|Winter Palace||Venatori Zealot|
Time to dabble in messy Orlesian politics and help settle a Civil War between Empress Celene and her cousin Grand Duke Gaspard, who was kind enough to offer you an invitation.
After the scene you’ll notice that you have 50 Court Approval, at least you could have that much. You lose 10 for being an Elf or a Mage, 20 if both, and 25 for being Qunari. Search the southwest corner for Montbelliard’s Ring; return it the Noblewoman nearby for 5 Court Approval. Read the plaque at the fountain for Winter Palace codex then climb the steps to the mid tier and again up the right set to the Upper Level. Search here for a Halla Statuette and head along the back wall to the left for a Chest .
Note: Do not use any Halla Statuettes until the Royal Wing is accessed. This lets you get the most out of the story options and the best loot.
Cross over to the left Upper Level where you can eavesdrop on some nobles. From here you want to go down the back wall to find a Storage Key . Drop down one level and unlock the Storage Room. Inside you’ll find a Scandalous Secret , a hidden Caprice coin, and a Chest . Go to the other side and use your Halla Statuette to open the door here. Inside you’ll find two loot stashes with Rare Weapons . Feel free to go and open the gate and head inside.
Finding Secrets and Statuettes
Up the stairs you can turn right and listen to nobles for a Scandalous Secret . There isn’t much else to do at the moment so enter the Ballroom. Proceed to Celene, be polite to gain 10 Court Approval. Head down the right side to find Josephine who is talking to her sister. Feel free to engage in conversation. Further down is A Compendium of Orlesian Theater on the couch. On the other side of the room you can find Vivienne if you brought her along, Leliana, who you give scandalous secrets to, and Cullen. It’s fun to listen to the conversations around Cullen. He seems to have a fan club.
Head back to the Vestibule when you’re done talking. You can find Cassandra here if she’s in your party. The eavesdrop spot towards the back that failed should work this time. Head through the door to the west where you’ll be able eavesdrop on some elves in the back. Down the steps you’ll find Blackwall if you brought him and you can also search for a Caprice . Head down the hall and speak with Duke Germann, tell him "Phillipe is a jerk!" to gain 10 Court Approval. You can find A Compendium on Orlesian Theater in a side room, a Caprice Coin right next to it, as well as an eavesdrop location to obtain another Scandalous Secret for Leliana. Speak to the Duke again here and ask about Gaspard to gain 5 Court Approval.
In the next room down you can go to the balcony. Search here for a Cylinder Seal then go right through the hall and out into the Guest Garden. Dorian hangs out here if you brought him along to the festivities. You can gain two Scandalous Secrets by eavesdropping on the left and another one on the right locations. Loot the two Sacks on the left end then climb up to the balcony.
Here you’ll lose approval so move fast. Grab the Halla Statuette on the right end and the Scandalous Secret then open the door at the left end using it. Loot the Chest in here and pick up Halamshiral Investigation Clues . Enter the Grand Library and search the back left for a secret; pulling the book reveals a hidden room. Inside loot the Chest and read the letter. Light the veilfire then the urns outside in the following order: Etienne I, Reville, Etienne II, Judicael I, Judicael II, Florian. This will remove the floor and lead to a secret area. Loot the room for Confustion Grenade Recipe , a Rare Belt , Masterwork Magister Staff Blade schematic, and various other items.
Exit through the side doors then go down the steps. Search the bookshelf for an update in the Halamshiral Investigation: Clues. In the left room is a Scandalous Secret and a Safe , you’ll find the same as you go down the hall. Cole will be here if you brought him along. Exit back to the Vestibule at this point and into the Ballroom where the bells will ring letting you know it’s time to return. Don’t be slow or you’ll lose 10 Court Approval, however, being 'fashionably late' (second ring) will net +5 Approval. Here you bump into Morrigan and she wants your help.
The Servants Quarters
After talking to Morrigan head back towards the Court Garden. The two eavesdrop locations should provide a Scandalous Secret now. Head down to the Servants’ Quarters. First things first, re-equip your gear because you’re bound to fight in this area. Head into the bedroom to find a Diary of a Nosy Servant then into the kitchen after looting the Chest . You can grab the Winter Palace codex and the Halla Statuette above by jumping. Now move to the courtyard and make a hard left to the corner; search to find a Halla Statuette here.
Leap down and you’ll have to fight some Venatori Zealots after a scene. Go north to find more Venatori, this time including a Spellbinder. Climb the steps and search the corner of the balcony for a Caprice . On the other side of the wall is another Halla Statuette and Safe . Go to the south side and defeat the Venatori there then enter the Grand Apartments. Read A Compendium of Orlesian Theater on the table and into the next room to find more Venatori and Jeshavis, Mother of Orlais .
In the large room are some Marksman and a codex for The Lion of Orlais . Loot the Snake Chest and search the southern wall to find a Caprice on a table. Head north into the bedrooms where there is a Chest along the way, and search the beds to find a Caprice . Now head upstairs, turning north to find a Mad Emperor Reville codex. Turn the corner and defeat the Venatori here to trigger a scene with Briala.
Note: You do not need to open the locked room here. In fact it’s best to leave it alone unless you want to put Briala in charge.
Pick up the Halla Statuette now and head to the bedroom to find an update to Winter Palace . Open the door here and loot the room, you’ll find a Rare Weapon , Rare Schematic , an Amulet of Power for Vivienne, and an Elven Locket . You can head out now and hopefully you didn’t lose too much Court Approval in the process.
Continuing the Dance
As you return to the main level look right and search the bench to find a Scandalous Secret . Talk to the men guarding the Trophy Room, if you have the perk you can tell them to talk with Commander Cullen and they’ll leave. This earns 10 Court Approval and grants access to the Trophy Room. Search the corner for a Scandalous Secret and the left side for a Caprice . Enter the next room to find a Halla Statuette .
Did you Know? You can find the head of a Krogan mounted on the wall to your right as you enter the Trophy Room. Apparently it was found and killed in 9:27 Dragon. This isn’t the first time Mass Effect and Dragon Age have had a cross over. Donovan Hock has a statue of an Ogre from Dragon Age: Origins in his vault during Kasumi: Stolen Memories mission.
Now head to the Ballroom to meet Grand Duchess Florianne de Chalons. To earn the maximum Court Approval, choose the following options:
- May I help you?
- Let's dance (10 Court Approval)
- Why don't you educate me?
- Is that what we both want? (10 Court Approval)
- Which am I to you? (5 Court Approval)
- Who do you trust? (5 Court Approval)
- Isn't everyone?
Secrets and Caprice Hunt
Go down the east side of the Ballroom and search the railing for another Caprice then return to the Vestibule. Search the north side of the Vestibule for a Caprice on the ground. Go down the steps to the Lower Level and search the left side for a Scandalous Secret . Head back to the Guest Wing (west from the Vestibule) and search the long hallway for a Scandalous Secret . Go into the side room where the Duke is to find another Scandalous Secret in the corner.
Back in the hall is a Scandalous Secret on the table and another one is next to the couch. Enter the room at the end to find a Caprice and Scandalous Secret on and near the couch. Leap out the window here to find another Scandalous Secret and then onto the balcony to eavesdrop for a point. Pick up the Scandalous Secret on the nearby chair then head into the Garden. Check the northwest corner for a Scandalous Secret . Toss some of your Caprice Coins into the fountain if you need some approval; if you are at 100 then hold off until a little later.
Note: If you have been saving some Halla Statuettes then use 3 to enter the Lower Level. Varric is down here but you can also snag the Orlesian Banner from a chest. There is also a Caprice on the bench at the bottom. In addition, talk to the man you were eavesdropping on in the Garden. Pick a side and you can recruit him.
Climb up the wall and turn left to find a Caprice . Head through the doors here and down the hallway. Search as you go to find a Scandalous Secret on the table. Approach the Royal Wing and eavesdrop to gain another Scandalous Secret . Time to go to the Royal Wing.
The Royal Wing
Change your equipment after entering and search the table for a Scandalous Secret . Move across the middle area to the east where you’ll be able to stop an Elven servant from meeting her end. Pick up the Halla Statuette and loot the two Chests before going back west across the middle area, entering the south western door. Grab the Halla Statuette in plain site, then the Chest , and finally search the corner for a Scandalous Secret . Head south and go past the room with the quest marker for now. Down the steps you’ll find another Halla Statuette .
Open the western area via the door and into the northern room. Search the left side for a Halla Statuette and a Caprice . You have at least 5 Halla Statues now so go all the way north and open the door here. Search the left table for a Scandalous Secret . Loot the right Chest and go up the steps; here you’ll find an awkward situation. Let the man go and tell him to hush up or get him information to blackmail Celene but either way you gain 10 Court Approval . Check the table on the right of the bed for a Caprice and loot the Footlocker .
Note: This is the last chance you have to finish the two quests. With the Secret and Caprice you pick up in here you’ll have them all. This is only possible if you opened the Lower Level and this room.
Jardin de Reverie
Head back south to the room on the eastern end, the Jardin de Reverie. It turns out to be an ambush set up by the Duchess. Kill the Venatori then focus on the Despair Demons. Disrupt the Rift to stun the demons and take them out; the Greater Terrors should be frozen to buy you some time. Afterwards, speak with Mercenary Captin. You can do what you will with him, but if you have the right perk you can recruit him into the Inquisition. The eastern balcony has some loot, but you need to go south and slay more Venatori.
Go downstairs to find a Harlequin. Defeat her and go north to a side room with a Chest . Read A Compendium of Orlesian Theater at the north bookshelf then into La Serrure. You can only pick one door because they cost 5 Halla Statues each and you may have spent the ones you had already. They each just have a single Chest behind with random loot so don’t fret over it too much. Head west to the Kitchens for a Supply Cache then into the Dining Room for two Chests . Exit south then check up the stairs for a Chest . Return to the Ballroom and make your decision.
- Talk to Florianne - With at least 85 Court Approval you can have Florianne arrested.
- Wait for Florianne to attack - Celene will die and you must fight Florianne.
- Detain the duchess - Celene will be saved and you must fight Florianne.
BOSS - Grand Duchess
|Immunity||All Disabling Effects, Poisoned, Slowed, Knocked Down|
Ranged fighters will have an advantage in this battle because the Grand Duchess fights from above and around the Courtyard and moves quickly. Any Archer abilities can dish out some good damage on her. You will have to contend with Venatori Zealots throughout the battle. Try to use a Focus ability to take them out when they are near Florianne so everyone takes damage. Using Grappling Chain for this battle is definitely one of the best things you can do since you can pull Florianne down into the fray and across runes, if you have them set up, for massive damage.
As you lower her health, Florianne will head to the left and right sides of the courtyard and more Venatori will emerge. Defeat the lesser foes first and bring Florianne back to the middle ground so you can pummel her. During this phase you’ll have to contend with being put to sleep and the Grand Duchess raising a Guard. Abilities that deal more damage to Guard are obviously useful at this point and Haste seems to be one of the more useful Focus abilities for this fight.
Loot : 7654 Experience, The Trepanner’s Requital, Rare Ring
After the battle you get to make your decision on who will rule, providing Celene isn’t alive, and of course this doesn’t come without consequences. If Empress Celene is alive then you can implicate either Briala or Gaspard as the traitor whom can be sentenced to death. Likewise, you can make everyone work together or just Celene and Briala if you initiated this using the Elven Locket.