A Poet Under Pressure is a main quest in The Witcher 3, which reunites Geralt with his long-time friend, Dandelion. Taking place around the outskirts of Novigrad, this quest will trigger automatically upon the completion of the previous quest, The Play’s The Thing.
Along with Geralt's search for Ciri, he discovers she met up with Dandelion for a time, thus beginning the witcher’s search for his old friend. Unfortunately, instead of finding Dandelion, he learns the poet was imprisoned at Temple Isle and set to be transferred to Oxenfurt for Execution. Naturally, being the white knight and good — all be begrudging — friend he is, Geralt sets out on a quest to save the bard.
The first objective is to meet Zoltan at the ambush site, which will be clearly marked on your mini-map along a road outside Novigrad as long as the quest and objective are active. Shortly after Geralt's arrival, Pricilla will deliver Dudu’s message and refuse to leave despite whether Geralt urges her to do so.
This presents Geralt with the opportunity to play the stubborn songstress in a game of Gwent while the party waits, though the match is entirely optional. Just after the match and cutscene is also a good time to apply some Hanged Man’s Oil to Geralt’s blade in order to make swift work of the Witch Hunters in the upcoming onslaught.
There’s also the possibility that Dijkstra may send a small company to assist in the ambush, provided Geralt successfully retrieved the spy’s treasure during the quest, Count Reuven’s Treasure. He’ll then need to stop off at the bathhouse to request additional aid. Though Geralt rightly distrusts Dijkstra in general, by being upfront with his old acquaintance this time, Dijkstra will send six men to aid the fight instead of three.
When the ambush starts, a guard will ride off with Dandelion, and Zoltan will urge Geralt to follow. Although, there is no harm in staying to help Zoltan fight, and it earns Geralt more experience and loot for his trouble.
Following The Trail
Following immediately, Geralt will likely still lose the getaway rider and need to track them using Geralt's witcher senses regardless.
Before chasing the pair too far, an easily-missed objective during this quest is to find and return Dandelion’s ring. If you wish to do so, halt Geralt’s pursuit just after riding by the lake and dismount in order to dispatch a few drowners, then comb the area for the tiny trinket using Geralt’s witcher senses.
Once Geralt picks up the trail again, follow the heavy set of horseshoe prints in the same direction Geralt began the pursuit. Along this path, Geralt can sight several stray sheets of poetry dropped by the abducted bard using his witcher senses.
The tracks will lead to a camp stationed at a fork in the road, where the witcher can ask the residing blacksmith which way the horse and two riders went. Though, this will only slow Geralt’s search as the smithy lies and directs Geralt down the path to the left. But by scouting the right path with his witcher senses, Geralt should find Dandelion’s cap, from which he can glean the bard’s scent and continue the search by smell.
As the scent leads Geralt near a secluded cabin, he will come across the poor collapsed steed that carried the Witch Hunter and the bard. Continuing toward the cabin, Geralt should approach a group of disgruntled dwarves who've been unceremoniously ousted, confirming the guard and Dandelion are inside.
The dwarves will tell of a cellar entrance in the field behind the hut and give Geralt the key to get inside. Geralt must enter through the cellar hatch and work his way through the richly stocked basement. Despite the dire situation, Geralt can have faith in the bard's epic stalling powers and take his time sorting through the loot down in the cellar as there are some great crafting material finds.
When Geralt makes it to the other end of the cellar and comes through the door at the top of the ladder, he should have a fairly easy time dispatching the single Witch Hunter inside and freeing his mouthy friend. Once outside and reunited with Pricilla, Dandelion will then divulge his recent adventures with Ciri.
Ciri's Story: Breakneck Speed
When the scene cuts to “Ciri’s Story” gameplay, the objective is to escape Whoreson's men and flee towards Temple Isle. It’s a fairly simple tag-on quest, but Ciri'll need to use a combination of her abilities and sword to maneuver her way off of the estate.
After gleaning another small piece of Ciri's still unclear fate and earning the hefty 1,000 experience points rewarded, Geralt will determine the only place left to search for Ciri is in Skellige. But before making haste to the docks, remember to check in with the dwarves one last time to accept the “Painting of Hierarch Hemmelfart” they gift to Geralt in appreciation for liberating their workshop.