18 essential Dragon Age mods

Robert Hathorne at


Brace yourself, and venture forth to a horrifying alternate reality. Imagine a world so like our own, less observant visitors might never know the difference at all. Here, in this awful den of deception lurks an unimaginable truth--Dragon Age DLC is, at best, mediocre! Ah, you're starting to catch on. This isn't an alternate reality at all. We never left our world, silly. Mwahahaha! Hush now, don't cry. We'll suffer not this treacherous DLC. We'll protest, we'll riot, we'll download mods! Butterfly sword be damned!

1 Essential Tool for 18 Essential Mods

The DAModder is essential for anyone dealing with more than a few mods. The easy to use interface makes installs/uninstalls hassle-free. Just download a mod, unpack it, and drop the file into the DAModder window. Simply click install and away you go. Remember, you should still consult the readme for specific install instructions. You could be sparing yourself a huge headache. Link.

1. JBtextures

Let's face it, DA is not a pretty game. That's why the first mod you should install is JBtextures--mostly because the install process overwrites your overwrite folder, thereby potentially messing up any other mods you have installed. Done right, there's no risk, and the addition of HD textures makes the game much easier on the eyes. Link.

Before and After

2. Improved Atmosphere

A top-to-bottom reinvigoration of Ferelden life (and death), Improved Atmoshpere touches just about every aspect of the game in some subtle way. The mod not only squashes a few bugs and alters starting loot for various companions, but also tweaks the origin stories, adds new weapons to the fray, modifies certain boss encounters, and prevents dead bodies from fading into the, well, Fade. Did I mention it adds squirrels? Link.

I guess we got a little carried away.

3. Dragon Age Redesigned

Lore masters rejoice! This sweeping mod redesigns the appearance of almost five-hundred NPCs as well as all of your party members in an effort to more accurately convey various character types. It doesn't make the game play any differently, and environments still look the same, but the hundreds of subtle changes yield an overall, more enjoyable experience. You know that Alienage beggar who seems pleased as punch to be an alienage beggar? This mod takes those wide, hopeful eyes, and plunges them into a bucket of abysmal world weariness--it's lovely. Link.

4. Forced Deathblows

As you slay, scorch, annihilate, and chit-chat your way through DA, you may find yourself hankering for an even more obnoxious amount of blood than is already in the game. If this is the case with you, look no further than Forced Deathblows. The package includes four files (one at a time please) that let you dictate how often you get to see those wicked pummel-ponce-knife-to-face animations that come only rarely in the vanilla game. Merry stabbing! Link.

5. Skip the Fade

Every game has its flaws, not every game has a fix. While Skip the Fade may be a bit cynical, you can't deny the convenience. I can't count the number of times I've wanted to start a new campaign and stopped when I remembered that awful slog through the ether after Jowan goes ballistic. Not only does this mod allow you to circumvent the games most annoying sequence, you still reap the same attribute points, codex entries, and XP as if you had completed it. Link.

6. Alley of Murders

This quest is one of the best fan-made adventures out there. You can access the alley murder-mystery in the Denerim market district at a new signpost right in front of the Chantry. The fully voiced, sixty minute quest sends you down a seedy Denerim alley with the task of cracking a series of murders thought to be linked with what's going on in the Alienage. Link.