For the proving grounds, see Orzammar Proving.

Concept art of a Proving

Provings are combat-arena matches used to settle debates and honor challenges that could not be settled otherwise in accordance to dwarven culture. Like many elements of dwarven life, Provings are unique to the dwarven race. To a casual observer a Proving match between dwarves may appear mere bloodsport but to dwarves the Provings embody far more.

The Provings in Orzammar are duels between dwarves held in the arena in the Commons known as the Proving Grounds. When dwarves do battle in the arena it is a matter of great honor. The dwarves believe that a fighter who wins a Proving has the approval of the Paragons and so the outcome of a Proving is believed to represent the favor of the dwarven Ancestors, those venerable dwarves of ages past whom all dwarves revere.[1]

Background[edit | edit source]

With Provings embodying the will of the Ancestors, the matches take on great gravity and are therefore used as a means to settle disputes of honor, vengeance, debates in the Orzammar Assembly, and conflicts between noble houses, among other reasons.[2] The dwarven noble houses win Provings to earn rank and prestige for their respective houses and, furthermore, Provings have been used to eclipse rival houses in the dwarves' centuries-old power struggles. For example, Provings are used to settle how much prestige and degrees of power a noble house's achievements are meant to confer when two rival houses dispute whose triumphs are superior.[3]

Any dwarf may fight in a Proving but typically noble houses choose champions from the warrior caste or members of the noble house's own bloodline to represent them. During ancient times the best warriors of the Grand Provings were named as Paragons of the dwarves and statues were constructed in their honor.[4] It is unknown if this practice continues in present day.

Provings are not explicitly fought to the death but that is often the outcome as it is commonly believed better for a single dwarf to die to settle a dispute to avoid greater bloodshed and death.

Provings have over time evolved into a form of entertainment, as demonstrated by the number of Proving fans one can witness loitering in the Orzammar Proving Grounds during the Fifth Blight. In recent years, Proving events are also held to honor special guests.[1]

Lower caste dwarves typically do not participate in Provings unless their honor is at stake,[5] and casteless are not allowed to participate at all, as dwarves believe their presence would insult the Ancestors. In contemporary times, the Assembly has prohibited lower caste dwarves from participating in Provings even in the case of settling honor disputes. The Assembly decreed that Provings are a gentlemen's contest where future generals and respected veterans display their skills. It is intended to be inspiring, and remind the lower castes why their leaders lead. Since recent incidents − such as casteless infiltrating the Provings − had sullied the sanctity of the Provings in their eyes, they believe that extending participation of the practice to the lower castes could prove a dangerous and barbaric precedent.[6]

In spite of the importance and sacredness of Provings, the matches are sometimes rigged to ensure favorable outcomes. It is known that House Tethras was exiled for such a crime. Also, Lord Vollney used the leader of the Carta, Beraht, to fix a match for him and even King Endrin Aeducan may have rigged the Proving which killed his brother, according to his son Bhelen Aeducan.

Types of Provings[edit | edit source]

The Proving Arena

  • Trials of Blood: Each year the best fighters in Orzammar meet for the Trials of Blood, a great tournament that crowns the kingdom's best and most popular fighter.[1]
  • Honor/Glory Provings: The most typical proving in which combatants fight for the honor of a particular person, house, cause, or in order to settle a dispute.
  • "Memorial Provings": Held in the memory of a dwarf of high stature.
    • The Proving which is held by Prince Bhelen during A Paragon of Her Kind quest line for the memory of his king father belongs to this type of provings.
  • Celebratory Provings: A Proving held to celebrate an event. It is often in this type of Provings the victor to be rewarded with a ceremonial item, such as the Proving Helm.
    • One takes place during the Dwarf Noble Origin in which House Aeducan is hosting a Proving to celebrate the first commission of King Endrin's middle child.
    • During the Dwarf Commoner Origin, the warrior caste hosts a proving for the Grey Wardens and the victor will be recruited by Duncan into the order.
  • Grand Provings: These are the most prestigious Provings but the circumstances under which they occur have not been fully revealed.
    • It is possible Grand Provings may occur to entertain visiting dignitaries as King Cailan Theirin can remark to a Dwarf Noble that he and his father, King Maric Theirin, attended one once.
    • Before the capital of the empire was moved to Orzammar at -1170 Ancient, Grand Provings took place in Kal-Sharok.[4]
  • Unsanctioned Provings: In spite of the regulations regarding Provings, many unsanctioned matches occur in the arena. Such matches are forbidden by the Assembly as it flouts the will of the Ancestors. Members of younger warrior houses usually participate in them because they don't often get a chance to test themselves in the Provings.
    Unlike official matches, it is quite common the use of unorthodox tactics, such as the use of casteless from the Dust Town or mages from the surface. Furthermore, dirty fighting is also allowed.

Proving officials[edit | edit source]

  • Proving Master: The Provings are arranged by, and presided over, by the Proving Master. The Proving Master sets the schedule of the fights and officiates over them. More than one Proving Master seem to exist, as two different Masters are seen in the Dwarf Commoner Origin and the Dwarf Noble Origin. It may be that different Masters preside over different types of Provings. As demonstrated in the Dwarf Commoner Origin, the Proving Master holds the power to mete out justice amongst the Proving fighters, as the Proving Master can have those fighters who dishonor Provings jailed.
  • Proving Trainer: The Proving Trainer appears only in the Dwarf Noble Origin. The lead trainer of the Provings, he trains warriors from lesser houses without their own trainers the art of dueling, as well as those promising fighters of the warrior caste.
  • Proving Armsman: The Armsman may be encountered during the main storyline. He provides arms and armor to fighters. The Armsman can also schedule the Warden to participate in some unofficial and illegal Provings in order to test their mettle and the mettle of warriors eager to engage in battles they otherwise would not be allowed into.

Known Proving fighters[edit | edit source]

During the Fifth Blight[edit | edit source]

Note: For more information about each of these characters, see here.

Notes[edit | edit source]

BioWare canon.png
The following characters, lore and events in this section are non-canon in Dragon Age and exist only within the Dragon Age tabletop RPG.

  • The warrior caste holds tournaments in which outsiders may sometimes fight.[13]

See also[edit | edit source]

Codex entry: The Proving Codex entry: The Proving
Valos Atredum Valos Atredum

References[edit | edit source]

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