The Deep Roads Expedition is an Act 1 main quest in Dragon Age II. After being allowed to enter Kirkwall and working for a year, Hawke needs to join an expedition to the Deep Roads to gain money and status within the city. The expedition is run by the brothers Bartrand and Varric.

Acquisition Edit

This quest begins after Hawke's year of servitude ends. Hawke and their surviving sibling try to unsuccessfully persuade Bartrand to let them join the expedition. After speaking to the dwarf, a pickpocket attempts to steal Hawke's money, but is caught by Varric. The latter then offers Hawke the opportunity to become business partners with himself and Bartrand.

The quest requires 50DAO goldpiece trans to start, and you must complete the following quests:

Walkthrough Edit

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“There are men who embrace destiny; these are the ones that change the world forever.” — Flemeth
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Deep Roads Expedition Map

Map of the Deep Roads

Upon giving Bartrand the 50 sovereigns and completing all other main quests in Act 1 (or letting Dougal Gavorn pay your fee if you made a deal with him in Friends in Low Places), Leandra will appear and attempt to persuade Hawke not to bring their sibling to the Deep Roads in fear something will happen to them both. Hawke will then be prompted to choose party members, with Varric locked in.

  • Friendship small Carver: friendship (+10) or Friendship small Bethany: friendship (+10) if taken.
  • Rivalry small Carver: rivalry (+15) or Rivalry small Bethany: rivalry (+10) if not.
Note: Regardless of whether or not Hawke takes Carver or Bethany along on the expedition, you will lose them as a party member for much of the game. Also if Hawke takes Carver or Bethany they die at the end of this quest unless Hawke also takes Anders in the party and listens to his proposal

Finding another route

As the party arrives in the Deep Roads, Hawke discovers that the passage is blocked by a collapse, forcing them to find a side passage regardless of the danger. Bodahn cries for help, asking Hawke to search for the lost Sandal as well.

The Deep Roads Expedition - Keep

Dragon Age Keep concept art of the expedition

If Hawke agrees to search for Sandal:

  • Friendship small Aveline: friendship (+5)
  • Friendship small Varric: friendship (+5)

If Hawke refuses:

  • Rivalry small Aveline: rivalry (+5)
  • Rivalry small Varric: rivalry (+5)

Choosing this option will make Hawke save Bodahn, who attempted to find his son himself, and later Sandal, but without a quest entry.

Note: The rivalry gained does not appear in your quest log.

Proceed down the passage and battle the various darkspawn. Beside the first set of stairs is a Deep Mushroom. Around the corner is a chest with Oath-Breaker. Continue along and you will come to a room where you must fight a darkspawn emissary. The pit on the right sits two chests, a locked chest (Standard) and a Silverite, and ascending the stairs in the pit activates a trap, spawning a monstrous spider.

Note: The monstrous spider is too big to fit through the door at top of the stairs, so if you can pick the lock before it shows up and have the entire party run into the chest room, you can sit back and AoE the monstrous spider and any other spiders at your leisure as the monstrous spider blocks the smaller spiders from reaching the door.
Note: In the spider pit, there is a small room with a locked door. As soon as you approach the door for lockpicking, the spiders spawn. To make sure you get the XP for lockpicking, you must do it during the fight. Otherwise, the door is open and you miss the XP for picking the lock.
Note: pcIcon pc If you are in this room when the fight is over, there is a bug where the door to the room closes. Opening the door leaves a translucent door that can't be opened and prevents selecting the ground beyond it. That can be worked around by selecting an object (like spider drop) outside instead of the ground.[confirmation needed]

The left path is blocked so proceed straight ahead. In the next room, you will find another Deep Mushroom. Exiting this room causes a cut scene with Sandal.


Sandal's ogre

After finding Sandal surrounded by darkspawn corpses (receive 400 XP - quest progression), pick up the nearby Raw Lyrium and then continue your search while fighting many different darkspawn.

Note: Shortly after exiting the room where Sandal and the frozen Ogre were, you will see a stone column with the Codex entry: Deep Roads.

After a fight with two waves of darkspawn including a Darkspawn Emissary, the path curves back around to the west. After a fight at the bottom of a staircase you can pick up some Raw Lyrium against a column on the south wall.

Note: In the room with the living ogre, be careful of the many (6) complex traps, they require 30 cunning to detect and disarm. Also, letting the ogre charge is advisable, ducking back out of the door and avoiding the charge causes the ogre to get its horns stuck in the opposite wall. This trivializes the fight on any difficulty setting. But, be careful, as the ogre can hurl rocks outside the room and can occasionally glitch when charging and go through the door. Also, the ogre's slam can instantly kill weaker party members. As such, a safer approach is to walk up the stairs to the landing (about 12 steps down from the door), select hold party members' movement, then run inside the door and back out. The ogre will charge and often will slam afterwards which can hit party members too close to the door. After running back outside of the room, have those with area effect and long range abilities attack the ogre while using your active character to distract the ogre so that it does not hurl rocks at the group outside the room. Then, after you kill the ogre and loot its corpse, bring your rogue inside to disarm the 6 complex traps. There is 1 trap in each corner (approximately), and 2 in front of the door on the west side (straight across from the entrance) of the room

After the room with the ogre and traps there will be a large open room with a dragon and several dragonlings, so prepare your party for a tough fight. If you are having trouble with the dragon and have Anders in your party, it's possible that if you keep him alive you can run the dragon and dragonlings in a circle by going up the stairs and across to the other stairs will give you a few seconds reprieve in which to attack or charge your mana enough to cast regroup as needed until you can defeat them. Also works well for ranged attacks with Varric or other ranged fighters if need be. Another strategy is to fight the dragon in the hallway without entering the large room. The dragon will probably attack before you enter. Slow it down and stop it with any crowd control you have while your party holds position in the hallway. Have your ranged attackers burn down its health as much as possible before it reaches you. When you cannot slow or stop the dragon any more, have a warrior Taunt the dragon and allow melee to engage. Continue dragging it farther back into the hallway until your crowd control cooldowns are up, and repeat. By this time, you should be far enough back that only one or two of the second wave dragonlings will enter combat, if any. Be sure to keep ranged attackers and healers out of the way of flame breath. Once the large dragon is dead, you can return to the large room and handle the rest of the dragonlings separately, which shouldn't be troublesome. After slaying the dragon, you discover a side passage. The dragon drops a variety of items:

Depending on Hawke's class:

Medium armor gold DA2 Last Descent ArmorLast Descent Armor
Medium chestpiece
Requires: 21 dexterity
14 cunning

Armor: 116
+5% critical chance
+13% critical damage
Heavy armor silver DA2 Warplate of the FallenWarplate of the Fallen
Heavy chestpiece
Requires: 21 strength
14 constitution

Armor: 126
+28 health
+67 attack
Light armor silver DA2 Robes of the Spiral EyeRobes of the Spiral Eye
Light chestpiece
Gold Threaded
Requires: 21 magic
14 willpower

Armor: 107
+28 mana/stamina
+67 attack

No matter Hawke's class:

Shield silver DA2 Winter-WeightWinter-Weight
Round shield
Requires: Weapon and Shield
20 strength
14 constitution

Armor: 86
+9 armor
+8 fortitude
Longbow silver DA2 Nevarran LancerNevarran Lancer
Red Cedar
Requires: Archery
25 dexterity

Damage: 70 physical damage
(66 per second)
+5% critical chance
+13% critical damage

Hawke returns to Bartrand, who is "pleased" that the expedition is moving again.

The Primeval Thaig

After the cut-scene with Bartrand, Hawke and company are transported to an undiscovered thaig, the Primeval Ruins, which Hawke must explore. Beyond Bartrand's camp (where Hawke can talk to Bodahn to get his thanks for saving Sandal) is a passage to the northwest where the party battles a number of shades and a stone golem. (There is also a deposit of Orichalcum nearby).

Note: Bodahn has a shop if you need potions or anything of the sort, and Sandal makes rune enchantments.

"I'm not splitting that three ways."

Beyond that point, the party enters the Primeval Thaig, where they discover a pure lyrium idol. Bartrand, unwilling to share the profits of the expedition, takes the idol and locks them in the thaig.

To find the way out, Hawke must enter the Ancient Crypt. The small room to the east just after entering the crypt contains 4 chests of random loot, but be prepared for a fight upon entering. The party will face a stone golem and 8 shades initially, with several more shades spawning after killing the first wave. The room is optional, so it may be unnecessary trouble on higher difficulty levels.

Throughout the rest of the crypt the party will battle a large number of shades and profanes, until the battle is stopped by a hunger demon in the form of a profane. He offers a deal: stop killing the profanes (he feeds off their hunger), kill a rock wraith up ahead, and he will tell Hawke the location of a key to a locked door that leads to higher tunnels.

Hawke accepts the deal:

  • Rivalry small Anders: rivalry (+15)
  • Rivalry small Aveline: rivalry (+5)
  • Rivalry small Fenris: rivalry (+5)

Hawke refuses the deal:

  • Friendship small Anders: friendship (+10)
  • Friendship small Aveline: friendship (+5)
  • Rivalry small Merrill: rivalry (+10)

Letting Merrill kill the demon (Call on companion) results in no change.

Rock demon

The rock demon who makes Hawke an offer

Alternatively, Hawke can kill the demon (or ask Merrill to do it if in the party), after which the party has to battle more shades, profanes, and an abomination (arises from the former rock demon). Warriors have a special choice in which Hawke refuses the deal in a unique way. This results in no approval change, the same as if Merrill killed it.

Note: If you're interested in maximizing your experience and profits, refusing the deal results in more enemies to kill (22 vs. 7) and about 200 more experience points.

In either case, Hawke forges ahead to where Hawke and company battle the Ancient Rock Wraith. Periodically the rock wraith will disappear and respawn in the center of the four pillars and emit radiant red energy which damages all party members, regardless of range. This damage is rather severe, but can be negated by having the party hide behind the pillars, away from the rock wraith. After this attack, the creature will collapse and raise profanes to help him. On normal difficulty, the radiant energy phase of this boss fight will restore the party's mana and stamina bars.

Note: Drawing out the fight so that the wraith continues to summon profanes can leave many corpses to check for random items. Equipping gear that improves item drops or coin amounts is useful here.

The Ancient Rock Wraith

After the rock wraith is defeated, there is a cut scene where the party walks forward to a stash of treasure chests, one of which contains the key to let them out of the crypt.

Note: You might want to go back to where you fought the rock wraith to pick up loot that it dropped before leaving the area.

If Hawke made a deal with the demon, it will appear before they lay claim to the treasure, telling them to take only the key and leave the rest. Hawke has several options at this point:

  • Friendship small Varric: friendship (+10) if Hawke lets Varric kill the demon ("Call on companion"), leading to a fight with only its followers.
  • Attack the demon, leading to combat with it and its minions.
  • Hawke tells the demon that they only want the key, in which case it summons minions and attacks you anyway.
  • Tell the demon to back off as a special choice if Hawke's personality is aggressive. If not, it attacks anyway.

When the party exits the Ancient Crypt, you will get a cut-scene featuring discussion with Varric showing that you are back at the original campsite. They then head for Kirkwall.

Bethany or Carver

Should Hawke have Bethany or Carver in the party, there is an extended cut scene in which their sibling collapses due to symptoms of the taint. Regardless of any dialogue option selected, the sibling will die. However, if Anders is in the party, he will propose that Hawke search for a Grey Warden, Stroud. Doing so will allow the sibling to survive.

If Hawke takes Carver to the Grey Wardens:

  • Friendship small Anders: friendship (+5)
  • Friendship small Varric: friendship (+5)
  • Friendship small Carver: friendship (+5)

If Hawke takes Bethany to the Grey Wardens:

  • Friendship small Anders: friendship (+5)
  • Friendship small Varric: friendship (+5)

If accepted the party will start looking for the Wardens and will have to fight more darkspawn. Make sure to loot them before they are all taken out because you won't be able to do that afterwards. Once the darkspawn are taken out, the Grey Warden Stroud and his party will arrive and exchange a few words with Anders. Stroud will initially be reluctant to allow Bethany or Carver to attempt the Joining but but he is easily convinced.

Note: You will lose all equipment held by either party member, so be sure to take any equipment you'd like to keep from them before leaving.

If Hawke makes a diplomatic or humorous response to Stroud:

  • Friendship small Varric: friendship (+5)

If Hawke makes an aggressive response to Stroud:

  • Rivalry small Varric: rivalry (+5)

Crafting resources Edit

If you are seeking the Supplier achievement, be sure to grab:

  • 2 Deep Mushroom
    • The first is located to the west side of the stairs in the very first room you encounter dark spawn.
    • The second is located in the blue room where you fight the emissary
  • 1 Silverite located in the SE valley where the monstrous spider attacks you.
  • 2 Raw Lyrium
    • The first is located next to the frozen ogre that Sandal mysteriously froze.
    • The second is located in the room with the pillars immediately before you fight an Ogre yourself.
  • 1 Orichalcum located in the Primeval Ruins in the room where you first encounter shades and a golem.