Family Matter is an Act 2 companion quest for Varric in Dragon Age II.

Acquisition Edit

This quest is acquired by completing the quest An Update with Varric at The Hanged Man.

Walkthrough Edit

Visit Bartrand's mansion in Hightown (night) with Varric in the party. You start off playing alone as Varric, taking on Bartrand's guards all by himself. During this part, Varric's health meter will constantly regenerate and his skills will have very short cooldowns; the guards will also be rather easy to kill. After defeating all enemies, there will be a cutscene revealing that the Scarface-style combat was the storyteller's typical exaggeration (irritating Cassandra to no end). When the actual scenario starts, the entire party including Hawke will join Varric inside the mansion.

After the intermission, the Crazed Guards offer rather more challenge than before, especially when Hawke faces them in more threatening numbers as the party progresses through the mansion. Proceed through the side rooms of the mansion, saving the large central room for last. After proceeding through the library, the third encounter triggers. This room has a standard trap (20 cunning to detect and disarm - 100 XP) and a simple trap (10 cunning to detect and disarm - 50 XP). Next you will encounter a large poison gas trap in the northern hallway. It is very hard to detect (Master level, 40 cunning to detect and disarm - 200 XP) unless a character has invested heavily in cunning and/or is wearing Bonus to disarm traps items.

Note: The master trap can be avoided by running into the left wall and moving each character individually into the north western room on the map, while using the hold command. You have to run into the wall while moving around the room; merely hugging a wall doesn’t activate the glitch that allows you to avoid triggering the trap.

After killing enemies in the first room on the left in the northern hallway, more enemies can come pouring out of the next room, giving no time to rest in between encounters. In the most north eastern room, there is a chest with a complex lock (30 cunning to open - 150 XP).

Finally, proceed to the large central room where you will fight two Crazed Commanders and an army of their subordinates. There is a standard trap (20 cunning to detect and disarm - 100 XP) straight ahead after entering the room and a simple trap (10 cunning to detect and disarm - 50 XP) on the landing of the left staircase.

Bartrand Insane

Bartrand driven insane

At the top of the stairs, a cutscene triggers. The party encounters Hugin, the last surviving servant of the household. He tells a tragic story. After Bartrand left Varric and Hawke to die in the abandoned thaig, he started hearing voices, claiming the lyrium idol was ‘singing’ to him. Even after selling it, Bartrand could still hear the idol and was eventually driven mad by it. He tortures the servants by cutting pieces off them to help them 'hear the song'. Bartrand also feeds the guards lyrium, which makes them go insane. Hugin begs Varric and Hawke to give a quick and merciful death to anything still alive in Bartrand’s study.

Before entering Bartrand’s study, explore the two small side rooms. The room on the left has a chest that contains Belt of the Primevals. The room on the right has a chest that contains Silverite-Reinforced Buckles – an armor upgrade for Varric.

As Hawke enters the final room, Bartrand fights alongside a final wave of Crazed Guards. Batrand will actually teleport out of the room and come in with the guards, so trying to unstealth him with AOE attacks in the final room will not work.

Bartrand's abilities:

Backstab Backstab
Explosive Strike Explosive Strike
Twin Fangs Twin Fangs
Rush Rush
Miasmic Flask Miasmic Flask
Fatiguing Fog Fatiguing Fog
Evade Evade

You must defeat him and more guards to reach a dialogue where you can either tell Varric to kill Bartrand or let him go.

NOTE: As soon as you defeat Bartrand the battle ends, regardless of how many guards are remaining.

Once Bartrand is defeated, Varric tries to talk to him, but it becomes clear that Bartrand is crazy - he recognizes his brother and requests he help him find the idol again before talking to someone or something in his head, explicitly saying 'Stop it, I know I shouldn't have sold the idol. It was a mistake!' If Anders is present, Hawke can ask his opinion. Anders states that if Bartrand wasn't a dwarf he would suspect a demon at work, but that can't be the case. Instead, Anders tells Hawke that 'something powerful has poisoned his mind.' He uses his healing skills to bring Bartrand back to his senses but warns that this is only a temporary solution.

Result Edit

Either Bartrand is killed or spared. If he is not healed, Varric advocates for killing him. If Anders heals Bartrand, Varric wants him to live. Reactions of other companions do not depend on whether he is healed or not.

Killing Bartrand:

  • Friendship small Varric: friendship (+15) without healing, Rivalry small Varric: rivalry (+15) with healing
  • Friendship small Aveline: friendship (+5)
  • Rivalry small Sebastian: rivalry (+10)

Allowing Bartrand to live:

  • Rivalry small Varric: rivalry (+15) without healing, Friendship small Varric: friendship (+15) with healing
  • Rivalry small Aveline: rivalry (+5)
  • Friendship small Sebastian: friendship (+10)

After the final battle and returning to Hightown a cut scene begins with Varric thanking Hawke for the assistance with his brother.

If Varric is a friend, A Story Being Told will be triggered; if Varric is a rival, A Rumor Making the Rounds.

Rewards Edit

  • Heavy armor green DA2 Silverite-Reinforced BucklesSilverite-Reinforced Buckles
    Companion armor upgrade

    Rune slot
    Extra rune slot
    armor upgrade for Varric located in a chest adjacent to the final room.
  • depending on Hawke's class in a chest in the last room where Bartrand is:
    Medium boots gold DA2 Boots of EnasalinBoots of Enasalin
    Medium boots
    Requires: 25 dexterity
    15 cunning

    Armor: 71
    +2% critical chance
    +5% critical damage
    Bonus to disarm traps
    Heavy boots gold DA2 Stonehammer BootsStonehammer Boots
    Heavy boots
    Red Steel
    Requires: 25 strength
    15 constitution

    Armor: 77
    Rune slot
    +14 health
    +37 attack
    Light boots gold DA2 Boots of the OverseerBoots of the Overseer
    Light boots
    Silver Threaded
    Requires: 23 magic
    15 willpower

    Armor: 65
    +14 mana/stamina
    +37 attack
    +2 mana/stamina regeneration rate
  • Longsword silver DA2 Red Earth Long OneRed Earth Long One
    Red Steel
    Requires: Weapon and Shield
    32 strength

    Damage: 25 physical damage
    (47 per second)
    +76 attack
    +5 fire damage
    is awarded for defeating Bartrand (appears in the players inventory), regardless of how he is dealt with.
  • 1000 XP (quest completion/final fight) and no money (spare or kill Bartrand)

Trivia Edit

  • The opening scene and its dialogue, in which Varric exaggerates his entrance by depicting himself as killing numerous guards single-handedly, firing Bianca off rapidly, is very similar to the ending scene of the 1983 movie Scarface.

Bugs Edit

  • xbox360Icon xbox360 It is possible to have Sebastian join Varric during the "solo" opening sequence. The circumstances surrounding the glitch are unclear, but the trigger appears to be running directly from the Harimann Estate after completing Repentance.
  • xbox360Icon xbox360 Potential bug: Family Matter will show up in quest log but you will unable to initiate the dialogue for the quest from Varric if his approval is already too high. Potential causes for this is having his Approval rating too high in early Act 2 which activates Varric's Act 2 Questioning Beliefs. If you do Questioning Beliefs BEFORE acquiring Family Update in your journal then it's possible this quest may become broken. This was tested on 3 playthroughs.