The first part of Gothic tells the story of The Nameless Hero, a man thrust into the events of a penal colony. The colony takes the form of a natural landscape encased in a large magical shield known as The Barrier, much like an impenetrable dome. Over the course of the story, The Nameless Hero becomes acquainted with several characters, the most notable of which are Diego, Lee, Cor Angar, Lester, Gorn, Lares, Milten, and Xardas. Some of these characters are connected with the various factions of the game, which include the Old Camp, the New Camp and the Swamp Camp. Also connected with these factions are the water and fire mages, of which Xardas is an outcast. Xardas, a necromancer, plays a central part to the survival and advancement of the character. Ultimately, he galvanizes the character toward the ultimate goal of stopping the summoning of a beast known as The Sleeper, but the entrance was guarded by a camp of orcs. The hero was helped by an orc shaman named Ur-Shak, who made an artifact that would prevent the orcs from attacking him. The Nameless Hero banishes The Sleeper at the cost of nearly losing his own life.
The second part of Gothic sees The Nameless Hero resurrected by Xardas into a new setting. Now located outside the city of Khorinis, he is asked by Xardas to investigate a new evil that threatens Khorinis and the surrounding lands. Over the course of the story, The Nameless Hero reconnects with old friends from the first chapter while adjusting to changes in the faction structure. With the penal colony and its barrier a thing of the past, the surrounding lands have been invaded by orcs. Factions now consist of the Militia/Paladins of Khorinis, the Fire Novices/Fire Mages, and the Mercenaries/Dragon Hunters. Water mages also make a return. Having discovered the source of the evil threatening Khorinis, our hero assembles a crew of trusted friends and sails to a nearby island. There he battles a large undead dragon, completing the central quest of the chapter. The chapter closes with the hero and his allies sailing away from the island.
Gothic 2 also has an expansion called Night of the Raven. In the expansion, the Hero faced many new dangers and a new unexplored world. The Water Mages played an important role in the expansion. There was a new faction known as the Ring of Water, who had the same relationship to the Water Mages as the Paladins do to the Fire Mages. The main antagonist was Raven, who was second-in-command to Gomez, leader of the Old Camp, in the first game. Raven wanted to command the armies of Beliar, the evil one of the 3 gods, along with a new powerful weapon known as the Claw of Beliar.
The third part opens with the Nameless Hero and his friends sailing to a new continent overrun with orcs, arriving in the Myrtana, the central region of the continent. The hero lost all his stuff from the previous game when his ship is stolen while he's onshore with Milten, Diego, Gorn, and Lester. Presumably this is the source of the orc invasion that was launched on Khorinis during the second chapter. These lands have no physical connection to Khorinis or the ruins of the penal colony. In these mountainous forests the orcs have enslaved the human kingdom with only a few free humans living in the nearly uninhabitable icy northlands of Nordmar and the southern desert of Varant. The hero must decide whether to join the rebellion and stay true to the deposed human king, serve the Orcish usurpers in their quest to topple the last remaining human stronghold, or choose a path that serves his own ends. Throughout the story, he is accompanied by a number of NPCs, some of whom are old friends. While this chapter brings forward friends from the previous title (Xardas, Diego, Milten, Gorn, Lester, Lee, and Vatras) it also introduces two new major characters; King Rhobar the Second (who ultimately was responsible for sending the Nameless Hero to the penal colony in the first game) and Zuben. While the king has a strong past as a bold leader, he now faces a near defeat; his fame on the decline. Zuben leads the Hashishin that inhabit the southern region of Varant.