Denerim: the largest city and capital of Ferelden. Long ago, the elves lived as slaves to humans, and though they’ve been free for many generations now, they are far from equals. Here they live in walled-off community known as the Alienage working as servants and laborers when they can. Despite these hardships, Denerim’s elves are a strong people who take pride in their close community. This is the only world you’ve ever known… until now.

The City Elf Origin is one of six playable origins available in Dragon Age: Origins. As a City Elf, this character is one of the poorest of Ferelden's citizens.

Introduction Edit

They planted a tree in the middle of the alienage long ago. Today it stands tall, healthy, and green—in sharp contrast to the city around it. For we are the poorest of the poor, the unwanted and the unwelcome huddled on the other side of the wall that separates us from the human part of the city. We are allowed to pass the wall to work on the docks or in the human's taverns and in their homes, but when the dusk comes we must return. Any elf caught outside the alienage at night is likely to be mistaken for a sneak thief or a pickpocket… and let us be honest, the ones that stay out there at night probably are.

Our elder tells us that the tree is called the vhenadahl, which in the ancient elven tongue means "tree of the people." Its roots are deep and the elder says that as long as the vhenadahl lives, so shall we. But he also says that there was once a time when our people lived in our own lands. He says that we were once ageless and strong, that it was the humans who took all this from us.

Is it true? Have we fallen so far? We are not unhappy. As poor as we are, we have a home. The alienage is no prison—it protects us, just as the vhenadahl shelters us. We dance and sing and make merry, stealing what moments we can to enjoy what little we have… and I believe we appreciate it far more than the humans do. They have everything and appreciate nothing.

And perhaps the day will come when the humans come and try to take the alienage from us, too. If that day comes, I swear they shall regret it.

Plot Edit

Area-The Elven Alienage

The Denerim Alienage

Quest A Day for Celebration

It is the wedding day for both the City Elf and their cousin, Soris. While exploring the Alienage, a local lord named Vaughan and some acquaintances arrive and are abusive towards the women. Another of the City Elf's cousins, Shianni, knocks him unconscious at which point his friends carry him away. Shortly afterwards, Duncan arrives, revealing that he is searching for new Grey Wardens, and also that he knew the City Elf's mother whom he had attempted to recruit years ago. The City Elf eventually joins the wedding ceremony, but before it can be completed, Vaughan returns with armed guards and abducts all the women, including the City Elf if she is female. If the City Elf is male he goes on a rescue mission with Soris, if she is female she awakens in a room with three other elves including Soris's betrothed and Shianni.

There are various differences in the story between male and female players; for example, a male City Elf will have to fight his way into the castle with Soris, while a female City Elf will fight her way out. Eventually Soris and the Warden will find their way into the room with Vaughan and his friends, with Shianni on the floor. Vaughan attempts to buy his way out of the situation by promising 40 sovereigns if the City Elf leaves without the women. The City Elf can take the offer, however the share of the money will be confiscated by the city guards, unless it is decided that the money be stashed outside the estate; the stash can be collected much later in the story. If the City Elf refuses his offer, Vaughan and his friends will fight.

Result Edit


After returning home, the city guards arrive attempting to find the person responsible for the attack. The City Elf can remain silent or take full responsibility, or tell the guard that both you and Soris were responsible. If the Warden chooses to remain silent the entire time, Elva will approach the guards and accuse both you and Soris. Before the City Elf is arrested, Duncan steps in and conscripts the City Elf into the Grey Wardens, who leaves with him for Ostagar. If it has not been unlocked in a previous playthrough, on arrival in Ostagar the Conscripted achievement will be awarded.

Characters Edit


Nola (left), Shianni (center) and Elf Bridesmaid #1 (right) in the foreground. Vaughan, Jonaley, and Braden at the back.



Initial statistics Edit

Cg ico origin elf city

In addition to those selected by the player at character creation, a City Elf Warden automatically begins with the following:

Skills Edit

Skl ico persuade Coercion and either Skl ico combat1 Combat Training (Warrior) or Skill-PoisonMaking icon Poison-Making (Rogue)

Talents Edit

Warrior Talent dw sweep Dual-Weapon Sweep
Rogue Talent-DirtyFighting icon Dirty Fighting

Equipment Edit

Clothing Ico clothing Clothing

Items Edit

Plot Items:

Plt ico brandy Brandy
Plt ico rat poison Rat Poison
Plt ico cleanser Cleanser

Elven Alienage:

Ico boots light Adaia's Boots
Ico longsword Borrowed Longsword (male City Elf, from Duncan)
Ico clothing Wedding Clothes

Arl of Denerim's Estate:

Ico shield smallroundwood Bloodstained Shield
Ico longsword Borrowed Longsword (female City Elf, from Soris)
Ico armor med Chainmail armor set
Ico shield towermetal Denerim Guard Shield
Ico belt Fencer's Cinch
Ico amulet Heirloom Necklace
Ico armor light Leather armor set
Ico ring Wedding Ring (female City Elf only)

Codex Edit

Ico codex entry Codex entry: Alienage Culture (obtained after speaking with Shianni)
Ico codex entry Codex entry: The City Elves (obtained after speaking with Cyrion)
Ico codex entry Codex entry: Vhenadahl: The Tree of the People (check sign by the tree)
Ico codex entry Codex entry: Culture of Ferelden (stack of books in Alarith's shop)
Ico codex entry Codex entry: The Dalish Elves (asking Soris about the Dalish Elves, or speaking to Taeodor with Soris)
Ico codex entry Codex entry: Duncan (after talking to Duncan & Valendrian)
Ico codex entry Codex entry: The Grey Wardens (after talking to Duncan & Valendrian)
Ico codex entry Codex entry: Darkspawn (after talking to Duncan & Valendrian)
Ico codex entry Codex entry: The Chant of Light: The Blight (after talking to Duncan & Valendrian)
Ico codex entry Codex entry: Valendrian (after talking to Duncan & Valendrian)
Ico codex entry Codex entry: The Commandments of the Maker (after the wedding)
Ico codex entry Codex entry: History of Ferelden: Chapter 1 (stack of books in the Arl of Denerim's Estate)
Ico codex entry Codex entry: History of Ferelden: Chapter 2 (bookshelf in the Arl of Denerim's Estate)

Notes Edit

  • Playing as a City Elf Warden will slightly alter the Unrest in the Alienage quest, as Cyrion will be held captive by Caladrius at the time instead of Valendrian, who was already taken to the ship. Cyrion will give Fang to a City Elf Warden after rescuing him (provided you did not accept Vaughan's bribe), instead of the Gift of the Grey dagger that Valendrian rewards other wardens. Furthermore, the responses of all the Alienage characters towards your Warden will be very different if you took Vaughan's offer in the Origin.
  • Through conversation with Duncan, it is revealed that Duncan suspects that Valendrian deliberately scheduled the wedding to prevent his recruiting the City Elf Warden. Further conversation with Valendrian right after the mission start confirms that.
  • The male version of this origin is by far the most rewarding xp-wise, if one decides to be a completist. Male City Elf rogue with Skl ico lockpicking Deft Hands picked at level 2 to disarm two traps outside the entrance to Arl of Denerim's Estate, Ico highregarddace The High Regard of House Dace, and Memory Band Memory Band was able to reach level 7 (50 xp into level 8, in fact) at Flemeth's Hut.
  • The female version of this origin can be completed in four and a half minutes on Nightmare difficulty (probably less, if optimized), as demonstrated here.

Trivia Edit

  • The City Elf and Dwarf Commoner stand alone as the only origins where the Warden has a parent who survives through the events of the entire game.
    • Interestingly enough, these are both origins that take place in an impoverished slum section of a major city, as well as the player character being a persecuted non-citizen.
  • The City Elf's mother, Adaia, is seen in the DLC Leliana's Song as a prisoner in the Noble's Estate's dungeons who is released by Leliana.
  • The City Elf origin is the only origin where the story changes based on the Warden's gender.
  • The City Elf Origin was written by BioWare writer Daniel Erickson, who also wrote the Dwarf Noble Origin.[2][3]
  • If a City Elf Warden never speaks to Loghain Mac Tir at Ostagar, he will refer to them upon meeting them for the first time in Denerim, along with Alistair and Eamon Guerrin, as an "elven derelict."[4]

Gallery Edit

See Also Edit

References Edit

  1. Official Dragon Age: Origins site – City Elf Origin
  2. BSN David Gaider (January 8, 2010). "Writers of Dragon Age" . The BioWare Forum.
  4. Dalishious Blog.
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