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Dragon Age Origins / Tropes A to E

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  • 100% Adoration Rating:
    • Party-wise, it is very possible to max out everyone's approval ratings through picking the right dialogue options in conversations, making the right decisions story-wise and giving the right gifts.
    • The new king and/or queen of Ferelden can achieve this. If a hardened Alistair marries Anora, for example, the people eventually consider the chaos of the civil war and Landsmeet worth it for delivering such beloved monarchs. If a female Noble Warden marries Alistair, they are wildly popular among their people; and if a male Noble Warden marries Anora, Ferelden will enter what could become a new golden age.
  • Affably Evil: The Sloth Demon in the "Broken Circle" quest.
    "I made you happy and safe. I gave you peace. I did my best for you. And you say you want to leave? Can't you think about someone other than yourself? I'm hurt. So very, very hurt."
    • Also true of the other Sloth Demon, seen only during the Mage Origin, who is too lazy to want to deal with the Mage Warden and spends most of the conversation idly snarking at them. It seems that this is one of their hats.
  • After-Combat Recovery: After combat, health and stamina/mana are quickly restored while fallen characters are automatically resurrected, with injuries that must be treated by either applying wound kits, retreating to the camp, or having a spirit healer in the party in order to remove associated status penalties.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Should you execute him, Loghain says goodbye to Anora and tells you that he trusts you to protect Ferelden in his place.
  • Alien Gender Confusion: The Qunari have a rather different set of social norms from the rest of the races. If the Warden is a female warrior, Qunari party member Sten will declare that despite appearances, she is a man, as women are not warriors in Qunari society.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys:
    • Morrigan, whose approval will rise when the Warden takes the selfish, individualistic, power-hungry option when presented with a choice of actions. In her romance arc, commanding dialogue options can sometimes lead to her responding with gleeful excitement.
      Warden: Get in the tent, woman.
      Morrigan: Oh? Am I to be interrogated? However shall you wring my secrets from me?
    • Oghren lampshades this trope when training the PC to be a berserker — standing around looking mysteriously angry apparently does wonders on the ladies.
    • Leliana can also basically say as much to Alistair.
      Alistair: Beyond the fact that he's an assassin who's tried to kill us more than once? No... no, not really. Do women go for that sort of thing?
      Leliana: Where I come from they do, oh yes.
      Alistair: Huh. Really? I see.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us:
    • The Archdemon personally leads its darkspawn armies in a massive attack on Ferelden's capital city in the finale.
    • Earlier, once you've assembled the entire party, your camp is attacked by Shrieks, with a bonus unpleasant surprise if you're a Dalish Elf. Curiously, if your party is missing a companion - for instance, you fail to recruit Sten in Lothering - this does not happen. Though it seems to count number of companions rather than "has all companions." With the Stone Prisoner DLC installed, adding an extra party member, you'll get this encounter whenever you hit eight companions, even though there's one still left to get.
  • Altar Diplomacy:
    • A possible resolution to the Ferelden succession crisis subplot is to have your party member Alistair, the Heroic Bastard son of King Maric, marry Queen Anora, the daughter of Maric's army commander Loghain Mac Tir and widow of Alistair's half-brother King Cailan, who dies in battle early in the main plot. Fair warning, though: if you've been romancing Alistair as a female Player Character he'll break it off.note 
    • Notes found in the Return to Ostagar DLC, supported by Word of God, indicate that King Cailan was planning to divorce Anora in favor of a political marriage to the Empress of Orlais. This fed into Loghain mac Tir's Cavalry Betrayal of Cailan at Ostagar: in the Backstory, Loghain and King Maric fought for years to eject Orlesian occupation forces from Ferelden.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: In one bit of party banter, Leliana (gently) insults Alistair's cooking, to which Alistair responds that the traditional cuisine of Ferelden involves throwing a bunch of random ingredients in a big pot and boiling everything down to a "uniform gray color." The game presents this as Alistair pulling Leliana's leg, but that's actually a pretty good description of pottage, the staple food of most lower-class people in medieval Europe (on which Thedas is heavily, and mostly accurately, based).
  • Amazon Brigade: The Silent Sisters. Also a party consisting of a female Warden and three of the four potential female companions: Morrigan, Wynne, Leliana, or Shale.
  • Ancient Keeper: The Guardian. You also have to face three trials to reach the Urn of Andraste he guards...
  • And I Must Scream: The Arcane Warrior trainer, the soul of an elf trapped inside a gemstone for untold millennia. At first, he thinks you're a hallucination.
    • Given the Grand Oak's description, most Sylvans fit this as well.
    • Shale spent 30 years frozen in place in a village subject to the whims of its inhabitants. Before that, it was inactive in an abandoned Thaig in the Deep Roads, in the pitch black, for over a thousand years and conscious every second. And then there were pigeons.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: When you try to convince Carroll to let you across Lake Callenhad to the Circle Tower by saying you're a Grey Warden, he'll ask you to prove it. Show him the Grey Warden treaties, and he'll dismiss them by saying he has documents that say he's the Queen of Antiva. Pointing out that Queens are female (or that unlike his, your documents are real) doesn't move him.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: An optional episode in Denerim, where you can take control of two party members to free the Warden from prison. Also seen during the endgame, where the party members who don't accompany you to fight the Archdemon remain at the gate and help hold the defenses; you play that part too.
  • Animals Lack Attributes: The Mabari war hounds. Dog is a perfect example; you can interact with him and Pet the Dog to make him roll around on his back, but even though the game specifically states that he's male, you wouldn't know it to look at him.
  • Annoying Arrows: To a degree. On the one hand, getting shot with arrows only kills you as much as getting stabbed or hacked by swords or axes. On the other hand, a properly-built archer can consistently inflict incredible amounts of damage. With a powerful bow, Leliana, Nathaniel, or an archer Warden are reasonably capable of inflicting 25-50% more damage than even two-handed fighters with late-game weapons stacked with enchantments, and this is without resorting to special arrows.
    • Given the way the game scales enemies, it can potentially take a big jump up in difficulty right around the time every enemy archer suddenly learns Scattershot (an irresistible area-effect stun that does strong damage), because until the leveling system teaches them an even higher-tier skill (none of which are nearly as disruptive), they will use it on you as much as possible in every fight.
  • The Anticipator: When the party of new Grey Warden initiates comes to her house to retrieve some Binding Ancient Treaties, the hermit witch Flemeth mentions that "she's been expecting them." Alistair (the junior Warden accompanying you) will try and call her on it, however.
    Alistair: Are we really supposed to believe you were expecting us?
  • Anti-Escapism Aesop: In the Circle Tower, you come across a Templar in the thrall of a desire demon which has created an illusion of a loving wife and happy family, while he actually stands in a tower full of corpses after all his companions were slaughtered. The demon argues that he is much happier this way, yet you can try to break the dream, because 'it's not real'. Whether the Templar would have preferred the dream to reality if he knew the truth is never shown, since if you try to snap him out of it, the demon uses the illusion to make him attack you and you are forced to kill him.
  • Anti-Grinding: To the extreme. Enemies don't respawn, experience scales upwards so lower-level enemies offer insignificant XP, enemies scale with you, and the level cap is at 25 so you can't grossly overlevel anyway, random encounters technically aren't random, etc.
  • Apocalyptic Log:
    • Hespith's ominous chant starting with "First day they come and catch everyone" leading up to the battle with the Broodmother is one of these.
    • You don't actually get to read it, but "The Last Request" begins with finding a journal on a dead Templar, detailing his investigation of blood mages hidden in the city. The titular request is what he makes in his last entry, once he realizes they've spotted him.
    • During Awakening, you can find a written record of those Casteless dwarves who died protecting Kal'Hirol, and arrange for it to be returned to the Orzammar Shaperate. The epilogue states that you're later invited to be a guest of honor at a ceremony honoring the dead.
    • You encounter two sets of them in the Golems of Amgarrak DLC. One of them is written by the leader of the expedition that you came to find, the other by the original inhabitants.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: No matter how many companions you have, only three are permitted to go with you. For certain events, one or two of those companions will be chosen for you. Averted during one battle in camp, as well as the first part of the final sequence... but then promptly reinstated from there on out. It's a little less arbitrary then, though, since the party members that you don't take with you for the finale defend Denerim's gates from the darkspawn.
  • Arbitrary Minimum Range: Subverted: you cannot fire ranged weapons at point blank range... unless you take a certain mid-level perk that allows you to do just that.
  • Arc Words / Bookend / Ironic Echo: Alistair intones at The Joining, "And should you perish, know that your sacrifice will not be forgotten... and that one day, we shall join you." He repeats that line in narration should he sacrifice himself to prevent a female romanced Warden from dying by killing the Archdemon.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Several examples.
    • Beneath the dwarves' veneer of tradition and honour lies a Decadent Court waiting to stab you in the back.
    • In ancient times, the Magisters of the Tevinter Imperium tried to kill the Maker and take His Golden City for themselves and created the darkspawn. When the game takes place, Tevinter is a Vestigial Empire, but its Magisters are still ruthless blood mages.
    • As alluded to in conversations with Leliana and the prequel novels, Orlais has a Decadent Court. Although it is well-known that half the bards and minstrels in Orlais are spies and assassins, Orlesian nobles still welcome them since outwitting a rival's agent is part of the game aristocrats play and their music and stories make the game much more enjoyable.
  • Armour-Piercing Question: The conversation between an Elf Warden and a Chantry Priest at Ostagar.
    Elf Warden: You administer blessings to Elves?
    Priestess: Of course. The Maker accepts all those who would hear Him.
    Elf Warden: And does he steal the homeland of those who don't?
  • Arranged Marriage:
    • The City Elf has one. It doesn't end well.
    • Arl Howe tries to set one up between the Human Noble and one of his children. The conversation is just to conceal his motives, however, as he intends for you and your entire family to die that very night.
    • A male Dwarf Noble can meet a would-be fiancée on his return to Orzammar. Or a gold digger he knocked up in the origin, depending on your interpretation.
    • The Warden can set one up for Anora and Alistair, among other choices.
  • Arrows on Fire: Coupled with Rain of Arrows during the Battle of Ostagar.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • Kiting enemies. Demonstrated here.
    • Sometimes your allies will just stand around in the middle of a battle, not doing anything as whatever large Eldritch Abomination you're fighting pulls your anus out through your nose. Alternatively, one of them will activate their special, secret "rush headlong at the enemy (even if you are an archer and/or it's standing in a fire)" tactical option.
    • AoE spells. If you want to use one, your allies will disobey orders and rush right in to get blasted.
    • The tactics system allows you to Doom It Yourself — a novel way to transfer the responsibility for poor AI to the player.
    • If recruited to help defend Redcliffe, Lloyd will charge headfirst into the undead horde armed with a simple dagger and no armor. This is all the more egregious when all the other well-armed defenders play more defensively and Lloyd is a self-proclaimed coward. Also, if you brought oil to ser Perth during the preparation of the battle, the knights, Dwyne, and the mercenaries (and your own party members) won't attempt to avoid walking in the firewall of burning oil if they fight in melee range, which indiscriminately damages (and can kill) both allies and hostile characters.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • For a long time, the Bioware store had two Origins t-shirts for sale: "Morrigan disapproves" and "Enchantment!"
    • In the Darkspawn Chronicles DLC, which is the final battle from the point of view of the darkspawn, the final battle is against Alistair and his remaining three companions (Morrigan, Leliana, and the Mabari Hound), as they attack the Archdemon. The dog, which has no canon name (the devs wanted to make it clear that the dog has whatever name you choose to give to him), in this alternate reality is called Barkspawn.
  • Aside Glance:
    • Post-coronation, the ruler of Ferelden (Anora or Alistair) speaks a few words to the Grey Warden; but before they're done, they're addressing the camera directly.
    • Weylon appears to do this more and more as he becomes agitated with the Warden's questioning.
    • When Leliana convinces the Revered Mother to let Sten go, she all but glares at the player.
      Leliana: Thank you, Your Reverence. Your trust is not misplaced... *Aside Glance*
  • Attempted Rape: Happens to the female guests at the City Elf's wedding. Shianni, the City Elf PC's cousin, isn't as lucky in the 'attempted' bit... It also happens to a female City Elf. It doesn't end well for the rapists.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking:
    • Most of the Fereldan and Dwarven nobility. The Fereldan nobles are mostly descendants of barbarian warlords, so combat training is traditional, whereas a Dwarven noble needs to be skilled to defend against the assassins that are commonly employed in dwarven politics.
    • There's also the Elven clans, which are led by a Keeper, the person in the clan who knows the most of the 'Old Ways' (i.e. magic). The level of respect that other elves (even City Elves) have for Dalish Keepers is shown more clearly in Dragon Age II.
    • Typified by demonkind, led by the strongest.
    • Also by the darkspawn; the strongest and most powerful fighters and mages in the horde's ranks command the rest, while they in turn are directed by the will of the Archdemon.
    • Inverted by the Grey Wardens, as their most respected get creamed, while the cadets have to save the world.
    • Averted by most of Ferelden, actually. The King and lords in charge bite the dust rather early, and the bad guys achieve their coup by deceit and cowardice. When the player does get a chance to face them, said villains aren't particularly challenging.
  • Awakening the Sleeping Giant: The events of the City Elf Origin eventually cause the entire Alienage to riot.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Almost every AoE attack has Friendly Firenote . There are no tactical conditions under which you can ever trust companions' AI to use AoE spells or bombs, and the few situations you can lay an AoE trap without your companions stumbling in are still very tricky to set up. One reason Blood Wound is so overpowered is its lack of Friendly Fire.
    • The spell combination Storm of the Century is this trope in spades. In order to pull this off, you must cast two of the longest casting time spells a mage can know, Blizzard and Tempest, while Spell Might is active. Good luck getting them both off without interruption since every foe on the map immediately knows where the caster is. If you do pull it off, it does a very impressive amount of damage - which also suffers from the Friendly Fire issue, and you'll spend more mana than a muscle car spends gas. Of course, exploiting the game's Artificial Stupidity can help make it less impractical, and the targeting issue is a lot less pronounced when using mouse-and-keyboard controls on the PC.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: The player's monarch of choice gets one. albeit without an actual crown. The PC also gets one later, if Alistair or Anora were persuaded to marry them; it's not shown, however.
    • Whoever you pick to be king in Orzammar gets one as well, and it's really much more awesome than the human one.
  • Awful Truth: Where to begin? In fact, the farther you get into the story, the more you start to wonder if there are any truths you actually want to know. Like the fact that you may not survive the initiation process to become a Grey Warden. And if you do, you're guaranteed to succumb anyway in thirty-odd years - if you don't have to make a Heroic Sacrifice first. And that's only from the main storyline, not even including revelations like those about Flemeth...
    • And what the darkspawn do with female prisoners...
    • And where darkspawn come from...
    • And how to defeat the Archdemon...
    • And then you get to the Awakening DLC and learn how the Fifth Blight got started...
  • An Axe to Grind: They come in the one-handed and friggin' huge varieties too!

  • Baby Factory: Broodmothers.
  • Backing Away Slowly: This is one of the player's options after finding Sten and the dog barking at each other.
  • Back Stab: If your rogue is melee, rest assured you are pigeonholed into this. However, it's not entirely bad, given that a Cunning Rogue can kill an enemy faster than the game-breaking mages can.
  • Badass Army: The Grey Wardens of yore. Even with their numbers considerably reduced today, they still fit the trope to a T, as does the dwarven Legion of the Dead.
    • In The Calling, it is revealed that when the Wardens were first banished from Ferelden, it took the entire Fereldan military to drive them out. Thousands against less than a hundred, and they very nearly won.
    • Also, the Warden's Keep DLC mentions that when King Arland's forces besieged Soldier's Peak, the Wardens held out for months before the fortress was even breached - and when it finally was, the half-starved Wardens still made them pay for every single metre taken.
    • It is worth noting that only the best and most hardened badasses can be recruited into the Grey Wardens; anyone else wouldn't have a chance of surviving the Joining, which is said to be the reason why the Wardens are so formidable. While the Joining grants the Wardens their supernatural powers, those powers are immunity to the taint and the ability to sense Darkspawn. All of their fighting prowess is their own.
  • Badass Boast: The Warden has a really nice one if you choose to drive out the leader of the Crimson Oars.
    Warden: Hundreds have died in my wake. You're just a number to me.
    Crimson Oars Leader: I, um... We... We were just leaving. Yes, Oars, we go to the docks!
    • Awakening too;
      Warden: "They will bow to my might."
      Guard: "Eh... Then it's good to have you here, ser."
  • Badass Creed:
    • The Grey Wardens: "In war, victory. In peace, vigilance. In death, sacrifice."
    • The Dalish Elves: "We are the Dalish: keepers of the lost lore, walkers of the lonely path. We are the last of the Elvhenan, and never again shall we submit."
  • Bad Boss: One of the Vanguard's talents in the Darkspawn Chronicles DLC is "Execute Thrall," thralls being any darkspawn directly under your command. Supposedly it's for thralls who disappoint you and mechanically for making room in your party for other thralls, but there are no repercussions for doing it completely on a whim.
  • Bad Future: The Darkspawn Chronicles DLC — it lets you re-enact the battle of Denerim from the point of view of a Darkspawn Vanguard (a sort of general-like figure), in an Alternate Universe where the player's Grey Warden did not survive their Joining, and it was left to Alistair to follow the quests the player had completed. Alistair almost manages to kill the Archdemon before being brutally slaughtered by the Vanguard.
  • The Bad Guys Are Cops: The Denerim guard suffers this problem according to Sergeant Kylon; after Arl Howe became the new Arl of Denerim, he decided to put his own handpicked men into the guard. Kylon also complains that since most of the guard consists of the illegitimate children of various lords, half of his job is dealing with their stupidity, and the rest of the time being forced to explain to their noble fathers that being a guard is actually dangerous.
    Sergeant Kylon: I swear the Arl's men are more criminal than the miscreants we occasionally arrest; some of them are the criminals we have to arrest!
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In the Darkspawn Chronicles DLC.
    • In the Warden's Keep DLC, it's revealed that King Arland was such a despised tyrant, even the politically neutral Grey Wardens agreed to take part in a coup to remove him from power. Arland completely squashed the Rebellion and banished the Order from Ferelden for the next two centuries.
  • Bag of Sharing: The game's inventory system. As demonstrated by the part where the Grey Warden is captured, it's rather awkwardly implemented.
  • Bag of Spilling: A rare one-time-only example: when freeing Arl Eamon's child from the demon by going into the Fade, you are unable to use Fade Shapeshifting, which you were able to use in another visit to the Fade that could be completed previously. This does make sense, however, if the PC is anything other than a mage, since the Fade Shapeshifting was only available to the Warden.
    • Strangely, the Specializations avert this trope: Once you unlock them (through having a teammate teach you, by buying certain tomes, etc.), any character can unlock the specialization once they get an unlock point at level 7 or 14. Yes, that includes a Warrior who never went near Andraste's ashes with evil intentions learning the Reaver Skill Tree. Furthermore, this is not limited to a single playthrough - once you have unlocked the specializations, they remain unlocked for all playthroughs. You can even save the game, unlock the specialization, then reload your saved game and the specialization remains unlocked.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Invoked; despite there being no such spell, if your Warden is a mage, certain dialogue options will have your opponents be concerned about you turning them into a frog. There are also a few comments about Morrigan doing as much to various characters, when she's first encountered.
  • Bare Your Midriff: The Dalish armor on females.
  • Battle Cry: As well as badass (and funny) things your companions will yell, this is also an ability of the Champion specialisation. It will always give a buff to others in your party, and with a skill check will actually knock enemies over.
  • Battle in the Rain: Ostagar, perhaps the first clue that it isn't going to go well.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Bears in the game come in two flavors: black bears and great bears. Considering that there is nothing supernatural about them and that they are not sentient, bears are some of the toughest enemies in the game. This is to your advantage if you play as a rogue and get the Ranger specialization, as you'll be able to summon first a black bear and eventually a great bear. Oh, the joys of slaughtering mooks with a bear at your side.
    • It gets even worse. There is a Blight-infected variant called a Bereskarn. It has spikes.
  • The Beastmaster: Rogues get a Ranger specialization for this.
  • Becoming the Mask: If you romance Morrigan, then when she proposes her ritual to defeat the Archdemon, you can ask her if this is the reason for the relationship. Tearfully, she says her feelings for you weren't part of the plan, and that even after she leaves, she will never forget your time together.
  • Bee Bee Gun: If playing a mage, you can either cast a spell with this or become a swarm of insects via Shapeshifting, both of which hit like a truck.
  • Beef Gate: The developers expressed intent to dissuade players from entering areas where level scaling is set to higher tiers, though it's rarely as straightforward as, for example, the bounty hunters just inside the Frostback Mountains. These gates aren't insurmountable, though, and can be passed with an early effective build and a greater consumption of healing resources, so many players carried on into steepening difficulty without being aware they were supposed to change course for an easier questline. For players who later complained about the difficulty, the developers released a list of areas by gradually increasing difficulty.
  • Bee People: The darkspawn.
  • The Berserker: It's a warrior specialization. Oghren starts out as one and will teach you with enough approval.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don't ever speak unkindly of Duncan or the Grey Wardens around Alistair. He has such a high opinion of the order that he considers turning Loghain into a Warden a great insult, and will abandon you should you go through with it.
    • Sten is very protective about his sword due to how tied it is to his role in the Qun. During your quest to retrieve it he will threaten anyone he believes to have it. He straight up murdered a family of farmers in a blind rage after he lost it.
    • Swiftrunner stops just short of physically attacking the Warden should you choose to get flippant with the Lady of the Forest.
  • Betrayal by Inaction: The Battle of Ostagar is planned to have King Cailan and the bulk of the army, including a vanguard of Grey Wardens, lure the darkspawn horde into a narrow chasm; at that point his general (and father-in-law), Teyrn Loghain, would attack with a second army from the back, trapping the darkspawn between them. But when the signal comes, Loghain simply orders a retreat and returns with his men to the capital, leaving the king, his army, and every Grey Warden with them to die at the hands of the darkspawn. He was against the whole plan from the beginning, but since he considered the king unfit to rule the country, he didn't object to it too much.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • Zevran is a ruthless assassin and prolific lover with very high "body counts" in both senses of the term. Alistair, meanwhile, is a heroic, sweet, and upstanding lover boy who's a virgin until you romance him.
    • Sweet, hopeless romantic church girl Leliana contrasts with the sultry, pragmatic, and sometimes cold Morrigan. However...
  • Betty and Veronica Switch: Leliana was once a "bard" (a court spy and assassin) and ended up at the Chantry because she was being hunted for treason (though she was framed for that particular crime). Morrigan, meanwhile, has led a completely sheltered existence and her Social Darwinist views are just her parroting what she's been taught by Flemeth since birth.
  • Bewitched Amphibians: Mages have a reputation for this; it's unclear whether there's any truth to it, though, since we never see it happen.
    Alistair: I'd be careful. First it's "I like you," but then Zap! Frog time.
  • BFS: Any and all greatswords. They are about the length of an average human (which somehow doesn't prevent dwarves from carrying them).
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The Archdemon and Loghain, as well as Flemeth, not to mention numerous Arc Villains who are mostly Blood Mages and Demons.
  • Big Eater: All Grey Wardens go through this stage, according to what Alistair says the others told him.
  • Biggus Dickus: Male Wardens who romance Morrigan can make a crack about what he has below the belt when Wynne brings up her concerns about the relationship.
    Wynne: It's like she's forgotten you exist above the waist.
    Warden: To be fair, there's quite a bit of me below the waist.
    Wynne: By the Maker! Is a little decorum too much to ask for?
  • Binding Ancient Treaty: The initial quests upon leaving the framework scenario are based on this, though it's subverted because none of the people that you have treaties with are in any condition to help you until you save them from their current problems, and after all the help you give them most of them would help you out of gratitude regardless of treaties.
  • Bishie Sparkle: The Bard abilities look exactly like this.
  • Bishōnen Line: Abominations. The weakest ones, Rage and Hunger Abominations, are just monstrous mooks who can't even use magic. The Sloth Abomination looks like them, but it can actually speak coherently and is powerful enough to put your entire party to sleep, sending you to the Scrappy Level. One Desire Abomination, Connor, still looks mostly human, except for the sunken eyes. Don't be fooled - it's powerful enough to summon enough demons into corpses to start a mini Zombie Apocalypse, and can even Mind Control people. Uldred, a Pride Abomination, looks completely human, is able to transform other mages into Abominations using Blood Magic, and his One-Winged Angel form is one of the best bosses in the game.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Although the Archdemon is always slain by the end of the game, it inevitably comes at a price.
    • If Alistair sacrifices himself at the end, it becomes especially depressing if the PC was romancing him. He could also end up being executed by Anora if the player chooses to spare Loghain; if you persuade her not to execute him, he abandons his position as a Warden and becomes a homeless drunk, as revealed in the sequel.
    • This will always happen if the PC was in a romance with Morrigan, or was close friends with her, since she always runs off at the end no matter what. The Witch Hunt DLC provides new endings for those who romanced Morrigan, however.
    • If you refuse Morrigan's ritual and slay the Archdemon yourself, rather than have Alistair or Loghain do it, your character will die, and the game ends on a seriously gloomy note with their funeral.
    • There doesn't seem to be any way to get a very good ending for Orzammar, as none of the choices you can make seem to bring a very positive outcome for them. If you make Harrowmont king, he isolates Orzammar from the surface and tightens the oppressive caste system because the nobles give him so much trouble, and ultimately dies from being poisoned by one of them. But if you make Bhelen king, he gives the casteless rights and takes back several thaigs, at the cost of turning Orzammar into a dictatorship. He also sends assassins to hunt down and kill Harrowmont's surviving kin just because Harrowmont dared to oppose him - by the time of the sequel, Harrowmont's entire extended family has been decimated down to one nephew because of Bhelen. If you decided to preserve the Anvil of the Void, it results in an additionally very, very negative ending for the dwarves, no matter whom you choose to make king. And if you decide to complete Brother Burkel's quest and open a Chantry in Orzammar, it too brings a really terrible end. On the other hand, refusing to do so and bringing Dagna to the Mage Tower will lead, through a series of events, to the Chantry contemplating an Exalted March against Orzammar. And that's bad. Fortunately in that latter case, the events of Dragon Age II cut any efforts at organizing an Exalted March short, since the Chantry now has bigger problems.
    • It is actually possible to get a rather good ending for Orzammar, but only under very specific circumstances, and the choices required are such a case of Guide Dang It! that when you learn what you need to do, it'll make your head spin. For starters, you need to be a dwarf yourself. Then, you need to destroy the Anvil of the Void, so that Branka won't go power-mad and risk conflict with the next king, much like Caridin and his King before. Afterwards, you must put Bhelen on the throne. Despite becoming a dictator on the throne (and, if you play his sibling, backstabbing you by framing you for your other brother's murder), he will free the Casteless provided they join the fight to reclaim the Deep Roads; he will also increase relations with the surface, in contrast to Harrowmont isolating the dwarves further from the surface and further oppressing the Casteless. Lastly, you need to survive the final battle against the Archdemon. This will allow your Warden to ask the new ruler to send reinforcements to the dwarves as their "boon". If you do manage to follow all these very specific, non-intuitive steps, the result is that your dwarf is named a Paragon, the oppressive caste system is dissolved, and the dwarves manage to reclaim almost the entire Deep Roads right up to the very gates of the Dead Trenches themselves.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Unlike almost every other Bioware RPG, this one has no Karma Meter. Individual characters will like or dislike you based on personal preference, but the game itself does not judge your actions. You can choose some actions of extremely questionable morality, and some of the moral quandaries you must face are rather complex.
  • Black Blood: Strangely averted, for whatever reason. While several characters will comment on how black the tainted blood of the darkspawn is, the battle effects are always red.
    • When speaking to Carroll at the docks of Lake Calenhad, he tries to get you to prove you are a Grey Warden by, among other things, asking if it's true that darkspawn blood is black. You have the option to tell him that "It's not black, but it burns when it touches you." What makes this rather strange is the fact that the novel The Calling describes darkspawn blood repeatedly as "black ichor".
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The women of the party. Wynne has white hair; Morrigan's is black; Leliana is a redhead. Played even more straight if the Warden is female and blonde.
  • Blood Magic: A specialty available to mages.
    • Warriors unlock the Reaver specialization by drinking dragon's blood.
    • The Grey Wardens drink a cocktail of lyrium, darkspawn blood, and Archdemon blood at their initiation to gain their unique abilities.
    • In the Warden's Keep DLC, the Blood Mage Grey Warden Avernus has figured out how to weaponize the darkspawn taint. One manifestation of this is the ability to spew blood like a fire hose at your foes, having roughly the same effect as turning a fire hose would on most humans: putting them squarely on their asses.
  • Bloody Murder: The Reaver specializations, as well as the Power of Blood talents you can learn in the Warden's Keep DLC. And, of course, Blood Magic.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: This is possibly the first game to feature persistent blood splatter on character models; it's certainly very visceral compared to other BioWare RPGs. You're going to see quite a bit of it flying through the air, too, moreso if you took a skill which involves weaponizing blood.
  • Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress: Entirely possible for a female City Elf Origin; in fact, official art includes Kallian Tabris rocking one and looking murderous.
  • Body Horror:
    • Abominations.
    • The Broodmother.
    • In Golems of Amgarrak, the Harvester is a flesh golem made from the corpses of multiple casteless dwarves. It grows more powerful by brutally murdering people and adding their flesh to its own.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Alistair reminisces about a Grey Warden named Gregor. Besides being "the biggest man you ever saw" with a beard worthy of a Dwarf (or so you hear), the man could reportedly drink any other Grey Warden under the table, and make Duncan crack up laughing when he drinks everyone under the table in a bet where he had a 2:1 drinking disadvantage.
    • Oghren counts as one within the party as well, though he's not quite as boisterous as most examples.
  • Bonus Boss: The Revenants, Gaxkang, the sundered Fade Beast, and any instance of a High Dragon.
  • Bonus Feature Failure: The game allows to import your Warden from the original campaign as the player character of Awakening, but none of the unique items added by the Warden's Keep DLC will be transferred. This unfortunately includes the two variants of Starfang, the best longsword/greatsword of the original campaign.
  • Bookends: Concluding a Dalish Elf Warden's career with the Witch Hunt DLC results in the character's story beginning and ending with an Eluvian.
  • Boomerang Bigot: There is one mage in the Circle who begs the Maker's forgiveness just for existing. She wants the Templars to kill all mages, as it's the only thing they deserve. To her, being a mage is a punishment, after all.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • On Normal at least, one of the easiest and simplest ways to take down Bonus Boss Gaxkang is to just have Sten and Oghren beat the crap out of him after mastering Two-Handed Weapon feats, including Stunning Blows.
    • Mages can use Mana Clash to devastate NPC mages. Even a couple mage-class bosses will go down in one blast.
    • Spoony complained that he spent the entirety of the game using the Walking Bomb technique and its variants to kill everything but the bosses.
    • More than a few areas in the game gain their difficulty from leading the player to engage melee combatants that rush them while archers or mages pelt them, forcing party members to die from a thousand cuts without a good strategy. If the party isn't locked out of retreating, however, a viable strategy is to have one character (typically a tank) walk into the room just far enough to cause the enemies to give pursuit, then flee back where the other party members are holding position.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: During the Dwarf Commoner origin, if you choose to take a bribe, your companion complains that Beraht will "... kill you, he'll kill me... he'll make you kill me then kill yourself!"
  • Breast Plate: Mostly averted/justified.
    • Massive plate armor, which has no difference between male and female models except in shoulder width, thoroughly averts this trope.
    • Medium and heavy armor, which is made of different kind of mails (splint, scale, chain) justifies it, as the material is supposed to be flexible and could very well be form fitting without sacrificing protective qualities, and they don't show any cleavage whatsoever.
    • Light armor shows plenty of cleavage and plays this trope straight, especially the Dalish armor. It's made of deerskin, bares the wearer's midriff, and offers more protection and flexibility than a full suit of leather armor.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Many of the abilities and loot from the game's many add-ons are head-and-shoulders above all but the most elite gear from the base game. Examples include one of the strongest massive armors in the game (and surprisingly cheap), and a very effective mage-only nuke that costs a mere 20 hit points and no mana.
    • There's a fast, easy, totally valid, and seriously gamebreaking in-game way to buy level-ups for gold. For every main quest you finish, an envoy of the respective species sets up shop in the party camp. Next to them is a stack of chests where the Warden can donate certain items, and every transaction gives a decent amount of experience points. The elves want alchemy components, something the merchant in their own forest camp sells dirt-cheap in infinite amounts. Purchase a hundred or so full stacks of the stuff (costs ~15 sovereigns), donate them at the chest, and enjoy playing through the remaining game with your max-level hero party. It becomes especially gamebreaking in combination with the Reaper's Cudgel (a reward from the Golems of Amgarrak DLC), because its insanely high sale value enables this trick from the moment you first encounter any merchant.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Invoked early in the game:
    Player: What if the archdemon appears?
    Alistair: We soil our drawers, that's what.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: You can end the Blight for good... but one of the Grey Wardens has to either die or father a baby that will steal Cthulhu's soul.
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • You'd think those punks will know by now that you really live up to your reputation. As the good Sgt. Kylon said in Denerim:
      To the Warden: And people attack you voluntarily?
    • You can see it as early as your first visit to Lothering, where you can easily intimidate an entire bandit gang to run away by just mentioning that you're Grey Wardens. Their leader tries to be cocky even after that, but his slow-sounding henchman's constant reiterations about how he heard that the Grey Wardens are "really, really good [at fighting]" take the wind out of his sails really quickly. You can even demand a donation from them to the Wardens. (You can demand too much, refuse to do anything but kill them, or decide to turn in any survivors to the Templars, at which point they figure they might as well fight to the death anyway.)
      • Alternatively, if you've chosen the mage class, you can inform them of this fact. The dull henchman's reaction this time? "I-I don't want to be a toad!"
    • Lampshaded again in Dragon Age II. You can meet Zevran, the elf assassin from Dragon Age: Origins, assuming you didn't import a save from that game in which you chose to kill him for attempting to assassinate you. You are given a mission by some Antivan Crows (the order to which Zevran belonged) posing as nobles to take him out, but once Zevran tells you the truth about them, you can choose to team up with him against his hunters. Once the Crows attack you, Zevran will comment that he can't understand why mooks like them think they can defeat people like you and the Warden.
  • Burn the Orphanage: The "Something Wicked" quest.
  • But Thou Must!: If you don't voluntarily become a Grey Warden, you'll be conscripted. The game lets you rail against this.
    • Uldred gives you a choice: death, or be willing host to a demon. With the power you've displayed, you would be, in his words, unstoppable. While most players obviously wouldn't choose the option that turns them into nightmarish demon-hybrids, the three replies available are paraphrased as follows: "Never!", "No", and "I'm all right, thank you."
    • While you can be a quite an asshole as you go about it, you have to stop the Blight, and complete a number of other typical RPG quests to do so — even if it's not something the type of character you want to play would be particularly interested in doing. Of course, no matter how evil you play your character, the whole "genocide" aspect of the darkspawn's plan is rather negative towards them.
    • On the other hand, the game also gives you a surprising amount of leeway sometimes. Defending Redcliffe against the undead horde? You can absolutely tell the villagers to fuck off and die (the latter quite literally).

  • Call a Count an Arl: The titles of nobility in the game are all given Phantasy Spelling, aside from "King" and "Queen." Earl (largely equivalent to Count in any case) becomes Arl, whereas Baron and Thegn get mixed and divided into Teyrn and Bann. The position of Teyrn is closer to that of a Duke than a Thegn, however. Somewhat justified in the case of Bann, at least - Ban is actually a noble title used in southeastern Europe. It counts for forms of address as well as titles, with Sir and Sirrah becoming Ser and Serah (which are treated as gender-neutral versions of the originals).
  • Call Reception Area: Played very much straight in the Dalish origin.
  • Camera Screw
  • Campfire Character Exploration: Most of the Non-Player Companion interaction takes place in the party camp, near the campfire. The reclusive witch Morrigan is pretty much the only one who never comes near the main campfire; she has her own.
  • Can't Drop the Hero: Played straight except for four small parts. In each instance, you play as the active character(s) instead of the Warden:
    • If/when someone goes into the Fade to rescue Arl Eamon's son from a demon, the trope is justified because it must be a mage who does it. If the Warden is a warrior or a rogue, you must select from the pool of available mages to play instead - depending on your previous choices in the game, this will be either Wynne, Morrigan, First Enchanter Irving, or Jowan.
    • If the Warden is captured by/surrenders to Ser Cauthrien and is imprisoned in Fort Drakon, you have the option to either break yourself out or select two of your companions to perform a daring rescue.
    • The Combat by Champion scene described below, should you choose to appoint a different character to duel Loghain on the Warden's behalf.
    • During the final battle, all companions who do not accompany you to confront the Archdemon will remain at the gate and Hold the Line. You play both parts of the battle.
  • Cast from Hit Points: The mechanic of Blood Magic. It also tanks any healing you get while active so you can't refund mana.
  • Cat Fight: A male Warden daring or unlucky enough to romance both Leliana and Morrigan can expect to witness several examples of very tense moments between the two that end just short of actual violence.
  • Central Theme: There are two in Origins.
    • The most obvious is blood. The logo is a blood splatter. Darkspawn blood is the key to being a Warden. A controversial form of magery is Blood Magic.
    • The other is mortality. The game's theme is "In Uthenera," a song about life and mortality, from a race that lost its immortality. Many of the quests involve sacrifice and death, such as Zathrian's quest. In the end, players choose whether they will cheat death or embrace it.
  • The Champion: Not only is 'Champion' an unlockable specialization for warriors, but after Arl Eamon recovers from his illness, he declares the entire party "Champions of Redcliffe."
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: Seen in the Human Noble origin. When Castle Cousland is invaded, the PC is asleep, but Dog awakens them. It's very clear that they are wearing only underwear as someone bursts into the room to announce that the castle is under siege. Less than a moment later, the PC is fully armored and armed and ready to fight. Very considerate of the invaders to give you time to get dressed before trying to kill you.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • If something happened during your origin story, rest assured you will have to deal with it later.
    • Uldred, the psychopathic mage behind the chaos that hits the Circle, makes a brief appearance at Ostagar. He only gets a single line before being shouted down by one of the Chantry's Revered Mothers.
    • You can also meet Wynne while at Ostagar, and have a pleasant conversation with her.
    • Did you follow the steps to summon that "Trickster Spirit" in the Circle Tower? Turns out that may not have been the best idea.
  • Childhood Friends: Happens in a few origins.
    • Jowan and the Warden Mage. Presumably this is an attempt to make the player feel more inclined to go along with his dangerous plan. You can even try to defend him by invoking this.
    • Tamlen and the Dalish Warden. If the Warden is female and tells him she cares about him, it's a case of Childhood Friend Romance where the rest of the Clan comments on how Everyone Can See It and they've all been shippers on deck since you two were little. Becomes an Unlucky Childhood Friend due to both becoming tainted, Tamlen disappearing and Mahariel joining the Grey Wardens.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: It's possible to play like this. Just because an apocalyptic and ancient evil is threatening the world doesn't mean you can't stop to find some guy's nugs.
  • City Guards: Denerim, Ferelden's capital, has a standard assortment of them. You're unlikely to wind up on their bad side, and there's even a chain of sidequests revolving around helping them clear out some particularly irritating criminals. Woe betide you if you get caught pickpocketing, however, since an impressively large force will turn up to kill you.
  • Civil War v. Armageddon: The Grey Wardens have a perspective much like the Night's Watch in the game's Spiritual Predecessor A Song of Ice and Fire. Ferelden is being invaded by the darkspawn and the Player Character must gather allies to fight them off and slay the Archdemon leading them. Problem is, all the potential allies are embroiled in conflicts of their own. Ferelden's humans and the dwarves of Orzammar each have a Succession Crisis (in the former case, triggered by Loghain Mac Tir's Cavalry Betrayal of King Cailan in a battle the PC and Alistair only barely survived). The Circle of Mages has had a demon outbreak and is about to be purged by the Templars. And the Dalish elves are battling a tribe of werewolves. The Player Character must resolve each crisis, one way or another, before getting that faction's support.
  • Class and Level System: Three base classes: rogue, mage, and warrior, each with four specialisations and twenty-five experience levels to get through.
  • Clingy Costume: Dwarves who are made into golems can't remove the armour they're given, at least not after the molten lyrium is poured in with them.
  • Clip Its Wings: During the Final Battle, Riordan sacrifices his life to ruin the draconic Archdemon's wing, robbing it of flight capability and thus allowing your party to engage and kill it on the ground.
  • Combat by Champion: If the Landsmeet votes against Loghain, he will demand to face you in honorable combat in one last desperate bid for the throne. You may choose to let Alistair duel him in your stead, or ask one of your other two present companions to do it. (You still play as whoever fights Loghain.) Note that whomever you select as your champion must be humanoid; if Dog is in the group and you attempt to select him, Arl Eamon has an amusing line in which he makes you pick someone else.
  • Combat Medic: While not required, mages can simultaneously become the best healers and damagers in the game.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Rogues. Rogues get skills like Below The Belt and Dirty Fighting. All of the specializations are examples, as well - assassins are obvious, bards are the universe's spies, rangers are noted as being happy to use their environment to kill enemies for them, and duelists emphasize speed, defense, and quick, lethal strikes.
  • Come with Me If You Want to Live:
    • At the end of every origin, the player character is rescued by Duncan from a dangerous situation and (more or less willingly) joins the Grey Wardens. The situation is particularly life-threatening in the Human Noble, Dwarf Noble, and Dalish Elf origins. The other origin stories happen regardless of the origin you choose; Duncan just isn't there to save them.
    • There is a possible exception in the Mage Origin: if you decided to snitch on Jowan and Lily to First Enchanter Irving, you will not be under any threat whatsoever at the end of the quest and Duncan will have to outright invoke the Right of Conscription to get you.
  • Comic-Book Time:
    • It's mentioned early by Wynne in a conversation, if you're a Mage, that it's been a year since you were recruited by the Grey Wardens. Why it takes you an entire year to get from the Circle tower to Ostagar is never explained.
    • Alistair causes an example of this. You can woo him anytime you like, be it at the beginning of the game or practically before the end... that said, the rose from Lothering he will give you as a gift will still be fresh as the day he picked it... back in Lothering, which most players never see again after the first visit, since it's destroyed by darkspawn after the player finishes one of their major plot missions.
    • In Lothering, the helpful bartender at the inn tells you that King Endrin of Orzammar has recently died. When you get to Orzammar, the door guard tells you Endrin died "not three weeks ago." Dagna makes an offhand mention that the Circle Tower is two and a half weeks away from Orzammar. And Lothering is farther away from Orzammar than the Tower is. So unless you leave for Orzammar immediately after leaving Lothering, it's impossible to get there in time for the timeline to make any sense at all.
  • Commonplace Rare:
    • Inverted. Dragons are supposedly very rare in The 'Verse. The current Age was named the Dragon Age because it was preceded by the first sighting of a High Dragon in centuries. If you bring drake scales to Wade, he will tell you that most blacksmiths go their entire lives without ever seeing even one. And yet, by the end of the game, every piece of leather armor on the market will be made of drakeskin. Further, two out of three weapons and pieces of heavy or massive armor will be made out of dragonbone. And by the time you get to Awakening, it will be turned Up to Eleven: leather goods will be made out of dragon wing or even High Dragon hide (even if no one slew a High Dragon in Origins).
    • Even though an Archdemon isn't considered a dragon, they look similar enough that it's possible their hide is the same, so regardless, someone slew a high dragon.
    • Played straight with backpacks. A full suit of plate armour costs less than some backpacks do. They can also be tricky to find, if you don't know where to look, since most merchants don't carry them.
  • Compensating for Something: Either Morrigan or Sten can make a crack about this upon first encountering the Tower of Magi.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Orzammar is full of molten magma; it's underground, after all. Seems to be popular with dwarven cities nowadays.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: The darkspawn are, as a whole, pretty badass and dangerous opponents for the beginning, middle, and later parts of the game. However, once the massive horde assaults Denerim and the Warden's army arrives to fight them, the Warden and their team will be killing the various darkspawn mooks in one or two hits.
  • Contract on the Hitman: Zevran will be targeted by the Crows if the Warden spares him. While Master Ignacio doesn't act against Zevran, declaring him to be dead in his eyes, Zevran's old comrade Taliesen will track him down and make him a final offer: rejoin the Crows or die. If Zevran's loyalty is high enough, he will fight against Taliesen at your side; in that case, how Zevran's battle with the Crows is resolved depends on whether or not the Warden dies fighting the Archdemon. If the Warden lives, Zevran will continue to fight and evade the Crows as best he can while living his life which is apparently canon in Dragon Age II. If the Warden dies, Zevran will return to Antiva and single-handedly take over the Crows and become their new Grand Master. His epilogue questions whether this counts as a victory or a defeat.
  • Corpse Land: The Blightlands and the Deep Roads, sites of long-term darkspawn occupation, have been rendered desolate wastelands where nothing can survive without succumbing to their taint. Corpses in the areas will not rot because even the bacteria necessary for the process are killed.
  • The Corruption: The dwarven scavenger Ruck demonstrates the mental decay of someone living off of darkspawn flesh, and Oghren offers more details on their health decay. This does give them the ability to detect the taint of the darkspawn, including that of the Wardens. The Warden can reflect on the disturbing implications of Ruck's description of it.
  • Cosmetic Award: A few examples. As noted above, saving Arl Eamon earns everyone in your party the title of 'Champion of Redcliffe.' He gives you a shield, but otherwise, it's basically this trope.
  • Crapsack World: Mages have to worry about turning into always chaotic evil abominations. Demons possess not only mages but anyone else they can, including animals; they just prefer to possess mages. Always chaotic evil darkspawn hordes spill out across the land every century or two. Rock Golems have been made from living dwarves. Second-class citizen elves and mages are everywhere. Caste-ridden dwarves have been nearly wiped out and were driven back to two cities. A slaver empire holds the northwest part of the continent; another empire (or two, if you count the dwarves) is riddled with assassins. Thedas has lots of civil wars in its history. You get the idea.
  • Crafted From Animals: There are several sets of armor that can be made from drake scales and dragon scales by Wade.
  • Creepy Child:
    • The little boy in Haven, who recites an equally creepy nursery rhyme. If you pester him with questions, he'll eventually show you a secret: his lucky fingerbone.
    • Everything in the Alienage orphanage.
    • Amalia, the girl in Honnleath who befriends "Kitty" the desire demon. She becomes even creepier if Kitty possesses her.
  • Creepy Monotone:
    • Done hilariously nonsensically if you choose to let the desire demon (Kitty) possess the girl in Honnleath. Whereas previously both the girl and Kitty had a proper, normal range of expressive intonation, after the possession, the possessed girl suddenly enters a Creepy Monotone.
    • Touched upon by Shale when asked why it doesn't really act like other golems:
      Shale: Should I talk in a monotone? Yes, master. I exist to serve the master. I shall kill for the master and only the master.
    • This is an identifying trait of the Tranquils, regularly lampshaded.
    • The Sloth Demon has one.
    • Hespith, particularly when reciting her Apocalyptic Log: "First day, they come and catch everyone. Second day, they beat us and eat some for meat. Third day..." Considering the increasingly horrifying content of the poem, the monotone is especially unsettling.
  • Critical Hit
  • Critical Staffing Shortage: The Grey Warden force in Ferelden is dangerously small for two reasons. In the Back Story, the Wardens were banished from the country by a tyrannical Fereldan king after a rogue Warden-Commander raised a rebellion against him; they were only allowed back 30 years before the game begins, so there aren't too many of them in the country. Then, in the game itself, most Fereldan Wardens are killed by the darkspawn horde when the paranoid general Loghain leaves them and the reigning king to die, thus leaving the country largely unprepared to fight The Horde.
  • Crystal Prison: The ancient elf spirit who teaches the Arcane Warrior specialization has been trapped inside a rock for hundreds, possibly thousands, of years. He begs you to smash the rock and free him in exchange for his knowledge.
  • The Cuckoo Lander Was Right: In between his frenzied ranting, the Chasind Doomsayer outside of the Lothering Chantry turns on the Warden and accuses them of being tainted with the same evil as that of the darkspawn. Given the nature of the Joining Ritual, he's completely right, although it's never explained how he knows this or is able to recognise a Grey Warden on sight. Though given his narrow escape from the darkspawn horde and the diseased blotches around his eyes, it's possible he was infected with the taint and thus can sense it in you.
  • Cursed with Awesome: If you're a Circle mage, and you survive the Harrowing, you're one of the most powerful and feared people in Thedas, able to alternately heal or slaughter people at will. Granted, there are some social restrictions, but they hardly compare to the phenomenal cosmic power. Though this is precisely why the Chantry employs an army of knights specifically trained and equipped to kill any mage who gets uppity about their near-slave status.
    • It's even worse for Qunari mages; although this is not actually seen until the second game, the Warden can learn a little about it from Sten.
    • Being a Grey Warden has a lot of perks, but some heavy downsides.
  • Cutscene Drop: So many times. Particularly annoying considering how much the game talks about tactics and carefully positioning your party members to set up ambushes, only to teleport your Squishy Wizard right into the fray before every major battle. This is highly disruptive of rogue/trapping tactics, as the cutscene trigger exposes hiding characters as all are teleported in from what could be half-way across the map from where the active character is scouting — for a rogue to expose themselves like this is equivalent to a cutscene throwing the sword-and-board warrior's shield away, and reflects a tactical stupidity that is never even lampshaded in the cutscenes.
  • Cycle of Revenge:
    • The quest "The Nature of the Beast" requires you to either break or support one of these.
    • Due to Arl Howe's betrayal and brutal murder of most of the Couslands, the Human Noble Warden can decide whether or not to engage in one of these. Later in Awakening, the Warden can follow through on a threat to murder the members of Howe's family in retaliation by executing Nathaniel Howe when he is caught attempting to assassinate the Warden. On the other hand, it's entirely possible to avert this, playing the Warden as simply seeking revenge on just Arl Howe himself. In Awakening the Warden can decide to recruit Nathaniel into the Wardens instead of executing him (or let him go, in which case he comes back and joins of his own volition), then befriend him and inspire him to redeem his family's name after he realizes the extent of his father's crimes. One possible epilogue reveals that Nathaniel even rescues the Warden's brother from bandits and the Howes are returned some of their lands, ending the bad blood between the families.

  • Damned by Faint Praise: You can kill Jowan with this. Say something that's barely nice about Jowan ("Well, he's trying to be a better person, I guess?"), and Arl Eamon will say this trope word for word.
  • Damsel out of Distress: The Female City Elf. Vaughn recognizes this, as he orders two guards to escort you to his chambers, but only after your hands are bound first. Then Soris appears and slides a sword across the floor to you. Cue the reaction of the guards. "Oh... sod." You then proceed to slaughter your way through the castle, save the other women taken, and effectively rescue yourself.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Blood magic.
  • Darker and Edgier: Origins is already very dark, Awakening darker still. Golems of Amgarrak is even more so. This makes Witch Hunt Mood Whiplash, what with it being the last DLC, and the return of lighthearted banter between your party members and the assorted Harry Potter references at the Tower of Magi and the return of your dog. It's also the only DLC/expansion with the potential for an unapologetically happy ending.
  • Deadly Upgrade: The Joining. Death will come immediately or thirty years later, depending at least partially on luck.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • This turns out to be the cause of all the trouble in the Recliffe arc. Connor made a deal with a demon to save his father from being poisoned. The demon kept its word... which allowed it to possess him.
    • Mage characters can negotiate with the demon for access to Blood Magic in return for allowing the demon to permanently possess Connor, though with a high enough coercion skill, your "deal" can basically amount to "I'll let you live if you null your deal with the kid and teach me blood magic."note 
    • The sidequest "Asunder" involves summoning a demon, and you can choose to either fight it or let it leave in exchange for a reward. Said reward turns out to be a pile of cash (25 sovereigns). Not bad, and there are no (in-game) consequences either.
    • In order to complete the quest where you get Shale as a party member, you need to deal with the demon "Kitty" first. One option is to allow her to possess a little girl in exchange for a way out, and some unique loot. You can also betray Kitty by pretending to agree and then kill her before she can take the girl.
    • At the end of the Broken Circle quest, pride demon Uldred will try to tempt the player into becoming a powerful abomination. Considering what an obviously terrible deal it is, the game won't let you accept.
  • Death of a Child: You never kill children except Connor in Redcliffe if you so choose, but children do die. Most notably, the Human Noble's nephew Oren is brutally murdered during the origin.
  • Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit: Loghain attempts to pin King Cailan's death on the Wardens, whom he believes are all dead. It doesn't work, because the nobles are (mostly) unwilling to trust him and also because not all the Wardens died.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: The game heavily deconstructs the "fantasy hero" genre, adding realistic and unpleasant politics and bigotry to the fantasy setting, and making moral choices complicated and difficult. At several points, you have the option between doing what is good and doing what, ultimately, will best help save the world.
  • Deflector Shields: The Mage's Arcane Shield (boosts Defense) and the Arcane Warrior's Shimmering Shield (boosts damn near everything). And yes, you can have both on at the same time. Prior to a recent PC patch, the Shimmering Shield was bugged and didn't drain mana when in use. This was fixed with the patch, but it's still overpowered.
  • Degraded Boss:
    • The very first boss you'll fight is an Ogre at the top of the tower in Ostagar, and it's going to take everything you have to slay him. Later, they'll become a somewhat more regular enemy (though still one of the rarer darkspawn), especially in the Deep Roads and finale. By about halfway through Awakening, Elite Ogres become an elaborate speed bump.
    • The High Dragon in Origins is the second-toughest boss in the game. In Awakening, you face one again in The Very Definitely Final Dungeon that goes down without much trouble (although, due to a bug, the game may record it as the most powerful foe slain, even though it definitely isn't).
  • Detachable Lower Half: The Harvester in Golems of Amgarrak.
  • Deus Sex Machina: Morrigan's solution to the Someone Has to Die problem in the endgame involves having the male PC, Alistair, or Loghain impregnate her.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: The music played in the main menu, in the character creation menu, and when opening the game's launcher is a shorter version of the song performed by Leliana after completing "Nature of the Beast".note 
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The Blood Mage specialization, both because the Mage base class is designed to be a Squishy Wizard with low health and because using Blood Magic (the power that allows you to Cast from Hit Points) before you've learned Blood Sacrifice (which allows you to replenish your health by leeching off of your teammates) is an excellent way to kill the caster, since Blood Magic Nerfs all other healing effects by 90%. If you manage to master the specialization, though, the caster will be able to cast many more spells before running dry than a normal mage would ever be able to, and will eventually gain access to Blood Wound, which is probably the single most powerful spell in the game.
  • Disaster Democracy: Twice, with the dwarves and humans.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: Ostagar. It obviously isn't the final dungeon, though. The game is just getting started!
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • If the Dwarf Noble makes certain choices in their Origin story, they can leave for Ostagar with nearly 30 sovereigns — a ridiculous amount of money that other characters won't have for a good chunk of the game. The Dwarf Noble also gets a huge discount and excellent resale value from a certain merchant (Gorim) in Denerim, which means even more money. This makes buying the best equipment in the game as soon as it becomes available much easier. The Dwarf Noble also receives a powerful shield from Gorim, free of charge, which no other character can obtain. The Dwarf Noble is effectively the "Easy" Mode, at least for non-mage characters.
    • Promo items often take the form of various disc one nukes, as they provide all sorts of silly bonuses that are excessively powerful for your character's level. (At least the Blood Dragon Armor, only available with the Ultimate Edition, will take you a while to get to use due to its Strength requirement and expense.) Coming back to the base game after collecting the Battledress of the Provocateur from Leliana's Song and the mage robes and bow from Witch Hunt will give you a noticeable advantage in the early game.
      • Of particular note is the Reaper's Cudgel. While a solid weapon on its own, the real nuke is in its resale value - it can be sold for an absolutely insane price of over 330 gold sovereigns!note  Sell it at the first merchant you find (the quartermaster in Ostagar), and you can buy literally everything the first few shopkeepers you encounter have in their stock, should you wish. (For reference, most of the other promo/DLC items sell for perhaps 5 gold sovereigns max.) Perhaps a fitting reward, since you only get it by beating a very difficult DLC boss on Hard or Nightmare difficulty.
      • Completing Witch Hunt allows the player to bring both the Sorrows of Arlathan bow and Vestments of the Seer robes with them on subsequent playthroughs of the main game. The former is a massively-powerful bow but at least is limited by the dexterity requirements, while the latter is the best set of robes in the game, and has no requirements. A starting mage won't ever be changing clothes unless you opt for the Arcane Warrior specialization.
    • Then there are gearing tricks that can get silly. Give your Mage 16 strength and you can run around Ostagar in a full medium armor set (12 for leather). Add a Stone Skin self-buff (and maybe some Rock Salves for overkill) and you will want enemies to attack your mage.
      • This is more of an issue with the mage class itself. In particular, when choosing the Arcane Warrior specialization, going for heavy armor and adding a few defensive sustainables on top of that, a mage can become ridiculously hard to kill. They can get better defenses and resistances than anyone else in the game, including a sword and board warrior. They can even become quite capable melee fighters, all while having unbelievable defenses, high hit points, and the ability to throw around devastating spells and healing.
    • Any area-of-effect spell on Easy, but in particular the third- and fourth-tier cold spells.
    • If you complete the Warden's Keep DLC as quickly as possible, then the Warden-Commander's armor will be useless by the end of the game (it's Tier 4, when the best armor in the original game is Tier 7) unless you employ a trick to upgrade by either leaving it in the party chest and leaving/re-entering Soldier's Peak on console, or by selling it to Mikhael Dryden, then leaving/reentering the Peak and buying it back if playing on PC. However, you will get an event in which you recover a meteorite, which you can then have forged into a one- or two-handed sword. Starfang is bar none the best sword in the game, occupying its own tier (which eventually shows up as Tier 9 in Awakening), and you can start the process of getting it as soon as you leave Lothering.
    • Getting Cone of Cold, which can be obtained relatively early, gives the mage a power that can even freeze the Archdemon in place. One strategy involving the spell has the player keeping the big bosses and semi-bosses in place while the tank takes on the boss and the rest clean up after him.
    • A Dalish Elf Warden can take Merrill's Tevinter Mage Robes during her short stint with them, providing them with one of the best mage robes in the game for free.
    • A particular pair of mage boots, which can only be obtained during the Mage origin, are the only boots in the game that provide a magic boost.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Hespith speaks in a highly Creepy Monotone, and seems completely detached from her horrible situation. It's the result of being broken both by circumstances and Branka's obsession, and it isn't pretty. Worse, as you come to realize, she's in the initial stage of turning into a Broodmother.
  • Distracted by the Shiny: The purpose of the Lure traps. The description of the Glamour Charm required to make them gets distracted by them too:
    This minor magical charm captures the viewer's attention and distra... ooo, pretty...
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: So there's a gigantic church with a prophet betrayed by one of her closest disciples, of which the symbol of her death becomes the symbol of the religion, filled with Inquisitors and Templars, and in which only a specific sex can usually preside over church services.
  • Doing In the Wizard:
    • If you take Oghren with you on the "Urn of Sacred Ashes" quest, he'll mention his Stone-sense picking up a huge lyrium vein under the mountain and temple, and that the urn's healing properties might be from centuries of exposure. This is one of many arguments in the game (Morrigan makes a few) that the Maker might not be real.
    • Similarly, while Wynne is a believer, she initially notes that the Gauntlet is practically brimming with magic. Both Oghren and Wynne's comments are actually foreshadowing, as the presence of so much lyrium in that location ends up being extremely significant in Dragon Age: Inquisition.
  • Double Entendre:
    • Have you ever licked a lamppost in winter?
      • In Awakening, there's a staff named Lamppost in Winter. The item description says that licking it would not be advisable.
    • Zevran employs this occasionally, when he's not being blatantly obvious.
      Zevran: The thing I miss most about Antiva is its leather.
      Warden: Is that some kind of euphemism?
    • In romancing Alistair, he will at one point give the female PC a rose, stating that it reminds him of her. She can reply, "Feeling thorny, are we?"
    • There's quite a bit of this in general if you're looking, obviously in companion romances, but also particularly where the Warden can flirt with or seduce NPCs. (Example of the latter is Isabela in the Pearl. "Can we go back to your ship? I'd love to see what's below deck.")
    • Oghren gets a pretty good one early in Awakening, upon discovering a ghoul equipped with his stolen gear.
      Oghren: No one touches Oghren's junk and lives!
    • In the City Elf origin, you may encounter a drunk elf that recites a rhyme about a woman and how he would make promises to her while making love in the sea, but declaring he can't grant her wish because "my wife gets suspicious when I come home smelling like fish". "Smelling like fish" can either be literally or refer to the smell of something else...
  • Downer Beginning: No matter which origin you pick, the game begins with two total disasters.
    • Human Noble: Arl Howe betrays your house and burns it to the ground, killing all of your servants, your parents, and your nephew (only a child at the time). If it weren't for Duncan thinning the enemy ranks and conscripting you into the Grey Wardens, that would have been the end of you.
    • City Elf: The son of the local lord crashes your wedding and kidnaps you/your bride-to-be and a bunch of your friends. You trash his house in the ensuing escape/rescue, and said lord sends soldiers to arrest and execute you. If it weren't for Duncan conscripting you into the Grey Wardens, that would have been the end of you.
    • Dalish Elf: You encounter an enchanted mirror while exploring some ruins outside your home; the mirror infects you with the darkspawn taint, which only Grey Wardens are immune to. If it weren't for Duncan conscripting you into the Grey Wardens, that would have been the end of you.
    • Dwarf Noble: Your younger brother tricks you into/frames you for murdering your older brother, and you are stripped of your nobility and sentenced to death in the Deep Roads. If it weren't for Duncan conscripting you into the Grey Wardens, that would have been the end of you.
    • Dwarf Commoner: In the process of working for the local mob boss, you are caught impersonating a warrior of a higher caste than you and sentenced to death. If it weren't for Duncan conscripting you into the Grey Wardens, that would have been the end of you.
    • Circle Mage: Right after your Harrowing, your buddy Jowan convinces you to break into the Circle's secret vault and destroy his phylactery so he can turn apostate before being made Tranquil on suspicion of being a blood mage. You are caught in the act, Jowan reveals he actually is a blood mage before escaping, and the local Templar commander demands your head for the whole fiasco. If it weren't for Duncan conscripting you into the Grey Wardens, that would have been the end of you.
    • All origins: You participate in the Battle of Ostagar, but Teryn Loghain abandons you in the middle of the battle; King Cailan and all of the Grey Wardens are killed. If it weren't for Flemeth coming to your rescue, that would have been the end of you.
  • Downer Ending:
    • The overall ending to the main story arc is always bittersweet, but due to there being many smaller Multiple Endings, some specific places or people that you tried to help during the story usually only get this.
    • Most of the origin stories also have these, in one form or another, particularly the Human Noble and Dalish Elf. It could be argued that the only one which definitely doesn't is the Dwarf Commoner, for whom becoming a Grey Warden is largely an improvement to their situation in life.
  • Dragon Hoard: A few dragons, most of them optional bosses, have a lot of treasure to be plundered afterwards. Some of them are actually called "Dragon Hoard."
  • Draw Aggro: The "Threaten" ability causes enemies to flock around a player character.
  • Dream Spying: Grey Wardens can see the Archdemon in their dreams. They can also get hints about the size and direction of the darkspawn horde.
  • Drop the Hammer: Mauls are one subset of two-handed weapons and they have the best armor penetration ratings. The Chasind Great Maul is one of the most powerful (and expensive) weapons in the game.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Maleficars, mages who embrace demon magics, tend to go this route. Notable for containing both a straight example in Uldred and a subversion in the hapless blood mage Jowan.
  • Dual Wielding: Rogues and Warriors can do this. Technically, so can a Mage, but it's only really worth doing with the right specialization.
  • Duel Boss: Teyrn Loghain at the Landsmeet. Also, a knight challenges you to this when you arrive in Denerim. If you decide to fight him one on one, his underlings will compliment your honor.
  • Dug Too Deep: Inverted/parody: Hidden at the very far end of the ruins in the Dalish origin is a small statue. Clicking on it gives the message "A strange statue commemorating the emergence of - and short-lived trading relationship with - dwarves, who dug too high and too frugal and struck elves." Clicking on it also spawns some skeletons to attack you.
  • Dump Stat: Magic for a non-mage, although potions and the Reaver's Devour ability do get some bonuses from it. Strength, and to a lesser extent Dexterity, for Mages. Constitution and Willpower are sorta dump stats thanks to all the potions you can chug (though Stamina restoration potions don't show up until the expansion for some reason).
  • Dungeon Bypass:
    • Mage origin: When you need to get the form signed, just ask Senior Enchanter Sweeney and you won't need to clear out the spiders. (If you do it afterwards anyway, you get potions instead.)
    • Redcliffe: You can just choose to not rescue the village.
    • Redcliffe Castle: Kill Connor and you skip a Fade sequence. However, said Fade sequence is actually easier than killing him, and certainly not as annoying as the other one from the "Broken Circle" quest.
  • Dueling Messiahs: The Grey Warden and Teryn Loghain. Loghain truly believes that he is the only one capable of saving Ferelden from the Blight and acts accordingly, but misunderstands certain crucial facts with disastrous results (and to be fair, some of those facts were deliberately kept secret). Under different circumstances, he might well have remained the hero he was in the past. Toward the end of the game he can be made aware how badly he's screwed things up, causing him to either Face Death with Dignity, knowing that he's leaving Ferelden in the Warden's capable hands, or join the Wardens himself.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Whoever kills the Archdemon gets one, if you refuse the dark ritual.
    • Even if you are a clueless idiot, the epilogue slide where Sten returns to Par Vollen (if you have enough approval with him) really drives it home. When asked by his people if he met anyone worthy of respect on his travels, he replies, "One." By dying to stop the Blight, you have earned the rank of Basalit-an (literally, an outsider worthy of respect) among the Qunari.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Pretty much every party member you can recruit in this game has a major psychological trauma or three in their past (or in some cases their present). This is how you can tell in Awakening that Mhairi is a Mauve Shirt: she's not dysfunctional.

  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Class design in Origins is more fluid than in later games; there are few restrictions on what class can wield what weapons. Rogues can, in theory, equip two-handed weapons, for instance, while warriors are able to pursue Dual Wielding and archery. The devs, however, felt that this made rogues and warriors feel too indistinct from each other, so from Dragon Age II onward, dual-wielding and archery becomes rogue-only, while warriors are restricted to two-handers and weapon/shield. This also means that dual wielding full-size weapons (swords, axes, and maces, as opposed to daggers) is removed, as is the ability to equip two sets of weapons (usually one ranged and one melee) and swap between them.
    • The attitudes toward female warriors change in subtle but notable ways in the series, making Origins stand out a bit. A female Warden’s gender is constantly brought up as odd and unusual, with many expressing surprise and the occasional sexist remarks upon meeting them, although this is somewhat handwaved by the fact that the PC is literally the first female Warden in the country in a generation. Even your female Warden can comment on it in the leadup to the Joining, stating that "I swear I'm the bravest one here, and I'm a woman." (Either honestly believing her being more capable than the men is somehow wrong, or intending to shame the men into getting their shit together, either way implying her being the brave one is exceptional.) This is dialed down in the second game and, by the time of Inquisition, the player’s gender is almost completely unremarked upon in dialogue almost to the point of Purely Aesthetic Gender. Female warriors are also a lot less common in Origins compared to the rest of the series; female Templars and female warriors as party members do not appear until Awakening. Inquisition has a lot more - if not just as many - plot-important female warriors as men.
    • Grey Wardens do not wear any particular uniform in this game, which they are never seen without in the sequels. People don't ask you why you are not in uniform, nor can you wear one to prove your identity; many PC players use mods to equip their Wardens with the standard Warden armor.note 
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: If you make Bhelen King, and side with Branka, not only will souls be stolen to make new golems, but Bhelen will command Branka stop using dwarves — she will start to kidnap humans and elves and sacrifice them to supply souls to them instead — and eagerly. This will lead to all-out war between the dwarves and humans for a bit.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: If you work very hard, you'll be able to get one of these. However, there are many other... not that happy outcomes.
  • Easily Forgiven: Rampant throughout the main quest storyline. Count the number of times that, after you have slaughtered your way throughout an entire dungeon of a particular enemy race or group, the leader of that race or group will come out and offer to team up with you. You can even call Father Kolgrim on it when he offers to proclaim you Andraste's champion after you've slaughtered about two-thirds of his followers.
  • Easing into the Adventure: The point of the origin stories, except for the Mage Origin, which begins with a short dungeon. It's even lampshaded in the Human Noble Origin, when Ser Gilmore remarks that killing the rats in the cellar (your first fight) sounds like the start of every adventure story his grandfather told him.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Averted, notable for the reasons: The developers have said that 'Hard' mode was the intended base difficulty for gamers, but that's never suggested in the game or game materials. There are no benefits or penalties for playing any difficulty mode (except for the loot drops from a Bonus Boss), nor any achievements related to them in the main game. However, the Golems of Amgarrak and Witch Hunt DLC do have achievements for beating their final bosses on 'Hard' or 'Nightmare' modes.
  • Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors: Rage Demons (which are made of fire) are weak against ice attacks.
  • Elves vs. Dwarves:
    • Spoofed by Zevran and Oghren in their party banter. Oghren goes as far as admitting that he thinks Zevran is all right. The elf promptly deadpans that he's got to be drunk.
      Zevran: Hello, my stocky little friend!
      Oghren: Huh. You got small breasts for a gal.
      Zevran: Ah. This is where we begin the typical dwarven/elven rivalry, is it?
      Oghren: Nahhh.
    • Dwarves might not be rivals with elves in DA, but an elf Warden walking around Orzammar will get a lot of odd comments from its citizens.
    • Also seen in the conflict between the high and mighty cultured Orlesians (described as "painted fops" by Fereldans) and the honorable, salt-of-the-earth freedom-loving Fereldans (described as "one bad day away from barbarism" by the Orlesians).
  • Empathy Doll Shot: There's a doll in the elven Alienage apartments, and its description makes sure to emphasize how well-worn and loved it is.
  • End of an Age: The gist of Morrigan's warning in Witch Hunt. The sequel shows what she was talking about.
  • The End... Or Is It?: The last shot of The Golems of Amgarrak is dozens — maybe hundreds — of Harvesters escaping the thaig's destruction and scuttling off into the Deep Roads.
  • Ending Theme: "This Is War", by 30 Seconds to Mars. Maybe they should have saved this song for Dragon Age: Inquisition, considering that its plot deals with the fallout of the war that the Champion of Kirkwall inadvertently caused.
  • Entendre Failure:
    • Occurs between Alistair and Zevran during a conversation with Shale.
      Zevran: Here, take that Templar fellow. Rugged good looks, quick wit, manly shoulders. Just getting him to hop borders is a challenge worthy of the great heroes.
      Alistair: A challenge? I'd happily hop borders, given the chance. I've never even been close to leaving Ferelden.
    • There's also this little gem possible for either male or female Wardens:
      Leliana: But now it's getting late. I think I might... turn in early. I can't help thinking about how soft and warm my bedroll is.
      Warden: You don't want to talk to me anymore?
      Leliana: Of course I do. You know I enjoy your company. But... it's getting a little chilly, and I prefer to be in my bedroll.
      Warden: Well, I shan't keep you.
      Leliana: You know, it'd be nice if you came with me.
      Warden: What for?
      Leliana: So I can show you my collection of pressed flowers... obviously.
      Warden: I didn't know you collected pressed flowers.
      Leliana: I... don't. Stop pretending you don't know what I want!
      Warden: I have no idea what's going on.
      Leliana: Ah, the games you play. Listen, I want to spend the night with you. There. I said it.
    • There's also the option to say (in reply to her turning early):
      Warden: I'm going to stay up and write in my journal.
      Leliana: Oh, maybe you could come into my tent and I could watch you write? "Dear Journal... Leliana has shown much affection for me. Even asked me to come to bed with her, but alas, subtlety is lost on me."
      Warden: Wait, what?
  • An Entrepreneur Is You: Averted (perhaps spitefully, even) in that the prices may vary slightly if at all from location to location, regardless of relative supply/scarcity, and goods will never sell for the value paid for them. Ever. Anywhere. Even if you craft something, you can't even get the value of the raw materials bar certain exploits, i.e. Potent Lyrium potions, but farming those takes a silly amount of time and a lot of loading screens... so get back to shaking down those Money Spiders, twink!
  • Escort Mission:
    • There are several missions where you have to keep NPCs alive to get good rewards.
    • The blind Templar Ser Otto seems Handicapped Badass enough to inspire player confidence, but he can die quite easily before his Plotline Death, and then his quest is lost.
    • Surprisingly averted in the Warden's Keep DLC, which seems like this should be part of the plot. Levi Dryden, an NPC who accompanies the party throughout the whole thing, doesn't fight at all - but he also doesn't need protection, as the various enemies encountered in the fortress simply ignore him. (Presumably this is to keep the DLC from being next to impossible on higher difficulty levels.)
  • Eternal English: Averted. It appears that the Dwarven language has undergone some minor changes since the time of the First Blight, as all modern Dwarves use "Astrast Tunsha"note  as a farewell, while Paragon Caridin uses the more archaic form, "Astrast Nal Tunsha".
  • Eternally Pearly-White Teeth: Subverted - almost everyone, peasants and royalty alike, seem to have yellowed teeth, which is fairly realistic considering the equivalent technology level.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Zevran mentions that the Antivan Crows were reluctant to take a contract on the Grey Wardens; even in Antiva, the killing of Wardens is considered 'impolitic'. Ignacio later tells a PC who has completed several contracts for the Crows that the only reason they took the job is because they thought Loghain had a better chance of defeating the darkspawn.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Everyone in the game calls you "Warden" and refers to you solely as "the Warden", with few exceptions. Nobody ever addresses you by your first name. (Probably this is because you get to pick your name yourself, when first setting up your character.) However, the Human Noble and Dwarf Noble are frequently referenced by their surnames (Cousland and Aeducan, respectively) since they have relevance to the plot. While their names aren't very important in Origins, the Human Mage and Dalish Elf Wardens get their surnames mentioned a fair few times in the second game, as there are some characters in that game with connections to them.
    • This is lampshaded by Sten (who also happens to be an example), of all people, in his Fade's dream during the Broken Circle quest:
    Warden: Why do they call you "The Sten"?
    Sten: For the same reason they call you "The Warden".
  • Everything Fades: Halfway played straight. All bodies fade away into low-polygon bones and junk, which remain when you return. Averted when you return to Ostagar to find the king's body perfectly intact, but that is given a codex explanation: the darkspawn taint is so fatal to living things that it even kills the parasites that would normally break down dead tissue. (And of course, when you return, it's winter, which would further stave off decomposition.)
  • Evil Empire: Once again, the old Tevinter Imperium had all the brutality of the Romans (that's saying a lot) plus Blood Magic. The modern Tevinter Empire isn't much better.
  • Evil Is Sterile: The darkspawn are incapable of reproducing like other species. They also seem to be mindless brutes who are only capable of destroying things, although the existence of the Architect suggests that darkspawn may have the capacity to be less destructive if they are freed from the Archdemon's control.
  • Evil Twin: The party will face a group of evil mirror counterparts in one of the last chambers of the Gauntlet. They have the same abilities as the real party members and, to judge by Leliana's comments, the same faces but with malevolent expressions.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Surprisingly common for a fantasy setting. Avernus, the Architect, Zathrian, the Dwarf/Tevinter Mage partnership which built Amgarrak ...suffice it to say that once you hear of someone "experimenting" with magic, you know it won't end well.
  • Exposition Fairy: The Warden ends up taking this role in the Warden's Keep DLC and explaining various things to Levi Dryden, such as the reason for the "ghosts" at Soldier's Peak and why the Grey Wardens were practicing Blood Magic.