The Shaperate is a highly respected dwarven institution, a kind of organic library. The dwarves consider that those who walk the path of the Shaperate and document lore, history, and events in the Stone via the Memories will eventually be blessed by the Shaperate. The members of the Shaperate are historians, scholars, judges, genealogists and philosophers among the dwarves. Their task is considered to be extremely important—almost sacred.
The Shapers are an academic class typically drawn from the ranks of the Noble caste, though exceptions are made for those of other castes who possess great intellectual gifts. They also possess remarkable Stone sense. The political body of Shapers is known as the Shaperate, which is also the name for their physical edifice in Orzammar.
Shapers are supposed to be apolitical, devoted solely to their work maintaining the Memories. But in reality, in certain cases the Memories had been concealed from the public or even rewritten completely.
The functions of the Shaperate[edit | edit source]
Main role[edit | edit source]
The main role of the Shaperate of Memories is to record in lyrium on the Wall of Memories: the authoritative collection of information on dwarven society spanning thousands of years. On a daily basis, they oversee births, marriages and death records. Based on this information, the Shaperate can trace lineages, determine what land is owned by which family, and so on. Several codex entries are attributed to various Shaperate members.
Shapers are expected to venture far and wide to gain knowledge with which to add to the Memories. This may involve entering the Deep Roads to search abandoned thaigs for forgotten lore where they may conduct excavations, even fighting darkspawn if that is what it takes to gain the knowledge they seek. All knowledge of dwarven history and current events is considered of value and Shapers are expected by their peers and the traditions of the Shaperate to seek it out.
The Shaperate is the main source of learning in Orzammar, and as such is critical to the research of dwarven scholars. Dwarves of any caste can also make use of the Shaperate archives, perhaps even the casteless are permitted inside. Some scholars have noble patronage, conducting extended research on a particular house in return for support and protection. The shapers also specialize in enchantments.
Other functions[edit | edit source]
In addition, the Shaperate of Memories regulates the changes in Orzammar's structure and society. For example, the Shaperate decides whether or not to sanction a place of worship dedicated to anything other than the Paragons. Furthermore, whenever a new king or queen of Orzammar is elected, they are coronated during a special ceremony in the Chamber of the Assembly by the Shaper of Memories.
Since they are considered apolitical and objective, the Shaperate advises the Assembly on matters of procedure and precedent. Members are called upon to act as judges in disputes. However, in extremely sensitive matters—such as the murder of a member of the royal family, or determining whether a dwarf shall be declared a Paragon—such responsibilities fall to the Assembly.
Note that what the Shaperate records is the truth according to the Shaperate and it is not necessarily the unvarnished reality. The Shaperate has the authority to strike from the Memories anything "unworthy" or against the interests of dwarven society. For example, the Shaperate never records anything related to the casteless, not even recording the births of casteless children. It also strikes from all records any dwarf who is branded a traitor by the Assembly, maintaining that the dwarf in question never existed. In addition, Shapers with blood ties to nobles can be influenced to omit records that are inconvenient to their house.
Finally, the Shaperate is responsible for the maintenance and governance of Orzammar's golems. They wield authority over when and whether golems are committed to battle, a function left over from the time when there was an entire Shaperate of Golems to actively handle such affairs.
Structure[edit | edit source]
The order of the Shapers is dedicated to preserving the history and collective knowledge of the dwarves; as such there are three different kinds of Shapers to maintain the different branches of information.
The Shaperate of Memories is the most prominent branch of the Shaperates with a privileged location in Orzammar which keeps the essential records known as Memories. Its leader is the Shaper of Memories who may be part of the nobility since he is addressed as "Lord Shaper". This title may simply be an honorific and not intentionally indicative of nobility.
The Shaperate of Stone keeps mundane records of work and marriage and other domestic information. Its leader is the Shaper of Stone.
Known positions within the Shaperate of Memories are:
- Shaper of Memories
- Shaper Assistant
- Shaperate Scribe
- Shaperate Cataloger
Known members[edit | edit source]
- Axus: Shaper
- Czibor: Shaper of Memories
- Erden: Shaper
- Ezerain: Shaper
- Fairel: Shaper of Runes
- Gertek: Scholar
- Hilson: Shaper Assistant
- Merta: Shaper
- Milldrate: Shaper Assistant
- Darion Olmech: Scholar
- Dwarven Scholar
- Shalla: Shaper Assistant
- Valta: Shaper
- Vortag: Shaper
- Warrek: Shaper
- Tole: Shaper
Notes[edit | edit source]
- The Shaper of Memories is also known to use memory crystals, a very rare object of dwarven origin with magical properties in which memories and voices can be stored within.
- During the quest Thief in the House of Learning, Shaper Assistant Milldrate mentions that it is the first time someone ever dared to steal from the Shaperate.
- Kardol of the Legion of the Dead has sent a report to the Shaperate about a possible location of an abandoned Archdemon Prison beneath the Heidrun Turning.
See also[edit | edit source]
Codex entry: The City of Orzammar
Codex entry: The Shaper's Life
Codex entry: The Primeval Thaig
Codex entry: The Edge of Night
Codex entry: Dwarven Runecraft
Codex entry: The Eternal Battle: Darkspawn
References[edit | edit source]