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If you import a character from Dragon Age: Origins, then you'll get to keep your equipped gear, your inventory, and your gold, but you'll lose any equipment worn by your companions, and any equipment stored in a party chest (such as the one available in the Warden's Keep DLC).
You can use any save from Dragon Age: Origins when importing a character, so you might want to take your best save, and then sell off your extraneous equipment and "borrow" some things from your companions before proceeding.
Currently (as of version 1.03), most DLC items and talents will not transfer from Origins to Awakening. One exception to this is the
Helm of Honnleath
Newly created characters will start out at level 18, with 15 sovereigns, 100 inventory slots, and a decent selection of equipment. That's all nice, but any character who completed Dragon Age: Origins is almost guaranteed to be more powerful. Among other things, newly created characters won't receive any of the attribute bonuses from the
, or any skill or talent bonuses from manuals. So if you have a choice, you should always try to use an imported character.
If you create a new character, then you'll play a Warden from Orlais, and Alistair will be king. If you import your character, then you'll keep your background, and whoever you made king in Origins will still be king in Awakening.