Video Game: Dragon Age: Inquisition

"Faith lies in ashes. Our fragile alliances crumble to dust as this world is torn asunder. Darkness closes in. Will you stand against it, or lead this world to its bitter end?"
Morrigan

The third installment of the Dragon Age series by BioWare, which was released on November 18th, 2014 in North America and November 21st, 2014 in Europe for PC, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4 and Xbox One. The game takes place across the lands of the Orlesian Empire, Ferelden, and the Dales, after the conclusion of Asunder, The Masked Empire and the Dragon Age II epilogue in 9:40 Dragon.

Instead of playing as the Warden or Hawke, the player takes control of a new protagonist, the Inquisitor. Similar to Dragon Age: Origins, players can customize this hero's class, gender, and race (human, elf, dwarf, or qunari). After a cataclysmic event plunges Thedas into turmoil, the Sole Survivor of said event is tasked with rebuilding the ancient Inquisitionnote  and leading it to restore order and hunt down the agents of chaos, getting involved in the Mage-Templar war and the Orlesian Civil war along the way. A new single-player DLC, The Jaws of Hakkon was released on March 24th, 2015 for the Xbox One and PC. It released on other platforms on May 27, 2015.

Inquisition also features a multiplayer mode where up to four players can take control of agents of the Inquisition in randomly generated dungeons.

Spoilers for previous entries in the series will be UNMARKED.


The game provides examples of:

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  • After-Combat Recovery: Averted. For the first time in the series, your health doesn't automatically refill as soon as the fighting stops. Downed characters are still instantly revived after combat, however.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • The new combat system for dragons allows you to attack their limbs, much like Dragon's Dogma. The demo at E3 shows how taking out a leg causes the dragon to roar pitifully and start limping. The developers wanted to convey that while dragons are a vicious menace to society, they are still living creatures.
    • This also applies to the new giant enemy. The way they hold their knees after several hits or indeed fall down on them as their legs are taken out is almost pitiful.
    • The trope overall most definitely applies to Alexius. It's heavily implied that the only reason he joined the Venatori in the first place is because Corypheus promised to help save his son from a Blight infection. Dorian comments that he used to look up to Alexius as a role model, someone who wanted to improve the Imperium and make it a better place, but all of that changed when his wife was murdered and his son infected in a Darkspawn attack. If he is executed following judgment at Skyhold, Dorian laments that the man he used to idolize had fallen so far from what he used to be.
  • Alien Kudzu: The Red Lyrium sprouting up in places where regular Blue Lyrium normally doesn't would qualify if it were alive and not a mineral... except that it is "alive", and it's blighted.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Implied in one conversation. In talking about his Fade journeys, Solas mentions a benevolent spirit that and would subtly steer young maidens' hearts to fall in love with village boys with gentle hearts who would return their love with gentle affection, and remarks that "that village never knew its luck."
  • All Myths Are True: A surprising amount of the ancient lore in Thedas comes into play during the game, though not necessarily as one might expect:
    • The elven Creators appear to have been real, although whether they were gods or powerful rulers is unknown.
    • Flemeth is indeed the Witch of the Wilds of legend, although the "demon" that possesses her is actually the essence of the elven goddess Mythal.
    • The Jaws of Hakkon DLC reveals that the Avvar gods are all real. The Avvar are actually spirit worshippers, and gods like the Lady of the Skies and Hakkon Wintersbreath are "merely" powerful spirits.
  • Altar Diplomacy: Several war table operations involve forging or breaking political marriages or betrothals to achieve your desired ends.
  • Amazon Chaser: Ferelden's nobility seems to have elements of this. A war table mission lets the PC send a champion to participate in a tourney. Although she doesn't win, she places highly and impresses a number of people. This results in six job offers and nine offers of marriage.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba:
    • Claim you're representing the Inquisition and a soldier outside of Redcliffe Village, who won't let you through, will counter with (paraphrased): "Sure, and I'm the empress of Orlais."
    • She's not the only one; among others, a rebel mage in Redcliffe has the same reaction if the Inquisitor claims to want to help the mages. You get a scene like this at least once a game.
  • And Now For Something Completely Different:
    • The Winter Palace mission is almost entirely political in nature. Although you'll still be murdering your way through waves of mooks at certain points throughout the evening, the primary focus of the level is accumulating blackmail material and political leverage by eavesdropping on nobles and collecting scandalous documents; meanwhile, the Inquisitor must also attempt to earn and maintain the approval of the Orlesian court, which is affected by their background, the things they say and do during the masquerade, and turning over the aforementioned blackmail material to Leliana.
    • The Hissing Wastes are completely unique compared to any other map area. It has by far the fewest features, as it's designed to be a vast, empty and forlorn desert. The emptiness, however, serves to facilitate the quest. (See those massive rocks in the distance? They're important.) Its primary quest is also extremely different from anything else in the game, and can basically be described as Adventure Archeology, complete with treasure maps.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature:
    • Any decision that would result in a Lost Forever moment is clearly defined in-game.
    • Similarly, the Search feature is meant to avert Pixel Hunting by clearly telling you if there are interactable objects nearby. Originally this meant a specific sound when the feature was activated and an outline around objects within a certain radius of the character; a patch later added glowing spots that would temporarily appear on the mini map.
  • Anti-Grinding: If the player tries to grind in the same area, enemy mobs will thin out for some time, making it take much longer to farm XP. Even if the player does manage to gain a level or two, enemies will now give out less XP than before to the point of being almost worthless. Further, once the player is high enough in level, certain mobs will stop spawning entirely. Quests and side quests are the only efficient source of XP, but even those will vanish completely as the player nears the endgame.
  • Anti-Magical Faction: The purpose of the original Inquisition, before it joined forces with the Chantry and became the Templars and Seekers of Truth. What path the new Inquisition follows depends on your choices (and the first brand-new companion announced is a mage advocate, although one that previously supported the Chantry and the Circle system before the Templar-Mage war broke out).
  • Anti-Magic: Templars, natch, but a particular case here: Maevaris Tilani attempts to make a political stand in the Magisterium in Tevinter against the Venatori in a short War Table operation chain, but runs afoul of some of the "heavy hitters" that are content to let the Venatori run amok down south. Cullen's solution to aid her is to send a detachment of Inquisition Templars under disguise for aid. Where does this trope come in? Tevinter Templars are decidedly not this. The attackers on Mae's estate were "flummoxed" (in Cullen's words) by the southern-style Templars' magic-nullifying powers, and they were handily repulsed.
  • Anti-Poop Socking : The time needed for your agents to complete operations passes even while you aren't playing the game. Since these operations can take several hours to complete, this feature allows players to enjoy the game without having to spend too much time playing to complete the operations. On the other hand, though, some of these must be done within a timely fashion to be worth anything; for example, the Ancestral Sword/Shield of Lydas is a Level Six item, and you could become overleveled as you do other stuff. Further, if you want specific rewards/outcomes for these missions, you need to use specific Advisors for it - meaning that if two missions both require 12 hours or so, and you want the same Advisor to do both, you won't be done until tomorrow.
  • Appeal to Ignorance/There Are No Coincidences: In keeping with the theme of ambiguity regarding The Maker, the events of the game are said to be His work for different reasons. When everything is in chaos and nobody knows what's going on or can offer any answers, rumors start that The Maker (or Andraste) was directly involved. Later, when the truth starts to be revealed, it's argued that because the coincidences are too timely, the Maker must have planned it behind the curtains. "The less He does, the more He's proven" is actually a core idea of the religion.
  • Applied Phlebotinum:
    • Both exemplified and averted with Red Lyrium when you discover that Lyrium is actually alive, the red stuff has been corrupted by the Blight, and that's why it drives people insane.
    • That would also hold true for regular Lyrium, which somehow manages to enhance a mage's magic powers and give Templars anti-magic powers at the same time.
  • Apocalypse Cult:
    • In the Hinterlands, there's a cult living in an old fort that worships the Breach as a sign that The Maker is displeased with the Chant of Light. Their doctrine is to "wait in silence" for the day when He reclaims the faithful and wipes the world clean.
    • A piece of background lore talks about a cult that appeared between the time of the first and second Blights, convinced that the Blight taint was an instrument of The Maker's will to destroy the world and start over again. During the second Blight, they placed themselves in front of an advancing Darkspawn horde, waiting to be taken. Spoiler alert: that cult isn't around anymore.
    • The Order of Fiery Promise is another cult that formed following the First Blight; its members actively tried to bring about the end of the world, believing that Thedas must be cleansed in fire in order to be reborn as a paradise. The Promisers were put down by the original Inquisition, but reappeared several more times, claiming to have taken up the Inquisition's mantle after the latter organization became the Seekers of Truth. They pop up again during Cassandra's personal quest, and it turns out that Lord Seeker Lucius has joined them. The Inquisitor can even lampshade this: "Of course it's a cult."
  • Apocalyptic Log: More areas than not are littered with letters, notes, and journals describing bad ideas in progress and/or events going terribly wrong, often resulting in a minor exploration sidequest that ends in the discovery of the unfortunate writer's corpse. The Still Ruins in the Western Approach and the Chateau d'Onterre in the Emerald Graves provide especially vivid examples.
  • Apocalypse Not: Despite the Fallow Mire and Hinterlands being at the epicenter of the Fifth Blight, there are no signs that any of that land is despoiled, as is said in the Codex. In fact, due to the color and graphics overhaul, Ferelden looks better than ever. Keep in mind that extensively Blighted areas, like the Anderfels, possess regions so lifeless that corpses do not decay. In that context, Ferelden's recovery seems fantastic. On the other hand, the previous Blights also each lasted for years.
  • Apology Gift: If the true account of Red Crossing is delivered to the Dalish, they send a Mourning Halla to a human village as a symbolic gesture of apology and goodwill.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You can recruit a total of nine companions, but as in previous entries, you can only have three companions join the active party at any given time. What's odd about this case is that even though you can only have three companions at a time, the others are implied to still be present during major story quests, in a Behind the Black sort of way. Talking to them after major quests has them speaking as if they were there, just not with the Inquisitor for some reason, and sometimes they'll just pop up out of nowhere during the quest itself. For example, if you exile the Grey Wardens and Blackwall isn't in your party, he'll still randomly appear to ask the Inquisitor permission to stay. Additionally, characters who are not in the active party at the time may still express approval or disapproval for your choices. The primary exception to this is the Fade sequence in Adamant; conversations afterward make it clear that your chosen party members were the only ones with you.
  • Arc Words:
    • "Asunder". Fitting, given that the sky is literally tearing itself apart after the events of Conclave, and Orlais has been plunged into Civil War. It was also the name of an Expanded Universe novel setting up the Civil War.
    • "Well, shit."
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • Empress Celene's trio of Ladies-in-waiting do this, Finishing Each Other's Sentences in which two of them list off serious issues, and then the third chimes in with something much sillier by comparison. Also inverted once, with the third woman being being very soft spoken and deadpan.
    • The herbalist in Crestwood also tells us that, in addition biting a guard's head off, the local dragon has killed three horses, five goats, and two cats.
    • A man studying rifts names four demons surrounding one Primus, Secundus, Tertius, and Dummy, because although the first three move around the rift in a set, almost guard-like pattern, Dummy wanders the area at random, sometimes spinning in place. A later entry turns this into Fluffy the Terrible, upon seeing Dummy attack a deer that crossed its path.
  • Art Evolution:
    • DAI is built on DICE's Frostbite, as opposed to the aging Eclipse Engine, which helps to make the character models and scenery more detailed and realistic than in previous games.
    • Elves were redesigned again, to look less human-with-pointy-ears than in Origins, but also less Anime-like than in Dragon Age II, finding more of a middle ground between those two designs.
  • Artifact Alias: Warden Blackwall is actually Thom Rainier, an Orlesian army Captain who ordered his men to commit an atrocity and not a Grey Warden at all. The real Blackwall died shortly after recruiting Rainier, giving his life to defend the man. Rainier, a fugitive, grew a beard and assumed the Warden's identity. After all this comes to light, the game interface and characters continue to refer to him as Blackwall. When asked about it, Rainier decides to keep the Blackwall name as a sort of title, dedicating himself to the heroic ideal Grey Wardens represent.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • In the first two games, the player character would use the same small, plain-looking knife whenever a cutscene death was called for. Fans decided to lovingly refer to this always-reliable instrument of death as the 'murder knife.' And in Inquisition, you have to craft a particular knife in order to learn the Assassin specialization. Guess what this knife is called?
    • The "Ride the Bull" meme, which started several months before the game was released, is acknowledged by the Iron Bull himself if you romance him:note 
      Iron Bull: So, listen, I've caught the hints. I get what you're saying. You want to ride the Bull.
  • As the Good Book Says: The quests that deal directly with the Elder One are named after phrases from the Chant of Light.
  • As You Know: Many conversations go this way, if you're playing a character with a race/background that should know these things already. Inquisition Perks take this even further, allowing you to be "trained" in knowledge on a variety of topics.
  • The Atoner: Very easy to miss, but in the Exalted Plains you can find the song describing what had really happened to the elven warrior Lindiranae in her Last Stand against a human knight Ser Brandis the Silver Helm during the Second Exalted March. Turns out the knight did not want to fight her and even offered her to yield, but she (understandably) refused. She was then killed by a random arrow, and Ser Brandis, catching her as she fell, realized what humans had done (they almost wiped out the entire elven race) and was filled with remorse. He took Lindiranae's sword Evanura (and possibly her body) and buried it in the Emerald Graves, after which he was never seen again. It is strongly hinted that he either began Walkingthe Earth in order to atone or may have killed himself.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: When the Herald becomes the Inquisitor at the start of the second act.
  • Bad Future:
    • The Tevinter magister Alexius, who has hijacked the leadership of the rebel mages based in Ferelden, hurls you into one of these through a time-distorting Fade rift. It takes place solely within Redcliffe Castle, but it's enough to see what's happened everywhere: the castle is riddled with enormous growths of red lyrium, your two companions (besides Dorian, who time-travelled with you) are slowly dying from the red infection, and Leliana has been so horrifically mistreated by the Tevinters that she now appears to be a withered old woman. The inhabitants of this future make it clear that the Elder One's demon army has all but annihilated the civilizations of Thedas.
    • Leliana at several points refuses to reveal information about the bad future to Dorian, pointing out that to him this world is an intellectual exercise he hopes to avoid, but to her it's been her living nightmare for the past year.
    • Alternatively: recruiting the Templars makes you face off against an Envy demon inside your own mind who creates scenarios to test your reactions and gauge your personality. It keeps asking "What will you become? What will the Inquisition become?" by showing what it plans to do to all your friends once it replaces you. It succeeds only in giving away what its immediate plans are. If you die during the course of this quest, the Non-Standard Game Over screen shows that it was able to do exactly what it planned.
  • Badass Gay: Par for course with BioWare. Dorian (Tevinter mage) and Sera (elven archer) are both gay and both playable party members. They are joined by Iron Bull, the pansexual Ben-Hassrath.
  • Badass Bookworm: An Inquisitor who takes all of the added knowledge perks is privy to a lot of obscure details which offer erudite bonus dialogue options and make for more informed judgments.
  • Bad Present:
    • For Corypheus, who wants nothing more than to return to the glory days of a pre-Blight world.
    • Even moreso for Solas, aka Fen'Harel, awakening into the pure nightmare world that is modern Thedas.
  • Barbarian Tribe: There's a sidequest where the Inquisitor has to rescue some soldiers who were captured by Avvar barbarians. One of the Avvars, Sky Watcher, is a religious man who isn't too fond of what the other Avvars have done and can join the Inquisition if the Inquisitor closes a nearby Fade Rift for him.
  • Barrier Warrior: Being a Knight-Enchanter is all about this, as it's the only way to overcome being an otherwise Squishy Wizard in order to bring that spirit blade to bear in a melee. All mages have access to some barrier powers, but Knight-Enchanter takes this and runs with it.
    • Every Inquisitor can become this with the Jaws of Hakkon DLC, which adds the new Aegis of the Rift ability as a quest reward.
  • Battle Couple: The Inquisitor and a romanced companion count as this. Can also apply to the Inquisitor who romances Cullen, as he comes along on a few quests but is not a controllable party member.
  • Bears Are Bad News:
    • As noted in several dev comments, bears are extremely dangerous, being responsible for a number of Total Party Kills among game testers. Great bears seem to be the size of Red Templar Behemoths, which themselves tower over normal humans.
    • Invoked in-universe. Orlesian nobles will hunt anything, up to and including dragons. The Codex states that Great Bears are the only thing which scare Orlesian hunters.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Brutally averted with Leliana in the alternate future during the In Hushed Whispers quest. Also averted with Cassandra, who has picked up a couple of interesting scars since Dragon Age II.
  • Bee Bee Gun: It is possible to craft, upgrade, and utilize a "grenade" variety called "Jar of Bees". The final upgrade is "And Some Wasps".
  • Beef Gate: Though areas are open, some enemies (particularly Fade rift demons and high dragons) won't scale to your level, making it hard to access a sub-region if you can't beat the monsters inhabiting it. Emprise du Lion and the Hissing Wastes both have a beef gate of sorts in the form of requiring almost as much Power to just enter the region as engaging in some main quest missions. Similarly, the Western Approach has a pair of beef gates that require Power to construct passages to get the party beyond some deadly landscape features.
  • Beleaguered Bureaucrat: Seneschal Bran of Kirkwall has been unwillingly promoted to "Provisional Viscount" of Kirkwall on account of being the only official that knows what to do to run the place, and has written an ad lib response to any "offers" of protection in the tumultuous aftermath of the incident that was the ending of Dragon Age II, clearly expressing his exasperation in the ad lib defaults.
  • Benevolent Architecture: Inquisition features destructible environments. So, you can knock out supports of a bridge, causing it to collapse from under the archers standing on it, toppling pillars to create cover from ranged enemy attacks, or destroying cover the enemies themselves are using. Enemies can use this against you too, though.
  • Berserk Button: Abound in your inner circle and top advisors. If the object of their berserk button is an enemy faction, those characters might have a minor bump in approval if you kill some with them in the party. Varric hates Red Templars (and Red Lyrium), Iron Bull and Dorian both loathe Venatori, and Blackwall naturally has it out for Darkspawn. Cassandra and Dorian both have quests to destroy groups of specific berserk button targets, with their approval increasing each time you get one of them.
  • BFS: The Knight-Enchanter's Spirit Blade is as long as a typical human is tall, is as wide as a human's head at the base of its blade, and is wielded with one hand (and the off-hand at that). It helps that the blade is a manifestation of the spirit bound into the hilt, and technically doesn't weigh anything.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Visually depicted when your advisors and you first enter the Skyhold throne room after saving the entire Inquisition from destruction at Haven with appropriate musical fanfare. Paraphrased after an appropriate event after defeating Corypheus with Sera referring to the group as "Big Freakin' Heroes" if you use the certain conversation paths.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Understanding Elven leads to some interesting details about Solas, especially if you bring him into the Fade. You can also catch him outright lying about some translations.
      Nightmare: Tell me, Trickster...are you grateful to feel such loss? Solas (Proud), you appear not.
      Solas: Nothing is inevitable.
    • Also, in the Temple of Mythal, Solas says to Abelas: "Now the blood is finished." This might be a reference to blood writing (vallaslin), the facial tattoos which are revealed in the game to have been slave tattoos in ancient times; in other words, he tells Abelas his slavery to Mythal is over. However, he lies to the Inquisitor, saying that he told Abelas he "hopes he finds a new name".
  • Bling of War:
    • Orlesian armor tends to be on the ornamental side of the fashion/function divide, but even by their standards, a unique helm known as Duke's Mane is very ornate.
    • Additionally, armor and weapons crafted with Dragon bones will be gold in hue.
    • Formal Attire, like what the Inquisition wears to the Winter Palace can be crafted into field armor after that quest gives you the pattern. It's actually some of the best armor in the midgame, and oh so dapper. Pair with the Hat of the Inquisitor for an anachronistic 'cavalry officer' look.
    • And now they've released an update which, among other goodies, provides the means for you to tint your armor in Skyhold's Undercroft. Any armor you craft yourself can have the color of its different components changed based on what materials you have to use - meaning that you can make any of your crafted armors into Bling of War.
  • Blood Magic:
    • Referred to, but seen very rarely (save in "Here Lies the Abyss"), in a departure from the rest of the series. Even Tevinter magisters and rebel mages are not shown using it. As an example, Dorian, the Tevinter in your party, is specifically a Necromancer. He raises the dead in the same fashion as the Nevarran Mortalitasi, without using blood to control minds or summon demons.
    • The closest we get to blood magic gameplay-wise is found in the warrior specialization Reaver. These fighters drink dragon blood and suck the life out of the enemies they chop up during battle. It's considered a very dangerous profession since the users sometimes go mad from literal bloodlust.
  • Blood Knight: The leader of the mercenary group to which a Qunari player previously belonged has shades of this. He sends a letter to the Inquisitor asking for work - any work - so he doesn't have to listen to one of the lieutenant's war stories again. If the Inquisitor has Cullen employ them to fight demons, the mercenary chief sends a letter ecstatic that you sent them to fight demons. Some of them were on fire!
  • Body Horror:
    • The Red Templars have been mutated by their use of Red Lyrium. These mutations range from red eyes and distorted voices to having red lyrium protruding from their bodies like spines to becoming a raging behemoth barely recognizable as having once been human. By all reports, they will eventually be consumed by the substance, whereupon their corpses are mined for more red lyrium. Sometimes a leader will force the process to speed up, making their underlings scream in agony and burst apart as the crystal shreds them from the inside out.
    • Some of the new demons were designed to be very viscerally disturbing.
    • The new ghouls are even more horrific, looking more like walking corpses than people. Their bodies are now skeletal husks and jagged fangs now jut from their mouths.
  • Bonus Boss:
    • Most dragons are endgame-level encounters and aren't needed to complete the game, but killing them allows the player to get the best crafting materials in the game. There's an achievement for killing one, another for killing all ten, and a third achievement for crafting a weapon or set of armor from tier four materials - and some of the only tier four materials are the ones taken from dead dragons.
    • There is also Imshael, sibling demon (*ahem* choice spirit) to Gaxkang and Xebenkeck. Like his predecessors, he's a very tough, very powerful boss, with multiple forms and backup from Red Templars. On top of that, reaching him requires a very long dungeon run through high-level Mooks, including several red lyrium-tainted giants that could count as bosses in their own right.
  • Boss Banter:
    • Alexius taunts the Inquisition throughout his fight.
    • The Elder One rants about his impending godhood and has taunts tailored to the Inquisitor's race and choice of companions.
    • The Nightmare mocks the Inquisitor and their companions (including Hawke and the Warden) with their worst fears as they journey through the Fade.
  • Boss In Mooks Clothing: Giants. The Rushing Sighs in the Emerald Graves area is particularly dangerous since it is home to several high-level Giants. The Giants' paths overlap, meaning it's entirely possible to end up fighting three of them at once, along with any Brontos that were caught in the crossfire.
  • Broken Bridge: Most main quests require a certain amount of Power to activate, which can be obtained from completing sidequests. This is also true of several of the side quests accessible from the war council table, some of which involve literal broken bridges.
  • Bullet Time:
    • Haste, a Focus spell for mages, slows down time for your enemies while allowing your squad to move normally.
    • Rogues with the Tempest specialization have access to the ability "Flask of Lightning", which slows down time for everyone but you to 40% normal time for 5 seconds (or as slow as 1% for 8 seconds with its upgrade). This is an interesting sight when an AI controlled character uses Flask of Lightning. From the players perspective they are twitching like crazy and zipping around because their movements are far too fast for the animations to be clearly visible.
  • The Bus Came Back: Morrigan, Leliana and Cullen from previous Dragon Age games return to serve as allies of the Inquisition along with Varric and Cassandra as companions. Alistair, Anora, Hawke, and several other characters from earlier titles may appear, depending on your world state.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Inquisition introduces livestock called "druffalos" that strongly resemble bison, albeit with large fangs and dragonlike horns. Averted with most other real-world animals, such as rams, fennec foxes, etc.
  • Call Back: Several.
    • The Temple of Sacred Ashes from the first game returns as the site of a major peace summit. You see it annihilated by the exploding Breach in the title menu background once you click "New Game".
    • In Origins, Sten comments that people cannot simply be summarized like "The elves are a lithe, pointy eared people who excel at poverty." This game's character selection process contains this: "Elves are a historically oppressed people, distinguishable by their pointed ears and lithe frames."
    • If you side with the mages, your advisors have a discussion about how to get forces inside Redcliffe Castle. Leliana recommends sending a small group in through a secret tunnel under the old windmill. She knows about this tunnel because it's the same one that the Warden uses in Origins to infiltrate the castle during the Redcliffe arc.
    • There's an entire line of missions on the war map related to Varric using Inquisition resources to track down the author publishing the knockoff Hard in Hightown 2 books that he potentially found in Mark of the Assassin. The culprit turns out to be Worthy, the dwarven rune crafter met at the very beginning of Dragon Age II, who is royally pissed about the business he lost because Varric introduced Hawke to Sandal.
    • Apparently Charade, Gamlen's daughter, is one of the Friends of Red Jenny.
    • If you bring Varric along to the fight with Corypheus in Dragon Age II's "Legacy" DLC, he eventually remarks "If he pulls a dragon out of his ass, I'm done." If you use the Guardian of Mythal against Corypheus in this game and bring Varric along for the final boss, after the Guardian goes down, Varric asks the Inquisitor if s/he has another dragon to pull out of his or her ass. Not to mention the fact that, after having resurrected himself after fighting Hawke in "Legacy," Corypheus now actually has a dragon.
    • During the quest "Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts," players of the Mark of the Assassin DLC may recognize the bizarre clown-assassins as Harlequins, members of an elite unit of the Orlesian military. This is one of the hints that the plot against Celene is orchestrated by a noble, as is the fact that a servant encounters one while searching Florianne's rooms.
    • Also from "Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts," you can hear a couple of party guests fervently hoping that the De Launcets (from Dragon Age II and Mark of the Assassin) didn't make it to the party.
    • From the aftermath of "Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts", it's possible to put the Duchess's head on a pike as a warning. Cullen laments this action and says that there's a perfectly good "Don't" sign in Kirkwall he could borrow... to which Varric commands the rights.
    • Amongst the eluvians in the Crossroads is Merrill's broken one from Dragon Age II. Whether that means she fixed it but didn't find the key is still up in the air.
    • Carroll, the obstructive Templar from Origins (the one you could bribe with cookies), apparently wound up promoted in the intervening years. He's now Knight-Captain of the Red Templars. If you complete all of the Red Templar quests in the Emerald Graves, you end up killing the horror he's become.
    • When asked about her time in Denerim, Sera is typically evasive, saying she spent most of her time burying stolen things and 'playing with small painted boxes.' The 'Friends of Red Jenny' quest in Origins involved taking a small painted box from the First Enchanter's office and delivering it to a silent, unseen contact. note 
    • After Hawke appears, Cassandra asks Varric if Hawke would give her an autograph. Varric reminds Cassandra that her copy of The Tale of the Champion has a big hole in it. One of his party banter dialogues also references this, as Varric warns Blackwall that Cassandra might "stab you in the book".
    • Sera comments on how elves are so bony, listing almost the same exact reasoning Oghren offered when he told Velanna why he liked Dwarven and Human women more.
    • Morrigan once again introduces herself with the line "Well, well, what have we here?" just like she did in Origins and her mother did in DA 2. She even says it while walking down the stairs, reminiscent of her first appearance in Origins.
    • Sketch, one of Leliana's companions from the "Leliana's Song" DLC in Origins, has apparently joined the mage rebellion. You can get a message from him during one of the War Table missions.
    • If Varric and Iron Bull are in the party, the two might talk about the old Arishok and the new one (Sten from Origins). Varric also asks Bull if he knows Tallis since they're both Ben-Hassrath, to which he states that he doesn't.
    • The Inquisitor can walk in on Mother Giselle and Dorian having an argument, in which she tells him, "Your glibness does you no credit." If it sounds like the same line a disgruntled mage directs at Alistair in his Establishing Character Moment, that's because it is.
    • If the Inquisitor is an Elf and imports a world state in which Morrigan had a son, s/he can encounter a human child at Skyhold garden. The boy remarks that his mother didn't tell him the Inquisitor was an elf. A humorous Inquisitor can quip "The ears gave me away, didn't they?" Very reminiscent of an Elven Warden who can run into a little boy in Lothering, who asks a similar question ("Are you really an elf?"), to which a humorous Warden could give a similar answer. ("Did the ears give me away?")
    • Dagna, the dwarf girl who wanted to study magic theory in Origins, returns as the Inquisition's new "Arcanist", a profession she made up because no one quite like her has existed before.
    • The sword Certainty, which is dropped by Samson, according to its description, cannot be Meredith's red lyrium blade reborn. It even has the same model.
    • The perk "Deft Hands, Fine Tools" that upgrades rogues' ability to pick locks is named after two talent tiers in the lockpicking line in the first game.
    • In a darker example, if Hawke and Anders are still in a relationship, the Inquisitor can ask why they're not together. Hawke explains that Anders is being kept away from the action to prevent a repeat of what happened the last time Anders got too close to Corypheus.
    • When Blackwall is recruited, the Inquisitor can ask what one Grey Warden can do. Blackwall points out that they can "save the fucking world if pressed," which is exactly what the player did in Origins.
    • When making your way through various noble households, those who played "The Last Court" on the Dragon Age Keep website may recognize some of the portraits as being those of characters from that game.
    • Sera uttering "Say what" to the Unknown Rival is not the first time a character induced another to say "What". The player can choose a dialogue option in the first game to jokingly trip up a Chanter in Lothering: "A chanter says 'what?'"
  • Captain Obvious: "That's what happens when you try to change things. Things change." Eloquence, thy name is Hawke. It would be Narmtastically funny if not for the implication that Hawke blames him/herself for everything that happened in DAII, including releasing Corypheus, the current Big Bad. Hard to believe all this started because Hawke wanted to evade the Templars of Kirkwall.
  • Cartwright Curse: The Dowager, an Orlesian noblewoman at the Ball that's been widowed so many times it's absurd.
  • Catapult Nightmare: It wasn't a nightmare, but the Inquisitor still catapults awake suddenly after Solas has a conversation in a Fade dream after arriving at Skyhold. Solas prompts the Inquisitor to wake up via a conversational segue.
    Solas: That's a matter of debate — probably best discussed after you... wake up.
  • Central Theme: Faith, and what it means to have faith in something. And its equal opposite: fear, and what fear can drive a person to do.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Its alternate trope name "Breast Plate" is discussed, with Iron Bull commending Cassandra for not going for armor with cleavage that is one good warhammer strike away from jamming into her sternum. Additionally, it's deconstructed in the requisition crafting display model for "Ceremonial Armor", with a desiccated female corpse riddled with arrows wearing only a scalemail bikini.
  • Chain Pain:
    • Warriors now have the option to yank opponents towards them using chains.
    • Rogues can gain the ability to yank themselves towards opponents this way, too.
  • Changing Gameplay Priorities: During Act 1 in Haven, you have to make do with a limited selection of levels to explore and harvest for herbs and materials, crafting options aren't too good, and companions need certain builds in order to survive. The game changes a lot when you get to Skyhold in Act 2. At this point you have access to specializations for each party member, can cast Focus skills, gain access to masterwork crafting with rare Fade-Touched materials and more powerful schematics, and more levels to explore for rare herbs and rare minerals. Herbs can also be grown at Skyhold if you find their seeds.
  • Character Customization: And now you can change the inner and outer iris colors.
  • Characterization Marches On: When the Friends of Red Jenny were introduced in Origins, they were portrayed as a ruthless group that threatened to kill contacts who would renege on jobs. The Friends in Inquisition are much more benevolent and focus on sticking it to malevolent nobles. Sera explains that the Denerim Friends at that time were strange and were probably using the Jennys for their own ends.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Against Cullen at Fantasy Chess, nope. Dorian tried this against him. You can too if you choose, and that's how you find out Dorian did too: because Cullen still trounced both of you despite it. If you play fairly, however, you will win.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The relationship between spirits and demons has been hinted at since Origins. During the Magi Origin, what appears to be a Pride demonnote  congratulates you on your Wisdom not to trust a stranger. Also, in DAII there's Justice/Vengeance. Solas finally explains that their nature depends on the one who summons and/or binds them as well as for what purpose. Thus Cole, who is a spirit of Compassion, is in danger of becoming a demon if he is corrupted.
      Cassandra: How does Compassion become such a deadly killer?
      Cole: Templars.
    • Similarly, early in the game in Haven, Solas mentions having made friends with spirits of Wisdom and Purpose, where others may have seen demons of Pride and Desire. Later on, you get to meet the former after she's been turned into a Pride demon.
  • Civil War: The ongoing Mage and Templar War, an upheaval in Orlais foreshadowed in II and Asunder, and potential elf rebellion.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: The nine Specialization trainers (only three of whom will appear in any one playthrough) are all on the batty side, some more than others. Special mention must go to "Your Trainer," who teaches a mage Inquisitor how to gain the Rift Mage specialization; because of what she had to endure to gain the knowledge she imparts, she no longer even remembers her own name.
  • Cold Flames: Veilfire has a lot of uses, but burning things doesn't seem to be one of them. Justified by the codex entry, which explains that, in simplest terms, veilfire isn't actually fire - it's more like a memory of fire, and mages often use it for a light source because it never burns out.
  • Combat, Diplomacy, Stealth:
    • While the actual gameplay is slanted heavily towards combat, the title organization has equal access to all three modes of expanding its influence, with an Adviser attached to each one: Cullen oversees military operations, Josephine takes care of diplomatic efforts, and Leliana keeps the shadowy enterprises running.
    • There are a number of battles that can be avoided entirely through other means.
    • Each of the three fortresses outside Skyhold that can be claimed for the Inquisition is outfitted for one of these means; Caer Bronach in Crestwood is a major espionage outfit, operated by an elf woman with a spy-op name of "Charter". Griffon Wing Keep has soldiers drilling all over inside and is operated by the Inquisition Army's second-in-command, Knight-Captain Rylen. Suledin Keep functions as a gathering spot for many of the resources that are gathered from Emprise du Lion, and is headed by an Orlesian nobleman, Baron Edouard Desjardins.
  • Commander Contrarian: The Orlesian Court will verbally disapprove and reject the Inquisitor, no matter what type you're playing. The worst example being to play as a Qunari Mage - two things they hate in great measure. The best combination is playing as a Human Warrior/Rogue, because they are a Badass Normal and from the ranks of nobility. Even then, however, they will snub you for being a "Marcher".
  • The Conspiracy: The Inquisition is resurrected to get to the bottom of the claims that a shadowy conspiracy is behind the political strife preceding Inquisition's demonic invasion.
  • Concepts Are Cheap:
    • Discussed. The Inquisition's purpose is to "restore order in a world gone mad", but the problem is, no one knows exactly where this task ends. The Elder One is the most obvious threat, but there are several other issues that require addressing, too, and every single person in the Inquisition has different ideas about what that means.
    • The Inquisitor and Cassandra are the two most frequent characters to discuss this problem, with Cassandra determined to do "the Maker's work" but confessing that she has no idea what that is. The Inquisitor can state that their goal is to "make the world better," and she will sarcastically quip, "Because everyone agrees on what that means."
    • Mother Giselle states that she hopes the new Inquisition, like the old one, will know when to put its swords away after their job is done. You find out, however, that the old Inquisition didn't really do this so much as they became the Seekers of Truth, and were pretty much corrupted by a Dark Secret from the start. Then, as Cassandra states, power became its own master. Likewise, the Inquisitor can state numerous times that they have no plans on dismantling their power once it's acquired, and several Epilogues can comment on how the Inquisition is now a world superpower in itself.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: During the mission to rescue Inquisition soldiers from the Avvars in the Fallow Mire, you come across a seemingly endless horde of undead. If you spend too long fighting them, your companions will urge you to press forward to the Avvars.
  • Cool Chair: One of the perks of Skyhold is a customizable throne from where you judge the fates of defeated enemies; you can acquire new varieties of thrones and upgrades for them by purchasing them or completing certain tasks/missions. One of the bonuses you get for the Deluxe Edition of the game is a throne made out of a dragon's skull.
  • Cool Helmet: A staple of Dragon Age's High Fantasy settings. The Inquisitor's heavy armor helmet is styled to look like a dragon wrapping around their head.
  • Cool Sword:
    • A wide variety of ornate or otherwise nifty looking one and two handed swords are available for your party to find.
    • The Red Templars wield glowing red swords that bear a disturbing resemblance to Meredith's red lyrium sword from the previous game. Their leader Samson wields a sword that is all but stated to be Meredith's sword reborn. The Red Templar Archers also get similar looking bows, which bear a slight resemblance to Irvine's demonic one from Berserk.
    • You can coat your swords with oils or magics to give them special effects.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: Giant vs the Vinsomer on the Storm Coast. Certain party members even SQUEE!
    The Iron Bull: Okay, that's BADASS!
  • Coop Multiplayer: The multiplayer mode is similar to the one found in Mass Effect 3: rank-and-file agents of the Inquisition are sent in groups of four to Randomly Generated Levels to fight off waves of enemies, gaining levels and equipment. Unlike in ME3, however, the multiplayer has no impact on the single-player experience.
  • Covers Always Lie:
    • A very minor example. The Anchor that empowers the Inquisitor is on their left hand, not their right.
    • In addition, the Inquisitor is portrayed as a longsword-wielding warrior, even though the Inquisitor might be a rogue or a mage, and even as a warrior they might use a variety of other weapons. This "archetypal" Inquisitor also appears in various promotional images in addition to the cover. If seen from the front, there will sometimes be both a male and a female Inquisitor, but they will still be warriors.
    • Some of the promotional art seems to depict the Inquisitor wearing a red ring; however, in the game, the main color that seems to resonate with the Inquisitor is green, namely the mark on his/her hand. In fact, red seems to be the bad color, since much of the game revolves around people being corrupted by Red Lyrium.
  • Crapsack World: A cataclysmic event has plunged the entire continent into turmoil, dragons are darkening the skies, and the Mage-Templar War is now just one of many wars that have claimed countless lives.
  • Crash-Into Hello: A weaponized version of this can be intentionally invoked with the Rogue and Warrior Chain Pain moves.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • The miniboss Jepler the Unbound, from one of Cassandra's personal quests, is named after one of the game's cinematic designers, John Epler.
    • The very unfortunate Comte Boisvert who ends up locked in his own (valuable) cabinet shares his name with another cinematic designer, Richard Boisvert.
  • Cult:
    • The Venatori are a Tevinter cult that reveres the Elder One, whom they believe will restore the glory of old Tevinter.
    • See Apocalypse Cult above for other examples.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max
    • Cole's spirit powers.
    • Corypheus levitates the entirety of Haven and its ruins (Along with the temple of ashes' ruins) in the cutscene leading to his final battle. He does nothing nearly that powerful or similar during his boss battle.
  • Cutting Off the Branches:
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition has replaced importing old saves, which was available in both Awakening and Dragon Age II, with the Dragon Age Keep. This is a website where players are able to determine decisions made in the previous games as they see fit. Approximately 300 different choices can be made in the Keep. This adds replay value as it allows you to start a new playthrough with a completely different world state. There is also a default world state, for players who did not play the previous games or do not wish to bother with the Keep. The default world state assumes a female Dalish Elf warrior Warden died killing the Archdemon in Origins and a male mage Hawke sided with the mages in Dragon Age II.
    • Leliana is alive even if you killed her in Origins. If you did, she credits her survival to a miracle and is convinced she was resurrected.
    • Leliana may have been given Schmooples by the Warden. This particular choice is not covered by the Keep at all, so the game assumes it always happened; a letter found in the Skyhold rookery reveals that Schmooples has a number of descendants, for whom Leliana has hired a caretaker.
    • Morrigan is alive and well even if you killed her in the Witch Hunt DLC. Although, to be fair, she is not actually seen dying on screen; you stab her and she falls through the Eluvian.
    • Dagna will have joined the Circles and became an arcanist no matter how you actually dealt with her quest in Origins. She is always the arcanist you receive, but the backstory she tells you about how she got there changes depending on if the Warden helped her or not.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory: PC players familiar with the previous games were hit hard with this, since the keyboard commands that had been fairly consistent from DA:O to DA:2 got largely reworked for DA:I. This is especially true of the Spacebar, which acted as the pause button for the first two games but became the jump button this one. (Considering most players instinctively hit pause when things are going south in combat, many PC fans were not pleased.)
  • Dangerous Deserter: The Freemen are a revolutionary group composed largely of deserters from the Orlesian Civil War, who want an independent Dales free of the Orlesian nobility. Unfortunately, they are little more than a large group of bandits that prey on the common folk they claim to be fighting for, they supply the Red Templars, and one of their leaders is actually a Venatori mage.
  • Darkest Hour: At the end of the first act, when Haven is destroyed by the Elder One.
  • "Dear John" Letter:
    • In Skyhold, you can find an example, where a woman writes her boyfriend (who is apparently a Skyhold soldier) saying that she has fallen in love with a woman and how awesome she is because she brings her hope, and she's not going to run off and fight in a war.
    • In another quest, there's an instance where a dying woman asks you to deliver a letter into a hollowed rock in the Emprise du Lion. Her dialogue implies that it's this type of letter, written to make her lover believe that she's run off with someone else, so that he can forget her and move on.
  • Death by Sex: During party banter, Iron Bull can ask Solas if he ever uses his time in the Fade to indulge baser pleasures, such as sex with "Fade women". Solas calmly explains that this sort of behavior tends to attract demons. A dismayed Bull bemoans that demons screw up everything.
  • Death Equals Redemption: During the siege of Haven, an injured Roderick tells the Inquisition of a secret pass through the mountains he accidentally discovered on a pilgrimage to the Conclave a long time ago. He takes his knowledge of the existence of the pass as a sign from the Maker that he was meant to aid the Inquisition, and says that he was wrong to doubt them all this time.
  • Death Glare: At the formal start of a romance between a female elf/human Inquisitor and Cullen, the first kiss is interrupted by a soldier delivering an urgent report... who promptly gets a glare from Cullen that could cow an Archdemon.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: When judging the fates of defeated enemies, you can turn many of them into agents of the Inquisition. It's less mercy and more Can't Kill You, Still Need You with the fact that simply killing/imprisoning them is simply wasteful.
  • Defector from Decadence/Cultural Cringe: Dorian leaves the Tevinter Imperium due to disillusionment with his country's moral decay (the Imperium is known and criticized for practising slavery and valuing greed for power).
  • Degraded Boss:
    • The first boss of the game is a Pride Demon. Late in the game, Pride Demons start spawning from Fade Rifts and are not quite as difficult. Pride Demons are also very degraded from their original appearance in Dragon Age: Origins, where a contracted Pride demon was being used to test your pride in the Mage origin: it pretended to be a weak spirit of a man, saying how awesome you were and begging you to let him tag along into the physical world. Here they're just monsters who attack. Solas offers the explanation that being dragged through Rifts is a very traumatic experience for a spirit, leaving them as bestial shells of the beings they were.
    • If you side with the mages, the first Red Templar Behemoth you face is presented as a unique, named bossfight. Later on you end up facing dozens as ordinary Elite Mooks.
  • Deployable Cover:
    • New spells can create walls of ice and fire that your party can hide behind.
    • The Warrior Champion ability Line In The Sand functions as this, preventing enemies from moving past the Warrior, so ranged members can fire from behind safely.
    • Red Templar Behemoths can grow walls of red lyrium to the same effect.
  • Despair Event Horizon: After the loss of Haven, the entire Inquisition teeters perilously close to it until Mother Giselle props the Herald up as a Hope Bringer by singing the Chantry hymn "The Dawn Will Come" in the Herald's presence.
  • Desperate Object Catch: How the Herald got stuck with the Anchor. They interrupted Corephyus's plan to use Divine Justinia as a blood sacrifice for the Orb of Destruction. Justinia seized the moment and knocks the Orb out of Corephyus's hand. As if by reflex, the Player Character rushed to grab it... and it then branded the Anchor into their left hand.
  • Destructo-Nookie: No Belligerent Sexual Tension, but there was some deliberate destruction of desk toppings in a later romance scene between Cullen and Fem-Inquisitor. The desk survives, as indicated in a dialogue with Sera during some pranking adventures.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: If you pick Orlesian decor for Skyhold, Vivienne will compliment your fashion sense.
    • Early on, your character picks up a weapon to defend themselves and Cassandra wants them to disarm. If you happen to play a mage, you get the option to tell her that you don't really need a weapon to be dangerous anyway. There are lots of little moments like that where your class or race is taken into consideration.
    • Similarly during a cutscene near the end of the game if you fight and kill Corypheus' Dragon, the kill animation will take into account your specialisation if you have one. One example is that you'll stab the Dragon with your spirit blade if a Knight-Enchanter.
    • If you're playing a Qunari and have horns of certain styles being in areas with low hanging light fixtures will result in you bumping into them with a "bonk" sound effect.
    • The game keeps track of the Inquisitor's stated religious beliefs and whether or not they think they were chosen by Andraste. Other characters will respond accordingly.
    • Even smaller areas like the Cradle of Sulevin have their own unique and beautifully designed loading screens, despite the fact that they will likely only be visited once.
    • If you run into a wild animal while on a mount, there's a good chance you'll knock it over (complete with a very disgruntled noise on the animal's part).
    • High Dragon wing attacks not only deflect ranged attacks, but also anything that is tossed into the air, so you try to throw landmines, caltrops, or daggers while the dragon is flapping, expect to see them fly harmlessly away.
    • Stealthy enemies (like Venatori Stalkers) fighting you while on ground that leaves footprints (like the Western Approach sand dunes) will still leave footprints when cloaked. Toss a grenade flask or have a mage launch an area attack where they're walking.
    • If you don't talk to Sera at Haven but then decide to talk to her when you first get Skyhold, she'll slightly disapprove and call you out on it.
    • At Adamant, it is possible for Blackwall to stand up to a crowd of Grey Wardens serving the Venatori and, by appealing to the mutual experiences of the order - as an organization which is founded on principles of justice, sacrifice and duty to one's brothers - convince them to join him (and therefore you). If you made him do that, you will get a special question to ask him later on once it's revealed that he was never even a Grey Warden in the first place. He admits that he just made it all up, but concludes that since he truly spoke from his heart about ideals which he truly believes in - even if he himself couldn't match them - it may not matter.
  • Devil but No God: One of the recurring themes of the game is whether or not there's a Maker. The religion itself doesn't help, since its central claim is that the Maker has already abandoned the sinful mortal world. There's no divine magic (at least, Chantry adherents have no unusual powers to speak of, unlike D&D clerics) and there's plenty of non-humans around who aren't Andrastian, yet still we see indications that there's definitely more out there than what we know of. Struggling with what you believe, and what others believe of you now that they've put you on a pedestal, is something that keeps coming up. The main villain is the closest thing we've ever seen to a Thedas equivalent of Satan, too, but even he used to be a mortal man who claims to have invaded the Golden City only to find it empty.
  • Dialogue During Gameplay: Party banter returns and is occasionally interactive this time around. You can also talk to some NPCs without stopping your movement in a similar fashion.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In the Jaws of Hakkon DLC, the Inquisitor kills Hakkon Wintersbreath, Avvar God of War and Winter.
  • Disc One Nuke: Thanks to several bugs, it's possible to kill a dragon on level 3, multiply the dropped crafting materials to infinity, stealth rush a side quest available on the Hinterlands that has a Tier 3 chest at the end and multiply the chest's drops until you have every Tier 3 blueprint it could drop. As crafted items don't have level restrictions, you are now a level 7 (thanks to the dragon's XP) Inquisitor with a full Tier 3 set made from Tier 4 dragon materials.note 
  • Disc One Final Boss: The Breach itself is dealt with at the end of the first act. The rest of the game is spent dealing with The Elder One. But then he creates an even bigger Breach at the end to lure the Inquisitor into a final showdown.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Most elves continue to have an aversion to conventional footwear. With the right armor equipped, the Inquisitor can join their feud against boots.
  • Door Stopper: In download form. The PC install size for Dragon Age: Inquisition is approximately 24 gigabytes. The size for current-gen consoles is apparently twice that.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • The Grey Wardens, an order founded to destroy the Darkspawn, become the pawns of one of the oldest and strongest Darkspawn of all - precisely because of the measures they took to become able to end Blights.
    • Blackwall lampshades the irony that he joined the Inquisition because they thought he was a Warden and would therefore be useful, and turned out to be useful to them only because he's not really a Warden - he wasn't affected by Corypheus's scheme.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: A drill instructor is working over some raw recruits at Griffon Wing Keep once you take the fortress over.
  • Driving Question:
    • In the first act, what is the identity of the Hidden Villain and who is responsible for the tears in the Veil?
    • At the end of the act, the Hidden Villain makes his presence known when he leads his army to crush Haven; for the rest of the game, the question focuses more on how they tore the Veil and opened the Breach. For Varric and Hawke, the question is how is Corypheus still alive when they very definitely killed him?
  • Drone of Dread:
    • The Exalted Plains' background music comprises of this eerily soft, hollow-sounding, subtly and slowly changing chord.
    • Also couple with the massive drone when you blow one of the war horns there, usually after recapturing a fortress from the Freemen. If you have sufficiently high volume and you aren't expecting it, it can be a Jump Scare.
  • During the War:
    • The game takes place during the Mage-Templar War that began in the final chapters of DA2.
    • As of Asunder and The Masked Empire, there's also an Orlesian civil war and an elven uprising to boot.
  • Dysfunction Junction: This being a BioWare game, your Player Party naturally has more issues than the DSM-5 note .
  • Earn Your Happy Ending:
    • For the Orlesian Civil War arc, your choices are to assist the manipulative and self-serving Empress Celene, the war-mongering, militaristic Duke Gaspard, or the underhanded and ambitious Ambassador of the Elven Servants. One of them must defeat the other two to create a stable future for Orlais. Obtaining the best possible outcome requires you to do a lot of exploring, gain favor with the Imperial Court, pay close attention to the clues laid about during the investigation, pick specific dialogue options, locate a large number of hidden "keys" to search the palace, and then take the correct steps on the war map. Good luck getting the exact outcome you want on your first game.
    • For the Chantry, you need to be very, very careful with what options you pick throughout the game. Only revealed months after the game's release is that certain decisions are being "watched" by the Clerics and are influencing their decisions to elect a new Divine. These include major story choices as well as seemingly innocuous conversations (especially Cassandra, Leliana or Vivienne's opinions). While the elected Divine Victoria proves mostly competent at her job, her decisions may still agitate unrest or rebellion. This especially depends on Leliana's personality - her rule as Divine poses the greatest risks, but also potentially brings the greatest reward. Cassandra and Vivienne's Approval levels must also be maintained.
    • For the Mages, Leliana being elected Divine is the only unambiguously happy ending -especially if she is "softened".]] Every other choice leads to a split between Mages or unrest that needs to be put down.
    • Averted with the Templars. No matter what decisions the Inquisitor has made (including whether to Ally or Disband them) they get a relatively "positive" outcome.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The codex entry for the "Helm of the Inquisitor" features the story of the last leader of the Inquisition, Ameridan, and how he vanished during a dragon hunt. Ameridan's story is the impetus behind the first DLC, Jaws of Hakkon.
  • Easter Egg:
    • A man named Lord Trifles Minutiae will appear in random places throughout Skyhold (inside a gold vault that only appears if you have a certain perk, on the top floor of the tavern, at the top of the reconstructed tower) and ask a series of Dragon Age-related trivia. Answer all three correctly inside a time limit and he will give you a ladle large enough to be used as a two-handed mace before disappearing.
    • Another Easter Egg weapon can be crafted using Sad Splinters (found by destroying Keep doors) and a recipe found in what looks like a pile of dung.
  • Easy Logistics: The War Table runs on this. With Cullen (who sends troops directly to problem areas) and Josephine (who presumably deals with diplomats sent to Skyhold), this is less apparent. In Leliana's case, however, this trope is played completely straight. From a base on the border between Ferelden and Orlais, she is able to coordinate a spy ring across the entire continent, with nothing more than messenger ravens and couriers, with no concern that the information she receives may be weeks, if not months out of date.
  • Elfeminate: Elves by default are pretty androgynous when it comes to body shape, however, thanks to the extreme detail of the character creator and the ability to give a male character makeup, it is entirely possible to make an extremely feminine-looking male elf Inquisitor.
    • Averted for Solas and Abelas and other ancient elves, who is muscular and masculine in appearance.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: The Inquisition was created by a number of upper class individuals, including a noblewoman from Antiva as well as the Right and Left Hands of the Divine herself. However, Josephine strictly states that this small head start would not last long due to the Chantry's denouncement. Fortunately, the game proper allows the Inquisition to grow in power, influence and prestige until the Inquisitor is considered the equal of monarchs. This trope is also played straight with many of the companions, agents and allies, who are usually people with political pedigree, renowned skills and abilities, or unique assets. Even companions who seem to avert this, like Sera, turn out to have been raised by nobility or have otherwise exceptional facets.
  • Empathic Environment:
    • The village of Crestwood is under attack by legions of demon-possessed corpses rising from the lake, and so it's appropriately dark and raining all the time. But once the rift is closed and the undead stop coming - surprise! - the weather instantly turns almost painfully sunny (though it's still raining in some places, it makes the landscape brilliant rather than dreary). Possibly subverted, because draining the lake to reach the rift ticks off the high dragon nesting nearby and causes it to become aggressive, which arguably makes it a bigger threat than the undead.
    • Similarly, at the execution of Mornay in Val Royeaux, the normally sunny weather is replaced by a dreary drizzle, which continues while the Inquisitor goes to the prison to speak with Thom Rainier.
    • The only time it really snows in the Frostback Mountains is when you are cut of from the rest of the Inquisition and are trying to find them again.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: The world must unite to stop a demonic invasion from the Fade, or die.
  • Enemy Civil War: The schism between the Seekers, the Templars and the Chantry, following the dissolution of the Nevarran Accord in Asunder. The "enemy" part varies based on your character's position.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Dorian's mentor, Alexius, seems like a rather nasty magister, but he loves his son and only turned to the Venatori when Corephyus promised a cure for his son's taint sickness.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Lampshaded beautifully by Varric while admiring the scenery in the Emerald Graves:
    Varric: Ah, the wilds of Thedas. Lush, beautiful and full of things that want to eat you.
  • Evil Chancellor: The King of Nevarra's most trusted advisor just happens to be a Venatori spy. You can send one of your advisors to put a stop to his schemes.
  • Evil Laugh: Pride demons sport an impressive one.
  • Evil Weapon: The sword Certainty dropped by Samson is heavily implied to be Meredith's red lyrium sword reborn. The weapon description cautions the Inquisitor to be careful with Certainty.
  • Exact Words:
    • There's a reason equipment is marked "Human/Elf/Whatever Trained Only" rather than just "Human Only." Sera is unable to wear or use any equipment that is "Elf-trained only", since while she is an elf, she was raised by a human woman and counts as Human-trained. Likewise, Cole is a spirit who takes the form and memories of a deceased human mage, therefore he too is "Human-trained." Then we later find out that Solas is an Elven god masquerading as a mortal, so he's Elf-trained. One can assume that a practitioner of the Qunari religion who isn't a member of the race (like Tallis) would count as Qunari-trained.
    • In "Here Lies the Abyss", Blackwall's speech to the Grey Wardens relies heavily on this. He tells the Wardens that none of them know him, but they have heard of him. He never said that he was actually Warden Blackwall: the Wardens have most likely heard of Thom Rainier's crimes. He tells the Wardens that putting on Warden armor is reassuring, but he never actually says that he is a Warden.
    • Blackwall also says he's not worried about the Calling. Since he doesn't actually have the Darkspawn taint in him like all real Wardens do, he'll never have to worry about it, either.
  • Expy: The Friends of Red Jenny, as explained by Sera, seem to be Thedas' answer to Anonymous.
  • Face Nod Action: During In Hushed Whispers, as you and Dorian try to return to the present, your other two companions will face each other and nod, silently agreeing to hold the armies of the Elder One back as long as possible.
  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • While Cassandra is talking to the Herald about the need for an Inquisitor to lead them, they're going up the steps of Skyhold's battlements... where the Herald is greeted by Leliana holding an ornate sword, prompting the Herald to look right and see the organized crowd below.
    • While you're meeting with Alexius and discussing his interest in your magical mark the various Venatori warriors that are quite visibly lurking in the background getting ready to ambush you are murdered by your own Inquisition agents, and Alexius doesn't notice until he tries ordering the ambush to be sprung.
  • Fame Gate: By doing sidequests and exploring, you increase the influence of the Inquisition, unlocking main story missions upon reaching certain fame levels.
  • Fantastic Slurs: The Chargers apparently call Tevinters "Vints." Some humans continue to call elves "knife-ear," a few elves call humans "shem/shemlsen," and "rabbit" debuts as a derogatory pet name for elves by humans.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Maddox, the tranquil that made Samson's armor, was the victim of such a punishment; he was a Kirkwall mage charged with "corrupting the moral integrity of a Templar" by Knight-Commander Meredith: meaning, he was passing love letters back and forth with a female Templar. Cullen says with disgust that Meredith wielded the tranquil brand for far lesser offenses.
  • The Fellowship Has Ended: The party is visibly heading this way immediately after the Final Battle. Several companions make plans to leave at some point, usually to patch things up back home, though if you have high enough approval, many others plan on staying and even being an active part of the Inquisition.
  • Fetch Quest: Loads and loads of them.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief:
    • As in previous Dragon Age games, the three base classes are Warrior, Mage and Rogue. Your first three companions consist of one of each (Cassandra, Solas and Varric).
    • The sub-class specializations are kind of a subset of Fighter, Mage, Thief within each discipline. Rogues can double-down on their stealth and melee combat as Assassins, become a Trap Master as an Artificer or go nuts with elemental concoctions as a Tempest. For Warriors, the choice between Reavers, Champions and Templars is that of pure damage, heavy defense or battlefield control using anti-magic. Mages become defensive warriors as Knight-Enchanters, control the battlefield with tactics as a Necromancer, or just blow crap up even better as a Rift Mage.
    • The choice of the new Divine comes down to Cassandra (warrior), Leliana (rogue), and Vivienne (mage).
  • Filk Song: All As One, courtesy of Miracle of Sound
  • Finger Poke of Doom: If you take the Knight-Enchanter skill "Fade Cloak" and its augmentative Decloaking Blast, you can deal massive spirit damage... by walking inside someone and letting the effect wear out.
  • Flaming Sword: Like in the previous games, you can wield one.
  • Flash Step:
  • Foreshadowing:
    • From the beginning of the game, it's remarked that the Inquisitor was muttering something about 'the grey' while they were recovering from their first trip in the Fade. This is because they encountered the mind-controlled Grey Wardens holding Divine Justinia for Corypheus.
    • Solas' personal quest's name, "All New, Faded for Her", is an anagram for Fen'Harel Dread Wolf, hinting at his true nature.
    • There is plenty of foreshadowing concerning Blackwall's true identity, such as the fact that he's not affected by the Calling, becomes disproportionately aggressive when asked by Varric about his 'dark secret', and didn't know that there were only three Wardens involved in the Battle of Denerim.
    • A throwaway comment from Sera, of all people, near the beginning of the game hints at revelations towards the end. When asked about elves, Sera says, among other things, that "the Dalish don't know. They say they do, but that's just stories." Then, towards endgame, you can potentially talk with Abelas and learn that the Dalish version of elven history and mythology might be... off. Sera's very pleased with herself after these events.
    • In one of the earliest conversations you can have with Solas, he talks about how the artifact that created the Breach is unlike anything seen in this age, and that he refuses to believe it could be destroyed until he sees it shattered with his own eyes. He knows exactly what that artifact is and what it does, and at the end of the game, he does indeed see it shattered.
    • When reading the description for any of the Cleansing Runes or their crafting schematics, you may notice that it states it augments damage against Darkspawn and Red Templars. An odd combination... until you learn that Red Lyrium is Blight-tainted Lyrium. It causes greater harm to Red Templars because, in a way, they're Blighted ghouls now.
    • Cassandra muses early on that it's a shame more people can't take the initiation to join the Seekers, since that gives a person immunity to possession and mind control. She is not the first person to think that. The reason it was discovered that tranquility strips mages of their magic is because a mage had the exact same idea and tried to test it.
    • Some idle gossip around Haven about the structure of Haven can hint to what happens there. You can overhear one guard asking another why they need such huge trebuchets for bandits, to which the superior snaps they're there in case they get attacked by more than just bandits. Cue the Elder One and his army of mages/Red Templars, and the trebuchets needed to slow/stop them by making avalanches and rockslides. Others gossipers mention many unknown tunnels under Haven that lead into the mountains. Many people manage to escape the destruction of Haven by sneaking out through the tunnels, and the Herald narrowly escapes a rockslide they created to stop the Elder One by falling into a tunnel passage.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • In the "Fires Above Trailer", Cassandra has Hard in Hightown 2 next to her maps.
    • Cole makes a few very brief appearances in "Champions of the Just" before he formally introduces himself to the Herald.
  • Fridge Brilliance: Invoked in conversations with Cole. After recruiting him, you will overhear people talk about strange events occurring across Skyhold, which you can correctly trace to Cole and tell him to stop doing it. However, if you instead let him carry on and continue listening, you will eventually figure out that his weird actions set in motion chains of seemingly random events that ultimately help people or make their lives easier, better or happier.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: The Avvar warriors encountered in the Fallow Mire appear to be wearing body paint rather than shirts. Including the women.

     G - L 
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • Dorian's personal quest has a known issue where it may not trigger for some players. While this may be a minor one for most players, those that want to pursue a romance with him are less than thrilled.
    • One of Sera's subquests involves playing pranks on the three Advisors. This quest places a random soldier in Cullen's office and removes Cullen himself (so that the prank can be set up). Sometimes, Cullen never comes back, locking the player out of any of his sidequests or romance dialogue.
    • There is a cave entrance in the Western Approach that should open after killing the High Dragon there but often doesn't. Fortunately, a Warrior can break the block with Grappling Chain.
    • One of Solas' quests, "Measuring the Veil", has a nasty habit of not triggering the end of the quest, even after previous requirements have been met.
    • From the multiplayer, there are several issues that result in enemies either stuck outside the players reach or a kill not registering properly. Neither would be that bothersome if it weren't for the fact that you have to kill all enemies in each section to advance. The only way to continue is for the hosting player to leave the match, which resets the current stage... assuming a new host can be found.
    • The initial release of the game featured a weird bug in which the Inquisitor was treated by the game as both a male and a female simultaneously, and as both their class and another class simultaneously (e.g. a mage and a rogue). This bug had at least two game-breaking consequences. The first (arguably beneficial) consequence was allowing the player to romance NPCs who were only interested in the other gender. For example, a male Inquisitor was able to romance Sera, who is only interested in females. However, since the male actors did not record the lines for the female-only romances (and vice versa), these lines would only appear as subtitles, although they were still lip-synched. The second game-breaking consequence was that the Inquisitor received the trainers for another class upon arriving at Skyhold, thereby preventing specialization in their own class. The bug was fixed in Patch 2.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Cassandra brings up her ability to set lyrium on fire... including the lyrium that's in the blood of templars and mages. Not once does she display this power, even when it would be really, really handy.
    • And on a further note, Cassandra asserts that Seekers are not Templars, giving her a completely different powerset without their specific Anti-Magic capabilities. And yet, her in-game class is... Templar. Her specialization description explains that her Seeker training essentially grants her the same powers as a Templar without the need for lyrium, contradicting what she tells the Inquisitor in conversation.
    • The impetus for allying with the mages or templars is that the dozen or so of each already in the Inquisition aren't enough to close the Breach. When you actually do it, you use... five.
    • Cole has no supernatural abilities whatsoever outside of cutscenes. He does get a more effective version of the stealth skill tree, though.
    • The Herald gets access to the missions in the war room long before they have any actual power in the Inquisition.
    • As usual, issues of lyrium addiction, demon possession, darkspawn taint, etc. are brought up, but never actually become a threat to the party.
    • During "In Hushed Whispers," the Herald is sent forward in time a year. Any items and level progress your companions make somehow carry over when you return to the present.
  • Gateless Ghetto: Only a small market area is available for visit in Val Royeaux, save for a side mission or two.
  • Genre Savvy:
    • The player character proves him/herself to be this from time to time.
      Inquisitor: We know it's not just going to work, right? It never just works.
    • Wandering through a dark, creepy temple filled with the undead, with only torches as a source of light:
      Inquisitor: Aaaaaand the torch goes out. 'Course it does.
  • Ghibli Hills: The Emerald Graves fit this nearly to a Tee. Everywhere you look there is filled with giant verdant trees, with most of the artifacts being ancient elven ruins and statues.
  • Gladiator Subquest: Present in Jaws Of Hakkon.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: The "Enemy of Thedas" trailer features a Dalish mage with glowing purple eyes whose magic is strong enough to knock both Morrigan and the Inquisitor back.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Exploited by the Big Bad when he makes the Grey Wardens think that they are all hearing the Calling. Their belief that they are all going to die soon leads to them using Blood Magic and performing Human Sacrifice to summon a demon army to help them wipe out the last two Old Gods before they are all gone.
  • Gonk: Aside from your ability to make the Inquisitor into such an abomination that he/she would make the Maker turn from Thedas again, this is the best way to describe some of the NPCs, such as the inept mage that shows up in Solas' personal quest.
  • Great Offscreen War:
    • Currently in-progress: Orlais has suffered a civil war that's mostly all over except for the crying. You just have to show up at a party and pull a few strings to control who gets what afterwards. If you visit the actual battlefields in the Exalted Plains, you find out that both sides are so bogged down fighting the demonic invasion, a major undead outbreak, and a rebel faction of deserters from both sides they wouldn't be interested in fighting each other even if there hadn't been a truce called.
    • Party banter between Solas and Cole has Cole ramble about how a "war in the Fade" would be a terrible thing to see. In Solas's backstory in his true identity as Fen'Harel, he is infamous for ending a war between the Elven Pantheon and the Forgotten Ones. The game also reveals that Elven gods can enter the Fade physically at will, and banter with Dorian has Solas acknowledge that physically entering the Fade has only become stigmatized in human history.
  • Guest Star Party Member: In a number of major battles, one or more non-companion characters may fight beside your party. These may include, but are by no means limited to, Hawke, Alistair, Stroud, Morrigan, Cullen, and Leliana.
  • Guide Dang It:
    • The solution to the Orlesian civil war can be altered by bad dialogue choices to your companions before what seems to be the choice point. Ironically, this actually isn't explained in the guide.
      • Celene, Gaspard and Briala can be forced to set aside their differences and work together... provided you found every single Halla statuette and opened exactly the right doors with them, which is unlikely to happen without a strategy guide in your hand.
      • The reconciliation between Celene and Briala as friends and lovers requires that you find the aforementioned Halla statues, use them to open one specific door, talk to Celene's assistants, then Celene, and then Briala with the correct dialogue choices, and then make the correct choices again at the end of the quest. Oh, and maintain at least 85 Court Approval at the same time.
    • The exact factors that determine whom the Conclave elects as the new Divine in the epilogue were a major mystery until someone actually hacked into the game files; even since then, some conditions are still ambiguous.
    • Most of the time it doesn't really matter who you pick for a War Table mission... but sometimes you need to pick one specific advisor to continue to the next stage of the chain. Often, there is no way of knowing which outcome is the correct one. For example, choosing Josephine to ask local nobility to help protect the Dalish Inquisitor's clan from bandits results in a total massacre. Likewise, taking Cullen's advice to flip off people upset about Blackwall's fake Grey Warden treaties turns out to be the "correct" choice, rewards-wise.
      • The quest chain with Sutherland and his mini-adventuring company is a triple whammy in this regard. First, if you don't take Cullen's advice for the first mission (sending Sutherland to help fight off the bandits) the quest chain terminates immediately. Second, if you don't go back and talk to Sutherland after every mission you won't unlock the next one. Third, if the wrong advisor (anyone but Leliana) is chosen in third operation for them (A Test of Mettle and Crew), no further operations are offered.
      • If you recruited the Wardens, you can send them out on War Table missions. However, choosing the wrong advisers can lead to the entire order being wiped out and end a line of missions.
      • The Dalish Inquisitor's Clan quest chain is perhaps the worst offender. It has the longest chain of personal quests from any Inquisitor's background, and every step of the way it is far too easy to make a "wrong" choice gets the Dalish Inquisitor's clan massacred. What's worse, the choices with the "good" outcomes can seem counter-productive to the ones with the tragic outcomes, and sending the same advisor twice in a row often gets a tragic outcome even though said advisor did good work in the previous attempt. It's almost like the devs want the Inquisitor to accidentally get their clan wiped out.
    • It's possible for Lord Abernache to survive the fighting at Therinfal Redoubt, but only if you refuse to do the Lord Seeker's ritual. This is never hinted in the game and there is no explanation for why the Red Templars don't kill Abernache if you refuse to do the ritual.
    • Finding the unique Evanura sword requires finding a codex in one region, then visiting a landmark in another region. Even worse, due to a bug(?), the instant you mark the landmark, you must use the search command and immediately loot the sword, or it vanishes for good.
    • It might not occur to some that one can thin the demons' numbers before the next wave at a fade tear by using some manner of magic-dispelling skill on the spawn points before the demons spawn. Warriors can also attack the spawn points for the same effect, although they can usually only defeat one in the time allotted.
    • At the Emerald Graves, most players run into a bunch of torches that don't stay lit in the Lion's Pavilion. This is actually one in a series of puzzles in that region that leads to a prize at the end. There is no journal entry for this, and unless you know exactly what to look for, it is unlikely you'll reach the end of the quest.
    • Making the wrong dialogue choice with Leliana ( telling her to kill the traitor OR not saying anything towards the beginning of the game hardens her and prevents certain outcomes in her personal quest, which occurs towards the end of the game. The game gives no indication that this is an important choice.
  • Guilt-Based Gaming: A BioWare tradition. The first gameplay demo shows the Inquisitor deciding whether their soldiers should stay with the wounded, protect the nearby village of Crestwood, or push an assault on the attacking Red Templars. The Inquisitor picks the last one - and Crestwood is burned to the ground by the time they return.
    • Averted in the game proper, where this choice never actually happens. The closest would be which faction the Inquisition will approach to ask for help; but at the time they make this decision, the player doesn't know something bad will happen to the faction they don't pick.
  • Handwave: One of the things from Varric's book on Hawke that you can ask about is the fate of Orsino and how/why he turned into a giant monster for seemingly no reason. Varric is unable to give the Inquisitor a good answer, telling them that he doesn't know anything about Blood Magic and that the only reason he could come up with is that he was just really desperate.
  • Healing Shiv: The "Healing Mist" grenade.
  • Hero-Worshipper:
    • The people of Thedas become an almost completely literal example, coming to look upon the Inquisitor as the Maker's chosen and calling him/her "The Herald of Andraste" and "Your Worship".
    • Depending on the choices made in the world state imported, many characters returning from previous games may also feel this way about the Hero of Ferelden, and can be asked about their connection to that individual.
  • His Name Really Is Barkeep: The Rift Mage specialization trainer is Your Trainer. Who is she? She is Your Trainer. (Apparently she absorbed so much knowledge that keeping it all straight upstairs is difficult and so she just clings onto the fact she's supposed to train you.)
  • Hopeless War: The Mage-Templar has become this, particularly on the side of the Mages, who lost a lot of their leadership, rank and file to the Breach, and left with the reserves in Redcliffe, who split between honest rebels, terrorists, and Tevinter infiltrators. By the time the Inquisitor reaches Redcliffe, the situation has deteriorated due largely to Alexius's meddling with time travel that Fiona enters into a desperate alliance with the Imperium. On the Templar side, the true Templars are fighting a losing battle against the Red Templars under Knight-Captain Denam. Whichever side the Inquisitor chooses is saved only by their intervention.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: A female Dwarf Inquisitor who romances the Iron Bull. A female Elf counts for different reasons - while taller, she's thin and waifish, whereas the dwarves are short and stout all around.
  • Hell Gate: The Breach; a tear in the Veil that separates the Fade and the mundane realm, opens in the sky, allowing demons and other monstrosities to invade. Solas indicates it makes demons even more of a threat than they'd usually be, since it drives them mad to be thrust into the physical world. Intellectual demons are few and far between now; even the sinister and manipulative Pride demons are just big ugly monsters who want to bash your head in.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Like in the previous game, there's an option to make the headgear worn by the Inquisitor invisible to better show off the player's personal face customization. Played with similarly to the last game in that the helmet's stats and defense still apply, meaning the player will still want to wear a helmet at all times. In addition, any cutscene always shows the player and party without helmets.
  • Horseback Heroism: Inquisition features mounts for the first time in the series.
  • Hidden Villain: The Inquisitor has a single, equal adversary working against them from the shadows.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Most of the main story quests are named after stanzas from the Chant of Light.
  • Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance: The Kirkwall Circle mages that bound Solas's wisdom spirit friend. They talk down to Solas as if he knows nothing of spirits when they are the ones that corrupted it into a pride demon with their fumbling ignorance. The spirit dies either way, whether you kill it as a demon or make a last-ditch attempt to unbind it. Solas is so furious with them that he wants to kill them.
  • Implacable Man: Or woman, rather. On learning of Erimond's treachery, Warden Clarel strides ominously toward him, effortlessly shrugging off his fire attacks.
  • Incendiary Exponent: The Tempest subclass of Rogues is all about smashing a flask of some elemental concoction over yourself and charging into battle. Setting yourself on fire is just one of the several flasks you can use.
  • Inciting Incident: Driven home by the Menu screen, which depicts the moments just before the explosion that caused the Breach. The moment that the player presses New Game, you get to see it happen.
  • An Interior Decorator Is You: Most of the customization items you can acquire for Skyhold are purely cosmetic.
  • Ironic Echo: During the Grey Warden arc, your first encounter with Erimond sees him give the Grey Wardens' creed a sinister twist by using "In death, sacrifice," to refer to blood sacrifice. And in the end of that arc, Clarel turns it around again as she's mortally wounded, reciting it before she blasts the pseudo-Archdemon with lightning. She falls to her death before she can recite the final third of the creed - but her actions bring the sentiment across.
  • In Media Res: The intro for the game is hitting the start button and watching everything on the screen explode. Shortly afterwards you're massacring demons and sealing Rifts.
  • Incompatible Orientation:
    • It's possible for a male Inquisitor to flirt with Cullen in two conversations, though Cullen is attracted to women and thus can only be romanced by a female Inquisitor. The first time, Cullen merely thinks the Inquisitor is being nice. He figures it out the second time, though, and says that he would value his friendship, but is afraid he can't offer more, and he trusts the male Inquisitor will understand.
    • It's possible for a male Inquisitor to flirt with Sera in one conversation, but Sera, who's only attracted to women, will scoff and say "Not even!"
    • It's possible for a female Inquisitor to flirt with Cassandra, who's only interested in men; if it's handled delicately rather than ham-fistedly, it can actually help their friendship develop. Sera is attracted to Cassandra, though of course the feeling isn't mutual and Cassandra actually finds Sera rather annoying as well as of the wrong gender.
    • It's possible for a female Inquisitor to flirt with Dorian, who's also only interested in men, but flirts back just for laughs. Dorian displays some attraction to Cullen, though he understands that he's uninterested.
    • Iron Bull may flirt with Blackwall if both are in your party. Blackwall is only interested in women, so he doesn't respond to Bull's advances. Iron Bull will also flirt with Cassandra, who tells him in no uncertain terms that it's never going to happen but she doesn't want him to stop. She even teases him about taking a bath.
    • Players may also flirt with Vivienne and Scout Harding even though neither are possible romances for anyone.
  • Insult Backfire: Any banter between Sera and Vivienne will usually start with the former trying to take down the latter, only to have Vivienne be either complimented or turn the prank back around at Sera.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • A banter between Vivienne and Cole will have the former calling the Player Character by the title "Inquisitor". However, this can happen before the Inquisitor gains that title.
    • The PC-only talent tree of the same name is also unlocked before that point.
    • The War Table operation to gain access to the Black Emporium is available as soon as you unlock the war table in Haven, but it refers to the player character as "Inquisitor" and mentions the Big Bad's name. You don't become the Inquisitor or learn the Big Bad's name until much later in the game.
  • Iron Lady: In addition to Vivienne (detailed on the character page), there's apparently Varric's editor. She runs half of the Kirkwall Coterie and once killed a man over a semicolon.
  • Irony: If a Dalish Inquisitor wears a pattern of vallaslin honoring Mythal and then drinks from the Well of Sorrows, thus actually becoming a slave to Mythal.
  • I Shall Taunt You: The "Vanguard" tree for Warriors focuses on various ways to verbally assault their foes and to exploit their being "taunted". At the very minimum, taunting keeps the enemy heat on the warrior instead of their group-mates.
  • Isometric Projection: Not technically isometric, but definitely a throwback to the isometric view in Baldur's Gate, the (PC-only) tactical overhead view from Origins returns in Inquisition for all platforms.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Delivered to or by the Inquisitor and some companions before going to finish the Big Bad.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Sera and Vivienne consider Cole to be an "it" and refuse to speak to "it."
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet:
    • Parodied if you ask the dwarven barman what he thinks of current events.
      Barman: Quiet. Too quiet. No, wait. Just quiet enough.
    • Played completely straight by Cassandra if she's brought to the Shrine of Dumat. To the surprise of no one, extreme un-quietness ensues.
  • Jerkass Gods: The more the story reveals about the elven pantheon, the more it seems like only Mythal wasn't either terrible or useless. The youngest goddess, Ghilan'nain, filled the world with monsters, impressing everyone. Andruil went demon hunting until she started to become one herself and cause calamity and Mythal had to stop her. Elgar'nan almost destroyed the world because of a grudge until Mythal talked him out of it. Even Falon'din, who seems to be well loved, nearly wrecked the world out of sheer vanity and desire for more followers until, once again, Mythal stopped him. And then Mythal was betrayed and murdered and Fen'harel got blamed for locking away all the gods. There were a few gods like June who didn't cause much trouble; but then again, it's explicitly stated that very few stories are told about her, implying that she didn't really do much at all. Small wonder that Solas wants to keep anyone from being bound to the gods, though he seems somewhat more positive towards the Maker since the Maker doesn't do anything, assuming He even exists.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: One particularly evil and haughty Tevinter mage is brought before you and he's looking forward to death, since he thinks it'll let him be one with his god. Locking him up and throwing away the key doesn't faze him and only mildly pleases a couple. Handing him to the Wardens makes him sneer that their justice is no better than yours. You can make him Tranquil, the only option that truly upsets him, but this is controversial, with some party members liking it and a lot truly disliking it. Chopping off the son of a bitch's head is the only option that pleases everyone, victim included.
  • Killer Rabbit:
    • A farmer in the Hinterlands asks the Inquisitor to retrieve his pet ram, Lord Woolsey, who has given the farmer's family good advice for generations. Attacking Lord Woolsey causes him to turn into a rage demon.
    • To many players, the druffalo. Although they only attack when provoked, their charge attack (coupled with their hefty guard) has led to many deaths in both the single-player campaign and multiplayer.
  • Kingmaker Scenario: The ball at the Winter Palace allows the Inquisitor to resolve the Orlesian civil war however they choose. Unlike previous scenarios in the series, there is no clear Golden Ending to work toward. The one that take the most effort lets the Inquisitor reveal that they have career-ending dirt on all parties and force them to work together, with full knowledge they remain in power only by the Inquisition's good graces; this only leads to them falling back into the same schemes once the game is over. Supporting Celene may or may not lead to stability, better rights for elves, or her continued support of the Inquisition, depending on how things are handled. In an unusual twist for this scenario, while Briala cannot rule Orlais herself, she can rule as a puppeteer ruler through Gaspard. However, Gaspard is still Emperor, and has a history of belligerently antagonizing rival nations like Nevarra and Ferelden.
  • Kneel Before Zod:
    The Elder One: Bow before your new God, and be spared.
  • Kukris Are Kool: Some daggers have a kukri model. Artistic License ensues, however, because they're thrusting daggers, while real-life kukris are better suited for chopping strokes.
  • Lady of War: Commander Helaine, your Knight-Enchanter trainer, is imperious and authoritative and offers to grant you the same authority. When questioned about what she's actually done to earn that authority, she can't or won't back it up; apparently part of learning to be a Knight-Enchanter is to exude authority whether or not you actually have it.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Cassandra to Varric, when you meet Scout Harding in the Hinterlands.
    Varric: Harding, huh? Ever been to Kirkwall's Hightown?
    Harding: Can't say I have, why?
    Varric: Because you'd be Harding in... oh, never mind.
    Cassandra: [disgusted noise]
  • Laser Blade: The Knight Enchanter specialization allows mages to use these. The quest for acquiring the specialization for your player character involves constructing the hilt for one.
  • Last Name Basis: Everyone calls the Inquisitor by their surname, if at all. However, a romanced Cullen will use the female Inquisitor's first name when writing to his sister Mia. Her amusing response is viewable only in his codex entry near the end of the game.
  • The Law of Power Proportionate to Effort:
    • It's offhandedly mentioned by one of the party members that back in the days of the advanced (but ultimately lost) Elven empire, some spells required decades to cast. These spells were apparently awesome to behold and blended with other magic to create an "unending symphony" of magical energy. But as Elves were immortal in that age, they didn't understand the concept of time, so such long casting seemed trivial.
    • Focus Abilities are the most powerful by far, but have tremendously long charging times.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: A few times, usually via banter.
    • Of particular note is Cassandra complaining to Varric that he always puts his characters through undeserved hell, and she wishes he'd hand out some happy endings. Varric points out that he does this (and regularly kills off characters) because happy, peaceful lives make for boring stories. Meanwhile, the player of this BioWare game can probably sympathise with Cassandra quite a bit... especially if you're anywhere near the Sadistic Choice involving Hawke in the Fade.
    • Another example:
      Dorian: Where do you get all your arrows, Sera? You have hundreds.
      Sera: From your arse, that's where.
      Dorian: My arse should open up a shop. It's apparently quite prolific.
    • Or:
      Dorian: Cole, you should be careful dancing around with those daggers while I throw fire.
      Cole: It won't hurt me, it's friendly fire.
      Dorian: That doesn't always mean what you think it means.
    • Nugs are now seen in several areas wandering the surface. In previous games, nugs were said to only live underground. The codex entry for them has a character noticing this and wondering if killing archdemons causes nugs to spawn.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: The Charging Bull ability turns your AI warriors into this. The purpose of the ability is to charge through enemy lines and then stop, turning to attack them from behind. Not the AI, though. It just keeps going... and going... and going...
  • Lethal Joke Item: The Easter Egg item "Ardent Blossom". It's a crown of white flowers... which adds a pretty hefty (for a helm) 41 armor and also negates 25% of a foe's armor on-strike.
    • "A Jar of Bees" also qualifies, as instead of causing enemies to panic like one would expect, it just causes the most damage over time of any weapon, and can even brutalize Dragons enough to keep them grounded.
  • Leitmotif: The game is full of them.
    • The melodic line of the game's main theme pops up a whole lot when this are intense or emotional, usually very skillfully executed. Eventually, it's revealed to be an instrumental version of a Chantry hymn titled "The Dawn Will Come".
    • The theme you hear upon entering Val Royeaux is sung in the tavern as "Empress of Fire". The Emerald Graves also uses a few chords of the leitmotif. Likewise, the Hinterland's theme is "Samson", named after the leader of the Red Templars.
    • The Thedas Love Theme plays when you and your love interest get intimate and romantic and also when Solas breaks up with you.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: According to Varric, this is what the Qunari said when they took away the Dreadnought wreck in Kirkwall. He thinks it's the closest they'll ever have to an apology.
  • Level Scaling: Averted for Rifts and High Dragons. Everything else gets scaled within a certain level range depending on the zone or intended level range for major story missions (which is shown when you are about to start one).
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • In a truly bizarre case, yes. After the relentlessly cynical Dragon Age II, this game is way more idealistic. Your party members are generally nicer, both to you and to each other; the mages and Templars have both been humbled a bit after years of war; and the Chantry looks like it's starting to learn from its mistakes. And, best of all, the color palette is much more vibrant.
    • It's not only your companions, either. Much like the Warden in Origins, the Inquisitor can be played as incredibly selfless, humble and heroic, and in fact is viewed as a messianic figure. The Chantry (already portrayed as reasonable and well-intentioned, if mired in bureaucracy and typical power-struggles) has a lot of sympathetic characters, and it has some truly noble goals amidst all the political nonsense. And unlike DA2, here your actions change the world for the better.
  • Limit Break: Focus Abilities are exceptionally powerful spells and skills that can only be used through teamwork, building up over time as your party coordinates attacks and brings down enemies. Inquisition Perks can be spent to gain more focus bars, which are spent all at once to make the abilities more powerful. A character's Focus Ability is determined by their specialization.
    • The Inquisitor:note  Mark of the Rift. Causes damage in a large area and can banish demons outright.
    • Templar: Rally. All party members gain guard, additional mana/stamina regeneration, and damage resistance for fifteen seconds. Additional focus improves the effect.
    • Champion: Counterstrike. The user draws the attention of all enemies, gains full guard, and automatically counters all melee attacks. Additional focus lengthens the duration.
    • Reaver: Rampage. The user attacks faster, causes more damage per hit, and absorbs enemy health for ten seconds. Additional focus increases the effect.
    • Assassin: Cloak of Shadows. All party members are made invisible for a set amount of time. Additional focus lengthens the duration.
    • Tempest: Thousand Cuts. A target and any other enemies surrounding it are attacked many times. Each hit strikes for three hundred percent of a normal attack. Additional focus increases the number of hits. Made especially ridiculous because the Tempest specialization also includes the ability Flask of Fire, which lets the character use all abilities without cost or cooldown and that applies to focus abilities as well. This means the only drawback of focus abilities, that focus takes a long time to charge, is completely negated and the abilities can be used whenever Flask of Fire is off cooldown, which is once every 30 seconds.
    • Artificer: Hail of Arrows. Any archery ability is used twice at once for a set amount of time. Additional focus increases the duration.
    • Knight Enchanter: Resurgence. All party members, both conscious and KO'd, are fully healed and a glyph is placed that continues to heal all party members within it every second for ten seconds. Additional focus increases the amount healed by the glyph.
    • Necromancer: Haste. Increases the party's speed by eighty-five percent. Displayed as the rest of the world being slowed while the party moves normally. Additional focus increases the duration.
    • Rift Mage: Firestorm. Rains flaming meteors over a six meter radius. Each individual meteor causes a hundred-fifty percent of a normal attack. Additional focus increases the number of meteors.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Any foe who suffers a death blow from a magical frost effect will freeze solid, then explode in a blast of blood and frozen bits.
  • Literary Allusion Title: Quite a few side quests are named after literature:
  • Living Relic:
    • Abelas and the other guardians of the Temple of Mythal are elves from a time before the fall of Arlathan. They spent most of this time asleep, and only awaken to defend the temple from outsiders.
    • Solas also comes from a time before the fall of Arlathan, although he was a bit further up the hierarchy. And if the legends are true, he was responsible for its ruin.
    • Corypheus is from ancient Tevinter, and remembers when it was at the height of its power. Restoring it to its former glory is one of his primary goals.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: If Alistair is king of Ferelden and the Inquisitor saves the mages, Alistair gets a cameo in which he meets his mother, Grand Enchanter Fiona, but she can't say anything and he has no clue.
  • Lost Forever: As in the previous games, your choices may "close some doors forever". Unfortunately, while plot-related cases of "Lost Forever" are clearly designated by the game, some quest-related ones are not. In particular, the BioWare forums are filled with angry comments about several Requisition side-quests in the Hinterlands, which depend on items which can only be randomly dropped by the mages and templars which roam the area... Except that, if you've finished a certain couple of main story quests (both of which you're likely to receive many, many hours before you ever get those Requisitions, since they only appear after one that requires a resource from a high-level area), the mages and templars won't respawn again. Already finished off all the mobs? Your choices are to either restart the game or reload a save from before then, potentially losing dozens of game hours. Given that the fans of BioWare games tend to be completionists by nature, this didn't go well by them. Requisition quests from the zones are effectively infinite, but that's not readily apparent.
  • Lost in Translation: The Saga of Tyrdda Bright-Axe in the Hinterlands region, a collection of "Tales"-category Codex entries found when discovering eight specific landmarks in the region. It talks of Tyrdda Bright-Axe, the "Avvar-mother" who founded the Avvar barbarian tribe. Her namesake "bright-axe" is described in the (translated) saga as such: "Bright her axe, unbreaking crystal, stirred to flame when temper flies". Historians studying the text apparently mistranslated the ancient Avvar word for "axe", as they thought her axe was topped with a crystal, or was made of some magically reinforced crystalline head, or even just really polished. It turns out they mistranslated "axe" from "hafted weapon". The weapon itself, after being found in a war table mission, is actually a Fire-type Magic Staff topped with a crystal; Tyrdda was a mage. In retrospect of that, the parts about dreams and demons make much more sense.
  • Ludicrous Precision: A tranquil and a dwarf discuss possibilities of disposing of the Red Lyrium in the Emprise du Lion region after you take Suledin Keep. The tranquil states the infinitesimally small odds of complete eradication of the red lyrium.

     M - R 
  • Made of Explodium: Qunari Dreadnoughts don't sink.
  • Magic Knight:
    • The Knight Enchanter. It turns out to be a "Circle-approved" version of the elven Arcane Warrior style. Properly kitted-out, a Knight Enchanter is extremely powerful. Their spirit blade utterly destroys an enemy's magic Barrier or physical Guard meter and counts as Spirit damage, to which many demons are weak. Further passive perks let them regenerate their own barrier when they deal damage and regenerate mana quickly when near an enemy, so they can outlast an enemy while blasting through whatever defenses they put up.
      Description: Wrapped in protective magics and wielding blades of arcane force, the Knight Enchanters are rare but inspiring sights as they lead the charge into enemy ranks.
    • One of the multiplayer characters is more like an old-school Arcane Warrior (it's his class, too).
  • Mage Tower: You can build one at Skyhold, though it's a cosmetic upgrade. In a minor example, Solas and Dorian (and Fiona, if you sided with the apostate mages) move into a tower off the main hall immediately after the Inquisition occupies Skyhold, but that same tower also functions as rookery for Leliana's birds.
  • Magnetic Plot Device: Can be equally applied to both the Anchor and the Orb - both cause the hero (an otherwise "normal" person) to get dragged into wackiness over and over. A description of the Anchor is offered as "a needle pulling thread". The Inquisitor is the thread, not the needle - where the Anchor leads, they follow. And because the Anchor is a function of the Orb, they're intertwined.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: Played With.
    • Averted with the War Table mechanic. Inquisition power is split between three departments: Forces (Military), Secrets (Spies), and Connections (Diplomacy). The three Advisors in charge of these departments will ask the Inquisitor for clearance to send their subordinates on missions which suit their skills (although most missions can be completed by any department, some are more efficient than others). There's a massive number of missions in the game that the main characters never even have to touch.
    • Played straight with the in-game map areas. The Inquisitor and his/her companions do everything here, including raiding keeps and forts, saving villages, performing random petty deeds, and fighting dragons and demons. Sometimes this is unavoidable (Fade Rifts can only be closed by the Inquisitor), but sometimes it's downright silly (the Inquisitor could send a small company or group of agents to deliver flowers to a grave site or look for a lost pet — there's no credible reason s/he would need to do it themselves). However, in some zones the player does need to call upon the Inquisition to repair a bridge or the like. You can also run into soldiers searching for useful materials in zones where you have enough camps set up, and they will often have a chest with a few goods for you ready.
  • Marked Bullet: During the Siege of Adamant, you can come across a boulder that one of your forces' trebuchets hurled inside. In a formal script, it has "All who walk in the sight of The Maker are one." Beneath it, a more vulgar soldier wrote "Stick this in your taint, Blighty!"
  • The Marvelous Deer: Harts are a type of mount available to the player.
  • Masquerade Ball: One features in the Orlesian Civil War arc.
  • A Master Makes Their Own Tools: This is the point of Prestige Class-unlocking sidequests. In order to take a specific specialization, the Inquisitor first has to construct a set of tools specific to it: for instance, Assassins need to forge a special dagger, Artificers require a trap-making kit, etc.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Is the "Herald of Andraste" really guided by some divine providence or are they just that outrageously lucky? The game gives no clear answer to this question.
  • The Men First:
    • An option during the assault on Haven. You can either run straight for the Chantry doors, or put a great deal of effort and risk into rescuing various civilians and a couple of soldiers along the way.
    • During the the battle at Adamant, you can either keep Hawke with you the whole time, or send them away briefly to help your soldiers.
  • Mission Control: Leliana, Josephine, Cullen and a few unnamed characters provide this in the multiplayer, framed as a report to the Inquisitor.
  • Modular Epilogue: Similar to Origins, although it only covers major choices rather than individual companions. Morrigan narrates the immediate future of the Chantry, the mages / templars, Orlais and the Grey Wardens.
  • Moment Killer: Several romances include people walking in on private moments. Cullen even manages to resurrect one moment after it gets stabbed.
  • Mook Maker: Fade Rifts continuously summon demons until the Inquisitor closes them.
  • Morton's Fork:
    • You must choose whether to ally with the Mages or with the Templars. The group you don't pick will be partly destroyed, partly enslaved by the Elder One.
    • "Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts" eventually changes from a "stop the assassin" plot to a "stop the Empire from falling, no matter what the cost" plot. This means that you have several methods of resolving it, with many different possible outcomes for each person vying for the throne, but every last one of them has negative consequences. The most direct consequence is that you must cause the death of at least one of the contenders for the throne. Other consequences are only revealed in the Epilogue, such as the fact that even if you do save all three parties, another war seems inevitable.
    • Whoever drinks from the Well of Sorrows will get a rude awakening just before the final battle.
  • Moving the Goalposts: Discussed between Mother Giselle and an Inquisitor that admits to a Crisis of Faith after the discovery at Adamant Fortress. Specifically, the Inquisitor says that everyone was wrong about Andraste being the one that gave them their mark and helped them escape the Fade. Since it was Divine Justinia the whole time, everything that makes him/her a Chosen One is a lie. Giselle says that you were probably chosen indirectly and that the fact that Andraste saved you is Metaphorically True. You can then call her out for changing the definition of "Chosen" to sound like what everyone just wants to hear.
  • Mugged for Disguise: An assassin does this to Comte Boisvert, leaving the real Comte Bound and Gagged inside an antique cabinet. A humorous exchange ensues if the Inquisitor informs Josephine of the strange noises coming from the cabinet.
  • Multinational Team: The Free Marches, Nevarra, Orlais, Ferelden, Antiva, Tevinter, and the Qunari are all represented in the Inquisition.
  • Multi-Platform: The game's target platforms are the PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox360, with the PC version getting controls optimization for keyboard and mouse, like Origins.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: A more literal example than most, as the online Keep is used rather than directly importing saves from the older titles, which allows players to tailor the major events of the first two games to their liking. For the new character, the general origin story is preset, but the player gets opportunities to choose how certain aspects of it played out in conversations.
    • If the Inquisitor is from a human noble family, in one optional conversation with Josephine, Josephine will ask the Inquisitor if the Inquisition could take advantage of his/her noble lineage to gain allies, and will ask about the Inquisitor's relationship with his/her parents. The Inquisitor can give multiple answers, from their parents trusting them, to not being in their good graces, etc. Human mages have an optional conversation with Vivienne where they can discuss what their life was like in the Circle prior to the mage rebellion.
    • A Qunari Inquisitor can discuss their views on the Qun - which they were raised outside of - as well as their involvement in mercenary work, including any particularly impressive jobs they completed.
    • A dwarf Inquisitor can say whether or not they believe in the dwarven religion, whether or not they've been to Orzammar, what their job for the Carta was, and whether or not they miss that work.
    • A Dalish Inquisitor can vary in their belief in Dalish gods, whether or not they enjoyed the Dalish life in the wild, what they feel the best path of the Dalish should be, and their opinions in general of humans and whether they are angered by humans treatment of elves.
  • Mundane Utility:
    • The Barrier spell icon can illuminate dark areas.
    • Magical green veilfire exists primarily to reveal hidden glyphs and solve puzzles, but since you're able to carry around a torch of it, it's also very convenient for illuminating the way around dark caves and ruins.
  • Murder, Inc.: The House of Repose in Orlais is an exceedingly polite and honour-invested version of this trope, upholding a contract signed over a hundred years ago because not following through might tarnish their reputation, even though all the original parties involved are long since dead from natural causes. They are even willing to explain the details of the unusual circumstances to the victim-to-be as a gesture of courtesy. And they have no objection to Josephine attempting to revoke the contract; they make no move to stop her from doing so, only acting according to the contract itself, and if she succeeds, they immediately cease and desist.
  • My Beloved Smother: The Inquisitor can find a letter in Skyhold addressed to one of Leliana's agents, Rector. The letter was written by his overly fussy mother, who reminds her son to get a warm blanket and fusses over his insistence to address him by his code name.
    What do you mean I have to address the letters to "Rector?" Is that what they call you there? Why? Your name is Wilbur Quigley. It's a good name. Wilbur was your uncle's name. He fought in the Battle of River Dane; we are all so proud of him. Are you ashamed of your given name? Why are you ashamed, Wilbur?
  • Mythology Gag: Plenty, of course. For example:
    • There's a ladder with the phrase "Can I get you a ladder to get off my back?" scratched into it, which was a notoriously annoying battle quote for a violent-voiced Warden in Dragon Age: Origins
    • Another example occurs when Iron Bull complains about the taste of the concoctions the healer of his mercenary company makes. Said healer reminds him that they are poultices and therefore not meant to be ingested (which is what your party members did with them in Dragon Age: Origins.)
    • Yet another involving Iron Bull takes place after his personal quest, if you sacrificed the Qunari Dreadnaught; Saar-qamek returns from Dragon Age II but this time in liquid form on the blade of a Ben-Hassrath agent sent after Bull.
    • Similarly, a common complaint among fans is that Templars, the elite mage-hunting armed forces, seem to be totally oblivious of the apostates in your party walking around wearing full robes and carrying giant magical sticks. In Inquisition, there's a Dalish mage dressed the same way who insists she's carrying a "bow", not a staff, even as the Inquisitor and the rest of her team point out her Paper-Thin Disguise.
    • When talking about the events at the grand ball the Empress of Orlais threw, Dorian remarks, "I hope you tried the ham they were serving. It tasted of despair. Fascinating." The ham also gets a mention in Party Banter when Varric and Blackwall compare the worst things they've ever eaten.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: A sign in the Herald's Rest Tavern:
    Archery contest! Saturday! All challengers welcome*! Sister Leliana to judge!
    * Except Varric and Bianca
  • Naughty Nuns: Right outside of the Haven Chantry at the start of the game, there's a Lay Sister that swoons over Iron Bull after he joins the camp. During one conversation between herself and another sister, she comments that the reason she's walking funny today is because she went to his tent the night before to "thank" him for all his work for the Inquisition. Then he thanked her all night long. Like we said, she is a Lay Sister.
  • Nay-Theist: Subverted; while the Inquisition is not a part of the Chantry and can have some anti-Chantry policies, it is still a fundamentally Andrastian organization, in spite of the fact that the Inquisitor him/herself can be a non-believer.
  • Neck Snap/Murderous Thighs: Leliana uses her legs to break the neck of her Venatori torturer.
  • Never Heard That One Before: A banter between Cassandra and Blackwall:
    Blackwall: So... You were the Divine's right hand, and Leliana the left?
    Cassandra: Yes. And if you make a joke about the right hand not knowing what the left hand was doing, I will punch you.
    Blackwall: Heh, I'd never make a terrible joke like that.
  • Nice Hat: Apart from the Inquisitor's signature helmets, it seems that absolutely badass cowboy hats will also be equippable. Vivienne has a Maleficent-style horned hat (a welcome change from previous mage headgear).
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: A few minor characters are not-so-subtle parodies of various notable figures:
  • No Canon for the Wicked: Hawke has nothing good to say about Blood Magic, even if they were involved with Merrill and/or personally practised it. Of course, Tevinter mages and human sacrifices are also involved in this instance.
  • Non-Standard Game Over:
    • If your court approval drops to 0 during the Winter Palace mission, you will be forcefully evicted from the ball, and within a few in-story hours, Empress Celene will be assassinated, Duke Gaspard gets accused of high treason, Orlais descends into chaos, and the Elder One basically wins.
    • There are also a few cases where a normal gameover (entire party dead) results in a non-standard gameover text describing the outcome rather than the usual "Your Journey Ends" message.
  • Noodle Incident: Several throughout the game.
    • Leliana has one involving a ball of twine, a measuring stick, and a handkerchief. She doesn't volunteer more information.
    • Leliana also tells you it's not a party until someone's undergarments end up nailed to a chantry board, which is also a Call Back to the "Leliana's Song" DLC.
    • Sera might as well be the Anthropomorphic Personification of Noodle Incident. Nearly every time anyone mentions or speaks to her, one of these comes up.
    • Dorian brings one up when asked about Tevinter. It involves flying cows over Minrathous.
    • The Inquisitor has the option to tell a story about themselves during Varric's Wicked Grace game, and since we only hear the beginning and the end of the story, it becomes this trope. The story will be different depending on the Inquisitor's background. Every version somehow involved a rabbit and Josephine declares it so scandalous that the Inquisition would be ruined if it became public knowledge.
      • If the Inquisitor is a Dalish Elf, the story starts with the Inquisitor's clan camping near a ruined fortress and hearing strange noises from inside and ends with a pair of bare-naked lovers fleeing back to their village.
      • If the Inquisitor is a Qunari, the story starts with the Inquisitor's mercenary group hired to escort a merchant's caravan, and ends with the group's leader having a Let Us Never Speak of This Again moment with one of the caravan's mules.
      • If the Inquisitor is a Human and is not a mage, the story begins with the Inquisitor's aunt making the Inquisitor's entire family attend an opera, and ends with the Inquisitor's aunt refusing to speak to him/her for three months.
      • If the Inquisitor is a Human Mage, the story begins with the Inquisitor's Harrowing, and the Inquisitor feeling like something was missing, and ends with the Inquisitor somehow ending up in the Ostwick Circle's history book and the First Enchanter vowing never to speak of the incident again.
      • If the Inquisitor is a Dwarf, the story begins with the Inquisitor being sent to collect protection money from an elderly seamstress, and ends with the seamstress ending up never having to pay protection money again, and the mere mention of her name apparently enraging the Inquisitor's boss.
    • At one point, it is possible that the Inquisitor is required to pass judgement on a corpse. There is apparently precedent.
    • The incident at the Conclave is, for the first half of the game, more or less a Noodle Incident. What started as what was supposed to be a peace delegation between rebel Templars and Mages ended with a massive explosion and a hole to the Fade itself torn in the sky.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party: A Codex in the Western Approach details an expedition that met this fate. After being trapped in the Blighted desert for three months, the remaining members of the Dorel party ended up eating the dead and drinking their blood.
  • Nostalgia Level:
    • Redcliffe Castle gets taken over by the Venatori and, like in Origins, you're tasked with reclaiming it. Leliana even brings up the secret passage from the windmill.
    • The entire Winter Palace section is a salute to the fancy-party-plus-murder-spree "Mark of the Assassin" DLC from Dragon Age II - which in itself was probably inspired by Mass Effect 2's "Stolen Memories" DLC.
  • No Sell: The Champion warrior specialization "Walking Fortress" ability and the Knight-Enchanter's "Fade Cloak" ability. Walking Fortress lasts longer, while Fade Cloak recharges more quickly and allows you to bypass whoever's opposing you by walking through them. Their augmenting skills diverge them even further, with Walking Fortress generating guard for every blow sustained under its effect (helping with tanking after the No Sell effect wears off), and Fade Cloak gaining the power to Tele-Frag for massive spirit damage if it wears off while you're inside someone.
  • Notice This:
    • The player can invoke this on any interactible object by pressing the "Search" button, which not only highlights said object, but provides a guide for plot-important items or collectibles. To be extra thorough on it, not only does the radar HUD flash and display dots for location, but party members sometimes flat out tell you to use search (phrased appropriately, of course). Console gamers will also feel the controller vibrate in their hands when something hidden is nearby.
    • In the Hissing Wastes, there are three ginormous rock formations that dominate the map, easily the largest landmark in the entire game. The Wastes are otherwise relatively empty, making it easy for you to see the rocks no matter where you are. This is important for the "tomb raiding" quest there, because the only clues you're given are sketches of the rocks from specific angles to demonstrate where you need to be standing.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: On subsequent playthroughs, it becomes clear that the Inquisitor is often the cause of this in Solas if they are friendly.
  • Occam's Razor: Completely ignored by everyone who believes in the stories that Andraste herself rescued the Herald from the Fade. Absolutely no one suggests that it could have been someone else that was present at the Conclave. And sure enough, it turns out to be Divine Justinia, literally the last person s/he was seen with. Even the people present at the Temple, who see and hear the vision of Her Holiness talking to the future Herald, don't even posit that this was the option with the least amount of assumptions.
  • Oh, Crap:
    • A memory found in the fade dates from the first Blight, from a worshiper of Dumat. He muses how the Darkspawn are bringing the empire to its knees, undoing centuries of achievements, and they stand at the gate. Then he sees Dumat, and recognizes his god based on his iconography, for a moment believing he's answered their prayers... then realizes Dumat's scales are mottled and decrepit, much like the appearance of the Darkspawn... and then Dumat breathes fire upon the city...
    • Also in the Fade, the words "Oh crap" actually come up as a dialogue option when the Inquisitor is conversing with Divine Justinia. If this option is selected, however, the actual words spoken will be Well, shit.
  • Old Save Bonus: Seems to be averted for the first time in the series, but in an unusual way. Dragon Age Keep, a web application that allows players to replicate their old world states for import to eighth-gen consoles, has manual input as the default method of world state creations (though it does try to salvage as much data as it can if you uploaded your DA player profiles to any of the Origin services earlier). Since everyone can use DAK, those who jump into the series at Inquisition and choose to customize their backstory won't be at a disadvantage compared to those who recreate their personal world state from the previous games (unlike in Mass Effect 3). However, it's not much of a bonus in gameplay terms, though some circumstances can lead to some additional war table missions. The rest is chiefly background fluff (for example, you can ask Varric about the fate of your other teammates from the second game, or ask Leliana about her relationship with the Warden from Origins).
  • Only Sane Man: One note found in the Exalted Plains consists of the journal of a mining foreman. At one point, a team of diggers breaks through into an elven tomb; the foreman immediately orders the tunnel to be closed off and for the teams to move to a different location to dig. The next entry is about him trying to convince the team that opened the tomb that 'vast elven riches' that probably don't exist aren't worth the danger. The last entry sees him trying to convince the rest of the miners to keep working (elsewhere) after the team of idiots has predictably died.
  • Opening the Sandbox: After the Inquisition is formed, you gain the freedom to explore three open world areas. The sandbox fully opens after you acquire Skyhold and obtain access to the rest of the open world areas. This leads to the "Leave the Hinterlands" meme.
  • Optional Party Member: Cassandra, Varric and Solas are the only party members that you are required to keep. All others can be turned away when they offer to join you. There are also other options to turn them away later (and Sera can be turned away at any time.)
  • The Order: The Inquisition, an organization formed to restore order and root out conspiracy.
  • Order Reborn: The original Inquisition was disbanded nearly a thousand years ago and became the Seekers of Truth when the Chantry was founded.
  • Orphaned Etymology:
    • Cassandra is occasionally described as "crusading" in the dialogue, even though the holy wars in the Andrastian religion are called Exalted Marches.
    • Varric, at one point, exclaims, "Jeez!" in party banter. "Jeez" is a shortened form of the "Jesus Christ!" blaspheme, even though in this world, Jesus has been replaced by Andraste.
  • Our Dragons Are Different:
    • Unlike the previous games, which each gave us a single high dragon to kill, Inquisition features a total of ten of them, introducing a bit of variety in their appearance, abilities, and tactics.
    • The Elder One has a pet dragon on his leash, which looks like an Archdemon but is eventually revealed to be just a regular high dragon corrupted by the Blight.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Inquisition introduces giants to Thedas, and they are bigger indeed. They're at least twenty-five feet tall (Iron Bull barely reaches their shins), have huge tusks, and only one eye. Likely the first time players will see one is on the Storm Coast, where they find it fighting a high dragon... and the dragon flying awaynote . Not surprisingly, they are yet another entry on the list of hostile creatures.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Every once in a while, they're a god in the guise of an elf.
  • Out of Focus:
    • Varric and his personal quest are the only time dwarves are involved in the game, other than a few war map missions and references to the lyrium trade.
    • Darkspawn also play a fairly minor role, even compared to Dragon Age II. You could finish the main storyline without killing a single one of them except Corypheus, of course. The low number of Darkspawn encounters is also a plot point since it's a hint that Corypheus' dragon isn't really an Archdemon.
    • The Desire and Hunger demons apparently decided to sit this invasion out. This one really jumps out since Desire was always the type willing to directly make deals in previous entries, and thus The Face for Demons as a faction.
  • Pair the Spares: If both are unromanced, the Iron Bull and Dorian will begin a relationship. There is also an indication that Josephine and Blackwall share a mutual attraction if neither is romanced, though this doesn't go much of anywhere after the truth about Blackwall becomes known.
  • Papa Wolf: A rare villainous example with Magister Alexius - everything he does in the game is intended to save his son's life.
  • Party in My Pocket: Party members disappear when the Inquisitor is mounted and re-appear when the Inquisitor dismounts.
  • Party of Representatives: Party members embody various viewpoints and have differing levels of investment in certain issues, as discussed here.
  • Percussive Therapy: Cassandra, Cullen, Blackwall and Sera work out their anger on various inanimate objects. The Inquisitor can invoke this by hitting anything in their line of sight, courtesy of the new click-and-hit function.
    • Inverted with Iron Bull, who at one point performs a Qunari practice of overcoming fear by having other people hit him with a stick.
  • Playable Epilogue: You can continue to explore the world after you complete the main questline.
  • Player Headquarters:
    • The Inquisition's headquarters, Skyhold, is a central area where the player can speak to their companions, similar to the party camp in Origins. The fortress is also customizable to some degree, similar to Admiral Anderson's apartment on the Citadel in ME3. The Inquisition gains other fortresses as the story progresses.
    • The Village of Haven serves as the Inquisition's temporary headquarters until the player gains control of Skyhold.
  • Player Party: As in the previous titles, you can switch control to any member of your current party at will.
  • Plot Coupon:
    • Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts is built on this trope. To unlock certain options for the plot, you need to both collect the many Halla Statuettes hidden around the palace and also open the correct doors for the outcome you want (as it's not possible to open them all in a single playthrough). You must also talk to specific people at specific times and make specific choices. Failing even one necessary step will lock the player out of that solution.
    • A few judgments rely upon the player having specific origins, perks, and other options in order to have as many choices as possible. In particular, Mistress Poulin and Knight-Captain Denam both have options which can only be opened if you've found evidence that they're lying.
  • Point-and-Click Map: Unlike in the previous games, you can travel quickly between known places (mostly villages and claimed camps) even on the local map of the area, simply by selecting your destination (unless you are in combat) — which is probably due to the sheer size of outdoor levels.
  • The Power of Friendship: Focus is a resource that is built up in combat through teamwork and allows the party to use powerful abilities such as the game's only true healing spell.
  • Power-Up Mount: You can now ride mounts to get around areas faster, and can amass an entire stable's worth of them. Many of these are different breeds of horses, but there are also other, more fantastical mounts, including dracolisks, nuggalopes, and the truly bizarre Bog Unicorn. note 
  • Pre-Order Bonus: The Flames of the Inquisition DLC, which includes weapons, gear, and an armoured horse.
  • Prestige Class: This time around, each character can only have one specialization, but it will have more effect on the story. Each companion has a set specialization that matches those available to the player (unlocked automatically after reaching Skyhold).
    • Templar is a Warrior specialization that focuses on damaging magical enemies and inspiring the party. Cassandra is a Templar.
    • Champion is a Warrior specialization that focuses on controlling the battlefield and protecting the party. Blackwall is a Champion.
    • Reaver is a Warrior specialization that focuses on causing more damage as they take more damage. Iron Bull is a Reaver.
    • Assassin is a Rogue specialization that focuses on spike damage and avoiding enemy attacks. Cole is an Assassin.
    • Tempest is a Rogue specialization that focuses on enhancing their abilities with unique potions and strengthening their ability to use items. Sera is a Tempest.
    • Artificer is a Rogue specialization that focuses on laying traps to damage the enemy and disrupt their movement. Varric is an Artificer.
    • Knight Enchanter is a Mage specialization that focuses on close-quarters combat and protecting the party. Vivienne is a Knight Enchanter.
    • Necromancer is a Mage specialization that focuses on terrorizing enemies and controlling the dead. Dorian is a Necromancer.
    • Rift Mage is a Mage specialization that focuses on damaging and weakening enemies while controlling the battlefield. Solas is a Rift Mage.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo:
    • Hawke is contacted by Varric and aids the Inquisition after the reveal of Corypheus. You can customize Hawke's appearance and personality.
    • The PC from the first game can get a minor cameo through a letter to you, if still alive. They are away on urgent business, and are unable to help against The Elder One. Depending on the details of the world state you import, the letter may include details related to their love interest from Origins; if said love interest is Leliana or Morrigan, both of whom are at Skyhold with you at the time, they will even send along a second letter for the beloved's eyes only.
    • Played with concerning the multiplayer characters available. In passing around Skyhold, you may see them congregating a few at a time. They're also mentioned in some of the War Room reports.
  • Progressively Prettier: Courtesy of the new Frostbite 3 engine and some subtle redisigning: the world of Thedas and the people inhabiting it look absolutely stunning - minus the occasional Gonk. Varric, Cassandra and Cullen manage to look better than DAII without sacrificing the effect the three year war had on them. Morrigan, Leliana, Alistair, Anora, and even Loghain (if he survived) look better than they did inOrigins, even though it's been ten years since the Fifth Blight ended.
  • Produce Pelting: Attempted defiance of the trope by officials in Val Royeaux. A sign in a forum area states that vendors that sell "loftable groceries" will be closed for a period before any scheduled public forum in the square.
  • Psycho Serum: If the Inquisitor becomes a Reaver, Cassandra will warn them that the path they have chosen is a dangerous one. Members of her family have also drunk dragon blood to become Reavers in the past, and they all eventually went mad because of it. They became addicted to the power and wanted more, which meant drinking more dragon blood. Eventually, they mutated physically as well (to the point of growing scales).
  • Psycho Strings: The Elder One's theme.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: You are tasked with reuniting the factions of the ancient order that helped end the previous magic wars.
  • A Quest Giver Is You: As the Inquisitor, you can send rank-and-file agents of your organization on missions (presumably, the same agents and similar missions as seen in the Coop Multiplayer). This is in addition to Player Party members who also work for the Inquisition but instead fight alongside the Inquisitor in normal gameplay. Additionally, by speaking with Krem inside the Herald's Rest tavern and selecting the "How can we use you?" dialogue option, you can open up new missions on the war council table which the Bull's Chargers will undertake on your behalf.
  • Quicksand Box: The game is more open than previous BioWare titles which plays on the expectations of players familiar with BioWare's standard game design. This results in players spending far too long in the first open area, the Hinterlands. It also doesn't help that one of the missions, which looks like it should be the final one based on the initially established conflict, actually kicks off the story proper. You can easily put 30 to 40 hours in before this point. Several game journalism outlets eventually ran articles urging players to leave the Hinterlands.
  • Rainbow Pimp Gear: For some party members, some pieces of their wardrobe always remain the same, like Cassandra's trenchcoat-like garments. However nothing stops you from putting a metal head on top of a robe-wearing mage if the helm doesn't forbid mages from using it. Crafting materials also add color to the equipment made with them, with potentially vivid results. As of patch 5 this aesthetic is optional, however, since it introduced the "tint armor" table which allows you to customize the look of your armor without affecting stats. Of course, this also allows you make ordinary looking armor clownish. Lampshaded by your craftswoman in Skyhold:
    Dagna: So, I'm thinking... Pinkquisition?
  • Rare Candy: Amulets of Power give one Talent Point on use. Each amulet has a restricted party member by whom it can be used.
  • Real Is Brown: Averted for the first time in the series. Every area is rendered in full, vibrant colors with plenty of light. A good comparison is Redcliffe, which is so completely unrecognizable as a quaint mountain hamlet surrounded by flowering gardens, fields, and the shimmering water of Lake Calenhad that the player may actually forget this is the very same "brown town" they saved way back in Origins.
  • Reality Ensues/Reforged Blade:
    • In the quest to restore the elven greatsword known as the Sulevin Blade, Dagna remarks that it's impossible to completely repair the sword using its pieces. In real life, it's usually more practical to make a new sword instead... which is exactly what she does, using the pieces of the old Sulevin Blade as an inspiration to make a new one. The result is an Infinity+1 Sword which is arguably the best weapon in the game for a warrior Inquisitor.
    • Played straight with Certainty the red lyrium sword wielded by Meredith in Dragon Age II. Corypheus used a combination of ancient Elven, Tevinter, and Blight magic to reforge and gave it to Samson.
    • Some of the liquors you find for the "Bottles of Thedas" collection take the idea of brewing ever-more-potent concoctions to its logical extreme—the Golden Scythe 4:90 Black, for example, is described more like a deadly poison than an alcoholic beverage, with recommendations that it be served only "by the drop" and that contact with "exposed flesh" be avoided. How you're supposed to safely put something that's harmful to just your bare skin into your digestive tract is anyone's guess.
  • Red Herring: The Crossroads inside the Eluvians. Morrigan suspects that Corypheus intends to find an Eluvian and enter the Fade through the Crossroads, but it turns out that Corypheus's plan is something else entirely.
  • Redshirt: If you forcibly stop Floriaane de Chalons, Inquisition solders get killed by her and the harlequin assassins simply to show how dangerously quick they all are with knives.
  • Relationship Values: The approval/disapproval system returns; however, the approval bar is now invisible to the player. The player is not told how many points are added or removed from a companion's approval bar, only that a companion approved or disapproved of the player's actions, with vague descriptors like "slightly" or "greatly" added for particularly small or large changes. Slightly Approves and Slightly Disapproves:+/- 1 point. Approves and Disapproves:+/- 5 points. Greatly Approves and Greatly Disapproves:+/- 20 points. Without an actual gauge, the only consistent way of knowing where your relationship lies with a character is paying attention to how they greet you. Most characters will also gain new cutscenes when their approval has risen or fallen to a certain threshold.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction:
    • The Templars and Mages fighting in the Hinterlands are the lunatic fringe of both groups that refused to withdraw with their respective factions and randomly attack almost everyone. The main groups are more than happy to leave you to deal with them.
    • The Inquisition is considered to be this by the Chantry, especially if the Inquisitor, a.k.a. the Herald of Andraste, is an Elf/Qunari/Dwarf, doubly so if they're also a mage. A male mage Vasoth is, more or less, the Chantry's bane.
  • Repeat After Me: If Alistair claims his royal birthright in the first game and you recruited the Mages in this one, King Alistair petitions the Inquisition to help with a Venatori infiltration problem in his court (after apologizing for his curtness when kicking the mages out of Redcliffe). The scribe apparently is pretty much writing what he says verbatim... including Al yelling at the scribe for doing it.
  • The Reveal: Two major ones occur near the end of the game and as The Stinger respectively. First, Flemeth is revealed to be carrying the soul of Mythal, an Elven god. This also gives her control over whoever drank from the Well of Sorrows earlier. The Stinger, as detailed under Sequel Hook, reveals that Solas is himself an Elven god: Fen'Harel, the Dread Wolf. Moreover, he was the one who gave Corypheus the orb in the first place.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The Freemen claim to be fighting for the common folk of Orlais, but are little more than a large bandit group in service to the Elder One.
  • Rocket Punch: For the first time in the series, the Stonefist spell is actually a fist-shaped stone projectile. It's not any character's hand, though, but a formation of fade stones (as it's part of the Rift Mage spec tree).
  • Romance Sidequest: Various romance options for your main character are available, as in the previous games. Indeed, developers have confirmed eight love interests, more romance options than any previous Dragon Age game. From the beginning, Cassandra and Blackwall are straight, Josephine is bisexual, Iron Bull is pansexual, Sera and Dorian are gay, and all six are available regardless of race. When the developers got extra time, Cullen was made a romance option for female humans and elves, and Solas was made available to female elves. Incidentally, actual sidequests are involved in some of the romances.
  • Running Gag:
    • Varric's chest hair.
    • Goats. No, seriously. In Orgins, there were goats caged and bleating in several places note . In DAII, there was Ser Conrad note , Aveline note  and Isabela note . The tradition continues with Chief Movran the Under, who attacks Skyhold with a goat....
    • As in previous games, the visual gag of cheese wheels in odd places... such as stuck on the fangs of a demonic statue, or made into a shield that the player can equip, or turned into a miniature cheese mine complete with little toiling figures, or being used as a table.

     S - Z 
  • Sadistic Choice:
    • Complete "In Hushed Whispers" to side with the Mages or "Champions of the Just" for the Templars? Whoever you don't choose goes to The Elder One!
    • During Iron Bull's personal mission on the Storm Coast, the Inquisitor has to decide between two options. On the one hand, you can save the Dreadnought carrying Qunari soldiers, solidifying an alliance with the Qunari and Iron Bull's place within it at the cost of his mercenary group's lives. Or they could sound the retreat for the mercenaries, scuttle the alliance, get Iron Bull branded as Tal-Vashoth, and allow the Dreadnought to be blown apart by Tevinter forces. And you cannot Take a Third Option.
    • During "Here Lies the Abyss", you have to give either a major Grey Warden character - Stroud/Alistair/Loghain - or Hawke a Last Stand. The Warden feels guilty on behalf of their Order's actions, Hawke for not finishing Corypheus.
    • There's another example that only applies if you imported a save from the Keep in which Sebastian was recruited but Anders was kept alive instead of executed. During a War Table mission, Sebastian gathers his forces in Starkhaven and launches an invasion of Kirkwall to annex it (off-screen, you learn this in the summary of the mission). You're given a choice between either sending Leliana's forces to help Sebastian's forces annex Kirkwall, or sending Cullen's forces to help Guard-Captain Aveline repel the invasion. The sadistic choice is between either supporting Aveline or supporting Sebastian, both of whom were companions in the previous game, though that depends on how one feels about Sebastian.
    • Being forced to decide who will be bound to Mythal forever by drinking from the Well of Sorrows is one, assuming you happen to be a fan of Morrigan. This one is borderline, since the full implications don't become clear until later and it actually feels like a power struggle at the time.
  • Samus is a Girl: Jaws of Hakkon reveals that the Old God Razikale is female.
  • Scenery Porn: BioWare heard fan complaints about the Dragon Age 2 maps being small, repetitive, and limited - and answered with giant maps full of lush scenery. This is one of the near universally praised features of the game, shown off in their What a Wonderful World trailer. A couple of vantage points include invisible walls to keep you from jumping and sliding down a hill before you've had a chance to drink in the view.
  • Schmuck Bait: In the Fade, you come across a journal entry from a rebel mage who hated and feared the Templars when he was back at the Circle, and how he wanted to make the Templars suffer. Naturally, you are going to read it because it might be a journal entry, and because one of your companions may call attention to it. Once you're done, a rage demon comes forth, a reflection of the rebel mage's last thoughts at the ill-fated Conclave.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: Schematics for elemental runes (Fire, Frost, etc.) are found as ancient glyphs on the walls in various locations, only readable using Veilfire. Each element has 3 levels of runes: normal (no prefix), Master and Superb, and therefore may be found in 3 different locations. However, you cannot find the higher-level runes before you have found the lower-level ones. In a normal playthrough you are supposed to find the Fire Rune in The Hinterlands (the lowest-level area), the Master Fire Rune in The Western Approach (a middle-level area) and the Superb Fire Rune in The Hissing Wastes (the highest-level area). Yet if you choose to ignore the glyphs in the lower-level areas you may change or even reverse the order (i.e. the content of the ancient glyphs in all locations is in fact decided by the order in which you choose to read them).
  • Screw You, Elves!: You get to give the Qun a big one. Though you sink an alliance with it, because they want you to sacrifice Bull's Chargers.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Solassan Temple is actually a prison for a powerful pride demon.
  • Secret Test of Character: Although the scene near the game's end sets itself up as a Sadistic Choice for the player to make (similar to Iron Bull's earlier), Morrigan answers in a heartbeat that she's willing to lay her life on the line in exchange for the safety of her son from Flemeth. It also gets lampshaded immediately after, with the character that was tested being unsure whether they'd passed or failed it.
  • Sequel Escalation: The Inquisition will be building up forces like in Origins, but with Orlais thrown into the mix. Some of the Skyhold mechanics also feel familiar to Awakening, such as passing Judgement on various people.
  • Sequel Hook: Bioware has made it abundantly clear that the Dragon Age story is far from over.
    • Corypheus and his pseudo-Archdemon both die in the final battle, but after the endgame and the credits, Solas is revealed to be Fen'Harel and working with Flemeth (or rather Mythal) for an unknown goal, with Flemeth possibly possessing his body at the end for her own purposes... or Solas/Fen'harel absorbing Flemeth's powers for his own purposes. It's left kinda vague.
    • Word of God datamined from the game and posted on Reddit, reveals that Fen'Harel did indeed kill Mythal and absorb her power. Mythal on the other hand, anticipated this and left some of her own power in the Eluvian for Morrigan to eventually find. So it seems she ultimately was Not Evil, Just Misunderstood. The infamous post can be seen here.
    • There's one locked, loaded and described in loving detail but not yet "fired". Solas and Dorian discuss the orb the Elder One has, an elven artifact from the time of Arlathan called "somnaborium"note . It was used by the ancient Dreamersnote , insanely powerful mages able to reshape the Fade at will (like Feynriel from DAII). Combine that with The Stinger that the orb belongs to Solas, the Dread Wolf and Abelas's claim that "the Dread Wolf had nothing to do with Mythal's murder" and you have one hell of a Sequel Hook.
    • The ending narration mentions the main Warden fortress suddenly becoming ominously silent and Hawke/Alistair/Loghain/Stroud, who took them a message about what happened to their people in the south, disappearing. There is also a suggestion that the Wardens who have disconnected themselves from Weisshaupt have a great deal of work to do to redeem themselves, which may factor into the next game.
    • The Hero of Ferelden, if still alive, is on a quest far in the uncharted West to cure all Wardens of the Calling. A romanced Morrigan or Leliana states her intention to rejoin them when the current crisis is done, opening up possibilities for their story to continue. If the Warden is Alistair's queen, Ferelden is facing a potential Succession Crisis as they have not yet had children, and one codex entry suggests that Alistair is feeling the strain of his beloved wife's absence, which may indicate future difficulties for the beleaguered nation.
    • The Elder One describes Qunari blood as "strange" and "engorged with decay". You could write this off as racism, except Old God Kieran likewise tells Adaar that their blood "doesn't belong to your people."
      • Half the stuff Old God Kieran says counts as this:
      regarding Morrigan: Mother is the inheritor, she who awaits the next age.
      To Lavellan: Your blood is very old, I saw it right away.
      To Adaar: I just feel bad about what happened to your people./I noticed your blood. It doesn't belong to your people.
      To Cadash: You can't be taller. Not without the titans.
    • There are hints that an uncorrupted Old God is buried under the Western Approach, and a statue depicting worshippers of Razikale is found in the area. Combined with the information given on Razikale in Jaws of Hakkon, it seems that focus is being shifted to her now that Urthemiel has been dealt with.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: In the same vein as the Cerberus Guardians in ME3. This emphasizes party teamwork - you can't punch through the shields even with magic (unless it knocks them down), so you need to flank or disarm them.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • If you romance Josephine and ask if the relationship has started any rumors, she'll reply that a number of people had already paired the Inquisitor off with several other characters, including but not limited to: Cassandra, Dorian, Chancellor Roderick (who's dead by this point) and some man (who may or may not even exist) named "Philip".
    • Dorian is clearly this for Cullen and a female Inquisitor.
  • Shoddy Knockoff Product: In-Universe; Word of God says that "Hard in Hightown 2", the book next to Cassandra's maps, is an unauthorized sequel to Varric's original. The book had previously appeared in Varric's companion specific sidequest in Mark of the Assassin, where he was furious to discover someone ripping off his work, leading him to collect all the copies he could find at Chateau Haine so he could burn them. There's now a third, which drives Varric to hunt down the plagiarist. Both rip-offs are by all reports crimes against literature and correct spelling.
  • Shoot the Medic First: A load screen tip details how enemy spellbinders may buff their nearby allies, and that they should be priority targets.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Maddox's tragic end. He commits suicide by poison to ensure his secrets about Samson's armor go with him to his grave... but Dagna reverse-engineers his tools anyway and makes a rune to unmake Samson's armor.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: As Erimond does his villainous monologue about how he exploited the Warden's fear of Corephyus's false Calling and gloats how he has countermeasures against the Inquisitor's Anchor, the Inquisitor causes the fade rift in between them to discharge, knocking Erimond flat on his butt.
  • Side Bet: Varric and Dorian have several side bets going, mostly about exactly how much trouble they're in and the Inquisitor's odds of success against the Elder One, which Dorian estimates at about three to one... in favor of the Elder One, though he notes that it would be five to one if he weren't around. The Inquisitor has the option of joining in on the bet.
  • Sigil Spam: When they're not wearing Bling of War, every Orlesian soldier wears a cuirass with the golden lion on purple of House Valmont on it. Including soldiers, like Corporal Rosselin, who serve Gaspard.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: You're the boss of the Inquisition, and all possible Romance Sidequests are with your underlings.
  • So Bad, It's Good: In-universe. Varric takes this mentality when agreeing to finish a rather bad romance serial that Cassandra secretly reads.
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: At the end of the game Solas will permanently leave the party with all the gear you had equipped on him. Ditto Cassandra and Vivienne if one of them gets elected the Divine, but at least you can unequip their gear during the post-Final Battle celebration. Blackwall temporarily leaves the party after the Winter Palace, taking all of his equipped gear with him, too; however, if you bring him back he brings it all back with him.
  • So What Do We Do Now?: The ending leaves the Inquisitor (and whichever companions don't have anywhere else to be) left in charge of one of the most powerful military and political organizations in southern Thedas, allied with both the major kingdoms and the Chantry, and absolutely no clear objectives remaining. The characters discuss it during the finale, but don't come to any conclusions.
  • Sore Loser: The Elder One gets described as this by Solas near the end of the game, after the Inquisitor has thwarted their plans time and again. Of course, the temper tantrum this upset child will throw could be world-breaking.
  • Spam Attack: Rampage for the Reaver, Thousand Cuts for the Tempest, Hail of Arrows for the Artificer and Firestorm for the Rift Mage. Because one hit is never enough. On a lesser level, the more generally available "Energy Barrage" spell for mages shoots out a larger number of standard mage staff projectiles than standard staff attacks (even a sustained combo) can normally do.
  • Spy Fiction: Almost always averted, contrary to the Inquisition being an intelligence agency. Presumably Leliana and her people are off having cloak and dagger adventures of their own. (This presumption is somewhat supported by ambient dialogue from the various spies.)
  • Static Role, Exchangeable Character:
    • "Grey Warden Ally": Depending on the world state, can be either Alistair, Loghain, or Stroud from DA2 plays a major static role in the "Here Lies The Abyss" plotline. At the end of said mission, one of them or Hawke becomes "the Fade Survivor", whose role is to play out in the future games.
    • "Mythal's Thrall": Towards the endgame, either the Inquisitor, or Morrigan drinks from the Well of Sorrows, allowing them to neutralize the Elder One's dragon in the Final Battle, but also making them a thrall to Mythal.
  • Stock Scream: Good ole' Wilhelm shows up during the siege on Adamant Fortress.
  • Stock Video Game Puzzle: Eulerian paths for Astrariums (tracing constellations with each line drawn only once) and Hamiltonian paths for Temple of Mythal rituals (stepping on each floor tile only once).
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: Just about every single party member falls into this, whether it be about their race, subgroup, or country.
    • When fighting demons, Cole will often try to get them to wake up and stop hurting people, because he's learned better.
    • Part of Dorian's motivation is to show an alternative side to Tevinter mages to southerners, who only ever meet slavers and blood mages.
    • Cassandra hates what the Seekers and Templars have become and wants to get them to see that justice and doing what's right supercedes customs or tradition.
    • Iron Bull questions a lot about the Qun and sometimes can't find a reason to go on. Possibly subverted based on your actions.
    • Sera can't stand elves who are caught up in past glory or whine about oppression. She's just fine, so leave her out of it.
    • Solas likewise has issue with both Dalish elves and City elves, as well as their customs, beliefs and traditions. He feels at home with neither. Justified because he's an Elven god, and remembers the way things were.
    • Varric isn't overly fond of Dwarven things or culture. In particular, he's happy to hear that there was once a Dwarven surface colony.
    • Vivienne is not happy that the Mages rebelled against the Chantry and dissolved the circles, starting a war in which they are outnumbered "a hundred to one."
    • Blackwall is the only party character that completely averts this, completely believing in the Grey Warden Order no matter what. Except he's not a Warden, and so has no idea what the Order is about or what its purpose is. He believes, for example, that Wardens swear to protect others; in reality, Wardens do whatever they want as long as they can justify it as a means to fight present or future Blights.
  • Stopped Numbering Sequels: Originally announced as Dragon Age III: Inquisition, the III was eventually dropped from the title, due to the transition to next generation consoles. Plus, DAIIII as the abbreviation probably would have been awkward.
  • Story Branch Favoritism: How many Inquisition Perks you invest into Forces, Secrets, and Connections determines the modus operandi of the Inquisition, including in the ending. Since there are about as many perks available in Forces as in the other two categories combined, and since a lot of them improve your combat performance, you are much more likely to end up with a military powerhouse in your hands than with an organization of spies or diplomats. (However, the game takes into account other factors, such as which advisors you usually pick for war table missions.)
  • Strip Poker: A famous cutscene (triggered by talking to Varric with high enough approval) features the Inquisitor, companions and advisors playing a game of Wicked Grace. While they are not actually playing a "strip" version of the game, the scene ends with Cullen losing his clothes in the bet, which initiates remarks from some of the other characters.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: According to party banter with Varric and Solas, humans like to blow stuff up and generally make a mess of things. The remnants of the Conclave where the Breach opened also resembles a nuclear strike, complete with the carbonised remains of people trying to shield themselves from the blast dotting the area.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: A lot of returning characters can bite it in this game.
    • Returning characters who can potentially die: Fiona, Rhys and Evangeline, Empress Celene, Briala, Grand Duke Gaspard, Grand Duchess Florianne, Carroll, Imshael, Michel de Chevin, Stroud, Alistair, Loghain, and Hawke.
    • Returning characters who will die no matter what: Galyan, Justinia V, and Flemeth (a Flemeth, at least (possibly)).
  • Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: This outlook is starting to rise within Thedas, but the trope is still Zig-Zagging. Similar to Real Life, most "accredited" academia and research in this era of Thedas are beginning with "Deist" intent. To most, academics exist solely to explain, prove, and better define religious "truth" (for example, studying Elven magic to prove they are inferior to The Maker). Morrigan, most of all, does not seem to believe in any gods and feels they were likely little more than extraordinarily powerful rulers or mages. Later revelations, however, leave her in doubt.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Any standing water that goes above the chest forces the Inquisitor and the party to a safer area a few steps back.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The canine/lupine enemies in an area, when you're on horseback. You could be at a full tilt gallop across half the map, and they just keep relentlessly pursuing you.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The Knight Enchanter Prestige Class drew many comparisons from fans as being the substitute for the Arcane Warriors from Origins. Solas actually confirms in game that the Circle based the Knight Enchanter magic on the Arcane Warrior.
  • Swamps Are Evil: Ferelden gets a third evil swamp: the Fallow Mire was ravaged by a plague and the plague's victims have risen as undead.
  • Taking You with Me: Cullen's proposal once the battle at Haven turns against the Inquisition: turn the trebuchets on the mountain above the village and bury Corypheus and his army along with everyone there. Fortunately, Roderick has a way to get everyone out while the Inquisitor holds the enemy's attention.
  • Tarot Motifs: The party member selection screen consists of a deck of tarot cards modeled on the party members. Each party member's card is based off of one of the major arcana. The Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition includes an actual tarot deck as one of its contents, which will presumably use the same imagery and expand on it for the cards not already represented by the party members.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Some members of the party do not get along, no matter what:
    • Dorian and Blackwall dislike each other since Dorian believes mostly correctly that Blackwall's a criminal who escaped justice by becoming a Grey Warden, while Blackwall dislikes Dorian because he's a Tevinter noble.
    • Solas really doesn't like Vivienne because she's a prideful pro-Circle mage, and she in turn looks down on him for being a raggedy apostate.
    • If Solas is in the party during "What Pride Had Wrought", he really tears into Morrigan for trying to act like an authority on Elven history when all she really knows are legends. He's also possibly using reverse psychology to trick her into drinking from the Well of Sorrows, thus enslaving her to Mythal aka Flemeth.
  • Telefrag: The Knight Enchanter specialisation gets this ability. The Fade Step spell can also be upgraded to inflict cold damage and chill effects to any foes you pass through on the dash.
  • Teleport Spam: The default response of enemy mages when they're engaged in melee. Your own mages can get in on the action with the Fade Step ability, and the assassin ability Hidden Blades utilizes Super Speed to such an extreme extent that it gives off this impression (your rogue can be literally cutting up two enemies at once, one with his normal attacks while after-images of him are seen striking another enemy from all sides up to 6 times).
  • Theme Naming: Many of Leliana's personnel have codenames of various occupations and trades, like "Saddler" or "Cooper" or "Weaver". Varric lampshades it in one of the two branched final war table missions concerning the Hard In Hightown knockoffs.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: The theme tune from the first Dragon Age game comes back as a tune that the minstrel in the Herald's Rest might play on the lute. The title music also is in-universe as the melody for the Chantry hymn "The Dawn Will Come".
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The Inquisitor can really lay it into Grand Duchess Florianne de Chalons if you opt for a bloodless end in the plot against Empress Celene's life.
    • In a strange twist, a short and sweet one decrying that the Chantry preached hatred of mages towards Leliana actually boosts her chances of becoming the next Divine.
  • They Fight Crime:
    Iron Bull: Blackwall. Iron Bull. We could fight crime!
    Blackwall: ...isn't that exactly what we're doing, right this minute, more or less?
    Iron Bull: ...oh, yeah.
  • Time Stands Still: In the Western Approach there is a temple that the Venatori are very interested in. Inside, everything is frozen; the Venatori, the demons killing them, and the parts of the building that are collapsing (though anyone entering from the outside can move around just fine). It turns out they were experimenting with time magic which predictably went horribly wrong; fortunately, one Venatori who had doubts about the safety of the ritual sacrificed his life to keep the effects restricted to just the temple and not the entirety of Southern Thedas. You can remove the staff keeping the spell going, at which point large parts of the temple collapse, the demons kill the Venatori, and you have to fight your way back out.
  • To Absent Friends: Varric and the Inquisitor will take time to mourn whoever was left in the Fade. The tone is quite different depending on who it was. If it was a Warden, Varric will be saddened by their death, even though he didn't know them very well. However, if it was Hawke, Varric is on the verge of tears for pretty much the entire conversation, telling an amusing story about him/her to the Inquisitor as a way of essentially saying goodbye to his best friend.
  • Toxic Phlebotinum: Red lyrium returns, only this time the entire order of Templars has dug it up to use. True to form, it grants them immense power, at the cost of horrifying mutations and mass deportation from the lands of rationality. And turning them to stone eventually.
  • Tragic Monster:
    • According to a banter between Solas and Cole, most of the demons in the game were benevolent spirits who were transformed into demons from the trauma of being forced into the physical world by the rifts. One of Solas' companion quests deals with this happening to a spirit who was friends with him.
    • The Red Templars. Judging by some diaries in their Storm Coast base and those in Therinfal Redoubt, more than a few - especially the lower-level members - were decent people, completely unaware that their new lyrium supplies would warp them so horrifically and make them lose their minds.
  • Trap Master: The Artificer specialization for Rogues. The Sabotage skill tree also deals with traps to some degree.
    Description: Intricate mechanisms are the core of the artificer's craft: deadly traps; distracting contraptions; marvels of engineering turned to deadly purpose. If an artificer is standing at the far end of a seemingly innocuous stretch of the battlefield, you should find another path.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot:
    • More noticeable in this game, as it takes place over the southern half of an entire continent. Despite having a technology level no greater than late-Medieval Earth, characters are capable of traveling as if they lived in the modern day. For example, pre-industrial travel was extremely imprecise to schedule, but characters that travel separately always seem to arrive right on time. In addition, characters are always offering to "meet" each other in a completely different region, city, or even country as if it was taking a trip across town, and there's rarely any indication of waiting long.
    • You're first invited to watch the Bull Charger's "in action" by traveling from Haven to the Storm Coast, and you arrive just as they're finishing up the job in question.
    • Twice during "Here Lies the Abyss", Hawke and the Warden Ally agree to "meet you" at different key locations. Both times, Hawke acts as if s/he just got there right before you did.
    • Twice, Josephine meets you in Val Royeaux. Her romance arc plays this Up to Eleven, as she interrupts your duel with her fiance right at the last minute.
    • Subverted when Solas says he'll meet you back at Skyhold after his personal quest. The dialogue implies that he was gone for some time, with no indication of where he was or when he'd be back.
    • Ambiguously played during Varric's personal quest, where you meet his contact in Valammar in the Hinterlands. She complains that you kept her waiting, but there's no real indication that it's been days or weeks. Possibly, but not likely.
    • Scout Harding hangs around Skyhold all the time. However whenever you reach a new area, she's been there so long she's had time to scout out enemy movements.
  • True Love Is Boring: Several romances (especially carried over from previous stories) succumb to this.
    • Played with between the Warden and Hawke, and all possible love interests for either. Zevran aside, the best possible outcome is that they're still very much in love, but can't physically be together at the moment. (If Zevran was romanced, it's implied that they're still an active Battle Couple.)
    • Cassandra, depending on your actions, may be forced to leave a Male Inquisitor after becoming Divine Victoria.
    • Depending on your choices, Hawke or Alistair can die, leaving their love interest to grieve.
    • Galyan dies at the Conclave in the beginning of the game.
    • Averted with Rhys and Evangeline, who are still together but both can die if you don't search for them.
    • Solas breaks up with the Inquisitor at the end of their romance.
    • Whether the Iron Bull plays this straight or subverts it depends on whether or not he was encouraged to stay with the Qun. If he stayed, he admits that he does have feelings for the Inquisitor, but both are aware that he will eventually be called back to Seheron and, whether through reeducation or gamek, he will be made to forget his feelings. If he was encouraged to defect, Bull and the Inquisitor settle into a happy and kinky relationship.
  • Twenty Bear Asses: One of the early quests involves hunting rams for their meat to cook to feed hungry refugees. You need at least ten whole carcasses. Thankfully, unlike many MMO examples of this trope, every ram drops a quest item.
  • 24-Hour Armor: Josephine takes issue with Cullen wearing armor all the time, and considers aloud to a nameless Inquisition scout of calling in a tailor to have something made for him.
  • Unicorn: The Deluxe Edition includes a "Bog Unicorn" mount, which is just an undead horse with a sword through its head.
  • Unknown Rival: Sera's recruitment mission involves a confrontation with an Orlesian noble mage who is convinced that he is your arch-nemesis and you must have paid a terrible price to track him down. You never even learn the idiot's name before Sera kills him, and he never comes up again.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: A common complaint regarding the various requisition sidequests, many of which demand you collect an amount of resources that can only ever be (rarely, in some times) dropped by enemies who do not respawn (making it possible to kill all of them there are, and upon not finding enough drops, not have any more chances).
  • Upper-Class Twit:
    • This is par for the course for much of Orlesian nobility. Vivienne's Establishing Character Moment involves her brutally putting in his place one who insults the Inquisitor at one of her parties.
    • Lord Abernache, the most prominent noble to accompany the Inquisition to Therinfal Redoubt is impatient and gets upset unless the Inquisitor caters to his every whim. If Abernache survives Therinfal, the Inquisitor can get revenge by forcing him to participate in a "cultural exchange" with barbarian chieftain Movran the Under, who proceeds to annoy Abernache to no end.
    • Josephine's younger sister causes her no end of exasperation, though Lady Yvette is a more benign example of this trope.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: After a certain point, the codex entry for the Rite of Tranquility reveals that an unnamed mage once attempted to join the Seekers of Truth. It is because of him that the Seekers discovered that Tranquility strips mages of their magic. Thus began their policy of using the Rite of Tranquility as a last resort on uncontrollable mages. That gradually grew into the Rite being used on mages who don't tow the party line, which further led to a small but growing number of mages being made tranquil to be used as sex slaves for the Templars. These things combined are among the biggest complaints that led to the Mage Rebellion. All because of one well-meaning mage that thought he found a way to avoid possession.
  • Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Strangely inverted. There's no real gameplay buildup to the final battle against Corypheus. A short cutscene plays, and you're thrust into the fight. If anything, the Elven Temple in the Arbor Wilds is set up to be this, complete with a beautifully rendered montage of your allies gathering (reminiscent of the one for the endgame of Origins). But then there is a break between that and the actual final battle.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Of special note is the option to hug Varric if he begins to cry during one specifically dark moment. If you find food and blankets for the refugees, you may later discover small groups camping out in various places around the world, commenting to each other that at least they won't be cold and hungry because the Herald cared enough to help them.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • The Inquisitor's judgements can display shades of this, particularly in the case of players with the human noble background who can confiscate all of Mistress Poulin's earnings to enrich their own family's wealth.
    • Also of note, Sera can be abruptly dumped and fired from the Inquisition with a single dialogue choice long after the Inquisitor has started pursuing a romance with her.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: A quest avaliable at the beginning of the game has you work with Mihris from The Masked Empire. At the end of the quest, you have the choice to kill Mihris over an Amulet of Power. Fighting her is pointless, as Solas (whose presence is required for the quest) can convince her to turn it over without a fight. If you choose to fight her anyway, you learn that she's an endgame level opponent who will wipe the floor with you unless you save the quest for late in the game.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • This is what Varric and Cassandra's relationship seems to be evolving into. Of special note, is Cassandra's comment about the Divine "needing to see the chest hair for herself." Gets pretty funny when Varric wants to play "I Spy".
    • Iron Bull and Krem are quickly established as this as well.
    • Vivienne and Dorian, at first, seem to absolutely despise each other, judging from how much venom their comments towards each other contain, however, once the Inquisitor comments upon this (or tries to intervene), the turn out to be closer to the trope, especially after you consider that, if the Inquisitor is in a relationship with Dorian, that Vivienne actually stands up for him when his countrymen accuse him of having said relationship.
  • War for Fun and Profit: The Hidden Villain is deliberately prolonging the various wars for their own benefit. Case in point, the Breach opens right on top of a peace summit for the Mage-Templar War and kills every single person there (except the player character).
  • War Is Hell:
    • Many characters are scarred by the events of the civil war. The first trailer shows the world on the verge of collapse, with a shell-shocked Varric standing amidst a field of dead in Crestwood.
    • The fighting on the Exalted Plains during the Orlesian Civil War was so terrible that demons and undead have run rampant in the region. The region being home to the site of the final battle of the Exalted March against the Dales doesn't help with the stability of the Veil in the region either. Nor does the Freemen Venatori mage who has commanded the undead to attack the Orlesian armies.
    • The fighting in the Hinterlands is between the fringe elements of both sides of the Mage/Templar War who have long since gone off the deep end and disobeyed the withdrawal orders from both sides, with the hapless civilians caught in the middle. It's telling that the only way to ensure the refugees' safety is to wipe out both groups.
  • The War Room: Haven and Skyhold each have one, complete with war table. The war table allows you to manage the Inquisition's operations: side quests that you send your agents to handle while you're pursuing the plot.
  • The War Sequence:
    • "In Your Heart Shall Burn" has the Inquisition's army defending Haven from either the Venatori or the Red Templars. Since the Inquisition doesn't have much of an army at this point, it quickly turns into the Inquisitor's party of four against the entire enemy army.
    • "Here Lies the Abyss" has the Inquisition's (now much more powerful) army facing off against the mind-controlled Grey Wardens and Corypheus's army of demons while assailing an infamously unconquerable fortress.
    • "What Pride Had Wrought" has the Inquistion's army and the Orlesian army fighting the last of Corypheus's forces while the party tries to stop Corypheus from acquiring the secrets of the Temple of Mythal.
  • Was Once a Man: The Red Templars, especially the more hideous transformations, and especially the Behemoths.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The people of Thedas are having serious cooperation problems, moreso than in previous Dragon Age games. Templars and mages are going at it, as usual, but there's more. The Chantry's various different organizations break from each other following the Breach opening on top of the Conclave and killing everyone there; the Templars, the sword arm of the Chantry, break off to do their own thing, and the Seekers have left as well. Grey Wardens have disappeared almost completely for mysterious Grey Warden reasons, Orlais has been plunged into civil war, and so on. The Inquisition, therefore, are the only people who've got their act together enough to take on the real problems like the gigantic hole in the sky. A lot of the conflict is being stirred up by the bad guys deliberately, but the foundations already existed.
  • We Have Become Complacent: A common thread in the story. Most of the more influential organizations of Thedas have become so self-assured and stagnant that the Elder One and his followers are able to destabilize the status quo completely in a short time. Only the new Inquisition is willing to break through tradition enough to combat this threat effectively while the other major groups are either consumed by internal squabbles or being corrupted by the Elder One's followers.
  • Webcomic Time: The timescale for the game is incredibly uncertain. We don't get much indication of how much time passes in-game, especially since Traveling at the Speed of Plot is involved (for reference, characters refer to crossing the Waking Sea as being one heck of a journey (two weeks' journey according to Varric's story in the second game), but you travel further than that between the Hinterlands and Haven—on land). It's implied that capturing a Keep takes about a week, but no time passes in the rest of the region. At one point, Cullen mentions that it's been "months" since he joined the Inquisition, but that's the closest we get to knowing how much time has passed.
  • Welcome to Corneria:
    • Oddly averted sometimes in this game. Unlike previous games in the series, most dialogue options already chosen disappear completely. That means, if you aren't paying attention, dialogue can be Lost Forever once picked. And an option that doesn't disappear will often lead to a hostile reaction if picked again. For example, if you ask Harritt to tell his life story a second time, he curtly refuses. Even more harshly, if you try to talk to Sera a second time about her differences with other elves, she lays into you, and her approval drops.
    • The Multiplayer characters all have a small selection of lines and reactions to others' lines. A very small selection.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "In Your Heart Shall Burn" drastically changes the scope of the story. You finally manage to close the Breach for good, only for the Elder One's forces to attack Haven. The Mages or Templars (whichever faction you didn't side with) have joined the Elder One. The Elder One is revealed to be Corypheus from Dragon Age II's "Legacy" DLC. Corypheus reveals that he created the Mark and therefore it is not divine. Corypheus destroys Haven, but Solas brings the Inquisition to the fortress of Skyhold. Lastly, the Herald is made the Inquisitor.
    • As Gabe of Penny Arcade put it, that mission seems like the last one based on how the initial conflict is set up (and how much time you can put in prior to it if you're a completionist) but it should be called "Start playing Dragon Age Inquisition."
    • The Siege of Adamant in the Warden plot line, and the subsequent trip to the Fade are a massive one. Considering it reveals that Divine Justina saved you, and in the end, either Hawke or Stroud/Alistair/Loghain will Hold the Line in a Heroic Sacrifice to let you escape, it's not surprising.
  • Wham Line:
    • You have the option of parodying this through use of your knowledge of the future.
      Erimond: Soon, I will raise a demon army for my master!
      Inquisitor: Oh, that demon army. I was wondering when that would show up.
      Erimond: Oh, you... know about that, then?
    • From Varric's personal quest.
      Bianca: Red lyrium... it has the Blight. Do you know what that means?
      Varric: What, that two dangerous things combine to make something super-awful?
      Bianca: Lyrium is alive... or something like it. The Blight can't infect minerals. Only animals.
    • From Blackwall's personal quest:
      Blackwall: No. I am not Blackwall. I never was Blackwall. Warden Blackwall is dead, and has been for years. I assumed his name to hide, like a coward, from who I really am.
    • Two during the "What Pride Has Wrought" main quest:
      Abelas: Tevinter never conquered Arlathan. We elvhen warred upon ourselves.
      Abelas: The Dread Wolf had nothing to do with Mythal's murder.
    • After the events of the Arbor Wilds, you run into Flemeth.
      Morrigan: ...You are Mythal.
    • From The Stinger:
      Flemeth: You should not have given your orb to Corypheus, Dread Wolf.
      [camera cuts to Solas walking up behind Flemeth ]
  • What Is One Man's Life in Comparison?: Invoked by Mistress Poulin, the leader of the village of Sahrnia. Once she realized that she'd been tricked by the Red Templars into giving them slaves for their Red Lyrium mine, she kept the information secret to avoid the townsfolk from fighting back or doing something rash. She sold them ill and infirm slaves and put all of the money she received to work feeding and sheltering the ones she protected. She was going to keep up this pretense and never tell any of the victims the truth for as long as possible until rescue arrived. If the Inquisitor looks at this with pragmatic eyes and asks her what would have happened if no rescue came, she'll state that everyone was screwed no matter what she did—she simply did what she could to protect as many as she could for as long as she could.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Subverted with your early Inquisition staff. Even if you save them in Haven, they still have replacements in Skyhold. This trope would be played straight, but they are still hanging around Skyhold and have some explanation why they're doing something else or at least no longer in charge of things.
    • Played straight with the Mage/Templar War, which has at best an interlude. While the Inquisition can involve itself with either side, and the other has no clear leadership in the aftermath, the underlying troubles remain.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Various party members all have a moment where they confront the Inquisitor about their actions.
    • At the end of the Under Her Skin storyline, the Inquisitor finds a Tevinter magister held by a containment spell that causes him pain. The spell was cast by Corypheus as practice for the spell he will cast on Calpernia after she drinks from the Well of Sorrows. The magister, Erasthenes, asks the Inquisitor to perform a Mercy Kill; if the Inquisitor refuses on the basis that his information is too valuable, Erasthenes calls out the Inquisitor for using him the same way that Corypheus did.
  • What the Hell, Player?: When in one of the dungeons, if the player chooses to kill a small group of nugs that are not a threat and not a potential accidental kill - being in a room with zero combat enemies or other potential for "friendly fire" - Cassandra, if in the group, will comment "Was that REALLY necessary?!" netting you a minor companion reputation drop to boot.
  • Where Is Your X Now?:
    The Elder One: Tell me: Where is your Maker now? Call him. Call down his wrath upon me. You cannot, for he does not exist!
  • Where It All Began: The final battle with Corypheus takes place at the ruins of the Temple of Sacred Ashes, where the game began. Moreover, Corypheus makes the ruins float in the air - remarkably similar to how The Black City, where it ALL arguably began, is made of ruins that are floating in The Fade.
  • Wind from Beneath My Wings: High dragons are able to generate strong winds by flapping their wings while on the ground, pushing away melee characters and deflecting projectiles and spells.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: The launch trailer shows vistas of Thedas to a wispy, ethereal cover of Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World."
  • Worth It: Varric considers finishing the next book in his Old Shame "Swords and Shields" romance serial to be worth it to see Cassandra's reaction when presenting a sneak peek pre-editing copy.
  • Wrong Context Magic: The Breach altered the Veil around Thedas, completely altering the established laws of magic. This allowed for previously impossible magical feats such as the Rift Mage school and Time Travel to any point after the Breach event. Mages such as the Inquisitor are often surprised by just how much the rules have changed overnight.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One:
    • Averted. Most of the Elder One's plans throughout the game are only necessary because Stage One (acquire the Anchor, use it to enter the Black City and become a God) was thwarted more or less by accident before the game even begins. If it wasn't, the Elder One would have taken the world before anyone knew he existed.
    • Magister Alexius tried, but his time magic could not send him back before the Breach.
  • X Meets Y: With its open world concept and ability to continue playing after the conclusion of the main quest, many players have described Inquisition as "Dragon Age meets Skyrim."
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: The Nightmare demon is too huge for you to possibly fight (to you it looks like a massive spider the size of a mountain) and you only survive by someone else driving it off. The boss fight with it is just you fighting one humanoid aspect of it, like a mini-avatar. It's also probably not actually a spider, that's just what the Inquisitor sees it as.
  • Zero-Approval Gambit: A few easily-missed codex pages reveal that Maferath, the ultimate betrayer of the entire series' backstory, actually pulled one of these to enable his descendants to eventually found Orlais, a nation finally capable of threatening The Empire. However, the codex likely stems from propaganda; Maferath was Ferelden's first proto-king, and his death doomed the nation to five hundred years of chaos because none of his successors among the Alamarri could unite the shattered tribes. It would be just like Orlesians to attribute the founding of their nation to providence.

Alternative Title(s):

Dragon Age III Inquisition