Before we start, I'll have some Dragon Age Wiki links to make up for the fact that you guys can't read the ingame codex with lore, and background information. If you're intersted, check it out, as all of the areas in the game have quite the background.
House Aeducan, ruling family of Orzammar and Gotrek's house: http://dragonage.wikia.com/wiki/House_Aeducan
Orzammar, one of the last bastions of Dwarven civilization: http://dragonage.wikia.com/wiki/Orzammar
And the dwarves themselves: http://dragonage.wikia.com/wiki/Dwarven
Meet Gotrek Aeducan, 2nd son of King Aeducan, Scourge of Orzammar, Defender of Ferelden, Kinslayer, Slayer of Darkspawn, Licker of Lamposts in Winter, and Bedder of a thousand Wenches!
Hmmm.... I think he's missing someting...
Perfect! Now to begin sowing my seed across Ferelden!
But first, the intro, where we get to take in the Amazing scenery porn. Orzammar is freaking incredible. I'll let Duncan (aka Obi-Wan) and the images do the talking.
Deep beneath the frostback mountains sits Orzammar, the large of two remaining dwarven cities in the world.
Orzammar was once the seat of a major empire, connected by tunnels called Deep Roads, which stretched thousands of miles.
The city now stands alone, cut off from the rest of the Dwarven ancesteral lands by the Darkspawn incursion.
Secure in Orzammar's impenatrable construction, the Dwarven Noble Houses continue their centuries-old power struggles. Assasination and blackmail are commonplace, but the appearance of honor is paramount. You are the second child of King Endrin of House Aeducan- the ninth Aeducan ruler elected by the Noble Assembly. You grew up in a world rife with political intrigue, and have struggled agaist brothers and cousins for honor and prestige. Today, a feast celebrates your first millitary commision, the opening move towards real power in the ever-changing game of dwarven politics.
And thus our adventure begins. The man with the red hair is Gorim, Gotrek's second. Gorim is a pretty cool guy overall. You can treat him like a dog and he'll be all "Yes, my lord" or you can treat him as an equal and be BFF's with him and he'll act like a beer buddy. Of course, that's dwarf culture for you, and he probably is plotting to have me killed already, sooooo yeah. Most Dwarves are assholes. He isn't, and I love him for it.
But he has a beard! BY SHEOGORATHS POINTY NIPPLES I SHALL NOT STAND FOR THIS! ALL THE OTHER DWARVES IN THE DAMN GAME ONLY SOMETIMES HAVE BEARD AND THE FIRST DAMN ONE HAS ONE! GORIM, YOU SHALL PAY!
Well, at least he doesn't have a scottish accent. In all seriousness though, I love the dwarves in this game. The first origin I tried was Human Noble, and I nearly uninstalled it. Then I played Dwarven Commoner and fell in love.
The first action you take in the game is a decision on weather or not to take a shield to a feast. That pretty much sets the tone for orzammar- all politics, honor, and image. Gorim will think whatever you do is cool. You can choose either to skip straight to the feast held in your honor, or screw around the city for a bit. I, of course, choose to screw around.
Before I leave though, I check out the palace a bit. As I pass my younger brother, Bhelen's room, a woman walks out, but runs back in with a shreik as soon as she sees my amazing pecs and utter manliness. I have that effect on women. I follow her in and make quite an interesting discovery.
That tattoo beneath her eye? It means she's casteless. Casteless dwarves are the lowest of the low. They live in a horrible slum, dust town, and have no oppurtunities for social advancement whatsoever. Most of the other dwarves believe them to be beggars, lepers, and criminals, and as a result, they are beggars and criminals. Most dwarves wouldn't even look at a casteless, let alone speak to them. The only way for them to ensure any hope for their children would be to bed a noble lord and have a male son, as male children take the caste of their father. Other than that, they are considered less than animals.
And Bhelen is sleeping with one. (As a side note, she is also the sister of the Dwarf Commoner PC. All of the origin characters existed, but only one got the oppurtunity to become a grey warden, and live despite whatever precarious situation they were in.)
I let her leave. More accuratly, I tell Gorim to let her leave. Gotrek ain't got no intrest in no casteless ho'. Now that I'm alone in my beloved, noble, brother's room, I take everything that isn't nailed down. :D
GODDAMNIT BHELEN! It appears that I'll have to be extra extravagant to make up for his frugalness. The only things he has in his room other than his bed are books and a chess set. NERRRRDDDDDDDDD!!!
Did I say that Orzammar is really freaking beautiful? Because it really is just awesome. Although the game defaults to the third-person perspective, I perfer zooming out to tactical level in combat, more in line with Baldurs Gate and NWN, like so: http://imgur.com/L73Xf
Immedeatly after leaving the palace, me and gorim run into a scholar and a noble having an argument. The scholar wrote an unflattering peice about a paragon from the house that the noble came from, and the noble wants him to take it back. Now, this is a complicated delimma. Although the scholar speaks the truth, slander against a paragon is serious buisness, that could cause quite a bit of trouble. What is my solution?
Ah, good times, good times. There is nothing more satisfying than being a dick in a bioware game. Other than not being a dick in a bioware game. You see, this is the first situation where, in all honesty, the outcome does not effect you much, if at all. All Dragon age has for a karma meter is the approval of your companions, so you are not punished by being a dick, as there are enough dicks in your party to get by.
I love this.
Finally, it actually takes some moral character to be good. You don't get better rewards from it. If you tell someone to keep a reward in Dragon Age, well, they'll keep the reward. Being a nice guy is actually really fun to me because of it, because you really feel like a nice person.
Left asshole is Tirian Aeducan, my older brother, aka typical jackass who yells at me, aka Avon Barksdale, and right asshole is Bhelen, my cool, open-minded brother, aka Stringer Bell. The dialogue goes something like this:
Tirian: Brother, go to feast. I rage.
Bhelen: Whateva. *is high as shit*
Tirian: Rageragerage! *leaves*
That was a slight simplification.
Anyways, I continue through the merchant district, going through a number of rather amusing encounters. I tell Gorim to tell Merchants to tell me things, and so on, one of them gets mocked for selling (Prepare yourself! Make sure you're seated!) SURFACE GOODS, another faints because he's just a merchant and I'm the freaking son of a king, and I get a dagger from a guy that Tirian was a dick to, preventing me from getting it earlier. Tirian needs to get laid. Bhelen's doing it, and look at him, he's turning out fine.
At the end of the road, we come to the proving grounds, a collesium for dwarves.
Hey! I'm a noble! I can't wait to kick some ass in the proving! (Funny story: It takes until page 3 of google image searching for "decapitated dwarf" before you get something intensely disturging. That's about as clean as inspector gadget, and more clean than the simpsions.)
You know what, I think I might just wait. I like my throat where I can't see it.