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Below is the list of original characters introduced in Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening.

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A Ferelden Circle Mage turned apostate, Anders has at least seven escape attempts to his name and hasn't given up yet. The new Warden-Commander may invoke the Right of Conscription to save him from being dragged back to the tower once again.

For more info, see this page.

Voiced by: Grey DeLisle

"I know a human crime when I see it. I have experienced more than enough of them."

A Dalish elf and mage who has been attacking human caravans to avenge hate crimes committed against her clan. She can join the Warden to track down her missing sister.

  • Absolute Cleavage: Her default armor gives her a plunging neckline.
  • The Atoner: While she'd never admit it, part of the reason she joins the Warden is to make up for being an unwitting pawn in the Architect's plans.
  • Berserk Button: She's very sensitive about her ears. Any implication of them being oversized sends her into even more of a fit than usual.
  • Blank Book: One of her conversations involves how much history and folklore her people have lost. You then have the opportunity to give her one of these, as she can still make new stories even if the old ones are gone forever.
  • Can't Argue with Elves: Oh, yes you can. To her credit, pointing out her volatile temper and calling out some of her hypocrisy generally has good or at least neutral results, making her seem more immature and misguided than genuinely pretentious. Even the Dalish Warden can call her out on her Fantastic Racism against humans, while the City Elf Warden gets to question if her dismissive comments about City Elves also apply to them as well.
  • Cultural Posturing: Occasionally falls into this.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: When you first encounter her, she will awaken Wild Sylvans and summon rabid wolves to attack you. That would be an awesome power to have on your side. Sadly, she loses it once she joins the Warden-Commander's merry band.
  • Dark-Skinned Blond: It's suggested that she may not be from Ferelden originally.
  • Does Not Understand Sarcasm: Which of course doesn't help in a party that is, aside from Justice, composed of Deadpan Snarkers, to the point where she's embarrassed when Sigrun mocks her for believing Oghren's lie about Dwarves being born from rocks.
  • The Exile: When humans tried to burn down the forest just to drive her clan away, Velanna's Keeper (Ilshae) wanted to pack up and leave. Velanna believed they should fight back, and eventually left the clan entirely.
  • Fantastic Racism: Towards humans, though it's mainly a result of being on the receiving end for most of her life - the locals were trying to burn her clan out of the woods shortly before you meet her.
    Velanna: The shems give us land one day, and take it back the next. By their rules, we would wander forever. They had run us ragged; it was time to stand and fight!
  • Gaia's Vengeance: Her default Keeper specialization uses this type of magic.
  • Green Thumb: Her abilities lean towards offensive nature-based spells.
    Velanna: These humans flaunt their contempt of nature. Look at this poor, defenseless tree!"
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: She doesn't attack you or anything, but it's really easy to earn her disapproval by accident; even responses that are supposed to be complimentary or understanding can rile her up due to the implications. For example, when she sees a tree in Amaranthine she mentions that she was intended to be the Keeper of her clan. If you then tell her she would have been a good Keeper, she says that the last Keeper knew Velanna like a daughter and believed that she would have destroyed the clan, angrily accuses you of arrogance for thinking you know her better than the last Keeper, and moves on before you get a chance to apologise or backtrack.
  • Hot-Blooded: She doesn't like to mince words or back down from a fight, and chose exile over giving ground to humans. This didn't work out for those who followed her, mainly due to the darkspawn.
  • I'm Standing Right Here:
    • Tip: do not talk about her like she's an inanimate object or not actually there. A couple of curious city elves find this out the hard way.
      City Elf: It's a Dalish! Nella, come see!
      Nella: Oh, she's very stern, isn't she? What's she doing here, do you think?
      Velanna: I'm right here, you slack-jawed oafs!
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: It's buried deep under her anger, but she does care for people and is horrified to learn that she had been tricked into killing innocents.
    • One epilogue even has her protecting humans from a bandit attack, and another having her single-handedly saving a human village from a Darkspawn attack, a far cry from when the Warden first meets her.
  • Jesus Was Way Cool: Velanna admits she holds Andraste in high regard, due to her role in freeing the Dalish from slavery.
    Velanna: I should hate her, but I don't. I can respect a woman who fights for freedom and justice.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: Her entire motivation is to find her sister Seranni. Seranni's working for the Architect.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Her companion quest can only be triggered through a random encounter that has a low chance of occurring. Many players cannot even trigger the encounter at all.
  • Never Found the Body: If the Warden leaves her at Vigil's Keep and doesn't abandon Amaranthine, then this happens to her. Additionally, even if she is taken with the Warden to defend Amaranthine, she's said to just vanish in the Deep Roads while looking for her sister.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Why she becomes a Grey Warden. She's not in it to protect the realm, she wants to find her sister and, failing that, revenge.
  • Playing with Fire: Aside from her nature-based attacks, she seems very fond of flames.
  • Ship Tease: A minor case with Nathaniel and with the Warden as well, neither cases go anywhere.
  • Tired of Running: A big influence in her backstory.
  • Token Evil Teammate: At least, she is at first.
  • Tsundere: Normally none too fond of humans, she does get flustered with Nathaniel calling her my lady, and with the Warden, as defending her in front of Meran earns her approval, but all she says aloud is not to make a fuss over her. She claims nervous city elves sicken her, but gives them an old Dalish amulet as a reminder of their heritage and tells them to "remember who you are."
  • Unwitting Pawn: The whole attacking human caravans thing? She was tricked by darkspawn into believing humans had destroyed her clan.
  • When Trees Attack: She'll summons sylvan trees to attack the Warden-Commander.

Voiced by: Natalia Cigliuti

"A wise man once told me never to argue with someone better armed than the entire warrior caste on parade."

A member of the Legion of the Dead, a group of dwarven warriors who are symbolically dead and spend the rest of the their lives fighting Darkspawn in the Deep Roads to atone for some crime they have committed. Prior to her "death" she was a casteless dwarf. Despite this, she's actually managed to keep her optimism, even after having her entire squad slaughtered.

  • Action Girl: She's a Legionnaire of the Dead.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: She's generally repulsed by Oghren, but has to admire him half-convincing Velanna that dwarves hatch from rocks.
  • And That's Terrible: Leave it to the ex-criminal to underscore the wrongness.
  • The Atoner: She's not proud of her past as a Carta member. She especially regrets framing her best friend for theft, getting her exiled to the surface.
  • Attending Your Own Funeral: Standard induction into the Legion of the Dead.
  • Badass Bookworm: She has the makings of one, given her enthusiasm for the library in Vigil's Keep. The Warden can encourage her to read by pointing out that she's welcome to make use of any of the books there.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: If the Warden leaves her at Vigil's Keep and doesn't abandon Amaranthine, she leads the charge against the invading darkspawn despite the hopeless odds. "This time, she did not run."
  • Deadpan Snarker: Being a Legion of the Dead doesn't preclude her from making a few quips.
  • Death Seeker: Her dream in life is to make a Heroic Sacrifice, though it's not as if she complains if she lives though a fight. In fact, she cracks jokes about surviving and how she'll do better next time. She can drop this if the Warden is nice enough to her.
  • Genki Girl: She's quite energetic about examining stuff she wouldn't usually see below the surface.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Sports a pair of them.
  • Fate Worse than Death: She is being dragged away by darkspawn when the Warden rescues her. Her subsequent dialogue mentions that Legion suspected they were breeding Broodmothers in the area and that they had taken all the other female Legionnaires prisoner already. From her tone, it's clear that she knows all too well what happened to them next.
  • Flat "What": When the Warden offers to aid her in eradicating the Darkspawn in Kal'Hirol to avenge the Legion.
    Sigrun: What? Really? Did I mention Kal'Hirol is a death trap? Why do you want to do this?
    Warden: I'm a Grey Warden.
    Sigrun: Ah. My condolences.
  • Jumped at the Call: Quite happy to join the Grey Wardens, since as a member of the Legion of the Dead, she expected to go out in a heroic Last Stand against the darkspawn horde anyway. Being told that the Joining is potentially lethal doesn't faze her either.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Her reaction to meeting the Dwarf Commoner Warden - the Casteless Dwarf who beat some of Orzammar's finest warriors in the Provings, became a Grey Warden, ended the Fifth Blight and became a Paragon.
    Sigrun: I'd get you to sign my helmet if I could, I know someone back in Dust Town who would sell his teeth for something like that!
  • Meaningful Name: In some variations of Norse Mythology, Sigrun is the leader of the Valkyries.
  • Mundane Luxury: She thinks alienages look nice next to Dust Town, and most of her gifts are toys or knickknacks like soap on a rope. "And no-one here is going to throw me out of their store!"
  • Odd Friendship: The chipper castless dwarf Sigrun can become friends with Nathaniel Howe, the brooding human noble.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: She's a dwarf and a rogue, but her really high strength stat allow her to equip heavy armor and weapons with ease.
  • Plucky Girl: Surprisingly upbeat despite being a Death Seeker. Lampshaded by Nathaniel, with Sigrun responding that she could always choose to Wangst about everything. Nathaniel tells her to stick with "Perky".
  • Sole Survivor: Of the Legionnaires that entered Kal'Hirol.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: She and Justice have the strongest reactions to sparing the Architect, and will need to be talked down from attacking if you try it.

Voiced by: Alyx Wilton Regan

"Allow me to say: I'm very proud to serve under your command."

An idealistic female knight who joined the Grey Wardens to repay them for saving Ferelden. She fails to survive her Joining.

  • Action Girl: Just watch her taking down darkspawn left and right in the Awakening trailer.
  • Advertised Extra: Received her own trailer as if she would be a prominent character in the story, only to get killed very shortly after the first dungeon.
  • Ascended Fangirl: Towards the Grey Wardens. At least, she would've been if she'd survived the Joining.
  • Composite Character: Her eagerness to join the Grey Wardens is similar to a less pragmatic Daveth, and her class makes her mechanically similar to Ser Jory. This in turn is a hint that she's not going to survive past the prologue.
  • Dead Star Walking: She was billed as a main character, but she doesn't survive the Joining less than an hour into the game.
  • Deconstruction: Of characters who Jumped at the Call, as her wide eyed idealism and eagerness to join the Grey Wardens ultimately aren't enough to let her survive the Joining.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: She's playable for the prologue of Awakening, then she dies during the Joining.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Absolutely idolizes the Warden. If Alistair is king, she seems rather awed when he shows up for his cameo too.
  • Jumped at the Call: Volunteers to join the Wardens after they call for new recruits after the events of Origins.
  • Lady of War: Served in the King's Army before joining the Wardens.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Her death. It happens so early in the game it's not even worth putting under a spoiler.
  • Mauve Shirt: She gets a plot hook and even swears vengeance during a quest. Unlike the Guest Star Party Members in Origins, she can level up and has an approval meter. Then she dies before anything comes of her plot hook. Appropriately enough, her armor is in fact a dark mauve.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: She was hyped as a full party member only to die after the first dungeon.
  • Reality Ensues: All the pluck and idealism in Thedas couldn't guarantee she wouldn't just drop dead during the Joining.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Like Daveth before her, she exists to show just how dangerous the Joining actually is.
  • Ship Tease: Briefly with Anders, as he flirts with her in his introduction scene and Oghren asks if he's her boyfriend.
  • Stone Wall: As a sword and shield-using warrior as well has the Champion specialization, her main role is that of a tank for the prologue.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Has shades of this towards the Grey Wardens, seeming to believe they are an Order comprised of honourable knights, instead the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits they actually are. She appears to be a little crestfallen when the Warden reveals they are not only friends with a disreputable drunk like Oghren, but also perfectly happy to accept him into the fold.


A benevolent Fade Spirit trapped in the corpse of a Grey Warden named Kristoff. Justice joins the Warden’s party in the Blackmarsh, and is alternately confused and fascinated by the mortal, material world.

For more info, see this page.

    Nathaniel Howe
Voiced by: Simon Chadwick

"The Howes are pariahs now, those of us left."

A human rogue and son of Arl Howe, Nathaniel initially views his father as a patriot who fought for his nation. Feels the Grey Wardens are traitors for allowing Orlesians into Amaranthine. First seen in a comic from Penny Arcade.

  • Aesop Amnesia: If the Warden lets him take a few family heirlooms and go in peace, Nataniel is so moved by your honor and mercy that he asks to join the Grey Wardens. However, after the Joining he goes right back to thinking you're an awful person and has to re-learn to like you as you raise his Approval.
  • Archer Archetype: Was taught to shoot by his grandfather, and the Warden can retrieve his grandfather's bow. He fits the "slightly haughty and aloof" bit.
  • The Atoner: He honestly wants to make up for how his father single-handedly ruined his family's name, and his failure to put the Blight before his own ambitions.
  • Avenging the Villain: His original plan when sneaking into the Keep. He decided to just take some family heirlooms and leave, but he still isn't impressed with the Warden when they first meet.
  • Badass Normal: It took four Grey Wardens to incapacitate him.
  • Bears Are Bad News: The Howe crest is a bear, his starting armor is named after it, and he can summon one to fight if you spec him as a Ranger.
  • Breakout Character: Nathaniel became the most popular character in Awakening to the point where the developers wanted to make plans for him to appear in future novels. However, ten years after the game's release this has not come to pass. Apart from a cameo in Dragon Age 2, Nathaniel has yet to appear outside DAA.
  • Broken Pedestal: He eventually comes to realize that his father was a selfish prick who brought his fate on himself.
  • Call-Back: Should you let Nathaniel free from his cell, he comes back to you after finishing one main story quest via random encounter, very much like how Zevran is recruited minus initially ambushing you and your party. Lampshaded by Oghren warning you about how he might "go all Zevran" on you should you let your guard down.
  • The Chain of Harm: Early on, Nathaniel accuses the Warden of doing this for leaving his family pariahs after his father Rendon Howe paid for his crimes during the war. The Warden, particularly a Human Noble Warden, can perpetuate the chain by having Nathaniel hanged for being a Howe.
  • Chekhov's Gun: He mentions that he was squired in Kirkwall, a major city in the Free Marches - and the setting of Dragon Age II. (Nathaniel himself only appears in that game in a late-game sidequest, and as a possible guest star in the final battle.)
  • Color-Coded Eyes: His gray eyes show he's a skilled marksman.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • He is described in his codex entry as a practical person, and he backs some of the more questionable end-game decisions, like burning Amaranthine, even if his companion quest (finding his sister, who lives in the city) is completed, and siding with the Architect. (Her appearance in DAII does at least confirm that she survives the burning of the city.)
    • In the same theme, most of his gifts are functional (a bow, a sextant, lock-picks, a whetstone).
  • The Comically Serious: He's dead serious (if snarky) all the time, leading to much annoyance and exasperation on his part when paired with more upbeat companions like Anders, Oghren, and Sigrun.
  • Commonality Connection: Can get this with a few companions.
    • He and Velanna can bond over how their sisters used to play pranks on them as kids.
    • He can Sigrun can bond over how they know what it's like to struggle in abject poverty. (She for being casteless, he from his family's disgrace.)
    • He and the Warden can also bond over wanting to break The Chain of Harm, particularly with a Human Noble Warden.
  • Cruel Mercy:
    • What he sees becoming a Warden as, if forced into the Joining. Only later does he realise the reason for his Conscription was because the Warden thought he'd prove to be a better man than his father and wanted to give him a chance to redeem his family name.
    • It's even more meaningful if the PC is a Human Noble, who lost their parents too, and had their family's good name unjustly tarnished by the machinations of Nate's father, Rendon Howe.
    • Also for a City Elf Warden, since Arl Howe led a brutal purge and sold many in their alienage into slavery, including potentially their sister-in-law, and almost their father.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When you engage him in conversations about his family, he's especially snarky.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Black hair, fair skin, and has a face with a lot of shadows and lines.
  • Enemy Mine: To the Warden, at first, particularly a Cousland or Tabris Warden seeing how there's slain family on both ends.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: One party banter with Oghren has him asking if he's also an admirer since his "quiet and stoic" demeanor earns him ladies.
  • Fantastic Racism: Averted. He's a human noble who grew up surrounded by elven servants, but he doesn't view elves as a Slave Race and treats an Elven Warden and Velanna as respectfully as anyone else. He can even have some Ship Tease with both.
    Velanna: "My lady" is such a human thing to call someone.
    Nathaniel: It is a term of respect. You think it's human to be respectful?
    Velanna: Now you're mocking me.
    Nathaniel: I think you're a lovely woman, and due some respect. So I call you a lady.
    Velanna: Well... stop it!
  • Generation Xerox: Subverted, though it's especially poignant if the Warden is a Human Noble or City Elf.
    • If a Human Noble: Both Nathaniel's grandfather and father, Tartleton and Rendon Howe, betrayed the Couslands and fought against Ferelden during the Fereldan Rebellion and Fereldan Civil War respectively. Nathaniel, on the other hand, if befriended, remains loyal, redeems his family name and even saves the Human Noble's brother in one of the epilogues. Then played straight, albeit skipping a few generations; it turns out Tartleton's own father was a Grey Warden himself.
    • If a City Elf: His father was so openly racist he purged the Denerim Alienage For the Evulz, sold dozens of elves into slavery, and compared elves to animals that need to be "culled" to an Elven Warden's face. Nathaniel himself displays little to none of the Fantastic Racism most human nobles have, and treats an Elven Warden and Velanna with as much respect as he'd give any human.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Justice aside, he's probably your most moral party member, but he's broody, irritable and can be pretty insulting if you get on his bad side.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: In Dragon Age II if his sidequest is completed, he will show up to help fight against Meredith.
  • Guttural Growler: If he wasn't one at first, he sounds noticeably raspier during his cameo in II.
  • I Am Not My Father: Once he realizes just how twisted his father really is, he more or less states this to the Warden.
  • I Choose to Stay: The Warden can let him take a few family heirlooms and go when they first meet, only for Nathaniel to be so moved by their honor and mercy that he returns and asks to join the Grey Wardens willingly.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Does this occasionally with Sigrun.
    Nathaniel: Oh, I... I didn't mean...
    Sigrun: It's all right. You're a noble.
  • Irony: Nathaniel is strongly implied to be The Unfavorite since Rendon Howe shipped him off to be a squire in Kirkwall from an early age, and Nat is the only one of his kids he never mentions in the base game. However, this just ensured that Rendon's least favorite child is the only one to hold him in high esteem, since Nat was never around to see what an absolute prick he was.
  • It's All About Me: His rage against the Human Noble and City Elf Warden for killing his father can come across as this, since Rendon Howe had the former's entire family slaughtered and usurped their lands, and had the latter's alienage purged and sold into slavery.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While he's rude and hostile when you first meet, the Warden can agree it's not right for his entire family to be punished for his father's actions.
  • Killed Off for Real: The Warden-Commander can order him hanged, stating that as Arl Howe's last surviving son, he's too dangerous to be allowed to live.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Anders makes a joke out of Nathaniel's family name in a party banter they share.
    Anders: So you're a Howe.
    Nathaniel: Do you have a point, mage?
    Anders: Hey, I'm fond of the Howes. I'm also fond of the Whys, the Whos, and the Whats.
    Nathaniel: How clever.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Nathaniel starts off hating the Warden because he blames them for killing his father and rendering his family pariahs. Regardless of their origin, the Warden can help Nathaniel see that not only did Rendon Howe bring his fate on himself, but the Warden potentially had nothing to do with his family being stripped of their status.
  • Nothing Personal: Zig-zagged.
    • The Warden can tell Nathaniel when they first meet that they bear his family no ill-will since Rendon Howe was just another enemy they had to defeat in order to stop the Blight. They can also help him restore his family's good name.
    • Nathaniel himself will admonish the Warden for their part in his family becoming pariahs since, in his mind, Rendon Howe was just on the losing side of the war and thus any further retaliation against his family is excessive. (A Human Noble Warden can tell Nat where to shove it, in that case, since it's very personal.)
  • Odd Friendship: If befriended, this becomes his relationship with the Human Noble Warden. It must run in the family, though at least this iteration ends happily.
  • Pun: His starting armor is called The Bear's Embrace.
  • Put on a Bus: One of the options for his fate, which you must decide - you can either conscript him, kill him, or set him free.
    • The Bus Came Back: If you do in fact release him, he comes back later and joins the Wardens of his own free will.
  • Ship Tease: With Velanna. Nathaniel calls her "my lady" and tells her that he finds her lovely, and she yells at him to stop saying that, in an embarrassed tone.
    • A female PC can flirt with him in the Blackmarsh, teasing him a little about his childhood dream of saving the haunted marsh.
      Female Warden: You wanted to be a hero? That's cute.
      Nathaniel: Isn't that the dream of all little boys?
  • Sins of Our Fathers: The Warden-Commander can choose to kill him in retaliation for his father's crimes, especially poignant if they happen to be a Human Noble (since Howe killed most of their family and usurped their lands and titles) or City Elf (since Howe butchered and enslaved most of their alienage).
  • Straight Man and Wise Guy: Anders in particular enjoys bouncing bad jokes off him - and keeps at it years later in Kirkwall, despite his mental state being otherwise at its bleakest.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome:
    Oghren: The whole "quiet and stoic" thing must get you a lot of action, huh?
    Nathaniel: I take it you're an admirer, Oghren?
    Oghren: What? No! No! Well, not unless - no!
  • Threat Backfire: During his recruitment, the Warden can deflect his veiled threat by pointing out he's not the first person to make it.
    Nathaniel: You like having Grey Wardens who want you dead?
    Warden: Some of my best friends have wanted me dead.
  • The Un-Favourite: Subtly implied. He doesn't appear to have been very close with his father, was sent to Kirkwall in the Free Marches to become a squire, and unlike his siblings, was never mentioned by Arl Howe at all during the course of Origins.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: He has a conversation with Justice where he suggests that he could posses a willing living host in a mutually beneficial partnership. While Justice is initially opposed to the idea, he is persuaded to consider the idea further due to Nathaniel's arguments. This idea leads to Justice possessing the willing Anders, which causes some trouble in Dragon Age II.
  • Written by the Winners: Discussed. Nathaniel starts off convinced his father was unfairly demonized because he was on the losing side of the civil war. It takes time for Nathaniel to accept that, no, his father was as bad as everyone claims, and brought his fate on himself.
  • You Killed My Father: He was caught trying to assassinate the Warden. Particularly poignant if the Warden is the Human Noble or City Elf.

Oghren is back from Dragon Age: Origins, with a battleaxe in one hand, a tankard in the other, and a belch ready in his gullet.

For tropes pertaining to Oghren, see this page.



    Seneschal Varel
Voiced by: Robin Sachs

Seneschal of Vigil's Keep, Varel assists the Grey Wardens in ruling the region and fighting the Darkspawn threats.
  • BFS: He wields a large two-handed broadsword in combat.
  • The Creon: He is effectively the ruler of Amaranthine while the Warden-Commander is off adventuring, yet maintains his subordinate position.
  • The Good Chancellor: Prior to the start of the story, Varel was imprisoned by Arl Rendon Howe for attempting to counteract the worst of his lord's atrocities. When the Grey Wardens are awarded the arling of Amaranthine, he is re-appointed as seneschal and is a helpful ally to the Warden-Commander, giving good, if sometimes morally ambiguous, advice.
  • It Has Been an Honor: During the Battle of Vigil's Keep, if the Warden-Commander is present Varel is badly wounded during the battle and tells them this before dying.
  • Number Two: To the Warden-Commander.
  • Old Soldier: He has spent his life fighting and protecting Amaranthine from threats.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Fell out of favour with Arl Howe because he objected to so many of Howe's decisions. When Howe's acts became more sinister, Varel secretly sheltered those in need and did his best to counteract the arl's atrocities, ending up being imprisoned for it. Fortunately for Varel, Howe was killed in Denerim before he could punish the seneschal for his insubordination.
  • Secret Keeper: Although not a Grey Warden himself, Varel's position as Seneschal means he was told a great number of the Warden's secrets in order to better assist them and help rule Amaranthine. This includes knowledge of the Joining and how to administer it. This is explained in the game by the fact that he knows more about Amaranthine and the Vigil than pretty much anyone else now living, and his conduct has always been above reproach, so it was decided that he could be trusted with the secrets of the order.
  • Taking the Bullet: If the Warden-Commander does nothing to stop the noble conspiracy against them from advancing, then Varel will take a crossbow bolt for the Warden during their attempted coup.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: His fate if the Warden-Commander does not help defend Vigil's Keep is unknown, although Garevel is known to be promoted to seneschal sometime after the game.


    The Mother
Voiced by: Dee Dee Rescher

"You took that beautiful music from us, and left us nothing!"

An insane Broodmother who leads the Disciples.

  • Anti-Magic: She can cast Glyph of Neutralization to drain your party mage's mana.
  • Axe-Crazy: The most unhinged Darkspawn in the franchise.
  • Bad Boss: Though according to her, she believes she's doing her minions a favor, assuming they also seek death.
  • Body Horror: In addition to the standard creepiness of being a Broodmother, her face is covered in blood, as if she is bleeding out of every orifice. And part of her face comes off when she roars.
  • Big Bad: Of the Dragon Age: Origins expansion Awakening.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Among the Blue-and-Orange Morality of the awakened Darkspawn, she stands out for being considered this by other Darkspawn. The First expresses fury over her plan trapping him in The Fade with The Warden and spends what remains of his screen-time trying to escape to seek revenge. The post-mission cutscene however shows her grieving over his death and stating that she'd considered sending him to The Fade a reward.
  • Death Seeker: She hopes that she will be able to hear the Old Gods' song again after she dies.
  • Evil Laugh: Complete with an announcement that she will do so.
  • Evil Matriarch: As a sentient Broodmother, she can command her own Darkspawn children.
  • Fan Disservice: She's completely naked, her upper body still looks mostly human and sports multiple sets of increasingly larger breasts, but there's absolutely nothing titillating about her even so.
  • Flunky Boss: When her tentacles are slain, she will summon a large number of Childer Grubs.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The Architect wanted to give her free will. He succeeded, and she's decided that she wants him dead.
  • Large Ham: Few female hams are as large as this.
  • Nightmare Face: The bleeding face, and the way the lower part of her face opens up and comes off when you fight her.
  • One Bad Mother: A horrific creature, and known only as "the Mother".
  • Posthuman Nudism: As a Broodmother, she was once human - and despite having regained her sentience, rejects even the partial recovery of humanity this represents by keeping her upper body stark naked.
  • Sanity Slippage: Not that she had much sanity if any to begin with, what with being a Broodmother, but The Architect giving her free will severed her from the song of the Old Gods that calls to the Darkspawn when there's no active Archdemon. This in turn drove what would already be a severely mentally tormented creature even more insane.
  • Taking You with Me: She acknowledges that she stands no chance against the Warden, but tries to kill them before she is killed herself.
  • Unknown Rival: Depending on what order the Warden-Commander tackles the main plot quests in, they may not even hear her name until just before she launches simultaneous sieges against Amaranthine and the Vigil.
  • We Wait: She seems to take the loss of Kal'Hirol with a remarkable optimism and the suggestion of a finely prepared trap. This trap apparently consists in herself sitting on her gargantuan, bulbous, arachnid abdomen waiting for the Warden, then beating the living hell out of them. She's very active on other fronts.
  • Was Once A Woman: As a Broodmother, she was once a humanoid woman who suffered a Fate Worse than Death.

    The Architect
Voiced by: Jamie Glover

"I do not seek to rule my brethren. I only seek to release them from their chains."

A Darkspawn emissary who wants to end conflict between the Darkspawn and other races. He first appeared in The Calling and reappears in Awakening. He is very polite, but does not understand the concept of morality.

  • Affably Evil: Even amongst the awakened Darkspawn, he comes across as the most rational and polite.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: The Mother accuses him of being driven by sheer loneliness as much as any grand vision.
  • Anti-Villain: "I apologize for what I must do."
  • Apologetic Attacker: If challenged to a fight, he apologizes to the Warden for being forced to defend himself, and to Utha for being unable to fulfil his promise to her.
  • Big Bad: In The Calling.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality:
    • He literally has no clue as to why people object to his willingness to sacrifice millions of people to save billions.
    • He is fully aware of his lack of understanding and ashamed by it, since it makes it difficult for him to properly communicate with the other races.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Or at least, tries not to be - with questionable success.
  • Dark Secret: While most of the other stuff happening in Dragon Age (the Hero of Ferelden ending the Blight, Hawke defending Kirkwall and inadvertedly kicking off the Mage-Templar-War, the Inquisitor defeating Corypheus) is mostly public knowledge and abundantly commented on later on, the Warden Commander's involvement with the Architect is mostly kept under wraps. The most we get are Nathaniel's terribly vague hints in DA 2.
  • Enemy Mine: If the Warden decides not to kill him.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: While is is unknown how evil he was before he became a Darkspawn, he was greatly affronted by Corypheus's idea to enter the Golden City and become a god, only coming on board when Urthemiel gave the approval for the idea.
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: His eyes are in the wrong part of his face, and badly misaligned.
  • The Fog of Ages: If he really was an original Magister, then he's either lying about his past or the centuries of wandering have eaten away at his memory.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Giving free will to the Darkspawn also allows them to rebel against him and become even nastier, just because that's what they want to do with their free will.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Subverted. While the Architect isn't actively malevolent, his actions spurred the events of both Awakening and Origins at large. He subjected the Fifth Archdemon to his inverse Joining ritual in an attempt to destroy the Old Gods' control over the Darkspawn. He only succeeded in starting the Fifth Blight, resulting in the events of Origins. All of the death, chaos and hate that erupted from it is on the Architect's hands. It's also been all but confirmed that he is one of the original Magisters who brought the Blight to Thedas in the first place.
  • Grey-and-Grey Morality: While the Architect's plans, if successful, would put off any further Blights and potentially lead to peace with both the dwarves and the surface, his methodology is haphazard and often leads to disastrous outcomes. A Grey Warden may well agree with the Architect's intent, but kill him anyway for the danger he represents.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Sometime after the events of The Calling, he discovered that Grey Warden blood can be used to sever the Darkspawn's connection to the Old Gods, ending the Blights without killing as many people as he would have with his previous plan. He's still as morally ambiguous as ever, though.
  • High Priest: If he really is one of the original Magisters that invaded the Golden City, then he was once the high priest of one of the Old Gods. Worth noting is that Urthemiel's high priest called himself "The Architect of the Works of Beauty."
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Somewhat justified; due to his difficulty to understand both good and evil, he fails to realize when his Disciples are acting needlessly violent and disrupting his plans in the process.
  • Inhuman Eye Concealers: For most of the game, he hides the upper half of his face behind a golden domino mask to conceal his disfigured eyes.
  • Irony: If he is truly The Architect of the Works of Beauty, he is responsible for corrupting the object of his worship.
  • Lack of Empathy: He has a very hard time understanding non-Darkspawn.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: He is not exactly a good guy, but he comes out as nice when compared to the Mother and his fellow Magister-turned-darkspawn Corypheus..
  • Mad Scientist: He conducts brutal experiments on Grey Wardens and their taint.
  • Messianic Archetype: Deconstructed Trope. The Architect's intentions are ultimately benign, and would save both the Darkspawn and the rest of Thedas from the tragedy of another Blight. Unfortunately, the Architect is so powerful that his failures cause Blights. It's entirely possible for the Warden to agree with the Architect's intentions, and still find it morally irresponsible to let him live.
  • My Greatest Failure: Creating the Mother and turning Urthemiel into the fifth Archdemon.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: A Darkspawn that wants to end Blights instead of starting them.
  • Nice Hat: With a nice dash of Body Horror, as it appears to be a part of his body.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Pretty much everything that happens in Awakening - and for that matter, Origins - can be traced back to him and his own efforts to combat the Blights. The Mother? His doing. The death of all the Wardens and most of the soldiers at the Vigil? His attempt to forge an alliance there which went wrong. The awakening of Urthemiel and the beginning of the Fifth Blight in the first place? His doing!
    • And if you remember Gaider's interview comment about him being "the same type of character" as Corypheus, then forget about starting the Fifth Blight. He helped start the first one!
  • Never Trust a Trailer: He was advertised as being the expansion's Big Bad, but only appears in it a couple of times and can become an ally.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: Sort of. Compared to the other Darkspawn he's practically a saint, and he doesn't seem to possess any genuine maliciousness, but that doesn't mean he can't cause problems accidentally or as a result of his plans to 'save' Ferelden. Just ask Urthemiel.
  • Not So Different:
    • Both he and the Grey Wardens seek to end the Blights by any means necessary.
    • The Architect and the Warden's experimentation with the Taint are also highly similar. The Grey Wardens are specialized ghouls who retained their humanity (for 30 years at least), after consumption of specially prepared Darkspawn blood. The Disciples meanwhile are specialized Darkspawn with their connection to the Old Gods severed, granting them sentience, after consumption of Grey Warden blood.
    • His experimentation in modifying the Taint also makes him similar to Avernus from the Warden's Keep DLC.
  • Power Floats: He floats down to meet the Warden face-to-face.
  • Red Right Hand: He looks like a pale human unless he removes his mask, which reveals his disfigured eyes. This is decidedly different from his description in The Calling, where he looks like just another Hurlock Emissary that happens to be disturbingly polite. He does look considerably more like the redesigned emissaries in Dragon Age II.
  • Rogue Drone: He was "born" unable to hear the Call and can't explain why.
    "Why do some of your kind become Grey Wardens? Why do some possess magic? I have no answers."
    • It's possible he's not a natural born Darkspawn, but an amnesiac original Magister.
  • Skippable Boss: If you reject his proposed alliance, you will have to kill him.
  • Übermensch: Wants to free his fellow Darkspawn from the song of the Old Ones.
  • The Unfettered: A strange variant. Most Unfettered are aware of moral limits and ignore them; he is unaware and doesn't understand when they're pointed out. His first plan for ending the Blights involved inflicting the Taint on all of Thedas, killing who knows how many of them. Good thing he discovered how to make other Darkspawn like him.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Puns about his name aside. The Architect is this three times over! He caused the First and Fifth Blights with his experiments, although the first was under Corypheus' direction. He failed to provide proper instructions to The Withered, which led to his Darkspawn assaulting Vigil's Keep instead of just talking, which in turn (indirectly) led to Kristof's death and the death of Anders' escorts... and that led directly to Justice and Anders' Joining the Wardens, which caused the second game. That, in turn, caused the Mage-Templar War, which is why the world was distracted enough to allow the third game to happen! The Architect is accidentally at fault for nearly every single bad thing in the whole franchise going back thirteen centuries, and he has no idea. Suffice it to say, the name is apropos.
  • Visionary Villain: Velanna outright calls him a visionary.
  • Was Once a Man: According to David Gaider, the Architect is actually a former Tevinter Magister-turned-Darkspawn similar to Corypheus. His appearance in Awakening has a few elements closely akin to Corypheus: his frilly Shoulders of Doom and his mutilated face with bits of other things fused into it.
  • We Could Have Avoided All This: When the Warden calls him out on experimenting on them whilst unconscious, he apologises, pointing out that after the Withered screwed up his orders and attacked Vigil's Keep, he didn't believe that they would be very willing to listen to his proposition.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: His only goal is to find a way to end the conflict between the Darkspawn and the rest of the world in a way that allows both sides to coexist. However, a tenuous grasp on concepts like morality and a lack of understanding of basic human nature lead him to employ rather monstrous methods, less out of ruthlessness and more out of simply not understanding how horrifying they are to others.


A Silent Sister who joined the Grey Wardens. She later joined the Architect in order to end the Blights. She first appeared in The Calling and makes a cameo in Awakening.

  • Anti-Villain: She only follows the Architect because she believes that he will end the Blights.
  • Barefisted Monk: In The Calling, although she does use a club occasionally.
  • The Cameo: In Awakening.
  • The Dragon: To the Architect.
  • Face–Heel Turn: From the perspective of the Grey Wardens, she does this when she leaves the order to willingly work with a Darkspawn.
  • The Quiet One: Subverted. While she is mute, she uses sign language to speak fairly often. In addition, she seems to hold conversations with The Architect mentally.
  • Tongue Trauma: Her mutism is justified. Instead a vow of silence, the Silent Sisters cut out their own tongues when joining their order.
  • Retcon: In The Calling she fights with her fists, and after the Architect accelerates the spread of her taint, she resembles a genlock. In Awakening, she uses a sword and looks like a dwarf with decaying skin.
  • Skippable Boss: She only fights the Warden-Commander should they move to kill The Architect.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: She was already one as a Grey Warden, but she becomes even more extreme by deciding to work with Darkspawn.

    The Baroness
Voiced by: Belinda Cornish

"The spirits will watch in envy as the mortals of this realm bow down before me!"

The Orlesian Baroness placed in charge of the Blackmarsh. Infamous for the cruelty of her reign, even death cannot stop her from wreaking havoc.

  • Back from the Dead: After sundering the Veil she finds out that she's powerful enough to manifest completely in the mortal world without the need to possess another person's body.
  • Devour the Dragon: What she does to The First.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: In her demon form.
  • Expy: Pretty clearly one of Countess Elizabeth Bathory, a Hungarian aristocrat who gruesomely murdered dozens of young women and was rumoured (though never proven) to have bathed in their blood to remain youthful.
  • Face–Heel Turn: A document found by the Warden speaks of how she once slew a dragon that was terrorizing her subjects, earning her people's love in the process. It's ambiguous whether she was genuinely a good person who fell prey to her darker desires, or one who was Evil All Along and only killed the dragon to make her efforts to kidnap her peasants' children easier.
  • French Jerk: Or the equivalent of one, being from Orlais.
  • It's All About Me: Due to her high station, she views her peasants as her possessions. Thus, in her mind, she can do whatever she wants with them.
  • Kill It with Fire: She finally died when her peasants revolted and burned down her mansion with her inside of it. Unfortunately for them, she was able to cast one final spell before dying, which trapped all of them in the Fade with her.
  • Lack of Empathy: Does not care about the suffering she causes.
  • No Name Given: She's only ever referred to as "the Baroness."
  • One-Winged Angel: Since feasting on her peasants' souls, she's become a Dark Pride Demon, one of the most powerful kinds of demon encountered in Thedas.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: She was initially loved by her subjects for using her magic to defeat a high dragon, the Queen of the Blackmarsh.
  • Smug Snake: Her opinion is that, as a Baroness of Orlais, her peasants should just lay down and let her do whatever she wants to them. After coming back to the mortal world, she seems to think she's powerful enough to Take Over the World on her own.
  • Taking You with Me: When her peasants burned down her house, her final act was to kill them all and trap their spirits in the Fade.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The Baroness brought Justice across the Veil by accident. That led him to properly meeting Anders, and the rest is history.
  • Vain Sorceress: She preserved her youth via Blood Magic, and her spirit keeps her beautiful form even after becoming a Pride Demon. Her peasants also call her vain a few times.
    • The World of Thedas Volume II lorebook presents a motive for her vanity. There was once a Baron to the Baroness, but he left her when her looks began to fade with age.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The rituals that restored her youth? She murdered her peasants' children in order to take the blood to perform them.
  • You Have Failed Me: She kills the First when he fails in killing the Warden.
  • Your Soul is Mine!: Not only did she trap her peasants' souls in the Fade, she's been feeding off them. Apparently this caused her transformation from mortal soul to demon.

    Ser Rylock
Voiced by: Natasha Little

"You cannot hide within the Grey Wardens' ranks!"

A corrupt Templar with a personal grudge against Anders, who isn't above overstepping her authority to pursue it.

  • Bullying a Dragon: Tries to intimidate the Wardens into turning Anders over to her.
  • Corrupt Cop: Seems more interested in pursuing her personal grudge against Anders than her duty as a Templar. The fact she was willing to keep trying to arrest him despite his joining the Wardens putting him outside her jurisdiction proves that.
  • Fantastic Racism: In addition to her grudge against Anders, she makes a few bigoted comments if confronted by a Mage Warden.
  • It's Personal: She clearly loathes Anders and makes no attempt to hide it.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: She keeps trying to intrude on the Wardens' turf, insisting the Wardens are nothing but a haven for blood mages. Given the nature of The Joining is Blood Magic, she's sort of right. However, it's also the only thing that allows the Grey Wardens to kill an Archdemon so her point is absolutely worthless.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Rylock seems to believe her status as a Templar gives her carte blanche to do what she likes in pursuing Anders, even if he has been put through the Joining and the Right of Conscription (which puts a mage outside Chantry jurisdiction).
  • Too Dumb to Live: When confronted, she demands the Warden-Commander hand him over, talking down to a man/woman who has, potentially at this point, slain an Archdemon and untold quantites of darkspawn and other foes to get there. There's also the fact that her entire plan to recapture Anders not only involves attacking a man/woman who is the Arl/Arlessa of Amarathine and a personal friend of the King/Queen of Ferelden (if not the Royal Consort), making Rylock's actions treason, but trying to capture a grey warden, who, by Chantry's own laws, it's completely outside templar jurisdiction.
  • Villain Has a Point: Post-Dragon Age II, her rantings about Anders do seem to have a point. Of course, Anders's mental state at that point has largely been caused by Templars like her.

The Disciples


The Disciples are Darkspawn, mainly Hurlocks, that have shown a keen cunning and intellect all but unheard of in regards to Darkspawn. They are the only Darkspawn that can speak intelligibly to non-Darkspawn, hold independent identities and free will, and choose their own names. All are voiced by Mark Meer.

  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Like the Architect himself, the Disciples seem to have a hard time getting the whole morality thing. This is assuming that they're even trying, which the ones who serve the Mother definitely aren't.
  • Good Colours, Evil Colours: In addition to the Facial Markings below, Disciples who follow the Architect (and as such are not exactly "good", but still the least evil of the two sides) wear silver and blue armor, while those following the Mother wear red and black armor.
  • Facial Markings: Disciples who follow the Architect have markings over their eyes that resemble his mask. Ones that follow the Mother have red streaks like Tears of Blood, just as she does.
  • It Can Think: Darkspawn cannot hold a coherent thought long enough to create complex plans (like ambushes or tactical manoeuvres) or suppress their innate savagery long enough to cooperate without an Archdemon to direct and control them. That's why Blights are so bad. The Disciples don't need an Archdemon or even a leader to hold on to their sapience, which really frightens the Gray Wardens.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: All of them have mouthfuls of needle-sharp teeth. This is probably why their speech is a little odd.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The First, the Seeker, the Withered, the Lost, the Messenger, the Herald...
  • Strange-Syntax Speaker: Their phrasing tends to be peculiar. They're understandable, but... strange.

    The Withered

"You are thinking you know of our kind, human? It is understandable. But that will soon be changed."

The first Disciple encountered in the game. The Warden encounters him leading an assault on Vigil's Keep, intent on capturing them.

  • Dramatically Missing the Point: His interpretation of the Architect's orders was a tad off the mark.
  • Noble Demon: He specifically says that he only kills what is necessary, and frowns on unneeded bloodshed. Ironic, considering his original goals.
  • Poor Communication Kills: He interpreted "attempt to negotiate with the Warden in Vigil's Keep peacefully" as "kill everyone in the Keep except the Warden-Commander, and then parley with the Warden-Commander alone."
  • Warm-Up Boss: Depending on your imported level, anyway. He introduces the player to the new warrior skills in his boss fight.
  • Weapon of Choice: Longsword and Shield.

    The Seeker 

An unseen Disciple serving the Architect.

  • The Chessmaster: The point of his deception among the Humans and Dalish was to weaken the Wardens through their supplies and armory.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Although odds are he wouldn't look any different from the other Disciples.
  • Karma Houdini: By virtue of never making an in-game appearance to answer for his scheme.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He played Velanna like a fiddle by kidnapping her sister and steering her rage at Human merchants.
  • The Unfought: Only mentioned in letters written by the Architect.

    The First

"I am the First! I am not being 'expendable!' Both the Grey Warden and the Mother shall be learning this!"

One of the original Disciples, as indicated by his name, and general of the Mother's armies.

  • Alas, Poor Villain: It's hard not to pity the guy when he pathetically pleads for his life as the Baroness uses him to fuel her spell.
  • The Dragon: To the Mother. Later to the Baroness if the player sides with Justice.
  • Flaming Sword: His greatsword is not only on fire, but has a 50% chance to ignite an enemy on fire.
  • Number Two for Brains: He gets mocked by the Warden when he gets trapped in the Fade as well.
    Warden: You weren't the "First" in your class, I take it...
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: He's a little shocked to realize that the Mother intended for him to be trapped in the Fade with the Warden-Commander.
  • Weapon of Choice: A Greatsword, referred to as "The Mother's Chosen".

    The Messenger

A Disciple that serves the Architect.

  • Creepy Good
  • Mysterious Protector: Becomes this if the Warden lets him live.
  • Noble Demon: While he argues to let Amaranthine burn to save the Vigil, he nonetheless offers to participate in the defense of Amaranthine if the Warden chooses to save the city.
  • Reluctant Monster: By all appearances and accounts, an unambiguously nice guy lacking any of the malice or violent streaks inherent to the other Disciples.
  • Token Heroic Orc: The only Disciple that is wholly heroic.
  • Typhoid Mary: The Messenger is heroic and entirely well-intentioned. If the Warden sets him free he wanders around hooded as a traveler with a slight lisp, helping people - and wherever he goes, isolated cases of the incurable Blight sickness occur.
  • Weapon of Choice: A Mace and Shield.

    The Lost

A Disciple loyal to the Mother. He and his forces have taken the ruins of the dwarven city Kal'Hirol, using it as a breeding ground for their Broodmothers. When the Warden confronts him, he is already under siege by darkspawn loyal to the Architect.

  • Association Fallacy: He attacks the Warden believing them to have come into Kal'Hirol as part of the forces allied with the Architect. In reality, the Warden came to investigate the reports of sentient darkspawn and clear out the Broodmothers, as well as aiding Sigrun in avenging the Legion. Depending on the order the quests are done in, this also may be the first time the Warden has even heard the Architect's name.
  • Ax-Crazy: A staple of the Mother's Disciples.
  • Dual Boss: He's fought at the same time as his Inferno Golem.
  • Evil Genius: Of the Mother's Disciples, he's clearly the most intelligent one.
  • Mêlée à Trois: His screentime has him fighting both the Warden and the Architect's forces.
  • Squishy Wizard: Unfortunately, he's compensated by using an Inferno Golem as his "tank".
  • Undying Loyalty: To the Mother.
  • Weapon of Choice: A staff, like any other mage.

    The Herald

A Disciple loyal to the Mother, he is a general in her darkspawn army. He is the final Disciple encountered, and only appears in one of two quests which happen simultaneously prior to the endgame.

  • The Dragon: Unless you choose to kill the Architect, he is the last boss to fight before confronting the Mother.
  • Four-Star Badass: The darkspawn equivalent thereof, anyway, having command of several lesser darkspawn and an armored Ogre.
  • Kill 'Em All: His view of the Wardens. "We break the Wardens. We leave only ash."
  • Skippable Boss: You will not fight him if you work to save the city of Amaranthine instead of returning to defend Vigil's Keep.
  • Undying Loyalty: To the Mother.
  • Weapon of Choice: Twin Daggers.


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