Tavern Queue: Dragon Age
Brace yourselves — we’re talking Dragon Age.
Please note that this edition of the Tavern Queue contains lots and lots of spoilers for all three Dragon Age games. They’ve been out for years, but I’m giving you fair warning anyway!
Qft(Deagon Age)Q: So I started Origins…and am having a blast, but carried my WoW gameplay with me…for instance, the thought that health (and other) potions are mostly useless for questing. Now I’m in the middle of a quest chain (or however DA calls them) that I’ve painfully battled 3/4 of the way through only to realize that potions may indeed be critical to success…
Do I quit my progress to an earlier save and spend hours accumulating potions and building profession skills (UGH) or just fail the quest??
Depending on where you are in the story, it might be easier to revert to an earlier save. From what I can see in the comments, you’re in Redcliffe Castle, and you haven’t done the mage tower chain — I would seriously recommend going to an earlier save and doing that one first. If you play your cards right, you’ll end up with a very handy healer to help you out. She’s not the most exciting party companion in the game, but she’ll keep you alive … which is honestly way more important when saving the world is at stake.
Morrigan is a bit of a wild card — she’s powerful and she’s also ridiculously smart. She may be snarky, she may seem power-hungry (and let’s face it, she is), but she knows her magic. Flemeth…she’s on another level altogether. And by “another level,” I mean another higher, more powerful level than pretty much anyone on Thedas. She’s got her hands in everything — she sent her daughter with the Warden, she made sure Hawke survived long enough to get to Kirkwall, and then she made a third appearance in Inquisition, and it’s never quite made clear what she’s up to there.
But you don’t really get time to figure that one out. The last time you see Flemeth, she’s obviously in the middle of…something — she’s sending something through an Eluvian — but what that is, and where she sent it off to are both mysteries that we haven’t solved yet. Common theory says that she was sending something to Morrigan, but it could be anything. And yeah, I love Claudia Black’s voicework with Morrigan, but man Kate Mulgrew’s performance as Flemeth is just as incredible.
See, asking me that is like asking me to compare apples and oranges. I like them both, for different reasons. Mass Effect was the sci-fi RPG I always wanted, it was a beautifully written and lovely, compact trilogy that was just a roller coaster of emotion. I appreciated it for that — no matter which ending you got, it was an ending, finite until you played the games again. I can’t wait for Andromeda, because I want to see what kind of sci-fi story they pull off next.
Dragon Age is the same, but on the fantasy end of the spectrum — and I think I have to say I appreciate that one more, solely because the story is so expansive. We’re talking Azeroth levels of expansive. It wasn’t tied up in a neat little bow at the end of Inquisition, there’s still plenty of story left to tell. I like games that have an entire universe of lore to work with. It’s why I appreciate fantasy, I think — because someone went to all the trouble to make up an entire world.
Oh, that’s another terrible question. I can’t choose. It’s two different things! I think I like the ones in Dragon Age a little more, just because you get a really good look at their whole society in Origins. We have various tales of dwarven wars and conflict, serious situations and whatnot in Warcraft, but we’ve never really gotten to experience it in the same way as you do in Dragon Age. Most of the time, it feels like when you run into a dwarf in Warcraft, it’s as part of some kind of humorous storyline.
Yes, it’s still technically unconfirmed but, c’mon… :D Given that we’re almost certainly going to Tevinter, the top things are my wishlist are appearances by Sandal (enchantment!) and Shale (squishy or otherwise).
I want to see the heart of Tevinter, but I also want to see Seheron. I want to see a real qunari. I don’t think we’ve seen any real qunari yet, except for maybe Sten — I have a theory that there’s a reason they made Sten the new Arishok. I think it’s because he’s the only one that’s dealt extensively with the southern reaches of Thedas and not gone Tal-Vashoth. He didn’t abandon the Qun, even though he had every chance to — when he was done with his mission, he returned, which demonstrates an enormous strength of will and character.
I’d like to see Sandal too, particularly after his creepily accurate prediction in Dragon Age 2. There’s something more going on with Sandal that we haven’t seen yet. And if we are going to Tevinter, I’d love to see Maevaris Tilani, Marius, and Tessa Forsythia from the Dragon Age comics. Mae made her first appearance in Dragon Age: Those Who Speak, and Marius and Tessa were both in the far more recent Dragon Age: Magekiller. I’d hate to see Marius and Tessa just make one appearance in a series and never be seen again — they were far too interesting not to include in any upcoming games.
Well, it’s years later, for one thing, and Leliana’s had time to change. If you played through the prequel Leliana’s Song for Origins, you get a little more insight into her companion quest you do in the main game. Marjolaine treated her terribly. The only one who was really kind to her during that time was Revered Mother Dorothea, who later became Divine Justinia V, and made Leliana her Left Hand.
Needless to say, Leliana’s had a rough life, Justinia’s death hit her particularly hard. Justinia helped her find her faith at a time when she needed it the most, and losing her in explosive fashion wrecked that faith. Leliana’s colder because her faith has been shaken — it’s up to the Inquisitor to either coax her back to her old self, or close her off even further. You can directly affect how her personality progresses through the choices you make, which is kind of neat to see in action.
Oh BOY I get to talk about the Qun! Because that’s really what’s going on here. When you meet Bull, he’s in a state of flux — he’s been assigned to basically act the part of a Tal-Vashoth, and he’s gotten so good at it that he’s slowly becoming one. To understand that, you have to understand the Qun, which is way, way harder to do. The Qun isn’t just a name for a group of qunari, nor is it a cult — it’s the entire way of being for these people. It defines who they are, what their purpose is in life, and how they live.
From day one, young qunari are raised and observed by the Tamassrans, who watch how these children grow up, and decide where they need to be placed based on who they are. The thing is, it’s not necessarily the worst life in the world — the tamassrans take great care to place the children in roles that they are best suited for. If you’re doing what you’re exceptionally good at, chances are you’re going to have a pretty good life, right? Except that life is in service of the Qun.
The Qun isn’t a cult, it’s not even really a religion, it’s more like a philosophy that the qunari follow. Its teachings cover almost every aspect of qunari life, but one of the most important of these is “Asit tal-eb” — “It is to be.” It means that everything and everyone in the world has a purpose that is second nature to them, and these purposes and natures come together to form a world of perfect order.
A river flows down the path it follows because that is where nature intended it to flow. To ask it to do anything else is against its nature, disrupting it affects the whole world — you move a river, and you destroy ecosystems you didn’t know existed. To the qunari, life is simply that river — people have their purpose, and simply have to be placed in the correct spot to keep the world an orderly, agreeable, and balanced place.
A place that has the Qun sitting on top, mind you. But the qunari aren’t racist, they’ll take anyone into the Qun. They’d like to take everyone into the Qun, in fact — there are qunari who are elves or humans, and they aren’t treated poorly. They’re simply asked to fill the role that they are intended to fill. As far as the Qunari are concerned, there are no individuals. Qunari don’t have names, they have titles that define their rank and their place in the world.
Tal-Vashoth, on the other hand, are qunari who decided for whatever reason to abandon or reject the Qun. Bull is terrified of becoming Tal-Vashoth, and for good reason: He saw what the Tal-Vashoth were like on Seheron. He fought them, he killed them, he viewed them with disgust. They were completely insane, and the last thing he wants to become is some kind of monster. And, I think, he’s uncomfortable with the implications if he does successfully become a Tal-Vashoth. If he can do it without going mad … then were the men and women he killed on Seheron really mad at all? What does that make him?
And more than anything else, the Qun is easy. It’s easy to get through life when you’re doing exactly what you were intended to do. It’s easier to have that role defined for you, it’s easier to live when you have a purpose and a cause to dedicate yourself towards. Bull had that purpose all his life, and suddenly that purpose has been taken away. What he’s left with isn’t a well defined, brightly lit road — it’s a void. It’s the blank, terrifying space where nothing but possibility exists — a Fade in and of itself.
Bull isn’t sad about leaving the Qun so much as he’s incredibly uncomfortable with coming to terms with the consequences of leaving it. What it makes him. What kind of person he’ll become. He’s a fascinating character and I could probably talk about him for hours.
I think that depends entirely on the choices you made in Inquisition — and we won’t know what those choices were, or which ones were correct, until we run into him again. And I don’t know if we’ll “redeem” him, so much as convince him that the world he created is a beautiful world with beautiful lives that are utterly worth keeping around. It’ll take a lot to convince him of that, I think. More than just some Lavellan smooches, from what we’ve seen so far.
There are three games in the series, so I’d recommend just picking up Origins and starting from there. The next game is Dragon Age 2, followed by Dragon Age Inquisition. Origins Ultimate Edition and DA2 are both available as part of Origin Access, as well as the base version of Inquisition — you pay $5 a month, and you get access to a ton of games. We just got Mitch into Dragon Age Origins over on the Swords and Shields podcast, so you won’t be alone in your first playthrough!
Hands down, Varric. I want to see what kind of stories he’d write. I bet he’d think the Steamy Romance Novels were terrible, and that he could do better. And then he probably would. I also want to see him meet a Draenei and a Naaru, just to see his reaction. I love Varric.
I’d probably be Ashkaari — “one who seeks,” basically a scholar. I think I’d fall under the Ariqun as one of the Tamassran, teaching people things. That seems to be where I fit in the world here, anyway!
These were mostly the same question, so I figured I’d answer two for one! The only mod I really insist on using every time I play is the one that changes Sten’s model so he more closely resembles the qunari in Dragon Age 2. It was a little weird to meet Sten and have him look just like any other human for the most part, especially after seeing the qunari in DA2. I set it on Sten 1 — same skintone as his default model, hornless like he should be, but much more in line qunari, much less human.
That said, if you’ve played through Origins once legit, the Skip the Fade mod for future playthroughs makes life a lot less painful.
If you’re having problems with your first playthrough, try just putting the difficulty on Easy. Origins has some pretty crazy combat.
It’s just codex entries — lore bits. You’ll also notice as you complete mosaics, they’ll show up on the walls of Skyhold. So if you’re into interior decorating or being a completionist, pick them up. If not, it doesn’t really affect the story of the game in any way.
…well it should be pretty obvious from the short novel I wrote above that I really like Iron Bull. Particularly in Inquisition. He’s looking for purpose, that purpose is helping you. And he’s the only one that isn’t either hiding a horrible secret, or dealing with super crazy issues of his own. Or at the very least, he’s not going to bother you with his issues — he’s very cleverly written. He’s got problems, but he doesn’t talk about them at all — they just come out in between all the stories he tells you.
For Origins, I really liked Alastair the most, for the same reason I liked Bull — he was mostly lighthearted and offered a break from the dire and serious world outside. For Dragon Age 2, I honestly didn’t really care about the romances. I ended up with Fenris just due to how I was playing the game, and while he was nice enough, I didn’t feel particularly invested in the romance aspect.
If I could have romanced Varric, I would’ve done it in a heartbeat, because he was the only one who I felt like I had a really genuine relationship with for the most part. Oh well, Hawke had to settle for just being pals for life with him instead. Works for me!
I have a second story in progress, but I haven’t really worked on it in months — I’m working on some other material instead. I’ll get back to it and finish it eventually, it’s just not high on the priority list at the moment.
For those interested, if you’ve played through both Dragon Age 2 and Inquisition, and you’d like to have your heart torn out, I wrote a short story about Bull. …it’s a little over 73k words, so “short” is relative here. But there’s some headcanon in there that goes into the actions of the qunari in Dragon Age 2, and exactly what’s going on in Iron Bull’s head after Inquisition is over, but before the events of Trespasser begin. Fair warning, I think I accidentally broke Liz’s heart with it. Oopsie!
Look, I warned you guys I could talk about Dragon Age forever. Thanks for all the questions!
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