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Hurlock Vanguard is a powerful hurlock alpha and the player-controlled protagonist in The Darkspawn Chronicles DLC.


Hurlock vanguards are bred for the dual purpose of leading the thralls of the darkspawn army and serving the Archdemon.[1] As one of the leaders of the main assault, the vanguard hears the Archdemon's whispers directly, and can show up in its defense in a moment's notice.


Return to Ostagar[]

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Origins.

When the Warden returns to Ostagar to retrieve King Cailan's armor, a hurlock vanguard is among the darkspawn contingent that has invaded the ruined fortress.


Return to Ostagar Return to Ostagar


Ostagar Ostagar

The Darkspawn Chronicles[]

This section contains spoilers for:
Darkspawn Chronicles.

In a non-canonical narrative in which the Warden died at Ostagar and Alistair travelled onwards without his comrade, the Vanguard was summoned by Urthemiel itself to lead the other, mindless darkspawn to victory at the Battle of Denerim. Receiving its orders through the Archdemon's whispers, it began its campaign storming the gates of the city.

It first enthralled nearby genlock and hurlock warriors, then earned their respect by slaughtering Denerim city defenders and their mabari war hounds. It then rescued a nearby ogre, enthralling it to break through two barricades to flank the enemy. Eventually, the defenders' commander—Arl Rendon Howe, who was evidently spared during the Landsmeet—appeared with his bodyguards, including Ser Cauthrien, to rally the defenders, but was killed by the Vanguard's forces. The darkspawn then finished off the remaining defenders before pressing on to the Market District.

The Archdemon warned the Vanguard that three large ballistae had been set up to cut the darkspawn down before they entered the district. On his master's advice, the Vanguard enthralled a nearby shriek, who used its stealth ability to sneak past the ambush and kill the ballista operators, allowing safe access. To provoke Bann Teagan to come out, the Vanguard slaughtered many civilians, then culled Ser Perth, Teagan and the Knights of Redcliffe. It ordered a genlock sapper to destroy the gates leading into the Denerim Alienage, but not before attempting to kill Herren and Wade at the same time to cut off the knights' supply of weapons and armour; its attempts failed when Herren turned into a desire demon and escaped with Wade. Passing the Gnawed Noble Tavern, the Vanguard fended off a gang of violent drunks led by Oghren, who took up residence in the tavern through unknown circumstances; the Forge Master's Hammer he carried was retaken for the darkspawn. The Vanguard then put down further attempts by several knights and a Circle Mage. When the sapper destroyed the gate into the Alienage, the Vanguard's forces were halted by Wynne, who was spared but not recruited by Alistair, and her templar companions Cullen and Knight-Commander Greagoir. Despite their valiant efforts, however, the darkspawn emerged victorious, continuing their rampage into the Alienage.

After the Vanguard broke through the gate into the Alienage with the help of the ogre, the Archdemon provided new orders: burn the Vhenadahl to draw the Alienage elves out in desperation. To accomplish this the Vanguard enthralled and commanded the aid of a hurlock emissary. After the emissary set the tree alight using fire magic, the Vanguard slaughtered Elder Valendrian and the other elves who were sent into a blind panic by the destruction of the tree just as the Archdemon had predicted. Also among the elves killed was a former member of the Antivan Crows, Zevran Arainai; following a botched attempt on his life by the assassin, Alistair decided to spare the elf, and Zevran hid in the Alienage to avoid Crow retribution for his failure. The Vanguard found a special weapon on his corpse. Finishing the last of the elven defenders off, the darkspawn pushed ahead to the Palace District.

While the Alienage had been left to fend for itself, the Palace District was heavily guarded - the mighty armies of the Orzammar dwarves spread across the district, augmented by the presence of the warriors of the Legion of the Dead and protected by several steel golems; many qunari mercenaries had also been hired. Making things worse, the ogre was cut off from its fellow darkspawn behind a portcullis that the Vanguard was forced to raise. Despite the odds, the Vanguard successfully killed Kardol and Sergeant Kylon only to watch in shock and horror as Riordan grievously wounded the Archdemon before plummeting to his death; despite its injuries, the Archdemon ordered the Vanguard to continue the fight. Carving a path through the opposing forces, the Vanguard was confronted by Sten, on the steps leading up to Fort Drakon.

The Archdemon, sensing Alistair's approach and aware of its own injuries, demanded the Vanguard's presence at the top of Fort Drakon immediately. Answering its master's call, the Vanguard was greeted with a clear view of his foe: King Alistair, the leader of the assembled forces, followed by his loyal dog Barkspawn and accompanied by his ally-of-convenience Morrigan and his friend and lover Leliana; armed with a mace, clad in templar armor and wielding the shield of his mentor, Alistair was backed up by a ferocious pack of werewolves from the Brecilian Forest. Fighting alongside both its horde of thralls and its master, the Vanguard killed the hound, Morrigan and Leliana, before mortally wounding Alistair. After the battle was over and Alistair looked to his companions in sadness, the Vanguard viciously stabbed him through the back as the Archdemon soared off, the Battle of Denerim ending as a major victory for the darkspawn.

Unique ability[]

Enthrall Enthrall - the targeted darkspawn becomes your thrall, serving until death. Up to three thralls can fight at your command simultaneously. If a thrall disappoints you, use this ability on it again to execute the underperformer.

Unique armor[]

Vanguard plate armor set Vanguard plate armor set


  • The Vanguard's campaign pays homage to the two Hurlock generals the Warden encounters during the Final Battle.
    • After the Vanguard breaches the walls to the Market District, the Hurlock Warrior general can be seen here, similar to the main game (albeit a two-handed warrior carrying the Axe of the Vashoth and the helm Corruption).
    • The other encounter is with the Hurlock Emissary general who first appears during the assault on the Alienage reflecting the main game as well; the staff it drops, the Malign Staff, can also be obtained in the Palace District, though with different stats.