Madman achievement in The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings


Finish the game while playing at the Dark difficulty level.

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How to unlock the Madman achievement

  • The HeapeThe Heape679,450
    02 May 2012 03 May 2012 14 Jun 2012
    84 4 25
    Witcher 2 is quite a difficult game on dark but if you go slow and not try to blitz it to get it over with you can save yourself a lot of headaches. The hardest part is just getting thru the prologue honestly before level ups and upgraded armor.

    With my strategy I was able to complete the entire game using only two types of potions, no bombs/daggers and no armor or weapon enhancements. I also recommend Roche’s path as I found it easier and there is an exclusive perk that is beneficial for late boss fights. I do recommend the side quests because they aren’t too hard and more xp means more skills.

    As far as the skills go I used the swordsman path because that is what I am suited to, in act three I only used the Vitality increase on the Alchemy path and upgraded Quen on the Mage path.

    The big benefits of playing on dark are the 3 exclusive armor and weapon sets on for each act. They are the best in class possible equipment so you need nothing else. You have to wear the full set miss one piece and your health will drain when your sword is drawn, if you have the full set you will receive a percentage of health from the damage you do and the screen goes black and white when the sword is drawn. These sets require tons of Orens and parts so grab everything that isn’t bolted down, if you become overweight drop the cheaper heavy items like weapons or Iron ore etc.

    I am going to detail how to get these, perks/abilities to look out for and any particularly tough battles you will encounter on Roche’s path. If you have any tips for Iorveth’s path please leave them in the comments.


    The Enhanced edition came with some better armor (Blue Stripes jacket)so equip it right off the bat.

    In the camp destroy the five training dummies near the dice player. These will be the first of 10 to get the Experience perk which will boost your experience gain by 10%.

    Although it’s painfully slow it can be beneficial if you use fire runes or the Igni sign to burn yourself in one of the campfires 15 times for the Pyromaniac perk to give yourself a 20% in your chance to incinerate. Make sure to fully heal and save every so often so you don’t accidentally kill yourself and have to start over.

    Once you’re at the solo part with the ballista this is the true test of Dark just land a hit and roll away use your Quen sign as a buffer and use Aard on shielded enemies. That will pretty much be the strategy for the rest of the game so get used to it. If you come to a group that is too hard just use a swallow potion when you go back it’s the only potion I ever used in the game.

    Make sure you head to area far behind the ballista and find Altaïr to get another perk, Assassin for 25% more damage when you hit from behind, do this before you interact with the ballista.

    When you get to Aryan La Valette talk him out of fighting this is the first step to the Strong Back perk that gives you 50 more weight capacity, the last part is helping him out of the prison at the end of the prologue.

    Just take it slow on the way to the temple and keep up Quen, Aard, one hit, roll technique.

    ACT 1 –

    Stay under Triss’ magic umbrella at the beginning for Cover which will give you a 10% damage reduction bonus VERY helpful.

    The rest of our five training dummies for Experienced are here. You’ll find two by the non-human exit to the forest, two upstairs in the barracks behind the gallows (make sure you sheath your sword after destroying one or the guards will attack you), and another two are in Loredo’s compound (agree to killing Iorveth to get access).

    When you run across a trap in the forest disable it while he is doing the animation use your medallion (click the left stick) about 5-10 times for the Sapper perk this gives you a 50/50 chance to avoid damage when you set off a trap.

    When talking to the merchant use the Axii sign option to double the payment for killing the Kayran when you come back to collect you will receive the Haggling perk that will take 20% off items in the shops. Which bring me to…

    The first set of Dark mode armor and weapons can be bought from the dwarf blacksmith in the back of town it is the Blasphemer Set you will require 2511 Orens to make and the following items:

    4x Amethyst Dust
    5x Diamond Dust
    5x Endrega Hide
    2x Endrega Venom
    16x Hardened Leather
    16x Iron Ore
    8x Nekker Claws
    9x Nekker Teeth
    20x Robust Cloth
    12x Silver Ore
    20x Studded Leather
    5x Timber
    4x Twine
    2x Yellow Meteorite Ore

    So if you have an item not on this list or it’s not needed for the other act’s armors set it you need every penny. Rob every house and then grind the monsters in the forest for surplus parts. The robust cloth and studded/hardened leathers are not worth crafting so don’t buy the schematics for those, if your short you can buy them at merchant stalls and just wait 24 hours for a restock. Everything can be found or bought for all the in all the acts but please save extra supplies in your storage chest or whatever for the other acts equipment, you don’t want to get screwed out of Orens.

    The Kayran isn’t hard I didn’t use the trap and forgot to use the Ostmurk potion just dodge and you’ll be fine.

    When you go with Triss to the Elven bath deny that ho some sweet lovin’ for the Resistance to Magic perk which you guessed it gives you a 20% decrease in damage taken from magic attacks.

    Now Letho my first rage inducing moment in the game the key to this guy stay away dodge his Igni and Bombs wait for his Quen to go down. Once it’s down hit him with Aard hit him with 2-3 HEAVY (X) strikes (quick strike barely scratch the guy) then repeat steps one and two.

    ACT 2 –

    Make sure to pick up a Draugir Armor Fragment from the intro to this act otherwise you will be waiting a long time for this act set of armor. Best way is to defeat them in the circle and collect the goodies before you destroy the wraiths to move on.

    This acts armor is the Oathbreaker set can be bought from the Quartermaster’s Assistant in the tent (Roche) or the elven guy in the market of Vergan (Iorveth). The set needs 5026 Orens and the following items:

    7x Amethyst Dust
    2x Blue Meteorite Ore
    3x Diamond Dust
    1x Draugir Armor Fragment
    4x Essence of Death
    18x Hardened Leather
    6x Harpy Feathers
    16x Iron ore
    20x Robust Cloth
    14x Silver Ore
    20x Studded Leather
    5x Timber
    10x Twine

    You know the drill sell everything you don’t need. Harpies are good for farming lots of loot.

    After fighting the Golem in the kingslayer’s hideout and the one in Vergan you will get the David perk gives you a 10% boost in damage to creatures larger than Geralt. Awesome for the dragon in Act 3 although too late for the Draug. That’s ok because…

    Draug fight so criminally easy it’s embarrassing. Run toward him throw down a Yrden (trap sign) after he’s stuck roll behind him and hack away with heavy strikes you will ignore his armor and go straight on health. If you see him duck down and shout he’s probably going to bomb the field with arrows or meteors so make sure you have a Quen up and don’t stop rolling although they usually are death sentences just keep him close and it shouldn’t happen.

    The king and his men try to trap them in the doorway ajoining the rooms and use the Aard, one hit, roll, Quen strategy.

    ACT 3 –

    Armor set can be bought from the guy you turn the gargoyle quest into, it needs 7985 Orens and the following items:

    2x Blue Meteorite Ore
    1x Dragon Scale (can be found in Phillipa’s house immediately after you tell Roche you want to talk to Radovid. Make sure to talk to the guards at the door. Two doors left of the Radovid door.)
    4x Elemental Stone
    2x Essence of Death
    9x Gargoyle Dust
    28x Hardened Leather
    8x Harpy Feathers
    2x Harpy Saliva
    18x Iron Ore
    4x Leather
    26x Robust Cloth
    14x Silver Ore
    8x Studded Leather
    4x Timber
    1x Troll Tongue
    12x Twine

    The only real place to grind here is the gargoyle areas and the Temerian square if you sided with Roche.

    The Dragon last real challenge of the game strike once and roll away, keep the Quen up. You have come this far don’t try to rush it with too many strikes or she will mess you up fast.

    Don’t be a hero let Letho walk, lol. If you must fight him you can pretty much use the same strategy as Act 1.

    That’s it you did it, round of applause for you magnificent bastard. Please leave any helpful comments or constructive criticism below.

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    Showing most recent comments. View all comments.
    runemaxIs there a way to get the 2 Blue Meteorite Ores for Kingslayer if you didn't buy it's diagram in chapter 1?
    Posted by runemax on 03 May 17 at 02:04
    Doktor ZeitWow I never knew about the visual effect when using dark mode swords, I finally saved up enough stuff to make all of the blasphemer equipment and the visual effect was a huge buzz kill. Ended up reloading a save and not even bothering with the swords. You can still wear all the armor pieces without being affected by the curse, I'm in chapter 2 now and the game is still pretty easy even without using the dark mode swords.
    Posted by Doktor Zeit on 10 May 17 at 02:48
    Dragonborn GearThis game on Dark was actually a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. I think I only died just wen I wasn't careful. The only reason I am really commenting is because I love your "Don't be a hero" bit. lol. I used the walkthrough, and after first going through the game on Normal, I think I got a pretty good feel for it. Side note: Letho was super easy. He is really easy to bait, which prevents him from using quen and you can just get a few heavy hits to his back. With Caerm, a couple of fire runes, a few potions, and a whetstone, he was a cinch. I feel like he was harder the first time you fought him or I got better at baiting because he only used Quen to start the match and never used Aard, which was really annoying the first time.
    Posted by Dragonborn Gear on 29 Dec 18 at 01:29
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  • ObsuleteObsulete760,261
    09 May 2012 09 May 2012
    23 1 4
    Magic Users Guide to Dark Difficulty

    First off, if your going to tackle the game on Dark Difficulty waving your sword around then best of luck and get use to the "You Have Died" screen. This game is ruthless, everything comes in packs and if it doesn't it'll most likely murder you in one hit. This is why choosing the magic path is a sensible solution to this hell mode, it allows you to keep your distances and when not an option, a means of evening the odds.

    Aard - Your stun ability. It's a range attack that does little (if any) damage to a target but it will interrupt attacks and has a chance to stun, allowing you to instantly kill with your sword. This is not a very useful ability outside of chapter 1, the stun rate is low and most larger monsters are immune and its easily outclassed by a fullly upgraded Igni sign.

    Igni - This is the main attack sign and your best friend. It starts of doing a moderate amount of damage to a single target but with the right talent points, runes and armor upgrades you can spam the hell out of it and murder large groups of monsters in seconds.

    Quen - The second best spell in the game, it provides you with a protective barrier that will absorb an attack. With talents it can also transfer damage back to the attacker. The downside is you can not regenerate vigor while it's active, limiting your ability to cast other spells. It's best used when your forced to go sword to sword or in tight spaces, also works wonders against traps and fire.

    Axii - This sign allows you to make allies out of your enemies for a few moments. It has a cast time that leaves you open to attack by others but once it is cast it will keep enemies distracted allowing you to get in behind and get a few stabs in. This ability is all about strategy and personal play style, there only a few parts in the game that require you to use it. It is best used in conjunction with Yrden.

    Yrden - This is your main crowd control ability, it allows you to place a magical trap on the ground that will totally immobilize and enemy for about 10 seconds; attacks can cause the trap to break. This ability is best used with the Axii sign, allowing you to snag one monsters while you concentrate on hexing his friend. With proper talent placement Yrden turns into a force field that will prevent monsters from passing between multiple traps.


    Recommended -

    Vigor Regeneration (Training) - Basicly a must have, it increases your vigor regen while in combat.

    Fortitude (Training) - More vigor combat regen, plus a second point in this talent gives you your first additions vigor bar and a mutagen slot.

    Destructive Magic (Magic) - Increases sign damage and provides you with yet another vigor bar.

    Enhanced Quen Sign (Magic) - Increases the length of time the spell lasts and gives the sign the ability to deflect damage back at your attacker.

    Magic Intensification (Magic) - Increases the overall effect of your signs.

    Magic Vigor (Magic) - More Vigor, more spells.

    Enhanced Igni Sign (Magic) - Increases damage, range, adds an area effect component and a chance for targets to be set ablaze. A must have, ignore putting a second talent point into anything else until you put two in this one.

    Control Over the Power (Magic) - Increases your sign damage plus adds passive resistances to all effects.

    Schemer (Swordsmanship) - Increases your vigor combat regen by up to 40%. This is kind of optional, kind of not. I recommend getting this after everything else above.

    Optional Talents

    Sense of Magic (Magic) - This gives you the ability to generate adrenaline which is used to trigger a slow-mo ability. I rarely used it, it takes awhile to generate adrenaline using spells and the ability only last 20 seconds and is limited to inside a small circle at the spot you cast it, it also a prereq for Control Over the Power so you have to put at least one point in it.

    Enhanced Axii Sign (Magic) - Increases the health and damage done by mind controlled monsters. This is a must for anyone who enjoys watching enemies beat each other up.

    Fatal Attractions (Magic) - Allows you to ensnare multiple enemies (up to 3) with Axii.

    Enhanced Yrden Sign (Magic) - Allows you to place multiple (up to 3) magic traps on the ground. Incredibly powerful when combined with Glyph Enhancement.

    Glyph Enhancement (Magic) - Allows Yrden traps to be tethered together, creating a wall monsters can't move through. Perfect for Axii users, no worrying about enemies hitting you during casting.

    Alchemist (Alchemy) - Increases damage done with bombs. I found bombs useful while your waiting for your vigor to regenerate.

    Equipment and Potions

    I am not going to list out everything, there just way to much mage friendly equipment out there but I will give some tips on what to look for. First look for swords with multiple improvement slots, each slot can be fitted with a moon rune that will increase sign damage by 4. Their is a bunch of armor that has increased sign damage stats, the obvious stuff says Mage in the name but the best is found through quests or just exploring. Their is also a few armor improvements that will add sign damage but they can't be bought or created so you should save them for a piece of armor your sure you'll keep.

    I rarely used potions, they require you to prep ahead of combat but I found that you move so quickly through the game that you just forgo their use. Another problem is most potions come with side effects, magic friendly potions will cost you vitality which can be the difference between two hits or one before you die. If you must use potions I recommend Petri's Philter, it adds +7 damage to signs with no side effects.

    If your good at saving money I would highly recommend building the suits of armor available in Dark Difficulty. They are the most powerful pieces of armor in the game and while it is possible to put together a superior set of magic friendly armor, the rounded out stats of the dark armor makes them ideal for those encounters that magic might not easy solve.


    Prelude Strategies -
    The largest problem for the first part of the game is the fact that your abilities are so weak. You'll need to rely on everything in the prelude, not just magic. When fighting multiple enemy I would recommend using Axii to charm an enemy then while they distracted take a few cheap shots at the non-charmed enemy or deal any extras if dealing with 3 opponents. If dealing with more then 3, charm one to remove 2 out of the fight, then thrown a Yrden to trap remove another.

    When dealing with the start of the "WTF am I suppose to do" dragon part, use Quen to protect yourself from the flames and use Axii to let the guards kill each other.

    Chapter 1 Strategies -
    Learn how to build Grapeshot bombs from Cedric, they'll supplement your damage and give you something to do while your vigor regenerates; you also need them to deal with the Nekker Nests, both in blowing the nest up and dealing with the swarms of Nekkers that spawn at them.

    If you choose to deal with the haunted hospital I found that this strategy works the best; wraiths always spawn in pairs so place Yrden traps to capture one of them while you Axii the other, while they beat each other up place another Yrden sign down so when the charm finally breaks you won't have to worry about getting blasted by the other wraith during an Axii attempt.

    When you fight the Kayan, I would recommend putting up your Quen sign. One hit from this monster will normally kill you.

    When you fight Letho I would recommend attacking with Aard to begin with followed by sword attacks until he blocks then hit him with Aard again, when you run out of vigor roll back and just dodge his attacks as best you can until your vigor is back up. You can also try and throw grapeshot at him but do so at a distance because he will sword swipe you before you can throw if you're to close.

    Chapter 2 Strategies -
    At this point you should have the Enhanced Igni talent which means you can just spam the hell out of it and everything will die. There really isn't any notable battles in this chapter that require any sign related special strategies, just remember to Quen up if you have to go in with swords.

    Chapter 3 Strategies -

    Fireball Spam everything.

    You will fight the dragon in this chapter and if your feeling ballsy you can try to fireball spam it but I would recommend keeping Quen up at all times (the dragon can one shot you and Quen will also protect you from it flame) and use grapeshot to bring its health down.

    You can fight Letho again if you choose but this time you have a secret weapon, FIREBALL SPAM!

    As an additional strategy to the FIREBALL SPAM everything you can use the combination of Yrden and Axii to take down almost anything. If both signs talents maxed out you can use Yrden to create a force field around yourself or across a narrow corridor while you use Axii to charm and quickly dispatch multiple enemy. It perfect in tight areas with multiple enemies, it also fun to watch.
    Showing most recent comments. View all comments.
    sonnyforpleI printed out your guide for my Dark/Magic run though and it was quite helpful. Thank you. There's only a couple difficult fights but using your level up guide made this fairly easy.
    Posted by sonnyforple on 25 Dec 12 at 22:37
    Crimson DrifterAlthough I'm not following the magic path, I will keep in mind about using the Grapeshot bombs on the dragon, so far not having any issues going the Sword path. Using Lvl. 3 Aard i can pretty much keep anything in check so far
    Posted by Crimson Drifter on 12 May 14 at 23:06
    FoogaKind of late to the party but do you remember if you took Roche path or Iorveth path?
    Posted by Fooga on 06 Aug 18 at 04:19
  • CPCrookedManCPCrookedMan755,941
    04 Mar 2013 04 Mar 2013 04 Mar 2013
    6 1 5
    For those of you who are having difficulty with the dragon in spite of the guides, as neither of them truly detail the battle, I may have a strategy.

    As a result of playing the battle for an hour and a half, the dragon's moveset and mannerisms gradually became clearer.

    Ground: Fire- the dragon rears up on its haunches and breathes fire, then lowers its head again

    Snap- Lashes out with its head and snaps its jaws at close range

    Short lunge- exactly as you would assume, the dragon launches its head across a quarter of the field

    Long lunge- the dragon launches its head across half the field, if you are at the opposite edge and cannot walk further it will not hit you

    Rear- the dragon rears on its haunches and slams down, this is easily confusable with fire and can knock you down and allow the dragon to quick swipe kill you (watch its neck to discern between the two)

    Tail- the dragon lashes out with its tail whip from below, keep up quen and keep rolling, however rely on quen as it is difficult to avoid

    Snap from below- after the dragon disappears, this is its other attack, observe all sides and use quen


    Fire- the dragon files in a circle spraying fire, quen makes you invulnerable and with a dark set, you should have high incineration resistance anyway

    Swoop- the dragon dives at you, easily avoidable with a roll

    Now that the moveset is adressed, aside from knowing to roll and abuse quen against the air and attacks from below as you cannot damage it, my advice for you is singular; when the dragon is on the tower REMAIN CLOSE TO ITS FACE.

    Simple as it sounds, this was my method for victory, which I managed only with Blasphemers armor and a red meteorite silver sword.

    As you roll toward the face and away, the dragon will cycle between lunge and fire attacks and remains focused on these, which keeps it away from its repertoire of attacks from below. These are most liable to kill you. Roll toward it, swing a heavy strike and roll away. After it lunges do the same AFTER its head retracts. When it breathes fire, stand under the flame with quen, you will be invulnerable, and wait for the head to lower. Heavy strike and roll away. If you can manage two heavy strikes after the flame, it SHOULD cycle back to flame and you can abuse this for a bit.

    NEVER attack the head from either side, only directly, otherwise it tends to knock you over and then attack you like a bitch when you are down. This kills you.

    Again, stay in its general ground attack range, and you should limit its attacks from below and the aerial one (which simply tends to drag the fight out.) If you are supremely cautious, roll toward and away until it cycles to ground flame again and again, and only attack it then. (Remember the two hit loop.) Also, equip two whetstones to expedite the encounter.

    This attack pattern is not set in stone, however after trying for so long, and tearing a piece of my skin off in a rage, the proximity rolls seemed to keep it grounded 9/10 times and should allow you to win, no matter the weapon. Patience is key, do not become overzealous with strikes when you might be about to win or you will one hit.
    Showing most recent comments. View all comments.
    WyndoThe dragon battle at the end was by far one of the most difficult things I've had to do in a video game. I tried several times, and even though it was several months ago when I played, I remember it being like a 30-minute battle where just one or two minor slip-ups meant losing and starting over.
    Posted by Wyndo on 02 Sep 13 at 23:56
    Karachi KingAfter numerous tries, this solution worked great.
    (I also realised I had accidentally unequipped part of the Kinslayer outfit, thus draining my health constantly. Oops)
    Posted by Karachi King on 27 Nov 13 at 07:42
    Crimson DrifterI hate being that guy, but the dragon was not hard at all. Beat her first time. Just heavy strike once, roll away, repeat. Keep Quen up at all times. Block when fire comes. Done! Kinslayer outfit is unnecessary, since you will have Quen up, armor doesn't really matter.

    I went full swordsman path, only magic path I did was Quen to Lvl 3, Aard to Lvl 3, then vigor +2 (had 5 vigor at the end).

    You can also use a whetstone to increase damage, I also used a potion (can't recall the name) Thundervolt maybe? to increase my damage another 20%.
    Posted by Crimson Drifter on 15 May 14 at 17:40
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