Dragon Age Wiki
Dragon Age Wiki

Genlocks are a stocky, numerous breed of darkspawn. They are bred by broodmothers of dwarven background.[1]


Most numerous of the darkspawn by far, genlocks are tough and stocky fighters with a penchant for wickedly hooked axes. Unlike the majority of their brethren, they are swift to take up the more complicated weapons of their enemies, employing siege engines in battle and using clever traps to defend any terrain they control. Ferelden's Circle of Magi believes that their propensity to mine the Deep Roads for lyrium has given genlocks a resistance to magic, for they’ve been known to shrug off spells in battle with little effect.

Particularly cunning genlock alphas cultivate skill as sorcerers and become emissaries. However, emissaries generally only appear during a Blight. Like all darkspawn casters, genlock emissaries wield blight magic that draws on the taint rather than the Fade, allowing them to bypass the resistance to conventional magic inherited from dwarven broodmothers.

BioWare canon
The following information is only mentioned in Dragon Age Tabletop. Certain portions of this media may no longer reflect currently established lore.

Genlocks tend to be slightly shorter than dwarves with pale white or yellowish skin. They are invariably bald, with deepset eyes and sunken cheeks. Their voices are low and harsh, punctuated by occasional grunts.[2]

Genlock alphas are the strongest, quickest, and most cunning of their kind, bullying their way into the leadership of bands of lesser genlocks. They tend to be taller and more heavily muscled than their brethren, and have a more commanding presence, although their demeanor is more swagger and bluster than cool leadership.[2]

It’s not clear how genlock emissaries are able to cast spells so effectively while armored. Some Grey Warden scholars theorize that the emissaries' magic is similar enough to blood magic (which draws directly on the blood rather than the Fade) that the emissaries can ignore the magic-damping effects of armor by simply pillaging their minions' life force to fuel their spellcasting.[3]

Known variations[]

Genlock script

Script found in the Wonders of Thedas which provides an analysis on genlocks


  • Genlock emissary – very few darkspawn can learn magic, but those that can are called emissaries.
  • Genlock shapechanger – this rare darkspawn can become all manner of the Blight beasts, and can attack the party in these changed forms.
  • Genlock conjurer – this is one of the most powerful of all emissary type genlocks, able to summon demons, and direct them towards its enemies.
  • Genlock necromancer – an emissary that has learned to bind simple demons to the bodies of the dead, including other darkspawn. When they appear as bosses, they may be immune to Mana Clash.
  • Golem master – a unique emissary residing in Kal'Hirol, it learned how to use a Golem control rod to manipulate the inactive golems within the thaig.


  • Genlock runner – nimble and quick, these small genlocks are used as bait for traps. Very few are ever encountered, but when they are, it's most likely to happen in the Deep Roads.
  • Genlock archer – these genlocks are the ranged fighters of their kin, and will keep their distance if cornered.
  • Genlock rogue – these have the ability to use stealth, and can switch from daggers to crossbows and other ranged weapons if need be.
  • Genlock shadow – these have the ability to use stealth and decoy, and they use daggers.
  • Genlock assassin – these are simply rogues with assassin skills, such as Mark of Death.
  • Genlock assassin acolyte – this upgraded form of genlock rogue fights in small groups, and is tough in tight quarters.
  • Genlock master assassin – perhaps the deadliest of all rogue type genlocks, this creature has the abilities of the Genlock assassin with massively superior stats.


  • Genlock – these are the common infantry of the darkspawn horde, cannon fodder more than anything else.
  • Genlock forge master – a reasonably strong opponent, typically supported by multiple hurlocks. From range, it will use a bow and potentially the Arrow of Slaying talent until engaged in close combat, where it will switch to a maul.
  • Genlock alpha – these stocky beasts are the commanders and generals of the genlock forces, bullying the others into line with group buff abilities.

Codex entries[]

Codex entry: Genlock Codex entry: Genlock
Codex entry: Genlock Codex entry: Genlock
Codex entry: Genlock Codex entry: Genlock
Codex entry: Broodmother Codex entry: Broodmother


  • The darkspawn were redesigned for the purposes of Dragon Age II, and the genlocks seem to be among the most heavily affected. Regular genlocks are much more beast-like in appearance, using their heavy-set arms to support their weight, much like a gorilla. In addition to sporting the new skin and armor similar to those of other darkspawn, the redesigned Genlock alphas in particular are much larger: about the size of a bronto and are extremely tough, wielding massive tower shields in deadly charge attacks. They only appear in the Legacy DLC. This design was later used, and upgraded for The Descent DLC in Dragon Age: Inquisition.



  1. Codex entry: Broodmother
  2. 2.0 2.1 Dragon Age (tabletop RPG), Game Master's Guide, set 2, p. 26
  3. Dragon Age (tabletop RPG), Game Master's Guide, set 2, pp. 26-27