Dragon Age 4 will be set in the Tevinter Imperium. The oldest human nation in Thedas, Tevinter has a unique relationship with magic, religion, and its neighboring nations that could make it one of the most interesting settings seen in the series so far.
Dragon Age 4 will also be the first game in the fantasy franchise to focus on an area in the north of Thedas. This sets up the perfect setting for Dragon Age 4‘s DLC, if this setting does not also appear alongside Tevinter in the main game, which could show players a location that until now has been shrouded in even more mystery than the Imperium itself.
Tevinter stands to be one of Dragon Age‘s most interesting settings. While Ferelden and Orlais stand in as rough equivalents of western European countries – particularly Britain and France – understanding the culture of the Tevinter Imperium requires slightly more grounding in the world of Dragon Age. This is likely among the reasons why BioWare held out on directly depicting Tevinter for so long.
The Imperium is the oldest extant human nation in Thedas. It is responsible for razing the ancient capital of the Elven empire with blood magic, executing the prophet Andraste, and still practices slavery. According to the Andrastian Chantry, Tevinter is even responsible for the creation of the Darkspawn, which the Chantry claims were brought into the world as punishment for Tevinter magisters permeating the Veil to enter the Fade and the Maker’s Golden City.
All of these factors stand to make exploring the Tevinter Imperium a more alien experience in Dragon Age 4, with many of the practices seen in the other nations flipped upside down. Most notably, the Imperial Chantry understands Andraste’s commandment that “magic was meant to serve man and never to rule over him” to be a call for responsible governance by mages, not a ban on mages in government.
While Tevinter has played an antagonistic albeit distant role in much of the Dragon Age game so far, it has suffered its own injustices over the history of Thedas. Over the course of the Steel Age and the Storm Age the Qunari Wars saw much of Tevinter occupied by the Qunari, who first arrived on and conquered the island of Par Vollen in 6:30 Steel. Only the Tevinter capital, Minrathous, was able to resist occupation. Those who refused to convert to the Qun were poisoned with qamek, a substance which painfully erases memories, subjecting victims to a life of mindless labor.
While the Qunari were pushed out of much of Thedas and back to Par Vollen over the course of the Storm Age, Par Vollen itself remains one of the most mysterious locations in Thedas. The tropical island was part of the Tevinter Imperium, but was isolated enough that it took two years for the successful Qunari invasion to become apparent to the mainland. It is known that Par Vollen was once inhabited by a race known as the Fex, though there are no details about this race’s appearance or how it might relate to the other races of Thedas in-game. Since Qunari refer to all those who follow the Qun as Qunari, it’s possible that the Fex were forcibly integrated into Qunari society.
It is also speculated by some characters in-universe that humanity also settled Par Vollen for a time while migrating from the north. Apparently these humans built pyramids on Par Vollen, but as with the Qunari, where humanity arrived from remains unknown. It’s possible the Par Vollen has contacts with the Qunari homeland, but the Qunari government is so secretive that this also remains unconfirmed. When visiting the lost dwarven Thaig Kal Repartha in Inquisition, Iron Bull with also comment that there are similar dwarven ruins on Par Vollen.
Only a few human diplomats have been able to access Par Vollen since the Qunari takeover. In the Blessed Age several Rivaini diplomats were allowed to visit Par Vollen. According to them, visiting Par Vollen is the only way to ever truly understand Qunari culture, especially because almost all Qunari encountered on the mainland of Thedas are soldiers.
The capital of Par Vollen is Qunandar. Said to rival the Tevinter capital of Minrathous, Qunandar’s architecture has been described as resembling a bee hive. If players have only gotten a glimpse of Tevinter so far, it’s been heavily implied that there’s far more to Qunari society than has even been revealed just waiting to be discovered on Par Vollen.
With Dragon Age 4 set in the Tevinter Imperium, finally making it to Par Vollen in one of the DLCs seems very likely. Dragon Age: Inquisition increasingly set up the Qunari’s importance in the next game’s plot. In the Trespasser DLC the Qunari attempted to assassinate the other national leaders of Thedas, and it is confirmed that in 9:44 Dragon the Qunari capture the Tevinter city of Ventus. This make an escalation of the conflict between the Qunari and Thedas seem likely in Dragon Age 4.
Tevinter has always had a unique relationship with the Qunari. Not only were they the first human nation on Thedas to lose land to the Qunari, but they were also the only one to never sign the peace treaty brokered with their neighbors to the north. Exploring Tevinter without eventually exploring Par Vollen would seem like a strange omission. It’s likely that the looming Qunari presence will be central to the next game’s plot, even with the return of the Dread Wolf and his plan to bring down the Veil between Thedas and the Fade.
Solas’ plan may even rely on the conflict between Tevinter and the Qunari. The use of blood magic to slaughter countless Qunari off the coast of the Tevinter city of Marnas Pell permanently weakened the Veil there, which could be key to Solas’ plan to eventually destroy the Veil entirely. In any case, finally visiting Tevinter makes a trip to Par Vollen increasingly likely in Dragon Age‘s future. Just what role the Qunari will play in the next game, however, remains to be seen.
Dragon Age 4 is in development.