They Say It’s Your Birthday
Both the game-play and game-concept of “Dragon Age: Origins" revolve around your party, and your ability to manage each companion. Hence, one can clearly see a return to the old-fashioned mechanics of “Baldur’s Gate," “The Temple of Elemental Evil" or “Eye of the Beholder," to mention three games where party-management and pausing become essential (yes, I am that old).
“Dragon Age" does go that one step further though, allowing you to develop the relationships with your friends by way of gifts; matching the right gift with the right companion can improve what is called an “Approval-rating," or a quantifiable measure of how much your companion likes you.
All in Favour Say Yay: Approval and You
Approval is also affected by the choices you make in-game; for instance intimidating a priest may annoy Alistair, since his alignment is implied as “Good." This is similar to the more complex alignment-system found in the “Elder Scrolls" or in the 4th Edition rules of pen-and-paper "Dungeons and Dragons."
A high approval boosts a companions’ attribute, resulting in a modifier as high as +6 in your companions chosen discipline, and prevents him/her from deserting the party. Is the positive-modifier ultimately important? Not really, particularly if you have the right class to solo the game; however, strictly for “flavour and tone" purposes, it can greatly add to the role-playing aspects of the game.
Lastly, you can get romantically involved with your chosen companion once the approval-rating is high enough; you’ll even get a bonus sex-scene as a reward, though the way the game implements romance does not work very well (does it ever?).
Keep reading for a list of “Dragon Age: Origins" gifts and companions, and remember: never look a gift-horse in the mouth. (Cue reader heckling.)
Gifts for Alistair
In general you can give any gift to anyone, but picking the right ones maximises the bonus in attribute-points. Bear in mind that the approval-bonus decreases by 1 as you give out more gifts to a single companion.
Alistair prefers the following gifts, and you can benefit by giving them out to him;
Onyx Demon Statuette – This is the statuette of a demon found in the East Brecilian forest. It gives +10 approval for Alistair, or +5 for any other character.
Small Carved Statuette – Another statue, this time depicting a robed woman; seems he has a thing for statuettes. This is found in a crate in Lothran and gives the same bonuses as before.
Stone Dragon Statuette – This time the statuette depicts a Stone Dragon and is found in a chest in Castle Redcliffe.
Black Runestone – A polished stone with an engraved rune, found in Aeducan Thaig now home of Hurlocks, Genlocks and other lovable creatures.
White Runestone – Another rune-engraved stone, found in the Circle Tower.
Duncan’s Shield – This is found in the Grey Wardens cache in Denerim and it once belonged to Duncan. It turns into a real item and Alistair equips it once you give it out.
Gifts for Morrigan
Being a “witch of the wild," and a lady, Morrigan favours gems, jewellery and similar gifts.
Black Grimoire – A Grimoire with a tree pictured on the cover, it can be found in the Senior Mage Quarters in the Circle Tower. This is a plot-item and gives +12 approval: it cannot be given to any other character.
Locket – A necklace portraying a woman with jewel-ornate hair, found in the small village of Haven. It gives the usual +10 approval, or +5 for any other companion.
Silver Chain – Another item found in the Circle Tower, in the Senior mage quarters.
Golden Rope Necklace – A necklace made of intricately-woven rope, found in the Lothering party-camp.
Golden Demon Pendant – A pendant shaped like the head of a demon, found in the Gauntlet.
Gifts for Sten
Sten prefers paintings and gift can prove helpful since he is particularly difficult to get on with. It must be the Qunari in him.
Portrait of a goosegirl – A painting found in the Frostback Mountains.
Painting of the Rebel Queen – A painting portraying an important battle, found in Old Tegrin.
Water-stained portrait – Located in the Senior Mage quarters, Circle Tower.
Totem – Found in Caridin’s cross.
Silver-framed still-life – Found in Castle Redcliffe.
Gifts for Leliana
Since Leliana is a chantry lay-sister, she prefers holy items or symbols, and she also has a weakness for shoes. Here are some “Dragon Age: Origins" gifts for her:
Andraste’s grace – A small flower found in Redcliffe village, West Brecilian forest or Elven Alienage.
Bronze Symbol of Andraste – Holy plate found in Lothering.
Chantry Amulet – Holy symbol found in the Circle Tower.
Silver Sword of Mercy – An amulet shaped like a sword, found in Old Tegrin.
Blue Satin Shoes – Pair of satin shoes found in Old Tegrin.
Gifts for Shale
All of Shale’s gifts are stones of a type, and they are all remarkable. As a side-point, it is a good idea to keep on the good side of this character.
Remarkable Ruby – Located in Dust town.
Remarkable Emerald, Sapphire, Diamond – All located in Orzammar.
Remarkable Greenstone – Found in the Honnleath village.
Remarkable Topaz – Located in the Frostback mountains.
Remarkable Malachite – Found in the Circle Tower.
Remarkable Amethyst – Located in Dust Town.
Gifts for Wynne
The Rose of Orlais – A book about a romance between a woman and a knight, found in the Circle Tower.
Wine – Found in the Spoiled Princess, an inn at the Lake Calenhad docks, and found in Lothering.
Fancy Scroll – Found in the Lower Brecilian Ruins.
Guerrins of Ferelden: A Genealogical History – Historical tome found in Castle Redcliffe.
Discovering Dragon's Blood: Potions, Tinctures and Spicy sauces – Interesting title for a book, found in the Ruined temple of Andraste, in the Frostback Mountains.
Gifts for Zevran
Zevran prefers precious metals and items he can wear: he will suddenly equip some of the items you give to him.
Antivan boots – Leather boots found in Haven. Plot-item exclusive to Zevran, who will equip the boots.
Dalish Gloves – Leather gloves found in the West Brecilian forest; plot-item which is also equipped.
Medium Gold Bar – Located in the Arl of Denerim estate.
Small Gold Bar – Found in the circle tower.
There are more “Dragon Age: Origins" gifts for the characters above, and more companions which you can find on the Dragon Age Wiki.
References and Images
Dragon Age Wiki – https://dragonage.wikia.com
Mark Fajardo's Gift Giving Guide – https://www.justpushstart.com/