Farm-Fresh balanceYMMVTransmit blueRadarWikEd fancyquotesQuotes • (Emoticon happyFunnyHeartHeartwarmingSilk award star gold 3Awesome) • RefridgeratorFridgeGroupCharactersScript editFanfic RecsSkull0Nightmare FuelMagnifierAnalysisGota iconoTear JerkerBug-silkHeadscratchersHelpTriviaWMGFilmRoll-smallRecapRainbowHo YayPhoto linkImage LinksNyan-Cat-OriginalMemesHaiku-wide-iconHaikuLaconic

BioWare marketed Dragon Age as "dark fantasy." They weren't kidding.

Dragon Age: Origins Edit

  • The Broodmother and the entire explanation given for it. To elaborate: They take some poor group of people, and make one of the females eat most of the rest (while gang-raping her). Those that are left over are some of the other females, because seeing that makes them break more easily when it's their turn. Then 'bile and blood' get poured down the subject's throat and turns them into utter Body Horror, and over the process of a week, they become the Broodmother, who turns out more Darkspawn.

 First day, they come and catch everyone

Second day, they beat us and eat some for meat

Third day, the men are all gnawed on again

Fourth day, we wait and fear for our fate

Fifth day, they return and it's another girl's turn

Sixth day, her screams we hear in our dreams

Seventh day, she grew as in her mouth they spew

Eighth day, we hated as she is violated

Ninth day, she grins and devours her kin

Now she does feast, for she's become the beast.

    • This isn't the worst part. Branka deliberately allowed her female retinue to be infected, so that their Darkspawn progeny would provide her with a limitless supply of test subjects.
      • That's not the worst part, either. Hespith, who narrates all of this to you? She was Branka's lover. Branka left her behind anyway, and Hespith's now the last woman alive from the entirety of Hespith's royal house. She's seen every last one before her die or corrupted, and she knows what's coming next for her. And she knows that it's happening to her because she fell in love with the wrong person.
        • That's STILL not the worst part! You remember the Dwarf Noble origin? You're sent to be locked in the deep roads. If you're female, then just imagine what would happen if, say, you didn't get rescued by Duncan? You would have become a broodmother. Of course, this doubles with Fridge Horror.
    • To find this you have to walk right into the Dead Trenches. A city that used to be a Necropolis, overrun by thousands of Darkspawn and is still haunted by the ghosts of ancient Dwarf warriors, the place itself looks and feels like hell. The Broodmother is just the climax of a slow escalation of creepiness that begins when you first enter the place and see the massive army of Darkspawn marching under you, and watch the Archdemon himself fly overhead, shrieking horribly.
  • The orphanage in the Elven Alienage. A bunch of ripped apart childrens' corpses, blood splatters, and plenty of mysterious voices spread through the place give an unholy idea of what's been going on there. Hell, going through there makes one feel like Alma is going to come skipping around the corner any second....
    • Take a look at the map you exit through the back...into the front, nothing on either map suggests a loop around, and this is AFTER you've 'cleansed' the place.
  • The Blood Wound spell, which boils your target's blood from inside their very veins. They just stand there twitching when in works...
  • Similar to the above "Blood Wound" spell, "Walking Bomb" turns your enemies into mobile explosives, and then into fountains of blood. In that order. Worse yet is Virulent Walking bomb, which is functionally identical... unless the explosion injures a target, in which case there's a chance the spell's effect will infect the target. And the worst part? Unlike the above "Blood Wound" and below "Blood Control" spells, which (by virtue of being blood magic) are forbidden by both national and church law, the walking bomb spells fall under spirit magic, and therefore are LEGAL!
  • There is a Blood Magic spell which can control any living thing with as a marionette by moving its blood. And victim will suffer horrendous body damage in the case of resistance.
    • Even more terrifying after they've used it on your party once, so you know what's going to happen when combat suddenly stops and everyone around you gets friendly...there's nothing you can do before you and your party are suddenly frozen in place and turned into gushing fountains of blood that all flows toward the enemy blood mage. Anyone who survives to fight will be near death, while the blood mage is replenished.
  • The entire sequence that plays out if you decide to kill Connor instead of entering the Fade. It bounces back and forth between Nightmare Fuel and Tear Jerker and doesn't know when to stop.
  • The Tranquil. Despite being benevolent - as benevolent as a soulless walking manikin can be, anyway - they make you want to hug your pillow and cry, just to remind yourself that you still can.
    • Particularly the ones in the Broken Circle quest, the ones who barely even have the capacity to be afraid of the demonic Abominations rampaging around the tower. Particularly the Tranquil who calmly tells you not to go into the tower's stockroom because it's in "no fit state". During the conversation, he says that he attempted to get to safety, but found a barrier in his way, and, rather than attempt to get the attention of the mage who conjured it, chose to go back into the stockroom. (The mage, who comes with you to cleanse the place, states that she would have let him through if she'd noticed him.)
  • The Darkspawn are Nightmare Fuel and Squick already, but one survivor's description of what happened at Ostagar is pure undiluted horror. Darkspawn everywhere, captives being eaten alive, the very ground literally rotting underfoot like fetid meat; it's like Mordor, but even worse. You don't get to see it, but the veteran's account is more than enough to give the player nightmares. The Stone Prisoner DLC, however, gives you a firsthand look at what happens to towns that fall to the Darkspawn.
  • Ah, Haven. A friendly little village with peaceful villagers. Especially that one little boy who carries a human fingerbone.
    • The altar in one of the houses in Haven: coated with years of dried blood and JUST the right size for an infant or toddler.
    • And then, of course, we have the Creepy Child - who begins rhyming...
  • Redcliffe Village becomes a ghost town if you leave during the quest to prepare it for the impending little Zombie Apocalypse. Nothing Is Scarier indeed. No wait, the really scary part is seeing some of the now undead villagers again in Redcliffe Castle.
    • While on the subject of Redcliffe, one militia member's description of what happened to his friend is this Trope. One of the devouring corpses, a dead body possessed by a demon of hunger, got on him and started eating his face. He screamed and tried to push it off, but couldn't...
    • More Redcliffe, kids speaking with regular adult voices creep me out. Kids speaking with otherworldly demonic booming voices with a superimposed kid voice on top? That's just mean, Bioware.
  • Codex entries about Abominations and Revenants. They're mentioned killing the templars sent to slay them, and the Abominations are barely even HUMAN now. They're all mutated and swollen, now merely vessels for the demons that have inhabited the body of a poor, luckless mage.
    • One templar recalls looking right at an abomination who was blasting a town apart trying to keep the templar and his men from getting into sword's reach of said abomination, and suddenly understanding that the no-longer-human mage wasn't luckless: the templars had already been hunting him for using forbidden magic, and the mage realized he wasn't powerful enough to win without letting himself turn into an abomination.
  • The Circle Tower whenever you go it might be this as well. You see the moon behind it, and the tower is completely black. The only light is from a spot near the ground, which you assume is the main door.
  • The whole section where you get trapped in the fade by a sloth demon is Nightmare Fuel. The music doesn't help, nor does the convoluted, frustrating and claustrophobic nature of the missions in the dreamscape.
    • The sloth demon itself, between its gravelly voice and attacking you in your nightmares, is a reasonably good Expy of Freddy Kreuger. Now imagine Freddy Kreuger possessing a mage.
  • The landscape of the Fade: a twisted, confusing mass of small islands filled with demons and spirits of the dead. And in the center, there's the Black City...always there...always in the center. The city of the Maker, the god who has turned his back on all except those who believed in him.
  • In the Codex entry in Caridin's journal, he describes the process used to create golems. It is not a nice thing.
    • Golems in Dragon Age are made of equal parts lyrium and Fridge Horror. Sure, Caridin was a genius. He probably exhausted every scheme for golem-making that seemed even remotely feasible, before finally setting on that not-very-nice one. Still, he ultimately decided to stick one of his fellow dwarves in a ten-foot-tall suit of armor and pour liquid lyrium into the joints until the subject stopped screaming. That the dwarves would elevate him to Paragon after he did something like that, did it enough times to create an army... it pushes them from Deadly Decadent Court into "Good god, what the hell is wrong with you people!?" Caridin himself comes off even worse, if possible: by his own account, he failed to appreciate the full horror of his procedure until he himself became a golem. Leaving aside for the moment the moderate- to-severe sociopathy that such a failure implies, who made Caridin a golem? And what happened to that person, and his knowledge of golem creation? Hopefully it didn't fall into the wrong hands...
      • Caridin never told the court or the general public the true horror of the golem creating technique. The dwarves were desperate and there was no shortage of volunteers in the face of the encroaching darkspawn. Caradin was turned into a golem when the king at the time, Valtor, decided to turn casteless, criminals, and his political enemies into golems.
  • A low-key example from Ortan Thaig: You've been harassed by spiders since you entered the place, and now you have to go deeper into the bowels of the earth. Oh look, more spiders in the tunnel...except, in violation of all video game monster etiquette, they're not attacking you: they're pulling back. Nothing about their behavior suggests fear. It's more like a controlled retreat where they only stick around long enough to make sure you're following them deeper. It's a nice and unexpectedly creepy touch.
  • Something about the way that Tamlen vanishes, screaming, in the Dalish Elf origin is more than shiver-worthy. Getting ambushed by what remains of him later in the game is just the icing on the cake.
    • Also, think about the implications of not playing a Dalish Elf. The PC likely turned into a Shriek like Tamlen, which means there's a high chance he met his death at your hands.
      • The implications of not playing any of the backgrounds is pretty Nightmare Fuelish: the human noble is slaughtered at the hands of his/her family's "oldest friend"; the city elf is raped (if female) and probably murdered; the dwarf commoner is executed; and the most fun of all, the dwarf noble is sent out to die in the Deep Roads. Only if that noble is a princess, she isn't going to die at all, is she... The thought has occurred to this troper more than once that it's never explicitly stated that the Broodmother you fight is one of Branka's household. It could very well be the dwarven princess that Duncan wasn't there to rescue.
        • If you ask Harrowmont about Endrin's death, the conversation leads to the events of the aborted Dwarf Noble origin, in which Harrowmont confirms the Noble was a prince. Luckily for the prince... And the Dwarf Commoner found his way back into the carta's custody, rather than being executed. He then went on a hunger strike for a bet, and died.
        • In Witch Hunt, you can find out that the Dalish Elf was found and brought back to camp, but never recovered and ended up just dying, luckily spared the same fate as Tamlen. Dying is probably preferable than finding out he's been suffering in pain for months while you've been making good use of your second chance at life/extended death sentence.
        • And the mage? The mage is probably taken to Aeonar for helping Jowan, a prison run by the Chantry at the site of an old Trevinter facility. Due to experiments the magisters did there, the Fade is so thin most mage inmates get possessed by demons. If the mage turned on Jowan, he/she was probably killed or possessed and then killed in Uldred's rebellion.
  • Abominations are pretty scary, yes, but what really plunges the player into uncontrollable terror is watching a guy get twisted into one. He screams horribly and starts glowing and floating... and then he's gone, and in his place there is a deformed, twisted monster who doesn't even remotely look human anymore. And the thing's gaze... * shudder*
    • Even creepier when Uldred offers to turn you into one as well.
  • Sten's story about the fiends of Seheron — the Tal'Vashoth — is disturbing, particularly where he describes a small farming village where he was stationed. He's somewhat vague on the details, but the implication is that a Tal'Vashoth was picking off the inhabitants one by one, leaving only bits and pieces of their bodies in the jungle for the others to find.
    • In Dragon Age II, you meet some Tal'Vashoth. While some of them are willing to kill humans on sight, there are also reasonable ones with good points. Sten is honorable to the ends of his fingertips, but that doesn't mean he's always reliable.
  • From the "Golems of Amgarrak" DLC comes the Harvester, a flesh golem. Imagine a gigantic mass of corpses crudely sewn together and driven to kill more people to add to it. The process behind making it was so horrible that even Branka was too disgusted to consider using it.
    • Amgarrak itself. Even before you breach the entryway, it's clear something's not right; the undead attack you right outside the entrance, and you see Deep Stalkers fleeing in terror from something up ahead. Then you enter the fortress, and things get a whole lot worse. The Harvester scuttles ahead of you at every turn, the grisly research notes from the overseer detail its creation, and the increasingly panicked journal entries from the leader of the recovery party who went in ahead of you, as he realizes that something is in there with them, make it feel like System Shock 2 meets Dragon Age.
    • When you kill the Harvester and leave Amgarrak, the last shot is of dozens of the Harvester brood flooding out behind you.
  • The DLC "The Darkspawn Chronicles" examines an alternate timeline where your character died during his/her Joining and Alistair was The Hero. You play as a Darkspawn Vanguard during the final assault on Denerim. Along the way, you fight and kill members of your party including Sten, Wynne, Oghren, and Zevran. Lastly, you go up to the top of Fort Drakon to defend the Archdemon from Alistair, Leliana, Morrigan, and Dog. The end cinematic has Alistair crawling on the ground looking at the dead bodies of the other three companions. Then Alistair is impaled by the Darkspawn you control. If you cared about any of your companions, this scene is both Nightmare Fuel and Tear Jerker.
    • Also the presence of Morrigan in that battle implies that Alistair agreed to Morrigan's Dark Ritual. Things must have been so grim that Alistair, who had to be coaxed into agreeing with the ritual in the main game, did so willingly without the influence of your character. Break the Cutie indeed...
    • And add to the fact that Leliana is rumoured to have been Alistair's lover in this AU. Meaning that Alistair not only probably slept with Morrigan to have a chance at a happy life with her after the Blight (against every revulsion he must have had at the thought of doing it), but one of the last things he sees is Leliana's mangled body - giving him enough time to react with horror before getting his head hacked off...
    • YMMV. Obviously, if you disliked any of the squad-members, then you may even get a laugh from the dismembering fun. Alternately, this can serve as a reminder to a player who hasn't finished the game why he should keep going, albeit a brutal one. "Finish the quest, or all this really bad stuff will happen and the Darkspawn Vanguard's gonna decapitate all your friends." It's kind of helpful, in its own way.
  • YMMV, but the first time you see a Joining it's pretty creepy. The guy stumbles back moaning in pain, then suddenly his eyes go completely blank (or roll up so that the pupils aren't visible, which is even worse). Then, because he's one of the many unlucky ones who don't survive the Joining, he starts choking to death right before your eyes. No wonder Jory freaked out.
    • Even more terrifying to me was the entire concept of the Right of Conscription. So, basically a Warden can just pick you off the streets and force you to become a recruit for any reason they see fit. Result? A) Death from poison, B) death from instant murder if you try and back out upon realizing that you've been shanghaied/misled, or C) the solid gold Kewpie doll: you survive... but are still almost guaranteed a violent and premature death from fighting. I am having so many Jedi flashbacks right now, only with 90% more dying.
  • Lothering fits many of the "first town" tropes, complete with helpful people surprisingly quick to join you on your deadly adventure, monsters described as tough but really aren't, and sidequests requiring absurdly low-level skills. And then you leave, and the icon turns into a skull and crossbones. The Blight hits Lothering, and literally wipes it off the map. Excepting recruited party members and a father-and-son merchant duo, you never see any of the people there ever again, despite having lengthy conversations with a dozen or so of them. Count the NPCs on your next playthrough, and remember that excepting one family (if you're nice to them) and one child (if you talk with him), you never saw anyone leave. (Another exception is made in the second game--the Hawke family lived in Lothering, and most of them escape, but they're full-on hero types.)
    • Hawke does get letters from other survivors of Lothering. Some the warden met, some s/he didn't.
  • Just the Deep Roads are freaky enough.
  • One thing that also bothered this player about the end of Witch Hunt is that if the Warden goes through the Eluvian with Morrigan, they are effectively abandoning Finn and Ariane in the Mother's former lair. Remember that you just defeated a giant spider outside not 5 minutes ago, whats to say nothing else is waiting for them outside? Also, is Ariane likely going to escort Finn back to the Tower where Templars could perhaps hold her for information on the location of her clan and their Keeper? Taking that into considering, if they parted ways and Finn is left to return on his own, whats going to happen if a Templar patrol comes across him and believes him to be an escaped apostate?

Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening Edit

  • The Architect doesn't seem that creepy at first -- especially not when compared to The Mother. Then you notice the little things that seem "off" about him. That Nice Hat of his? It's actually part of his head. And his eyes...yikes.
  • The Mother for gosh sakes! Fan Disservice cranked Up to Eleven, and when she opens her "mouth"... *shudders*
  • The final part of the short sidequest "Adria's Plight" from Awakening. Anything can be made scarier with shrieking.
  • Drake's Fall is even more unnerving than the Deep Roads. Imagine a desolate wasteland in the dead of night littered with the bones of long dead dragons. Then add the hordes of Darkspawn. Then add The Children. Finally there's the cherry on the terror sundae: being ambushed by a High Dragon.
  • At the end of the "Last of the Legion" quest in Awakening, at the very bottom of Kal Hirol, the Broodmother pit. Just one of those things is bad enough, but three... Brrrr.
    • The Warden arrives just in the nick of time to save Sigrun from being carried off by Darkspawn, something she mentions happened to all of the other women in the Legion. Made far worse as it's implied she knows perfectly well what happens to women the Darkspawn take prisoner.
  • The Blackmarsh questline, from the start to finish. Dark swamp with werewolves and Children lurking abound, coupled with multiple, eerie Veil tears. And in the middle of it there's an abandoned, overgrown village. The part in the Fade isn't that bad if you don't count the crypt, but when you return you have to fight a force of Revenants and Shrieks, and the less we speak about The Baroness' true form, the better.
    • For me the scariest part of the Blackmarsh were the Blighted Werewolves. Here are creatures already cursed, transformed into monsters and unable to control their violent rage. And then they get the Darkspawn corruption, probably through eating them, leaving them twisted, mad and in constant pain. Killing them felt like doing them a favour. Plus some of them can just POOF out of nowhere and suddenly your uberpowered main (or your horribly, horribly underarmored mage) is pinned to the ground by an Overwhelm from a high-level miniboss...
  • The Children in their Gigerian glory are pretty damn horrifying: take a human baby, cross it with a giant maggot, giver it some sharp teeth and jagged claws, and you got yourself Children that at times during battle will grab fellow Darkspawn or hapless NPCs, devour them whole and turn bigger, faster, and gooier (and more dangerous) as a result.