- 1 Dragon Age II
- 2 Legacy
- 3 Mark of the Assassin
Dragon Age II[edit | edit source]
- 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
- 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: 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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
- Main article: Codex entry: The Profane
We who are forgotten, remember,
We clawed at rock until our fingers bled,
We cried out for justice, but were unheard.
Our children wept in hunger,
And so we feasted upon the gods.
Here we wait, in aeons of silence.
We few, we profane.
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
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.
- Main article: Codex entry: Rock Wraith
Twenty years in the Legion of the Dead. I've seen spiders larger than a bronto, broodmothers lounging in putrescence surrounded by their corrupted children, and unnamed things with flesh turned against itself. But worse, by far, was in an old mine shaft down from Heidrun Thaig.
We chased an emissary down there to a tunnel dead-ended in rubble. It was a vicious fight. He picked my men off until only four of us were left. When it seemed like we'd finally fulfill our oaths, our fight woke something long dormant.
What I thought was rubble gathered beneath my feet, taking a terrible form: a beast of stone surrounding the shattered skeleton of a man. A rock wraith. The spirit of a dwarf so foul the Stone itself rejected him. One swing of its boulder-hand crushed the emissary, and then it turned its eyeless skull toward us. We fled back up the tunnel, its heavy footsteps thundering at our backs.
When we reached the thaig, we finally turned, knowing that out in the open, we had no cover and couldn't hope to outrun the wraith. But when it came to the exit, it struck the trusses holding up the ceiling of the shaft, closing itself in forever. Perhaps, in the end, it felt remorse. Perhaps it was one lost soul recognizing another.
—From the journals of Amrun, Legion of the Dead
"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
- 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.
Then a high dragon settled in the mountains, and her hunger threatened the city. The elders cried out to Dirthamen for protection as the dragon's rampages struck ever closer, and for three days and nights, the people shut themselves in their homes and watched the skies in dread.
On the fourth day, Dirthamen heard them. He whispered into the mountains and the fallen trees of the forest gathered, shaping an immense and agile spider-like beast. It was the varterral. With lightning speed, vicious strikes, and venomous spit, it drove back the serpent. From then on, it was the guardian of the city and its people.
Many years passed. The gods were trapped by Fen'Harel and the people left to gather in Arlathan, but the varterral kept its everlasting vigil, guarding Dirthamen's city as it eventually crumbled to dust. To this day it stands there, watching over the rubble. Any travelers foolish enough to wander there find themselves face to face with wrath incarnate.
Legacy[edit | edit source]
The creatures are useful underground in wide tunnels, but not so sure-footed on the mountain passes. And bringing them to the surface in daylight is always a catastrophe waiting to happen. They're spooked by every sign of movement, and once riled up, they'll charge just about anything in sight.
Bah. Must investigate the possibility of using a more even-tempered beast. Donkeys, perhaps? The humans swear by them.
One of the few natural, non-darkspawn creatures to live in the Deep Roads, the deepstalker is a reptilian cave-dweller known for burrowing into the stone paths of the Deep Roads and ambushing prey, usually nugs. They hunt in packs, attacking with round mouths full of serrated teeth or spitting poison from venom glands. Although a single deepstalker poses little threat to any experienced explorer, packs can be quite lethal.
—From Tales from Beneath the Earth by Brother Genitivi
The genlock is the most common darkspawn in the underground. They are tough, stocky, and notoriously difficult to kill, since many show at least some resistance to magic. They are creatures of darkness, with keen senses and an intuitive understanding of the deep places that allow them to take even groups of seasoned warriors by surprise. Genlocks are what make traversing the Deep Roads so dangerous—a group of the creatures can easily overwhelm and mercilessly slaughter a small party within minutes.
Genlock alphas are stronger and more physically intimidating than most genlocks. They are known for bullying other genlocks into doing their bidding.
- Main article: Codex entry: Hurlock Alpha
The hurlock alpha is more intelligent than the alphas of other darkspawn types. Usually armed with a large, vicious weapon, they have been known to act as commanders on the battlefield, directing and controlling the lesser darkspawn in their strange, brutish way.
Mark of the Assassin[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Codex entry: Ghast
The ghast is a small, vicious creature that dwells in mountain caves. One is little more than a nuisance and will flee if threatened. A pack of five or more, however, is much bolder and can easily overwhelm a bear.
Although ghasts are cunning and able to cooperate for survival, they show no signs of true intelligence. They are unable to speak, communicating only through grunts and squeals.
Occasionally, a pack of ghasts will include the strange creature known as the velghastrial. Unlike the common ghast, the velghastrial can wield magic. Some assume that they first learned by lurking around and watching other mages. Others believe that ghasts, like animals, are sensitive to the unseen forces that shape our world and that the velghastrial is able to utilize magic purely through instinct. It is unknown if velghastrials risk possession when casting spells, as other humanoid mages do.
The wyvern—like its relative the dragon—has nearly been hunted to extinction. Wealthy Orlesians are particularly fond of the wyvern chase, although their servants and dogs take the risks while the nobleman merely accept the praise.
It is the venom that makes the creature so valuable. It's used in potion-making, alchemy, and the production of a rare and potent liquor called aquae lucidius. The minuscule quantity of the venom remaining in the aquae after distillation leads to a unique hallucinatory effect.
Testimonies from a few of those fortunate enough to sample the costly concoction:
"I feel confused but happy!"
"It was as though my soul took wing and floated about my head."
"I had a vision of my great-grandmother and found it oddly arousing."
"I can see through time!"