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Ability mechanics

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Ability mechanics in Dragon Age: Origins comprise the technical details relevant to the use of abilities (spells and talents).


Two abilities activated (PC version)

Type Edit

Activated Edit

An activated ability has an original stamina/mana/health cost in order to cast it but nothing further. After the initial cast, the stamina/mana/health cost is drained and the desired effect is achieved.

Sustained Edit

Sustained abilities do not have a cost but instead have an upkeep. This upkeep is taken from your maximum stamina/mana instead of the stamina/mana you have available. If activated during combat this means you could take advantage of a larger pool of stamina/mana until you activate the sustained ability. Additionally, a cumulative fatigue penalty is gained for as long as the ability is kept active. Fatigue increases the stamina/mana cost of subsequent abilities by a certain percentage.

Passive Edit

Passive abilities are neither cast nor activated, but instead affect the properties of some action.

Range Edit

Personal Range Edit

A casting range that can apply the given effect only to the caster.

Allies Range Edit

A casting range that can apply the given effect to the caster and their allies.

Short Range Edit

A casting range that can apply the given effect within 8 meters.

Medium Range Edit

A casting range that can apply the given effect within 25 meters.

Long Range Edit

A casting range that can apply the given effect within 35 meters.

Casting Edit

Fast Casting Edit

A casting speed equivalent to 1.0 seconds.

Medium Casting Edit

A casting speed equivalent to 2.0 seconds.

Costs Edit

Activation Edit

A one-time mana cost for generating the effects of an ability.

Cooldown Edit

An amount of time after an ability is cast in which it cannot be cast again, as given by a duration (in seconds).

Fatigue Edit

An additional amount of fatigue imparted on the caster while the ability is active.

Upkeep Edit

A deduction from the caster's maximum stamina/mana used to keep an ability active. Upkeep prevents a character from reaching maximum Stamina/Mana (reserving a certain amount for an ability) but does not constantly drain mana or stamina.

Effects Edit

Area of Effect - Cone Edit

A cone shaped area where an effect is applied, as given by a radius (in meters) and an angle (in degrees). The effect extends from the caster, and is applied to all targets within a distance of radius and in a wedge-shaped area extending to half the angle to either side of the casting direction.

Examples: Cone of Cold, Flame Blast, Shock

Area of Effect - Sphere Edit

An effect is applied within a circular region, as given by a radius (in meters). The center of the circle is the impact point.

Examples: Anti-Magic Burst, Earthquake, Glyph of Neutralization, Sleep, Spellbloom

Effect At Intervals Edit

A method of applying an effect over time given by an interval and a duration (both in seconds). The effect is applied every interval seconds, and each application lasts for duration seconds.

Effect Over Duration Edit

A method of applying an effect over time given by a duration (in seconds).

Pseudocode: Effect Application

NumTicks = ToInteger(Duration / 1.5) + 1
EffectPerTick = Effect / NumTicks


AtEveryGameTick While (Time <= Duration)

Damage Limits Edit

A pair of limits given on an effect's damage, as given by a minimum and a maximum value.

Damage Colors Edit

Damage values are displayed in the game with color coding so you can easily identify the type of damage done.

  • Fire: Orange
  • Cold: Light Blue
  • Electrical: Yellow
  • Nature: Dark Green
  • Spirit: Purple
  • Physical: White
  • Healing: Green

When damaged by an enemy no matter the type of damage it is all the same color.

  • Damage: Red

Effect Limit Edit

A limit on the number of instances of the effect that can exist in an area at any one time, as given simply by a number.

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