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Near the infirmary in Ostagar, there is a set of suspended cages. Inside one of them is a prisoner, with a guard standing nearby. Talking to the prisoner before heading into the Korcari Wilds triggers the quest The Hungry Deserter.

Background

Journal entry:
"Help the hungry prisoner"
The prisoner at the king's camp has begged you for some food. According to him, the guard may have some to give."

Walkthrough

Note: This quest must be started before completing Tainted Blood and The Grey Wardens' Cache in the Korcari Wilds

The prisoner will beg for food and water and will explain that the nearby guard has some. If Alistair has previously been found and is in the party when speaking with the prisoner, then this quest can influence his Approval. Alternatively, the quest can be completed before speaking with Alistair to avoid any impact on approval.

The Warden can:

  • Kill the prisoner without asking for any more details, Ico DisAppr Heart Alistair disapproves (-5).
  • Help the prisoner without asking for any more details, Ico Appr Heart Alistair approves (+2). To obtain the food and water from the guard, The Warden can:
    • Persuade the guard to forego his lunch (requires 1 rank of Coercion).
    • Steal the food and water from the guard (requires Stealing).
    • Buy the food and water for 10DAO silverpiece trans.
  • Ask why the prisoner is locked up or why they should help. He will offer the Key to Mages' Chest in return for help and explain that he stole it from a mage in the camp by getting him drunk, and was later caught wandering around the camp at night and locked up as it was assumed he was trying to desert. He swallowed the key, and it has since "come back into his possession".
    • The key can be obtained by:
      • Obtaining food and water from the guard as above, Ico Appr Heart Alistair approves (+1).
      • Killing the prisoner Ico DisAppr Heart Alistair disapproves (-5).
      • Stealing the key from the prisoner.
    • The key opens the chest by the Magi Encampment, next to the tranquil mage. It cannot be used until returning to Ostagar after completing the Tainted Blood and The Grey Wardens' Cache quests in the Korcari Wilds. At that point, the tranquil mage will have moved: prior to this, attempting to open the chest will only prompt him to object.
    • If the key is not used before entering the Tower of Ishal, the quest will be marked as complete. However, the key can still be used during The Warden's Return to Ostagar (requires DLC), by which time the chest will contain the Corrupted Magister's Staff as well as the loot available during the main quest. If the key has already been used as part of this quest, then it will not be possible to open the Mages' Chest or obtain the Corrupted Magister's Staff during Return to Ostagar.


Note: If the Key to the Mages' Chest is not obtained as part of this quest, either because The Warden never spoke to the prisoner, or because The Warden fed or killed the prisoner before finding out about the key, then the key can be looted from the prisoner's corpse during the Return to Ostagar.

Items

Plt ico key Key to Mages' Chest


Loot from Mages' Chest: Acolyte's Staff may refer to the following staves in Dragon Age: Origins or Dragon Age II:

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Ico helm cloth Apprentice Cowl
Ico helm cloth Enchanter's Arming Cap
Rgt ico flask Flask
Ico healing salve Health Poultice
Ico minor injury kit Lesser Injury Kit
Ico lesser spirit balm Lesser Spirit Balm x 2
Ico Money Money 15DAO silverpiece trans

If Mages' Chest is looted during Return to Ostagar, the above plus:

Winter's Breath Corrupted Magister's Staff

Result

Quest is completed, and The Warden may still have the key to the Mages' Chest to use on their Return to Ostagar.

Bugs/glitches

  • Be aware that if the key obtainable as part of this quest is used before the Battle for Ostagar, then there is no way to obtain the Corrupted Magister's Staff as part of the Return to Ostagar DLC.
  • If you obtain the key but do not use it before the Battle for Ostagar, then the quest will be marked as complete in the journal but the text will not reflect the actual steps taken.
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