“We're looking at fire and death for this empire....I went against Celene because I thought I was the one to guide Orlais through it...”
Grand Duke Gaspard de Chalons (born 8:74 Blessed) is an Orlesian nobleman from House Chalons and the ruler of Verchiel. A renowned Chevalier, he has won many victories for Orlais. Gaspard was trained in the arts of The Grand Game by Dowager Lady Mantillon, like his cousin Empress Celene, but Gaspard retains his chevalier code of honor when dealing with opponents.
Gaspard began his training at the Academie des Chevaliers at the age of thirteen, and became a full-fledged chevalier when he turned nineteen. As the eldest surviving grandchild of Emperor Judicael I, Gaspard was raised from birth believing he would become Emperor as he was the eldest and the intended heir. However, when Emperor Florian died, Celene outmaneuvered her cousin and had herself crowned Empress instead by appealing to the Council of Heralds.
Gaspard de Chalons eventually married the daughter of Duke Bastien de Ghislain, Lady Calienne de Ghislain. After the death of Emperor Florian she orchestrated the death of Celene's mother, Clarisse de Montfort, by arranging for "a hunting accident." Celene's father, Grand Duke Reynaud, killed Calienne in retaliation, and then died himself of "illness" caused by Calienne's poisoned stiletto.
Gaspard is one of the highest ranking Orlesian nobles to ever become a Chevalier and has earned a reputation as a man well loved by his subordinates for his even-handed and respectful treatment of all those who served with him, even while he showed his open disdain for the Grand Game. Though at first some whispered that Gaspard's rank had obtained him the chevalier's feather, he quickly proved them wrong during his first Grand Tourney, defeating several veteran chevaliers and placing well in both the joust and the horse race. He would likely have won the Grand Melee as well if he had not forfeited the match rather than risk injuring the young Marquis of Montsimmard with his jagged broken sword. He noted that the chevalier's code prohibited an honorable combat with unmatched weapons.
Upon Celene's ascension to the throne, Nevarra invaded Orlais, seizing the town of Larécolte in the fields of Ghislain. Gaspard was placed in charge of Orlais' response by Celene with the proviso that he was to abandon the campaign if he lost more than a thousand Orlesian lives. Some saw this as indicative of Celene's pragmatism while others argued Celene was trying to set her cousin up to fail at the cost of ignoring a Nevarran invasion. Gaspard's tactical prowess allowed him to drive the Nevarrans back to Larécolte, with far fewer than a thousand casualties. The Nevarrans fortified the town, daring the Orlesian Imperial Army to attack. Knowing it would be a long and bloody battle if they were to assault the town directly, Gaspard rode out alone to challenge the Nevarran commander. Gaspard baited the Nevarran commander, famed as a tournament fighter, into single combat, with Larécolte going to the winner. When the commander balked at the proposition, Gaspard famously threw his shield to the ground and called out, "If you are that fearful, then I shall fight without a shield, as it seems I will not need it." The Nevarran commander agreed, and Gaspard remained true to his word, forgoing his shield and instead fighting with a massive maul— a weapon a tournament fighter was likely to be unfamiliar with in combat. In less than a minute, Gaspard had broken the commander's arm and was accepting the Nevarran surrender. 
After doubting that Celene’s diplomatic approach to the mage problem or the elven uprisings has any chance in keeping Orlais safe, Gaspard becomes disillusioned with his cousin's rule and believes it is time for a new leader to make Orlais strong again.
Dragon Age: The Masked Empire
At a ball hosted by Empress Celene, Gaspard attempts to goad Teagan, the Ferelden Ambassador, into a duel by insulting Queen Moira's memory; but Celene manages to outwit him by offering her own champion, Ser Michel de Chevin, in the duel. The challenged party has the choice of weapon, and Ser Michel, at Celene's behest, chooses a feather (more specifically the feather of the chevaliers). Celene believes that the situation has been resolved, but using the chevalier's symbol in this way leads some nobles to turn against her, most notably Duke Remache of Lydes. Gaspard already has another plot planned for the next day, when the nobles and Celene will go on a hunting trip, but first he needs to lure Ser Michel away from the empress. To do so he uses his bard Melcendre, who manages to lure him away by revealing that he knows his secret - that Michel isn't a noble at all, but actually a half-elven commoner who was taken in by the Comte Brevin de Chalons, who noticed his innate skill and had his papers forged to allow him to enter the Academie and become a chevalier.
During the hunt, Gaspard and Celene find themselves isolated. Gaspard asks her to marry him, as he believes this would be the easiest solution. When she refuses, he draws his weapon on her, and Celene takes out her own daggers and manages to slash his arm. The rest of the nobles rejoin them before either of them are seriously hurt. Gaspard returns to Val Royeaux to rendezvous with Melcendre, only to find the warehouse she was using to hold Michel burned down with her inside it. Upon learning from the warehouse owner that Michel was rescued by Celene's handmaid and a Dalish elf, Gaspard resolves to find a way to use this new information to his advantage.
Meanwhile, Gaspard attempts to conscript Archmage Wynne, a hero of the recent Fifth Blight and former companion of the Hero of Ferelden. While Wynne travels through the Dales and eastern Orlais on her way to the White Spire, Gaspard sends troops to collect her at Jader. However, Wynne refuses him and escapes his custody and reaches Val Royeaux.
Gaspard and his ally Duke Remache commission a play at the Grande Royeaux Theater in which Andraste ignores the war against Tevinter after taking the elf Shartan as her lover (played by a woman), thus forcing Maferath to betray her for the good of the kingdom. The play is a clear reference to the present situation in Orlais, with Celene as Andraste, Briala as Shartan, and Gaspard as Maferath. With the people already whispering that Celene is too lenient with the elves, and the Divine only offering her support once the matter with the elves has been resolved, Celene decides to march on Halamshiral to crush the elven rebellion. Just as the "battle" with the elves finish, Gaspard ambushes and routs Celene's exhausted troops, and only narrowly misses killing Celene herself. With her force completely destroyed, Celene and Ser Michel flee the city and try to make their way to Jader to get the help of her loyal ally, Lady Seryl. But the way is blocked by Gaspard's scouts and they resolve to head for Val Royeaux instead.
With Celene missing, Gaspard questions Briala, who was captured before the battle on order of Celene, to attempt to find out the Empress's destination. Inadvertently, he discovers that the rumour he started, regarding Briala and Celene being lovers, is in fact true.
Gaspard moves on to question Comte Pierre, lord of Halamshiral; Remache suggests torturing him, but Gaspard refuses. By threatening to burn down the city, Gaspard persuades Pierre to confess that Celene would likely be heading towards Jader and her ally Lady Seryl. He then summons Lienne de Montsimmard, an Apostate noble Mage, to heal Pierre's wounds. Remache advises him to return to Val Royeaux and claim the throne, but the Grand Duke rebuffs him, stating that without either a surrender or her corpse, Celene's allies would challenge his claim and insist that the Empress was still alive while his own allies would be demanding favours from him in return for their services.
Gaspard follows Celene's trail to the forest with his forces, along with Duke Remache and Lienne. Once they reach the Dalish clan's campsite, they encounter Mihris, the only Dalish elf to have been spared by Imshael, who offers to lead them to Celene through the eluvians. When asked why she alone was spared, she answers that the demon was interested by Ser Michel's decision to spare her life.
Meanwhile, Briala, Celene, Michel, and Felassan make their way through the eluvians. The humans, even Michel who is Elf-blooded, feel extremely uncomfortable while using the Eluvian passageways where everything feels slightly off. After being attacked by corpses in an underground elven tomb linked to the Eluvian, they are also attacked by Gaspard's entourage. After a battle with two Revenants and an Arcane Horror leaves all parties severely weakened, they form an uneasy truce until they can reach the main chamber where the eluvians can be activated. As they reach the main chamber they are attacked by a Varterral. Duke Remache breaks the truce by attacking Celene while they are fighting the Varterral, and Gaspard promptly kills him for his dishonourable conduct.
Celene and Gaspard agree to duel over the Empire and control of the Eluvians, with Ser Michel as her champion. The duel initially goes badly for Ser Michel, because Lienne de Montsimmard and Mihris, who allowed herself to be possessed by Imshael, are secretly hexing him. Once Briala kills Lienne and reveals Imshael's presence, Michel is able to gain the upper hand in the duel. However, just as he is about to kill Gaspard, Briala calls in her favour and tells Michel to yield, which he does, effectively losing Celene her Empire and his position as her champion; he also admits to being elf-blooded. Briala had deduced that Celene was responsible for the death of her parents while she was conspiring with Lady Mantillon to usurp Emperor Florian. Celene tries to defend her actions, claiming that Gaspard would've had her killed if she did not do it; Gaspard retorts that he would've instead married her off to a Fereldan noble to remove her. Celene then declared that Gaspard had already forfeited the duel when he allowed the mages to interfere. The Grand Duke defended that he didn't sanction their interference, so therefore on his honor as a chevalier, he committed no such treachery. The stalemate ends when Briala claims the eluvians for her people and uses them to send the humans on their way.Gaspard and Michel reappear outside of Val Chevin. Michel asks if Gaspard would report him to the Academie, knowing full well they would strip his name from the rolls and execute him for his illegitimate bloodline. Gaspard refuses to do so, commending Michel for holding onto his honor even when it cost him everything, comparing his example to that of Ser Aveline. He then remarks that the civil war and the mage-Templar war will only escalate and that Orlais needs men who hold to their honour rather than their titles. The two men then go their separate ways, and the Grand Duke happily leaves to rejoin his forces, although, as he noted, his days of fighting personally are likely over due to injuries inflicted by Michel.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
As peace talks are held during Celene's ball at the Winter Palace, Gaspard invites the Inquisitor to the ball as his guest and offers his favour if the Inquisition will support him in his bid for the throne. He also voices his suspicion that Briala, named ambassador of Orlais' elven rebels, was plotting to sabotage the peace talks.
Little does Gaspard know that his sister, Florianne, is plotting to assassinate Celene for her own agenda. Gaspard is planning a Coup d'état of his own during the ball, having been smuggling his Chevaliers and some Fereldan mercenaries into the party. Celene knew of the Chevaliers and turned a blind eye with the hope that Gaspard would be lured into making a politically foolish move, while Briala was aware of both the Chevaliers and the mercenaries. Gaspard also threatens the members of the Council of Heralds to support his claim or else, since they were responsible for siding with Celene and denying his attempt to claim the throne after Emperor Florian's death years earlier.
When Florianne is exposed, Gaspard is quick to accuse Briala of having known of the plot, which the elven ambassador finds insulting and retorts that Gaspard was just as likely responsible. If Celene, Briala and Gaspard are all blackmailed into co-operating, Gaspard receives a place of honour in Celene's cabinet.
Or the Inquisitor can expose damning evidence that proves that Gaspard was planning a coup and give Celene the excuse she needed to execute him. The Inquisitor can allow Gaspard to be executed or can persuade Celene to spare Gaspard's life (only available if the Inquisitor earned enough court approval). If Celene is persuaded to spare Gaspard, then Gaspard will instead be exiled from Orlais.
Alternatively, the Inquisitor can have Gaspard crowned Emperor of Orlais, and have him either rule alone or have Briala use the blackmail material found in the Winter Palace to rule with him. This outcome is only possible if the Inquisitor allows Florianne to assassinate Empress Celene. Afterward, Gaspard will pledge Orlesian support to the Inquisition, leading a regiment of chevaliers to the Arbor Wilds to battle Corypheus alongside the Inquisitor in person and noting that, like Emperor Kordillus Drakon I, he will lead Orlais from the front. The Orlesian troops will still join the Inquisition in the Arbor Wilds if Briala is supported, but Gaspard will send Briala to the Wilds instead of going himself.
If Gaspard rules alone, he will also offer the unprecedented opportunity to recruit from among the newly graduating class of Chevaliers before he accepts their oaths of loyalty, allowing them to serve the Inquisition alone.
If he becomes Emperor, Gaspard will aid the Inquisition in displacing an influential Orlesian noble who was smuggling Red lyrium and was in fact working for Corypheus. Gaspard also offers Ser Michel de Chevin a full pardon for any prior crimes and a place among Gaspard's Honour Guard.Professor Bram Kenric also mentions that since becoming Emperor, Gaspard has not made any demands of the University of Orlais and continued Celene's policy of non-intervention.
- Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts
- An Invitation from the Emperor (war table) (conditional)
- Delicate Negotiations (war table) (conditional)
- Restoring Michel de Chevin's Honor (war table) (conditional)
- "A good war unites the Empire."
- "I detest the game but if we do not play it well, our enemies will make us look like villains."
- Halamshiral Investigation - Clues (Gaspard)
- Halamshiral Investigation - Clues (Grand Library)
- Halamshiral Investigation - Clues (Trophy Room)
- Gaspard wears a Puzzle Ring of the Black Fox as a gift for excelling at the Grand Game from Lady Mantillon.
- According to Briala, Gaspard is a veteran of "the war in Ferelden", suggesting he fought during the Fereldan Rebellion against its occupation by Orlais.
- In the Arbor Wilds, if selected, Gaspard will still be erroneously identified as "Grand Duke Gaspard", if he is now Emperor.
- Gaspard is a smoker, and has a smoking room in his home in Val Royeaux.
- Ser Aaron’s horse is an Orlesian Courser named Cassé which used to belong to Gaspard. Gaspard named him such because he saw the horse as a broken thing for avoiding combat. Ser Aaron wouldn't let Gaspard put him down, and Cassé has been with him since.
- Caroline Libingtone. https://twitter.com/CabLivingstone/status/537005280655994880 . Twitter.
- Note: Halamshiral Investigation - Clues (Grand Library)
- Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, pp. 278-280
- Dragon Age: Asunder, Chapter 7
- Dragon Age: The Masked Empire, p. 29
- Nunzio DeFilippis on the Unofficial BSN
- Dragon Age: Blue Wraith, issue 3