- Averted in regards to Monty Python: According to Word of God during the process of development, they made so many "No one expects the Spanish Inquisition" jokes that they grew entirely tired of the reference and refused to make one in the game proper. But a different Monty Python shout-out shows up at Griffon Wing Keep in the Western Approach, where a Drill Sergeant Nasty asks recruits what the main weapon of the Inquisition is.Recruit 1: Surprise!
Recruit 2: Fear!
Recruit 3: Really nice clothes!
- There's just one very sneaky example when the party enters Redcliffe village. A scout reports that "No one was expecting us."
- The Jaws of Hakkon DLC has a Hakkonite warrior shouting taunts at you from atop their fortress. One possible taunt is, "Your mother was a nug, and your father smells of elfroot!"
- During his banter with Sera about throwing her, Iron Bull raises the possibility of throwing the resident dwarf instead.
- In the Exalted Plains, there's a broken bridge that opens up a minor quest to repair it. If Varric is in your party at the time, he will give "a large and preemptive 'no'" to anyone who suggests tossing him over to the other side. Nobody tosses a dwarf.
- At one point during Cole's banters with Vivienne after his last personal quest, he refers to his resistance to being bound as "unbowed, unbent, and unbroken," the house words of House Martell. Also probably an Actor Allusion, given that Vivienne's voice actress played Oberyn Martell's mistress in Game of Thrones.
- Another joint Shout-Out and Actor Allusion to Game of Thrones comes from Dorian, who at one point snarks that he would be surprised if the Inquisitor "stripped [him/her]self naked and allowed the Chantry to flog [them] into repentance", an image many Game of Thrones fans may find very familiar. Dorian's voice actor also played a part on Thrones.
- Have Vivienne as a party member during "In Hushed Whispers" for the SO/AA trifecta, upon meeting her in the Bad Future she will assume it's a trick, a fake rescue meant to break her. The exact same thing is done in Indira Varma's other famous work, and Redcliffe would even frighten Ramsay Bolton.
- One of Krem's stories of previous jobs with the Iron Bull is about "me, him and five other guys" defending a village from bandits and being paid in rice, a nod to Seven Samurai. Bull can mention it as well (he's bitter).
- The codex entry for the Orlesian city of Serault refers to its glassworks "with beauty all but the sunless see" and of "a multicoloured echo bizarre or imagined", which attracts "those who fail better than most", "a gathering that creates a nexus of stories," and those who underestimate them "risk attending their last court". Sunless Sea is a game made by Failbetter Games, who also made Fallen London (once called Echo Bazaar), the Story Nexus collection of browser games, and Dragon Age: The Last Court, which takes place in Serault. The entry also mentions "literary whimsy", which describes the style of Failbetter pretty well.
- Many of the cryptic comments Cole makes are Shout Outs to novels, films and other video games, mainly by invoking It Was His Sled:"It wasn't from a flower. He rode it in the snow."
"He was dead the whole time. He didn't know."
"He didn't kill his father. He was his father."
"It's made from people."
"He was their enemy the whole time. She made him forget, to allow him to be better."
"There is no other man. He becomes the other man to do the things he can't."
"He hunts the killer, but he's the one who killed her. He can't remember."
"He teaches them to fight with a secret flaw, part of a glorious strategy."
"He was the boy who was supposed to die. He named himself after the horse."
"They should have been born together, but instead they were bound by light."
"She knows they're going to kill her, can only save what's important. Precious space to remember her smile."
"It wasn't blood in the bath. Fingers on the scalp, intimate, and then the moment is gone."
"He hates it all because of the darkness behind the door. Some doors should stay shut."
"Never trust half an elf."
"It always had a soul. The question is the answer."
- Every piece of banter in which Cole and Solas discuss things seemingly without context are actually references to films and tv shows that involve angels interacting with humans; the list of references includes It's a Wonderful Life, Supernatural, Meet Joe Black and Dogma, to name a few.
- In a banter with Blackwall, Cole spontaneously mentions a man who had bees coming out of his mouth.
- In Trespasser, Cole will warn you that "Sometimes the cow takes your gold."
- The Plants Vs. Corpses book in Crestwood, detailing the battle of Pauper's Cap, wherein a "Bejeweled bookworm" apostate defended herself from a demon-led corpse army (armored with buckets and doors) by turning her crop of flowers into sylvans, as told by a Daveth the "maaaaaaaaaad."
- Crestwood, a town that was rebuilt after the original was flooded several years beforehand by a person of authority, is now filled with the walking undead. The Inquisitor needs to use a dam to clear the flood, and explore the ruins of the previous version of the town, distinguished by referring to it as the "old" version. Change Crestwood to Tien's Landing and it's Jade Empire all over again.
- Fittingly, Dorian has a few The Picture of Dorian Gray references around him. A letter from a friend describes him as a "hothouse orchid" - the orchid was one of Oscar Wilde's favourite symbols of Decadence in Dorian Gray.
- Dorian's father is even named Halward Pavus, as in Basil Hallward.
- The codex entries for some creatures such as the quillback and bogfisher very obviously and hilariously parody the style of a Cosmic Horror Story. They're written by Baron Havard-Pierre D'Amortisan (translating to "love of craft", sort of), and they always have a footnote from his less-florid scribe, who just happens to be named Dunwich. (Of the quillback, he says, "Master means that it's pointy.")
- And In Jaws of Hakkon, you get to meet the good Baron and Dunwich in person! Though the game can't seem to decide if it's Havard or Henri-Pierre D-Amortisan.
- During War Table banter, Cullen can discuss calibrating the trebuchets. Josephine asks how many times he's going to do that.
- Fittingly, Vivienne's companion quest to kill a white wyvern is called "Bring Me the Heart of Snow White."
- In the Trophy Room of the Winter Palace (and a few other locations), there's a krogan head stuffed and mounted on the wall.
- Mass Effect 2 had previously featured a statue of an ogre in its Stolen Memory DLC, so the gag has come full circle.
- Two more (possible) references to the ME universe: the sound the horns in the Exalted Plains make is the Reaper siren/horn/etc sound, and the Horror Demons use the Banshee sound effect upon spawning.
- One of the names the herald introduces in "Wicked Eyes, Wicked Hearts" is one "Ezio" from Antiva, Third Talon of the Crows. Quite the talented assassin, it seems.
- The name of the quest "Call Me Imshael" references the first line in the first chapter of Moby-Dick.
- Dorian's family betrothed him to a young woman named Livia Herathinos, before he fled Tevinter. He mentions that she is extremely intelligent and scathing as well as beautiful, and was about as keen on the engagement as he was. A clever, sarcastic Livia in a setting that strongly resembles ancient Rome complete with poison and backstabbing as a national sport, about to be married off to an unsatisfactory husband... perhaps Dorian dodged a bullet in more ways than one.
- Sera and Blackwall paraphrase a quote from the Highlander.Sera: Do all Grey Wardens have beards?Blackwall: No, just me. I stole all the beards, and all the power held within. There can be only one.
- An easily missed note on a corpse at Griffon Wing Keep bemoans the efforts of raiders to catch the High Abyssal Dragon with baited traps. It is signed by one Artorius, whose name is one letter off from and phonetically similar to that of another familiar game character.
- The Inquisitor can ask Varric, an artificer who's probably the richest member of the Inquisition, a fast-talker who either irritates or charms everyone he meets, and is voiced by... Captain America, what he thinks about Leliana, the Inquisition's spymaster:
- Cullen and Femquisitor's first kiss is a lot like Faramir and Éowyn's on the battlements of Skyhold/Minas Tirith respectively, right down to the guards watching from the distance. Bonus points because both Femquisitor and Éowyn denied the Big Bad a crucial victorynote and almost died in the process.
- One collection quest involves finding the scattered 'Bottles of Thedas,' a series of liquors, complete with descriptions of flavor. One "tastes like burning".
- According to Josephine's sister Yvette, the Lady Ambassador plays with her doll collection when nobody is looking.
- In the Emprise Du Lion, the player can find a glowing pyramid-shaped treasure chest and a note not to touch it. Unlike Revan, the Inquisitor apparently heeds that warning, since that chest cannot be opened.
- There's another one in the Trespasser DLC. If Dorian or Vivienne is in your party, they warn you to stay away from it.
- The first encounter with the pyramid occurs in an icy cave with several corpses frozen to the ceiling and their weapons scattered on the floor.
- A landmark in the Emerald Graves has a note from an Orlesian commander, grumbling about losing several men who were trying to find elven treasure behind a waterfall.
- In the Hissing Wastes, you can come upon a merchant. Upon his table are a shield, a key, and a candle - the same three items seen in the first merchant's shop encountered in the original The Legend of Zelda.
- A note in Cullen's office is called "Confessions of a Lyrium Addict", most likely a reference to the book Confessions of an English Opium Eater.
- In one ambient conversation, Corypheus is referred to as an Elder Thing.
- One of the Inquisition perks in the Forces category is True Grit, which grants a bonus to defenses.
- During one conversation with Solas (who is able to manipulate dreams and access the Fade through them), you inexplicably are transported to Haven (which at this point in the story has been destroyed by Corypheus). The Inquisitor (and quite possibly the player) may not notice this discrepancy, until Solas calmly asks you how you got there, at which point you realize you're dreaming and wake up. Hmm...
- A codex entry at the ritual tower in the Western Approach contains several references to the Transformers franchise, including the phrase "more than meets the eye," large living metal creatures that seek a glowing mineral, "deceptive icon" (Decepticon), a position that is "hardly optimal (primal energy burned)" (Optimus Prime / Optimus Primal), skies that quake and stars that scream, that the glowing mineral is the "energy on (Energon) which it survived," and mentions of a "gentle autocrat" (Autobot). The codex also mentions a "Mage Atronis," which is an anagram for "Is Megatron."
- The Frostback Basin in Jaws of Hakkon contains several pieces of Conspiracy Theorist writings that have a wide range of references to Conspiracy Theory lore.
- "Secret Prisoners of Tevinter" attributes theories involving "serpent kings" and "moon men" to a Ser Ycke.
- "The Mystery of the Aqeuducts" talks about ley lines and their study by a "Professor Whalen Vankin", a reference to the writers John Whalen and Jonathan Vankin, who co-wrote a series a books about conspiracy theories. "Professor Vankin" also wrote about the "Ordo Templis Royalis", a reference to the Real Life cult Ordo Templi Orientis.
- "Secret of the Rocksplit" theorizes that a large Tevinter statue and pillar structure were actually landmarks meant to be viewed from a great height so the moon-men could land and make contact with the Tevinters, referencing the UFO theories surrounding the Nazca Lines in Peru. The same note also theorizes that the moon-men may look like us, only greyer.
- Finally, "The True Purpose of the Crater", discusses Lord L'Rouche of Montsimmard, who blamed an earthquake on the Fereldan royalty trying to usurp Orlais' power, making reference to Lyndon LaRouche, the founder of a political cult called the LaRouche movement, who is known to believe in several conspiracy theories about the British monarchy (in game, Ferelden is the Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Britain).
- After acquiring all the notes and returning them to their owner, Trader Helsdim Rolfsen, you can recruit him as a spy for the Inquisition. In his first report to the Inquisitor, he puts forth speculation about a conspiracy involving Andrastian bloodlines and a magical formula that can be used to control weather, bearing similarities to the Jesus bloodline hypothesis (although it is worth noting that in the Dragon Age setting it is widely accepted fact that Andraste did have children, there's just no way to trace the lineage since she only had daughters who only had daughters etc.) and the HAARP conspiracy theories respectively.
- In Jaws of Hakkon, the codex for Storvacker the bear talks about several rumors about her...such as how her claws are valued in Denerim at 10,000 sovereigns, she sells her shed fur to Orlesian master weavers in Val Royeaux, how one time Alistair Theirin told her she was pretty, and how one time she clawed the writer in the face. It was amazing. The kicker? The writer of the codex is named Reginald de Gorge.
- There's one which is only found if you take the Elite Clientele perk (found in the Connections category). Once you've taken the perk, leave Skyhold and return, then go down to the basement, to what looks like an unused banquet hall.note You now have a massive vault filled with piles of (untouchable) gold coins! The Shout-Out comes in when you notice that there's a random top hat sitting on one of the piles, making it look as though Scrooge McDuck has gone swimming in the Inquisition's coffers.
- In Sera's "Verchiel March" quest, right as she starts beating Lord Harmond to a pulp she says "Mother puss bucket", a euphemism heard in Ghostbusters (1984).
- In the Winter Palace, you are able to pick up several pages of Orlesian Theater, many of which are shout outs to other works of fiction. In particular, this quote is a pretty clear shout out to The King in Yellow.Callista paces on the battlement over the lake. The sky is dark. She holds a cup of poison. Camallia is there, face veiled.Callista: The dawn is late.Camallia: It will not come again.Callista: It must hide 'neath the clouds.Camallia: It will not come again.Callista: The queen thinks you dead.Camallia, her back to the audience, faces Callista, and removes her veil.Callista moans in fear. She drops her cup.
- One of the reasons Svarah Sun-Hair opposes the Jaws of Hakkon is because she finds summoning a god to destroy the lowlands while the Fade rifts are around to be incredibly foolish. Her precise words are "Only a fool fights in a burning boat," a reference to Kang's famous line in the classic Star Trek episode, "Day of the Dove".
- One of the alternative Skyhold outfits is called Night's Watch. it appears to be based off of the Night's Watch uniforms from Game of Thrones.
- There are a number of subtle references to Metal Gear in the Descent DLC. Not only is Lieutenant Renn an Expy of Solid Snake (right down to the nerding out on weird topics and being voiced by David Hayter), but you go through and collect literal metal gears along the way.
- In The Descent, you also encounter an invisible bridge on your way to be judged by his royal highness, the Nug King. It's marked by a waystone that says "only those who believe may cross".
- The chess game that Solas and Iron Bull play in party banter (only if the Chargers were spared in Iron Bull's personal mission) is the Immortal Game of 1851.
- One of the pieces of Wardrobe is called "Immortal", in which the outfit is desribed as "Be Observed; Standing at the portals of the fade, glittering and silver".
- There's a slightly darker one in the credits for Trespasser. One line from Varric's new book about the Inquisition is a cheesy one-liner spoken by Solas: "better to fade out than burn away".
- When he's low in health in combat, Dorian might say, "I'm too pretty to die!"
- If Dorian is brought along for the beginning of The Descent, he complains about how slow the elevator is moving, and suggests adding music. "The Dawn Will Come" also has a sly reference to Shepard.
- One of Leliana's agents is named Fisher, another, Jester... makes sense that a gruff Michael Ironside-voiced spy would be on her payroll.
- Speaking of The Inquisition's spymaster, some playthroughs may reveal through a messenger speaking to Dorian that, for reasons known only to Leliana, all members are investigated through, among other things, their undergarments. She and Kasumi Goto must know each other.
- In one piece of dialogue detailing Dorian's efforts to gain unrestricted access to the wine cellar, a messenger says Josephine received a letter from a "Countess Grantham".
- Solas frequently speaks in the meter of the song "Hallelujah", especially when telling stories of the Fade.
- In the backstory, Emperor Etienne I of Orlais bore not a little resemblance to the Holbein portrait of Henry VIII, down to the pattern on his hat, and was a serial monogamist who kept casting aside his wives in search of an heir — including abandoning a foreign princess to marry his native-born mistress.
Shout Out / Dragon Age: Inquisition