In Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening (as well as some downloadable content) there are multiple instances where the developers have included in-jokes. This article contains detailed information regarding these Easter eggs.
Baldur's Gate series
- When exiting a map location, a window asks "Gather your party and venture forth?" This is a reference to Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Icewind Dale: when the PC attempted to leave an area too far ahead of the NPC companions, a voiceover would state, "You must gather your party before venturing forth." This was considered extremely annoying by some players.
- A loading-screen tip reads: "When all else fails, go for the eyes!" This is a reference to Minsc and Boo.
- The Pearl's female employees may utter: "Hey Sexy! Do you want to take a look at my diddies?" The same phrase is one uttered by the prostitutes in Athkatla in Shadows of Amn.
- An item Dog may dig up is a pair of pantaloons that could have once been silver or gold. This is a reference to the golden, silver, and bronze pantaloons that could be collected in a trilogy-spanning Easter egg (in Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate II, and Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, respectively).
- In one of the Denerim taverns is a red-robed woman named Edwina. This is a reference to Edwin and his transformation into a woman while attempting to unlock magical secrets in Shadows of Amn. (Edwina also makes an appearance in The Hanged Man (Dragon Age II).
- In the same tavern (unless they are driven out at Sergeant Kylon's request) is a group of mercenaries who shout the line "To battle, and victory!"—a battle cry used by many of the default PC voices in the Baldur's Gate series.
- One of the codex entries mentions a powerful enemy named Gaxkang, also part of the quest Unbound. This is a reference to the demilich Kangaxx, a hidden character who was one of the toughest fights in Baldur's Gate II.
- In the secret conclusion Summoning Sciences, you may summon Arl Foreshadow and steal his notes. His name refers to a literary device and is a reiteration of "Lord Foreshadow" from Baldur's Gate—who said "I... make it a point in keeping in touch with Neverwinter... It was quite popular in those nights," which is a reference to Neverwinter Nights (released in June 2002). With that in mind, Foreshadow's latest notes are presumably a hint of a game or games to come. See also Codex entry: The Notes of Arl Foreshadow.
- When Shale is selected, she will sometimes shout "Stop poking me!"—a reference to Baldur's Gate when Xzar was clicked on repeatedly. This is also a common joke in Blizzard games like Warcraft and StarCraft. Morrigan has a similar reaction if present (and clicked on) during Captured!.
- In the Witch Hunt DLC, there is a book in the Circle library called "Does This Book Have Griffons in it?"—a reference to the Baldur's Gate II character Jan Jansen and his obsession with griffons. Also during a dialogue with Wynne the Warden can ask a very similar question: "Does the story have griffons in it?"
Neverwinter Nights series
- The Harvest Festival Ring in Honnleath (The Stone Prisoner DLC) could be a nod to the Harvest Festival Cloak from Neverwinter Nights 2; both are effectively references to the real world's Harvest festival.
- Haven Tombstone: "In memory of the Lohs, forever frozen in never-ending winter nights."
- The crossbow Dwarven Defender is likely a reference to the Dwarven Defender class in another BioWare game, Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark.
Mass Effect series
- One codex entry refers to Mass Effect, its main character, and its notoriously slow elevator rides.
- On a gravestone in Haven is written "T.O. Hanoi. Unloved, unmourned." This refers to the Tower of Hanoi puzzle used in Mass Effect, Jade Empire, and Knights of the Old Republic.
- In the prelude to the random encounter the Crater, an old human couple and a smoldering crater can be seen. The male human says, "It's a boy, Marta! Ten fingers, ten toes! The Maker's answered our prayers!" This is a reference to Superman. The ore recovered from the crater can be crafted into Starfang with the Warden's Keep DLC installed and completed. Starfang and the Crater can both be traced to the comic book Superman: Kal. In this "elseworld" setting, Superman crashes to earth in medieval England, and forges both a suit of armor and a sword from his crashed spacecraft. In the story this sword is the legendary Excalibur.
- A book found in the Denerim Market contains a poem about Nugs and Mush, written by "Paragon Seuss", referencing to Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham.
- A book retrieved by Dog contains a passage that begins with "Day 42:". It could be a coincidence, but might be an underhanded reference to Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
- Death of a Templar may be a nod to Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller.
- Oathkeeper could be a reference to the sword of the same name in 'A Song of Ice and Fire.
- Codex entry: History of the Circle begins with, "It is a truth universally acknowledged..." which is a tribute to the opening line of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. This is also in keeping with the extremely sarcastic tone of the entry that follows. Writers Sheryl Chee and Mary Kirby commonly joked on the official forums about making a Jane Austen game.
- The design of the commonly-found Iron Ring is described as a serpent devouring its own tail, an ancient symbol known as Ouroboros.
- A few characters have names that are identical or similar to those of characters in the Wheel of Time series. Examples include Loghain (Logain Ablar), Eamon (Eamon Valda) and Niall (Pedron Niall).
- The Spear-Thrower, found on the genlock forge master in the Deep Trenches, is a reference to the Earth's Children series by Jean M. Auel. The character Jondalar designs the first "Spear-Thrower" near the end of The Valley of Horses.
- The Blackstone Irregulars are a possible reference to the Baker Street Irregulars employed by 'Sherlock Holmes'.
- The 'Statement of Defiance' at Soldier's Peak lists 'Jason sans les Argonauts' as one of the Grey Warden defenders of the Peak, a reference to the character of Greek myth Jason, who sailed a ship named the Argos with his Argo-nauts. In this context, 'sans les' is 'without the' in French.
- In the Dwarf Commoner origin, the PC may be offered two silvers for their front teeth. This is probably a nod to Fantine from Les Misérables, who sold her two front teeth for two silvers.
- At Lake Calenhad Docks, in an inaccessible area behind the Mages' Collective liaison ('off-stage,' as it were), two mages discuss their fear that they are merely "characters in a play". This seems to be a nod to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard, which itself pokes fun at Shakespeare's Hamlet.
- "Something Wicked" is probably named after part of a line from Shakespeare's Macbeth: "By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes" (the last five words were also used by Ray Bradbury as the title of one of his stories).
- In Wonders of Thedas, Leliana will comment on a pair of glass slippers, a reference to Cinderella.
Film and television
- When pursuing a romance with Morrigan, the player has the option of replying "Is it bigger than a bread box?" when told that she has something for them (her ring). This is well-worn tongue-in-cheek line popularized by Steve Allen (who used it often on What's My Line?), and is also commonly used in games of '20 Questions' to narrow down size. However, given David Gaider's outspoken fandom of Whedon's work, it could be a more direct reference to an episode Buffy in which Spike asks the same question.
- During a personal conversation with Alistair, his final line is, "Good. Now that the warm, fuzzy part of the day is over with, we can get back to the ritual dismemberments. Oh, wait, it's not Tuesday, is it?" This is a reference to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which originally aired on Tuesday nights in the US; in the famous "Once More with Feeling" musical episode of the series, Buffy uses the same in-joke: "Dawn's in trouble. Must be Tuesday."
Lord of the Rings
- In Tapster's Tavern an NPC can be heard saying "This, my friend, is a pint!" to his drinking buddy—a possible reference to the film adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring.
- In the underground ruins of the Dalish origin story, at the back of the tunnel behind the Mirror, is a dwarven sculpture honoring those who "dug too frugally and too shallow and struck elves." This is a play on Lord of the Rings: "Moria. You fear to go into those mines. The dwarves dug too greedily and too deep."
- The random encounter Treacherous Path brings the party to a small abandoned camp with a Shade ambush and two dead bodies. A note on one of the corpses reads, "Why, oh why didn't we just take the flying eagles?" This is a reference to one of the more common debates in the Lord of the Rings fandom (whether the eagles could've made the journey to Mordor or not).
- During combat, Zevran may suggest that you "compete for points". This could be a reference to Legolas and Gimli keeping a running count of how many foes each had slain per battle.
- The Ring of the Warrior is "gold, covered in elven script. Whatever the writing says, it's awfully wordy." This is a likely reference to the One Ring (with a jab about Tolkien's works being rather long-winded).
- To the question about how her mother saved the Warden and Alistair Morrigan answers that she turned into a giant eagle and plucked them into one talon, a possible reference to how Frodo and Sam are saved in the end of the Return of the King.
- During the Gauntlet, Ealisay asks what a lark could carry but a man not. One of the possible answers is "A coconut", a reference (altered to protect innocent swallows) to Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
- During the conversation with the hermit in the Brecilian forest, his first question is. "What is your name?". which is delivered similarly to the same line by the Keeper of the Bridge of Death, also from Holy Grail. You may then answer "My name is Winifred"—which is a reference to the TV series Angel (created by Joss Whedon, of whom David Gaider is an outspoken fan).
- A random encounter leads to a group of people standing around an axe stuck in a stump. The axe is called Axameter, and whoever pulls it out is the true ruler of the land according to one "dung covered peasant". Later dialogue strongly resembles that of Monty Python and the Holy Grail as one peasant argues that the Warden has a regal air because they haven't "got dung all over" them. The dung-covered peasant also remarks that the proceedings are "no basis for a system of government."
- A dialogue option with Uldred at the climax of Broken Circle results in him saying, "We needn't fixate on who killed whom", resembling the "Let's not bicker and argue about..." line from the wedding scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
- When you discuss Wynne with Petra, she describes how Wynne saved them but, "when it was over the demon was dead, but Wynne wasn't moving either. I was so afraid she was... gone." A possible response is "She was probably just stunned"—perhaps a reference to the famous "Dead Parrot Sketch".
The Princess Bride
- Before the final battle, if you choose to leave Shale at the gate, she will say her goodbyes to you and then say, "Have fun storming the castle!"
- In order to acquire information on Sten's sword Asala, you can instruct Sten to "Tear his arms off", a la Inigo's instructions to Fezzik.
- When surrounded by Ser Cauthrien and her cadre of guards, the Grey Warden has the option to reply "Death First!" as Wesley does when challenged by Prince Humperdinck after crossing the Fire Swamp.
- One of Sten's lines begins with "Get used to disappointment", as the Man in Black tells Inigo Montoya.
- Upon unlocking the door to free Anora (who is dressed in armor), you can comment: "Aren't you a little short for a guard?" This is a reference to Star Wars: A New Hope, when Leia sees Luke in a similar situation.
- After defeating Loghain's men in Dane's Refuge, a possible conversation option with the barkeep is, "Sorry about the mess." This is another nod to A New Hope, in which Han delivers the same line to the bartender in the Mos Eisley cantina after killing Greedo.
- One of the better pieces of rogue armor, which can be purchased for 20 sovereigns from Legnar in Orzammar Commons, is given the name "Shadow of the Empire". This references both the book and video game of the same name.
- A captive seeking freedom may attempt to bribe the Warden with a reward "greater than they can imagine" One response option is nearly identical to Han Solo responding to the same offer made by Princess Leia.
- When speaking to Zevran about Antiva, he will mention wishing he'd bought a pair of Antivan leather boots before he left, to which you can reply "No boots for you!" This is a reference to the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld.
- In a certain conversation with Oghren, he propositions you; if you reply "I'm a man!", he will say "Nobody's perfect!"—a reference to the final two lines of Some Like It Hot.
- If Leliana is present when encountering Broken Circle's sloth demon, she will dreamily murmur, "You have no power over me." This line is the crutch phrase of Labyrinth.
- Sten makes a reference to Lassie with Dog in one of the party banters. After claiming to not understand the mabari, he asks if Dog is trying to say something about a child down a well.
- Zevran's obsession with the smell of Antivan leather is a reference to an infamous commercial that aired on TV from the mid 1970s to the early 1980s, voiced by Ricardo Montalbán. Montalbán was the spokesman in these advertisements for the Chrysler Cordoba in which he famously extolled the "Soft Corinthian Leather" of its interior.
- During the quest Captured!, a guard may ask the Warden for a password. One of the options is "rosebud", an allusion to the film Citizen Kane, where rosebud is the last word of the titular Kane. The guard will reply 'that's kind of fruity for a passwords, don't you think?'
- In the DLC Witch Hunt, when walking through the tower two mages can be heard talking about pets; one of them mentions an owl and the other responds "What kind of mage has an owl?" This may be a reference to Harry Potter.
- Oren, the Warden human noble's nephew, can say, "Take that dire bunny! Fear my sword of truthiness!" The word truthiness is a reference to the pilot episode of The Colbert Report. This could also be a reference to Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series. "Dire bunny" could also be a reference to Monty Python and the Holy Grail's 'killer rabbit'.
- When talking with Niall during Lost in Dreams, he says "Every time you take a step you think: maybe this step will take me home ... but you'd be wrong". This a reference to the opening narration of Quantum Leap.
- If Shale is asked about her name when first encountered, she jokingly suggests being named after certain stones like 'Flint', 'Pebbles', or 'Rubble', referencing to The Flintstones.
- In Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening, when you first meet Nathaniel Howe with an imported Warden, he will say "Aren't you supposed to be ten feet tall? With lightning bolts shooting out of your eyes?" This is a reference to the film Braveheart, in which Willam Wallace is described as seven feet tall and able to defeat the English with "fireballs from his eyes and bolts of lightning from his arse".
- At the Vigil's Keep courtyard, when you trigger the dialogue with Anders at Andraste's statue, one dialogue option is "With power comes responsibility"—a reference to Spider-Man's Uncle Ben, known for the quote "With great power comes great responsibility."
- If you're using the "experienced" or "wise" voice set, your character will remark "Warden sense tingling" when he spots enemies (even before being recruited!). This is a reference to Spider-Man's "spidey" sense.
- The codex entry "A Rolled-Up Note" is very similar to the one passed to Evey in V for Vendetta. The fact that it is rolled up is also further evidence, as in the film the note needed to be rolled up to be passed through the wall.
- The name of the world in Dragon Age, Thedas, is an acronym originally used on the official forums to refer to the then-unnamed setting. It stands for The Dragon Age Setting ('The D.A.S.').
- If you send Dog to retrieve an item, he may return with a cake. One of the possible responses is a refusal to eat the found cake. This sequence of events is a reference to a Penny Arcade strip.
- Occasionally Alistair says "Who ordered the death?" when in combat. This probably refers to Eddie Izzard's standup routine on the Church of England ("Cake or death?").
- A random encounter in the Denerim Market District has nine cats standing in a row. This is the infamous "Zombie Kitten Army" made famous by developers and regulars on the original BioWare forums. For those who purchased the Feastday Pranks, the Cat Lady's Hobble-Stick seems to make the cats come out a bit more often and also move about a bit more. Players may need to enter the Market at least 42 times for this to trigger.
- If you speak with Sten at the end-game celebration, he mentions he thought there would be cake, and that "[t]he cake is a lie", referencing to Portal.
- During the succession crisis in Orzammar, you may come across two criers—one for Prince Bhelen, one for Lord Harrowmont. Regardless of which candidate you support, after the succession has been decided, the "news of the hour" reported by the winner's crier ends with "Epic fail!" 'Epic fail' is sometimes described by tabletop RPG folk as "rolling a one." In recent years, it has spread as part of internet culture wherein a person or group fails spectacularly.
- When meeting a Blackstone Liaison for the first time, he will greet you by saying, "As I live and breathe, you're the Grey Warden everyone's been talking about." This is a reference to the way irresponsible NPCs greet you in Oblivion when wearing the Grey Cowl of Nocturnal.
- An apparently perfectly innocent recipe found in Arl Eamon's home, Fluffy Mackerel Pudding, has a real-life history of being one of Weight Watchers' most popular and most disturbing recipes.
- One of the side quests in the Korcari Wilds, The Missionary begins with a letter written by a man called Rigby to his son Jogby. This probably refers to Gary Gygax's habit of naming multiple characters in the original Greyhawk D&D campaign some variation on "Igby" (Riggby and Bigby being the best-known).
- In the Human Noble Origin story, the PC is tasked with removing their pet mabari from the pantry, only to find on arrival that there are a number of giant rats to be fought. After the combat, Ser Gilmore says "Giant rats? It's like the start of every bad adventure tale my grandfather used to tell." Rats (giant or otherwise) are a common plot element in a number of other games, including Fallout, most of the Elder Scrolls series, Baldur's Gate and so on.
- The character "Lady Shayna" in the codex entries of the Legend of Calenhad is a reference to LdyShayna, a moderator on the Dragon Age forums.
- Wade and his drakeskin quests may be a reference to the Jagged Alliance series. There was a mini-quest in JA2 featuring an effeminate clothier and a buffed-up leather jacket as the reward. The most detailed FAQ available for the first Jagged Alliance game is attributed to Wade Glasscock.
- Every so often when Oghren is spoken to in Camp, rather than opening dialogue he will laugh and say "Asschabs!". This is an in-joke by David Gaider, who after the long hours of writing Dragon Age, created the 'ASSociation of CHAir Butt Sufferers'.
- During repartee between Sister Theohild and Mother Perpetua, Theohild asks Perpetua, "What would Andraste do?" A snowclone of the Christian motto of the 1890s and 1990s "What Would Jesus Do?"
- In the Elven Ruins, if you reject the Gatekeeper's offer for conversation with the Lady of the Forest, he then says "The die is cast"—spoken by Julius Caesar when he crossed the Rubicon.
- In a dialogue between Oghren and Velanna in Awakening, Oghren's voice is distorted to a robotic sound, which resembles and references Microsoft Sam (Microsoft's text-to-speech voices).
- Outside of the Spoiled Princess, one can overhear two NPCs having a discussion about the nature of their world, in which one of them seems vaguely aware that he is part of some sort of story or video game, thus breaking the fourth wall. This is probably a reference to Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.
- Codex entry: A Very Chewed and Moist Book is a journal that also breaks the fourth wall. The writer is concerned that there is an 'unseen hand far above us', and 'hearing the sound of clicking'.
- After The Urn of Sacred Ashes, Haven has a large set of developer quotes in the form of gravestones behind the farm house:
- "Questing for Blackrock Sword. Be back soon --MB" refers to Ultima VII.
- "The LHC did it..." refers to the Large Hadron Collider.
- "Jennifer Hepler: Queen of the Dwarves." Jennifer Hepler is a BioWare writer who worked on Dragon Age and wrote the Dwarf Commoner Origin as well as the quest line for the Anvil of the Void.
- "Building 7." refers to the third tower to collapse on 9/11.
- "In memory of John Doe: human commoner."
- "Great-great-great grandfather Gygax."
- "Cori May: Here I stay."
- "Sheryl was not buried here. She was cremated."
- "In memory of Aluvian Darkstar, who fought the darkspawn relentlessly for four years." This seems to be a nod to BioWare reusing names for pre-generated characters. This could also be a reference to BioWare's testing character during development, who is seen to be named 'Aluvian' in early development screenshots.
- "I told you I was sick" is a reference to Spike Milligan, who quipped that he wanted his tombstone to read, "I told you I was ill".
- "post hoc ergo propter hoc": the Latin form (standard) of the philosophical fallacy "After this, therefore due to this."
- The Mages' Collective quest Blood of Warning is loosely based on the tenth of the Plagues of Egypt, when Moses learned that all the firstborns of Egypt would be killed. He was told to warn all of the Israelites to paint their doors with the blood of a lamb or goat in order to protect themselves.
- ↑ Kirby, Mary. "9 little cats". BioWare Social Network. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
- ↑ Kirby, Mary (June 29, 2009). "One-line lore questions only please" (archive). BioWare Forums ( ). Retrieved on May 25, 2012.
- ↑ Chee, Sheryl (November 11, 2009). "Asschabs?". BioWare Social Network. Retrieved May 16, 2012.