- “A good war unites the empire.”
Grand Duke Gaspard de Chalons (born 8:74 Blessed) is an Orlesian nobleman 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.
As the eldest surviving grandchild of Emperor Judicael I, Gaspard was raised from birth believing he would become Emperor. 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, Prince Reynaud, killed Calienne in retaliation, and then died himself of "illness" caused by Calienne's poisoned stiletto.
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 the empress' rule and believes it is time for a new leader to make Orlais strong again.
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 when she reveals that he knows his secret that he 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 escape out of 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 was 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 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 did Gaspard know that his sister, Florianne, was plotting to assassinate Celene for her own agenda. Gaspard was planning a Coup d'état of his own for during the ball, having been smugglings 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 before.
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.
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. Afterwards 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, 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 was 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 also aid the Inquisition in displacing an influential 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.
- Gaspard wears a Puzzle Ring of the Black Fox as a gift for excelling at The Grand Game from Lady Mantillon.
- In the Arbor Wilds, if selected, Gaspard will still be erroneously identified as "Grand Duke Gaspard", if he is now Emperor.