The Legion of the Dead is an independent branch of the dwarven army that answers directly to the monarchy of Orzammar. It is considered to be the most intimidating and devastating force in the dwarven military and many attribute this to the fact that the Legionnaires consider themselves to be already dead.
We have survived one more night, my brothers and sisters! One more night to deliver vengeance on the spawn that stole our lands! One more night to spill their blood and hear their cries of terror!—Nalthur
The Legion is a military organization not unlike the Grey Wardens in that it accepts anyone from any level of society. Many join the Legion to avoid punishment for various crimes or to regain their honor. Others join to have their debts forgiven, thus restoring their Houses' lost honor. Some even join for the glory, and the Legion accepts them all the same.
Before they permanently leave Orzammar and enter the Deep Roads, the Legionnaires undergo a symbolic "funeral" where last goodbyes are spoken to friends and relatives and all ties to their former lives are cut. It begins with chanting and toasts, then the dwarves bid farewell to their friends and loved ones. This funeral clears the dwarf's name and restores their family's lost honor. They are recorded as dead in the Memories, viewed as having found glorious and redemptive death in battling the dwarves' eternal nemesis, the darkspawn. The Legionnaire must then work to make this a fact through a courageous and honorable death.
The Legion of the Dead also bears the unique responsibility of purifying the Stone from a corruption called the gangue. The gangue is described as "the waste and the unstable rock that must be cut away from the Stone." It is the toxic influence contaminating the Stone, and whose harmful influence impedes all dwarves from achieving prosperity. The Legion of the Dead must carve out the worse of themselves as a prerequisite to face the gangue. Only the fully adorned of the Legion are worthy enough to face and destroy the gangue.
Legionnaires are typically marked with grim tattoos and equipped with heavy armor. When a Legionnaire dies in battle the Legion entombs them, thus returning them to the Stone. The Legion celebrates the fact that the fallen has finally found peace. Units of the Legion of the Dead are sometimes supported by Grey Wardens in the ranks, who as part of their Calling, go to Orzammar to honor an ancient pact with the dwarves by fighting till the end against their common foe.
Non-dwarves may also join the Legion, but this is very rare. The only known human to join the Legion was a man named Sir Aurelian Pentaghast who was disgraced when he attempted to assume the throne of Nevarra in 8:60 Blessed.
The headquarters of the Legion of the Dead used to be located in Bownammar, also known as the City of the Dead, an impressive fortress which was designed by the Paragon Caridin. In 9:13 Dragon, it was abandoned to the darkspawn with great regret. As the Legion's activities spread in a large portion of the Deep Roads and not only around Orzammar, they regularly create sturdy crates which contain clothing, food and weapons in various locations in case they are needed.
The second death
Rest well, my friends. For one hundred and twelve nights you lasted. Now it is time for you to return to the Stone, in the sight of the First Paragon.—a funeral rite by Nalthur
When a Legionnaire dies, there is a second funeral to return them to the Stone. If it is possible to do so, the remaining Legionnaires bury their fallen brethren. The bodies of the dead are placed in sarcophagi which are sealed within graves in order to protect them from being defiled by darkspawn.
The nature of the Legion, however, means that as their numbers dwindle the very last of them will not be buried and given their return to the Stone.
Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne
Dragon Age: Origins
When the Warden and their party reach the Dead Trenches, they meet a group of Legionnaires led by Kardol, who appears to be a high-ranking officer of the Legion. He can later be persuaded with Master Coercion to bring the Legion to the surface to help with the Fifth Blight. Alternatively, if the Warden is of dwarven Origin, Kardol happily offers to back the Warden. When initially asked about his plans for the Blight, Kardol states the Legion will cut off the darkspawn's retreat once the Archdemon is defeated, although if they are brought to the surface, he will personally fight alongside the Warden in battle against the Archdemon. Provided they come to the surface, the Legion supplies troops known as Legion of the Dead Avengers to join the battle alongside regular dwarven troops, equipped with the distinctive armor set of the Legion and battleaxes.
During the Dead Caste quest, the Warden can deliver an insignia to the Shaperate which will possibly elevate the Legion to minor nobility because one of their former members was the last member of noble House Ferald. Furthermore, a fully adorned Legionnaire who interacts with a shrine faces the Gangue shade which is believed to be the gangue — the waste and unstable rock — which must be cut away from the raw Stone that encircles and protects the dwarves.If a dwarven Warden survives the events of the Fifth Blight and requests military aid for Orzammar as their boon and Bhelen Aeducan is the new king, the combined Fereldan-Orzammar offensive successfully drives the darkspawn all the way back to Bownammar.
Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening
Dragon Age II
Dragon Age: Inquisition
A sudden series of earthquakes in the aftermath of The Breach interfere with a Legion of the Dead investigation on behalf of the Shaperate and seriously imperil Orzammar's most efficient lyrium mines. The Legion reach out to their traditional allies, the Grey Wardens for aid in investigating the matter but are unable to contact them. The Legion then turns to their second choice, the re-established Inquisition to aid in an expedition to find the source of the quakes and neutralize them as part of The Descent DLC.Joined by the Inquisitor personally, Lieutenant Renn and Shaper Valta range far deep into the Deep Roads, eventually breaking a darkspawn nest and establishing a Legion camp in the ruins of Heidrun Thaig.
- Aurelian Pentaghast – the only known human to ever join the Legion
- Aydis – a female Legionnaire with excellent knowledge of the Deep Roads; she accidentally discovered along with Kardol a possible abandoned Archdemon Prison
- Bashath Garen
- Bernat – Quartermaster responsible for supplying Renn's unit; died before the expedition into the Storm Coast Fissure
- Lord Durius Ferald
- Lieutenant Gant
- Karles Aratack
- Makev – an injured dwarf encountered in the Legion Camp located in the Storm Coast Fissure; he fears his wounds might be infected with darkspawn taint; by the time the Legion Camp is established in the Ruins of Heidrun Thaig, the taint has further spread across his body
- Malev Haran
- Lieutenant Renn
- Corporal Trovid Oreson
- Sergeant Unger
- Varen – he became a Paragon after discovering that nugs are edible
- Varlan Vollney – he carried a gold ring with the crest of House Vollney on it and befriended Sigrun after joining the Legion; he died during the Legion's assault on Kal'Hirol in 9:31 Dragon
- Vond – a Carta dwarf who joined the Legion around the same time as Renn; after accidentally swallowing darkspawn blood Vond died from the taint three days later
- Yehkar – encountered in the Legion Camp located on the Storm Coast Fissure; he believes that the Legion can handle the darkspawn threats encountered during the events of the Descent on its own and disapproves of involving any surfacers
- Ralevi – nicknamed "The root"; a highly skilled Legionnaire who was enlisted by Lord Kynrik Clangdrol to fight in the Grand Tourney of the Free Marches in the early Dragon
- Codex entry: Legion of the Dead
- Codex entry: The Dead Caste
- Codex entry: First Legionnaire's Journal
- Codex entry: Second Legionnaire's Journal
- Codex entry: Third Legionnaire's Journal
- Codex entry: The Last Descent
- Codex entry: Topsider's Honor
- Kal-Sharok has its own version of Legion of the Dead known as the Rock-Knockers. They are less stoic and less committed to inevitable death, honorable or not.
- The heraldry of the Legion of the Dead is a stylized dwarven skull that's often colored white or grey, depending on the color surrounding it. It is emblazoned upon many of the Legion's armor, be them personal suits or shields.