Pathfinder (Dragon Age Setting)
According to the Chantry, it is the hubris of men that brought the darkspawn upon the world. They teach that when the magisters of the old Tevinter Imperium entered the Golden City, their sin brought corruption to it. They were cast out, transformed into the hideous monsters known as darkspawn, and forced to flee the light of the sun, retreating into the Deep Roads, growing in number and digging deeper and deeper into the earth until they found the resting place of the Old God Dumat, where he had been imprisoned. Freed from his prison and warped by the taint the darkspawn bore, Dumat became the first of the archdemons and led the darkspawn to lay waste to the world
The dwarves give little credit to Chantry beliefs, but they themselves have no known origin story for the darkspawn. As far as the dwarves are concerned, the darkspawn simply appeared. The darkspawn hordes that invaded the Deep Roads ended up crippling the dwarven empire, leaving only Orzammar and Kal-Sharok, the latter of which was completely isolated from the outside world until recently.
Whether the Chantry’s information on the origin of the darkspawn is correct or not is uncertain, but no opposing story of their origin has been put forward.
With the fall of the Golden City and the beginnings of the First Blight in 800 TE, a dark age descended onto Thedas as the darkspawn rampaged across the continent, destroying everything in their path. The Tevinter Imperium suffered greatly, losing considerable territory and fracturing under the strain of the invasion, while the subterranean empire of the dwarves was laid waste, with only Orzammar and Kal-Sharok surviving. After nearly a century of hopeless, unending war, the Order of the Grey Wardens was established at Weisshaupt Fortress in 890 TE, and proved instrumental in the defeat of the Archdemon Dumat at the Battle of the Silent Plains. The darkspawn invasion had been beaten, but the species would retreat into the Deep Roads to rebuild and recover. Over the centuries, four more Blights would occur, the latest occurring in 9:30 Dragon. Each time, the Blight would be stopped with heavy losses, with the darkspawn destroying entire cities or even kingdoms before being beaten back by the nations of Thedas and the Grey Wardens.
Society and Culture
Unlike the other major races of Thedas, the darkspawn have very little resembling any form of culture or social organization, and can barely be considered sapient. The only hint at a native culture is their propensity to convert statues into representations of the Old Gods. The average darkspawn possesses no intelligence beyond a simple animal cunning, and they do not possess any language beyond roars and grunts. They are also completely hostile to outsiders; anyone caught venturing into the Deep Roads will be attacked, and anything caught in their path during a raid or a Blight will be mercilessly slaughtered. The only exceptions are those infected with the darkspawn taint; it is rumoured that their weapons and armour are constructed by groups of servile ghoul, as the spawn themselves have no capacity to use tools beyond weapons. When not engaged in raids, the darkspawn endlessly search for the sleeping Old Gods, drawn by what they hear as the “song” of the dragons. Should they find one, the taint will transform it into an Archdemon, a guiding intelligence that sends the darkspawn pouring to the surface in a Blight.