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Forbidden Knowledge is an Act 2 side quest in Dragon Age II.

Bug icon.png Bug! This quest is bugged. Choosing any option other than destroying the initial 5 books will leave you unable to complete the quest. This quest can still be completed with the stat boost as long as only the Fell Grimoire is read.


If Idunna was spared during Enemies Among Us, she sends a letter to Hawke at the beginning of Act 2. If she is dead, the quest is received upon finding any Evil Tome.

Maximising experience and loot[]

To achieve the largest possible amount of experience as well as gaining the stat boost and Voracity, destroy all five Evil Tomes, the quest will proceed and you will be led to the last book called the Fell Grimoire. Then choose to read the Grimoire to gain the stat boost. This will let you complete the quest and gain the stat boost as well as the unique Staff.


Note: You cannot complete this quest without a Rogue in the party, as there is a locked door in the Forgotten Lair which you must get past to finish the quest.

There are 5 Evil Tomes scattered throughout and around Kirkwall as well as the Fell Grimoire.

You can choose any of the following options when selecting a book (they are all mutually exclusive):

Since you can still get the Trophy, "Exorcist" even if you read or take the Fell Grimoire at the end, it is more worth your while to destroy all Five Evil Tomes.

Choosing any of these options will cause several demons and abominations to attack. You will also gain a Trash item Book of Forbidden Lore to sell for coin, no matter which choice you make, but only once, and that includes the Fell Grimoire.

Taking or reading any of the Evil Tomes will make the quest impossible to complete.

Reading and accepting the book's deal will give you +2 attribute points, but this will only work once: subsequent books will not provide attribute bonuses.

Evil Tomes[]

The order in which you find the Evil Tomes is irrelevant. Upon entering an area with a tome, it will be marked on the map. Be prepared to fight shades, demons and abominations. The tomes are located:

  • In the chantry on a table near the top of the southern stairs.
Note: If Sebastian is not in the party, he will join in as ally in the ensuing fight if you lure the enemies to him.
Note: When the enemies spawn a door closes. It can be unlocked (during combat only) for 250 XP with 50 cunning (or 40 and "Bonus to lockpicking" gear).
Note: The tome in the keep can not be used immediately upon arriving in Act 2; Hawke must leave the area and return to use it as Hawke being able to use the book immediately upon starting Act 2 would mean they could possibly be forced to fight alone.)
Note: If Aveline is not in the party, she will join in as ally in the ensuing fight if you lure the enemies to her room.
  • In the Rotting Cave (if Idunna did not give you this quest then this location will not be accessible until another tome is read/taken/destroyed), whose entrance is found at the far-eastern end of The Bone Pit at surface-level, at an otherwise dead end (see map below). A Corrupted Lyrium is also in the cave.
  • In the Abandoned Thaig, whose entrance is shown as "Recently Opened Passage" in the game, and is near Sundermount's western exit to the world map. The tome is found in the main room of the thaig, along with the Nexus Golem's wares. There is a battle in this room before getting the tome; see abandoned thaig strategy if you have trouble.
  • In a Dank Cave (if Idunna did not give you this quest then this location will not be accessible until another tome is read/taken/destroyed), whose entrance is found in the north-central area of the Wounded Coast (see map below). A dragon guards the tome and a modest treasure. There is also Raw Lyrium at the beginning of the cave.

The Fell Grimoire[]

The Fell Grimoire can be found in the Forgotten Lair, which is an area in Darktown near the Northwest entrance next to a barrel and labeled as Evil Pit. It will not be unlocked until all the Evil Tomes have been destroyed.

As soon as you enter the Forbidden Lair, there is a master trap (50 cunning to detect and disarm - 250 XP) blocking the hallway.

Note: If you set off this trap, poison gas is released to the north and east of the first intersection you encounter, and disarming switches appear in the passage of this intersection (one at the intersection, one at the northern end). Using this switch turns off the poison gas.

The first door you encounter has a simple lock (10 cunning to open - 50 XP), so be sure to bring at least one rogue or you cannot proceed. After fighting some corpses in the first room, there are 2 complex traps (30 cunning to detect and disarm - 150 XP) and a master trap* (40 cunning to detect and disarm - 200 XP) at the beginning of the short hallway before the open doorway, and a complex trap (30 cunning to detect and disarm - 150 XP) and 2 master traps (40 cunning to detect and disarm - 200 XP) just before the doorway.

Note: * This master trap can sometimes spawn as a complex trap instead.
Note: All Traps could be Master Traps, netting your group a very large amount of xp for disarming them all, so being very careful and prepared could end up being very profitable to you.

Just past the open doorway there are three more master traps (50 cunning to detect and disarm - 250 XP/trap), and just before the passage turns north there are three more master traps* (50 cunning to detect and disarm - 250 XP/trap). Ranged attacks can draw enemies into safe areas where they can be defeated and then the traps can be disarmed.

Note: * These master traps shoot a one-time flame-burst from the south wall of the upcoming corner; they also release poison gas west of the traps and north of the upcoming corner where the passage turns north (the gas eventually disappears). There are an Arcane Horror and 2 Skeleton Archers around the corner; if you set off these traps and release the poison gas, the gas can kill them as long as they do not see you.
Note: A rogue with 40+ cunning and "Bonus to disarm traps" gear will be effective at disarming the master traps listed above that normally require 50 cunning to detect and disarm.

An Arcane Horror and 2 Skeleton Archers attack where the passage turns north (unless the poison gas killed them).

In the next room you find the grimoire.

No matter what you do with the Fell Grimoire, you will confront Xebenkeck, a powerful desire demon. The boss will summon hordes of rage demons and abominations, as well as a revenant in the second wave. See the article on Xebenkeck for strategies to defeat them.


Tarohne's tomes and potentially the Fell Grimoire are destroyed.


  • Exorcist achievement or trophy
  • From 3Gold to 7Gold on Xebenkeck
  • 1000 XP (after reading/destroying the Fell Grimoire - quest completion)
  • (optional) 750 XP/book destroyed and (about) 260 XP/demon fight (for the "other" five books)

Notable items[]

Voracity Voracity, looted from Xebenkeck


  • If you are seeking the Supplier achievement, be sure to grab the Raw Lyrium from the cave on the Wounded Coast and the Corrupted Lyrium in the cave in The Bone Pit.
  • Even if you decide to read or take the Fell Grimoire, the journal will still say that it was destroyed.
  • Even if you read the Fell Grimoire, or you read any of the other Evil Tomes, you still get Book of Forbidden Lore trash item to sell.
  • You gain Rivalry Merrill: rivalry (+10) for each book that is destroyed, resulting in a whopping Rivalry Merrill: rivalry (+60) if she is in the party when destroying all Evil Tomes and the Fell Grimoire.
  • Oddly, Fenris has no approval changes from any actions during this quest.
  • If you've read any of the books and playing on the PC version it is possible to use the "runscript zz_lgt_debug" command from the console, select Act 2, and then more choices, and then forbidden knowledge. Then you can select the final phase of the quest and complete the quest despite having read/taken a book.
    • You might need to be somewhere other than Darktown when you use the command for it to work, since it teleports you to Darktown right next to the entrance.
    • Do not use the command while in the Hawke Estate, or you will spawn alone and in your Finery, with all your talents disabled (except for sustained effects that are already turned on). Items can still be used. While you can easily grab/change your party members at Anders' clinic, and while you do retain the stat bonuses of your equipped gear (such as the attack rating of your weapons or a bonus to disarm traps), this state, to put it mildly, makes the battle against Xebenkeck much more difficult. (Verified on PC.)
      • To fix this, return to the Hawke Estate and then leave normally for another area. It's still enough of a bother that you might as well just go somewhere other than the Hawke Estate to run the script.
    • If you have read one of the Evil Tomes, debugging only the final phase of the quest still does not let you read the Fell Grimoire. (Verified on PC.) This makes sense, since you got the extra stat point earlier.