The Arl of Redcliffe is one of the main quests in Dragon Age: Origins. After the introductory quests, Alistair recommends that the party journey to Redcliffe, in order to obtain the assistance of Arl Eamon Guerrin.
- 1 Walkthrough
- 1.1 Redcliffe Village
- 1.2 Redcliffe Castle
- 1.3 Enter the Castle
- 1.4 Explore the Castle
- 1.5 What to do with Connor
- 1.6 The Fade
- 2 Result
- 3 Alistair's Reaction
- 4 Rewards
- 5 Side quests
- 6 Notes
- 7 Trivia
- 8 Bugs
- 9 Exploits
- 10 References
This quest requires more "follow-through" than most others. If you travel elsewhere in Ferelden before finishing The Attack at Nightfall, Redcliffe Village will be wiped out, and empty when you return (Bann Teagan will still be in the chantry, however). This also means missing out on significant combat XP and several side quests from the Chanter's Board, the Mages' Collective and Blackstone Irregulars.
As long as you do not get too close to the bridge where Tomas is, you can leave the area without anything happening to Redcliffe. This will allow you to get the dialogue with Alistair to learn about his background, and also allow his companion quest conversation to arise when you talk to him next. You can however leave anytime you want after defending the village.
- Main article: A Village Under Siege
As you approach the Redcliffe Village, you will meet Tomas, triggering a cut-scene in which you are introduced to Bann Teagan, Arl Eamon's brother. He is essentially leading the villagers as the Arl has fallen ill, and communications with the castle have been interrupted by the undead army that is storming the village every night.
When speaking to Bann Teagan and offering your help to defend the village:
- If you help:
- Alistair approves (+7)
- Leliana approves (+4)
- Oghren approves (+4)
- Wynne approves (+2)
- Morrigan disapproves (-5) and does not want to get involved
- Sten disapproves (-5) and will argue it is pointless; however, with sufficient persuasion (25 is not enough) Sten approves (+2).
- If you refuse to help:
- Alistair disapproves (-5)
- Morrigan approves (+4)
- Oghren disapproves (-3)
- Sten approves (+4)
- Wynne disapproves (-3)
- Leliana does not want to leave the villagers to their fate
If you choose to help Redcliffe, the next steps involve preparing for an imminent attack, and eventually fighting off the undead. Warning: Leaving the village for a different location on the World Map (not including Party Camp) before defending the villagers will mark either quest as failed.
According to Isolde, Redcliffe Castle has been invaded by an "evil force" released by an infiltrator - a mage paid by Loghain to poison Arl Eamon. The mage was discovered and captured, but the evil is beyond control. Most within the castle have been killed, but the arl and arlessa, their son Connor and the mage are still alive. Connor is somehow afflicted, and Isolde claims she was allowed to leave to find him help in the village. Ultimately, she tries to bring Bann Teagan to the castle, alone. Teagan agrees to go, but gives the Warden his Signet Ring for secret access to the castle's basement.
Enter the Castle
Talking to him garners some information about what is happening in the castle, as well as codex entries on apostates and blood magic if they weren't previously unlocked. Jowan will tell the Warden that he used the guise of tutoring Connor to poison Arl Eamon, and that Loghain directed him to do so in exchange for amnesty (Jowan being a condemned blood mage). He insists, however, that he did not do anything to summon the undead, despite the arlessa's claims. She has had him tortured and locked up. Jowan expresses the desire to right his wrongs, and asks the Warden to release him. You must decide what to do with Jowan.
- If Morrigan is in the party, she objects:
- Persuade her that he must be killed (-5)
- Tell her this has nothing to do with her (-10)
- Let her change your mind
- If Jowan accepts his fate and you kill him:
- Alistair approves (+2) if hardened, otherwise (-5)
- Leliana disapproves (-3)
- Sten approves (+7)
- If you change your mind and say "I can't kill you.":
- If you change your mind and say "No, forget it. Just stay here.":
The dialogue ends, and he stays in the cell. You can restart the conversation with him and decide again to free, kill, or leave him.
Free Jowan and tell him you never want to see him again:
If you choose to let go of Jowan and side with the templars during the Broken Circle, it is impossible to save Connor's life. On the other hand, this is the only way to get the Jowan's Intention quest.
- If Alistair is in the party, he objects:
- Persuade him that you won't leave Jowan here to die
- Tell him that he can hunt Jowan down if he likes (-10)
- Let him change your mind
- Morrigan approves (+7)
- Sten disapproves (-5)
- Wynne disapproves (-5)
This will result in Jowan leaving and he will not appear later when you decide what to do about Connor.
Free Jowan and tell him to come with you:
He refuses your request. You now have the option of telling him to help but not to make things worse. He disappears, but since he promises to find a way to fix the undead problem, he shows up later with an alternative solution to help Connor.
Free Jowan and let him go:
He stays, admitting his mistake. Then, "going to find some way to fix it," he disappears, but shows up later with an alternative solution to help Connor.
Leave Jowan in his cell:
He remains there until you change your mind, or Bann Teagan retrieves him later.
Explore the Castle
The first time the party enters this area is from below, into the northwest corner. They will quickly be confronted by undead. The chapel across the hall holds an elite greater shade with a few lesser minions, and a book. The other room nearby is the armoury, which is locked and contains a variety of weapons and armor.
To the east more corpses will be encountered. Kennels north of the hall contain several mabari, one is elite); these will only attack if approached. However, if you enter the kennel, you will find a kaddis, a collar and a Lamb Bone for Dog. Before going further, watch out for traps.
South of the corridor, a door leading to the main hall is impassable; another leads to more undead. Beyond are stairs to the castle's cellar.
Basement - Cellar
Once the knights are inside the gates and the fight is over, you may advise them to hold the courtyard or proceed inside. Either way, entering the main floor triggers a cut-scene.
Main Floor (2)
You reach the Main Hall to find Connor, who is possessed, Bann Teagan, whose mind is controlled, and Isolde. A cutscene leads to a fight against a group of dominated guards, led by Teagan. Connor runs away during this battle, and after the battle Teagan is himself again. What happens next depends on what you did with Jowan.
Jowan is alive and available:
- If Jowan is still in his cell, then Isolde suggests bringing him to see if he knows anything. Teagan brings him in and Isolde blames him for everything; Jowan admits poisoning the Arl and says he wants to help.
- If you let Jowan go but did not tell him you never wanted to see him again, then Jowan appears during the conversation. Isolde is furious that you set him free but he wants to help and Teagan says she is as much to blame as Jowan.
Once he's present, Jowan says the easiest solution is to kill Connor, but there is another possibility; a mage could enter the Fade and kill the demon there. He says he could use blood magic to do it but someone would have to sacrifice themself. Isolde volunteers, but Bann Teagan leaves the decision up to you. If you have no mage companions and your Warden is not a mage either, you will have no one to send into the Fade this way and thus, it's not an option. If you have not completed Broken Circle or you have completed it and gotten the mages' support, there is another option – going to the Circle Tower and asking for the mages' help. This is the only way to save both Isolde and Connor. You can now also explore the rest of the castle if you go that route (asking for the mages' help at the Tower).
Jowan is either dead or gone:
Isolde says that Jowan may know something of this demon; when you tell her that he is gone she asks what happened to him. It doesn't matter what you say to her; neither Teagan nor Isolde know what to do. Morrigan or Wynne, or a magi Warden will suggest that there is another possibility besides killing Connor; a mage could enter the Fade and kill the demon there. This would require many mages and a lot of lyrium. If you have completed Broken Circle and sided with the mages, or have not started Broken Circle yet, then you can suggest getting the Mages' support (by doing the ritual using lyrium and not someone's lifeforce, the only way to save both Isolde and Connor). However, if you have completed Broken Circle and sided with the templars then this is not an option, forcing you to either take Jowan's offer or kill Connor.
Teagan wants you to decide what to do. If you decide to do Jowan's ritual now (via sacrifice), then you will not be able to explore the rest of the castle, at least not immediately, and once you return from the Fade, all enemies in the castle are gone. Tell him you need more time to consider if you don't want to go that route. Should you choose any other option, you're free to explore the rest of the castle.
Go west, where six Suits of armor will instantly attack you. Any knight that entered the castle with you will join the battle if you fall back and get their attention. In the room to the south are the Chamberlain and some enraged corpses and shambling corpses; the Chamberlain has the Redcliffe Vault Key, required to unlock the vault upstairs. In the Arl's Study room, furthest to the west you can find Alistair's Mother's Amulet. Go upstairs.
- The Guerrins of Ferelden: A Genealogical History
- Stone Dragon Statuette
- The vault; unlocking this door requires the key from the Chamberlain downstairs. Unlocking the door gets you 50 XP and a good selection of weapons and armor, including:
- Silver-Framed Still Life
In one of the north-eastern rooms you find Connor. You can converse with him to learn more about his situation and his plea "to stop the bad lady from hurting anyone else." If you decide then that "it's best to end this" or that you "have no choice," he will lose control and transform into a desire demon, which ultimately leads to the first option below. Also, if you try to enter the Arl's Bedroom north of Connor, he will immediately transform into a desire demon.
What to do with Connor
At this point you have to make a decision on what to do with Connor.
Kill Connor: Desire Demon fight
You can tell Teagan and Isolde of your decision if you want, but it is not required. If you tell them:
- If Leliana is in the party she asks if there is another way:
- Persuade her that this is for the best
- Tell her this is what you're doing (-5)
- Ask if there are other options, which lets you change your mind; if you still decide to kill Connor there is no approval change
- Shale approves (+4)
- Sten approves (+4)
- Wynne disapproves (-3)
Either talk to Connor until he transforms, or try to enter the arl's bedroom. The desire demon will block all exits from the room. The demon attacks with Area of Effect spells, making single-target attacks during cooldown. It has high health but the AOE spells can easily be avoided as long as the group keeps moving.
First the demon summons 3 devouring corpses and 2 enraged corpses, and disappears. These devouring corpses disappear after the demon is dead, so search their bodies as soon as possible to get Corpse Galls.
After the corpses are eliminated, the demon returns, summons 3 lesser rage demons, and disappears once again. After the lesser rage demons are dead, the demon returns and fights until the end, when it transforms back into Connor.
Desire Demon fight: solo strategy
This is easily the most demanding obligatory fight in the game for a solo non-mage character. It's long, it's diverse, and its most dangerous phase is the penultimate one. However, it can be done with relative ease with a Templar Warden with no consumables. Required equipment: and .
A fuller discussion of this fight can be found here.
Kill Connor: aftermath and party approval
Isolde runs in and begs you not to kill Connor. No matter what other options she suggests, Connor is killed.
Knock out Isolde and kill Connor:
- Morrigan approves (+4)
- Oghren disapproves (-20) if is in the party, otherwise (-10)
- Sten approves (+4) whether he is in the party or not
- Wynne disapproves (-5) whether she is in the party or not
- Zevran approves (+6) if he's in the party, otherwise (+4)
Let Isolde kill Connor:
- Leliana approves (+1)
- Morrigan approves (+4)
- Oghren disapproves (-10)
- Wynne approves (+1)
- Zevran approves (+2)
Refuse to let Isolde kill Connor and kill him yourself (without knocking her out):
- Leliana disapproves (-2) if she's in the party, otherwise (-3)
- Morrigan approves (+4)
- Oghren disapproves (-15) if he's in the party, otherwise (-5)
- Sten approves (+4) whether he is in the party or not
- Wynne approves (+1)
- Zevran approves (+4) if he's in the party, otherwise (+2)
Tell Isolde to let Jowan cast the ritual. Jowan can cast the spell by himself, but another mage must be sent into the Fade to confront the demon, and a human sacrifice is needed to complete the ritual. Isolde will volunteer to die for her son's sake, and will not be persuaded otherwise, so there is only the matter of which mage to send.
There are three options: the Warden (only if they are a mage), Morrigan, or Wynne if Broken Circle has been completed. Once this is decided, the ritual can begin. A grim cutscene will ensue. Jowan begins the spell and Isolde readies herself; in an instant, the arlessa is killed as if run through by an invisible spear. Your chosen mage is wounded and hurled to the floor; apparently lifeless, they will depart from the physical world and journey into the realm of the Fade.
- Alistair disapproves (-10) whether he's in the party or not
- Leliana disapproves (-3)
- Morrigan disapproves (-1) if she's the one going into the Fade, otherwise (+2)
- Shale disapproves (-5)
- Wynne disapproves (-20) if she's the one going into the Fade, otherwise (-10)
Travel to the Circle Tower for help
Tell Isolde that you will go to the Circle Tower for help. This is the only way to spare both Connor and Isolde - but it is impossible if Broken Circle is resolved already in favor of the templars. If the party has not yet completed this quest, this resolution to Arl of Redcliffe must come later (the time it takes to travel there, help the Circle and return will not make Connor or Eamon any worse off).
When returning with Circle support, go to Irving in the main hall to proceed with the ritual. You must choose which mage to send into the Fade: the Warden (only if they are a mage), Morrigan, Wynne, Irving (with high enough persuasion), or Jowan (Jowan has the first 2 Blood Mage spells and only basic gear without any healing items or spells). Once the choice is made, the ritual can begin.
- Alistair approves (+4)
- Leliana approves (+2)
- Oghren disapproves (-3)
- Sten disapproves (-10)
- Wynne approves (+4)
- See also: The Fade: Concerning Connor
This section of the Fade is fairly small and a single path winds its way through smaller portions. Various fade portals will provide passage to the next part every time. On the destination side of each portal, the Warden will find what appears to be Connor, but quickly turns into a demon after a brief dialogue.
Soon after entering the Fade, you will see the Arl calling out for Connor. Speaking with him is not necessary, but it can be informative. Continue down the path and enter the portal, where you will see Connor. You must speak with Connor; regardless of which options are selected the demon will replace him and fight you.
These demons have the appearance of the desire demon the Warden is hunting, but none of its abilities. As the Warden progresses, the demons will also be aided by lesser rage demons. After defeating each demon, the fade portal that leads to the encounter re-opens, allowing passage to the next section. Traveling through it will lead to another "Connor". None of the dialogue options change the progression or the final conversation with the desire demon actually possessing Connor.
The desire demon
After repeating this process three times, you confront the demon in her true form. She offers to converse with you rather than fighting. Irving, Jowan, Morrigan, and Wynne will all automatically refuse and fight the demon. However, if you are the Warden, you have the chance to earn a reward from her.
Choosing any of these options will result in the Warden fighting the demon:
- "There will be no discussion."
- "No, I will not deal with you."
- "I want you to pay for your atrocities."
- "I want nothing from you."
- "I say no deal."
- "No. Our talk is done here."
Otherwise, the demon will grant the Warden one of these four rewards, in exchange for being allowed to return to Connor later.
- "Arcane secrets. I want to know specialized blood magic." This unlocks the Blood Mage specialization, which will appear in the specializations the next time you level up.
- "I'll take pleasure, demon. Show me what you've got." This initiates a kissing scene between the demon and Warden.
- "Pleasure is empty. I want the love of those around me." With this choice you can boost one of your companions' approval ratings by (+20).
- "Keep it simple. Something to increase my talents." You get a Tome of Ethereal Suggestion (+1 talent/spell).
If you choose the option, "(Intimidate) How about you leave and I do not destroy you.", a second, harder intimidate test is presented: "(Intimidate) On the contrary, I believe you can offer more." Passing this will result in the demon leaving Connor for good (proven true by the epilogue), while still granting you a reward. Master Coercion may be necessary to force the demon's hand.
- If you say Jowan should be executed Teagan asks if you are sure.
- If you say you'd prefer to do it yourself he says Jowan is back in his cell and you can kill him yourself.
- Otherwise no matter what you say Teagan has Jowan killed immediately.
- If you say Jowan should be released, or that it's not Teagan's decision to make and then say that Teagan is right, then Jowan is imprisoned again. If you go to his cell he is there but you cannot have a conversation with him nor kill him.
- No matter what else you say, Teagan imprisons him again until the arl can make a decision. If this is the case, Jowan is not found in his cell.
If Teagan gave you permission to kill Jowan then you can visit him in his cell in the dungeon. He accepts his fate and tries to explain his actions.
- If you kill him saying "I hereby execute you for your crimes":
- If you kill him saying "I'm sorry" then you kill him but there are no approval changes. This option is available for magi Wardens.
- If he's not killed, he stays in his cell; cannot free him.
The Urn of Sacred Ashes
Upon arriving in camp after resolving the situation with Connor, Alistair will confront the Warden about it. If the Warden chose to kill Connor, or allowed Jowan to use blood magic to reach the Fade, Alistair will angrily confront her/him about it; you can attempt to mitigate Alistair's reaction, or fan the flames.
- Allowing Jowan to use blood magic may trigger Alistair to lose (-10) immediately, and during the camp conversation, up to an additional (-41) can be lost.
- If Alistair was in the party and the Warden killed Connor, (-41) from the camp conversation may be lost. However, if the Warden assures Alistair that the act was not enjoyed, Alistair may acknowledge the choice as necessary, and only (-6) will be lost; this may be affected by the way in which the Warden speaks to Connor and Isolde during the quest.
- If Alistair was not in the party when Connor was killed or Jowan used blood magic, he will still confront the Warden in camp. He can be persuaded that the Warden did the best they could, leading to a loss of only (-9) or, even less, (-6) if the Warden succeeds in persuading him that there was no other option.
- If Alistair was in the party when Connor was killed or Jowan was allowed to use blood magic, he will confront the Warden at the camp. If the Warden picks the option "I think that turned out quite well, don't you?" in response to the confrontation, Alistair will thank the Warden for saving the Arl's family, even though either Connor or Isolde was killed. Alistair will gain (+7) from this conversation. However, on ps3 this same response can invoke a possible (-13).
- If the Circle of Magi was called in, which resulted in Connor and his mother living, then when Alistair confronts you, he will thank you rather than be angry and you gain (+7).
After the Attack at Nightfall:
After dealing with Connor:
- 1250 XP - for defeating the desire demon in the Fade (saving Connor) or in the physical world (killing Connor).
- - will be given by Isolde if both she and Connor survive and you will need to ask for reward before hand. Talk to her after you exit the Fade and she will offer it to you. But if you tell her to give it to Connor instead:
- Blood Mage specialization unlocked if the Warden is a mage and asked for arcane secrets from the desire demon.
After Arl Eamon recovers:
- 1250 XP for curing Arl Eamon
- If you accept Eamon's reward:
- 100 XP
- Champion specialization unlocked
- Additionally, once Arl Eamon is cured you will receive either +1 spell/talent (as mage/warrior) or +1 skill (as rogue) if his offer of a reward is accepted. You may also receive +1 attribute point. (Does not work on patch 1.04.)
- If you have done the Broken Circle quest first you can only seek the Circle's help if the mages were saved.
- If you have completed the Urn of Sacred Ashes quest prior to reaching Redcliffe, you won't have any dialogue choices for informing either Bann Teagan or Arlessa Isolde about having the ashes for the arl until this quest is completed.
- Like all other specializations, the Blood Mage unlock is tied to your account, and only needs to be unlocked on one character. You also have the option of simply unlocking it once, then reverting to a prior save.
- If you are intimidating enough, you can intimidate the desire demon twice to let her go away permanently and get one of the trades for free as well.
- If you attack and kill the demon in the Fade, you will not be able to loot her as nothing real exists in the fade.
- If you choose Jowan to enter the fade, you cannot make any deals with the demon and you face a difficult time in the fade, for Jowan is a very weak offensive mage and has no health or lyrium potions.
- David Gaider wrote the majority of the Arl of Redcliffe quest line.
- If you decided to abandon Redcliffe, allowing the corpses to kill everyone inside the village except Teagan, the possessed corpses of several villagers can be encountered as enemies inside the castle
- The codex entry for Isolde, as well as the epilogue, may read that she was sacrificed even if she is saved. This can be triggered by discussing Jowan's plan and then deciding against it, but even other paths can result in this mistaken entry.
- The codex entry for Isolde and Connor may read that the quest was resolved with help from the Circle of Magi even if Isolde was sacrificed in Jowan's blood magic ritual.
- "Keep it simple. Something to improve my talents." When bargaining with the demon, this may unlock the Blood Mage specialization.
- Based on choices made after entering Redcliffe Castle, the journal entry for the quest may not update properly and you may not receive the achievement for completing it. Speaking to Ser Perth immediately after defeating Bann Teagan, then choosing to sacrifice Isolde, may somehow prevent the blood ritual cutscene from occurring, causing continuity errors within the rest of the quest.
- Recruiting the Circle of Magi for the lyrium ritual may somehow lead to the cutscene of Jowan using Isolde for the blood ritual. Upon returning to Redcliffe Castle, the quest journal states that the quest was completed without killing Connor or Isolde and that the Broken Circle was not completed.
- After resolving the issues with Connor, the vault will be relocked. Unlocking it gives 50 XP (the key that may have first opened it will no longer work). Every time you return to the second floor, it will be locked again.
- If you elect to confront the desire demon in the Fade, the player has the option to take items from any character in the party that shows an approval increase or decrease from the decision. Click on the message showing the increase/decrease in the lower left-hand corner to open the character screen. Click on the backpack icon from here to open the inventory. Remove desired items. Repeat with any additional characters. Equip the items to the playable character in the Fade. Any items equipped to Jowan or Irving, as well as any items in their inventories, will be lost to them upon exiting The Fade.
- It is possible to pickpocket Alistair at Redcliffe Castle if he is not in the current party when the Sacred Ashes are presented to Bann Teagan. Pickpocketing yields a non-visible plot item.