Rhys is a handsome man around forty years of age (by 9:40 Dragon) with chiseled features, warm brown eyes, a dark beard and black hair with silvering streaks. He became a senior enchanter himself in 9:33 Dragon with the help of Arvin and he is also a skilled spirit healer and spirit medium.
Rhys was taken from his mother shortly after his birth. He was raised in a Chantry orphanage until he was old enough to come to the Orlesian Circle of Magi, the White Spire. He became an apprentice to Arvin, a curmudgeonly elderly elven mage. When Arvin was transferred to the consulate in Teraevyn, Tevinter Imperium he took Rhys along. After having been beaten by three magister's apprentices Rhys was sent back to the Spire. All his life Rhys assumed that he had been taken from a Ferelden family. After the Fifth Blight Wynne came to Rhys and introduced herself. She promised to return, but she never did. The templars didn't realize Rhys and Wynne were related, although the Seekers knew. Rhys and Adrian were lovers and then remained best friends.
Rhys is at the center of the events of Dragon Age: Asunder. He must try to prove that he is innocent of the murders taking place in the White Spire, the templar stronghold of Orlais. Having suspected that his friend Cole was responsible for the murders, he confronts him and tries to coerce him into confessing his murders to the templars. Cole reveals that he is the "Ghost of the White Spire" and explains that his fears of being forgotten were only assuaged when he killed people. Even so, Cole also feared alienating Rhys, his only friend. Trying to avoid a violent confrontation, Cole ran from Rhys and Rhys gave chase. Rhys however, ran into Knight Captain Evangeline, who knocked him out and apprehended him for breaking curfew. Due to Cole being unable to be seen by other people, Rhys' rendezvous with him looked like strange behavior to the templars; making Rhys the most likely suspect of the murders. Before an investigation or any punishment could be carried out on Rhys, Rhys' mother intervened and requested that Rhys aid her on her mission from the Divine.
At the behest of his mother Wynne, Rhys will reluctantly accompany her on a journey to the western wastelands. There he will assist Wynne in rescuing her friend, Pharamond: a Tranquil mage who was able to reverse the Rite of Tranquility; and then report the news of his research to the Divine in the Grand Cathedral. During the journey, Rhys spotted Cole, who had followed them from the Spire to warn Rhys that he overheard the Lord Seeker give a secret directive to Evangeline should their mission discover something untoward. Sometime afterwards, Rhys came to confide in his companions about Cole.
Upon arriving at Adamant Fortress and fighting through the demons infesting the place, the party discovered a possessed Pharamond, trapped by a binding circle of the Tranquil's own design. As they prepared the ritual to enter the Fade to confront the demon, the latter implies that it knew what Cole really was, though Wynne convinces Rhys that the demon is most likely lying. But upon entering the Fade, they discovered that Cole had been drawn in with them. Terrified of his surroundings, Cole flees into his nightmare, which Rhys and Evangeline rescued him from.
After defeating the demon and returning to the physical world, Rhys and his companions learned from Pharamond that he did discover through his research that it is possible to reverse the Rite of Tranquility by having a spirit touch the mind of a Tranquil. He was however, unable to find an alternative to the Rite in denying a mage his or her power. Despite this, Rhys advocated that his research involving abominations and benign spirits be preserved so that it could advance their knowledge in discovering an alternate method to the Rite in protecting mages from demonic possession. However, Evangeline condemned Pharamond for inadvertently killing the keep's inhabitants and attempted to execute him, only for Adrian to intervene. Rhys recklessly interposed him between the two women and mediated the conflict, suggesting that they take Pharamond's findings back to the Divine. Afterwards, he and Evangeline find Cole, who's curse had somehow been disrupted, presumably from entering the Fade, enabling the templar to see him. They then convince Cole to return to the Spire with them. Through this, Evangeline and Rhys grew closer, developing feelings for each other.
As they made their way back to Val Royeaux, Rhys became entangled between his companions' designs for him. Evangeline offered to let him flee with Cole to escape the templars; Adrian tried to convince him to return to White Spire to take the stand against the templars to show their true colours; Wynne tried to convince him to learn Pharamond's ritual, believing that it's the first step to improving the Circle and changing the templars' attitude towards mages. Ultimately, Rhys agreed to learn the ritual and return to Val Royeaux.
Divine Justinia V allowed the First Enchanters to convene at the White Spire in order to discuss reforming the policies of the Circle of Magi so that peace and coexistence between the mages and the Chantry would occur. As the conclave began, Adrian pleaded with Rhys to try to convince Wynne to support independence, but he declined, believing that he should at least give his mother a chance. Instead, Grand Enchanter Fiona attempted to derail the conclave to discuss seceding from Chantry rule. Rhys started to side with his mother, urging the conclave to support the Divine's plan.
Lord Seeker Lambert and his templars disrupted the meeting shortly after discussion of autonomy occurred; after which he attempted to disband the conclave and arrest Rhys for the murder of Pharamond, who was found dead in his cell with the murder weapon found in Rhys' chambers. This led to a battle between the templars and the mage conclave which resulted in many deaths on both sides. Rhys was captured by Lambert in the aftermath. He is later interrogated by the Lord Seeker, who attempts to convince him that Cole is a demon and that Rhys has been under its influence. He also attempts get a confession out of Rhys that he was being controlled by it.
Cole later freed Rhys and they attempted to sneak out of the tower using his invisibility. However, Lambert tracks them down with Rhys' phylactery and uncovers them using the Litany of Adralla, revealing that Cole was in fact a spirit using blood magic. As the Lord Seeker proceeded to viciously attack Cole, Rhys stands up in his defense, stating that not all spirits should be judged the same. However, Cole accepted the truth that he was not real and faded away, causing Rhys to lose the will to fight. Evangeline arrived and assaulted Lambert but was mortally wounded before Lambert retreated to escape the pursuing mages. The mage resistance was subsequently able to route the templars from the White Spire. Wynne however, sacrificed herself to save the life of Rhys' beloved, Evangeline.
Rhys and the mage resistance fled to the safety of Andoral's Reach and in the ancient Tevinter ruins, Rhys became the spokesperson for the Aequitarians, his deceased mother's fraternity, at the request of First Enchanter Irving. When Adrian came to summon him for the vote of independence, Rhys became suspicious that she refused to make eye contact with him and forced her to confess to murdering Pharamond. She stated that Wynne would've convinced the conclave to vote against independence, and that she would fight the templars only if her son was threatened. Rhys threatened to throw Adrian to her death, to which she countered that she had only done what was necessary for the good of all mages. This made Rhys recall how Anders killed Grand Cleric Elthina to incite the war between mages and templars. He spared Adrian but renounced their friendship.Rhys later made the tie-breaking vote for all mages to rebel against the Chantry. He then met with Evangeline and discussed whether or not there was ever a mage named Cole. They shared a kiss before joining a group of his mother's friends at her funeral.
- In Dragon Age: Origins, Wynne mentions to Alistair that she has a son, in their conversations.
- Although Rhys has spent his life in an Orlesian Circle tower, it is suggested that he might not speak with an Orlesian accent.