Dragon Age: Dragon Age Organizations
A list of the major organizations and factions in the Dragon Age
franchise. For a list of the various races in the setting, go here
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The Grey Wardens
In peace, vigilance. In war, victory. In death, sacrifice.
A multi-species organization dedicated to protecting the world from the darkspawn
, by any means necessary.
- All-Powerful Bystander: While each Grey Warden is a One-Man Army, their political neutrality means that they cannot get directly involved in political matters. Unless it's darkspawn-related, they either feel obligated not to entangle themselves in politics and risk blunting their effectiveness, or really don't see it as their problem.
- Animal Motifs: The griffon. It's their heraldry, and is depicted everywhere in their architecture. In past Ages the Wardens used them as their signature mounts, allowing them to rain down on the darkspawn horde. Sadly, they've since gone extinct.
- Badass Army: These guys have saved Thedas on multiple occasions, and recruit only the toughest and brightest to serve.
- Badass Creed: The above quote, which sums up all the things that are wanted from a Warden.
- Bad Dreams: Due to their connection to the Darkspawn, all Wardens experience these to varying degrees. The lucky ones only get them rarely, while the unlucky have trouble sleeping their entire lives. Alistair mentions that it's supposedly worse for those who join during a Blight, due to the Archdemon being active, although he's unsure if it's true or not.
- Broken Base: An in-universe example occurs in Awakening, when the Warden-Commander's decision to possibly ally with the Architect is considered very controversial amongst their companions, as well as with Wardens in other countries.
- Blood Magic: The Joining Ritual that new recruits must undertake is technically Blood Magic. Unlike the rest of Thedas, the Wardens don't really have a problem with Blood Magic, considering it just yet another weapon in their arsenal.
- The Gloves Come Off: For Mage Wardens who don't resort to Blood Magic, they are still actively encouraged to go full pelt against the darkspawn.
- Boxed Crook: Many of the Wardens featured in the franchise, including Duncan and Daveth (as well as the City Elf, Dwarf Commoner, and Dwarf Noble Wardens from Origins) were criminals brought into the Order by the Right of Conscription.
- Army of Thieves and Whores: As noted above, some of the Grey Wardens had less than humble origins before either joining or being conscripted. As long as someone is prepared to spend the rest of their life hunting down and killing darkspawn, the Wardens don't discriminate.
- Commanding Coolness: The Warden-Commander is the highest ranking Warden in each country. They are also sometimes known as "the Commander of the Grey."
- Creature Hunter Organization: The Grey Wardens' mission is to fight the darkspawn. In particular, Wardens are key to ending Blights (when the darkspawn corrupt an Old God into an Archdemon and attack the surface of Thedas); they are the only ones capable of killing Archdemons.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Due to having taking the Taint into themselves via the Joining, Grey Wardens are technically high-functioning, specialised ghouls that turn the darkspawn's own power against them.
- Dead Man Walking: Besides the insane odds and dangers the Wardens go up against, the darkspawn blood they drink as part of the Joining will eventually kill or turn them into ghouls within about thirty years.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Killing Physical Gods in the form of the Archdemons is part of the job description.
- Godzilla Threshold: When the Grey Wardens were formed, the First Blight had already ravaged Thedas for over 90 years. A group of seasoned veterans from darkspawn campaigns decided to gather in Weisshaupt, intending to pool their knowledge and research other ways to combat their enemy, with nothing being left off the table, even Blood Magic. As such, when Nakiri of the Donark Forest suggested consuming darkspawn blood to make them immune to the Taint, no one objected. This would eventually lead to the Joining Ritual and the creation of the first Wardens.
- Got Volunteered: If need be, the Wardens can use the Right of Conscription to bolster their numbers.
- Horse of a Different Color: Griffons, although they're extinct in the present age.
- I Did What I Had to Do: When the Wardens swore to defend humanity from the Darkspawn by any means necessary, they meant it. A major thematic element in The Calling novel is the question of what takes priority: stopping the darkspawn or protecting people from them?
- Impartial Purpose-Driven Faction: The Grey Wardens kill the darkspawn, first and foremost. While they strive to maintain good relations with governments and other factions, they mostly rely in this on everyone's understanding that it's either them or the darkspawn. Sophia Dryden's failed coup is the perfect example of why Grey Wardens getting too involved in politics is a bad idea.
- The Immune: Played with. Those who survive the Joining Ritual are rendered immune to the Taint, since they are now partially tainted themselves. However, as the effects of ghoulification are merely delayed by about thirty years, this could count as a subversion.
- Intelligible Unintelligible: Due to the advanced progression of the Taint within them, some of the Senior Grey Wardens are capable of understanding the Black Speech of the Archdemon. This is one of the first signs that their Calling is soon to be upon them.
- Jurisdiction Friction: Historically, the Templars have often clashed with the Wardens over the Right of Conscription, which allows Apostates and Maleficarum to find safety within their ranks, with no Chantry oversight.
- Membership Token: All newly-Joined Wardens are presented with the Warden's Oath, a small medallion worn around the neck, as a symbol of their membership in the order and also as a memorial to those who didn't survive the initiation ritual. It contains a drop of the mixture which candidates drink in order to become Wardens.
- Multinational Team: Besides having chapters in every surface nation on Thedas (with the exception of Qunari), membership in the Wardens is also open to all peoples and faiths.
- While no Qunari have joined the Warden ranks, it's rumoured that some Tal-Vashoth and other members of their species outside of the Qun may have undergone the Joining in recent decades. Whether this is true, any survived and if they still might live, remains currently unknown.
- N.G.O. Superpower: The Wardens wield a lot of diplomatic power, though they attempt to remain apolitical for the most part.
- However, due to the Anderfels being a hotbed of darkspawn activity even between Blights, the Wardens tend to wield more power there than the actual King, who is fully aware that it's better to just to sit back and let the Wardens do what they need to do.
- In Awakening, the First Warden takes special interest in the appointment of the Warden-Commander as the new Arl of Amaranthine, believing this could set a precedent of Grey Wardens wielding political power and demonstrating that despite belief to the contrary, they can have a vital function even between Blights.
- One-Man Army: Each Warden is this, and when fighting alongside each other, are just about unstoppable.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Wardens don't care about race, social class, religion or even if you're a condemned criminal, so expect to see a wide variety of people serving in their ranks.
- The Last Dance: Faced with the choice of either death via Taint or becoming a ghoul, Senior Wardens nearing the end of their thirty years choose to head to Orzammar for their Calling; there, they enjoy a final night of feasting with the dwarves and other compatriots before venturing into the Deep Roads to launch a suicide attack against the darkspawn, in the hopes of killing as many as possible before they die.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Unfortunately, due to the long stretches between Blights and the common (mistaken) belief that the darkspawn were wiped out after the Fourth Blight, the Grey Wardens were largely considered an antiquated relic by the time the Fifth Blight began in Ferelden.
- According to the Codex, despite the First Warden being the Supreme-Commander of all Grey Wardens, he's mostly just a figurehead and more interested in the muddy politics of the Anderfels than actually running the organisation. He delegates most of the major decisions and work to each country's respective Warden-Commander.
- Token Heroic Orc: The Wardens could be considered this compared to the darkspawn, due to their use of the Taint to turn them into essentially high-functioning ghouls, allowing them to better fight the horde and become the only ones capable of permanently slaying an Archdemon.
- The Unfettered: When it comes to the darkspawn, the Grey Wardens are actively encouraged to be this, giving themselves carte blanche to do whatever it takes to take them down, regardless of the civilian death toll it might amass in the process.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Wardens are prepared to do many morally questionable things in their eternal fight against the Darkspawn. A good example of this is the belief that it's more merciful to burn down an entire village about to be attacked by Darkspawn, rather than let the inhabitants suffer the depravities and Fate Worse than Death that the Darkspawn would unleash on them.
The Templar Order
Magic exists to serve man, and never to rule over him.
An order of warrior-monks
in the service of the Chantry
, designed to police the Circle of Magi
and hunt down rogue mages.
- Alternate Character Interpretation: Often invoked in-universe. Fascists in plate armour whose heavy-handed treatment of mages causes more problems than it solves, or a Necessary Evil needed to prevent the havoc and destruction that apostates, maleficarum, or even young mages newly come into their power can (accidentally) unleash upon Thedas?
- Always Chaotic Evil: The Red Templars of Inquisition, a Renegade Splinter Faction of hardliners that split off from the main order after they went rogue following the events of Asunder.
- Addiction Powered / Functional Addict: The Templars use lyrium to augment their Anti-Magic abilities, and withdrawal turns them into strung-out wrecks. Subverted, in that multiple characters have stated that lyrium only serves to make their abilities easier to use, and that its primary purpose is to keep them in check. Certainly, multiple characters have made use of templar abilities without it.
- Cape Busters: Serve this role towards the Mages of Thedas.
- Church Militant: More than a few Templars demonstrate this tendency, justifying their harsh treatment with dogmatism.
- Dirty Cop: Happens rather frequently, especially since the Chantry is willing to accept any measures, so long as they prevent a mage rebellion. The chapter in Kirkwall is particularly full of them.
- Fair Cop / Reasonable Authority Figure: There are Templars who are reasonable and even willing to look the other way for apostates that are no danger to anyone. Sadly, they're in the minority and more often than not end up being either killed or Reassigned to Antarctica for their troubles.
- Foil: To the Grey Wardens. While the Grey Wardens are a morally ambiguous, apolitical Army of Thieves and Whores with little or no regulation or oversight, they are still commonly regarded as heroes across the face of Thedas. The Templars, meanwhile, are a religious order of knights who uphold and enforce Chantry Law, yet often appear to be treated with disdain and scorn by the common-folk.
- General Ripper: Both Knight-Commander Meredith and Lord Seeker Lambert fit this mould.
- Good Counterpart: While hard to believe given their more militant members, the Qunari's treatment of Saarebas by their Arvaraad makes the Templars' treatment of their Mage charges appear positively benign in comparison.
- He Who Fights Monsters: There are good Templars. Unfortunately, many of them seem to believe that since mages can be dangerous, they don't deserve to be treated like people.
- Knight Templar: No kidding. For the Templars, anything, including wiping out entire Circles to eliminate any suspected blood mages, is better than a possible mage revolt.
- Lawful Stupid: Templars have often been accused by people in-universe, even non-mages, of going by this trope. This commonly manifests in overzealous Templars assuming that any Apostate outside the Circle is guilty of being Maleficar by default, leading to many cornered and desperate Mages resorting to Blood Magic to try and escape.
- Mage Killer: Officially, the Templars are there to protect mages from ordinary people, and ordinary people from mages, but many of their duties revolve around executing mage dissidents or escapees. Or anyone who might fail their Harrowing. More than a few Templars in the setting are of the Kill 'em All mindset when it comes to problems with the Circle.
- Magic Knight: They can use a variety of Anti-Magic abilities to protect them from mages and disrupt their spellcasting. That being said, against regular opponents, they are forced to rely on their martial training due to being, as Alastair put it, "just a guy in a metal suit".
- Muggle Power: As noted above, they have no magical abilities (aside from Anti-Magic) and are simply regular people in armour.
- The Needs of the Many: What they claim to do. If they are justified is heavily debated both in and out of universe.
- Rabid Cop: By the end of Dragon Age: Asunder, the entire Templar Order has gone rogue, abandoning the Chantry in order to quash the mage rebellion.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: A frequent fate of those Templars who end up displeasing their superiors.
- When All You Have Is a Hammer: A great deal of problems in the Circle are started because the everyday Templar cannot find a solution to a conflict that does not involve mass murder, imprisonment, Mind Rape, or violence in general.
The Circle of Magi
It is no simple matter, safeguarding ordinary men from mages, and mages from themselves.
The primary Magical Society
in the setting and overseen by the Chantry
, the Circle is responsible for training and securing the world's mages, both so they can use their talents to benefit others (or at least the Chantry) and ensuring that cannot harm "ordinary" society.
- Always Chaotic Evil: The Resolutionists, terrorist mages who broke away from the Libertarian Fraternity.
- Badass Bookworm: Usually, the only times the Chantry lets the mages out en-masse are in the event of Blights or Exalted Marches, and they more than prove how powerful they can be.
- Blind Obedience: The hat of the Loyalist Fraternity, who reject all attempts at either internal reform or rejection of the Circle and Chantry.
- Comes Great Responsibility: The Aequitarians are this in a nutshell, and sincerely believe that mages should use their powers for good.
- Demonic Possession: Since it's an organization made up entirely of mages, this is one of the greater concerns. Of course, since there are huge concentrations of mages in closed locations, this can lead to some unusual circumstances, such as at least one situation where a cat was possessed by a Rage demon.
- Fictional Political Party: Numerous "Fraternities" exist within the Circle, each advocating a different position on the role of mages and how they should be treated. Whenever a First Enchanter is replaced, expect to see power struggles as they try to place one of their own candidates in the position. That said, Loyalists and Aequitarians are the biggest fraternities and generally have a lock on Circle politics.
- God Is Good: The Loyalists, who are often referred to merely as Chantry Apologists.
- Jerkass Has a Point: The Libertarian Fraternity believe that the Circle is nothing more than a Gilded Cage, and that mages deserve better than to be persecuted simply for being different. It's a shame then, that every single one of them is either a terrorist, a psychotic, or just a sanctimonious and judgmental asshole.
- Mage Tower: Due to many Circles being located in former Dwarven and Tevinter fortresses.
- Money, Dear Boy: The motives of the Lucrosian Fraternity.
- Mutant Draft Board: Mages don't really have a choice about joining the Circle.
- Order Versus Chaos: The general source of conflict within the Fraternities. Also, the main act of the conflict between the mages and Templars fits this mould (with the Templars representing Order).
- Prison Rape: An unfortunate fate for many Circle mages. The Kirkwall Circle in particular becomes this over time, with some corrupt Templars such as Ser Alrik using the Rite of Tranquility to turn Mages into compliant sex slaves.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The general attitude of the Isolationist Fraternity. Mundane society is never going to accept them, so why bother trying to fit in, when they could just live out their lives on an island somewhere?
- Super Registration Act: The end result of one. While the Circle began as a self-imposed exile by Mages who wanted to learn how to safely control their powers under Templar supervision, over the years the Templars' role shifted from guardianship to containment, turning the Circles into more of a prison than a magical institution.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: One of the reasons why so many mages turn to Blood Magic is because the Circle system is so harsh and punitive to begin with. If the Templars are going to kill or imprison them for relatively minor offenses, why not go whole hog?
- Many Apostates who either live outside or escaped from the Circle are immediately branded as Maleficarum by default. When backed into a corner by Templars who are more likely to run them through than take them (back) to the Circle, many figure they might as well go down swinging.
- Wizarding School: A subversion. The Circle is as much about imprisoning mages and segregating them from mundane society as it is about teaching how to use their powers effectively.
- Played straight in Tevinter, where admittance is not mandatory and gaining a place is considered a great privilege.
The Seekers of Truth
When a Seeker steps from the shadows, templars run for cover.
An organization that answers directly to the Divine in Val Royeaux. They act as a check and balance to the power of the Templar Order, acting in a secretive, investigative, and interrogative capacity to root out corruption and defend the Chantry from internal and external threats.
- Black Knight: Their armors are mostly black.
- The Dreaded: Templars are said to greatly fear the appearance of any Seeker agent because of the punishments for unruly templars their presence usually foreshadows.
- Dark Is Not Evil: They are Thedas' equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition.
- Internal Affairs: A less effective version thanks to the Chantry's reluctance to investigate abuses of templar power unless unavoidable.
- The Men in Black: The existence of the agency and identities of their agents are well guarded secrets to most of Thedas.
- Seeker Archetype: To the extent that it serves as both the name of their organisation and chief function.
Blessed are they who stand before the corrupt and the wicked and do not falter.The primary religious institution
on Thedas, the Chantry was created following the death of Andraste,
an Alamarri barbarian and the Bride of the Maker
at the hands of the Tevinter Imperium.
- Biblical Bad Guy: Maferath, the mortal husband of Andraste who betrayed her to the Tevinter Imperium, out of jealousy of having to share his wife with the Maker himself. While he was later filled with regret by what he had done, the Canticle of Maferath that dealt with his penance and being forgiven by a vision of Andraste was later removed from the Chant of Light.
- The Caligula: Some of the Divines, Ambrosia II and Amara III being examples. The first tried to declare an exalted march on her own cathedral because mages were peacefully protesting, and the second loved to create bonfires fueled by burning maleficars. She didn't last long in the post.
- The Church: Can also be considered a Saintly Church, a Corrupt Church, or a Religion of Evil, depending on whose perspective you're looking through, and which aspect you're examining.
- Females Are More Innocent: This trope is part of why women are administrators in the Chantry, and it's supported by the narrative. The patriarchal Imperial Chantry is a den of blood magic and corruption. The Orlesian Chantry, on the other hand, has an about even chance of being good, and is at the very least neutral.
- Muggle Power: The very first commandment of Andrastianism is "Magic is meant to serve man, and never to rule over him."
- No Such Thing as Wizard Jesus: One of the gifts for Wynne in Origins is a book speculating whether Andraste was merely a particularly powerful Mage, which is mentioned to have been rescued from several book burnings. Assuming there's perhaps a grain of truth in its claims, it would certainly put a new spin on both her rebellion against the Tevinter Imperium and the precise meaning of the first verse of the Chant of Light.
- Orwellian Editor: The Chantry has a habit of editing its own history and removing verses from the Chant of Light to suit its political ends. The most notable example of this is the Cantacle of Shartan, the verses relating to the Elven general who led Andraste's army and founded the Dales, which ended up being completely exercised when the Chantry declared an Exalted March against the Dalish.
- The sections are collectively referred to as the Dissonant Verses, which includes Shartan as noted above, as well as the redemption of Maferath, the husband and betrayer of Andraste.
- Patriarchy Flip: The Chantry is governed by exclusively by women, while men are judged by the example of Maferath and can only accept lesser, non-administrative positions. This is averted in Tevinter.
- In the village of Haven in Ferelden, the Priesthood was also dominated by men, due to being an offshoot of the early Chantry before it was fully organised under the first Divine. Unfortunately, the precise belief structure and traditions of this branch is unknown, as in the many centuries since it was founded, its members had devolved into an insane cult that worshipped a nearby High Dragon as "the reborn Andraste".
- Reasonable Authority Figure: The current Divine (as of the end of Dragon Age II), Divine Justina V, was trying to reform the Circle and Chantry from within before everything went tits-up.
- Spear Counterpart: The main Chantry has one in the form of the Imperial Chantry in Tevinter, which is ruled over by men (and mages).
- Theocracy: The Chantry is actually an Orlesian creation, originating from the Andrastian cult followed by the first emperor, and the goals of the Empire and the church are very tightly intertwined. For example, one interpretation of the ousting of Viscount Perrin Threnhold of Kirkwall was that the Chantry acted on behalf of Orlais when he tried to charge higher tariffs on trade through Kirkwall's harbor.
- Written By The Victors: Because of their dominant state of power in Thedas, a lot of morality and history is ultimately defined by them.
The Inquisition were an ancient group of mage-hunters that protected Thedas from demons and blood mages during the chaotic early days of the Chantry. They were eventually absorbed into the Chantry, splitting into the Seekers of Truth and the Templar Order. The Inquisiton is reformed during the Mage-Templar War in order to seal the tears in the Fade and stop the hidden mastermind responsible for them.
- Antimagical Faction: The original Inquisition was this, though it appears they were much more lenient towards mages then the Templars.
- Appropriated Appelation: Some sources claim that the original Inquisition was simply an early form of the Seekers of Truth. 'The Inquisition' was simply a derogatory nickname that stuck.
- Jesus Was Way Cool: The original Inquisition was a group of Andrastian hard-liners, which is why they eventually joined up with the Chantry.
- Motif Merger: The Inquisition symbol combines the "Eye in a Sunburst" of the Seekers of Truth and the "Flaming Sword" of the Templar Order. Justified as both factions derived from the original Inquisition and apparently adopted their preferred aspect of the logo when they broke off.
- Nay-Theist: Bioware has stated that the restored Inquisition is a faction strictly separate from the Chantry and even possesses some anti-Chantry ideals in its doctrine.
- Order Reborn: The Inquisition is restored during the Mage-Templar War, since the Templars are too busy fighting to deal with the Fade tears.
- Shrouded in Myth: Records on the original Inquisition are scarce, due to the general hysteria of their time period. Some say they spread a reign of terror, others that they policed mages with a fair hand and their poor reputation was the result of pissing off influential people who wrote the history books.
Victory is in the Qun.
The Qunari are the fanatical followers of the Qun, a spiritual and social belief system which calls for absolute adherence and a detachment from personal worth. Feared by the nations of Thedas, the Qunari can technically be any species, though the system was created and is perpetrated and run by the nameless race of horned giants from across the sea.For examples, please see the entry on the Races page.
The Mages' Collective
An organization of "apostates", ie renegade mages, operating in Ferelden, who work protect to other apostates and assist them where necessary.
- La Résistance: Subverted; they do operate outside of the Chantry's control and collaborate with other apostates, but they have no real interest in bringing down the Chantry. They're more of a support network than a guerrilla organization.
- Magical Society
- Screw The Rules, I Have Lyrium!: They're certainly not above using the Templars' addiction to the stuff in order to protect themselves.
- Underground Railroad
- Undying Loyalty: Part of their activities include protecting the families of apostates from Chantry reprisals.