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

Dalisclock

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Since it looks like I'm approaching the end of the main story("What Pride has wrought" apparently cuts off certain quests and officially counts as triggering the endgame) I'm focusing on unlocking areas that I haven't even checked out yet and side quests that seem to be interesting in those areas. I realized there's a number of zones I hadn't even stepped foot in such as the Emerald Graves, the Hissing Wastes, the Exalted Plains and Emprise Du Lion. Also the forbidden Oasis but apparently that's the fucking shard quest and I told myself I'm not going to even bother with that because it's too much pain for too little reward. Also the DLC areas the Frostback Basin and the Deep Roads for "The Descent". COnsidering the price of entry for the next story mission is 40 It feels like it's better to just unlock the other areas so I can build up power as I explore and do stuff.

There's also a operation to clear the Sulfur Pits in the Western Approach and I have no idea what opens up if I spend the 5 power to do so. But power gets dropped on me like candy in this game so I guess why not?

Finished Varric's Side quest in the "Deep Roads" off the Hinterlands with the real Bianca and that was interesting. Apparently Varric accidently let the secret of the Red Lyrium via Bianca, who then went to study it and so on. Also, fun fact: Not only is the Lyrium actually alive(somehow) the Red stuff is Blighted. So that's....kinda fucking terrifying, especially the way it's popping up at or near the surface in DAI when in DA2 it was deep underground or confined to the Gallows in Kirkwall(the Red Lyrium Meredith statue, which is apparently kept contained by the Templars there). In Varric's Words "Well, Shit".

Exalted plains is...interesting. It's a big battlefield swarming with undead because apparently nobody has been burning the corpses properly and in Thedas that's a bad idea. Also these weirdos apparently haven't figured out the war is over so they're still fucking around down here waiting for me to clear their earthworks for them so they can take them back over....because reasons. Also how did so much WW1 Trench Warfare get in my epic fantasy game?(Yes I know military Earthworks existed prior to WW1 but it feels like it's meant to evoke the Western Front in WW1).

Oh, and I got a prompt to go play cards with everyone and that was a fun sequence. Sure, it's basically a glorified cutscene but it was a nice bit of the group just having a fun night out that you don't get much and it makes it feel special. It would have been nice for it to be a bit longer but watching cullen finish the game without any clothes and shamefully running away in the buff at the end once everyone else had gone was hilarious.

Pretty much just gonna be checking in when some of the side stuff yields something interesting to talk about because I'll probably be doing that for a bit, then the Jaws and Descent DLCs and then once those are done the last few story missions and Trespasser at the end.
 
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meiam

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Exalted plains is...interesting. It's a big battlefield swarming with undead because apparently nobody has been burning the corpses properly and in Thedas that's a bad idea. Also these weirdos apparently haven't figured out the war is over so they're still fucking around down here waiting for me to clear their earthworks for them so they can take them back over....because reasons. Also how did so much WW1 Trench Warfare get in my epic fantasy game?(Yes I know military Earthworks existed prior to WW1 but it feels like it's meant to evoke the Western Front in WW1).
With mage acting as defacto long rage/artillery unit I imagine trench warfare would get established much earlier.
 
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With mage acting as defacto long rage/artillery unit I imagine trench warfare would get established much earlier.
I honestly feel like these games aren't really good at really showing how Mages could be used in Warfare. In game you can have mages dropping firestorms on the heads of enemies or zapping knights with big ass lighting storms or pulling everyone into a sigularity where they can't even move while getting pounded on, but we never really see that applied in actual warfare. Even in places like the battle of Ostagar, where mages were present canonically, were never really see them used in a way that seems to matter. To be fair, Ostagar is in-universe acknowledged as being a "Charge of the Light Brigade" type moment that is both poetic and stupid.

I could level the same criticism at Mass Effect, BTW, where it feels like all the cool Space Magic and all those rules for how space warfare works via different ship classes and combined arms never really shows up when showing large scale battles, it's something that only really exists in the codex while the onscreen stuff is really tame in comparison.

And that's probably just me as an armchair military nerd, but I do get annoyed like in DA2 where the Templars charge the mages and most of the mages just go down hard super fast despite the fact the mages should be able to wipe the floor with the templars at range. And yeah, I know Templars are mean to be a counter to mages but still it feels very phoned in there.
 
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meiam

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Thats entering into... hard fantasy? territory and those don't tend to be very popular, but yeah it would be really cool to have an RPG that would seriously consider the implication of magic in large scale warfare. Just the existence of healing alone would completely change how encounter would be fought.
 
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I honestly feel like these games aren't really good at really showing how Mages could be used in Warfare. In game you can have mages dropping firestorms on the heads of enemies or zapping knights with big ass lighting storms or pulling everyone into a sigularity where they can't even move while getting pounded on, but we never really see that applied in actual warfare. Even in places like the battle of Ostagar, where mages were present canonically, were never really see them used in a way that seems to matter. To be fair, Ostagar is in-universe acknowledged as being a "Charge of the Light Brigade" type moment that is both poetic and stupid.

I could level the same criticism at Mass Effect, BTW, where it feels like all the cool Space Magic and all those rules for how space warfare works via different ship classes and combined arms never really shows up when showing large scale battles, it's something that only really exists in the codex while the onscreen stuff is really tame in comparison.

And that's probably just me as an armchair military nerd, but I do get annoyed like in DA2 where the Templars charge the mages and most of the mages just go down hard super fast despite the fact the mages should be able to wipe the floor with the templars at range. And yeah, I know Templars are mean to be a counter to mages but still it feels very phoned in there.
I simply assume we don’t see stuff like this because - as with Mass Effect - it’s all skirmishes by specialist ‘fire teams’ (and not even that) rather than a campaign of combined arms regulars. Not that there isn’t opportunities - Hi, Siege of Adamant Fortress - but it would be a cut scene thing or the game would need to shift to RTS to do big unit movements.
 
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Thats entering into... hard fantasy? territory and those don't tend to be very popular, but yeah it would be really cool to have an RPG that would seriously consider the implication of magic in large scale warfare. Just the existence of healing alone would completely change how encounter would be fought.
I don't think it is really unpopular, but to do so, you would need to really define what magic can do and how easily and how widespread it is etc. You need this to decide what would be good uses of magic. And in war you also need it do come up with counters.

cRPG franchises generally avoid that and mostly care for PC abilities which tend to be about small scale combat and about plot device abilities. Regular RPG settings often do that better - if they are not based on D&D. Book settings often also do better work here.
 

RhombusHatesYou

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I honestly feel like these games aren't really good at really showing how Mages could be used in Warfare. In game you can have mages dropping firestorms on the heads of enemies or zapping knights with big ass lighting storms or pulling everyone into a sigularity where they can't even move while getting pounded on, but we never really see that applied in actual warfare.
Or, keeping in tone with games, panicking at the sight of an enemy and using their allies to fuel a half-arsed blood magic ritual.
 
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When the war against the Qunari comes, the South needs to offer pastries to those who surrender. The real problem might be if they have enough room for all the prisoners.

Also, a feel like a dummy for noticing this just now but the map of thedas is basically like that of Europe but flipped.
Ferelden= England
Orlais=France.
Antiva=Spain
The Kokari Wilds=Scotland, the far north nations?
Navarra=is apparently Prussia and knowing Cassandra that checks out though the positon the the map is a bit off.
Anderfells=Sounds German (Weisshaupt) but that's all I got.
Tevinter=Byzantine Empire/Roman Empire.
Par Vollen=North Africa and/or just the east in general? Some of the Qun seems vaguely Buddhist(I'm simplifying a lot here).
I literally saved the image you linked to, rotated it 180 degrees, and checked.

...yep. Checks out. 0_0
 
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Or, keeping in tone with games, panicking at the sight of an enemy and using their allies to fuel a half-arsed blood magic ritual.
DA2: I join the mages to help them since Meredith is Nuts.
*Fight my way to the Gallows.*
Hawke: Okay, We can do this.
*Templars Storm in, kill a bunch of mages in a cutscene because the mages forget they have ranged attacks*
*Gameplay ensures. I wipe the floor with the incoming wave of Templars within minutes with barely a sweat broken*
Hawke: That wasn't hard.
Orsino: Oh nos, we're fucked. *Turns into a Harvester because he's sad or something*

Goddamnit, Bioware.

I don't think it is really unpopular, but to do so, you would need to really define what magic can do and how easily and how widespread it is etc. You need this to decide what would be good uses of magic. And in war you also need it do come up with counters.

cRPG franchises generally avoid that and mostly care for PC abilities which tend to be about small scale combat and about plot device abilities. Regular RPG settings often do that better - if they are not based on D&D. Book settings often also do better work here.
I suspect this probably has something to do with me being a Big Brandon Sanderson fan and that guy pays a ton of attention to his magic systems and how they work. There are clear rules, counters, etc. Even when new types of magic are introduced they still make sense in context with the magic already introduced.

Hell, Even FROM puts a lot of work into how Magic types work and how different magic types align with different factions and ideologies. Faith is associated with God/The Gods, Sorcery is associated with Dragons/The Stars, Faith Magic doesn't work very well against enemies align with the gods because that's their element, etc.

And when Bioware puts a lot of worldbuilding into stuff like the Fade, Demons, Magic, Blood Magic and the like, I kind of expect they also took stuff like this into account, which is why it's disappointing when they apparently don't.
 
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So to show how wierd my thought process on this game series can get, one thing that keeps bouncing back and forth though my mind is Cory's whole doomsday plan, to physically enter the fade and enter the Golden/Black City one more time. Notably that I keep thinking that, wait, he can't end the world now. Thedan history has 2 more blights left.

And I realize how silly that sounds, because as far as I know there's no required number of blights, but we've been told there were 7 old gods, 7 magisters who entered the golden city way back in the day as the presumed ultimate flex for Tevinter(possibly enabled by usking Kirkwall as a massive Blood Sacrifice). We've had 5 blights so far and since there are normally at least a century or so between blights Thedas is probably not gonna have one for a while(Yes, I realize that doesn't mean a lot). Presumably once all 7 old gods/archdemons are slain then....well, apparently it won't be good and may well be the actual apocalypse.

The reason I think this keeps sticking with me is that, while I'm not an expert on Thedas Mythology/Theology, the blights are heavily tied to the Tevinter Magisters(of which Cory was one) and the whole golden city being breached myth is kind of foundational to Andrestism(?), so it feels like the number of blights is important even if not explicitly prescribed. Like they're meant to happen per the mythology we've been given. And the fact Cory heavily implies the Golden City was both Black and Abandoned when they arrived feels significant, if for no other reason is that idea that "Heaven is both corrupt and abandoned" which is basically religious horror and in a setting where demons are explicitly a real thing that's important.

IDK, I'm sure other people have looked into this shit a lot more then I have, but it does feel like Cory trying to breach the fade is a "False Apocalypse" somehow because we're not due....yet. If any of that makes sense. I'm rather just kinda rambling here. I don't actually even know what would have happened if Cory had actually pulled the ritual off as intended in the Temple of Sacred Ashes or even what he hoped would happened. Because last time he did this he found out the Golden City wasn't what he expected and ended up a gross blighted darkspawn thing and clearly that hasn't worked out for him very well, so I'm not sure why he thinks will be somehow different this time around. And yeah, one could argue that the breach was a result of the Herald walking in at the exact wrong time to interrupt his ritual and thus an unintended catastrophe(though Blood Magic always seems to end with shit like this). Cory doesn't tell you much other then he Big Mad that you interrupted his playtime and got his toy(the Anchor) so that's not much help.

Maybe more is revealed at the end and/or the DLCs that clears this up somewhat.

Thank you for listening to my TED talk on Thedan Apocalypses/Mythology.
 
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Satinavian

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I suspect this probably has something to do with me being a Big Brandon Sanderson fan and that guy pays a ton of attention to his magic systems and how they work. There are clear rules, counters, etc. Even when new types of magic are introduced they still make sense in context with the magic already introduced.

And when Bioware puts a lot of worldbuilding into stuff like the Fade, Demons, Magic, Blood Magic and the like, I kind of expect they also took stuff like this into account, which is why it's disappointing when they apparently don't.
I kinda share your sentiments.

Personally what irked me about Dragon Age specifically was how many mages there suddenly were everywhere in Inquisition. To me it seemed they were presented as much rarer in the first game and the second had very good reasons for a locally higher mage density.
 
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DA2: I join the mages to help them since Meredith is Nuts.
*Fight my way to the Gallows.*
Hawke: Okay, We can do this.
*Templars Storm in, kill a bunch of mages in a cutscene because the mages forget they haved ranged attacks*
*Gameplay ensures. I wipe the floor with the incoming wave of Templars within minutes with barely a swear broken*
Hawke: That wasn't hard.
Orsino: Oh nos, we're fucked. *Turns into a Harvester because he's sad or something*

Goddamnit, Bioware.
Yeah, it's always fun when scripted events just ignore your achievements.
 
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Gordon_4

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I kinda share your sentiments.

Personally what irked me about Dragon Age specifically was how many mages there suddenly were everywhere in Inquisition. To me it seemed they were presented as much rarer in the first game and the second had very good reasons for a locally higher mage density.
I don’t see that as surprising at all. If Mages were rare then there wouldn’t be a Circle in every city state of the Free Marches, Ferelden, Orlais, Nevarra etc. Nor would the Grey Wardens have a treaty specifically for them. And then there’s apostates who flew under the radar like Malcolm, Bethany and (maybe) Hawke.

Remember, Inquisition is very much a small scale civil war between functionally the Swiss Guard and a bunch of non-believers. No nation state has actually committed its regular army to the problem.
 
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After a couple days I've cleared the Western Approach and the Exalted Plain, partially to see if there's anything I'm missing but mostly to farm Power Points and levels, since the DLC stuff is apparently balanced for L20 and I'm currently L17. I've barely explored the Storm Coast and I've still yet to see any of the Emprise Du Lion, the Emerald Graves or the DLC areas.

And while Power Points aren't that hard to get, you have to spend a fair number of them to open up new areas within zones you already had to spend points to unlock(Hissing Wastes needs 20, which is half the amount to do the Pride Main Mission which is next up). While I didn't really mind the MMO mechanic earlier then I could more or less just mainline missions while taking breaks to do some of the bigger side missions and the companion missions, I've more or less done with the Companion missions sans Blackwell and Solas(both of which I can't get to trigger so far because apparently they don't like me enough yet). Which means I'm basically grinding smaller missions and rifts while exploring zones to level up sufficently and get enough points to unlock the next zone/mission and I'm starting to feel annoyed by it.

While I do want to get to L20 to start the DLC, at this point I feel like I'm ready to just do the finale missions and then just do the DLC and whatever zones I have left afterwards. Except Trespasser, which I've been informed I have to save for last because the game flat out ends and it's the last part of the story to boot(basically finishing off what the ending of the base game doesn't). I'm also told that L20 for the DLC isn't really a suggestion because otherwise you'll have a bad time.

On a lighter note, apparently how I treat Vivienne, Lelinna and Cassandra determine which of them becomes the next LadyPope, though apparently it's a rather subtle formula based on dialogue responses and who you side with through the game. And I'm not gonna lie, Cassandra is looking like the best candidate to me. Vivienne is basically status Quo all the way and we already saw how well that worked out(or didn't work out) and Lilianna has a disturbing Rodrigo Borgia(AKA Pope Alexander VI) air about her(she literally killed a priest in a church in front of me, despite me asking her not to) while Cassandra wants reform but slowly. Lelianna, on the other hand, sounds like she'd burn shit to the ground and murder anyone who opposed her/arraign a lot of "accidents" for her enemies if she were LadyPope. The Downside is that Cassandra doesn't seem to have much political acumen and I noticed she's not attending the War Table since arriving at Skyhold, preferring to drill in the training yard instead.

Which again begs the question why I'm the one who gets to choose the Pope considering that's not supposed to be the Inquisitions purview and man sounds like a disturbing conflation of church and state....oh, medieval fantasy with a Catholic-type dominant church, nevermind. I know they set this up with the Chantry being decapitated when the Conclave literally blew up at the beginning but I'd think there'd be more power playing at place here for a position as important as Divine. Like Ferelden and Orlais at least would be trying to offer up candidates for the Sunburst throne or something rather then all three of the candidates being conveniently people you hang out with all the time and can influence by helping them out.

I don't know that much about Ecumenical politics but my knowledge of IRL Catholicism(which the Chantry is basically cribbed from as far as I can tell) is that Papal elections are a thing the church has down a science because they've been doing it for a good 2000 or so years now(give or take a few centuries) and you'd think even the loss of a few high ranking clergy along with the pope wouldn't big that big of a setback to the process of getting a new one on the throne ASAP instead of just being super deadlocked for.....how long has this game been going on anyway?

This feels like the analogy if that somehow the US president, Vice President and a good chunk of congress were taken out at the exact same time and somehow nobody could figure out a successor for months/years because no one had ever considered the possibility of this occurring. And I feel like I've just discovered another flaw in the Bioware writing Process here, where they did some research but not a lot to justify the worldstate they wanted.

Though maybe someone who understands the catholic church and it's internal politics has a better take on this(or god forbid, DA Chantry politics), though I suspect that's a big ask considering Mideveal politics were fucking nuts and the Church was hip deep in a lot of it. And there was also that one time for like a century there were two Popes (and then briefly three Popes) because that's how crazy shit got politically/religiously.

I keep thinking this might be better if the Inquisition was getting involved in the Divine election to play kingmaker in order to pick someone who had policies that were amicable to the inquisitor but not involve candidates who are actually members of your core team and make it feels a bit more skeevy. Like have Lelianna be running a campaign to direct certain people towards the throne via blackmail, assassination's and such who would give the Inquisition Carte Blanche or something like that. Which I know isn't too different then how its set up now but right now it's pretty much forced on you in the later game. Some of the war table tops allude to things like this but what I keep thinking of in my head is something like Crusader Kings. But then you'd have to implement something like CK into DAI and the poor game is already struggling under the weight of the stories it's already trying to tell and maybe I should just play CK2 once I'm done with this. Honestly I wouldn't be shocked if someone did a Thedas mod for CK2 and there it is.
 
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Asita

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The reason I think this keeps sticking with me is that, while I'm not an expert on Thedas Mythology/Theology, the blights are heavily tied to the Tevinter Magisters(of which Cory was one) and the whole golden city being breached myth is kind of foundational to Andrestism(?), so it feels like the number of blights is important even if not explicitly prescribed. Like they're meant to happen per the mythology we've been given. And the fact Cory heavily implies the Golden City was both Black and Abandoned when they arrived feels significant, if for no other reason is that idea that "Heaven is both corrupt and abandoned" which is basically religious horror and in a setting where demons are explicitly a real thing that's important.

IDK, I'm sure other people have looked into this shit a lot more then I have, but it does feel like Cory trying to breach the fade is a "False Apocalypse" somehow because we're not due....yet. If any of that makes sense. I'm rather just kinda rambling here. I don't actually even know what would have happened if Cory had actually pulled the ritual off as intended in the Temple of Sacred Ashes or even what he hoped would happened. Because last time he did this he found out the Golden City wasn't what he expected and ended up a gross blighted darkspawn thing and clearly that hasn't worked out for him very well, so I'm not sure why he thinks will be somehow different this time around. And yeah, one could argue that the breach was a result of the Herald walking in at the exact wrong time to interrupt his ritual and thus an unintended catastrophe(though Blood Magic always seems to end with shit like this). Cory doesn't tell you much other then he Big Mad that you interrupted his playtime and got his toy(the Anchor) so that's not much help.

Maybe more is revealed at the end and/or the DLCs that clears this up somewhat.

Thank you for listening to my TED talk on Thedan Apocalypses/Mythology.
Honestly, one of the more low-key impressive things about Dragon Age is that it actually does lionization, mythology, and mythological drift reasonably well, but it does require that you be a bit of a lore hound (and go into some specific events and DLC) to really get it. Eg, Solas has some very interesting insight on the Dalish's face tattoos...that he doesn't talk about unless you romance him.

The Dalish believe that the markings are signs of devotion to elvish gods. They are, in actuality, slave brands used to identify which elven noble the branded elf belongs to.


That's just one example of a surprising amount of drip-feeding going on in the background that makes the history feel more alive than a lot of settings, and some of the seeming incidentals actually have pretty significant implications. Never mind that it's not hard to imagine that the real-time lionization of the Inquisitor probably echoes that of Andraste to a scary degree (though probably minus the anchor).
 
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Honestly, one of the more low-key impressive things about Dragon Age is that it actually does lionization, mythology, and mythological drift reasonably well, but it does require that you be a bit of a lore hound (and go into some specific events and DLC) to really get it. Eg, Solas has some very interesting insight on the Dalish's face tattoos...that he doesn't talk about unless you romance him.

The Dalish believe that the markings are signs of devotion to elvish gods. They are, in actuality, slave brands used to identify which elven noble the branded elf belongs to.


That's just one example of a surprising amount of drip-feeding going on in the background that makes the history feel more alive than a lot of settings, and some of the seeming incidentals actually have pretty significant implications. Never mind that it's not hard to imagine that the real-time lionization of the Inquisitor probably echoes that of Andraste to a scary degree (though probably minus the anchor).
Holy Shit, yeah, that does put a lot of shit into context and I do like flipping some of this shit on it's head. It reminds me of one of my favorite twists in Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive when it's revealed the true cause of the wars against the Parshmen/ Parshendi.

The humans are not Native to the World of Roshar. They arrived fleeing the destruction of a different world and were given some land in the most hospitable part of the continent by the native Parshendi people. Eventually the humans decided that wasn't enough, conquered the rest of the continent and magically neutered the Parshendi to make them docile and.....surprisingly fit for slavery(Slavery wasn't the original intent but it took root really quickly once it was realized a docile Parshendi who obeyed simple commands without questions makes a good slave). To the point that non-neutered Parshendi are considered an exotic aberration

Needless to say, trying to broker peace knowing that isn't going very well.

Back to DAI, finished up the Storm Coast and man...there is a disturbing amount of Red Lyrium on the far side of the map with Red Templars guarding it(which I guess I unlocked via a War table operation). I also ended up on the dragon Island and I fought a dragon to death(its death, not mine). It was a wierd battle because my party died but my KE Inquistor basically soloed it for like 15 minutes until it died without having to use healing. It was both kind of cool but then it got into this tedius "Keep hitting it to damage dragon and keep barrier up so dragon can't damage me" loop until it died. But hey I killed a dragon so that's one thing off the DAI bucket list.

I did manage to unlock Blackwell's quest finally. I turns you get MUCH more approval from him if you pick up Warden relics when he's in the party then when he's not. That was pretty interesting to be sure, where first he tells me a story of watching some little shits hang a dog when he was a child and doing nothing, then I go to Val Royoux where a criminal is to be hanged where Blackwell shows up, interrupts the execution and proclaims he is Thom Rainer and he is responsible for the crime the poor sod on the gallows is accused of. Blackwell is sent to prison and once I get to talk to him I get a lot to unpack.

So basically Blackwell/Thom was once an Orlesian soldier who was given a mission(for a lot of coin) to kill a political rival and ordered his men to "Kill everyone". What he didn't realize was that the rival was traveling with his family and the men....killed everyone. EVERYONE. Thom apparently wasn't there at the time but also says such horrible things happen in War a lot. He still felt shame and decided to disappear as his men took the fall and the Chevalier who ordered the hit "accidently" died from poisoned wine. While on the run, Thom met a Warden named Blackwell after starting a bar fight and the Warden either recruited or conscripted him, only for the Warden to die from a Darkspawn attack before Thom could be properly joined into the Wardens. Thom, deciding such a good man such as Blackwell shouldn't die for nothing, and also not actually having any way to prove he was being recruited, took Blackwell's Indentity. As he says "Thom died and Blackwell lived" and he's been living Blackwell's life the entire time since then, trying to be the best Warden he can be(to his understanding). Which does explain why hes kind of vague about how Wardens do business("How do you kill an Archdemon?" "With Swords to the face") but since the Wardens are secretive by nature it works.

I arraigned for him to be released into the Inquisitions custody(well, Lelianna had him switched with someone else who was executed in his place) and judged him myself. So yeah, Blackwell/Thom pulled some pretty awful shit and him taking another man's life could be seen as Cowardly or a way to atone for his sins. The fact, however, he went to the gallows and proclaimed he deserved to hang so another didn't have to and then insists he should remain imprisoned so he can face the rope was enough to convince he was truly contrite for his crimes and his service to the inquisition had gone a long way towards proving that. My ultimate decision was that once the Cory Crisis was over, Blackwell would be given to Wardens, which felt appropriate considering he was acting the part of a Warden for god knows how long. Considering how much he approved of that, it seems like it was a decision that suited him as well.
 
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Asita

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Holy Shit, yeah, that does put a lot of shit into context and I do like flipping some of this shit on it's head.
Honestly, that's on the smaller side as far as 'on its head' insight goes, but there are few moments that are as concise at illustrating a few points about the lore of Dragon Age: 1) That the histories and traditions are filtered through unreliable narrators. 2) That by and large the characters are missing crucial context for those histories and traditions. 3) The context can still be found if you're looking for it. 4) This ranges from cultural drift tidbits to things that the characters would outright consider blasphemous. And 5) A lot of the misunderstanding comes from trying to fill in the gaps of ignorance by mythologizing/lionizing things.

There's one thing that right now is technically fan theory, but the available information does seem to strongly suggest a rather earthshaking conclusion which...will be missing some crucial context until the end of Inquisition.
 
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Dalisclock

Making lemons combustible again
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Feb 9, 2008
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A Barrel In the Marketplace
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Eagleland
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So after a couple days, I've more or less finished the main game at 50 something hours of playtime and unlocked all the DLC content.

Quickly burning through the final areas, Emerald Graves was fine. Nothing special there. Emprise du Lion was a lot more interesting, both visually and the way it's set up. Basically there's a quarry that got taken over by Red Templars led by a Demon and the local village is pretty much under siege because of it. Also there's Red Lyrium all over the damn place and it's quite disturbing. In order to cleanse the area, I was required to push up and around into the hills though a number of Red Templar camps and establish inquisition bases along the way which gives a nice sense of progress as I ransack each Red Templar base, a process that finally ends in a keep up at the top of the biggest hill and a battle against the Desire Demon CHOICE. SPIRIT, who now looks like a dapper man instead of a sexy woman in a strip club but it also a hell of a lot harder to take down, being a legit boss. There's also an abandoned grey warden base built over a darkspawn tunnel which needs to be sealed(well, it doesn't need to but it's a fun little diversion). The whole thing feels really well done and it appears there's another part of the map once the big bridge is repaired on the hill.

I still haven't bothered with the Hissing Waste, mostly because the amount of power needed to unlock and also because it's apparently one big stretch of desert with some dragons and I'm over Dragons at this point.

With that out of the way, "What Pride had Wrought" is another War sequence, where the Inquisition begins it's final push against Cory and his minions in some Elven Ruins and forest. Admittedly the cutscene and briefing leading into it is really cool, with forces being moved into place as represented by your advisors pushing pieces on the big map at the War Table. The actual battle itself isn't quite as impressive, being a rather linear run through the forest and occasionally helping friendly forces engaged in combat. Eventually I catch up to Cory and Calpurnia at the Elven Temple and get inside to find some puzzles awaiting me or a hole in the ground the Venatori jump into. I decide to do the puzzles shince Morrigan and Solas(who I brought with me) say I should and after some bumbling around with those I find some ancient elves who apparently wake up to protect the temple from invaders every so often....like now. The key thing in the Temple is the Well of Sorrow, a special pool that apparently contains the memories of generations of important elves and drinking from the well gives access to all those memories and knowledge. Morrigan is very, very interested in doing this and after some discussion I conceded and let her do it. Since I helped the Elven Leader, he lets this happen without a fight and poor Cory walks into the room just to see this happening, at which point everyone escapes back to Skyhold in the nearby Eluvian.

The next mission isn't so much a mission but a visit to an alter in the forest to Mythal, the same goddess the Temple of the previous mission is dedicated to, with Morrigan. Morrigan uses her new power to summon Mythal and guess who shows up? Flemeth, to Morrigan's infinite Dismay. Flemeth reveals that she is/was a human woman that summoned the essence of Mythal somehow way back in the day and since then has been essentially an Elven Goddess in a Human body that may or may not body hop to her "Daughters"(I'm unclear if she actually does that or not or if she's functionally immortal. I mean I killed her in Origins and apparently she hitched a ride with Hawke in DA2 to Sundermount so IDK). This is interesting because in the temple of Mythal, there's a bit of talk of the Elven gods being either dead or not ever really being true gods to begin with, but rather incredibly powerful elven kings who I guess may have been god-like in power and maybe there's no real distinction there for later generations. Also apparently the Ancients were warring among themselves and thus the eluvian network was already shut down because of that, so the fall of the Ancient Elven Kingdom was apparently the gods/god-kings vanished/died, there was a civil war that tore them apart and later Tevinter showed up and pillaged the rest, leading the elves into the very scattered and disempowered state they are in the present and man that's a lot to take in. Especially with the reveal the Dalish Tattoos are actually Slave Brands.

Oh, and apparently whoever drinks from the Well basically binds themselves to Mythal, so Morrigan is now a servant of her "Mom" again, which she is very much not happy about. She whines about it a little but she was very, very insistent she should be the one to drink and I gave her exactly what she wanted. Mythal/Flemeth then vanishes with the implication she'll return again and her control over morrigan will called upon on a future date. Probably the next game which will come out...someday.

Finally, I go back to skyhold and trigger "Doom Upon the World" where it's discussed the army is still coming backing from squashing Cory's remaining forces in the forest so they're not really available to go search for him ATM and Cory has gone to ground. Except then the breach reopens at the same place it opened earlier and We all run back to Haven to fight him ONE LAST TIME. And it's fine. It's basically a muti-stage boss battle on a floating battlefield below the breach that's slowly rising into the sky because of the breach and then Cory and his dragon die.

To be honest, I feel like the game forgot to explain what exactly what supposed to be happening here, like it just ran out of fucking time or something. So far Cory's plans are:

1.) Use the orb thingy at the Temple of Sacred Ashes and a blood magic ritual on the Divine to open a portal to the fade and go to the golden city again because....reasons. The Herald walks in at exactly the wrong moment, the ritual goes off the rails and the entire temple explodes, having the Herald get the anchor in the process and being he sole survivor of the explosion. The Breach is formed, then halted and finally closed by the Herald/Inquisitor.
2.) Cory brings his forces down upon Haven to squish the inquisition and try to get the anchor back. He succeeds at wiping Haven off the map but at a cost to his own forces and a decent amount of inquisition forces escape to Skyhold(which is far more difficult to assault and cory never bothers)
3) Cory uses his agents to corrupt the templars with Red Lyrium and destabilize Orlais by exacerbating the civil war already in progress so Orlais can't interfere with his plans. Parts of the Mages/Templars are also corrupted or working for him. The inquisition recruits one of those sides in the mage/templar war and stabilizes Orlais(presumably) while eliminating the agent at the Winter Palace.
4.) Cory corrupts the Grey Wardens by giving them all the calling and getting them to do crazy blood magic shit out of desperation. This is halted by the Inquisition taking Adamant and either purging the corrupt Wardens or getting rid of them entirely and stopping the ritual
5.) These plans having failed, Cory uses the last of his resources to try to take the Well of Sorrows, which is halted by the sentinels of the temple and the Inquisition. Cory basically gets away with nothing but his dragon at this point and appears to be scraping the barrel after the battle.

So far, all of these steps seem to be fairly logical, though there's a very clear sense the inquisition is getting more powerful over time while chipping away at Cory's power and forces until he's pretty much down to nothing by the end but his pet dragon(which is apparently not an Archdemon but a Red Lyrium Blighted dragon so....sure). And then at the end.....Cory just opens the breach again at the remains of the Temple and why didn't he just do that after he wiped out Haven and the remains of the inquisition were wandering through the mountains? I mean, by the time you get back to the breach it looks like it's already even powerful then it was earlier and I guess it took a couple days to get there from Skyhold but still it feels like either I missed something or the game didn't bother setting this up at all.

One thing that comes to mind is that I'm pretty sure there was some messing around with the narrative sequence or something during the dev cycle. After closing the breach in "In your heart shall burn", there's a number of mentions by various NPC's of the Breach like it's still there......except canonically the Breach has already been closed by this point. I think notably during the Winter Palace sequence this gets mentioned, which makes me think that either the Breach wasn't supposed to be closed until later in the game or certain events got moved around in the narrative sequence and either way nobody updated the dialogue to reflect the changes. I can't put my finger how which one but there are cracks showing for sure.

Anyway, with all that out of the way, I go back to skyhold for a big celebration, notably a nice party in the main hall of Skyhold not unlike the one at the end of Origins in Denerim and it's a wonderful way to finish off after the main story finishes and arguably a lot more satisfying then the fight with Cory. After that, there's a credit roll and a stinger where Solas meets Mythal/Flemeth and it's revealed Solas was the Dread Wolf of legend, who apparently sealed the Elven gods away and.....yeah, that's an interesting turn of events also. Taking Solas to the Temple of Mythal it did seem like he was itching to talk about it and not just because of his "fade walking" experience.

So yeah, done with the main game and ready to move into the DLC content, starting with JoH/Frostback Basin.
 

Gordon_4

The Big Engine
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
4,600
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Australia
So after a couple days, I've more or less finished the main game at 50 something hours of playtime and unlocked all the DLC content.

Quickly burning through the final areas, Emerald Graves was fine. Nothing special there. Emprise du Lion was a lot more interesting, both visually and the way it's set up. Basically there's a quarry that got taken over by Red Templars led by a Demon and the local village is pretty much under siege because of it. Also there's Red Lyrium all over the damn place and it's quite disturbing. In order to cleanse the area, I was required to push up and around into the hills though a number of Red Templar camps and establish inquisition bases along the way which gives a nice sense of progress as I ransack each Red Templar base, a process that finally ends in a keep up at the top of the biggest hill and a battle against the Desire Demon CHOICE. SPIRIT, who now looks like a dapper man instead of a sexy woman in a strip club but it also a hell of a lot harder to take down, being a legit boss. There's also an abandoned grey warden base built over a darkspawn tunnel which needs to be sealed(well, it doesn't need to but it's a fun little diversion). The whole thing feels really well done and it appears there's another part of the map once the big bridge is repaired on the hill.

I still haven't bothered with the Hissing Waste, mostly because the amount of power needed to unlock and also because it's apparently one big stretch of desert with some dragons and I'm over Dragons at this point.

With that out of the way, "What Pride had Wrought" is another War sequence, where the Inquisition begins it's final push against Cory and his minions in some Elven Ruins and forest. Admittedly the cutscene and briefing leading into it is really cool, with forces being moved into place as represented by your advisors pushing pieces on the big map at the War Table. The actual battle itself isn't quite as impressive, being a rather linear run through the forest and occasionally helping friendly forces engaged in combat. Eventually I catch up to Cory and Calpurnia at the Elven Temple and get inside to find some puzzles awaiting me or a hole in the ground the Venatori jump into. I decide to do the puzzles shince Morrigan and Solas(who I brought with me) say I should and after some bumbling around with those I find some ancient elves who apparently wake up to protect the temple from invaders every so often....like now. The key thing in the Temple is the Well of Sorrow, a special pool that apparently contains the memories of generations of important elves and drinking from the well gives access to all those memories and knowledge. Morrigan is very, very interested in doing this and after some discussion I conceded and let her do it. Since I helped the Elven Leader, he lets this happen without a fight and poor Cory walks into the room just to see this happening, at which point everyone escapes back to Skyhold in the nearby Eluvian.

The next mission isn't so much a mission but a visit to an alter in the forest to Mythal, the same goddess the Temple of the previous mission is dedicated to, with Morrigan. Morrigan uses her new power to summon Mythal and guess who shows up? Flemeth, to Morrigan's infinite Dismay. Flemeth reveals that she is/was a human woman that summoned the essence of Mythal somehow way back in the day and since then has been essentially an Elven Goddess in a Human body that may or may not body hop to her "Daughters"(I'm unclear if she actually does that or not or if she's functionally immortal. I mean I killed her in Origins and apparently she hitched a ride with Hawke in DA2 to Sundermount so IDK). This is interesting because in the temple of Mythal, there's a bit of talk of the Elven gods being either dead or not ever really being true gods to begin with, but rather incredibly powerful elven kings who I guess may have been god-like in power and maybe there's no real distinction there for later generations. Also apparently the Ancients were warring among themselves and thus the eluvian network was already shut down because of that, so the fall of the Ancient Elven Kingdom was apparently the gods/god-kings vanished/died, there was a civil war that tore them apart and later Tevinter showed up and pillaged the rest, leading the elves into the very scattered and disempowered state they are in the present and man that's a lot to take in. Especially with the reveal the Dalish Tattoos are actually Slave Brands.

Oh, and apparently whoever drinks from the Well basically binds themselves to Mythal, so Morrigan is now a servant of her "Mom" again, which she is very much not happy about. She whines about it a little but she was very, very insistent she should be the one to drink and I gave her exactly what she wanted. Mythal/Flemeth then vanishes with the implication she'll return again and her control over morrigan will called upon on a future date. Probably the next game which will come out...someday.

Finally, I go back to skyhold and trigger "Doom Upon the World" where it's discussed the army is still coming backing from squashing Cory's remaining forces in the forest so they're not really available to go search for him ATM and Cory has gone to ground. Except then the breach reopens at the same place it opened earlier and We all run back to Haven to fight him ONE LAST TIME. And it's fine. It's basically a muti-stage boss battle on a floating battlefield below the breach that's slowly rising into the sky because of the breach and then Cory and his dragon die.

To be honest, I feel like the game forgot to explain what exactly what supposed to be happening here, like it just ran out of fucking time or something. So far Cory's plans are:

1.) Use the orb thingy at the Temple of Sacred Ashes and a blood magic ritual on the Divine to open a portal to the fade and go to the golden city again because....reasons. The Herald walks in at exactly the wrong moment, the ritual goes off the rails and the entire temple explodes, having the Herald get the anchor in the process and being he sole survivor of the explosion. The Breach is formed, then halted and finally closed by the Herald/Inquisitor.
2.) Cory brings his forces down upon Haven to squish the inquisition and try to get the anchor back. He succeeds at wiping Haven off the map but at a cost to his own forces and a decent amount of inquisition forces escape to Skyhold(which is far more difficult to assault and cory never bothers)
3) Cory uses his agents to corrupt the templars with Red Lyrium and destabilize Orlais by exacerbating the civil war already in progress so Orlais can't interfere with his plans. Parts of the Mages/Templars are also corrupted or working for him. The inquisition recruits one of those sides in the mage/templar war and stabilizes Orlais(presumably) while eliminating the agent at the Winter Palace.
4.) Cory corrupts the Grey Wardens by giving them all the calling and getting them to do crazy blood magic shit out of desperation. This is halted by the Inquisition taking Adamant and either purging the corrupt Wardens or getting rid of them entirely and stopping the ritual
5.) These plans having failed, Cory uses the last of his resources to try to take the Well of Sorrows, which is halted by the sentinels of the temple and the Inquisition. Cory basically gets away with nothing but his dragon at this point and appears to be scraping the barrel after the battle.

So far, all of these steps seem to be fairly logical, though there's a very clear sense the inquisition is getting more powerful over time while chipping away at Cory's power and forces until he's pretty much down to nothing by the end but his pet dragon(which is apparently not an Archdemon but a Red Lyrium Blighted dragon so....sure). And then at the end.....Cory just opens the breach again at the remains of the Temple and why didn't he just do that after he wiped out Haven and the remains of the inquisition were wandering through the mountains? I mean, by the time you get back to the breach it looks like it's already even powerful then it was earlier and I guess it took a couple days to get there from Skyhold but still it feels like either I missed something or the game didn't bother setting this up at all.

One thing that comes to mind is that I'm pretty sure there was some messing around with the narrative sequence or something during the dev cycle. After closing the breach in "In your heart shall burn", there's a number of mentions by various NPC's of the Breach like it's still there......except canonically the Breach has already been closed by this point. I think notably during the Winter Palace sequence this gets mentioned, which makes me think that either the Breach wasn't supposed to be closed until later in the game or certain events got moved around in the narrative sequence and either way nobody updated the dialogue to reflect the changes. I can't put my finger how which one but there are cracks showing for sure.

Anyway, with all that out of the way, I go back to skyhold for a big celebration, notably a nice party in the main hall of Skyhold not unlike the one at the end of Origins in Denerim and it's a wonderful way to finish off after the main story finishes and arguably a lot more satisfying then the fight with Cory. After that, there's a credit roll and a stinger where Solas meets Mythal/Flemeth and it's revealed Solas was the Dread Wolf of legend, who apparently sealed the Elven gods away and.....yeah, that's an interesting turn of events also. Taking Solas to the Temple of Mythal it did seem like he was itching to talk about it and not just because of his "fade walking" experience.

So yeah, done with the main game and ready to move into the DLC content, starting with JoH/Frostback Basin.
On my Elven Inquisitor play through, I drank the water. Then the whole cutscene with Flemmeth/Mythal happens and after she leaves there’s a pause just long enough before Morrigan says “In light of what just happened, Inquisitor, I am glad it was you who drank the water”. Or words to that effect. I busted a gut laughing.
 
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