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Dragon Age Origins: Tropes A to E


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    # 
  • 100% Adoration Rating:
    • Party-wise, it is very possible to max out everyone's approval ratings through picking the right dialogue options in conversations, making the right decisions story-wise and giving the right gifts.
    • The new king and/or queen of Ferelden can achieve this. If a hardened Alistair marries Anora, for example, the people eventually consider the chaos of the civil war and Landsmeet worth it for delivering such beloved monarchs. If a female Noble Warden marries Alistair, they are wildly popular among their people; and if a male Noble Warden marries Anora, Ferelden will enter what could become a new golden age.

    A 
  • Affably Evil: The Sloth Demon in the "Broken Circle" quest.
    "I made you happy and safe. I gave you peace. I did my best for you. And you say you want to leave? Can't you think about someone other than yourself? I'm hurt. So very, very hurt."
    • Also true of the other Sloth Demon, seen only during the Mage Origin, who is too lazy to want to deal with the Mage Warden and spends most of the conversation idly snarking at them. It seems that this is one of their hats.
  • After Combat Recovery: After combat, health and stamina/mana are quickly restored while fallen characters are automatically resurrected, with injuries that must be treated by either applying wound kits, retreating to the camp, or having a spirit healer in the party in order to remove associated status penalties.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Should you execute him, Loghain says goodbye to Anora and tells you that he trusts you to protect Ferelden in his place.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Morrigan, whose approval will rise when the Warden takes the selfish, individualistic, power-hungry option when presented with a choice of actions. Oghren lampshades this trope when training the PC to be a berserker — standing around looking mysteriously angry apparently does wonders on the ladies.
    • Leliana can also basically say as much to Alistair.
      Alistair: Beyond the fact that he's an assassin who's tried to kill us more than once? No... no, not really. Do women go for that sort of thing?
      Leliana: Where I come from they do, oh yes.
      Alistair: Huh. Really? I see.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us:
    • The Archdemon personally leads its darkspawn armies in a massive attack on Ferelden's capital city in the finale.
    • Earlier, once you've assembled the entire party, your camp is attacked by Shrieks, with a bonus unpleasant surprise if you're a Dalish Elf. (Curiously, if your party is missing a companion - for instance, you fail to recruit Sten in Lothering - this does not happen.)
      • Though it seems to count number of companions rather than "has all companions." With the Stone Prisoner DLC installed, adding an extra party member, you'll get this encounter whenever you hit eight companions, even though there's one still left to get.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Silent Sisters. Also a party consisting of a female Warden and three of the four potential female companions: Morrigan, Wynne, Leliana, or Shale.
  • An Axe to Grind: They come in the one-handed and friggin' huge varieties too!
  • Ancient Keeper: The Guardian. You also have to face three trials to reach the Urn of Andraste he guards...
  • And I Must Scream: The Arcane Warrior trainer, the soul of an elf trapped inside a gemstone for untold millennia. At first, he thinks you're a hallucination.
    • Given the Grand Oak's description, most Sylvans fit this as well.
    • Shale spent 30 years frozen in place in a village subject to the whims of its inhabitants. Before that, it was inactive in an abandoned Thaig in the Deep Roads, in the pitch black, for over a thousand years and conscious every second. And then there were pigeons.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: An optional episode in Denerim, where you can take control of two party members to free the Warden from prison. Also seen during the endgame, where the party members who don't accompany you to fight the Archdemon remain at the gate and help hold the defenses.
  • Animals Lack Attributes: The Mabari warhounds. Dog is a perfect example; you can interact with him and Pet the Dog to make him roll around on his back, but even though the game specifically states that he's male, you wouldn't know it to look at him.
  • An Entrepreneur Is You: Averted (perhaps spitefully, even) in that the prices may vary slightly if at all from location to location, regardless of relative supply/scarcity, and goods will never sell for the value paid for them. Ever. Anywhere. Even if you craft something, you can't even get the value of the raw materials bar certain exploits, i.e. Potent Lyrium potions, but farming those takes a silly amount of time and a lot of loading screens... so get back to shaking down those Money Spiders, twink!
  • Annoying Arrows: To a degree. On the one hand, getting shot with arrows doesn't kill you anymore than getting stabbed or hacked by swords or axes. On the other hand, a properly-built archer can consistently inflict incredible amounts of damage. With a powerful bow, Leliana, Nathaniel, or an archer Warden are reasonably capable of inflicting 25-50% more damage than even two-handed fighters with late-game weapons stacked with enchantments, and this is without resorting to special arrows.
    • Given the way the game scales enemies, it can potentially take a big jump up in difficulty right around the time every enemy archer suddenly learns Scattershot (an irresistible area-effect stun that does strong damage), because until the leveling system teaches them an even higher-tier skill (none of which are nearly as disruptive), they will use it on you as much as possible in every fight.
  • The Anticipator: When the party of new Grey Warden initiates comes to her house to retrieve some Binding Ancient Treaties, the hermit witch Flemeth mentions that "she's been expecting them." The player character (a.k.a. Warden) can call her on it, however.
    Warden: Are we really supposed to believe you were expecting us?
  • Anti-Grinding: To the extreme. Enemies don't respawn, experience scales upwards so lower-level enemies offer insignificant exp, enemies scale with you, and the level cap is at 25 so you can't grossly overlevel anyway, random encounters technically aren't random, etc.
  • Apocalyptic Log: You encounter two sets of them in the Golems of Amgarrak DLC. One of them is written by the leader of the expedition that you came to find, the other by the original inhabitants.
    • And then there's the ominous chant starting with "First day they come and catch everyone" leading up to the battle with the Broodmother in Origins.
    • During Awakening, you can find a written record of those Casteless dwarves who died protecting Kal'Hirol, and arrange for it to be returned to the Orzammar Shaperate. The epilogue states that you're later invited to be a guest of honor at a ceremony honoring the dead.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: No matter how many companions you have, only three are permitted to go with you. For certain events, one of those companions will be chosen for you.
    • Averted during one battle in camp, as well as the first part of the final sequence... but then promptly reinstated from there on out. It's a little less arbitrary then, though, since the party members that you don't take with you for the finale defend Denerim's gates from the darkspawn.
  • Arbitrary Minimum Range: Subverted: you cannot fire ranged weapons at point blank range... unless you take a certain mid-level perk that allows you just that.
  • Arc Words / Book End / Ironic Echo: Alistair intones at The Joining, "And should you perish, know that your sacrifice will not be forgotten... and that one day, we shall join you." He repeats that line in narration should he sacrifice himself to prevent a female romanced Warden from dying by killing the Archdemon.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Several examples. Beneath the dwarves' veneer of tradition and honour lies a Deadly Decadent Court waiting to stab you in the back. In ancient times, the Magisters of the Tevinter Imperium tried to kill the Maker and take His Golden City for themselves and created the darkspawn. When the game takes place, Tevinter is a Vestigial Empire, but its Magisters are still ruthless blood mages. On the other hand, the nobles of Ferelden are decent people, with only a few exceptions.
    • As alluded to in conversations with Leliana and the prequel novels, Orlais has a Deadly Decadent Court. Although it is well-known that half the bards and minstrels in Orlais are spies and assassins, Orlesian nobles still welcome them, because outwitting a rival's agent is part of the game aristocrats play.
  • Armour Piercing Question: The conversation between an Elf Warden and a Chantry Priest at Ostagar.
    Elf Warden: You administer blessings to Elves?
    Priestess: Of course. The Maker accepts all those who would hear Him.
    Elf Warden: And does he steal the homeland of those who don't?
  • Arranged Marriage:
    • The City Elf has one. It doesn't end well.
    • Arl Howe tries to set one up between the Human Noble and one of his children. The conversation is just to conceal his motives, however, as he intends for you and your entire family to die that very night.
    • A male Dwarf Noble can meet a would-be fiancee on his return to Orzammar. Or a gold digger he knocked up in the origin, depending on your interpretation.
    • The Warden can set one up for Anora and Alistair, among other choices.
  • Arrows on Fire: Coupled with Rain of Arrows during the Battle of Ostagar.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Kiting enemies. Demonstrated here.
    • Sometimes your allies will just stand around in the middle of a battle, not doing anything as whatever large Eldritch Abomination you're fighting pulls your anus out through your nose.
      • Alternatively, one of them will activate their special, secret "rush headlong at the enemy (even if you are an archer and/or it's standing in a fire)" tactical option.
    • AoE spells. If you want to use one, your allies will disobey orders and rush right in to get blasted.
    • The tactics system allows you to Doom It Yourself — a novel way to transfer the responsibility for poor AI to the player.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • If you pick Harrowmont as the next Dwarven king:
      Orzammar Crier: Prince Bhelen attacks assembly and is ignominiously slain! Epic fail!
    • Alternatively, if you support Bhelen:
      Orzammar Crier: News of the hour! Lord Harrowmont arrested, pending execution. Epic fail!
    • As well as Leliana, while bantering about with her in flirtation.
      Leliana: ...I see what you did there.
    • At the end, If your approval with Sten is high enough, he'll be at the party. Talk to him twice, and he'll say, "Where is the cake? I Was Told There Would Be Cake. The Cake Is a Lie."
    • Also, there's two t-shirts for sale at Bioware's website now: "Morrigan disapproves" and "Enchantment!"
    • In the Darkspawn Chronicles DLC, which is the final battle from the point of view of the darkspawn, the final battle is against Alistair and his remaining three companions (Morrigan, Leliana, and the Mabari Hound), as they attack the Archdemon. The dog, which has no canon name (the devs wanted to make it clear that the dog has whatever name you choose to give to him), in this alternate reality is called "Barkspawn" by Alistair, the joker.
      • It's actually a shout-out to a Penny Arcade strip that was released near the original game's release.
  • Aside Glance: Post-coronation, the ruler of Ferelden (Anora or Alistair) speaks a few words to the Grey Warden, but before they're done, they're addressing the camera directly.
    • Weylon appears to do this more and more as he becomes agitated with the Warden's questioning.
    • When Leliana convinces the Revered Mother to let Sten go, she all but glares at the player.
      Leliana: Thank you, Your Reverence. Your trust is not misplaced... *Aside Glance*
  • Attempted Rape: Happens to the female guests at the City Elf's wedding. Shianni, the City Elf PC's cousin, isn't as lucky in the 'attempted' bit... It also happens to a female City Elf. It doesn't end well for the rapists.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Most of the Fereldan and Dwarven nobility. The Fereldan nobles are mostly descendants of barbarian warlords, so combat training is traditional, whereas a Dwarven noble needs to be skilled to defend against the assassins that are commonly employed in dwarven politics. There's also the Elven clans, who are led by a Keeper, the person in the clan who knows the most of the 'Old Ways' (i.e. magic). The level of respect that other elves (even City Elves) have for Dalish Keepers is shown more clearly in Dragon Age II.
    • Typified by demonkind, led by the strongest.
    • Inverted by the Grey Wardens, as their most respected get creamed, while the cadets have to save the world.
    • Averted by most of Ferelden, actually. The King and lords in charge bite the dust rather early, and the bad guys achieve their coup by deceit and cowardice. When the player does get a chance to face them, said villains aren't particularly challenging.
  • Awakening the Sleeping Giant: The events of the City Elf Origin eventually cause the entire Alienage to riot.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Almost every AoE attack has Friendly Fire. There are no tactical conditions under which you can ever trust companions' AI to use AoE spells or bombs, and the few situations you can lay an AoE trap without your companions stumbling in are still very tricky to set up. One reason Blood Wound is so overpowered is its lack of Friendly Fire.
    • The spell combination Storm of the Century is this trope in spades. In order to pull this off, you must cast two of the longest casting time spells a mage can know (Blizzard and Tempest, and you almost need a Spirit Healer skill named Spell Might). Good luck getting them both off without interruption since every foe on the map immediately knows where the caster is. If you do pull it off, it does a very impressive amount of damage - which also suffers from the Friendly Fire issue, and you'll spend more mana than a muscle car spends gas.
      • It can be made less impractical with some planning and taking advantage of dumb AI. Basically, the AI will only engage at a certain range. You can cast Storm of the Century, drop most of the enemies, and never even engage in combat.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: The player's monarch of choice gets one. The PC also gets one six months later, if Alistair or Anora were persuaded to marry him/her; it's not shown, however.
    • Whoever you pick to be king in Orzammar gets one as well, and it's really much more awesome than the human one.
  • Awful Truth: Where to begin? In fact, the farther you get into the story, the more you start to wonder if there are any truths you actually want to know. Like the fact that you may not survive the initiation process to become a Grey Warden. And if you do, you're guaranteed to succumb anyway in thirty-odd years - if you don't have to make a Heroic Sacrifice first. And that's only from the main storyline, not even including revelations like those about Flemeth...
    • And what the darkspawn do with female prisoners...
    • And where darkspawn come from...
    • And how to defeat the Archdemon...
    • And then you get to the Awakening DLC and learn how the Fifth Blight got started...

    B 
  • Baby Factory: Broodmothers.
  • Back Stab: If your rogue is melee, rest assured you are pigeonholed into this. (Although it's not entirely bad, given that a Cunning Rogue can kill an enemy faster than the game-breaking mages can.)
  • Badass Army: The Grey Wardens of yore. Even with their numbers considerably reduced today, they still fit the trope to a T, as does the dwarven Legion of the Dead.
    • In The Calling, it is revealed that when the Wardens were first banished from Ferelden, it took the entire Fereldan military to drive them out. Thousands against less than a hundred, and they very nearly won.
    • Also, the Warden's Keep DLC mentions that when King Arland's forces besieged Soldier's Peak, the Wardens held out for months before the fortress was even breached - and when it finally was, the half-starved Wardens still made them pay for every single metre taken.
    • It is worth noting that only the best and most hardened bad-asses can be recruited into the Grey Wardens, anyone else wouldn't have a chance of surviving the Joining, which is said to be the reason why the Wardens are so formidable. While the Joining grants the Wardens their supernatural powers, those powers are immunity to the taint and the ability to sense Darkspawn. All of their fighting prowess is their own.
  • Badass Boast: The Warden has a really nice one if you choose to drive out the leader of the Crimson Oars.
    Warden: Hundreds have died in my wake. You're just a number to me.
    Crimson Oars Leader: I, um... We... We were just leaving. Yes, Oars, we go to the docks!
    • Awakening too;
      Warden: "They will bow to my might."
      Guard: "Eh... Then it's good to have you here, ser."
  • Badass Creed:
    • The Grey Wardens: "In war, victory. In peace, vigilance. In death, sacrifice."
    • The Dalish Elves: "We are the Dalish: keepers of the lost lore, walkers of the lonely path. We are the last of the Elvhenan, and never again shall we submit."
  • Bad Boss: One of the Vanguard's talents in the Darkspawn Chronicles DLC is "Execute Thrall," thralls being any darkspawn directly under your command. Supposedly it's for thralls who disappoint you, but there are no repercussions for doing it completely on a whim.
  • Bad Future: The Darkspawn Chronicles DLC — it lets you re-enact the battle of Denerim from the point of view of a Darkspawn Vanguard (a sort of general-like figure), in an Alternate Universe where the player's Grey Warden did not survive their Joining, and it was left to Alistair to follow the quests the player had completed. Alistair almost manages to kill the Archdemon before being brutally slaughtered by the Vanguard.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In the Darkspawn Chronicles DLC.
    • In the Warden's Keep DLC, it's revealed that King Arland was such a despised tyrant, even the politically neutral Grey Wardens agreed to take part in a coup to remove him from power. Arland completely squashed the Rebellion and banished the Order from Ferelden for the next two centuries.
  • Bag of Sharing: The game's inventory system. As demonstrated by the part where the Grey Warden is captured, it's rather awkwardly implemented.
  • Bag of Spilling: A rare one-time-only example: when freeing Arl Eamon's child from the demon by going into the Fade, you are unable to use Fade Shapeshifting, which you were able to use in another visit to the Fade that could be completed previously. This does make sense, however, if the PC is anything other than a mage, since the Fade Shapeshifting was only available to the Warden.
    • Strangely, the Specializations seem to avert this trope: Once you unlock them (through having a teammate teach you, by buying certain tomes, etc.), any character can unlock the specialization once they get an unlock point at level 7 or 14. Yes, that includes a Warrior who never went near Andraste's Ashes with evil intentions learning the Reaver Skill Tree. Furthermore, this is not limited to a single playthrough - once you have unlocked the specializations, they remain unlocked for all playthroughs. You can even save the game, unlock the specialization, then reload your saved game and the specialization remains unlocked.
  • Bare Your Midriff: The Dalish armor on females.
  • Battle Cry
  • Battle in the Rain: Ostagar
  • Bears Are Bad News: Bears in the game come in two flavors: black bears and great bears. Considering that there is nothing supernatural about them and that they are not sentient, bears are some of the toughest enemies in the game. This is to your advantage if you play as a rogue and get the Ranger specialization, as you'll be able to summon first a black bear and eventually a great bear. Oh, the joys of slaughtering mooks with a bear at your side.
    • It gets even worse. There is a Blight-infected variant called a Bereskarn. It has spikes.
  • The Beastmaster: Rogues get a Ranger specialization for this.
  • Becoming the Mask: If you romance Morrigan, then when she proposes her ritual to defeat the Archdemon, you can ask her if this is the reason for the relationship. Tearfully, she says her feelings for you weren't part of the plan, and that even after she leaves, she will never forget your time together.
    • This is also true of any Warden that maxes out Morrigan's approval rating. When speaking with a female Warden with 100% approval after retrieving Flemeth's Grimoire, Morrigan actually gets choked up. She tells the Warden that she considers the Warden a friend, perhaps even a sister, and that she wants her to know that even if she [Morrigan] doesn't always prove worthy of that friendship, she [Morrigan] will always value it.
  • Bee Bee Gun: You can either cast a spell with this, or become a swarm of insects via Shapeshifting.
  • Beef Gate: The developers expressed intent to dissuade players from entering areas where level scaling is set to higher tiers, though it's rarely as straightforward as, for example, the bounty hunters just inside Frostback Mountains. These gates aren't insurmountable, though, and can be passed with an early effective build and a greater consumption of healing resources, so many players carried on into steepening difficulty without being aware they were supposed to change course for an easier questline. For players who later complained about the difficulty, the developers released a list of areas by gradually increasing difficulty.
  • Bee People: The darkspawn.
  • The Berserker: It's a warrior specialization.
  • Berserk Button: Don't touch Oghren's junk. Don't ever speak unkindly of Duncan (or the Wardens in general) around Alistair. And don't ever take Sten's sword.
  • Bewitched Amphibians: Mages are known for this.
    Alistair: I'd be careful. First it's "I like you," but then Zap! Frog time.
  • BFS: Any and all greatswords. They are about the length of an average human (which somehow doesn't prevent dwarves from carrying them).
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The Archdemon and Loghain, as well as Flemeth, not to mention numerous Arc Villains who are mostly Blood Mages and Demons.
  • Big Eater: All Grey Wardens go through this stage, according to what Alistair said the others told him.
  • Bi the Way: Zevran hits on you, regardless of your gender. Leliana is less direct about it, though it is easy to accidentally stumble into relationship territory without any acknowledgement, which can be quite a surprise when she springs the "I love you." If you are romancing another character (especially if you are a female Warden and didn't know a relationship with Leliana was possible), this can lead to a confrontation where Leliana demands that you choose between the two of them. Meanwhile, the completely bewildered gamer is bumbling through dialogue options that all make him or her feel like a scumbag.
    • Also Oghren's ex-wife Branka; even he remarks that he didn't know she swung that way.
  • Binding Ancient Treaty: The initial quests upon leaving the framework scenario are based on this, though it's subverted because none of the people that you have treaties with are in any condition to help you until you save them from their current problems, and after all the help you give them most of them would help you out of gratitude regardless of treaties.
  • Bishie Sparkle: The Bard abilities look exactly like this.
  • Bishonen Line: Abominations. The weakest ones, Rage and Hunger Abominations, are just monstrous mooks who can't even use magic. The Sloth Abomination looks like them, but it can actually speak coherently and is powerful enough to put your entire party to sleep, sending you to the Scrappy Level. One Desire Abomination, Connor, still looks mostly human, except for the sunken eyes. Don't be fooled - it's powerful enough to summon more demons into corpses to start a mini Zombie Apocalypse and can even Mind Control people. Uldred, a Pride Abomination, looks completely human, is able to transform other mages into Abominations using Blood Magic, and his One-Winged Angel form is one of the best bosses in the game.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Although the Archdemon is always slain by the end of the game, it inevitably comes at a price.
    • If Alistair sacrifices himself at the end, it becomes especially depressing if the PC was romancing him. He could also end up being executed by Anora if the player chooses to spare Loghain; if you persuade her not to execute him, he abandons his position as a Warden and becomes a homeless drunk, as revealed in the sequel.
    • This will always happen if the PC was in a romance with Morrigan, or was close friends with her, since she always runs off at the end no matter what. The Witch Hunt DLC provides new endings for those who romanced Morrigan, however.
    • If you refuse Morrigan's ritual and slay the Archdemon yourself, rather than have Alistair or Loghain do it, your character will die, and the game ends on a seriously gloomy note with their funeral.
    • There doesn't seem to be any way to get a very good ending for Orzammar, as none of the choices you can make seem to bring a very positive outcome for them. If you make Harrowmont king, he isolates Orzammar from the surface and tightens the oppressive caste system because the nobles give him so much trouble, and ultimately dies from being poisoned by one of them. But if you make Bhelen king, he gives the casteless rights and takes back several thaigs, at the cost of turning Orzammar into a dictatorship. He also sends assassins to hunt down and kill Harrowmont's surviving kin just because Harrowmont dared to oppose him - by the time of the sequel, Harrowmont's entire extended family has been decimated down to one nephew because of Bhelen. If you decided to not destroy the Anvil of the Void, it results in an additionally very, very negative ending for the dwarves, no matter whom you choose to make king. And if you decide to complete Brother Burkel's quest and open a Chantry in Orzammar, it too brings a really terrible end. On the other hand, refusing to do so and bringing Dagna to the Mage Tower will lead, through a series of events, to the Chantry contemplating an Exalted March against Orzammar. And that's bad. Fortunately in that latter case, the events of Dragon Age II will likely cut any efforts at organizing an Exalted March short, considering the Templars and Circles are now at war.
    • It is actually possible to get a rather good ending for Orzammar, but only under very specific circumstances, and the choices required are such a case of Guide Dang It that when you learn what you need to do, it'll make your head spin. For starters, your race of all things is essential; if you're not a dwarf, you can't get much of a good ending for the dwarves. You also need to not sacrifice yourself to slay the Archdemon. This is because at the end, your Warden must be alive to ask the new ruler to send reinforcements to the Dwarves as their "boon". Non-dwarves can't ask for this, mostly because there's no reason for them to overly care about it. Second, you've got to put Bhelen on the throne, even though in one of the origins he back-stabbed you and framed you for your brother's murder; siding with him makes multiple NPCs harshly question your judgement, considering that Harrowmont was actually pretty kind and forgiving to you during your origin. However, since Harrowmont ends up oppressing the Casteless even further, and Bhelen ends up freeing them provided they join the fight to reclaim the Deep Roads, the situation works out, even if Bhelen does end up becoming a dictator as a result of his reforms. Lastly, you've got to destroy the Anvil of the Void, so that Branka won't go power-mad and also so Bhelen won't try to remove his political enemies by sending them to her forge, much like Caridin and his King before. The good news is that if you do manage to follow all these very specific, non-intuitive steps, the result is that your dwarf is named a Paragon, the oppressive caste system is dissolved, and the dwarves manage to reclaim almost the entire Deep Roads right up to the very gates of the Dead Trenches themselves.
  • Black and Gray Morality: Unlike almost every other Bioware RPG, this one has no Karma Meter. Individual characters will like or dislike you based on personal preference, but the game itself does not judge your actions. You can choose some actions of extremely questionable morality, and some of the moral quandaries you must face are rather complex.
  • Black Blood: Strangely averted, for whatever reason. While several characters will comment on how black the tainted blood of the darkspawn is, the battle effects are always red.
    • When speaking to Carroll at the docks of Lake Calenhad, he tries to get you to prove you are a Grey Warden by, among other things, asking if it's true that darkspawn blood is black. You have the option to tell him that "It's not black, but it burns when it touches you." What makes this rather strange is the fact that the novel The Calling describes darkspawn blood repeatedly as "black ichor". (Of course, it's entirely possible that your Warden is just messing with Carroll.)
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The women of the party. Wynne has white hair; Morrigan's is black; Leliana is a redhead. Played even more straight if the Warden is female and blonde.
  • Blood Magic: A specialty available to mages.
    • Warriors unlock the Reaver specialization by drinking dragon's blood.
    • The Grey Wardens drink a cocktail of lyrium, darkspawn blood, and Archdemon blood at their initiation to gain their unique abilities.
    • In the Warden's Keep DLC, the Blood Mage Grey Warden Avernus has figured out how to weaponize the darkspawn taint. One manifestation of this is the ability to spew blood like a fire hose at your foes, having roughly the same effect as turning a fire hose would on most humans: putting them squarely on their asses.
  • Bloody Murder: The Reaver specializations, as well as the Power of Blood talents you can learn in the Warden's Keep DLC. And, of course, Blood Magic.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: This is possibly the first game to feature persistent blood splatter on character models; it's certainly very visceral compared to other BioWare RPGs. You're going to see quite a bit of it flying through the air, too, moreso if you took a skill which involves weaponizing blood.
  • Body Horror:
    • Abominations.
    • The Broodmother.
    • In Golems of Amgarrak, the Harvester is a flesh golem made from the corpses of multiple casteless dwarves. It grows more powerful by brutally murdering people and adding their flesh to its own.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Alistair reminisces about a Grey Warden named Gregor... Besides being "the biggest man you ever saw" with a beard worthy of a Dwarf (or so you hear), the man could reportedly drink any other Grey Warden under the table, and make Duncan crack up laughing when he drinks everyone under the table in a bet where he had a 2:1 drinking disadvantage.
    • Oghren counts as one within the party as well, though he's not quite as boisterous as most examples.
  • Bonus Boss: The Revenants, Gaxkang, the sundered Fade Beast, and any instance of a High Dragon.
  • Book Ends: Concluding a Dalish Elf warden's career with the Witch Hunt DLC results in the character's story beginning and ending with an eluvian.
  • Boomerang Bigot: There is one mage in the Circle who begs the Maker's forgiveness just for existing. She wants the Templars to kill all mages, as it's the only thing they deserve. Being a mage is a punishment, after all.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • On Normal at least, one of the easiest and simplest ways to take down Bonus Boss Gaxkang is to just have Sten and Oghren beat the crap out of him after mastering Two-Handed Weapon feats, including Stunning Blows.
    • Mages can use Mana Clash to devastate NPC mages. (Even a couple mage-class bosses will go down in one blast.)
    • Spoony complained that he spent the entirety of the game using the Walking Bomb technique and its variants to kill everything but the bosses.
  • Breast Plate: Mostly averted/justified.
    • Massive plate armor, which has no difference between male and female models except in shoulder width, thoroughly averts this trope.
    • Medium and heavy armor, which is made of different kind of mails (splint, scale, chain) justifies it, as the material is supposed to be flexible and could very well be form fitting without sacrificing protective qualities, and they don't show any cleavage whatsoever.
    • Light armor shows plenty of cleavage and plays this trope straight, especially the Dalish armor. It's made of deerskin, bares the wearer's midriff, and offers more protection and flexibility than a full suit of leather armor.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Many of the abilities and loot from the game's many add-ons are head-and-shoulders above all but the most elite gear from the base game. Examples include one of the strongest massive armors in the game (and surprisingly cheap), and a very effective mage-only nuke that costs a mere 20 hit points and no mana.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: You can end the Blight for good... but one of the Grey Wardens has to die or else father a baby that will steal Cthulhu's soul.
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • You'd think those punks will know by now that you really live up to your reputation. As the good Sgt. Kylon said in Denerim:
      To the Warden: And people attack you voluntarily?
    • You can see it as early as your first visit to Lothering, where you can easily intimidate an entire bandit gang to run away by just mentioning that you're Grey Wardens. Their leader tries to be cocky even after that, but his slow-sounding henchman's constant reiterations about how he heard that the Grey Wardens are "really, really good [at fighting]" take the wind out of his sails really quickly. You can even demand a donation from them to the Wardens. (You can demand too much, refuse to do anything but kill them, or decide to turn in any survivors to the Templars, at which point they figure they might as well fight to the death anyway.)
      • Alternatively, if you've chosen the mage class, you can inform them of this fact. The dull henchman's reaction this time? "I-I don't want to be a toad!"
    • Lampshaded again in Dragon Age II. You can meet Zevran, the elf assassin from Dragon Age: Origins, assuming you didn't import a save from that game in which you chose to kill him for attempting to assassinate you. You are given a mission by some Antivan Crows (the order to which Zevran belonged) posing as nobles to take him out, but once Zevran tells you the truth about them, you can choose to team up with him against his hunters. Once the Crows attack you, Zevran will comment that he can't understand why mooks like them think they can defeat people like you and the Warden.
  • Burn The Orphanage: The "Something Wicked" quest.
  • But Thou Must: If you don't voluntarily become a Grey Warden, you'll be conscripted. The game lets you rail against this.
    • Uldred gives you a choice: death, or be willing host to a demon. With the power you've displayed, you would be, in his words, unstoppable. While most players obviously wouldn't choose the option that turns them into nightmarish demon-hybrids, the three replies available are paraphrased as follows: "Never!", "No", and "I'm all right, thank you."
    • While you can be a quite an asshole as you go about it, you have to stop the Blight, and complete a number of other typical RPG quests to do so — even if it's not something the type of character you want to play would be particularly interested in doing. Of course, no matter how evil you play your character, the whole "genocide" aspect of the darkspawn's plan is rather negative towards them.
    • On the other hand, the game also gives you a surprising amount of leeway sometimes. Defending Redcliffe against the undead horde? You can absolutely tell the villagers to fuck off and die (the latter quite literally).

    C 
  • Call a Count an Arl: The titles of nobility in the game are all somewhat unique, aside from "King" and "Queen."
    • This is mostly Phantasy Spelling. Earl (largely equivalent to Count in any case) becomes Arl, whereas Baron and Thegn get mixed and divided into Teyrn and Bann. It counts for forms of address as well as titles, with Sir and Sirrah becoming Ser and Serah.
      • Although the position of Teyrn is closer to that of a Duke than a Thegn.
    • Somewhat justified in the case of Bann, at least - Ban is actually a noble title used in southeastern Europe.
  • Call Reception Area: Played very much straight in the Dalish origin.
  • Camera Screw
  • Can't Drop The Hero: Played straight except for four small parts. In each instance, you play as the active character instead of the Warden.
    • If/when someone goes into the Fade to rescue Arl Eamon's son from a demon, the trope may be subverted because it must be a mage who does it. If the Warden is a warrior or a rogue, you must select from the pool of available mages to play instead - depending on your previous choices in the game, this will be either Wynne, Morrigan, First Enchanter Irving, or Jowan.
    • If the Warden is captured by/surrenders to Ser Cauthrien and is imprisoned in Fort Drakon, you have the option to either break yourself out or select two characters to perform a daring rescue.
    • The Combat by Champion scene described below, should you choose to appoint a different character to duel Loghain on the Warden's behalf.
    • During the final battle, all companions who do not accompany you to confront the Archdemon will remain at the gate and Hold the Line.
  • Cast from Hit Points: The mechanic of Blood Magic.
  • Cat Fight: A male Warden daring or unlucky enough to romance both Leliana and Morrigan can expect to witness several examples of very tense moments between the two that end just short of actual violence.
  • The Champion: Not only is 'Champion' an unlockable specialization, but after Arl Eamon recovers from his illness, he declares the entire party "Champions of Redcliffe."
    • Combat by Champion: If the Landsmeet votes against Loghain, he will demand to face you in honorable combat in one last desperate bid for the throne. You may choose to let Alistair duel him in your stead, or ask one of your other two present companions to do it. (You still play as whoever fights Loghain.) Note that whomever you select as your champion must be humanoid. If Dog is in the group and you attempt to select him, Arl Eamon has an amusing line in which he makes you pick someone else.
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: Seen in the Human Noble origin. When Castle Cousland is invaded, the PC is asleep, but Dog awakens him/her. It's very clear that s/he is wearing only underwear as someone bursts into the room to announce that the castle is under siege. Less than a moment later, the PC is fully armored and armed and ready to fight. Very considerate of the invaders to give you time to get dressed before trying to kill you.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Remember that "Trickster Spirit" you summoned in the Circle Tower? Turns out that may not have been the best idea.
    • If something happened during your origin story, rest assured you will have to deal with it later.
    • Uldred, the psychopathic mage behind the chaos that hits the Circle, makes a brief appearance at Ostagar. He only gets a single line before being shouted down by one of the Chantry's Revered Mothers.
    • You can also meet Wynne while at Ostagar, and have a pleasant conversation with her.
  • Childhood Friends: Jowan and the Warden mage. Presumably this is an attempt to make the player feel more inclined to go along with his dangerous plan. You can even try to defend him by invoking this.
  • City Guards
  • Class and Level System
  • Clingy Costume: Dwarves who are made into golems can't remove the armour they're given, at least not after the molten lyrium is poured in with them.
  • Clip Its Wings: During the Final Battle, Riordan sacrifices his life to ruin the draconic Archdemon's wing, robbing it of flight capability and thus allowing your party to engage and kill it on the ground.
  • Combat Medic: While not required, mages can simultaneously become the best healers and damagers in the game.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Rogues. Rogues get skills like Below The Belt and Dirty Fighting. All of the specializations are examples, as well - assassins are obvious, bards are the universe's spies, rangers are noted as being happy to use their environment to kill enemies for them, and duelists emphasize speed and defense and quick, lethal strikes.
  • Come with Me If You Want to Live: At the end of every Origin chapter version, the player character is rescued by Duncan from a threatening situation and more or less willingly joins the Grey Wardens. The situation is particularly life-threatening in the Human Noble, Dwarf Noble, and Dalish Elf origins.
    • Notably, the other origin stories happen regardless of the origin you choose; Duncan just isn't there to save them...
    • There is a possible exception in the Mage Origin: if you decided to snitch on Jowan and Lily to First Enchanter Irving, you will not be under any threat whatsoever at the end of the quest and Duncan will have to outright invoke the Right of Conscription to get you.
  • Comic Book Time: It's mentioned early by Wynne in a conversation, if you're a Mage, that it's been a year since you were recruited by the Grey Wardens.
    • Alistair causes an example of this. You can woo him anytime you like, be it at the beginning of the game or practically before the end... that said, the rose from Lothering he will give you as a gift will still be fresh as the day he picked it... back in Lothering, which most players never go back to after the first visit and it's destroyed by darkspawn after the player finishes one of their major plot missions.
    • In Lothering, the helpful bartender at the inn tells you that King Endrin of Orzammar has recently died. When you get to Orzammar, the door guard tells you Endrin died "not three weeks ago." Dagna makes an offhand mention that the Circle Tower is two and a half weeks away from Orzammar. And Lothering is farther away from Orzammar than the Tower is. So unless you leave for Orzammar immediately after leaving Lothering, it's impossible to get there in time for the timeline to make any sense at all.
  • Commonplace Rare: Inverted. Dragons are supposedly very rare in The Verse. The current Age was named the Dragon Age because it was preceded by the first sighting of a High Dragon in centuries. If you bring drake scales to Wade, he will tell you that most blacksmiths go their entire lives without ever seeing even one. And yet, by the end of the game, every piece of leather armor on the market will be made of drakeskin. Further, two out of three weapons and pieces of heavy or massive armor will be made out of dragonbone. And by the time you get to Awakening, it will be turned Up to Eleven: leather goods will be made out of dragon wing or even High Dragon hide (even if no one slew a High Dragon in Origins).
    • Even though an Archdemon isn't considered a dragon, they look similar enough that it's possible their hide is the same, so regardless, someone slew a high dragon.
  • Compensating for Something: Either Morrigan or Sten can make a crack about this upon first encountering the Tower of Magi.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Orzammar is full of molten magma; it's underground, after all. Seems to be popular with dwarven cities nowadays.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: The Darkspawn are, as a whole, pretty badass and dangerous opponents for the beginning, middle, and later parts of the game. However, once the massive horde assaults Denerim and the Warden's army arrives to fight them, the Warden and his/her team will be killing the various darkspawn mooks in one or two hits.
    • Played with. At least half the darkspawn you face in Denerim are labeled as Genlock/Hurlock Grunts... which apparently is synonymous with "One-Hit-Point Wonder."
  • Contract on the Hitman: Zevran will be targeted by the Crows if the Warden spares him. While Master Ignatio doesn't act against Zevran, declaring him to be dead in his eyes, Zevran's old comrade Taliesen will track him down and make him a final offer: rejoin the Crows or die. If Zevran's loyalty is high enough, he will fight against Taliesen at your side. How Zevran's battle with the Crows is resolved depends on whether or not the Warden sacrifices him/herself. If the Warden lives, Zevran will continue to fight and evade the Crows as best he can while living his life which is apparently canon in Dragon Age II. If the Warden dies, Zevran will return to Antiva and single-handedly take over the Crows and become their new Grand Master. His epilogue questions whether this counts as a victory or a defeat.
  • Corpse Land: The Blightlands and the Deep Roads, sites of long-term darkspawn occupation, have been rendered desolate wastelands where nothing can survive without succumbing to their taint. Corpses in the areas will not rot because even the bacteria necessary for the process are killed.
  • The Corruption: The dwarven scavenger Ruck demonstrates the mental decay of someone living off of darkspawn flesh, and Oghren offers more details on their health decay. This does give them the ability to detect the taint of the darkspawn, including that of the Wardens. The Warden can reflect on the disturbing implications of Ruck's description of it.
  • Cosmetic Award
  • Creepy Child: The little boy in Haven. Everything in the Alienage orphanage. Also the girl in Honnleath. "Kitty..."
  • Creepy Monotone: Done hilariously nonsensically if you choose to let the desire demon (Kitty) possess the girl in Honnleath. Whereas previously both the girl and Kitty had a proper, normal range of expressive intonation, after the possession, the possessed girl suddenly enters a Creepy Monotone.
    • Also touched upon by Shale when asked why it doesn't really act like other golems:
      Shale: Should I talk in a monotone? Yes, master. I exist to serve the master. I shall kill for the master and only the master.
    • This is an identifying trait of the Tranquils, regularly lampshaded.
    • The Sloth Demon has one.
    • Hespith. Especially her poem: "First day, they come and catch everyone. Second day, they beat us and eat some for meat. Third day..."
  • Critical Hit
  • Critical Staffing Shortage: The Grey Warden force in Ferelden is dangerously small for two reasons. In the Back Story, the Wardens were banished from the country by a Fereldan king after a rogue Warden-Commander raised a rebellion against him; they were only allowed back 30 years before game begins. Furthermore, in the first story mission of Origins, most Fereldan Warden recruits are killed by the darkspawn horde when the paranoid general Loghain leaves them and the reigning king to die, thus leaving the country mostly unprepared to fight The Horde.
  • Crystal Prison
  • The Cuckoo Lander Was Right: In between his frenzied ranting, the Chasind Doomsayer outside of the Lothering Chantry turns on the Warden and accuses them of being tainted with the same evil as that of the Darkspawn. Given the nature of the Joining Ritual, he's completely right, although it's never explained how he knew this or was able to recognise a Grey Warden on sight.
  • Cursed with Awesome: If you're a Circle mage, and you survive the Harrowing, you're one of the most powerful and feared people in Thedas, able to alternately heal or slaughter people at will. Granted, there are some social restrictions, but they hardly compare to the phenomenal cosmic power. This is precisely why the Chantry employs an army of knights specifically trained and equipped to kill any mage who gets uppity about their near-slave status.
    • It's even worse for Qunari mages.
    • Being a Grey Warden has a lot of perks, but some heavy downsides.
  • Cutscene Drop: So many times. Particularly annoying considering how much the game talks about tactics and carefully positioning your party members to set up ambushes, only to teleport your Squishy Wizard right into the fray before every major battle. This is highly disruptive of rogue/trapping tactics, as the cutscene trigger exposes hiding characters as all are teleported in from what could be half-way across the map from where the active character is scouting — for a rogue to expose themselves like this is equivalent to a cutscene throwing the sword-and-board warrior's shield away, and reflects a tactical stupidity that is never even lampshaded in the cutscenes.
  • Cycle of Revenge: The quest "The Nature of the Beast" requires you to either break or support one of these.
    • Due to Arl Howe's betrayal and brutal murder of most of the Couslands, the Human Noble Warden can decide whether or not to engage in one of these. Later in Awakening, the Warden can follow through on a threat to murder the members of Howe's family in retaliation by executing Nathaniel Howe when he is caught attempting to assassinate the Warden.
      • On the other hand, it's entirely possible to avert this, playing the Warden as simply seeking revenge on just Arl Howe himself. In Awakening the Warden can decide to recruit Nathaniel into the Wardens instead of executing him, then befriend him and inspire him to redeem his family's name after he realizes the extent of his father's crimes. One possible epilogue reveals that Nathaniel even rescues the Warden's brother from bandits and the Howes are returned some of their lands, ending the bad blood between the families.

    D 
  • Damned by Faint Praise: You can kill Jowan with this. Say something that's barely nice about Jowan ("Well, he's trying to be a better person, I guess?"), Arl Eamon will say this trope word for word.
  • Damsel out of Distress: The Female City Elf. Vaughn recognizes this, as he orders two guards to escort you to his chambers, but only after your hands are bound first. Then Soris appears and slides a sword across the floor to you. Cue the reaction of the guards. "Oh... sod." You then proceed to slaughter your way through the castle, save the other women taken, and effectively rescue yourself.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Blood magic.
  • Darker and Edgier: Origins is already very dark, Awakening darker still. Golems of Amgarrak is even more so.
    • Which makes Witch Hunt Mood Whiplash, what with it being the last DLC, and the return of lighthearted banter between your party members and the assorted Harry Potter references at the Tower of Magi. Also, if you didn't smile at being reunited with your Mabari hound, you have no soul, and it's also the only DLC/expansion with the potential for an unapologetically happy ending.
  • Deadly Upgrade: The Joining. Death will come immediately or thirty years later, depending at least partially on luck.
  • Deal with the Devil: Mage characters can negotiate with a demon for access to Blood Magic in return for allowing the demon to possess a child; though you can renege on your promise by bullying the demon afterwards. In addition, many other demons can be bargained with for various things. Not all of them betray you, either.
    • Incidentally, you can betray many of the demons you make a deal with, with no worse consequences than having to fight with them.
    • And those players who bargained with the demon for Blood Magic, only to feel bad about the cost and reload a previous save, found that Blood Magic was still unlocked, and they could go ahead and make the "good" choice anyway.
    • With a high enough coercion skill, your "deal" can basically amount to "I'll let you live if you null your deal with the kid and teach me blood magic". But only if the Player character is a mage and can make the deal with the demon themselves.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: The game heavily deconstructs the "fantasy hero" genre, adding realistic and unpleasant politics and bigotry to the fantasy setting, and making moral choices complicated and difficult. At several points, you have the option between doing what is good and doing what, ultimately, will best help save the world.
  • Deflector Shields: The Mage's Arcane Shield (boosts Defense) and the Arcane Warrior's Shimmering Shield (boosts damn near everything). And yes, you can have both on at the same time. Prior to a recent PC patch, the Shimmering Shield was bugged and didn't drain mana when in use. This was fixed with the patch, but it's still overpowered.
  • Degraded Boss: The very first boss you'll fight is an Ogre at the top of the tower in Ostagar, and it's going to take everything you have to slay him. Later, they'll become a somewhat more regular enemy (though still one of the rarer Darkspawn), especially in the Deep Roads and finale.
    • By about halfway through Awakening, Elite Ogres become an elaborate speed bump.
    • The High Dragon in Origins is the second-toughest boss in the game. In Awakening, you face one again in The Very Definitely Final Dungeon that goes down without much trouble (although, due to a bug, the game may record it as the most powerful foe slain, even though it definitely isn't).
  • Dénouement: Origins has one of the best Denouements ever in a video game.
  • Detachable Lower Half: The Harvester in Golems of Amgarrak.
  • Deus Sex Machina: Morrigan's solution to the Someone Has to Die problem in the endgame involves having the male PC, Alistair, or Loghain impregnating her.
  • Difficult but Awesome: The Blood Mage specialization, both because the Mage base class is designed to be a Squishy Wizard with low health and because using Blood Magic (the power that allows you to Cast from Hit Points) before you've learned Blood Sacrifice (which allows you to replenish your health by leeching off of your teammates) is an excellent way to kill the caster, since Blood Magic Nerfs all other healing effects. If you manage to master the specialization, though, the caster will be able to cast many more spells before running dry than a normal mage would ever be able to, and will eventually gain access to Blood Wound, which is probably the single most powerful spell in the game.
  • Difficulty Spike: If you go to a high level area such as Orzammar or Denerim immediately after leaving Lothering.
  • Disaster Democracy: Twice, with the dwarves and humans.
  • Disc One Final Dungeon: Ostagar. It obviously isn't the final dungeon, though. The game is just getting started!
  • Disc One Nuke:
    • If the Dwarf Noble makes certain choices in his/her Origin story, he/she can leave for Ostagar with nearly 30 sovereigns — a ridiculous amount of money that other characters won't have for a good chunk of the game. The Dwarf Noble gets a huge discount and excellent resale value from a certain merchant (Gorim) in Denerim, which means even more money. This makes buying the best equipment in the game as soon as it becomes available much easier. The Dwarf Noble also receives a powerful shield from Gorim free of charge that no other character can obtain. The Dwarf Noble is effectively the "Easy" Mode, at least for non-mage characters.
    • Promo items often take the form of various disc one nukes, as they provide all sorts of silly bonuses that are excessively powerful for your character's level. (At least the Blood Dragon Armor will take you a while to get to use due to Strength requirement and expense...)
      • Of particular note is the Reaper's Cudgel, which, while a solid weapon on its own, the real nuke is in its resale value- it can be sold for an absolutely nuts price of over 330 gold sovereigns!note  Sell it at the first merchant you find, and you can buy literally everything the first few shopkeepers you encounter have in their stock, should you wish. (For reference, most of the other promo/DLC items sell for perhaps 5 gold sovereigns max.) Perhaps a fitting reward, since you only get it by beating a very difficult DLC boss on Hard or Nightmare difficulty.
    • Then there are gearing tricks that can get silly. Give your Mage 16 strength and you can run around Ostagar in a full medium armor set (12 for leather). Add a Stone Skin self-buff (and maybe Rock Salves for overkill) and you will want enemies to attack your mage.
      • This is more of an issue with the mage class itself. In particular, when choosing the Arcane Warrior specialization, going for heavy armor and adding a few defensive sustainables on top of that, a mage can become ridiculously hard to kill. They can get better defenses and resistances than anyone else in the game, including a sword and board warrior. They can even become quite capable melee fighters, all while having unbelievable defenses, high hit points, and the ability to throw around devastating spells and healing.
    • Any area-of-effect spell on Easy, but in particular the third- and fourth-tier cold spell.
    • Completing Witch Hunt allows the player to bring both the Sorrows of Arlathan bow and Vestments of the Seer robes with them on subsequent playthroughs of the main game. The former is a massively-powerful bow but at least is limited by the dexterity requirements, while the latter is the best set of robes in the game, and has no requirements. A starting mage won't ever be changing clothes unless you opt for the Arcane Warrior specialization.
    • If you complete the Warden's Keep DLC as quickly as possible, then the Warden Commander's armor will be useless by the end of the game (it's Tier 4, when the best armor in the original game is Tier 7) unless you employ a trick to upgrade by either leaving it in the party chest and leaving/reentering Soldier's Peak on console, or by selling it to Mikhael Dryden, then leaving/reentering the Peak and buying it back if playing on PC. However, you will get an event in which you recover a meteorite, which you can then have forged into a one- or two-handed sword. Starfang is bar none the best sword in the game, occupying its own tier (which eventually shows up as Tier 9 in Awakening), and you can start the process of getting it as soon as you leave Lothering.
    • Getting Cone of Cold, which can be obtained relatively early, gives the mage a power that can even freeze the Archdemon in place. One strategy involving the spell has the player keeping the big bosses and semi-bosses in place while the tank takes on the boss and the rest clean up after him.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Hespith. The result of being broken both by circumstances and Branka's obsession isn't pretty. And she speaks in a highly Creepy Monotone. There's also the fact that she's in the initial stage of turning into a Broodmother.
  • Distracted By The Shiny: The purpose of the Lure traps. Description of the Glamour Charm required to make them:
    This minor magical charm captures the viewer's attention and distra... ooo, pretty...
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: So there's a gigantic church with a prophet betrayed by one of her closest disciples, of which the symbol of her death becomes the symbol of the religion, filled with Inquisitors and Templars, and in which only a specific sex can usually preside over church services.
  • Double Entendre:
    • Have you ever licked a lamppost in winter?
      • In Awakening, there's a staff named Lamppost in Winter. The item description says that licking it would not be advisable.
    • Zevran employs this occasionally, when he's not being blatantly obvious.
      Zevran: The thing I miss most about Antiva is its leather.
      Warden: Is that some kind of euphemism?
    • In romancing Alistair, he will at one point give the Female PC a rose, stating that it reminds him of her. She can reply "Feeling thorny, are we?"
    • There's quite a bit of this in general if you're looking, obviously in Party Romances, but also particularly where the Warden can flirt with or seduce NPCs. (Example of the latter is Isabela in the Pearl. "Can we go back to your ship? I'd love to see what's below deck.")
    • Oghren gets a pretty good one early in Awakening, upon discovering a ghoul equipped with his stolen gear.
      Oghren: No one touches Oghren's junk and lives!
  • Doing in the Wizard : If you take Oghren with you on the "Urn of Sacred Ashes" quest, he'll mention the high amounts of lyrium in the mountain and temple, and that the urn's healing properties might be from centuries of exposure. This is one of many arguments in the game (Morrigan makes a few) that the Maker might not be real.
    • Similarly, while Wynne is a believer, she initially notes that the Gauntlet is practically brimming with magic.
  • Downer Ending: The overall ending to the main story arc is always bittersweet, but due to there being many smaller Multiple Endings, some specific places or people that you tried to help during the story usually only get this.
  • Dracolich: The Queen of the Blackmarsh, an electro-ghost dragon from another dimension.
  • Dragon Hoard: A few dragons, most of them optional bosses, have a lot of treasure to be plundered afterwards. Some of them are actually called "Dragon Hoard".
  • Dream Spying
  • Drop the Hammer: Mauls are one subset of two-handed weapons and they have the best armor penetration ratings. The Chasind Great Maul is one of the most powerful (and expensive) weapons in the game.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Maleficars, mages who embraced demon magics, tend to go this route.
  • Dual Wielding: Rogues and Warriors can do this. Technically, so can a Mage, but it's only really worth doing with the right specialization.
  • Duel Boss: Teyrn Loghain at the Landsmeet. Also, a knight challenges you to this when you arrive in Denerim. If you decide to fight him one on one, his underlings will compliment your honor.
  • Dug Too Deep: Inverted/parody: Hidden at the very far end of the ruins in the Dalish origin is a small statue. Clicking on it gives the message "A strange statue commemorating the emergence of - and short-lived trading relationship with - dwarves, who dug too high and too frugal and struck elves." Clicking on it also spawns some skeletons to attack you.
  • Dummied Out: The Human Commoner origin. It was cut sometime during mid-late development, but many bits and pieces from it, including fully voice recorded but unused dialogue, can be found within the game and in the toolset. A Human Barbarian origin was also cut, much earlier.
  • Dump Stat: Magic for a non-mage, although potions and the Reaver's Devour ability do get some bonuses from it. Strength, and to a lesser extent Dexterity, for Mages. Constitution and Willpower are sorta dump stats thanks to all the potions you can chug (though Stamina restoration potions don't show up until the expansion for some reason).
  • Dungeon Bypass:
    • Mage origin: When you need to get the form signed, just ask Senior Enchanter Sweeney and you won't need to clear out the spiders. (If you do it afterwards anyway, you get potions instead.)
    • Redcliffe: You can just choose to not rescue the village.
    • Redcliffe castle: Kill Connor and you skip a Fade sequence. Although said Fade sequence is actually easier than killing him, and certainly not as annoying as the other one from the "Broken Circle" quest.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Whoever kills the Archdemon gets one, if you refuse the dark ritual.
    • Even if you are a clueless idiot, the epilogue slide where Sten returns to Par Vallon (if you have enough approval with him) really drives it home. When asked by his people if he met anyone worthy of respect on his travels, he replies, "One." By dying to stop the Blight, you have earned the rank of Basalit-an (literally, an outsider worthy of respect) among the Qunari.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Pretty much every party member you can recruit in this game has a major psychological trauma or three in their past (or in some cases their present). This is how you can tell in Awakening that Mhairi is a Mauve Shirt: she's not dysfunctional.

    E 
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: If you work very hard, you'll be able to get one of these. However, there are many other... not that happy outcomes.
  • Easily Forgiven: Rampant throughout the main quest storyline. Count the number of times that, after you have slaughtered your way throughout an entire dungeon of a particular enemy race or group, the leader of that race or group will come out and offer to team up with you. You can even call Father Kolgrim on it when he offers to proclaim you Andraste's champion after you've slaughtered about two-thirds of his followers.
  • Easing Into the Adventure: The point of the origin stories, except for the Mage Origin, which begins with a short dungeon.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Averted, notable for the reasons: The developers have said that 'Hard' mode was the intended base difficulty for gamers, but that's never suggested in the game or game materials. There are no benefits or penalties for playing any difficulty mode, nor any Achievements related to them in the main game. However, the Golems of Amgarrak and Witch Hunt DLC do have achievements for beating their final bosses on 'Hard' or 'Nightmare' modes.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Rage Demons (which are made of fire) are weak against ice attacks.
  • Elves VS Dwarves:
    • Spoofed by Zevran and Oghren:
      Zevran: Hello, my stocky little friend!
      Oghren: Huh. You got small breasts for a gal.
      Zevran: Ah. This is where we begin the typical dwarven/elven rivalry, is it?
      Oghren: Nahhh.
      • Oghren goes as far as admitting that he thinks Zevran is all right. The elf promptly deadpans that he's got to be drunk.
    • Dwarves might not be rivals with elves in DA, but an elf Warden walking around Orzammar will get a lot of odd comments from its citizens.
    • Also seen in the conflict between the high and mighty cultured Orlesians (described as "painted fops" by Fereldans) and the honorable, salt-of-the-earth freedom-loving Fereldans (described as "one bad day away from barbarism" by the Orlesians).
      • Of course, once you realise that Orzammar is in Ferelden, and the Dales were in Orlais...
  • Empathy Doll Shot: There's a doll in the elven Alienage apartments, and its description makes sure to emphasize how well-worn and loved it is.
  • Ending Theme: "This Is War", by 30 Seconds to Mars. Maybe they should have saved this song for Dragon Age 3, considering that the second sequel will most likely deal with the fallout of the war that the Champion inadvertently caused.
  • End of an Age: The gist of Morrigan's warning in Witch Hunt. The sequel shows what she was talking about.
  • The End... Or Is It?: The last shot of The Golems of Amgarrak is dozens — maybe hundreds — of Harvesters escaping the thaig's destruction and scuttling off into the Deep Roads.
  • Entendre Failure: Occurs between Alistair and Zevran during a conversation with Shale.
    Zevran: Here, take that Templar fellow. Rugged good looks, quick wit, manly shoulders. Just getting him to hop borders is a challenge worthy of the great heroes.
    Alistair: A challenge? I'd happily hop borders, given the chance. I've never even been close to leaving Ferelden.
    • There's also this little gem possible for either male or female Wardens:
      Leliana: But now it's getting late. I think I might... turn in early. I can't help thinking about how soft and warm my bedroll is.
      Warden: You don't want to talk to me anymore?
      Leliana: Of course I do. You know I enjoy your company. But... it's getting a little chilly, and I prefer to be in my bedroll.
      Warden: Well, I shan't keep you.
      Leliana: You know, it'd be nice if you came with me.
      Warden: What for?
      Leliana: So I can show you my collection of pressed flowers... obviously.
      Warden: I didn't know you collected pressed flowers.
      Leliana: I... don't. Stop pretending you don't know what I want!
      Warden: I have no idea what's going on.
      Leliana: Ah, the games you play. Listen, I want to spend the night with you. There. I said it.
    • There's also the option to say (in reply to her turning early):
      Warden: I'm going to stay up and write in my journal.
      Leliana: Oh, maybe you could come into my tent and I could watch you write? "Dear Journal... Leliana has shown much affection for me. Even asked me to come to bed with her, but alas, subtlety is lost on me."
      Warden: Wait, what?
  • Eternal English: Averted. It appears that the Dwarven language has undergone some minor changes since the time of the First Blight, as all modern Dwarves use "Astrast Tunsha"note  as a farewell, while Paragon Caridin uses the more archaic form, "Astrast Nal Tunsha".
  • Evil Empire: Once again, the old Tevinter Imperium had all the brutality of the Romans (that's saying a lot) plus Blood Magic. (The modern Tevinter Empire isn't much better.)
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Suprisingly common for a fantasy setting. Avernus, The Architect, Zathrian, the Dwarf/Tevinter Mage partnership who built Amgarrak ...suffice it to say that once you hear of someone "experimenting" with magic, you know it won't end well.
  • Escort Mission: There are several missions where you have to keep NPCs alive to get good rewards.
  • Eternally Pearly-White Teeth: Subverted - almost everyone, peasants and royalty alike, seem to have yellowed teeth, which is fairly realistic considering the equivalent technology level.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Zevran mentions that the Antivan Crows were reluctant to take a contract on the Grey Wardens; even in Antiva, the killing of Wardens is considered 'impolitic'. Ignacio later tells a PC who has completed several contracts for the Crows that the only reason they took the job is because they thought Loghain had a better chance of defeating the darkspawn.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Everyone in the game calls you "Warden" and refers to you solely as "the Warden", with few exceptions. Nobody ever addresses you by your first name. (Probably because you get to pick your name yourself, when first setting up your character.) However, the Human Noble and Dwarf Noble are frequently referenced by their surnames (Cousland and Aeducan, respectively), since they have relevance to the plot.
    • Lampshaded in Dragon Age II during Alistair's cameo. Bann Teagan says that they should be getting back to Denerim to see the Warden, and as they are leaving, Alistair responds, "You're always so formal. She/He has a name, you know."
  • Everything Fades: Halfway played straight. All bodies fade away into low-polygon bones and junk, which remain when you return. Averted when your return to Ostagar to find the king's body perfectly intact, but that is given a codex explanation: evidently, the darkspawn taint is so fatal to living things that it even kills the parasites that would normally break down dead tissue. (And of course, when you return, it's winter, which would further stave off decomposition.)
  • Exposition Fairy: The Warden ends up taking this role in the Warden's Keep DLC and explaining various things to Levi Dryden, such as the reason for the "ghosts" at Soldier's Peak and why the Grey Wardens were practicing Blood Magic.

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