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BioWare's Spiritual Successor to the legendary Baldur's Gate franchise, Dragon Age is a Dark Fantasy set in the world of Thedas (originally an acronym for 'The DA Setting'), a Deconstruction of the Standard Fantasy Setting, drawing inspiration from sources as diverse as The Wheel of Time, A Song of Ice and Fire, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and filled to the brim with Fantasy Counterpart Cultures and Black and Grey Morality.
The first game in the series, Dragon Age: Origins, was released in 2009, to a great deal of critical and commercial success. Its sequel, Dragon Age II, was released in 2011 on March 8th in North America and on the 11th in Europe. The third game, Dragon Age: Inquisition, was released in October 7, 2014.
In addition to the games, the series contains five novels. The first two are prequel, describing events leading up to the start of Origins. The next two are sequels, taking place shortly after Act III of Dragon Age II. The fifth delves into the history of the Grey Wardens and their association with griffons.
Their are also several comics in the franchise, as well as a P&P RPG developed by Green Ronin Games. A direct-to-DVD anime film has also been release, to mixed reactions. Also released is a Webseries, Dragon Age Redemption, produced by and starring Felicia Day, who is a fan of the franchise.
Dragon Age Games:
- Dragon Age: Origins (2009): The original game, it's a real-time RPG with pause similar to the classic Baldur's Gate and the Infinity Engine games. The "Origins" from the game's title comes from the fact that each of the playable races have a half-hour to one hour-long prologue Origin stories; The Royal Noble Human, the Nomadic Dalish Elf, the poor City Elf, the Royal Noble Dwarf, the Criminal Commoner Dwarf and the Mage (which can be either Human or Elf).
- DLC Single Levels:
- The Stone Prisoner: A small DLC that includes Partymember Shale, a bitter and cynical Golem that dislikes fleshy beings, pigeons most notably.
- Warden's Keep: A short adventure revolving around reclaming Soldier's Peak, the last Warden outpost before their exile from the nation hundreds of years ago.
- Return to Ostagar: A short adventure revolving around returning to Ostagar to find Cailan's body and some politically-important correspondence.
- DLC Standalone Campaign
- Darkspawn Chronicles: A non-canon short campaign where you control a squadron of Darkspawn during the Battle of Denerim in a timeline where the Player Character Warden died in the Joining, forcing Alistar to take the lead and failing miserably.
- Golems of Amgarrak: A short adventure set after the events of Awakening where the Warden goes to help a Dwarf discover the fate of his brother's expedition in the Deep Roads, which leads to them discovering a failed experiment of the Ancient Dwarves.
- Leliana's Song: A short DLC set five years before the events of the game, focusing on Partymember Leliana on the day of her betrayal by her master and her escape.
- Witchhunt: An epilogue to the Origins story, set two years after the Fifth Blight, it has the Warden (the Player Character) looking for partymember Morrigan, who has been spotted after disappearing immediately after the death of the Archdemon.
- Expansion Packs
- Awakening (2010): An expansion set sometime after the events of the main campaign. It focuses on the Warden (or the Orlesian Warden if a save game isn't loaded) being chosen to rebuild the Grey Wardens in Ferelden after being given Vigil's Keep. However, most of the Orlesian Grey Wardens are captured during an attack on the Keep by intelligent Darkspawn. The Warden has to recruit new Grey Wardens, fortify the Keep and discover the origin of these Darkspawn.
- DLC Single Levels:
- Dragon Age II (2011): A more streamlined sequel and the only numbered game in the series. It revolves around a Human of the Hawke family which include their younger siblings Carver and Bethany and their mother Leandra. The story begins with them evacuating the town of Lothering during the Fifth Blight in which one of their siblings is killed depending on the class of the Player Character Hawke. After escaping to the northen Free Marches as refugees, Hawke has to find a way to climb the social ladder for the sake of their family while also dealing with the mysterious and dangerours Qunari and the tensions between the oppressed but dangerous mages and the abusive Templars.
- The Exiled Prince: A small DLC that includes Partymember Sebastian Vael, a religious and righteous archer and prince who has to chose between staying with the Chantry or form an army to reclaim his city and his title.
- Legacy: A sidestory revolving around Hawke and his companions following a cult that worships an ancient Darkspawn, which leads to the discovery of a Grey Warden secret that involves Hawke's father.
- Mark of the Assassin: A sidestory revolving around Hawke going to Orlais with a mysterious Elf named Tallis (modelled after and voiced by Felicia Day) in order to steal a mysterious gem from an aristocrat. However, things are not as simple as they seem.
- Dragon Age: Inquisition (2014): The third game in the series set four years after the events of the second game. The Mage-Templar that began during the novel Asunder has come to a standstill and the leaders of both factions have reunited to discuss a possible peace. However, a huge explosion kills the leaders of the Templars, the Mages and the Chantry, plunging the world order into chaos as demons and spirits enter the physical world through Fade rifts. You play as the only survivor of the explosion who for some reason now have the ability to close the rifts, which makes them the "Herald of Andraste" in the eyes of the common folk. In the chaos, Cassandra Pentaghast of the Seekers announces the re-formation of the Inquisition, an organization free from the influence of the Chantry, to find those responsible and bring stability back to Thedas.
- The Jaws of Hakkon: An expansion that adds a new area with its own storyline involving the Avvar tribes of Ferelden, the original Inquisitor and the Dragon God; Hakkon.
- The Descent: An expansion that revolves around an expedition deep into the Deep Roads to find to source of strong earthquakes in the area.
- Trespasser: An epilogue to the Inquisition story, set two years after the event of the main campaign, it has the Inquisitor being called by the Exalted Council composed of representatives from Ferelden, Orlais and the Chantry who question the need for the Inquisition in times of peace, only to find themselves trying to stop a Qunari plot to decapitate the leadership of southern Thedas in a terrorist attack.
- Untitled fourth Dragon Age game only referred as the Dread Wolf Rises (TBA)
- Dragon Age Journeys (2009)
- Dragon Age Legends (2011)
- Heroes of Dragon Age (2013): A game for mobile phones where players form parties of both generic and established characters and fight through a series of encounters.
- The Stolen Throne (2009): A novel set before the events of Dragon Age: Origins focusing on Maric Theirin and Loghain Mac Tir's campaign to liberate Ferelden from the Orlesians.
- The Calling (2009) A novel set before the events of Dragon Age: Origins focusing on a group of Grey Wardens discovering an large and intelligent Darkspawn.
- Asunder (2011): A novel set after the events of Dragon Age II revolving around the Mage-Templar War.
- The Masked Empire (2014): A novel set after the events of Dragon Age II revolving around the Orlesian Civil War.
- Last Flight (2014): A novel set during the Fourth Blight hundreds of years before Dragon Age: Origins.
- Hard in Hightown (2018) is a Defictionalization of an in-universe blockbuster novel featuring a hard-bitten Kirkwall guard investigating a conspiracy.
- Tevinter Nights (2020) is a collection of short stories set in the Tevinter Imperium, Antiva, Nevarra and other corners of Thedas.
- Dragon Age (2010) exists somewhat outside of the main continuity and follows the adventures of a Ferelden apostate mage named Gleam (who doesn't appear in other media and has never been mentioned again).
- Dragon Age Library Edition Volume 1 is a collection of the three post-DA2 mini-series comprising a single continuous storyline that follows Alistair, Varric, and Isabela on a quest to discover the fate of Alistair's Disappeared Dad.
- The Silent Grove (2012), set in Antiva between the main story and the epilogue of DA2, sees the trio infiltrate the Antivan Crows' prison, then head out into the swamps to speak with the Witch of the Wilds, a daughter of Flemeth.
- Those Who Speak (2012) picks up where TSG left off, with the party sailing for Tevinter, only to be captured by a Qunari fleet, forcing Isabela to confront her past, while Alistair negotiates with ex-Sten, now the new Arishok.
- Until We Sleep (2013) concludes the trilogy with Alistair convincing the Qunari to help them storm the Tevinter fortress of Ath Velanis, where he believes his father is being held captive.
- Dragon Age Library Edition Volume 2 contains two of the post-Inquisition mini-series (which aren't as unrelated as they appear at first glance, since Tessa and Marius show up in Vaea's series):
- Magekiller (2015–16) chronicles the adventures of a mercenary duo, Marius and Tessa Forsythia, who undertake odd assassination jobs in Tevinter and join the Inquisition to fight off the demonic invasion after the Breach opens.
- Knight Errant (2017) follows a wandering Fereldan knight Ser Aaron and an elven cat-burglar Vaea posing as his squire, as the latter gets roped by the Inquisition into stealing an occult document from their ostensible ally, Prince Sebastian of Starkhaven.
- Dragon Age: Deception (2018) is set in Tevinter and follows a washed-up actress-turned-Con Artist Olivia Pryde, whose latest scheme to scam a Magister's son goes way off the tracks. Two of the characters from Knight Errant also appear in this series.
- Blue Wraith (2020), set in Tevinter, brings together Hawke's former companion Fenris, who now hunts mages under the eponymous alias, and many familiar faces from post-Inquisition comics.
- Dark Fortress (2021) is a direct sequel to Blue Wraith, seeing Fenris and company break into Castle Tenebrius in pursuit of Magister Nenealeus.
Dragon Age General Tropes
- Action Girl: While there's still sexism in the setting, Human women are fully allowed into the armed forces and militias of their nations, and then there are the Dalish Huntresses, the Female Dwarves of the Warriors' caste of Orzammar and the Legion of the Dead, and the many female mages across Thedas.
- Alternate Calendar: The Thedas Calendar is divided in Ages after the foundation of the Chantry with each Age lasting a hundred years and their name being given in advance by the leader of the Chantry; the Divine, based on what she believes the Age will be about.
- Always Chaotic Evil: The Darkspawn, as they have an inherent need to kill and corrupt everything they see and create more Darkspawn.
- Black Magic: Blood Magic, which is magic casted from blood or life force either from oneself or (most preferably) others.
- Black Speech: How the Archdemons communicate according to the Grey Wardens.
- Blessed with Suck:
- A lot of emphasis is put on the political and personal hardships of mages in the setting. Firstly, they are hated, persecuted and forced to live in isolated "academy" towers unless they are needed by the Chantry or the army plus they have no right to property or titles. Secondly, they are constantly preyed upon by Demons who want to take over their bodies.
- Grey Wardens have abilities that gives them a small advantage over the Darkspawn, on the other side, the corruption inside them will drive them senile or insane faster than normal and also the Darkspawn can feel them when they are in proximinity.
- The Church: Chantry, the dominant religion in Thedas, which preaches that "Magic exists to serve Man, not to rule over him" and that the elves were punished and stripped of their lands (The Dales) for forsaking Andraste and the Maker.
- Church Police: The Templar Order, an order of knights that directly serve the Chantry with their focus being hunting down Apostates, Maleficarum, Demons and Abominations.
- The Corruption: The Blight (originally called the "Taint") corrupts sentient life and kills plant life just with their prolonged presence near it.
- Dead Man Walking: Grey Wardens and anybody infected with the Blight is this. There's also the Legion of the Dead, which is a penal battalion of Dwarves whose only purpose is fighting the Darkspawn in the Deep Roads until they are killed.
- Eldritch Location: The Fade, also known as the Dream World, is where both spirits and demons reside that constantly changes form since it's heavily influenced by the emotions and experiences of mortals.
- The Empire: We have the highly corrupt and expansionist Orlesian Empire, and the Tevinter Empire, where mages rule and slavery is legal.
- Empty Shell: The Tranquill, mages who have been severed from the Fade, losing their emotions as a result, leaving them susceptible shells of living beings.
- Enslaved Elves: This is a world where the Elves have lost two homelands; Arlathan and the Dales, with most of elves being forced to live among humans as second-class citizens or (in the case of Tevinter) slaves.
- Evil Sorcerer: The Maleficarum and most of the nobility in Tevinter is this.
- Fantastic Ghetto: Each human city in Thedas (except Rivain) have an Alineage where the Elves live as second-class citizens. Most are closed off deep inside the cities as a way to trap the elves in cases of Elven riots or to facilitate a "purge" where the guard enters the Alineage and kills at least a third of the Elves living there.
- Fantastic Racism: Due to humans being the dominant race in the setting, they tend to look down on other races, especially Elves after the Dales were conquered and the Elves were forced to live under humans as punishment. Nobles, at best, leave Elves alone, at worst, they lead parties to kidnap and rape female elves and use any excuse to order a purge of the Alineages. Human peasants tend to blame elves for anything wrong in their towns and most city humans like abuse and bully Elves due to the fact that they are no allowed to defend themselves as an Elf-on-Human crime will inevitably lead to a lockdown at best and a purge at worst.
- Many nomadic Dalish Elves tend to look down upon City Elves, even when their clan have a policy to adopt escaped City Elves. There even are clans that believe that City Elves are scum tainted by human culture and refuse to even acknowledge they are elves.
- The Dwarves are separated into three groups, Orzammar Dwarves, Casteless Dwarves and Surface Dwarves. The Orzammar Dwarves hate both the casteless and the surfacers for socio-religious reasons, the first for having disgraced ancestors or family members, the others for leaving Orzammar and settling in the surface, which in their eyes mean turning their backs on "the stone".
- The relationship between the Horned people of the Qunari and the rest of Andrastian Thedas is one of distrust at best and open war at worst.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture
- Orlais is one for the French Empire.
- Ferelden is one for both Great Britain and Scotland.
- Antiva is one for Italy and Spain.
- Tevinter is one for the Bizantine Empire/Eastern Roman Empire.
- Nevarra is one for the Prussian Empire.
First Dragon Age comic Tropes
- The Blacksmith: Gleam and her adoptive father.
- Canon Discontinuity: The comic was cancelled and was later implied to be not canonical due to it's many inconsistensies with the Franchise's lore and setting.
- Healing Hands: Gleam, to an absurd degree.
- Without any real training to boot.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: In issue 4, templars are capable of stopping enemy mages from casting magic. But apparently not in issue 1.
- Playing with Fire: Veness, Gleam.
- Power Nullifier: The new templar power in issue 4. Actually, they use it in the game, too.
- Spirit Advisor: Veness, in the fade, to Gleam
- Ultimate Blacksmith: Issue #2 starts with Gleam using her magic to help her forge a sword. The result is a sword which cuts through pretty much anything.