Hawke is asked to speak with a merchant named Hubert in the Hightown market. Hubert has a mine outside the city called The Bone Pit. He had sent a crew of workers to the mine, and is concerned that he has not heard from them. He asks Hawke to travel there and check on them.
After arriving at The Bone Pit, Hawke can loot a nearby corpse for Remains of the Outlaw "Bearded Beast", which can be given to Arintal at the Docks for a reward. As Hawke reaches the next clearing the party will be attacked by Looters. They resemble the "Mercenary" enemy type in all but name, thus they are resistant to cold and greatly vulnerable to nature. If nature damage isn't an option, it is best to withdraw to the cliff edge and fight them one at a time. Afterwards, towards the southeast, Hawke can find an Elfroot. The codex entry The Enigma of Kirkwall is also nearby (required for the Archaeologist achievement).
Head north from where the encounter with the looters occurred and enter the Bone Pit Mines.
Upon entering the mines, Hawke will immediately be attacked by a group of five Normal-ranked Dragonlings, and a Dragon. Two more will join after enough are slain, but they can be avoided for now if the party stays away from the wooden stairs. The Dragon is easily the greatest worry of the group, between its wing buffet to draw all characters near, a roar that stuns all nearby targets, fire breath, and claw swipes forceful enough to cause knockback and interruptions. If a swipe interrupts an attack with a long animation, this can chain into further interruptions as the game tries to complete the attack only to be repeatedly interrupted, effectively stun-locking them until death. In spite of this, it's better to take out the dragonlings first, as the six of them fighting together are worse than the Dragon by itself. Cold damage is the best weapon against dragons of all sizes, thus the Staff of the Primal Order gets great mileage out of this quest, now that the cold-resistant Looters are gone, and especially in the hands of Elemental mages. They can use a Cone of Cold to suppress the dragonlings while dealing considerable damage, then Winter's Grasp on the Dragon, followed by a full-party assault to take out three or four dragonlings. Move the party into the larger area and use ranged attacks on the remaining dragonlings, then take manual control of the Dragon's primary target and kite it around the room while the others' attacks pick it apart.
To the north of the mine entrance is some Refined Lyrium. Get it, then head up the stairs to the south. Fight the two dragonlings here if they didn't join in the previous fight. When Hawke reaches the top of the stairs, the party will be attacked by another dragon and a group of dragonlings. Similar tactics will work here, plus a few of the dragonlings are Critter-ranked making the fight considerably less difficult. The Dragon sometimes has difficulty fitting through the door and down the steps, so use this to your advantage if needed. Head up the stairs to the east to encounter more dragonlings, although ranged attacks can snipe them through the doorway one at a time. After three are defeated, two more will spawn right in front of the door (thus they'll flank you if you've advanced through the doorway). There are a few more dragonlings up each flight of stairs. With them defeated, loot the Deep Mushroom, then continue up the stairs and through the tunnel to the south. Towards the end of the tunnel Hawke will encounter Jansen, a survivor of the dragon attack who warns of a "huge dragon" nearby.
Loot the area, save your game (see Notes for more information), then proceed south to exit the mines to the Bone Pit's lower ledge. As Hawke walks out onto the ledge, the party will be immediately be attacked by a Boss-ranked Mature Dragon. This is a tough fight, but it is functionally identical to a fight with a regular Dragon only larger with more health and battlefield coverage. As was the case with the dragons faced in the mines, an Elemental mage is highly recommended, along with staves that deal pure cold damage. Spirit should be used as a substitute; while the Mature Dragon isn't weak to it, it does bypass 50% of the dragon's damage resistance. Additional melee characters besides a tank should be avoided, but if Hawke is a two-hander or dual-wielding rogue, they should attack from behind, at the hind legs.
To begin the fight, order your mages/ranged characters to move to separate corners along the cave exit's side of the ledge, while sending Aveline or another melee character forward to catch the Mature Dragon's attention. It likes to open with a fire breath attack, and this will prevent it from hitting multiple characters. Should the dragon fan its wings and yank everyone close, order them back to their stations and take healing potions. Beyond this, the simplest solution is to kite the boss around the ledge while ranged characters pelt it with cold spells and/or arrows and crossbow bolts. Take control of the dragon's primary target and move them in circles around the dragon, which prevents it from stopping long enough to use an attack (or, it uses a claw swipe that misses the mark). When its attention shifts again, order the character back to its original position and take command of the new target. If you're coming close to victory but still suffering full party wipe, build upon these fundamentals and power up your companion's equipment, talents, and primary damage attribute (Str/Dex/Mag) to gain a greater edge.
Afterwards, return to Hubert in Hightown to inform him that the mine is safe.
Hubert will offer Hawke a share in the mine (the response does not affect the 3 reward s/he receives):
If Hawke accepts the offer, Hubert will assign the quest Get Back to Work. Accepting Hubert's offer also unlocks other quests related to The Bone Pit in future acts.
- If Hawke requests to "be paid up front" it results in Varric: friendship (+5) and Aveline: rivalry (+5).
- Anders, Bethany, Carver, Fenris, Isabela, and Merrill have no friendship/rivalry changes.
If Hawke rejects the offer ("No thanks"), Hubert will respond as if the "paid up front" dialogue was chosen. Hawke receives the Get Back to Work quest and gold, however, companions will react as if the "for the workers" dialogue was chosen with Aveline: friendship (+5) and no change for the others (PC with Patch 1.02, Xbox 360 with Title Update 1.02, and PS3).
Note that regardless of which dialogue options are chosen, Hawke will always end up getting a share in the mine.
Unique loot found in the mines and/or on the ledge:
- Gallows Slave Finger-Cuffs
+9 defense (x2)
- Helm of Victory
Requires: 18 strength
+20 attack (x2)
Unique loot from the mature dragon:
- Belt of the Chastened
+2 mana/stamina regeneration rate
- Dragon's Fang
- The March of Thunder
Requires: 18 strength
+2% critical chance
Damage: 70 physical damage
(66 per second)
+7 nature damage across 2m
3 from Hubert upon informing him of the events at the mine.
- If seeking the Supplier achievement, be sure to grab the Elfroot in the eastern area of the Bone Pit before entering the mine. Within the mine, pick up Lyrium in the first room and Deep Mushroom up the first set of stairs after killing the third group of dragonlings.
- The Mature Dragon sometimes yields between 1-2, however on some occasions it will only yield a few silvers. As the dragon's loot is generated upon leaving the mines, it is best for the player to save before the exit, then reload and defeat the dragon as many times as necessary until it yields enough money to satisfy them.
- Sometimes when entering the final cavern, the game will hang on the loading screen and attempting to load the autosave will get a message that the save is corrupt. Loading a prior save seems to work.