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One of the best parts of a Bioware RPG is the diverse and interesting cast of characters that players can add to their adventuring party. From HK-47 in Knights of the Old Republic to Wrex in Mass Effect, your companions are always fleshed out enough to make you want to explore their backstories, rather than simply being cookie cutter damage-dealers or healers.
Bioware's latest game, Dragon Age: Origins, is no exception to this rule. The assorted companions that players can collect and interact with are incredibly useful and fully developed additions to the story. Our guide will help you find them all.
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Alistair is the first (or second, depending on whether or not you began with the Human Noble origin) companion that you will encounter. He joins your party automatically at Ostagar, and cannot be removed or forced to leave until after the Landsmeet. He, along with the main character, is the last of the Grey Wardens in Ferelden.
His expertise with the sword and shield make him an excellent main tank for your party, and his training as a Templar can make a big difference when fighting magic users.
If you can raise your standing with Alistair high enough, he will teach you the Templar specialization.
Alistair is also a potential love interest for a female main character.
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The dog companion is a well-trained Mabari War Hound that bonds with the player after completing the "Mabari Hound" quest in the camp at Ostagar (Human Nobles have him added to their party automatically during their origin story). Once you've acquired him, you can give him whatever name you wish.
The dog is a warrior, capable of equipping unique collars and warpaints that serve as weapons and armor. He also has a set of dog-specific skills to learn. The dog's loyalty is unquestionable. No matter what you do to him, he will always remain at 100%, so presents are unnecessary, but every good dog deserves a bone now and then, doesn't he?
The dog also has the unique ability to fetch items when asked to do so. Try it out in every area in the game, you never know what he'll come back with.
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Leliana is a former traveling bard turned priestess who joins you after you break up a tavern brawl in the village of Lothering. Make sure you enter the tavern when you are in the village, as leaving her there will result in her perishing along with the rest of the village when the darkspawn attack.
Leliana is a skilled rogue and capable archer, depending on how you choose to spend her skill points. She's also a potential love interest for both male and female main characters.
Raising Leliana's affection to a high level can result in her teaching you the Bard specialization.
Along with Zevran, Leliana is one of the only companions who can learn the lockpicking ability, enabling you to open any locked chests or doors you find in the world. For this reason, she's worth keeping in your party at all times.
Check out page two for more, including how to acquire Loghain as a companion and the game's best healer.
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Loghain Mac Tir
Acquiring him is something of a trade off, however, because sparing him causes Alistair to leave your party for good. Consider the two of them mutually exclusive.
Like Alistair, Loghain is an excellent tank. He can also teach the main character the Champion specialization.
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Morrigan is the daughter of the ancient witch of the wilds, Flemeth. She is a powerful mage, and can be one of the best damage dealers in Dragon Age: Origins when specced properly. Morrigan joins your party after Flemeth saves the lives of the main character and Alistair at the battle of Ostagar. She is also a potential love interest for a male main character.
Morrigan can be a very versatile companion. Her offensive magics can tear enemies up from afar, but when she gets low on mana she can shapeshift and wreak havoc at melee range, as well.
Get on Morrigan's good side and she can teach you the Shapeshifter specialization.
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Oghren is a dwarf berserker, capable of dishing out massive amounts of damage at melee range. He is first encountered in Orzammar, and joins your party as you venture into the deep roads in search of Branka. He remains in your party afterwards, unless you ask him to leave.
Oghren does well in heavy or massive armor, and his beserker talents can take down even the most powerful enemies rapidly.
Improve your standing with Oghren to learn the Beserker specialization.
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Shale is only available through download of the "Stone Prisoner" DLC pack. A code for a free download is included with all new copies of the game, so most people will have access to him. Shale joins the party after you journey to the village of Honnleath. Complete the quest chain there involving a possessed little girl to receive the codeword that will reawaken him. Discovering that he now has free will, he elects to join the party.
Shale can serve as either the party's main tank or a melee damage dealer. His unique golem skills can serve either purpose, depending on how you choose to spec him.
Shale can equip the various crystals you acquire throughout your quest in leiu of weapons and armor, meaning he will not be forced to compete with the PC for equipment.
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The massive Qunari, Sten, is found in the village of Lothering. He is locked in a cage and accused of murdering a family. You can speak to the Mother in the Chantry and convince her to give you the key to his cage or simply have Leliana pick the lock. Either way, he joins the party afterward.
If you fail to free him from his prison and move on, he will be killed along with the rest of the village when the darkspawn attack.
Sten's speciality is two-handed weapons, and he is capable of dealing great amounts of damage while wielding them. He's not much of a communicator, but will pull you aside if he feels you aren't sticking to your mission of ending the blight.
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Wynne is the single best healer in Dragon Age: Origins (aside from the main character, should you chose to spec yourself that way). She joins your party shortly after undertaking the quest to cleanse the Circle Tower of abominations.
Her healing spells are powerful enough to keep the party in practically any fight, and without her you'll have to stick to poultices and Morrigan's paltry healing magic. I highly recommend heading straight to the tower after the battle of Ostargar in order to add her to the party as quickly as possible.
Wynne is a profoundly good person, and will object and attack you should you perform any profoundly evil deed such as defiling the Urn of Sacred Ashes or siding with Cullen when he suggests that all the mages in the tower be eliminated. Be careful if you want to keep her happy.
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Zevran is an assassin in the employ of the Antivan Crows who is initially hired by Loghain to kill the main character. After completing one major quest location (The Circle Tower, Dalish Camp, etc...) he will ambush your party in a random encounter. After you defeat him, you can choose to spare his life and he will join the party.
Zevran is a rogue, but unlike Leliana, he is an assassin, enabling him to completely destroy targets when he finds himself behind them. He is also unabashedly bisexual, and is available as a love interest to both male and female main characters.
Improve your standing with Zevran and he will teach you the Assassin specialization.