The Witcher 3 King’s Gambit Quest Guide And Choices

Choose Cerys or Hjalmar?

The Witcher 3 has a lot of great side quests, and King’s Gambit is one of them. Although the quest itself isn’t mandatory, the choice you make during this quest decides the next ruler of Skellige. You can either choose to side with Cerys or side Hjalmar.

Witcher 3 King’s Gambit quest starts after The Lord of Undvik and Possession side quests. Also, make sure to complete Stranger in a Strange Land and Cave of Dreams, as both will fail if the King’s Gambit quest is started. We will talk about different choices you will make during the quest and their consequences.

The Witcher 3 King’s Gambit Walkthrough

To trigger the quest, you must first ensure you’ve completed the side quests, The Lord of Undvik and Possession. Then, the last task would be to talk to their father, Crach an Craite, and get the reward for helping his children. For that, go to the Kaer Trolde. The doors would be closed but as you go closer, they would open. A Crach’s servant, Arnvald, would recognize you and take you inside the castle.

Once inside, you’ll see the hall decked, and a fest is going on. You’ll also witness the fight between both siblings, Hjalmar and Cerys. Here, you can just talk casually and move on. The next task you’ll get is to talk to Crach an Craite.

Get Hjalmar’s Sword

Before talking to him, get your hand on one of the best steel swords of this game. Turn right from the entrance door and talk to Hjalmar. He would lose, ask you to win a fight against Vildkaarl, and give you his sword. If you agree, a fistfight will start. Defeat your opponent, and Hjalmar will give you his sword, Hjalmar’s Sword.

Now talk to Crach an Craite, and he will reward you with a silver sword named Fate and 500 XP. Soon, both Geralt and Crach hear loud chanting “Lu-gos!” repeatedly, which is followed by people’s screams and roars. Both quickly run out and are faced with many people dead, blood, and a few bears. Your task is not to defeat the bears first.

These bears are berserkers, like werewolves, which is why you’ll need to use a silver sword to attack them. Make sure you have it equipped. Also, the oil doesn’t work on these much, so it’s better to use a plain sword with other enhancements.

the witcher 3 king's gambit 1

Once all three bears are dead, a cutscene will start which will lead to you making a crucial decision. This decision would determine the future king of Skellige.

  • I’ll help you, Cerys – Option A
  • Going with Hjalmar -Option B
  • You two can handle this fine without me – Option C

Option 1: Side with Cerys

king's gambit side with cyres

As soon as you side with Cerys, the investigation around the hall will start. Several things would yield answers, like examining the bear, the mead the human (now bear) drank, which is nearby, and the horn that it drank from. After finding the horn, Geralt will call Cerys, who would suggest they talk to the Druid named Hjort, who can tell about the mushrooms present in the drink.

Go outside and talk to Hjor. He will tell you that these are Mardroeme mushrooms which can transform humans into animals. This leads to another query that the drink would be spiked beforehand which leads Cerys to go to the wine cellar. Follow along and examine around. Once you find a barrel with Mead mixed in, someone will attempt to kill Cerys and Geralt by lighting up the spirit fallen on the ground nearby.

To escape, you’ll need to break through the hidden passage. Use an Aard sign to break the barrels and go through the secret passage. As you reach the castle again, Cerys will ask to investigate the cellar entrance to see if someone left a clue behind. This is to determine who started the fire. The cellar is conveniently just ahead of the hidden passage.

Examine the footprints by the front door of the cellar, and this will start a trail. Follow it, and you’ll find a piece of cloth at its end. Cerys would recognize that it belongs to Arnvald. This is timed, so run out and then get on a horse to catch him. Here, three outcomes can happen.

Outcome 1 A: Catch him

If you are close enough, hit him with the sword. You’ll need to do this fast before the horse’s stamina ends as he would run away until then. Strike him with your sword, and he will fall. Cerys will interrogate him, and he will admit to conspiring with Birna Bran.

Outcome 2: He Escapes

If you fail to catch up to him and lose sight of him, he will be found dead on the beach. Follow his footsteps to reach his body. Loot him to find a key. Take it and go back to the castle to continue the investigation. Go into Arnvald’s room and open the secret compartment where the scent is emitting from. Open it with the key, and you’ll find a letter by Birna.

Outcome 3: He goes too far

If you don’t catch him but follow him to the beach, some soldiers of Clan Tuirseach will attack him. If you manage to save him from them, he will be investigated by Cerys and will spill all he knows about Birna. If he dies, the whole process would play out like in Outcome B. Loot his body and find the letter in his room.

Either option will prove Birna Bran is the culprit, so the outcome doesn’t matter much. Cerys will now go to Jarls and explain the result of her investigation. If Arnvald is caught alive, he also appears as a witness. During the trial, she will admit her crime and will be sentenced to death by starvation.

Option 2: Side with Hjalmar

side with Hjalmar

As you side with Hjalamar, he will take you straight to Fornhala. This is where the Vildkaarl live. He knows that the ones living here have the ability to turn into bears, so he suspects that they were responsible for the massacre. He would take you to their temple, where a dead body is found. From here, you can follow a specific order and examine stuff that will lead you to their hideout.

  1. Inspect the dead body Hjalmar pointed out earlier.
  2. This will lead you to examine the blood at the altar. This will trigger a cutscene where he explains about their worshiping at the altar. That is for a god that demands human sacrifices.
  3. Examine the dishes nearby, which would lead to another body and some blood.
  4. This will finally lead you to some footprints that will take you to the large hut on the southern side of the village.

In this hut, open the hatch and jump down, and you’ll meet one of the Vildkaarl named Halgrim. Confront him, and a fight will start. For The first half, he would fight as a human. Once the half-fight is over, he will turn into a bear. This part will be like the one you fought earlier against the bears. Rely solely on basic attacks and defeat him.

As he is defeated, both of you will move forward until a cutscene starts. This will show the ritual which transforms the men into bears. Once the ritual ends, both of you would approach him and interrogate the Druid leading the ritual. The Druid, named Artis, refuses to cooperate, which leads to another fight, this time against two Berserkers.

Once the fight ends, a letter would be found confirming the theory that they weren’t acting alone but on the orders of someone else. The anonymous person promised them a position in the court, which is why they performed this massacre.

Hjalmar wants it to end, so he takes the head of the berserker and plans to clear his clan’s name by claiming the Vildkaarl were the culprits. Finally, both returned to Kaer Trolde, where others were waiting. Here Jarls would listen to Hjalmar and clear his clan’s name, which would then make both the siblings clear to stand for ruler.

Should you side with Cerys or Hjalmar?

choose hajlmar or cerys

Once the quest is done, you’ll get to talk with Crach. This time, he will reward you with a crossbow, Death From Above crossbow, and you will receive up to 200 XP points. At the end of the conversation, he would invite you to the coronation. This will start another quest. Here, you can either choose to go with him or go to the selected location later on.

The new ruler would be chosen according to your choice, depending on who you sided with. There will be some consequences based on the choice you made though.

If you choose Cerys, the country would stop going on raids and would instead focus more on sustainability by focusing on agriculture. Her strategies would be much more planned out, and she, despite having a weaker army, would flourish in her region.

On the other hand, if you choose Hjalmar, he would be crowned king. He would continue with the raids and keep the country going as it is. However, his constant raids and the reasoning behind them may drive the region to be much more bloodthirsty which can be a problem. Also, he doesn’t handle any negotiation or decision-making other than war-related stuff. If asked about anything other than fighting, he says his sister handles that aspect. This makes his position somewhat pointless.

According to popular opinion, most people like to choose Cerys. She is a smart person who thinks before taking any action. As observed during their quests, Cerys figures out the real culprit and all the other leads by using her brain and tactics. Meanwhile, Hjalmar fails to do so and just blames it on one group of people without knowing who disrupted the celebration.

However, Hjalmar’s ruling means he would definitely take down the Nilfgaardian invasion and deal with it head-on whereas Cerys’ stance on it is not convincing. This detail is much less focused on as Cerys is believed to use her brain for something good as a counter even if something comes up. So we overall, we think that Cerys is a better choice here.

Option 3: Don’t interfere

If you choose the 3rd option, “You two can handle this fine without me”, after defeating the bear, the quest will be marked as complete, and you won’t need to continue from there on. Later on, you’ll know that Svanrige became King according to what Birna Bran wanted. You won’t get to be part of any coronation or quest related to this event. Also, you’ll lose a lot of XP and the chance to have an adventure.

As this is a side quest, you won’t lose much other than the responsibility of making a political decision. Svanrige proves to be a good king for Skellige and goes against his mother’s ideas. He does pretty well and keeps the country as it is, which is a safe option. The fate of the siblings is also revealed, which is that they both died alongside each other during a battle.

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Arslan Shah is junior editor at, a video games addict with more than a decade spent honing the craft. He is a roleplaying video games enthusiast and loves a good story driven RPG.