- “It resembled a dragon in outward form, but no dragon was ever so terrible within. Darkness crackled around it, and darkness was its soul.”
—From Codex entry: Archdemon
Archdemons possess an intelligence far beyond the average dragon and are purely evil creatures. Most of the time, the darkspawn are organized as a simple hive-mind, concerned only with expanding the horde. They rarely appear on the surface, except in raids and small invasions. Similarly, the Archdemon rarely fights on the surface during Blights unless direct intervention is necessary, though through the hive-mind, the Archdemon communicates with and commands the entire horde whether in their presence or not; Grey Wardens often "hear" the Archdemon in their dreams, veteran Wardens even claiming to understand parts of the Archdemon's speech.
A Blight begins when the darkspawn find and taint an Old God, who then unites them into a great horde and unleashes them onto the surface in a wave of darkness and destruction. The Archdemon is their leader, and a Blight will not end until the Archdemon is destroyed.
Some suppose that this transformation drives the deity mad, while others believe that the actions of such beings are beyond understanding.
Since the dwarves managed to fend off the darkspawn invasion after the First Blight, no Archdemon has led a Blight against them. Instead, the dwarves consider the Blight to be something of a respite, as all darkspawn activity is focused on the surface.
The Archdemon which triggered the Fifth Blight is revealed to be Urthemiel, the Tevinter god of beauty. The Mother reveals that it became an Archdemon due to a botched attempt by the Architect to turn it into a Disciple via a modified version of the Joining.
It is first glimpsed during the Warden's Joining ceremony, then in the Warden's dreams after first leaving Lothering. While traveling through the Dead Trenches, it is encountered in the flesh for the first time from a distance.
The Warden discovers on the eve of the Battle of Denerim that the Archdemon must be killed only by a Grey Warden. If killed by anyone else (as Riordan explains) its soul will escape to the nearest darkspawn (who are soulless), making it practically immortal (barring the impractical eradication of every darkspawn in existence). However, if a Grey Warden strikes the killing blow, the soul will assail that Warden's taint - causing both souls to be destroyed. As the senior Grey Warden present, Riordan acknowledges his duty to make the first attempt.
After this revelation, Morrigan waits in the Warden's bedroom to offer a deal. The premise here is that a Warden's taint will transfer to the pregnancy, and this will lure the escaping soul to be bound into the unborn child, free of the taint, rather than the standard mutual destruction with its slayer.
The Battle of Denerim
When the Warden reaches Redcliffe, they are informed the Archdemon has been sighted near Denerim. Thus Ferelden's capital becomes the site of the final battle. This is where the Warden will call all allies that have been gained previously.
The Archdemon is sighted some time after reaching Denerim, flying over the city followed by a charge of human soldiers. It is next seen from the Elven Alienage as the Warden leaves, after either killing or avoiding the Hurlock General there. The Archdemon flies overhead and destroys the bridge, making backtracking impossible for the 'primary' party.
At this point Riordan will be atop a tower dealing with his own group of darkspawn. The Archdemon swoops past the tower, and Riordan jumps onto its back, maintaining his position by stabbing his sword into various points in its body. The Archdemon attempts to 'skim' a tower, forcing Riordan to jump onto its right wing. It then flies directly upward, sending Riordan into a fatal fall, but not before he inflicts a massive wound which forces it to land atop Fort Drakon, where the remaining Wardens can finish it off.When the Warden reaches the top of the fortress, the Archdemon is busy demolishing soldiers. This leads to the final fight of the Fifth Blight in which the Archdemon, Urthemiel is struck down by the Hero of Ferelden.
The War against the Elder OneDuring the War against the Elder One, Corypheus' greatest advantage was an Archdemon somehow bound to his will. Coryhpheus' uses this Archdemon to devastating effect to attack the forces of the Inquisition at Haven and later, Adamant Fortress. Eventually through the arcane knowledge bound in the Well of Sorrows, the Inquisitor discovers that the beast is not in fact a true Archdemon and is not an Old God tainted by the darkspawn blight but a high dragon infected with Red lyrium.
- See Archdemon (strategy).
AbilitiesEditBreath Buffet Grab Massive Attack Roar Slap Sweep Archdemon Corruption Blast Spirit Smite Vortex Detonate Darkspawn
- The Archdemon is the strongest enemy in Origins, but if your character has the final in-game hit on it and you transfer your character to Awakening, the "Most Powerful Foe Slain" line during loading screens will remain blank for most of the playthrough (PS3, PC, 360). However, in most cases the Xbox 360 version of the expansion is unaffected, listing your "Most Powerful Foe Slain" as "Archdemon".
- If the Warden enters the Palace district during The Final Battle, they witness the Archdemon fall onto Fort Drakon after having its right wing sliced by Riordan. If the Warden immediately exits and heads to the Alienage for the first time during the battle, they will see the Archdemon swoop past and destroy the bridge, its wing completely intact. This is due to the scene 'technically' taking place before the Archdemon's encounter with Riordan. (And alternative sequences of travel not being considered.)
- It is possible for the game to freeze during or after the encounter with the Archdemon due to a corrupted auto-save. If this happens, revert to a load point then turn off auto-save. The game should no longer freeze.
- On some occasions when the Dark Ritual was refused and Alistair did not become king: after defeating the Archdemon, Alistair will engage you in conversation and say it is his duty as king to kill the Archdemon - then he will not become king in the epilogue, even if he survives.
See also EditCodex entry: Archdemon