- "You don't need a king to face a Blight. You need a Paragon!" ―Oghren
A Paragon of Her Kind is one of the main plotline quests in Dragon Age: Origins. Having retrieved the ancient Warden Treaties prior to the Battle of Ostagar, the Warden journeys to the Frostback Mountains to enter Orzammar and gain the assistance of the dwarves in the battle against the Blight. The Paragon Branka must be found in order to determine the next king of Orzammar.
Bug!ps3If you open the radial menu as soon as the bounty hunters turn hostile, you may end up with the usual radial menu behavior reversed (the game is not frozen when the radial menu is open, but is when it is closed). You cannot recover from this - you cannot, for instance, cast spells. You must reload from a save. To avoid this, either wait until the fight really starts before opening the radial menu, or else do not open the radial menu at all during this fight.
Past this, farther to the north, is the entrance to Orzammar. Upon approaching it, the Warden will see an Orzammar guard refusing entry to Loghain's emissary. The Warden will have to either intimidate the emissary away, or fight him.
Either choice results in entry to Orzammar via the Orzammar Hall of Heroes. (The Hall of Heroes contains Codex entries on the statues, as well as a Council edict that is part of The Key to the City quest.)
Taking the other exit in the Hall of Heroes will lead the Warden into the Orzammar Commons, where s/he witnesses a brutal fight between factions. The Warden can speak to Orzammar Captain of the Guard and Nerav for information.
The next step for the Warden should be to find Assembly Steward Bandelor, who is located in the Chamber of the Assembly, which is upstairs in the Orzammar Diamond Quarter. Emotions are running high in the Assembly, and the Warden will witness Bandelor calling for a recess and closing the Assembly Chamber.
Choosing sides: Harrowmont or Bhelen
Both candidates will send the Warden on long quests, so one is not better than the other. There are several opportunities to switch sides. Regardless of which quests the Warden takes, the final decision (after completing the Anvil of the Void) determines who is crowned.
There are plenty of Orzammar denizens who will explain their opinions on the candidates. Walking around and talking to people will give you a general idea of what they are like. However, for the short version:
Bhelen is the radical, progressive candidate. He:
- believes the ends justify the means
- wants to encourage trade
- respects and employs Casteless Dwarves
Harrowmont is the traditionalist candidate. He:
- believes in honorable conduct
- is a strong proponent of tradition
- leans more toward isolationism
Before a King is Chosen
Before a king is sitting on the throne, you need to perform the Caged in Stone mini-quest (see Codex: Quest-Related and look for the section on "Caged in Stone"). This can be done anytime you have access to the throne room of the Royal Palace and the throne appears as something you can interact with.
The First Task
Neither candidate is initially willing to speak to the Warden in person. Instead, the Warden must deal with their lieutenants, each of whom will ask the Warden to complete a task in order to gain an audience with their corresponding candidate. Both lieutenants can be found in the Orzammar Diamond Quarter.
- Vartag Gavorn, Bhelen's lieutenant, is first located in the Chamber of the Assembly.
- Dulin Forender, Harrowmont's lieutenant, may approach the Warden upon leaving the Chamber. Otherwise, he can be found in Harrowmont's Estate.
- Zevran will have some interesting dialogue with Dulin if you bring him along when speaking to him.
Siding with Bhelen: A Prince's Favor
- See A Prince's Favor: The First Task for a more detailed walk-through.
Vartag will ask the Warden to expose a real-estate scam that Harrowmont is using to get votes.
- Lord Helmi hangs out at Tapster's Pub in the (Orzammar Commons).
- Lady Dace waits outside her estate in the Diamond Quarter. She cannot ask her house to change sides unless her father, Lord Anwer Dace, agrees. Find him in Aeducan Thaig in the Deep Roads.
- This also grants access to the previously blocked area, where you can pick up another Key to the City Codex entry.
- Informing Lord Dace of Harrowmont's betrayal can get the party a surface merchant discount. (However, this appears to apply only to Gorim).
- Showing the papers to the Shaperate gets you extra dialogue and may affect your decision on who to support as it appears the documents may be fake.
Completing this task will get you an audience with Bhelen, who will give you the second task.
Siding with Harrowmont: A Lord's Trust
- See A Lord's Trust: The First Task for a more detailed walk-through.
Dulin will ask The Warden to fight as Harrowmont's champion in The Proving. If Zevran is present during this conversation, he will have some choice words to say about Harrowmont.
The grounds are located in the Commons. There are two sidequests to accomplish while there:
- Baizyl is a warrior being blackmailed into walking away from a fight due to some sensitive love letters. Recover them from the east wing of the area and return them.
- Gwiddon is ambivalent. A little Coercion sets him straight.
Next, the Warden must win a series of combats in the Proving. You can choose to fight with a partner in the initial battle; the final challenge will include the full party or the two abovementioned dwarves. After completing the Proving, head back to Tapster's and speak with Dulin.
Completing this task will get you an audience with Harrowmont, who will give you the second task.
- See Entering Jarvia's Hideout for a more detailed walk-through on this section.
- See Carta Hideout for map, creatures and treasures.
To do this, the Warden must acquire a bone key. There are a few ways to do this:
On the way to Dust Town from the Diamond Quarter, the Warden may see some Carta members accosting a shop merchant in the Commons. Upon entering the shop, the Warden can either intimidate the Carta away or fight them.
- Intimidating the Carta gets you information and access to Figor's shop.
- Killing the Carta will get you the key, but Figor will run away and not come back, cutting off access to his shop.
- Figor sells a remarkable gem gift and flasks for 1 silver.
Nadezda is a crippled former Carta member in Dust Town who will tell the Warden about the bone key. After speaking with her, enter the 'Slums House'. There will be some Carta members waiting there to initiate a fight. After beating the thugs, the Warden will acquire the key. If you chose the Dwarven Commoner origin story, Leske will meet you instead of Nadezda, and he'll tell you to go to your old house, which is the house you would go and fight the Carta members
The entrance to the Carta Hideout is labeled 'Suspicious Door' and located at the northern end of Dust Town, near Nadezda.
Once inside, you will have to fight your way to Jarvia. There are several groups with Carta assassins, elven mercenary casters, and Qunari mercenaries, as well as traps and other normal Origins combat situations.
- There are some labeled crates inside that are part of a quest. See Jammer's Stash for more details.
Once you get to the end, Jarvia will be waiting for you in a trapped room with lots of friends. If you chose the Dwarven Commoner origin story, Leske will also be there. There is no way to get him to side with you; you have to kill him along with Jarvia.
- See Jarvia#Strategy for tips on how to defeat her.
Once Jarvia and company have been dealt with, return to the appropriate candidate to receive the third task.
Entering the Deep Roads
Branka went into the Deep Roads a couple of years ago to look for a lost dwarven relic called the Anvil of the Void, a forge that was used to make golems. She is presumed dead, but because the other candidate is also looking, whoever the Warden is supporting will request she be found.
Upon accepting this quest, head toward the Orzammar exit to the Deep Roads. After getting close enough, Oghren will accost the Warden, explaining his involvement with Branka and asking to go to the Deep Roads with their party. Choosing to put him in the Warden's party at this point is entirely optional, but adding him will get you some extra cut scenes during this quest.
Completing this quest involves battling through several locations in the Roads, in the following order:
As the Roads are being explored, be wary after reaching the Dead Trenches location. Two "special" darkspawn are known to inhabit the area: the Ancient Darkspawn and the Genlock Master Forger.
- Ancient Darkspawn: Have a healthy stock of health poultices and a healer in your group, if possible. The Ancient Darkspawn can flatten an unprepared group really quickly. As with most special creatures, the Ancient Darkspawn will have a unique weapon and/or piece of armour on him. He will also have a portion of the Topsider's Blade, but only spawns if you have the quest An Admirable Topsider active in your Codex.
- Genlock forge master: This Genlock is a serious hazard if the Warden runs into him unprepared. He is surrounded by a large group of darkspawn. He himself can use a bow and has very heavy hitting attacks. He will use a bow until a character actually approaches. The Forge Master drops the weapon Forge Master's Hammer.
- See Caridin's Cross for a map, creatures and treasures of the area.
On the first entry into Caridin's Cross, if Oghren is in the party, the Warden has a short conversation with him.
- If you suggest that Branka and everyone else may be dead, Oghren disapproves (-3) .
Close to the entrance, Bhelen or Harrowmont will have hired some mercenaries to stop your progress. (They will not appear if you are working with both candidates by betraying one secretly.)
The southernmost exit leads to Ortan Thaig; it doesn't matter what path is taken to get there.
- The Darkspawn Emissaries here use the spell Curse of Mortality.
- Dog can find Duty here or in any of the Deep Roads areas.
- An Genlock emissary drops Topsider's Hilt to begin the quest An Admirable Topsider.
- There are two parts to be found here for Asunder (the third is in Aeducan Thaig).
- There are four parts to be found here for The Drifter's Cache.
- There is a Revenant that is part of The Black Vials here.
- See Ortan Thaig for a map, creatures and treasures of the area.
Upon entering, Oghren will make a few more comments if he is in the party.
It is advisable to clear the area completely, although not necessary; you can find quest progressions for several sidequests here.
In the middle of the map, the Warden will come across Ruck; following him ends in an inevitable spider ambush. After killing the spiders, the Warden can speak to him for information about Branka. After speaking with him, crossing either bridge from his cave will get the Warden to the spider lair area.
Branka's Journal is located in the next area. It is surrounded by spiders, including the Corrupted spider queen, all of which need to be cleared first in order to access the diary safely.
- See Corrupted Spider Queen#Strategy for tips on how to defeat her.
Exiting through the north after having read Branka's Journal should take you to The Dead Trenches.
- The Warden can let Ruck live and access his shop, or kill him; see the quest A Mother's Hope for more information.
- Orta's papers for Lost to the Memories are in a chest near where Ruck is first sighted.
- The resting place for An Admirable Topsider is in this area.
- The altar for Asunder is in this area.
- An activation point for Places of Power is here, near the altar for Asunder.
The Dead Trenches
- See The Dead Trenches for a map, creatures and treasures of the area.
Traveling to the Dead Trenches the first time will trigger a cutscene, in which the Warden sees the Archdemon for the first time.
Following the only path at the entrance of the Dead Trenches will lead to a bridge, where some dwarven warriors are fighting off darkspawn. Assist them, and once the battle is over, speak to Kardol.
Kardol will explain to the Warden who he is, and what the Legion of the Dead is doing down there. Afterwards, go ahead and clear the bridge. There is a large group of archers supporting an Ogre at the end of the bridge.
After clearing the group at the other end of the bridge, the Legion will move to the other side. The Warden can speak to Kardol again for a short dialogue.
- Scattered throughout the area are pieces of Legion of the Dead armor. Finding the complete set triggers the quest The Dead Caste.
There is another long bridge roughly in the middle of the map; be on guard here. There is an ambush on your party from both sides once you reach the middle of the bridge.
Past the ambush bridge, there is a set of caverns where the Warden can hear a voice reciting some sort of poem. After passing the caverns and entering some more normal architecture, the Warden encounters Hespith. Speaking to Hespith can reveal some insight on what the darkspawn do with their prisoners, and on Branka.
After conversing with Hespith, continue on to the next large open area, where two Ogres await. After taking care of the ogres, enter the room furthest to the south, which is inhabited by Legionnaire Spirits. They will not attack until you have retrieved the key, which in a container with the final piece of the Legion of the Dead armor at the opposite end of the room.
- In some rubble on the broken bridge is the fairly amusing codex entry of Load Limit Reached.
Head back out and use the key on the large door in the center of the area.
- Saving here is advisable because the next encounter is the Broodmother. Although immobile, she is fairly strong, and is made more difficult by the darkspawn she summons during the battle.
After felling the Broodmother, Hespith will make another appearance. Listen to what she has to say, then continue to the exit. At this point, there is a brief opportunity to switch party members and also travel back to camp if necessary to offload inventory.
The Anvil of the Void area is now unlocked and accessible through the Deep Roads map.
Anvil of the Void
- See Anvil of the Void for a map, creatures and treasures of the area.
- See Spirit Apparatus for strategy ideas.
Upon entering the Anvil, the Warden will finally find Branka. Oghren will be a required party member for this area.
Branka cannot be reasoned with, and will trap the party inside the area, forcing completion of A Paragon of Her Kind. She will require the Warden to disarm the traps in the area for her. Upon trapping the Warden, a large group of darkspawn will arrive and attack the party.
- Branka, naturally, will remain safely behind the barriers until all the traps have been disarmed.
- The first trap is a tunnel full of darkspawn. This is a very narrow tunnel, with a mix of darkspawn throughout.
- The second trap is a gas filled room. This room appears empty at first, but entering it will bring golems to life one by one. There are four gas valves, two by each closed doors on the left and the right. The exit door can be unlocked but requires high Cunning. It automatically unlocks after the golems are killed. These golems can be knocked down by casting Stonefist on them.
- The third trap is a hallway with golems on either side. There are 2 blade traps in the hallway and 2 sets of golems will attack as you pass them. The exit door here cannot be unlocked until the golems are defeated. These golems seem harder than the others fought previously. Just as with the previous golems, Stonefist knocks them down.
- The fourth trap, and by far the hardest, is the Spirit Apparatus. See Strategies for more information.
Choosing sides: Caridin or Branka
Upon disarming the traps, the Warden will gain access to Caridin's forge, where s/he will meet Caridin.
Caridin will tell his story to the Warden, explaining how the Anvil of the Void works. To 'power' his golems, he used the lives of dwarves. (If Wynne is in your party, she will comment that this is equivalent to blood magic.)
At first, Caridin only accepted volunteers. However, the king at the time began forcing others to become golems. Golems became a common sight, often being traded to the magocracy of the Tevinter Imperium and controlled using control rods.
Caridin states that when he opposed the king's decisions, he was punished by being forced to become a golem himself. He then asks the Warden to destroy the Anvil, because he is unable to touch the Anvil as a golem (...even though it is apparently possible for him to forge a crown on it for the Warden).
Branka will then argue that with the technology of the golems, the dwarves would be able to reclaim the Deep Roads and their homeland. Caridin responds by stating the sacrifice is too great and stands by his decision to have the Anvil destroyed.
At this point, the Warden must choose who to support and decide the fate of the Anvil:
- Support Caridin and destroy the Anvil
- Support Branka and keep the Anvil
- Support Branka and convince her to destroy the Anvil
Regardless of which Paragon is supported, the enemies will be:
- two Elite Golems
- two Normal Golems
- the Paragon not supported
- Shale will attack you if you support Branka
The allies assisting the Warden will be two Normal Golems. The Paragon you support will be immobilized
The following items will drop from each Paragon:
- Branka: Vanguard, Dwarven Massive Armor and Branka's Shield
- Caridin: Caridin's Cage and Caridin's Shield
Depending on who was supported during the conflict involving the Anvil (Caridin or Branka), the Warden Treaty will be fulfilled in varying ways.
If you sided with:
- You kill Branka.
- Caridin makes a crown for you and commits suicide.
- Dwarves assist you during the Blight.
- You unlock the Liberator achievement/trophy.
- Branka, and keep the Anvil:
- You kill Caridin.
- Branka makes a crown for you and continues searching the Deep Roads.
- Dwarves and Golems assist you during the Blight.
- You unlock the Pragmatist achievement/trophy.
- Branka, and destroy the Anvil:
- You kill Caridin.
- You persuade or intimidate Branka to destroy the Anvil (must have high Coercion).
- Branka destroys the Anvil and commits suicide.
- Dwarves assist you during the Blight.
- Note: Oghren will still approve of your efforts, despite her decision to commit suicide
Before leaving the area, approach the tablet. After interacting with the tablet, Oghren or Shale will inform you that it is a registry of some kind. This is, in fact, the Golem Registry, a record of all the people who voluntarily and not-so-voluntarily sacrificed themselves to become golems. Take a tracing of the tablet; this can be returned to the Shaperate for a reward. Showing the list to Shale will also trigger the quest A Golem's Memories provided you agree to look into it.
- Oghren approves (+4) - or (+11) if you give in when he tries to convince you
- Zevran approves (+4)
- Morrigan approves (+7)
- Alistair disapproves (-10)
- Leliana disapproves (-10)
- Wynne disapproves (-15)
- Sten will mock you, but his approval won't change.
- Shale will leave the party.
- If you ask Branka to make Oghren into a golem, you will get a severe disapproval hit with him (-20) .
Supporting Branka & keeping Shale:
- You may do this quest before recruiting Shale. With level 4 Coercion and the the correct conversation options, you can actually gain +4 approval, or lose up to -33 in the opposite case. See A Golem's Memories for conversation advice.
- OR you can leave Shale at camp while supporting Branka and save the Anvil of the Void. At camp, Shale will then question you about what happened to Caridin. By picking the right options in response to Shale's questions, you keep her and acquire A Golem's Memories without showing her the Golem Registry.
- Alistair approves (+4)
- Leliana approves (+4)
- Wynne approves (+7)
- Oghren disapproves (-10) - this can be offset to (-3) if you allow Oghren to ask Caridin for a boon ( (+7) triggers after Caridin commits suicide.)
- Morrigan disapproves (-5) - this can be offset to (-1) if you successfully persuade her.
- Zevran disapproves (-3) - this can be offset to (-1) if you successfully persuade him.
After resolving the issue at the Anvil of the Void, the Warden can speak to Oghren to proceed directly to the resolution of this quest.
Alternatively, upon returning to Orzammar, the Warden can speak to Assembly Steward Bandelor to proceed.
Bandelor will call the Assembly to crown the new king. The decision will fall to the Warden, who may choose either candidate regardless of who s/he helped earlier.
- If Bhelen is chosen, he will insist Harrowmont be executed.
- If Harrowmont is chosen, Bhelen will attack and be killed.
Once the new king is crowned, he will honor the Grey Warden treaties and pledge Orzammar's forces to the Blight. In addition, the new King will give the Warden with a gift. Bhelen gives either Trian's Maul or Aeducan Mace. Harrowmont gives Harrowmont's Staff.
After this, Oghren will remain as a permanent companion.
After leaving the palace, Kardol will be outside. The Warden can recruit him and the Legion of the Dead to assist in fighting the Blight. Dwarven Wardens need only ask; non-dwarves must pass a high persuasion check. If the Legion is recruited, they will integrate into the regular dwarven units, and Kardol will assist in the battle against the Archdemon.
Crowning a king enables random world map encounters with groups of fanatical supporters of the losing candidate - one Elite and several regular dwarves, no casters.