- See also: Creature: Broodmother
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.