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A Murder of Crows is an Act 3 secondary quest in Dragon Age II.

This quest is available if any of the pre-built backgrounds were chosen, or if a Dragon Age: Origins imported save is used in which Zevran Arainai survived.

Acquisition[edit | edit source]

Talk to Nuncio, who is located in the Red Lantern District of Hightown, outside The Blooming Rose.

If the Dalish clan is destroyed during A New Path this quest will become unavailable.

Walkthrough[edit | edit source]

Hightown[edit | edit source]

Nuncio requests Hawke's assistance in capturing a dangerous assassin. When asked why he has come to you for help, he explains that this has become an issue for him, as most of his men have been killed under the hand of the hunted. He notes that the assassin is an elf and is seeking refuge with the nearby Dalish tribe, seeing that only Hawke has the connections with them.


Bring a rogue to deal with the chests and traps (40 Cunning) you will encounter.

Sundermount[edit | edit source]

Go to Sundermount and speak to Variel, she will direct you to a cave where the assassin is hiding. If you haven't defeated them yet, you'll have to fight some Thieves who made off with a Memento of the Dalish.

Note: On your way to the cave, off to some ruins on the left side, there are bones from which you can loot the design for Rune of Valiance, one of the best runes in the game.

Four Elite-ranked Wasp Spiders sit outside the cave. A Rune of Nature Warding in your tank's armor will cut their otherwise devastating combined volley down to nothing. Defeat them, then enter the Mountain Cave.

Mountain Cave[edit | edit source]

Inside you'll have one more spider encounter, 3 master traps, and the resident varterral to get through. If you fought it during Mirror Image, Merrill explains that it will always come back to fulfill its purpose of guarding Dalish sites. The same strategy that worked there will work here, especially since the varterral summons no reinforcements. It's a bit more aggressive with its AoE acid attacks, so a Rune of Spirit Warding will clear that right up. You come across the assassin, who is actually Zevran. You can choose to take him into custody or let him go. During this conversation you also have the option to flirt with him.

Leave by the exit to the north-east:

  • If you took Zevran prisoner then you automatically appear at the Antivan Camp.
  • If you let Zevran go then you get the World Map. You can choose to go to the Antivan Camp or another location first (i.e. return home and prepare).

Antivan Camp[edit | edit source]

When you arrive Nuncio attacks you and Zevran helps you fight him regardless of whether you captured or released him.

Strategy[edit | edit source]

3 Elites, about 10 Normals and Critters, and all of them are Assassin types. The only ones of any particular worry are Nuncio, who is an Assassin and Commander in one package, and his two guards. One starts quite a distance away whereas the other will likely attack Zevran immediately, and Nuncio kicks things off with a rallying aura, so you'll be free to attack Nuncio for the first few seconds. They all have the Coterie enemy typing, so any element will work, but spirit will deal double damage. Ultimately the goal is to kill the Normals and Critters more than the Elites; even with knockback immunity their backflip kicks will still cause it, and the Normal ranks will backstab like their Elite brethren. Thus, they can synchronize enough to keep your characters wobbling all over the beach and set you up for an Elite's backstab. Therefore, this is the most pressing problem to solve; gathering them in one place for an easy AoE elimination, but keeping them from synchronizing the kicks. Once you've solved this, the invincible Zevran will tank at least one Elite and free you to dispatch the other.

First of all, kill Nuncio; the longer he and his healing aura are on the field, the harder it will be to kill the lesser ranks, so if you can't kill him with your best abilities, reload, settle for stunning, and go after the lesser ranks. Use AoE stuns where you can get the most value out of them, and keep everyone on the move to keep the backstabs to a minimum. With Nuncio dead, order everyone up the hill to the south to get them away from the bulk of the horde congregating in the center valley. A Two-Hander can skewer the Critter ranks coming down the short hill to the west on the way.

There are no reinforcements, so anything that delivers AoE panache will work to kill the Critters and Normals: Cone of Cold + Shattering Arrow, Walking Bomb + Assassinate (preferably with a bow), or even a Fell Grenade. With no reinforcements coming, you'll be free to deal with the Elites as you see fit. Ultimately you want at least one Elite's attention to fall on Zevran, as he's invincible, so consider investing late-game talent points in threat redirection, if they haven't been used earlier in the game. Decoy, courtesy of a Shadow Hawke, or Guardian Angel courtesy of Sebastian, will also draw the enemy to a single, safe location for AoEs. Unlocking Glyph of Binding and placing it under Nuncio can catch the Normal ranks around him, providing several seconds to get into position for your cross-class combos.

Aveline can be very useful if she's learned Indomitable. Stunning abilities can be a great help, as the characters should have developed their core strengths enough that even Miasmic Flask has a good chance to stun not only the Normals, but Nuncio and the Elites. Unfortunately, many of them cause friendly fire stun on Nightmare difficulty, but Aveline's stun immunity gets around this, allowing you to use them on the enemies surrounding her with impunity. Additionally, the Demon's Eye ring from Shady Merchandise grants stun immunity to a second ally. With her and Zevran tanking, the others can focus on stunning and shedding enemy numbers. Stunning is really your best friend since this is the one place where knockback immunity would be its most useful, yet it is also the one place where it doesn't work. Isabela's All Hands on Deck, upgraded to Shore Leave, is a friendly fire-proof AoE stun. It has a short shelf life and poor damage, but it's safe to use in any situation. Fenris's Spirit Strike can do the same if upgraded, dealing spirit damage, but nearby allies will want a Rune of Spirit Warding to blunt that damage. Speaking of Fenris, nothing slaughters the Crows more satisfyingly then The Celebrant, so use that instead of Aveline if you have it. As a last resort, Merrill can kite them while Wrath of the Elvhen peels off their health. This takes much longer, and it only works if Nuncio is dead, so use it as a last resort.

Finally, you can overstock your potions and use one every time someone gets kicked. Whether you took Zevran prisoner or let him go, you don't have to travel to the Antivan Camp directly from the cave, you can return home and prepare more properly, or at least heal injuries from traveling the cave. And finally, Life Ward Potions and Mythal's Favor are great last ditch efforts to get through the fight. Martin, if he was helped in Finders Keepers back in Act 1, should have one for sale for far below the crafting price.

Rewards[edit | edit source]


This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age II.

Helping Zevran will cause him to return the favour by assisting in your battle against Meredith.
Note: There are specific conditions for his appearance; see The Last Straw walkthrough for details.

The Sylvanwood Ring (a gift for Merrill) can be looted from the Thief Leader as you approach the camp. Another can be found in a corpse at the Mountain Cave where the assassin is hiding.

If you loot the cave, you can get Boiled Leather Plates (Companion Armor Upgrade for Isabela), Righteous Rain, and Ring of the Shadow Hunter.

After defeating Nuncio, you can loot the camp for Proving Battle Tunic. If you previously chose to let Zevran leave instead of bringing him to Nuncio:

  • 1200 XP (quest completion)
  • 1 Gold
  • Finesse Finesse

Hawke is offered a chance by Zevran to sleep with him, regardless of Hawke's gender. The following conditions must be met:

  • Zevran is not in a romance with the Warden (from the imported origin). (bugged, see below)
  • Hawke flirted with Zevran at every opportunity presented.

If Hawke is not with a love interest in the quest, Zevran's offer can be accepted or refused. Agreeing to the proposal will yield

Rivalry Sebastian: rivalry (+5) if he is present.

However, if Hawke brought the romance partner, the companion will interrupt, preventing it. These are their reactions:

  • Anders: "Is there more to know about you? Seems like it's all right there on the surface."
  • Fenris: "That depends. How much do you wish to test that luck of yours?"
  • Merrill: "I think we've heard enough from you."
Note: Isabela must not be in the party for this to happen.

Isabela is a special case. She desires to be with him. If she is present, is not romanced (either full or partial), and Hawke's romance partner is present, the two will have their private time, as the others become disgusted. This yields Rivalry Aveline: rivalry (+5).

If Isabela is Hawke's "other half", Hawke has three options:

  • Join in the fun.
  • Stop her.
  • Leave them be.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • When initially meeting Zevran, Anders will mention him accompanying the Warden; also, Isabela will have a fair bit to say here.
  • This mission will not occur if you import a saved game from Dragon Age: Origins where you killed Zevran (bugged, see below).
  • If you finish A New Path before talking to Variel you might not be able to complete this quest. The Dalish elves may attack you on sight, forcing you to kill all of them (including Variel) and preventing you from finding out where the assassin may be hiding.

Bugs[edit | edit source]

  • The following bug can prevent the threesome between Hawke (either male or female), Isabela and Zevran, even if you've met all the prerequisites for this. If you've slept with Merrill and chose the break heart option immediately after this, it will put Isabela (if you already slept with her) in a state of a "ghost" romance. i.e. the dialogues still happen between Isabela and Hawke, but the game won't acknowledge the fact that Hawke is in a romance with Isabela.
  • This mission may become available even if you killed Zevran in Origins.
  • Introduction dialogues might trigger twice, before letting Zevran go and after dealing with the Crows.
  • The quest might stay active in the journal even though it is finished. Loading a save file from before the Varterral fight will possibly fix this.
  • Zevran's dialogue is written to differ for a romanced Warden and for a romanced Warden who did the Ultimate Sacrifice (he will turn down Hawke and/or Isabela's propositions). However, Zevran's dialogue is bugged to the non-romanced state.[1] This can be fixed with the mod Zevran Romance Dialogue Fix.
  • Sometimes, the cave will glitch at the foot of the steps leading to the large area where the Varterral waits. Leaving the cave or Sundermount completely, does not fix the problem.
  • Choosing any response other than "I'm here for the Antivan" with Variel will end the conversation, but she can still be conversed with again. This can be exploited to stack an unlimited amount of aggressive or diplomatic responses, and can be used to change Hawke's personality.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The word "murder" in the quest name is a pun. One meaning is literal - the act of killing; the other refers to the fact that a group of crows is called a "murder". A group of Antivan Crows, who commit murder, are involved in the quest.

References[edit | edit source]