Dragon Age: Awakening - Undying Blackmarsh - Shadow of the Blackmarsh
by: Aaron R.
; edited by: Michael Hartman
; updated: 4/18/2012
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We're through the Fade and into the version of Blackmarsh in the other realm. We need to decide whether we wish to support the Spirit of Justice or the Baroness in the war with the town. We also need to kill one or the other and then kill the Baroness back in the real world.
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Undying Blackmarsh - The Decision
We actually don't have to kill much for a few minutes. Talk to the village watch to learn about their plight, and then head through the town to look for the spirit seeking justice. Stop and look at the book and use the essence of strength. Head on over to the big mob to get pulled into a conversation. The Spirit of Justice will ask you to help them with their charge on the mansion. If you say that you'll join and seek a quick fight, then Oghren and Nathaniel will both approve. Anders is a little unsure of charging into a potential slaughter. You can just persuade him that you can defeat her and make her help you. He'll then tentatively agree and give one point of approval.
You don't have to go right away though. In fact, you may want to say that you need a minute. There are several more essence fonts past him, so you should run over and claim them quickly before you commit to the attack.
You can also side with the Baroness. Just tell him that you don't want to help. Anders will give you two points of approval but you'll lose three with Nathaniel. This also isn't a great way to start your relationship with Justice, who will soon become a party member. It's your choice though and feel free to do it for roleplaying purposes.
The only difference is who you fight in the next battle.
If you're siding with Justice, say you're ready to go and he'll kick the doors open.
If you're siding with the Baroness of Blackmarsh, you can click on the locked gate to talk to the doorman. Ask to negotiate and talk to her. Promise to help by killing the crowd. You should be able to use persuasion to get a bonus for your aid. She is a Blood Mage, so she can do a lot with all the blood you're about to spill.
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The Battle - Siding with Justice
The Spirit of Justice will kick open the gates and start the charge. The baroness has recruited The First for her defense though. He's your enemy for now while Justice fights her. They're both listed as distinct neutral NPCs, so they will not affect the battle.
For this battle, you'll have the villagers on your side. They are decent for distracting the darkspawn. They won't survive though, since the ash wraiths and The First both use large sweeping attacks. They'll slowly take damage even if you're buffing most of it. Their deaths don't seem to affect anything. I actually suggest that you take out The First's allies first. He isn't that tough. He's basically a champion who fights like a revenant. He uses big sweeping attacks that can even hit the guy behind him. He doesn't hit too often and usually doesn't do too much damage. Even Oghren should be able to buff his attacks for awhile. Take the time to quickly grind down the darkspawn and then focus on the ash wraiths. Just have your free warrior buff them while Nathaniel backstabs them. He's very effective. Just take one down and then the other. Move Nathaniel over and have him start backstabbing The First. Even though he attacks in a big circle, he still has a tactical blind spot on his back. Nathaniel can take damage, but he will still be able to get fairly steady critical hits. Use some spells or abilities to weaken him up and make liberal use of group heal. You also should have plenty of ethereal potions left. These are going to be worthless in a moment, so use them if you even remotely need them.
The First will eventually go down after enough hits. He'll be sacrificed to make the portal and rip the Fade apart.
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The Battle - Siding with the Baroness of Blackmarsh
This is pretty simple and basically the same at heart. It's a bit easier though. The villagers are easy to kill. Just take them out one at a time. There is a mage in back though, so someone needs to rush him. The veteran ash wraiths will be very helpful though. In fact, we mainly want to kill the villagers so that they'll help kill The First. Once the villagers are dead you can just pounds on The First until he dies. If you used the persuasion talent you can get a reward. You can learn the Blood Mage specialization, get more health, get more cunning or improve your magic. It's all up to you. She'll send you back afterwards, but everything after this will play out the same.
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Tears in the Fade
We're not done yet. We'll return and have a new friend. The Spirit of Justice is apparently trapped in Kristoff's body. He is a forced party member for the next part. I suggest you trade him out for Oghren, since he'll basically serve the same role. You can also give him a helm and a better sword to make him more effective. Also make sure you loot The First. He has some good armor and we'll get the rest of the sentinel set after this battle.
Charge forward to the first fade portal. Attack the revenant here and let the rest of your party quickly destroy the fade portal. It will spawn shades until it is destroyed. You might as well destroy it now. Revenants aren't anything special at our level. Just surround this one and beat him into the ground. Kill any remaining shades and keep going. Once you cross the water, you should see a fade portal form in the rune circle. Charge it. There are two revenants here. Just repeat though. Let Justice or your warden attack the revenants while the rest rip up the portal. The rest can just team up on one after the portal is down. You should just need to use group heal once to account for damage that he'll do to your entire team. Once you kill one, the other is toast.
Move up further and go past Kristoff's camp. You can find another portal to the left on the little path. Kill the revenant and destroy the portal. Another will crop up by the camp. Rinse and repeat. Open the gate and enter the destroyed village for a cutscene. We're finally going to face Baroness in full pride demon form. Get ready for the fight. Thankfully it isn't too bad.
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Killing the Baroness
Start fighting and get your tank into range to draw her attacks. Make sure Nathaniel gets behind her and starts to backstab. I was getting a steady fifty damage each hit. The best thing is that the Baroness is very weak to a lot of spells. Crushing Prison doesn't stop her, but it does a fair bit of damage steadily for the course of the spell. Death Hex also works. This will help bring her down a lot faster. The usual bunch of spells does a lot of damage too.
The Baroness doesn't have too much in the way of attacks. She can freeze people around her or use a fireball at her feet. These can be really rough on your rogue. The worst luck is if she decides to fire spells back at Anders. Your mage can't shrug off the high damage from her default attacks, so it's really bad luck. Hopefully your buffer will hold her attention though.
After chipping off some of her health, she'll summon a fade portal. Shades aren't too big of a risk for your health. They can use a lot of abilities to knock you around and keep you from bothering the Baroness though. This means that the portal needs to die now. Leave a warrior behind to kill it while the others keep up the pressure. She should just run around the ruins for a bit and eventually try to summon another portal by the gate. Just keep using spells like Death Hex to keep up the damage. Normal attacks should be fine though.
She'll burst through the gates of the mansion at the end and pin herself inside. Just pour it one for a few more seconds and she'll die. You can go ahead and recruit Justice. He's a fairly useful warrior and could easily be a very good tank thanks to his Beyond the Veil ability.
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We have a few things to do before we're really done. Search the Baroness' body for a key to the docks. This opens that locked gate on the side of the mansion. You can loot two chests full of goods here. You can also get a sword for the Merchants' Guild quest.
The fade tears are gone. Backtrack around the map and pick up some loot. The center of the summoning circles has a gladiator belt in the pedestal. Grab it. Go to the three iron chests. This will complete the very nice Sentinel Set of armor. It's great for a tank, since it's some of the heaviest armor in the game. The spots for the dragon bone quest and the trail of love should also be open now. It's on the other side of the gate as you walk back to the entrance to Blackmarsh. You should probably take care of those now.
The war against the darkspawn continues in Dragon Age: Awakening. We need to retake our base at Vigil's Keep and set off on the road to kill the darkspawn around Amaranthine. This means securing Pilgrim's Road and finding Kristoff.