Should You Make Cole More Human Or Spirit?

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Dragon Age Inquisition - Cole holding Bianca (left) and Cole using spirit powers (right) in Subjected to His Will


The companions in Dragon Age games are beloved by the series’ fans; these are the people who stand by you throughout the game, who you have to rely on as healers, hard-hitters, trappers, and much more! Dragon Age: Inquisition brought many unique companions along with it, but perhaps none as unique as Cole.


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Cole is a human male spirit. Is he possessing someone? Nope. How is that possible? Nobody knows. Throughout the game, he says eerie things that reflect other characters’ inner thoughts and emotions, since he can read them. Of course, there are also a few references hidden in there, too. If you want to know this intriguing character a little better, you’ll need to recruit him and complete his personal quests.

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How To Recruit Cole

Cole, like Dorian, will appear at a different point in the story depending on whether you decided to recruit the templars or the mages to the Inquisition.

If You Recruit The TemplarsCole appears when you travel to Therinfal Redoubt. During the quest there, you must deal with a demon of Envy and Cole helps you escape its clutches. Cole always helps the player until the end of this quest. When it is completed and you return to Haven, Cole appears on the War Table during a cutscene. At that point, you can decide whether to allow him to stay (become a companion) or kick him out.
If You Recruit The MagesSince you weren’t there to aid the templars at Therinfal Redoubt, they are corrupted by Corypheus and attack Haven. Cole arrives just before the templar army does, to warn you. After this encounter with Corypheus is over and the Inquisition flees to Skyhold, you’ll talk to your advisors about Cole out of earshot during the quest detailed below (The Forgotten Boy) and decide whether to allow him to stay (become a companion) or kick him out.

Quest: The Forgotten Boy

How To Get The Quest

If you recruited the mages to the Inquisition, you will always receive this quest upon your arrival to Skyhold. If you recruited the templars to the Inquisition, you will only get this quest if you already agreed to let Cole stay.

Quest Walkthrough

To start the quest, look for an interactable spot near Skyhold’s gate that says ‘Look for Cole.’ A cutscene will begin where Solas and Cassandra (as well as Vivienne, if you have recruited her) discuss their concerns about Cole. Solas believes Cole should be allowed to stay, Cassandra is suspicious of him, and Vivienne believes he should be turned out.

You will approach Cole, who is tending to a wounded soldier. He expresses that this man is going to die and that Cole should end his suffering. Eventually, Cole will say:

“I learned how to be more like what I am. It made me different, but stronger. I can feel more. I can help.”

Decisions And Results

You have two possible dialogue responses:

  • “Stay and help us.” (Cole is recruited as a companion.)
  • “Leave. Now.” (Cole is kicked out of the Inquisition.)

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War Table Operation: Locate Rhys And Evangeline

How To Get The Operation

You need to speak with Cole in Skyhold in order to get the quest. Inquire into his past, and he will tell you about his old friends, Rhys and Evangeline. You should offer to look for them for Cole; he’ll tell you he doesn’t want that, but it will still prompt this operation to appear on the war table.

Operation Walkthrough

The briefing on the war table discloses that neither Rhys nor Evangeline died at the Conclave, and they were last seen in the forests near a city named Val Firmin. Leliana’s contact says that it would be difficult, but that the Inquisition could track down the pair.

Decisions And Results

You can send any of the three advisors on this mission:

AdvisorTime RequestedMethod UsedRewards
Josephine1:00:00Call in a favorIf You Own TrespasserIf You Do Not Own Trespasser
Leliana0:48:00Use Inquisition scouts
Cullen1:00:00Use Inquisition soldiers
  • Operation: Deploy Rhys and Evangeline
  • Cole Approves
  • Sigil of Felandaris
  • Operation: Deploy Rhys and Evangeline
  • Cole Approves
  • 30 Influence

The mission will always succeed, regardless of who you send, so you should probably use Leliana (since she’ll take the least amount of time).

If you recruited the mages into the Inquisition, the letter you get when you complete the operation will be from Rhys. If you recruited the templars, it will be from Evangeline. Either way, Rhys and Evangeline are happy to join the Inquisition. There’s also always a note from Cole that says he was upset when he found out that you looked for them, until he found out you saved their lives.

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War Table Operation: Deploy Rhys And Evangeline

How To Get The Operation

You’ll automatically receive this operation once you complete the previous one: ‘Locate Rhys and Evangeline.’

Operation Walkthrough

The briefing on the war table indicates that Evangeline and Rhys have recovered from their injuries and are able to serve the Inquisition as you see fit. Their letter indicates a few different ways that they think they could be helpful: Evangeline is familiar with Orlesian nobles, Rhys is familiar with the rebel mages, and they are both talented warriors who could be used to support the military in Val Firmin.

Decisions And Results

Each advisor wants to use Evangeline and Rhys in a different way:

AdvisorTime RequestedMethod UsedRewards
Josephine1:00:00Send Evangeline and Rhys to schmooze Orlesian nobility
  • 87-113 Gold
  • Cole Approves
Leliana1:00:00Send Evangeline and Rhys to find the rebel mages’ caches
  • 3 Spirit Essences
  • Amulet of Power (Cole)
  • Cole Approves
Cullen0:48:00Send Evangeline and Rhys to support the Inquisition troops near Val Firmin
  • 30 Influence
  • Cole Approves

No matter what you select, Evangeline and Rhys happily and successfully serve the Inquisition. You will receive a letter from Rhys saying that he hopes you beat Corypheus, and mentioning that he once knew a spirit who was torn out of the Fade. There’s a small note from Cole at the bottom simply reading: “He remembers.”

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Quest: Subjected To His Will & War Table Operation: Obtain Amulet For Cole

Dragon Age Inquisition - Cole holding Bianca in Subjected to His Will

How To Get The Quest & Operation

Once you’ve completed the main quest ‘Here Lies The Abyss,’ talk to Cole in Skyhold. That will prompt a cutscene wherein Cole is begging Solas to bind him so that he can’t be forced to hurt anyone. Eventually, Solas will offer an alternate suggestion: that the Inquisition track down an amulet that is meant to protect a spirit. Finishing the cutscene will prompt you to get the quest and the war table operation.

Operation Walkthrough

In order to finish ‘Subjected To His Will,’ you’ll need to complete the war table operation ‘Obtain Amulet For Cole’ first. When you go to the war table, either Josephine or Leliana will help with it. They both succeed; the only difference is the amount of time it takes.

AdvisorTime RequestedMethod UsedRewards
Josephine0:48:00Call in a favor with Rivani contactsObtain the Amulet of the Unbound and continue ‘Subjected To His Will’
Leliana0:39:00Steal it from an Orlesian noble

Quest Walkthrough

Once you’ve got the amulet, approach Cole again and select ‘Give Cole the amulet.’ You’ll enter a cutscene where Solas attempts to activate the amulet and fails. Varric hears the commotion and enters the room, then stays due to his concern for Cole. When asked to find the source of the amulet’s failure, Cole is able to pinpoint a location on a map.

The scene changes to Redcliffe, and you, Varric, and Solas approach a man buying goods. Cole becomes furious, revealing that this is one of the men who killed the human Cole, an apostate, by leaving him in a dungeon. Cole begs to kill this former templar, who has run away, and you confer with Varric and Solas. They offer two approaches to the situation:

OptionOpinionCole Will Become More…
VarricVarric points out that Cole is not merely a spirit of compassion who is possessing a body. Somehow, he has become Cole, partially. With this in mind, he suggests that Cole needs to work out his problems and feelings like any human would, by processing and growing.Human
SolasSolas argues that, regardless of his human form, Cole is a spirit. Spirits, unlike humans, do not need to process their emotions, and can simply forgive those who have done them wrong. He suggests that there is no reason to force Cole to deal with this the human way because he is not a human, and that it’s okay that we don’t understand the spirit way because we are not spirits.Spirit

Decisions And Results

If you side with Varric and decide that Cole needs to work through his emotions, Varric takes Cole to follow the former templar. He encourages Cole to take his revenge and shoot the man, but Cole can’t do it. Afterwards, Varric asks him if he feels any better and, when Cole responds that he doesn’t, tells Cole that, even if he had killed the man, he couldn’t make all his pain “just go away.” Back in Skyhold, Cole is adjusting to being more human and you, Solas, and Varric talk about his new state. Solas expresses relief that Cole is not entirely different, even if he is more human.

If you side with Solas and decide that, as a spirit, Cole can forgive and forget this man, Solas and Cole follow the man together. Solas reminds Cole that he is a spirit of compassion and tells him to feel the man’s pain, shame, and regret. Cole recalls some fragments of memories from the human Cole. Solas asks Cole how he can help this man and, after a moment, Cole erases his memories. Back in Skyhold, Varric shows concern for how strange and erratic Cole has been behaving since they got back, but Solas says he just “sounds like a spirit” and that he’ll be able to focus when needed.

It’s worth noting that this is an interesting moral and philosophical question within Dragon Age lore, and Patrick Weekes (who wrote Cole) in an interview with Nerd Appropriate expressed that there is no “winning” or “losing” at the end of this quest. Making Cole more like a human helps him grow and change, which a spirit isn’t capable of, but also makes him a little less happy. Making Cole more like a spirit makes him happier and gives him peace, but also means he loses parts of his individuality, since spirits are not individuals. Apparently, Weekes found that Cole was the hardest character to write.

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