For the spell in Dragon Age II, see Blood Magic (Dragon Age II).
Perhaps there’s some truth to the idea that the real danger of blood magic isn’t that it draws its power from sacrifice, or that it tempts the greedy and ambitious into using the suffering of others to fuel their spells. Perhaps the danger is simply that we do not understand it, and that lack of understanding invites disaster even when our intentions are pure. ―Calien d'Evaliste[1]
Blood magic in action

Blood magic is a school of magic that uses the power inherent in blood to fuel spellcasting and also to twist the blood in others for domination or violent corrupting purposes. Unlike users of conventional magic, its users do not touch the Fade when casting spells[2] and find it harder to enter the Fade.[3]

In the Dragon Age game series, Blood Mage is one of the mage specializations in Dragon Age: Origins, and Dragon Age II.

History Edit

Category Lore

The magisters of the Imperium performing a dark ritual using blood magic.

The first person known to wield blood magic (circa -1595 Ancient) is Thalsian, a Neromenian dreamer who was later declared a honorary Archon. He claimed to learn the art after personally communicating with the Old God Dumat.[4][5] Mages of the Imperial Chantry today argue that it is more likely that the blood magic was learned from the ancient elves of Elvhenan but there is no direct evidence of either stance being true.[6][5] It may even have been that Thalsian or another mage simply made a deal with a demon.[7]

Whatever its ultimate origin, blood magic was used by the magisters of the Tevinter Imperium to rule over the whole of Thedas. History recounts how the magisters used their power to shatter even the mighty elvish empire, sack its capital Arlathan, and force its surviving people into slavery. But, according to the Chantry, its reckless use eventually led to the blackening of the Golden City, the creation of the darkspawn, and the First Blight (and thus the other Blights that followed).[8]

In present-day Thedas Edit

In the contemporary world, blood magic is described as being one of the more sinister types of magic. The efforts of the Chantry and the Templar Order to stigmatize this forbidden discipline over countless years have all but eradicated its practice outside the Tevinter Imperium; the sole exception being the creation of Phylacteries. Though the art can be taught by a blood mage to an apprentice or self-taught via manual, it can also be learned by contacting a demon, with the risk of becoming an abomination.[9]

Common wisdom holds that there is no way to use blood magic with good intentions. Even blood mages who tap their own blood often find a need for the power of others. They are also known to try and control other's minds and to summon demons.[10] Just as treacherous, blood magic allows the Veil to be opened completely so that demons may physically pass through it into the physical world.[11] Fear of blood magic has stigmatized even some non-magical fields of research like anatomical studies.[12]

However, not all see blood magic as inherently evil. Despite the stereotype that blood magic is limited to madmen and monsters, this is not factually true. Solas states that blood magic is no worse than any other magic if properly used. Mages such as Merrill also see no harm in the discipline so long as blood is tapped from one's self or a willing participant that doesn't lead to the sacrifice of another's life.

Blood magic may not necessarily be used for wicked pursuits. Rather it could be used for nobler purposes. Ferelden's Blood Band for example, is an Old Gods cult with a blood mage leading them. The head mage uses his magic for the good of the group, protecting them, healing their crops, and their bodies. In exchange the members of the Blood Band known as "bleeders" provide him with their blood. Though it remains an undeniably violent and self-destructive discipline, many see blood magic as the only form of magic that is truly free since it's tied to the physical, not favors to spirits or demons.[13] Some believe it can be used ethically so long as it is not abused or becomes a crutch.[3]

Even if the application of blood magic may not be inherently evil, the Chantry recognizes the dangers of its use and strictly forbids the usage of blood magic as part of its formal doctrine[14]. Mages using blood magic are labeled maleficarum and hunted by the Templar Order, which was created for the purpose of controlling mages, killing demons, and hunting down apostates. Generally, all known maleficarum are killed on sight.

All apostates are hunted, regardless of their origin, with the Chantry reasoning that any mage left unsupervised by the Chantry or the Templars will ultimately succumb to the temptation of blood magic.[15] While all apostates are not necessarily maleficarum, the Chantry appears to go great lengths to make it seem so, and a significant number of rogue mages turn to blood magic out of desperation to survive or escape imprisonment. The Circle of Magi endeavors to supervise all individuals with the gift of magic from a young age to ensure none of them tap into this forbidden school. However, even their constant supervision allows the occasional maleficar to slip through their fingers and out into the world.

In the Tevinter Imperium, blood magic is officially discouraged but it is widely, if quietly, practiced there. Since Andraste specifically spoke against blood magic, it has been removed from public ceremonies and is not formally taught in Imperial Circles. However, since most heroes of Tevinter folklore used or benefited from blood magic, the practice does not carry as much stigma as it does elsewhere. The traditions of blood magic are quietly passed from the master to the apprentice and even the most devout mage knows at least a little blood magic.[16] According to Fenris, the Imperial templars have to stop Magisters when they cross the line. To elaborate, Tevinter does not consider the moderate use of blood magic inherently dangerous e.g., the use of one's own blood or a willing participant. The moderate use of blood magic can only garner so much power however. The line is crossed when mages start using sacrifices and demon summoning and it's safe to assume any mage of rank does the forbidden kind behind closed doors while the others are quietly shut out of power.[17] Those who protest against such widespread use of blood magic are blackballed from power and shunned by the other magisters.

Spells and powers Edit

Blood magic, first and foremost, is the practice of using blood—life itself—as a potent fuel for casting spells. This life may be supplied by either the mage or sacrifices, whether willing or unwilling. As such, the use of blood magic often allows a mage to cast spells that would otherwise be beyond the abilities of any mage, or require the use of lyrium. The magisters of the ancient Imperium were known to keep numerous slaves on hand as blood sacrifices for particularly arduous castings, a practice that is perpetuated by some blood mages in the present day.[11] It should be noted that the more violent the pain or death used in blood magic, the more powerful a spell becomes.[16]

Originally, blood magic was not considered a school of its own. Rather, it was seen as a means to augment spells from any school.[11] In time, however, magisters discovered certain spells that could only be performed using the power of blood, such as Blood Wound/Hemorrhage. And while lyrium may be used to send the individual waking minds of mages into the Fade, blood magic can be used to find the sleeping minds of others. Therein lies the heart of one of blood magic's most potent and dangerous abilities: to influence, and even take control of, the actions of other beings. The Litany of Adralla is the only guaranteed counter to this mind control—and it can only be used as a preventive measure, not to sever control after it is established.[18]

Blood magic can also be used to summon demons into the corporeal world, manifesting physically (e.g. shades) which can be bound to a mage's will or by possessing a host body (living or dead). Demonic possession of the living produces abominations, while possession of a corpse results in one of the living dead, a creature whose strength and abilities depends on the power and type of host and demon involved (it is unclear whether or not Dwarves and other magic-resistant beings can become possessed).[19] Often, however, the demons will possess, kill, or completely ignore the blood mage who summoned them.[20] It is possible however, to influence creatures of the Fade to do one's bidding by forcing them into servitude via intimidation or pledging one's heart to them. Demons for example, require little in the way of bribery. Their natural state is one of longing for the world of flesh and blood. If a mage is strong, a demon will seek to possess him or her not through force but through guile.[20] Should a mage offer them a respite from their eternal search for true life through a deal, a mage can negotiate a demon's compliance for a time though one should be aware that demons are well-versed in the art of manipulation and it will seek to possess the mage at any time. Should the demon get the upper hand, it will result in the mage becoming an abomination.[9] If enough lives are sacrificed, a blood mage may use the corpses of the sacrifices to turn one's self into a Harvester.

The most powerful magisters who reigned at the height of the ancient Imperium were even able to use blood magic to physically cross the Veil into the Fade—a feat which required the ritual sacrifice of countless slaves and over two-thirds of the lyrium in the entire empire (and which has never been accomplished since).[21] The true cost, however, came when the magisters failed to conquer the Golden City and instead returned to Thedas as what the Chantry believe to be the first Darkspawn. The Chantry believe their actions unleashed the Blight and the taint upon all of Thedas.

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Last Flight.

Ironically, blood magic has been one of the few ways to cure the taint. A Grey Warden blood mage, Isseya was able to purify a clutch of griffon eggs by using blood magic to draw their taint into herself. Embryonic creatures, they had little to anchor the taint unlike mature organisms.

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age II.

Merrill was also able to purify a tainted eluvian with blood magic.

Ancient lore and present-day events hint that blood magic holds the key to incredible powers yet undreamed of, or long thought lost. Such power generally requires a terrible sacrifice, however: a debt paid in blood at the cost of the lives of others or the blood mage; or even one's own humanity. As such, while blood magic itself is merely a convenient tool, it is by far one of the most dangerous means to any end in the realm of Thedas.

Blood magic and the Grey Wardens Edit

Despite blood magic being banned in almost the entirety of Thedas, the Grey Wardens occasionally use it as a means to fight the darkspawn. This is confirmed if the Warden speaks with Duncan on the topic during the Magi Origin.

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Origins.

The Warden learns of an ancient Grey Warden mage named Avernus who utilized blood magic to manipulate the darkspawn taint used in the Joining (the Joining itself being a form of blood magic). He even went so far as to torture and experiment on his fellow Wardens in order to learn more about the secret powers found within blood, especially that of the Tainted blood found in Grey Wardens. His research notes theorize the extensive capabilities it holds, and claim that only within the ranks of the Grey Wardens can blood magic be used freely and allowed to flourish in the name of arcane progress. What he learned allowed him to use blood magic to unnaturally prolong his life for hundreds of years, as well as discover powerful talents and spells that the Warden can choose to use by unlocking the Power of Blood school. Avernus argues that the Chantry foolishly forbids blood magic because of their belief that it caused the corruption of the Golden City and the creation of the darkspawn. He dismisses all of this as lies, insisting that there is a great deal that the Grey Wardens—and mages in general—can learn from it.

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age II.

Hawke learns that shortly after the death of Dumat the Grey Wardens used blood magic to contain a powerful darkspawn Corypheus in the prison in Vimmark Mountains. At that moment blood magic was yet to be outlawed by the Chantry. The Wardens soon realized that Corypheus could call on their mages through the taint and started using the services of mages outside the Order to renew the seals. The last mage to provide such services was an apostate Malcolm Hawke, Hawke's father. Trapped in the prison, Hawke ventured to its basement and freed Corypheus through a blood magic ritual involving the Key. Corypheus appeared to be one of the ancient magisters who entered the Golden City. He then attacked Hawke and was defeated. It is shown, however, that he did not die but rather possessed one of the Wardens who accompanied Hawke, be it Janeka or Larius.

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Inquisition.

It is revealed that Corypheus, in an effort to gain control over the Grey Wardens, has made a deal with a Nightmare Demon to amplify his Blight magic and intimidate the order with an imitation of the Calling. Taking advantage of their newfound desperation he arranges for Magister Livius Erimond to join the ranks of the Grey Wardens at Adamant Fortress, where he teaches them a Blood Magic ritual involving the sacrifice of dozens of non-mage Grey Wardens to bind an army of Demons to them in an effort to invade the Deep Roads and put an end to the Old Gods once and for all. In reality the ritual also binds the Grey Warden mages to Corypheus's will, bolstering the ranks of his army dramatically. The Inquisition invades Adamant fortress and a fight breaks out that leaves the Wardens leaderless, neutralizes Corypheus's demon ally, conquers the fortress for the Inquisition, and finally leaves open the choice to either ally with or exile the surviving Grey Wardens.

Involvement Edit

The main character of Dragon Age II can become a blood mage, depending on the choice of the player. While blood magic is expressly forbidden throughout most of Thedas and reviled by the populace at large, the protagonist will never be confronted for their decision to harness the Forbidden School of magic. This is understandable, given the limitations of game design, but it can lead to some very odd circumstances. The protagonist can perform blood magic in front of First Enchanters, Templar Knight-Commanders, and the Viscount of Kirkwall without receiving so much as a reprimand. In addressing this issue, the developers have dropped the specialization of Blood Mage from the players arsenal in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Dragon Age: Origins Edit

Under the vigilant eyes of the Chantry, the Templar Order, and the native Circle of Magi, blood magic has become all but extinct in the land of Ferelden. The Grey Wardens, however, operate outside the jurisdiction of most authorities in Thedas in their fight against the Darkspawn. Blood magic is generally permitted within their ranks as a means to an end, and the leaders of the Chantry and other powerful institutions are generally willing to look the other way as long as its powers are used solely against the Darkspawn. As such, the Warden can become a blood mage during both Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening. In fact, the Warden can even supplement his or her skills with the Power of Blood abilities found within the ancient Grey Warden Avernus's research. These abilities are blood-based talents that vary depending upon the Warden's class and are very close to blood magic.

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Origins.

Blood Magic

Jowan using blood magic

In Origins, the specialization can only be unlocked by making a deal with the desire demon inhabiting Connor Guerrin during the quest Arl of Redcliffe. Once it has been unlocked in one save file, however, the specialization is available to mage Wardens in all subsequent files, and the player can devise whatever back-story they wish.

Once the specialization has been unlocked by the Warden, it can be taught to any of the Warden's companions. Wynne can become a blood mage, and for all her impassioned lectures on its evils and dangers, she will never comment on her obvious hypocrisy. Morrigan can also become a blood mage in addition to an apostate, and regardless of her professed distaste for bargaining with demons, will never remark on her choices under the Warden's directive either. Either way on the eve of the Battle of Denerim Morrigan will offer the Warden to perform an ancient ritual, a form of blood magic that Flemeth taught her.

Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening Edit

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening.

In Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening, the specialization can be unlocked by purchasing the training manual from the bartender at the Crown and Lion tavern in Amaranthine, a much less unsavory alternative for morally-inclined characters who don't want to sacrifice a child to a demon (even though it only needs to be done once in a save file that can be immediately scrapped, see above). Unlocking the specialization in Awakening will subsequently unlock it for Origins and reverse, this path is more desirable for those who'd rather not bargain with demons to unlock this powerful specialization.

During Awakening, Anders can become a blood mage, which is quite ironic since the templars were likely to brand him as such sooner or later, despite the fact that he was merely an apostate. As soon as he finds succor within the ranks of the Grey Wardens, he can possibly commit the crimes that he would have been accused of. Interestingly, he is also the only companion in all of Origins and Awakening who will comment—however briefly—on being made a blood mage.

Dragon Age II Edit

Especially in recent years, the city-state of Kirkwall has seen a dramatic increase in its number of blood mages. Ironically, a significant portion of this can be attributed to the templars under Knight-Commander Meredith, who have gradually turned the Circle of Magi located in the Gallows into a veritable prison for mages.

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age II.

In Dragon Age II, a mage Hawke can choose to become a blood mage through one of the available specializations. Unlike Dragon Age: Origins, it is unclear how Hawke would have come by this knowledge, but it can be assumed that the proliferation of blood mages in Kirkwall makes such teachings relatively easy to come by.

One of Hawke's potential mage companions, Merrill, joins the party as an acknowledged blood mage. While it remains up to the player to decide whether or not to actually teach her the blood mage abilities in her unique specialization tree, the game still treats her as a full blood mage with regard to the plot. Interestingly, Anders—another potential companion for Hawke—appears to have no additional dialogue on his experiences using blood magic if you import an Awakening save file in which he was given the Blood Mage specialization.

Notable blood mages Edit

See Category:Blood mages for for a complete list.

Historical figures Edit

Dragon Age: Origins Edit

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Origins.

  • Mad Hermit
  • Uldred
  • Zathrian
  • Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening Edit

    Dragon Age II Edit

    This section contains spoilers for:
    Dragon Age II.

  • Merrill
  • Quentin
  • Tarohne
  • Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker Edit

    Dragon Age (IDW comic) Edit

    Dragon Age: The Masked Empire Edit

    This section contains spoilers for:
    Dragon Age: The Masked Empire.

    Dragon Age: Inquisition Edit

    Trivia Edit

    • There is no Blood Magic specialization in Dragon Age: Inquisition. The writers decided that in order to do it properly it would require a lot of reactivity from other characters in the world compared to other specializations, which would be detrimental to other content.[22]
    • Mages who experiment with blood magic are more susceptible to demonic spirits, such as pride demons. As such, they are more at risk of becoming abominations by way of possession.[16]

    Gallery Edit

    See also Edit

    Ico codex entry Codex entry: Blood Magic: The Forbidden School

    Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Responsible Blood Magic

    References Edit

    1. Dragon Age: Last Flight, Chapter 23
    2. Dialogue between Isseya and Calien, Dragon Age: Last Flight, Chapter 10.
    3. 3.0 3.1 dialogue with Solas
    4. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, pp. 14, 121
    5. 5.0 5.1 Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, pp. 36-37
    6. Dragon Age: Origins: Collector's Edition: Prima Official Game Guide
    7. Codex entry: Forbidden Knowledge
    8. Codex entry: The First Blight: Chapter 1
    9. 9.0 9.1 Codex entry: Scrolls of Banastor
    10. Dragon Age: Origins: Collector's Edition: Prima Official Game Guide, p. 253
    11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Codex entry: Blood Magic: The Forbidden School
    12. Tome of the Mortal Vessel
    13. Blood Mage (Dragon Age II)
    14. Codex entry: Maleficarum
    15. Codex entry: Apostates
    16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 109
    17. Dorian Pavus Conversation.
    18. Codex entry: The Litany of Adralla
    19. Codex entry: Corpse
    20. 20.0 20.1 Codex entry: Abomination
    21. Codex entry: The Cardinal Rules of Magic
    22. Interview with David Gaider
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