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Depending on your point of view, either Vaska or the Hierophant gives Geralt the Diplomacy and Hunting quest in Chapter III. They both contribute information to get things started in this quest which reveals even more about the Salamandra organization and the extent of its reach.
Vaska gives Geralt this quest upon the completion of Reaping time, when the witcher finishes that quest and returns to her with the report. After thanking him for all his help (as he is also found the missing boy by then) she tells him that the druids have been keeping an eye on Salamandra and could help him with his plan to dismantle the organization. She tells him to seek out the Hierophant for more details.
Geralt then goes to the Druids' grove and speaks with the Hierophant who tells him that he has "heard it on the wind and seen [what the witcher wants] through animal eyes."He explains that Salamandra wants to increase the potency of fisstech and have asked the druids for help with ingredients. He also offers to help kill Roland Bleinheim by luring him with talk of this more potent ingredient for the drug-lab. For this, He wants a psilocybe mushroom, which he tells Geralt is in the swamp cave to the south, guarded by cockatrices.
The witcher then heads over to the cave to find and pick the aforementioned mushroom. It is entirely possible at this point in the narrative that Geralt has already cleared the cave of the cockatrices as that is where he found one of the three groups of hostages in Reaping Time and the missing boy.
Having secured the mushroom, our hero then returns to the grove with it. The Hierophant is grateful for the help, but this is just the beginning. He gives Geralt time to get ready for the ambush, if he needs it. When the witcher is ready, they head out, but not alone the Hierophant also brings his wyvern friends as backup. He also provides the witcher with heal services during the battle (unless he is knocked down himself, but do not worry, he will get back up after the fight.)
After the battle, Geralt loots the remains (of course!) and finds an Encrypted document as well as a Royal letter of safe conduct on Roland Bleinheim's dead body. The document can not be read as is, it needs to be decoded, so Geralt has to wait until he has completed the The Viziman Connection quest and found the key to the Salamandra code to further the investigation. He thanks the Hierophant and they have one last little chat which concludes the quest.
- Failing to start the quest before attacking the Salamdra base will result in no XP, and the quest not starting. This will not affect other quests, however.
- There is no experience reward simply for picking up the psilocybe mushroom in the cave when this quest prompts you to do so. Therefore, there is no negative impact on experience if you pick this mushroom up before the quest is active.
- You must speak with the hierophant after the battle, otherwise the poor fellow might wait there forever and the quest would never be updated.
- There will still remain a sizeable (though much depleted) Salamandra encampment where the Scoia'tael were in the previous act. You can now dispatch the remaining bad guys quite easily for a few extra experience points and booty. (The first time I played the game, I did not realize that I could get help clearing that camp and managed to kill everyone even before doing the Reaping Time quest.)
- It is possible to skip the most of the steps in this quest if you kill all the Salamanders (and Roland Bleinheim) at the Salamandra encampment. This negatively affects the amount of XP earned though. Basically killing Bleinheim "zooms" you down to the third last phase of the quest.
- The alternative path of completing this quest by barging into the Salamander camp and killing everyone there instead of escorting the Hierophant can be chosen at any point prior to beginning of the escort. This causes the quest to have an alternative ending in the phase The Coded Letter. Choosing this alternative path eliminates all quest XP from completing it successfully, meaning a maximum of 1000 XP if you brought the psilocybe to the Hierophant. Unless you talk to Vaska or the hierophant and pick up the quest again.
The Hierophant / Bleinheim's Death Edit
|Geralt learns of the druids' fight: I learned the Druids are willing to help me combat Salamandra. I should speak to the hierophant in the Druids' grove.|
|Geralt stumbles on the Salamandra camp: I killed Roland Bleinheim, the local Salamandra leader. I should search his corpse, I may find something important. I killed Roland Bleinheim. I should check his pockets.|
Picking Mushrooms / The Coded Message Edit
|Geralt learns of the druids' fight: The hierophant told me Salamandra has been harassing the druids, trying to force them to cooperate. We need to get the Salamandra leader out of their camp, set up an ambush. To do this I must find a psilocybe mushroom and bring it to the chief druid. The mushroom grows in cave [sic] — a cockatrice-infested one, unfortunately. I must retrieve a psilocybe mushroom from the cave indicated by the druid.|
|Geralt stumbles on the Salamandra camp: Roland had a coded message on him. Now I need a key to decode it... I've captured some Salamandra documents. I can now pursue some other leads.|
I found a psilocybe mushroom. I should take it to the hierophant so that he can prepare the potion that will help us set a trap for Roland Bleinheim. I should take the psilocybe to the hierophant.
The Trap Edit
I found the mushroom and gave it to the hierophant. He said the trap for Roland Bleinheim is set. I should prepare for the fight and talk to the druid when I'm ready. I should prepare for the fight and talk to the hierophant when I'm ready (1000 XP)
The Escort Edit
Ready at last. I shouldn't leave the druid behind on our way to the meeting. I should escort the druid on our way to the meeting.
I should get ready, the Salamanders will arrive soon. There'll be a fight, that's certain. I should prepare...
Bleinheim's Death Edit
I killed Roland Bleinheim. I should search Bleinheim's corpse.
The Coded Message Edit
Roland had a coded message on him. Now I need a key to decode it. In the meantime, I need to get the document I found to Leuvaarden. I have what I came for. Time to bid the hierophant farewell.
The Letter Edit
I solved the Salamandra problem in the swamp and found an encrypted letter in the process. I need to know what it says. Leuvaarden is my best bet. I can now pursue the other leads in the investigation. (4000 XP)