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You'll automatically receive this quest at the start of Act I.
You'll begin Act I in conversation with Bartrand in
(during the day). You'll try to convince him to bring you along on his Deep Roads expedition, but he won't be interested. However, shortly after your conversation with Bartrand, you'll meet up with his brother Varric, and Varric will make you an offer: if you invest 50 sovereigns in the expedition, then he and Bartrand will make you an equal partner and allow you to come along. Varric will then become available as a companion.
Not long after accepting this deal, you'll learn that there's one other slight problem. During the quest
A Business Discussion
, Varric will reveal that the expedition currently doesn't have a good entrance into the Deep Roads, and you'll be tasked with finding one. So to complete the first stage of the quest, you'll need to do three things:
- You'll need to raise 50 sovereigns. If you complete all of the quests in the act, then you should come away with over 100 sovereigns, so raising the money should not be too much trouble. But if you can't raise enough, or if you can't resist some of the items being sold in the shops (especially if you have the Black Emporium DLC), then at the end of the act you might need to take advantage of the quest
Friends in Low Places to raise the necessary funds.
- You'll need to find a map showing a path into the Deep Roads. You'll accomplish this during the quest
- You'll need to complete all of the main quests other than this one.
Once you've accomplished these three things, when you talk to Bartrand again, he'll accept you into the expedition, and you'll have to decide who will accompany you. Varric is required for the trip, but the other two spots are up to you. Your mother will show up at this point and ask you not to take Bethany / Carver, but it won't make much of a difference if you do. If you take your sibling along, then at the end s/he'll become tainted and either die or join the Grey Wardens (the latter option will only be available if you have Anders with you). If you leave your sibling at home, then Bethany will join the Circle and Carver will join the templars. That means, no matter what, Bethany / Carver will stop being a companion at the end of the expedition.
Note: You'll gain friendship points with Bethany / Carver if you take them with you, and you'll gain rivalry points if you don't.
Another Note: You'll lose all of the equipment on Bethany / Carver when they die or leave, so be sure to strip them of any good gear first.
A Third Note: You'll face some tough creatures during the expedition, and you won't have access to crafting stations or a lot of shops, so it's a good idea to stock up on potions before leaving, especially if you're playing on the hard or nightmare difficulty setting.
A Final Note: The expedition marks the end of Act I, so be sure to complete all of the side and secondary quests you're interested in before leaving.
Inside the Deep Roads
When you arrive at the Deep Roads (#1), you'll discover that the way ahead is blocked by rubble, and you'll volunteer to hunt for a side passage. You'll also learn from Bodahn that Sandal has wandered off. If you agree to look for him, then you'll gain friendship points with Aveline and Varric. If you refuse, then you'll gain rivalry points with Aveline and Varric.
As you explore the Deep Roads, you'll encounter groups of darkspawn, and eventually (no matter what you said to Bodahn) you'll run into Sandal surrounded by a group of darkspawn corpses, not to mention an ogre frozen in place (#7). Sandal will give you the staff
, and then he'll head back to the camp (#1). You'll also receive 400 xp.
Past Sandal, you'll come to a large room where you'll have to fight a dragon (#12). The dragon will do the usual things -- breathe fire, buffet its wings, summon dragonlings -- so you'll need to stay on your toes to keep your party out of danger. In particular, the dragon will stop and stare in a direction for a few seconds before breathing fire, so whenever you notice that, move the targeted character out of the way. When the dragon dies, you'll earn over 1000 xp, and on its corpse you'll find
Last Descent Armor
(if your main character is a rogue),
Robes of the Spiral Eye
(if your main character is a mage), or
Warplate of the Fallen
(if your main character is a warrior).
When you exit the Deep Roads (via Exit A), a cut scene will start up where you'll inform Bartrand that you've discovered a way around the blockage, and he'll move your base camp into the Primeval Ruins (#13). There you'll be able to do some shopping (with Bodahn) and enchanting (with Sandal).
Past the second camp, you'll get attacked by some shades and a stone golem, but then inside the Ancient Crypt, you'll find a Lyrium Idol (#16). When you toss the idol to Bartrand, he'll decide that he'd rather not share any of the profits with you or Varric, and he'll scurry away and lock you inside the crypt. You'll then have to find a way out.
As you explore the crypt, you'll get attacked by shades, stone golems, and profanes, but then eventually you'll come to a rock wraith abomination (#19), which will offer you a deal: if you agree to stop attacking the crypt's denizens, then it will tell you where to find the key that will allow you to escape. However, this deal isn't necessary; you'll only have one way to go, and this path will take you right to the key. So you'll have two or three choices:
- You can take the deal. The abomination will tell you that defeating the ancient rock wraith to the east (#21) will grant you access to the key. For choosing this option you'll receive rivalry points with Anders, Aveline and Fenris.
- You can refuse the deal. You'll have to fight the abomination plus numerous shades and profanes in a tough battle. None of these enemies will drop anything of interest, but you'll receive about 800 xp for defeating them. For choosing this option you'll receive friendship points with Anders and Aveline, and rivalry points with Merrill.
- If you have Merrill with you, then you can ask her to kill the abomination. This will start up the fight just like refusing the deal, except you won't receive any friendship or rivalry points.
Regardless, you'll have to kill the ancient rock wraith (#21), which is the toughest boss in Act I. The wraith has a variety of attacks, including turning into a ball and rolling over anybody in its way, but the one that you'll have to watch out for is when it teleports itself to the center of the room and then builds up and releases energy. This attack will significantly damage your party -- unless you move all of your characters into the corners of the room behind the rock pillars and keep them in place (by pressing H on the PC). After this attack, the wraith will summon some standard profanes to attack you, but then it will slumber for a while, during which time you'll be able to attack it without retaliation. So you'll just need to be careful and avoid the wraith's attacks when you can, and slowly whittle away its health.
At the end of the battle, you'll receive over 10,000 xp, and you'll automatically move over to the treasure chamber (#22), where you'll find the
, the staff
, and 10-20 sovereigns (or the equivalent in random equipment). If you made a deal with the rock wraith abomination (#19), then it will show up here and demand that you only take the key. You'll have a few ways to respond:
- You can have Varric kill the abomination. You'll still have to fight some profanes and shades, but the battle will be easier with the abomination out of the way. You'll gain friendship points with Varric for choosing this option.
- You can intimidate the abomination into leaving by saying "Back off, demon!"
- Any other option will lead to you fighting the abomination, plus some shades and profanes.
Regardless, with key in hand you'll be able to exit the crypt (via Exit C). If you took Bethany / Carver with you, then you'll soon discover that your sibling has been tainted by the darkspawn, and you'll either have to kill your sibling or take him / her to the Grey Wardens (you'll only get the latter option if Anders is with you). If your sibling joins the Grey Wardens, then you'll gain friendship points with Anders, Varric, and your sibling.
Finally, when you exit the Deep Roads, you'll complete the expedition and also Act I, and you'll return to Kirkwall, where the story will pick up three years later.
Note: Before leaving crypt, be sure to loot the remains of the ancient rock wraith (#21).
1 - Starting Point / First Camp
2 - Deep Mushroom (x2)
3 - Locked Chest
Inside this "standard" locked chest, you'll find the maul
4 - Bodahn
If you refused to look for Sandal when you first arrived in the Deep Roads (#1), then you'll have to rescue Bodahn from a group of darkspawn here.
5 - Silverite
6 - Chest
When you approach this chest, you'll get ambushed by giant spiders, including a tough Monstrous Spider. Inside the chest you'll find
Caskhead's Portable Anvil
7 - Sandal
8 - Raw Lyrium (x2)
9 - Pedestal
Examining the pedestal here will give you the "lore" codex entry for
10 - Chest
Inside this chest you'll find a
Blade of Red Birth
11 - Ogre Battle
The ogre will start out with a charge. If you clear out of its way, then it will ram into the opposite wall and get stuck there for a while, allowing you to kill it pretty easily.
12 - Dragon Battle
13 - Second Camp
14 - Chest
Inside this chest you'll find a
Carved Ring of the Vhenadahl
15 - Orichalcum
16 - Lyrium Idol
17 - Treasure Room
After defeating the stone golem and shades in this room, you'll find four chests that you can loot for some random gear.
18 - Locked Chest
Inside this "standard" locked chest you'll find
Hands of Stone
19 - Rock Wraith Abomination
20 - Chest
Inside this chest you'll find
21 - Ancient Rock Wraith
T - Trap
$ - Locked Chest
- One-way exit from the Deep Roads.
- One-way exit from the Primeval Ruins.
- One-way exit from the Ancient Crypt.
- World exit.