Lake and King Calenhad are named after the Calenhad, the sixth of Gondor's beacons.
For that matter, the term Avvar is almost certainly derived from the Avari, who in Tolkien's legendarium referred to the group of elves who decided not to run off to Elvenhome/Valinor and instead stayed behind to watch humans take over the lands they once called their own. Although in Tolkien's case they shed their bodies willingly instead of losing their immortality.
Among the names of fallen Grey Wardens recorded on a poster in the Warden's Keep is "Jason sans les Argonauts", literally "Jason without the Argonauts". This is in an area right after you fight skeletal warriors, just like in the film.
When questioning a scavenger who took Sten's sword, one of your dialogue options is "Sten, tear his arms off." Does it bear mentioning that Sten is the tallest member of your party?
Sten is a walking, (rarely) talking Princess Bride shout out.
The Warden: Well, that wasn't what I expected to hear.
Sten: Get used to disappointment.
The Warden: Nothing, let's just move on.
Sten: As you wish.
Another The Princess Bride reference occurs during your first confrontation with Ser Cauthrien where the dialogue option to fight her is "Death first!"
And during the Landsmeet, when the Warden picks Shale to duel Loghain, the latter says: "I think the odds might be slightly in his favor in a test of strength."
These shout outs are all the work of Bioware writer Mary Kirby.
In the Brecilian Forest, you meet a crazy old man who wants to play a game, trading questions for questions and answers for answers. His very first one is "What...is your name?" Said in the exact way as in Holy Grail.
The Lord of the Rings movies obviously had a great influence on the visual design of the orcs darkspawn and the cinematics. Just look at The Battle of Helm's Deep The Battle of Ostagar. Listen to the music, especially when fighting darkspawn in the Wilds, it sounds almost exactly like the orc theme from the movie.
Also, the hurlock commander in charge does the neck-cricking thing that the Uruk-Hai commander does in the movie.
It seems a lot like Helm's Deep. The spawn of evil are charging forward with a forest behind them towards a guarded fortress on a rainy night? All we needed was Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas to show up.
'Ostagar' sounds an awful lot like *Osgiliath,* a Romanesque ruin where a small company of elite fighters mounted an ultimately-disastrous action against an overwhelming multitude of orcs...and whose doom was sealed by the command of a Regent.
The Deep Roads have obvious Moria parallels—a destroyed dwarven kingdom overrun by darkspawn/orcs, rife with the valuable mineral lyrium/mithril.
Indirectly, Flemeth's unseen rescue from the Tower of Ishaal is highly reminiscent of the way Gandalf and the eagles save Frodo and Sam from Mount Doom, if Morrigan's story is true. A note the PC can find also mentions that a band of unfortunate explorers "should have taken the damn giant eagles."
Oghren makes a direct reference to one of Gimli's lines when the party is trying to solve the Gauntlet Bridge puzzle
Oghren: So is anyone going to suggest tossing the dwarf across? No? Pity.
In the Dalish origin, it is possible to find evidence of a failed attempt at establishing trade between elves and dwarves, stating "Some dwarves dug too high and too frugally and struck elves."
The Wheel of Time. Warden sounds like Warder, Par Vallon sounds like Tar Valon, Loghain sounds like Logain, Shadowspawn and Blight are not even changed, the description of the Iron Ring (a serpent devouring its own tail) has it looking exactly like the Aes Sedai ring, Leliana is a bard with a gift for using knives and spying just like a certain Thom Merrilin, and Leliana also makes several references to the high-blood of the Seanchan, the game of houses, and refers to secret networks as "eyes and ears".
One of the options for "what a lark can carry, but an ox may not" is "a coconut". Particularly funny, since you actually are looking for the equivalent of the Holy Grail.
Oren, the young boy in the Human Noble prologue, fantasizes about vanquishing his foes with a "Sword ofTruthiness".
A note found in the Deep Roads says, "'Mass will have an effect.... How's a dwarf get to be named Shepard?'" The note consists mostly of the dwarf complaining about the extremely slow lift he is standing on.
"Shepard" here also axes his conversation partner and kills himself by walking out of the lift.
The Gauntlet could easily be a shout out to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, as it constitutes several tests of character and ability (with appropriate discussion as to whether the flowery language of legend actually refers to something divine or merely a set of elaborate deathtraps) that must be conquered if one is to reach an artifact which might as well be the Holy Grail.
Not to mention the Guardian, An ancient knight who guards a holy relic from the unworthy and is kept alive far longer than a normal human by the very power which he guards.
While we're talking about comic books: in the Fade, you have the possibility to "morph" into four different forms, each with specific abilitie and feats. Those four forms are, respectively, a "spirit" able to cast spells like a mage (read: intellect); a mouse who can use Stealth; an archer immuned to fire able to cast fireballs called "human torch"; and a big stone golem who can punch, earthquake and rock-throw his way through things. Seriously.
A sequence in the trailer for the Expansion Pack is highly reminiscent of the intro sequence to Baldur's Gate.
Bonus Boss Gaxkang is a clear shout out to Baldur's Gate II's Kangax.
At the Pearl, when you spend the night with one of the girls, they might give you a familiar greeting: "Hey, sexy! Would you like to take a look at me diddies?"
In Baldur's Gate, using an area transition while some characters were lagging too far behind resulted in the narrator informing you that "You must gather your party before venturing forth". Since this happens a lot due to iffy pathfinding, the line gained some infamy in the BG fandom. In Dragon Age, the 'confirm action' popup for leaving an area asks if you want to "Gather your party and venture forth"
In Denerim Chantry one may meet Sister Theohild who is messing the holy text up with hilarious errors. Exactly like minister Gerald in Four Weddings and a Funeral.
The Awakening NPC Mistress Woolsey, an accountant/bureaucrat sent by Weisshaupt to "oversee" things at Vigil's Keep, seems to be a pretty straight-up shout out to Richard Woolsey from Stargate Atlantis. Right down to the name.
Word of God says that Ser Gilmore, an NPC in the human noble origin, has the first name Roland... Rory for short.
A random encounter has a group of people surrounding an axe in a stump, and whomever pulls it out is said to be the true ruler of all Thedas. It seems like a King Arthur reference ... until a NPC starts complaining that lifting a drunken logger's axe out of a stump is no basis for a system of government. Another onlooker will state that the Warden has a regal manner, as evidenced by the fact that they haven't got dung all over them.
During the Leliana's Song DLC, the eponymous French Spy Orlesian bard will enter a room full of guards and announce her presence with a loud exclamation of "Gentlemen!"
She also does this in Origins proper if you're playing a male Warden. She'll interrupt you and the captain in the pub with it.
Sergeant Kylon, and his watchmen might be a small reference to the Ankh-Morpork city watch from the Discworld series of novels, not only is his name very similar to one of the characters, he also complains of the complete ineptness of the guard in capturing criminals and preventing crime.
If Zevran is in your group, you can at one point give him a pair of Dalish leather gloves (like the ones his mother used to own). He will be surprised and ask what the occasion is, to which the player character may respond: "If you don't want them, give them back."
In the Witch Hunt DLC, the joinable mage NPC Finn has a magic staff calledVera. The item description even says, "He's named it 'Vera' for some reason".
He's even got a 'Ghastly Hat' which his mother made for him. Unlike Jayne he doesn't seem to be all that keen on wearing it.
While more of a stretch than the other examples listed, to the point of possibly being coincidental, two NPCs are named "Lloyd" and "Irving". The former NPC can even be found in a tavern along with a character, Berwick voiced by Cam Clarke the voice of Lloyd Irving's father, Kratos.
In camp, a drunk Oghren propositions you, even if you are a male. When you reject him because "I'm a man!" He simply replies that "Nobody's perfect."
A Chantry Priestess in Denerim who identifies relics talks about people bringing in fake "finger bones" and "holy sandals" of Andraste. Blackadder and Monty Python's Life of Brian'' respectively.
Many, many shout outs to A Song of Ice and Fire, considering that series' influence on Dragon Age. Several familiar names pop up, and a few people and organizations are very similar (the Legion of the Dead is almost a Captain Ersatz of the Night's Watch, for example).
The Characters are shout-outs, especially to previous BioWare games:
The elf who hates all humans, is cranky all the time, has real sibling issues, and is one of the best spellcasters in the game? Oh hello Viconia! She even sounds the same.
Edwina, the barmaid of the Gnawed Noble Tavern, sounds like she's just lost a duel with Elminster of the Dales...
Red-haired thief with a sunny attitude, dark past (and enjoys it), and all round adorableness? Give her a Mage Origin and she's Imoen!
Oh, and Daelan Red Tiger's voice actor is Steve Blum (Oghren).
Hell, it also work with Mass Effect and Knights of the Old Republic : the "snarky with a heart of gold" highly-specialized warrior with a harsh backstory, possible romance for female PC? Alistair/Kaidan/Carth (or possibly Garrus, or Baldur's Gate's Anomen). The battle-hardened, brutally honest, Comically Serious and proudBlood Knight ? Sten/Wrex/Canderous. TheAdorkable lady with an unusual backstory, a strong faith and an abusive authority figure, who is a possible bisexual romance for the PC? Leliana/Liara/Juhani. The other possible romance for a male PC, an abrasive woman who's prompt to criticize people who don't share her views, with a father/mother responsible for her prejudices and twisted vision of the world? Morrigan/Ashley/Bastilla.
The two sisters standing in front of the chantry in Denerim tell the story of one Brother Caedmon who used to be in charge of the lyrium storage...and very good at singing hymns.
The little boy sitting on the bridge in Lothering will open conversation with "Have you seen my mother?" with the exact same inflection as the boy asking for his "mummy" from the Doctor Who two-parter "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances". The voice is also identical. All the kid needs is a gas mask.
When the Warden and Zevran have the conversation about Antivian boots, one dialogue option is, "No boots for you!" Soup Nazi anyone?
Possibly a coincidence, but the city of Amaranthine in Awakening shares its name with a minor planet in Mass Effect 1.
Nathaniel Howe: Isn't that name a little... ridiculous?
Anders: What do you think I should call him? Frederick?
Possibly a shout out, but during the Mage circle origin you can find three apprentices (One ginger haired boy, a brown haired girl and a black haired boy) being lectured by an old witch. The blacked haired boy sounds like a very young Daniel Radcliffe). And his character model bares a striking resemblance to a rather famous boy wizard.
If you decide to destroy the Anvil of the Void, Caridin makes a crown for you to give to the candidate of your choice. Then, since he doesn't like being trapped in a powerful, immortal steel body, he throws himself into the lava.