Gamlen is of the Amell family, who are nobility in Kirkwall. The Amells have an estate in Hightown. Gamlen inherited the Amell estate after his elder sister Leandra eloped with a Fereldan apostate named Malcolm Hawke. Though Gamlen spent the remainder of his parents' lives looking after them, he felt it was apparent he could never measure up to Leandra in the eyes of his parents.
Gamlen is a member of the Amell family, relatives of the Hawkes, to whom they turn when they flee Lothering and travel to Kirkwall. However, he has gambled away the family fortune, and lost the estate to slavers. He now lives in Lowtown. When Hawke arrives to Kirkwall, the City Guard is preventing passage to all Fereldan refugees. In order to get his family in, he commits Hawke and his/her sibling to working with either a mercenary or smuggling group for a year.
When Hawke breaks into the Amell family estate and brings back his/her grandfather's will, it is revealed that Leandra and her children were to inherit the estate, while Gamlen was to live on a stipend, controlled only by his sister.
Three years had passed and Gamlen was left in his hovel, while Leandra and her eldest child reclaimed the Amell estate, although Leandra still visited him regularly. In "All That Remains", Gamlen becomes concerned with Leandra's mysterious absence. Hawke's later investigation reveals that Leandra was kidnapped by a blood mage serial killer taking women who resembled his deceased wife; Hawke can optionally inform Gamlen of this. Gamlen blamed his nephew/niece for not rescuing Leandra in time.
Another three years passed after Gamlen's nephew/niece had become Champion of Kirkwall. Gamlen himself remarks that he thought that the Amell line would die with him and is glad that Hawke pulled it out of the grave.In the quest, "Gamlen's Greatest Treasure", Hawke discovers a note referencing the Gem of Keroshek, which Gamlen had wasted his life and family fortune looking for. It turns out that his daughter, Charade, had found it and arranged an entire affair of clues to see how far Gamlen would go to get it. Hawke can either suggest that she meet Gamlen or take the gem from her.
- (In the Blooming Rose) I won't mention this to your mother if you don't.
- (In the Blooming Rose) I'm just here for the medicinal benefits.
- (In Gamlen's House) So, you're moving up in the world. Got some coin to share with your favorite uncle?
- (In Gamlen's House) Single-handedly saved the city from the heathens, huh? The viscount should have paid me a finder's fee.
- (In Gamlen's House) So, you're into elves, huh? I guess I don't have to ask which one of you's the girl. (to a male Hawke if Fenris is romanced)
- (In Gamlen's House) So, you're into elves, huh? It takes all kinds. (to a female Hawke if Fenris is romanced)
- (In Gamlen's House) So, I've heard you let that apostate live at your place. I guess I don't have to ask which one of you's the girl. (to a male Hawke if Anders is romanced)
- (In Gamlen's House) I hear you moved that apostate boy into your house. You really are your mother's daughter. (to a female Hawke if Anders is romanced)
- (In Gamlen's House) So, I hear that you've been slipping it to that pirate slut from the Hanged Man. What's that like? Two women? I've always wondered... (to a female Hawke if Isabela is romanced)
- (In Gamlen's House) So, I hear that you've been slipping it to that pirate slut from the Hanged Man. The bitch turned me down flat. (to a male Hawke if Isabela is romanced)
- Gamlen tries to justify his misappropriation of the family estate by recounting his parent's blind favouritism of Leandra.
- When Hawke and his/her mother reclaims the family estate, Uncle Gamlen appears to be excluded from living there; aside from visits to the family estate, he remains in his Lowtown residence. He can also be reliably found at the city Brothel by nightfall.
- At the start of Act III, Gamlen is uncharacteristically sentimental when he observes that Hawke and himself are the only family they have left, after the departure of Hawke's siblings and the death of Hawke's mother.
- Like the Hawke twins and Leandra, Gamlen can have an alternate appearance depending on the face preset the player chooses during the character creation.