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This is a fairly quick quest that you'll get early in the game while you're walking around the Lowtown Bazaar. It really doesn't require a lot of preparation, and it's just a quick way to get some nice armor and a few coins in your pocket.
Note that this does seem to tie in with the Andraste's Ashes quest from the first game and specifically mentions Father Genitivi. It's possible that this may not show or, or may show up in a slightly different form depending on the history you picked for Dragon Age: Origins. Feel free to discuss any differences that you note in the comments section below the article.
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Miracle Makers - Killing the Carta Swindlers
Once you find the swindlers selling “Andraste’s Ashes" in the Lowtown Bazaar, you can just wait a moment for a guard to break them up and chase off the swindler. If you talk to Sergeant Melindra, she’ll explain that they’re working for the Carta and that “someone" should really do something about it.
That’s our cue for a little vigilante work. Walk your way up to the back of the Lowtown area and find the group of carta thugs backed into the corner. They’ll warn you away as you approach. If you walk up and try to talk to the main swindler, they’ll attack.
You start out with six thugs. The swindler is the only remarkable one. He’s got a lot of health and the ability to teleport around the battlefield with his rogue abilities. On the bright side, it doesn’t seem like he can do much damage, especially if you have Aveline with you to help tank.
Have your mage fall back a bit. Varric should actually be able to take care of himself just fine with his default tactics. His crossbow is actually great for blowing up the thugs or taking pretty good bits of health off quickly. Have your party focus on the weak thugs first to clear up the battlefield. Another 3 thugs will come out from the door off to the side, so watch your mage and adjust as necessary.
Have your tank run over and pin them down while Varric, your mage and your other fighter try to pin the swindler down. Varric can deal a lot of damage, and it’s possible that the swindler will just try to chase after Varric, which lets your mage deal a ton of damage with no risk. Regardless, once the thugs are down, it’s a simple grind.
Loot the swindler’s body for some very good armor (if you're a rogue), and see if anyone else dropped some good loot. The thugs can drop significant amounts of money, if you’re lucky. Walk back to Sergeant Melindra and talk to her. She’ll discreetly reward you with a gold coin and some extra XP.
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All references and screenshots from playthrough of "Dragon Age 2". Unless otherwise noted, the game was played on "Hard" difficulty.