- This article is about the protagonist in Dragon Age: Origins. For Awakening, see Warden-Commander.
The Warden is the player-controlled protagonist of Dragon Age: Origins. This character will hail from one of six social classes ranging from casteless dwarf or landless elf to Fereldan noble or even dwarven royalty. After playing through one of these origins, he or she will join the Grey Wardens during the events of Dragon Age: Origins and may even rise to the rank of Warden-Commander in Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening.
Dragon Age: Origins
- Main article: Storyline for Dragon Age: Origins
As the origin story is played out, the protagonist is recruited by Duncan, leader of Ferelden's Grey Wardens, to aid King Cailan Theirin and his troops against an incoming army of darkspawn at Ostagar. This is where the main plot of Dragon Age: Origins begins. The Warden's primary mission is to gather an army and defeat a Blight; however, political tensions, disruptions and numerous other distractions (and inspirations) are bound to cross our hero's path.
The actions and words of the Warden are always chosen by the player, and have a wide range of outcomes (both for the story's end and for the fates of the Warden's allies, enemies and rivals). Unlike many other RPGs, the cumulative result of these choices is not tracked by a single meter or bar; rather, each companion has a meter reflecting that individual's reactions to the Warden's decisions.
Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening
Six months after the conclusion of Origins, the Warden can return. He/she is now the Warden-Commander of Ferelden, and the Wardens have been given Vigil's Keep - formerly the seat of Arl Rendon Howe - as a home base.
The Warden's adventures in the Origins saga are concluded in the final DLC for the series, Witch Hunt. Searching for former companion Morrigan, the Warden also seeks clues regarding an Eluvian - a mirror with the power of transportation to a dimension beyond both Thedas and the Fade.
The Warden finds the Eluvian and Morrigan in the Dragonbone Wastes. The final choices (perhaps limited by the imported save) are:
- The Warden stabs Morrigan. Although the attack looks deadly, Morrigan falls into the portal, and it is deliberately unclear whether she survives. The Warden recovers some items from her camp, and departs.
- The Warden is in love with her, or is good friends with her, and wants her to stay. Regardless, she will go through the portal, with or without the Warden. The Warden is not willing to go with her, or Morrigan refuses to accept that s/he would abandon and be forever cut off from the known world. The Warden then recovers the items from her camp and leaves the Wastes with Ariane, Finn, and Dog.
- The Warden wants to go with her, presumably out of love and/or a desire to know his child. (This ending is only possible with a male Warden.) Morrigan shares a kiss with him and they enter the portal, leaving everything and everyone (besides, if applicable, their son) behind.
Dragon Age II
The Warden is first mentioned during the prologue, when Varric tells Cassandra Pentaghast how Flemeth helped Hawke's family travel safely to Gwaren in order to escape the Fifth Blight. The Seeker expresses incredulity at the involvement of the Witch of the Wilds, but Varric reminds her of Flemeth's role in the Warden's story and she concedes the point. He speaks briefly of the Warden again in the transition from the prologue to Act 1.
In Act 1, when Hawke first meets Bodahn Feddic, he/she can inquire with him about the fact that he is personally acquainted with the Warden. Bodahn's comments about the Warden will vary depending on the details of the imported save of Origins or the pre-set background being used.
In Act 2, when fighting through the streets of Kirkwall to reach the Arishok, Hawke will run into a band of Grey Wardens. Depending on previous save-file decisions, and Hawke's decisions, Alistair (if he chose to remain a Warden in Origins) will be there accompanied by (depending on Hawke's Deep Roads decisions) either Bethany or Carver. After various dialogue options Alistair will give Hawke an amulet called The Sacred Heart, and will respond with dialogue depending on his relationship with/or status of The Warden. Then he and his Grey Wardens will leave Kirkwall on some mysterious quest. (If Alistair died, was exiled, or was made King in Origins, the Wardens encountered at this juncture will instead be led by Stroud, who gives Hawke the Warden's Promise ring. In this case, no mention will be made of the Warden.)
In Act 3, Alistair makes an appearance at Viscount's Keep during the quest "King Alistair," if the player imported a save or selected the pre-set background in which Alistair was made King of Ferelden. Toward the conclusion of this minor quest, the Warden may be mentioned in dialogue between Alistair and Bann Teagan. Exactly how the Warden comes up in conversation varies depending on the circumstances of the saved file or pre-set background; if the Warden is female and was romantically involved with or married to Alistair at the end of Origins, the dialogue will indicate as much.Regardless of the ending in Witch Hunt, by the time of the conclusion of Dragon Age II, the Warden, if he/she survived the events of Origins, has disappeared without a trace. This is reported by Leliana in 9:40 Dragon, who is at that point searching for the Warden on behalf of the Chantry (much as Cassandra Pentaghast seeks Hawke in an effort to gain assistance in stopping the Mage-Templar War). Leliana also says that it is no accident that both the Warden and the Champion disappeared... linking them to some future fate.
The player begins by selecting a gender, race (human, elf or dwarf), and class (warrior, rogue or mage); the mage class is unavailable to dwarves. The next step is to select the character's background; depending on the chosen race/class combination, only one or two of the six backgrounds will be available. These are Human Noble for human warriors and rogues, Dalish Elf or City Elf for elven warriors and rogues, and Dwarf Commoner or Dwarf Noble for all dwarves; elven and human mages invariably share the same origin.
Then comes the option to customize name, physical features (only above the shoulders) and portrait, and choose a voice set. Attributes and skills are selected next. If playing as a warrior or rogue, talents are selected; mages select spells instead. Finally, the player selects his or her preferred difficulty level and the story begins.
A default name is offered according to the origin and gender, but this can be changed to whatever the player chooses (with a limitation on length [confirmation needed] ).
Note: No one will call the Warden by name, but it does show up in some dialogue choices.
- Human Noble: Aedan
- Human Mage: Daylen
- Elf Mage: Alim
- City Elf: Darrian
- Dalish Elf: Theron
- Dwarf Noble: Duran
- Dwarf Commoner: Faren
- Human Noble: Elissa
- Human Mage: Solona
- Elf Mage: Neria
- City Elf: Kallian
- Dalish Elf: Lyna
- Dwarf Noble: Sereda
- Dwarf Commoner: Natia
While the player can select the first name of the character freely, each origin imposes a fixed surname:
- Human Noble: Cousland
- Human Mage: Amell
- Elf Mage: Surana
- City Elf: Tabris
- Dalish Elf: Mahariel
- Dwarf Noble: Aeducan
- Dwarf Commoner: Brosca
Note that six origins have been mentioned, but seven names are listed; this is because both human and elf mages follow the same origin story in the Circle Tower.
Each character has automatically 'spent' two skill points and one spell or talent point. During character creation the player spends one more skill point and two more spell/talent points. The automatic levels depend on class and origin. On the Xbox 360, the Warden gets one additional rank in Combat Training.
As is typical for role-playing games, a character's level indicates the progress of the character's career and personal power. When the character "levels up", certain things are automatically increased (health and stamina/mana), while other things (talents and attributes) must be manually increased, unless Autolevel is activated. There is a "hard" level cap of 25 in Origins. Since enemies do not re-spawn, there is only enough content in the game (including DLC) to complete it between levels 17 and 24 (depending on how many side quests and Codex entries are completed). A well-used rogue can gain the party significant experience over the course of their adventures by picking locks and disarming traps. In any case, level 25 can be reached by donating profusely to the Allied Supply Crates in the Camp.
In Awakening, the level cap is raised to 35; this increase also affects The Golems of Amgarrak and Witch Hunt DLC.
Player characters have the following equipment slots:
Dragon Age: OriginsArchivist's Sash
Cut from some satiny cloth, the entire surface of this belt is covered with embroidered text in the Tevinter language.
Increases experience from codex (+50%) Warden's Oath
All Grey Wardens receive these amulets after their joining. Containing just a trace of the darkspawn blood consumed in the initiate's ritual, these amulets serve as a constant reminder of the Warden's eternal vigil against the darkspawn hordes.
Dragon Age: Origins - AwakeningCommission
Dragonthorn (Tier 7)
Critical chance: 1.60%
Armor penetration: 8.80
Strength modifier: 1.00
+3% ranged critical chance
+4 attack Dragon's Call
This hammer can be used to ring the ancient gong in the Fereldan Castle, forcing the High dragon laying siege to the area to land. Calling the High Dragon in this manner destroys the Dragon's Call.
Grey Warden plate armor set
Silverite (Tier 6)
5% chance to dodge attacks
+5 mental resistance
+5 physical resistance
Set: +2 strength
Set: +6 constitution Robes of the Orlesian Magister
Upon your departure for Amaranthine, the empress of Orlais herself presented you with these enchanted robes.
+10% cold resistance
+0.5 mana regeneration in combat
+3 armor Twinblade
Dragonbone (Tier 7)
Critical chance: 4.80 %
Armor penetration: 8.00
Strength modifier: 0.85
+1% melee critical chance
+0.5 armor penetration
+1 cold damage Warden's Companion
Dragonbone (Tier 7)
Requires: 31 strength
Critical chance: 3.20%
Armor penetration: 4.00
Strength modifier: 1.00
+0.5 armor penetration
+6 damage vs. darkspawn Warden's Reach
Dragonbone (Tier 7)
Requires: 38 strength
Critical chance: 2.40%
Armor penetration: 6.00
Strength modifier: 1.10
+15% critical/backstab damage
+3 cold damage Large Grey Warden Shield
Dragonthorn (Tier 7)
Strength modifier: 1.00
Chance to avoid missile attacks
- See also: The Warden/Voice Sets
- (After the Warden wins the Landsmeet) "Hah, you lose!"
- (To Knight-Commander Greagoir) "Don't you feel guilty about wanting to slaughter everything?"
- Morrigan: "'Tis cold in my tent, all alone..."
- Warden: "Then get a thicker blanket."
- Leliana: "I think I'll retire to my tent."
- Warden: "I think I'll stay up and write in my journal."
- Warden: "She bites too."
- Leliana: "I do not!"
- Sten: "Interesting strategy. Tell me: Do you intend to keep going north until it becomes south, and attack the archdemon from the rear?"
- Warden: "It'll never see this coming."
- Warden: "A Chanter says, 'What?'"
- Chanter Devons: "What?"
- Child: "Oh, you got him to speak!"
- Chanter Devons: "Err... what hath man's sin wrought?"
- Child: "Oh, he cheated!"
- Warden: "You're sort of a ruthless bitch."
- Queen Anora: "I prefer to think of it as having staunch determination. Was there a point you wanted to make?"
- Warden: "No, I just wanted to say it."
- Leliana: "The stars are out."
- Warden: "So? Go help Alistair make supper."
(During Oghren the Family Man)
- Oghren: "All I'm good at is killing things."
- Warden: "He's right. He is good at killing things."
- Warden: "They will bow before my might."
- Guard: "Eh, Then it's good to have you sir."
- Duncan: "Ah, listen to me. An old man's rantings can't be very interesting."
- Warden: "As an apprentice, old men talking have defined my life.
The following are references or speculations regarding the default names given to The Warden:
- Aedan was the name of a 6th-century king of Scotland. The Ancient Irish equivalent is Aodhan, a form of Aodh, which means "fire" (and is the name of a fiery axe in Origins).
- Daylen is an English name meaning "lives in the valley".
- Alim is Arabic for "learned" or "wise".
- Darrian may be derived from Darren, a form of Darrell, from the Norman French d'Arielle ("from Arielle" in France).
- Theron is derived from the Greek for "beast" or "animal".
- Duran is a name of English and French origin meaning "firm" or "enduring".
- Faren is a name of English origin meaning "adventurous".
- Elissa is derived from Elizabeth, meaning "my god is an oath" or "my god is abundance". In some sources, it is an alternate name for Queen Dido.
- Solona may be a feminine variant of Solon, a noted Athenian lawmaker.
- Neria is a form of Neriah, Biblical Hebrew meaning "Lamp of Yahweh".
- Lyna may be derived from Carolina ("joy" or "song of happiness", as well as a feminine form of Charles ("strong"), in various European languages).
- Sereda may be a form of Serena ("clear", "tranquil", "serene").
- Natia is the Polish form of Nadja (from a Russian diminutive of Nadezhda), which means "hope".
- Kallian may be a form of the Hawaiian names "Kalia" (a tree native to Hawaii) or "Kalea" ("joy" or "happiness").
- According to certain Circle apprentices, the Warden once bedded a lady pirate and three greased nugs.
- Hawke is related to the human Warden (actual or 'potential') from the Mage Origin through their mothers, who are both from the Amell family. This Warden's mother's name is Revka, according to Leandra in Dragon Age II.
- The nobles (human and dwarf) are the only Wardens to have their surnames (or indeed, any name) spoken by Origins NPCs; the rest are addressed at the most (as "Grey Warden", "Warden" and/or "my Lord/Lady").
- A Dalish Warden imported into Dragon Age II will be referred to by Merrill and her clan as "Mahariel".
- Dialogue in Dragon Age II implies that the Human Mage Warden has at least one sibling, as Leandra says that he/she is only "one of [her] cousin Revka's children."
- The Warden is a Dalish elf in BioWare's default canon.
Alternate endings for other origins
The "potential Wardens" - characters fitting the basic structure of each origin not selected by the player - at least hypothetically exist in any given playthrough, filling less significant (and usually less fortunate) roles. Their existence is hinted at or made plain in dialogue with various NPCs. This indicates that it is Duncan's intervention (and/or the player's 'decision' to join him) that redeems an otherwise bleak or ignominious fate.
- Human Noble: Slain during Howe's massacre of Highever, or escaped through the secret passage in the cellar; even if surviving the early days of the Blight, s/he seems to play no significant role in the Landsmeet, for instance.
- Dwarven Noble: The second son of King Endrin is exiled to the Deep Roads and never heard from again. Never meeting Duncan's expedition, it is likely the prince dies there (or a terribly slim chance that he reaches the Legion of the Dead and effectively gives up his former identity anyway). According to Lord Harrowmont, Endrin on his deathbed regrets his child's fate. Nerav Helmi also confirms that the unchosen Dwarf Noble was male.
- Dwarven Commoner: According to Leske, his friend (a corpse in an adjacent cell) stopped eating ("for a stupid bet") and starved to death in Beraht's prison.
- Dalish Elf: According to Ariane, he or she becomes deathly ill from coming into contact with an arcane mirror. Without Duncan's aid and the Joining ritual, s/he dies soon after of the darkspawn taint. This is also hinted at in Dragon Age II by Merrill.
- City Elf: Lacking Duncan's contribution, s/he fails to reach Vaughan. Soris is arrested and his cousin is presumably executed. Shianni is later released when Vaughan is arrested by Howe's men. Or perhaps the 'potential' took Vaughan's bribe and successfully fled or hid, leaving Soris alone to take the blame. A third possibility is, since there is no mention of the City Elf, they were sent to Highever for their marriage.
- Circle Mage: No mention is made of the Circle Mage - though it is probable s/he survived the Harrowing, as Jowan still needs help escaping the Circle before he ends up in Redcliffe. Without Duncan to invoke the Right of Conscription (or without the assent of his prospective recruit), it is most likely that this mage was punished for helping Jowan (possibly imprisoned) and/or died on either side of Uldred's rebellion. It is unclear whether "the mage of the unchosen race" exists in the Circle at the same time as a player's chosen mage who becomes The Warden. However, since the origin 'templates' are identical, it is probable that there is only one 'potential' Origins Mage Warden.