Dragon Age: Origins Walkthrough - Circle Tower - Escaping the Fade Part 1
by: Aaron R.
; edited by: M.S. Smith
; updated: 4/18/2012
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The Broken Circle quest will lead to a long stay in the fade once you reach the fourth floor. It seems that the demon, Sloth, wants you to stay for a bit. If you want to escape, you'll need to learn the 4 shapeshifting forms and kill his 5 supporting demons.
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The Fade - Weisshaupt
Well, we’re in the fade. This might be your first trip here, so just note a few things. There are lyrium veins around that restore mana, stamina and health (at least for warriors). Anyone you kill won’t drop loot and there’s a lot of different ways to shapeshift and explore.
We’re also all alone for now. We won’t meet our companions again until the end of this adventure, so get used to fighting by yourself. It shouldn’t be too bad, because we won’t face too many groups and the demons aren’t too strong. My warrior had no trouble. Rogues may have some issues, but they should be able to figure it out. Using stuns and stealth properly should solve any problems.
So let’s get started. Move forward and talk to Duncan in the fortress. He’ll try to convince you that the battle and the blight are over, but obviously it’s not. No matter what happens, he’ll attack. Just use some sort of stunning attack. He isn’t too tough. The two wardens turn into a weak mage and archer, so just charge the mage and then the archer. They’ll die in a few slashes.
A Fade Pedestal will appear. You can use this to enter The Raw Fade.
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The Raw Fade - Mouse Form
We can meet up with Niall here. It seems that his valiant charge didn’t work out so well. Talk to him a bit to find out about the mouse. That’s our goal in this world. Before we leave for the first of the five islands, move past him and through the fade portal. You should see a rage demon and mouse. Attack the rage demon and finish him off with a few slashes. The mouse will sacrifice itself to pass on the mouse shapeshifting form to you. You can now use mouse hole. Turn into mouse form and go into the mouse hole.
When you come out, turn back into your real form and kill the demon here. Advance a bit and take on the shade. He’s a bit tougher, but you should still be able to take him out. There’s another rage demon ahead, so just slash it down. Feel free to use the lyrium vein here if you need healing during the battles. This fade portal should take you back to Niall.
The four other demon areas will now open up too. I suggest you go to the one called Darkspawn Invasion, since that will let us learn the spirit form and go through those spirit doors that keep blocking us.
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Darkspawn Invasion - Racking Up Some Kills
You don’t actually have to kill any of these guys now. It’s just nice to clear the road early. You just need the mouse form to get to the important part.
Move forward a bit and engage the first two hurlocks. The gunlock alpha in the next wing might activate too, so be ready for him. They aren’t too tough, so you can probably handle all three. I did fine with shield pummels and overpower. Wait a moment if you need to heal, then go up to the next branch on the left. There is a hurlock around the corner with an archer. Kill the hurlock first and then kill the archer. Move up to the next branch on the right. There are two hurlocks here, but the melee one is wearing much better armor. You should still be able to handle him though and then chase down the archer.
Rush ahead and touch the lyrium vein to heal up as you engage the emissary and the hurlock. I suggest you run past the hurlock and kill the mage quickly. He’ll die in a half decent combat, so just stun him and take him out. Then you can finish off the hurlock in peace.
This is a dead end for us now since we don’t have the flame form. Go back to the entrance room and shapeshift into a mouse. Go down the mouse hole. Run down the hallway and go into the mouse hole straight across from you. There’s an essence of cunning here. Touch it to gain a permanent +1 to your Cunning. Go back out and into the other mouse hole in the hallway.
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Darkspawn Invasion - Spirit Form
Transform back and kill the two flaming darkspawn here. There’s not much else to do, since the fire is blocking us off. It’s also an instant kill, so let’s avoid that for now. Go out and find the next mouse hole. You should be able to use it to get access to a little temple area. Three genlocks might spot you in the hallway. You can kill them easily if you want.
There’s a templar spirit here and he’s trying to hide, but the darkspawn spirits will find him when you approach. Turn back into your form and rush the mage. The templar can’t die, so just let him distract the melee fighters. Once the mage dies, help him thin out the darkspawn until it’s over.
He’ll impart the Spirit Form to you. This is what we really need. I suggest that you go back to the Raw Fade to take care of the first demon. You can clear out some of the other darkspawn in here if you want, but you don’t have to do it. There should just be one other group of three past a door.
Also test out your spirit form and see the essence of willpower pillar in the temple area. When you're done, use the Fade Pedestal to head back.
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The Raw Fade - Killing Yevena
Let’s kill the demon casting the protection ward here, Yevena. She’s just behind the spirit door near Niall. Turn on your spirit form and use the door to enter her realm. If you want, you can use your spirit form to fight her. You’ve got some nice spells. You can use them to paralyze her for a bit while you unleash the rest on her shades. I didn’t do that though.
I went ahead and switch back to my normal warrior. I just focused on slashing the shades and I then used the nearby lyrium vein to heal up. It just took a little repetitive slashing to kill her, so you’ve got some options.
Once she’s dead, you should inspect that “Twisted Structure" in the distance to get a codex entry on the Black City. If you’re in spirit form you’ll also be able to see a pillar that’s an essence of willpower. Use it to get a +1 to Willpower. Use the spirit door again to leave.
If you want, you can go back to Weisshaupt in spirit form to get another essence of willpower.
I suggest that we go to the Burning Tower area to get the Flame form.
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The Burning Tower - Burning Man
Before you start, switch to mouse form and use the mouse hole to get another essence of cunning. Then swap back and move forward. I found the spirit form to be pretty powerful here, especially since it gave my warrior some spells. Mages may not find it useful and rogues might not do enough damage. For a warrior, it offers the best of both world.
Advance a bit further and open the door here. 2 burning templars should show up. Just cast crushing prison on one and winter’s grasp on the other. Ice spells do a lot of damage here, so use them whenever possible. Finish them off with claw strikes. The fire is blocking most of our exploration for now, so just move along and take on another pair of templars.
There’s a marked set of stairs and that’s our only way up. Move along the path and engage 2 burning wolves. Take them out quickly. They shouldn’t be a challenge. Move along the winding path and avoid the flames. 2 wolves and a templar should close in on you at the next intersection. Crushing prison will take care of the templar while a few slashes will take care of the wolves.
Move forward and approach the mouse hole. There are 2 more wolves to kill before we can go down the hole. You’ll come out in a new large room with a templar dreamer. He’ll attack along with a rage demon. Just switch to spirit form and use crushing prison. This should actually kill him. Hit the rage demon with winter’s grasp and a few hits to finish the fight. The dying templar will thank you and pass on Burning Man. We can now move a bit faster and go through fire.
There isn’t much to really bother with at this moment, since we’ll be back later. I suggest you just move on to Mage Asunder so that we can pick up the final shapeshifting form.
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Mage Asunder - First Steps
Before you head out, use your mouse form to go down the closest hole. Look at the floating bookcase to get another codex entry and then examine the font of strength to get a +1 to strength. Head on back out. The other hole just lets you ambush the mages. I guess rogues could do this, but it’s not a big deal. You can just go down the hall and through the door if you want.
These two mages aren’t tough. Just slap crushing prison on one and winter’s grasp on the other. They die really quick, but they can dish out a lot of damage. Remember to save often, since you can die very quickly for a minor mistake.
Go down the hall again and watch for another two mages. The big challenge is the group of fouir crazy mages. Approach them to trigger the fight, then duck back into the hallway. They should just keep attacking one another. You just have to handle the lone survivor.
Go into the next room and face the two servants. They are basically rogues, and they’re a bit of a challenge for your spirit form. Just hit them with crushing prison and winter’s grasp to handle them though. Cross the floor but watch your back. A third guy should appear. Just handle him. The door is blocked by flames, so switching to Burning Man and go into the next room.
There are four rage demons here, but they spawn in pairs. In your burning man mode, you can slash them without taking any fire damage from them. You can also just switch to spirit form and use winter’s grasp for an almost instant kill.
Switch back to Burning Man and exit the room to trigger more mages. The groups will attack one another though, so run back and give them a moment to thin each other out. If they try to cross the flames to attack you, then they should usually die. We’re safe until we feel like hitting them. The surviving one or two should come out into the flames. Just hit them with the usual spells for a quick kill.
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Mage Asunder - Golem Form
Switch to Burning Man and cross the flames. When you come to the end of the floor, you should see another two mages. Just hit them with a fireball and nail the survivor with a flame blast. Go through the door and go ahead and stay in burning mode.
The group here is one mage instructor and four pupils. One is by him and three are sitting by the table. They seem to only know fire magic though, since they won’t change to ice even if you stay in burning man form. You’re pretty much immune if you stay in your form. The only trick is trying to see through all the flames flying around. Hit the far group with a fireball and hit the two close to you with a flame blast. They’ll probably be killed by friendly fire before you can finish them off though. Charge across the room and finish off the other three.
Go up the stairs when you’re ready.
There’s a cursed dreamer up here and he’s fighting two golems and three chantry priests. The golems should stay focused on him, so they aren’t a threat. Just hit one with crushing prison and let the dreamer handle the other. The priests usually run to challenge you. Winter’s grasp and some good old slashes handle them quickly. Hit the surviving golem with another winter’s grasp to finish him off. Talk to the dreamer to learn your final form, golem.
We can now open everything. It’s just time to clean up the fade. We'll start with Mage Asunder, but that's for the next guide.
The quest to gain the Mage Circle's help isn't an easy one. We'll have to clear out a 5 story tower, fight lots of demons and abominations, travel through the fade to beat the lieutenant demon, and finally fight and kill Uldred at the top. Look here if you need any trouble with the Circle Tower.