Dragon Age: Origins/Character creation
A character must be either male or female. This choice does not affect game statistics, but does have some effect on certain parts of the game's story, such as what romances are available.
There are three races available in Dragon Age. Each race has a few bonuses.
- Human - +1 Dexterity, +1 Strength, +1 Magic, +1 Cunning. Humans have a predictably versatile spread of racial bonuses that give them an edge over their rivals in most situations. Notably, many of these attributes are tied to skill or equipment requirements, giving humans access to them slightly earlier. Humans notably make the best rogues in the game thanks to their dexterity, strength and cunning bonuses.
- Elf - +2 Willpower, +2 Magic. Elves are clearly the race best suited to be mages, as the +2 Magic bonus grants access to skills earlier than other races while also boosting spellpower - but only offers a slight advantage over the human +1 Magic bonus. Willpower is technically useful for everyone, but again mages benefit the most.
- Dwarf - +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity, +2 Constitution, +10% resistance to hostile magic. Dwarves are the sturdiest race and the only one with a bonus to Constitution or spell resistance. A warrior would want all those stats, but they're also very beneficial for a rogue's survivability, especially with aoe-heavy endgame setups that leave melee characters exposed to hostile magic. Dwarves cannot become mages.
Ultimately, these racial differences are of little significance in the early game and only decline in importance as the game continues. The arguable exception is the dwarven magical resistance, but even this has very little impact on endgame setups.
There are three base classes available in Dragon Age. Each class has its own abilities and benefits. Additionally, each class has four specializations available. A character may learn up to two specializations.
- Warrior - Can train to use shields, dual wielded weapons, two-handed weapons, or bows. Generally considered to be inferior to rogues at dealing damage with two weapons or a bow, but can be good damage dealers with two-handed weapons, and their heavy/massive armor provides a survivability boost. Warriors are largely undisputed as the best tanks in the game, their only rival being the arcane warrior mage. The majority of companions are warriors or warrior variants.
- Rogue - Can train to use dual wielded weapons, or bows. Offer high damage at close range as well as crowd control. A rogue brings with them a host of utility abilities such as lock-picking, stealth, and trap disarmament, which should not be overlooked. A rogue archer can match the damage output of a mage from a distance and their ability to switch between elemental ammunition make them a versatile and powerful ranged damage dealer. All rogues become a liability once targeted by an enemy, however, with very few defensive options. Melee rogues are particularly vulnerable to area of effect attacks. There are only two rogue companions in the game.
- Mage - Dependent on magical skills and abilities. By far the most versatile class. The only class with access to healing options beyond poultices. Most often used by players as devastating area of effect users capable of wiping out large hordes of enemies at once. There are no situations that a properly set up mage can't handle, although some players find that heavy mage use can become a crutch and thus choose to avoid them. Arcane warriors become effective tanks with proper equipment and skill choices, although they require a lot more maintenance than a warrior. There are only two mage companions in the game. All mages characters share the same starting area, regardless of race.
There are six possible origins, but depending on race and class only one or two will be available to each character. A character's origin determines how the story begins.
- Human Noble - Available to human warriors and rogues.
- Magi - Available to human or elf mages.
- Dalish Elf - Available to elf warriors and rogues.
- City Elf - Available to elf warriors and rogues.
- Dwarf Commoner - Available to dwarf warriors and rogues.
- Dwarf Noble - Available to dwarf warriors and rogues.