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“Men and women from every race, warriors and mages, barbarians and kings... the Grey Wardens sacrificed everything to stem the tide of darkness...and prevailed.”


Duncan was the Warden-Commander of the Fereldan Grey Wardens from sometime after 9:10 Dragon[note] until 9:30 Dragon. When Urthemiel rose and the Fifth Blight began, he recruited and mentored the Warden and Alistair shortly before the battle at Ostagar. He was among the first Wardens allowed to return to Ferelden after the actions of Sophia Dryden resulted in the order being exiled from the country. Subsequently, he faced suspicion and hostility in his search for new recruits.

Background[]

Duncan was born in Highever but spent his childhood between Orlais and the Free Marches. His mother Tayana was from Rivain while his father Arryn was a Fereldan carpenter with Tevinter origins. After the death of his parents he was forced to become a thief to survive on the streets of Val Royeaux.[2]


This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: The Calling.


The calling wallpaper full

Cover art of Dragon Age: The Calling featuring Duncan.

Growing up in Val Royeaux, Duncan witnessed a lot of death and disappearances. At one point, Duncan befriended a young female pickpocket who was attracted to him. One day she was struck by a nobleman's carriage begging for help but was ignored. Eventually she crawled into a nearby alleyway where she died from blood loss.

Duncan was known to seek out several quick dalliances at flophouses, encounters that ended quickly after the deed was done.

Barely more than a boy, Duncan broke into an inn room to rob it, and was confronted by his victim while attempting to steal a ring. The man refused to give in, even with a knife to his throat, and they fought; in the struggle, Duncan unintentionally fatally wounded his victim. As the man lay dying, he thanked Duncan, to his shock and horror.

The chevaliers informed Duncan as he was arrested that the victim was a Grey Warden. When Commander Genevieve offered him a place among the Grey Wardens the night before his execution, he refused, thinking that a Grey Wardens' life must be horrible indeed to thank the one who murdered him. However, Genevieve showed up the next day during his execution and used the Right of Conscription in order to forcefully recruit him into the order. He was not entirely wrong at first; his fellow Wardens despised him, and in the months that followed, an unhappy Duncan attempted to run away several times, and continued to steal when the opportunity arose, a habit that saved his life in Kinloch Hold some months later.

Eventually, the other Wardens began to accept him and revealed the truth to Duncan. His victim, Guy, had been betrothed to Genevieve, and the prize he refused to give up was intended to be her wedding ring. Duncan stopped running away and his unwavering loyalty to Genevieve in the last year of her life appeared, at least in part, to be have been born of guilt.

Six months after his induction into the order, Duncan was a member of the Grey Warden attachment led by Genevieve from Orlais on a mission to find the missing Warden Bregan, Genevieve's brother and the previous Warden-Commander of Orlais.

Genevieve charges him with a grim duty: protect their guide in the Deep Roads, King Maric Theirin, or, should the king learn information detrimental to the Order, kill him. As Commander Genevieve put it, "the Grey Wardens protect all of Thedas, not simply one small nation." Instead Duncan befriended Maric, and his actions were instrumental to Maric's survival.

They then travelled to the Circle Tower, seeking the promised assistance from First Enchanter Remille. On their first night travelling towards Kinloch Hold, they stayed at an inn where Duncan was forced to sleep on the floor next to the King's cot, spending the night shivering and uncomfortable due to the Fereldan weather.

After a brief stop at a farmhold due to King Maric's orders, the party was ordered by Genevieve to double time their efforts to reach the Hold. During the exhausting ride, Duncan would often complain.

While at the Circle Tower, Duncan snuck around and stole a ring of keys from a member of the Tranquil. He quietly made his way through the upper levels of the Towers before unlocking a room which turned out to be the room of the First Enchanter himself.

There he discovered a red lacquered box which, upon unlocking, he found to contain an unusual-looking dagger that seemed to be made of Obsidian. Taking the blade with him, he became alarmed when he saw a mage named Vivian appear soon after he exited the First Enchanter's room. According to her, she had taken his earlier wave to her as a sexual invitation. Duncan then jumped on the opportunity, welcoming her kiss and allowing her to bring him to her quarters.

After spending some time getting intimate with Vivian, Genevieve eventually caught him and brought him back to the rest of the Wardens.

During their mission to ascertain the fate of Bregan, Genevieve's brother who had left on his calling, Duncan, Maric and the other Grey Wardens were confronted by a demon and trapped in the Fade. While attempting to rescue Genevieve from her dream in the Fade, Duncan was confronted with the happy life she had wanted to lead had her fiancé lived. When Duncan tried to convince her to leave, she directed the full brunt of her grief and fury over the boy's part in Guy's death at him. She bitterly told Duncan she thought the fact he survived his Joining was a cruel joke played on her by the Maker. She had wished him dead, and so had forced him into the Joining in the hope he would die after getting a taste of what the Wardens went through to protect scum like him, only to be stuck with him. Duncan was stricken at first until he surmised that if she had truly wanted him gone, she could have left him to his execution, or transferred him to another outpost in the order. He confronted her with the truth, and reluctantly Genevieve left with him, escaping the Fade.

After they are captured and Genevieve and Utha join Bregan to side with the Architect, Duncan frees Maric and Fiona and together they flee from Kul-Baras while Kell ap Morgan along with Hafter stay behind to help their escape. Eventually they reach the surface but are captured by First Enchanter Remille and being brought to Kinloch Hold. When the rogue Wardens and the Architect turn against each other, Duncan takes the opportunity to kill Remille using the ebony-black dagger he had stolen from him earlier, while Loghain Mac Tir liberates the tower.

Later, Duncan is named as second in command of the Ferelden Grey Wardens, serving under Warden-Commander Polara and swears to watch over Fiona and Maric's son.


At some point shortly after joining the Grey Wardens, Duncan and a mentor supposedly came across a group of Templars hunting down an apostate male mage. The mage then used blood magic to turn some of the Templars against each other. The mage would have gotten away had one of the remaining Templars not snuck behind the mage and cleaved his head off.[3]

Involvement[]

Duncan has risen to the rank of Warden-Commander in 9:10 Dragon[note] after his predecessor, Commander Polara, mysteriously disappeared one day.[4] In the following years, Duncan was given the almost impossible task of leading the Wardens in Ferelden—a kingdom that had thrown the order out two hundred years earlier. Facing local suspicion and hostility, he set about finding recruits.

Duncan appears in every Origin story, searching for a recruit to join the Grey Wardens to aid against the growing threat of the Fifth Blight. He will recruit the Warden either voluntarily or through conscription, and is usually available to answer questions about the Grey Wardens and the darkspawn horde massing in the Korcari Wilds during the origin story.


This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Origins.


  • Human Noble Origin: Duncan arrives at the Cousland's castle looking for a potential recruit. The one petitioned for this was Ser Gilmore, but it is later revealed that the Human Noble Warden was always Duncan's first choice. When Arl Rendon Howe's soldiers unexpectedly attacked the castle and were massacring the Cousland family, Duncan rescues the Human Noble Warden from Arl Howe's coup on the condition that they take Ser Gilmore's place and become a Grey Warden.
  • Mage Origin: Duncan arrives at the Circle Tower to recruit additional mages for King Cailan's army, and is introduced to the Magi Warden by First Enchanter Irving. After Jowan escapes using blood magic, Duncan reveals that he was also searching for Warden recruits and forces Knight-Commander Greagoir to release them into his custody.
  • City Elf Origin: Duncan arrives in the Elven Alienage in hopes of recruiting the son/daughter of Adaia. When Vaughan Kendells kidnaps the women from the wedding ceremony, he indirectly aids Soris and a male Warden/Nelaros by supplying a sword. After the City Elf Warden is arrested for killing Vaughan (but if they didn't, they are then arrested for robbing him), Duncan steps in and invokes the Right of Conscription to save them from imprisonment/execution.
  • Dalish Elf Origin: After Tamlen and the Dalish Elf Warden come into contact with the mirror which Duncan believes to be Tevinter in origin, Duncan rescues an unconscious Warden and brings them to the Dalish camp. He returns to the ruins to investigate the darkspawn taint, and explains to the Dalish Elf Warden and Merrill that Tamlen is most likely dead by now and the Warden has been corrupted by the mirror. After destroying the artifact, he discusses the affliction with Marethari and explains that only the Joining ritual can save the Dalish Elf Warden from succumbing to the taint.
  • Dwarf Noble Origin: Duncan and his Grey Wardens arrives in Orzammar as guests attending King Endrin Aeducan's feast that is being held to celebrate the Dwarf Noble Warden's promotion to an Orzammar commander. While the Dwarf Noble Warden is leading a secret mission to recover the Aeducan Family Shield (which will bring prestige to the Dwarf Noble and House Aeducan), King Endrin Aeducan's forces and Duncan's Grey Wardens will strike at the darkspawn to clear some of their most important mines. Clearing the caverns of darkspawn will help facilitate the Dwarf Noble Warden's mission and the Grey Wardens benefit by striking far into the Deep Roads. In truth, Duncan's ulterior motive is to investigate if the darkspawn's recent withdrawal from the Deep Roads is evidence of a Blight. Eventually, the expedition ends with the Dwarf Noble Warden being implicated or framed for the murder of their older brother, Trian Aeducan. Later, when the Warden is exiled, they find Duncan in the Deep Roads whereupon they are recruited and saved from death in the darkspawn filled tunnels. Unlike the other origins, he can be seen with two other Grey Wardens.
  • Dwarf Commoner Origin: Duncan arrives in Orzammar to witness a Proving. There he watches the Dwarf Commoner Warden win the Proving under the disguise of being another fighter. When the Warden escapes from prison, Duncan intervenes and recruits the Warden before the authorities can execute them.
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After Duncan recruits the Warden, the two travel to the ruins of Ostagar to take part in the upcoming battle with the King's army against the darkspawn. Duncan explains to the Warden that Ostagar is an ideal place to fend off the darkspawn and he is certain it is where the bulk of the darkspawn horde will show itself. Although the Fereldan Grey Wardens are few in number, all of them have gathered in Ostagar to face the Blight. Duncan believes the Blight must be stopped at Ostagar and warns that if it spreads to the north, then Ferelden will fall.

After receiving a friendly welcome from King Cailan himself, Duncan introduces his newest recruit to the king. King Cailan has been emboldened by past victories against the darkspawn and even starts to doubt that they face a true Blight since an archdemon has yet to show itself. Duncan attempts to temper Cailan's grand ambitions with realistic expectations, while also subtly encouraging Cailan's enthusiasm. Duncan also gives to Cailan a message that his uncle, Eamon Guerrin, wished him to deliver, telling the King that the arl's forces could reach Ostagar in only a week's time, if Cailan desired their support for the battle. Cailan appears cavalier and dismisses Eamon's help as unnecessary and glory-seeking; he seems confident that future battles against the darkspawn will result in victory regardless.

Once Cailan departs to strategize with Teyrn Loghain Mac Tir, Duncan tells the Warden that he is concerned about the growing numbers of the darkspawn horde. Duncan believes the horde has likely outnumbered them and he is convinced that an archdemon is behind the massing of the darkspawn force. However, he admits he cannot ask the king to act on his intuition alone, even as Warden-Commander.

Duncan would prefer that King Cailan wait for reinforcements, especially the Grey Warden reinforcements from Orlais. The Orlesian Grey Warden reinforcements are currently en route, though it would take days for them to reach Ostagar. Some, Teyrn Loghain included, believe King Cailan has an unusual fixation on the Grey Wardens and their legendary reputation. Even Duncan admits that Cailan believes fighting with the few Fereldan Grey Wardens makes Cailan feel invulnerable. Since the Grey Wardens present are still so few, Duncan advises that they do what they can, and rely upon Teyrn Loghain's leadership to make up the difference until reinforcements arrive. To that end, he advises the main character that they should proceed with the Joining ritual without delay.

Duncan instructs the Warden to seek out Alistair and the two other recruits to prepare for the Joining ritual. He tasks Alistair and the recruits with heading into the Korcari Wilds to obtain three vials of darkspawn blood for the ritual, as well as recovering old treaty scrolls from a Grey Warden cache in the wilds, where they have been left under magical protection. During this time, you can steal from him various items including runes, Greater Nature Salve and poultices (provided you are a very skilled rogue for this stage of the game). If you steal from too many people in Ostagar, you may also get to hear a soldier with some degree of seniority complain to Duncan about this, especially if you have attempted to steal from Duncan himself and failed, though he will make excuses to the soldier on your behalf, perhaps as a result of his own past.

Thejoining

Daveth, Jory and Duncan at the Ostagar Joining ceremony.

Shortly before the battle, Duncan oversees the Joining ceremony for the new recruits. Daveth does not survive the ritual, whereupon Ser Jory panics and attempts to flee, whereupon, expressing much regret, Duncan kills him to protect the secret of the Joining. Despite Jory's noted prowess as a warrior, Duncan kills him swiftly, with a single blow, an early indication of the unusual strength and speed conferred upon full Wardens. The Warden is the only recruit to survive the Joining, and is informed that Cailan requested their presence at the upcoming strategy meeting for the coming Battle of Ostagar.

At a war council soon after, King Cailan orders Alistair and the Warden to light the beacon on top of the Tower of Ishal, signaling for Loghain and his army to flank the engaged darkspawn horde. Loghain, however, decides to withdraw his forces after seeing the signal. The royal army and the Grey Wardens, suddenly hopelessly outnumbered, lose the battle and are all but annihilated. King Cailan is crushed to death by an ogre that Duncan slays, falling himself under the next darkspawn blitz. Though Duncan is confirmed to be dead, his actual death is not witnessed, nor is his body found if the Warden returns to Ostagar.

In a discussion later in the game, Alistair reveals that Duncan had recently started to experience the "nightmares"—intense visions of the darkspawn that begin shortly after the Joining and fall away gradually—again, suggesting that the taint was starting to claim him, so that he would not have had much time left, even had he survived the Battle of Ostagar.

Late in the game—during the Landsmeet—the party can find Duncan's Shield in a Grey Warden cache in Denerim. The shield becomes a powerful and equippable piece of armour—one of the best in the game—after the player gives it to Alistair as a gift. In the Return to Ostagar DLC, the party can reclaim Duncan's Sword and Duncan's Dagger from the ruins of Ostagar as well as Cailan's armour.


Quests[]

City Elf Origin City Elf Origin (conditional)
Dalish Elf Origin Dalish Elf Origin (conditional)
Dwarf Commoner Origin Dwarf Commoner Origin (conditional)
Dwarf Noble Origin Dwarf Noble Origin (conditional)
Human Noble Origin Human Noble Origin (conditional)
Magi Origin Magi Origin (conditional)
Joining the Grey Wardens Joining the Grey Wardens
Tainted Blood Tainted Blood
The Grey Wardens' Cache The Grey Wardens' Cache
After the Joining After the Joining
The Tower of Ishal The Tower of Ishal

Quotes[]

Duncan green ronin

Duncan as depicted in Green Ronin's Dragon Age Player's Guide, set 2.

Dragon Age: Origins[]

  • (to a City Elf Warden) "Surely it has not escaped your notice that I am both armed and armored. Any fight between us would be rather one-sided."
  • "I sometimes wonder if the Chantry's many laws regarding magic are even necessary. Darkspawn are a greater threat than blood mages, even abominations. It takes decades for the world to recover from a Blight."
  • "Be careful what you wish for. Power is treacherous. I have seen many people--great leaders--consumed by it."
  • "From here, you two are on your own. Remember, you are both Grey Wardens. I expect you to be worthy of that title."
  • (to a Dwarf Commoner Warden) "The Wardens are always looking for those who have the courage to spend their lives in battle against the darkspawn. It's rare we find those with both the skill and the will. The best Wardens are ruthless to their enemies, compassionate to their friends, and inspiring to their troops."

The Calling[]

  • Duncan: "You're talking to the wrong Grey Warden. All I know is that they spent all their time searching for the Old Gods."
  • King Maric: "That's it? Nothing else? They must be boring at parties."
  • Duncan: "That's pretty much it. They don't think, exactly."

Codex entries[]

Codex entry: Duncan Codex entry: Duncan
Codex entry: Fiona Codex entry: Fiona

Notes[]

  • Duncan's class is not consistently portrayed throughout the series as he is sometimes depicted as a Warrior instead of a Rogue:
    • In Dragon Age: Origins, during the sequence of the Warden's dream in the Fade, Duncan appears as a warrior who uses a sword and shield fighting style (which would explain the presence of his shield in the Grey Warden Vault in Denerim).
    • There are also several inconsistencies in regards to Duncan's class due to multiple game files listing him as a weapon and shield warrior, while he is always encountered with a sword and a dagger sheathed on his back. In Dragon Age: Origins, however, warriors have access to the two-weapon fighting style skill tree, as well as rogues.
    • Duncan is represented as a warrior in the Dragon Age tabletop RPG. The IIRC also lists Duncan as a warrior.
    • In Dragon Age: The Calling he is known as a "dark-skinned rogue" carrying "twin silverite daggers."
    • All versions of Duncan in Heroes of Dragon Age, including Warden-Commander Duncan, are marked as "Ferelden, Humans, Rogues, Wardens."
  • Codex entry: Duncan states that his father was from Tevinter and his mother from the Anderfels, while Dragon Age: The Calling describes him as half-Fereldan, half-Rivaini. David Gaider confirmed that the latter version is the correct one.[5]
  • Codex entry: Fiona's statement that Duncan was made Warden-Commander in 9:10 Dragon is inconsistent with the timeline presented in Dragon Age: The Calling.

Trivia[]

Duncan-2-
  • In BioWare's character file for him, his appearance is described as: "Bearded, muscular, hair graying at the temples. Has a noble bearing."[6]
  • Duncan is the first shared similarity between all of the origins.
  • Duncan makes a small cameo in Dragon Age: Inquisition in the form of the nightmare difficulty tarot card before character creation. [1]
  • Duncan's set of armor is unique—he is the only character using such an armor model.
  • If a male Dwarf Noble completes the Of Noble Birth quest, he has the opportunity to name his son Duncan.
  • Though Duncan is confirmed to be dead, his body is never found at Ostagar, though his weapons will be found impaled in the ogre he had slain before falling at the hands of the darkspawn.
  • Duncan will have new dialogue options if you try to pickpocket him and fail.
  • In the cutscene where Duncan kills the ogre he uses two Crow Daggers instead of Duncan's Sword and Duncan's Dagger.
  • It's possible to steal a master or grandmaster hale, silverite or cold iron rune or clear grade small or large crystal from him at Ostagar, twice, one before going to the Korcari Wilds and one after.
  • Despite wielding two weapons in The Calling, a shield belonging to Duncan can be found in the Grey Warden Vault located in Denerim. It is unknown if he actually used the shield in battle or not.
  • The general similarity between aspects of Duncan's armor and that of Isabela appears to be indicative of a Rivaini style of armor.[7]
  • His personal background as given in the toolset states that he is the bastard son of a noble family that does not recognize him, and that this is the reason he took pity on Alistair.
  • Riordan reveals he joined the Grey Wardens around the same time as Duncan, participating in the same Joining together and both surviving it. Riordan described Duncan as tough, grizzled, and burdened by the ugly choices Grey Wardens must make. Even so, Riordan says Duncan permitted himself to have a soft spot for his recruits.

Gallery[]

References[]

  1. Dragon Age: The Calling, p. 272. Duncan's mother is pregnant in Duncan's dream.
  2. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, p. 77
  3. Mentioned during conversation with Duncan during the Mage origin section after escorting him back to his quarters.
  4. Codex entry: Fiona
  5. BSN David Gaider (8 February, 2010). "Discrepancy between 'The Calling' versions" . BioWare Social Network Forums. (offline).
  6. Dragon Age: Origins Resource File: duncan.chr
  7. Twitter icon Mike Laidlaw . Twitter.

External links[]

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