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Sharp Little Pinpricks - Introduction
If you travel around the city at all at night, you'll probably notice a fairly high number of bandits trying to jump unwary pedestrians. For whatever reason, they apparently assume that it's a good idea to attack the well armed group of mercenaries without much gold. Anyway, you'll want to clear these guys out so that every nighttime mission is an exercise in frustration.
The funny thing is that killing the leader is actually no harder than just killing a group of them. For the most part, stick to fighters if you can. The highwaymen are brutal to mages, because archers will spread out and hang back trading fire with your ranged fighters. The arrows should hopefully be little more than an annoyance to a hardy warrior, but mages and archers will need to be micromanaged if you want to keep them alive.
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Sharp Little Pinpricks - Killing Sharp's Highwaymen
This is a fairly unmarked quest that you can get by killing some of the Sharp’s Highwaymen that have ambushes set up all across the Lowtown district. You should get a letter automatically after you kill a few of the groups. You can also find them in just about any large area in Lowtown during the night.
The highwaymen aren’t too hard to kill, at least in theory. They’re primarily archers. The initial ambush is never the real problem. A basic fighter or mage can rip through the lines in just a few seconds. The biggest challenge is that the reinforcements will drop down all over the battlefield in small pairs. They’ll be able to wear away at your mage easily, and can cause a surprising amount of damage to your tank if they’re allowed to keep firing. You’ll want to have someone fast that can run around and cut them down in seconds. Rogues, like Isabela, can do tremendous damage if you can keep them alive.
After a few waves, they’ll usually break down. On the bright side, note that you can heal any injuries that you receive by just going to the Hanged Man Inn and using the “gather your party” banner, or by going into Gamlen’s house. Don’t waste injury kits on any fights in Lowtown.
When you get the letter advising you of the hideout, you can just go to the house and go inside. Ignacio Strand is a fairly tough rouge, but he’ll vanish for most of the fight. The basic thugs inside will die quickly, and by the time he respawns, usually with the reinforcements, you’ll be able to tear him apart while you shield your mage/ranged fighter behind your tank. Once Ignacio is dead, you can take out a few stragglers in the house and loot it thoroughly.
The real benefit is that the highway should be just about disbanded after this, which makes walking around in Lowtown at night just a little bit easier. When you leave, you’ll also find a woman who promises some nice rewards at the Hanged Man Inn for similar vigilante actions in the other districts. You should be able to find her in a room in the Hanged Man during the night to collect a small extra reward.
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All references and screenshots from "Dragon Age 2."
Unless otherwise noted, this information comes from a "hard" difficulty playthrough.
There are several different side quests that one can do in Act 1 of Dragon Age 2. If you'd like more information on how to complete Sharp Little Pinpricks, Herbalist's Tasks, Last of His Line, Blackpowder Promise and The First Sacrifice, just look here and read these quick tips.