Fanfic: Dragon Age: The Crown of Thorns aka: Dragon Age The Crownof Thorns
Raonar: Zevran Arainai. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that you managed to turn a codex of poisons and their antidotes into something that sounds like a porn novel. Alistair: Wait... What?
Alim: This is probably the point where I explain your folly. But you know what? I am a sadistic demon hater. So I'll just say one thing. Pride Demon: ... Alim: You lose.
It is a relatively common occurrence for an original work or fanfic author to start on a tale that quickly or eventually proves to be too much to handle. Issues may arise in regards to the setting, the plot, the characters and everything else that a tale needs. If one were to disregard the cases when the whole project collapses upon itself because of either or more than the above, authors can still reach the conclusion that it would take too much time or too many words to pull off properly. In other cases, writers may just be swamped with work or other real life events and they end up having to give up on the project. As such, many stories never see the light of day, while others might get completed but fail to reach their true potential.Dragon Age: The Crown of Thorns is an example of a massive undertaking that did not meet such an unfortunate end.This fanfic is what happened when a certain fanfic author took the massive plot of Dragon Age: Origins and mixed it with equally massive servings of Rule of Cool, Rule of Funny and Rule of Drama, making sure to provide a healthy dose of Character Development for everything to meld seamlessly into what is one of, if not the longest of Dragon Age fanfictions on the internet.And the Hidden Depths of the characters have yet to be explored fully.Alternatively, this story is what happens when you take a human noble lady, a female city elf, a male dwarvencommoner, a Dalishyoung man and a male elven mage and, along with the resident Heroic Bastard Alistair and the rest of the canon companions, place them under the command of a dwarven prince who, depending on how one looks at him, can qualify as a Wise Prince (Guile Hero) and/or Magnificent Bastard -though it's pretty obvious at this point that he's is the former. His first act was fundamentally changing the events of the Dwarven Noble origin story, although not in a way that anyone would expect.The story is already longer than 60 chapters and passed the 700,000 words mark a while ago...and it's only about half-done.
Provides Examples Of:
Absurdly Sharp Blade: Raonar can turn any sword he currently uses into one, and he can even cut from a distance. Alim can turn even other peoples' weapons into this.
Action Hero: Alim and especially Faren (particularly when he's in Dark Wolf mode).
Action Girl: Gwen and Kallian, of course, plus Leliana.
A Father to His Men: The DN acts like this in the origin story and, later, when he assumes position as warden commander, although one could say it's more of a brother to his men, since he's not that old.
Angst Coma: The DN falls into one that lasts just about 12 hours when he suddenly learns his father died and he thinks it's his fault.
Ascended Extra: Trian Aeducan is this hands down. Gorim Saelac and Frandlin Ivo also qualify.
Badass: The entire main cast, companions included, although the whole world of Dragon Age seems to have been given a level in Badass just for the sake of awesomeness. This includes antagonists, especially demons and the like.
Badass Beard: Raonar's long-dead lover invented the braided style for him. A lot of nobles, including Harrowmont and the assembly steward, shamelessly copied it afterwards.
Badass Boast: One would expect the protagonist to get these, but it looks like Faren The Dark Wolf wins this.
Battle Aura: Wynne, when she draws upon her Spirit of faith.
Raonar can go from just glowing eyes to shining white from his whole body, all the way to looking a lot like an ascended being from Stargate, since that's what Honor more or less is. Unfortunately, the more power he uses, the more painful and likely to cripple him it gets.
As a partial subversion, Alim never used a battle aura, even though he's the most powerful of all characters in the story. He does sometimes get Dramatic Wind though.
For Raonar: Desecrating either his mother's or dead girlfriend's memory does not end well. Likewise, don't pick on Faren or harm children. It is heavily implied that the Grey Wardens' near-inability to have children is something that he isn't very happy about. As such, he seems to go into Papa Wolf mode regardless of what child is being threatened/harmed, to the point where he snaps at Isolde for leading to Connor's possession and, later, at Alim for being scarier than the demon itself when he entered the fade to slay it, thus almost traumatizing the kid.
For Faren: Threatening his loved ones in any shape or form.
Oghren can make his own whenever he wants to go into berserker rage.
Beware the Nice Ones: See above. Do NOT desecrate the memory of any of Raonar's loved ones. Even being a demon won't save you. Also do NOT deliberately harm Faren. Ever. Although, true enough, a Tranquil Fury seems to be the response in this case.
For Faren, anything endangering Rica, Kallian and, probably, Raonar qualifies. Ironically, Raonar himself was on the wrong side of this for concealing the fact that he always knew Rica was Bhelen's concubine. Since he hates Bhelen's guts, Faren was not pleased.
Big Brother Instinct: Raonar, the DN, develops this for Faren, the DC, especially after being trapped in the Fade. That young Brosca doesn't mind is a massive understatement.
Big Brother Mentor: Again, Raonar is this for Faren. Also, recent chapters, as well as a one-shot by the same author reveal that Trian was this to the DN when they were younger, before their falling out.
Big Damn Heroes: At one point, Sten, of all people, enters the DN's mindscape, via a spell Alim learned from the Spirit of Duty, and helps the exiled prince fight off the Archdemon's psychic attack that would have probably lobotomized him otherwise.
Something similar happens several chapters later.
For that matter, the protagonist himself pulls one off in chapter 4, when he saves Trian's hide.
Faren also has one in chapter 4, when he takes out the entire mercenary backup party sent to dispose of Trian. He even has a health potion for the DN.
Blatant Lies: Oh boy, does Bhelen try to feed Faren bull_hit.
Blessed with Suck: Raonar is a Magic Knight because he harbors a tear in the veil. Unfortunately, while he did get some of the spirit warrior abilities form Awakening, this seems to have caused at least as may problems, some of them rather serious.
Blood Brothers: Not really a pact, but Raonar and Faren are pretty much this. The former also has a similar bond with Sten.
Break the Haughty: Trian gets put through this, with spectacular results. Soon, Bhelen will probably get his share too.
Brutal Honesty: The DN uses this when talking to Cailan and Loghain in Ostagar and when giving Isolde a tongue-lashing. Also, he uses it on Trian when they finally meet again.
Call Back: There are several, although two are the most prominent.
The first one is in regards to a major event in the backstory of House Aeducan, namely a 10 year-old Trian almost dying/getting paralyzed for life after taking the brunt of a fallen bookcase to protect the 7 year-old DN. a young Cailan Theirin was present at that -and he even mentions it himself in Ostagar-, as was Maric. This is part of what causes the clusterfuck in this version of the DN origin and is invoked during the later chapters.
It is revealed that Duncan relayed to Raonar the events of Dragon Age: The Calling.
Chekhov's Gun: The letter that King Endrin got, as stated by the protagonist, even though the time for its full effects to be shown hasn't arrived yet.
The dagger that Faren got from Raonar, the same as the one offered by the weapon merchant in the DN origin, not only enables Faren to help out with the death faking, but, much later, almost kills Raonar himself, leading to the discovery of yet another troublesome side effect of the tear in the Veil.
The potion given to Faren by the DN in the first chapter is the same one the former feeds to the latter in chapter 4.
Amalia, the Kitty demon-bewitched daughter of that man who knows Shale's activation word, manages to bring Raonar out of a Heroic BSOD after the Cold-Blooded Torture and Mind Rape he suffered at the hands of that desire demon, before his Berserk Button was pushed and he went into an Unstoppable Rage that nearly ended with him becoming an abomination. Amalia just asks him (and pushes him until he gives a straight answer) if he needs a hug and he straight-out says he does (eventually), getting some evidence that there is something worth fighting for, unlike what being raised in Orzammar would make one believe.
Comes Great Responsibility: For some reason, the stronger Raonar and, by extension, everyone else gets, the bigger problems they have to deal with.
Continuity Nod: In the game, Gorim is crippled en route to Denerim. Here, he remains in Orzammar, but ends up similarly disabled because of an assassin he intercepted.
Cosmic Play Thing: Raonar feels this way but only gets annoyed when other people suffer because of it.
"Everything I've done turned out for the worst, and that can only mean that I just haven't been doing a fucking thing right. It can only mean that. The only alternative is that Orzammar is determined to commit suicide, that no matter how much I or anyone else struggles, nothing can make any difference anymore, and I just can't accept that. I won't. I refuse!"
Crazy-Prepared: Raonar. He takes everyone and everything he can think of into account, and then some. It's why they all survived Ostagar, among other things. Alim has shades of this as well, although he doesn't need to bother since he knows the commander has things covered.
Cultured Warrior: Raonar, Alistair (or so he says), Gwen (probably) and Sten, even though he doesn't quote the Qun much.
Also, the fight against Uldred and his minions. Simply put, the main cast doesn't wait for him to transform. Reality Ensues
"The Dark Wolf" versus Seweryn during the Grand Proving.
"Duran" against Wojech Ivo during the same event.
Cursed with Awesome: Raonar feels this way about his intelligence because he knows that, if he ever got to rule, the schemers in Orzammar would just learn from him how to be more subtle, and that is the last thing he wants.
Determinator: The DN was forced to become this by all the crap he's had to put up with. Sten seems to be this as well.
As a better explanation for the DN, he keeps pulling one gambit after another even though the fact he grew up in a Deadly Decadent Court could have long ago turned him into a self-centered cynic. He also displayed a high physical resilience in the deep roads, up until he stumbled upon a certain someone else and finally decided to allow himself to faint after two days of no sleep, fighting, getting repeatedly injured, tried for fratricide that never happened, dragged through streets in chains, spat on and generally not having a very nice time.
Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: In one of the earlier chapters, Raonar is about to die and he momentarily links minds with the Archdemon, at which point the dwarf basically tells it to go screw itself. It comes back to bite him and everyone else in the rear later. Hard.
Death Faked for You: The major diverging plot point compared to Canon. Raonar fakes Trian's death and paints himself the murderer on purpose. The eldest is none too pleased because it happens against his will, and so totally out of the blue (for him anyway) that he has no idea what the frak happened when he is confronted with the situation.
Deal with the Devil: Raonar makes one with a Pride Demon in Chapter 48, then uses a Loophole Abuse to get his part of the deal without consequences. Granted, he does almost die in the process, but it was all according to plan in the end.
Defeat Means Friendship: Averted. Raonar and Faren gain each other's trust by having a duel that the former starts out of the blue, right in the middle of Dust Town's slums. It is an aversion because they end up having too good a time and, after reading each other's hearts by exchanging blows, so to speak, they both collapse to the ground and start laughing their hearts out because of how great they're both feeling. All in front of Gorim too...
Disproportionate Retribution: Most of the characters feel that the DN protagonist lashes out at Isolde a bit too strongly, although, true enough, she did outright accuse him that he doesn't mind killing children. Nevertheless, he makes her cry and even deliberately makes her think he is going to/did kill Connor. Fortunately, he'd only gone upstairs to give the kid a hug and a So Proud of You, plus talk to the demon possessing him face to face.
When Connor is finally exorcized, the DN gets quite angry at Alim's impersonation of the Grim Reaper and, instead of congratulating him and whatnot, drags the mage over to give him a What the Hell, Hero? rant in private. Alim counters it by calling him out on how he reacted too harshly, showing off his own Guile Hero traits by perceiving one of Raonar's biggest regrets.
Doomed by Canon: Subverted. The game automatically killed off, more or less, all potential wardens except for the player character. Here, all of them become Wardens, although two of them get the chance only because of the protagonist's direct action.
Played straight by King Endrin, Cailan and Duncan. Still, Cailan at least gets to have a death scene that could be seen as sad by some, while Duncan has a Dying Moment of Awesome that takes half a day.
Doorstopper: 650,000 words and still only about half done. No one seems to be complaining.
Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Frandlin Ivo of all people. He starts off by wanting to gain glory and, eventually his own command. Then Bhelen comes along and either threatens or bribes him and his family. He joins his scheme against the DN, despite wanting to be a good guy. Then he joins the DN's expedition, where he fights to the best of his ability just so he can get him over to where he gets framed or murdered with his elder brother. But wait, the DN always knew of his involvement, and after a "The Reason You Suck" Speech and You Are Better Than You Think You Are, Frandlin joins him... and his role is to continue to work for Bhelen by framing the DN for Trian's murder, all the while concealing the fact that the heir apparent is very much alive and well. So, to sum up, Frandling Ivo is working for the Ivo family, Bhelen and the dwarven noble protagonist (and, by extension, Lord Harrowmont and Prince Trian), with the main motivator being his own wishes: to be a good guy and continue to have a choice in his actions.
Dramatic Pause: The protagonist does this on purpose sometimes, because he likes being dramatic once in a while.
Dramatic Shattering: In Orzammar, the only reason anyone realizes that Raonar is pissed off at how Faren was slammed with Leske's betrayal is because the prince grips on his glass of wine hard enough to crush it in his bare grasp, blood and all.
Dual Wielding: Faren uses two daggers, sometimes linking them with a 3 meter-long chain to use them as mid-range weapon. He also gets some hidden wrist blades.
Dudley Do-Right Stops to Help: Played perfectly straight by Raonar. You'd think that a politician that spawns one gambit after another and who has the whole world on his shoulders would be a bit less eager to go into potentially deadly situations with just his dog as help. Turns out that he doesn't think too hard on whether or not to totally go out of his way in the opposite direction (about a day's journey too) and check on Honnleath and if anyone was still alive there, even though he'd finally seen the first human after roaming the Korcari Wilds for weeks, during which time he almost got killed several times, nearly dyed of starvation and refused a deal with Flemeth that she would not outline until agreed upon. And his armor was so rusted and worn that it didn't even survive the trip to the golem village, although, true enough, the demon shattered most of it. Raonar does reason that it's important to assess whether the horde really reached so far west in such a short time or if it's just a group of stragglers. One would think this is just him looking for justification, but that wouldn't fit with his Brutal Honestypolicy that he uses on everyone, including himself, meaning that he manages to play this trope AND avert Honor Before Reason altogether (after all, he hadgained some nifty magical abilities to tip the scales).
Dying Moment of Awesome: Duncan, when he and the DN get cornered in Ostagar. Not only does he haul the protagonist off the fortress's ledge and shield him with his body from the fall, smashing his back (and ending up paralyzed and with bad internal injuries) in the process but, later, after said dwarven noble carries him away from the battle (and Duncan had been telling him to leave him behind), Duncan pushes him out of the way of a blight wolf's sneak attack and takes it himself. And he still survives enough to tell him that only Grey Wardens ca kill Archdemons, although he doesn't manage to explain why and how it's done.
Dynamic Entry: Faren interrupts the No-Holds-Barred Beatdown that the final form of the Sloth demon was administering to everyone else at once, including the protagonist and resident One-Man Army blood mage Alim Surana, with a Flash Step and a roundhouse kick to the face, followed immediately by another Flash Step and a descending axe kick that drove the demon into the 'ground' so hard that it left behind a huge crater and blew a huge dust cloud into the air. And it all happened in little over an instant.
Easily Forgiven: Trian. And he feels really bad about it because he thinks he doesn't deserve it.
Eccentric Mentor: Maybe not old enough to qualify, but the DN makes a point of acting like this. He even deliberately lets/encourages the other members of the party to think he's a kinslayer just so the shock of the later revelation can be strong enough to make them grow past the point where they assume so many erroneous things so easily. And he is perfectly honest the entire time.
Fire-Forged Friends: Raonar and Faren, although the Battle of Ostagar more or less makes all seven Grey Wardens qualify for this.
Foreshadowing: At this point, anything mentioned in the fic can be seen as a Chekhov's Gun or Gunman or whatever else. Alim's 'rose' is just one of the minor examples. Also, readers should know that pretty much everything Raonar does, however minor, is part of some contingency plan.
Gambit Pileup: Orzammar is this, to a small extent, by nature. It gets more complicated...
"And that so-called plot of yours, Stone's mercy, it was so incredibly outlandish that a five year-old could have poked holes through all of it. "You're my elder, I'll respect whatever decision you make" you said when you tried to goad me into killing Trian. If that's the driving force behind your actions, isn't Trian your elder too? Makes your words a huge red flag, doesn't it? The only reason I so quickly made you think I agreed to the whole kinslaying was because I didn't want to risk bursting into laughter if I accidentally made you say something like 'Of course I'll help you kill our brother, you've always been there for me'. And just what the hell were you thinking when you sent that stupid scout spy? What was he supposed to do, start a violent confrontation when I finally ran into Trian? Just how stupid do you think soldiers are to listen to the ravings of a lunatic? And speaking of armies, how in hell were Frandlin and that idiot supposed to have any credibility when it came to framing me if my soldiers were right there, especially since Dugan, that idiot, and his ambush were so obviously not part of your initial plan? Do you even realize how many sodding coincidences your so-called plan actually relied on, even not counting how big the possibility was of any of your 'moles' getting killed in that expedition? Or how the chance of you actually timing your arrival properly was so absurdly infinitesimal! You speak of politics and planning, but don't you even know that any plan which relies on more than 2 or three things going right is doomed to fail! I put more effort into making that scheme work than you did!"
Genre Savvy: Quite a few people, especially Raonar, Alim and Faren, show shades of this.
Raonar: Truly, the most appropriate punishment for a smug villain is a death proportionally anticlimactic to all the damage he caused.
Raonar: "From what I understand after discussing with Alim, Uldred will likely be a sort of abomination by now. There will probably be a whole bunch of other, gooey guys like the ones we encountered before too. Now, on a related note, Gwen will be able to confirm that this Uldred was at Ostagar and we have since learned that he was in league with Loghain Mac Tir. Alistair, you can start adding that to your "List of reasons I hate Loghain" later. Anyway, my point is that that mage seemed to have a stick up his rear even then, before the battle, so he'll probably want to enter some stupid villain's monologue. Now, if this were a story, we'd probably end up fighting him and whatever demon he consorted, plus a few mind-controlled mages if anyone screws up reading the Litany."
When commencing the above fight:
Now, from all the books he'd read, about adventures and epic battles, Raonar knew this was the point where the big bad turned into some wicked beast that the heroes would have to valiantly fight and defeat. It would eventually drag out into a battle of epic proportions, during which everyone would be able to test their mettle, find out some sort of special meaning in life and maybe even state an aesop or two. Bonus points if the room got wrecked in the process. Unfortunately, no one in the group was even inclined towards that kind of fight right now since they had seen more than enough of themselves during that experience in the Fade. *Cue Curbstomp Battle*.
For the DN it's justified because of all the books and stories he read while growing up.
From a Certain Point of View: Raonar makes sure he can say this about every single statement he makes.Ever. Anything he doesn't want to lie about is phrased as a question or hypothesys. It's what allows him to actually remain the arguably most honest and upfront of all characters in the story, even though he still manages to mislead and make people believe whatever he wants them to. Of course, it helps that the things he is willing to do for the sake of others and his ideals, like his Zero Approval Gambit, are generally outside the realm of what people consider possible.
Hannibal Lecture: Raonar performs a few. Examples include his speech to the assembly after he was arrested and brought to trial and his discussion with Bhelen when the latter comes to see him in his cell.
Heel Realization: Trian has a very serious one. It takes weeks / months to sink in and pushes him into a depression that lasts nearly as long, to the point where he's unable to sleep unless he collapses from exhaustion, this being the reason why he begins to abuse his own body through frantic workout. And this is whileGorim was trying to offer some emotional support. Eventually, he manages to get better when he discovers his talent for sculpting but crap hit the vents again soon after. Ironically enough, the nearly fatal accident he sustained during this period ended up improving his mood, though it really was mostly Gorim's doing (the mood lifting, not the accident). Quite the mother hen that one.
King Endrin Aeducan doesn't really need one, since he seems to know all along that the crap he's pulling is wrong, but he does it all anyway. Still, he only really laments it during his deathbed scene, when he thinks Trian is a hallucination. He eventually does play it straight when he sees just how wrong he was when the fact Trian is alive and right there, holding his hand, sinks in. Too bad he turned it all into an excuse to die sooner instead of living, like his sons had respectively ordered / begged him to.
Heroic Self-Deprecation: Raonar does seem to have a small case of this, but it's more frustration at being proven right all the time, even in things he hopes he'd be wrong about.
Faren plays this very straight though, not understanding why Raonar sent him away so he could live while he stayed behind in Ostagar to try and help Duncan. He also doesn't understand why the prince bothered with a no good thug like him in the first place. Kallian only partially manages to help him get over it, and he does seem to be slowly growing out of it as he sees that people believe in him.
And then there's the nightmare...
As in the game, Alistair thinks very little of himself and is wracked with guilt, though not as badly as in Canon.
Oddly enough, Kallian herself sometimes thinks like this, starting after she learns that she was supposed to die in the Joining but Alim and Raonar managed to help her cope with the blood. Basically, she doesn't always feel like she deserves to be in the Order.
Faren goes through one after they escape Lothering, although the one caused by the Fade nightmare is close to an outright Angst Coma that he goes through while still standing.
Heroic RROD: The dwarven noble falls into a coma and his mind and body begin to break down, literally and figuratively, after the second psychic clash with the Archdemon. The only reason he doesn't die is because Alim, Sten and Leliana go Big Damn Heroes at the telepathic level, of all things.
Hilarity Ensues: This happens when you tell Zevran to write a codex about poisons and their antidotes.
Honesty Is the Best Policy: While he may phrase his words as questions and hypotheses when manipulating people, none of Raonar's actual statements were ever lies. This is why he's so good at getting his way, since he doesn't have to worry about revealing anything because so-called enemies, particularly Orzammar nobles, always assume he's lying so they'll not realize the truth until it is too late for them.
Hot-Blooded: Gwen is afflicted with this, though it tones down after her dream.
So, basically, Theron knew that Raonar and Alim knew some things they didn't, and he also knew that Raonar knew that he knew this, but did not bother pointing it out or taking measures to prevent the tattooed elf, in the future, from coming to know of everything else Alim came to know, as long as said mage did not come to know of the hunter's knowing of what he thought everyone else did not know, meaning that Theron did not have to bother getting into the habit of finding lounging spots any way farther, since Raonar either did not have anything specifically against it or knew he was not going to inform the others of his knowing that Alim, who did not know that he knew of his knowing of things that only Raonar knew more about, knew more than what he thought he knew the others did.
Theron had continued to not-truly-eavesdrop on them occasionally, wondering when the crooked dwarf would come forth and inform Alim that, despite what he thought he knew, what he really knew was less than he believed, considering that he thought he knew for sure that no one besides the commander knew what he knew, and that, by extension, no one else knew he knew of those things, when in fact Theron had always known them without his knowing, Alim having been prevented from coming to know that the Dalish elf had always known of his knowing, as well as of Raonar's knowing that the latter knew whatever Alim knew of what he believed only the two of them knew, plus that Alim did not, in fact, know that Theron knew of his supposed knowing that no one besides the exile knew of his knowing of those things (a conviction which was false).
From Bad to Worse: Even though what the main cast does never stops being awesome, things seem to be getting more and more complicated and, for Raonar at least, bad enough that he's bled from his nose and eye sockets two times already.
Looks like the most recent psychic clash between the protagonist and the Archdemon concluded with the latter becoming more self-aware and smarter, whatever that implies.
Jerkass Fašade: Averted. The DN reveals that he did intend to use this tactic on Trian, in order to fool Bhelen, but ended up not needing to do it because the eldest prince managed to piss him off for real enough that he didn't need to act.
Keeping Secrets Sucks: Raonar and Alim are revealed to know more about the Blight, the Archdemon and Grey Wardens in general than everyone else. As such, they are probably under a lot more stress than the others, even setting aside the responsibilities of the first and second in command, respectively, that they have. Still, this may be an aversion because, as revealed by the latest chapters, they likely would just come out and tell what they are, or bluntly order the others not to ask questions, if said others did find out they were being kept in the dark. Oddly enough, everyone is so used to not being told everything by the commander that they don't bother with it, actually trusting him to know what he's doing.
Of course, to this are added the secrets that the Grey Warden Order has to protect even at the cost of human lives, although no situation has arisen where this was necessary (and it's unlikely Raonar would fail to come up with a creative resolution).
Knight in Sour Armor: Raonar might not act the part, but the fact is that he knows (and always knew) that his home nation is a rotten pool full of liars and that the rest of the world isn't that different either, confirmed by the betrayal of Ostagar and everything else. The only reason he lived so far and even shone brighter than all others of his kind (and even manages to inspire people to be more than they are) is because he still sees hope for the future. All he wants is to see worthwhile things go on existing (and he makes sure to notice them, however rarely they show up, because he lives in the present as much as he can). Of course, it helps his disposition that some adults his own age (Gorim, Frandlin Ivo and especially Trian) are true of spirit as well.
Magnetic Hero: Apparently, the protagonist is a lot less enthused by it than one would expect, to the point where, in chapter 51, he actually outright tells Alim that it scares him how strong a loyalty (and how fast) he can instill in others. The reason is that, despite his best efforts, he and the others end up in life and death situations where the other members of the group might choose to sacrifice their health or lives in his stead, for one reason or another. Made even more complicated by the fact that the protagonist appears to actually put active effort into discouraging his potential close friends from becoming too devoted. It's one of the few things he fails at, and it bothers him. A lot.
Messiah Creep: The protagonist doesn't want to be king because he knows he'll be considered something on this level when he shows how things really are. The reason is because he wants Orzamamr to become less dependent on single figures and think for themselves.
Mistaken for Gay: Happens to Raonar, both in-story and out of it. Apparently, his feelings for Faren were misunderstood.
More recently, new arrival Oghren is wondering the same thing, only about the latter.
More Dakka: Dear Scott, Alim combines this with Improbable Aiming Skills during the battle of Ostagar, when he goes apeshit on the darkspawn horde and becomes a weapon of mass destruction by using the power of all the freshly spilled blood on the battlefield, and then some. It is later revealed that he was aiming for a Heroic Sacrifice, burning out his life force, hence his mega powerup, but survived indirectly thanks to a deal he made with the Spirit of Honor, although said deal is only specifically revealed many chapters later. See Storm of Blades below.
Mundane Utility: Alim uses magic to improvise portable freezers and to keep the party camp warm at night during winter. Also, dwarves use enchantment to make things like self-filling basins of self-purifying water.
Murder Is the Best Solution: Bhelen really seems to think killing everyone who gets in his way is the best solution, as he does in the game. This is probably the reason why the dwarven noble repeatedly calls him an idiot while having a higher opinion of Trian.
Trian also goes through this phase, eventually, but it lasts months and gets worst when he thinks his brother is dead. Fortunately, said brother shows up literally at his doorstep the very same instant he finished writing in his journal the apology he thought he'd never be able to give him in person.
Endrin is something of a special case because he knows full well what he's doing is wrong from the get go, but he still discards his second son because of wanting to prevent a so-called scandal. As if the firstborn being murdered by the second son wasn't already scandal enough.
Never Got to Say Goodbye: It is more or less obvious that the DN feels this way. Meanwhile, King Endrin inverts this by actually wanting to die before getting a chance to see his second eldest son again, because he's too ashamed and afraid to face him after everything that happened. And he does just that, despite the fact that Trian was right there and was practically begging him to not give up.My God, What Have I Done? indeed.
Noble Wolf: Anor, the wolf who partners with Theron. He is found wounded in the Korcari Wilds while the would-be wardens are looking for the treaties. They heal him. A couple of days later, he saves their lives by gathering his pack and taking out some darkspawn stragglers that had followed them when they retreated from the hopeless Ostagar battle.
Playing Both Sides: Subverted. It looks like the wardens are going to play both sides when the DN goes to Orzammar in disguise and has Gwen assume nominal leadership, but what really happens is that they play neither side. The result is them practically forcing both candidates in a position where they have to do everything in their power to assist the order. Of course, since Harrowmont is in on everything, this means that Bhelen is being manipulated thoroughly.
Poor Communication Kills: Averted. Trian buys into Bhelen's otherwise obvious ploy not because he and his other brother can't understand each other, but because the DN deliberately gave the eldest reasons to hate him while repeatedly foiling plots against him.
"Well excuse me for not being overly coherent. After all, I only just bled from my eyes and am aching all over, not to mention feeling as though my head is being carved open from the inside and am generally in a sorry enough state that I am actually indulging in a rare episode of self-pity, which, though it feels strangely justified and appropriate right about now, I will most likely look back upon with shame once this is all over, unless I die tonight of course, which is really looking like the second most likely outcome, immediately after irreparable insanity!"
Razor Wind: The DN's ranged sword attacks could qualify as this, more or less.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Raonar is a master of this. It's good for the world that he doesn't do it often and mostly with the goal of helping the one on the receiving end. Unfortunately, he sometimes goes too far.
Recurring Dreams: Raonar's near death experiences involving his Fortress Of Solitude, essentially his mindscape, collapsing could be this, or visions, or some sort of retreat into one's self...
Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Both played straight and averted by Faren and Raonar at the same time, whenever only the two of them are present, with the castless thug/criminal/rogue, oddly enough, being the sensitive one. Faren turns out to be very emotionally vulnerable after his Fade nightmare, so Raonar deliberately begins to exhibit more strength of character and equal doses of care and bluntness, even snarky humor, for the younger dwarf to draw upon. Big Brother Mentor indeed.
Serial Escalation: The sheer length of the fanfic is one thing, but there never seems to be any shortage of new plot twists and ways to slam readers with another development involving yet another scheme, possibly in regards to the Archdemon and the Fade.
Shipper on Deck: The DN sometimes subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) nudges the romances between some members of the party forward. Being Faren's Big Brother Mentor allows him to quite easily help him out, while his approach to the relationship between Gwen and Alistair takes the form of the many plans. So far, his efforts have been successful and, though he was called out on his Matchmaker's complex, it wasn't in bad spirit, since his machinations didn't step on anyone's toes, probably because he never actually invaded their privacy (read:steered Faren and Alistair in such ways that they ended up asking him for advice).
Shout-Out: A few, although some could be considered aversions.
'''Eight swords of transparent, shimmering crystal appeared around him, all of them floating according to his intent. Double-edged and long they were, reflecting the entirety of that 'place' as they flew into position, as a wall of death in front of him. He considered making them look like energy weapons, long, scorching cylinders of blue, green, yellow, violet and red plasma, but between the idea itself and the humming noise they would make when swung, he felt like that would be too much of a cliche for some reason.
The dwarven noble gets Maric's Blade, one of the mightiest weapons in Thedas, before leaving Ostagar and has had it ever since.
Similarly, it is heavily implied that Raonar's initial sword, which he had as early as the very first chapter, and the one that ends up in Melec's hands, is seriously badass, though no details have been given yet. The same goes for his set of armor.
The dagger gifted to the dwarven noble by the weapons merchant in the first chapter, and which Faren got later that day, is not only infused with electricity enchantments, but it can even pierce cleanly through silverite massive armor without getting worn.
Gwen started off with a silverite greatsword and heavy armor of similar material. As if those weren't good enough, she got Yusaris, the greatsword Dragon Slayer, and Sophia Dryden's massive Warden Commander armor soon after.
Alistair gets Duncan's Shieldthe first time the party gets toDenerim, and this is actually quite a bit after he gets Duncan's sword, the exact instance being upon first arriving to Redcliffe.
Spirit Advisor: Honor might be an aversion, since he never really taught Raonar anything except the basics of controlling the unstable magical flow of the tear in the veil. The DN's moral and intellectual evolution has remained independent from the spirit's influence. In fact, this being Honor, he'll never really try to overstep his bounds. It would not be honorable after all.
Storm of Blades: Alim uses something like this during the battle of Ostagar but it qualifies better as a storm of needles. Made of blood. And that's just one of the things he does.
Stroke the Beard: The DN does this often, especially when he's plotting something.
Super Mode: Raonar has one, although it can end with him getting his limbs destroyed if he's not careful. It definitely doesn't guarantee victory either.
As in the game, Wynne can use her magic to push anyone into something of the sort, with no risks.
Of course, Wynne has that spirit inside of her, so calling upon it automatically counts as a super mode, especially considering the nimbus effect.
Supernatural Sensitivity: The Grey Wardens can sense the darkspawn and each other. The range varies from several hundred meters to several miles. Raonar and especially Kallian have wide ranges, though it's as much a curse as it is a blessing.
Alistair senses use of magic, being a templar.
The dwarven noble protagonist gains the same ability as above after he trains with him.
The DN also seems to have developed a psychic awareness in the aftermath of his most recent psychic clash with the Archdemon. He can sense anyone now, like a radar, not just darkspawn and Grey Wardens.
Alim seems to have been given some sort of spiritual implant, so to speak that lets him keep track of the protagonist and his state of health.
Oghren and Raonar exhibited the dwarven Stone Sense on one occasion.
Trian Aeducan was a prince. The Crown Prince of Orzammar, last, proud city of the Dwarves. He had been drilled on protocol as he grew up and knew well all the manners suited to one of his status. As such, he most assuredly did not start gobbling up the absurdly delicious food like some starved, uneducated peasant, knowing that no one was there to see. He remained perfectly civilized and satisfied his immense hunger steadily and with the utmost temperance, never exceeding the top speed that spoon-feeding ca manage without spilling the contents everywhere. He was the epitome of aristocratic grace each and every moment of it. Really.
Tranquil Fury: The DN goes into one when he gets to see what nightmare the Sloth Demon put Faren into.
True Companions: The Wardens and their group, although Morrigan is still her cold self and Sten is mostly devoted to the DN and not so much towards everyone else. Shale is... well, Shale, and Oghren just recently joined up.
Unexplained Recovery: Alim said that he got better in chapter 17 when Hawke states that no one could have survived casting the blood magic vortex spell that broke Darkspawn lines when they were betrayed by Loghain.
Unstoppable Rage: A certain desire demon pushes Raonar into this, even though rage almost never manifests itself in him, so it was quite the feat.
What the Hell, Hero?: The DN gets some of these. One of them leaves him with broken ribs and a snapped jaw. He expected it and let it happen, but it still hurt because healing magic didn't work on him until recently. And even now it's not a given.
The Wise Prince: Raonar, obviously. Alistair also seems to be turning into this, as is Trian.
Raonar: Ladies and gentlemenů I have just made the Archdemon smarter, and if it was not self-aware before, it definitely is now.
"World of Cardboard" Speech: Faren actually subverts this when he curbstomps the sloth demon that had been, in turn, curbstomping everyone else at once up to that point, including the protagonist and One-Man Army mage Alim Surana. He actually says that he doesn't need any motivation. Badassery stems from the fact that he gives the speech whileflash-kicking/punching the demon's face/back/whatever. Repeatedly.
"You know, I could say I'm doing this because I don't plan on letting those important to me die. I could say it's because I'm in a hurry to get out of this Fade thing and find out what happened to Kallian. I could say it's because I had a sort of revelation that ever so epically opened my eyes to a sort of higher calling. And I could also start a long, pointless monologue about true strength and a heap of other stuff, during which, truth be told, I may not even know what I'd be talking about half the time. I could babble for hours about nonsense, but the truth is that, right now, I am simply kicking your ass because I just don't like you."
Xanatos Gambit: Whether or not he fools Bhelen into thinking he bought into his lies, the evening prior to the mission the dwarf noble has a final talk with the king and Trian, exposing Bhelen's machinations. If Trian/Endrin believe him, perfect. If they don't, he intends to give up on the shield search half-way and intercept whatever mercenaries are hunting Trian. Either way, regardless of everything else, and in case Trian gets himself killed, the DN warden makes sure Baizyl Harrowmont in his army just in case someone needs to vouch for him (someone with much more credibility that Frendlin Ivo). In any event, there is no way he can be framed and no greater danger for him to get killed than the one posed by the darkspawn. True to form, he wins. Well, mostly. He still went with the exile. On purpose.
Xanatos Speed Chess: It was started years prior the actual start of the story, between two certain people and is still in effect, although only one of them knows it.
Zero Approval Gambit: What Raonar does before leaving Orzammar, unsure if he'll ever get to return, what with the danger of imminent death and all.