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The Deep Roads Expedition - Introduction
Once you’ve turned in the 50 sovereigns (or secured the loan) and Anders’ map, you’ll be able bring Varric and seal the deal with Bartrand in Hightown. Note that you’ll have to pick your party for the mission. You won’t be able to change it once you’re in the Deep Roads, so pick wisely.
You will definitely want to bring Anders as a healer and reviver, and it’s a good idea to bring a tank and a damage dealer. Note that you have to bring Varric with you, so you will only be able to bring two people.
There’s also an important note about your sibling. Your mother’s warning is appropriate. Note that you will "lose" your sibling regardless of your choice, but if you want them to survive the Deep Roads, you will have to take Anders with you.
As a side note, keep an eye out for raw lyrium and deep mushrooms to build up your crafting recipes.
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The Deep Roads Expedition - Another Path
Once you take over, you’ll need to make a quick choice. Bodahn will want you to go out and rescue Sandal. I don’t think that there’s a reason to say no (unless you just want some extra rivalry points with everyone), so accept it and head out along the side route.
There are two waves of darkspawn that you’ll run right into. Just grind through them quickly. There’s nothing much special about them, and they should all just be basic grunts. Keep moving until you hit the second group. These guys have an emissary with them, so keep an eye out and have your damage dealer rush the mage when you get a chance. If you can take the mage out, the fight is a piece of cake.
The side room right after this fight has a few chests, and a bit of an interesting trap.
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The Deep Roads Expedition - Monstrous Spider
If you go up the steps in the pit and approach the door, you’ll find that it’s locked. Turn around and try to leave to trigger a spider ambush. The giant spiders are weak, so have someone tank the spiders while a damage dealer cuts down the poisonous spiders.
Once the last one dies, a “monstrous spider" will drop down and attack. This guy is basically a dragon that can’t breathe fire, so have fun with it. It’s a long fight, but you should be fine if you can manage your ranged fighters well. Varric will probably be able to dodge a fair number of the spiders attacks, but your mages will probably be too squishy to last long.
The biggest danger is to an average fighter though. A real tank can keep them tied up well, but any other fighter will probably get stun locked. The spider is able to do a vicious pounce attack. It can attack again before you can get up, usually, and if it manages to back you up against a wall, then your fighter will die. Hopefully you taught Anders his revive spell, because it will get a little rough without it. The only thing I really had luck with was the cold spells, which had a decent chance of freezing the giant spider. Horror spells might work too.
If you don’t have a tank that can shrug off the attack, you will probably need to just kite the boss around for a bit. Have whoever he targets just run around in circles for a bit while your ranged fighters plink away at it. This should give you enough time for the potion cooldown to run out, or for your mages to get their spells ready again.
At the halfway point, a few more spiders will drop in, but it’s probably not worth worrying about. Even my mages were able to burn them away before they took anyone out.
If you can survive the grind, and you’re able to run in circles well, then you’ll probably be just fine. It’s a long boring fight, but you can grind it out with a little persistence. After the spider dies, you can loot the side room for a great two-handed sword.
For help with the bosses ahead, turn the page...
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The Deep Roads Expedition - More Darkspawn
Go along the path for just a little bit longer until you find another mixed group of darkspawn. It’s just another grind with some archers, so take them out and move on until you find Sandal with his special statue. Send him back to his father to be nice, and then keep on going past his frozen ogre.
The next section is a huge hall that’s a little bit of a tough battle. Go to the end to tear through a bunch of darkspawn, which should cause a second group to spawn behind you. Run back to the middle and dig in. If you can take out some of the second group quickly, you should be able to take out the emissary that spawns along with the next wave. Just have a fighter bring him down quickly with a few hard hits. Once the mage is down, it should be fairly easy to just take them all down with some hard hits.
Walk through the odd room ahead and up the steps to find an ogre waiting for you.
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The Deep Roads Expedition - The Ogre
This one seems a bit harder than the last one during “Herbalist’s Tasks". It has the usual range of attacks. There’s a ground pound attack, it can charge and it can throw slabs of rock. The good news is that you can probably spread your ranged fighters out and be fine for the fight. There are no other darkspawn, so you just have to kill the ogre.
Note also that you can make the ogre charge into a wall and get stuck, so if you feel like baiting him into an attack, it’s an option. You should be fine with Anders healing your fighter, Varric sniping the ogre and a fighter cutting away at it.
Once the ogre dies, walk down the hall for another mini-boss (hey, the scouts said it was dangerous).
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The Deep Roads Expedition - The Dragon
The dragon is just another dragon. If you’ve done the Bone Pit, then you’ll be fine. There’s only the dragon to fight. There’s a few dragonlings that will spawn at the halfway point, but you should be able to take them out with a few swipes. The dragon itself has a lot of health and is quite resilient, and it has a few attacks. It can do a standard bite/swipe, flap its wings and push your people back, flap its wings and pull everyone closer and breathe fire.
On the bright side, there’s plenty of room. It should be easy to spread your ranged fighters around to wear away at it while your fighters engage it and keep it away from the action. Note that if the dragon locks on to Varric or one of your mages, just switch over to them and have them run around in circles. That will keep them safe, and it will let you score some free damage.
After you get your rhythm down, it’s just a mater of keeping your health up and grinding it out. Once the dragon dies, you’ll be able to move on to the next area and finish this little side mission and advance to the next camp.
To learn more about your adventures in the old thaig, turn to page 3....
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The Deep Roads Expedition - Shades and Golems
There’s just a bunch of shades in the first group, so attack them and take them out. Once you’ve cause a bit of damage, the stone golem will wake up and attack. Golems aren’t terrible. They have a strong punch, and they can build up energy and release it. If you see them curl up and start swirling the air around them, you’ll need to get some space between you and them. Other than that, it’s a straight grind. They won’t do much damage to warriors, so just take out the shades with area of effect spells and then surround and conquer.
Move forward and grab the Orichalcum in front of you, then approach the room to the left. There should be a bunch of shades, but they’re fairly weak. Some AOE spells can take them out in a minute, so clear the room and get ready to tie up the golem as it wakes up. Another wave of shades will come from behind you, so move your mages in and spread them out while you push the fight toward the door to make a bottleneck. Another wave of shades may come, so be ready to handle them. If you can handle the attrition, you should be fine. The golem can be ground down and the shades die quickly.
The reward is a very good weapon in the marked crate. Re-equip appropriately and then continue along the path.
The next open area is more of the same. A few shades will engage at the top with a few more spawning in. The problem is that there should be a third wave of profanes at the bottom. These weird monsters can both dish out punches and sling lightning bolts at you, so be ready. They get crushed pretty quickly if you can get them into melee range, especially with one of the fancy weapons that you found along the way.
The next set should just be some more profanes and shades. The old tactics should work the same. Things get interesting in the next room though, since you’ll find a very special friend. There’s a demon ahead, and you’ll have decision to make.
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The Deep Roads Expedition - The Demon
Note that no one is really happy if you choose to make a deal with the demon, and you really don’t get much out of it. You get to skip one fight, and find out about a key that’s literally in your path, and that’s it. In fact, you'll lose about 10 gold coins and some nice equipment if you don't backstab the demon (Varric can one-shot him in conversation, letting you still skip it, but you're still stuck with the rivalry points). Unless you want rivalry points, just turn him down and attack (or use Merrill to one-shot him, if you brought her).
The battle isn’t too rough. The demon’s just an abomination, so it’s easy to take him out with a warrior. The profanes go down quickly to big swings and smashes. Just take out the few waves and move on to the next battle. There will be a few more profanes that block you, but I’d be surprised if this was enough to cause much trouble after the last few.
The real problem is what’s up ahead, the rock wraith. Whether you took the deal or not, you will have to kill the giant rock wraith.
For help facing the Rock Wraith, just turn the page...
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The Deep Roads Expedition - The Rock Wraith
Let’s run over the abilities first. The rock wraith can cause a fair amount of damage to any one person engaging it. A tank or a strong warrior will need to draw its attacks, and you will need to have a strong healer keeping them alive from the sidelines. The biggest problem is that it triggers a massive attack when it takes about a quarter’s worth of damage. At this point, it will curl up and build up a ton of energy, then fill the room with red spears that will shred just about anyone caught out in the open. The only defense is to grab your entire party (drag a box around them) and send them behind a pillar. The pillars are the only defense.
Once the spears stop, it will send out a wave of profanes and hunker down into the ground. Have someone run over and quickly wipe out the profanes with AOE attacks, then go back to the fight. It’s really hard to stun, but magic has some effects, so try freezing it or at least stunning it with a horror spell.
This is one of the few fights that I had to drop the difficulty for. Note that overall it’s just a battle of attrition. There is no fancy trick, you just have to have enough health potions and react quickly to the magic attack. The biggest advantage on normal, aside from the higher damage to the rock wraith, is that you should also regain mana and stamina during the magic spear attacks. This makes the fight a whole lot easier.
It’s up to you though. Give it a few tries on your difficulty, but don’t be afraid to drop a level and make it a bit more fair if you’re having trouble.
Once the Rock Wraith is dead, you can enjoy the little cutscene and find your big treasure. Loot the three chests for your money, weapons and the key to the exit. You can safely leave now.
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The Deep Roads Expedition - Your Sibling
The last thing in Act 1 will be the conclusion for your sibling. If you brought them with, then you’re going to lose them to the darkspawn. If you brought them with, and brought Anders, then you’ll have one last mission. You’ll need to carve through a large group of weak darkspawn to find the group of Grey Wardens that Anders knows about. They should all have very low health. One whirlwind gutted the group, so it's not exactly a grand challenge after everything that we've faced.
If you didn’t bring them, then you’ll learn their fate when you get back.
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All references and screenshots from "Dragon Age 2."
All information is based on a "hard" difficulty playthrough, except where otherwise noted.