The Sandy Howler is one of the ten high dragons encountered in Dragon Age: Inquisition. It can be found in the east area of the Hissing Wastes near the Tomb of Fairel. The closest camp is the Sand Crags Camp. Head directly east from the camp in a straight line until you reach the tomb, and the dragon is sitting at the bottom.

  • Note: The fire dragon fought in the game's multiplayer is a variant of the Sandy Howler. However, it does not possess the ability to stun players, or shoot fireballs while downed, though it does possess the ability to summon fire from the ground, akin to the Highland Ravager.

Background Edit

Sandy Howlers are native to the deserts, where they seek out warm, sandy basins as nesting spots. As nocturnal hunters, they spend most of their time sleeping, waking only to hunt, mate or defend their home. Sandy Howlers mostly hunt Gurns and have a preference for cooked meat, in contrast with other high dragons. If a Sandy Howler hunts using claws and teeth, she will roast her prey before consuming it.[1]

Stats Edit

Level 20 Boss
246297 HP (Nightmare difficulty)
62 Armor
Greater Fire Resistance
Cold Vulnerability
Immunity: All Disabling Effects
Immunity: Slowed

Strategy Edit

  • The Sandy Howler breathes fire, dealing fire damage. It is therefore resistant to fire damage, but vulnerable to cold. Bringing Fire resistance potions is a must on higher difficulties, particularly for your tank. Regeneration potions can also help. Equip your mage or mages with an ice staff. Dragon-Slaying and ice runes can also help somewhat, but it's not required.
  • The Sandy Howler will stay on the ground for the entirety of the fight, except for some small "jumps" to cover distance at times.
  • Regularly, The Sandy Howler will generate a full Guard bar that you will have to wear down. Abilities that do extra damage against guard, such as upgraded shield bash will therefore help in this battle.
  • All dragons will often attack any party member close to her with melee attacks. She will signify a melee attack by raising the leg closest to the party member she will try to hit. Avoid it with Fade Step/Evade/Combat Roll. Getting close to her tail will often make her raise her tail up and to the side in preparation to swipe the whole area behind her. A tail swipe is harder to avoid than an attack with her legs since it will cover a larger area; the best thing to do is to stay away from her tail.
  • Every time the dragon lifts its wings high up over her body, she's about to use her "Maelstrom" ability, an ability all or nearly all dragons in the game have. She will flap her wings 4 times, and every time, she will suck your party closer to her and do high damage to them. The ability has extremely long range so it's doubtful you can outrun it. There are 3 ways to deal with this ability:
  1. With high enough dps you can just weather it, since you will see this ability no more than a couple of times. Nuke the dragon down, popping potions, although you will burn through them quickly.
  2. You can hide behind obstacles. This can be difficult because of poor AI pathfinding, AI unwillingness to stand where ordered even when "holding position", dragon constantly moving and destroying obstacles.
  3. Lastly, and the best way, is to get into melee range (inside the maelstrom circle). Inside it you will take no damage. As soon as you see the dragon's wings rise high, use your Evade (Rogues) & Fade Step (mages) to help get them inside the circle as fast as possible. Having your ranged party members stand not to far from the dragon at all times will help prepare for the maelstrom. Your melee companions will already be where they should. When the dragons stops flapping its wings, get your ranged party members out again quick, so they don't get hit by the dragons melee attacks.
  • A few times during the battle, the Sandy Howler will let out a loud scream and stun the whole party for 3-4 seconds. This will summon 2-3 dragonlings to help it attack the party. The dragonlings will attack with fireballs at range and melee attacks, killing them quickly is important as they can inflict a lot of damage. They can be frozen, Feared and put to sleep. They have fire resistance like their mother, but not the "Greater " kind.
  • The Sandy Howler will also use its fireball ability if a party member that is not in melee range gets aggro. She will shoot a ball of fire in a straight line which will explode on the ground and set it aflame for a while. Any party member that walks over this will get the "Burning" damage-over-time debuff. Sometimes she will jump away from the party intentionally to use this attack. Avoid this ability with Fade Step/Evade/Combat Roll.
  • The Sandy Howler has a Fire Breath ability that she will signify by raising her head back and up. She will then spray the ground in front and to the sides of her, trying to hit any party members that are standing close enough. The breath will leave party members with the "Burning" damage-over-time debuff, as well as doing direct damage to them. Avoid this ability with Fade Step/Evade/Combat Roll.
  • Focusing your party's damage on the dragon's legs can make the dragon fall to the ground helplessly for a short while when you have sufficiently damaged them. A dragon with a damaged leg will be bleeding severely from it. It will also show a "pain" animation and jump away if you have damaged a leg enough. Focus your damage on one leg at a time; after you see that leg start to bleed, change to another leg. When the dragon is lying on the ground, it is a very good time to use many of the party's ground-targeted focus abilities, like the Inquisitor's Mark of the Rift, since you know the dragon will not move for a short while. Typically it will take a very long time to damage the dragon's legs enough for it to fall, often taking almost the whole battle for it to occur. The Sandy Howler, as opposed to lower level high dragons, can shoot a fireball while lying down.

Exploits Edit

The Sandy Howler can also be defeated easily by any Mage with a weapon of the appropriate element (preferably frost, but definitely not fire) using much the same method as that which works for the Fereldan Frostback.

Upon entering the area, carefully approach until you are just close enough to trigger the dragon's health bar to appear. Next, retreat a small distance and circle the area until you are on a very wide set of crumbling stairs which is almost directly across from your entry point for the area. You want to position yourself about 4 to 5 stairs down from the top, and simply use your basic attack. You will need to adjust the camera to manually aim your attacks; you want your shots to appear to be hitting the dragon in the center of the chest. Using this method, the Sandy Howler will NOT summon any dragonlings. It is possible to defeat the dragon in this manner at any point you can access the area; however, at low levels it can take an extremely long time due to the very high health of the dragon and relatively minor damage the player can deal.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Because of the distance between the player and the dragon using this method, the game is supposed to make the dragon's skull (which you get the dragon's loot from) spawn near where you stand. On rare occasions the game will spawn the skull inside a piece of terrain such as a rock or wall, and the skull will be out of reach. In such instances, the only options are to give up the loot or load a save file and kill the dragon again.

Rewards Edit

  • 3,354 XP plus 2,649 XP
  • 3000 influence
  • 4 Power

Loot Edit

  • Ancient Elven Robes icon Robes of the High Keeper
  • Stamina amulet icon master superb Superb Stamina Amulet
  • Armor of the Knights-Divine icon Armor of the Knights-Divine
  • Frost Rune icon Frost Rune
  • Pure Dragon Blood Pure Dragon Blood (6-10)
  • Dragon's Tooth icon Dragon's Tooth (2-4)
  • Dragon Webbing icon Dragon Webbing (14-20)
  • Dragon Scales icon Dragon Scales (14-20)
  • Dragon Bone icon Dragon Bone (14-20)

Notes Edit

  • As of Patch 5, the AmuletofPowerIcon Amulet of Power intended for Varric can no longer be looted from the Sandy Howler.

Gallery Edit

References Edit

  1. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, p. 304
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