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Lothering is an interesting town, since there is no main quest. There's just a lot of little quests, but they are very important. I'll give you a little walkthrough for a suggested path. For the record, I did most of this with a group of Alistair, Morrigan, and Leliana. I'm playing a human noble using a sword and shield. I didn't have too much trouble, but you should save often. Some of the fights with the bandits can go wrong quite quickly.
Also there are a few things that you really need to do in Lothering right now. I don't feel bad spoiling it, since the characters in town warn you. Once you leave and do one of the main quests for the Grey Wardens, the darkspawn will overrun Lothering and it will be off limits. So, before you wander off too far, here's a quick checklist of things you must do.
- Talk to the Blackstone Irregulars guy in the tavern and conscript the man hiding in the chantry. If you don't get him now, you will not be able to finish up the Blackstone Irregulars quest line later in the story, since this quest will never close.
- Pick up Leliana in the tavern. She's a good rogue and will fall right into your hands.
- Free Sten. He's a good warrior and it doesn't hurt to have him.
- Clear the Chantry Board. It's great experience and surprisingly good money for early game quests.
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The Bandits on the Highway
There is a group of bandits holding the highway and you'll run right into them as you enter Lothering. This is a pretty standard RPG situation and it plays out like you’d expect. You can just pay them if you want. You might have the money on hand already, although they will demand more once you pay out the first time. You can also threaten them by pointing out that they’re going to attack a grey warden and extort money from them. You should be able to get them to back down. I lean toward chaotic good though, so we’re attacking.
If you attack, you should be very careful. They are really strong for a bandit group. There’s even a knight mixed in with them. Focus on him and the leader. Once the leader gets close to death, he’ll stop and beg for mercy. I suggest you just finish him off. You can demand to arrest him or conscript him if you want to feel better about it, but he’ll fight either way. Finish him off to enter the village.
If you kill them, you can also claim 20 silvers as a reward from Ser Bryant. You can find him in the Chantry.
Make sure you grab the pendant from Ser Henric’s body on the ground. We need that for another quick quest.
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The Merchant and the Sister
This isn't a quest, but a little scene that occurs as you walk toward the chantry. The merchant here is charging a lot of money for basic supplies and the sister wants him to be reasonable given the whole "darkspawn horde coming" thing. You're asked to intervene and you have three choices. You can side with the merchant for a little money. This gets a little nod of approval from Morrigan, but Alistair (and Leliana if you manage to not trigger it on your first pass) will not be happy with your greed. You can side with the sister for the opposite effect. Either way, he'll stay in town and act as a fairly worthless merchant. You don't actually get a discount if you help him, so don't factor that into your decision.
You can also just refuse to intervene and he'll leave. This has no effect on your approval ratings and you don't miss out on much.
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A Fallen Templar
This is a quick quest and we should be ready for it. The bandits on the highway killed a knight called Ser Henric. You can search his body to find an important letter and a pendant. Take this to Ser Donall in the chantry. He's standing in the hallway just past Ser Bryant. Talk to him to learn about the Urn of Sacred Ashes and then tell him about Henric. Hand over the pendant and the letter. You can ask for a reward and receive a sovereign with no real penalties. It's your roleplaying call though.
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When you first enter the tavern, you’ll come across a group of Loghain’s soldiers that are waiting to arrest you. Things turn violent pretty quickly and you’ll end up in a big battle in the tavern. All you have to do is pause the game and have everyone focus on the commander. Once he’s about to die, he’ll surrender. You can continue the fight if you really want, but I personally think it’s cooler to send him off to Loghain with a threat. That fit my roleplaying better at least. Anyway, once the threat is taken care of, you’ll be able to recruit the girl who joined you in the fight, Leliani. She’s a good rogue character with some pretty good spells too. You should definitely pick her up.
Also remember to talk to the representative from the Blackstone Irregulars and talk to Barlin inside the tavern. He's the best merchant in town and he has a quest too.
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A Poisonous Proposition
This is a quick fetch quest. Barlin wants 3 vials of poison for his traps. He specifically wants venom. You might actually have 3 bottles of venom already by sheer luck. I had 2 when I checked. In order to make more, you just need to have some flasks and toxin extract. Barlin sells flasks and you can go kill some spiders for the toxin extract.
The spiders are in the northeast part of the map. Move over the bridge. You should pass a woman called Allison and Elder Miriam. You can get the quests from them too, if you want. Once you get out of town, you'll need to move carefully. The mercenaries block the path if you activated their quest. There's also some refugees looking for a bounty to the left. Cut a path to the river and curve to the right. You can't miss the 6 giant spiders waiting by their cave. Just charge in and start slashing. They aren't that tough and Morrigan's magic will make short work of most of them. Just remember to use here Mind Blast spell when you can. It's really effective. Also use your little tricks and attacks to thin them out quickly.
Once they're dead, you can loot them for 6 toxin extracts. Leliana has a default talent for poison making, so she can whip up some venom vials quickly. Run 3 vials back to Barlin for 75 silvers.
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Traps Are A Girl's Best Friend
Allison needs traps. This is pretty simple. She's waiting close to the village elder and Sten in the second half of town. If you talk to her, she'll ask if you know how to make traps. If someone in your party knows trapmaking, then you can take the quest. If not, then you'll just miss out on a quick and easy payment.
If you do know how to make traps, then just go to Barlin and buy 3 trap triggers. She just wants simple spring traps, so you can whip them up and turn them in for a quick 50 silvers.
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More Than Just Plants
Elder Miriam needs some more healing supplies for Lothering. This means getting 3 healing poultices for her. These potions can be any type, so you should probably just stick to the lesser ones. You also probably won't have to actually make any poultices. You still need to have herbalism to get the quest though. Morrigan knows it by default, so you should be fine.
Once you take the quest, you might be able to just talk to her again and hand over the poultices. You can even note that you didn't have to gather any herbs. You'll also probably get plenty of healing poultices by killing the armed refugees and the mercenaries. If you don't manage to somehow loot 3, then you can gather some elfroot from the hillsides by the next part of the imperial highway. Just mix them up with 3 flasks from Barlin to make up the potions. Hand them over to Miriam to get some silvers.