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“Either you have an enviable memory, or a pitiable life, to know nothing of regret.”

Sten is a warrior of the Beresaad, the vanguard of the Qunari people. He is a stoic and disciplined man with a strong code of ethics, and the way he treats others depends on whether or not they have his respect, which he does not give easily. He is not a typical Qunari as he was born without horns. As with all Qunari appellations, "Sten" is not a name but a rank.

He is a potential companion to the Warden and can only be recruited in Lothering.


The first Thedosian records of the soldier who would become Sten of the Beresaad comes from a correspondence between Antiva City and an Antivan Crow writing from Seheron in 9:03 Dragon. The Crow described a hornless boy soldier who watched them with an odd intensity, and inquired to the meaning of "silver" in the common tongue. The Crow was puzzled, having hardly heard the Qunari talk among themselves let alone a stranger, but indulged his curiosity. Several Rivaini traders also noted the young soldier in their missives home. Hornless Qunari are rare, but a curious Qunari was unheard of. He interrogated nearly every delegation entering or leaving the port during the three years he was stationed there, and in most cases, his questions pertained to the common tongue. He couldn't understand how one could tell whether a word was being used as a noun or a verb, and wondered as to which limbs and other body parts were also actions.

After disappearing from outside notice for several years, the young Sten-to-be next surfaced during the Qunari assault on Tevinter in 9:12 Dragon[1]. The Kathaban of the Qunari navy struck at the Tevinter mainland with a fleet of warships, and the entire beresaad kith was sent with them as a landing force. Among them was a young karasaad who now commanded an excellent knowledge of the common tongue and even Tevene. The Kathaban's campaign initially made great progress, but was dealt a crushing blow when the Tevinter military retaliated en force. The Kathaban was forced to withdraw the fleet to Seheron, and the entire antaam was shaken by the defeat. In the campaign's aftermath, the young beresaad officer voiced concerns to the Arishok regarding the Qunari strategy to Tevinter. The argument "went on for some time and was notable, not only because Qunari argue so rarely, but because it is unheard of for an officer of any rank to disagree with the Arishok".[1] The young vanguard believed the mainland could not be taken by force, and the antaam should devote more of its resources to gathering information if they were ever to secure victory in the south. The Arishok dismissed the notion, but it nevertheless startled the Tevinter spy present; for the Qunari learning subtlety or political ability presented a worrying thought.

Proving himself an honorable and valuable member of the beresaad, Sten earned the Arishok's trust and was entrusted to investigate rumors of a Blight in southern Fereldan.

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Origins.

If Sten trusts the Warden enough, he will begin to reveal his past. He was sent with a group of other Qunari to discover what the Blight is. His group was attacked by darkspawn, and during the battle he was rendered unconscious. When he awoke, his comrades were dead and his sword was gone. To a Qunari warrior, the sword is the soul (the name of Sten's sword, Asala, literally means "soul"). If he were to return to his homeland without his sword, he would be hunted and killed. Out of panic from losing his sword, he murdered the farmers who found him and their children with his bare hands. Once he came to his senses again he realized that because of what he had just done, he had lost his honor, and so he chose to remain to pay for his crime. Days later he was arrested and brought to Lothering, where the Revered Mother sentenced him to die in the cage where he is found.


Dragon Age: Origins[]

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Origins.

Sten has been imprisoned for killing a family. The Warden can convince him to seek atonement by joining the battle against the Blight, but must find a way to release him from his cage. The Warden can choose to have Sten join the party after freeing him from Lothering in the quest The Qunari Prisoner. If he is not freed the quest is updated indicating that he died by the darkspawn horde.

Sten is a strong, proud and noble warrior who refuses at first to elaborate on discussions regarding his people or his reason for being in Ferelden. Most of his comments are terse or abrupt, but he does seem to have at least a little bit of a sense of humor (as demonstrated in some conversations with the Warden's companions) and a fondness for cookies.

Sten fighting at Redcliffe

Sten is a fatalist, believing that the proper role of all people is determined at birth. He alludes to his fatalist beliefs in his first conversation with the Warden at camp, saying that he did not "choose" to be a warrior, just as the Warden did not "choose the circumstances you find yourself in". If the Warden is female, Sten will extend to expressing that women have no place on the battlefield (he also expresses this opinion to Leliana, Morrigan and/or Wynne during banter conversation), though he can come to be impressed by a female Warden's skills. Sten believes it is the duty of every person to embrace their predetermined role in society in order to be in harmony with the world. Sten justifies his fatalist beliefs by arguing that it would be foolish to expect the world to change in order to suit one's desires and thus must change oneself in order to suit the world.

Sten believes that wisdom is as vital to life as breathing, but the only way to attain wisdom is to seek it out and discern it from life's experiences. Sten disapproves of the Chantry because it encourages its followers to be complacent in the Maker's intervention or influence to solve their problems rather than seek out the wisdom to solve it themselves. Although the Warden can argue that faith in a higher power can inspire people to change, Sten argues that sometimes people use faith as an excuse not to change.

Sten thinks that life outside of the Qun is cruel since the people have no Tamassrans to guide them on how to seek wisdom or find their proper role in life. Since people outside the Qun are not raised to know themselves or what they are for, they will most likely clash against the world and struggle in life. Furthermore, because the Qunari are trained to serve the interests of the collective Qunari and not of the individual, Sten is devoted to the protection and upholding of Qunari values and society. Sten thinks anything that subverts Qunari culture can lead to devastating ruin and thus views treacherous anti-Qunari men with the same severity as a plague or natural disaster. It is for this reason that Sten dehumanizes Tal-Vashoth and kill them in order to protect his people.

Sten is certain that the Antaam will one day invade the lands of Thedas in order to convert them to the enlightenment of the Qun but seems to regret its necessity as he hopes he does not live to see that day.

In Redcliffe, recruiting Lloyd and Berwick into the local militia appeals to Sten's views of honor and duty, even if it requires resorting to intimidation. However, if the Warden chooses to travel to the Circle of Magi to get the mages' assistance in entering the Fade to save Connor, and Sten is in the active party when the mages start the ceremony, he will express a disgust for magic Disapproves (-2).

As he carries himself with a self-assured, hardened demeanor, and has a tall and imposing physique, Leliana is surprised to discover through banter conversation that Sten does have a softer side, and he can develop a perhaps unexpected fondness for Dog.

Standing up to Sten during conversation usually results in an increase in his approval of the Warden.

Should the Warden earn enough of Sten's respect, he will reveal to the Warden that the reason he was caged in Lothering was because he had lost his sword Asala. In the quest The Sword of the Beresaad, the Warden can track down Sten's missing sword and return it to him.

If "The Sword of the Beresaad" quest completed:
With his sword and his honor restored, Sten chose to continue with The Warden and take the battle to the archdemon.

Dissatisfaction with the Warden

If Sten is in the active party when the party reaches Haven, he may attempt to resist the Warden and gain control of the group as he tires of "aimless" wandering. This conversation should occur just after speaking to the guard who tries to deter the Warden from entering Haven. This can result in several possible outcomes:

  • If the Warden can reason with Sten by means of sufficient coercion skills, it is possible to end this encounter without violence.
  • Without sufficient coercion skills, Sten will attack the Warden. The altercation cannot end in Sten's death, but the Warden can make Sten leave the party.
  • Having high approval can result in Sten not taking the dispute to blows, and he will state that he has spoken his mind.
  • With very high approval, the Warden can simply ask Sten to be trusting. The correct dialogue choice can reveal that Sten trusts the Warden with his life.
  • Having not yet completed Sten's quest, The Sword of the Beresaad, will reduce the number of dialogue options available during this conversation, as well as opportunities to gain approval points.
  • As with other conversations with Sten, standing up to him will gain approval points.


  • Depending on the Warden's choices in handling the end-game dilemma, the Warden can talk to Sten before leaving. Sten will say he intends on going home to Seheron. The player can choose to join him for the journey; Sten will approve and say to meet him at the docks in a few days.
  • If the Warden made the ultimate sacrifice and Sten was at "Friendly" approval, it is revealed that he bowed before the Warden's remains. Also, when he returned to Par Vollen (the Qunari homeland) his Beresaad brothers asked him if he met anyone honorable while he was in Ferelden, to which he replied he only ever met one, The Warden.

Dragon Age II[]

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age II.

This character does not appear in Dragon Age II, although the player has to fight several Qunari squad leaders of the Sten rank. However, there are several passing mentions of him. For instance, going to the Qunari Compound will prompt a mention of Sten in passing from Carver, Bethany or Aveline if they are in the party. Leandra also mentions Sten, saying: "That creature Sten was terrible enough, but a compound full of them." In Act 2 Merrill and Aveline discuss whether the Qunari like rainbows or butterflies. This may be a reference to the Butterfly Sword for Sten or a reference to Sten's hidden softer side. Finally, The Emergent Compendium in the Black Emporium mentions an image of "a hornless Qunari with tightly braided hair" with a short description meaning "the envoy lied honestly."

Dragon Age: Those Who Speak[]

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Those Who Speak.

BioWare canon.png
The plot follows BioWare's own canon, meaning that Alistair is king of Ferelden in the comic's story.

Sten as the Arishok

After the death of the previous Arishok in Kirkwall, Sten replaced him. As Alistair, Varric and Isabela go to Seheron to confront Magister Titus, Qunari dreadnoughts block their path and after a short fight, the three companions along with the pirate ship's crew were held prisoners by the Qunari in a war camp named Akhaaz.

Some days later, Alistair and Varric were escorted by Qunari guards to their new Arishok who wished to speak with them. To Alistair's surprise, the new Arishok turns out to be Sten. The Arishok calls the young king basalit-an and reveals to him that Titus wants to hunt Alistair down which is why he can't allow Alistair to leave the prison until he has dealt with him. Alistair tries to persuade him to fight together against their mutual enemy, but he refuses and hits him, showing that he has no intentions of helping him more or answering any of his questions.

Tier progression of Arishok Sten in Heroes of Dragon Age

Isabela later escapes her prison and releases Alistair and Varric as well. She goes to rescue her crew while they try to find a way out of the prison; however, at the exit, the new Arishok awaits them. Wielding a massive maul, the Arishok attacks the group. The fight quickly turns into a duel between Alistair and his former companion in which the latter loses and asks to end his life. The king of Ferelden refuses to kill his former ally and instead repeats his offer to work together against Titus, which Sten accepts.

Soon afterwards, Isabela's pirate ship is repaired and sails with her crew, companions, and the Qunari to Titus' stronghold. Onboard the pirate ship, Sten also informs Alistair that he carries the blood of dragons in his veins and promises to explain what he means.

Dragon Age: Until We Sleep[]

This section contains spoilers for:
Dragon Age: Until We Sleep.

BioWare canon.png
The plot follows BioWare's own canon, meaning that Alistair is king of Ferelden in the comic's story.

The Qunari assault Ath Velanis at the command of their new Arishok, led by Alistair and Isabela as they confront Aurelian Titus. Prior to this, the new qunari leader tells Alistair and Isabela the Qunari version of the myth of King Calenhad, and how he made a deal with a mysterious witch to drink dragon blood, become a Reaver, and create Ferelden. He then explains his plan to distract Titus' forces for only an hour, before the Qunari are forced to retreat. Meanwhile Varric infiltrates the fortress undetected and searches for Maric Theirin. His fate after the defeat of Aurelian Titus is unknown.


Dragon Age: Origins[]

The Qunari Prisoner The Qunari Prisoner
The Sword of the Beresaad The Sword of the Beresaad

The Darkspawn Chronicles[]

Assault on the Palaces Assault on the Palaces
Kill the Qunari Kill the Qunari


Exploit for infinite approval[]

  • Once Sten has joined the party, speak to him until the option "Why did you come to Ferelden?" appears in the list of questions. Continue the conversation with any of the listed options until the option "Why would the Qunari care about the Blight?" appears. Select it then select "I'm a Grey Warden. It's my job." Then select "Did you find the answer to his question." Now the option "Why would the Qunari..." will appear again creating a loop. Each loop is worth Approves (+4). Once you stop the loop, the conversation cannot be started again, so the glitch is a one-time occurrence.
  • After you have gotten his sword, you can do the conversation to start his quest another time without actually redoing the quest. You get a maximum of Approves (+20) the first time, and then another Approves (+20) the second time.


Sten has a liking for paintings. This may seem uncharacteristic of him but his appreciation is actually based in his being impressed by the artist's control of the brush. The official strategy guide likens an artist's discipline to that of a warrior.

Name Notes Description

Painting of the Rebel Queen
Painting of the Rebel Queen
Located: Old Tegrin
This painting portrays a battle between Orlais and Ferelden. The Rebel Queen, with fiery red hair, has climbed atop a ruined chariot and is holding aloft her battle standard.
Portrait of a Goosegirl
Portrait of a Goosegirl
A painting in a golden frame, showing a girl with windswept hair tending to a flock of geese in a snow-covered valley.
Silver-Framed Still Life
Silver-Framed Still Life
This painting is framed in silver and depicts thirty-two identical Orlesian porcelain tureens.
Sten's Sword
Sten's Sword
Found in Dwyn's chest at his home in Redcliffe Village.
A Qunari greatsword. Though its blade shows nicks from numerous battles, it has obviously been well looked after.
Located: Caridin's Cross (Origins)
Palace District (Darkspawn Chronicles)
A small wooden totem with figures of demons and other strange beasts carved into it.
Water-Stained Portrait
Water-Stained Portrait
An antique portrait, slightly water-stained, of a man wearing furs and a heavy crown.


Initial attributes[]

Relative attribute weightings on auto-level:

Strength Dexterity Willpower Magic Cunning Constitution
2 0.25 0.25 0.5 0 0

Initial specialization[]

Sten is the only companion who comes with no specialization. Moreover, he won't get any specialization point at level 7, but one at level 14.

Initial skills[]

Survival Survival (level 9)   Improved Survival Improved Survival (level 12)   Master Combat Training Master Combat Training

Initial talents[]

Warrior Powerful Powerful PowerfulThreaten ThreatenBravery Bravery (level 9)
Precise Striking Precise Striking Precise Striking (level 6)   Taunt Taunt (level 7)
Two-Handed Pommel Strike Pommel Strike Pommel StrikeIndomitable IndomitableStunning Blows Stunning Blows (level 10)   Critical Strike Critical Strike (level 11)
Sunder Arms Sunder Arms Sunder ArmsShattering Blows Shattering Blows (level 12)
Mighty Blow Mighty Blow Mighty BlowPowerful Swings Powerful SwingsTwo-Handed Strength Two-Handed Strength (level 8)

Initial equipment[]

Clothing Clothing Clothing

Restricted gear[]

Asala Asala

Plot skills[]

As you befriend Sten and gain his approval, he will gain the following additional skills:

Name Benefit Requirement
Inspired: Minor Strength Inspired: Minor Strength +1 strength 25% approval
Inspired: Moderate Strength Inspired: Moderate Strength +2 strength 50% approval
Inspired: Major Strength Inspired: Major Strength +4 strength 75% approval
Inspired: Massive Strength Inspired: Massive Strength +6 strength 90% approval
Note: These bonuses are non-cumulative, i.e. the total bonus is +6, not +13.


Main article: Sten/Dialogue
See Qunlat for translations.
See Sten/Approval for a list of topics Sten can talk about when prompted to discuss "something he mentioned".

Concept art of Sten

  • "I am a simple creature. I like swords, I follow orders. What else is there to be puzzled by?"
  • "No one has a place here. Your farmers wish to be merchants. The merchants dream of being nobles, and the nobles become warriors. No one is content to be who they are."
  • "Happiness is fragile. Nothing can be built upon it that will last. Only duty endures."
  • "Where is the cake? I was told there would be cake. The cake is a lie." (A reference to Portal when several writings on the wall indicate that GLaDoS tricked them with believing there is a cake if they pass the test).
  • "The Arishok asked me 'what is the blight?'. Now, I stand looking into its very eyes and still I have no answer for him. Though I expect you do. You have carried us this far, do not doubt that."
  • "People are not simple. They cannot be summarized for easy reference in the manner of: 'The elves are a lithe, pointy eared people who excel at poverty.'"
  • "To be fooled by the world is unfortunate: By oneself, is deadly."
  • "If you hope to slay the Archdemon with wit, then you may want to arm yourself first."
  • "Are you sure you are a Grey Warden? I think you must be an ashkaari to find a single lost blade in a country at war."
  • "This is pointless. We should simply go in fighting… And now I'm talking to an animal. I've been in this country too long." (To the Dog)
  • "The irony of this moment is not lost on me." (To the Warden, if he hopes to be rescued in Captured!)
  • "The enemy waits. Shall we grant him the death he asks of us?"


  • Warden: "Is there anything you like about Ferelden?"
  • Sten: There is… interesting food here.
  • Sten: You have a thing… it doesn't have a word in the qunari tongue. Little baked things, like bread, but sweet, and crumbly.
  • Warden: "Cookies?"
  • Sten: "Yes! We have no such things in our lands. This should be remedied."

Codex entries[]

Codex entry: Sten Codex entry: Sten


  • In the Sacred Ashes Trailer, Sten is depicted with a prominent beard.
  • Sten is one of the three companions who appear in the Sacred Ashes trailer. Of the characters featured in the trailer, he is the only one to have no dialogue.
  • During the epilogue, when the player tries to talk to Sten after the first time, he will exclaim "Where is the cake? I was told there would be cake. The cake is a lie." This is a nod to the video-game Portal, where the phrase "The Cake is a Lie" is written on walls predominantly throughout many of the game's levels, and is a popular reference among its fans.
  • In The Darkspawn Chronicles DLC, Sten's specialization is the Reaver.
  • Sten was originally intended to have horns, along with all other Qunari characters, like the race design of Dragon Age II. This was cut due to graphical issues.[2]
  • In the game Minecraft for Xbox 360, Skin pack #4 includes a Sten skin.
  • During an "interview" with Sten by Sheryl Chee and Mary Kirby, Sten states that his favorite ice cream is butter brickle.[3]
  • Sten's character was loosely inspired by Akira Kurosawa's samurai films.[4]
  • In Heroes of Dragon Age, Sten is named "Sten of the Beresaad", while the Hero named "Sten" is a generic Qunari named after the Antaam rank.
  • During Dragon Age: Inquisition, if the Inquisitor takes Varric and Iron Bull in the same party there is a chance they will talk about not only the old Arishok, but the new hornless Arishok.
  • In Mass Effect 2, Delan will mention a captured colonist named Sten during the first conversation with him.