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For the keep located in this region, see Griffon Wing Keep.

The Western Approach is a large, arid expanse in southwestern Orlais.[1] Farther west lie the Hunterhorn Mountains and uninhabited steppes and forests.

Background Edit

Area - Western Approach

The wastes in The Approach were once a land of plenty. The rain came north over the Gamordan Peaks, turning the plains green and verdant for several months of the year. However, eight hundred years ago, that all changed.[2] The Approach became the site of a major battle during the Second Blight. The darkspawn swarmed out of the Abyssal Rift, a great chasm to the south, and corrupted it with their foul blood never allowing for the land beyond to recover... even after the darkspawn were all driven back underground.[3]

The Grey Wardens had Adamant Fortress erected by the dwarves to stand watch over the chasm. The region however became a stark and sad place with unstable purple sands looted with desolate rocky pillars engulfed in steep ridges. At night, the air grows still and the sky is alight with shimmering auroras— the time when darkspawn still come out of hiding.[4]

The Orlesians at one point had iron towers built, over a hundred feet high, to mark a path in the badlands allowing for travelers to see the next when one is reached. The towers, now old, rusted and barely visible no longer pave a clear path to Adamant Fortress which stands on the lip of the chasm towering at the end of the path.[5] Adamant eventually lay vacant by the Wardens due to the ever encroaching sands and intense howling winds.

The desolate badlands known as the Western Approach are as massive as they are barren. Bordered to the west by steps and crawling with monsters, The Approach is a place from which few explorers return and most avoid. The Grey Warden Fortress Adamant sits on the edge of a great chasm on The Approach's southern reaches, one of the few remaining signs that the greatest battles of the second Blight were fought here.
—Excerpt from the quest journal

Involvement Edit


This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Inquisition.


During the main quest Here Lies the Abyss, the Inquisitor sets out to follow the tracks of the disappearing Grey Wardens. After meeting Hawke in Skyhold, and being introduced to their Grey Warden ally in Crestwood, the Inquisitor learns that the Wardens have been gathering in a Tevinter tower in The Western Approach. While tracking down the Wardens, wildlife, White Claw Raiders, and Venatori will present a variety of threats amidst the sandy dunes, rocky outcrops, old Warden outposts and ancient Tevinter ruins.

When the Inquisitor finally catches up to the Grey Wardens, whom are intent on performing a ritual that will supposedly eliminate all Darkspawn, they discover that the Wardens are being led into a Venatori trap unbeknownst to Warden Commander Clarel. The ritual unveils that Venatori Magister Livius Erimond, is intending to bind all the Wardens to Corypheus' service. The Inquisitor can gain access to The Approach by completing the Investigate the Western Approach war table scouting operation in Skyhold.

Places Edit

Regions Edit

Western-Approach-Map

Map of the Western Approach

Note: The 25 regions below make up the Regions in the Approach collection. Discovering all of them grants 200 Influence.
  • Abyssal Ledge
  • Blight Overlook
  • The Canyons
  • Death Drink Springs
  • Dust Plains
  • Dustytop Fort
  • Echoback Canyon
  • Echoback Fort
  • Forgotten Mine
  • Gates of Andoral
  • Gates of Toth
  • Giant's Staircase
  • Hightown icon Griffon Wing Keep
  • Iska's Stand
  • Lost Spring Canyon
  • Lost Wash Creek
  • Nazaire's Pass
  • Old Prison Road
  • Prison Ruins
  • Sand Flats
  • Sand Rock Mine
  • Ico Cave Shimmer Stone Mine
  • Small location icon (Inquisition) The Still Ruins
  • Valemont Pass
  • The Wastes


Additional places Edit


Inquisition camps Edit

  • Craggy Ridge Camp
  • Echo Back Canyon Camp
  • Lost Spring Canyon Camp
  • Nazaire's Pass Camp

Characters Edit

Quests Edit

Still Ruins Overview

Still Ruins overview

Quest icon DAI The Abyssal High Dragon
Quest icon DAI Assault on Griffon Wing Keep
Quest icon DAI Draconology
Quest icon DAI Fortress Squatters
Quest icon DAI Frederic's Livelihood
Quest icon DAI The Heart of the Still Ruins
Quest icon DAI Holding the Western Approach
Quest icon DAI How to Lure a Dragon
Quest icon DAI Hunting Patterns
Quest icon DAI Into the Approach
Quest icon DAI A Manuscript of Some Authority
Quest icon DAI On the Chantry Trail
Quest icon DAI Sharper White Claws
Quest icon DAI A Stranger Rift in the Ruins
Quest icon DAI A Tevinter Relic Hunt
Quest icon DAI The Trouble with Darkspawn
Quest icon DAI The Venatori
Quest icon DAI This Water Tastes Funny

Rifts Edit

Quest icon DAI Rifts in the Canyons
Quest icon DAI Rifts in Echoback
Quest icon DAI Rifts in Sand and Dust
Quest icon DAI Rifts off the Pass

Requisitions Edit

Quest icon DAI Code Requisition in the Approach
Quest icon DAI Fauna Requisition in the Approach
Quest icon DAI Lazurite Survey in the Approach
Quest icon DAI Luster Survey in the Approach

War table operations Edit

Quest icon DAI All That Glitters
Quest icon DAI Crossing the Sulphur Pits
Quest icon DAI Deal with the Angry Varghests
Quest icon DAI Find the Source of Darkspawn
Quest icon DAI Gather Metals
Quest icon DAI Improving Morale
Quest icon DAI Investigate Ancient Laboratory
Quest icon DAI Investigate the Western Approach
Quest icon DAI Judgment: Recover Sold Artifacts
Quest icon DAI Secure a Source of Water for Outpost
Quest icon DAI Translate the Dragon Text
Quest icon DAI Western Approach Resources

Creatures Edit

Enemies Edit

Collections Edit

Astrariums Edit

Astarium icon Astrariums in the Approach

Bottles on the Wall Edit

Bottles On The Wall icon Vintage: Warden Jairn - Search inside Dustytop Fort.
Bottles On The Wall icon Vintage: Warden Eval'lal - Search inside the Ritual Tower.
Bottles On The Wall icon West Hill Brandy - Search the top of the tower directly above the Astrarium cave. Climb the southern half of the east rubble slope and then traverse up the ladder.

Western approach 5

Griffon statues

Dragon Hunter Edit

High Dragon icon Abyssal High Dragon

Landmarks Edit

Landmark icon Landmarks in the Approach

Mosaics Edit

Mosaic Pieces icon The Archdemon 12/12 pieces:

  • See the Archdemon mosaic for detailed locations.

Mosaic Pieces icon Freed Are Slaves 2/12 pieces:

  • In Coracavus, behind a locked door in the Records Room.
  • In the Still Ruins, behind a locked door, to the right of the first hall.


Shards Edit

Oculara and Shards icon Shards in the Approach

Skyhold Customizations Edit

Skyhold-Customization-icon Tevinter Banner - Found in a chest located in a room off of the left side of the Main Chamber of the Still Ruins.
Note: Requires Deft Hands, Fine Tools Inquisition perk.
Skyhold-Customization-icon Inquisition Banner - Capture Griffon Wing Keep (conditional: awarded after the Inquisitor captures their first keep)
Skyhold-Customization-icon Inquisition Banner Crown - Capture all three keeps: Caer Bronach, Griffon Wing Keep, and Suledin Keep.

Resources Edit

Echoback Fort

Echoback Fort

Herbs Edit

Amrita Vein icon Amrita Vein
Blood Lotus DAI Blood Lotus
Deathroot icon Deathroot
Deep Mushroom icon Deep Mushroom
Dragonthorn icon Dragonthorn
Elfroot icon Elfroot
Ghouls Beard icon Ghoul's Beard
Spindleweed DAI icon Spindleweed
Witherstalk icon Witherstalk


Leather Edit

Canine Leather icon Canine Leather
Fennec Fur icon Fennec Fur
Phoenix Scales icon Phoenix Scales
Quillback Leather icon Quillback Leather
Rough Hide icon Rough Hide


Metals Edit

Lazurite icon Lazurite
Paragons Luster icon Paragon's Luster
Serpentstone icon Serpentstone

Notable items Edit

Elven artifacts Edit

  • In the Main Chamber of the Still Ruins.
  • In the far western corner of the hidden Astrarium room.
  • In Griffon Wing Keep; up the stairs to the right of main gate.


Logging stands Edit

  • Northeast of Lost Spring Canyon Camp.
  • East of Craggy Ridge Camp, near Valemont Pass and Lost Wash Creek. Walk up a little slope from the river.


Memories of the Grey Edit


Quarries Edit


Red lyrium veins Edit


Veilfire glyphs Edit


Loot Edit

  • Aegis of the Order icon Aegis of the Order - Looted from within the same cave as The Thing in the Dark landmark.
  • Blizzards Path icon Blizzard's Path - Looted from a chest in Echoback Fort.
  • Cowl of the Overseer icon Cowl of the Overseer - Looted from Macrinus; see side quest Assault on Griffon Wing Keep.
  • Masterwork Vanguar Mail icon Griffon Plate - Acquired in the cave revealed from Astrariums in the Approach.
    Note: Trespasser required.
  • Unique amulet icon Kitty's Collar - Looted from Macrinus during the side quest Assault on Griffon Wing Keep.
    Note: Requires installation of Patch 10.
  • Cleansing rune schematic icon Master Cleansing Rune Schematic - Looted from Lucanus in the Still Ruins; see side quest A Tevinter Relic Hunt.
  • Corrupting rune schematic icon Master Corrupting Rune Schematic - Looted from a chest in Echoback Fort just after battling through Coracavus dungeon; see side quest The Trouble with Darkspawn.
  • DAI-unique-lightarmor-icon1 Masterwork Enchanter Mail - Acquired in the cave revealed from unlocking Astrariums in the Approach.
  • Masterwork Vanguar Mail icon Masterwork Vanguard Mail - Looted from a chest at the top of Shimmer Stone Mine.
  • Audacity icon Nameless Blade - Looted from the Abyssal High Dragon.
  • Staff of the Void icon Pyre of the Forgotten - Randomly available at the Griffon Wing Keep Merchant for
    0000021433
    21433 Currency (Inquisition).
    Note: Requires The Short List Inquisition perk
  • DAI sack Sad Splinters - Looted after destroying the keep gate during the side quest Assault on Griffon Wing Keep.
  • Unique amulet icon Superb Amulet of Magic - Randomly available at the Griffon Wing Keep Merchant for
    0000014495
    14495 Currency (Inquisition).
    Note: Requires The Short List Inquisition perk
  • Unique belt icon Superb Belt of Magic Defense - Randomly available at the Griffon Wing Keep Merchant for
    0000014495
    14495 Currency (Inquisition).
    Note: Requires The Short List Inquisition perk
  • Unique ring icon Superb Ring of Armor Penetration - Looted from the Abyssal High Dragon.
  • Unique ring icon Superb Ring of Critical Damage - Looted from a chest in the Coracavus Records Room behind a locked door.
  • Tempest staff icon Tempest - Looted in the final room of the Still Ruins. Looted from the final room of the Still Ruins; see side side quest A Stranger Rift in the Ruins.

Codex entries Edit

Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Adamant Fortress
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: A Missing Slave
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Constellation: Fenrir
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Constellation: Satinalis
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Constellation: Toth
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Coracavus
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Magister Erimond
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Old Chantry Trail Signs
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Our Lady of the Anderfels
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Professor Frederic of Serault
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Responsible Blood Magic
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Ritual Tower
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Surviving the Western Approach
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: The Creation of a Phylactery
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: The Gate Guardians
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: The Secret Tongue of Slaves
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: The Still Ruins
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: The Western Approach

Note texts Edit

Text ico A Blood-Spattered Note
Text ico A Crumpled Note
Text ico A Letter Found on a Grey Warden Mage
Text ico Ancient List of Prisoners
Text ico Ancient Tevinter
Text ico Ancient Warden Logbook
Text ico A Preserved Note
Text ico A Scrawled Note
Text ico Barely Readable Unsent Letter
Text ico Chantry Logbook
Text ico Elegantly Penned Note
Text ico Elegantly Written Letter
Text ico Elegantly Written Note (about research team)
Text ico Elegantly Written Note (about Wardens)
Text ico Faded Interrogation Notes
Text ico Faded Journal
Text ico Griffon Wing Keep (from Servis)
Text ico Griffon Wing Keep (to Servis)
Text ico Intercepted Venatori Message
Text ico Journal on Certain Experiments
Text ico Manifest
Text ico Memorial
Text ico Note from a Templar
Text ico Note of Slight Jealousy
Text ico Rebel Mage's Note
Text ico Research Notes
Text ico Scrawled Raider Note
Text ico Stern Note of Warning
Text ico Venatori Orders (to Cassius)
Text ico Venatori Orders (to Lucanus)
Text ico Venatori Plans
Text ico Written Note

Notes Edit

  • There are two gates in the Approach: "The Gate of Toth" and "The Gate of Andoral" each one can be opened only from the northern side which requires completion of the Find the Source of Darkspawn War Table operation.
  • There is a sizeable stash of money next to a skeleton right above the Echo Back Canyon Camp. In order to reach it you need to jump on the broken floor (as it can be seen on the left side of the picture) with a mount.

Gallery Edit

Trivia Edit

  • In several published maps of Thedas, The Abyssal Rift is erroneously labeled as "The Abyssal Reach"; however; the former label is correct.[6]

References Edit

  1. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 182
  2. Taken from Codex entry: The Western Approach
  3. Expanded from Codex entry: The Western Approach
  4. Excerpt from Codex entry: The Western Approach
  5. The Fortress of Adamant. Dragon Age
  6. David Gaider (October 14, 2014). The Bittersweetest thing. Tumblr
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