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Being a Dragon Age Origins Champion
For the warrior who wants to become a tank, the Dragon Age champion is the perfect warrior class. It allows you to draw the enemy’s attention and reduce their ability to do damage to you and your party, so you can stay in combat longer. In addition, the champion is a great support companion who increases the abilities of party members close by. So if you have at least one other close-range fighter, the champion specialization is a valuable asset.
But even if you don’t, the champion specialization works nearly as well for the warrior who commonly finds him or herself in the center of a large group of enemies. You can decrease your foes’ ability to attack and even knock many of them down at once, allowing you and the rest of your party to finish them off quickly. If this is the kind of warrior you want to build, read on to find out what you’ll get from the champion specialization and how to use it.
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Dragon Age Origins Champion Talents and Benefits
The champion gains a permanent +2 to willpower and +1 to cunning, as well as the following tree of new warrior talents.
War Cry: When activated, this talent makes your champion issue a war cry that penalizes the attacks of enemies close by. The penalty is moderate but certainly helpful, especially when your champion is surrounded by a lot of foes (which is bound to happen often). With Superiority, this talent becomes far more useful.
Rally: This is a sustained ability that gives your nearby allies a bonus to defense. This is particularly useful when you have at least one other close-range fighter in the party (if you have only ranged fighters and mages, they might not be close enough to be affected). This talent is improved by Motivate.
Motivate: This is essentially an upgrade to Rally. Once you’ve learned this passive talent, Rally now increases nearby allies’ attack as well as their defense. Again, this is most useful when there are other close-range fighters in the party.
Superiority: Like Motivate this is a passive ability, except that it upgrades War Cry. Now when your champion activates their war cry, nearby enemies have to pass a physical resistance check or risk getting knocked down. This can be a powerful advantage—with most enemies penalized and/or knocked down you can do a lot of quick damage while sustaining little injury yourself.
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How to Unlock the Champion
There are two ways to gain the champion specialization, though one isn’t available until close to the end of the game. The first way is by successfully completing the quest "The Urn of Sacred Ashes," and when prompted to ask for a reward choosing to be made a champion. Alternately, you can get the ‘secret companion’ to teach you the champion specialization. You don’t get this companion as an option until near the very end of the game, however, so if you want to use this specialization it's best to get it from the Sacred Ashes quest.
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You get two specializations in Dragon Age Origins, and it’s important to choose ones that work well together. No choice is all good or all bad, but each combination produces different results. The following sections should help if you are trying to decide which second specialization to take, or if you already have one specialization and need to know if champion would be a good second choice.
Champion + Templar: This is an excellent build and produces a very good tank/support fighter. Both specializations focus not on overall damage but on defense and support to allies. The champion/templar has the ability to be flexible, by switching between going after enemy mages and drawing the attention of groups of enemies away from the rest of the party. And with both Holy Smite and Superiority, it’s possible to keep large numbers of the enemy out of commission for much of the battle.
Champion + Berserker: This is a combination for the balanced warrior, who wants to be able to tank and melee. These specializations complement each other pretty well, since the champion focuses on defending him/herself and others and the berserker focuses on attack. You also gain the ability to deal with both large numbers of enemies (champion) or one enemy at a time (berserker). So this combination doesn’t excel at one thing, but is able to handle many challenges fairly well.
Champion + Reaver: These specializations balance in much the same way champion and berserker do. You gain both defense and attack abilities, but this time they all specialize in facing large numbers of enemies. The problem with this combination is that the reaver has to pay a lot of attention to him or herself to stay alive, whereas the champion is focused more on helping the rest of the party. But this combination can work fairly well with careful attention and strategy.
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Tips for Maximizing your Champion
Stats: The champion works best when facing a whole lot of enemies at once, so it’s good to invest many points in Strength to give you more damage and access to better weapons and armor. As with any warrior, Constitution is also essential and having some points in Dexterity is helpful to increase your chances of hitting and dodging attacks.
Combat Strategy: The champion has to stay for as long as possible in the middle of the fighting, to affect many party members or enemies at once with his or her unique talents. So prepare accordingly. Bring lots of potions and spend money on good weapons and armor to increase your survival chances. Assigning a mage to permanent or temporary healing duties can also help keep your tanking champion alive for the duration of the battle. Keep Rally on as often as possible if there are any other party members close by. And spend the points necessary to get Motivate and Superiority early on, because those are the talents that really make the first two in the champion talent tree effective.