Anders speaks of Ser Alrik's misuse of the Rite of Tranquility, and asks Hawke to accompany him to a secret entrance to the Gallows Dungeon in Darktown. He suspects Ser Alrik of plotting something called "The Tranquil Solution" – a plan to turn all mages in Thedas into Tranquil, starting with Kirkwall. Anders plans to infiltrate the Gallows to obtain evidence of this plot and expose it, so at the very least even Grand Cleric Elthina may have to do something about him.
As usual, the amount of friendship/rivalry points received depends on the dialogue choices made while talking to Anders in his clinic regarding the quest. Since friendship or rivalry points effectively cancel each other out, the total amount at the end is tallied and you are only shown the end result of your choices. They can be broken down into each specific gain below:
- No effect
- "They wouldn't do that." Sebastian: friendship (+10)
- "You're crazy."
- "We must stop them." Sebastian: rivalry (+10)
- No effect
- "Of course, I'll help." Anders: friendship (+5) Sebastian: rivalry (+5)
- "Isn't this dangerous?" (This option and asking about the "Tranquil Solution" are mutually exclusive. Only one can be chosen before deciding to accept or refuse the quest.)
- "You're on your own." Sebastian: friendship (+5) Anders: rivalry (+15) (quest ends)
Investigating details of his "run-in" with Alrik grants Codex entry: The Mage Underground.
Accepting the quest requires obtaining +5 friendship from Anders, which weighs against those looking to rival him. It is unavoidable, but there is much more rivalry to be earned by completing the quest than just refusing it. Refusing to help ends the quest immediately, and Hawke will miss an opportunity to obtain an armor upgrade for Anders, as well as supplies for the Supplier achievement/trophy and ultimately Anders's Act 3 companion quest. Thus it is not wise to refuse the quest for the sole purpose of evading a paltry +5 to friendship.
Hawke needs to go to the Gallows Dungeon at the southernmost part of Darktown. Examining the entrance causes Anders to ask you (even if he wasn't in the party) if you are ready to enter. Saying "yes" brings up the party selection screen and locks Anders into the party during this quest.
Enter the tunnel and head east to find the Spindleweed. Loot the crates for potions if your stock is low. Heading south, Hawke is attacked by lyrium smugglers. The group is a mixture of Carta and Mercenary-type enemies, so some will be greatly vulnerable to cold (Carta) while others will be immune to it on Nightmare difficulty (Mercenaries). They can be distinguished not only by their race but by the type and color of armor they wear, so save Winter's Grasp for the dwarves. Anders comments that the tunnel was built by the smugglers so that they could service the templars' lyrium addictions. Be sure to loot The One True Pantaloons from one of the dwarves before moving on.
There are two Complex-ranked chests to open and two Complex-ranked traps to detect and disarm (30 Cunning required, 150 XP each) in the tunnel. Hawke may return to the area later if needed; the location will remain accessible until the papers are looted from Ser Alrik's body. (See bugs for a possible issue on the PC and Xbox360 version of the game). The area loops towards a large chamber with a Deep Mushroom at the northernmost point and the aforementioned traps near the south. Triggering or disarming them begins an encounter with giant spiders, which are mainly vulnerable to electricity but will suffer from cold damage all the same, the latter of which being more valuable on this quest due to the templars at the end of the line. In the second-to-last chamber you'll find a corpse that has 2 Health Potions on it, regardless of how many are in your inventory, so keep these in mind as you stock up from loot containers. Upstairs and into the tunnel along the zigzagging boardwalks.
At the end of the tunnel, Hawke encounters a female mage named Ella in the act of sneaking out of the Circle. She's just been caught by Ser Alrik himself, along with some templars. She says she's just going to visit her mother, but Ser Alrik intimates that he has a more sinister, personal motive for making mages Tranquil and is simply looking for the right excuses to justify it. As Anders watches the injustice take place, Justice takes control of his body and readies to attack the templars. Varric will have a comment here if Hawke takes the humorous dialogue choice. Combat begins.
Ser Alrik is a Commander-type enemy and will cast a health-regenerating effect on the other templars. He will also be supported by two Templar Hunters, one at a time, and several Normal-ranked melee and archer units. Falling back to a more defensible position is certainly an option here, especially if Anders or another mage can unleash a quick Cone of Cold when the battle starts. Moving as a team back to the wooden bridge will single-file the enemies with the Templar Hunter most likely leading the pack, allowing a ranged party to unload on and kill him before he can do a single backstab. Retreating further from this point may even cause Ser Alrik to break off his pursuit and return to where Ella is, depriving his support and reinforcements of the healing aura. Other than this, templars tend to have higher damage resistance than the common mercenary, so there is very little one can do to mitigate so many of them in so small a space as the one in which the battle begins.
After they're all dead, Justice continues to rave on how every last templar will "feel justice's burn." No comment from Hawke stops it from confronting Ella. Ella calls Justice a demon, which infuriates it even further, accusing her of "being one of [the templars]" to accuse it so, raising Anders's hand to kill her. Calm him down with the special dialogue option ("Don't hurt her!") that appears (this will only be available after achieving 50% friendship or rivalry). Any other dialogue choice leads to Ella's death. Anders will temporarily leave the party.
- If Ella escapes unharmed:
Afterwards, Hawke can find Alrik's Papers on his corpse showing that he was indeed plotting "The Tranquil Solution" but that both Knight-Commander Meredith and the Divine refused his idea. (See bugs for a possible issue on the PC and Xbox360 version of the game.)
Before leaving the area, be sure to pick up an armor upgrade for Anders in one of the crates west of the exit. Also, there is a codex entry: The Enigma of Kirkwall left by the Band of Three nearby (required for the Archaeologist achievement/trophy).
When returning to Darktown, Hawke is immediately approached by Ella if she is still alive. She asks "What was that thing?"
- Choosing the aggressive option ("Just what it looked like"):
- Telling Ella to go back to the Circle:
- Telling Ella to go somewhere safe:
Optionally, after talking to Anders in his clinic, Hawke can confront Grand Cleric Elthina in the Chantry ( Anders: friendship (+5)) and Cullen in The Gallows about the Tranquil Solution. The dialogue will be slightly different and Hawke can present Alrik's papers as further proof if this is done after killing Alrik.
If Hawke did not bring Bethany to the Deep Roads and she went to the Circle at the end of Act 1, telling Ella to return to the Circle will prompt her to say that maybe Bethany was right and the Circle isn't so bad.
Talk to Anders at his clinic in Darktown to complete the quest. He is sorting through his personal effects, still overwhelmed by what happened. Dialogue choices provide Hawke many options, with the final effect on friendship/rivalry only visible at the very end:
- Show him Alrik's Papers right away. Anders: friendship (+15)
- Otherwise you can talk about what happened.
- If you ask what happened in the Gallows Dungeon ("What happened in there?"): Anders: rivalry (+10).
- He says he will not put himself in that position again.
- Aggressive response ("How can you stop it?"): he asks if you want him to leave.
- Otherwise the conversation continues:
- Diplomatic response ("Make yourself a good example."): Anders: friendship (+15).
- Anders worries about what will happen if he loses control and Vengeance attacks a patient.
- Show him Alrik’s papers: Anders: friendship (+15).
- Diplomatic response ("Find a peaceful way."): you show him Alrik’s papers. Anders: friendship (+15).
- Aggressive response ("You're on your own."): he asks if you want him to leave.
If Anders leaves the party after this conversation then you lose anything in his inventory (Note that it may be possible to quickly enter the inventory after the battle with Alrik to strip any valuable gear from him before sending him away).
If Alrik's Papers were shown to Anders then he is relieved since this means the plan has been rejected by both the Divine and Meredith. He wonders if the Grand Cleric might be more reasonable than he thought and plans to try speaking to her. The conversation ends.
- Anders either leaves, or stays and Questioning Beliefs (Anders Act 2) becomes available at 50% friendship or rivalry.
- 1000 XP (after talking with Anders – quest completion).
- Hawke will receive Letter: From Ella in Act 3 if she survived.
- Anders will have the Vengeance ability after completion of the quest, if it has not already been unlocked. This effectively gives him an additional talent point, one which is retained even if he later consumes a Maker's Sigh from the Black Emporium. (If it has already been learned, it may be a good idea to purchase a Maker's Sigh and re-spec it out of his ability loadout before confronting Alrik.)
- Random loot, including leveled templar armor. Ser Alrik drops Dissension.
- Spirit Essence, an armor upgrade for Anders.
- If seeking the Supplier achievement, be sure to grab the Deep Mushroom and Spindleweed in the Gallows Dungeon. Also, do not send Anders away, as doing so will lock his Justice quest in Act 3, which in turn locks out from an area where you would obtain one more Deep Mushroom.
- If seeking the Archaeologist achievement, be sure to grab Codex entry: The Enigma of Kirkwall after the battle with Alrik.
- Loot the Fine Dwarven Trousers from a dwarf mercenary nearby after the first wave of enemies for The One True Pantaloons.
- Two traps guard the main entrance of the chamber where the Deep Mushroom can be found.
- "The Tranquil Solution" is likely a reference to Hitler's "Final Solution". This was the most deadly phase of the Holocaust in World War II.
- If Carver became a templar, he mentions "a permanent solution," which some Templars support, in his letter to Hawke.
- If Bethany was sent to the Circle, she mentions templars who hold "extreme views," including "one creep named Ser Alrik who likes harassing mages" in her letter. Bethany also mentions Ella, writing that she is training the apprentices, and that Ella in particular has "taken a shine" to her.
- pcxbox360 v1.04: Sometimes Ser Alrik's body is not available for looting after the battle. If this occurs, reload a saved game and loot his body during the battle immediately after he died.
- xbox360 Sometimes Anders disappears after the fight with Ser Alrik, making the quest impossible to complete.