Before the Dawn is an advisor quest for Cullen in Dragon Age: Inquisition. It is only available if the Inquisitor chooses to side with the mages instead of the templars, and is one of the two possible Nemesis quests of the game, the other being Under Her Skin.
Much like the Inquisition, Corypheus has invested great time and effort building a trusted inner circle. Samson is a former templar, a lyrium addict, and now the leader of the red templars. Cullen knows Samson well, and believes intercepting caravans smuggling red lyrium in the Emerald Graves could get the Inquisition closer to taking him down.
Available after talking to Cullen in Skyhold. This quest must be completed before taking on What Pride Had Wrought, since it is, plot-wise, a prerequisite for dealing with Samson and it is not available afterwards.
The first part of the quest requires the Inquisitor to find three red lyrium smuggler letters located in the Emerald Graves. Once acquired, the letters must be taken to Cullen. He then informs the Inquisitor that he has found red templars' primary source of red lyrium; a quarry near Sahrnia in Emprise Du Lion. If you have previously cleared the quarry, the war table operation, Investigate Sahrnia Quarry, becomes available.
When heading to raid Sahrnia quarry, it can be expedient to also complete the main objectives for Take Back the Lion, as following the plot will gradually lead the player to the quarry either way. It also opens up a couple of new quests, which can be completed in the quarry, namely Rocky Rescue and Red Captors. Inside the quarry, quests Words not Hollow, Caged Confession and Quarry Quandary can be obtained, as well.
- The red templars can be dealt with before starting this quest, meaning that this portion of the quest will not have to be done.
While clearing the quarry, pick up the hidden bottle of Legacy White Shear (found inside the locked tower on the right side of quarry entrance) and claim landmark Sahrnia Quarry further in.
Return to Cullen with the information found at the quarry. He concludes that the key to weakening Samson is to destroy his armor and proposes that the Inquisitor speak with Dagna about this. Speaking to Dagna about possible weaknesses in Samson's armor then opens up War Table operation Finding Samson's Weakness.
After completing that, speak to Cullen again about what Dagna discovered. This leads to another operation Track Down Samson. Afterwards, speak to Cullen about raiding Samson's camp. After this, the Inquisitor can travel to the Shrine of Dumat where Samson is based.
Travel to Samson's camp at Shrine of Dumat with Cullen accompanying the party. After fighting a pack of red templar horrors, guards and a behemoth, it becomes evident that Samson knew the Inquisitor was coming - the camp is already destroyed. The Inquisitor then encounters Maddox, Samson's tranquil assistant, who has poisoned himself and can not be saved. Speak with Cullen after Maddox's demise for a little further insight.
Return to Skyhold to meet Cullen and Dagna to discuss the tools. In the following cutscene it appears Dagna has indeed found a solution.
Completing the quest yields:
- 1,934 XP
- 400 Influence
- 3 Power
- Before leaving Samson's camp, speak with Cullen and suggest Maddox should be given a funeral:
- The Superb Corrupting Rune Schematic
Inflicts bonus damage against humanoids, beasts, and animals on each weapon strike.
is looted in the room before you find Maddox at the Shrine of Dumat.
- In the final dialog, Dagna hands over a special rune made from Red lyrium, however, it does not exist in inventory and does not need to be crafted onto weapons.
- Codex entry: Monthly Report
- Codex entry: New Clients
- Codex entry: Letter to Smugglers' Wagon Masters
Emprise du Lion
- Before initiating the quest, an Inquisition agent in Cullen's office in Skyhold will tell the Inquisitor that Cullen has gone to speak with Cassandra. If the Inquisitor completes Sera's "prank" unmarked quest before speaking to this agent, she will become un-interactable, and thus Cullen will never appear at his desk, making any further interaction or his quests uncompletable.
- xbox360 After deciding that a way must be found to destroy Samson's armor, if you have not already recruited Dagna as an arcanist, Cullen will say that you must get an archanist. However, if you speak with him again before doing so, he will tell you to speak with Dagna, despite the fact that she has not been recruited and is not at Skyhold.
- Raiding the Quarries before turning in the smuggler letters to Cullen may result in a bug, where the War Table operation Finding Samson's Weakness or Investigate Sahrnia Quarry is always marked as busy, and thus the quest cannot be completed.
- Acquiring and completing the war table operation The Arcanist and the Fade will resolve the "busy" bug for the "Finding Samson's Weakness" operation.