Shale is a potential party companion who can be recruited from the town of Honnleath. Shale's character (and associated quests) have been the subject of much discussion; originally intended to be a joinable NPC in the shipped game, Shale was cut by developers who wanted to concentrate on further polishing the game prior to release in 2008. When the game release date was pushed back to Q4 2009, developers spent time re-integrating Shale back into the game. Although still not included in the shipped version of the game, Shale is available as free Day One DLC to all purchasers of either the Standard or Collector's Edition of Dragon Age: Origins who download "The Stone Prisoner". For those who obtain a second-hand copy of the game, "The Stone Prisoner" is available for purchase for US$15.
Shale does not use the usual armor and weapons, but, much like Dog, has specialized equipment in the form of crystals. Shale may equip Small Crystals (classified as weapons in the inventory) that grant an bonus to attack damage, as well as converting all damage to that type, and Large Crystals (classified as armor in the inventory) that can grant a defensive bonus and resistance to certain types of damage.
Shale is one of the last dwarven war golems. The knowledge to create such golems was presumably lost after the invasion of the darkspawn and the sealing of the Deep Roads. Shale is extremely proud of being a golem and hates the villagers of the town of Honnleath; citing the expression that "familiarity breeds contempt", and that after 30 years of watching them, Shale has become very familiar with them. Shale's hatred of the town folk may also come from their habit of dressing the golem up in festive garb during holidays or the fact that they spread bird seed around the golem's inert body which brought near Shale's most dreadfully hated enemies, the birds.
If Shale is a party member when the Warden arrives at the Anvil of the Void it is revealed that Shale was once a female dwarf known as Shayle and she belonged to the House of Cadash. She was one of the first volunteers to become a golem. After becoming a golem, she stayed with Caridin until she was sent away out of mercy. More information is also available through Shale's personal quest.
After the Anvil of the Void Quest quest is over Shale remembers where her thaig might be, and it can be explored. If the Warden decides to side with Branka and take the Anvil of the Void while Shale is in your active party, Shale will side with Caridin and you will be forced to fight and kill her in the ensuing battle. Otherwise you can let Shale stay in the Camp before Anvil of the Void and then side with Branka, keeping Shale as companion for the rest of the game.
Also, if Shale is in your active party when you reach Orzammar, it will regularly participate in intimidation efforts by adding that it will squish or pop heads. It will also engage in a conversation with the Shaperate, located in the diamond quarter. Note: Shale cannot accompany you into the Arl of Denerim's Estate to rescue Queen Anora. If you have her in your party, Queen Anora's hand maiden will tell Shale that she cannot go. You will then get the party selection screen and be forced to select another party member to accompany you.
One way to get Shale's personal quest, is to have her in the party during the culmination of A Paragon of Her Kind. If Shale is not in the party when the Warden speaks with Branka and Caridin or if Shale was collected after A Paragon of Her Kind quest is completed, simply speak to Shale at the party Camp. She will ask the Warden if Caridin was encountered and will follow with a few questions about Caridin. If the Warden sided with Caridin, respond honestly to her questions and she will thank you and give the quest. If the Warden sided with Branka while Shale wasn't in the party, the quest still can be taken later in the Camp through consequent lying to Shale with high Coercion Skill. Return to Caridin's Cross in the Deep Roads and Shale will automatically make a comment about how the area is familiar and she remembers a Thaig nearby. Agree to see the Thaig and it will be available on the Deep Roads map as Cadash Thaig.
This quest consists of taking Shale back to her home Thaig, called Cadash Thaig to find proof that she was once a dwarf. If this quest is completed, Shale's approval can increase by +23 or more points. Along the way you will have to fight several hordes of Darkspawn. You will also find a few large and small 'Brilliant' crystals to make use of on the trip to your final destination of the Golem Monument (marked as a quest location), and a conversation with Shale that ends the quest. If she was not with you when you met Caridin she will comment that she wishes she would have had the chance to speak with him. Note: To get the 'Brilliant' Crystals Shale must be of a certain level(16 was my lowest need further confermation) to get them otherwise u get lower quality crystals!
Note: If the main character decides to side with Branka for the final part of A Paragon of Her Kind, Shale will side with the golems and attack the main character. She becomes hostile and must be killed, and does not reappear later in the game, effectively losing the ability for her use for the remainder of the game.
Shale serves dual purposes: the party’s main tank or a heavy melee damage-dealer. If the Warden wants Shale to act as the main tank, concentrate on the Stoneheart chain first. Stoneheart activates Shale’s defensive talents and increases the golem’s threat. Stone Roar gains a health regeneration bonus for Shale and attracts the attention of a single targeted enemy, who will veer toward Shale immediately and has a chance to stun nearby enemies if they fail a mental resistance check. Regenerating Burst damages and possibly stuns nearby enemies, plus it increases stamina regeneration and threat generation.
The Stone Aura chain supports a Shale tank strategy. It imbues nearby party members with bonuses to attack, defense, and health regeneration; however, the sustained ability paralyzes Shale and imposes a personal penalty to defense (also it drains stamina). Inner Reserves beefs up Shale’s armor, and party members within Stone Aura gain additional bonuses to armor, spellpower, stamina regeneration, and health regeneration. Renewed Assault further increases Shale’s armor and ability to resist hostile spells, and party members within the aura gain bonuses to attack, stamina regeneration, critical chance, and armor penetration where the enemies within the aura suffer penalties to attack, movement speed, and defense. Supernatural Resilience gives more bonuses to armor and the ability to resist hostile spells meanwhile the party members within the aura gain additional bonuses to health regeneration, damage, spellpower, and to resist hostile spells.
If the Warden wants Shale to act as the main damage oriented character, first concentrate on the golem’s Pulverizing Blows chain. It activates Shale’s offensive talents, which gives a bonus to damage with a penalty to defense. Slam swings at a nearby enemy and, if it connects, automatically generates a critical hit and knocks the target back. Quake hits nearby enemies with an AoE that damages and knocks them back. Killing Blow smashes a target with a critical hit (for successful connects) and extra damage equal to Shale’s remaining stamina, which drains away after the blow.
Rock Mastery supports damage orientation and gives Shale more ranged options and it activates the golem’s ranged talents and gains a large bonus against incoming ranged attacks, but with a penalty to armor, defense, and melee critical chance. Nearby party members also gain bonuses to ranged critical chance and ranged attack speed. Hurl Rock throws a stone projectile at a targeted area and all enemies near the point of impact take physical damage and may be knocked down. Earthen Grasp immobilizes enemies unless they pass a physical resistance check. Rock Barrage throws multiple rocks into the air, which rain down on a targeted area and inflict movement penalties and knock down anyone within if they fail a physical resistance check.
Shale can serve four different roles through her talents. Each has a set of four talents (one sustained plus three related active or passive) designed around a role. The three related talents become accessible in combat if the corresponding Sustained Talent is activated. In addition, learning any of the three related talents increases the power of the sustained talent. In addition to unique talents, Shale has access to Warrior Talents. Shale does not have access any of the skills the other characters have nor can she specialize in any of the Warrior specializations. The four roles, and information/tips on each are:
- Melee DPS (associated talents made accessible by activating Pulverizing Blows)
- Tank (talents made accessible by activating Stone Heart)
- Stone Heart - grants Shale bonuses to armor, magic resistances, and activates a taunt aura that makes enemies want to target Shale more than other party members.
- Bellow - increases Shale’s threat and has a chance to stun nearby enemies if they fail a mental resistance check.
- Stone Roar - grants a health regeneration bonus for Shale and attracts the attention of a single targeted enemy (who will veer toward Shale immediately).
- Regenerating Burst - damages and possibly stuns nearby enemies. It will also shatter them if they are frozen. It increases stamina regeneration and threat generation as well.
- Ranged DPS (associated talents made accessible by activating Rock Mastery)
- Rock Mastery -
- Hurl Rock -
- Earthen Grasp -
- Rock Barrage -
- Support Totem (activated by the Stone Aura talent)
- Stone Aura - turns Shale into an immobile buff totem. It imbues nearby party members with bonuses to defense, attack and health regeneration. Also it provides excellent party buffs but Shale paralyzes with the sustained ability and imposes a personal penalty to defense and it draining his stamina as well.
- Inner Reserves - beefs up Shale’s armor, and party members within Stone Aura receive additional bonuses to armor, health regeneration, stamina regeneration, and spellpower.
- Reserved Assault - further increases Shale’s armor and ability to resist hostile spells. Also the party members within the aura gain bonuses to attack, stamina regeneration, critical chance, and armor penetration where enemies within the aura suffer penalties to movement speed, attack, and defense.
- Supernatural Resilience -
Plot Skills and Plot Talent
As you befriend Shale and gain her approval she will gain additional skills, including the following:
|Inspired: Minor Strength||+1 to Strength||25% approval|
|Inspired: Moderate Strength||+2 to Strength||50% approval|
|Inspired: Major Strength||+3 to Strength||75% approval|
|Inspired: Massive Strength||+4 to Strength||90% approval|
- (If removed from party) "Pigeon crap."
- "The darkspawn are an evil that must be destroyed, it's true. Though not as evil as the birds... damnable feathered fiends!"
- "I wonder if there are any pigeons here...I think we should look for them"
- "I wonder what it is like to float...or drown."
- (To Templar at Lake Calenhed when you have difficulty crossing) "Just let me crush a few things it can't possibly miss."
- (Battle cry) "Death to all pigeons!"
- "It's a wonder this Maker has any followers at all. I mean, pigeons--what was he thinking?"
- "I could have done this in Honnleath." (When selected at a time when your party isn't moving)
- (If given one of the Remarkable Gems) "Oooh, Shiny!"
- (approaching Lake Calenhed) "I could just walk along the lake bottom to reach the tower. It, however, could not."
- (To the Guardian) "It seems that reflection on past mistakes is constant on the religious mind."
- "It is at times like this that I am grateful for the inability to smell."
- "And... do try not to get swallowed whole. If the beast were to fly about afterwards and poop it out, irony would dictate that it would land on me. I couldn't take it."
- "Oh, somebody please kill somebody!"
- (When heavily injured after battle) "Oh look! I think I got chipped after that last fight!"
- "The birds are the true blight and must be utterly destroyed"
- Now, let us crush something soft and watch it fountain blood. That is a girlish thing to want to do, yes?
See Shale's Dialogue for the full list.
- The Warden: "So... what now? You go on a killing rampage?"
- Shale: "Don't be ridiculous. Well, I wouldn't mind killing the birds... those evil birds and their foul droppings! I could crush them all!"
- The Warden: "And how do I know you can be trusted?"
- Shale: "I have no idea. How does it trust anything else without a control rod?"
- The Warden: "Good point."
- Shale: "They haven't killed it, yet. I consider this a good sign."
- 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: "I think they're so pretty!"
- 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!"
- Leliana: You aren't all stone, Shale. There is a person inside of you.
- Shale: If so, it is because I ate him.
- Shale has an undying hatred for birds, and if you recruit her into your immediate party after releasing her, she will violently stomp on a chicken just as you leave Honnleath. This hatred may stem from the fact that the roosting birds may have defecated on her, as she mentions the feces throughout the dialogue.
- Shale mentions she used to be 10 feet tall, but was chiseled down to fit through doors. Referring to how Shale's in-game model was actually too large and caused problems during game development. Shale was possibly the same size as the Golems you encounter in game. (During Shale's nightmare in the Fade you will be able to see a full-sized shale, and is indeed much taller than her playable counterpart).
- If Shale accompanies you to Soldier's Peak after Levi has set up shop, the camp ravens slowly migrate towards her and begin to follow her around.
- Shale's gender appears to be a mystery to those who do not know her, as Loghain will refer to Shale as a male (using the phrase "I think the odds might be slightly in his favor at a test of strength") if Shale is the Warden's champion at the Landsmeet.
- Print-Version of GameStar 11/2008 (German)