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Dragon Age Origins: Tropes F to K


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    F 
  • Fan Disservice:
    • In spite of Morrigan otherwise looking pretty damn hot and the overall sexy factor, context makes the Dark Ritual (if you choose to go through with it) somewhat Squicky. It's also worse if you're a female character and are romancing Alistair, in which case, he has to do the ritual - and the game forces you to watch (well, until it blacks out). Even if you're a female who didn't romance Alistair, the scene is made incredibly uncomfortable by the fact that he looks terrified when Morrigan joins him in bed.
      • It doesn't help that Alistair and Morrigan pretty much hate each other.
    • Every Broodmother, up to and including The Mother in Awakening, qualifies as in-universe disservice, as even the typically lecherous Oghren is Squicked out by her.
  • Fantastic Honorifics: Both the gender-neutral "ser" version and a few more unique variants among the elves and the qunari. Unfortunately, we don't have very much detail on the latter two.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Humans look down on elves. The Dalish are believed to be nothing but gypsy troublemakers, while the Alienage elves are treated as second-class citizens at best.
      • Subverted from the usual styles of the trope, however, in that most humans merely don't like elves and/or are ignorant of their ways. If told of the true plight of the elven Alienage, most humans react with utter horror at the conditions there. This comes to a head if the Warden reveals that Loghain's been selling elves into slavery — though this is partly due to Fereldan pride that they have abolished slavery in their nation — which leads to open outrage against him, and depending on player choices, they or another elf can even be raised to nobility.
      • It gets even worse. If you tell Anora you won't make her queen and need to play the Landsmeet perfectly to convince them to side with you, pointing out elven slavery is actually one of the weaker arguments you can make against Loghain, far less effective than pointing out the kidnapping of a noble heir.
    • Dalish elves themselves pity the Alienage elves and are mystified why they remain in the human cities. Meanwhile, the Alienage elves also look down on "flat-ears", elves who have left their walled ghettos and attempt to integrate themselves further within the human settlements, believing they are abandoning their community.
    • The higher castes of Orzammar treat the casteless as lower than dirt.
    • Dwarves also look down on humans and elves, considering themselves to be superior. And they also hate "surface dwarves", fellow dwarves who have left Orzammar for the surface world, who are officially considered casteless and exiles.
    • If the Warden is a Female Elf Mage, it creates some funny situations where people, who were just scorning you for being one of the three, learn that you are a Warden as well. Of course, it also means that, congratulations, you have created the most hated character in the game!
    • In Awakening, the Orlesian Warden is often on the receiving end of this, as many nobles don't trust that they're now swearing fealty of their lands to the Grey Warden order... and even least of all to an Orlesian.
    • You also get the trifecta in the scorn department if the Orlesian Warden also happens to be an Elf.
    • This game will actually let you play the race card. One of the noble women in Redcliffe casts doubt on your abilities. She says the same thing no matter what race you are but if you're an elf, you can imply that she's discriminating against you for being an elf which will cause her to get embarrassed and start backpedaling.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • Women who contract the darkspawn taint. If they survive, they can eventually turn into Broodmothers and birth more darkspawn.
      • The taint is no picnic for men either, as it turns them into deformed insane slaves to the darkspawn, assuming they survive.
    • Caridin only realized that being turned into a Golem was a Fate Worse than Death after being turned into one himself.
      • Of course, Shale seems to rather enjoy being a golem, though she doesn't really remember much of the act of turning.
    • Many mages consider being made Tranquil (i.e. essentially getting a magical lobotomy that destroys their ability to use magic, dream, and feel emotions) to be this. Of course, some volunteer because they are afraid of being possessed by demons. The Tranquil themselves don't mind, but then they don't have emotions anymore so they really can't.
  • Fetch Quest
  • Fictionary: Played with. Dalish elves often seem to sprinkle their dialogue with "elvish" phrases, even when a scene consists of just elves (such as in the Dalish origin). This isn't just breaking Translation Convention, though, because the whole point is that the Dalish aren't speaking "elvish"; the elvish language has been all but forgotten. Many Dalish use as much gratuitous elvish as they can as a way to hold on to their heritage.
  • Finishing Move: Occasionally, a character will get one when killing an enemy, ranging from a simple beheading animation when killing a Mook to a more involved lunge and coup de grace when slaying an Ogre. The most elaborate (which actually pause the gameplay for as much as 20 seconds) come with the deaths of the High Dragon, the Broodmother, and the Archdemon.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: The character classes in the game appear to be set up along these lines, with the Mighty Glacier Warrior, Fragile Speedster Rogue, and Squishy Wizard Mage.
  • Final Battle: What you spend most of the game preparing for.
  • Finish Him!: A choice the player can make after dueling Loghain.
  • Fireballs: A bread 'n butter spell for Mages. Does pretty hefty damage, has an area effect, does lingering damage, and bowls over any who fail a physical resistance check. Just don't shoot at your teammates.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: Your primal magics are this, + earth.
  • Fishing For Mooks: You'll need to do this to survive on Nightmare if your party isn't insanely well balanced. And good luck with the bosses...
  • Flavor Text: Lots of it, and a very nice way to spend time.
  • Flunky Boss: Several.
  • Foreshadowing: Gameplay-wise. Jowan is one of only two Guest Star Party Members (in the PC version) with a colored background in his portrait. He was initially intended to be a permanent party member. Although the plan to make him a party member was scrapped, he still played a pretty important role in the plot, so...
    • Play the Human Noble origin a second time, then try not to cringe when Fergus assures Oren that he'll bring a nice sword home.
      Fergus: Don't worry son, you'll get to see a sword up close real soon!
      Now, imagine how he feels when he learns of the attack on Highever, and realises that those were some of the last words he ever spoke to his boy...
    • Oghren can give you one if you cause him to leave the party through negative relationship: "I hope you succeed [in killing the Archdemon], Warden, but I hope it kills you!" Which it can, even if you do.
    • In Redcliffe, there is a codex titled "Cautionary tales for the Adventurous" which tells about evil spirits inhabiting campsites that drain the life force from those who rest there. Eventually, you'll find yourself in the Brecilian forest. You find yourself in a very inviting... campsite...
    • If you accept Morrigan's loophole to avoid killing the Archdemon also killing you, one of the dialogue options before you part is, "Just don't make me come after you." Guess what the plot of the Witch Hunt DLC revolves around?
    • Morrigan can also give one to Alistair in party banter, if the PC has romanced him. She points out that their relationship could create a problem if they ever have to choose between saving the world and being together. If you execute Loghain and don't go through Morrigan's ritual, this will essentially happen since one of the two Wardens has to die.
    • In the Mage's Origin story, it's possible to stumble upon a statue of a Tevinter Mage who was turned to stone for prophecising the fall of Archon Valerius. She does surprisingly little... until she reappears in Witch Hunt with crucial information about the Eluvian.
    • Eleni Zinovia's prophecy in Witch Hunt makes very little sense at the time, until you realize she's referring to the events of the "Legacy" DLC quest in Dragon Age II: Corypheus, an Ancient Tevinter Magister turned darkspawn, is accidentally released from his millennia-long-incarceration in a Grey Warden Prison; he performs a Body Surf to a nearby Warden before Hawke delivers the killing blow, and then leaves inside his new host with no one the wiser.
      Eleni: The prison is breached. I see the encroaching darkness. The... the shadow will consume all...
    • Flemeth gets in a very, very subtle bit of foreshadowing when the Warden first meets her in the Wilds, which doesn't really make sense until after you've completed the Joining. She refers to Ser Jory as being "irrelevant to the greater scheme of things, but it is not I who decides." Jory, as seasoned players know, is killed by Duncan rather than completing the Joining ritual... which does make him rather irrelevant to the plot.
    • During the Gauntlet, the Warden must correctly answer riddles posited by eight ghosts. One of these is of the wife of Archon Hassarian, who bluntly states that her husband wanted to give Andraste a quiet and merciful death, but she made him promise to execute her publicly to prove the might of the Imperium. Her final words to the Warden are rather eerily chosen, in light of events to come in Thedas.
  • Forest Ranger: Subverted; not quite a Friend to All Living Things. Rangers are specialized Rogues described to "exploit every advantage of their environment". In this case, that includes summoning battle beasties, making a Ranger more of a Minion Master. Turn off the ability or call another creature and they die on the spot.
  • For Want of a Nail: The existence of a few other Origins player characters are alluded to in the game (or in some of the DLCs), suggesting that you're the main character only because Duncan was in the right place at the right time. And then there's the DLC quest Darkspawn Chronicles, where it shows to some extent what would have happened if the Grey Warden candidate from any of the origins never survived the Joining ritual.
  • Friendly Fireproof: With regard to spells that affect an area. On Easy, this trope is in operation. On the other difficulties, it isn't, although Normal dials down the damage inflicted.
    • It's the nature of all fire spells in particular to avert this. Avernus combines his aversion with Stop Helping Me!, as his assistance is highly likely to wipe out all your melee fighters.
    • Played jarringly straight in the Warden's Keep DLC, where Levi Dryden is curiously immune to the chaotic battles around him. Justified, as otherwise most of the DLC would be an Escort Mission.
    • Also not in effect during the 'Attack at Nightfall' section of the Redcliffe storyline, where the Militia can easily get wiped out by fire spells or decide to run into the burning barricades.
  • Friendly Enemy: Greagoir, Knight-Commander of the Templars, and Irving, First Enchanter of the Circle. Irving sees Greagoir as one of the few Templars who listens to reason, and Greagoir sees Irving as one of the few mages who isn't power-mad.
  • Friends with Benefits: Both Morrigan and Zevran say that they want this relationship with the Warden if romanced, but Morrigan instantly becomes a Clingy Jealous Girl whenever the Warden shows a romantic or sexual interest in anyone else. (Zevran, being an Ethical Slut, is much more easygoing, even if he does eventually develop feelings for the Warden.)
  • From Bad to Worse: Redcliffe Village is beyond screwed in general, what with the entire populace almost wiped out by undead which attack every night, dragging away the living to be devoured and turned, but the Warden has a few chances for finishing sidequests here which adds a few extra helpings of salt to the wounds. These include: informing one wife that her husband has died in the army and another that both her husband and son were killed in the Wilds; letting one of the few survivors of the massacre know that he was drafted by a mercenary company he'd signed up with (or inform him before the attack goes down, resulting in one less defender); and taking one of the party members' weapons back from a dwarf who'd purchased it fair and square. This last one isn't so bad, though, since you can pay him for the return of the weapon.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare:
    • Played with in regards to Loghain, a commoner who ends up being a hero to Ferelden during the Orlesian Wars and later takes the throne. He clearly thinks he's this, as evidenced by how he acts during Origins - threatening the Bannorn into inciting Civil War and believing he can outmaneuver the darkspawn like he does more conventional enemies.
    • Arguably, the Grey Warden if you started as a Elf or Dwarf Commoner, or a Mage - this is how you appear to your enemies. The sheer number of assassins they send after you is a indicator of how much you're putting the fear of the Maker into them.
      • The Guard in the City Elf Origin lampshades this, in disbelief that the Arl's son lies in a river of blood that runs throughout the castle due to one Elf. When you step forward to take the blame, the Guardsman actually seems somewhat impressed.
  • Frontline General: Overlapping with Royals Who Actually Do Something, whichever candidate is made monarch at the Landsmeet will personally lead the allied army against the darkspawn at Denerim.
  • Fur and Loathing: All mage robes manufactured by the Tevinter Imperium prominently feature fur (except for one from the Witch Hunt DLC).

    G 
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Although Wynne strongly disapproves of Blood Magic like other Circle Mages, there is absolutely nothing preventing you from making Blood Mage her second specialization after unlocking it. If you are a Blood Mage, Wynne won't even bat an eyelash if you use Blood Magic right in front of her during battle. Likewise, there is nothing stopping you from making all-around good guy Alistair a Reaver.
      • A user mod restores a conversation that averts the trope, as it has Wynne confront a player who uses blood magic in a certain quest. This mod also explains why neither she nor other mages seem to take notice otherwise: she does not recognize the spells as being Blood Magic (though she has her suspicions), and she can be persuaded to believe that they are actually special "Grey Warden" abilities.
    • Rangers can call wolves and bears in areas where there shouldn't be any to call on, like the Deep Roads.
    • Alistair comments that Zevran is no master of straight-up combat. When built right, he's the best melee fighter in the party, especially with the Duelist second specialization.
    • When Zevran asks to join your party, he claims he is good at lockpicking (besides other qualities...). Yet, he doesn't come with any lockpicking talents at that point. Of course, he might just be lying.
    • Lyrium potions are supposed to have an addictive quality, but none of your characters will ever suffer that no matter how many bottles they chug.
      • And lyrium ore is supposed to be lethally toxic to non-dwarves, and potentially brain damaging even to experienced dwarvish miners. Non-dwarven characters can touch exposed veins of the substance to heal themselves, and dwarven characters receive no effects at all.
    • Darkspawn corruption. Darkspawn blood is toxic, and getting it inside the body, either through ingestion or through a wound, can lead to death or ghoulification, and is one of several reasons the Grey Wardens intentionally taint themselves. However, your non-Warden companions will never once have to worry about that as they cut a bloody swath through entire hordes of the fiends. (There was an early intent to make Grey Wardens out of the rest of your companions near the end of the game, but they had to abandon it. You can recruit most if not all of your companions in Awakening, however.)
    • Wynne is first shown (if you don't talk to her at Ostagar) defeating a fire demon with a cold spell, but doesn't have any when she joins the party.
    • Some of Alistair's dialogue at the Landsmeet assumes that he gets along with the Warden, regardless of the state of his approval meter. This is most apparent if you choose to spare Loghain.
    • After you have completed the "A Paragon of Her Kind" quest and leave Orzammar with Oghren, he will ask for a moment to regain his composure because he, like all dwarves, is afraid he will "fall into the sky" the first time he sets foot on the surface. This makes sense if that is really the first time he leaves Orzammar - but not so much if you leave Orzammar when he joins the party and complete other (main) quests, plenty of them set in the open air, before coming back and tackling "A Paragon of Her Kind."
    • At one point, you have to go rescue someone who is sealed into a room with a spell. If you're playing as a mage with Dispel Magic, or you brought Morrigan or Wynne and one of them has Dispel Magic, you'd think you could just cast it on the door and be done with it. But nope, your only option is to go kill the mage who set the spell, which means you have to slaughter your way through the dungeons and alert the entire building to your presence.
  • Gargle Blaster: Just read the description of any of the heavy liquor "gifts." And then picture Oghren chugging that stuff.
  • Gay Option: And how.
  • Gender Bender: In the Darkspawn Chronicles DLC, cornering Wade and Herren in an alley results in the latter transforming into a Desire Demon and teleporting the two of them away.
  • Genki Girl: Dagna, the dwarven girl who wants to study magic at the Circle Tower.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In the Brecilian Ruins, the player can find "A Love Letter" to "Miss Ambrose" from a butcher, which mentions a three-pound sausage. Yikes.
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot/But Not Too Gay: Played straight and subverted. Origins is the first AAA game to really depict passionate male gay sex, on the same level as the lesbian sex.
    • In-game, of course, Oghren definitely believes the former. He remarks that he'd wish he'd known Branka preferred girls to him - just before stating he has A Date with Rosie Palms. If a female Warden has Oghren in the party when she visits the Pearl and requests a female prostitute, Oghren will walk in on them.
      • If your female Warden invites Leliana along for her tryst with Isabela, Oghren faints.
      Oghren: ..Too much to handle....Stone!..."*passes out*
    • A female Warden romancing Alistair and Leliana will eventually have him force her to choose, though not before he drops this gem:
      Alistair: I mean, I get it, HOT, but...
  • Give Me Your Inventory Item: Lots of these, actually. One sidequest for the Blackstone Irregulars is just the player giving them 20 health potions. The Mages' Collective wants 10 Deep Mushrooms, 10 Lyrium potions. The Chantry wants 5-10 Corpse Galls, and the Interested Parties want Toxin Extracts and pieces of Garnet. Lothering villagers want potions, poisons, traps...
  • Gladiator Subquest: The Provings.
  • Glass Cannon: Mages and Rogues, usually, but you can avert this through stat building and specialization.
  • Godiva Hair: The Lady of the Forest
  • Golden Snitch:
    • The Orzammar chapter involves the player selecting one of two candidates vying for the throne. You'll do a couple of tasks meant to improve their bid for kingship, but ultimately, the last quest, which involves securing the decision of a Paragon in the Deep Roads is the only one that will definitively secure the position without question. It's so important, you can easily switch candidates at the last minute.
    • Regardless of how many votes you get at the Landsmeet, it always ends with a duel between the PC or a champion and Loghain, with the winner choosing the new king.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: The majority of the game is spent securing help from the Dalish elves, the dwarves of Orzammar, the Circle of Magi, and Arl Eamon's knights.
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Evil: Multiple examples of each, but the most prominent ones are the Warden, Loghain, and the Archdemon, respectively.
    • Mages and templars see themselves as the good, each other as the bad, and abominations as the evil.
  • Good Feels Good: In Lothering, you meet a little boy on a bridge whose mother was likely killed by raiders. If you're patient and help him to the best of your ability, he'll comment that you're the nicest person he's met so far in the village - there's no other reward but that.
    Boy: Father says elves aren't very nice. But you're nicer than everybody here. Thank you for helping me.
  • Groin Attack: The "Below the Belt" talent is described as a "swift and unsportsmanlike kick" to the target, which causes normal damage and movement penalties, and if you're lucky can be a critical hit. This makes it entirely possible to finish off enemies with an especially potent kick to the jewels.
  • Guest Star Party Member: The PC gets one or more of these during the origin stories. They vary based on the origin in question.
    • Also, in the Arl of Redcliffe story, you can send to the Fade Jowan or even First Enchanter Irving.
    • At Ostagar, when the Warden and Alistair are making their way through the Tower of Ishal, they will pick up either one or two of these for the duration of the quest - a nameless Circle mage and a nameless soldier, or two nameless soldiers if the Warden is a mage. If the Warden is the Human Noble, Dog is already in the party and only the mage will attach himself to the group.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: All of Howe's guards are human, but any party character (except Shale or Dog) can get in with a pilfered uniform.
  • Going Through the Motions: It's not really noticeable unless you're really paying close attention, but if you watch long enough, you'll notice that a lot of characters use the same gestures, or tend to cross and uncross their arms a lot.
  • Gold Digger: Noble-hunting is practically a profession amongst the casteless dwarves, as children inherit the caste of the parent of the same sex. Such a child is a valuable commodity which benefits both parents. The casteless family is adopted into the noble house and the nobles receive another heir, which, due to low fertility rates and casualties from the darkspawn and political backstabbing, are in rather short supply.
  • Good Morning, Crono: City Elves begin the adventure by being woken up by their cousin. Who is already half-drunk.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • The killing of Connor is shown off-screen. This is presumably because showing the deliberate murder of a young boy, even a possessed one, even in an M-rated game, would have upset the Media Watchdogs. The killing of Oren, the PC's young nephew in the Human Noble origin, is given the same treatment.
    • At the Landsmeet, Loghain's execution is given this treatment, sort of. As the sword is swung, the camera cuts away to Anora's face as his blood splatters her.
  • Grail in the Garbage: Far Song, generally considered one of if not the best bow in the game, has apparently spent decades sitting buried in the stockroom of a tiny podunk blacksmith shop in Redcliffe.
  • Grave Humor: In Haven, after you've gone through it the first time, you can return and will have access to the village cemetery. The stones are engraved with all sorts of developer humor. Once you've completed your business at Andraste's tomb, you have no plot-related reason to go back to the village, so it's extremely easy to miss.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: A series of Codex entries found in the Deep Roads gives the first-person accounts of a group of dwarven miners searching for treasure at the direction of their leader, who thought they were getting directions from the Stone itself. Instead of treasure, they found a darkspawn-dug tunnel that was about to break into Orzammar. The miners pulled a Heroic Sacrifice by collapsing the tunnel, and no one in Orzammar would ever know that they owed their continued existence to a small group that were considered losers and misfits when they were there.
  • Grey and Black Morality: Don't expect easy moral choices for most quests, even though many clearly have an evil choice. This reflects that the Blight is such a great threat that The End Justifies The Means for real.
  • Grey and Grey Morality:
    • They're called the Grey Wardens for a reason. They don't care about anything but defeating the Archdemon and protecting the world from darkspawn, so long as you get the job done. Sounds a lot like a special task force in a certain science fiction game, no?
    • The succession arc in Orzammar. Harrowmont is an honorable man but believes in preserving dwarven traditions, most notably the oppressive caste system. He also acquiesces too easily to the demands of Nobles (of whom Oghren half-jokingly says "They've been trying to destroy Orzammar for years"). On the other hand, Bhelen may be a scheming bastard (and if he wins, he immediately executes Harrowmont), but he wants to abolish the caste system and end Orzammar's policy of isolationism. According to the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, if Harrowmont becomes King, the dwarven kingdom becomes isolationist and cuts itself off from human contact (and keeps the caste system) and he ends up assassinated; whereas if Bhelen becomes King, he becomes a benevolent dictator who does indeed curtail the caste system as well as open the kingdom up to the rest of the world, and strong-arms the self-serving, traditionalist nobility into compliance.
      • Bhelen is actually following in his Paragon ancestor's footsteps. When the Deshyrs bickered amongst themselves on whose Thaigs to save in the First Blight, Aeducan seized control, cut off Orzammar from the other dwarven settlements, and was Paragon'd for saving the dwarves.
      • It helps to realize Bhelen is an Expy of Ivan the Terrible.
    • This applies to quite a few situations in the game - e.g., the conflicts between the Dalish elves and the werewolves and the Templars and the mages, not to mention the motivations of primary antagonist Loghain. That being said, there is usually an acceptable middle ground solution for most of the quests - but Orzammar isn't one of them, given the epilogue.
  • Guide Dang It:
    • Origins also contains quests that don't appear in your journal.
    • The gifts you can give your party members can be as very unintuitive and require a bit of poking around; this is even more the case in Awakening because you have fewer opportunities to talk to the characters. But on the plus side, some are highly obvious.
    • Also, seemingly innocuous actions can have severe consequences. For instance, attempting to enter Arl Eamon's bedroom during your first visit to Redcliffe Castle (or even just getting lost and ending up there by accident) leads to Connor's death, and choosing Alistair as your champion at the Landsmeet leads to him executing Loghain immediately after the duel, thus preventing you from recruiting Loghain and/or marrying Anora to Alistair. The wide variety of finishing options means that if you want a specific ending, you have to take very specific actions.
    • Hardening Alistair and/or Leliana. Hardening the former is the only way to make it possible to recruit Loghain without Alistair stomping off and leaving (provided he will be Anora's husband). Hardening the former will change her slightly - a romanced Leliana will be the Warden King's mistress, for instance, during the epilogue. However, there's no way to know this is possible, and there's so indication they are hardened til certain events test it.
  • Guilt-Based Gaming: Oh boy. Yes, being a creep generally nets you a lot of goodies, but certain members of your party are not going to let you forget it. And just try breaking up with someone without feeling like a scumbag. (Hint: watch your dialogue choices, or you may end up with some hapless character on your romantic radar without meaning to.)

    H 
  • A Handful for an Eye: Rogues can get an ability to do this as a stun.
  • Harder Than Hard: Nightmare difficulty.
  • Haunted Castle: Soldier's Peak. Redcliffe Castle also qualifies, to a less literal extent.
  • Have You Come to Gloat?: Loghain invokes this trope the first time the Warden speaks to him at camp. He'll ask whether the Warden is planning on insulting him or keeping him as a trophy. You have an array of dialogue options.
  • Have You Seen My God?: The existence of the Maker of which the Chantry speaks is never given irrefutable proof in-game. For that matter, the elven Creators aren't obviously real, either. The Chantry preaches that the Maker did, in fact, abandon Thedas because of humankind's crimes, and that only their extreme penitence can make Him come back. Consequently, quite a few people in Ferelden are atheist or agnostic.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: In-engine cutscenes show the characters in their currently equipped gear, except for their helmets. This is not true for all cutscenes, however. Generally, if the scene is the prelude to the appearance of some monster, the helmet stays on. And, of course, helmets are generally removed for conversations, but this only makes sense.
    • Plot-significant characters take their helmets off for cutscenes. People who don't have names (or who are going to die shortly) will not. In that way, the spirit of the trope still holds.
  • The Hero Dies: The Ultimate Sacrifice ending.
  • Heroic Fantasy
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The Warden, Alistair, or Loghain can make one by killing the Archdemon without performing the dark ritual.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: No matter what kind of character you're playing, you can always count on the unquestioning love and loyalty of the Mabari Hound. Human Noble Wardens start with one, and Wardens of other backgrounds can get one by completing an easy-to-finish sidequest at Ostagar. Once Dog has joined you, it's not possible to make him leave, even if you deliberately try to drive everyone else from your side; his approval starts at maximum, and except with a silly bit of DLC, you cannot lower it for any reason. Plus, you may engage the Hound in dialogue to literally Pet the Dog.
  • Hidden Backup Prince: Alistair
  • Hidden Depths: Behind the deadpan snarking, Morrigan's party banter with Leliana actually makes her raise some highly intelligent philosophical questions, pointing out to Leliana (who compares belief in Magic to belief in the Maker) that it's not the same, as she can see magic and uses magic, whereas there is no proof for the Maker at all. She also theorises that if the Maker does exist, he may have simply moved on to another creation - which, given her later discovering that the Eluvian leads to an entirely different realm altogether, may not be too far from the truth.
    • Zevran also demonstrates that he's not just the mere assassin he seems, seemingly picking up on Morrigan having plans for the Warden fairly early on.
    • Oghren, the smelly, drunk, womanizing, ever-belching dwarf looks like quite a superficial person. But take him to talk to the Guardian of Andraste's Sacred Ashes and...
  • Hidden Elf Village: One of the reasons suggested why the Dalish kingdom was invaded and destroyed is they kept watching their neighbors getting beaten to a pulp... so the neighbors got pissed and now there is no more Dalish kingdom. Now, all Dalish clans occupy these, and they are almost continually picking up stakes and relocating in order to ensure that they stay hidden.
  • High Fantasy: What the game wound up being. Sure, magic is restricted in this setting, but it's still everywhere.
    • The other definition of high fantasy fits too; the world is way bigger than the immediate events in the game, and characters and events are quite deep and differentiated.
  • High-Pressure Blood: Defeated enemies sometimes lose parts, resulting in a pretty blood fountain. Arguably applies to all melee combat, considering how much gore characters get on them. (It even goes on their back!) And the Walking Bomb spell causes its victim to literally explode in a shower of blood.
  • Hit Box Dissonance: The only thing keeping two-handed weapons and ogres from being a joke is that their attacks always hit if the target is within the hitbox when the attack animation starts. It doesn't matter if you're on the other side of the map - an attack that would hit you when the animation starts will hit you unless the user is stunned, knocked down or frozen.
  • Hollywood Tactics: Justified. The darkspawn rushing at the fortifications at Ostagar is somewhat plausible since they are mostly mindless beasts and have virtually unlimited troops. However, the Ferelden soldiers break their ranks and charge out of their defensive positions before the darkspawn have come even close. Even if Loghain had charged the darkspawn horde from the side, it wouldn't have helped the King and Duncan in any way, as they were already getting swamped by darkspawn at the other side of the battlefield. Justified because King Cailan is an Idiot Hero who was dead set on winning the battle in an epic, storybook-style fashion.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: The Holy Smite ability for the Templar specialization. When combined with a weapon that's been enchanted with silverite runes, it can potentially take out large groups of darkspawn from a distance with one hit.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Bioware probably intended the (optional) fight with Ser Cauthrien in the Arl of Denerim's estate to be this, though they also probably realized that they had to provide a possibility for someone to beat Cauthrien or else it would feel like a cop-out if she suddenly turned invincible and wiped the party at 1 hp. You have the option to surrender without fighting, and if you fight and get killed (very likely) you're "captured" instead of getting a game-over. Cauthrien is beatable; just very, very hard. Possibly the hardest boss of the game, level to level. Definitely the hardest if you don't draw her out of the room with all her lackeys (the two warriors will follow you as well, but the horde of archers and the mage will stay put). Even then, she can still kill even a tank with only one or two hits. Inexplicably, she becomes a Degraded Boss when you meet her again at the Landsmeet if you took the "go to prison" route (and is in fact a Skippable Boss if your persuasion skills are strong enough).
  • Humanoid Abomination: Anyone who gets possessed by a demon, but manages to maintain their human form counts. It helps that only the strongest demons seem to be able to possess someone without twisting their host's form beyond recognition.
    • Arguably, a Mage PC with Arcane Warrior/Blood Mage specialization is one. By the time everything is over you only partially exist in reality, are surrounded by layers of magical protection, are supernaturally strong, ungodly durable, cast spells using/can manipulate blood, and can control the minds of your victims. Only the Archdemon or similarly powerful enemies really stand much of a chance.
  • Humanoids Are White: The number of dark-skinned characters you meet can be counted on one hand, including one black elf. (Gets especially jarring if the player gives the Grey Warden a very dark skin tone - in the origins where the Grey Warden's parents are seen, like the human noble origin, said parents are very fair-skinned in contrast to their son/daughter. No one in the game mentions the Grey Warden's skin tone as being in any way unusual if this is done.) However, the Dalish elves are somewhat tannish. (They seem to be a little like Romanis/Gypsies.)
    • Bioware actually got criticized about this to the point where this was one of the things they addressed in Dragon Age 2.
  • Human Resources: Golems are made using Dwarven lives. Also, Blood Magic drains the caster's (or others'...) blood and health points.

    I-J 
  • I Call It Vera: In the Witch Hunt DLC, Finn's default staff is literally called Vera.
  • I Can't Do This by Myself: If you're enough of a jerk, Alistair will call you out for what you're doing to the reputation of the Grey Wardens. But he still remains in your party, adding that he can't stop the Blight by himself.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Will probably be inscribed on the Warden's tombstone. Can be invoked by name if the Warden kills Connor to eliminate the demon. Also claimed by Loghain, Avernus, and Zathrian.
  • I Drank What?: One can only wonder where Oghren's home-brewed ale comes from, as hinted by him and Zevran in their party banter.
    • Also, The Reveal about what the Joining actually entails, although this is more of a case of I Have To Drink What?.
  • If Jesus Then Aliens: An unusual case of it. Leliana points to magic as proof of the divine. Morrigan believes in magic, obviously, but finds its existence sufficient to explain things that are attributed to the Maker. Later in the game, it seems Morrigan does believe in the existence of the Old Gods of the Tevinter Imperium, but not necessarily the Maker.
  • I Got a Rock: A good thing, if done correctly. The Feastday Gifts DLC enables you to purchase a pet rock. If you give it to Shale, her approval rating for you jumps up fifty points.
  • Immortality: The Archdemon has Type IV, which is why it can only be killed by a Grey Warden. Flemeth has Type IX, but also seems to have a way back without Morrigan's involvement.
  • Improbable Power Discrepancy: An odd variation. Because the game gives you a lot of freedom about the order in which you do the major quests and the difficulty of almost all encounters is scaled to the level of the PC, it's possible that you'll end up facing back-alley muggers at the end of the game that are more powerful than the blood-curdlingly horrifying monsters you faced in the beginning.
  • Inescapable Ambush: A number of random encounters throughout the game as you travel, but special mention must be given to how you meet Zevran.
  • Inevitable Tournament: The Provings during the Orzammar treaty quest line, although you only have to enter the Provings if you side with Harrowmont.
    • With the game having such an open concept, taking part in the Provings is completely optional and available if you are supporting Bhelen; you can dedicate your victory to him or even to the Grey Wardens.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted.
  • Infinity+1 Sword:
    • In an odd twist, many of the best-in-slot weapons and pieces of equipment can simply be bought from merchants. They each cost a small fortune, however, so unless you're extremely compulsive about hoarding treasure and running sidequests (or extorting NPCs for favors), odds are you won't be able to afford many such indulgences.
    • Some of the DLC equipment — whether pre-order, collector's edition, or achievement awards — also counts.
      • Worth mentioning is the Reaper's Cudgel in the Golems of Amgarrak DLC. Statwise, it's an impressive, but otherwise ordinary mace. Its real value comes when, as DLC content, it is spread to your inventory in every game you have on file, and can be sold for insanely high amounts of money, even from the start of a new game. The only drawback is that to get it, you have to defeat The Harvester, a creature that spawns Elite Mooks as Goddamned Bats and is far and away the hardest boss in the game, easily outstripping the Archdemon or The Mother. And you have to do it on Hard or Nightmare mode, for the entire battle (no changing the difficulty when he's down to a sliver of health for you).
  • Informed Attribute: Templars are said to be able to overpower magi that get out of control, but they never do anything other than get stomped by them. Even though blood magic is used, the magi shouldn't have been able to get as out of hand as they did if the templars are as tough as they make themselves sound.
  • Informed Flaw: Wynne goes on and on about how old she is. She looks like a woman in her mid thirties but with white hair and this is a game with much older looking women. Though Zevran does comment on how well her body has held up.
  • Insistent Terminology: When Morrigan refers to Zathrian as a "sorcerer" instead of a "keeper," he flips out.
  • Insurmountable Waist High Fence/Invisible Wall: A veritable cornucopia of them. Rather egregiously, you can climb to just below the top of a hill but you have to walk around the peak.
    • Even unobstructed roads and trails can be impassible. A Wide Open Sandbox this ain't.
  • Interspecies Romance: None of the love interests care what race the player is. Almost. Anora does, and Alistair cuts off a non-Human Noble PC if he gets the throne unless you pass a difficult skill check; even if you do, you don't marry him, you just become his bit on the side, and then you'll have to have made him a bit more selfish through dialogue options in the game... but at least with him it's mainly politics.
  • Invisible Bowstring: Your character looks like they're pulling the string back and firing, but there is nothing to grab.
  • Ironic Nursery Rhyme: Hespith's poem, and the little boy in Haven:
    Come, come, bonny Lynne; tell us, tell us where you've been
    Were you up, were you down
    Chasing rabbits 'round the town
    Come, come, bonny Lynne; tell us, tell us where you've been

    Come, come, bonny Lynne; we've a bed to put you in
    It is soft, it is warm
    It will shelter from the storm
    Come, come, bonny Lynne; we've a bed to put you in

    Dear, dear bonny Lynne sleeps the peaceful crib within
    A mossy stone, a finger bone
    No one knows but Lynne alone
    Dear, dear bonny Lynne sleeps the peaceful crib within...
    • There's also a couple which can be overheard in the Alienage orphanage.
  • Irony: If you decide to help Brother Burkel open a chantry in Orzammar, you can intimidate the Shaper by saying that a single dwarven preacher is better than a human army marching on the city to convert everyone. If Burkel gets his permission, the epilogue mentions that the chantry's success in Orzammar ultimately leads to Burkel's death and riots in the city, which in turn leads the chantry on the surface to contemplate a Exalted March, which is basically a crusade. Or in other words: a human army marching on the city.
  • Isn't It Ironic?: Whoever decided Marilyn Manson's "This is the New Shit" was a good pick for the game's trailer either didn't listen to the lyrics at all or was intentionally satirizing it: The song mocks the use of sex, violence and blood as hype to cover up a complete lack of true innovation and creativity, and was used as backdrop in a trailer featuring... sex, violence and blood used in an attempt to hype the game as innovative and creative.
  • It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: Wynne says this, with a trace of amusement, as the explanation for why she decided to try what turned out to be her Vessel of the Spirit ability.
  • It's All About Me: Dwarf nobles seem to have this as their hat, as seen multiple times. They refuse to help against the darkspawn - not because they think it's futile, but they fear to send their troops away and leave themselves vulnerable to the machinations of another noble house, and they can't unite against a common enemy without a king. Even after the dispute is settled, one house still doesn't send men, as evidenced by NPC chatter among dwarf soldiers at Redcliffe Castle the night before the battle.
    • During the First Blight, when the dwarven kingdoms were being destroyed by the darkspawn, the dwarves couldn't pull together because the Assembly was constantly arguing over whose thaig was more important, causing Paragon Aeducan to launch a coup in order to save their species.
    • In The Golems of Amgarrak, Jerrik Dace couldn't care less about how horrifying Paragon Caridin's research was (even telling the Warden to "spare [him] the moral stuff") and just wants to bring glory to House Dace. Even after seeing everything that happened in Amgarrak, even after helping the Warden kill the Harvester and seeing all the horrific stuff that happened there, he still doesn't want to leave without getting some of the notes the previous expedition took.
  • It's Not You, It's Me: What you can say to Leliana to break up with her. She'll get mad and try to fight to save the relationship.
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet: In the Dalish Origin, Merrill (and the Warden, if the player so chooses) notes that the animals in the forest are unusually silent and that they should be careful.
  • Justified Criminal: The casteless dwarves of Orzammar. Marked as outcasts and criminals from birth, they are not legally permitted to gain any legitimate work or housing. As such, they're forced into either begging or criminality for survival.

    K 
  • Karl Marx Hates Your Guts: Every merchant in Ferelden sells their goods at the same price. The only exception is Gorim, in Denerim, and he's only an exception if you're playing as the Dwarf Noble.
  • Karma Houdini: If Bhelen becomes the King of Orzammar when the PC is the Dwarf Noble. He gets away completely with his actions in the Origin, where he framed the Warden for the murder of their brother Trian, poisoned their father the King, and bribed the Assembly to unperson the Warden.
    • On the other hand, the Dwarf Noble has become a legendary Grey Warden (thus regaining their name in the Shaperate), and goes on to defeat an Archdemon and even gets declared to be a Paragon. The only reason Bhelen even has his throne is because of the sibling he tried to kill. In that respect, it could be seen as a rather Pyrrhic Victory.
    • If you have Loghain become a Grey Warden and sacrifice himself, history is claimed to forget all the evil crimes he did and became a hero because he gave his life for Ferelden. These forgotten crimes include almost dooming all of Ferelden, attempted murder on Arl Eamon, allowing slavers to abduct elves from the Alienage, branding the Grey Wardens - the only people who can stop a Blight - criminals and trying to kill them, allowing a king to die in battle despite having the ability to save him, allowing the kidnapping of his own daughter, and quite a few other things. It's understandable that he (at least partially) redeemed himself at the end, but come on.
    • There are numerous choices in the game that will usually result in some of your party members leaving you for good. However, if you have a master coercion skill, you can easily lie/charm your way out. Itís also possible to avoid some confrontations by simply not bringing a particular party member with you on certain missions.
  • Karma Meter: Removed entirely, and replaced with a system of consequences for individual choices, along with personal reactions to various actions from your party members. Two characters actually can be "hardened", which makes them much less likely to complain about evil decisions (and more likely to accept a threesome or foursome).
  • Keep the Reward: An option for a few quests. Notable for the fact that it doesn't earn you karma or anything, since there is no karma. You just miss out on a reward when you do this. Instead, it's usually better to grub for rewards... and that's why it's so much more satisfying in Dragon Age: Origins when you do refuse the reward.
  • Kick the Dog: "Lord Harrowmont kicks casteless in the streets! Does he respect none below his station?"
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: There are some mods that allow players to eviscerate Arl Howe because some players feel his death taking place in a cutscene let him get off too easy. And most players are more than happy to reject Vaughn's offer in the City Elf origin so they can kill him themselves. You can literally tell him you will enjoy kicking his ass.
  • Kill 'em All: In the Darkspawn Chronicles DLC, you can do this to a lot of named NPCs that would be in Denerim. Yes, including Alistair's sister. (Too bad you can't get Herren, though...)
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: If you've been recruited and Refuse The Call, you're killed to maintain the Grey Wardens' secrets, especially the details of the unsavory Joining as well as the 30-year Dead Man Walking curse. Poor, poor, stupid Ser Jory...
    • You have this option with Brother Genitivi, who wants to show off Andraste's Ashes to the world.
  • Kill It with Fire/Kill It with Ice/Dishing Out Dirt/Shock and Awe: The primal spells.
  • Knight In Shining Armour: Averted. Nelaros from the Female City Elf Origin so desperately sees himself as this, attempting to protect you from Vaughn and later organising a rescue attempt with Soris to rescue his bride. What he doesn't realise is you are already planning your own escape, which luckily coincides with Soris arriving to slide you a sword, and within minutes you're heavily armed and taking down guards left, right, and centre. Sadly, you arrive too late to be able to rescue him.

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