.
Return to the castle
After finding the goat, talk to the Pellar again. You will learn about the existence of a botchling. Go back to the Crow's Perch. On the way back, you will notice that a barn is burning in the castle. Reach perch's main courtyard and a cutscene will start in which you meet one of baron's men. He will ask you to save Oswin who is in the barn. You can either agree or go directly to the baron (it's a decision with a time limit).
If you decided to help, go to the barn and get inside using a ladder. You must quickly get through the barn, effectively destroying successive obstacles with Aard sign or with the sword. The stable boy you seek is called Oswin and you can find him in the central part of the stables. Talking to him is not mandatory. Check the places in which the horses are held. Then, as quickly as possible, reach the main exit door from the stables. Look down and press the proper button/key in order to open the door and thus save Oswin and the horses.
Important - If you don't see Oswin in the stables, then it is possible that you're a victim of a bug. In that case, load the last saved game and try again.
Sooner or later you will meet again with the baron and, no matter how you act, you will anger him enough to trigger a fist fight. Baron is a strong opponent, so during the battle use many dodges, jumps and counterattacks. After a victorious battle (50 experience points), watch a new cutscene. Follow the baron to the place where he buried the newborn. You should save the game at that point, as soon you will have an important decision to make. More specifically, you can:
- Attack the botchling and try to kill it - option A
- Try to transform botchling into lubberkin - option B
Both these options have been described below. They have a common ending which have been described in Continuation of the main quest section.
Option A - Attacking the botchling in order to kill it
Picking this option will make the botchling transform into much larger beast. Fighting it is considered as facing a miniboss with a long and visible on the top of the screen health bar. If it is possible, use cursed oil on your sword before the battle. It will allow Geralt to deal more damage to the monster.
At first, battle with the botchling won't be complicated. You must avoid his strong attacks by jumping back or to the sides. Each of your attacks should start with an Axii sign that will stun the botchling for few seconds and make him harmless. Use these moments to deal few quick hits to the monster. But don't overdo it as the botchling, after regaining his strength, can perform a very strong counterattack. Later in the battle botchling will summon wraiths that will help him. Obviously, you can't completely ignore them, but nevertheless, try to focus on the main beast and attack the ghosts only when they pose a direct danger to Geralt. After a victorious battle, listen to the conversation with the baron and wait for Geralt to obtain Botchling Blood.
Now you must return to the Pellar. Follow the man to the place where the ritual took place. You will have to dispose of some wolves on the way. After reaching the destination, start the fire in three places - you can walk to each of the baskets and press interaction key/button or do it from the distance with Igni sign.
After the ritual begins, you will have to help the Pellar and make sure that the fire keeps burning in all three places. Wraiths will try to stop you. It is wise to use wraith oil and Yrden sign. But don't try to kill all wraiths, they will respawn constantly. Instead of that, observe the baskets and go to them whenever the fire will be extinguished. Igni is best for setting the fire back as it doesn't recommend you to get directly to the basket. Keep fighting and keeping the flames burning until the ritual ends. Listen to another conversation with the Pellar, talk about the third vision and walk the Pellar back home (100 experience points). You will learn from the man that you must reach the house of local fisherman west from Crow's Perch. You will find rest in the Continuation of the main quest section.
Option B - Trying to transform the botchling into a lubberkin
Selecting this option will make the baron pick the botchling from the ground. He will walk with it to the main courtyard of the perch. Don't expect to reach the destination with no obstacles. Geralt and baron will be regularly attacked by groups of wraiths. It is a good idea to use some wraith oil even before you start the walk. Additionally, use Yrden sign on regular basis as magical traps are very effective against those type of monsters. After defeating each group of monsters, use Axii sign to calm down the dragged botchling and allow the march to be resumed. After you reach the destination (150 experience points) walk to the botchling's burial site and press the right button. A longer cutscene will start.
In the next part of this quest you must follow lubberkin. You can either go on your foot or use horse - the second option is better. The monster you pass by (wraiths and wolfs among other types) can be attacked or ignored. After reaching the cabin, get off your horse and start examining the neighborhood with witcher senses. Examine the horse tracks, a bracelet lying on the barrel and abandoned clothes.
Keep moving. Near another place where you stop, Geralt will be attacked by rotfiends. When it happens, get off your horse and eliminate all monsters one after another. During the battle, jump away from a rotfiend when he loses most of his health - these beasts explodes when they are close to death. Once the battle is over, examine the dead horse and pick all the options from the list. For the last time resume following the lubberkin. This creature will lead you to a fisherman's hut. You will find rest in the Continuation of the main quest section.
Continuation of the main quest
Both described options (A and B) will lead you to the fisherman's cabin east from Crow's Perch. Knock on the door and meet with the fisherman and his family. During a long conversation you will learn what happened to the wife and daughter of baron. Leave the cabin (300 experience points) and go back to the Crow's Perch. After reaching the destination, Oswin you have previously saved might talk to you and give you 20 crowns. Find the baron and start the conversation. Geralt will be asked to meet Tamara in Oxenfurt (if you agree with no "buts", you will receive additional 50 crowns) and will receive Letter of Safe Conduct from baron. This document allows passage through border outposts. The game will additionally activate a new quest connected to Ciri - Ciri's Story: The Race. After completing this short task, you can start the task of finding Tamara (baron will give Geralt her doll).
Further part of this quest is related to the Ladies of the Woods quest. When you meet Keira Metz, you will receive a book from her. After reading it you will learn where the "Trail of treats" (M9,16) can be found. The trail will lead you to a small village (M9,17) - more details can be found in the walkthrough for the Ladies of the Woods quest. The quest ends when you tell the Baron that his wife is on the swamps. You will receive a side quest about retrieving her - Return to the Crookback Bog. It is wise to complete it because the decision you make there will have a serious impact on the whole story of the Bloody Baron.
Important - you should read the description of the Return to the Crookback Bog quest before starting the Ladies of the Woods and The Whispering Hillock quests. It's because of the irreversible decisions that will impact the ending of this story plot.
The quest is very short. Since you already have the pass from Baron, you can get to Oxenfurt with no trouble. The quest is not mandatory, in the further phase of finding Anna a family reunion will occur anyway. After finding her and a short conversation, you can go directly to the Crow's Perch and give a report or go on to find Baron's wife.