“The darkspawn are an evil that must be destroyed, it's true. Though not as evil as the birds... damnable feathered fiends!”
Shale is one of the war golems created by Paragon Caridin in -255 Ancient to defend the dwarven thaigs against the darkspawn during the First Blight. As such, it has been a golem for more than a thousand years. Shale was a part, for a time, of the Legion of Steel: a dwarven army regiment that was composed completely by golems and it was the only female volunteer to join this regiment. However, Shale seems able to accurately remember only the events of approximately the last 30 years, and its knowledge of what it did prior to that is mainly based on what it has heard from others.
Eventually, in 8:93 Blessed, a deactivated Shale and its control rod were found by Wilhelm Sulzbacher, a mage who was trying to escape from shrieks in the Deep Roads. Wilhelm reactivated the golem and, for many years, used it to his own ends: Shale became an object of study, a trophy, and a weapon during the Fereldan Rebellion, for both Moira Theirin's and later Maric Theirin's rebel forces.
After the war, Wilhelm settled in the village of Honnleath, taking Shale with him and continuing his study of the golem. While under Wilhelm's control, Shale was experimented on, paraded around the village like a pet, and even chiseled down to a smaller size so that it might more easily fit through the doorways in Wilhelm’s home.
Before Wilhelm's death, Wilhelm speculated that the Desire demon he had trapped in his laboratory was having an influence over Shale; although he also considers that his own experiments on Shale may have also been a factor. Wilhelm had planned to temporarily deactivate Shale while he attempted to banish his imprisoned demon.
Wilhelm was found dead outside his tower in 9:04 Dragon, with a deactivated Shale standing frozen over his body. Though there were no witnesses to the event, Shale was believed to have killed him. In response to the mage's seeming death at the golem's hands, Shale's control rod was sold to a merchant by Wilhelm's wife, in the hopes that Shale would never be activated again.
But, though it was deactivated, the golem was still aware of its surroundings. Shale remained that way for decades, awake but unable to move.
Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne
Dragon Age: Origins
After the Warden encounters a merchant called Felix de Grosbois at Sulcher's Pass, they obtain the control rod to a Golem located in the village of Honnleath. After rescuing several trapped villagers including Matthias, Wilhelm's son, The Warden re-activated Shale and convinced it to join in their fight against the Fifth Blight.
During the mission to rescue the Paragon Branka, the Warden will encounter Caridin. If Shale is present at the time, Caridin will reveal much of Shale's past and trigger the quest A Golem's Memories. If the Warden sides with Branka they will be forced to kill Shale as well. Alternatively if they side with Branka and Shale is not present, a conversation in camp will trigger where the Warden can simply say they do not know what happens to Caridin and then the next time Shale is brought into the Deep Roads the quest will activate.Shale will remember it was found in Cadash Thaig where the party will discover a registry of dwarves who volunteered to become Golems in order to fight the darkspawn. The list includes Shale's original identity: Shayle, a female warrior of House Cadash.
Dragon Age: Asunder
Dragon Age: Origins
Shale has a preference for "remarkable" gemstones. There is an issue with the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions which causes Shale to not give the standard +10 for the first gem; instead you receive +5, which decreases as usual, so that after receiving four of the gems, Shale seems uninterested in the others ("So I'm to keep this then, am I? Fine."), giving only +1 for the rest, giving a measly 18 approval for giving them all to Shale. Therefore, you have to rely on conversation and your actions to get higher approval.
If you have the Feastday Gifts and Pranks DLC, however, you might also compensate for this bug with the thoughtful gifts and sugar cakes available from Bodahn Feddic. No matter how many are given, a Thoughtful Gift is always worth (+10), while a Sugar Cake is worth (+5).
Name Notes Description
Remarkable AmethystLocated: AlimarA deep, clear purple stone. Remarkable Diamondps3xbox360Can be purchased from Garin.A brilliant cut, colorless stone. Remarkable EmeraldLocated: FigorThis dark green gem has murky depths, like an overgrown pond. Remarkable GarnetUnobtainable via normal meansA gem the shade of dried blood, dark red, nearly black. Remarkable GreenstoneLocated: Village of HonnleathBlue-green stone with a pattern like a turtle's shell. Remarkable MalachiteLocated: Circle TowerThis stone is patterned with odd bands and ripples of color, like the contents of a witch's cauldron. Remarkable RubyDeep red and nearly indestructible, these are prized by royalty. Remarkable SapphireLocated: LegnarA star-cut sapphire, almost the color of the night sky. Remarkable TopazLocated: FarynA brilliant gem the color of sunshine.
Relative attribute weightings on auto-level:
Strength Dexterity Willpower Magic Cunning Constitution 1.4 0.25 0.5 0 0.145 1.9
- See Shale talents for a list of all Shale talents.
Warrior Powerful Powerful Threaten Precise Striking Precise Striking Taunt Shale Pulverizing Blows Pulverizing Blows Slam Quake Stoneheart Stoneheart Bellow Stone Roar (level 12) Rock Mastery Rock Mastery (level 8) Hurl Rock (level 9) Earthen Grasp (level 13) Stone Aura Stone Aura (level 10) Inner Reserves (level 11)
Shale does not use conventional weapons or armor. Instead, much like Dog, the golem has two slots for specialized equipment:
- Small Crystals - act as weapons and appear on Shale's wrists; they grant a bonus to the corresponding elemental attack damage, convert all damage to the crystal's element type, and can (depending on their quality and type) grant bonuses to various attacks, attributes, and health/stamina regeneration. Because Shale's damage is largely elemental based, Vulnerability Hex and Affliction Hex are helpful in boosting damage.
- Large Crystals - act as armor and appear on Shale's shoulders and legs; they grant a bonus to the corresponding elemental resistance and can (depending on their quality and type) grant bonuses to various defenses, attributes, and health/stamina regeneration.
There are a total of 50 different crystals: 25 small crystals, 25 large crystals. Both sizes of crystals come in each of the five elemental types and in five varying degrees of quality.
Equipping Shale with a small and large crystal of the same elemental type will grant an additional set bonus of +10% to the corresponding resistance.
As you befriend Shale and gain its approval, it will gain the following additional skills:
Name Benefit Requirement Inspired: Minor Strength +1 strength 25% approval Inspired: Moderate Strength +2 strength 50% approval Inspired: Major Strength +4 strength 75% approval Inspired: Massive Strength +6 strength 90% approval
- Main article: Shale/Dialogue
- "I wonder what it is like to float...or drown."
- (If given one of the Remarkable Gems) "Oooh, Shiny!"
- "I would appreciate it if it didn't spread around that I said anything. Humans might start to get the wrong idea. They might start thinking their race is not completely hopeless."
- "Now, let us crush something soft and watch it fountain blood. That is a girlish thing to want to do, yes?"
- (While conversing with Sten about the Qun) "Does sound like a delightful place where it comes from. Mages on leashes. What will they think of next?"
- Shale: "I see it found some augmentation crystals. I was not even aware it knew about them... well done! So? What does it think? They don't make me look any wider, do they? I find I am already too wide as it is."
- The Warden: "No, no, they're quite slimming."
- Shale: "They are, aren't they? I so adore them! I think it should find some more as soon as possible. I want to glitter from ear to ear... so to speak!"
- Codex entry: Shale
- Codex entry: The Journal of Enchanter Wilhelm
- Codex entry: A Note from the Honnleath Village Council
- Shale, the golem control rod, and Wilhelm's Cottage were originally intended to be found in Redcliffe Village and therefore be accessible in the base version of the game.
- Like Dog, Shale uses no weapons. So, when Frost Weapons, Flaming Weapons, or Telekinetic Weapons is enabled, its visual effect is applied to Shale's entire body.
- Shale mentions being chiseled down to a smaller size by Wilhelm at the behest of his wife, who complained that the golem couldn't fit through the doors of their home. This refers to difficulties the developers had with getting Shale to fit through many of the game's doorways when they used the original golem graphical model for it. A full-sized version of Shale can be seen during its nightmare in the Fade.
- At Soldier's Peak (after Levi has set up shop), birds will migrate towards Shale and follow it around.
- To capture the ambiguity of Shale's gender, the voice actress's already gravelly voice was pitch-shifted down to sound deeper and more masculine.
- Shale is referenced twice in Dragon Age II:
- A dwarven Inquisitor comes from the same house as Shale.
- A painting of a Val Royeaux street scene includes an image of an androgynous dwarf standing near a number of pigeons, possibly representing Shayle of House Cadash in a restored dwarven form.
- Shale's codex entry after completing its personal quest contains information that is inconsistent with other game lore. It says Shale became a golem "300 years earlier", presumably 300 years earlier than the current events in the game. However, Shale was created by Caridin around 1200 years before the Dragon Age.
- Shale was to appear in the cut plot "Finding Shale" for Dragon Age II. The plot was replaced with Finding Nathaniel.
- Shale is the only member of the party who cannot throw the Stick for Dog to fetch.
- David Gaider stated that Shale was influenced by a "combination of forced pigeon sex viewings and my bristling hatred of everything outdoors".
- Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, p. 91
- Codex entry: The Journal of Enchanter Wilhelm
- Rob Bartel (November 10, 2009). "Is Shale a....?" . The BioWare Forum. Retrieved on July 14, 2014.
- David Gaider. "Your Random Dragon Age Question?" . The BioWare Forum.
- David Gaider (November 21, 2018). https://twitter.com/davidgaider/status/1065423558916984832 . Twitter.