Trials are a gameplay feature in Dragon Age: Inquisition, available with the Trespasser DLC. They allow the player to modify some game behaviour by either limiting/weakening the party or strengthening enemies. Having one or more trials enabled will increase the chance of earning special rewards, which can be collected from the special shipments chest in Haven, Skyhold, or the Winter Palace (depending on the stage of the game).
Active trials can be configured under "Options" in the Hero menu at any point during the game. They can also be activated with the "Custom" difficulty option during hero creation for a new game.
Enemies always scale to be at least the same level as the Inquisitor. Significantly increases the chance of receiving special shipment rewards in your stronghold.
Achievement - Trial of the Empress
- Wait until the Inquisitor reaches level 16, then turn the trial on and travel to the Hinterlands to slay the Fereldan Frostback high dragon.
Hints and tips
- To earn the achievement, the trial does not have to be active at all times, only prior to battling the Ferelden Frostback. See the Frostback's page for a strategy guide. The general strategy does not change much, and the dragon's stats are comparable to those of the Abyssal High Dragon with the trial not enabled.
- The dragon's level is set from the moment the player steps into Lady Shayna's Valley, even though its health bar isn't displayed at this point. To reset the dragon's level, leave the region (leaving the entire Hinterlands area is unnecessary), enable the trial, and return.
- If the Fereldan Frostback has already been slain, the achievement must be unlocked in a new game or from a save file prior to the dragon's demise.
- Turning this trial on affects all targetable items or creatures of any level in the game, including non-hostile creatures and magical barriers.
The enemies of the Inquisitor may have new traits and abilities in combat. Significantly increases the chance of receiving special shipment rewards in your stronghold.
Achievement - Trial of the Emperor
- Turn the trial on at any point and kill any 20 creatures, including non-hostile creatures, with "Promoted" listed in their traits in the Tactical Camera.
Hints and tips
- A good way to farm for this achievement is to seek out a wilderness region that frequently spawns several non-hostile creatures, such as the Level 12-15 range nugs in Emerald Graves - Great Bear Cove, and use the Tactical Camera to seek out the one(s) with the "Promoted" status. After slaying 20, the achievement unlocks.
- Promoted enemies may gain one or more of the following abilities:
- "Elite" status (enemies that are normally always elite, e.g. bears, may be promoted to "Boss" instead)
- New attacks and abilities, e.g. archers may gain Leaping Shot and mages may gain Fade Cloak
- Additional health
- Additional traits:
- Perceptive - allows enemies to flush rogues out of stealth
- Barrier Breaker - destroys allies' barriers
- Guard - enemies begin combat with a full guard bar
- Random elemental resistance(s), in addition to any elemental resistances already in place
- Random immunity to any status effect, in addition to any immunities already in place
- Mages and Spellbinders' barriers may regenerate over time; dispel will reduce the barrier, but never completely eradicate it
- Enemies that have been given additional traits but do not specifically carry the "Promoted" status effect will not count towards the achievement.
- Not every enemy in a group will be given "Promoted" status with this trial enabled. On average, one enemy per group will be given the "Promoted" status, and even then the promotion is only done on an occasional basis, with no guarantee that every group of enemies will have a "Promoted" unit. However, enemies can still be given an additional trait as listed above without otherwise being labeled as "Promoted."
You lose all focus if you rest or travel to a camp. Slightly increases the chance of receiving special shipment rewards in your stronghold.
Achievement - Trial of Temperance
- Turn this trial on before traveling to Emprise du Lion for the first time. Continue down the quest chain until Suledin Keep is captured (i.e. Imshael is dealt with and the flag raised). If Emprise du Lion is entered even for the first time with the trial disabled (and having the intro conversation with Scout Lace Harding), or the trial is turned off at any point before capturing the Keep, the achievement is voided and must be tried again with a different save or playthrough.
Hints and tips
- Establishing new Inquisition camps has the same effect as resting or fast traveling to a camp, which in turn vacates the party's accrued Focus. This must be done several times as the Inquisition advances its foothold in the region, hence the nature of the trial. As travel between wilderness areas requires traveling to a camp, this too vacates the Focus accrued. Thus, Focus abilities must be refilled in Emprise du Lion to be used in that area.
- Despite the achievement's description, once access to Emprise du Lion is granted and the area accessed once, disabling the trial anywhere, even a completely different wilderness area or Skyhold, voids the achievement.
- Like with the difficulty achievements, simply disabling the trial in the Options, saving the changes, then immediately re-enabling it without leaving the pause menu, voids the achievement if Emprise du Lion has been entered at least once.
- As the minimum enemy level for the area is 16, it is advisable to not even spend the Power to unlock Emprise du Lion until the player has reached this level, so as to prevent needing to enable this trial for longer than is deemed necessary.
- For an easier time, play on Casual difficulty with no other trials enabled (especially not 'Even Ground', 'Walk Softly', and 'Grizzly End'). It should still be possible on the higher difficulties if the player never made a habit of relying on Focus abilities, or otherwise acclimated to the trial's condition during their playthrough, in the first place. Lastly, Imshael does not have to be fought; the player can create a manual save, take the demon's deal and raise the flag, thus capturing the Keep and unlocking the achievement, then reload the save.
- As Focus abilities are not unlocked until after reaching Skyhold, enabling this trial at the beginning of the game can serve to add rewards to the Special Shipments chest with relatively no changes to the player's standard gameplay.
Rub Some Dirt on It
All healing potions heal only 1 health. Significantly increases the chance of receiving special shipment rewards in your stronghold.
Achievement - Trial of the Tower
- Complete the war table operation Restore Judicael's Crossing, then activate the trial prior to battling the Hivernal high dragon, and keep it active until the dragon is slain.
Hints and tips
- The trial does not have to be active at all times, only prior to the Hivernal's health bar showing up in the display. See the Hivernal's page for a strategy guide.
- If the Hivernal has already been slain, the achievement must be unlocked in a new game or from a save file prior to the dragon's demise.
- Due to complications with the quests They Shall Not Pass and Breeding Grounds, it is highly recommended that the player capture Suledin Keep and speak to Baron Desjardins before repairing the bridge, and before fighting any of the dragons in the Emprise. Otherwise the quests may not trigger and therefore can never be completed. Neither of these quests prevents unlocking the achievement, in case they have already been compromised.
- This trial affects not only regular Healing Potions, but also adversely affects the healing effects of Regeneration Potions and Healing Mist grenades, restoring 1 HP per second and restoring 1 HP in an area-of-effect respectively.
- This trial will not only affect the Inquisitor or even just their party, it will cause all NPCs to only heal one health per potion. As such, friendly NPCs such as Hawke and the Warden ally will, whenever they are low on health, continue to consume an infinite supply of health potions to almost no effect.
All supply caches are removed from the game. Slightly increases the chance of receiving special shipment rewards in your stronghold.
Achievement - Trial of the Magician
- Turn the trial on before starting the main quest In Hushed Whispers. That is, before going to Redcliffe to meet with the mages. Complete the quest all the way through alliance with or conscription of the mages and the closing dialogue back at Haven.
Hints and tips
- To prevent unnecessary consumption of Healing Potions, set companions' A.I. to not consume Healing Potions below a stock of 8. Instead, equip them with Regeneration Potions in their extra potion slots and use those to restore health during the lengthy crawl through Redcliffe Castle. Dorian, however, does not have this luxury, as he joins the party right before the castle mission, so be .
- As with other trials, playing on Casual difficulty and/or using a rogue with stealth to avoid most of the combat will also conserve resources. Dispel will be very useful in prematurely sealing demon spawn points during rift battles, and Barrier will conserve health better than anything available at this stage of the game.
Take It Slow
You gain XP at half the normal rate. Slightly increases the chance of receiving special shipment rewards in your stronghold.
Achievement - Trial of the Fool
- Start a new game and select this trial. It must be kept on until the Inquisition reaches Skyhold at level 5 or below. While it can be left on long enough to suppress XP enough to reach Skyhold at Level 5, turning it off at any point is ill-advised and may void the achievement.
Hints and tips
- This can be achieved by avoiding combat as much as possible. Side quests and companion recruitment quests should also be avoided as they give XP. Sealing Fade rifts should also be avoided, but they do provide a good source of Power needed to complete the main quests. The player needs 19 Power in total, including acquisitions from mandatory quest objectives and outcomes, so there is leeway to seal a few rifts.
- Avoid picking up any codex entries, as they yield XP. Any entries found in places that become locked off after completing certain main quests (such as Haven and Therinfal Redoubt) can be purchased later from Willvan in Val Royeaux.
- Requisitions and establishing camps provide low XP:Power ratios, allowing the player to advance the main quest chain without accruing very much XP; good requisitions in the Hinterlands are Hinterlands Drakestone Survey and Hinterlands Iron Survey as they can be completed while avoiding combat. It is possible to save and reload to get the desired requisition. In Haven, Threnn and Mother Giselle have requisitions that can be completed very easily with materials found in Haven itself and around the relatively peaceful Lake Luthias region in the Hinterlands. Every requisition, campsite, and Fade rift is worth +1 Power apiece.
- During main quests, have a rogue enter stealth and run through as many combat encounters as possible (e.g. the two Fade rifts outside during In Hushed Whispers, which do not need to be closed and can be ignored completely). If the player's level is 3 or lower, they can complete every encounter in Redcliffe Castle and still have plenty of leeway. If In Your Heart Shall Burn is launched at level 4, the achievement should unlock at the beginning of the scene after discovering Skyhold, right before the player is named Inquisitor. Even if the player reaches Level 5 during the battle, the achievement is only voided if they reach Level 6 or higher, and with the trial enabled there is not enough XP to tip the player over that threshold.
- Because In Hushed Whispers/Champions of the Just has a minimum enemy level of 4 and In Your Heart Shall Burn has a minimum enemy level of 8, the enemies can be exceedingly difficult even on Casual difficulty. Thus, it is recommended the player use weapons and armor crafted from powerful schematics (even those imported from a different save via the Golden Nug) to balance the scales.
Negative approval changes for followers are doubled. Slightly increases the chance of receiving special shipment rewards in your stronghold.
Achievement - Trial of the Lovers
- Start a new game and turn this trial on. It must be kept on until the Inquisitor begins the quest Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts with all companions.
Hints and tips
- To prevent Sera, Cole, Dorian or Blackwall from leaving the Inquisition, their approval must be kept above -35. All other companions will never leave the Inquisition once they have joined. However, the doubled negative approval means that Greatly Disapproves gives -40 points to companions' approval score. This is particularly a problem for Cole and Dorian, who will join the Inquisition with a hidden approval score based on the outcome of either In Hushed Whispers or Champions of the Just, which means that they may join with -40 approval, thus causing them to leave the Inquisition the very moment they are spoken to, with little to no opportunity to offset the -40.
- The most straightforward main quest option that avoids putting at least one of Cole or Dorian in danger of leaving is allying with the rebel mages during In Hushed Whispers (giving approval for Cole and Dorian). Any other option (conscription of the mages, or completion of Champions of the Just) needs to be remedied with the following instructions, or their crisis scenes will trigger once in Skyhold and they will leave.
- Dorian Greatly Approves of promising to stop Corypheus during the speech atop the steps, which can raise approval just enough to prevent his crisis scene. His approval also appears tied to meeting him in Redcliffe and then abandoning him to recruit the templars, rather than the act of recruiting the templars in and of itself. Thus, if the Herald does not meet Dorian at all before beginning Champions of the Just, i.e. does not enter the Chantry in Redcliffe, he will not suffer a critical approval loss. In this case, disbanding the templars will prevent Cole from leaving the Inquisition. If the templars were offered a full alliance, Cole's approval loss can be offset as long as there are enough "helping" side quests in the Hinterlands left to complete after Champions of the Just but before launching In Your Heart Shall Burn.
- Sera Greatly Disapproves of allying with the rebel mages. However, the player can either leave her recruitment quest until after In Hushed Whispers to avoid the approval hit or, as is the case with Cole, complete quests to raise her approval as high as possible to offset the doubled Great Disapproval. If recruited after, she must be spoken to in Haven at least once, or she will receive a lesser Sera Disapproves at Skyhold for being ignored that whole time. It is valued at -10 approval with the trial enabled, so it should be avoided nonetheless. If she is recruited after reaching Skyhold, the approval hit is unavoidable, so at that point it is better to simply avoid it by not speaking to her at all. Other than this, Sera/Approval contains various methods of raising her approval.
- During the quest The Forgotten Boy at Skyhold, be sure to discourage Cole from killing the suffering patient. This will yield Cole Greatly Approves. Beyond this, consult Cole/Approval for advice on keeping his approval up.
- Speak with Dorian at Skyhold to unlock Dorian's Request, a war table operation that leads to the quest One Less Venatori. Dorian Greatly Approves of killing the Venatori targets with him in the party. Consult Dorian Pavus/Approval for further advice on keeping his approval up.
- Blackwall has fewer restrictions on his approval. The mage/templar decision does not affect him as strongly as it does Cole and Dorian (showing slightly more approval for allying with the mages), but callous Inquisitors can inadvertently send him away. Finding Memories of the Grey out in the field with Blackwall in the party is the easiest way to raise his approval. Consult Blackwall/Approval for more tips.
- Once at Skyhold, focus on completing side quests to gain 30 Power and launch Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts. Some quests that can provide decent amounts of Power without complicating companions' approval, much like with 'Take It Slow', include establishing Inquisition camps, fulfilling Requisitions, and closing Fade rifts. Consider spending a little bit of Power to unlock additional areas besides the Hinterlands and the Storm Coast, which may be tapped out of easy sources of Power, and recoup the investment after closing a few rifts.
- Avoid Here Lies the Abyss, as the decisions made there will complicate the companions' approval more than is necessary.
- With 30 Power obtained, complete any remaining recruitments, launch the operation, and the achievement unlocks right before the initial dialogue with Gaspard.
You thought bears were tough? Think again. Significantly increases the chance of receiving special shipment rewards in your stronghold.
Achievement - Trial of the Hermit
- Turn this trial on and kill 10 great bears.
Hints and tips
- The bears are vulnerable to fire and resistant to cold, so it is a good idea to give mages fire staves and enchant the party's weapons with Fire or Corrupting Runes.
- This trial can affect both great bears and the common bears found in the Hinterlands, Storm Coast or Emerald Graves. The great bears required for the achievement are only found in the Emerald Graves or Emprise du Lion.
A notification pops up whenever a reward is available. The notification also appears again when entering Skyhold. The rewards can be retrieved from the special shipments chest in:
- The house on the north side of Haven,
- The Undercroft in Skyhold, or
- The north-west house (by the Wardrobe) in the Winter Palace (during Trespasser DLC).
- 2-4 Diamond, Emerald, or Moonstone (until level 13 only)
- Rare or unique accessories (fixed list based on player's level)
- Any Fade-touched crafting materials (starting at level 13)
- Sigils (fixed list based on player's level)
- The Knight's Second Schematic
Armor: 7 Metal
Defense: 11 Metal
Defense: 4 Leather
Masterwork: 1 Masterwork
Guardian Spirit: blocks one melee attack every 30 seconds
- Armada Captain's Knife Schematic
Dual-Blade Dagger Schematic
Damage: 82–95–106–112 AoE
Damage: 9 Metal
Utility: 4 Leather
Offense: 3 Metal
Masterwork: 1 Masterwork
Enhanced basic attacks: the end of the attack chain now hits all enemies in the area (Only before level 13)
Unique equipment rewards
The following items are possible rewards before reaching Level 13:
- The Best Defense
Stamped on the inside of the shield: "Property of Xenon the Antiquarian. Absolutely not for resale! If found, return to Urchin immediately."
Requires: Level 20
+30% Front Defense
+8% heal bonus
+9% ranged defense
Enhanced Shield Wall: Every fifth block with Shield Wall deals massive damage to enemies in the area
- The Dancer's Axe
One little-known type of Avvar trial requires both accuser and accused to dance while twirling heavy axes. The thane of their hold judges the technical skill, emotional expression, and general excellence of their performance. The dance-trial is reserved for settling the most difficult of complaints, and no outsider has ever determined what god the trial honors, not why the dance requires axes. The Avvar are a complex people steeped in mystery.
Damage: 135-142 AoE
Enhanced basic attacks: you now whirlwind, all the time.
- Elgar'nan Enaste
Burn the ground under your gaze
Grant the fire blessing.
Your people call out
For all things to end in flame
Ashes sing Your Praise.
Requires: Level 7
At first glance, this dagger resembles a standard surgeon's knife, designed for bloodletting and the excision of rotten flesh. A closer look reveals nearly invisible engraving: leeches, thousands upon thousands of them, twisted in knots all along the blade.
+3% Critical Damage Bonus
On hit: chance to place a stack of Hemorrhage on the target, causing damage over time
- Tempest's Center
Pressing an ear to this staff reveals the sound of wind howling inside.
Requires: Level 4
Damage: 33 Electricity
+3% Critical Chance
Enhanced basic attacks: the end of the attack chain now drops 3 electricity glyphs around you
The following items are possible rewards after reaching Level 13:
Etched into this blade: "The spark of inspiration is with you. Use it to restore what was lost."
Requires: Level 19
Damage: 151-157 Electricity
+45% Electrical Resistance
10% chance to inflict Chain Lightning damage at 75% weapon damage
>Electricity enhanced: all weapon attacks deal electricity damage
- Bow of Artifice
This bow has several odd modifications. The upper limb is covered in little switches that make sounds like irritated birds. The risers are full of compartments containing different kinds of sand. The sight window has been carved with an exploded diagram of an animal trap, and the grip contains four buttons that make the bow change colors. Whoever did all this clearly had a lot of spare time.
Requires: Level 18
+42% Critical Chance
+6% Stagger on Hit
On hit: chance that Elemental Mines spawn around your target
Countess Helmine of Sundarin in the Anderfels had flayed scores of opponents verbally (and one or two physically) before Baroness Liese of Kassel made her debut at King Johann the Great's court. Instantly jealous, Liese spent wagonloads of coin to train in elocution, rhetoric and satire - and still fell to the countess's figurative sword. So she poured her fortune into crafting a weapon that could get a word in where wit had failed. After a second meeting where first verbal and then metal ripostes flew before the astonished court, Helmine was impressed with the Baroness's tenacity. They became fast friends, although they never did talk much.
Requires: Level 19
Damage: 284-295 AoE
+50 Armor Rating
Chance on hit: taunt all enemies within 8 meters for 4 seconds
- Heart of Despair
From all around this staff comes a sound like sobbing, and touching it brings to mind the loneliest moments of one's life. Energy from the Fade ripples away as it moves, like fingers stirring still water.
Requires: Level 19
Damage: 79-81 Cold
Permafrost: all nearby enemies are constantly chilled; grants 50% bonus resistance to cold and physical damage
- Truncheon of the Master
The greatest lesson is the one for which the student sits still.
Requires: Level 19
+31% Stagger on Hit
Enhanced basic attacks: the end of the attack chain now briefly stuns enemies
- The game states that in rare cases "trials may cause enemies or followers to behave unpredictably." It's recommended to keep multiple save files in case of problems.
- One issue is that the friendly AI ceases to use abilities. This can be resolved by simply saving and restarting the game; upon loading back in, the AI should function normally.
- A possibly related issue is that a companion may cease to move or fight at all in the middle of combat. This can be solved by switching to the companion, having them jump in place, then switching back to the previously-controlled character. The AI should then function normally.
- It is feasible and time-efficient to attempt unlocking 'Trial of the Magician', 'Trial of the Fool', and 'Trial of the Lovers' on the same playthrough, as their conditions fulfill relatively early into a playthrough and two of their trials must be enabled from the very beginning of the game in a "Custom" playthrough. The avoidance of companion disapproval complements the avoidance of combat and side quests until reaching Skyhold, and In Hushed Whispers, the completion of which helps in avoiding the permanent departure of Cole and Dorian, can be completed at a lower level than normal without the need for supply caches.
- Similarly, it is efficient to pursue 'Trial of Temperance', 'Trial of the Empress', and 'Trial of the Tower' on the same playthrough, if it is already too late to obtain them on the current playthrough or a backup save. 'Empress' requires delaying the fight with the Fereldan Frostback, the resident dragon of the first wilderness zone, until Level 16, 'Temperance' requires completing Emprise du Lion, a Level 16 enemy zone, and 'Tower' requires fighting a dragon in that zone, at least strong enough to not need healing items. In short, all of these trial achievements require reaching roughly the same point of strength and ability to unlock. One can use the same playthrough for the Magician/Fool/Lovers set, but it may take longer to cover the level gap from arriving at Skyhold at Level 5.
- 'Trial of the Hermit' and 'Trial of the Emperor' can be attempted on any playthrough, including those that pre-date the release of the Trespasser DLC. Simply turn them on and follow the tips and hints to complete them in a timely fashion.