Death and Dying

People die, and so do characters. While Dragon Age is a ‘classic’ fantasy in the sense that characters will die, it is not meant to be a meat-grinder either. So, some custom rules apply to death.

Coup de Grace

As stated in the official rules, a dying or unconscious character can be killed by a coup de grace. Any adjacent enemy can perform a coup de grace as a major action, and this automatically kills the target. A ranged attack can be used to deliver a coup de grace if the attacker makes a successful attack roll vs. Defense 10.

In addition, a NPC cannot deliver a Coup de Grace at range, and may not move to deliver a Coup de Grace if the target is flanked by at least 1 ally.

Finally, a coup de grace may be made against an unaware enemy using the stated rules, but requires a successful active Dexterity (Stealth) Check against Perception (Seeing) or Perception (Hearing).

Example: Oghren falls in combat, and a Hurlock immediately adjacent to him performs a quick Coup de Grace. Oghren must now consult the Death and Dying rules.

Example 2: Morrigan falls in battle, but Alistair quickly beheads the genlock that felled her. Since no other enemies are immediately adjacent to Morrigan and Alistair is adjacent to her, no other NPC’s can move in to perform a coup de grace.

Example 3. Zevran and Leiliana catch two of Arl Howe’s guards unawares. Zevran sneaks in quickly and slits one guards’ throat (A successful Dexterity (Stealth) vs Perception (Hearing) check, while Leanne puts an arrow through another guard’s eye socket, (Another successful Dexterity (Stealth) vs Perception (Seeing), in addition to a successful attack against a defense 10 target with her longbow, as stated in the rules above).

If a character does not suffer a coup-de-grace, the character ‘dies’ 2+ their constitution rounds after their health hits 0. At this point, characters have two options, either suffering an injury or making their final stand.

Suffering an Injury

If a player chooses for their character to suffer an injury rather than die, he rolls 1d6 dice and the character suffers the appropriate penalty.

Roll Injury
1 Disfiguring Scar: -1 Communication
2 Torn Jugular: -1 to Constitution
3 Concussion: -1 to Cunning
4 Hobbled: -1 to Dexterity
5 Torn Ligament: -1 to Strength
6 Eye Injury: -1 to Perception

Injured characters cannot be healed until the end of a combat encounter. Injuries stay with a character until the next time they level up, which represents them either giving enough time for the wound to heal completely, or learning to live and adapt to their injury.


Leiliana is felled by a darkspawn blade. She rolls a d6 and gets a 5, indicating a torn ligament. She is down for the count until The Warden heals her after the battle. Later on, she levels up, and has learned to deal with the slight weakness in her right arm by compensating with her left. Her penalty to Strength goes away.

Final Stand

It has been said that the best ending any character can have is to die for a worthy cause; and every Grey Warden knows that it is their destiny to die in battle. Sometimes, enough is enough. It’s time to let an old character go, preferably in a blaze of glory. If a player chooses to have their character ‘go out in a blaze of glory,’ play stops, and the player takes over narrative control of the scene. They can choose to have their character do whatever they like to their enemies, hacking darkspawn to bits or plunging a dagger into the brain of an ogre just as it crushes them to death. Characters who die in this way are finished. Done. Deceased. Players roll up a new character, and get on with the game, knowing that their late character died a truly noble death.

Example: Riordan, trying to take on the Archdemon by himself, is killed. His player decides now would be a suitably dramatic time to die, and declares his intention to ‘go out in a blaze of glory.’ Play stops, as Riordan’s player relates his death. Riordan jumps onto the back of the archdemon, careens with it through the air, before finally slicing open it’s wing and plummeting to his death. The archdemon is severely weakened, and The Warden and his companions now have a shot at putting an end to The Blight.

Riordan’s player then decides to roll up a new character. The player’s new character has the same experience as Riordan, as well as comparable equipment as agreed between the player and GM.

Death and Dying

Dragon Age: The Blades of Andraste kasabian224