The Tal-Vashoth are former members of the Qunari who willfully abandon the Qun. It is not specific to just their race, and thus any former Viddathari (dwarves, humans, and elves) can become Tal-Vashoth. "Vashoth" literally means "grey" and the prefix "tal" means "true," hence Tal-Vashoth meaning "True Grey" in Qunlat.
Tal-Vashoth are rebels to the Qun. Tal-Vashoth generally are former Qunari born into the Qun and/or accepted to live that way of life, but eventually rebelled against it. Vashoth are the Qunari race who were born outside of the Qun and never had to live by it. Since people can't rebel against something they've never seen, to Qunari these people are simply known as Vashoth rather than Tal-Vashoth.
Becoming a Tal-Vashoth
It is not entirely clear what motivates Qunari to reject the Qun, but one of the most likely reasons is the assignment of a low and unpleasant place in Qunari society. Some Qunari who have ambition above their station come to resent their place in the society, and thus the Qun; others, such as Maraas, seem to simply tire of a life driven by duty and purpose.
When Qunari abandon the teachings of Qun they are instantly labeled as Tal-Vashoth and have to risk life as a fugitive from the Qun. If they are caught, they are immediately re-educated by the Ben-Hassrath just the same as any other dissident. Violent ones unwilling to submit often become mercenaries or bandits; the majority of them formerly served as soldiers of the Antaam, and do it because they have no other useful skill. Many of them never fight the Qunari but rather become mercenaries in other lands, such as Kadan-Fe in Ferelden. Under the Qun, mercenaries are viewed as even worse than bandits because they are perceived to be selling the remains of their soul and honor for coin. Many Tal-Vashoth retain Qunari attitudes towards foreign cultures and ideas. They are unwilling to adapt to live within them, and thus resort to a life of banditry. When they actively strike at the Qunari, they usually attack the most defenseless civilians they can find, because they lack numbers and organization that would make them a match for the antaam.
Likewise, Vashoth are Qunari born to Tal-Vashoth parents and thus have never known life under the Qun. It is unknown if this term applies to other races born of Tal-Vashoth parents.
The Tal-Vashoth themselves are not a single unified group. Therefore, they are not a resistance effort, there is no organized Tal-Vashoth culture, nor can they be said to have any collective goals. Just how much an average Tal-Vashoth has abandoned their upbringing in their heart depends on the individual. A Tal-Vashoth may choose his or her name arbitrarily; it could be a word that they like the sound of, or it could be something that they think describes their new role. Others may not choose any name at all. Many of the Tal-Vashoth cut their horns off because they think it makes them look tougher and scarier. Mages are tolerated by other Tal-Vashoth, but they are still regarded with suspicion since they lack proper training and therefore might be dangerous to those around them. The Tal-Vashoth still keep the former Saarebas leashed if those are in their company.
- While no Qunari has ever joined the Grey Wardens, there are rumours of several Tal-Vashoth taking the Joining in recent decades.
- Codex entry: Vashoth: The Grey Ones
- Mary Kirby. "A Male Qunari/Tal'Vashoth Romance/Friendship?" . The BioWare Forum.
- David Gaider (August 9, 2011). "Female Qunari Fighters" . The BioWare Forum. Retrieved on April 13, 2014.
- Mary Kirby (October 11, 2011). "MotA: Qunari questions (Spoilers)" . The BioWare Forum. Retrieved on April 13, 2014.
- David Gaider and Mary Kirby (November 2012). "Why is Kossith an inaccurate term for horned Qunari and Tal-vashoth?" . The BioWare Forum. Retrieved on April 13, 2014.
- Only if the Inquisitor elects to save the Bull's Chargers during the side quest Demands of the Qun.
- Dragon Age RPG: Set 2, Player's Guide, p. 7