For conflict, see Battle of Vigil's Keep.

The Assault on Vigil's Keep is the opening main quest in Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening. The Warden-Commander and Mhairi arrive at Vigil's Keep, which is overrun with darkspawn.

Walkthrough[edit | edit source]

Outside Vigil's Keep[edit | edit source]

Map of Vigil's Keep - Exterior

After the first battle, you'll be standing in front of the Vigil's Keep main gate. You can go right through the gate, but for more XP and items, you should explore both sides of the road leading to gate. On the right side, two genlocks will attack you coming from the damaged wall near the gate. On the left side, a larger group of genlocks will attack from all sides. There are some Blood Lotus (Origins) and two Chests on either side of the road.

The terrified merchant

Upon entering the keep's courtyard, a group of shrieks and one ogre will attack you. There are soldiers fighting darkspawn in front of you and to the far left; they will die unless you help them. There is also a Terrified Merchant up the stairs to the left of the gate. The attack on the merchant seems to be triggered by getting close to him and the darkspawn surrounding him. It is possible to do this without going up the stairway, in which case he will often be killed before you reach him. If you manage to save the merchant, he will restock Yuriah, whose store will have the first upgrade right from the start. There is a Chest on the same platform. Before entering the inner gate, there is a Wooden Crate you can open, on the left.

Run up the stairs to the inner gate. Once you approach it, it will burst open, possibly knocking out your character; you may also be on the receiving end of a Fireball from the emissary behind the gate. Fight him and the other darkspawn, and try to reach the far left corner of the inner courtyards to save the soldier who is in combat with two darkspawn. If he survives, he will give the side-quest A Medical Necessity, which can only be completed when you are still outside. Behind him, up the stairs where the wounded soldiers are, you will find two Wooden Crates and a Chest, one of which holds the Stormchaser Helm.

Note: If you take too long to kill the emissary and the two darkspawn, the soldier will most likely die, as the attack on him is triggered when you near the emissary's initial location. If you wish to increase your chance of saving him, you may want to retreat your character down the stairs before entering the inner gate, and have Mhairi approach instead, as she will likely resist being knocked back. Once the gate is destroyed, Mhairi should be moved to your character; the three darkspawn will eventually head to your location.

On the right side of the inner courtyard, two more soldiers can be saved from darkspawn attackers. If you received the Medical Necessity quest, there will also be a chest with medical supplies at the southern end. You will also find a Chest by the gates.

Near the entrance of the keep, you can open a Chest (30 XP), in which you will find Lucrosian's Silken Cord and a Novice Immunity Rune.

Keep Interior[edit | edit source]

Map of Vigil's Keep - Interior

Upon entering the Keep Interior, there will be a short dialogue between you and Mhairi, who is concerned that darkspawn were able to ambush the keep. You may gain or lose approval depending on the following lines:

Keep Interior.png

  1. Pull yourself together, recruit. Disapproves (-5)
  2. Maybe you should stay back. Disapproves (-15)
  3. I'm going to need your help, here. Approves (+3)
  4. It doesn't matter. We will defeat them. Approves (+10)

"Uh.. I didn't do it."

After this exchange, you will almost immediately be ambushed by three shrieks coming out of stealth. Once they are defeated, head through the door on the right, where you'll meet Anders. Depending on your dialogue choices, he will either join your party or leave. If he leaves, however, he will rejoin you later during the quest. Taking him with you will make things much easier, especially due to his healing spells.

Note: Depending on the Warden's Level, Anders will have one or more unassigned specialization points and several unassigned skill and spell points. For example, with a level 22 Warden, Anders will start with two specialization points, four skill points, and nine spell points. This makes it easy to start to tailor Anders to the players needs from the first minute he is recruited.

Continue through the door where you will find a survivor under attack by two darkspawn. Defeating the darkspawn will start the side-quest The Survivors of Vigil's Keep. There is a Wooden Crate you can loot from. The next door leads to the balcony where you will be attacked by a larger group of darkspawn lead by an emissary. You can find the Beastmaster crossbow in the Chest by the ballista.

Note: The emissary will often use Crushing Prison on the Warden-Commander right away. Having Anders learn Dispel Magic prior to this encounter is one way to quickly end the spell. You could have him learn Mana Clash instead and deal with the emissary preemptively.

The cause of the explosion

Head back inside the keep, where you can find a Wooden Crate. Continue until you see a lever; upon use, there will be a short cutscene that literally ends with a bang. The portcullis is raised now which allows you to continue further inside the keep, after you dispose the three darkspawn that survived. Head north, and open the door to your left to free another survivor. The northern door leads into a larger room with several darkspawn, including a spellcaster up behind the balustrade on the other side of the room.

Head west for some loot inside a Wooden Crate and a Chest, then take the corridor behind the eastern door to a room with four more enemies with a survivor, who will likely be trapped by the emissary's Crushing Prison. You can find a Chest, which contains the Sleeper ring, in the same room. Go east again into a room with the final survivor and two darkspawn, a Hurlock Emissary and a Hurlock Alpha. There is a Chest in the room.

There are two corridors leading to the same room. The eastern one has a Pile of Books containing the Soulrot Coating Recipe. Once you open the door, there will be a cutscene showing Oghren fighting darkspawn. After you have helped him, another cutscene follows, and the dwarf joins your party.

Note: Like Anders, Oghren has several unassigned specialization, skill and talent points. For some reference, if the character is a level 23 Warden at the time, Oghren will have two specialization points, four skill points, and ten talent points.

In the room, you will find a Pile of Books containing the Greater Nature Salve Recipe, the Stamina Draught Recipe and the Lesser Stamina Draught Recipe. There is a locked Chest (40 XP) that can be opened.

Rowland in his last moments

In the corridor behind the northern door, you will meet Rowland, a Grey Warden, who is mortally wounded and cannot be saved, no matter what dialogue options you choose. Mhairi knows him, and depending on your dialogue choices, her approval will change:

  1. Where is this talking darkspawn? (No change)
  2. Hold yourself together, Rowland. Approves (+3)
  3. Put this man out of his misery. Disapproves (-10)

Before dying, Rowland will give you a few clues about what is waiting for you ahead, and mentions a talking darkspawn. After his death, continue through the eastern door. Defeat all the darkspawn in the area, including the northern and eastern rooms, which has a Wooden Crate, a Chest and a locked Chest (30 XP). Go up the stairs, and through the north-eastern door which leads to the roof.

Vigil's Keep roof[edit | edit source]

The Withered notices the Warden-Commander's presence

You'll find yourself on a rooftop pretty high up Vigil's Keep. Anders will join your party if he was not already in it. There is only one way to go, and it leads to a cutscene that ends in a battle with The Withered, a boss level darkspawn warrior, who is accompanied by two regular hurlocks and a genlock. The fight should not prove too difficult, although the Withered has quite a lot of hit points, so it can take a while to wear him down.

After the Withered is slain, you will encounter the king or the queen of Ferelden, followed by templars. After a long cutscene, you can decide to allow Oghren to become a Grey Warden, and the fate of Anders by either conscripting him, or handing him over the templars.

Depending on your choices, there will be a Joining ritual with one, two or three participants in the throne room during the cutscene. Oghren and Anders will survive, but Mhairi will always die, no matter what you do. Following the Joining, Varel will inform you there are some matters that need to be addressed regarding the City of Amaranthine and Vigil's Keep.

Note: After the Joining, any equipment (e.g., armor, weapons, accessories, etc.) you equipped Mhairi with will automatically be put back into your inventory. If Anders was taken by the templars, his equipped gear would also be gone.

Notable items[edit | edit source]

Beastmaster Beastmaster

Lucrosian's Silken Cord Lucrosian's Silken Cord

Sleeper Sleeper

Stormchaser Helm Stormchaser Helm

Side quests[edit | edit source]

A Medical Necessity A Medical Necessity

The Survivors of Vigil's Keep The Survivors of Vigil's Keep

Result[edit | edit source]

A darkspawn emissary with the unusual ability of speech was leading the attack on Vigil's Keep. You killed the emissary and restored order.

If you have allowed Oghren to join the Grey Wardens, you will gain Approves (+3) if you said to him, "You'd be welcome amongst us," or Approves (+1) if you told him "You're not allowed to spit." If you conscripted Anders, you will gain Approves (+2) from him.

Rewards[edit | edit source]

  • 500 XP upon entering the Keep Interior
  • 2500 XP for opening the portcullis
  • 4500 XP upon completing the quest

Notes[edit | edit source]

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Origins.

  • If a file is imported from Dragon Age: Origins in which Alistair was made to rule jointly with Anora at the Landsmeet, he will still show up at the end of the quest even if Loghain was spared and made a Grey Warden, and even if both he and the Warden survived the events of the final battle. His tone with the Warden is as friendly as it is in playthroughs where Loghain was executed or died delivering the final blow to the archdemon. This is either an oversight by developers, or it implies that Alistair has, in the months between Origins and Awakening, forgiven the Warden for their decision back then and resumed a positive relationship with them.

Bugs[edit | edit source]

  • It is possible that the conversation with Oghren will not engage, leaving the door to continue locked which thus renders the quest (and subsequently the entire expansion) unplayable.
  • When you come close to the roof it is possible that the game misreads you and places you on the roof, immediately skipping all of the keep and engages you in the fight with The Withered.
  • When you start Awakening you will be alone with Mhairi, but as soon as you engage in speech you may suddenly hear Oghren and Anders, but you won't see them anywhere.
  • If you have Oghren equipped with the Armor of the Legion set in Origins at the end of the story it is possible to obtain a second set of the armor if you go back to Origins, unequip the armor, save, and then import your saved file into Awakening.
  • After delivering the final blow to the Withered, the character that did so may have their animations glitch, in which they hold their arms out as though they are holding their weapon, during the following cutscenes with Ferelden's ruler and during the Joining. This is especially noticeable with Mhairi (she will appear to be inhaling rather than lifting and drinking from the Joining chalice), and will persist on either the Warden or Oghren after the ritual (Anders appears unaffected). Saving and reloading the file will fix this.
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