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Video Game / Dragon Age II

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Not only am I taking your Blood Dragon Motif, but I raise from the blood spider things with silhouettes of people!

"So... you want to know about the Champion?"

The sequel to BioWare's acclaimed Dragon Age: Origins and the second installment of the Dragon Age series, released on March 2011.

The game tells the story of Hawke, a human hero who is destined to become the famous Champion of Kirkwall. Following the destruction of Hawke's hometown during the Fifth Blight, Hawke flees overseas with their family to the city of Kirkwall. Over the next decade, Hawke goes from an outcast refugee to revered icon, but the story of just how that reputation was made remains to be told...

The game makes several significant changes from its predecessor. The art style has been changed to what has been termed "Stylised Realism," in an effort to make an "ownable" art style. Departing from the three races and multiple backgrounds available in the last game, the protagonist is now a single predefined human character, male or female, with the standard three specializations of warrior, mage or rogue. Additionally, the Player Character is now fully voiced and also features a conversation wheel much like Mass Effect; however, instead of moral intent it tracks the inflection of the response as either compassionate, sarcastic, or blunt.


Another departure from Origins is the fact that until the third act, most of the game is on a smaller, more personal scale. It deals primarily with Hawke's personal growth, the lives of their friends and family, and the politics and intrigues of the city of Kirkwall, all playing out over the course of seven years.

Three DLC add-ons have been produced for the game. The day one DLC The Exiled Prince (included in the BioWare Signature Edition) added the ninth permanent companion, the pious archer Sebastian Vael, and his personal questline. The first post-release DLC was Legacy, in which Hawke learns more about their father's past, and the second was Mark of the Assassin, where Hawke teams up with Tallis, Felicia Day's character from Dragon Age: Redemption, to break into an Orlesian noble's castle. An Expansion Pack titled Exalted March was planned, but was cancelled so the development team could focus on the next installment of the series; some of the elements from the unfinished expansion were included in its plot.


A tie-in novel has been published; Dragon Age: Asunder is set in Orlais shortly after the events of Act 3, but before Varric's interrogation. It expands upon the mage/Templar conflict. An anime, Dawn of the Seeker, serving as an Expansion Pack Past for Cassandra Pentaghast, was released on May 29, 2012.

The sequel, Dragon Age: Inquisition, was released on November 18, 2014 in North America and November 21, 2014 in Europe.

Dragon Age II contains examples of following tropes:

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  • Abandoned Warehouse: So many it's a Running Gag. Fenris finds the few warehouses which are actually used to store things (and not just for clandestine meetings) rather novel. At one stage, Varric wonders if the warehouse owners charge the clandestine groups rent.
  • Abnormal Ammo: Shows up every now and again. Varric can use Bianca to launch grenades, for example. Duke Prosper gets a little more bizarre, though, wielding a pistol... crossbow... thing that fires large globs of sticky green goo, which serve as an "Attack me!" sign for his trained alpha wyvern, Leopold.
  • Aborted Arc: Intended to represent the beginning of Hawke's rise to heroism, the low sales of the DLC and relative unpopularity compared to Dragon Age: Origins ensured that Dragon Age: Inquisition would be about a new character, rather than Hawke as previously intended.
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: The game has a level cap of fifty, but without using an exploit there is only enough content to reach the low to mid-twenties by endgame. Presumably, this level cap was set in anticipation of future DLC that won't be coming, as Mark of the Assassin was confirmed as the final one when Dragon Age III was announced.
  • Accidental Pun: Lampshaded in-universe by Hawke if you choose the snarky option: a potion shop in the Gallows is low on stock and is looking for Hawke to "remedy that." He says it wasn't meant as a pun, but that he should remember it for future use.
  • Acquitted Too Late: Seen in the optional side quest "The Paragon's Heir" in the Legacy DLC, in which the party learns the ultimate fate of a relation of Varric's who was wrongly convicted of murder a few ages earlier.
  • Actionized Sequel: Compared to both Origins and the third game, Dragon Age: Inquisition (which tried to combine elements from both Origins and Dragon Age II, making Inquisition into more of a strategic title). This is especially true of the console versions of II, where the auto-attack function was left out due to a technical oversight, requiring Button Mashing to fight until auto-attack was later included through a patch.
  • Adopt-a-Servant: One option when Hawke and co. meet Orana is for Hawke to invite her to come and live on the estate as a resident housekeeper. She's recently been orphaned and has nowhere else to go.
  • After-Combat Recovery: Health, stamina, and mana are instantly restored as soon as everyone puts their weapons on their backs. However, injuries persist, lowering your maximum health, until you use an item to fix them.
  • Age Without Youth: Xenon, the proprietor of the Black Emporium.
  • Aggressive Negotiations: A frequent option, depending on what companions you have with you. Bringing Fenris with you to confront some slavers will result in him rearranging the leader's internal organs to make him talk. A Rogue Hawke, facing a man with a sword to his hostage's throat, can put a knife through the thug's own neck at range. Bring Varric on the "Fool's Gold" quest and he can "settle on a price" just by reaching for Bianca.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Bartrand and Meredith by game's end. Neither were sweethearts prior to obtaining the lyrium idol, but they got really bad afterwards.
  • Alien Geometries: In the Primeval Thaig, although you'll have to take the characters' word for it.
  • All-Natural Snake Oil: Hawke can receive a letter advertising a virility drug made from "natural" herbs.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The Qunari invasion of Kirkwall. Subverted during the ending when you learn that Cassandra has been interrogating Varric in Hawke's estate. You learn this after it's revealed that Cassandra is on Hawke's side.
  • Alliance Meter: Sometimes interactions with faction members will be colored by previous actions, but it has far less impact than Relationship Values and Karma Meter.
  • Amazon Brigade: A party comprised of any four of the female companions (Female Hawke, Bethany, Aveline, Merrill, and Isabela, as well as Tallis in Mark of the Assassin) is this. What is noteworthy is that it's a rather well-balanced team, with its only real deficiency being healing magic. (Bethany can act as a healer but you won't have her after Act 1, unless she's brought along for the DLC campaigns.)
  • Ambition Is Evil:
    • Anders and Merrill are the only companions who seek to actually change the status quo in Thedas; neither are outright evil, but both end up in Well-Intentioned Extremist territory. Played dead straight with Varric and Bartrand.
    • Fenris treats ambition with extreme disgust, which is why he has a major Heroic BSoD when he finds out that as Leto, he was the most ambitious of all the introduced characters in the game.
  • Ancestral Weapon: The Staff of Parthalan, a limited item that was received by subscribing to the Dragon Age II newsletter, was used by a mage ancestor of Hawke's who fought alongside the legendary King Calenhad.
    • Or who was a Tevinter magister sent to quash a slave rebellion in Kirkwall during the Exalted Marches, and then disappeared along the way. The in-game codex entry differs from the initial description given before the game's release.
    • The "Mage Pack" DLC includes the robes and staff of Malcolm Hawke. The item descriptions tell the story of Malcolm's courtship and elopement with Hawke's mother Leandra.
      • A couple of items in the Legacy DLC are indirect hand-me-downs from Malcolm as well, most notably the Hawke's Key.
  • And I Must Scream: Xenon of the Black Emporium was granted eternal life but not eternal youth. After 400 years, he's an immobile desiccated corpse that's still alive. Still has a sense of humor, though.
  • Animal Motifs: Kirkwall's architecture (Hightown in particular) has a predilection for bird imagery.
    • Both the Hawke and Amell family names derive from birds of prey.
  • Anti-Nepotism: In Act 3, Aveline, who is the Captain of the Kirkwall Guard by then, is accused of "coddling" her husband Donnic, also a guard, by allegedly assigning his unit to the safest patrol routes. To disprove these allegations, she asks Hawke, the Champion of Kirkwall by that point, to accompany her on a nighttime patrol inspection, so they can interview the guards personally and later vouch for her fairness and strict adherence to the law.
  • Anti-Smother Love Talk: If you take your sole surviving sibling to the Deep Roads expedition, your mother will beg you to leave them at home, since she cannot bear to lose both of you. You then select your party, and if you insist on including the sibling, you give her the reassurance that everything will be fine and that you are both responsible adults, persuading her to relent. Naturally, if both of you go to the Deep Roads, your sibling contracts the Taint and dies (or, under very specific circumstances, becomes a Grey Warden—a Fate Worse than Death by many standards), so your mother was right.
  • Apathetic Citizens: The people of Kirkwall will walk straight through battle scenes and don't care if it's raining fireballs, arrows and blood. May overlap with Weirdness Censor.
  • Appeal to Audacity:
    • What ultimately convinces Cassandra that Varric is (mostly) telling the truth. Parts of Hawke's story are so fantastic that he simply couldn't have made them up, nor does Varric have anything to gain by lying about them, so they must have actually happened.
    • Legacy DLC:
      • Cassandra notes he's omitted the event that took place at the Grey Warden fortress, causing Varric to admit he left it out intentionally; said event was so unbelievable that, despite witnessing it firsthand, even he still can't believe it actually happened.
      • If the DLC is done after the completion of a specific quest in Act 2, Varric admits to lying about one incident (Hawke's conversation with their dead mother's ghost). His reasons for doing so are very good, though.
  • Appeal to Fear: This is generally the crux of Meredith's argument against mages.
  • Appropriated Appellation: One of the Fantastic Slurs used to refer to Fereldan refugees is "dog lord." In Act 2, Hawke encounters an expat street gang called the Dog Lords.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Averted in some parts of the endgame, where the rest of your party helps you fight, although you can't control them. Justified during the Deep Roads expedition, as Bartrand will not allow you to bring all of your allies with you. Also, your companions have very demanding lives even outside the group - the fact that Aveline (in charge of law enforcement for the whole city) manages to follow Hawke in her "off-duty hours" downright scares Varric.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: If Alistair is King of Ferelden, when he speaks of the turmoil in Orlais...
    Oh, you know, the usual. Attempted assassinations, uprisings, fancy dress parties with stinky cheeses.
  • Art Evolution: The physical appearances of Flemeth, Isabela, Merrill, and the darkspawn differ noticeably from Origins. Elves have also changed in physical appearance, along with gaining Scotireland accents. Most noticeably (and jarringly, if you didn't find/read the Codex explaining it), Qunari now all have horns, and many seem substantially larger and more brutish-looking than good ol' Sten did. This is handwaved with an explanation that some few Qunari are born without horns, which is taken as a sign that they are meant for great things.
  • Artifact of Death: Hindsight. The belt only offers protection against the things that killed its previous owners (including its creator Thaulid) and ultimately no protection against the horrible death that is sure to befall you. Take comfort in the fact your painful end will protect another temporary owner from suffering your exact fate.
  • Artifact of Doom: The lyrium idol, which gives its wielder a massive power boost at the cost of sanity. If your sibling is with you in the Deep Roads when you find it, its corruption of Bartrand leads to them either dying or becoming a Grey Warden. It finds its way into Meredith's possession and is indirectly responsible for the mage/Templar war.
  • Association Fallacy: Used by both sides to demonize the opposition.
  • Attempted Rape: The young girl that Hawke was supposed to rescue from a group of bandits in Act 3 was instead protected by Feynriel from being gang-raped; he made the bandits kill each other while they were still awake.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses:
    • One ability on the Scoundrel tree allows Varric, Isabela, Sebastian, and/or rogue Hawke to appear next to a chosen ally. It can be upgraded to allow the rogue to be in stealth when they do so.
    • Merrill has a unique spell that also lets her do it.
    • The launch trailer has Anders and Aveline pull this off.
  • Badass Family: Hawke, Bethany and Carver. Their father Malcolm was an apostate mage who trained Bethany (and Hawke, if they are a mage), and their mother Leandra is a member of the Amell family, being distantly related to the Human Mage Warden from Dragon Age: Origins. If said Human Mage Warden in the first game was male and he performed the Dark Ritual, the Hawkes are also distantly related to Morrigan's demon-god baby. The Mage Kit DLC reveals that Malcolm Hawke had a Dark and Troubled Past whilst traveling a long way from his homeland in order to reach Kirkwall. He also was a skilled unarmed combatant from working as a mercenary, since he had to hide his magic from the Templars. Furthermore, Legacy shows that Malcolm was badass enough that the Grey Wardens came to him for help.
  • Bad Boss: Hubert qualifies. He pays the miners at the Bone Pit as little as possible, forces them to use shoddy equipment, and strikes his employees. He also assumes, wrongly, that tales of a dragon attacking the mine are just excuses for his workers to take a vacation.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: The Hanged Man, although this is also the favored hangout of both Varric and Isabela, and Hawke is implied to spend a lot of time there. Its status is lampshaded in Act 2.
    Seneschal Bran: Though where you would find a guardsman so eager to sell his honor and sword is beyond me.
    Isabela: Hanged Man.
    Fenris: Hanged Man.
    Merrill: Hanged Man.
    Aveline: Got to be.
    Sebastian: Even I know that.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Repeatedly.
    • In Act 1, Bartrand takes the idol and leaves Hawke and Varric trapped in the Deep Roads. This might even lead to the death of Bethany/Carver.
    • In Act 2, Sister Petrice's plan to start a war between the city and the Qunari may blow up in her face and get her killed, but it still succeeds in the end and gets her what she wants.
    • In Act 3, no matter what Hawke does, Anders's Well-Intentioned Extremist actions ignite a massive war between the mages and the Templars. And the whole world considers Hawke to blame.
    • In Legacy, Corypheus escapes with Hawke none the wiser.
  • Bad Powers, Good People:
    • Mage Hawke, if playing as a paragon but also a Blood Mage.
    • Merrill is another major example. Most of her spells are aimed towards turning people into little chunks of meat in various horrible ways, but she's very sweet.
    • If Bethany survives the prologue and is later sent to the Circle, it's indicated that this is how the Templars (even Meredith) more or less see her; despite the general mistrust of magic, she's held up as an exemplary mage and deeply respected.
    • Much to the chagrin of Knight-Commander Meredith, this is how the people of Kirkwall see Mage Hawke once they become the Champion.
    • Fenris develops this opinion of either mage Hawke or Bethany, depending on the playthrough; party banter with Anders in Act 3 has him observe that they're responsible enough with their magic to live outside of a Circle without supervision.
    • Legacy makes it clear that this is how Malcolm Hawke saw himself. He could do nothing about his inherent magic powers, so he exerted himself to the extreme to be a good person in his use of them.
  • Banister Slide: Hawke does one while racing to stop Bartrand from trapping the party in the Primeval Thaig.
  • Batman Gambit: Anders pulled one on the entire Circle of Magi system by destroying the Kirkwall Chantry. He knew that Meredith would use it as an excuse to wipe out the Gallows, which would outrage mages in the rest of southern Thedas, which would prompt more crackdowns from the Templars, until enough mages got fed up and rebelled.
  • Battle Couple:
    • Aveline and Ser Wesley are definitely this before his death.
    • Later, Aveline and Donnic.
    • Hawke and their love interest.
    • Varric and Bianca... even if she is technically a crossbow.
    • Using party tactics can allow you to turn any two companions into one of these by directing each of them to specifically target enemies who are targeting the other. If one of the pair is a rogue with the Back to Back ability from the Scoundrel tree, you can also assign a tactic to make them go back-to-back with the other companion.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • In one banter, Sebastian says that the reason why he doesn't return to Starkhaven to claim his throne is because he is waiting for a sign from the Maker. Boy howdy does he get one. This is especially evident if you spare someone.
    • Friendly banter between Aveline and Anders brings us this exchange:
      Aveline: I have to admit, Anders: of the mages I know, you're the one I expected to go out in a blaze.
      Anders: The day is young.
    • In-universe, this is invoked in the codex "The Demon's Gift." This is a parable about how an elderly couple gives shelter to a beautiful young woman and she presents them with a mirror that can grant three wishes. The wife wishes to be young and beautiful, which causes her husband to berate her for not wishing to give them both youth. He then wishes she "weren't so stupid," which grants her insight and makes her realize that her husband never truly loved her and only tolerated her because her ignorance made his seem less so in comparison. In the end, they both wish at the same time that the other gets exactly what they deserve — at which point the woman's beauty and intelligence fades away and the couple is left with nothing but their contempt for one another.
    • Xenon the Antiquarian, the proprietor of the Black Emporium, was granted immortality by a witch centuries ago - but he failed to specify that he also wanted eternal youth, so by the time you meet him, he's so emaciated that he's barely more than a corpse and has gone completely insane.
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: Female Hawke, especially a non-mage Hawke, and her first two female companions.
    • Bethany - Beauty (She has the sweetest disposition, and multiple characters comment on her attractiveness.)
    • Hawke - Brains (No matter their class, gender, or personality, Hawke is the de facto leader of the group and makes all the decisions.)
    • Aveline - Brawn (She's tall, muscular, and wields a sword and shield; there's also a running joke about her being able to lift a cow.)
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension / Slap-Slap-Kiss: It's possible to pursue romances with companions who are rivals.
  • Benevolent Boss: Hawke can be this:
    • In Act 1, Hawke's first act as co-owner of the Bone Pit is to offer the Fereldan workers double their salary to return to work, despite it being out of Hawke's own pocket.
    • Rescuing Sandal on the Deep Roads Expedition and later giving Bodahn and Sandal a place to stay in the Hawke Estate, despite insisting that Bodahn doesn't need to repay you by acting as your manservant.
    • Offering Orana, a rescued Tevinter slave, a paid job and home at the Estate as a maid, if she wishes it, and by Act 3, also generously paying for her music lessons.
    • Lastly, the people of Kirkwall seem to see the Champion as this; by Act 3, it's a common discussion by various parties that they want Hawke to take the position of Viscount.
  • Betty and Veronica: One of each gender: sweet Merrill versus the no-strings-attached-growing-into-something-else relationship with Isabela and the romantic Anders versus the cynical Fenris. However, neither Merrill nor Anders are as entirely Betty-like as they seem. This trope is actually subverted - the female "Betty" is a blood mage who deals with demons, and the male "Betty" is actually possessed by a demon. The male "Veronica" has serious issues due to his enslavement and the female "Veronica" is, at least at first, even more likely to betray you than any other party member, but, well, demonic possession probably tends to put a crimp on intimacy even more than those flaws.
  • Between My Legs: A framing shot in an Act 3 cutscene of two boys who are running away from a woman in the Undercity who is a blood mage, only to run into her.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Just because Diplomatic Hawke is the most benevolent of the personalities doesn't mean that they're any less imposing.
    • Sweet, cheerful Blood Mage Merrill is also an example, as is sunny and kind-hearted Bethany; they're both lovely young women who are perfectly capable of destroying you.
    • Varric is also a genuinely Nice Guy who goes out of his way to help people, but don't underestimate him just because he's a friendly dwarf.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Hawke, if you take enough snarky dialogue options, is shown to be a highly intelligent and cunning individual who uses Obfuscating Stupidity and Buffy Speak in order to lure enemies into a false sense of security, that the gibbering moron in front of them can't possibly be dangerous... right?
    Snarky Hawke: I'd make a terrible slave; for one thing, I talk too much.
    [materialises a knife out of thin air and holds it to Danzig's throat]
    Snarky Hawke: And I also do that!
  • BFS: Greatswords. Duh.
  • Bi the Way: With the exception of Sebastian (if you purchase his DLC), both male and female Hawkes can romance every potential love interest in this game.
  • Big Bad: Cassandra spends nearly the entire game trying to figure out who in the story is the Big Bad responsible for sparking the Civil War which began in Kirkwall. By the end of his story, Varric makes it clear that there was no single person masterminding events, but that everyone involved bears some responsibility and that events spiraled wildly out of anyone's control.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: Most of the villains (if you can call them that) have their own agendas that frequently clash against each other. Due to the game's moral ambiguity, who the true Big Bad is - or if there is one at all - is a matter of debate.
    • Cassandra actually thinks that Hawke is the Big Bad at first for causing the mess the Chantry is in, until Varric explains to her that things are more complicated than that.
    • The lead designer has said in a few interviews that the "villain" was actually meant to be the circumstances, not the individual antagonists. Some have even argued that the antagonist is Kirkwall itself.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Hawke's timely intervention during the Qunari invasion is why they become the Champion of Kirkwall.
    • Knight-Commander Meredith also has a BDH moment saving Hawke from a powerful Saarebas.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Somewhat less noticeable in Lowtown, where the houses are very cramped, both inside and outside. Some buildings in Hightown, however, especially ones in the middle of a square (like the Hawke Estate), look like they would have a few rooms at most, only to be revealed as being enormous estates on the inside.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Chateau Haine," from the Mark of the Assassin DLC, translates from French as "Castle Loathing" or "Castle Hatred."
  • Blade on a Stick:
    • Mage staves now have some sort of sharp end to allow for close-quarters combat.
    • This also seems to be the standard for most Qunari weapons, including throwing spears.
  • Blatant Lies: What happens when Varric wants to talk up Hawke's badassery or, in one notable case, avoid dealing with an absolutely horrific event.
  • Bling of War:
    • Most armor in the game is subdued in its appearance, if sometimes fanciful. However, the "Golden Prince's Raiment," found in the Warrior Pack DLC, plays this trope straight.
    • Played straight with Prince Sebastian Vael. Merrill occasionally wonders how he manages to get his armour to be so shiny all the time, while Isabela uses it at one point as a mirror.
  • Blood Magic: A key plot element and far more prevalent than in Origins. By Act 3, nearly all the mages in Kirkwall are blood mages; Hawke's sister Bethany, if she was sent to the Circle, is the only confirmed exception in the Gallows.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Enemies are more likely to be dismembered by your attacks than they were in Origins. Enemies can also be blown completely apart by attacks or critical hits.
  • Bloodstained Glass Windows: The Chantry has no shortage of fight scenes - Act 1 has Isabela and Anders's recruitment quests. Act 2 has a run-in with Petrice's followers or the Arishok's men. One wonders how Elthina explains all the corpses they must keep finding. Finally, Anders blows the whole thing off the map.
  • Bloody Murder: Reavers grievously wound themselves to damage their enemies.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: The Qunari and their Qun, although not all Qunari follow the Qun (either willingly ignoring its teachings, or through ignorance); anyone willing to learn about the Qunari can understand their behavior, and will often end up converting to the Qun in the process. You can even earn an achievement if you sufficiently impress the Arishok in your dealings with him and his people.
  • Body Horror:
    • All Qunari mages have their mouths stitched shut. However, this appears to be a form of magical seal that can be removed.
    • Towards the climax, Hawke fights a Harvester, a creature that is made from corpses.
    • Not to mention what happens to Hawke's mother.
    • Xenon the Antiquarian, if you purchase the Black Emporium package, is an immortal emaciated corpse, with numerous extra limbs protruding from his torso due to magical experimentation to try to prevent his own decay.
  • Bond One-Liner: The snarky option after beating the final boss of Mark of the Assassin results in one:
    Hawke: Looks like the Duke... has fallen from grace.
  • Bonus Boss: Xebenkeck in Act 2; Hybris and a High Dragon in Act 3; Malvernis in Legacy. Finding and killing some of these monsters yields achievements.
  • Book-Ends: The game begins and can end with Hawke fleeing their home.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Unlike in Origins, where arrows needed to be found or purchased, no archer in this game ever runs out of arrows.
  • Brain Bleach:
    • Hawke needs some after finally seeing whatever lewd thing Isabela sees when one looks at the Amell coat of arms in juuust the right way.
      Hawke: All right, so she said to look at the crest sideways, then cover the... Sweet Maker! Isabela! I cannot unsee that!
    • Bethany also needs some in the Blooming Rose if Hawke accepts an elven prostitute's offer, only to soon afterward turn him down upon Bethany's objection.
      Bethany: Too late. The images are in my head and they are never, ever going away.
  • Break the Cutie: Merrill and Bethany, should she join the Grey Wardens.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: Circumstances following the ending force all of the party to part with Hawke, except for Hawke's love interest.
  • Breast Expansion: If Hawke is a warrior or rogue, Bethany experiences this when Varric starts telling the story: Cassandra waits until he mentions the dragon before calling bullshit and he stops exaggerating how well endowed she is. A female Hawke, by comparison, gets no such visible enhancements; nor is there ever an explanation offered for why, of all the things Varric might elect to exaggerate, he chose that one.
  • Brick Joke: One of the miners who fled from the first Bone Pit massacre is wary of going back, drunkenly suggesting "What if something worse comes, like... bigger dragons?" Well, guess what happens much later in the game...
  • Bring My Brown Pants:
    • If you talk to him after finishing "Blackpowder Courtesy," the viscount has this to say:
      Viscount Dumar: I'm preparing for the worst. The very worst. This may require absorbent linens.
    • Also if you bring Isabela on the "Haunted" companion quest at Bartrand's estate.
      Isabela: I really should have visited the privy before coming here.
  • Broken Aesop: Ser Thrask wanting Hawke to reach a nonviolent solution with Ser Karras in "Act of Mercy." Not killing the latter will result in him unpleasantly remaining a Karma Houdini and continuing his scumbaggery.
  • Broken Bridge: Rarely addressed as a plot point, and even then it's incidental, such as the barrier Merrill must break in order to demonstrate her use of blood magic. The frequent rubble-strewn passages and sealed doorways section off dungeons, but their appearance and removal goes without explanation.
  • Bullying a Dragon: No one ever seems to realise why antagonising Hawke is a bad idea.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer:
    • If played as a Deadpan Snarker, Hawke can come across as heroic, intelligent, and totally bonkers.
    • Merrill is one of the sweetest characters in the game and the official resident Cloud Cuckoo Lander. This doesn't stop her from being a Blood Mage who wields some of the most powerful abilities in the game.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Played for Laughs in Mark of the Assassin DLC, if you choose the aggressive option.
    Tallis: Inherited may be the wrong word, though. What do you call it when you kill someone to get all their stuff?
    Hawke: Tuesday.
    • After being congratulated on wiping out a gang of raiders in Act 2, a Deadpan Snarker Hawke can comment that they seem to recall that, but they do kill so many people...
  • But Thou Must!: Some quests in the main plot will offer a "choice" to accept or deny the task, but either way it'll be added to the journal. Some requests are required, despite seemingly having nothing to do with the current plot. Of particular note, even though it's not technically tied to the main plot, there is absolutely no way to avoid the quest which ends in the death of Hawke's mother.
    • It's noteworthy that accepting or turning down quests will affect how certain companions see you. For example, you can refuse the seemingly non-critical "Shepherding Wolves" quest, thus making Anders upset with you, only to find that it's mandatory and that you've set back your growing friendship for nothing. This is mitigated somewhat by the fact that your actions will only affect your relationships with the characters who are in the active party at the time.
    • From the framing narrative, we know things will get bad despite (or because of?) Hawke's actions. Turns out the last straw is Anders blowing up the Chantry, which cannot be avoided in any way, however good your relationship is with him and however badly you think handing the vengeance-obsessed mage the basic ingredients for fantasy gunpowder will turn out. The "best" case is him recognising his actions as monstrous a few seconds too late to change them.
  • Button Mashing: The console versions of this game have the player constantly hitting the attack button during combat for the player-controlled character instead of the automatic fighting of the computer version, although an auto-attack toggle was meant to be in the console versions and was only omitted due to a manufacturing error, and was later included in the patch. Even with the auto-attack patch, though, you still have to constantly press the attack button to engage your next target due to the speed of the game.
  • Cain and Abel:
    • Bartrand and Varric.
    • Fenris and his sister Varania.
    • Hawke and Bethany can become this, depending on player choices, though it's by no means required and is in fact easily avoided. Oddly, Carver, the sibling who has the most issues with Hawke, refuses to raise a hand against Hawke and gets pissed when other people threaten to do so.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": For dramatic purposes. Anders's "potion ingredients," sela petrae and drakestone, are actually saltpeter and sulfur.
  • Call-Back:
    • In the prologue, some darkspawn inexplicably have vials of their own blood as loot - a Call-Back to the Joining quest from the first game.
    • Isabela's first appearance in Dragon Age II is similar to her introduction in Origins.
    • Additionally, Isabela turns call backs into innuendo:
      Isabela: Does he Arl your Eamon? Or Cup your Joining? Shank your Jory?
    • One of the ways to get Isabela to teach the Warden the Duelist specialization in Origins was to catch her cheating at cards. At the beginning of the second act, Hawke walks on Merrill asking Isabela why she always wins at cards, to which Isabela responds, "Because I cheat, Kitten."
    • Another way to convince her involved sleeping with her, possibly using various combinations of party members, one of which could be Alistair if you were romancing him. If you did that, then ended the game by having the Human Noble Female Warden marry Alistair, and then meet him in this game with Isabela in your party, she's delighted to find out that she slept with the King and the Queen of Ferelden.
    • And also this:
      Alistair: Yes, swooping is bad.
    • Flemeth's first words to Hawke & Co. are the same words first spoken by Morrigan in Origins.
      "Well, well... what have we here?"
    • In a further nod to Origins, when confronted with Sandal standing alone amidst a pile of darkspawn corpses, like the Warden, Hawke can say something to the effect of "Sandal, you're surrounded by darkspawn corpses. What happened here?" The first answer is the same: "Enchantment!" But when confronted with a frozen solid ogre? "Not enchantment!" What is up with that kid?
    • When you ask the Arishok about further information about the Qunari, the following dialogue occurs, very much reminiscent of a conversation between Sten and the Warden:
      Hawke: Tell me more about your triumvirate.
      Arishok: No.
      Hawke: Now you're just being difficult.
    • A very subtle Call-Back can be found inside a chest after completing the penultimate boss fight midway through the final quest. Opening the unlocked chest will yield a rod of fire order form, presumably just like the one which served as a plot coupon in the original game's Mage origin quest. The item itself appears to be worthless.
    • If you ask the bartender for the latest news, he says that there's been a sudden thinning of pigeons in Ferelden. He goes on to ask who would hurt such innocent creatures. Who indeed...
    • Anders references his experiences in Awakening quite frequently. These range from the blatantly obvious - he mentions Sir Pounce-a-Lot in his second line - to more subtle in-jokes. For example, he says that in his experience, "all Dalish women are crazy," probably referring to Velanna.
    • Duke Prosper is killed by tossing him off a cliff, replete with bouncing off one of the rocks below. This is exactly how Leliana deals with her jailer in her DLC.
    • In the Mark of the Assassin DLC, Tallis mentions that the Antaam has "Made grousing a sport", which we saw earlier with Sten's memories of his soldiers in the Fade in Origins.
  • The Cameo: Several of your companions from Origins and Awakening show up, although the circumstances of their appearance vary depending on the choices in the saved game you imported (or the pre-set backstory you selected at the start).
    • Leliana appears in both the Exiled Prince and the Mark of the Assassin DLC, having become a "Hand of the Divine" - a sort of secret agent for the head of the Chantry. She also makes an appearance in the ending of the main game, having been working with Cassandra the whole time. (As we learn in the next game, they are known as the Left and Right Hands of the Divine, respectively.)
    • Also, Alistair and Teagan may appear and mention the Warden. Alistair can show up as a drunk, a Grey Warden, or the King of Ferelden. Teagan also makes an appearance in Mark of the Assassin, along with Isolde.
    • Zevran appears in a side quest where the Crows are still pursuing him. He also provides backup in the final battle if you help him during his quest, but doesn't say anything.
    • Nathaniel crops up in a side quest where he acknowledges Anders (if he's in the party) and whichever decision you made about the Architect in Awakening, implying that the Architect is an ally of the Wardens if he's spared. Like Zevran, he'll also appear in the final battle after his mission, but he won't say anything.
  • Captain Obvious: Some of Hawke's sarcastic lines are this.
    Hawke: Sundermount seems very... mountainous today. Lots of... rocks, and... hillside.
  • Cargo Ship:
    • invoked A canon one, at that: Varric/Bianca OTP.
      Fenris: The way you fondle your weapon is disturbing.
      Varric: Hey, I'm a perfect gentleman! In public.
    • Isabela hits on Bianca a few times as well, suggesting she needs "a woman's touch."
      Varric: Bianca responds to my touch. She'd never give it up for you.
      Isabela: That's what they all say, and I always prove them wrong.
      Varric: Stop it, you're confusing her. And me.
    • Sebastian, at one point, says he thinks Bianca's sight might be crooked and offers to fix it. Varric reacts as though he'd suggested devouring a live baby. Hilariously, he's still a bit salty about this conversation in the next game.
      Varric: (aghast) You want to touch Bianca's cocking ring?
      Sebastian: ...Never mind.
  • Carpet of Virility: Varric Tethras. Everyone loves to bring up his chest hair. Fenris jokes that unlike other dwarves, Varric's beard fell from his chin onto his chest.
  • Cast from Lifespan: The Elixir of Heroism, which gives an instant level up, works by aging the drinker a few years, granting them the skills and experience they would have earned over that time instantaneously.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue:
    • Unintentional examples of this pop up whenever a random encounter and a random Party Banter trigger end up a bit too close to each other. Thus, while heads are being severed and fireballs are raining from the sky, you'll have Merrill asking Fenris why he's so cross all the time, or Aveline and Isabela bickering about relationships.
    • A good in-story example would be the Hawke family's flight from Lothering. They spend a couple of minutes talking about Kirkwall with the darkspawn horde contained only by a foot-high wall of fire.
    • During the introduction of Tallis in Mark of the Assassin, Hawke wonders aloud who she is during the fight.
      Hawke: Who the blazes is that?!
      Varric: Don't know! Kill people, then ask!
    • The majority of the Party Banter in Legacy. Even when you're not in combat, the banter seems way too lighthearted for the setting. note 
  • Cat Fight:
    • Hawke can walk in on the beginning of one between Aveline and Isabela in the Hawke estate. The best part is a smartass Hawke's reaction: rushing in and gasping, "Are there any good seats left?"
    • Another one, between the same characters, can also happen if you bring Isabela along when you start Aveline's companion quest "The Long Road."
    • There's one with Aveline and female Hawke on the second "Questioning Beliefs" quest if Aveline is at high rivalry. You have to get real catty with Aveline if you want her to stay in Kirkwall! She actually punches Hawke to the ground.
  • Category Traitor: Mages with different politics frequently accuse each other of letting the side down. As early as Act 1, Grace throws this at a mage Hawke or companion after the fight with Decimus. Anders protests that he attacked them, Bethany objects to his blood magic and necromancy, and Merrill points out that she's a Dalish elf as well as a mage.
  • Central Theme:
    • The theme of the main plot is that there may not always be a single driving force behind a disaster: sometimes many small things keep adding up until everything goes to hell, and there's nothing that can be done. This is what Varric practically has to spell out in the epilogue for Cassandra, who still didn't get it.
    • The central theme of the character ensemble is being an outcast. The Hawke family and Aveline are refugees from Ferelden (Leandra is doubly an outcast, having previously been disowned by the Amells); the Tethras brothers are surfacers, i.e. outcasts from the dwarven society; Anders fled both the Circle and the Grey Wardens; Merrill has been exiled by her clan; Fenris doesn't even know what he is an outcast of, just that he doesn't fit anywhere; Isabela is stuck on land after losing her ship; and Sebastian was Locked Away in a Monastery for being a disgrace to his family.
    • No matter how individually powerful you are, all are powerless against history's inertia, especially when it involves centuries of festering hatred and prejudices.
  • Character Development: Most companions have mostly the same character arc, the only difference being their relationship with Hawke as either a friend or rival. The only exceptions are Anders and Merrill, whose arcs are actually influenced by friendship and rivalry.
    • Anders spends the entire story championing for mage rights, forming a mage underground to help mages escape Kirkwall. However, the worsening situation in Kirkwall combined with the influence of the spirit Justice (with whom Anders fused before the events of the game) cause his actions to become increasingly extreme. If he is friends with Hawke, Anders will take full responsibility after destroying the Chantry and kickstarting a war between mages and Templars, believing it was for the best and practically begging Hawke to kill him so Justice can be free and Anders can become a martyr for the mages. However, if he is rivals with Hawke, Anders will have second thoughts and try to back out of blowing up the Chantry, only for Justice to take control and cause him to do it anyway. Anders will be completely horrified by what he's done and will fully admit that his own anger at the Templars has corrupted Justice into a spirit of Vengeance. In this case, he asks Hawke to kill him out of guilt and fear that Vengeance will cause more damage, but will even side with the Templars if Hawke asks it of him, something a non-rivalry Anders will flat out refuse to do.
    • Merrill's arc revolves around learning blood magic from a demon in order to rebuild an Eluvian and restore her people to power. If Hawke supports her the whole way as a friend, Merrill will blame Marethari for not trusting her (even after Marethari sacrificed herself to protect Merrill from the demon) and thanks Hawke for their support even though it didn't go to plan. If Hawke instead works against Merrill's efforts and becomes rivals with her, Merrill will become increasingly bitter with them and Marethari. However, after Marethari sacrifices herself, Merrill will break down and admit that Hawke and Marethari were right all along before destroying the Eluvian in tears.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The relic Isabela is looking for turns out to belong to the Qunari and is the entire reason they cannot leave.
    • The Red Lyrium Idol from act 1 returns in act 3, where it's revealed to have caused Meredith's Sanity Slippage.
    • Those big bronze statues in the Gallows Courtyard? They come to life in the final battle.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Meredith is mentioned almost immediately after the Hawkes arrive in Kirkwall, and is seen walking by and frowning at a beggar-pickpocket at the beginning of Act 1, though on a first run the player probably won't know who this is. The character doesn't come into play directly until the very end of Act 2.
    • In Act 2, there is a beggar named Evelina in Darktown who, if you click on her, asks for a few coins to feed her starving children. In Act 3 you learn that she is an apostate-turned-abomination and have to kill her.
  • The City Narrows: Darktown, supposedly. In actuality, the other city districts are way more dangerous, especially at night, since that's where all the bandits and muggers are. Varric even mentions, in one bit of banter, that Hightown is arguably the worst part of town in this regard.
  • City of Adventure: Except for the first half of the prologue and the two DLC campaigns, the entire game takes place in Kirkwall and its surrounding countryside.
  • Civil War: The final conflict of the game is a civil war between mages and Templars. While we never really get to see it in full, we do get to see the opening shots. Hawke is forced to pick a side, and the companions, having their own allegiances, may turn on you depending on your choices and relationship values.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: What Ser Varnell does to the Qunari delegates captured during "Offered and Lost."
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: In cutscenes, magic appears this with different characters. With Bethany it appears to be a wispish purple; Anders appears to cast his as a flaming dark blue (usually when manifesting Justice); Mage Hawke's appears as an intense white.
  • The Comically Serious: The Arishok and most of the Qunari can come across as this, having a very understated sense of humour, particularly if dealing with Hawke.
  • Conflicting Loyalties: One of the major themes of the game, even much more so than in the first one. Pretty much every major quest is about finding a solution for mutually incompatible goals. Usually, the end result turns out worse than either alternatives.
  • Conspiracy Theorist:
    • The talkative man in the Hanged Man. Among other things, he thinks the Fifth Blight (in other words, the whole plot of Origins) was invented by Ferelden and didn't actually happen.note 
    • Cassandra in the framing story. Some of her theories on Hawke's history and motives are a little... out there. She initially seems to be under the assumption that Hawke and company all came to Kirkwall together as part of a large plot to incite mage sedition against the Chantry, were allied with the Grey Wardens (depending on player choices), and that Hawke knew about the lyrium idol hidden in the Deep Roads. Her view is somewhat justified by the fact that she's operating largely on rumor and hearsay, plus whatever Varric wrote in his books; she knows that the facts with which she's working are skewed, and she wants the truth from the only person she thinks can give it to her.
  • Continuity Lockout: To a minor extent. The game makes very little effort to actively explain the setting to new players, though it's traditional enough that most people will catch on quick, and lore really isn't relevant to most of the gameplay. However, those looking for references to the first game's lore will have to search the DA wiki.
  • Continuity Porn: Depending on player choices in Origins, over the course of Hawke's seven years, they might encounter Alistair, Leliana, Zevran, Flemeth, Bodahn and Sandal, Cullen, Nathaniel, Merrill (and anyone from her clan), Anders, Bann Teagan, Isolde, Sketch, Sophia Dryden, and Isabela. This is in addition to hearing about other characters, general mythology gags, and references to the Origins Warden.
  • The Corruption:
    • Due to Blood Magic, Fade Demons, and the Black City, many feel this is universally inherent in magic talent. And then there's the lyrium idol, which can inflict this even on Templars and dwarves.
    • If you collect all of "The Enigma of Kirkwall" secret messages, it is revealed that Kirkwall itself is a giant example of this, thanks to its peculiar placement of the streets and the human sacrifices that went on in huge quantities for decades.
  • Corrupt Church: The Kirkwall Chantry isn't the best example of a Saintly Church. Petrice and Meredith are the main perpetrators, but Templars and fanatical citizens are also part of the problem. Act 2 focuses around people in the Chantry trying to stir up trouble with the Qunari, mostly because they're "heretics" (which is to say, have beliefs outside the Chantry) and deserve to be wiped out. This is in spite of the fact that the Qunari that are in the city are hundreds strong, all of them warriors, and have zero interest in conquering anybody... until they're antagonised enough. It flares up at the end of Act 2 with predictable consequences. Also, while priests are seen canvassing local prostitutes for donations, they are noted to be singularly unhelpful when it comes to the poor of Darktown, hence the fierce loyalty Anders inspires by offering healing magic.
  • Cowardly Boss: The High Dragon and both Orsino and Meredith.
  • Crapsack World: Despite the Warden's best efforts in the first game, the land of Thedas is still a rather bleak and depressing place. Not only that, but it goes from bad to worse, partly thanks to you and your party's actions.
  • Cut-and-Paste Environments:
    • A frequently cited complaint is that the dungeons and cave areas are all identical, but with various impassable doors thrown up to create a different flow. Lampshaded by Varric in the quest "On The Loose."
      Varric: Another secret society meeting in a warehouse. You think the owners charge them rent?
    • The Legacy and Mark of the Assassin DLCs, however, have taken this into consideration and feature unique dungeons.
    • A line of party banter from Merrill in Mark of the Assassin lampshades this as well, saying that everywhere in Kirkwall started looking the same after a while.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max:
    • Not "cutscenes" per se, but Varric's story framing invokes a variation of this trope at times. Occasionally, Varric will embellish his tale, which in gameplay terms translates to being given A Taste of Power. The very beginning is an example. Varric initially romanticizes Hawke's tale, portraying them as a badass mage/warrior/rogue who was capable of cutting up darkspawn left, right and center before Hawke even met Varric. Then the Seeker calls him out for his exaggeration and Varric is forced to admit that Hawke had a far humbler beginning - the game's true prologue opens with a scene of Hawke fleeing for their life with their family in tow. A more humorous scene has Varric portraying himself as a One-Man Army when he single-handedly breaks into his brother's mansion.
    • A pretty awesome straightforward example occurs while playing the "Wayward Son" quest as a rogue, which even comes with its own Badass Boast line.
    • At the end of the boss battle against Orsino, Hawke kills the last iteration of the Harvester simply by squishing it underfoot like a bug.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: While most of the controls haven't changed, many of the options on the radial menu have moved from where they were located in Origins, making playing the games back-to-back slightly jarring.
  • Dark Messiah:
    • Cassandra implies that among those in the Chantry, Hawke is considered this.
    • Anders definitely serves as one throughout the story.
  • Darker and Edgier: Certainly darker than Origins. Much of the grimness comes from how this game plays on a very personal level, rather than an epic one like its predecessor.
    • It's also Darker and Edgier in volume of gore, sexual situations, and dramatic tragedy. Also reconstructed with Sebastian, the rogue marksman who is also a paladin, and Merrill, a sweet, naive Moe who dabbles in every forbidden magic.
    • Visually edgier, as the color palette is less realistically brown, but virtually reduced to shades of gray, brown and intense red, with sharp contrasts.
      • Definitely not darker in terms of lighting. While Origins had very atmospheric, sometimes chiaroscuro lighting, the light in DAII is generally flat, without shadows, and almost uniformly bright.
    • This is by far BioWare's darkest game. While other BioWare games have their elements of darkness, they usually end in the triumph of the hero and, in "good" endings, everything restored. This game, however, is about a descent into madness with the hero caught in the middle. There is no triumph here.
    • There's also a lot of swearing. Real swearing, not the Pardon My Klingon that Origins featured.
  • Dashed Plot Line: A prologue, three acts, and an epilogue, with 1/3/3/2 year skips between them.
  • Day-Old Legend: Killing a nameless high dragon will let you loot her Fire Gland, which, in turn, can be crafted by a local enchanter into an amulet named Urzara's Tooth. This used to unlock a codex entry, which claimed that Urzara's Tooth is a 200-year-old relic of a dragon-worshiping cult, but the codex entry has since been patched out.
  • Dead Person Conversation: If Legacy is completed in Act 3, at the end Hawke will have a conversation with a specter of their dead mother. Varric admits to Cassandra that the whole thing is artistic license, but asks that she humor him.
  • Deadly Hug:
    • Huon kills his wife Nyssa this way in the "On the Loose" quest.
    • Marethari will give one to Merrill if you take the optimistic approach to the way the battle ends.
    • Anders to Karl at the end of his recruitment quest.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Hawke by the boatload if you play them that way. The rest of the party will often get in on it. Flemeth will react approvingly to smartass remarks from Hawke.
    • Special mention goes to the comments Javaris makes outside of Smuggler's Cut. Snarking gold, right there, with a healthy dose of Lampshade Hanging.
  • Deal with the Devil: In Origins, it was possible to make deals with demons that didn't carry any repercussions for the Player Character (though other people weren't so lucky). In Dragon Age II, demons always betray those who bargain with them. As Anders puts it, "demons will trip you up every time."
    • However, at one point it's possible for Hawke to make a deal with a demon and betray them almost immediately afterwards, killing them without any repercussions for Hawke or anyone else.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: The "Mythal's Favor" grenade allows the active character to revive companions who have fallen in battle.
  • Debate and Switch: Notably averted. The game's conflicts don't have easy outs. Anders makes sure of that by removing the player's ability to Take a Third Option or compromise.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: Of the Adventure RPG genre. There's no Big Bad (despite the insistence of some characters that there must be), the central plot doesn't involve Saving the World, and as opposed to being The Chosen One destined to change and influence the world, Hawke is an ordinary (if badass) person simply trying to survive with their family. Hawke is ultimately a Failure Hero by the end of the game.
    • Many characters and party members are subversions to stock fantasy archetypes. The Tank of the group is a normal woman of average build; the BFG-wielding DPS warrior is a waifish elf; and the dwarf is not a surly, ax-wielding, beer-quaffing, bearded buffoon, but a bare-faced, cultured, smooth-talking crossbowman (without even Gadgeteer Genius cred to go toward the stereotype).
  • Defector from Decadence: The Mabari, according to Fenris. He tells Hawke that when the ancient Tevinters took Mabari warhounds along with them during an invasion of Ferelden, the Mabari took one look at the Alamarri tribesmen and immediately decided to switch sides, joining forces to drive out the Tevinters. This is given as the reason why the Mabari are so beloved by the Fereldan people and have been a staple of their military stratagem ever since.
  • Defiant to the End: Duke Prosper. He will still try to kill a paragon Hawke even while hanging off a cliff. Good job, dude.
  • Degraded Boss: It's hard to decide what's a boss battle in this game, but before the final battle you will fight Demons of Pride as normal encounters. Revenants too, although they were already somewhat degraded by Awakening.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: In a world full of demonic possessions, it's not surprising that your party has little to no understanding or empathy for a man in a quest who appears mentally ill. Because he's not possessed, they assume he's lying when he says he hears voices and just not accepting responsibility for his actions. Killing him is the only action in the game which garners a positive response from everyone in your party. The dissonance is softened slightly by his knowing that he's committed terrible crimes (definitely child murder, possibly pedophilia) but has been protected from any punishment by his magistrate father.
  • Demo Bonus: Completing the demo on the same online account as the main game unlocks the unique greatsword "Hayder's Razor" (although it can now be obtained more easily as part of a free DLC bundle). The sword is named after the end boss of the demo, whom you also fight in the game proper during Isabela's recruitment quest (though this version of him doesn't drop any named gear), allowing you to kick his ass with his own weapon.
  • Demonic Possession:
    • A standard threat to mages in Thedas. Anders is also willingly possessed by Justice.
    • Also Powers via Possession; it seems like everyone has Cthulhu on call, and will accept a takeover at the slightest distress. Demonic Possession is the new Turns Red.
      • An in-game codex entry found in Legacy speculates that Corypheus is at least partially responsible for this, along with all the other things that make Kirkwall such a crapsack place to live.
  • Depending on the Writer: Anders in Awakening (written by David Gaider) was womanizing, flirty, shallow, snarky, and laid back. Anders in this game (written by Jennifer Hepler) is a moody, obsessive, serious person, although he still snarks when he's in a good mood. This is explained as being due to the fact that Anders is possessed by a spirit, and thus not the same person that he once was.
  • Dialogue Tree: Unlike the more traditional dialogue selection of Origins, a new icon wheel has been added to streamline the experience, similar to Mass Effect. The game adds the use of an icon in the center of the wheel to help deduce intent, along with the paraphrased line. These icons make it possible for the game to track personality, based upon which attitude the player most often takes, and will sometimes alter lines to reflect the dominant personality.
  • Dirty Cop: Captain Jeven, until he gets jailed for corruption.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • If you supported Bhelen for the throne of Orzammar in Origins, the sequel reveals that he apparently had all of House Harrowmont murdered for opposing him, save for one nephew who is now on the run. If Hawke helps Renvil Harrowmont escape Kirkwall, it's revealed that Bhelen's assassins continue to hound him as far as Rivain.
      Lord Renvil Harrowmont: Bhelen's reach is long... and his vengeance a terrible thing to behold.
    • If you have the Exiled Prince DLC and you choose to spare Anders, Sebastian will inform you that he intends to raise an army and burn the entire city of Kirkwall to the ground. The third game shows him attempting exactly this.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Bethany, if you bring her and Sebastian with you for Mark of the Assassin, will get distracted by his smiling.
  • Disinherited Child: Subversion: Hawke's mother Leandra thinks she is this because her parents disowned her when she eloped with Malcolm Hawke. Her brother Gamlen lets her go on believing it. However, Hawke recovers Grandfather Amell's will from the old family vault, and it's revealed that he actually left his daughter everything.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: The elves - even Fenris. Hawke can also be played like this if you have the Black Emporium DLC and equip the "Sandals of the Mystic," which are styled similarly to most elven footwear.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Several, of course, but most obvious would be Ser Alrik's "Tranquil Solution" to "the mage issue."
    • Also the Qunari recruit the lowest members of society and eventually try to take control of the city.
  • Doom Magnet: Hawke. It's even worse because the vast majority of what happens is indirectly their fault - but unintentionally.
    Hawke: Just once, I'd like to go one week without an insane mage. One week.
    • In Legacy, Hawke will remark that they want to go someplace peaceful for once, like a beach. If Varric is in the party, he'll respond that the day Hawke goes to the beach is the day that an angry armada of demon pirates shows up.
  • Doomed Hometown: Lothering.
    • Kirkwall, by the end of the game.
  • Downer Beginning: Hawke loses their home and one of their siblings, while Aveline has to either Mercy Kill her husband or watch Hawke do it. Just to drive the point home, Flemeth reminds everyone that their struggles have only begun.
  • Downer Ending: The story does not end well, though you can probably figure that out due to the framing device. The mages and Templars are now a hair's breadth from all-out war; several innocent lives are lost in the crossfire (some of which are caused by Hawke, depending on player choices); all of Hawke's companions save their love interest are forced to abandon them; and Hawke, the one person who could conceivably put the whole thing right again, has gone missing.
    Varric: Nobody said this was going to be a happy story.
  • Dowry Dilemma: Parodied. During one of the companion quests, after many unsuccessful yet hilarious methods of courting one of her guardsmen, Guard-Captain Aveline resorts to presenting herself with a dowry to the guard's mother and Hawke being the one presenting her.
    • Lampshaded by Merrill if she is in your party.
      Merrill: Don't be silly! A dowry would only matter if you were courting him!
      Aveline: Merrill...
      Merrill: (gasps) You're courting him!
  • Dual Wielding: Rogues retain this ability from Origins, warriors lose it.
  • invokedDude, Not Funny!:
    • In-Universe, at the end of the sidequest "Malcolm's Will" in the DLC Legacy, a mage Hawke is not amused by Carver's joking reaction to the revelation that Malcolm didn't want his children to be mages. Even a Deadpan Snarker Hawke doesn't find it funny.
    • A Deadpan Snarker Hawke gets this treatment all the time as they make jokes in the middle of all sorts of serious quests. From helping the guards put down a dangerous raider band, to helping Feynriel not turn into an abomination, to joking while Viscount Dumar is holding his son's corpse. Aveline will call Hawke on this.
  • Due to the Dead:
    • Wesley will commend the soul of either Bethany or Carver, depending on who is killed by the ogre in the prologue. It's especially poignant if it's Bethany, since she's an apostate and he's a Templar.
    • Sebastian puts Wesley's name on the Kirkwall Chantry's memorial wall for Aveline. He later does this for Leandra after "All That Remains."
    • A side quest in Legacy, if completed, has Hawke performing dwarven burial rites for a distant relative of Varric's who was lost in the Deep Roads a few centuries earlier.
    • Varric makes a small gesture during Legacy if you complete it after you complete "All That Remains". He tells of how Hawke speaks with Leandra's ghost after returning to Kirkwall. Varric outright tells Cassandra that he's taking liberties for the sake of his best friend. Given his affable demeanor and Leandra's kindly nature, it's easy to see them being on friendly terms, so he may have wanted to honor her memory as well.
  • Duel to the Death: Hawke can face the Arishok in single combat to determine the fate of Kirkwall.
  • Dummied Out: Vigilance, the Infinity +1 Sword from Awakening, is in the game files, but is unobtainable. This is actually pretty funny, since the epilogue of Awakening states that the sword is continually being stolen and passing from one owner to another; maybe you can't obtain it in this game because someone stole it.
  • Dwindling Party: It's impossible to hold on onto everyone by the end game, since one of your siblings dies in the prologue, and the other will always leave you after the Deep Roads in one way or another. Also, some party members' choices are exclusive of each other's by that point, such as Sebastian and Anders over whether or not you kill Anders for his actions. Depending on which side you choose, you may lose the ability to get Bethany or Carver back (although you'll never fight them), you may have to fight Merrill and Anders to the death if you side with the Templars, or you may lose Fenris and Aveline if you side with the mages unless you manage to max out either their friendship or rivalry bar. Even before the endgame, it's possible to lose Fenris, Anders, Merrill, and Isabela during their personal quests; it's also possible to never recruit Sebastian, Fenris, or Isabela in the first place. By the end of the game, you can theoretically lose all of your companions except Varric (and Dog, if you have his DLC).
  • Dynamic Entry: The Vendetta skill from the Duelist specialization fulfills all three criteria for this trope. It's a Flash Step behind the opponent with a rather large range, and can hit hard even without upgrades.
  • Dysfunction Junction: As is traditional, the party is almost completely comprised of people just filled with psychological issues. Quite possibly the worst case in any BioWare game to date.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Scattered throughout the game are portraits of characters who would later appear in The Last Court on the Dragon Age Keep. For example, in the guard-captain's office hangs the portrait of the Acerbic Dowager.
  • Easy Evangelism: The Qunari are shockingly successful at acquiring converts. Even the Qunari themselves are surprised. The group in Kirkwall is composed entirely of soldiers, and they aren't actively evangelizing at all since there is an entire separate caste dedicated to that. This makes the more fanatical members of the Chantry attempt to start a war with the Qunari.
  • Eldritch Location: Kirkwall is famous for having the Veil be notoriously thin thanks to the horrors of the Tevinter Magisters. This explains why so many mages get possessed there in particular.
    • With the addition of the Legacy DLC, it's also implied that Corypheus, an ancient Tevinter Magister turned darkspawn, likewise might be responsible, even though he's been asleep in his Grey Warden prison in the Vimmark Mountains for the past thousand years.
    • The Enigma of Kirkwall codex entries reveal that it was almost certainly built from the ground up to be one. The streets and tunnels are nonsensical on the ground, but laid out on a map represent the glyphs of a summoning circle on a massive scale. It was also the site of human sacrifice on an industrial scale at its height, apparently as part of summoning very powerful demons. It also may or may not be where Corypheus and his compatriots launched their expedition to the Golden City in the Fade; if it was, they were making use of groundwork laid centuries before.
    • The Primeval Thaig may well count as well; it was built by prehistoric dwarves, and is full of red lyrium and ancient creatures Varric assumed were myth. Also see Alien Geometries above.
  • Elite Tweak:
    • Ignore Willpower for Merrill, and give her only Magic and Constitution, plus a bunch of defensive sustainables, and you have this game's Arcane Warrior.
    • Two-handed swordsmen are murder masters: in a game where enemies tend to cluster, a weapon with a nice wide swing is devastating, and the majority of the moves for a two handed sword user can be upgraded to do critical hits every time they connect, and strike a wide area. And with the skill Second Wind, you can speed up the cool down of your skills, and completely restore your stamina. And you can use it once a minute, or every 45 seconds once it's upgraded. With the proper build, the only reason you need a party with you is to heal you while you reduce every enemy in sight to red ruin. This is especially true once you go into the path of The Berserker or the Reaver.
    • Two words: Spirit Healer. Max out the tree, and your character will have a one-hundred percent healing rate, which basically means you regenerate health every second. Throw on a bunch of buffs like Rock Armor, Arcane Shield, and Heroic Aura, and your mage will be taking pitiful amounts of damage at best, damage which will be healed completely moments later. Not only are you the best tank in the game, you can pretty much just turn on auto-attack and cherry-tap everything in the game to death. The clincher? This ability can be gained before Act 1 is done.
    • Blood Magic is pretty versatile as well if you invest some points into Constitution. After activating it, you can get a Heroic Aura and an Elemental Weapon buff for free. With Aveline, Fenris, and/or Carver hanging about, Improved Sacrifice recovers plenty of HP; and if you've got Anders in the fourth slot focusing on healing, he's going to be keeping the tanks in good health as it stands. Grave Robber is a nice supplement for anyone who gets near. Built right, you may now endlessly spam a cycling of Cone of Cold, Firestorm, Tempest, and Fist of the Maker infinitely, taking advantage of the hitstun from Firestorm to Improved Sacrifice Aveline until you run out of enemies.
  • Elopement: Hawke's parents. He was a runaway apostate mage, she was a noble with an Arranged Marriage looming.
  • Empathic Environment: As well as being an Eldritch Location Legacy offers the theory that the presence of Corypheus may be what causes most of the mayhem in Kirkwall.
  • End of an Age: By the game's ending, the Mage-Templar War has officially ended the current status quo in Thedas.
  • Ending Theme: Appropriately enough, "I'm Not Calling You a Liar," by Florence and the Machine.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • The Raiders of the Waking Sea are an armada of pirates who fought to protect Kirkwall during the Qunari invasion. After the Qunari were stopped, they went back to piracy.
    • Also, during the Qunari uprising, Meredith and Orsino are forced to cooperate to save Kirkwall. She will also overlook mage Hawke's abilities for the time being.
    • Orsino says that he views his coverup of Quentin as this. He is fully aware that Quentin and his experiments were pure evil; but he also fears that, if Quentin's crimes were ever made public knowledge, Meredith would use him as justification for furthering her mage oppression agenda. Of course, this doesn't explain why Orsino didn't simply leave Quentin face-down in a sewer...
    • In the Mage ending, Cullen and Templar Carver will assist you in the final battle. Conversely, Warden Bethany will help a Hawke who sided with the Templars, although she's understandably reluctant.
    • If Gascard is still alive during Hawke's attempts at finding their mother, he will use blood magic to find the location of Leandra. Normally both against blood magic, both Fenris and Anders will allow him to use it once without gaining rivalry since the situation is very dire for Hawke.
  • Entropy and Chaos Magic: Mostly consisting of curses and other sinister powers, and closely connected to the Fade.
  • Equipment Upgrade: Rather than changing armour, your party members merely improve on the stat bonuses provided by their outfits by picking up upgrade components.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Each of the party members' first appearances show off their characters.
    • Carver swings a massive sword and takes down several darkspawn, while Bethany uses fire magic to block off their pursuers' path.
    • Varric shoots with ridiculous marksmanship, snarks, and tells outrageous lies. (Not to Hawke. To Cassandra.)
    • Aveline tackles and decapitates a creature threatening a loved one and prepares to die by his side.
    • Merrill plays with forbidden magic, acts secretive, awkward, and friendly, and kills things with extreme prejudice. While being adorable.
    • Anders helps people at his own expense, and Vengeance reacts extremely and violently to a potential threat.
    • Fenris gets angry about slavery and crushes someone's heart with his hand, before pursuing his vendetta against his master.
    • Isabela gets in trouble, kicks ass in a totally unsportsmanlike way, and flirts outrageously. And lies her ass off.
    • Sebastian shoots with ridiculous marksmanship, gets angry, and acts conflicted.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Like you wouldn't believe, making this something of a Crapsack Game. In one Act 2 quest, Merrill, Isabela, Varric, Aveline, and Fenris will all betray you to one of the Fade demons if the right factors align, even if you're best friends and/or lovers. Isabela will betray you at the end of Act 2 (after revealing she's been lying to you all along), but if you have exceptionally high friendship with her she will come back later... after her actions result in a massacre and a small war. Fenris and Aveline may leave you if you side with the mages in the final chapter, and Merrill and Anders may leave if you side with the Templars.
    • Not to mention Sebastian, who, if you do not execute Anders after the Chantrysplosion, not only leaves you, but swears to raise an army and burn Kirkwall to the ground until he finds and kills the mage.
  • Ethereal Choir: Used as part of the score during the "Destiny" trailer.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Lampshaded during Alistair's cameo. Bann Teagan says that they should be getting back to Denerim to see the Warden, and as they are leaving, Alistair responds, "You're always so formal. She/He has a name, you know."
  • Everyone Is Bi: The only party member that can only be romanced by one gender - female - is Sebastian, who's only accessible via DLC. The only ones that can't be romanced at all are Varric (who likes to say his heart belongs to Bianca), Aveline (who can be flirted with for a while by either gender but ultimately falls for someone else), and your sibling (who is your sibling).
  • Evil Laugh: Conversed by a snarky Hawke in the DLC Legacy:
    Hawke: Corypheus? With a name like that he's bound to start going 'mwa-ha-ha-ha' at some point.
  • Evil vs. Evil: While the conflict starts off grey, the mage/templar conflict becomes this in the end, with Orsino becoming a blood mage that aids and abets serial killers, and Meredith a Knight Templar driven mad by the lyrium idol.
  • Evolutionary Retcon: The Qunari now sport horns in order to differentiate them from the other races. The official explanation as to why the Qunari seen in Origins don't have horns is that the Qunari who are naturally born hornless, such as Sten and the members of his squad, are considered special and are given special tasks, such as scouting foreign lands, while the other Qunari seen in Origins are Tal-Vashoth mercenaries who typically remove their horns when they leave the Qunari.
    • The hurlocks have also changed, appearing a few shades lighter, smoother-skinned, and with blunter teeth in the sequel.
    • Other types of darkspawn have changed in more drastic ways: from looking like normal hurlocks with staffs, the emissaries have changed into clearly exalted beings reminiscent of the Architect, whereas the previously goblin-like genlocks have become bestial, gorilla like creatures.
  • Evolving Weapon: One of the DLC weapons, Fadeshear, levels up as you do.
    • As does Bianca, and any runes enchanted increase in power with it.
    • The class item packs include weapons and accessories that increase in effectiveness when you gain levels.
  • Exact Words: The oft-quoted phrase "Magic exists to serve man and never to rule over him."
    • Part of the ambiguousness of this sentence is that the Chantry focus on the "rule" line, believing that that mages should locked away to prevent them abusing their natural gifts, while the Tevinter Magisters focus on the "serve" line, believing that magic can be best used to govern the populace, forgetting they use this to rule over others.
    • On the other hand, particularly honourable mage apostates such as Malcolm Hawke (and possibly Hawke) seem to Take a Third Option, instead believing this simply means that magic is merely a tool to be used to serve others, but should never be abused for one's own personal benefit.
  • Eye Scream: Oh man, yeah. Arrows, knives... not for the squeamish.
    • If you look closely at Ketojan, you might notice blood spatter on his mask directly underneath his eyes, which has some disturbing implications.


  • Face–Heel Turn: Any of the non-rogues can turn against you in the finale - Merrill and Anders if you side with the Templars, Fenris and Aveline if you side with the mages. If you've reached full friend or rival status with someone, they will stay at your side regardless, with the exception of Anders, whose support for the mages is so fanatical, he will never side with the Templars.
    • A crisis point was found for Anders which suggests that at full rivalry, with certain dialogue options selected, he could have been convinced that blowing up the Chantry and being possessed by Justice were both wrong, and he would side with the Templars if Hawke asked. His writer stated on the official forums that this is supposed to be in the final game. It is only through a recent patch that this has been made achievable.
  • Faceless Goons: Lampshaded by a dwarf whose mercenary bodyguards you slaughter while he's picking over their remains for stuff to loot. "What, are these guys brothers or something?"
  • Faceless Masses: Many citizens of Kirkwall have an unfinished look to them, as they're just there to make the city feel less empty.
  • Facepalm:
    • When trying to get the miners to return to the Bone Pit:
      Drunk Miner 1: What? My farm supplied eggplant to half the bastards in South Reach!
      Drunk Miner 2: Well, my eggplant supplied half the bastards in South Reach!
      Hawke: *facepalm*
    • A staple of Hawke's Deadpan Snarker responses.
      Lia: He didn't mean to hurt me, he told me. There are demons that make him do these horrible things.
      Hawke: *facepalm* I'll have to remember that next time. A demon made me do it.
  • Faction-Specific Endings: The game has the Templar ending and the Mage ending. The absence of a neutral path is very much a plot point.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Basically the whole main plot. No matter how much Hawke tries to prevent the catastrophe, every main story quest ends with the worst possible outcome and the world spiraling deeper down into madness.
    • Varric himself heavily implies that the Civil War was inevitable, no matter what happened or what anyone did to prevent it. The game's events merely added the final fuels to the fire that accelerated Thedas into the war.
  • Fake Action Prologue: The game starts off with a playable action sequence of Hawke and one of their siblings (a warrior or a rogue will have Bethany, and a mage will have Carver) fighting off two groups of darkspawn plus an ogre, but this particular scene reveals itself to be made up by Varric, who narrates the story of Hawke for Cassandra. During this playable sequence, the player character's health meter constantly regenerates, they're wearing the Armor of the Champion (which you don't get until the final act), and their abilities' cooldown times are very short.
    • Also, Bethany's breasts are considerably larger, should you choose a warrior or a rogue Hawke.
  • Family Extermination: Exactly one of Harrowmont's nephews has managed to escape being exterminated, although he needs help to get far enough away to where King Bhelen can't get to him.
  • Fanservice Pack: Isabela, who had a much plainer appearance in Origins, gains several cup sizes, a very revealing outfit, and a more sensual face. Meanwhile, Flemeth turns from raggedy old crazy woman with plain grey hairdo in Origins to warrior goddess, complete with tight-fitting armor, 'horned' (and bleached) hairdo, and spiked diadem. Not officially explained, but possibly due to the fact that she was previously hiding by masquerading as a raggedy, crazy old woman in Origins - and she has no reason to do that anymore.
  • Fantastic Drug:
    • Once again, lyrium - and this game introduces its nastier cousin, red lyrium.
    • Aquae lucidius, made from wyvern poison. Even Empress Celene, one of the best Chessmasters in a nation full of them, enjoys it. Even your party members are fond of it: Carver can explain in great detail its effects, and Varric knows the price of it offhand on the black market (40 sovereigns).
  • Fantastic Racism/Fantastic Slurs: Many of the native Free Marchers resent the influx of Fereldan refugees into their city. Just walking around Kirkwall will net Hawke a fair number of nasty comments and there are several quests where Hawke is targeted by thugs because of their nationality. The favoured slur against the Fereldan refugees is "Dog-Lord", due to the country's infamous affiliation with Mabari hounds.
    • Otherwise, all other prejudices established in the first game carry over:
      • Elves are stereotyped as sneaky and poor, forced to live in the alienage or wander the wilderness as homeless nomads, and often called "Knife Ears" by humans. Like the first game, they're also easy targets of rape and murder by guards and nobles who know their demands for justice will be dismissed and ignored. This is why so many Kirkwall elves convert to the Qunari in Act 2, since elves are treated much more fairly in the Qun than Andrastian human society.
      • The elves aren't terribly fond of humans either. "Shem" (the derogatory slang term for shemlen, which originally meant "quick children" in the elven language but now simply means "human"), is often uttered in an insulting way among both Dalish and City Elves against their aggressors.
      • Everyone sees the Qunari as brutish monsters while the Qunari themselves subvert this trope, hating those who don't follow the Qun rather than for a racial issue. Those who convert to the Qun are welcomed with open arms, regardless of race.
      • However, some Qunari - such as the Avaraad - get instantly hostile when they realise they are dealing with bas-saarebas (human and elven mages), accusing them of being demons trying to poison their minds before attacking.
      • From the loading screen, no less. "Never play cards with Qunari, you can never tell when they're bluffing. And never play with Elves, they never pay their debts. And never play with Dwarves, they kill you when they lose."
      • A few times the Qunari are called "Ox-men", due to their horns. Their stubborn disposition might also be a reason.
      • There is Fantastic Prejudice against mages, especially since magical ability is inherited through blood.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: In Act 1 you run into an escaped mage named Grace. During the game you have a chance to save her life at least twice. But by Act 3, she's infiltrated a team of mages and Templars who both want to rebel against Meredith. She finally shows her true colors when she kidnaps your sibling or love interest and tries to kill them. And when you fight her, she reveals that she's been possessed by a pride demon.
    • It's a little less sudden if, after you take the choice to let her escape, you notice while going to the herbalist in the Gallows or near the area that Grace and Alain are standing around by a wall (despite the fact that Grace should be far away by now). When you talk to them, Grace seems to adamantly believe you must have ratted her out regardless, as otherwise there'd be no way the Templars would have caught them. She also has some unpleasant comments to make if you didn't free her but turned her over to Thrask, and either way reacts very bitterly at your presence.
  • Fashion-Based Relationship Cue: Three of the potential love interests will change their outfits if they enter a committed relationship with Hawke. While Fenris and Isabela's wardrobe changes are pretty minor, Merrill goes from the black-green rags of a Dalish outcast to a gorgeous white-and-silver piece appropriate for the significant other of the Champion of Kirkwall.
  • Fast-Forward Mechanic: The map allows the player to toggle between day and night at will. Some quests are only available during one or the other, and crafting materials and loot are exclusive to each, so they need to be searched thoroughly during all three acts.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Oh so many - becoming tranquil, becoming possessed by demons, becoming a prisoner of one's own insanity, the eventual effect of taint exposure (either becoming a mindless ghoul or simply dying a slow, painful death). Many a Mercy Kill is performed to spare people from this, the first one seen being Aveline's husband Wesley.
    • The fate of those who are captured by the Qunari but refuse to convert to the Qun may also qualify. Y'see, the Qunari don't kill their captives. Those who refuse to submit to the Qun are put through something called "qamek" which turns them into mindless laborers. The Qunari waste nothing. Fenris flat-out says he would never have turned Isabela over to the Qunari because he knows exactly what they do to their prisoners.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: When Gamlen tries to raise the issue of rent, Leandra (fairly) points out that her children had to work in unsavoury jobs to pay off his debts (and get them into the city); however, she is also outraged by the fact that she might have to pay rent at all. While Gamlen is at fault for losing the estate and money, Leandra and her children are living in his hovel, and wouldn't have even set foot in Kirkwall had it not been for the Blight. He also remains there even after they move into the Hightown mansion.
  • Fetch Quest: Inversion; unique valuables can be discovered in the course of adventuring, and the quest rewards are for locating the individuals who want them.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Two such trios for each of Hawke's classes.
    • If Hawke is played as a rogue, the three Hawke siblings are this until Carver dies. Then Aveline takes the fighter role for the remainder of the prologue.
    • If Hawke is a warrior, they are the fighter to Bethany's mage and Varric's thief, as they are the entire initial party when Act 1 begins. Later, they are the fighter to Anders's mage and Isabela's thief, as the three members of the party who have the most impact on the plot.
    • If played as a mage, Hawke is the mage to Carver's fighter and Varric's thief, as they are the entire initial party when Act 1 begins. Later, Hawke plays the mage to Varric's thief and Aveline's fighter, as materials released after Dragon Age II regularly treat them as a Power Trio.
  • First Girl Wins: Averted. During Act 1, mage Hawke will receive a letter (although it's addressed to Carver) from a young girl back in Lothering named Peaches. If Hawke is male, the letter makes it very clear that she had a massive crush on him, but her feelings remain unrequited, as Hawke never returns to Ferelden after the Blight (and ultimately ends up with someone else if the player chooses to pursue a love interest). If Hawke is female, the letter implies that Peaches was Carver's girlfriend, but he slept with her and then never talked or wrote to her after the Blight. And he never ends up returning to Ferelden, either.
    • Also averted with Aveline, who is the first female party member to be recruited (apart from Bethany for a non-mage Hawke) and cannot ever be romanced. Hawke can flirt with her at a certain point, if desired, but nothing comes of it.
  • Flash Step: Several Rogue talents behave like this, such as Backstab and Back-To-Back. It is also said that Mages who teleport are using this.
  • Flavor Text: Possibly due to rushed release, item lore, abundant in Dragon Age: Origins, is completely and frustratingly absent, except for some special items which get codex entries. Expect to find items like the "Sword of Pandemonic Knickers" or "The Archon's Sneeze" without any explanation why they're named so. Some items with special properties merely have generic names like "Amulet", "Ring" or "Sword".
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The Black Emporium DLC gives you access to a Mabari warhound summon. He's not a full party member, but he is nameable. Beware of Cupcake, the hundred-pound warhound!
  • Flunky Boss: Basically every major boss in the game, except for the Varterral and the Arishok.
  • Foe Yay:
    • In-universe, any relationship with the love interest, if you're rivals.
    • If played as a Deadpan Snarker, Hawke jokes about it regarding Meredith and Orsino near the end of the game.
    • Varric insinuates that Cassandra seems to be developing a crush on male Hawke at one part of the story. She vehemently denies it.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Hawke will become known as the Champion and will be involved in events that cause the Chantry to fall to pieces.
  • Foregone Victory:
    • It is impossible to die during the introduction fight.
    • Also, when Varric first talks about confronting Bartrand in his Hightown mansion, it's impossible for him to fail in any way.
  • Foreshadowing: Quite a bit, although many of them aren't noticeable until repeat playthroughs.
    • A component Anders needs for the ritual to separate himself from Justice is called sela petrae, and can be found growing on sewage. A chemistry student begins to recognize saltpeter, which fits. The ritual isn't a removal. It's a bomb. Another component, drakestone, is most likely sulfur.
      • Another thing to note is that after you've distracted the Grand Cleric of the Chantry, at the end of the quest, she notices a troubled Anders and hopes that his visit to the Chantry has given his soul a "balm."
      • In that same vein, at the beginning of the Justice quest, it's possible to ask Anders about the components of his potion. At one point he says "just mix the ingredients together and boom... Justice and I are free."
    • The loading screen for the Templar's hall is a graphic of Meredith being consumed by darkness. The previously warm color scheme now swamped with black makes her eyes glow red, much like in the end battle.
    • The banter between Sebastian and Anders contains some pretty blatant examples, most obviously the conversation Sebastian initiates discussing Anders' plans to become a martyr if he must. He also potentially approaches Hawke with his concerns about how far Anders is willing to go. He's right.
      Sebastian: Don't think he won't choose his cause over you.
    • The first scene in the game has Cassandra leafing through Varric's book, which has a page with stylized portraits of most of Hawke's eventual companions. The only ones missing are the sibling (since the player has not yet gone through character creation to determine Hawke's class, and thus it's unknown which will survive) and Sebastian (since he's DLC exclusive).
    • An extremely subtle one can be found in the Hanged Man as early as Act 1. Go to Varric's rooms and enter his bedroom. He's got a bed, a bookcase, and... a very large piece of wall art which seems to depict Kirkwall at the center of a stylized explosion. It's very easy to overlook, since there's absolutely no reason to go into his bedroom at any point; also, unlike most other art pieces seen in the game, it's unique and is not seen anywhere else. (It can be spotted once or twice in the next game, though.)
    • Players keeping an eye out for notes find several, collectively called "The Enigma of Kirkwall," discussing oddities about the seemingly random street placements and mass human sacrifice with no appreciable gain, leading to the conclusion that someone was attempting a massive spell in the area. It's eventually revealed that the Veil in the area is so thin that demons have begun possessing Templars, mages are spontaneously turning into abominations and learning blood magic with remarkable ease, and the Qunari steadily grow more enraged despite many overtures to peace with them. It could also more readily explain why Justice was corrupted into Vengeance, since Anders was previously more concerned about escaping the Templars than fighting them. While the intention of The Plan behind the spells in Kirkwall remain unclear, it has a definite effect by the game's end.
    • In Act 1, during the quest "The First Sacrifice," if you choose the "Why should I care?" option when talking to Emeric about tracking down a serial killer, he comes out with this gem. Cue Act 2...
      Emeric: Imagine if it was someone you loved.
    • If you interact with the Chanter near the Chanter's Board in Act 1, she says "And Andraste did say, 'Those who harm the house of the Maker do harm unto the Maker Himself.'" A small nod to the immense amount of harm the house of the Maker will suffer before all is said and done.
    • In Act 2, you may notice a woman named Evelina standing next to Tomwise in Darktown begging for money to feed her starving children. You don't gain anything for giving her money or not. She later turns out to be a Blood Mage who is taking orphans under her care. In Act 3, she turns into an abomination, and you have no choice but to kill her.
    • A little gem from some banter between Isabela and Anders:
      Isabela: You want to free the mages. Let's say you do, but to get there you kill a bunch of innocent people.
    • An example that ends up straight or subverted: during Varric's exaggerated intro for a mage playthrough, Carver is wearing Grey Warden armor. While this does foreshadow a possible fate for Carver, it's not the only one, and it's the player's choices that determine whether it's accurate.
      • That's because Varric is just repeating what the rumors say. If that does happen, Cassandra says, "So the Champion's brother was a Grey Warden!", indicating that this was part of the legend.
    • If Hawke's sibling is brought to the Deep Roads, then following a battle with some darkspawn during the expedition, the cutscene with Sandal will briefly show Carver/Bethany clutching their face. Later, it will become evident that Carver's/Bethany's infection with the darkspawn taint likely occurred during said battle.
    • Early in Act 2, Hawke can have a conversation with their mother in which Leandra contemplates the possibility of remarrying. She makes the observation that it's "refreshing to think I could still be courted at this age." Later in the act, she receives flowers from a suitor - who turns out to be a Serial Killer, and she's his final victim.
    • During the confrontation over the elf Qunari converts, the Arishok asks what Hawke would do in his place - which is how it all ends if Isabela comes back. After the Qunari leave, Meredith sees the cheering nobles and briefly gives Hawke a seriously nasty look before naming them Champion.
    • When questioning Isabela over her lost ship, she mentions being run aground by the reef. A rumour at the Hanged Man mentions how the Qunari dreadnought was said to be fighting another ship before both were run aground by the reef.
    • Trying to take Isabela with you whenever you enter the Qunari compound will lead to her making an excuse and running away. It's obvious that something's up but you won't find out what until the end of Act 2.
    • During Varric's companion quest "Questions and Answers" early during Act 1, you can ask him what kind of person Bartrand is, and Varric tells you that he's the kind of dwarf that would sell his own mother if it would mean a better share in the lyrium market. Then, at the end of Act 1, Bartrand betrays his own brother without so much as a second thought, simply because he doesn't want to share the profits.
    • In Varric's Act 2 companion quest "Family Matters," Bartrand reveals that he sold the idol to a woman. "She glittered like the sun, but her heart was ice." It doesn't make a lot of sense then, but once you get to know Meredith, it will.
    • At the beginning of Act 2, when Cassandra brings up Anders, Varric reminds her that he was the one who introduced him to Hawke with a hint of disgust in his voice.
    • Should you encounter Leliana in Mark of the Assassin, despite the conversation being civil, Tallis nearly craps herself. This is because she's secretly a Qunari spy, and (for those who had not finished the game yet) Leliana is a Seeker/Left Hand of the Divine - in other words, just the woman sent to stop the threat of Qunari spies and invasion.
    • There's also some foreshadowing for Dragon Age: Inquisition and the tie-in novel Asunder. Both the game and the book deal with the possibility that the Rite of Tranquility can be reversed by binding a spirit to a Tranquil person. But You Should Know This Already - Anders nearly accomplishes it in his recruitment mission, by allowing Justice to possess him while Karl is present.
      • Anders's possession by Justice/Vengeance also foreshadows the revelation in Inquisition that spirits can be corrupted into demons by the will of the person summoning them - so a benign spirit of Justice was corrupted by Anders's hatred of Templars into the demon Vengeance.
    • Several for Inquisition regarding Flemeth.
      • When Flemeth is resurrected, she refers to Merrill as "one of the People," even sounding somewhat fond of her. She pointedly asks Merrill if she knows who Flemeth is beyond the title of Ashe'bellenar, and remarks that the People bend their knee too easily, generally making it very clear that she is connected to the elves in some way.
      • Merrill mentions in Act 1 that most people who encounter Ashe'bellenar tend to wind up in little pieces, hanging from the trees. She says in Act 3 that those who anger Mythal are erased, as if they never existed in the first place.
      • Flemeth is resurrected at the altar of Mythal on Sundermount. The third game reveals, at the very end if not sooner, that she in fact is sharing her body with that elven goddess.
    • Players who completed Awakening might notice a similarity between Bartrand losing his mind, because he can no longer hear the song of the lyrium idol, and the Mother losing her mind, because she can no longer hear the song of the Old Gods. It's an early hint that red lyrium is Blighted.
  • Fourth-Wall Observer: A talkative patron in the Hanged Man notes that "Everything like eating and fighting has become simpler" and that he "feels like he's in a story written by someone".
  • Framing Device: Cassandra, a Chantry Seeker with an "interest" in Hawke, is holding the dwarf Varric, a merchant prince and acquaintance of Hawke's, in custody. He is telling her the story of Hawke's rise to power, as the current state of the world and the Chantry have been affected by them. Throughout the story, they give commentary on Hawke's past actions, thereby alerting the player to any changes their decisions may have made before the end of the game.
    • One has to wonder if the story has parts where Varric tells how Hawke spends several minutes examining and comparing several pieces of equipment in minute detail.
    • The DLC later expands on this concept, with Legacy and Mark of the Assassin acting as parts of the story that Varric apparently left out until Cassandra coaxed him into revealing the details.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the ending, one of the book's pages has a drawing of a woman who strongly resembles Morrigan as well as an image for Flemeth. There is also a gag of Shale chasing birds in the same sequence.
  • Friendly Fire Proof: All your companions on most difficulty settings and every non-enemy NPC.
  • Friendly Target: Being part of a family is dangerous business in Kirkwall.
  • From Bad to Worse:
    • Dear Maker, does it get worse. First, you're forced to flee from the Blight to a city that's not enthusiastic about the influx of refugees, then Kirkwall is invaded by angry Qunari, and finally, you find yourself caught in the middle of a Civil War between mages and Templars that threatens to engulf not just Kirkwall, but the entire continent of Thedas.
    • This occurs in droves with the Hawke family: at the start of the game, the player character can opt to say, "Whatever happens, we must stick together." But by game's end, you've lost at least one sibling and your mother, with the other sibling either lost to the Grey Wardens, lost to their class-relevant faction, or dead. Either way, Hawke is more or less alone within their own family.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Hawke, in a non-villainous example, goes from a poor refugee to a rich adventurer, and finally Champion of Kirkwall.
  • Full-Contact Magic: How the mages attack.
  • Gallows Humor: A shining example from Hawke following the death of the Viscount's son.
    Aveline: "It's pretty late?" You ass.
    Hawke: May as well end as tense as it started.
  • Gambit Roulette: Lampshaded. Flemeth's amulet revives her. She actually didn't think you'd go through with it!
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • Your entire party is dead, but it goes to a cutscene straight from combat (e.g., the Ancient Rock Wraith)? Yeah... At best you'll be starting over from your last save as the game freezes up on a pseudo loading/party screen, at worst the file becomes corrupted and is lost.
    • There are buggy friendship perks that can potentially infinitely drag down your attack rate (Isabela) and damage resistance (Sebastian). This is repairable on PC version, but a console character has no hope. This was patched, but it doesn't work retroactively, meaning any character already afflicted with this bug is stuck with it.
    • Quite a few bugs crop up that can render quests unable to be finished, most of which can be tripped simply by looting things in the wrong order. Normally, these can be fixed by loading up a saved game (or the console on the PC), but if you don't save very often, you may lose hours of gameplay. It's especially grating because some such quests must be completed before moving on with the story.
    • The final PC patch (1.04) causes the game to freeze on Sebastian's second and third quests if the Legacy DLC is installed. Removing the Legacy DLC patch files while those quests are active and putting them back when you are done remedies the problem, though it was over a year before that workaround was discovered.
  • Gameplay Ally Immortality: Any friendly characters who are not part of the party cannot die in combat. They will still usually have a health bar, but if it runs out nothing happens.
    • Dog is an exception. While he functions as a friendly character who is not part of the party, he is technically a sustained ability. As such, he merely despawns when he "dies", sustains no injuries, and can be summoned again after a short cooldown.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • No one ever seems to recognize people wearing robes and carrying mage staffs as mages until they start casting spells, if even then. The extreme cases have to be Mage Hawke and Bethany, who very likely start slinging spells the moment they step into Kirkwall, within direct line of sight of the city guard; but everyone just congratulates them for having killed a bunch of thugs. However, if left behind while Hawke is in the Deep Roads, Bethany will be taken to the Circle. Hawke will arrive home just in time to see her off. At some unknown point during the story (possibly during your first meeting with Knight-Commander Meredith), Hawke's magical talents are discovered, but at that point, the Champion of Kirkwall is already too popular to be deported - though Meredith will threaten Hawke with this fate to ensure their cooperation.
    • Fenris will glow by default when shown in combat during cutscenes (like in his personal quests), but this won't start happening in-game until/unless you start filling out his specialization branch.
    • A possibly amusing one would be if one's warrior Hawke takes part in the "run in a figure 8 around the pillars during the fight with the Arishok while you keep bombing him with tar bombs and combustion grenades in the midst of slashing/bashing at him" tactic; the cut scene and people react as if Hawke charged head-on into the fray, when during gameplay it's more or less a desperate run for life until Hawke finally drains the Arishok of all his health.
    • Aveline is made guard-captain of Kirkwall during Act 1 yet she somehow finds plenty of time to pal around with Hawke, even if you never take her out of your party. Lampshaded in a banter conversation with Varric, when she states her adventures with Hawke happen during her off-duty hours.
    • Early in the game, you can find and read a book in Gamlen's home titled The Cardinal Rules of Magic. It explicitly states that magic cannot be used for travelling beyond the speed of putting one foot in front of the other. Guess what enemy mages can and will do!
    • This game follows the time-honored tradition of hammering home how making deals with demons never works out for the mortals (poor Merrill)... except when the player character does it. note 
    • The characters act like Merrill's apartment is a tiny hole in the wall in the worst part of the slums, but you could fit Gamlen's entire (realistically sized) house in her main room. Cutscenes set there act like the tiny bedroom off to the side is the whole thing.
    • A minor one exists in party banter between Aveline and Varric, when she complains that he has a nickname for everyone in the group except her. As part of her complaint, she lists off a few of the others' nicknames; the first one she mentions is "Sunshine," which is what he calls Bethany. However, she will still use the exact same list if Hawke is a mage, meaning that Bethany died in Ferelden and Varric never even met her.
  • Gateless Ghetto: You only get to explore rather limited districts of Kirkwall. Considering the extensiveness of the city's infrastructure, it must be several times larger than shown to keep itself running.
  • Gay Option: With the exception of Sebastian, who is a straight male and celibate, all love interests can be romanced regardless of Hawke's gender.
  • Genre Blindness: Initially appears played straight, especially when Hawke is a mage. Robe on your shoulders, staff on your back, yet no one knows you're a mage unless you tell them - even the ones trained and posted to watch them on a daily basis. However, by Act 3 it's fairly clear that Hawke and/or Anders are well-known magic users, but are deliberately left alone due to Hawke's social status and Varric's bribes. It's still played straight if Hawke is a blood mage, as no one ever calls them on it, even if constantly accusing other mages of it.
  • Genre Shift: Combat is much faster paced and less tactical than the first game. In terms of story, it has a smaller scale focus, is more episodic, and has a much larger emphasis on humor. Sort of the difference between The Lord of the Rings and Buffy the Vampire Slayer if they were in the same universe. This is even lampshaded in-universe by the Talkative Man at the Hanged Man, who comments on the fact that everything, including fighting, seems much simpler these days.
  • Genre Throwback: To mid-late Nineties fantasy television series, especially Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess, and The Adventures of Sinbad.
  • Giant Spider: They're baaaaaack, arachnophobes. They still do the Jump Scare teleport from the ceilings bit but thankfully have their Overwhelm ability removed, and poison versions are Black Widows. The Spider Queen is on par with a dragon in size.
  • Gilligan Cut: During the Mark of the Assassin DLC, when Hawke and Tallis get thrown into the dungeon, Hawke can state that their two (currently free) companions will get them out. Cut to the two companions... hopelessly lost. Made even funnier if the other two party members are Anders and Fenris (or Anders and Templar Carver), because not only are they hopelessly lost, they're too busy arguing to make a real attempt at finding Hawke.
  • Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!: Many mages believe it's better to die fighting for their freedom than live in the Circle or be made Tranquil. It's suggested that Anders blows up the Chantry to force mages to rebel or let themselves be killed.
  • A Glitch in the Matrix: During "Night Terrors," you have to break Feynriel out of two "demon dreams" like the ones from the first game's Fade quest. Outright telling him it's a trick will freak him out, as will playing along once he realizes everything's too good to be true. The best results come from pointing out loose threads and then letting him pull on them.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Happens a few times - when Vengeance manifests in Anders, Meredith at the end and potentially even for enemies if Hawke drinks an Elixir of Purity.
    • Hawke gets these briefly in some of the cutscenes in Legacy, for no stated reason.
  • Go Through Me: Hawke pulls this during the prologue, when Wesley looks askance at the apostate Bethany. Later, when Meredith goes off the deep end, Cullen tells her she'll have to go through him to get to Hawke, regardless of which side Hawke picked. If Carver joined the Templars, he does this too.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: The Seeker is helping the Chantry to seek out both Hawke and the Warden to put an end to the war between the Templars and mages. Hawke is a "Champion" to the people of Kirkwall, and seen as a freedom fighter for defying the tyrannical Meredith. Hawke may also be an inspiration to mage rebels (especially if Hawke is a mage), or respected among certain Templars, depending on which faction they choose to aid. Meanwhile, the Warden is the commander of an elite military order (and might even be royalty, depending on what choices were made) who's most famed for raising an army and stabbing a dragon to death to end an invasion.
  • Good Victims, Bad Victims:
    • Most Kirkwall Mages face horrific abuses and injustices by Templars every day. However, the moment a mage is revealed to have dabbled in blood magic (even in self-defense), they're instantly portrayed as Always Chaotic Evil and/or Too Dumb to Live, and suddenly treated by characters and the narrative alike as at fault for everything bad that happens to them.
    • Merrill and Fenris are the two elven companions whose personal quests center around trying to recover a lost past, in one way or another. Merrill tries to restore a lost relic of her people, and Fenris tries to uncover lost memories and contact with his family. Both end in failure, with a rather anvilicious finger-wagging from the narrative that they (along with all elves) should just forget the past and embrace what they have today. However, the entire first act of the game centers around the Hawke family trying to reclaim their decades-lost fortune and mansion in Hightown, and their efforts are rewarded by the narrative. Apparently recovering a piece of one's lost past is fine when human nobles do it, but it's wrong when elves try to do it.
    • However, Hawke does get the short end of the stick eventually. While Hawke manages to reclaim their family's wealth, it comes at a heavy, heavy cost. They lose the surviving twin to either the Blight, the Wardens, or the Circle/Templars, and they are unable to prevent the death of their mother, who catches the attention of a blood mage. While there are a few silver linings here and there, the losses Hawke suffers in the game outweigh their gains — which likely enforces the message that even if one's efforts to retrieve something of their past succeed, more sacrifices will eventually be demanded from them.
  • Gratuitous Latin: The Tevinter Imperium is based more on Byzantium (which had Greek as lingua franca) than the Roman Empire, yet everything from there is named in a slightly warped form of Latin, including some remarks by Fenris, a former Tevinter slave. (His name, however, is Norse. His original name, Leto, is Greek.)
  • Gravity Master: Force Mages (the only entirely new Prestige Class). Bethany becomes one if she makes it to Act 2.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: None of the major factions are without serious flaws.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: The Harvester in Act 3 will tear off its own arm and beat you with it.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The guards at Chateau Haine in Mark of the Assassin are highly susceptible to distraction by thrown pebbles and curiously unconcerned about waking up on the floor after having been sapped unconscious: "Damned blackouts, keeping me off patrol..."
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • A couple of the loot-based achievements require you to find items that are only available in one specific area for a very limited amount of time (and you can't go back without reloading). Most notably: To get all 4 volumes of "The History of the Chantry," you have to grab the third volume during a literally couple-second long break in the action during the battle at the Chantry during the "Following the Qun" quest in Act 2. If you're not in exactly the right place when the battle concludes and quick enough to highlight and grab the book (it's on the central altar) in the three seconds before the next cutscene starts, too bad. There's also the option of selecting it during the battle using the radial menu, which is a far easier method, but still ridiculously frustrating.
    • Gaining the achievement for finding all of the crafting materials is an especially egregious case of Guide Dang It!, because the game itself gets it wrong! The achievement claims that unlocking it requires finding one of each crafting component available in the game, but you actually have to find every single instance of every single material. It's slightly mitigated with the Black Emporium DLC, because you can purchase any of the ones you might have missed in the first two acts, but you're on your own for Act 3. The official strategy guide and the wiki are only partially helpful.
    • The events of Act 2's finale depend heavily on how friendly you are with one previously plot-unimportant party member and whether or not you've earned the Arishok's respect. Dialogue with Fenris about the time he spent in Seheron should ring a bell if you befriended Sten in DAO. Letting him talk to the Arishok, informing the Qunari about the Saarebas and Petrice, how you deal with Javaris and Ser Varnell: all of these are important. So is earning Isabela's loyalty, if you want her to return with the Tome. If you get all that right, you get to kill the Arishok in a duel. Otherwise, the victory is not quite so heroic.
    • The completion of Fenris's loyalty quest requires a random encounter outside Kirkwall. So, if you decide to let him brood in his mansion during Act 2, you'll lose him at The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
    • If you want the reward for finding and returning all of the Qunari swords in Act 3, you're going to want to consult some kind of guide. Some are in trash piles, some are sold by vendors... and one is in the treasure room of the de Launcet mansion, and can only be gotten during the quest "On The Loose."
    • Getting through Merrill's quest in Act 3 without killing her entire clan. Granted, all it takes is a reload, but still... It boils down to one dialogue prompt being massively unintuitive; honestly explain what happened or try to calm the situation and it's a fight, but claim responsibility for killing their leader without explanation and you part peacefully. Also, there's a very simple way to instantly go from almost 100% friendship to nearly 100% rivalry, if you change your mind during Act 2.
  • Harder Than Hard: Nightmare, whose key feature is enabling friendly fire. Better turn off those auto-cast area-effect spells in your companions' tactics menus.
  • Headbutting Heroes: Several party members make it quite clear that they loathe each other and only work together out of loyalty to Hawke. This is especially evident with Fenris and the party mages (barring Bethany).
    • Anders does a really good job of getting on Sebastian's bad side. It gets to the point where Sebastian is flabbergasted as to how Anders has friends at all. By the end of Act 3, he basically doesn't - based on party banter, Varric is pretty much the only one that can stand him anymore, and Anders is increasingly short with him as well as being downright combative with everyone else (including any Hawke that isn't 100% behind his quest for vengeance against the Templars).
  • The Heart: Grand Cleric Elthina is the main reason that everyone in Kirkwall hasn't killed each other. Then Anders blows up the Chantry with her in it. The Mage-Templar War promptly ensues.
  • The Hero Dies: Conversed. According to Varric, the hero dying makes for a good story. Hawke doesn't.
    • However, he was talking about Anders when he brought it up... See the second entry below.
  • Hero of Another Story: Several of the cameos. You only run into the Grey Wardens during Act 2's climax because they were in the area on a secret mission; likewise, Nathaniel never explains what his expedition in Act 3 was doing. Zevran has stopped hiding from the Crows to go on the offensive, and is close to overthrowing the whole organization.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Marethari pulls off one of these out of love, in order to save Merrill from being possessed by a Pride Demon.
    • Depending on your point of view/actions during the game, Anders either attempts to pull one of these off and fails, or he succeeds rather terribly.
  • Heroic Second Wind: In the "Destiny" trailer, Hawke is about to be killed by the Arishok when he draws a rune on his arm, and sees a series of flashbacks. He then proceeds to wipe the floor with the Arishok. This involves him apparently putting his flaming arms into portals, which then come out of portals above and behind the Qunari, much larger, while Hawke's eyes glow in a not-good way This is also a skill of a Warrior, and if fully upgraded, you can recharge your stamina and recharge your skills faster.
  • Heroic Willpower: How Mage Hawke is able to stave off Idunna the blood mage's Psychic-Assisted Suicide.
    • A non-mage Hawke accomplishes this as well, if they face Idunna without a mage in the party.
  • Highly Visible Ninja: The first rogue set is a muted grey tone suited to lurking the city at night, but the second set is a foppish affair topped with a... Nice Hat. And the Rogue Champion outfit is very red.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: The rogue uses a series of leaping and tumbling attacks, during which they pass through normal attacks. Whether this is due to an increased defense during their attacks or lack of a bounding box during the animation, even a low level rogue can take advantage of these with good timing to remain unhittable.
  • Holding Out for a Hero: Rampant, a fact that Hawke gleefully lampshades if you choose the snarky option.
  • Home Base: You start off in your uncle's house, and upgrade to a mansion as the game progresses. All party members have their own bases around Kirkwall, where you visit them to talk, give gifts, and get their personal quests.
  • Hope Spot: Lots. There are a few that are particularly noteworthy.
    • Finding the serial killer at the end of "All That Remains" makes it seem like your mother survived, but she is quickly revealed to be undead.
    • If you try to find some kind of compromise between the mages and the Templars, Anders will screw it all up at the last second.
    • In Merrill's Act 3 quest, fighting the Pride Demon on Sundermount has Marethari congratulating the party on being stronger than the demon. If Hawke doesn't question this, "Marethari" then stabs Merrill.
  • Horned Humanoid: The new look for Qunari in this game.
  • House Squatting: Fenris is an escaped slave who searches for his former owner to kill him. In Act 1, you can help him assault a mansion in Kirkwall belonging to his ex-owner, hoping that the latter would be there, but it turns out he has long since moved out. Upon slaughtering the mansion guards, Fenris decides to stay there for the time being. In later Acts, Varric and Aveline have to pull a number of strings to prevent the City Guard from evicting Fenris from the mansion for unlawfully occupying it (especially since he doesn't exactly take care of the place); Isabela helps by sleeping with the seneschal in exchange for his continuing to ignore the situation as well.
  • How We Got Here: The entire story is a framing device of this.
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms: Isabela teasing Aveline after her courtship with Donnic:
    Isabela: So how is your Donnic? Is he cocksure? Did he curl your toes? Pudding your peach? Arl your Eamon? Shank your Jory? Grey your Warden? Praise your Maker? How about "satisfy a demand of your Qun"?
  • Hypocrite: It seems all the major powers in Thedas like to harp about the dangers of magic as justification for their oppression of mages, but all are willing to have them develop their gifts in order to use them, whether to heal, make potions, or provide artillery fire on the battlefield. Even the Qunari do it.
    • Mage Hawke can be played like this if they send every stray mage back to the Circle with the justification that all mages should be controlled... except them, apparently. It's even worse if Hawke is a blood mage.
    • During the quest "Finders Keepers," Hawke may refuse to reveal the location of Martin's cargo because he's dealing in poison. But Hawke can use poison in virtually every battle within the game, provided the player's pockets are deep enough.
    • Sebastian probably takes the palm, here. He goes to build up an army and promises to kill everybody in Kirkwall. Why? Because you let a murderer live.
      • It's especially hypocritical when you remember that he had previously patronized Varric for not letting go of his desire for revenge against Bartrand.
    • Orsino also counts, considering how he always preaches that he and the Circle are not guilty of Meredith's accusations, when in reality he covered for a truly sick mass murderer (responsible for the death of Hawke's mother and many other women) and secretly studies Blood Magic which ultimately turns him into a Harvester.
  • Hypocritical Humor: During an Act 2 quest, you'll have to go into an alley full of poisonous gas, and there's a guard there warning people away. Unless Aveline is in the party, Hawke reacts to this effect:
    Hawke: Yes, everybody should listen to him. Now, if you'll excuse me. [walks past]
  • I Call It "Vera": Varric's crossbow is named Bianca. Inquisition reveals that this is in honor of its creator.
  • I Can Live With That: Hawke's Deadpan Snarker response to Meredith is this if they choose to side with the mages in "The Last Straw."
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: A rather chilling and tragic case with Kelder Vanard, a mentally ill kidnapper and murderer (and implied rapist) of elven children. He knows he's ill and will never stop hurting elven children on account of said illness (that no one believes he has), but he also knows that his magistrate father will not allow him to receive justice. When Hawke catches up to him, Kelder begs Hawke to kill him so he can't hurt any more elven children.
    • It's not that no one else believes he has an illness — Kelder thinks he doesn't have an illness. He's convinced he's possessed by demons who are making him do terrible things. Everyone else knows that it's plain old crazy, but Kelder refuses to take personal responsibility for his actions. Of course, the Chantry's solution to Kelder's insanity is not to attempt to heal him or help him cope with the murderous urges; they just stick him in a prison, from which he regularly manages to escape, and his father covers everything up.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Lampshaded when Anders and Varric discuss the Blackmarsh from Awakening; they conclude that just adding '-marsh' to anything makes it sound like a nasty place.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Kirkwall's Templars are willing to make their charges Tranquil for this purpose - or use the threat of being made Tranquil for the same result. Danarius also gives off this vibe, as confirmed by the devs.
  • I Lied: Said word-for-word, even, if you press Anders for a reason when he asks Hawke to help him get into the Chantry unseen — something that very much does not mesh with his previously-stated purpose of creating a potion to separate himself from Justice. Hawke can demand to know if there was ever any potion at all. Anders flat-out admits that he lied.
    • In a more lighthearted example, Varric will also cop to this on occasion. "Aveline, in case you haven't noticed, I lie a lot."
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Occasionally invoked following certain quests.
  • Iconic Outfit: The Mantle of the Champion is what Hawke is always depicted wearing, cementing their legend as a Folk Hero.
    • The Mage version of this armour is default Hawke's look on publicity materials.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: Companions talk about each other a fair bit, so humorous and serious versions of this will occur if the third party is present.
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit: Inverted to hell and back when Hawke acquires The Mantle of the Champion. It's only light armour, and in some places the fabric appears to be torn, ragged, and fraying at the edges, which is exactly what you'd expect from armour that's been in a lot of battles.
  • In Medias Res: The game begins with Cassandra Pentaghast interrogating Varric after the events of the game. Varric embellishes Hawke's origins a bit before telling Cassandra how they got to where they are now, the interrogation acting as a Framing Device for each act.
  • Incest Is Relative: Gamlen wants to know details about a Lady Hawke/Isabela relationship. Has he forgotten that Hawke is his niece?
    • Well it's pretty clear that Hawke is not the object of his fantasies.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Oof, loads of these. For instance, a belt you get after killing a ghost of a golem (figure that one out) is called the "Rock Band." Heh.
    • There's also a belt called the Seven Deadly Cinch.
    • There's a sidequest involving a gang of female rogues called "Ladies' Lights Out." The group in question is called the Invisible Sisters. Get it?
    • Even Corypheus gets in on it during the end of Legacy. "Is there a chill in here?"
    • In Act 3, there's a gang of Tevinter slavers infesting the docks that goes by the name of the Reining Men.
  • Inescapable Ambush: A number of the encounters.
  • Informed Poverty: The Hawke family spends the whole first Act complaining about the unbearable living conditions in Lowtown, yet Gamlen's supposed filthy little hovel is a fairly large and orderly house with multiple rooms, and the Lowtown buildings are as structurally sound and the streets as empty and clean as those in Hightown. Really, it looks like a less fancy version of Hightown with a little smoggy air.
    • The Kirkwall Alienage is also said to be below Lowtown socioeconomically, with "crumbling shacks," "knee-deep mud," and "drunken louts" stumbling around. Yet the Alienage looks even prettier, cleaner, and more colorful than Lowtown, and the elven citizens are shown to be fairly polite and upstanding, and to take turns decorating the Vhenadahl and buildings so it looks like a pleasant place to live. It's especially egregious when Merrill moves in and everyone talks like she lives in a one-room rat hole, complete with her apologizing for the mess, yet her house is just as spacious as Gamlen's - and also cleaner and brighter and better furnished.
    • Only Darktown seems to live up to its name, and it's underground.
  • Inherent in the System: While there are external forces at work as well, it's repeatedly pointed out that the Chantry's current system of handling mages is at best a merciful form of slavery and at worst a dehumanizing existence that causes many problems it's supposed to prevent. For every good Templar like Thrask, there are as many like Alrik: corrupt, fanatical, or both with life and death power over mages. The mages themselves are just as dangerous as the Templars say they are, but many see the The Dark Side of their powers as the only way out of a belief system that tells them how much the Maker hates them and guarantees them second-class citizenship (said belief system being formed from the dissenters of a mage-ruled empire may be a factor for this). See Vicious Cycle below.
    • The Arishok's critique of Kirkwall's system deepens into bitterness because he's bound there by a system of his own. And as brutal and ugly as that system appears to outsiders, the Qunari could never do anything but insist on its rightness - even the Saarebas immolating himself. A Tal-Vashoth in the Hanged Man in Act 3 seemed almost as disillusioned with himself for being rid of the Qun.
    • Human crimes against elves are easier to commit and harder to punish than elven crimes against humans, and vice-versa, thanks to the way the legal and justice system is structured. Kelder Vanard is able to get away with murdering so many elven children because a) his magistrate father is able to use his power and influence to shield him from justice, and b) society doesn't care about elves very much. (Doubtful Vanard would have gotten away with it if he'd targeted humans, or at least Hightown human children.) In Act 2, the Arishok admonishes Aveline and Hawke for trying to punish a group of elven brothers for killing a guard after Aveline (Captain of the Guard) didn't do anything to address the rape they reported on their sister. The Arishok sees this as a mere symptom in a larger illness, however, and argues that the elves shouldn't be punished by Aveline's legal system since her legal system failed them, and fails all elves in Kirkwall because of the way it's structured.
  • Injured Vulnerability: The Massacre upgrade of the Warrior-Vanguard skill tree lets the character kill any normal enemy whose health is below 20% (and Elite Mooks with health under 10%) in a single blow.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Flemeth bears a passing resemblance to her voice actress, Star Trek: Voyager's Kate Mulgrew. There's also a pretty strong resemblance between Fenris and Gideon Emery.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Isabela deliberately subverts her usual Double Entendre with Varric, who enjoys playing along.
  • Innocuously Important Episode: Both Act 1 and the game itself. Act 1 introduces a number of different plot threads and items that don't seem very relevant in that act itself, but become quite important in the next two. The game itself was criticized by many for having plot threads that felt too distant and unimportant compared to Origins. With Dragon Age: Inquisition, many of these plot threads (red lyrium, the entire Legacy DLC, Flemeth's scenes with the Dalish, etc.) have turned out to be extremely important to the overall story.
  • Insubstantial Ingredients: Lampshaded for the Nevarran food in Mark of the Assassin.
    Tallis: How can ham taste like despair? Why would anyone eat it if it did?
  • Insult Friendly Fire: At one point, Varric calls his brother "That son of a bitch! (Sorry, Mother.)"
  • Insult of Endearment: Prim-and-proper Aveline keeps calling the Pirate Girl Isabela "whore", at first with disdain (though Isabela doesn't mind the moniker); but as the two women come to know and accept each other, "whore" becomes Aveline's term of affection of sorts for Isabela, who now actively enjoys it from her.
    • Likewise, Isabela initially insults Aveline's statuesque features with the nickname "Big Girl." By Act 3, it has clearly evolved into a compliment.
  • Insurmountable Waist-High Fence: Just as frequent as in Origins, though more clearly defined. Dragon Age II plays with players' familiarity with this trope by coloring secret areas outside the lines of the map.
    • Some mountainous areas restrict Hawke's movement via the dreaded insurmountable ankle-high rocks.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • Weeks before BioWare announced any details whatsoever on the first major batch of DLC, the achievements for it were up. The nature of these achievements reveal that Legacy involves a location called the Vimmark Mountains, which includes cave systems and a prison tower.
    • Almost every sidequest with any kind of twist is spoiled by its name. This is especially bad for ones you get in the mail, since the name is the first thing you see. The most blatant is getting a letter clearly labeled "Bait-and-Switch," although exactly why it's a twist is not apparent for some time.
    • One Loading Screen showing Meredith depicts her transforming into her red lyrium-crazed self.
  • Internal Affairs: The Seekers are this for the Templars, as one of them interrogates a dwarf in order to find the Champion of Kirkwall. Given the events that occur, this game serves as a study for what happens when IA does nothing or acts far too late.
  • Interrogation Flashback: The entire plot is one big flashback of Varric, who is being interrogated by Cassandra Pentaghast, a member of The Order of the Seekers of Truth. Notably, he does lapse into the Tall Tale territory a few times, before being snapped back on track by Cassandra.
  • Invisible Bowstring: Same as in the original, but it's much more obvious here since your character does some pretty dramatic poses while firing.
  • Ironic Echo: A very subtle example in the phrase "There can be no peace." It's first said by Flemeth after Wesley's death in the prologue, and is repeated word for word by Anders, after he destroys the Chantry.
  • Ironic Name: Seen in Kirkwall's backstory. At the dawn of the Dragon Age, the Viscount of Kirkwall was a vicious thug who used a campaign of intimidation to take the crown. His name was Chivalry Threnhold.
  • Irony: Meredith in particular doesn't appreciate the irony that Kirkwall, known Thedas-wide as a Templar stronghold and powerhouse of their influence, can decide to crown Mage Hawke as their Champion.
  • Irrational Hatred: Grace's hatred for Hawke, which drives her to try and commit Revenge by Proxy, has little justification - especially if Hawke set her free.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: The Qunari word for all non-Qunari is bas, which literally means "thing." Their word for mage is saarebas, which literally means "dangerous thing." Unsurprisingly, they treat outsiders poorly and mages worse.
    • Doubly so for non-Qunari mages, who are known as bas-saarebas, which is practically Buffy Speak (literally, "thing-dangerous thing").
  • It's a Small World After All: The number of familiar faces from Origins stretch any concept of the scope of Ferelden and Kirkwall.
  • Jerkass: A lot of characters come off this way in your dealings with them, but of all people, Hawke (especially a Snarky Hawke) sometimes seems to act like a sociopathic walking schadenfreude. Of particular note is after sleeping with Anders and he pours his heart out to you and asks to move in, a Snarky Hawke's response (complete with dirty smirk) is as follows, if Anders gets rejected.
    Hawke: This was a bad idea. I think you should go.
    Anders: What?
    Hawke: Sorry. You just weren't that good.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • While Fenris's endless rants about the dangers of magic can be annoying, the game's plot does show that he's not exactly wrong about how dangerous magic can be if used incorrectly or maliciously.
    • Anders goes on and on about the Templars and the poor treatment of mages, but the game repeatedly shows that the Gallows are every bit as bad as he says, if not worse, with Templars abusing their charges and blatantly violating their own laws.

  • Kick the Dog:
    • It's been known that the Tevinters were nasty folk to their slaves, but some of the legends of slave treatment depict downright gratuitous cruelty on the part of the slave masters.
    • Varric also mentions how he always pictured Bartrand as a "Kick a puppy" kind of bad guy.
    • Sers Karras and Alrik, oh so much.
    • The history of the Bone Pit.
    • The player has the chance to do this from time to time, though not nearly as much as in the first game.
  • Kill 'Em All: Can happen with the Dalish clan in Act 3. If you fail to choose the "correct" dialogue optionnote  after Keeper Marethari is killed, they will attack, and the party will be forced to wipe out the entire clan.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: It's usually a Mercy Kill (and one for which the loved one in question is begging), but the sheer number of times is pretty brutal.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero:
    • Lampshaded in the Mark of the Assassin DLC.
      Isabela: Don't forget to loot the bodies.
      Hawke: Do I ever?
    • One of Isabela's combat shouts is "If we kill them, we get their stuff!"
    • Also lampshaded in "A Murder of Crows" in Act 3; if Zevran is spared, he urges Hawke to loot the bodies before they talk.
  • Knight Templar: Aside from the more extreme Templars (especially Ser Alrik, who wants to make all mages Tranquil), every single person in Sister/Mother Petrice's faction of the Chantry fits this to a T. If you kill an innocent person because they're becoming "corrupted," and then try to shift the blame onto someone else in order to spark a holy war, this makes you a strong example of a Knight Templar.
  • Kraken and Leviathan: The artistic 'narration' cutscenes briefly depict a squid-like creature attacking one of the refugee ships in the prologue. Giant squid do exist in this universe, though since it is Varric telling the story, it should be taken with a grain of salt.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • King Alistair hangs a lampshade on the fact that everyone calls your Warden from Origins "the Hero of Ferelden," if Teagan says that the Hero is waiting for them at Denerim.
    • He will also comment, if Isabela is in your party, that she looks different. Isabela's reply makes sense both as a comment on the years that have passed and a nod to the graphical overhaul between games:
      Isabela: Don't we all?
    • Bodahn mentions how odd it is that messages never arrive while you're at home.
    • Choosing a certain wry dialogue option with Merrill during the scene after her recruitment mission is completed brings up the following exchange:
      Hawke: I miss the cold. And the dirt. Kirkwall isn't brown enough for me.
      Merrill: Ferelden wasn't THAT brown! The dirt and muck gave it character.
    • After his bodyguards are killed and he's looting the bodies, Javaris draws attention to You All Look Familiar ("Why do they look the same? Did I hire brothers?") and Randomly Drops ("Why can't I pick up his boots? They're right there!").
    • Carver questions whether the Qunari you meet are the same sort as Sten. "I don't remember the horns."
  • Large Ham:
    • Xenon the Antiquarian.
      "Don't... MAN-handle the uuuurrrchin! He's not... for sale... FIND YOUR OWN!"
    • Hawke, if certain dialogue options are chosen during Mark of the Assassin.
  • Last-Second Ending Choice: Various characters (particularly Anders) repeatedly warn you that "there is no halfway" and everyone will have to pick a side eventually. True to their word, your relative standing with the Circle and the Templars prior to the final quest has precisely zero relation to the ending you get. That's decided by a single dialogue choice in a single conversation at the beginning of the quest.
  • Laugh of Love: Merrill will sometimes giggle if romanced by a male Hawke.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • When Carver discovers that his namesake was a Templar friend of his and Hawke's father, he asks if Hawke ever wonders where their name came from. Hawke replies, "I'm sure someone spent far too much time choosing my name."
    • Comments from a drunkard in the Hanged Man, such as the completely original "Do you ever feel like you're in a story someone else is telling?" And then there's:
      Talkative Man: Do you ever feel like the world's getting... simpler? Like everything from eating to fighting is a lot less complex than it used to be?
    • When Isabela asks Varric (in Legacy) why he has a nickname for everyone but none for himself, he replies:
      Varric: Well, it's my story.
    • One of Isabela's innuendos:
      Isabela: [Does he] establish his canon?
    • A random bit of dialogue when examining the windows in Hawke's estate:
      Hawke: I wonder where Varric is today. Telling stories about my exploits to anyone who will to listen, most likely.
  • Let's Dance: Said by Silly Hawke to the Arishok when they accept a duel with him.
    • Also said by Varric in his Act 2 personal quest, when he's depicting himself as a Tony Montana type. "Let's dance, you sons of bitches!"
  • Level in Reverse: Some of the 'dungeon' areas use the same geometry, except with start points and objectives moved around. It's pretty blatant as the minimap shows all of the geometry, even when the doors to the other areas won't open.
  • Level-Locked Loot: Most equipment requires certain stats. Warrior equipment requires strength and constitution, Rogue equipment requires dexterity and cunning, and mage equipment requires magic and willpower.
  • Level Scaling: Affects enemies and most loot. The latter often results in randomly looted equipment outpacing its named but fixed-stat counterparts in terms of quality throughout the entire game. Towards the end, even a designated Infinity +1 Sword (e.g. Celebrant) will prove technically inferior to the "regular" swords you loot everywhere.
  • Level-Up at Intimacy 5: This and the inverse; for every possible companion there are perks to having a stronger, though not necessarily positive, relationship. Some of them also upgrade the player character.
  • Lightning Bruiser: If you play as a dual-wielding rogue you are this, to an extent. While you might not have as much HP as a warrior, you can still take a good amount of damage, and if you have the Speed buff activated, well...
    • A warrior using the two-handed tree and the right buffs can pull this off too. Nothing like instant kill reaving dashes and whirlwinds against pretty much any non-elite enemy.
  • Loading Screen: Used to transition from one location to another. They contain artwork not seen elsewhere in the game, and most of them have assorted bits of trivia on them as well. One of them - the one about the Battle of the Squealing Plains - even gets a tiny Call-Back in the next game.
    • Legacy and Mark of the Assassin have different loading screens than the base game; in MOTA particularly, the artwork featured in these is quite beautiful.
  • Lonely Bachelor Pad: Merrill's apartment in Kirkwall is a rat-infested hovel in the Alienage. Curiously, even if you romance her and offer to let her live with you, she'll still keep returning to the hovel in the daytime - presumably because she can't move the Eluvian into your house.
    • Similarly, a romanced Anders can be moved into Hawke's house, but he still returns to his clinic in the Darktown sewers. This is explained by the impoverished people needing him to still be a source of free medical care; in fact, it's even outright stated when Hawke gives him the key to their estate's cellar, as the door is right outside the clinic, so that he has a quick escape if Templars come calling.
  • Low Fantasy: Not really by proxy of the first game, but the human scale conflict makes it a lot closer to low fantasy, even if that conflict does involve Functional Magic.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Frequently. Very frequently, as critical hits that kill the target reduce them to flying chunks. Weapons with the "Messy Kills" enchantment also deal this. And cross-class combos, especially AoE ones, result in so many, the party would need goggles to do battle. Varric's crossbow is the most egregious case, thanks to his naturally high critical hit chance, rapid firing speed, and high critical damage; pretty much anyone he points his crossbow at has a chance of exploding into a gory mess. Of course, he is the one telling the story.
    • Turns out that enemies exploding quite so often was unintentional, as in a recent patch the amount of explodium enemies appear to have consumed was somewhat reduced.
    • The "Assassinate" ability on the Assassin tree can reduce enemies to mere chunks of themselves.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Gamlen discovering that he has a daughter, Charade, as part of a certain side quest in Act 3.
  • Lying Finger Cross: One of the dialogue option icons is a crossed finger, indicating a Lie option.
  • MacGuffin Super Person: Hawke and their surviving sibling become this in Legacy, since they're the only ones who can free Corypheus.
  • Made of Explodium: Don't give Sandal any salamanders. That's where the "boom" comes from, Bodahn thinks.note 
  • Magic Knight: While the Hawke in the Destiny trailer exaggerates the martial prowess of mages in this game (magical prowess too, for that matter), mages later in the game can equip some form of armor, and also use their staves to physically attack. On the plus side, Mages now have blades on the other end of their staves, which definitely is a welcome change from Origins where unless you were an Arcane Warrior, you'd have a hectic time in close-quarters combat. On the warrior side, two of the three specs involve magic of some sort: Templar and Reaver, meaning pretty much all Warrior Hawkes will have at least a little touch of magic to them (it helps that Templars are less situational here than in Origins, since mages are more frequent as enemies). Fenris is probably the purest example, since his particular lyrium powers allow him to unleash spirit pulses and magically buff himself.
  • Malevolent Architecture: In a very literal sense during the final battle. The final boss brings the Gallows statues to life to combat you.
  • Master of Unlocking: Again, the rogue class is generally used for unlocking chests, and can increase their skills in doing so.
  • Matriarchy: Behind the scenes, outsiders might think Qunari society is this - the breeders (Tamassrans), administrators, financiers, builders, merchants, food distributors, bureaucrats, and much of the priesthood are all women. This is played with, as according to the codex, neither the men nor the women of the Qun see it this way. "The brain can be said to rule the body, but so does the heart, the arms, and the stomach. It is a part of the whole." The Tamassrans have their purpose and fulfill that, as do everyone else.
    • Moreover, only the Arigena (head of the craftswomen) is explicitly female. The Arishok (head of the military) is always male. The Ariqun (high priest of the Qun) apparently can be either. The Ariqun isn't necessarily their leader, but rather one third of a Triumvirate.
  • Meaningful Background Event: In Legacy, just before Hawke delivers the killing blow to Corypheus, his eyes briefly change colour and Janeka or Larius in the background is seen to briefly stumble, clutching at their head... a clear sign that Corypheus is now possessing them.
  • Meaningful Echo: Carver can tell Hawke he's with them once in Act 1 and once in Act 3, with radically different meanings each time.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • During the showdown with Bartrand in the second act, the manservant who saw the events that led up to the current situation and informs the party is called Hugin, one of a pair of ravens that watched the events of the world and told Odin what was happening.
    • A letter for an Act 3 quest comes from a Reginald Thaddeus Spincter, concerning his daughter. Hmmmm...
    • Kirkwall, which literally means "church wall," is (as noted above) a stronghold for the Templars, the military wing of the Chantry.
  • Mercy Kill: This is a possible outcome for many quests dealing with people getting possessed by demons or corrupted. The most notable example (and the first to occur in the story) is Aveline or Hawke being forced to kill Wesley in the prologue, to spare him from suffering a drawn out, painful death from the darkspawn taint.
  • Meta Guy:
    • The talkative man in the Hanged Man.
    • Varric, being the narrator, occasionally has moments of this.
  • Metaphorgotten: A Deadpan Snarker Hawke on the Fade-imprint of their father left at the Grey Warden prison.
    Hawke: He'll live on in what he taught us... and in these bizarre magical contraptions.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Invoked by Varric in party dialogue. When Anders is guilty about killing or almost killing a girl in the quest "Dissent," Varric points out that he's killed at least a thousand people by that point in the game, and the only significant difference between this case and all the others is that Anders feels bad about this one.
  • Misery Poker: Anders and Fenris frequently argue over who has it worse: Tevinter slaves or Andrastian Circle mages. Both men claim that their side has it worse than the other, and the other side doesn't deserve as much pity as a result.
    Fenris: Considering what magic has done to my homeland and my race, I weep for your predicament.
  • Misplaced Sorrow: Merrill misses the Qunari after they commit a massacre in Kirkwall and leave, just because they "were easy on the eyes."
  • Missing Steps Plan:
    Isabela: Step one, we go to Velasco. Step two... something exciting happens. Step three, profit.
  • Missing White Woman Syndrome: Thrice.
    • In Act 1, elven children are kidnapped and murdered by a known serial killer. No one (except maybe Hawke) cares.note 
    • In Act 2, noblewomen start disappearing. This time, the Kirkwall guard start investigating immediately. This trope is also played straight within the second case. When Lowtown women were disappearing it was treated as a mild concern, but as soon as Hightown women started going missing (including Hawke's mother), suddenly the case became urgent.
    • Also in Act 2, a member of the city guard rapes an elven woman, and isn't punished in any way beyond vague promises of it being "looked into". When the brothers of the victim get fed up with waiting and kill the guard, Aveline immediately storms off to arrest and punish the lot of them. This is the very last straw for the Arishok, since the elves have converted to the Qun.
  • Money Multiplier: The Rune of Fortune, available only with the Black Emporium DLC, is an armor rune which causes enemies to drop more coin. The Emporium only sells one, and only during Act 1; however, if Hawke purchases the design 'recipe' as well, they can make as many Runes of Fortune as desired once they have the components. These can be added to any armor piece with a rune slot, and they stack - meaning that the more Runes of Fortune are embedded in Hawke's armor, the more money they can earn in a short period of time. (There is a limit in that you can only put one in each armor piece even if a piece has more than one rune slot; still, that's four runes.) The rune only works on Hawke's armor, but other party members can be equipped with rings or amulets which also cause enemies to drop more coin and/or better equipment. This makes it extremely easy to leave for the Deep Roads with more than 100 gold in Hawke's pocket - even after contributing 50 gold to Bartrand's expedition.
  • Money Spider: Arachnids carry enough coin to finance their own Deep Roads expeditions.
  • Monument of Humiliation and Defeat: In the third act, the people of Kirkwall build a statue of Hawke beheading the Arishok.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • During Act 2, you may have an Optional Sexual Encounter with your love interest. Depending on how you've handled this Act, this may very well occur right before the quest "All That Remains," especially if you're not following any particular guide and just quest until you've no choice but to return home, and since they both take place in your own home one will lead directly into the next. Particularly jarring if your LI is Isabela, due to what she may say at the end of the encounter - essentially, that love is messy.
    • Going from said "All That Remains" quest to the extra-silly "help Aveline get her romance going" quest (or vice versa) is just as jarring.
    • Sometimes the jarring comparisons can pack comedy value. It's possible to trigger "Offered and Lost" and said silly Matchmaker Quest ("The Long Road") at the same time... which will lead to Aveline intimidating a corrupt guard by calling him a drunken mabari bitch at the top of her lungs in a crowded bar... and then vanishing out of sheer embarrassment a second later once Hawke tries to drag her over for drinks with Donnic.
    • Even within several individual quests, things may suddenly shift, especially with a Sarcastic Hawke cracking decent jokes at very bad times.
    • This happens a lot with your companions, sometimes due to the Friendship and Rivalry system. (It can be especially obvious in party banter and talks with some companions, like Fenris, that they see you as a friend or a rival; others will just use default phrases and sayings no matter what.) However, a particularly off-putting example is with Merrill; if you don't let her fix the mirror and are a rival, she will yell at you that she never wants to see you again. She has lost everything to fix the mirror, now she can't even do that, she hates your guts and it really comes across the way she is basically holding back the tears as she shouts at you... you can then immediately have her back in your party and the naive and amusing banter continues...
    • The rival romances can veer into this during the cutscenes. Conversations that start out as arguments can turn into tender romantic interludes, and vice versa - while this is due to these romances being prime examples of Foe Yay, it can be jarring to say the least, especially to Origins players who are used to that game's very friendship-oriented romances.
    • The "On the Loose" sidequest that deals with three escaped mages in Act 3 is the epitome of this. Dealing with Emile de Launcet is a fairly lighthearted and hilarious little affair. Dealing with Huon (a Blood Mage who murders his wife to summon demons) and Evelina (an abomination whom you have to kill in front of her adopted children) is horrifying and heartwrenching. And you can deal with them in any order.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: This game takes it even further than Origins, to the point that there is no Big Bad responsible for everything going wrong. Every major faction in the game is sympathetic to some degree and all of them are partially responsible for the Downer Ending. There are a few truly heroic people (and a couple who are truly monstrous - we're looking at you, Ser Otto Alrik), but they have surprisingly little impact on the setting as a whole.
  • Mordor:
    • The Blightlands.
    • The Deep Roads aren't far off, though of course, they're more Moria.
  • More Than Mind Control:
    • During an optional quest, demons will try this tactic on your party members to get them to turn on you. It works frightfully well, and the only one it doesn't work on is Anders due to his unique circumstances. Afterwards, the party members are apologetic, and you can decide to forgive them if you want.
    • The lyrium idol brings out the worst personality traits of those who fall under its influence.
    • Played straight with Anders if you bring him along in Legacy, where his Warden blood causes him to fall briefly under the sway of Corypheus, forcing Hawke and their companions to subdue Justice in order for Anders to reassert control.
  • Mugging the Monster:
    • Merrill (a Blood Mage) lives in a bad neighborhood but is too naive to realize it. Varric takes steps to avert this.
      Varric: Daisy, for my sake, please quit cutting through the alleys in Lowtown at night.
      Merrill: Nothing ever happens. I'm perfectly safe, Varric.
      Varric: Yes, I know. And that nothing is costing me a fortune.
    • Despite you being famous and armed to the teeth, bandits never decide against attacking you. Worse, some of the characters will acknowledge in conversations that they know who you are and what you're capable of... and then attack you anyway.
  • Multinational Team: Varric is the only party member who grew up in Kirkwall. Aveline and Anders spent most of their lives in Ferelden, but their families are from Orlais and the Anderfels, respectively. Rivain, Starkhaven, and Tevinter are also represented.
  • Mutually Exclusive Party Members: Twins Bethany and Carver are mutually exclusive at the beginning of the game, after one gets shot down by Schrödinger's Gun. At the end, Anders and Sebastian become mutually exclusive if you have the Exiled Prince DLC.
  • My Eyes Are Up Here:
    • Varric says this, word for word, to Isabela in a random piece of party banter.
    • A variation occurs during the "Get Back to Work" quest with a female Hawke. One of the workers tells his friend, "Eyes on her face, you lush!"
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • On Varric's personal quest, Bartrand says this if you bring Anders and he temporarily dispels his madness.
    • Anders, during "Dissent," when he murders/almost murders an innocent mage due to Vengeance/Justice. Hawke can call him out on it.
    • Hawke can have one when they realize that they enabled Anders to create and plant the bomb that destroys the Chantry.
  • Mysterious Employer: The "Friends of Red Jenny" are simply that. Whether they know who Red Jenny is themselves, or if there is one, is left just as mysterious... until the next game.
  • Mystery Meat: One of the loading screens advises people to never order the stew in the Hanged Man, since nobody knows for sure what kind of meat they use to make it.
  • Mystical City Planning: The City of Kirkwall, revealed in the Enigma of Kirkwall to form one of these: "In the oldest parts of the city, one can make out the outlines of glyphs in the very streets! What manner of magic is this?"
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The Armor of the Fallen set is a Call-Back to the "Warden's Calling" trailer for Origins. You can tell for three reasons: First, it has an armor set bonus, which is vanishingly rare in this game. Second, it looks identical to the armor in the trailer. And third, when you put on the complete set, your eyes glow.
    • If you bring Aveline along for Mark of the Assassin, you get a side quest called "The Du Lac Sign," which is one big reference to the Black Vials in Origins.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Discussed.
    Varric: Who would deliberately go to a place called the Blackmarsh?
  • Neck Snap:
    • Fenris disposes of one of Danarius's minions this way.
    • A Qunari also kills a Kirkwall noble this way during the takeover of Kirkwall.
  • Nerf: Mages got hit hard by this, at least in Nightmare Mode when the only role they can consistently fill without causing a Total Party Kill due to friendly fire and the close quarters most fights take place in is healing. Conversely, two-handed warriors are now very powerful when correctly built.
  • Nested Story: There are a few parts of the game where Varric tells a story to Hawke or another character. This means that Varric is telling the Seeker the story of how he once told a story.
  • Nice Day, Deadly Night: There are two separate sets of levels for the city of Kirkwall by day and by night: while the day levels are not completely free of violence, it is very uncommon to be mugged out in the open. Night levels, meanwhile, feature multiple gangs roaming the streets who attack passers-by without provocation.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Many of the From Bad to Worse moments in the game can be directly or indirectly blamed on the player and their party. The most notable examples are recovering the lyrium idol and providing Anders with the opportunity to destroy the Chantry.
    • Let us not forget that the entire Qunari attack, which led to the deaths of hundreds of innocent people and the power vacuum of Act 3 itself, was a direct result of Isabela feeling snatchy one day.
      • If Hawke helps Isabela before going to the Qunari compound, then their interference prevents the Arishok's forces from recovering the artifact, making them partly responsible.
    • And then in Legacy, Hawke unwittingly allows Corypheus to inhabit one of the Grey Wardens after defeating him. Of course, they had no way of knowing this would happen, nor of preventing it, but the ramifications are immense - as the third game reveals.
  • No Mere Windmill: The Templars come across as Windmill Crusaders to an immigrant Hawke, who has mage sympathies for one reason (Bethany) or another (themselves). But mages repeatedly reveal mastery of forbidden magics to the point that Meredith begins to look almost reasonable for her anger at Orsino's denials. Conversely, and in keeping with the game's grayness, many of Anders's suspicions about the Templars are justified and they really do become excessively dictatorial. For example, the Tranquil Solution. In Act 2, both Meredith and the Divine reject Alrik's proposal. By Act 3, Meredith goes through with it, Tranquilizing Harrowed mages left and right, despite this being illegal by the laws of the Chantry.
  • No Name Given: While pretty much every human, dwarf, and mage NPC is given a name no matter how minor or brief their appearance (see Grace the mage), the elves in quests relating to city elves joining the Qunari en masse to escape discrimination in human society (which become significant to the climax of Act 2, and the Trespasser DLC in Dragon Age: Inquisition are only called "Elven Fanatic" in the Blackpowder Courtesy quest, and "Elven Brothers" in Demands of the Qun.
  • No-Sell: Hawke can pull this off towards Idunna, the "Apostitute" working at the Blooming Rose, shaking off her use of Blood Magic.
    Hawke: I will... NOT be... toyed with!
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Teammates who run out of hit points will get back up after combat.
  • Non Standard Skill Learning: Reaching either end of the Friendship/Rivalry scale of a party member makes it lock there permanently and unlocks that character's unique permanent bonus.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • What happened in Hawke's first year in Kirkwall working with either the Red Iron or Athenril's smugglers. This includes a few Noodle Acquaintances, such as Lady Elegant, Tomwise, and Worthy, all of whom apparently worked with Hawke and are on friendly terms with them at the beginning of Act 1. While Varric omits parts of the tale that are neither relevant or interesting, this particular omission is due in part to the fact that Varric himself only meets Hawke at the beginning of Act 1, and thus likely isn't privy to first-hand knowledge of this period of Hawke's life.
    • Isabela apparently once spent over a fortnight in Aveline's brig for causing a brawl that led to 20 people fighting in the street.
    • The last time that Isabela went digging for a stash she was certain contained the Relic:
      Hawke: Yes, that turned out to contain several badly written poems and an old boot.
    • If Hawke is in a romance with anyone (other than Sebastian), there's a cutscene in which Hawke visits Varric at the Hanged Man and Varric offers some gently concerned counsel about the relationship. However, Hawke actually goes to visit Varric for a completely different reason, beginning the conversation by asking Varric if he has a minute to spare. Varric is the one who changes the subject, and the player never finds out what it was that Hawke wanted to discuss in the first place.
    • There's a nameless, easily-missed NPC who hangs around either outside the clinic or at the Docks at night. There's nothing to differentiate him from the random civilians except an unusual amount of lines, all of which revolve around some mysterious illness that no one, not even Anders, can seem to cure. No one in Lowtown will let him near the market, and apparently people stare at him as though he's Blighted. What the heck does this guy have?
    • In Mark of the Assassin, the background between Leliana and Tallis. Their awkward reaction to each other upon meeting hints at a past neither is willing to acknowledge.
    • Another one in Mark of the Assassin, if done in Act 2 or 3 with the surviving sibling as one of the companions. Hawke will arrive at Duke Prosper's estate with only Tallis and the other companion; during the course of greeting the Duke, he will mention the presence of another Hawke, and Bethany/Carver will then join the group. At no time is it ever explained why the sibling is there, or why Duke Prosper invited them independently of Hawke.note 
  • Not So Different:
    • It is seemingly no coincidence that "Fenris' theme" and "Mage Pride" are nearly identical, symbolising both the anti-mage and pro-mage backdrop of this game.
    • Merrill will mention to Anders that she'll give up on her mirror just as soon as he forgets all about the plight of mages.
    • Paragon/Snarky Hawke and the Qunari, which is frequently lampshaded:
      • In Act 1, the Saarebas "Ketojan" notes that by hunting Tal-Vashoth and acting in the role of a guardian to mages, Hawke is bas-arvaraad, the Qunari equivalent to a Templar.
      • The Arishok notes in Act 2 that Hawke is what the Qunari would be without the guidance of the Qun to give them principles, ultimately deeming Hawke to be bas-alitan, an outsider worthy of respect.
      • Finally, in Act 3, upon retrieving lost blades for the Qunari Taarbas, he declares Hawke to be Ben-Hassrath and hands Hawke a Qunari weapon. It should be noted that to the Qunari, one's sword has the symbolic value of one's own soul, and as we later learn that the Ben-Hassrath act as the defenders of the Qunari faith, this heavily implies they deem Hawke to be an honorary Qunari.
      • Mark of the Assassin also has Tallis state that the goal to which the Qunari aspire is to make the world a better place, which is exactly what Hawke earlier said they wanted for Kirkwall.
    • The Qunari and the Chantry extremists who want to destroy the "heathens." This is never better shown than in the Escort Mission for the freed Saarebas in Act 2: if the Sten sent to intercept them discovers that any member of Hawke's party is a mage, he will immediately try to kill them all to prevent their "evil" from "infecting" him.
  • Not So Stoic:
    • The Qunari, despite appearing to rarely show emotion, can be seen as having a deadpan sense of humour, particularly in their interaction with a snarky Hawke.
    • The Arishok, whose veneer of being cool, calm, and collected at all times finally crumbles at the end of Act 2, and he unleashes the full might of the Qunari ire against Kirkwall - first verbally, then for real.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The game's story ends with the reveal that mage Circles the world over are rising up in rebellion and the Templars have abandoned the Chantry, with talks of political tensions also rising considerably in Orlais.
  • Notice This: Most loot-supplying containers and objects will have sparkles coming out of them. The ones that don't can still be highlighted by pressing a particular button or, on PC, holding down a specific key. Without a mod that turns it into a toggle, this game can be the cause of sore pinkies for many a PC player.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The hallmark of most of Hawke's Deadpan Snarker dialogue, often seemingly used to lure enemies into a false sense of security.
  • Odd Friendship: Hawke and most of their companions.
    • Even Flemeth of all people, freely admits that she really is fond of Hawke.
      Flemeth: Kirkwall? My, so far to simply flee the darkspawn?
      Hawke: Do you have a better suggestion? I hear the Deep Roads are now vacant.
      Flemeth: *laughs* Oh, you I like!
    • Fenris is remarkably cordial with Bethany, which stands out given his hostility toward pretty much all other mages in a warrior or rogue Hawke playthrough. He even goes so far in Act 3 as to state, in party banter with Anders, that he considers her a strong enough mage that she could live outside of a Circle with no ill effects.
    • Aveline and Isabela, who are about as different as it's possible to be, eventually develop one of these.
  • Offhand Backhand: Zevran does this with a throwing knife into an assassin's eye, if you help him kill the Crows sent after him.
  • Oh, Crap!: Idunna, the blood mage working in the Blooming Rose, has this reaction if Hawke or a mage companion breaks her control over Hawke.
    Idunna: How did you... Oh shit!
    • This is also the reaction of Orwald the Braggart if Hawke offers Aveline the opportunity to "have a word with your man," causing him to realize that he just admitted to taking a bribe in front of the Captain of the Guard.
    • The reaction of the Templars when they realise that the red statue in front of Hawke is actually Meredith, frozen mid-scream with a look of complete horror on her face. And then again when they notice that now Hawke is glaring at them too. Cue all the Templars surrounding you beginning to back away... very slowly.
    • And the Grey Warden Janeka, when she finds out that controlling Corypheus is not as easy as she thought.
  • Oh My Gods!: A new one: "Flames," referring to Andraste's burning at the stake.
    • "To the Void" enters the lexicon as well, referring to the void that all souls must walk if they are not called to the Maker's side. If Hawke falls in battle, Varric may react by saying, "Void take us all!"
    • Bartrand once gives us the one-off "Andraste's tits!". Given as he was raised in Orzammar, he may well venerate the Ancestors (unlike Varric, who is surface-born and Andrastian), so this could be a Dwarven slur to disparage Human religion.
    • Varric himself offers "Andraste's dimpled buttcheeks." He also, in response to one question from Bethany, replies, "Great Ancestors, no!"
      • Carrying on the proud tradition from Origins, such as Shianni's "Andraste's ass, you'd think I'd learn some social graces."
    • If Hawke lets Fenris do the interrogation in one optional quest, a slaver yells, "Andraste's great flaming arse!" Since Fenris has just stuck his hand in the guy's chest and rearranged his internal organs, this is understandable.
    • During the Haunted House mission if Anders is brought along, when a vase flies across the screen: "Andraste's flaming knickers!"
    • In Mark of the Assassin, Isabela gives us "Andraste's Granny-panties."
  • Old Save Bonus: Saves from the last game can be carried over to influence events in this one. Otherwise the player chooses from three different builds: The Hero of Ferelden (Male human Warden kills the Archdemon, survives, and makes Alistair King); The Martyr (Dalish Warden who sacrifices herself and leaves the kingdom to Alistair and Anora); and No Compromises (Dwarven Warden-Commander who exiles Alistair, sacrifices Loghain to the Archdemon, and makes Anora queen).
    • Completing Dragon Age II with a save imported from Origins also grants the "Epic" achievement/trophy, which normally requires two playthroughs to be earned.
  • Ominously Open Door: How the investigation of the Harriman estate in Sebastian's companion quest begins. You find the inhabitants inside out of touch with reality in varying ways, culminating in the discovery of a demon below the mansion.
  • One-Hit Kill/One-Hit Polykill: Archers can instakill weaker opponents with a shot that overpenetrates, Punishing Lance. The skill is dramatically illustrated in Varric's cutscene.
    • Rogues taking the Assassin spec can also OHK most enemies using the Assassinate skill, especially with both upgrades applied. (Unfortunately, it takes almost a full minute to recharge.)
  • One-Man Army: Every single party member. Varric offhandedly mentions at one point (less than halfway through the game) that Anders alone has killed 262 women, 583 men, assorted monsters and beasts, and at least two demons. And he's generally the healer of the group. Of course, Varric is an Unreliable Narrator, so he could just be inventing numbers off the top of his head.
    • Varric gets his own more traditional example in the exaggerated version of the storming of his brother's home.
  • Only Sane Man: In the endgame, Sebastian is the only who points out that debating the Rite of Annulment as 'justice' is pointless when the culprit for the Chantry bombing is right there in front of them. Unfortunately, this - like all of his other commentary in the scene - is entirely ignored by the other characters.note 
  • Open Secret: Maleficarum in the Gallows. The secret goes to the top.
    • Apostate mages are more common in Kirkwall than they ever were in Ferelden, and at least one (Anders) is using healing magic openly in the poorer quarters. This is deconstructed. They exist because Meredith is actually fairly reasonable early in the game and has bigger fish to fry; when she loses her mind, the Underground is almost completely wiped out.
    • By Act 3, everyone knows mage Hawke is an apostate, and if you get too snarky with her, Meredith reminds you that her leniency goes only so far. The only reason you haven't been imprisoned is your position in the nobility; it would hurt the Templars' standing with the people of Kirkwall if they threw "The Champion" in the Gallows. This protection (whether Hawke is a mage or not) also extends to Anders, is frequently seen in Hawke's company with magic staves on their backs. Additionally, she likely doesn't want to tangle with Hawke and friends, since even if she won her losses would be tremendous.
  • Optional Sexual Encounter: This is a Bioware RPG, so there are several.
  • Optional Stealth: The Mark of the Assassin DLC gives you an achievement for sneaking undetected past all the guards up until a certain point.
  • Orichalcum: It appears as a crafting resource; this is the only game thus far to include it, as it's not seen either in Origins or Inquisition.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: In addition to importing the dragon lore established in Origins, Mark of the Assassin adds wyverns, a closely related species which does not get along with their cousins at all. Wyverns don't get anywhere near as big, alpha males being the size of the average drake, and they cannot breathe fire or fly, though they can jump huge distances. They breed like rats, however, and can spit a deadly venom (which is also used in a popular cocktail).
  • Overdrawn at the Blood Bank: This carries over from Origins.


  • Part-Time Hero: Sarcastic Hawke. Their rousing speech effectively equates to "Wake up. Save the world. Go to the pub!"
  • Party of Representatives: Hawke's companions represent different parts of Thedas (though several of them have some history in Ferelden) and different stances on the central Mage/Templar conflict.
    • Bethany is an apostate who simply wishes to remain with her family and not be carted off to live the rest of her life trapped in the Circle of mages.
    • While he loves them, Carver hates being saddled with the burden of having to live life on the run because of his mage sibling(s), and feels that things would be better if they didn't have their abilities.
    • Aveline has no love for the Templars (apart from her late husband), who so often abuse their power, and acknowledges that there are many good mages. But she nevertheless agrees that they are a danger and must be kept under watch for the safety of everyone.
    • Anders despises the fear and hatred mages suffer simply for being born with magic, enduring endless cruelties at the hands of the Chantry and its corrupt Templars.
    • Having lived as the slave and plaything of a Tevinter Magister, Fenris has seen firsthand what mages can do when their power goes unchecked. His is a purely anti-mage stance, though he makes exceptions for Bethany or mage Hawke.
    • Merrill grew up among her people and is unaware of the Templar-Mage conflict that exists in Human cities. She is largely uninformed and has little opinion on the matter, but leans toward support of the mages.
    • Varric and Isabela, meanwhile, maintain a neutral stance, with no strong feelings one way or the other. Varric's only comment in the endgame is to say that "I'm sick of mages and Templars."
  • Pass the Popcorn: Anders will tell a Mage Hawke that the mages in Kirkwall all look up to them for the hope of a better life, and that Hawke should lead them. Hawke can reply that they don't want to lead, just watch. With snacks.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Most items and quests are exclusive to a specific act. Once you move on, there's no getting them back. In terms of items, this is particularly true of companion gifts, backpacks, and armor upgrades. It's also true of three companions:
    • If Hawke does not answer the letter to trigger the quest "Bait and Switch" before ending Act 1, the player will miss out on the chance to recruit Fenris.
    • If Hawke does not enter the Hanged Man after recruiting Anders in Act 1, there will be no opportunity to recruit Isabela.note 
    • If you have the Exiled Prince DLC but head for the Deep Roads in Act 1 without completing Sebastian's quest, he remains unavailable as a companion; his Act 2 quests require the Act 1 quest to be done first.
  • Pet the Dog: The Black Emporium DLC adds a mabari hound, for the same purpose as the one in Origins: to give everyone a literal dog-petting moment in their own idiom. Not only that, but several of your companions can also do this literally in dialogue at Hawke's home. Apparently, people come over just to visit Hawke's dog. Varric actually plays cards with him on occasion!
    • In a non-literal sense, Flemeth has a moment of this sort in the prologue with Aveline, to whom she demonstrates genuine sympathy for the loss of her beloved husband. When she appears again later on Sundermount, she has a few similar exchanges with Hawke and Merrill.
      "You have my thanks... and my sympathies."
  • Pietà Plagiarism: Two examples in Act 2 - Hawke cradling Leandra and Viscount Dumar cradling his son Saemus.
  • Pirate: The Raiders of the Waking Sea.
    • Isabela, of course, is a grounded pirate captain and her specialization tree is full of pirate and nautical references. Clicking on her when she's in the active party sometimes results in her making comments about the sea.
  • Pixel Hunting: A bit of a problem in the PC port on higher resolutions; lots of enemies and interactable objects have surprisingly small selection boxes (and the enemies move fast).
  • Platonic Declaration of Love: Potentially happens a few times between the members of the Hawke family.
  • Please, I Will Do Anything!: Said word-for-word by the young mage encountered during Anders's Act 2 companion quest. She's pleading with Ser Alrik, a Templar, to not perform what is essentially a magical lobotomy on her. His response: "That's right. Once you're Tranquil, you'll do anything I want." Cue Vengeance-flavored ass-kicking.
  • Point-and-Click Map: An interesting variant, in that there are three maps and you can jump from any of them to either of the others. One is Kirkwall by day; one is Kirkwall by night; and one is Sundermount and the surrounding countryside. The day and night maps feature loot, enemies, and (some) quests independently of one another, forcing a thorough search of both in each act.
  • Point of No Return: Three of them, each one before the climactic ending of an act. The first two are clearly marked, with Bartrand or Aveline warning you to wrap up any other business you might have. The third isn't quite as obvious.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • A lot of trouble could have been avoided if only the Arishok had actually told the Viscount why he was staying in Kirkwall. The reason he doesn't is that the Qun's rigid caste structure means that warriors cannot even act like diplomats. So when a boat full of warriors chases their objective to Kirkwall and the bureaucratic tape prevents them from requesting backup while their duty prevents them from leaving, they end up spending their time taking in refugees and punching the shit out of anyone who claims they're breaking the law, instead of forming trade relations or negotiating a truce. Things get ugly.
    • Presumably, Hawke prefers not to tell Leandra the gruesome details of the incidents he or she gets involved with on a daily basis; but a great deal of heartache could have been avoided if, at some point over a period of six years, Hawke had thought to tell her to be wary of a "suitor" giving gifts of white lilies.
    • Charade's attempt to attract the attention of her father Gamlen.
    • The alliance of mages and Templars against Meredith could have avoided being wiped out if they had approached Orsino or a mage-aligned Hawke, instead of trying to threaten them into compliance without revealing their goals or identities. It's especially glaring in playthroughs where Hawke is on good terms with Ser Thrask.
    • While it's understandable why you'd keep it quiet, Malcolm, you could have prepared Hawke for Legacy by warning them that you were once were coerced by the Grey Wardens into reinforcing the seals that locked away an ancient darkspawn and that now your family's blood is the key to unlocking that prison. Possibly justified by his death a few years before the start of the game; he may have intended to tell his children once they were older, and never got the chance.
  • Pottery Barn Poor: As noted above under Informed Poverty. The Hawke family talk about Gamlen's hut as though it's a filthy little hovel, yet it's shown to be rather spacious, fairly clean, and even with multiple rooms. When Merrill moves into the Alienage, she and other characters talk like she just moved into a rathole, with her even apologizing for the mess on their first visit, yet her home is also very spacious and immaculately clean.
  • Practical Taunt: It's part of the Warmonger talent tree and has an even better effect than in the first game, transferring all aggro towards other party members to the tank.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Flemeth invokes this trope to refute Aveline's claim that she steals children. As if she didn't have better things to do!
  • Pre-Character Customization Gameplay: You start by selecting Hawke's sex and class, but not appearance. You then begin the intro scene, with the default/iconic version of Hawke effortlessly slaughtering waves of bad guys. The game then cuts to its Framing Device, where it's revealed that this is a Tall Tale being told by one of your future party members while under interrogation, and his interrogator suspects he's making it up. He admits he's exaggerating to play up to the legend that Hawke has become, and the scene restarts, this time allowing you to select what Hawke 'really' looks like.
  • Pregnant Hostage: In Legacy it's revealed that the Grey Wardens used Hawke's mother (pregnant with Hawke at the time) as this to force her husband Malcolm to reinforce the wards on Corypheus' prison to keep the Darkspawn Magister from escaping. Though the Grey Wardens kept their word and returned Leandra Hawke unharmed, Hawke is understandably furious that they threatened both their mother's and their own lives, so much so that the Grey Wardens using Blood Magic again in Dragon Age: Inquisition becomes a Berserk Button for the Champion no matter what Hawke's personality is.
  • Prestige Class: Simplified compared to the first game - each class has three possible specializations available from the start, but can only pick two (one at level 7, the other at 14). Each full-time companion has their own unique skill tree, while your sibling gets a specialization if they live past Act 1.
  • Primal Stance: The new hurlocks and genlocks invoke this trope.
    • The Qunari as well, when they're relaxed. They do stand up straight when they want to be imposing, however.
    • Fenris is a less pronounced example. Compare his posture to, say, Merrill's. It often gets more pronounced in combat, however, on account of him being pretty lean and swinging around a BFS.
  • Properly Paranoid: As you play the game, you see that the Templars' harsh methods are somewhat justified since blood mages really are extremely dangerous, but said paranoia also contributes to the Vicious Cycle.
    • While he quickly goes off the deep end, Anders is partially justified in his paranoia about the Templars. They might not all be the brutal fascists he claims they are, but there are many instances where they can act wantonly and chillingly brutal.
  • Protectorate: In Mark of the Assassin, Hawke explicitly states that Kirkwall is under their protection.
  • Proud Warrior Race: The Qunari.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: Idunna, an "apostitute" at the Blooming Rose, tries to do this to Hawke but fails.
  • Putting on the Reich: Lacking the visual elements, but the Templars under Meredith (especially Ser Alrik) have significant thematic parallels with Nazi Germany.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The endgame. Regardless of who you side with, the Mages are wiped out, the Templars take massive losses, and the city of Kirkwall is left in shambles. Neither side can claim a moral victory, as the leaders of both sides succumb to insanity and evil. And the incident acts as the trigger for a world war between Mages and Templars, ultimately wiping out anything that could be described as a "gain". As far as the individual endings are concerned:
    • The Mage ending has Hawke kill the insane Meredith, become a heroic icon to mages everywhere, and get out of Kirkwall alive. However, Hawke is now a fugitive and has lost everything that they worked so hard to build over the last ten years.
    • In comparison, the Templar Ending has Hawke become the Viscount(ess) of Kirkwall. However, Hawke is now ruling over a city in ruins thanks to the final conflict, and they become a symbol of hatred and oppression to mages worldwide. Hawke's gains are ultimately undone by the ensuing war between the Mages and the Templars.
  • The Queen's Latin:
    • The Free Marches are a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Germany before it was a unified state, but everyone has an American or English accent, with the exception of the Irish-accented Dalish (and Merrill's Welsh accent). Similarly, Isabela is from Rivain, which seems influenced by Spain or Portugal, and Fenris is from the Byzantium-based Tevinter Imperium; both sound English. Orlesians and Antivans are the exception, as they all sound French/Spanish (although Antiva is more Italian).
    • Possibly subverted with Starkhaven, as they appear to have a Scottish accent, although application of this in-game is patchy at best.
    • Everyone seen from the Tevinter Imperium speaks with refined English accents, even though their names are always Latin.
  • Race Lift: There are a couple of mods that make Isabela white (even giving her blue eyes and blonde hair). Heated arguments have gone over to the moral integrity of such mods, with some believing it is a harmless cosmetic change or that she was actually a white woman who has been tanned by the sun, and others feeling it is insensitive and immoral.
    • It also contradicts canon. Isabela is from Rivain, which is one of the few places in Thedas where the population is consistently darker hued.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Your companions, in accordance with tradition.
  • Random Encounter: Taken up several notches from Origins and much more heavily used. You frequently bump into improbably large hordes of thugs while wandering around the various sections of Kirkwall, especially at night.
    • Actually, clearing out the streets forms a side quest in each Act, culminating with the option to finish them and their leaders off at their base. This is different from Random Encounters, but those do occur, outside of Kirkwall.
    • Interestingly, Fenris's personal quest progression hinges on you bringing him outside of Kirkwall and getting one of these.
  • Randomly Generated Loot: Resulting in regular random weapon drops routinely out-performing unique named weaponry that you have to gain through arduous side quests. This is stark contrast to Origins, where only the most basic loot was randomized and all the high-level equipment was predefined and obtained under specific circumstances.
  • Rape and Revenge: In Demands of the Qun, Hawke is made aware that a group of unnamed elven brothers killed one of Aveline's guards after they tried to report that he raped their sister, and were laughed away each time. Aveline wants to arrest them because they "took still took the law into their own hands," but since they converted to the Qun shortly after said murder, the Arishok won't release them since they are now under the Qunari's protection, and he's sympathetic to their plight. Regardless of how Hawke feels about the situation, the confrontation provides the catalyst for the climax in Act 2.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: If the Aggressive option is chosen, Hawke can give a short one to Carver at the conclusion of the "Birthright" quest.
    Hawke: The "second child" act is getting pretty stale, Brother.
    Carver: Try it from this side, always running after you. [...] That was a waste, huh? Could have found my fortune if Bethany was going to die on your watch anyway.
    Hawke: Do you feel better getting that off your chest?
    Carver: I... I suppose.
    Hawke: [coldly] Good. Because I carry every death with me. If you want that weight, be sure you're ready to take it.
    • In "Demands of the Qun," the Arishok tells Aveline (and, by extention, all of Kirkwall) how much they suck for their Fantastic Racism and systemic inequality.
    The Arishok: Their actions are mere symptoms. Your society is the disease. They have chosen. The viddathari will submit to the Qun and find a path your way has denied them.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The Viscount and Grand Cleric Elthina both try to maintain the fragile peace between mages, Templars, and the Qunari in Kirkwall. Ser Thrask and Knight-Captain Cullen, while holding opposite views on the Templar and mage problem, both work with Hawke to curb excesses in their order (such as Ser Alrik and eventually Meredith).
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Hawke twins, during the prologue. Carver is red, Bethany is blue. The game itself seems to call attention to it with their icons; the background of Carver's is a reddish color, while Bethany's background is a vivid blue.
  • Redemption Demotion: Inverted with Merrill. Normally, she has only a small amount of HP, but if she opposes you in the Fade, she suddenly has more than many bosses.
  • Relationship Values: Upgraded from Dragon Age: Origins. You can no longer gift-spam to make people like you, as gifts are unique items of special importance to certain characters. They can only be given to that character, and come with an accompanying conversation. In addition, negative approval is no longer disadvantageous to the player; companions with negative approval form a Rivalry with Hawke, which grants a different ability from a Friendship.
    • Word of God states that Rivalries are not inherently bad, either. The bond of companionship is just as strong, the only difference being that Hawke and the companion have opposing viewpoints. In certain cases where the companion is misguided, it could be argued that the most moral thing Hawke can do is to oppose them for their own good.
  • Rescue Romance: If you let Feynriel go to Tevinter, he will at one point save a noblewoman by mentally forcing her attackers to kill each other. Said noblewoman calls him “her love” and asks you to take her to him, so she can thank him properly.
  • Retcon:
    • Anders is alive and well, even if you imported a save where he died at the end of Awakening. In a conversation with Nathaniel, Anders claims that the wrong body was identified (Awakening left no such ambiguity). However, this doesn't account for the possibility of you handing him over to the Circle without ever recruiting him properly, in which case he didn't do half the things he claims to have done, and never even met Justice. Gaider has said that the folks at BioWare liked Anders and the plot he was involved in too much to leave him dead.
    • Leliana will always be alive, even if she died in Origins. If The Exiled Prince DLC is installed and you speak to her, Leliana can be asked point-blank how she's alive when it's known (as part of the Warden's tale) that she died. She doesn't give an entirely straight answer, but implies that it may have been divine intervention.
    • Justice was bound to the body of the deceased Warden Kristoff and served for many years in the Grey Warden ranks, post-Awakening, before presumably departing back into the Fade. By Act 1 of Dragon Age II, set a mere six months after the events of Awakening, Justice is not only bound to Anders, but has been for quite a while.
    • Merrill is quite different from her Origins version, both in her personality and her appearance. In the first game she was a reasonable and serious girl, but in the sequel she was changed into a Cloudcuckoo Lander. Appearance-wise, there's of course the new elf design, but her facial markings are also different and she is not as tanned anymore. One thing that hasn't changed, though: her interest in the history of her people and ways of reclaiming it, a core aspect of her character in Dragon Age II, were already there in Origins.
    • If the Hero of Ferelden was a Dalish elf, the Sabrae clan is said in the epilogue to be offered the Hinterlands in which to settle, with Marethari declaring that they will be "a shining example of how elves and humans should co-exist". That doesn't happen, and instead they end up outside of Kirkwall. A throwaway line by Alistair in Act 3 suggests that it didn't work out. Furthermore, Merrill acts as though the land was given after they left for Kirkwall.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The game does a very good job of making you realize why people are scared of mages, and just as much why mages are scared of Templars.
  • Right Man in the Wrong Place: The game explains exactly how Hawke managed to become one of the most (in)famous people in Thedosian history, entirely unintentionally.
  • Rivals Team Up: Rivalry can be as effective as friendship for getting someone to support Hawke instead of going with their principles. There are also a number of rivalries between the companions themselves, resulting in Teeth-Clenched Teamwork as they maintain a tenuous peace due to their loyalty to Hawke.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue:
    • Hawke and friends in Act 2, during the quest "All That Remains." Unsuccessfully.
    • Hawke and friends again in Act 3, during the quest "Best Served Cold." This time they succeed.
  • Rock Monster: The rock wraiths, a.k.a. profanes, found in the Primeval Thaig.
  • Romance Sidequest: It's Bioware.
  • Rule of Cool / Rule of Fun: The new combat system is supposed to use these.
  • Rule of Perception: Among the fanbase and in-universe characters, the Kirkwall mages have an Always Chaotic Evil reputation. In the latter case, this is because of a Freudian Excuse or because of simple prejudice. In the former case, it is because the number of named benevolent mages in the game can be counted on one hand. This is despite the argument that the mages are not all evil or extremists being uttered constantly. David Gaider and other members of the DA team apparently addressed this, saying that they wished they had included more mages who were not extreme or villainous.
  • Rule 34: There had to be someone who stared at the statues of Andraste and thought, "Boy, I'd like to see her naked." The nude sculpture inspired is, due to Chantry censorship, Unrevealed at the Black Emporium.
    • Taken Up to Eleven because the Chantry could not bring themselves to destroy so perfect an image of Andraste, even if they found her nudity taboo, and therefore they simply rendered the sculpture invisible. So now people "study" it by touch.
    • Andraste has also been given the Rule 34 treatment in a smutty Romance Novel Isabela shows Bethany. It even has pictures! (Bethany: "Isabela, this is a vulgar thing!")
    • Isabela apparently invokes this about Aveline and Donnic with "friend-fiction." Aveline is not amused, though Varric finds it hilarious.
  • Running Gag:
    • Finding copies of the manifesto Anders wrote... all over your Hightown estate. He even hides them inside other books.
    • Mark of the Assassin has Tallis going into a private room with someone to attempt to seduce them for a key. Hawke waits outside, making small talk with the other guests, and Tallis comes out having failed for some reason or another.
      • In the same DLC, avoid Orlesian ham at all costs. It tastes like despair.
    • Merrill expressing her desire to own a baby griffon called "Feathers" in party banter, only for someone to remind her that they are extinct.note 
    • Varric having loaned Merrill a ball of twine to help find her way, due to her atrocious sense of direction.
    • Merrill's not understanding innuendo, and Isabela's very... active sex life.
    • Isabela's fascination with Varric's chest hair.
    • Goats are becoming one. Unlike in Origins, they are not just bleating while you're exploring. There is Ser Conrad ("he sacrificed a goat to the Great Demon")note , Aveline ("three goats and a sheaf of wheat")note  and Isabela ("I didn't ask for the goat")note .
  • Running on All Fours: The re-designed genlocks do this.
  • Sarcasm Failure:
    • In Act 2, you'll meet a homicidal elf who has killed a bunch of people, but not by the method she intended. Her sadness over this prompts Smartass Hawke to say:
      Hawke: You were going to kill people anyway? That's... not funny at all, really.
    • Also notable in the same act, when Leandra is taken by a serial killer. No matter how Hawke is played, throughout that quest, they will sound terrified.
      Hawke: I get it, you're crazy! Where is my mother?
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The Qunari. Conversations reveal just how alien their thought processes are compared to most of Thedas, but also show how they can be so successful in gaining converts despite this. This made their stay in Kirkwall tense for all sides.
  • Scenery Gorn: The Korcari Wilds in the beginning. It's a barren wasteland, and the only landmarks are the road to Lothering... and the pillars of smoke rising from where Lothering used to be.
  • The Schlub Pub Seduction Deduction: Subverted in Mark of the Assassin. Tallis tries to seduce various men to get a key, but either they don't have it or they don't swing that way. Double subverted if you play male Hawke, who can seduce the man who has it.
  • Secret Legacy: The main plot of the Legacy DLC. Hawke's father Malcolm helped the Grey Wardens to seal away a powerful darkspawn.
  • Self-Deprecation: Similarly to the above, the DLC has some self-deprecating Party Banter poking fun at some of the oft-criticised aspects of the game, such as the lack of exploring outside Kirkwall and the reused dungeons and environments.
    Merrill: It's so exciting to be out of Kirkwall! It seems we haven't left there in ages!
    Snarky Hawke: We do seem to spend a ridiculous amount of time in the city.
    Merrill: I needed this break. I was starting to think every part of Kirkwall looked alike.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The Game. The anti-Qunari activists were hoping for a fight, but weren't remotely prepared for what that meant. As early as Act 1, Thrask notes that Meredith's anti-mage measures have caused as much as dissent as obedience.
  • Sentimental Shabbiness: If you romance Merrill and have her move in with you, she will still keep her hovel in the Alienage, which is where you'll find her in between quests. While this initially appears to be a case of Merrill being sentimental towards her people, in reality, she's there because she has the Eluvian there, it's too fragile to move easily, and she doesn't want anyone to learn that she's trying to fix it.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: With the exception of Nightmare, each difficulty setting is intentionally easier than it was in Origins.
  • Sequel Hook: Many, and not all of them get resolved in the next game.
    • There's a bunch of unfinished plot threads, a massive civil war on the horizon, and both Hawke (and their Love Interest) and the Hero of Ferelden have mysteriously vanished if they did not die. Cassandra and Leliana are still looking.
    • Bodahn mentions that he and Sandal will be moving to Orlais.
    • King Alistair is concerned with tensions between Ferelden and Orlais, which could lead to another war between the two countries. He also mentions that Orlais has factions of its own. Come Asunder...
    • The entirety of the Primeval Thaig is clearly setting up sequel hooks, or at least fodder for future lore.
      • The Nexus Golem in a Bonus Dungeon dangles references to a thaig beneath Orlais.
      • The Primeval Thaig could be connected to the strange ruins that the Dalish Elf in Origins found at the beginning.
    • You run into a few Grey Wardens on their way to resolve some new threat they refuse to discuss.
      • There's also their extreme interest in the Primeval Thaig, an investigation ordered by the First Warden.
    • Flemeth and Morrigan are still up to something.
      • Sandal said that "the old lady is scary". Which old lady? One that apparently watches him sleep, and has a scary laugh. Additionally, if Merrill lives in the Hawke mansion, she starts to think that Sandal is watching her.
    • With regards to the Qunari, while there are Multiple Endings involved and we don't know which is the "real" one yet, odds are very good that not only do they still not have their relic, but now they've also lost a large contingent of soldiers and an Arishok (you know, one of the three people that rule Qunari society). No one with half a brain could possibly expect them to take that lying down.
    • During Sebastian's companion quest "Faith," Sister Nightingale pretty much confirms that the entire Kirkwall crisis was orchestrated by the "Resolutionists," an international conspiracy of apostates hell-bent on toppling the Circle of Magi system.
    • If Alistair is alive and king, he wants to meet Hawke to discuss something important, but having run into Meredith first, he dismisses the topic as now being too late.
    • The Band of Three's notes scattered across Kirkwall relate a disturbing story that is yet to be completed.
    • From the Legacy DLC, there are strong implications that Corypheus survived the final battle and is on the loose. Sure enough, guess who the main antagonist in Inquisition is?
    • The DLC Mark of the Assassin adds another one if you bring Aveline, who is Orlesian. Her personal sidequest culminates in a battle with a Revenant, all for a small note linking her father's late doppelganger to the Orlesian "game." The characters are just as confused as the player, but it's yet another hint toward Orlais as the setting of the third game. Orlais does figure prominently in Inquisition, sure enough.
    • Should you spare Anders, Sebastian declares that he will return to Starkhaven, gather an army and then raze Kirkwall to the ground. He makes good on his threat in Inquisition. Alternately, if you kill Anders, Sebastian promises to do his best by both you and Kirkwall, and in the next game he makes good on that promise too.
    • Sandal's ominous prophecy that can only be heard during Act 3 sounds like one giant sequel hook depending on interpretation. The sky definitely opens in Inquisition; however, with the release of the Trespasser DLC, it sounds much more like he was talking about a certain character's plans for the fourth game.
      Sandal: One day the magic will come back, all of it. Everyone will be just like they were. The shadows will part, and the skies will open wide. When he rises, everyone will see.
  • Set Bonus: Some items and armor sets give one.
  • Sex Slave:
    • It is hinted that Fenris was this to Danarius on top of being his bodyguard. Word of God later confirmed it.
    • Ser Alrik is making mages Tranquil and using them for this purpose. It's not stated explicitly, but consider the Tranquil mage in the Gallows courtyard who blankly tells her former lover, "I am Ser Alrik's now." He all but spells it out during the quest "Dissent," when he tells the teenage Ella that "Once you're Tranquil, you'll do anything I want."
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: The sex scenes are tamer here than in Origins. Though at least they don't have ludicrous, randomly appearing ugly underwear like the Origins sex scenes did.
  • Sexy Walk: The standard walk animation for all female characters; just look at the way they move their hips. It also comes up during Party Banter between Merrill and Isabela, with Merrill wondering how she does it and if she could teach it to her.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The Tale of Corsa the Bard.
  • Shoot the Dog: The player can choose to Mercy Kill or outright murder people in order to complete a quest. In the beginning of the game, the player can choose to stab Wesley for Aveline, while in the end, the player may choose to kill Anders in retribution for the destruction of the Chantry.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Some conversations with the villain have options where you can cut straight to the fighting rather than talk.
  • Sidequest Sidestory: Frequently, completing a sidequest in one act will make you deal with its consequences in the next or even until the end of the game, such as the Bone Pit quests. Word of God states that this was the whole reasoning behind the three-acts-and-time-skips plot structure.
  • The Siege: The mage endgame, where you defend the mages against the attacking Templars. Contrast the Templar endgame, where you're taking part in the siege.
  • Sigil Spam: Three symbols (the emblem of Kirkwall, Hawke's family seal, and a third that resembles a stylized dragon in red) are everywhere, even the loading screens.
  • Situational Sexuality: Averted. Only Isabela makes any mention of being attracted to both sexes; Anders only mentions a male partner to a male Hawke; and neither Fenris and Merrill show any interest unless romanced. But Word of God is that they were all written to be bisexual.
  • Skill Point Reset: The Maker's Sigh potion, available at the DLC-only Black Emporium.
  • Skill Tree: In sharp contrast to Origins, which had linear perk progressions, skill trees in DAII do branch. Also unlike Origins, where rogues and warriors talents largely overlapped, each class now has a unique shared set of them, although not all party members have access to the complete set (e.g. Merrill has no Creation tree and thus no healing magic). Plus, each party member has a skill tree unique to them, while Hawke has three class-specific specialization trees.
  • Skyward Scream: Silly Hawke will do this, in reaction to a fake bee sting, to distract a guard in Mark of the Assassin:
    "If I die... make sure the world knows... I died at Chateau Haine!"
  • Slave Market: The city-state of Kirkwall was originally a slave market for the Tevinter Empire before a slave rebellion turned it into a free city. There are still statues and murals around the city that attest to its dark past.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Cynical. Much more than the original.
  • Smoke Out: The rogue's standard trick is running behind the target under a puff of smoke to initiate an instant backstab.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The guard-captain is Aveline, not Avaline. The pirate's name is Isabela, with one L. Merrill, on the other hand, has two Ls and two Rs. Varric has two Rs, and there is no K in his name anywhere. All of these are frequently misspelled, both in fanfic and sometimes on This Very Wiki.
  • Spikes of Villainy:
    • Some very subtle ones at that. Meredith gets a new sword at the beginning of Act 3, right around the time she starts going off the deep end. See the spikes on its handle?
    • Hawke inverts it at the same time after becoming the Champion of Kirkwall and gets the opportunity to start collecting the Mantle of the Champion seen in the prologue. The Mantle is spiky everywhere and is a symbol of Hawke's newfound Folk Hero status.
    • Don't forget Fenris's armor. Some of the other characters make references to the implications of having spikes on his armor during dialogue, for example, if Hawke is romancing Fenris:
      Varric: You do know the elf is covered in spikes, like an angsty porcupine? He might have some... issues.
  • Spoiler Opening: The very first screen of the game shows a drawing of Orsino and Meredith facing off with each other, though on your first playthrough you probably don't know who they are.
  • Spotting the Thread:
    • On a couple of occasions, characters will lie to Hawke in an attempt to gain clemency. Hawke never gets the option to call them out on this, but the player can certainly use the knowledge when deciding how to act.
    • Gascard DuPuis is one example, claiming that the serial killer only goes after young, beautiful women who won't be missed. Yet the previous victims include an older Circle Mage and a well-loved noblewoman with a very powerful family.
    • Another is Sabine, a miner in the Bone Pit who leaks information to the Coterie. When he is at Hawke's mercy, he claims that he is from Lothering, and is an old friend of Leandra's family. Of course, Leandra's family is restricted entirely to Kirkwall.
  • Spy Fiction: Mark of the Assassin begins as The Caper but switches gears halfway through to one of these. Switch the Orlesians for Russians and the Qunari for U.S. intelligence and you have a textbook Cold War spy story, albeit one with wyverns in it.
  • Stalker Shrine: In the lair of the Serial Killer.
  • Static Role, Exchangeable Character:
    • "Hawke Sibling": One of Hawke's younger twin siblings always dies in the prologue (Bethany if Hawke is a mage, Carver otherwise), while the other, often called "surviving sibling," goes on to play a specific role at several points of the plot (most importantly at the end of Act 1, where they contract the Darkspawn Taint if taken to the Deep Roads, or join the Circle/Templars if not taken). They also have a somewhat specific role to play in the Legacy DLC if brought as a companion, since the framing device involves the Carta attacking the surviving children of Malcolm Hawke, and if they are still alive in Act 3, Thrask's group will kidnap them - even out of the Grey Wardens.
    • "Love Interest": Hawke's lover has a minor role outside of the Romance Sidequest, such as when they come over after "All That Remains", or if Thrask's group kidnaps them.
    • "Rescue Duo": In the Mark of the Assassin DLC, when Hawke and Tallis are captured, the other two party members try to break them out. They universally fail, but their interactions during the attempt paint a perfect picture of the convoluted relationships among your party members.
  • Stealth Insult: If played as a Deadpan Snarker, Hawke attempts this whilst talking to Janeka, but quickly forgets the stealth part.
    Hawke: Nothing personal, but you're kind of crazy... and a bitch. Oh wait, I guess that was personal, wasn't it?
  • Stealth Pun: In the second act, next to your storage chest in your house is a... Fat Lute. (There's a lute by your loot.) This is a reference to the Feastday Pranks DLC for Origins, where the best gift you could buy for Leliana was a Fat Lute.
  • Sticks to the Back:
    • Just like the first game, this applies to all the weapons, shields, and staves.
    • Aveline's pose on the character selection screen has her weapon on her right hip, but she carries it like everyone else during gameplay.
  • Stock Puzzle:
    • Some very easy sliding puzzles involving floating barrels show up when Hawke enters the Fade. They're basically just a reason to give free attribute points.
    • Legacy has a pretty lazy beam puzzle that Hawke must solve to free their party from a chamber and get a legendary Grey Warden helmet.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Lia from the quest "The Magistrate's Orders" shows shades of this, practically begging you not to kill her kidnapper because he cried that the demons in his head made him do it and because he let her escape, ignoring the fact that he killed several elven children and intended to do the same to her. If you do kill him, Lia can have a small cameo in Act 3, thanking Hawke again for what they did for her and saying she was out of her head when she asked them to spare her kidnapper. If you let him live, she and her father leave Kirkwall and Lia will eventually grow to fear every man, thinking him a monster in disguise.
  • Stone Wall: Several flavors provided by specialized skill sets. Aveline's Made of Iron Guardian tree combined with Defender tree can make her unstoppable, and Isabela's Flynning makes her virtually untouchable. A trained Spirit Healer/Force Mage PC can diminish all attacks to rapidly regenerated Cherry Tapping.
  • Stop Poking Me!: Hawke responds to clicks with annoyance or surliness, depending on personality.note 
  • Storming the Castle: The Templar endgame, where you help the Templars attack the mages' final bastion. Contrast the mage endgame, where you're helping the mages defend themselves.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Regardless of how you customize Hawke, all of Hawke's family members will bear a resemblance to them. It's a nice change from Origins, where Wardens whose families appear in their origin story may look nothing like their nearest relations.
  • Stupid Sacrifice: In the mage ending, Orsino's desperate transformation into a monster only hurts the people who were trying to help him. He kills maybe five Templars before Hawke and company, who initially supported him, need to put him down. (Apparently, the writers didn't want this to happen, but other departments wanted another boss battle.)
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: A surprising number of quests require Hawke to hold the Idiot Ball in order for them to play out the way the writers want.
    • When Hawke is warned that a serial killer is targeting Hightown women, Hawke can't even try to warn Leandra. The next phase of the quest promptly reveals that she's been kidnapped - she was walking around Lowtown alone, on her way to visit Gamlen, and the killer faked an injury to lure her away.
    • During "On the Loose," Huon's wife asks Hawke for protection because she fears for her life. Hawke notably says they'll come back for her after dark, and the player has to leave the Alienage and come back in order for the quest to trigger. Lo and behold, leaving her alone for so long gives Huon ample opportunity to return and kill his wife, which Hawke witnesses just as they walk through the Alienage gates.
    • When Anders asks for Hawke's help finding ingredients to a magic potion that he claims will split him and Justice, and the ingredients sound oddly similar to real-world bomb ingredients, Hawke has no choice but to take Anders at his word and help him. While in some Guide Dang It! cases Hawke can realize Anders's deception after the fact and call him out on it, Anders will note that it's too late and the Chantry blows up no matter what.
    • Despite not necessarily being played as a thieving type of character, Hawke has no choice in the Mark of the Assassin DLC but to help Tallis with her plan to steal the Heart of the Many. This is even more egregious on repeat playthroughs when the player knows what's really happening.
    • In the Legacy DLC, even if Hawke kills Corypheus, one of the Grey Wardens who brought you will act obviously possessed, strongly implying that Corypheus body-hopped after you slew him, but Hawke and co. have no choice but to stand there and watch him go on his merry way. This makes Hawke and Varric's insistence in Inquisition that they were sure Corypheus died sound more like they're trying to convince themselves.
  • Succession Crisis: After Viscount Dumar dies with no heir, Meredith uses this to justify taking over his responsibilities. Then she opposes any attempt to replace him until the "blood mage problem" is no longer a threat. After three years of this, even the most well-off in Kirkwall are getting wary of her.
  • Suddenly Blonde: Because of difficulty programming helmets to work with horns, the Qunari were hornless in the original game. Now that they've worked around that little problem, the horns have been added in like they were never absent. Word of God explains Qunari born without horns (like Sten) are said to be blessed and destined for greatness. Qunari who abandon the Qun tend to cut them off, like the mercenary Qunari and the merchant from Awakening. Strangely, however, the Tal-Vashoth in this game all still have their horns.
  • Suddenly Harmful Harmless Object: The statues in the Gallows during the final fight with Meredith.
  • Suicide by Cop: Choosing to kill Anders in Act 3 can definitely feel like this, as Anders is heavily implied to be suicidal before he blows up the Chantry with Hawke's help, though unwittingly. He even accepts this fate, should you choose to kill him, not making any move to stop you. He can even be almost entirely talked out of this decision, but Vengeance takes over at the last moment. Anders wakes up having forgotten your entire conversation, and goes through with the plan. He is also implied to doubt this decision.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Stroud the Grey Warden (whom you meet when trying to save Bethany or Carver in the Deep Roads and/or during the Qunari invasion of Kirkwall) is remarkably similar to Riordan, the Orlesian Warden who is a key figure during the last few missions of Origins. They even share the same voice actor.
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity: There are almost as many health potions and injury kits lying around in Legacy as you'll find in the rest of the game put together. And you'll need 'em, too.
  • Sword & Sorcery: Obviously, considering the setting. Even more apt considering it can be seen as a metaphor for the conflict between the Templars (Swords) and the Mages (Sorcery).
    • A more subtle example is that the heraldry on the Amell family's coat of arms, which Hawke takes as their personal sigil, includes a crossed sword and staff.note 
  • Sword Drag: Male Hawke drags his Blade on a Stick on the ground before attacking the Arishok in the "Destiny" trailer.
  • Take a Third Option: Presented just so it can be explicitly denied in the main mage-Templar conflict.
    • "Night Terrors" features a third option presented by a villain. At the start, it seems your choices are saving Feynriel (risky, and he'll still have to live with his powers) or making him Tranquil. Then Torpor comes along...
  • Taken for Granite:
    • The final fate of Meredith..
    • And what apparently happened to the dwarves in the Primeval Thaig who became Profane. But they're still mobile... and hungry.
    • Three petrified pirates make an appearance during the Mark of the Assassin DLC. (However, if Isabela has not been brought along for the quest, the party never learns that they're anything but ordinary statues.)
  • Take Your Time:
    • Both played straight and averted. Side and Companion quests generally disappear when you go from one act to the next. However, within a single year? The looming threat of a poisoned district, dangerous blood mages on the loose, or an insane serial killer kidnapping your mother? It's fine, feel free to wander the Dalish camp or take that random item back to that random NPC. The safety of hundreds can wait.
    • Very much averted with the Act 2 Fenris quest "A Bitter Pill." Fenris will get mad (i.e. rivalry) if you try to do anything else other than continue with the quest, and if you persist in ignoring his pleas, he'll leave to handle things himself. As he's never seen again, he presumably either gets killed or captured and taken back to Danarius.
  • Talking Your Way Out:
    • Varric can help Hawke in conversations which could end in violence. Not that violence isn't fun, but hearing Varric's lies is, too. It doesn't work if you have Merrill in the party, though, because she just gets confused and corrects him.
      • Subverted once, in the side quest "Fool's Gold":
      Hawke: I'll let Varric negotiate the price [for a golem control rod].
      Iwan: Okay, okay, it's yours!
    • There are a few other instances where deferring to one of your companions, and letting them speak, gets a better result and also increases their friendship level. Fenris is particularly adept at conversing with the Arishok, for example, which results in the Arishok's memorable compliment.
      Arishok: I have a growing lack of disgust for you.
  • Tainted Veins: A symptom of darkspawn corruption.
  • Tall Tale: At the beginning of the game, The Narrator, Varric, tries to start his story as a tall tale (resulting in a Tutorial Level wherein you control unkillable Game-Breaker characters), but is soon interrupted by his listener, who wants to hear the real story. He still occasionally lapses into tall tales later (and is always interrupted again).
  • A Taste of Power: The game opens with the player controlling an overpowered Hawke and one of their siblings (Bethany or Carver) against a horde of darkspawn. This is quickly revealed to be the result of Varric trying to make Hawke's story more interesting. See also Fake Action Prologue.
  • Tastes Like Purple: In the Mark of the Assassin DLC, there is a ham that apparently tastes of despair. It becomes something of a Running Gag for the franchise afterward.
  • Team Pet: People who buy the game new can obtain an item that allows them to summon a Mabari hound in battle. Unlike in Origins, this hound isn't a full companion; this allows you to bring the dog and three humanoid party members. Word of God says players can still experience all the joys of being a dog owner. note 
    • It's to the point where you will arrive home to see your companions there to visit Dog rather than you!
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Aveline and Isabela, though as time goes on this mellows into an actual friendship. Also, Fenris and Anders, whose rivalry gets so bad that each may approve of Hawke doing something that they would normally consider a Moral Event Horizon, simply because it negatively affects the other. Unlike the first example, this does not get better, ever. To a lesser but still notable degree, both Fenris and Anders towards Merrill, as neither of them can stand Blood Magic and Fenris hates mages in general. By the end of Act 3, Anders has become almost intolerable to everyone in your party due to his constant bitter harping about the Mage/Templar conflict.
    • Any team you put together where every companion has a high rivalry score counts as this.
  • Thematic Theme Tune: "I'm Not Calling You A Liar" is aptly given the subtitle (Varric's theme) on the soundtrack.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Applies to both the Qunari and a good portion of the mage criminals in the story, who take this route after getting fed up with the populace of Kirkwall.
  • Thieves' Guild: The Coterie and the Carta are both versions of this. The main difference is that the Carta is entirely made up of dwarves and are arguably more violent, or at least more openly so; the Coterie seems to be mostly humans and elves, and are more into things like smuggling and protection rackets.
  • Third Time's the Charm: Tragically done, after two failed attempts to track a serial killer in Hightown.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: When Lucky is attempting to extort coin out of Isabela.
    "Me and my boys will get our money's worth, bitch!"
  • Three-Act Structure: The narration is split into the prologue and three acts by recurring time skips. The prologue occurs in 9:30 Dragon, and the following acts in 9:31, 9:34, and 9:37, respectively. Thematically, the acts center on, in order, the Hawkes reclaiming their position as Kirkwall nobles, on Hawke and Co. dealing with the Qunari threat to the city, and on Hawke being caught up in the mounting Mage-Templar tensions.
  • Time Skip: Hawke's rise to power takes a full decade. Three of these are present just so the player doesn't go crazy, and they're arranged in such a way that the game takes on a Three-Act Structure, not counting the introductory levels. These are explained as the parts of the story that Varric doesn't find relevant/interesting.
  • Title Drop: Anders comments about the reappearance of dragons when taken to the Bone Pit.
  • Tomato Surprise: The game ends with the revelation that Cassandra's interrogation of Varric has been taking place in Hawke's own house the whole time. What they both knew all along, but the first-time player did not, is that Hawke fled Kirkwall in the wake of the game's events, and the reason Cassandra is asking Varric all about Hawke is so she can try to find them to ask their help with a Chantry matter.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Warriors and rogues are a lot more powerful this time around, and a lot more impressive to watch in combat; their skills have a much more visible effect on the battle field.
    • Genlocks in the Legacy DLC, in comparison to their Origins counterparts. In the first game, they were funny little things that could have been dwarves in a costume; in Legacy, they're nightmarish gorilla-esque monsters.
    • Remember Feynriel, the half-elven apostate you rescue from kidnappers in Act 1 and help free from demons in the Fade in Act 2? By Act 3, we learn that his ability as a "Somniari," a rare mage who can enter the Fade without lyrium and can bend the Fade to their will, allows him to rescue a young girl in Kirkwall from bandits and kill each and every one of them... while asleep, in Tevinter, which happens to be on the other side of Thedas.
  • Too Much Information: This will be Hawke or Varric's reaction when Anders and Isabela start talking about an encounter they once had at the Pearl in Denerim, and she mentions that "nice" thing Anders did with electricity.
    • Or, if you romance Merrill and take both her and Anders along for Legacy, their conversation about Merrill poking through his books for "dirty spells."
    • Or a book Isabela provides to Hawke, One Hundred and One Uses For a Phallic Tuber. Hawke deadpans that that's "one hundred too many."
    • Or Hawke's reaction to running into Anders affectionately warning Isabela, "Don't come to me next time you pick up one of these diseases" (no doubt of the sexually transmitted variety) as she's exiting his clinic. An alternative version of the scene has him treating Seneschal Bran and warning him to avoid pirates in the future.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The announcement cinematic trailer no less. In it, we see a powerful Qunari kill the Viscount of Kirkwall at the start of the trailer. In the game itself, that Qunari turns out to be the Arishok and he does indeed kill the Viscount when he decides to take control of Kirkwall.
  • Transgender: Serendipity, whom you can find at the Blooming Rose. She appears in Mark of the Assassin as Seneschal Bran's date.
  • True Companions: Par for the course in a BioWare game. Instead of a random group of adventurers thrown together by fate to stop some Big Bad, they're friends and/or rivals who bond over the course of six years. While some of them genuinely can't stand each other, they put up with it for the sake of the overall group.
    • Averted at the end of the game, where the player is forced to choose between letting Anders live or keeping Sebastian's loyalty.

  • Uncanny Valley Make Up: Tarohne, the head maleficar from the quest "Enemies Among Us," is made up rather garishly, including white lip color. It helps drive home the point that she's barking mad.
  • Underground Railroad: The Mage Underground.
  • Un-Entendre: Varric and Isabela do this at one point in party banter when talking about knives.
  • Unholy Ground: The entire city of Kirkwall. It's revealed the city's very architecture is designed to harness arcane power and was used in an immense blood ritual, the sacrificing of thousands of slaves secretly abducted from the slavery trade, which took place during the Tevinter Empire days. This mass slaughter may have been to fuel the very ritual Tevinter Magisters used to enter the Black City and unleash the Blight on Thedas. As a result, the Veil is noticeably much weaker in Kirkwall with demons, blood mages and abominations far more frequent that any other location. Worse still, the Chantry and Templars decided that the old slave prison was the best place to house the Circle of Magi. Unsurprisingly, the death rate for Harrowings, a trainee mage's final rite of passage, is far higher in the Gallows than anywhere else.
  • Unreliable Narrator: And how! The entire game is told in retrospect by Varric, who often changes details for "emphasis" or "theatrical effect" and leaves out all the "boring parts." More than once you'll go through a sequence of being an incredible badass or doing something astounding just for the Seeker to cut in and yell at Varric for making stuff up. This could also be the reason why half of all enemy mooks die in a bloody explosion for no apparent reason, and may also be at least partially to blame for why even a gang of thugs who only had four or five guys in conversation can suddenly call in three dozen heavily armed warriors for the party to fight through. Varric openly admits to enjoying embellishment.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Isabela appears to display this towards Hawke, if they rutted and Hawke later romanced someone else.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The various NPCs don't bother to look up from what they are doing, even if the Champion of Kirkwall is fighting off bandits, assassins, or illegal dog trainers. It must happen so often that it's hardly a surprise.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake/That One Mission: Act 3's "No Rest for the Wicked" is regarded on quite a few forum threads as an extremely glitchy mission on the XBOX 360 and PC. In most cases, the quest plays fine until Hawke enters the warehouse in the Docks. Players' testimonies point towards a key cutscene not triggering, an unreachable enemy that's phased into the wall texture, and occasionally a key item not being dropped.
    • PC players can simply fix this with the Debug menus, summoning the items they need, among other things. Console players, however, get the short end of the stick.
  • Urban Segregation: Kirkwall. Hightown is where the nobility live and is the safest part of Kirkwall. Lowtown is the remnants of Kirkwall's slave quarters, now used as the dwellings of the city's lower class. The really dangerous criminals live in Darktown, the city's Absurdly Spacious Sewer System (which used to be a mine). There's also the standard Thedas Alienage.
  • Vendor Trash: Called "Junk." It even comes complete with a little trash can icon.
  • Vengeance Denied: Varric eventually gets the chance to take revenge on Bartrand for leaving him, Hawke, and two other companions for dead in the Deep Roads at the end of Act 1. But it's not nearly as satisfying as he expected, because Bartrand has gone completely insane due to the influence of the idol they found, and Varric has to either have him committed or else put him down like a rabid animal. No matter which course of action he takes, it clearly breaks his heart.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: The fugitive ex-slave Fenris experiences this. It's kill-or-be-killed (or worse, returned to slavery), but neither killing his master's apprentice nor his master brings him any satisfaction, despite the years of abuse they put him through. As an amnesiac whose few memories are still of slavery, he has no idea what do once he doesn't have to run and fight any longer.
  • Verbal Business Card: Cassandra, in the opening scenes of the Framing Device, introduces herself to Varric this way. "I am Cassandra Pentaghast, Seeker of the Chantry."
  • Vicious Cycle:
    • Varric points out in the narration how the mutual distrust and hatred of the mages and Templars (and Meredith and Orsino in particular) builds over the years.
    • If you choose the Deadpan Snarker option, Hawke can call Sebastian's campaign for revenge one of these as a joke, and Elthina will agree.
  • Video Games and Fate: Destiny is a major theme in the game: nobody really asks Hawke's opinion on being the catalyst of the Kirkwall disaster—it's just that no matter what they do, everything builds up to a catastrophe that erupts in the game's finale, sending quakes across all of Thedas. Exemplified by this quote from Flemeth:
    "There are men who struggle against destiny... and yet only achieve an early grave.
    There are men who flee destiny... only to have it swallow them whole.
    And there are men who embrace destiny... and do not show their fear.
    These are the ones that change the world, forever."
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Similar to the first game. However morally gray the overall setting is, there are some actions without any justification - e.g, giving Feynriel to a demon or Fenris to Danarius.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Happens to pretty much everyone in the game.
    • Except for Bethany, and a handful of Circle mages who don't even have names, the mages break out the blood magic when they're cornered; conversely, the Templars start getting way too eager to kill them first and ask questions later.
    • On a more direct note, the entire game is basically Meredith's breakdown.
    • "On the Loose" features a Villainous Breakdown occurring in the middle of the fight. As the Evelina abomination takes more damage, it loses control and briefly transforms into demons of Rage and Desire.
  • Visual Pun: During Varric's narration about Loghain's betrayal at the Battle of Ostagar, he is shown holding a dagger behind his back.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Most of the Qunari don't wear any actual body armor. Some wear helmets, but still go around bare-chested. Lampshaded later by Merrill, who in Act 3 calls them "easy on the eyes."
  • War for Fun and Profit: Twice, with different outcomes each time. First, Sister Petrice tries to instigate war between Kirkwall and the Qunari. Her efforts get her killed unless you go out of your way to help, but contribute to the Qunari attempt at conquering the city in Act 2. Later, Anders tries to instigate war between mages and Templars, and he succeeds so well that the next game in the series is centered around it.
  • War Refugees: The Hawke family at the beginning, courtesy of the Blight. Many unnamed background characters are also this.
  • We Are Everywhere: Mark of the Assassin reveals that there are Qunari located throughout Thedas, although at least some of them have ceased following orders and are just trying to lead normal lives.
  • Weapon of X-Slaying: Bonuses against darkspawn, undead, or demons are a common property of weapons. There are also weapons of Qunari slaying and human slaying, each issued at an appropriate moment in the plot.
  • Weapon Stomp: In one of the first scenes from the game, a wounded hurlock reaches for his sword but is stopped by Hawke stomping on its wrist. It screams in rage before being cut down or, if Hawke is a mage, getting blown up.
  • Weirdness Censor: As noted under Unusually Uninteresting Sight, the people of Kirkwall have this for anything outside of main quests. Unless what's happening is causing the entire city to literally be on fire, they don't seem to see any of what Hawke and friends do - even if it means slaughtering waves of gang members on the streets while they stand nearby chatting.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: So many. It goes with the whole grayness of the game.
    • Anders deserves special mention with the way he sets off a bomb that destroys the Chantry, killing countless innocents and starting a war in which even more will die, specifically to avoid a compromise.
  • Wham Episode:
    • The end of Act 1, especially if you brought your sibling to the Deep Roads with you, and especially if you didn't bring Anders.
    • The Act 2 quest "All That Remains" is this from start to finish.
    • If your jaw didn't drop when Anders blew up the Chantry, you must have read a spoiler.
    • From the Legacy DLC: the Magisters who tainted the Golden City are real and one is now free - and possessing a Grey Warden.
    • From the Mark of the Assassin DLC: if you don't recognize (or notice) the Qunari emblem on her breastplate, hearing Duke Prosper announce that Tallis is a Qunari assassin can be this. It certainly seems to be one for Hawke.
  • Wham Line: One line in the Legacy DLC manages to turn the entire mythology of the setting on its head.
    Corypheus: It was supposed to be golden!
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Unless she left Kirkwall or died, where exactly is Revka Amell, Leandra's cousin and the Mage Warden's mother?
    • Also, what becomes of Uncle Gamlen after the endgame? And Orana, if she was hired as Hawke's maid?
  • What If the Baby Is Like Me?: Legacy reveals that Malcolm Hawke felt this way when Leandra was pregnant with the protagonist. He hoped that they would not be a mage, like him, so Hawke wouldn't have to live in fear of being locked up by the Chantry. But even if Hawke is not a mage, Bethany is; so ultimately, Malcolm evidently came to accept having at least one mage child, and did everything he could to ensure they remained free. His children are very surprised to learn that he felt this way.
  • "What Now?" Ending: By the end of the game, Hawke is still missing, the companions are scattered, and Varric is (seemingly) unable to give further intelligence. Cassandra and Leliana are both revealed to be working for the Divine, but it's unclear why they're trying to find either Hawke or the Warden.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: If you take clearly immoral actions, or do something of which your party mates disapprove, they can do this to you. Your party mates will also occasionally call out each other. Most notably, Anders and Fenris will always give Merrill hell over being a blood mage.
    • The player can demand this of Anders at the start of the endgame.
  • Where It All Began: The final battle takes place in the Gallows, the first section of Kirkwall the player visits.
  • With a Friend and a Stranger:
    • Hawke, Bethany/Carver, and Aveline during the prologue.
    • Also, at the start of Act 1, it's Hawke, Bethany/Carver, and Varric (until they go to the guard barracks to get Aveline).
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: This is exactly why people are so afraid of mages. Meredith is a non-mage example, especially after she starts using a sword forged from the cursed lyrium idol you find in the Primeval Thaig.
  • A Wizard Did It: Invoked by name by Anders.
    Bartrand: What's this? Three, four entrances into the Deep Roads, all in the Free Marches? Where'd you get these?
    Anders: A wizard did it.
    • If you ask him aggressively, Anders admits that he stole it.
  • World of Buxom:
    • Virtually every female character in this game has large breasts, due to the limited selection of character models. And then there's Isabela...
    • Aveline may seem like an aversion, but her guard armor is just excellent camouflage. In the Prologue, where she's wearing more casual clothing, she's quite buxom; the outfit is seen again in one scene if The Exiled Prince is installed.
    • There's also Bethany's Buxom Is Better moment in the very beginning, if Hawke is not a mage.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Invoked by Cullen, who complains both to Hawke and in the "Mage Underground" codex entry that people no longer see Templars as a moral authority. He blames this on mages playing the victim card with "the image of the poor chained apprentice."
  • Wretched Hive: Kirkwall, especially Darktown.
    • Aveline describes the Hanged Man as this, though not without fondness. Varric, both in this game and the next one, heavily implies that he's particularly fond of the Hanged Man because it's this.
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: Discussed in-universe. Party banter reveals that Varric writes this way, at least in regards to his guard serial. He admits to Aveline that he isn't sure how it will end, which confuses her.
  • Written-In Absence: No matter what you do, you will not have the twins in the party after the end of Act 1. There are specific plot-related reasons why they leave you. One is always dead after the prologue. Depending on player choices, the other either dies, becomes a Grey Warden, or joins the Templars/Circle of Magi. They can be brought along for the DLC campaigns and will come back for the final battle; but otherwise, Hawke is on their own, especially after "All That Remains."
  • Yank the Dog's Chain:
    • The quest "All That Remains." Leading up to the battle with Quentin, you have a vague hope that, perhaps, your mother can be saved. Alas, it is not to be, as Leandra had been killed - and reanimated - long before Hawke arrives.
    • Fenris gets several of these. During the romance scene with Hawke, Fenris remembers all of his lost memories only to lose them just as suddenly. It's such a shock that he breaks things off with Hawke for three years. When there is finally a chance to reclaim pieces of his past, it turns out it to be just a trap to enslave him again.
    • There's also a fun little conversation you have with Flemeth:
      Flemeth: We stand upon the precipice of change. The world fears the inevitable plummet into the abyss. Wait for that moment... and when it comes, do not hesitate to leap. It is only when you fall when you can learn if you can fly.
      Hawke: What should I do?
      Flemeth: Do as I do. Become a dragon! *laughs* [Beat]. You could never be a dragon.
    • Aveline discusses the dashed hopes at Ostagar after her last companion quest.
  • You Are Not Alone: In "Wayward Son" during Act 1, Mage Hawke says this to Feynriel, a young half-elven apostate.
    Feynriel: Why do you care? You don't even know me!
    *Hawke creates a blinding ball of light in one hand*
    Hawke: (gently) I am you.
    • Alternately, Rogue or Warrior Hawke can explain that they've spent their entire life protecting Bethany from everything that Feynriel fears.
  • You Can Keep Her: Silly Hawke can make a response along these lines to the news that their sibling, love interest, or closest friend has been kidnapped in Act 3.
  • You Can't Go Home Again:
    • Lothering was destroyed by the darkspawn - not that you ever see your home. Your mother and Bethany lament this early in the game.
    • Aveline can make reference to this in the first conversation following your first year in Kirkwall.
      Aveline: You can't go home again; that's supposed to be a sign of maturity. It's not the same if you don't have the option.
      • However, in Act 3, she does have the option to go home; her "Questioning Beliefs" conversation is about the fact that the Fereldan monarch is inviting expats to return. Of course, she's staying put.
  • You Remind Me of X:
    • One of the first things Anders says to Hawke is that they remind him of a friend (which is presumably the Warden). A couple of other returning characters have similar lines. It's especially relevant if the Warden imported from Origins was the human mage, as this means the Warden is Hawke's second cousin.
    • Bethany remarks that Anders reminds her of her father.
    • Bodahn comments that "Mistress Amell" (Leandra) reminds him of his own mother in some ways.
    • In ambient dialogue in the Chantry, Varric will comment that Grand Cleric Elthina reminds him of his mother. A really tall version of his mother.
  • Your Cheating Heart:
    • Vincento. According to Arianni, he didn't desire a wife and abandoned her the moment she found he was pregnant with Feynriel; however, when a male Hawke talks to him, he claims he has a wife back in Antiva. It should be noted that if you're playing as a female Hawke, he instead claims he is single.
      • We never actually do find out if he was married at the time he fathered Feyrniel with Arianni, either.

Alternative Title(s): Dragon Age 2


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