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Shout Out / Dragon Age: Origins

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  • The Rolled-Up Note you find is a clear shout-out to V for Vendetta's Valerie Page.
  • Lake and King Calenhad are named after the Calenhad, the sixth of Gondor's beacons.
  • For that matter, the term Avvar is almost certainly derived from the Avari, who in Tolkien's legendarium referred to the group of elves who decided not to run off to Elvenhome/Valinor and instead stayed behind to watch humans take over the lands they once called their own. Although in Tolkien's case they shed their bodies willingly instead of losing their immortality.
  • If you start as a Mage, the codex says "There has been no way found to travel except putting one foot after another."
  • Among the names of fallen Grey Wardens recorded on a poster in the Warden's Keep is "Jason sans les Argonauts", literally "Jason without the Argonauts". This is in an area right after you fight skeletal warriors, just like in the film.
  • A codex entry states the Orlesians think Fereldans are one bad day from barbarism.
  • It's either incredibly subtle or an accident, but when you're in the Fade rescuing Connor from his terrible dreams, a constant landmark is a stack of chairs all piled up one atop another in little towers. This is the mark of a dreamer for House Dagoth...
    • It could also be a reference to Poltergeist, a movie about evil spirits with an unhealthy interest in a young child.
  • After fighting the soldiers in the tavern in Lothering, talking to the barkeep allows you to begin the conversation with "Sorry about the mess..."
  • In the Awakening expansion, the Darkspawn Disciples use an ability called "Cimmerian Shield".
  • The Korcari Wilds are identified on the world map as "Uncharted Territories." Naturally, this is where you meet Morrigan.
  • A certain First in the Dalish camp sounds awfully like a Gunnery Chief you might know from the future. She even quotes poetry at you. Another elf in the camp sounds a lot like the Commander of said Gunnery Chief.
  • There's a random encounter where you happen across an elderly couple next to a crater talking about how they're planning to raise the child they just found in it as their own. The woman's name is Martha. You can pick up a meteorite from the crater. The item description implies it could be the last piece of an alien world. Sadly, the sword you can have the ore smithed into is blue, not green.
    • The sword, Starfang, makes the reference even more specific. There was an elseworld's comic where Superman's rocket landed on a medieval Sword and Sorcery world.
    • Forging an Infinity +1 Sword from metal found in a meteorite that crashed on a fantasy world? We talking Dragon Age or Mossflower? Or Westeros? Particularly if you make a greatsword.
  • Haven has a graveyard with lots and lots of readable gravestones. Among them:
  • When you rescue Anora from Arl Howe, she's dressed in a guard outfit to help escape capture. One of the dialogue options is "Aren't you a little short to be a guard?"
    • During the Human Noble origin, the PC can say "I've got a bad feeling about this."
    • After beating Loghain's men in the Lothering tavern, you can stroll over to the bartender and tell him that you're "sorry about the mess."
    • Sten usually ends conversations with "Then I suggest we move on."
  • If you've added Shale to your party, right before the final battle with the archdemon, she tells you to "have fun storming the castle!"
    • When questioning a scavenger who took Sten's sword, one of your dialogue options is "Sten, tear his arms off." Does it bear mentioning that Sten is the tallest member of your party?
    • Sten is a walking, (rarely) talking Princess Bride shout out.
      The Warden: Well, that wasn't what I expected to hear.
      Sten: Get used to disappointment.

      Sten: Yes?
      The Warden: Nothing, let's just move on.
      Sten: As you wish.
    • Another The Princess Bride reference occurs during your first confrontation with Ser Cauthrien where the dialogue option to fight her is "Death first!"
    • And during the Landsmeet, when the Warden picks Shale to duel Loghain, the latter says: "I think the odds might be slightly in his favor in a test of strength."
    • These shout outs are all the work of Bioware writer Mary Kirby.
  • In the Brecilian Forest, you meet a crazy old man who wants to play a game, trading questions for questions and answers for answers. His very first one is " your name?" Said in the exact way as in Holy Grail.
  • The Lord of the Rings movies obviously had a great influence on the visual design of the orcs darkspawn and the cinematics. Just look at The Battle of Helm's Deep The Battle of Ostagar. Listen to the music, especially when fighting darkspawn in the Wilds, it sounds almost exactly like the orc theme from the movie.
    • Also, the hurlock commander in charge does the neck-cricking thing that the Uruk-Hai commander does in the movie.
    • It seems a lot like Helm's Deep. The spawn of evil are charging forward with a forest behind them towards a guarded fortress on a rainy night? All we needed was Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas to show up.
      • Well you can end up with a red-headed, axe-wielding dwarf, a blonde elf, and an unwilling royal heir in your party.
    • 'Ostagar' sounds an awful lot like *Osgiliath,* a Romanesque ruin where a small company of elite fighters mounted an ultimately-disastrous action against an overwhelming multitude of orcs...and whose doom was sealed by the command of a Regent.
    • The Deep Roads have obvious Moria parallels—a destroyed dwarven kingdom overrun by darkspawn/orcs, rife with the valuable mineral lyrium/mithril.
    • Indirectly, Flemeth's unseen rescue from the Tower of Ishaal is highly reminiscent of the way Gandalf and the eagles save Frodo and Sam from Mount Doom, if Morrigan's story is true. A note the PC can find also mentions that a band of unfortunate explorers "should have taken the damn giant eagles."
    • Oghren makes a direct reference to one of Gimli's lines when the party is trying to solve the Gauntlet Bridge puzzle
      Oghren: So is anyone going to suggest tossing the dwarf across? No? Pity.
    • A possible reply to one of Wynne's conversations about being a Grey Warden is: "I do not want power. I have never wanted it." Hello, there, Aragorn.
    • Wynne is the second in seniority amongst a group of mages, who acts as mentor and wise guide to a large travelling group of young'uns, and who loses her life in a desperate defeat of a powerful Eldritch Abomination in order to save a younger and less able companion. But she was saved by a mystical, arcane force and sent back to complete her task. Now if that doesn't have Gandalf written all over it...
    • In the Dalish origin, it is possible to find evidence of a failed attempt at establishing trade between elves and dwarves, stating "Some dwarves dug too high and too frugally and struck elves."
    • The end is very similar to the climax of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (the Battle of the Black Gate), as it features an army of allied people fights a battle intended to be a diversion to allow a small party to complete their own mission. Furthermore, the cutscene which follows the final boss' death is very similar to how the battle end in the movie, as both show a tower summit exploding in the background, while a crowd of Orcs/Darkspawns are fleeing the battlefield. The next event in a coronation.
  • The Wheel of Time. Warden sounds like Warder, Par Vallon sounds like Tar Valon, Loghain sounds like Logain, Shadowspawn and Blight are not even changed, the description of the Iron Ring (a serpent devouring its own tail) has it looking exactly like the Aes Sedai ring, Leliana is a bard with a gift for using knives and spying just like a certain Thom Merrilin, and Leliana also makes several references to the high-blood of the Seanchan, the game of houses, and refers to secret networks as "eyes and ears".
    • Given references to it throughout the franchise, that game of houses is pretty much a direct import of Cairhien's.
  • One of the options for "what a lark can carry, but an ox may not" is "a coconut". Particularly funny, since you actually are looking for the equivalent of the Holy Grail.
  • Oren, the young boy in the Human Noble prologue, fantasizes about vanquishing his foes with a "Sword of Truthiness".
  • A note found in the Deep Roads says, "'Mass will have an effect.... How's a dwarf get to be named Shepard?'" The note consists mostly of the dwarf complaining about the extremely slow lift he is standing on.
    • "Shepard" here also axes his conversation partner and kills himself by walking out of the lift.
  • The Gauntlet could easily be a shout out to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, as it constitutes several tests of character and ability (with appropriate discussion as to whether the flowery language of legend actually refers to something divine or merely a set of elaborate deathtraps) that must be conquered if one is to reach an artifact which might as well be the Holy Grail.
    • Not to mention the Guardian, An ancient knight who guards a holy relic from the unworthy and is kept alive far longer than a normal human by the very power which he guards.
  • "Warden senses tingling!!!", sometimes said by the PC just before a fight. Even during the origin story, when the PC is not a Grey Warden yet. And even if the enemies that are being fought are not darkspawn.
  • In the Fade, you have the possibility to "morph" into four different forms, each with specific abilitie and feats. Those four forms are, respectively, a "spirit" able to cast spells like a mage (read: intellect); a mouse who can use Stealth; an archer immuned to fire able to cast fireballs called "human torch"; and a big stone golem who can punch, earthquake and rock-throw his way through things. Seriously.
  • One of Alistair's "enemies nearby" lines is "Yep... beasties. Beasties are comin'."
  • A sequence in the trailer for the Expansion Pack is highly reminiscent of the intro sequence to Baldur's Gate.
    • Bonus Boss Gaxkang is a clear shout out to Baldur's Gate II's Kangax.
    • At the Pearl, when you spend the night with one of the girls, they might give you a familiar greeting: "Hey, sexy! Would you like to take a look at me diddies?"
    • In Baldur's Gate, using an area transition while some characters were lagging too far behind resulted in the narrator informing you that "You must gather your party before venturing forth". Since this happens a lot due to iffy pathfinding, the line gained some infamy in the BG fandom. In Dragon Age, the 'confirm action' popup for leaving an area asks if you want to "Gather your party and venture forth"
  • The Summer Sword is defintely a reference to the Infinity +1 Sword Sommerswerd.
  • In Denerim Chantry one may meet Sister Theohild who is messing the holy text up with hilarious errors. Exactly like minister Gerald in Four Weddings and a Funeral.
  • The Awakening NPC Mistress Woolsey, an accountant/bureaucrat sent by Weisshaupt to "oversee" things at Vigil's Keep, seems to be a pretty straight-up shout out to Richard Woolsey from Stargate Atlantis. Right down to the name.
  • Word of God says that Ser Gilmore, an NPC in the human noble origin, has the first name Roland... Rory for short.
  • A random encounter has a group of people surrounding an axe in a stump, and whomever pulls it out is said to be the true ruler of all Thedas. It seems like a Arthurian reference ... until a NPC starts complaining that lifting a drunken logger's axe out of a stump is no basis for a system of government. Another onlooker will state that the Warden has a regal manner, as evidenced by the fact that they haven't got dung all over them.
  • If you have your Mabari hound go searching for items, he may return with some cake. One of your possible responses is "I'm not eating any found cake."
  • During the Leliana's Song DLC, the eponymous French Spy Orlesian bard will enter a room full of guards and announce her presence with a loud exclamation of "Gentlemen!"
    • She also does this in Origins proper if you're playing a male Warden. She'll interrupt you and the captain in the pub with it.
  • Sergeant Kylon, and his watchmen might be a small reference to the Ankh-Morpork city watch from the Discworld series of novels, not only is his name very similar to one of the characters, he also complains of the complete ineptness of the guard in capturing criminals and preventing crime.
  • If you talk with Sten twice in the epilogue he'll say: "I was told there would be cake. There is no cake. The cake is a lie."
  • In the Darkspawn Chronicles it's revealed that Alistair named his dog Barkspawn.
  • In Awakening, the flavor text for the Kal'Hirol Lava Burst mentions that it tastes like burning.
  • If Zevran is in your group, you can at one point give him a pair of Dalish leather gloves (like the ones his mother used to own). He will be surprised and ask what the occasion is, to which the player character may respond: "If you don't want them, give them back."
  • In the Witch Hunt DLC, the joinable mage NPC Finn has a magic staff called Vera. The item description even says, "He's named it 'Vera' for some reason".
    • He's even got a 'Ghastly Hat' which his mother made for him. Unlike Jayne he doesn't seem to be all that keen on wearing it.
  • While more of a stretch than the other examples listed, to the point of possibly being coincidental, two NPCs are named "Lloyd" and "Irving". The former NPC can even be found in a tavern along with a character, Berwick voiced by Cam Clarke the voice of Lloyd Irving's father, Kratos.
  • In camp, a drunk Oghren propositions you, even if you are a male. When you reject him because "I'm a man!" He simply replies that "Nobody's perfect."
  • With high approval, Sigrun will sometimes say "O Commander! My Commander!" Similar to a certain poetry-spouting Gunnery Chief.
  • A Chantry Priestess in Denerim who identifies relics talks about people bringing in fake "finger bones" and "holy sandals" of Andraste. Blackadder and Monty Python's Life of Brian'' respectively.
  • Many, many shout outs to A Song of Ice and Fire, considering that series' influence on Dragon Age. Several familiar names pop up, and a few people and organizations are very similar (the Legion of the Dead is almost a Captain Ersatz of the Night's Watch, for example).
    • The Grey Warden's have a solid Night's Watch vibe as well, what with recruiting mostly people no one else would want, being the only ones capable of defeating a supernatural threat most people don't actually believe in, being technically forbidden from interfering in political matters, being a once proud and well-respected order fallen on hard times, no longer able to maintain their more remote outposts, and having a lifelong duty they cannot abandon under pain of death.
    • A unique sword called Oathkeeper is awarded for a series of quests in Lothering.
    • Leliana says of her spy/assassination work that, "The only way out of this game is to kill or be killed." In other words when you play the Great Game, you win or you die.
  • The Characters are shout-outs, especially to previous BioWare games:
    • The elf who hates all humans, is cranky all the time, has real sibling issues, and is one of the best spellcasters in the game? Oh hello Viconia! She even sounds the same.
    • Edwina, the barmaid of the Gnawed Noble Tavern, sounds like she's just lost a duel with Elminster of the Dales...
    • Red-haired thief with a sunny attitude, dark past (and enjoys it), and all round adorableness? Give her a Mage Origin and she's Imoen!
    • Sten, of the Red-Tiger clan.
      • Oh, and Daelan Red Tiger's voice actor is Steve Blum (Oghren).
    • Hell, it also work with Mass Effect and Knights of the Old Republic : the "snarky with a heart of gold" highly-specialized warrior with a harsh backstory, possible romance for female PC? Alistair/Kaidan/Carth (or possibly Garrus, or Baldur's Gate II's Anomen). The battle-hardened, brutally honest, Comically Serious and proud Blood Knight ? Sten/Wrex/Canderous. The dorky lady with an unusual backstory, a strong faith and an abusive authority figure, who is a possible bisexual romance for the PC? Leliana/Liara/Juhani. The other possible romance for a male PC, an abrasive woman who's prompt to criticize people who don't share her views, with a father/mother responsible for her prejudices and twisted vision of the world? Morrigan/Ashley/Bastilla.
  • In the Witch Hunt DLC, you can overhear two mages talking, one saying he wished they could keep pets like dogs, cats, rats, and owls in the tower. The other questions what kind of a mage keeps an owl as a pet.
    • In the same library, you can find a book about magical wands with a scribbled note: "What kind of self-respecting mage uses a wand, anyway?"
  • When the Warden first meets Nathaniel in Awakening, Nathanial asks "Aren't you supposed to be ten feet tall? With lightning bolts coming out of your eyes?"
  • The two sisters standing in front of the chantry in Denerim tell the story of one Brother Caedmon who used to be in charge of the lyrium storage...and very good at singing hymns.
  • The little boy sitting on the bridge in Lothering will open conversation with "Have you seen my mother?" with the exact same inflection as the boy asking for his "mummy" from the Doctor Who two-parter "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances". The voice is also identical. All the kid needs is a gas mask.
  • When the Warden and Zevran have the conversation about Antivian boots, one dialogue option is, "No boots for you!" Soup Nazi anyone?
  • Possibly a coincidence, but the city of Amaranthine in Awakening shares its name with a minor planet in Mass Effect.
  • One banter between Sten and Dog:
    Sten: I don't understand you.
    Dog: *Barking*
  • One of the gods of the elves is Fen'Harel, the Dread Wolf. One of the gods of the elves in Forgotten Realms is Fenmarel, the Lone Wolf.
  • In the Awakening expansion, during the Silverite Mine sequence you can find a secret room where there is a two-headed skeleton with a chessboard nearby.
  • The Noladar Anthology of Dwarven Poetry contains a rhyming poem reminiscent of Green Eggs and Ham written by the Paragon Seuss.
  • Possibly coincidental, but banter between Nathaniel Howe and Anders in Awakening reveals a very subtle reference about The Waitress's cat's name in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia:
    Nathaniel Howe: Isn't that name a little... ridiculous?
    Anders: What do you think I should call him? Frederick?
  • Possibly a shout out, but during the Mage circle origin you can find three apprentices (One ginger haired boy, a brown haired girl and a black haired boy) being lectured by an old witch. The blacked haired boy sounds like a very young Daniel Radcliffe). And his character model bares a striking resemblance to a rather famous boy wizard.
  • If you decide to destroy the Anvil of the Void, Caridin makes a crown for you to give to the candidate of your choice. Then, since he doesn't like being trapped in a powerful, immortal steel body, he throws himself into the lava. The music drives it home further.
  • One of the early rumors you can hear is about a child burying a dead cat only for it to Come Back Wrong as a malevolent zombie.
  • During the quest "Nature of the Beast" the player comes across the Gatekeeper, a werewolf protecting the Lady of the Forest. Said werewolf tells you the Lady wishes to "parlay" with you and the werewolves must "acquiesce her request", all in a aarrr accent. If he had an apple, he'd be Barbossa.
  • During the final battle sequence, Senior Warden Riordan performs a Blade Brake on the archdemon's wing, in a sequence almost identical to the one in Beowulf.
  • One of the achievements for Shale's personal quest is called "Stone's Lament," which is the name of a force of elite troops in BattleTech. The achievement symbol even resembles the current Battletech logo.
  • If you bring Wynne and Alistair with you, at the end of the Return to Ostagar DLC you're treated to this little charm.
    Alistair: Are all women this evil and conniving when they grow old?
  • The Fade is very similar to the Immaterium from Warhammer. An ever-changing hellscape populated by lost souls and the Anthropomorphic Personifications of anger, entropy, lust, and hubris.
  • At one point Alistair can ask you if you've ever licked a Lamppost in Winter. Bonus points for one of the options leading Alistair to claim a kid did it as a dare when he was at the Chantry.
    Alistair: ...Well tell me, have you ever licked a Lamppost in Winter?
    Grey Warden: No, I've never licked a Lamppost in Winter.
    Alistair: Good. I hear it's quite painful. One of the younger initiates did it on a dare, once, and there was pointing and laughing... oh the humanity.
  • The opening line of a Codex entry begins with "It is a truth universally acknowledged".
  • It's subtle but Alistair's story and some of the characters bring to mind characters from the Arthurian Legend.
    • Alistair is King Arthur, as many versions of the story have him growing up as the adopted/foster son of a lord or king before learning his true lineage. He also had a foster brother or a half-brother in some versions as well which explains Cailan.
    • The role of Merlin is mainly given to Wynne, who can choose to stay in Denerim to help advise Alistair and is an older mage with a stronger connection to the Fade than most due to being a benign abomination which brings to mind versions of Merlin where he is half-demon. As Arthur's closest friend however the Warden can also serve as Merlin if a mage.
    • The role of Morgan le Fey is similarly split between Flemeth and Morrigan, as both are considered evil mages and lived in isolation in a forest, and they share some similarities with the Lady of the Lake. However Morrigan gets aspects of Arthur's half-sister Morgause, who is often merged with Morgan le Fey, as she can have a child with the soul of an Old God which brings to mind Mordred if the father is Alistair. A common fan theory by some is that King Maric is the father of Morrigan as he made a deal with Flemeth in The Stolen Throne, though this is debunked by expanded universe material.
    • The role of Lancelot mainly falls to the Warden, who can betray Arthur at a critical moment and cause his death or exile. You can even have the Warden marry Anora, making the parallels with Lancelot and Guinevere even more clear.
    • Leliana is Galahad due to being the most religious of the companions, and bringing her along makes the search for the Urn of Sacred Ashes even more similar to the quest for the Holy Grail. You can also kill her in this quest and Galahad died after finding the Grail in the version including him.
    • Anora is Queen Guinevere, as she can marry Alistair but also can get engaged to the Warden and cause Alistair's death.
    • The companions and the Warden in general can bring to mind the Knights of the Round Table.
    • Sten brings to mind a number of minor Knights who come from foreign countries, though unlike them he chooses to return while they stay.