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Is it the Thought that Counts? Giving Gifts in DAO

by: M.S. Smith ; edited by: Aaron R. ; updated: 5/2/2012 • Leave a comment

What do you do when your allies in Dragon Age Origins are ready to turn on you? You bribe them with gifts, of course! This guide to gifts in DAO will help you figure out who should get what.

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    A Gift? For Me?

    Dragon Age Origins is unique from many RPGs in that it does not have a moral choice system implemented into the player character. Although some choices in the game are obviously bad or good, they do not change the abilities the player has nor do they prevent the player from heading certain directions later in the game. The game instead chooses to give consequence to the player's actions through the NPCs. Each NPC is useful, and has their own opinions about things. Make them mad and they'll take their ball and go home, or even force you into fighting them.

    Thankfully, Dragon Age Origins includes gifts which can be used to improve the attitude of NPCs towards the player character. If you feel you've offended an NPC you have the chance to make up for it by giving them a gift to show that you're still on their side. Bribery? Maybe. But in any case, it works, and this guide will help you make the most out of the gifts in Dragon Age Origins.

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    The Rules of Gifts

    Have the hots for Morrigan? Giving a special gift might help.   Many of the gifts in the game are generic. They are not meant to be best for any particular character in the game. While these gifts won't giveyou the big approval bonuses more specific gifts will, they do give you an easy way to patch things up if you don't have any character specific gifts in your inventory. These generic gifts give you a +5 bonus to approval the first time you give them. This is the base first-time approval gain and it applies to every character in the game. This bonus is subject to diminishing returns. So, if you give another gift that base bonus is reduced to +4, then +3 for the third gift, and etc. The minimum is +1.

    If a gift is favored (see the list on the next page) by the character, then you also gain a +5 bonus on top of the base bonus. Remember that base bonus is subject to diminishing returns, so if your fifth gift is a favored gift it will give a bonus of +6 (+1 base and +5 favored bonus).

    Should you have negative approval with a character, the gift bonus is halved. This is very important and it shows a crucial limitation to the effectiveness of gifts. You can certainly bribe characters with them, but if you've done something they severely disapprove of it will be extremely difficult to regain their favor. Note that the bonus seems to round down. Also, once you reach maximum approval, you can't gain any additional bonus from gifts. You can only make them so happy!

    Finally, note that some gifts are "plot" gifts. These gifts will open a particular dialogue and, in a few instances, give access to a particular side quest. Plot gifts will be refused by those who are not the intended receipt. For example, trying to give Alistair's Mother's Amulet to anyone except Alistair won't work.

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    Favored Gifts List

    This list has all the information I could find about who favors what gifts and is accurate per my testing. It might not have every gift, however - Dragon Age Origins is a big game. Remember, these are favored gifts, so you get a +5 bonus to approval in addition to the base approval bonus for giving a gift if you give it to the correct character.

    Alistair

    • Allistair’s Mother’s Amulet (Plot)
    • Black Runestone
    • Duncan’s Shield (Plot)
    • Onyx Demon Statuette
    • Small Carved Statuette
    • Stone Dragon Statuette
    • Stone Warrior Statuette
    • White Runestone

    Dog

    • Beef Bone
    • Ox Bone
    • Lamb Bone
    • Veal Bone
    • Found Cake
    • Large Bone
    • Tangled Ball of Yarn

    Leliana

    • Andraste’s Grace (Plot)
    • Blue Satin Shoes
    • Chantry Amulet
    • Bronze Symbol of Andraste
    • Golden Symbol of Andraste
    • Etched Silver Symbol
    • Cute Nug (Plot)
    • Silver Sword of Mercy
    • Steel Symbol of Andraste

    Morrigan

    • Black Grimoire (Plot)
    • Golden Rope Necklace
    • Golden Demon Pendant
    • Golden Mirror (Plot)
    • Golden Amulet
    • Flemeth’s Grimoire (Plot)
    • Locket
    • Silver Chain
    • Silver Brooch
    • Silver Medallion
    • Tribal Necklace

    Oghren

    • Ale
    • Alley King’s Flagon
    • Chasind Sack Mead
    • Garlbog’s Backcountry Reserve
    • Golden Scythe 4-90 Black
    • Sun Blonde Vint-1
    • Legacy White Shear
    • Wilhelm's Special Brew

    Shale

    • All "Remarkable" Gems

    Sten

    • Portrait of a Goose Girl
    • Painting of the Rebel Queen
    • Silver Framed Still-life
    • Sten’s Sword (Plot)
    • Totem
    • Water-stained Portrait

    Wynne

    • Discovering Dragon’s Blood: Potions, Tinctures, and Spicy Sauces
    • Fancy Scroll
    • The Guerrins of Ferelden: A Genealogical History
    • The Rose of Orlais
    • Tattered Notebook
    • The Search for the True Prophet
    • Wine

    Zevran

    • Antivan Leather Boots (Plot)
    • Dalish Gloves (Plot)
    • Gemmed Bracelet
    • Golden Scythe 4:90 Black
    • Medium Silver Bar
    • Medium Gold Bar
    • Small Silver Bar
    • Small Gold Bar
    • Silver Braclet
    • Small Silver Ring
    • White Rune Stone
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    The Reason to Give

    Dragon Age Origins gifts makes your party a better team   Besides making it easier to keep your NPCs in your group, the other big reason to gift things to NPCs is that they will be given stat bonuses based off their approval rating. At +25 approval a +1 is given to an NPC's primary stat, at +50 approval the bonuses increases to +2, at +75 approval the bonus is +3 and at +90 approval the bonus is +4. The stat is determined by the NPC, but is usually obvious. For example, Oghren will gain strength, while Leliana will gain cunning.

    This bonus isn't anything to laugh at. It the largest consistent stat bonus in the entire game. A party full of characters with bonuses to their approval will have a notable edge over one which does not. Learn to use gifts well and you'll find fights are just that little bit easier.

A Guide to Dragon Age: Origins

Dragon Age: Origins isn't an easy game. Even on normal difficulty you'll want to use every advantage you have to gain an edge against the Darkspawn. This guide will help you defeat the hoard.
  1. Dragon Age Weapons and Armor Guide: Equipment Tactics and Data
  2. Dragon Age Origins Tactics: A Guide to NPC's
  3. Dragon Age Origins Tactics: Runes and Enchantment Guide
  4. Dragon Age Origins Tactics: A Guide to Mage Spells
  5. Is it the Thought that Counts? Giving Gifts in DAO
  6. A Gaming Veteran's Guide to Dragon Age: Origins

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