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Dragon Age Origins: Tropes L to Q


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    L 
  • Lady of War: Female warrior Wardens fit this trope rather well, especially in the Human Noble and Dwarf Noble origins (where you are formally addressed as 'my lady'). The trope also applies to many NPCs as well, such as Ser Cauthrien, the elven hunters, the dwarven order of the Silent Sisters and their founder, and even Queen Anora gets a bit of this if she's the one running the final campaign against the Archdemon. In the Warden's Keep DLC, former Warden Commander Sophia Dryden is shown to have been this in life.
    • Anora's appearance does lend a certain amount of parody to this trope, however, as she goes into the battle with the same perfectly coiffed noblewoman's hairstyle she's been sporting in court all game, wears a suit of pink armor (really red steel, but the red sky tints it pink), and gives a Rousing Speech in an odd, halting rhythm that rouses people to laughter quicker than to battle.
  • The Lady's Favour: Played straight and gender flipped; three of the four romance options in the original game have gifts that they will give to the player character once they have been sufficiently romanced. Alistair's is a rose, Zevran's is an earring, and Morrigan's is a ring.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • In the Human Noble origin, your first fight is against a bunch of giant rats that have invaded your castle's pantry. After you're done, your party mate says it looks like "the start of every bad adventure tale [his] grandfather used to tell."
    • Zevran asks Oghren if they should now engage in some stereotypical elf-to-dwarf banter/rivalry. Oghren's response? "Nah."
    • Morrigan's response to stopping the merchant in Lothering from setting high prices. "Must we solve every little problem in this town?" Similarly, if you ask the Ostagar merchant about his AWOL servants, he'll say he's sure someone like you has more important things to do than worry about his inane personal problems.
    • During one random encounter, you sneak up on a few bandits planning a sloppy ambush. One of the actions you can take is "Rush them and spring your own ambush for a change!" It goes farther: You rush the ambush prepared for you, basically rushing headlong into the trap.
    • If you romance Zevran, and either turn down or ask too many questions about the gift he offers you, he will eventually exclaim, "We pick up every other bit of treasure we come across, but not this? You don't want the earring, you don't get the earring. Very simple."
  • Large Ham: If no one else, Father Kolgrim of the Cult of Andraste. Also Wade.
    • Cailan, Uldred, Loghain, Bhelen, and Teagan all get in some of this at times.
    • Oghren, when you give him a gift he really likes (which is almost always booze):
      Oghren: By the ancestors, WHAT A WONDERFUL GIFT!
  • The Last Dance: The Calling ritual.
  • Last Kiss: At the end for a female who romanced Alistair, if you stayed together and you didn't take the third option, since one of you has to die to finish off the Archdemon. What happens next is... well...
    Warden: I can't let you do this, it's insane!
    Alistair: Sanest thing I've ever done.
  • Last of His Kind: After Ostagar, the Warden and Alistair are the only two Grey Wardens left in Ferelden.
    • Several of the origin stories leave the Warden as the last member of his/her family.
      • The Human Noble is the last of the Couslands after their family is betrayed and murdered by Arl Howe in the Origin. This turns out to not be true, however. Big brother Fergus is revealed at the end to have survived Ostagar.
      • The Dalish Elf's father was killed by human bandits, which left the Dalish Warden's mother so grief-struck, she simply disappeared into the moonlight to die of grief, shortly after the Warden's birth. Their mother's friend Ashalle and the rest of the clan therefore raised them.
      • If the Dwarf Noble decides to support Harrowmont over Bhelen for the crown of Orzammar, then Bhelen foolishly attacks and ends up dead, leaving the Dwarf Noble as the last Aeducan (aside from distant cousins). Alternatively, should any Warden put Bhelen on the throne, he begins a campaign of outright slaughter against Harrowmont and his entire extended family - in a DAII game using an imported save, Hawke encounters the sole surviving Harrowmont.
    • Alistair is revealed to be the illegitimate son of King Maric, and is therefore the last living member of the royal house of Theirin.
    • If Loghain is executed at the Landsmeet, Anora is the only surviving Mac Tir.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The advertising for the Return to Ostagar DLC spoils the outcome of the battle that took place there.
  • Lava Adds Awesome: The underground realm of the Deep Roads has a lot of lava, to the point that the dwarves have lava fountains and lava waterfalls as decorations in the same way surfacers might use water. Alistair lampshades it, wondering if the dwarves just hope that it never erupts.
  • Law of Conservation of Detail: Exhaustingly averted. The majority of Codexes are nothing but fluff that flesh out the world but are ultimately irrelevant from a gameplay standpoint (other than that you're given a small amount of XP for finding them). There are a number of named Non Player Characters who, likewise, serve no purpose other than elaborating the setting.
  • Lazy Backup
  • Leaked Experience: Party members are never more than one level lower than the main character.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: On the shores of Lake Calenhad outside the Spoiled Princess inn, after you have completed the "Broken Circle" quest, there are a pair of NPCs beyond a fence that are discussing how they could be merely "in a play," prompting one to dismiss the idea that they're being watched by "enlightened cosmic beings" for amusement by pointing out that he has a boil on his big toe that proves the theory wrong — he claims that anyone doing this for their own amusement are simply sick, twisted bastards.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: If you don't use the right tactics, your party members will often act like this in combat, rushing headlong into the fray even when they're poorly suited to close combat. Of course, there's a reason why you have the "Hold" option that keeps the party from blindly charging, and there are several behavioral routines (Ranged, for example) that will have AI-controlled party members keep their distance.
  • Left Hanging/Sequel Hook: The Witch Hunt DLC, the last material released for the game and chronologically set after the rest, ends with Morrigan making some cryptic references to upcoming threats and new plans from Flemeth, then disappearing through a mysterious portal.
  • Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: The Antivan Crows' contact in Denerim talks almost completely in innuendo in order to disguise what business he is actually discussing, never mind that the only eavesdropper his verbiage could fool would be a deaf one. You, as the player, can lampshade this very fact and he'll simply explain that he has no idea who's listening in and just wants an out in case he's questioned. If you keep ignoring his attempts at innuendo, he snaps at you. It's worth it. After you complete the questline, he's willing to speak more openly.
  • Leitmotif: The darkspawn have a main theme, and several remixes of that theme for special encounters. The elves also have their own leitmotif, with various remixes of "In Uthenera."
    • Leliana's song - no, not the DLC - is heard in the menu music, in the romance theme, and during some of the more tender moments. Keep in mind, the song is about mortality and sacrifice.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: The foursome/threesome option. Subverted when Zevran notes that he doesn't mind not speaking of it, as long as they can do it again.
  • Level In Reverse: Two of the DLC packs use the same Cadash Thaig map geometry, except with the start and goal points reversed.
  • Level Scaling: Each area has an upper and lower limit to the level of enemies you'll face, and in the areas that have enemies that are around your level, those enemies will level up with you.
    • In addition to the difficulty of successfully pick-pocketing a particular individual scaling, the reward you get for doing so scales in value as well (to make it worth your while to bother with the check). This can sometimes test the suspension of disbelief, as, for example, with a Dwarf Noble Warden who picks the pockets of Orzammar's ruling caste for pennies at the beginning of the game, but finds the supposedly impoverished residents of the Denerim Alienage loaded down with gold sovereigns towards the end.
  • Level-Up at Intimacy 5: Your party members get boosts in their primary stat proportional to how much they like you.
    • In Zevran's case, sleeping with him and making kinky suggestions directly result in dexterity bonuses.
    • Female Wardens romancing Alistair can enjoy his Massive Constitution.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Leliana is the Light Feminine, while Morrigan is the Dark Feminine. As their character arcs progress, standard BioWare deconstruction occurs, especially on Leliana's side.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Shrieks in the Darkspawn Chronicles DLC. They have only a little bit less health than Ogres, and do a little bit less damage per attack, but they move extremely quickly, and their quick attack rate gives them a high DPS.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: If you take full advantage of specializations and area effect attacks. Warriors and rogues are hardly slouches by comparison even at high levels, but it still doesn't keep people from referring to the game as Dragon Mage: Origins. You should take a look at the Dragon Age entry on the trope page.
    • Consider it also a case of Gameplay and Story Integration. Everyone in the setting is scared of magic for a reason.
      • Usually, Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards has mages kind of sucking at low levels; it's worth pointing out that this isn't true for this game. Low level casters in DA are squishy, but still powerful and useful compared to rogues or warriors. They just become very strong at high levels, and completely, ridiculously overpowered if intentionally twinked.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Freeze an enemy solid, or petrify them, then land a critical on them. They break.
    • Or Rocket Punch them with a stone, or cast Crushing Prison on them.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Defeating the Harvester in the Golems of Amgarrak DLC causes Amgarrak's forge area to collapse.
  • Loading Screen: You get one when moving to a new area within the same building, cave, etc.; these tend to contain either tactical advice for playing, a recap of your current situation, or a tidbit of Fereldan history. When moving from one city (or part of a city) to another, the map performs this function, letting you watch as your party leaves a trail of blood along their (usually very circuitous) route.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: And most have individual voice actors, including some well-known ones. See the sub-page.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: Especially on the PC version, where thanks to a memory leak these stretch into epic lengths if you play long enough at a time.
    • The console versions are not better: the longer you play, the longer it will take save games to save and load. And if you get all the downloadable content, you have to wait almost five minutes for the game to check your save game data, then downloadable content, at the beginning of the game.
  • Loads And Loads Of Sidequests: The game goes so far as to give you an achievement, "Easily Sidetracked," if you complete 75% of the sidequests.
  • Lost Colony: The village of Haven is a form of this trope. It was established centuries ago by followers of the prophet Andraste, who created the village just outside of an elaborate temple they built to house her ashes. The village residents were charged with the perpetual guardianship of the ashes. While the rest of Ferelden sprang up around the village and changed with the passing of time, Haven remained in complete isolation - it doesn't even appear on any maps of the country and most people don't know it exists. Although its inhabitants are essentially of the same religion as the rest of Ferelden, they're unaware of the Chantry (Ferelden's church) or certain laws and regulations. Worse, in the last several generations, they've come to the erroneous conclusion that a dragon is the reincarnation of the prophet, and the village has devolved into a murderous Ax-Crazy cult.
  • Loophole Abuse: How the Dwarf Noble regains their name after being unpersonned during their Origin. Dwarves who become Grey Wardens retain their name and caste despite venturing to the surface. Given how being a Grey Warden supersedes their exile and the Shaper later comments on adding their visit to the memories, it's probable that this allowed the Dwarf Noble's name and caste to be returned to the records once more.
  • Lost Forever: If you talk to the smuggler in Dust Town and don't accept his quest (for instance, if you don't have the money), he'll be gone the next time you enter Dust Town, denying you the opportunity to make 65 gold plus a tier 7 item in a single quest.
    • Any item or other goodie located in a one time only area, such as the Fade (visited extensively only during the "Broken Circle" quest and home to many 'altars' that increase stats).
      • Lothering is a prime example. It's still in the early stages of the game, so the player is inclined to think of it as a recurring location. But if you leave without looking around, you miss out on not one, but two party members, Leliana and Sten, both of whom are never seen again once the village is lost. The village is destroyed after the completion of any of the four main quests, and cannot be revisited.
    • The Ancient Elven Armor set can certainly be this. One of the pieces is in the aforementioned Lothering, while the second is in the possession of an NPC who will stop speaking to you after you complete "The Nature of the Beast." That's 50% of a very nice armor set that you can easily miss if you don't know to look for it.
    • Also the Juggernaut armor, which is collected in the fulfillment of "The Elven Ritual." If you don't know it exists, and aren't quite comfortable disturbing the wards around the weird tombstones scattered throughout the forest, you can miss out on one of the best armor sets in the game.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: When you're trapped in the Fade in the Tower of Magi, the demon of sloth tries to do this trick on you and your party. You alone figure out that your experiences aren't real, and you have to save your companions from their traps. In a subversion, some party members are trapped in painful visions/memories (such as Wynne and Zevran) in comparison to the idyllic illusions of others (Alistair). It should be noted that Morrigan and Sten are both immune to the illusions, but are still unable to leave; it's implied that Sten is also unwilling to leave.
  • Love Hurts: Any attempt at a romance during one of the origin stories ends badly.
    • If the female PC is romancing Alistair, the only way the two of you can survive the ending to be with each other is to make him sleep with Morrigan so he can sire her child. The game makes you watch (the player, that is, not the character).
    • If the male PC is romancing Morrigan, there is no way to get a traditionally happy ending, no matter what you do. If you don't take her up on her offer at the end, she leaves the party immediately. If you do comply with her plan, she vanishes anyway after the final battle. The Witch Hunt DLC does allow the romanced Warden to enter the Eluvian with her, though.
    • At the very least, Wynne will express concern about whatever romance the PC has as the PC's duties are somewhat in conflict with a long happy life with a loved one. Subverted later on, if you follow up; she apologizes and retracts her statement, saying that seeing you with your love interest has helped her realize that when time is short love can be passionate and sweet and, by her judgment, still worth the effort and the pain.
  • Low Fantasy: According to BioWare, anyway. This is a little questionable, however, when you consider that it has rampant magic, a classic Good vs. Evil conflict against a great evil, an epic scale, The Quest, and plenty of heroics.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Oddly common considering the focus on strategy and tactics the game is supposed to have.
    • Most prevalent anytime you encounter mages, especially if the fight started immediately after opening a door or after dialogue. Enemy mages generally cast a spell at random. They have so many different damage types that buffing the right elemental resistance is random. If 2 or more mages happen to cast the right spells at the same time, it will virtually always kill off any character outside those with extreme resistances (most likely Templar or Arcane Warriors, but potentially any Human, Elf, or Dwarf character with the right stats or spells).
    • Needless to say, the game's difficulty is rather inconsistent. Some trash mob encounters may utterly curb-stomp you, while boss battles you can just walk right past, especially later in the game.
    • One of the game's hardest battles is a random pack of wolves met on the road. The difficulty of the battle depends entirely on how often the wolves use their 'Overwhelm' ability.
  • Lured Into a Trap: As the Warden and party are traveling, a woman will run up to them and ask for help. Going along with her (which you must) will lead to a trap sprung by Zevran and his fellow assassins.

    M 
  • Made of Explodium: Abominations will explode a few seconds after being killed.
  • Madness Mantra: Hespith.
  • Magic Knight:
    • The Arcane Warrior (a mage with special battle powers)
    • The Reaver (a soul-devouring warrior specialization)
    • The Templar (anti-magic focused DPS/tank warrior sub-class)
    • The Spirit Warrior (warrior with magic powers)
    • The Battlemage (a mage that actually benefits from being in the thick of battle)
  • Magic Versus Science: After their conquests, the Qunari were repelled by the Chantry-led forces in good measure thanks to the advantage given to them by the use of magic applied to warfare. In the Qunari culture, magic, albeit known, is regarded nearly as an abomination, and their warfare relies heavily on technology (like cannons) which, though superior, proved to be no match for the Chantry-controlled mages. The Qunari have also been unable to conquer the remnant of the Tevinter Imperium.
  • Magic Wand: Mage staffs. According to the Witch Hunt DLC, mages find the idea of using actual wands to be silly.
  • Magikarp Power: Archery. When you start out, it deals mediocre damage (generally lower than you'd get from pulling a sword or a mace and hitting the target). But then you get to the fourth-tier talents and you get Arrow of Slaying (which can dish out damage that rivals or exceeds anything the party mages have to offer) and Scattershot (which can both injure and stun an entire crowd of foes).
  • The Magnificent Seven Samurai: Defending Redcliffe.
  • Make Them Rot: The Fleshrot contact poison makes the victim rot from the inside.
  • Malaproper: Sister Theohild in the Denerim Chantry, much to Mother Perpetua's consternation.
    Sister Theohild: The Veal holds no uncertainty for her, and she will know no fear of death, for the Maker shall be her bacon and her shield, her foundation and her-
    Mother Perpetua: There is no veal in the Chant! You're doing this on purpose, aren't you?
  • Malevolent Architecture: Bioware seems to really like this trope.
  • Mana Potion: During the Fade sections in the Dragon Age series, you often encounter lyrium outcroppings that instantly restore your mana to full. You can also find or make potions in the waking world that do the same.
  • Mana Shield: Spell Shield. Only works against spells, though. Forcefield also works, but renders the enclosed person immobile and unable to do damage to anyone outside it.
  • Manual Leader, AI Party: The game allows customization of the party members' equipment and tactics, and allows direct control over all characters. AI scripts direct characters that are not being directly controlled, and can be customized by the player.
  • Match Maker Quest: "Cammen's Lament" in the Brecilian Forest
  • Mate or Die: The Archdemon can only be slain by a Grey Warden, who then dies. Morrigan has a plan that involves getting a male player character or Alistair (or Loghain) to impregnate her, so none of you will die when you kill it.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Oghren notes there's a ton of lyrium underneath the Urn of Andraste's Ashes, meaning the spirits players encounter could be living hallucinations conjured by lyrium rather than actual holy spirits.
  • Meaningful Name: It can't have been an accident that a land that came about by uniting barbarians, where it's perfectly acceptable to wear armor to greet royalty, and where even the king doesn't have absolute authority, is named Ferelden.
    • Many of the characters as well. Duncan means "brown warrior". Alistair is the Anglicized form of Alexander, which means "to defend and help" and also the name of one of history's greatest warrior-kings. Loghain's surname, Mac Tir, means "of the land," referencing both his patriotism and his humble origins as a farmer's son. The last one doubles as an Invoked Trope, as Loghain had no surname until King Maric gave him one and made him a Teyrn as a reward for his role in freeing Ferelden from Orlesian rule.
    • The Grey Wardens are prepared to do some pretty horrible and extreme things to defeat the Darkspawn. Generally seen as a good thing; Blood Magic and other questionable methods are preferable to a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Meat Moss: Shows up in the Circle of Magi tower as a symptom of the abominations' presence. One can hear wet, squelching noises in the background as it continues to grow and expand. Some rooms are just filled with it. The Deep Roads are filled with this, presumably due to the darkspawn taint.
    • In a particularly messy room in the Tower, Alistair remarks, "Now that's just unnecessary." Leliana moans she'll have nightmares, while Shale muses that it looks like a flesh creature exploded.
  • Medium Awareness: The Warden responds to player input, but the Violent voice gets personal:
    The Grey Warden': Can I get you a ladder, so you can get off my back?
  • Menacing Stroll: The Spirit transformation, in the Fade portion of the "Broken Circle" quest, engages in this during the "walking" animation. It's a very slow way of moving, but damn if it doesn't look awesome. When "running" or in combat, it floats.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: During the main quest, the player can choose to help the villagers of Redcliffe defend from an undead attack. The women remain in the Chantry along with the elderly and children, while the men (militia) fight (this is stated by Murdock and Mother Hannah). While helping the villagers prepare for the attack, you can persuade (or intimidate) a few more men into joining the militia, but no mention is made of arming the women. Quite the opposite — a dialogue option with a village woman is "Shouldn't you be in the Chantry?", whereas the Warden can demand that her male employer go and fight alongside the militia. Considering that you can play as a female warrior, there are women in the army (including many fighting at Ostagar, who were doubtless slaughtered with the men), there are female party members, there are female enemies, and character creation states that men and women are generally considered to be equal, it is odd that the women were portrayed as defenseless and did not fight to defend their village from certain destruction.
    • Arguably justified in that the town has been under siege for a while at this point and people are being dragged off left and right. If you count, there aren't as many women left as the men, and while most of the villagers aren't optimistic about their chances, there might still be somebody in charge thinking about the future of the village should all or most of the remaining women be killed. Or it could simply be that just because women are generally considered equal across Ferelden doesn't mean that they're considered as equal everywhere. The initial reaction to a female Warden from at least one NPC seems to suggest that Redcliffe may be one of those places where men are given more prestige.
      • Leliana's story of Ser Aveline gives a bit more insight into this. In regards to human cultures on the continent of Thedas, women in combat is a somewhat new concept. There are no objections to women serving as soldiers or in other traditionally male capacities; for example, there were a fair few female participants at the battle of Ostagar (including the other Aveline). Female fighters are slowly becoming more common, but they're still a little unusual at this point.
    • Also of note, Sten points out to a female Warden that he does not understand why she fights, because females do not serve in any military capacity among the Qunari.
    • There is also the fact that having women on the front lines would allow the darkspawn to capture more of them, giving them more vessels with which to breed. This doesn't seem to be a commonly known fact, but for those who do know, it would certainly be a good reason to keep the women out of the fighting.
  • Mercy Kill: Danyla, a Dalish elf who is about to fully succumb to the werewolf curse and is in great pain, begs you to kill her. If you refuse or drag the conversation on for too long, she attacks the party out of desperation, forcing you to kill her.
  • Mind Control: This is why Blood Mages are feared by everyone. It acts as in-universe Paranoia Fuel, especially for Cullen.
  • Mini-Dungeon: The game had The Fade, the realm where spirits, demons, and dreaming human reside. You enter it completely out of nowhere, while exploring a tower where demons have overrun the mages within, and once you're in, you must complete it to continue. The stage itself is a repetitive puzzle maze, your player character is completely alone, there is next to no dialogue or plot progression, and the entire place is intentionally blurry and out of focus. It is so infamous to Dragon Age fans that several mods exist which allow you to bypass the mini-dungeon completely while collecting every reward from it.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: The Badass Creed of the Grey Wardens is never spoken in the actual game, but is featured in one of the trailers.
  • Mistaken for Granite: Whenever you see a deactivated but otherwise intact golem, rest assured that it will start attacking as soon as you do something important.
  • Modular Epilogue: The game includes a text-only segmented epilogue in addition to the normal ending cutscenes (and the number of options is truly vast).
  • Money Spider: Played perfectly literally with the spiders themselves, but mostly averted elsewhere.
    • In Awakening, Childer Larvae and Hatchlings seem to have a pretty big allowance for being a week old. They can drop over 2 sovereigns.
  • Mook Maker: Broodmothers.
  • Moral Myopia: The Dragon to the Tevinter slavers in the Denerim Alienage will demand to know your reasons for attacking her soldiers, then piously announce her intention to "halt your slaughter" as she attacks you.
  • More Than Mind Control: Those tempted into deals with demons of Pride, Sloth, and especially Desire become to some degree a willing party to their own possession.
    Desire Demon: Happiness is bewitching.
  • Motifs: You could make a drinking game out of how many times blood becomes a subject of importance in this game, to say nothing of how much of it gets splattered around.
  • Muggle and Magical Love Triangle: It's entirely possible for a male Warden to end up in a love triangle with Leliana or Zevran (Muggle) and Morrigan (Mage).
  • Multiple Endings: Tenfold.
  • Multiple Game Openings: Sixfold.
  • Mundane Utility: Apparently Shale carries around the majority of all the goodies you pick up, saying that you would have to carry the entirety of your inventory alone if it left. To a lesser degree, anyone who takes the Arcane Warrior specialization for the sake of wearing heavier armor, but sticks to casting spells via a staff.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: The Warden can be played this way. For example, in the City Elf Origin, you can casually suggest that it would be better to just kill Duncan, instead of, you know, gently asking him to leave. In the Dwarf Noble Origin, you can have someone from another lowly noble house killed ten minutes into the game simply because you didn't like the way he talked to you and he needed to learn his place. Of course, this is standard fare in dwarven politics.
  • Mutual Kill: Happens whenever a Grey Warden kills an Archdemon.
  • My God, You Are Serious: Alistair's reaction to being told he has to sleep with Morrigan to keep one of you from dying.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much:
    • In the Circle Tower, you run into a Desire Demon who claims to truly love her Templar "captive". It's up to you whether to give her a chance or kill her (and the Templar).
    • There's also a Sylvan (a demon-possessed tree) in the Brecilian forest called the Grand Oak, who unlike all the others, will not attack the party if approached. It speaks in rhyme (complete with Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe), and is more interested in simply living in peace than anything else, and will offer assistance in return for a favor. Since it's possible for other, more benevolent Fade creatures to possess people, probably it makes sense that a more benevolent one might possess a tree.
  • Mythology Gag: Bioware has made a lot of RPGs, and they won't stop telling you about them.
    • In a tavern in Denerim is a bitter, bitter serving wench by the name of Edwina.
    • You can summon one Arl Foreshadow in the Circle of Magi.
    • Also, "When in doubt, remember to go for the eyes!"
    • A sailor named Casavir in the Pearl, Denerim's brothel.
    • Spend some quality time with the right "craftswoman" in the Pearl, and she'll ask you, "Hey, sexy! Wanna take a look at me ditties?"
    • Shale isn't too fond of "Organics".
    • There is an obscenely powerful optional boss, a lich expy called Gaxkang who drops one of the best items in the game. Observe the suspicious similarities to the obscenely powerful optional boss lich in Baldur's Gate, Kangaxx, who drops one of the best items in that game.
    • When going to the world map (and any other time you must select party members), you're asked if you would like to "Gather your party and venture forth". This is very similar to the "You must gather your party before venturing forth" that every Baldur's Gate player still has ringing in their ears.
    • Alistair occasionally yells "Down you go!" in battle.
    • The game shares a minor plot point with Jade Empire: Golems are made from people.
    • Your dog can bring you a pair of dirty abandoned pantaloons which, according to the description, seem to have been "either gold or silver in colour" at one time.
    • You can find a note in the Deep Roads in which the anonymous author mentions that "Mass will have an effect" and wonders why a dwarf would be named Shepard, and the implication is given that the author went mad from the isolation while trapped in an elevator for a very, very long time.
    • When exiting dialogue with majority of the NPCs, the line to do so is worded exactly as "I should go."
  • Multishot: Done by splintering the arrow.

    N 
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The CGI trailers, which were done by Blur instead of Bioware, place a heavier emphasis on action than actually appears in game, in addition to the characters looking very different.
  • New Game+: Each specialization, such as Arcane Warrior or Berserker, has to be unlocked once in the game. However, as soon as it is unlocked, it can be freely used not just by the character who unlocked it, but also by any character of the same account or profile. Further, the specializations will remain unlocked for all future games, and even if you reload an earlier save from the same playthrough.
    • Unlike a true new game plus, you do not get to reuse your character from the last game (levels, gear, and all). However, by completing DLC campaigns like Witch Hunt, you can get new items — often extremely powerful, or at least good to sell for some coin.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In some of the origins, the PC's actions end up making life (either for themselves or others) difficult later on.
    • In the Magi origin, the Mage assists Jowan in escaping from the Circle. Jowan then proceeds to poison Arl Eamon at Loghain's behest, and set off a chain of events that nearly destroy Redcliffe.
    • In the Dwarf Noble origin, it's possible for the Player Character to fall for Bhelen's deception and kill their eldest brother, bringing their subsequent exile upon him/herself, leading to King Aeducan's grief-induced death, and the following deadlock on the new king candidates.
    • In the City Elf origin, the Player Character effectively sparks a riot that prompts the Alienage to be purged.
    • Meanwhile, completing some quests can lead to disastrous consequences in the epilogue. Helping to construct a Chantry in Orzammar leads to a religious conflict between the dwarves and the murder of the dwarf who started it, concluding in the Chantry considering an Exalted March against the dwarves.
    • Completing a sidequest in the Circle Tower called "Summoning Sciences" will result in the escape of a Fade spirit that will then begin slaughtering innocent people on the road between the Tower and Redcliffe.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Eamon flat out states that had the demon Connor accidentally summoned not intervened, Loghain's attempt to poison him probably would have been successful.
  • Nintendo Hard: Higher difficulties will strongly punish players who don't properly use tactics. The game also gives a very minimal introduction to the combat, causing a Difficulty Spike when players get into battles designed to be won with strategy.
    • Given the focus the game has on tactics, there are a few design decisions that are a bit odd, almost to the point of being Fake Difficulty. The game makes some fights significantly harder by porting the entire party directly in front of the bad guys for a mandatory conversation before the fight starts; in extreme cases, this means the party walks directly into an ambush/crossfire/killzone.
      • Even worse is the irregular deactivation of abilities which of course have a cooldown, and are sometimes needed to use other skills. Other times you just lose the abilities themselves, which is bad enough.
    • The Golems of Amgarrak is designed to be much, much harder than any other entry in the saga, starting with being the only module that doesn't provide the Warden with at least one Mage as backup and ending with a Flunky Boss who spawns other bosses as its flunkies.
  • Noble Male, Roguish Male: Alistair and Zevran, the two male love interests, with Alistair being the Noble aspect and Zevran the Roguish.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: The Darkspawn Chronicles DLC averts this by allowing you to play as as a Hurlock Vanguard during the Battle of Denerim in an alternate universe where the Warden failed the Joining.
  • No Fair Cheating: There was a glitch to raise your levels to the cap in Ostagar. Using it makes the game unwinnable; the Dynamic Difficulty means that while your party levels up, without matching equipment for your level, you'll be far outgunned by the enemy. It can be averted while playing a warrior, since low level enemies will start immediately dropping silverite and dragonbone equipment and leveling up early means early access to the bonus items (blood dragon armor, etc.)
    • Wonderfully lampshaded when the PC reaches the paranoid hermit in the Brecilian Forest and has a mage in the party, who immediately points out this isn't just your average old loon. "No fair, bringing mages to a guessing game!"
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon: Averted in the Human Noble Origin. If you choose female for your character's sex, both your mother and your sister-in-law imply (or outright state in Mom's case) that if you don't lay down your sword and become a proper lady, you'll never appeal to men. Mom says that while she was a real Badass when she was single, she had to give it up and learn the "softer arts" to bag a husband. In Mom's case, one of your dialogue options is to answer her by inviting a hunky nobleman to talk privately later right in front of her. If you do this, you end up meeting him in the study and teasing him about a forbidden sex book you read and offer to show him what you learned if he visits your room later. He eagerly accepts the offer, though if you pursue this, it doesn't end well for him when Howe's men attack.
  • No Hero Discount: Mostly played straight; despite the fact that the Warden goes around saving the bacon of pretty much everyone in Ferelden, most of the merchants you encounter won't offer you so much as a minor discount in return, and the game even goes out of its way to rub this in the player's face by having one of the few who claims to be doing so (Bodahn) charge you some of the highest prices of anyone for his goods.
    • Gorim is an exception to this rule, but only if you play as a Dwarf Noble. Because he and the Dwarf Noble Warden have a history, he does give you a discount and buys your items for higher prices too.
  • "No. Just... No" Reaction:
    • If you suggest to Alistair a threesome with Isabela and he is not hardened.
    • If you suggest that Alistair resolve the dispute over the succession by marrying Anora, the current queen; hardened or not, he'll go along with it, but he's against at it first.
  • Nominal Importance: If they have a name, or even an unusual description, they most certainly have important, or at least interesting, things to say — if not a side quest to offer/help resolve. By contrast, some temporary party members with no particular dialogue of their own are named things like "Circle Mage" and "Tower Guard." They die.
    • Also works in battle; most named NPCs on your side are literally invincible.
  • Non Standard Skill Learning: Each party member has a hidden perk tree of "Inspired" abilities, which are automatically unlocked at 25, 50, 75, and 90 Disposition and give increasing bonuses to their primary character stats. If their disposition toward the Warden drops, however, the perks are revoked. Wynne additionally has an active power, Vessel of the Spirit, which is unlocked by certain story events.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Subverted with Zathrian and Witherfang. Killing Witherfang will not end the werewolf curse. It only provides Zathrian with a cure for his Dalish kin, allowing the humans afflicted to continue suffering. Killing Zathrian will not end the curse either. If Zathrian willingly removes the curse, however, it will kill both him and Witherfang. Also with Flemeth (stays a dragon after you kill her), mind-controlled Templars, some spells who survive the casters (the swarm of insects one, for example), and so on. The dev team like subverting this one, apparently.
  • No Such Thing as Wizard Jesus: Averted. Everything from Andraste to the origins of the darkspawn have alternate explanations suggested that go against the Chantry's canon in favor of non-divine explanations suggested in codex entries. Sten and Morrigan (a follower of the Qun philosophy and an atheist witch, respectively) occasionally bring these up as well.
  • No Sympathy: You can play your character as this if you're feeling heartless. The game provides you with cold or cruel responses, which may gain favour with the pragmatists (Sten), but are more likely to hurt your relationships with characters — even Morrigan demands a certain level of respect for her beliefs and upbringing. More significantly, your group generally dismisses or ignores your character's woes. Occasionally, however, the game will surprise you by averting the trope when least expected — it's possible to be cheered up by amoral Zevran, or receive approval for your romance from sharp-tongued Morrigan.
  • Nonindicative Name: As Sten can note about the Crows in a conversation with Zevran.
    Sten: Why do you call yourselves "Crows"? Crows are scavengers, not killers.
    Zevran: I heard that at one time they considered calling us the Kestrels. But you know. It didn't sing. It didn't dance.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Unless your whole party gets wiped out, a downed character is only unconscious, though with an injury that needs treatment. They'll haul themselves upright (usually with a one-liner) when the battle is over.
    • Also implied to be the case in the Provings, should you enter them in either of the Dwarf Origins or while supporting Lord Harrowmont; your opponents go down hard and are not seen to get up, but the fact that one of your opponents in the Dwarf Noble Origin is later a Guest Star Party Member suggests that they survive the encounters.
  • Noodle Incident: Bann Teagan instantly recognizes Alistair when Alistair tells him he was covered in mud last time they met. No further details are given.
    Leliana: I once drank a thimble of dwarven ale. Woke up a week later in Jader wearing nothing but my shoes and a towel.
    Alistair: What? Lead? Me? No, no, no. No leading. Bad things happen when I lead. We get lost, people die, and the next thing you know I'm stranded somewhere without any pants.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Neither Susan Boyd Joyce (Wynne) nor Kate Mulgrew (Flemeth) use the English-sounding Ferelden/Tevinter accent used by other human characters.
  • Not Quite The Right Thing: Hoo, boy, Orzammar is just chock full of opportunities for disastrous but well-intentioned meddling, often to the point where it seems like the whole sodding town is baiting a good-aligned character.
  • Not So Different: Prince Bhelen and Lord Harrowmont. Both hire criers to spread lies and slander about their opponents, both are willing to use deceit and fraud to win the support of the deshyrs, both have armed bands of supporters roaming the streets and assaulting their opponents, both hire mercenaries to assassinate the Warden if he/she sides with the other...
  • Not So Extinct: The series takes its name from the fact that dragons were believed to be extinct for the last several centuries (not counting the Archdemons, who take the form of dragons). They reappeared at the start of the current age; ages (centuries) in Thedas are named for omens seen in the final year of the previous age, and the reappearance of the dragons was considered a pretty big omen.
  • Not So Stoic: A minor example, but if you bug the calm-speaking Master Ignacio about his innuendo of stating what he wants you to do and where your payment will be, he gets annoyed by your lack of subtlety and bursts out: "All right, yes. You kill them, look in the bleeding chest."
  • Not That There's Anything Wrong with That: If a male Warden is romancing Leliana and Zevran simultaneously, Leliana will be quick to say this to clarify that it's the cheating she has a problem with, not the Warden liking other men.
  • Nothing Personal: Said by a group of desperate refugees who ambush you in Lothering (they want the bounty that Loghain has placed on your head), and invoked by Zevran after his failed assassination attempt, who says that he has no issues with you personally and was just fulfilling a contract.
  • Notice This: The game uses sparkles to point out containers and lootable enemies.
  • Nuke 'em: The Grey Wardens have no problem with burning down entire villages if they believe this would help defeat the Blight.

    O 
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: In the Human Noble Origin, you can pull Arl Howe aside to wish him well. This makes him very embarrassed for some reason. He's planning to murder you, your whole family, And Your Little Dog Too. And he totally goes through with it.
  • Obvious Beta: The critically bugged and broken endgame sequence. Among other things, several of the epilogue slides either contain inaccuracies about your playthrough or don't show up at all.
  • Oh My Gods!:
    • Dear Maker!
    • Maker's breath!
    • Andraste's flaming sword!
    • Andraste's light!
    • Andraste's holy knickers!
    • Andraste's sanctified girdle!
    • By my ancestors!
      Oghren: By the tits of my Ancestors!
    • As well as various less polite variations such as "Andraste's ass" and "Andraste's knicker-weasels".
    • Dalish Elves have suspiciously Christian blessings and creeds where "Creators" is hastily substituted for "God" — "Creators speed/guide you on your way", "It seems the will of the Creators", "Gods bless you", etc.
  • Omnicidal Neutral: The Warden's Keep DLC can end with the Warden slaying Avernus on behalf of the demon, then turning around and killing the demon, too. Or the other way around. Similarly, the "A Paragon of Her Kind" quest can end with the Warden killing Caridin, then talking Branka into committing suicide.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: For Mages, it's obviously the Magic stat. You don't even need the stats that give hit points or mana because hey, Magic improves your health and mana potions. And if you pick the Arcane Warrior specialization, you really don't have a use for Strength.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Any darkspawn with "Grunt" in their name. Grunts are suspiciously weaker than other darkspawn, which is strange because they only appear in the endgame, when you're at your most powerful.
  • One-Woman Wail: "I Am the One" during the end credits.
  • The Only One: The player is a newly-recruited Grey Warden among just roughly a dozen in the country of Ferelden. Then all but two of this small band are killed in battle, leaving just the player and another Warden who is nearly as new. Their goal is to unite all the races in the fight against the Darkspawn and defeat the Archdemon. However, the game's loading screens specifically mention that the Warden and Alistair are just the last Wardens currently within Ferelden's borders (not counting Riordan, who is incarcerated): there's many more elsewhere on Thedas and they will stop the Blight if you don't. All you really do is reduce its duration to a matter of months instead of years, with a corresponding drop in casualties.
  • Only One Female Mold: Putting Wynne (60-ish with all gray hair) next to Morrigan (early 20s with a figure that's openly admired by Leliana) and having them wear the same outfit (as long as it's not a formless robe) is... disturbing, to say the least.
    Zevran: But it is a marvelous bosom. I have seen women half your age who have not held up half so well. Perhaps it is a magical bosom?
  • Only Smart People May Pass: The Gauntlet from the "Urn of Sacred Ashes" quest. Lampshaded by Alistair: "Andraste only favored the clever, it seems."
  • Only the Worthy May Pass: When doing the last part of the "Urn of Sacred Ashes" quest, the Guardian practically states this word for word and puts you through tests of faith. And by faith, he means logic.
  • Open Secret: It seems that everyone but the Grey Warden recruits know all about the Joining, including its high mortality rate.
  • Optional Sexual Encounter: Many.
  • Organ Drops: Demonic ichor, spider toxin extract, corpse galls (the latter of which the Chantry collects after an apparent outbreak of zombies).
  • Overdrawn at the Blood Bank: You will be splattered with an absolutely ludicrous amount of blood, no matter the battle. Makes sense if it's a long, drawn-out gore-fest against a dozen darkspawn that leaves you clinging to life through gaping wounds; not so much when it's just a couple of little rats.

    P-Q 
  • The Paladin: Templars are this game's Church Militant Magic Knights (or Anti-Magic Knights, as the case may be). If you want a classic Paladin (magic knight with mostly healing spells), you could give your mage the Spirit Healer spec along with Arcane Warrior and/or Battlemage.
  • Parental Abandonment: In spades.
    • The lost child in Lothering who can be heard crying out for his mother (who is likely the woman that you find dead in the fields during a certain sidequest).
    • Poor, poor Amethyne. When you meet her in the Denerim Alienage, she is completely unaware of the events that occurred in Highever (during which her mother was murdered), and the fact that she is now an orphan. And even if you're the Human Noble and actually interacted with her mother, you can't do jack for her or even speak to her.
    • Almost every single mage who gets sent to the Circle Tower is affected by this trope. This is mainly because mages generally have to live out pretty much the rest of their whole lives locked away in that tower. And besides that, most of them are utterly rejected by their families anyway when their magical powers surface in childhood, since magic is so feared and despised in Thedas.note 
    • This is part of the Dalish Warden's backstory. His/her father died before s/he was born, and his/her mother abandoned her infant to the care of the clan and wandered off into the woods to die of a broken heart.
    • This is also Alistair's backstory, as well as Zevran's; he was born in a brothel to a mother who died at his birth, and he has no idea who his father is.
  • Party Scattering: In the Fade section, the Warden's active party is scattered across a demon's otherworldly realm and s/he has to find and free them before they can fight the demon.
  • Path of Inspiration: The Disciples of Andraste were originally a peaceful cult dedicated to protecting the Urn of Sacred Ashes from the unfaithful, but eventually devolved into an Axe Crazy Dragon Cult.
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: Averted most of the time. Chantry? Apostate? Maleficar? All real words. Well, except maleficar, but you can call that a modernization of maleficus.
  • Player Headquarters: The party's campsites in Origins.
  • Playing Against Type: Arl Howe is a fairly low-key and forgettable villain... so why is Tim Curry voicing him?
    • Of course, if you play the Human Noble Warden, things are a bit more personal between the PC and Arl Howe, though he's still surprisingly subtle.
  • Playing Possum: The rogue ability "Feign Death."
  • Point-and-Click Map
  • Polyamory: If the Warden is romancing Morrigan and another companion simultaneously, the Warden can suggest this to her when she calls him out on it. As it turns out, Morrigan disapproves.
    • Alistair also disapproves, if you romance both him and Zevran or Leliana; you have the option of inquiring whether you can have both and he insists that you choose between them.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Literally. The third option to destroy the Archdemon involves impregnating Morrigan to use her child as a conduit for the Archdemon's soul, transferring the soul into the child and leaving the Warden who slays it alive. Morrigan claims that the Archdemon's soul is purified in this process and the child will not be hurt. She does refuse to elaborate and scrams with the child later. Somewhat more reasonably, she also points out that at such an early stage of pregnancy, it won't really be a "child" by any stretch of the word - her plan is technically Powered By A Forsaken Embryo.
    • There's also the golems, only slightly less literally. (They're powered by forsaken adult dwarves.)
  • Power Floats: Desire Demons and Arcane Horrors, and the Spirit transformation in the Fade portion of the Circle quest.
  • Practical Taunt: Taunt is a generic Warrior class skill used to instantly boost all nearby enemies' aggro, making them attack the tank instead of weaker party members.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Though the villain part is debatable for both of them, Morrigan and Flemeth qualify. Well, Morrigan tries, anyway, but ends up coming across as Stupid Evil in some cases; for example, she'll complain about you helping the villagers of Redcliffe with their undead problem despite it being the most direct, not to mention safest, way to the castle.
    • Flemeth, on the other hand, despite her Grand Theft Me plot with all of her daughters, fits the trope to a T. She couldn't care less about the Grey Wardens, except for the fact that they're the only ones capable of stopping the Blight, which has the potential to destroy even her. (Well, that and her plan for getting Morrigan pregnant with a reborn Old God.) So naturally, she gives them as much help as possible on their quest, up to and including saving the PC and Alistair's lives.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Several of Alistair's comments upon encountering a group of enemies.
    All right, who ordered death? Is that death you're wearing? It really suits you!
    • Leliana has one too: "I tried to be merciful!"
    • And the Warden, depending on which voice was chosen during the character creation.
  • Pre-Order Bonus: Rather ridiculously, every major vendor had a pre-order bonus for Origins that's exclusive to them. Amazon.com had The Lion's Paw boots, Direct2Drive had the Dalish Ring, EA Store had the Fire Band, Game Crazy had the Guildmaster's Belt, GameStop and Play.com had the Feral Wolf Charm, Steam had The Wicked Oath... Those who pre-ordered were forced to pick one and miss out on all the other items. Some items have been made available for manual installation, although if you play on a console rather than PC you won't be able to get them all.
  • Private Tutor: Jowan serves as one to Connor Guerrin, whose mother won't let him be taken to the Circle and instead opts to have him learn just enough magic to conceal his talents. This backfires when Jowan poisons Connor's father on his employer's orders and leads to Connor being possessed by a demon and amassing an undead army.
  • Prolonged Prologue: There are 6 origin stories and they can each take an hour or longer to complete. And then that prologue is followed by another prologue in Ostagar, which will probably run between one and two hours, depending on one's thoroughness and efficiency. And if you want to get technical, you can also include Lothering, which will take at least fifteen minutes and can stretch to over an hour if you're thorough, since you have to get through that town if you want to go anywhere else in the game.
  • Promoted Fangirl: Aimo, whose deviantART work caught the attention of David Gaider, who worked with her to create Dragon Age: The Revelation, depicting a cutscene Gaider wrote for Origins which didn't make it into the game. It is now available to view online.
  • Protagonist Power Up Privileges: If upgrades (such as attribute bonuses) can only be picked up by a certain character, it's always the Warden.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: The gender of your character has no effect whatsoever on your stats. Gender is not completely aesthetic, but it mostly affects some conversation options and a couple of the potential romances.
  • The Quest: You have to kill the Archdemon.

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