‘Following The Thread‘ is an optional side quest in The Witcher 3 that sees you help out Geralt’s old pal, Lambert. Despite being of questionable intellect for most of the game, this quest highlights the qualities of Lambert that makes him a top-drawer Witcher, and largely testifies to why he and Geralt are even friends in the first place.
There’s a lot to this quest, though, and it’s easy to make the wrong choices as you progress through it. That’s why we’ve put together a handy guide to clearly outline all the quest’s fail conditions, as well as describe how to complete it in the optimal way.
Updated on November 28, 2022 by Quinton O’Connor: The Witcher 3 is now seven years old and counting, and we dare say someone will read this guide some seven further years from now and more. The game has cemented itself among the most popular RPGs of all time. As of this writing, a next-gen patch is coming to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles, so now’s the perfect time to tidy things up around here.
If Following The Thread Has Failed
If you’re here, there’s a pretty good chance that starting this quest has caused you to fail another one, or starting a new mission has marked this one as failed. There’s a good reason for both of those things — and an easy fix.
Because The Witcher 3 is broken up into the main story, large-scale side quests, and less important optional missions, there are certain points in the game where beginning a new quest will lock off one or several old ones. This is mostly due to continuity — you can’t do a quest if you’ve clearly just completed another one that renders it redundant.
There are two failures that can arise from ‘Following The Thread’. First, starting this quest will cause the ‘Flesh For Sale’ quest in Skellige to be marked as failed. If you want to do that one, be sure to finish it before agreeing to help Lambert in ‘Following The Thread’.
Similarly, if you started ‘Following The Thread’ but moved on before finishing it, there’s a chance you might accidentally lock yourself out of it forever. Basically, you need to finish ‘Following The Thread’ prior to starting the main story mission called ‘Ugly Baby’. If ‘Ugly Baby’ is in your quest log and’ Following The Thread’ isn’t, you won’t be able to complete it in this playthrough unless you have a backup save from beforehand.
A Guide To Following The Thread
To start ‘Following The Thread’, you’ll have to read the clippings posted on the noticeboard at Hierarch Square in Novigrad. One of the contracts here has already been claimed by another Witcher, so your objective is to visit the scene of the crime in order to catch up with them.
Once you arrive, you’ll see that the Witcher in question is Lambert. After helping him to dispatch an Ekkimara, you’ll be tasked with heading back to the contract-giver for a reward. Lambert being Lambert, a fight erupts, and you end up having to kill several guards. At this point Lambert invites you to the pub, where he goes on to reveal his true motives: he’s on the hunt for an assassin that killed his friend, Aiden.
One of the members of the assassin’s gang, Vienne, is here at the Seven Cats Inn. After Lambert questions her, she reveals the locations of two of the people involved in Aiden’s murder — here, you’ll have to make your first choice. If you choose “do what you want,” yet another fight breaks out — you get used to this once you hang around with Lambert for long enough. Opting for the “don’t kill her” option, however, means that there’s no conflict, and allows you to progress directly to the next part of the quest: searching for Hammond in Faroe.
After arriving at Trottheim, one of Faroe’s two villages, you’ll meet a group of pirates, who will in turn direct you to Hammond. A brief conversation will unfold, and you’ll be forced into fighting once again. Kill Hammond and loot his body for a note from Jad Karadin, Aiden’s killer.
Equipped with newfound knowledge of Karadin’s location, it’s time to reunite with Lambert at The Nowhere Inn.
Following The Thread Choices And Outcomes
This leads directly to the end of the quest, where you’ll be faced with the only weighty decision in its storyline. Karadin, now a rich merchant with a family of his own in Novigrad, reveals that he was once a Witcher, too, but left that life behind a long time ago. He explains that he didn’t want to kill Aiden, but was forced into doing so after the young Witcher attacked him and his crew.
Lambert, still driven by vengeance, doesn’t care about Karadin’s sob story. However, most people would assume that the idea of killing another Witcher — retired or not — would never sit right with Geralt. Ultimately, the decision to kill Karadin or let him live falls squarely on your shoulders.
Regardless of whatever choice you make, interactions with Lambert throughout the rest of the game remain completely unchanged, from his arc in the Old Pals questline to the main narrative at Kaer Morhen. On top of that, most of the XP for finishing the quest comes from simply meeting Lambert at Hierarch Square outside Karadin’s home, and although sparing him offers a small amount of extra experience, it’s relatively negligible.
So from a practical perspective, it’s all the same, really — it just depends on whether you think Lambert’s desire for revenge is justified, or you believe in an old man’s ability to change for the better. Either way, the thread ends here, sewn in whatever way you choose it to be.