This quest is available if the pre-built "The Martyr" or "No Compromise" background was chosen, or if a Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening import is used in which Nathaniel has joined the Grey Wardens and his Awakening codex entry does not say that he died.
This quest is mutually exclusive with Fool's Gold. You will get one or the other depending on the background chosen/imported. You cannot get both quests within a single playthrough.
In Act 3 you find Delilah Howe near the Chanter's Board in front of the Chantry in Hightown. She will plead with Hawke to find her brother Nathaniel Howe, who has been retracing the steps of Bartrand's expedition into the Deep Roads with his fellow Grey Wardens. Nathaniel did not tell her why the Wardens were retracing the route and he has been gone too long. She would have contacted Vigil's Keep for aid but feared Nathaniel would be dead by the time she reached Amaranthine.
If Anders is in the party he will remember Nathaniel and jokingly say "I wonder if Nathaniel ever found a sense of humor." Anders will discuss some of his history with Nathaniel if Hawke inquires. Agreeing to help Delilah results in Anders: friendship (+5); refusing gets Anders: rivalry (+5) but the quest is accepted anyway.
Once the quest has been accepted, access the Deep Roads from the world map.
Hawke's party enters into a small empty room which leads to another empty room. The third room has a chest containing Vestments of Sacrifice. You will find Nathaniel battling a group of Hurlocks and Hurlock Bolters in the cavern just outside. If Anders is present Nathaniel will remember him with fondness. Hawke will have the opportunity to question Nathaniel about his purpose in the expedition. Nathaniel was separated from his fellow Wardens during an attack and fears for their safety. He reveals that the Wardens were investigating because Hawke's expedition went farther into the Deep Roads than anyone believed possible. The First Warden ordered the investigation and offered Nathaniel a generous share of the salvage plus extra coin up front to discourage curiosity. If the Architect was spared by the Warden-Commander in Awakening Nathaniel will discuss it with Hawke, and mention that the Wardens have mysterious new allies, who assured the Wardens the tunnels were clear. The Wardens had also believed the Deep Roads to be safer following the events of the Amaranthine conflict. He will also reveal that the Wardens learned of the location from Bartrand. It was deemed too risky to contact Hawke or Varric about the expedition for fear that they might return if they learned about the Wardens' interest in the thaig.
After saving him, Nathaniel will accompany Hawke deeper into the tunnels to search for his friends. (Sebastian has a sarcastic comment about this being "exactly what he signed up for.") In the cavern past Nathaniel's location are a group of Hurlock Bolters. A Pile of Bones and Rubble can be looted here. Continue into the chamber to find Temmerin Glavonak. Temmerin explains that he set up explosives in the chamber in order to destroy as many darkspawn as possible. Initially the explosives were used by the Wardens to excavate the thaig. He mentions that the explosives were developed by Dworkin, who has since been forced into hiding by the Qunari. Temmerin points out that the explosives he set can be triggered by levers. Nathaniel tells him to flee.
An Ogre will approach from deeper in the chamber, along with Hurlock Bolters and Hurlocks. Draw the Ogre and other darkspawn into the narrow passage close to the explosives so that the Ogre cannot charge and pull the lever to eliminate them. At the very least the explosive should inflict knockdown on the ogre, one of the few times in the game that they can be knocked down. The Ogre yields a randomized amount of and .
As you continue down into the lower level:
- If Bethany or Carver was recruited into the Grey Wardens at the end of Act 1, you will encounter them here as the only other Grey Warden to survive. After a brief conversation with your sibling, he/she joins you in the final ensuing battle as an invincible ally.
- If your sibling did not join the Grey Wardens in Act 1, then Nathaniel laments that none of his other companions survived, and the final battle immediately begins.
During the final battle, waves of darkspawn will attack from the west, east, and north: Hurlock Bolters and Hurlocks as well as three Ogres. Three Ogres appear one at a time, one from each direction, with one hiding in the smaller room off the main chamber. Three levers control explosives in each of their respective directions. For the most effective way to complete this battle, use the explosives only when an Ogre is near a barrel in that direction to knock it down long enough to deal serious damage. Note: the explosives cause friendly fire. Other than this, let enemy attention fall on Nathaniel, as he's invincible.
After the battle Nathaniel will give you The Bringer of Silence. He (and your Grey Warden sibling, if present) will bid you and your party farewell. A Dwarven Battle Helmet can be looted from an Ogre, Wardwall and Drakeskin Leg Straps from a chest to the north, and Aurvar's Prize can be found in a Chest right before the exit. Exit the Deep Roads to the west.
- 770 XP (for the fight)
- 400 XP (quest completion)
- Random loot from the various fights.
- Random loot from the various containers.
- The Bringer of Silence
Requires: Weapon and Shield
Damage: 28 physical damage
(53 per second)
+5% critical chance
+12% critical damage
5% chance to dispel hostile magic (given by Nathaniel Howe, after the last fight)
Requires: Weapon and Shield
100% of basic attack damage vs. enemies that attack in melee (unlocked chest to the north)
- Drakeskin Leg Straps
Companion armor upgrade
Extra rune slot (same chest - armor upgrade for Varric)
- Aurvar's Prize
Requires: Weapon and Shield
Damage: 33 physical damage
(62 per second)
+17% threat generation (unlocked chest to the west, before the exit)
- Varric comments on the Wardens going to Bartrand instead of him and Hawke: "You trusted my turncoat of a brother but thought talking to us was risky? That's idiotic."
- Sebastian: friendship (+10) by agreeing to help Nathaniel find the other Wardens. (Sebastian's comment: "Crawling through blight-infested tunnels, rescuing Wardens in peril. This is what I signed on for.")
- Aveline: rivalry (+5), Isabela: rivalry (+5) by agreeing to help Nathaniel find the other Wardens. (Aveline's comment: "Protecting fools from themselves.")
- This quest replaced a planned quest involving Origins companion Shale.
- pcps3xbox360There is a problem where this quest doesn't trigger. A possible reason for this is that if you imported an Awakening saved game without Nathaniel in your party at the end, then he is considered dead even if he survived the assault on Vigil's Keep.
- Workaround: You may use the developer console provided with Dragon Age II using runscript zz_dae_debug to accept the quest if it didn't appear. The steps to take in the work around are: plot jump -> secondary plots -> one-offs -> work with plot -> Finding Nathaniel -> set plot flag -> quest accepted, then go to the Deep Roads. Note that the cutscene with Delilah Howe will be skipped.
- Another potential workaround is to download this mod for Origins and run the command runscript zz_getsetplotflag set cod_cha_nathaniel 12 0 before importing the save into Dragon Age II. Doing this will ensure that Nathaniel is considered alive, thus allowing the quest to trigger properly.
- If a saved game is imported from a play-through in which Awakening was completed, the decision about whether or not the Architect was spared might not be flagged properly by the quest. Nathaniel may state that the Architect was spared even if the player killed him.
- After killing the first darkspawn group, it's possible Nathaniel's dialogue won't trigger in the next room, which leaves the quest unable to be completed. It's possible this is bugged because Carver is kidnapped during Best Served Cold, thus preventing him from appearing in the Deep Roads. After completing Best Served Cold and then doing Finding Nathaniel, Carver appeared.
- Warning : if you try to leave the deep roads to save Carver, the quest will automatically fail and you will not have the option of going back to the deep roads. However you can use the console command "runscript zz_dae_debug" and teleport back to the deep roads after saving Carver, where he should appear in the final room.
- Carver may call you "Brother," regardless of your gender.
- ps3 When you meet Carver or Bethany in the Deep Roads, they are wearing their Warden armor. If you reload the game from the auto-save that occurs shortly after meeting them, they will be wearing their Lothering clothing instead.
- If you save Merin in Fool's Gold he will appear with Temmerin, having become a Grey Warden. His dialogue might cut the conversation short with Temmerin, preventing you from using the explosives in the coming battle. Note: this interaction is cut content and not accessible by normal means as the two quests are mutually exclusive.
- ps3 The explosive levers appear when toggled over but can be difficult, even impossible, to trigger. It may take several button presses to activate the levers, if they can be activated at all.