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This is probably going to be one of the first companion quests that you'll do. It's available from your sibling (Bethany or Carver) after you talk to your Mother in Gamlen's House. You need to carry out a massive raid on a slaver base. Apparently it's okay to not be subtle as long as it's against the slavers.
Regardless, you'll face a few tough guards inside along with a mage, so bring a balanced team and look into getting a good weapon for yourself from the market.
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Birthright - The Raid
There are some slavers inside, so get ready for a lot of combat. Attack the first group of guards at the start. Basic abilities should carry you through just fine. These are the easy ones. Take the stairs to the right for a side route, and run into your first group with an assassin. They’ll be able to jump around the fight and ambush Varric and your mage, so keep an eye on them. Have a tank grind down the guards, and someone else pin down the assassin.
Look into the side room with the crest to find a portrait of your mother or a family record, for the “Portraits of the Past" or the "Family History" quest. Swing around to the main path and reach another room with the same basic group. Rinse and repeat, then loot and move on.
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Birthright - Opening the Vault
Move forward to the next room with the master slaver and the mage. The biggest threat here is actually the long poison trap running through the center of the room. This has a huge spread and a does a ton of damage. Have Varric disarm it if you don’t want to lose half of your party. Otherwise, just keep them off of your mage and grind through the guards. Varric can usually trade shots with the mage to pick away at him while your fighters grind down the rest.
Once the guards are dead, it’s pretty easy to just grind it out. Loot the master's body for the vault key, and have Varric pick the lock on the chest in back. After that, just go up the steps and use the key on the vault door. Loot the first chest on the left, then loot the second one in back for the will. You can choose to automatically return, if you’re done exploring the cellar.
After you finish the revealing conversation once you return, you can also talk to your sibling. If you’re nice, you can increase your friendship with them just by talking. You can also talk to them again and turn over the portrait to Bethany, or start up the quest for Carver. You'll need to find a man called Tobrius at the Gallows to get the information that you need to wrap that up. Return and pass the news along to Carver, and either befriend him or anger him.
This will complete “Portraits of the Past" and "Family History" and net you some added friendship.
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All information and screenshots from personal playthrough of "Dragon Age 2."
This information is based on the "Hard" difficulty unless otherwise noted.