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The Back Alley is one of the more cluttered run down streets in the city of Denerim. Like many of the more obscured roadways in the city, it is frequently the site of muggings and other acts of miscellaneous violence.


This is the default random encounter when traveling through the Denerim city map. Typically, the party will encounter various bandits, often with various tricks, such as closing a portcullis on a party member and ambushing them, or setting up a fire trap and firing from behind barricades. There are also at least two event related encounters, as listed below.


Map-Back Alley

Map of the area

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Origins.

Pearls Before Swine

During the quest Pearls Before Swine and after dealing with the White Falcon mercenaries at the Pearl, the Warden will encounter Sergeant Kylon who will show up to give his congratulations. Unless the mercenaries were killed at the brothel, the mercenary leader Cristof will appear and attack both the party and Kylon's men. The axe Aodh can be looted from Cristof. Kylon's health will never drop below one during the skirmish with the mercenaries, so he can easily tank Cristof and his men.


This encounter will trigger after the Landsmeet when traveling on the Denerim City Map. Here, the Warden will meet Taliesen. If his approval rating is high Zevran and two other companions will fight Taliesen and other assassins. If the Warden's approval rating with Zevran is not high enough, he will side with Taliesen and will fight against the Warden. If the approval rating is between 35 and 60, he may elect not to fight either with or against Taliesen.

Black Vials[]


The location of the lever

The Back Alley is also the location of one of the revenants involved in the Black Vials quest, which can be accessed during the bandit ambush random encounter. The party will enter the alley whilst travelling to one of the locations in Denerim. The phylactery through which the Warden awakens the revenant only appears during this encounter, and will be unavailable if not interacted with at the time.

During the ambush, the first companion to enter the last area will be trapped. To unlock the entrance, the companion has to pull on a lever, then the rest of the party will join the fight.

City Guards[]

If the Warden is unsuccessful anytime at stealing in Denerim, then when traveling on the Denerim city map they will eventually have a random encounter whereby they are attacked by a Guard and 16 Soldiers who recognize them as a thief.

After this encounter the Warden will eventually have another random encounter when traveling on the Denerim City Map with a Guard and 19 Soldiers; they will recognize them as a thief who already wiped out the first patrol.

There are no more encounters after this.

These are two of the more difficult random encounters due to the sheer number of attackers. The bulk of the force are foot soldiers, with archers on platforms hanging back from the main group.



  • Bandit (Normal)
  • Thugs (Normal)
White Falcons (during Pearls Before Swine)
  • White Falcon Mercenary (Normal)
  • Cristof (Lieutenant)
City Guards (during Pearls Before Swine)
  • Soldier (conditional)
  • Sergeant Kylon (conditional)
City Guards (first encounter)
  • Soldiers (16)
  • Guard
City Guards (second encounter)
  • Soldiers (19)
  • Guard
Antivan Crows (after the Landsmeet)

Notable items[]

Gloves of Guile Gloves of Guile - looted from Taliesen.

Special objects[]

Codex entries[]

Codex entry: The Black Vials Codex entry: The Black Vials of Anton Wither, The Sixth Corpse Walker - source: glass phylactery.


  • It is recommend taking a party member along who can disarm very hard traps to maximize XP earned during the Taliesen encounter.
  • If Zevran is infrequently used as a party member, it is recommended to equip him with some decent equipment prior to entering this encounter.
  • This area has the same layout as the Dirty Back Alley.