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Dragon Age

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Dragon Age: Origins
Class Guide - v 0.5
by Marc Seguin aka Asmiroth
[email protected]
Copyright 2009 Marc Seguin
====================
----------------TABLE OF CONTENTS
----------------Introduction

(DAO:1)

Class Basics

(DAO:2)

- Warrior
- Rogue
- Mage

(DAO:2.1)
(DAO:2.2)
(DAO:2.3)

Group Makeup

(DAO:3)

- Typical Group (DAO:3.1)
- Better Group (DAO:3.2)
- Best Group
(DAO:3.3)
Characters

(DAO:4)

-

(DAO:4.1)
(DAO:4.2)
(DAO:4.3)
(DAO:4.4)
(DAO:4.5)
(DAO:4.6)
(DAO:4.7)
(DAO:4.8)
(DAO:4.9)
(DAO:4.10)

Alistair
Dog
Leliana
Secret
Morrigan
Oghren
Shale
Sten
Wynne
Zevran

Warrior

(DAO:5)

- Tank
-- Attributes
-- Abilities
-- Build
-- Summary

(DAO:5.1)
(DAO:5.1.1)
(DAO:5.1.2)
(DAO:5.1.3)
(DAO:5.1.4)

- Melee
-- Attributes
-- Abilities

(DAO:5.2)
(DAO:5.2.1)
(DAO:5.2.2)

-- Build
-- Summary

(DAO:5.2.3)
(DAO:5.2.4)

Rogue

(DAO:6)

- Melee
-- Attributes
-- Abilities
-- Build
-- Summary

(DAO:6.1)
(DAO:6.1.1)
(DAO:6.1.2)
(DAO:6.1.3)
(DAO:6.1.4)

- Ranged
-- Attributes
-- Abilities
-- Build
-- Summary

(DAO:6.2)
(DAO:6.2.1)
(DAO:6.2.2)
(DAO:6.2.3)
(DAO:6.2.4)

Mage

(DAO:7)

- Tank
-- Attributes
-- Abilities
-- Build
-- Summary

(DAO:7.1)
(DAO:7.1.1)
(DAO:7.1.2)
(DAO:7.1.3)
(DAO:7.1.4)

- Caster
-- Attributes
-- Abilities
-- Build
-- Summary

(DAO:7.2)
(DAO:7.2.1)
(DAO:7.2.2)
(DAO:7.2.3)
(DAO:7.2.4)

------VERSION
------Jan
Dec
Nov
Nov
Nov

18,
02,
28,
27,
20,

2009
2009
2009
2009
2009

-

0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1

-

More fixes
More build fixes, and typos corrected
Fixed some errors in build sections
Added builds, modified Rogue section, clean-up
First Version

-----------INTRODUCTION (DAO:1)
-----------Dragon Age:Origins is the sequel in pricinple of the Baldur's Gate, Icewind
Dale and Neverwinter Nights line of games. Though DA:O doesn't necessarily
follow the Dungeons & Dragons method of gameplay, many similarities exist.
What we find instead is a mix of D&D with multiplayer online games, such as
World of Warcraft. All in all, this makes the game much more accessible to
a
wider group of people than your standard pen and paper RPG.
And yes, there are spoilers abound.

-----------CLASS BASICS (DAO:2)

-----------If you've ever played any RPG in the past, you're probably familiar with
the
roles required to succeed in the long run. Where some games require only
brute
force and others exceedingly tedious strategy, DA:O tends to favor the
latter.
In only a brief amount of situations will sending in your group blindly
succeed. You will find yourself pausing the game, issuing commands and
probably reloading a few times along the way. Due to this requirement of
strategy, it's a good idea to understand the basics of class makeup.
Warrior (DAO:2.1)
------Warriors are your typical grunt force trauma. They wade in, take a beating
and
dish one out in kind. These are the characters that get deep and dirty in
combat, so they require a slightly less hands-on approach. With the right
tactics set-up (the default scrapper is usually good), sending a warrior to
attack and forgetting about him for a few seconds will not kill you.
One of the key features of a warrior is their heavy armor and weapons. The
former makes them quite effective at absorbing damage, if they can maintain
the
enemies' focus for long enough. Threaten and Taunt are key abilities for
this
type of combatant. When a character's main role is to absorb damage, they
are
referred to as a tank.
Looking at the other side of the warrior coin, damage dealing. Warriors
are
huge brutes swinging massive weapons. In the later stages of the game,
they
can also attack a group of enemies with a single swing, making them quite
useful for group attacks. Characters that focus on dealing damage to
enemies
at close range are referred to as melee damage-dealers, or melee for short.
Rogue (DAO:2.2)
----Rogues are your typical silent stalker. Residing in the shadows, they are
the
masters of ranged physical attacks, backstabs and poisons. Not to mention
the
other utility skills such as picking pockets and locks. Similar to the
warrior, rogues focus on dealing maximum damage but while taking the least
amount possible. If they can't kill the enemy quickly, they will use
additional skills to further disable it. Typically, a rogue does not deal
well
with multiple enemies at once but excels at single target combat.
There are really two key areas of focus for rogues in DA:O, damage up close
and
damage from range with a bow or crossbow. This has an impact in attribute
allocation and even more so with abilities. A fully powered rogue at range
is
by far the deadliest character in the game. Ranged attackers are called
ranged

damage-dealers, or ranged for short.
Mage (DAO:2.3)
---The mystical mage. There really isn't much that a mage doesn't do, if only
limited by their mana pool and abilities selected. A mage can fight up
close,
they can cast from the back, the can control groups of enemies, they can
heal,
they can even transform into other beasts.
At the most basic level, a mage is the type of character the needs the most
finesse. Just leaving them to cast whatever spell whenever is not the best
way to win a fight and in some cases, will kill you outright. In part due
to
the large amount of spells they can choose from, you have a lot to consider
in
every battle you enter.
Though the ability to heal is a very important one, it is never going to be
the
primary role of a mage. They are your ace in pocket, casting a clever
spell to
trick or trap the enemy making life easier for every other character.
Of very interesting note is that with the proper specialization, the mage
can
fill in perfectly as a tank. So where you might find your options lacking
in
your party members you can also make your own true jack of all trades.

-----------GROUP MAKEUP (DAO:3)
-----------Though you could try to play the game alone if you wanted to, DA:O allows
you
and 3 party members to form a group. By the time you finish Lotherian,
you'll
potentially have 6 members to choose from, which is more than enough for
the
rest of the game. Over the course of the entire game, you will encounter 6
warriors, 2 rogues and 2 mages. Combined with the class you've selected,
you
can certainly form any type of team you would like.
On easy and normal, it's very possible to play the entire game without any
mages to cast healing spells. You could have 4 warriors, use potions and
poisons and get through 99% of the game with relative ease, if you pay
attention. On the hardest level however, you cannot forgo a mage for 2 main
reasons. The first is their ability to heal members, which is more
effective
than potions alone. The second is their ability to stun/control enemies in
combat. Many times you will encounter 2-4 ranked enemies who can easily
tear
your group apart. A well-timed Petrify or Crushing Prison is a lifesaver
in
those cases.

Typical Group (DAO:3.1)
------------Your typical group in combat will contain one tank, one mage and 2 damage
dealers. In the early stages of the game and on easier difficulties you
can
choose to have all of them in melee range if you wish. The downside is
that
you are grouping up your characters, which can put them all at risk of area
effect spells and abilities. This also means that your characters need to
run
around in order to engage enemies at a distance. Any time you are not
swinging
your weapon at an enemy and they are is time where you are losing.
Better Group (DAO:3.2)
-----------A tank, a mage and 2 ranged attackers are an improvement over the typical
group. While your tank runs in and engages the enemy, their role is not to
deal damage but to absorb it, so there is no time lost. In the meantime,
all
your ranged attackers can focus on and eliminate enemy targets with
relative
ease. A possible hiccup here is that enemies will start to run towards
your
ranged attackers, meaning the tank will be running around a whole lot and
you'll need to really manage your team. Still, from a damage dealing
perspective, this group is a very solid make-up.
Best Group (DAO:3.3)
---------Obviously using the word best is subjective. Everyone will have their own
opinion about this but in my experience, this is the easiest way to move
through the game without continual reloading. As mentioned in the previous
section, ranged combat is preferable to melee since you're dealing damage
the
entire time rather than running around. It also ensures that you're using
the
most powerful class in the game to their maximum potential.
The best group is made up of a tank and 3 mages. I'm sure you're thinking,
wow
it's hard enough to manage a single mage, how can I handle 3? That's the
beauty about it, you only really need to manage a single one. Put the
other
two on tactics that attack whomever you are targetting and let the computer
cast away. I can guarantee that 3 mages casting Blizzard, Inferno and
Tempest
will destroy any group of enemies you encounter. Even more so if they all
have
access to Force Field to protect your tank and each other. If you're
running
with an Arcane Mage, you could potentially have Frost, Fire and Telekenetic
Weapon spells all active at the same time!
There are many ways to build your group and in the end it's up to you to
decide
which formation works best for you.

---------CHARACTERS (DAO:4)
---------Throughout the game you'll encounter a wide variety of characters. I
briefly
mentioned the fact that you'll encounter a total of 10 throughout but
keeping
them all with you at the same time can be a challenge.
An important note
at
your level or +/then
she will be level
selected.
So if you want to
find
them early.

when characters join your group: they will typically join
1.

If you find Wynne when your character is level 17,

17 and already have all her attributes and spells
have the ultimate control on your group's characters,

All characters are optional, except for perhaps Alistair in a short part of
the
game.
Alistair (DAO:4.1)
-------Location Found: Ostagar
Role: Alistair comes with 2 abilities already in the Shield tree, so it's a
good idea to keep him there and build him to become a tank.
Dog (DAO:4.2)
--Location Found: Road between Ostagar and Lotherian (if you did the quest in
Ostagar)
Role: Being a dog, it's role is purely offensive and similar to a melee
character but without weapons. You can equip him with a collar and some
paint
to enhance him but for the most part, it's a pet that you point to a target
and
he'll bite til they die.
Leliana (DAO:4.3)
------Location Found: Lotherian
Role: Leliana comes with some archery abilities already selected but being
early in the game, you can move her to another role if you wish. I prefer
keeping her at range though and focusing entirely on dexterity. At the end
of
the game, she is the dealiest character on your team.
Loghain (DAO:4.4)
------Location Found: Denerim, late in the game

Role: He comes in very late in the game as a warrior. Odds are you won't
level
him more than 1-2 levels and his role is purely that of a 2 handed warrior.
Morrigan (DAO:4.5)
-------Location Found: Wilds after Ostagar
Role: The "evil" mage in the game, since you collect her early you can
focus
her on whatever role you wish. I personally don't like the Shapeshifter
spells
since you lose access to all other mage spells but it's your preference.
Oghren (DAO:4.6)
-----Location Found: Orzammar
Role: He's set up as a beserker and for 2 handed weapon damage. This is a
great role to keep him in, especially if you catch him early in the game.
Shale (DAO:4.7)
----Location Found: Honnleath - DLC
Role: Shale is a golem you can collect through downloadable content. Being
a
golem, you would think he would focus on damage dealing but in fact by the
end
of the game, you'll have maxed out every skill of his. Combined with the
gems
he uses to augment his body, it's up to you to decide if you want him to be
a
tank or a damage dealer. Be warned that he does area of effect damage, so
if
the rest of the group is near him, they will get damaged as well.
Sten (DAO:4.8)
---Location Found: Lotherian
Role: You find Sten very early in the game but he still has a couple points
into 2 handed weapons. Since you already have Alistair in tank-mode, keep
Sten
in melee mode. Statisically, he will be stronger than Ogren because you
can
give him 2 specializations - though odds are one will be beserker anyhow.
Wynne (DAO:4.9)
----Location Found: Circle of Mages
Role: Wynne comes in already lined up to be a Sprit Healer, having a group
heal
and revival lined up. Being a mage, these are two good spells and even the

entire tree is good later in the game. Try to collect her early so that
you
can maximize her attribute distribution and move her either into Arcane
Mage or
Blood Mage.
Zevran (DAO:4.10)
-----Location Found: Random event after clearing 1 major quest.
Role: Zevran is a melee rogue but depending on when you collect him, he can
be
very weak statistically. This is a tough call since you will most likely
finish the first major quest at level 9-10 and really only need 1 rogue in
the
group. Leliana is a better choice so Zevran really takes a backseat in the
game. Too bad, he's an interesting one at that.

------WARRIOR (DAO:5)
------Tank (DAO:5.1)
---The tank's main role is to absorb damage and keep enemy attention.
end, they will be focusing on defensive items and abilities.

To that

Attributes (DAO:5.1.1)
---------Strength:
Dex:
Willpower:
Magic:
Cunning:
Constitution:

42
MAX
n/a
n/a
n/a
20

Since the best armor in the game requires 42 strength, that's what you're
going
to be aiming for. Past that point, strength's only purpose is to increase
melee damage, which is not a goal for this role. Constitution at 20 is
more
than enough, especially if you pick up the Life Giver ring in Orzammar.
There's nothing wrong with more hitpoints but the difference between 15 and
20
constituion is only 25 hit points. Dexterity should be maxed as much as
possible for a few reasons. First, it increases your chance to hit.
Second
it decreases your chance to be hit, which is of great benefit to your
healer.
Abilities (DAO:5.1.2)
-------------Your main focus will be on the Warrior tree, the Shield tree and the
specialization trees. Dual Wield and Two Hand remove the ability to
use a shield, which is bad so avoid them. If your main character is

a warrior, you can also acquire 2 new skills in the Warden's Keep quest.
Warrior abilities:
----------------Powerful:
This one is a necessity for any warrior.
and
increased hit points is all good.
Threaten:
increases
and
them all
Bravery:
you
in

Again, a requirement for a tank.
enemy hostility towards you.

Reduced fatigue

Every swing you take

It should always be active

your tank should be hitting more than one enemy to keep
on him.
Passive increase to defensive and offensive statistics if
have more than 2 enemies attacking the tank.

This happens

90% of all battles, so there's a definite benefit to be

had.
Death Blow:
Since

If your warrior strikes the final blow, he regains some
stamina. This will only happen until you reach level 8-9,
afterwards your other characters are doing the killing.
you can only get this at 12, avoid it altogether.

Precise Striking: A sustained ability than increases your chance to hit.
Combined with Threaten this ensures you're hitting the
enemy
and getting their attention, which is a good thing. Keep
it
on.
Taunt:
and
enemies,
to be

Ahh, the meat and potatoes of engagement at the higher end.
Send your warrior into the thick of things, cast this skill
watch everyone target him.

In combat with 6 or more

this can kill your warrior outright, so your healers need
on their toes. Combined with Force Field on the tank this
allows you to Taunt, Force Field, then cast as many area

effect
Disengage:
to use

skills as you want with no risk to the tank.
This goes against the idea of a tank so there's no reason
it.

Perfect Striking: Practically ensures every swing is a hit, which sounds
good
in theory but it's 2 skill points you can put elsewhere
for
more benefit.

Warden's Keep abilities:
----------------------Blood Thirst: More damage output but you take more damage too. As a
sustained
ability, you should avoid using this as a tank. Thankfully
you
get it for free.
Blood Fury:
a
tank.

Another bad tradeoff for a tank.

Losing hitpoints is never

good thing and there's no reason to use this ability as a

Shield Tree abilities:
--------------------Shield Bash:
Knocking enemies down is good. On top of that, if every
another
party member gets grasped or jumped on, this attack will
break
the hold. Great livesaver.
Shield Pummel: Stunning attacks are great as they set up the enemy for
more
damage. Alternating between Bash and Pummel will keep most
enemies out of combat until they die or you run out of
stamina.
Overpower:
stamina.
really not
from

Another knockdown attack, this time costing a bit more
I personally prefer Bash because of the cost.

You're

aiming for damage but in a pinch it can free a party member
a grasp/jump.

Assault:
and
don't

A shield damage attack.

Again, your goal is to take damage

prevent it from hitting other party members, so you really
need this.

Shield Defense: This should be on at all times until you get Shield Wall.
Increased chance to avoid missles is gold when you're
surrounded
by enemies.
Shield Balance: Improves shield defense, nothing bad here.
Shield Wall:
This

You do less damage but take a whole lot less yourself.
ability should always be active once you have acquired it.
Always.

Shield Expertise: Being immune to knockdown is a huge benefit and should be
the ability to select at level 12. A tank that's standing
is
a tank that's keeping all the enemies on him.
Shield Block:
avoid

Flanking reduces your defense to zero, meaning you can't

removes

damage and therfore take more.

This passive ability

flanks from the front, which is a good 50% of all attacks.
Shield Cover:

Great for avoiding missles but Shield Wall is better.

Shield Tactics: Now you're immune from all flanking attacks.
the change as soon as you acquire it.

You'll notice

Shield Mastery: Improves nearly every shield ability you have, a great
investment.
Beserker Specialization:
----------------------An interesting choice, since the attribute gain does not match up with the
specialization abilities. A beserker trades stamina for more overall
damage.
Again, since the tank's main goal is to avoid taking damage and reduce the
effect on others, there's not a whole lot to gain from taking this path,
other than the 2 strength and 10 hitpoints taken by selecting it on the
level
up screen.
Templar Specialization:
---------------------The focus of a Templar is against mages. In many combat situations, there
will
be mages attacking you but your ranged attackers should be focused on them.
The abilities of a templar are all in melee range and really don't affect
regular enemies and therefore do not have any noticeable benefit to the
tank
or the group.
Righteous Strike: Mana drain is good but there are poisons that do this
more
effectively.
Clease Area:
group

I've yet to see a huge benefit here, except for healing
members of dealy curses.

Mental Fortress: Significant increase to mental defense, which really only
stops Crushing Prison attacks.
Holy Smite:
for
and

Interesting attack that hits your target and others nearby
spirit and fire damage.

The real benefit is the group stun

knockback attack that accompanies it.
Champion Specialization:
----------------------Now this is a tanking specialization. Increase attributes on your team and
reduce the enemy's ability to hit you. Great!
War Cry:
tank.

A cry that reduces the enemy chance to hit is great for a

all

If you select Superiority later on, this can also knockdown
enemies around you.

Rally:
Nothing

Gives your entire group a bonus to attack and defense.
wrong with that at all.

Motivate:
great

Increases the bonuses from Rally.

On its own, not that

since the upkeep cost is rather high.
Superiority:
worthwhile

Makes War Cry knock down a group of enemies.

Very

when you have the stamina to spare.
Reaver Specialization:
--------------------Some good and some bad here. The ability to heal from corpses and be more
effective with Taunt and Threaten is good but taking damage to do more
damage
is definitely bad.
Devour:
you. I
be

Essentially a heal based on the amount of corpses around
had problems getting this to work consistently so it might
buggy.

In theory though, very useful.

Frightening Appearance: Works just like a stun on a single target. However
the
side benefit is that Threaten and Taunt are much
more
effective, so it's very useful to have.
Aura of Pain:
being
and
points.
is

Give damage to take damage.

It's sort of like you always

inside a Tempest or Inferno.

Sure, everyone takes damage

thereby hits you more often but you also are losing hit
This is a good ability to use if Taunt isn't working out or
on cooldown, just don't keep it active too long.

Blood Frenzy:
goal
use.

You no longer regenerate health and you do more damage
proportionately to the amount of health you've lost. I
personally feel the upkeep cost is too high here and your
is not to do more damage.

Not on my list of abilities to

Suggested Build (DAO:5.1.3)
--------------Attributes:
the
as

Focus on increasing strength to 42 early, so you can equip
best armor.

Add to dexterity to use the shield abilities

they become available.

when

Try to get Constitution around 20

you have the points to spare.
Abilities:
one

I will only list 1 ability per level (2 for the first and
at level 5 when you become a Grey Warden) even though you

can

acquire more points from books and quests. Warriors get a
free skill at level 1, depending on their origin story. As
a

tank, you want Shield Bash preferably, so a Human or a

Dwarf
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)
7)
8)
9)
10)
11)
12)
13)
14)
15)
16)
17)
18)
19)
20)

Noble are the best races in that regard.
Powerful + Precise Striking
Shield Defense
Shield Block
Taunt
Threaten + Shield Pummel
Shield Cover (DEX 16)
War Cry
Shield Balance
Shield Tactics (DEX 20)
Shield Wall
Shield Mastery
Shield Expertise
Rally
Motivate
Devour
Superiority
Overpower
Assault
Your Choice
Your Choice

Summary (DAO:5.1.4)
------The warrior tank is one of the more solid options as a character, if only
because the variations are small.
-

Enough strength to equip massive armor (42)
Enough constituion to take a few hits (20)
Everything else goes into dexterity to increase defense
Focus on Weapon and Shield ability tree
The goal is not to do damage but absorb it
Invest in Threaten and Taunt early
Champion is your best bet as a specilization
Reaver is a decent second specialization if you can

Melee (DAO:5.2)
----Your role here is simply to do as much damage as possible, to as many
enemies
as possible. Since you can use heavy armor you can also jump in and take a
few

hits if ever required. Remember, the more armor you have, the less stamina
you
can use, so you might end up at the end with light or medium armor instead.
Dual Wielding
compared to a
need for
a significant
into
Strength. If

is an option for a warrior but does less overall damage when
two handed warrior. This is due almost entirely over the
investment in Dexterity compared to putting all those points
you want to Dual Wield, a Rogue is a much better option.

Attributes (DAO:5.2.1)
---------Strength:
MAX
Dexterity:
18
Willpower:
25
Magic:
n/a
cunning:
n/a
Constitution: n/a
For a warrior in melee the role is rather simple, smash things. You should
focus primarily on raising strength to do more damage and use better
weapons.
Dexterity is at 18 simply to acquire Disengage. If you don't plan on
taking
that ability, you don't need to put a single point here. Willpower has a
direct effect on stamina and that has an effect on how many abilities you
can
use in combat. I find that 25 is sufficient for the most part but you can
put
more if you find the need. If you reach level 20, you'll have 60 points to
allocate as you wish between essentially two attributes.
Abilities (DAO:5.2.2)
-------------As a melee you have two main options, dual weapon and two-handed. Since
you
require dexterity for many of the dual weapon abilities and only strength
for
the two-handed ones, I highly suggest you go the latter route. If your main
character is a warrior, they can acquire 2 skills for free in the Warden's
Keep.
Warrior abilities:
----------------Powerful:
This one is a necessity for any warrior. Reduced fatigue
and
increased hit points is all good. It allows you to use
heavier
armor with less penalty to ability usage.
Threaten:
unless

This is a tank ability, so you should not have it active
you want to get hit.

Bravery:
ability does

You shouldn't have any enemies attacking you so this
not incur any real benefit.

Death Blow:
stamina.
but you
would

If your warrior strikes the final blow, he regains some
This will happen frequently as your warrior gets stronger
have to go through 2 useless abilities to get here.

I

avoid it until you've maxed other abilities first.

Precise Striking: A sustained ability than increases your chance to hit.
You
need this on pretty much constantly at the beginning and
much
less as your strength hits the 40s. It does get
overshadowed
by Indomitable though.
Taunt:
have
in
Disengage:

Never use this unless you want to take a nap.

Because you

no defensive attributes or abilities, odds are you will die
just a few seconds.
Great if you find yourself suddenly the target of an enemy.
With proper planning, this shouldn't happen very much.

Perfect Striking: Practically ensures every swing is a hit, which sounds
good
in theory but it's 2 skill points you can put elsewhere
for
more benefit. The same rule as with Death Blow applies
here.
Warden's Keep abilities:
----------------------Blood Thirst: Since you're not getting hit, this isn't a big problem to
have
active. Indomitable gives a similar benefit with no risk
though.
Blood Fury:
have
assigning

There are times where you need to knockback an enemy and
the hitpoints to spare. I would use this in rare cases but
since the ability is free, that's not a problem when
points.

Two-Handed abilities:
-------------------Pommel Strike: A basic knock down attack. Very useful against tough
enemies
and casters. Will also break grasp attacks.
Indomitable:
knockdown.
would

An increase to damage and attack while being immune to
This is slight improvement over Precise Striking and I
suggest this be active instead.

Stunning Blow: A passive chance to stun opponents. Sure, the number isn't
huge
but a stun at any time is a great thing. Even more so if
you
put paralyzing runes into your weapons.
Critical Strike: Almost a guaranteed critical hit and with two handed
weapons,
we're talking big damage. Used against ranked enemies
(yellow
and red) this can have a significant effect on their hit
points.
Sunder Arms:
very

Two strikes and reduces the target's chance to attack.

A

powerful ability for such a low cost.

Shattering Blows: More damage against golems and constructs. I think I
fought
10 golems total in the entire game, not much here to look
at.
Maybe in future content.
Sunder Armor:
make

Two strikes and reduces the target's armor. Golden ability
against ranked enemies, where you double your damage and
the enemy weaker.

Destroyer:
significant.
doesn't
and
Ogres

I generally love passive abilities and this one is
Each attack effectively lowers the enemy's armor but it
stack together. Still, combined with Telekenetic Weapons
other skills, this turns a heavy armored foe to paper.
come quickly to mind.

Mighty Blow:
Still

Similar to Critical Strike but somehow does less damage.
quite useful.

Poweful Swings: More damage in each attack but you lower your attack and
defense scores. I personally prefer Indomitable here.
Two-Handed Strength: Improves powerful swings by reducing the penalties.
This
is good but since Indomitable never had penalties to
start,
makes you wonder why it's an option at all.
Two-Handed Sweep: Finally an area attack ability. I suggest you get this
at
level 10 since it will make a big difference in your
damage
output. It keeps its usefulness all the way until the end
of
the game.
Beserker Specialization:

----------------------Beserkers focus on dealing damage, straigth in line with what we want to
do.
Sure, there is an increased cost in stamina but with a bit more points into
Willpower this isn't a big concern overall.
Beserk:
stamina

You do more damage but have a significant penalty to
regeneration. Further abilities along this tree reduce the
penalty and that makes this a great ability to have active.

Resilience:

Nature resistance and smaller stamina penalty for beserk.
Great.

Constraint:
nothing

Reduces the stamina penalty to almost nothing, which is
to sneeze at.

Final Blow:
You

into

Trade all your stamina for a single attack. Huge risk here
since you can miss the attack and end up with no stamina.
can also start combat with this and deal rediculous damage,
probably the easiest way to get the 250 damage in a single
attack achievement. Still, having no stamina 2 seconds
combat is not a good thing but with potions can be very

useful.
Templar Specialization:
---------------------The focus here is to kill mages. You will encounter your fair share along
the
trip but never enough to make any abilities here worthwhile. Poisons give
nearly the same effect overall. There are no real offensive abilities to
speak
of.
Champion Specialization:
----------------------These abilities are mostly oriented towards improving your group and
disabling
the enemy, which is the role of the tank. There are better specializations
for
you to invest in.
Reaver Specialization:
--------------------A mixed bag as before. The focus is more on defensive side of things than
offense but there are some possibilities to look at.
Devour:
you. I
be

Essentially a heal based on the amount of corpses around
had

problems getting this to work consistently so it might

buggy.

In theory though, very useful.

Frightening Appearance: Single target stun is good.

Benefits to Taunt and

Threaten are not useful to you since you don't use

those

abilities.
Aura of Pain:
There

Area effect damage is bad when you don't want to get hit.
are good odds that you'll incur the hate of many enemies if

you

use this and the tank is not prepared.
Blood Frenzy:
dying

More damage as your health decreases. First off, you
shouldn't be getting hit, second you increase your risk of
the longer this is active.

Next please.

Suggested Build (DAO:5.2.3)
--------------Attributes:
you'll

Increase Strength every level unless you need to increase
Dexterity to access a new ability, which I don't think
require.
issues.

Abilities:
one at

Increase Willpower when you start having stamina

I will only list 1 ability per level (2 for the first and
level 5 when you become a Grey Warden) even though you can

acquire

more points from books and quests.

skills:
Human:
Dalish Elf:
City Elf:
Common Dwarf:
Noble Dwarf:

Note about starting

Shield Bash
Pinning Shot
Dual Weapon Sweep
Dual Weapon Sweep
Shield Bash
As you can see, none are really targetted towards the melee

build.
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)
7)
8)
9)
10)
11)
12)
13)
14)
15)
16)
17)
18)

Powerful & Precise Striking
Sunder Arms
Mighty Blow
Powerful Swings
Pommel Strike & Indomitable
Stunning Blows
Beserk
Resilience
Stunning Blows
Constraint
Two-Handed Strength
Two-Handed Sweep
Critical Strike
Devour
Frightening Appearance
Shattering Blows
Sunder Armor
Destroyer

19)
20)

Final Blow
Your Choice

Summary (DAO:5.2.4)
------The melee warrior gives a lot more freedom of choice when it comes to
abilities. You can go dual-wield but it requires more investment in
dexterity. You can go archery for even more dexterity. You can go into
two
handed weapons for a strength focus. You can specialize into almost any
tree.
My personal preference for maximum damage is two-handed weapons as you
simplify
all these questions down to a single path.
-

Enough willpower to use your skills
Enough dexterity to hit the enemy (20)
Everything else into strength to maximize the damage
Make sure Taunt/Threaten are disabled
Beserker is very powerful if you avoid using Killing Blow all the time
Reaver is a great second choice as a specialization

----ROGUE (DAO:6)
----A special note about rogues. This class has the ability to backstab any
opponent that can be flanked. Stand in the dark area on the targetting
circle
and you will have a new animation when attacking. This is a backstab that
deals additional damage to the enemy. Many abilities further enhance
backstabs
and can make a very big difference in your play style.
Melee (DAO:6.1)
----A melee's role is to get up close and personal to take out the enemy. With
this comes increased risk of taking damage but more control on the overall
outcome of the battle. Always make sure your rogue is on the backs of your
enemies to ensure maximum use of backstabs.
Quick Theorycrafting for you - Strength vs Cunning for dual wielding.
--------------------------------------------------------------------First off, read this post
http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/66/index/223777
There's a lot of information that's a little too complicated for this
guide.
Basically, it states that dual daggers and full Cunning is the way to go.

Attributes (DAO:6.1.1)
----------

Strength:
Dexterity:
Willpower:
Magic:
Cunning:
Constitution:

20
32/36
20
n/a
MAX
n/a

Attributes are a very strange thing for rogues. Dexterity is a
prerequisite
for a whole pile of abilities. If you plan on going with swords/axes,
you'll
need to invest into Dual Weapon Mastery at 36 dexterity, otherwise 32 will
be
enough to get all the abilities. Strength is useful for acquring the best
armor. If you plan on going with Swords/Axes, then further investment into
strength is a good idea. For maximum damage, cunning is the way to go.
Abilities (DAO:6.1.2)
--------This is a melee rogue, so we're going down the Dual Weapon ability tree.
If
your main character is a Rogue, you can unlock two more abilities in the
Warden's Keep quest.
Rogue Abilities:
--------------Dirty Fighting: No damage but the target is stunned. Typically this gives
time for the rogue to move into backstab range but combined
with another ability, it allows backstabs from the front.
I
use this all the time.
Combat Movement: Increases the backstab range by nearly 100%.
positioning in combat a whole lot easier.

Makes

Coup de Grace: Stunned and paralyzed targets get backstabbed. This
ability
makes melee rogues extremely deadly if you know how to
manage
your stuns. With proper planning a rogue can take out an
ogre
alone because of this.
Feign Death:
the
to
of

Drop to your feet and pretend your dead.

Sure, this makes

enemy target something else but you have enough abilities
stay alive toe to toe with any enemy to make this something
a point waster.

Below the Belt: Defense penalties are good, meaning everyone has a better
chance of hitting the target. Especially good on yellow
and
red enemies.

Deadly Strike: Increased armor penetration is fine but you get a better
effect
from Telekenetic Weapons or even just points in cunning.
Lethality:
this

Actually, after having done some more number crunching,
ability has a significant impact on damage output.

Evasion:
already

One in five chance seems high but when you figure you
have that chance with 32 dexterity, who cares?
shouldn't be hitting you in the first place.

Deft Hands:
10
the

Stealth:
lets
super

Enemies

Chest require Cunnin-10 to unlock. 1 Point in this skill is
more points in Cunning.

4 points here gives 40 Cunning and

hardest chests need 70 to unlock. 30 Cunning is all you'll
need to be able to unlock everything.
The first level lets you walk around. The second lets you
disable traps, which is very powerful later on. The third
you stealth in combat, which oddly enough doesn't work
well until you get the fourth rank. Stealth in combat
essentially guarantees a critical hit, which is good but I
found myself getting by without it.

Warden's Keep abilities:
----------------------Dark Passage: Passive ability that increases movement speed and defense
while
in stealth. What's there not to love about this?
The Tainted Blade: You lose health but do more damage. Honestly, just coat
your weapon with a poison for the same benefit and no
downside.
Dual-Weapon abilities:
--------------------Dual-Weapon Training: You deal near normal damage with the offhand weapon.
There really isn't a choice here, take this ability.
Dual-Weapon Finesse: A bonus to attack and defense is what makes you a
better
killer. Again, a required ability.
Dual-Weapon Expert: Increased critical chance and the chance to make the
target
bleed. Don't you just love passive abilities? Take
this
one.
Dual-Weapon Mastery: Now you can use axes and swords and maces in the
offhand.
Does have a big impact on damage output if you're
going
down the strength route.

Dual Striking: Use this ability when you can't get into backstab range.
One
on one fights, mage kills come to mind. It isn't used
often
but can make a difference.
Riposte:
is

Stun plus critical hit.

Cripple:
target.

Critical hit plus penalties to defense and attack on the

Punisher:

Can you say crazy? Does four hits with the last being both
weapons at once for two critical hits. Did I mention it

also

Combined with Dirty Fighting, this

your mage killing ability.

Very powerful.

You should use this ability in every fight and especially
against yellow and red enemies.

adds penalties to attack and defense with the chance of a
knockdown? Very powerful.

Dual-Weapon Sweep: Interesting area of attack ability that does more than
normal damage. Great for group attacks but backstab
seems
to do more damage.
Flurry:
and

Three normal damage hits.

Momentum:
stamina.

Increased attack speed at the cost of a big drain on

Whirlwind:
damage. I

Hits every nearby enemy with both weapons for normal

that's a
a

Nothing wrong with more damage

timed critically can make a big dent in enemy hit points.

You basically turn into a chainsaw, with the same effect as
Haste from the mage tree. It's good but costly.

rarely find myself surrounded by enemies with a rogue,
tank's job. You kind of expect something more powerful from
skill with this name.

Assassin specialization:
----------------------A focus on killing from this tree.
fine
by me.

All about doing more damage, which is

Mark of Death: Mark the target for about 15 seconds where they now take
more
damage than normal. You need to be in melee range to use
this
skill but it's very powerful, especially on dragons and
revenants.
Exploit Weakness: Backstab does more damage the more cunning you have. I
do
believe it's cunning-10, so even if you never put a point

it's

into cunning it's a damage increase.

With 30 cunning,

20 more damage, very nice.
Lacerate:
see

You put a continual damage on the enemy with a successful
backstab. I know it says "enough damage" but I've yet to
what the number actually is.

Feast of the Fallen: If you kill someone with a backstab you regain
stamina.
Given the fact that you should be backstabing 90% of
the
time and providing killing blows too, this is a
worthwhile
investment.
Bard specialization:
------------------All songs here are affected by cunning scores, so if you don't plan on
investing down that attribute, avoid this specialization. Only the last
song
requires you to be in melee range.
Song of Valor: Increase mana and stamina regeneration, which is beneficial
to
the entire group. Keep it active.
Distraction:

Good way to get an enemy off your back but there are better
abilities to use for the same effect.

Song of Courage: Grants bonus to attack, defense and critical chance for
the
group. This is useful at the start of the game but near
the
end mana and stamina are a bigger concern.
Captivating Song: Stuns nearby enemies but the bard can't move or attack.
This
is a niche ability, where its only use is in large group
areas where you need to keep everyone under control.
Sadly,
the range is very small.
Ranger specialization:
--------------------This specialization focuses on summoning pets to help the attacker. As a
melee
there are benefits to having more enemies attacking. Having 3 rangers is
really impressive from a damage perspective.
Summon Wolf:

The basic wolf casts howl that reduces enemy defense. The
upgraded wolf can Shred, which is a 100% critical hit.

Summon Bear:
upgraded

Basic bear can maul which knocks back the enemy.

Overwhelm.

The

bear has rage which increases damage output and can

Summon Spider: Basic spider has web which immobilizes an enemy while the
upgraded one has a poison spit for continual damage.
Master Ranger: Gives you access to the upgraded anmials.
Duelist specialization:
---------------------Duelists are more of an extension of the Rogue class than a true
specialization. The abilities are improvements to existing ones or simply
an
overall upgrade to the basic class.
Dueling:
Keen
more

An sustained ability that increases your attack rating.
Defense will also increase defense while this is active. I
personally keep this one on all the time as more hits mean
damage.

Upset Balance: No damage but decreases enemy defense rating. The Rogue
has
many other similar skills so this can be used when the
others
are on cooldown.
Keen Defense:
already

A passive increase to defense. Since your dexterity is
pretty high, this doesn't make a big difference in the

grand

picture.
Pinpoint Strike: For about 20 seconds, every hit is a critical hit.
Combined
with Haste/Flurry, +Attack and -Defense skills, the Rogue
is
basically a killing machine. The only downside here is
the
cooldown of 3 minutes.
Suggested Build (DAO:6.1.3)
--------------Attributes:
is
is

increased as you need to get new skills.

Dexterity

Every other point

pretty much allocated to cunning.

Abilities:
one
can

Increase strength to 20 to wear the best armor.

I will only list 1 ability per level (2 for the first and
at level 5 when you become a Grey Warden) even though you
acquire more points from books and quests. Rogues
automatically get Dirty Fighting for free at level 1.

1)
2)
3)
4)

Dual Weapon Sweep + Below the Belt
Dual Striking
Dual Weapon Training
Flurry

5)
6)
7)
8)
9)
10)
11)
12)
13)
14)
15)
16)
17)
18)
19)
20)

Deadly Strike + Dual Weapon Finesse
Combat Movement
Mark of Death
Lethality
Dual Weapon Expert
Coup de Grace
Momentum
Exploit Weakness
Riposte
Lacerate
Dueling
Cripple
Punisher
Feast of the Fallen
Your choice
Your Choice

Summary (DAO:6.1.4)
------The melee rogue is the do-it-all character. You have a wide assortment of
tricks up your sleeve, are a great way to make extra money and can kill a
ranked enemy whenever you want. Not the best idea to let the rogue play on
their own though, or you'll end up with no stamina left.
-

Enough dexterity for the dual-wield abilities (32)
Strength to get the best light armor (20)
Cunning to the max
Assassination is the best specialization since it maximizes backstabs
Duelist will increase your damage potential
If you have stealth, use it!

Ranged (DAO:6.2)
-----The beauty of this rogue is that you will rarely get hit by anything and
have
the discretion to kill whatever you want, when you want. You also have
very
little need for melee range skills, giving you additional freedom in
ability
selection.
If you find your ranged attacker is frequently swapping to melee weapons,
you
might have Dirty Fighting enabled in your tactics. Also note that if you
are
in melee range for too long (say 3 attacks) there's a strong chance you'll
go
into melee mode. No idea why.
Attributes (DAO:6.2.1)
---------Strength:
Dexterity:

n/a
MAX

Willpower:
Magic:
Cunning:
Constitution:

30
n/a
30
n/a

The only reason you would need strength is to equip better armor but better
armor means more fatigue and you should not be getting hit in the first
place.
Willpower will give you the stamina required to use all your abilities but
you
may find you need more or less, depending on your style. Cunning, again,
is
required only if you wish to unlock doors and chests or invest in the Bard
tree. Maximum dexterity means that you will be doing crazy damage with
your
bow, critical hits through the roof and near 100% hit rate. I assure you,
a
ranged rogue is the deadliest single character in the game.
Abilities (DAO:6.2.2)
--------The ranged rogue will evidently be focusing on the Archery ability tree.
Dual
Wield options don't present any benefits to this role and even the
specialization trees offer little in terms of pure benefits. If your main
character is a rogue, you can acquire 2 free abilities in the Warden's
Keep.
Rogue Abilities:
--------------Dirty Fighting: No damage but the target is stunned. This is still a great
ability even if you are attacking from range. Let's say
someone walks up to you, use this and you can get in a few
free shots and give time for the tank to pick them up off
you.
Combat Movement: Since you won't be backstabbing, not much point here.
Coup de Grace: Again, no backstabs, no benefit.
Feign Death:

Drop to your feet and pretend your dead. This could be
beneficial if you find yourself getting attacked a lot but
in the larger picture you have much better options

elsewhere.
Below the Belt: A melee range attack, which you being ranged won't be
using.
Deadly Strike: Another melee attack, no use here.
Lethality:
chance is

Odds are your cunning will be higher than your strength and
additional damage is always good. Increased critical
sugar on top.

Evasion:
enemies

I'm not sure if this stacks though.

Your dexterity is going to be in the 50s at least, where

investment.
Deft Hands:
this
it
Stealth:

useful
Use
increase

will miss you all the time anyhow.

Not worth the

If you plan on investing in cunning to 30, always select
ability when it becomes available.

Otherwise, just leave

alone.
The first level lets you walk around. The second lets you
disable traps, which is very powerful later on. The third
lets you stealth in combat, which oddly enough doesn't work
super well until you get the fourth rank. This is a very
ability for a ranged attacker, especially at maximum rank.
it whenever you can to break enemies chasing you or to
your damage output.

Warden's Keep abilities:
Dark Passage:

Passive ability that increases movement speed and defense.
What's there not to love about this?

The Tainted Blade: You lose health but do more damage. This only seems to
affect melee damage, so no real benefit.
Archery abilities:
----------------Melee Archer:

No longer breaks ranged attacks if you get hit.
ability.

Aim:
to

You might shoot a bit slower but the overall damage seems

about
almost

Excellent

increase if only because of the increase to attack.

At

level 10 this loses its luster as you will be hitting
100% of the time.

Defensive Fire: Increasing defense and slower rate of fire does not mean
more
damage. I would not use this.
Master Archer:
allows
a

Increases the function of nearly every other ability and
you to use heavy armor without a speed penalty.

This isn't

bad skill, it just shouldn't be the first thing you try to
acquire.
Pinning Shot:

It either slows them down or disables them for about 10
seconds. A great tool to have fighting a group of enemies.

Crippling Shot: Reduces the enemy's attack and defense, which is perfect
against red and yellow enemies. No need to use against
regular

enemies.
Critical Shot: Since this also has the benefit or armor penetration,
you're
going to see a big number here when it hits. Dragons,
revenants and bosses will make you chain cast this ability.
Arrow of Slaying: A single massive damage attack that can potentially kill
the enemy in a single blow. Yes it's powerful but the
cost
is disproportionate to the damage when you compare it to
Critical Shot.
Rapid Shot:
The
with
times.
thing

You shoot about 10% faster but can't get a critical hit.
only

time this is a problem is when your critical chance

a bow is above 15%. Otherwise, keep this active at all
Note that a bow with the Rapid Aim skill does the same
as this and they do not stack.

Shattering Shot: Normal damage but reduces enemy armor for a time. Has a
huge
impact on high armor bosses, especially when combined with
telekenetic weapons (for melee). Also knocks down
enemies.
Suppressing Fire: Every attack further reduces the enemy's ability to
attack.
While this is certainly beneficial against some enemies
most
of the ones where you would think this to be great have
other
attacks that hit 100% of the time. This only appears to
affect regular attacks to any great amount.
Scattershot:
of

Crazy powerful ability here.

You will stun an entire group

enemies about 99% of the time, it is so rarely resisted. A
great way to line up a group in order to send a few area of
effect spells their way.
Assassin specialization:
----------------------Since this specialization focuses nearly entirely on backstabs and you
won't
be using that skill at all, there is really no need to go down this path.
Bard specialization:
------------------All songs here are affected by cunning scores, so if you don't plan on
investing down that attribute, avoid this specialization. Only the last
song
requires you to be in melee range.

Song of Valor: Increase mana and stamina regeneration, which is beneficial
to
the entire group. Keep it active.
Distraction:

Good way to get an enemy off your back but there are better
abilities to use for the same effect.

Song of Courage: Grants bonus to attack, defense and critical chance for
the
group. This is useful at the start of the game but near
the
end mana and stamina are a bigger concern.
Captivating Song: Sure an area effect stun is nice but the range is small
and
you have to be in melee. Hard to use as a ranged
attacker.
Ranger specialization:
--------------------As a ranged attacker a ranger works incredbily well. You keep the pet
active
and send them in while you snipe from far away. It's almost like having a
fifth party member.
Summon Wolf:

The basic wolf casts howl that reduces enemy defense. The
upgraded wolf can Shred, which is a 100% critical hit.

Summon Bear:
upgraded

Basic bear can maul which knocks back the enemy.

The

bear has rage which increases damage output.
Summon Spider: Basic spider has web which immobilizes an enemy while the
upgraded one has a poison spit for continual damage.
Master Ranger: Gives you access to the upgraded anmials.
Duelist specialization:
---------------------The duelist focuses on melee attacks for the most part but there are some
potential benefits in the long run.
Dueling:
Keen
If

A sustained ability that increases your attack rating.
Defense will also increase defense while this is active.
you find yourself missing a lot, then there's a benefit.

Upset Balance: No damage but decreases enemy defense rating.
requires
melee range so you won't be using it.
Keen Defense:
already
grand

This

A passive increase to defense. Since your dexterity is
pretty high, this doesn't make a big difference in the
picture.

Pinpoint Strike: For about 20 seconds, every hit is a critical hit.
Combined
with Haste/Flurry, +Attack and -Defense skills, the Rogue
is
basically a killing machine. The only downside here is
the
cooldown of 3 minutes. You can pretty much kill 3 ogres
with
this ability active.
Suggested Build (DAO:6.2.3)
--------------Attributes:
is

Increase strength to 20 to wear the best armor.

Dexterity

where you put every other point, unless you plan on
lockpicking. 30 points and 3 ranks of deft hands are
enough.
Abilities:
one
can

1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)
7)
8)
9)
10)
11)
12)
13)
14)
15)
16)
17)
18)
19)
20)

I will only list 1 ability per level (2 for the first and
at level 5 when you become a Grey Warden) even though you
acquire more points from books and quests. Rogues
automatically get Dirty Fighting for free at level 1.

Deft Hands + Rapid Shot
Shattering Shot
Pinning Shot
Crippling Shot
Suppressing Fire + Improved Tools
Critical Shot
Summon Wolf
Summon Bear
Scattershot
Summon Spider
Melee Archer
Arrow of Slaying
Master Ranger
Song of Valor
Aim
Defensive Fire
Master Archer
Your Choice
Your Choice
Your Choice

Summary (DAO:6.2.4)
------The ranged rogue is the single deadliest character in the game. It has one
job and it does it very well. Since you only need to focus on a single
attribute, your options are narrower and you therefore become a stronger
killer.
- Enough cunning to open doors/chest, if you want (30)
- Everything else into dexterity for maximum damage with a bow
- Ranger is by far the best option as a specialization

- Bard gives more benefit for less investment than Duelist
- Use stealth if you have it!

---MAGE (DAO:7)
---The mage is an interesting class. You can't really pigeonhole them into a
particular role as they can do pretty much whatever you want. Need
healing?
Need single target damage? Group damage? Crowd Control? Buffs and
debuffs?
Heck, mages even make incredibly good tanks. For these reasons and many
more I
won't break down the mage into particular roles just yet, there are simply
too
many options to consider. Instead, I'll break it down into tank and
caster,
the two core concepts behind mages.
Tank (DAO:7.1)
---The mage tank has specific requirements moving forward. First off, you
must
have access to the Arcane Warrior specialization. This can be acquired
almost
as soon as you leave Ostagar. With this specialization and its first
ability,
you will be able to use your magic attribute in place of strength when it
comes
to equiping weapons and armor. Without massive armor and good melee
weapons
you'll be lying on the floor in a pool of your own blood very quickly.
Also worth mentioning that because you are the tank and using sustained
abilities you won't have the liberty to cast any spell any time. You will
require additional party members to pick up the casting slack. Due to the
sheer number of available spells to the tank I will only discuss the ones I
think the tank should acquire. I will discuss all the mage spells in the
caster section in 7.3.
Attributes (DAO:7.1.1)
---------Strength:
Dexterity:
Willpower:
Magic:
Cunning:
Constitution:

n/a
20
30 or 40
MAX
n/a
n/a or 20

With the proper skill allocation you shouldn't need any points into
strength.
Cunning is only useful for the Coercion skill on your main character but
only

very little. A run through the Mage's Circle should suffice in regards to
stat
boosting. The distribution of stats depends on it you take a second
specialization or not and which one that is. If you go Blood Mage, you'll
need
more constitution and less willpower. Any other form will require a higher
investment in willpower.
Important to remember is that while the warrior and rogue still do
tremendous
damage when they are out of stamina a mage can only rely on a staff for
what
seems pitiful amounts of damage. If you find yourself always going out of
mana
feel free to put more points into willpower.
Abilities (DAO:7.1.2)
-------If your main character is a mage you will have the option of not only
selecting
two specializations but also possibly acquire two extra spells through the
Warden's Keep quest.
Mage spells:
----------Arcane Bolt:
would

Simple spirit damage, nothing complicated though a bow
have more overall utility.
for the next spell.

This is simply a pre-requisite

Arcane Shield: A sustained shield that increases defense, meaning you will
avoid incoming damage. This should always be active.
Rock Armor:
less

Provides an increase to armor so the hits you do take do
damage.

Winter's Grasp: Single target ice spell that has a good chance of freezing
the
opponent. Great setup for a shatter attack, which means an
instant kill if there's a critical physical attack on them.
Frost Weapons:
that I

Every swing does cold damage.

It's a sustained ability

don't think the tank should be using.
Cone of Cold:
every

Very powerful spell that has a great chance of freezing
whomever it connects with. This should be used in almost
group encounter.

Heal:
is

For when you need a quick jolt of hit points.

Mind Blast:

A wide area stun which reduces threat levels.

This spell

never wasted.
Not to zero

stunned

though, so you still need someone else to attack the
enemies to get them off your mage.

Force Field:
either
death.

This will save lives, plain and simple.

Instant cast to

remove an enemy from combat or save a group member from
Great tool for use against dragons.

Telekenetic Weapons: This spell ensures every weapon hit does extra damage
against armored foes. Think ogres, dragons and
revenants.
Very powerful.
Crushing Prison: The golden spell of a mage. Not only does this last as
long
as Force Field but it also does damage to the enemy. It
gets
resisted from time to time but every mage in your party
should
have this spell. Imagine three mages with this and Force
Field. You could keep the entire battle to one on one
fights.
Insane.
Miasma:
sustained as
range.

If you have the mana, this is a good spell to keep
it decreases enemy attack and defense with a fairly good

Disorient:
of a

Single target spell that reduces attack and defense.

More

Horror:
they

Interesting spell where a single target is immobilized.

pre-requisite for others down this line.
If

are asleep when this is cast, a bug chunk of life is taken

away.
Sleep:
single

Area attack that puts all enemies to sleep and they wake if
they are hit. This is a very powerful crowd control spell
and combined with Horror can do significant damage to a
target with no risk to the caster.

Waking Nightmare: Beauty of a spell in group combat. Not many enemies have
mental resistance, especially the weaker ones. Expect to
see a bunch of people just randomly moving around,
sometimes
hitting their own party. Great way to keep enemies off
the
tank while doing group damage to them, especially when
combined with Sleep.
Death Magic:

Keeping this active is a good way to keep healing your tank
during combat.

Warden's Keep spells:

-------------------Dark Sustenance: Lose a bit of health, gain a good portion of mana. You
would
think this is a bad tradeoff but you actually gain in the
long
run, especially if you use an easily acquired healing
potion
or heal spell right after. Blood mages get even more
benefit
here.
Bloody Grasp:
you

Lose life to do damage.

There is less benefit here since

can do damage better with regular spells than this ability.
Shapeshifter specialization:
--------------------------Basically you turn into an animal and lose access to all your spells while
gaining access to a few abilities. This is by far the weakest of all the
specializations in the game and should be ignored.
Spirit Healer specialization:
---------------------------This spell line provides you with many ways to heal your group and your
tank.
Very powerful on the more difficult levels and even more so if you don't
have
another mage in the group.
Group Heal:
with
healt

Heals the entire group for a significant amount.

Combined

Heal this is what keeps groups alive when there are no
potions.

Revival:
wrong

I find if I am using this something has gone drastically
in the fight.

Lifeward:
long

Keep it active on the tank and you save a few heals in the
run.

Cleansing Aura: Beautiful spell if you have other melee in the group as the
aura isn't terribly large. However it is a significant
mana
drain.
Blood Mage specialization:
------------------------A very interesting combination of spells where you trade hit points for
mana
or damage. If you pay attention to combat, this can be a devastating
option.

Blood Magic:
blood

You use hit points to cast spells.

One of the reasons a

mage requires a significant hit point pool instead of mana.
Can be powerful if you plan ahead.

Blood Sacrifice: On its own, why would you potentially kill a teammate to
heal
yourself? Well, if that someone is a Ranger pet then
there's
no real problem at all!
Blood Wound:
take
to

Enemies with blood (everything but a golem pretty much)
big damage throughout the area.

This is a great equivalent

Taunt and perfect for a tank.
Blood Control: If they have blood they become the mage's pet, else they
take
significant damage. More damage is great. Possessing an
Emissary is even better.
Arcane Warrior specialization:
----------------------------The core specialization behind a mage tank. With this build you acquire
the
abilities to tank, equip what you want and be practically immune to damage.
Combat Magic:
higher
high

Just selecting this ability means you can equip any item by
swapping the strength requirement for magic. Massive plate
here we come. On top of that, with it active you have a
attack stat and use spellpower for damage, which with a
magic stat should be very large indeed.

Aura of Might: Improved Combat Magic.

Yes please.

Shimmering Shield: Blocks damage and increases armor and resistance but
costs
a chunk of mana to keep up. Combined with crafty mana
management this really isn't a huge problem. Another
mainstay of your sustained spells.
Fade Shroud:
and

This really is the icing on the cake.
even a better chance to avoid attacks.
passive!

Better mana regen
Very powerful and

Suggested Build (DAO:7.1.3)
--------------Attributes:
the
20

You have a fair amount of choice, depending if you go down
blood mage or spirit healer specialization.

Dexterity at

will let you hit the enemy most of the time, constitution

at

about 20 is fine for spirit healer but 30 is better for a

blood

mage.

your

Get willpower to where you have enough mana to keep

spells active and the rest goes into Magic.
Abilities:
one
can

I will only list 1 ability per level (2 for the first and
at level 5 when you become a Grey Warden) even though you
acquire more points from books and quests. Mages
automatically get Arcane Bolt for free at level 1.

1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)
7)
8)
9)
10)
11)
12)
13)
14)
15)
16)
17)
18)
19)
20)

Winter's Grasp + Heal
Mind Blast
Force Field
Telekentic Weapons
Crushing Prison + Frost Weapons
Cone of Cold
Combat Magic
Rock Armor
Arcane Shield
Weakness
Paralyze
Aura of Might
Miasma
Blood Sacrifice
Blood Wound
Shimmering Shield
Fade Shroud
Blood Control
Your Choice
Your Choice

Summary (DAO:7.1.4)
------The beauty of this character is really in it's simplicity. Keep a few
spells
sustained, equip massive armor, a few spells and rarely get hit. Seems like
the perfect combination to me.
-

Have enough willpower to keep your sustained abilities active
Combat Magic and Shimmering Shield should always be on
Get dexterity to the point where you hit enemies
More magic means more damage and better armor
You must be an Arcane Mage
Blood Mage is a great supplement with Spirit Healer a lesser option
Use Blood Wound on a Ranger's pets for some free healing!

Caster (DAO:7.2)
-----The caster's true strength comes in the insanely wide amount of spells at
their
disposal. You can focus on single target attacks, group attacks, helping
the

rest of the group or any combination of the above. It's really up to you.
There are only a few "core" spells that every mage should now, after that,
it's
up to you.
A note on Staves, each one does a particular type of damage, so
Attributes (DAO:7.2.1)
---------Strength:
Dexterity:
Willpower:
Magic:
Cunning:
Constitution:

n/a
n/a
40
MAX
n/a
n/a or 20

With the proper skill allocation you shouldn't need any points into
strength.
Cunning is only useful for the Coercion skill on your main character but
only
very little. A run through the Mage's Circle should suffice in regards to
stat
boosting. Depending on the role you wish to play, caster or tank, you'll
have
a few more options when considering attributes. For a caster, 40 willpower
and
maximum magic is a great way to move forward. Plenty of mana and the
spells
will be powerful.
Important to remember is that while the warrior and rogue still do
tremendous
damage when they are out of stamina a mage can only rely on a staff for
what
seems pitiful amounts of damage. If you find yourself always going out of
mana
feel free to put more points into willpower.
Abilities (DAO:7.2.2)
--------As I mentioned, plenty of options available to a caster. I'll go through
every single spell possible for a mage and mention the few core skills I
think
you should take and my thoughts on the rest.
Again, if your main character is a mage you can acquire two free spells
through
the Warden's Keep quest.
Mage spells:
----------Arcane Bolt:

A simple spirit based damage attack.

Arcane Shield: Increases defense while active.
hit

Every mage has it.

You shouldn't be getting

so there's not much need for it.
Staff Focus:
benefits
things

About 10 more damage from a staff attack.

There are

certainly since it's passive but in the grand scheme of
the gain is minimal.

Arcane Mastery: 5 spellpower which is essentially a 5% increase in spell
effect. I was hoping for something a bit more powerful to
be honest.
Primal Spells:
------------Flame Blast:
damage
casting.

A cone of fire damage ahead of the caster.

Does decent

but will ensure enemies will target the mages after

Flaming Weapons: Makes all weapons do an additional 5-10 fire damage per
hit.
Great with a bunch of melee attackers.
Fireball:
also
for
Inferno

A lovely spell that not only does instant fire damage it
knocks back the enemy and leaves a short term fire spell
more damage.

There's enough time to cast this, then

while the enemy is getting back up for some tremendous

damage.
Inferno:
large

Lasts about 30 seconds and if an enemy stands within the
area of effect, they will most certainly die, even yellow
ranked creatures. Combined with Fireball for some great
damage.

Rock Armor:
not

Sustained spell that increases your armor rating.

You're

getting hit so no real need here.
Stone Fist:

Knocks an enemy down and can trigger a Shatter effect on a
frozen or petrified enemy.

Earthquake:

Large area of effect that makes all targets stumble to the
ground. Effective to stop a large group from running to you
while you pick them off with ranged attacks.

Petrify:
15

This single target spell turns the enemy to stone for about

shatter
useful

seconds.

This gives your mage enough time to either

them or have the group kill them without worry.

Very

spell, up there with Force Field and Crushing Prison.

Winter's Grasp: Single target spell that does moderate ice damage and has a
good chance of freezing the enemy.

Frost Weapons: Enchants all weapons with frost damage for 5-10 extra
damage
per hit. Great with an all melee group.
Cone of Cold:
most

Cone attack that does some damage but even better, freezes

Blizzard:

Think large area of effect, moderate damage and a very high
chance of freezing the enemy. Quite powerful but high risk

to

targets in place. A great way to setup additional damage
without the enemy being able to return the attack.

use if you have any melee.

Lightning:
stamina/mana.

Single target for moderate damage that also drains

Shock:
Dangerous

Cone attack that does the same thing as Lightning.
since it angers a lot of enemies.

Tempest:
better,

Large area of effect spell that does ok damage but even
drains mana and stamina from the enemy. This is rarely a
concern though since it also drains mana/stamina from your

group

too so I don't use it often.

Chain Lightning: A lightning attack that jumps multiple times from target
to
target. Can do some great damage at a distance but should
never be used up close as it can devastate your group.
Creation spells:
--------------Heal:

Every mage should have this, there's no reason not to.

Rejuvenate:
On

Increase the stamina/mana regeneration of a single target.
its own, pretty good but replaced my Mass Rejuvenation.

Regeneration:
that
from

Increase the health regeneration of a single target.

Not

useful really as the gain is minimal and won't prevent you
healing later.

Mass Rejuvenation: All the group gains
cost of the spell is
spell
duration so it's win
less
useful spells to get

stamina/mana for a short while.
essentially returned after the
win.

Too bad you have to take 2

here.

Heroic Offense: A single target gets increases attack for a short time.
Not
that good.

The

Heroic Aura:
Your

The target is essentially immune from missile attacks.
tank already has this ability.

Heroic Defense: Increase defense and resistance on a single target.
enough
in my books.
Haste:
faster,

The useful spell in this line.

Not

The entire part attacks

which is great in a melee group but has no benefit to other
mages.
Glyph of Paralysis: Chance to paralyze a single target.
better
skills are available.

Many other and

Glyph of Warding: Boosts the defense and resistance of the group members
around the glyph. Think Heroic Defense but group based.
Decent but short range.
Glyph of Repulsion: Knocks back enemies that try to cross the glyph.
for
a pure range/mage group otherwise not much use.

Great

Glyph of Neutralization: Neutralizes all effects and regeneration.
Considering
the amount of movement in this game, you will
rarely
if ever find a use for it.
Spell Wisp:

Grants an extra (100+spellpower)*0.05 spellpower but adds
fatigue. This is at most 10 spellpower. Not a big fan.

Grease:
can

Area that slows down enemies and if you cast a fire spell

this

burn everyone within range.

Use a grease trap instead of

spell.
Spellbloom:
idea.

Mana regeneration to friend and foe is not a terribly good

Stinging Swarm: For about 20 seconds a swarm of insects attacks a single
target for some considerable damage. This target can still
attack however and the cost of getting here is much higher
when
you compare to say, Curse of Mortality or Walking Bomb.
Spirit Spells:
------------Spell Shield:
problems
planning
an

This is essentially a mana shield.
with this spell.

I have two main

First, if you're using it, you're

on getting hit, which is odd.
Arcane Warrior is useless.
instead.

Second, without mana, even

Lose the hp and take a potion

Dispel Magic:

About the only use I can think for this spell is Curse of
Mortality. Almost every other affect is negligible.

Anti-Magic Ward: Other than the final runs of the game, there are very few
instances where casters are a problem. That being said,
three
particular encounters are terribly difficult due to
Crushing
Prison, Curse of Mortality and Fireballs.
Anti-Magic Burst: This spell typically causes more harm than good since you
cannot control who gets affected.
Mana Drain:
it

A very useful spell for replenishing mana supplies.

I use

frequently.
Mana Cleanse:

Very nice spell if you can get up close to enemy casters.
Completely changes the tide of a fight.

Spell Might:
significant.

Sure spells are more powerful but the trade off is

mana

You still won't kill someone with a single fireball but the
costs will be nearly double.

Mana Clash:

Think Mana Cleanse plus great damage.
situational.

Powerful but very

Walking Bomb:
in

If you have a single tank, this is great.

If everyone is

melee range, this can cause issues.
Death Syphon:

Rarely of any benefit as when there's enough corpses on the
ground, the battle is over anyhow.

Virulent Walking Bomb:
when

Essentially a chain causing Walking Bomb. Same
restrictions apply to both spells. Can be deadly
combined with a Fireball or other area effect spell.

Animate Dead:
minimal

The cost is huge for a pet that doesn't tank and does
damage.

Spend that mana on a different attack for more

Mind Blast:

Get it.

It will save your mage's life frequently.

Force Field:
your

Use it to either take out an enemy for some time or save

benefit.

will

tank from death.

kill most groups with ease.

Telekenetic Weapons:
big
regular

Taunt, Force Field, area effect spells

Not very useful early on but when you reach a boss or
large enemy (say an Ogre or Revenant) this has a very
impact on the damage you can do.

Use Fire/Cold on

enemies and this on every ranked enemy.

Crushing Prion: Can you say overpowered? Every mage should have this
spell.
Not only does it remove the enemy from combat, it takes
away
about 50% of their health. Did I mention you can still
attack
these people too? Two mages in your group with this spell
and
Force Field will destroy 99% of all groups you encounter.
Entropy Spells:
-------------Weakness:
character has
inflict

Penalties to defense and attack are good but every
this ability.

I prefer other abilities since they often

the same effect but do damage as well.

Paralyze:
still

Stops an enemy from acting for about 10 seconds.

Miasma:

A sustained, area effect version of Weakness. Has its uses
certainly but typically a Force Field is a better approach.

As
you're

be attacked.

They can

Great for controlling ranked enemies.

a tank you'll see more benefit but as a ranged casters,
too far out of range for much use.

Mass Paralysis: Practically the exact same spell as Mind Blast but you can
target this one. Expect to have every enemy run to you if
you tank can't get their attention after it wears off.
Vulnerability Hex: Really only affects your mage and then only on high hit
point enemies. I'd rather just throw an extra damage
spell.
Affliction Hex: Same as above but on a group.

Even less useful.

Misdirection Hex: Powerful against dragons and revenants.
alive.
Death Hex:
damage
you

Keeps your tank

If you can get this to stick on an enemy, expect your
numbers to go through the roof.

Very deadly on any enemy

hit.

Disorient:

Again, penalty to attack and defense with no damage.

Next.

Horror:

Same as Paralyze.

Sleep:
caster.

On its own, dangerous because woken enemies run for the
Combined with Waking Nightmare, look out for crazy time.

Waking Nightmare: I wouldn't use it without first casting Sleep.
for

Basically

75 mana you take nearly every enemy out of combat for 15
seconds. This is almost as powerful as Force Field and
Crushing Prison and will save your life.
Drain Life:

A better option than casting Heal on the mage but hard to
justify spending the ability point on a single use spell.

Death Magic:
mages.

Useful for Arcane Warrior tanks but no real use for other

Curse of Mortality: This is probably the spell that will kill you the most,
at
least in my experience. The problem is that it takes a
long time to take effect, so really is only of use on
red
ranked enemies of which there are few.
Death Cloud:
costly

Remember Cloud Kill from Baldur's Gate? Meet it's powerful
cousin. More damage than Inferno but arguably a more
investment when compared.

Warden's Keep spells:
-------------------Dark Sustenance: Lose a bit of health, gain a good portion of mana. You
would
think this is a bad tradeoff but you actually gain in the
long
run, especiallyif you use an easily acquired healing
potion or
heal spell right after. Blood mages get even more benefit
here.
Bloody Grasp:
ability.

Direct damage spells are much more effective than this

Shapeshifter Specialization:
--------------------------As I mentioned before, the Shapeshifter is easily the weakest of all
specializations. This is solely due to the fact that you lose access to
all
your mage spells while transformed and what's a mage without spells?
Spider Shape:
(Paralyze)

Bonus to nature resistance and you gain access to Web
and Poison Spit (damage over time attack). With Master
Shapeshifter, you can now Overwhelm enemies, tackling them

to
Bear Shape:
the

the ground.
Gains to armor and the ability to Slam (Knockdown) and Rage
(increased melee damage). Master Shapeshifter gives you
Overwhelm ability.

Flying Swarm:
that

Odd ability here.

You basically have an aura around you

to

does continual damage to enemies, moreso the closer you are
them. You can also directly attack casters, draining mana
instead of life. You can't be hit by missles, are hard to

hit
Shapeshifter

with melee and take huge damage from fire.

Master

gives you the ability to drain life when attacking.

Master Shapeshifter: Increases the attributes of all forms and provides new
abilities.
Spirit Healer specialization:
---------------------------This spell line provides you with many ways to heal your entire group. This
should be a core specialization for one of your mages, it's that powerful.
Group Heal:
with
health

Heals the entire group for a significant amount.

Combined

Heal this is what keeps groups alive when there are no
potions.

Revival:
lost

Can be used to revive a tank but more than likely you've

Lifeward:

Keeps the tank alive when everything else is on cooldown.

the fight if you have to cast this spell.

Cleansing Aura: Very large range for what amounts to a half-heal every few
seconds. You won't have it on every fight but when the
entire
group is taking continual area damage, it will save you.
Plus
it frees you from Injury Kits.
Blood Mage specialization:
------------------------A very interesting combination of spells where you trade hit points for
mana
or damage. If you pay attention to combat, this can be a devastating
option.
Blood Magic:
blood

You use hit points to cast spells.

One of the reasons a

mage requires a significant hit point pool instead of mana.
Can be powerful if you plan ahead.

Blood Sacrifice: On its own, why would you potentially kill a teammate to
heal
yourself? Well, if that someone is a Ranger pet then
there's
no real problem at all!
Blood Wound:
take

Enemies with blood (everything but a golem pretty much)

big damage throughout the area.

magic

taunt spell.

This is essentially a

Use with extreme caution.

Blood Control: If they have blood they become the mage's pet, else they
take
significant damage. More damage is great. Possessing an
Emissary is even better.
Arcane Warrior specialization:
----------------------------Great for a tank, very little use for a standard mage, if only for the
first
ability to equip heavy armor with your Magic attribute instead of Strength.
Combat Magic:
be

Just selecting this ability means you can equip any item by
swapping the strength requirement for magic. Massive plate
here we come. No real benefit to other damage since you'll
casting from the back.

Aura of Might: Improved Combat Magic. You're not tanking, no need for
this.
Shimmering Shield: Makes you harder to hit but this shouldn't be a problem
in
the first place.
Fade Shroud:

Nearly immune to melee hits and mana regen. Heavy cost to
invest if you don't plan on getting hit in the first place.

Suggested Build (DAO:7.2.3)
--------------Attributes:
have
Every

Simple enough here, put enough points into willpower to
enough mana to cast your spells, 30-35 is usually good.
thing else goes into the magic stat.

Abilities:
that

No matter what I put down here, there are going to be other
alternatives that are just as appealing. I would suggest
you have more than one mage in your party and split the

spells

between them for even more devastation and power.

of

breaking it down by level, I'll just briefly list the

spells

you should take a hard look at, regardless of the spells

you

have to acquire before taking it. Just remember that area
effect spells will most likely make the enemy run straight
towards your mage. Remember, mages automatically get

Arcane

Bolt at level 1.
1)

Instead

Heal

2)
3)
4)
5)
6)
7)
8)
9)
10)
11)
12)
13)
14)
15)
16)
17)
18)
19)
20)

Fireball
Mind Blast
Force Field
Fireball
Crushing Prison
Blizzard
Petrify
Group Heal
Blood Magic
Revival
Lifeward
Blood Sacrifice
Cleansing Aura
Sleep
Waking Nightmare
Haste
Death Hex
Miasma
Blood Control

Summary (DAO: 7.2.4)
------As you can see, the traditional caster role has a wide variety of options
available. You can focus on single target damage, control, healing,
disabling
and some neat tricks along the way. There are three core spells that every
mage should learn: Heal, Force Field and Crushing Prison. They are simply
too
powerful to ignore.
If you have only one mage in the group, I would suggest a Spirit Healer as
they
provide a significant boost to survivability. If you have multiple mages,
have
them go down various spell trees to maximize your variety and increase the
chance for spell combinations.
- Increase Magic to get Crushing Prison early, then add to Willpower
- More Magic means spells are harder to resist
- More Willpower gives you more spells to cast, up to 15 mana per level
- Don't buy 2 weak spells to get 1 good one
- Staves hit 100% of this time but never hit for critical damage
- Staves each have their own damage type, check their information for
details.
If you find an enemy is immune to your damage, change staves or go to a
bow.
Spell Combinations (DAO:7.3)
-----------------When you combine two or more particular spells together you can unlock a
nifty
combination. Some are more useful than others, that's for sure.
Grease Fire
||
Grease & Fire Spell
----------Anyone caught in the greas effect is also affected by lingering fire damage

Flame Quencher
||
-------------Removes the Grease Fire

Grease Fire & Blizzard

Storm of the Century
||
Spellmight & Blizzard & Tempest
-------------------Insanely deadly spell combination. You lose the effects of Blizzard but
the
entire cloud gets significantly bigger and does more damage. Works best if
you
have 2 mages working together to cast this spell.
Shattering
||
Petrified/Frozen Enemy & Critical hit/
---------Stone Fist/Crushing Prison
Odds are you'll see this one early on. This instantly kills the enemy.
Paralysis Explosion
||
Glyph of Paralysis & Glyph of Repulsion
------------------Instantly paralyzes everyone in range and removes both glyphs.
Entropy Nightmare
||
Sleep & Horror
----------------Lose the sleep effect but enemy takes a big chunk of damage.
Improved Drain
||
Vulnerability Hex & Drain Life/Drain Mana
-------------The drain spells are twice as effective.
Entropic Death
||
Death Hex & Death Cloud
-------------Very big damage but single target only.
Spirit Shockwave
||
Force Field & Crushing Prison
----------------You'll be seeing this almost every fight past level 15. Creates a
knockdown
shockwave on everyone but the target.
Advanced Reanimation
||
Spell Might & Animate Dead
-------------------Skeletons that come out have more abilities and are stronger.
--------------SPECIALIZATIONS (DAO:8)
--------------It goes without saying that there are **SPOILERS** beyond this point.
I'll briefly explain how to unlock each specialization.

Once unlocked, it

stays active on the next playthrough or reload. This means in many cases
you
should save your game, buy a book and then reload the game to get your
money
back.
Warrior (DAO:8.1)
------Templar:
the

Learn from Alistair with high approval.

You can also buy

book from Bodahn at camp.
Champion:
can

You need to cure the Arl in Redcliffe with the Ashes. You
decline the specialization if you are not careful.

Reaver:

Taint the ashes then visit the reavers to collect this
specilization.

Beserker:
Gorim

Learn from Oghren with high approval or buy the book from
in Denerim.

Rogue (DAO:8.2)
----Assassin:

Learn from Zevran with high approval or buy in Denerim from
Alarith.

Bard:

Learn from Leliana with high approval.

Ranger:

Buy the book from Bodahn at camp.

Duelist:
catch

Learn from Isabella at the Pearl in Denerim.

to
works.

You must

her cheating or bring a high dexterity character with you
help out after a few failures.

Persuasion apparently

Mage (DAO:8.3)
---Shapeshifter:

Learn from Morrigan if your approval is high enough.

Sprit Healer:
Denerim.

You can buy the book in the Wonders of Thedas shop in

Blood Mage:
the

You must be a mage and enter the Fade while helping cure

Demon

Arl's child in Redcliffe.

Make a trade with the Desire

to learn this specialization.
Arcane Warrior: In the Ancient Temple in the Brecilian Forest is a room
with

you'll

a phylactery and an altar.

Help the spirit to die and

gain this specialization.
---TIPS (DAO:9)
---Here are a few tips and notes that you should keep in mind when playing
Dragon Age.
- Completing the Circle of Mages tower will reward you with 4 Strength,
4 Dexterity, 4 Willpower, 2 Magic, 5 Cunning and 2 Constitution. If you
plan on minimally investing in particular attributes, do this quest first
to
give you a better idea of where to put other points.
- PC bug: When you level up, you can redistribute attribute points. Let's
say
you are a mage and want to reduce cunning to increase magic. Put the 3
points into cunning and then click Reset. Now, click the left arrow next
to
cunning. This will remove 3 points giving you a total of 6 to play with.
You
can do this as often as you like but can only redistribute one particular
attribute per level up. My Arcange Warrior had 1 strength and 1 cunning
with
this method.
- At merchants, buy backpacks everytime you see them.
acquire
more items to better equip your entire team.
- At merchants, buy books in this order.

They help you

Abilities, Attributes, Skills.

- At merchants, if you see a Specialization book save first, buy the book
then
reload your game with the specialization unlocked.
- Everything you sell to your Camp vendor stays on him forever. If you
find
you're low on inventory space, sell him some items to lighten your load.
Alternatively, if you have the Warden's Keep DLC, complete that quest to
unlock group storage.
- When Enchanting, you don't lose runes put into weapons. If you want to
move
runes around simply remove them from a weapon and put them into another.
- When Enchanting, Tanks should focus on Physical Resistance (60 max),
damage
dealers should look for Electric/Ice/Fire and Paralyzing runes.
- The earlier you acquire party members, the lower their levels and the
more
you can customize them. Allistair joins at level 2-3 with only 4
abilities
already selected. Oghren can be acquired very late in the game and leave
no
room at all for selecting a path other than melee.

----------FINAL NOTES (DAO:10)
----------The beauty of Dragon Age is there really isn't a bad way to play the game.
There are certainly easier ways than others but if you want a challenge all
the time, that option surely exists.

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