As a youth, he fell in with bad company, most notably the baron Surcratasse, Lady de Lisemore and Redanian ambassadors in the kingdom of Kovir and Poviss. Probably thanks to the intervention promised by the sorceress Sheala de Tancarville, he straightened out and resumed his studies.
After the massacre at Loc Muinne and the beginning of the Third Nilfgaard War, Tancred was the only king in the North who remained supportive of mages, who were being tracked by hunters loyal to Radovid V and the Church of the Eternal Fire. Providing support and sanctuary to mages fleeing persecution, he assisted Triss Merigold's effort to get the mages out of Novigrad. He offered Triss a role as his advisor.