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"And so is the Golden City blackened with each step you take in my Hall. Marvel at perfection, for it is fleeting. You have brought Sin to Heaven and doom upon all the world." -Threnodies 8:13

The Dragon Age franchise is set in Thedas, a world inspired by European folklore and the romances of medieval Europe, with events from the main series games taking place primarily in southern Thedas. The name ”Thedas” originated as shorthand for “The Dragon Age Setting”. Canadian writer David Gaider developed most of the background lore for the setting and served as the series’ lead writer until 2015. Real world analogues are used as the basis of some in-universe elements. For example, the nations of Ferelden and Orlais are based on medieval England and Renaissance-era France respectively. The Qunari’s role within the setting is comparable to that of the historical Viking expansion.

Thedas is the only continent of the known world and consists of various clans, nations and states inhabited by multiple humanoid peoples. Several kingdoms and countries have emerged over nine centuries of a calendar era based on the traditionally reckoned year of the founding of The Chantry, the dominant religious organization. Each century is referred to as a separate "Age". Three out of several human nations play a prominent role in the series: the kingdom of Ferelden to the southeast of Thedas, which is politically organized in a similar manner to the English peerage system; the Orlesian Empire to the west of Ferelden, where its nobility is notorious for undermining each other with intrigue and subterfuge in their jostling for favor and patronage with its ruler; and the Tevinter Imperium in the northern region of Thedas, which once subjugated southern Thedas during ancient times, and is governed by a powerful oligarchy of magic-wielding magisters led by an Imperial Archon. Other noteworthy civilizations explored in the main series games include the Free Marches, a human-dominated confederation of politically independent territorial entities to the north of Ferelden, and the Kingdom of Orzammar, one of the few remaining dwarven city states scattered throughout the Deep Roads, an underground highway system beneath the surface of Thedas created by the dwarves millenia ago.

Thedas is a world where race, class and heritage combine to determine social class and political dynamics. A recurring theme in the series consists of power struggles and internal conflicts play out between and within various factions. Tevinter society practices slavery, which is outlawed in other human societies. Human nobility are treated with deference and respect across Thedas, whereas elves are often viewed as second-class citizens who live within overpopulated ghettos in human cities called alienages, or kept as slaves in the Tevinter Imperium. A significant portion of the elven population of Thedas call themselves the Dalish after the Dales region in eastern Orlais where an elven polity once stood. They proudly live a nomadic lifestyle away from the urban settlements of their city elf counterparts in an attempt to preserve and reclaim their cultural heritage, which was mostly wiped out millennia ago when the ancient elven empire that spanned most of Thedas mysteriously collapsed. Dwarven society is organized around a rigid caste system and a form of ancestor worship. While the dwarves cannot wield magic themselves, their economic activity primarily revolves around the mining of lyrium which they trade with the surface world. Some dwarves live on the surface, voluntarily or otherwise: they are considered "casteless" and are usually unwelcome within dwarven societies in the Deep Roads. A fourth sapient humanoid species unique to the setting is the Qunari, meaning "People of the Qun" in their language. The Qunari is an umbrella term used to describe both the race of large humanoids who hail from settlements in the far north of mainland Thedas, in particular the island states of Par Vollen and Seheron, as well as converts from other races to their civil religion known as "The Qun", which guides the Qunari's egalitarian yet strictly regimented society.

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Microbadge: Microbadge: Dragon Age: Origins fanMicrobadge: Dragon Age: Origins fanMicrobadge: Dragon Age: Origins fanMicrobadge: Dragon Age II fanMicrobadge: Lead Them or Fall

Trivia:

  • Bioware wanted Thedas to have 2 moons, but has never referenced them in the codex, the dialogue or even the visuals for the first 3 games.
  • December 4th is Dragon Age Day - an annual fan celebration launched in the Fall of 2018.
Main series Updated/Expanded Remaster Film Adaptation
1. Dragon Age: Origins (2009)
2. Dragon Age II (2011)
3. Dragon Age: Inquisition (2014)
4. Dragon Age 4 (2025)
Spin-off Games Updated/Expanded Remaster Film Adaptation
1. Dragon Age Legends: Remix 01 (2011)
2. Heroes of Dragon Age (2013)
3. Dragon Age: The Last Court (2014)

Media

Film Publisher Description
Franchise: Dragon Age
Dragon Age: Redemption (2011) A six-part web-series created by and staring Felicia Day, creator of the web-series The Guild, with help from many prior Hollywood acquaintances. It is a tie-in to the Dragon Age II DLC Mark Of The Assassin and follows Tallis, an Elven assassin.
Franchise: Dragon Age
Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker (2012) Funimation Entertainment / T.O Entertainment The plot of this film provides backstory for a young Cassandra Pentaghast, who is on a quest to save the Chantry from a group of blood mages that has gained the ability to control dragons.
Dragon Age: Absolution (2022) Netflix Six-episode anime set in Tevinter.
Book Author Description
Franchise: Dragon Age
Dragon Age: The World of Thedas Volume I / II (2013) Comprehensive guide offers detailed insight into the lore of the Dragon Age universe, including the geography of Thedas, races, and magic.
Franchise: Dragon Age
Dragon Age: Tevinter Nights (2020) An anthology of short stories set in Thedas.
Novel Author Description
Franchise: Dragon Age
Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne (2009) David Gaider Set thirty years before the events of Origins, this novel tells the backstory of characters important to the game, such as Loghain Mac Tir, as well as how the kingdom of Ferelden
Franchise: Dragon Age
Dragon Age: The Calling (2009) David Gaider
Franchise: Dragon Age
Dragon Age: Asunder (2011) David Gaider
Franchise: Dragon Age
Dragon Age: The Masked Empire (2014) Patrick Weekes The Masked Empire describes the events that culminate in the Orlesian civil war waged between the ruling Empress Celene I of House Valmont and her cousin, Grand Duke Gaspard de Chalons and serves as a tie-in novelization for Dragon Age: Inquisition.
Franchise: Dragon Age
Dragon Age: Last Flight (2014) Liane Merciel The novel is centered on two characters: a young elven mage named Valya who is recently recruited into the Grey Wardens and rediscovers the last of the griffons, once serving as steeds for the Wardens and was thought to be extinct after their kind died off at the end of the Fourth Blight; and her predecessor who lived during the Fourth Flight, an elven mage named Isseya who practiced blood mage and was the sister of the hero Garahel who slew the Archdemon Andoral to end the Fourth Blight.
Franchise: Dragon Age
Dragon Age: Hard in Hightown (2018) Mary Kirby (pen name of Varric Tethras)
Comic Author Description
Franchise: Dragon Age
Dragon Age: Origins (2009) Penny Arcade It tells a story about a group of Templars sent on a search & destroy mission against Flemeth, the Witch of the Wilds. The timeline is set before the game Dragon Age: Origins.
Franchise: Dragon Age
Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening (2010) Penny Arcade This short story tells how Nathaniel Howe broke into Vigils Keep prior to his arrest in Awakening right before meeting The Warden.
Dragon Age: The Revelation (2010) David Gaider The story is based on a script from the video game Dragon Age: Origins that did not make the final release. It details a meeting between Morrigan and Alistair after the Grey Wardens learn from Riordan that in order to kill an Archdemon the warden who slays the beast must die. Morrigan seeks out Alistair to ask his advice on the lengths one would go to help a friend in need. The story assumes a female warden as Duncan's last recruit and ends with Morrigan on her way to Alistair's bedroom to offer The Dark Ritual.
Dragon Age (2010) Orson Scott Card Written with the help of Aaron Johnson. Tells the story of a mage becoming romantically involved with a Templar. It was originally released as a monthly publication over six months, which was later collected and issued as a single 133-page graphic novel. The story is set before the events of the video games and takes place in and around the Tower of Magi.
Franchise: Dragon Age
Dragon Age: The Silent Grove (2012) David Gaider Scripted by Alexander Freed. Follows Alistair, Varric and Isabela as they uncover the truth behind Alistair's past at the Teleri Swamps in Antiva.
Franchise: Dragon Age
Dragon Age: Magekiller (2015) Greg Rucka Taking place concurrently with the events of Dragon Age: Inquisition, the story follows Marius, a mage-hunting mercenary, and Tessa Forsythia, his assistant, as they progress through Thedas to seek for their targets. Magekiller and Knight Errant were later collected and re-released as a hardcover compilation titled Dragon Age Library Edition Volume 2.
Franchise: Dragon Age
Dragon Age: Knight Errant (2017) Nunzio DeFilippis / Christina Weir Follows Ser Aaron Hawthorne and his squire Vaea, who become entangled in a dangerous recovery mission on behalf of the Inquisition. Magekiller and Knight Errant were later collected and re-released as a hardcover compilation titled Dragon Age Library Edition Volume 2.
Franchise: Dragon Age
Dragon Age: Deception (2018) Nunzio DeFilippis / Christina Weir It follows Olivia Pryde, a failed actress turned con artist, as her attempt to target the scion of a Tevinter magister sets her into a fateful encounter with agents of the Inquisition.
Franchise: Dragon Age
Dragon Age: Blue Wraith (2020) Nunzio DeFilippis / Christina Weir It features several major characters introduced in Magekiller, Knight Errant, and Deception, as well as the Dragon Age II companion character Fenris.
Franchise: Dragon Age
Dragon Age: Dark Fortress (2021) Nunzio DeFilippis / Christina Weir It follows Fenris and several Inquisition agents as they attempt to break into an impenetrable fortress.

Timeline

The most common calendar is the Chantry calendar, which measures time in "Ages." Each age lasts one hundred years. Anything prior to 1:1 Divine is known as the Ancient Era and denoted using negative numbers. The Chantry calendar doesn't have a year zero; the year immediately preceding 1:1 Divine is -1 Ancient. Many of the events from this time period are known only from oral tradition and have been heavily mythologized as a result. In the 99th year of each Age, the Divine looks for signs or portents of things to come in order to determine the name of the new Age.

There are two other known calendars in Thedas: the Tevinter calendar and the elven calendar. The former is still used in the Tevinter Imperium, while the latter is only used in scholarly circles.

In order: left to right, top to bottom.
(0) Ancient (1) Divine Age (2) Glory Age

  • The rise and fall of Elvhenan.
  • The founding of the second elven homeland in the Dales.
  • The creation of most dwarven thaigs and the Deep Roads.
  • The discovery and loss of golem-making.
  • The arrival of the first humans to Thedas.
  • The height of the Tevinter Imperium.
  • Barbarian invasion of the Tevinter Imperium led by the prophetess Andraste.
  • The defilement of the Golden City.
  • The first and longest Blight.
  • Formation of the Grey Wardens.
  • The Disciples of Andraste cult becomes an organized religion.
  • Justinia I crowned as the first ever Divine, giving the first Age its name.
  • The Second Blight strikes.
  • The Nevarran Accord establishes the Circle of Magi.
  • Hostility between humans and elves increases.
  • The elven nation is crushed by an Exalted March ordered by the Orlesian Chantry.
  • The Dales are annexed into the Orlesian Empire.
  • Elves are forced to live either in Alienages, or as homeless vagabonds.
  • Another Exalted March lifts the Tevinter occupation of Starkhaven.
  • The first Circle of Magi is annulled (executed) in Nevarra.
(3) Tower Age (4) Black Age (5) Exalted Age

  • The Grand Cathedral (religious center) of Val Royeaux is completed after two centuries of construction.
  • The Third Blight strikes but is quickly put down by Grey Wardens, Orlaisian and Tevinter armies.
  • The great Chantry schism occurs over different theological views on Andraste's divinity and the role of magic and mages in the society.
  • The Imperial Chantry elects its own Divine, labeled "Black Divine" by the orthodox denomination.
  • The Orlesian Chantry calls for four Exalted Marches to crush the newly formed Imperial Chantry and to bring the Tevinter Imperium back under its influence.
  • All four fail to take Minrathous and serve only to further estrange it from Val Royeaux.
  • The Orlesian Empire attempts to invade the Alamarri lands, birthplace of Andraste, but is repelled by the locals.
  • The Fourth Blight breaks out, halting ongoing Exalted Marches against Tevinter.
  • The elven Grey Warden Garahel unites Thedas and slays the Archdemon Andoral; it takes them 400 years to form another Horde.
  • The Grey Wardens' iconic griffons go extinct.
  • The future King Calenhad Theirin unites the Alamarri tribes, founding the Kingdom of Ferelden.
(6) Steel Age (7) Storm Age (8) Blessed Age

  • Named for the murdered Queen Madrigal of Antiva, found impaled by four steel swords in the woods.
  • The first Qunari land on and conquer the Tevinter island of Par Vollen.
  • The Qunari push deeply into Tevinter Imperium, Rivain, Antiva, forcibly converting their inhabitants to the Qun.
  • Widespread hunting of dragons leads to their borderline extinction.
  • The Orlesian and Imperial Chantries join forces, calling for a "New Exalted March" against the Qunari invaders.
  • Over 150 years and three Exalted Marches, the Qunari Wars come to an end with the peace treaty of Llomerryn, signed by the Qunari and all human nations except Tevinter, who continue their struggle to take back Par Vollen.
  • The Grey Wardens are banished from Ferelden following a failed coup d'état by Warden-Commander Sophia Dryden.
  • The Orlesian Empire launches its second invasion of the Fereldan Valley and successfully sacks Denerim.
  • The Theirin royal bloodline continues the struggle against the Orlesian occupation in what becomes known as the Fereldan Rebellion.
(9) Dragon Age

  • Named after the first high dragon sighted in centuries.
  • The Fereldan Rebellion successfully drives the Orlesian forces out and reestablishes the Theirin dynasty's sovereignty over Ferelden.
  • The Fifth Blight breaks out in Ferelden and ends swiftly with the few Fereldan Grey Wardens left after the Battle at Ostagar.
  • A Darkspawn Civil War, fought between the Architect and the Mother (intelligent darkspawn with ideological differences) is quelled by the Grey Wardens.
  • The First Battle of Kirkwall leaves the city without a ruler, allowing the long-standing tensions between the Templar Order and the local Circle of Magi to come to a head.
  • The Templar Order secedes from the Chantry to wage war on the rogue Circles.
  • Power struggles among the Orlesian nobles opposed to the reigning Empress spark the Orlesian Civil War.
  • Peace talks between Templars and mages are sabotaged by the Elder One; Divine Justinia V is killed.
  • The ancient Inquisition is reformed to wage war against the Elder One and quells the Mage-Templar hostilities and the war in Orlais.
  • A Qunari plot to take over southern Thedas is foiled by the Inquisition and the agents of Fen'Harel, forcing the Qunari to focus on Tevinter.

For more information see:

Dragon AGE on RPGGeek.

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