As Phil notes in his review, Dragon Age: Inquisition's massive scope is matched by the complicated and sometimes overwhelming ways in that it interacts with pre-existing Dragon Age canon. I've been playing it too, and even with a thorough knowledge of the previous games - and having read all of the novels and comics - it takes a little work to hold Thedas' complicated history in your head all at once.
This is particularly true if you're just getting to grips with Dragon Age Keep. Rather than import saves directly from previous games, BioWare have opted to allow you to configure a world state via an online application. This helps you to resolve plot holes, ensure that every decision is registered correctly, and even change a few if you're not happy with how things went. That said, configuring Keep with a fuzzy memory of Dragon Age isn't easy. For that reason, we've put together this extensive guide to every decision it asks you to make.
Needless to say, this is going to be a long article and it will involve heavy spoilers for Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age 2, and their DLC, but no spoilers for Inquisition itself. The hope is that it'll help you establish your world state just-so in time for Inquisition's release, whether that means reminding yourself about decisions you made back in 2009 or configuring a new save file based on the Warden or Champion you have in your head.
If you'd prefer to receive the guide as a video - or even just listen to it like a podcast - you can find that right here:
Skip to specific games by following the links below.
- Dragon Age: Origins
- Dragon Age 2
This guide follows the approximate ordering of the choices in Keep itself, not the narrative arc of the games. That said, the order of the tiles is a little arbitrary and sometimes it'll be necessary to jump from topic to topic.
Next page: Dragon Age: Origins, Warden, Companions
Dragon Age Origins
Who was the Hero of Ferelden?
If you're not planning on choosing a custom Warden imported via the old BioWare Social Network website (see the Keep forums for more details) then the most important choice here is the Warden's origin and gender - class is secondary. Broadly speaking, human nobles have a greater connection to the political aspect of the plot, while dwarves grow up in closer proximity to the darkspawn. Dwarven commoners and city elves make a good choice if your Warden is a villainous rogue, while Dalish elves and mages have a more natural affinity with the arcane.
In particular, a mage Warden has a direct connection to the Circle and the Templars, which ties them into arguably the most significant factional conflict in the later games. As an aside, the human mage is also a distant cousin of Hawke, the protagonist of Dragon Age 2.
The Warden's fate
It is possible for the Warden to die at the end of Dragon Age origins if Morrigan's ritual is not completed and the Warden refuses to allow his or her allies to make the sacrifice for them. A dead Warden is normally, therefore, a valorous Warden.
You probably remember this one. If you're filling in a fresh world state, however, your choices are: Alistair, bumbling Warden and possible king of Ferelden (female Warden only); Morrigan, acerbic witch of the wilds (male Wardens); Leliana, Chantry devout and former Orlesian spy (male or female Wardens); and Zevran, flamboyant elf assassin (male or female Wardens).
Did you have a dog?
Human noble Wardens recruit their dog (such as you can ever recruit a dog to do anything) during their origin story. Everybody else has the option to recruit while at Ostagar. Do you want a dog? Have a dog.
Sten is a grey-skinned Qunari warrior discovered in a cage outside of the village of Lothering. If left in the cage, he'll die when darkspawn destroy the village. You also have a few options for freeing him: pick the lock, or persuade/intimidate the Revered Mother of Lothering's Chantry. It depends whether you're a rogue, nice, or a dick, basically.
If you free him, you may then choose not to recruit him - at which point he departs from the game. If you do recruit him, you'll discover that his anger at breaking his code, the Qun, led him to murder some farmers who discovered him after he was parted from his sword. Returning Sten's sword secures his loyalty, if you choose to do so - this is really down to whether your Warden can take a morally relativistic view of Sven's crimes.
Wynne is encountered during the crisis at the Circle of Magi. She can be recruited (or not) and killed if the Circle is purged. Later on, the Warden may be forced to kill her if they opt to defile the Urn of Sacred Ashes. In short: is the Warden friendly to mages and not an asshole? Wynne is probably alive. A power-hungry Warden will probably have come into conflict with her, however.
The villain for most of the game, Loghain can be recruited if he's spared at the climactic Landsmeet - though this usually means killing or exiling Alistair. If recruited, he can survive the game or be killed defeating the Archdemon at the conclusion. A brutally pragmatic Warden might take this approach.
Alternatively, Loghain may be executed by Alistair (or by the Warden, if you choose to spare Alistair from the potential political ramifications of the act). If Alistair is chosen to duel Loghain, he'll kill him before the option to spare him is provided.
It's possible for Loghain to survive if Alistair is 'hardened', which means you were kind of a dick to him during the quest to find his sister. This is therefore less likely to be an option for Wardens who were close to Alistair, but the ultimate compromise would likely be Alistair and Anora jointly ruling with Loghain surviving in disgrace, which can only happen if Alistair is hardened. We'll return to the Landsmeet later in this guide.
Nathaniel is a potential companion in the Awakening expansion. He's discovered breaking into Vigil's Keep, at which point the Warden has the option of recruiting or executing him. It's also possible for him to die at the conclusion of Awakening.
Nathaniel is a Howe, the family that betrayed the human noble Warden's parents at the beginning of the game. For this reason, a vengeful noble Warden might have him executed outright. Otherwise, if he survives, he plays a minor role in Dragon Age 2.
Zevran is a charismatic assassin who offers to join the Warden after trying to kill him or her on Loghain's orders. Zevran can be killed at this point, or, if his approval is low, later on when his employers force him to turn on the Warden. If your Warden isn't a fan of morally grey characters or didn't enjoy the character of Puss in Boots in Shrek, it's quite likely that Zevran didn't survive. That would be a shame, however, because he's fun.
Depending on the outcome of the Landsmeet, Alistair might be dead (or he may die killing the Archdemon); he can be exiled, in which case he becomes a drunk; he can be forced to relinquish his claim to throne in which case he stays with the Wardens (and potentially your Warden, if they were close.)
You'll determine that result separately. If the Warden is a female human noble, it's possible for her to become Alistair's queen. Alternatively, the Warden might become Alistair's mistress or they could split up. If Alistair stays with the Wardens, there's little to impede their romantic relationship.
If your Warden is male or you romanced somebody else, choose 'were not lovers'.
If recruited, it's possible for Leliana to die if the Warden chooses to defile the Urn of Sacred Ashes - similar to Wynne. For this reason, she's less likely to survive an encounter with a ruthless Warden. Alternatively, she might abandon the party at this point if sufficiently intimidated.
She will play a role in Inquisition regardless of this outcome, although the nature of her relationship with the Warden will be affected.
On the eve of the final battle, Morrigan offers the Warden a chance to avoid the inevitable sacrifice of Grey Warden life that comes with killing an Archdemon. This involves Morrigan conceiving a baby with Warden blood to trap the Archdemon's soul at the point of its death. A male Warden may do this himself, or alternatively Loghain or Alistair may be convinced to step in - this is the only option if your female Warden wants to avoid the sacrifice.
If a male Warden is in a relationship with Morrigan, her child may be the product of their union even if the ritual is denied - this is the final option on the list.
Flemeth and the grimoire
During the game, Morrigan will ask the Warden to acquire a grimoire belonging to her mother, the witch Flemeth. You may refuse, incurring Morrigan's disapproval, or accept, which involves either allowing Flemeth to flee (and lying to Morrigan about it) or fighting her in dragon form. This is an outcome that comes down to individual conversation options - Flemeth's survival could be a sign that your Warden is diplomatic, or that they have a particular interest in esoteric magic.
Next page: Prologue, Redcliffe, The Urn of Sacred Ashes, and the Dalish
Fate of the prisoner
In Ostagar you discover a starving deserter, locked in cage. How you deal with him is an early barometer of your Warden's personality - ruthless, cruel, pragmatic, diplomatic, or simply willing to spend money to solve problems.
Did you help the dog?
If not, why not? There's a sick Mabari hound in camp, and you can either ignore him or find herbs to cure him. The latter is how non-noble Wardens come to acquire a dog of their own; it's also the right thing to do, you monster.
The Arl of Redcliffe
Depending on your decision to take an active hand in the quests in the village, you either helped the villagers to fight (or not) and helped them to prepare (or not). This is a rather neutral decision, in terms of what it says about your Warden - unless you're roleplaying as an absentee protector, in which case go for 'not'.
You're sent to find a missing child, Bevin, who is discovered cowering in a cupboard. Your options determine whether your Warden was intimidating or compassionate, and how they go about acquiring Bevin's family sword (or not) determines their honour. Paying for it or returning it later are the signs of a trustworthy warden; promising to return it and keeping it signifies a douchebag.
She's found in Redcliffe Castle itself in the final part of this questline. Discovering her counts as rescuing her with few other choices of lasting significance to make. Another 'did you do this?' option.
Bella and the tavern
The fate of the tavern waitress, Bella, dependings on how you interact with both her and her boss. If you bully her boss into fighting for the village, he may die - in which case she takes ownership of the tavern. If the Warden is generous, she can be given money to leave and found her own business. Alternatively, she can be persuaded to leave or abandoned to die.
The Arl's wife, Isolde, will offer to sacrifice her life if the Warden chooses to use blood magic to enter the Fade and kill the demon possessing her son, Connor. The only way to avoid this is if the Warden went to the Circle of Magi first and resolved the quest line there in favour of the mages, in which case they'll be given the option to use lyrium instead. A diligent and compassionate Warden may take this option, while a less scrupulous (or rushed) Warden may end up taking Isolde's life instead.
What the Warden then does inside the Fade determines Connor's fate. He can be killed, if the Warden does not act, or the demon can be slain, sparing him from possession. Alternatively, a power-hungry Warden may make a deal to free the demon to return later.
The Urn of Sacred Ashes
While seeking a cure for Arl Eamon, the Warden is given the choice to defile this sacred relic in order to gain tremendous personal power. Doing so has ramifications for Wynne and Leliana, as detailed above. In short: a good Warden will likely leave the Urn alone, while a bad Warden will get all up in them ashes (or whatever defiling ashes actually entails.)
Nature of the Beast
The Warden encounters a Dalish clan (which may be their own) in conflict with werewolves. It turns out that the clan's leader is responsible for the curse, humanising (possibly literally) the monsters the Warden has been facing. You have the option of recruiting the elves or the werewolves separately, or brokering peace by breaking the curse and bringing the Keeper to justice. If you're roleplaying a Warden with a strong elf- or human-centric mindset you might pick a side, otherwise it's inkeeping with the Warden's role as an investigator and diplomat to go for an alliance.
Cammen and Gheyna
The Warden may choose to help these two elves find love with each other. Alternatively, it's possible to seduce either one of them and ruin their relationship. This is another decision to make based on your internal sense of how much of a prick your Warden is.
There's a sick deer-like creature in the Dalish camp. You can heal it, which involves a bit of extra legwork - therefore the preserve of diligent wardens - or put it out of its misery. Or you can ignore it. Who are you, captain-doesn't-do-things?
You're sent after this cursed elf by her husband, but you discover a werewolf. You can follow her wishes and execute her, or be forced to fight her for spending too long asking questions about her condition (the curse of BioWare protagonists everywhere). Alternatively you can ignore her, in which case her husband will seek her out if the werewolves are later cured.
Varathorn and ironbark
He's an elven craftsman with a thing for really hard magical wood. You find a piece of really hard magical wood. What do you do? Really, it's about ethics.
You're asked to find a lost elven scout in the forest. Unless you're roleplaying as a Warden in a hurry, you probably found him. If you found him, you either killed him for his shoes or returned him to his people. Another 'are you a dick?' moment.
Next page: Orzammar, the Circle, and Denerim
Paragon of Her Kind
Sent into the Deep Roads in search of a Paragon who can resolve the succession crisis in the dwarven capital of Orzammar, you discover an artifact called the Anvil of the Void that can be used to trap a living soul inside a stone golem. Its creator, the lost Paragon Caridin, implores you to help him destroy it. Alternatively, the Paragon smith Branka asks you to help her claim it. If you pick the latter, the Warden kills Caridin - and Shale, if she's in the party. Otherwise, Branka is killed. Branka's also Oghren's wife, so killing her and maintaining his approval could be tricky.
This is another choice between pragmatism in the face of the Blight - claiming the Anvil - and doing what is right. Set your moral compass accordingly.
Who rules in Orzammar?
You've got two choices. Bhelen is young and progressive but probably killed his dad and definitely tried to kill and disgrace you if your Warden is dwarven noble. The alternative is Harrowmont, an aging conservative who you may prefer because he's not, on balance, an asshole.
This dwarf wants to leave to study magic at the Circle, even though dwarves can't be mages. You can opt to encourage her and support her against her disapproving father, or talk her out of it. If the Circle is destroyed, Dagna's decision is made for her.
Mardy and her son
Mardy is only encountered by dwarven noble Wardens during their origin story. If a male Warden chooses to sleep with her, she'll appear later in Orzammar with a son. You can either acknowledge the child as your own or refuse, depending once again on whether or not you are a dingdong.
Ruck is a young dwarf who goes missing in the Deep Roads. When you discover him he's been corrupted by eating darkspawn flesh. The Warden can leave him to it or kill him, and if the latter then you're given a range of options for determining exactly what his mother is told. This is an opportunity to be compassionate - or brutally honest.
The Legion of the Dead
On your travels in the Deep Roads it's possible to prove that the Legion of the Dead have a noble past. No big choice to be made, here: it's a question of doing it or not.
The Shaperate's tome
The Dwarven Shaperate are responsible for recording dwarven history. Discovering a lost tome in the Deep Roads, you can either hand it over to them or sell it for coin depending on how merecenary you're feeling.
Burkel and the Chantry
A rare Andrastian dwarf, Burkel, is trying to set up a Chantry in Orzammar. You can agree to help him and offer funding if you're feeling religious (or just feel like triggering some theological unrest), or you can refuse. Your Warden's background should influence which way you're inclined to go on this one.
Zerlinda and her baby
The father of Zerlinda's baby has abandoned her, having attempted to use her to move up in Dwarven society. Her father wants her to condemn the child to the Deep Roads. You can persuade her to do the former (you dick!), reconcile her with her father, or, if Burkel creates his Chantry, find a home for them there.
Rogek's lyrium deal
Criminal-minded (or mage-minded) Wardens may help a dwarf ship illicit supplies of lyrium to the Circle tower. There are bunch of factors complicating this, including the fate of the Circle itself, but it comes down to how much you want your Warden to take up the smuggling trade. One for the rogues.
Orta's noble connections
By discovering the right records in the Deep Roads you can help this dwarf attain status in Orzammar society. Another 'do it or not' deal.
Ultimately, you'll be asked to choose between the mages and Templars at the corrupt Fereldan circle tower. Do you trust imprisoned-for-their-own-good wizards to go it alone, or do you put your faith instead in their jackbooted jailors? This is one of Dragon Age's most multifaceted problems, which is why you'll be asked this question over and over again for the next two games.
In short: like magic, freedom, romance, danger, skirts? Go for the mages. Like cool helmets, security, authority, substance abuse and - for some reason - also skirts? Templars.
People remember Cullen for his lovely hair and nice face, but few remember that the first real thing he asked you to do was to help him invoke the Rite of Annulment and purge every mage in the tower. If you side with the Templars, this is a choice you may have made. If you side with the mages, you obviously didn't, because 'Rite of Annulment' is a fancy way of saying 'stab every wizard'.
First Enchanter Irving
The First Enchanter can be killed if the Rite of Annulment is performed or if the Warden fails to use the Litany of Adralla to prevent him from turning into an abomination. If he survives he can help with Connor's situation in Redcliffe and shows up for the final battle.
Outcome of Ser Landry's duel
In Denerim's marketplace the Warden is challenged to a duel by a misguided Ferelden noble. A diplomatic Warden might talk him out of it - the alternative is accepting the duel and killing him.
Bann Sighard and Oswyn
Oswyn is found in Howe's dungeons during the Landsmeet questline. Telling Sighard about him earns the Bann's support during the Landsmeet itself, but is otherwise a rather neutral decision.
Sister Justine's scroll
Another fetch quest. If you found this scroll in the Frostback Mountains and collected the reward, then tick this box.
Slim Couldry's crime wave
You're offered this quest if you can steal or use stealth, so non-rogues probably didn't do it. If you are a rogue, however, then criminal Wardens might consider pulling off a series of crimes around Denerim.
Unruly customers in The Pearl
You're asked to clear out a group of mercenaries from Denerim's brothel, The Pearl. The Warden can ignore the request or clear them out - with or without violence.
The Crimson Oars
If you remove the previous group of mercenaries non-violently then you'll encounter this lot. No choice to make, here, really: did you kill some dudes, or did you not kill some dudes?
Alfstanna and Irminric
Alfstanna is another noble whose support you can win by reporting Arl Howe's crimes. In this case, a dying Templar gives you a ring to return to his sister. You don't have to, though, if you don't care.
The beggar and her amulet
In a later quest you help clear out a run-down house haunted by shades. Inside you acquire an amulet, which you may return to its owner - or not - at your discretion.
While a stalwart Warden might refuse to work for the Antivan Crows entirely - perhaps even killing Master Ignacio when he invites them to do so - this quest line isn't quite as chaotic evil as it first appears. The majority of the assassination targets are people who, one way or another, strengthen Loghain's cause. For this reason it's an option for pragmatic Wardens as well as those given to murder for murder's sake.
Alistair and his sister
Alistair will ask you to find his sister in Denerim. You can refuse, and if you help then you'll find that she's not exactly happy to see him. While your response doesn't affect this particular decision - you still helped him find her - it does have a bearing on the type of person Alistair becomes. If your Landsmeet decisions require him to be 'hardened', then this is where it happened.
Leliana and Marjolaine
Leliana asks you to track down her traitorous mentor. On discovering her, Leliana will be inclined to have her killed - but you do have the option to talk her out of it, if you're going for a whiter-than-white playthrough. Alternatively, you can refuse to help at all.
Next page: The Landsmeet, the Battle of Denerim, Awakening and the DLC
Who rules Ferelden?
This is a complicated one - as described above, it depends a lot on your background, your relationship with Alistair, the amount of support you gained from the nobles, and your willingness to show clemency towards Loghain. Alistair can rule alone or with Anora if you opt for a political alliance; he can also rule alongside the Warden if she's a human noble. Alternatively Anora may rule alone or with a male human noble as consort. If the latter, Alistair will be killed, exiled, or stripped of his claim and returned to the Wardens.
The majority of players will be inclined to put Alistair on the throne, here, as he's a popular party member - but if you're roleplaying a ruthless Warden then kicking him out and marrying Anora yourself is an option. Currying meagre support with the nobles leads, in most cases, to Anora ruling alone.
The Battle of Denerim
Here you determine who landed the killing blow on the Archdemon: you, Alistair, or Loghain. If Morrigan's ritual is completed, this is mostly for determining bragging rights. If not, however, this determines who dies. If your Warden died, this is when they did it. Alternatively, Loghain's redemption can occur in this way or Alistair can sacrifice himself to save his friend (or lover).
Dragon Age: Awakening
The fate of the Architect
The Architect is an intelligent, talking darkspawn encountered in the Awakening expansion (and a major character in the second novel.) After contending with the Warden for some time he reveals a plan to pacify the darkspawn and end future Blights. The Warden can choose to continue doing what they do at this point and kill the Architect, or listen to the plan and agree to spare him - perhaps out of a desire to break the cycle of Blights. This is a tough call - kill him and nothing changes, spare him and risk another Blight beginning sooner rather than later. The latter decision, I think, is most likely to come from Wardens with an open mind, an interest in esoteric magic, or simply a desire to see an end to conflict.
Where did the Wardens defend?
At the end of Awakening you have the option to protect either the Warden stronghold of Vigil's Keep, or the city of Amaranthine, from darkspawn assault - though it is also possible to save both if you've been diligent about clearing sidequests throughout the game. Vigil's Keep is a military asset while Amaranthine is full of innocent people - the Warden's decision will hinge primarily on their compassion relative to their pragmatism.
Oghren is the only Origins companion to return in the expansion, which is why he has a separate entry here. He's a dwarf who likes dwarf things, like drinking and fighting and beards and sex. If you like those things too, you probably recruited him.
Oghren's relationship with Felsi
In Origins, it's possible to reunite Oghren with his estranged partner, Felsi. By the time of Awakening they've had a child and his quests revolve around reuniting them and patching up their relationship. Beacon of understanding? You probably made this work. Don't give a shit aobut the personal lives of your companions? You probably busied yourself stabbing darkspawn instead.
The Power of Blood
At the end of this piece of DLC you're offered a new set of abilities if you quaff a blood magic potion of questionable provenance. Hungry for power? Neck it down. Otherwise, best give it a miss. The golden rule for not turning into a monster in Thedas is 'don't put that in your mouth you moron'.
Fate of Sophia and Avernus
Sophia is a demon-possessed former Warden commander; Avernus is a blood mage used by the Wardens to devise new ways to battle the Blight. In doing so, they roped in human test subjects and everything went to hell. In resolving the quest you can slay Avernus and allow Sophia's demon to go free - the evil option - or take no risks and slay them both. On the other hand, if you spare Avernus you can determine the type of research he continues to do: will you let him do whatever he likes, or hold him to ethical standards? The latter is a nice balance of pragmatism and compassion - normally you have to choose between them.
Shale is a dwarven golem with a mind of her own and a really fun party member to have around. She's recruited as a matter of course in this DLC but she can be killed if the Warden sides with Branka at the end of Paragon of Her Kind.
Matthias and Amalia
The quest to activate Shale involves a possessed cat, a man, and his daughter. The exact outcome depends more on how well you finesse the quest itself than any particular moral choice. Killing Kitty with neither Amalia nor her father being possessed is the best outcome, whereas everything else is a compromise in the demon's favour.
At the end of Witch Hunt, many years after the end of the Blight, the Warden tracks down Morrigan. She's standing in front of a mysterious portal called an Eluvian, an elvish mirror that leads... somewhere (read the fourth book.) If the Warden has a good reason to stay behind - a love interest, perhaps, or a really compelling hobby - then you probably allowed Morrigan to go through without you. If the Warden romanced Morrigan or really wanted to meet their old god demon baby, the Warden has the option to enter the Eluvian as well. If you're still mad at Morrigan for trying to get you to knock her up on the eve of the biggest battle of your life, you can stab her and watch as she stumbles back through the portal. Good job, hero.
Next page: Dragon Age 2, Hawke, Companions
Dragon Age 2
The Champion of Kirkwall
Who were they?
Hawke is always human, so this is a choice of class and gender only. Hawke's class has a much more pronounced affect on Dragon Age 2 than it does on Origins, so its worth considering carefully. Mages are integral to the plot, and if Hawke is a mage then their involvement is many significant events comes naturally - honestly, I've long felt that this is the way the game should be played. If Hawke is a warrior or rogue, however, they are afforded the opportunity to take a more neutral approach to Kirkwall's politics - to the extent that their family obligations permit it.
You're also asked to pick the approach that Hawke used most often in conversation. Compassionate and social-minded Hawkes are diplomatic; neutral and pragmatic Hawkes might be humorous; Hawkes that like to solve problems by exploding people are aggressive. If you're filling out the Keep from scratch, your choice here should make several later decisions easier to make.
Hawke has a lot of romance options. You might go for troubled rebel mage Anders and the cool glowy spirit that lives in him (male or female Hawkes); gravel-voiced elf-goth Fenris and his radical tattoos (male or female Hawkes); hilarious, treacherous pirate queen Isabela (male or female Hawkes); Thedas' only adorable blood mage, Merrill (male or female Hawkes); or Sebastian, the prince-turned-priest who somehow manages to be the most boring man in Kirkwall (female only).
I kid. Sebastian's alright. It's just that literally everybody else is more fun.
Bethany and Carver's fates
One of Hawke's siblings will die at the beginning of the game as the family escapes Lothering. If Hawke is a warrior or a rogue, Carver dies. If Hawke is a mage, Bethany. This is because the universe course-corrects to ensure that the party always has a mage in it.
The fate of the surviving sibling depends on whether or not Hawke takes them on Bartrand's expedition to the Deep Roads at the end of Act 1, and what they do there. If Bethany is left behind, she'll be taken away to become a Circle mage. If Carver is left behind, he becomes a Templar.
If they're taken to the Deep Roads, they will accidentally ingest darkspawn blood (see also: 'don't put that in your mouth, you moron') and start dying from the corruption. If Anders isn't in the party, they die there. If Anders is in the party, however, then either Carver or Bethany can be taken to become a Grey Warden.
Bethany's fate (continued)
If Bethany becomes a Circle mage then it is possible for her to die in the final battle. If Hawke sides with the Templars and repeatedly refuses to reconcile with his sister, then she'll be executed. Choose this option if your Hawke is an irredeemable dickhead, I guess.
You can't romance Varric, but did you have a bromance? How about a brovalry? I mean rivalry. 'Brovalry' isn't a word, but should be.
Basically: do you like liars, chest hair, crossbows, Han Solo, and Doing The Right Thing, Consequences Be Damned? Varric is your guy. If not, he is your broval.
Varric's brother abandons you both in the Deep Roads in Act 1 while he absconds with a totally-not-evil idol made of red lyrium. In Act 2 you track him down to discover that the idol has (surprise!) driven him to kill a whole bunch of people. Varric will be inclined to kill him, but a compassionate Hawke can talk him down and encourage him to send Bartrand to a sanitarium instead.
Investigate the haunting
In Act 3, Varric will ask you to investigate his brother's mansion again. Vases are floating around on their own. Screams echo from empty corridors. Spectres run across your field of vision and vanish. The mansion looks exactly like at least four other locations in Kirkwall. At least three of these things are evidence of a haunting. If you went along, that is. You might not have done. This choice determines that.
Varric and the idol
Varric will start to covet a fragment of Bartrand's red lyrium idol towards the end of his Act 3 mission. You can either let him keep it in the hope that it might help with Bartrand's condition, or you can force him to snap out of it. Friends don't let friends befriend creepy rocks, people - letting Varric hold onto the red lyrium is a risk you may not be inclined to take.
If Hawke determined that Isabella's saucy jokes were entirely too saucy then it's possible that she wasn't recruited at all. If she was recruited, however, then the key moment in her relationship with Hawke comes when it is discovered that the artifact she's been chasing is a sacred Qunari book whose absence is forcing the hostile occupiers to remain in the city.
This comes to a head at the end of Act 2, when Isabella retrieves the tome and flees the city - and Hawke. If her relationship with Hawke is strong enough, she'll return at the climax to hand the tome back to the Qunari. This choice, then, depends on the relationship you established with the pirate queen.
Following this, the Qunari Arishok demands that Isabella be handed over to face justice. You can agree, in which case Isabella is lost from the party and the Arishok leaves peacefully, or disagree, in which case you duel him to the death. I presume that most players chose to fight because Isabella is one of the most fun characters in the game to have around, but a serious, no-fun Hawke might choose to give her up here.
Next page: Companions continued
There are a lot of potential outcomes for Fenris depending on how a series of plot points are handled - and, in one case, whether or not his personal storyline bugs out in Act 2. It's easiest to describe the exact circumstances that create each result. Presuming that you recruit Fenris, he can only die if he becomes rivals with Hawke and Hawke ultimately sides with the mages. Otherwise, he'll either live on with his personal quests unresolved ('Fenris alive but still pursued') or resolved ('Fenris alive and well'). On the off-chance that you feel like being a jerk and handing him back to his Tevinter master, there's an option for that as well.
If you're roleplaying a mage-friendly Hawke who is unwilling to hear the other side of the argument, Fenris' death is likely. Otherwise, 'alive and well' covers a lot of bases. Unless you are a huge jerk, or just like that little picture of him with his top off.
Oh no, Merrill, not again. The adorable elf with terrible ideas can only die if Hawke sides with the Templars at the end of the game and they have a bad relationship. Otherwise, presuming she's recruited, it's quite unlikely that she'll smash the Eluvian mirror (remember those?) that she spends the game slowly repairing. In order to smash it she needs to be Hawke's rival but continue with her personal questline into Act 3, past the point where her former Keeper sacrifices herself to save her. Afterwards she'll regret her obsession and destroy the mirror.
If Hawke is Merrill's friend - even if you don't agree with her actions - she'll keep the mirror, so this all comes down to the nature of that relationship. A hardline Hawke with no tolerance for blood magic or ancient relics would likely not be her friend, but a moderate approach will normally result in an alliance.
Merrill's people can be killed at the conclusion of her Act 3 quest if Hawke chooses certain options when the party leaves the cave where Keeper Marathari was killed. This is one of the worst-implemented decisions in the game, as it really isn't clear which options prompt a fight. If Hawke blames Merrill, the clan lets them go - which is kind of a trap for pro-Merrill players who may be inclined to be more diplomatic.
Killing the clan if you make the wrong decision is forced on you and not presented particularly well, so I'm in favour of going for 'not killed' for this one unless you really intended for your Hawke to take that action - a lot of people will have slipped into it by accident, and that's unsatisfying. A perfect error to fix in Keep.
If you completed Aveline's Act 2 quest and helped her to get closer to guardsman Donnic - one of the game's best plotlines - then their marriage is the result. If Hawke doesn't care for petty things like his companion's personal lives then this probably didn't happen.
Aveline's loyalty is actually fairly hard to lose, so it's likely she'll stick with the Champion at the end of the game. However, if you take a cruel or criminal approach (and try to involve Aveline in it) while also rejecting her requests for assistance then rivalry could lead to her departure at the end.
No real choices to be made here - did you recruit the Prince of Starkhaven or not? Doing so means purchasing the DLC, so many players may have missed him. His involvement is comparatively minor although he does offer a Chantry perspective on certain key events, like when Anders blows up a really old, really kind woman.
Returning from Awakening with a spirit of Justice trapped inside him and a bone to pick with the Templars, Anders ultimately forces conflict between the two sides by blowing up Kirkwall's chantry and everybody inside - with or without Hawke's help. Hawke's role can be oppositional to Anders, supportive of him or deceived by him. Hawke's response, therefore, is fairly nuanced despite the binary options offered. Disapproving of Anders' actions doesn't necessarily mean that Hawke is pro-Templar, after all: the guy blew up a church. Approving of Anders is the more radical stance, because it firmly aligns Hawke with the most hardline elements of the mage rebellion.
Likewise, Anders' ultimate fate may be informed by many different motivations. Killing him outright is the potential choice of a pro-Templar Hawke or a heartbroken mage supporter - or someone who, for whatever reason, really doesn't want to lose Sebastian. On the other hand, sparing him can mean that Hawke wants him to continue his present course or give him a chance to redeem himself - Anders does show regret, after all, and it's possible that their relationship is strong enough for Hawke to want to give him another chance. It's all down to how you want to roleplay it.
Tallis is a temporary companion featured in the Mark of the Assassin DLC. She involves Hawke in a heist on false pretences, ultimately revealing herself to be a Qunari spy on a mission to save innocent lives. 'Not making her angry' means forgiving her duplicity and helping her achieve her original objective; the opposite means you refused to trust her, even if ultimately Hawke still solves the crisis.
It's also possible to romance her over the course of the DLC, which results in a kiss but otherwise doesn't interact with the story (or your other love interests.) Essentially: would Hawke kiss a suspicious elf they'd only just met?
Next page: Prologue and Act 1
No major decisions to be made here. Hawke needs a sponsor to get his family into Kirkwall, and your options are a group of smugglers or a legitimate mercenary company. The latter might be the choice of a warrior Hawke, while the former makes more sense for rogues, but they really don't affect much. Mages are offered protection either way.
Many of Keep's tapestries are confusingly laid out, but Dragon Age 2's are particularly so. For that reason I'm going to group decisions in terms of related quests - I imagine that many of the problems people have with the site come from not remembering which characters go with which decisions. For example, the outcome of the Starkhaven mage storyline and the fate of the Templar involved (Karras) are at opposite ends of the grid for no discernable reason.
What did Hawke do with the Templars?
A hunt for some missing Starkhaven mages comes to a head when their leader turns to blood magic just as Templars threaten to barge in and lead them away. Hawke can either fight the Templars' leader, Karras, with the help of a lenient Templar, Thrask, or persuade them to leave. Alternatively, a pro-Templar Hawke might simply hand the mages over. This is the first decision you make that indicates Hawke's leaning one way or the other in the mage/Templar conflict - so consider your choice of class, and your relationship with your sibling, when doing so.
If Hawke chooses to fight Karras, he is killed with minor consequences in Act 2. Otherwise, he lives.
You're sent to rescue the Viscount's son from the Qunari but find that he has joined the Qun willingly. In order to return him to Kirkwall you must fight another mercenary company, the Winters, who are threatening his life having just killed his Qunari protector. If you don't resolve the quest, Saemus dies.
Ginnis, the leader of the Winters, is killed if you rescue Saemus. If you don't do the quest, she lives.
If you help Isabella's friend Martin track down some stolen cargo in the docks he turns into a shop. Who doesn't like shops? Or Isabella?
Kelder is a serial killer preying on elven children. When you head out to track him down, his father - an important magistrate - begs you to show mercy. On the other hand, the father of one of the victims demands justice.
When you find him (in the Deep Roads for no discernable reason) he's been humbled by his latest near-victim, an elven child who also begs you to spare his life. However, it's not clear that he's entirely free of his compulsion to kill and even he concedes that he could be a danger again. Killing him isn't a totally unreasonable proposition, considering that his father is likely to help him avoid justice in the courts. On the other hand, this means killing him in cold blood against the wishes of a powerful man. One to mull over.
You're asked to track down a young half-elven man who has just discovered his magic. Finding him, you can either advise him to return to the Circle - a little hypocritical for a mage Hawke, or one that is busy protecting his sister from the same - or suggest that he goes to his mother's people, the Dalish elves. Either way he returns in Act 2, so this is chiefly about establishing Hawke's instinctive allegiances.
Danzig is a Tevinter slaver you encounter during the search for Feynriel. It's possible to shake him down for information and spare him, or kill him outright. A fight is quite a likely outcome here, given what a tremendous asshole he is. Nonetheless, it is possible for him to survive if Hawke is feeling particularly clement.
The first part of a murder mystery that will come back to haunt Hawke in Act 2. Ghyslain is a slimy nobleman who wishes to understand why his wife has disappeared - more to protect himself from accusations from her family than out of concern for her well-being. You find her brutally maimed body after a short investigation, and have the option of protecting him from the grisly truth or shaming him by telling him outright. Presuming you do this quest, of course.
The missing miners
Hawke can end up rescuing miners from the Bone Pit out of a desire to help fellow Ferelden's or simply for the cash, but his motivations don't matter here - this is another 'did you do this?' choice.
During the course of another investigation Hawke discovers that the daughter of the moderate Templar, Thrask, is an abomination - right after Hawke kills her. You can use this information to shake Thrask down for money or keep his secret to secure his loyalty. If Hawke really hates Templars (or loves gold) then the former is a likely option, whereas the latter is the politically savvy move.
Idunna is a blood mage posing as a prostitute involved and seducing and abducting Templar recruits on behalf of a band of apostates. She attempts to mind control Hawke and fails, either due to Hawke's own magic or that of his allies. You can then choose to kill her or hand her over to the Templars - an anti-Circle Hawke, or simply a very angry one, may decide that it is better to do the former. Otherwise, chains await.
Keran, Act 1
Keran is the last surviving Templar recruit to be abducted. Using either Anders' or Merrill's magic you can determine that he's not possessed, and encourage him to either leave the Templars or vouch for his re-inclusion in the Order. Kicking him out of the Templars means condemning his family to a life of poverty, while getting him back in means potentially revealing Hawke's access to magical assistance (with no consequences, for the time being.)
Ketojan is a Qunari mage, a saarebas, who according to the customs of his people must be bound and restricted at all times. You're asked to lead him out of the city on the assumption that he wants to be free, but you are then confronted by his people who take him back. Hawke can fight to free him, a pro-mage move that pleases Anders among others, or leave him to his people - a potentially diplomatic move with the opposite result. Either way, Ketojan ultimately dies.
Next page: Act 2
Gascard DuPuis is a blood mage investigating the same murderer that killed Ghislain's wife in Act 1. Hawke initially suspects him to be the murderer but, as suspicious as his methods are, he isn't. Hawke can either take a ruthless position and kill him to eliminate the risk or let him go either out of a desire to help a fellow mage or, perhaps, on the basis that he may be able to provide more information later (he can't, but that assumption is what may guide your hand here.)
Varnell and the Qunari prisoners
Varnell is a Templar fanatic who abducts a group of Qunari dignitaries after they visit the keep. You find him leading a lynch mob, threatening the fragile peace with the Qunari occupiers. Hawke can either take his side, in which case the Qunari are fought and killed, or act against him on behalf of the city, killing Varnell and the mob he leads. Killing the Qunari goes against the Viscount's wishes, so Hawke would need to be fairly committed to a violent path to take that option.
Sister Petrice is behind both the Qunari abductions and the fate of Ketojan in Act 1. She's trying to force a Qunari-Kirkwall conflict to satisfy her particular interpretation of her faith, and in Act 2 that leads to the death of the Viscount's son, Saemus (if he survives Act 1). Hawke can either agree to help her force a conflict or refuse, in which case she's assassinated by the Qunari and the conflict begins anyway. This choice establishes Hawke's level of interest in diplomacy versus fighting, basically.
A weird one, this. You can investigate Hubert's missing caravans in Act 2 but the perpetrator is a bandit, Brekker, not a dragon. As a result Keep's presentation of the quest is a little confusing. If you did it, however, pick the 'discovered looter' option - even if the description is wrong.
You only meet Yevhen if Nathaniel died in the previous game, so disregard this if he survived. The quest involves going to the Deep Roads to rescue a trio of dwarven brothers who followed your example and headed off to find treasure. Once down there, you can only save two of the three - either Iwan or Merin will die. Iwan is kind of a dick, however, and locked his brother in a room full of darkspawn, so Merin is probably the safe choice.
Javaris is an opportunistic dwarven merchant who, in his attempt to discover the secret to Qunari gunpowder, accidentally allows an elven fanatic to release a poisonous weapon in Lowtown. He's culpable but not entirely to blame, so it's down to Hawke's mercy whether or not he survives.
Harley and the raiders
Lieutenant Harley and her company are discovered pinned down by raiders on the Wounded Coast. Assuming that you do find them, you can either abandon them to their fate or agree to help. The safe option for Hawke's party is to charge alongside the guards, but if Hawke is a real hero then it's possible to take on the entire bandit group without the help of the guards, earning greater praise as a result.
Regardless of whether he went to the Circle or the Dalish, Feynriel has become trapped in the fade. He's a Somniari, a mage capable of manipulating dreams, and as such he's too dangerous to leave in his current condition. The outcome of this quest depends on Hawke's actions in the Fade - a little like Connor in Origins. Providing Hawke successfully defeats the Sloth demon, Feynriel is freed and sets off for Tevinter to learn more about his powers. If Hawke doesn't want to take that risk, however, then killing Feynriel in the fade results in him becoming Tranquil - essentially, lobotomised - in the real world. Finally a bargain can be made that allows the demon to retain control of Feynriel, which is a good result for nobody except the demon.
In most cases, a forced confrontation with the Qunari leader will result in Hawke killing them. However, if you really hate Isabella for whatever reason then handing her over alongside the missing tome can secure peace. The Arishok might survive an encounter with a Hawke who is invested in the safety of the city, forgiving of decapitated Viscounts, and who really isn't a fan of pirates.
Next page: Act 3 and Legacy
Nuncio and Zevran
If Zevran died in Origins, Nuncio won't appear. If he's alive, you'll be asked by this supposed Antivan lawmaker to track down a dangerous murderer - who turns out, surprise surprise, to be Zevran. Nuncio is actually a Crow on the hunt for the reformed assassin. You can then either hand Zevran back over to Nuncio (you dick!) or let him go, in which case he helps out against his former employers and shows up for the final battle.
Given that Zevran makes a convincing claim for Nuncio having lied, it's hard to figure out exactly who would still hand him over for the reward - but then again, there are people to hand Isabella over to the Arishok.
If Nathaniel survived the events of Awakening then you'll be asked, in Act 3, to rescue him from the Deep Roads. His death is presumed to occur if Hawke ignores the quest, whereas saving him is guaranteed if you take it on. If saved, Nathaniel shows up for the final battle.
Gamlen and Charade
Easy to miss, this. Finding a note on Gamlen's desk in his home in Lowtown leads to a lengthy treasure hunt that ends with the discovery of Gamlen's long-lost daughter, Charade. At the end Hawke can either decide to return the gem to his uncle or reunite him with his daughter - it's a choice between gold and family.
Discovering a conspiracy against the increasingly tyrannical Knight Commander, it's up to Hawke to choose whether or not to take this information to Meredith directly or allow the First Enchanter, Orsino, to deal with it quietly. A pro-Templar Hawke would prefer the former, a mage the latter.
Keran, Act 3
Keran shows up again as part of the conspiracy in Act 3. Hawke can have him killed for his involvement, which threatened the life of one of Hawke's siblings (or Fenris, if both are dead). Alternatively he can be freed by a clement Hawke, or handed back to the Templars if you see that as the best way to bring him in line. This is a choice between vegeance, mercy and authority.
Of all of the apostates that Meredith asks you to track down, Emile is the only harmless one. He's lying about being a blood mage to pick up girls in the tavern, and begs you to let him go so that he can experience life outside of the circle - a request that an apostate Hawke may be sympathetic to. On the other hand, he's an idiot and the Circle is probably the best way to protect him from himself.
The dragon in the Bone Pit
Your final trip to the Bone Pit does actually involve a dragon. This is a straight-up boss fight that you either did or didn't do. Doing it, however, grants Hawke the Armor of the Champion - what you'll see him or her wearing whenever they're depicted elsewhere.
The mages and the Templars
It all comes down to this: when Anders destroyed the Chantry and Meredith invoked the Rite of Annulment, whose side did Hawke take? This decision has the potential to split the party if you've not paid attention to your companions, and is the single biggest factor in the way that Hawke is remembered after the events of the game - including determining his or her reputation in Inquisition. By now, you should know which way your Hawke has been leaning. Time to make a final call.
While Mark of the Assassin only has a cursory relationship with Inquisition, Legacy is much more relevant - to the extent that I'd recommend you go back and play it if you haven't already. There are two choices to make here.
'Malcolm's will' is straightforward - you either helped Hawke discover records left by his mage father or you didn't. The other decision, however, is a big one.
Hawke discovers an ancient, intelligent darkspawn in an Warden prison. This darkspawn - Corypheus - has been manipulating Wardens through the darkspawn taint. A Blighted former Warden commander with a shady history, Larius, implores you to free Corypheus and kill him once and for all. The current Warden commander, Janeka, wishes to free Corypheus and use the creature to find a solution to the Blight - a similar attitude to that of the Warden Commander in Awakening if you chose to spare the Architect. It's heavily implied that Janeka is under Corpheus' influence.
Siding with Larius means ignoring the fact that he blackmailed Hawke's father into imprisoning Corypheus in the first place. Siding with Janeka means taking the risk that Corypheus wants you to free and imprison him. Make your choice.