Magistrate's Orders is a secondary quest in Act 1 of Dragon Age II.

Acquisition Edit

Only available after the Birthright quest is completed. Go to the Chantry Exit of Hightown in Act 1 (not the Chantry itself). Magistrate Vanard will be waiting near the exit to the World map at the base of the Chantry steps. Magistrate Vanard will inform you about an escaped criminal who has taken refuge in an abandoned ruin outside of Kirkwall. A patrol of guards was sent to retrieve him, but they were slaughtered by unspecified "creatures" in the ruin. If you accept the quest, he will offer Hawke a promise of future support for the return of the criminal, as long as he is brought back alive and unharmed.

Walkthrough Edit

Abandoned Ruins Edit

Upon arriving at the Abandoned Ruins, Hawke will witness an angry elven merchant berating the Kirkwall city guard for failing to deliver justice to the murderer within. When questioning the elf, Elren, he reveals that the criminal has been murdering elven children, and that he has not received appropriate punishment for his deeds. Furthermore, his last victim was Elren's daughter, Lia. One of the guards, Nabil, will warn Hawke that defying the Magistrate's direct orders is "madness". Hawke can either state his/her intention to bring the criminal back to Magistrate Vanard, as originally promised, or to kill him for Elren. (Hawke can, however, change their mind later.)

Note: Having Aveline in the active party, will provide some extra lines of dialogue as she strongly agrees with bringing down "hard justice" on the criminal.

Ruined Passage Edit

The Ruined Passage contains various spiders, undead and a group of raiders. The Spider's Silk Gland for the Herbalist's Tasks quest can be obtained from the venomous spider. In addition to that, an arcane horror accompanied by some spiders and undead can be found in the next room.

Along the way, Hawke will find an elven girl sitting at the end of a walkway. She reveals that she is Lia, and that the criminal let her go. While the man was "hurting her" in some unspecified fashion, he abruptly stopped and started crying, stating that demons in his head were making him kill elven children. He then told her to run away, which she did. However, Lia asks Hawke not to hurt him, insisting that he isn't responsible and to find a way to help him.

Note: Having Merrill in your active party, she will respond to Lia with "Don't be afraid, da'len. Everything's going to be all right now".

Magistrate Vanard

After a fight with some undead, Hawke will find the man, Kelder, cowering in a room. Kelder is actually Magistrate Vanard's son, which is why he wanted him back unharmed; however, he does not want to be rescued, begging Hawke to kill him to stop him from killing more elven children "because they are too beautiful".

In the northern room with the chest there is a master trap. You will need 40 cunning (or less, depending on how many items with Bonus to disarm traps you have equipped - 10 less cunning required per bonus) to be able to detect and successfully disarm this particular trap.

Hawke can either kill Kelder or attempt to bring him back. If Fenris is present, he will offer to kill Kelder if Hawke will not; unusually, allowing him to do so has no effect on his friendship/rivalry. Every single one of your companions will (for once) agree and advocate killing Kelder; however, if he is not killed, he runs away and must be tracked down in the ruins - which will result in a fight with a revenant and some corpses. This fight results in more experience than if Kelder was killed outright.

Result Edit

  • Kelder lives:
    • Lia and her father leave Kirkwall.
  • Kelder dies:
    • Lia will approach Hawke during Act 3 in the alienage, telling them that the decision to kill Kelder was the right one. She goes on to mention she was out of her head when she asked he be shown mercy. She has since joined the City Guard, and if Aveline is present, she will also make a comment about her newest recruit.
  • Regardless of Kelder's status or Hawke's blackmailing, the magistrate is never seen again and has no further effect.

Friendship and rivalry Edit

If Fenris is in the party, Fenris will request to kill him (denying or obliging his request grants no Friendship/Rivalry change). When encountering Lia, Fenris warns Hawke that her plea for mercy on Kelder's behalf is probably due to childish naivete, and that she should not be heeded.

For freeing Kelder:

  • Rivalry small Aveline: rivalry (+5)
  • Rivalry small Bethany: rivalry (+5)
  • Rivalry small Carver: rivalry (+5)
  • Rivalry small Isabela: rivalry (+10)
  • Rivalry small Merrill: rivalry (+10)

For killing Kelder:

  • Friendship small Aveline: friendship (+5) (only if you do not let Fenris kill him)
  • Friendship small Bethany: friendship (+5)
  • Friendship small Carver: friendship (+10) (or Friendship small (+5) if you let Fenris kill him) (May not occur with Isabela in the party)
  • Friendship small Isabela: friendship (+15) (or Friendship small (+10) if you let Fenris kill him)
  • Friendship small Merrill: friendship (+10)
  • Friendship small Varric: friendship (+5)

For demanding a reward from Elren upon killing Kelder:

  • Rivalry small Aveline: rivalry (+5)

For refusing payment from the magistrate after sparing Kelder:

  • Friendship small Aveline: friendship (+5)

Rewards Edit

Unique items:


  • If Kelder is killed: 1 DAO goldpiece trans from Elren and 400 experience.
  • If Kelder lives, the reward received from Magistrate Vanard is dependent on the second dialog choice:
    • "Convince me not to": 2 DAO goldpiece trans and Rivalry small Aveline: rivalry (+10)
    • "Keep your coin": no gold and Friendship small Aveline: friendship (+5)
    • "That secret won't last": 3 DAO goldpiece trans and Rivalry small Aveline: rivalry (+5)

Bugs Edit

  • Sometimes, upon sparing Kelder, his escape fails to trigger, and he just sits there against the column where you find him. In this case, just backtrack to the entrance and go outside, the proper cutscene will still trigger once you leave the ruins. (though you'll miss out on the extra XP from the creatures, obviously)
  • pcIcon pcAs of v1.03, killing Kelder with Anders, Merrill, and Isabela in your party may not result in Friendship small Anders: friendship (+5). Approval for Merrill and Isabela changes appropriately.
  • After leaving the ruins and viewing the cutscene, if you re-enter the ruins before finishing the quest, Kelder will follow you again and a quest arrow will point toward the other exit. This does not affect the completion of the quest.
  • Doors bug and won't allow you to progress, save often before and after missions.
    • A workaround for this happening after the cut scene with Kelder is to use one of the console zz_rdr goto commands to teleport to another Act I location and then teleport back to the abandoned ruins. The conversations with Elren and the guards will then proceed normally.