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This is a very quick quest, and it's a fine way to get some quick cash in the first act. You should be able to pick this up around the middle of the act. Just keep an eye out on the bar at the Hanged Man Inn. You should see a woman called "A Suspicious Woman" standing close to the door and near the bartender. This is a RPG game, so obviously you should talk to her. She has a two-part mission for us.
You may want to take a mixed party. Definitely bring a tank, like Aveline, because there will be several strong fighters and very few grunts. A damage dealer will also be very useful, and Isabela is incredibly useful in this role. You'll need a way to deal a lot of quick damage while the tank keeps them distracted. A mage or Varric will also be quite useful, especially if you have them set up with stun abilities. It really isn't too hard though. In truth, getting past the thugs on the Docks may be the hardest part.
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Secret Rendezvous - Eavesdropping
Note that this is a two-part mission. She’ll ask you to investigate a meeting that’s occurring at the docks, and that you then kill all of the raiders that show up. It's not hard to get the bonus money for spying, so go for it.
Approach the marked meeting spot on the docks, but save first and try to approach carefully with a rogue. If you edge up and make it to the base of the steps, you should be able to watch the Kirkwall official walk over to the raiders and discuss the city’s plans to fund operations against Amaranthine. It's apparently possible to eavesdrop off the stairs nearby or the ledge. Feel free to play around with it a bit. I just found it quite funny to "eavesdrop" by standing about 5 feet away from them. After they reveal this, they’ll attack.
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Secret Rendezvous - Killing the Raider Captains
The fight is actually pretty easy, mainly because they don’t have that many grunts with them. There are two ship captains, who are both rogues, and one slightly tougher Kirkwall official and his guard. The official and the guard should go down quickly, along with the few grunts that join the fight. The two captains can backstab, often on the same target at roughly the same time, but once they’re alone it’s just a quick grind to bring them down. Watch your tank carefully and heal them after backstabs, and you should be fine.
Loot the bodies and report back to the Hanged Man with your information. The suspicious woman will pay you 3 sovereigns and thank you for your help.
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All screenshots and references from "Dragon Age 2."
This information is based on a playthrough at "hard" difficulty, unless otherwise noted.
This part of the larger walkthrough covers side quests that you can do in Act 1 of Dragon Age 2. This includes: Miracle Makers, The Bone Pit, Secret Rendezvous, Magistrate's Orders and The Unbidden Rescue. If you need help with these side quests, just look here for some helpful tips and tricks.