Sections from the codex dealing with creatures of Thedas. In most cases, these entries are obtained when the Warden first encounters a creature of the relevant type. A number of entries, e.g., genlock and hurlock, are updated on meeting variations on the creature such as alphas or emissaries.
In some cases, when a creature is encountered, and thus when a codex entry is received, will depend on the origin of The Warden. For example, if the Warden is a mage then they may encounter creatures during their harrowing that other origins do not see until much later in the campaign.
- 1 Abomination
- 2 Arcane Horror
- 3 Archdemon
- 4 Ash Wraith
- 5 Bear
- 6 Bronto
- 7 Broodmother
- 8 Corpse
- 9 Deepstalker (Origins)
- 10 Desire Demon
- 11 Dragon
- 12 Genlock
- 13 Ghoul
- 14 Golem
- 15 Halla - About the Halla
- 16 Hurlock
- 17 Mabari War Hound - About the mabari
- 18 Nug
- 19 Ogre
- 20 Pride Demon
- 21 Rage Demon
- 22 Rat
- 23 Revenant
- 24 Shade
- 25 Shriek
- 26 Skeleton
- 27 Sloth Demon
- 28 Giant Spider
- 29 Wild Sylvan
- 30 Werewolf
- 31 Wisp
- 32 Wolf
- 33 Mabari Dominance
- Main article: Codex entry: Abomination
"We arrived in the dead of night. We had been tracking the maleficar for days, and finally had him cornered... or so we thought.
As we approached, a home on the edge of the town exploded, sending splinters of wood and fist-sized chunks of rocks into our ranks. We had but moments to regroup before fire rained from the sky, the sounds of destruction wrapped in a hideous laughter from the center of the village.
There, perched atop the spire of the village chantry, stood the mage. But he was human no longer.
We shouted prayers to the Maker and deflected what magic we could, but as we fought, the creature fought harder. I saw my comrades fall, burned by the flaming sky or crushed by debris. The monstrous creature, looking as if a demon were wearing a man like a twisted suit of skin, spotted me and grinned. We had forced it to this, I realized; the mage had made this pact, given himself over to the demon to survive our assault."
It is known that mages are able to walk the Fade while completely aware of their surroundings, unlike most others who may only enter the realm as dreamers and leave it scarcely aware of their experience. Demons are drawn to mages, though whether it is because of this awareness or simply by virtue of their magical power in our world is unknown.
Regardless of the reason, a demon always attempts to possess a mage when it encounters one—by force or by making some kind of deal depending on the strength of the mage. Should the demon get the upper hand, the result is an unholy union known as an abomination. Abominations have been responsible for some of the worst cataclysms in history, and the notion that some mage in a remote tower could turn into such a creature unbeknownst to any was the driving force behind the creation of the Circle of Magi.
Thankfully, abominations are rare. The Circle has methods for weeding out those who are too at risk for demonic possession, and scant few mages would give up their free will to submit to such a bond with a demon. But once an abomination is created, it will do its best to create more. Considering that entire squads of templars have been known to fall at the hands of a single abomination, it is not surprising that the Chantry takes the business of the Circle of Magi very seriously indeed.
"Upon ascending to the second floor of the tower, we were greeted by a gruesome sight: a ragged collection of bones wearing the robes of one of the senior enchanters. I had known her for years, watched her raise countless apprentices, and now she was a mere puppet for some demon." --Transcribed from a tale told by a templar in Antiva City, 7:13 Storm
When a pride demon takes control of the corpse of a mage, an arcane horror is born. Although they appear to be little more than bones, these are fierce creatures, possessing not only all the spellcasting abilities of a living mage, but also the capacity to heal and even command other animated corpses.
Dragon Age: Inquisition: In the DA:I version only the transcribed tale appears
"In Darkness eternal they searched,
For those who had goaded them on,
Until at last they found their prize,
Their god, their betrayer:
The sleeping dragon Dumat. Their taint
Twisted even the false-god, and the whisperer
Awoke at last, in pain and horror, and led
Them to wreak havoc upon all the nations of the world:
The first Blight."
No one knows what it is that drives the darkspawn in their relentless search for the sleeping Old Gods. Perhaps it is instinct, as moths will fly into torch flames. Perhaps there is some remnant of desire for vengeance upon the ones who goaded the magisters to assault heaven. Whatever the reason, when darkspawn find one of these ancient dragons, it is immediately afflicted by the taint. It awakens twisted and corrupted, and leads the darkspawn in a full-scale invasion of the land: a Blight.
Entering the Dead Trenches and seeing the Archdemon: Urthemiel was once the Tevinter god of beauty. In ancient times, he was worshiped by musicians, artists, and poets. The Feast of Urthemiel was the grandest celebration of the year, an event that lasted a full twelve days. Plays and entire symphonies were written in his honor. Now, he is a maddened husk of his former self, filled with nothing but a desire to destroy all life.
After Riordan reveals the truth about the Archdemon: When the first Blight began, many brave men and women threw themselves at Dumat, the first archdemon, trying to strike him down. But no matter the numbers, no matter their strength, he would always return. This was proof, some said, of his divine power.But the Grey Wardens soon learned otherwise. Their tainted blood bound them to the archdemon, and they could hear it, feel it, as it died and was born anew, its spirit drawn to possess the nearest tainted creature. The darkspawn were mindless, soulless, empty shells of flesh that could be bent and remade in the dragon's image. But a man... a man's soul was not so malleable. When a Warden's hand struck a fatal blow against Dumat, the Old God's spirit was drawn not to a darkspawn but to the man who had slain him. In that moment, the souls of both the Warden and the archdemon were utterly destroyed. And the dragon rose no more. The Blight was over.
Legend has it that when Andraste's Ashes were taken into hiding, some of her closest disciples gave themselves to the fire, that their restless souls might remain to guard her final resting place forever.
Whether they are the spirits of Andraste's disciples or merely Fade spirits, the temple that houses the Sacred Urn is filled with wraiths. Created from a burnt corpse, an ash wraith is a powerful and amorphous opponent able to lash and smother while being immune to most physical attacks. Even if successfully dispersed, it can reform at a later time. Magic is the only real way to fight such a creature, wind and ice attacks being the most useful.
They are capable of creating small whirlwinds that are devastating to anyone unfortunate enough to get close, and their touch leaves a person drained.
- Main article: Codex entry: Bear
- See also: Bear and Codex entry: Bear (Inquisition) for the inquisition codex entry
"No beast is more beloved by Dirthamen than the bear. When the world was new, Dirthamen gave one secret to each creature to keep. The foxes traded their secrets to Andruil for wings. The hares shouted theirs to the treetops. The birds sold theirs for gold and silver. Only the bears kept Dirthamen's gift, deep within their dens, they slept the months away in the company of their secrets and nothing else.
When Dirthamen discovered what had been done with his gifts, he snatched the wings from the foxes, silenced the voices of the hares, and turned the birds into paupers. but the bears he honored for their steadfastness."
--Transcribed from a Dalish tale, 9:8 Dragon.
Normally, it is almost unheard of for bears to attack travelers. They are, in fact, so shy and so inactive during the day that most people never encounter a bear at all. However, should a bear be provoked, they are remarkably dangerous. The normally placid-seeming creatures become enraged, and can strike massive blows with their paws, capable of knocking a man off his feet.
This hulking beast was originally bred by the dwarven Shaperate as a beast of burden and food source, the rough equivalent to surface oxen and cows. Some versions of bronto have even been developed as dwarven mounts, valued far more for their sure-footedness and stamina than for their speed. While present within Orzammar in large numbers, some bronto still exist in packs within the Deep Roads, having returned to a wild state after the fall of the dwarven kingdoms. They require remarkably little sustenance, consuming organic material from water, fungus and even rocks (hence the "rock-licker" appellation used by many dwarves to describe bronto), and exist in primarily dormant states until provoked. An angry, charging bronto is considered to be a rather dangerous opponent.
Dragon Age: Inquisition: In the DA:I version a slight rephrasing has occurred in a couple of sentences, and the text is acknowledged to be cited from Tales from Beneath the Earth by Brother Genitivi.
It is well-known that darkspawn carry off those captured in their raids to underground lairs. Most assume that the prisoners are eaten, or somehow tainted and turned into darkspawn themselves, though this could never account for the sheer numbers of the horde. Forays made by Grey Wardens into the underground have uncovered the answer.
When exposed to the darkspawn taint, men are driven mad and eventually die. Women, however, undergo great pain and gross mutations that cause most of them to perish. Those that survive, however, become the grotesque broodmothers. These giant, twisted behemoths birth many darkspawn at a time; a single broodmother can create thousands of darkspawn over the course of her lifetime. Each type of darkspawn is born from a different broodmother: Humans produce hurlocks, dwarves produce genlocks, elves give birth to shrieks, and from Qunari are born the ogres.
- Main article: Codex entry: Corpse
"To anyone who doubts the wickedness of blood magic, I say: With your own hands, strike down the corpses of your own brothers who have fallen in battle to a maleficar, then we may discuss morality." --Knight-Commander Benedictus, in a letter to the Divine, 5:46 Exalted.
The shambling corpse, controlled by a demon of sloth, causes its enemies to become weak and fatigued. Corpses possessed by rage demons go berserk and simply wade into their opponents mindlessly. Devouring corpses are held by hunger demons and feed upon the living. The more powerful demons rarely deign to possess a dead host.
- Main article: Codex entry: Deepstalker (Origins)
- See also: Creature: Deepstalker, Codex entry: Deepstalker
"A fool trusts his eyes. A wise man fears every rock is a deepstalker"
Possibly the strangest of all the creatures found in the Deep Roads is the deepstalker. Tezpadam, as the dwarves call them, hunt in packs, generally by burrowing underground and then striking when their prey is in their midst.
Stalkers come in several types. Spitters have venom glands and can spit secretions that slow or injure their prey. Jumpers hurl themselves at their targets, knocking them down and making the kill easier. The most common variety scares its prey, leaving the unfortunate victim helpless against the rest of the pack.
- Main article: Codex entry: Desire Demon
"In all my studies, I must say that the most intriguing was my interview with the desire demon. That the creature was willing to speak with me was a sign that this was no mere monster, mindlessly driven by its nature, but rather a rational being as interested in me as I was in it. It took a form that I would call female, though I had no doubt that it could appear otherwise. I wondered if it appeared as it did because I wanted it to or because I expected it to. She... and, indeed, I could only think of her as such now... smiled warmly at me and laughed a musical sound that seemed to thrill my old heart.
So frightened was I of this creature's legendary abilities to twist the hearts of men, and so relieved was I when I looked across the table into her dark eyes. This was a fearsome creature of the Fade, but as I spoke with her I slowly came to realize that this demon was merely as misunderstood as we mages are, ourselves."
Of all the threats from beyond the Veil, few are more insidious and deceptively deadly than the desire demon. In folklore, such demons are characterized as peddlers of lust, luring their prey into a sexual encounter only to be slain at the culmination. While a desire demon can indeed deal in pleasure, in truth they deal with any manner of desire that humans can possess: wealth, power, and beauty, to name a few.
Far more intelligent than the bestial hunger and rage demons, and more ambitious than the demons of sloth, these dark spirits are among the most skilled at tempting mages into possession. Many who serve the whims of a desire demon never realize it. They are manipulated by illusions and deceit if not outright mind control, although these demons are reluctant to resort to such crude measures. Instead, they seem to take great pleasure in corruption. The greater the deceit, the greater their victory.
Only demons of pride prove more fearsome opponents when roused. Their abilities to affect the mind allow them to assume disguises and even alter the environment to their purposes, not to mention the great strength and speed they possess if they should have to resort to more physical means. Most often a desire demon will attempt to bargain its way to freedom if overpowered—many stories exist that depict mages defeating desire demons to the point where a wish can be wrested from them. It should be noted that in such stories the demon almost always gets the upper hand even when the mage thinks his wish has been granted.
Newly-hatched dragons are roughly the size of a deer and voraciously hungry. They live for a short time in their mother's lair before venturing out on their own. The slender, wingless creatures are born in vast numbers, as only a few ever make it to adulthood.
Male dragons never develop into the winged monsters of myth. At most, their forelegs grow the vestigial spurs where wing membrane might have been.
Once they have fully matured, males immediately seek out the lairs of adult females. When they find one, they move into her lair and spend the rest of their lives there, hunting for her and defending her young. They will aggressively defend her nest, and many would-be dragon hunters have been lost to their fiery breath and crushing blows from their tails.
Female dragons take much longer to mature than their male counterparts. They too undergo a metamorphosis of sorts at adulthood; But while males lose the use of their forepaws, females actually grow a third set of limbs specifically to serve as wings.
Young females travel great distances looking for a suitable nesting site. Because of their nomadic habits, these are the dragons most frequently encountered by man.
A fully mature adult female dragon is the high dragon: the great monster of legend, the rarest of all dragonkind. These dragons hollow out massive lairs for themselves, for they need the space to house their harem of drakes as well as their eggs and the dragonlings.
High dragons are seldom seen. They spend most of their time sleeping and mating, living off the prey their drakes bring back. But once every hundred years or so, the high dragon prepares for clutching by emerging from her lair and taking wing. She will fly far and wide, eating hundreds of animals, most often livestock, over the course of a few weeks and leaving smoldering devastation in her wake. She then returns to her lair to lay her eggs and will not appear in the skies again for another century.
Dragon Age 2: Only the dragonling entry is present in DA2.
Dragon Age: Inquisition: Only the high dragon entry is present in DA:I.
In any group of genlocks, there is usually one who is dominant. As the tallest, strongest, and smartest of their kind, alphas serve as a sort of commander, directing or bullying the others in combat.
- Main article: Codex entry: Ghoul
What the Blight does not destroy, it corrupts.
The name originally comes from men—whether human, dwarven, or elven—who became tainted, usually while being held as a captive food source by the darkspawn. They would turn cannibal, preying on other captives, slaves to the will of the archdemon, driven mad by pain.
During a Blight, the corruption of the darkspawn spreads through the wilder areas of Thedas and infects the animals found there. This produces grotesque, enraged bears called bereskarn as well as blight wolves.
Fortunately, ghouls rarely survive their corruption for long.
Once a crucial part of Orzammar's defenses, golems have all but vanished as the secret to their manufacture was lost over a thousand years ago. What few golems remain are guarded closely by the Shaperate, brought out when the battle with the darkspawn grows desperate enough to risk their loss. No one now would sell a golem for any price, but in ancient times, dwarves sold many golems to the magister lords of Tevinter.
They are devastating weapons in war, living siege engines, capable of hurling boulders like a catapult or plowing through enemy lines like an earthquake.
Halla - About the Halla
No creature is more revered by the Dalish than the halla. No other animal has a god of its own. These white stags are much larger than ordinary deer, and the Dalish halla keepers carve their antlers as they grow, making them curve into intricate designs. In ancient times, these stags bore elven knights into combat, but since the fall of the Dales, they are used less as mounts and more to pull the aravels.
- Main article: Codex entry: Hurlock
Taller than their genlock cousins, the hurlocks are roughly of human-size but are possessed of considerable strength and constitution. The shock troop of the darkspawn, a single berserking hurlock can often be a match for numerous opponents at once. They are known to adorn themselves with roughly-carved tattoos to keep track of their kills and deeds, though it is unknown whether or not there is a uniform standard to these markings.
Alpha hurlocks are more intelligent and more skilled fighters, often serving as commanders or even generals.
Mabari War Hound - About the mabari
Dogs are an essential part of Fereldan culture, and no dog is more prized that the mabari. The breed is as old as myth, said to have been bred from the wolves who served Dane. Prized for their intelligence and loyalty, these dogs are more than mere weapons or status symbols: The hounds choose their masters, and pair with them for life. To be the master of a mabari anywhere in Ferelden is to be recognized instantly as a person of worth.
The mabari are an essential part of Fereldan military strategy. Trained hounds can easily pull knights from horseback or break lines of pikemen, and the sight and sound of a wave of war dogs, howling and snarling, has been known to cause panic among even the most hardened infantry soldiers.
—From Ferelden: Folklore and History by Sister Petrine, Chantry scholar
"Hip deep in mad nugs.
Our screams deafen their keen ears.
We will be nug poop."
The nug is an omnivore common to the Deep Roads, a hairless creature that is almost blind as well as completely docile. It spends most of its time wading in shallow pools as well as mud pits, feeding on small insects, worms, and (in a pinch) limestone and simple metals. Indeed, the digestive system of the nug is legendary, able to make a meal out of almost anything a nug finds on the cavern floors. Nugs reproduce rapidly, spreading into any niche within the Deep Roads they can find, and serve to support a variety of predators such as giant spiders and deepstalkers. So, too, do dwarves make meals out of them... nugs are, in the poorer slum portions of Orzammar, one of the most common sources of meat available. Some dwarves even domesticate the creatures, claiming to find the creature's high-pitched squeaks pleasing.
- Main article: Codex entry: Ogre
Towering over their darkspawn kin, the massive ogres are a rare sight on the battlefield. Traditionally, they only appear during a Blight, but some records claim that ogres have been spotted in the Deep Roads hunting alone or in small groups. At least one report by the Grey Wardens claims that an ogre was spotted alone in the Korcari Wilds in 9:19 Dragon, though it was weakened and easily dispatched. Up to a hundred of these creatures can accompany a darkspawn horde at any one time during a Blight, often using their great strength to burst through fortifications and demolish the front lines of the opposing army.
They use brute force to charge their enemies like bulls, slam the ground with their fists to shake enemies off their feet, and hurl great rocks into the face of oncoming foes. Melee can be difficult against a giant that snatches a warrior up in one hand, crushing the life out of him or beating him into oblivion with the other hand. The nimble can try to wiggle his way free, or an ally can attempt an array of stunning blows on an ogre to free the comrade in danger.
Grey Warden lore urges caution when slaying an ogre. Unless it is ensured that they have received a major wound to the head or the heart, it is possible that they are lying dormant and will regenerate to full health within a matter of minutes. During a Blight, most Grey Wardens recommend burning all darkspawn to ashes... "dead" ogres in particular.
- Main article: Codex entry: Pride Demon
"Let me explain what it is to face a pride demon, my friends.
You may scoff and say that our talents exist only to face mages, but you will encounter demons often. They will be summoned by a maleficar and bound to do his bidding, and while at times they will be forced into the possession of a host, they will also face you in their true form... a powerful opponent indeed. Do not underestimate it.
Pride is powerful, and intelligent. When we have encountered one in its true form, its most common attacks are bolts of fire and ice. Fire they will use to burn an opponent, and the magical flame will combust anything you wear regardless of make. Ice they will use to freeze an opponent in place—be cautious, for they enjoy employing this against warriors in particular. More than one group of templars has made the mistake of attempting to overwhelm a pride demon and suffered the consequences, believe me. And if you think that having the aid of other mages will assist you, you are wrong. Pride demons can render themselves immune to magic for short times, and are adept at dispelling magic that is cast upon you... as much as we templars are able to disrupt spells.
Think on that for a moment, my friends. Be wary of how prideful you become, lest you find too much in common with such a fiend."
--Transcript of a lecture given by Vheren, templar-commander of Tantervale, 6:86 Steel
Encountered in the Fade, the true form of a rage demon is a frightening sight: a thing of pure fire, its body seemingly made of amorphous lava and its eyes two pinpricks of baleful light radiating from its core. The abilities of such a demon center on the fire it generates. It burns those who come near, and the most powerful of its kind are able to lash out with bolts of fire and even firestorms that can affect entire areas.
Fortunately, even powerful rage demons are less intelligent then most other varieties. Their tactics are simple: attack an enemy on sight with as much force as possible until it perishes. Some rage demons carry over their heat-based abilities into possessed hosts, but otherwise the true form is mostly seen outside of the Fade when it's specifically summoned by a mage to do his bidding.
-Transcript of a lecture given by Vheren, Templar-Commander of Tantervale, 6:86 Steel
"What are you, mad? Even the most giant of rats isn't going to present that much of a problem to anyone larger than a cat. Even the stories in the archives that tell of Blight-touched rats still only attributed them with the ability to spread the plague. The rats themselves got no larger than perhaps three feet in length, covered in sharp bony spikes and boils. Disturbing, certainly, but dangerous? This is no fantasy conjured by madmen, young man! You have much more important creatures to concern yourself with!"
An entire unit of men, all slain by one creature. I didn't believe it at first, your Perfection, but it appears that this is so. We have a survivor, and while at first I thought his rantings pure exaggeration... it appears to be no simple skeleton. The descriptions of the creature's abilities were eerily similar to those our brothers at Marnas Pell encountered almost a century ago: men pulled through the air to skewer themselves on the creature's blade, and attacks so quick that it was able to assault multiple opponents at once. No, your Perfection, what we have here is indeed a revenant and nothing less.
—From a letter to Divine Amara III, 5:71 Exalted.
A revenant is a corpse possessed by a demon of pride or of desire... making it amongst the most powerful possessed opponents that one can face. Many possess spells, but most are armed and armored and prefer the use of their martial talents. They are weak against physical attacks but regenerate quickly, and commonly use telekinesis to pull opponents into melee range should they try to flee. Revenants also have the ability to strike multiple opponents surrounding them. Stay at range if possible and strike quickly—that is the only way to take such a creature down.
"It has often been suggested that the only way for a demon to affect the world of the living is by possessing a living (or once living) body, but this is not always true. Indeed, a shade is one such creature: a demon in its true form that has adapted to affect the world around it.
My hypothesis is this: we already know that many demons become confused when they pass through the Veil into our world. They are unable to tell the living from the dead, the very static nature of our universe being confusing to a creature that is accustomed to a physicality defined entirely by emotion and memory. Most demons seek to immediately seize upon anything they perceive as life, jealously attempting to possess it—but what of those that do not? What of those that encounter no life, or fail to possess a body? What of those that are more cautious by their nature?
These demons watch. They lurk. They envy.
In time, such a demon will learn to drain energy from the psyche of those it encounters, just as it did in the Fade. Once it has drained enough, it has the power to manifest and will forever after be known as a shade. Such a creature spurns possession. It instead floats as a shadow across its piece of land, preying upon the psyche of any who cross its path. Perhaps it believes itself still in the Fade? There is evidence to believe that is so.
A shade will weaken the living by its very proximity. If it focuses its will, it can drain a single target very quickly. Some have even been known to assault the minds of a living victim, causing confusion or horror and making the target ripe for the kill. The tragedy of a shade is perhaps that, once it has drained a target whole, its appetite is only heightened rather than slaked."
Dragon Age: Inquisition: Neither the last paragraph nor the source appear in DA:I
Scholars call these tall, lean darkspawn the sharlock, though they are more popularly known as shrieks because of the ear-splitting cries they emit in battle. Many tales exist of soldiers being unnerved by the sounds of approaching shrieks, cloaked in darkness and never seen until the moment they strike.
As horrors of the night, shrieks are renowned for their incredible speed and agility as well as their stealth. They are the assassins of the darkspawn, penetrating the enemy lines and striking their targets using long, jagged blades attached to their forearms to rip their opponent to shreds in seconds. They have been known to employ poison, often drawn from their own blood, and have demonstrated cunning group tactics when attacking in numbers.
- Main article: Codex entry: Skeleton
- See also: Skeletons, Creature: Skeleton, Creature: Fanged Skeleton, Creature: Shambling Skeleton
The demons of the Fade are jealous of the world they sense from across the Veil. They constantly push against the boundaries of the Fade, and when they finally cross over, they attempt to possess the first living creature they see. They are unable, however, to distinguish that which was once living from that which still is... in fact, a corpse provides an even more tempting target to a weaker demon as it has no will with which to resist the possession. The demon cannot rationalize why this is so; it only sees a target and grasps at the opportunity.
A skeleton is exactly that: a corpse animated by a possessing demon. Upon finding itself trapped within a body that cannot sustain it, the demon is driven insane... it seeks to destroy any life that it encounters, attacking without thought to its own welfare.
The exact names given to skeletons of this type vary according to the nature of the demons that possesses it. A "fanged skeleton" is a skeleton possessed by a hunger demon. These skeletons devour whatever life they encounter and often possess the ability to drain life energy and mana from their victims. A "shambling skeleton" is a slower-moving skeleton possessed by a sloth demon, able to bring entropic powers against its opponents, slowing them and even putting them to sleep. More powerful demons have been known to command skeletons, but at that level they are known by other names: revenants and arcane horrors, to name two.
"And I looked at the creature and it had become me. A veritable copy of my form, of my very mind, stared back at me as if from within a mirror. I thought surely that this was a trick, an illusion meant to put me off guard... but as I engaged the thing with my sword it fought me with maneuvers that I recognized. It parried as I parried; it swung as I swung. It spoke to me and said things that only I could know. I... I think this demon of sloth has no form or identity of its own. It is envy as much as sloth, I believe, and mine was not the first shape it stole that day." —An excerpt from a transcribed deposition of Tyrenus, templar-commander of Cumberland, 3:90 Towers.
The most difficult assumption for some who study demons to overcome is the notion that a sloth demon is, in and of itself, slothful. If that were so, it seems highly unlikely that any such demons would cross the Veil into our own world, or once here would fight to possess any creature with a will of its own—and we know both these things to not be the case. Certainly, some demons are lazy and complacent, but who knows? Perhaps these creatures even cultivate such a reputation.
The truth is that demons of sloth are named so because this is the portion of the human psyche that they feed upon. Doubt. Apathy. Entropy. They seek to spread these things. The sloth demon hides in its forms, a master of shapes and disguises, always in the last place you look... and from its hiding place it spreads its influence. A community afflicted by a demon of sloth could soon become a dilapidated pit where injustices are allowed to pass without comment, and none of the residents could be aware that such a change has even taken place. The sloth demon weakens, tires, tears at the edges of consciousness and would much rather render its victim helpless than engage in a true conflict. Such creatures are best faced only with a great deal of will, and only with an eye to piercing their many disguises.
- Main article: Codex entry: Giant Spider
Giant spiders tend to appear in old ruins and other places where the Veil has become thin because of magical disturbances or a great number of deaths. In such places, spirits and demons pass into the world of the living and attempt to take control over living beings, spiders among them. Not all scholars accept this explanation for the presence of these beasts, however. Some claim that the thinning Veil allows magic to "leak" from the Fade, tainting such creatures as these spiders to transform into larger and more potent creatures than they ever would become naturally. While such spiders are known to possess powerful poisons and the ability to fling their webs at opponents in combat, studies of them have been few and the full range of their abilities are unknown.
Corrupted spiders are giant arachnids that originally grew in the depths of the Deep Roads, feeding on numerous species of large bats. When the Deep Roads were lost to the darkspawn, they began to feed on the numerous genlocks and their numbers grew exponentially... as did their size. The darkspawn taint has become a permanent part of their system, passed on to their progeny. This has had the effect of increasing their size abnormally, as well as their aggressiveness. Some corrupted spiders have made their lairs in surface forests, but most remain underground, close to their Blight-tainted meals.
For demons crossing over into our world, mankind is not always the preferred prey. Possessing humans means risking encounters with powerful mages and templars, as well as other complications. Some demons find it far easier to seek out animals or even plants, assuming that these will make as suitable a host as a human. Those that possess trees are known as wild sylvans.
Generally, only demons of rage, the weakest of the demon hierarchy, will become a sylvan. Once they do, they must spend a great deal of time twisting and molding the host in order to make it mobile, and once they have the sylvan is a powerful and deadly opponent. Other, more intelligent, spirits have also been known to become sylvans, and are generally much less violent, but these are rare.
Slow but immensely powerful, wild sylvans prefer to lay in ambush, waiting for a victim to become lost, tired, or trapped before closing in for the kill. They hide among regular trees, nearly undetectable until they begin to move and to reach. When they do "come to life" as some travelers say, they stand tall, roots forming into legs and feet and branches stretching out into lashing arms.
When not presented with a living target, however, it has been noted that sylvans often fall into a form of dormancy, perhaps brought on by the nature of their tree host. While mobile, they normally return to wherever they were rooted once their prey has been killed. For both these reasons, a forest that has sylvans within can become incredibly dangerous to pass through for very long periods of time.
"And Dane he stood his ground,
The fanged beast approached.
He saw the rage within its eyes,
The wolf that once was there.
The sword he raised,
Merciful death be praised,
To the maker went his prayer."
--From the popular telling of Dane and the Werewolf, a legend of Ferelden circa 4:50 Black.
Fereldan lore is full of instances where these creatures have plagued the countryside: wolves possessed by rage demons and transformed into humanoid monsters with incredible speed and strength, able to spread a curse to those they bit that would drive them mad with unthinking fury. When in this enraged state, a human host can likewise become possessed and be transformed into a feral, wolf-like beast. Tales differ on these werewolves of human origin, some claiming that their transformation into a bestial form happens uncontrollably. Some claim the transformation is irreversible. As is often the case with demonic tales, both versions were most likely true at some point.
The ability of normal dogs to detect a werewolf even when it is in a human guise is what first led Fereldans to adopt dogs as indispensable companions in every farmhold. The alliance between humans and regular wolves is the subject of the popular Fereldan folk tale "Dane and the Werewolf."
The actual hero Dane led a crusade to eliminate the werewolf threat during the early Black Age, and while werewolves have never assumed the same prominence since, there have still been reports of individual packs lurking in remote forests. In recent years, some have even been reported to have developed an uncanny willpower and intelligence... though why this is so is still unknown.
"A great deal is made of the most powerful demons, those that create abominations and those that have changed the history of Thedas. It is often forgotten that not all demons are such awe-inspiring beings. Some that break through the cracks in the Veil into our world are known as wisps, a sliver of a thought that once was. A wisp is a demon that has lost its power; either it has existed in our world for too long without finding a true host or it has been destroyed—often, so we've found, by other demons. What remains of its mind clings tightly to the one concept that created it—a hatred of all things living.
While its ability to target a living creature is limited, these wisps often mindlessly attack when encountered in the Fade. In the living world, they often have been known to maliciously lure the living into dangerous areas, being mistaken for lanterns or other civilized light sources. This does, however, seem to be the very limit of their cunning."
--From the journal of former Senior Enchanter Maleus, once of the Circle of Rivain, declared apostate in 9:20 Dragon Age.
"It is rather unfair, the reputation that the wolf possesses in Ferelden. For a people that so clearly adore their hounds, Fereldans simultaneously harbor a distrust of wolves that borders on the unreasonable. Unreasonable, that is if one were not familiar with the ancient legends regarding werewolves. There was a time in Ferelden's past when demons inhabited the bodies of wolves in great numbers, causing the wars against werewolves and spreading great fear and panic. The werewolves were slain, but even today the noble wolf is still looked upon with distrust." --From Legends of Ferelden, by Mother Ailis of Denerim, 9:10 Dragon.
An attack by wolves upon civilized folk happens rarely, often only in times of desperation and even then only when the wolves have the advantage of numbers. This can change during a Blight. When darkspawn rise onto the surface their presence dramatically alters the savage nature of normal beasts.
In Blights past, as the corruption of the darkspawn spread through the wilder areas of Thedas, it would infect the animals found there... and the more powerful of them would survive and be transformed into a more vicious and dangerous beast. A blight wolf is one such example, mad with the pain of its infection, and only through the overriding command of the darkspawn does it still retain some semblance of its pack instincts. Blight wolves are always found in large groups and will tend to overwhelm a single target if they can, using their numbers to their advantage. It is fortunate that these creatures rarely survive their corruption for very long.
Mabari hounds are descended from pack hunters, and like their ancestors, they are highly influenced by a defined order of dominance. The primary method of determining that order is by claiming territory through scent-marking major landmarks. Once established, the dominant mabari gains a substantial increase in confidence and stature within his territory, a trait that indirectly benefits master as well as hound.
Dog gets a +2 to Strength, Willpower, and Constitution attributes when in an area where Mabari Dominance is active.