Dragon Age II

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Rise to power. By any means necessary.

Cassandra: Do you have any idea what's at stake here?
Varric: Let me guess: Your precious Chantry's fallen to pieces, and put the entire world on the brink of war. And you need the one person who could help you put it back together.
Cassandra: The Champion was at the heart of it when it all began. If you can't point me to [Hawke], tell me everything you know.

The sequel game to BioWare's acclaimed Dragon Age: Origins. Occurring over the course of a decade, beginning with the destruction of Lothering—an event that took place at the start of Origins--Dragon Age II follows in the footsteps of a new human hero, Hawke. A survivor of the Blight and refugee of Lothering, Hawke flees north to the safety of the Free Marches. Over the course of ten years, players must take their hero from "a destitute refugee to the revered champion of the land", along the way becoming the Champion of Kirkwall. What exactly "Champion" means is up to the players to decide.

The game makes several significant changes from its predecessor. The art style has been changed to what has been termed "Stylised Realism", in an effort to make an "ownable" art style. Departing from the three races and multiple backgrounds available in the last game, the protagonist is now a single predefined human character, of either gender, with the standard three specializations of warrior, mage or rogue. Additionally, the Player Character is now fully voiced and also features a conversation wheel much like Mass Effect; though instead of moral intent it tracks the inflection of the response as either compassionate, sarcastic, or blunt.

A DLC quest called Legacy, in which Hawke learns more about his/her father's past, was released for all systems on July 26. A DLC quest called Mark of the Assassin, in which Hawke teams up with Tallis, Felicia Day's character from Dragon Age Redemption, was released for all systems on October 11. An Expansion Pack, Exalted March was planned, but was cancelled so the developer team could focus on the series' next installment.

A tie-in novel has been announced; Dragon Age: Asunder. Set in Orlais shortly after the events of Act 3, but before Varric's interrogation, it expands upon the mage/templar conflict. An Anime, Dragon Age: Dawn Of The Seeker, serving as an Expansion Pack Past for Cassandra Pentaghast, was released on May 29, 2012.

The next game in the franchise, Dragon Age: Inquisition was released on November 18, 2014.

Tropes used in Dragon Age II include:


  • Abnormal Ammo: Shows up every now and again. Varric can use Bianca to launch grenades, for example. Duke Prosper gets a little more bizarre, though, wielding a pistol... crossbow... thing that fires large globs of sticky green goo, which serve as an "Attack me!" sign for his trained alpha wyvern, Leopold.
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: The game has a level cap of fifty, but without using an exploit there is only enough content to reach the low- to mid-twenties by endgame. Presumably, this level cap is set in anticipation of future DLC.
  • Actionized Sequel: Especially the console versions, where the autoattack function was left out due to a technical oversight and only recently included through a patch.
  • Age Without Youth: Xenon, the proprietor of the Black Emporium.
  • After Combat Recovery: Health, stamina, and mana are instantly restored as soon as everyone puts their weapons on their backs.
  • Alien Geometries: In the Primeval Thaig, although you'll have to take the characters' word for it.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The qunari invasion of Kirkwall. Subverted during the ending, when you learn that Cassandra has been interrogating Varric in Hawke's estate. You learn this after it's revealed that Cassandra is on Hawke's side.
  • Altum Videtur: The Tevinter Imperium is based more on Byzantium (which had Greek as lingua franca) than the Roman Empire, yet everything from there is named in a slightly warped form of Latin, including some remarks by Fenris, a former Tevinter slave. (His name, however, is Norse. While his original name, Leto, is Greek.)
    • However, the ANCIENT Tevinter Imperium is basically the Roman Empire with magic. So, the use of Latin is totally appropriate.
    • Fenris' name was given to him by a learned Magister, whose knowledge probably crossed the borders of Tevinter.
  • Amazonian Beauty: The concept art for female qunari has some fans begging Bioware to let one or two be romance-able. Tall, muscular, with incredibly strong profiles, they fit the "Amazon" look to a tee. Unfortunately, they don't appear in the game. Doubly unfortunately, Qunari women cannot be professional warriors (though they can be Secret Police, and like all Qunari, they are allowed and expected to fight as militia in the event of an attack). Aveline fulfills this trope nicely.
  • Amazon Brigade: A party comprised of Female Hawke, Aveline, Merrill and Isabela is this. Noteworthy in that it's a rather well-balanced team, with its only real deficiency being healing magic (and if Female Hawke is a mage, you don't have to worry about that either).
  • Ancestral Weapon: The Staff of Parthalan, a limited item that was received by subscribing to the Dragon Age II newsletter, was used by a mage ancestor of Hawke's who fought alongside the legendary King Calenhad.
    • Or was a Tevinter magister sent to quash a slave rebellion in Kirkwall during the Exalted Marches, and then disappeared along the way. The in-game codex entry differs from the initial description given before the game's release.
    • The Mage Kit DLC includes the robes and staff of Hawke's father Malcolm. The item descriptions tell the story of Malcolm's courtship and elopement with Hawke's mother Leandra.
      • A couple of items in the Legacy DLC are indirect hand-me-downs from Malcolm as well.
  • Animal Motifs: Kirkwall's architecture (Hightown in particular) has a predilection for bird imagery.
    • Both the Hawke and Amell family names derive from birds of prey.
  • Alliance Meter: Sometimes interactions with faction members will be colored by previous actions, but it has far less impact than Relationship Values and Karma Meter.
  • All-Natural Snake Oil: Hawke can receive a letter advertising a virility drug made from "natural" herbs.
  • Appeal to Audacity: What ultimately convinces Cassandra that Varric is (mostly) telling the truth. Parts of Hawke's story are so fantastical they simply couldn't be made up unless they actually had happened, nor does Varric have anything to gain if they weren't.
    • Lampshaded in Legacy. Cassandra notes he's ommitted the event that took place at the Grey Warden Fortress, causing Varric to admit he left it out intentionally; due to it being so unbelieveable, even witnessing it first hand, he still can't believe it actually happened.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Averted in some parts of the end game, where the rest of your party helps fight, although you can't control them. Justified during the Deep Roads expedition, as Bartrand will not allow you to bring all of your allies with you.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: If Alistair is king of Ferelden, when he speaks of the turmoil in Orlais....

Oh, you know, the usual. Attempted assassinations, uprisings, fancy dress parties with stinky cheeses.

  • Artifact of Death: Hindsight. The belt only offers protection against the very things that killed its previous owners (including its creator Thaulid) and ultimately no protection against the horrible death that is sure to befall you. Take comfort in the fact your painful end will protect another temporary owner from suffering your exact fate.
  • Artifact of Doom: The lyrium idol, which gives its wielder a massive power boost at the cost of sanity. Due to its corruption of Meredith, it's partly responsible for the mage/templar war, and its corruption of Bartrand might lead to your sibling's death, if they are with you.
  • Art Shift: The physical appearance of Flemeth, Isabella and the Darkspawn differs noticeably from Origins. Elves have also changed in physical appearance, along with gaining Irish and Welsh accents.
  • Aside Glance: Hawke can ask Bodahn about how he and Sandal got to Kirkwall. When asked if he knew the Hero of Ferelden, the dwarf addresses the camera directly.

Bodahn: The Hero of Ferelden is a fine wo/man. After all his/her accomplishments, may s/he find even greater success in the future.

  • A Taste of Power: The game opens with the player controlling an overpowered Hawke and one of his/her siblings (Bethany or Carver) against a horde of darkspawn. This is quickly revealed to be the result of Varric trying to make Hawke's story more interesting. See also Fake Action Prologue.
  • Attempted Rape: The young girl that Hawke was supposed to rescue from a group of bandits in Act III was instead protected by Feynriel from being gang-raped by him having the bandits kill each other while they were still awake.
  • A Wizard Did It: Lampshaded by Anders.

Bartrand: What's this? Three, four entrances into the Deep Roads, all in the Free Marches? Where'd you get these?
Anders: A wizard did it.

    • If you ask him aggressively, Anders admits that he stole it.
      • Well, he's not lying, per se.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: A Rogue ability allows you to appear next to a chosen ally. It can be upgraded to allow the Rogue to be in stealth when s/he does so.
    • Merrill has a unique spell that lets her do it.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Repeatedly. In Act I, Bartrand takes the idol and leaves you trapped in the Deep Roads. This might even lead to: the death of Bethany/Carver.
    • In Act II, Sister Petrice's plan to start a war between the city and the Qunari may blow up in her face and get her killed, but it still succeeds in the end and gets her what she wants.
    • In Act III no matter what you do, Anders' Well-Intentioned Extremist actions ignite Thedas' first world war between the Templars and the Mages. And the whole world considers you to blame.
    • In Legacy, Corypheus escapes with your character none the wiser.
  • Bad Guy Bar: The Hanged Man, although this is also the favored hangout of the two party rogues. It's status is lampshaded in Act II.

Seneschal Bran: Though where you would find a guardsman so eager to sell his honor and sword is beyond me.
Isabela: Hanged Man.
Fenris: Hanged Man.
Merrill: Hanged Man.
Aveline: Got to be.
Sebastian: Even I know that.

  • Badass Family: Hawke, Bethany and Carver. Their father (Malcolm) was an apostate mage who trained Bethany (and Hawke if s/he is a mage) and the mother's (Leandra) maiden name is Amell, being distantly related to the Human Mage Warden from Dragon Age Origins. If the Warden performed the Dark Ritual in the first game, they are also potentially related to Morrigan's demon-god baby.
    • The Mage Pack reveals that Malcolm Hawke had a Dark and Troubled Past whilst travelling long way from his homeland in order to reach Kirkwall. He also was a skilled unarmed combatant due as often posing as a mercenary, as he had to hide his Mage abilties from the Templars.
      • Now Legacy has shown that Malcolm was badass enough that the Grey Wardens came to him for help.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Mage Hawke, if playing as a paragon but also a Blood Mage. Merrill is another major example.
    • Much to the chargrin of Knight-Commander Meredith, this is how the people of Kirkwall see Mage Hawke once they become the Champion.
  • Bannister Slide: Hawke does one while racing to stop Bartrand from trapping the party in the Primeval Thaig.
  • Battle Couple: Aveline and Ser Wesley are definitely this before his death.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In one banter, Sebastian says that the reason why he doesn't return to Starkhaven to claim his throne is because he is waiting for a sign from the Maker. Boy howdy did he get one. This is especially evident if you spared someone.
    • Friendly banter between Aveline and Anders brings us this exchange:

Aveline: I have to admit, Anders: of the mages I know, you're the one I expected to go out in a blaze.
Anders: The day is young.

    • In-universe, this is invoked in the codex "The Demon's Gift." This is a parable about how an elderly couple gives shelter to a beautiful young woman and she presents them with a mirror that can grant three wishes. The wife wishes to be young and beautiful, which causes her husband to berate her for not wishing to give them both youth. He then wishes she "weren't so stupid," which grants her insight and makes her realize that her husband never truly loved her and only tolerated her because her ignorance made his seem less so in comparison. In the end, they both wish at the same time that the other gets exactly what they deserve — at which point the woman's beauty and intelligence fades away and the couple is left with nothing but their contempt for one another.
    • Not to mention Xenon the Antiquarian, the proprietor of the Black Emporium, who centuries ago was granted immortality by a Witch but failed to specify about wanting eternal youth, so by the time you meet him, he's so emaciated he's barely more than a corpse and has gone completely insane.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension / Slap Slap Kiss: It's possible to pursue romances with companions who are rivals.
  • Benevolent Boss: Hawke can be this.
    • In Act 1, Hawke's first act as co-owner of the Bone Pit is to offer the Fereldan workers double their salary to return to work, despite it being out of Hawke's own pocket.
    • Rescuing Sandal on the Deep Roads Expedition and later giving Bodahn and Sandal a place to stay in the Hawke Estate, despite insisting that Bodahn doesn't need to repay you by acting as your manservant.
    • Offering Orana, a rescued Tevinter slave, a paid job and home at the Estate as a maid, if she wishes it, and by Act 3, also generously paying for her music lessons.
    • Lastly, the people of Kirkwall seem to see the Champion as this, by Act 3, its a common discussion by various parties that they want Hawke to take the position of Viscount.
  • Berserk Button: Several times throughout the game the player is given the option to point out just why it is NEVER safe to mess with Hawke's family.
    • Overzealous Templars who mistreat Mages recieve this response from a Paragon Hawke. Even if s/he is not a Mage, with many friends, family members and allies who are Mages, it becomes clear early on that you do NOT hurt Mages around Hawke.
  • Betty and Veronica: One of each gender: sweet Merrill versus the no-strings-attached-growing-into-something-else relationship with Isabela and the romantic Anders versus the cynical Fenris. Subverted in the fact that neither Merrill nor Anders are as entirely Betty-like as they seem. This trope is actually subverted - the female "Betty" is a blood mage who deals with demons, and the male "Betty" is actually posessed by a demon. The male "Veronica" has serious issues due to his enslavement and the female "Veronica" is, as Aveline points out, a bitch-born whore and even more likely to betray you than every other party member, but, well, demonic possession probably tends to put a crimp on intimacy even more than those flaws.
  • Between My Legs: A framing shot in an Act III cutscene of two boys who are running away from a woman in the Undercity who is a blood mage, only to run into her.
  • BFS: Greatswords. Duh.
  • Bi the Way: With the exception of Sebastian (if you purchase his DLC), every potential love interest in this game is available to both male and female Hawkes.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Most of the villains (if you can call them that) have their own agendas that frequently clash against each other. Due to the game's moral ambiguity, who the true Big Bad is (if there is one at all) is a matter of debate.
    • Cassandra actually thinks that Hawke is the Big Bad at first for causing the mess the Chantry is in until Varric explains to her that things are more complicated than that.
    • The lead designer has said in a few interviews that the 'villain' was actually meant to be the circumstances, not the individual antagonists.
      • In the arguments between Varric and The Seeker, this becomes more apparent. The Seeker is adamantly looking for someone, or something, to blame the outcome of the game on. And right down to the very end, Varric tells her there is none. The game deconstructs the Big Bad.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Hawke's timely intervention during the Qunari Invasion is why they become the Champion of Kirkwall.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Chateau Haine," from the Mark of the Assassin DLC, translates from French as "Castle Loathing" or "Castle Hatred."
  • Blade on a Stick: Mage staves now have some sort of sharp end to allow for close-quarters combat.
    • This also seems to be the standard for most qunari weapons, including throwing spears.
  • Bling of War: Most armor in the game is subdued in its appearance, if sometimes fanciful. The "Golden Prince's Raiment," however, plays this trope absolutely straight.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Enemies are more likely to be dismembered by your attacks than they were in Origins. Enemies can also be blown completely apart by attacks.
    • Any enemy that gets killed by a critical hit, in fact.
  • Blood Magic: A key plot element, and far more prevalent than in Origins. By Act III, nearly all the mages in Kirkwall are blood mages.
  • Bloody Murder: Reavers grievously wound themselves to damage their enemies.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: The Qunari and their Qun.
  • Body Horror:
    • All qunari mages have their mouths stitched shut. Although this appears to be a form of magical seal that can be removed.
    • Towards the climax, Hawke fights a Harvester, a creature that is made from corpses.
    • Not to mention what happens to Hawke's mother.
    • Xenon the Antiquarian, is an immortal emaciated corpse, with numerous extra limbs protruding from his torso due to magical experimentation to try to prevent his own decay.
  • Bond One-Liner: The snarky option after beating the final boss of Mark of the Assassin results in one:

Hawke: Looks like the Duke... has fallen from grace.

  • Bonus Boss: Xebenkeck in Act II. Hybris and a High Dragon in Act III. Malvernis in Legacy. Finding and killing these monsters yields achievements.
  • Book Ends: The game begins and can end with Hawke fleeing his/her home.
  • Brain Bleach: Hawke needs some after finally seeing whatever lewd thing Isabela sees when one looks at the Amell coat-of-arms in juuust the right way.
    • As does Bethany if Hawke accepts an elven whore's offer only to soon afterward turn him down upon Bethany's objection.

Bethany: The images are in my head and they are never, ever going away.

  • Break the Cutie: Merrill
  • Breaking the Fellowship: Circumstances following the ending force all of the party to part with Hawke, except for Hawke's love interest.
  • Brick Joke: One of the miners who fled from the first Bone Pit massacre is wary of going back, drunkenly suggesting "What if something worse comes, like... bigger dragons?" Well, guess what happens much later in the game...
  • Bring My Brown Pants: If you talk to him after finishing "Blackpowder Courtesy", the viscount has this to say:

Viscount Dumar: I'm preparing for the worst. The very worst. This may require absorbent linens.

  • Broken Bridge: Rarely addressed as a plot point, and even then it's incidental, such as the barrier Merrill must break in order to demonstrate her use of blood magic. The frequent rubble-strewn passages and sealed doorways section off dungeons, but their appearance and removal goes without explanation.
  • Bullying a Dragon: No-one ever seems to realise why antagonising Hawke, particularly one who is a Mage, is a bad idea.
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Snarky!Hawke who can come across as both incredibly heroic and yet utterly bonkers.
    • Merrill is the sweetest character in the game and official resident Cloudcuckoolander. This doesn't stop her from being a powerful Blood Mage who wields some of the most powerful abilities in the game.
  • But for Me It Was Tuesday: Lampshaded in Mark of the Assassin DLC.

Tallis: Inherited may be the wrong word, though. What do you call it when you kill someone to get all their stuff?
Aggressive!Hawke: Tuesday.

  • But Thou Must!: Some quests in the main plot will offer a "choice" to accept or deny the task, but either way it'll be added to the journal. Some requests are required, despite seemingly having nothing to do with the current plot.
    • It's noteworthy that accepting or turning down quests will affect how certain companions see you. For example: You can refuse the seemingly non-critical "Shepharding Wolves" quest, thus making Anders upset with you, only to find that it's mandatory and that you've set back your growing friendship for nothing.
  • Button Mashing: The console versions of this game have the player constantly hitting the attack button during combat for the player-controlled character instead of the automatic fighting of the computer version, although an auto-attack toggle was meant to be in the console versions and was only omitted due to a manufacturing error, and recently included in the patch.
    • Even with the auto-attack patch, though, you still have to constantly press the attack button to engage your next target due to the speed of the game.
  • Cain and Abel: Bartrand and Varric.
    • Hawke and Bethany can become this, depending on player choices. Oddly, Carver, the sibling who has the most issues with Hawke, refuses to raise a hand against Hawke and gets pissed when people threaten to do so.
  • Call a Rabbit a Smeerp: For dramatic purposes. Anders's "potion ingredients", sela petrae and drakestone, are actually saltpeter and sulfur.
  • Call Back:
    • Isabela's first appearance of Dragon Age II is similar to her introduction in Origins.
    • One of the ways to get Isabela to teach the Warden the Duelist specialization in Origins was to catch her cheating at cards. At the beginning of the second act, Hawke walks on Merrill asking Isabela why she always wins at cards, to which Isabela responds "Because I cheat."
    • And also this:

Alistair: Yes, swooping is bad.

    • Flemeth's first words to Hawke & Co., are the same words first spoken by Morrigan in Origins.

"Well, well... what have we here?"

    • In a further nod to Origins, when confronted with Sandal standing alone amidst a pile of darkspawn corpses, like the Warden, Hawke can say something to the effect of "Sandal, you're surrounded by darkspawn corpses. What happened here?" The first answer is the same: "Enchantment!" But when confronted with a frozen solid ogre? "Not enchantment!" What is up with that kid?
    • When you ask the Arishok about further information about the Qunari, the following dialogue occurs, very much reminiscent of a conversation between Sten and the Warden:

Hawke: Tell me more about your triumvirate.
Arishok: No.
Hawke: Now you're just being difficult.

    • A very subtle call back can be found inside a chest after completing the penultimate boss fight midway through the final quest. Opening the unlocked chest will yield a rod of fire order form, presumably just like the one which served as a plot coupon in the original game's mage origin quest. The item itself appears to be worthless. In the prologue, some darkspawn inexplicably have vials of their own blood as loot—a Call Back to the Joining quest from the first game.
    • If you ask the bartender for the latest news, he says that there's been a sudden thinning of pigeons in Ferelden. He goes on to ask who would hurt such innocent creatures. Who indeed...
    • Corypheus is a call back to the Architect.
  • The Cameo:
    • Leliana appears in the Exiled Prince DLC, having become a sort of secret agent for the Divine. She also makes an appearance in the ending, having been working with Cassandra the whole time. She also makes an appearance in Mark Of The Assassin.
    • Also, Alistair and Teagan appear and mention the Warden. Alistair can also show up as a drunk, the king or a Grey Warden. Teagan also makes an appearance in Mark Of The Assassin along with Isolde.
    • Zevran appears in a sidequest where the Crows are still pursuing him. He also provides backup in the final battle if you helped him during his quest, but doesn't say anything.
    • Nathaniel crops up in a side quest where he acknowledges Anders (if he's in the party) and whichever decision you made about the Architect in Awakening, implying that the Architect is an ally of the Wardens if he's spared. Like Zevran, he'll also appear in the final battle after his mission but won't say anything.
  • Captain Obvious: Some of Hawke's sarcastic lines are this.

Hawke: Sundermount seems very...mountainous today. Lots of...rocks, and...hillside.

Fenris: The way you fondle your weapon is disturbing.
Varric: Hey, I'm a perfect gentleman! In public.

    • Isabela hits on Bianca a few times as well, suggesting she needs "a woman's touch."

Varric: Bianca responds to my touch. She'd never give it up for you.
Isabela: That's what they all say, and I always prove them wrong.
Varric: Stop it, you're confusing her. And me.

Varric: [aghast] You want to touch Bianca's cocking ring?
Sebastian: ...Never mind.

  • Casual Danger Dialog: Unintentional examples of this pop up whenever a random encounter and a random Party Banter trigger end up a bit too close to each other. Thus, while heads are being severed and fireballs are raining from the sky, you'll have Merrill asking Fenris why he's so cross all the time, or Aveline and Isabala bickering about relationships.
    • A good in-story example would be the Hawke family's flight from Lothering. They spend a couple of minutes talking about Kirkwall with the darkspawn horde contained only by a foot high wall of fire.
    • During the introduction of Tallis in Mark of the Assassin, Hawke wonders who she is aloud during the fight.

Hawke: Who the blazes is that?!
Varric: Don't know! Kill people, then ask!

  • Cat Fight: Hawke can walk in on the beginning of one between Aveline and Isabela in the Hawke estate. The best part is a smartass!Hawke's reaction: rushing in and gasping "Are there any good seats left?".
    • Another one, between the same characters, can also happen if you bring Isabela along when you start the Long Road quest.
    • There's one with Aveline and female Hawke on the second Questioning Beliefs quest if Aveline is at high rivalry. You have to get real catty with Aveline if you want her to stay in Kirkwall! She actually punches Hawke to the ground.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A few things like Isabela's relic and Bartrand's idol end up being very important.
    • Also those big bronze statues in the Gallows' courtyard. They come to life in the final battle.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Meredith is mentioned almost immediately after the Hawkes arrive in Kirkwall, and is seen walking by and frowning at a beggar-pickpocket at the beginning of year two. She doesn't come into play directly until the very end of act two.
    • In Act II, there is a beggar named Evelina in Darktown. In Act III you learn that she is an apostate-turned-abomination and have to kill her.
  • City of Adventure: The vast majority of the game takes place in Kirkwall and its surrounding countryside.
  • Civil War: The final conflict of the game is a civil war between mages and templars. While we never really get to see it in full, we do get to see the opening shots. Hawke is forced to pick a side, and your companions, having their own allegiances, may turn on you depending on your choices and relationship values.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In cutscenes, magic appears this with different characters. With Bethany it appears to be a wispish purple, Anders' magic appears as a flaming dark blue (usually when manifesting Justice), while Mage Hawke appears as a intense white.
  • The Comically Serious: The Arishok and most of the Qunari can come across as this, having a very understated sense of humour, particularly if dealing with Snarky!Hawke.
  • Conflicting Loyalties: One of the major themes of the game, even much more so than in the first one. Pretty much every major quest is about finding a solution for mutually incompatible goals. Usually, the end result turns out worse than either alternatives.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: The talkative man in the Hanged Man.
    • Cassandra in the framing story. Some of her theories on Hawke's history and motives are a little... out there. She initially seems to be under the assumption that Hawke and company all came to Kirkwall together as part of a large plot to incite Mage sedition against the Chantry, were allied with the Grey Wardens (if Bethany or Carver joined them), and that Hawke knew about the Lyrium idol.
  • Continuity Lock Out: To a minor extent. The game makes very little effort to actively explain the setting to new players, though it's traditional enough that most people will catch on quick, and lore really isn't relevant to most of the gameplay. However, those looking for references to the first game's lore will have to search the DA wiki.
  • The Corruption: Due to Blood Magic, Fade Demons, and the Black City, many feel this is universally inherent in magic talent. And then there's the lyrium idol, which can inflict this even on templars and dwarves.
    • If you collect all of "The Enigma of Kirkwall" secret messages, it is revealed that Kirkwall itself is a giant example of this, thanks to its peculiar placement of the streets and regular human sacrifices
  • Crapsack World: Despite the Warden's best efforts in the first game, the land of Thedas is still a rather bleak and depressing place. Not only that, but It gets worse, partly thanks to you and your party's actions.
  • Cut and Paste Environments: A frequently cited complaint is that the dungeons and cave areas are all identical, but with various impassable doors thrown up to create a different flow. Lampshaded by Varric in the quest "On The Loose."

Varric: Another secret society meeting in an abandoned warehouse. I wonder if they are charged rent?

    • The Legacy and Mark Of The Assassin DLCs however have taken this into consideration and as such feature unique dungeons.
      • A line of party banter from Merrill in Mark of The Assassin lampshades this as well saying that everywhere in Kirkwall started looking the same after a while.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Not "cutscenes" per se, but Varric's story framing invokes a variation of this trope at times. Occasionally, Varric will embellish his tale, which in gameplay terms translates to being given A Taste of Power. The very beginning is an example. Varric initially romanticizes Hawke's tale, portraying him/her as a badass mage/warrior/rogue who was capable of cutting up Darkspawn left, right and centre before he even met Varric. Then The Seeker calls him out for his bullshit and Varric is forced to admit that Hawke had a far humbler beginning - the game's true prologue opens with a scene of Hawke fleeing for his/her life with his/her family in tow. A later, more humorous scene has Varric portraying himself as a One-Man Army when he singlehandedly broke into his brother's mansion.
    • A pretty awesome straightforward example occurs while playing the "Wayward son" quest as a rogue, which even comes with its own Badass Boast line
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: While most of the controls haven't changed, many of the options on the radial menu have moved from where they were located in Origins, making playing the games back-to-back slightly jarring.
  • Darker and Edgier: Certainly darker than Origins. Much of the grimness comes from the personal level the game plays on, instead of an epic one.
    • Darker and Edgier in volume of gore, sexual situations, and dramatic tragedy. Also reconstructed with Sebastian, the rogue marksman as a paladin, and Merrill, a sweet, naive Moe who dabbles in every forbidden magic.
    • Visually edgier, as the color palette is less realistically brown, but virtually reduced to shades of gray, brown and intense red, with sharp contrasts.
    • This is by far Bioware's darkest game. While other Bioware games have their elements of darkness, they usually end in the triumph of the hero and in "good" endings, everything restored. This game however, is about a descent into madness with the hero caught in the middle. There is no triumph here.
  • Dashed Plotline: A prologue, three acts, and an epilogue, with 1/3/3/2 year skips between them.
  • Day Old Legend: Killing a nameless high dragon will let you loot her Fire Gland, which, in turn, can be crafted by a local enchanter into an amulet named Urzara's Tooth. This unlocks a Codex entry, which claims that Urzara's Tooth is a 200-year-old relic of a dragon-worshiping cult.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Hawke by the boatload if you play him/her that way. The rest of the party will often get in on it. Flemeth will react approvingly to smart ass remarks from Hawke.
  • Deadly Hug: Marethari will give one to Merrill if you take the optimistic approach to the way the battle ends.
  • Dead Person Conversation: In Legacy you talk to your mother this way at the end of the quest if she has died.
  • Deal with the Devil: In Origins, it was possible to make deals with demons that didn't carry any repurcussions for the Player Character (though other people weren't so lucky). In Dragon Age 2, demons always betray those who bargain with them. As Anders puts it, "demons will trip you up every time."
  • Debate and Switch: Notably averted. The game's conflicts don't have easy outs. Anders makes sure of that by removing the player's ability to Take a Third Option or compromise.
  • Defector From Decadence: The Mabari. According to Fenris, when the Ancient Tevinters took Mabari War-Hounds along with them during an invasion of Ferelden, the Mabari took one look at the Alamarri tribesmen and immediately decided to switch sides, joining forces to drive out the Tevinters. This is given as the reason, why the Mabari are so beloved by the Ferelden people and have been a staple of their military stratagem ever since.
  • Defiant to the End: Duke Prosper. He will still try to kill a paragon Hawke even while hanging off a cliff, good job dude.
  • Degraded Boss: It's hard to decide what's a boss battle in this game, but before the final battle you will encounter Demons of Pride as normal encounters.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: In a world full of demonic possessions, it's not surprising that your party has little to no understanding or empathy for a man in a quest who appears mentally ill. Because he's not possessed, they assume he's lying about thinking he hears voices and just not accepting responsibility for his actions. Killing him is the only action in the game everyone in your party agrees upon.
  • Demonic Possession: A standard threat to mages in Thedas. Anders is also willingly possessed by Justice.
    • Also Powers Via Possession; it seems like everyone has Cthulu on call, and will accept a takeover at the slightest distress. Demonic Possession is the new Turns Red.
      • An ingame codex entry found in Legacy speculates that Corypheus is at least partially responsible for this, along with all the other things that make Kirkwall such a crapsack place to live.
  • Depending on the Writer: Awakening's Anders (written by David Gaider) was womanizing, flirty, shallow, snarky, and laid-back. DAII's Anders (written by Jennifer Hepler) is a moody, obsessive, serious person, although he still snarks when he's in a good mood. This is explained due to the fact that Anders is possessed by a spirit, and thus, not the same person that he once was. There is some debate on how much of the change is justified or was necessary.
    • Also could count as an in-universe example. Since we are hearing the story related from Varric's point of view, Anders' difference in characterisation could be explained as this was how Varric saw him.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: If you confront the guard who betrayed the Qunari in The Hanged Man without any party members along, it will lead to a fight. Per usual, none of the NPCs will so much as bat an eye at the bloodshed, but Varric, who is standing by the fireplace, will immediately join the fray in Hawke's defense.
  • Dialogue Tree: Unlike Origins more traditional dialogue selection, a new icon wheel has been added to streamline the experience, similar to Mass Effect. The game adds the use of an icon in the center of the wheel to help deduce intent, along with the paraphrased line. These icons make it possible for the game to track personality, based upon which attitude the player most often takes, and will sometimes alter lines to reflect the dominant personality.
  • Dirty Cop: Captain Jeven, until he gets jailed for corruption.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: If you supported Bhelen for the throne of Orzammar in Origins, the sequel reveals that he apparently had all of House Harrowmont murdered for opposing him, save for one lord who is now on the run. If Hawke helps Renvil Harrowmont escape Kirkwall, it's revealed that Bhelen's assassins continue to hound him as far as Rivain.

Lord Renvil Harrowmont: Bhelen's reach is long … and his vengeance a terrible thing to behold.

    • If you choose to spare Anders, Sebastian will inform you that he intends to raise an army and burn the entire city of Kirkwall to the ground.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Bethany, if you bring her and Sebastian with you for Mark of the Assassin, will get distracted by his smiling.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: The elves.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Several of course, but most obvious would be Ser Alric's "Tranquil Solution" to "the mage issue".
    • Also the Qunari's recruitment of the lowest members of society and eventually trying to take control of the city
  • Doomed Hometown: Lothering.
    • Kirkwall, by the end of the game.
  • Doom Magnet: Hawke. It's even worse because most of it is unintentionally his/her fault.

Hawke: Just once, I'd like to go one week without an insane mage. One week.

    • In Legacy Hawke will remark that s/he wants to go someplace peaceful for once, like a beach. If Varric is in the party, he'll respond that the day Hawke goes to the beach is the day that an angry armada of demon pirates shows up.
  • Downer Ending: The story does not end well, though you can probably figure that out due to the framing device. A massive war springs up between mages and templars, several innocent lives are lost in the crossfire, (some of which are caused by you, depending on choices), all your companions save your love interest are forced to abandon you, and Hawke, the one person who could conceivably stop this, has gone missing.

Varric: Nobody said this was going to be a happy story.

  • Dummied Out: Vigilance, the Infinity+1 Sword from Awakening is in the game files, but is unobtainable.
  • DRM: a couple layers of it:
    • Access to the game itself ended up hinging (at least temporarily) on the status of your account on the official forums. If banned, users are reporting they can no longer access the game.
      • To specify, the game requires online authentication before starting the first time, and a user was prevented from authenticating by a ban on his EA forum account. EA claimed that this was an unintentional side effect, and resolved the incident fairly quickly.
    • A "Release Control" program made by the same team behind SecuROM (and attributed to Sony - take THAT how you will) was also found, and showed up as SecuROM on initial scans. The behavior, according to official statements, is supposed to be a time check against EA's own servers to enforce a street date, and after that check passes successfully, it is supposed to delete itself (failing the check would prevent the game from loading). The presence of this is never mentioned in the End User License Agreement. Remaining traces of it can be deleted after the check passes with no impact whatsoever.
  • Dual-Wielding: Rogues retain this ability from Origins, warriors lose it.
  • Duel to the Death: Hawke can face the Arishok in single-combat to determine the fate of Kirkwall.
  • Dwindling Party: It's impossible to hold on onto everyone by the end game, since your siblings will always leave you by Act 2. Also, some party members choices are exclusive of each others by that point, such as Sebastian and Anders over whether or not you kill Anders for his actions. Depending on who you side with, you may lose the ability to get Bethany or Carver back (although you'll never fight them), you may have to fight Merrill and Anders if you side with the templars, or you may lose Fenris and Aveline if you side with the mages unless you manage to max out either their friendship or rivalry bar. Also, it's possible to lose Fenris, Anders, Merrill and Isabela during their personal quests before that as well. By the end of the game, you can theoretically lose everyone except Varric.
  • Dysfunction Junction: As is traditional, the party is comprised of people just filled with psychological issues. Quite possibly the worst case in any Bioware game to date.
  • Easy Evangelism: The qunari are shockingly successful at acquiring converts. Even the qunari are surprised. The group in Kirkwall is composed entirely of soldiers, and they aren't actively evangelizing at all since there is an entire separate caste dedicated to that. This makes the more fanatical members of the Chantry attempt to start a war with the quanari
  • Eldritch Location: Kirkwall is famous for having the Veil be notoriously thin thanks to the horrors of the Tevinter Magisters. Explains why so many mages get possessed there in particular. The Primeval Thaig may well count as well, see Alien Geometries above.
    • Its also implied that Corypheus, an Ancient Tevinter Magister turned Darkspawn likewise might be responsible, even though he's been asleep in his Grey Warden Prison in the Vimmark Mountains for the past 1000 years.
  • Elopement: Hawke's parents. He was a runaway apostate mage, she was a noble with an Arranged Marriage looming.
  • Empathic Environment: As well as being an Eldritch Location Legacy offers the theory that the presence of Corypheus, may be what causes most of the mayhem in Kirkwall.
  • Ending Theme: Appropriately enough, "I'm Not Calling You a Liar", by Florence and the Machine.
  • End of an Age: By the game's ending, the Mage-Templar War has officially ended the current status quo in Thedas.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • The Raiders of the Waking Sea are an armada of pirates who fought to protect Kirkwall during the qunari invasion. After the qunari were stopped, they went back to piracy.
    • Also, during the Qunari uprising, Meredith and Orsino are forced to cooperate to save Kirkwall. She will also overlook mage Hawke's abilities for the time being.
    • Orsino says that he views his coverup of Quentin as this. He is fully aware that Quentin and his experiments are pure evil, but he also fears that, if Quentin's crimes were ever made public knowledge, Meredith would use him as justification for furthering her mage oppression agenda. Of course, this doesn't explain why Orsino didn't simply leave Quentin facedown in a sewer...
    • In the Mage ending, Carver (if he's still alive) and Cullen (if you treated him nicely enough) will assist you in the final battle once it becomes clear how far off the deep end Meredith's fallen.
  • Entropy and Chaos Magic: Mostly consisting of curses and other sinister powers, and closely connected to The Fade.
  • Ethereal Choir: Used as part of the score during the Destiny Trailer.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Like you wouldn't believe, making this something of a Crapsack Game. Merill, Isabela, Varric, Aveline, and Fenris will ALL betray you to one of the fade demons if given the chance. Even if you're best friends and/or lovers. Isabela will betray you at the end of chapter 2 (after revealing she's been lying to you all along), but if you have exceptionally high friendship with her she will come back later on... after her actions result a massacre and a small war. Fenris and Aveline may leave you if you side with the mages in the final chapter, and Merill and Anders may leave if you side with the templars.
    • Not to mention Sebastian, who, if you do not execute Anders after Chantrysplosion, not only leaves you, but swears to raise an army and burn Kirkwall to the ground until he finds and kills the mage.
  • Everyone Is Bi: The only party member that can only be romanced by one gender is Sebastian. The only ones that can't be romanced at all are Varric (who likes to keep it in his species), Aveline (who can be flirted with for a while but ultimately falls for someone else), and your sibling (who is your sibling).
  • Evil Laugh: Conversed by a snarky Hawke in the new DLC Legacy -

Hawke: Corypheus? With a name like that he's bound to start going 'mwa-ha-ha-ha' at some point.

  • Evil Versus Evil: While the conflict starts off grey, the mage/templar conflict becomes this in the end, with Orsino becoming a blood mage that aids and abets serial killers, and Meredith a Knight Templar driven mad by the lyrium idol.
  • Evolving Weapon: One of the DLC weapons, Fadeshear, levels up as you do.
    • As does Bianca, and any runes enchanted increase in power with it.
    • The class item packs include weapons and accessories that increase in effectiveness when you gain levels.
  • Exact Words: The oft-quoted phrase "Magic exists to serve man, never to rule over him."
    • Part of the ambiguousness of this sentence is that the Chantry focus on the "rule" line, believing that that Mages should locked away as it is in their nature to dominate others, while the Tevinters focus on the "serve" line, believing that magic should serve the greater good, forgetting they use this to rule over others.
    • On the other hand, particularly honourable mage apostates such as Malcolm Hawke (and possible Hawke themselves), seem to Take a Third Option, instead believing this simply means that magic is merely a tool to be used to serve others, but should never be abused for ones own personal benefit.
  • Eye Scream: Oh man, yeah. Arrows, knives... not for the squeamish.
    • If you look closely at Ketojan, you might notice blood spatter on his mask directly underneath his eyes, which has some disturbing implications.


  • Face Heel Turn: Any of the non-rogues can turn against you in the finale - Merrill and Anders if you side with the templars, Fenris and Aveline if you side with the mages. If you've reached friend or rival status with someone, they will stay at your side regardless, with the exception of Anders, whose support for the mages is so fanatical, he will never side with the templars.
    • A crisis point was found for Anders which suggests at full rivalry, with certain dialogue options selected, could have been convinced that blowing up the Chantry and being possessed by Justice were both wrong, and he would side with the Templars if Hawke asked. His writer has said on the official forums stated this is supposed to be in the final game. It is only through a recent patch that this has been made achievable.
  • Face Palm:

Drunk Miner 1: What? My farm supplied eggplant to half the bastards in South Reach!
Drunk Miner 2: Well, my eggplant supplied half the bastards in South Reach
Hawke: *facepalm*

    • A staple of Snarky!Hawke's responses.

Lia: He didn't mean to hurt me, he told me. There are demons that make him do these horrible things.
Hawke: *facepalm* I'll have to remember that next time. A demon made me do it.

  • Faceless Goons: Lampshaded by a dwarf whose mercenary bodyguards you slaughter while he's picking over their remains for stuff to loot. "What, are these guys brothers or something?"
  • Faceless Masses: Many citizens of Kirkwall have an unfinished look to them, as they're just there to make the city feel less empty.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Basically the whole main plot. No matter how much Hawke tries to prevent the catastrope, every main story quest ends with the worst possible outcome and the world spiralling deeper down into madness.
  • Fake Action Prologue: The game starts off with a playable action sequence of Hawke and one of his/her siblings (A warrior or a rogue will have Bethany, and a mage will have Carver) fighting off two groups of darkspawn plus an ogre, but this particular scene reveals itself to be made up by Varric, who narrates the story of Hawke for Cassandra. During this playable sequence, the player character's health meter constantly regenerates, is wearing the Armor of the Champion (which you don't get until the final act), and his/her abilities' cooldown times are very short.
  • Fandom Nod: The DLC's have several characters comment that after a while, the dungeons in Kirkwall all began to start to look the same.
  • Fantastic Drug: Aquae lucidius, made from Wyvern poison. Even Empress Celene, one of the best Chessmasters in a nation full of them enjoys it.
    • Even your party members are fond of it: Carver can explain in great detail its effects, and Varric knows the price of it off-hand on the black market (40 sovereigns)
  • Fantastic Racism/Fantastic Slurs: Many of the native Free Marchers resent the influx of Fereldan refugees into their city. Just walking around Kirkwall will net Hawke a fair number of nasty comments and there are several quests where Hawke is targeted by thugs because of his/her nationality. The favoured slur against the Fereldan refugees is "Dog-Lord", due to the country's infamous affiliation with mabari hounds.
    • Otherwise, all other prejudices established in Dragon Age Origins carry over:
      • Elves are sneaky and poor, forced to live in the alienage, often called "Knife Ears".
      • The Elves return it right back towards Humans. "Shemlen" (or its shorter form "Shem"), which in Elvish means "Quick Children" is often uttered in an insulting way among both Dalish and City Elves.
      • Everyone sees the Qunari as brutish monsters while the Qunari themselves subvert this trope, hating those who don't follow the Qun rather than for a racial issue. Those who convert to the Qun are welcomed with open arms, regardless of race.
        • Although some Qunari, such as the Avaraad, get instantly hostile when they realise they are dealing with "Bas-sarebaas", Human and Elven mages, accusing them of being Demons trying to poison their minds before attacking.
      • From the loading screen, no less. "Never play cards with Qunari, you can never tell when they're bluffing. And never play with Elves, they never pay their debts. And never play with Dwarves, they kill you when they lose."
      • A few times the Qunari are referred to as "Ox-men", due to their horns. Their stubborn disposition might also be a reason.
      • There is Fantastic Prejudice against mages, especially since magical ability is inherited through blood.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Oh so many - becoming tranquil, becoming possessed by demons, becoming a prisoner of one's own insanity, the eventual effect of taint exposure (either becoming a mindless ghoul or simply dying a slow, painful death). Many a Mercy Kill is performed to spare people from this.
    • The fate of those who are captured by the Qunari but refuse to convert to the Qun may also qualify. Y'see, the Qunari don't kill their captives. Those who refuse to submit to the Qun are put through something called "qamek" which turns them into mindless laborers. The Qunari waste nothing. Fenris flat-out says he would never have turned Isabela over to the Qunari because he knows exactly what they do to their prisoners.
  • Fetch Quest: Inversion; unique valuables can be discovered in the course of adventuring, and the quest rewards are for locating the individuals who want them.
  • First Girl Wins: Averted. During the Act 1 you receive a letter (although it's addressed to Carver) from a young girl back in Lothering named Peaches. If Hawke is male, the letter makes it very clear that she had a massive crush on him, but her feelings remained unrequited, and Hawke never returns to Ferelden after the Blight (and he ultimately ends up with someone else if the player chooses to pursue an LI). If Hawke is female, the letter tells that she was Carver's girlfriend, but he slept with her and then never talked to her or wrote her after the Blight. And he never ends up returning to Ferelden, either.
    • However it can also be played straight (or averted again) with Merrill and Isabela, the female party members you recruit in Act I after the prologue.
  • Flash Step: Several Rogue talents behave like this, such as Backstab and Back-To-Back. It is also said that Mages who teleport are using this.
  • Flavor Text: Possibly due to rushed release, item lore, abundant in Dragon Age Origins, is completely and frustratingly absent, except for some special items who get Codex entries. Prepare to find items like e. g. "Sword of Pandemonic Knickers" or "The Archon's Sneeze" without any explanation why they're called thus. Some items with special propeties even only have generic names like "Amulet", "Ring" or "Sword".
  • Foe Yay: In universe, any relationship with the love interest, if you're rivals.
    • Snarky!Hawke jokes about it regarding Meredith and Orsino near the end of the game.
    • Varric insinuates that Cassandra seems to be developing a crush on the Male Hawke at one part of the story. She vehemently denies it.
  • Fourth Wall Observer: A talkative patron in the Hanged Man notes that "everything like eating and fighting has become simpler" and that he "feels like he's in a story written by someone".
  • Foregone Conclusion: Hawke will become known as the Champion and will be involved in events that cause the Chantry to fall to pieces.
  • Foregone Victory: It is impossible to die during the introduction fight.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • A component Anders needs for the ritual to separate himself from Justice is called sela petrae, and can be found growing on sewage. A chemistry student begins to recognize salt peter, which fits. The ritual isn't a removal. It's a bomb. Another component, drakestone, is most likely sulfur.
      • Another thing to note is after you've distracted the head mistress of the Chantry at the end of the quest, she notices a troubled Anders and hopes that his visit to the Chantry has given his soul a "balm."
      • In that same vein, at the beginning of the Justice quest it's possible to ask Anders about the components of his potion. At one point he says "just mix the ingredients together and boom...Justice and I are free."
    • The loading screen for the Templar's hall is a graphic of Meredith being consumed with by darkness. The previously warm color scheme now swamped with black makes her eyes glow red, much like in the end battle.
    • The banter between Sebastian and Anders contains some pretty blatant examples, most obviously the conversation Sebastian initiates discussing Anders' plans to become a martyr if he has to. He also potentially approaches Hawke with his concerns about how far Anders is willing to go. He's right.

Sebastian: Don't think he won't choose his cause over you.

    • The first scene in the game has Cassandra leafing through Varric's book, which has a page with stylised portraits of Hawke's eventual companions.
    • Players keeping an eye out for notes find several, collectively referred to as "The Enigma of Kirkwall", discussing oddities about the seemingly random street placements and mass human sacrifice with no appreciable gain, leading to the conclusion that someone was attempting a massive spell in the area. It's eventually revealed that the Veil in the area's so thin that demons have begun possessing Templars, mages are spontaneously turning into abominations and learning blood magic with remarkable ease, and the Qunari steadily grow more enraged despite many overtures to peace with them. It could also more readily explain why Justice was corrupted into Vengeance, since Anders was previously more concerned about escaping the Templars than fighting them. While the intention of the Xanatos Gambit behind the spells in Kirkwall remain unclear, it has a definite effect by the game's end.
    • In Act 1 during The First Sacrifice quest, if you choose the "Why should I care?" option when talking to Emeric about tracking down a serial killer, he comes out with this gem. Cue Act II...

Emeric: Imagine if it was someone you loved.

    • If you interact with the Chanter near the Chanter's Board in Act 1, she says "And Andraste did say, 'Those who harm the house of the Maker do harm unto the Maker Himself.'" A small nod to the immense amount of harm the house of the Maker is in for.
    • In Act 2, you may notice a woman named Evelina standing next to Tomwise in Darktown begging for money. You dont gain anything for giving her money or not. She later turns out to be a Blood Mage that is taking children under her care. In Act 3, she turns into an abomination, and you have no choice but to kill her.
    • A little gem from some banter between Isabela and Anders

Isabela: You want to free the mages, let's say you do but to get there you kill a bunch of innocent people

    • An example that ends up straight or subverted: during Varric's exaggerated intro, Carver is wearing Grey Warden armor. While this does foreshadow a possible fate for Carver, it's not the only one, and it's the player's choices that determine whether it's accurate.
      • That's because Varric is just repeating what the rumors say. If that does happen, Cassandra says, "So the Champion's brother WAS a Grey Warden!", indicating that was part of the legend.
  • Framing Device: Cassandra, a Chantry Seeker with an "interest" in Hawke, is holding the dwarf Varric, a merchant prince and acquaintance of Hawke's, in custody. He is telling her the story of Hawke's rise to power, as the current state of the world and the Chantry has been affected by him/her. Throughout the story, they give commentary on Hawke's past actions, thereby alerting the player to any changes their decisions may have made before the end of the game.
    • One has to wonder if the story has parts where Varric tells how Hawke spends several minutes examining and comparing several pieces of equipment in minute detail.
    • The DLC later expand on this concept, with Legacy and Mark of the Assassin acting as parts of the story that Varric apparently left out until Cassandra coaxed him into revealing the details.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the ending, one of the book's pages has a drawing of a woman who strongly resembles Morrigan as well as an image for Flemmeth. There is also a gag of Shale chasing birds in the same sequence.
  • Friendly Target: being part of a family is dangerous business in Kirkwall.
  • Full-Contact Magic: How the mages attack.
  • Full Set Bonus: Some items and armor sets give one.
  • Gallows Humor: A shining example from Hawke following the death of the Viscount's son.

Aveline: "It's pretty late?" You ass.
Hawke: May as well end as tense as it started.

  • Gameplay Ally Immortality: Any friendly characters who are not part of the party cannot die in combat. They will still usually have a health bar, but if it runs out nothing happens.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: No-one ever seems to recognize people wearing robes and carrying mage's staffs as mages until they start casting spells, if even then.
    • Isabela's entire purpose in Origins was to teach the Warden the Duelist Specialization. While some Specializations were cut, Duelist wasn't one of them, but Isabela doesn't have it as a party member in Dragon Agg II.
  • Gateless Ghetto: You only get to explore rather limited districts of Kirkwall. Considering the extensiveness of the city's infrastructure it must be several times larger than shown to keep itself running.
  • Gay Option: With the exception of Sebastian, who is a straight male and celibate, all love interests can be romanced regardless of Hawke's gender.
  • Genre Blindness: Initially appears played straight, especially when Hawke is a mage. Robe on your shoulders, staff on your back, yet no one knows you're a mage unless you tell them. Even the ones trained and posted to watch them on a daily basis. However, by Act III it's fairly clear that Hawke and/or Anders are well-known magic users, but are deliberately left alone due to Hawke's social status and Varric's bribes.
    • Still played straight if Hawke is a blood mage, as no one ever calls him/her on it, even if constantly accusing other mages of it.
  • Genre Savvy:

Varric: 'I don't like this'? That's right up there with 'What Could Possibly Go Wrong?'...

  • Gilligan Cut: During the Mark of the Assassin DLC, when Hawke and Tallis ge thrown into the dungeon, Hawke can state that his two (currently free) companions will get them out. Cut to the two companions... hopelessly lost.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Happens a few times - when Vengeance manifests in Anders, Meredith at the end and potentially even for enemies if Hawke drinks an Elixir of Purity.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid / Chekhov's Army: Implied. The Seeker is helping the chantry to seek out both Hawke and the Warden (the PC from the previous game) to put an end to the war between the templars and mages. Hawke is a "Champion" to the people of Kirkwall, and seen as a freedom fighter for defying the tyrannical Meredith. S/He may also be an inspiration to mage rebels (especially if Hawke was a mage him/herself), or respected among certain templars, depending on which faction s/he chose to aid. Whilst the Warden is the commander of an elite military order (and might even be royalty, depending on what choices were made) who's most famed for raising an army and stabbing a dragon to death to end an invasion. Is it safe to assume that the two banding up to commit genocide with aid from The Cavalry is an option for the next game?
  • Go Through Me: When Meredith goes off the deep end, Cullen tells her she'll have to go through him to get to Hawke, regardless of which side Hawke picked. If Carver joined the Templars, he does this too.
  • Gravity Master: Force Mages.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: None of the major factions are without serious flaws.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The guards at Chateau Haine in "Mark of the Assassin" are highly susceptible to distraction by thrown pebbles and curiously unconcerned about waking up on the floor after having been sapped unconscious: "Damned blackouts, keeping me off patrol..."
  • Guide Dang It: A couple of the loot-based achievements require you to find items that are only available in one specific area for a very limited amount of time (and you can't go back to short of reloading). Most notably To get all 4 volumes of "The History of the Chantry" you have to grab the third volume during a literally couple-second long break in the action during the battle at the Chantry during the "Following the Qun" quest in Act II. If you're not in exactly the right place when the battle concludes and quick enough to highlight and grab the book (it's on the central altar) in the three seconds before the next cutscene starts, too bad. There's also the option of selecting it during the battle, which is a far easier method. Still ridiculously frustrating.
    • The events of chapter 2's finale depend heavily on how friendly you are with one previously plot-unimportant party member and whether or not you brought along another, completely unrelated party member.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Hybris delivers one mid-battle tailored toward Hawke's personality.[1]
    • Elven spirits at Pride's End appear to deliver one to Merrill.
    • A quick one; the Pride demon at Pride's End will make a comment based on Hawke's personality as well.

Pride Demon: [to a Sarcastic/Charming Hawke] How many glib words have dribbled from your lips, all testament to your cleverness? Every one has fed me...

  • Harder Than Hard: Nightmare, whose key feature is enabling friendly fire. Better turn off those auto-cast area-effect spells in your companions' tactics menus.
  • Headbutting Heroes: Several party members make it quite clear that they loathe each other and only work together out of loyalty to Hawke. Especially evident with Fenris and the party mages.
    • Anders does a really good job of getting on Sebastian's bad side. It gets to the point where Sebastian is flabbergasted as to how Anders has friends at all.
  • The Heart: Grand Cleric Elthina is the main reason that everyone in Kirkwall hasn't killed each other. Then Anders blows up the Chantry with her in it. Then the Mage-Templar War happens.
  • The Hero Dies: Conversed. According to Varric, the hero dying makes for a good story. Hawke doesn't.
    • Though he was talking about Anders when he brought it up... See the second entry below.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Marethari pulls off one of these out of love, in order to save Merrill from being possessed by a Pride Demon.
    • Depending on your point of view/actions during the game, Anders either attempts to pull one of these off and fails, or he succeeds rather terribly.
  • Heroic Second Wind: In the "Destiny" trailer, Hawke is about to be killed by the Arishok when he draws a rune on his arm, and sees a series of flashbacks. He then proceeds to wipe the floor with the Arishok. Which involves him apparently putting his flaming arms into portals, which then come out of portals above and behind the qunari, much larger, while Hawke's eyes glow in a not-good way This is also a skill of a Warrior, where if fully upgraded, you can recharge your stamina and recharge your skills faster.
  • Heroic Willpower: How Mage!Hawke is able to stave off Idunna the blood mage's Psychic-Assisted Suicide.
    • A non-mage Hawke accomplishes this as well, assuming s/he faces Idunna without a mage in the party.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: The first rogue set is a muted greytone suited to lurking the city night, but second set is a foppish affair topped with a...NiceHat. And the Rogue Champion outfit is very red.
  • Hit and Run Tactics: The rogue uses a series of leaping and tumbling attacks, during which they pass through normal attacks. Whether this is due to an increased defense during their attacks or lack of a bounding box during the animation, even a low level rogue can take advantage of these with good timing to remain unhittable.
  • Home Base: You start off with your uncle's house, and upgrade to a mansion as the game progresses. All party members have their own bases around Kirkwall, where you visit them to talk and get their personal quests.
  • Hope Spot: Lots. There are a few that are particularly noteworthy. Such as finding the serial killer. Look, your mom's getting up! You made it! She's still ali--oh god. What's this, you've defeated the Pride Demon and the Keeper is going to be okay? That's amazing! Let's have a group hug! Oh, we might be able to find some kind of compromise between the mages and the Templars? Excellent! No more bloodshe--GODDAMMIT ANDERS.
  • Horned Humanoid: The qunari's new look.
  • How We Got Here: The entire story is a framing device of this.
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms: Isabela teasing Aveline after her courtship with Donnic:

Isabela: So how is your Donnic? Is he cocksure? Did he curl your toes? Pudding your peach? Arl your Eamon? Shank your Jory? Gray your Warden? Praise your Maker? How about "satisfy a demand of your Qun"?

  • Hypocrite: It seems all the major powers in Thedas like to harp about the dangers of magic as justification for their oppression of mages, but all are willing to have them develop their gifts in order to use them, whether to enchant weapons, make potions, or provide artillery fire on the battlefield. Even the Qunari do it.
    • Mage!Hawke can be played like this if s/he sends every stray mage back to the circle with the justification that all mages should be controlled. All mages except him/her, apparently. Even more so if Hawke is a blood mage.
    • During the quest Finders Keepers, Hawke may refuse to reveal the location of Martin's cargo because he's dealing in poison. But Hawke can use poison in virtually every battle within the game, providing the player's pockets are deep enough.
    • Sebastian probably takes the palm, here. He goes build up an army and promises to kill everybody in Kirkwall. Why? Because you let a murderer live.
      • He also had previously patronized Varric for letting his desire of revenge over Bartrand govern his life.
    • Orsino also counts, considering how he always preaches that he and the Circle are not guilty of Meredith's accusations and in reality he covered a sick mass murderer (responsible for the death Hawke's mother) and secretly studies Blood Magic which ultimately turns him into a Harvester.
  • Hypocritical Humor: During an act 2 quest, you'll have to go into an alley full of poisonous gas, there's a guard there warning people away.

Hawke: Yes, everybody should listen to him. Now, if you'll excuse me. [walks past]

Hawke: Your first mistake was naming it the Bone Pit.
Varric: Why couldn't they call it "The Pie Fields?" Everyone likes pie.

  • I Lied: Said word-for-word, even. If you press Anders for a reason when he asks Hawke to help him get into the Chantry unseen—something that very much does not mesh with his previously-stated purpose of creating a potion to separate himself from Justice—Hawke can demand to know if there was ever any potion at all. Anders flat-out admits that he lied.
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit: Inverted to hell and back when Hawke acquires The Mantle of the Champion. Its only lightly armoured and in some places the robes appears to be torn, ragged and fraying at the edges, which is exactly as you'd expect from armour thats been in a lot of battles.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Oof, loads of these. For instance, a belt you get after killing a ghost of a golem (figure that one out) is called the "Rock Band". Heh.
  • Inescapable Ambush: A number of the encounters.
  • Inherent in the System: While there are external forces at work as well, it's repeatedly pointed out that the Chantry's current system of handling mages is at best a merciful form of slavery and at worst a dehumanizing existence that causes many problems it's supposed to prevent. For every good templar like Thrask there are as many like Alric: corrupt, fanatical or both with life and death power over mages. The mages themselves are just as dangerous as the templars say they are, but many see the The Dark Side of their powers as the only way out of a belief system that tells them how much the Maker hates them and guarantees them second-class citizenship (said belief system being formed from the dissenters of a mage-ruled empire may be a factor for this). See Vicious Cycle below.
    • The Arishok's critique of Kirkwall's system deepened into bitterness because he was bound there by a system of his own. And as brutal and ugly as that system appears to outsiders, the Qunari could never do anything but insist on its rightness—even the Saarebas immolating himself. A Tal-Vashoth in the Hanged Man in the 3rd act seemed almost as disillusioned with himself for being rid of the Qun.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Isabela deliberately subverts her usual Double Entendre with Varric, who enjoys playing along.
  • Insubstantial Ingredients: Lampshaded for the Nevarran food in Mark of the Assassin.

Tallis: How can ham taste like despair? Why would anyone eat it if it did?

  • Insurmountable Waist High Fence: Just as frequent, though more clearly defined, than in Origins. DA2 plays with players' familiarity with use of this trope by coloring secret areas outside the lines of the map.
  • Interface Spoiler: Weeks before BioWare announces any details whatsoever on the first major batch of DLC and the achievements for it are up, revealing it's about something called Vimmark Mountains, including cave systems and a prison tower.
  • Internal Affairs: The Seekers are this for the Templars, as one of them interrogates a dwarf in order to find the Champion of Kirkwall. Given the events that occur, this game serves as a study for what happens when IA does nothing or acts far too late.
  • Irony: Meredith in particularly doesn't appreciate the irony that Kirkwall, known Thedas-wide as a Templar stronghold and powerhouse of their influence, can decide to crown Mage Hawke to be their Champion.
  • Ironic Echo: A very subtle example in the phrase "there can be no peace." It's first said by Flemeth after Wesley's death in the prologue, and is repeated word for word by Anders, after he destroys the Chantry
  • Irrational Hatred: Grace's hatred for Hawke, which drives her to try and commit Revenge by Proxy, has little justification.
  • It's a Small World After All: The number of familiar faces from DA:O stretch any concept of the scope of Ferelden and Kirkwall.
  • It Got Worse: Dear god does it get worse. First, you're forced to flee from the Blight into a city that's not enthusiastic about the influx of refugees, then Kirkwall is invaded by angry Qunari, and finally, you find yourself caught in the middle of a Civil War between mages and Templars that threatens to engulf not just Kirkwall, but the entire continent of Thedas.
    • This occurs in droves with the Hawke family whose Patriarch/Matriarch (the player) at the start of the game can opt to cite that, "Whatever happens, we must stick together" by game's end you've lost 'at least' your brother/sister and your mother with the other sibling either having joined the Grey Wardens, died in the Deep Roads or joined/been caught by their class relevant faction. Either way, Hawke is more or less alone within his/her own family.


  • Kick the Dog: It's been known that the Tevinters were nasty folk to their slaves, but some of the legends of slave treatment depict downright gratuitous cruelty on the part of the slavemasters.
    • Varric also mentions how he always pictured Bartrand as a "Kick a puppy" kind of bad guy.
    • Sers Karras and Alrik, oh so much.
    • The player has the chance to do this from time to time, though not nearly so much as in the first game.
  • Kill'Em All: Can happen with the Dalish clan in Act III. If you fail to choose the "correct" dialogue option[2] after Keeper Marethari is killed, they will attack, and the party will be forced to wipe out the entire clan.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Lampshaded in Mark of the Assassin DLC.

Isabela: Don't forget to loot the bodies.
Hawke: Do I ever?

  • Knight Templar: Aside from the more extreme Templars (especially Ser Alric, who wanted to make all mages Tranquil), every single person in Sister/Mother Petrice's faction of the Chantry fits this to a T. If you kill an innocent person because they're becoming "corrupted", and then try to shift the blame onto someone else in order to spark a holy war - aside from being a Complete Monster, this makes you a strong example of a Knight Templar.
  • Lampshade Hanging: King Alistair hangs a lampshade on the fact that everyone calls your Warden from Origins "Hero of Ferelden", after Teagan says that the Hero is waiting for them at Denerim:

Alistair: Must you always be so formal? S/he has a name, you know.

    • He will also comment if Isabela is in your party. He will mention that she looks different.
      • Isabela's reply makes sense both as a comment on the years that have passed and nod to the graphical overhaul between games:

Isabela: Don't we all?

    • Bodahn mentions how odd it is that messages never arrive while you're at home.
    • Choosing a certain wry dialogue option with Merrill during the scene after her recruitment mission is completed brings up the following exchange

Hawke: I miss the cold. And the dirt. Kirkwall isn't brown enough for me.
Merrill: Ferelden wasn't THAT brown! The dirt and muck gave it character.

    • After his bodyguards are killed and he's looting the bodies, Javaris draws attention to You All Look Familiar ("Why do they look the same? Did I hire brothers?") and Randomly Drops ("Why can't I pick up his boots? They're right there!").
  • Large Ham: Xenon the Antiquarian

"Don't...MAN-handle the uuuurrrchin! He's not... for sale... FIND YOUR OWN!"

  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When Carver discovers that his namesake was a templar friend of his and Hawke's father, he asks if Hawke ever wonders where his/her name came from. Hawke replies, "I'm sure someone spent far too much time choosing my name."
    • Comments from a drunkard in the Hanged Man, such as the completely original "Do you ever feel like you're in a story someone else is telling?" And then there's:

Talkative Man: Do you ever feel like the world's getting...simpler? Like everything from eating to fighting is a lot less complex than it used to be?

    • When Isabela asks Varric why he has a nickname for everyone but none for himself he replies with:

Varric: Because it's my story.

  • Level-Locked Loot: Most equipment requires certain stats. Warrior equipment requires strength and constitution, Rogue equipment requires dexterity and cunning, and mage equipment requires magic and willpower.
  • Level Scaling: Affects enemies and most loot. The latter often results in randomly looted equipment outpacing its named but fixed-stat counterparts in terms of quality throughout the entire game. Towards the end, even a designated Infinity+1 Sword (e.g. Celebrant) will prove technically inferior to the "regular" swords you loot everywhere.
  • Level Up At Intimacy 5: This and the inverse; for every possible companion there are perks to having a stronger, though not necessarily positive, relationship. Some of them also upgrade the player character.
  • Lightning Bruiser: If you play as a dual-wielding rogue you are this, to an extent. While you might not have as much HP as a warrior, you can still take a good amount of damage, and if you have the Speed buff activated, well...
    • A warrior using the 2H tree and the right buffs can pull this off too. Nothing like instant kill reaving dashes and whirlwinds against pretty much any non-elite enemy.
  • Limited Special Collectors' Ultimate Edition: The Signature Edition, which was only available for pre-order before a certain date.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: How Varric begins the story—the prologue is somewhat similar to what actually happens, with marked differences. See Framing Device and A Taste of Power above.
  • Lost Forever: Most items and quests are exclusive to a specific act. Once you move on, there's no getting them back.
  • Low Fantasy: Not really by proxy of the First Game, but the human scale conflict makes it a lot closer to low fantasy, even if that conflict does involve Functional Magic.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Frequently. Very frequently, as critical hits that kill the target reduce them to flying chunks. Weapons with the "Messy Kills" enchantment also deal this. And class combos, especially AoE ones, result in so many, the party would need goggles to do battle. Varric's crossbow is the most egregious case, thanks to his naturally high critical hit chance, rapid firing speed, and high critical damage; pretty much anyone he points his crossbow at has a chance of exploding into a gory mess. Of course, he is the one telling the story.
    • Turns out that enemies exploding quite so often was unintentional, as in a recent patch the amount of explodium enemies appear to have consumed was somewhat reduced.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Gamlen discovering that he has a daughter, Charade, as part of a certain side quest in Act 3.
  • MacGuffin Girl: Hawke and his/her surviving sibling become this in Legacy, since they're the only ones who can free Corypheus.
  • Made of Explodium: Don't give Sandal any salamanders. That's where the "boom" comes from, Bohdan thinks.[3]
  • Made of Plasticine
  • Magic Knight: While the Hawke in the Destiny trailer exaggerates the martial prowess of mages in this game (magical prowess too, for that matter), mages later in the game can equip some form of armor, and also use their staves to physically attack. On the plus side, Mages now have blades on the other end of their staves, which definitely is a welcome change from Origins where unless you were an Arcane Warrior, you'd have a hectic time in close-quarters combat. On the warrior side, two of the three specs involve magic of some sort: Templar and Reaver, meaning pretty much all Warrior!Hawkes will have at least a little touch of magic to them (it helps that Templars are less situational here than in Origins, since mages are more frequent as enemies). Fenris is probably the purest example, since his particular lyrium powers allow him to unleash spirit pulses and magically buff himself.
  • Malevolent Architecture: In a very literal sense during the final battle. The final boss brings the Gallows statues to life to combat you.
  • Master of Unlocking: Again, the rogue class is generally used for unlocking chests, and can increase their skills in doing so.
  • Matriarchy: Behind the scenes, Qunari society is this - the Tamassran, and their leader, the Ariqun, are all women. They have a massive amount of influence; as priests, teachers, record keepers, and the people who raise all the children and choose everyone's place in life, they're pretty much the elite bosses of Qunari society.
    • This is played with, as according to the codex, neither the men nor the women of the Qun see it this way. "The brain can be said to rule the body, but so does the heart, the arms, and the stomach. It is a part of the whole." The Tamassrans have their purpose and fulfill that, as do everyone else.
    • Moreover, only the Ariqun is explicitly female. The Arishok, being a general, is always male. The Arigena apparently can be either. The Ariqun isn't necessarily their leader, but rather one third of a Triumvirate.
  • Meaningful Background Event: In Legacy, just before Hawke delivers the killing blow to Corypheus, his eyes briefly change colour and Janeka or Larius in the background is seen to briefly stumble, clutching at their head... a clear sign Corypheus is now possessing them.
  • Meaningful Echo: Carver can tell Hawke he's with them once in Act I and once in Act III, with radically different meanings each time.
  • Meaningful Name: During the showdown with Bartrand in the second act, the manservant who saw the events that led up to the current situation and informs the party is called Hugin, one of a pair of ravens that watched the events of the world and told Odin what was happening.
    • A letter for an Act III quest comes from a Reginald Thaddeus Spincter, concerning his daughter. Hmmmm...
  • Mercy Kill: This is a possible outcome for many quests dealing with people getting possessed by demons or corrupted. Most notable example (and the first to occur in the story) is Aveline or Hawke being forced to kill Wesley in the prologue, to spare him from suffering a drawn out, painful death from the darkspawn taint.
  • Meta Guy: The talkative man in the Hanged Man.
  • Metaphorgotten: Snarky!Hawke on the fade-imprint of their father left at the Grey Warden prison.

Snarky!Hawke: He'll live on in what he taught us... and in these bizarre magical contraptions.

  • Misplaced Sorrow: Merrill misses the Qunari after they commited a massacre in Kirkwall and left, just because they "were easy on the eyes".
  • Mordor:
    • The Blightlands.
    • The Deep Roads aren't far off, though of course, they're more Moria.
  • Money Spider: Arachnids carry enough coin to finance their own Deep Roads expeditions.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • During Act 2 you may have an Optional Sexual Encounter with your love interest. Depending on how you've handled this Act, this may very well occur right before All That Remains, especially if you're not following any particular guide and just quest until you've no choice but to return home, and since they both take place in your own home one will lead directly into the next. Particularly jarring if your LI is Isabela due to what she may say at the end of the encounter. Don't have the exact quote on hand but to paraphrase it; Love is messy.
    • Going from said "All That Remains" quest to an extra-silly "help Aveline get her romance going" quest is just as jarring.
    • Even within several individual quests things may suddenly shift, especially with a Sarcastic Hawke cracking decent jokes at very bad times.
    • This happens a lot with your companions, sometimes due to Friendship and Rivalry system (it can be especially obvious in party banter and talks with some companions like Fenris that they see you as a friend, or a rival, others will just use default phrases and sayings no matter what). However, a particularly off putting example is with Merrill, if you don't let her fix the mirror and are a rival, she will yell at you that she never wants to see you again. She has lost everything to fix the mirror, now she can't even do that, hates your guts and it really comes across the way she is basically holding back the tears as she shouts at you... you can then immediately have her back in your party and the naive and amusing banter continues...
    • The "On the Loose" sidequest that deals with three escaped mages in Act III is the epitome of this. Dealing with Emile de Launcet is a fairly lighthearted and hilarious little affair. Dealing with Huon insane Blood Mage who murders his wife to summon demons and Evelina insane abomination that you have to kill in front of her adopted children is horrifiying and heartwrenching. And you can deal with them in any order.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: This game takes it even further to the point that there is no Big Bad responsible for everything going wrong. Every major faction in the game is sympathetic to some degree and all of them are partially responsible for the Downer Ending. The games do have a few truly heroic and truly monstrous people, but they have surprisingly little impact on the setting as a whole.
  • More Than Mind Control: During an optional quest, demons will try this tactic on your party members to get them to turn on you. It works frightfully well, and the only one it doesn't work on is Anders due to his unique circumstances. Afterwards, the party members are apologetic, and you can decide to forgive them if you want.
    • Played straight with Anders if you bring him along in Legacy, where his Warden blood causes him to fall briefly under the sway of Corypheus, causing Hawke and his companions to have to subdue Justice in order for Anders to reassert control.
  • Mugging the Monster: Merrill (a Blood Mage) lives in a bad neighborhood but is too naive to realize it. Varric takes steps to avert this.

Varric: Daisy, for my sake, please quit cutting through the alleys in Lowtown at night.
Merrill: Nothing ever happens. I'm perfectly safe, Varric.
Varric: Yes, I know. And that nothing is costing me a fortune.

    • Also, despite being famous and armed to the teeth, bandits never decide against attacking you.
  • Mutually Exclusive Party Members: Siblings Bethany and Carver are mutually exclusive at the beginning of the game, and one will be shot down by Schrödinger's Gun. At the end, Anders and Sebastian become mutually exclusive.
  • My Dear Idiot: Prim-and-proper Aveline keeps calling the Pirate Girl Isabela "whore", at first with disdain (though Isabela doesn't mind the moniker) but as the two women come to know and accept each other, "whore" becomes Aveline's term of affection of sorts for Isabela, which she now actively enjoys from her.
    • Likewise, Isabela initially insults Aveline's statuesque features with the nickname "Big Girl". By Act 3 it has clearly evolved into a compliment.
  • My Eyes Are Up Here: Varric to Isabela in a random piece of party banter.
    • A variation occurs during the "Get Back to Work" quest with a female Hawke. One of the workers tells his friend, "Eyes on her face, you lush!"
  • My God, What Have I Done?: On Varric's personal quest, Bartrand says this if you bring Anders and he temporarily dispels his madness.
    • Also Anders during "Dissent" when he murders/almost murders an innocent mage due to Vengeance/Justice. Hawke can call him out on it.
    • Hawke him/herself can have one when s/he realizes that s/he enabled Anders to create and plant the bomb that destroys the Chantry.
  • Mysterious Employer: The "Friends of Red Jenny" are simply that. Whether they know who Red Jenny is themselves, or if there is one, is left just as mysterious.
  • Mythology Gag: The Armor of the Fallen set is a Call Back to the Warden's Calling trailer for Dragon Age Origins. You can tell for three reasons: First, it has an armor set bonus, which is vanishingly rare in Dragon Age 2. Second, it looks identical to the armor in the trailer. And third, when you put on the complete set, your eyes glow.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Discussed.

Varric: Who would deliberately go to a place called the Black Marshes?

  • Neck Snap: Fenris disposes of one of Danarius' minions this way.
  • Nerf: Mages got hit hard by this, at least in nightmare when the only role they can consistently fill without causing a Total Party Kill due to friendly fire and the close quarters most fights take place in is healing. Conversely, Two-Handed warriors are now very powerful when correctly built.
  • Nested Story: There are a few parts of the game where Varric tells a story to Hawke or another character. This means that Varric is telling the seeker the story of how he once told a story.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Many of the It Got Worse moments in the game can be directly or indirectly blamed on the player and his/her party. The most notable examples are recovering the lyrium idol and providing Anders with the opportunity to destroy the Chantry.
    • Though let us not forget that the entire Qunari attack that led to the deaths of conservatively hundreds, likely far more, and the power vacuum of Act III itself, was a direct result of Isabela feeling snatchy one day.
      • To be fair that disaster is as much the fault of qunari pride and unwillingness to deal fairly or openly with outsiders as it is Isabela's. Had the Arishok simply told the Viscount -- or Hawke, or anyone -- the truth of why he and his men were actually in Kirkwall, the local authorities could have helped run Isabela down in a few months and his mission would have been accomplished with no or trivial loss of life. As is, the Arishok did everything possible to convince people that he was a hostile alien menace, then reacted murderously when people started to treat him as such. This hardly makes people like Sister Patrice and her warmongering fanatics right, but they don't make the Arishok any less wrong.
      • For that matter, had the Arishok simply followed the Qun and allowed a specialized job to be done by the people who specialized in that job, the disaster would never have happened. Pursuing fugitives? Doing assassinations? Snatch-and-grabs? Those are Ben-Hassrath missions, not Arvaraad missions. The Arishok's pride damned himself and his army, when he refused to admit that he was not the best person to recover the book. If he'd simply called someone like The Iron Bull in the qunari would have had it back in a couple months, tops.
    • And in Legacy, Hawke's defeat of Corypheus is undone by Corypheus inhabiting one of the Grey Wardens after defeating him. Which means that Hawke's actions in Legacy led directly to the events of Dragon Age 3 and all of those mass casualty situations, given that Corypheus is the primary antagonist.
  • Non-Lethal KO: Teammates who run out of hit points will get back up after combat.
  • No Mere Windmill: The templars come across as Windmill Crusaders to an immigrant Hawke who has mage sympathies for one reason (Bethany) or another (himself/herself.) But mages repeatedly reveal mastery of forbidden magics to the point that Meredith begins to look almost reasonable for her anger at Orsino's denials. Conversely, and in keeping with the game's grayness, many of Anders' suspicions about the Templars are justified and they really do become excessively dictatorial. For example, the Tranquil Solution. In Act II, both Meredith and the Divine reject Alrik's proposal. By Act III, Meredith goes through with it, Tranquilizing Harrowed mages left and right, despite this being illegal in the laws of the Chantry.
  • Noodle Incident: What happened in Hawke's first year in Kirkwall working with either the Red Iron or the Smugglers. This includes a few Noodle Acquaintances, such as Lady Elegant, Tomwise and Worthy, all of whom apparently worked with and are on friendly terms with Hawke at the beginning of Act 1. While Varric omits out part of the tale that are neither relevant or interesting, this omission is due in part to the fact that Varric himself only meets Hawke at the beginning of Act 1, thus likely isn't privy to first-hand knowledge of this period of Hawke's life.
    • Isabela apparently once spent over a fortnight in Aveline's brig for causing a brawl that lead to 20 people fighting in the street.
    • The last time that Isabela went digging for a stash she was certain contained the Relic;

Hawke: Yes, that turned out to contain several badly written poems and an old boot.

    • There's a nameless, easily-missed NPC who hangs around either outside the clinic or at the Docks at night. There's nothing to differentiate him from the random civilians except an unusual amount of lines, all of which revolve around some mysterious illness that no-one, not even Anders, can seem to get rid of. No-one in Lowtown will let him near the market, and apparently people stare at him as though he's Blighted. What the heck has this guy got?
  • Notice This: Most containers and objects will have sparkles coming out of them. The ones that don't can still be highlighted by holding a key down. Which PC players will be doing for almost the entire game. Without a mod that turns it into a toggle, this game can be the cause of sore pinkies.
  • Not So Different: It is seemingly no coincidence that "Fenris' theme" and "Mage Pride" are nearly identical, symbolising both the anti-mage and pro-mage backdrop of this game.
    • Paragon/Snarky Hawke and the Qunari, which is frequently lampshaded.
      • In Act 1, the Saarebas "Ketojan" notes that by hunting Tal-Vashoth and acting in the role of a guardian to Mages, Hawke is bas-Avaraad, the Qunari equivalent to a Templar.
      • The Arishok notes in Act 2 that Hawke is what the Qunari would be without the guidance of the Qun to give them principles, ultimately deeming Hawke to be bas-alitan, an outsider worthy of respect.
      • Finally in Act 3, upon retrieving lost blades for the Qunari Taarbas, he declares Hawke to be Ben-Hassrath and hands Hawke a Qunari weapon. It should be noted that to the Qunari, this has the symbolic value of one's own soul, and as we later learn that the Ben-Hassrath act as the defenders of the Qunari faith, this heavily implies they deem Hawke to be a Qunari.
      • Mark of the Assassin also has Tallis state that the goal the Qunari aspire to is to make the world a better place, which is exactly what Hawke earlier said they wanted for Kirkwall.
  • Not So Stoic: The Qunari, despite appearing to rarely show emotion, can be seen as having a deadpan sense of humour, particularly in their interaction with a snarky Hawke.
    • The Arishok at the end of Act 2, who's veneer of being cool, calm, collected at all times finally crumbles and he unleashes the full might of the Qunari ire against Kirkwall. First verbally, then for real.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The hallmark of most of Snarky!Hawkes' dialogue, often seemingly used to lure enemies into a false sense of security.
  • Offhand Backhand: Zevran does this with a throwing knife into an assassin's eye, if you help him kill the Crows sent after him.
  • Oh Crap: Idunna, the blood mage working in the Blooming Rose, has this reaction if a mage companion breaks her control over Hawke.

Idunna: How did you ... Oh shit!

    • This is also the reaction of Orwald the Braggart if Hawke offers Aveline the opportunity to "have a word with him," causing him to realize that he just admitted to taking a bribe in front of the Captain of the Guard.
    • The reaction of the Templars when they realise that the red statue in front of Hawke is actually Meredith, frozen mid-scream with a look of complete horror on her face. And then again when they notice that now Hawke is glaring at them too. Cue all the Templars surrounding you beginning to back away... very slowly.
    • And the Grey Warden Janeka, when she finds out that controlling Corypheus is not as easy as she thought.
  • Oh My Gods: A new one: "Flames," referring to Andraste's burning at the stake.
    • "To the Void" enters the lexicon as well, referring to the void that all souls must walk if they are not called to the Maker's side.
    • Bartrand once gives us the one-off, "Andraste's Tits!". Given as he was raised in Orzammar, he may well venerate the Ancestors, (unlike Varric who is surface born and Andrastian), so this may well be a Dwarven slur to disparage Human religion.
      • Not that Varric himself is any better with his "Andraste's dimpled buttcheeks".
      • Carrying on the proud tradition from Origins, such as Shianni's "Andraste's ass, you'd think I'd learn some social graces."
    • In Mark of the Assassin, Isabela gives us the line, "Andraste's Granny-panties".
  • One-Hit Kill / One-Hit Polykill: Archers can instakill weaker opponents with a shot that overpenetrates, Punishing Lance. The skill is dramatically illustrated in Varric's cutscene.
  • One-Man Army: Every single party member. Varric offhandedly mentions at one point (less than halfway through the game) that Anders alone has killed 262 women, 583 men, assorted monsters and beasts, and at least two demons. And he's generally the healer of the group. Of course, Varric is an Unreliable Narrator, so who knows how it actually works.
    • Varric gets his own more traditional example in the exaggerated version of the storming of his brother's home.
  • Old Save Bonus: Saves from the last game can be carried over to influence events in this one. Otherwise the player chooses from three different builds: The Hero of Ferelden (Kills the Archdemon, survives and makes Alistair King), The Martyr (Dalish Warden who sacrifices herself and leaves the kingdom to Alistair and Anora) and No Compromises (Dwarven Warden-Commander who exiles Alistair, sacrifices Loghain to the Archdemon and makes Anora queen). Completing Dragon Age II with an save imported from Origins also grants the Epic achievement/trophy, which normally requires two playthroughs to be earned.
  • Open Secret: Maleficarum in the Gallows. The secret goes to the top.
    • Apostate mages are more common in Kirkwall than they ever were in Ferelden, and at least one (Anders) is using healing magic openly in the poorer quarters. This is deconstructed. They exist because Meredith is actually fairly reasonable early on and has bigger fish to fry; when she loses her mind, the Underground is almost completely wiped out.
    • By Act III everyone knows Mage Hawke is an apostate, and Meredith reminds you that her leniency only can go so far if you get too snarky with her. The only reason you haven't got imprisoned is your position in the nobility and it would hurt the Templars standing with the people of Kirkwall if they imprisoned "The Champion". That, and she likely doesn't want to tangle with Hawke and Co, as even if she won her losses would be tremendous.
  • Optional Sexual Encounter: This is a Bioware RPG, so there are several.
  • Orichalcum: A crafting resource.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: In addition to importing the dragon lore established in Origins, Mark of the Assassin adds wyverns, a closely related species that does not get along with their cousins at all. Wyverns don't get anywhere near as big, alpha males being the size of the average drake, and they cannot breathe fire or fly, though they can jump huge distances. They breed like rats, however, and can spit a rather nasty venom.
  • Overdrawn At the Blood Bank: This carries over from Origins.


  • Part-Time Hero: Sarcastic Hawke. Their rousing speech effectively equates to "Wake Up. Save The World. Go to the Pub!"
  • Pass the Popcorn: Anders will tell a Mage!Hawke that the mages in Kirkwall all look up to him/her for the hope of a better life, and that s/he should lead them. A Snarky!Hawke can reply that s/he doesn't want to lead, just to watch, with snacks.
    • When Aveline and Isabela heatedly argue in Hawke's manor before the Qunari crisis, Sarcastic Hawke rushes in asking if there are any good seats left.
  • Pet the Dog: The Black Emporium DLC adds a mabari hound, for the same purpose as Origins: to give everyone a literal dog-petting moment in their own idiom.
    • Several of your companions can do this literally in dialogue at Hawke's home. Apparently people come over just to visit Hawke's dog.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: Hawke cradling Leandra.
    • Also, Viscount Dumar cradling his son Saemus.
  • Pirate: The Raiders of the Waking Sea.
    • Isabela, of course, is a grounded pirate captain and her specialization tree is full of pirate and nautical references.
  • Polygon Hunt: Activation hotspots are often smaller than smooth gameplay would desire.
  • Please, I Will Do Anything!: Said word-for-word by the young mage encountered during Anders's Act II companion quest. She's pleading with Ser Alrik, a Templar, to not perform what is essentially a magical lobotomy on her. His response: "That's right. Once you're Tranquil, you'll do anything I want." Cue Vengeance-flavored ass-kicking.
  • Point and Click Map
  • Point of No Return: Three of them, each one before the climactic ending of an act.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • A lot of trouble could have been avoided if only the Arishok would have actually told the Viscount why he was staying in Kirkwall.
    • Charade's attempt to attact the attention of her father Gamlen.
    • The alliance of mages and Templars against Meredith could have avoided being wiped out if they had approached Orsino or a mage-aligned Hawke instead of trying to threaten them into compliance without revealing their goals or identities.
    • While understandable why you'd keep it quiet, Malcolm, you could have prepared Hawke for Legacy by warning them that you were once were coerced by The Grey Wardens into reinforcing the seals that locked away an Ancient Darkspawn and that now your family's blood is the key to unlocking that prison.
  • Practical Taunt: It'is part of the Warmonger talent tree and has an even better effect than in the first game, transferring all aggro towards other party members to the tank.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Flemeth invokes this trope to refute Aveline's claim that she steals children. As if she didn't have better things to do!
    • Hawke sarcastically jokes about this when Anders asks for a favour in exchange for the Deep Roads maps.
  • Preorder Bonus
  • Primal Stance: The new hurlocks and genlocks invoke this trope.
  • Properly Paranoid: As you play the game, you see that the Templars' harsh methods are somewhat justified since blood mages really are extremely dangerous, but said paranoia also contributes to the Vicious Cycle.
    • While he quickly goes off the deep end, Anders is partially justified in his paranoia about the Templars. They might not all be the brutal fascists he claims they are, but there are many instances where they can act wantonly and chillingly brutal.
  • Proud Warrior Race: The Qunari.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: Idunna, an "apostitute" at the Blooming Rose, tries to do this to Hawke but fails.
  • Putting on the Reich: Lacking the visual elements, but the Templars under Meredith (especially Ser Alrik) have significant thematic parallels with Nazi Germany.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The endgame. Regardless of who you side with, the Mages are wiped out, the Templars take massive losses, and the city of Kirkwall is left in shambles. Neither side can claim a moral victory, as the leaders of both sides succumb to insanity and evil. And the incident acts as the trigger for a world war between Mages and Templars, ultimately wiping out anything that could be described as a "gain". As far as the individual endings are concerned:
    • The Mage Ending has Hawke kill the insane Meredith, become a heroic icon to mages everywhere, and get out of Kirkwall alive. However, Hawke is now a fugitive and has lost everything that s/he worked so hard to build over the last ten years.
    • In comparison, the Templar Ending has Hawke become the Viscount(ess) of Kirkwall. However, s/he is now ruling over a city in ruins thanks to the final conflict, and Hawke becomes a symbol of hatred and oppression to mages worldwide. Hawke's gains are ultimately undone by the ensuing world war between the Mages and the Templars.
  • The Queen's Latin: The Free Marches are a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Germany before it was a unified state, but everyone has an American or English accent, with the exception of the Irish-accented Dalish (and Merrill's Welsh accent). Similarly, Isabela is from Rivain, which seems influenced by Spain or Portugal, and Fenris is from the Byzantium-based Tevinter Imperium; both sound English. Orlesians and Antivans are the exception, as they all sound French/Spanish (although Antiva is more Italian).
    • Possibly subverted with Starkhaven, as they appear to have a Scottish accent. Although application of this in game is patchy at best.
  • Race Lift: There are a couple of mods that make Isabela white (even giving her blue eyes and blonde hair). Heated arguments have gone over to the moral integrity of such mods, with some believing it is a harmless cosmetic change or that she was actually a white woman who has been tanned by the sun, and others feeling it is insensitive and immoral.
  • Random Encounter: Taken up several notches from Origins and much more heavily used. You frequently bump into improbably large hordes of thugs while wandering around the various sections of Kirkwall, especially at night.
    • Actually, clearing out the streets forms a side-quest in each Act, culminating with the option to finish them and their leaders off at their base. This is different from Random Encounters, but those do occur, outside of Kirkwall.
    • Interestingly, Fenris's personal quest progression hinges on you bringing him outside of Kirkwall and getting one of these.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Your companions, in accordance with tradition.
  • Redemption Demotion: Inverted with Merrill. Normally, she has only a small amount of HP, but if she opposes you in the Fade, she suddenly has more than many bosses.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The Viscount, the Grand Cleric, and Ser Thrask.
  • Relationship Values: Updates include a refined gift system that no longer allows anyone to receive any gift (like giving ten meat bones to Morrigan to make her like you successfully), and each gift is of special importance with an accompanying conversation, as gifts like Andraste's Grace were to Leliana. In addition, negative approval is no longer disadvantageous to the player; companions with negative approval form rivalries with Hawke, which grants different abilities than being friendships. The player will still be able to perform companion quests and get into romances with rivals, although the dialogue will be different.
  • Retcon: Leliana, Zevran and Anders are alive and well, even if you imported a save where they were dead. Anders at least has an excuse, in that Justice may be keeping him alive. Although this doesn't account for the possibility of you handing him over to the Circle without ever recruiting him properly, in which case he didn't do half the things he claims to have done, and never even met Justice.
    • According to a dev on the BioWare forums, Zevran was meant to stay dead. If this is not the case, then it's the result of a save import bug.
    • Justice was bound to the body of the deceased Warden Kristoff and served for many years in the Grey Warden ranks, post-Awakening, before presumably departing back into the Fade. By Act I of Dragon Age II, set a mere six-months after the events of Awakening, Justice is not only bound to Anders, but has been for quite a while.
    • Gaider has said that the folks at Bioware liked Anders and the plot he was involved in too much to leave him dead.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The game does a very good job of making you realize why people are scared of mages.
  • Right Man in the Wrong Place: The game explains exactly how Hawke managed to become one of the most (in)famous people in Thedas's history unintentionally.
  • Rivals Team Up: Rivalry can be as effective as friendship for getting someone to support Hawke instead of going with their principles.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: Hawke and friends during the "All That Remains" quest unsuccessfully.
  • Romance Sidequest: It's Bioware.
  • Rule of Cool / Rule of Fun: The new combat system is supposed to use these.
  • Rule 34: There had to be someone who stared at the statues of Andraste and thought, "Boy, I'd like to see her naked." The nude sculpture inspired is, due to Chantry censorship, Unrevealed at the Black Emporium.
    • Taken Up to Eleven because the Chantry could not bring themselves to destroy so perfect an image of Andraste, even if they found her nudity taboo, that they simply rendered the sculpture invisible. So now people "study" it by touch.
    • Isabela apparently invokes this about Aveline and Donnic with "friend-fiction". Aveline is not amused, though Varric finds it hilarious.
  • Running Gag:
    • Finding Anders' Manifesto copies all over your High Town estate.
    • Mark Of The Assassin has Tallis going into a private room with someone to attempt to seduce them for a key. Hawke waits outside, making small talk with the other guests, and Tallis comes out having failed for some reason or another.
    • In the same DLC, avoid Orlesian cheeses at all cost. They're made with despair.
    • Merrill expressing her a desire to own a baby Griffin called "Feathers" in party banter, only for someone to remind her that they are extinct.
    • Varric having leant Merrill a ball of twine to help find her way, due to her atrocious sense of direction.
  • Running on All Fours: The re-designed genlocks do this.
  • Sarcasm Failure: In Act Two, you'll meet a homicidal elf who has killed a bunch of people, but not by the method she meant to, her sadness over this prompts Smartass!Hawke to say:

Hawke: You were going to kill people anyway? That's... not funny at all, really.

    • Also notable when Leandra is taken by a serial killer. No matter how Hawke is played, throughout that quest, s/he will sound terrified.

Hawke: I get it, you're crazy! Where is my mother?

  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The Qunari. Conversations reveal just how alien their though processes are compared to most of Thedas, but also show how they can be so successful in gaining converts despite this. This made their stay in Kirkwall tense for all sides.
  • Scenery Gorn: The Korcari Wilds in the beginning. It's a barren wasteland, and the only landmarks are the road to Lothering, and the pillars of smoke rising from where Lothering used to be.
  • Schrödinger's Cat: If you're a rogue or a warrior, Carver dies at the beginning, if you're a mage, Bethany dies.
  • Secret Legacy: The main plot of the Legacy DLC. Hawke's father Malcolm helped the Grey Wardens to seal away a powerful darkspawn.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: With the exception of Nightmare, each difficulty setting is intentionally easier than it was in Origins
  • Sequel Hook:
    • There's a bunch of unfinished plot threads, a massive civil war on the horizon, and both Hawke (and his/her Love Interest) and the Hero of Ferelden have mysteriously vanished if they did not die. Add to that, Cassandra and Leliana are still looking.
    • Bohdan mentions that he and Sandal will be moving to Orlais.
    • Also, Alistair is concerned with tensions between Ferelden and Orlais, which could lead to war between the two countries.
    • The entirety of the Primeval Thaig is clearly setting up sequel hooks—or, at least, fodder for future lore.
      • The Nexus Golem in a Bonus Dungeon dangles references to a thaig beneath Orlais.
      • The Primeval Thaig could be connected to the strange ruins that the Dalish Elf in DA:O found at the beginning.
    • You run into a few Grey Wardens on their way to resolve some new threat they refuse to talk about.
      • As well as their extreme interest in the Primal Thaig, an investigation ordered by the First Warden.
    • Flemeth and Morrigan are still up to something.
      • Sandal said that "the old lady is scary". Which old lady? One that apparently watches him sleep, and has a scary laugh. Additionally, if Merrill lives in the Hawke mansion, she starts to think that Sandal is watching her.
    • With regards to the qunari, while there are Multiple Endings involved and we don't know which is the "real" one yet, odds are very good that not only do they STILL not have their relic, but now they've also lost a large contingent of soldiers and an Arishok (you know, one of the three people that rule qunari society). No one with half a brain could possibly expect them to take that lying down.
    • During Sebastian's companion quest "Faith", Sister Nightingale pretty much confirms that the entire Kirkwall crisis was orchestrated by the "Resolutionists", an international conspiracy of apostates hell-bent on toppling the Circle of Magi system.
    • The Band of Three's notes scattered across Kirkwall relate a disturbing story that is yet to be completed.
    • From the Legacy DLC. there's strong implications that Corypheus survived the final battle and is on the loose.
    • The next DLC, Mark of the Assassin, adds another one if you bring Aveline (an Orlesian) along. Her personal sidequest culminates in a battle with a Revenant, all for a small note linking her father's late doppelganger to the Orlesian "game". The characters are just as confused as the players, but it's yet another hint toward Orlais as the setting of DA3.
    • Should you spare Anders, Sebastian's declaration he will return to Starkhaven, gather an army and then raze Kirkwall to the ground.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: The Tale of Corsa the Bard.
  • Shout-Out: A talkative patron at the Hanged Man wants you to know that the truth is out there.
    • At one point, Varric goes into an Imagine Spot that directly references the finale of Scarface, complete with him quoting lines from the film in Pacino's fake Cuban accent.
    • Varric and Anders think of ways to enact revenge on Bartrand. Anders suggests one and Varric finds it poetic: Dunking him in gold and dumping him in the ocean.
    • Where did you get the maps for the Deep Roads? According to Anders, A Wizard Did It.
    • When you arrive at Kirkwall and the guard insists that there's no more room in the city, Hawke can say "There must be some room for the pretty people."
    • One quest has you framing a Templar for various illicit activities. The name of the Templar? Ser Conrad Vernhart.
    • Aveline gets on Varric's case about a novel series he's writing about a rogue guardsman He says in mock appeasement that he'll end the series with him retiring and buying a bar, saying that the cop is "too old for this shit".
    • At the Hanged Man bar everybody knows your name.
    • Taking Isabela into the Fade with you will result in her saying;

"I like big boats. I cannot lie."

    • If you purchase a drink at the Hanged Man, Hawke's drinking animation is identical to Commander Shepard's. Hawke also finishes conversations with the bartender with "Thanks. I should go.".
    • Also from Mass Effect, the upgrade of the revival spell is called Unity.
    • During a quest to hunt down a Serial Killer you encounter Gascard DuPuis in a very suspicious situation. When he says he can explain:

Varric: Twenty silver if he says, "It wasn't me, it was the one-armed man!"

Hawke: Looks like the duke, [beat] fell from grace.

  • Sexy Discretion Shot: The sex scenes are tamer here than in Origins. Though at least they don't have ludicrous, randomly appearing ugly underwear like the Origins sex scenes did.
  • Shut UP, Hannibal: Some conversations with the villain have options where you can cut straight to the fighting rather than talk.
  • Sidequest Sidestory: Frequently, completing a sidequest in one act will make you deal with its consequences in the next or even until the end of the game, such as the Bone Pit quests. Word of God is, this was the whole reasoning behind the three-acts-and-time-skips plot structure.
  • The Siege: The mage endgame, where you defend the mages against the attacking templars. Contrast the templar endgame, where you're taking part in the seige.
  • Sigil Spam: Three symbols—the emblem of Kirkwall, Hawke's family seal, and a third that resembles a stylized dragon in red—are everywhere, even the loading screens.
  • Situational Sexuality: None of the love interests besides Isabela make any mention of being attracted to the same sex when playing an opposite sex Hawke, but are clearly bisexual when playing a same sex Hawke. Word of God on this subject exists to support multiple interpretations of this.
  • Skill Point Reset: The Maker's Breath.
  • Skyward Scream: Silly!Hawke will do this, in reaction to a fake bee sting, to distract a guard in Mark of the Assassin:

"If I die... make sure the world knows... I died at Chateau Haine!"

  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Cynical. Much more than the original.
  • Smoke Out: The rogue's standard trick is running behind the target under a puff of smoke to initiate an instant backstab.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Some very subtle ones: Meredith gets a new sword at the beginning of Act III, right around the time she starts going off the deep end. See the spikes on its handle?
    • Hawke inverts it at the same time after becoming the Champion of Kirkwall and gets the opportunity to start collecting the Mantle of the Champion seen in the prologue. The Mantle is spiky everywhere, and it is a symbol of Hawke's newfound Folk Hero status.
    • Don't forget Fenris's armor. Some of the other characters make references to the implications of having spikes on his armor during dialogue, for example, if Hawke is romancing Fenris:

Varric: You do know the elf is covered in spikes, like an angsty porcupine? He might have some... issues.

  • Stab The Dog: The player can choose to Mercy Kill or outright murder people in order to complete a quest. In the beginning of the game, the player can choose to stab Wesley for Aveline, while in the end, the player may choose to kill Anders in retribution for the destruction of the Chantry.
  • Stalker Shrine: In the lair of the Serial Killer.
  • Stealth Insult: Snarky!Hawke attempted this whilst talking to Janeka, but it quickly forgot the stealth part.

Snarky!Hawke: Nothing personal but you're kind of crazy... and a bitch. Oh wait, I guess that was personal, wasn't it?

  • Stealth Pun: In the second act, next to your storage chest in your house is a.... Fat Lute. This is a reference to the Feast Day Pranks DLC for Dragon Age Origins. One of the uber gifts you can give bard Leliana is a 'Fat Lute'.
  • Step Three: Profit:

Isabela: Step one, we go to Velasco. Step two...something exciting happens. Step three, profit.

  • Sticks to the Back: All the weapons, shields, and staves.
    • Aveline's pose on the character selection screen has her weapon on her right hip, but she carries it like everyone else during gameplay.
  • Stock Puzzle: Some very easy sliding puzzles involving floating barrels show up when Hawke enters the Fade. They're basically just a reason to give free attribute points.
    • Legacy has pretty lazy beam puzzle that Hawke must solve to free his/her party from a chamber and get a legendary Grey Warden helmet.
  • Stone Wall: Several flavors provided by specialized skillsets. Aveline's Made of Iron Guardian tree combined with Defender tree can make her unphasable, and Isabela's Flynning makes her virtually untouchable. A trained Spirit Healer/Force Mage PC can diminish all attacks to rapidly regenerated Cherry Tapping.
  • Stop Poking Me: Hawke responds to clicks with annoyance or surliness, depending on personality.
  • Storming the Castle: The templar endgame, where you help the templars attack the mages' final bastion. Contrast the mage endgame, where you're helping the mages defend themselves.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Regardless of how you customize Hawke, all of Hawke's family members will bear a resemblance to him/her. Which will be a nice change from the human noble, dwarven noble, dwarven commoner, and (to a degree) city elf origins from...Origins.
  • Stupid Sacrifice: In the mage ending, Orsino's desperate transformation into a monster only hurts the people who were trying to help him. He kills, at most, five Templars before Hawke and company (who supported him) need to put him down.
    • Apparently, the writers didn't want this to happen, but other departments wanted another boss battle.
  • Suddenly Harmful Harmless Object: The statues in the Gallows during the final fight with Meredith.
  • Sword and Sorcery: Obviously, considering the setting. Even more apt considering it can be seen as a metaphor for the conflict between the Templars (Swords) and the Mages (Sorcery).
    • A more subtle example, is that the heraldry on the Amell family's coat of arms, which Hawke takes as their sigil, is a crossed sword and staff.
  • Sword Drag: Male Hawke drags his Blade on a Stick on the ground before attacking the Arishok in the "Destiny" trailer.
  • Suddenly Blonde: Because of difficulty programming helmets to work with horns, the qunari were hornless in the original game. Now that they've worked around that little problem, the horns have been added in like they were never absent. Word of God explains qunari born without horns (like Sten) are said to be blessed and destined for greatness. Qunari who abandon the Qun tend to cut them off, like the mercenary qunari and the merchant from Awakening. Although strangely, the Tal Vashoth in this game all still have their horns.
    • One could say the Tal-Vashoth are still technically following the Qun, but have taken up roles as murderers and thieves. This is why Maraas becoming a mercenary is such a big deal: kill and steal all you want, but there is no place for mercenaries in Qunari beliefs.
  • Take a Third Option: Presented just so it can be explicitly denied.
  • Taken for Granite:
    • The final fate of Meredith..
    • And what apparently happened to the dwarves in the Primeval Thaig who became Profane. But they're still mobile. And hungry.
      • Three petrified pirates make an appearance during the Mark of the Assassin DLC and require Isabela to free them from their cursed state.
  • Take Your Time: Played both straight and averted. Secondary, Side and Companion quests generally disappear when you go to from act to act. However, within a single year? The looming threat of a poisoned district, dangerous blood mages on the loose, or an insane serial killer kidnapping your mother? Its fine, feel free to wander the Dalish camp or take that random item back to that random NPC. The safety of hundreds can wait.
    • Very much averted with the Act II Fenris quest 'A Bitter Pill'. Fenris will get mad (i.e. rivalry) if you try to do anything else other than continue with the quest, and if you persist in ignoring his pleas, he'll leave forever.
  • Talking Your Way Out: Varric can help out Hawke in conversations, which could end in violence. Not that violence isn't fun, but hearing Varric's lies is, too.
    • Subverted once:

Hawke: I'll let Varric negotiate the price [for a golem control rod].
Varric reaches over his shoulder for Bianca.
Iwan: Okay, okay, it's yours!

  • Tall Tale: At the beginning of the game, The Narrator, Varric, tries to start his story as a tall tale (resulting in a Tutorial Level wherein you control unkillable Game Breaker characters), but is soon interrupted by his listener, who wants to hear the real story. He still occasionally lapses into tall tales later (and is always interrupted again).
  • Tainted Veins: A symptom of darkspawn corruption.
  • Team Pet: People who buy the game new can obtain an item that allows them to summon a Mabari hound in battle. Unlike in Origins, this hound isn't a full companion; however, Word of God says players can still experience all the joys of being a dog owner.
    • To the point where you will arrive home to see your companions there to see Dog rather than you!
  • The Three Faces of Eve: Merrill/Bethany (innocent), Aveline (mother), Isabela (seductress) respectively.
  • Thematic Theme Tune: "I'm Not Calling You A Liar" is aptly given the subtitle (Varric's theme) on the soundtrack.
  • Thieves' Guild: The Coterie.
    • Also the Carta.
  • Third Time's the Charm: Tragically done, after two failed attempts to track a serial killer in Hightown.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch: When Lucky is attempting to extort coin out of Isabela.

Me and my boys will get our money's worth, bitch!

  • Three Act Structure
  • Time Skip: Hawke's rise to power takes a full decade. Three of these are present just so the player doesn't go crazy, and they're arranged in such a way that the game takes on a Three Act Structure, not counting the introductory levels. These are explained as the parts of the story that Varric doesn't find relevant/interesting.
  • Title Drop: Anders comments about the reappearance of dragons when taken to the Bone Pit.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Warriors and rogues are a LOT more powerful this time around, and a lot more impressive to watch in combat, and their skills have a much more visible effect on the battle field.
    • Genlocks in the Legacy DLC in comparison to their Origins counterparts. In the first game they were funny little things that could have been dwarves in a costume, in Legacy they're nightmarish gorilla-esque monsters.
    • Remember Feynriel, the half-Elven apostate you rescue from kidnappers in Act 1 and help free from demons in the Fade in Act 2? By Act 3, we learn that his ability as a "Somniari", a rare mage who can enter the Fade without lyrium and can bend the Fade to their will, allowed him to rescue a young girl in Kirkwall from bandits, killing each and every one of them... while asleep, whilst in Tevinter, which happens to be on the other side of the (known) world.
  • Too Much Information: This will be Hawke or Varric's reaction when Anders and Isabela start talking about an encounter they once had at the Pearl and she mentions that thing Anders did with electricity.
    • Or a book Isabela provides to Hawke about "One hundred and one uses for a phallic tuber"
  • Transsexualism: There's one in "The Blooming Rose". That very same one also appears in Mark of the Assassin as Seneshal Bran's date.
  • True Companions: Par for the course in a Bioware game. Instead of a random group of adventurers thrown together by fate to stop some Big Bad, they're friends and/or rivals who bond over the course of six years. There are exceptions, of course.


  • Ubermensch: Hawke and Anders
  • Uncanny Valley Makeup: Tarohne, the head maleficar from the quest Enemies Among Us, is made up rather garishly. It helps drive home the point that she's barking mad.
  • Underground Railroad: The Mage Underground.
  • Un Entendre: Varric and Isabela do this at one point in party banter when talking about knives.
  • Unreliable Narrator: And how! The entire game is told in retrospect by Varric, who often changes details for "emphasis" or "theatric effect" and leaves out all the "boring parts." More than once you'll go through a sequence of being an incredible Badass or doing something astounding just for the Seeker to cut in and yell at Varric for making stuff up. This could also be the reason why half of all enemy mooks die in a bloody explosion for no apparent reason, and may also be at least partially to blame for why even a gang of thugs who only had four or five guys in conversation can suddenly call in three dozen heavily armed warriors for the party to fight through. Varric openly admits to enjoying embellishment.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Isabela appears to display this towards Hawke, if they rutted and Hawke later romanced someone else.
  • Urban Segregation: Kirkwall. Hightown is where the nobility live and is the safest part of Kirkwall. Lowtown is the remnants of Kirkwall's slave quarters, now used as the dwellings of the city's lower class. The really dangerous criminals live in "Darktown," the city's Absurdly Spacious Sewage System.
    • Darktown also used to be a mine.
  • Vendor Trash: Called "Junk."
    • It even comes complete with a little trash can icon.
  • Vicious Cycle: Varric points out in the narration how the mutual distrust and hatred of the mages and templars (and Meredith and Orsino in particular) builds over the years.
    • Snarky!Hawke can call Sebastian's campaign for revenge one of these as a joke, and Elthina will agree.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Happens to pretty much everyone in the game. The mages break out the blood magic when they're cornered (except for like six random circle mages who don't even have names) and the templars start getting way too eager to kill them first. On a more direct note, the entire game is basically Meredith's breakdown.
    • "On the Loose" features a Villainous Breakdown occurring in the middle of the fight. As the Evelina abomination takes more damage, it loses control and briefly transforms into demons of Rage and Desire.
  • Visual Pun: During Varric's narration about Loghain's betrayal at the Battle of Ostagar, he is shown holding a dagger behind his back.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Most of the qunari don't wear any actual body armor.
    • Lampshaded later by Merrill, who in Act III calls them "easy on the eye".
  • War for Fun and Profit: Twice, with different outcomes each time. First, Sister Petrice tries to instigate war between Kirkwall and the qunari. Her efforts get her killed, but contribute to the qunari attempt at conquering the city in Act II. Later, Anders tries to instigate war between mages and templars, and he succeeds all too well.
  • We Are Everywhere: Mark of the Assassin reveals that there are Qunari located throughout Thedas.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: So many. It goes with the whole grayness of the game.
    • Anders deserves special mention with the way he sets off a bomb that destroys the Chantry, killing countless innocents and starting a war in which even more will die, specifically to avoid a compromise.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: If you take clearly immoral actions, or do something that your party mates disapprove of, they can do this to you. Your party mates will also occasionally call out each other. Most notably, Anders will always give Merrill hell over being a blood mage.
    • The player can demand this of Anders at the start of the endgame.
  • Weapon of X-Slaying: Bonuses against Darkspawn, undead, or demons are a common property of weapons. There are also weapons of Qunari slaying and human slaying, each issued at an appropriate moment in the plot.
  • Weapon Stomp: In one of the first scenes from the game, a wounded hurlock reaches for his sword but is stopped by Hawke stomping on its wrist. It screams in rage before being cut down.
    • Or, if you're playing a mage, gets blown up.
  • Wham! Episode: If your jaw didn't drop when Anders blew up the Chantry, you must have read a spoiler.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Unless she left Kirkwall, where exactly is Revka Amell, Leandra's cousin and the Mage Warden's mother?
  • Where It All Began: The final battle takes place in the Gallows, the first section of Kirkwall the player visits.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: This is exactly why people are so afraid of mages. Meredith is a non-mage example, especially after she starts using a sword forged from the cursed lyrium idol you find in the Primeval Thaig.
    • The iron is that blood mages, whom everyone is most afraid of, also happen to be using the one form of magic that isn't inherently at risk of turning them into demon bait.
  • World of Buxom: Virtually every female character in this game has large breasts. Even Merril, the companion with the smallest build, would have a D-cup in real life. Aveline is one of the few exceptions, and is frequently derided for being "masculine", particularly by Isabela.
  • Wretched Hive: Kirkwall, especially Darktown.
    • Aveline describes the Hanged Man as this, though not without fondness.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: The quest "All That Remains." Leading up to the battle with Quentin, you have a vague hope that, perhaps, your mother can be saved. Alas, it is not to be, as Leandra had been killed long before Hawke arrived.
    • Fenris gets several of these. During the romance scene with Hawke, Fenris remembers all of his lost memories only to lose them just as suddenly. It's such a shock he leaves Hawke for three years. When there is finally a chance to reclaim pieces of his past, it turns out it was just a trap to enslave him again.
    • There's also a fun little conversation you have with Flemeth:

Flemeth: We stand upon the precipice of change. The world fears the inevitable plummet into the abyss. Wait for that moment... and when it comes, do not hesitate to leap. It is only when you fall when you can learn if you can fly.
Hawke: What should I do?
Flemeth: Do as I do. Become a dragon! *laughs* [[[Beat]]]. You could never be a dragon.

    • Aveline discusses the dashed hopes at Ostagar after her last companion quest.
  • You Are Not Alone: In "Wayward Son" during Act 1, Mage Hawke tells this to Feynriel, a young half-elven apostate.

Feynriel: Why do you care? You don't even know me?!

  • Hawke creates a blinding ball of light in one hand*

Hawke: *gently* I am you.

  • You Can't Go Home Again: Lothering was destroyed by the darkspawn—not that you ever see your home. Your mother and Bethany lament this early in the game.
    • Aveline can make reference to this in the first conversation following your first year in Kirkwall.

Aveline: You can't go home again; that's supposed to be a sign of maturity. It's not the same if you don't have the option.

Sebastian: That young lady, Hawke, she decimated Flint Company. No survivors.[4]

  • Your Cheating Heart: Vincento. According to Arianni, he didn't desire a wife and abandoned her the moment she found he was pregnant with Feynriel, however when a Male Hawke talks to him, he claims he has a wife back in Antiva. It should be noted if you're playing as a Female Hawke, he instead claims he is single.
    • We never actually do find out if he was married at the time he fathered Feyrniel with Arianni, either.
  1. Others worth mentioning?
  2. It's the bottom choice, if you're wondering.
  3. Salamanders are the elemental creature for fire.
  4. Decimate means to reduce by one tenth. If Hawke had decimated Flint Company, than there would be plenty of survivors.