Dragon Age: Origins

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"Dual Weapon Rouge Guide" Guide for Dragon Age: Origins

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 =================
 TABLE OF CONTENTS
 =================

   1. INTRODUCTION

   2. ORIGINS

   3. ATTRIBUTES

   4. SKILLS

   5. SPECIALIZATIONS

   6. TALENTS

   7. EQUIPMENT

   8. COMBAT HINTS

   9. COMPANIONS

   10. TIPS & TRICKS

   11. CLOSING WORDS


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   ===============
   1. INTRODUCTION
   ===============

   The Dual-Wielding, backstabbing Rogue is the most highly damaging of the
melee DPS variants. I've always enjoyed playing Rogues in Bioware games due to
the subtle, treacherous and exotic nature of their combat techniques. In case
you don't know, DPS = damage per second, the real measure of how deadly your
character is. It takes into account damage per hit and attack speed.

   Why play this build? Well, as I said before it is the deadliest melee DPS
character. The damage output is great due to backstabs and high attack speed.
Physical defense is one of the best there is thanks to decent Defense, Evasion
and various dodge stacking. Mental resistance is far better than most Warriors
due to emphasis on Cunning (explanation later).

   In the game there is already a dual-wielding rogue companion that you can
recruit, namely Zevran. Why shouldn't you just use Zev? Firstly, if you do,
you miss the entire early game as he isn't available until level 8 or 9.
Secondly, Zev is one way to play dual-wield (high dex with stealth). While it
is colourful, it isn't the optimal way from a pure DPS point of view. Finally,
and most importantly, backstab rogues are almost impossible to automate
properly. If you use Zevran, you'll end up needing to micro-manage him all the
time instead of your Warden. I personally like to micro my main character and
automating the NPCs using Tactics.

   I'm trying to be quite detailed in this guide and going into specifics as
to what I feel are the best choices. You are of course free to make your own
choices based on your own play style and preferences.

   This guide assumes that you play to level 20. You should already know the
basics of the game. It also has a lot of minor spoilers.

   This is my first published guide, hope you enjoy it.


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   ==========
   2. ORIGINS
   ==========

   Best fit:	Dwarf Noble

   Different origin combinations affect your starting stats and skills. All
Rogues start with Dirty Fighting as a free Talent, which you need anyway, so
that part is not important. As a Rogue you can choose any three of the races.
For this build, the governing attributes are Dexterity and Cunning which I'll
explain later.

   Elves get +2 to both Willpower and Magic, perfect for mages but ill-suited
for this build. Dalish Elves also start with Survival skill which you do not
need. City Elves are a much better choice with Coercion skill but still have
the fairly useless Willpower and Magic bonus. Unless you absolutely need to
role-play Elven rogues, this is not recommended. Furthermore, Zevran your
dual-wielding rogue companion is already an Elven rogue.

   Humans get spread-out +1 bonuses to Str, Dex, Cun and Mag. This is all good
although the +1 to Magic is a bit of a waste. You can only choose Human Noble
as your origin as the only other Human origin is Mage. It's so-so for this
build.

   Dwarves get +1 Str, +1 Dex and +2 Con. The +2 Con is only semi-important to
this build but more useful than the +1 Magic humans get. The important point,
however, is that Dwarves also get +10% Spell Resistance. Since this build is a
little lacking in the magical defense department I feel that Dwarf is the best
choice.

   Should you go Commoner or Noble? What would you choose in real life? :P
Commoners get the Stealing skill while Nobles get Combat Training, which is
more valuable to this build early on although you'll likely need both through-
out the game. You will also find that the Dwarf Noble origin grants you more
cash throughout the game than any other origin. This is both from what's
available in their Origin story as well as a huge bonus when selling to a
particular merchant.

   Gender doesn't matter much at all. You can romance exactly 3 of your
companions no matter which gender you choose. As a Dwarf Noble I like having a
female Warden just because there is a distinct lack of women in that society.

   Before we continue, let's take a quick look at the stats you get as a Rogue:

   Attributes:	+4 dexterity, +2 willpower, +4 cunning
   Level up: 	+5 health, +4 stamina, +1 skill every 2 levels
					(not every 3 levels like the others)


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   =============
   3. ATTRIBUTES
   =============

   This is what I found to be the optimal choice.

   Strength (Str):	11	-->	20
   Dexterity (Dex):	15 +5	-->	35-36
   Willpower (Wil):	12	-->	n/a
   Magic (Mag):		10	-->	n/a
   Cunning (Cun):	14	-->	MAX (60+)
   Constitution (Con):	12	-->	n/a

   Know also that throughout the game you can get permanent bonuses of:

	Str +4		Mag +2
	Dex +4		Cun +5
	Wil +2		Con +2
				...so don't manually raise Str higher than 16

   Lets go with the obvious first, the stats you don't really need. Magic is a
downright throw away attribute. You are no mage, you don't need this. It does
improve health poultices but to invest in magic just for that is a waste.

   Willpower and Constitution are both semi-important, giving you more stamina
for abilities and more health respectfully. Investing heavily in them, however,
will lessen your damage-dealing focus. I tend not to increase them at all.
You really only need them in the early game, but investing in them in early
game noticably delays getting your main attributes to a solid level. At higher
levels, when your main attributes are solid, increasing Wil/Con will no longer
have much of a noticeable effect, so you may as well just maximize your main
attributes.

   Strength affects melee damage and Attack. However, with Lethality, you can
use Cunning to increase damage instead. Cunning also contributes to Armor
Penetration and other things which Strength doesn't. Therefore keep Strength
to 20, which is enough to wear the best Light Armor. 18 or even down to the
minimum base of 11 can be passable if you boost it using equipment, but I like
to safe myself the hassle of being equipment dependant and just raise the Str
to 20. Str also increases Physical Resistance, but so does Dex and Dex is more
useful.

   Next let's take a look at Dexterity. Dex is a pre-requisite to many of your
Dual-Wielding and Rogue Talents. In particular, Evasion needs 35 and Dual
Weapon Master requires 36, so this is what to aim for. Dex gives you extra
damage to Piercing weapons and boosts your Attack and Defense ratings. Dex
also increases Physical Resistance to the same degree as Str or Con. Because
you need it as pre-requisite for many Talents and since Cunning is only really
useful after level 8 or so, Dex is what you will raise first.

   Cunning contributes to Armor Penetration and, with Lethality, attack damage.
Also, many other important abilities like Exploit Weakness and Riposte use Cun
in their calculations. Cun also boosts Mental resistance. To optimize this
build, Cunning is the stat we want to maximize. Some kind people have done the
numbers:

	http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/66/index/223777
	http://i47.tinypic.com/2zz2qo8.jpg

   The conclusions, pros and cons for maxing Dex or Cun, are:

   Cunning
	+ Much higher damage output of about 40%. This is the main drawcard.
	+ Better stun chance from use of Riposte.
	+ Better mental resistance.
	+ Able to pick locks without investing in talents in late game.
	- Forces you to take Lethality as a Talent
	- You don't have space for utility talents like Stealth and Deft Hands.
	   Towards the end however, your Cun is high enough to open any lock
	   without needing any Talents.
	- Your Attack and Defense rating are much lower. Defense issue can be
	   mitigated by taking Evasion.

   Dexterity
	= Much higher Defense rate, but you probably won't get Evasion so it
	   works out to be roughly the same.
	+ Much higher Attack rate meaning you miss less often. Can be
	   overkill though, as in having greater than 100% hit chance which of
	   course will be capped to 100% anyway.
	+ You don't need Lethality so you save on 4 talents which you can use
	   for utility talents like Stealth and Deft Hands.
	+ Better physical resistance.
	- Much lower DPS, especially against heavily armoured enemies. This is
	   the main drawback.
	- You may as well use Zevran.

   So basically, Cunning has better DPS but Dexterity gives you more utility.
This guide assumes you take the Cunning route for the maximum DPS. The Dex
route looks a lot like Zevran already. Also you can use other companions for
lockpicking.

   For those of you who wonder whether the Cunning build gets a high enough
Attack rating to maintain a decent hit rate, don't worry. My Warden has over
90% hit rate throughout the game. You have enough natural Dex and many, many
factors boosting your Attack rating.


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 =========
 4. SKILLS
 =========

   As a Rogue you get the privilege of gaining a skill every 2 levels instead
of every 3 like everyone else. This means by level 20 you will have 13 skill
points, not including tomes.

   You as a Rogue start with a point in Poison-Making. This is extremely handy
because it lets you use poisons and grenades. No further point is needed as
Zevran has invested quite heavily in that skill and can make your poisons and
bombs for you. Later you can improve this skill for convenience so you don't
need to go to Zevran to make poisons.

   The only skill you really absolutely need to invest in is Combat Training,
which is required for some of your core weapon talents. Get the 3rd Combat
Training by level 4 and max it by level 10. This skill also gives small but
bonuses to your combat stats such as Attack and Stamina Regen.

   A useful skill to get is Coercion which is only available to the Warden and
not to any of your companions. Since only you can use it, and since it helps
quite a lot during quests to bring extra rewards or make things easier, I
generally always pick it. It also adds flavour.

   It is worthwhile to put one point into Stealing to open up a line of side
quests in Denerim. The quests are only available if the Warden him/herself has
has the skill. For actual stealing, Leliana already has more than one skill
point there so you can use her.

   You probably have a few leftover skills. Get whatever you want, I like Set
Traps because it goes with the rogue theme. If you want you can get it early
for a sidequest in the first town, Lothering. Even the tier 1 Traps can deal
a lot of damage, albeit with small AOE.

   Combat Tactics can seem useful at a glance, but most of the time you'd want
to control your Warden instead of automating him/her. Rogue backstabber is the
hardest character to automate because you need to keep re-positioning yourself
for backstabs, etc. You have enough base tactic slots for basic functions such
as using poultices when damaged and attacking nearest enemy in a pinch. Combat
Tactics is not a good investment.

   Remember you also have your companions who can also help with their skills.
In particular, Leliana has multiple points in Stealing, Zevran in Poison and
Morrigan in Herbalism. Do try to have access to all skills across your whole
group.

   Example skill build:

 Level 	1	Poison 1, Combat 1, Coercion 1
	2	Combat 2
  	4	Combat 3 (must have)
	6	Traps 1	(for an early game sidequest)
	8	Coercion 2
	10	Combat 4 (must have)
	12	Coercion 3
	14	Coercion 4
	16	Stealing 1 (for a later-game sidequest)
	18	Poison or Traps
	20	Poison or Traps


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   ==================
   5. SPECIALIZATIONS
   ================

   I think it's pretty obvious that Assassin will be your key specialization
since it adds a lot to DPS and improves backstabs. What should the other
specialization be? To tell the truth all of them have much to offer.

   Duelist is the most obvious choice. It adds +2 Dex and +1 damage first up,
as well as boosting attack and defense from Dueling and Keen Defense. Pinpoint
Strike is also right up the DPS alley, granting extra critical hits.

   A less obvious point is that you DO NOT have to pick Assassin at level 7 if
you choose Duelist. Assassin only gives you Mark of Death at level 7, which is
an expensive Activated ability that only works on 1 target. Frankly there are
better uses for your meager stamina early on. The really juicy Assassin passive
abilities are not available until levels 12-16. Thus if you wait until level 14
 for Assassin and then use 2 Tomes there, you don't miss much. In the meantime
you can increase your Attack using the much more stamina-manageable Sustained
Dueling ability.

   Bard is a specialization highly dependant on Cunning, which you will have
plenty of. You can improve stamina/mana regeneration with Song of Valor or
use Distraction to save your weak mage from an enemy who chose to focus on her.
The most useful ability is the Song of Courage which improves damage for the
whole party. The final ability, Captivating Song, leaves you unable to move
which goes against your whole philosophy and probably not worth getting.

   Bard may be better than Duelist for DPS if you have two or three good DPS
fighters in your party. Don't use Bard if you have many mages in your party.
Note also that although Leliana is already a Bard, two Songs of Courage stack
except on the second Bard to start using the ability. Bard abilities are
available at an earlier level than Duelist or Assassin abilities and is
therefore a better early game choice.

   Rangers simply summon their pet and it will run around and attack for you.
It will deal some damage and hopefully draw aggro. In particular once you have
Master Ranger you can use Overwhelm to disable enemy mages. Ranger is
especially useful if you have a Blood Mage in your party so that they can drain
health from the summon instead of another party member. Summoning takes forever
to cast, so you ideally want to start battles with the summon already
sustained. Thus it isn't as useful as Dueling in early game stamina management.



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   ==========
   6. TALENTS
   ==========

   These are the most important choices, it is what makes the build. Some
choices are obvious, others can be dubious. By the end (level 20) you'd have
taken most of the Rogue combat and Dual Weapon talents as well as your
specialization talents. However, there is also a matter of priority, which
should you take first? Which do you leave out?

 # Essential Talents:

   * Momentum

	Huge attack speed increase! This alone increases your DPS by about 40%.
     I regard this as the number one priority in this build. There is also a
     large movement speed bonus advertised, but I haven't noticed it much.

   * Lethality

	One of your main sources of damage, the reason why you max Cunning.
     Also leads to the defensive talent Evasion which you may as well get as
     it's only 1 more step from here.

   * Coup de Grace

	Allows you to deal automatic backstabs on a stunned or paralyzed enemy.
     Opens up a lot of combos, notably with Dirty Fighting, Riposte, poisons
     and Paralyze runes.

   * Assassin passives (Exploit Weakness -> Lacerate -> Feast of the Fallen)

	Exploit Weakness greatly enhances your backstabs, Lacerate does too to
     a lesser degree. Feast of the Fallen is too awesome as it gives you
     Stamina boosts to fuel your damage-dealing Activated abilities. These are
     only available level 12-16 though, so the early game priority isn't high.


 # Dubious Talents:

   * Dual Weapon Master

	This matters a lot only if you're wielding two main-hand weapons. Going
     by the Cunning DPS route, you will use two Daggers instead. It also grants
     -2.5% fatigue, but if you think about it that will only save you 1 stamina
     for each 40 you would spend which isn't a lot. Only get this Talent to
     unlock the Dual Weapon Master Achievement.

   * Feign Death

	Seems like it could be useful in a pinch, but if you're in trouble yet
     conscious you can usually just run away and kite instead. If you're in
     trouble and stunned/paralyzed well then this won't help either. The extra
     long cooldown makes it even less useful.

   * Whirlwind and Punisher

	Awesome, awesome abilities. However, they use up a lot of stamina and
     have long cooldowns. Great to have but unfortunately you only have space
     for them late in the game.

    To maximize the build, Tomes of Physical Technique are used.

   -------------------------------------------------------------------------
   NOTE: Buy the 1st Tome off Bodahn at Camp as soon as you leave Lothering!
   -------------------------------------------------------------------------
   The first Tome is available from Bodahn Feddic the first time you enter your
party Camp. This WILL RESPAWN but only if you buy it then and there, so make
sure you buy it right away so you can get two from Bodahn. If not, you only get
three Tomes total. The other tomes are in Orzammar and on Bodahn again, except
only in the very late game.

   As a Dwarf Noble you should have no trouble at all getting the first Tome at
level 8. You can even afford the Arcane version for mage companions. Other
Origins may struggle.

   -------------------------------------------------------------------------
   NOTE: Accept the reward from the Arl of Redcliffe to get +1 talent point!
   -------------------------------------------------------------------------

   I wrote this down because I actually missed out by saying I don't need a
reward. Bad.

   You get a total of 5 extra Talent points this way. I only included 3 in the
below guide in case you miss some. If you don't miss any, use the spares to
take Whirlwind or Punisher early or use them on your Companions.

# Denotes a skill acquired using a Tome or other bonus. On level 1 you will
  automatically get 2 Talent points instead of 1. Around level 5 when you
  become a Warden, you automatically get another Talent point.


<-- DUELIST BUILD -->

   While I played the Duelist build for my character, I now feel that the
Bard build is actually a bit stronger.

Level
  0)	Dirty Fighting (no choice)
  1)	Dual Weapon Sweep + Dual Weapon Training
  2) 	Flurry
  3) 	Below the Belt
  4) 	Momentum
  5) 	Combat Movement	+ Dual Weapon Finesse (Need Dex=24)
  6) 	Deadly Strike
  7) 	Dueling
  8) 	Coup de Grace + #Lethality
  9) 	Dual Striking
  10) 	Riposte
  11) 	Dual Weapon Expert
  12) 	Evasion	(Need Dex=35)
  13)	Upset Balance
  14)	Mark of Death + #Exploit Weakness + #Lacerate
  15)	Keen Defense
  16) 	Feast of the Fallen
  17) 	Pinpoint Strike
  18) 	Whirlwind
  19)	Cripple
  20)	Punisher
  -->	Dual Weapon Master if you're still playing.
  -->	If you still have leftover points, start getting Stealth or Archery

   Level 1-8 are dedicated to getting Momentum, Lethality and Coup de Grace
ASAP. The pre-reqs are useful in their own right: Combat Movement improves
flanking angle and Dual Weapon Sweep is a nifty little AOE damage ability.
Flurry and the Dual Weapon passives are also wonderful.

   I made an interesting choice at level 7 by going Duelist first. I feel that
I need all the stamina I have for Dirty Fighting, Flurry and soon Riposte that
there is little left for Mark of Death whereas Dueling is Sustained. Also the
+1 Damage from Duelist is as good as the +2.5% Critical early on. You won't
miss out on much and can still get the Assassin abilities in a timely manner
since you have to wait till level 12 for the next ability anyway.

   Next I go with Riposte since it is awesome in combination with Coup de
Grace. Note that Dual Striking is useless to us because you can't backstab or
critical hit with it. At level 11 and 12 I chose passive abilities to conserve
stamina since now I have a new Activated ability. Dual Weapon Expertise adds
to DPS a little, while Evasion is a defensive manoeuvre.

   Level 13 to 17 is all about acquiring the abilities of your specializations.
For best results, this is the time you need to get those Tomes and accelerate
the Assassin abilities.

   The awesome Punisher and Whirlwind are unfortunately relegated to late
levels. They are great but cost so much Stamina to activate and so does the
much less powerful prerequisite Cripple. Besides, the specialization abilities
are too good to delay.


<-- BARD BUILD -->

   This is probably the best out of the 3 non-Assassin specializations. Duelist
will have better defense, but Bard will have stronger, more reliable damage
capability and will also boost other fighters in the party.

Level
  0)	Dirty Fighting (no choice)
  1)	Dual Weapon Sweep + Dual Weapon Training
  2) 	Flurry
  3) 	Below the Belt
  4) 	Momentum
  5) 	Combat Movement	+ Dual Weapon Finesse (Need Dex=24)
  6) 	Deadly Strike
  7) 	Song of Valor
  8) 	Coup de Grace + #Lethality
  9) 	Distraction
  10) 	Song of Courage
  11) 	Dual Striking
  12) 	Riposte
  13)	Evasion	(Need Dex=35)
  14)	Mark of Death + #Exploit Weakness + #Lacerate
  15)	Dual Weapon Expert
  16) 	Feast of the Fallen
  17) 	Whirlwind
  18) 	Cripple
  19)	Punisher
  20)	Dual Weapon Master
  -->	If you still have leftover points, start getting Stealth or Archery

   Level 1-8 are still dedicated to getting Momentum, Lethality and Coup de
Grace ASAP since these are the core talents.

   Since you can get Song of Courage at level 10, we take Bard specialization
first over Assassin. Song of Courage is awesome good and should be taken as
early as possible. This will delay the less important Evasion and Dual Weapon
Expert talents.

   You don't need to take the last Bard ability Captivating Song since this
immobilizes you and is therefore not worth it. This allows you to get the late
talents sooner.

   Everything else is the same as the Duelist build.


<-- RANGER BUILD -->

   As mentioned before, summoning takes ages to cast and therefore you'd start
battle with the summon already sustained. This means Ranger isn't as useful in
the early game for stamina management. Still a worthwhile build though.

   Since you need to get Master Ranger in a timely fashion I feel the best way
is to include a fourth Tome/bonus skill useage.

Level
  0)	Dirty Fighting (no choice)
  1)	Dual Weapon Sweep + Dual Weapon Training
  2) 	Flurry
  3) 	Below the Belt
  4) 	Momentum
  5) 	Combat Movement	+ Dual Weapon Finesse (Need Dex=24)
  6) 	Deadly Strike
  7) 	Summon Wolf
  8) 	Coup de Grace + #Lethality
  9) 	Summon Bear
  10) 	Summon Spider
  11) 	Dual Striking
  12) 	Riposte + #Master Ranger
  13)	Evasion	(Need Dex=35)
  14)	Mark of Death + #Exploit Weakness + #Lacerate
  15)	Dual Weapon Expert
  16) 	Feast of the Fallen
  17) 	Whirlwind
  18) 	Cripple
  19)	Punisher
  20)	Dual Weapon Master
  -->	If you still have leftover points, start getting Stealth or Archery


   Level 1-8 are still dedicated to getting Momentum, Lethality and Coup de
Grace ASAP since these are the core talents.

   Since you can get max out all Ranger abilities by level 12, we'll do so
first. This will grant you a massive pet to wreak havoc. Note that Overwhelm
is not available for you to use unless you set it on the pet's Tactics page.
This is only available for about 2 seconds each time you summon the pet, which
can get very annoying.

   After maxing out Ranger, we can proceed with the rest of the build.


   -------------------
    A Note on Evasion
   -------------------

   Evasion and other dodge abilities have a short blocking animation when
triggered. This is where your character visually makes a blocking move with his
or her weapons/shield/whatever. This takes away about a half a second where you
cannot attack and thus it protects you at the cost of your DPS. If you feel
that this is a lousy deal, skip Evasion and don't equip any item that gives you
a dodging bonus.


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   ============
   7. EQUIPMENT
   ============

   In the early-mid stages of the game, you won't have much choice and will
just have to wear the best available gear that's available to you. Later on,
however, you'll have plenty to choose from, some of which are exotic or rare
and requires some hunting.

   Many of these items are very expensive, hence why Dwarf Noble Origin is the
best since it gets more money. Look at section 10 for money-making tips.

  ---------
   Weapons 	The Rose's Thorn	(Orzammar, ~146g)
  ---------	Thorn of the Dead Gods	(Deep Roads sidequest)

   As mentioned before, the highest DPS requires you use two daggers. Daggers
are fast and have great armour penetration. The above two are some of the best
and give great enhancements. The Rose's Thorn especially is the best dagger in
the game. If you have the DLC, "The Edge" is another great dagger which you can
use right from the start. It would be superior to Thorn of the Dead Gods.

   Note that the above mentioned is the Silverite version of Thorn of the Dead
Gods, with two rune slots. Lesser versions are available too. The Rose's Thorn
is very expensive, until then you can use a lesser version of Thorn of the Dead
Gods which you can steal during early Orzammar quests for Bhelen.


  -------
   Runes	5x Paralyze runes	(buy 2 from Wonders of Thedas, Denerim)
  -------	or 5x Dweomer runes

   The above weapons come with 3 & 2 rune slots. I like to put Paralyze runes
in them, as the paralysis will set up backstab attacks with Coup de Grace for
a world of pain. All the runes regardless of rank have the same chance of
paralyzing, thus any are valuable. The higher runes give longer durations,
which is great of course, but even the 4 second paralysis from the Novice rune
will give you many free backstabs. The Grandmaster paralyzes for 8 seconds.

   Considering that not even the Archdemon can fully resist the paralysis
effect, I find that this is the way to go and is better than adding damage
runes to your weapons.

   Paralyze runes are rather rare. If you don't have 5, I like to put in
defensive runes of the Dweomer and Hale variety. They help resist spells and
annoying effects like knockdown.

   Alternatively you can take the defensive route and load your weapons up with
Dweomer runes. It is possible to achieve over 90% Spell Resistance with max
Dweomer runes and other gear, I don't know if 100% is possible with this build.
I still think a better choice is to focus on getting rid of enemy mages first
in every fight so that you don't have to worry about spells at all.


  ---------
   Poisons	Deathroot Extract, Concentrated Deathroot Extract,
  ---------	Crow Poison, Concentrated Crow Poison

   No Assassin would be complete without the use of poisons. The best poisons
not only deal damage but also stuns the enemy, perfect in combination with Coup
de Grace!

   The humble tier one Deathroot Extract grants 10% chance to stun for three
seconds. The improved tier two version grants 15% chance to stun for 4 seconds.
The extra 1 or 2 nature damage are inconsequential: those decent length stuns
set you up for Coup de Grace backstabs! The tier one poison is the most cost
effective choice of course, you'll find plenty of Deathroot plants around.
The tier two poison is more expensive but quite a bit more effective too if
you are able to afford ingredients.

   The Crow Poison and its Concentrated version are even more effective, with
3 second longer stuns and triple the damage of the respective Deathroot
counterpart. However they are far more expensive, requiring more ingredients.
The fact that they are tier 2 and 3 doesn't matter much as Zevran already comes
with tier 3 Poison-Making. If you have too much money, the Concentrated Crow
Poison is the best poison you can use.

  Recipes for the four poisons are free, at Faryn (Frostback Mountains), Alimar
(Orzammar Dust Town) and Cesar (Denerim, after finishing Trial of Crows quest)
respectively. Main ingredients can be bought from Varathorn (Dalish Camp).


  -------
   Bombs	Any bombs: Acid, Freeze, Shock, Fire, Soulrot
  -------

   Assassins lack AOE damage dealing and bombs are an excellent way to fill
this gap. The AOE is not big at all, but enough to hit 2 to 4 enemies if they
are clustered. Any bomb will do as they all have the same AOE and damage and
use the same amount of ingredients. Use the one least likely to be resisted by
your target (eg. don't use Acid Flasks on Golems or Undead). Only Acid Flask
can be acquired in infinite quantity.

   All bombs need tier 2 Poison-Making to craft. Contact your pal Zevran.
Ingredients can be found, well everywhere in small quantities. Infinite
Lifestone can be purchased from Ruck (Deep Roads).


  ------
   Bows		Far Song		(Redcliffe smith replacing Owen, ~120g)
  ------	Falon'Din's Reach	(Brecilian Ruins, young Dragon's hoard)
		Spear-Thrower		(Deep Roads at the Dead Trenches)
		Dalish Longbow		(Random loot/shop, around Dalish areas)
		Scout's Bow		(Varathorn at Dalish Camp)

   What, bows?? That's right, you're a melee fighter but having a bow equipped
in your secondary weapon slot will give you far more flexibility. Sometimes you
don't have time to rush a distant enemy while a bow will get the job done
quickly. You want a fast bow, after all if you cannot get rid of that faraway
target in a timely fashion you may as well sprint there. As such the important
quality for your bows to have is Rapid Aim. All crossbows are slower so they're
not as good for you, plus you need high Str to use the best ones.

   The first three bows above are ordered from best to worst, the worst still
being awesome. You're not a dedicated archer, so if you have one in your team
give the best bow to him/her. The last two bows are non-unique random loot but
will work perfectly fine as a secondary weapon.

   Note that if you switch to your bow your dual-weapon talents will be turned
off, this includes Momentum which you can't turn back on for 30 seconds. So
think twice before switching to bow.


  --------
   Armour
  --------

   Helmet:	Longrunner's Cap	(Orzammar/Paragon quest)
		Helm of Honnleath	(Stone Prisoner DLC, kill Kitty)

   Gloves:	Red Jenny Seekers	(Denerim, Trial of Crows quest)
		Pushback Strikers	(Orzammar/Paragon quests)

   Armour:	The Felon's Coat	(Denerim mid-game, ~90g)
		Shadow of the Empire	(Orzammar shops, ~12g)

   Boots :	Bard's Dancing Shoes	(Camp, ~10g)
		Antivan Leather Boots	(Urn quest, must give to Zevran first)
		Lion's Paw		(DLC)


   There aren't many good light helmets. Longrunner's Cap gives decent armor
and will enhance your stamina regen. The Helm of Honnleath is not a light
helmet, but it has great Armor rating and adds +2 to all attributes while only
requiring 20 Str to wear. It is by far the best choice if you have the DLC.

The best aggressive gloves are the two above pairs. Red Jenny will increase
critical/backstab damage while Pushback will increase critical chance. Red
Jenny is superior in DPS lategame.

   The Felon's Coat is by far the best Light Armour. Get it as soon as it's
available, which is when you finish three of the five main (The Blight) quests.
Until then you can use Shadow of the Empire, itself a great light armour.

   The Bard's Dancing Shoes reduces hostility, which is very important but
unfortunately also bugged and doesn't work -_- Nevertheless it also has great
armor rating for light boots and +6 defense. If you'd rather have a little more
Spell Resistance rather than Defense, take the Antivan Leather Boots. If you
have the Lion's Paw DLC, that is another great set of boots with extra dodging.


  -------------
   Other Items
  -------------

   Amulet:	The Spellward		(At Camp, ~87g)

   Belt:	Andruil's Blessing 	(Circle Tower, ~106g)
		Guildmaster's Belt	(DLC)

   Rings:	Key to the City		(Orzammar, exploration & gather Codex)
		Harvest Festival Ring	(Honnleath, Stone Prisoner DLC)
		Ring of the Warrior	(Deep Roads sidequest)
		Lifegiver		(Orzammar shops, ~88g)

   The Spellward is a massively good defensive amulet for any character, no
other amulet even comes close. It is expensive, until you can afford it just
use whatever is available. Your free Warden amulet is fine.

   Likewise Andruil's Blessing is obviously the best belt. If you have the
"Guildmaster's Belt" DLC, that belt can be used from the start until you can
afford Andruil's which is even more expensive than the Spellward amulet.

   With rings you'll have a far easier time. Key to the City can be acquired
early for free and with little risk. Likewise if you have Stone Prisoner
the Harvest Festival ring can be acquired for free at the same point in the
game. If you don't have that DLC you will have to settle for the slightly
inferior Ring of the Warrior which is far harder to get. Lifegiver is a good
option, but it costs alot and also better equipped on a tank companion.


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   ===============
   8. COMBAT HINTS
   ===============


   Here are some combat hints, some of which are dead obvious and some are more
subtle.

 * Right before the battle begins, decide if it's worth it to use a poison.
   Unless it's a totally trivial fight, it's generally worth it. Activate it.

 * Try to go for mages first because they are easy to kill but dangerous if
   left alive. If they are far away though, you will waste time running to
   them. Instead use a mage or archer that can do the job from afar.

 * Enemies cannot stop you from focusing on their mage, but you can stop them
   from doing the same to your mage! Your mage is just as dangerous as the
   enemies' so you should try to protect them. Draw enemy mobs attention away
   using abilities such as Taunt.

 * In emergencies, have your mage cast Mind Blast to clear enemy Threat level
   on her. or even Force Field on her own self.

 * Start the battle by unleashing a combo of your combat abilities like Flurry,
   Riposte and Punisher. You'll probably take out one or two enemies like this.

 * Once your stamina gets used such, activate your Sustained abilities such as
   Momentum. If you had full stamina, activating Momentum will lower it by 60.
   However, if you already used up 60 stamina, Momentum won't reduce your
   stamina further, it will just mean your stamina won't regenerate the last 60
   points that is reserved for Momentum. Used this way, the Sustained abilities
   become practically free. Don't forget to turn them off at end of battle.

 * Since it takes precious time (one second or so) to turn on Sustained
   abilities, it is better to leave them on once you feel you have enough
   Stamina to use your other abilities.

 * Position yourself so that you're behind an enemy, facing the black part of
   their selection circle. This will enable you to perform damaging backstab
   attacks. Once you have Feast of the Fallen, killing enemies with backstabs
   will regain stamina which you can use for more combat abilities.

 * If a target refuses to show his back to you, stun them with Dirty Fighting
   and continue hitting them with Coup de Grace backstabs. Other stuns include
   Riposte, chance of stun from poisons, and chance of Paralyze from runes.

 * Use Dual Weapon Sweep when there are two or more enemies in front of you.
   You can hit a few enemies at once with this skill if they are close enough
   in front of you. In a pinch, don't hesistate to use it to deal extra damage
   against a single target. If there are no enemies in front of you, the skill
   can still be performed but it will hit nothing but air, so be careful.

 * If you're surrounded by 3 or more enemies, use Whirlwind if you have it.

 * If you see enemies clustered nearby, use a bomb and try to hit at least 3
   with it. Note that if they're currently moving around your grenade toss can
   miss. Your toss range is quite short so don't aim at distant enemies.

 * If there is one big major threat with high HP, use Mark of Death on that
   target and focus fire with your team. Example: Revenants.

 * For such dangerous boss enemies there are two ways about it: either take
   them out first, or leave them last and deal with the supporting mob first.
   Last is best if your mage can use Force Field to disable the boss while you
   clear the mob. Either way use your Mark of Death to get the job done faster.

 * Below the Belt, Cripple and especially Deadly Strike are not as useful as
   your other abilities. If your stamina is low, give priority to the other
   abilities.

 * If you drew too much aggro and they're dealing more damage to you then you
   are to them, run away. Enemies that are chasing you are not dealing damage
   and you win in that equation.


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   =============
   9. COMPANIONS
   =============

   Among your companions, you want at least a tank and a mage. The tank's job
is to draw aggro towards them so they can soak up damage. The mage's main jobs
are to heal the tank, lay some AOE damage to mobs, and shut down key opponents.
Your job is to deal the majority of damage. For the record, my dual-wielding
Rogue deals about 50% of the party's damage throughout the game.

   Since you're melee and the tank is melee, the fourth party member should be
ranged. Too much melee is bad as they have to run around to position themselves
to do anything. The last member can be an archer or another mage. Mages are
more useful but trickier to automate.

   Alistair, Shale, Oghren, Sten, and Dog can all be used as tanks. I won't go
into details, the strategies for each are quite different (apart from Oghren
and Sten who are very much alike in style). Alistair is the most solid
defensively. Oghren and Sten can help dish out damage. Dog and Shale are very
fun but aren't that great as tanks in late game. You can easily use them
alternately to suit the current plot. Just make sure you spec them as tanks
with Massive Armor, Threaten on and finger on the Taunt trigger.

   Only Wynne and Morrigan are available as your mages. Wynne is more support
type while Morrigan is more a nuker and debilitator, but if you acquire them
early you can pick their spells to suit your style. Due to her special ability,
Wynne is the better mage of the two and should be picked if you choose to only
use one mage. Your team already has good DPS with you around, Wynne is better
at keeping you alive to do your job and to boost your abilities too. I like to
take both of them with me everywhere though.

   Leliana can be useful as an archer and lockpicker in your party. She's quite
straightforward and don't need much micro in your party. Zevran is too similar
to your character and similarly needs a lot of micro management to use. He's a
bad fit for this build. If you must use him, it's easier to put him into Dual
Striking and Momentum modes for decent auto-attacks.


   -----------------
    A Note on Haste
   -----------------

   One special mention: the Haste spell, which you may be tempted to get on
Wynne. A bug means that you can only use EITHER Haste or Momentum. If you use
both it actually lowers your attack speed. Momentum gives you about 42% more
DPS. Haste gives 33% DPS to all your fighters but you need to spend the 2
necessary talent points for it on Wynne. It's up to you which you prefer.
There is also the option of running two mages both with Haste, but that's
probably a waste.


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   ===================
    10. TIPS & TRICKS
   ===================


   Here are some non-combat related tips and tricks. Again some are dead
obvious, some not so.

   * As a Dwarf Noble you make a lot more money if you sell to Gorim, who has
a stall in Denerim in the Market District. He gives you fantastic prices since
he was an old friend.

   * By far the easiest way to make money in the game is by selling Potent
Lyrium Potions. You need Master Herbalism, which you can get at the earliest
on a level 10 Morrigan using a Tome. Get the recipe from Wonders of Thedas in
Denerim and ingredients from the Denerim Tavern and the Circle Tower. This way
at level 10 you can have infinite cash to buy all the equipment you want.
You'll need about 1000 gold or more to get everything. Yes it's a lot, happy
clicking.

   * A good portion of game time is spent walking around to places. To increase
movement speed, use Swift Salve, the Haste spell, or Morrigan in Flying Swarm
mode (need to spend 2 talents on her which are of dubious value).

   * Decide which companions you want and get them as early as possible so that
you can choose their skills and attributes when they level up.

   * For anyone, it is generally best to start your main quest by going to the
Circle Tower after you're done with Lothering. The first reason is to pick up
Wynne early so that you can customize her spells (more important for mages than
for fighters). The second and more compelling reason is the free bonuses to
attributes that you can get.

   * A quick visit to Orzammar early to pick up some items such as Key to the
City is also a good idea. You also make more money from Orzammar, especially
from a lyrium related quest you get in Dust Town (you need good Persuasion for
the best reward for this).

   * Always ask for more rewards and be as greedy as you can in general. There
are only minor repercussions for your avarice while trying to be generous just
means you'll miss out on rewards.

   * Early in the game there'll be plenty of locked chests you have to walk
past because you can't open them. Don't worry too much as most of them only
have minor loot. Only the locked chest in the shop in Haven village is
important, as far as I can remember.

   * Very long cooldowns can be refreshed by saving and reloading the game.

   * Your characters don't have to eat, but you do! Bioware does not want to
lose any dedicated gamers.


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 ===================
  11. CLOSING WORDS
 ===================

   And that's it, hope you enjoy the guide and it was useful to you.

   This guide is officially only hosted at www.gamefaqs.com

   Do I even need to cite copyright stuff? Don't plagiarize.

   Questions and comments? Email to zeusodinra at yahoo dot com


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