This article is for the completionist gamer out there who, like me, lusts for the treasures, relics and riches hidden in the cold dungeons and dark corners of his game! If not only for the sake of showcasing the findings through your allies, or store them for the sake of "collecting", having many possible sets of different armor gives the player options for combat, or even aesthetically. (I'd rather have a cool-looking armor than a slightly better one statwise, but hurtful on the eyes!)
I was introduced to Dragon Age fairly recently, but all this anticipation and build-up for the third installment of the saga has launched me into the Dragon Age craze! So, take this chance and give yourself a new excuse to play through Dragon Age: Origins once more (and any of its additional content and sequels while you're at it), while you wait for Dragon Age: Inquisition.
Note: It is advisable to have The Warden's Keep DLC, as there will be plenty of "storable" loot if you want to get your hands on every set in the game that I will guide you through, seeing as this particular DLC is the only legitimate way to give yourself a storage chest. Alternatively, owners of the PC version may download a mod to add their own chest to the game.
Ancient Elven Armor (Medium)
Unfortunately, there are no unique sets of light armor that you can find in your travels. With the exception of the Wade's Drakeskin Armor, all other light sets are generic leather armor, with the Human Studded leather; Dwarven Duster leather and Elven Dalish leather variations. The latter is arguably the best set of the bunch that you can equip on your rogue/archer before you can get your hands on Wade's Drakeskin Armor or Felon's Coat.
Back to the armor in question, the Ancient Elven Armor set is the only unique Medium set you will find in the game, and it can be a tricky one to complete, seeing as most of its pieces are well hidden and scattered through all Ferelden. Granted, it is not a particularly good set, but the bonus it offers as a whole make it pretty useful if you get it soon, and at least it is better than the other simpler sets. This set of armor is in my opinion one of the, if not the, most beautiful armor in the game, reminiscent of the armor worn by the Elves of Lórien when these aided the Humans defend Helm's Deep against the ten thousand orcs that laid siege, in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers of course!
-Ancient Elven Boots: The first part of the set you will stumble upon. The boots are found in a locked closet in the Chantry of Lothering. You will have to choose the dialogue option: "Is there any other help you can offer?" when talking to Ser Bryant, for him to give you the key. Rogue's lockpicking won't work on the closet no matter the level.
Note: I play the PS3 version and the boots are always there, but it seems there is a bug in the PC version that makes the boots not appear when you open the closet. There is, however, a mod that fixes this.
-Ancient Elven Armor: The next ones are more hassle-free to get. The Armor is found in the Lower Ruins of the Brecillian Forest, so as long as you pillage everything, you will find it.
-Ancient Elven Gloves: Finally, the gloves are somewhere in the Ruined Temple, unlocked in the Urn of Sacred Ashes quest. Again, you are bound to find them if you loot everything.
- Ancient Elven Boots- Gives+1 constitution
- Ancient Elven Armor- Gives +2dexterity, +2 armor +10 spirit resistance
- Ancient Elven Gloves- Gives +2 armor, +8% chance to ignore hostile magic
- Ancient Elven Helm –Gives +25 Spirit Resistance
Ceremonial Armor (Heavy)
The Ceremonial Armor set is one of the two unique Heavy sets found in the game and one of the hardest ones to complete because of the specifications needed to trigger the events that can lead to the pieces of the armor being dropped! So this is a task that will most likely need some saving and plenty of loading! This set is far from good, the armor plate actually reduces your armor rating by - 3, for a measly bonus to mental resistance and extra missile deflection from the complete set, but from what I've read in some Dragon Age threads, gamers do seem to highly regard this set in terms of looks, so it might be a nice garnish to have in one of your unused party members! Myself, I have never been able to complete it.
-Ceremonial Armored Boots: The easiest piece of the set to get by far, though it will cost you some gold. The boots are sold by Old Tegrin, the Dwarf merchant that randomly appears in your travels through Ferelden. Since this is the most common random event, you are bound to come across the little man.
-Ceremonial Armored Gloves: Another annoying one! The gloves can only be found on the body of the Hired Goon that attacks you at Caridin's Cross, as soon as you enter the Deep Roads. To trigger the encounter, you need a condition. At a point in the game, you will have to side with one of two parties in Orzammar, this means that one of the rival parties won't receive you very well, and thus, will often hassle the Warden through various means. Note that you can side with both parties (side with one, secretly turn the tables and work for the other one), but doing this will not trigger the encounter. To note as well is the fact that the Ceremonial Armored Gloves are a rare drop, so a few attempts may be needed before getting the loot...
This set has no matching helmet as far as I am aware of.
Diligence Armor (Heavy)
The second unique set of Heavy Armor, Diligence, is much easier and simpler to get, as well as a better set for the numerous bonuses it provides, when compared to the Ceremonial Armor! This is also a cool looking armor, and I often give it to Leliana when she masters bows, though the Dalish leather armor does look sexier on her. (What??)
-Armor of Diligence: So you chose to complete the Diligence set? The armor plate comes by naturally when you are exploring and looting the Ruined Temple.
-Gloves of Diligence: The Diligence gloves are also nicely waiting for you inside a chest in the Orzammar Shaperate. The chest requires lockpicking.
Note: Similar to the Ceremonial armor, there is no helmet to complement this set. However, the Griffon's Helm is often considered the matching helmet of the Diligence armor set. You can find it in the Grey Warden Vault, hidden in the warehouse of Denerim's marketplace, unlocked only after completing the quest Rescue the Queen.
Chevalier Armor (Heavy)
The infamous Chevalier armor, by far the most annoying set to complete, and arguably the most useless set of massive armor you can wear. Your character receives no additional bonuses from the pieces, and the set bonus could be considered worse then good. As far as looks go, the Chevalier armor is also far from looking like anything unique. But alas, for the completionist gamer in all of us, it just feels awkward having a piece of an incomplete set, when you could have the whole thing sitting in your storage chest! In my most recent run of Dragon Age: Origins, I got lucky in most of the rare good drops (stuff like Warden Tower Shield and Fade Wall), getting many of them with the first drop. The Chevalier armor was one of those drops that I unintentionally got right away, but I was already past the point where I could get the boots, so I ended up selling the darn useless thing!
-Chevalier's Gloves: The only easily available part of the Chevalier set, you can buy the gloves from Faryn in the Frostback Mountain. It seems the guys at BioWare schemed this malefic plan of always making a piece of a rare armor always available, and make the player go through hell to find the rest, just so that he could have his little sense of completionism and bragging rights, while they laughed their asses off at all the possible frustrations!
-Chevalier's Boots: You can get the boots very early on during a quest for the Mage's Collective. The Adventuring Warrior in the Careless Accusations quest has a rare chance of dropping them, as well as the gloves. The Adventurer Mage that accompanies this party also has a chance of dropping the rare, a decent equipment for mages that reduces hostility. If you are going for the , forget the boots since you have other opportunities of hunting for them.
Continuing, all of the Chevalier's pieces can drop from Shaevra, which you fight in The Pearl in Denerim. The armor plate is supposedly the rarest one, but I got the drop the very first time I killed her. You can also get them from the chest in Marjolaine's house during Leliana's personal quest, also in Denerim. The contents of the chest have fixed loot, but there are others that are randomly generated as soon as you enter the house (these include all the Chevalier's armor parts), so you need to save before entering the house if you are aiming for the armor at this part. It seems that in the PC version, the contents of the chest are determined the first time you enter Denerim, and not the house!
Another way to get Chevalier parts is from Ser Perth when defending Redcliffe, in case you decide to let him die, or kill him yourself with friendly fire. He is a tough one to bite the dust, though. Even if you manage to kill him, the drops are rare the same.
The Chevalier's armor set also has no helmet, but there are several massive helmets that could be used to match with the armor, as long is they are the same tier (for the sole purpose of having the same color for the entire set).
Juggernaut Armor (Massive)
The Brecilian Forest is divided into three parts, and you will have to run through all of them for all pieces of the Juggernaut. You can optimize your time by doing every optional quest as you do the main quest, seeing as most of it will come across your path anyway.
-Juggernaut Plate Gloves: To disturb the next tombstone, you need to advance in the main quest, as you will unlock the southern portion of the East Brecilian Forest, where the second tombstone is situated. Again, engage a tough Revenant and his undead friends to loot the Juggernaut Plate Gloves from him.
-Juggernaut Helm: The third tombstone is in a hill in the West Brecilian Forest, and the same scenario applies, vanquish the powerful Revenant and his minions and claim the Juggernaut Helm for yourself.
-Juggernaut Plate Armor: This one is a little trickier, as it involves completing a more elaborated second quest in order to summon the spirit that guards the armor. Nothing uber complicated, though. In an early room of the Lower Ruins, you will find A Carved Elven Table, which unlocks The Elven Ritual quest. This also gives you a codex detailing a certain ritual that you can perform in order to get to what you really want, the Juggernaut armor! You can do this in the northeastern part of the Lower Ruins, where you will find locked door in a room with a strange altar and water pool at the center. Here is how to proceed: approach the water pool and take out the earthen jug inside; fill the earthen jug with water; take the earthen jug and put it on the altar; kneel and pray; examine the earthen jug and take a single sip from it; finally approach the water pool again and dump the remaining water. The door will open. Get rid of the two skeletons inside and summon the spirit that guard the tomb. Defeat it and complete your quest for the unique Juggernaut armor!
Effort Armor (Massive)
-Effort: The Effort armor plate cannot be missed, as it is always found as a drop of the Broodmother, the boss from The Dead Trenches in The Deeproads. It is worth mentioning that there is a merchant named Ruck in Ortan Thaig, in The Deep Roads, found through the quest A Mother's Hope, who can sell you the Armor of the Divine Will. For some reason, this armor plate can replace the Effort plate, and still retain the set bonus.
-Effort's Boots: These can effortlessly be bought from Alimar's Emporium in Dust Town. Beware with the dialogue, though, as there are options that may displease Alimar and he may refuse to trade with you. As a safe measure, buy the boots as soon as you talk to him, if you want to complete the set.
-Duty: The helmet of the Effort set is rather peculiar, for both its name and the way in which it is obtained. You can only get Duty by asking Dog if he has found something in some parts of The Deep Roads! The known locations are the following: Anvil of the Void, Aeducan Thaig, The Dead Trenches, Ortan Thaig or Caridin's Cross.
Legion of the Dead (Massive)
-Boots of the Legion: The first piece you will likely come across. The boots are inside a sarcophagus in a small northern room in the area.
-Gloves of the Legion: The gloves are also inside a sarcophagus, somewhere along your main route. Just loot everything to find them.
-Armor of the Legion: The armor plate is the part of the set that are most likely to be overlooked. It is inside a somewhat not-so-highlighted sarcophagus, in a certain obligatory room where you are swarmed by skeletons. Use the tab key or the radial menu on the console to easily find it.
Note: There is also a shield that matches the Legion of the Dead set quiet nicely if you are going with a Sword and Shield build. It is the Shield of the Legion, and it can be bought from Ruck in Ortan Thaig. Neither the shield or the helmet are required for the set bonus.
Concluding, through Wade you can end up with one superior Light set and one superior Medium, Heavy, or Massive set. This will depend on your playstyle, and what you want to make of your characters. I honestly believe the Massive set is a waste, since there are already so many great massive sets in the game. Unless you plan on selling the armor, seeing as the Dragon Bone Plate armor is what will net you more gold for the Dragon Scale.
-Dragon Blood Armor Set: This set is part of its own DLC, it's a favorite of many, but in my opinion is ugly as hell! It doesn't fit with the ambience of the game at all! Anyway, to have access to the complete set, download Blood Dragon Armor, and buy the other parts from Bodahn, the Dwarf merchant in your encampment.
-Cailen's Armor Set: Another great set in all regards, and it looks pretty cool as well. The model is similar to the Juggernaut Armor, but the bonus are much more melee oriented. You can't miss the armor pieces even if you tried, as the Return to Ostagar DLC has you actually picking up the various scattered parts of the armor of the deceased king himself, as your actual quest.
In Dragon Age: Origins and its sequels, armors are not the only item sets available. There are other sets to be made of other equipments. Although not particularly useful, it just feels right collecting these items, who knows when you will want to use them at some point in the game, or give them to a secondary character and avoid those annoying equipment exchanges between characters!
-Cailan's Arms: Return to Ostagar DLC, not only has the armor of the king, but also the arms. Wearing Maric's Blade and Cailen's Shield, will give an additional +5 damage and +5 stamina regeneration to your character. This is great armament for an Arcane Warrior.
-Imperium ring set: This is a curious one. This set consists of the Dawn Ring- given by Shianni of the Elven Alienage, and the Dusk Ring- dropped by the greater shade guarding the abandoned campsite in the West Brecilian Forest. Wearing both rings will grant your character
-Griffon's Ensemble: Possibly the coolest weapon of the game, Griffon's Beak, when used in conjunction with Griffon's Helm, will grant your two-handed warrior immunity to flanking. I already mentioned how to get the helmet before (Warden's Vault), but the Axe requires very specific conditions. When doing the Brecilian Forest part of your game, you must totally side with Zathrian, in order to get this reward from him at the end of the quest.