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Dragon Age Dereliction of Duty - Getting Started
The "Dereliction of Duty" side quest in Dragon Age: Origins can be, and can only be obtained, from a Blackstone Irregulars Quest Board. The Blackstone Irregulars need your assistance in finding several of its members who they say have gone "rogue" and are making some money on the side.
What they want you to do is find the three rogue members and let them know that the Irregulars are aware of what they're doing. The quest, as mentioned above, can only be obtained through one of the Irregulars' Quest Boards -- you might need to finish off several other of their quests before Dereliction of Duty will appear on the Board.
There are three rogues to find.
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Layson the Deserter
Layson is, as you've most probably guessed, is one of the three deserters you're going to need to confront. To find Layson the Deserter, first head on over to Denerim and make your way to a "Run-Down Back Street." Once there, look around for a Dirty Hovel and enter it.
The Dirty Hovel is a pretty small building consisting of only two rooms, so finding Layson should be easy. Once you engage in dialogue with him, you will be given two options; no matter which you pick, Layson will always attack you. He will have backup with him -- something you'll be able to see prior to talking with him -- so once combat begins it would be wise to pause the game and deal with the situation tactically.
Once Layson and his backup have been taken care of, loot his body of something called "Guild Supplies". Now it's time to find the other two deserters.
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Tornas the Deserter
Tornas can be found up on the Frostback Mountains. He can be found to the right of the Frostback Mountains Pass, or just before the entrance to Orzammar. Like Layson the Deserter, Tornas will have backup by his side; two Shady Thugs to be exact.
Engaging in dialogue with him will, like with Layson, only present two options -- no matter which you pick a fight will begin. You'll want to focus on the two Shady Thugs first as they can become annoying while attacking Tornas, so it's recommended that you either get a Mage in your party to use Cone of Cold on them or to get a Warrior use abilities like Taunt or Threaten to distract them from your main character.
Once the situation has been dealt with, loot Tornas' body of "Guild Supplies". Only one deserter remains.
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Sammael the Deserter
Sammael is probably the easiest out of the three to find. Simply head on over to the Lake Calenhad Docks and proceed forward for a while and then turn left -- he should be standing still right in-front of you. If you're having trouble --for whatever reason-- finding Sammael, look for "The Spoiled Princess" and then look to your right.
Like the other two deserters, Sammael will have two "Shady Thugs" beside him. Engage in conversation with him like the other two and you'll then engage in combat. Strangely, Sammael's Shady Thugs are much harder to take down than previous ones so you should defiantly focus on them first. Again, it's advised that you use abilities that render the Shady Thugs useless for several seconds so that your companions can take them out with ease.
Sammael does appear to have quite a high amount of defence, though his hits don't seem to be anything to worry about. It's worth noting that a Templar will assist you during the battle. Once they've been taken care of, pick up the Guild Supplies.
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All that remains now is for you to return to any of The Blackstone Irregulars Quest Boards. Once there, speak with the representative and you'll be rewarded with exactly two gold coins. You also earn experience points from the deserters that you have killed.
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All screenshots and references are from Dragon Age: Origins.