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  • Rainbow Pimp Gear: For some party members, some pieces of their wardrobe always remain the same, like Cassandra's trenchcoat-like garments. However nothing stops you from putting a metal head on top of a robe-wearing mage if the helm doesn't forbid mages from using it. Crafting materials also add color to the equipment made with them, with potentially vivid results. As of patch 5 this aesthetic is optional, however, since it introduced the "tint armor" table which allows you to customize the look of your armor without affecting stats. Of course, this also allows you to make ordinary armor look clownish. Lampshaded by your craftswoman in Skyhold:
    Dagna: So, I'm thinking... Pinkquisition?
  • Rare Candy: Amulets of Power give one Talent Point on use. Each amulet is restricted to one party member by whom it can be used.
  • Real Is Brown: Averted for the first time in the series. Every area is rendered in full, vibrant colors with plenty of light. A good comparison is Redcliffe, which is so completely unrecognizable as a quaint mountain hamlet surrounded by flowering gardens, fields, and the shimmering water of Lake Calenhad that the player may actually forget this is the very same "brown town" they saved way back in Origins.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • In the quest to restore the elven greatsword known as the Sulevin Blade, Dagna remarks that it's impossible to completely repair the sword using its pieces. In real life, it's usually more practical to make a new sword instead... which is exactly what she does, using the pieces of the old Sulevin Blade as an inspiration to make a new one. The result is an Infinity +1 Sword which is arguably the best weapon in the game for a warrior Inquisitor.
    • In "Here Lies the Abyss", it is mentioned that Adamant Fortress is over a thousand years old and has never been taken. Cullen interprets "over a thousand years old" to mean "not defensible against a modern army" – and indeed, it turns out that a fortress holding for centuries against darkspawn hordes does not necessarily translate to being able to hold off modern siege equipment.
    • If you complete "Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts" by forcing Celene, Gaspard, and Briala into a truce, the game epilogue will mention that another Civil War looms on the horizon despite the Inquisitor's efforts. Obviously, forcing three experts of political scheming to work together using only blackmail does not contribute to a stable nation.
    • The Inquisition spends all of the base game expanding their influence and power across Ferelden and Orlais. This includes holding territory and building a powerful army and a widespread spy network. Of course, this is all ostensibly to counter Corypheus' machinations. However, in the Trespasser DLC, officials from Orlais and Ferelden especially are not happy with a stateless paramilitary organization holding land and quartering soldiers in their territory without any real threat to justify it, and the DLC ends with the Inquisition either disbanding or dramatically scaling down its operations due to political pressure.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • The Inquisitor can really lay it into Grand Duchess Florianne de Chalons, if you opt for a bloodless end in the plot against Empress Celene's life.
    • In a strange twist, a short and sweet one decrying that the Chantry preached hatred of mages towards Leliana actually boosts her chances of becoming the next Divine.
    • At the end of Trespasser, one of the dialogue options allows the Inquisitor to give a very bitter one to the Exalted Council before announcing the end of the Inquisition.
  • Recollection Sidequest:
    • Downplayed with the "side quest" to restore the Inquisitor's memories of how exactly they gained the Anchor, as it is the main objective early in the Fade section. Still, the formula is the same, as several snippets of this flashback are hidden out of order in different corners of the Fade level.
    • Late in the Jaws of Hakkon DLC, they do the same thing, except that the memories being collected are those of their predecessor, Inquisitor Ameridan.
  • Red Herring: The Crossroads inside the Eluvians. Morrigan suspects that Corypheus intends to find an Eluvian and enter the Fade through the Crossroads, but it turns out that Corypheus's plan is something else entirely.
  • Red Shirt: If you forcibly stop Florianne de Chalons, Inquisition soldiers get killed by her, and the Harlequin assassins proceed to show how dangerously quick they all are with knives.
  • Reforged Blade:
    • The Sulevin Blade, as mentioned under Reality Ensues above.
    • Certainty, the red lyrium sword wielded by Meredith in Dragon Age II. Corypheus used a combination of ancient Elven, Tevinter, and Blight magic to reforge it and gave it to Samson.
    • More generally, you can find schematics for a wide variety of otherwise "unique" weapons and pieces of armor, including several swords. While not technically "reforging", this makes it possible to make several copies of a supposedly one-of-a-kind, legendary piece of weaponry.
  • Refusal of the Second Call: A surviving Hero of Ferelden is never seen, despite the fact that the plot seems right up their alley. The Inquisitor can send them a letter asking for help, but they will reply that they are busy on their own unrelated mission.
  • Relationship Values: The approval/disapproval system returns; however, the approval bar is now invisible to the player. The player is not told how many points are added or removed from a companion's approval bar, only that a companion approved or disapproved of the player's actions, with vague descriptors like "slightly" or "greatly" added for particularly small or large changes. Slightly Approves and Slightly Disapproves:+/- 1 point. Approves and Disapproves:+/- 5 points. Greatly Approves and Greatly Disapproves:+/- 20 points. Without an actual gauge, the only consistent way of knowing where your relationship lies with a character is paying attention to how they greet you. Most characters will also gain new cutscenes when their approval has risen or fallen to a certain threshold.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction:
    • The Templars and Mages fighting in the Hinterlands are the lunatic fringe of both groups that refused to withdraw with their respective factions and randomly attack almost everyone. The main groups are more than happy to leave you to deal with them.
    • The Inquisition is considered to be this by the Chantry, especially if the Inquisitor, a.k.a. the Herald of Andraste, is an Elf/Qunari/Dwarf, and doubly so if they're also a mage. A male mage Vashoth is, more or less, the Chantry's bane.
    • The Venatori are a breakaway group of Tevinter extremists; they have no official backing from the government.
    • You can find a letter in the Trespasser DLC where the Qunari leadership claim the group you're fighting is actually a group of loyalists fooled into following a priestess they don't know has gone rogue. It's left ambiguous if this is the truth or not, since her plan had already been foiled by then.
  • Repeat After Me:
    • If Alistair claims his royal birthright in the first game and you recruited the Mages in this one, King Alistair petitions the Inquisition to help with a Venatori infiltration problem in his court (after apologizing for his curtness when kicking the mages out of Redcliffe). The scribe apparently is pretty much writing what he says verbatim... including Al yelling at the scribe for doing it.
    • If Cassandra becomes the Divine, Trespasser contains a letter from her to the Inquisitor in which she tries to make up for her verbal awkwardness by giving a scribe loose instructions for what to write about. The scribe just wrote down what she said word for word instead.
    • If Chief Movran is assigned to work with Lord Abernache, Movran makes Abernache write everything he says verbatim and read it back to him. Including his laughter.
  • Replaced with Replica: Vivienne asks the Inquisitor to procure for her a rare alchemical ingredient - the heart of a snowy wyvern. The game gives the player the option of giving her the heart of a regular wyvern instead, which renders the potion she's trying to make completely useless. It turns out to be a case of Video Game Cruelty Potential, because the potion in question is a desperate attempt to save the life of Vivienne's dying lover. It fails no matter what, but how she treats the Inquisitor afterward depends heavily on whether she was given the right item or the useless variant.
  • Reset Button Suicide Mission: In the main quest "In Hushed Whispers," the Inquisitor and Dorian are propelled into a Bad Future where the Big Bad has won. Leliana and the other two party members who accompanied them then sacrifice themselves to return the Inquisitor and Dorian to the present, preventing this future from ever occurring.
  • The Reveal: Two major ones occur near the end of the game and as The Stinger, respectively. First, Flemeth is revealed to be carrying the soul of Mythal, an Elven god. This also gives her control over whoever drank from the Well of Sorrows earlier. The Stinger, as detailed under Sequel Hook, reveals that Solas is himself an Elven god: Fen'Harel, the Dread Wolf. Moreover, he was the one who gave Corypheus the orb in the first place.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The Freemen claim to be fighting for the common folk of Orlais, but are little more than a large bandit group in service to the Elder One.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Acting on Morrigan's suspicions, the Inquisitor and their allies begin searching for the Eluvians, thinking that Corypheus plans to gain control of one and use it to enter the Fade. They're wrong, but the investigation leads the heroes straight to his real objective: the Well of Sorrows inside the Temple of Mythal — which is located right next to an Eluvian and holds the key to activate it.
  • Rocket Punch: For the first time in the series, the Stonefist spell is actually a fist-shaped stone projectile. It's not any character's hand, though, but a formation of fade stones (as it's part of the Rift Mage spec tree).
  • Romance Sidequest: Eight romance options are available; unlike in Dragon Age II, however, no single Inquisitor can romance them all. From the beginning, Cassandra and Blackwall are straight, Josephine is bisexual, Iron Bull is pansexual, Sera and Dorian are gay, and all six are available regardless of race. When the developers got extra time, Cullen was made a romance option for female humans and elves, and Solas was made available to female elves. Incidentally, actual sidequests are involved in some of the romances.
  • Romantic Candlelit Dinner: Cassandra's Romance Sidequest culminates in her admitting that she really wants an "ideal romance", which to her, includes "flowers and poetry by candlelight". If you want to continue wooing her, you have to purchase or otherwise obtain all those things and organize a perfect romantic picnic for her.
  • Rule of Three: Threes are all over this game, which is the third core installment of the series. For starters, there are three advisors at the War Table, representing three aspects of the Inquisition's power (Combat, Diplomacy, Stealth), and one Keep for each advisor to oversee. Each of the three character classes is represented by three companions and contains three specializations. The Character Level is capped at 27, which is three to the power of three. The narration follows an implicit Three-Act Structure, with each act spanning three main quests. Three power players vie for dominance in the Winter Palace, and three candidates (who accidentally comprise a complete Fighter, Mage, Thief triad) compete for the Sunburst Throne in the endgame. Lastly, three major DLC expansions have been released: a sandbox, a dungeon crawl, and a story epilogue—mirroring all three of the contemporary Western RPG subgenres.
  • Running Gag:
    • Varric's chest hair. Yes, again.
    • Goats. No, seriously. In Origins, there were goats caged and bleating in several places note . In DAII, there was Ser Conrad note , Aveline note  and Isabela note . The tradition continues with Chief Movran the Under, who attacks Skyhold with a goat....
    • As in previous games, the visual gag of cheese wheels in odd places... such as stuck on the fangs of a demonic statue, or made into a shield that the player can equip, or turned into a miniature cheese mine complete with little toiling figures, or being used as a table.
    • The Inquisition's female leaders tell Cullen to just stand around and look pretty. Varric claims it's the only reason they recruited him. They also comment on how he styles his hair.

  • Sadistic Choice:
    • Complete "In Hushed Whispers" to side with the Mages or "Champions of the Just" for the Templars? Whomever you don't choose goes to The Elder One!
    • During Iron Bull's personal mission on the Storm Coast, the Inquisitor has to decide between two options. On the one hand, you can save the Dreadnought carrying Qunari soldiers, solidifying an alliance with the Qunari and Iron Bull's place within it at the cost of his mercenary group's lives. Or they could sound the retreat for the mercenaries, scuttle the alliance, get Iron Bull branded as Tal-Vashoth, and allow the Dreadnought to be blown apart by Tevinter forces. And you cannot Take a Third Option.
    • During "Here Lies the Abyss", you have to give either a major Grey Warden character - Stroud/Alistair/Loghain - or Hawke a Last Stand. The Warden feels guilty on behalf of their Order's actions, Hawke for not finishing Corypheus.
    • There's another example that only applies if you imported a save from the Keep in which Sebastian was recruited but Anders was kept alive instead of executed. During a War Table mission, Sebastian gathers his forces in Starkhaven and launches an invasion of Kirkwall to annex it (off-screen, you learn this in the summary of the mission). You're given a choice between either sending Leliana's forces to help Sebastian's forces annex Kirkwall, or sending Cullen's forces to help Guard-Captain Aveline repel the invasion. The sadistic choice is between either supporting Aveline or supporting Sebastian, both of whom were companions in the previous game, though that depends on how one feels about Sebastian. Luckily, you can Take a Third Option to nominally support Sebastian while actually keeping tabs on and stalling the conflict.
    • Being forced to decide who will be bound to Mythal forever by drinking from the Well of Sorrows is one, assuming you happen to be a fan of Morrigan. This one is borderline, since the full implications don't become clear until later and it actually feels like a power struggle at the time.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Jaws of Hakkon reveals that the Old God Razikale is female.
  • Scenery Censor: Should you open Celene's private quarters in the Winter Palace and find a Chevalier she tricked into betraying Gaspard's plan to her before trussing him up naked to the bedposts, parts of the bed frame conveniently cover his loins.
  • Scenery Gorn: While the game is very pretty, there's a lot of wreckage and ruin present in the maps, which is appropriate considering the events of the game. Notable examples include the war-torn desolation of the Exalted Plains, Redcliffe Castle during the Bad Future sequence in the mage recruitment questline, and the obligatory appearance of the Deep Roads in The Descent DLC.
  • Scenery Porn:
    • BioWare heard fan complaints about the Dragon Age II maps being small, repetitive, and limited - and answered with giant maps full of lush scenery. This is one of the near universally praised features of the game, shown off in their What a Wonderful World trailer. A couple of vantage points include invisible walls to keep you from jumping and sliding down a hill before you've had a chance to drink in the view.
    • The last two levels of The Descent DLC (the Bastion of the Pure and the Wellspring, or the inside of the Titan) are exceptional examples. The effect is more startling by contrast with the (still impressive) Scenery Gorn of the Deep Roads in which the first part of the DLC takes place.
  • Schmuck Bait: In the Fade, you come across a journal entry from a rebel mage who hated and feared the Templars when he was back at the Circle, and how he wanted to make the Templars suffer. Naturally, you are going to read it because it might be a journal entry, and because one of your companions may call attention to it. Once you're done, a rage demon comes forth, a reflection of the rebel mage's last thoughts at the ill-fated Conclave.
    • In Jaws of Hakkon, while exploring the island called The Lady's Rest, the player can find a cave filled with piles of gold, a dead body seated on a throne, and a codex entry. The codex, which is a poem detailing how the gold was obtained through a series of murders and deadly accidents, is the only thing which is safe to touch; interacting with any of the treasure causes five level 30 demons to spawn. They can be defeated, if the party is of a high enough level themselves, but it will be a difficult fight.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: Schematics for elemental runes (Fire, Frost, etc.) are found as ancient glyphs on the walls in various locations, only readable using Veilfire. Each element has 3 levels of runes: normal (no prefix), Master and Superb, and therefore may be found in 3 different locations. However, you cannot find the higher-level runes before you have found the lower-level ones. In a normal playthrough, you are supposed to find the Fire Rune in the Hinterlands (the lowest-level area), the Master Fire Rune in the Western Approach (a middle-level area) and the Superb Fire Rune in the Hissing Wastes (the highest-level area). Yet if you choose to ignore the glyphs in the lower-level areas, you may change or even reverse the order (i.e. the content of the ancient glyphs in all locations is in fact decided by the order in which you choose to read them).
  • Schrödinger's Player Character: Played with. All potential player characters (or at least one of each race) are present at the Conclave. The Inquisitor is whichever one interrupted Corypheus's ritual. However, the weapon you conveniently land beside during the prologue will always match whatever class you chose in player selection.
  • Screw You, Elves!: You get to give the Qun a big one. Though you sink an alliance with it, because they want you to sacrifice Bull's Chargers.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can:
    • The Solasan Temple is actually a prison for a powerful pride demon. Doubles as a bit of Bilingual Bonus for those who know that solas is the Elvhen word for pride.
    • Trespasser reveals that the Evanuris, the tyrannical god-mages of the ancient Elvhen are the evil sealed deep in the Fade by Fen'Harel's creation of the Veil as punishment for their murder of Mythal.
  • Secret Test of Character: Although the scene near the game's end sets itself up as a Sadistic Choice for the player to make (similar to Iron Bull's earlier), Morrigan answers in a heartbeat that she's willing to lay her life on the line in exchange for the safety of her son from Flemeth. It also gets lampshaded immediately after, with the character that was tested being unsure whether they'd passed or failed it.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: The whole point of the Trials that were part of the Trespasser DLC. Each of them makes the game more difficult in a specific way by scaling enemies up to your party's level, removing supply caches, doubling the impact of negative companion reactions, or reducing the effect of healing potions to 1 HP, to name but a few. They also, as the game itself warns you, increase the likelihood of glitches. On the flip side, each active trial increases your chance to receive special rewards every now and then (schematics, top-tier masterwork materials, stuff like that), and may come with additional advantages. For instance, scaling enemies to your level assures you never have to worry about the game's Anti-Grinding mechanics and can level up very quickly, assuming you can handle the tougher opposition. Last but not least, completing a specific task for each trial awards an achievement.
  • Sequel Escalation: The Inquisition will be building up forces like in Origins, but with Orlais thrown into the mix. Some of the Skyhold mechanics also feel familiar to Awakening, such as passing judgement on various people.
  • Sequel Hook: Bioware has made it abundantly clear that the Dragon Age story is far from over. Word of God on social media indicates that even they aren't sure how long it's going to take them to tell it.
    • Corypheus and his pseudo-Archdemon both die in the final battle, but after the endgame and the credits, Solas is revealed to be Fen'Harel and working with Flemeth (or rather Mythal) for an unknown goal, with Flemeth possibly possessing his body at the end for her own purposes... or Solas/Fen'harel absorbing Flemeth's powers for his own purposes. It's left kinda vague. Word of God datamined from the game and posted on Reddit reveals that Fen'Harel did indeed kill Mythal and absorb her power. Mythal, true to form, anticipated this and left some of her own power in the Eluvian for Morrigan to eventually find. The incredibly spoilery post including this information can be found here.
    • The ending narration mentions the main Warden fortress suddenly becoming ominously silent and Hawke/Alistair/Loghain/Stroud, who took them a message about what happened to their people in the south, disappearing. There is also a suggestion that the Wardens who have disconnected themselves from Weisshaupt have a great deal of work to do to redeem themselves, which may factor into the next game.
    • The Hero of Ferelden, if still alive, is on a quest far in the uncharted West to cure all Wardens of the Calling. A romanced Morrigan or Leliana states her intention to rejoin them when the current crisis is done, opening up possibilities for their story to continue. If the Warden is Alistair's queen, Ferelden is facing a potential Succession Crisis as they have not yet had children, and one codex entry suggests that Alistair is feeling the strain of his beloved wife's absence, which may indicate future difficulties for the beleaguered nation.
    • The Elder One describes Qunari blood as "strange" and "engorged with decay". You could write this off as racism, except that Old God Kieran likewise tells Adaar that their blood "doesn't belong to your people."
    • Indeed, much of what Old God Kieran says implies things as yet unrevealed:
      (regarding Morrigan): Mother is the inheritor, she who awaits the next age.
      (To Lavellan) Your blood is very old. I saw it right away./I just don't understand why your people choose to look like that.
      (To Adaar) I just feel bad about what happened to your people./I noticed your blood. It doesn't belong to your people.
      (To Cadash) You can't be taller. Not without the titans.
    • There are hints that an uncorrupted Old God is buried under the Western Approach, and a statue depicting worshipers of Razikale is found in the area. Combined with the information given on Razikale in Jaws of Hakkon, it's possible that focus is being shifted to her since Urthemiel has been defeated.
    • The Descent ends with some major revelations about dwarven lore, but leaves a lot of mysteries still open.
    • Trespasser ends with the reveal that Solas intends to destroy Thedas to create a new world for the elves. The Inquisition (or whatever's left of it) now moves to stop him. It's all but confirmed that the next game will focus on the Tevinter Imperium, which has just entered a great deal of political upheaval and a new war with the Qunari.
    • A previously unmentioned race known as the Scaled Ones appears in a series of ancient Dwarven journal entries and images of reptilian humanoids that fit the description appear in even older Elven ruins.
    • A series of War Table operations involves encounters with a mysterious group calling themselves the Executors who represent "Those Across the Sea". They claim not to be Thedas' enemy, for the moment. But they are coming.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: In the same vein as the Cerberus Guardians in ME3. This emphasizes party teamwork - you can't punch through the shields even with magic (unless it knocks them down), so you need to flank or disarm them.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • If you romance Josephine and ask if the relationship has started any rumors, she'll reply that a number of people had already paired the Inquisitor off with several other characters, including but not limited to: Cassandra, Dorian, Chancellor Roderick (who's dead by this point), and some man (who may or may not even exist) named "Philip".
    • Dorian is clearly this for Cullen and a female Inquisitor.
    • In Trespasser, Vivienne - of all people - is this for the Inquisitor and whomever they romanced during the main game. This even includes Scout Harding, if the Inquisitor flirted with her and didn't romance anyone else.
    • The Inquisitor themselves can be implied to be this for Iron Bull and Dorian, during conversations with the latter during Trespasser.
  • Shoddy Knockoff Product: In-Universe; Word of God says that Hard in Hightown 2, the book next to Cassandra's maps, is an unauthorized sequel to Varric's original. The book had previously appeared in Varric's companion specific sidequest in Mark of the Assassin, where he was furious to discover someone ripping off his work, leading him to collect all the copies he could find at Chateau Haine so he could burn them. There's now a third, which drives Varric to hunt down the plagiarist; while the second book was merely awful, the third book has actually led to people being murdered. Both rip-offs are, by all reports, crimes against literature and correct spelling.
  • Shoot Him! He Has a... Wallet: The truth about Red Crossing turns out to be a case of "Shoot her, she has a letter!"
  • Shoot the Medic First: A load screen tip details how enemy spellbinders may buff their nearby allies, and that they should be priority targets.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Maddox's tragic end. He commits suicide by poison to ensure his secrets about Samson's armor go with him to his grave... but Dagna reverse-engineers his tools anyway and makes a rune to unmake Samson's armor.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: As Erimond does his villainous monologue about how he exploited the Warden's fear of Corypheus's false Calling and gloats how he has countermeasures against the Inquisitor's Anchor, the Inquisitor causes the fade rift in between them to discharge, knocking Erimond flat on his butt.
  • Side Bet: Varric and Dorian have several side bets going, mostly about exactly how much trouble they're in and the Inquisitor's odds of success against the Elder One, which Dorian estimates at about three to one... in favor of the Elder One, though he notes that it would be five to one if he weren't around. The Inquisitor has the option of joining in on the bet.
  • Sigil Spam:
    • When they're not wearing Bling of War, every Orlesian soldier wears a cuirass with the golden lion on purple of House Valmont on it. This includes soldiers, like Corporal Rosslin, who serve Gaspard.
    • Weirdly, Kirkwall's crest can be found all over the game world despite the city-state not playing any actual role in the plot. A great many chests bear the crest, as do a lot of armors, and both repeatedly do so in places and circumstances where they really shouldn't be.
    • The decoration you choose for Skyhold includes heraldry that will be present everywhere you look.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: You're the boss of the Inquisition, and all possible Romance Sidequests are with your underlings.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: The nobleman you encounter in Sera's recruitment quest acts like he's the arch-nemesis of the Inquisition, and assumes that you had to spend a massive amount of resources to track him down. In reality, the Inquisitor will have never heard of him prior to the quest, came to Val Royeaux on a completely unrelated matter, and unexpectedly ran into him after following a seemingly random series of clues laid by the Friends of Red Jenny. Sera also has no idea who he is, and his identity is never revealed.
  • Smart People Play Chess: The characters who can display an interest in chess are Cullen (military advisor), Leliana (spymaster), Solas (Fade expert), Iron Bull (Ben-Hassrath spy), and Dorian (highly educated Tevinter mage). The Inquisitor can also play, so this can be played straight or subverted depending on the player's choices.
  • So Bad, It's Good: In-universe. Varric takes this mentality when agreeing to finish a rather bad romance serial that Cassandra secretly reads. "That's such a terrible idea, I have to do it."
  • So Crazy, It Must Be True: Varric's reaction to the story Cullen tells when the gang plays Wicked Grace. He relates an anecdote about his Templar days, which leaves everyone laughing but a few of the friends questioning its veracity. Varric replies that "That's how you know it's true! I could never put that in one of my books - too unlikely."
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: At the end of the game Solas will permanently leave the party with all the gear you had equipped on him. Ditto Cassandra and Vivienne if one of them gets elected the Divine (Cassandra can be recruited back to the ranks after the ending if you talk to her - she'll even beg you for it), but at least you can unequip their gear during the post-Final Battle celebration. Blackwall temporarily leaves the party after both Adamant and the Winter Palace are completed, taking all of his equipped gear with him, too; however, if you bring him back, he brings it all back with him.
  • So Near, Yet So Far: Subverted. The Breach, closing which is set up as your main objective for the game in its opening sequence, is a short walk away from Haven, where you set up your Player Headquarters. In fact, you can see the Breach from pretty much anywhere in the village, but you have to secure an alliance with either the mages or the Templars before you can actually seal it for good. The subversion comes from the fact that despite being set up as the ultimate goal, closing the Breach turns out to be just the start of a much larger, game-spanning conflict.
  • So What Do We Do Now?:
    • The ending leaves the Inquisitor (and whichever companions don't have anywhere else to be) left in charge of one of the most powerful military and political organizations in southern Thedas, allied with both the major kingdoms and the Chantry, and absolutely no clear objectives remaining. The characters discuss it during the finale, but don't come to any conclusions.
    • Trespasser takes it a bit further; the clean-up operation is finally over and the kingdoms want to resolve your exact status, not being comfortable with what is essentially a massive stateless private army on their borders. You can disband the Inquisition if you want, or pledge it to the service of the Divine. Either way, everyone is aware that they may be called on again to fight the new threat, and the after-credits scene shows the Inquisitor, Leliana, Cassandra, Scout Harding, and (potentially) the Inquisitor's love interest making vague plans.
  • Song of Courage: Mother Giselle rallies the Inquisition when it's teetering on the Despair Event Horizon by singing the Chantry hymn "The Dawn Will Come" to emphasize the Herald of Andraste.
  • Sore Loser: The Elder One gets described as this by Solas near the end of the game, after the Inquisitor has thwarted their plans time and again. Of course, the temper tantrum this upset child will throw could be world-breaking.
  • Spam Attack: Rampage for the Reaver, Thousand Cuts for the Tempest, Hail of Arrows for the Artificer and Firestorm for the Rift Mage. Because one hit is never enough. On a lesser level, the more generally available "Energy Barrage" spell for mages shoots out a larger number of standard mage staff projectiles than standard staff attacks (even a sustained combo) can normally do.
  • Spider Swarm:
    • As if to prove Bioware's love for them once and for all, they crop up every now and then, relevantly in The Fade or Storm Coast. They are very active in The Hissing Wastes with one quest even has you fighting a particularly large group, and should you fail one of the tomb's riddles...
    • One quest titled "For What It's Worth" has you retrieve a wedding ring. A lot of sentimental value but fighting some forty corrupted spiders for the ring may not be worth itnote .
  • Spiders Are Scary: One of the tarot card loading screens discuss how a Giant Spider is better than the little ones because at least you know where they are, hinting that the game will take this direction. Sure enough they are the first enemy encountered, then there are poisonous versions, and the Big Bad uses the image of demons in the image of spiders... the Inquisitor turns out to be deathly afraid of them. Becomes a Discussed Trope later in the game.
    The big demon Erimond was trying to bring through? It's nearby? Well, shit.
  • Spin Attack: Avvar Brutes and Champions have a devastating one that inflicts knockdown with every hit, and these hits are timed perfectly to knock down anyone who had just recovered from the previous blow. The attack has a long and quite distinctive wind-up animation, but if you fail to read the signs or get out in time, the resulting Cycle of Hurting is usually a death sentence even on the lowest difficulty.
  • Spiteful A.I.: The game's absolute fave method of terror in the whole wide world is not the dreaded Despair Demon's dreidel, but to camp right on top of fallen allies so they cannot be revived. If it's feeling merciful it may deliver a One Hit Total Party Kill: if "not" then have fun with them taunting how invincible they are with diminished numbers, killing you is not good enough it wants to force you to restart.
  • Spy Fiction: Almost always averted, contrary to the Inquisition being an intelligence agency. Presumably Leliana and her people are off having cloak and dagger adventures of their own. (This presumption is somewhat supported by ambient dialogue from the various spies.)
  • Spy Versus Spy: A minor subversion; Solas found out about the Qunari plot in the Trespasser DLC because his spies infiltrating the Inquisition randomly tripped over the Qunari spies infiltrating the Inquisition. The Inquisition's own spy network missed both completely.
  • Static Role, Exchangeable Character:
    • "Grey Warden Ally": Depending on the world state, this can be either Alistair, Loghain, or Stroud from Dragon Age II, but whoever it is plays a major static role in the "Here Lies The Abyss" plotline. At the end of said mission, either he or Hawke becomes "the Fade Survivor", whose role is to play out in the future games.
    • "Mythal's Thrall": Towards the endgame, either the Inquisitor, or Morrigan drinks from the Well of Sorrows, allowing them to neutralize the Elder One's dragon in the Final Battle, but also making them a thrall to Mythal.
  • Stealthy Mook: Enemy rogues can use the Stealth skill to disappear from view at the start of combat and circle around your front line fighters to Back Stab your mages and archers. While they can, with some skill, be spotted and forced out of stealth with a manual unaimed attack, they cannot be targeted by spells, abilities, and party AI while sneaking.
  • The Stinger: You get a party after saving the world, go up to your room with your love interest, then a rolling screen details what happens after. Then Solas meets with Flemeth expecting a You Have Failed Me, and instead, when she embraces him his power seemingly kills her.
    • Trespasser can end with either the Inquisition working for the Divine or being disbanded. Again you get details based on your actions through the game, then Varric gives Cassandra his new book, which she reads aloud imitating the other characters and critiquing the writing. Then the leaders, which now include Harding, plot to either save Solas from himself or hunt him down.
  • Stock Puzzle: The Descent DLC sees Towers of Hanoi make a triumphant return. And BioWare seems well aware of its reputation.
    Inquisitor: Only a lyrium-addled mind would hide secrets behind such madness.
  • Stock Scream: Good ol' Wilhelm shows up during the siege on Adamant Fortress.
  • Stock Video Game Puzzle: Eulerian paths for Astrariums (tracing constellations with each line drawn only once) and Hamiltonian paths for Temple of Mythal rituals (stepping on each floor tile only once).
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: Just about every single party member falls into this, whether it be about their race, subgroup, or country.
    • When fighting demons, Cole will often try to get them to wake up and stop hurting people, because he's learned better.
    • Dorian's motivation for joining the Inquisition is that he is fed up with the "cliche villainy" stereotype in which his fellow Tevinter nobles are all too eager to indulge, and the Inquisition's prime enemy faction just happens to be comprised of the most egregious examples of such.
    • Cassandra hates what the Seekers and Templars have become and wants to get them to see that justice and doing what's right supersede customs or tradition.
    • Iron Bull questions a lot about the Qun and sometimes can't find a reason to go on. Possibly subverted based on your actions.
    • Sera can't stand elves who are caught up in past glory or whine about oppression. She's just fine, so leave her out of it.
    • Solas likewise has issue with both Dalish elves and City elves, as well as their customs, beliefs and traditions. He feels at home with neither. Justified because he's an Elven god, and remembers the way things were.
    • Varric isn't overly fond of Dwarven things or culture. In particular, he's happy to hear that there was once a Dwarven surface colony.
    • Vivienne is not happy that the Mages rebelled against the Chantry and dissolved the circles, starting a war in which they are outnumbered "a hundred to one."
    • Blackwall is the only party character who has no problems with his origins, completely believing in the Grey Warden Order no matter what. Except he's not a Warden, and so has no idea what the Order is about or what its purpose is. He believes, for example, that Wardens swear to protect others; in reality, Wardens do whatever they want as long as they can justify it as a means to fight present or future Blights.
  • Stopped Numbering Sequels: Originally announced as Dragon Age III: Inquisition, the III was eventually dropped from the title, due to the transition to next generation consoles. Plus, DAIIII as the abbreviation probably would have been awkward. Ironically, this is actually a return to the original naming scheme of the Dragon Age series, meaning that Dragon Age II is the only numbered game in the series.
  • Story Branch Favoritism:
    • How many Inquisition Perks you invest into Forces, Secrets, and Connections determines the modus operandi of the Inquisition, including in the ending. Since there are about as many perks available in Forces as in the other two categories combined, and since a lot of them improve your combat performance, you are much more likely to end up with a military powerhouse in your hands than with an organization of spies or diplomats. (However, the game takes into account other factors, such as which advisors you usually pick for war table missions.)
    • There is more unique content for the Dalish Inquisitor than for all the other races combined, although a great deal of the dialogue is negative about the Dalish. Solas in particular is much more forthcoming, especially if the romance with him is taken.
  • Story Difficulty Setting: The easiest mode is called Casual: "For players new to role-playing games or those interested in a purely narrative focus." That still doesn't mean you can just stroll through battles without a care in the world — most enemies will still wreck even well-equipped hero parties in short order unless you out-level them by a significant margin.
  • Stripperific: Some of the DLC-exclusive Qunari and Avvar armors are more revealing than any other set of clothes in the entire franchise except for the infamous underwear, especially when worn by female characters. Qunari rarely wear more than a strip or two of cloth across their chest, which is just enough to cover a female character's breasts while showing off her impeccable abs. Avvar gear takes it even further by consisting of nothing but a thick layer of war paint for anything above the waist (which, for some unexplained reason, offers more protection than a full suit of heavy tier 1 armor).
  • Strip Poker: A famous cutscene (triggered by talking to Varric with high enough approval) features the Inquisitor, companions and advisors playing a game of Wicked Grace. While they are not actually playing a "strip" version of the game, the scene ends with Cullen losing his clothes in a bet with Josephine, which initiates remarks from some of the other characters.
    • Happened when Blackwall taught Diamondback to Solas, too, apparently.
      Blackwall: Lost everything! Had to walk back to my quarters with only a bucket for my bits.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: According to party banter with Varric and Solas, humans like to blow stuff up and generally make a mess of things. The remnants of the Conclave where the Breach opened also resembles a nuclear strike, complete with the carbonised remains of people trying to shield themselves from the blast dotting the area.
  • Subsystem Damage: Giants and all larger reptilian enemies including High Dragons have multiple body parts that can be attacked individually. Dealing enough damage to a limb leaves it crippled, often inflicts continuous bleeding damage and prevents the victim from using certain special abilities. Case in point: crippling the legs of a giant makes it jump around comically before dropping on its knees, unable to perform its dangerous jump attack any longer, while dragons roar pitifully and can't claw you to death with the injured leg anymore. That all limbs count as separate targets also means the creatures are particularly vulnerable to AoE attacks, which can deal several times their base damage if they hit all limbs at once (Chain Lightning stands out in particular thanks to its upgrade that deals +100% damage for every additional target it hits).
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: A lot of returning characters, either from the previous games or from the tie-in novels, can bite it in this game.
    • Returning characters who can potentially die: Fiona, Empress Celene, Briala, Grand Duke Gaspard, Grand Duchess Florianne, Carroll, Imshael, Michel de Chevin, Stroud, Alistair, Loghain, and Hawke.
    • Returning characters who will die no matter what: Regalyan, Justinia V, and Flemeth (a Flemeth, at least (possibly)).
  • Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: This outlook is starting to rise within Thedas, but the trope is still zig-zagged. Similar to Real Life, most "accredited" academia and research in this era of Thedas are beginning with "Deist" intent. To most, academics exist solely to explain, prove, and better define religious "truth" (for example, studying Elven magic to prove they are inferior to the Maker). Morrigan, most of all, does not seem to believe in any gods and feels they were likely little more than extraordinarily powerful rulers or mages. Later revelations, however, leave her in doubt. The events of Trespasser prove her completely right, at least as far as the Elven ones are concerned, but she'd left the organization years ago by that point.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Any standing water that goes above the chest forces the Inquisitor and the party to a safer area a few steps back.
  • Supernaturally Validated Trans Person: Cole (who is a spirit and capable of reading minds) identifies Krem, a trans man, using masculine pronouns. Even the Iron Bull, who is Krem's military commander and knows his secret, is surprised that Cole is using Krem's correct pronouns in their conversation.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The canine/lupine enemies in an area, when you're on horseback. You could be at a full tilt gallop across half the map, and they just keep relentlessly pursuing you.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The Knight-Enchanter Prestige Class drew many comparisons from fans as being the substitute for the Arcane Warriors from Origins. Solas actually confirms in game that the Circle based the Knight-Enchanter magic on the Arcane Warrior.
  • Swamps Are Evil: Ferelden gets a third evil swamp: the Fallow Mire was ravaged by a plague, and the plague's victims have risen as undead.

  • Taking You with Me: Cullen's proposal once the battle at Haven turns against the Inquisition: turn the trebuchets on the mountain above the village and bury Corypheus and his army along with everyone there. Fortunately, Roderick has a way to get everyone out while the Inquisitor holds the enemy's attention.
  • Tarot Motifs: The party member selection screen consists of a deck of tarot cards modeled on the party members. Each party member's card is based off of one of the major arcana. The Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition includes an actual tarot deck as one of its contents, which will presumably use the same imagery and expand on it for the cards not already represented by the party members.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Some members of the party do not get along, no matter what:
    • Dorian and Blackwall dislike each other since Dorian believes mostly correctly that Blackwall's a criminal who escaped justice by becoming a Grey Warden, while Blackwall dislikes Dorian because he's a Tevinter noble.
    • Solas really doesn't like Vivienne because she's a prideful pro-Circle mage, and she in turn looks down on him for being a raggedy apostate.
    • If Solas is in the party during "What Pride Had Wrought", he really tears into Morrigan for trying to act like an authority on Elven history when all she really knows are legends. He's also possibly using reverse psychology to trick her into drinking from the Well of Sorrows, thus enslaving her to Mythal aka Flemeth.
    • Sera doesn't get along well with either Solas (because of their completely opposite views on elven history/culture) or Vivienne (whom she sees as a stuck-up noble). Both of them are also mages, and she is fairly uncomfortable with magic in general. She also does not like Cole, whom she calls "It"; this is entirely one-sided, however, as Cole doesn't mind her in the least.
  • Telefrag: The Knight Enchanter specialisation gets this ability. The Fade Step spell can also be upgraded to inflict cold damage and chill effects to any foes you pass through on the dash.
  • Teleport Spam: The default response of enemy mages when they're engaged in melee. Your own mages can get in on the action with the Fade Step ability, and the assassin ability Hidden Blades utilizes Super Speed to such an extreme extent that it gives off this impression (your rogue can be literally cutting up two enemies at once, one with his normal attacks while after-images of him are seen striking another enemy from all sides up to 6 times).
  • That's No Moon!: Late in the DLC The Descent, the party realizes that the cave system they are in is actually part of a Titan.
  • Theme Naming: Many of Leliana's personnel have code names of various occupations and trades, like "Saddler" or "Cooper" or "Weaver". Varric lampshades it in one of the two branched final war table missions concerning the Hard in Hightown knockoffs.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: The theme tune from the first Dragon Age game comes back as a tune that the minstrel in the Herald's Rest might play on the lute. The title music also is in-universe as the melody for the Chantry hymn "The Dawn Will Come".
  • They Fight Crime!:
    Iron Bull: Blackwall. Iron Bull. We could fight crime!
    Blackwall: ...Isn't that exactly what we're doing, right this minute, more or less?
    Iron Bull: ...Oh, yeah.
  • Three-Act Structure: While Inquisition is not as overt about this as Dragon Age II, its story neatly breaks down into three distinct segments: Haven and Ferelden (from the Breach to the sacking of Haven), Skyhold and Orlais (the Grey Wardens and the Grand Game storylines), and the Final Battle(s) against the Elder One (basically, everything from the Arbor Wilds to the epilogue). It helps that three is the Arc Number of the game, too.
  • Tiger by the Tail: Mistress Poulin, the ruler of the town of Sahrnia in Emprise du Lion, let the Templars mine her quarry and hire the locals to help. The town was dying due to the Orlesian Civil War and desperately needed the money. She learned too late that they were Red Templars in service to Corypheus and the people she was sending them were being killed in the process of mining the red lyrium. She knew that if she refused to send anyone else to work the quarry, the Red Templars would just attack the town and take everyone at once. She sold the weak, elderly, sick, and anyone else that was likely to die soon anyway. She used the coin to help the survivors and hoped that someone would come along save them before they all get killed anyway.
  • Time Skip: "Trespasser" takes place two years after Inquisition's main quest line.
  • Time Stands Still: In the Western Approach there is a temple that the Venatori are very interested in. Inside, everything is frozen; the Venatori, the demons killing them, and the parts of the building that are collapsing (though anyone entering from the outside can move around just fine). It turns out they were experimenting with time magic which predictably went horribly wrong; fortunately, one Venatori who had doubts about the safety of the ritual sacrificed his life to keep the effects restricted to just the temple and not the entirety of Southern Thedas. You can remove the staff keeping the spell going, at which point large parts of the temple collapse, the demons kill the Venatori, and you have to fight your way back out.
  • To Absent Friends: Varric and the Inquisitor will take time to mourn whoever was left in the Fade. The tone is quite different depending on who it was. If it was a Warden, Varric will be saddened by their death, even though he didn't know them very well. However, if it was Hawke, Varric is on the verge of tears for pretty much the entire conversation, telling an amusing story about them to the Inquisitor as a way of essentially saying goodbye to his best friend.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Focus abilities are extremely powerful but can only be recharged by dealing damage to enemies, and fully recharging all three bars takes so ridiculously long you'll soon learn to deploy them only against the toughest bossesnote . First-time players have it particularly hard because they usually don't know in advance when and where said worthy targets are scheduled to show up, and how many opportunities they'll have to recharge before the next major boss battle. (There is a unique belt which allows focus to recharge faster, if you can find it.)
  • Took a Level in Badass: Skyhold's tavern hosts a guy named Sutherland whose story arc is all about facilitating this for him. When you first meet him he's just a thankful civilian who wants to pitch in any way he can. This unlocks a long string of War Table missions that let the Inquisitor outfit him and send him on increasingly challenging missions, picking up quirky companions and renown along the way and having many an Offscreen Moment of Awesome in the process. The last mission is called "Company of Heroes", with a description that has even your seasoned advisors amazed at how incredibly badass Sutherland's company has become. By this point they're a team of four doing pretty much the same things the Inquisitor's merry band is doing all the time, so you've basically recreated your own journey to fame on a smaller scale.
  • Toxic Phlebotinum: Red lyrium returns, only this time the entire order of Templars has dug it up to use. True to form, it grants them immense power, at the cost of horrifying mutations and mass deportation from the lands of rationality. And turning them to stone eventually.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: A preview of the game closed on a recreation of the Last Supper featuring the Inquisitor, advisors, and party. Solas is in Judas' position.
  • Tragic Monster:
    • According to a banter between Solas and Cole, most of the demons in the game were benevolent spirits who were transformed into demons from the trauma of being forced into the physical world by the rifts. One of Solas's companion quests deals with this happening to a spirit who was friends with him.
    • The Red Templars. Judging by some diaries and letters in their Storm Coast base and those in Therinfal Redoubt, more than a few - especially the lower-level members - were decent people, completely unaware that their new lyrium supplies would warp them so horrifically and make them lose their minds.
  • Trap Master: The Artificer specialization for Rogues. The Sabotage skill tree also deals with traps to some degree.
    Description: Intricate mechanisms are the core of the artificer's craft: deadly traps; distracting contraptions; marvels of engineering turned to deadly purpose. If an artificer is standing at the far end of a seemingly innocuous stretch of the battlefield, you should find another path.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot:
    • More noticeable in this game, as it takes place over the southern half of an entire continent. Despite having a technology level no greater than late-Medieval Earth, characters are capable of traveling as if they lived in the modern day. For example, pre-industrial travel was extremely imprecise to schedule, but characters that travel separately always seem to arrive right on time. In addition, characters are always offering to "meet" each other in a completely different region, city, or even country as if it was taking a trip across town, and there's rarely any indication of waiting long.
    • You're first invited to watch the Bull's Chargers "in action" by traveling from Haven to the Storm Coast, and you arrive just as they're finishing up the job in question.
    • Twice during "Here Lies the Abyss," Hawke and the Warden Ally agree to "meet you" at different key locations. Both times, Hawke tells you they just got there right before you did.
    • Twice, Josephine meets you in Val Royeaux, or three times if romanced. Her romance arc plays this Up to Eleven, as she interrupts your duel with her fiancé right at the last minute.
    • Subverted when Solas says he'll meet you back at Skyhold after his personal quest. The dialogue implies that he was gone for some time, with no indication of where he was or when - or if - he'd be back.
    • Ambiguously played during Varric's personal quest, where you meet his contact in Valammar in the Hinterlands. She complains that you kept her waiting, but there's no real indication that it's been weeks or even very many days. It's possible, but not likely.
    • Scout Harding hangs around Skyhold all the time. However whenever you reach a new area, she's been there so long she's had time to scout out enemy movements. This is even more overt in the Jaws of Hakkon DLC, where she has a much larger role; she's constantly present at the main camp in the Frostback Basin, and yet is still there to greet you whenever you open any new areas after that.
  • True Love Is Boring: Several romances (especially carried over from previous stories) succumb to this.
    • Played with between the Warden and Hawke, and all possible love interests for either. With the exception of Zevran, the best possible outcome for the Warden's romance is that they're still very much in love, but can't physically be together at the moment. (If Zevran was romanced, it's implied that they're still an active Battle Couple.)
    • Cassandra, depending on your actions, may be forced to leave a male Inquisitor after becoming Divine Victoria.
    • Depending on your choices, Hawke or Alistair can die, leaving their love interest to grieve.
    • Galyan dies at the Conclave in the beginning of the game; under certain circumstances, Cassandra will later explain who he was to her.
    • Averted with Rhys and Evangeline, who are still together but their fate is left indeterminate if you don't do a War Table operation to rescue them.
    • Solas breaks up with the Inquisitor at the end of their romance.
    • Whether the Iron Bull plays this straight or subverts it depends on whether or not he was encouraged to stay with the Qun. If he stayed, he admits that he does have feelings for the Inquisitor, but both are aware that he will eventually be called back to Seheron and, whether through re-education or gamek, he will be made to forget his feelings. If he was encouraged to defect, Bull and the Inquisitor settle into a happy and kinky relationship.

  • Unicorn: The Deluxe Edition includes a "Bog Unicorn" mount, which is just an undead horse with a sword through its head. The horsemaster's notes on the beast are... bewildered, to say the least.
  • Unishment:
    • Andraste's Sacrifice is an amulet for Mage and Rogue classes that can give a fair boost to mana regeneration, cooldown times, and also generates Guard... but at the cost of generating threat and drawing enemy attention. This is typically not something you want to have as a non-Warrior class not meant to take a pounding... unless you're a Knight-Enchanter, in which case you're probably tanking and want the attention anyway.
    • One of the people the Inquisitor can pass judgment on at Skyhold is Movran the Under, an Avvar chieftain guilty of catapulting goats at the Inquisition fortress. One possible sentence is to exile him and his clan to Tevinter with as many weapons as they can carry. Since Movran intended to attack Tevinter anyway, absolutely everyone in the South is very happy with this sentence - even more so once the tribe sets up shop in Tevinter and gives the Vints an unexpectedly major Oh, Crap! moment simply by being there.
  • Unknown Rival: Sera's recruitment mission involves a confrontation with an Orlesian noble mage who is convinced that he is your arch-nemesis and you must have paid a terrible price to track him down. You never even learn the idiot's name before Sera kills him, and he never comes up again.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Foiling Corypheus's plans at the Winter Palace ball during "Wicked Eyes And Wicked Hearts" involves having the Inquisitor scale a flower lattice in the Guest Gardens, decked in formal wear and in plain sight of scores of Orlesian nobles and guards. Nobody bats an eyelash.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: A common complaint regarding the various requisition sidequests, many of which demand you collect an amount of resources that can only ever be (rarely, in some cases) dropped by enemies who do not respawn (making it possible to kill all of them there are, and upon not finding enough drops, not have any more chances).
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: After a certain point, the codex entry for the Rite of Tranquility reveals that an unnamed mage once attempted to join the Seekers of Truth. It is because of him that the Seekers discovered that Tranquility strips mages of their magic. Thus began their policy of using the Rite of Tranquility as a last resort on uncontrollable mages. That gradually grew into the Rite being used on mages who don't toe the party line, which further led to a small but growing number of mages being made Tranquil to be used as sex slaves for the Templars. These things combined are among the biggest complaints that led to the Mage Rebellion. And it all started because of one well-meaning mage who thought he'd found a way to avoid possession.
  • Upper-Class Twit:
    • This is par for the course for much of Orlesian nobility. Vivienne's Establishing Character Moment involves her brutally putting a foppish noble in his place after he insults the Inquisitor at one of her parties.
    • Lord Abernache, the most prominent noble to accompany the Inquisition to Therinfal Redoubt, is impatient and gets upset unless the Inquisitor caters to his every whim. If Abernache survives Therinfal, the Inquisitor can get revenge by forcing him to participate in a "cultural exchange" with barbarian chieftain Movran the Under, who proceeds to annoy Abernache to no end.
    • Josephine's younger sister causes her no end of exasperation, though Lady Yvette is a more benign example of this trope.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Several of the Inquisition Perks end up as this in practice and execution.
    • Massache's Method increases the experience points gained from killing enemies by 5%. The gain is a pittance that won't make a reasonable difference in how fast the player gains experience points, compared to completing quests or killing High Dragons. The DLCs allow for the level cap to be reached comfortably as well.
    • Rider's Posture (and its upgrade, Antivan-Stitched Saddle) increases the resistance to being unseated when riding a mount. You can just recall your mount a split second after being unseated for whatever reason. The majority of players also don't use the mounts very often, as doing so stores your party in Hammerspace and means you won't get to hear any banter.
    • Optimal Cutting randomly gives the player extra herbs while harvesting them in the wild. Herbs can be re-harvested from the same area just by fast traveling to another map and returning to the previous one. You also have the option to grow your own herbs with seeds in the Skyhold Garden, which is even easier to do if you use the Golden Nug to give you every seed in the game.
    • Eagle-Eyed increases the discovery range of the searched action. It's less useless than some of these, but not really needed when you can backtrack to find what you missed or go online for help.
    • Enhanced Studies grants an additional 50% experience points for each foe research piece you turn in. Like with Massasche's Method, there are far more than enough experience points to reach a high level with regular questing. (That said, it's retroactive, meaning that upon taking it you can get a major experience point boost. Turning in research also gives influence, though again, there are enough ways to maximize that that it's not necessary.)
    • Forward Scouts reveals additional landmarks and points of interest on the maps of every area. It's nothing you can't accomplish with a map online, and nothing you need for more than a couple of entirely-optional quests that affect Skyhold only cosmetically.
    • Many of the merchant perks under the Connections tree fall into this. They claim that they provide various benefits with the merchants throughout the game, such as sales, but by the time you've accumulated enough perks to make use of them, you probably won't be visiting merchants except to sell things.

  • Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Strangely inverted. There's no real gameplay buildup to the final battle against Corypheus. A short cutscene plays, and you're thrust into the fight. If anything, the Elven Temple in the Arbor Wilds is set up to be this, complete with a beautifully rendered montage of your allies gathering (reminiscent of the one for the endgame of Origins). But then there is a break between that and the actual final battle. Justified in that the characters think they're heading for the final battle, and are a bit surprised to find that it goes very differently.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Of special note is the option to hug Varric if he begins to cry during one specific dark moment. Most if not all of the companions and advisors have at least one moment that really tugs at the heart in a similar manner, though perhaps none quite so powerfully as Varric - especially for players of the previous game.
    • If you find food and blankets for the refugees, you may later discover small groups camping out in various places around the world, commenting to each other that at least they won't be cold and hungry because the Herald cared enough to help them.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • The Inquisitor's judgments can display shades of this, particularly in the case of players with the human noble background who can confiscate all of Mistress Poulin's earnings to enrich their own family's wealth.
    • They can also sentence Movran the Under to gibbeting for throwing a goat at Skyhold.
    • Also of note, Sera can be abruptly dumped and fired from the Inquisition with a single dialogue choice long after the Inquisitor has started pursuing a romance with her.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment:
    • A quest available at the beginning of the game has you work with Mihris from The Masked Empire. At the end of the quest, you have the choice to kill Mihris over an Amulet of Power. Fighting her is pointless, as Solas (whose presence is required for the quest) can convince her to turn it over without a fight. If you choose to fight her anyway, you learn that she's an endgame level opponent who will wipe the floor with you unless you save the quest for late in the game.
    • A minor example occurs when choosing Leliana when performing the "Annexing Kirkwall" war table operation. Her suggestion is to support Sebastian's invasion by providing him with Inquisition advisors (which is what he asked for in the first place). Doing this yields no rewards whatsoever, whereas Josephine's suggestion to not participate in any way rewards you with gold and and epic-tier loot.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • This is what Varric and Cassandra's relationship seems to become by the end of the game. Of special note, is Cassandra's comment about the Divine "needing to see the chest hair for herself." Gets pretty funny when Varric wants to play "I Spy".
    • Iron Bull and Krem are quickly established as this as well; their relationship seems to be a combination of this trope, Bash Brothers, and Big Brother Instinct.
    • Vivienne and Dorian seem initially to absolutely despise each other, judging from how much venom their comments towards each other contain. However, once the Inquisitor comments upon this (or tries to intervene), they turn out to be closer to the trope, especially after you learn, if the Inquisitor is in a relationship with Dorian, that Vivienne actually stands up for him when one of his countrymen expresses disgust. (This is possibly due to her distinctly Orlesian tastes. Censure for someone dabbling in forbidden magic, all well and good. Mocking one's choice of paramour? Absolutely gauche.)

  • War for Fun and Profit: The Hidden Villain is deliberately prolonging the various wars for their own benefit. Case in point, the Breach opens right on top of a peace summit for the Mage-Templar War and kills every single person there (except the player character).
  • War Is Hell:
    • Many characters are scarred by the events of the civil war. The first trailer shows the world on the verge of collapse, with a shell-shocked Varric standing amidst a field of dead in Crestwood.
    • The fighting on the Exalted Plains during the Orlesian Civil War was so terrible that demons and undead have run rampant in the region. The region being home to the site of the final battle of the Exalted March against the Dales doesn't help with the stability of the Veil in the region either. Nor does the Freemen Venatori mage who has commanded the undead to attack both Orlesian armies.
      • Not helping it is the disturbing Scenery Gorn: what with the abandoned siege engines and ruined trenches filled with bodies (both of the dead and undead variety), you'd be forgiven if you thought for a moment you stepped out of Thedas and into some fantasy version of WWI Europe.
    • The fighting in the Hinterlands is between the fringe elements of both sides of the Mage/Templar War who have long since gone off the deep end and disobeyed the withdrawal orders from both sides, with the hapless civilians caught in the middle. It's telling that the only way to ensure the refugees' safety is to wipe out both groups of extremists before choosing which mainline group you approach for help.
  • The War Room: Haven and Skyhold each have one, complete with war table. The war table allows you to manage the Inquisition's operations: side quests that you send your agents to handle while you're pursuing the plot.
  • The War Sequence:
    • "In Your Heart Shall Burn" has the Inquisition's army defending Haven from either the Venatori or the Red Templars. Since the Inquisition doesn't have much of an army at this point, it quickly turns into the Inquisitor's party of four against the entire enemy army.
    • "Here Lies the Abyss" has the Inquisition's (now much more powerful) army facing off against the mind-controlled Grey Wardens and Corypheus's army of demons while assailing an infamously unconquerable fortress.
    • "What Pride Had Wrought" has the Inquisition's army and the Orlesian army fighting the last of Corypheus's forces while the party tries to stop Corypheus from acquiring the secrets of the Temple of Mythal.
  • Was Once a Man: The Red Templars, especially the more hideous transformations, and especially the Behemoths.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The people of Thedas are having serious cooperation problems, even more than in previous Dragon Age games. Templars and mages are going at it, as usual, but there's more. The Chantry's various different organizations break from each other following the Breach opening on top of the Conclave and killing everyone there; the Templars, the sword arm of the Chantry, break off to do their own thing, and the Seekers have left as well. The Orlesian Grey Wardens have disappeared almost completely for typically-mysterious Grey Warden reasons, Orlais has been plunged into civil war between an Empress who is ruthless in holding onto her throne and her former heir-apparent Chevalier cousin who feels he has the right to it, and so on. The Inquisition, therefore, are the only people who've got their act together enough to take on the real problems like the gigantic hole in the sky. A lot of the conflict is being stirred up by the bad guys deliberately, but the foundations already existed.
  • We Have Become Complacent: A common thread in the story. Most of the more influential organizations of Thedas have become so self-assured and stagnant that the Elder One and his followers are able to destabilize the status quo completely in a short time. Only the new Inquisition is willing to break through tradition enough to combat this threat effectively while the other major groups are either consumed by internal squabbles or being corrupted by the Elder One's followers.
    • The Inquisition itself ultimately succumbs to this by Trespasser, being a massive private military force with no definitive purpose, no allegiance to any nation, and being infiltrated by both the Qun's and Fen'harel's spies.
  • Webcomic Time: The timescale for the game is incredibly uncertain. We don't get much indication of how much time passes in-game, especially since Traveling at the Speed of Plot is involved (for reference, characters refer to crossing the Waking Sea as being one heck of a journey (two weeks' journey according to Varric's story in the second game), but you travel further than that between the Hinterlands and Haven—on land). It's implied that capturing a Keep takes about a week, but no time passes in the rest of the region. At one point, Cullen mentions that it's been "months" since he joined the Inquisition, but that's the closest we get to knowing how much time has passed. Trespasser eventually reveals that the main game's story ended the year after it began, though more exact dates are still unknown.
  • Welcome to Corneria:
    • Oddly averted sometimes in this game. Unlike previous games in the series, most dialogue options already chosen disappear completely. That means, if you aren't paying attention, dialogue can be lost once picked, and an option that doesn't disappear will often lead to a hostile reaction if picked again. For example, if you ask Harritt to tell his life story a second time, he curtly refuses. Even more harshly, if you try to talk to Sera a second time about her differences with other elves, she lays into you, and her approval drops.
    • Played straight with the maligned Requisition Officer: every time you enter a camp you'll either hear "word for you!", "Ser, I have something for you!" or "Inquisitor, if you have a moment!"
    • Also played straight in the main game, if you continue playing After the End. Trying to interact with your advisors and companions at Skyhold will result in them spouting one or two lines with no opportunity for further conversation. This includes your love interest, who could previously be lured away for a kiss.
    • The Multiplayer characters all have a small selection of lines and reactions to others' lines. A very small selection.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "In Your Heart Shall Burn" drastically changes the scope of the story. You finally manage to close the Breach for good, only for the Elder One's forces to attack Haven. The mages or Templars (whichever faction you didn't side with) have joined the Elder One. The Elder One is revealed to be Corypheus from the Legacy DLC of Dragon Age II. Corypheus reveals that he created the Mark and therefore it is not divine. Corypheus destroys Haven, but Solas brings the Inquisition to the fortress of Skyhold. Lastly, the Herald is made the Inquisitor.
    • As Gabe of Penny Arcade put it, that mission seems like the last one based on how the initial conflict is set up (and how much time you can put in prior to it if you're a completionist) but it should be called "Start playing Dragon Age Inquisition."
    • The Siege of Adamant in the Warden plot line, and the subsequent trip to the Fade, are a massive one. Considering it reveals that Divine Justinia saved you, and in the end, either Hawke or Stroud/Alistair/Loghain will Hold the Line in a Heroic Sacrifice to let you escape, it's not surprising.
  • Wham Line:
    • You have the option of parodying this through use of your knowledge of the future.
      Erimond: Soon, I will raise a demon army for my master!
      Inquisitor: Ah, I was wondering when the demon army would show up.
      Erimond: You... knew about it, did you?
    • From Varric's personal quest.
      Bianca: Red lyrium... it has the Blight. Do you know what that means?
      Varric: What, that two deadly things combine to form something super-awful?
      Bianca: Lyrium is alive... or something like it. The Blight can't infect minerals. Only animals.
    • From Blackwall's personal quest:
      Blackwall: No. I am not Blackwall. I never was Blackwall. Warden Blackwall is dead, and has been for years. I assumed his name to hide, like a coward, from who I really am.
    • Two during the "What Pride Has Wrought" main quest:
      Abelas: The shemlen did not destroy Arlathan. We elvhen warred upon ourselves.
      Abelas: "Elven legend" is wrong. The Dread Wolf had nothing to do with [Mythal's] murder.
    • After the events of the Arbor Wilds, you run into Flemeth.
      Morrigan: You... are Mythal.
    • From The Stinger:
      Flemeth: You should not have given your orb to Corypheus, Dread Wolf.
      (camera cuts to Solas walking up behind Flemeth)
    • Trespasser has two huge ones:
      Archivist Spirit: How could the Dread Wolf cast a Veil between the world that wakes and the world that sleeps?
      Solas: I will save the elven people, even if it means this world must die.
  • What Is One Man's Life in Comparison?: Invoked by Mistress Poulin, the leader of the village of Sahrnia. Once she realized that she'd been tricked by the Red Templars into giving them slaves for their Red Lyrium mine, she kept the information secret to avoid the townsfolk from fighting back or doing something rash. She sold them ill and infirm slaves and put all of the money she received to work feeding and sheltering the ones she protected. She was going to keep up this pretense and never tell any of the victims the truth for as long as possible until rescue arrived. If the Inquisitor looks at this with pragmatic eyes and asks her what would have happened if no rescue came, she'll state that everyone was screwed no matter what she did — she simply did what she could to protect as many as she could for as long as she could.
    • Leliana also brings this up if you discuss "In Hushed Whispers" with her, stating of course she would have given her life to give you a second chance at stopping such an event.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Subverted with your early Inquisition staff. Even if you save them in Haven, they still have replacements in Skyhold. This trope would be played straight, but they are still hanging around Skyhold and have some explanation why they're doing something else or at least no longer in charge of things.
    • Played straight with the Mage/Templar War, which has at best an interlude. While the Inquisition can involve itself with either side, and the other has no clear leadership in the aftermath, the underlying troubles remain.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Various party members all have a moment where they confront the Inquisitor about their actions.
    • At the end of the "Under Her Skin" storyline, the Inquisitor finds a Tevinter magister held by a containment spell that causes him pain. The spell was cast by Corypheus as practice for the spell he will cast on Calpernia after she drinks from the Well of Sorrows. The magister, Erasthenes, asks the Inquisitor to perform a Mercy Kill; if the Inquisitor refuses on the basis that his information is too valuable, Erasthenes calls out the Inquisitor for using him the same way that Corypheus did.
  • What the Hell, Player?: In the caves below Crestwood, if the player chooses to kill a small group of nugs that pose no threat and couldn't conceivably have been caught in the crossfire, Cassandra, if in the group, will comment "Was that really necessary?!" You'll even get slight disapproval! Cole will be similarly horrified and exclaim that they weren't doing anything. (Thanks to a glitch, these reactions and disapproval may still happen even if you don't kill the nugs.)
    • All companions have a reaction, and subverted by Sera. She gains approval because of her hatred of rodents, from living in alleyways. She can get quite worked up.
  • Where Is Your X Now?:
    The Elder One: Tell me: Where is your Maker now? Call him. Call down his wrath upon me. You cannot, for he does not exist!
  • Where It All Began: The final battle with Corypheus takes place at the ruins of the Temple of Sacred Ashes, where the game began. Moreover, Corypheus makes the ruins float in the air - remarkably similar to how the Black City, where it ALL arguably began, is made of ruins that are floating in The Fade.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: The Inquisitor and other companions make a lot of cracks about unpopular elements and plot holes in the previous game. Varric, the in-universe author, takes it in stride.
  • Wind from Beneath My Wings: High dragons are able to generate strong winds by flapping their wings while on the ground, pushing away melee characters and deflecting projectiles and spells.
  • With Lyrics: Many of the bard songs are in this style, adding lyrics to the subject's Leitmotif or a related theme. So you have a song about Sera set to her theme, a song about Empress Celine set to the Orlesian theme, etc.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: The launch trailer shows vistas of Thedas to a wispy, ethereal cover of Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World."
  • Worth It: Varric considers finishing the next book in his Old Shame Swords and Shields romance serial to be "completely worth it" for Cassandra's reaction when she's presented with a sneak peek pre-editing copy.
  • Wrong Context Magic: The Breach altered the Veil around Thedas, completely altering the established laws of magic. This allowed for previously impossible magical feats such as the Rift Mage school and Time Travel to any point after the Breach event. Mages such as the Inquisitor are often surprised by just how much the rules have changed overnight.

     X, Y, and Z 
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race: A non-human or mage Inquisitor will get this to some degree by many human NPCs, given Andrastian humans' general bigotry toward mages and non-humans. A romanced or high approval Sera and Solas will have this opinion to a Dalish Inquisitor, given their disdain for the Dalish. And finally, at high approval Solas will tell an Inquisitor of any race or background this, given his hermit upbringing and lifestyle and what he's seen of most societies in the Fade.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One:
    • Averted. Most of the Elder One's plans throughout the game are only necessary because Stage One (acquire the Anchor, use it to enter the Black City and become a God) was thwarted more or less by accident before the game even begins. If it wasn't, the Elder One would have taken the world before anyone knew he existed.
    • Magister Alexius tried, but his time magic could not send him back before the Breach.
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: The Nightmare demon is too huge for you to possibly fight (to you it looks like a massive spider the size of a mountain) and you only survive by someone else driving it off. The boss fight with it is just you fighting one humanoid aspect of it, like a mini-avatar. It's also probably not actually a spider - that's just what the Inquisitor sees it as being because it's taking on the appearance of the thing they most fear.
  • Zero-Approval Gambit: A few easily-missed codex pages reveal that Maferath, the ultimate betrayer of the backstory of the entire series, actually pulled one of these to enable his descendants to eventually found Orlais, a nation finally capable of threatening The Empire. However, the codex likely stems from propaganda; Maferath was Ferelden's first proto-king, and his death doomed the nation to five hundred years of chaos because none of his successors among the Alamarri could unite the shattered tribes. It would be just like Orlesians to attribute the founding of their nation to providence.


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