Blackpowder Promise is an Act 1 main quest in Dragon Age II.

Acquisition Edit

This quest starts after Long Way Home, with the rescue of Javaris Tintop and his bodyguards at Dead Man's Pass near Sundermount. Javaris asks Hawke to locate a band of Tal-Vashoth and obtain some information about a powder that explodes without magic or lyrium. He says that it should be profitable for all.

Hawke will automatically receive Codex entry: Tal-Vashoth upon completion of the conversation even though you may not receive a pop-up notification.

Walkthrough Edit

The Wounded Coast Edit

Once Hawke leaves Dead Man's Pass, the party may go to the Wounded Coast. Taking the south main road, Hawke is somewhat startled when a Tal-Vashoth outcast (who in Act 3 has named himself Maraas) steps out of the northward path and warns the group the other Tal-Vashoth ahead have set up an ambush for travelers. This Tal-Vashoth is disgusted with his fellows because they are no longer orderly now that they have taken to attacking travelers.

  • Hawke with an aggressive personality has a special option to convince the Tal-Vashoth warrior to fight with them for free in the coming boss battle. Having the warrior's assistance during the boss fight is most useful on harder difficulties.
  • Hawke with a diplomatic or sarcastic personality may try to hire him as well, but he will turn down the offer, no matter what dialogue choices are made.
  • One of Hawke's companions will have a catch phrase (e.g. Isabela "Here we go again") regarding enemies ahead when hearing the Tal-Vashoth warning before the cutscene, and that same companion will say a phrase after the cutscene.
  • If Hawke takes the northern path, s/he will run into a melee of spiders and bandits. After defeating both, Hawke finds out that the bandits were after (and killed), a Grey Warden messenger. Loot the messenger's body to find the Grey Warden messages that activates the Dark Epiphany side quest. Expect more resistance from bandit reinforcements when trying to leave. NOTE: You will need to have imported a save from Dragon Age: Origins with Warden's Keep in which you spared Avernus for this event to occur.

Start up the hill to be ambushed by four Tal-Vashoth. After finishing them, Hawke will find another half-dozen up the hill, along with a standard chest. Allow Hawke's party members to recover before moving further up the hill, instigating a battle with yet another group of Tal-Vashoth. Continuing up the hill, Hawke will find the last group of Tal-Vashoth. As soon as this battle starts, four more will come up the hill behind, and several more will appear from behind some bushes. There's a chest back there if it hasn't been already been found on a previous visit.

Tal-Vashoth Cavern Edit

Now that the dust has settled, Hawke finds him/herself at the entrance to the Tal-Vashoth Cavern. Inside is a small area with some rubble hiding a wooden staff and a door. The door slides up to reveal some steps down to a small campsite and another door. This door opens into a medium irregular area with several stalagmites reducing lines of sight. The four Tal-Vashoth present don't take kindly to Hawke's arrival. Going up some stairs, some minor loot can be found in a crate. A door takes the party to the next section which is empty, but some Tal-Vashoth can be seen further into the cave. Go down the stairs and turn right to the dead-end tunnel to find a chest and a body to loot, but watch out for the trap. Reversing direction to the rest of the cave, Hawke will be attacked by five Tal-Vashoth soon followed by four more and a Tal-Vashoth Officer.

Note: The traps here are all ranked Simple, meaning any rogue should be able to detect them.

After the fight, go up some steps to find a Silverite crafting resource site. It appears from the layout that this had been a mine at some time in the past and not just a cavern. Follow the mine adits (horizontal passages) to check for loot, but return to the door to proceed further into the mine. In the downward passage, there is a lyrium deposit and a chest.

Proceeding through the door from this area reveals steps going up to another door at the top. Hawke is approaching the Tal-Vashoth main body of four soldiers and a Leader, along with several more who are hidden at first and come out to play once the battle begins. Among them is a Tal-Vashoth Saarebas, a dangerous mage who should become a priority to be killed. Hawke will find the formula for a Combustion Grenade on the body of the Leader.

Note: Same as before the traps here are ranked Simple and are easily detected by a rogue.
Note: 360 Exploit - When entering the boss-fight room, Hawke is in a wooden shanty. Put movement on "hold" and slowly creep into the room. The fight triggers, but enemies become confused and group in a far corner. The Tal-Vashoth Leader is perfectly exposed for range attacks through the shanty doorway, so position Varric and a mage(s) at back of room and they can kill the leader without taking any damage, making the rest of the battle much simpler.

Following the fight, leave via the south door.

Qunari Compound Edit

The quest ends with a visit to the Arishok of the Qunari to inform him of the death of the Tal-Vashoth rebel group. He can be found near the Docks during the day inside the Qunari compound. The Arishok says that Javaris misunderstood and there was no deal to buy the powder's formula. If you select “future profits”, the Arishok will direct Javaris to pay Hawke and leave the Qunari Compound immediately. Hawke receives up to 4 sovereigns, 400 XP, and Codex entry: The Qun upon completion of the conversation and the quest. Hawke will also gain a point toward the Arishok's respect if this choice was selected.


Maraas shokra.

Note: Fenris will greet the Qunari in their language with the Arishok making bemused comments about the elf's cultural knowledge. Also, an additional dialogue option opens up referring to Fenris's understanding of the situation, though this does not change the outcome of the quest. This also allows Hawke to earn a respect point from the Arishok that counts towards A Worthy Rival achievement/trophy.
Note: Isabela claims she has something she needs to do upon trying to enter the compound. You can force Isabela to remain in the party during the meeting by choosing "Then I will not enter right now" when she becomes evasive at the gate, then quickly opening the gate and dashing (weapon drawn) into the meeting with Javaris and the Arishok. As this is not an intended possible outcome, there are no dialog options and no one acknowledges her presence. This will only work on the console version of Dragon Age II, since there is no "action button" for the PC version.

Friendship/Rivalry Edit

When speaking to Javaris:

"I'm in if the coin is good."

  • Rivalry small Aveline: rivalry (+5)
  • Friendship small Isabela: friendship (+5)

"Your plan seems a little weak."

  • Rivalry small Carver: rivalry (+5)

"I'd do it to hunt outlaws."

  • Friendship small Aveline: friendship (+5)
  • Friendship small Isabela: friendship (+5).

Rewards Edit

  • 400 XP if Hawke chose "I was promised future profits" or "He still owes me" when speaking with the Arishok.
  • Up to two points toward the Arishok's respect:
    • If Fenris was brought when speaking to the Arishok
    • If Hawke said "I was promised future profits"
  • 4DAO goldpiece trans 0DAO silverpiece trans 0DAO bronzepiece trans if Hawke said "I was promised future profits" or 3DAO goldpiece trans 0DAO silverpiece trans 0DAO bronzepiece trans if Hawke said "He still owes me"
  • Crafting materials:
  • Codex entries:

Notes Edit

  • If Meraas joins the fight, he will use a spear for a melee weapon, but hit the other Tal-Vashoth with the handle end.
  • After Javaris leaves, proceed up the stairs and speak to the Arishok. His words depend on the dialogue choices made before Javaris left. Afterwards, Hawke can ask him some questions before saying goodbye.
  • During Shepherding Wolves in the Sister's hideout Hawke will have an extra dialogue choice stating you can speak to the Arishok as Hawke has had some dealings with him.
  • While trying to put together money for the Deep Roads expedition, keep in mind that Javaris will try to back out of his deal. He will only pay the player if the Arishok forces him to.
  • If Bethany is in the party when first entering the Compound she will say "That beast in Lothering killed one of my best friends - I hate Qunari", referring to Sten from Dragon Age: Origins.
  • If Hawke has no companions when talking with Javaris for the first time at Dead Man's Pass, he will comment on the effects of the Powder (before the 2 option "it sounds like magic" and "they offered this to you ?").
    • If Hawke has companions, one of them will comment about it instead. (Varric will also make a comment regarding "court the qunari").