The Mother is the final boss in Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening. If you are having trouble defeating her, this page may offer tips and insight.
The Mother's Capabilities
- During the fight, The Mother uses her tentacles (similar to the Broodmother from Origins, save that these tentacles are of Elite rank and much more potent).
- She has a Scream attack which, like the Dwarven Broodmother in Origins, will stun and debuff the entire party.
- She can cast Glyph of Neutralization, and will typically do so at least once to shut down the party's spellcaster(s).
- In a manner similar to the Broodmother from Origins, she can Grab a party member and damage them; her grab is considerably stronger than most players will have encountered thus far, second only to the mauling Grab of High Dragons and the Queen of the Blackmarsh.
- When her tentacles are slain, she will summon a large number of Childer Grubs. The grubs do little damage, but may swarm and incapacitate your party with their Overwhelm attack.
- Finding all of the yellow crystals throughout the Tevinter ruin leading up to the fight (requires a Rogue for the final set) and placing them in the stone circles in each Tevinter Tower grants three special area-of-effect abilities; one heals the party, one briefly paralyzes (despite the description indicating a stun) foes, and the last conjures an Inferno-like spell.
- If you decide to aid the Architect in destroying the Mother, he grants a fourth ability called Architect's Pyre, another potent area fire spell.
A great deal of healing is highly recommended for the fight, especially on Hard or Nightmare difficulty. Having two mages fully ranked in the Spirit Healer specialization proves extremely useful for this purpose, but supplementary poultices are never a bad thing. Lyrium potions and Stamina Draughts are also a near-necessity; the fight can potentially be very long and talent-intensive. Warriors should be using high-armor gear, with the Sentinel armor and Heartwood Shield being ideal for a tank. If one has additional resources to invest in gear prior to this battle, Runecrafting a number of Stout Runes can prove quite useful for giving party members the extra health boost to carry them through prolonged bouts of violence. If a party member has Poison-Making available, having a healthy stock of strong poisons can also aid one in the fight. Traps are somewhat inadvisable, as there is no prelude to the fight in which a party member can safely place them, and stopping to set traps in the midst of the battle can easily result in the user's demise.
Area-of-effect abilities are a godsend when the Childer Grubs are summoned en masse. Due to their ability to use Overwhelm, they can incapacitate the party with relative ease. Friendly-fire damage is almost inevitable in the cramped quarters of the fight, however, so there are a few specific spells of particular utility. Additionally, having two mages with the Spirit Healer specialization at maximum talent investment is incredibly helpful.
- Blood Wound - a Blood Mage with three talent points in the specialization is invaluable; when the grubs are released, this Mage can activate Blood Magic and cast the spell, then turn it off to conserve health. This results in all of the Grubs becoming immobilized for a considerable length of time as well as suffering Spirit damage-over-time. Coupled with a brief AoE such as Fireball, a cone spell, or Hand of Winter, this can make annihilating the Grubs extremely simple.
- Battlemage Abilities - Hand of Winter, Draining Aura, and Elemental Chaos are all handy here if Blood Wound is unavailable. Ideally, Hand of Winter will freeze most of the Grubs around the mage, making them easy targets for other party members. Draining Aura provides several spike heals for the user, as well as continuous damage, and Elemental Chaos can augment this greatly.
- Mage Auras - Repulsion Field and Arcane Field can also prove useful against the Grubs; Repulsion Field continually knocks them down, making them unable to attack or use Overwhelm, while Arcane Field greatly assists in providing damage. Both are, unfortunately, somewhat mana-costly for their effects, and are thus somewhat inferior to Battlemage talents or Blood Wound.
- Spirit Healer Talents - Group Heal and Lifeward are extremely useful for maintaining the party, especially the tank. Having the Healer(s) set to use Group Heal when any party member falls below 30% health increases its utility as a sort of panic button, while setting the Healer to cast Lifeward on any party member The Mother grabs can mean the difference between that member's life and death in her grasp.
- Elemental Chaos works extremely well in this battle. Position the mage in a spot away from the tentacles, use Cone of Cold to freeze the Mother, then cast Tempest. Repeat these steps, adding healing spells when necessary.
- Keeper and Blood Mage specializations, combined, cause enormous damage when coupled. One could simply make sure to have as many enemies in close vicinity (whether they are Childer Grubs or Tentacles, it works for both) and activate both Blood Magic and One With the Nature. That being done, casting Blood Wound with the mage in the center of the AoE and proceeding to use Nature's Vengeance and Thornblades will quickly dispatch any foes.
Warriors have a diverse set of options for dealing with the Children. Massacre clears out Childer Grubs with ease, while some talents in the Dual-wield tree or Two-handed tree also have excellent AoE capabilities like Whirlwind or Reaving Storm. A warrior specialized in Weapon and Shield talents takes little damage and can use talents such as Taunt and Air of Insolence to occupy foes, or use the Champion specialization's War Cry (with Superiority) to send them flying.
- Dual-wield - a properly built Dual-wield Warrior can make quick work of individual enemies, and The Mother is no exception. With the Spirit Warrior specialization, such a warrior can bypass her physical defenses and deliver a constant stream of severe damage. This can be further enhanced by using Affliction Hex on The Mother, making her weaker to Spirit damage. With Unending Flurry and general attack-enhancing sustained modes, a Dual-wield Warrior can annihilate the Mother with astounding celerity.
- Shield - Weapon-and-Shield Warriors are somewhat limited in their AoE abilities with only Massacre to rely on, but they are typically better used for distraction and tanking purposes. A Warrior using Carapace (optionally with Bulwark of the Ages) can literally stand in front of the Mother and weather the unending barrage of her attacks, her tentacles' attacks, and the Childer Grubs' attacks for impressive periods of time, and with Juggernaut such a Warrior has the options of making an emergency dash around the battlefield to knock foes down. The real allure of Weapon-and-Shield Warrior talents, however, comes with Air of Insolence. This sustained taunt is an extremely effective method of preventing other party members from accidentally drawing hostility from one or more enemies. Another excellent talent for such a Warrior is Grievous Insult, which acts much like War Cry (with Superiority), except that it draws enemies in like a vortex instead of flinging them away.
- Two-hand - A Warrior with talents for using two-handed weaponry can be a useful party member here; the Two-hand talents often involve powerful debilitating attacks, and the tree boasts the largest number of melee AoE abilities. Reaving Storm can allow such a Warrior to slaughter Grubs immediately surrounding him/her, while Two-handed Sweep and Sweeping Strike are powerful point-blank AoE knockdown abilities; Onslaught can also prove useful if a large mass of foes is in front of the Warrior. While Two-hand specialized Warriors, much like Weapon-Shield specialized Warriors, will not be able to match the damage output of a Dual-weapon specialist, they are able to use Sunder Arms, Sunder Armor, and the passive Stunning Blows to inflict status effects on the Mother, which can greatly aid the party.
- Get Inside Mother! If you are picked up by mother, even knocked out by her, get one of your mages or Ser Pounce-a-lot to revive you. You may have trouble finding your PC. If this is the case then activate Reaving Storm because you're actually within the area of Mother and the grubs can't touch you. You can reap a lot of damage doing this. Also, make sure Indomitable is activated so she can't knock you down.
Similar to dual-wield warriors. However, some see them as inferior due to lack of constitution and strength, these attributes are accounted for by abilities like Evasion and, if you have the dueling specialization, Keen Defense, high dexterity also adds to your chance of not getting hit. Stamina replenishment can be a bit of a problem, especially if you have low willpower, Feast of the Fallen will come in handy, but you'll need to coordinate your attacks so mages and warriors don't get the final blow. If all else fails, drink your stamina draughts! One of your best AoE is the ability flicker, but watch out, it can cause quite a bit of anger among the enemy. Legionnaire scouts can take grabs surprisingly well, so its best to have a few points in the tree before fighting the mother. If the mother is paralyzed, it makes for a quick and easy backstab.
A high-dexterity archer can deal very high amounts of damage to The Mother with impunity, since:
- The Mother cannot move, and therefore cannot grab an archer at range.
- If the archer only hits The Mother, they will not draw threat from childer grubs.
- There is also a small spot to the right of The Mother where archers can safely camp out of tentacle range.
If crowd control is needed, Burst Shot can clobber several tentacles at a time if they are clustered. Scattershot will also hit every enemy in such a confined space. In emergencies, Rain of Arrows is also useful: it will damage party members in the area, but instantly kill all grubs.
See also Archery: An Efficient Approach.
- Ignore the Tentacles. Childer Grubs spawn when you kill the Tentacles so the battle is much easier and faster if you ignore the Tentacles and focus on The Mother. If you are using tactics, set all your ally tactics to Enemy: Target rank is Boss or higher. Your allies will then automatically ignore the Tentacles and will focus on The Mother.
- Abuse Health Poultices. This is the last battle in Awakening so you might as well use up all those Health Poultices you've been saving up. Set allies to use Health Poultices when they get under 75% health (or even 90% health if you have a lot of Health Poultices) and The Mother should be very easy to beat, regardless of your build, equipment, and allies.
- Do not be afraid to use the special abilities, as they can potentially turn the tide of battle if the situation becomes unfavorable.
- Don't be shy about using AoE talents; with a healthy stock of Lyrium potions and Stamina draughts, one should not need to worry overmuch about resource expenditure. If the party dies, the conserved resources lose their value.
- Make sure to take advantage of Ser Pounce-a-lot, as he can be used to revive fallen party members in a pinch.
- Be aware of the number of grubs as if you focus too much on The Mother you can find yourself surrounded by more than fifteen grubs.
- Note that The Mother has a low health pool for a final boss in relation to the damage you are capable of dishing out, especially in comparison to the Archdemon. Simply nuking her with a high damage party and keeping a healer to mop up any damage sustained can result in an easy victory in under a minute.