Guard is a combat mechanic in Dragon Age: Inquisition.


Guard: A type of combat training that protects the target from damage. Incoming attacks must deplete the guard before the target loses health. Some abilities, spells, and weapons do bonus damage against a target's guard. A target with an active guard resists being staggered or knocked down.

--Codex entry: Status Effects

Guard generation and loss Edit

Full guard bar

A warrior's guard at full.

There are two aspects of guard generation, the maximum guard and things that add to guard. The latter increases guard (seen as a metal colored mesh over the health bar) until the maximum is reached. Increasing the maximum increases the amount of guard that can be added. Guard that would be added after the maximum is reached is discarded.

Unlike Barrier, guard does not decay over time. Instead, guard is removed when one of the following occurs:

  • Incremental loss
    • One point of damage reduces guard by one point, including damage from falling.
    • Loading a saved game can reduce the guard of the Inquisitor.
    • (Trespasser) Travelling through Eluvians has a chance of reducing guard.
  • Total loss:

If a character has both barrier and guard active, damage is applied first to the barrier, then to guard and finally to health. This is independent of whether the barrier or guard was applied first.

Maximum guard Edit

The maximum guard is computed by taking the guard factor, multiplying it by the character's maximum health and rounding down, where the initial, unmodified guard factor is 25% and bonuses are additive to that percentage.[1] If, for example, health is 100 and the guard bonus from an item is 8%, then the new maximum guard is 100*(25%+8%) = 33.3 rounded down to 33.

Maximum guard increasing abilities Edit

Bulwark icon Bulwark
Untouchable Defense Untouchable Defense

Maximum guard increasing items Edit

DAI-Rare-Belt-icon2 Enhanced Guard BeltEnhanced Guard Belt
Rare Belt
Increases maximum guard by the specified amount.

+20 Guard Max

Evanura icon EvanuraEvanura
Unique Sword
Forged by the High Keeper of June, God of the Craft, after the elven homeland's creation in the Dales, this sword passed from the first Emerald Knight, Mathalin, to his squire, Sulan, after the boy saved him in battle. The last Emerald Knight to wield it was Lindiranae, who fell in the Second Exalted March's final battle.
Requires: Level 16

Damage: 158-163
+16 Cold Damage
+27% Armor Penetration
+40 Guard Max

Common Belt Icon2 Guard BeltGuard Belt
Common Belt
Increases maximum guard by the specified amount.

+10 Guard Max

Unique Belt Icon Master Guard BeltMaster Guard Belt
Unique Belt
Increases maximum guard by the specified amount.

+40 Guard Max

Unique Belt Icon Superior Guard BeltSuperior Guard Belt
Unique Belt
Increases maximum guard by the specified amount.

+30 Guard Max

Wintersbreath icon WintersbreathWintersbreath
Unique Shield
Egon Wintersbreath, one of history's greatest dwarven warriors, achieved Paragon status in his own lifetime, leading the defense of the Kingdom of Hormak during the First Blight until it fell in -35 Ancient. When word came that Orzammar would seal its passages from the other kingdoms, he dropped his hammer and left for the surface, grieving, "I would rather die under an alien sky than be buried in the Stone that betrayed us."
Requires: Level 15

Armor: 26
+3 Constitution
+30% Front Defense
+20 Guard Max
+6% Ranged Defense
Berserk: +10% damage bonus, +100% damage from all sources

Gaining guard Edit

Guard is gained from the use of activated abilities or as a benefit from items, usually as a consequence of hitting an enemy. Guard that is gained from active abilities like War Cry do not depend on the level or aggression of the taunted creature. It is thus possible to build up guard by following a slow moving animal like a Gurn around and taunting it until guard reaches full.

Guard gaining abilities Edit

Challenge Challenge
Charging Bull Charging Bull
To the Death En Garde
Block and Slash Flawless Defense
Horn of Valor Fortifying Blast
Rally icon Rally
Shield Wall (Inquisition) Shield Wall
Walking Fortress inc icon Siege-Breaker
Unbowed Still Standing
War Cry (Inquisition) War Cry

Crafting materials that add guard Edit

Fade-Touched Onyx icon Fade-Touched Onyx (Guard)Fade-Touched Onyx (Guard)

Fade-Touched Obsidian icon Fade-Touched Obsidian (Guard)Fade-Touched Obsidian (Guard)

Fade-Touched Silverite icon Fade-Touched Silverite (Guard)Fade-Touched Silverite (Guard)

Superb Dragon-Slaying Rune icon Sigil of the BrontoSigil of the Bronto

+100% maximum guard
-100% maximum barrier

Items that add guard Edit

Unique amulet icon Andraste's SacrificeAndraste's Sacrifice
Unique Amulet
Against all odds, Inquisition scouts discovered this amulet under the charred, fallen rafters of a burned-down Chantry. A mage who examined it said it "felt like all the power in the world."

+10% Cooldown Modifier
Chance on hit: Taunt all enemies within 8 meters for 4 seconds
The wearer of this amulet regenerates Mana or Stamina at a higher rate.

DAI-Unique-Dagger-icon2 Aurora's FreedomAurora's Freedom
Unique dagger
Aurora was a woman of Alamarri descent who lived in Minrathous at the height of the Imperium glory. She was born into slavery and bought by a powerful mage who became enchanted with her beauty and intelligence. The two eventually fell in love; the mage promised to free Aurora and marry her once he had earned a seat on the Magisterium. Aurora waited years for her mage, bowing to his every whim, but when he finally attained his coveted position, he broke his promise to Aurora and married a fellow altus magister. Aurora was given to the mage's bride as a gift, required to serve as her handmaid at the wedding. Heartbroken, Aurora resolved to take her life that night. The head of the mage's personal guard had watched their story unfold; her sympathies lay with Aurora, not the master she served. She convinced Aurora that it was the cruel, deceitful mage who deserved death and gave her a dagger that had been enchanted to addle the mind, making spellcasting impossible. Aurora killed the mage and his new wife as they slept, taking her revenge and her freedom in one night.
Requires: Level 18

Damage: 144-149
+8 Dexterity
+7% Flanking Damage Bonus
+12% Stagger on Hit
On Hit: Gain 3 Guard

Masterwork Vanguar Mail icon Bownammer PlateBownammer Plate
Unique Heavy Armor
Requires: Level 9

Armor: 165-166
+3% Magic Defense
+9% Melee Defense
On hit: gain 2 guard

Estwatch Guard icon Estwatch GuardEstwatch Guard
Unique Shield
Over the ages, Estwatch guards have defended their eastern outpost from both pirates and Qunari, and were defeated only once, by a massive Qunari invasion in 7:70 Storm. After joining a successful Orlesian attack to retake the island, they were awarded the emblem emblazoned on their shields ever since.
Requires: Level 12

Armor: 22
+30% Front Defense
+3% Magic Defense
+3% Melee Defense
+6% Ranged Defense
On Hit: Gain 3 Guard

Magehunter icon MagehunterMagehunter
Unique Shield
The third time the Right of Annulment was invoked on a Circle of Magi, in 3:09 Towers, Knight-Commander Gervasio of Antiva killed all of the city's mages for demonic possession. However, a massacre may have already occurred at the hands of Knight-Captain Nicolas, with the Right invoked as cover-up. The Seekers of Truth later apprehended Ser Nicholas, who had left the order to kill mages and admitted to having murdered over a hundred.
Requires: Level 17

Armor: 29
+30% Front Defense
+12% Magic Defense
+8% Spirit Resistance
On hit: gain 3 guard

Masterwork Vanguar Mail icon Masterwork Battlemaster MailMasterwork Battlemaster Mail
Unique Heavy Armor
Requires: Level 16

Armor: 219–229
+4% Magic Defense
+48 Maximum Health
+4% Melee Defense
On hit: gain 3 guard

Masterwork Vanguar Mail icon Masterwork Vanguard MailMasterwork Vanguard Mail
Unique Heavy Armor
Requires: Level 10

Armor: 154-162
+3% Magic Defense
+40 Maximum Health
+3% Melee Defense
On Hit: Gain 2 Guard

DAI-Unique-Dagger-icon1 Savage ThornSavage Thorn
Unique Dagger
An inscription on this dagger reads, "Nothing is more savage than the thorn one does not see."
Requires: Level 22

Damage: 159-164
+5% Critical Chance
+9 Dexterity
+8% Flanking Damage Bonus
On hit: gain 5 guard

Cassandra-Divine-armor-icon The DivineThe Divine
Unique Armor

Armor: 278-281
+12% Melee Defense
+12 Willpower
On hit: Gain 5 guard

The Last Stand icon The Last StandThe Last Stand
Unique Maul
This maul reportedly made the difference in Hossberg's survival of a darkspawn siege in the Third Blight. To this day, paintings in the Anderfels depict Lord Ansel atop the city's black tower, lofting the maul defiantly.
However, while Hossberg did force the horde into retreat, Grey Wardens entering the city found only chaos and no Ansel.

Requires: Level 8

Damage: 151-158
+3% Ranged Defense
+8 Strength
On Hit: Gain 2 Guard

DAI-Unique-Sword-icon1 Valos AtredumValos Atredum
Unique Sword
This blade is curiously weighted, making it difficult to stop a swing in progress. A reminder, perhaps, that once the Ancestors have spoken, their word is final.
Requires: Level 21

Damage: 224-233
+10% Critical Damage Bonus
+6% Stagger On Hit
+27 Strength
On Hit: Gain 5 Guard

Damaging guard Edit

Guard is normally damaged at a rate of one point of damage per one point of guard. This damage can be increased by the various abilities and items below, each of which give a bonus as a percentage. The final guard damage is computed by adding 100% to the sum of the bonuses and multiplying that by the damage done. For example, if the damage is 50, and Ring The Bell is activated in the attack (bonus 400%), then the final guard damage is 50 * (100% + 400%) = 250.

If the damage is greater than the guard, the guard damage bonus is ignored, the guard deducted from the damage and the remainder applied to health.[2]

Guard Damaging Abilities Edit

War Horn Break Their Spirit
Guard Smasher Guard-Smasher
Shield Bash (Inquisition) Ring the Bell
Spirit Blade icon Spirit Blade
Stonefist inquistion icon Unblockable Force

Crafting materials that add damage to guard Edit

Pyrophite icon PyrophitePyrophite

Summer Stone icon Summer StoneSummer Stone

Volcanic Aurum icon Volcanic AurumVolcanic Aurum

Items that add damage to guard Edit

Tyrddas Staff icon Accuser's StaffAccuser's Staff
Unique Staff
Andrastian mages once used staves like this one to exact justice against maleficarum. None have been made since the Towers Age.
Requires: Level 21

Damage: 79-81 Cold
+16 Spirit Damage
+9% Attack
+32% Barrier Damage Bonus
+16% Guard Damage Bonus
+18 Magic

DAI-Unique-Maul-icon Avvar War-MaulAvvar War-Maul
Unique Maul
Requires: Level 21

Damage: 318-331
+32% Armor Penetration
+9 Constitution
+16% Guard Damage Bonus
Increase maximum stamina by 15

Bane of Red Crossing icon Bane of Red CrossingBane of Red Crossing
Unique Bow
Ser Yves de Chevac used this bow in the Exalted March against the Dales – specifically, in the liberation of Val Royeaux, where the chevalier famously struck down the elven forces' commander with a shot to the throat at two hundred feet.
Requires: Level 8

Damage: 81–84
+3% Critical Chance
+3 Dexterity
+8% Guard Damage Bonus
10% chance to inflict Immolate damage at 50% weapon power

Bianca Arms Icon1 Compound Crossbow ArmsCompound Crossbow Arms
Rare Arms

113-118 Damage
+48% Guard Damage Bonus
+27% Sunder on Hit

Generic enhanced ring icon Enhanced Ring of Guard PenetrationEnhanced Ring of Guard Penetration
Rare Ring

+10 Guard Damage Bonus

Audacity icon KnightslayerKnightslayer
Unique Dual-Blade Dagger
The most famous elven criminal in Orlais was Alidda of Halamshiral, arrested in 4:45 Black for slaying three chevaliers. The trial, presided over by Divine Clemence I, revealed that Alidda had slain twelve chevaliers, in retaliation for the "graduation" tradition that sent knights into the slums to attack elves out past curfew. Alidda escaped and killed twenty more chevaliers, two in single combat, before she was cornered and, to avoid capture, cut her throat with her own dagger.
Requires: Level 13

Damage: 74–76 AoE
+32 Damage vs. Living
+5% Armor Penetration
+9% Critical Damage Bonus
+5% Guard Damage Bonus

Mark's Mangled Mace Icon Mark's Mangled MaceMark's Mangled Mace
Unique Mace
Sad Weapon
Requires: Level 12

Damage: 97-99
+9% Flanking Damage Bonus
+10% Guard Damage Bonus
On kill: grants 35 stamina

DAI-Unique-Hammer-icon Mhemet's War HammerMhemet's War Hammer
Unique Maul
Ser Mhemet, a Rivaini templar, fought in the Exalted March on the Dales for one reason: his love of killing elves, which pushed him to so many victories, the Chantry elevated him to Anointed after his death. To this day, Halamshiral elves consider his name a curse.
Requires: Level 16

Damage: 246-255
+10 Electricity Damage
+7% Guard Damage Bonus
+28 Strength

Bane of Red Crossing icon Punched by the MakerPunched by the Maker
Unique Bow
It was called "the Longarm" by its crafter, but the more colorful description stuck. Its shots are accurate and devastating, and they leave their target regretting life choices thus far, much as being punched by the Maker might.
Requires: Level 18

Damage: 147–152
+14% Armor Penetration
+16% Critical Chance
+14% Guard Damage Bonus
10% chance to apply Walking Bomb for 5 seconds, with detonation of 50% weapon damage

Staff of the Void icon Pyre of the ForgottenPyre of the Forgotten
Unique Staff
The Forgotten Ones belong to the ancient Elven pantheon, but their names were lost after the Great Betrayal. Their worship continued in the shadows, despite efforts to stamp it out in the old Dalish kingdom. This staff belonged to a priest of those gods, specifically Daern'thal.
Requires: Level 18

Damage: 68–70 Fire
+14% Armor Penetration
+16% Attack
+14% Guard Damage Bonus

DAI-ringicon2-common Ring of Guard PenetrationRing of Guard Penetration
Common Ring

+5% Guard Damage Bonus

Unique ring icon Ring of SmashingRing of Smashing
Unique Ring

+10% Armor Penetration
+10% Guard Damage Bonus

Saboteur Knife Icon Saboteur's KnifeSaboteur's Knife
Unique Dual-Blade Dagger
This knife was clearly made for agents sent to slow approaching armies. Its design allows a skilled hand to find the weakest points in a suit of armor with astonishing ease.
Requires: Level 20

Damage: 109-111 AoE
+4% Attack
+7% Critical Damage Bonus
+6 Dexterity
+14% Guard Damage Bonus
+20% damage bonus if not being hit for 5 seconds

Unique ring icon Superb Ring of Guard PenetrationSuperb Ring of Guard Penetration
Unique Ring

+20% Guard Damage Bonus

The Sunless Staff icon The Sunless StaffThe Sunless Staff
Unique Staff
Supposedly crafted in the dread Sunless Lands south of the Korcari Wilds, this staff was wielded by the shaman to the Avvar warlord Balak, who swept into the Fereldan valley at the height of the Steel Age. Balak was defeated, but the shaman vanished during the final battle in the southern Hinterlands.
Requires: Level 6

Damage: 33 Cold
+8% Barrier Damage Bonus
+4% Guard Damage Bonus
+3% Heal on Kill
2% chance to cast Veilstrike on a hit

References Edit

  2. BSN thread