Kell appears in the Dragon Age: The Calling novel.
This book was written by David Gaider – one of the main writers of the Dragon Age games. It takes place before Dragon Age: Origins (DA:O).
This profile is best read after :
- Our primer to the Dragon Age setting.
- The character profile for Grey Commander Genevieve. Which is where the The Calling plot is explained.
It also has S P O I L E R S aplenty about the novel.
- Real Name: Kell ap Morgan.
- Marital Status: Unrevealed.
- Known Relatives: Wife and infant child (names unrevealed, deceased).
- Group Affiliation: Grey Wardens.
- Base of Operations: Warden Fortress at Montsimmard, in Orlais.
- Height: 5’10” Weight: 170 lbs.
- Eyes: Pale. Hair: Brown (Shaved off).
Powers & Abilities
Kell is a veteran Grey Warden, an elite raider of the Avvar peoples, and a trained Ash Warrior. So he knows what he’s doing.
He’s a scout, hunter, archer, and fighter. He has an animal companion. His skills set thus resembles that of a D&D ranger.
His emphasis is on stealth, speed, accuracy, perception and orientation. He’s also highly intelligent.
Kell also possesses the typical Grey Warden capabilities :
- Immunity to Taint.
- Limited life expectancy as her mind increasingly perceives the Old Gods.
- Ability to mentally sense the darkspawn across a distance.
- Increased food intake.
To hit and to spot
He primarily fights with a longbow. When he’s in camp, Kell will craft new arrows. Usually he’s whittling wood to create a shaft for a recovered arrowhead.
When forced in close quarters he’ll transition to a one-handed, one-spiked-ball flail. He excels at leveraging the speed and reach of this unusual weapon.
He wears thick leather armour.
All of Kell’s senses are extraordinary. That includes his Warden’s “darkspawns sense”. He can hear the faintest noise, and can even tell what sort of darkspawn he’s mentally detecting. He’s a great tracker, of course.
A party guided by Kell is much less likely to get lost, to be detected, to run out of supplies, or to lose time. And Kell himself is highly unlikely to be detected when he scouts ahead.
And to see Spot
Kell is partnered with an enormous warhound named Hafter.
This huge, muscular canine has shaggy grey fur. Hafter can tear the throat of a man in one go, and even metal armour doesn’t protect that much from a collision with 220+ lbs. of military doggo.
(Hafter is stated to be a mabari in Word of Thedas. I don’t think that it was explicitly stated in the novel.)
Oddly enough, Hafter underwent the Joining and is thus technically a Grey Warden. This is important, as it allows Hafter to bite the darkspawn (and thus swallow some blood) without uncontrolled Taint infection.
Hafter is extremely well trained. He fights smartly, closely coordinating with Kell. For instance, when surrounded they fight back-to-back (!). He’s also trained to stealthily follow Kell when scouting, and presumably as a hunting dog.
The howl truth ?
My faint impression is that Kell has some werewolf heritage.
- Maric has trouble getting used to Kell’s unnaturally pale eyes.
- Kell’s rapport with Hafter seems a smidgen too telepathic.
- Kell’s senses seem a smidgen too sharp.
His canine companion is also named after a foundational hero of Ferelden’s past, who famously was part-werewolf. Which is an odd choice for an Avvar warrior.
Ferelden evokes Scotland in many respects, and Kell’s patronym certainly sounds Welsh.
So I think it’s only fair to have music by some Canadian bloke, int it ? Cheers.
Barbarians & Berserkers
Kell ap Morgan hails from the Avvar tribes . These mostly live in the Frostback Mountains, which mark the Western boundary of Ferelden.
The Avvar were part of the great coalition raised in proto-Ferelden by the prophetess Andraste for her Exalted March. Many of these people would eventually settle in the Southern regions and gradually become Fereldans.
Those who didn’t — like the Avvar — are still considered “barbarians”. Whatever that means.
The Avvar polities share a number of cultural traits, including a rare example of polytheistic faith in Thedas. But really, each group is its own thing. And their traditions can be hard to understand at first.
Relations between the Avvar and the settled Fereldans aren’t great, due to bitterly-fought wars in their shared history.
The Ash Warriors are a small subculture of prestigious, elite Fereldan warriors. They are said to have originally been trained by Dwarven war masters, which seems credible.
They fight as fearless berserkers. Ash Warriors operate as a single unit, and fight in the name of the Maker, not their own. Many members are seeking redemption for their shady past.
Ash Warriors also famously operate paired with a mabari warhound. They have many traditions to train, feed, heal, decorate, etc. their canine partner. A frequent saying is that if the human or the dog dies, then the other will soon follow.
Kell ap Morgan used to be the young jarl (chief) of a small Avvar tribe. He had a wife and an infant child. But his village was destroyed in unrevealed circumstances. It is possible that Kell was the only survivor.
He eventually joined the Ash Warriors, where he presumably met Hafter.
Though Kell was no slouch, he learned a lot from the Warriors. One anecdote he uncharacteristically told was how he was taught to accept his death before a battle.
From there he and Hafter joined the Grey Wardens. By 9:10, Kell was Warden-Lieutenant under Warden-Commander Genevieve.
The Ortan thaig raid
Mr. ap Morgan was part of the elite team that Warden-Commander Genevieve led to reach her brother Bregan in the Deep Roads.
He was instrumental in having the party progress quickly, accurately and stealthily – whether above or under the ground.
However, when it became clear that Genevieve was coming unglued, Kell was the first to mutiny. His demand that the mission be run properly resulted in a brief fight. But Genevieve had to admit that her lieutenant was right.
After Genevieve vanished, Kell took command. After most of the party rejected the Architect’s offer, Kell was instrumental in leading them toward the surface.
No way out
However, the fleeing survivors came to an impasse. The only practical way out was on the other side of a cavern filled with toiling darkspawns.
By this point, the party was made up of Kell, Hafter, Duncan, Fiona and King Maric. Kell argued that getting the King out alive was a priority. And that among the surviving Wardens, he was the one closest to his Calling.
Kell therefore volunteered to sacrifice himself. He’d run into the cavern as bait, and drag the darkspawn after him.
The others hated this plan. But Kell pointed out that he was the only one who could keep the darkspawn chasing him long enough.
Shaggy dog story
Mr. ap Morgan tried to force Hafter to leave him and follow the party. But the hound would have none of that.
To his dismay, the former Ash Warrior had no choice but to take Hafter along for his death run.
Their sacrifice worked. The diversion allowed Maric, Fiona and Duncan to narrowly reach the surface.
Kell sports unnaturally pale eyes and a soft, measured voice. He moves with deliberate caution.
His head is shaven, and is covered with black Avvar tattoos. Perhaps this marks his status as a widower ? Or an expatriate ?
His leathers, hooded cloak and longbow scream “ranger”.
As with every Dragon Age: The Calling profile here, the portraits are original work using a character generator. Howbeit I don’t think I have a good way to do the scalp tattoos. 😿
As to the generic picture of a cloaked person in the woods, it comes from a handcrafted medieval clothing shop called Folks of the Wood .
Kell is a quiet, grim stealth fighter. He’s inscrutable, focused on the job, and speaks little.
But among friends — including Hafter — he becomes more relaxed.
He’s a responsible, ethical feller and a wise and articulate leader.
Ap Morgan likely joined the Grey Wardens to serve the greater good, even at the cost of his own life.
Hafter’s welfare was very important for Mr. ap Morgan. The dog’s refusal not to accompany him in his final run reduced Kell to despair, as he wanted Hafter to live.
Hafter is a good boy. He likes bacon strips, and when Fiona rubs his belly.
He unerringly understands what Kell wants him to do, even if the only communication is a touch or a glance.
However, Hafter will disobey in order to protect Kell. Such as when he attacked Genevieve for having hit his master. He also *absolutely* refused to abandon Mr. ap Morgan.
“Our duty isn’t to end the Blight. It is to defend mankind against the Blight. There is a difference. We have stood up against the onslaught of the darkspawn time and time again, and that is our task. It is not for us to judge, to gamble with the lives of those in our care.”
Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly
Warden-Lieutenant Kell ap Morgan
|Dex: 05||Str: 03||Bod: 04||Motivation: Uphold Good|
|Int: 07||Wil: 04||Min: 05||Occupation: Warden Lieutenant|
|Inf: 04||Aur: 04||Spi: 05||Wealth: 003|
|Init: 016||HP: 035|
Awareness: 05, Life sense: 12, Systemic antidote: 05
Bonuses and Limitations:
- All Powers are Form Function.
- Awareness is limited to sensing the Blight, and particularly the activities of the Archdemon commanding it.
- Life Sense is limited to Taint afflicted creatures, such as darkspawn, ghouls and even Grey Wardens.
- Life Sense is Discerning, but that may require Perception rolls using INT/WIL.
- Systemic antidote only to resist the Taint.
Acrobatics (Dodging): 03, Animal handling (Horses): 03, Medicine (First aid): 04, Military science (Camouflage, danger rec, tracking): 06, Thief (Stealth): 06, Weaponry (Melee, Missile): 06
Credentials (Grey Wardens, Medium), Expertise (Grey Wardens equipment and protocols), Language (Sign language), Rank (Warden-Lieutenant), Sharp Eye, Sidekick (Hafter), Misc.: Kell has an infallible sense of direction.
Dependent (Hafter 0 pts), Misc.: As a Grey Warden he needs about 50% more food, has about a 30-year life expectancy after the Joining, and experiences nightmares caused by darkspawn activity (particularly during a Blight).
Use the stats for Dog, plus the stock Grey Warden Life Sense and Systemic Antidote Powers.
- Medium-powered bow [BODY 03, Enhance (EV): 01 (cap is 04), Enhance (Range): 03 (cap is 06), Ammo: 01, Recommended STR: 03, R#02, Limitation: Low Penetration, Descriptor: Piercing].
- GOOD LEATHER ARMOUR [BODY 03, Blunting: 01, Damage capacity: 03, Enhance (Cold RV): 01 (cap is 05), Enhance (Piercing, Slashing, Bludgeoning RV): 01 (cap is 05), Bonuses & Limitations: Damage Capacity has the Full Recovery Bonus, Partial Coverage (Jacket)].
- One-handed flail [BODY 03, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 08), Descriptor: Bludgeon]. A flail receives a +1 to the final roll total when attacking a shield-wielding target. But melee opponents with a medium melee weapon get a +1 to *their* final roll against a flail-wielder who doesn’t have a shield.
- A small vial of a yellow, glowing liquid. A few drops ignite what they fall on, making it a great firestarter in adverse circumstances.
Like with the rest, there are probably other Connections, Advantages, etc..
His sense of direction is written as a Misc. Advantage since modelling it felt like overkill. Even with Migrapower. 😺
Crafting replacement arrow shafts and the like is covered by Weaponry (Missile).
Pointing at Dog for Hafter’s stats, since I’m not 100% sure Dog’s stats are 100% final.
Kell might run into anti-Avvar racism issues in Ferelden. But he normally works in Orlais. And few Fereldan would want to say bad things about the admired Ash Warriors, anyway. So in game terms it’s not significant enough.
Source of Character: Dragon Age: The Calling novel.
Writeup completed on the 11th of February, 2020.