[Dragon Age: Origins] A Roguish Type's Best Friends

Riddle78

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So,I picked up Dragon Age: Origins on Origin,because free is free. It's a BioWare RPG,so bonus points for me,and after playing through the Human Noble Origin,I think I like what I see. Decided to go with an Archer/Dual Weapons character,and gonna focus on crits n' backstabs. So,I think that'll mean Cunning and Dexterity as primaries,with Strength in minimal order for gear reasons.

Here's the question,though: Party members. I can take three allies with the Warden,and I think I'm going to need a mage to pull double duty as healer and AoE,Das Uberpanzer (Alistair's looking like a good candidate,with his sword & board default),and a melee off-tank/side DPS.

Is this even a good idea? Or am I setting my party up for disaster? I really want to keep my Warden an archer,especially considering that the Archery tree is home to some sweet debuffs and snares. Ranged support can make or break a fight.

So,that a decent enough party comp? Or should I mix things up? The Player Warden's a Rogue,as an FYI. Sorta wondering how to get these specializations that taunt me on the stats screen,too.
 
Sep 14, 2009
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Alistair(you'll get him pretty early into the game) should be all you need, when you use taunt or whatever nearly all the baddies come running towards him, and it's great to have one mage dedicated to healing (you'll see who) and you'll have one mage dedicated to raining magical meteors down upon the enemy (as usual, AOE spells dominate), and you, the archer in this case, could help round up the strays or keep your mages free of baddies by hitting them from distance.

there are definitely ways to NOT play dragon age origins...but if you play it right, the game can be a walk in the park. Don't forget to pause combat if you are feeling overwhelmed and use it at the beginning to really strategically place your guys correctly so they maximize their damage/whatever they are doing.


archery isn't bad when you get the right bow, especially in dragon age awakening, the expansion pack (very fun and I highly recommend getting it, it is probably the best expansion in the past decade.)


edit: the specializations you tend to pick up by talking to the right people and coercing them (you'll see they are special at something, and typically they can teach you how to specialize in that).


but, if I remember right, there are mods that remove those requirements and give you all the specializations options right from the get go so you can build your characters exactly how you want to.
 

Riddle78

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I'd rather avoid mods that give me a cheater's advantage. So,looks like I have to go talent scouting once I'm done at Ostagar. So,two mages? Something tells me the ideal ones for me are going to stick out like broken thumbs,aren't they? I get the feeling the local church would rather them dead and buried. Sorta like Batarians,really. But infinitely more likeable,from the one named mage I spoke to.
 

Doom972

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Alistair is the ideal tank, since he comes with talents in the Sword and Shield category.

Wynne is the best mage, since she gets extra powerful healing spells due to her Spirit Healer specialization. Morrigan's Shapeshifter spec is useless. With that said, Morrigan makes more sense for a roguish character, and after learning a few key healing spells she becomes sufficiently good.

The last character should be the one who can add the most to the party, but that depends on how you'll build your rogue. It could also be a character you just like to have around (maybe the one you're romancing?). If you're unsure, you may want to take your dog. The dog can be very reliable and doesn't require messing around with equipment or micromanaging.
 

Happiness Assassin

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As others have said, use Alistair as the tank. Give him the best armor you have and have him set to do Taunt and Threaten to draw the heat. I also recommend building his Templar talents to deal with mages easier, though how you build your healer that may be irrelevant.

You need a healer, so Wynne (recruited from the Circle of Magi) would be ideal, though you could use Morrigan if you really wanted to. Have her level up the Spirit Healer tree as soon as possible, to get the best healing spells. Also get a weapon sustainable (like flaming swords). One power that would be useful if your character stays out of the Duelist specialization, is Haste, as it doubles movement and attack speed for a large mana penalty. However, if you go with a duelist playstyle, do NOT pick haste, as the power momentum does not stack with haste and they end up canceling each other out, gaining no bonus to attack speed. One power I find highly entertaining (if situational) is mana clash. With this power, nearly every mage in the game will drop in a single AoE attack. Essentially it uses the amount of Mana a target has and immediately does equivalent damage to the target. Get the right powerups with it, it isn't unreasonable to push 1000+ damage in the base game on mages. It only works on mages, but I say that is more than worth the 4 talent points to get it.

Your third should be a damage dealer, though who it is depends on a few things: are you investing heavily into cunning (which I recommend to be honest) and do you have a token point into lockpicking? If not, go with a rogue and have them set up with lockpicking. If so, go with a warrior. I prefer Oghren (recruited in Orzammar) to Sten (recruited in Lothering) as Sten only gets one specialization to use.

Also I recommend putting one skill point into stealing on your main character, as you get access to a quest chain called Crime Wave, which can net you a pretty penny and is quite fun.
 
Sep 14, 2009
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Riddle78 said:
I'd rather avoid mods that give me a cheater's advantage. So,looks like I have to go talent scouting once I'm done at Ostagar. So,two mages? Something tells me the ideal ones for me are going to stick out like broken thumbs,aren't they? I get the feeling the local church would rather them dead and buried. Sorta like Batarians,really. But infinitely more likeable,from the one named mage I spoke to.
some specializations you can't unlock until much later in the game which is why it can be a bummer, although I didn't use that mod until I beat the game at least once...and the one mod i'm thinking of also let you drink "potions" that would reset your characters stats (same amount of points as you currently have, just puts everything to zero) so you can build them how you want to, as you've probably noticed alot of characters come with points pre-put into different skills, which is okay, but to maximize their benefit to you its better to have them blank sheets.

that said, there are tons of other amazing mods out there that add lots of stuff and even update character models so you can make people look better/more to what you think they should look like.



back to your post though, you typically run into those people on the main storyline who offer these different specializations, so no need to "scout" for them if that's what you mean. and yeah the two mages I'm thinking of that you can get kind of stick out, one of them is skilled in transforming/other type spells but she can easily be built into an AOE mage, specifically a blizzard one (i think there is some staffs later in the game that give great ice buffs/skills)
 

Riddle78

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My character's an archer. From my understanding,it's a case of Magikarp Power. With my dumping into Cunning,my crits will be improving,and the Lethality talent will allow me to use Cunning in place of Strength for modifiers. Since longbows have a Strength modifier...

But,if shit gets hairy up close,there's my dual wielding. Talents are focusing (at the moment) around utility: Picking locks,picking pockets,sneaking about,talking to people,and the like. I plan on getting Scattershot as one of my primary skills,as well as that one skill before Arrow of Slaying. Plus all the passives.
 

Terminal Blue

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A lot of people will tell you that you need a full time healer character. You really don't, especially if you have a character with herbalism who can make potions for you. It's very easy to just give the DPS mage who joins your party during the storyline (and who does start with herbalism!) basic healing abilities. Conversely, while it is possible to recruit a healer character later on don't be afraid to use her in other capacities. Mages are the only class which doesn't really have to specialize, they can happily do a bit of everything. They excel at AOE, crowd control, debuffing and party support, so having a few spells in each category is not a bad idea. Multiple mages also work surprisingly well together, particularly if they both have crowd control abilities.

You will generally need a tank of some kind. Both warriors and rogues can be quite resilient in their own ways, but warriors have strong taunts which are available early in the game. Don't be afraid to use a two handed warrior (there are two, and they're quite similar in terms of how they play) as a tank, as in some ways they're actually better at it (they're better at holding aggro, but won't be as good at mitigating damage so you'll need to do more to keep them alive). That said, you'll get a standard sword and board warrior companion early in the game who is pretty well suited to the job.

There are two rogue companions. One, who you'll generally meet quite early, is an archer with some neat party support abilities. She's really not bad and her support abilities are great, but suffers from a serious balance issue with the archery tree. The thing is, every single archery talent takes about 5 seconds to fire off, which means it's almost never worth it compared to just auto-attacking. That said, archery damage is pretty decent and often has a very long range. If you're playing an archer yourself, you could probably develop an interesting tactic out of sniping enemies to death at ridiculous range. The other rogue is a much more conventional stealthy dagger-wielding guy. He's potentially very, very powerful but you have to pay close attention to his positioning and aggro to get the most out of him.

One thing I will say is that the characters all have quite a few unique interactions and party banter, so if you always use the same characters you might not experience as much as if you occasionally mix it up a bit. For all its occasional balance issues, the game is fairly forgiving outside of the highest difficulties.
 

Riddle78

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I've picked up Morrigan,and I'm at Lothering. Served me up some highwayman ass when they tried to mug me... After extorting them for every coin they had. I'm thinking I'll keep her handy in my party as the permanent mage. I like her snark. And Alistair's. I hope I can engage maximum trolling on them later on,without making them hate my guts. I'll say this: Dual wielding is NUTS. Alistair held the Ogre's aggro while I swept up behind and kept backstabbing it with the family longsword and an enchanted (by name) dagger. I think I found an excellent fallback skillset for when sniping things won't work. And looking at those high end talents... Riposte. Punisher. Whirlwind. For when putting an arrow in someone's face ain't enough.

However,I've noticed that I barely hit with my bow. I seem to miss one shot in three. Would Dexterity improve my hit chances?
 

Agayek

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I largely agree with everything posted here except for one specific thing:

Alistair is most assuredly not the best tank.

Shale is. I believe she's, unfortunately, locked behind a paywall (I think anyway, been a long time), but she's easily the best tank in the game with a kinda outrageous mix of CC, damage mitigation, and aggro gen. She's also the most entertaining character IMO, so it's well worth the money to get the Stone Prisoner DLC.

Riddle78 said:
I've picked up Morrigan,and I'm at Lothering. Served me up some highwayman ass when they tried to mug me... After extorting them for every coin they had. I'm thinking I'll keep her handy in my party as the permanent mage. I like her snark. And Alistair's. I hope I can engage maximum trolling on them later on,without making them hate my guts. I'll say this: Dual wielding is NUTS. Alistair held the Ogre's aggro while I swept up behind and kept backstabbing it with the family longsword and an enchanted (by name) dagger. I think I found an excellent fallback skillset for when sniping things won't work. And looking at those high end talents... Riposte. Punisher. Whirlwind. For when putting an arrow in someone's face ain't enough.
Morrigan is kinda boss. She's a great mage, though I don't think I've ever used any of her shapeshifting abilities more than once.

Also, yes, you can definitely troll the shit out of them. Morrigan tends not to like it, but Alistair generally rolls with it and comes back with his own snappy comebacks. It's even better when you have both in your party, cuz they tend to get all smug at the other when they think you took their side, and the dialog gets pretty snarky pretty quick.

Riddle78 said:
However,I've noticed that I barely hit with my bow. I seem to miss one shot in three. Would Dexterity improve my hit chances?
Yes, it also makes daggers and bows do more damage. You can find more info on the attributes here: http://dragonage.wikia.com/wiki/Attributes_%28Origins%29

Short version on the combat mechanics is that "attack score" is "chance to hit", and "defense" is "chance to not be hit". If I remember correctly, when Attack and the target's Defense are equal, there's a ~50% chance to hit, and you add 1% chance to hit for every point of attack greater than the target's defense (or subtract 1% chance to hit for every point of defense greater than attack).

Dex gives 1 ranged attack score and 0.5 melee attack score (and 1 defense) per attribute point.
 

Aesir23

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With Dragon Age: Origins I've had a setup that's usually served me well. Two warriors, rogue (me), and a healer.

I haven't played Origins in a while so I don't exactly remember who I took with me all of the time but I think it was Alistair, Shale or Oghren, and Wynne. Although there is a certain part in the game where I switched it to a warrior, rogue and two mages out of necessity.
 
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Riddle78 said:
I'm thinking I'll keep her handy in my party as the permanent mage. I like her snark. And Alistair's. I hope I can engage maximum trolling on them later on,without making them hate my guts.
easily my two favorite party memebers to always keep around, if they are both in the party throughout the game, they are CONSTANTLY making snide/sarcastic remarks at each other, and it's just hilarious.
 

Carrington666

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Happiness Assassin said:
One power I find highly entertaining (if situational) is mana clash.
God, Mana Clash is amazing. A lot of people focus on one-shotting a high-level mage boss with it, and to be fair that is very cool, but killing an entire room of low-level mages in one shot never got old ;-)

OP: I know I'm not particular helpful, but I'd suggest to swap the companions around and see for your self which combination works for you or which you find most amusing.
Sure, Tank, DPS, Ranged and Healer will work, but so will others. For most of my Mage playthrough, I used 3 mages and a ranged rouge and it was possibly my easiest playthrough. Well, that is if you don't count the parts with templar enemies. Those were ridicoulusy hard ;-)

So, play around with your group, or you'll miss a lot of banter. I still haven't heard the Morrigan - Sten interaction and it's supposed to be quite amusing.
 

Avalanche91

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Find a tank in Alistar (more defense) or Sten (more offense), then make sure both Morrigan and Wynne learn the 'Haste' spell as soon as possible. Win game forever. The haste spell stacks and makes dungeons a breeze. I did one walkthrough as mage myself for tripple haste + Leliana. It was hilarious.

If I remember correctly you can also use an exploit to easily max your level after helping the Daelish but it's kinda cheap and the enemies level along with you so I am not sure if it's of interest.
 

maxben

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I picked a party based on the characters I liked best. By the fourth playthrough (yes, I love this game), I knew for a fact that it was going to be Morrigan, Leliana, Sten.
 

Terminal Blue

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Riddle78 said:
I'll say this: Dual wielding is NUTS. Alistair held the Ogre's aggro while I swept up behind and kept backstabbing it with the family longsword and an enchanted (by name) dagger. I think I found an excellent fallback skillset for when sniping things won't work. And looking at those high end talents... Riposte. Punisher. Whirlwind. For when putting an arrow in someone's face ain't enough.
For a rogue, yes. Dual wielding is the key to insane damage. Like I said, archery damage is decent and has range, but with the automatic critical hits from backstabbing a rogue with dual daggers can pretty much outdamage anything.

The only talent you really need from the dual weapon tree though is momentum. Momentum gives a hefty boost to attack speed, which considering every attack is going to be an automatic critical is just outrageous.
 

laggyteabag

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When I played as a rogue, I went for Alistair as the tank (he is really the only option, unless you spec someone else to be a tank or buy the Shale DLC), Wynne as the healer (She can be found in the Circle of Magi) as she comes with the Spirit Healer specialisation as standard, and this allows her to use the group heal and revive spells which are super useful for big boss fights, but you could also spec Morrigan into the Spirit Healer spec too if you want her instead. As for whoever you should have as a third character, I went for Leliana for her archery (can be spec'd into dual wielding) as she was my LI, or Morrigan for a double mage. I have never actually used Sten, Oghren or Zevran willingly, but they are there should you want them. For bosses I went for Warrior x2, Mage x2; So Alistair (Tank), Shale (Tank, but could also spec Sten or Oghren into a tank), Wynne (Healer), and myself (Mage, Off healer/ DPS), but seeing as you are playing as a rogue, you could probably get away with a single mage, but just space out your healing spells some more.

On another note, when you do go to the Circle of Magi, you will enter an area known as The Fade. This area in notorious for being absolutely bloody dreadful, and goddamn confusing to get around, but you can skip it with a mod by the name of Skip the Fade [http://www.nexusmods.com/dragonage/mods/816/?]. It isn't a cheaty mod, and it doesn't remove the entire encounter, it just removes the parts that give you a massive headache, but give you all of the possible rewards for completing so you don't feel like you have missed out. However, I'm not overly sure if you can activate it once you have entered the fade as it might goof up your save, but it will probably mention so in the mod description. It is entirely up to you, but after going through it once, I just couldn't do it again.

Good luck on your travels!

EDIT: Also, whilst you are in Lothering, make sure you pick up Leliana (in the pub), and Sten (The man in the cage) before leaving, otherwise you will not encounter them again.
 
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My best advice is just to use your favorites. There are surely party builds that are easier to win with than others, but Dragon Age is fairly forgiving in that even if you don't optimize very well, you can usually find your way through almost any encounter. I've probably used most of the possible party configurations in the over a dozen times I've played, and only once can I remember feeling underpowered through a whole game. In a game that excels so much in characters and their interactions, you should use the ones you like to be around to get the most enjoyable experience.

Also, it may sound like a dream build to make your rogue an archer/assassin type, but you really don't get enough skill points to specialize in both. The level cap is 20, and there are 16 skills in each group, plus 4 skills per Specialization class times two Specializations. Even with the skill points you can buy from vendors, you only have enough to really take advantage of one skill group. So I would recommend committing to either archery or dual-wielding. There are always subsequent playthroughs if you want to experience everything the game has to offer.
 

LostCrusader

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Riddle78 said:
I'd rather avoid mods that give me a cheater's advantage. So,looks like I have to go talent scouting once I'm done at Ostagar. So,two mages? Something tells me the ideal ones for me are going to stick out like broken thumbs,aren't they? I get the feeling the local church would rather them dead and buried. Sorta like Batarians,really. But infinitely more likeable,from the one named mage I spoke to.
I wouldn't really consider that kind of mod a cheat because if you find the specializations from the trainers/quests, then you get access to them for any later playthroughs.

As far as party compositions go, I always felt that a dedicated healer and tank were the only real requirements for a successful group. I usually kept a rogue type around just for lock picking but they seem to have weaker damage output than a mage or warrior dps. It might just be that to really get full effect from a rogue you either need to be actually playing the rogue because the computer never circled the target to back stab.
 

queenie

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Erm... Why does everyone insist on having a healer in your party? I went through three playthroughs without taking Wynne places, because she's incredibly annoying and I hate her and yes, I know that hating pixels is irrational.

I mean, it's not like there's a cooldown on potions in Origins. Not to mention, if you murder everyone quickly enough, you won't need to be revived, which is where Morrigan comes in. Sure, the shapeshifting is absolutely useless, but teach her Blood Wound and Mana Clash and you practically don't need to take anyone else with you. Bring Alistair and Oghren anyway. If not for tanking and wounding people below the waist, then for amusement.

Although now that I think about it, you might not want to learn blood magic.