The Hawke's Key is a plot item and weapon equipped by Hawke in the Legacy (quest) in the Legacy DLC for Dragon Age II. The identity of the weapon will vary depending on Hawke's class. The damage/dps of the weapon will vary by the level at which Hawke acquires it, but will not increase upon level-up. The bonuses from breaking the seals appear to be affected by level in the same way.

Background[edit | edit source]

The key is, and always will be, part of the cage that holds Corypheus. The prison's power is tied to that of the key; as the power of one waxes, the other wanes.

The key's origins are lost to time. All we know is that it is an ancient, powerful weapon. The Wardens of old uncovered a few of its secrets—just enough to draw upon its magic to create the seals that hold Corypheus.

Accounts indicate that the key attunes itself to whichever man or woman wields it in the rituals that reinforce Corypheus's chains. It is the nature of the magic, something in the blood. The key is currently attuned to one Malcolm Hawke, the last mage to hold it.

The key is an essential part of strengthening the seals, and also the only thing that can break Corypheus free.

—From Janeka's research notes
—From Codex entry: The Key

The Wardens did not guard the key with care. It was left in a repository, with objects of little worth. Trinkets. Dusty Grey Warden trophies. Not even a guard posted. Fools. If only they knew what they had, and had lost.

It will not wake at my touch; it sleeps and its power remains within. The Great One says it requires Malcolm Hawke's blood to awaken it. Only then can its powers set him free.

I will find the heir to the blood and the Great One will reward me. Yes. Let it be soon.

—From the journal of Rhatigan, leader of the Carta in Kirkwall
—From Codex entry: The Great One's Key

Acquisition[edit | edit source]

The key is acquired by defeating the Carta dwarf Rhatigan in the Carta Hideout (Legacy). The key is then automatically equipped as a weapon which varies depending on Hawke's class.

  • For mage Hawke, the key is a magical staff. The staff inflicts electric damage.
  • For rogue Hawke, the key is a dagger or an archer's bow, depending on talent choices.
  • For warrior Hawke, the key is a 2-handed or 1-handed sword, depending on talent choices. (If you have equal or all skills in both Sword and Shield and Two-Handed skill trees, it will default to a one-handed sword.)

During the course of traveling through seals and fighting various Guardians (first one just teleports - the second teleports and spawns replicas of himself, the third and final Guardian spawns a large ring of replicas of himself) you will be prompted to make a choice of weapon enchantments for the above mentioned weapon. These stats may vary by weapon type and Hawke's level when the key is obtained.

The first seal gives

  • Electricity Damage: +X electricity damage
  • Nature Damage: +X nature damage
  • Fire Damage: +X fire damage
  • Cold Damage: +X cold damage

The second seal gives

  • Armor Penetration: Attacks ignore enemy armor (choosing this for staff version is ineffective since non-physical attacks always ignore enemy armor)
  • Mana/Stamina Drain: X% chance to regenerate Y% Mana/Stamina
  • Health Drain: X% chance to regenerate Y% health
  • Attack Speed: +X% attack speed

The third seal gives

  • Stun Chance: X% chance to stun
  • Speed Reduction: X% chance to reduce enemy movement and attack speed
  • Critical Chance: X% critical chance
  • Critical Damage: X% critical damage
Note: It is possible to acquire all the enhancements to the weapon using an exploit. (See exploit, below).

Codex entries[edit | edit source]

Codex entry: The Key Codex entry: The Key
Codex entry: The Great One's Key Codex entry: The Great One's Key

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • The Hawke's Key cannot be placed into the personal stash at the Hawke Estate nor can it be destroyed. However, it can be sold to merchants for a small sum of money after Legacy is completed.
  • The first upgrade to apply to the Key is for +elemental damage. Given the resistances of enemies throughout the game it may be a good long-term idea to give the weapon frost or electricity damage. However, for the sole purpose of completing the Legacy DLC, nature damage may be the best element to take; while the corpses and spiders resist it, all other enemies, namely the deepstalkers and darkspawn, including Corypheus, as well as the shades faced in the final battle, will all suffer twice as much elemental damage from the weapon's basic hits.

Exploit[edit | edit source]

  • To get all bonuses on the Key you must arrange each party member next to a pillar and activate them in the following order:
  1. Press hold for your team
  2. Position every member in front of a pillar (be sure that each party member is actually touching their pillar, because it takes time for them to walk to the pillar if they aren’t)
  3. Pause the game
  4. During the pause click every pillar with the character in front of it (for example, Hawke activates the first pillar, second character activates the second pillar, etc.)
  5. Unpause the game
Note: This function can be done for all other seals. The following cutscene will play proportionally to how many bonuses were applied. If you were successful, it will play four times. It is advised to save once before attempting the exploit and once after. Some players have reported trouble getting the cutscene to play four times even when everything else is done correctly. At the first seal, this can be solved by asking about the Calling multiple times each time the player goes through the conversation with Larius. At the other two seals, it may be necessary to select each pillar multiple times; as many as eight to be safe.
  • The exploit is much trickier on Xbox. For the second and third seals, it's much harder to get all four. You will likely get three out of four at best.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

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