Within the Dragon Age setting characters are most often identified by, and structured around what is known as their class. When creating a character there are four choices you can make - they are listed below, along with a basic definition:
(Note- Weapons mentioned are not limited to the class, though are often typically found in use by said class. The only exception is the mage's staff, which cannot be used by a non-mage.)
A warrior is the strength and defensive backbone of any group. They often are the kind of person who enjoys working to a code or command structure, the born soldiers of Thedas, but are most characterised by the the role they take in combat. Known most commonly to use two handed weapons or weapon and shields to fight, the warrior will often be the one to lead a charge, to defend the others and bear the brunt of most attacks. They often wear heavy armour, and work well in organisations based around discipline- the Templar order, Military, even as hired Mercenaries..
The rogue class is characterised by use of stealth, subterfuge and accurate, precise attacks. The most common skillsets that Rogues employ involve fighting a single opponent, using underhanded tactics, superior movement and agility, and the tools they have on hand. These people can commonly be found in criminal organisations, working alone, or in any role that requires a bit of secrecy and subterfuge. Often found using daggers, bows, poisons and traps, these people are the planners, who rely on wit rather than strength, and will often have a trick up their sleeve.
Mages are born in Thedas, and while training is required, one who was not born a mage cannot become one through practice. Partially for this reason, mages are often viewed with suspicion and fear throughout Thedas, as they have skills that others cannot dream of. While they have been known to use a blade or common weapon, they are most often found using a staff, a conduit to focus their arcane powers. Very few mages are trained in the use of a sword, but few need one. Mages are constantly at risk of demonic possession from the moment they discover their powers, and as such are often watched over by the Templar order or another similar group, dedicated to protecting the world from Mages, and the Mages from a suspicious world. Such possession can only happen with willing consent from the mage, though, so it is a matter of willpower and training.
This role broadly covers the non-militant members of Thedas. From farmers to smiths, nobles to beggars, many in Thedas choose not to take up the sword for a more peaceful, safe life. Citizens can still fight, should they need to, but the class refers to those who do not train with weapons regularly, nor make their living and life based on them. The roles a citizen could play are many and varied, depending on their location, society, etcetera.
Hints and Tips
The main way to bolster your class in such a way to help further identify your character by their specific preferences is to choose a specialisation, or specialisations.
Specialisations are the concentrated talents within the class of your character, the most specific mechanic by which you can represent your character's styles and choices when it comes to combat. As such it is very rare that a specialisation (or spec as they are often called) can cross over classes; for example, a non-mage cannot develop the blood magic spec whilst a non-warrior cannot develop the sword and shield spec, and so on.