Shale - Dragon Age Golem Extraordinaire
The golem of Dragon Age
So when was the last time you played an RPG that let you have a huge and powerful golem on your side to stomp away at your enemies with his mighty fists and just look incredibly awesome doing it? And it gets better because this golem actually has a name and a personality and isn't just some side quest reward that would be fun to have around, well Dragon Age presents Shale - the dwarven war golem. He is big, strong, despises squishy mortals and has an incredible hate for birds, especially pigeons!
Shale DLC intro
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How to get Shale to join your party
Shale is available as part of a DLC called "The Stone Prisoner" that is freely distribute with Dragon Age Collector's Edition or available for download in case you already have the game but are missing it. Once you have the DLC you can go at any time to the town of Honnleath on the world map and follow a pretty short quest line there involving a demon cat and some magical experiments to finally activate Shale and have it join your party.
Dragon Age Shale Art
The Might of the Stone Prisoner
Being a golem, Shale is of course not a very dexterous or magically inclined character so you should obviously expect it to be a warrior class, which it is, having access to the basic warrior talents. However as opposed to your regular sword and heavy armor types Shale cannot equip any of the usual weapons and armor a human, elf or dwarf would have access too. Instead our golem can be "equipped" with elemental crystals, small crystals that go on his hands and that are classified as weapons and large crystals that go on it's chest and that are considered armor. Small and large crystals have additional effects based on their quality and elemental type. For example a large nature crystal increases armor, constitution, physical resistance and nature resistance by a certain amount based on quality, the most powerful being a brilliant nature crystal.
Shale talent build
Besides Warrior talents, Shale also has access to four trees of specialized golem powers, each built around a certain function that it can perform in the make-up of a party, and seeing as though it's possible to maximize all four trees means Shale is one of the most versatile characters in the game. The four talent trees are:
- Pulverizing Blows - A melee DPS build that concentrates on damaging and stunning nearby opponents
- Stoneheart - A melee tank build that concentrates on self regeneration, taunting and drawing aggro from enemies as well as stunning groups of enemies that are attacking Shale
- Rock Mastery - A ranged build that has a few party buffs inclduing missile deflection and increased ranged critical chance. The buffs don't affect Shale however he can do ranged AOE damage through his talents in this mode or stun nearby attackers
- Stone Aura - A support mode that when activated makes Shale unable to move but buffs nearby allies across the board as well as debuffing nearby enemies. The buffs are much better than bard songs but I personally never liked the idea of having a golem that can't move.
One great advantage of having Shale in your party is that you can sell all those expensive pieces of heavy armor you were keeping for your tank because Shale only needs two items to be a powerful team member. Being able to switch between those talent trees at any time gives Shale true tactical depth and adaptability without sacrificing efficiency in the respective tasks that he can perform, making him one of the most interesting characters to play in recent RPG history! Last but not least, Shale's backstory and personality are both interesting and funny in many ways, but that I do not want to spoil by telling more...