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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[]

Area - Western Approach.png

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[]


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, who are intent on performing a ritual that will help them eliminate the remaining Old Gods, they discover that Warden Commander Clarel is unwittingly being led into a Venatori trap by Magister Livius Erimond. Erimond is in fact a member of the Venatori and a servant of Corypheus who intends to bing the Warden mages to Corypheus' service. The Inquisitor can gain access to The Approach by completing the Investigate the Western Approach war table scouting operation in Skyhold.

Further investigation reveals that the Venatori are trying to access the Still Ruins, the site of an ancient Tevinter magical experiment, and capture the Abyssal High Dragon, a task which requires them keeping Professor Frederic of Serault alive. There is also evidence that the Red Templars have recently abandoned their mining efforts and relocated to Emprise du Lion.


Places[]

Regions[]

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
Griffon Wing Keep Griffon Wing Keep
Iska's Stand
Lost Spring Canyon
Lost Wash Creek

Still Ruins overview

Nazaire's Pass
Old Prison Road
Prison Ruins
Sand Flats
Sand Rock Mine
Shimmer Stone Mine Shimmer Stone Mine
The Still Ruins The Still Ruins
Valemont Pass
The Wastes

Additional places[]

Adamant Fortress Adamant Fortress
Coracavus Coracavus

Inquisition camps[]

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

Characters[]

Alistair (conditional)
Warden-Commander Clarel
Overseer Crassius Servis
Professor Frederic of Serault
Griffon Wing Keep Merchant
Hawke
Jean-Marc Stroud (conditional)
Leo of Lucien Bay
Magister Livius Erimond
Loghain Mac Tir (conditional)
Lucanus
Prelate Macrinus
Commander Rylen

Quests[]

A Manuscript of Some Authority A Manuscript of Some Authority

Griffon statues

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

Rifts[]

Rifts in the Canyons Rifts in the Canyons
Rifts in Echoback Rifts in Echoback
Rifts in Sand and Dust Rifts in Sand and Dust
Rifts off the Pass Rifts off the Pass

Requisitions[]

Code Requisition in the Approach Code Requisition in the Approach
Fauna Requisition in the Approach Fauna Requisition in the Approach
Lazurite Survey in the Approach Lazurite Survey in the Approach
Luster Survey in the Approach Luster Survey in the Approach

War table operations[]

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

Creatures[]

Fennec
Gurn

Hostile creatures[]

Hyena
Phoenix
Quillback
Giant spider
Poisonous spider
Varghest
Giant
Abyssal High Dragon

Enemies[]

White Claws
Venatori
Darkspawn

Collections[]

Astrariums[]

Astrariums in the Approach Astrariums in the Approach

Bottles on the Wall[]

Bottles On The Wall icon.png Vintage: Warden Jairn - search inside Dustytop Fort.
Bottles On The Wall icon.png Vintage: Warden Eval'lal - search inside the Ritual Tower.
Bottles On The Wall icon.png 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.

Dragon Hunter[]

Abyssal High Dragon Abyssal High Dragon

Landmarks[]

Landmarks in the Approach Landmarks in the Approach

Mosaics[]

The Archdemon numbering

The Archdemon The Archdemon (12 pieces) - see the Archdemon mosaic for detailed locations.

Freed are Slaves numbering

Freed Are Slaves Freed Are Slaves (piece #8) - found in the Still Ruins, in the locked room, just to the right of the first hall encountered.
Freed Are Slaves Freed Are Slaves (piece #9) - found in Coracavus, behind a locked door in the Records Room.
Note: Requires Deft Hands, Fine Tools Inquisition perk.

Shards[]

Shards in the Approach Shards in the Approach

Skyhold Customizations[]

Grey Warden Banner Grey Warden Banner - found in a chest at the second siege point, where Hawke is encountered in Adamant Fortress; see main quest Here Lies the Abyss.
Tevinter Banner 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.
Inquisition Banner Inquisition Banner - capture Griffon Wing Keep (conditional: awarded after the Inquisitor captures their first keep)
Inquisition Banner Crown Inquisition Banner Crown - capture all three keeps: Caer Bronach, Griffon Wing Keep, and Suledin Keep.

Resources[]

Echoback Fort

Herbs[]

Amrita Vein Amrita Vein
Blood Lotus Blood Lotus
Deathroot Deathroot
Deep Mushroom Deep Mushroom
Dragonthorn Dragonthorn
Elfroot Elfroot
Ghoul's Beard Ghoul's Beard
Spindleweed Spindleweed
Vandal Aria Vandal Aria (only found in Coracavus)
Witherstalk Witherstalk

Leather[]

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

Metals[]

Lazurite Lazurite
Paragon's Luster Paragon's Luster
Serpentstone Serpentstone

Notable items[]

Elven artifacts[]

• In the Main Chamber of the Still Ruins.
• In the far western corner of the hidden astrarium room.
• In Griffon Wing Keep; head up the stairway located directly to the right of keep's main gate.

Logging stands[]

• Northeast of the Lost Spring Canyon Inquisition Camp.
• East by southeast of the Craggy Ridge Inquisition Camp, or directly northwest from The Lost Idol landmark and head up the tiny slope from the riverbank.

Memories of the Grey[]

Grey Warden Sword - found atop a wooden tower inside Dustytop Fort; southwest of the Nazaire's Pass Inquisition Camp, near one of the rifts off the pass.
Vial of Archdemon Blood - found in Echoback Fort; see side quest The Trouble with Darkspawn.

Quarries[]

• At Shimmer Stone Mine
• Southwest of Echoback Fort
• Southwest of Sand Rock Mine

Red lyrium veins[]

• Inside Sand Rock Mine
• Inside the Forgotten Mine
• Inside Shimmer Stone Mine

Veilfire glyphs[]

Fire Rune Schematic Fire Rune Schematic - acquired in the cave revealed from unlocking Astrariums in the Approach.
Frost Rune Schematic Frost Rune Schematic - in a small cave accessible from the center of Echoback Fort.
Spirit Rune Schematic Spirit Rune Schematic - in Coracavus' Holding Cells; found in the cell containing the hanged man.
Spirit Rune Schematic Spirit Rune Schematic - in the Inner Sanctum of the Still Ruins, on a plaque behind the magic staff; see side quest The Heart of the Still Ruins.

Loot[]

Aegis of the Order Aegis of the Order - looted from within the same cave as the Thing in the Dark landmark.
Note: Requires the completion of the war table operation Crossing the Sulphur Pits.
Blizzard's Path Blizzard's Path - looted from a chest in Echoback Fort; see side quest The Trouble with Darkspawn.
Cowl of the Overseer Cowl of the Overseer - looted from Macrinus; see side quest Assault on Griffon Wing Keep.
Griffon Plate Griffon Plate - acquired in the cave revealed from Astrariums in the Approach.
Note: Trespasser required.
Kitty's Collar Kitty's Collar - looted from Macrinus; see side quest Assault on Griffon Wing Keep.
Note: Requires installation of Patch 10.
Master Cleansing Rune Schematic Master Cleansing Rune Schematic - looted from Lucanus in the Still Ruins; see side quest A Tevinter Relic Hunt.
Master Corrupting Rune Schematic Master Corrupting Rune Schematic - looted from a chest in Echoback Fort; see side quest The Trouble with Darkspawn.
Masterwork Enchanter Mail Masterwork Enchanter Mail - acquired in the cave revealed from unlocking Astrariums in the Approach.
Masterwork Vanguard Mail Masterwork Vanguard Mail - looted from a chest at the top of Shimmer Stone Mine.
Nameless Blade Nameless Blade - looted from the Abyssal High Dragon.
Pyre of the Forgotten Pyre of the Forgotten - randomly available at the Griffon Wing Keep Merchant for 21433 Currency (Inquisition).png.
Note: Requires The Short List Inquisition perk
Sad Splinters Sad Splinters - looted after destroying the keep gate during the side quest Assault on Griffon Wing Keep.
Superb Amulet of Magic Superb Amulet of Magic - randomly available at the Griffon Wing Keep Merchant for 14495 Currency (Inquisition).png.
Note: Requires The Short List Inquisition perk
Superb Belt of Magic Defense Superb Belt of Magic Defense - randomly available at the Griffon Wing Keep Merchant for 14495 Currency (Inquisition).png.
Note: Requires The Short List Inquisition perk
Superb Ring of Armor Penetration Superb Ring of Armor Penetration - looted from the Abyssal High Dragon.
Superb Ring of Critical Damage Superb Ring of Critical Damage - looted from a chest behind a locked door in Coracavus' Records Room; see side quest The Trouble with Darkspawn.
Note: Requires Deft Hands, Fine Tools Inquisition perk.
Tempest Tempest - looted from the Inner Sanctum of the Still Ruins; see side side quest A Stranger Rift in the Ruins.

Codex entries[]

Codex entry: Constellation: Fenrir Codex entry: Constellation: Fenrir
Codex entry: Constellation: Satinalis Codex entry: Constellation: Satinalis
Codex entry: Constellation: Toth Codex entry: Constellation: Toth
Codex entry: The Creation of a Phylactery Codex entry: The Creation of a Phylactery
Codex entry: The Gate Guardians Codex entry: The Gate Guardians
Codex entry: Magister Erimond Codex entry: Magister Erimond
Codex entry: Old Chantry Trail Signs Codex entry: Old Chantry Trail Signs
Codex entry: Our Lady of the Anderfels Codex entry: Our Lady of the Anderfels
Codex entry: Professor Frederic of Serault Codex entry: Professor Frederic of Serault
Codex entry: Ritual Tower Codex entry: Ritual Tower
Codex entry: Surviving the Western Approach Codex entry: Surviving the Western Approach
Codex entry: The Western Approach Codex entry: The Western Approach

Adamant Fortress[]

Codex entry: Adamant Fortress Codex entry: Adamant Fortress
Codex entry: A Letter from Warden-Commander Clarel Codex entry: A Letter from Warden-Commander Clarel

Coracavus[]

Codex entry: Coracavus Codex entry: Coracavus
Codex entry: A Missing Slave Codex entry: A Missing Slave
Codex entry: The Secret Tongue of Slaves Codex entry: The Secret Tongue of Slaves

Still Ruins[]

Codex entry: Responsible Blood Magic Codex entry: Responsible Blood Magic
Codex entry: The Still Ruins Codex entry: The Still Ruins

Note texts[]

A Letter Found on a Grey Warden Mage A Letter Found on a Grey Warden Mage
Almost Illegible Note Almost Illegible Note
Ancient Tevinter Ancient Tevinter
Ancient Warden Logbook Ancient Warden Logbook
A Preserved Note A Preserved Note
Barely Readable Unsent Letter Barely Readable Unsent Letter
Chantry Logbook Chantry Logbook
Elegantly Penned Note Elegantly Penned Note
Elegantly Written Letter Elegantly Written Letter
Elegantly Written Note (about research team) Elegantly Written Note (about research team)
Elegantly Written Note (about Wardens) Elegantly Written Note (about Wardens)
Faded Journal Faded Journal
Griffon Wing Keep (from Servis) Griffon Wing Keep (from Servis)
Griffon Wing Keep (to Servis) Griffon Wing Keep (to Servis)
Intercepted Venatori Message Intercepted Venatori Message
Manifest Manifest
Memorial Memorial
Note from a Templar Note from a Templar
Note of Slight Jealousy Note of Slight Jealousy
Rebel Mage's Note Rebel Mage's Note
A Scrawled Note A Scrawled Note
Scrawled Raider Note Scrawled Raider Note
Stern Note of Warning Stern Note of Warning
Venatori Orders (to Cassius) Venatori Orders (to Cassius)
Written Note Written Note

Adamant Fortress[]

Inscription Upon a Trebuchet Stone Inscription Upon a Trebuchet Stone
An Unsigned Letter (Adamant) An Unsigned Letter (Adamant)

Coracavus[]

Ancient List of Prisoners Ancient List of Prisoners
A Blood-Spattered Note A Blood-Spattered Note
A Crumpled Note A Crumpled Note
Faded Interrogation Notes Faded Interrogation Notes
Venatori Plans Venatori Plans

Still Ruins[]

Journal on Certain Experiments Journal on Certain Experiments
Research Notes Research Notes
Venatori Orders (to Lucanus) Venatori Orders (to Lucanus)

Notes[]

  • There are two gates in the Approach: the Gate of Toth and the Gate of Andoral, both can be opened from the northern side; however, this requires completion of the war table operation Find the Source of Darkspawn.
  • There is a sizeable stash of gold next to a skeleton situated directly above the Echo Back Canyon Inquisition Camp. In order to reach the cache (see here) use a mount to traverse to the top of the mountain edge via the eastern side. There is small nook in the foundation that can be used to access the area. Jumping on the cracked edge with a mount will allow for the player to reach the platform after several successful jumps. Missing the crack while attempting to jump will simply result in falling to desert floor.

Trivia[]

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

Gallery[]

References[]