Grey Wardens

Since the First Blight, the Grey Wardens have been the protectors of Thedas. When an Archdemon stirs beneath the earth and armies of darkspawn spill onto its surface, it is the Grey Wardens who are sworn to defeat them. Four Blights have ravaged Thedas, each a long and brutal war. Four archdemons have been slain and four hordes of darkspawn defeated and scattered, the Grey Wardens victorious, though always at great cost. For these deeds the Grey Wardens have been lauded as the heroes—at least while memories of the Blights remained fresh…

In the hundreds of years since the Fourth Blight, many generations of Grey Wardens spent their lives training for a war that never came, remaining vigilant. They knew that down in the Deep Roads the darkspawn were searching for Old Gods that yet remained.

Now, it has been four hundred years since the last Blight and many believe the darkspawn have been defeated forever. The Grey Wardens have declined in number and influence, and their famous griffon mounts are long dead. In many courts they are seen as a nuisance, a relic of bygone ages.

It is in the land of Ferelden where the Grey Wardens are weakest, and it is there—whether by chance or design—that a new Archdemon has risen and even now gathers armies of darkspawn to it. They Grey Wardens must recruit a new generation of heroes there, if a Fifth Blight is to be stopped. And time is running out.

Organization

From their founding, the Grey Wardens have prized flexibility over hierarchy. Not only are their numbers few and thinly spread, due to the dangers of their selfappointed task they see death come often. An order such as theirs beholden to a rigid chain of command would shatter when confronted with the ravages of a Blight.

Each country has its own Grey Warden contingent led by a Warden-Commander, sometimes called a “Commander of the Grey.” Each Warden-Commander directs the Grey Wardens assigned to their nation, and frequently have to deal personally with the political authorities in their areas of command.

All Grey Wardens have the authority to act as necessary and wise in pursuit of their fight against darkspawn, wherever they find themselves. Although Grey Wardens often observe an informal pecking order based on seniority, this is not always the case. Warden-Commanders typically present a problem or task to a group of Wardens judged to be of sufficient size or fortitude, who then have complete discretion in how they wish to proceed.

Once, the authority of the Grey Wardens was unquestioned. A Grey Warden could literally command kings and expect obedience. Times have changed. While Wardens are expected to do their duty no matter where it takes them, they are frequently admonished to avoid offending local authorities where at all possible.

Recruitment

To make sure their ranks never become too thin, the Grey Wardens have the Right of Conscription, an authority that dates from the end of the First Blight. After the hard-fought victory against Dumat, the nations of Thedas were so indebted and grateful to the Grey Wardens that they guaranteed them the ability, in perpetuity, to maintain and bolster their ranks. By the Right of Conscription, a Grey Warden may instantly and irrevocably commandeer the services of any individual, drafting them into the ranks of the order. Conscripts technically cannot refuse, though in modern times the Wardens only rarely recruit the unwilling. This Right is more commonly deployed in the contemporary period to quell protest from a recruit’s lords or commanders.

Grey Wardens

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