The Witcher is a PC Role-Playing Game based on an upgraded version of the Neverwinter Nights Aurora engine, developed by CD Projekt RED and released in late 2007. It describes the adventures of Geralt of Rivia, detailing his quest to regain his memories whilst pursuing revenge against a mysterious organized group, the Salamandra.The title is set in The Verse described in the novels of The Witcher saga by Andrzej Sapkowski. Unexpectedly, it has sold rather impressively both in the US and worldwide, given that it's a niche PC game from an unknown foreign developer based on an unknown foreign IP. The sequel, titled The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings was released on May 17, 2011, and another sequel The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is in production.
The game provides examples of:
Action Commands: Sword attacks are chained with correctly timed mouse-clicks.
All Women Are Lustful: The medieval European stereotype of all women being The Vamp is in full force in the game's The Dung Ages setting, and many of them do live up to the stereotype. (To the point where a minor villain goes on a misogynist "All women are evil succubi leading men into sin" rant while riling up a mob to go Burn the Witch!)
Ambiguously Evil: Abigail. There's evidence to suggest that the accusations levied against her have some merit, and she's implied to be a member of the Cult of the Lionheaded Spider, which is seriously bad juju. However, Abigail always proves to be helpful to Geralt and appears to be harmless when left alone.
However, it is due to the fact that Salamandra is taking over the market with the drug trade as opposed to any moral reasons.
Anti-Hero: Geralt. Depending on player choices. Despite this, Geralt will probably come off as one of the more noble characters in the game, despite his cynical and violent nature.
Apocalypse How: Type 0: The coming ice age that de Aldersberg foresaw will apparently turn the descendants of humanity into savage animals, but he says that the only way for humanity to survive would be a mass exodus south, which he gives as the reason for creating his mutants.
Aristocrats Are Evil: Boy howdy. There's nary a single blueblood who's not an all-around jerk. Then again, same goes for common-folk.
Arrow Catch: Played with. The Professor comments on rumors that witchers are trained to catch arrows in flight, just before he shoots Leo. Geralt can learn to catch arrows, and demonstrates this in a cutscene by parrying a crossbow bolt, causing the Professor to realize that the rumors were true.
Artificial Atmospheric Actions: The initial release's stiff animations and dull faces caused NPC interactions to range from disenchanting to freaky. Fixed in the Enhanced Edition, which significantly expanded and improved the animation and expression.
Badass Bookworm: A villainous example with the Professor, though we never see much of his Professor-ness.
Badass Normal: Despite not being a mutant or using magic, Siegfried and other knights are still competent at fighting monsters. As explained in the second game, who needs a witcher when you have a garrison?
Barbie Doll Anatomy: Bruxas and Alps (two kind of female vampires always naked) look like this in the censored version of the game, in which their crotch is blank and their chest is cover by scales or hair. In the uncensored version, they have breats, nipples, and pubic hairs.
Batman Gambit: Geralt orchestrates a hilarious one in the first game. He uses Triss's jealousy and anger to ensure his escape when confronted by Princess Adda: he asks for a kiss as a last wish and the sorceress teleports him on the double.
Bloody Murder: One of the potions in Geralt's arsenal turns his blood into poison, causing vampiric monsters to take damage if they try and feed on him. The downside is that it also jacks up Geralt's own body toxicity in the process.
Bonus Boss: Regularly throughout the game, in the form of trophy hunts. Also immediately after beating the Big Bad, you have the option to fight what amounts to the personification of Death itself to deliver the coup-de-grace.
Broken Bridge: Typically for a story-driven RPG, there are lots of straightforward examples. An aversion stands out, however - there is a literal broken bridge in Murky Waters. An NPC is busy repairing it, there is a quest to help him, but he won't finish it nor make any measurable progress before you leave the village in the other direction.
Subverted in that case, as when Geralt asks the builder what's on the other side he says it's nothing but fields and meadows. Even if the bridge was fixed there would be nothing of interest on the other side.
But Thou Must: There's no third option for the "Gold Rush" sidequest. You must side with either the Order or the Scoia'tel.
Quite a few chess 'enthusiasts' appear during the backroom politicking of Chapter 3; among them, Declan and Triss could be considered masters.
Chivalrous Pervert: Geralt treats his many prospective flings in a gentlemanly way. There are exceptions though, You can sleep with Abigail, and then leave her to burn at the stake, or betray a brothel run by female vampires after making love to them.
Killing and bringing back the heads of ten Bonus Boss monsters scattered throughout all five chapters will earn you one of the best witcher swords in the game (either steel or silver ones).
A dentist in chapter three will pay you for bringing him the teeth of various monsters.
The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Dice Poker, in the initial version, was a cakewalk, with the AI often rerolling excellent scores or not rerolling absolute stinkers. Patched, however, it's a nightmare. Specifically, the computer has a built-in advantage by always playing last, which means that it always knows exactly what it needs to get to beat you (and can thus decide how many and which dice to reroll to best accomplish that).
Conservation of Ninjutsu: The 'group' fighting-styleis more effective when used against a group of enemies than a lone opponent, and by more effective, "It's easier to get multiple enemies into a range it can be used than it is to fight them one on one without it". Played straight somewhat by design, as the Group style carries an inherent critical chance that will be applied on every single opponent within range. Because of that, you can usually find yourself in a situation where one second you are surrounded by a large pack of mobs, the next all of them drop dead instantly from the critical strike that the style dealt out.
Continuity Porn: More often and gratuitous than the standard porn, with many references to the novels thrown in for no other reason than to please the fans. On the other hand, the game is perfectly playable by those who don't know original material, and according to Wordof God, they are an Alternate Universe sequel to the books with story input by Sapkowski.
Crapsack World: Absolutely. Essentially, the problem is that almost no one has the capacity for empathizing with people outside their social group... and a lot of peoples' social groups consist only of their own selves. As an illustration, consider this: many monsters in the Witcher world are created through human acts of evil. For instance, echinopses grow in places where people were murdered, and drowners are the transfigured bodies of evil men whose bodies were thrown into the water. You will fight a LOT of drowners and echinopses in this game.
Crazy-Prepared: A key component of the witcher profession, and encouraged through gameplay given the difficulty of combat, even on normal. With a large number of potions, oils, and bombs that are available through alchemy, Geralt is essentially handicapped if you're not making use of those items.
Cutscene Power to the Max: While you can learn it early in the game, Geralt will parry the Professor's crossbow bolt in Chapter 3 even if you don't.
Cutting the Knot: One quest is to complete a potion that requires a virgin's tears. The quest giver recommends a brick maker (who is as far away from the quest giver as possible) who is rumored to be a virgin. You could go all the way over to the brick maker and verify the rumor... or you could just ask a nun in the temple less than a block away (or your Order contact if you sided with them).
Deadpan Snarker: Geralt would certainly qualify, as would several others. Sharp wit seems to be a coping mechanism for the world they live in.
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Dagon's close enough, although you don't beat him directly. The Beast from Chapter 1 is viewed as a punishment from the gods. The King of the Wild Hunt isn't the same kind of phenomenon, but is greatly feared as no one knows just how powerful he really is.
Difficulty Spike: The Beast, boss monster of chapter 1 (of 5), can be a nightmare even on Medium difficulty. All the rest of the game, particularly from chapter 2 onward, is a piece of cake compared to it. Once you learn the new system, though, a fight that was a nightmare on Medium can easily be a Curb-Stomp Battle on Hard: the problem is a steep learning curve, not true difficulty.
Earn Your Happy Ending: There aren't many choices you can make in this game that seem to have an unambiguously good outcome, at least from Geralt's perspective. Those that are, however, are always choices that require you to intentionally take a harder path: for instance, saving Princess Adda requires you to fight her and keep her busy for all of an in-game night without killing her.
Expy: Azar Javed from the game is a thinly veiled Expy of Rience, henchman of Vilgefortz from the books. Their backstory is pretty much identical — both went to the same school of magic and were kicked out for their shady dealings. Same goes for Professor (Magister in the Polish version) — his behaviour and speech patterns make him a shout out to a minor villain from the saga, and in the English version he ended up with an identical nickname.
Fan Disservice: We have the fetching Triss Merigold, we have sexual trysts galore memorialized with "romance cards" with some quite interesting images on them, we have Dryads and Nymphs and Ladies of The Lake who have no need for clothing, we have Alps and Bruxas which are quite shapeley fem-monsters... and then we have the Devourers, which will be making you thumb through the Journal's Characters page for those romance cards to use as brain bleach.
Foreshadowing: Early in the game, Vincent makes a cryptic comment about the moon. Later in the game, it turns out he is a werewolf.
Also the Salamander itself. It is also a mythical creature commonly associated with fire. Can you think of any other organization with a name consisting of a reference to fire?. Possibly doubles as Fridge Brilliance.
Likewise, in the first chapter, the priest agrees to help you to some degree because there is apparently a passage in his scriptures that describes you and the current situation almost exactly, and suggests a course of action. After finishing the game, think about who's in charge of the church at the time, and how and why that passage would exist.
There's some foreshadowing of the Interface Spoiler variety early in Chapter 2. Did you notice your monster-detecting medallion going berserk when you're in Raymond Maarloeve's house?
Forged Letter: A major plot point in chapter 3, where Thaler suspects that someone is forging the absent King Foltest's letters. He is right.
Feelies: Various editions in various countries came with a lot.
Genius Bruiser: Azar Javed. The villain who spends the whole game using magic fights his final battle by Dual Wielding giant flaming hammers.
Genre Roulette: The Witcher: Music Inspired by the Game, one of two soundtracks packaged with the Enhanced Edition.
Genre Savvy: Geralt is well aware of "traditional" endings to common fantasy stories, and sarcastically brings them up constantly. He also sees through the excuses and lectures of the bad guys and tries to cut straight to the chase several times.
Geralt's knowledge of fantasy tropes is not always used to make fun of them, however. They sometimes are very true. For example, in the sidequest "Beauty and the Beast," the cure for werewolves is sought by Carmen for her lover Vincent de Meis. Several remedies are found, from the folk (wolf's aloe sewn in a shirt), to the scientific (a potion containing a virgin's tear) to the really corny, fairy-tale remedies (true love). Shockingly, it's the corny one that actually works.
It gets better. Geralt openly admits that he's been specifically trained to see through the schemes of intelligent monsters that are often Genre Savvy enough to utilize misconceptions of the common folk concerning their nature.
Grey and Gray Morality: Both the Order of the Flaming Rose and the Scoia'tael have legitimate goals, ideals, and grievances, which they go over painstakingly. But the Order is composed of fanatical nutjobs whose ideal of protecting people is killing every non-human in sight, and the Squirrels are terrorists who end up killing many more civilians, which just makes life harder for the very people they profess to save.
If you side with the Order of the Flaming Rose, you'll find that several of them really do follow the ideals they profess. In this story branch, the conflict ends with a civil war between the good and corrupt factions.
Conversely, side with the Scoia'tael, and you'll find that there really isn't much more to them than meets the eye. They're arguably less "dark" than the Order to begin with however, so it probably equals out in the end.
Hannibal Lecture: The Professor, at least three times. Hilariously subverted by Geralt during the showdown in the caverns under Vizima.
Heroes Want Redheads: The two 'optional encounters' that could be considered serious love interests are both redheads. The only major female character that is not redhead is Toruviel (and to, some extent, also Carmen).
Hotter and Sexier: While the books made it clear that Geralt Really Gets Around, the games are somewhat infamous for their level of sexual content. The first video game adaptation has an almost absurd number of Optional Sexual Encounters. The sequel significantly cuts down on the number of encounters, but counteracts that with some very explicit cutscenes.
Humans Are Bastards: Oh yes. You may think you've seen the scum of the earth when you've finished dealing with the zealots, rapists, murderers, and bandits in the prologue, but you haven't even scratched the surface. That guardsman trying to bust up a local drug ring? He's probably addicted to the same drugs and hoping to turn the situation to his advantage. That doddering harmless old man? He's even worse. That nun who sacrifices her time and energy to help dying plague victims, potentially exposing herself to the deadly disease for no tangible reward whatsoever? She eats babies. (Well, not really, but it wouldn't surprise you.)
The phrase Humans are bastards itself appears very often. Usually in a conversation with Zoltan.
"Witchers are known to carry two blades. A silver blade for monsters and steel for humans." "Both are for monsters."
Humans Are White: The one black character (outside of the ambiguous vaguely Arabian Azar Javed) is a mutant who only appears in a cutscreen, and never in actual gameplay. Note that Temeria and Redania are based heavily on medieval central Europe, and it's likely that ethnic diversity was chosen to be scarce In-Universe.
Hyperspace Arsenal: Zigzagged. Geralt actual stash is invisible (his armours don't seem to include pockets or backpacks, except the small strap in which he can store a few potions for quick access) but it only contains tiny items (food, potions, books, scrolls, alchemical ingredients, etc). The bigger items (weapons, armours, and trophies) are carried in special item slots and actually appear on Geralt ingame; they can't be put in the stash.
The fact that items put into storage at one inn can be withdrawn from any other inn is never explained.
I Have You Now, My Pretty: Subverted. During the final duel, Salamander claims he has captured Geralt's love interest (Triss or Shani, depending on the choices made throughout the game), but he is bluffing.
Identity Amnesia: Geralt has amnesia, and has to be told who/what he is and what he can do.
Unusually, he doesn't get it back immediately, but instead creates a new one.
However, it is restored in the sequel, as his memory was lost when meeting the Wild Hunt. A second meeting may have allowed for it to come back.
Implausible Fencing Powers: Geralt's speed and dexterity as a fencer is justified by his mutations. Much is made about his ability to deflect crossbow bolts in flight.
In-Universe Game Clock: The Witcher has a day/night cycle set to approximately 60 real-life minutes to a in-game day.
This and Take Your Time are averted in the quest to survive the striga to daybreak (if the player opts to). No matter where the sun/moon are, the period from the moment the striga is encountered until the final candle extinguishes at daybreak will always take the same amount of real time, and game time will adjust accordingly.
Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Seen in the opening cinematic, Geralt is a rather flexible and agile character capable of parkouring his way over high walls. In the actual game, he can't climb over a cart or a couple of barrels. Extremely painful to see in at least around the encounter with the Werewolf, when there is only one way to get out of the area that is in no way apparent when there are open roads in plain view, and in the swamp where you are cut off from the Mage's Tower, which is magically sealed anyway by overgrown vegetation despite your character carrying around two swords and likely axes or hatchets as well, not even counting in signs Aard and Igni — again leaving you only one route to get to your destination. In a game that generally is very lenient on how you go about things, this is very jarring when it comes ahead.
Ironic Echo: At the end of Chapter 3 from the Professor: "Witchers can parry bolts in flight."
It Will Never Catch On: Kalkstein mentions he has a theory that is effectively the basic concept of atoms; Geralt tells him to tell him about it later in a manner indicating disinterest, and the general consensus by NPCs is that Kalkstein is crazy.
This one is tricky, as atomistic theory in our world dates back as far as V century B.C.
And it didn't catch on back then, but was rejected by majority of the contemporaries, and only experienced revival in the 18th century, largely independently of the original hypothesis.
During Chapter III you can actually encounter another scientist character, and through studying certain in-game texts or just selecting the right dialogue options through trial-and-error, you can convince him about Kalkstein's theories.
Kavorka Man: Geralt, moreso than in the books. There is a darker side to this as well, namely that witchers are so universally reviled, a woman caught in flagrante delicto with a witcher would probably only have to scream "rape!" and get away scot-free. Also, there's the fact that witchers are constantly on the move, and never stay in one place long enough for irate husbands to begin asking uncomfortable questions. They're also sterile, immune to ST Ds, and very athletic.
Geralt being a Living Legend that bards sing songs about probably helps, too.
Kleptomaniac Hero: True to traditional RPG form, Geralt can wander into a home, rummage through containers, and take what he pleases. This is lampshaded by a few characters who will question him for entering their homes, and sometimes it sounds like one of the occupants is objecting when they're simply spouting an idle comment. There are never any consequences for brazen burglary. Only twice does a character object to Geralt entering their house, and these two are ones that Geralt actually has a reason to be allowed in (one has the occupant's daughter ask him to kill a monster in the basement, the 2nd has someone who explicitly invited Geralt renting the 2nd floor).
Very rarely, however, is anything decent found by this; the best to be found is potion bases and common books.
Knight in Sour Armor: Geralt and Vincent. Siegfried starts to gravitate towards this as the game progresses.
Knighting: Geralt gets one from the Lady of the Lake if he solves the quest Ripples by advocating peace between the Vodyanoi and the villagers. Which is ironic, considering that Geralt was already knighted once by Queen Meve in Baptism of Fire.
Late-Arrival Spoiler: If you play this game, then you'll find out that Geralt died at the end of the books.
Lighter and Softer: The video games, shockingly enough. Part of this is due to reversing Geralt's death. As bad as the world is, Geralt's continued existence goes a long way to making it a better place.Possibly justified by Ciri's role at the very end of the saga.
Loads and Loads of Loading: The Witcher is particularly infamous for this — though the Enhanced Edition fixes this... except with the quicksaves...
The issue with quicksaves is because the game doesn't overwrite them- it's easy to rack up 6 gigabytes of save files before the game is even half-finished.
Lost in Translation: It's often painfully clear that the original script was not in English, and the voice acting doesn't help. The Enhanced Edition is better about this.
Thaler's name is an example of the trope in the French translation. It is a Meaningful Name, he is a fence having the name of an old European money. In the French translation, he is named Talar, which doesn't mean anything. It is especially strange, as the word "thaler" exists in French too.
For that matter, all the witchers are Mad Alchemists, concocting and imbibing potions that are so toxic that merely one is enough to kill a normal person. Witchers are merely more resistant, so they can take several in a row before dying.
Magic Knight: Azar Javed is more than able to fight with a sword when his magic is weakened from fighting in a place of an opposing element. In fact, in a latter fight when he is at full strength, his physical power is his main means of offense, and he prefers to use magic only for stunning Geralt. Witchers use simple spells ("signs") in combat. Also, the first thing you see of the Flaming Rose grandmaster is a person in platemail throwing a fireball.
The Magocracy: A borderline case. Mages are ostensibly servants and advisors to crowned heads, yet in reality they hold great sway over kings and orchestrate political events through their secret Conclave.
Azar Javed. This couples with a Bilingual Bonus and Prophetic Name — it means "Flame Eternal" in Persian. Yes, of course he's explicitly said to be drawing magic mostly from fire, but... What was that bit about Jacques de Aldersberg being The Chessmaster, again? Also, in real life, "Azar" would be an embarrassing name for a Bad Ass like that — it's a real, but female name.
Thaler. A fence with a money name.
The Salamandra counts too. Guess which other organization has fire as its main theme.
Mêlée à Trois: The Blue Eyes quest ends by a fight between Patrick de Weyze and his knights against the vampire prostitutes of the House of the Night. If Geralt made the worst decision of sleeping with the vampire prostitutes (alienating De Weyze) then deciding that he don't have to intervene to protect the prostitutes (alienating them), he will have to fight both groups while they are also hostile to each other.
Modesty Bedsheet: The first sex card for Triss qualifies, as does the censored version of Shani's.
Money for Nothing: The game makes a decent attempt to avoid it, but being decent at fist fights or Save Scumming at dice poker means you have little to worry about in terms of money.
Money Spider: Type 2: monsters carry alchemical components whilst bandits and monsters that were once humans carry money only.
Multiple Endings: All depressing; there really isn't a "good" ending here. For once, being an RPG protagonist doesn't guarantee a happy ending for the rest of the world.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: If you don't pay attention in the second chapter, you will end up playing straight into the Big Bad's Hands.
For the first game, the entirety of the story could be considered this. By rescuing Alvin at the beginning, putting him under the parentage of either Triss or Shani, acting as a father figure, and sharing various bits of wisdom, Geralt shapes the personality of what will eventually become the Big Bad once a Stable Time Loop occurs.
Nocturnal Mooks: The vast majority of the Witcher's Bestiary are nocturnal and only appear at night. Places in which monsters appear in the day, the swamp in Chapter 2 and 3, for example, turn into deathtraps at night.
No Indoor Voice: For the Elite Guards in King Foltest's Palace, this is apparently the only way of communicating.
Not in This for Your Revolution: One dialog option allows Geralt to claim his motivations for the first game are entirely because Salamandra robbed him and killed a friend.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: The Reverend at first seems like a slightly Jerk Ass, but ultimately well meaning priest. You quickly learn that he's actually a fanatical nutjob who first had his own daughter thrown out of the village and now scapegoats the local mage as the cause of the recent increase in monsters, and even provokes most of the villagers into a howling lynch mob. Oh, and if you stop the (unjust) lynching? He sics his cronies on you, despite the fact that you just killed the monster that was plaguing the village!
Now, Where Was I Going Again?: Overcome by a comprehensive journal carried by Geralt on his objectives, though there are sometimes too many things going on at once to easily keep track of.
The Power of Friendship: Depending on Geralt's actions and solutions during the first game, several characters will come and aid Geralt in his time of need. Examples include Vincent, who aids you against Salamandra soldiers if you cure his lycanthropy; Siegfried, who vouches for you to the guards if you teamed up fighting the cockatrice; Zoltan, if you side with the Scoia'tel, becomes your wingman through burning Vizima; and a few characters may appear during the endgame in de Aldersberg's vision, such as your love interest, Adda, and Celina.
Sadistic Choice: Many of Geralt's choices, both in the main story and sidequests, are this.
Save Scumming: Discouraged by the time it usually takes for the effects of decisions to be seen. Worth noting is that the game doesn't overwrite autosaves — which mostly just leads to humongous save file folders.
Entirely valid for dice poker, though.
Scare Chord: The music that plays in the fields in Chapter IV has one. Oddly enough, it's just part of the track, rather than tied to a specific event.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Actually an in-game decision; Geralt can choose to divorce himself entirely from the conflict between the Squirrels and Order during the first game.
Sequel Hook: The ending of the first game sets up for the second game.
Shaming the Mob: If Geralt sides with Abigail during the first chapter, he'll deliver an epic one to the villagers who are getting ready to Burn the Witch!. Subverted in that, Abigail is a cultist of an extremely nasty old god, and she is guilty of some of the villager's accusations.
Stance System: The game features three fighting styles, each specialized against a particular type of enemy: Strong against slow, armored opponents; Fast against agile enemies; and Group against multiple surrounding mooks. Using the wrong style spells death quickly: strong enemies shrug off Fast, fast enemies dodge Strong, and groups quickly stun-lock Geralt unless he uses Group. These styles can only be used with swords, which renders all other weapons in the game pretty useless.
Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Alvin is a powerful Source who carries the Elder Blood who randomly uttered the Prophecy of Ithlinne, who is a catalyst for Geralt's growth as a person, who has a magical "accident" during his training with Triss involving a destroyed shed, and is sort-of raised by Geralt and (canonically) a sorceress....making him Ciri from the novel series, except somehow all this development is shoved into a few months or so (maybe) instead of close to seven years as it was in the novels. He even ends up time-traveling and is wanted by the Wild Hunt like Ciri is..
The story of an alchemist named "Alfred Nebel" who invented an alchemical formula that could blast through granite for mining purposes. Other people quickly realized that it would also be very effective in warfare, and he and his discovery were both obliterated by angry mages (who, given the setting, probably just didn't want the competition).
Many more shoutouts that will be completely lost to people who don't know Poland well.
Adam who, as Celina puts it, suffers for millions is a direct reference to Adam Mickiewicz, while the conflict between two sisters with raspberries in the background is a reference to the poem Balladyna by Juliusz Słowacki. Both poets are main representatives of Polish Romanticism.
A suspiciously-familiar theory about the Holy Grail being a woman is attributed to one Bronze Dan.
The delivery of that theory makes it more of a Take That.
One of the fighting styles learned during the Prologue is called "Temerian Devil". Appropriatly, this is the fighting style made to fight against groups of enemies, especially with circling sword blows and wirlwind attacks.
Before you fight The Professor for the last time, the Smug Snake lectures Geralt on how Witchers are unnatural freaks. Geralt can either debate him or tell him to shut the fuck up.
Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Very cynical. Idealist characters are few and far between, and even they are willing to wade through corpses if it should further their goals. It's not as if good things can't happen at all, but they tend to be on the personal level and few and far between, which makes it all the more sweet when something does go right.
Standard Royal Court: Foltest has one. Other kings probably do as well, though you don't get to interact with them that much.
Story Branch Favoritism: The game splits into three distinct paths mid-game, one for the Order and the Scoia'tael and a neutral one. The latter features more content and is actually harder to unlock. This is justified by the eponymous Witchers' code, which forbids them from taking sides in conflicts—so the neutral path makes the most sense in-story.
Story Branching: The game has a major story branching in chapter 5, depending on which faction (if any) Geralt sides with. The branches only converge again towards the end of the Epilogue.
Suicidal Overconfidence: At the end of Chapter I, if you side with Abigail. Knowing that you are a skilled fighter who just killed the monster which plagued the village for quite some time, and that you are probably high on potions, a group of villagers attack you. Partly justified in that they thought Geralt to be exhausted and wounded after killing The Beast. Even if it was a Curb-Stomp Battle.
Super Hero: Bizarrely enough, a guard officer turned into a werewolf hunts thugs as a Batman-esque (without gadgets) vigilante by night.
Probably from the same source Dandelion learned about cognitive dissonance, Breakingthe Fourth Wall for Dummies. Considering that terms like "genetics" and "mutant" get thrown around often, it's pretty clear that the world has plenty of anachronistic aspects to it, probably thanks to magic and alchemy. Why shouldn't there be superhero fiction in a world with real, superpowered Witchers?
STD Immunity: Applies to witchers in general due to their mutations.
Stripperiffic: Triss's little green dress for formal events leaves little to the imagination.
The biggest decision in the main plot allows this. In the course of the story, several dialogs stat that Geralt will have to choose a side in the incoming war. He can eventually ally with the Order or the rebels, but he also can actually remain neutral.
The developers do seem to favor certain quest choices, though. One of the more obvious examples of this is the quest Ripples. There are three resolutions to this quest: siding with the vodyanoi, siding with the villagers, or the neutral path of siding with the Lady of the Lake. Siding with the vodyanoi rewards you with a sword that's not particularly great and can easily be found in abundance later. Siding with the villagers gives you a piece of Vendor Trash that can be sold for a pretty decent amount or given as a gift, but at that point you won't really need it. Siding with the Lady gives you a sword that is both unique and quite nice and a skill point. Given Geralt's True Neutral personality is canon, though, giving the neutral path the biggest reward might be justified.
Take That: A really mean one to Andrew Golota (curiously absent from the Polish version, though, where he's named "Hugo Berronta").
And the grail expert shows some contempt for Dan Brown.
Take Your Time: Wander and grind as long as you like; imminent destruction merely awaits Geralt to instigate it. When reaching Chapter-ending quests, characters will drop hints that now would be a good time to 'take care of anything you need to' before proceeding.
For no good reason, however, at least one sidequest in the game is actually a Timed Mission unbeknownst to the player. Specifically, if you decide to clear out the monsters for the lumberjacks in Chapter 2, but take too long to deal with the vodyanoi altar, then the quest will fail and all the woodcutters will die. Well, except Yaren Bolt, the lone survivor, who will now be mighty pissed.
In some cases, you can take more time before setting a plot event in motion simply by putting off visiting a specific location. Assuming you allowed the Scoia'tael to take Haren Brogg's goods in Chapter 1, you may want to steer clear of Raymond Maarloeve in Chapter 2 till you've met Coleman at the Hairy Bear Inn and finished his quests. This is because the game triggersColeman's death the moment you step foot in the detective's house. There is also the party organized by Declan Leuvaarden in the beginning of the third chapter (which is a critical point in the plot : it is supposed to happen in 6 p.m. the first day, but will be infinitely delayed until Geralt goes there, even allowing to complete most of the chapter other quests before.
Theme Naming: Potions are usually named after birds or animals.
Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Subverted in an early cutscene, in which Geralt throws his sword at an enemy only to have it get stuck in the wall. It would have worked, had the target not teleported away.
In the sequel, it's revealed that he gave his life for Yennefer and that encounters with The Wild Hunt can cause madness or amnesia.
Twenty Bear Asses: Recurring quests in every chapter. A few reviews have noted that because it is Geralt's job (and the quests are more of "collect as you do real quests"), it is more bearable than most examples. This also serves the gameplay purpose of familiarizing the player with where alchemical ingredients can be found, and giving an opportunity to collect a surplus for their own use.
Unwinnable by Mistake: Some sidequests (like Vesna Hood's sex card and getting the parcel to Coleman) become unwinnable if either die. As a lot of quests are imbricated into each other, there are some Guide Dang It moments because not achieving some sidequests and main quests in a specific order or in a specific way makes a few sidequests unwinnable.
A particularly nasty example early in the game can have Geralt sleeping with a young, sexy witch with the promise to protect her, only to hand her to an angry mob who kills her a couple of minutes later.
The "Dogcatcher of Vizima" sidequest requires Geralt to kill six wandering dogs in order to harvest some fat in their body. The problem is that dogs aren't hostile at all (unless provoked), so the easiest way to complete the quest is to coldbloodly attack harmless creatures (which grant a ridiculously low amount of experience points). There actually are way to complete the quest without Geralt killing them himself. The first is to search very meticulously inside the whole map (there are a few of those items in chests or crates). The second is to wander in the streets at night until attracting bandits, then running until meeting a dog, and eventually fight while hoping that the dog will attack the opponents and be killed in the fight.
Villainous Breakdown: The Reverend if you side with Abigail, Jacques during the final battle, and several others.
Visible Silence: A NPC at a party Geralt goes to. Subverted, as you can get him drunk to get him to talk.
Walking Armory: Geralt can have up to five weapon slots. Three are for "big" weapons (mainly Silver and Steel swords), and one or two "small" slots for a secondary side weapon. Only one weapon for each slot may be carried at a time, and all of them are stowed visibly somewhere on Geralt's body.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Most characters who claim to have noble goals are this. Faction leaders Jacques de Aldersburg and Yaevinn fit the trope especially well.
What the Hell, Hero?: No matter what you do, you are going to get at least a couple of these from other characters. And with good reason. Special mention should be given to the King Of The Wild Hunt at the end of the game, who lists out the negative consequences of EVERY SINGLE ONE of your major game choices. He also conveniently forgets to mention your decisions that actually made lives better for people, such as Vincent and Carmen, the vodyanoi and the residents of Murky Waters, and Princess Adda and King Radovid.
Whole Plot Reference: A number of situations from the game are retellings of short stories and plot points from the books. The introduction cutscene is basically retelling the first story in Witcher lore, "The Witcher".
That's left deliberately inconclusive, and Jacques stands as example enough without the connection to Alvin. You get a lot of clues though, such as Jacques's Hannibal Lecture using some of the expressions you used when talking with Alvin earlier.