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Main Character Index | The Warden | The Companions | Grey Wardens | Fereldan Nobles | Orzammar | Non-Playable Characters | Awakening | DLC Characters

Subpage for all the playable companions of Dragon Age: Origins.


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The Warriors

    Alistair 

    Dog 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Dog_image_1411.png
"Woof!"

"Mabari are at least as smart as your average tax collector!"
Ostagar kennel master

The faithful Mabari hound of the PC with human-level intelligence and a mean bite. Can be cute when he needs to be, though; even Morrigan is moved by his puppy eyes once. The player may give Dog any name they wish, but according to writer Mary Kirby, his official name is Rabbit.


  • 100% Adoration Rating: Dog's approval starts at 100% and can't be influenced downward, except by means of a specific Feastday Pranks item. Your Warden can be the most despicable kicker of dogs in all of Ferelden, and Dog will still adore them.
  • Arch-Enemy: Oghren considers him this.
  • Badass Adorable: He's a formidable fighter, but spends most of the time in camp giving you soppy looks and rolling over.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Unless the Warden is a Human Noble (who already has a pet Mabari), it's implied that the Dog is the same one that the Warden cured in Ostagar and he intentionally sought the Warden, having chosen them to be his new master.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Despite doing all manner of silly dog things in camp or elsewhere (such as the "Can I keep him?" bit with a kid in Denerim), he is still a Mabari War Hound. One needs only watch him viciously tear up someone using Overwhelm.
  • Big, Friendly Dog: To everyone but those who threaten his master, except Alistair... and Oghren, both of whom threaten his food.
  • Bilingual Dialogue:
    • If taken to the market in Denerim, Dog will run off and come back with a human boy he wants to keep. The Warden's response options make clear that Dog is capable of making fairly complex statements using his array of yelps, barks, and whines, and that the Warden is capable of understanding them. Perhaps justified by the fact that Mabari are supposed to have human-level intelligence, but they do just sound like standard dog noises. (A proverb mentioned many times in game is that mabari are "smart enough to talk, wise enough not to.")
    • He will also have full-blown conversations with Sten and Loghain in Origins and Ariane in Witch Hunt (who complains about him lecturing her).
  • Canine Companion: Of the Warden. And Sten, if the Warden makes the Ultimate Sacrifice.
  • Character Development: Believe it or not. In Origins, he constantly draws ire and/or amusement from other companions by getting into mischief (stealing food, putting dead things in their packs, "decorating" their stuff with drool and tooth marks, etc). By his return in Witch Hunt, he is much more serious and rule-abiding, and has to talk Ariane out of performing mischief in the Circle.
  • Cone of Shame: You can buy one in the Feastday Pranks DLC set. It's the only thing in the game that will lower his approval rating.
  • Crutch Character: His "Overwhelm" ability and high HP make him useful in the early game, though his unique equipment later in the game makes him more lackluster compared to the other party members. This can be alleviated somewhat by increasing his HP to ungodly levels, though just about any other warrior would be a better choice in any other situation.
  • Defector from Decadence: According to Fenris in Dragon Age II, the Mabari Warhounds were created by Tevinter magisters to help them with their conquest of the lands that would become Ferelden. After seeing the kindness of the native Alamarri (the ancestors of the Fereldan people), the Mabari decided to defect and chose to side with them instead. Since then, a contingent of Mabari has been a staple of their military forces.
    Fenris: I've always liked the idea that they found the barbarians more...palatable than the mages.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": His default name is, well, "Dog".
  • Dogs Are Dumb: Averted; Mabari were bred by mages to be incredibly intelligent. As the game will remind you over and over and over again, a Fereldan proverb has it that Mabari are smart enough to speak, and wise enough to know not to.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Several times.
    • In The Stone Prisoner DLC, Dog will immediately sense that something's very very wrong with "Kitty". Either that or he just hates cats like any other dog. You'll find out why he was barking when her eyes start glowing purple and she talks.
    • Dog start barking and growling against Sophia Dryden in The Warden's Keep DLC. Mostly because, like Kitty in The Stone Prisoner DLC; Dog detects that Sophia is possesed by a demon.
    • Dog goes absolutely apeshit the first time you encounter Witherfang, barking furiously.
    • Dog will also start growling at Zathrian, perhaps sensing his connection to the werewolf curse.
      • Given being an efficient evil-detecting animal, one wonders if the fereldan templars use mabaris to track any abomination they're hunting in some moment.
  • Genius Bruiser: Among dogs, Mabari hounds are geniuses, able to understand spoken language and learn complex commands. They are also hulking beasts, being as large as a dwarf and just as strong.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: The only party member besides the player character that you can name.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Ferelden culture is heavily dog-friendly. You'll see dog motifs all over...their torches, wardrobes, support beams. Heck, it's even on the royal coat of arms: Instead of Lions Rampant, you have Mabari Hounds Rampant. Some nobles, as exemplified by Bryce Cousland, even call their children "Lad" and "Pup" as terms of endearment.
    • And in Dragon Age II, people in the Free Marches who dislike Fereldans refer to them derogatorily as "dog-lords." In Origins, foreigners constantly complain about Fereldan smelling like wet dog.
  • Heroic Dog: In five of the six Origin stories, Dog fought as part of the King's Army before meeting the Warden. The exception is the Human Noble, who brings Dog with them to Ostagar. He was previously part of the defense forces at Castle Cousland, and during the battle assists his master/mistress with the race to light the signal beacon.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Not exactly, since being a dog he attacks with his teeth and/or claws, but the player can enhance his physical attacks by equipping him with... paints. And different fancy collars.
  • I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: If the Warden takes him with them to the Denerim Market, he will suddenly run off and come back with a (rather enthusiastic) young boy in tow. The Warden will then have to convince him that he can't keep the boy and has to return him.
    • Because Mabari choose their owners, this even applies to the Warden themselves.
  • Killer Rabbit: Dog's "official" name is "Rabbit", which could be a shout out to Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
  • Mercy Kill: This is an option in the quest that introduces him.
  • Mini-Game: Has a couple, one being a territory marking game and another trying to collect all the objects he can find in various areas of the game world.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Some of his barks and head-tilts even veer into Snarky Non-Human Sidekick territory.
  • Permanently Missable Content: If a non-Human-Noble Warden doesn't find the cure and deliver it to the kennel master at Ostagar, Dog will die and never be available as a party member. He can however be obtained in the Return to Ostagar DLC.
  • The Pig Pen: Wynne apparently is not a fan of Dog's tendency to get muddy and covered in grime.
    Wynne: Your dog is filthy, I can smell him from fifty yards off!
    Dog: *Hurt whine*
    Warden: Good! He will fell our enemies with his stench!
    Dog: *Happy Bark*
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Even Morrigan is affected by his manipulative whine.
  • Quizzical Tilt: Occasionally does this during conversations.
  • Team Pet: The only members of the Warden's party who don't get along with him are Oghren... and Alistair, oddly enough.
    • Oghren gets along well enough with Dog... he's just pissed that Dog doesn't want to be the first of his "Wardog Charioteers." That, and in one of his drunken rants, he believes the dog has stolen his pants. Even though Oghren's wearing them at the time.
    • Alistair has some difficulty remembering that Dog is a sentient war hound and should be treated as such. Dog doesn't cut him any slack for this. Alistair also probably didn't score any points with Dog when he got too close to his food and accused him of eating people. Party banter implies that they get along decently later in the game.
  • This Means Warpaint: Mabari are often painted with "kaddis," a paint with a strong scent that helps them tell friend from foe in a heated battle. In-game, kaddis is an equippable item for Dog that can carry a variety of stat benefits.
  • Timmy in a Well: Played with. In one side quest, Dog will try to tell the Warden that something is very wrong about the situation they are entering. The "snarky" response is "What's that? Someone fell down a well?"
  • True Companions: His approval rating is actually over 100% and he is utterly devoted to the Warden - which makes sense, considering the Mabari are the ones to choose their own masters.
  • Undying Loyalty: No matter what the player does, Dog will always have a 100% approval rating.
    • The Mabari War Hounds abandoned the Tevinter magisters to fight alongside the "barbarians" who would become the Fereldan people. More than a thousand years later, they are still part of the elite force of Ferelden's military.
    • It's mentioned that one cannot simply acquire a pet Mabari, they choose you.
  • Urine Trouble: One of the Dog's minigames involves finding landmark objects for him to pee on. Seriously. He's marking his territory. It actually makes him stronger. Of particular audacity is marking the Denerim alienage's Vhenedal tree. Yes, the central honorific tree of the alienage... and Dog pees on it.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's explained that the Warden's loyal hound does not follow them in the Awakening expansion because he's busy repopulating Ferelden's mabari kennels. He returns to their side in the Witch Hunt DLC.
  • Worthy Opponent: What Sten considers him to be.
    Sten: You are a true warrior and worthy of respect.
    Dog: (happily) Ruff!

    Oghren 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dao_oghren.jpg
"ASSCHABS!"
Voiced by: Steve Blum

"If you've ever heard of me before, it's probably all been about how I piss ale and murder young boys who look at me wrong. And that's mostly true."

A former dwarf warrior from Orzammar, Oghren is now best known for his drinking and the fact that he was forbidden to carry weapons; a great insult to his status. He was shamed when his wife Branka left with their entire clan to search the Deep Roads for something important to her, leaving only him behind. Shale's nickname for him is "The Drunken Dwarf." He returns in Awakening, where he becomes a Grey Warden himself.

In general, he's a perverted drunkard.

These are considered his good traits.


  • Acquired Poison Immunity: His decades of alcoholic mistreatment of his body has left him pretty much impervious to the negative affects of drinking things. Even the Joining doesn't give him more than slight indigestion where it knocks everyone else out cold (or worse) in seconds.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Regardless of whether he decided to try to become a better person, he's back to being a disreputable drunkard in Awakening.
  • The Alcoholic: Talking to him at camp frequently results in him going on drunken (and hilarious) tirades.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Gets lampshaded. Apparently, this is his strategy for wooing women. Standing still while looking mysteriously angry does wonders.
  • Badass Baritone: Even for a dwarf.
  • Badass Beard: Comes with being a dwarf.
  • Badass Boast: Oghren's final words before the The Very Definitely Final Dungeon to fight the Archdemon are both Badass and a Heartwarming Moment:
    Oghren: This is it, Warden. "When from the blood of battle the Stone has fed, let the heroes prevail and the blighters lie dead." As one of the blighters, I sodding salute you. Let us show them our hearts, and then show them THEIRS.
  • Berserk Button: Aside from the literal one he gets from his specialization, there's also this:
  • The Berserker: His fighting style of choice.
  • The Big Guy: Which is rather ironic if you consider that only Dog is shorter than him.
  • Blood Knight: A deconstuction. Oghren at one points laments that Dwarven society trains you to become a Blood Knight and the Deshyrs applaud when it wins you victories in the Deep Roads. But the moment you're back in Orzammar, unable to stop your training kicking in and accidentally kill someone during a Proving, they immediately throw you to the Deepstalkers for it.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Deconstructed, as he is shunned by almost everyone for his behavior, all of his relationships have been ruined because of it, and he knows his life is a mess beneath all that drinking and fighting.
  • Braids of Barbarism: The braids in his beard are probably the tidiest thing about Oghren.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Oghren is drunk almost all the time, crude to the point of it being disgusting at times and hits on almost every woman he can, but he is one of the finest fighters of Orzammar and no-one would ever deny his skills in combat.
  • Casanova Wannabe:
    • He hits on all female party members, the Female Warden included. It's most often done under the influence of alcohol and to the disgust or snarkiness of all of them.
      Oghren: Hey you...yeah, you...where can I get some sauce for that rump roast?
      Warden: (completely deadpan) Right here, you mad dwarven stallion, you.
    • He once even drunkenly tries to hit on a Male Warden, due to a case of serious Beer Goggles.
  • Cruel Mercy: Due to his training as a Berserker, Oghren accidentally killed someone during a Proving that was only meant to be to first blood. Because of his victories in the Deep Roads, the Assembly decided not to exile or execute him, instead stripping him of all his weapons and forbidding him their use in city limits. Part of the reason Oghren is hammered most of the time is because he's got nothing to do anymore! He's a born warrior that has been forbidden from fighting!
  • Deadpan Snarker
    Oghren: Oh, you can't keep the Archdemon waiting. You hurt its feelings, it might just turn the whole Blight around and go home. Nobody wants that.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: Invoked verbatim (almost).
    Oghren: I swear. The things I could do to you.
    Morrigan: Ugh. It is leering at me once again...
    Oghren: Oh. Did I say that out loud?
  • Disappeared Dad: He is one himself as he ran off on Felsi and his child to join the Grey Wardens. He does feel guilt about this later on and can be convinced to try and be a part of his child's life via letters.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: He is prone to this.
    Oghren: (on seeing the Circle Tower) Ooh, that's huge. (giggles) I wonder how long it took to erect it. (giggles) Get it? Erect it!
    • Also, this:
      Oghren: (to Shale) Sounds like you're passing a stone, there. (laughs) Get it? "Passing a stone?"
      Shale: I do get it, yes.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Once Felsi leaves after visiting the keep in Awakening, Oghren tells the player to save it.
    Warden: What happens now?
    Oghren: Now you stop looking at me like I'm about to melt into a puddle of Oghren!
  • Drowning My Sorrows: The reason for his alcoholism, after Branka deserted him and took their entire house into the Deep Roads. It didn't help that shortly afterwards, he was barred from using all weaponry in Orzammar.
  • Eat the Dog: Leliana's pet nug just makes him hungry. Somewhat justified, as nugs are food livestock to dwarves - it's as if a party member had a chicken for a pet.
  • Elves vs. Dwarves: Downplayed overall, Oghren denies any interest in an elf vs. dwarf rivalry with Zevran when the latter asks about it, but the two do develop something of a friendly rivalry nonetheless.
    • Played more straight (so to speak) with one of his stock lines in the Awakening:
      Oghren: Look at me! I'm an elf! Trees are pretty! Tra-la-la!
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Oghren gets an axe in Awakening which he dubs "Darkspawn Ravager." Its special effect? + 10 damage to Darkspawn and explosive hits. The weapon's description: "Oghren named this axe the Darkspawn Ravager because that's what it does."
  • Expy: Of Black Whirlwind, right down to the missing relative, the drinking, the axes, and the general Blood Knight attitude.
  • Fiery Redhead: And a badass one as that.
  • First-Name Basis: The Codex mentions that he's originally from House Kondrat of the warrior caste, then later joined his wife in rising to the noble-caste in the newly created House Branka. It's unclear which surname (if any) he currently goes by.
  • Flanderization: In Awakening, where his crude and drunken habits are emphasized.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Oghren has supposedly been banned from fighting or even bearing weapons in Orzammar upon pain of exile, but when he joins the party (in the city) he's carrying a battle axe, and from that point on you can traipse around the city having him kill as many Dust Town thugs and Proving contestants as you like without anyone saying peep about it. The latter part is possibly justified by his being - or appearing to be - part of the Grey Warden's attache; see Loophole Abuse, below.
  • Gargle Blaster:
    • His homebrewed ale will knock the PC out if they don't have a high enough constitution. To him, Darkspawn Blood is barely this.
    • Many of his favorite gifts are this as well. These include: two spirits with lyrium in them, a whiskey that is "best taken by the drop", and a mysterious brew called "Dragon Piss".
    • Wynne, however, can't get enough of his ale.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot:
    • Both over Hespith and Branka, and if a female Warden brings him to the Pearl and gets a female whore, Oghren interupts:
      Whore: Oh... that's just (shriek).
      Oghren: Oops, heh heh, wrong room.
    • You can also short circuit his mind if you as a female PC propose a threesome with hot pirate Isabela and Leliana.
  • Guttural Growler: Even moreso than other male Dwarves.
  • Hidden Depths: He's not as stupid as he appears; the theory in Shale's Faking Amnesia entry came from him, with no input from characters one would expect to be more insightful. Shale's reaction to it suggests he might be onto something.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Taking the time to befriend him in both Origins and Awakening makes it clear that despite being a disreputable drunk with a severe lack of personal hygiene, at the end of the day, Oghren's heart is definitely in the right place. If his friendship is maxed out in Origins, he honestly grows to love the Warden.
  • Hot-Blooded: He's a berserker, so naturally.
  • I'll Be in My Bunk: After he imagines the relationship between Hespith and Branka.
  • In Harm's Way: He becomes a Grey Warden in Awakening because his Blood Knight nature couldn't accept simply settling down with Felsi.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Mentions "polishing his weapon" to relieve tension to Alistair, as well as mentioning to Wynne that he sees Alistair "twirling his pike" when he thinks no one is watching. Apparently he's talking about actual weapons (he says).
  • It Has Been an Honor: He can say this to the Warden just before the final battle.
  • Late Character Syndrome: Orzammar is easily the longest and toughest chapter of the game, so most players don't opt to do it early on. According to the developers, this is why he returns in Awakening.
  • Like a Son to Me: If the Warden's approval rating with Oghren is high enough, he'll tell them that he sees them this way. (Unfortunately, Awakening resets his approval rating back to zero and, because the expansion has far fewer chances for the Warden to interact with other characters, it's nearly impossible to get it anywhere near that high again.)
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • He's not permitted to use weapons while he's within Orzammar's city limits. The Deep Roads are considered outside of the city, meaning that by joining the Warden, in addition to searching for Branka, he can finally get back to cracking skulls.
    • Being part of the Warden's retinue also allows him to carry weapons. It's possible that like in Ferelden, Dwarven law accepts that if a Grey Warden vouches for someone, responsibility for their actions falls on them instead.
  • Love Martyr: He gets better, though.
  • Matchmaker Quest: His personal quest has him pursue Felsi with the Warden's help.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Several times by Zevran and also by Nathaniel in Awakening. Although he does tend to hit on the male warden when he's heavily drunk.
    Oghren: The whole "quiet and stoic" thing must get you a lot of action, huh?
    Nathaniel: I take it you are an admirer, Oghren?
    Oghren: What? No! No, well not unless—no!
    Nathaniel: Good. Then I needn't worry about getting too drunk at camp.
    Oghren: Heh. Okay, I like you. Just not in that way.
  • My Greatest Failure: If he's there for the Gauntlet, he straight-up tells the Guardian that he feels that he's ultimately failed Branka and his family, believing that if he'd been a better husband, she might not have gone for the Anvil, taking the rest of his family along to their deaths.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Aside from the Warden-sense he gets in Awakening, his dwarven "stone sense" perks up if he's brought to the Urn of Sacred Ashes, saying that there's a huge lyrium lode under the mountain and that any number of weird things could be happening.
  • The Napoleon: The shortest member of the party (unless the Warden is a dwarf themselves) and is the easiest to anger.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • With the Warden if befriended. The Warden seems to be the only one to whom he actually gets close, though he gets along decently with Alistair, Wynne, and Zevran.
    • Strikes one up with Nathaniel Howe in Awakening, offering him to take him under his wing and encouraging him not to let others look down on him, just because of what his father did during the Ferelden Civil War.
    • He and Wynne bond over ale.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When the Guardian of the Sacred Ashes confronts the party with their regrets, Oghren barely needs any prodding at all before he expounds at length at how he felt he failed his paragon wife and household as they succumbed to Branka's madness, and how he's a disgrace in the eyes of Orzammar society. For someone who's usually being a drunken lech, his tirade is a shock.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: He tends to light the mood of many a scene by engaging in crude humor and drunken ramblings.
  • Retcon: If the Warden hooked him up with Felsi, achieved a high approval rate, and fell to the Archdemon, the epilogue will announce he sobered up and happily married Felsi, naming his child after the Warden. (This is not to be seen as an Orlesian Warden.)
  • Shout-Out: Oghren's battle cry of "Let's see what yer innards look like!" is very similar to that of another drunken, bloodthirsty dwarven berserker in a BioWare game, Korgan Bloodaxe, who shouted "Let's see what yer guts be lookin' like" on entering combat.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss:
    • Apparently, Felsi isn't so negatively disposed to him after all. They're even married by the time of Awakening, though when he decides to join the Grey Wardens for real after confessing to her that he just wasn't cut out to be anything more than a warrior, the marriage dissolves.
    • Freely admits that his marriage to Branka mostly revolved around bouts of angry or make-up sex, depending on what day it was.
  • A Tankard of Moose Urine:
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: His wife Felsi, in Awakening, is quite a looker among Dwarven women.
  • Undying Loyalty: He develops this towards the Warden with high approval and considers them to be family.
  • Un-Entendre: For a dwarf with a perverted mind, Oghren makes a few of these when talking about weapons in party banter.
  • Virgin Vision: He tells an unromanced Alistair that he can smell purity a mile away. It's not actually that useful, though. "Be much better if I could smell cheese."
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Slightly with Zevran, perhaps as a small homage to Legolas and Gimli, and to a greater extent with Anders in Awakening.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Oghren may love to solve problems with an axe; but if he's recruited before Redcliffe, killing Connor will cause a huge loss of approval from him - even more than it will from more idealistic and moral teammates like Alistair and Leliana.

    Shale/Shayle of House Cadash 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dao_shale.jpg
"Pigeon crap!"
Voiced by: Geraldine Blecker

"The darkspawn are an evil that must be destroyed, it's true. Though not as evil as the birds... damnable feathered fiends!"

A Golem of the old dwarven kingdoms who was found by a human mage called Wilhelm in the Deep Roads and brought to the surface. Shale was paralyzed after killing Wilhelm and has spent the last thirty years frozen as a statue in the village of Honnleath, completely conscious but unable to move. Abhors birds above all else because of it.


  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Shale is amnesiac and cannot remember much of what life (for a given value of "life") was like previous to Honnleath. It is possible to unlock some former memories by bringing Shale to the Anvil of the Void to meet Caridin. Learning of them, especially that Shale used to be a dwarf woman, has this form of effect.
  • And I Must Scream: Was frozen in place in a village for three decades, was fully aware the entire time, and could do nothing about the abuse and humiliation from people, dogs, and especially birds. Mostly played for laughs. Played less for laughs was Shale's indeterminate amount of time spent in complete darkness in the Deep Roads before Wilhelm found it.
  • Another Side, Another Story: We see what became of Shale in the novel Asunder.
  • Asexuality: Being a Golem with no biological sex, Shale is not a fan of the whole sex thing. Several party banters involve Shale's general distaste for biological functions and especially... That. Sten catches her eye, though.
  • Badass Family: Shales house is House Cadash the same house Dwarf Inquisitor is from. Beyond that, they are a prominent family in the Carta.
  • Badass Normal: Caridin mentions she was an unparalleled warrior and the first woman to volunteer to become a Golem. He also suspects that Shale's free will is due to the fact that Shayle was a highly stubborn and determined dwarven woman.
  • Become a Real Boy: In one of the possible Where Are They Now Epilogues, she mentions how she wants to find a way to become mortal again. She succeeds in at least one as well, although no details are given.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Birds. Thirty years of being used as target practice for their... undesirables does not leave Shale with good feelings towards them, to the point where she'll stomp a bird to death if she leaves Honnleath with you when you recruit her.
    • The description of Wilhelm's death suggests that Shale may have been called 'Golem' one too many times. Though the real circumstances are left to speculation, Shale does nothing to dispel the impression.
  • The Big Guy: Being a Golem, Shale is naturally tougher than most other warriors.
  • Companion Cube: You can give Shale a pet rock as a gift; it's only available in the Feastday Gifts DLC.
  • Curse Cut Short:
    Leliana: I do not understand why you hate birds so much.
    Shale: It is because I had to endure their chirping, their perching, and most especially their constant sh—
    Leliana: No, I understand that part.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Many examples.
    Wynne: Shale, why do you insist on calling me "the elder mage?"
    Shale: Clearly because it is purple. And a hyena.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Being turned into a Golem is supposed to be a Fate Worse than Death, but Shale seems to enjoy all the perks it comes with, which includes super strength, enhanced durability, immortality, and fashionable augmentation crystals. It helps that the Control Rod is broken by the time you recruit the golem, meaning that Shale has free will and is no longer compelled to do what others command.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Shale can hurl boulders at enemies for area damage in Rock Mastery mode.
  • Does Not Know How to Say "Thanks": One of Shale's responses to being given a gift (even one that meets approval) is "I'm to carry this around, am I?"
  • Does This Make Me Look Fat?:
    Shale: I see it found some augmentation crystals. I was not even aware it knew about them... well done! So? What does it think? They don't make me look any wider, do they? I find I am already too wide as it is.
  • Elemental Punch: The "Small" crystal equippables are Shale's "weapons". They convert all of Shale's attacks into the element the crystal they're aligned with. And Shale's normal attack is punching, as golems are wont to do.
  • Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry: The crystals serve a battle function, as noted below. However, if the PC is female, she can at one point comment to Shale that "I think they're pretty!" which will cause Shale to gush about them too. It's oddly endearing.
  • Faking Amnesia: Possibly; party banter with Oghren leads to him mentioning that the previous golems he met had excellent memories, and he combines this with his self-admitted expertise on royally screwing up and being too proud to admit it to come up with a theory about her; he suspects that she's lying about not remembering killing her previous master, and she actually regrets the killing, which was either an accident or a momentary explosion of anger. Her constantly talking about how frail humans are is an expression of sorrow over this, and her painting her master as someone she hated is because it's harder to face up to killing someone she liked. Shale's denial of this theory is vehement and defensive, rather than contemptuous, suggesting that Oghren did actually touch a nerve.
  • Foreshadowing:
    Oghren: I think I had a wife like you, once.
  • Freudian Slip: Shale has this in an exchange with Sten:
    Shale: I could watch you fight all day long. The skill you display, the form... how the light plays on its muscles... I mean, yes. Well done. With the fighting.
  • Golem: A smaller one than the Golems you fight in the game, to allow Shale to move indoors during gameplay. Shale is quicker on-foot than other golems as well, as to keep up with the rest of the party. Her size is explained in-game as having been the work of her former master, who chiseled her down so she would fit through doorways.
  • Ground Punch: The "Quake" ability in the Pulverizing Blows mode. Shale slams the ground three times to make a localized tremor, and it deals damage and potentially stuns everyone around Shale.
  • Hand Wave: Shale being significantly smaller than other golems is explained as a result of being chiseled down in order to fit through doors. This is a developer in-joke referencing the fact that Shale's original, larger character model caused problems in development, partially because it couldn't fit through doorways.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Shale's personality can be summed up in one quote: "Crush their skulls and be done with it. Fast. Efficient. Fun." The golem's bloodthirsty behavior is played much more for laughs than either Morrigan or Zevran, making Shale by far the most clear-cut example of this trope in the game.
    Alistair: So, Shale... when you were standing there all that time? Did you... sleep?
    Shale: I have no need to sleep. My body does not tire or do — ugh — other flesh-related functions.
    Alistair: But don't you get bored? Wouldn't you want to dream, at least?
    Shale: I do not dream. This is what it does when it sleeps? It paws its nose and mumbles incoherently.
    Alistair: Yes, of course. I thought we all — huh... you watch me?
    Shale: I watch all closely when they are still at night. There is little else to do.
    Alistair: For... hours and hours?
    Shale: I count the breaths. It helps to overcome the overwhelming urge to CRUSH their faces while they sleep.
    Alistair: Well. I won't be doing much of that anymore.
  • Homage: To a certain organic-hating droid.
  • Improbable Weapon User: They're explicitly stated to be magical, so it's somewhat justified, but Shale attacks with crystals in lieu of conventional weapons.
  • Informed Ability: In dialogue, Shale is often described as being superhumanly strong and Nigh Invulnerable, but in actual gameplay is no more powerful or less squishy than other warrior-type characters.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing:
    • Shale was treated like a thing for so long, that the golem refuses to use pronouns for anyone purely out of spite. Shale only ever refers to The Warden as "it," never as "you", and refers to the other party members by made-up titles. For instance, Leliana, Wynne, and Morrigan are "the sister", "the elder mage" and "the swamp witch" respectively.
    • By completing Shale's personal quest and maxing approval, Shale may end up correcting one instance of it and referring to the Warden as 'you' once, and then one more time right before the final battle.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Shale has talent lines that allow the golem to be a Stone Wall, dish out a lot of damage, or provide supporting buffs for the rest of the party, but not all at once. Since Shale doesn't have a lot of abilities, it's easy to learn them all and switch between them on the fly.
  • Jerkass: Shale is quite open about feeling contempt for most everybody.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: If the Warden tell Shale that being different is not so bad, the response is to ask whether they are easy to please or just fishing for approval (the player then get positive approval anyway).
  • Madden Into Misanthropy: After having been experimented on, used as a slave, paralyzed for 30 years in a small village and fully aware the entire time, Shale has not come to have any love for "squishy" organic creatures.
  • Made of Iron: Stone. not that it's apparent in actual gameplay.
  • Meaningful Name: Shale is a type of mineral rock. Played with in that her actual name is Shayle.
  • Megaton Punch: The "Slam" ability in Pulverizing Blows mode. Shale winds up a big wallop, and extra damage and a heavy knockback slam the target when Shale lets fly.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Shale firmly believes this: people problems should be squished.
  • The Nicknamer: Shale never refers to people by name (with the exception of Sten, on one occasion), instead preferring to use epithets (and, should they protest, shamelessly insulting epithets). The only exception is the main character; Shale refers to the Warden simply as "It."
  • Odd Friendship: With Wynne. Even though Wynne is one of the more ethical people in the party, and Shale is arguably the most gleefully violent and amoral, they actually get along quite well, with the mage being one of the few people the golem respects. In one ending, they'll even set off together to find a way to turn Shale into a Dwarf again.
  • Pet the Dog: In Asunder, Shale is spotted mourning Wynne's death with Leliana.
  • P.O.V. Sequel: Shale and Wynne's story continues in Dragon Age: Asunder.
  • Power Echoes: Shale speaks with a deep and reverberating voice as a result of being a magical golem made out of stone.
  • Punny Name: Has an appropriate name for a being of living stone. Funnily enough, it's her original dwarven name, though spelled differently.
    • Lampshaded by the the Warden:
      Warden: Is that your name, or what you're made of?
  • Really 700 Years Old:
    • It's mentioned in the Codex that Caridin created Golems during the period 940-947 TE (-255 to -247 Ancient), after which he vanished along with the Forge. Presuming that Shale was one of the first Golems to be created, the golem is 1185 years old at the most. At least, her Golem form anyway.
    • Being one of the older Golems is somewhat supported due to the fact that most later Golems seem to be made of Steel, suggesting a refinement of the process and because she was one of the many who volunteered, as well as being the first woman to undergo the process. Later Golems were forcibly conscripted from Orzammar's criminals and the King's political enemies.
  • Restored My Faith in Humanity: Shale's relationship with the Warden can make her seek out a way to become mortal once more.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Take Shale to meet Paragon Caradin at the end of the A Paragon of her Kind quest and Caradin will inform Shale of her past as a female dwarf warrior, Shayle of House Cadash.
  • Ship Tease: With Sten.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Birds, the damnable feathered fiends! In Dragon Age II, even people in the Free Marches are commenting on the mysterious drop in Ferelden's pigeon population since the end of the Blight. Shale's portrait in Cassandra's Great Big Book of Everything is also depicted chasing pigeons.
  • Stance System: Through four stances, Shale can have its role in a battle change as needed. Need to deal out the hurt? Pulverizing Blows boosts damage but has a defense penalty, and has some damage-dealing talents associated with it. Need to keep attention on Shale? Stoneheart boosts defense and durability and its associated talents draw enemy threat and can stun them, making Shale a potent tank. Need to hurl boulders? Rock Mastery's your mode. It also buffs any archer party members in proximity. Need to buff everyone else? Stone Aura is the answer.
  • Stone Wall: Literally in Stoneheart mode. That mode makes Shale into a Tank, boosting durability.
  • Super Soldier: Golems were originally created to serve the Dwarven kingdom as such. Shale herself was a dwarf who volunteered to become a golem in order to better defend her homeland.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Not actively malicious, but decidedly amoral, indifferent to acts that could be deemed as such, and often in favor of more violent solutions.
    Shale: Oh, please, somebody kill somebody!
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Tomboy to Leliana's girly-girl. Their dialogue is mostly Leliana trying to bring out Shale's good side. They disagree for a lot of it, but they seem to compromise on both liking pretty things and nice shoes. Played with in that Shale will later ask if rupturing things into a fountain of blood is a girlish thing to do.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Caridin, to the point that she will turn on the Warden if they side with Branka against him. In her forgotten dwarven life as Shayle she was the most loyal of Caridin's friends, and he mentions that he ultimately sent her away out of pity rather than allow her to remain entombed with him at the Anvil forever (which Shale was prepared to do).
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: The map for Shale's nightmare in the Fade during the "Broken Circle" quest has poorly drawn movement zones, making it possible for the Warden to get stuck there with no way out. Fortunately you don't need to do so to complete the quest, and can re-load a recent save and go on, though it does mean defeating the Sloth Demon with at most three party members, and missing the Traveler achievement.
  • Verbal Tic: Shale always refers to all 'organics' as 'it'. Especially noticeable considering the way Shale always speaks of people in the third person, even when directly talking to them.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Seems to have some respect for Wynne in a few dialogues (especially in Asunder), though the casual snark and insults never really stop, and Wynne certainly fires back sometimes. A friendship with the Warden also comes off as this.
  • Was Once a Man: Or rather, Was Once a Dwarf. And a Female Dwarf, no less.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Turns on the Warden should they decide to fight Caridin.
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race: If a human Warden gains enough trust with Shale, it will somewhat grudgingly inform them that it holds the Warden in at least some modicum of respect for having the courtesy to be somewhat less hopeless and stupid than other humans, wondering if the Warden is some of sort superior genetic stock.
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    Sten 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dao_sten.jpg
"No."
Voiced by: Mark Hildreth

"The Arishok asked 'What is the Blight?' By his curiosity, I am now here."

A Qunari warrior sent to scout out the situation in Ferelden, Sten slew a whole family of farmers that saved him from death. Now he is imprisoned in Lothering by the Chantry, where the priestess might be persuaded to release him into Grey Warden custody. Shale has no nickname for him beyond "Qunari," but Sten refers to the golem as "Kadan."


  • Anti-Hero: While honourable to a fault, Sten is very ruthless and frequently argues the Warden into whatever will accomplish their goals the fastest.
  • Anti-Mutiny: Will try to pull this at Haven if he's at low approval. If he's at high approval instead, he'll just state his opinions and leave it at that.
  • The Atoner: He allowed himself to be locked in a cage in Lothering in order to die, either from starvation or the Darkspawn, for killing innocent people after his Freak Out. The Warden can recruit him by telling him that fighting the Blight at your side can also be a form of atonement.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: As Arishok, he remains a skilled warrior.
  • Badass Beard: In the Sacred Ashes trailer. Also as Arishok in Those Who Speak.
  • BFS: Like most Qunari warriors, he's extremely attached to his. Even though he no longer has it. You can help him get it back via a side quest, after which it becomes an equipable weapon specific to him.
  • The Big Guy: The tallest party member, and the one whose's fighting style only needs investment in the strength attribute to be effective.
  • Birthmark of Destiny: In Qunari society, Sten's lack of horns means that he is destined for something special. He is the very first member of his race to fight in a Blight, and he can become one of the Qun's triumvirs.
  • Blatant Lies:
    Sten: (after Leliana witnesses him playing with a kitten) ...There was no kitten.
    Leliana: Sten, I saw you. You were dangling a piece of twine for it.
    Sten: I was helping it train.
    • An alternative version of the above that can occur:
      Leliana: Outside, you were picking flowers!
      Sten: ...No, I wasn't.
      Leliana: You were!
      Sten: ...They were medicinal.
  • Catch-Phrase: "Pashaara!" Literally translates as "Enough!", but in practice tends to be used closer to "I'm Surrounded by Idiots! Where is the dwarf? I Need a Freaking Drink!" If you get his sword back for him, one of your possible responses is "Pashaara?" which amuses him.
  • The Comically Serious:
    • Particularly when he's chosen to break the Warden out of prison. Interestingly enough, Sten does appear to have a sense of humor. If you comment that you find his deadpan snarking funny, you'll even get a big approval bonus.
    • This can be a big surprise to a new player who's not expecting him to be capable of delivering the most awe-inspiring burns.
      Sten: The Blight — how will you end it?
      Warden: I just thought we'd ask the Archdemon to please leave.
      Sten: If you hope to slay the Archdemon with wit, you may want to arm yourself first.
  • Commander Contrarian: Prone to questioning your actions once in a while, though he'll respect you more if you actually stand your ground in an argument. This becomes mildly funny when you realize he's also literally a commander.
  • Commanding Coolness: Sten translates as "Infantry Platoon Commander," though he only had seven men under his command on his last trip to Ferelden.
  • Commonality Connection: This exchange:
    Sten: I'm a simple creature. I like swords. I follow orders. There's nothing else to know about me.
    Warden: You like swords? Me too!
    Sten: I knew there had to be some reason I continue to travel with you.
  • Constantly Curious: According to World of Thedas Volume 2, in his youth, the boy who would be Sten was always curious about the foreign tongue and the world outside the Qun, sometimes even questioning every delegate who entered Seheron's port about things he could not understand about it. It should be noted that a curious Qunari is something considered unheard of in Thedas.
  • Cultured Badass: Oddly enough.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Another one, and a master of the "deadpan" half.
    The Rescue the Warden Scenario
    Leliana: Aren't you having fun? Infiltrating a fort? Isn't it exciting?
    Sten: Yes, truly my life has reached its apex.
    • His reaction to Anora betraying the Warden is amazing:
      Anora: Eamon! I may have done a terrible thing.
      Sten: No honor, no gratitude, slight grasp of the obvious... fine ruler you have there.
    • One of the highest approval boosts you can get is to tell him you think he's funny, which indicates that he is pleased you recognize his deadpan snarking.
  • Defeat Means Friendship:
    • In Haven, depending on his affection level, he might challenge the Warden to a duel over who should lead the party. If defeated, he immediately withdraws his objections, as the Warden is clearly worthy to follow.
    • In Those Who Speak, he ends up being defeated in a duel with Alistair. Instead of slaying his former comrade, Alistair proposes an alliance against the Magister who has become their mutual enemy, which Sten accepts.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Being a Qunari, his beliefs (particularly about gender and societal roles) tend to make other party members rather confused, and he finds Fereldan culture just as baffling.
  • Dirty Foreigner: Inverted; he's the one who thinks Ferelden smells funny.
    Sten: Ferelden smells like wet dogs.
    Warden: You forgot the rotting garbage!
    Sten: True. I was trying to forget that part.
  • Disdains Everyone Equally:
    Zevran: You seem to have quite the disdainful attitude towards elves, my Qunari friend.
    Sten: Don't take it personally, elf. I have a disdainful attitude towards everyone.
  • Dreadlock Warrior: His hairstyle consists of white dreadlocks tied into a ponytail.
  • Eloquent in My Native Tongue: According to his game file bio (accessible via the developers' official toolset), his terseness is partly due to believing everyone not a Qunari is beneath him, and partly due to just not being comfortable with the Fereldan language (though he can't resist the chance to snark).
  • Enemy Mine: If you press him for why he joined you at the start, he'll respond, "For the moment, you are the enemy of my enemy." Considering that he explains Beresaad translates as "Vanguard of the Qunari people", he basically introduces himself to the Warden as being part of an advanced scouting party, meant to pave the way for a future invasion force.
  • Everybody Calls Him "Barkeep": With him being a Qunari, this is pretty much a given. "Sten" is actually a rank and role descriptor, being roughly equal to a platoon commander in human parlance.
  • Fish out of Water: Much of his interaction with both the Warden and the other members of the party consists of him questioning what to him are the odd ways of the Fereldans.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Played with. Most in the camp are justifiably terrified of him, at least at first, and the Warden is the first to befriend him. Eventually, Alistair acknowledges that he's actually quite reasonable in conversation, Leliana enjoys teasing him about his soft side, Morrigan thinks he's attractive, Shale even flirts with him, and Dog acknowledges him as a fellow warrior.
  • Friend to All Living Things: He's shown to have a soft spot for Mabari and kittens.
  • Genius Bruiser: Despite having the fewest lines and shortest dialogue of any member of the team that doesn't communicate by barking, Sten is pretty clearly the most intelligent member of the party overall. His fondness for paintings implies he may even be the most well-rounded.
  • Gentle Giant: He loves cookies, plays with kittens, enjoys paintings, and is highly upset that the cake is a lie.
  • Going Native:
    • To a minor degree. He starts to affectionately refer to the Warden and Shale as "Kadan," gains a love of cookies, and deliberately reinterprets his orders that the only way he can properly answer the Arishok's question, "What is the Blight?" is to remain in Ferelden until after it is over.
    • Some of the writers have suggested that after his lengthy debriefing, he had to go for some re-education by the Ben-Hassrath because of the bad habits he's picked up whilst in Ferelden. They still make him the new Arishok however, after the death of the old one (or if he didn't die, after the old Arishok lost the tome and Isabela again) in Dragon Age II.
    • Sten seems somewhat aware of this if he and Dog are the ones to rescue the Warden from Fort Drakon:
      Sten: And now I am talking to an animal. I have been in this country too long.
  • Hates Small Talk
    Sten: You mean that I should remark upon the weather before I cut off a man's head?
  • Hidden Depths: He may try to pass himself off as just another warrior who likes swords, but you'll gain an approval bonus if you tell him you think there's more to him than that. (but you'll also get half as many points for just agreeing that you like swords, too, though he is a little upset if you just agree that you expected that from him).
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": Qunari refer to themselves by their ranks; their names are mostly just Social Security numbers to them.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Sten is almost twice the size of a female Dwarf Warden.
  • I Call It "Vera": His sword Asala.
  • Joke Weapon: A downplayed example in the form of the Butterfly Sword from the Feastday Pranks DLC, a two-handed sword that flashes rainbows and has butterflies coming out of it. Just giving it to him initially will cause him to lose 50 respect points for you. It is, however, a pretty good early game weapon.
  • Karma Houdini: Killed a family of eight, including children, in a blind panic when he lost his sword. While this haunts him, he never really pays for it. When he joins you, he admits to all of this and adds that he never expects to survive following the Warden against the Blight, so his certain death will be his atonement. Thus he's on a quest with the Warden. When the Guardian questions him on this during the Gauntlet about whether he believes he failed his people by letting the Qunari be seen in that light:
    Sten: I have never denied that I failed.
  • Leader Wannabe: Sten turns into this in Haven if you have low influence with him, when he challenges the player character before going into the cultist village. He'll confront you and challenge you for control of the party, since he thinks you're going on a needless deviation. If he likes you he'll just bring it up as a disapproving comment.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: When Leliana sees him playing with a kitten and/or picking some flowers. She constantly calls him a "softie" ever after.
  • Literal-Minded: Since the language of Ferelden isn't his native tongue, this leads to amusement.
    Sten: "Wonders of Thedas"? What does that even mean? Do they sell geography questions?
    • Also, if the Warden says that they would never have thought that Sten would have a sweet tooth, Sten responds with confusion: "None of my teeth are sweet."
    • While some of it is genuine confusion, at least part is just Sten's way of messing with people:
      Warden: Do you have to be so literal?
      Sten: No, it's a choice, not a necessity.
  • Literalist Snarking: To go along with his intentional moments of Literal Mindedness.
    Warden: What were you doing in that cage?
    Sten: Sitting, as you observed.note 
    Warden: That's not what I meant.
    Sten: It's what you asked.
  • Made of Iron: Spent 28 days in a cage in Lothering, refusing food or water, before the Warden recruited him. When the Warden is amazed that he lasted so long, Sten replies that going for prolonged periods without sustenance is actually normal for his people.
  • Mars-and-Venus Gender Contrast: He has no idea how to deal with a female Warden, as Qunari society considers women more intellectual than men, hence why becoming a warrior is seen as a waste of their talents. It's telling that his first assumption is that the Warden was lying about being a woman, as he certainly can't say she is not a formidable warrior.
    • In Inquisition, it's revealed by Iron Bull that a Qunari born as one gender and living in the social roles of another is considered to be the gender of that role. For example, a (biological) female who was ordered to be a warrior would become a man in the eyes of society. Sten literally thinks that the female Warden is a man, because she would be in his culture.
  • Meaningful Name: Sten is a Scandinavian name which literally means "stone."
    • However, it's pronounced completely different, and in fact is not his given name, but rather his rank. Despite the similarity in spelling, the connection is almost certainly coincidental.
  • Mr. Exposition: In Until We Sleep, he tells Alistair the Qunari version of the tale of King Calenhad and why Aurellian Titus wants Theirin blood.
  • Mundane Object Amazement: "You have a thing... it doesn't have a word in the Qunari tongue. Little baked things, like bread, but sweet, and crumbly." Yes, folks, our resident giant is in awe of cookies.
  • My Greatest Failure: Had a brief psychotic break due to the trauma of losing his sword, Asala, which led to him murdering eight people, including children. After he realised what he'd done, he waited for several days for the authorities to apprehend him and freely accepted that his punishment was to wait in a cage until he starved to death. As noted above, he acknowledges his failure to the Guardian if present for the Gauntlet.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: A rather slight and perhaps subtle example, but it's worth noting that unlike most Qunari, he doesn't treat mages any differently than he does the rest of the Warden's companions, and it's about as easy to befriend him as a Mage Warden as it is any other class.
  • No Name Given: Sten is the name of his job. His actual name is never revealed.
  • Noble Bigot:
    • Justified as Qunari beliefs are very different from the rest of Thedas. For instance, while tolerant of the mages in the party, he doesn't see any problem with the Qunari treating their own Saarebas as "beasts in the shape of men", who are locked in cages with their tongues cut out to prevent them from being dangerous. He also finds it hard to reconcile the female Warden being a woman and a warrior, with the former being what he actually questions.
    • Similarly, his comment on the Elves being a race that "excel in poverty" could also be seen as less racist and simply an observation on the Elves living outside the Qun, who are either confined to the slum-like Alienages or reduced to becoming wandering nomads like the Dalish. Of course, he is explicitly using it as an example of ludicrous over-simplification of a culture.
  • No Sympathy: Sten believes in action and duty. Angst, navel-contemplation or sappiness, no matter how justified, just annoy him. As such, conversation options that tend to earn the highest approval are those which you stand your ground instead of backing down compliantly.
  • Not So Above It All: Sten likes to make you believe he is stoic and uncompromising, but he holds conversations with Dog and even plays fetch with him in party banternote , in addition to his more infamous fascination with cookies, flowers, and kittens.
  • The Stoic: Dry and humorless most of the time. Leliana teases him about this a lot.
  • Old Soldier: Has elements of this character type in that he doesn't initially respect the leadership of the (much younger and less experienced) Warden.
  • Optional Party Member: Can lead to Guide Dang It! and Permanently Missable Content, if you aren't able to persuade the Chantry to let him go from his cage (or simply forget to collect him).
  • Pardon My Klingon: In addition to "Pashaara!", he'll mutter "Vashedan!" ("Garbage!") if you take him out of the party, as well as dropping Qunari words when he doesn't know or doesn't care to use the Common Tongue - normally when discussing something he dislikes. It isn't all bad, though, as many players will agree that getting him to call them Kadan is one of their favorite moments.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Sten disapproves. He does crack a smile if you get his sword back for him, and if you nominate him to lead the group holding the gates in the endgame.
  • Planet of Hats:
    Warden: Tell me about the Qunari.
    Sten: No.
    Warden: Well, that wasn't what I expected to hear.
    Sten: Get used to disappointment. People are not simple. They cannot be defined for easy reference in the manner of "the elves are a lithe, pointy-eared people who excel at poverty".
    • He later acts surprised when Leliana assumes he is typical of his people. Non-soldier Qunari are apparently quite different in behaviour and interests; he even differs from most Qunari in appearance due to his lack of horns.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Actually may be a subversion; Sten acts surprised if the Warden assumes his values or personality are typical of his people. Their society is divided into a strict caste system and the implication is that non-warrior Qunari aren't necessarily anything like him, though the player never encounters any of them to confirm this.
  • The Quiet One: Dislikes talking to the point that he'll reply to the Warden's questions with single word answers whenever he can. After telling a parable in regards to mages:
    Warden: That's more words than I've ever heard you say.
    Sten: I've been saving them up.
  • Rank Up:
    • He gets a pretty hefty promotion in Those Who Speak - he's now the new Arishok.
    • Depending on your adventures, he may get promoted in the end upon returning to Seheron. If you do not befriend him (and thus he does not Go Native) and make the ultimate sacrifice at the end, he'll be promoted to general and put in charge of fighting humans in Seheron, which pleases him greatly.
  • Scary Black Man: There are even a couple of dialogue options with certain NPCs that allow the Warden to refer to Sten as "my large friend" with clearly threatening intent, playing off of Sten's intimidation factor rather than their own.
  • Shout-Out: One of his banters with Dog seems to be a Shout Out to Lassie.
    Sten: I do not understand what you are saying.
    Dog: (barking)
    Sten: What? There's a child trapped down a well?
  • Stay in the Kitchen: He has a very comprehensive list of the professions of women, as the Qunari believe these are the jobs meant for women - choice has no factor in it. The same is true for men, however. The former are shopkeepers, artisans, or priests; the latter are laborers and soldiers. With the female Warden being an Action Girl, he doesn't question his beliefs or the Grey Warden's ability to fight, he questions if she's actually a woman. By the tenets of the Qun, a person who is an artisan is always a woman and a person who is a soldier is always a man, regardless of what they've got between their legs. Sten doesn't understand how a female Warden can simultaneously fight and call herself a woman.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: A possibility. If the Warden befriended Sten and speak to him after defeating the Archdemon, he'll suggest that Seheron might not be quite the same to him as it would have been, since their adventures have changed his view of the world somewhat. This is especially true if the Warden is a female mage, since Qunari believe women are not competent warriors and mages aren't even people, and the player has just killed both of those ideas. His writer Mary Kirby says he may even have had to spend some time with the Ben-Hassrath for all the strange ideas he's picked up (though Those Who Speak shows he's reintegrated pretty well, if being promoted to Arishok is any indication). If the Warden didn't befriend him, he'll just be happy to be able to go home and get away from Ferelden's strangeness.
  • Strawman Has a Point: He approves when the Warden debates Qunari philosophy with him and stands their ground on their own beliefs. A good example comes when he calls non-Qunari foolish for wanting to change their purpose, when they carry their old life into their new one like a turtle carries its shell. He's somewhat impressed when the Warden points out that "having a shell" can actually make someone stronger.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: He can eventually come to see the Warden as a close companion as he becomes a True Companion.
    • In fact, one of the highest approval rating moments for companion is when the Warden tell Sten that he can stay with them after he reveals that He Can't Go Home Again.
  • Sweet Tooth: He really likes cookies.
  • Terse Talker: When he's being deflective.
  • Undying Loyalty: If the Warden recovers his sword and befriends him, he explicitly states that he trusts them with his life and calls them kadan, which is a Qunari word meaning something akin to 'close to the heart'.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: One of the best ways for the Warden to befriend him is to get in his face and argue. Even if his approval is quite high, he'll still enjoy snarking with them.
  • We Will Meet Again: While Sten is not a villain, he admits it's only a matter of time before the Qunari attempt to invade Thedas again. If his approval is high enough, he adds that when that day comes, he will not look for the Warden on the battlefield.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: He will get angry any time the Warden aren't focused on getting to the Archdemon, like going to Haven; however, if his friendship meter is high enough, he keeps his complaints to himself. Mostly.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • He grows very fond of the Dog, viewing him as a warrior worthy of his respect.
    • Also sees the Warden as this when his approval becomes high. When he voices his objection that the Urn of Sacred Ashes is taking them away from their goal of the Blight, he gains respect for the Warden when the Warden doesn't back down and bests him in a duel to decide who leads the group. Once the Warden helps him recover his sword Asala, Sten admits that he was wrong about the Warden and declares them a warrior worthy of fighting among the Beressad, later stating that the Qunari will inevitably invade Ferelden one day, but if that day comes Sten will not look for the Warden on the battlefield. If the Warden sacrifices themself, Sten explicitly states to the Arishok, when asked if he found any worthy warriors outside Par Vollen, that he only found one. We later learn in Dragon Age II that to be considered "Basalit-an, an outsider worthy of respect," is the highest form of praise a Qunari can give. It also tells us that Qunari view a dead body as little more than useless refuse to be disposed of in the manner most convenient, worthy of no concern for the life it used to be, making his single bow to the Warden's remains much more poignant: how much respect must one earn for even their empty husk to merit a small token?
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Not if you're a Qunari warrior of the Beresaad and you lose your weapon, you can't.
  • You Do NOT Want to Know: Apparently having sex with a Qunari is at the least lethal for humans. Morrigan is initially interested, but Sten dissuades her when he tells her that she'll need some armor and that he might try to nuzzle. While this can easily be seen as him being a smartass, Iron Bull's carefulness when it comes to sex in Inquisition suggests that there might be some truth to his words.
  • Younger Than They Look: His developer toolset bio lists him as 30. The white hair, weathered face, and Old Soldier attitude add a few decades.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry:
    Sten: In fear, I kill people. Pray that you don't see me in anger.

    Secret Companion 

The Mages

    Morrigan 

    Wynne 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dao_wynne.png
"I set a boy's hair on fire."
Voiced by: Susan Boyd Joyce

"I'm not the sort of person that leaves things unfinished. I'll see this through, I promise."

A senior enchanter of the Circle of Magi, Wynne is a notable voice among the mages, preferring action over sitting around in the Tower. Prior to the start of the game, she is among the mages who volunteer to go to Ostagar and battle against the darkspawn; later, the PC meets her during the "Broken Circle" quest, where she eventually joins the party. Shale's nickname for her is "The Elder Mage," much to her chagrin.


  • The Archmage: If the Circle was saved, she mentions that Irving wanted her to take his place as First Enchanter, but she refused.
  • Badass Bookworm: A senior Enchanter in the Circle.
  • Badass Teacher: As a senior Enchanter, Wynne is responsible for teaching the unharrowed mages.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • She's almost always nice, but she can occasionally get downright nasty when provoked. In one banter with Morrigan:
      Morrigan: Of course I am still young, beautiful, and my life is my own — while you are bound to that Circle. Hmm. I wonder why I asked. It would be a silly thing, prolonging your life. A waste.
      Wynne: Think what you will, Morrigan. When the end comes, I will go gladly to my rest, proud of my achievements. While you... you will see how empty your life was. You will realize that because you never had love for others, you never received love in return. And you will die alone and unmourned.
    • While she's a little politer to a Mage Warden, her reaction to seeing non-Mage Wardens for the first time since Ostagar is to calmly ask what they're doing at the Circle Tower and inform them that if they try to hurt the children, she will end them.
  • Can't Live Without You: Wynne is dependent on a friendly Fade spirit to keep her alive.
  • Can't Stop the Signal: In the novel Asunder, she sends a message to all the Circles in Thedas on the way back from the Adamant Fortress, ensuring that all mages everywhere will know it's possible to reverse the Rite of Tranquility even if she and her companions don't get the chance to spread the word in person.
  • Category Traitor: In Asunder, it's mentioned that many mages have come to feel this way about Wynne, due to her leading the vote not to break away from the Chantry.
  • Combat Medic: Wynne starts with the Spirit Healer specialization and three of the Heal tree talents, but also has two attacks in Arcane Bolt and Stone Fist. Those are just what she starts with.
  • Cool Old Lady: She may be relentlessly nice, but she's a tough old broad, too.
  • Cry into Chest: Zevran asks her if he may do this. She's having none of it.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Vessel of the Spirit weakens the spirit that keeps Wynne alive, further reducing her life span.
  • Dating Catwoman: Asunder reveals the father of her son, Rhys, was actually a Templar. World of Thedas Vol. 2 heavily implies that the Templar in question was Knight-Commander Greagoir.
  • Dead All Along: She is already dead when she appears in the Warden's party as a Heroic RRoD. A spirit from the Fade helps her to stay in the material world a little more.
  • Dead Man Walking: Wynne is already dead, but is able to remain among the living due to the intervention of a benevolent spirit from the Fade. She has no idea how long she has left.
  • Dude Magnet: Somehow gets the attention of Zevran and Oghren. Even Alistair in the Return to Ostagar DLC flirts with her. She even admits waking up in bed with a man younger than her before.
  • Good Is Not Dumb: As explained in her Token Good Teammate entry below, Wynne is the only character in the party to stay unambiguously good and never give up her sense of morals. She also is a wise, experienced, very savvy woman, who correctly identifies Uldred as a traitor, provides many interesting discussions on morality and capable of as much snark as Morrigan or Zevran.
  • Foreshadowing: One of Wynne's first conversations with the Warden is about the nature of abominations. Later, the player will find out why she's grateful if the Warden tells her that if an abomination retains their personality and doesn't behave evilly, it really isn't an abomination.
  • Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have!: She has really smooth skin for someone her age, and her body model is exactly the same as that of the younger Morrigan and Leliana. Zevran comments a couple of times on her 'magical bosom.'
    • She's not amused:
      Wynne: Zevran, I'm old enough to be your grandmother!
      Zevran: You say that like it's a bad thing.
    • Parodied by Shamus Young here.
    • Oghren seems to think so too.
    • When Alistair compliments that she looks younger every day, she jokes that he should watch who he flirts with... it would not be the first time she's woken up to a younger man beside her in bed. This could be a reference to the father of her child - which, if he is who World of Thedas Vol. 2 suggests he is, would indeed be a bit younger than she is.
  • Heroic Fatigue: Starts to show signs of this early on in Asunder. Which leads to...
  • Heroic Sacrifice: She sacrifices herself to save the mage-sympathetic Templar Evangeline in Asunder. Though, actually, she'd already done a Heroic Sacrifice back in Origins to save the Tower's child apprentices from a demon, but a Spirit of Faith who was intrigued by her since her youth bound itself to her to save her. The two events are related: she passes the Spirit on to Evangeline, who herself was just killed, and the spirit was the only thing keeping Wynne alive.
  • Hidden Depths: You really wouldn't expect a sweet, grandmotherly old woman like Wynne to know so much about alcohol; one of the best gifts for her other than books is a bottle of wine. She even enjoys Oghren's homemade ale - the same stuff that can KO the Warden if his or her Constitution is too low - and manages to correctly identify the ingredients he uses for spicing. This surprises Rhys, Adrian, and Evangeline in the novel Asunder, when they stop at a local inn to rest and eat.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Ironically, despite being probably the most moral of any of the party members, she'd count as one by the standards of at least some Templars.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Wynne will try to persuade any mage she can to return to the Circle (including a Mage Warden and her former apprentice Aneirin), yet takes any chance she can get to leave it herself. This is despite the fact that the former is dedicated to fighting the Blight and the latter would be killed on sight after being branded a maleficarum.
    • She frequently lectures the Warden about duty, but turned down her responsibilities to the remnants of the Circle to adventure (Irving even tells her the Circle needs her). Even after the Blight ends, she declines to return to the Circle in favor of becoming the new royal mage adviser, or helping Shale find a new body.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With the Warden, and also with Alistair, for whom she develops a particularly strong maternal attachment.
  • Knight Errant: She's firmly convinced Grey Wardens are supposed to be this, which is her argument for why the Warden should be a Celibate Hero (though the Warden can convince her otherwise).
  • Lady of War: Am older one if given the Arcane Warrior specialization because of her wisdom and experience.
  • The Last Dance: She comes to see her journey with the Warden as one.
  • Living on Borrowed Time: She doesn't know just how long the spirit inside her will be there to keep her alive, so she makes every moment count.
  • Meaningful Name: Wynne's name has many appropriate meanings in Old English and Welsh, as seen here. All apply to the character. It may just be fan opinion, but Wynne is pronounced "Win" for a reason.
  • Mentor Archetype: Especially pronounced with a mage Warden.
  • Missing Mom: Wynne is this to her own son, assuming he is even still alive. The delivery was extremely difficult, and the newborn was sent away before she'd even recovered enough to see him, as is the policy for all children born to magi. She reveals this to Alistair, and admits that she would have liked her son to be like him.
    Alistair: Do you ever think about him?
    Wynne: ...All the time.
    • As it turns out, he is alive. In Asunder, she and her son are finally reunited; he's a mage named Rhys.
  • Mrs. Robinson: Hints at it when she flirts with Alistair in Return to Ostagar. It's not treated very seriously, though, probably because of the mother-son sort of attachment they share.
  • My Greatest Failure: Her first teaching assignment ended badly. She was apparently such a bitch to her student that he fled the Circle Tower. He was hunted down by the Templars and presumed dead. The only silver lining of that incident was that it taught her how to be a better mentor to new mages (something the Grey Warden can point out). The Warden can help Wynne find closure in her personal quest by discovering that her former student actually survived and bears her no ill will.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Or you'll get a Stonefist to the face.
  • Not Afraid to Die: Wynne explains to the Warden that there is no need to fear death.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Fereldan humans almost all speak with different kinds of English accents. Wynne speaks with a standard American accent, like elves do. Part of this can be explained by Wynne growing up in the Tower, where humans and elves co-mingle freely. Even Irving seems to speak with a New England accent.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: In a conversation with the Warden, she mentions that she cannot recall her parents and that her earliest memories are of living on the streets. She briefly lived with a family who let her sleep in the barn, until the day she accidentally set their son's hair on fire because he was tormenting her. The Templars arrived to take her to the Circle shortly afterwards.
  • Parental Substitute: To Alistair and the Warden, a mage Warden in particular.
  • Power-Strain Blackout: Wynne's plot power, Vessel of the Spirit, leaves her stunned and disoriented every time she uses it. This effect is only alleviated after completing her personal sidequest, wherein she receives an amulet which augments the power.
  • Sequel Hook: If the Warden speaks to Wynne at the end of the story, she will explain that she will be travelling with Shale, claiming that Shale wants to become organic again. As Shale is inspired by the Warden, they apparently travel to Tevinter to see if there is a "cure" of some kind.
  • The Smart Guy: As a senior enchanter, she's the wisest of the party. It's part of the Guardian's question for her if she's taken along to the Gauntlet.
  • Stern Teacher: Was an incredibly strict demanding teacher in her youth, much to her shame. She's far more mellow these days, although she occasionally slips back into this when she feels the Warden and Alistair aren't taking their duty as Wardens seriously. Similarly occurs whenever she offers advice to the Mage Warden.
  • Super Mode: Her Vessel of The Spirit power can give her a truly massive boost to Spellpower, the most critical stat for a mage, especially after her personal quest is complete and she gets an item to augment the power.
  • The Talk: Teasingly given by Wynne to Alistair in a bit of party dialogue after the female PC begins a romance with him. She will also (more seriously) engage with The Talk with the Warden if they are engaged in a romance, expressing her disapproval and offering a recommendation of No Hugging, No Kissing. She especially has concerns if the relationship is with Alistair, given his inexperience with women and the fact that both are Wardens. She will, however, eventually change her mind and apologize to the Warden, provided the player get the Warden's love interest's approval rating high enough. She'll even defend your relationship with Morrigan to Alistair during party banter.
  • Team Mom:
    • Alistair likes to act as if she were his grandmother. If the Warden is a mage, she has a great deal of additional dialogue, some of which imply, if the player chooses, that the Warden does in fact look up to Wynne in an almost parental fashion, no doubt since the Circle commonly assigns Mages to older mentors. Non-Mage Wardens can also have a feeling like this toward her, but not nearly as explicitly.
    • She plots to knit a sweater for Sten. How much more motherly can you get?
    • And she reunites with her son Rhys in Asunder.
    • She lectures the Warden regarding who (s)he chooses to romance. Morrigan will even yell at her to stop treating the Warden and Alistair like they are her kids.
    • When helping to prepare Redcliffe Village for the nightly onslaught of undead from the keep, having Wynne along when trying to coax a child out of the cabinet results in her scolding the kid out of there. The kid complies readily.
  • Token Good Teammate: Out of the entire party, she is the only one who starts with and refuses to abandon her selfless sense of morals. Alistair and Leliana can be hardened and convinced to turn a blind eye to some/most evil, self-serving actions. Not Wynne.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Her perception of the Wardens is very idealistic, contrasting considerably with the victory at any cost mentality of the actual organization.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • She will get pissed if the Warden makes unscrupulous decisions, and will turn on them if they destroy the Urn of Sacred Ashes.
    • She is initially concerned if the Warden romances a companion, but backs down if it blooms to Love.
    • It's mentioned in Asunder that amongst the Circle of Enchanters, she led the vote not to break away from the Chantry entirely. Unfortunately, this has caused many Mages to regard her as something of a traitor as a result.
  • White Magic: She's geared towards using healing magic, making her the intended party heal bot.
  • White Magician Girl: A rare elderly example of this archetype, being around sixty when she first meets the Warden. Once she joins the group she quickly falls into the role of the resident Healer, frequently is shown to offer kind words of wisdom to various characters and becomes the unofficial Team Mom of the group.
  • You're Not My Mother: Morrigan and potentially the Warden calls Wynne out on her trying parent them.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: She survives the massacre at the Circle Tower only thanks to the intervention of a spirit of faith, which soon begins to weaken, meaning that she is literally living on borrowed time. Apparently she has more time than she thought, considering several of the epilogues mention her leaving to travel the world for several years, or becoming the head of the Circle of Magi after the current one dies. She meets her end in Asunder, sacrificing her life to save Evangeline.
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The Rogues

    Leliana 

    Zevran Arainai 

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