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Act of Mercy - Introduction
Bring Varric with you if you want a guaranteed non-violent option.
Be careful of bringing mages if you don't plan to side with them, since they'll obviously have strong feelings.
Act of Mercy should show up after completing “Wayward Son". This quest will come via a letter that you receive toward the end of the act. You’ll need to meet a man back out on the Wounded Coast. Leave the city and go to the new location by the Wounded Coast. There will be some dragonlings, so cut through them quickly and get to the cave to the right.
Talk to Thrask to learn the lay of the land. He wants you to help some runaway mages. Agreeing to help will impress the mages in your party. Being a mercenary or a jerk doesn’t really impress anyone.
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Act of Mercy - The Blood Mages
Go into the cave and approach the first apostate. He’ll attack immediately and summon a bunch of corpses. The undead are just basic grunts, so have a tank tie them up while you fight them. The apostate is potentially a tank killer with its blood magic, so have a fast fighter run out and kill them. The rest will die quickly.
Follow the route through the door. You find a few more groups of corpses, but none of them should be more than speed bumps. You’ll almost be at the end when you find Alain. You can send him to the front of the cave to report back to Thrask and seek protection.
Follow the end of the path into the main room with Decimus, who will attack immediately. He can dish out a lot of damage, and has a fair amount of health, but he’s quite vulnerable. Most of the summoned skeletons and corpses won’t have much health. Have a tank engage the group while a fighter rushes Decimus. If you can manage to stun him, it will be very easy. A few hard hits will kill him.
The second wave introduces a few apostates, who can cause a fair bit of damage, but they have so little health that they don’t even matter. Just kill them quickly. Grind out the rest of the skeletons to end the battle.
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Act of Mercy - The Templars
The first is to simply insist that the mages come back out with you. Your mages won’t like that, while Carver and Fenris will be happy. You can also agree to kill Thrask, or just tell the templars that they’re dead. Note that the best option is to decide to lie. Just about everyone, except Fenris and Carver, will like you for it, and it’s one of the only ways to end the mission without a bloodbath.
You’ll need to carve through some more corpses on your way back out. It’s just a few more speed bumps, so keep rolling.
If you go outside, you’ll find that Ser Thrask has company. Ser Kerras will show up with his war party and he wants to execute them all.
If you brought the mages with you, then your hand is forced. You can either let them be detained by him, or fight Kerras. There is no middle ground.
If you picked the other options, you will have a few different choices. Agreeing to help the mages in either way means that they won’t be with you, and you can choose to have Varric spin a wild tale that convinces the templars to just leave on their own (with the possibility of Hawke being able to tell a similar lie). Any other choice will just lead to a fight though.
If you choose to fight the templars, you will need to have your party split up. Have half attack the archers on one side and half tie up the fighters. Thrask will fight on your side and should tie up Kerras all on his own. Take out the support quickly, and then watch for the reinforcements. The archers aren’t a huge threat, but the templar hunter can cause some pain. He has a powerful backstab attack, so have a few people gang up on him to quickly kill him.
Kerras is actually quite easy to kill. He just has a lot of health. Without any support, and with Thrask’s help, he’ll die easily.
Finish the quest with Thrask, regardless of your choice, and then pick up the loot that’s left behind.
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All references and screenshots from "Dragon Age 2."
Unless otherwise noted, all information is based on a "hard' playthrough.