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They Say It’s Your Birthday
Both the game-play and game-concept of “Dragon Age: Origins" revolve around your party, and your ability to manage each companion. Hence, one can clearly see a return to the old-fashioned mechanics of “Baldur’s Gate," “The Temple of Elemental Evil" or “Eye of the Beholder," to mention three games where party-management and pausing become essential (yes, I am that old).
“Dragon Age" does go that one step further though, allowing you to develop the relationships with your friends by way of gifts; matching the right gift with the right companion can improve what is called an “Approval-rating," or a quantifiable measure of how much your companion likes you.
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All in Favour Say Yay: Approval and You
Approval is also affected by the choices you make in-game; for instance intimidating a priest may annoy Alistair, since his alignment is implied as “Good." This is similar to the more complex alignment-system found in the “Elder Scrolls" or in the 4th Edition rules of pen-and-paper "Dungeons and Dragons."
A high approval boosts a companions’ attribute, resulting in a modifier as high as +6 in your companions chosen discipline, and prevents him/her from deserting the party. Is the positive-modifier ultimately important? Not really, particularly if you have the right class to solo the game; however, strictly for “flavour and tone" purposes, it can greatly add to the role-playing aspects of the game.
Lastly, you can get romantically involved with your chosen companion once the approval-rating is high enough; you’ll even get a bonus sex-scene as a reward, though the way the game implements romance does not work very well (does it ever?).
Keep reading for a list of “Dragon Age: Origins" gifts and companions, and remember: never look a gift-horse in the mouth. (Cue reader heckling.)
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Gifts for Alistair
In general you can give any gift to anyone, but picking the right ones maximises the bonus in attribute-points. Bear in mind that the approval-bonus decreases by 1 as you give out more gifts to a single companion.
Alistair prefers the following gifts, and you can benefit by giving them out to him;
Onyx Demon Statuette – This is the statuette of a demon found in the East Brecilian forest. It gives +10 approval for Alistair, or +5 for any other character.
Small Carved Statuette – Another statue, this time depicting a robed woman; seems he has a thing for statuettes. This is found in a crate in Lothran and gives the same bonuses as before.
Stone Dragon Statuette – This time the statuette depicts a Stone Dragon and is found in a chest in Castle Redcliffe.
Black Runestone – A polished stone with an engraved rune, found in Aeducan Thaig now home of Hurlocks, Genlocks and other lovable creatures.
White Runestone – Another rune-engraved stone, found in the Circle Tower.
Duncan’s Shield – This is found in the Grey Wardens cache in Denerim and it once belonged to Duncan. It turns into a real item and Alistair equips it once you give it out.
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Gifts for Morrigan
Black Grimoire – A Grimoire with a tree pictured on the cover, it can be found in the Senior Mage Quarters in the Circle Tower. This is a plot-item and gives +12 approval: it cannot be given to any other character.
Locket – A necklace portraying a woman with jewel-ornate hair, found in the small village of Haven. It gives the usual +10 approval, or +5 for any other companion.
Silver Chain – Another item found in the Circle Tower, in the Senior mage quarters.
Golden Rope Necklace – A necklace made of intricately-woven rope, found in the Lothering party-camp.
Golden Demon Pendant – A pendant shaped like the head of a demon, found in the Gauntlet.
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Gifts for Sten
Portrait of a goosegirl – A painting found in the Frostback Mountains.
Painting of the Rebel Queen – A painting portraying an important battle, found in Old Tegrin.
Water-stained portrait – Located in the Senior Mage quarters, Circle Tower.
Totem – Found in Caridin’s cross.
Silver-framed still-life – Found in Castle Redcliffe.
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Gifts for Leliana
Andraste’s grace – A small flower found in Redcliffe village, West Brecilian forest or Elven Alienage.
Bronze Symbol of Andraste – Holy plate found in Lothering.
Chantry Amulet – Holy symbol found in the Circle Tower.
Silver Sword of Mercy – An amulet shaped like a sword, found in Old Tegrin.
Blue Satin Shoes – Pair of satin shoes found in Old Tegrin.
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Gifts for Shale
Remarkable Ruby – Located in Dust town.
Remarkable Emerald, Sapphire, Diamond – All located in Orzammar.
Remarkable Greenstone – Found in the Honnleath village.
Remarkable Topaz – Located in the Frostback mountains.
Remarkable Malachite – Found in the Circle Tower.
Remarkable Amethyst – Located in Dust Town.
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Gifts for Wynne
Wine – Found in the Spoiled Princess, an inn at the Lake Calenhad docks, and found in Lothering.
Fancy Scroll – Found in the Lower Brecilian Ruins.
Guerrins of Ferelden: A Genealogical History – Historical tome found in Castle Redcliffe.
Discovering Dragon's Blood: Potions, Tinctures and Spicy sauces – Interesting title for a book, found in the Ruined temple of Andraste, in the Frostback Mountains.
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Gifts for Zevran
Antivan boots – Leather boots found in Haven. Plot-item exclusive to Zevran, who will equip the boots.
Dalish Gloves – Leather gloves found in the West Brecilian forest; plot-item which is also equipped.
Medium Gold Bar – Located in the Arl of Denerim estate.
Small Gold Bar – Found in the circle tower.
There are more “Dragon Age: Origins" gifts for the characters above, and more companions which you can find on the Dragon Age Wiki.
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References and Images
Dragon Age Wiki - http://dragonage.wikia.com
Mark Fajardo's Gift Giving Guide - http://www.justpushstart.com/