The Disciples are the creation of the Architect. During his research and experiments with the taint, he discovered that the darkspawn can gain immunity to the Call of the Old Gods by ingesting the blood of a Grey Warden. Since these Disciples are sapient beings, they have developed their own personalities, with the ability to speak, strategize and choose for themselves. They also possess the ability to hold influence over non-awoken darkspawn.
As they are now free of the Calling, they are also capable of acts that would damage their own kind severely, such as gratitude or revenge, along with other traits of emotionality. Some Disciples can stay brutal and sadistic, as well. Arguably, and as both the Architect and Seranni remark, this merely comes from the fact that they don't know any better, and their savage nature might be subdued simply through learning of other ways. But through learning or not, some Disciples can also be friendly and helping as much or more than other species.
Although they have been freed of the Calling, the Disciples are still connected to the Taint, and they have the same ability and weakness of the Grey Wardens: they can detect the presence of blighted creatures, or be detected by them.While some Disciples are grateful to the Architect for granting them freedom, for others losing the bliss of the Calling and the taint was too much and have found sollace serving the Mother.
- Main article: Amaranthine Conflict (9:31 Dragon)
Dragon Age: Warden's Fall
Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening
During the Darkspawn Civil War, the Architect sends the Withered to Vigil's Keep to negotiate with the Grey Wardens, not considering they might regard the darkspawn's approach as an attack, and that misunderstanding ended in a pointless battle and the death of the Withered.
The major battle of the civil war occurs at the ancient dwarven fortress of Kal'Hirol. The fortress's defenses are commanded by the Lost, and composed by hurlocks, genlocks and Children, with additional stone golems at the genlock emissaries' command. A single Inferno golem protects the Lower Reaches along with the Lost. The forces of the Architect consists of lightly armed hurlocks, lead by an unnamed Disciple. The Lost's forces win the battle, but aren't expecting Grey Warden intervention, and ultimately are destroyed by the Warden-Commander and their companions.
Seeing the Grey Wardens as a problem, the Mother tasks the First and the Herald with the extermination of the Wardens. The First tries to assassinate the Warden-Commander only with a minor task force, while the Herald leads the bulk of the Mother's army to simultaneously try to destroy Vigil's Keep and the City of Amaranthine. The Architect sends the Messenger to help the Wardens, and the Mother's forces are eventually destroyed.After the end of the civil war, the Grey Wardens begin to hunt and capture some of the Disciples in order to investigate them.
The Disciples are classified as follows:
- Disciple Scout – the most common type of Disciple
- Disciple General – leaders of the darkspawn armies during the civil war
- Disciple Alpha – stronger than average Disciples
- Heretic Disciples – seem to be emissaries, as they are able to use blight magic
Disciples loyal to the Architect
Disciples loyal to the Mother
- There are two variants of Disciples in Awakening, differentiated by eye-markings and the color schemes of their clothing which identify their allegiances to the Architect and the Mother. For example, the Withered and the Messenger have red warpaint on their faces similar to the Architect's trademark mask and violet cloaks like his robes, whilst the Mother's Disciples have red cloaks and black markings like scars around their eyes, much like the Mother's scarred facial features.
- Codex entry: The Disciples
- The First swore to kill the Mother upon being tricked by her and being imprisoned in the Fade.
- The Seeker goes beyond his master's wishes by planting evidence that leads to war between the Dalish elves and humans, confusing the Architect. The Withered, despite being ordered to offer peace to the Warden-Commander, seems to take the order at its word and tries to kill all inhabitants of Vigil's Keep except the Commander, presumably to negotiate.
- The Messenger can assist the Warden-Commander during the final battle and, if it is set free after, will be mentioned in the epilogue as a helpful hooded traveler with a slight lisp who aided those he came by.
- The Lost was able to detect the Warden-Commander and their Grey Warden team in Kal'Hirol.
- Dragon Age: Warden's Fall, Chapters 2 and 3
- Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, pp. pg. 119.
- The primary Disciple who leads the assault on Kal'Hirol for the Architect.