This quest is acquired if the player has imported a save from Dragon Age: Origins with Warden's Keep completed, in which Avernus was spared and allowed to continue his research, either with or without ethical restrictions. Playing through Awakening is not required. If you have, you will first fight a group of raiders surrounding the body of a messenger in the northwestern pass of the Wounded Coast, after wandering into their vicinity. After defeating the enemies, the quest officially begins upon looting the body. It will contain:Grey Warden Documents
Requires: 18 magic
+1 mana/stamina regeneration rate Avernus's Experimental Draught
Whoever consumes this elixir gains greater mastery over the body's potential.
Attribute points: +2
Attribute points: +2
(Note: It is possible to loot only a single item to advance this quest, and it need not be the Grey Warden Letters. Hawke will comment on how the Wardens might pay for [the letters'] return and the quest proceeds normally, and they will repeat the comment each time a different item is taken from the corpse.)
The first fight can be rather difficult, as giant spiders, mabari, and apostate mages will often join the bandits who attacked the Warden messenger (or vice-a-versa) in ganging up on you. The sheer numbers of such a group is challenge enough, but these enemy types together create a very diverse group of elemental and force resistances. The simplest way to avoid getting overwhelmed is to take the long route around and carefully approach their location from the west side. This will aggro the spiders, apostates, and mabari within the northwest overlook area, but it prevents you from entering the bandits' line of sight/zone of aggression, allowing you to retreat back to the west and eliminate them, with cold and electricity spells being the most effective. Finish the fight, heal, save, and then take on the bandits.
If you insist on taking the shortest route i.e. following the northern slope west, hold position far back from the enemy campsite and send one party member to draw the attention of 1 or 2 enemies at a time, then retreat back to the party. Wait for the enemy(-ies) to draw close before focusing the party's attacks on them, as you may accidentally order them further down the line and aggro all of the remaining enemies. If no other enemies are aggro'd, the party will drop out of combat and fully recover. Repeat this as necessary until the remaining enemies are a manageable size and defeat them as normal.
Upon defeating them, you can loot the messenger's personal effects to obtain letters and a draught. The first letter is from the Warden-Commander of Ferelden telling the messenger to immediately take the enclosed letters to Weisshaupt Fortress, relying on a contact in Kirkwall who can be contacted through a dead drop in Lowtown during the day if the road from Kirkwall is blocked or too dangerous. The second is from Avernus to the Warden-Commander vaguely discussing important details of his research, which he feels the First Warden must be made aware of as soon as possible.
After picking up the letters, more bandits will converge on your position from the east. They should be easy pickings for a ranged party, but remember to hang back and let them come to you. Two archers spawn up the small cliff on the path, so don't advance too far down the path to avoid getting flanked. You should be able to drop out of combat before fighting the enemies near the eastern entrance/exit of the Wounded Coast. The Thug Leader in that group is an Elite-ranked warrior, who is fortunately not a "Commander", so deal with him last.
Travel to the dead end alley next to The Foundry in Lowtown during the day. The dead drop will be surrounded by a group of mercenaries (a distinction in name only, they have the same armor and weaknesses as the bandits). The archers tend to have a direct shot from their spawn points through the alley, making them difficult to get at without turning your companions into quivers. Retreat into the nearby Foundry District to force them into the open, and one of the mercenaries is an Elite-rank no different than the Thug Leader from before. Kill all of the mercenaries and interact with the dead drop to deliver the letters. The next time Hawke returns home, they can read a letter of thanks from the Grey Wardens, which completes the quest.
Following the completion of the quest, Hawke will receive a letter of thanks along with some gold.
- 500 XP total from the battles (see Notes)
- 2 (version 1.02, all platforms) and 400 XP from the letter sent by the Grey Wardens
- Avernus's Experimental Draught, which confers +2 bonus attribute points
- The "Rewards" section only lists XP from the battles that are unique to this quest. The Bandits, while intended to be fought as part of this quest, are present in this area regardless of the Warden's actions during the events at Soldier's Peak along with an apostate, a few mabari, and spiders intended to be fought during Terror on the Coast, this quest's counterpart, who tend to join the bandits in battle. Together, the lot of them are worth about 335 XP. Many of the enemies in the final encounter of Terror on the Coast can be encountered further west on the overlook (234 XP), as well as a group of spiders on the southern slopes (200 XP) leading back to the main path, but only in an imported save where the conditions for one of these quests were fulfilled. Under any of the game's pre-built histories, this entire section of the Wounded Coast is empty during Act 1. The only enemies that appear unique to Dark Epiphany are the Bandits that attack from the east after examining the dead messenger (300 XP) and the Mercenaries near the dead drop in Lowtown (200 XP).