If the medallion is tuned to detect monsters, it will vibrate whenever a monster is near. When the monster is very close, there will also be a red haze around the left side of the screen, and the medallion will vibrate quite violently.
If the medallion is tuned to detect magic, then it will vibrate in the same manner when in proximity to a Place of Power.
The medallion emits an audible vibration when in the presence of magic. It can be used when energized, as indicated by a pulsating yellow aura. Using the causes the medallion to highlight items such as herbs, monsters, monster remains, and containers in orange, and Circles of Power in red; this function is extremely helpful in cluttered and overgrown areas. Surrounding the medallion are the player's various level indicators:
- Vitality – indicates Geralt's health level. Reduction to zero results in death.
- Vigor – necessary to cast signs and/or block enemy blows.
- Toxicity – increases for the duration of each potion consumed, effectively limiting how many may be active at once.
In the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the medallion has a diminished role, being largely replaced by witcher senses, an ability that wasn't present in previous installments of the trilogy. Though it gets mentioned when Geralt talks to someone generating magic such as a cursed being, and vibrates infrequently (whether pointing out a clue or warning of danger) as the player explores the world.
- According to Geralt in The Last Wish, no monster can touch a witcher's medallion.
- Leo Bonhart boasts a collection of three witcher medallions: a cat, a griffin, and a wolf. After his death in The Lady of the Lake, Ciri claimed the cat medallion for herself, gave the wolf one to Geralt (whose own original medallion was destroyed near the end of The Tower of the Swallow), and the griffin one to Yennefer.
- A wolf's-head keychain was part of the packaging for some editions of the original game, with a full replica included in the third game's collector's edition. More of these replicas can be purchased from The Witcher Official Store.