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Getting to Know Your Party
Without a doubt, your party of NPC companions is one of the best and most memorable aspects of Dragon Age: Origins. As you travel the world of Ferelden, you get to know these fellow travelers and outcasts with a depth you rarely see in video game relationships. They will be your friends, allies, and possibly romantic interests, so you’ll want to spend plenty of time exploring their personalities and backgrounds.
Each companion has a personal quest—some unresolved issue with their past or present that they’ll solicit your help on (if they trust you enough). It’s crucial to complete these companion quests, for a number of reasons. You’ll learn more about the party member in question, gain approval, and open up new dialogue and/or romantic options. Plus, you’ll gain the usual rewards for completing a sidequest (the companion quests range from simple to very difficult).
With that in mind, this Dragon Age: Origins walkthrough will help you get started on each companion’s special mission. This walkthrough won’t tell you how to complete each companion quest, but it will explain how to get your party members to open up to you in the first place.
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Alistair’s companion quest is probably the simplest both to get and complete. He has a half-sister he’s never met, and he wants to find her. There are two criteria you’ll need to meet before this quest will become an option. First, Alistair’s approval rating needs to be 26 or higher, which doesn’t take long to achieve (esp. if you’re playing a female). Second, he needs to have admitted to you the truth about his parentage. This will either happen the first time you visit Redcliffe village, or later when you complete the "Arl of Redcliffe" plotline.
Once you meet these criteria, Alistair will open up to you about his sister right away. There’s no need to worry about choosing the correct dialogue choices. Once he’s given you the quest, you can head to Denerim to complete it.
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Flemeth’s Real Grimoire
This is Morrigan’s personal quest, and can be started in two ways. If you find the Black Grimoire during the "Broken Circle" quest (or during any other trip to the Circle Tower), you can give it to Morrigan for a cutsceen. Alternately, when Morrigan’s approval is raised to somewhere around “warm" she may come right out and ask you to find the book. It’s not necessary to have this dialogue, though—giving her the book at any time will trigger the quest.
After you give Morrigan the Grimoire, she’ll tell you she wants to study it for a while. Check back with her the next couple of times you return to the party camp (you should only have to leave and return once) and she will initiate dialogue about the book and her mother, and ask you for help resolving a certain matter. You might not want to jump right into completing this companion quest, though—it’s a tough one.
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The Sword of the Beresaad
At first Sten will be pretty close-mouthed about his background and the reason you found him where you did. And he’s not very friendly, so it isn’t as easy to raise his approval as it is for most of the other characters. But once you get him up to 25-30 approval points (probably by giving him gifts), he’ll tell you the story of how he ended up imprisoned. Keep pressing him for details about the matter, and he’ll mention his sword. This will allow you to offer your help retrieving it.
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Getting Leliana’s personal quest can be a little tricky, since it’s accessed through dialogue options that tend to disappear if her approval rating gets to high. Whether or not you’re in a relationship with her, the ability to ask her the right trigger questions can vanish as early as when she reaches “warm" or “care." The way to avoid this issue is to talk to her as soon as she joins your party and every time you return to the party camp, and make sure you explore all her dialogue options before raising her approval above 50.
More specifically, when you first speak to Leliana you should ask her what someone like her would be doing in the Chantry. Soon after that, as long as her approval is around 30, you’ll have the option to ask her about minstrels and the fact that they are often spies. After this conversation, leave and return to the camp and she will open up to you about an important person from her past. This final conversation will trigger the random encounter that you need to complete the sidequest.
If Leliana’s approval rating is too high and you’ve missed the necessary dialogue options, all isn’t lost. You just have to get her approval back down to around 25-30. The best ways to do this are to romance and then break up with her, or to use a prank item from the Feastday gifts downloadable content.
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Technically you don’t have to do anything really special to start Wynne’s personal quest. You just have to get her approval rating high enough—at least warm, 50+ is preferable—for her to open up about her past. Make sure to talk with her every time you visit camp and explore all the dialogue options related to her past and her experiences in the Circle, and eventually you’ll be able to ask her if she has any regrets. She’ll admit there is one, thus allowing you to help her resolve this regret.
It may not be possible to get the right dialogue options or the mandatory approval rating, though, if you haven’t unlocked her special power. To do this, make sure to talk to her about being old, which will trigger a random encounter in which she collapses during battle. Talking to her about the collapse will in turn trigger a second random encounter, which unlocks the special power.
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Oghren’s Old Flame
There’s really no trick to getting Oghren’s personal quest in Origins. You just have to get his approval rating moderately high, around 30 or so, and talk to him in the party camp. He’ll confide in you about Felsi, a past love interest, and if you talk to him about her he’ll ask for your help. One thing to note, though, is that you can’t trigger this quest until you complete the main quest “A Paragon of Her Kind"—Oghren needs to resolve his issues with Branka first.
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Shale and Zevran
If you have The Stone Prisoner DLC, you have access to Shale’s personal quest as well (“A Golem’s Memories"). You can trigger this one in two ways. The easiest and most reliable way is to bring Shale along during the “Anvil of the Void" quest, where Caridin will reveal some important new information that you can talk with Shale about later. If not, you can also talk to Shale at the party camp after completing the same quest, and you’ll get the option to explain what happened with Caridin.
Zevran is the only member of your party (besides the Dog and the Secret Companion) who doesn’t really have a companion quest. He does have something comparable, but it’s a random encounter that you don’t have to do anything special to trigger and it won’t happen until after the Landsmeet has been called.