Dragon Age Origins Tips and Secrets

Dragon Age: Origins is an amazingly deep masterpiece of a roleplaying game from Bioware, available on PS3, PC, and Xbox 360.  In fact, it has so much hidden depth that even after reading walkthroughs, the wiki, and tip pages, and playing through countless times, as I have, there are still more secrets to discover.  To help you get the most out of it, here are the best walkthroughs, guides, resources, and secrets I’ve found.


Opening Locked Chests – Unlocking chests and doors without a key is a thief-only skill, and their rank in the skill has to be high enough for the task. If your character isn’t a thief, you can take control of Leliana or Zevran, after they join your party, to have them attempt to pick the locks. Another thing to be aware of is that injuries can cause a thief to temporarily be unable to open chests and doors they otherwise could.

Apparently, the ability for all classes to be able to “bash” open locks was meant to be included in the game, but didn’t make it into the final version. If you’d like, you can download a mod that restores this ability here: Lock Bash. There is some realism to it in that you occasionally destroy an item in the bashing, and the broken door or chest are left behind. Installation instructions are in the description at the link.

Curing Injuries – Injury kits cure those persistent injuries that lower your party’s stats; the stronger the kit, the more injuries it can cure at once on the same character. Injury kits can be purchased in limited amounts at merchants, or can be crafted by an herbalist if they have the recipe and sufficient skill. A free way to cure wounds is to take your party back to camp. You don’t have to sleep or do anything special, just be at camp, and the injuries will heal.

Gauntlet Bridge Puzzle SolutionThe Gauntlet walkthrough on wikia has the full solution for the Test of Faith and the rest of tests.

Where do I find all of the Black Vials? – This is a tricky quest because one of the vials is in a random encounter, and another is often missed due to a cutscene in the Werewolf Lair. Here’s a walkthrough for the Revenant and phylactery locations: Black Vials Walkthrough.

What’s the deal with landmarks? – Occasionally, you’ll see a landmark marked on your map. When you find it and click on it, if you have the war dog in your party, the game will say something about your dog being interested in it. Switch to your dog and click on it again for a benefit.

My game keeps crashing during the Final Battle with the Archdemon! – At least a few of us are running into problems in that final battle despite our computers handling the game fine until then. If that’s happening to you, possible solutions include turning your graphics settings down, drawing your camera angle as far back as possible, and/or trying to minimize the spell effects on screen at once. I kept crashing when I had the arch demon’s health bar down by 3/4, still with lots of army running around battling. To get through it, I un-ticked “persistent gore” and “sparkle effects around loot” under options, then kept my character on the ballistas rather than under the archdemon’s feet.

Companions in Dragon Age Origins

The standard possible companions:

Alistair – Warrior Templar

Dog – Mabari War Dog

Leliana – Rogue Bard

Morrigan – Mage Shapeshifter

Oghren – Warrior Beserker

Sten – Warrior

Wynne – Mage Healer

Zevran – Rogue Assassin

“Secret Companion” – If you take the opportunity to recruit someone when Riordan suggests it, you can recruit a new companion as late in the game as The Landsmeet.

As “Secret Companion” suggests, it is very possible to miss opportunities to have companions join your party, or even antagonize them into leaving. Some can be aggravated even to the point of fighting your Warden to the death, if you choose the right (“wrong”) conversation options and actions.  Your only healer, if you’re a non-Mage Warden, for example, can easily be missed, or driven off, or can become so incensed by certain story-line choices she will try to kill you.

In fact, every companion except Dog can be irritated into challenging you.  Most will do so with weapons, willing to fight to the death.  Only Alistair will not leave your character before the Grey Wardens make their case at the Landsmeet, no matter how much he hates you. That’s his personality: putting his duty before personal feelings. The others, however, can be driven off or killed, if you wish.

And your Healer option – Wynne – can be missed, or driven off at multiple points, so have care with her, particularly your first time through the Tower of Mages.

To gather everyone you can, and keep them, you have to be careful with the conversation options when you meet them, and listen closely to their personalities and approval/disapproval as you adventure with them. Each has gifts they like, and enjoy being listened to, so if your approval ratings with them start to slip, these are ways to bring them back up again.  Not being a total jerk of a character helps.

For more about the companions:

Wikia Dragon Age: Origins Companions Section

With more information and entries on speculated, temporary, and downloadable content companions.


You get two specializations related to your class to further customize your character. Specializations can be taken at level 7 and 14, if you’ve unlocked them. They can be unlocked at any level, and are learned from an NPC or by buying a manual from the game’s NPC merchants. Once you’ve unlocked a specialization, your subsequent characters will have access to it.

Companions join the party with one specialization and are able to take a second later.

The specializations are:












Arcane Warrior

Blood Mage


Spirit Healer

Specialization benefits and skills, and who teaches them or where to buy a manual can be found here: Dragon Age Specializations.

Where to Find the Best Armor and Weapons

Just click the item name for a text walkthrough on how to get it.  The best weapons and armor in DA:O are: 1) Starfang Longsword or Greatsword 2) Juggernaut Armor Set 3) Hidden Ageless Greatsword 4) Yusaris The Dragonslayer Greatsword 5) Keening Blade Longsword 6) Imperium Crossbow 7) Far Song Longbow 8) Fade Wall Shield

Dragon Age Origins Cheats, Trophies, and Achievements

Achievements and Unlocks for Xbox 360

Trophies and Unlocks for PS3

Cheats and Unlocks for PC

Cheats for Dragon Age are entered through console commands, on the PC. Instructions at the link. Alternatively, Dragon Age has an extensive and talented mod community where you can find items to fulfill just about any cheat need you could want, like:

The Utility Sack mod, which can be used to add stat points, gold, items, change the tier level and material of items, add bonuses and remove restrictions on the fly, dispose of items for gold anyplace rather than carting your full pack back to a merchant, and many other fun and useful cheats.

Check the Cheats and God Items category at Nexus to see other cheat mods that might suit your needs.

(Copyright November 7, 2009.  This guide, written by me, was originally published on Squidoo.com.  When Squidoo closed, I moved it here.  No other site has permission to display this guide.  If you find it useful and want to share, please link to this page, don’t copy.)

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