Dragon Age Keep: the definitive guide to every choice

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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.

Attitude

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.

Companions

Romance

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.

Varric's friendship

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.

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Bartrand's fate

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.

Isabella

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

Chris is the editor of PC Gamer Pro. After many years spent turning beautiful trees into magazines, he now oversees our online coverage of competitive gaming and esports.