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For the game, see Dragon Age: Origins.
Human Noble City Elf Dalish Elf Magi Dwarf Commoner Dwarf Noble Grey Warden
Human Noble City Elf Dalish Elf Circle Mage Dwarf Commoner Dwarf Noble Grey Warden

There are six origins—background stories for player characters—that are playable in Dragon Age: Origins and a seventh in Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening. These playable backstories will allow the Warden to put themselves in a specific role within the social structure of Ferelden and will help explain motivations for the Warden joining the Grey Wardens.

The origins are open to both genders, but they are dependent upon both race and class. Dwarves cannot be mages. In Thedas they are unable to interact with the Fade (i.e., dream) and are therefore incredibly resistant to magic. In order to become a mage, and use magic, players must go through the Magi origin and choose to be an elf or a human. The other two classes, (warrior and rogue), are available to all other races and origins.

All of the origins have set surnames. Depending on the character's identity, this surname could be very important to the origin plot, later plots and subplots, and even the epilogue, or it could be almost totally inconsequential from a plot standpoint.

Possible combinations[]

Since players will be able to choose gender, race, class, and then origin for their Warden in that order, the following combinations are available for both genders:

Race Class Origin Starting Skills Starting Talents
Human Warrior Warrior Human Noble Improved Combat Training Shield Bash
Human Rogue Rogue Human Noble Poison-Making
Combat Training
Dirty Fighting
Human/Elf Mage Mage Magi Herbalism
Combat Tactics
Arcane Bolt
Elf Warrior Warrior City Elf Coercion
Combat Training
Dual Weapon Sweep
Elf Warrior Warrior Dalish Elf Survival
Combat Training
Pinning Shot
Elf Rogue Rogue City Elf Coercion
Dirty Fighting
Elf Rogue Rogue Dalish Elf Survival
Dirty Fighting
Dwarf Warrior Warrior Dwarven Commoner Stealing
Combat Training
Dual Weapon Sweep
Dwarf Warrior Warrior Dwarven Noble Improved Combat Training Shield Bash
Dwarf Rogue Rogue Dwarven Commoner Stealing
Dirty Fighting
Dwarf Rogue Rogue Dwarven Noble Poison-Making
Combat Training
Dirty Fighting

Human Noble[]

Human Noble.JPG
"Brave of you sir, to so
openly cast an envious eye
towards me and mine.
I suggest you look elsewhere,
lest I consider removing your sight in a more
permanent fashion."


Given names (default):

  • Male: Aedan
  • Female: Elissa
Main article: Human Noble Origin

Born to wealth and power second only to royalty, you find your training in both diplomacy and war put to the test when your father's castle is betrayed from within on the very night your elder brother leads the family's forces to war.


“Some lands are ruled by men and women who believe that they have been elevated to their rank by the Maker Himself, but in Ferelden, rulers must earn their place. The nobility is not suffered gladly, as the Orlesian Empire discovered to its dismay when it attempted to occupy the land.

The Couslands have stewarded the lands of Highever for many generations, dating even to before Ferelden's first king was crowned. They have persevered so long because of their reputation for justice and temperance, as well as their willingness to lead men into battle. With the rise of the darkspawn horde in the south, it thus falls on the Teyrn of Highever to send out the call once again: duty demands that an army be sent to King Cailan's aid at once.

As the Couslands will quickly discover, however, the evil horde to the south is not the only darkness in Ferelden; treachery stalks the halls of Castle Cousland as well. As a young scion of the Cousland family, the duty of carrying its banner will fall to you. Will you live up to your family's proud heritage? Or will you forge your own path, and damn the consequences?”[1]

Unique Origin items:

Family Sword Family Sword
Shield of Highever Shield of Highever

City Elf[]

City Elf.JPG
"Take another step,
human, and I guarantee it shall be your last.
My friends are dead and my life is in tatters
because of you and your kin. I have
nothing to lose, but you still possess
your other eye."


Given names (default):

  • Male: Darrian
  • Female: Kallian
Main article: City Elf Origin

You have always lived under the heavy thumb of your human overlords, but when a local lord claiming his privilege with the bride shatters your wedding day, the simmering racial tensions explode in a rain of vengeance.


“They planted a tree in the middle of the alienage long ago. Today it stands tall, healthy, and green—in sharp contrast to the city around it. For we are the poorest of the poor, the unwanted and the unwelcome huddled on the other side of the wall that separates us from the human part of the city. We are allowed to pass the wall to work on the docks or in the human's taverns and in their homes, but when the dusk comes we must return. Any elf caught outside the alienage at night is likely to be mistaken for a sneak thief or a pickpocket… and let us be honest, the ones that stay out there at night probably are.

Our elder tells us that the tree is called the vhenadahl, which in the ancient elven tongue means "tree of the people." Its roots are deep and the elder says that as long as the vhenadahl lives, so shall we. But he also says that there was once a time when our people lived in our own lands. He says that we were once ageless and strong, that it was the humans who took all this from us.

Is it true? Have we fallen so far? We are not unhappy. As poor as we are, we have a home. The alienage is no prison—it protects us, just as the vhenadahl shelters us. We dance and sing and make merry, stealing what moments we can to enjoy what little we have… and I believe we appreciate it far more than the humans do. They have everything and appreciate nothing.

And perhaps the day will come when the humans come and try to take the alienage from us, too. If that day comes, I swear they shall regret it.”[2]

Unique Origin items:

Adaia's Boots Adaia's Boots
Bloodstained Shield Bloodstained Shield
Borrowed Longsword Borrowed Longsword
Denerim Guard Shield Denerim Guard Shield
Fang Fang

—During Unrest in the Alienage

Fencer's Cinch Fencer's Cinch
Wedding Clothes Wedding Clothes
Wedding Ring Wedding Ring

—Female City Elf only

Dalish Elf[]

Dalish Elf.JPG
"What a wonder it is to see such
stalwart bravado in one such as
yourself. It is heartwarming,
truly, to see that there are yet
humans willing to risk a slow
and torturous death in pursuit of
our most sacred treasures."


Given names (default):

  • Male: Theron
  • Female: Lyna
Main article: Dalish Elf Origin

Proud of your role as one of the last 'true elves', you have always assumed you would spend your life wandering with your clan... until a chance encounter with a relic of your people's past threatens to tear you away from everything you've known.


“'We are the Dalish: keepers of the lost lore, walkers of the lonely path.
We are the last of the Elvhenan, and never again shall we submit.'

This is the oath the Dalish elves hold close to their hearts. In ancient times, the elves ruled over Thedas alone, ageless and beautiful, until the humans came. Enslaved for a thousand years, the elves lost not only their immortality but their very identity. The Dalish are those elves who refuse to live in human cities, proudly wandering the most remote corners of the wild lands in small clans that rarely meet. Their wagons are welcome nowhere, and more than one tale is told of the Dalish clashing with remote villagers who attempt to drive them away by force.

Much has been lost, but the Dalish will find what has been lost and keep it safe. They will relearn the elven tongue, rediscover the ancient crafts and practice the old magics. They will spurn the human god and instead cleave to the ancient pantheon of the elves, praying that one day their own gods will return and lead their people to a new homeland. There, the Dalish will await the return of those elves who have forgotten what they were, and they will teach them to remember.

Until that day comes, they will stand fast. As long as the landships are seen on the horizon there will be hope, hope that what was long ago shattered by the touch of mortal man may one day yet be restored.”[3]

Unique Origin items:

Dalish Leather Belt Dalish Leather Belt
Keeper's Ring Keeper's Ring
Heirloom Necklace Heirloom Necklace

—Only by persuading Ashalle to give you a key to the locked chest.


"Tread carefully, friend.
If you intend to cross the
path of one whose soul is
so tightly woven into the realm of the arcane,
I would not suggest
you do it lightly."


  • Human mage: Amell
  • Elven mage: Surana

Given names (default):

  • Human male: Daylen
  • Human female: Solona
  • Elven male: Alim
  • Elven female: Neria
Main article: Magi Origin

Gifted with a power considered dangerous by most, you have spent most of your life secluded in the remote tower of the Circle of Magi to be trained and watched closely by the dreaded Templars. Now your final test is upon you—succeed and prove your strength or be slain.


“The Circle of Magi exists to protect mages from a world that fears them, or so the young apprentices that are brought there are told. In truth, it exists as much to protect the world from the mages themselves. A time once existed when mages ruled the known world, bringing down ruin upon their enemies until at last they were overthrown. Now they are watched carefully by the templars, mage-hunters aligned with the Chantry priests who would not hesitate to strike down any mage at the first sign of corruption.

For the temptations offered to mages are many. Their power draws demons to them from the Fade, demons that will attempt to wrest control of a mage's body and transform her into a vile abomination. What these demons cannot take by force, they will sometimes attempt to take through deceit, offering knowledge of forbidden blood magic that allows a mage to control the minds of others and use the victims' very life force to fuel her power, leading her down a dark and destructive path.

All apprentices are taught to resist these temptations in the Circle of Magi, and the day comes when they must pass their final test, the Harrowing. They are thrown to the wolves, given over to a demon to either summon the willpower needed to defeat it or be possessed and die at templar hands. If the apprentice refuses they are made Tranquil, cut off from all emotion and magic and rendered unable to be possessed – for their own good. There are no other options, save to flee and be branded an apostate and thus hunted by the templars forever.

Welcome to the Circle, and life as a mage in Thedas, where the power to command the forces of magic comes with a price.”[4]

Unique Origin items:

Apprentice Robes Apprentice Robes
Blackened Heartwood Staff Blackened Heartwood Staff
Ephemeralist's Belt Ephemeralist's Belt
Fade Striders Fade Striders
Mage Robes Mage Robes
Ring of Study Ring of Study
Spirit Charm Spirit Charm

Dwarf Commoner[]

Casteless Dwarf.JPG
" I suggest you reach for your purse
swiftly friend. Ale may have dulled
my senses enough so that I merely
maim your pretty features,
but should I become sober I will be
in a mood to show
you a new realm of pain and violence."


Given names (default):

  • Male: Faren
  • Female: Natia
Main article: Dwarf Commoner Origin

Born casteless in a land where rank is everything, bound as the lackey and thug of a local crime lord, you have spent your life invisible until chance thrusts you into the spotlight, where you can finally prove whether you will be defined by your actions or your birth.


“There was a merchant come by Dust Town the other day, some poor sod who's had his skin burnt by the sun up on the surface lands once too often, I'd say. How he gets let back into Orzammar I can't rightly say… he claims that he has a deal worked out. Who am I to argue when someone has an angle?

Point is, he tells me what them cloudheads think of us dwarves down here. It isn't even just the humans, there's surface dwarves who're born and bred up in the sun who think the same things, don't know any different. He says they say dwarves are smiths. Proud, noble warriors who like nothing better than to mine a vein of ore or forge a decent sword.

Had us a good laugh, we did. What would them humans think if they came to Dust Town and saw how the rest of us really lived? The ones that are casteless, the ones who aren't even considered worthy of being servants in the homes of the wealthy or pure enough to work the forges in the Shaperate? The nobles make sure we casteless get tattooed so they know who we are when they see us. That way they know who to spit on, right? Helps us, too. Makes it easier to figure out whose pockets are worth picking.

That's a joke. Not all of the casteless are criminals. Some of us are beggars, nug-catchers, street sweepers and noble hunters. We do what we can to survive. And let me tell you, when the last defenses of Orzammar finally fall to the darkspawn, it'll be the casteless who survive then. Surviving is all we know how to do. Won't the cloudheads be scratching their heads when that happens?”[5]

Unique Origin items:

Aeducan Mace Aeducan Mace
Dwarven Warrior's Belt Dwarven Warrior's Belt

Dwarf Noble[]

Dwarf Noble.JPG
"What I have seen and done to
achieve my position defies belief.
What I am capable of and will
be party to in order to retain it
would chill your soul."


Given names (default):

  • Male: Duran
  • Female: Sereda
Main article: Dwarf Noble Origin

The favored child of the dwarven king, you proudly take up your first military command... only to learn that the deadly intrigues of dwarven politics can pose a greater danger than even that faced on the battlefield.


“When dwarves die, their spirits are said to return to the Stone–not some mythological entity, but rather to the actual stone that surrounds them. It is the roof over their head, the ground under their feet, the very basis from which their statues and architecture all are drawn. Is it any wonder that they would hold the rock in such reverence?

Those dwarves who are strong and who do their duty are said to make the Stone stronger when they return to it. They add to the foundation's strength. Those who are weak, who are unlucky or criminal, weaken the foundation… or are rejected by the Stone altogether. Thus the struggle to prove one's worth is central to dwarven culture. Their noble houses connive and plot to eclipse each other in the Assembly, often resorting to intrigues such as assassination and blackmail to increase their own prestige. So long as the appearance of honor is maintained, the end always justifies the means.

House Aeducan has held a prominent spot since its founding Paragon rose up to lead the defense of Orzammar against the darkspawn horde during the First Blight. With Endrin Aeducan as the current elected King, the House has remained ascendant, watched carefully by the envious and ambitious alike. Endrin is old, however, and the time has come for one of his children to make their move: they will prove their worth in replacing their father, or fall to treachery from within their own family.

The halls of Orzammar run deep, they say, but the blood runs deeper.”[6]

Unique Origin items:

Aeducan Family Shield Aeducan Family Shield —Given to the Warden by Gorim in Denerim

Fine Dwarven Blade Fine Dwarven Blade

[Note 1]

Superior Dwarven Guard Armor Superior Dwarven Guard Armor

—Found on one of the corpses near the end of the origin

  1. The Fine Dwarven Blade is added to the player's inventory by Lord Harrowmont when he sees the Warden off into exile at the gates of Orzammar, providing the Warden gives him a satisfactory answer when asked if they killed Prince Trian Aeducan:
    • If the Warden did not kill Trian, they can simply tell the truth.
    • If the Warden confronted Trian but attempted to surrender, the Warden can claim to have killed Trian in self-defense.
    • The Warden can also convincingly lie to Harrowmont if they have at least one point in Coercion.

Orlesian Grey Warden[]

Cg ico origin gw.png

In Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening, a newly created character (i.e., one that was not imported from Origins) must choose the Grey Warden origin. The character will be an experienced Warden of Orlesian nationality sent from Orlais to take charge of rebuilding the order in Ferelden as its new Commander of the Grey. The Warden-Commander will begin at level 18 with a few potions, grenades, 15Gold, the Grimoire of the Frozen Wastes, and a few extra traps if the Orlesian Warden is a rogue.

The Grey Wardens were once exiled from Ferelden for attempting to overthrow the king. They were permitted to return twenty years ago by King Maric, Cailan's father.

Given names (default): Male

  • Human: Gerod Caron
  • Elven: Elyon Andras
  • Dwarven: Eram Kader


  • Human: Leonie Caron
  • Elven: Sidona Andras
  • Dwarven: Nika Kader

Starting equipment[]


Grey Warden plate armor set Grey Warden plate armor set
Orlesian Warden's Plate Armor Orlesian Warden's Plate Armor
Warden's Companion Warden's Companion
Warden's Reach Warden's Reach
Twinblade Twinblade
Large Grey Warden Shield Large Grey Warden Shield
Commission Commission


Grey Warden light armor set Grey Warden light armor set
Orlesian Warden's Light Armor Orlesian Warden's Light Armor
Warden's Companion Warden's Companion
Twinblade Twinblade
Commission Commission


Grey Warden Cowl Grey Warden Cowl
Elementalist's Grasp Elementalist's Grasp
Robes of the Orlesian Magister Robes of the Orlesian Magister
Magus War Boots Magus War Boots
The Dragon's Call The Dragon's Call
Warden's Companion Warden's Companion


  • Originally, the human race had three origins; Noble, Mage, and Commoner. However, the Commoner origin was cut due to the story not fitting the tone of the game, as well as time constraints.[7][8] The Human Commoner was from a farm in Redcliffe and some dialogue for this origin can still be seen in the first narrated gameplay video. At one time, there was also a barbarian origin, which was written by Mark Yohalem.
  • According to BioWare telemetry, 80% of players chose Human origins, 15% - Elven origins (with the Elven Mage being the most popular) and 5% - Dwarven origins. This accounts for all registered playthroughs ever started, but not for playthroughs on unconnected consoles.[9]
  • The Dalish Elf and Dwarf Noble origins are the only ones in which the Warden encounters darkspawn prior to setting out into the Korcari Wilds. A few extra lines of dialogue are available in Ostagar for these origins.
  • The homes of the Human Noble and Dalish Elf origins are the only ones in which the Warden is unable to return to after arriving in Ostagar.

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age II.

  • The mother of Hawke in Dragon Age II shares the name Amell with the Human Warden Mage. In some dialogue options of the game, provided the Hero of Ferelden is a Human Mage, Leandra reveals that the Human Mage Warden is actually the son or the daughter of her cousin (Revka), and a second cousin of Hawke.

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Origins.

  • Through dialogue during the game, it is clear that the origin stories occur in each playthrough. Dialogue and events in the story in some ways suggest what may have happened had it not been for the timely arrival of Duncan, that the Warden was only recruited because Duncan was in the right place at the right time. It can be assumed by the fact that only Ser Jory and Daveth attempt the Joining that Duncan did not intervene in any of the other five origins stories. The following outcomes will happen if the Warden is not of the following origins:
    • Dwarf Noble: The succession crisis that occurs in the wake of the death of King Endrin happens whether or not Duncan is present to rescue the exile. Bhelen kills or has Trian killed, and the second offspring of Endrin is convicted by the Assembly and exiled. The Dwarf Noble was probably killed in the Deep Roads by darkspawn, as making it to the outposts of the Legion of the Dead would have required incredible skill or luck. Endrin's "middle child" is mentioned in passing at least once. Also, one can still find Trian's journal referencing Gorim Saelac preparing the Dwarf Noble's ceremonial armor, a gift for his sibling, as well as showing disdain at the Proving to be held in his sibling's honor.
    • Dwarf Commoner: When the Dwarf Noble converses with the Proving Master, they will be asked if they came to watch the provings; if the Noble replies "Wouldn't miss it.", they go to a staging area with the Proving Trainer. If conversed with, the proving trainer will talk about the previous week's events, particularly of some "casteless bruiser" impersonating Everd and winning the provings. Also, upon coming/returning to Orzammar, in the Carta Hideout, The Warden finds Leske in a cell, and in the next cell over, there is a dead dwarf. Leske mentions that the other dwarf stopped eating one day and died of starvation "all for a stupid bet." One can also still find Rica's letter in Bhelen's room. Additionally, if Bhelen is made king, several casteless in Dust Town can be overheard talking about Rica. Rica may also be met, briefly, during the Dwarf Noble Origin.
    • Magi: Jowan escapes from the Circle of Magi; the would-be-mage Warden is presumably punished (along with Lily) by the Circle and/or Chantry, or both, or otherwise killed or twisted into an abomination during the events at the circle tower later on.
    • Human Noble: Arl Howe attacks Castle Cousland and usurps the Highever Teyrn regardless of Duncan's intervention. The Human Noble most likely died in the attack, as Duncan was not there to help whittle down the numbers of the invaders, leading to the Couslands being overwhelmed whilst attempting to escape.
    • Dalish Elf: Without Duncan's intervention, the Dalish Elf died from the taint, as Duncan was not present to offer to "cure" him/her with the Joining. In Witch Hunt, Ariane recalls 'another clan', which had two elves in it that found an Eluvian; one died of the taint, and the other was never seen again. However, if you play through Witch Hunt as a Dalish elf you instead have a dialog option to note that you once saw an Eluvian that had to be destroyed to Finn's dismay. Ariane at one point asks the Warden-Commander if he/she would have wished for events to play out a different way, the Warden staying with his/her clan instead having to fight the Blight. The shattered Eluvian and area you seek out is the same as in the Dalish Elf origin, and it is safe to assume that Tamlen went missing in either instance as usual and later join the darkspawn to attack the camp, while the Dalish Elf died of the taint without Duncan's intervention as stated above.
    • City Elf: The City Elf may or may not have died during the rescue of the women kidnapped by Vaughan and his associates, or they may have been summarily executed for the events in the estate. Since Duncan would not be there to lend them a sword for infiltrating the estate, the City Elf and Soris would have significantly less chance of successfully rescuing them. Upon arrival at Denerim, the Warden learns that there is unrest in the Denerim alienage, so it is assumed that the events of that origin story occurred anyway, leaving authorities to scour the Alienage. As Vaughan is always found alive in in dungeon of his estate, he was not killed during the uprising. When the Arl of Denerim's estate is visited later in the game, some guards mention a group of elves that broke into palace earlier, apparently in reference to the City Elf origin. Other connections:
      • Soris is always in the dungeon of the Arl of Denerim's Estate. After battling through the Arl of Denerim's estate during the rescue of Anora, the Warden finds Soris locked up in a prison cell. He reveals that Vaughan abducted his fiance but does not remember other events during the rescue.
      • Shianni is always in the Alienage during the Battle of Denerim and the unrest. Based on her anger and agitation in the Alienage, she was probably abducted by Vaughan along with the other women.
      • Other figures in the City Elf origin are encountered during the later events in the Alienage.
      • In Leliana's Song, Tug mentions that Vaughan "will grow up to be something special one day."


  1. Human Noble. Dragon Age.
  2. City Elf. Dragon Age.
  3. Dalish Elf. Dragon Age.
  4. Mage. Dragon Age.
  5. Dwarf Commoner. Dragon Age.
  6. Dwarf Noble. Dragon Age.
  7. David Gaider, BioWare Forums
  8. David Gaider Tumblr
  9. Gaider, David. "Regarding Player Race in DA3". Retrieved 8 April, 2012.