The Deep Roads are an extensive network of underground roads that once belonged to the dwarven kingdom. Many people of Ferelden thought these roads lost to time, but a large number of them still exist. During the First Blight, the dwarves were forced to close the entrances to the Deep Roads, abandoning them to the darkspawn. The entrances still exist, but are all sealed by octagonal steel doors decorated with geometric patterns that may form words or patterns.
The entrance at the dwarven city of Orzammar is also sealed, though the gate is opened on occasion to allow members of the Legion of The Dead into the Deep Roads, where they spend their last days fighting the darkspawn in hopes of redemption.
The Deep Roads are a grand network of tunnels that once linked the thaigs, the caverns where settlements were built in honor of the Paragons - dwarves that achieved legendary status among their people. These subterranean highways were works of unparalleled artisan achievement, with centuries of planning and engineering demonstrated in the geometry of their walls. Statues of the Paragons watched over passing travelers, and channels carried a flow of magma that kept the Deep Roads lit and warm.
This once-proud creation is now the source of much lament for what the dwarves have lost. Today, only two thaigs remain inhabited: Kal-Sharok in the Hunterhorn Mountains and Orzammar in the Frostback Mountains.
How much of the network is still open is unknown, as is how much of the Deep Roads the darkspawn have corrupted. It has been centuries since the darkspawn invaded the surface. Entering the Deep Roads brings great risks. There are many legends of travelers going missing in the hills near these entrances, most coming from Ferelden.
Travel within the Deep Roads is difficult. Many of the caverns leading down have been partially filled in with rock and earth, either on purpose to keep what is down there from getting to the surface, or through neglect and the passage of time. There is air available even in the deepest portions, as the dwarven craftsmen that built the roads created an intricate duct system to supply it. However, there is no natural light, and torches are needed to navigate the Deep Roads. The intersections have dwarven runes carved into walls, which may indicate directions.
Along the network of passages are abandoned way-stations and forts, as well as the empty ruins of thaigs lost to the darkspawn.
In the more ancient parts of the Deep Roads, the walls and floor are covered with a substance of oil and filth - a visible indication of the taint, spread even to the rock itself, by the darkspawn that exist there.
The Primeval Thaig Edit
There is no mention of the Primeval Thaig in the records and memories of the Shapers. In the thaig itself, things are very different from the rest of the Deep Roads. There are neither statues of the Paragons nor signs of darkspawn corruption. Even more bizarrely, there exist magically-created objects and temples to some deity, which is unusual because dwarves do not have a God-like figure. Structures are made of lyrium, which is not safe.
- Corrupted Spiders: A warning sign is the distinct chittering sound and numerous webs.
- Deep Stalker: Deep Stalkers are found throughout the Deep Roads. They feed on anything they can get their fangs on. They also have a tendency to ambush the party by having one Deep Stalker lead them into a trap - this can be avoided by killing the Deep Stalker before it can reach the ambush point.
- Genlocks: A short and numerous type of darkspawn.
- Hurlocks: Taller than the genlocks, they are acting as the heavy infantry of the darkspawn.
- Shrieks: The only known warning sign for an encounter with the deadly shriek is a strange deep humming or moaning sound performed in an almost chanting fashion.
- Ogres: Giant and powerful darkspawn as well as very rare.
- Despite the fact that the Deep Roads are constantly teeming with darkspawn (especially when compared to the surface), they are safer during a Blight, and the party never experiences random encounters whilst traveling from thaig to thaig underground.
- On the map of the Deep Roads, there are paths that lead to four symbols (e.g. the dual axes toward the bottom left, and the golem at the middle top). There are no quests that let you explore these areas.
- The map only shows a small portion of the Deep Roads. As mentioned in the epilogue of Origins and during Awakening, the network extends under a large portion of Thedas. It is confirmed they go at least as far as the Free Marches and the Hunterhorn Mountains, but it is possible that they go all the way to Tevinter or beyond.
- The Deep Roads seem to be loosely based on Moria from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.