The Crows of Antiva are an elite organization of thieves, spies, and assassins which are renowned throughout Thedas. Through their deadly reputation and exotic poisons, the Crows practically rule their homeland. Though honor among such an organization is generally dubious, they do adhere to one standard: contracts are met and agreements are kept. Failure to eliminate a mark means the life of the operative is also forfeit. The Antivan Crows are a driving political force in Antiva, often hired to assassinate Antivan nobility and even royalty. Zevran implies the Crows are an important part of Antivan society as a whole.
The Crows started as an arm of the Chantry. In the hills north of Treviso, an order of monks used the herbs grown in the gardens of their abbey to oppose the rule of a despotic duke in the only manner they could.
The Crows usually employ elves because humans often find them attractive, giving them an advantage over their target. They train their recruits from a young age, and have no problem killing them if they make a mistake. It seems to be an effective method, though they would have everyone believe it takes some special skill to do what they do.
The Antivan Crows buy orphaned or enslaved elves and humans when they are children and force them to live together in tight quarters. The only way they can survive the brutal process and prove themselves worthy is by surviving every test the Crows throw at them, including killing their peers. This history will come to light though conversations with Zevran over the Crows and his training as an assassin.
If Zevran survives the events of Dragon Age: Origins, in Dragon Age II Hawke meets a disguised member of the Crows, Nuncio. Nuncio asks Hawke to track down an assassin who appears to be Zevran. Upon finding him, Hawke learns that the Crows are being torn apart from within by the elf, who seeks to seize the leadership.
In Dragon Age: The Silent Grove King Alistair, Isabela and Varric Tethras break into the Archive of the Crows and into the Crow-run prison called Velabanchel. They find out that King Maric Theirin was held captive there until he was released by Yavana. The Crows lead by Claudio Valisti attempt to capture Alistair under the orders of Aurelian Titus, but Varric and Isabela disturb their plans.