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