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    Class/Character Build Guide by KerathArcwind

    Version: 1.01 | Updated: 01/27/10 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

                              Dragon Age: Origins PC
                        Class and Character Building Guide
                                By: KerathArcwind
    The purpose of this guide is to take a look at the different classes and
    specializations open to the main character (generally referred to as 'The
    Warden' throughout the guide) and the various stat and talent builds that I
    have found to work well. It also highlights some of the better endgame
    equipment to keep an eye out for, and provides some suggestions on how to
    build your allies based on the stats and talent sets that they start with.
    This is my second guide for GameFAQs. I've played Dragon Age entirely too 
    much over the last few months, finishing the game with nearly every origin 
    and nearly every class/weapon build combination, so I am speaking almost 
    wholly from actual in-game experience and only occasionally from informed 
    speculation. I've tried to go into pretty good detail to help out players
    that are having trouble making various builds work or just plain finding
    the combat encounters in the game too difficult. This guide is based on game
    version 1.02b, with The Stone Prisoner, Blood Dragon Armour, and Warden's 
    Keep DLCs. If I get a chance, I'll update with info from Return to Ostagar 
    and the upcoming expansion.
    Version History
    01/26/2010 - Version 1.0 submitted to GameFAQs
    - The Dragon Age Wiki for some supplementary info
    - The Gamebanshee Dragon Age database for brushing up on some gear stats
    Please follow GameFAQs' rules and guidelines regarding how this FAQ can and
    should be used. They're kind enough to provide such a lovely resource for us
    all at no cost, after all. If you borrow from it, it'd be nice if you give
    credit where credit's due :)
    Comments and corrections can be sent to bturnereebATgmailDOTcom.
    Other people who have gotten my permission to post the guide:
                         Table of Contents and Navigation
    Section I: General Starting Class Overview [DAOS1.0]
         1.1 - The Warrior [DAOS1.1]
         1.2 - The Rogue [DAOS1.2]
         1.3 - The Mage [DAOS1.3]
    Section II: Class Specializations [DAOS2.0]
         2.1 - Warrior Specializations [DAOS2.1]
         2.2 - Rogue Specializations [DAOS2.2]
         2.3 - Mage Specializations [DAOS2.3]
    Section III: Building the Warden [DAOS3.0]
         3.1 - The Tank [DAOS3.1]
         3.2 - The Two-Hander [DAOS3.2]
         3.3 - The Dual Wielder [DAOS3.3]
         3.4 - The Archer [DAOS3.4]
         3.5 - A Preface on Mage Builds [DAOS3.5]
         3.6 - The Nuker [DAOS3.6]
         3.7 - The Support Healer [DAOS3.7]
         3.8 - The Debilitator [DAOS3.8]
         3.9 - The Spellsword [DAOS3.9]
         3.10 - A Quick Guide to Spell Combos [DAOS3.10]
    Section IV: Noteworthy Gear [DAOS4.0]
         4.1 - Amulets, Belts, and Rings [DAOS4.1]
         4.2 - Mage Armour [DAOS4.2]
         4.3 - Light Armour [DAOS4.3]
         4.4 - Medium Armour [DAOS4.4]
         4.5 - Heavy Armour [DAOS4.5]
         4.6 - Massive Armour [DAOS4.6]
         4.7 - Shields [DAOS4.7]
         4.8 - Waraxes, Maces, and Longswords [DAOS4.8]
         4.9 - Battleaxes, Greatswords, and Mauls [DAOS4.9]
         4.10 - Bows [DAOS4.10]
         4.11 - Daggers and Staves [DAOS4.11]
    Section V: Building and Developing Your Team [DAOS5.0]
         5.1 - Alistair [DAOS5.1]
         5.2 - Morrigan [DAOS5.2]
         5.3 - The Dog [DAOS5.3]
         5.4 - Leliana [DAOS5.4]
         5.5 - Sten [DAOS5.5]
         5.6 - Zevran [DAOS5.6]
         5.7 - Wynne [DAOS5.7]
         5.8 - Shale [DAOS5.8]
         5.9 - Oghren [DAOS5.9]
         5.10 - Final character **SPOILER ALERT** [DAOS5.10]
    This is just a very generalized overview to give some idea of what each class 
    is all about. More details, such as what stats to prioritize or what exact 
    abilities everyone gets, will be covered in later sections on actual 
    character builds. I'm generally assuming that the reader already knows the 
    basic mechanics of the game, such as what each stat does, what the difference 
    between defense and armour is, what fatigue is, etc. If you don't, then you 
    may want to read up on that first.
    1.1 - The Warrior [DAOS1.1]
    Warriors are largely what you'd expect from an RPG - they are the most 
    versatile weaponry specialists of any base class, able to learn all three 
    melee styles (sword and shield, dual wielding, and two-handed weapons) as 
    well as archery. Their class-specific talent tree allows them to make better 
    use of heavier armour than anyone else, improves their performance when 
    they're engaging large numbers of enemies, and gives them some control over 
    the degree to which enemies will prioritize them as a target, which is 
    particularly important for warriors filling the tank role. However, you 
    shouldn't go into the warrior class expecting them to be the easiest class to 
    play, as they tend to be in many other RPGs. Like rogues and mages, warriors 
    require strategy to use well and can't simply go charging head-on into any 
    battle they encounter, as tempting as that might be. In general, warriors 
    will be at the forefront, but recklessness and/or lack of preparation can 
    rapidly result in defeat and death.
    + High HP
    + Best heavy armour users
    + Large weapon selection
    + Work relatively well on AI 'auto-pilot'
    + Can achieve very high damage output across a wide variety of battlefield 
    - Smaller bag of tricks than the other classes
    - Greater need to manage stamina due to fatigue
    - Not as sturdy as warriors in a lot of RPGs; caution and tactics still 
    required to survive
    - More one-dimensional than the other classes
    1.2 - The Rogue [DAOS1.2]
    Rogues provide a broad blend of damage, crowd control, support, and general 
    utility. While not as sturdy or well suited to heavy armour as the warrior, 
    rogues have a nice bag of tricks that gives them as much (or even more) 
    survivability as their meaty frontline friends. Rogues probably require the 
    most positional tactics of any class type, scouting ahead to clear out 
    hazards or assassinate particularly dangerous targets before the rest of the 
    group charges in, staying on the move and making use of battlefield 
    positioning to maximize their impact. Rogues are more limited in their 
    selection of fighting styles than warriors, typically using either dual 
    wielding, archery, or some combination of the two. However, because of their 
    class mechanics, rogues are generally regarded as being better than warriors 
    at both of these styles of combat. There's almost never a time when you won't 
    want at least one rogue in your group, if only to clear out traps and pick 
    + A lot of versatility in roles and combat style
    + Tons of utility
    + Great survivability if built correctly
    + Best skill users of any class
    - Generally relegated to using light armour
    - Less margin of error than warriors due to lower hp and less armour
    - Require somewhat more micromanagement than warriors to be effective
    - Limited weapon selection
    - Tend to be defensively weak and vulnerable in the early game
    1.3 - The Mage [DAOS1.3]
    If you've played BioWare RPGs before, you're probably expecting the mage to 
    be a complete and utter powerhouse. If so, you guessed correctly. Mages have 
    the most raw power of any class, in addition to having an enormous bag of 
    tricks for keeping themselves alive against the odds and horribly 
    incapacitating and mangling even the strongest enemies. Many of their spells 
    are extremely potent on their own, but the spell combo mechanic can ramp up 
    the destruction to even greater levels. For sheer battlefield control and 
    dominance, nothing exceeds the potential of a mage. They also make excellent 
    group support characters, and can even be melee tanks if you pick the Arcane 
    Warrior specialization (more on that later).
    + Far and away the highest damage output of any class
    + The only class that can heal
    + Enormously potent spell combinations
    + Surprisingly high survivability and crowd control with the right spells
    + Can become the heaviest armour tanks in the game with the Arcane Warrior 
    - Require the most micromanagement of any class to be effective, unless you 
    just use them as a healbot
    - Low hit point pool and poor armour, so positioning and defensive spells are 
    necessary for survival
    - Very little equipment variety
    - Actually kind of too strong; have a lot of overpowered abilities and tricks 
    that can trivialize encounters that would otherwise be very challenging.
    Class specializations become available at levels 7 and 14. All humanoid 
    characters other than Sten can learn 2 specializations, though only the PC 
    actually gets to pick both, as the others generally start with one. Level 
    requirements for each talent are in parentheses.
    2.1 - Warrior Specializations [DAOS2.1]
    Source: Reward from Arl Eamon
    Bonuses: +2 Willpower, +1 Cunning
    The Champion specialization is a solid choice for almost any type of warrior, 
    as it provides nice group buffing and crowd control abilities. It is 
    particularly well suited to tanks, since they'll usually be in the thickest 
    parts of the fight. This is the only warrior specialization that bolsters 
    Champion talents:
    War Cry (7) - An AoE attack debuff. Nothing spectacular on its own, though if 
    you've got stamina to spare, it never hurts either.
    Rally (12) - A sustained AoE defense buff. Very handy for shieldtanks and for 
    giving a survivability boost to any rogues in your party. The main downside 
    is that it knocks allied rogues out of stealth when they enter its AoE, which 
    I've always thought was bloody silly.
    Motivate (14) - Adds an attack buff to Rally. If you use Rally a lot, it's 
    worth getting.
    Superiority (16) - Adds an AoE knockdown to War Cry, turning it from a 
    mediocre debuff to a potent crowd control ability.
    Source: Can either be acquired through a manual from Bodahn Feddic or taught 
    by Alistair once his approval is high enough
    Bonuses: +2 Magic, +3 mental resistance
    The Templar specialization serves one role and one role only - anti-magic 
    duties. Every ability they get is oriented toward countering magical enemies 
    in some way or other. This is a common choice for heavy tanks, but can be 
    useful for nearly any warrior, though less so for warrior archers due to some 
    of their abilities being melee-based.
    Templar talents:
    Righteous Strike (7) - A passive ability that lets you drain mana from mages 
    every time you hit them in melee. Sounds cool on paper, but to be honest I've 
    never noticed it making much of a difference.
    Cleanse Area (9) - The most useful Templar ability. This is basically an AoE 
    dispel, allowing you to get rid of a lot of nasty status effects and other 
    damaging and/or incapacitating magical afflictions.
    Mental Fortress (12) - A permanent passive bonus to mental resistance. Fairly 
    useful, since warriors tend not to have very good mental resistance, but I 
    wouldn't make it a priority.
    Holy Smite (15) - A small AoE attack that does damage based on your Willpower 
    and can also be stunned or knocked back. Kind of limited in usefulness unless 
    you have very high Willpower. Mainly designed to be used against mages, as it 
    drains mana from them and inflicts additional spirit damage based on the 
    amount of mana drained. This would be kind of a useless ability if mages 
    weren't so ungodly powerful; killing enemy mages as soon as possible is 
    usually a good strategy in any fight, so this talent may be worth taking to 
    accomplish that, though I find the damage a bit underwhelming for its cost, 
    even with a decent Willpower modifier.
    Source: Can be learned either from a manual bought from Gorim, or taught by 
    Oghren once his approval is high enough
    ADDENDUM (from S. Baker): you can also learn the Berserker specialization
    through a course of action during the random encounter with the
    incompetent ambushers - listen to them natter for a bit, and then charge
    them to spring your own ambush. Apparently there's things like this for
    learning some of the other specializations; as I learn them, I'll add them.
    Bonuses: +2 Strength, +10 hit points
    Berserker is the DPS warrior specialization. The entire purpose of the 
    abilities gained is to boost your damage output, so it's generally the clear 
    choice for 2h or dual wielding warriors. Unlike in many games, Berserkers in 
    DA:O don't have to sacrifice survivability in exchange for this damage. Just 
    watch your stamina early on.
    Berserker talents:
    Berserk (7) - a sustained ability that boosts your damage and mental 
    resistance, but imposes a penalty on your stamina regeneration. In general, 
    there's no reason why a Berserker should ever not have this on in combat. The 
    major drawback is its obnoxiously long cooldown.
    Resilience (8) - contrary to the in-game description, this talent actually 
    boosts your health regeneration while Berserk is active. Worth getting.
    Constraint (10) - neutralizes the stamina regeneration penalty from Berserk 
    while it's active, meaning there's even less reason not to have it active in 
    Final Blow (12) - uses all of your stamina to unleash one big attack. Does 1 
    damage for every 2 stamina spent. Kind of situational, and be aware that it 
    can miss just like any other attack.
    Source: Taught by Kolgrim if you defile Andraste's ashes
    Bonuses: +1 constitution, +5 stamina
    Reaver is probably the least useful of the warrior specializations, having 
    rather situational abilities and somewhat lesser stat bonuses. Reaver can be 
    a decent choice for tanks and damage dealers.
    Devour (7) - consumes nearby corpses, and restores health, with the amount 
    based on your Magic stat, like health poultices. Probably the most useful 
    Reaver talent.
    Frightening Appearance (12) - causes your target to cower in fear if they 
    fail a mental resistance check, and also boosts the effectiveness of Taunt 
    and Threaten. Pretty useful for tanks.
    Aura of Pain (14) - an AoE DoT that hurts both you and enemies within range 
    with each pulse. Considering it hurts you for the same amount as it hurts 
    them, and also imposes a penalty on your health regeneration, this is far 
    from a great ability. Tanks don't really want to be dropping their own hp and 
    regen rate, and since it's an AoE, it'll tend to attract hostility toward DPS 
    warriors. Kind of useless.
    Blood Frenzy (16) - Adds between 0 and 10 damage depending on how low your 
    health is, and imposes a penalty to health regeneration. Basically a really 
    shoddy version of Berserk.
    2.2 - Rogue Specializations [DAOS2.2]
    Source: Can either be learned from a manual bought from Alarith, or taught by 
    Zevran once his approval is high enough
    Bonuses: +2 Dexterity, +2.5% melee critical hit chance
    Assassin is a great choice for any melee rogue, since it gets really useful 
    stat bonuses and a talent set oriented toward maximizing your damage output. 
    Not so useful for rogue archers.
    Assassin talents:
    Mark of Death (7) - a targeted debuff that increases all incoming damage 
    against the afflicted enemy. Great for dropping priority targets faster, like 
    mages and bosses.
    Exploit Weakness (12) - adds a passive damage bonus to every backstab hit 
    based on your Cunning score. Since you probably have a pretty high Cunning 
    modifier as a rogue, this is a solid investment.
    Lacerate (14) - causes your backstabs to inflict a non-stacking DoT. More 
    damage means a target that's dead sooner, particularly against tougher enemies.
    Feast of the Fallen (16) - passively allows you to regain stamina any time 
    you kill an enemy with a backstab. Note that this only works for true 
    backstabs where you're flanking the enemy, and not Coup de Grace hits from 
    the front against incapacitated enemies. If you find yourself getting low on 
    stamina early on in battles, this is worth considering.
    Source: Can either be learned from a manual bought from Alimar, or taught by 
    Leliana once her approval is high enough
    Bonuses: +2 Willpower, +1 Cunning
    The Bard specialization allows rogues to take on more of a group buffing 
    role. Because their buffs automatically affect the whole party no matter 
    where they are, unlike Champion buffs which are a circular AoE, this pairs 
    up particularly well with ranged fighting styles. A solid choice for any 
    rogue looking to play more of a support role. The effect of all Bard songs 
    are based on Cunning. Bards can only have one song active at a time.
    Bard talents:
    Song of Valour (7) - a sustained party buff that boosts stamina and mana 
    regeneration. Extremely useful in nearly every situation.
    Distraction (8) - a sustained ability that decreases hostility and can 
    disorient enemies that fail a mental resistance check. Pretty situational and 
    generally not necessary.
    Song of Courage (10) - a sustained party buff that boosts attack, damage, and 
    critical hit chance. A good choice if you have a melee-heavy party that just 
    wants to mow through grunts quickly.
    Captivating Song (12) - a sustained ability that continually inflicts a weak 
    stun against all enemies in an AoE around the bard. While using this song, 
    you can't move, attack, or use any other abilities. Useful if you get 
    swarmed, but not something you'd want on all the time.
    Source: Taught by Isabela at The Pearl
    Bonuses: +2 Dexterity, +1 damage
    Duelist is an amazing specialization, providing extremely useful bonuses for 
    any type of rogue, though particularly for melee rogues. Provides a great 
    blend of offensive and defensive capabilities.
    Duelist talents:
    Dueling (7) - a sustained ability that grants a bonus to attack. Particularly 
    useful in the early game, and for making archery more reliable.
    Upset Balance (12) - a targeted melee debuff that lowers the defense and 
    movement speed of an enemy
    Keen Defenses (14) - grants a bonus to defense when Dueling is active. Since 
    rogues generally rely on defense dodging to survive, this is almost always 
    Pinpoint Strike (16) - an activated self-buff that turns all melee attacks 
    into critical hits for a short time. Quite useful when fighting shield users 
    that are immune to flanking or any other time when backstabs are not possible.
    Source: Learned from a manual you can purchase from Bodahn Feddic
    Bonuses: +1 Constitution, +5% Nature resistance
    Ranger is the most unusual rogue specialization, as it is purely pet-based 
    with no abilities that the character themself actually uses. If you like 
    summoning classes, this is the specialization for you. Pets can provide 
    additional damage and abilities and/or act as disposable tanks. Rangers also 
    pair up well with Blood Mages (explained in the Mage Specializations below). 
    The drawbacks are the mediocre stat bonuses and the fact that if a summoned 
    animal gets a killing blow, your party receives no exp for the kill.
    Summon Wolf (7) - summons a wolf. Can howl, which is an AoE defense debuff.
    Summon Bear (8) - summons a bear. Can slam, which is an automatic 
    critical if it hits and may knock the target back.
    Summon Spider (10) - summons a giant spider (noticing a pattern?). Can use 
    Web, which immobilizes an enemy, and Spit Poison, a ranged attack that 
    inflicts a Nature DoT.
    Master Ranger (12) - Gives a power boost to all your summons, so you should 
    get it if you use your summons regularly. The wolf becomes a blight wolf, the 
    bear becomes a great bear, and the spider becomes a poison spider.
    2.3 - Mage Specializations [DAOS2.3]
    Source: Can either be learned from a manual bought from Varathorn, or taught 
    by Morrigan if her approval rating is Neutral.
    Bonuses: +2 Constitution, +1 Armour
    The Shapeshifter specialization is one that had a lot of cool potential but 
    unfortunately fell short in practice. While each of the abilities is useful 
    in its own right, the long casting time on shapeshifting and the extreme 
    reduction in tactical options (you can't use any of your spells) while 
    shifted make it the least useful of the mage specializations.
    Shapeshifter talents:
    Spider Shape (7) - caster becomes a giant spider, gaining the Web (single 
    target paralysis) and Spit Poison (ranged DoT) abilities as well as Nature 
    Bear Shape (8) - caster becomes a bear, gaining a bonus to armour and 
    Nature resistance as well as the Slam (critical hit/knockback) and Rage 
    (damage self-buff) abilities
    Flying Swarm (10) - caster becomes a swarm of winged stinging insects that 
    inflict Nature damage based on the caster's spellpower. Mana regeneration 
    drops to 0, and any damage the swarm takes is removed from mana instead of 
    hit points. The swarm is immune to normal missiles and has high evasion 
    versus melee attacks, but is very vulnerable to fire.
    Master Shapeshifter (12) - boosts the capabilities of each shifter form. 
    Spider becomes Corrupted Spider and gains the Overwhelm attack; bear becomes 
    a Bereskarn and gains the Overwhelm attack; and the Flying Swarm gains health 
    with every attack.
    Source: Learned from a spirit in the ruined temple of the Brecilian Forest
    Bonuses: +1 Dexterity, +5 attack
    The most unusual of the mage specializations. Basically allows you to become 
    a heavy melee fighter with unsurpassed defensive potential, but with greatly 
    diminished active spellcasting ability due to massively boosted fatigue.
    Arcane Warrior talents:
    Combat Magic (7) - a sustained self-buff that lets you use your Magic stat 
    rather than Strength to determine weapon damage (while active) and to satisfy 
    weapon and armour prerequisites (passively once Combat Magic is learned). 
    Also gives up to +10 attack based on your spellpower. Greatly boosts fatigue.
    Aura of Might (12) - adds bonuses to attack, defense, and damage while Combat 
    Magic is active. This is pretty essential - learn ASAP.
    Shimmering Shield (14) - the best defensive self-buff in the game, Shimmering 
    Shield is a sustained ability that grants a sizeable bonus to armour, and 
    adds 75 points to all resistances except spell resistance (note that 75% is 
    where elemental resistances are capped, but mental and physical resistance 
    can go up to 100). Imposes a heavy penalty on mana regeneration. As of patch 
    1.02, it will deactivate once mana reaches 0. Try and have this up as much as 
    Fade Shroud (16) - grants a small bonus to mana regeneration and a 25% chance 
    to avoid incoming attacks while Combat Magic is active. Another essential 
    skill that should be learned right away.
    Source: Taught by the Desire demon possessing Connor
    Bonuses: +2 Constitution, +2 spellpower
    Unbeatable for sheer offensive potential, Blood Mage is the way to go if you 
    want your mage to just be a spellcasting powerhouse. Be cautious when using 
    Blood abilities, though, as they have significant penalties that can result 
    in disaster if employed at inopportune times. If you like to nuke things into 
    oblivion while hanging well back from the front lines, this specialization 
    was made for you.
    Blood Mage talents:
    Blood Magic (7) - a sustained self-buff that uses hit points rather than mana 
    to cast spells, and reduces the effectiveness of any healing spells or items 
    used on you to 10% of their normal strength. The health cost of the spell is 
    20% lower than its mana cost, and can be further reduced by Blood Mage-
    specific items found in the game.
    Blood Sacrifice (12) - heals the caster by sucking life force out of an ally. 
    Can only be used when Blood Magic is active, and does not suffer the 90% 
    healing penalty, but can kill the ally. A ranger's pets can be used as a 
    'battery' of sorts for a Blood Mage ally with this ability. It's easier to 
    manage than it sounds, as damage to your ally never exceeds 50 points, and 
    you gain 2 hit points for every 1 drained.
    Blood Wound (14) - one of the most powerful crowd control spells in the game, 
    Blood Wound paralyzes all enemies in a large AoE and inflicts a very strong 
    DoT. Since Blood Mages tend to stack their Magic stat, this is nearly 
    impossible to resist. Blood Magic must be active, and enemies without blood 
    (such as golems) are unaffected. Used wisely, this attack can turn normally 
    difficult encounters into a joke.
    Blood Control (16) - allows you to turn an enemy into a temporary ally if 
    they fail a mental resistance check. Depends on whether or not these 
    abilities are your cup of tea.
    Source: Learned from a tome that can be bought either in The Wonders of 
    Thedas or outside Warden's Keep. Contrary to what you'd expect, Wynne cannot 
    teach it.
    Bonuses: +2 Magic, bonus to combat health regen
    The most support-oriented of the mage specializations, Spirit Healer is a 
    solid choice for nearly any kind of mage, whether it's making you a better 
    healer than you already are or giving you the option of being a great healer 
    if things take a turn for the worse. The bonuses are great and the spells are 
    all useful. Spirit Healers are the only characters other than Shale in statue 
    mode that can heal more than one character at a time.
    Group Heal (7) - heals everyone in your group, regardless of how spread out 
    they are. Extremely useful, particularly when recovering from a large AoE 
    attack like a fireball.
    Revival (8) -  this spell is the only way to revive an ally in combat. 
    Usually not necessary, but always nice to have as an option.
    Lifeward (12) - places a latent buff on the recipient that instantly heals 
    them for a decent amount whenever their hit points fall below 1/3 of their 
    maximum. A good spell to throw on your tank in any tough fight.
    Cleansing Aura (14) - a sustained AoE buff centred on the caster that sends 
    out pulses of healing energy to all allies in the area, with the heal amount 
    decreasing as allies move further away. Also heals all injuries of allies in 
    close proximity. Good for saving money on injury kits and in battles where 
    your characters tend to stay tightly grouped, but you don't want to leave it 
    running as it drains mana very quickly.
    The first thing you need to do when building your character is to decide what 
    kind of character you'd like them to be - what play style you prefer, what 
    role you'd like them to fill, what you'd like them to be best at, etc. Below, 
    I'll provide some guides for general character archetypes and how I'd 
    approach building them. If you've played through the game before and are 
    familiar with your possible companions, you may want to build your Warden to 
    fit the same role as a companion you don't like so that you don't have to 
    bring them along, or a role that complements a party of 3 companions you do 
    like. Bear in mind that whatever role the Warden chooses, they will be the 
    best at it. Because of the bonus stats, skills, and talents you can and do pick 
    up throughout the game, you will end up being better built than any of your 
    NPC companions are capable of being. For stat recommendations, I will specify 
    whether the amount is the base amount (the amount shown when you're 
    allocating stat points after leveling up) or the modified amount (the base 
    amount plus all bonuses/penalties you are receiving from your specializations 
    and equipped gear).
    When choosing skills, it should be noted that the Warden is the only 
    character that may learn Coercion, and thus it's a good idea to put at least 
    a point or two in here, as it will unlock a lot of very profitable options 
    along the way. This is true for all builds, and is particularly easy to do as 
    a rogue.
    It should also be noted that I strongly advocate taking both lockpicking/trap 
    disarming and stealth skills on rogue Wardens. They're just plain too useful 
    to pass up, even if it means having to delay other talent choices. You can have 
    the lockpicking role covered by Leliana or Zevran if you wish, but there'll 
    be a few locked chests where you won't have access to them and won't be able 
    to open unless you can do it yourself. The exception to this is if your rogue
    happens to have very high Cunning modifiers, as they will not require as high
    a rank of lockpicking/disarming talents if they do.
    A quick summary of the roles covered and what they excel at:
    The Tank - combining spectacular dodging with huge armour absorption and 360 
    degree defense, the Tank maximizes the Warrior's survival potential while 
    keeping their allies safe.
    The Two-Hander - the king (or queen) of spike damage, this build can shred 
    bosses and crank out huge damage numbers but is more limited in drawn out 
    The Dual Wielder - unleashing a constant barrage of smaller but still potent 
    blows, these melee fighters have unsurpassed sustained damage output and 
    great potential for inflicting on-hit effects, such as runic boosts.
    The Archer - master of harassment from afar, you can inflict status effects, 
    respectable damage, and a little crowd control from the safety of the rear.
    The Nuker - a mage focused on maximizing their pure destructive potential. 
    Whole armies can be levelled by the spells you'll unleash.
    The Support Healer - even a tank can't do as much to keep their team alive as 
    a good support mage. You are your team's best friend.
    The Debilitator - while not as spectacularly damaging as many other mages, 
    the Debilitator can make any enemy cry with the sheer volume of debuff and 
    crowd control spells available to magi.
    The Spellsword - built around the Arcane Warrior, this unusual mage becomes a 
    walking wall of magic-infused melee damage absorption. Relatively low damage 
    and greatly decreased spellcasting potential, but almost unsurpassed 
    defensive might via sustained abilities.
    I'll provide a relative difficulty rating at the end of each role based on my 
    experience playing them.
    3.1 - The Tank [DAOS3.1]
    The tank's whole purpose in life is to make enemies attack them rather than 
    their companions and soak up as much damage as possible for as long as 
    possible without dying. The two critical characteristics of a tank are 
    maximized survivability through some combination of hit points, defense, 
    armour, talents and healing sources, and management of monster hostility so 
    that they can protect their allies. This role is a bit weak at first, as you 
    have access to only weak armour, which won't change until you can boost your 
    stats to meet prereqs and get to areas where you can acquire or purchase 
    better gear. In addition, the stat you have to raise first is one that won't 
    help your survivability much in and of itself, and you have to raise it a 
    lot. Bear all this in mind.
    Base class: Warrior. You can also make a fair argument for Mage with the idea 
    of going Arcane Warrior, but management of enemy hostility is far more 
    difficult as a mage than it is as a warrior.
    Critical talents:
    Powerful - you will spend your whole life in the heaviest armour possible, 
    and more hit points is never a bad thing.
    Threaten - one of the ways you make things attack you and not your allies. 
    Taunt - to draw enemies onto yourself when Threaten isn't enough.
    Shield Wall - the lifeblood of your survivability. Get this ASAP and have it 
    on at all times.
    Shield Tactics - immunity to flanking is a lifesaver in a number of tough 
    Shield Expertise - immunity to knockdown in Shield Wall mode is extremely 
    useful. A tank that's on their ass isn't doing their job.
    Shield Mastery - this goes without saying, as it makes all your shield 
    abilities better.
    Good talents:
    Bravery - you will spend most of your life being surrounded by lots of 
    enemies. Might as well make the best of it.
    The Shield Bash Tree - all the attacks in this tree are useful when you can 
    spare the talents, both for supplemental damage and for crowd control.
    Death Blow - might as well get some stamina for killing things once you can 
    spare the talents.
    Shield Defense - good to use until you get Shield Wall; if you rely more on 
    dodging than armour, you may want to continue using this.
    Precise Striking - the critical hit bonus can be useful if you get hit with 
    an inopportune Misdirection Hex. Depending on your preferences, you may wish 
    to have this on all the time.
    Champion - a great choice if you want to support your party. The bonus to 
    defense will also help out your tanking, and War Cry can aid your 
    survivability and crowd control.
    Templar - Cleanse Area is always useful, but probably the best thing about 
    this specialization is some of the gear it unlocks. A favourite for tanks.
    Reaver - useful for the corpse eating heal (particularly if you have no mage 
    healer) and the boost to Threaten and Taunt. The last two abilities probably 
    shouldn't be used.
    Berserker - probably the least useful specialization for a tank. Doing damage 
    isn't really your job.
    General stat spread:
    Strength: 42 modified
    Dexterity: as high as possible
    Willpower: 20-30ish modified depending on how much you like using active talents
    Magic: 20ish modified
    Cunning: 16 base
    Constitution: 30ish modified
    The general idea with tank stats is that you want to focus on Strength first, 
    so that you can start wearing heavier armours as soon as possible. If you 
    have the Blood Dragon Armour DLC, then this can allow you to get into a very 
    nice set of armour quite early on in the game, which will do wonders for your 
    durability. While investing in Dexterity or Constitution early on would do 
    more to keep you alive during the first few levels, it's a worse option in 
    the end. A lot of the other stat recommendations I listed can be fulfilled 
    simply by doing the Broken Circle quest and getting all the permanent stat 
    bonuses there. Willpower and Magic are really totally up to you, depending on 
    how much you use stamina and how important you think it is to get more or 
    less healing from poultices. Cunning should be 16 base so that you can max 
    out any skill you want, like Coercion; anything above that is up to you. 
    Constitution is also largely up to personal taste; some people like to put a 
    lot of CON onto tanks, but in general, it's not as helpful as you might 
    think. Each point of CON only gives you a 5 hp boost, which is pretty paltry 
    and generally only delaying the inevitable in a tough fight. By contrast, 
    high Dexterity can turn your tank into an unholy walking wall. Great dodging 
    ability from a combination of Dexterity and boosts from your sustained shield 
    abilities will mean that on top of your spectacularly high armour absorption 
    value, you're also difficult to hit. When I've played around with stacking 
    DEX versus stacking CON, I've found DEX does a lot more to keep my tank alive 
    than CON does. You can actually achieve very high defense values with a DEX-
    stacked shieldtank.
    Difficulty rating:
    Early game - Hard
    Mid game - Average to easy
    Late game - Very easy
    3.2 - The Two-Hander
    Two-Hander builds tend to be designed to do as much single-hit melee damage 
    as possible, while having enough survivability to live to tell about it 
    afterward. On top of having great damage output, you can make use of heavy 
    armours and gain yourself a respectable hit point pool to keep you going 
    after a hard knock or two. The Two-Hander also excels at inflicting debuffs 
    on tough single targets, like bosses, while being highly resistant to status 
    effects yourself. Add in a little crowd control and AoE capability into the 
    mix, and you have a melee force to be reckoned with. You will be focusing a 
    fair bit on your activated talents, as spike damage is truly where this build 
    excels. Because of your painfully long swing time, you really don't want to 
    rely on autoattacks any more than you absolutely have to; stamina management 
    to keep dishing out active talents is key in this build.
    Base Class: Warrior. The other two don't make sense because you can't learn 
    any two-handed talents.
    Critical talents:
    Powerful - armour and hit points will be your major way of living through 
    Sunder Arms - on top of debuffing attack, this is actually one of your best 
    DPS skills, as it hits twice, doesn't cost much stamina, and has a relatively 
    short cooldown. It'll regularly do more damage than Mighty Blow and will be 
    ready again sooner. And you can get it nice and early due to its low 
    placement in its talent tree.
    Sunder Armour - a more useful debuff than Sunder Arms and about the same 
    damage output, but with a longer cooldown, a higher stamina cost, and more 
    prerequisites. Still a must-have.
    Bravery - you'll be in the thick of it very often, and damage bonuses are 
    always welcome in this build.
    Death Blow - with your huge hits, you'll get killing blows pretty often. 
    Gaining stamina for each one will help power your active talents.
    Indomitable - damage bonus and knockdown/stun immunity? Score. Sign me up. 
    I'd use this for the stun immunity alone, particularly later in the game when 
    you get swarmed by scattershotting archer hordes.
    Stunning Blows - once you have this talent, every critical hit you land will
    have quite a good chance of also stunning your opponent. A great passive.
    Mighty Blow - your bread-and-butter DPS skill for the early levels, and still 
    useful later on.
    Destroyer - basically a passive Sunder Armour with every attack. Why the hell 
    Two-Handed Sweep - probably the best melee AoE in the game. It's 360 degrees, 
    like Whirlwind, but seems to do slightly better damage and has a powerful
    Good talents:
    Pommel Strike - being able to knock an annoying baddie on their ass is always 
    handy. Unfortunately, you can usually only get one swing in before they're up 
    on their feet again. However, its low cost and how early you can learn it 
    make it handy, particularly for disrupting spellcasting.
    Precise Striking - good to pair up with Powerful Swings or Indomitable, 
    particularly in the early levels when your attack bonus isn't that high yet - 
    after all, a miss hurts a lot for a two-hander because of how long your 
    recovery is. You'll barely notice the decrease in speed, since it's absolute 
    rather than relative, and you'll get a nice crit bonus too, which works
    particularly well with the Stunning Blows passive.
    Powerful Swings - good for mowing through grunt-level enemies. Since it can 
    be used at the same time as Indomitable, it's good to have it on once you get 
    Two-Handed Strength to reduce the penalties. 
    Critical Strike - another good spike DPS skill, much like Mighty Blow but 
    with a slightly different effect. Get it eventually, but it's not a priority.
    Disengage - to lose enemy hostility in a pinch. Definitely not a priority, 
    but it can come in handy.
    Berserker: Yes, yes, and more yes. This specialization is all about improving 
    your damage, and that's what you do. This is pretty much a no-brainer.
    Reaver: This specialization can work out okay. Corpse eating to heal is good 
    in a pinch, and if you do happen to lose some hit points, you may as well get 
    a damage bonus for your trouble. Be careful with the AoE DoT, because that 
    can take hostility away from your tank and stick it onto you, which is bad 
    Champion: Not a bad choice, as more Willpower means more stamina, War Cry can 
    be good for giving yourself a bit of breathing space if you get surrounded, 
    and buffing your group is rarely a bad thing.
    Templar: Cleanse Area never hurts, but you'll already be getting a mental 
    resistance boost from Berserk and you attack so slowly that the mana drain 
    thing will have minimal impact. I'd only take it if you want to wear templar 
    General stat spread:
    Strength: this should be where most of your stat points go
    Dexterity: 18 base
    Willpower: 25-40 modified depending on your style and what gear you have
    Magic: irrelevant
    Cunning: 16 base
    Constitution: put whatever points aren't going into Strength or Willpower here
    The idea with this stat spread is that you should be doing damage rather than 
    taking it. High Strength from the early game onward means access to great 
    gear and more damage output, as well as a high attack rating. It's hard to go 
    wrong with Strength in this build. Dexterity is just high enough to get 
    Disengage; if you don't want Disengage, it can be lower. You could try making 
    a two-hander that uses dodging for a bit of emergency defense, but I haven't 
    found that to work very well so far. I like to use high Constitution instead, 
    since two-handers can't benefit from the defensive bonuses that shieldtanks 
    get, so even with fairly high Dexterity, they still won't be very good at 
    dodging. For the times that you take damage, you'll generally be better off 
    relying on armour absorption and a decent hit point pool. Strength is 
    definitely a higher priority than Constitution though, as each point of 
    Strength will give you more benefit in general. Magic's only effect is to 
    make poultices heal you for more, and you shouldn't be taking damage all that 
    often if your tank is doing their job. Cunning to base 16 for skills. The end 
    goal is to create a character that can hit like a mack truck and can survive 
    a beating long enough for your group's tank to get enemies under control. 
    Alternately, you can forgo Constitution and focus on stacking Strength for 
    some hideously high damage output, but it's a riskier path and requires that 
    you put a lot of faith in your tank's ability to control hostility. Make sure 
    that between gear and Willpower that you have a decent stamina pool, as this 
    build really only shines when you are unleashing chains of Sunder 
    Arms/Armour, Mighty Blow, Critical Strike, and Two-Handed Sweep. I like to 
    get my base Willpower somewhere around 20 and supplement with nice Willpower 
    or stamina-boosting gear, then build 2 Strength 1 Constitution per level 
    until I have a comfortable pool of hit points into the 300s or so. After 
    that, it's pretty safe (and very effective) to just pile on the Strength.
    Difficulty rating:
    Early game - Average
    Mid game - Easy
    Late game - Easy
    3.3 - The Dual Wielder [DAOS3.3]
    This will actually be two different guides, as you can do this effectively as 
    either a rogue or a warrior. The role of the dual wielder is to crush enemies 
    with many lightning fast attacks as opposed to single large hits. The focus 
    will be more on finesse, incapacitation and the element of surprise than 
    brute frontal power. Dual wielders can get maximal effectiveness out of runes 
    that activate on a per-hit basis, like damage and paralysis runes. When built 
    correctly, dual wielders have the highest sustained melee damage output of 
    any character type.
    3.3a - The Rogue Dual Wielder
    I feel that this is a more well-rounded dual wield build than the warrior 
    variant, though both are very strong in their own ways. Rogues can take this 
    build to a truly frightening level due to how well their class mechanics and 
    specializations synergize with the dual wielding style.
    Base Class: Rogue, obviously.
    Critical talents:
    Momentum - this should always be the talent you work toward in dual wielding 
    builds. It is the backbone of the entire build and one of the most powerful 
    sustained abilities in the game. The only time you shouldn't prioritize this 
    is if you're planning on having Haste up all the time, because the two do not 
    Dirty Fighting - probably the very first talent you learned, and one of the 
    best single target stuns in the game. Useful right off the bat, and extremely 
    useful once you pair it up with Coup de Grace.
    Combat Movement - makes it far easier to flank enemies.
    Coup de Grace - automatic backstabs on stunned/paralyzed enemies? Very yes.
    Lethality - your Cunning will almost certainly end up higher than your 
    Strength, and +10% critical hit chance is nothing to sneeze at.
    Combat Stealth - the ultimate in losing hostility and repositioning for more 
    backstabbing. Stealth also makes you a terrific mage neutralizer.
    The Dual-Weapon Training tree - the better you are at dual wielding, the more 
    likely you are to land hits. Always a good thing. Get the first two in the 
    tree sooner rather than later.
    Riposte - another stun for your arsenal; a perfect trifecta with Dirty 
    Fighting and Coup de Grace.
    Punisher - lets you work in some excellent spike damage with your sustained 
    DPS output.
    Good talents:
    Cripple - a solid single target debuff, good for bosskilling.
    Flurry - useful when an enemy can't be backstabbed. Not as good as Punisher, 
    but it costs a bit less and you can get it earlier.
    Dual-Weapon Sweep - a quick, cheap attack to boost your AoE damage.
    Duelist: An excellent choice. Keen Defense will give a nice boost to your 
    survivability, and Pinpoint Strike will let you shred even backstab-immune 
    targets with ease.
    Assassin: Another excellent choice. The various boosts to your damage will 
    all let you do your job better.
    Bard: Not a bad choice if you want to support your group while also fighting, 
    but not nearly as complimentary as Duelist or Assassin.
    Ranger: The powers of this specialization generally won't help you all that 
    much. Not useless, but not a great synergy either.
    General stat spread:
    Strength: 20 modified (22 if you want to use Cadash Stompers)
    Dexterity: as high as you can get it
    Willpower: pure personal preference
    Magic: irrelevant
    Cunning: at least 30 modified
    Constitution: irrelevant
    Since patch 1.02, I feel that there's only one good way to go with the dual 
    wielding rogue: a pair of good daggers and as much DEX as you can humanly 
    cram onto yourself. With Lethality, the only thing you need Strength for is 
    equipping items. You can wear any drakeskin leather armour with 20 Strength, 
    so that's where you should cut it off. Willpower will depend entirely on how 
    much you like using activated talents - this build can work fine either 
    skillspamming or almost purely relying on autoattacks from Momentum. Magic 
    only boosts your poultice healing, which shouldn't really be necessary, and 
    you shouldn't be getting damaged enough to warrant boosting Constitution. 
    You'll likely want 30 modified Cunning so that you can disarm any trap and 
    pick any lock in the game, as well as giving you a boost to other relevant 
    skills like Coercion and Stealing. Cunning will also help your armour 
    penetration, though that'll already be pretty good thanks to dagger stats, 
    and with Lethality it'll also give you a general damage boost. If you chose 
    Bard as one of your specializations, you may wish to raise Cunning higher to 
    boost your buff strength. With Dexterity as your stat focus and a good set of 
    gear, you'll find that both your damage output and your dodge tanking ability 
    will both be extremely high, making all but the toughest fights a breeze to 
    waltz through. This build is easily one of the most potent in the game. Pop 
    into stealth, disarm any traps waiting for you, and walk behind the target 
    you want to neutralize first (mages are always a good choice). Move your 
    party's tank into view, pop out of stealth, stun your target and watch the 
    backstabs fly.
    Difficulty rating:
    Early game - Average
    Mid game - Average to easy
    Late game - Very easy
    3.3b - The Warrior Duel Wielder
    This build is similar to the rogue version, but will have some noticeable 
    differences. Because you do not have backstabs to supplement your damage, you 
    will be focusing more on head on combat and making your normal strikes as 
    effective as possible. Also as a result of losing backstabs (and, by 
    extension, losing extremely high damage output from well-placed autoattacks), 
    you will be more focused on active skill use in this build than in the rogue 
    build, making Willpower proportionally more important. Having high Strength 
    and two full-sized weapons will go a long way toward making up the backstab 
    damage deficit, and being able to use heavier armour without incurring as 
    much fatigue helps to offset having less dodging than your rogue counterparts.
    Base Class: Warrior, obviously.
    Critical talents:
    Momentum - while this is somewhat less awesome without backstabbage, it's 
    still a cornerstone of any dual wield build. Get ASAP, unless you're planning 
    on using Haste all the time.
    Powerful - there's really no warrior builds where this isn't a useful talent. 
    Less fatigue and more hit points all from an early talent is bitchin'.
    The Dual Weapon talent tree - as a warrior dual wielder, you'll probably want 
    to get the entire thing sooner rather than later.
    Riposte -  your only stun, and stuns are always useful.
    Cripple - a nice debuff for taking down tough single enemies, like bosses.
    Punisher - a warrior dual wielder should be able to put out a huge amount of 
    damage with this attack; easily one of the best spike damage talents in the 
    game, and a must-have for this build.
    Bravery - you'll spend a fair bit of your time in the thick of it, and 
    Bravery will make you stronger when you are.
    Death Blow - since you'll be using a lot of active talents, gaining stamina 
    back for killing blows will help you keep it up.
    Dual Weapon Sweep - considering its low cost, short cooldown, and how early 
    you can get it, this is a surprisingly good talent for a little bit of 
    frontal arc AoE spike damage.
    Good talents:
    Precise Striking - this can be a good ability to throw on if you're aiming to 
    improve your autoattacks by boosting your critical hit rate. It's also good 
    for counteracting a pesky Misdirection Hex, which enemy mages love casting on 
    you. Note that it drops autoattack speed, though.
    Dual Striking - the opposite of Precise Striking, this is a good sustained to 
    activate early on in the game, since you can't backstab and your critical hit 
    rate will be low even if you're using daggers.
    Disengage - if you end up catching more hostility than you'd like, use this 
    to turn their attention back to the tank where it belongs.
    Flurry - basic multi-hit activated damage talent.
    Whirlwind - I find this talent more useful on warrior dual wielders than their 
    rogue equivalent. Still, considering it's an end tree talent, I find the cost-
    to-damage ratio a bit on the chintzy side. At the very least, you can chip 
    away at that achievement.
    Berserker - most likely the best choice for this build, as it gives you that 
    lovely damage bonus. The dual wielding style of many smaller hits is actually 
    a pretty good compliment to Berserk's absolute (as opposed to relative) 
    damage bonus, which makes you an utter wrecking ball in the early game and 
    still a great performer later. Access to this specialization is one of the 
    reasons to play warrior rather than rogue in a dual wielder build.
    Templar - an interesting choice for this build, since you will probably have 
    decent Willpower, and the rapidity of your strikes means you may actually 
    notice the mana-draining effect.
    Champion - since you'll have to have at least decent Dexterity for this build 
    in order to get all the dual wielding talents, the Champion's combination of 
    War Cry and Rally may aid your survivability some. Just watch that you don't 
    pull a bunch of hostility by using AoE effects.
    Reaver - probably the least suited specialization to this build. About the 
    only terribly useful thing would be the corpse eating, but you shouldn't be 
    getting hit a lot if your tank is doing their job.
    General Stat Spread:
    Strength - see below
    Dexterity - at least base 36
    Willpower - you'll probably want at least 30 modified or equivalent +stamina 
    Magic - irrelevant
    Cunning - base 16
    Constitution - see below
    The dual wielding warrior is one of the setups that allows for a large number 
    of potential build possibilities, all of which have associated plusses and 
    minuses. It's hard to say which is the 'best' build, since the warrior setup 
    doesn't really lend itself to any particular stat loadout. What's generally 
    consistent between these builds is having at least 36 Dexterity to max out 
    the Dual Wielding talents, a fairly high Willpower to be able to use active 
    skills often while running a couple sustained abilities, and the standard 16 
    Cunning for learning skills.
    Variant 1: DEX stacking
    This variant is built pretty similarly to the rogue dual wielder. Get as much 
    Strength as you need to wear the armour you want (probably only need 20 
    modified or so, since most of the best bonuses for this style of fighting 
    come from light armour anyway), don't bother raising Constitution much (if at 
    all), and crank Dexterity as high as you can. You would use dual daggers for 
    this build, meaning that maxing out the Dual Wielding proficiency tree is a 
    relatively low priority. You'll never be able to achieve the dodge defense of 
    a rogue, but you'll be a little sturdier and will suffer from a bit less 
    fatigue. This used to be a poor option, but with the dagger fix in patch 
    1.02, it has become quite viable.
    Variant 2: STR stacking
    This variant is built around getting to Dual-Weapon Mastery sooner rather 
    than later so that you can use two normal-size weapons at the same time. With 
    this build, you'll cap your Dexterity at base 36, add just enough 
    Constitution that you feel comfortable surviving (probably not much higher 
    than 20 base), and pump all the rest into Strength to massively boost your 
    damage output. With this build, you can have some pretty devastating weapon 
    combinations, such as Starfang in one hand and the Keening Blade (or perhaps 
    a Vanguard, Bloodline, or even better, a Veshialle if you want a non-sword) 
    in the other. This is probably the most death-prone of the variants, since 
    both your hit points and dodging ability will be low, but you'll be able to 
    wear excellent armour, and your tank should be taking most of the hits 
    anyway. For killing things frighteningly quickly, this is likely the best 
    variant, and my personal favourite, give or take a couple CON points.
    Variant 3: STR/CON balancing
    This variant is fairly similar to the two-handed build suggested earlier, 
    balancing damage output from Strength with some survivability gained through 
    Constitution. While you shouldn't be taking hits that often, it's inevitable 
    that your tank will have a few enemies slip free of their hostility control, 
    and even a tank that's doing their job can't necessarily save you from big 
    spell AoEs and the like. This build will never have the damage output of a 
    Strength stacker, but will have far more margin of error if things go poorly 
    or you encounter some nasty surprises. You'll still want to put the majority 
    of your points into Strength, but the proportion will be largely up to your 
    personal tastes; a general template might be to go 2:1 STR:CON.
    Difficulty rating:
    Early game - Hard to average
    Mid game - Average
    Late game - Easy
    3.4 - The Archer [DAOS3.4]
    Again, this will be two different builds as you can be an archer as both a 
    warrior and a rogue; your choice of base class will have a significant impact 
    on how this fighting style performs. The archer's role is to hang back from 
    the front lines and pick targets of opportunity to incapacitate and slay one 
    at a time (though they do get a rather nasty AoE ability, but only one, so 
    you're hardly going to be an AoE powerhouse the way a mage can be). Archers 
    make great mage killers and group supporters, and pack a good punch against 
    bosses, but can get swamped if they get surrounded by lots of foes, so make 
    sure your tank's doing their job. Long charge times on most of their powers 
    means that, like mages, archers are at their best when they have some 
    breathing room.
    3.4a - The Rogue Archer
    In general, I feel that rogues are the better base class for archers, since 
    their specializations offer better synergy. They might be slightly inferior 
    if you're planning on using crossbows, though.
    Base Class: Rogue, obviously.
    Critical talents:
    Melee Archer - at some point, you're going to get hit with melee attacks 
    while trying to shoot. Getting disrupted constantly gets old fast.
    Critical Shot - great single shot damage.
    Arrow of Slaying - this is essentially instant death to the target of your 
    choice. It outdamages any other weapon talent in the game by a country mile. 
    Get ASAP. Nabbing the 'Heavy Hitter' achievement is laughably easy with this 
    Rapid Shot - this is a great sustained ability for the early game, when you 
    don't have access to bows with the Rapid Aim property.
    Scattershot - Your one AoE, and it's a beauty, too. One of the best crowd 
    control attacks in the game.
    Master Archer - makes all your archery talents better, and lets you wear heavy 
    armour without any archery drawbacks. What's not to like?
    Good talents:
    Dirty Fighting - good for getting some breathing space when a pesky enemy 
    manages to get into melee range.
    Lethality - you'll probably have more Cunning than Strength as a rogue, so 
    you may as well capitalize on it. Too bad the critical hit bonus only affects 
    melee. You can ignore this talent if you're planning on using crossbows.
    Aim - a decent sustained mode for enemies with very high defense, or for when 
    you're under the effects of a Misdirection Hex.
    Suppressing Fire - a sustained mode that makes every shot debuff enemy attack 
    scores, and it stacks, too. Can be paired up with other sustained archery 
    abilities, like Rapid Shot.
    Pinning Shot - good for keeping an enemy at range when you get the jump on 
    Crippling Shot - a handy debuff for boss fights.
    Defensive Fire - you may wish to toss this on if your tank loses hostility 
    and you find yourself in hot water.
    Bard - one of the best specializations to pair up with archery, especially if 
    your goal is to be a supporter for the rest of your team. The bard song buffs 
    affect your whole party even if they're not near you. The stat bonuses are 
    useful as well.
    Duelist - another great specialization for archers. While two of the four 
    talents are largely useless, the benefits of the Dueling sustained are very 
    Ranger - this specialization pairs up better with archers than dual wielders, 
    as it provides another party member to distract things and keep them out of 
    your hair.
    Assassin - probably the least useful specialization for an archer, as you 
    won't be inflicting backstabs. The Dexterity bonus is quite nice, but aside 
    from that, it's not a good pairing.
    General stat spread:
    Strength - 20 modified (or whatever your gear of choice demands for prereqs)
    Dexterity - generally very high; see below
    Willpower - 20 modified or more
    Magic - irrelevant
    Cunning - moderate to high; see below
    Constitution - irrelevant
    There's generally two ways that I feel would be effective in building a rogue 
    archer, though your actual preference may fall somewhere a bit outside or 
    between these two. The common elements of both are only getting enough 
    modified Strength to satisfy equipment requirements - this will be higher if 
    you want to use heavier armour or high tier crossbows. Willpower shouldn't be 
    too low, since you'll want to have a sustained ability or two running but 
    still be able to make good use of all your active talents, which tend to be 
    quite costly. The various bonuses you get to Constitution as you go through 
    the game should be enough to give you a decent pool of  hit points, so I 
    wouldn't recommend raising it much, if at all. The main differences between 
    the two variants will be how you distribute your stat points between 
    Dexterity and Cunning.
    Variant 1: DEX stacking
    This build raises Cunning enough to make your rogue skills perform at a high 
    enough level to get you through the game (30 modified), and puts the rest of 
    your remaining points into Dexterity. The benefits of this are that you will 
    get both good damage and good accuracy out of any ranged weapon you choose. 
    It's particularly valuable to crossbow rogues, as Cunning will have no effect 
    on their damage. DEX stacking also has the added value of giving you great 
    dodging ability, meaning that you can tank quite well in a pinch.
    Variant 2: DEX/CUN balancing
    This build is oriented toward longbow and shortbow rogues, particularly those 
    who wish to get the most out of the Bard specialization. In this build, you 
    will still have a lot of Dexterity, but you will also want to invest a fair 
    bit in your Cunning stat, getting it to modified values of 50 or more. While 
    this will cost you in terms of accuracy and your dodging ability, you won't 
    lose any damage, and will in fact do better damage against heavily armoured 
    targets due to the bonus to armour penetration from high Cunning scores. You 
    will also be an outstanding skill user even if you don't get the maximum rank 
    for those skills, which can allow you to get a greater breadth of skills or 
    save a talent on lockpicking. Because of your lowered dodging ability, you may 
    wish to invest a bit more in Constitution than a DEX stacker would, or 
    possibly wear medium or heavy armour rather than light armour. This build 
    will generally have lower solo performance than the Dexterity-stacked 
    variant, but will make a better group supporter.
    Difficulty rating:
    Early game - Very hard
    Mid game - Hard to average
    Late game - Average to easy
    3.4b - The Warrior Archer
    A relatively uncommon build for the Warden, but a viable one nonetheless. The 
    downside is that the warrior specializations tend to do very little to 
    compliment ranged fighting styles. However, warriors do gain the benefit of 
    having more hit points, stamina, and base attack bonus than rogues, and most 
    importantly, gain a bonus to fatigue due to their talents, which can be a 
    surprisingly large asset when using the archer's costly attacks.
    Base Class: Warrior, obviously.
    Critical talents:
    Powerful - again, this is pretty much a no-brainer for any warrior, and the 
    fatigue bonus is particularly useful to archers.
    Melee Archer - getting disrupted by melee attacks is never a good thing. Get 
    Death Blow - I'm not actually positive whether or not this works for ranged 
    attacks. If it does, it'll be quite helpful. If not, disregard it.
    Critical Shot - a great damage talent.
    Arrow of Slaying - your one hit wonder power; instant death to the majority 
    of enemies you'll come across. Get ASAP. Totally worth the long cooldown, 
    high cost, and stamina regen penalty.
    Scattershot - crowd control at its finest.
    Master Archer - makes what's good even better. Should be a relatively high 
    Rapid Shot - a good sustained mode, particularly for the early levels when 
    you won't have much of a critical hit rate anyway.
    Good talents:
    Precise Striking - a passive mode that does pretty much the same thing as 
    Aim, but unlike Aim, it can be active at the same time as Rapid Shot. Can be 
    good to throw on against enemies with high evasion.
    Disengage - for getting out of tight spots when your tank loses hostility.
    Perfect Striking - archery tends not to be as accurate as melee; this talent 
    can help to offset this against tough enemies.
    Aim - generally lower damage output than Rapid Shot, but can be preferable 
    against high evasion targets or if a Misdirection Hex is thrown on you. Note 
    that it does not actually boost your critical hit rate, as crit boosts for 
    ranged seem to be largely nonexistent except on a couple pieces of gear. 
    However, Rapid Shot drops your critical hit rate to 0, so Aim can be 
    preferable nonetheless.
    Pinning Shot - good for keeping a tougher enemy at bay.
    Crippling Shot - a nice boss debuffer.
    Shattering Shot - a decent single target debuff/crowd control combo of armour 
    penalty and possible knockdown.
    Suppressing Fire - a good sustained to pair up with Rapid Shot, as it 
    inflicts a stacking debuff to attack bonus with every hit.
    Champion - while not as well suited to archers as the Bard specialization, 
    Champion is still definitely one of the better choices as you'll be able to 
    buff nearby allies and give yourself some room to breathe if you get 
    surrounded by using a Superiority-boosted War Cry.
    Templar - Most of the talents are melee-based and thus kind of useless, but the 
    mental resistance boost can be handy.
    Berserker - mostly useless, as the best bonuses occur only when you're using 
    melee attacks. However, if you really want a health regeneration boost or 
    some bonus Strength and hit points, take this specialization.
    Reaver - probably the worst choice, as the bonuses are pretty weak and the 
    talents are almost completely useless to a ranged fighter.
    General stat spread:
    Strength - between 20 and 38 modified, depending on desired gear prereqs
    Dexterity - where most of your stat points should end up
    Willpower - 20 modified or more
    Magic - irrelevant
    Cunning - 16 base
    Constitution - irrelevant
    The idea with this spread is to have enough Willpower to allow you to use 
    active attacks regularly, enough Strength to wear all the gear you want, 
    enough Cunning to max out whatever skills you desire, and the rest put into 
    Dexterity. Between the base hit point growth of warriors, the bonus from 
    Powerful, and any Constitution bonuses you gain throughout the game, you'll 
    have more than enough hit points to function well as an archer, and you 
    shouldn't have to be relying heavily on poultice healing. The biggest 
    variable here will be the kind of gear you want to use. Shortbows, longbows, 
    and light armour will have minimal Strength demands, while heavy dragonbone 
    armour and crossbows will have high demands. There's not really much point in 
    Strength stacking even if you use longbows, since you gain just as much 
    damage from Dexterity plus increases in accuracy and dodging. Wearing massive 
    armour is a bad idea because it penalizes your archery.
    Difficulty rating:
    Early game - Very hard
    Mid game - Hard
    Late game - Hard to average
    3.5 - A Preface on Mage Builds [DAOS3.5]
    This will be a more complicated section, as mages function quite differently 
    from rogues and warriors in general. As the latter classes, it generally pays 
    to pick one combat style and stick with it, whether it be dual wielding, two-
    handed weaponry, weapon-and-shield, or archery. Dabbling in other weapon 
    trees usually yields very little benefit to your character, if any. However, 
    with mages, they are equally viable when drawing heavily from a single school 
    of magic, or dabbling a little in all of them. This means that a mage can 
    pack more variety and versatility into a single character build than warriors 
    or rogues can. I will be laying out fairly specialized roles for mage 
    characters to fill, but in all likelihood any mage Warden you make will be a 
    blend of these roles for the sake of versatility. In addition, the Arcane 
    Warrior specialization is so distinctly different from any other build in the 
    game that it will get its own little section at the end.
    Some spells are useful to a wide variety of mage roles and builds. I'll list 
    them below.
    Staff Focus - adds a boost to your autoattack damage with staves. Nothing to 
    prioritize, but it adds up over time.
    Arcane Mastery - a bonus 5 spellpower. Definitely not a priority, and 
    unfortunately at the end of a feat tree, but if you have spare feats, it 
    can't hurt.
    Heal - right at the start of a tree so you can get it without any prereqs. 
    It's almost never a bad idea to have some kind of heal.
    Heroic Aura - one of the few banes of your existence as a mage is archers, 
    and this helps counter the threat they pose.
    Glyph of Repulsion - a fantastic ability for warding off pesky melee types 
    that cramp your style. You can giggle to yourself as they futilely bounce 
    around trying to get to you.
    Death Syphon - arguably the most broadly useful mage sustained ability, Death 
    Syphon lets you suck the energy out of corpses to replenish your mana.
    Mind Blast - A fast casting AoE stun with no prereqs. Can be a real 
    lifesaver, particularly early in the game.
    Rock Armour - a sustained you can toss on to give yourself an instant and 
    sizeable armour boost. Never hurts to have this around as an option.
    3.6 - The Nuker [DAOS3.6]
    This role specializes in a scorched-earth approach to combat, filling the 
    role typically associated with invoker-type mages in other games. The focus 
    will be on both leveling whole armies of normal enemies with devastation area 
    of effect spells, and being able to fry single tough enemies like bosses with 
    equal ease. You will be a bit of a 'glass cannon', but it won't matter 
    because things will usually die before they can do much damage to you anyway. 
    The sheer carnage this role can wreak on the battlefield is unmatchable by 
    any other.
    Base class: Mage
    Recommended Spells:
    Tempest - a nice electrical AoE that damages and drains the mana/stamina of 
    anyone in its radius for a while. Half of the Storm of the Century combo 
    (more on combos at the end of the mage builds).
    Blizzard - a nice ice element AoE that does damage and can freeze anyone in 
    its radius. The other half of the Storm of the Century combo.
    Fireball - a quick casting, potent fire AoE that knocks back and inflicts a 
    DoT on everything it hits.
    Earthquake - a large earth AoE that damages and can knock down anything in 
    its radius for its duration.
    Spell Might - for when you want to rapidly overwhelm enemies with fewer 
    spells. A great fit for the Nuker role.
    Virulent Walking Bomb - stick a DoT on an enemy in the middle of a group, and 
    when they die, they explode, inflicting huge damage on everything around them.
    Crushing Prison - one of the best single target abilities in the game, this 
    paralyzes and inflicts a powerful DoT that will be a death sentence to all 
    but the strongest of enemies.
    Chain Lightning - a forking lightning spell that's good for inflicting a lot 
    of damage quickly to a large group of enemies, as well as rapidly draining 
    their mana and stamina reserves.
    Stinging Swarm - a potent Nature spell that damages one enemy at a time until 
    they die, hopping from foe to foe for its duration.
    Mana Clash - the magenuke; turns an enemy spellcaster's mana against them, 
    using it to fuel the damage caused by this spell. This is guaranteed death 
    for the overwhelming majority of mage enemies in the game. Almost feels like 
    cheating, since the enemy never turns the tables by using it on your mages. 
    Death Cloud - a large AoE that inflicts Spirit damage with each pulse for its 
    Blood Mage - the perfect fit for this build. The Blood Mage's abilities are a 
    great compliment to the Nuker's play style.
    Spirit Healer - a good choice, with nice stat bonuses and the ability to give 
    your group a boost when the need arises.
    Shapeshifter - not a good choice, as you sacrifice all of your AoE 
    devastation by changing forms.
    Arcane Warrior - though the protective bonuses from Shimmering Shield can be 
    nice in a pinch, you generally won't want to suffer the fatigue and mana 
    drain that comes along with these abilities.
    General stat spread:
    Strength - as low as possible
    Dexterity - as low as possible
    Willpower - low to moderate, depending on how much you use Blood Magic
    Magic - where the majority of your points should be going; very high
    Cunning - 16 base
    Constitution - low to moderate, depending on how large a 'pool' you like to 
    have while using Blood Magic
    Strength is useless to almost every mage build. Dexterity won't help this 
    build much either, since you aren't meant to survive in melee combat - you 
    should be avoiding it either by hanging back while your tank does their job, 
    and/or by slaughtering everything before it can get near you. Willpower will 
    depend on how much casting you want to be able to do outside of Blood Magic, 
    so this is a matter of personal preference. Higher Willpower is necessary to 
    keep up lots of casting if you are not a Blood Mage or only use Blood Magic 
    occasionally. Cunning should be base 16 for skill use, as it serves little 
    other purpose for this build. Constitution is generally not a priority as you 
    shouldn't be taking much damage, but it increases your mana pool and gives 
    you more of a cushion for mishaps while using Blood Magic or facing off 
    against lots of archers. The main stat focus of this build is Magic, which 
    should be stacked very high for maximum effectiveness. This has the added 
    benefit of making both health poultices (outside of Blood Magic) and lyrium 
    potions extremely effective. A nuker with a high Magic stat should have no 
    trouble laying waste to whole platoons of enemies.
    Difficulty rating:
    Early game - Very easy
    Mid game - Very easy
    Late game - Easy
    3.7: The Support Healer [DAOS3.7]
    In direct contrast to the Nuker, this role focuses on making your allies 
    stronger and keeping them in the fight for as long as possible. For the most 
    part, you won't have much spare time or mana to be casting offensive spells, 
    instead devoting them to healing and buffing effects designed to maximize the 
    performance of your entire group. This is probably the easiest mage role to 
    stick on AI autopilot, as healing can be achieved relatively effectively with 
    a good tactics slot setup.
    Base Class: Mage
    Recommended Spells:
    Weapon enchantment spells, e.g. Flame Weapon - getting one of these buffs can 
    be quite helpful to your group, as it will add additional damage to melee 
    attacks at a relatively low cost to you.
    Heal - a useful spell for any mage, as mentioned above, but absolutely 
    critical to this build. Get this as one of your first spell selections.
    Rejuvenate - good for keeping a heavy skill using party member going for 
    longer. Use wisely, as it has a long cooldown.
    Regeneration - paired up with Heal, this spell can keep your tank alive 
    through all but the toughest encounters.
    Mass Rejuvenation - a useful spell in long battles, when your whole party is 
    depleted of stamina or mana.
    Heroic Offense - use this when up against enemies with high evasion, or to 
    give a boost to a character suffering from low attack bonuses, like an Arcane 
    Heroic Defense - use this on an ally with weaker defense in tough fights.
    Haste - boost up the attack speed of archers and melee allies (though don't 
    bother with Momentum-boosted dual wielders). Be cautious, as it penalizes 
    your mana regeneration while it's in effect.
    Glyph of Warding - a stationary AoE that buffs the defense, mental resistance 
    and missile avoidance of allies within its effect.
    Anti-Magic Ward - protect an ally from harmful enemy spells.
    Force Field - can be good as a last minute keep-alive measure for a 
    critically injured party member.
    Arcane Shield - definitely not a priority, but if you decide to invest a bit 
    in Dexterity and/or are using a lot of mage equipment that boosts your 
    defense and dodging ability, you may wish to stick this on as an additional 
    survival measure.
    Spirit Healer - the ideal specialization for this role, as it adds group 
    healing capabilities, helpful bonuses, the ability to remove injuries without 
    kits, and battlefield resurrection to your bag of tricks.
    Blood Mage - grants nice bonuses, but using any of the Blood Mage's abilities 
    as a support healer requires care and caution. Generally not necessary to 
    fulfill your role effectively.
    Arcane Warrior - you generally won't want to use the full abilities of this 
    specialization, as the fatigue penalties incurred will prevent you from 
    healing effectively. However, staying alive is key to keeping the rest of 
    your party alive, and being able to throw on Shimmering Shield in a tough 
    situation can be nice.
    Shapeshifter - none of the forms give any benefit to this role, making it a 
    very poor choice. The only reason to take it is for the armour bonus.
    General stat spread:
    Strength - as low as possible
    Dexterity - generally low
    Willpower - high
    Magic - high
    Cunning - 16 base
    Constitution - low (15-20 modified is plenty)
    Again, Strength is useless, but you may want a little bit of Dexterity for 
    more physical resistance and some basic dodging ability, as many pieces of 
    mage gear come with defense bonuses, and staying alive is a top priority for 
    the support healer role. If you're dead, the rest of your group is likely to 
    follow. Willpower and Magic should both be very high, kept either equal or 
    with Magic a bit higher than Willpower. Willpower gives you a nice big pool 
    of mana for continuous casting, and Magic makes what you're casting more 
    effective, such as how many hit points are restored with each cast of Heal. 
    Cunning is just high enough for skills, and Constitution is just high enough 
    to give you a comfortable pool of hit points to keep you in the fight against 
    archers or other mages.
    Difficulty rating:
    Early game - Average to easy
    Mid game - Easy
    Late game - Average to easy
    3.8 - The Debilitator [DAOS3.8]
    Like the support healer, the debilitator role is a support role that is at 
    its best when it is part of a strong team. However, unlike the support 
    healer, the debilitator accomplishes this by weakening and incapacitating the 
    enemy rather than bolstering their allies. This build revolves around using 
    the mage's broad arsenal of debuffs and crowd control spells to maximum 
    effect. Debilitators don't have the raw killing power of a nuker, but they 
    can layer enough negative status effects on their foes to make any darkspawn 
    want to crawl back to one of its broodmother's myriad bloated teats. This 
    build will never suffer from having a shortage of spells to choose from.
    Base Class: Mage
    Recommended Spells:
    Cone of Cold - this spell will even freeze bosses, leaving them helpless for 
    the duration.
    Blizzard - unlike with the nuker, your interest in this spell is its ability 
    to freeze rather than its damage.
    Stonefist - knocks down your target, and can shatter them if they're frozen.
    Earthquake - AoE knockdown every pulse. Good crowd control.
    Glyph of Paralysis - lays a stationary AoE that acts like a trap - when an 
    enemy enters its radius, they get paralyzed unless they resist. Also half of 
    the tremendously powerful Paralysis Explosion combo (covered later).
    Glyph of Repulsion - useful for all mages but particularly for the 
    debilitator. In addition to keeping you safe and often knocking your enemies 
    down, it's the other half of the Paralysis Explosion combo.
    Glyph of Neutralization - an anti-magic glyph that's good for neutralizing 
    enemy casters, as it dispels, drains mana, and prevents spellcasting within 
    its AoE.
    Grease - a stationary trap-like AoE that slows movement and can knock down 
    anyone entering it. Can also be lit on fire.
    Mana Cleanse - wipes out the mana of enemies in the AoE.
    Force Field - use this to keep powerful enemies, like bosses, out of the 
    fight until you can kill off some of their underlings.
    Crushing Prison - paralysis and a potent DoT, difficult to resist. One of the 
    best single target spells in the game.
    Weakness - debuffs attack, defense, and movement speed.
    Paralyze - single target paralysis. Good for the early levels.
    Miasma - a caster-centred AoE version of Weakness, in the form of a sustained 
    Mass Paralysis - AoE paralysis. A great spell for this build.
    Vulnerability Hex - makes the target susceptible to elemental damage. Great 
    if you also have a nuker in your party.
    Affliction Hex - basically an AoE verison of Vulnerability Hex.
    Misdirection Hex - turns a single weapon user into a joke; all normal attacks 
    miss, and critical hits only do normal damage. Has a long duration as well.
    Death Hex - turns all normal attacks against the target into critical hits. 
    Great for dropping a single enemy really fast, particularly if you have dual 
    wielders in your group.
    Disorient - Similar to Weakness, it debuffs attack and defense.
    Horror - causes a target to cower in fear if they fail a resistance check, 
    effectively paralyzing them. Can't be resisted if the target is sleeping.
    Sleep - an AoE spell that puts targets to sleep. They wake up if hit.
    Waking Nightmare - an AoE spell that causes enemies in its effect to randomly 
    be stunned, attack each other, or become allies of your party for its 
    duration. Can't be resisted if the targets are asleep.
    Curse of Mortality - a spirit DoT that causes the target to be unable to heal 
    in any way.
    Blood Mage - a great choice, as it gives you the Blood Wound spell, which is 
    easily one of the best AoE crowd control spells in the game.
    Spirit Healer - a good second choice, as it gives helpful bonuses and lets 
    you keep your team in good condition in a pinch.
    Arcane Warrior - you don't really want to incur heavy fatigue penalties, so 
    this specialization would really only be good for throwing Shimmering Shield 
    on in a sticky situation.
    Shapeshifter - while the spider form can use Web, that's hardly worth 
    sacrificing the dozens of incapacitating spells you can cast while unshifted. 
    Could be useful for times when you run out of mana, but between Death Syphon 
    and lyrium potions (or just use Blood Magic), that really shouldn't happen 
    General stat spread:
    Strength - as low as possible
    Dexterity - as low as possible
    Willpower - low to moderate, depending on how much you use Blood Magic
    Magic - where the majority of your points should be going; very high
    Cunning - 16 base
    Constitution - low to moderate, depending on how large a 'pool' you like to 
    have while using Blood Magic
    This is basically the same idea as the nuker build. Strength is useless; 
    Dexterity won't help this build much either. Willpower will depend on how 
    much casting you want to be able to do outside of Blood Magic, so this is a 
    matter of personal preference. Higher Willpower is necessary to keep up lots 
    of casting if you are not a Blood Mage or only use Blood Magic occasionally. 
    Cunning should be base 16 for skill use, as it serves little other purpose 
    for this build. Constitution is generally not a priority as you shouldn't be 
    taking much damage, but it increases your mana pool and gives you more of a 
    cushion for mishaps while using Blood Magic or facing off against lots of 
    archers. The main stat focus of this build is Magic, which should be stacked 
    very high for maximum effectiveness. This has the added benefit of making 
    both health poultices (outside of Blood Magic) and lyrium potions extremely 
    effective. Played smartly, you'll be able to continuously inflict harmful 
    effects on the enemies throughout even lengthy battles, which will rarely be 
    resisted because of your hefty Magic stat.
    Difficulty rating:
    Early game - Easy
    Mid game - Easy
    Late game - Average to easy
    3.9 - The Spellsword [DAOS3.9]
    This role is built around the Arcane Warrior specialization and its unique 
    characteristics. There's a number of ways to go about Arcane Warriors, so 
    I'll just try and give a general template with elements that are common in AW 
    loadouts I've used and come across. In general, because the Arcane Warrior 
    gains no weapon-specific feats the way rogues and warriors do and suffers 
    from very high fatigue penalties, you will do most of your damage through 
    normal weapon swings, bolstered by sustained self-buffs. It's not a thrilling 
    play style, but it's extraordinarily effective if designed well. You're 
    welcome to mix in a few spellcasts with your melee, but just bear in mind 
    that fatigue will make it costly and limited, and many spells cannot be cast 
    with a melee weapon drawn, so you'll have to sheathe it before casting. This 
    can add a lot onto the cast time unless you're willing to pause the game and 
    swap your weapon out before each cast, which can get tedious pretty fast. You 
    may wish to find offensive spells that can be cast with a drawn weapon to 
    streamline things, though there aren't all that many.
    Base Class: Mage
    Recommended Spells:
    Rock Armour - as mentioned before, this is a pretty good spell for many mage 
    builds, but it's instrumental in this build as it will greatly bolster your 
    survival in melee.
    Arcane Shield - dodging probably won't be real high on your priority list, 
    but this sustained spell probably works better on this build than any other.
    Flaming/Frost/Telekinetic Weapons - getting a weapon enchanting spell is 
    definitely a great investment for this build.
    Regeneration - a great spell to toss onto yourself early in a tough fight. 
    Makes you even harder to kill, which is saying something, and at relatively 
    little mana cost.
    The 'Heroic' buff spell tree - all the spells in this tree are useful, as 
    they improve the melee or defensive capabilities of yourself or allies.
    Spell Shield - despite your impressive defenses, enemy spellcasters can still 
    rain on your parade. This can give you some protection while your mana lasts.
    Miasma - makes you into a walking AoE debuff totem, which will make you stand 
    out even more in melee combat.
    Death Magic - can feed you some quick free heals when there's corpses around.
    Arcane Warrior - an obvious choice, since this build depends on it.
    Spirit Healer - the best compliment to the Arcane Warrior, giving some very 
    useful stat bonuses and boosting your survival even further.
    Blood Mage - an interesting choice to pair with a melee-built Arcane Warrior. 
    Blood Magic is quite risky when you're on the front lines, but spells like 
    Blood Wound can be very potent if used right in this build.
    Shapeshifter - a poor choice, as changing shape invalidates all the benefits 
    gained from being an Arcane Warrior.
    General stat spread:
    Strength - as low as possible
    Dexterity - low to moderate (30 modified or less should suffice for most 
    Willpower - moderate to high (roughly 25-40 modified ought to do)
    Magic - high; where most points will probably end up
    Cunning - 16 base
    Constitution - moderate (20-30 modified should be plenty unless you plan on 
    using Blood Magic a lot)
    Arcane Warrior stats will vary depending on exactly what you want to get out 
    of the build. As with all mages, Strength is useless. The reason why you may 
    want some Dexterity is that while Combat Magic makes Magic substitute in for 
    Strength in melee, it is not a perfect substitution, and you will never get 
    the same bonus to attack rolls from high Magic that a warrior would get from 
    high Strength. As a result, even with very high Magic, your accuracy still 
    won't be that great without buffs. Adding a bit of Dexterity can help to 
    offset this as well as giving you a little dodging ability, which can work 
    well with Arcane Shield. Willpower should be high enough to run all the 
    sustained abilities you want (at the very least, all of the Arcane Warrior 
    sustained spells) for as long as you want. Depending on your style, you may 
    want some extra mana on top to be able to cast a few offensive spells, such 
    as an AoE to get enemy hostility, being that you will lack Threaten and 
    Taunt. Cunning at base 16 for skills, and Constitution until you feel you 
    have a comfortable enough pool of hit points to survive in melee. Your 
    extremely high defensive stats will make Constitution a bit less critical 
    than for other melee characters, but it's still good to have a little as a 
    failsafe. The rest of your stat points should go into Magic to boost your 
    combat damage, increase the effect of your spells, and make you recover huge 
    amounts from even basic poultices and lyrium potions.
    Difficulty rating:
    Early game - Average to easy
    Mid game - Easy
    Late game - Very easy
    3.10 - A Quick Guide to Spell Combos [DAOS3.10]
    Grease Fire
    Component spells: Grease + any fire spell (if you use Flame Blast, you have 
    to hit the centre of the grease)
    Effect: A great big puddle of flaming grease. Shortly after ignition, the 
    grease's effect of tripping people up is gone, but it'll continue to burn and 
    inflict a fire DoT on anyone who steps on it for a while.
    Flame Quencher
    Component spells: make a Grease Fire, then cast Blizzard on it
    Effect: Gets rid of the grease fire.
    Storm of the Century
    Component spells: Activate Spell Might, then layer a Blizzard and Tempest on 
    top of each other
    Effect: Big angry rampaging electrical AoE that'll annihilate just about 
    anything that has the misfortune of getting caught in it. If used 
    strategically, this spell combo is pretty much game-breaking.
    Component spells: use Winter's Grasp, Cone of Cold, or Petrify to harden a 
    target. Then, use Earthen Fist, Crushing Prison, or a melee critical hit on 
    Effect: The target shatters - instant death. Elite-ranked enemies seem to 
    have a chance to avoid it, and boss-types won't be affected, but it works 
    quite reliably on any unranked enemies.
    Paralysis Explosion
    Component spells: overlap a Glyph of Repulsion and a Glyph of Paralysis
    Effect: A very large radius and long lasting AoE paralysis effect that's nigh 
    impossible to resist - even bosses get hit with it quite easily. It causes 
    friendly fire so your party mates will probably get hit with it, but a mage 
    running amok with their pick of helpless targets is already a nasty thing.
    Component spells: cast Sleep on the desired target, then cast Horror
    Effect: Wakes the target up, but lays heavy duty spirit damage on them as 
    well as the Horror effect.
    Improved Drain
    Component spells: start with a Vulnerability Hex on the target, then use Life 
    Drain or Mana Drain
    Effect: Doubled effectiveness of your chosen drain spell.
    Entropic Death
    Component spells: cast a Death Hex on the desired target, then lay a Death 
    Cloud over them
    Effect: Enormous spirit damage to the target. Basically kills any non-boss 
    (and a few bosses) outright.
    Component spells: cast Force Field and Crushing Prison on the same target
    Effect: A huge shockwave that damages and knocks back everyone in its radius. 
    Nearly impossible to resist. The recipient is unhurt by the shockwave.
    Advanced Reanimation
    Component spells: cast Animate Dead while Spell Might is active
    Effect: Basically just an improved version of Animate Dead, making a more 
    powerful undead ally that has some special abilities.
                      Section IV: Noteworthy Gear [DAOS4.0]
    In this section, I'll cover some gear that stands out as exceptional in some 
    way, which you should keep an eye out for to enhance your Warden (or a 
    favourite ally). These pieces are often tricky or expensive to acquire, and 
    thus represent more endgame-oriented loadouts. For early to mid game, you can 
    probably figure it out decently yourself, as there's not an awful lot of 
    variation in gear stats at that point for the most part anyway. I'll try and 
    minimize spoilers here. Note that I will not be including gear gained through 
    special promotional things, like preordering from particular retail outfits 
    or getting specialty editions. I am limiting my gear to those found in the 
    base installation, The Stone Prisoner, Warden's Keep, and the Blood Dragon 
    Armour pieces, as those are what I'm personally familiar with and what most 
    people are likely to have access to. I will also leave out gear that exists 
    in the base installation but which I personally do not know how to find, as I 
    don't like relying solely on third party information for this (not to 
    mention, you could look it up as easily as I could). Finally, I will cover 
    unique gear types, such as Dog's and Shale's, under the appropriate companion 
    building sections later.
    4.1 - Amulets, Belts, and Rings [DAOS4.1]
    The Spellward
    +5 Willpower
    +8 Regeneration out of combat
    +30% Spell resistance
    +10% Chance to dodge attacks
    Chance to avoid missile attacks
    Where to get it: from Bodahn Feddic in your camp, for around 87 sovereigns
    This is THE amulet in the game, as far as I'm concerned. Once you can afford 
    it, stick it on your Warden and never look back. It works well on just about 
    every possible build.
    +4 Spellpower
    Blood Mage Only
    Where to get it: during the Urn of Sacred Ashes quest
    For the hardcore Blood Mage nuker. The best boost in raw magic you can get 
    from an amulet.
    Magister's Shield
    +6 Defense
    +4% Spell resistance
    -10% Nature resistance
    Chance to avoid missile attacks
    Where to get it: a sidequest in Denerim
    If you can't afford The Spellward, this is a decent holdover. Its stats also 
    make it a great choice for giving to a melee rogue or tank companion.
    Andruil's Blessing
    +2 to all attributes
    +20% Nature resistance
    +1 Mana regeneration in combat
    +1 Stamina regeneration in combat
    +10 Physical resistance
    Where to get it: from the templar quartermaster in the Circle tower, for
    around 106 sovereigns
    I consider this to be the best all-around belt in the game, giving some 
    really great bonuses that justify its steep price tag. Works well with just 
    about any build.
    Archivist's Sash
    +50% Experience from codex entry finds
    Where to get it: from The Wonders of Thedas in Denerim for less than a 
    Not something you want to wear all the time, but it gives a nice little exp 
    boost if you slip it on just before getting codex unlocks.
    Destructionist's Belt
    +0.5 Mana regeneration in combat
    +3 Spellpower
    Where to get it: bought from Ruck in the Deep Roads
    A solid choice for a spellcaster ally, regardless of their role.
    +10 Constitution
    +3 Health regeneration in combat
    +2.5 Health regeneration out of combat
    +3 Armour
    +20% to healing received
    Where to get it: from Garin in Orzammar for around 87 sovereigns
    Easily one of the best rings in the game, particularly if you find yourself 
    feeling a little too fragile but don't want to spend a ton of points boosting 
    your Constitution. A hefty price tag, but well worth it, especially to melee 
    Key to the City
    +2 to all attributes
    +4% Spell resistance
    +10% to healing received
    Where to get it: an Orzammar sidequest
    A great little ring that's surprisingly easy (and free) to get. One of my 
    favourite endgame choices.
    Ring of the Warrior
    +2 Strength
    +2 Dexterity
    Where to get it: a Deep Roads sidequest
    Great stat bonuses for melee or archer characters, and it's free!
    Seal of Rat Red
    +10 Physical resistance
    +10 Mental resistance
    Where to get it: related to a Mages' Collective sidequest
    A ring that gives a nice boost for resisting nasty status effects, 
    particularly in the early game when everyone's stats are low.
    Harvest Festival Ring
    +2 Strength
    +2 Dexterity
    +4 Attack
    Warrior or Rogue only
    Where to get it: Shale's quests
    Like a Ring of the Warrior but better! However, mages (most notably Arcane 
    Warriors) can't use it.
    Dawn Ring
    +4 Strength
    -1 Cunning
    Where to get it: during the final battles
    A nice ring for any melee warrior, as the tradeoff is well worth it. Too bad 
    you only get it very late in the game. Half of the Imperium Rings set, which 
    gives +2 Armour.
    Dusk Ring
    +3 Cunning
    -1 Strength
    Where to get it: exploration during the Nature of the Beast quest
    A great ring for rogues. The other half of the Imperium Rings set, which 
    gives +2 Armour. Worn together, the two rings offset each others' penalties 
    to become purely positive stat bonuses.
    4.2 - Mage Armour [DAOS4.2]
    Just want to start by saying that every last one of these makes you look like
    a complete and utter tool. You've been warned.
    First Enchanter's Cowl
    +4% Spell resistance
    +10% Chance to dodge attacks
    Where to get it: from Bodahn Feddic after the Landsmeet
    One of the better cowls out there for boosting your mage's survivability. Not 
    too pricey either, but only available late in the game.
    The Libertarian's Cowl
    +12 Defense
    +0.25 Mana regeneration in combat
    Where to get it: found during the Broken Circle quests
    As good a cowl as you're likely to find throughout most of the game. Mana 
    regeneration is almost always welcome, and the defense bonus is quite large.
    Reaper's Vestments
    +6 Constitution
    +20% Fire resistance
    +16% Spell resistance
    +10% Chance to dodge attacks
    +12 Armour
    Where to get it: From The Wonders of Thedas in Denerim for 90ish sovereigns
    My favourite as far as robes go, these offer a truly massive boost to the 
    sturdiness of your average squishy mage. They give more armour than a lot of 
    top tier leathers, and have other great bonuses - I'm always a sucker for 
    spell resistance.
    First Enchanter's Robes
    +3 Willpower
    +3 Magic
    +9 Defense
    Where to get it: from Cesar's special stock for around 5 sovereigns
    Basically an improved version of Wynne's Senior Enchanter robes. A solid low 
    cost choice.
    Robes of Avernus
    +3 Willpower
    +3 Armour
    Improves Blood Magic
    Where to get it: Warden's Keep quests
    A bit of a mediocre option unless you're a Blood Mage, in which case its 
    bonus to your spell costs under Blood Magic make it a natural choice.
    Robes of Possession
    +5 Magic
    +12 Defense
    +8% Spell resistance
    -1 Willpower
    +20% Cold damage
    Morrigan only
    Where to get it: Morrigan's personal quest
    This is probably the robe you'll have Morrigan end out the game with, unless 
    you want to get her Reaper's Vestments.
    Tevinter Mage Robes
    +1 Mana regeneration in combat
    +5 Spellpower
    +4% Spell resistance
    Where to get it: From The Wonders of Thedas in Denerim for around 6
    sovereigns, or from the Dalish origin if you're sneaky
    A really great all-around robe for any kind of mage, especially due to how 
    early in the game Dalish characters can get it. Great bang for your buck.
    Mage gloves are pretty straightforward - they're basically leather gloves 
    that give bonuses to particular types of elemental damage. Just equip the 
    best pair you can find that boosts your most-used element. Only one set 
    really stands out at all.
    Elementalist's Grasp
    Armour 1.33 (Tier 6 light)
    Fatigue 1.13%
    +5% damage from all element types
    Mage only
    Where to get it: a Denerim sidequest
    The only gloves that boost all elemental damage rather than a single type, 
    making them a good option for the multi-element nuker.
    Fade Striders
    Armour 0.75 (Tier 1 light)
    Fatigue 0.50%
    +1 Magic
    Mage only
    Where to get it: the Mage origin story
    Despite the otherwise crappy stats, these shoes can be worth using for those 
    that wish to maximize their spellcasting performance, as they are the only 
    footwear that provide a boost to your Magic stat.
    Magus War Boots
    Armour 2.25 (Tier 7 light)
    Fatigue 0.57%
    +12 Defense
    Mage only
    Where to get it: A Chantry board sidequest
    Solid armour and a huge dodging boost make this a good choice for any mage.
    Imperial Weavers
    Armour 0.75 (Tier 1 light)
    Fatigue 0.50%
    +10% Chance to dodge attacks
    Mage only
    Where to get it: from Bodahn Feddic in your camp
    With a little investment, these boots can be acquired early on, and provide a 
    nice little defensive boost.
    4.3 - Light Armour [DAOS4.3]
    General sets:
    Duster Leather Armour
    Total set bonus: +2 Armour
    Where to get it: Orzammar
    For dwarf commoners and those who head to Orzammar earlier rather than later, 
    this humble set can provide valuable added damage absorption.
    Dalish Armour
    Total set bonus: +2 Dexterity, +8 Defense
    Where to get it: Dalish camps, Nature of the Beast quest line
    For Dalish elves and those who head to the Brecilian forest, this basic 
    armour set can give fantastic bonuses to rogues that can easily outweigh 
    armour value.
    Unique sets:
    Wade's Superior Drakeskin - Tier 7 (Drakeskin)
    SET PIECE	                         ARMOUR FATIGUE BONUSES	
    Wade's Superior Drakeskin Leather Armour  9.00	 2.30%  +2 Dexterity	
    			                                +50% Fire Resistance  	
    Wade's Superior Drakeskin Gloves	  1.50	 1.15%	+1 Dexterity
    			                                +10% Fire Resistance	
    Wade's Superior Drakeskin Boots	          2.25	 0.57%	+1 Dexterity
    			                                +10% Fire Resistance	
    Set Bonus: +5 Defense, -10% Fatigue
    Prerequisite: 20 Strength
    Where to get it: From Wade's Emporium with the right components
    A decent set for Dexterity and dodge-based characters, and for any 
    dragonkilling exploits you may undertake.
    Armsman's Tensioner
    Armour 2.00 (Tier 6)
    Rapid Aim
    +6 Attack
    18 Strength required
    Where to get it: from Varathorn after a few major quest arcs
    A great helmet for any archer that wants to use a bow without the Rapid Aim 
    property on it. Unfortunately, it doesn't become available until rather late 
    in the game.
    Longrunner's Cap
    Armour 1.75 (Tier 5)
    +0.5 Stamina regeneration in combat
    17 Strength required
    Where to get it: the Paragon of Her Kind quest line
    You can actually get two of these as acquisitions over the course of the 
    quest line. Great mid to late game light helmets, as stamina is always handy.
    The Long Sight
    Armour 2.25 (Tier 7)
    +5% Ranged critical chance
    20 Strength required
    Where to get it: an optional fight in the Urn of Sacred Ashes quest
    Probably the best all-around light archer helmet, as it gives good protection 
    and a great bonus. Ranged critical boosts are hard to find. Can also be 
    obtained for free relatively early on if you fight smart.
    Shadow of the Empire
    Armour 9.00 (Tier 7)
    Fatigue 2.30%
    +2 Strength
    +2 Dexterity
    +1 Stamina regeneration in combat
    20 Strength required
    Where to get it: from Legnar for around 20 sovereigns
    A really nice light armour, which can be acquired quite early with its 
    reasonable price tag. An excellent mid game armour piece, or an endgame piece 
    for one of your allies.
    The Felon's Coat
    Armour 9.00 (Tier 7)
    Fatigue 2.30%
    +6 Dexterity
    +9 Defense
    +4 Armour
    +1 Stamina regeneration in combat
    +15 Physical resistance
    20 Strength required
    Where to get it: From Wade's Emporium in Denerim after a few major quest 
    arcs, for around 90ish sovereigns
    Though it comes with a hefty price tag and can't be obtained until mid game 
    at the earliest, The Felon's Coat is pretty much the light armour piece in 
    the game. It comes with bonuses in nearly everything a budding rogue could 
    possibly want from their armour. There's few games where I don't buy this 
    either for the Warden or for a rogue ally.
    Gloves of Guile
    Armour 1.50 (Tier 7)
    Fatigue 1.15%
    +2.5 Armour penetration
    20 Strength required
    Where to get it: from a random Denerim encounter during the Landsmeet arc
    These gloves offer the largest armour penetration bonus of any piece of 
    armour in the game. A bit of a niche piece, but if you're dual wielding 
    longswords or want to make your arrows even more deadly against heavily 
    armoured targets, it may be up your alley. Only acquired quite late in the 
    game, unfortunately.
    Pushback Strikers
    Armour 1.50 (Tier 7)
    Fatigue 1.15%
    +5% Melee critical chance
    20 Strength required
    Where to get it: as part of the Paragon of Her Kind quest line
    One of the best, if not the best, pairs of gloves for dual wielders, as 5% is 
    a sizeable boost. Can also be gotten quite early on, and for free!
    Red Jenny Seekers
    Armour 1.50 (Tier 7)
    Fatigue 1.15%
    +15% Critical/backstab damage
    20 Strength required
    Where to get it: end reward for a Denerim side quest
    A solid alternative to the Pushback Strikers, these make your crits bigger 
    rather than more frequent. I'm not sure if this works for ranged crits or 
    not. For the frequent backstabber, these are an excellent choice.
    Antivan Leather Boots
    Armour 2.00 (Tier 6)
    Fatigue 0.56%
    +4% Spell resistance
    18 Strength required
    Where to get it: found during the Urn of Sacred Ashes quest (hint: starts as 
    a gift)
    A bit of a niche choice, depending on how much trouble those pesky mages are 
    giving you. The only light footwear that provides protection against 
    Bard's Dancing Shoes
    Armour 2.25 (Tier 7)
    Fatigue 0.57%
    +6 Defense
    Reduces enemy hostility
    20 Strength required
    Where to get it: From Bodahn Feddic in your camp
    A good early to mid game choice, as it gives a rather nice defensive boost. 
    Great for dishing out damage without pulling enemies off your tank.
    4.4 - Medium Armour [DAOS4.4]
    Ancient Elven Armour - Tier 4 (Veridium)
    Ancient Elven Helm     1.60    1.72%	+25% Spirit Resistance
    Ancient Elven Armour   6.80    8.05%	+2 Dexterity
    			                +2 Armour
    			                +10% Spirit Resistance	
    Ancient Elven Gloves   1.20    1.44%	+2 Armour
    			                +4% Spell Resistance
    Ancient Elven Boots    1.60    1.72%	+1 Constitution
    Set Bonus: +5 Defense
    Prerequisite: 22 Strength
    Where to get it: Various (Lothering, Brecilian Forest, Urn of Sacred Ashes
    Not a fantastic set, considering how much trouble you have to go to in order 
    to put it together, but it has low Strength requirements. Most noteworthy are 
    the gloves, which give excellent protective bonuses and are well worth using 
    outside the set.
    Wade's Superior Dragonskin Armour - Tier 7 (Dragonbone)
    SET PIECE	                   ARMOUR  FATIGUE  BONUSES
    Wade's Superior Dragonskin Armour  10.63    9.10%   +1 Stamina Regeneration
    			                            +50% Fire Resistance	
    			                            +25 Stamina	
    Wade's Superior Dragonskin Gloves   1.88    1.63%   +0.5 Stamina Regeneration
    			                            +10% Fire Resistance	
    Wade's Superior Dragonskin Boots    2.50    1.95%   +0.5 Stamina Regeneration
    			                            +10% Fire Resistance	
    Set Bonus: +5 Defense, -25% Fatigue
    Prerequisite: 34 Strength
    Where to get it: From Wade's Emporium with the right components
    Quite a solid choice for any medium armour user, this set provides a lot of 
    very useful stamina-related bonuses, as well as a boatload of fire 
    resistance, which is one of the more useful elemental resistances in the 
    game. Also leaves your helmet slot free. Has the heavy duty protective value 
    of Tier 7 equipment, but with the correspondingly high Strength prerequisite.
    Camenae's Barbute
    Armour 2.10 (Tier 6)
    Fatigue 1.88%
    Rapid Aim
    Chance to avoid missile attacks
    30 Strength required
    Where to get it: From Gorim in Denerim after completing a couple major quest 
    A great helmet for crossbow users, as crossbows with Rapid Aim are relatively 
    rare and crossbow Wardens are likely to have enough Strength to equip it. The 
    missile avoidance bonus works well on archers too.
    Varathorn's Armour
    Armour 8.92 (Tier 6)
    Fatigue 8.75%
    +3 Armour
    +20% Nature resistance
    +25 Stamina
    30 Strength required
    Where to get it: Made by Varathorn as part of a side quest
    A great choice for a medium main armour, especially since it can be gained 
    for free quite early in the game. Very high protective value for medium 
    armour with nice bonuses.
    Cadash Stompers
    Armour 2.66 (Tier 6 leather, don't ask)
    Fatigue 1.69%
    +2 Dexterity
    +2 Armour
    +2% Ranged critical chance
    +2% Melee critical chance
    Increases hostility
    22 Strength required
    Where to get it: Shale's quests
    These boots don't fit cleanly into any category, as they possess a sort of 
    mishmosh of the qualities of light, medium, and heavy armour, with stats 
    averaging out roughly into the medium armour category. These boots have 
    outstanding bonuses, particularly for tank characters due to their 
    surprisingly high armour value, Dexterity bonus, and increase in hostility. 
    However, they also work great on DPS characters so long as you don't mind the 
    possibility of pulling enemies off your tank.
    4.5 - Heavy Armour [DAOS4.5]
    Armour of Diligence - Tier 6 (Silverite)
    Armour of Diligence  13.12   17.50%   +0.5 Health Regeneration
    			              +2 Armour	
    Gloves of Diligence   2.10    2.19%   +4 Armour
    Boots of Diligence    2.63    2.81%   +6 Defense
    			              +2 Armour	
    Set Bonus: +5 Willpower
    Prerequisite: 34 Strength
    Where to get it: Various locations (Orzammar, Redcliffe, Urn of Sacred Ashes 
    What makes this set stand out so much is its outstanding protective value for 
    heavy armour. The gloves have better armour than any other pair in the game, 
    including the best massive varieties. A great set choice for a heavy armour 
    user, and pieces of the set are exceptionally useful even on massive armour 
    Wade's Superior Dragonscale Armour - Tier 7 (Dragonbone)
    SET PIECE	                          ARMOUR  FATIGUE  BONUSES
    Wade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale Armour  15.63   18.20%   +1 Stamina
    			                                   +50% Fire  
    			                                   +25 Stamina	
    Wade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale Gloves   2.50	   2.27%   +0.5 Stamina 
    			                                   +10% Fire  
    Wade's Superior Heavy Dragonscale Boots	   3.13	   2.92%   +0.5 Stamina
    			                                   +10% Fire  
    Set Bonus: +5 Defense, -25% Fatigue
    Prerequisites: 38 Strength
    Where to get it: From Wade's Emporium with the right components
    This set sports identical bonuses to the medium variety, with higher armour 
    and correspondingly higher fatigue and Strength prereqs. A solid choice for 
    any heavy armour user.
    Helm of Honnleath
    Armour 1.50 (Tier 2)
    Fatigue 2.36%
    +2 to All Attributes
    +3 Armour
    20 Strength required
    Where to get it: Shale's quests
    My personal favourite helm for your main character, as it has low enough 
    Strength prereqs that even rogues can easily access it, and it gives an 
    excellent blend of bonuses and protective value - despite only being grey 
    iron, it has better armour absorption than nearly any other helm in the game.
    Executioner's Helm
    Armour 2.00 (Tier 4)
    Fatigue 2.59%
    +25 Stamina
    26 Strength required
    Where to get it: Various ways in Denerim
    Provides a rather large stamina boost for a helmet. Other than that, it's not 
    too remarkable.
    Evon the Great's Mail
    Armour 15.63 (Tier 7)
    Fatigue 18.20%
    +1 Health regeneration in combat
    +6 Armour
    +10% Chance to dodge attacks
    +1 Stamina regeneration in combat
    Chance to avoid missile attacks
    38 Strength required
    Where to get it: From Wade's Emporium in Denerim after completing a couple 
    major quest lines, for 100ish sovereigns
    An outstanding piece of armour, offering damage absorption comparable to top 
    tier massive gear and with a ton of other great bonuses, which justify its 
    hefty price tag. A good choice for any heavy armour user.
    4.6 - Massive Armour [DAOS4.6]
    Legion of the Dead - Tier 7 (Dragonbone)
    Armour of the Legion   21.88   27.30%  +3 Willpower
    Gloves of the Legion   3.13    3.90%   +4 Attack
    Boots of the Legion    3.75    3.90%   None
    Set Bonus: +3 Constitution, +3 Damage
    Prerequisite: 42 Strength
    Where to get it: The Deep Roads
    This set is oriented toward heavy duty damage output, with the survivability 
    to let you dish it out. On top of that, it looks incredible, particularly on 
    large hulking characters like Sten. There is also a helmet and shield that go 
    with this set visually, but they are not necessary to get the set bonus.
    Blood Dragon Armour - Tier 6 (Silverite)
    Blood Dragon Plate Helmet      3.15    3.75%   +1 Armour
    Blood Dragon Plate	      18.38   26.25%   +3 Strength
    			                       +3 Willpower	
    			                       +3 Armour	
    			                       +50 Health	
    			                       -10% Fatigue   	
    Blood Dragon Plate Gauntlets   2.63    3.75%   None
    Blood Dragon Plate Boots       3.15    3.75%   None
    Set Bonus: +3 Armour, +1 Defense, +1 Missile deflection
    Prerequisite: 38 Strength
    Where to get it: The plate is automatically in your inventory when you 
    activate the DLC; the rest can be bought from Bodahn Feddic for around 3 
    sovereigns each
    The Blood Dragon Plate is what truly stands out in this set, as you get it 
    for free right from the start of the game and it has an astonishing number of 
    useful bonuses for a single piece of armour, making it a great choice for any 
    character with enough Strength to equip it. The helmet also has excellent 
    armour protection values. The lack of bonuses on the gauntlets and boots 
    means you may want to mix and match rather than go for the set bonus.
    Juggernaut Plate - Tier 6 (Silverite)
    Juggernaut Helm	          3.15	  3.75%	  +1 Armour
    			                  +10 Mental Resistance	
    Juggernaut Plate Armour  18.38   26.25%   +10% All Elemental 
    Juggernaut Plate Gloves	  2.63	  3.75%	  +5% All Elemental Resistances
    Juggernaut Plate Boots	  3.15	  3.75%	  +5% All Elemental Resistances
    Set Bonus: +3 Strength, +3 Constitution
    Prerequisite: 38 Strength
    Where to get it: The Nature of the Beast quest locations
    Elemental damage putting hair on your cake? This is the set for you. While it 
    tends to lag behind a lot of the other massive armour sets in terms of raw 
    armour protection value, it gives unsurpassed broad spectrum elemental 
    resistance. The helm is also quite a nice piece as a standalone.
    Warden Commander Armour - Variable tier (3-7)
    Warden Commander Armour  Varies  Varies   +0.5 Stamina Regeneration
    			                  +1 Armour	
    			                  +15% Critical/Backstab Damage	
    			                  +10 Physical Resistance	
    Warden Commander Gloves	 Varies	 Varies   +10% Fire Resistance
    Warden Commander Boots	 Varies	 Varies	  +50 Stamina
    Set Bonus: +10 Health, -10% Fatigue
    Prerequisites: Dependent on tier
    Where to get it: Warden's Keep quests
    What stands out the most in this set are the boots, giving a whopping 50 
    stamina. The main armour gives some rather nice bonuses as well. Mediocre 
    gloves and a set bonus that's a little on the anemic side mean that you may 
    wish to only use pieces of this set rather than the whole thing. Its material 
    varies depending on the level of your main character when you acquire it, 
    with higher tiers corresponding to higher levels. It'll never be worse than 
    steel and never be better than dragonbone. Either wait to go to the Keep 
    until it hits tier 7, or go earlier and sell the pieces to a merchant with a 
    low markup and buy it back when it upgrades to dragonbone.
    Wade's Superior Dragonbone - Tier 7 (Dragonbone)
    SET PIECE	                         ARMOUR  FATIGUE  BONUSES
    Wade's Superior Dragonbone Plate Armour  21.88	 27.30%   +1 Stamina 
    			                                  +50% Fire Resistance	
    			                                  +25 Stamina	
    Wade's Superior Dragonbone Plate Gloves	  3.13	  3.90%	  +0.5 Stamina 
    			                                  +10% Fire Resistance	
    Wade's Superior Dragonbone Plate Boots	  3.75	  3.90%	  +0.5 Stamina
    			                                  +10% Fire Resistance	
    Set Bonus: +5 Defense, -25% Fatigue
    Prerequisite: 42 Strength
    Where to get it: From Wade's Emporium with the right components
    The bonuses are identical to the medium and heavy variants of this set, but 
    obviously this version offers the highest armour values at the highest 
    fatigue cost. This version tends to stand out less than the medium and heavy 
    sets because there are so many other good massive armour sets in the game to 
    choose from.
    Effort's Armour - Tier 6 (Silverite)
    Duty	          3.15	  3.75%	  +2 Constitution
    Effort	          18.38	  26.25%  +15% to Healing Received
    Effort's Gloves   2.63	  3.75%	  +1 Strength
    Effort's Boots	  3.15	  3.75%	  +1 Armour
    Set Bonus: -10% Fatigue
    Prerequisites: 38 Strength
    Where to get it: Orzammar and the Deep Roads
    Probably the crappiest unique massive armour set, Effort nonetheless has a 
    couple pieces that offer some useful bonuses on their own.
    Armour 3.75 (Tier 7)
    Fatigue 3.90%
    +5 Dexterity
    +1 Armour
    +75% Spirit resistance
    42 Strength required
    Where to get it: Denerim during the final battles
    Packing the highest armour value of any helmet in the game, as well as a 
    terrific Dexterity boost, this helmet is Alistair's dream come true. Too bad 
    the game's almost over by the time you get it.
    Knight Commander's Plate
    Armour 18.90 (Tier 6)
    Fatigue 27.50%
    +5 Willpower
    +40% Spell resistance
    +10 Mental resistance
    Templar only
    39 Strength required
    Where to get it: bought from Faryn for around 27 sovereigns
    I have an unhealthy love of this armour. Because I don't abuse Mana Clash, 
    mages are the most dangerous and obnoxious enemies I face in any given 
    playthrough, and this armour does a tremendous amount to let me laugh in 
    their overpowered faces. 40% spell resistance from a single piece of gear is 
    amazing, and the other bonuses are great as well. I take Templar as a 
    specialization on a lot of my warriors just so I can wear this armour, or 
    stick it on Alistair as soon as I can if I'm playing a rogue. In my 
    experience, the ability to shrug off spells definitely offsets the extra 
    couple of armour points you could get from a different piece, though Blood 
    Dragon is always tempting just due to all the other amazing bonuses it gives.
    4.7 - Shields [DAOS4.7]
    Mythal's Blessing
    Defense 1.50 (Tier 4)
    Missile Deflection 2.63
    +1% Melee critical chance
    +10% to healing received
    18 Strength required
    Where to get it: The Nature of the Beast quest areas
    About as good as bucklers get. Decent little bonuses for a shield with 
    relatively low prereqs and no fatigue penalty.
    Ruck's Shield
    Defense 1.50 (Tier 3)
    Missile Deflection 2.25
    +4 Attack
    +10% Spirit resistance
    14 Strength required
    Where to get it: an Orzammar side quest
    Again, passably decent bonuses for a buckler. Good when you have very low 
    Strength or want to minimize fatigue.
    Aeducan Family Shield
    Defense 3.00 (Tier 6)
    Missile Deflection 5.06
    Fatigue 3.13%
    +1 Cunning
    +1 Constitution
    +9 Defense
    +4 Damage vs Darkspawn
    30 Strength required
    Where to get it: reunite with Gorim as a dwarf noble
    This shield has really great stats for a targe, but is only available to 
    dwarf nobles as far as I know.
    Champion's Shield
    Defense 3.00 (Tier 6)
    Missile Deflection 5.06
    Fatigue 3.13%
    +12 Defense
    30 Strength required
    Where to get it: pickpocket Vartag Gavorn
    An easily acquired shield that will give a boost to your tank's dodging until 
    better shields become available.
    Dead Coat of Arms
    Defense 3.00 (Tier 6)
    Missile Deflection 5.06
    Fatigue 3.13%
    +1 Constitution
    +1 Stamina regeneration in combat
    30 Strength required
    Where to get it: from a Revenant
    The main perk to this targe is the stamina regeneration.
    Eamon's Shield
    Defense 4.00 (Tier 3)
    Missile Deflection 4.50
    Fatigue 3.52%
    +6 Defense
    +25 Stamina
    22 Strength required
    Where to get it: Redcliffe quests
    The combination of two key stat bonuses for shieldtanks - Defense and 
    Stamina - make this shield a great early to mid game choice.
    Havard's Aegis
    Defense 4.00 (Tier 3)
    Missile Deflection 4.50
    Fatigue 3.36%
    +4% Spell resistance
    Chance to avoid missile attacks
    22 Strength required
    Where to get it: Ostagar quests
    For a shield you get very early on in the game, Havard's Aegis has extremely 
    useful bonuses. You can continue using this for most of the game and do just 
    Redcliffe Elite Shield
    Defense 4.00 (Tier 6)
    Missile Deflection 6.00
    Fatigue 3.84%
    +1 Willpower
    +3 Defense
    +15% Electricity resistance
    +2 Attack
    32 Strength required
    Where to get it: the Urn of Sacred Ashes quest as a rogue or warrior
    Sporting a well-rounded set of bonuses, this shield makes a viable 
    alternative to Eamon's Shield or Havard's Aegis for the mid game.
    Duncan's Shield
    Defense 6.00 (Tier 6)
    Missile Deflection 9.00
    Fatigue 6.00%
    +3 Willpower
    +6 Defense
    +1 Stamina regeneration in combat
    38 Strength required
    Where to get it: Denerim after the Landsmeet is assembled
    This shield has an excellent bonus set for shieldtanks. Too bad it's only 
    obtainable quite late in the game.
    Earthheart's Portable Bulwark
    Defense 6.00 (Tier 5)
    Missile Deflection 8.00
    Fatigue 5.76%
    +1 Strength
    +1 Dexterity
    +1 Constitution
    36 Strength required
    Where to get it: From Bodahn Feddic for under 10 sovereigns
    For the shieldtank who prefers stat bonuses to raw defensive value. Nice 
    because of how early in the game you can acquire it, if you so choose.
    Fade Wall
    Defense 6.00 (Tier 6)
    Missile Deflection 9.00
    Fatigue 6.00%
    +3 Defense
    +20% to healing received
    +1 Stamina regeneration in combat
    +25 Stamina
    38 Strength required
    Where to get it: possible drop from a side quest in Denerim near the end of 
    the game
    A solid alternative to Duncan's Shield, available around the same time in the 
    game. A little less raw defense but better stamina capabilities, and the 
    healing boost can be quite beneficial, especially if your tank is rolling 
    heavier on Constitution than Dexterity.
    Howe's Shield
    Defense 6.00 (Tier 6)
    Missile Deflection 9.00
    Fatigue 6.00%
    +12 Defense
    +10% Fire resistance
    +10% Cold resistance
    -2 Willpower
    38 Strength required
    Where to get it: Denerim just prior to the Landsmeet
    Sort of like the Champion's Shield's big brother, this shield provides a 
    whopping bonus to your dodging and some useful elemental resists, but the 
    penalty to Willpower is a bit unsexy. And it belonged to Arl Howe. Icky. 
    Still, not a bad shield.
    4.8 - Waraxes, Maces, and Longswords [DAOS4.8]
    All waraxes have a Strength modifier of 1.10.
    Defining characteristic: Higher Strength modifier than any other one-handed 
    weapon type, giving better damage with very high Strength values.
    The Veshialle
    Damage 9.60 (Tier 7)
    Critical Chance 1.60%
    Armour Penetration 4.00
    3 rune slots
    +2 Strength
    +5% Melee critical chance
    +1 Stamina regeneration in combat
    +10% Critical/backstab damage
    +2 Nature damage
    31 Strength required
    Where to get it: From Bodahn Feddic for around 145ish sovereigns
    Though it comes with a heavy price tag, the Veshialle is the best waraxe in 
    the game and a heavy contender for best melee weapon. One of the only unique 
    dragonbone axes, and thus one of the only ones that can take three runes. A 
    great choice, particularly if you have high Strength values or a high 
    critical rate. Almost perfectly suited to dual wielding builds.
    Axe of the Grey
    Damage 9.00 (Tier 6)
    Critical Chance 1.50%
    Armour Penetration 3.50
    2 rune slots
    +3% Melee critical chance
    +2 Armour penetration
    +6 Damage vs darkspawn
    27 Strength required
    Where to get it: in Denerim after the Landsmeet is assembled
    A solid all-around axe that really shines in the last battles, as all your 
    enemies are darkspawn. Also quite good against more heavily armoured targets.
    Damage 9.00 (Tier 6)
    Critical Chance 1.50%
    Armour Penetration 3.50
    2 rune slots
    +3% Melee critical chance
    +20% Fire resistance
    -5% Cold resistance
    +1 Fire damage
    27 Strength required
    Where to get it: part of a Denerim side quest
    One of the main advantages to this axe is that it can be obtained fairly 
    early in the game. Its one drawback is relatively minor compared to its 
    Base stats vary with tier
    +3 Dexterity
    +10% Spirit resistance
    +1 Armour penetration
    +4 Damage vs darkspawn
    Where to get it: the Deep Roads
    The tier of this axe will depend on your level when you acquire it, but it 
    can go as high as tier 7. You can use the sell/re-buy later trick to upgrade 
    it. The other unique axe that can have 3 rune slots, and with a pretty decent 
    spread of bonuses.
    All maces have a Strength modifier of 1.00.
    Defining characteristic: Far and away the best armour penetration of any one-
    handed weapons.
    High Constable's Mace
    Damage 7.50 (Tier 6)
    Critical Chance 0.75%
    Armour Penetration 7.00
    2 rune slots
    +1 Stamina regeneration in combat
    +6 Damage vs darkspawn
    28 Strength required
    Where to get it: Denerim after the Landsmeet is called
    A bit of a mediocre weapon against anything but darkspawn, especially given 
    that you only get it quite late in the game, but it's still worth considering 
    for the final confrontation where its damage bonus will really come in handy.
    Damage 7.50 (Tier 6)
    Critical Chance 0.75%
    Armour Penetration 7.00
    2 rune slots
    +3 Strength
    +3 Constitution
    +1 Stamina regeneration in combat
    28 Strength required
    Where to get it: the Paragon of Her Kind quest line
    Probably the best all-around mace in the game, with decent stat boosts and 
    ever-useful stamina regeneration.
    All longswords have a Strength modifier of 1.00.
    Defining characteristic: Excellent base damage and critical hit rate.
    Damage 11.90 (Tier 8)
    Critical Chance 3.40%
    Armour Penetration 4.20
    3 rune slots
    +3 Dexterity
    +3 Damage
    +2.5 Armour Penetration
    31 Strength required
    Where to get it: Warden's Keep quests
    The clear choice for those with the Warden's Keep DLC, this longsword 
    outperforms nearly any other one-hander, and best of all, it's free. On top 
    of its outstanding base stats, being in the unique 'Tier 8' of Starmetal 
    materials, it gets bonuses that help to overcome the inherent drawbacks of 
    using longswords and help you crank out excellent damage, with 3 rune slots 
    for versatility. Not to mention it looks pretty sweet.
    Damage 10.50 (Tier 6)
    Critical Chance 3.00%
    Armour Penetration 3.50
    2 rune slots
    +5 Magic
    +1 Mana regeneration in combat
    +10% Spell resistance
    +3 Electricity damage
    Arcane Warrior only
    Where to get it: The Urn of Sacred Ashes quests
    This sword can only be wielded by mages with the Arcane Warrior 
    specialization, and when you take a peek at its stats, it becomes clear that 
    this weapon is admirably suited to that role. A near perfect fit for melee 
    Arcane Warriors.
    Keening Blade
    Damage 11.20 (Tier 7)
    Critical Chance 3.20%
    Armour Penetration 4.00
    3 rune slots
    +2 Armour penetration
    +6 Attack
    +3 Cold damage
    Warrior only
    31 Strength required
    Where to get it: a Denerim side quest later in the game
    Sort of like Starfang's little brother in the stats department, the Keening 
    Blade offers a very nice stat spread and three rune slots, and it doesn't 
    cost you a penny. If you went for the Starfang greatsword or don't have 
    Warden's Keep, this is a great choice for an endgame 1-hander.
    4.9 - Battleaxes, Greatswords, and Mauls [DAOS4.9]
    All battleaxes have a Strength modifier of 1.10.
    Defining characteristic: Very high critical hit rate for a two-handed weapon.
    Faith's Edge
    Damage 15.00 (Tier 6)
    Critical Chance 4.50%
    Armour Penetration 5.25
    2 rune slots
    +2 Willpower
    +5% Critical/backstab damage
    34 Strength required
    Where to get it: part of a fight in the Urn of Sacred Ashes quest
    A decent choice for a two-hander, though its stats are not particularly 
    noteworthy compared to some of the other weapons on offer. Mostly good to use 
    if you happen to like the aesthetic of battleaxes versus greatswords or mauls.
    Maetashear War Axe
    Damage 15.00 (Tier 6)
    Critical Chance 4.50%
    Armour Penetration 5.25
    2 rune slots
    +1 Damage
    +5% Melee critical chance
    -1 Dexterity
    34 Strength required
    Where to get it: an optional fight in the Urn of Sacred Ashes arc
    An alternative to Faith's Edge with comparable stats, this axe leans a little 
    more heavily toward raw damage output.
    All greatswords have a Strength modifier of 1.10.
    Defining characteristic: Very high base damage.
    Damage 16.50 (Tier 6)
    Critical Chance 2.25%
    Armour Penetration 5.25
    Weakens nearby darkspawn
    Messy kills
    +4 Damage vs darkspawn
    Increases hostility and intimidation
    +0.25 Stamina regeneration in combat
    34 Strength required
    Where to get it: an optional fight in the Orzammar palace
    This sword is most noteworthy for the bonuses against darkspawn, since you 
    spend so much of the game fighting against darkspawn enemies. The major 
    drawback to using this blade is that it has no rune slots.
    Meteor Sword
    Damage 16.50 (Tier 6)
    Critical Chance 2.25%
    Armour Penetration 5.25
    2 rune slots
    +2 Strength
    +3 Damage
    -25% Spirit resistance
    34 Strength required
    Where to get it: bought from Gorim after a few storyline quests
    An interesting alternative to swords like Ageless and Yusaris, this 
    greatsword is more oriented toward raw damage output against any target. The 
    spirit resistance penalty can be a bit of a bummer if you fight things that 
    love using Crushing Prison, like Genlock Emissaries.
    Damage 18.70 (Tier 8)
    Critical Chance 2.55%
    Armour Penetration 6.30
    3 rune slots
    +3 Strength
    +2.5 Armour penetration
    +8 Attack
    38 Strength required
    Where to get it: Warden's Keep with the right materials
    A quintessential choice for most of the game as a two-handed user, Starfang 
    provides solid performance across a number of fronts - high autoattack 
    damage, 3 rune slots for great flexibility, and other useful built-in 
    bonuses. Can make a perfectly serviceable endgame weapon if you like 
    All mauls have a Strength modifier of 1.25.
    Defining characteristic: Highest Strength modifier of any weapon type in the 
    game; outstanding armour penetration.
    Chasind Great Maul
    Damage 14.40 (Tier 7)
    Critical Chance 0.80%
    Armour Penetration 14.00
    3 rune slots
    +5 Damage
    +2.5 Armour Penetration
    +0.5 Stamina regeneration
    +75 Stamina
    38 Strength required
    Where to get it: from Gorim in Denerim after a few storyline quests, for 
    around 150 sovereigns
    The most expensive weapon in the game, but if you can afford it, this 
    monstrous weapon is well worth it. If you're going to use a maul, make it 
    this one - with the best overall damage performance of any two-hander in the 
    game, there's not much the Chasind Great Maul isn't awesome at. 3 rune slots 
    for great flexibility, enormous damage output, and mindblowing armour 
    penetration, letting you crush Revenants like beer cans. The added stamina is 
    also fantastic for making the most of the Two-Handed skillset's numerous 
    spike damage talents. The only area where it's lacking is critical hit rate, 
    but that's a small price to pay for the other stats on this beauty. The 
    Chasind barbarians' utter lack of subtlety at its finest.
    4.10 - Bows [DAOS4.10]
    Bows of all types have (or should have) a stat modifier of 1.00. It's 
    currently broken for crossbows, and will hopefully be fixed in a future 
    patch. Bows also, unfortunately, never have rune slots. I'll include 
    crossbows here in case BioWare fixes them or you happen to have a custom mod 
    that makes Dexterity improve their damage the way it's supposed to.
    Defining characteristic: Very high rate of fire for excellent damage output, 
    but only accurate at short range.
    Scout's Bow
    Damage varies with tier
    Critical Chance varies with tier
    Armour Penetration varies with tier
    Rapid Aim
    Dexterity requirement varies with tier
    Where to get it: in Dalish areas, typically
    The thing that makes these bows stand out is that they have Rapid Aim, which 
    is quite uncommon on shortbows. Other than that, they're unremarkable.
    The Dark Moon
    Damage 8.00 (Tier 7)
    Critical Chance 1.60%
    Armour Penetration 6.60
    Optimal Range 26m
    +2 Willpower
    +10% Nature resistance
    +1.5 Armour penetration
    30 Dexterity required
    Where to get it: bought from Varathorn after completing a few storyline quests
    One of the only unique shortbows with stats that stand out in any particular 
    way. Willpower is always a nice stat for archers due to all their sustaineds 
    and the costs of their active talents, and armour penetration rarely goes 
    amiss. Good to pair up with an Armsman's Tensioner or Camenae's Barbute.
    Defining characteristic: Lower overall damage output than shortbows, but with 
    more 'punch' per shot and far greater range. Intermediate between shortbows 
    and crossbows in general characteristics.
    Falon'din's Reach
    Damage 9.60 (Tier 7)
    Critical Chance 1.60%
    Armour Penetration 8.80
    Optimal Range 46m
    +2 Damage
    Rapid Aim
    A decent all-around longbow with tier 7 stats and useful bonuses. Not much 
    else to say here.
    Far Song
    Damage 9.60 (Tier 7)
    Critical Chance 1.60%
    Armour Penetration 8.80
    Optimal Range 46m
    +2 Damage
    Rapid Aim
    +3% Ranged critical chance
    +10 Attack
    +10% Critical/backstab damage
    34 Dexterity required
    Where to get it: from Owen's replacement in Redcliffe for around 120 sovereigns
    The definitive longbow of the game, Far Song's stats outclass just about 
    every other bow out there. Comes with a hefty price tag, but if your PC is an 
    archer, it's well worth the investment.
    Marjolaine's Recurve
    Damage 9.60 (Tier 7)
    Critical Chance 1.60%
    Armour Penetration 8.80
    Optimal Range 46m
    +3 Cunning
    +3 Damage
    Rapid Aim
    34 Dexterity required
    Leliana only
    Where to get it: Leliana's companion quest
    A bow that compliments Leliana's abilities very nicely, as the Cunning bonus 
    boosts her bardic songs as well as her rogue abilities. Definitely worth 
    getting for her if she's a staple party member, and it doesn't cost you a 
    Damage 9.00 (Tier 6)
    Critical Chance 1.50%
    Armour Penetration 8.00
    Optimal Range 44m
    Rapid Aim
    +2.5 Armour Penetration
    30 Dexterity required
    Where to get it: the Deep Roads
    A lesser cousin of those listed above, the Spear-Thrower is equippable a 
    little earlier due to lower Dexterity requirements and still features the 
    ever-useful Rapid Aim property.
    Defining characteristic: Excellent damage per hit, range, armour penetration, 
    and critical hit chance relative to other bows, but very slow rate of fire, 
    and has Strength prerequisites to equip rather than Dexterity, resulting in a 
    demanding stat spread to both equip them and have good damage.
    Antique Warden Crossbow
    Damage varies with tier (4-7)
    Critical Chance varies with tier
    Armour Penetration varies with tier
    +1 Damage
    Rapid Aim
    Strength requirement varies with tier
    Where to get it: Warden's Keep DLC
    One of the best crossbows in the game due to having Rapid Aim and having up 
    to Tier 7 stats. It also seems to have a better version of Rapid Aim than 
    other crossbows, making its rate of fire more competitive with longbows.
    Sailor's Crossbow
    Damage 12.00 (Tier 6)
    Critical Chance 3.00%
    Armour Penetration 10.00
    Range 50m
    Rapid Aim
    26 Strength required
    Where to get it: buy it from Barlin in Lothering
    The other crossbow with Rapid Aim. Since crossbows fire so slowly, having 
    anything that boosts rate of fire is a real boon and has a very large effect 
    on your damage output. This crossbow is quite nice because despite its high 
    tier, it's available very early in the game. Seems to fire slower than the 
    Antique Warden Crossbow, despite their Rapid Aim properties appearing 
    identical in their item descriptions.
    4.11 - Daggers and Staves [DAOS4.11]
    All daggers have a stat modifier of 0.85.
    Defining characteristic: the quintessential 'offhand' weapon; high critical 
    hit rate, great armour penetration, and high attack speed. Feeds off both STR 
    and DEX rather than just STR for damage.
    Dead Thaig Shanker
    Damage 6.00 (Tier 6)
    Critical Chance 4.50%
    Armour Penetration 7.00
    2 rune slots
    +5 Cunning
    +0.5 Armour Penetration
    +6 Attack
    Interrupts spellcasting
    26 Dexterity required
    Where to get it: Shale's quests
    A fantastic dagger for any melee rogue, as its bonuses tend to compliment 
    their fighting style excellently. Particularly nice for melee-oriented Bards 
    and anyone who loves ruining a mage's day, while also packing a better-than-
    normal punch against heavily armoured targets.
    The Rose's Thorn
    Damage 6.40 (Tier 7)
    Critical Chance 4.80%
    Armour Penetration 8.00
    3 rune slots
    +2 Dexterity
    +1 Health regeneration in combat
    +3 Damage
    +5% Melee critical chance
    +30% Critical/backstab damage
    30 Dexterity required
    Where to get it: buy from Garin in Orzammar for a little less than 150 
    Though it comes with a whopping huge price tag (the second most expensive 
    after the Chasind Great Maul), The Rose's Thorn is pretty much the definitive 
    dagger in the game. Benefitting from the high base stats and 3 rune slots of 
    Tier 7 gear, it also features some astonishingly good bonuses, most notably 
    in the critical hit/backstab department. Laying the hurt as a melee rogue is 
    almost too easy with this thing.
    Thorn of the Dead Gods
    Damage 6.00 (Tier 6)
    Critical Chance 4.50%
    Armour Penetration 7.00
    2 rune slots
    +3 Damage
    +3 Armour penetration
    26 Dexterity required
    Where to get it: a Deep Roads side quest
    A nice alternative to the Dead Thaig Shanker (or use them together), the 
    Thorn of the Dead Gods is more oriented toward steady raw damage output 
    across a wide variety of situations.
    Staves feed off the Magic stat for prereqs and damage. They never miss unless 
    blocked by inanimate obstructions, but also never score critical hits. The 
    bolts they fire don't do much damage, and are always elemental - the element 
    depends on the particular staff. They almost completely ignore armour, and 
    never have weapon rune slots. They can only be equipped by Mages, and all 
    staves come with an innate spellpower increase based on their tier - this 
    bonus stacks with any spellpower bonuses on the weapon, e.g. a Tier 3 staff 
    with +2 Spellpower as a bonus would give a total of +5 Spellpower to its 
    Heaven's Wrath
    Damage 6.00 (Tier 6)
    Armour Penetration 35.00
    Range 56m
    Spellpower 6
    +1 Mana regeneration in combat
    +5 Spellpower
    +10% Electricity damage
    32 Magic required
    Where to get it: buy from Bodahn Feddic in Redcliffe after the final assault 
    A nice all-around staff, particularly if you like laying Storms of the 
    Century on your foes. Unfortunately, it's only available very late in the game.
    Staff of the Ephemeral Order
    Damage 6.00 (Tier 6)
    Armour Penetration 35.00
    Range 56m
    Spellpower 6
    +3 Willpower
    +5% Spirit damage
    32 Magic required
    Where to get it: buy from Alarith in the Alienage
    A good staff for a healer-type Mage that needs a good supply of mana, or for 
    anyone who loves dropping Walking Bombs or Crushing Prisons on their foes. 
    Not available until fairly late in the game.
    Staff of the Magister Lord
    Damage 6.40 (Tier 7)
    Armour Penetration 40.00
    Range 58m
    Spellpower 7
    +6 Willpower
    +2 Mana regeneration in combat
    +6 Spellpower
    +10% Fire damage
    +10% Spirit damage
    36 Magic required
    Where to get it: buy from the Templar quartermaster in the Circle tower for 
    around 130 sovereigns
    This is pretty much the definitive staff in the game, with a correspondingly 
    hefty price tag. If you can afford it, it's clearly the way to go - Tier 7 
    stats and bonuses that put your magical abilities through the roof.
    Winter's Breath
    Damage 6.40 (Tier 7)
    Armour Penetration 40.00
    Range 58m
    Spellpower 7
    +25% Cold resistance
    +3 Spellpower (Wonders of Thedas version only)
    +10% Cold damage
    Radiates Cold
    36 Magic required
    Where to get it: You can get a weaker version for free from Warden's Keep, or 
    a stronger version for around 30 sovereigns or so from The Wonders of Thedas 
    in Denerim.
    A good mid-game staff, particularly for Morrigan as she tends to orient 
    toward cold-element spells in the Primal tree. If you have Warden's Keep, it 
    has the additional benefit of not costing you anything and being acquirable 
    quite early in the game, unlike the majority of Tier 7 staves.
               Section V: Building and Developing Your Team [DAOS5.0]
    In general, there's a ton of flexibility in how you put together your team in 
    this game, as you can make just about any team work provided you use the 
    right strategic tactics with each. Typical teams include at least one 
    character who can serve as a tank, as you will likely have at least one or 
    two party mates who can't survive very well if they draw a lot of enemy 
    hostility and will need to be protected. A well-geared and well-built tank 
    can be a real lifesaver in many situations, particularly ambushes and other 
    scripted encounters where you start in a disadvantageous position. You 
    generally also want to bring at least one rogue character along, since 
    picking locks gets you extra exp and loot to sell as well as occasionally 
    valuable bits of gear and consumables, and being able to stealth ahead and 
    disarm a room full of traps before the rest of your party engages the enemy 
    can save you an absolute ton of grief (not to mention the exp you get from 
    trap disarmament). Most people bring along at least one mage, since magical 
    healing is a tremendous boon and no one can handle AoE havoc like a mage. The 
    final party slot is pretty much up to you, and even the three aforementioned 
    characters are quite negotiable if you come up with tactics that take their 
    absence into account - for instance, I play almost exclusively mageless these 
    In this section, I'll go through all of the permanent NPC allies you can add 
    to your party in the game (in roughly the order that you're likely to 
    encounter them) and the builds I've found suit them best based on their 
    initial stat, talent, and specialization loadout. Several arcs at the 
    beginning of the game (origin stories, Ostagar) will give you temporary NPC 
    allies - in general, just look at the talents they have and pick the most 
    appropriate tactics. For instance, Ser Jory is a two-hander, so set him to 
    Scrapper. Daveth, on the other hand, is a rogue with archery talents, so 
    setting him to Archer with Ranged behaviour is a good option. Note that all 
    permanent allies except for Dog have a bonus stat that increases as their 
    approval for the Warden rises - you get bonuses at 25, 50, 75, and 90 approval.
    5.1 - Alistair [DAOS5.1]
    Race: Human
    Base Class: Warrior
    Specialization: Templar
    Most Appropriate Build Archetype(s): Tank
    Best Default Tactic Set(s): Defender
    Romance?: Yes (Female Warden only)
    Bonus Stat: Constitution
    Where to get him: Automatically joins at Ostagar
    Gift Hint: He might crack jokes all the time, but his taste in objects is 
    definitely stonier.
    Unless you started as a Human Noble, Alistair will be the first permanent 
    ally you find. In general, Alistair is a 'good' character, in that he wants 
    you to act in a just and honourable fashion. His Templar background makes him 
    a bit mistrustful of mages, particularly Blood Mages and other maleficar; in 
    spite of that, though, he's not particularly religious despite the context of 
    his upbringing.
    Alistair tends to work best being built as a tank, because he comes preloaded 
    with a bunch of Shield tree talents (though not the really critical ones, 
    unfortunately - you'll have to wait a few levels for that). However, because 
    you get him at a relatively early level, Alistair is a bit more malleable 
    than your other warrior allies and can be put satisfactorily into any warrior-
    class role. Nonetheless, it's advisable that you follow the tank build for 
    him, as it tends to yield rather nice results. Good 2nd specialization 
    choices for Alistair are Champion (for group buffing and helping him dodge 
    even better) and Reaver (for increasing his ability to draw hostility and to 
    add a little self-healing capability).
    + Great tank in the mid to end game
    + Has some rather amusing dialogue throughout the game
    + Great control over his character development due to how early you get him
    - Can be a little 'high maintenance' for some key plot choices, losing 
    approval if he's along for them
    - Comes with a slightly silly initial talent setup for a tank (e.g. no Shield 
    Wall - what were they thinking?)
    5.2 - Morrigan [DAOS5.2]
    Race: Human
    Base Class: Mage
    Specialization: Shapeshifter
    Most Appropriate Build Archetype(s): Nuker, Debilitator
    Best Default Tactic Set(s): Damager, Debilitator, Controller
    Romance?: Yes (Male Warden only)
    Bonus Stat: Magic
    Where to get her: She will automatically join after Ostagar
    Gift Hint: She might be a no-nonsense Witch of the Wilds, but she's a 
    material girl at heart.
    Morrigan has gained a lot of notoriety for being difficult to please, but 
    really, it just involves developing a true understanding of her character. 
    Morrigan, while definitely not a 'good' character, per se, is not evil 
    either. Instead, she just takes a hard-line view of things based on pure 
    logic and pragmatism, in which you should always be looking out for yourself 
    first and foremost and not doing things that don't result in some kind of 
    gain for your efforts. As both someone rooted in evidence-based logic and a 
    maleficar, she has a strong disdain for the Chantry and its religion, and 
    particularly the Templars. She has pity for those who have their freedom 
    taken against their will, but despises those whom she sees as being weak, 
    willing accomplices in their own imprisonment, hence her scorn for the Circle 
    of Magi. Favour cold practicality over sentiment, and you'll have Morrigan on 
    your side.
    Morrigan comes pre-loaded in a way that suggests playing her as a blend of 
    damage and debilitating effects. Her initial specialization is unfortunately 
    not too helpful, but her cold-based and electrical-based spells are both 
    potent and predispose her to heading down the path to Storm of the Century 
    for enormous AoE chaos, and she has some solid debuffing abilities as well. 
    However, being a mage, she is quite flexible and can be adapted to serve a 
    support role or even to be an Arcane Warrior when she reaches level 14. 
    Morrigan is definitely one of the more versatile characters in the game, as 
    mages tend to be. Any of the three remaining mage specializations can be a 
    good choice for Morrigan depending on what role you would like her to play.
    + Immensely powerful damage character
    + High versatility in build and spell choices
    + Scathing sarcasm makes for some great dialogue moments
    - Very high maintenance for retaining approval during a lot of plot choices
    - Poor initial specialization choice
    - Her unique robes are horribly skanky
    5.3 - The Dog [DAOS5.3] (Actually, you get to pick his name)
    Race: Mabari warhound
    Base Class: Unique
    Specialization: N/A
    Most Appropriate Build Archetype(s): N/A (see below)
    Best Default Tactic Set(s): War Dog
    Romance?: No. Don't be sick.
    Bonus Stat: None. Aw.
    Where to get him: Automatically joins you during the Human Noble origin, or 
    can optionally join in a random encounter after Ostagar depending on your 
    previous choices.
    Gift Hint: Dog already comes with 100 unwavering Approval, but you can give 
    him bones to make his chances of finding items in areas much higher.
    The dog is an interesting character, acting as a sort of mishmosh of tank, 
    melee DPS, and crowd control. He can be a very potent ally in the early game, 
    but unfortunately rapidly loses relevance in the later game due to his 
    extremely limited gear selection. If you talk to him in the various areas you 
    visit, you can ask him to go search for items, which can include gear pieces, 
    codex entries, gift items, and money. He is the ultimate in unjudgemental 
    loyalty, standing by you no matter what choices you make in the game. The dog 
    can only wear two pieces of equipment that are unique to him: collars and 
    warpaints, covered below. 
    I feel that the dog can go two ways in terms of stat builds.
    Build 1: Strength focus
    This build tries to maximize the dog's damage output by putting the majority 
    of your stat points into Strength, with a few extras put into Constitution. 
    Because this loadout gives the dog almost no dodging ability and because he 
    will only be able to attain armour absorption roughly equivalent to leather, 
    you don't want the dog to be tanking in this build. Only use this if you are 
    confident of your ability to keep hostility off of him; the Constitution 
    won't help him much if he gets swarmed - it's mostly just there to help him 
    survive AoEs and to let him survive if one or two enemies break off from your 
    tank. For this, I'd usually go 2:1 STR:CON on level-ups or something similar.
    Build 2: STR/DEX split
    This build gives the dog a lot more survivability at the expense of raw 
    damage output. In this build, I usually go roughly equal between Strength and 
    Dexterity. This allows the dog to offtank a lot more effectively, though he 
    still won't be a great dodger the way rogues and shieldtanks are.
    + Has some great tricks up his sleeve in the early game, like Dread Howl
    + Overwhelm is awesome, especially for magekilling
    + Doesn't require any approval management
    + Cheap to gear and remove injuries from
    + Some of the stuff he finds is pretty useful
    - Extremely limited gear selection greatly hinders his performance in the mid 
    to late game
    - Limited talent selection relative to other characters
    - Extremely poor armour penetration
    - No runes due to not having a weapon
    - The only melee character with no way to gain or lose hostility
    - No bonus stat points
    Noteworthy Gear
    Mabari War Harness
    +4 Armour penetration
    +8 Armour
    Where to get it: Circle Tower
    This collar is the better choice for people wanting to build the dog as a 
    damager, as 8 armour is the most you can find on collars and the armour 
    penetration bonus helps compensate for an area in which the dog is painfully 
    lacking. You can also find it for free.
    Pure Bitch Braid
    +8 Attack
    +8 Armour
    Where to get it: an optional fight in the Urn of Sacred Ashes arc
    An alternative to the War Harness, I feel it's a little less useful overall 
    but may be a good choice if you feel like the dog is missing his opponents 
    too often.
    Kaddis of the Courser
    +2 Dexterity
    12 Strength required
    Where to get it: bought from Barlin in Lothering
    A good choice if you're going for the STR/DEX split build.
    Kaddis of the Lady of the Skies
    +30 Physical resistance
    10 Strength required
    Where to get it: from the Circle Tower
    A good all-around choice, helping the dog to shrug off some obnoxious status 
    effects. As an additional perk, you can get it for free.
    Kaddis of the Trickster
    +3 Damage
    12 Strength required
    Where to get it: bought from Alimar in Dust Town
    Probably the best choice if your aim is to maximize the dog's damage output.
    Warpaint of the Vanguard
    +1 Stamina regeneration in combat
    12 Strength required
    Where to get it: bought from Barlin in Lothering
    A decent choice for allowing the dog to use his talents more rapidly, though 
    I found he usually had enough stamina to do his job in all but the longest 
    5.4 - Leliana [DAOS5.4]
    Race: Human
    Base Class: Rogue
    Specialization: Bard
    Most Appropriate Build Archetype(s): Rogue Archer
    Best Default Tactic Set(s): Archer
    Romance?: Yes (either gender)
    Bonus Stat: Cunning
    Where to get her: Can be recruited in Lothering
    Gift Hint: She's very devout, but also a bit of a girly-girl. Talk to her to 
    find out more.
    Leliana is a devout follower of Andraste and the Maker, even if it's not 
    quite in the way the Chantry would like. She's a sweet-natured lady with a 
    complicated past, who can bring all sorts of useful rogue and bard skills to 
    your party. In general, like Alistair, Leliana prefers for the Warden to be 
    'good', and particularly values mercy, redemption, and reverence for the 
    things she holds holy. She's definitely not above killing when the situation 
    calls for it, though, and she has a good eye for spies and traitors.
    Leliana generally works best as a rogue archer, as she starts with a bunch of 
    archery talents and not much by way of dual wielding. She is a bard, so she 
    does a good job of buffing your group, and her Cunning shouldn't be 
    neglected - some blend of Dexterity and Cunning, probably a little heavier on 
    the Dexterity to give her better accuracy and survivability (she'll get a 
    fair bit of Cunning from her stat bonuses), is a good idea. She comes 
    preloaded with some lockpicking/disarming talents, which is great, but no 
    stealth, which kind of sucks. For a second specialization, the best choices 
    would be Duelist for more accuracy and dodging, or Ranger to have disposable 
    summons supplement your party in various ways.
    + Starts as a pretty good utility rogue, as her mechanical talents and high 
    Cunning make her a great lockpicker and trap remover
    + Early access to the Bard specialization makes for a nice boost to your party
    + Combination of Bard skills and archery abilities make her a terrific 
    endgame support and damage character, particularly once you get Lethality
    - No Stealth skills, so using her as an advance scout requires some remedial 
    talent points
    - A wee bit on the crazy side; party dialogue tends not to be terribly 
    - A little slow to get started because of how many talents she needs to truly 
    start shining
    5.5 - Sten [DAOS5.5]
    Race: Qunari
    Base Class: Warrior
    Specialization: None (boo!)
    Most Appropriate Build Archetype(s): Two-Hander
    Best Default Tactic Set(s): Scrapper
    Romance?: No
    Bonus Stat: Strength
    Where to get him: Can be recruited in Lothering
    Gift Hint: He might be a gruff military man, but Sten has an appreciation for 
    culture and the finer things in life.
    Sten is a warrior of the Beresaad and a stalwart follower of the Qun, the non-
    deist life philosophies of the Qunari religion. It's kind of cool to see a 
    religion in a fantasy setting that isn't deist for a change. Sten has a 
    pretty different character dynamic from your other characters in that he 
    doesn't want you to be nice to him and doesn't necessarily want you to agree 
    with him - what he wants is a strong leader whom he can trust with his life 
    and whom he can follow with confidence to victory. Sometimes, putting Sten in 
    his place when he questions you can actually make him respect you more, where 
    being placating only earns his scorn. Sten has an inherent dislike of mages 
    and magic in general, which colours his reaction to various plot choices, and 
    generally prefers fighting to talking.
    Sten is mostly kitted out as a two-hander DPS warrior with some off-tanking 
    abilities. He generally won't be quite as sturdy as Alistair, though his bonus 
    stat in Strength can help him equip heavier armour sooner rather than later 
    and helps him with his damage-dealing abilities. Because you get him 
    relatively early, you can conceivably shift him into a different build 
    archetype, but it will probably weaken him in the long run. Give him the 
    biggest weapon you can find and some decent armour, boost his Strength with 
    some Constitution added into the mix, and watch him go.
    + A solid set of starting feats for being a two-hander damager
    + Surprisingly funny dialogue
    + Very easy to gain influence with once you unlock his personal quest
    - Only gets one specialization rather than two
    - Can be a bit high maintenance with some plot choices, particularly with 
    those having to do with magic
    - From a stats perspective, Sten is outclassed by Oghren in just about every way
    5.6 - Zevran [DAOS5.6]
    Race: Elf
    Base Class: Rogue
    Specialization: Assassin
    Most Appropriate Build Archetype(s): Rogue Dual Wielder
    Best Default Tactic Set(s): Scrapper
    Romance?: Yes (either gender)
    Bonus Stat: Dexterity
    Where to get him: Can be recruited after a random encounter upon completion 
    of your first major army recruitment quest
    Gift Hint: Zevran would die of joy if he ever got the key to Fort Knox.
    A former Antivan Crow, Zevran is a skilled assassin with a silver tongue and 
    an insatiable libido. While Zevran generally likes the idea of being good and 
    doing the right thing, he frequently finds that doing is not really the best 
    way to get the job done, and getting the job done is always paramount. His 
    morals are pretty flexible, and in general, he will be an uncritical and low-
    maintenance character to have along with you. Even when he occasionally 
    voices an objection to your course of action, you can usually get out of it 
    with no actual loss of approval from him. Dangerous, flirty, and devil-may-
    care, Zevran will cheerfully accompany you into the maw of hell, so long as 
    you don't get too pushy or nosy.
    Zev is designed to make use of the dual wield talent tree, having gotten a 
    couple talents from it already and being an Assassin. The fact that he starts 
    with Momentum is terrific, though some of his other dual wield trees are a 
    bit sickly and will need to be bulked up sooner rather than later to have him 
    performing up to snuff. His stealth skills are very good, but unfortunately, 
    he comes with no mechanical talents whatsoever, so you have to wait several 
    levels after he joins you until he'll be a decent lockpicker and trap 
    disarmer. Generally, you're going to want to stack Zevran with a ton of 
    Dexterity, aided by his stat bonuses. Cunning is helpful too to give a bit of 
    a boost to some of his Assassin talents and to help with 
    lockpicking/disarmament. The Duelist specialization is generally the best fit 
    for Zev as a 2nd specialization to help his dodging and give him some 
    additional striking power, though Bard can work fine too, especially if 
    you've raised his Cunning a lot to get more damage output out of Assassin 
    + Starts with great damage output potential and strategic abilities
    + Low-maintenance in terms of approval of your actions; quite easy to gain 
    his approval
    + Can make a passable archer in a pinch due to very high Dexterity
    + Fun personality with great dialogue
    + Can have very high survivability in the endgame due to dodging, especially 
    with the right gear
    - Extremely fragile at first without some careful micromanagement
    - Starts with no lockpick/trap disarming talents
    - Takes time to really come into his own because of how many talents he needs 
    to hit his stride
    5.7 - Wynne [DAOS5.7]
    Race: Human
    Base Class: Mage
    Specialization: Spirit Healer
    Most Appropriate Build Archetype(s): Support Healer
    Best Default Tactic Set(s): Healer, Supporter
    Romance?: No
    Bonus Stat: Willpower
    Where to get her: Can be recruited during the Broken Circle quest
    Gift Hint: Wynne might be getting on in years, but she's a lifelong learner.
    Wynne is a senior enchanter with the Circle of Magi, highly experienced in 
    both the scholarly and practical aspects of magic. Because of her long stints 
    as a mentor to young mages, she has the demeanour of a motherly advisor, 
    trying to guide those younger and less experienced than her onto what she 
    feels is the correct path and to keep them from danger and temptation. She 
    wishes for the Warden to be a 'good' person, acting in an honourable and 
    upstanding fashion, and despite being a mage, she does not harbour any ill 
    will toward the Templars or the Chantry.
    Wynne starts out kitted in a way that makes the Support Healer build an 
    obvious choice. Her spell choices and her specialization, coupled with her 
    ample tactic slots, make her amazingly good in this role right from the 
    moment you recruit her, even if Broken Circle is your first major recruitment 
    quest. Being a mage, Wynne is quite versatile and can definitely pick up 
    damage or debilitation spells, but she truly shines as a healer and group 
    supporter. Her bonus stats will help give her an ample supply of mana, though 
    investment in Willpower as well as Magic when she levels up is still a good 
    idea, and a little Constitution to help her stay alive long enough to cast 
    her healing spells is never a bad idea either. Though it seems anti-thematic, 
    Blood Mage makes a decent second specialization for Wynne because of its 
    useful bonuses, and she can work decently as an Arcane Warrior too.
    + An excellent support mage right off the bat
    + Relatively low maintenance for approval so long as you're not obviously 
    underhanded, though gaining approval will mostly rely on gifts
    + Flexible, though not quite as much as Morrigan
    + Starts with a huge number of tactic slots
    - Starts with no Combat Training skill ranks, meaning her spellcasts can be 
    interrupted quite easily early on
    - Can be a little preachy and overbearing in her 'mentor' role
    - Dialogue is pretty unremarkable
    5.8 - Shale [DAOS5.8]
    Race: Stone Golem
    Base Class: Warrior
    Specialization: N/A (see below)
    Most Appropriate Build Archetype(s): Unique (see below)
    Best Default Tactic Set(s): generally Defender or Scrapper depending on build
    Romance?: No. Unsurprisingly.
    Bonus Stat: Strength
    Where to get her: can be recruited in Honnleath (requires The Stone Prisoner 
    Gift Hint: Shale's appearance tells you most of what you need to know when it 
    comes to finding gifts for her.
    Shale is, quite obviously, a big golem. She has a rather different 
    perspective from your other party members, as she has existed for a very long 
    period of time, well beyond the lifespan of any mortal race. In addition, up 
    until you recruit her, she had spent the entirety of her remembered existence 
    as a thrall to whoever possessed her control rod, with no true free will or 
    power over her life and actions. After a few decades of being stuck as a 
    decorative statue in Honnleath, she's ready for a change of scenery, with 
    some bird massacres along the way.
    Shale is a highly unique character in terms of builds. Like the dog, she has 
    only two pieces of gear: small crystals for weapons, and large crystals for 
    armour, however these tend to give much more powerful bonuses than the dog's 
    collars and warpaints do. Shale is technically a warrior in that she gets the 
    basic warrior talent tree, but does not get any of the weapon-specific trees; 
    instead, she gets four unique talent paths, each of which begins with a 
    sustained ability. Further talents in each path enhance the bonuses granted 
    by that sustained ability as well as granting new abilities. Thus, Shale is 
    capable of serving as a main tank, a melee damage dealer, or a group 
    supporter depending on which of her modes is active. Her build will depend at 
    least in part on which role you foresee yourself using most often. Shale does 
    not gain access to the warrior class specializations.
    Path 1: The Pulverizing Blows Tree
    This talent set is basically designed to maximize Shale's melee damage 
    output, granting large bonuses to raw damage and armour penetration, with the 
    drawback being a drop in dodging ability. To utilize this mode to the 
    maximum, you'll want lots of Strength, with excess points put into either 
    Constitution (Shale already has boatloads of it, so this basically allows 
    Shale to offtank by outlasting enemies), Dexterity (to help dodging), and/or 
    Willpower (to help Shale keep up continuous active talent use)
    Recommended crystal type: Fire (for raw damage), Lightning (for damage plus 
    dodging), Ice (vs heavily armoured targets)
    Path 2: The Stoneheart Tree
    This is Shale's tanking talent line, giving large bonuses to armour, health 
    and stamina regeneration, elemental resistances, and increased hostility 
    toward Shale from enemies. For this build, you really only need enough 
    Strength to equip Shale's top grade small crystals - everything else should 
    be going into Constitution (to make the most of Shale's innate regeneration 
    and high armour absorption) or Dexterity (to try and get a bit of dodging in, 
    though it's not really Shale's forté), with perhaps a sprinkling of Willpower 
    to help her keep up active talent use. Shale is excellent at holding 
    hostility in this mode, at least as good as a full shieldtank warrior, if not 
    better, particularly against single targets like bosses.
    Recommended crystal type: Nature (for improved armour, hp, and regen), 
    Lightning (for better dodging), Spirit (for better all-around stats and magic 
    Path 3: The Rock Mastery Tree
    Shale's quirkiest and most situational talent set, it acts as a sort of 
    hybrid of damage dealing and group buffing. More specifically, while in this 
    mode, Shale grants buffs to ranged attack speed and critical chance to any 
    nearby party members, and gains a bonus to defense against missile attacks. 
    In addition, Shale is less likely to be attacked by enemies while in this 
    mode. However, it comes with fairly steep penalties - lowered defense, 
    armour, and melee critical chance. Shale gets a few ranged attack talents, 
    but her normal autoattacks in this mode are still melee. This is mostly 
    useful for when you have a party with a lot of archers, or just to flip on in 
    very specific instances (like the Arcane Horror sub-boss in the Brecilian 
    temple). Since Shale will largely be hanging back with your archers to make 
    the most of this build, you may want to focus less on Strength and more on 
    Dexterity and Constitution for greater survivability.
    Recommended crystal type: Lightning (for better dodging and ranged defense), 
    Nature (to offset the tanking penalties), Spirit (for magic resistance)
    Path 4: The Stone Aura Tree
    Probably Shale's most unique talent set, Stone Aura basically turns Shale 
    into an AoE buff/debuff statue. When it is active, Shale becomes immobile and 
    suffers an enormous penalty to defense, but gains a number of survivability 
    bonuses, grants huge bonuses to allies within the radius of the buff effect, 
    and sizeable penalties to any enemies within its AoE. While her defense will 
    drop to 0 or close to it, Shale gets a sizeable armour bonus and a boost to 
    magic resistance, while allies get pretty much all of their combat statistics 
    boosted, along with rapid health regeneration, making Shale an alternative to 
    having a healing mage when in this mode. Though she is immobile, the buff 
    radius is quite large when the talent tree is maxed out, and if Stone Aura is 
    set to be used when enemies are at short range, Shale will usually activate 
    it in an advantageous position. Alternately, you can micromanage her to 
    choose where to set up the buff AoE. Since Shale cannot attack in this mode, 
    you want only enough Strength to equip her highest grade of weapon crystals 
    and then crank the rest of your points into Constitution (Dexterity will be 
    of little help because of the steep defense penalty in this mode, and 
    Willpower is of minimal use due to Shale's inability to use active talents in 
    Stone Aura). Your goal is to be a wall of well-armoured, rapidly regenerating 
    hit points, so that you can keep the buff up as long as possible even under 
    enemy attacks. Though her armour is very high in this mode, Shale will still 
    need protection because she is a sitting duck in this mode and, as you get 
    further in the game, enemies tend to have a lot of ways to get around armour 
    and still cause high damage.
    Recommended crystal type: Nature (a must for the weapon crystal for the 
    health regen bonus; large crystal provides nice armour bonuses), Spirit (for 
    spell resistance)
    Shale's Equipment
    Shale's crystals have five grades rather than the typical seven which are, 
    from worst to best: chipped, flawed, clear, flawless, brilliant. Any crystals 
    of chipped or flawed grade only cause or protect from the corresponding 
    elemental damage and have no other characteristics. However, from clear grade 
    upward, each crystal type grants numerous bonuses to fit the roles they were
    designed for. These are outlined below.
    All small crystals convert Shale's damage to the corresponding elemental 
    type, and provide a % damage bonus to that elemental type.
    Stat to equip: Strength (38 for brilliant grade)
    Fire: bonuses to % melee critical chance and % weapon damage.
    Ice: bonuses to armour penetration and % critical/backstab damage.
    Lightning: bonuses to Dexterity and attack.
    Nature: bonuses to Constitution and health regeneration in combat.
    Spirit: bonuses to all stats and armour penetration.
    All large crystals provide a bonus to resistance against the corresponding
    Stat to equip: Constitution (38 for brilliant grade)
    Fire: bonuses to Strength, defense, and stamina regeneration in combat.
    Ice: bonuses to health regeneration, defense, and % healing effects received.
    Lightning: bonuses to Dexterity, % chance to dodge attacks, and chance to 
    avoid missile attacks.
    Nature: bonuses to Constitution, armour, and physical resistance.
    Spirit: bonuses to all stats, % spell resistance, and mental resistance.
    + Extremely versatile in what roles she can fill in your party
    + Very sturdy and tough to kill in the early to mid game (less so in the late
    game when dodging starts to matter more than hit points and armour)
    + Ability to pick and choose elemental damage types and resistances to fit 
    the situation
    + Ability to easily customize stat bonuses by adaptively swapping gear
    + Can replace mage healers with the Stone Aura mode
    + Some of the best dialogue BioWare's ever written
    + Very low maintenance when it comes to approval
    - Lack of gear slots causes Shale to get a little bit overshadowed in the end
    - Carrying around a good variety of crystals for Shale to use takes up a fair
    bit of inventory space
    - Many of Shale's modes come with significant drawbacks
    - Small crystals do not have rune slots
    5.9 - Oghren [DAOS5.9]
    Race: Dwarf
    Base Class: Warrior
    Specialization: Berserker
    Most Appropriate Build Archetype(s): Two-Hander
    Best Default Tactic Set(s): Scrapper
    Romance?: No
    Bonus Stat: Constitution
    Where to get him: Can be recruited during the A Paragon of Her Kind quest
    Gift Hint: Oghren likes to hang out at Tapster's. You figure out the rest.
    A disgraced member of the warrior caste, Oghren has turned increasingly to 
    alcohol-soaked brooding since his wife and his house abandoned him to venture 
    into the Deep Roads a few years beforehand. His main goal is to reunite with 
    his wife and try to convince her to return to Orzammar with him, though he 
    has never had the resources to carry out any such expedition. Oghren 
    generally doesn't concern himself overly with right or wrong choices, or good 
    and evil, preferring to solve most problems by drowning them in drink or 
    flying into a berserk rage and introducing them to the business end of his 
    weapon. Despite his downward spiral, he is still a formidable and talented 
    warrior with valuable knowledge and insights.
    Oghren, to an even greater degree than Sten because you get him later in the 
    game, is kitted out to be a two-hander warrior. He starts with a solid 
    selection of talents, and his specialization is a great compliment to his 
    role. You'll mainly want to focus on Strength with Oghren, since he already 
    starts with fairly high Constitution and will gain more as his approval 
    rises. As a dwarf, he also comes with the ever-handy innate 10% chance to 
    resist any hostile magic. That combined with the ability to have two 
    specializations gives him an edge over Sten in this role. Champion is a great 
    choice for a second specialization for Oghren, to allow him a little group 
    buffing ability, and Reaver can work decently too for a little extra damage 
    and self-healing.
    + Starts with a solid two-hand warrior talent set
    + Full of personality with great dialogue
    + Dwarf, so you get 10% free spell resistance
    + Very low maintenance when it comes to his approval of your actions
    - Very little flexibility - you're basically stuck with two-handers unless
    you want to nerf yourself
    - Overlaps in niche with Sten
    ***************  SPOILER ALERT !!!  ***************
    5.10 - Loghain [DAOS5.10]
    Race: Human
    Base Class: Warrior
    Specialization: Champion
    Most Appropriate Build Archetype(s): Tank
    Best Default Tactic Set(s): Defender
    Romance?: No
    Bonus Stat: Constitution
    Where to get him: allow him to go through a Joining after defeating him at 
    the Landsmeet
    Gift Hint: Loghain is a consummate military general and strategist, and what 
    does every strategist need before the battle?
    Loghain spends the vast majority of the game being your primary antagonist, 
    doing whatever he can to make the last remaining Grey Wardens quite 
    miserable. Though he is a military hero and a brilliant tactician, Loghain is 
    somewhat out of his element in political circles, and makes many poor 
    decisions, often at the urging of the corrupt Arl Howe. He is a warrior first 
    and foremost, and is at his best when he can focus on battle to the exclusion 
    of other more trifling matters. Loghain doesn't really approve of or object 
    to anything, since there's not much game left by the time he's joined you. 
    You'll have to gain approval primarily through gifts and a few limited 
    dialogue options. Fundamentally, what's most important to Loghain is 
    Ferelden's independence, especially from the Orlesians, which is no surprise 
    given his background.
    Loghain is fundamentally a shield tank, though he needs a fair bit of work to 
    really get up to snuff in this role. Unfortunately, since you gain him so 
    late in the game, you don't have much time to pull this off. Loghain suffers 
    from a general under-abundance of Strength and, more importantly, Dexterity, 
    and a bit of an overabundance of Willpower. Granted, this lets him use 
    important talents such as Taunt more often, but it has unfortunately taken 
    away vital stat points from Dexterity. Oh well, gotta work with what you 
    have. Another major shortcoming to Loghain's talent set is that he may not 
    have Shield Wall yet. This should absolutely be the first talent you grab 
    whenever he levels up next if he does not have it. Do your best to mould him 
    into the tank build in the time you have left before the final confrontation, 
    and he'll serve decently enough. Good second specialization choices are 
    Reaver for holding hostility and self-healing, or possibly Templar for some 
    nice anti-mage abilities and gear options. 
    + Starts with a decent set of armour
    + Relatively simple approval-wise
    + Can use full-powered Champion buffs right off the bat
    - Extremely low flexibility
    - Have to lose Alistair to get him
    - Starts with a suboptimal stat spread for a tank
    - Missing a few key talents despite his high level
    - Can be tricky to get his approval up to a high level before the end of the 

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