YMMV / Dragon Age: Origins

    open/close all folders 

    General Tropes 

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Arl Eamon Guerrin. Although he is identified as a Big Good of Ferelden, some of his actions not seen directly in the game can make the player question just what kind of person he really is. Yes, he took in Alistair as a baby and saw that he was healthy and educated; but packed him off to the Chantry when he was ten to placate the jealous Isolde. Additionally, once Cailan's secret correspondence is reclaimed in the Return to Ostagar DLC, it can be read in the codexes - where it is revealed that Eamon was the one who convinced Cailan that he should divorce Anora.
      • Loghain himself puts forth this interpretation of Eamon.
    Loghain: Because Eamon, for all his merits, is a conservative man. He believes in tradition and inheritance, and would never see the daughter of a freeholder, however gifted, in power.
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • Loghain. When you finally face him, he's actually not even a Boss, just an Elite. The Doylist explanation for this is that a Boss-ranked Loghain would be way overpowered to fight in a one-on-one duel, but it's still kind of jarring to discover that the most feared general in Ferelden is actually less powerful than Howe, a Rogue.
      • Another explanation is that the ease of the fight is also a sign of how far the great hero has fallen in his intentions.
    • The Blood Mage Leader in "The Last Request." The quest itself is one of the hardest in the game, with room after room full of nothing but multiple mages partnered with multiple archers (the two toughest varieties of enemy in the game). Then you get to the end and it's just one mage and a couple of melee mooks (and the mage is easy enough to beat, since he won't stop casting from hit points after you kill the guys he's using as HP batteries).
      • This varies depending on how you are loaded out, level scaling, game difficulty, and outright luck. Some find him an easy fight, others are going to wonder what they are doing wrong that this "supposed to be easy" boss and his cronies have managed to tear your group apart four times in a row.
  • Arc Fatigue:
    • The "Paragon of her Kind" questline in Orzammar gets a lot of flack for this. With the escapades around the dwarven city, followed by the eventual gauntlet through the Deep Roads to reach Caridin's Forge, the journey ends up rivaling perhaps the entirety of the mage and elf questlines combined. It could almost be an entire game in its own right. The player has to traverse at least five fairly lengthy dungeons to complete it, seven if you're also trying to get the side quests done as well. Not to mention the minimum of five bossfights (assuming you go out of your way to avoid them, even in the main questline, and skip most the sidequests and exploring), two of which are That One Boss
      • This is made even worse by the fact that the final task ends up being a Kingmaker Scenario, making the first two tasks a completely pointless waste of time.
    • "Broken Circle" suffers similarly, with a very common complaint of the game being the Fade portion, which requires a lot of backtracking. To get an impression of how disliked it is, a mod that lets you teleport to your trapped party members and skip the rest of the Fade is #8 on the DA Nexus most endorsed files of all time.
  • Awesome Music: Pretty much the entire soundtrack, and aside from "In Uthenera (Leliana's Song)," Denerim #1 can be a Tear Jerker when it plays as you say farewell to your companions either at the Coronation or before the The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
  • Broken Base: The Witch Hunt DLC. Either it was a great ending to the Origins storyline, or it was a pointless DLC that raised more questions than it answered.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: The Essences and Fonts in the "Lost in Dreams" sequence will give your Warden 21 free attribute points. Entire builds are made out of the assumption that you're waiting until you get those points before your build comes into its own.
  • Complete Monster:
    • The greedy Arl Rendon Howe kills the family and servants of the Human Noble Player Character to take control of their lands, all out of jealousy over the public love the family received. Joining Teyrn Loghain Mac Tir, Howe manipulates and carries out Loghain's most atrocious plans. Conducting a purge of Denerim's elven alienage, Howe has countless elves—including an orphanage full of children—-put to death. Responsible for torturing enemies of Loghain, Howe loves this task so much he has his quarters moved next to his Torture Cellar. Fearing the influences Loghain's daughter may have over him, the power-hungry Howe tries to persuade Loghain to kill her and tries murdering her himself when this fails.
    • Bann Vaughan Urien is a Serial Rapist and murderer of elven women who justifies his crimes by saying that elves aren’t real people. When he appears in the City Elf origin story, Vaughan abducts the entire female half of a wedding party, including the protagonist if female, to be raped by him and his men. By the time the protagonist fights back, one woman has already been killed, and by the time the protagonist reaches Vaughan, their cousin, Shianni, has been raped by Vaughan and his friends. Unwilling to release his hostages, Vaughan instead tries to bribe the protagonist into letting him keep the women for the night and threaten to have his father burn the Denerim alienage to the ground. Such cruelty from Vaughan isn't an isolated incident, either; the DLC prequel Leliana’s Song features an overheard conversation where Vaughan is preparing to rape/torture one of his maids over a floor stain.
  • Critical Research Failure: Characters use health poultices by drinking them. (A poultice is supposed to be applied directly to an injury, not entirely unlike a heating pad.)
    • This is turned into a Mythology Gag in Dragon Age: Inquisition, where Iron Bull complains about the taste of his subordinate's healing potions only for said subordinate to respond that "it's a poultice, you're not supposed to drink it."
  • Demonic Spiders: Ironically, spiders. Just start up a mage story and do the clear the basement quest: you have a lone underpowered character facing off against a Spider Swarm, and these can be on the roof, or on the walls, or right behind you, no you won't see them until the Jump Scare scripts in. Aggressive, violent, dangerous, can poison, pin down, and scary as all get out.
  • Disappointing Last Level:
    • After the Landsmeet, the number of bugs - some of them game breaking - seems to skyrocket. The worst of these is probably the one that has Alistair acting like he's the king, and everyone else thinking he's the king, when you have made Anora queen. One can fix this through mods on the PC, but confusion will quickly give way to annoyance, and on the consoles you have no choice but to live with them.
    • The Witch Hunt DLC, which is considered the last part of the Origins storyline, gets flack for being this. See Broken Base above.
  • Dry Docking: The fandom is especially rife with this. Just a mere throwaway mention in a non-canonical Alternate Universe DLC that suggested Alistair and Leliana were rumored to be lovers in that timeline caused an Internet Backdraft from the rabid portion of Alistair fangirls.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Finn and Ariane, the two companions from the Witch Hunt DLC, were incredibly well-liked by players.
    • Cullen, despite only having a few lines of dialogue in the original game, remains one of the most popular characters from it - mostly for the crush he has on the female mage Warden. His popularity is such that he returns in the second game and becomes a major participant in the third, even being promoted to potential love interest for a female Inquisitor.
    • Bann Teagan has many admirers in the fandom, as he's one of the few unambiguously heroic characters, stands up to Loghain, never steps on the player's toes, and even flirts with the female Warden.
    • Sandal, the simple enchanter son of Bodahn, is fun, energetic and memetic enough that the fandom very fondly looks on him.
    • Fellow dwarf Dragna is the rare dwarf that decided to study magic and is downright Adorkable. She proved to be popular enough to to recruited to the Inquisition.
  • First Installment Wins: Origins is usually considered the best game in the series in terms of story, gameplay, and overall world building, and is also seen as Bioware's farewell to their old style of RPG development before the EA buyout that resulted in their development of games being heavily shifted. By contrast, II is usually derided for its rushed nature and not really feeling like a unique game since it borrowed heavily from Mass Effect, and Inquisition, while initially seeing massive success, has had many feel as though the quality of the game declined with time, and is sometimes criticized for its less engaging sidequests, story, and more divisive moments.
  • Foe Yay: A lot of people think that dialogue between Alistair and Morrigan is not hateful, but filled with UST. This potentially makes the Dark Ritual very interesting.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: During the Human Noble origin, Fergus tells his eager son (and your nephew) Oren that "[he'll] see a sword up close soon enough". Oren is one of the first people slaughtered by Howe's men when Howe betrays the Couslands.
  • Game-Breaker: Has its own page.
  • Gameplay Derailment: Proper use of the Stealth talent can allow you to skip whole dungeons of enemy combat, shortening whatever main quest you wish to do this with tremendously.
  • Genius Bonus: Leliana makes passing reference to Noyes's The Highwayman in a dialogue with Sten.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • Enemy archers. They're even worse after they learn Scattershot, which inflicts a nigh-irresistible stun effect on the entire party. It doesn't last long enough to serve as a true lockdown (unless there are just that many archers attacking you), but you won't enjoy seeing your spells and talents repeatedly disrupted.
    • Deepstalkers. Small swarmers that are only dangerous if you feed yourself to them on purpose. Lyrium potions were probably added as a reward for the annoyance, so they make a worthwhile break from the darkspawn.
    • Enemy mages can quickly become this if left unchecked.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • In the final battle with the Archdemon, there are a few ballistae nearby. Going up to them will aim them at the Archdemon if it's close enough. Mashing the ballista fire button does a decent amount of damage (comparable to a powerful two-handed swing) to the Archdemon, but every time it is hit, it has to go through its hit animation. That means that due to the great firing rate of the ballistae, you can hit the Archdemon with it until it dies, slowly chipping away at its health as it can do nothing about it. If it flies away, just go to another ballista closer to it. The only real threat is the other darkspawn, but your other party members and your army can deal with them easily. The ballistae do jam up if you use them too many times, but can be repaired by a Rogue, as it becomes a "trap".
    • There's a particular armory vault door on the second floor of Redcliffe Castle that requires a key (or a rogue) to gain access. You're rewarded 40 experience for unlocking the door. The catch is that if you leave the area and come back, the door refreshes and can be unlocked for 40 experience every time. However, it's a lengthy process due to having to wait on the loading screens as you switch in and out of Redcliffe Castle's second floor, so YMMV indeed as to whether it's worth the trouble of doing more than a few times.
    • Reloading a save can refund you for those pricey specialization unlocks (be it through expenditure of coin for manuals or moral caliber to be taught by morally repugnant NPCs), but the specializations remain unlocked and available. They actually fixed this a few patches back, but fan outcry caused them to change it back. (It's likely that this is the reason specializations are handled differently in the subsequent games.)
    • Winter's Grasp can go off twice in a single cast. This happens at an almost alarming frequency.
    • Mana Cleanse does the opposite of its description and intent; it replenishes enemy mana to maximum. Later on the same spell branch, Mana Clash deals damage based on the target's total mana. Since most spellcasters have a higher capacity for mana than hit points, topping off their mana before Mana Clashing can be highly lethal. Between these two spells is Spell Might, which amplifies spellpower and makes Mana Clash a pretty brutal attack even on tougher-than-average wizards.
    • It's possible for a PC player to double attribute point increases with the Fade Essence Fonts, and the desire to get these is one of the reasons the level drags on so much. One particular Essence of Cunning can yield a whopping 10 point increase with very rapid right-clicking. The fonts can all be abused in some manner, resulting in potentially twenty or more points... each. Apparently, one player has gotten up to a hundred off a single font.
    • One sidequest leads your PC to an abandoned, haunted orphanage in the Elven Alienage. A rare glitch can lock you in a windowless room all by your lonesome, complete with blood on the floors and a corpse in the corner. To make matters worse, the background music for this area is made up of children screaming, a sound that persists even if the game is paused. You will have to reset to an earlier save, but your immersion will be amped up.
    • It's actually possible to kill and loot Ser Cauthrien for her Cool Sword (complete with Codex entry!) twice. First, kill her at the Arl of Denerim's estate, then allow yourself to be captured by all the archers she brought with her. (Make sure you loot her body before that last happens, though, as you won't ever be able to return here either way.) Then once you go to the Landsmeet proper, there she is again, alive and well. Even if you decapitated her. You can then kill her and loot her a second time, giving you two copies of the Summer Sword.
    • It's possible to get more votes than Loghain and lose the Landsmeet. This doesn't change anything but add an extra (and very easy) fight, but it makes for an interesting scene that shows that nobody is keeping count at a very important event.
    • A number of bugs that have not been fixed by BioWare as of the most recent (and probably final) updates may actually be seen as good things, even if they are sometimes annoying, as abilities having limits not described in the text might be the only thing not making the game even easier. If Haste worked properly (and there is an unofficial fix), mages would be even more broken, and that would be just the start of the mayhem you can cause.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • If you're a Dwarf Noble and choose to support Bhelen in the succession crisis, then his first task for you is to form an alliance with a noble house whom you may have severely humiliated in your origin story. Awkward.
    • Wynne talking with Alistair about giving birth in the Circle and having her newborn son taken from her. This was just one of the reasons Alistair's actual mother couldn't keep him.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: After a Dog that a non-HN Warden saved at Ostagar catches up with him/her, one response you can make is, "I've always wanted a dog like this." The World of Thedas: Volume 2 reveals that a City Elf Warden used to have a stuffed Mabari toy when s/he was a little kid, giving extra significance to the line.
    • Wynne asking the Warden about the nature of abominations. If told that abominations are only abominations by their actions, she's greatly relieved and grateful. You later find out she's being kept alive by a Spirit of Faith, and technically she is an abomination.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Ser Bryant in Lothering tells a mage Warden that he'd be a pretty lousy Templar if he couldn't tell they were a mage. Dragon Age II rolls around, and it seems he somehow completely failed to notice his apostate neighbors Malcolm and Bethany Hawke.
    • After Morrigan's Inquisition outfit was revealed, fans noticed similarities between it and the 'nice dress' Leliana suggested for her.
    • The entire rigmarole with searching for a miraculous relic that's the only thing that can save the poisoned Arl Eamon seems just a bit silly beside David Gaider's claim that it wasn't actually a lethal poison.
    • The Mage Warden's origin story is built around Jowan's forbidden relationship with a Chantry sister, and the trouble they'd both get into if caught. If the Warden romances Leliana, then by the end of Inquisition they can be in a very public romance with THE DIVINE. Jowan really can't beat them at anything, can he?
    • The Sacred Ashes trailer suggests the Warden absorbs dragon souls. Two years later another go anywhere do anything (anti) hero would spend the game doing this.
  • Internet Backdraft:
    • The Sex and Violence marketing campaign, the DLC, and the fact that Alistair and Leliana may be romantically involved in Darkspawn Chronicles.
    • The response to the RPG being done in a "boxed set" design calling back to first edition D&D can be charitably described as a rain of rotten tomatoes.
  • It's Easy, So It Sucks!: A lot of players say that Nightmare isn't hard enough, and generally complain about the Fake Difficulty, terrible AI, insanely powerful crowd-control mechanics, and potions.
  • Memetic Mutation: See here.
  • Mood Whiplash: As you enter The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, surrounded by several dozen corpses of Darkspawn, guards, and Chantry priestesses, your companions may suddenly fire off one of their goofy party banter conversations like, for example, Alistair asking Leliana if she's female. Kind of throws off the gloomy mood of the endgame for a moment.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • The Warden can cross this from the perspective of every party member: for several of the companions, there's a specific action you can take that makes them either attack you or leave the party altogether, regardless of approval level. Though for some of them, if you have a high enough Persuade or Intimidate skill and under the right circumstances, you can either convince them that you had to do it (or never did it in the first place) or intimidate them into submission and service.
      • Alistair: Sparing Loghain, unless you harden him and marry him to Anora and convince him otherwise.
      • Shale: Choosing to preserve the Anvil (even if you destroy it afterwards, you'll still have to kill Shale).
      • Leliana: Defiling the Urn of Sacred Ashes (unless she's hardened and you have a high enough Persuasion to talk her into submission).
      • Wynne: Either defiling the Urn or agreeing with Cullen about killing all of the mages (you can still have the Templar's support, so long as you let Uldred turn First Enchanter Irving into an abomination.
      • Morrigan: Refuse to perform the Dark Ritual before the Battle for Denerim and she'll leave for Orlais that night.
      • Zevran: If his approval is not high enough during the Landsmeet, he'll turn on you during a random encounter.
    • Outside of your party, there's also the instance of Branka leaving all the surviving female members of her expedition, her lover included, to darkspawn captivity with the deliberate intent to allow them to be turned into Broodmothers, so that they could produce as many darkspawn as needed to lure into the traps that guard the Anvil of the Void. This also resulted in the deaths of all the men.
    • Arl Rendon Howe crosses it in the Human Noble Warden's origin when he massacres his best friend's entire household purely out of ambition and envy. This includes killing the Human Noble Warden's defenseless sister-in-law and young nephew. Howe will later take the opportunity to mock the Human Noble Warden by gloating about how he made his/her parents suffer before he killed them.
    • Bann Vaughan crosses it in the City Elf Warden origin story where he abducts the entire female half of an elven wedding party and succeeds in raping the City Elf Warden's cousin, Shianni. Loghain may also cross it for the City Elf Warden in regards to selling Denerim elves into slavery, including members of your own family.
  • Most Annoying Sound:
    • The pet nug in camp will probably get on your nerves in time. There's a mod dedicated to silencing it. Ditto with the Dog's barking.
    • Even the developers hated the canned player line "Can I get you a ladder, so you can get off my back?", just because you hear it so often.
  • Narm: Has its own page.
  • Older Than They Think: Shale seems like an interesting and original idea for a character, that being a golem who turns out to have the mind of a female dwarf. Quite a few fans would be surprised to learn that the Forgotten Realms comic had pulled that exact idea off twenty years prior.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Why do you think those giant spiders are proceeding away from you in an organized fashion?
  • Player Punch: It's fair to say that every origin story provides at least one.
    • Regardless of your chosen origin, you'll most likely enjoy the thought of gutting Arl Howe and Bann Vaughn like fish when you get the chance. The endgame is no picnic either, especially for those in a romance with Alistair or Morrigan.
    • Leske's likable personality makes his Face–Heel Turn all the more shocking. Especially if you played the sequels and then played a Dwarf Commoner in a second-series playthrough since Leske shares a voice actor with Varric!
  • Porting Disaster: Edge Magazine's view on the console versions. Most other publications were less dramatic about the console versions being easier for a more casual audience (IGN even listed it as a plus in its video review). Other specific changes include each difficulty mode in the console versions being "bumped down" (ex. Normal on the console versions is equivalent to Easy on the PC version) and battles where enemies spawn in waves, such as the defense of Redcliffe, will have smaller waves in the console version (though this could be justified with how consoles have significantly less powerful hardware than PCs). The real Porting Disaster comes from the game's bugginess and how consoles get crappy, delayed patches while PC gamers get official patches soon enough and unofficial fixes almost the same day the bug is introduced. (Yes, Bioware's DAO patches often introduce bugs.)
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Dealing with friendly fire being turned on probably wouldn't be so bad if targeting abilities didn't have your cursor automatically center onto an enemy when it approaches close enough to them, forcing the player to swing the camera around wildly to find a spot on the ground where they can circumvent this to cast an ability that hit enemies while avoiding allies.
  • Serial Numbers Filed Off: The Gauntlet in Andraste's ruined temple is amazingly similar to the tests required to reach the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
  • That One Attack: Let's just say that enemies in this game have a lot of ways of being extremely annoying to the player at their disposal.
    • Groups of enemy archers spamming "Scattershot", which stuns the entire party and is almost impossible to resist.
    • Ogres, dragons, and other large enemies using Grab to pummel your tank to death.
    • Creatures such as spiders or dogs who have the ability Overwhelm which allows the animal to knock a character to the ground and continuously cut the person to shreds. Nothing is fun about being helpless to defend with the character that's being overwhelmed, especially if said character is your group healer.
    • Revenants using Mass Pull to disrupt your carefully planned tactical spacing, interrupt your slow-recharging spells and talents, and render your entire party extremely vulnerable to some heavy hitting follow-up attacks.
    • Enemy mages as a whole have a plethora of skills that'll piss off the player in some way or another.
      • Misdirection Hex, while entirely useful on enemies, is infuriating when on the player, as it causes all normal hits to be misses, and all critical hits to be normal hits.
      • Chain Lightning which can be a game-ender if your party members are standing close together.
      • Crushing Prison which is likely to be an extremely slow-acting death sentence if it's targeted at a mage; especially if it's your group healer.
      • Curse of Mortality, which causes a party member to stop regenerating for a while.
      • Fireball which can come off as a major annoyance due to its ability to knockdown your entire party.
  • That One Boss:
    • Uthkiel the Crusher is one of the demons you have to kill during the Fade sequence during the "Broken Circle" main quest. He's a stronger version of the regular ogre darkspawn, with the ability to stun-lock you using nothing but its Charge talent. Trying to beat him can often be a Luck-Based Mission.
    • After rescuing Anora, Ser Cauthrien's fight at the front gate of the estate is considered to be one of the hardest fights in the game. Thankfully, there's an option to skip past it, and the "penalty" for skipping or losing is just a minor side quest that involves a prison break, one of the funniest moments in the game.
    • The Broodmother. Since she can't move away from her spot, you think she'd be easy as pie; but the only way to kill her is approach her, and approaching her means you'll probably get grabbed and killed.
    • The fight with Jarvia during the second task in A Paragon of Her Kind. Besides the natural resistance of Dwarves to magic, the room itself is filled with traps and she's surrounded by a large number of henchmen and even calls in reinforcements at one point. Given that every single enemy present is a well-trained rogue, they also deal a very high amount of damage very rapidly.
  • That One Level:
    • The Fade, a portion of the Circle of Magi quest. Dull environments, a nasty difficulty spike, obtuse puzzles, and a boss at the end that goes through about five forms before it finally keels over and dies. And the best part: a whopping twenty-one free attribute points hidden in various nooks and crannies, forcing players with Completionist or Munchkin tendencies to go over every inch of every map, every time.
      • In a sense, the trope might actually be Zig Zagged in this case for some. Most players report that the start-up portion of the Fade is frustrating slow and tedious, but once you acquire all the different transformations and realize what the developers were trying to accomplish, it actually gets quite entertaining experimenting with the forms and there is even some great character moments once you get around to get a glimpse to the companions' dreamscapes. Then you get to the portion where with the aforementioned boss and attribute points collection and it loops around to frustrating and tedious again.
    • The Deep Roads, a string of four locations (six if you include the optional Aeducan and Cadash areas) that all use the same, dull, cave environment and erratic difficulty spikes throughout the gauntlet. It's a common feeling to be sick of the Deep Roads by the time you finally reach Branka and Caridin's forge.
    • The world-encounters has a rather nasty map layout when you activate the encounter that starts up Leliana's personal Side Quest. You start off at an entrance that is being attacked by ranged enemies on a higher cliff nearby, but to reach the cliff, you gotta traverse a small path up, and around, the hilltop that also happens to be filled with more enemies and traps. The actual fight against the enemies on the top of the hill isn't anything hard (heck, you can even kill them off with your own ranged attackers at the start), it's getting to them that's the rough part.
    • A similar case happens with the Denerim area for the "The Last Request" Side Quest, where the final battle against the Blood Mage leader isn't anything difficult... but the path leading up to him can be quite difficult due to areas full of traps, archers, and mages.
    • It's pretty much a universal agreement that no one likes doing the Fade puzzle during the Mage Tower quest after completing it the first time around. There's even been mods created to skip past this portion of the game entirely.
    • The dwarf questline simply because it drags on for quite a while, with the game requiring a lot of backtracking in Orzammar, a much bigger location than most of the hubs, and crawling through the Deep Roads. The fact that you can only get a happy ending for this questline in the epilogue by supporting the less sympathetic candidate to the throne doesn't really help.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The reaction to the game's new look and the greater emphasis on Darker and Edgier compared to the earlier trailers and promotional materials.
  • Ugly Cute:
    • Nugs. They're a cross between rabbits, pigs, and baby aardvarks, but they're cute enough that Leliana is enchanted by them.
    • Also, Deepstalkers. They may be ravenous lamprey-mouthed monstrosities, but those little "meep" sounds they make when you hit them are so cute it makes you almost feel bad for wiping out their nests. Unless you get a good look at their faces, which is hard, as they're small.
    • Dragonlings (young dragons) make similar chirping noises and will attack you with a little puff of flame. For added cuteness points, their race has been nearly hunted into extinction.
  • Unwinnable by Insanity: It is possible to stalemate the game during "A Paragon of Her Kind" by completing both "A Prince's Favor: The First Task" and "A Lord's Trust: The First Task," followed by "Shifting Allegiances" and "Betrayed from Within." After betraying both candidates for Orzammar's throne, neither trusts you, and it is impossible to continue either's quest line.
    • You can also grind the game to a halt by killing the Grand Oak and destroying all of the werewolf pelts you can get, leaving you no way to get an enchanted pelt from the Hermit and thus prevent "Nature of the Beast" from being complete.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • When mages activate combat magic with a certain talent equipped (the top tier talent for arcane warriors, meaning one you will use later on), the eyes and mouth are visible from the back of their head.
    • The mouth movements, expressions and body language during ordinary conversation are, generally speaking, quite good, but during Leliana's song (her actual song, not the DLC of the same name), her mouth moves the same as when she talks normally. Hearing this rather ethereal voice (which, while beautiful, is quite unsettling in its own right) coming from mouth movements and body language which don't match it at all can kill the mood somewhat.
    • Try talking to Wynne while carrying any weapon that glows. Her face turns white as the clouds and her eyes become a terrifying black.
    • Cats are somewhat rare in the game, but on the occasions that the game shows you a cat up close, there's something a bit... off about their model. In one particularly nightmarish instance, Anders' adopted cat, Ser Pounce-a-lot, meows, and opens his mouth in a way that looks vaguely terrifying.
  • The Woobie:
    • Lily. Poor girl tries to follow her heart and ends up in the worst prison in the world for it — and she asks to go even if the (future) Warden tries to speak up for her, because that's what she thinks she deserves. Made even worse by a brief mention in Inquisition, which states that Aeonar was found completely abandoned...
    • Ruck, a young dwarf who's gone mad due to living off of spiders and surviving by tainting himself. He never wants to see his mother again because he's ashamed of himself, and he's desperate for attention from the female Warden out of loneliness.

    Character Tropes 

The Warden


  • Accidental Innuendo: Female player characters who romance him and max out approval get to enjoy his "Massive Constitution"... meaning his approval-based Constitution buff makes him even more stalwart in battle. What did you think it meant, you perv?
  • Ambiguously Bi: Although Alistair is only able to be romanced by female Wardens, he has a few comments that could point at some... curiosity. And he gets very flustered if called out on his apparent jealousy over a male Warden's relationship with Morrigan, or any Warden's relationship with Zevran.
    Morrigan: My, my. You are jealous, aren't you? Did I take your favorite Grey Warden away from you?
    Alistair: What? I'm not jealous! I'm horrified.
    Morrigan: Those blushing cheeks of yours tell a different tale.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Alistair has a small but notable hatedom that is divided in its motivation; part of it comes from backdraft from his Mr. Fanservice status from people who aren't ardent shippers. Most of it comes from perceived Wangst about Duncan and the other Grey Wardens dying, but the rest is generally due to his insistence on leaving the Grey Wardens if you recruit Loghain. Immature tantrum-thrower who deserts while the country is on the brink of destruction because he refuses to set aside personal and irrational hatreds for the greater good, or rightfully angry and heretofore-stalwart companion who has reasonable objections to working with a slaver and torturer who framed him for regicide and tried to kill two father-figures in a row?
  • Memetic Mutation: He is the Butt-Monkey of the party and his liking of cheese has been built up to ridiculous levels - despite him only mentioning cheese perhaps three times within the game. The lead writer thinks the fans have kind of run away with the cheese jokes. The writers have, however, made "swooping" an Ascended Meme.
  • Wangst: Alistair has this reputation with some of the fanbase. If anything, he discusses and defies the trope. He is conscious of how it appears to those around him, tries not to wallow in self-pity, and at least makes the attempt to lighten up with a joke. It's also worth noting that most of his Angst is in regards to the death of his father-figure and all of his friends (things that tend to make most people faaaairly depressed)
  • The Woobie:
    • He started off as an unloved and unwanted orphan who was unwillingly made a Templar to get him out of sight. When he finds himself with the Wardens, he's finally happy. A few months after he joins, they die and the fate of the world rests on his and a complete stranger's shoulders.
    • In addition to this, he can find some measure of happiness again in his possible friendship or relationship with the Warden... and depending on what choices the Warden makes, even this happiness can be taken away from him and he can be forced to make some incredibly difficult choices. By the time Inquisition and The Silent Grove take place, it's implied that whatever your choices, Alistair is, by and large, not a happy man.


  • Angst? What Angst?: He'll steadfastly refuse to acknowledge any pain regarding his wife or his home, but if you befriend him, he'll gradually reveal that he misses Orzammar and is hurting. Massively averted if brought along on the Gauntlet in the Temple of Sacred Ashes. The Guardian barely has to prod him at all before he just spills out all his emotional baggage about Branka and his disgrace from his caste.
  • Funny Moment: "By the tits of my ancestors!"
  • The Woobie: Take him along to the Gauntlet when looking for the Urn of Sacred Ashes. His answer to the guardian should be proof enough of this trope.



  • Alternative Character Interpretation: There's a strong case to be made that one of the things that sets Morrigan apart from the rest of the party is that she is the only innocent - even the Warden has more life experience than Morrigan, who is only just now experiencing life without her mother's direct influence. This is subtly lampshaded (if such can be possible) by comparing her interactions with the more straightforward members of the party with her romance with the Warden, and the ending to Witch Hunt: for a character who regularly gets the last word in arguments with everyone else, it's surprising how often the Warden leaves her utterly speechless and confused. It's also implied that Morrigan and Flemeth do care for each other, just not as much as they do for themselves. She's also significantly less cavalier about killing than Alistair (who jokes about it), and doesn't try to excuse it the way Leliana does, despite Leliana being a trained assassin.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Much more so than Alistair, at least in this game. Morrigan has a lot of fans who love her snarky dialogue and the Hidden Depths that her character possesses, and quite a few enjoy her status as the Token Evil Teammate of the game (and find her Social Darwinist perspective to be highly interesting). On the flip side, she has a sizable hatedom. Mostly because they perceive her to be Stupid Evil (as opposed to being a true pragmatist). In particular, Morrigan's disapproval of anything remotely kind the Warden does (or even simply not-evil) as well as her approval for cruel, mean-spirited, petty actions because they amuse her can put off quite a few players. Put it this way: People hate her so much that someone made a mod where you can slap her any time you want. However, Dragon Age: Inquisition has changed this for a lot of people to the point of actually winning best mage party member in a character poll from Bioware.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Morrigan can be extremely petty, cruel, and vindictive, and not to mention she's basically the Thedas-equivalent of The Social Darwinist. However, growing up with no one but Flemeth for company would be enough to make her a candidate for Woobiedom alone. The results of her personal quest ( that Flemeth intended to possess her body against Morrigan's will) reaffirms this several times over - and, if romanced, she might as well have it tattooed on her forehead.
  • Memetic Mutation: She disapproves of everything. [Morrigan Disapproves -30]. BioWare made a t-shirt about it.


  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Some people see her as a self-righteous, sanctimonious, and preachy woman trying to make herself look to be wiser than she is. See Base Breaker below for reasons why.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Some resent her for trying to tell you how to do your job despite not being entirely aware of what it entails and going off the Knight in Shining Armor versions in the stories; her lecture about the Warden's Love Interest, where she either accuses them of being a Hormone-Addled Teenager (Morrigan or Zevran) or being foolish and selfish (Alistair or Leliana) without fully knowing the details of the relationship (though to Wynne's credit, she does apologize and admit she was completely wrong, and even takes some Shipper on Deck tendencies towards it after); her tendency to try and be everyone's therapist whether they want it or not; her taking credit for getting the party out of the Fade even though she succumbed to it when at least one other, potentially untrained, person didn't; and her hypocrisy in trying to get every mage she meets (including the Mage Warden) to go back to the Circle yet refusing to do so herself. On the flip side, quite a few fans love her for being a Cool Old Lady who is thoughtful, kind, and compassionate, if stern. The fact that she's one of the most unambiguously good (along with Alistair) party members also helps, as does the mother-son sort of bond she and Alistair can develop if they're frequently in the active party together. Many also enjoy how different Wynne is from the other companions, even in the sequels, and believe that she provided an interesting perspective on the Warden's journey.
  • Memetic Mutation: Epic Wynne!


  • Awesome Music: When Leliana sings for you and the rest of the camp. You'll know it when you see it.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Leliana's musical number, pretty though it is, has only the pretext of having visited a Dalish camp, and the Warden can't mention it after.
  • Les Yay: Leliana teasing Morrigan about how good low-cut dresses would look on her. Her romance with the Warden and DLC confirms that race and sex is a trivial matter that doesn't bother her.
  • The Woobie: As indicated in the Leliana's Song DLC. A professional spy and sometime-assassin, she was framed by her superior/lover Marjolaine as a traitor to Orlais when she discovered documents proving that Marjolaine was a traitor. Captured by guards, she was tortured and possibly raped, but managed to escape to Ferelden, where she became a lay sister out of desperation and fright. It turns out that the paranoid Marjolaine had her watched after that, convinced that Leliana intended to take her revenge with a plot spanning years.


  • Angst? What Angst?: He has a pretty dark past, but he takes everything in stride and apparently lives for the day. Arguably a subversion, however, in that deliberate levity may be his way of dealing with that past.
  • The Woobie: He doesn't consider himself one, but you're likely to have a different opinion on the matter after hearing his backstory.

  • Ensemble Darkhorse: A DLC companion who was actually removed from the base game (due to a lack of time to finish her content), but has proven to be one of the most popular and beloved characters for her hilarious dialogue, unique gameplay mechanics, and many memorable moments.


  • Alternative Character Interpretation: He's either an unforgivable traitor who deserves to die or a misguided and ultimately tragic figure. He was clearly plotting treason during the lead-up to the battle at Ostagar, but the consequences were drastically out of proportion to his original plans. It's also possible he didn't realize that his plan to take over as ruler of the country in order to protect it would have the results it did. He shows contempt for some of the actions his followers take, such as Howe hiring an assassin to deal with the main characters.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Many fights are had over whether Loghain should be recruited into the Grey Wardens. People argue about whether or not what he did was justified as well.
    • As of Dragon Age: Inquisition, he's even one in-universe, with Solas lampshading the fandom debates in an early conversation about Ostagar, where he lays out the common arguments from both sides about Loghain's actions there, and notably doesn't come down on either. He also claims that according to the reproduction in the fade, which is a recreation based on the emotional impressions left by the participants, both versions are true.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: While there are a lot of indications that Loghain is a Well-Intentioned Extremist who did what he thought he had to do in order to protect Ferelden, some of his fans refuse to believe he's a villain at all and insist that he's still a hero who never did anything wrong.
  • Internet Backdraft: Want to see some fireworks? Go into any DA forum or comment's section and toss in a mention of his name. Doesn't matter what you say, the discussion will quickly blow up with intense fighting over whether or not he should be spared.
  • The Un-Twist: The pale skin, black hair, and ominous music made many players correctly guess that Loghain would be evil.

King Cailan

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • The tidbits you find in the Return to Ostagar DLC reveal that Cailan was far more politically savvy than virtually anyone thought. His bravado and seemingly nonchalant attitude may well have been a front.
    • Wynne supports this, if you talk to her in camp and mention how foolishly upbeat and overconfident Cailan seems. She basically says it's the king's job to act like it's all going swimmingly and there's nothing to worry about, so that the rest of the army will feel as confident as he seems.
    • His idealism about the battle could be seen as a variety of well-meaning Obfuscating Stupidity. His actual idealism is more clearly displayed in his belief that the differences between Ferelden and Orlais can be put in the past so easily, and that the two nations can be allies and friends barely a generation after one was driven out of the other after a long, brutal occupation.
    • Arl Eamon's letter to him implies that he didn't like the idea of dumping Anora, and it took almost a year for him to come around. It's unclear how many of those ideas were his.
    • Rumor is that it was Cailan and not Anora who was sterile, since he was going behind her back with other women and yet still never fathered any children.
    • The fact that he specifically requested that Alistair be one of the two to light the signal fire indicates that he wanted him kept out of the fighting. This suggests that Cailan knew exactly who Alistair was to him, wanted him protected in case he himself fell in battle (so the throne could go to a descendant of Calenhad), and may even have had some kind of fondness for his little half-brother.

Queen Anora

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Some see her as a strong queen determined to maintain her throne who was unwilling to believe that Loghain was truly evil because he's her father, and that she is ultimately determined to do what's best for Ferelden; she joins the Grey Warden on her own initiative, and her doubt in Alistair's ability to be a good king is quite frankly well justified, what with him being illegitimate, having no previously demonstrated leadership skills, and not even wanting the throne in the first place. Support her and let her father find redemption, and she's even willing to marry a male human noble Grey Warden.
    • On the other hand, reject her and watch her abandon you at the Landsmeet and switch back to supporting her father, even at the exact moment that doing so would only risk prolonging Ferelden's civil war and losing support of the armies the Warden has personally gathered. Anora wants what's best for Ferelden so long as that still includes her being in power and no danger to herself.
  • Base Breaker: Some see Anora as having legitimate cause for throwing you under the bus with Cauthrien, but some players don't buy that for a multitude of reasons. Even more contentious is her outright betrayal of you at the Landsmeet if you do not support her bid. Some people think it is a reflection of a strong and cunning queen, some people see it as an avarice-filled grab for power by any means necessary.
  • Narm: Her Rousing Speech. In contrast to Alistair's more steady diction, the voice actress doesn't deliver with as much strength.

Arl Howe

Arl Eamon

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • He appears to be a standard Reasonable Authority Figure, but it's also fairly clear that he wants Alistair on the throne so he can have strong influence over a ruler. The Return to Ostagar DLC reveals that he was pushing Cailan to dump his wife due to his fears that Anora is barren.
    • His role in Alistair's upbringing is also a lot less rosy than Alistair paints it, if you think about it. Hidden from his mother's family and sleeping in a stable with the dogs, until finally thrown out of even that? And now that Alistair is suddenly useful, he expects him to obey without question?
    • It looks particularly bad in the vanilla game, which makes it appear that he or his retainers outright lied to an orphaned Goldanna that her little brother was dead and then sent her away to fend for herself. Given what other canonical sources have revealed regarding Alistair's actual mother, it appears that they were probably telling the truth about that child.
    • There's also his reaction if the Warden manages to persuade Alistair and Anora to marry. The Warden can point out that he doesn't seem pleased, to which he will say he's simply shocked that the Warden was able to do it. While he might be telling the truth about that, it also seems possible that he doesn't like the idea of someone else having a stronger position of authority and influence over Alistair than he himself will.
      • However, if the Warden becomes Alistair's chancellor or, in the case of the Female Noble, his queen-consort, Eamon accepts it without comment and simply says at the coronation that since he won't be needed, he's heading back to Redcliffe. So it's possible that he just has some kind of strong objection to Anora.

Bann Teagan


  • Memetic Mutation: Tee-gAAAHN!!!
  • The Scrappy: Isolde is almost universally disliked by the fandom for her responsibility-dodging, her tendency to shriek every other word, and the fact that she not only plays a large role in what happened to Redcliffe, but is never truly sorry for her mistakes. Her weird tendency to be a Clingy Jealous Girl with Teagan, who is her brother-in-law, doesn't endear her to anyone either. The fact that she's also something of a Karma Houdini doesn't help.
  • What an Idiot!: One stupid decision after another makes her half-responsible for the problems in Redcliffe.


  • Base-Breaking Character: Duncan is very committed to doing what he believes needs to be done, morals be damned. The fact that he conscripts the Warden if they don't go willingly and kills Jory for trying to back out of the Joining makes him a rather hotly debated character. Indeed, RP-inclined players doing multiple run-throughs with different Wardens tend to find that the line between a Duncan-worshiping Warden and one who curses his name is quite thin.
  • He's Just Hiding!: Reinforced by how his body isn't present in Return To Ostagar.
  • Memetic Mutation: His Badass Beard. Fights go on about whose is more badass: Male!Hawke's (the protagonist from the sequel) or Duncan's.
    • In the sequel, Merrill mentions Duncan and his beard. She'd never seen human facial hair before and at first was under the impression that a squirrel was attacking his face.
  • Too Cool to Live




  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Either he's a power-hungry despot seeking to take and retain the throne at any cost, or he's a Well-Intentioned Extremist who recognizes the inherent problems in Orzammar and is taking some extreme measures to ensure he can change it.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Between him and Harrowmont, he's the more popular choice for a king, even among Dwarf Nobles. This is in part because the epilogues and Inquisition show him as a very good ruler, unlike Harrowmont, and he's actually grateful to the Warden, also unlike Harrowmont.


  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Either a leader who upholds the law and provides the stability the dwarves need, or a weak leader who is bound by outdated and unjust traditions.
  • Memetic Loser: After Inquisition hammered home just how ineffective of a king he really is, people have taken to mockingly calling him "Failmont".


  • What an Idiot!: Was there a single decision Jowan made in this game that didn't end in an eternally escalating series of disasters? Of course, without well-meaning miscalculations, and unintended consequences spiraling spectacularly out of control, the game would have been much shorter. See also: Loghain Mac Tir.
  • The Woobie: His storyline, involving him trying to escape, becoming an apostate, losing his love, cheated and becoming awfully deluded in his actions whilst trying to atone, resulting in either his death (if the PC kill him or insists on his execution), his imprisonment (given to the Circle, which is presumably this) or a life of exile (if the PC sets him free), is short but nevertheless rather sad. Giving him to the Circle is arguably worse than execution; it's highly likely the Circle will make him into a Tranquil as punishment for his crimes and to prevent from using Blood Magic again. The threat of undergoing the Rite of Tranquility was what made him seek to escape the Circle in the first place.

The Couslands

  • Counterpart Comparison: To the Starks of Game of Thrones. Both are the most powerful house at the start of the series, second in power only to the royal family; both have a canine theme and are portrayed as traditionally good with a degree of naivety and Wrong Genre Savvy. Both are betrayed by their ally, and their demise is a major turning point in the story.