The Excavations are found east of Thabarkin citadel, where House Skelden has a large walled town that encloses the ancient digging site said to contain Dwarven relics.
Erbat Skelden himself lives in an interior walled keep, but his guards won't let you near him since he has recently been subjected to assassination attempts. Fortunately, you'll be able to talk to the even more important Skelden second-in-command Sanno Moon without obstructions...
Sanno Moon, the popular Skelden second-in-command, can be found standing outside his house directly across from the excavation diggings. Moon happens to already be looking for a freelancer with no internal ties to the House, in order to retrieve an overdue package he wants. This will iniate the quest called "A Delicate Issue" in the Questbook.
At the same time, Moon will also direct you to various Skelden House men you can do side quests for ("four or five 'eavy deeds," as Moon puts it) to increase your reputation with their faction, so that Moon can vouch for you to get an audience with Erbat Skelden.
Note: The quests here provide good chances to gain reputation with the Skeldens, Kargas, and also the Giriza simultaneously. You'll want to gain some reputation with both the Karga Clan and the Giriza in a pacifist run, so that the guards will become friendly to you and open the locked gates to both the Karga supply cave, and the Giriza-controlled Gorelin village, which is a haven of rogues of various sorts— including Moon's missing courier.
"A Delicate Issue" - Find Moon's Cure
Moon's "delicate" issue ultimately requires you to go find his "Cure," a mysterious medicine he needs for unexplained reasons. (Moon is rumored to be deathly ill, and some rumors even hint that he may be kept alive by some form of medicine prepared by necromancers, as you'll learn from speaking with the Skelden soldier named Harban nearby.) Exactly what this "cure" is remains a mystery, but solving the quest will reward you with more nonviolent experience points and more reputation with House Skelden.
As for the details:
Moon doesn't know what happened to his package, but directs you to go interrogate the courier, a Giriza rogue named Estar Gren. The full solution we used for this quest is detailed in the section on THABARKIN CROSSROADS & GORELIN section, since our preferred nonviolent solution involved first solving the Kistor & Bandits quest detailed below, and then the Giriza quests at Thabarkin Crossroads Inn and Gorelin Village:
Estar Gren is in Gorelin, which Moon will tell you about in your conversation, but the only way into the gated Giriza stronghold is to first gain reputation with the Giriza.
|Met, gate guard of Gorelin, won't let you in until you gain reputation with the Giriza|
There might be multiple ways to do that, but since most Giriza operatives will ask you to kill someone, a good way around this is to pick up Set Kistor's quest here at the excavations (see below). This will give you a password into a bandit cave (to avoid having to kill the guard there or at Gorelin), and you'll be able to get a dwarven artifact from the bandit leader (in exchange for sparing the bandits' lives) that will help you solve the second of two nonviolent quests from the Giriza men Stork and Keshi Lono at the Thabarkin Crossroads Inn. (Note: Although you don't actually need to ever enter Gorelin's walled compound to find Moon's cure, you will probably still want to go there and do the nonviolent Giriza quests to gain lots more rewards of experience from solving nonviolent quests for all three factions involved.)
Before you can do all of these Giriza-related tasks, however, you'll have to complete the quest below to get a special item:
Set Kistor & The Bandits
If you take the path we suggested above, then the subquest given by Set Kistor will provide lots of nonviolent experience, reputation with the Giriza to get inside Gorelin, and also more gold and reputation with the Skelden House). Set Kistor is a somewhat haughty high-ranking Skelden soldier, but you will have to talk to Sanno Moon first in order to get Kistor to take you into guarded confidence. Once you've done so, Kistor will reveal that he's had a secret arrangement with a pack of bandits who they used for "extra profits." However, the bandits have now threatened to destroy the House's reputation after they raided an excavations caravan bound for Cathalon. Kistor wants the bandits massacred to cover up all ties between himself and the House, and the bandits, led by a ruffian named Finch.
This will initiate the quests "Bandit's Hideout" and "Disposable Tools," but you will never have to fight with any of the bandits in order to solve it:
To find the bandits, you'll need to visit Silver Plate Cave on the other side of the imposing fortification called Darrut Gate (an abandoned Dwarven gate that can't be opened, so has to be bypassed).
Caveat: If you're on a pacifist run, you've probably already noticed that it's rarely difficult to outrun enemies in Two Worlds. However, the enemies around the gates (camps of bandits and Groms), and on the slopes below the cave can be a nuisance if any of them chase you near the bandits' gate guard, because he will start fighting with them as soon as he sees them. You have to talk to this guard and give him the password from Kistor in order to make him open the gate, but you can't talk to him at all if he gets distracted by fighting with nearby enemies. One easy way to deal with this is by approaching from the high hills above Silver Plate Cave (rather than trying to sneak up from the roads below), and sneaking right up to talk with the gate guard in Sneak Mode.
|The Silver Plate Cave guard will let you inside the cave if you give him the password from Kistor.|
Once you give the password from Kistor to the guard, he'll be relieved, since the entire gang is afraid that the Skeldens were going to try to have them all massacred to cover up their involvement with Kistor. Of course, this is exactly what Kistor is trying to do, but fortunately for them, you'll have a nonviolent alternative when you enter the cave and speak with the bandits' blustering leader Finch:
Finch claims a mysterious outsider more or less forced them to do a side-job to raid the excavations caravan containing the dwarven relic, which they were supposed to deliver to him in the South.
After telling this story at some length, Finch will then try to dissuade you from attacking them by proclaiming that even if you're an expert warrior, their cave filled with bandits is sure to eventually kill you no matter how many of them you are able to slay first. After this, you'll be given the option to exchange the Dwarven relic with Finch without any violence by choosing the "No one has to die..." dialogue option, promising Finch that you'll lie to Set Kistor in exchange for the item, and tell the Skelden men that the bandits are all dead, so that the bandits can flee from Thalmont and go back to the South.
Finch will accept the proposal and hand over the relic, and you'll be rewarded. Then you can return to the Excavations at your own convenience and lie to Kistor, claiming you killed all the bandits, for which you'll be paid some gold and gain more reputation with the House Skelden.
Better yet, this same Dwarven relic handed over by Finch is exactly what Giriza operative Keshi Lono wants to be shown at the roadside Thabarkin Crossroads Inn south of Thabarkin citadel:
See THABARKIN and the section on the Thabarkin Crossroads Inn for details. Ultimately, the main reason to do this is that completing the quests for the Giriza men there will give you enough reputation with the Giriza to open the gates to Gorelin village, where you can talk to Estar Gren to maximize the gains from following up on Moon's missing delivery, and also talk with the spy Zed Masara to complete another nonviolent Karga clan quest...
More Subquests to Complete at the Excavations:
Solution to "Work Withheld" from the Giriza at Thabarkin Crossroads Inn:
The Giriza spy Stork outside the Thabarkin Crossroads Inn will have given you a quest called "Work Withheld" if you spoke with him outside the Inn near Thabarkin, and asked to go find Armin at the Excavations.
|The House Skelden Excavations, where prisoners are put to work excavating Dwarven pre-war artifacts...|
If you've talked to Stork, Armin will still try to get you to "push off" since he doesn't want to get punished by the guards if they see him talking. However, pressing him (nonviolently) on the issue will cause him to reveal that the Skelden men have been excavating chests that may contain Dwarven pre-war artifacts, and he thinks the House is not sharing all their takings with the Crown...
You'll be rewarded with experience for talking to Armin, and then when you return to the Inn and talk to Stork again, he'll also reward you with gold and increased reputation with the Giriza. After you talk to Stork, your improved reputation will cause the nearby Keshi Lono to be willing to speak to you more cordially: Lono will now give you the quest "Shadows Over the Family," claiming some enemy threw down the gauntlet to the Giriza and somehow turned the tables on them in Gorelin and the Excavations, stealing something of value that Lono wants you to retrieve for him. This item turns out to be the same Dwareven relic that you can obtain (without violence) by completing Set Kistor's Quests, detailed above.
Harban & Brokk's Quests (not completed on our pacifist run):
Harban nearer to the gates will tell you they have problems with a pack of wolves whose den is in the mountains south of the Excavations, but we don't know any way to complete this without fighting with the wolves, since the wolves aren't as open to negotiations when you visit their cave as the bandit leader Finch was when you visited his. (You can optionally visit their cave to see some nice scenery and easily freeze the wolves in place with a spell without harming them, but you won't get any xp for doing so.)
|Hanging out with some wolves after casting the harmless "Freezing Wave" spell, to get them to temporarily stop chomping the protagonist...|
A soldier in or near the excavations named Brokk will also give you the quest "A Traitor in the House." Brokk is trying to reveal the identity of an anti-Skelden spy, who Karga Clan operatives may already have divulged as Zed Masara of Gorelin. We aren't actually sure if there's any way to claim nonviolent quest rewards without getting Masara (or anyone else) killed as part of the process, so we gave Masara's reports to Ethan in the Karga Clan instead, to complete his quest "Collecting Evidence." (See KARGA FORTRESS section for details.)
|Brokk is on the trail of a Karga-clan informant...|
Menno Heragerard & The Mountain Outpost
Finally, Sanno Moon will have referred you to a Skelden soldier named Menno Heragerard who is stationed in the mountain outpost located above the Excavations, where he spies on the Grom war bands menacing the region: You can visit Heragerard by riding northeast of the Excavations and climbing the mountain paths up to the top of the ridgelines to find his outpost where he'll give you a quest called "Ruining the Groms' War for Them."
The objective of the quest is to steal three of the superstitious Groms' horned totems, which stand on the mounds where the Groms heap sacrificial offerings of skulls and magnesite crystals. You'll never actually have to kill a single Grom (or anything else) to complete the quest, as detailed in the separate section on the stealing the Grom War Totems.