The quest does not appear until several main quests have been completed. Hawke can become aware of the situation by seeing a poster concerning a reward for the rescue of the Saemus, the Viscount Marlowe Dumar's son who has gone missing. The poster can be found in the Hightown market district. Another possible source is the leader of the mercenary band Winters, who claims to have overheard a heated conversation between Seneschal Bran and Ginnis. Either way, talk to the Seneschal at Viscount's Keep to get all the details concerning the quest.
Upon reaching the Wounded Coast head towards the southernmost area of the map. When Hawke approaches the quest marker a cutscene play out in which a heated argument takes place concerning the fate of a Qunari named Ashaad, whom Ginnis has just finished killing. Saemus is outraged by what she's done, and Ginnis claims that he spends too much time with them and needs to be dragged home. Hawke interjects, and Saemus reluctantly agrees to return home with them so long as the Winters do not profit from what Ginnis has done. Ginnis threatens to cut out Saemus' tongue and charge extra for bringing him back quiet, but not before turning her blades on Hawke, beginning a fight.
Ginnis is an ordinary Elite-ranked Assassin, so she should be dealt with quickly. Other than that, her support consists of Critter-ranked mercenaries, who resist cold damage and are utterly immune on Nightmare difficulty. Take out the archers first, then the melee units, trying not to lose any companions and suffer injuries. Afterwards, get ready for a long fight.
Large numbers of mercenaries attack in two waves, and each wave will be led by a Elite-ranked Mercenary Commander. All of the rank-and-file are Critter-ranked in all waves, but the Commander's healing aura can restore their health just as quickly as it is removed. They are also immune to cold damage on Nightmare difficulty. There is a break between each wave that fully heals the party, but injuries remain.
Fenris is particularly useful in this fight, especially if he has obtained Red Grace from the Blackpowder Promise quest and has the Strength to equip it. The additional fire damage goes a long way in eliminating Critter-ranked Mercenaries and Bandits in a few strokes, and it is no less useful here. Failing that, Aveline can be used as well, provided she too has upgraded her weapon from her default and has the Strength to equip it (preferably Maelstrom or Thudpucker's Fist, two of the strongest one-handed weapons in Act 1 and well worth the cost), as well as unlocked Scatter and Assault. Otherwise her DPS pales in comparison to Fenris and may be insufficient to overtake the enemy's rate of healing. A mage with Petrify or Horror can suppress the healing aura of the enemy commander, and Anders makes a great addition as well with an upgraded Heroic Aura. Other than that, focus on archers first. The warrior should march forward and take on the enemies as they come, while rogues should remain near the mages to protect them from enemies that slip through. Try to keep them in one place so AoE attacks can capture the lot of them.
The second wave has not only a Commander, but an Assassin shows up when enough enemies are slain. Under certain circumstances it may be better to hold position near Saemus and let the enemy come to you. If you do this, try to take out the Mercenary Commander in the second wave before the Assassin shows up. The two of them working together can decimate your party, though the Assassin can be taken down with powerful single-target attacks, as long as the Commander is put under a long-lasting stun. When both of them go down, the same tactics that got through the first wave will suffice to clean up the remaining mercenaries.
After the battle, if you tell Saemus you'd like to look around before leaving, you may loot the area, if you haven't already done so in a previous exploration of the Wounded Coast. Hawke can obtain Codex entry: The Wounded Coast by examining the stone pillar to the south. In a crate behind Saemus, Hawke can find the item required for the side quest Redblossom Special. There is also a pile of bones with Design: Rune of Fire Warding. Telling Saemus you're ready to go after the fight will cause the party to return to the Viscount's Keep with no chance to loot (although the corpses remain, you would just have to trek all the way back out to this remote part of the coast).
At the Keep, the Viscount and Saemus will start arguing about the treatment of the Qunari. Saemus believes that they ought to be respected, while the Viscount sees them, or rather their influence, as dangerous. Here, Hawke can either excuse him/herself by saying that this is "not my affair", which leads to the reward, the party leaving the Viscount's office and the quest ending. Hawke can also side with the Viscount or Saemus, or call both of them stubborn fools, which impacts dialogue with Saemus at the start of Act 2. The following dialogue choices affect friendship/rivalry:
"This is clearly not my affair."
"Yes, your son went too far."
"You're both stubborn fools."
"Saemus is right to question."
The Viscount's son, Saemus, is rescued.
Later (in Act 2), Saemus makes a reference to Hawke's dialogue choice when conversing with him in the Keep. If Hawke chose the neutral "not my affair" option, Saemus will state Hawke was able to make a difference in the situation even by taking a neutral stance, and that, due to Hawke's actions, some of his anger against the world has decreased. A similar conversation occurs if Hawke supports Saemus against his father, because he does not feel he is alone in his beliefs.
- 400 XP
- There is a group of Tal-Vashoth, including a Saarebas, worth ≈214 XP that occupies this camp by default, but advancing this quest to the point that Ginnis and Saemus appear here (i.e. speaking to Seneschal Bran) makes them no longer spawn. They will not return even after this quest is completed and the reward disbursed. Killing them but leaving their corpses allows them to be looted later. This group does not seem tied to the Tal-Vashoth enemy set in Blackpowder Promise, so the means by which the player unlocks the Wounded Coast does not seem to affect their spawning (besides talking to Bran about Saemus).