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The Circle Tower

As you arrive you get a CS of the Templar in charge issuing orders, then Alistair asks if they are barring the doors to keep people out or in?  When you ask what is going on the Templar orders you to leave for your own safety of course and when you refuse, stating that as a Grey Warden you have the right to request their assistance, he finally gives you the news.

The tower is no longer under their control it has been overrun by darkspawn, and the mages are indisposed but that that means is not really clear.  Clearly they need help but what kind of help is the question, since the leader is only trying to obtain permission to butcher the mages.

Alistair insists that the mages are probably dead but that the darkspawn must be dealt with now.  The Templar does not want to hear that and even if there are any survivors it is clear he has no intentions of going to their aid or trying to clear out the darkspawn.  You insist that you will look into the survivor question, and are warned that there is more than one Abomination in the tower, and there will be no help from the Templars though if you succeed, he agrees to align his Templar's with you for the coming Blight Fight.

That is progress anyway, right?

The Templar warns you that once you enter, he is not going to reopen the door until he has proof that the darkspawn are no longer a threat proof in the form of the leader of the Mages himself.

Before you go in have a chat with the Quartermaster and trade for anything that he has that you think you can use.  One useful thing that he has is a backpack that expands your storage by 10, and he also has some elfroot and some recipes that may be useful if you can afford them.

Once you have everything that you need, proceed through the door and the Templar will bar it behind you.  You get a quest update at this point, and you are now inside the restricted area of the Tower. You will want to carefully search through each chamber as you progress, looting and taking out the enemy as you encounter them. This part is broken down by level of the tower...

Apprentice Quarters

In the rooms to the right off the hall there are some containers one of them contains a Codex entry item that also triggers a new quest Watchguard of the Reaching.  This quest requires you to find all of the notes of an apprentice that may reveal a hidden secret of the tower.

In the next room along the hallway to the right is the first documents from this quest be sure you loot all of the containers that you encounter.  There is a second set of the documents in this room in another chest. 

As you enter through the door at the end of the hall you get a brief CS of Wynne taking out a monster and then she orders you to come no closer!  Clearly she is not happy with you and she tells you what happened once you start chatting, both what happened before and her fears of what is going to happen.

She offers to have you join her and try to save the Circle of Mages and once you have asked all of the questions you want to ask, joining with her is the way to go, but Morrigan is not pleased with your decision at all.

At this point Wynne joins your party but now you have to decide who you are going to take with you into this mess.  The ideal party is a couple of tanks (Warriors), a Rogue (me in this case but maybe not you), and a Mage (Wynne).  You can try it with a different combination if you like, perhaps Morrigan, Wynne, Alistair and yourself it really depends upon what class your main character is.  When you are ready and happy with your party, get going! 

The first Abomination is through the next door this fight seems to work best if you allow the Abomination to come to you rather than going out to it but YMMV.  There are two more Abominations in that room and after you kill them loot the books on the long table here one gives you a quest (Summoning Sciences) and both give Codex entries.

In the next area are some lootables including more notes and the first summoning font.

To do this first exercise, do these steps in order:

1. Examine the font to initiate the flame.
2. Return to the previous room and examine the Tome of Spirit Personages on the bookshelf.
3. Examine the Summoning the First flame on the floor near the table.

For the second exercise:

1. Examine the font to initiate the flame,
2. Examine the Redercoms Uncommon Calling book on the shelf in the next room near the third flame.
3. Examine the statue of Magus Gorvish in the first room.
4. Examine the Summoning the Second Flame in the middle room.

For the third exercise:

1. Examine the font to initiate the flame,
2. Examine Elvorn's Grande Bestiary in the third room.
3. Examine the Common Table Carving Spot in the first room.
4. Examine the Spiritorum Etherialis book on the floor in the third room.
5. Examine the statue of Magus Gorvish back in the first room.
6. Examine the Novice Phylactery book on the shelf in the first room.
7. Examine the Summoning the Third Flame in the third room to summon the beast and then kill it.

Open the door to the next area and kill the beasties here first, and then:

For the fourth and final exercise:

1. Repeat all of the steps above minus the Summoning Flames and initiating the font only once.
2. After examining the Novice Phylactery book, find the Fourth Flame and examine it.
3. Pick Arl Foreshadow's pocket for a unique Codex entry.

Loot the bodies and read the books here, and then head up the stairs to the entrance to the Second Floor to continue on.

Senior Mage Quarters

As you enter this area you get a CS with a Tranquil who asks you not to enter the stock room because it is a mess.  As you chat with him you get a sense of the subplot that is unfolding here, and who you need to be looking for now.  The Litany will give you a fighting chance against the Blood Mages, so you need to find Niall, right?

In the next area there are some Blood Mages but you are going to need to mind your party members because for some reason some of them will not attack when you do.  Taking out the mages is easy if everyone is fighting not so much if they are not.  Once you have them all fighting you should make short work of the few targets here, and then you get a brief CS of a woman on the floor, who is begging you not to kill her.

The Blood Mage on the floor wants you to show her mercy that is your call but there is no reason I can think of not to pump her for information so do that.

Did you let her live?  Yeah, neither did I.  Behind her body there is a container you can loot a gift from, and there are other lootables nearby as well, so see to that, and then look in the far corner of the room for one of the Scrolls of Banaster and grab it.

In the next chamber up the hall are two Abominations to kill, and behind the wall in here is a chest with one of the Love Letters in it so be sure to grab that.

The next chamber after that has a group of shambling corpses in it but you make short work of them!  When you loot them you discover that they each have some money who knew that corpses needed money?

There is a chest here to loot, an and an Armoire, and in the rear of this chamber are two more Abominations to kill and a vanity to loot that contains a gift item.  May as well give some gifts now if you like to free up some bag space.

Nearby is a closet that is trembling slightly there is either a Bogart inside, in which case you should point your wand firmly and cry: "Ridikulous!" or you could go open it and see if it is something else entirely. I vote for open it.  Ah well, it is not a Bogart after all.

The conversation goes pretty much where I thought it would this guy is something of a coward and really would you want him in your party anyway?  Really?

Note on Saving...
If you have not been regularly making saves you should consider doing so it would really suck to get this far into the Tower, die, and have to repeat an hour or more of work, right?

The next chamber contains some Blood Mages fighting an Abomination so go ahead and kill them all mwahahahaha! 

There is an Apprentice Note here, some lootables, and a chest with a Lyrium Potion and Injury Kit, so grab those, and then head out into the hall to the next chamber, where you will find three Abominations to kill.  I hate the way these things blow up after you kill them gotta mind that.

There are a few lootables in here and a pair of metal doors that you cannot open.  These doors actually lead into the storage chambers for the Circle you would know that if you did the Mage Origin Story as it factors in the questline for that story but as we do not need to go there for our current quest we can just ignore it.

The next chamber has some bodies to loot one has a gift item on it and the other has one of the letters we need for that quest.  If you look against the back wall you will see a toppled statue that you can target.

Target the statue to initiate a brief CS that reveals the presence of another phylactery vial now take the vial to summon the Revanant and kill it!  When you loot it you will get a paper and some money nice! 

Now back into the hall and to the next chamber, which turns out to be the Head Enchanter's Study.  Go ahead and loot this place dry for some Codex entries, and some quest documents.  In the far corner is a chest with a gift item a Black Grimoire that would be perfect for Morrigan don't you think?

After this it is back into the hall and we finally reach the door to the Third Floor.  Now would be a good time to save if you have not already thought to.

The Great Hall 3rd Floor

As you enter the third floor there is a chest you can loot directly ahead on the other side of that wall, and then a door on the left to open.  On the floor in this large chamber is the second set of the Scrolls of Banaster so grab those and then take out the reanimated corpses first one group and then a second. 

Be warned that there is an Arcane Horror here a sort of boss mob and he can easily wipe your party with his area-of-effect spells so you may want to concentrate upon him first?  Once you have taken him and the other corpses out, finish looting the room before continuing on to the next chamber.

Note that the corpses have Corpse Gall on them and that is a quest item so be sure to loot it.

The last private document is in the next chamber in a chest you can loot so do that now.  Once you have that document, open the door here and kill the Abominations and then a Lesser Demon, and loot the room.  Now proceed into the next hallway and open the door to the chamber on the right.

In this chamber you encounter your first possessed Templars and kill them.  Now loot this room and continue to the next chamber off of the hall and loot the few items here.  We are concentrating on the chambers on the outside side of the hall for now, so ignore the door on the left and keep working your way along the hall doing the right-side doors.

In this next chamber are more possessed or charmed Templar you know what to do to them.

There is a Desire Demon here that can wipe your party if you are not careful.  Keep on eye on party health and try to take it out first if you can. 

Loot this last room, and then head back into the hall, and open the door to the center chamber that is the one we were ignoring.  Draw the enemy out and kill them.  There is a Lesser Shade, an Abomination and some minor skellies here to kill but once they are dead, loot the bodies and then enter the chamber.

There is a Tranquil in here that I guess you just rescued?  There is also a statue that you can examine here this is actually part of the quest Watchguard of the Reaching and since we can now complete that quest let's do that now.

Watchguard of the Reaching Quest

Return to the second room  on this level you see the three statues against the back wall?  These are the trigger points for the ques the one for which we are collecting the Apprentices Notes. Examine the one on the left, then the one on the right, and finally the one in the middle, and you will notice that you get a sort of red explosion effect each time.

Now return to the room in the very center that we just left, with the statue near the Tranquil, and examine that statue, and you will get a quest update.  If you examine the quest description in our active quest list, you will notice that it has now changed to indicate that the barrier has dropped.  Now we need to head for the first level of the tower.

When you are back on the first level, go to the metal door to the basement, save, and then try to open it this will release Shah Wyrd a fire demon.  Kill it!

Once the Shah is dead, examine the Pile of Rags that it leaves behind and you will find the following items:

Yusario: A two-handed Greatsword with some epic properties.
Three minor gems.

Obviously you want that sword for later in the game, because it is really good at slaying dragons.

If you look on the other side of the room you will see that there are now more Circle Mages present.

Talk to Kinnon and he will relate that he is aware of Loghain's treachery, and then talk to Keili and she will have a chat with you about her feelings about what is happening.  She seems to have lost a few of her marbles but that is not our problem at the moment.  We need to get back up to the Third Floor!

But first be sure that you saved.

The Fourth Floor

Right, now that we are back where we were before, head over to the door and go through to the fourth floor, and you will find yourself in darkened area. To your immediate left in the corner is some rubble with a Codex entry so loot that, then move to the other side and loot some lyrium from the chest there.

Move into the hall and open the door on the left to encounter a sexy blue demon that has a Templar enthralled under her spell so that he believes that she is his wife and his children.  After a brief CS and some dialogue with the demon, she sets the Templar and her minions on you kill them all!

This is a significant battle in that there are items in this room that we want to loot a gift and some other useful gear including a set of Templar Armor with an armor state of 12.60 and some very nice bonuses on it!  You may not have your warrior's strength to 27 yet, but hold on to that armor for when you do which should be soon.  Finish looting this room to get another Codex Entry, and then head back into the hall, and turn left, and go to the end of the hall and open the door on the left.

Inside this room are some possessed Templar who will immediately attack let them!  While your crew is taking them out, you run to the rear of the room and kill the Blood Mage there that is making things rough on your party thanks to her ranged magical attacks.

Once you have taken them all out, begin looting this room the Blood Mage you killed has a set of Archon Robes on it that give a boost of 8 Armor!  They also improve health regen in combat and add 2 to Spell Power.  Wynne's robes are similar but the Archon Robes are slightly better, especially when Wynne is physically attacked so I recommend switching her to them.  There is a note near the left wall that adds another Codex Entry, and some odds and ends to loot including an injury kit.

Into the Fade

Once you are finished looting, return to the hall and open the final door in the opposite side  for a CS with a major demon you get a chat choice and the demon tries to put you to sleep with his pacifistic charms.  You have to resist you have to!  And yet, well, you cannot.

This now triggers a new quest Lost in Dreams and in case you have not figured it out, the demon has projected you into the Fade. 

The quest description reads: You are a Grey Warden in Weisshaupt, attending to your duties.  The darkspawn are gone, defeated forever, and you and the other Grey Wardens are a relic of an era that is past.  Now is the time for rest, and reflection.

Run forward to the center of the chamber to see Duncan!  Talk with him, you don't get the answers you want, and then you must fight Duncan and two Wardens.  After you defeat them you get a quest update you must escape the Fade, and rescue your party!

There is a Fade Pedestal in the center where Duncan was standing use that and you are presented with a puzzle of sorts.  Select the first glowing destination and you are transported to Niall, who can give you some clues about what you are trapped in.

The pedestal symbolizes the domains controlled by the Sloth Demon.  Your task is to work your way through them and overcome the obstacles in order to reach and kill the Sloth Demon.  You have to move to each island and free your party members, and then together take on the demon and win!

After you finish talking to Niall, take the Fade Portal behind him and kill the demon that is on the other side.  The mouse will talk to you listen to him and he will tell you what to do.  Before he dies he gives you his power to shapeshift.

There is a mouse hole behind you shapeshift and go through it and then kill the demon on the other side.  Grab the Lyrium and the Codex entry for the statue, and then go through the Portal here and kill the Lesser Shade on the other side.

Kill the demon ahead and grab the Lyrium, then kill the next demon and then take the next portal.

The Raw Fade

You are now back in the Raw Fade Zone near the Fade Pedestal and Niall is standing nearby.  When you talk to him he will be pretty excited when he learns you were able to transform into a mouse and he has some suggestions for you as well.  The Shade Zone we are presently in is the one at the top of the star when you use the Pedestal you get to choose which zone to do next.

The Burning Tower (Upper Right)

As you materialize you are in a chamber with a door to the right, and a mouse hole to the left turn into a mouse and go through the hole first.  Inside this chamber is a broken glowing chest with an Essence of Cunning in it this will permanently increase your Cunning Stat by 1 so take that and then return through the mouse hole.

Turn back into human form and head through the door, moving along the hall to the first door you come to on the right, and open the door.  Inside is a pair of Burning Templar either go in and kill them or let them come to you and kill them, so long as they end up dead!

Inside the room that the Burning Templar were from is a mouse hole go ahead and go through that, then turn back into a human and move into the room, to the door on the door straight ahead (the door on the left just leads to the hallway we were in before) and kill two more Burning Templar. 

There are three more doors in this chamber one on the left that you discover has flames behind it, a Massive Door straight ahead that you cannot open just yet, and a door up a short flight of steps to the right.  When you approach this door you get a checkpoint save, and once you pass through it you are in a hall with lots of flames and only one way to go.

Around the corner you are attacked by a pair of Burning Hounds kill them and then take the next turn,  where you will fight a Burning Templar and another pair of Burning Hounds.  Now head around the next corner past the Lyrium and you will fight yet another pair of Burning Hounds just before the nearby mouse hole.  After you defeat them, turn yourself into a mouse and go through, for another checkpoint save.

On the other side, immediately turn back into a human and engage the Templar Dreamer that is here.  After you defeat him you will gain his power (The Burning Man Shapeshifting Ability) and urge to move on to victory!

Walk over to the Shade Pedestal and use it, and select the next zone going clockwise The Mage Asunder.

The Mage Asunder (Lower Right)

Take the first mouse hole closest to the Pedestal and you will be in a dead-end room that has a glowing weapon rack in it that contains the Font of Strength.  This permanently adds 1 to your Strength Stat so take that now, and then go to the bookshelf behind the rack and get a new Codex Entry, the Hierarchy of the Circle.  Now return through the mouse hole.

For now, ignore the other mouse hole in the room it leads to a room with a pair of mages but you can get to them through the door nearby, which leads to a hallway, and that way you are already in human form and can fight.  After you kill them both, move on to the next door on the left, and another pair of mages and after you kill them, look in the bookshelf on the right side of the room to gain the Codex Entry History of the Circle!

The next door on the left at the end of the hall leads to a room with four Crazy Mages in it if you have the materials to make health potions, it would be an idea to have some handy for this fight, as they can do considerable damage to you!  It would also be an idea to save before you get into this fight just in case you end up dead.

The door at the end of the hall reveals a pair of Servants for you to kill, and then a third as you run towards the next door.  As you open that door you will see that there are flames on the other side flames that in our human form would kill us!  But we gained the Burning Man Form did we not?  Go ahead and transform into that, and waltz through the flames unscathed.

You want to remain in this form for now, because in it you are immune to the flame damage that the magic beasties will use next so go ahead and kill the four fire demons that spawn in this room, and then head to the next door.  Before you open the door, you may want to consider that there are mages behind it and they are a handful if you take them on all at the same time... 

In my experience the best way to handle this part is to open the door while standing to the side, so you do not immediately aggro the mages, and then lure them out and take them on one at a time by letting only one see you at a time.  At most you do not want to fight more than two at a time as the offside mages will simply cream you with their spells.

Once you take them out, now would be a good time to save.

Inside the next room are Mage Instructors and Pupils they use mostly fire area of effect spells, so taking them out should not be much of a challenge once you get back on your feet that is.  There is a Codex Entry in the bookshelf here called The Tranquil, and another from a book on the floor past the stairs called The Cardinal Rules of Magic.  The door in the end of the room is a Massive Door you cannot open that just now, so head to the door up the short flight of stairs first.

There are two Stone Golem and some possessed Chantry Clerics to fight, and after you defeat them, the Cursed Dreamer approaches you and grants you his power to shape change into a Golem, before begging you to "Free us all from this nightmare!" 

There is a Fade Pedestal here, but we are not ready to use that just yet.  Instead go through the door to the left of the Pedestal, where you will face a pair of mages and a Golem.  It is key to this fight that you take out both mages first and quickly.  Once they are dead you can easily kill the Golem, and then check out this room.

On a table at the far end is a note that gives you the Codex Entry The Harrowing, and a pile of books on the other side of the room called School of Spirit gets you the Codex Entry The Four Schools of Magic: Spirit.

At the opposite end of the room from where you entered is a Massive Door remember we could not open these before, right?  Well, now we have the Golem form!  Go ahead and switch to that, and then smash open the door!  A pair of soft and squishy Priests are on the other side of the door smash them like the Thing, and then head on down this hall to the first door on the right to face a pair of Golems and a Priest.

You can do this fight however you like, but I found that the easiest and fastest way to deal with the trio was to turn into the Burning Man and use his area-of-effect power on them.  It was easy to slice and dice them after that!

In the corner of this room is the Essence of Willpower for an instant 1 Willpower so grab that, and then look on the floor at the opposite end of the room for a stack of books labeled School of Primal, for the Codex Entry The Four Schools of Magic: Primal. 

Back in the hallway, continue on and you will encounter another Stone Golem kill it and then head  past the next door on the right a Massive Door with a boss mob behind it called an Arcane Horror that we will be coming back to in a moment.  First though, take out he next Golem along the hall and then enter the nearby door and fight three more Stone Golems.

When you are facing a mixture of magic users and golems I can see how the Burning Man would be a good form to take but when you are facing THREE golem, the only answer to that challenge is to be a Golem yourself!  You will find that this fight goes a LOT faster when you can take as well as dish it out!

On the floor on the left side of the room is a pile of books labeled School of Entropy that will give you the Codex Entry The Four Schools of Magic: Entropy.  The glowing Font of Strength is further into the room grab that now and then you may want to save, as this was a fight we do not want to have to repeat, right?

Now back into the hall and to the right to the last room where we face some mages and a swordsman-priest.  The problem with this fight is that the mages heal the priest and they try to stay as far away from you as they can.  Obviously you have to take the mages out first and that is no easy task!

Now I found that the easiest way to do this fight was as a Golem, luring the enemy into the hall, where they had less room to keep away from me, and quickly taking out the Mage and his Pupil, and then the Priest.  YMMV but this worked well for me!

Once they are defeated head into their room on the corner is a pile of books that is labeled School of Creation that gives the Codex Entry The Four Schools of Magic: Creation.   Once you have that, head back to the Massive Door we ignored before, and change into the Golem form to smash it down.

Inside this room is a mini-boss-mob the Arcane Horror and it may seem like a tough mob, but by staying in Golem form and luring it out into the hall, where it had less room to run away, it was almost too easy to take down!  Once it is dead, head into that room, to the back, and through the door there it might be an idea to save before you do that though.

The Slavren

The best form to fight this in is the Burning Man I took hardly no damage from it in that form.  Killing it gets you the quest update and there is a Fade Pedestal here as well, which is very convenient!  Go ahead and hit the Pedestal now, and select The Darkspawn Invasion Zone.

The Darkspawn Invasion (Upper Left)

You arrive in an empty chamber with a door and a mouse hole leading out of it.  Open the door and take out the trio of darkspawn that are in the hallway here first.  Now, before we move along the rail here, we have some minor side-trips to make. 

First go to the door and exit the chamber, and smash open the Massive Door that is on the left as you exited the chamber into the hall.  Inside is a weapon rack with a Strength upgrade grab that now.

Exit back into the hall and return to the first chamber, turn into a mouse and go through the mouse hole here.  Run straight ahead and take the mouse hole at the end of this hall, then run over to the broken chest in the middle of the room and grab the Essence of Cunning here.

Exit through the mouse hole back into the hall, take the right turn and the mouse hole at the end of this short hall.  Kill the pair of flaming darkspawn here, then take the north door and kill the trio of darkspawn in the hall outside two Hurlock and a Hurlock Emissary.

With them dead, move over to the flaming door and trigger Burning Man, then move through it into a short hallway with another door at the end.  Stay in Burning Man form, and pass through that door, where you will fight four burning darkspawn who really cannot do you much harm in this form!

Exit this chamber through the door and then pass through the door at the end of this hall to enter a large chamber with a bunch of darkspawn spirits and the Templar Spirit.  Once you have taken out all of the darkspawn spirits the Templar Spirit will approach you and you get a brief CS, after which he grants you the Spirit Form!

There is a Fade Pedestal in this chamber ignore it because we are nowhere near ready to use that yet!  In the Northeast corner of the room is a glowing piece of rotating art statue?  Whatever!  Move over to it and change into your newest form Spirit Form!

The glowing sparkling not-clickable thingy is now a clickable Essence of Willpower!  GO ahead and grab that, and then move over to the Northwest corner of the room, where you will see a Massive Door!  Drop the Spirit Form and switch to Golem Form now, and smash open the Massive Door, revealing a very large chamber.

Kill the Genlock and the pair of Hurlocks that you encounter here, and then further inside the room is another Genlock, a Hurlock, and a Darkspawn Emissary for you to kill.  Taking out the Darkspawn Emissary also got me the Achievement: Master Warden which is for killing 500 darkspawn, so you should be pretty close to that as well.

Uthkiel the Crusher

At the far end of this room is another Massive Door so go ahead and smash that open to reveal a real boss mob Uthkiel the Crusher!  Intimidating, bigger than us, and just plain scary!  Before we talk about this fight, I want to talk to you about something called "Grief Code."

A lot of games these days are made by people who think that the only real standard that we, the consumer, use to judge their value and goodness is the length of time that it takes to beat them.  Because there is only so much you can do to create challenge, what happens is that no matter how good a game is, somewhere in it is a section that uses Grief Code because it is the only way that they know of to get the job done. 

That is what has happened here the mob in question hits a lot harder than you do, can take a lot more damage than you can, and so is a lot harder to beat.  That is not necessarily a bad thing after all without challenging you, this would be a boring game!  Still, without dying a lot, you have to come up with a strategy to win...

There are two ways you can approach the fight with Uthkiel either rely upon luck and hope for the best, and simply keep reloading until you manage to kill him OR you can use the only tactic that seems to work with him, despite how undignified it is.  Once you have died a few times and are getting frustrated, try this:

-Smash open the door, immediately run inside, use your special to stun him, then your other special to punch him, and then RUN AWAY.  Basically you need to run around the room in circles until both of your specials have recharged.  By doing this, he cannot trigger his charge attack or his haymaker.  As soon as both special abilities have recharged, stun him then punch him, then rinse and repeat until he is dead and believe me, it will not take you long to kill him using this strategy.

Yes, it is not very dignified.  Yes, it is not from the Chuck Norris School of Fighting.  Yes, your mates really will say you fight like a little girl.  But hey, you beat the guy, that has to count for something, right?

The Rest of the Zone

Once you have finished off Uthkiel, retrace your steps south, passing through the two large chambers and the longish hallway  to the central chamber (you will have to use Burning Man to pass through the door to enter it).

Us the mouse hole near the middle of the West wall of this chamber to enter the Western area of the zone and then switch back to your regular form to battle the darkspawn that will attack you here.  After you kill them go back through the mouse hole we entered the area from and then head South.  You will pass through another burning door into a short hallway, beyond which is a burning barrier you also pass through, and we are now back in the first set of hallways that branch off of the entrance to this zone!

Run straight ahead and jog North to fight some Hurlock's in that dead-end path, then work your way South and East to fight another pair in another dead-end branch of the hallway.  Continue in a Southerly direction and eventually we end up back at the chamber that we originally entered the zone in, and all the enemy in the zone are now dead!

Head over to the Pedestal and activate it, and select The Burning Tower (upper right) as our next destination! 

The Burning Tower

Yes, this is a zone we have been to before but we did not finish the boss mob here because we did not have the ability to smash doors open, right?  In the main room is a Massive Door in the Northwest corner go ahead and smash that puppy open!  Now switch forms to the Burning Man and pass through the flames unharmed and we get a checkpoint save which should clue you in that a boss fight is coming.

At the other end of this short hall is a room just full of shambling corpses and Burning Templar and while you could stay in the Burning Man form, it might be an idea to change back into the Golem, since he can pretty much wipe the floor with the entire group with barely a scratch in damage to you!

The boss mob inside is named Rhagos and he is a flame demon.  You could switch to Burning Man if you like, but the Golem form will work too as long as you do not walk into any of the magical fires in here.  Once he is dead, head over to the Font of Strength and grab it, then hit the Fade Pedestal.  You should notice that a new area is now unlocked to the right and the zones in which we took out the boss mobs now show icons instead of the glowing star shape.  Three down, five to go!

The Templar's Nightmare (Lower Left)

We arrive in the Pedestal room, and on the left is a Fade Portal (glowing purple door).  Before we take that portal, notice the nearby mouse hole?  Beside the hole is a bookshelf  with a new Codex Entry in it the Rite of Annulment.  Grab that and then change into a mouse and head into the hole!

As you arrive on the other side you trigger a trap!  Quickly switch back to your human form and kill the Arcane Horror here, and then look around there is another glowing Fade Portal, and a regular door.  Take the regular door into the hall and turn right the first door on the right has a fire trap inside and some enemy do not trip that trap!

Draw the trio of Sloth Abominations out, and kill them but remember that after they die these things burst into flames, and while I am not sure that can hurt you, why take the chance?  Now disarm the trap for 5 XP and then grab the book in the bookshelf inside this room for a new Codex Entry.

There is a mouse hole here yes I know it can get confusing if you climb down every mouse hole so just bear in mind that it is here and exit the room.  The door to the right as we exit leads to the room we first entered this area in  so lets backtrack a bit to see what else there is on this level before we use any portal doors, shall we?

There are three Fade Portals that lead out of this area lets go back into the room where we set off the trap earlier in mouse form, and take the portal there, and we find ourselves back in the room with the Pedestal!  Okay, so we are back where we started.  The other portal in the hall leads back to the same room!  Hmm...  It is time to try some mouse holes and what better one to try than the other one in the room where we set off the trap in mouse form?  You might want to save now I would if I were you because now we come face to face with...

An Ogre!

Okay, it is really an Ogre and a Hunger Abomination I call these two Mutt and Jeff and if you are not skilled at dealing with them this can be a very frustrating fight in which you die a lot.

The trick here is simple enough hit the Ogre with everything you have special move-wise as quickly as you can to do as much damage as you can and then when the Abomination enters from the next room, begin circling the bookshelf that is in the center of the room.  Do not allow the Ogre to get you pinned to any of the outer walls because then he will pick you up and start playing whack-a-mole with your head, and the fight is over.

As quick as you can, concentrate on taking out the Abomination, because it is easier to kill and, really, is more of a distraction than a threat.  Once it is dead, use your specials on the Ogre, and make him dead!  Good on ya mate!  Mutt and Jeff are history!

Now when we exit by the door that the Abomination came through we find ourselves in a hall and the nearby door is blocked by fire but there is a second Abomination inside who we can lure outside by letting him see us.  Do that and kill him!  Feels good!  Uhm Yeah!

A Sort of Maze

Right at the end of the hall is another glowing purple portal this area is filled with portals and mouse holes, and when you pass through most of them, you find yourself back at the other end of the same hallway or in a chamber we already cleared  I hate it when that happens!  Using the portals basically loops you between the other portals, and so do the mouse holes, so the trick here is to  be systematic.

Go to the burning door (the second room) and change to the Burning Man form and walk in.  There is another mouse hole in this room go through it and quickly change back into the Burning Man.  Kill the pair of Rage Demons here if you have not already done that this is the top (third) room in this part of the pie.

Now you see that glowing almost-portal in the corner?  Change to the Spirit form and it becomes a Spirit Portal use it and then quickly change back into the Burning Man form and take out the demons here by using his fire area-of-effect power.  There is a Lyrium Vein here if you need a quick heal.

We are now in the right-hand room of the bottom piece of the pie!

In the next room is another Massive Door and a mouse hole and both lead to the same place, so you are better off simply smashing down the door as you will soon be doing battle with an Arcane Horror and a Shambling Corpse.  Coming through the door sets you on fire, but as the Golem that does not really do all that much damage to you, so just go ahead and kill them now.

At the back of this room is a Fade Portal and passing through it puts you in a room that is quickly engulfed in flames, so trigger the Burning Man form now.  Pass through the flaming door on the other end of the room and kill the pair of Abominations there, then STOP.  This is one of the sections of the game where the save feature is bugged so make a new save here BEFORE you go near the Massive Door ahead, because if you smash that door down and then end up getting dead, both the mouse hole AND the door will no longer work when you reload, effectively halting the game at this point.  So make a save prior to entering that room.

Now that you have a backup save, move across that room to the door, inside of which is an Arcane Horror and a pair of Shambling Corpses.  Kill them, make a new save, and then proceed to the next room,

Vereveel

As you enter the final room you encounter Vereveel who turns into a mouse and dodges into the nearby mouse hole.  You need to follow her, but when you get to the other side take care her magic includes a frost spell, which means Burning Man is not a great idea.

I used the Golem to defeat her, relying on his special attacks which worked well, while her elemental damage was not so effective against him.  Once she is dead you get the quest update, and then you can grab the Essence of Cunning from the broken chest in the room, and hit the Fade Pedestal.

That is now four of the eight zones completed though the middle (8th) zone is still not unlocked.

Weisshaupt Fortress

The very top zone now that we have the Spirit Form, head there and change to that form and ahead of you will now be revealed The Essence of Willpower (the glowing pedestal to the right of the ramp).  Grab that now, then head up the ramp and take the Pedestal to the Raw Fade Zone.

The Raw Fade

Switch to Spirit Form and look to the right there is a Spirit Door here!  Immediately after you pass through, change to Golem form and target the Yeuena she is the threat here, so ignore the other mobs and concentrate on killing her.  You will be using all three of the Golem's specials, and in the process of taking her out, the other two will be killed by your AOE special anyway.

Once she is dead, you get the Quest Updated, which is nice :)  Now head over to the twisted statue and look at it to get a Codex Entry The Black City and then change to Spirit Form and move to the pedestal to the left of the Spirit Door to grab the Essence of Willpower.  Now head back through the Spirit Door.

Run past the Pedestal to the Fade Portal, and pass through it yes we have been here before, what we are doing is grabbing all of the stat boosts that we could not get before because we did not have the special powers.

Take the mouse hole here, then the Fade Portal that is directly ahead, and you will see another Spirit Door ahead of you.  On the other side you will be attacked by a pair of wisps you do not need to change forms, they are not that big a threat just kill them with the Spirit Form specials, and then check out that Viking Boat.  Pretty cool, eh?  Follow the direction of its bow and you will see the glowing charm of an Essence of Dexterity the reason we came here!  Go ahead and grab that now.

Now exit through the Spirit Door, but instead of heading back the way we came, turn right and go along the path to another Fade Portal that will take us back to the entrance for this zone.  Excellent!  Move over to the Fade Pedestal and click on it notice that this zone is now marked with a symbol because we have killed its boss mob Yeuena and that is one more down!  Select the Burning Tower Zone now (Top Right).

The Burning Tower

Head down to the door in the right corner and change to Burning Man, pass through the flames, and then take the first right, and you will see a Spirit Door ahead of you.  Change to Spirit Form and enter it, and grab the Essence of Cunning and the Essence of Constitution that are here.

Exit via the Spirit Door and then change to Burning Man and turn looking right.  Run along the hall through two sets of flame to a door at the end.  Open the door and enter this room, then change to Golem Form and smash the Massive Door to your right here, and grab the Essence of Magic inside.  That is it for this zone!  Retrace your steps to the room where we entered, and then use the Fade Pedestal to go to the Mage Asunder Zone (Bottom Right).

Mage Asunder

Go up the stairs and through the door here, then follow this along to where the Massive Door was that we smashed earlier.  Now move around into the hall and go to the third chamber (bottom right), kill the three Golem here and grab the Font of Strength from the weapon rack.  Grab the Codex Entry on the floor here if you have not already, and then exit into the hall.

Go north to the top right room and grab the Codex Entry here if you have not already done so, and then go all the way to the bottom of the zone and into the chamber there ()South chamber).  Change to Spirit Form and enter the Spirit Door in the left back corner here, where you will find a Stone Golem to kill.  Once it is dead, grab the Essence of Dexterity in the target dummy here.

Change into Mouse Form and enter the mouse hole here, then immediately change to human and then Golem Form and take out the pair of Stone Golem that are here!  After you have killed them, grab the Essence of Cunning in the broken chest here, and then smash open the Massive Door here.  Inside this last room is an Essence of Dexterity and and Essence of Constitution.  Grab them both and then retrace your steps out of here and back to the main hall.

When you reach the main chamber (top left) take the door at the top of the stairs in the Northeast side, and then cross this chamber and take the other door up another set of stairs, which puts us back in the center of the tower-pie.

To the East is a Massive Door smash that open and then go to the third room on this slice of the pie and turn into Spirit Form to grab the Essence of Magic here.   Go back to the portal room (the first room in this pie slice) and use the mouse hole here to go to the section on the top right of the map and grab the Font of Strength here from the weapon rack if you have not already done this when we previously explored this zone.  There is a Codex Entry in the bookshelf behind the weapon rack if you did not do this area before, so be sure to grab that.

This wraps up the zone, so head back through the mouse hole and use the Fade Pedestal here as we have completed all of the main zones, it is now time to do the Nightmare Zones where the rest of our party are trapped!

The Nightmares

The three new zones that we unlocked by killing the boss mob for each of the other zones are actually the places in the Fade where our friends have been trapped.  It really does not matter which one that you do first they are all pretty much the same you need to find your friend, and then convince them that they are in fact trapped in the Fade.  Once they understand that, you get attacked by a demon, and once the demon is dead, you succeed in freeing that friend!

This may be different for you but my group went like this:

Alistair standing around with a goofy grin on his face, happy as a lark when I ran up to him he was happy to see me and then introduced me to his family his sister who we know this is not... 

Whatever the conversation that you have, eventually he tells you to get stuffed more or less, at which point you ask the demon why don't you just fight it out and you do!  Generally there is a group of underlings accompanying the demon just kill them all and Alistair's spellbound state drops.

As you can see from the video this part of the quest can be rather amusing... 

Now you tell him he is in the Fade, he gives a bashful reply, and then disappears as you get the Quest Updated flag.  Time to move to the next Nightmare!

Sten my next friend, is a lot easier to convince than Alistair was, and with his help the demons were easy to kill!  Poof!  Sten disappeared and the Quest was updated!

Wynne my final friend but I find her surrounded by bodies!  Convincing her was a bit harder than Sten but not that much Alistair really is a git isn't he?

With all three free there is but one task left to be completed the Inner Sanctum!

The Inner Sanctum

When I started this part of the game I did not know it was going to be such a huge quest so I felt considerable relief when I finally reached the boss fight at the end but it was an interesting set of sub-quests and zones, right? 

Ahead is our old friend the Sloth Demon you remember, the demon that sucked us into the Fade in the first place?  After he gives his little speech, all of our friends are back!  Not only are they back, but they are not precisely pleased with the situation either and they are ready to fight! 

The problem with the Sloth Demon is you do not have to kill him once you have to kill him five times, and doing that requires a little bit of planning and care...

If you have healing potions left than you have a definite advantage here if you do not, the only healing options that you have are the two Lyrium Veins in the fight area and your healer's magic but of course the Veins take a long time to recharge, and your healer only has so much mana to cast from.  You really have to micro-manage your team in this fight, there is no question about that.

To begin with, the first and second forms he takes are particularly susceptible to being blocked by your tank, while the third form seems to be particularly vulnerable to Burning Man attacks.  The fourth form you just want to kill as quickly as you can without it costing you too much, and the final form?  That is the one that will frustrate you, because it has an AOE attack that is deadly, and can easily wipe your party. 

If you have potions now is the time to use them to top of your crew.  If the Lyrium has recharged, use that as well you want to survive (obviously), so you need to take the final form out as fast as you can!  If you find that you simply did not bring enough healing potions or the resources to make them with you and you cannot complete the fight with what you have and the Lyrium crystals here, you do have the option of lowering the difficulty to the lowest setting.  That will allow you to complete the fight without having to heal at all.

Once the Sloth Demon is dead and you will be happy that it is dead you get a CS with Niall in which he instructs you to take the Litany of Adralla from his body after you return yes, he is dead, but you sorta suspected that, right?   It is rather sad that we could not save him, considering all of the help that he gave us but he seems to agree with the other spirits that we talked to, and just wants release from the Fade.  We can do that!  We don't even need a reason!

The Mage Tower

Yes!  We are back in the real world at last!  I don't know about you but that was a very long and arduous adventure much more than I was expecting!  That we gained some amazing stat boosts in the bargain is sweet in fact the treasure trove of stat-boosting items makes this one of my favorite sections of the game.

You will now reappear in the Circle Tower, and at your feet is Niall's body go ahead and remove the Litany Adralla now and then  look to the right and you will see a soldier's body near the door.  Go loot him for a health potion and a dagger, and then move through the door and around the corner and battle the Drake there isn't he the cutest sort of baby dragon?

Check the cabinet nearby and grab the Private Documents, and then move over to the Drake's body.  If you have not already looted, than take the Drake Scale from the body you will need that later so hold on to it and then loot the Charred Corpse that in on the floor nearby.  You should get a Lesser Injury Kit, and The Libertarian's Cowl you may want to equip that if you are a mage or equip it on your party mage now. 

On a nearby desk is a book that contains another Codex Entry The Legend of Calenhad: Chapter 2 which you should grab you know you get XP for every Codex Entry, right?  Umkay now, grab the Note from the pile of books on the floor nearby, and then go through the nearby door and kill the 5 Dragonlings that attack you.

Okay, seriously now, this is the Tower of the Circle of Mages, right?  This is where magic happens, and where the people who can do magic are vetted, checked out, and approved.  You would think that this would be the last place you would encounter Drakes and their babies, yes? 

Nearby next to some shelves is a chest you want to open that chest and loot it, trust me on that!  Inside the chest is some health and Lyrium potions,  a Mabari War Harness, the Kaddis of the Lady of the Skies, a Beef Bone that I am absolutely positive your war dog would simply LOVE to get as a gift, and another Drake Scale remember you need to hold on to those, there is a quest that uses them.

Through the next door a Metal Door you encounter a trio of Abominations, but you make short work of them and you notice the corpse of a Soldier nearby.  Go ahead and loot that if you have the space in your bag it is a Grey Iron Greatsword. 

Go through the open door nearby and grab the fire crystal out of the vase, and the supplies and weapons from the nearby chest.  In that chest is a Beastmen's Dagger it is Red Steel and if you are playing a Rogue (I am) you probably have the Grey Iron Enchanted Dagger equipped as your off-hand weapon.  This is a better blade, so equip it or, if you are not playing Rogue, have the Rogue in your party equip it.  Now would be a good time to check to see if any of the armor and weapons as well as accessories like belts, necklaces and such can offer better stats or protection to your party members.

Right, now that we have done all that, head back out into the hall and to the right, for another Metal Door!  Head into the room and you will spawn a trio of Shades near the loot containers.  Once they are dead, check the Soldier's Corpse to loot a Health Potion whether you want the small shield is your call, but if you have the space in your bag you can always sell it later.

The chest contains money and as I am sure you know, money is always welcome!

Meeting Cullen

Now head through the next Metal Door for a Checkpoint Save you know that THAT means, right?  We get a brief CS in which you encounter a Templar Knight named Cullen who is clearly convinced that you are some sort of darkspawn plot against him.  From him you learn that the surviving mages were taken to the Harrowing Chamber but he is convinced that they are beyond salvation.  Wynne on the other hand is not convinced .

Now we know that the Templar policy on cross-contamination with Blood Mages is to just kill them all and let God sort out the innocent and clearly this guy wants you to help him do just that so here is one of the occasions where you have to make a moral decision.  What are you going to do?

Like Wynne, I am just not willing to kill an innocent on the off-chance that they might have been corrupted which really gets the Templar angry at us but what can you do?  You have to play your alignment unless you are Chaotic Neutral, in which case I would love to go to a hockey game with you...

This is one of those spots where you are not going to keep everyone happy someone in your party will agree with Cullen, someone will disagree, and if you are lucky, the third person will be neutral in their feelings on the matter.  Obviously this is something that you have to take into consideration as you make your choice but since I am a good guy, the choice was already made for me, and so I lost 20 points of Sten's approval towards me...  I hope that does not come back to haunt me later.

Note that if you choose to side with Cullen, you are going to have to kill Wynne to get past her to deal with Uldred.  If that is what you want to do, okay, but she really would make a strong addition to your team.  Actually she does make a strong addition if you keep her because there are going to be quests you will go on later that you will want a mage other than Morrigan for, including Morrigan's personal quest.

The Harrowing Chamber

At the top if the  stairs nearby is the door to the Harrowing Chamber, and inside all hell is breaking loose the Blood Mages are torturing the survivors, turning them into arcane beasties as soon as their will is broken.  The Blood Mage in charge notices you after we get a gristly CS, asking you if you want to join in the fun?  Well, no!  My answer was: I think I will just kill you if that is alright with you?

As the fight ensues you have a choice to make a long fight or a short one.  I chose to concentrate on Uldred, who has now transformed into his Demon Self because taking him out takes out all of his minions.   Keep an eye out for when he casts the spell to change the mages and use the Litany you got earlier to combat that.

After the fight which was not as bad as I thought it was going to be there was loot to be had, including some gauntlets and plate armor off of Uldred's corpse.

Now that you have looted all that you can, head over to talk to First Enchanter Irving the guy whose face and voice you need if you are going to convince the Templar who locked you into the tower to actually let you out!  Before you agree to leave and tell the Templar the situation, tell Irvine that you want to take a look around first.

Once you are certain you have looted all you want and are happy with your look around, either talk to Irvine again or try to take the stairs down and he'll ask you to confirm you are ready to go you are, so do that now.

You get a brief CS in which Cullen encourages the head Templar Gregor to kill all the mages but we easily defuse that, and attain his thanks as a result.  Thanks but no help like he promised!  He tells you if you need help, talk to Irvine, because thanks to you he is back in charge of a secured tower, and the man has things to do, places to go, people to see.  Great... Hard to build an army when nobody lives up to their promises!

Irvine agrees to throw the support of The Circle to you and the Grey Wardens and then Wynne asks that she be released to join you.  It is really a good idea that you encourage and accept this Wynne can be a powerful addition to your party.  Irvine lives up to his promise, releasing Wynne to join our party, and you now pick up the Achievement: Magic Sympathizer for siding with the mages against the Templar.

If you decide to side with the Templar and agree with Cullen, Gregor will honor the promise that he made, and the Templar will become your ally. 

At this point you should have leveled up so check each of your characters to add their stats and skills.  If you are playing Rogue and you have not already done so, you will want to add the Stealing skill now, as we will need that when we return to the town.  If you are not playing Rogue, make sure that the Rogue in your party gets that skill at skill-up time.

The Quartermaster is still in the corner of this room and now would be a good time to get rid of the stuff you do not want or need, and see what he has that you can use so go ahead and do that now before you hit the World Map and head back to Denerim.



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