Dragon Age: Origins walkthrough

Dragon Age: Origins is massive. Of course, you knew that already. Doing a guide that covers every sidequest, item location, and available dialogue option for every class, race, and gender combination would be tantamount to creating an encyclopedia. But what if you’re just stuck at a particular point in the main story and you don’t want to sift through the mountains of text covering every little side detail? Read our guide. We’ll see you through the rough bits. And if you're just looking for love, head over to our DAO romance and recruitment guide.

Table of Contents

Becoming a Grey Warden
The Circle of Magi
The Arl of Redcliffe
Nature of the Beast
A Paragon of Her Kind
The Landsmeet
The Landsmeet, revisited
The Final Battle 

Becoming a Grey Warden

Depending on the race and class you choose when you build your character, you’ll experience a unique Origin Story. They’re pretty straightforward – just follow any quest markers the game gives you and get comfortable with the basic battle mechanics. Our guide will begin once your Origin Story is complete, i.e., you’ve started your quest to become a Grey Warden.

NEW AREA: Ostagar
You’ll arrive in Ostagar and immediately be given the option to engage in a number of sidequests. Our guide will keep you on the main story path as much as possible, unless the reward for completing a sidequest is particularly useful. For now, talk to Alistair.

RECRUIT: Alistair
He’ll be marked with a quest icon, and you’ll have to talk to him to continue. He’ll join you automatically, but be nice to him – “I look forward to traveling with you” is a good, positive response.

RECRUIT: Jory, Daveth
Also automatic when you talk to Duncan.

There’s a dog that’s sick in the Kennels. First, put on his muzzle, and you’ll get a sidequest to find a healing flower. It’s in the Korcari Wilds. Heal the Dog, and he’ll be yours to keep after the Tower of Ishal mission. He’ll appreciate any bones you find.

Make your way through the Korcari Wilds and meet Morrigan. You’ll join the Grey Wardens officially through the Joining, and go through a couple cutscenes before beginning the Tower of Ishal mission.

NEW AREA: Tower of Ishal
RECRUIT: Tower Guard/Soldier

You’ll have your first real taste of battle here in the Tower of Ishal. There’s not much good loot, but keep in mind that you can’t return here once the battle is over.

BOSS: Ogre
On the top floor of the tower, you’ll face your first real boss encounter with an Ogre. When he crouches down, he’s preparing a charge move, so get out of the way. His shockwave will knock you down, so if you’re playing a Mage, it may be in your best interest to stay back and let your comrades soak up more of the damage. Otherwise, let loose on him and heal as needed.

Above: Order your party to spread out when the Ogre gets ready to charge

RECRUIT: Morrigan
Automatically recruited, but try not to get involved in the conflict between Alistair and Morrigan. They never get a long, and you’ll lose points with whomever you side against.

NEW AREA: Lothering
RECRUIT: Sten / Leliana
Sten, a Qunari criminal, waits in a cage near the edge of town. Tell Sten you’re a Grey Warden and he’ll recommend talking to the Reverend Mother to get the key to his cage. You’re not going to convince the Reverend Mother to give you Sten’s key without threatening her, though. Threatening a priest will severely hurt your approval rating with Alistair, but will raise your approval with Morrigan.

Better to first go into Dane’s Refuge and fight the guards. You’ll be able to pick up Leliana automatically when you talk to her. Talk to the Reverend Mother with Leliana in your party, and you’ll automatically get the key to pick up Sten.

Above: How to recruit Leliana

Above: How to recruit Sten

NOTE: The sidequests in both Lothering and Ostagar are one-time only. Whether you complete them or not is up to you. But you won’t be able to go back and complete them later if you skip them.

Head north in Lothering, and move on. After meeting some friendly dwarves, you’ll wind up at night in camp. Talking to Alistair at camp can make him drop hints about an amulet you’ll find in the Arl Study in Redcliffe a little later. While traveling to Redcliffe, Alistair will reveal a secret about his royal heritage. Being understanding is a good move. He’ll also appreciate it if you avoid telling him that you think of him differently. You can also buy a Golden rope Necklace from the Dwarf here – Morrigan will love it.

Congratulations! You’ve become a Grey Warden, assembled a party, and set out on your quest to save Ferelden. Now the real game begins.


  • Chaoscoolperson - June 1, 2011 12:03 a.m.

    Two things about Orzammar. 1 you have to choose a side for the entire quest. it is impossible to choose both people as king and trying to convince both sides that you are working for them will just make you do more work. 2nd DO NOT BRING BOTH OGRHEN AND SHALE TO FIND BRANKA. Shal will fight you if you side with Branka and while Ogrhen won't fight you if you side with Caridin it's still not nice to kill his wife, the paragon. Preferably bring niether and side with Caridin because Frankly Branka is crazy
  • Chaoscoolperson - May 31, 2011 11:46 p.m.

    I recomend fighting the High dragon while looking for Andraste's ashes. It is good practice for when you have to fight the Archdemon who is also a dragon, and the dragon scales can create a dragon scale armor that is the most powerful no-DLC armor in the game. Make sure to give wade two sets of drake scales first though. The first armor set he'll think is crap the second will be perfect and the dragon scales you won't have to wait on. I also recommend turning it into Dragon Bone Plate armor, as once again, Wade's Superior Dragon Bone Plate Armor is the strongest non-DLC armor in game. (I never compared it to king Cailin's armor or the Warden Commander Armor.)
  • Chaoscoolperson - May 31, 2011 11:36 p.m.

    one problem wit this guide is that you don't have to kill connor. I haven't in any of my playthroughs. I get in character act like I don't know what I'm supposed to do Alistair suggests Redcliife, I go to Redcliffe first. when I get there I leave Jowan in the cell then I go and meet connor. They say that they have to perform a blood magic ritual on him I say that I can go get the mages help. I get the mages help and send Jowan in to fight. Connor doesn't die and I have to go get Andraste's ashes. the end
  • alcapone2099 - March 18, 2011 10 p.m.

    Great walk through but this part is partly wrong "No matter what, Mother Hanna’s not going to give holy protection to Perth and his soldiers, so this task isn’t really worth your time. Might as well wait for sundown." no she wont give magical protection but she does give symbolic protection if you have enough persuasion then u can end another quest fully done
  • spanky9006 - December 21, 2010 10:36 p.m.

    Gamejunkie9214 Dont use Sten if you have shayle the golem use him cuz of his enourmous quake power wich hits all mobs alistair sword and shield is good and morighan with arcane + healing + weaken skills and bloodaxe same party for you these are most combined group for the payable options for free go to
  • Gamejunkie9214 - April 11, 2010 3:26 p.m.

    Im still having trouble with the archdemon. im a lvl 20 warrior(Duel-Wield), and have Alistar(Sword and Duncan's Shield), Sten(Two-Handed Maul), and Morrigan any suggestions on any tactics?
  • bloodaxe - January 13, 2010 1:46 a.m.

    ok wats the best party to beat Branka/Caridin? im stuck on that
  • robantor - January 10, 2010 11:34 p.m.

    haha, i see this the day after i beat it.
  • Samael - January 10, 2010 12:17 a.m.

    HOLY CRAP GSTAR COOGI EVISU TRUE JEANS FOR ONLY $35-39? Yeah, reported.... Good guide, but it's a bit late isn't it? Why are you guys suddenly doing DAO stuff?
  • xecutioner - January 9, 2010 4:10 p.m.

    Man, the last month and a half were consumed playing this game non stop.

Showing 1-11 of 11 comments

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