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Noble caste

The Noble caste is the most privileged and elite caste of dwarven society, encompassing numerous noble houses as well as the royal house.

Background Edit

According to legend, Bloadlikk, one of seven brothers, was the progenitor of the Noble caste. Youngest and wisest, he was chosen king. Bloadlikk's children formed the Noble caste.[1]

The Noble caste is composed of numerous houses. They were initially founded by a Paragon but some were founded by high caste dwarves not originally of noble stock, typically warrior caste or smith caste. Noble houses used to rule thaigs all across Thedas which were their ancestral homes and typically gave their name to the thaig. However almost all of them have now been lost to the darkspawn.

In Orzammar, the struggle to prove one's worth is central to dwarven culture and the relative power of each house is determined by the prestige a house acquires. Often, the noble houses connive and plot to eclipse each other in the Assembly, even resorting to intrigues such as assassination and blackmail to dominate their rivals. It is also common to increase their own standing by allying with another dwarven house via marriage. So long as the appearance of honor is maintained, the goal always justifies the means.

Dwarven houses earn rank and prestige when combatants loyal to them, or from their own bloodlines, win Provings. In addition to getting a share of the profits, the noble houses also earn prestige when artisans they patronize become sought-after or well regarded, or when the merchants they invest in become successful. The degrees of power that these achievements confer is murky however, even to the dwarves. In such cases, it isn't unusual for nobles to challenge each other to Provings over whose client is superior. Nor is it out of the ordinary to find the clients arguing over whose noble patron has won the most acclaim, for the rank of the patron is the rank of the client. Thus, the relationship between patron and client is mutually beneficial.[2]

Second Edit

In combat, noble dwarves sometimes fight paired with another dwarf known as their "second". It is not known if other castes can have seconds. This form of team combat is a tradition in dwarven society as history has it that the style originated from the earliest days of the dwarven empire, when Kiotshett fought as King Bloadlikk's second.[3] Seconds may also function as something of a personal bodyguard and companion, essentially being the right hand of the noble.[4] If a second is not available to serve their superior, another dwarf may temporarily take his place.[5]

The known dwarves who served as seconds are the following:

The Royal House Edit

The Royal family is the very pinnacle of the Noble caste, setting the mode in society and enjoying immense privilege and power amongst not only their own caste but all of Orzammar itself. The king or queen hold their position for life, unless they are removed or replaced. As the ruler, they are also the war-leader and have authority over the Legion of the Dead.

In modern-day Orzammar, royal power is kept in check by the Assembly, the dwarven governing body who chooses the king and from whom kings are typically drawn.[2] Although the king rules Orzammar he must garner the support of the Assembly lords to maintain his position, for kings can--and have been--expelled from the throne. Unpopular kings and their heirs are deemed unfit to rule and the kingship then passes to another. While the chosen ruler is typically male, women have also been chosen by the Assembly to rule.[7]

The Assembly Edit

Lords and ladies of noble houses may have seats in the dwarven Assembly. During the events of the Fifth Blight, the Steward of the Assembly is Bandelor.

Members of the Assembly are known as "deshyr" though some call them "deep lords"[8] which is its derisive equivalent. During the events of the Fifth Blight, the Assembly is composed of eighty deshyrs drawn from the most influential noble houses in the city. The right of a noble house to claim a vote in the Assembly is predicated on that house having a deshyr, general, or Paragon among their Ancestors.[9] Therefore, the number of Assembly members can fluctuate. Any caste other than the noble caste is not represented in the Assembly.[10]

Known Noble houses Edit

Noble houses are listed in an alphabetical order and those whose status is unknown have their name italicized.

Notable members Edit

For a complete list of Noble caste members, see Category:Noble caste.

Notes Edit

  • Dwarves who leave for the surface forfeit any claims to their house only if they are from the noble caste.[29]

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Origins.



  • House Hirol is one of the most powerful noble Houses, along with House Aeducan and Harrowmont.[30]
  • While most nobles prefer to spend their time in the much more respected Provings, a few of them attend nug races.[31]
  • BioWare canon
    The following characters, lore and events in this section are non-canon in Dragon Age and exist only within the Dragon Age tabletop RPG.

    • Deshyrs hold their position for life unless they are removed or replaced. As the ruler, the monarch is the theoretical war-leader of Orzammar but in practice this means that the ruler merely commands the warrior houses sworn to his or her own house.[32] The monarch can expand their army by appointing High Generals from other noble houses and thereby gain their warriors.[33]
    • "Deshyr" roughly translates to "assembly lord". To become a member there must first be an opening in the tightly closed ranks, and this usually occurs through death or resignation. An acting member then nominates a candidate who must be approved by one-third of the Assembly.[32]
    • Due to their never-ending intrigues, most noble houses of Orzammar employ one or several poisoners at all times.[34]
    • The respect accorded to a noble house is proportional to its age and accomplishments. Sometimes impoverished noble houses will marry a child to a wealthy non-noble house to gain its wealth and to elevate the lesser house.[35]

    Trivia Edit

    See also Edit

    Ico codex entry Codex entry: The Castes
    Ico codex entry Codex entry: Orzammar Politics

    References Edit

    1. According to Shaper of Memories Czibor in Dragon Age: Origins.
    2. 2.0 2.1 Codex entry: Orzammar Politics
    3. Mentioned by the Proving Master in the Provings held during A Paragon of Her Kind questline.
    4. As Gorim Saelac is to the Dwarf Noble in that origin.
    5. As Bhelen Aeducan replaced the Dwarf Noble as King Endrin's second during A Noble Expedition.
    6. Mentioned by Gorim Saelac to the Dwarf Noble if asked about his family.
    7. Mentioned by Bhelen Aeducan to a female Dwarf Noble when discussing which of the Aeducan heirs will be chosen to rule.
    8. As referred to by Ohgren.
    9. Mentioned by Steward Bandelor.
    10. As mentioned by Lord Denek Helmi.
    11. See Astyth.
    12. A member of this House is encounter during Exotic Methods quest.
    13. 13.0 13.1 Codex entry: The Key to the City
    14. Codex entry: A Journal on Dwarven Ruins
    15. See Dulin Forender.
    16. See Orseck Garal.
    17. Codex entry: First Legionnaire's Journal, Codex entry: Second Legionnaire's Journal, Codex entry: Third Legionnaire's Journal
    18. See these four images: [1], [2], [3], [4].
    19. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, pp. 158-159
    20. Dragon Age: Origins Prima Guide Collector's Edition, Traveler's Guide.
    21. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, p. 24
    22. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, pp. 116-117
    23. Lord Rousten who is a member of this house, is mentioned by Beraht to Rica Brosca in the Dwarf Commoner Origin while Varick works in the mines of the old Rousten Thaig, the ancient home of this house.
    24. See Endrin Stonehammer.
    25. House Tethras ceased to exist after being exiled into the surface.
    26. House Varen does not exist anymore as mentioned in Codex entry: In Praise of the Humble Nug.
    27. Codex entry: Trian's Journal
    28. Codex entry: Bardin's Folly
    29. Mentioned by Ronus Dace in conversation during The Nobles' Feast.
    30. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, p. 258
    31. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, p. 265
    32. 32.0 32.1 Dragon Age (tabletop RPG), Player's Guide, set 2, p. 17
    33. For example, Lord Harrowmont is referred to as a High General in the service of King Endrin in Dragon Age: Origins.
    34. Dragon Age (tabletop RPG), Player's Guide, p. 88
    35. Dragon Age (tabletop RPG), Player's Guide, set 2, p. 13
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