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Unbound is a side-quest.

The riders follow after every town, ever since my lucky break deciphering the story. I see it now, how they take the locals closest to me, preventing rest or kinship. I thought this a road to glory, but I am dogged at every step by his talons. Gaxkang: curse his name and the day I heard it.

--Journal excerpt from an unnamed, long dead adventurer

*****

You asked, so I'm telling you. Don't go. The stories talk of the riches, but never the names, never where they supposedly spent their wealth. I heard the same tales as a lad in Denerim, felt the same pull, but it's a lie, son. They may paint a trail, but once you're on it, does it lead to the beast or back to you?

--Unsigned letter, father to son

*****

(Three weathered parchments, with three versions of the same incomplete story.)

Excerpt:
And when his kingdom fell, so disappeared the stolen riches of an age. The beast, the Unbound, dormant until one of true spirit claims his throne. So must hunt the hero of his people, the principled who would search for ancient evil. This is how they can make a real difference.

(Scribbled in the corner in a shaky hand)
Three pages, three ages. Same story, updated.
Same as the tavern song, but older!
Signature torn on purpose, but compare and get "Vilhm Madon".
All from him! How?

*****

—From Codex entry: Unbound

Background

In Orzammar you may come across a nervous dwarf in Tapsters. He's panicked and after a frightened few comments, he disappears. You need to track down the individual mentioned in the new quest 'Unbound' and find out why he is terrifying everyone he encounters.

Walkthrough

In order to obtain this quest you need to do three things (in no particular order):

  • Get the letter off the dead adventurer's corpse located down the first hallway on the left when after entering the Ruined Temple during the quest line for the Urn of Sacred Ashes.
  • Go to Tapster's Tavern in Orzammar and talk to the nervous adventurer in the north-west corner. After some dialogue, he will give you a set of notes.
  • Go to the Elven Ruins in the Brecilian Forest and acquire the notes from the bone pile of another dead adventurer. It is located on the left side of the large "fire trap" room in the Lower Ruins.

Once all three are completed, travel to the Dirty Back Alley in southeastern Denerim. Interact with the door to a Quaint Hovel and ask about Gaxkang to initiate dialogue and a difficult battle.

Strategy

As you damage him, Gaxkang will shift between forms that resemble an Arcane Horror and a Revenant.

He resists most spells, and freezes and hexes your warriors into uselessnesses quickly. A dedicated tank is useful to be positioned away from the rest of the team to avoid cone of cold, and lighting can be quite effective. Alistair (with spell resist gear) and a healer with dispel will make this fight very easy.

A group composed of Alistair, Shale, Dog and a healer can make this fight an aggro fest. With Shale gaining aggro using taunt and your healer spamming, Gaxkang will die slowly but surely. Runes contributing to Spell Resistance are always a plus.


Alternatively, a group consisting of Shale, Wynne, Leliana (as a ranger), and a dual-wielding Templar Hero with Momentum can quite effectively dominate Gaxkang without much difficulty at all. Shortly after starting the fight, he'll be limited to trying to Hex you and can rarely get off any kind of freezing strike, and Shale can easily handle his physical attacks. With all the melee (including the ranger pet), he'll never get to Wynne even if he happens to aggro on her over Shale anyways.


A possible combination if you're a rogue is Sten, Morrigan and Wynne. Let Sten do some damage and use his stamina to taunt whenever possible while the mages alternate between healing of Sten and ranged staff attacks. The sphere spell is handy if you find yourself lacking in the healing department. Once aggro is established you can start letting arrows fly with your rogue. If you keep it at a nice pace you won't find Gaxkang any trouble as long as you make sure he's positioned away from the ranged attackers.

A party with both Oghren and Sten will make quick work of him if they both have stunning blows.

For this fight, it may be best to control the tank to ensure proper positioning. If your tank is a Templar, such as Alistair, be sure to cast his AOE dispel whenever Gaxkang switches into caster form and renders your melee useless. While melee and magic do little-to-no damage to Gaxkang, several consumables (most notably acid flasks) do full damage. Try configuring your poison-using melee to drop acid flasks frequently, and this fight will go quickly.

The most effective spells against Gaxkang are Mana Clash, Death Hex, Cone of Cold, Affliction Hex, Mana Cleanse, Misdirection Hex (when he's in fighter form), and any kind of weakness spell. Maximise the spellpower of the mages casting those spells by using Spell Might and Spell Wisp to avoid Gaxkang resisting them.

Finally, it might not hurt to set each character to use the weakest available health poultice whenever their hp dips below 50%. Stock up on tons of lesser health poultices, and do be shy about using 2-3 at a time with Alistair.

Tanking tips (short version):

  • Position Gaxkang facing away from your group
  • Stack massive spell resist on Alistair, such as Key to the City, Knight-Commander's Plate and Spell Ward
  • Keep threat high by (1) ensuring you have Threaten on, (2) using taunt whenever it's off of cooldown and (3) pouring massive damage when Gaxkang is in caster form, using any damage abilities your tank has.
  • Utilize your templar's mass dispel
  • Spam health poultices and pray when Gaxkang is in melee format

Note that if you have a mage with the spell Mana Clash, this can cause huge damage to Gaxkang in his Arcane Horror form. At lower levels, Mana Clash has a high chance to be resisted. However, if you cast it on Gaxkang as the fight begins (pause and cast it on him as soon as possible), it appears he is unable to resist it, giving you a nice lead. If the mage(s) in your party have spellpower stat higher than 100-120, Gaxkang rarely resists hex type spells and Mana Clash thus you may choose to leave the fight until you reach high levels.

Dirty Back Alley

Result

Upon defeat, Gaxkang the Unbound will drop the Keening Blade and several other items. There is a chance he will drop the Fade Wall shield and up to 10g on his body (this chance increases significantly if you switch to nightmare difficulty). In addition, you can find around 10g and Elementalist's Grasp in the chest in the back room.

Tip: If you're farming for Fade Wall (considered to be the best tanking shield in the game, but with a relatively low drop rate), you should choose nightmare difficulty, since the bounty for killing Gaxkang increases proportionally to the difficulty rating (* From my own experience - I've killed the demon 15 times in easy mode with no succes and only once in nightmare mode for the shield to appear on the body).(Tested this on pc. Killed him 9 times on easy and got Fade Wall everytime).

Tip: An easy method to aquire the Fade Wall would be to set the game difficulty to casual when fighting the demon, then once his health is nearly gone raise the difficulty to nightmare for the kill. The shield's chances of dropping are dramatically increased under this circumstance.

Note: After defeating Gaxkang, the Dirty Back Alley will disappear from the Denerim Map. The area will then be inaccessible. It is therefore advised to complete the quests Blood of Warning and Notices of Death prior to Unbound.

Trivia

  • Gaxkang seems to be a reference to possibly the strongest opponent you could meet in Baldur's Gate II: Kangaxx. Like Gaxkang, Kangaxx had two different forms: once his initial lich form was defeated, he transformed into a demi-lich.

See also

Ico codex entry Codex entry: Unbound
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