- “No one ever listens until it's too late.”
Dragon Age: Origins Edit
During the Magi Origin, Cullen is the templar assigned to execute the Magi if they were to fail their Harrowing and become an abomination. It is later revealed that he had feelings for a female magi and hated the idea of having to be the one to kill her. If the Warden tries to pursue relations with Cullen, he ends up becoming extremely nervous and runs away with the excuse of attending other duties.
Cullen will be found once again as the last surviving templar in the upper levels of the Circle Tower during the Broken Circle quest. When the Warden meets him trapped inside a magical prison (conjured by Uldred), he tries to dismiss the Warden as another illusion which points out that is how Uldred saw fit to torture the templars he had captured. If the Warden is a female mage, Cullen will reveal his infatuation towards her.
If the Warden does not side with him, then he will try one last ditch effort to get the mages killed by complaining to Knight-Commander Greagoir, however Greagoir values Irving's word more. When siding with Cullen, the Warden will have the chance to agree with Cullen's complaint to Greagoir, which in turn even leads Irving to agreeing as well. In this event, the mages are all put under the watch of Cullen until something can be decided to do with them.There are several rumors about Cullen's fate after the Fifth Blight, which may be revealed if the Warden was a mage or if they sided with him during the outbreak of abominations in the Circle Tower. If the Warden sided with Cullen, or was a mage who did not grant the Circle Tower autonomy, then the rumors say that Cullen will eventually become Knight-Commander of the Circle Tower after Greagoir retires, watching over the magi with a much more strict and cruel regime than even Greagoir had. If the Warden was a mage and did not side with Cullen, and gives the tower autonomy, the templar endures festering mental scars from his experience in the tower. This leads to an eventual mental breakdown during which he kills three mage apprentices before fleeing. These rumors are revealed to be fiction in Dragon Age II.
Dragon Age II Edit
Cullen was sent by Knight-Commander Greagoir to the Circle in Kirkwall, where he became Knight-Captain and second-in-command to Knight-Commander Meredith. He is involved in several of the main quests and can be talked to during the developing acts for additional insights on the templar situation in Kirkwall.
Cullen's view on mages and magic have developed since his service under Greagoir. As a templar, Cullen accepts his duty to monitor the Circle of Magi and bring apostates to the Circle. As the story progresses, Cullen will confess to Hawke that Meredith is leading the Kirkwall Templar Order down a path he does not support. Cullen maintains that the Templar Order's purpose is not only to protect the population from magic, but also to protect the mages that the templars are sworn to oversee. As a result he begins to have doubts about his loyalty to Meredith versus his loyalty to the Templar Order.
Hawke first meets Cullen during the quest Enemies Among Us in Act 1, where he is interrogating a templar recruit about other recruits who have been recently disappearing. Later, if a non-mage Hawke does not take Bethany to the Deep Roads, it is Cullen who takes Bethany to the Circle. After Hawke's encounter with Ser Alrik in Act 2, Cullen will discuss the merits of the Rite of Tranquility, but will insist that he did not support Alrik's "Tranquil Solution" and give his opinion that the current system of the Harrowing and hunting down maleficarum is the best solution. Cullen features most prominently in Act 3. Cullen alerts Hawke to the accusations against Aveline in Favor and Fault and participates in the resolution of the short-lived mage-templar rebellion in Best Served Cold.
During the Act 3 Finale, Cullen and the other templars attack the Gallows after Meredith invokes the Right of Annulment. If Hawke sides with the templars, they will be asked to decide the fate of 3 mages who surrender. Cullen remarks that some mages were saved at the Fereldan Circle. If Hawke asks Cullen for an opinion, Cullen questions the necessity of annulling the Kirkwall Circle. He says the situation in Ferelden was much more dire and even then they saved some of the mages. In response, Meredith asks Cullen if he would take responsibility if it is proven that their prisoners are blood mages, Cullen answers that he believes that is what being a templar is about.
During the final confrontation with Meredith, Cullen orders her to step down when she orders Hawke to be executed, stating that her actions do not follow the tenets of the Order. Meredith will accuse him and the surviving templars of being blood mage thralls and then attack. Cullen will fight alongside Hawke.
If Hawke sided with the mages in the Act 3 finale, he will stand down after Meredith's defeat and allow Hawke to leave the city peacefully.If Hawke sided with the templars in the Act 3 finale, he and the surviving templars kneel before Hawke after Meredith's defeat, earning the respect of the templars, and winning Hawke the position of Viscount.
Dragon Age: Origins Edit
Dragon Age II Edit
- (DA:O) "Maker turn his gaze on you. I hope your compassion hasn't doomed us all."
- (If Hawke is a mage, Act I) "I've heard some disturbing rumors about you, Hawke. I hope they're not true."
- (To Hawke, Enemies Among Us, Act I) "I was at the Circle Tower in Ferelden during the Blight. I saw firsthand how templar's trust and leniency can be rewarded. I still have nightmares of Uldred's depravities."
- (To Hawke, Enemies Among Us, Act I) "Mages cannot be treated like people. They are not like you and me. They are weapons. They have the power to light a city on fire in a fit of pique."
- (To Hawke, Enemies Among Us, Act I) "There is a vigil before templars take their arms, but the gravest danger they face is falling asleep."
- (To Hawke about Meredith, Act I) "She is not an easy taskmaster. But it is not an easy task. I would not have liked her when I was younger. I thought mages deserved a softer touch. But Meredith is never fooled by a sweet face. She always sees the demon behind it."
- (To Hawke, Act I) "It used to be that templars were welcomed wherever they went—for defending people from dark magics. Now the townsfolk are as likely to slam their doors as offer us a bed. The image of the poor, chained apprentice is a powerful one. And one the mages are more than willing to exploit."
- (To Hawke about being a templar, Act I) "The templars are not a good choice for anyone who requires a strong sense of achievement. It is a losing battle. Every day new mages are born in Thedas. Every day, those born a dozen years ago come into their power. The best we can do is to contain the threat... and recruit more to fill our own ranks when they're emptied."
- (To Hawke about the Qunari, Act II) "They are heathens. They will stop at nothing less than the eradication of the Chantry."
- (To Hawke about the Qunari in Kirkwall, Act II) "Should it come to open conflict, we are the largest army in the city. We will be the ones to lead its defense."
- (To Hawke about Meredith, Act II) "I'm afraid she's become more reclusive since you came to Kirkwall, Hawke. These last three years especially, she's been very suspicious of outside influences. I almost wonder if something happened."
- (To Hawke about the Tranquil Solution after Dissent, Act II) "It's true there has been some discussion of the idea. But as you can see, it has gone no further than that. The Harrowing has served us well enough for centuries. It will be up to mages themselves whether they push us to more stringent measures."
- (Hawke asks him, if he approves of Ser Alrik's plan after Dissent, Act II) "The Tranquil ritual was created as a mercy so that mages need not be killed out of hand for a threat they might pose. There is an argument to be made for applying it more widely. But the mages have made it clear they view the ritual as no better than death. They want no controls on them at all."
- (To Meredith, Act III) "I defended you when Thrask started whispering you were mad, but this is too far!"
- If the imported Origins story featured a Human Magi Origin Warden, Cullen will refer to them in the beginning of Act 2, e.g. "I knew an Amell once. She was a special woman. Never met her like again." in the case of a female Warden and "There was an Amell in the Ferelden Circle, he left before Uldred attacked and came back to save us all." in the case of a male Warden.
- If the imported Origins save is a female Mage Warden, his Codex makes a reference to his feelings for the Warden while they were at the Circle Tower.