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Red Lyrium

Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Red Templars
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Red Templar Guardsman
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Red Templar Foot Soldier
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Red Templar Knight
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Red Templar Archers
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Horror
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Behemoth
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Shadow
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Letter to Smugglers' Wagon Masters
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: New Orders
Codex icon DAI Codex entry: Suledin Keep Documents

Prolonged exposure to red lyrium induces gradual psychological and physical change, though not as quickly as direct use or consumption will[1]. Drawing upon too much red lyrium too quickly accelerates the process, outright dooming the user either to roaring madness and death[2][3] or petrification by lyrium[4]. Red Templars tell they have to "use it enough so that it changes [them], but not so much that it destroys [them]."[5]

Depending on the individual, someone can endure years of exposure without any perceivable effect, as was the case with Meredith Stannard[6], or be largely immune to its debilitating effects so long as they don't go into withdrawal, as with Raleigh Samson[7]. However, both of these individuals were Templars, and it's possible that their immense willpower, Templar training, and previous experience with lyrium slowed the speed at which the red lyrium corrupted them. Further compounding this, the Seekers of Truth have shown to be largely immune as well, though it can still poison them if ingested in fatal amounts.

When templars ingest red lyrium, it improves their powers, grants them new ones, and increases their strength to superhuman levels[8]. Even the average red templar outclasses a normal man. A few red templars can fight a group several times their number to a standstill[9], and shield bearers swing full metal tower shields with ease[10]. In perhaps the most extreme case, a specific red templar said they could march for days without rest and break a man like kindling[11].

References

  1. During the future segment of In Hushed Whispers, if the Inquisitor inquires Fiona if it's red lyrium growing out of her body, she will respond, "The longer you're near it... eventually... you become this," implying that one needn't consume red lyrium to physically transform.
  2. Codex entry: Red Templars
  3. Codex entry: Suledin Keep Documents
  4. As seen in The Last Straw in Dragon Age II.
  5. Codex entry: Suledin Keep Documents
  6. Meredith possessed the red lyrium idol for some years, as Bartrand can confess in Family Matter that he sold it to her some time before or during Act 2, years before Act 3.
  7. In his judgment, Samson warns the Inquisitor that he'll eventually go mad without any red lyrium and harm innocents if exiled into the wilderness
  8. Codex entry: Red Templars
  9. Codex entry: Red Templar Foot Soldier
  10. Codex entry: Red Templar Guardsman
  11. Codex entry: New Orders
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