The Kingdom of Ferelden

Dragon Age takes place in the world of Thedas and our adventures are occurring in the kingdom of Ferelden, which is roughly the size of Ireland.

The Fereldans have only recently become “civilized.” Just a few centuries ago they were a loose association of barbaric tribes. While they’ve come a long way in a short period of time, Fereldans still have the heart and stamina of fierce warriors. Ferelden is also a land of gender equity, where women can be found in all professions and ranks. Fereldans value skill and fortitude, no matter its trappings.

The Waking Sea and the Amaranthine Ocean bound Ferelden on the north and east, respectively. Ferelden’s capital and largest city, Denerim, sits on the realm’s northeastern shore. The heart of Ferelden is the central Bannorn, its breadbasket. Much of east Ferelden is covered by the Brecilian Forest, a dangerous woodland. The Southron Hills set the Brecilian Forest apart from south central Ferelden. Lake Calenhad is a large freshwater lake notable for the fact that one of its islands houses the Circle Tower, where every mage in Ferelden must be educated to avoid being branded an apostate. The Frostback Mountains border Ferelden to the west.

Deep within them live the dwarves of Orzammar, which is one of the last two major dwarven cities on Thedas. Beyond the Frostback Mountains lies the Empire of Orlais. To the south of Ferelden lie the Hinterlands and the Korcari Wilds. The Hinterlands are a harsh land where the most stoic of the Fereldans live. The Korcari Wilds are dangerous lands shrouded in mists and home to the Chasind Wilders, a barbaric people who didn’t join their Fereldan brethren in becoming civilized. It is from the Korcari Wilds that the darkspawn are coming, and in great numbers.

Unlike in most other lands of Thedas, Fereldan nobles aren’t seen as better than commoners. Their purpose is to protect Ferelden from threats. The lands are actually owned by Fereldan freemen, who pledge their lands to particular banns (similar to “baron”) in return for protection. Freemen may shift allegiances if and as they wish, so the nobility are responsible to those they protect. Banns commonly recruit and title knights to support them. Knights hold the title of “Ser,” whether male or female. Occasionally, the king appoints a noble to oversee one of the strongholds on the outskirts of Ferelden. These nobles are known as arls, and their holdings as arlings.

While the overwhelming majority of Fereldans are human men and women, there are also dwarves and elves in Thedas. Most dwarves encountered above ground are either merchants or outcasts from the great dwarven cities. Even dwarf merchants, who provide a much-needed service to their people, are considered low-class people among
their own kind.The elves of Thedas are a scattered and victimized race. They once lived in a realm called the Dales, west of the Frostback Mountains, but a religious war waged by the Chantry sacked their homeland and scattered their people. Now, some elves-the Dalish—live off the land as nomads while the remainder huddle as second-class citizens in the ghettoes of human cities.

The Chantry is the dominant religion of most humans in Thedas, and the state religion of Ferelden. Its followers venerate a single deity called the Maker and follow the teachings of His Prophet, Andraste.

The Chantry licenses mages and has a martial order of templars to enforce their obedience. All mages have a special connection to the Fade, an otherworldly realm where both benevolent and malevolent spirits dwell. elves and humans can see the Fade in their dreams. The Fade’s malevolent spirits—demons—sometimes possess mages’ bodies to enter the material world. The Chantry claims that the Fade is the abode of the dead, although many mages dispute that claim. dwarves do not dream and cannot enter the Fade; accordingly, there are no dwarf mages.


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