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Dragon Age Origins / Tropes R to Z

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  • Rags to Riches:
    • Can happen to two young women in Redcliffe Village.
      • The first one is Kaitlyn. If you retrieve her grandfather's sword from her younger brother and pay her a large amount of silver for it, she will move to Denerim and use the money to open a foundry, which makes her wealthy and respected. In fact, this might even be a form of Rags to Royalty, as the epilogue reveals that she meets Bann Teagan by chance at court and marries him a few months afterwards.
      • Bella, the waitress at the local tavern, can either be given a large amount of silver, with which she will open a brewery in Denerim, or you can make her the owner of the tavern.
    • Can also happen to four origins, with the other two being from riches already. Although you'll always be given Amaranthine if you live, those lands officially belong to the Wardens. But if you want, you can ask to be given a title and the riches to go with it, making you Teyrn of Gwaren.
    • In Orzammar you can help Orta, a young dwarven woman, in finding proof that she is from a supposedly extinct noble family. Should you succeed, she will mount an expedition, reclaim her family name, and become a very wealthy woman. At the end of the quest she will reward the player with a large sum of money.
    • Many years prior to the beginning of the story, Loghain, a farmer's son, was King Maric's strategist while he drove the Orlesians out of Ferelden. Maric rewarded Loghain with the Teyrnir of Gwaren, making him second in precedence only to Maric himself.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits:
    • Your party has the possibility of being composed of an ex-Templar royal bastard, an illegal mage, an ex-bard turned Chantry sister from fantasy-France, a stern soldier giant who likes swords, a Spanish elf assassin, an elderly Dead All Along mage, a drunken dwarf soldier who lost his honor and his wife, a golem, and a dog. Not to mention the possibility of the man who condemned most of your order and the last king to death at the hands of the darkspawn. NPCs will often lampshade this by pointing out what an odd and distinct group of people you are.
    • The entire Grey Warden order appears to fit this. The sole qualifications for being recruited to the Grey Wardens are willingness and ability to kill darkspawn and the ability to survive the Joining. They make it explicitly clear that they'll take criminals, murderers, mages (Circle or apostate, even blood mages), nobles and plain common folk.
    • Awakening continues this. The disgraced dwarf is back joined by a casteless Legion of the Dead fighter, an human-hating elf druid, an apostate, a noble from a house you disgraced, and an undead soldier inhabited by a spirit of Justice.
  • Random Encounter: You are likely to have one, and only one, whenever traveling between major locations on the world map. Some of them are beneficial or even tied to the main plot.
  • Randomly Drops: Certain enemies like Gaxkang have a chance of dropping unique items; if you fail to get it, you just need to reload before fighting them and keep beating them until you get it. The game also has a rather sadistic variation; certain chests have a chance of holding pieces of certain armor sets (the Chevalier and Commander's Plate sets). This is set when you enter the area. If you fail to get it after fighting your way through whatever enemies are in your way - tough luck. You have to reload outside of the area and try again. Adding insult to injury, the sets aren't even that great.
  • Rape as Backstory: For one character in the City Elf origin, and also forms part of Zathrian's motives in the "Nature of the Beast" questline.
  • Rape Discretion Shot: In the City Elf origin story, you don't see Shianni being raped, but you do see her on the floor next to Vaughn, and dialogue after the fact makes it pretty clear that this is what happened. Leliana also hints at this in discussion with the Warden and during her DLC.
  • Raptor Attack: The deepstalkers are Jurassic Park-style pack-hunting raptors with the mouths of worms, and inhabit the Deep Roads. The player will often have to fend off packs of them while traversing through the Deep Roads.
  • Rare Candy: Various tomes you can buy from certain merchants can boost your or a party member's stats and/or add a skill/talent point to them at the same time.
  • Rat Stomp: The first enemies fought during the Human Noble Origin are giant rats in the pantry. The Noble's companion lampshades it.
  • Rated M for Manly: True, you can play as a woman, but the trailers (among other things) seem to indicate this is BioWare's approach to marketing the game.
  • Real Is Brown: The most colorful thing in the game is the box art and Vanity Plates. And the blood. And your party later in the game, because every sustained ability adds another layer of technicolor light. Especially when considering early screenshots:
  • Real Men Wear Pink:
    • Sten, the giant stoic Proud Warrior Race Guy, is found at various points being in love with cookies, hunting for cake, picking flowers, and playing with a kitten.
    • No matter how badass the male Warden is, if he specializes as a Bard, using his signature abilities will cause him to walk around surrounded by a pink Bishie Sparkle.
  • Real-Time with Pause: Like most other BioWare games. In Dragon Age, failure to master this skill will make your life miserable.
  • Reality Ensues: The epilogue shows that a number of side quests and decisions have unintended consequences.
    • After helping end the Blight, the Dalish elves are given lands to settle. However, tensions quickly arise with an independent elven state forming in the middle of human lands. Things deteriorate even faster if the Warden allies with the werewolves, who are given those lands instead.
    • If the traditionalist Lord Harrowmont is made king of Orzammar, he does nothing to combat the decline of dwarven society, maintaining the status quo. Prince Bhelen, who seems like an obvious case of Ambition Is Evil meanwhile, makes numerous progressive changes, angering the nobility but greatly improving dwarven society as a whole.
    • Helping the dwarven priest establish a Chantry in Orzammar ends with its destruction and his death as citizens are outraged by him spreading foreign beliefs. The incident catches the larger Chantry's attention leading them to consider a holy war against the city.
    • Non-ending wise, your party members are not blind followers who accept what you do with no issue. Each one has their own beliefs and values that shape how they feel about each action you do. There is no way to make everyone happy unless you use gameplay mechanics to constantly make them like you. Certain choices will effect the party members drastically, and some will even leave and fight you if you piss them off in ways that are offensive to them greatly. Most notably, Alistair, who is unquestionably the most loyal person in the group beyond your Mabari hound, will leave the party for good if you spare Loghain, the man who was responsible for the deaths of the Wardens at Ostagar.
    • The Warden can't simply overthrow Loghain by just rallying an army to overthrow him, they have to defeat him politically as well. Not only is Loghain in control of most of the lands army, but there are many who still ally with him or trust him. Furthermore, fighting each other in open war will result in the Darkspawn finding it easier to overwhelm whoever is left. To defeat him, the Warden has to gather allies in the Landsmeet and gain their support, or else it turns into a bloodbath between all involved. Also, during the Landsmeet, the Warden has to call out Loghain on things that are deemed actually important; calling him out on things like the treatment of the elves might seem heroic, but the Landsmeet is not all that interested in that issue compared to dealing with the betrayal of the king at Ostagar.
  • Really Gets Around:
    • Potentially, the main characters themselves: Apart from Wardens of either sex having three potential romance options among their companions (who can all be bedded in the same playthrough), there are also a bunch of other encounters available. These include Isabela, the employees at The Pearl, Cammen or Gheyna (depending on the Warden's gender), and various other options depending on one's background, among them - implicitly - Queen Anora for male human nobles.
    • Also potentially, Alistair of all people. In the course of one playthrough, he can (of course) sleep with a female Warden, participate in a threesome involving Isabela, sleep with Morrigan towards the end (absolutely mandatory for female Wardens who want their happily ever after with him), and ultimately marry Anora, which presumably also includes sex.
    • Various other characters aren't as active in the game, but have more active pasts: Leliana as a former spy, Zevran (whose achievement is even named "Easy Lover"), and Morrigan.
  • Redemption Equals Affliction: One of the possible outcomes of the plot is Big Bad Teyrn Loghain being forced into joining the Grey Wardens and helping the party battle the Archdemon in the Final Battle. Should he survive, he's redeemed himself from almost plunging Ferelden into a civil war, but now has to spend the rest of his life with all of the nasty side effects of surviving the Joining process. Could also count as Redemption Equals Death, although said death isn't coming for him just yet.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Alternately, Loghain can achieve this if the dark ritual is not performed and you allow him to be the one to kill the Archdemon.
  • Reduced to Ratburgers: Living in abject poverty (like most city elves), the CE Warden's cousin Shianni has her own special "Rabbit Stew," where the rabbits are made of rats.
    Shianni: "Rabbits of the city," cousin. If that doesn't sound delicious, you've been away from home too long.
  • Refusal of the Call: This gets Ser Jory killed. Once you agree to join the Wardens, and prove you can handle yourself, there is no refusal. This is because of the truth of the Joining; if people knew the truth of it, many would refuse to join the Wardens, so they have to keep the details a secret.
  • Relationship Values: Referred to as "approval" and is necessary to master to maximize party efficiency. Approval comes in different "stages" (Hostile, Neutral, Warm and Friendly) and characters will treat you differently depending on their opinion of you. Approval points are added and subtracted depending on dialogue options, and if they are present when you do something they approve of or disagree with, they will let you know. In order to get a Romance Sidequest going, you'll need to get a high approval level (which will at this point switch to Interested, Care, Adore and Love) and to pick the friendly or flirty responses.
  • Religion of Evil: The Cult of Andraste.
  • Remember the New Guy?: At the beginning of Return to Ostagar the narration informs you that you (the character) recognize Elric Maraigne as having been part of Cailan's guard. You (the player) couldn't have done so yourself, since he doesn't appear in the base game.
  • Rescue Introduction: Sten, Shale, and, to a lesser extent, Wynne are the party members met this way. If you're not the Human Noble, this could also be said of Dog, whom you first meet in camp at Ostagar and save by finding the necessary medicinal flower.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • When you play the game a second time, it becomes obvious that Alistair and Cailan are related because they have similar facial structures.
    • Many exchanges between Morrigan and Flemeth take on a different meaning once you know that Flemeth is actually setting her plan to get Morrigan to perform the dark ritual in motion.
      Morrigan: Mother... this is not how I wanted this. I am not even ready -
      Flemeth: You must be ready. Alone, these two must unite Ferelden against the darkspawn. They need you, Morrigan. Without you, they will surely fail, and all will perish under the Blight. Even I.
    • Howe's interactions with the Couslands are... interesting when the origin is played for a second time.
  • Required Party Member: You, of course - the Warden is the only character who must be in the party at all times, with only two brief exceptions in the final arc, Fort Drakon and Holding the Gate. Some of the quests/events require the presence of specific characters, and the game will put them into your party before you're allowed to choose the other two.
  • Revenge Before Reason:
    • Choosing Alistair as your Champion during the Landsmeet will cause him to immediately execute Loghain after winning the duel.
    • During the Human Noble Origin, they can declare they "want Howe dead NOW!", despite the fact that the Castle is being overrun by a veritable army of his soldiers. When Howe arrives for the Landsmeet, they can openly state they are going to slit his throat in front of everyone present. During the storming of Howe's estate to rescue the Queen, Erlina can comment on, and call the Human Noble out for, putting their desired revenge ahead of Anora's safety.
    • If the Warden convinces Zathrian to cure the werewolves of the curse, the Warden later get accosted by some Dalish who still demand revenge on the werewolves. If the Warden has a decent level of persuasion, they can remind the Dalish exactly what vengeance did to Zathrian and why he sacrificed himself to end the curse, having finally forgiven them after centuries of bitter hatred.
  • Rightful King Returns: Arl Eamon wants this to happen, but Alistair is less than enthusiastic unless you persuade him. He'll also discuss the prevalence of this in stories with Leliana. It's subverted/defied if you leave Anora on the throne, or zigzagged if you set up a political marriage with the strength of both options.
  • Right Through His Pants: Characters don't take their underwear off for sex scenes. Most of the scenes aren't completely unrealistic in that you can't really see what goes on below the belt — at least, not when it matters. The only really odd thing would be how Morrigan seems to cover up a bit more.
    • There are a number of mods that fix this in the PC version, however...
  • Right Through the Wall: Being as the "walls" are tents, it's no surprise how quickly other party members catch on to your romantic adventures.
    • If the Warden is romancing Alistair, Zevran can make Alistair uncomfortable by offering advice on how to improve, based on what he has overheard.
    • If the Warden is romancing Zevran, Wynne can tell them that she almost wishes she was unaware of their relationship, because it's difficult to sleep with "the way you two carry on all night." One of the party dialogues while out on adventures will also feature Oghren asking Zevran to confirm he's having a relationship with "the boss," then requesting that he try to keep it down.
    • Leliana can also comment on the fact that Morrigan's shrieking sounds like a genlock being murdered. She then says they should try harder next time, since people in the Anderfels (a nation FAR northwest of Ferelden, home to Grey Warden HQ) didn't hear.
  • Ring Around the Collar: Every piece of clothing or armor either comes right up to the neck or includes a small necklace or collar of some sort, and when no armor is equipped, each character wears some kind of necklace. This helps hide the fact that the head and body are separate meshes.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue:
    • The City Elf origin. If male, you plan the rescue. If female, you rescue yourself.
    • Also potentially happens in the course of the game for any Origin, if the Warden surrenders/is captured during the course of rescuing Queen Anora from Arl Howe's estate. You have the option of busting yourself out or sitting back and waiting for the two companions of your choice to save you.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • Again, the City Elf Origin.
    • Storming Arl Howe's estate as a Human Noble is really cathartic. Also as a City Elf, given what Loghain and Arl Howe have been getting up to in the Alienage...
    • As is picking Harrowmont if you're a dwarf noble. Not that it's a great idea.
    • The werewolf curse in the "Nature of the Beast" quest is based on one of these.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Wizard hats are especially notable for how absolutely ridiculous they look. Lampshaded in the Witch Hunt DLC's with Finn's "ghastly hat."
  • Romance Sidequest: It's a BioWare game, of course it has this. There is Alistair (female Wardens only) Morrigan (male Wardens) and Leliana and Zevran (male and female Wardens. It's also possible to flirt with other NPCs which may result in Optional Sexual Encounters, a kiss, or just a funny reaction.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: According to the subtitles, the Templars have a procedure called the Right of Annulment that can be used against the Circle should the mages become possessed. The word they're actually looking for is "Rite," as in "religious or solemn ceremony or act."
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • The Couslands, who are descendants of kings and command only slightly less respect than Ferelden's actual royal family, send troops to fight the Blight. Said troops include their heir and would have included their patriarch, had he not been murdered by his supposed best friend. The Human Noble Warden is a chip off the old block as far as this trope goes.
    • Subverted with the dwarven nobility who, despite waving around maces and wearing armour, spend far too much time bickering among themselves to actually do something about the Blight before the Warden arrives. The first Blight nearly destroyed Orzammar because they were all too busy fighting over whose thaig was more important! Paragon Aeducan pretty much had to launch a coup!
    • Played straight with the Dwarf Noble Warden. They may have been exiled, stripped of their name and caste, and had their very existence wiped from the Memories - but that doesn't mean for one second that's erased the blood of Paragon Aeducan running through their veins. While the rest of Orzammar is busy playing their petty power games, the Dwarf Noble storms the Deep Roads, finds Paragons Branka and Caridin, and settles once and for all who will become King, because the Grey Warden Treaty demands that they will help, dammit!
    • During the Landsmeet, Alistair and the Female Human Noble can be elected as King and Queen of Ferelden. Their first act as a royal couple? At the head of the army leading the charge to take down the Archdemon.
  • Ruling Couple: The stronger Landsmeet outcomes involve creating one, either by persuading Alistair and Anora to marry or (if you're a Cousland) marrying one of them yourself. In either situation, a codex in Dragon Age II notes that the ruling couple in question are wildly popular with the people.
  • Ruling Family Massacre: The Human Noble origin concerns the massacre of the Cousland family (teyrns/dukes of the largest province of Ferelden) by a treacherous vassal who usurps their titles and lands. Only the heir apparent, who is away fighting darkspawn at the time, and his younger sibling (the Player Character), who is saved by the Grey Wardens, survive—but should the player pick another origin, the Cousland family is strongly implied to have been completely wiped out (Fergus is lost on patrol, and the Warden never escapes the castle).note 
  • Russian Reversal: In Ferelden, adorable dogs pick up stray humans.note 

  • Sarcastic Clapping: Loghain indulges this in answer to accusations against him in the Landsmeet.
  • The Savage South: The Korcari Wilds, which is full of barbarians. Ferelden is in southern Thedas and is considered the south border of the civilized world. But all the other northern countries, especially Orlais, think Fereldans are only one step above savages and only a bad day away from reverting to barbarism. Interestingly, while Ferelden is in the south of Thedas, in practice it is Grim Up North since Thedas is basically Fantasy Europe flipped upside-down. Conversely, the Anderfels, located in the north, are a land of ravaged steppes and forests, and are close to a region called the Donarks, which are also filled with jungles.
  • "Save the World" Climax: The game plays with this trope. While technically you are saving the world by stopping the Blight (i.e. a vast horde of evil monsters led by a corrupted Dragon-God), the game's codex makes it quite clear that failure on your part will not actually lead to the end of the world. Blights reoccur every few centuries in Thedas, so people who dedicate their lives to stopping them have created a military organization, the Grey Wardens, just for that purpose. If you do not succeed, then one of the other members of your organization, which is thousands strong, will finish it in your place. By stopping the Blight, all you really do is keep the country that you live in from being destroyed before the other Wardens are able to act. Your victory simply means that the threat ends before the rest of the world notices the problem - to such an extent that codex entries in Dragon Age II state that there are some in countries outside of Ferelden who think the Fifth Blight didn't really happen.
  • Schmuck Bait: Loads of these: six black vials and three ominous gravestones (Soul Jars for nine boss-level Revenants); a deserted, inviting, and suspiciously pristine campsite in the Brecilian Forest (an illusion cast by a demon to lure in prey); the gong atop the ancient temple of Andraste (summons the High Dragon for battle); and the stories of Gaxkang the Unbound (temptations to lure traveling adventurers into the clutches of a lich).
  • Schrödinger's Player Character: Averted. It's made clear that regardless of which of the seven possible characters you choose to play, most of the different origins' characters do exist within the story, and that the events of all five of the other origins happen regardless of whichever one you choose to play. The only difference between them is where Duncan happened to be at the time, implying that the PC was saved from their fate and recruited into the Wardens only because he happened to be in the right place at the right time.
    • Dwarf Commoner: During the Dwarf Noble origin, when the player converses with the Proving master, they will be asked if they came to watch the Provings; if the player replies "Wouldn't miss it," a Proving trainer appears by the door. If conversed with, the Proving trainer will talk about a huge scandal that happened at the previous week's Proving, in which some "casteless bruiser" impersonated Everd and won the Proving, only to be busted by the semi-sober Everd. Also, upon coming/returning to Orzammar and exploring the carta hideout, the Warden (if they are anyone but a Dwarf Commoner) finds Leske locked up in a cell. In the next cell over, the very same one the Dwarf Commoner player is imprisoned in during the origin story, there lies a skeleton of a dwarf. Leske says that the other dwarf stopped eating one day and died of starvation "all for a stupid bet," in an obvious reference to the Dwarf Commoner origin.
    • Dwarf Noble: Bhelen's plot and betrayal of his older siblings, and subsequently the succession crisis that occurs in the wake of King Endrin's death, happen whether or not the Dwarf Noble origin is played. If a Dwarf Commoner player eavesdrops on some NPC conversations, King Endrin's "middle child" is mentioned a couple of times, since the Dwarf Commoner origin takes place one week prior to the Dwarf Noble's origin story. Also, Gorim is always a merchant in Denerim, which implies that the events of the Dwarf Noble story which lead to his exile happen anyway. In Orzammar, at least one of the Dwarf NPCs will mention Endrin's favorite child as having been murdered, implying that the exiled Dwarf Noble eventually died in the Deep Roads without Duncan present to rescue them. Additionally, you can find a letter Endrin wrote to Lord Harrowmont, saying how much he regrets having agreed to the exile and how he wants to send a search party to find out if his child is still alive, but Bhelen thinks it a foolish idea.
    • Human Noble: Arl Howe is always referred to as the "Teyrn of Highever" when his part comes up later in the story, so he usurps the Highever Teyrnir regardless of which origin is played. You can also learn about the Cousland family massacre from overheard NPC dialogue.
    • City Elf: Upon arrival at Denerim, the Warden learns that there is unrest in the Alienage, so it seems that the events of that origin story occur regardless, leaving authorities to scour the Alienage. As Vaughan is always found alive in the dungeon of his estate by Wardens of other origins, he is not killed during the uprising. Shianni is in the Alienage during the Battle of Denerim and the unrest, and based on her anger and agitation, she was probably still abducted and raped by Vaughan along with the other women at the would-be Warden's wedding. When the Arl of Denerim's estate is visited later in the game, some guards mention a group of elves that broke into the palace earlier, apparently in reference to the City Elf origin, and Soris can be found in a jail cell regardless of origin.
    • Magi: Regardless of which origin you play, you run into Jowan in the dungeons of Castle Redcliffe, and find out that he had poisoned Arl Eamon, which would mean that he escaped from the Circle either way, something that could only happen if his phylactery was indeed destroyed. Presumably, the Mage is either sent to Aeonar with Lily, is made Tranquil, or gets turned into an abomination during Uldred's revolt.
      • This is actually the only origin to play this trope straight in another way: The mage can be either a human or an elf, with the human being from the noble Amell family out of Kirkwall, while the elf is from the Surana family out of a variable poor area of Ferelden. Whichever one of the two the player chooses, there is no indication that the other is present at Kinloch Hold.
    • The Witch Hunt DLC reveals that without Duncan's intervention, the Dalish Elf PC died from the Blight sickness and Tamlen remained missing. Presumably, he is still part of the group of darkspawn who attack the Warden's camp after the party visits Haven, and is killed then; he just isn't identified because the Warden doesn't know him.
  • Screw Destiny: You are free to weasel out of your Heroic Sacrifice by engaging in some hanky-panky with Morrigan. "Screw destiny," indeed...
  • Sealed Evil in a Can:
    • The black vial revenants and the "Asunder" pride demon. Bonus for the demon, which is cut up into pieces and "sealed" in separate containers, a la The Judge.
    • There's a dragon magically sealed inside the throne room of the Orzammar Royal Palace, although finding it is a bit of a Guide Dang It!.
  • Secret Test of Character:
    • The Harrowing, through which all apprentices must go to become a full mage.
      Pride Demon: Simple killing is a warrior's job. The real dangers of the Fade are preconceptions... careless trust... pride. Keep your wits about you, mage. True tests... never end.
    • Duncan's rather uncooperative attitude when you first meet him in the City Elf Origin might be one. You can approach his insistence to stay with either conflict or compromise, and he praises you and becomes much more amiable when you choose the latter. However, he is still impressed with your bravery if you choose the former, and he is also understanding to such a response considering the animosity held between elves and humans. Talking to him immediately afterwards reveals that he already knew you were your mother's son/daughter and that he planned on inviting her to join the Grey Wardens twenty years ago, before getting talked out of it by Valendrian. Given these facts, he may have been testing you to find out if you took after your mother and if you'd make a good Grey Warden too.
  • Seduction-Proof Marriage: If you choose to arrange a political marriage between Alistair and Queen Anora at the Landsmeet, he will usually break off a romance with the Warden on the grounds that it would now be adulterous to continue. Hardening him during his companion quest gives you the option to become his mistress, however.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • The "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue makes it very clear that the darkspawn threat is not completely dealt with and your character's adventures are not over, a setup for the Awakening expansion pack.
    • The player can vow to track down Morrigan, with whom the Warden may have unfinished business if they romanced her and/or helped her get pregnant with the Archdemon's soul, after she leaves at the end. This is the basis of Witch Hunt.
    • A conversation with Sten reveals that the Qunari are planning to invade Ferelden, which he implies will occur in the player character's lifetime.
    • The Golems of Amgarrak DLC contains a blatant sequel hook with a horde of Harvesters escaping from the thaig.
    • In the final scene in the Witch Hunt DLC, Morrigan reveals that Flemeth has something big planned and that "Change is coming to the world". Then she walks/falls back into the Eluvian (possibly with the Warden accompanying her) for places unknown.
  • Series Fauxnale: Sequel Hooks aside, the devs fully admitted that they were not sure the game would sell well enough to launch a franchise, which is why Origins has considerably more detailed choices, lasting consequences, player ability to impact the world, and more detailed end slides compared to later installments. This is also why a few of those slides had to be retconned later.
  • Sex Equals Love: Averted within the gameplay, but played straight when it comes to unlocking the romance sidequest achievements: no matter how good your character's relationship with a companion is, he or she is not considered to have begun a romance with them until they have sex.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: One of many touching dialogue options during a Romance Sidequest, as Leliana blabbers about how you let her go on and on about how much she likes you without telling her you like her back.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: If you don't think that Cammen and Gheyna are these when you help them get together, then some of your companions will.
    Cammen: Thank you, Gheyna. You've made me a happy man. I feel blessed by the gods today. [to Warden] We are both very grateful for the part you've played in bringing us together.
    Gheyna: How marvelous you are! I am so happy!
    Morrigan: Does anyone else feel the urge to vomit? No? 'Tis just me?
    Oghren: Naw, I'm right there with ya, babe.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: A party member with Templar specialization can, if built correctly, eventually gain 100% enemy spell resistance.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Counts for plenty of the appeal in both Alistair's and Leliana's Romance Sidequests: Alistair because, if female, you fall into this trope, and Leliana because, regardless of gender, she'll only like you if you're exceptionally sweet and considerate towards her and others.
  • Sketchy Successor:
    • Subverted or played straight with the King of Orzammar, depending on who succeeds King Endrin. Endrin was a staunch conservative who adhered to the traditional (and ruthless) norms of Orzammar’s politics. Neither of his potential successors are flawless: Lord Harrowmont shares Endrin’s conservative attitudes and the status of Orzammar’s casteless grows even worse under his reign. Harrowmont's rule is troubled, marred by frequent revolts and ultimately cut short by what is likely an assassination. Harrowmont plays this trope straight. Prince Bhelen, however, is a partial aversion: Bhelen is ruthless to his enemies and autocratic as a ruler, but also a very capable reformer who gives rights to the casteless and opens Orzammar to outside trade and even military assistance if a Dwarf Warden requests Fereldan military assistance to Orzammar.
    • As regards the King of Ferelden, Maric Theirin is remembered as having been a much better King of Ferelden than his son Cailan. Subverted with Alistair if you "harden" his personality and make him King; in that case, he becomes a much better ruler than anyone expected, perhaps on par with his dad. An unhardened Alistair will not be as able a ruler as a hardened Alistair, however.
  • Skill Scores and Perks: The game has both passive skill scores ("skills") and active perks ("talents" for warriors and rogues and spells for mages), though the latter play a much greater role. Unusually, the weapon talents aren't subdivided by type of weapon (sword, axe, mace, etc.) but rather by the way they are wielded (sword and shield, two-handed, Dual Wielding, ranged), which makes individual weapons largely interchangeable. This carried over to the sequel.
  • Skippable Boss: Several.
    • During the "Urn of Sacred Ashes" quest, you can completely avoid fighting Kolgrim by agreeing to help him. Also, one of the toughest bosses in the game, the High Dragon who resides on the mountaintop, can be avoided by... just not waking her up. Avoid interacting with the gong on the mountainside, and she'll never even notice you.
    • If your Warden is a mage and you choose to go into the Fade yourself to save Connor, you can avoid fighting the Desire Demon at the end by agreeing to converse (or sleep) with it instead.
    • In the Brecilian Forest, the Grand Oak and the Mad Hermit will each try to get you to kill the other to settle their dispute over the Grand Oak's acorn. You could kill one of them... or you could just trade the Hermit one of the items you picked up from various sidequests earlier in the level for the acorn.
    • The Tevinter mage Caladrius will offer to leave quietly (and even provide you with a key piece of evidence for the Landsmeet)... as long as you let him keep the elves he's abducted to turn into slaves.
    • In the Deep Roads, Caridin and Branka are both skippable - but whichever one you skip, you will be forced to fight the other.
    • You face off with Loghain's right-hand woman Ser Cauthrien twice - and can skip her both times. The first time you can skip her fight by surrendering up front; the second time, if your Coercion skill is high enough, you can talk her out of attacking you.
  • Slasher Smile: Hurlocks and genlocks.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: Technically the outcome of any of the four romances, since the game employs Sex Equals Love (as noted above) and the Warden is the leader of the group, therefore the "boss."
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Pretty cynical, although the player character can be "the light in the darkness" if so desired. Leliana is pretty idealistic, though.
  • Smug Snake: Caladrius; Arl Howe; Bann Vaughan
  • Snow Means Death: In the Return to Ostagar DLC. When you return, the whole fortress is buried under snow and in ruins compared to when you first were there with Duncan.
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear:
    • Alistair, Morrigan, Zevran, Wynne, Shale, and Leliana will leave your party with whatever gear they've got if you make certain decisions with them in the party; the first two will leave depending on decisions you make towards the endgame. Averted with some temporary companions (Teyrna Eleanor Cousland, Lily, Jowan, Ser Jory, Daveth, possibly others), who will drop their gear into your inventory, possibly because they either don't die when they leave the party or when they die, you remain conscious.
    • Also, this is effectively what happens when you import a character for one of the DL Cs - you only keep your own equipment and the stuff you have in your backpack; what your companions have is lost forever.
  • Socketed Equipment: The game's enchantment system works by "binding" runes to equipment.
  • Solo Class: A few examples. First is the Arcane Warrior, a heavily armored mage who gets abilities that allow them to seriously reduce or totally nullify all damage, and they also have access to heals and powerful offensive spells. Then there's the rogue. Properly built, a rogue can become essentially immune to melee damage, and resist all but the most powerful spells.
  • Someone Has to Die: The Archdemon cannot be defeated without a Grey Warden sacrificing themselves. Morrigan, however, lets you Take a Third Option.
  • Sons of Slaves: The elves have a long history of being enslaved by the Tevinter Imperium. Although Tevinter still stands and practices slavery (with Elves as popular servants), most other nations officially give the Elves equal rights with humans. In practice, however, no elf living in a human city is truly free from social stigma.
  • Soulful Plant Story: When the Warden's party goes to the Brecilian Forest, they encounter a sentient tree called the Ancient Oak, which speaks in rhyme. It gives them its history, then adds that its most prized possession is its child, an acorn, who was taken by a mad hermit. The player must decide whether to kill the hermit to save the acorn, kill the oak to please the hermit, or trade for the hermit with the acorn.
  • Spider Swarm: The Deep Roads, in particular, as well as a special encounter that pops later, has you fighting maybe twenty at a time.
  • Spikes of Doom: All the armor that the darkspawn wear is adorned with lots of these.
  • Spiritual Successor: Much touted by the developers as Baldur's Gate's spiritual successor.
  • Spotting the Thread:
    • The Warden, Morrigan, and Sten successfully invoke this trope when trapped in the Fade by the Sloth Demon.
      • The Warden's first clue something isn't right and that they're in the Fade is that Duncan is still alive, despite getting mauled by an Ogre and taking an axe to the face.
      • Morrigan's first hint that she's trapped in the Fade is that the Sloth demon attempts to copy Flemeth... badly. The Flemeth in the Fade seems to be hurt by the barbs slung by Morrigan, which is an immediate giveaway if you have ever seen them talk to each other for more than five seconds.
      • Sten finds himself in a nightmare with demons impersonating two of the Qunari soldiers with whom he came to Ferelden. He informs the Warden that he knows none of this is real, adding that he remembers seeing one of the men get his head torn off by darkspawn. Despite this realization, he didn't try to leave because his life is such crap. "I know it's a dream, Warden... but it's a good dream."
    • You're unlikely to recognize it on your first playthrough, but if you pay attention in the Mage Origin, you'll notice that your companion, who is claiming to be a Circle apprentice lost to the Fade, isn't wearing the apprentice robes. He's wearing senior enchanter's robes. Well, he is a Pride demon, after all.
    • To start the Urn of Sacred Ashes quest, you have to seek out Brother Genitivi in Denerim. He isn't there, but his assistant, Weylon, is. Weylon is actually an impostor, however, and if the player has high enough Cunning, they can call him on the inconsistencies in his claims, forcing him to out himself and attack.
  • Spreading Disaster Map Graphic: As you progress through the Point-and-Click Map you use to travel between individual locations, the map is progressively shaded more and more black, starting from the south, indicating the darkspawn infestation. You can still travel into darkspawn-controlled areas, but doing so has a higher chance of Random Encounters.
  • Squishy Wizard: Bioware avowed that they would stop tank mages (a mage with the power of a mage and the survivability of the warrior) before the release, but evidently they were lying, as you can subvert it with two specializations: Blood Mage (which lets you use hit points to cast spells, encouraging you to dump stat points into health instead of mana) and Arcane Warrior (which lets you use your Magic stat to equip armor, weapons, and shields). A lot of people like to just grab both. And then there's Battlemage in Awakening, where, aside from a few ridiculously powerful spells, you can get a passive ability that gives you mana when you take damage... including casting while Blood Magic is active...
  • Standard Fantasy Races: The setting has humans, elves and dwarves. Humans are the most widespread race and divided between several nations, the elves are mostly an oppressed social underclass and the dwarves live in isolation Beneath the Earth.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers:
    • Every Origin story has a potential Love Interest. None of them end well. As follows:
      • In the Human Noble origin, the PC can choose to have a sexual encounter with one of two certain characters. Regardless of which one of them is chosen (if either), they will both be brutally slaughtered when the castle is ambushed that same night. They die whether you sleep with them or not, but if you do, their death happens in front of you.
      • In the Dwarf Noble origin, as a female PC, it is explicitly shown that she and Gorim are romantically involved (unless the player chooses otherwise in dialogue), though it is also made clear that they are forbidden to marry because he is socially beneath her. Later in the game, the player can find him in Denerim, only to be informed that he has already married another woman and is expecting a child with her, and he breaks off any romantic relationship between them for good. A male Dwarf Noble has the option to sleep with one or two "Noble Hunters" and may even get one of them pregnant, but there is no actual romance involved.
      • The City Elf origin starts with the arrival of the PC's betrothed, but then a human noble comes and ruins the wedding and kidnaps the women for his "party". If your character is female, her fiancé ends up being murdered by the noble's men while trying to rescue her (you can even loot the wedding ring off his body). If your character is male and you manage to rescue his fiancée, she breaks off your engagement and essentially dumps him, saying that "Grey Wardens can't have wives or families" (which must confuse your character when he later meets the married Ser Jory). She notes rather sorrowfully that "I guess we'll never know what might have been."
      • In the Mage origin, it is quite obvious that the Templar Cullen is infatuated with the female player character, although if the player tries to proposition him for sex, he'll get incredibly nervous and run away. Later in the game, when the Templars are overthrown and the tower is taken over by rebellious blood mages, the player will find that Cullen is the only Templar on the upper floors who has not been slaughtered. When the female mage player finds him again, he will outright reveal his infatuation for her... but because of the psychological torture he has endured, he has developed a burning, immense hatred for all mages and pretty much rejects the player because he doesn't care for her anymore, whether or not you side with him. A male mage has no romance options during this origin at all.
      • In the Dalish Elf Origin, a female PC can suggest she is romantically interested in her hunting partner, Tamlen. After encountering a taint-infecting mirror, Tamlen disappears and the PC leaves the clan. Later, she encounters him turned into a ghoul, and unable to resist the "song" of the Archdemon. He confesses that he has always loved her, then attacks. Like the mage origin, there is no corresponding romance side story for a male PC.
      • Even Leske of the Dwarf Commoner Origin gets a reference as having tried to sleep with a female PC (and failed the attempt) earlier. He later betrays her to Jarvia, and she is forced to kill him. Male players have, again, no love interest.
    • If the female PC is in a relationship with Alistair and he is made king, he will break off his relationship with the PC. Only a Human Noble can avoid this by marrying him, as her rank is sufficient for the purpose. If Alistair's personality has been hardened, the other Origins can convince him to keep the PC as his mistress, but the option will only come up if the correct dialogue path is chosen. If Anora is chosen as solo queen, the romance continues unimpeded... unless Alistair performs a Heroic Sacrifice to save you.
    • Jowan and Lily in the mage origin. The origin story ends with Jowan attempting to protect Lily from the Templars by using blood magic, which causes her to reject him. He escapes to become a fugitive mage, while Lily is taken away to the mage's prison, after which nothing is ever heard of her again. You will encounter Jowan again later in the game, and if your PC is of the Mage origin, he will ask you if you know what has become of Lily. The only option of telling him about it is saying that you don't know, much to his dismay.
    • Seems to be the entire point of the Morrigan romance.
    • Prince Bhelen and Rica, arguably, depending on your choices. Though she is only his concubine, it's heavily implied that they have genuine feelings of strong affection for each other (or, at least, she certainly does for him), and his town crier even announces that they're going to be married. If you side with Harrowmont during the Orzammar quest and make him king, Bhelen attacks you in a rage and you are forced to kill him, which leaves Rica heartbroken and her life in tatters.
    • A quite literal example in the story of Alindra and her soldier, which Leliana tells you in one of her conversations at camp. Alindra was a nobleman's daughter who fell in love with a common soldier. Her father was furious when she told him, and he sent the soldier off to war and thus his death. Alindra begged the gods to take her life too, and her plea was so earnest that they gave her a place among the stars. They did the same to the soldier she loved... only they placed him at the other end of sky. The legend goes that they will be reunited after Alindra has shed enough tears to fill up the space between them.
  • Static Role, Exchangeable Character:
    • "Rescue Duo": Towards the endgame, the Warden may be imprisoned in Fort Drakon, and two party members can be selected to try to rescue them. Different combinations have different degrees of success (e.g. Leliana and Zevran will have zero trouble getting past every guard, while Sten and Oghren quickly make themselves a laughingstock), but all ultimately reach and free the Warden.
    • "Landsmeet Champion": During the Landsmeet, Teyrn Loghain challenges the Warden to a duel, but you can instead name another champion from among your companions to fight him. Dog will be rejected outright, while any other choice will provoke a number of reactions from NPCs. Furthermore, while most companions will leave Loghain's fate up to you after defeating him, Alistair will always slay him out of hand because he hates him so much (oddly enough, the Warden can be seen silently giving him the nod before he winds up for the final blow, suggesting that they knew what would happen even if the player didn't).
    • "King of Orzammar": The player will decide whether or not Bhelen or Harrowmont takes the throne. The chosen ruler will promise an army of dwarves to the Warden and will be mentioned in future games. The runner-up, on the other hand, will be Killed Off for Real.
    • "Ruler of Ferelden": At the end of the landsmeet, the player will decide who will rule Ferelden: Alistair or Anora. While there are some minor variations to it (such as marrying the two to each other), only one of them will be treated as the ruler of the kingdom by the end. The chosen ruler will give a big speech before the final battle, offer the player a boon at their coronation, give a eulogy at the player's funeral if they die in the battle, and goes on to make cameos in future games.
  • Stay in the Kitchen:
    • Arl Howe holds his attitude towards a female Cousland Warden, although he does his best to hide it in front of her father; it's only later, when they meet again after the massacre, that he makes such remarks.
    • Sten and the Qunari are a subversion. While women aren't allowed to serve in their military, they aren't seen as inferior. Women are considered more intellectual while men are more physical, and allowing a woman to be a soldier is regarded as a waste of her talents.
    • Another subversion: if you ask Morrigan what skills she has when she first joins you, Alistair will ask if she can cook. She takes it this way, but he's only asking because he's absolutely horrible at cooking.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • The Denerim Alleyway encounter where Taliesen attacks you has a couple of crows hopping about on the ground.
    • The Long Road, where you first encounter Zevran, has a few crows too.
    • Kardol, leader of the Legion of the Dead, says that he won't move his line "without an ass in the throne". Doubles as a Stealth Insult, when you consider Kardol's attitude towards politics in general.
  • Sticks to the Back: All shields and weaponry. Apparently the sword belt was never invented in Ferelden. Well, at least an actual sword belt: there is a "sword belt" item in the game but it's just a + strength belt.
  • Stop Poking Me!: PC players can click on assorted party members, and will sometimes get this sort of response. (Console players do not have the option.)
    • While in Fort Dakon to rescue the captured Warden(s), clicking on Morrigan will cause her to shout "Must you keep poking me?" in an annoyed voice.
    • Clicking on Ariane in the Witch Hunt DLC too often will lead her to offhandedly remark that when she was young, she would break the fingers of those who poked her.
  • Story Branching: Although Dragon Age Origins follows BioWare's Strictly Formula "Find-Four-Plot Coupons" for the most part, there is a significant story branching at the end of Redcliffe Village quest, where, depending on your resolution of the "Broken Circle" (another plot coupon quest), you may be either forced to make a Sadistic Choice or able to Take a Third Option. If you haven't started the "Broken Circle" yet, you can even put the Redcliffe quest on hold, save the mages, and then take the third option.
  • Stripperiffic: Largely averted. While a handful of female mooks have revealing clothing, and there are moderately Stripperiffic options for a female Warden, most of the named female NPCs are dressed quite sensibly. The exception, of course, is Morrigan — one can only assume that her shapeshifting powers allow her to secrete Krazy Glue, because there's no other way that outfit should stay on in combat. Amusingly, her scanty garb is often lampshaded by the other NPCs in background conversations.
    Morrigan: So are you going to continue staring at me as if I am covered in eels?
    Sten: Eels would be something.
    • The Chasind Robes you can find at the end of the "Signs of the Chasind" sidequest, but, oddly, only if equipped on a woman, in which case they suddenly have a big Cleavage Window and what looks like fishnet stockings.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option/Failure Is the Only Option:
    • Regardless of how the Dwarf Noble proceeds with their origin story - whether they are Too Dumb to Live and catches the Idiot Ball by readily trusting that Bhelen has no underhanded motive in helping them, or instead acts as a Genre Savvy politician who decides to wait and see how things develop - the outcome is more or less the same. Trian ends up dead, everyone testifies against the PC, and they get exiled into the Deep Roads. Becoming a Grey Warden is mandatory, after all. The 'everyone' who screws you over includes a guy you might have fought in an honorable fight in a Proving, and even given the reward for his valor in battle.
    • Shows up during the random encounter with Zevran. There is no way to avoid an ambush (which is pretty obvious, even when you play the first time). If you try to flank your enemies, the cutscene kicks in and your team walks straight into it, like a band of total morons...
    • Your only options with the Anvil of the Void are to destroy it, or to leave in the hands of a woman who is clearly insane and has no moral boundaries; there is no way to keep it without giving it to Branka. This is why keeping the Anvil always ends very badly for dwarven people - because Branka proves to be completely untrustworthy, and will betray the king of Orzammar no matter what.
  • Succession Crisis: Occurs twice. It happens after King Cailan meets his death at the beginning of the game, and serves as a Chekhov's Gun. This trope is also the entire plot of the Orzammar part of quest, where the nobles are unable to decide on a successor to the late king and the Warden has to help resolve the situation in order to get the dwarves' help, because it's such a massive problem for them that it's causing everyone to slaughter each other.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: Occasionally lampshaded (even provides a page quote for this trope), but mostly played straight.
    Sergeant Kylon (to the Warden) And people actually voluntarily attack you? Are they just stupid?
  • Summoning Ritual: One of the sidequests in the mage tower.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity:
    • In the Tower of Ishal, you will find a suspicious number of Lesser Injury Kits in unlocked containers on the third floor. The Wake-Up Call Boss is on the fourth floor.
    • At the Anvil of the Void, after overcoming all of Caridin's tests, you are treated to two chest containing health potions and a third locked one that contains health potions, lyrium potions and injury kits. It should be pretty obvious what lies ahead.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: The tale of Ser Aveline. Could also be said of a female Dwarf Commoner who impersonates Everd in the Proving.
  • Sword and Sorcerer: Warriors and Mages. It's a common party setup.

  • Talking Is a Free Action: It's awfully nice of the final boss to sit there on the brink of death while you and Alistair have a long chat about who will make the Ultimate Sacrifice. (Of course, it is on the brink of death.) It's also possible in some cases to accidentally select a comrade in battle and end up having a conversation about local legends or liking swords while the darkspawn or bandits you were just fighting presumably stand around waiting for you to finish.
  • Take a Third Option: Often the best way to resolve certain quests.
    • Most prevalent in the Arl of Redcliffe quest. It's set up as a fairly straightforward Sadistic Choice, wherein you must either kill the demonic Connor or sacrifice his mother in order to save Connor by killing the demon directly in the Fade. However, you can demand that somebody come up with another way, leading to the suggestion of seeking the Circle of Magi's help.
    • Morrigan's personal quest. She wants you to kill Flemeth, which she admits probably won't achieve much more than a few years of prep time. If you accept the quest, Flemeth will offer to just leave for a few years instead of fighting you.
    • The ending allows you to get out of a Sadistic Choice through a third option. Instead of sacrificing yourself, or a comrade warden, to the Archdemon, you can have Morrigan impregnated, either by a male PC, or Alistair or Loghain. Doing this lets the Archdemon's essence join with the unborn child and no warden has to die. And in an inversion, if Alistair is your love interest and you decided against performing Morrigan's ritual, Alistair takes away the option of sacrificing yourself.
  • Taken for Granite:
    • The oracle Eleni Zinovia, who was turned to stone for foretelling the fall of the House of Valerius. If you don't play the Mage Origin, you won't encounter her until the Witch Hunt DLC; she's stored in the basement of the mage tower.
    • In the Awakening DLC, you'll encounter two statues in the Wending Wood who were once brothers. They've been in their present condition for centuries, having been cursed by a mage.
  • Take Your Time:
    • While mostly played straight, characters will sometimes complain about the detours you take. This is most important with Sten, whose stress point is asking you whether there is any point in assing around Ferelden the way you have. Depending on whether you've completed his loyalty mission, he may either voice his concerns or attempt a coup.
    • The game in general does not treat traveling around the map as the days-long journey the story seems to suggest. You could take a round-trip tour of the nation out of Orzammar and back, and the momentous, plot-critical tournament is still "this afternoon!"
    • On some maps, NPCs hostile to each other can be seen arranged in the next room. They'll stand peacefully by as long as your characters remain out of range.
    • There are two exceptions. The first is Lothering - if you leave and complete one of the three treaty quests OR the battle of Redcliffe, the village is destroyed and you can never return. The other is the battle in Redcliffe. If you enter the village and then leave again, you will come back to a ghost town. Lampshaded by an NPC who tries to stop you, saying he's not sure they'd survive if you left.
  • Taking the Fight Outside: Downplayed, the player has the option of fighting one of Loghain's emissaries just outside the entrance to Orzammar. If the player decides to fight said emissary, the dwarven guard will tell them to fight away from the entrance, and the fight will begin a fair distance away from the entrance.
  • A Tankard of Moose Urine: Dwarven ale in general is this, being brewed from lichen rather than grain. Even the dwarves themselves don't seem to like it.
  • Tattooed Crook: Casteless dwarves are marked so that everyone can recognize them as "thieves & beggars". This, however, results in them becoming crooks, because they can't do anything else legally. Society really is to blame in their case.
  • Teaser Equipment: Origins features Blood Dragon Armor. Although you receive the breastplate for free early on, you must purchase the rest of the set for massive amounts of money. Even if you could afford it early, you still wouldn't be able to equip it until you gain more levels.
  • This Is Not My Life to Take:
    • Can be played straight. At the Landsmeet, upon defeating Loghain in single combat, you have the option to either kill or spare him. If you choose to kill him, you can then finish the blow yourself, or hand it off to Alistair on the grounds that, for him, It's Personal.
    • Similarily, at the end of the Leliana's Song DLC, Leliana may refrain from killing Harwen Raleigh, leader of the Hard Line mercenaries. Instead, she can allow her comrade Silas, who was tortured for several months in Raleigh's dungeons, to finish him off.
  • Thunderbolt Iron: A random encounter shows a meteor crater, where a couple of farmers find a baby boy and adopt him. The player can take the remains of the meteor and give it to the blacksmith at Soldier's Peak to be made into the most powerful sword in the main game (either a longsword or a greatsword) — Starfang. The weapon has an exotic look and appears to glow.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Morrigan and Zevran. They are generally quick to defend rather morally dubious decisions, like using the Anvil of the Void, and will sometimes lose respect if you don't take them. Later, Loghain can join the party.
  • Tongue on the Flagpole: Not performable, but mentioned as a euphemism:
    Alistair: Why, have you ever licked a lamp-post in winter?
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Occasionally, someone will try to cut a deal with you, then attack you when you say "no dice." Most of the time, this is excusable, but there's a few times where they really ought to know better. The bad guy in the City Elf origin, for example, notes that you're covered in the blood of the guards you just killed and tries to reason with you to weasel out of your vengeance, then attacks if you say "screw you, human!" It doesn't even occur to him to offer to let his victims go; all he does is try to buy you off.
    • Arl Howe. Because when you're confronted by the Human Noble whose entire family you brutally had murdered, who's survived waves of assassins you yourself have sent after them, countless legions of darkspawn, dragons, ogres, demons, and the biggest and most brutal creatures Thedas can muster... do you really think it's wise to taunt them about how you killed their parents?
    • One of the Mages' Collective quests has the PC intercept a group of adventurers on their way to Denerim before they can falsely accuse a mage of using blood magic. When challenged, the leader of the group of adventurers remarks that your group doesn't look that tough. They just fought off a squad of darkspawn, after all.
    • When going through the Ancient Temple during the "Urn of Sacred Ashes" quest, you will find and kill many members of the Axe-Crazy dragon cult who operate there. Several of these are armored warriors or skilled mages. After you've killed them, some of their cohorts - bearing no armor or weapons at all - may try to attack you with their bare hands. Of course, they are the Axe-Crazy dragon cult for a reason...
    • In the village of Lothering, after some of Loghain's men identify you as a Grey Warden, you're attacked by a bunch of desperate farmers. At this point, your four-member group consists of either one or two Grey Wardens, at least one of whom is wearing heavy armor, and either a Mabari warhound, a Qunari warrior who effortlessly killed an entire family with his bare hands, an apostate mage, and/or a Chantry sister who has much more experience with death than you would expect. Additionally, by this point you've taken down quite a few waves of darkspawn, along with possibly some well-armed bandits, black bears, wolves, and/or giant spiders. What makes those farmers, who aren't even wearing armor, think they stand a chance?
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Haven.
  • Tragic Monster: When you encounter the elven woman Danyla, she has completed her transformation into a werewolf and will insist that the player kill her — if not voluntarily, she attacks to force your hand.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Before attacking Connor and Flemeth, your party will patiently wait for them to transform into a more powerful form. Unfortunately, your enemies are not so polite, and they will attack your shapeshifter, possibly interrupting the transformation.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Including the killing of Ser Jory, Cailan's death, and Loghain as a bad guy.
  • Trickster Mentor: Mouse, aka the Pride Demon the mage Player Character encounters in the Fade, has a few shades of this. Had you failed the test, you would most certainly have died while unleashing a demon upon Ferelden, but having passed it, he seems to have no ill will against you.
  • Troperiffic: All of the usual WRPG tropes are in place. Indeed, this game could be shown as an example as to the proper use of tropes in games. There is plenty of Lampshade Hanging on everything, from Ser Gilmore's snarky attitude to the giant rats in the cellar, in the Human Noble origin. Indeed, the Human Noble origin is the most concentrated pile of RPG and fantasy cliches in the game, and it's almost certainly deliberate — the above-mentioned rats, the Doomed Hometown (well, castle), and even a chance to comment that "I've got a bad feeling about this...", among others.
  • True Companions: Get your party members' affection high enough, and it'll trigger dialogue which affirms the strength of the relationship.
  • Turn the Other Cheek: In possibly one of gaming's most interesting dilemmas, Teyrn Loghain causes the deaths of your mentor and king, poisons Arl Eamon, allows elves to be sold into slavery, lets Arl Howe get away with mass murder, and spends the majority of the main questline framing you for crimes he committed while trying to kill you to maintain the cover-up. And despite all that, you can choose to forgive him, or at least sentence him to recruitment into the Grey Wardens, though you lose Alistair in the process after he'd been your loyal traveling companion since the start of the game. And due to the the game's Grey-and-Gray Morality, this isn't treated as irredeemably evil as one might think, since Loghain (once he comes to his senses) actually proves to be a decent and honorable person who just wanted what was best for the country he loved so much.
  • 20 Bear Asses: A Chantry board quest demands corpse gall for research purposes. You can give them a smaller amount — just about what you'll get from fighting your way up to Connor in Castle Redcliffe, or a larger amount for more gold. Without carefully combing the map for corpses, it's impossible to get all of the galls before the climax.
  • Twincest: Alluded to, not so subtly, between brother and sister fighting team Myaja and Lucjan:
    Lucjan: The ancestors gave us one soul, but two bodies. Everything we do, we do together.
    Grey Warden: Everything? You mean even...?
    Lucjan: That's a little personal, don't you think?

  • Ultimate Blacksmith:
    • Wade, a stuffy artistic diva of an armorer in the city of Denerim. Perfectly accessible in his shop at almost any time, he only does his best work when "inspired" by the Warden bringing him rare materials, and is almost intolerable otherwise. When you're holding Awakening's Vigilance in your hands, though, you will want to have his children.
    • Mikhael Dryden, once you've completed the Warden's Keep DLC, will also make Starfang - the finest sword in the original game, crafted from star metal and occupying its own unique tier.
    • Of course, neither of these has anything on Caridin, creator of the Anvil of the Void and inventor of golems.
  • Ultimate Final Exam: For mage characters,the game begins with one of these: in order to earn the rank of full-fledged mage, apprentices of the Circle are subjected to the Harrowing, a final test of their ability to resist the demons that are naturally drawn to them. Because the details are kept secret from apprentices, none of them know anything about the Harrowing and consequently have no way of preparing for it until they're judged ready for the final trial - whereupon they're abruptly dragged out of bed in the middle of the night and sent to the very top of the Circle tower for the test. Here, they are sent into the Fade and challenged to defeat a demon with only the power of their will. If they fail and end up getting possessed, the Templars overseeing the Harrowing will execute them on the spot. As it turns out, the real trick to this challenge isn't killing the Rage Demon that supposedly dominates that area of the Fade, but realizing that your only ally is actually a Pride Demon trying to trick you into letting him into your mind.
  • Underground Monkey: The Archdemon is an ancient dragon of a different color, and pulls an Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors switch.
  • Un-Entendre:
    • A gem of banter between Alistair and Oghren where Oghren advises Alistair to relieve his stress by "Polishing the old weapon, eh." Alistair is disgusted, but as the conversation goes on, it turns out Oghren is talking about polishing a weapon. Maybe.
    • And between Oghren and Wynne, about Alistair's pike-twirling hobby. Mind you, it is exactly what it sounds like — twirling a pike of the sort used to stick charging horses and such. Though, where Alistair found a pike...
    • "Ever lick a lamppost in the winter?" Alistair is surprised when the alternative meaning is pointed out.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: In Lothering, if you drive off or kill the bandits who have been preying on the refugees, the default response from said refugees is to whine that they came to Lothering to get away from violence.
  • Unique Items: Usually when something has a proper name, you won't find a second copy of it (except by exploiting bugs or the save import). DA actually combines randomly generated and pre-determined loot for ordinary and unique items, respectively.
  • Un-person:
    • The Dwarf Noble Origin, though the Dwarf Noble later regains their name after becoming a Warden.
    • The Casteless Dwarf by default, like all people of their social class.
  • The Unreveal:
    • The story makes clear that Alistair and the Warden survived the sacking at Ostagar because Flemeth, in bird form, plucked them from the burning tower. What is never made clear, however, is how Dog survived. It's one thing for him to have escaped in most of the origins, since he could logically have just run away from the fighting. But if you're the Human Noble, Dog was on the burning tower at your side...
    • Nor do we ever find out how Wynne survived, and you would think she'd have that conversation with the Warden at some point. Presumably, she and Uldred and maybe some other mages all managed to escape and return to the Circle tower together, but the details are sketchy at best.
    • Dragon Age II as well as a a few minor mentions in the first game reveal that there were stragglers that escaped after the Fereldan forces were clearly routed: Both Hawke (if a non-Mage) and Carver escaped the bloodbath, and so apparently did Wynne and Uldred, and a (non-Cousland) Dog.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Oghren offers plenty of these, and Alistair has his famous "licked a lamppost in winter" line. Leliana also gets in a particularly funny one if she makes a jealous accusation at a male Warden who is romancing both her and Morrigan.
    Leliana: You're wading through her swamp!
  • Urban Segregation:
    • Orzammar is divided into the Common Quarter (where most dwarves live), the Diamond Quarter (where the nobility and royalty live), and Dust Town (where the impoverished Casteless live).
    • Denerim has an Elven Alienage, which is basically a ghetto for City Elves. Other major cities have them too (the City Elf's betrothed comes from the one in Highever), but Denerim's is the only one ever seen.
  • Useless Useful Non-Combat Abilities: Trap-making easily comes off as this way. The best way to use traps are to either repeatedly tap the quicksave and quickload so you know good places to put them, have prior knowledge of the game, or sell them for money. They aren't entirely useless, just situational - one can go the entire game without having to use it.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Curse of Mortality is probably the perfect example of a spell that, despite the fact that it works exactly the same way for players and enemies, is obscenely powerful in enemy hands, and mostly useless (or at least underpowered) for the player. Getting hit with it results in the target being unable to have their health, stamina, or mana restored by any means for thirty seconds, on top of doing damage over time. Used in combat, it is essentially an unavoidable death sentence on any creature upon which it is cast, barring quick use of a dispel magic effect, and it's not even a top-ranked spell, so you can get it fairly early in the game (and nearly every magic-wielding opponent from mid-game onward will be able to cast it). Unfortunately, your opponents seldom bother to heal themselves anyhow, relying instead on armor and massive amounts of health to stay alive long enough to pose a threat, not to mention the fact that they can die by the dozens and keep sending in more troops, whereas you get a game over if you lose four party members in one fight.
  • The Usual Adversaries: Goddamn darkspawn.
  • Utility Party Member: Rogues are this, thanks to receiving non-combat skill points every two levels (instead of every three, like warriors and mages). If the Warden isn't a rogue, then Leliana and Zevran become the party's skill monkeys.

  • Vendor Trash: Blank vellum, certain gems, and things like fancy vases and carpets.
  • Victor Gains Loser's Powers: There's a portion of the "Broken Circle" quest that plays like a massive homage to Mega Man (Classic). The hero must defeat (or aid) four individuals to gain their powers, then use said powers to track down and defeat a sub-boss for each of the four areas. The end-boss of the sequence completes the Mega Man homage with a Boss Rush consisting of all the previous sub-bosses before you can fight his "true form."
  • Victory by First Blood: The Dwarven Provings are to first blood. Companion Oghren is banned from Provings or even carrying weapons in Orzammar due to accidentally killing an opponent.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: The relationships with your allies. Depending on the player, you'll probably find yourself liking at least one of your party members and going to great lengths to work up to 100% affection, because they're just that awesome/sweet/nerdy/snarky/badass. Often subverted with many NPCs; doing a good deed with no expectation of reward results in... no reward. For blatantly shaking people down for their rescues, the game rewards you, without punishment. You're free to insult them or hurt their feelings or otherwise be a complete Jerkass while doing your duty; the results are pretty much the same for not caring.
    • The hug mod. It lets you hug people. There are several "improved romance" mods for your companions that, in addition to other things, also add the option to hug them for no good reason other than to induce Squee!.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Oh, can you ever be a downright bastard in this game.
    • Walking Bomb. God, those wet thuds are satisfying. Even gets its own Shout-Out in the trailer. Better yet, the upgraded version: Virulent Walking Bomb. Combined with Waking Nightmare, it's probably the most brutally hilarious crowd control technique in the game.
    • Good old Blood Wound. Ripping out the blood of your enemies: brutal and practical.
    • The expansion lets you do a Leonidas impression, right after confiscating the belongings of a would-be Treasure Hunter. Before the patch, it used to net you +100 approval from a companion that you just met.
    • It is entirely possible during one of the sidequests to go up to certain women, steal all of their coin, and then callously tell them that their husbands are dead. Then you watch them run off in tears, utterly heartbroken, with their money now weighing down your purse.
    • You can convince Owen the Blacksmith in Redcliffe that his daughter is dead, even if she isn't (yet). The poor man will hang himself out of grief. What is your karmic backlash? A new blacksmith who sells the best bow in the game.
    • If playing as a Human Noble, it's possible to taunt Arl Howe (who killed your parents, sister-in-law, and nephew) just before fighting him, telling him that after you kill him, you're going to hunt down and murder his wife and children. He laughs off your taunt, however, and in response promises to "show you how it's done," giving a spiteful description of how he killed your parents.
    • And if that wasn't enough, the Darkspawn Chronicles is essentially an entire DLC dedicated to this. Smash, decapitate, and all-around massacre your way through a ton of the original campaign's characters!
    • In the main campaign, the crowning example in terms of sheer scale is abandoning Redcliffe village rather than helping them fortify and defend it. The game dishes out a heaping dose of What the Hell, Hero? for it showing a special cutscene of the village being overrun and later you'll encounter many of the villagers as zombies. When you get back, the only survivor in the village is Bann Teagan and you can have the gall to demand thanks for patching him up.
    • You can follow this up by letting Isolde kill herself to save her son rather than go to the Circle of Magi to get the magical aid needed to do it bloodlessly.
    • In Orzammar, you can side with the Paragon Branka after learning that the Golem Forge works by enslaving the souls of living subjects.
    • Bullying Pick, the elf messenger in the camp at Ostagar. You can force him to hand over Ser Garlen's sword, despite him pleading that he will be punished for it. You can even kill him afterwards.
    • You can agree to help a young elf in love woo his crush. Then you can go to the girl in question, tell her the guy hates her, then woo her and bed her (which she immediately regrets). Then if you want you can go back to the young elf and brag about having sex with the girl.
    Warden: Just sampling the goods, no harm done.
  • Video Game Delegation Penalty: The game allows you to take control of any member of your current party. The (up to three) characters not actively under your control will be controlled by the AI. You set orders for them to follow using the Tactics system, which enables you to automate how your characters respond to situations in combat. This allows you to setup your party members to work together efficiently without needing constant direction. However, even with very specific Tactics set, the AI-controlled characters may still not do what you want or need in a given situation. If you need them to do something very specific, your best bet is to switch to controlling that character manually and executing the action yourself.
  • Viking Funeral: Standard in Redcliffe, which lies at the shores of Lake Calenhard (the rest of at least Ferelden practices cremation in general, to prevent demons from possessing the bodies).
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The shapeshifting specialization. If you talk to Morrigan about it, she explains that shapeshifting merely requires detailed study of the animal in question. When asked if she could shapeshift into another human's form, she states that since she's already human, studying other humans wouldn't be of any benefit and is thus not worth the effort.

  • Wake-Up Call Boss:
    • The Ogre at the top of the tower will be a huge kick in the teeth to players who insist on playing this game like Diablo. Tip: Shield bash the ogre whenever he grabs someone and he lets go. You can even set a shield-using character to use Shield Bash like this automatically.
    • The first floor of the beacon tower at Ostagar. Mages using Fireball and archers behind barricades will slaughter you if you don't know how to get out of the firing line.
  • The War Sequence: Ostagar and the game's finale.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Isabela describes her fighting style as being like this, and can train you to fight the same way.
    "I fight with quickness and wit, rather than with brute force and strength."
  • What Measure Is A Redshirt?: Just before The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, the game takes time to show an average man bidding farewell to his wife and child, possibly for the last time, before setting off for war. The image will stay with you.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • If you choose to take Bann Vaughan's bribe in the City Elf origin nobody from the Alianage will forget it, and they will let you know it. And you don't even get to keep the money unless you already know what's going to happen.
    • Alistair serves you a textbook example of this trope if you kill Connor or Isolde during the Redcliffe quest. If you spare Loghain at the Landsmeet, he even leaves the party and there is absolutely no way to stop him - he either leaves Ferelden, marries Anora and becomes king, or gets executed by Anora's orders.
    • Leliana and Wynne will leave the party if you defile the Urn of Sacred of Ashes (and Wynne will attack you if she's actually present when you do it). You can avoid this by succeeding on a Persuade check with Leliana and doing the quest before you recruit Wynne. (Wynne and Leliana are just fountains of these moments in general; they're the most likely companions to lecture you if they see you doing something amoral.)
    • If you bring Shale along into the Deep Roads and join Branka in attacking Caridin, she will side with him and turn on you.
    • Zevran is appalled if you persuade the werewolves to massacre the Dalish elves or allow Caladrius to leave Denerim with his elf slaves, but he won't do anything about it.
  • What You Are in the Dark: If the Grey Warden is a mage, he or she can travel into the Fade to slay the demon possessing Connor Guerrin. When you confront the demon, it will offer to cut a deal with you instead, and will explicitly point out that, if you agree, no one but the two of you will ever know.
  • When Trees Attack: Sylvans.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Although it only mentions what happened to the party members if you died during the ending, preventing you from asking the party members what they intend to do now.
  • Where It All Began:
    • In Witch Hunt, a Dalish Warden will return to the mirror (now known as an Eluvian) by which they and Tamlen were tainted.
    • A City Elf Warden will return to the Alienage in the midst of the final battle, and even before that to deal with the slavers.
    • The Mage Warden does this twice, returning to the Circle Tower in the "Broken Circle" quest and once more in Witch Hunt.
    • Both the Dwarf Noble and the Dwarf Commoner return to Orzammar during the course of the game.
    • Alistair returns to his childhood home at Redcliffe Castle during the quest to save Arl Eamon.
    • Wardens of all origins will, if they have the DLC, Return to Ostagar.
  • Will-o'-the-Wisp: Wisps are demons who lost their power by being in the physical world without a host for too long or by being destroyed, often by other demons. What remains of its mind clings to a hatred of all living things. Wisps mindlessly attack in the Fade while in the physical world, they pose as light sources such as lanterns to lead the living into dangerous areas. The Spell Wisp is a spell from the Creation tree summons a wisp that grants a small bonus to spellpower while maintained.
  • Wine Is Classy: Wine is the only alcoholic beverage you can give to Wynne rather than Oghren.
  • With a Friend and a Stranger:
    • The fight to light the signal fire on the Tower of Ishal begins this way for the Human Noble, who is working alongside their beloved dog and Alistair, whom they only met the previous day. The group adds a second stranger along the way in the form of an unnamed mage.
    • Any Warden has this by the time they get to Lothering, since at that point the entire party consists of them, Alistair, and the newly acquired Morrigan.
  • Womb Horror: The Broodmothers. Being forcibly impregnated by grotesque monsters, eventually giving birth to legions of them? Check. Bloating up to a deformed, grotesque monster in the process? Check. Being associated with motherhood due to their name? Check.
  • Womb Level: The Broodmother's lair; part of the Circle Tower's upper levels during the revolt may also qualify.
  • World Half Empty: While it's not as bad as the Crapsack World presented in The Witcher, Ferelden is pretty well crammed with bastards and injustice.
  • World of Ham: Seasoned and cured with deadpan snarkery.
  • World of Silence: The Qun seems to advocate something like this.
  • World of Snark : It's a BioWare Game, what did you expect?
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • Strongly implied to be the relationship between Greagoir and Irving. Irving is the highest authority in the Circle Tower, but Greagoir has the authority to issue a kill order on any of its residents. However, they also generally regard one another as a Friendly Enemy, so for the most part they work reasonably well together.
    • Invoked by Loghain.
      Loghain: 'A man is made by the quality of his enemies.' Maric told me that once. I wonder if it's more a compliment to you or me.

  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Largely averted, as most of the cast speak in remarkably contemporary fashion. Morrigan occasionally uses archaic English, and a few minor characters (such as the Grand Oak) speak nothing but, but it's nothing more than 'thee', 'thou' and the occasional 'tis'. Some have speculated that Morrigan's way of speaking might be due to the fact that, since she's spent most of her life in the middle of the Korcari Wilds, far away from civilisation, the only way she learnt common tongue was from incredibly old books provided to her by Flemeth, hence her rather archaic language. Her somewhat singsong way of speaking likely also comes from her having learnt to talk via metre.
  • You Are Already Dead: The Walking Bomb spell.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Averted for five of the six origin stories, as Wardens coming from those backgrounds are not only able to go home, but have to return there in the course of playing the game. The Mage returns to the Circle of Magi during the "Broken Circle" quest; the City Elf helps drive slavers out of the Alienage where they grew up; the Dalish Elf returns to the Brecilian Forest to recruit members of another elven clan to help fight the darkspawn; and the Dwarf Noble and Dwarf Commoner both go back to Orzammar to settle the question of who becomes king. The trope is played straight, however, for the Human Noble, whose ancestral home - Castle Cousland - is never seen again after the origin is completed... which is probably for the best since it's littered with the corpses of everyone else who lived there.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Regardless of your actions, Ostagar will be a bloodbath. Likewise, all the horrible crap that leads up to you becoming a Warden of whatever origin will happen no matter what. The most you can do in some cases is blunt the bloodshed a bit.
  • You Lose at Zero Trust: Effects range from negative combat modifiers to the character leaving the party to the character siding against the party. The only exception is Alistair, who will remain at your side no matter how much he grows to dislike you (at least until the Landsmeet). Dog is also an exception, but that's because Dog's opinion of you can never be lowered.
  • Young Future Famous People: Origins turns out to be like that: the Warden and most companions become famous and influential in one way or another in the following years (depending on one's choices).
    • The Warden himself becomes the Hero of Ferelden, which in the Awakening expansion also makes them Arl/essa of Amaranthine.
      • If they're the Human Noble, they may also become Queen/Prince-Consort of Ferelden. A Dwarf Noble or Dwarf Commoner will be elevated to Paragon of Orzammar after defeating the Archdemon. A Warden of any background can be named Teyrn/a of Gwaren.
    • Alistair may become King of Ferelden.
    • Morrigan becomes the court magician of Orlais.
    • Leliana becomes a hand of the Divine and may later become the Divine herself.
    • Sten may become the new Arishok, a member of the ruling triad of the Qunari, as seen in the first series of Dragon Age comics.
    • Oghren becomes a Fereldan general, although he drops out shortly afterwards and joins the Grey Wardens instead, having a more modest future.
    • Wynne and Zevran are the exceptions. Wynne may become a court mage - although this part is rather unlikely, as she dies offscreen in Dragon Age: Asunder, while Zevran wanders the world afterwards.
  • Zerg Rush: What the game does to you rather often. Somewhat makes sense, since your most common enemies for a lot of the game are relatively mindless darkspawn.

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