The ''Dragon Age'' franchise began with ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', a WesternRPG released in 2009 by the Canadian game developer Creator/BioWare as a SpiritualSuccessor to their own ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''-based ''VideoGame/BaldursGate'' series. When ''Origins'' became a runaway success, the series was quickly expanded with further video games and other media.


[[folder:The Dragon Age Media]]
!!Official media
!!!Core role-playing games

* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' (2009)[[/index]]
** ''The Stone Prisoner'', ''Warden's Keep'', ''Return to Ostagar'' (additional {{DLC}} levels for ''Origins'')[[index]]
** ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOriginsAwakening'' (the 2010 ExpansionPack)[[/index]]
** ''Darkspawn Chronicles'', ''Leliana's Song'', ''The Golems of Amgarrak'', ''Witch Hunt'' (standalone DLC campaigns)
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' (2011)[[/index]]
** ''The Exiled Prince'', ''Legacy'', ''Mark of the Assassin'' (DLC)
** ''Dragon Age II: Exalted March'' (a canceled expansion pack)
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'' (2014)[[/index]]
** ''Jaws of Hakkon'' (DLC)

!!!Other games
* ''Dragon Age Journeys'' (2009), an AdobeFlash game.
* ''Dragon Age Legends'' (2011), originally a Facebook strategy RPG app, now available offline.
* ''Heroes of Dragon Age'' (2013), a free online turn-based strategy game for iPad and iPhone.
* ''The Last Court'' (2014), a free text adventure RPG made in collaboration with Creator/FailbetterGames. Included as part of Dragon Age Keep.


[[folder: Due to a large freedom of choice found in the games and the fact that saved games (including all story-relevant choices) are [[Old Save Bonus transferred between games ]]
, the canonicity of the official media set after ''Origins'' is a murky matter. It is best to think of these ancillary media as part of the "[=BioWare=] canon", which complements but does not override a player's personal game canon.]]

* ''Literature/TheStolenThrone'' (2009; prequel to ''Origins'', focusing on the political history of Ferelden)
* ''Literature/TheCalling'' (2009; ditto, but focusing more on the Grey Wardens and the Darkspawn mysteries)
* ''Literature/{{Asunder}}'' (2011; describes the escalation leading to the Mage-Templar war between the second and third games)
* ''Literature/TheMaskedEmpire'' (2014; focuses on the Orlesian civil war and an elf uprising, concurrent with ''Asunder'')
* ''Literature/LastFlight'' (2014; another look into the Grey Warden history and particularly, their association with the griffons)

!!!Comic books

* ''ComicBook/DragonAge'' (2010)
* ''ComicBook/TheSilentGrove'' (2012)
* ''ComicBook/ThoseWhoSpeak'' (2012)
* ''ComicBook/UntilWeSleep'' (2013)

!!!Non-interactive visual media

* ''WebVideo/WardensFall'' (2010), a WebVideo series explaining the backstory of Kristoff, a PosthumousCharacter in ''Awakening''.
* ''WebVideo/DragonAgeRedemption'' (2011), a WebVideo series starring Creator/FeliciaDay as [[Characters/DragonAgeIIPostReleaseCharacters Tallis]].
* ''Anime/DawnOfTheSeeker'' (2012), an {{anime}} movie explaining the backstory of [[Characters/DragonAgeInquisition Cassandra Pentaghast]].

!!!Other media

* ''TabletopGame/DragonAge'' (2010), a TabletopRPG adaptation.
* ''The World of Thedas'' (2013), the official multi-volume UniverseCompendium of ''Dragon Age''.
* [[ Dragon Age Keep]] (2014), an online app that stores players' personal canons from previous installments for import into later ones, succeeding and replacing the classic [[OldSaveBonus save file import]].

[[folder:The Dragon Age Setting]]
!!Introduction to the setting

[[folder: The summary below is based on in-game information, which has proven [[Unreliable Expositor unreliable in certain aspects before ]]
, especially in regards to the parts before the Second Blight.]]

The [[TheChurch Chantry]] says that in the beginning, TheMaker created the [[SpiritWorld Fade]], an ever-changing realm populated by never-changing creatures, the [[OurSpiritsAreDifferent spirits]]. Over time, however, He grew displeased with His first children and created the material world--a new, immutable realm separated from the Fade by the Veil. He populated the new realm by the ever-changing mortals, who only saw the Fade in their dreams and whose [[OurSoulsAreDifferent divine souls]] returned to His Golden City in the middle of it upon death. Some spirits (particularly [[OurDemonsAreDifferent the ones associated with negative emotions]]), however, found a way through the Veil, spreading [[FunctionalMagic the secrets of magic]] and DemonicPossession into the material world.

Eight thousand years ago, the continent of Thedas[[note]]Actually an acronym of '''The D'''ragon '''A'''ge '''S'''etting.[[/note]] belonged to the Elvhenan, the civilization of [[OurElvesAreBetter a beautiful immortal race calling themselves "elvhen" or "elves"]]. They worshiped their own pantheon of gods, traversed into the Fade, and mastered the art of magic. BeneathTheEarth, in the meantime, the [[OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame dwarves]] built a great empire of the underground cavern cities, or "thaigs", connected by a vast tunnel network known as the Deep Roads. For over six thousand years, their civilizations flourished--until the first humans arrived from across the north-eastern sea.

Although initially friendly, the relationship between elves and humans, particularly the Tevinter tribe, rapidly deteriorated when the elves realized that prolonged contact with the [[WeAreAsMayflies "quicklings"]] cost them their {{immortality}}. By then, however, the Tevinters already learned the secrets of elven magic and, turning on their teachers, crushed the Elvhenan culture. The surviving elves were reduced to nomadic outcasts or slaves, a shadow of their former glory. The dwarves fared better, especially since they supplied the Tevinters with [[AppliedPhlebotinum lyrium]]--outcroppings of the Fade in mineral form that they used to power their magic.

With their knowledge of the Fade and an extensive use of BloodMagic, the [[TheMagocracy Tevinter Magisters]] forged an [[TheEmpire Empire]] that spanned all of Thedas. But man grew proud and eventually set out to commit the ultimate sacrilege: to enter the Fade in the flesh and to set foot into the Golden City itself. By spending most of the world's lyrium (and [[HumanResources slave blood]]) supplies, a group of Magisters infiltrated the City but were cast out by the Maker, cursed and irreversibly corrupted. They became the first Darkspawn, mindless creatures existing solely to exterminate all other life. The City itself was corrupted, as well, henceforth known as the Black City, and the Maker abandoned His second children, just as He did with the spirits before.

The Darkspawn fled underground and it wasn't long before they grew in number, using the Deep Roads of the Dwarven Empire to quickly breed a horde. Soon, they found and corrupted one of the [[OurDragonsAreDifferent draconic Old Gods]] of Tevinter, Dumat, who was locked in an underground prison by the Maker millenia ago. The first to face the assault of the [[TheHorde Darkspawn Horde]] led by Dumat were the dwarves. Thanks to the invention of {{golem}}s, they managed to hold on for decades but when the secret of golem-making was lost, the dwarven civilization collapsed, losing all but a handful of thaigs. Meanwhile, on the surface, the Horde laid siege on all of Thedas, splintering the Tevinter Empire into many disjointed enclaves. After almost two centuries of continuous strife, TheOrder of the [[ImpartialPurposeDrivenFaction Grey Wardens]] emerged to lead the combined armies of Thedas to victory over Dumat and his Horde. The entire conflict became known as "the Blight".

The Tevinter Empire survived the Blight, if only barely, but soon thereafter, a massive barbarian invasion from the south, led by the [[JeanneDArchetype lady warrior and prophetess Andraste]], dealt it the final blow. Andraste was eventually betrayed and executed by the Tevinters, but her followers compiled her teachings into the Chant of the Light and formed the [[TheChurch Chantry]] to spread it. The newly-founded southern kingdoms were quick to embrace the new religion and to cut ties to the Tevinters, whose reputation was forever soiled by their role in starting the Blight and Andraste's execution. By association, magic itself became ostracized and viewed as pure evil by the Andrastian congregation.

Before anyone in Thedas could catch their breath, another Darkspawn horde rose from the Deep Roads, led by another corrupted Old God. Although only half as long as the First, the Second Blight had far-reaching consequences. One of them was the rise of the Orlesian Empire in the south and its propagation of the Andrastian faith, even into the Tevinter Empire remnant. Another was the [[FantasticRacism popular resentment against the elves]], who, despite having been granted rights and land for the first time in centuries for their support of Andraste, did little to help other nations defeat the new Blight. And perhaps the most significant event was the formation of the [[MagicalSociety Circles of Magi]] as a compromise between the public distrust of mages and the benefit of having them fight the Darkspawn. Ostensibly [[WizardingSchool places of learning]], all Circles were controlled by the Chantry and closely guarded by the paranoid {{Mage Killer}}s of the Templar Order.

The growing hostilities and religious friction between Orlais and the new elven homeland of the Dales ultimately escalated into an open war. Who precisely fired the first shot [[WrittenByTheWinners varies between sources]], with the Chantry claiming the Dalish attacked the town of Red Crossing, while the Dalish claim the Chantry sent Templars in response to the expulsion of missionaries from their borders. What is known is that after Dalish forces sacked [[HolyCity Val Royeaux]], the Chantry called for an [[TheCrusades Exalted March]] and successfully rallied neighboring nations to their aid, crushing the Dalish resistance and forcing the elves to either relocate into the [[FantasticGhetto Alienages]] or return to the nomadic lifestyle. The rift between the "[[GoingNative City Elves]]" and the "[[RacialRemnant Dalish Elves]]" grew ever wider in the following centuries.

The Third Blight had come and gone, serving only to deepen the conflict between the two empires, Tevinter and Orlesian. Eventually, even the Chantry itself was split along these lines when the "Imperial Chantry" of Tevinter broke off (notably taking a much more liberal stance on magic and slavery) and the Orlesian Chantry called for not one but four Exhalted Marches against it. All of them, however, failed to complete their objective of bringing Tevinter congregation back into a unified Chantry before the Fourth Blight put an end to them.

Almost as soon as the Fourth Blight was repelled, a new invasion swept from the north-east: the Qunari, followers of the religion/philosophy of Qun, crossed the sea and captured a bulk of northern Thedas (including most of Tevinter), converting the locals by force. The Chantry called for more Exalted Marches, which eventually beat the Qunari back from the mainland. A truce, limiting the Qunari presence to the northern islands, was signed by all human nations except the Tevinters, who continued to wage a ForeverWar for their old lands. Meanwhile, trouble stirred in the south again, where the Orlesian Empire conquered and installed a puppet on the throne of Ferelden, birthplace of Andraste. Lasting for half a century, the Orlesian occupation was resisted by the local nobles and finally overthrown some thirty years before the start of ''Origins''.

[[folder:The Dragon Age Tropes]]
* [[Characters/DragonAge Character Sheets]]
* [[DragonAge/DragonAgeOrganizations Organization Tropes]]
* [[DragonAge/DragonAgeRaces Race Tropes]]
* [[DragonAge/DragonAgeDeitiesAndLore Deities And Lore Tropes]]

!!Other tropes common to the series:
* AddictionPowered: The Templars' abilities are boosted by [[AppliedPhlebotinum Lyrium]], which is highly addictive. All warriors can learn Templar abilities without ever getting to the lyrium-eating stage, which raises questions about how essential it is. Of course, the Chantry keeps its Templars almost as tightly leashed as the mages to prevent too many people learning their secrets.
* AerithAndBob: The names of the four main types of darkspawn: genlocks, hurlocks, sharlocks, and... ogres. This also applies to character names to an extent. There are a lot of real-world names mixed in with the more fantastic fare. Justified in the codices: [[spoiler: Genlocks, Hurlocks, and Sharlocks (labeled in-game by the nickname "Shrieks") are the ancient terms for Blight-mutated Dwarves, Humans, and Elves respectively. But Ogres come from blighted Kossith Qunari, who are newcomers to the region, so Ogres apparently didn't exist until recently.]]
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: The darkspawn (except for the Architect and the Messenger, who are morally ambiguous). Demons as well, though some appear to be simply amoral. Plenty are pure evil though, and even the nicest ones are totally indifferent to the suffering they and their ilk cause.
* AndManGrewProud: According to the Chantry, it was men trying to conquer the "Golden City" in the heart of [[SpiritWorld The Fade]] that first drew the darkspawn, and caused The Maker, their creator deity, to shun them. However, the first thing that caused Him to shun them was when they started worshiping dragons instead of Him. Then they entered the Golden City, and He shunned them harder. Still later, he shunned them again for the death of Andraste. He is a very passive-aggressive deity.
* AntiHero: The Grey Wardens' mission statement is to "protect the lands from the Blight, no matter the cost". They are expected to sacrifice themselves without a second thought. They'll sacrifice others just as easily. Let's just say that no one will look twice at Duncan for [[spoiler:killing Jory]]... In gameplay terms, this means that no matter what action you take, it's the right one if it helps you in stopping the Blight. Hence the lack of KarmaMeter.
* AntiMagic: The Glyph of Neutralization does this. Templars, who are trained to fight mages, have higher resistance to magic and can dispel status effects and glyphs. Dwarves get a very low resistance as well, a trade-off for not being able to use magic themselves.
* ArmorAndMagicDontMix: Magic and heavy armor don't mix for two reasons: heavier armor sets tend to have [[LevelLockedLoot high requirements on Strength]], which the mages generally don't develop, and also make casting spells more expensive, effectively reducing their mana pools. It is, however, possible to subvert this in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' if you manage to unlock the [[MagicKnight Arcane Warrior]] [[PrestigeClass mage specialization]], which checks Strength restrictions against your [[OneStatToRuleThemAll Magic score]] instead.
** In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', Mages tend to stick to wearing robes or clothing adorned with the bare minimum amount of armour, such as gauntlets, bevots and spaulders; they sacrifice protection for more flexibility in spellcasting.
* AsteroidsMonster: in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' at the climax during the third act. If Hawke sides with the mages, First Enchanter Orsino [[spoiler: eventually turns into an Abomination, and multiplies after Hakwe and his/her party defeat his initial form]].
* {{Autosave}}: ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' has the game autosave at certain predefined locations while ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' pretty much saves automatically each time the player enters a new area. Both have up to four autosave slots.
* BlackMagic: BloodMagic is considered this due to its ghastly power source, ability to take control of people (like, say, a king or a noble [[spoiler:which Avernus admits he did to help the Grey Wardens in their rebellion long ago]]), and just being creepy in general. Due to the Chantry's constant preaching against the very real dangers of magic, almost everyone in Ferelden who isn't a mage (and even one mage NPC) considers ''all'' magic BlackMagic. The Qunari have an even harsher stance against magic, and just ''cut out the tongues'' and ''chain to leashes'' any potential mages born to them to prevent them from ever casting spells.
** It's worth noting that ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' shows that even non-Mages are capable of using magic if they've made a deal with a demon, such as in the case of [[spoiler: Lady Harrimann]]. Presumably however, the demon itself was responsible for providing the magic and they were merely responsible for directing it.
** Similarly, certain forms of magic are able to be tapped into by non-Mages, such as warriors who can become Reavers via ritually consuming the blood of Dragons. Similarly, [[spoiler: Avernus' research into the Taint actually allows Wardens to ''weaponise'' their own blood]]. A non-Mage Hawke uses a limited form of BloodMagic in the ''Legacy DLC'' for ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', since their blood is the only thing capable of breaking the seals of an Ancient Grey Warden prison.
* BlackSpeech: While it never shows up outside of cutscenes, the appearance of the Darkspawn is frequently heralded by an ominous whispering. Possibly this is meant to indicate that the Warden is sensing them.
* BlessedWithSuck:
** Being a mage pretty much means you have a big neon sign reading "POSSESS HERE" in the eyes of Demons. This isn't ''quite'' as great a danger as the Chantry makes out, however, so long as you're properly trained. Of course, everyone religious you encounter would pretty much gladly burn you at the stake if they weren't terrified by your powers -- the first thing they usually assume is that you'll turn them into frogs.
** It's not easy being a Grey Warden either. The first test of your mettle is the Joining: be out of luck and die horribly. Be lucky and die horribly too -- only this time it takes about thirty years to drive you mad from being able to sense darkspawn thoughts, if you don't commit suicide-by-darkspawn in the Deep Roads first. In the interim, you'll have insane dreams about the Archdemon talking to you: if you're lucky, you, too, may be able to understand it one day! Unless a Blight is happening. Then you can throw yourselves against the Archdemon, hoping to slay it in a process that completely annihilates your soul! Oh, and one more teeny tiny detail: Ever wanted to have a kid? [[FantasyContraception Good luck with that,]] especially with another Grey Warden. And in the first game, the Grey Wardens of Ferelden are composed of two new recruits who are being hunted down as criminals.
** Being a mage and a Grey Warden makes the disadvantage of each null and void: since you're a Grey Warden, you're free to leave the Circle tower without the Templars hunting you down ([[TooDumbToLive legally, at least]]) and you're even free to learn the forbidden art of blood magic thanks to the "anything that helps us kill darkspawn is allowed" exemption of the Grey Wardens. As for the problem of the taint, [[spoiler:as Avernus demonstrates]], a mage can cheat with its effect for a couple of ''centuries''. Sure, you're still supposed to risk your life against the darkspawn, but if you're as broken as the Warden-Commander of Ferelden, chances are that nothing short of an Archedemon will pose any threat to you past the first decade or so.
*** And [[spoiler:Avernus]] was able to live for that extra few hundred years while in a near constant war with the demons occupying the same building as him, including [[spoiler:the reanimated bodies of his Gray Warden comrades, and the possessed corpse of his former commander.]] All that, and he seems to have aged about thirty years.
** Being a Grey Warden means you can sense the darkspawn, giving you adequate warning of when they are near. The downside, that very ability also allows the darkspawn to find ''you''. Even if you try to run away, the darkspawn ''will'' find you... they ''always'' find you!
* BloodKnight: Qunari, as part of their culture, take pride in their class, so soldiers and warriors want nothing more than to be soldiers and warriors. Also, the dwarven Legion of the Dead, who take dedication of their life to battle to its logical conclusion, and get a head start on the inevitable, by holding their funerals right after they take their vows. Dwarven warriors in general display a positive attitude towards prospects of combat, though it may be more complicated in their case; victory in battle leads to greater social standing in their profession, and one's degree of social standing is ''very'' important to how one is perceived in Dwarven society.
* BloodMagic / ThePowerOfBlood: Blood has power in it, and is a pretty big motif in the games. The box art depicts images made of blood, there's Blood Magic, there's the Gray Wardens' Joining ritual (involving drinking darkspawn and Archdemon blood), the Reavers drink Dragon blood to empower themselves, and Lyrium is called the "raw blood of the Earth" by the dwarves.
* BondCreatures: Mabari hounds imprint on a single master until death (either their own or the master's, whichever comes first).
* BothSidesHaveAPoint: A major theme in the [[GreyAndGrayMorality Mage-Templar conflict]]:
** Mages understandably feel extremely oppressed by the fact that they are forced to spend their lives locked in towers under constant supervision for things that they ''might'' do. If they escape or have never been part of the Circles, they are relentlessly hunted down, with being sent to the towers being the most merciful outcome, with many killed on the spot or [[FateWorseThanDeath made tranquil]]. This is in addition to the disturbing number of Templars who abuse their power over them, with the mages often frightened of speaking out.
** On the other hand, the Templars rightly point out just how destructive a rogue mage could be and the fact that all mages are essentially demon-magnets, who are under constant temptation to give in. The Tevinter Imperium also serves as a textbook example of the worst possible outcome of granting mages the same freedoms as everyone else, with the mages there ruling everything, regularly dabbling in human sacrifice, demon-summoning, etc.
* ChildSoldiers: The Antivan Crows prefer to recruit orphans for training, though it is unclear whether they are actually employed in assassinations. In any case, many of them die during training, and those that make it out alive are usually completely detached from their emotions or conventional morality.
* TheChurch: The Chantry
* ChurchMilitant: So very, very many. The Templars are an entire order of Church ([[CallARabbitASmeerp well, Chantry]]) Militants. The Qunari also have some.
* ColorCodedForYourConvenience: The three protagonists of each game so far have had a distinct color associated with them: blue, as in Warden blue, for the Warden. Red, which both is used frequently for the Amells and Kirkwall, for the Champion. Green, which primarily is the color of the Anchor and Fade, for the Inquisitor. Inadvertently this means they make a ChromaticArrangement.
* TheCorruption: Darkspawn spread the taint which corrupts the land, kills most plants and animals, and drives the animals and people that don't die insane wherever they pass. Sometimes if lots of them have been in the area it can take decades for it to be habitable again. Grey Wardens drink a concoction consisting of darkspawn blood mixed with lyrium during their Joining ceremony, which (if they survive) makes them immune to immediate effects of the taint but dooms them to a slow death (or [[FateWorseThanDeath worse]] when they eventually succumb to it in thirty-odd years and gives them the power to sense darkspawn, among others).
* CrapsackWorld: Let's face it: It's a fun world to ''visit'' via this video game, but none of us would want to ''live'' there.
* CriticalHitClass: The Rogue class in the series, particularly Duelist and Assassin [[PrestigeClass specializations]], [[GlassCannon maximizes critical chance at the cost of defense]].
* CrystalDragonJesus: Andraste, who has the cultural role of Jesus, theologically resembles Mohammed, historically looks like a mishmash of Joan of Arc and Boudica, and is named for the goddess worshiped by the Iceni. [[spoiler:There's also a ''literal'' dragon named Andraste, but that's [[PathOfInspiration not the same individual]].]]
* TheDarkSide: Demon magics.
** DarkIsNotEvil: Not all maleficars are evil. [[MySpeciesDothProtestTooMuch Just most of them.]]
* DeadlyDecadentCourt:
** Dwarven noble society ain't a very nice place. In fact, it almost qualifies as ''drow'' noble society, only reskinned with dwarves. Which, given the mythical origins of drow, is kind of appropriate.
** Orlesian society is even worse. This seems to be the only purpose ''to'' their nobility in the first place. They call it "The Game."
** Antivan society fits as well. Zevran pretty much spells it out for you.
** Ferelden is a nobles' republic with elected kings (that have traditionally descended from a single bloodline nonetheless). Thus, under [[spoiler:Loghain]], to secure the throne requires a mix of intrigue, murder, and brute force.
* DeadManWalking: All Grey Wardens, due to the Taint. Also, the entire purpose of the Legion of the Dead, to the point of ''holding a funeral for them when they join up''.
--> "Since we're dead, we can give our all in the fight against the darkspawn. We have nothing to lose."
* DeathOfTheOldGods: The Old Gods of the Tevinter Imperium were struck down by the Maker. Most of the world now worships the Maker and his prophet Andraste, and the Old Gods slumber beneath the Earth until they're awoken, one at a time, to lead the corrupted darkspawn in a Blight. One imagines they are not too wild about this arrangement, given that "awoken" means being [[TheVirus tainted]] by the darkspawn and more or less forced into being their leader. It was the Tevinter Imperium searching for the Old Gods in the first place that caused the creation of the darkspawn. This version of the story, primarily [[UnreliableExpositor promoted by the Chantry]] is at least partly true: according to the former Tevinter Mage (now Darkspawn Emissary) Corypheus in ''Dragon Age II'', he and a number of other Tevinter magisters did in fact enter the mythical Golden City. However, his account differs from the Chantry's in his claim that when they entered the City, [[HaveYouSeenMyGod it was already the twisted, blackened hell that can be seen from anywhere in the Fade]].
* DeathSeeker: The Legion of the Dead are dwarves who all did something they feel must be atoned for with their lives. The moment they join the Legion, they are considered dead to the rest of dwarven society, and they spend the rest of their lives fighting darkspawn in the Deep Roads. When Grey Wardens sense that the taint will soon overcome them, they follow the Legion of the Dead's example and go into the Deep Roads to die while taking as many darkspawn with them as they can. Most of the Legion have at least some grudging respect for Wardens for this.
* EldritchLocation: The Fade, realm of dreams and where everything is a pure reflection of thought instead of materials like the mundane world.
* ElementalPowers: The primal schools revolve around this.
* TheEmpire:
** The Tevinter Imperium was once this before [[spoiler:the first Blight wiped most of their territory out.]] This is mirrored by what happened to the dwarves.
** The Orlesian Empire fits this trope the best in the backstory, as it is the biggest and most powerful nation on Thedas and had no qualms with invading and pretty much enslaving Ferelden. They've (mostly) mellowed out by the time of the events of the game, but relations with Ferelden are still a bit rocky. [[spoiler: It's his paranoia about King Cailan requesting aid from Orlais that drives Loghain's madness.]]
** Though it isn't common knowledge to the surviving elves, ''Literature/TheMaskedEmpire'' reveals that the ancient Elven empire was like this, including a rigid caste system that even practiced ''slavery'', keeping lower-class elves in conditions not unlike the alienages of the present day.
* EmptyShell: The Tranquil are one of the more pleasant versions. Cursed to never feel emotion, the Tranquil themselves do not express any discontent with their condition. They also do not express any other feeling about any other subject. They are conscious and rational, but not capable of "feeling" as emoting beings understand it. If you accuse them of not being people, they merely provide a polite counter-argument.
** The second game, however, puts the Tranquil in a different light. [[spoiler: When one of them is briefly brought back, he claims that being a Tranquil is a FateWorseThanDeath and begs you and your party to kill him before he forgets how to feel again. A moment later, the effect that allowed him to feel again wears off, and he asks you "Why are you looking at me like that?" in the Tranquil's usual monotone voice.]]
* EnslavedElves: The elves used to have a highly advanced society and culture, complete with immortality. Then humans showed up, and everything went to hell. Modern elves rank just above slaves in society (and ''are'' slaves in some parts of the world), and most don't even know they used to be a powerful race. Even the Grey Warden can do only a little to improve their lot.
* EvilDetectingDog: The codex on werewolves states that mabari became popular in Ferelden due to their ability to sense werewolves, a necessity in an age where packs of werewolves roamed freely across the landscape and anyone you invited into your home could be afflicted with the curse. Dog demonstrates this ability a few times in-game, and not just with werewolves.
* EvilSorcerer: The Tevinter Magisters.
* FantasticRacism:
** Humans look down on elves.
** Dalish elves themselves pity the Alienage elves and are mystified why they remain in the human cities. Meanwhile, the Alienage elves also look down on "flat-ears", elves who have left their walled ghettos and attempt to integrate themselves further within the human settlements, believing they are abandoning their community.
** The higher castes of Orzammar treat the casteless as lower than dirt.
** Dwarves also look down on humans and elves, considering themselves to be superior. And they also hate "surface dwarves", fellow dwarves who have left Orzammar for the surface world, who are officially considered casteless and exiles.
* FantasticCasteSystem: The Dwarves have one. Sten suggests [[ScaryDogmaticAliens the Qunari]] see this as a step in the [[FantasticRankSystem right direction]].
* FantasticRankSystem: The Qunari have one; see the trope page for details.
* FantasyCharacterClasses: Warrior/Rogue/Mage.
* FantasyCounterpartCulture:
** Featuring fantasy counterpart ''personages'', too. Leliana - a French-accented young cleric who firmly believes that [[CrystalDragonJesus The Maker]] told her to aid you. Can we say "Joan of Arc"? (Which is weird, given Andraste...)
*** Notable is that during one conversation with her, she will talk about her "unique" beliefs about the Maker: While most clerics of the Chantry believe that they are "chosen" by the Maker, and only they will achieve salvation, she thinks that the Maker loves ''everyone''. Sounds a lot like Martin Luther (no, [[CivilRightsMovement not that one]]).
*** Or like Paul, on that note. "Pauline Christianity" is when the words, though not the spirit, of Mosaic law was retired and salvation was proclaimed to gentile and Jew alike. Before, the Messiah was commonly presumed to be for the benefit of only the nation of Israel. Paul re-interpreted Israel to mean "Christian" (and anyone can be baptized a Christian) rather than just "a son of Abraham" (a matter of lineage one can do nothing about). This "love all men" approach of course generated controversy in the early Church.
** Speaking of Andraste: she's the legendary saint who inspired the major religion of Ferelden, so she fits even better. Having been spoken to directly by The Maker, she raised an army and led a holy crusade against the Tevinter empire. In the end, she was captured, and burned at the stake.
*** Aside from being the Maker's prophet, Andraste was put to death by Rome -- err, the Tevinter Empire for her teachings. Her mortal remains (in this case, her ashes), are contained in [[HolyGrail an urn, which is a sacred relic rumored to have miraculous powers]]. Sound like anyone you know?
*** Also, Andraste is captured by the Empire thanks to her backstabbing husband, Maferath. Like Judas, Maferath's name has become synonymous with betrayal. [[ There are also apocryphal holy books which imply that the Maker ''made'' Maferath betray her, and so he should be revered for enabling her transcendence, similar to the real world "Gospel of Judas".]]
*** She also seems to be a partial expy of Mohammed: a mortal chosen to reveal the teachings of the Maker and the only (or at least the final) person who will ever be spoken to, according to the Chantry; warrior prophet leading an outmatched army against a pagan Empire and picking up an army of converts; the Chant (in its origins, at least) is essentially a counterpart to the Qu'ran, and there is a similar impetus for it to be heard at all corners of the globe. Of course, the key difference that separates her from Mohammed is that she is worshipped, but, even then, excessive devotion to Andraste rather than The Maker is shown to be a bad thing.
*** There are numerous parallels and similarities to Arthurian Legend, particularly with the Search for the Urn of Sacred Ashes standing in as the Thedasian equivalent of the Quest for the Holy Grail. Furthermore, one can easily draw comparisons between [[spoiler: Alistair]] and [[TheGoodKing King Arthur]], Morrigan and [[VainSorceress Morgan Le Fay]], and Wynne and [[MentorArchetype Merlin]].
*** Andraste's name comes from the goddess worshiped by the Iceni, whose most famous leader, Boudica, had a life very much resembling that of ''Dragon Age'''s Andraste, complete with a war against Rome.
** Orlais was originally going to be called Arles, which was the name of an actual city in France. Orleans is a French city associated with Joan of Arc.
** At one point, one of the Dalish refers to the Chantry's "Exalted Marches" as [[ShapedLikeItself crusades...]]
** Ferelden is basically "Scotland/Anglo-Saxon England" as a foil to the whole high medieval "Plantagenet England/France" thing Orlais has going. Ferelden also has Irish influences, mostly in the names.
** Redcliffe [[RedCliff is aptly named]].
** The Free Marches represent the mess of micro-states that Germany was until the 19th century. Kirkwall, on the other hand, is more of a melting pot, giving us such things as Elfs in turbans. It's named for a city in the Orkney Islands, but aside from being a viscountcy, the resemblances to real Kirkwall stop there.
** Somewhat confusingly, the Anderfels have German parallels as well, although more along the lines of the Teutonic Order and Prussia, with some Mongolian influences (their territory consists mainly of large, sparsely populated steppes) thrown in.
** The Franchise/DragonAge [[WikiRule wiki]] says that Nevarra was originally just one of the larger Free Marches before becoming a major power. So... Austria?
*** The Pentaghast clan, who united the Free Marches under Nevarran leadership in a loose confederation, are very similar to the Habsburg dynasty, similarly suggesting that Nevarra is based on Austria.
** Antiva is "a fictionalized version of a medieval Italian city-state like Venice"... where everyone has a Spanish accent for some reason.
** Word of God says that the Tevinter Imperium is based off the Byzantine Empire, complete with a schismatic version of the Chantry. (Ancient Tevinter was clearly Rome, without a doubt. Modern Tevinter is much smaller, and has converted to Andrastism, but is in religious schism with the other Andrastian nations, and thus...)
*** The schism itself takes on other flavors, too, with the White and Black Divines resembling rival popes and anti-popes in Catholic history.
** The Qunari philosophy resembles militant Confucianism; they have been described in Word of God as, socially, resembling "militant Islamic Borg".
*** The "Islamic" part is because they clearly play the role the Caliphates did in early medieval Europe: an expansionist, advanced civilization with an evangelical religion pressing on the borders of the Andrastian nations/Christian Europe, particularly Tevinter/Byzantium.
*** Their theme from [[VideoGame/DragonAgeII the sequel]] [[ is deliberately Islamic-sounding]]. And the Qunari language seems to be inspired and influenced by, among many others, Arabic and Semitic languages in general.
** The Chasind Wilders are clearly based on Celtic tribes from Pre-Roman Britain.
** The Dwarves, despite the fact that their armor, weapons, fighting style, and art style all have an Anglo-Saxon/Viking feel, ([[OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame like most dwarves]]) have a social structure and political system that is actually quite Roman. The assembly, like the Roman Senate, isn't elected but inherited, and only the wealthy nobility can hold office. Their kings are elected by the assembly, [[ as was the case during the Pre-Rebublic era.]] The Caste system brings to mind the Patrician/Plebeian divide, the Paragons are similar to when the Roman Senate would vote to have men raised to the position of living god, and of course, they practice gladiatorial combat in the form of the provings. On the other hand, their buildings actually look [[,_Lalibela Ethiopian]], believe it or not. An understandable choice, as both carve their buildings directly out of stone rather then using brick.
** Dalish Elves as UsefulNotes/{{Romani}}, or UsefulNotes/IrishTravellers.
*** Arlathan, from the description of the life there and the fact that it's seen by the Dalish elves as a long-past time of prosperity and harmony, also brings to mind the descriptions of the Ancient Greek idea of the [[ Golden Age]].
** City Elves are based on pre-World-War European Jewish culture. Once a powerful nation, they were overpowered, their homeland destroyed, and forced into slavery by the Tevinter Imperium (cf. Roman Empire). Eventually, they were freed, and built up a new culture, only to be again overpowered, this time by Fereldans and the Chantry. They now live in walled-off ghettos, try to keep up as many of their old customs as possible, can only find menial works among the humans, and are treated as second-class citizens. They have arranged marriages ([[ "Matchmaker, Matchmaker..."]]), and even the ambient [[ soundtrack]] for the elven "Alienage" (ghetto) has a distinct Klezmer/''Schindler's List'' style, complete with mournful clarinet solo la Giora Feidman.
*** The custom of having a great tree in the center of a village is a Basque tradition; for example, the [[ Oak of Guernica]].
*** Some inspiration might also be Native American, as they struggle to keep their old culture and language which is slipping away, and were the original people of Thedas before humans came.
*** City Elves also personify the anti-Irish sentiment that pervaded much of North America and Great Britain at the turn of the twentieth century. They were denied all but the most menial of jobs, had a reputation as boozers and mooches and were also forced to live in ghettos. In fact it would not be all that odd to hear the phrase [[ Elvish Need Not Apply.]] ''Dragon Age II'' emphasizes this by giving most elves Irish (or sometimes Welsh) accents.
*** Last but not least is the comparison with black people in the United States, pre-Civil Rights but post-Civil War.
** The nation of Rivain is a place where the Qunari (Muslims) and the Elves (Jews) live in peace and general equality with the humans. Sounds a lot like Moorish Spain. The fact that the only person we ever meet from there is a pirate named Isabela makes this comparison even more apt. (Piracy being the other thing the Moors were known for after religious tolerance and being a center of learning.)
* FantasyGunControl: Dragon Age's society has the engineering capacity to produce smokeless coal or build entire cities underground, but only the Qunari have invented gunpowder. Dwarves know a little about explosives, but Qunari assassins have been known to hunt down and kill anyone who looks like they might give the secret of controlled explosions to those not of the Qun.
* FantasyKitchenSink: Averted, mostly. While there are plenty of standard fantasy creatures about, the writers did a decent job in coming up with [[OurOrcsAreDifferent alternate]] [[OurZombiesAreDifferent backstories]] for [[OurDragonsAreDifferent each]] [[OurDemonsAreDifferent of]] [[OurGryphonsAreDifferent them]] that explain coherently how they can all exist in the same setting.
* FemmeFatalons: Desire Demons.
* FunctionalMagic: A person has to be born with the ability to use magic. Magic is performed by drawing power from the Fade. Device magic is also present in enchanted items created by the Tranquil as well as most of the items you create with higher-tier poison-making and trap-making.
* FunWithAcronyms: The name of the game's world, Thedas, comes from the general working name "THE Dragon Age Setting."
* {{God}}: The Maker has a lot of similarities with the Abrahamic God. Even comes with his own [[CrystalDragonJesus Jesus]], who also doubles as Mohammed.
* HereThereWereDragons: Griffons have died off, the elves have been subjugated and lost their immortality and most of their cultural heritage, magic is rare, dragons were thought to be extinct until a very few were seen at the start of the age, the Tevinter Imperium fell in all but name long ago and its gods were turned into Archdemons, and perhaps the most fantastic thing is the advent of an apocalyptic horde led by said Archdemons and hellbent on destruction. Oh yeah, it's the sticks all right. Of course, main characters being what they are, they'll uncover plenty of special things that are still in the world.
** TheMagicComesBack: The game is actually called "Dragon Age" because that's the age the story takes place in. Each age is named at the end of the previous one based on portents and signs. It's called the Dragon Age because dragons just recently started reappearing after being nearly hunted to extinction. Hell, one of the endings has [[spoiler:Morrigan setting up an old god to be reborn, uncorrupted, as a human]]. However, [[spoiler:no griffons... yet]].
* GossipEvolution: The series has some fun with how stories mutate and become changed in the telling. For example, in Dragon Age Keep, Varric will tell of how a City Elf Warden "joined a fight for elvish rights"; which is a funny way to say [[spoiler:killed a bunch of people rather than be raped/have their fiancee raped by the son of a human lord.]] It's technically accurate but sure makes it sound more noble than it was.
* GreatOffscreenWar: So many it's hard to pick out a single defining one. The oldest known example is the Tevinter Imperium versus the elves of Arlathan [[spoiler:though according to Abelas in ''Inquisition'' Arlathan was actually destroyed in a ''civil'' war]]. Then came the first four Blights, Andraste's rebellion against the Imperium, the Exalted March on the Dales, and the invasion of the Qunari.
* GreenRocks: As if the green-blueish veins of lyrium itself weren't enough, Dragon Age also has lifestones, a rare rock that has existed in close proximity to lyrium ore, and as such, they have absorbed some of its traits. Crushing a lifestone gives the user a small bonus to nature resistance for a short time -- reasonable enough. But in addition, lifestones enhance the natural properties of other materials used in item creation, and how! These magic rocks are used as natural property 'enhancers' in all sorts of antidotes, salves, poisons, and grease traps, of all things, conveniently making things more healing, more deadly, more acidic, or more greasy just by mere presence, it seems.
* GroundPunch: The golems repeatedly punch the ground with their fists as their primary area-of-effect attack.
* HalfHumanHybrid: An odd subversion. Humans and Elves can have children with no problem, but the child is always indistinguishable from a human except for vague facial traits. There are a few references to possible human-dwarf or elf-dwarf crossbreeds, but no details are given and no examples have been confirmed.
* HarmfulToTouch: Lyrium.
* TheHorde: The darkspawn. They especially like to leave people completely burned, hanging on display, or stuck in the ground with a large object lodged in the body.
* HornedHumanoid: Desire demons. The Qunari also have horns -- although the rare ones without horns are actually considered special in their society.
* HornyDevils: Desire demons, whose idle animations during conversation include acts such as feeling themselves up.
* ItemAmplifier: The series allows you to improve various aspects of your weapons with runic enchantments (removable in the first game, overwritable in the second).
* InformedAbility: Abominations are said to be so powerful that just one is enough to take down an entire squad of Templars, but both the Warden and Hawke kill dozens of them with little fanfare.
* InterspeciesRomance: While rare, this does happen in the setting and can produce offspring. It is generally seen as taboo among elves to breed with humans as the resulting offspring will always be more human than elf. The player characters of all three games can potentially enter into such a relationship.
* JerkassGods:
** The Chantry treats the Maker with absolute reverence and makes the quest for His forgiveness of mankind's sins its primary goal, even though their canon makes the Almighty sound like a fickle, rather short-fused deity with a penchant for DisproportionateRetribution, lack of any actual love (or even vague sense of parental responsibility) for His creations, and no problem playing favourites for a girl in ways even Zeus might have called out of line. The Chantry preaches that He is God, but doesn't really make a very good job of painting Him as a ''good'' god. Ironically, it's the less orthodox if not borderline-blasphemous interpretations like Leliana's that attempt to paint the Maker as a God who someone may actually want to revere.
** If the Old Gods of the Tevinter Imperium didn't fit this trope before, they definitely do after they become insane Archdemons that lead the darkspawn in a bid to kill everything. Certainly Corypheus's account, if it can be trusted, indicates that if Dumat knew what the results of his goading would be, he was a complete jerkass.
* JustAMachine: Many people regard Tranquil mages in such a manner.
* KnightTemplar: Unsurprisingly, the Templars themselves fit this trope perfectly. While they do hunt down bad mages, many of them have a hard time differentiating a bad mage from a perfectly good one, and are all too willing to completely purge the Circle if anything goes wrong. This has happened ''at least once per century'' for the last seven hundred years. According to the Codex, candidates for the order are chosen first and foremost for religious conviction and martial aptitude. They're administered lyrium in order to assist them in fighting evil mages -- but a conversation with Alistair implies that the entire purpose of the lyrium is to get them addicted, ensuring their loyalty. They track and destroy dangerous rogue mages -- but a conversation with Wynne implies that many mage-hunters take a sadistic pleasure in their work. Whether the Templars are ''necessary'' is a matter of debate in-game as well as among the fandom.
* LegendaryWeapon: Any weapon (or, indeed, any item) that unlocks a [[EncyclopediaExposita Codex]] entry. Additionally, if you acquired the weapon Vigilance in ''[[VideoGame/DragonAgeOriginsAwakening Awakening]]'', the epilogue mentions that it went on to become one of these.
* LegionOfLostSouls: The Dwarven Legion of the Dead, who will accept anyone into their ranks no matter their background and hold a funeral for the new recruit upon their induction.
** The Grey Wardens themselves are a bit of this too, since they have no objections to drafting anyone - regardless of race, background, or criminal history - who they think will be strong enough to fight the darkspawn.
* MageKiller: Templars. Although they have shown on multiple occasions they aren't too competent in their job.
* MageTower: The Circle of Magi is housed in one. First Enchanter Irving [[LampshadeHanging lampshades]] the trope when he grumbles about all the stairs that it necessitates. (Unusually, the tower itself predates the Circle.)
** A tower seems to be a mage's natural habitat in this setting. The Tevinter magisters are said to have lived in towers since long before the Chantry was founded, and Wilhelm, Avernus, and the Mad Hermit all either built or claimed towers as their homes after slipping the Circle's leash.
* MagicalSociety: The Circle of Magi, naturally. Unlike some instances, not all mages are happy to belong to it.
* MagicIsAMonsterMagnet: Mages risk demonic possession.
* MagicMirror: The ancient elven civilization of Arlathan used mirrors called Eluvians to communicate over long distances and, very likely, other purposes whose secrets have been lost over millenia.
* TheMagocracy: The Tevinter Imperium, of course.
* MaximumHPReduction: Traps and {{Non Lethal KO}}s inflict [[ injuries]] on the characters. In the [[VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins first game]], these included both permanent health damage and other stat penalties, but only the former was present in the [[VideoGame/DragonAgeII sequel]]. Injuries can generally only be removed by returning to the PlayerHeadquarters or consuming a specific item. In ''DAO'', only Spirit Healers could remove injuries magically (but not from themselves); in ''[=DA2=]'', Spirit Healers can instead protect the entire party from injuries with a high-level perk.
* MeaningfulName: The [[ProfessionalKillers Antivan Crows]]. A group of crows is referred to as a [[IncrediblyLamePun murder.]]
* MedievalEuropeanFantasy: With some alterations, of course.
* MedievalStasis: As explained [[ here]], magic pretty much prevents progress, while the Qunari, who are squeamish at best with regard to magic, have access to gunpowder. The dwarves, completely unable to use magic, are advancing too, but slowly. The smokeless fuel they use was invented within living memory, and the ancestral Shield Of Aeducan is pretty much identical to early-game junk shields.
* MentalWorld: The Fade.
* MoralityKitchenSink: Present in the first game, ramped up in the second.
* MutantDraftBoard: The Circle of Magi, which is mandatory for all mages in human settlements on pain of being hunted down by Templars. Unlike most examples of the trope, the Circle ''don't'' control themselves; [[TheChurch the Chantry]] does, though there's a Fraternity of Enchanters who at least get to argue on their charges' behalf. When Wynne appears in ''Awakening'', she mentions that there are factions who want to pull away entirely from the Chantry, which even Anders (who has at least seven escape attempts to his name) considers a recipe for disaster. After six years in Kirkwall, however...
* MysticalPlague: The Blight disease spread by the darkspawn is said to be a curse by the [[{{God}} Maker]] upon the Tevinter Magisters, who turned into the first darkspawn themselves under its influence.
* {{Mythopoeia}}
* TheNarrator: After his successful tenure as one in ''Dragon Age II'', Varric becomes the ''franchise's'' official narrator, as his voice actor Brian Bloom provides the narration in ''Dragon Age Keep''.
* NGOSuperpower: The Grey Wardens.
* NoBiologicalSex: Spirits of the Fade are technically genderless. Even [[HornyDevils Desire Demons]] only appear to be female to make tempting mortals easier.
* OneMythToExplainThemAll: The series is leaning in this direction, as of ''Franchise/DragonAgeInquisition''. It seems that all (or most) of the belief systems in the story have a grain of truth to them somewhere, but the common thread that links them all hasn't been revealed yet.
* TheOrder: The Grey Wardens, the Templars, the Circle of Magi, the Legion of the Dead...
* OurDemonsAreDifferent: They've got a few of the standard [[DemonicPossession traits]] and [[DealWithTheDevil tactics]], but rather than being diabolical monsters, they're merely the evil half of the population of spirits inhabiting the Fade, the setting's SpiritWorld.
* OurDragonsAreDifferent: Dragons in ''Dragon Age'' are quite a rare sight overall, having only recently reappeared after they were long believed to be extinct - heck, the present Dragon Age was only named as such ''because'' of the dragons' reappearance! Most of them are fairly small juveniles and drakes; only impregnated female dragons get huge like the beasts of legend and grow wings, and are ''extremely'' rare. [[spoiler:(In ''Origins'', there's a single true dragon, in the classical fantasy sense, in the game; there are at least two other winged females, but they're much younger and smaller.)]]
** [[spoiler:There's one in ''Awakening'', or two if you reawaken the Queen of the Blackmarsh.]]
* OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame: Subverted. Although they still possess a few of the standard traits (mostly living underground and with a heavy focus on smithing), their rigid caste society and customs make them very different from Tolkien-esque dwarves. One of the classics is completely avoided: dwarven beer is ''horrible'' because it is brewed from ''lichen''. The human king acts like that isn't true, but he's kind of a moron. The dwarves also have American accents, as opposed to the traditional Scottish ones. Only a third of them have huge beards as well.
** They also seem to be quite sexual for standard fantasy dwarves. "Noble hunting", which is a nice way of saying "gold digging", is openly encouraged in dwarven society. There are as many dwarven prostitutes at the Pearl as there are elven prostitutes. And tellingly, the PC can get shagged in only two of the six origin stories, but only the Dwarf Noble origin lets the main character have a three-way with two noble hunters. [[spoiler: And you may later find you got one of them pregnant. ''And'' the kid got stripped of his caste after you were exiled. So, good luck dealing with that!]]
* OurElvesAreBetter: Inverted. Elves are discriminated against, have lost their immortality (according to ''elvish'' folklore), and were enslaved for a thousand years. The slavery may have ended, but the discrimination, segregation, and second-class citizenry certainly didn't.
** This is so in terms of stats, too. Instead of having superior physical grace like typical fantasy elves, ''Dragon Age'' elves only have bonuses to Willpower and Magic, meaning humans are physically superior to elves in every way; larger, stronger, tougher, ''and more agile!''
** According to lore, this held true in the distant past however, with elves being immortal beings with a strong connection to the Fade and a shining beacon of civilization.
* OurGhoulsAreCreepier: Ghouls are people and animals infected and driven mad by the darkspawn's taint. They are called ghouls because the taint tends to make them cannibalistic. They also suffer from physical deformations; humans, elves, and dwarves suffer blotchy, rotten-looking skin, while animals can be much more heavily deformed, including [[SpikesOfVillainy spikes]] protruding from the flesh. Humanoid ghouls end up joining the darkspawn HiveMind and becoming slaves of the darkspawn, including forging weapons and armor for them. Unless they are women. Then they get to become [[MotherOfAThousandYoung Broodmothers.]]
* OurOrcsAreDifferent: Darkspawn fit the classic Tolkien Orc criteria enough to fit and look enough like Orcs as well. Indeed, they're closer to Tolkien Orcs than most of the ProudWarriorRace Orcs now in fantasy. The Deep Roads is Moria, and [[spoiler:the Broodmother hints at the idea in ''The Silmarillion'' that orcs are corrupted elves.]] And it manages to [[SerialEscalation get even worse]] when you meet The Mother in ''Awakening'', who [[spoiler:is different from broodmothers in that she is 1) fully sentient, 2) capable of commanding other darkspawn, including broodmothers, and 3) cacklingly insane.]]
* OurVampiresAreDifferent: They're people possessed by hunger demons. Since hunger demons are barely sentient, they're not as cunning as traditional vampires.
** NotUsingTheZWord -- they're never referred to in-game as vampires. Indeed, they're counted more as walking corpses, rather than their own kind of undead, though they are among the most powerful of the walking dead.
* OurWerebeastsAreDifferent: Said to be the result of demonic interference [[spoiler:which may be true, but the ones you meet are the innocent victims of an indiscriminate RoaringRampageOfRevenge who were brought back to sanity by the very spirit who was forced into it. [[DarkIsNotEvil They can even join you]].]]
* OurZombiesAreDifferent: There's two kinds of zombies in the ''Dragon Age'' franchise. The first are corpses possessed by hunger demons that don't spread a virus of any kind, but they are still hostile and will devour people alive if given the opportunity. The second ones are ghouls, which are people who contract the [[TheVirus Darkspawn Taint]] and instead of dying become indoctrinated by the Archdemon. Most of the ghouls are docile, mindless husks that just shamble around and are unable to spread the Taint, but a number of them become darkspawn themselves.
* PassionIsEvil: Spirits and demons are attracted to extraordinary persons, places, things and ideas. They can take interest in a particular person, or group of people, if they demonstrate powerful or complex emotions or take interesting actions. It's noted, also, that personal passions, dreams and desires both attract, and ''create'', demons.
* PoliticallyCorrectHistory: The Chantry and historical figures that were elves or mages were whitewashed to be... not elves and/or mages. So far, by the time of ''Dragon Age: Inquisition'' and its [=DLCs=]:
** It has been revealed that Tyrdda Bright-Axe, the foremother of the Avvar barbarian civilization, was [[spoiler:a mage, and that "axe" was likely deliberately fudged by Andrastian scholars from "Hafted weapon". This was discovered because Tyrdda's "bright axe" is actually a mage's fire staff]]. The Avvar themselves knew this all along, not being subject to Chantry doctrine.
** Lord Inquisitor Ameridan, the leader of the first Inquisition, is portrayed as a chaste human warrior in Chantry doctrine. [[spoiler:None of those three words are applicable to the real deal: He was an elf mage who had an elven lover who was also a mage.]]
** The Canticle of Shartan, a part of the Chant that details the leader of the elves who followed Andraste, is apocryphal and does not exist according to the Chantry.
** Cassandra laments this, that she will be remembered as the one who slew the dragon in ''Anime/DawnOfTheSeeker'', and none of the mages who were combat support will be remembered simply because they're mages. One wonders just how many ''other'' elves/mages were whitewashed from history by the Chantry.
* PotionBrewingMechanic: Potion making usually revolves around discovering recipes for various potions and collecting ingredients for them.
** In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', potion-mixing is tied to the Herbalism skill, which every party member can learn and use. More powerful recipes require higher levels in the skill, and ingredients are found or bought in individual samples that are consumed to produce potions.
** In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', Hawke no longer needs any alchemical skills and instead orders potions and poisons from a friendly herbalist for a small fee. Ingredients are no longer collected in individual samples, but marked as "resources" and can be exploited indefinitely, although more powerful potions require multiple sources of the same ingredient and some unique ingredients like Ambrosia can only be used once.
** ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'' mixes the two previous games' approaches in that you once again need to collect individual components for each potion, but not longer need any potion-making skills, as the Inquisitor, like Hawke, orders the potions from the Inqusition's herbalists at Skyhold or the field camps.
* ProudWarriorRaceGuy: The Qunari; to a lesser extent, the Warrior and Noble Caste Dwarves. Although we've only seen the Qunari invasion vanguard and rogue Qunari mercenaries in game. It's strongly suggested Qunari who fulfill a non-warrior role in Qunari society according to the Qun are also respected... unless they're mages.
* PubertySuperpower: Though not a hard and fast rule, mages generally come into their powers at the onset of puberty. (Some do get them earlier; [[spoiler:Connor Guerrin]] is one example, and Wynne remarks in party banter that she entered the Circle of Magi at the age of nine.)
* ThePunishment: According to the Chantry, the mages who tried to usurp heaven were turned into the first darkspawn by the Maker and that the darkspawn taint is the physical embodiment of their sin. Considering everything that happened afterwards, it makes one wonder why the Maker simply didn't smite them with lightning instead. Apparently, it's because he ''wanted'' their punishment to be all of humanity's punishment as well. One thing the Chantry's lore (if accurate) makes perfectly clear about the Maker: he's a real bastard.
* RecruitedFromTheGutter: Happens to a lot of Gray Wardens in ''Franchise/DragonAge''. Depending on the Origin you choose in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', this could be how your character ends up in the Wardens, with backstories involving everything from a lift of crime and poverty to being exiled for a crime they didn't commit to being orphaned.
* ReligionIsMagic: Averted. Although the dwarves, the elves, and the humans all have their own faiths, none of these faiths are actualized with their own magics. The Chantry's templars, for instance, merely wield anti-magics. While [[spoiler:the Urn of Sacred Ashes]] is capable of performing miracles, Oghren suggests the possibility that the large, unusually pure [[AppliedPhlebotinum lyrium]] vein not too far away inside the rock [[MaybeMagicMaybeMundane may be responsible for its powers]].
** The entire Urn of Sacred Ashes quest is problematic for an otherwise aversion to this trope. Sure, the Ashes' ability to break curses can be chalked up to all that undiluted lyrium surrounding it for 900 years... but then we face problems with things like, say, the Guardian, who explicitly says that he's been alive for almost a full millennium out of sheer devotion to the Prophetess. It also does nothing to explain the spirits of Andraste's associates who just stand around asking riddles, or the apparition that appears to the Warden that somehow can read their minds and take on the form of a loved one. The only explanations that would possibly make sense in the context of the DA universe is that there really ''is'' something to this whole "Andraste, Bride of the Maker" thing... or [[EpilepticTrees that Andraste was a blood mage and all the spirits around her tomb are demons she's bound to that place]]. Or [[AWizardDidIt extend the lyrium explanation a bit more]].
* RivalsTeamUp: The first time the Orlesian Empire and the Tevinter Imperium joined forces, they stopped the Third Blight in just 15 years. The second time, they beat back the Qunari from the mainland. Too bad their cooperation never lasts.
* RunningGag: A variation. In every ''Dragon Age'' game so far, someone can (possibly) die by taking an ogre to the face. Cailan dies this way in ''Origins'', Varel can die this way in ''Awakening,'' and Bethany or Carver in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII''.
** Another gag is foreign characters commenting that Ferelden "smells like wet dog", to which the player character can respond in variants of "It does not smell like dog!"
--->'''The Warden''': And garbage!
--->'''Sten''': Yes, I was trying to forget that.
** There are a ''lot'' of references to cheese, particularly the infamous, stinky Orlesian kind.
* SacredScripture: The Chant of Light is the holy word of the Chantry, but just like the Qu'ran it's meant to be spoken, not read. While people obviously read the Chant, they only do so in order to memorize and recite it.
* ScaryDogmaticAliens: The Qunari have a very strict caste system and don't really understand or like the idea that there might be other, equally viable, social organizations.
--> '''Sten''': I don't understand your people. Your smiths want to be merchants, your merchants want to be nobles, and your nobles want to be royalty. Why is no one happy in their station?
* ScrewYouElves: In the time most of the media is set, elves are second class citizens to the humans and in past were slaves of theirs. The elves claim to have been immortal before humans came along but there's no hard evidence one way or another. There is definitely evidence that they had access to incredible magic, and that they even lived in harmony with the humans at one point.
* SecondComing: Mostly within the lore of the game series itself: The Maker is prophesied to return and make his world a paradise once the Chant of Light has been sung from all the corners of the world.
* SevenDeadlySins: Condensed into the main five types of demons encountered in the Fade: Rage (wrath), Hunger (gluttony), Sloth (also, according to the codex, envy), Desire (greed and lust), and Pride. Just as in real-life Christianity, Pride is considered the most evil of all by the Chantry because they are the most likely to gain full sentience and therefore more freely amass power.
* ShockwaveStomp: Ogres and Golems tend to be frequent users of this.
* SlidingScaleOfContinuity: Level 4 (Arc-Based Episodic). The series is notably more lax about its continuity than its sci-fi sister series ''Francise/MassEffect'': while there are definitely several enduring {{Myth Arc}}s, each installment so far (including supplemental novels and comic mini-series) is a largely self-contained story that happens to push one or more overarching plots along. This is helped by the fact that individual installments usually focus on different (albeit often [[CharacterOverlap overlapping]]) main characters and are set in different parts of the world at different times; also, an occasional {{retcon}} by the writers prevents the established canon from being too reliable.
* TheSoulless: The darkspawn. Except for the Archdemon, since it was formerly an Old God, and "essence" is apparently synonymous with "soul", since there's no room for both in one body.
* SpeaksInShoutouts: The Chanters, who can only speak in quotes of the Chant of Light.
* SpiderSense: Once a person becomes a Grey Warden, they can sense the darkspawn -- and vice versa. Your character may even say "Warden senses tingling!" Mages all have the ability to detect disruptions in the Veil that can, with practice, allow them to detect spirits and especially powerful spells.
* SpiritWorld: The Fade.
* StandardFantasySetting: As [[WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation Yahtzee]] emphatically called it; just compare the setting elements to the trope title.
** Dwarves/Elves/Humans -- other races are present, but these are the provided player character options.
*** Inquisition adds the Qunari as a player option, a slightly minotaur like race who have been around since the first game where you could have one in your party.
** OurMonstersAreDifferent -- Thedas's demons and werewolves are different. Dragons seem to occupy the same role in Origins, but backstory reveals more and more differences.
** FunctionalMagic and MagicAIsMagicA -- as per necessity, when magic is a game mechanic.
** LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards -- a single Templar to execute a potentially dangerous Mage early will save dozens of Templar lives later.
** TheEmpire (Orlais) and several {{The Kingdom}}s, with StandardRoyalCourt, modeled off of [[MedievalEuropeanFantasy historical feudal]] and imperial societies. And then there's TheHorde (darkspawn).
** FantasyCharacterClasses - FighterMageThief
** OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame is played with. Noble dwarves obsessed with tradition hew closest to the archetype but many dwarves are beardless, nearly all have american accents and their society leaves something to be desired. Though they still live in mountains and work stone.
** OurElvesAreBetter is completely averted. They may once have fit this trope but contact with humans led to them losing their immortality, their kingdom, their freedom and consequently their history. They only have scraps of lost lore to go off of and most know little if any of their language. They are smaller than humans and in no way shown to have greater ability though the Dalish do have a typical elvish affinity for nature.
* StrongerWithAge: Dragons function this way.
** The Darkspawn, due to the Taint getting stronger with time. [[spoiler: Unfortunately, this is what [[YourDaysAreNumbered eventually dooms]] Grey Wardens.]]
* StarCrossedLovers: Trysts and affairs between Templars and Mages within a Circle of Magi are not as uncommon as one would think, given the at-best low-key animosity between the two groups. The Templars are forbidden to become so involved with their charges, and any mages that bear children have them taken away. Wynne bore a son by a secret Templar paramour in her younger days, and that son Rhys himself is romantically entwined with a templar, Evangeline [[spoiler:(who now is [[BackFromTheDead alive]] only because of Wynne's HeroicSacrifice).]]
* TautologicalTemplar: The Templars will execute anyone who is a mage but not a member of the Circle of Magi because there is a chance that they may know forbidden magic. However, they are revered as heroes since they are the militant wing of the setting's dominant religion.
* TechnicalPacifist: The Dalish are nomadic and never stay in one place too long to avoid conflict. The Keeper even says that they ''could'' destroy a nearby Human village who are rallying a mob to drive them out, if they so wished, but that would only cause King Cailan to send soldiers next time, thus it is wiser to simply move on.
* UnEqualRites: A long time ago, a powerful nation called the [[TheEmpire Tevinter Imperium]] once conquered nearly all of the known world by using an extremely dangerous sorcery called Blood Magic, which allowed them to broker deals with and summon demons as well as use a powerful form of MindControl. Eventually, their reign was toppled by the appearance of [[TheCorruption the Blight]], which struck the Empire from nowhere and left them crippled. Most of the world's nations were formed by barbarian clans that rebelled against the weakened Empire, and the followers of those early rebels quickly formed a religion called the Chantry. The Blight continues to plague the world to this day, and the Chantry teachings blame magic for unleashing it. Because of this, mages in general are treated as worse than dirt, and any mage that is not under the direct control of the Chantry is labeled as an apostate which is to be killed on sight. Worse than them are the "Maleficar", which are simply apostates who use the hated Blood Magic which unleashes demons and once enslaved the world.
** This also exists between fellow mages, ranging from Fraternities with different political viewpoints to nerdy debates over which spell school is better (e.g, Entropy fans vandalizing books on Spirit Magic).
* UniverseCompendium: ''The World of Thedas'' (''[=TWoT=]'' for short) is a multi-volume encyclopedia about the ''Dragon Age'' setting. Volume one was released in 2013, and volume two is slated for release in April 2015.
* UnreliableExpositor[=/=]WrittenByTheWinners: Basically, there is no InfallibleNarrator in this series. Everything, from the opening voiceovers to the Codex entries are written/spoken by in-universe characters. For nearly every major (or even minor) event in the history of the game, there are multiple contradicting accounts with absolutely no indications as to which is the right one. So, rule of thumb for this series: if someone is telling you about something or someone you haven't seen for yourself? Take their opinion into consideration, but don't put too much stock in it. It doesn't help that the narrator for the second game is an admitted and unashamed liar.
** For example, early elven history. Pretty much all historical accounts agree that the original elven empire was destroyed by the human Tevinter magocracy, the humans ruthlessly crushing the elven cities. The Dalish take particular glee in pointing out to humans that they are responsible for the destruction of their original homeland. However, in the third game, [[spoiler: the player potentially speaks to an elf who is still alive from those days, and ''he'' says that the elves destroyed themselves through civil war, with Tevinter only coming along later, sweeping up the remaining elves and sifting through the rubble]].
* VestigialEmpire:
** The Tevinter Imperium, which never recovered from the First Blight, Andraste's rebellion, and the Qunari invasion.
** The Dwarven empire is even worse. It's down to two city-states that hate each other, and the darkspawn are slowly but surely encroaching on their territory. Fortunately, if you're playing a Dwarf Warden, [[spoiler:in the epilogue you can convince the ruler of Ferelden to send military aid to Orzammar, and they begin reclaiming a lot of lost territory.]] Even a non-dwarf Warden can [[spoiler:put Bhelen on the throne; he militarizes the casteless and lets the dwarves begin to push the darkspawn back.]]
* TheVirus: The Blight is a taint carried by the darkspawn that poisons the lands they inhabit. People tainted by this go crazy and die, or become decaying ghouls in the thrall of the Archdemon -- or worse, [[spoiler:if they're women, become broodmothers]].
* WalkingWasteland: The darkspawn spread a curse/disease called "the taint" wherever they go that slowly kills everything around them.
* WorldsBestWarrior: Though not without contention, Hawke seems to fit this trope above any other character--even the other {{Player Character}}s. Hawke is renowned worldwide (thanks largely to Varric's ''Tale of the Champion'' book) as one of the greatest warriors alive and even with this renown, many people still express disbelief in some of the victories s/he won, particularly his/her defeat of the Qunari Arishok in single combat and an ancient Tevinter magister, possibly in a WizardDuel. Even other members of his/her own party acknowledge his/her superiority in terms of battle prowess. The Hero of Ferelden and the Inquisitor are both other contestants for the title, but both of them had an additional edge (one was the only person that could stop the Fifth Blight and the second is the only one that can fight The Breach). Hawke is known ''only'' because of their combat ability.