Codex entry: Red Templars
Codex entry: Red Templar Guardsman
Codex entry: Red Templar Foot Soldier
Codex entry: Red Templar Knight
Codex entry: Red Templar Archers
Codex entry: Horror
Codex entry: Behemoth
Codex entry: Shadow
Codex entry: Letter to Smugglers' Wagon Masters
Codex entry: New Orders
Codex entry: Suledin Keep Documents
Where it was originally found, red lyrium grew in root-like veins, just like normal lyrium. But following the opening of the Breach, it began appearing throughout all of Southern Thedas in crystalline nodes. The lyrium grows over the landscape like an infection, gradually forming massive deposits, and once it takes root, it becomes extremely hard to completely remove. The chances of even dwarves removing it completely from Emprise du Lion, one of the hardest hit locations, is stated as being 0.014%.
Unlike normal lyrium, red lyrium doesn't require a dwarf to mine, and apparently does not require any dilution or ingestion to affect people. All that is required is to be near the mineral.
Prolonged exposure to red lyrium induces gradual psychological and physical change, though not as quickly as direct use or consumption will. Drawing upon too much red lyrium too quickly accelerates the process, outright dooming the user either to roaring madness and death or petrification by lyrium. Red Templars tell they have to "use it enough so that it changes [them], but not so much that it destroys [them]."
Depending on the individual, someone can endure years of exposure without any perceivable effect, as was the case with Meredith Stannard, or be largely immune to its debilitating effects so long as they don't go into withdrawal, as with Raleigh Samson. 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. Even the average red templar outclasses a normal man. A few red templars can fight a group several times their number to a standstill, and shield bearers swing full metal tower shields with ease. In perhaps the most extreme case, a specific red templar said he could march for days without rest and break a man like kindling.
- Exposure: Symptoms vary. Subject may display heightened possessiveness or paranoia, or an increased penchant for violence.
- Manifestation: Subject becomes pained, varying in intensity but always sharp. Physically, subject begins to look sickly; their flesh pales, and their veins become prominent but pulse red with the lyrium. Subject can be described as resembling a "living corpse." Eyes also begin to emit a red glow. Subject may potentially emit a reddish haze from their body. In templars, enhanced strength becomes apparent, and as well as a tolerance for pain. Mentally, subject begins to hear a "song", which may compel them to try to force others to hear it; others are driven mad and die.
- Advanced: The red lyrium begins to crystallize within and sprout from the subject's body. More crystals grow from the subject as the stage progresses. Their flesh becomes misshapen, and begins to warp around and over any worn armor. In templars, newfound powers emerge; some red templars can now accelerate the conversion process in each other, sow red lyrium into the ground to shatter or form barricades, or launch it from afar as a projectile weapon. Internally, the red lyrium fuses to the subject's bones, overgrows their lungs, spreads like a fungus to the brain, and grows into their flesh. Blood drains out of the surrounding tissue, as if the lyrium itself is feeding upon it.
- End Stage: Subject's body is completely overtaken by the lyrium, becoming a behemoth. Although possessing immense strength, they are barely recognizable as having once been human and exist in constant agony.
Initial contact with the Fereldan Frostback begins once you enter Lady Shayna's Valley. You can reach the valley from Dusklight Camp by following the small cavern path downward next to the camp. It's recommended that you establish the camp to restock your potions and save before venturing forth. The Frostback might be the "introduction" to High Dragon battles, but she's still dangerous.
On entering the valley for the first time, you will spot the Frostback off in the distance, wreathed in smoke and fire. Once she takes flight, take cover; she will begin strafing the valley with her fire breath. These aimed blasts do not follow a set pattern since the Frostback is aiming them at you. Avoid getting hit, as her blasts can outright down a party member without the proper equipment. Additionally, taking unnecessary shots will prompt you to heal before the fight's even begun. A few potions can make the difference in a High Dragon fight.
Unfortunately, you cannot wait out her barrage either; she'll keep firing as long as you remain at the valley entrance. Press forward into the valley, approximately to the large rock stack straight ahead of the valley entrance. The Frostback will withdraw farther north then, past the main valley. She will land in the Blood Cliffs region there, and await you. She won't take flight again unless you leave the area completely; you have free reign of the main valley.
The only other creatures in the area are Frostback's offspring: dragonlings. You might have already spotted some wandering about or encountered one. They aren't particularly dangerous on their own, but they can be a real menace if they're grouped. If you meet one while the Frostback's still flying about, they can leave you open to her, and flush you out of cover if you let them. Once the Frostback lands at the Blood Cliffs, deal with the dragonlings at your leisure.
- Effective Tactics
- During the Frostback's strafing run, wait for any present dragonlings to clear out before advancing from the valley entrance.
- The safest way to deal with the dragonlings is to divide and conquer. Some of them wander close together, but you can separate them with enough care. A warrior can use Challenge to taunt single dragonlings and draw them in, then a mage can freeze or paralyze them to prevent them from attacking. This tactic minimizes the damage your party receives, in case you want to fight the Frostback.