Dragon Age: Origins is BioWare's 2009 dark-fantasy action-RPG. It features tactical party-based combat that can be played from third person, or a more traditional, isometric top-down view. The game features BioWare's signature "Pause and Play" battle mechanics. For its elements, gameplay, and other reasons, Dragon Age: Origins is commonly referred to by BioWare as the spiritual successor to their revered classic roleplaying game, Baldur's Gate 2.
Built on BioWare's proprietary Eclipse engine, the game features similar "facial technology" to that used with the conversation system in Mass Effect. Bioware has made a toolset available for the creation of user content, much like it did for Neverwinter Nights. The toolset is available for free to registered users of the PC version of Dragon Age: Origins.
The camera moves along what has been described as a "J-Axis," referring to the way the camera zooms out and then up, forming a path that roughly resembles a letter 'J.' At its closest (the neck of the J), the camera gives an over-the-shoulder third person view of the action. Zooming out from there, the camera backs away from the character of focus for a progressively wider view. On the PC version, there is one additional level of zoom (the hook of the J), in which the camera jumps high off the ground, assuming an approximation of an isometric view of the battlefield, reminiscent of the fixed isometric view of Infinity Engine games. In this pseudo-isometric view, the camera is not locked on to the currently selected character; instead, allowing free scrolling over the battlefield within a distance limit from the currently selected character.
The combat functions like a traditional tactical party-based RPG, such as Baldur's Gate. The player controls a party of four characters at one time out of a pool of many more recruited characters. Each character is fully controllable and customizable, no less than the player's own created character.
Combat unfolds in real time but can be paused at any moment to issue commands to party members. The Tactics menu can be used to set increasingly complex combat AI routines for party members using sets of If/Then statements. This allows players to determine precisely how their companions will behave when not being directly controlled.
Dragon Age: Origins uses the same "wheel" system for console versions as Mass Effect. Using spells and skills together in combos is necessary for success. One example of spells being used in combination is the use of a Grease spell to create a pool of grease which can then be lit on fire by a well placed Fireball spell. Separately, the spells only have specific uses and are not extremely effective. However, when used together, they can set large areas on fire and do damage to several enemies rather than just one like a Fireball spell would normally.
Dragon Age: Origins also features boss battles against powerful enemies, like Ogres, which tower over the player's own characters and have unique abilities.
Dragon Age: Origins features a number of playable scattered around a world map. The player is free to travel to any available location and will at times have encounters along the way with bandits or other characters relevant to active quests.
One of the major features of the game are the Origin Stories. Players are able to choose and play his or her own "Origin Story," which is the lens through which the entire game is seen and portrayed. The way the player's character sees the world and how the world sees their character is affected by the Origin Story. For example, players may begin the game as a Dwarf Noble and be a part of the Royal Family of a Dwarven City, or they could be a Dwarf Commoner living in the city's streets. These Origin Stories provide an introduction to the game and also help determine the overall direction of the story throughout the game. Characters the player meets during their Origin Story may reappear later on as either friends or enemies. Origin stories also provide the player with background information on the race they are playing. For example, when playing as an Elf, players will quickly realize the prejudice the people of Ferelden show towards their race. Executive Dan Tudge explained BioWare's perspective on the purpose of Origin stories, stating, "Really, the origin stories are more about your place and your perspective of how the world works."
As one of the last "true elves," you were content to spend your life wandering with your clan... until a chance encounter with a relic of your people's past threatens to tear you away from everything you've known.
While out in the Brecilian Forest with your childhood friend Tamlen, you run across three humans you have found an ancient relic in a nearby cave. You decide to go and check them out for yourselves and find the relic the humans were talking about which happens to be some kind of enchanted mirror. Tamlen's curiosity gets the best of him and decides to examine the mirror, which then emits some kind of magical energy and knocks the Dalish Elf unconscious. Duncan shows up in time and rescues the elf and returns you to the camp where you wake up two days later.
Having barely recovered from a fever, you decide to go back to the caves and looks for your friend Tamlen. Inside the cave you meet Duncan again and he informs you that the mirror is emitting some kind of Darkspawn taint which has infected you and is the cause of your fever. The only way for you to survive is to join the Grey Wardens whom can resist the taint and head to Ostagar so you can help Duncan defeat the Darkspawn.
The story of the city elf starts on a somewhat upbeat note. It’s a joyous day because there are not one, but two weddings going to be held that day, yours and Soris’. Both arranged, but important nonetheless, for the joining of these people ensures a strong continuation of the Elven bloodline. Or so you are told. Regardless of your sentiments towards this arrangement, today is the day that your life as a single man comes to an end.
Before you can get married to your betrothed, however, the festivities are rudely disturbed by Vaughan, the son of the Arl of Denerim. His interference does not last long, as Shianni sneaks up behind him and knocks him out with a wine bottle. Thinking that the day can now continue without further hindrance, the preparations for the wedding continue. But just as the wedding is about to truly start, Vaughan and his henchmen return.
At this point the experience differs slightly depending on whether you are playing a female or a male elf. If you are playing a male, you and Soris set out to rescue the women. When you get there, however, at least one of the women is killed, and Shianni has already been raped.
If you play as a female elf, you will get kidnapped along with the rest of the women. Just as you are about to be bound to be taken to Vaughan, Soris comes in and slides a sword to you. After slaying both guards, the rest plays out the same way as when playing a male elf.
When you return to the Alienage after successfully completing the rescue, the City Guards quickly catch wind of what went down at the estate and come looking for the ones responsible at the Alienage. You can either claim sole responsibility, or you can say that Soris helped you. Either way, your life is forfeit. But thankfully salvation comes thanks to Duncan, a Grey Warden who has been visiting the Alienage to look for a new recruit. He invokes the right of conscription and recruits you into the ranks of the Grey Wardens. Between the joining the Grey Wardens and facing your death sentence, you find little choice but to join Duncan and embark on your new life as a Grey Warden.
The Dwarf Commoner story takes place in the Dust district of Orzammar, a section where the city's casteless are pretty much left to rot on their own. You start the game in service to Beraht, a dwarven crimelord who plans to marry your sister, Rica, to a dwarven noble. This act would elevate her and her family (Beraht of course considers himself 'family' in this case) above casteless status. Meanwhile, you are tasked to do his dirty work, which consists mainly of collecting on some debts and maybe cracking some skulls with your buddy Leske.
After doing said work, Beraht sends you to the Proving Grounds to rig the upcoming game by drugging one of the contestants. Whether you do this or not doesn't really matter since you invariably end up masquerading as one of the contestants. Of course you handily whoop all the other contestants but end up having to reveal yourself as a lowly 'brand' (a nickname for casteless, for they are all tattooed on the face). Chaos ensues and you and Leske are captured and end up in Beraht's dungeon, awaiting your fate. But as luck would have it, you escape.
After some dungeon crawling you finally confront Beraht and kill him and his lackeys. You step out victorious and are greeted by a crow of people, including some guards and man named Duncan, who insists on recruiting you for the Grey Wardens after being impressed by your skills at the Proving. With your sister's blessing, you head out of Orzammar and the real quest begins.
The favored child of the Dwarven king, you proudly take up your first military command... only to learn that the deadly intrigues of dwarven politics and sibling rivalry pose an even greater danger than that faced on the battlefield. You are banished and must rely on your strength and cunning to get out of the mess your family has put you in.
Born with an aptitude for Magick, considered a dangerous curse by most, you have spent most of your life sequestered in the remote tower of the Circle of Magi to be trained and contained under the close watch of the dreaded Templars. As the game begins, you face your final test before your ascent from apprenticeship to true Magedom: the Harrowing. You are instructed that you must enter the Fade, a parallel dimension from which a Mage draws his power to perform spells. It is revealed at this point that communing with the Fade is extremely dangerous as it is the domain of demons who are itching to posses an unsuspecting Mage and break out into the world of the living. Both First Enchanter Irving, the head of the Tower mages, and the Commander of the Templars in the tower, Gregoair, inform you of roughly what to expect from the test. You will enter the Fade, although your body will remain in the Tower, and will have to battle a demon.
If you succeed you will have proved yourself safe from the denizens of the Fade who would try to hi-jack your body and be allowed to continue studying inside the tower. If you fail the Templars who are charged with protecting regular folk from any demons who manage to cross from the Fade, will kill you. Also take too long and the Templars will kill you. They're not big on taking chances.Once you have entered the Fade the most harrowing thing you encounter are imprints of defeated demons named wisps. After wandering around in the Fade for a bit you encounter a talking mouse who claims to be another apprentice who took too long completing the Harrowing and no longer has a body to return to. While in the fade you may encounter a Sloth-Demon, a lethargic bear-like creature, and a spirit of Valour.
The demon will pose three riddles to you and if he receives three correct answers he will teach Mouse to take the form of a bear. The Spirit of Valour will grant a weapon to any who best him in combat, or those who can persuade him to give it up.Once prepared you approach the Rage Demon you have been tasked to fight. In the ensuing conversation it becomes apparent Mouse has betrayed you to the demon yet he will help you fight if he knows the form of the bear. Once the Rage demon has been defeated Mouse attempts to convince you that you could help him get back to the land of the living. At this point you must confront him, Mouse is your true test and if you manage to see through his lies he will reveal his true form, although the camera stays on your character, and threaten you.The next scene sees your first awakening after the Harrowing.
Your friend, Jowan, who is still an apprentice has been sent to find you for the First Enchanter. Before you leave though Jowan voices his fears over his own Harrowing or lack thereof and believes he may be made tranquil. The Rite of Tranquility is performed on those Mages deemed not powerful enough to go through the Harrowing yet cannot be left unchecked, these Mages have all of their emotions, and magical potential removed and are set to do menial tasks around the Tower. After reassuring, or not, Jowan you make your way to the First Enchanters office, here you are introduced to Duncan, a recruiter for the Grey Wardens. He tells you of the suspected Blight in Ferelden and says that you have been picked to become a Warden. The First Enchanter asks you to show Duncan to his quarters so that the two of you may get to know one another better.
Once the mighty Grey Warden has been escorted through the tower the player runs into Jowan once more.Jowan informs you that he has begun seeing someone, which is forbidden, a priestess named Lilly, which is even more forbidden. The young lovers inform you that the Circle of Mages believes that Jowan has been practicing Blood magic and plan to make him Tranquil. Jowan says that his slipping away to see Lily has been misconstrued and that now their only choice is to try and run away. However because the Chantry keep blood samples of every Mage they would be unable to get very far before the Templars tracked them down.
They implore you to help them destroy Jowan's phylactery so that they are able to escape and live in peace. At this point the story can go two ways. Either you can betray the trust of Jowan and Lilly and take their plans to First Enchanter Irving. He will tell you to go along with the plan and destroy the phylactery so that he can catch Lilly red-handed and make certain she is punished. He want's to get back at the Chantry any way he can. Or you may decide to take everything Jowan says at face value, more fool you, and help them any way. If you decide to inform on them then a few tasks must be completed before the phylactery can be destroyed. A Rod of Fire is needed from the store to break through the door to the phylactery chamber. however a signed note is needed from a Senior Enchanter before Owain, the Tranquil storekeeper will let you have it. So you must help out a fellow Mage in need to curry favor with her. She tells you spiders have gotten into the stockroom and asks you to help clear them out.
Once this is completed she will happily sign your note and you can get your hands on a rod of fire.In the Phylactery chamber things don't go exactly to plan. Using the Rod on the main door won't work due to magic dampening spells cast around he room. So you must take the long way round taking out animate suits of armour as you go.Eventually you reach the correct chamber and Jowan destroys his phylactery. at this point you can admit that you've betrayed him, or keep quiet until you run into Duncan, Greogair, Irving and a couple of guards.
Once he sees he's in trouble Jowan cuts his hand and uses his blood to amplify his magical potential, he casts a spell throwing everyone before him to the ground and runs away. Lilly is dragged off by the guards and you are left feeling rather guilty and glad Duncan is about to take you away to join the Grey Wardens.
Born to wealth and power second only to royalty, you find your training in both diplomacy and war put to the test when your father's castle is betrayed from within on the very night your elder brother is to lead the family's forces to war. During this betrayal, you are charged with defending your family and home from certain destruction. The Human noble is the only class to begin the story with the Mabari Hound Companion.
Although the dominant race within Thedas, the human race is divided over many reasons such as regional borders, cultural issues and of course political greed and gains. Among the many nations, three major human nations stand out in Dragon Age lore.
- Ferelden: A land of conflict and strife, the people of Ferelden are ones who value the strength of independence and the bond of loyalty. The Fereldens, in generations past, lived under theoppression of foreign rulers from Orlais. Having shed the three generations of tyrannical rule and restored the throne back to its rightful heirs - it now sees its current King, the young Cailan Theirin, march against the darkspawn at Ostagar.
- Orlais: Regarded as one of the most powerful nations in Thedas, the courts of Orlais are a deadly place to be. While not as 'barbaric' as its Ferelden neighbors to the east, the weapons of the court were just as brutal with its political scandal, whispering gossip and shadowy intrigue - if you have power you would well play the game or lose or station, reputation or even life. Its current Empress, Celene I, attained her position through assassination of her uncle and outmaneuvering her older cousins to the throne. With her direction, the Orlesian people are experiencing a cultural renaissance through arts and scholarly learning.
- Tevinter Imperium: The once powerful nation of Tevinter, once encompassed all of Thedas, led by a magocracy that looked to the Old Gods for their divinity. As told by the Chantry, their hubris against the Maker's will brought the Blight into existence. While the Blight was eventually defeated, the Tevinter Imperium was devastated and is now a shadow of its former glory. Tevinter is almost universally reviled by the other nations, having been the victim of most of the earlier Exalted Marches. The Imperium is engrossed in a ruthless war against the Qunari, losing their claims on northern islands. David Gaider has described the Tevinter Imperium like the Byzantine Empire.
- The Anderfels: The Anderfels is a pummeled region, having suffered two blights it is mostly barren steppes and crowded by populations that live in constant fear of invasion. Being in the north of Thedas, and the location of Weisshaupt Fortress, the Grey Warden Headquarters, it is a nation of strong military tradition, where the Grey Wardens are vastly revered. However, the Anders are one of the poorer nations in Thedas, however some of the most dedicated followers of the Chantry. David Gaider, the head writer of Dragon Age, has described the Anderfels as beeing much like the Holy Roman Empire, if a tad on the Visigoth side.
- Nevarra: Originally one of the larger states of the Free Marches, Nevarra has benefited from its wealth and position and has aggressively expanded over the last two centuries to become a rival of Orlais itself. The Nevarrans have always had a strong military tradition, and are renowned dragon hunters. Nevarra also contains one of the largest cities in all of Thedas, the prosperous city of Cumerblands, a natural source of trade. David Gaider has related Nevarra to Spain in many ways.
- Antiva: Renowned for their traders and sailors, Antiva hugs the coasts and embraces the warm Northern climates. Valuing wealth above all else, Antiva's power resides in merchant-princes that prefer neutrality over war and the coin over the blade. Antiva is also renowned for the Antivan Crow's a powerful assassin organization that plays an important role in Antivan politics. David Gaider has compared Antiva to Italy.
The elven race have burdened a long history of strife, largely due to human conflict. The first conflict came in the form of the Tevinter Imperium invading the Elven homeland of Elvhenan, for perceived hostility. The result was a lasting effect of slavery of the elven people that is still practiced throughout the Tevinter. Later, the Elves claimed Dale as their homeland only to once again be subjected to aggression - this time by the Chantry. The reason for this invasion remains unclear and is hotly debated. Regardless, the Elves were again displaced. As a result, the Dalish Elf and Alienage Elf came to be in the lands of Ferelden. The Alienage Elves live among humans, but segregated to squalor-ridden small communities, living in the poorest of conditions. This is contrasted by the Dalish Elves, who choose to remain nomadic, no doubt to separate themselves from human contact. Elves throughout Thedas are viewed as second-class citizens and are looked down upon.
Most people on the surface think of dwarves and imagine greedy merchants or dour craftsmen, and certainly those are the faces most often seen by those of us who live under the Maker’s eye. But a journey to the thaig reveals a culture of nobility and of poverty, of proud warriors and of necessary brutality. Much as the heat of the forge strengthens the blade, the dwarves have been hardened by the constant threat of the darkspawn onslaught, forcing their warriors to excel or die, their craftsmen to create masterpieces of durability and style, and their nobles to engage in a deadly political game of intrigue that shames the goings on in the simpler courts of Ferelden. Everything done in Orzammar is done to fortify the remaining domains of the kingdom (of which there are, regrettably, few) against the relentless onslaught of the darkspawn.
The game features three base classes with four specialization packages, unlockable over the course of the game, for each class.
Available to all races (Human, Elf, Dwarf), the Warrior class has the following unique talents as well as being able to access all four weapon talent categories.
- Melee Archer, Aim, Defensive Fire, Master Archer
- Pinning Shot, Crippling Shot, Critical Shot, Arrow of Slaying
- Rapid Shot, Shattering Shot, Suppressing Fire, Scatter shot
- Dual Weapons Training, Dual Weapon Finesse, Dual Weapon Expert, Dual Weapon Mastery
- Double Strike, Riposte, Cripple, Punisher
- Dual Weapon Sweep, Flurry, Momentum, Whirlwind
Sword and Shield
- Shield Bash, Shield Pummel, Assault, Overpower
- Shield Defense, Shield Balance, Shield Wall, Shield Expertise
- Shield Block, Shield Cover, Shield Tactics, Shield Mastery
- Pommel Strike, Indomitable, Stunning Blows, Critical Strike
- Sunder Weapon, Shattering Blows, Sunder Armor, Destroyer
- Mighty Blow, Powerful Swings, Two-Handed Strength, Two-Handed Sweep
Warrior Class Talents
- Powerful, Threaten, Bravery, Death Blow
- Precise Striking, Disengage, Taunt, Perfect Striking.
- Berserker - Added strength at the cost of finesse
- Champion - Leadership, gains 'buffing' powers
- Reavers - Trades health for damage
- Templar - Anti-magic abilities
Available to all races (Human, Elf, Dwarf), the Rogue class has the following unique talents along with two starting weapon talent categories.
- Melee Archer, Aim, Defensive Fire, Master Archer
- Pinning Shot, Crippling Shot, Critical Shot, Arrow of Slaying
- Rapid Shot, Shattering Shot, Suppressing Fire, Scattershot
- Dual Weapon Training, Dual Weapon Finesse, Dual Weapon Expert, Dual Weapon Mastery
- Double Strike, Riposte, Cripple, Punisher
- Dual Weapon Sweep, Flurry, Momentum, Whirlwind
Unique Rogue Talents
- Dirty Fighting, Combat Movement, Coup De Grace, Feign Death
- Below the Belt, Deadly Strike, Lethality, Evasion
- Improved Lockpicking, Improved Disarm Trap, Master Lockpicking, Master Disarm Trap
- Stealth, Stealthy Item Use, Combat Stealth, Master Stealth
- Assassin - Improves sneaking abilities
- Bard - Gain party buff spells
- Duelist - Greatly improves melee damage/fighting abilities
- Ranger - Allows the rogue to summon a pet
Available to Human and Elf only, and offering only one possible origin story, mages have spells instead of talents.
- Heal, Rejuvenation, Cure, Mass Rejuvenation
- Heroic Offense, Heroic Aura, Heroic Defense, Haste
- Glyph of Paralysis, Glyph of Warding, Glyph of Repulsion, Glyph of Neutralization
- Spell Wisp, Grease, Spellbloom, Stinging Swarm
- Weakness, Paralyze, Miasma, Mass Paralysis
- Vulnerability Hex, Affliction Hex, Misdirection Hex, Death Hex
- Disorient, Horror, Sleep, Waking Nightmare
- Drain Life, Death Magic, Curse of Mortality, Death Cloud
- Flame Blast, Flaming Weapons, Fireball, Inferno
- Rock Armor, Stonefist, Earthquake, Petrify
- Winter's Grasp, Frost Weapons, Cone of Cold, Blizzard
- Lightning, Shock, Tempest, Chain Lightning
- Spell Shield, Dispel Magic, Anti-Magic Ward, Anti-Magic Burst
- Mana Drain, Mana Cleanse, Spell Might, Mana Clash
- Walking Bomb, Death Syphon, Virulent Walking Bomb, Animate Dead
- Mind Blast, Force Field, Telekinetic Weapons, Crushing Prison
- Arcane Warrior - Wear armor and wield weapons like a warrior, while gaining powerful combat buffs
- Blood Magic - Can cast spells out of health rather than mana and turn opponents' blood against them
- Shapeshifter - Transformation abilities that allow the mage to take various animal forms
- Spirit Healer - Gain life-saving healing abilities
Also available to all classes are eight different skills. Each skill can be enhanced over four levels.
- Coercion: This provides and improves the chances of success with intimidation and persuasion options during dialogue.
- Combat Tactics: This skill allows more script options in the tactics system.
- Combat Training: This skill unlocks more advanced combat-related talents.
- Herbalism: This crafting skill allows a character to create salves and elixirs.
- Poison-Making: This skill is for crafting poisons and extracts.
- Stealing: This gives a character the ability to pickpocket NPCs.
- Survival: This skill lets a character track enemies outside of visual range.
- Trap-Making: Characters who have learned this skill can construct traps or lures from common components, so long as they also possess a plan to build the mechanism. The second and fourth rank of this skill also increase the range at which the character can detect enemy traps. Note that while all characters who have learned this skill can set traps, only rogues can disarm them. Components and plans may be bought from merchants, looted from defeated enemies, or found while exploring.
The darkspawn are an ancient enemy, said to have descended from the magisters of the Tevinter Imperium after they tainted the Golden City with their sins and were cast out by the Maker. Under the leadership of an archdemon, the darkspawn attack en masse in an event known as a Blight. They sweep through the land, killing, corrupting, and poisoning everything in their path. The Grey Wardens are the only force capable of defeating Blights, of which several have occurred over hundreds of years.
Broodmother Main Article: Broodmother
The grotesque Broodmother shows exactly what the taint of the Darkspawn is capable of when left to its own devices deep within the earth. Deep within the Dwarven tunnels of Ferelden, one would better meet his end at the end of steel rather than face down this horrific being.
Ogre Main Article: Ogre
Ogres are massive, and tower over the battlefield. Their strength allows them to hurl rocks, and destroy buildings. When soldiers get close, they are no safer, as many a soldier has found their death at an Ogre's hands. This makes them the fiercest of all darkspawn, and when an Ogre howls into the night, you know you should hide. Ogres happen when Qunari are turned into darkspawn.
Hurlocks & Genlocks Main Articles: Hurlocks & Genlocks
The Hurlock is the shocktroop of the darkspawn. They are the only known creature working for the darkspawn that can speak in human tongue. They adorn themselves in tattoos and often maraud in groups. They are also known to be able to cast spells. They are the result of humans being exposed to the taint.
Genlocks are short, more numerious cousin of the Hurlock. They are dwarves corrupted by the Blight.
Shriek Main Article: Shriek
Silent and deadly, these skinny darkspawn hunt in small groups and stay hidden until they are already upon their targets. Born from corrupted elves, this rarer breed is often sent ahead of the bulk dark-spawn mass. It is said that many will hear the signature scream of the Shriek, but very few will live long enough to actually see one.
In general, spirits are not complex. Each one seizes upon a single facet of human experience: Rage, hunger, compassion, hope etc. This one idea becomes their identity. Demons are those spirits who identify themselves with darker human emotions and ideas.
Wisp Demon Main Article: Wisp Demons
It is often forgotten that not all demons are such awe-inspiring beings. Some that break through the cracks in the Veil into our world are known as wisps, a sliver of a thought that once was. A wisp is a demon that has lost its power; either it has existed in our world for too long without finding a true host or it has been destroyed. What remains of its mind clings tightly to the one concept that created it—a hatred of all living things.
While its ability to target a living creature is limited these wisps often mindlessly attack when encountered in the Fade. In the living world, they often have been known to maliciously lure the living into dangerous areas, being mistaken for lanterns or other civilized light sources. This does, however, seem to be the very limit of their cunning.
Rage Demon - Render Rage Demon Main Article: Rage Demon
The most common and weakest form of demon, they are much like perpetually boiling kettles, for they exist only to vent hatred. A thing of pure fire, its body seemingly made of amorphous lava and its eyes of two pinpricks of baleful light radiating from its core. The abilities of such a demon center on the fire it generates. It burns those who come near, and the most powerful of its kind are able to lash out with bolts of fire and even firestorms that can affect entire areas.
Fortunately, even powerful rage demons are less intelligent than most other varieties. Their tactics are simple: attack an enemy on sight with as much force as possible until it perishes. Some rage demons carry over their heat-based abilities into possessed hosts, but otherwise the true form is mostly seen outside of the Fade when it is specifically summoned by a mage to do his bidding.
Hunger Demon Main Article: Hunger Demon
A bit higher in the hierarchy of demons, they do little, but eat or attempt to eat everything they encounter, including other demons (this is rarely successful due to being near the bottom of the food chain).
Sloth Demon Main Article: Sloth Demon
These are the first intelligent creatures one typically finds in the Fade. They are dangerous only on those rare occasions that they are induced to get up and do harm. They are able to steal form and likeness, to mimic its opponents and know their deepest secrets. Sloth has no form or identity of its own. It is envy as much as sloth.
The sloth demon is not in and of itself, slothful. They cross the Veil and fight to possess creatures just not as much as other demons. Some are however slothful and knowingly cultivate such reputations (possibly due to ulterior motives). Demons of sloth are named so because this is the portion of the human psyche that they feed upon; doubt, apathy, and entropy. They seek to spread these things. The sloth demon hides in its forms, a master of shapes and disguises, and from its hiding place, it spreads its influence. A community afflicted by a demon of sloth could soon become a dilapidated pit where injustices are allowed to pass without comment, and none of the residents could be aware that such a change has even taken place. The sloth demon weakens, tires, and tears at the edges of consciousness and would much rather render its victim helpless than engage in a true conflict. Such creatures are best faced only with a great deal of will, and only with an eye to piercing their many disguises.
Although sloth demons are not high in the hierarchy of demons, some are powerful enough to bring creatures across the veil into the fade. They can trap many creatures in their own minds, lulled in blissful sloth.
Desire Demon Main Article: Desire Demon
These are clever and far more powerful demons. They use all forms of bribery to induce mortals into their realms: Wealth, love, vengeance (whatever lies closest to your heart). Desire demons are not monsters, mindlessly driven by nature, but rather rational beings interested and intrigued by other beings. It mostly takes form of something resembling a female human, however is able to change its shape if it so desired.
Desire demons have long been known to twist the hearts of men. They lure them in through both their appearance and their crafty words. Offering anything in their power to get what they desire. Those who entertain such demons, can gain what they desire, but at a costly price.
Notable Desire demons
- Kitty – First seen in the Stone Prisoner DLC
Pride Demon Main Article: Pride Demon
One of the most powerful Demons yet encountered are the pride demons, perhaps because they, among all their kind, most resemble men. Although powerful, they can be summoned by a maleficar and they are bound to do his bidding.
Pride is powerful, and intelligent. When encountered in its true form, its most common attacks are bolts of fire and ice. Fire they will use to burn an opponent, and the magical flame will combust anything worn regardless of make. Ice they will use to freeze an opponent in place—be cautious, for they enjoy employing this against warriors in particular. More than one group of templar have made the mistake of attempting to overwhelm a pride demon and suffered the consequences. Having the aid of other mages is of little help, Pride demons can render themselves immune to magic for short times, and are adept at dispelling magic buffs that are on the player.
Archdemon Main Article: Archdemon
The false dragon-gods of the Tevinter Imperium lie buried deep within the earth, where they have been imprisoned since the Maker cast them down. It is unknown what drives the Darkspawn to their relentless search for the sleeping old gods. Perhaps there is some remnant of desire for vengeance upon the ones who goaded the magisters to assault heaven. Whatever the reason when darkspawn find one of these ancient dragons, it is immediately afflicted by the taint. It awakens twisted and corrupted, and leads the darkspawn in a full-scale invasion of the land: A Blight.
Notable Arch Demons:
- Dumat – When the first Blight began, many brave men and women threw themselves at Dumat, the first archdemon, trying to strike him down. No matter the number, no matter their strength he would always return. Some said this was proof of his divine power, however the Grey Wardens soon learned otherwise.
Darkspawn’s tainted blood bound them to the archdemon, and they could hear it, feel it, as it died and was born anew, its spirit drawn to possess the nearest tainted creature. The darkspawn were mindless, soulless, empty shells of flesh that could be formed and remade in the dragon’s image. However, a man’s soul was not so malleable. When a Gray Warden’s hand struck a fatal blow against Dumat, the old god’s spirit was drawn once again to the nearest tainted creature, not to a darkspawn but to the tainted man who had slain him. In that moment, the souls of both the Warden and the archdemon were utterly destroyed. And the dragon rose no more. The Blight was over.
- Urthemiel – Once the Tevinter god of beauty, in ancient times Urthemiel was worshiped by musicians, artists, and poets. The Feast of Urthemiel was the largest celebration of the year, an event that lasted a full twelve days. Plays and entire symphonies were written in his honor. Now, he is a maddened husk of his former self, filled with nothing but a desire to destroy all life.
Dragons & other Creatures
High Dragon The Dragons once ruled the skies. Graceful, and magnificent, the people worshiped them, and their faces adorned statues and buildings. However, hunters drove them to extinction, killing them for their bones to use in enchantments. They were thought to be dead, however a High Dragon appeared out of the mountains and begun a rampage, and the people know that when a dragon begins a rampage it means it is about to lay eggs. Thus, the next age was named in their honor.
AnimalsMabari War Dog: In the Ferelden culture, nothing is more important than the dog, especially the Mabari. The Mabari descend from wolves who served under the legendary hero, Dane. The Mabari only chose their masters. Whoever, is seen accompanying a Mabari is instantly recognized as a person of worth. The Mabari are also an influential part in the Ferelden military strategy. The Mabari War Dog is a recruitable companion.
Abomination Born from the union of a mage and a demon, the Abomination is a truly a horrific and powerful creature. Whether with a deal or by sheer force, once a mage is possessed by a demon, the demon may use all of the mage's innate ability - creating a devastating force. Because of this, the Chantry assigned it's military unit, the Templars, to hunt down apostate mages as well as watch over the Circle of Magi to quickly eliminate any demon possessions.
Werewolves in Ferelden lore, are believed to be wolves tainted by a Rage demon. They plague the countryside. Having huge strength and speed, these beasts were known for their ferocity. The great hero Dane, led a crusade to purge Werewolves from Ferelden once and for all.
Spirits Not all spirits are Demons, some are benevolent creatures.
The Geography of Ferelden
Ferelden is a relatively small kingdom, divided in several main regions and surrounded by water to the North (the Waking Sea) and to the East (the Amaranthine Ocean). The Orlesian Empire is set to the West of Ferelden and the Free Marches are up to the North. To the South lie the Uncharted Territories.
This cold region lies on the Western part of Ferelden, and spans all the way from the North to the South.
The following in-game locations can be found there.
- Orzammar Commons
- Dust Town
- Diamond Quarter
- Hall of Heroes
The Deep Roads
- Aeducan Thaig
- Caridin's Cross
- Ortan Thaig
- The Dead Trenches
- Anvil of the Void
Village of Haven
Right next to the Frostback Mountains (to its right) we can find Lake Calenhad. The proximity of water holds a couple of key locations to the game.
- Redcliffe Village
- Redcliffe Castle
- Lake Calenhad Docks
- The Circle Tower
These wastelands can be found between Lake Calenhad and the Korcari Wilds, but hold no key areas to the game.
The Bannorn is a fertile land and it occupies the whole of the Northern-Center area of Ferelden. To the South of this big area lies its one and only main location.
The Coastlands point to the Waking Sea and Ferelden's capital city can be found in its North-Eastern area.
- Arl of Redcliffe's Estate
- The Alienage
- The Pearl
- Arl Eamon's Estate
- Arl of Denerim Estate
- Royal Palace
- Fort Drakon
This area dominates the Eastern zone of Ferelden.
- Central Forest
- Western Forest
- Eastern Forest
- The Elven Tombs
- The Werewolf Lair
Located between The Bannorn (to the North), the Brecilian Forest (to the East) and the Korcari Wilds (to the South), this area is mostly deserted, except for the Dalish Camp.
- Brecilian Outskirts
- Dalish Camp
Mostly comprised of cold damp forests and swamps, the Korcari Wilds mark the border between Ferelden and the Uncharted Territories to the South.
- Flemeth's Hut
- Korcari Wilds
Main Characters & Voice Talents
The number of talking characters in Dragon Age: Origins is immense, so here's a list of the main characters and respective voice talents only:
||Arl Rendon Howe
||Teyrn Loghain Mac Tir
||King Cailan Theirin
||The Lady of the Forest
There have been multiple DLC packs released for Dragon Age: Origins, some available at launch and others following the months since.
- The Stone Prisoner - Adds a new character to the game called Shale (a stone Golem). This downloadable content is free for anyone who bought the game new and $15 for those who bought it used or rented it.
- Warden's Keep - Adds a fortress for the Grey Warden to conquer, which includes new loot and a party storage chest
- Blood Dragon Armor - Available to people who purchased the early copies of Dragon Age: Origins.
- Return to Ostagar - Allows players to return to Ostagar and discover King Cailin's true fate.
- Feastday Gifts - A collection of gift items intended to increase your party members' affinity for you. Part of an April Fools' Day promotion.
- Feastday Pranks - A collection of gift items intended to decrease your party members' affinity for you. Part of an April Fools' Day promotion.
- The Lucky Stone - A bonus item that adds 1 to every stat when equipped. Acquired by uploading a character using the character creator on the BioWare social site. The item can be used on consoles, but the character creator is available only on PC.
- Darkspawn Chronicles - In this alternate canon downloadable content, the warden never survived the joining. You play as multiple darkspawn during the battle of Denerim. Darkspawn Chronicles places the player in the role of a Hurlock Vanguard, at the beginning of the siege of Denerim near the end of the Dragon Age: Origins game. The player is to lead the invasion, slaughtering all who should stand in your way.
- Leliana's Song - A short prequel story detailing Leliana's life as a Bard Spy before she became a Lay Sister in Lothering.
- Golems of Amgarrak - After receiving a letter from Jerrik Dace, requesting that the Warden come to Orzammar, to help Jerrik venture-forth into the Deep Roads in search of a missing dwarven expedition party including his younger brother. Face challenging encounters and puzzles that test the Warden's resolve, acquire new companions for this adventure to help you defeat a monstrous creature in this standalone adventure.
- Witch Hunt - This DLC takes place a year after the events of Origins proper. The player is able to import an Origins or Awakening character or begin with a fresh high level hero. This DLC is heavy on the spoiler side as it details the events of Morrigan's departure after the joining ceremony and the slaying of the Archdemon. In this journey the party consists of your hero, a Circle Magi named Finn, a Dalish warrior named Ariane, and your furry companion. At the time of its launch, the chapter contains a rather large bug where Morrigan herself is confused as to what the Grey Warden decided in regards to the Joining Ritual commonly refering to the child as your own then immediately berating you for refusing her proposal.
Dragon Age: The Alternate History
The Dragon Age: Origins DLC, Darkspawn Chronicles, illustrates an alternate storyline in which the player character of the main Origins campaign dies during The Joining. The Darkspawn Chronicles DLC opens just as the darkspawn begin their invasion of Denerim, capital of Ferelden. As a Hurlock Vanguard, the player fights their way through Denerim's defenders and civilians, eventually arriving at the Archdemon to help defend it from Alistair.
The events of Darkspawn Chronicles, which coincide with the Origins events from The Joining up until the attack on Denerim, differ slightly from the main campaign, illustrating which choices Alistair would have made throughout his travels as the last of the Grey Wardens. This includes enlisting the major factions as allies, and choosing which party members accompany him.
When battling against Alistair, he is equipped with Templar armor, a one handed mace, and Duncan's shield. While still a Grey Warden commander, Alistair also takes up the position of King with Anora as Queen. Morrigan is among the leading party, though is still at constant odds with Alistair. It is unlikely that she offered to either sleep with Alistair in order to save his life, were he to manage to kill the Archdemon, or asked his help in disposing of Flemeth.
Leliana is also a member of Alistair's primary party, still wearing her Lay Sister garments; it is suggested that Alistair and Leliana shared a romance. The Mabari hound was rescued from Ostagar and treated by Alistair, eventually imprinting himself upon his rescuer. Alistair and the hound were said to have been inseparable through Alistair's travels. Alistair dubbed the hound Barkspawn as an obvious pun regarding the Darkspawn.
The Other Characters
Most of the possible party members weren't recruited by Alistair, and instead found themselves defending Denerim by their own paths or sheer chance. Wynne, the only other character who joined Alistairs party, is found in the market district with a small band of Templars instead of at Alistair's side against the Archdemon.
Wynne joined Alistair to help defend against the blight, despite being the only remaining Circle Mage. Sten did not succumb to the darkspawn invasion of Lothering, but also did not join Alistair. Instead he traveled alone to answer the singular question, "What is a Blight?". Over time, he came to Denerim to aid in the fight against the darkspawn invasion. Sten is equipped with his sword, which he must have managed to find on his own.
Zevran, still assigned to kill any surviving Wardens by order of Loghain, encountered and was beaten by Alistair in the same fashion as can be seen in the Origins campaign. Alistair allows him to live and orders him to flee, warning Zevran to never hunt for him again. Zevran is encountered in Denerim only by chance as he was seeking refuge in the Alienage from the Antivan Crows.
Oghren, much like Zevran, only found himself at Denerim during its destruction by chance. Alistair did not agree to help find Branka in the deep roads, and Oghren was eventually exiled under charges for his drunken disorderly behavior. As an exile, he spent his days drowning himself at the Denerim bar. The darkspawn fight against him and a small band of drunks, in the market district.
Shale is not encountered during Darkspawn Chronicles. She most likely remains in Honleath either unencountered, or was barred by Alistair from joining the party. Loghain's fate is not shown, though under Alistair's judgement it's highly likely that he was executed for his crimes rather than being recruited into the Wardens.
Based upon what factions are present during the battle of Denerim, Alistair was faced with many, if not all, of the same decisions to make as the Origins player character. Which choices can be proven through his allies in Denerim although most is to be assumed judging by Alistair's personality.
There is nothing to indicate which origin story applies to the Darkspawn Chronicles. It is instead left to the imagination of the player.
The same exact events occur at Ostagar. Loghain leaves Duncan and the Grey Wardens, as well as King Cailan and his forces, to be slaughtered by the advancing darkspawn. All events up to that point are the same as the Origins campaign, up until the joining, at which point the Origins Hero dies along with Daveth and Ser Jory.
Alistair would have had to have been the one to save the ill Mabari Hound, since the hound joins him on his travels. He fought his way through the Tower of Ishal to light the signal with no Warden assistance, though it is likely that he was assisted by soldiers in the vicinity of the tower. After being overwhelmed by the darkspawn on the top floor of the tower of Ishal, Alistair is saved by Flemeth, and Morrigan was forced to join him on his journey. Alistair then found the hound on the path to Lothering with Morrigan, and accepted it as his companion.
Similar events transpire with Alistair's lead. Leliana joins the party and Sten is freed, though does not join Alistair's group.
Brecilian forest and the Dalish Elves
Based upon the presence of werewolves during the attack on Denerim, it is likely that the Dalish Elves were wiped out by them. There is no evidence as to whether or not Alistair assisted the Dalish Elves.
The Circle Tower
Wynne is shown to have survived the brutality inflicted by the abominations, however the Templar's presence defending Denerim suggests that no other Circle Mages survived the disaster.
Orzammar and the Dwarves
While it isn't shown for certain who was made King, between Harrowmont or Prince Bhelen, the Anvil of the Void must have been kept, as Golems also make up a part of the resistance in Denerim.
Arl Eamon and Redcliffe
While Bann Teagan is found in Denerim, his brother Eamon isn't, suggesting that he was not healed of his sickness. Jowan was unlikely to have been released, but Alistair may have used his blood magic to sacrifice Eamon's wife Isolde to fight against the demon that possesses Eamon's son Connor in the Fade. This is based upon the assumption that the Circle of Mages was destroyed.
The Urn of Sacred Ashes
Based upon the assumption that Eamon was not healed of his illness, it is unlikely that Alistair pursued The Urn of Sacred Ashes.
With Alistair's lack of tact, and based upon the assumption that he could not rely upon the experience of Arl Eamon, it can be deduced that he wasn't able to convince the nobles to aid him, and may well have simply looked like he was trying to steal the throne. Loghain was also likely executed after dueling with Alistair.
After Mass Effect made a well-known, controversial appearance on Fox News for its "sex scenes", some people were wondering what Dragon Age: Origins would feature in that category. Due to some early trailers, it was evident that there would be some scenes of a suggestive nature. In late July of 2009, the ESRB released their description of Dragon Age's sexual content:
During the course of the game, players are able to visit a brothel where a hostess asks what they are interested in. If players select "Surprise me," they can sometimes wind up face-to-face with a woman, a man, a transsexual, or an animal; sexual activity is never depicted during these brothel encounters. Players can also initiate brief cutscene sequences in which couples (male and female or same sex couples) can be depicted kissing, embracing, and caressing one another as the screen fades to black. Though the game never features human nudity, one female demon character is briefly depicted with bare breasts.
While it has yet to be seen if any controversy will come of the game's mature themes, David Gaider (Lead Writer for Dragon Age: Origins) has personally said there is no bestiality in the game. This puts at suspect what conclusions people may draw from the very dry text of ESRB's summary of Dragon Age: Origin's content.
Released on October 13th, DA:O's character creation tool allowed PC players to create their character before the full game was released. The character could then be uploaded to the BioWare social site, awarding the player an in-game item.
By looking through the files of the character creator several files revealed "spoiler" type information such as talents, specializations, and codex entries that the developers subsequently cautioned players to avoid in case the player wished not to ruin some parts of the game's story.
The music for Dragon Age: Origins was composed by Inon Zür.
||Dragon Age: Origins
||I Am the One (High Fantasy version)
||The Chantries Hubris
||Elves at the Mercy of Man
||The Dwarven Nobles
||Mages In Their Chantry
||The Common Dwarf
||Ruins of Ostagar
||Enter the Kocari Wilds
||Darkspawn In the Wilds
||Join the Grey Wardens
||The Party Camp
||Battle the Darkspawn Hordes
||The Endless Wave of Hurlocks
||The Dalish Elves Encampment
||Urn of Sacred Ashes
||Battle for the Urn
||Attack On Denerim
||The Dungeons of Landsmeet
||Dungeons and Dungeons
||The Battle of Lothering Village
||Ferelden at War
||The Deep Roads
||Battle the Blight
||To Kill an Ogre
||Challenge an Arch Demon
||I Am the One (Dark Fantasy version)
There are currently two novels set in the Dragon Age universe. The first, Dragon Age: Stolen Throne was released March 3, 2009. The second Dragon Age book is called Dragon Age: The Calling. It was released on October 13, 2009.
An episodic flash game spin-off by EA 2D was under development and finished on October 14 2009, entitled Dragon Age Journeys. The first chapter of the game, The Deep Roads was released for free. Players can unlock achievements in the game, which will unlock unique items in Dragon Age: Origins on the PC, Xbox 360, or PS3.
Penny Arcade Comic
Penny Arcade made a comic called Penny Arcade: Witch Hunt. It is based around the Dragon Age universe. It can be viewed on the Dragon Age:Origins website.
Hosted in London, UK BioWare announced a 24 hour gaming event that allowed ten teams to gather and compete head to head for $12,500 per team member (a total of 50,000). The teams invited to the event were: Team Belgium/Netherlands, Team BioWare Community, Team Canada, Team Czech Republic/Slovakia, Team France, Team Hungary, Team Poland, Team Spain, Team UK, and Team US. Playing on October 28th, 2009 - the winner of the event was Team Hungary.
Windows XP Minimum Specifications:
- Operating System: Windows XP with SP3
- CPU: Intel Core 2 (or equivalent) running at 1.4 GHz or greater / AMD X2 (or equivalent) running at 1.8 GHz or greater
- RAM Memory: 1 GB or more
- Graphics Card: ATI Radeon X850 128 MB or greater / NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT 128 MB or greater
- Hard Drive Free Space: 20 GB
Windows Vista Minimum Specifications:
- Operating System: Windows Vista with SP1
- CPU: Intel Core 2 (or equivalent) running at 1.6 GHz or greater / AMD X2 (or equivalent) running at 2.2 GHz or greater
- RAM Memory: 1.5 GB or more
- Graphics Card: ATI Radeon X1550 256 MB or greater / NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT 256 MB or greater
- Hard Drive Free Space: 20 GB
PC Recommended Specifications:
- Operating System: Windows XP / Vista / 7
- CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad 2.4 GHz Processor or equivalent
- RAM Memory: 4 GB (Vista) or 2 GB (XP)
- Graphics Card: ATI 3850 512 MB or greater / NVIDIA 8800GTS 512 MB or greater
- Hard Drive Free Space: 20 GB
Mac Minimum Specifications:
- Operating System: OSX 10.6.2 Leopard
- CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo Processor
- RAM Memory: 2 GB or more
- Graphics Card: ATI X1600 or NVIDIA 7300 or greater
- Hard Drive Free Space: 17 GB
Xbox 360 HD Install Size: 6.4 GB