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

thestor

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The deep roads gets a little more interesting at the Ortain Thaig where there's an actual underground city of sorts and the poor crazy guy living in the ruins, apparently eating Kentucky Fried Darkspawn for all his meals.
The quest related to him... I still wonder what the best solution to it is.
I feel like saying that the Dwarves problems stem from stagnant cultural views is underestimating the darkspawn a bit much.
Well, the Dwarves can be tough, can be strong. One wonders if not for the problems of their own makings, they could actually take back some of their lost cities.
 
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I feel like saying that the Dwarves problems stem from stagnant cultural views is underestimating the darkspawn a bit much.
I mean, they are a problem and the issue of having the Darkspawn having almost uncontested control of the deep roads is significant. The armchair general in me despairs at the idea of trying to mount a campaign to exterminate or evict them from the abandoned areas. However, the dwarves particular situation on Orzammar isn't helping them at all. Presumably they can't or won't breed fast enough to replace their losses so they're losing a war of attrition and they only lasted this long because they pulled back to their last two cities(apparently didn't tell the other city first though), but they also have a significant underclass who are condemned to be beggers and criminals instead of....IDK, giving them work shoring up the defenses or even letting them earn prestige and class advancement though combat/defense of the city. Yeah, throwing the poor into combat is shitty but telling them to fuck off entirely and be criminals is already shitty. And it sounds like they're so isolationist they won't make alliances with the surface to help supplement their combat forces or hire outside labor to make up for their lack of people AKA don't complain you don't have enough people when you refuse to engage with anyone else to fix that problem. Hell, they actively punish dwarves to try to do anything on the surface at all, like trading. They are very literally digging themselves into own grave here because they refuse to even try anything new.

And of course, the constant infighting, as seen in game, really does not help them at all. When people are killing each other on the streets of Orzammar with no repercussions over a political dispute you know something is deeply wrong with the way things are run(or not run).

So yeah, the Darkspawn are an existential threat to the dwarves but the dwarves are doing themselves no favors in the meantime.
 
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The quest related to him... I still wonder what the best solution to it is.

Well, the Dwarves can be tough, can be strong. One wonders if not for the problems of their own makings, they could actually take back some of their lost cities.
I told him mom he died. That's what he wanted and somehow I doubt she would have prefered to know he's a madman living in a cave. Considering there's apparently nothing you can do to help him I seemed to least bad option.

If the dwarves could mount the forces to slowly claw back strong points and secure the deep roads between, they could probably eventually win, but they need to be able to replace losses and that seems like that's part of the problem here because:
-They can't or won't have enough kids to replace losses. I'm unclear if this is a fertility issue or a cultural one, So internal replacement is insufficient and only getting worse.
-They refuse to truck with the surface to recruit fighters from humans and/or elves. They exile any dwarves who try to do business on the surface. No outside reinforcements can be expected
-They have an entire portion of the population that are perpetual underclass which isn't even allowed to join the army, further restricting available fighters. So you have god knows how many dwarves who could fight given weapons and training and leadership but can't be recruited because they're icky or something. Sure, they'd have to fight darkspawn but I suspect promotion to the soldier caste would convince a number of them to join up because it's better then being casteless. Possibly die for the City versus die in the gutter for sure is a stark choice.

Which means the dwarves will never have enough troops to mount a sustained offensive that means anything, so apparently it's all they can do to go out every so often and thin out the herd somewhat before having to go back to Orzammar because they can't hold anything they take and the Darkspawn will always outnumber and outbreed them.

Orzammar is basically fucked if they change nothing, it's just a matter of how long it is before the Darkspawn finally deplete the dwarves enough to break through to Orzammar.
 
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meiam

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Well the dwarf empire was apparently there long before the land was settle (they possibly originated from deep underground and might have never known the surface existed for century). By their standard, their current situation of being stuck in one city is quite new (even after century) so its probably quite hard for them to culturally change their way to adapt to it, not the first example of a civilization unable to turn away from a system that served them well for millennia.

As for a solution to turn back the tide, well thats the golem. You could argue they'd be better of allying with the surface to beat back the darkspawn, but I'd imagine most kingdom/empire wouldn't really care about the darkspawn once the blight stopped, and it'd be hard to motivate people to spare the resource/manpower to send expedition to the deep road. From their point of view, it'd be kinda like if someone found the entrance to hell in medieval europe and suggested marching army into it.
 

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Well the dwarf empire was apparently there long before the land was settle (they possibly originated from deep underground and might have never known the surface existed for century). By their standard, their current situation of being stuck in one city is quite new (even after century) so its probably quite hard for them to culturally change their way to adapt to it, not the first example of a civilization unable to turn away from a system that served them well for millennia.

As for a solution to turn back the tide, well thats the golem. You could argue they'd be better of allying with the surface to beat back the darkspawn, but I'd imagine most kingdom/empire wouldn't really care about the darkspawn once the blight stopped, and it'd be hard to motivate people to spare the resource/manpower to send expedition to the deep road. From their point of view, it'd be kinda like if someone found the entrance to hell in medieval europe and suggested marching army into it.
Oh, I could totally imagine an army marching into hell if the demons had poured out four times prior to it, the church called a crusade and the promise of titles, loot and land was offered. Like "You can have whatever you can grab and there's a lot of loot down there that nobody is claiming ATM"

Fuck, crusaders sacked Constantinople so let's not assume there is a limit to the kind of crazy shit you can get people to go for when they think they can get something out of it
 
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meiam

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Oh, I could totally imagine an army marching into hell if the demons had poured out four times prior to it, the church called a crusade and the promise of titles, loot and land was offered. Like "You can have whatever you can grab and there's a lot of loot down there that nobody is claiming ATM"

Fuck, crusaders sacked Constantinople so let's not assume there is a limit to the kind of crazy shit you can get people to go for when they think they can get something out of it
The darkspawn use the deep road, but they don't originated from there. There creation myth is literally that they're a punishment by god because human tried to go into the fade, something that should never be done. They very well could come from some sort of gate underground connected to the fade. That's very different than attacking human city, full of human, on the surface.
 

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The darkspawn use the deep road, but they don't originated from there. There creation myth is literally that they're a punishment by god because human tried to go into the fade, something that should never be done. They very well could come from some sort of gate underground connected to the fade. That's very different than attacking human city, full of human, on the surface.

Fair enough but the dwarves apparently want control of the deep roads back and a number of their lost cities. It'd be a massive undertaking, no denying that.

The alternative is waiting to die in Orzammar when the dark spawn eventually break through. I honestly don't think golem production would do more then buy them time. They had golems back in earlier blight until the anvil was overrun and lost snd considering they were conscripting convicts, casteless and political rivals into becoming golems it sounds like they were getting desperate regardless....
 
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Last night was Return to Ostagar DLC and its generally good-ish. The setup is you run across one of King Cailans honor guard who fought at Ostagar and he was entrusted with the key to the ROYAL CHEST, still at Ostagar and gives it to you since he's being hunted(and you first meet him being attacked by some nobles goons) and apparently the key was meant for the Wardens anyway. So you get the ability to return to the map of Ostagar and that's interesting. Functionally it's the same map with some barriers set up to route you around the map in a specific order, then you do the first floor of the Tower and then go down into the tunnels and the battlefield below the tower to finish up.

Also the map has Snow on it because apparently it's Winter now. I have no clue how much time has passed in this game and from what I've seen the references to the passage of time don't actually make much sense like one guy saying the Dwarf King Dying 3 weeks ago while Wynne making references to the Mage Warden being gone for a year at this point and.....yeah, I get it. They made a game where you could do the middle chapters in whatever order you wanted and that makes it really hard to establish a timeline at the best of times and it's clear they were running short on time in places which explains why, for example, nobody in the Dalish Camp, seems to reference you being an Elf if you're a City Elf like I am.

It's kinda interesting to see the area now that it's been abandoned and overruned for months but the real points of interest are looking for King Cailan's Body, weapons and Armor. You find King Cailan's corpse, stripped naked and nailed to a post/cross on the bridge as if to mock him but strangely not looking particularly decayed despite being presumably months since the battle. He looks like he died maybe a couple days or hours ago, which is weird but apparently they didn't want to change the model or something so he just looks remarkably preserved. You fight a couple elites and each one has a piece of his armor and eventually fight a zombie version of the Ogre that Duncan killed. with his weapons still stuck in there and able to be recovered.

And that's really it. You get a slightly different version of that map, you chop through darkspawn for an hour, you recover the KIng's body and armor and such and get some unique loot. And there's some pathos from Alistair and Wynne if you bring them(and Alister really insists on coming). It does help if you do it near the end because then it does feel like a long time has passed even though you can do it the moment you leave lothering.

I'm basically trying to clean up as much as I reasonably can on the side quests and such because I get the feeling once the Landsmeet starts up I probably won't get many opportunities to go side questing at that point and I'll probably want to just plow through at that point anyway. As alluded to in a previous post, I'm going to take a short break from the series once I finish DA:O because Return to Monkey Island is getting some pretty good reviews and it's only like 10 hours long. Once I'm finished with that I'll come back and do Awakening, Golems, Darkspawn Chronicles, and finally Witch Hunt. Possibly in that order, possibly not. DarkSpawn Chronicles is basically a alt-history scenario so I can do that at any point I feel like it.
 
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I did crown the fucker, because I promised him and I need his army by my side to fight the blight, but of course he immediately orders harrowmont execution IN FRONT OF ME as if for the sole reason of making me feel sick about my decision. But I made my blood deal and got my dwarven army so huzzah. Now that Oghren is part of my party I can feed him booze to get his approval up, though I question if I should since the man probably needs some kind of fantasy rehab more then me feeding his habit.
Funnily enough, Bhelen is actually the good decision. The guy is to the Dwarven Kingdoms what Oda Nobunaga was to Sengoku Era Japan: Amoral, brutally ruthless, and power hungry, but also a reformist intent on crushing the traditions holding his country back and dragging it into the modern era, even if it's kicking and screaming as he does so. (But you absolutely don't want to give him the golems)

Harrowmont is more personable and restrained, but he's also a staunch traditionalist and isolationist who doubles down on the very things consigning the dwarven kingdoms to their slow death. (But only if you give him the golems. Otherwise he can't squash the rebellions from Bhelen's supporters and dies a few years into his kingship).
 

thestor

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Oh, I could totally imagine an army marching into hell if the demons had poured out four times prior to it, the church called a crusade and the promise of titles, loot and land was offered. Like "You can have whatever you can grab and there's a lot of loot down there that nobody is claiming ATM"
While we wait for him to come back... isn't there at least one story, where the gates the hell open, but humanity invades hell?
 
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While we wait for him to come back... isn't there at least one story, where the gates the hell open, but humanity invades hell?

I believe thats the Salvation War.

Humanity wins and then invades Heaven in the Sequel.

IIRC apparently part of the premise is that niether heaven or hell updated their weapons for centuries or even longer, they just assumed humanity would give up and let the invasion happen. They underestimated that humans are really, really good at killing things when we want to and we've had lots of practice. The entire world unifies against an existential threat, or at least a significant portion anyway.

And I guess most humans who die go to hell which ends up being the equivalent of dropping partisans inside your own territory. The US Marines apparently just die, go to hell, pick up the nearest weapon and start killing the closet demon....and the demons can't stop them from respawning by killing them.
 

meiam

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I believe thats the Salvation War.

Humanity wins and then invades Heaven in the Sequel.

IIRC apparently part of the premise is that niether heaven or hell updated their weapons for centuries or even longer, they just assumed humanity would give up and let the invasion happen. They underestimated that humans are really, really good at killing things when we want to and we've had lots of practice. The entire world unifies against an existential threat, or at least a significant portion anyway.

And I guess most humans who die go to hell which ends up being the equivalent of dropping partisans inside your own territory. The US Marines apparently just die, go to hell, pick up the nearest weapon and start killing the closet demon....and the demons can't stop them from respawning by killing them.
I feel like thats a good setup for some kind of goofy comedy. Earth has to gather all the evil people to invade hell and the demon keep killing them, which raise their karma, so when the demon die they go to heaven. But as the evil human kill demon they also raise their karma, so they also start going to heaven and the government need "re train" the soldier by having them to do petty evil act (queue montage of pranks). Meanwhile heaven gets overrun by people who really shouldn't be there.
 
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thestor

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And for the big reveal, it turns out that god made humanity to punish Lucifer and the other fallen angels. Cue Lucifer "Oh no, I couldn't even imagine such depravity, such wickedness, such sheer evil!". Upon reading YouTube-comments and twitter.
 
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And for the big reveal, it turns out that god made humanity to punish Lucifer and the other fallen angels. Cue Lucifer "Oh no, I couldn't even imagine such depravity, such wickedness, such sheer evil!". Upon reading YouTube-comments and twitter.
Well, in Sumerian Myth humans were created as slaves to do all the works the gods didn't want to do. That was until the humans were making so much noise the gods couldn't sleep so they decide to exterminate us, in particular with a flood. Except for the one god who felt bad for the humans and told some of them to build a boat to survive the flood.

As a bonus, that guy who built the boat got to live forever. Good for him.
 

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Tied up two of the personal quests last night.

Morrigan was going to confront Flemeth and getting her Grimoire. At first I took the offer to leave her alone and just took the stuff in the hut, but then I decided "You know what, while don't like Morrigan much, Flemeth sounds like a fucking child abuser and one good turn deserves another". So I fought her and she turned into a dragon. And then I killed her without too much trouble. Morrigan's only real response was "She's not truly dead and I'll kill her again and again if needed". I don't really feel bad about killing Janeway....er, Flemeth, but at least a little thanks would be in order, Morrigan. Or is it because I did a good thing that you can't approve of it because something something whatever stupid reason you have against not throwing a sack of kittens in a river today. And I'm only slightly shocked that there isn't a quest where you find a bunch of kittens only for Morrgan to chide you for not gathering them up, putting them in a sack and tossing them in a nearby well(thus poisoning the water supply to boot).

Also did Shales, which invovled me traveling to a new Thiag on the Deep Roads map called Cadash Thaig and after chopping my way through darkspawn and other such vermin I found the thing shale was looking for. Shale's real name and the revelation that....Shale is(was) a girl all along! Except Shale is a Golem, has no gender and honestly doesn't care that it used to be a dwarf woman so cool. We got that sorted. Also some good loot down there so it was worth it.

I think the only personal quest I haven't done is Zevron and I don't know to trigger his, To be fair, I've barely used Zevron because I'm already a Rogue and having another Rogue feels redundant most of the time, especially because I have to give up a mage or a tank to do so and also because I didn't get him until a fair bit into the game.

Does it really matter if I do the personal quests on a gameplay level? I know Mass Effect could allow you to circumvent a certain plot point if you did WREX's personal quest(assuming you weren't maxing paragon/renegade) and Mass Effect 2 made a big deal about how many people survive the suicide mission if you did their personal quests and made the right choices. Like, do characters die or do better if you did their personal quests? More applicable, am I gonna notice if I don't seek out Zevron's quest before triggering the landsmeet?

Since I'm bringing up Mass Effect, both games have a problem with inventory. I swear I'm messing around in my inventory a lot to compare weapons and armor and then sell off the stuff I can't use or isn't good and also because I fill up my inventory with crap after every dungeon. The only reason I keep most of it is for selling for cash money and a good portion of the enemies just give money for some reason(and I'm not gonna complain because it saves me time and trouble). Mass Effect, however, gave me the option of converting excess shit to omni-gel, which you could then use for lots of things(and they make a comment about it in ME2 how people were apparently abusing the hell out of the omni-gel mechanic which is why you can't do that in ME2). I hope to god that Dragon age 2 and Inquistion figured out a way to fix the inventory system somehow.

One final nitpick and I'm done. When traveling on the map, I swear it feels like the proximity of locations has nothing to do with how long it takes to get there. For example, going between two locations in Denerim showed my party going through a bunch of back alleys up to a main street despite a main street being very close to where they started, but for some reason they took the scenic route instead. Even more annoying, going from Ostagar to Flemeth's Hut, which should be right next to each other, had the party go north almost up to lothering and then back down to flemeth's hut? Why the detour guys, seriously? They should be next to each other so why are you going all the way up there just to double back?
 

thestor

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I think the only personal quest I haven't done is Zevron and I don't know to trigger his, To be fair, I've barely used Zevron because I'm already a Rogue and having another Rogue feels redundant most of the time, especially because I have to give up a mage or a tank to do so and also because I didn't get him until a fair bit into the game.
It is triggered as a random encounter in Denereim I believe, not sure what the trigger conditions are, probably towards the end of the game, maybe having talked with him about his story.

I heartily recommend triggering some of his conversations beforehand though. Especially with Wynne.
Does it really matter if I do the personal quests on a gameplay level? I know Mass Effect could allow you to circumvent a certain plot point if you did WREX's personal quest(assuming you weren't maxing paragon/renegade) and Mass Effect 2 made a big deal about how many people survive the suicide mission if you did their personal quests and made the right choices. Like, do characters die or do better if you did their personal quests? More applicable, am I gonna notice if I don't seek out Zevron's quest before triggering the landsmeet?
AFAIK, it only matters to the companion in question, only Alistair's quest can (!) make a slight difference in the grand scheme of things.
One final nitpick and I'm done. When traveling on the map, I swear it feels like the proximity of locations has nothing to do with how long it takes to get there. For example, going between two locations in Denerim showed my party going through a bunch of back alleys up to a main street despite a main street being very close to where they started, but for some reason they took the scenic route instead. Even more annoying, going from Ostagar to Flemeth's Hut, which should be right next to each other, had the party go north almost up to lothering and then back down to flemeth's hut? Why the detour guys, seriously? They should be next to each other so why are you going all the way up there just to double back?
Ostagar was added in a DLC, I guess they didn't bother painting new travel routes on the world map, so your party moves to a main game locaiton to walk the normal route I mean, the forests are beset my Darkspawn, so your party sticks to a safe path.
 
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Does it really matter if I do the personal quests on a gameplay level? I know Mass Effect could allow you to circumvent a certain plot point if you did WREX's personal quest(assuming you weren't maxing paragon/renegade) and Mass Effect 2 made a big deal about how many people survive the suicide mission if you did their personal quests and made the right choices. Like, do characters die or do better if you did their personal quests? More applicable, am I gonna notice if I don't seek out Zevron's quest before triggering the landsmeet?
Mostly no. Your choices are mostly reflected in the epilogue consequences. Eg, your interactions with Alistair affect his opinions about duty and personal responsibility, which in turn reflects the wisdom of a certain upcoming decision.

To the specific question the reason you can't find Zevron's quest is because...he doesn't have one.
 
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Mostly no. Your choices are mostly reflected in the epilogue consequences. Eg, your interactions with Alistair affect his opinions about duty and personal responsibility, which in turn reflects the wisdom of a certain upcoming decision.

To the specific question the reason you can't find Zevron's quest is because...he doesn't have one.
Yeah, I kind of got the idea of what's going on with Alister and might have kinda sort of engaged in some meta gaming on that because I told him that his terrible sister was terrible and he needed to grow some balls. I know I'm supposed to be playing this blind but it's also a 15 year old game and I'm probably not gonna play it again for at least a few years. Especially considering I've got four more DLC, DA2 and Inquisition after this, and supposedly Inquisition is fucking LONG. Besides, it's either Alister on the throne or.....I don't fucking know. Sure as shit not Loghain as he's shown it's completely unfit to rule so get your ass in that fucking chair, Alister!

I finished Wynne's personal quest once I learned how to trigger it and that was kinda nice. Otherwise I spent a bit of time finishing up some of the board quests, selling off shit I know I'm never gonna use, getting a big pile of gold and such. I also hung around the Dalish Camp a bit buying tons of elfroot to dump in the collection box for more XP because I'm kinda done with doing side quests that don't seem to matter to anything. And yeah, the elfroot method is cheap and easy but it's also really boring, since you apparently only put so many in at a time so you have to keep hitting the "Deposit Elfroot" dialogue option until you run out. But I got an extra level for everyone out of it and you know what, that's fine. All my dudes are at level 19 or 20 and most of the fights haven't been particularly bad, barring the few that are because there's like 3 blood mages with their bois trying to stomp you or something.

So tonight I'm gonna go ahead and call the Landsmeet, which hopefully should be interesting.
 
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The Landsmeet has begun. Huzzah. Arl Eamon moved us all into his estate in Denerim, which it turned out is one of those gated off areas I couldn't enter earlier in the game. No sooner had I arrived that I learned the Queen was being held hostage by Arl Howe under the pretense of protecting her. So begins an infiltration/guard murder mission to the Arl of Denerim's estate, which i've become quite famialr with because I've already visted it before. 3 TIMES to be percise. Once in the City Elf Origin and Twice more in the Laliana's Song DLC where I fight my way in, fight my way out and then fight my way out of the dungeon below, which are pretty much all the same map. Except this time when I tried to leave instead of being betrayed there were a bunch of guards and a lady knight waiting for me and my crew, who at least let everyone else go because I chose to surrender. Apparently it's possible to win that fight but it's quite difficult to do so.

Oh, and I noticed Arl Howe, bastard that he was, was voiced by Tim fucking Curry himself. Which is cool.

After which involved a jailbreak at fort Drakon which wasn't bad despite having only two people to rescue me and talking my way into the more heavily guard section of the fortress before breaking my warden out and then escaping. With that done there was some politicking back at the estate because Anora started trying to make a deal for her throne, for me to support her.

So what I've concluded is that there's a couple ways this can go down at the Landsmeet once Loghain is dealt with:
1.) Alister is crowned King and takes the Throne
2.) Queen Anora keeps the Throne but without Loghain as Regent.
3). Alister and Anora Marry and rule together.
4.) All of the remaining Nobles are executed via some kind of fantastical head chopping device , the Monarchy is abolished and in it's place I institute a people's republic of some kind, which will surely be the best option for everyone involved as succession crisis will no longer be a problem.

However, it looks like the game isn't going to allow me to create a people's republic of freedom so I went with option 3 instead. Basically, Alister doesn't exactly want to be king but there aren't a lot of other choices and he has to be better then Loghain. Anora probably has the chops to rule but I don't trust her and the elven city origin shows she doesn't give a flying fuck about the alienages. Maybe Alister and Anora can balance each other out if I can get them both there. So yeah, played gopher between the two for a bit and convinced them both to consent to a political marriage so at least that's probably settled.

Looks like next is going to deal with the alienage, which is the only Origin story place I haven't been able to re-visit yet and with the City Elf that should be interesting to see how that goes.
 
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