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.

Background[edit | edit source]

This is the default random encounter when traveling through the Denerim city map. Typically, you 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.

Involvement[edit | edit source]

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, then 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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

If you are unsuccessful at stealing in Denerim, then when travelling on the Denerim city map you will eventually have a random encounter where you are attacked by a Guard and 16 Soldiers who recognize you as a thief.

After this encounter you will eventually have another random encounter when travelling on the Denerim City Map with a Guard and 19 Soldiers; they recognize you 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 and hanging back from the main group.

Characters[edit | edit source]

Enemies[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • If you don't use Zevran that often, don't forget to equip him with some decent equipment before entering this encounter.
  • There are a lot of traps worth a lot of XP here (x5 Leghold Traps at 60 XP difficulty during encounter with Taliesen). It is good to take someone along who can disarm them.
  • This area has the same layout as the Dirty Back Alley.
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