Words by Calasade

You recall when I said DA:O was not at all well-balanced? The quest Urn of the Sacred Ashes is a perfect example. You start this quest either by stumbling upon it in Denerim as I did on this play-through or by visiting Redcliffe to see the Arl. Go after the urn too early, especially via Redcliffe, and you’ll fail miserably. Go after the urn too late and you’ll find the dungeon crawl through the ruined temple such a cake-walk that you might fall asleep.

Yes, the lack of balance in this game is that great.

Which is why I split it into two parts, so that each half is challenging.

To begin the first part, go to Lake Calenhad (you’ll recall Waylon wanted you to go there) and talk to the barkeep at the Spoiled Princess. This will (eventually) lead you back to Waylon. From him you will learn where next to go.

The oh-so-creepy village of Haven (aptly named really).

Here you’ll soon discover things are not quite right and that people can be colder than the harshest of winters. No surprise really to find Brother Genitivi is being held captive, but we also learn the ashes of Andraste might just be within a ruined temple. You can at this point insist Genitivi go home (yeah, he’s alive though worse for wear), but don’t.

Trust me. Just don’t.

Let him come along. Inside the ruined temple Genitivi warns of booby-traps, which raises our expectations, but there’s nothing quite that exotic here.


Instead, you’ll run across occasional, very simplistic traps. The real challenge rests with those religious nuts I mentioned. Some harrowing fights in these halls that worsen when you reach the underground caverns. Once you work your way through those, you’ll be at the mountain top. You can continue on to the Gauntlet (which will test your worthiness for reaching Andraste’s ashes), but were I you, I suggest waiting until you’re at level fifteen or sixteen so you can defeat the high dragon using the horn you collect off Father Kolgrim’s corpse…assuming you chose to fight him and his group. Easy, getting him to attack you because he’s so hot-tempered and there’s no advantage to not fighting him considering the weapon he’s carrying and the experience points you gain.

Too, by the time you reach the mountain top, you won’t be able to carry much more loot and will need to visit camp for healing injuries anyway. Stop off in Denerim at Wade’s Emporium and have the master smith craft you some fine dragon scale armor you got by way of those damnable beasts that tried to eat you. FYI, the second set of armor is a definite upgrade over the first.

Gotta hand it to EA here, or the Bioware team of EA rather. The writing for this part of Urn of the Sacred Ashes is entertaining and the pacing is awesome; so is how the difficulty seems to escalate the farther into the temple and caverns you get.

Urn of Sacred Ashes Points



Leliana’s Song | Castle Cousland | Ostagar | Lothering | Denerim I | Soldier’s Peak DLC | Stone Prisoner DLC

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