Dalisclock plays through the Dragon Age Trilogy and makes a lot of running commentary along the way. Spoilers abound.

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So as some of you may be aware, I've started my 4th attempt to play Dragon Age: Origins because of a certain long form video youtuber known only as Noah and for a couple weeks I've been posting my progress in the Currently Playing Thread. Since I've decided I'm gonna do the entire trilogy and not just Origins, I'm gonna make this it's own thread so people who aren't interested in my "witty" remarks can steer clear.

I'm gonna bring over my entries from that thread and then continue from here. I'm not gonna carry over the responses so far from the other thread because that'll be a bit messy. I'll just leave them there and if anyone wants to restate or respond again here, go for it.
 
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So with the Expeditions series finished(at least until they make another one in a couple years), I decided I'm gonna go back and try to finish one of my oldest "Games I started and never finished": Dragon Age Origins. Yes, I enjoy being late to all the parties, why do you ask?

I got DA:O around the time it came out and played it.....and never finished it. And then I tried it again with a different Origin and also never finished it. The big culprit is that I was in the Navy both times I attempted the game and let me just say the military does not fucking care about your time at all. They will make you work long fucking days as long as they feel they need you to and THEN send you on deployment that lasts for months and....yeah, each of my Dragon Age attempts fell victim to this. Also the fact I don't think I really understood how to properly build my characters or how to use DPS/Tank/Support in battles.

And this time, I plan to actually, legit finish it for real this time. Especially since the Awakenings Ultimate edition with ALL THE DLC was on sale and I figured "Why not?". I'm also actually using internet help to pick the right abilities and such for my characters so I'm not wasting my points because in a game with a nominal playthrough of 50-75 hours, I actually want to have fun with it this time and not have to start over because I fucked up and ruined my character stats. I remember reaching the Fade/Mage Tower in one playthrough and going to Ozremmer(?) in another(pretty early too) and hitting a difficulty spike in both.

So that out of the way, I decided to go with City Elf Rouge (Duel Wielding) and just got through the origin story for that character. I'd done it once before but I kind of forgot that origin story has one of your friends getting raped offscreen, so yeah, that's "fun". OTOH, it made it feel extremely cathartic when I decided not to accept the fuckers "deal" and decided to chop the rich fuck into little pieces with my stabby knives....and then took full responsibility for it because Duncan was gonna bail me out a minute later anyway. I'm sure there will be repercussions for my actions later(rich rapey boy threatened to take it out on the entire alienage/elf ghetto if he was harmed) but OTOH, he pretty much wanted to keep the rape party going and pay me off to look the other way so(despite my character being covered in the blood of all the guards I killed to get to him, so you know that's a negotiation tactic) ....well, he won't be raping no more, so hopefully it was worth it to him to fuck around and find out. I also stole all booze lying around his giant house during my murder spree through his guards, because there's nothing like a hard drink after a long day of stabbying a bunch of corrupt dipshits to death.

I haven't decided if I'm gonna go try the other origins before pressing on with the main story OR just press on and check out the other origins later. I do not plan to do 6 playthroughs of the game just due to how long this game is and the fact I want to check out inquisition somewhere down the line. I also haven't decided if I'm gonna bother playing DA2 or just youtube a story playthrough before then.

Otherwise, I had remind myself that early bioware games were....not really janky but they do feel clunky by today's standards. The graphics in Origins also haven't aged particularly well either and I find it interesting you can pick a voice for your character but apparently don't ever hear them speak despite the fact everyone else speaks.

Finally, I'm sure this is because I have the DAO Awakenings Ultimate edition because I started the game with a bunch of equipment in my inventory I have no idea why I have it. Like some special dragon armor, a bunch of other stuff, a couple books that give you skill points, etc. It feels a little immersion breaking that I'm playing a ghetto elf but I got all this cool stuff because.....bioware put it in the game and decided to just throw it at me to start with.
 

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Made it to Lothering in Dragon Age: Origins, after finishing Ostagar and the tower there. Man, It must have been a while since I played this because I totally don't remember wandering through the Wilds through the battle collecting Darkspawn blud, though I do remember that specific quest. I remember the joining sequence but not that there's actual sidequests prior to it, so I spent a bit of time exploring the wilds trying to find stuff and gain XP and do side quests with Alister and the two red shirts. And man, knowing they're doomed at least means I don't have to worry about messing around with them. Of course, during the tower sequence I get another couple of red shirts who I know are also doomed because those two don't even have names, just "Circle Mage" and "Tower Guard".

I gotta admit, I am impressed how the Darkspawn, after massacring the tower guards, apparently had time to go around putting heads on pikes and putting up darkspawn decoration. I somehow thought the tower had just been overrun as the battle started but seeing all the creepy barbarian shit inside makes me think otherwise. I didn't have as much trouble with the Ogre as I did before( I remember him being a nightmare on earlier playthroughs and he's the first fucking boss) but this time I wiped once. Probably because Alister kept forgetting how to tank and the mage decided to try to melee because reasons. Also, the real time with a pause is kind of annoying to deal with and I'm slowly getting used to the idea I have more then one character to manage. I guess I need to mess with the tactical feature where you can get them to react according to certain situations.

So now that a number of the characters have finally been introduced, time to talk about them. King Cailen comes across as a Romantic Idiot and I totally get why Loghain kept rolling his eyes at his brilliant "We gonna kill the darkspawn in one big battle. Weeeee!" plan. Not that you get to see much of the plan in action but rushing at the much larger horde and the king being in the middle of the melee is normally considered a really bad idea, tactically speaking. And the King found out pretty fast. So yeah, Loghain pulling out was a dick move but it looks like the pooch was pretty well screwed by that point(the fact the beacon wasn't lit on time probably also contributed to this). OTOH, blaming the Grey Wardens for killing the King was also a dick move on Loghain's part because the Wardens weren't the one who came up the brilliant "Rush the Darkspawn" plan and there was no need to blame them for anything. It feels really counterproductive since as far as Loghain knows, all the grey wardens in the country died in the battle and he probably needs them to help him take down the blight since that's still a problem, just saying.

Speaking of the Grey Wardens, Alister being the de facto head of the Wardens is interesting since he clearly has no confidence in his own ability to lead anything, and as morrigan points out, lets the new guy/girl make the big decisions. I realize Alistor isn't particularly senior himself, but with Duncan and the rest dead, well, he's now in charge by seniority. And I feel for the guy, but his continual dithering on making any kind of decision feels kind of annoying. And then there's Morrigan, who I feel like is like a remixed Kreia from KOTOR 2. While she's arguably far less experienced then Kreia, she has that same "Fuck everyone else" attitude. I mean, I do understand her saying "We've got big problems, our job isn't to do everyone else's chores" and that she has very little in the way of interpersonal social skills but OTOH at times it feels really mean spirited like doing anything remotely good for anyone else for any reason starts her bitching about it. So the Warden is stuck with feckless boy Alister and jerkass girl Morrigan. But I have the pupper now too and he's a good boi, such a good boy.

And While I'm getting used to how the game looks, the weirdness of everyone but the warden talking still sticks out to me. The dialogue is generally pretty good and I'm glad you can snark and tell people off(Dealing with the bandits at Lothering Bridge and getting them to pay you off instead of killing them is beautiful). Also, I've noticed how many conversations end with "I Should go" and every time I hear it in Mark Meer's voice when I'm not hearing in in Jennifer Hale's voice. Interestingly, Dragon age came out AFTER Mass Effect, it seems. Which makes it wierd since again, Shepard talks but the Warden doesn't but "I should go" is just the standard goodbye for both. What I really want now is "I'm the Grey Warden and this is my favorite Tavern in Ferelden"
 

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Haven't made too much progress because Ive been busy this week with back to school stuff for the kiddo and trying to paint my porch, but I decided to take a break at Lothering and run through the origin stories of the other 5 guys other then my City Elf Rogue I'm going to play through as. I've done Mage, Dalish Elf and I'm doing the Human Noble(which is the only Human specific one). It's interesting there's no Human Commoner but apparently there were plans to do one and they ran out of time to implement. While it's annoying to get the same tutorial pop ups every time, I do dig the fact that the origins allow you to get 6 different perspectives on Thedas culture and politics without being too lore dumpy or distracting about it. I mean you can get into a bunch of long conversations about your particular form of culture for that origin but it doesn't seem required. And the world building pretty good, honestly. The whole balancing act with the Mages and the Templars and everyone else is pretty interesting and the constant references to the previous civilization that apparently abused the shit out of magic and IF the stories are true, created the Darkspawn and are the reason Mages aren't really trusted.

Also, I'm so glad the XBOX360/PS3 era is gone because I really do NOT miss that "BROWN and TAN and MUD" color palette that generation was weirdly obsessed with. It's okay to have bright colors, guys. Bright colors are nice to look at and they age a hell of a lot better than what these guys were doing.
 

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I've finished all but the Dwarf Noble Origins now. I can kinda guess why they didn't do the Human Commoner now, considering between the Alienage Elf and Casteless Dwarf, you've got the extreme poverty and socially downtrodden angles pretty well covered. So unless the Human story was some kind of Merchant class or something it probably wouldn't have contributed much new.

And along with the murder spree at rapey mcrapeyson's Palace in the City Elf Origin, the bit in the Commoner Dwarf story when you take off your helmet during the proven to show "Yes, this lower class Scum just bested your best warriors. Suck on it!" is a great moment.

On a side note *Puts on armchair military strategist hat* the plan at Ostagar wasn't a bad idea in itself. It's apparently a natural chokepoint where a smaller force could easily hold a much larger force such as the HORDE and the idea of using a Hammer and Anvil is a solid plan. But it went horribly wrong because 1.) The hammer part of the Hammer and Anvil never actually happened because Loghain just fucked off with his troops and 2.) Because the Anvil Part of the plan involved the defenders leaving their defensive line to bait the horde, they were easily taken down by the larger numbers. And even worse, if the wiki is to be believed Logahin was the one who came up with the plan to begin with. And the most damaging part of this is that the Elite of the armies were right there getting slaughtered, except for Loghains troops.

True, the idea of the King fighting next to the grey wardens was pretty dumb, Loghain leaving them to die meant 1.) Dead King, 2.) Succession Crisis because Dead King 3.) Devastated Grey Wardens who you also criminalized so they aren't gonna do much to help 4.) The Vanguard of the Army dead and 5.) The Darkspawn horde are past the Ostagar chokepoint and now overrunning the rest of the fairly flat country with little opposition.

Oh, and the refugee crisis and bandit problem because the the army is dead or pulled back and everyone else is either turning to banditry or fleeing the horde. Also FOOD CRISIS because nobody is working the farms now because they're too busy fleeing the horde or being dead. So yay Loghain? *Slow Clap*

Now if I missed something important, I apologize, I'm still in the early game so I'm going off what I've seen thus far(and what little I remember from the last times I played it). However, if there was some kind of BETTER plain Loghain had after he decided to fuck off and leave the king and army to die at Ostagar, I'm at a loss so far what it is, because now he has to raise a new army, without any grey wardens to assist, I suspect nobody else is coming to help so he's got whatever bannermen he can raise in the next month or two before the country is overrun by not-orcs and again, the whole incoming famine and trade no doubt grinding to a halt is gonna be a really bad year or so for the country assuming anyone survives. Gondor may call for call for Aid but no Calvary is coming and orcs have broken the gates.

Thank you for attending my TED talk.
 

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Finished all the Origins, Lothering and moved on to some of the DLC stuff before I hit the main quests. Went to Warden's Keep/Soldiers Peak and that was a fun haunted castle side story. Shame we couldn't use the castle as a base but it was kinda cool how there were numerous ways to resolve it. End fight was a pain though, with 4 waves of demons to take down, which I needed to micromanage the hell out of my party to prevail because Morrigan would get up in the thick if it like an idiot and die.

Also did the Stone Golem DLC and that was fine. I really do wish there was a turned base combat option at times, because Real time with a pause means I have to herd fucking cats when some people COUGHMORRIGANCOUGH keep rushing into the thick of the battle and being squishy getting killed. Or Alister runs deep behind enemies lies without support and dies. I recruited Shale so I'm pretty much done with that. Seriously though, is everyone in Ferelden trying to summon demons? Because there seems to be a lot of this going on. It's hard to say the Chantry and Templars are wrong, because demons are no fucking joke and then we have the blood mage in the Wardens keep DLC who was running creepy mad science nazi torture experiments and summoning demons, which is pretty horrible. At least he helped fix his mistake.

Talking with Party members, I'm getting a much better feel for who these people are. Morrigan's snark attitude seems heavily tied to the fact her "mother" was honestly a pretty bad parent and while Morrigan laughs a lot of it off, there's some strong hints a lot of her childhood was traumatizing or at least very unhappy. The fact she was isolated from the rest of the world and had no idea how to deal with it once she started meeting other people only reinforces what a crappy hand she's been dealt and I can emphasize with the attitude a lot more. Alister, strangely, kinda has something similar going though he deals with his crappy childhood by self deprecating humor to cover up his lack of confidence. Bastard who was packed off a monastery, trained to be a Templar but never actually inducted, recruited for the grey wardens but barely been one before almost all of them were wiped out. Not to mention he's clearly taking the loss of Duncan quite hard.

Then there's the new guys on the team. Liliana, who is apparently the equivalent of a nun, I think(maybe someone more familiar with Catholicism and/or dragon age can help me out here what she's supposed to be), except she's clearly done a lot more then that. Since she's also a bard, probably a spy, she knows how to handle a blade and she's apparently French. So there's a lot going on there. And then there's Sten, who...well, he's hard to talk to and quite proud of that fact it seems. He also has a VERY black and white view of the world, since he seems to think it's impossible for a Woman to be a Fighter because Women don't Fight. Not "Women shouldn't fight" or "Women aren't strong enough to fight", but rather the whole "Women /= FIGHTER" full stop and it's like a paradox to him that he's having great difficulty resolving and the conversation about that is quite circular. But since Sten won't talk about himself or his culture it's hard to parse him.
 

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More Dragon Ages(this train is gonna be going a while). Spent the last two evenings doing the Leliana's Song DLC. Or to be more accurate, I did it almost all the way to the end, realized I could not beat the final fight and more importantly, I'd missed all the pieces of the special armor you can only get from this DLC and started over again to replay the entire thing last night(this time skipping all the cutscenes). And finally finished it the 2nd go around and got the special Battledress of the Provocateur which is basically Rogue super-armor from what it looks like.

So it's a fun little stand-alone campaign that lasts about 2 hours and is basically Leliana's Backstory. Yes, it turns out that nun(?) who is good with a blade wasn't always a nun. It turns out.....She was a spy and an assassin. WHAT A TWIST! Seriously though, it opens strong with her and her team running around in the Capital of Ferelden stirring up shit as part of "The game" and then do a break-in where they plant some documents in the palace before even more hijinks ensue. It's fairly tight, and you get levels every few minutes which means if you have to redo it(like I did), it's easy enough just reallocate stats on the next run. The downside is that it's really linear. The first area gives you some stuff to do in any order and a sidequest or two but the rest is running down hallways and killing dudes, collecting better gear as you go. Almost all the fights are mandatory and while it's great for pacing, it does clash with the spy hijinks because while the game does allow you to plant evidence and hide bodies, it doesn't seem to matter much in the long run and going down basically a corridor with some side rooms isn't conductive to stealth at all.

THe worst part of this is that since the prize of the DLC is the Rogue super-armor, the aforementioned battledress, you need to find 6 pieces of it to get it, both here and in the main game. It does become an objective once you find the first piece(which you get more or less just by playing) but the rest are hidden along the way. You'd think "It's a linear game. How hard could that be?". Well, the big problem is a number of the pieces are hidden in locked chests, chests that can only be opened if your lockpick skill is high enough. Most areas you visit all of once and then never return because of how linear the game is, so if your lockpick skill isn't high enough to open those chests before you have to leave the area to proceed and there's not enough XP to increase it before you leave, well tough shit boss, you ain't getting that piece and aren't getting the armor at all. Restart the dlc. Except you don't know this before going in that's how it's gonna work, so if you foolishly didn't sink points into lockpicking early on, you're gonna miss at least one of them because you can't open the door/chest. Also, one of them is hidden in a chest in a locked room which a tough miniboss in it, a miniboss with a bunch of fucking dogs and you must kill them to get that piece of the armor or you ain't getting the armor. See where I'm going with this?

It's generally interesting with the spy/black ops hijinks(and getting more worldbuilding about Orlesia AKA fantasy France to boot) but it feels constrained by the RPG engine, because much of the game is a linear dungeon crawl and you're flat out told to just kill people because they know the sneaky sneaky doesn't really work here. Some of the dialogue also feels off at times, like one line and the next won't really connect to each other and it feels immersion breaking. Really, this is something that would have been really cool if it had been a much longer DLC, like 10 hours and had an engine that could actually support the espionage stuff it was trying to pull off. I know it doesn't support the darkspawn storyline but there's plenty of political intrigue and backstabbing(also frontstabbing) in the base game, so a DLC that really leaned into it would be pretty interesting. Especially the Spy that got burned and disavowed by her handler twist. It's fun to do once and get the armor but there's no real reason to do it ever again.

With that and two of the other DLCs out of the way, I'm pretty much at the point I guess it's time to proceed with the main quests of the game which I've partially been putting off because everyone recommends the Mage Tower and the Fade as the first one and I remember the Fade being a giant PITA when I got that far years ago. I also wanted to check out some of the DLC I'd never gotten to do because I didn't own them the last time I played(as well as collect the rewards), so that made it more convenient to not go to the mage tower.

Okay, that catches this thread up(sans responses/discussion from the other thread). From here on will be all the new stuff.
 

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I've finished all but the Dwarf Noble Origins now. I can kinda guess why they didn't do the Human Commoner now, considering between the Alienage Elf and Casteless Dwarf, you've got the extreme poverty and socially downtrodden angles pretty well covered. So unless the Human story was some kind of Merchant class or something it probably wouldn't have contributed much new.

And along with the murder spree at rapey mcrapeyson's Palace in the City Elf Origin, the bit in the Commoner Dwarf story when you take off your helmet during the proven to show "Yes, this lower class Scum just bested your best warriors. Suck on it!" is a great moment.

On a side note *Puts on armchair military strategist hat* the plan at Ostagar wasn't a bad idea in itself. It's apparently a natural chokepoint where a smaller force could easily hold a much larger force such as the HORDE and the idea of using a Hammer and Anvil is a solid plan. But it went horribly wrong because 1.) The hammer part of the Hammer and Anvil never actually happened because Loghain just fucked off with his troops and 2.) Because the Anvil Part of the plan involved the defenders leaving their defensive line to bait the horde, they were easily taken down by the larger numbers. And even worse, if the wiki is to be believed Logahin was the one who came up with the plan to begin with. And the most damaging part of this is that the Elite of the armies were right there getting slaughtered, except for Loghains troops.

True, the idea of the King fighting next to the grey wardens was pretty dumb, Loghain leaving them to die meant 1.) Dead King, 2.) Succession Crisis because Dead King 3.) Devastated Grey Wardens who you also criminalized so they aren't gonna do much to help 4.) The Vanguard of the Army dead and 5.) The Darkspawn horde are past the Ostagar chokepoint and now overrunning the rest of the fairly flat country with little opposition.

Oh, and the refugee crisis and bandit problem because the the army is dead or pulled back and everyone else is either turning to banditry or fleeing the horde. Also FOOD CRISIS because nobody is working the farms now because they're too busy fleeing the horde or being dead. So yay Loghain? *Slow Clap*

Now if I missed something important, I apologize, I'm still in the early game so I'm going off what I've seen thus far(and what little I remember from the last times I played it). However, if there was some kind of BETTER plain Loghain had after he decided to fuck off and leave the king and army to die at Ostagar, I'm at a loss so far what it is, because now he has to raise a new army, without any grey wardens to assist, I suspect nobody else is coming to help so he's got whatever bannermen he can raise in the next month or two before the country is overrun by not-orcs and again, the whole incoming famine and trade no doubt grinding to a halt is gonna be a really bad year or so for the country assuming anyone survives. Gondor may call for call for Aid but no Calvary is coming and orcs have broken the gates.

Thank you for attending my TED talk.

1. Can I talk?

2. If I can, all this because he was that afraid of Orlais taking over the country when the King asked for the assistance of the Orlaisian Grey Wardens.
 
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Samtemdo8

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Also did the Stone Golem DLC and that was fine. I really do wish there was a turned base combat option at times, because Real time with a pause means I have to herd fucking cats when some people COUGHMORRIGANCOUGH keep rushing into the thick of the battle and being squishy getting killed. Or Alister runs deep behind enemies lies without support and dies.

There's a "wait command" so that your party members doesn't move around on their own during battle. Also disable tactics. That's how I play this game on PC.
 
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1. Can I talk?

2. If I can, all this because he was that afraid of Orlais taking over the country when the King asked for the assistance of the Orlaisian Grey Wardens.
You can totally talk.

Sorry, if it wasn't clear, anyone feel free to respond or add commentary to the thread. A lot of this is me rambling about my experience but I'm happy to have others join in.

Also I'm not even sure how tactics work in this game to be honest. I looked at the screen early on but haven't gone back and put in effort to figure them out.
 

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You can totally talk.

Sorry, if it wasn't clear, anyone feel free to respond or add commentary to the thread. A lot of this is me rambling about my experience but I'm happy to have others join in.

Also I'm not even sure how tactics work in this game to be honest. I looked at the screen early on but haven't gone back and put in effort to figure them out.
Its Final Fantasy 12's Gambit System. If you played that game, if you did not, you customize the AI of your party to act in specific ways you want them to.

Your character's health is below 50%, they will automatically use a Healing Potion if you set that Tactic.
 
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Its Final Fantasy 12's Gambit System. If you played that game, if you did not, you customize the AI of your party to act in specific ways you want them to.

Your character's health is below 50%, they will automatically use a Healing Potion if you set that Tactic.
I haven't played it but It did remind me of what I've heard about the gambit system
 

meiam

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You can totally talk.

Sorry, if it wasn't clear, anyone feel free to respond or add commentary to the thread. A lot of this is me rambling about my experience but I'm happy to have others join in.

Also I'm not even sure how tactics work in this game to be honest. I looked at the screen early on but haven't gone back and put in effort to figure them out.
So playing the game you have two way to do it I'd say.

Pause every few seconds to give order, or setup a tactics. If you play on anything but highest difficulty I'd recommend setting up tactics as it means you don't have to do as much micro managing, well setup all you really need to do is move character when they go out of position. On the hardest setting it doesn't really work as you can't afford character not using ability optimally and you'll always feel like your just herding suicidal cats.

Worth learning to use it if you play the expansion or DA2 since they use same system, DA:O doesn't bother using a system because its a dumb game.
 
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Gordon_4

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Finished all the Origins, Lothering and moved on to some of the DLC stuff before I hit the main quests. Went to Warden's Keep/Soldiers Peak and that was a fun haunted castle side story. Shame we couldn't use the castle as a base but it was kinda cool how there were numerous ways to resolve it. End fight was a pain though, with 4 waves of demons to take down, which I needed to micromanage the hell out of my party to prevail because Morrigan would get up in the thick if it like an idiot and die.

Also did the Stone Golem DLC and that was fine. I really do wish there was a turned base combat option at times, because Real time with a pause means I have to herd fucking cats when some people COUGHMORRIGANCOUGH keep rushing into the thick of the battle and being squishy getting killed. Or Alister runs deep behind enemies lies without support and dies. I recruited Shale so I'm pretty much done with that. Seriously though, is everyone in Ferelden trying to summon demons? Because there seems to be a lot of this going on. It's hard to say the Chantry and Templars are wrong, because demons are no fucking joke and then we have the blood mage in the Wardens keep DLC who was running creepy mad science nazi torture experiments and summoning demons, which is pretty horrible. At least he helped fix his mistake.

Talking with Party members, I'm getting a much better feel for who these people are. Morrigan's snark attitude seems heavily tied to the fact her "mother" was honestly a pretty bad parent and while Morrigan laughs a lot of it off, there's some strong hints a lot of her childhood was traumatizing or at least very unhappy. The fact she was isolated from the rest of the world and had no idea how to deal with it once she started meeting other people only reinforces what a crappy hand she's been dealt and I can emphasize with the attitude a lot more. Alister, strangely, kinda has something similar going though he deals with his crappy childhood by self deprecating humor to cover up his lack of confidence. Bastard who was packed off a monastery, trained to be a Templar but never actually inducted, recruited for the grey wardens but barely been one before almost all of them were wiped out. Not to mention he's clearly taking the loss of Duncan quite hard.

Then there's the new guys on the team. Liliana, who is apparently the equivalent of a nun, I think(maybe someone more familiar with Catholicism and/or dragon age can help me out here what she's supposed to be), except she's clearly done a lot more then that. Since she's also a bard, probably a spy, she knows how to handle a blade and she's apparently French. So there's a lot going on there. And then there's Sten, who...well, he's hard to talk to and quite proud of that fact it seems. He also has a VERY black and white view of the world, since he seems to think it's impossible for a Woman to be a Fighter because Women don't Fight. Not "Women shouldn't fight" or "Women aren't strong enough to fight", but rather the whole "Women /= FIGHTER" full stop and it's like a paradox to him that he's having great difficulty resolving and the conversation about that is quite circular. But since Sten won't talk about himself or his culture it's hard to parse him.
Lilliana is a chantry sister; which is more like a priest because the Chantry in Ferelden, Orlais, the Free Marches and basically everywhere else that isn’t the Tevinter Imperium, Par Vollen or other territories held by the Qunari, is matriarchal. I guess an easy, but lacking nuance, way to think about it is “What if the Catholic Church worshiped the Virgin Mary instead of Jesus Christ?”.

As for finding it difficult to not like the Chantry and the Templars because it seems like every mage you meet is two steps from being a Maleifcar, I think it’s a consequence of a few factors. First is the gameplay need to provide an enemy to fight that isn’t Darkspawn for player variety. Second is a desire for the setting to have consequences attached to the use of magic; compare to say, World of Warcraft which has laughably little to zero consequences for being a warlock (magic user who consorts and binds demons) or a demon hunter (a fighter who binds a demon within them for the express purpose of killing other demons) outside of background lore. Third is a writing issue; leaving aside Thedas being fairly egalitarian in matters of sex and gender, it’s not likely that a people for whom the Chantry is the unified and supreme moral authority would be so resistant to their confinement, especially with tangible proof of the dangers. Hell for peasants, city elves or half elves it represents a chance for education, housing and protection that would be otherwise beyond them. But the game is written by modern Americans to whom individual liberty is the mark of a civilisation and the idea of being locked up for a genetic disposition is the ultimate tyranny of the state. X-Men has a similar problem in that mutants represent a tangible threat to life and limb but - in America at least - successfully containing them means violating the very moral and political liberties upon which the country was founded.

Of course the Chantry is not blameless in this regard since there are just so many ways their mages could be useful to broader society that they never seem to think of. And it maybe wouldn’t kill them (much) to give the mages some liberties like being able to visit family if they’ve passed their harrowing or have family visit them at the Circle if they haven’t. Give them work as healers for the villages or cities near the Circle they reside in so they can socialise with the outside world.
 

Dalisclock

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Lilliana is a chantry sister; which is more like a priest because the Chantry in Ferelden, Orlais, the Free Marches and basically everywhere else that isn’t the Tevinter Imperium, Par Vollen or other territories held by the Qunari, is matriarchal. I guess an easy, but lacking nuance, way to think about it is “What if the Catholic Church worshiped the Virgin Mary instead of Jesus Christ?”.
I kind of got that Andraste was basically Fantasy Lady Jesus(but burned rather then crucified thus the flame as the symbol instead of the cross) but the Virgin Mary actually makes more sense. The DAO codex entries aren't as easy to read as their counterparts in Mass Effect were so I'm sure I missed some details there. Ditto I kinda missed that the Chantry is Matriarchal through now that you mention it it's really obvious considering almost every member you meet is female. Appreciated


As for finding it difficult to not like the Chantry and the Templars because it seems like every mage you meet is two steps from being a Maleifcar, I think it’s a consequence of a few factors. First is the gameplay need to provide an enemy to fight that isn’t Darkspawn for player variety. Second is a desire for the setting to have consequences attached to the use of magic; compare to say, World of Warcraft which has laughably little to zero consequences for being a warlock (magic user who consorts and binds demons) or a demon hunter (a fighter who binds a demon within them for the express purpose of killing other demons) outside of background lore. Third is a writing issue; leaving aside Thedas being fairly egalitarian in matters of sex and gender, it’s not likely that a people for whom the Chantry is the unified and supreme moral authority would be so resistant to their confinement, especially with tangible proof of the dangers. Hell for peasants, city elves or half elves it represents a chance for education, housing and protection that would be otherwise beyond them. But the game is written by modern Americans to whom individual liberty is the mark of a civilisation and the idea of being locked up for a genetic disposition is the ultimate tyranny of the state. X-Men has a similar problem in that mutants represent a tangible threat to life and limb but - in America at least - successfully containing them means violating the very moral and political liberties upon which the country was founded.

Of course the Chantry is not blameless in this regard since there are just so many ways their mages could be useful to broader society that they never seem to think of. And it maybe wouldn’t kill them (much) to give the mages some liberties like being able to visit family if they’ve passed their harrowing or have family visit them at the Circle if they haven’t. Give them work as healers for the villages or cities near the Circle they reside in so they can socialise with the outside world.
Makes sense. I agree with the Xmen comparison because it's trying to play it as "Persecuted Minority" except IRL Persecuted Minorities can't shoot lasers from their eyes or summon hurricanes at will so suggesting "Yes, maybe there should be some kind of way to keep these people in check" feels a lot more warranted when said group actually can bring down literal death and destruction purely on accident. True Blood tried to pull the same thing, which felt even more awkward considering most if not all the Vampires still enjoyed feeding on and killing humans so the comparison with homosexuals (ie "God Hates Fangs") doesn't really work.

What's particularly weird about the "Mages are oppressed" argument is that there are other groups that actually fit the theme of persecution much better, namely the Elves and the casteless Dwarves. The Casteless dwarves are so far down the social ladder they're below it and have almost no hope of ever reaching the bottom rung, let alone attempting to climb the damn thing(but are blamed for being criminals when they can't get honest work by law and cultural mores), whereas the elves are either confined to ghettos and at best can get jobs as servants OR have to live a constantly nomadic life in the forests because no one will let them settle(at least that's what I picked up). None of these groups have the power to control storms, summon demons, drain the sheer life force and bring down the hurt on the kingdom even through carelessness even without malice like the Mages do.

On a related note, I've committed to the mage tower and yeah, somebody fucked up. Somebody fucked up hard there. The fact that they have a standing order "The rite of annulment" which is basically "We kill everyone inside no matter what" is quite telling in itself, but when I get inside the tower and so far have encountered: Demons, Abominations, Undead, possessed Templars, Blood Mages and various malevolent spirits, yeah, it's hard to tell them they're wrong to have a backup that extreme. Hell, there's meat moss shit growing on the walls in the upper levels and there's barely half a dozen templars in the entryway keeping the monsters IN(and the magic shield Wynne put up), and two things come to mind:
1.) Seriously what the hell happened here that things got this bad this fast? The Templars are explicitly there to prevent this sort of shit from happening but it sounds like shit just went down in an instant.
2.) Is there gonna be anyone to honor the treaty I have with the mage circle once this is all dealt with? I'm not seeing much in the way of sane, living mages or templars left and IIRC the circle tower is the Mage Circle's main base. At this point it looks like it's going to be a race between 100% of everything in the mage tower being put to the sword vs. 95% die by my hand on the way to solve the problem, unless there's a bunch of mages hiding in the storage caverns I haven't seen.

2. If I can, all this because he was that afraid of Orlais taking over the country when the King asked for the assistance of the Orlaisian Grey Wardens.
So far there isn't too much about Orlais in the base game but the DLC about Leliana does a pretty good job of how Orlasia is constantly fucking around in Ferelden and hearing her talk about "the game" in the base game gives the impression the nation is a cross between Pre-Revolutionary France and Some of the worst elements of the Roman Empire. Especially the nobles constantly smiling while they hire assassins and spies to undermine and kill each other. I'm sure there's another influence I'm missing here but the French Influence is obvious, the political backstabbing feels like it's drawing from something else. Maybe Italy prior to unification? The Byzantines?
 
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meiam

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The problem with making the persecuted minority also have super power is understandable considering people usually like the underdog in story while also paradoxically like when the character they root for is very powerful. Attempting to please both lead to the x men problem where if you think too much about it you end supporting the other side. To counter that they make other side cartoonishly evil with every character relishing in being evil for the sake of being evil. This is a big part of the problem with DA2 story, the main conflict is mage V templar and they try to make it so the player can justify both side but it just end up with being incredibly dumb, every templar seems to just want to torture every mage they meet for the fun of it and every mage is ready to summon demon over even mundane issue, and you usually just end up killing both side which makes awkward implication from a story point of view.

It also doesn't help that the only place where mage are freely able to exist is the tevinter imperium, which is a totallitarian regime that heavily employ slave and probably unleashed the darkspawn in the first place. After all of that its really hard not to side with the templar on mage, or at least with a milder version of the tower system (of course the game never really allow for that, you're either all in on the templar or for complete abolishion of the tower system).

As far as other viable group, elf are partially oppressed because of their magic and dwarf are very rare outside the dwarven city (and every dwarf on the surface is automatically casteless). Also elf are probably going to be a much bigger part of the story of the next DA game so maybe there'll be more there. Elf are more meant to represent the native american but a lot of stuff doesn't add up in what the story reveal about the Elf pre human colonization. It's unclear if that was poor writing or if more information will re contextualize that aspect.

The game kinda fudge the number with the tower mage, but yeah realistically there shouldn't be anybody left to help you after everything that went down in there. The tower should only be able to realistically be able to hold maybe up to maybe 100 mage anyway.
 

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The problem with making the persecuted minority also have super power is understandable considering people usually like the underdog in story while also paradoxically like when the character they root for is very powerful. Attempting to please both lead to the x men problem where if you think too much about it you end supporting the other side. To counter that they make other side cartoonishly evil with every character relishing in being evil for the sake of being evil. This is a big part of the problem with DA2 story, the main conflict is mage V templar and they try to make it so the player can justify both side but it just end up with being incredibly dumb, every templar seems to just want to torture every mage they meet for the fun of it and every mage is ready to summon demon over even mundane issue, and you usually just end up killing both side which makes awkward implication from a story point of view.

It also doesn't help that the only place where mage are freely able to exist is the tevinter imperium, which is a totallitarian regime that heavily employ slave and probably unleashed the darkspawn in the first place. After all of that its really hard not to side with the templar on mage, or at least with a milder version of the tower system (of course the game never really allow for that, you're either all in on the templar or for complete abolishion of the tower system).

As far as other viable group, elf are partially oppressed because of their magic and dwarf are very rare outside the dwarven city (and every dwarf on the surface is automatically casteless). Also elf are probably going to be a much bigger part of the story of the next DA game so maybe there'll be more there. Elf are more meant to represent the native american but a lot of stuff doesn't add up in what the story reveal about the Elf pre human colonization. It's unclear if that was poor writing or if more information will re contextualize that aspect.

The game kinda fudge the number with the tower mage, but yeah realistically there shouldn't be anybody left to help you after everything that went down in there. The tower should only be able to realistically be able to hold maybe up to maybe 100 mage anyway.
The treaty binds ALL the Circles of Magi and there is one in almost every major capital city. Kirkwall (DAII) has one, as does Starkhaven (Sebastian’s home), Ostwick (human mages in Inquisition are from here) and Montismard (Vivienne is First Enchanter here) and many other unnamed cities and City States.
 
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Dalisclock

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The treaty binds ALL the Circles of Magi and there is one in almost every major capital city. Kirkwall (DAII) has one, as does Starkhaven (Sebastian’s home), Ostwick (human mages in Inquisition are from here) and Montismard (Vivienne is First Enchanter here) and many other unnamed cities and City States.
Ok, that's an important distinction there and since I haven't traveled very much in the game so far it doesn't feel very apparent. Even what little I've seen of Denerim is pretty narrowly focused. The impression at this point is that the circle tower IS the main hub of the Mages and since that's compromised, we're pretty much fucked on that front. Knowing it's one part of a much wider organization helps a lot.

It's nice to know that the later games help expand the worldbuilding here, and again, it's possible some of this in in the codex but the codex opens up little bits at a time and it doesn't feel super user friendly compared to some other games out there so I'm sure I've missed some vital details due to that.

As far as other viable group, elf are partially oppressed because of their magic and dwarf are very rare outside the dwarven city (and every dwarf on the surface is automatically casteless). Also elf are probably going to be a much bigger part of the story of the next DA game so maybe there'll be more there. Elf are more meant to represent the native american but a lot of stuff doesn't add up in what the story reveal about the Elf pre human colonization. It's unclear if that was poor writing or if more information will re contextualize that aspect.
There is definitely some Native American Influence there, it looks like, but I can also see romani with the wagons and nomadic life. The City elves I think are meant to be analogous to the Jewish people in Europe but I could be wrong there.
 
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