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.
"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."
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, Alistair disapproves (-5).
- Help the prisoner without asking for any more details, Alistair approves (+2). To obtain the food and water from the guard, The Warden can:
- 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:
- 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.
ItemsKey to Mages' Chest
An ornate key in questionable condition. Oddly enough, it's a little warm...
- Acolyte's Staff (Origins)
- Acolyte's Staff (Dragon Age II Act 1)
- Acolyte's Staff (Dragon Age II Act 2)
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Circle towers are frequently drafty. The senior enchanters distribute these to the apprentices in the winter. Where they come by the cowls, however, is a mystery.
+5 mental resistance Enchanter's Arming Cap
Simple and effective, though certainly not standard equipment. Reserved for major Circle of Magi operations under full supervision of the Chantry, so much as they are aware.
+10 mental resistance Flask
These simple glass containers are able to hold many compounds, even unstable ones.
A skilled herbalist has rendered a variety of medicinal ingredients into this soothing, restorative substance.
Lesser Injury Kit
A kit containing bandages and other healing aids.
Lesser Spirit Balm
This balm has a soothing effect on the mind.
+30% spirit resistance for 180 seconds. x 2 Money
Gold Silver Bronze
If Mages' Chest is looted during Return to Ostagar, the above plus:Corrupted Magister's Staff
Red Steel (Tier 5)
Requires: 30 magic
Damage: 5.60 (Physical)
Armor penetration: 32.00
+15% spirit damage
Possible paralysis (10%)
Quest is completed, and The Warden may still have the key to the Mages' Chest to use on their Return to Ostagar.
- 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.