The Architect’s Lab
Look at the scroll on the steps. You'll walk right into a trap a moment later and wind up in a darkspawn dungeon inside. Seranni will come by and help you escape though. You can use persuasion to get her to open up a bit more about what's happening and get a key to a chest.
Start off by leaving the cell and punching the three guards to death. Magic works too. They should die quickly. If you're desperate, you can equip their weak weapons and armor. I just went through it in clothing and punched everything until I could do an actual reequip. Go up into the Architect's lab and look around. Loot the books to get a history of the use of phylacteries, which is a good gift for Anders. Also get the codex notes on his desks. Before you go, move onto the experimental section.
We need to extinguish the flames. The left lever has the flames shift clockwise. The right lever makes the two in back switch. So if they're on fire, they go out and vice versa. Get it so that all four or lit or that two are lit next to each other. This just means moving one part of the fire to the front right slot and then hitting the left lever. Rotate them back around to the back and kill the flames. This shuts down the barrier on the floor.
Go out and loot the holding cell key from the guard. You can open a previously blocked door and enter the little killing floor. The chest has some good equipment and several sovereigns. Loot the other cells and move on ahead.
Finding the Equipment
The darkspawn are shut off from us for the time being. You can use the ballista to fire a round into the statue and kill most of them. Do it. Go through the side door and come out on the main floor. Punch any survivors to death and loot the bodies. Advance and then run into a full attack group. You should be alright, as long as Velanna uses an area of effect spell to grind down the mage and archers in back while your men punch stuff. Advance into the next room and you should find your first experimental subject. I believe this one should always have Velanna's possessions equipped. She'll call up a bunch of dragonlings and try to use magic. I suggest that you just rush everyone in and surround her. Valenna was able to pretty much kill everything instantly by using One With Nature and then the upgraded attack. Loot the body and equip Velanna.
Advance and go into the next room. There should be a few more darkspawn and a guy called Keenan. You can talk to him to take down his last will and gain the "Last Wish" quest. We'll take care of this before we go. Advance into the next chamber and you should find a bunch of darkspawn and another experimental subject. This one had Justice's equipment in my playthrough. There isn't much to this one. Let your warriors distract the alpha warriors and punch the genlocks to death. Velanna has her full equipment again, so she should be able to really deal some damage. Reequip your party member and keep moving.
The next chamber has more people in it, but also should have the last two experimental subjects. Once again, just distract the main force while Velanna uses her magic to kill the emissary and the archers. Also grab the Silverite Ore from the Silverite Deposit. Give everyone their equipment and go ahead and save.
An Armed Escape
Turn into the side room. We're going to avenge Keenan. This short side tunnel has a dragon tamer in back. He's the one who killed Keenan and he even carries a maul called the leg crusher. There are a few dragonlings here, but the real threat is the drake he has. I suggest you focus on that first, since the flaming breath will do a lot more damage. You can kill the tamer easily once you have him alone. Loot his body for the maul and the wedding ring. There's also a lyrium deposit where you can get more lyrium sand.
Go back and advance out into the next room. It will be a bit of a repeat of the last. There should be at least one emissary and a drake. Try to have someone rush the mage while everyone else focuses on taking down the drake. It can do a ton of damage to a rogue or mage. Once these two are dead, you just have to take out the rest. Loot the area and then move up. The big chest is the reward.
Our entire party inventory is in there. Just open it up and grab as much as you can. Thankfully, Bioware was smart. There's a merchant nearby, who will buy equipment from you. You can also get him to open up trade with the citadel for "Trade Must Flow" and you can persuade him to give you a discount. Just sell all of the unneeded stuff and get all of your old inventory back. When you're ready, go through the double doors and enter the big chamber ahead.
The Dragon Thralls
The Architect is already making a quick escape as we arrive. He calls in two Dragon Thralls to fight us in the arena. They are tough versions of drakes. The big danger is that they will use overwhelm or flame breath to quickly kill a rogue or mage. Warriors aren't at much risk, as long as you can cast Group Heal occasionally. Also make sure that your rogue actually gets behind the dragons. They aren't full dragons, so they can't attack people who are behind them. This means that they can backstab with impunity. Just use some potions to keep everyone alive. The thralls will take off and crash land throughout the fight. They will usually try to land on you to knock you back. You just need to keep an eye out and focus on one at a time. This is difficult since they try to trade spaces, but you can do it if you focus. Once you kill the first one, it's easy to take out the other. The Architect will seal off the exit and leave.
You have a choice for Velanna. You can tell her that she isn't worthy of being a warden. Justice likes this and will give you six approval points. Letting her join costs you ten approval from Justice. It actually doesn't make sense as to why you can't persuade him to let her redeem herself through service. It seems to be the logical answer to me. Regardless, you should be able to boost his approval easily with another little companion quest that comes up around this time. Just agreeing to get him pure lyrium will net you ten approval points.
Whatever you choose, loot the two dragons and leave the base. Return to Vigil's Keep. You need to talk to Varel if you accepted Velanna, since she has to go through the Joining. Other than that, you're done.
This post is part of the series: Dragon Age: Awakening Guide – Main Quest – Part 1
- Dragon Age: Awakening – Retaking Vigil's Keep
- Dragon Age: Awakening – Finding Kristoff – Shadow of the Blackmarsh
- Dragon Age: Awakening – Undying Blackmarsh – Shadow of the Blackmarsh
- Dragon Age: Awakening Walkthrough – The Wending Woods – The Righteous Path
- Dragon Age: Awakening Walkthrough – The Silverite Mine – The Righteous Path