Dragon Age: Origins has a gift-giving system for the companions that the other games do not, and it's an easy way to increase approval with companions. In this sense, gifts are particularly valuable for players who may make roleplay choices that certain characters really disapprove of.
Gifts can be complicated, especially during a first play-through of the game, as there are different types of gifts from regular ones to those that certain characters prefer, and there are even some plot-relevant gifts. Some are hard to find while others are incredibly easy.
Players may want to get max approval from companions not just because of the story, but because maxing out their approval gives them skill bonuses. So, if you need some help figuring out which gift to give to each of the giftable characters, look no further than this comprehensive guide.
How Gift Mechanics Work
Here are some important facts to remember about how gifts and approval work in Origins.
- Regular gifts will give +five approval points to any companion.
- Preferred gifts give +10 approval points.
- Approval points diminish with more gifts given. Example: The first regular gift given will award the player five approval points, and the next will award four points.
- Those with negative companion approval get their gift approval bonuses halved. (So preferred gifts will become five approval at most).
- Once a characters' approval is maxed out (at 100), gifts will no longer give the player any approval.
Luckily, plot-relevant gifts are impossible to give to the wrong person (the wrong companion would refuse the gift). However, not all of them are easy to find.
For those that play Dragon Age: Origins for the story (and most do), these gifts should be a priority. Not all characters have plot-relevant gifts, but those that do will share more about themselves with the Warden. Here are all the locations for the plot-relevant gifts:
Alistair's Mother's Amulet: Found at Redcliffe Castle in a desk in Arl Eamon's study.
Duncan's Shield: Found in the Grey Warden Vault, which is a secret room in the Market Warehouse in Denerim. The room is hidden behind a bookcase.
Andraste's Grace: This gift can actually be found at three different locations. The first location is in Redcliffe by the Windmill. The second is in the West Brecilian Forest. The third is in the Alienage of Denerim. (Leliana will treat the first Andraste's Grace like a plot-relevant gift and the other two as just preferred gifts).
Cute Nug: Can be acquired from an Idle Dwarf NPC in Dust Town. He can be paid a varied amount of money based on the player choosing to haggle or threaten him.
Black Grimoire: Found in the Senior Mage Quarters of the Circle Tower. It can be found in Irving's chest.
Flemeth's Grimoire: In a locked chest in Flemeth's Hut that requires Flemeth's Key. (Player has to get the key by defeating Flemeth in combat).
Golden Mirror: Can be bought at Garin's store in the Orzammar Commons for 16 silver and 90 copper.
Antivan Leather Boots: Found in a locked chest in the store at Haven.
Dalish Gloves: Can be found in the West Brecilian Forest after an encounter with the Abandoned Campsite.
Sten's Sword: Obtained by completing Sten's companion quest. To start the quest, his approval must be at least at 25 points. Then, confront a scavenger at the Lake Calenhad Docks.
Preferred Gifts: Romancable Characters
These are the gifts that give the character +10 approval points, but only if they are given to the right person.
Alistair has gift tastes many players wouldn't quite expect from him. He actually loves runestones and figures of arcane monsters. Many players accidentally give such things to Morrigan!
Black Runestone: Found in a locked chest in Aeducan Thaig.
Joining Chalice: This gift is only available if the player has the Return to Ostagar DLC.
Onyx Demon Statuette: Located in the East Brecilian Forest near the south gravestone in a pile of bones.
Small Carved Statuette: Found in a crate in the north end of Lothering.
Stone Dragon Statuette: Located in a chest on the second floor of Redcliffe Castle.
Stone Warrior Statuette: Found in a pile of dragon filth in the Mountainside Caverns explored during the Urn of Sacred Ashes questline.
White Runstone: Found in the Circle Tower from a lootable Abomination in the Great Hall.
Blue Satin Shoes: Can be bought in a random encounter with the merchant Old Tegrin.
Silver Sword of Mercy: Can also be bought in a random encounter with the merchant Old Tegrin.
Bronze Symbol of Andraste: Found in a locked chest in the Lothering Chantry.
Chantry Amulet: Can be looted from a Templar body in the Circle Tower's Senior Mage Quarters.
Etched Silver Symbol: Can be purchased from Ruck in Ortan Thaig for 39 silver.
Golden Symbol of Andraste: Bought for 18 silver from Legnar in the Orzammar Commons.
Steel Symbol of Andraste: Located in Genitivi's Home in the Denerim Market District.
Believe it or not, Morrigan is a lover of jewelry. If it's gold, silver, and wearable, then it's likely a preferred gift for her. She is another popular romance in the game, so be sure to stock up on jewelry if you plan to romance her.
Gold Amulet: Bought from Garin's store in the Orzammar Commons for 16 silver and 90 copper.
Golden Demon Pendant: Located in The Gauntlet, which is at the Mountain Top explored during the Urn of Sacred Ashes questline.
Golden Rope Necklace: Can be bought by Bodahn in Camp.
Locket: Found in a locked Iron Chest in the Haven store.
Silver Brooch: Sold by Varathorn at the Dalish Camp for 25 silver and 20 copper.
Silver Chain: Located in a vanity at the Circle Tower Senior Mage Quarters.
Silver Medallion: Found in a Dragon Hoard in the Ruins Upper Level of the Brecilian Ruins in the Brecilian Forest.
This Crow Assassin loves leather, but leather items just make up his plot-related gifts. His preferred gifts are metal bars.
Medium Gold Bar: Found in a treasure pile in the Arl of Denerim's Estate.
Medium Silver Bar: Located at the Anvil of the Void in a chest during the questline A Paragon of Her Kind
Small Gold Bar: Can be looted from Charmed Templars in the Circle Tower.
Small Silver Bar: Found in an Inscribed Chest at Haven's Chantry.
Preferred Gifts: Non-Romancable Companions
Though he may not seem like it, Sten has a thing for paintings.
Painting of the Rebel Queen: Can be bought for 14 silver and 40 copper in a random encounter with the merchant Old Tegrin.
Silver Framed Still Life: Found in a chest on the upper floor of Redcliffe Castle.
Portrait of a Goosegirl: Purchasable by Faryn for 13 silver and 20 copper near the entrance to Orzammar in the Frostback Mountains.
Totem: Located in a chest in the Deep Roads at Caridin's Cross.
Water Stained Portrait: Looted from a charred body in the Circle Tower's Senior Mage Quarters.
Oghren is a simple dwarf. He loves all alcohol but not wine. Save the wine for Wynne.
Ale: Bought from three different merchants for just two copper, Barlin in Lothering, Lloyd at Redcliffe Village, and the Bartender at the Denerim Market District.
Alley King's Flagon: Bought from Legnar in the Orzammar Commons for 16 silver and 50 copper.
Chasind Sack Mead: Found in the Ruined Temple in the Urn of Sacred Ashes questline, among some dusty scrolls.
Garbolg's Backcountry Reserve: Found by the dog.
Golden Scythe 4:90 Black: Located in a crate in Lothering village.
Legacy White Shear: Found in the Lower Ruins of the Brecilian Ruins in the Brecilian Forest, in a sarcophagus.
Whilhelm's Special Brew: Requires the Stone Prisoner DLC. The gift is found in Honnleath.
Sun Blonde Vint-1: Found in a Vanity in the Templar Quarters of the Circle Tower.
Like one would expect of an older mage, Wynne likes books and scrolls. However, she is also a fan of wine.
Discovering Dragon's Blood: Found in a bookshelf in the Ruined Temple during the Urn of Sacred Ashes questline.
The Guerrin's of Ferelden: Located on a bookshelf on the upper floors of Redcliffe Castle.
Fancy Scroll: Can be looted from a sarcophagus in the Lower Ruins of the Brecilian Ruins in the Brecilian Forest.
The Rose of Orlais: Obtainable from a pile of books in the Circle Tower Senior Mage Quarters.
Wine: Can be bought from the Innkeeper at the Lake Calenhad Drydocks, Bella in Redcliffe Tavern, and/or a merchant in Lothering, all for 15 copper.
Shale is a companion only available through the Stone Prisoner DLC. She loves remarkable gemstones, but be aware that her preferred gifts actually just give five approval in the console versions of Dragon Age: Origins. Also, her gifts run a little pricier than others.
Remarkable Amethyst: Purchased by Alimar in Dust Town for two gold and 24 silver.
Remarkable Diamond: Can be bought by Garin for seven gold and 80 silver in the Orzammar Commons. (This is not available on PC versions of Dragon Age: Origins).
Remarkable Emerald: Costs four gold and can be purchased from Figor in the Orzammar Commons.
Remarkable Sapphire: Bought by Legnar for three gold and 60 silver at the Orzammar Commons.
Remarkable Greenstone: Found in Honnleath.
Remarkable Malachite: Looted in the Circle Tower from the Quartermaster in the Apprentice Quarters.
Remarkable Ruby: Dropped by an Ogre Alpha in Cadash Thaig.
Remarkable Topaz: Purchasable by Faryn outside the entrance to Orzammar for two gold and 40 silver.
The dog is certainly the easiest character in the game to please. The gifts preferred by it are very obvious as well. Something to consider is that the dog's approval rating will always be at 100. Due to this, some players actually give the dog's preferred gifts to other companions.
Beef Bone: One can be found in Ostagar and another in the Circle Tower in the Templar's Quarters.
Found Cake: This item is found by the dog.
Tangled Ball of Yarn: Found by the dog.
Lamb Bone: Found in Redcliffe Castle in a chest on the main floor.
Large Bone: There are two — one at Haven and another at Soldier's Keep if the player has the Warden's Keep DLC.
Ox Bone: Can be found in some rubble in the West Brecilian Forest.
Veal Bone: In the Alienage in Denerim.
Not every player gets Loghain as part of their team, depending on their choices in the Landsmeet. Those that do get him to join can give him some preferred gifts as well. The man loves maps.
Current Map of Ferelden: Found in the Denerim Alienage.
Ancient Map of the Imperium: Purchasable from the Wonders of Thedas shop in the Denerim Market District.
Map of Occupied Ferelden: In a chest (only obtainable during the Final Onslaught) in Redcliffe Castle.
Map of the Anderfels: Located in the Grey Warden Vault in the Denerim Market District.
Zoom vandalism has reached an unsurprising new low.