Dragon Age: Origins is a role-playing game set in the fantasy world of Ferelden, where an epic battle rages between the country's native inhabitants (made up of dwarves, elves, and humans) and invading evil forces called the Darkspawn, which are led by an archdemon dragon. This is a game that demands that the player make many choices, and the hero that the player elects to be will shape the destiny of the land. Depending on the player's initial selection of race and class, the game will begin with one of six potential opening storylines, eventually culminating in the player being initiated into the Grey Wardens -- the fighting force that was able to defeat the Darkspawn invasion centuries ago.
The personality, allegiances, and fighting style of the hero are all up to the player. In combat situations, the player controls not just her own hero character, but also the actions of her companions. The player is free to pause during battle to micromanage every move by each party member, or he can utilize pre-set tactics and let each fighter act independently according to the tactical settings. When in combat, the player can only have three fighting companions at a time, though it is possible to pick from any characters traveling with the group. Once a character has agreed to be a member of the party, she is available to fight in the party unless the hero has offended a character to the point where she decides to defect from the group. The citizens of Ferelden have strong -- and differing -- beliefs when it comes to what they think of the Chantry (Church), the appropriate uses of magic, and the land's leaders, making it difficult to keep everyone approving of your leadership decisions.