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For the headquarters of the Assembly in Orzammar, see Chamber of the Assembly.
Orzammar Assembly

The Assembly of Orzammar while in session

The Assembly, formally known as the Assembly of the Clans[1], is the central legislative political body of the dwarven kingdoms.

In the ancient dwarven empire, at least since the times of the First Blight, each kingdom had its own Assembly, which however maintained allegiance to the capital of the empire, Orzammar.[2]

Kal-Sharok Assembly Edit

After Orzammar discovered in 9:12 Dragon that Kal-Sharok survived, the Assembly of Kal-Sharok refuses to recognize the king or queen of Orzammar[3], despite Orzammar's protests. It is also known that the members of Kal-Sharok's Assembly may originate from any caste[3], not just noble caste, and the Assembly's meetings are held in the Sharokovar thaig.[4]

Orzammar Assembly Edit

Orzammar's Assembly is housed in the Chamber of the Assembly in the Diamond Quarter and is second in influence only to the king or queen of Orzammar and capable in many instances of superseding their power. All the members of the Assembly come from the noblest houses of Orzammar and no other caste is represented in there.[5]

Steward of the Assembly Edit

The Steward of the Assembly is one of the most high-ranking positions in Orzammar's society. The Steward is a widely accepted and respected lord who oversees the proceedings of the Assembly. Because of their neutral position, they can neither voice opinions nor vote. They also have authority over the city guard, at least during the times when there is no monarch.

During the Fifth Blight, Bandelor is the Steward of the Assembly. It is also known that during the history of House Tethras, three of its members have held this office.

Deshyr Edit

Members of the Assembly are known as "deshyr", which roughly translates to "assembly lord".[6] The Assembly is composed of eighty deshyrs drawn from the most influential noble houses in the city. The right of a noble house to claim a vote in the Assembly is predicated on that house having a deshyr, general, or Paragon among their Ancestors.[1]

To become a member there must first be an opening in the tightly closed ranks, and this usually occurs through death or resignation. An acting member then nominates a candidate who must be approved by one-third of the Assembly.[6] Resignation is uncommon as a deshyr holds their position for life, as does the monarch. As a consequence, the average age of the deshyrs is quite high making the legislative body of the dwarves very traditionally oriented in its decisions.[7]

Splr dai
“Whatever we were before, we are now the Inquisition.” — The Inquisitor
This article contains spoilers for Dragon Age: Inquisition. Click here to reveal them.
If Bhelen was crowned king: During the events of The Descent DLC King Bhelen wishes to meet the Inquisitor in person but he is talked out of it by the deshyrs.

Surface Edit

The title is also used by the surface dwarves. Deshyrs are the voting members of the Dwarven Merchants' Guild, all of them representing influential surface families and most likely the ones who can trace their lineage to Orzammar's nobility or other upper castes. Varric Tethras and formerly his brother Bartrand are deshyrs in the Merchants' Guild.

Functions Edit

The Assembly as a legislative body sets law and advises the king, and functions to a lesser extent as a judicial system in the case of criminal law. Any deshyr may submit proposals or regulations for debate. The proposed law must be ratified by a majority vote of the Assembly members before the proposal can become law. Debates on such proposals can last years in some cases.[6] The Assembly is also used to decide the fate of those who commit serious crimes, such as kinslaying, and to determine their punishment.[8] It should be noted that in ancient times, the punishment of exile was issued in very rare cases as it was considered to be one of the fiercest.[9]

When the Assembly passes a law, it is recorded in the Memories.

Royal throne in the Assembly

The royal throne inside the Assembly

The king or queen too may submit proposals for consideration and these are decided upon in the same fashion as if the proposal had been made by a deshyr. When the Assembly enacts a law but does not have a unanimous vote, the king or queen may send the law back for further debate and another vote. This can be done on an unlimited basis and amounts to a legislative veto.[6]

The Assembly can also become deadlocked when a decision cannot be made and this can have disastrous consequences for the city, particularly when it regards the choosing of a king. Bloodshed and chaos run rampant during these times as warring candidates battle for dominance. Kings and queens are voted into power by a majority vote in the Assembly but this is typically not such a simple matter. Murder, blackmail, and betrayal often presage such decisions when various candidates vie for the position of king. Assembly members are also not safe during such times of debate as they can be murdered to open a spot in the exclusive roster.

Traditionally a king appoints his successor, often an elder son, to rule in his stead by naming him the first candidate for consideration.[10] This does not ensure the heir will be king as the Assembly is not required to recognize the king's choice, but in most cases the nominated child assumes the throne. There is no proscription upon a female heir being named.

In addition to voting in a king, the Assembly also votes upon the creation of new Paragons, a task of arguably even more importance than that of choosing the king. Declaring a dwarf a Paragon is essentially declaring a new noble house, since that Paragon and their family will be elevated to noble status as well as have the right to elect their own deshyr in the Assembly. It is known that Paragon Aeducan was chosen unanimously by the Assembly except a single abstention, while Vollney became a Paragon by the narrowest margin in history, one vote.

Splr dao
“We now have a dog and Alistair is still the dumbest one in the party.” — Morrigan
This article contains spoilers for Dragon Age: Origins. Click here to reveal them.
If the Warden is of Dwarf Noble or Dwarf Commoner Origin, they will be nominated for Paragon status following the defeat of the Fifth Blight. After months of deliberation in the Assembly, the Warden is named Paragon and if still alive, the vote is unanimous.[11]

Known members Edit

Steward Bandelor

Assembly Steward Bandelor

See also Edit

Ico codex entry Codex entry: Orzammar Politics

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Mentioned by Assembly Steward Bandelor.
  2. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 35
  3. 3.0 3.1 Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 1, p. 40
  4. Dragon Age (tabletop RPG), Game Master's Guide, set 2, p. 64
  5. As mentioned by Lord Denek Helmi.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Dragon Age (tabletop RPG), Player's Guide, set 2, p. 17
  7. As indicated in conversation with Lord Denek Helmi who says he is the youngest member and also that the Assembly is "mired in tradition".
  8. As seen in the Dwarf Noble Origin.
  9. Codex entry: Beregrand the Bold
  10. Dragon Age (tabletop RPG), Player's Guide, set 2, p. 18
  11. See epilogue.
  12. Dragon Age logo - new Dragon Age: The World of Thedas, vol. 2, p. 258