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Maleficar encountered in the Brecilian Forest.

Magic exists to serve man, and never to rule over him. Foul and corrupt are they Who have taken His gift And turned it against His children. They shall be named Maleficar, accursed ones. They shall find no rest in this world Or beyond.

A maleficar (plural maleficarum), "one who is depraved" in Ancient Tevene,[1][2] is a mage who uses the forbidden arts including, but not solely restricted to blood magic.


Andrastian nations[]

The Chantry has used religious rhetoric to make maleficarum the most stigmatized brand of mages. Although Andraste was never explicit about what brand of magic transgressed against the Maker's laws, Divine Justinia I has interpreted the Chant of Light verse that defined what maleficarum were, and established her own definition.[3]

Justinia I defined apostates as mages who went against the Chantry's laws, and maleficarum particularly were those apostates who used mind control and blood magic to harm others.[4] With the Chantry being the most dominant religious organization in Thedas, Justinia I's decree of her interpretation became widely accepted and all those branded maleficarum were treated with the utmost hostility. The Chantry faithful have further interpreted Justinia I's words and extended the definition of maleficarum to all who use forbidden knowledge and dangerous practices like the summoning of demons.[5][6] Over the centuries, the difference between apostates who use unfamiliar magic and maleficarum has become increasingly difficult to distinguish.[7]

Apostates are not technically by definition maleficarum, but many are.[7] Bucking the authority of the Circle of Magi usually leads a mage into exploring the forbidden, especially if they feel they need such power to stay alive.[8] This is common enough that many templars will simply assume that any apostate is also a maleficar, or close enough to becoming one that it makes no difference.

Apostates who practice magical arts not well known among Circles, such as Morrigan's shapeshifting, are sometimes referred to as maleficarum.[7] This distinction is not exact and is usually born from the common ignorance and prejudice to associate all unique forms of magic with blood magic.

Templars relentlessly hunt maleficarum,[9] making use of lyrium for tracking and fighting them,[10] even up to torturing with poisons made available by the Chantry.[11] Those deemed maleficar are generally sentenced to death.[12] Sometimes, the mere accusation of being a maleficar is enough justification for a Circle to force a mage to become a Tranquil.[13] Other times, they may expose an alleged maleficar to mage prisons where the Veil is thin (like Aeonar) with the intention that should the accused attract denizens of the Fade—particularly demons—it would make it easier to determine the accused's innocence or guilt.[14] Such actions show the commitment of the Chantry and the Templar Order to stamping out the forbidden schools of magic. Should practice of forbidden magic be too widespread for the templars to control, the templars may even resort to carrying out the Right of Annulment in order to purge the mage population of corruption.[15]

The most cunning and dangerous maleficarum are also hunted by the Seekers of Truth; in the past, mages aided the Seekers in hunting these threats.[16] However, the cooperation between Seekers and mages has long been forgotten in contemporary times and is a rare occurence due to the new politics affecting their relationship.

The constellation Visus, commonly known as "the Watchful Eye", was taken by the Inquisition as the symbol of the search and judgment of maleficarum. When the Inquisition split into the Templar Order and the Seekers of Truth, the first took the sword while the other took the eye.[17]


Imperial templars don't condemn those who practice blood magic if they use one's own blood or that of a willing participant, but instead can hunt those who start sacrificing people in magical rituals or practice demon summoning. Yet even if one was to go by Tevinter's definition of forbidden magic, many mages of rank in the Tevinter Imperium would still qualify to be labeled maleficarum. Behind closed doors, these mages often resort to forbidden magic to survive the cutthroat politics of Tevinter society. Magisters would use their political power to shelter these maleficarum, or themselves, from any consequences if they benefitted from the advantages that forbidden magic grants them. Since Imperial templars lack the authority, they must let the corrupt elite have their way.

Occasionally, an ethical magister will propose reform to better enforce magic regulation but these magisters usually end up shunned from power, become pariahs, or unjustly accused of being maleficar themselves.

In Tevinter, the maleficarum are mages who—besides those who've crossed the line—have fallen out of favor with the magisters or don't have enough power and are desperate.[18] Slavery (of mages and non-mages alike) is openly practiced in the Imperium and can even be used for blood magic, but maleficarum are usually far too cautious to do so.[19][20]


Magical practice used by Mortalitasi of Nevarra, known as necromancy, is a tradition consolidated in the Nevarran culture and little known by outsiders, so that these mages are not treated as maleficarum.[21]

Grey Wardens[]

Mages conscripted into the Grey Wardens are technically maleficarum if they use forbidden schools of magic. Occasionally Grey Warden mages have been known to resort to blood magic as a means to fight the darkspawn.[22] Sometimes Warden-Commanders can order Grey Warden blood mages to summon demons to aid in the fight, as well as to control the minds of others for the purpose of keeping the Order's secrets—and even to conduct unethical experiments involving blood.[23] It is not unheard of for Grey Warden mages trapped by darkspawn behind enemy lines with no hope of rescue or reinforcements to willingly surrender themselves to demons and become abominations in order to slay as many darkspawn as possible.[24] In some cases Grey Wardens induced apostates and Tevinter mages to use blood magic to gain more power,[25] as well as to enter the Fade,[26] and even to contain the most dangerous darkspawn that cannot be killed.[27] Magic in general has been effective at killing bands of darkspawn, but blood magic in particular has been used to enhance Grey Warden capabilities and for other utility purposes.[28][29]

The Chantry and templars believe that mages should fear their power and are reluctant to loosen their iron grip over the mages out of fear that it would inspire mages to break away from the Chantry's authority. According to Chantry teachings, it was the pride of mages that brought the darkspawn to Thedas in the first place. Some Grey Wardens however, believe that they cannot have their efforts to defeat the darkspawn restricted. Mages could make the difference in a battle against a horde of darkspawn, and the Grey Wardens feel that their resources must exceed the war capabilities of the darkspawn. Darkspawn are a greater threat to Thedas than blood mages, even abominations. It takes decades for the world to recover from a Blight. Although utilizing magic could be dangerous, many Grey Wardens believe it to be a necessary risk.[22]

The controversy is only softened by the relative rarity of Grey Wardens to recruit from the Circle of Magi, due to the Wardens' conservative recruitment standards, and also that the Grey Wardens do their best to conceal any of their transgressions against the Chantry's laws. The Chantry expects that any Grey Warden mage who grows beyond their control is dealt with appropriately by the Wardens, else the templars consider the mage's immunity forfeit and hunt him as any other maleficar. Attitudes towards forbidden magic amongst the Grey Wardens also varies[30] but Grey Wardens are expected to bear responsibility for the mages under their purview.[22] Some Grey Wardens are willing to attack and execute Grey Warden mages if they believe they've crossed the line.[31] They also fear the potential of political backlash from the community they serve.[citation needed]

Those who use the same magic of darkspawn emissaries can be classified as maleficarum, since blight magic's spells are bonded to a macabre form of blood magic.[32] This magical art can be learned by other people than darkspawn and not necessarily by a Grey Warden.[33] Unlike blood magic, which can be used for creative purposes, blight magic corrupts everything it touches and attempting to use it safely is considered madness.[34] Indeed, the way this dark practice is described makes it seem as a true form of magic to be condemned; consequently resulting in the Chantry to only support the cause of the Grey Wardens in the fight against the darkspawn and the taint in a tolerant manner.

Known maleficarum[]

  • Baroness – for blood magic rituals[35] and demonic implications[36]
  • Frenic – for blood magic rituals, mind control, demonic implications and conspiracy against the Chantry[37]
  • Huon – for demon summoning and abuse of blood magic[38]
  • Grace – for abuse of blood magic and conspiracy against the templars[39]
  • Captain Maldine[40]
  • Quentin – for demon summoning, abuse of blood magic and illegal necromantic rituals[41]
  • Tarohne
  • Uldred – for demon summoning, abuse of blood magic and conspiracy against Circle[42]

Codex entries[]

Codex entry: Maleficarum Codex entry: Maleficarum
Codex entry: Maleficarum Regrets Codex entry: Maleficarum Regrets
Codex entry: Apostates Codex entry: Apostates
Codex entry: The Commandments of the Maker Codex entry: The Commandments of the Maker
Codex entry: Forbidden Knowledge Codex entry: Forbidden Knowledge
Codex entry: An Honest Answer Regarding Apostates Codex entry: An Honest Answer Regarding Apostates


  • Until the Towers Age, Andrastian mages would exact justice against maleficarum using staves like the Accuser's Staff. It's unclear whether this implies cooperation between mages and the Seekers of Truth.
  • A division of Emerald Knights called the Fade Hunters was said to defend the Dales from maleficarum, but it is unclear whether the term refers to the common Andrastian definition of maleficar, or if it had a different meaning in elven culture.[43]


  • "Maleficarum" is the genitive of the ecclesiastical latin word for witches, and literally translates as "of wrongdoing women".
  • The Chant of Light verse which defines a maleficar does not explicitly decry any form of magic, only that the abuse of magic is not permitted.

See also[]



  1. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 105
  2. Kenson, Steve; Luikart, T.S.; Pramas, Chris; Tidball, Jeff. "Chapter Three: Focus, Talents and Specializations (Blood Mage)". Dragon Age RPG, Set 2 - Player's Guide. p.47.
  3. According to Justinia I's sermons, none knows exactly what Andraste meant with her words, except Andraste herself and the Maker. All other can only interpret her words.
  4. Codex entry: Maleficarum
  5. Halden reports a similar definition of maleficarum in Patterns Within Form.
  6. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 106 - The definition of maleficarum changes slightly in "who actively pursue dangerous and forbidden schools of magic".
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Codex entry: Apostates
  8. Dragon Age RPG, Core Rulebook, p.271 - Desperate apostates.
  9. Blood Mage (Dragon Age II)
  10. Codex entry: Lyrium (Origins)
  11. Dragon Age RPG, Core Rulebook, p.92 - According to the text Riaan's Hammer, poisons like Magebane are used by templars to torture maleficarum and save their souls.
  12. Knight-Commander Greagoir sentenced Jowan to death for being an alleged blood mage as well as for attempting to escape the Circle of Magi
  13. The Kirkwall Rebellion shows the Rite of Tranquility being liberally imposed under the pretense of purging the Kirkwall Circle of Magi of hidden corruption. Irving's dialogue in the Magi Origin should the player reveal to him Jowan's plan to escape the Circle Tower, confirmed that he knew that Lily revealed the plans to make Jowan Tranquil; thus confirming Jowan's claim that he will be forced to become a Tranquil to placate the Chantry and Templars (and also to protect the Circle from their ire) based on a rumor was true.
  14. Codex entry: The Aeonar
  15. Codex entry: The Right of Annulment
  16. According to Ameridan.
  17. Codex entry: Constellation: Visus
  18. Talking with Dorian Pavus.
  19. Dragon Age RPG, Core Rulebook, p.167 - The Imperium now.
  20. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 107 - According to Josephus, a rare Tevinter maleficar may still use slaves to strengthen spells.
  21. Twitter icon Mary Kirby . Twitter.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 According to Duncan in Magi Origin.
  23. See Avernus.
  24. Dragon Age: Last Flight, p. 123
  25. See the Baroness and Caladrius.
  26. One of the possible options to exorcise Connor, provides a blood magic ritual perform by Jowan.
  27. See Corypheus
  28. Power of Blood
  29. Isseya used blood magic for help griffons affected by darkspawn taint.
  30. During the Magi Origin, should the mage player tell Duncan that being told their magic is dangerous is just Chantry propaganda, Duncan responds with, "What about abominations? Or blood magic? Do you deny that these things exist? A word of advice from someone who's battled abominations and worse: a cavalier attitude will only get you into trouble."
  31. Avernus can be executed for his crimes. During Anders (short story), Rolan (a Grey Warden) sought to execute Anders for becoming an Abomination and claimed, "The Wardens agreed we can't harbor an abomination."
  32. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 148
  33. See First Enchanter Remille.
  34. As Solas says in a conversation with Vivienne.
  35. Codex entry: The Baroness's Secret
  36. She took the form of a pride demon, feeding on the spirits of the peasants.
  37. Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker
  38. On the Loose
  39. Best Served Cold
  40. Pirates and their Curses
  41. During All That Remains, with Orsino as partner in crime.
  42. From the events told by Wynne post Battle of Ostagar, until when Uldred turn into a pride abomination.
  43. Dhal Vallasan