The hermit is a deranged apostate who lives in the Brecilian forest. He is constantly paranoid of a mysterious group he calls "them" and berates the Warden that "THEY sent you, didn't they?" It is implied that "they" are the Templars who work for the Circle of Magi, as there are many Templar corpses to be found within the forest and Zathrian states that the hermit is hiding from the circle. Zathrian reveals to you that the hermit is infamous among the Dalish; he is a Shemlen blood mage hiding from the Chantry. He apparently constructed a tower in the Brecilian Forest which has since mysteriously disappeared. It is implied that he has shrunk said tower and placed it in the tree trunk, and thus resides in one within the other.
Upon entry to the Mad Hermit's campsite, he will teleport next to the Warden and begin a tirade while swinging his fists. Initiating dialogue reveals that the Hermit speaks in questions, and insists that everyone around him do the same.
Through dialogue, the Warden can receive information and items, most notably the Grand Oak's Acorn. The Warden can trade for it (siding with the Grand Oak) or ask him about a way to the center of the forest (siding with him). He then asks you to kill the Grand Oak that he claims keeps harassing him about an acorn.
Killing the Grand Oak
If the Warden chooses to side with the Mad Hermit and kill the Grand Oak, the hermit will aid the Warden in progressing to the center of the forest for the questline Nature of the Beast.
The Hermit accepts the following items:
, the boots from injured Dalish hunter Deygan (in the West Brecilian Forest).
, received from Danyla.
, from Cammen.
, in the chest behind Lanaya (Zathrian's first).
Three of the above items are required to obtain the three items from the Hermit:
One possible approach to the Mad hermit is to try to maximize the number of items obtained from him. This can be done by following this sequence:
- Trade with the hermit
- Trade for the Oak Acorn first, so that it won't be retrieved from the Tree Stump (see below);
- Trade with him again based on what items the Warden has collected and the items the Hermit offers in exchange;
- Inspect the Tree Stump
- The Hermit will take exception (eventually leading to a fight -but running away works once object is attained- see below), but first the Warden will have a chance to pick one item out of the stump; the item may be
- If Zevran is in the party: when you approach the Tree Stump, he will offer to show off his quick hands. He will successfully steal the item from the stump, but the Hermit will still attack.
- The Mad Hermit will summon a couple of Greater Rage Demons and attack the party after they rummage the tree Stump;
- If Dog is in the party: the Hermit's tent acts as a Landmark;
- The Hermit may be imprisoned/frozen, but being a Boss, can't be shattered. However, he is affected by stun, knockdown, paralyzation and other disabling attacks.
- Mana Clash is, as usual, a great spell to use against him. Glyph of Neutralization is also great, preventing him from casting any of his spells and forcing him to rely on his modest staff damage also some times he may use his Blood Wound spell against you.
The Hermit may drop:
- If the Warden killed the Grand Oak first (in the West Brecilian Forest) before talking to the Mad Hermit, be sure to save a Werewolf Pelt. Otherwise, there is no way to make a Magical Werewolf Pelt, which grants passage through the Magical Barrier. He also cannot be killed as you cannot agitate him by searching the Tree Stump ("There is nothing in the trunk that appears worthy of your time.").
- If the Hermit is killed, a group of Bandits will take over his campsite.
- Once the party passes through the Magical Barrier, the Hermit (if not killed) turns docile (not able to converse or trade with), and no bandits appear.
- pcps3xbox360A glitch allows you to assist the Mad Hermit ("turn Oak into firewood") even if you have sided with the Grand Oak by returning his Grand Oak Acorn and obtaining the Oak Branch. However, the Grand Oak is docile at this point (cannot engage in dialogue to attack). This results in an active quest marker on the Grand Oak and active entry in your main quest journal. To avoid this glitch, don't ask the Hermit about the center of the forest.