UPDATE:Dragon Age: Origins Headscratchers grew too massive for one page. The second half was removed and placed in a Part II. The second page is free to edit the folders already within. New edits should be added to THIS PAGE for coherence's sake. Repeat topics will be moved or removed.
Part II:Dragon Age Origins Part II
Massive unmarked spoilers, ho!
REFRAIN FROM POSTING UNTIL AFTER YOU READ THE PAGE; WE HAVE SEVERAL REPEATS
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I just finished a playthrough of Witch Hunt where my character was Morrigan's friend and let her leave peacefully through the Eluvian. Before departing, however, Morrigan told my Warden that she was leaving her a gift along with the book she'd stolen from the Dalish. In the closing scene, I saw my Warden walk over to the book, presumably to retrieve it and leave with Ariane and Finn. Yet the game just seemed to cut off abruptly at that point. From what little I saw, we don't even get a hint of what Morrigan has left behind for the Warden. Or am I missing something? Could she be referring to the bonus items you get after starting a new Origins playthrough after Witch Hunt? Is it another sequel hook? Or am I just not noticing something?
No, what Morrigan left you hasn't been revealed. It might be revealed in a future DLC or game.
Darkspawn are surprisingly sneaky
Towards the end of Origins, the entire Darkspawn horde somehow shows up in Denerim with almost no warning at all. How? This is right after the Landsmeet, so if you did what I did and went straight from Denerim to Castle Redcliffe, you somehow don't run into any darkspawn on the way. I can imagine something like this happening if the Darkspawn used the Deep Roads to travel underground to Denerim and came up from out of the basements, like they did in Awakening, but no one suggests that they did so. For that matter, a Darkspawn horde shows up out of nowhere to attack Amaranthine in Awakening, and no one sees them coming either. So, either all the Darkspawn (including the Hurlocks and Ogres) are masters of stealth when traveling overland, or they can tunnel just about anywhere. Both of those possibilities raise all kinds of questions, like "Why is it that no one is EVER prepared for a Darkspawn attack, if they're known for doing stuff like this?"
You get warning that the Darkspawn are headed towards Denerim a couple of days before they get there. So what are you talking about?
It's a massive mob of thousands of monsters with a dragon flying overhead. I would have thought we'd get more than two days warning, especially since they would have had to march all the way from Lothering.
Originally, they thought that the horde was headed towards Redcliffe. It wasn't until Riordan listened in on the Archdemons plans that he realized that Redcliffe wasn't the target and the horde was really headed for Denerim.
Also; all the way from Lothering? Where did you get that idea? Did you really think the darkspawn destroyed one village and then just sat there until the end of the game? They've been rampaging around in the south destroying everything they can. You can hear about it from a couple of nobles complaining about the darkspawn later on.
In Awakening, it is repeatedly commented upon that the darkspawn's sneak attack on the Vigil is highly unusual. In fact, it's a plot point: that and the talking darkspawn leading the raid are indicators that the darkspawn are, well, awakening. So obviously, they weren't doing a sneak attack on Denerim in Origins. That being said, if the darkspawn horde is really as vast as it seems to be, it just seems unlikely that they could launch an assault on one of two cities on opposite sides of Ferelden, and make their move so quickly that the people in those cities wouldn't notice it until just two days before their arrival.
It is only a plot point in Awakening because the darkspawn don't have an archdemon to direct them.
If I recall correctly, the map of Origins shows an ever-growing "stain", starting south and moving up as you progress in the game. I always took that to be showing the advance of the Darkspawn horde, so showing up on Denerin wasn't such a big surprise.
A major plot point is why an Archdemon is even needed for a bunch of Darkspawn to ravage the surface or for that matter why an Archdemon can control a Horde of mindless creatures a all. The Archdemon is intelligent, maybe more or less so than the Architect but at least near his level. With control and tactics, a military feint isn't even unimaginable. Remember that this, the fifth blight, is bar far the shortest in Thedas' history. With the first Blight lasting some 200 years, a darkspawn horde without intelligence is always routed or at least driven to the Deep Roads, its only when a tactician like an Archdemon around that they can begin to last. So, while this fifth Archdemon might be more or less 'intelligent' than others of its kind - it is the god of Narcissism - It can control and even plan attacks around its army and essentially acts as the brains.
In one of the endings of the game, if you take Alistair with you to the final battle and are a female mage PC romancing him as well as not taking Morrigan's offer, why is it that you don't simply use one of your many spells you could possibly have to prevent him from taking on the archdemon? Or, at least, allowing your rogue to trip him/outrun him? Cutscene Incompetence, indeed.
Well I guess it's because your character knows that will only delay him. He'd rather die and let you live then watch you sacrifice yourself, which could be a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
Alistair is a templar, and as such does have anti-magic abilities. Yes, they could have forced you to actually fight him for the privilege of making the sacrifice, but the point of that particular part of the game is that Alistair will not allow the woman he loves to die if he can save her by laying down his own life. End of story. It's really rather moving.. not to mention a big Player Punch when you're not expecting the decision to be taken out of your hands.
I'm talking about you sacrificing yourself in his stead. And Alistair's templar abilities don't work if he's been frozen. I found it sad and heartwarming and all that, but it's really odd that for a game about choices, I'm not allowed this choice—when, conceivably, I have every ability to stop Alistair.
Only debatably. Not everything is under the player character's control. Note the above debate about not being able to convince him to stay if you spare Loghain. Every character has decisions of yours they simply will not accept. The characters have their own motivations and Alistair sacrificing himself for you is what happens in that particular scenario. The game is about choice, but it's also about consequences. What happens there is the consequence of not choosing to accept Morrigan's offer and taking Alistair with you. As someone previously said, he will not allow the woman he loves to die.
It's a Headscratchers. It just bugs me that I should be able to stop him—the only reason I can't is because it's a cutscene. The game just won't allow it. This RPG allows you to craft a character so lovingly, allow you to shape your world, personality, and relationships so intimately, yet it takes this choice out of your hands rather jarringly. I'm not talking about not being able to Persuade him out of it, I'm talking about my character, for some reason, just sitting there and watching him die when I have every reason and opportunity (and had made it perfectly clear I don't want him to die) to prevent the sacrifice. It cheapens the effect, to me.
You do have to remember that even badly wounded you are still fighting a monsterously huge Dragon surrounded by a veritable horde of Darkspawn. You cast freeze on him and the Dragon can easily kill him while he's completely defenseless. Add that to the fact that the trailers make it obvious that a single magic spell is enough to kill an enemy and we have no evidence that Alistair would even survive his protecting.
Er...well, at least two of your spells cause no harm—specifically, Force Field prevents the character from moving, but allows no harm to come to him while being cast. Absolutely ideal for this situation. I protect him while holding him in place. I'll also say that it's the matter between certain death and maybe death. He maybe gets killed by darkspawn or he definitely kills himself.
That is a far more valid tactic for protecting Alistair while the other tactics involve both of you probably dying while risking the main goal of killing the Archdemon. And even then the Forcefield tactic is a huge risk since taking one of the best fighters out of the game for a few minutes could risk the entire plan.
I think you're missing my point? You are about to kill the Archdemon. Time has frozen for you to do this. It is weak, dying. You must strike the final blow before it dies and its essence enters a nearby darkspawn instead of you. Alistair is not giving you a choice about who sacrifices themselves. So, you, as a mage, stop him using Force Field and strike the blow yourself, preventing him from moving but also from being harmed. I'm not talking about keeping him out of the battle—you could have done that at the gates. What bugs me is that you are not allowed to do this. The cutscene prevents it.
I think we have 2 different understandings of what exactly is going on in that final cutscene. To me the final cutscene is taking place in a huge battle, the Grey Warden and her allies are fighting the Archdemon who although it is injured and hurt from the battle is still able to maim or kill any of the party members as well as an overwhelming force of Darkspawn. Suddenly Alistair sees his opening and darts forward to deliver the death blow and end the Blight. If the Grey Warden forcefields him she takes him out of the fight and leaves herself without one of her strongest allies increasing the pressure on her from the Darkspawn and the Archdemon while she has to look for another opening in the Dragon's defenses to strike at. If she waits until he goes for the opening she has to notice Alistair taking his shot and forcefield him in the time it takes for him to run forward to strike the blow.
Um? You just whittled down all its health—you could have taken out most of the army, not to mention the army you were supposed to have summoned. At that specific point in time, Alistair stops you to tell you he wants to go slay it. Clearly there's an understanding that the Archdemon is dying. If he isn't in love with you, you can convince him to let you take the blow instead, you realize? And then of course I'll point out the fact that you definitely kill that Archdemon—there's no "you spent too much time talking, and it regained its HP!" thing going on. That is the time to kill it and you do. But while he's sitting there going "okay, hun, I'm gonna go die now" you just stand there talking about you not wanting him to die and then just let him die.
You seem to forget that there's a battle going on. Conversation or no, the situation is chaotic and the opening you have to take the final blow is very small. The dragon is close to death/reincarnation, the darkspawn are on their way to protect it, your forces are limited and your squad is injured and tired. In story terms, you really don't have time to throw a fit or argue, somebody has to end it now. It just so happens that Alistair decided to do it instead of his girlfriend and she chose to allow it out of love and respect rather than waste more time or utterly emasculate him.
Your projecting your own beliefs about what my—or someone else's—character may be feeling about this situation. If the PC is protesting vehemently about the love of her life, future king of Ferelden, dying, a mage need only cast Force Field—which takes an instant—and charge on ahead. Alistair doesn't give you a choice, why should you give one to him? Why can't you save him? You didn't refute any of my points. The game just refuses to let you. There is neither rhyme nor reason to it, other than to force a Tear Jerker. This is through-and-through Fridge Logic. Think: a real person, instead of shoving her tongue down Alistair's throat, would take this valuable time to cast a paralyzing spell if she wanted to. You can protest, you just can't act upon it.
Feelings or no, this is a WARZONE!!! The Archdemon is about to die on its own (and re-incarnate), the darkspawn are coming, neither you nor your companions are in any shape for round two. A Grey Warden must take the final blow now or this all starts again. You appear to be ignoring all of this by claiming that "a real person would do X with ability Y" rather than accept a part of the story when it actually makes sense. By your logic, any number of story events could be avoided by some specific action just because you are capable of doing so in-game. Should the writers bend over backwards to ensure that your character can specifically use Petrification to keep Duncan from killing Ser Jory because you personally got that skill early and wanted to? Besides that, exactly what would you accomplish by freezing Alistair? All you'd do is "force a Tear Jerker" yourself by making your character do it. The game already gave you a way to save Alistar and yourself, but you insisted on this and the story reflected that. I don't get why people are so insistent on a game giving them choices, but start moaning when those choices have consequences.
You're Completely Missing the Point of a Headscratchers, as well as my entire argument. It's not like Alistair shocked you by running forward or knocking you aside. You talk to him about it, you object to it, and guess what? You just can't follow through on your objections. There's no reason to other than to "force a Tear Jerker" where there should be one. And there were plenty of folks who were utterly shocked you couldn't interfere, that you weren't offered a choice. This outcome has nothing to do with Alistair making a morality choice on his own like the Loghain thing. It has to do with your complete inaction, despite your protests. This is a gigantic pivotal part of the gameplay, one that you should be able to interfere with, one that wouldn't make that much of a difference to the ultimate gameplay (seriously, there doesn't even need to be any extra spoken dialog), and you just can't. It isn't a trivial thing that I'm nitpicking at; as far as I'm concerned it's a gigantic, gaping Plot Hole.
The developers probably thought that if you were so desperate to keep Alistair alive that you would be willing to jeopardize the battle against the Archdemon by trying to immobilize Alistair just before he strikes the killing blow, then you probably would have taken Morrigan up on her offer.
I think the point here was to highlight one of the difficulties about being on the hero's team; the hard part isn't sacrificing yourself to save the world, it's watching one of your friends do it instead. Your character either has the choice of respecting the decision of the man you love, or fighting him in the middle of a chaotic battle over the right to commit suicide and force him to watch the woman he loves die. I suppose the developers decided your character wasn't going to be that annoying.
A lot of the time there's a valid meta reason for Fridge Logic—yes, ultimately it was done to invoke an emotional response. My entire problem with it was that I couldn't feel that broken up over it when my character obviously wasn't going to follow through on her desire to keep him alive. I should have been able to stop him, or at least try to. It was nearly insulting that I didn't, though.
But you are given a choice to stop him—by forcing him not to come with you when you fight the darkspawn. It's not really in character of him to stand by and watch you sacrifice yourself when HE could stop it. Thinking about it, I could see how a Warden that wouldn't allow Alistair to sacrifice himself but didn't agree to Morrigan's offer would purposefully tell him to guard the gate to ensure he doesn't end up dead. (Although I'm sure he takes issue to that, too, considering how he feels about Duncan protecting him the same way...but he'd have less of an option to stop you there.) If you argue that your PC could use a spell to stop him, there's probably things Alistair could do to stop your PC from stopping him, too. I think the only thing Bioware did wrong in that scene is make it clear that there's no way Alistair will allow you to stop him. Instead of having him kiss you, or something, they probably should've just had him stop you, tell you what he was about to do, give you his reasons and run off no matter your objections before your character has a chance to do anything.
My character was TWICE as strong as him. She could have just brushed past him. But for no other reason than it was a cutscene, she stood by and did nothing to stop him at all. Ridiculous.
You should have just let Morrigan do her ritual if you wanted Alistair to live. The Cutscene Incompetence has already been explained to you.
Talking is a free action. Freezing or Grappling or otherwise incapacitating Alistar would be at least a standard action, which would prevent you from giving the final blow to the Archdemon and allow it to slip away (or transfer forms, as it is).
Your character may have decided that leting the Archdemon be reborn is a stupid idea but still wanted Alistair to live. They should simply let you knock him out (there is mod that lets you do it actually). Any class can do that and it takes one second to carry out.
Characters drink poultices. They drink them.
Holy Shit. I didn't realize that.
And your DOG can use one by itself! Do they come in bowls?!
At least the mana and stamina potions are, y'know, potions.
In Awakening, characters drink Manuals of Focus. And then their clothes fly off in a purple butt. Priceless.
"A Paragon of Her Kind" title
The Orzammar mainquest is called "A Paragon of her kind". Who is she? Branka, she invented smokeless coal. Do you know who she is until Orzammar? No (unless you're a dwarf).
Why would you expect to know about her? Dwarves are insular and smokeless coal may not even be used outside of Orzammar.
Yeah, I think that's the point. It doesn't make a lot of sense for the journal entry to be named "A Paragon of her Kind" when a non-dwarven character doesn't even know what a paragon is yet, let alone the story of Branka.
But the quest names aren't an in-universe thing, just names for the missions. The Dalish Elf quest is called "Nature of the Beast" even though when you start off your objective is just "talk the Dalish into joining you" and the beasts don't show up until you actually try to do it.
I always thought the title referred to Orzammar itself.
Loghain let off easy
After letting Loghain live at the Landsmeet... Somehow, someway, the game tries convincing us (very Biowarely) that Loghain isn't a bad guy and that I should really care if he sacrifices himself. Normally you can disagree with is assessments about why he's not as guilty as you make him out to be, but some of his conversations just sort of end with "well, let's just agree to disagree?". But, perhaps most offensively...Wynne says "I was wrong about you". This being her second dialog with him. On that topic, why doesn't anyone care that I just had Alistair killed? No one comments! Not even Wynne, his surrogate mom. I don't even hear a "Yippee!" from Morrigan.
We'll agree to disagree on whether or not Loghain's let off easy, but I share the annoyance that no one acknowledges that you just had Alistair executed. Which you can do under completely horrible circumstances(I was playing a female warden who was romancing him). It would be nice if when you got back to camp or Eamon's place someone called you out on it, and you had to/got to defend yourself.
Do we ever fight a Pride Demon? I've done over seventy five percent of the subquests, but the 'highest' Demon I recall fighting is of the Desire type. There was a massive and spiky bipedal demon in the Deep Roads I assume is a Pride Demon (you have to stick his severed body parts back together), but I don't recall anything being explicitly named as such.
Uldred isn't explicitly named as one either, but the monster he morphs into is a Pride Demon abomination. (Note that Uldred's pre-fight monologue beforehand is nothing but a continual appeal to your character's pride...)
It's said in the codex that Arcane Horrors are actually Pride Demons given form. Which is pathetic considering they're really weak if your character is centered around melee damage.
The Arcane Horrors are what I think a Pride Demon becomes when it is unable to possess a mage. As seen in The Calling demons can possess non magic users, but the result is... less than optimal.
I checked the Codex, which says Arcane Horrors are pride demons possessing a dead mage. After thinking about it, I think it's unlikely that the Arcane Horrors you run into during the Fade sequence actually are Arcane Horrors, considering that there would be no dead bodies for them to possess there. They were probably just illusions or shapeshifted demons like the golems and darkspawn were. You do fight an Arcane Horror a few times in the real world—including a boss-level one in the lower level of the elven ruin—and they are legitimately dangerous opponents if you don't bring them down rightnow.
According to the Dragon Age wiki, the thing you fight during the Asunder sidequest (aforementioned body-part quest) is a Pride Demon.
The Codex says that Revenants are also the result of corpses possessed by Pride demons (or Desire), and they tend to be a hell of a lot more of a pain to deal with than the Horrors. Maybe those corpses belonged to Arcane Warriors...
That would actually fit, since the order died out right around when they were turned.
There are at least ten Revenants throughout the game, not all of them explicitly Arcane Warriors.
You also encounter a Pride demon, but don't get to see it in its full form, in your Harrowing. Note how it claims to have once been an apprentice, but wears senior enchanter robes...
Also a giveaway is its appeal to your pride in the end — it wants to hitch a ride in your body to "rescue" it, but assures you that you're wonderful enough that it won't be a problem, and congratulates you profusely for "passing the test" by defeating a fairly minor demon.
Lastly, in Awakening, there is the Baroness, an extremely powerful mage possessed by a Pride Demon and one of the toughest bosses in the game. Spellcasting combined with all of an ogre's power, tricks, and toughness is nothing to sneeze at.
As a side note, there's a lot of implication in the game that the Templars and Mages rank demons in terms of danger not on their power (you kill many Desire Demons effortlessly throughout the game, the one Sloth Demon (ranked as less dangerous) you fight can be that one boss) but on their difficulty being spotted as abominations. The Rage through Sloth abominations you fight in the tower are blatantly demonic. Desire Demon abominations are shown to be mostly human, but with tell-tale signs of possession like the voice of the Legion. The Pride abomination you meet, Uldred, shows absolutely no sign of being possessed apart from his consorting with demons. Anybody could be a Pride abomination, and that's enough to fuel the Templars' paranoia.
When you defeat Gaxkang the Unbound, the quest record refers to him as a revenant. Since he is by far the most powerful revenant in the game, I assume he's the result of a pride demon possessing the corpse of a mage who was extremely powerful even in life.
You fight a couple full on pride-demons in Dragon Age II. They're kinda distinctive, and I don't recall seeing anything like them in DAO.
The Carta and hiring mages
Why did the Carta hire Elven mercenary spellcasters? Since they normally only fight other dwarves, and all dwarves are resistant to magic, it seems unlikely that it would be worthwhile unless they somehow expected outsiders to show up.
How useful is your party mage when fighting NPC dwarves? Still useful, even with dwarven resistance. Their hired mages, same thing. Plus, never underestimate purely defensive (i.e. healing/warding magic).
Dwarven resistance isn't that significant. It's just a 10% chance to negate a hostile spell. Nine out of ten spells affect dwarves just as much as they affect everyone else.
Alistair's reaction to marrying Anora after Landsmeet
If I can convince Alistair to marry Queen Anora and rule jointly with her before the Landsmeet, and then have him do exactly that during the Landsmeet, why does he come back after the Landsmeet to chew me out over it? If he wasn't OK with it then why the hell did he agree to it in the first place? And if he'd changed his mind somewhere in the intervening time, why didn't he just say "No, I'm not doing it"? I mean, Jesus. I'm not mind-controlling you. Stand up for yourself, man.
Well, if you're a female romancing him he doesn't have this reaction. He just breaks up with you, unless you can talk him into letting you be his bit on the side. And Alistair never stands up for himself unless you harden him. There's plenty of times in the game where he goes "Uh, I don't really want to, but I'll just see what happens" and then acts pissed later on.
Most likely, you forced an unhardened Alistair into being King, and one of the defining characteristics of an unhardened Alistair is his reluctance to be King. If you harden him, he's much more open to the possibility
Ogres = qunari?
What's the deal with ogres? They're supposed to be born to Qunari women who've been turned into Broodmothers. But Genlocks, Hurlocks and even Shrieks follow the basic body-build of their natural kin - Genlocks have the proportions of dwarves and Hurlocks of humans. Even Shrieks have a clear resemblance to elves. So are the Qunari women 15 feet tall and horned, or something?
It might explain why they're all so dour all the time. "Why so grumpy?" "My wife's an ogre." "Haha." "No, really."
It may be notable that the genlock have pointed ears, and the Shrieks don't look remotely elvish (being physically wider than henlocks, and taller). In fact, they more resemble werewolves... I know that the Codex mentions that qunari women look obviously like women.
It's possible that being infected with the taint just corrupts the Qunari more than the other races.
The original art design for Qunari had them with horns, but they wound up being given more conventional-looking heads so that they wouldn't have to create whole new versions of all the helmets in the game for just a handful of characters. Ogres don't wear helmets (until Awakening) so they weren't de-horned.
Well, the codex does say that Qunari women are "easily distinguished" from Qunari men. Maybe they really are 15 feet tall with horns.
UPDATE! Dragon Age II will have horned qunari. So ogres with horns=darkspawn equivalent of qunari is a lot more plausible now.
It is stated in Awakening, and indeed in the Origins codex after you beat the first one, that Dwarven broodmothers produce Genlocks, Elven ones produce Shrieks, humans produce Hurlocks, and Qunari produce ogres.
That still doesn't explain why Ogres are 15 ft. tall (Qunari are only a head taller than humans).
Given what Broodmothers look like, it's hard to believe they were once female Dwarves, Humans, Elves, etc. Could just be that darkspawn variants don't have to inherit the basic build of their Broodmother race, just a more monstrous and perverted form of the distinguishing phenotype. In the case Shrieks that would be, it would be lithe elven form made into an agile nightmare. For Ogres, it would be jacking up the production of growth hormones in Qunari physiology.
This troper read somewhere that Qunari's original design looked more similar to how ogres look now. However they changed Qunari from being super tall horned humanoids, but didn't bother changing the ogre since it already looks reasonably fearsome.
Alistair's mixed gift voice clips
Alistair's "gift" voice clips seem to be mixed up. If you give him a gift that gets + 9-10 approval, his response is "I could get used to this, you know." He sounds pleased, sure, but if you give him a gift that nets you less approval, he sounds thrilled. "Is that for me? Really?! Wow! I'm t—wow!"
Agreed. I didn't realize this right away, since I give as many gifts as I can before I have access to his first gift, the Stone Carved Statuette in Lothering. The game is so buggy this hardly bothers me.
Well, Alistair is a snarky bugger at the best of times. Maybe all the "Wow" stuff is sarcastic.
The effusive surprise at simple gifts is a product of Alistair's general insecurity not leading him to expect kindness from other people. As you get to be on better terms with him, he ceases being amazed by every gift, but still appreciates them. This makes sense to me, at least, because if you're romancing Alistair, he seems to become more quietly confident/amusingly smug in his interactions with you as the relationship deepens, but when you're first getting to know him, every kind word you say gets a startled reaction.
The voice clips are incredibly bugged in that regard. You don't know how many times I've selected to take Leliana with me and instead of saying "indeed" like she usually does, it plays a 'receiving gift' sound bite.
Pointless Grey Warden secrecy
The Grey Wardens' secrecy seems to do more harm than good, and by all right it should cause even more trouble than it does. Keeping the details of the Joining secret should pretty much guarantee that people would make their own explanations to why there are always fewer joined members than there are recruits, and those wouldn't be nice. Just think the flak that Christians and Jews had to go through because of much more innocuous rituals back in the day. "They kill one of the recruits and make the others drink his blood" would probably be among the first theories to go. Likewise the matter of keeping the way to kill the Archdemon a secret. "You can get killed while slaying the Archdemon!" No shit Sherlock! Anyone who's willing to put himself into that situation in the first place should damn well be prepared to die, anyway. And revealing that secret could do wonders about the issue of the Grey Wardens not being taken seriously by the rulers, due to their low numbers.
How does the Grey Wardens' secrecy do more harm than good? It's inconvenient for your character to not know that stuff beforehand, sure, but that's kind of the point. And why should it cause more trouble than it does? The Grey Wardens aren't a secretive religious group, they're a legendary military organization dedicated to keeping the world safe from monsters. No one in the game has any problem with the Joining being kept a secret. Also, the way to kill the Archdemon is kept a secret because it's related to the other secret, i.e how you become a Grey Warden. It's explained in the game that this stuff is kept secret so that people will keep joining the Wardens, as they feel people wouldn't be so willing to join up if they knew it was a guaranteed death sentence. And where did you get the idea that Grey Wardens weren't being taken seriously due to low numbers? They got booted out of Ferelden two hundred years ago, and were only starting to rebuild their order there when they all get wiped out at Ostagar. They aren't being taken seriously by the ruler of Fereldan because he's trying to frame them for treason, not because of low numbers.
First, yes it's explained—the whole bugging issue is that the explanation is rather bad. It should be pretty obvious from the get go that the becoming a Warden is incredibly risky prospect even without the secrets, and it really isn't smart to keep people from knowing what they're in for before the last minute, as demonstrated by Ser Jory. It's not hard to imagine quite a few recruits turning against the order right after the Joining because of broken trust. And Teyrn Loghain doesn't take the Gray Wardens seriously because he doesn't see them as being of any strategic benefit, which is why he framed them in the first place - he thought that nothing of value was lost in doing so. He would have probably thought otherwise had he known just how viable the Wardens are for defeating the Blight.
Risk of death is one thing, but becoming a Grey Warden has a one hundred percent mortality rate - if the Joining itself doesn't kill you right off, and you don't die killing an archdemon, you die an early death from the taint. And even putting that aside, you have to live the rest of your life tainted by darkspawn corruption, and if it were common knowledge, I expect that people would be much more wary of Grey Wardens than they are in the game. If all of this were common knowledge, how many willing recruits could they really expect to get? And if they had to rely on the Right of Conscription for all of their recruits they'd be far more likely to end up with new Wardens who'd turn against the order out of resentment at being forced into it.
Indeed. And it wouldn't have made a difference whether or not Loghain knew Grey Wardens were necessary to defeat the Blight, as it is made quite clear that Loghain doesn't believe there is a Blight in the first pace. That is why he thinks they're unimportant.
All the explanations given are still pretty damn futile, considering that as mentioned in the original complaint, people are likely to get their own ideas about the Grey Wardens' secretive oddities if no official explanation is provided. You can't keep it a secret that all the Grey Wardens go to essentially kill themselves before they reach the old age if you have enough of them around, or that people die in the Joinings. Yes, telling the truth might trouble people, but realistically it would trouble people far more not to know, and be forced to guess, and make up all sorts of horror stories to fill in the gaps. And a warrior's job is a death sentence 90% of the time anyway in a Medieval setting, unless you plan to retire early. And as for Loghain, he keeps changing his mind about whether there truly is a Blight going on - he's good enough a strategist that had he known that the Grey Wardens are utterly essential in the case there really is an Archdemon that he would have kept them in reserve just in case.
You are assuming quite a few things to make your complaint valid, and it mostly goes against what is shown in the game. You are saying that if it was common knowledge that Grey Wardens were necessary to defeat the Blight and if Loghain believed that and if he really thought there was a Blight, then he might not have framed them "just in case" they were necessary, therefor keeping it a secret is bad. None of his actions show any concern for the Blight, he lets the darkspawn win in order to kill the king and then focuses on bringing the nobles in line instead of the invasion. And no one in the game makes up horror stories about the Grey Wardens (except for Loghain), people already know that being a Grey Warden is dangerous, so no one asks questions about those who die. They really have no reason to be suspicious of the Grey Wardens, and you can't really say that "realistically" they would be anyway, as there is no real life equivalent of the Wardens to compare them to. The Wardens are far more universally respected and revered than any group in our world, as people see them as heroes protecting mankind from the darkspawn.
You are making quite a few assumptions yourself. Remember that Loghain is above everything else a military genius, even if he sucks at politics. He doesn't waste resources if he can help it. He didn't even actively go his way to kill the king - it was Cailan who wanted to be in the frontline. Loghain would have wanted to keep the troops that died with Cailan alive, but he would have lost even more troops in the process, so he made the tactical choice to retreat. He focuses on the nobles because of the Blight, even when he doesn't consider it as one - he thinks that the country needs to stand united under his banner before it has a chance against the Darkspawn, and completely lacking diplomatical finesse, the only way he knows how to bend others to his will is by force. A big theme about the game is how the Grey Wardens are considered obsolete by many because people consider the Blights a thing of the past, and the old contracts a mere formality. Only your actions throughout the game change this fact. The people who have great respect for the Wardens up front, before seeing them solve their problems are few and far between. So no, they are not universally respected and revered, even though they used to be.
But Loghain didn't consider the Blight a problem for most of the game. As I said before, he refuses to consider that there IS a Blight until the South is invaded by darkspawn. The game makes it quite clear that he thinks that Orlais is the enemy, and he focuses on them instead of the darkspawn. He is so paranoid about the Orlesians that he thinks the Gray Wardens are working for them, turns back reinforcements for the Blight because they came from Orlais, and if you spare him at the landsmeet, he tells you he was planning to use the bannorn's armies to secure the border against foreign invasion before getting rid of the darkspawn. He may be a military genius, but even he admits that he was focused on the wrong enemy. And there isn't really a theme in the game about how people consider the Blights a thing of the past, and the contracts a formality. Pretty much everyone you ask for help says they are willing to give it, but they are unable to at the moment. No matter how much they wanted to help, none of them were in a position to do so. The mages are all locked in the tower and demons are running around killing everyone, the dwarves have no king so no one has the power to give orders to their armies, the Dalish warriors are all either infected with lycanthropy or needed to defend against further attacks, and Redcliffe is besieged by undead and the Arl is unconscious and dying. After you help them they would probably have helped you even without the treaties, but nothing suggests they are refusing aid because they have no respect for the Wardens.
And while we're on the topic of assumptions, the assumption also seems to be being made that information networking is what it is today. There is no internet. There is no television. There is no town newspaper. The most we have are Town Criers and messengers. This means when a person leaves to become a Grey Warden, unless they specifically send a message back home, they're gone. Your friend leaves to become a Grey Warden and you never hear from him again. You don't know that he died during the ritual. You don't know that he was shipped off to Orlais to fight the darkspawn there. You don't know that he was killed fighting darkspawn. You don't know that he ran off, abandoned the Wardens, and fled into the wilderness. You don't know anything about what happened to him unless he sends you a message. People who die becoming Grey Wardens simply disappear, as is to be expected of them even if they LIVE to be Grey Wardens; they've cast off the life of who they were and devoted themselves to fighting the darkspawn, and will probably never be heard from again back home.
Also, related to the above, on the topic of people starting rumors about the Joining, people don't know there even is such a thing as a Joining Ritual to start rumors about. It's not just the details of the ritual that's a secret; it's the very existence of it.
I get the impression that they don't want the fact that they carry the darkspawn taint to be common knowledge, rather than the fact that the joining can be fatal.
Lets not forget the fact that the Joining is pretty much blood magic, and the Chantry/Templars have already locked every mage they can find in a tower for fear of demon possession. I'm not sure they'd be entirely understanding of a highly dangerous, highly unsupervised militant group of demon-blood swilling warriors who already see themselves as above the law. The Grey Wardens are probably preserving their independence by glossing over the finer points of being/becoming a Warden...
The problem is that with no knowledge of what is going on, people will make up explanations, as mentioned above. The secrecy contains a constant risk of some high-ranking antagonized individual using it as a propaganda-tool, potentially turning the entire Chantry against the Wardens anyway - especially if they find evidence of what appears like blood magic without proper explanations.
But people aren't likely to make up explanations that slander the Grey Wardens, and they would likely be ridiculed by others if they did. People see them as heroes, and the Chantry looks to them to fight the darkspawn. Remember Wynne's story about the them?
The Blight had ravaged the lands for months, and the armies of the great kings had amassed for one last stand. As the sun burst through my butts that boiled and churned in the dark sky above, it illuminated a vast seething horde of darkspawn, with the archdemon at its head. And it was then—when courage seemed to fail, and all lost to death and despair—that the Grey Wardens came. They arrived with the beating of wings like mighty war drums, and stood before the armies of men. The Grey Wardens, grim and fearless, marched forth, ever between the men and the encroaching darkspawn. They formed a shield of their own bodies and held that line until the archdemon was dead and the last darkspawn lay trampled in the dirt. And then, demanding neither reward nor recognition for their sacrifice, the Grey Wardens departed. When my butts finally rolled back and the sun shone full upon the blighted ground, the great kings knew they had lost no men, and none of their blood had been spilled.
It isn't an accurate account of the Grey Wardens fighting, but it does provide insight on how people see the them. The idea that everyone would turn against the Wardens because someone makes up nasty stories about them is absurd. You can see that in the game. Loghain, one of the most celebrated heroes in Fereldan, accuses the Wardens of treason and regicide, puts a bounty on their heads and makes them outlaws, and the reaction of anyone not directly working for him can be summed up as "Naaaah, those stories about the Grey Wardens can't be true, they would never do something like that." And I find it hard to believe that the Grey Wardens would leave evidence of Blood Magic lying around for people to find, as they kind of want their secrets to remain secret.
Everyone here (but especially the original troper) is missing something huge. Outside of the Grey Wardens, almost no one knows the Joining Ritual exists, AT ALL. (The sole exception is Anora, when she tries to convince Alistair to let her father join the Wardens by reminding him the Joining is sometimes fatal. As far as the general public is concerned, Grey Wardens are merely highly trained, highly prestigious warriors. They don't know that joining the Grey Wardens involves drinking Darkspawn blood or any magic of any kind. For all they know, becoming a Grey Warden is like being knighted by your feudal lord (you kneel on the ground and someone touches you on the shoulder with a sword and says "I dub thee a Grey Warden"). If the public at large is never given any impression that joining the Grey Wardens involves anything more than that, why would they assume it involves something sinister?
Exactly. Because the Wardens don't have any obvious special powers beyond knowing where darkspawn are (which, as far as anyone knows, is just some mundane tracking training), most people have no reason to assume that the order is anything more than a bunch of highly-trained warriors. Sure, some people might make up some explanation that they have some magical enhancement, but they'd probably be as highly regarded as tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy theorists are to us.
Also, the problem with letting prospects know why only a Grey Warden can kill an Archdemon lies in the fact that killing the Archdemon doesn't merely kill you; it destroys your soul. In a world that seems to have a much more concrete promise of an afterlife than ours, that's pretty big.
What's the point of dog bones?
Throughout the game you come across "gifts" in the form of various animal bones. Obviously, these are meant for your dog. However, not only is there no benefit whatsoever in giving them to your dog, (since his approval is and will always be maxed out no matter what you do, and you don't even get a cute scene of him eating it or burying it or anything) but you can give them to your other party members. And they'll accept them, and their approval will rise just as with any other gift. Presumably they're all firm believers in "It's the thought that counts." Either that or you're secretly an evil slavemaster and are keeping them all hungry.
Well, Alistair did try grab some of the dog's food once...
According to the game's wiki, the dog will find good stuff if you send him to look for it after giving him the bones.
Though it's also possible for the dog to find good stuff even if you don't give him bones. He's awesome that way.
In my first playthrough, I noticed that Dog didn't get the Massive bonuses for his maxed out approval until I gave him a gift. (At that point, the bonuses caught up with him.) However, the idea of the Warden starving the party ("War is expensive! You'll eat when I tell you to eat!"), and then giving Alistair and Sten dog bones and getting sincere thanks and approval for them is a pretty hilarious image.
There's a kernel of truth to this: while food would have been easy enough to find, in just about every war, meat has been rare. So maybe they really are happy to get those dog bones.
Dog doesn't get bonuses for approval at all without Feastday Gifts and Pranks, and then you have to give him the Stick.
Oh, I see. So that was what triggered that.
Alistair's break up
At the Landsmeet, Alistair rejects your non—human-noble female PC for marriage on the grounds that she isn't noble. However, in his breakup speech after the Landsmeet, he tells you it's because he has to produce an heir, and two Grey Wardens together can't have a child. Which is bunk, because female noble PCs are Grey Wardens too, and he doesn't give them that speech.
This comes up a lot, and to be generous to Alistair I'm going to put it down to him being a coward. He's got no problem with the relationship, but only if he doesn't have to introduce you to the parents.
I assumed it's because the Landsmeet would never accept you. He'd be willing to marry you if they'd accept you, but they won't. He just goes on to explain the reason you still can't be together is because, not only will they not accept you, you probably can't produce a kid. As a noble—an extremely prominent noble that's done more for Ferelden than Alistair has—they're willing to accept you. He loves you enough not to turn down the fact, even though you cannot conceive a child.
Most likely it's a combination of the two factors. If it were likely that you could produce an heir, Alistair might be willing to stand up to the Landsmeet and use your status as a hero to convince them to accept you as a queen. If you're a human noble and acceptable to the Landsmeet, then he's willing to deal with the fact that you probably can't have children. Both together, however, puts the nail in the coffin; there is no basis remaining upon which he can convince himself that it'll work out for the good of Ferelden, and by putting him on the throne, you have forced him to make that his priority.
My female noble PC got that speech, which really bummed me out. I must not have made the right dialogue choices earlier in the game. :(
You get it if his approval isn't high enough, or if your romance hasn't advanced far enough. Oddly enough, he'll even give it if you made no effort whatsoever to romance him, even if you actively romanced another character. Gives the whole speech a bit creepy vibe, like he's living in some fantasy world where you two are a couple.
Yeah the game seems really bugged from the Landsmeet onwards. Like how he still thinks he's king even if you've put Anora on the throne. The epilogues are a bit of a mess too.
Were you a mage? If you're a mage it makes sense, since by Ferelden and Chantry law mages are forbidden from holding any political power and/or noble title(s). Presumably that would preclude you from becoming Queen.
If crowned, Alistair breaks it off with the female PC if she isn't a Human Noble. But, being king, he's perfectly capable of handing out titles himself and can make the PC his chancellor and the Arl of Denerim. If the nobility doesn't object to that, why couldn't he just give the PC the title and then think about whether it's impossible for them to be together?
The Landsmeet would almost certainly never accept an elf as queen of Fereldan, so it's somewhat understandable. And mages can't hold any title of nobility under Fereldan and Chantry law, so female mage PCs are just shit out of luck.
There's a similar argument going on above, but more to the point of: you're a hero, you deserve to be queen. I actually found this fan article. It argues a point that I failed to realize: Alistair marries you whether he loves you, likes you, and even if he hates you. It's not about him favoring human nobles over all the others. As the article argues, Alistair and Eamon have no way of knowing that the Landsmeet will accept you without Lady Cousland, who's been raised to rule, whose family is the second most royal (you are easily more royal than Alistair and Anora, at least), and is also a hero. Alistair can't break up your engagement later, because he has no idea whether the Landsmeet will continue to support him, which supersedes the fact you can't produce an heir. However, he can't select you as queen afterwards, because he got the throne by himself and you still can't produce an heir. He doesn't need you, and it would be unwise to marry you, human noble or not. On a different note, the Landsmeet probably doesn't want another commoner-made-royal on the throne, considering Loghain...
In Alistair's break-up speech to the elven female PC, he says two Grey Wardens can't have a child together—but that doesn't seem to be a problem for him if you're a human noble. Now you're just making excuses, Alistair.
Refer to just above.
Every one of these reasonable explanations completely fail to take into account that the Female Elven Warden isn't just Jane City Elf off the street, she's the Heroine of Ferelden, who just saved the goddamn world from the Blight. Sure, the Landsmeet wouldn't accept an Elf as Queen, but they might just stop and think for a Big Damn Heroine. The mage thing is even more ridiculous if you get the ending where the Fereldan Circle gets emancipated from the Chantry—what exactly is the point in having a law that mages can't hold titles when the people who set and enforced the law are no longer in charge? To a player whose Warden was a Female Elven Mage, in a game where continual mention is made of how special and exceptional the PC is, and what a unique and special snowflake s/he is, it really felt like a cop out and a slap in the face made in the name of artifically enforcing the multiple ending clause. IJBM, indeed.
You appear to be forgetting that none of those things have happened yet. You aren't the Hero of Ferelden (a hero, maybe, but not nationally recognized), Alistair isn't quite king yet, and the Tower of Magi hasn't been released by personal request of said hero to said king. None of that happens until after you complete the final battle and everything regarding Alistair's corination has been resolved. Besides, you are still disallowed to legally hold office as either a mage, commoner, elf, or Grey Warden. One or two of those can be ignored with blood ties, but not all four. Even if you were, you're still not capable of producing an heir to the throne with another Grey Warden. Your character has done great things, but even they aren't allowed free reign of the country just for being a hero. Remember, this series is all about subverting the usual fairy tale endings that tend to show up in fantasy. It's not going to just give you the super sparkly ending because you want it.
Really? Because Alistair pretty much tells you why they won't accept you: they're barely accepting him. He has royal blood, he's the child of King Maric, the savior, descendant of Calenhad—the king who made their country—and they're reluctant as it is. And if he's not your equal, he's still got quite the resume as a warrior against the Darkspawn. If a Cousland comes forward as queen, suddenly prospects look up. The Bannorn just had a problem with Loghain, a commoner who ascended into a high positition (higher than anyone there) because of his heroics, on the throne. And not everyone was even okay with him getting the title of teyrn in the first place. On top of that, there's racial bigotry against the elves, they explicitly say that they don't want a mage who can rule because they can control minds—besides that, it's something for you to ask to free the Circle; it's another to ask to become queen and rule over everyone. Besides that, why would anyone of a human country want someone not human over them? I mentioned this previously, but no matter if some alien from some planet comes to save our asses, we would not make him Overlord of Earth. Guardian or Watcher, maybe, but no matter our gratitude, he's a different species. This especially applies to dwarves. You're asking a lot for the Bannorn to accept you as a mage, or as a non-human. You're asking something insane to accept both. And by the way? You haven't done anything yet. You've assembled an army, and that's pretty much it. Why do you think you're a hero already? You're not. You haven't saved the land, you've just started to take the steps. They have nothing to be grateful for.
Why does making Alistair king turn him into such an asshole all of a sudden? If the Warden is in a romance with him and is not a human noble he will, very coldly, dump her like some worthless piece of shit. My Dwarf Noble lady had her heart shattered into a thousand pieces so unnecessarily by that cowardly, weak willed, illegitimate ingrate! I wish the writers/devs had at least added a more gentle let-down by Alistair for us non-humans. Maybe something along the lines of,"I'm sorry, my dear. Ferelden will need time before it can accept such a change, but I promise to work for that day!" Honestly!?! Would it a' killed 'em to have Alistair remain the lovable, if too easily lead, lummox we'd come to adore? We didn't know he WAS going to do that when we were falling for him, did we? I mean, nothing, nothing in his previous behavior would give a hint that he could be so damned callow. Which is what makes it all the more devestating from my PC's POV when it happens.
You do realize that if you've chosen the right dialogue options, Alistair won't dump you and you can be his mistress, right? Also, don't forget that in order to make Alistair king, you pretty much have to force him to be king over his extremely loud and unhappy objections. Doing such a thing is essentially treating him less as a human and more as an object or tool. That is not conducive to a healthy relationship. Forcing him to be king appears to anger him to the point where he's willing to cut off the relationship completely.
Well I guess I must have picked the wrong options because I never saw the option to remain his offhand whore. But when he becoems king, he doesn't act angry about it and actually feels kind of happy because now he can actually do something with the world, but the callow motherfucker still dumps my ass anyway like I'm trash, despite all the professions of love and virginity and shit? Good grief. Fuck's sake I hate that lame ass. Why does anything need to change at all in the relationship just because he's the king of wet dog land?
Well I guess I must have picked the wrong options because I never saw the option to remain his offhand whore.Do the "Alistair's Family" sidequest. Choose the right dialogue, and you can harden Alistair's personality to the point that he'll be willing to defy politics and convention to keep you with him.
I did complete his personal quest and I'm 100% positive I properly "hardened" the bastard. But, I still chucked in the dustbin anyway.
Then you did it wrong.
Because he's the the bastard king of a land on the brink of civil war with a darkspawn horde breathing down its neck. He has to toe the line with the Bannorn to ensure that Ferelden is united enough to oppose the Blight. Doing anything too controversial (like marrying a mage/elf/dwarf) this soon could cause some nobles to stand against him. His position (Grey Warden, lost bastard son of Maric, killed Loghain, four legions of foreign nationals, exactly one supporting noble house) is too weak to squash such rebellions before the darkspawn arrive. You made him king of "Wet Dog Land", so now he has to think of what's best for "Wet Dog Land". If that means breaking up with the girlfriend, so be it. You forced him to make a choice between you and tens of thousands of other people, so deal with it.
Remember also that concepts of love and morality - especially in a fuedal setting like Ferelden - are far more different than modern conventions. Remember that in a feudal society, marriage has a whole lot of political weight behind it. Before you make him king, Alistair is free, while the moment you make him king, he's got major obligations that do in fact extend to his love life. He's not dumping you because he doesn't want you, he's dumping you because taking on anyone aside from a human noblewoman as a wife is politcally untenable, especially when he's already the bastard son propped up by the Grey wardens and his uncle who also happens to have just killed/allowed the death of a massively popular national hero. If he pisses all over social tradition by making a dwarf or elf a queen, it's going to kill any approval by the Bannorn, which kills the entire point of making him king in the first place. Of course, its easy enough to avoid all of this by simply not forcing Alistair into the very noble courts that force him to cut off his relationship with you in the first place.
Bullcrap, bullcrap, bullcrap. I still fail to understand why he HAS HAS HAS to suddenly turn into an ass and dump her like trash. Why does he HAVE to marry her to stay with her? He doesn't. How does simply having a girlfriend impact him being king in any way? It doesn't. Pretty much every medieval king that ever lived had plenty of whores all around. Even his father and brother Maric and Cailan had their share of mistresses and affairs. But that's not even the main thing that bugs me. The thing that bugs me is the coldness and heartlessness and downright callousness of his break-up speech. At least that son of a gun could have been a hell of a lot nicer and gentler about it. Good grief, I slept with this guy, went to hell and back for him, and that's the reward I get for it? Is being dumped like that, and even worse, right in front of all my companions? That's wrong in so many ways and totally inexcusable. Like seriously what an asswipe, couldn't even be considerate enough to do it in private? That's just so mean and heartbreaking, a really really shitty and nasty thing to do to someone you said you loved and cared for "so much". And I still fail to see why at least a noble dwarf can't be queen... at least she knows politics and would be capable of ruling, no?!
How does simply having a girlfriend impact him being king in any way? And there's the problem. You don't seem to be grasping the inherent problem there. Alistair is the single most powerful noble in all of Ferelden; by merely being king, he is instantly and inescapably entangled in Ferelden politics, and Ferelden politics does not look kindly on elves, mages, or dwarves. The moment he becomes involved with the politics of Ferelden—especially in such an important way—whether or not he has a girlfriend does become critically important. The Bannorn simply will not accept a king married to or otherwise openly involved with an elf, dwarf, or mage (and in the latter case, the Chantry will shit fire at the notion of a mage ending up in a ruling position). If you force him into becoming a king without hardening him to the point that he is willing to fight against social and political convention, he's not going to fight said conventions. If you do harden him, he is willing to go against convention to keep you. Its all a matter of whether or not you let Alistair remain the weak, ineffectual and unassertive man he was or whether you toughen him up into a man who can lead and is willing to defy social and political mores to keep you.
She's just a mistress. She isn't going to have any power. I still fail to understand why having a girlfriend is such a big problem. The hell does it matter what they think? All the kings before him had whores too and apparently nobody cared, because they were the king and that stuff stayed in the bedroom and it had no singnificance or impact on anything.
Alistair doesn't think it's right to keep a mistress and a wife, when he's unhardened. If you're not understanding that, you're just projecting your ideals of True, True Love upon his character and fail to grasp him.
She's just a mistress. She isn't going to have any power.What. If she's his mistress, that means she's still an emotional connection that he closely listens to and would probably seek advice from. That's a perfect position for a Man Behind the Man scenario. Anyone able to exert any amount of emotional control over Alistair will have power in Ferelden after he takes office.
I still fail to understand why having a girlfriend is such a big problem. The hell does it matter what they think? I'm getting sick of repeating this. Alistair is king because the Bannorn approves of him being king in the first place. If the Bannorn doesn't approve, they're right back to square one. Having a nonhuman or mage mistress/wife would be strongly disapproved by the Bannorn. Do the math.
You don't appear to be grasping the situation: it's not Alistair who wants to dump you, it's the Bannorn who will not accept a mage/elf/dwarf as their ruler. Alistair is the bastard son of the king who nobody had heard of until recently being propped up by a group who may or may not have been involved in killing the king in a time of civil war. The nobles are traditionalists who have been shaken up to the point where they are just short of out and out civil war. The whole reason you force Alistair into kingship in the first place is because he appeals to their sense of tradition enough to get them to listen. Your dwarf (who isn't even considered royal among her people anymore thanks to that whole fratricide incident) is not only foreign and a Warden, but not even human (Hell, it's not even certain that she'd be biolgically capable of producing an heir with him even without the Taint). She'd never be accepted as Queen by the Bannorn as things stand, no matter how qualified she was. Alistair dumped her so that he'd be able to keep what little support he did have with the Bannorn to end this Blight. If you were so intent on keeping your relationship, you would have let Anora stay in power rather than force him to king. By making him king, and igoring his numerous objections to the idea, you force him to take the responsibilty of a ruler. That is to say, he now has to put the good of the nation above that of himself. It just so happens that in this case, he had to sacrifice your relationship to keep the nation stable enough to save itself from the Blight. A king cannot pick a just any queen he wants. Government doesn't work like that.
No, I still don't grasp it. The point I was trying to make was, why does he HAVE to dump her jusy because marrying her isn't really a good idea at this point? Why can't he just keep her as a girlfriend like he has throughout the whole adventure? I'm saying, he doesn't have to marry her just to stay with her. Plenty of kings have offhand mistresses. Why does anything need to change in the relationship? And you bring up the point about not being able to produce an heir... well a human noblewoman is just as infertile because she has the taint too, and yet this isn't an issue for her?
He doesn't HAVE to. It has already been mentioned that he can be convinced to keep the Warden as his lover.
This question has been asked three other times! It still persists! I'll give the same answer. I've summed that fan article up before, and, again, I'll do it. As a Cousland, you were raised to rule and have a stronger royal bloodline than Alistair. If you back him as his queen, suddenly he gains a lot of credentials. Eamon and Alistair have no way of knowing the Bannorn would accept him seperately, without such a strong queen behind him. That's essentially why Anora agrees to marry you, to make her ascension without a Theirin easier. He can hate you, but still accept this announcement, and be unable to break up with you later, since he doesn't know if the Bannorn will still back him. However, he can't accept you as a queen even if he does love you after he's been, uh, elected since the Warden is infertile. I think the real Fridge Logic is why you can't ask him first, since the only way to marry Anora is to ask her beforehand. The reason seems to force a Persuade check, since you have to convince Anora, but an in-love Alistair would simply agree. It makes sense to ask—you present a stronger, more unified front to the Bannorn (instead of Alistair's "LOLWUT?" reaction), and I felt like this sort of Manipulative Bitch pulling all the puppetstrings when I sprang it on him. Even poor Alistair seems to suspect this.
Whatever. Still, I'm pissed that his immediate decision is to dump my poor mage/elf/dwarf like a sack of potatoes. If he loves me that should not have been his first choice, I shouldn't have to persuade him to keep me since he's the oh-so-mighty and all powerful king now. And the Couslands are not royalty, they are nobility, which isn't quite the same thing. The Teyrn's family isn't that far up the lineup for the throne. And besides, a human noblewoman is just as infertile from the taint as everyone else. And again the point I'm trying to make is that it's the heartbreaking coldness of the break-up speech itself that really bothers me. Seriously, What the Hell, Hero??
Being a Teyrn means that you are the highest of nobility in Ferelden. One step up and you'd be in the royal family. So yes, they are that far up the lineup for the throne. With the parents slain and Fergus gone until the end, that made the Human Noble PC a Teyrna. That meant she could simply marry the king and no one would bat an eyelash and therefore no outrage. Same goes if the male PC married Anora.
Did you not even read what I wrote? It has nothing to do with love. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. No-thing. It is a sound political move that you are making and that Eamon and Alistair advocate. He will marry you if he hates you freaking guts, thinks you're pretty much just as evil as the darkspawn or whathaveyou. And, yes, I misused "royal", but the essence remains: Alistair is a bastard, Anora is the child of two commoners. The Cousland line stretches back beyond the Theirin line, and they were the most powerful noble family after the Theirins. Some people would have rather had Bryce as king over Maric. Marrying you tells the Bannorn that someone with noble blood who has been raised to rule is going to ascend the throne with the child of Maric. Essentially: Anora, but with less commoner and without Loghain. It's not like the Human Noble is allowed to marry Alistair after the fact. She gets dumped too. The infertility thing is important, but not more important than failing to get the crown in the first place. As for the "coldness"? I'm not seeing that. I'm seeing a man who knows he has to marry someone else and produce heirs for the good of his kingdom not wanting to make things more painful by being unclear and wavering. He says just about everything you can say in a I-Don't-Want-To-Break-Up speech: "I'll love you forever", "this isn't what I want", "I wish it was different", "I'm sorry", "I love you"; take your pick. If you bring it up later Alistair will essentially say, "Please, I'm begging you, stop talking about it, this is really, very difficult as it is, I'm sorry." In fact, I think one of the most redeeming qualities of all of this is, despite not wanting to lead you on and cause unnecessary anguish, he still obviously wants you to love him forever the way he'll love you.
Still doesn't excuse the sudden change in his previously warm and lovable personality and the coldness of the fucking break-up speech, or why producing heirs matters so damn much if Cailan and Anora never had any. He dumps you in front of all of your companions... and no matter how much you beg and plead, says "Oh sorry, must dump you now, but thanks for the sex! bye bye now!" then the fucker just turns his back on you and walks out of the room without another f'ing word. Heartbreaking x1000. What the hell is wrong with having whores, all kings do, even jolly old Cailan. And still, the bias towards the human noble versus all other origins is such a load of reeking B.S, why that makes them unworthy of being the king of some piece of crap country's whore. Not wife... just whore, damnit! What's the problem with keeping whores, or being a whore? None, none whatsoever! Mistresses are just there to keep the Mr.Big Damn King happy, nothing to do with politics whatsoever. Plus the infertility issue is B.S, the taint makes the human noble just as infertile a warden from any other origin. Also the crappy, cheesy funeral speech where he says he "regrets breaking up with you" over your lifeless corpse is such a load reeking bull it isn't even funny. She's gone, she died to save your unworthy ass and that of your pathetic excuse for a kingdom, and she's never ever coming back. It's a little late to be having second thoughts don't you think?
What. Are. You. Talking. About. You seriously are taking this rejection in a sort of crazy light because it's not even remotely cold-hearted. You just seem to completely misunderstand Alistair's character down to the bone so I can see where you'd be upset he'd choose duty over love, something he's been telling you since the beginning. Guess what? Most wives don't freaking appreciate being cheated on. As Alistair, hardened, would do. He'd have kids who'd grow up wondering why the hell their mother is so inadequate compared to the glorious Hero of Ferelden, whom their dad seems to love more than her, maybe more than them. There would be a wife whose husband not only doesn't love her, but openly commits to a relationship with another woman, reducing her to his broodwhore—there to be impregnated and tossed aside. It's not a nice thing to do. Ever. So, Alistair, on a code-of-honor, morality, core-of-his-being sort of basis refuses to do this, believing duty comes first. That's why hardening allows you to do this, because you tell him that he can pick his own selfish desires above duty, and inspire confidence within him.
The fact that Anora and Cailan weren't having kids was a Big Damn Issue, if you played Return to Ostagar the DLC. Eamon wants Cailan to set her aside because he's afraid she's infertile. It's not that everyone's going "oh, who cares if they produce our future leaders and stability?", it's that they're expecting an heir and not getting one. There is no bias towards Human Noble in-game. You are a human noble, therefore you can marry another human noble. If this wasn't an option, don't you think people would be a helluva lot more pissed? It's a logical choice based on your background, one that ultimately makes little plot difference. And guess what? If that Human Noble isn't passing a Persuasion check, too frackin' bad! No happy for you!
That funeral speech is the same, unfortunately, as the one he has when he's still with you. You can interpret it to mean that he's not really lamenting that he broke up with you, but that you're gone from the world (rather than "be together forever" meaning "be in a relationship forever" it may mean "be with/near each other forever"). You can also believe he's sad the same way he was when he first broke up: that the dreams he had didn't come to fruition as he had hoped they would, and is regretting that fate led you apart—now forever, since you sacrificed yourself. Oh yeah, and if you don't think he loves you: take him up to Fort Drakon once you've broken up. I dare ya. The man still sacrifices himself to save you.
And yet again. You don't bother to read. For the last time, the reason he marries the Human Noble is because he and Eamon are seeing that he is getting backing from the Cousland line and that's why he gets the throne. If he tosses the engagement aside, the Bannorn may toss him aside. If he succeeds in getting the crown on his own, being a noble isn't going to save her: she's still infertile. Whereas all of the other Origins have no backing power to Alistair whatsoever—if you attempt to offer yourself as queen Alistair has to tell you that the Bannorn won't accept you for not being noble (and human, in the case of Dwarf Noble). That should tell you everything. Alistair chooses duty over love. That's sort of a big part of his character.
My only conclusion is that you're seeing this all through a veneer of wounded rejection, rather than rationally. From a rational level, everything he does is perfectly in-character and realistic. You expecting your Sunshine Beams ending isn't changing that. If you want this ending, you know what to do: don't make him king! Listen, it sucked, it was heartbreaking, I know, but you need to view this with at least a certain amount of objectivity and not garish fangirl rage.
Heart, it might also be worth mentioning that YOU haven't been treating Alistair with respect leading up to him dumping you, which might factor into it. Being King is a life-long commitment, one which he can NEVER walk away from. He has to give up being a Grey Warden, try to rebuild the nation after a Blight and a Civil War, and spend the rest of his days being responsible for the wellbeing of an entire country. On top of all the normal crap a King has to deal with, Alistair would be under pressure to match up to his legendary father, and deal with the nobles who might not want a bastard son on the throne. It's not going to be fun, and it's all because YOU ignored all his protests and decided his entire life for him. Being King is a burden that he didn't want, and ignoring that makes you "just as bad" as he is.
Fine, I'm still extremely angry that he stopped being such a nice boyish character but whatever. My last It Just Bugs Me relating to this: still going on about the infertility crap, how is he even going to be able to have kids with a normal woman? He has the taint too, making him just as infertile as all the other Wardens... so, what the hell? How is that an excuse for dumping his girlfriend when even he himself can't make children? And besides, you'll notice that plenty of kings in history got married to women they cared nothing for just as politics and to make legit babies with, but found true love on the side and stayed in more committed relationships to them. So I don't see what's the big deal here, a wife's petty opinion didn't matter much in those days so if she didn't like her husband loving another woman, too bad. Tough. She just had to deal with it and learn to accept it.
Grey Wardens can reproduce with normal people. The taint greatly reduces the chance of that happening, but if a child is born, it isn't tainted at all. It's two Wardens together that reduce that chance to pretty much nothing.
Exactly that. As for not taking a mistress? Our history isn't Ferelden's history. They have a different culture, one that may look down harshly on mistresses. And even if it doesn't, again, you're not thinking about the way Alistair is. I fail to see how you call him a "nice, boyish" character but then think it's okay for him to cheat on his wife and flaunt a relationship in front of children—his children. He believes in Duty, capital "D". He believes it's his duty to be faithful to his wife and children. I don't see why you're so confused why he dumps you when he explains it to you if you ask if you can be on the side. He outright says that wouldn't be right, that it would be unfair, not just to his wife, but to you. If you harden him, he puts himself in front of that duty, and allows you to stay on. Notice how Alistair won't have a threesome if not hardened because of these moral and boundary quandaries—but hardened, he puts those aside for what he wants?
Harkening back to the whole "duty" argument: Alistair doesn't want to be king!!! The only reason you're even bothering to propose he do so is because the land is fractured (thanks to the old king coming down with a severe case of crushed torso) and cannot properly fight in this state. Your character has to force him onto the throne by stating that uniting the lands against the Blight is his duty as both Maric's son and a Grey Warden. As such, you've flat out told him that his personal feelings are less important than his national responsibilities. It just so happens that your relationship, however loving it may be, qualifies as a matter of "personal feelings" rather than a "national responsiblity". Uniting the lands requires him to win the confidence of the Bannorn as he, claiming to be Maric's unknown bastard son, doesn't have a strong enough position among the nobles to simply walk up and take the office. Marrying a mage or non-human (neither of which are legally permitted to rule in this human kingdom) does nothing but damage his already weak case.
Alistair is king of the land. He really never wanted the job, but you pushed him into it and he's going to try to be the best that he can be. As such, he puts the matters of the nation above his own desires. If he has to lose a loving relationship to save everyone in the country, he'll do it in a heartbeat, no matter how much it will hurt him. Stop projecting your idealized view of love on the story and look at things objectively. Your image of your mage/elf/dwarf becoming the sparkly queen of the land just isn't going to happen in this setting.
You know there's a real simple solution to this, right? Just don't force Alistair to be king. He's happy, Anora is happy, and you're happy. Ferelden won't be as well-off as it would be if hardened Alistair is the king, but that's the price to be paid if you want to keep him as yours. Dragon Age is a game about hard-as-fuck choices and dealing with the consequences of your actions.
Incidentally, this hurt reaction? Pretty well exactly what the developers were going for. Congratulations, Bioware, you made people emotionally invested in your game. You sick evil bastards. ;)
Wynne actually made a very astute conversation about what made a king when she asked what it meant to be a Grey Warden. She said that a truly benevolent king always puts his love of the country before personal matters and anything less made him a tyrant. If he forced the issue of marrying someone out of his species or a mage, he would be putting his own goals ahead of the country's. While it is a noble change in the pursuit of equality, he's doing it for a selfish reason, therein it makes him somewhat of a tyrant (kind of like Bhelen really). When you are angry that Alistair gave your character up, you demand that he takes steps towards tyranny, and that is not in his nature. The only valid reason he's willing to marry a Cousland is because he can have his cake and eat it too, since a Cousland is not only human, but second-best in rank on the Ferelden hierarchy. So I guess it's both political and lucky that the love remains. It sucks, but it's realistic.
I'm surprised that keeping a female warden on a mistress is even an option. Regardless of what the Ferelden stance on royal mistresses might be this is no ordinary girlfriend. Even if the culture were completely permissive of their king's sexual proclivities the nature of the PC would make any noble uneasy. One of the biggest accusations against Alistair at the Landsmeet is that his heart's not in this and he could be easily manipulated by Eamon. She would not be just another pretty face. The Warden has by some mixture of force and political calculation gotten her lover put on the throne. She has used those same tools to assemble a multinational army comprised of factions that have reasons for hostility towards the Bannorn. If she's a Human Noble then any of Anora's supporters would be highly suspicious of the Warden having eyes on supplanting the Queen somehow. If of any of the other origins then you run into questions of loyalty to their race. Bottom line, any woman who displays the skills and cunning to accomplish what the PC does in this game is the absolute last person the nobles would want to have the ear of a king they fear could be lead astray, national hero or not.
Well, there's the fact of those skills in and of themselves: she lead an army to victory against nigh-impossible odds and killed the fucking archdemon personally, so what chance does anything they might send at her have?
if you decide to import an Origin save where a female Warden remained Alistair lover in Dragon Age II, you can see that the Warden, even if dwarf, elf or mage (or even elven mage) is still widely admired and still in charge of her Arling, with Alistair still king. If anything, it shows that the Bannorn are at least ready to tolerate the Warden in the king's bed. Of course, the fact that no one in his right mind would want to makes an ennemy of someone above an archdemon in the food chain makes such an ending believable.
The prequel books clearly show that tainted people can reproduce with the non-tainted. There's a strong indication that Cailan's mother Rowan was tained during their adventures in the Deep Roads. That is why she died young. Alistair's birth mother was an Elf and a Grey Warden. Elven biology means that any union with a member of another race results in a pureblood of that race, meaning Alistair is a pure human. Maric hid the identity of Alistair's real mother, as that would permanently bar Alistair from any possible position of influence. Alistair himself thinks his mother was human, which means Duncan never told him the truth.
Alistair's as of yet unnamed half-brother's mother was an elf.
Also, to put the "but my Warden is a hero, of course everyone will love her!" argument to bed once and for all: ask the Tuskegee Airmen or, indeed, any African-American who fought in WW2 how that worked out for them. Hint: it didn't. They fought for freedom, good, and fluffy puppies with as much honour and courage as their white fellow soldiers... and then went home to a segregated society where nothing had changed. Thedas is no different.
I may end up answering my own question so bear with me here. Though I will start with that most players won't exactly see the break-up comming at least not without reading guides or asking certain questions. Then there is the fact that in truth there is never an easy way to break it off with someone even in the real world let alone a video game with set which is limited in it's answers. Though Alistar is not exactly cold about since diolouge I got was that it was not an easy choice for him. Even earlier before the landsmeet both he and Anora seemed have no issue with the agreed arrangement. Though I think another reason had to do with him not wanting to go through with it along with the fact that he is thinking of the kingdom rather then his wants is that he wants to avoid having children that would have to deal with the same life he did. I could wrong on that one though, but if that is the case it does bring into question how he could be convinced that creating a old god infused child with morgan is a good idea. My only answer for it would be the fact that it means no one has sacrifice themselves and he trusts you who trusts morgan which would not require him to trust morgan.
Harrowmont vs Bhelen = Grey vs Grey?
On most of the pages where the resolution to the Orzammar main quest is talked about, it's usually along the lines of "on the one hand, Harrowmont results in Orzammar closing itself off from the surface world and strengthening the already oppressive caste system. On the other, choosing Bhelen results in Orzammar becoming a benevolent dictatorship, opening up to others, taking back some lost land, and eventually abolishing the caste system. Really, neither of them are the better then the other!" I'm sorry, but how? Bhelen is a royal prick, especially if you played the Drwarf Nobel origin, so I can understand why his The-ends-justify-the-means (a policy I don't agree with) attitude can get on some peoples nerves, but crowning him as king is clearly the more positive outcome! Sure he did some bad stuff to get to that point, and to quote another Bioware character he had to "drag [their] clan to glory whether it likes it or not", but he opens up the city to the outside world and abolishes the caste system! The ONLY reason people seem to insist it's still Grey and Grey Morality is because it's mentioned he sets up a dictatorship, and most people seem to automatically assume that a dictatorship is bad. While that is usually the case from our historical experience, it isn't always... Especially when it's specifically mentioned to be benevolent! It just bugs me that people seem to think that going with Bhelen is a morally ambiguous thing to do just because of the dictatorship thing. Seriously people, is the alternative (i.e. completely closing itself off and making the caste system even worse) really something that could be argued to be a better, or even just morally equal outcome?
To the Noble Dwarf background, this is effectively a death sentence. Eventually his family and their kin will be hunted down for being nobility. Angry castless dwarfs who after years of pent up hatred would go on noble hunts for what can be petty issues and the ensuing social revolution will not be pretty as during the benevolent dictatorship there will be bloodshed that is normally ineffective under a tight caste system as well as Bhelen's successors. Isolation also allows the Dwarves to stay out of the turbulent world of Thedas which range from things like the Chantry to slavers hoping to buy/sell slaves in Orzammar. There doesn't appear to be actual slavery in Orzammar which can be subject to change if it meant fresh fodder for the golems.
I'm sorry, but this is wrong on several levels. Why in the hell would the Castless even think of taking up arms against the family who finally gave them the freedom and rights they have long deserved? And Harrowmont's isolationism is in no way positive, as it merely hastens Orzammar's stagnation and cuts them off from any form of aid against the ever present Darkspawn threat. This is driven home by how Bhelen is actually able to successfully strike against and push back the Darkspawn Horde to the point where he's able to reclaim several long lost thaigs. Yes, Bhelen's not a very nice/moral guy, but unlike Harrowmont, he actually looks out for his people's future and gets results.
Not all castless will embrace that idea. Some see every noble as the same ones who caused them their pain and misery for so long and will lash out no matter who's the new king. And for some, isolation is a preferable alternative to being exposed to the world of Thedas which is just as unpleasant as the Darkspawn. There are some hints of that when you help Dagna or Burkel when the Chantry wants to Exalted on them after a certain event happens. And Bhelen simply speeds up the pace of exposure to politics Orzammar should stay out of if they value their safety. Harrowmont is more focused on stability and staying out of the affairs of the surface world.
Except that is completely the opposite of what actually happens. The casteless only end up rebelling if Harrowmont is made king. Under Bhelen they join the fight against the darkspawn, and end up pushing them back. Why are you pretending that everything will magically turn out okay if you make Harrowmont king? The games epilouge spells out that it's Bhelen that makes progress, and that Harrowmont just makes a mess. Acting like it's the other way around doesn't change anything.
They won't be rebelling against Bhelen but it doesn't mean they wouldn't hesistate to riot against those who supports Harrowmont. I never thought of things will become instantly fine with Harrowmont at the helm, what can be at least be promised is the status quo will be safe. With Bhelen, it can go either way. If his own successor is good, then Orzammar progress will be good. If not, then the future of Orzammar will not just be under the mercy of Darkspawn but the Chantry, the apostates and other groups who wants the Lyrium.
And the ending of Dragon Age II just shows how potentially dangerous the consequences of supporting Bhelen and other things that will open Orzammar to the chaos that engulfs Thedas. One way or the other, the upcoming war will have Orzammar targeted for the Lyrium and Bhelen will have to adjust to the chaos where as Harrowmont can simply show them the door with possibly Golems providing the assistance.
The Templars are all lyrium addicts, who just broke off relations with their supplier. Getting a new lyrium source is going to be one of the biggest concerns they have right off the bat. Harrowmont probably would be stupid enough to declare it a surface problem and try and throw them out, but it would be idiotic to think that the Templars would simply give up after that. They would probably declare war on Orzammar and try to take the lyrium by force. Bhelen would at least have enough sense to know that it isn't worth fighting with the Templars about, and agree to sell it to them instead of to the Chantry.
By that point, the Templars are completely fractured, not enough numbers to make a decent Exalted March to take care of the problem. Bhelen's open world affairs will imply problems with the Lyrium sales between different Templar factions and the problem will be addressed in taking a side with a group of Templars who wants a stable Lyrium supply.
I think what the original troper is ignoring is that while Bhleen is a good ruler in the end, all the actions he takes to get to that point are blatantly evil: He lies, forges documents to frame Harromount for trying to sell the same block of land twice, blackmails, asks you to frame Harrowmount by placing his seals in known criminals possession, etc. etc. Harrowmount on the other hand always plays fair and if Bhleen gets the crown accepts him as his king before getting sentanced to death. So it is a perfect example of grey and grey morality.
I'm not arguing that Bhleen isn't a huge dick and Harrowmount is a nice guy. What I am saying is letting the dick be king turns out better for the Dwarves in the long run while letting Harrowmount be king results in an almost complete clusterfuck. I'm not saying the two candidates aren't grey vs gray, what bothers me is the results are clearly not. Bhleen as king is the morally right thing to do in the long run since it means peace and equality. The Grey Warden doesn't know that at the time, obviously, but the TV Tropes articles aren't written from his point of view: they're written by us, who have beaten the game doing either choice, and know both endings, and yet everytime it's brought up in the other pages they still act like what Harrowmount does is morally equal to what Bhleen does? I call bullshit.
And that's probably what they were going for, especially after the first couple of playthroughs. Ordinarily supporting the noble, just character is the outright good thing. But supporting Bhelen, in this case, leads to eventual peace and prosperity in Orzammar. It becomes a question of whether or not you think "Bhleen"'s acts to get to the throne, which led to a Good Thing, are worth it in light of the murdering, backstabbing, and manipulation he engages in to get there. It's one big John Stuart Mill versus Immanuel Kant argument; the Kantian would support Harrowmont, because regardless of the consequences, Bhelen is an evil dick and nothing can justify any of his actions. The Mill advocate would support Bhelen, because his actions led to a much greater good than Harrowmont's. Big thorny issue. It's really a question of whether or not you think that murdering your way to the top in order to ensure peace, order, and prosperity is a good thing, from our meta perspective.
Muddying the issue further is the simple fact that the dwarven system is broken, and obviously so, and Bhelen is presented as someone who is willing to break that long standing yet ultimately destructive social order that keeps the dwarves locked in a permanent state of internal feuding and self-destructive backstabbing that prevents them from launching any sort of concerted effort against the darkspawn.
Wrong windmill sails
All of the windmills in the game are of jib-sail design with blades bearing a triangular cloth sail that's stretched out by a rope attached to the adjacent blade's mast. In real life this design of windmill will turn in the direction of the mast, with sail trailing; if the wind reverses direction the sails billow out on the other side and the direction the windmill turns remains the same. In Dragon Age, the windmills turn with the sail leading and the mast trailing. Windmills do not work that way!
Fergus. Okay, so he goes to Ostagar and the king assigns him scouting duties. But then, when you actually run into him, he claims to have never made it to Ostagar. Obviously, either dear brother's pulling a prank, or King Cailan has absolutely no idea what he's doing. Option two seems more likely, as you can ask him when Fergus will return from his patrol, and he replies with something to the effect of, "After the battle." Last time I checked, you generally want your scouts to return with any possible intel before the big battle. No wonder he just delegated the important things to Loghain.
Real reason: The guys at Bioware screwed up. Including a quest where you track down and rescue Fergus would have unbalanced the game. Non-human noble characters would have no reason to track down some dude named Fergus, which means the human noble character choice would come with an extra quest beyond the prologue. They should have had Fergus be killed in the escape from the castle.
The most likely needed him to take care of Highever for you if you became king/queen or continued with the Wardens. They more than likely also didn't want the extra dialog option, "I want to return as teyrn of Highever". Before you knew Fergus was alive, everyone assumed you were (you can even refer to yourself as) teyrn/a of Highever. Also, in any other Origin, Fergus' survival means he's the Last of the Couslands, since you would have died with your parents without Duncan. The main theme of the Origins is "Duncan saves your sauce".
Fergus' exact dialogue is that he never made it to the battle at Ostagar, because of the ambush on his scouting band once he'd arrived, not that he was never there.
Distance between Redcliffe and Denerim during climax
The particular timing of Morrigan's ritual. She claims that the child will be sired "On the eve of battle, in the dark of night." Considering that Teagan previously mentions that the distance between Redcliffe and the Circle Tower is about two days across Lake Calenhad, you'd think that it'd take far longer to march an entire army all the way to Denerim. So why, exactly, does she need to lie with Male PC/Alistair/Loghain in Redcliffe? I'm sure there's plenty of time between Redcliffe and Archdemon for your demon-baby rituals, dear.
The bed? The privacy? However, if you talk to her after doing the ritual, I believe the dialog says "So, about last night..." or something to that effect. So...?
I believe the problem is that Morrigan says the ritual must be performed "on the eve of battle", thus implying it must be performed the night before the Archdemon is killed. Since the Archdemon is in Denerim, which is apparently two days forced march away from Redcliffe, the use of the term 'eve' seems a bit odd.
There's another thing that bugs me. In Orzammar, the quest from Dagna who wants to study at the Circle Tower tells you upon speaking to her again that the round trip takes two and a half weeks minimum. Orzammar and the Circle Tower may not be neighbors, but they're probably the two places closest to each other on the map, which makes sense considering that the lyrium supply the Circle relies on comes from Orzammar. Redcliffe and Denerim are on opposite sides of the map, and yet the march there only takes two days?
Terrain, maybe? Redcliffe to Denerim would be through the central Bannorn which is mostly flat aricultural land. There is also the Imperial Highway which pretty much travels direct between the two. Orzammer on the otherhand is deep in the Frostback Mountains. Between the slopes and the weather conditions, I don't imagine Lake Calanhad - Orzammer would be a quick journey.
Also, the map needn't be accurate. Orzammar is squished in at the very left margin of the map, so apart from terrain questions, the entry might also be further into the mountains than it appears to be.
I just take "eve" to mean "right before", which it is, even though they still have to march. Doesn't fix the afore mentioned "about last night" comment, though.
Why not trick recruits during The Joining
Considering that Ser Jory couldn't have been the only Warden conscript to chicken out after seeing another candidate dead, why didn't the Wardens just give three glasses for each person and tell them to drink at the same time? It'll be too late for one too freak out by then...
This is just speculation, but perhaps the point of the Joining ritual is not only to weed out recruits who can't survive the taint but also to weed out the ones who don't have the nerve to be proper Grey Wardens. Perhaps Ser Jory would have survived if he had drunk the blood first, but the fact that he freaked out after watching Daveth do it (and die from it) suggests that he didn't have what it takes to be a Grey Warden. In other words, if he chickened out now he would probably chicken out later. Such as, for instance, when he found out that the Grey Warden who strikes the killing blow against the Archdemon will be killed himself.
Remember when Alistair reveals that some recruits are plagued by dreams of Darkspawn and the Archdemon? Not to mention tells you that you only have 30 years to live? Ser Jory would have probably gone AWOL the second he learnt this.
Would it have mattered, you cant escape being a grey warden, sooner or later you either get tracked down by the darkspawn or find yourself in the deep roads heeding the calling. Sure it would have made him less useful in this specific incident but then Duncan had no idea that all older grey wardens would up dead.
Mass-recruiting Grey Wardens
Since the Ferelden Grey Wardens are seriously understaffed (less than a dozen before Ostagar if I recall, but feel free to correct the numbers), shouldn't there be at least someone who consider conscripting orphan and beggar teens, just like what the Templar did? It's not like they would survive if the Blight reach them? I know they're probably looking for more combat trained candidates, but having apprentices would allow The Warden and Alistair to know about their required Heroic Sacrifice beforehand? (I'm a ruthless bastard aren't I?)
The ritual involves Archdemon blood, which must be an extremely rare commodity since the last chance they had to replenish it was with the stuff they mopped up at the end of the last Blight. If they didn't limit themselves to the best of the best then they would be in danger of running out of blood before the Archdemon even appeared.
It's stated in-game - by Alistair or Riordan, I think - that Archdemon blood is a component of the Joining cocktail, and that the supply of Archdemon blood was located in Denerim and had probably been hidden by Loghain. My guess is the Archdemon blood was kept in the same place as Harrowed mages' phylacteries.
A couple dozen were in Ferelden.
There's also the fact that they only recruit Bad Asses. How can you tell if an orphan you pick up on the street will be a good Warden? Duncan was recruited off the street, but he was already in his late teens and pretty handy with knives.
What's the point of the Fade portion?
So, you've created a game, a reasonably difficult one, that centers around utilizing your party and their individual skills and weapon preferences in a more or less real time combat system. What, then, is the purpose of the Mage's Tower Fade sequence? Is it to remind players that there's an "Advanced" tab in the quick menu? Were the mapmakers so proud of the Tower map that they demanded that it be reused? Did the team idiot barge into a meeting with a bomb vest and shriek "HEY GUYS LETS MAKE A SOLO MISSION!!!!!" and everyone was too confused/terrified to argue?
You don't know Bioware if you think they won't just do something because it makes good story. Even if it doesn't make sense in the game's context. My problem is more to do with the fact that the Fade portion is SO BORING.
But that's just it. The Fade sequence ISN'T a good story. As you yourself point out, it's BORING. Mind-numbingly so, in fact.
The point of the Fade sequence is you get twenty free attribute points, and gives your character a chance to look like a solo badass, as opposed to just a leader of a group of badasses. Also some of the dream sequences are actually rather touching; Sten's comes to mind.
Inception made the Fade sequence look pathetic (assuming it wasn't already).
Why not become Carta boss?
More It Just Confuses Me To Distraction than a proper qualm, but if you're not the Dwarf Commoner, who killed Beraht. The game suggests that without you at the controls, the character either chooses not to or doesn't have the wits to escape from the jail. I'll give it that the character probably got caught for something else, going with the idea that Duncan wasn't there to enlist them, and therefore not present for the proving match to take place and the character to be caught, but the character kills Beraht after they break free.?
Remember that the Dwarf Commoner is recaptured after killing Beraht, and only Duncan saves you from being tossed back into custody. So apparently the events of the Dwarf Commoner Origin still occur, including the first jailbreak and killing Beraht on your way out, but the divergence point is that both the Dwarf Commoner and Leske get sent back to jail without any intervening steps, and then Jarvia consolidates her control over the carta and bribes you both back into her custody only after having had time to really work up her mad (thus explaining why she tortures both the Commoner and Leske), as opposed to Leske having wriggled free right after your recruitment into the Grey Wardens and thus having some freedom of action to find a way into Jarvia's good graces.
Party members not tainted
Why does no one else in the party have a problem with the taint? You and Alistair are Grey Wardens, and Dog can't be re-poisoned because of that special medicine from the Wilds, but that still leaves everyone else.
Gameplay and Story Segregation. The developers originally planned for some of your party to get infected and they undergo the Joining after the Landsmeet. Ultimately the idea got cut.
Also, if you want a story reason, for the Taint to be a problem you have to get the Darkspawn blood inside you. Aside from Dog, none of your buddies seem likely to start chowing down on the Darkspawn, which only leaves the chance of open wounds. So just assume the blood never gets into any open wounds.
This is kinda hard to imagine considering the absurd amounts of blood spattered all over your characters whenever you fight.
There was an anti-Taint potion that the Circle gave to Maric in "The Calling". Do the Circle quest first and pretend that Irving is so grateful that he whips up a batch. (Though that knowledge may have died with the old First Enchanter.)
Male Old Gods?
Not exactly something that bugs me, but three things I noticed after playing through the game 1. Old Gods are stated to be (most likely) actual dragons, just ancient and powerful ones. 2. Only female dragons grow huge and get wings, males remain as smaller, flightless drakes. 3. The Old Gods and Archdemons, who are clearly huge and have wings, are always referred to by the codex and the characters as male. Sooooo.... what's up with that? Is everyone having pronoun trouble?
Sexism on the part of the Tevinter Imperium? They assume that, because it is a god, it must be male. That or that IS what makes them a god, the fact that they are gigantic male dragons. Or at least how they know that it's a dragon. Also, the archdemon is much bigger than a regular High Dragon. I think...
Definately not sexism as they are stated to have matriarchs and an empress.
In English, the default gender pronoun is masculine. While there are some groups that have begun using a unique gender pronoun to refer to those of ambiguous or unknown gender, the masculine pronoun is still the common usage. Do you know enough about lizard anatomy to properly analyze the sexual organs of an Archdemon in the brief time you see it flying overhead? Neither do they, so they default to the masculine pronoun.
The Grey Wardens kill Archdemons. They presumably drain blood from its corpse afterwards to make new Grey Wardens with. I find it extremely difficult to believe that no one would notice that the Archdemons were actually female, given that scholars do know quite a bit about dragon anatomy and they have an actual body to study.
It is possible becoming an Archdemon turns an Old God into a sexless creature. After all, that's what the rest of the Darkspawn are, save for the Broodmothers.
A really minor point, but It Just Bugs Me! that the blight infected Dragons are called Archdemons. Since they don't seem to have anything to do with the actual demons of the setting why are they called Arch demons? I guess it could be chalked up to Rule of Cool but still.
I have a theory that the Archdemons really are demons on the WMG page.
It could be an in-universe misnomer, that sort of thing happens a lot in real life too (koala bears aren't bears, peanuts aren't nuts, and radiators use convection rather than radiation). It's a huge, magical monster, it's not hard to see why the first people to see one would call it a demon.
Again, it has NOT been confirmed that the Archdemons are simply dragons infected with the Blight. Indeed, the Archdemons are repeatedly stated to be the "old gods" of the Tevinter Imperium, suggesting they were originally some kind of powerful spirit-being that simply manifested in the real world in the form of a dragon. Also, if you're a male character that's been romancing Morrigan, at the end of the game she offers to let you impregnate her so that when the Archdemon is slain its soul will transfer to the unborn child instead of killing you. Morrigan states that the child will then be born "with the soul of an Old God" but without the taint of the Darkspawn. This strongly suggests that the Archdemons are actually powerful spirits that manifested in the form of a dragon and were later corrupted by the Blight, rather than simply being mundane dragons infected with the Blight.
However, if you read the codex entry concerning the Old Gods to find out what they are, it says that the consensus is that the Old Gods were actually dragons, not spirits.
That's the consensus, yes, but consensus =/= truth.
It's the answer the codex gives. Theoretically it could turn out to be wrong- Word of God says that the codex entries are not always written from a third-person omniscient viewpoint- but it is still the only explanation we have. Any ideas about the Old Gods being spirits is venturing into WMG territory.
In fact, a few of the codex entries you find in the course of the game contain different text depending on which origin you chose for your character. Dwarven characters get history with a Dwarven bent, Elves get it with an Elven bent, etc. Wouldn't be surprised if some of the Blight lore falls under this.
"It's the answer the codex gives." Exactly. The codex specifically says consensus rather than "truth" or "fact". The obvious intent being to keep the true nature of the Archdemon and the Old Gods as vague and mysterious as possible. But anyway, that's not the point. Regardless of what the codex actually says, the fact that Morrigan offers to perform the demon-baby ritual all but confirms that the Old Gods are more than mere dragons. It's impossible to know exactly what they are, but Morrigan would not have bothered to perform the ritual at all if she thought the Archdemon was merely a dragon infected with the Blight.
Why wouldn't she? Even if it was "merely" a dragon, it was still powerful enough that the Tevinter Imperium worshiped it as a god. Why exactly does Morrigan wanting it mean that it can't be some kind of dragon? The two points aren't really related.
Just because the Tevinters worshipped them as gods doesn't make them powerful, and Morrigan is smart enough to know the difference. They could have worshipped dirty dishrags if they'd wanted to. Does that make dirty dishrags powerful divine creatures? And if all Morrigan wanted was a possessed demon baby with the soul of a High Dragon, she could have easily gotten that simply by hunting down a High Dragon herself (the High Dragon you fight in the quest for Andraste's Ashes seems like an ideal choice). The fact that she only NOW asked to perform this secret ritual clearly indicates that there is something special about the "old gods" of the Tevinter Imperium. Something that makes them different from mere mundane dragons.
Actually, it would have been impossible to capture the soul of a normal High Dragon, because when an ordinary High Dragon dies it simply stays dead. The Archdemons are special because they are infected with the taint, which causes their souls to automatically transfer to the nearest tainted body upon death. That's why Morrigan needed the father of the child to be a Grey Warden, so she can use the taint to hijack the soul mid-transfer. In conclusion, the only clear difference between a High Dragon and an Archdemon is that the Archdemon is infected with the taint, which is what Morrigan needed to capture its soul. So again, Morrigan wanting an Archdemon doesn't support your claim at all.
"The Archdemons are special because they are infected with the taint, which causes their souls to automatically transfer to the nearest tainted body upon death." Except no other tainted creatures are ever described as having that ability. If the mere act of being tainted by the darkspawn grants the power to transfer the soul to another body upon death, then why don't all darkspawn have this power? Of all the Blight-infected creatures encountered in the game, ONLY the Archdemon is said to have this soul-transfer ability. Therefore there must be something more to the Archdemon that is entirely separate from the darkspawn taint.
"If the mere act of being tainted by the darkspawn grants the power to transfer the soul to another body upon death, then why don't all darkspawn have this power?" Maybe it's because an Archdemon starts off as a High Dragon, while other tainted creatures don't? Maybe that would make them a little bit different than normal darkspawn, perhaps? The soul transfer ability has to be something caused by the taint, as it actually requires the taint in order for it to be able to work in the first place. The Old Gods do not have the ability to possess bodies upon their deaths, so they have to gain it from being tainted. And saying that the Archdemons "must" be something other than dragons because the taint doesn't effect them the same way it does other species is only valid if you completely ignore the fact that the taint does not effect every species in the same way to begin with.
" I'm just going to point out the fact that the Darkspawn dont have souls. That goes for all tainted creatures, including the dragon "Darkspawn Thrall" you fight before you enter the Castle at the final battle. That's what makes the Archdemon special, it's soul isn't destroyed by the taint or whatever causes them to lose their soul. And because the Darkspawn are souless, the Archdemon's soul won't be destroyed fighting for dominance of the body when its soul transfers to the nearest tainted body.
"The Old Gods do not have the ability to possess bodies upon their deaths" Says who? Plenty of creatures are either shown or said to be able to possess other bodies when they die. Morrigan's own mother had been doing it for centuries.
Morrigan's mother is Flemeth, the Witch of the Wilds. She's pretty much unique, as you never hear about another person quite like her. To answer you about the Old Gods, in one of the prequel novels, the villains' plans revolve around preventing the Old Gods from ever becoming Archdemons by finding and killing them before they are infected with the taint.
Yes, Morrigan's mother IS Flemeth, the Witch of the Wilds. And she does this using magic that is otherwise either unknown or forbidden. That doesn't really mean anything; the fact that Flemeth can do it proves that it can be done. That Flemeth is the only person who has learned to do it does nothing to disprove that.
Flemeth is an Abomination. She can possess people because she has a demon inside of her. All spirits can possess people, so Flemeth being able to do the same does not indicate that the Old Gods were able to as well.
Let's look at this logically. The only thing we know 100% for sure about the Archdemon is 1) it is Tainted and 2) it is a High Dragon. Tainted creatures do not possess the ability to jump bodies upon death. High Dragons also do not possess the ability to jump bodies upon death. Erego, the ability to jump bodies upon death is not granted by being Tainted or by being a High Dragon. Therefore, there must be something else going on there.
...3)Demons and Spirits from the fade DO possess bodies (and trees, and...) just pointing that out.
Let's look at this even more logically. When an Archdemon dies, it's essence passes through the taint into the nearest tainted body, and if that body is a Darkspawn, a monster created by the taint, it is reborn. It cannot possess anything that isn't tainted, and if it possesses anything other than a Darkspawn, it dies instantly. Therefore, as it's ability to possess bodies is entirely dependent on the taint, I propose that it must have something to do with the taint.
Another thing we know about the Archdemon/Old Gods: they have the unique ability to "call" the darkspawn to them. And this is before they become tainted. They become Archdemons after the darkspawn manage to find them and pass the taint. If the Archdemon was merely a tainted High Dragon, why don't the darkspawn flock to the more accessible ones on the surface? The Old Gods of Tevinter are clearly very special or completely different from Dragons.
Also note that weapons designed to do more damage to dragons (e.g. the sword Yusaris) do not affect the Archdemon. It must be something else.
Why are they called Archdemons? Yeah, I know it kinda makes sense in the whole Legions of Hell thing the darkspawn have going, but why are they called Archdemons when they're not demons? I mean the Dragon Age universe already has demons, which are parasitic fade spirits. An Archademon is a Physical God and/or a corrupted dragon, not a fade spirit, so why are they called Archdemons? Why not Archdragons?
Because they're gods that have been corrupted and become demons. There's plenty of examples in the Real World of calling creatures and objects with names that don't fit in their official classification. The average person on Thedas probably doesn't know the intricate differences between the darkspawn, the demons or the undead, just that they're all scary and evil.
It's entirly possible, if you beleve the chantry's version of events, that they actually where fade spirits before becoming Archdemons.
Could be they're called Archdemons because they've been hijacked by Andraste. They believe them to be the Old Gods of the Tivinter Imperium, and there are plenty of cases of Christianity painting pagon gods as demons after the fact.
Where did the perception of Archdemons being corrupted High Dragons come from? They're explicitly described as "sealed beneath the Earth" and the Darkspawn are "Called" to them to find them, Taint them, and turn them into Archdemons. Also, they can't be High Dragons: The Archdemons are male, while High Dragons are fully-matured females. What's entirely probable is that the Old Gods were male dragons who'd grown to the size of High Dragons(something incredibly rare), probably with incredible magic powers, judging by their ability to jump bodies as well as "call" darkspawn to them.
Do immune mabari become ghouls?
So dogs become immune to the blight after surviving previous exposure to it in a manner similar to Grey Warden Joining. Does that mean that years down the line those dogs also succumb to the taint and die or become ghouls? Though if dogs in the game have lifespans similar to Real Life dogs (a couple decades at most) I could see how that probably wouldn't be an issue.
Presumably the dogs are put down before it reaches that point.
It's really a shame that there wasn't a mechanic tracking that which would force you to put Barkspawn down.
A shame? What are you, a sick masochist? There's a good reason there's no such mechanic.
Thirty years to live not bad
Maybe it's just me, but the whole "thirty or so years later you die of the taint" part of being a Grey Warden really doesn't seem that bad in the setting. In Real Life the average lifespan of a non-noble was about 40-50 years anyway, and that's in a world devoid of supernatural horrors like demons and the darkspawn. Yeah there are some elderly folk in the game, but I doubt that the average lifespan is higher than 40. I'd wager it's even lower during a Blight.
It's rather assumed that, since this is a Fantasy Medieval world, they live much longer, healthier lives—judging by their negative reactions to finding out about the taint, I imagine around a modern first-world lifespan. They do have magic. And if Duncan is around forty, Wynne and Irving must by around sixty or seventy.
Plus, people in Thedas bathe and clean up after shitting, people in the middle ages didn't.
Yes they did. Bathhouses were a central venue of social interaction, and good hygiene was appreciated. Ironically this perception was killed slightly before Renaissance came, as the church started a smear-campaign against bathing due to its association with prostitution. The damage wasn't repaired until the 19th century.
Anyway, the whole thing is based on a common misunderstanding of "Average Lifespan." The reason that the average lifespan in the Middle Ages was so low was because child mortality was rampant: a lot of children died in their first few years of disease and such. However, if you could survive until adulthood, and make kids of your own to take care of you after your teeth fall out and such, you had a decent chance of living to a ripe old age.
Why not hunt down Archdemon while sleeping?
Could Grey Wardens sense the general location of an Old God in the same manner as the darkspawn? Assuming that the taint is what allows the darkspawn to sense the general location of the dragons and find them after centuries of effort. In theory the Grey Wardens could spend their time between Blights tracking down and slaying the Old Gods in their sleep to prevent them from becoming Archdemons thus preventing future Blights. Or is the manpower (a serious problem for the Grey Wardens thanks to the low survival rate of The Joining) required to launch such an expedition into the hometurf of the darkspawn too great? It Just Bugs Me! that this hasn't been addressed in the story.
In some of the Origins you can question Duncan about this, I believe. He says something along the lines of they don't know where the archdemon is and it would take too much resources and lives to find the archdemon—after all, even though the Old God calls to the darkspawn, it takes them hundreds of years to find one.
The Grey Wardens know where the Old Gods are buried, though it's kept secret even from most of the order. Unfortunately there's about a million darkspawn between them. In the prequel novel The Calling this was the reason why the world's most clever darkspawn emissary decided to capture a Commander in Grey coming down to the Deep Roads, rather than allowing his brethren to kill him.
Who is Sophie's Guard?
Who or what is "Sophie's Guard"?
Uh, a woman guarding Sophie's room. She doesn't really do anything. She only comes into play if you're a thief and accept a thieving quest from Slim Couldry in Denerim.
Except I did that quest and she never came up. She doesn't try to stop you, she doesn't seem to do anything at all. Worst. Guard. Ever.
Slim does mention that she's a very tired, over-worked and bored guard.
Tranquil is okay, golem is not?
Creating Golems is an unholy abomination … creating Tranquil, all well and fine. Am I the only one who noticed this?
Well, creating a Golem involves horribly torturing someone to death. The Tranquil are creepy, no doubt about it, but the process is suppose to be an alternative to killing the person in question. Given the Chantry's views on magic, they probably prefer the Tranquil over mages anyhow.
Who says that people don't regard the Rite of Tranquility as horrific? You can say as much to the Tranquil at Ostagar.
I got the impression that sometimes the Rite of Tranquility was involuntary. Just because they don't care afterwards doesn't mean they didn't care before, and possibly fought back violently, which could be seen as similar to torturing someone to death, or worse, depending on your point of view.
Considering that the in-universe response to someone being made Tranquil ranges from "creeped-out" to "HOLY SHIT THAT'S HORRIBLE" I seriously doubt that being made Tranquil is "all well and fine."
If Karl from Dragon Age II is anything to go by, while they can be completely fine with being Tranquil, when Ander's brings part of the Fade into the world near him, he briefly reverts to his old self and his reaction is essentially "For the love of the Maker! YOU HAVE TO KILL ME!" Its hard to argue that this may be what any Mage would say in this circumstance.
That's just the thing though; Karl is a mage. Most of the people undergoing the Rite (i.e., the only time the rite can be legally administered) are not mages; they're individuals with magical ability they don't have the courage or strength of will to control.
No. A mage is anyone with magical ability, period.
To an extent it reminds me of the Jekyll/Hyde dynamic. There's a trade-off; in becoming Hyde, Jekyll was giving up his friends, his family, his whole life. In staying Jekyll he was having to live with all the depression and anxiety and pent up frustration of his life. He acknowledged that he was giving up more in becoming Hyde than he was gaining, but the balancing factor was this; as Hyde, he wouldn't care about everything lost. A mage who becomes tranquil willingly is giving up art, music, beauty...but they won't/don't care. It doesn't bother them. Karl's a unique case as he got it back anyway and could appreciate the contrast, but most tranquil never do.
Rendering someone Tranquil means severing their connection to the Fade. Dreams originate in the Fade, and the souls of the dead are supposed to pass through there on the way to the aftelife. Mages can perform magic because they have an abnormally strong link to the Fade, and use it by channeling the power of their souls. The most obvious conclusion to be drawn from these facts is that the Tranquil are soulless husks, a conclusion further supported by their lack of emotions or creative ability.
creating a golem is killing an "innocent" Dwarf. Making someone Tranquil is "making sure an evil abomination cannot hurt anyone"
Also don't forget that being turned Tranquil is to avoid the mage ever being possessed by a demon and turned into an abomination. Not that this magically makes everything better, but they would prefer not to risk a mage succumbing to a demon and turning into an abomination and releasing exactly what happened at the circle. Their methods are harsh, yes, but for good reason.
English-accented elf PC in Origins
Why did they let me pick an English accent for my main character, when my entire clan speaks with a USA one? I had no way of knowing that before starting the game.
What's the point in supplying voices at all if they're not going to do a full voice-over? It's not like there are so many voices that you have an unlimited span of what your character can sound like. They're lips don't even move.
Full PC voice-over would cost a huge amount of money, would take up a huge amount of space and would result in the game being a lot smaller. Just think of all the possible PC responses and times that by at least six (male/female x human/elf/dwarf). And even then it still wouldn't sound right. Would you expect an Aeducan to sound like a Brosca?
Beacuse implementing at least six fully voiced protagonists uses exactly the same amount of resources as just two?
Granted, but the poster makes the valid point of what's the point in giving the PC audible lines at all? They just end up being Most Annoying Sound, particularly when they don't really do anything. Sure, in previous Bioware games they might've had the character performing a lockpick or something say "On it... * picks lock* simple!", but your character never seems to say anything useful, except complaining whenever you order him/her to go anywhere or pick up loot. You certainly never hear "Damn it, I lost the spell!" or any of the other soundbites you hear in the chargen screen.
Why six voices? Two would suffice: One male, one female since dwarfs, elves and humans all sound... well human in this game.
Yes, they sound human, but there's different accents for each race. If they used a person with an American accent, it'd be weird if the PC was human and therefore should have a Fereldan/British accent. Vice versa for dwarves and elves. So, there would be at least 4 voice actors needed.
Actually, the main character does speak. Often times, when you ask them to unlock a chest, attack an enemy, or do something. I agree that it doesn't make sense to not voice over all the lines, especially since they did so with Mass Effect 1 and I think 2.
A nice thing about the old way Bioware did voices (Dragon Age, Neverwinter Nights, Baldur's Gate) is that you could include more personality option foe the voice acting while still having huge dialog trees. With fully voice acted characters, you're never going to be allowed to choose, say, Psychotic Hawke or Power Hungry Hawke or Suave Hawke. With full voice over, all the options they can make available become prohibitively expensive. Its not that they don't have the money to hire actors to voice full protagonist dialog six or ten times over, its that its a marginal gain after the first couple of voices (male and female). They can spend that money on some other part of the game or even just to hire actors to voice more other characters.
Voice acting is staggeringly expensive. You can see signs of budget restrictions on the voicework in Bioware's other games and even in Dragon Age. First, in the fully-voiced games there are fewer dialogue options; ME 1 would generally have 3 options that advanced the conversation, with a variable number of "investigate" options not to exceed 10 for the entire conversation. The other voiced games have fewer. Meanwhile, in Dragon Age, you might notice that "Ser" is gender-neutral, which means that lines using it don't need a male and female version (this is much more apparent in The Old Republic, where Sith are addressed as Lord regardless of gender and the honorific is used much more often). The main character's voice actors would be high-quality voice actors who command large salaries, so getting six or even two of them to voice every PC line in the game would run... I'm not sure exactly how much, but it would make up a non-negligible portion of the budget. A very quick google search says that top stars can command $750,000 for an hour's work. At a wild guess, the sum total of PC lines comes out to a minimum of two hours for the entire game, so with two top-end voice actors, that comes out to 3 million dollars. I honestly have no idea how much DA:O cost, but I'd guess under 50 million, because TOR cost 150 million and has eight storylines of considerable length with similar graphical quality and more voicework and was made by the same company. So fully voicing the game would raise the cost of development by over 6%. Since the game they released presumably consumed all the money they were willing to spend on a new IP, voicing it would have meant either raising 3 million from pre-orders or cutting something else. The numbers of course work much better with lower-end voice talents, but they're not quite as good and the Warden's voice actor would be the person you hear the most.
Drakes and dragonlings in Circle Tower
How did all those drakes and dragonlings get into the Tower of Magi?
It Just Bugs Me! that when you enter the Fade Dream in the Circle Tower, you get a dream involving the Grey Warden headquarters and Duncan. The rest of your party has personal dreams/nightmares, so why don't you? Would it really have been that difficult to have a different starting nightmare depending on the Origin story?
Yes, I agree. The whole Fade sequence is plain laziness. Why is it that Alistair's heart's desire is still to have a family with his golddigging shrew of a sister? Well, the Fade does get some things wrong—go take a look at Morrigan's dream. Still, that's only more reason for you to get a personalized one—they don't have to worry about catering to exactly the type of thing you want, just what the Fade thinks you want. And I don't see how you would want to be stuck in the barren Anderfels with a guy you hardly know/met and sing songs.
That's a sequencing problem; the game seems to assume you're going to do the fade sequence before Alistair's personal quest, in which case he'd have no idea that his sister is a gold digging shrew.
No, Alistair acknowledges the way she acted. I suppose it comes down to him just really, really, really wanting to have a family. Would it have been nice to see a change? Sure. But the Fade section didn't have a lot of heart put into it.
Morrigan has a justification though. As a skilled and unrestrained magic user, she too in tune with the Fade to be fooled. What really bugs me is that Morrigan was able to resist so readily but the Mage Warden and Wynne weren't. Both mages specifically had to undergo a trial in the Fade to attain their status as mages and they were both lucid during those experiences. So why not this time?
Morrigan wasn't resisting in any magical way, she wasn't fooled by the way the fake Flemeth was ACTING.
I don't think the Fade is trying to give you what you want exactly, as much as it's trying to present you with a scenario that will make you stay put. Alistair, for example, gets a family that's nice to him, so he's happy and stays where he is. Morrigan, by contrast, has Flemeth trying to convince her (and then intimidate her) into staying in her dream (which fails horribly). As for you, no matter which background you pick, the one constant motivation your character has throughout the game is trying to stop the Blight. By telling you that the Blight is gone forever, it's hoping that without anything left for you to do you will just give up (which also fails horribly).
An excellent point—still, wouldn't it make more sense to give Alistair the Grey Wardens (or ultimately you, if you're romancing him)? The Fade (well, Sloth Demon) doesn't get Morrigan's right, but for everyone else he presents a situation that they stay in, even if it's not particularly happy (Wynne and Zev's, for instance). BioWare wanted to make it so each Origin story gives you motivation for acting/feeling a particular way—but then the Fade goes ahead and assumes you want to be at Weisshaupt? I'm not so much questioning the Sloth Demon for doing this as BioWare, as the OP was. It also seems strange to me you can't question them on what you saw.
The game does often make the point that your character is kinda awesome compared to everyone else. Maybe you're just hard to read, so the Sloth dumped you somewhere he thinks should do it? When you fight him he does say "I'll do better next time." Also the different origins wouldn't all work. Depending on how you played it the Dwarven Commener and the Mage might very well have no regrets about their origins.
Indeed. While the Origins do try to give you a past and some motivations for your character, how you respond to this isn't always the same. Pretty much every Origin gives you the option for your character to hate everyone they know, think of the place they live as a shithole, and have their main motivation as escape from the situation they are in. The Sloth Demon is trying to make you stay put, and doing that by tossing you back into the life that you spent the first forty minutes of the game trying to get out of would be completely counterproductive.
A slight aside on this point - Morrigan knows, for certain, that this is the Fade. She understands this fact, and no amount of cajoling by the illusion is going to make a difference. Why has she not already smoked her illusion and just sat waiting on the nearest treestump waiting for you to show up?
I was under the impression that the Warden has to kill the two guardians for each nightmare, otherwise the portal to (and probably also from) there is inactive.
Additionally, did none of the other characters (Morrigan excluded) look around? Uh, hello? Tiny little island you're standing on, and what's that up in the sky? Is it a bird? Is it a griffin? No, it's the Black fucking City! You're clearly not in Kansas anymore.
On that point, Morrigan isn't the only one to notice they're in the fade. Sten does, as well, for the same reason your own character does; the dream presented to him is impossible, as the people in it are already dead.
I got the feeling that while the illusion was still working the characters were not fully lucid and were unable to see the Fade for what it really was. Kind of like how in a normal dream you tend to accept all the weirdness and not jump to what should be a fairly obvious conclusion that you're dreaming.
The dialogue at the beginning does indeed indicate that there is some mind-controlling magic at work here.
Well, it was a Sloth Demon that made the illusions. It probably just got lazy.
Well, the Warden was suddenly tasked with the nigh-impossible job of uniting Ferelden for a war against an enemy that's theatening to destroy everything living, only for the same to happen again in the future. So it's not unreasonable that everlasting peace would be something s/he would want at that point...
How does Avernus live so long?
If Avernus is a Grey Warden, then how did he avoid the Calling that all Grey Wardens must face someday despite living for centuries? He claims that he used Blood Magic research to extend his life, but that shouldn't have stopped the taint. I could buy it if he was just an ally of the Wardens, but I think it was stated that he was officially a Grey Warden. Did he figure out a way to prevent the taint from getting stronger?
Who says Blood Magic wouldn't stop the taint? I see no reason why it wouldn't.
"Did he figure out a way to prevent the taint from getting stronger?" Yup. That was the whole point of his research into the taint, really.
Actually, he was trying to draw power from the taint. But it could be in the process of learning about the taint, he figured out how to slow its progress or learning to draw power from it saps it of its strength or burns built up taint.
Why did Duncan pick Ser Jory?
What exactly did Duncan see in Ser Jory that made him think Jory would be a good potential Grey Warden? It took about ten seconds of dialogue to see that he wasn't the most courageous or discreet of individuals. Is Duncan just not a good judge of character?
Jory explains there was a tournament held at Redcliffe—Jory won. At least, that's what I recall. It's possible Duncan just send Jory on his way and went to find more recruits.
The game does emphasize that the Grey Wardens of Ferelden were hurting for recruits. Maybe Duncan didn't have a choice?
It's also a point that while Jory would have been absolutely terrible in any sort of command position for the wardens, when it came to putting sword to genlock, he could get the job done. Duncan probably figured he'd make a decent grunt and could grow out of his character flaws in time.
It's also worth pointing out that although Jory, entering the Wilds, was intimidated by the thought of getting ambushed by an army of thousands upon thousands of Darkspawn alone (which is a reasonable response, especially given that they can kill you even if you win the fight, he doesn't really understand what a Grey Warden is, and 4 versus several thousand really is terrible odds), he was actually a fairly brave man outside of that. He fought and won in the tournament that got him there, and when the threat of the Witch of the Wilds was presented, he actually made a joke about it. It was just the supernatural element of the Darkspawn Taint that freaked him out because, as he put it, he's never faced an enemy he couldn't actually fight. The Taint is something that can kill you without ever giving you any chance to fight back, and watching Daveth die to it scared him so much that he lashed out at the only threat he COULD fight, Duncan himself. It wasn't a good choice to make, and it's certainly what killed him, but it wasn't cowardice. If he'd survived his Joining, there's no way of really knowing how good a Warden he could have been.
If Ser Jory were put in the ranks with the rest of the regular soldiers without going through all the Grey Warden ritual stuff, he probably would have done his job as well as the next guy. We see that he isn't afraid to take on darkspawn, after all. But I'm pretty sure most normal people would have a problem with the following ultimatum: "Okay, now you have two choices. You can either drink this poisonous stuff which just killed your comrade-in-arms after he drank it and hope that you survive, or you can get stabbed to death. Your call."
What class is Duncan?
In terms of gameplay mechanics, what type of Warrior is Duncan? He uses a sword and a dagger most of the time, but he also has a personal shield. Does this mean he's mastered Weapon & Shield and Dual Wielding talents? And if his level is that high, he should have been to kill all of the Darkspawn at Ostagar by himself. Yeah, it's probably just Rule of Cool and Gameplay and Story Segregation but still.
Going by "The Calling", Duncan is actually dual-wielding rogue. It's possible he just has a shield for ceremonial purposes. 'Course it has been twenty years or so. He could have re-rolled as a warrior like Loghain did.
We only ever see Duncan use/have the sword and dagger—his armor looks light/medium, so I would say that Duncan rerolled as a dual-wielding warrior, with some Weapon + Shield thrown in...then again, as an Aeducan you wear your shield and sword ceremoniously too. I just suppose that Alistair wouldn't find the shield to be so sentimental if Duncan hadn't used it ever. And you don't need to master talents to equip and use different weapons. Duncan didn't use two swords, after all, so I'll guess he didn't have Master Dual Wielder.
Earlier on in development Rogues had access to the shield and two-handed trees.
The Duncan that you fight in the Fade can use some abilities that are only available to warriors. However, that could be explained as the Sloth Demon only being able to construct an accurate image of Duncan from your memories and not his abilities, since you'd never seen his abilities in much detail, and getting a few details wrong.
He also has a sword and shield with him, instead of a sword and dagger.
Wait, does that mean even the Sloth Demon doesn't know what class Duncan is?
The classes are a gameplay element. As a character with little-to-no integrated gameplay, he doesn't need a class, and can instead act more like a real person might, having spent a lifetime honing his skills. If he suddenly started using magic, this might be a more understandable question, but as it stands...
Duncan is probably just a Warrior that has skills in both. He is getting on in years (Alistair mentions Duncan saying his Calling wasn't far off), so he's had time to pick up skills in both dual-wielding and sword and shield.
Why don't Wardens cultivate the taint-cure flower?
So apparently there's a flower that can cure darkspawn taint. Why the hell do you have to be sent into the woods to find one (ONE) and bring it back? Shouldn't somebody be cultivating these things?
Presumably these extremely rare flowers only grow in the (possibly magical) Kokari Wilds, a place known to be have extremely dangerous wildlife and the supposed home of the infamous Witch of the Wilds Flemeth and her daughters. Nobody in their right minds would risk their lives combing every inch of that place on the off chance they might find a flower or two. The flowers might not even be able to survive in other environments.
They fight off the taint, not cure it, make it easier to survive. I'm assuming the G Ws want people who can fight the taint off through their own constitution, not through a magical plant. Plus, it might only work on dogs.
The whole point of becoming a Grey Warden is to become tainted and MASTER it. You can't sense darkspawn or permanently defeat the archdemon without being tainted. It would be nice to have if a Warden wants to quit or retire but otherwise they need their taint in order to do their job.
No random encounters in Deep Roads
Why are there no Random encounters in the Deep Roads? It actually makes the most sense considering you're fighting Darkspawn in their own home!
The Deep Roads are annoying enough as it is.
Because random encounters would allow for level grinding, which is absent in this game. Note that the "random" encounters in the surface world are all one-time affairs. In the Deep Roads they would all just be interchangeable Darkspawn encounters; dull, repetitive and unrewarding.
From a more story-based standpoint: talk to the dwarves about the Blight and tell them it's urgent. They'll more often than not note that a Blight is a break for them because all the Darkspawn leave and go up to the surface.
Cult of Andraste and the final battle
Why can't I get the dragon cultists to join me in the final battle? I understand the issues it might cause (both gameplay and story related), but fighting the Archdemon with an army of drakes and baby dragons, if not the High Dragon herself, would have been pure awesome. And as part of that, how come the villagers try to attack me if I return to their village? (I know I just massacred a lot of them, but I am also the champion of their god, so that has got to count for something).
Because they don't want to leave their home? Because the High Dragon isn't their pet and it won't leave the mountain, so they stay to protect it? Those are the only reasons I have. As far gameplay...well, it's possible, that, even as their champion, you decimated them. You don't have the option of going to the temple and then just not killing everyone in your path. You wipe out almost all of their Reavers.
The High Dragon wouldn't become an Archdemon because it's not one of the Old Gods. The Old Gods were dragons, but they were something special.
Firstly, you've slaughtered most of the cult members; they're not in a position to offer much aid. Secondly, it's a secret cult; even if they were willing to help march against the darkspawn, that would mean telling the world about their presence. If they did that, you can expect hordes of dragon-slayers suddenly coming out of the woodwork. Thirdly, the Cult of Andraste doesn't actually command the high dragon or its offspring. They have a symbiotic relationship with the creature and serve as its protectors in exchange for drinking its blood. But Kolgrim says Andraste "isn't ready" to go out into the world and they're basically just waiting around for the dragon to start its rampage across Ferelden.
That, and they WANT the Blight to consume Ferelden, so they can rebuild from scratch.
Riordan not saying why more Wardens are needed
So at the Landsmeet, when Riordan suggests having Loghain undergo the Joining, prompting Alistair to throw a hissy fit, why does it not occur to him to mention the bit about how a Grey Warden must die to slay the archdemon? It seems like if Alistair knew that then, he might have gone along with the plan on the grounds that they could have gotten rid of the archdemon and Loghain in one fell swoop, saving his own life and that of the PC in the process.
Riordan assumes that you and Alistair are already aware of that detail. It's pretty obvious the sacrifice is what he's hinting at when he makes the suggestion to induct Loghain, and afterwards, when he finds out you didn't know about it, he apologizes for not telling you sooner. And, to be completely fair to Riordan, you and Alistair are sort of aware of how to kill the Archdemon—Alistair mentions during the joining that the Wardens use the taint inside them to slay the Archdemon, though he doesn't seem to know the specifics of it and you will probably have forgotten about it by the time the Landsmeet comes up. In any case, you are standing in the middle of a large room with a crowd of people watching your every action and listening to your every word. That's hardly the best place to have a quiet conversation about ancient secrets.
More notably, even if you've been thinking about it the entire game, you're not allowed to ask Riordan when you have the chance. He even says "Have you ever wondered why G Ws are needed?" and you can say "Yep."
Why can't Wynne teach Spirit Healing?
It bugs me that Wynne can't teach you the Spirit Healer specialization. Every other party member with a specialization can unlock it for you if their approval is high enough (or in Morrigan's case, low enough due to a possible bug) so why not Wynne? Especially jarring since she used to be a teacher.
Spirit Healing works by binding yourself to a benevolent Fade spirit. Constantly channeling the spirit through the Fade results in demons being far more capable of attacking you. Given Wynne's general belief that magic is not a toy, she's certainly not going to teach another mage how to further endanger him/herself.
Fair enough. Of course, if it's so dangerous, that just makes it more jarring that you can learn it from a book. One that's available at an ordinary shop. I know, I know, it's Gameplay and Story Segregation but still.
Wynne might not actually know how to become a Spirit Healer. In her own words it sort of just happened to her.
Morrigan's reasons for the Dark Ritual
Why does Morrigan WANT to complete the ritual if you completed her personal quest? She has obviously recognized that the entire "mission" was just a pretext so she could gain power that mommy dearest could turn into her own. So why would she go through with the original plan that the crazy old bat had for her, especially annoying considering that he was romancing her deredere side, and she even lampshaded it!
To...save...your...life? You'd die otherwise, unless you plan on sacrificing Alistair/Loghain instead. Regardless, we don't know what everyone's true intentions are yet. We'll probably have to wait till Dragon Age II.
I agree. That Morrigan was trying to save you is the most likely answer. You can see a comic from Bioware that shows a cutscene that did not make it into the game, and it indicates exactly that.
Because in addition to trying to save your bacon and prevent the need for somebody to sacrifice themselves so thoroughly there will be nothing left in the effing AFTERLIFE, Morrigan has always been rather ambitious. Flemeth was just using that ambition to cultivate a body for herself, but with Flemeth dead it is hard to see why she would suddenly stop gathering power. Even at her VERY best, Morrigan is tainted by her overwhelming desire for power, and she is hardly a paragon of honor and upstanding morality. Combine these two motives and stir.
She also mentions that the child would represent "freedom". As a reborn dragon god, the child would represent an alternative to the Chantry that Morrigan really hates.
In addition, Morrigan is aware that Flemeth isn't dead and can come back anytime. Why not take the power that Flemeth was trying to gain through Morrigan's ritual and use it against Flemeth?
If I may propose a darker idea. Maybe Morrigan is the new Flemeth, and she wants the all-powerful child so she can possess it and become a god. Remember that Flemeth wanted the child for some reason as well, and the new Flemeth is surprisingly young. Morrigan also now has all of her mother's rituals in her spell book.
Mmm...that could be true, but Morrigan genuinely cares about a PC she's in love with (or best friends with). When she asks the PC to sleep with her, she'll say that if there were a thousand Wardens she could sleep with, she'd want him to be the father. I think she does want the child to raise—and she wants it to be your son. I can't see her being okay with possessing the child you can have together. I could be wrong, of course.
Just going to throw this out here; it's never actually been confirmed as to why Flemeth wanted the OGB. The assumption is she wants to do her Grand Theft Me trick on him, but that's just an assumption that's never even really proposed in game. One with a fairly big whole in it, too; it's been said that the only thing really unique about the child is that it has an Old God's soul; exactly what effects that will have are never stated, but it's pointed out that anything special about the kid is completely attached to the soul, not the body. Now, we don't know fully how Flemeth's possession trick works, but if it's the "my soul replaces their soul in the meatsack" trick, then the old god baby would just be another hunk of meat for Flemeth to wear.
How did Cailan end up with Anora?
How did an honorable and amiable king like Cailan end up with a jerk like Anora? Was it an arranged marriage like in a lot of royal families, or one of those "opposites attract" kind of things?
The Dragon Age Wiki says that it was an arranged marriage, and they were betrothed when they were children. That being said, if you remain Alistair's mistress when they're engaged and talk to her about it, she notes that while Cailan had his women on the side, she and him did grow closer.
Eamon's character inconsistency in Rt O DLC
Arl Eamon, one of the noblest and all-around good NPCs of the setting, is revealed to have been trying to convince Cailen to dump Anora and sell Fereldan out to Orlais in Return To Ostagar. What. The. Hell.
Those were two seperate letters and given Cailan crumpled Eamon's letter up and Eamon referenced that Cailan wasn't happy with the idea of ditching Anora, even if Anora was right about him being unfaithful. Eamon, ever mindful of the Therin bloodline, was upset Anora didn't have any kids after five years of marriage and thought it would only be less likely the older she got. Additionally, he may have had a problem with Anora being Queen because she wasn't traditional nobility, although since that opinion comes from Loghain, it should be taken with a grain of salt.
I suppose I could understand Eamon pushing for Cailan to dump Anora, since she is a bit of a bitch. What I don't understand is why Eamon, who as said was one of the only characters in the setting that was unambigously good, wants to sell out his own country to another.
Where exactly does it indicate that he was trying to sell out Fereldan? As far as I can tell, there is nothing in his letter that indicates he was aware of what Cailan was planning, all that's there is him advising Cailan to put Anora aside. I might have missed something, but I honestly don't see anything linking him to Orlais.
Well... you can surmise Eamon wants Alistair on the throne to be his puppet, as Alistair makes it clear he hates ruling, wouldn't be good at it, and would listen to whatever Eamon said. BioWare planned ahead with the story, so if we find this to be the case, I'm not surprised—we had hints. And, in any case, Eamon had many good points when it came to setting aside Anora. On a different, titillating note, I imagine fem!Cousland would have been the number one choice for a replacement.
If Bioware reveals in the future that Eamon was manipulating Alistair so that he could rule through him, I wouldn't complain too much, as there are a few things that definitely foreshadow that. For now, however, I'm more inclined to take him at face value. All his actions make sense if he wants to protect the Theirin bloodline, and Alistair admits he would make a poor king, so helping Alistair rule would help Ferelden as well. It's worth noting that if you decide to stick around as Alistair's advisor, then Eamon just leaves it up to you and goes home, which doesn't really make sense if he actually were some kind of power-hungry Manipulative Bastard.
I'm not saying he certainly is a Manipulative Bastard, I'm just saying there's potential there, and he's not necessarily as Lawful Good as you may believe. I will, however, say that Alistair would most certainly listen to you over Eamon, so his staying there to serve as an advisor would be pointless—you likely having more willpower and less likely to be manipulated by Eamon.
Just had a moment of minor Fridge Horror while reading this possible interpretation of Eamon's character. Consider a human noble who becomes Alistair's queen at the end. It's been established that she and Alistair are unlikely to ever have children because of the taint. Even if Eamon isn't really a Manipulative Bastard, and even though he might be very grateful to the Warden, his loyalty to the Theirin bloodline might lead to him pressuring Alistair to set aside the PC for a wife capable of producing an heir, just as he did with Cailan and Anora. I could see this causing a serious conflict between Alistair and Eamon, especially if Alistair is hardened and genuinely in love with the Warden, as he's way more likely to fight to keep the PC than Cailan did to keep Anora. Just thought it was interesting.
How exactly would a marriage alliance constitute selling Ferelden out? I mean, if anything, I think that marrying the Empress would given Ferelden nobles a claim on the Orlesian throne, not the other way around.
The marriage alliance itself is arguable. It's unlikely that Ferelden would gain anything of it. Think of Cailan's character: he's dull-witted, excitable, and does not make good decisions. As much as it's hinted that Anora is the true ruler of Ferelden and manipulates Cailan to govern, so to would the Empress; the difference here being, instead of being a puppet king to Loghain's daughter, Cailan would be a puppet king to the Orlesian Empire.
I just read the documents again. At no point does Arl Eamon recommend that Cailan marry the Empress. All he suggests to Cailan is that he put aside Anora for the sake of siring an heir; he never suggests who to sire that heir with. The other two documents, hinting at Cailan's affair with the Empress, are purely between Cailan and Empress Celene.
Why does almost every NPC in this game have such ugly brown teeth?
Because they live in a medieval fantasy world? They all have bad eating habits? The Maker cursed everyone to have unattractive smiles? A result of poor dental hygiene? Or something?
Real reason: it sort of breaks game immersion with the white teeth, the devs found. The brown teeth aren't distracting, except for when they peel back. Like Bryce Cousland.
Makes me wonder about the people they tested on. The brown teeth constantly distracted the heck out of me, until I modded them to be white. What were they originally, "Your Texture Didn't Load" white?
Even if you side with Bhelen and he promises to try and stall while you go off looking for Branka, when you get back you STILL get the cutscene where he asks what's with the delaying tactics and presses for another vote before anyone notices the PC returns. What part of 'stall' doesn't he get? Is he trying to use reverse psychology to make Harrowmont pull more delaying tactics?
By that point, the PC will have already tipped things in his favour (and he's probably had enough time to bribe a few more people), so he could have felt that delaying the vote for someone who might never return to be too risky. After taking the throne, he implies that he could have won anyway and tells the PC that "you did more than I expected", which makes me think that he wasn't really relying on Branka's vote to begin with.
Actually, Bhelen wants you to find Branka because Harrowmont is also looking for Branka. If Harrowmont finds Branka first and persuades her to support him, then Bhelen is more or less screwed.
It's called political posturing. Bhelen knows Harrowmont is waiting for news of Branka the same as he is, so if he pushes Harrowmont towards making a decision and Harrowmont refuses, Harrowmont looks indecisive, weak, or like he's hiding something.
Demons and spirits in Alienage orphanage
Where did the demons and spirits come from in that orphanage quest in the elven alienage? Demons can't come into this world by theirself. They either are summoned, possess a mage or find a hole in the Veil they can use. Now, as far as I get it, Howe's men slaughtered the orphans. Did they have a maleficar with them or something? Another idea would be that, as we know from the Brecilian Forest, many deaths in the same place tear open the Veil, so the demons would've been able to come out. But come on, there can't have been THAT many people in there. And if that is already enough, wouldn't every battlefield in Thedas be haunted?
The Veil becomes thin in every place there is a lot of death and strife. The Elven Alienage is probably in itself already close, and the bloodbath of the orphanage was just the last drop.
Don't forget that it wasn't just the orphanage. Howe's men purged the entire alienage. Hundreds of elves were murdered, and just as many died to plague too. And certainly the Tevinter slavers weren't helping things either. The atrocity at the orphanage was likely the tipping point.
Also, don't forget the house full of blood mages right behind the alienage. Combine whatever nasty stuff they were summoning with plenty of death and suffering, well, some demons may have slipped the leash.
Ferelden royalty and infidelity
Is it just me, or do all Fereldan heroes and kings have serious issues when it comes to women? Read the tale of Luthias Dwarfson. The story of the Black Fox. The tale of Ser Calenhad. The story of King Maric. Also, there's Cailan and possibly Alistair. To elaborate: Luthias Dwarfson had something going on with two women, which indirectly cost him his life later on. The Black Fox was betrayed by his lover and imprisoned, although she regretted it and they got away. King Calenhad eventually had to abandon the throne because he also had something with two women. King Maric had not two but three women in his lifetime, one of which he ended up killing. His son Cailan apparently had an affair with the Empress of Orlais despite being married to Anora. And Alistair, under certain conditions, can be married and have the female Warden as a misstress. Now, what about that all? A case of All Men Are Perverts? Or maybe it's just that weird situation coming up in fiction from time to time where a hero always has several chicks around him that are in love with him, without actually trying to have them fall in love with him? (Do we have a trope for that?)...
It could simply be realism. At least in the modern era, arranged marriages have been common in royal houses, prompting kings and queens alike to find love on the side. I don't know much about the older generations, but Alistair, Cailan and Maric seems to fit that bill pretty well.
I agree. It's not that uncommon for royals—and I'll mention that we don't know what's up with Cailan. As for the tales...well, that happens a lot in real life folk tales, epics, ballads, etc, as well. Odysseus was terribly unfaithful to his wife Penelope. Guinevere and Lancelot. Various fairy tales have men with horrid wives that they kill to be with the girl.
There's also the fact that Maric's "third woman" Fiona (Alistair's mother) was after his wife's death. You can't really cheat if you're a widower. His relationship with Katriel was before his marriage to Rowan. Yes, there was an arranged marriage between Maric and Rowan, but until it was official, he could do whatever the hell he wanted with whomever he wanted ("to sow [his] royal oats", in the words of James Earl Jones). So, basically, he never had a relationship with more than one woman at a time (unless he had mistresses while he was king). It was Katriel, then Rowan, then Fiona. Actually, Katriel's dream spirit snuck in there in-between Rowan and Fiona, but that doesn't count. A person can't be help responsible for his dreams.
Did anyone else think that the templar in Anders' personal quest is really zealous/stupid. I know they respresent the Chantry and all that, but the way she ignored the the authority of the monarch AND the grey warden is really a break from what was established from the first game. Duncan had conscripted Alistair over the Chantry objection but we don't see the revered mother secrectly planning to kidnap Alistair, not to mention that Duncan also conscripted mage PC over the objection of Gregoir, and there weren't any templar attempts to recapture the mage PC. It seems to me the her action would have provoked the monarchy and the Wardens for nothing. That aside, did she really expect to defeat the hero that slayed the archdemon AND cleared the mage tower full of demons, abomination, blood mages AND charmed TEMPLARS?!
She thinks Anders killed the Templars that were escorting him back to the tower. That's why she is so intent on making him pay. But yeah, she was being rather irrational about the whole thing. I get the feeling that years of intense religous training plus using a mind altering substance regularly leaves most templars with a poor grasp of reality outside of the Chantry and its rules.
Also, this is Anders' what, ninth or tenth escape attempt? I think that Templar, who by Anders' own admission had been hunting him down for years, just pretty much snapped when the idea that he could actually escape and no one would be able to touch him. It's Personal came into play and that allowed her to disregard little things like the fact that they'd be staring at the wrong end of [[BFS Vigilance.]]
It was his seventh.
Technically, the Chantry is its own entity that has its own laws and follows its own rules. In a way, they are exactly like the Grey Wardens - a force that operates on their own without the oversight of any ruler beyond the Divine. As Alistair notes when you speak to him abotu his recruitment, there was a danger that when Duncan recruited Alistair, that the Revered Mother would have them arrested. In Gregoir's case, the mage PC's recruitment was A) being endorsed by Irving and B) during a time of Blight, when Grey Warden authority is much stronger. Those two elements, put together with the authority of the Wardens - who, it should be noted, have the right to conscript anyone - was enough to convince Gregoir to relent. Int he Templar's case with Anders, it was quite clear that the Templar in question was either deluded into thinking Chantry authority superceded Warden authority, or was simply trying to make an end-run around the law once she got Anders out of sight of the ruler of Ferelden. The fact that the entire sequence pretty much broke down into an exchange of "Warden authority overrides yours." "No, Chantry authority overrides Wardens! Attack!" its pretty clear that she was either deluded or simply evading the law in pursuit of a fugitive.
Unrealistic abilities in Awakening
The new abilities introduced in Awakening kind of bug me. Nothing wrong with the mages,but the warriors and rouges got it bad. For warriors, there's sweeping strike and massacre. Have you ever tried to create Razor Wind in real life with a blade? As far as I recall, Dragon Age was a pretty realistic game...also, since when can you kill people with just a roar? Then there's the rogue ability Flicker, which appears to be teleporting behind/running behind at such high speed that they become invisible, enemies in a certain area to backstab them all. Wait, what? Of course, a case could be made that this is a result of the taint, kind of granting more experienced wardens such as the PC and most of the party semi-magical powers, but it's never even mentioned that this would happen and that explanation kinda stretches it...
As far as I recall, Dragon Age was a pretty realistic game Uh. What. Aside from the obvious stuff, i.e. magic, more than half of the abilities shown in-game are impossible. Exploding arrows, shattering arrows, two-weapon sweep, whirlwind, a dog that can stun entire rooms by howling at the top of its lungs, and the fact that a rogue with enough points in stealth can simply disappear into thin air? None of that is realistic at all.
Reavers and Templars. There's even an option to question Alistair about it when he explains how templar talents work. "Doesn't that mean templars use magic as well?"
I don't have any justification for the arrow-thingies, but archers are worthless anyway. But the difference being that those moves have a justification. It might not be very practical, but I doubt spinning around on your own axis with two weapons in RL is impossible. The dog's howl is discribed as striking fear in the hearts of his enemies, also they were created by a mage, so their howl could very well be magical. I always saw the rogue turning invisible merely as a metaphor for sneaking around, hiding in the shadows and stuff, they just wanted to spare us having to do all that stuff along with fighting, this is not the stealth genre. What I was referring to with realistic is about the Suspension of Disbelief. I can live with magic without wondering, since it has been added to the world. But the problem is that warriors and rogues have not been mentioned or portrayed in any way as having magical abilities. They're just normal humans with weapons and a few tricks in mind. That now can shoot deadly blows of wind ouf of their blades for no reason. See my point?
I don't have any justification for the arrow-thingies, but archers are worthless anyway. Someone never played a warrior or rogue focused on archery. An archer Warden built correctly can be a beast.
Where do you live where turning invisible —a first level Rogue skill— is considered a "trick"? Not to mention the divine anti-magic tricks of Warrior's Templar specialization, or knocking down small crowds by yelling, like the Champion specialization...
I doubt spinning around on your own axis with two weapons in RL is impossible. Impossible? Not at all. Any fool can slap two swords in their hands and pirouette. Try doing that and actually doing damage to something though, especially if that something is a crowd of hostile and armed enemies looking to end your life. The least you could do is count how many revolutions you make compared to stab wounds suffered when you ineffectually twirl like a ninny in combat.
Warden not talking despite VO
Why bother selecting a voice at the character creation screan when the PC doesn't talk, EVER.
What? Yes they do talk. Not in conversation, but in battle, as well as when responding to commands. For instance, a "Cocky" voice will say "Are you daft?" when you ask it to do something it cannot.
Seriously. You hear the Warden talking all the time in combat, to the point that I am honestly flabbergasted that OP is even asking that question.
I think the OP means that when you select a dialogue response, the character doesn't actually say anything, despite having a voice. When the character the PC is conversing with responds, it kind of breaks the immersion. That's why some people just skip through all the actual dialogue and read it later.
It might be something to do with the large amount of memory and resources it would take to fully script out, record, and animate almost a dozen different voiced dialogues (five or six for each gender) lasting throughout the entire game. It would seem like a relatively minor chore, though, to take that last extra step when they've already come so far. Especially when Leliana's dialogues in the Leliana's Song DLC are fully voiced and insanely awesome.
Actually, the races have different voice actors for each race too, so it's actually closer to 5 or 6 for each gender of each race, making it closer to 30 different voices. 30 copies of EVERY line the Warden EVER says. Disregarding the memory space that would take, that's a LOT of money for Bioware to throw at something like that; most of the voice actors for the warden are actors they're already paying for other roles.
Which would explain why Bioware chose the route of having only two voice actors for both male and female Hawke in Dragon Age II.
More likely Flemeth just made Morrigan sleep on the floor. She isn't exactly a "caring" parent.
Or it could be...that. Yet another reason why Morrigan hates her mother.
It gets better! When Morrigan and Flemeth are hosting Alistair and your PC during your recovery after Ostagar, that means FOUR people in the house and only one bed! And you, the PC, are clearly seen to be occupying the entire bed when you wake up. I only hope there was enough floor-space for everyone else.
In Medieval times it was common for the entire family to sleep in the same bed next to the fire.
Maybe Morrigan slept in the woods in animal form. Maybe Flemeth did so too.
Flemeth's hut has more than one floor, although you can only access one of them.
The lore book explains, quite in length, in fact, how, against the common myth, Sloth demons are not actually slothful, Pride demons are not actually proud, etc. So why is the Sloth demon in the mage protagonist's Harrowing so damn lazy?
Well, not all codex entries are absolutely right. Maybe being slothful/prideful etc. is not what being a demon of that kind is all about, but saying that they aren't at all like the thing they're named after is just wrong. All pride demons you meet, for example, show at least quite an (un)healthy ego.
The codex entry also states that some Sloth demons actually are lazy. Note that in-game, we only encounter two Sloth Demons; one is lazy, and the other is very active.
Actually, the Codex says the sloth demons may encourage the belief that they are lazy. In fact, I suspect the reason that the sloth demon from the Mage origin acts so lazy is because it knows that Mouse is the Pride Demon and is assisting his plans. The riddle challenge is just a front; it's assisting Mouse to become a bear because then he can help you. And if he can help you, then maybe he can win your trust, and if that snares you, then perhaps Mouse will owe Sloth a favor...
Case in point, "Do you truly wish to anger me? I may be slothful, but I can be roused."
The Architect and Utha's appearances differ
Why do the Architect and Utha look completely different from their descriptions in The Calling? The Architect was supposed to look like any Hurlock Emissary in a filthy robe, while by the end of the book Utha was completely bald with skin like Darkspawn, and crimson eyes. In Awakening the Architect looks more like a fleshy Arcane Horror, and Utha seems to be in the earliest stages of the Tainting. And what's even worse is that everybody keeps calling the Architect a Darkspawn Emissary, even though nothing in his appearance indicates any direct connection to the Darkspawn, and no-one comments his oddly human-like appearance in any way. It's like the script was written first, and only then the character designers were allowed into the process.
My guess is that it's a result of the Architect experimenting on himself and Utha. He is capable of changing how a person looks with his magic, which is how Utha ended up looking like a darkspawn. Considering that that magic was the result of his "turn everybody into darkspawn by using the taint" plan, and now his plan seems to be "turn darkspawn into intelligent creatures using Grey Warden blood", I think it would make sense for the immunity to make them regain a bit of their "original" appearance. After all, The Mother looks more human-ish than the other Broodmothers, and I'm pretty sure that's a result of the Architect freeing her.
It would stil be nice if this was alluded in the game itself, and people would acknowledge that the Architect doesn't exactly look like a Darkspawn Emissary.
In the Mother's case, I thought it was because she was a human before becoming a Broodmother, unlike the one you fight in the original game that used to be a Dwarf. Her strongest servants are Hurlocks after all.
The Mother does not give birth to Hurlocks but the Children. She's clearly a unique case.
By unique I assume you mean "terrifying".
Why does she birth those...mutant coackroach with a fucked up human face anyway?
I think it's safe to say pre-experimenting the Mother gave birth to normal Hurlocks, post-experimenting her baby making capabilities were altered as well. You said it yourself, the Children do have vaguely human faces.
The Architect's face looks like putty, my guess is he realised he was frightening and tried to make himself more humanlike to gain people's trust. It... sort of worked (he obviously screwed up the eyes though).
In Dragon Age 2, the darkspawn have been remodeled considerable and the Architect actually does look quite a bit like a redesigned emissary. As production on Dragon Age 2 was already well underway when they were working on Awakening, it's possible they wanted the Architect's model to reflect this, rather than the (to them) outdated in game hurlock model.
Where are the Warden mage robes?
Ridiculously minor issue, but It Just Bugs Me! that Grey Wardens don't have cool unique robes for mages. Warriors get badass armor sets and shields, like the "Warden's Keep" Warden Commander Plate and Awakening's Armor of the Sentinel.
Sadly, light armor doesn't get quite as cool armor, either.
Seriously. Heck, the medium armor isn't that impressive either, though it at least doesn't look dorky. Compare chainmail or splintmail to Heavy Chainmail like the badass Armor of Diligence. Or heavy plate, like the badass Legion of the Dead Armor. Or the badass Blood Dragon Armor. Clearly way more effort was put into designing heavy and massive armor in this game.
Half the mage armor is just a recolored version of the normal Circle robes (even when it doesn't make sense, like Avernus' robes) What's left has a bizzare tribal feel and follows Absolute Cleavage wayyy too closely. For both genders. Morrigan seems to be the only mage capable of wearing something thats both interesting, eyepleasing and useful (the upgraded form of her normal robes from her sidequest), and she is wearing a goddamn scarf draped over her boobs as a top. And leave us not get into the hats. On second thought, let's...
In universe you could argue that magical weapons and armor are easier to make than truly mystical items, for various reasons and therefore are likely much more rare, and perhaps even impossible to find. On a meta level, giving warrior types awesome gear has always been one trick game makers use in dealing with the Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards problem. Mages get to see umpteen types of unique magic erupt from their being. As a tradeoff, warriors get cooler stuff.
When I imported my mage to Awakening, they started off wearing some (somewhat unique) Grey Warden Robes, which were identical to the Robes of the Orlesian Magister that a newly created Orlesian Mage Warden has at the start of the game. My character quickly changed gear and got rid of those, however. (Arcane Warriors prefer Sentinel Armor!)
Ugly mage headgear
Mage headgear. It looks completely ridiculous.
True that. The only way I could explain that is that it would have some kind of traditional meaning or something. Or that Bioware just wanted to avert the hooded-wizard-thing for once.
It is quite obviously of mystic design, shaped to channel the energy of the mind. That, or being seperated from regular society for hundreds of years has resulted in mages having a completely messed up sense of fashion.
The closest thing to sensible or cool are the cowls. And because they don't attach to the robes, they look more like someone is wearing a fancy handkerchief. And they're not as useful as the other, stupid-looking hats.
Can Varel initiate the Joining?
Does Varel actually have the authority to do the Joining? Besides being the player's Number Two he's not a Warden himself.
The game codex tells that he was initiated into some of the Wardens' secrets despite of not having gone through the Joining as a matter of convenience. The Grey Wardens' rules are flexible enough to allow it.
Party members activity during the climax in Awakening
In Awakening you're given the option to save a local city from the darkspawn thereby losing your fort, or let the city burn and rush back to save your fort. However, the party members that you didn't take along to the city are still waiting for you back at said fort. Why don't they get off their collective butts and DO something? I know that in most RPGs, NPCs can't wipe themselves without the PC going through a sidequest to find them some toilet paper, but sheesh, show some initiative!
According to the epilogue, they do.
Don't forget that if you had the walls fixed, the fort will hold despite of your absence, even though a lot more people will die.
Can people not read the fucking ending to see that your party actually did "get off their collective butts" and did something? I mean, seriously, how do you miss the freaking epilogue that explicitly lays out what your party did?''
And also, according to the main media page, you can save both.
Genlocks are spawned from Broodmothers who were once Dwarves. Dwarves can't cast magic. How come there are Genlock Emissaries (mages)?!
Because they're not dwarves? They're darkspawn. I get the impression that there's a slight change to the genetics involved here.
Long answer short, because the Darkspawn magic comes from the Taint, and the Taint is common to all the Darkspawn, regardless of their mother's origin.
Actually its stated that Dwarves are resistant to magic, not completely immune to its effects, as even lyrium, raw magic can affect them with repeated exposure. As the Joining utilises a magically prepared mixture of lyrium and Darkspawn blood, clearly the Taint overpowers their natural resistance to magic to allow them to become Wardens, and presumably does so for Broodmothers to cause some Genlocks to be able to use magic. This also is a possible explanation for why the Dwarf Warden can enter the Fade.
Shale...with a cracked skull? Huh?
Shale with an open wound, broken leg... with any injury period. oh...yeah and Shale getting healed using injury kits, which are bandages and stuff, and drinking health poultices.
Morrigan's behavior towards male Wardens
If Morrigan is trying to get pregnant for her own ends, why does she act like such a raging bitch to a male protagonist and Alistair? Also why can't a female gray warden do the same trick? Even if you and Alistair are going at it like bunnies on Viagra and Speed.
Because to work, it requires some secret ritual involving Blood Magic that Flemeth cooked up. There's no way a female Grey Warden would know how to do the ritual, so there is no way to pull off the same trick.
Besides that, it's Morrigan who wants the kid—she doesn't want you to have it. I think Morrigan telling you you cannot use Flemeth's Grimoire if you're a mage is at least, in part, her trying to prevent you from gaining this knowledge.
As demonstrated if Alistair and Loghain perform the Dark Ritual, its clearly not because they are in love with Morrigan, that factors nowhere into it. She's banking on the male Grey Warden simply doing what must be done to defeat the Archdemon.
Also she's at least more appreciative of the Male Warden than Alistair. She actually demonstrates patience and even compliments for the player character on occasion, although presumably because she believes that the Male Warden will be easier to seduce than Alistair, who downright infuriates her.
This is also an area she struggles with. She has no social skills whatsoever, is used to being blunt and considering her only real relationship is with Flemeth before the game, she's clearly gleeful to pick on the normal mortal travelers in her group who don't always utterly overwhelm her wit knowledge and power the way Flemeth does. Her only interactions with others before this was in engaging in trickery and evasion so it continues. And as mentioned, she's probably banking on at least one of the Grey Wardens wanting a get out of jail free card with the archdemon and/or simply want a chance to sleep with the lovely Morrigan.
Morrigan always leaving
Romancing Morrigan is an utter waste of time anyway, no matter what you do the outcome of her running off at the ends will always be the same, whether you do her creepy sex ritual or not (which she will still do with you even if you're not in love). But if you do, it's total bullshit how Morrigan says she loves you, yet at the same time that she's going to take your baby and run. Sorry, but that doesn't sound very loving to me. But WHY exactly MUST she get preggo with the stupid demon-God baby that she was after all along, and then run away forever? There's no reason, absolutely no reason at all why she CAN NEVER SEE YOU AGAIN and MUST RUN OFF even though "SHE LOVES YOU". It doesn't make any sense. Which is why Bioware either screwed the writing up badly or Morrigan is a coldhearted, lying bizzatch.
You do realize that this is a franchise and that the developers have stated that this is not the last time we'll be hearing from Morrigan, right? Also, I doubt that she's a "coldhearted, lying bizzatch" (at least when it comes to the Warden) since she seems to be saddened at the thought of leaving if the two of you are in a relationship.
And if you complete her romance, she begs you to break up with her, saying you'll regret it if you don't. And, well, I'm supposing you didn't and you regret it. I don't think you should be blaming Morrigan exactly—let's wait until a sequel.
Well the Witch Hunt DLC didn't satisfy me much. I mean, Flemeth is gone. Nothing and nobody is forcing her to leave, she CHOOSES to leave and it doesn't make sense. Also some people said she didn't really want to do Flemeth's creepy sex ritual. If that's so then... why is she still doing it even though Flemeth has no control over her anymore? And why does she still want to run off with the kid? And after the hell-fetus has served its purpose, why doesn't she go to a doctor and get it terminated? No sense I tell, it's senseless. You don't pull crap like that on someone you love.
Because the alternative is the 50/50 chance of her love sacrificing himself in the worst way imaginable. Sure, Alistair or Loghain could be the sacrificial lamb, and Morrigan wouldn't care, but there's too great a chance of you dying instead. And not just dying like a normal person but getting your soul destroyed. That's a pretty big act of love. However, if you're not doing the romance with her, then it makes less sense.
Also, if you play Dragon Age II you will discover that Flemeth is most assuredly NOT gone. Again, just like Morrigan said.
Morrigan's infant will be born with the soul of an Old God. You know, those big deities that formed the basis of Tevinter's rule and draw the darkspawn? If she stayed, she and the child would, at best, end up in the center of a holy war. At worst, she'd start up the next Blight about 200 years early once the darkspawn sensed the kid. Morrigan's got hopes for the baby and the preservation of at least one Old God's soul. She may not know exactly what she should do now, but that's no reason to eliminate a purified version of one of Tevinter's deities when so little is known about them. There's also the fact that the world was getting close to war thanks to the events of Kirkwall in the second game which would be happening at about this time. That's the kind of thing an apostate with a kid viewed as a demon would want to get away from for a while.
Corporeal magic on incoporeal ghosts
You're able to freeze ghosts. And kill them. And they can kill you.
I think they're called "spirits"—and they may be partially corporeal, who knows?
All spirits ARE partly corporeal in this game when they manifest in the physical world. Because they're manifesting in the physical world.
Warden inheritence issues with Alistair's coronation
If being a Grey Warden disqualifies you from inheriting any kind of title, how come Alistair's coronation is allowed without a hitch? Immense desperation aside. One would think someone would bring this up.
I'm fairly certain that the "no inheriting a title" thing is just a Grey Warden policy, instead of an actual law. People outside the Grey Wardens don't really have any reason to try and stop it from happening. The Grey Wardens want their members to be ready to die at any moment, so they try to limit ties to the outside world. So desperation was the reason it was allowed on the Grey Warden end, and the nobility didn't really mind.
The above is a good explanation, but I think it has more to do with the Grey Warden's policy of strict neutrality in politics. The Wardens have much bigger fish to fry, and need the freedom to draw on various allies in the case of a Blight. Getting involved in politics can seriously jeopardize their mission, as in the sad case of Sophia Dryden in the Warden's Keep DLC. In Alistair's case, one could make a very good argument that his taking over as King did as much to halt the Blight as anything else, since he was able to rally the troops so to speak. Not to mention the PC's meddling in Orzammar—in both cases, the nations' turmoil was hampering their ability to help fight the Blight, so the Wardens had no choice but to get involved.
I can also bet that some Wardens are secretly excited about the fact that they have one of their members on the throne and another one ruling one of the richest arlings in Ferelden.
Templar's Nightmare "Pride" Demon
The journal describes the Demon lieutenant at the end of the Templar's Nightmare as a Pride Demon. It is clearly a Desire Demon.
Yeah, I don't know. It acts like a Desire Demon, has the same voice...it even turns into a mouse-sized-and-shaped thing with purple...horns or something.
Being able to touch raw lyrium
The codex states that even approaching unprocessed lyrium is "invariably fatal" to mages. Yet none of the mage party members (or a mage Warden for that matter) experience any trouble in Kal'Hirol or the Dead Trenches where raw lyrium is literally leaking out of cracks in the floor and walls (Hell, Anders walks right up to a big bucket full of the stuff and goes "Ooh, lyrium"). Explain.
In Awakening, you can even have mages create their own runes, a skill only dwarves and tranquil could safely manage. Bioware's just lazy with their own lore.
The ability in Awakening is merely creating the shape of the rune, etching it onto a blank tab. The actual application still has to be done by a mage
No one has a problem with a Warden king?
Loghain accuses the Grey Wardens of trying to overthrow Ferelden's royalty. How come nobody notices the problem then with trying to put a Grey Warden on the throne?
The Grey Warden being put on the throne IS royalty. The person currently holding the throne has no royal blood, and only got the throne because the former king died. Adding to that, whether or not the nobles support you depends entirely on how good a job you do of eroding Loghains support. If you convince the Landsmeet to support you, it means they have lost faith in Loghain, and, as a result, no longer believe his accusations against the Wardens.
He's a bastard son of Maric nobody's heard of. The only evidence you have of his lineage is that Arl Eamon is willing to vouch for him.
The only person who ever questions Alistair's parentage in the Landsmeet is Loghain (who, by the way, is lying through his teeth when he insists Alistair couldn't be Maric's son). The entire Landsmeet basically boils down to whether or not you get the nobles on your side. If you do, they take your word over Loghain's. If you don't, they don't. It's that simple.
And that's what bugs me. If, right after the Grey Wardens have allegedly gotten the king killed, they come out with their own Grey Warden candidate for the kingship, it doesn't take Loghain to call it really suspicious.
The Grey Wardens are bloody legendary heroes. Even in Ferelden. From the perspective of most of Ferelden, the Wardens are above suspicion in most respects, especially considering their sole purpose is to fight the Darkspawn. As shown throughout the game, the Wardens are treated as heroes, or at least, the authorities look the other way when you show up because you're held in such extremely high regard.
The person who claimed the Wardens were responsible for the kings death was Loghain, who then immediately declares himself Regent. And when the nobility question him on his retreat in Ostagar, he pretty much tells them to shut up and fall in line, which starts the civil war. So they always suspicious of him as well. And again, they only decide to side with the Warden if the Warden convinces them to. Specifically:
Arl Wulff has lost his land and his sons to the Blight. Because Loghain goes on and on about Orlias being the real enemies, passing a persuade check when telling Loghain "The Blight is the threat here, not Orlais" wins his vote.
Bann Alfstanna's brother was attacked by Loghain's men and then imprisoned in Howe's dungeon. If you find out what happened to him and bring her his ring as proof, she will side with you over Loghain.
Bann Sighard's son was imprisoned and tortured by Howe. If you free him, his father will side with you.
Bann Vaughan will support you if you release him from Howe's dungeons, although he doesn't actually show.
Completing all quests for the Crows wins you a vote. One of the noble's sons were kidnapped by Loghain's men, and at the end of the quest line you kill the kidnapper.
Arl Bryland will always side with you, and Bann Ceorlic will always side with Loghain.
Pretty much all of these quests consist of proving to the nobles that Loghain is a treacherous bastard while the Warden is trustworthy. Revealing all his crimes at the Landsmeet reveals him as a liar, a criminal, and a despot. The church and the nobility will openly denounce him for what he has done. They stop believing everything he says about Orlesian plots because he loses all credibility. They also decide to side with the Warden to stop the Blight and remove Loghain from power. Whether or not they believe Alistair is really Maric's son isn't brought up, and, most likely, it isn't all that important to them.
The legitimacy of Alistair's claim to the throne isn't all that important?
Not at that moment. No one really says it, but it is obvious that the Landsmeet isn't actually about who has the rightful claim to the throne. Under different circumstances it probably would be, and the nobles would spend time determining whether or not Alistair is actually Maric's son, but that is something they don't have time for during the game. Remember that the nobles have an Apocalypse breathing down down their necks, and every other country has decided that Fereldan is on its own to face the Blight. There are two armies that have been gathered to face the Darkspawn, and they need to be united under one banner if they are going to have any hope of victory. So the entire Landsmeet basically boils down to proving who is superior, the Wardens or Loghain. The person who will do the better job of leading the fight against the darkspawn will be put in charge of all of Ferelden's forces, and that is the issue the nobility votes on, not who will take the throne. Even if the nobility does believe that Alistair is a fake and the Grey Wardens are taking control of Fereldan, they simply accept him becoming king as the price of Grey Wardens saving Fereldan.
Hogwash. Pure hogwash. If that was the case you could have just elected Eamon into power. The entire reason why you can endorse Alistair to become king is because he is supposed to have a legitimate claim to the throne.
Eamon forgoes his claim on the throne in favour of endorsing Alistair. Eamon wants someone of the Theirin bloodline to be king, so he pushes Alistair into that position. Alistair does have the best claim on the throne, and you use that claim as an excuse to challenge Loghains authority, but whether or not he actually ends up as king depends entirely on whether you decide to give the crown to him (or, for female nobles, him and yourself) or Anora (or, for male nobles, to yourself and Anora). The nobles will abide by your decision either way, which wouldn't happen if they actually cared about Alistair being the rightful heir.
If legitimacy is irrelevant, then the Landsmeet wouldn't accept Alistair as Alistair possesses no qualifications aside from his bloodline. More likely, all the possible candidates have strong claims to the throne and you, for whatever reason, are left to arbitrate it.
Legitimacy isn't irrelevant, just not the deciding factor.
Alternate explanation for Eamon's forgoing his claim on the throne is that Eamon wants Fereldan to be united under one strong ruler even after the Blight. If Eamon steps up to the power during the Blight and wins, it's possible that his power will be challenged by other nobles later on. At worst, the rebellion may erupt with someone's falsely claiming that he is the son of Maric (which does happen in one ending). Considering the devastating effects of the Blight and possible invasion from the Orlesian empire in the future, this is not a good thing. Thus, by presenting Alistair as the legitimate heir to the throne and having him rally the troops to end the Blight, everyone in Fereldan will acknowledge Alistair as their king. The previous King Maric liberated Fereldan from the Orlesian empire; what better way to persuade nobles that someone they didn't know is Maric's heir and deserves to be their king than to have that person save them from even greater threat? This way, the political stability in Fereldan is secured after the Blight.
Ferelden would never be free without Loghain leading La Résistance in victory at a critical battle, while Maric was busy settling a personal score. Maric was merely a symbol.
No one in all of this seems to have brought up what Anora explicitly invokes in-game: Alistair has far more than a passing resemblance to Cailan and Maric (as we know from other media). It's not at all hard to believe that the similarity was so overwhelming that no neutral observer could honestly question their relationship, not to mention Maric's own brothers-in-law endorsing the story; therefore, his parentage was not really in question at the Landsmeet, merely the questions that were, well, dealt with.
Map and placement discrepancies in Awakening
Awakening: How can the Forlorn Cove and Anselm's Reef be simultaneously within sight of each other and miles apart on the map?
Seriously though, it's probably just a screw up. The two places go together, but no told that to the person who made the map.
Justice is undead, Wynne is alive
Justice inhabits a dead body and it's undead. A Fade spirit inhabits Wynne's dead body, and it's back to life.
From Wynne's story, she was only really dead for a few seconds and her soul hadn't yet gone to the Fade, whereas Kristoff had been dead long enough that he had begun to decay.
The Fade spirit in Wynne's body is also supporting her life force, effectively keeping her vital functions working. It also did so willingly, and Wynne's soul is still contained in her body. Justice was forced into Kristoff's body, and is simply animating it, as opposed to actually keeping its vital functions working. The Codex also makes it clear that a body can be restored to full functionality, with soul intact, if it is revived quickly after death. If its been dead for a while, like Kristoff's, the soul is gone. So, Wynne and Justice experience vastly different circumstances.
Note also that Wynne is, well, Wynne. Justice is Justice, not Kristoff, and experiences confusion whenever he remembers something from Kristoff's life.
The Warden is not politically neutral
The backstory makes a huge point of how Grey Wardens are meant to be politically neutral. Why is it then that you have to go around blatantly picking sides in Orzammar and Ferelden? I mean in Orzammar you should be able to say "Your politics are not my affair; I'll just go find Branka" and in Ferelden you should be able to just mass up your army and just call out the Landsmeet that you don't give two licks for who is ruling the Ferelden as long as you get to stop the blight, and that you'll do it with or without the aid of Ferelden's king.
If Loghain had ascended the throne, the Warden would have been without Ferelden's armies and the armies of the nobles loyal to him. And the Warden needs someone on the throne in Orzammar in order to get the Dwarven armies and s/he needs those troops as soon as possible, thus it was necessary to intervene.
Loghain has to fight off the blight anyway, and the bannorn can still support your efforts to defeat the blight while Loghain is supported as king. The idea that he would make an enemy out of you, the public, and possibly your army when you're not even contesting his rule and would help secure Ferelden...
He is totally willing to do that. Loghain is an incredibly paranoid bastard, and for the longest time he believes that the Grey Wardens and Orlais are the real enemies, not the Darkspawn. Going to the Landmeet results in him forcing a showdown between the two of you, and if you just ignored him and took your army off to fight the darkspawn, he would probably attack you from behind. It isn't logical, but it's how Loghain thinks, and it means you have to deal with him before you can deal with the Blight.
Assuming none of the bannorn would support you in your quest to defeat the blight. And all the same, it should be an option for you to stay out of politics and stick to trying to beat down the darkspawn, even if you're screwing yourself over in the process.
Why? Letting the player commit suicide for no reason seems entirely pointless to me.
There's a perfectly good reason: the Grey Wardens are staunch neutralists, and it isn't necessarily suicide. You also get the option to fight without golems and ditch all the mages in your party, which also hoses you. It's strange that as a Grey Warden you don't have the option to make good on the Grey Wardens' stance on politics.
Actually, if you attempt to be neutral—like saying to Bhelen or Harrowmont that you don't want to pick sides—you basically get a "well, too bad, no armies for you then". You must be politically involved, or everything stays at a stalemate. Eamon explains why you need to make Loghain capitulate, and you basically have no choice. Also, I recall a post on the DA forums by David Gaider implying that Duncan, with his neutrality-inclined stanced, would have been unable to save Ferelden.
No you don't. You can just rescue Branka and have her settle it.
Branka isn't interested in politics at all. And you have no reason to look for her if you aren't working for one of candidates. And you are taking the neutrality of the Grey Wardens a little too far. The Grey Wardens job is to defeat the Darkspawn at any cost, not stay out of politics. Duncan remained neutral because it was the best way for him to get aid from everybody and defeat the Blight. You get involved with politics because it's the best way for you to get aid from everybody and defeat the Blight.
You do have reason to look for her. Branka can resolve the deadlock and elect a king neither of you care about so you can get your army to fight off the blight. You can sidestep the politics this way because you yourself won't be picking sides (except for choosing between Branka and Caradin).
Branka does not care about politics. Even when you do find her and help her get the Anvil, she never bothers to pick anyone and just tells you to give her support to anyone you want. Even if you went to look for her first, you would still have to pick a side. Except now that you have no prior arrangement with one of the candidates to make them king in return for an army, it's entirely possible that they would just forget about the whole treaty thing and keep their troops at home to defend themselves.
You also have no way of finding her without the maps drawn up by Harromont's or Bhelen's staff. The only way you'll get to Branka to break the stalemate is by cooperating with one candidate.
Also, it's safe to say that the whole wardens=politicaly neutral and can't own a title is pretty much tossed through the windows by the time of Awakening. It's a major point that the Commander is pretty much the Arl of this lands. Furtheremore, it's outrigth stated that this anti politic attitude was a result of the whole Sophia Dryden/Soldier's Peak mess.
Awakening does throw it out the window, and that's a whole other mess. But as for Soldier's Peak being where neutrality got started, no. In fact, half of Sophia's problems when she was trying cause an uprising with the Wardens is that Wardens were leaving because she broke that critical tenet of neutrality. It's also the reason why she was consigned to become a Warden, as it meant renouncing all claims to the throne. Even Sophia was unwilling to cause an uprising until the bannorn pressed her. It's just that the history adds extra tension to the presence of the Wardens in Ferelden.
Sophia's rebellion didn't take place during the Blight. Grey Wardens were ignoring their primal duty, which is to fight the Darkspawn, to start an uprising. You put Alistair on the throne specifically to give country the leader they needed to stop the Blight. It's completly different situation. Grey Wardens excuses everything as long as it's done in the name of stopping the Blight. Blood magic, demons, buring villages to the ground, it's all justified. If Loghain turned around to stab Calain in the back and then still supported the Wardens you would side with Loghain, because he would be the one who can help you defeat the Blight.
Characters in Awakening note that the whole thing is one big experiment to see if Wardens can have political power. It's such a big deal that the upper brass of the Wardens sents Lady Woosley to observe you.
Another point is that the very headquarters of the Wardens, Weisshaupt Fortress in the Anderfels, is apparently directly involved with local politics, so really, this is nothing new. It's impossible to be apolitical.
If Alistair stays with the Wardens and you import that save into Dragon Age II, Alistair mentions these events, and implies that Weisshaupt "did not like" the non-neutrality.
Why can't Dwarf Noble be king of Orzammar?
While you're busy deciding who is king in Orzammar, why can't you run your own Dwarf Noble into the kingship? Get the letter from King Endrin, a recommendation from a paragon, and (s)he's a shoo-in.
The Dwarf noble is exiled, and no longer legally considered a dwarf.
The letter contests the exile, and a Paragon's support by itself would be enough. Not to mention, you can get your own dwarf declared Paragon, yet somehow are unworthy to be a king?
The Assembly exiled you, not the king. Bhelen has at least enough influence to block you from being pardoned during the election, so trying that route is useless. And you become a Paragon for the things you accomlish after the king is decided. You could almost certainly get yourself the throne the next time it came up for grabs, but not during the game.
The Assembly exiled you because the king didn't rise to your defencs and seemed to believe you murdered Trian. The letter can make the Assembly reconsider your exile, and a Paragon throwing their support behind you should seal the deal, letter or no letter.
The Assembly exiled you because Bhelen made a bunch of under the table deals with enough of them to get it done. And Bhelen and a bunch of his supporters don't care what a Paragon thinks and will always try to take power for themselves. If you actually had the king or a Paragon there backing you up, then you might be able to overturn his support, but as it is a letter and your word isn't enough to convince everyone that you should be king/queen.
But you can easily have a Paragon there backing you up. If you can perform last minute back-stabs and get the Paragon to endorse the other party, why can't you have the Paragon endorse you?
Both of the candidates for king are extremely important men. One is a prince, and the other is a very high ranking nobleman. They are both rich, powerful, and have entire Houses behind them. They have also bribed or persauded just about every person in the Assembly to support them, resulting in split down the middle and a deadlock on who should be king. And then there is you, a sufacer and an exile, with no supporters, no fortune, no power, and no House. All you have going for you is that you say a Paragon wanted you to be ruler. That is never going to work. Things are close enough that a Paragon's word can break the tie, but everyone isn't going to just ignore common sense and make you ruler because a Paragon said they should.
If you are a Dwarf Noble, then a Paragon's word is enough to wash away all the dishonor and legitimate your claim to the throne. Bribe or no bribe, a Paragon's word carries such power that the Assembly wouldn't go against "the will of the ancestors." And it stands to reason you could have Harrowmont's support.
A Paragon isn't a god. They are very respected, sure, but that's it. Nobles will simply ignore them if what they are saying inconveniences their plans, and some people are willing to kill them if they get in their way, like Bhelen or the king during Caradin's time. A Paragons vote can be used as a tie breaker, but it isn't the instant "I win" card you seem to think it is.
"To become a Paragon is to be recognized as, essentially, a living ancestor. Your words are considered ineffable, and the dwarves liken you unto a god." -Codex: The Paragons
A Paragon is not actually a god. They are considered to be like gods, by some people, but other people do not care. Bhelen asks you to kill Branka if she will not support his bid for the throne. Telling him that she picked you instead and expecting him and his supporters to back down is a really dumb idea.
You weren't paying near enough attention to dwarven culture if you didn't realize how much they venerate the Paragons—yes, there are men like Bhelen who have a more secular view on them, but even he makes sure he stays reverent (telling you that if Branka doesn't want to help, obviously it's his duty to protect her, and he must obey her wishes and help her stay at the Anvil). Everyone else is completely willing to take your word, and a crown with a seal, to mean the Paragon backs you up. The game doesn't allow you to choose yourself basically because Orzammar needs a king right then and you have to deal with the Blight.
But you can still put Alistair (or Alistair and yourself as a female Human Noble) on the throne?
The dwarves of Orzammar don't seem to practice regency—not from what I've seen. You can leave Arl Eamon or Anora to handle political details while you handle the Blight. Orzammar is in a terrible state, and needs a king.
But you could do the same in Orzammar. Leave Harrowmont to handle the political details while you handle the Blight.
The character has been written out of the Memories and is no longer part of the royal family.
Also, read above where it says that Nobles inducted into the Grey Wardens abdicate all claims. The same likely applies for dwarves as well.
I highly doubt that. Alistair doesn't have a problem becoming King, the HN doesn't have any problems becoming consort as long as they force their spouse's hand at the Landsmeet, the Warden becomes Arl/Arlessa, and when the DN retuns to Orzammar Vartag makes a few remarks about how he isn't sure that you're willing to give up your claim to the throne by helping Bhelen take it when since Harrowmont is old you could have your chance afterwards. If Harrowmont is King the DN definitely gets to be the head of House Aeducan which is a title and being a Paragon is another title. There is a chance that they could succeed Harrowmont but we don't know if it will work out or if they will die/need to deal with Dragon Age II's plot. The giving up titles thing is only explicitly stated happens for mages and it seems like for Grey Wardens it is just a practical policy because if you're going to become a Warden then you don't really have time to play at being Arl or whatever.
You're the Warden. It's pretty clear in-game that you don't have to give two shits about what the brass say; you're the chief Warden of Ferelden and commander of the precisely two Wardens in the kingdom. And in-game, if you plopped the crown on your head and said "I am the King of Orzammar by the decree of the Paragon Branka," among others, Lord Harrowmont would back you to the hilt (remember, he will die to support Bhelen's throne). Especially if you were a Dwarf Noble, but even if you were a casteless commoner. You'd have to beat Bhelen's circus into obedience, but that's fine. Personally, I think BioWare just didn't think of it.
Remember also the Dwarves Strict Case System. Even if the Paragon's blessing could remove the exile from the Dwarf Noble they still have no influence in the Dwarf Noble's caste. In going up to the surface, the Dwarven Noble becomes a Surface Dwarf and loses their caste. They are no longer entitled to the throne, as they are effectively Casteless, and not even a Paragon's backing can grant them their Caste back.
Why can't I be King of Orzammar? I hate both candidates.
Because the other Dwarves hate you more than they hate them.
And they each have a House to back them up, while you don't. (Remember, both dwarves are offically considered casteless at this point, even the Aeducan.)
If you were the Dwarf Noble PC, you were stripped of your rank, honor, place in the family, etc. and expected to run off and die. If you were the Dwarf Commoner PC, you were a casteless to begin with. Neither has any claim to the throne that the nobles would accept, since either way you are considered lower than dirt.
No Chasind facepaint
The codex tells you that the Chasind paint their faces, yet in-game Chasind do not have painted faces.
You meet...what? Three? Four Chasind? Possibly fleeing refugees in fear of their lives don't bother with face paint.
That's a good point.
Where did the Chasind go during the Blight?
What the heck happened to all the Chasind during the blight? Their fate is barely mentioned aside from the occasional refugee.
They were probably all either killed or run off by the Darkspawn. You don't have much contact with them, so it's not really that relevant to the story.
Sure, a possible Fereldan refugee crisis is not your affair and not that relevant. But it still bugs me.
But they're not Fereldans. They exist within the country the same way Zoras exist in Hyrule. They don't bother Ferelden, Ferelden doesn't bother them. You have no reason to care about the Chasind, who either escaped or died. There's nothing you can do about them, and frankly, most of them must have died if Alistair was willing to grant all of the Korcari Wilds to the elves.
The crisis is Fereldan; the refugees are obviously Chasind. And Alistair doesn't give the Korcari Wilds to the Dalish. He gives the Hinterlands, which are north of the Wilds. My point here is that if the Korcari Wilds are boned, then the Chasind would flee north in droves into Fereldan, causing a refugee crisis.
All of the refugees you come across don't seem to be doing a very good job of fleeing. I think it's implied with Lothering that most people running from the Darkspawn can't escape in time and get killed.
In short, ran away, got killed, eaten or worse...
Alistair the Prick
Okay, first off, I have never played a Female Warden, so this comes from reliable sources (My Dwarf Commoner playing Mother and Human Noble playing Father), not first hand experience. Apparently, while Alistair is a Bro if you're a dude, and a nice lover if you Romance him, he turns into a "Nice Guy" if you try to avoid romancing him. Simply put, it's a bitch to be nice to him but avoid romancing him, he can get whiny and needy. Annoyingly so. He'll keep pushing the issue, and shutting him down without making him lose that preciously earned approval (and thus, Constitution bonuses) is nearly impossible. I personally chalk this up to the annoying ambiguous way the approval/romance system is intertwined. The same problem pops up elsewhere (such as with Zevran or Leliana) where you try to, you know, not be a dick to them, and they immediately start coming onto you. And they are equally as hard to let down gently. Thank god for gifts
My mother points to Alistair in general as clear evidence that the romance plots were written by men.
If "written by men" means that a guy attracted to a woman who's friendly to him can't be let down gently—then...yeah. In Real Life, most guys hate that "let him down gently" crap. The feelings you hurt with a flat "No" are nothing compared to the pain and awkwardness that usually comes from trying to nice about it.
If you are interested in a girl or guy, it only makes sense that they will like you less after you make it clear you're not interested. Don't think of it as they dislike you more, they simply like you less. If you're having trouble telling him "no", I don't know why. I've done it plenty with minimal repercussions. It's just realistic to expect him to take some approval damage. It makes them more people and less your animated puppets. I'm not sure what you want—a long, drawn out conversation about how it would never work out or something? Even then, why would he continue to like you just as much? It's the difference between a friend he's interested in but doesn't like him or a friend he has a crush on. You're bound to hold the latter in higher regard. I think this is more a design choice than anything. Also, how does this make him a prick?
I don't quite understand the "romance plot written by men" comment. Is there something distinguishing romances written by women and men?
Male troper here: yes, there is a distinguishing difference between romances written by men. Or, well, a certain kind of man, if that makes sense? I started playing video games fairly late in life, so when I played Dragon Age and Mass Effect I noticed a huge amount of romantic plotlines always focused on aggressive flirting, sexual commentary, constant innuendo, and men wanting to protect women. And when you played a female PC, the romance was always structured like this one perfect true love scenario right out of a dimestore romance novel. These are all features I find rarely in romances written by women (exception being aforementioned dimestore romance novels), or non-video game romances written by men. Like, I'm a shy guy and I wanted to play my characters as shy as myself, but it was impossible to do without constantly hitting on their romantic interests really aggressively in a way I found uncomfortable. So, yes, I'd say there is a certain type of way to write a romance that, while not always written by men, is usually associated with a certain type of male-focused genre.
I didn't think Zevran was "hard to let down gently". He starts coming onto you the moment you meet him regardless of how nice you are, but as long as you're upfront about your intentions with him, he takes it pretty well. The only time I had trouble/felt like he or the writers were trying to make me feel bad about is if you're a dick about why you don't want to sleep with him anymore (like if you tell him that you regret having slept with him).
I think it can be pressumed that Alistair has a crush on female Warden. You are one a few woman he spends most of his time with (when Morrigan is acting bitchy towards him, Wynne is old and Leliana may not even be around if you don't recruit her). You are last Grey Wardens, who Alistair's seen as his adopted family and he naturally gravitates towards you looking for understanding and to share his burden. It goes double if you are nice to him. It's only natural he ties to act on his feelings and gets upset if he is turned down. There is similar situation with Anders in Dragon Age II, who seems to get jealous if you romance anyone else. You even get rivalry points if you don't flirt with him at one point.
I play exclusively as female Wardens and he never ever sounded whiny and needy during playthroughs in which I didn't romance him, even though I always max out his approval and exhaust almost all his conversation options. I say "almost all", because I obviously won't tell him that he is handsome when I don't want to romance him. I think the possibility of romancing him comes up a few other times—during his personal quest for example—but honestly, the game is hardly subtle about which answer initiates a romance (hint: the nicest one) and as such they are easy to avoid, even without being a dick about it. The result is that romance only comes up one time in your conversations with him and that is when you've romanced Leliana/Zevran and he asks about it during the "gossip" conversations. And if you say you and Leliana/Zevran are indeed a thing, he simply wishes you well, not a hint of jealousy or disappointment in his voice. He may turn into a "nice guy" if you romance him and then try to back out, but it's certainly not impossible to have a friendly yet professional relationship with him as a female Warden. Far from it, in fact.
Messing up Gaelic names
If your going to use Celtic/Gaelic games at least learn how they're pronounced and better still if you do say them whatever way you feel like at least be consistant. Arl Eamon's name is said wrong so many times, "Ee-Am-On" instead of "Ay-Mun". Except one character, Loghain, when he addresses Eamon at the landsmeet. Then there's Niall in the mages tower being constantly called "Nee-Al" instead of "Ny-Al". I know it's probably nothing to most people but my name actually is Eamon and i even have friends called Niall and having to sit through someone messing up everyday names (at least to me), is very annoying]].
It probably is annoying, but there is no actual Gaelic language in Thedas—they are therefore free to mispronounce as they like. There may be an equivalent, but not Gaelic itself. Besides that, names are degraded into new forms all the time. Practically no names are pronounced as they were originally conceived. Eamon itself is a form of Éamonn, which is a form of Edmund. Finally, if those aren't good enough reasons, Thedas is equivalent to England, not Ireland or Scotland or any Gaelic-speaking country. They may be mispronouncing the names because they don't know any better. It looks like "EE-muhn", so they say it like that. It is, after all, missing its fada. There are no visual cues it should be said differently.
Perhaps it is a regional pronouncation difference. I've known people named Eamon who pronounce it the way you do and the way it is pronounced in-game. As for Niall, it isn't that common a name around here so the one person I know actually uses 'Nee-Al' although his aunt who is from further south in Ireland than we are does say 'Ny-All'.
To add on to the first troper's comment, Gaelic doesn't exist in Thedas. Therefore there are no rules to how a name should be pronounced, no matter where the inspiration for the name come from. It may be annoying to you that this game has characters whose names you deem to be mispronounced, but really there isn't much to complain about. Think about how there are at least three different ways to pronounce Andrea. (AN-dria, ON-dria, on-DRAY-a.) Just because you pronounce it one way in the real world doesn't mean that a game, in whose world the language that gave birth to your name never existed, has to do the same. My name is Ty, pronounced like "tie," but I'm not going to complain just because I find a character in some media named Ty who pronounces it "tee."
Supposedly, the only way to deal with an abomination is to kill it. If there is any way to "cure" them, nobody knows how; Wynne laments this fact in one of her conversations. Then you come across Connor, and then suddenly it's "Oh, no big, you just have to go into the Fade and kill the demon." What?
Irving says that that only works because Connor gave himself to the demon willingly. If he was taken by force (like most abominations are, as most mages aren't dumb enough to willingly give a demon control of their body) he would have needed to have been killed.
I can think of several possible reasons for such a distinction: 1) a willing abomination likely has less damage done to their body and mind than one taken by force (those bloated, mouthless "normal" abominations probably can't biologically function without demon magic). 2) The ritual will only work if the subject's mind is "open" to another mage (demons probably know enough to block any intrusion to thier own minds). 3) The abomination has to sit still long enough for the ritual to be cast. 4) There's simply not enough left of the mortal's soul to save after a demon gains full dominance (note how Conner was still able to surface when his demon rested while the others never did).
The whole reason demons often possess corpses or trees is because they have no will and are thus easy to inhabit. It's strongly implied that anyone forcibly taken over by a demon is simply dead forever; in the Scrolls of Banastor, a how-to guide to blood magic, it states that anyone possesed will soon have their mind swallowed up by thei demon.
Wait a minute. How come demons can possess trees and corpses to begin with? Wasn't it stated somewhere that they can only possess mages?
No. They can possess non-mages, and the Codex talks about spirits that grow desperate for a body and look to inhabit a vessel. If a tree happens to be nearby, so be it.
In places where the Veil between the waking world and the Fade is thin, spirits and demons can slip through and possess just about anything: trees, animals, even people. However, corpses and simple organisms are favoured because they have no wills for the demon to conquer. But because the Veil can only be weakened through exceptional circumstances — typically, a lot of bloodshed and violence concentrated in one area — the only other way demons can enter the mortal realm is by being summoned or by possessing a mage. Because of their connection to the Fade, mages can be possessed at any time by demons; that is the purpose of the Harrowing, to weed out those mages who will not be strong enough to resist demonic possession. Additionally, mages who are taken over by demons become unique creatures called abominations, who have both physical power and the ability to use magic. As such, mages make for particularly inviting targets.
A Son for Morrigan
I wasn't the only one who was very surprised that Morrigan has a son (even if you didn't do the dark ritual but did sleep with her at some point), all of us over on the game board thought she'd have a girl. How come she had a boy when all of Flemeth's kids were always daughters?... also I'm bothered by the fact that we still didn't get so see the baby. That was disappointing. Where in Ferelden could she be hiding him? I certainly hope she didn't stick him in a tree hollow somewhere for squirrels to raise...
It's conceivable that Flemeth steals children, rather than raises them; it's also possible she abandons sons. If neither of those, then Flemeth may know special magic to ensure a daughter, rather than a son. And her child is beyond the mirror, which is why you don't see him.
Incidentally, the child (at least the one conceived of the Dark Ritual) was supposed to be born with the Archdemon's soul, and the Archdemon is supposed to be the male Old God of beauty. So that could, theoretically, have something to do with it. That said, a lot of people expected Morrigan to have a daughter too.
It could also be a subtle sign of Morrigan's rebellion against her mother by having a son instead of a daughter, a sign that a cycle is being broken.
In humans, it is the male's . . . ahem, contribution . . . that determines the sex of the child. So aside from the fact that Flemeth is very likely not Morrigan's biological mother, it would make absolutely no difference anyway.
As much as I enjoy this game, there is something a little confusing. In a computer game made by adults for adults, why is that when your player character and his/her love interest make love for the first time, they keep their underwear on? It's not exactly Victoria's Secret.
Mass Effect 2 was able to get around it through clever camera placement. Dragon Age blatantly shows that your characters are still wearing their underwear, which automatically reduces every sex scene to a farce.
The sex scenes in Dragon Age (as well as in Mass Effect 1 or 2) could basically be just foreplay, thus explaining the possibility of the characters being in underwear. The actual sex act is hidden for obvious reasons.
The Therin Bloodline
Alistair is deperate to avoid being put on the throne. (Even if hardened, he doesn't want it - he just also wants Anora to not get it and knows he must take it himself to prevent it.) Arl Eamon's reason (beyond 'we would seem oppurtunists!') as to why it is so important for the Alistair to take the throne is soley for this 'bloodline', with the words "We did not fight the Orlesians all those years ago just to lose our royal line in one generation." You'd expect Alistair - who is clearly aware of the infertility (he may even assume sterility), of Grey Wardens - to point out that for all intents and purposes the buck would stop with him anyway, and thus Eamon's reasoning is flawed and he shouldn't take the throne. ESPECIALLY keeping in mind his mother's lack of 'noble' blood, AND if he is not hardened at WANTS Anora to be queen. He's STANDING RIGHT THERE, in the same room as Eamon and your warden, warming his hands on the books (y'know, since the resued the camp idle animations). And he can obviously hear what's being said when you suggest hitching him up with Anora, or bring up his scullery-maid ancestory. What's stopping him...?
Because he also believes Anora might be barren as well. Five years of marriage has produced nothing.
I agree with you. It's not like Oblivion where the royal line is actually magically tied to keeping the land safe from devil monsters. The "Therin" line is obviously useless and they are no different from anyone else and everyone's obsession with it is idiotic. It takes more than diluted DNA to make a good leader.
Or at least that's the Hollywood History version. In reality, bloodlines played second fiddle to politics. Take the Glorious Revolution, for example, when King James II was deposed in favour of William of Orange, because the former was a Protestant and the latter was a Catholic. There are countless other examples in history where the rightful heir was forced aside in favour of a candidate more popular with the nobility. Medieval courtiers were not simple-minded idiots.
It honestly depended on the country and the era. As pointed out, Anora had no better claim to the throne than Alistair. The Theirins created Ferelden, and saved it from Orlesian rule. A lot of the Landsmeet banns and arls are veterans of that war, and aren't so keen on seeing the bloodline throne out after they fought so hard to save it. Besides that, Anora is a commoner's daughter, who was raised to royalty. The older nobility don't like that.
You're correct, it does take more. That's Anora's whole shtick—that she's a good ruler despite not being a Theirin. But bloodlines are a powerful thing in a hereditary monarchy. The Theirins are the bloodline that created Ferelden, starting with King Calenhad. It's Alistair's father, Maric, who freed Ferelden. The only thing that qualifies Alistair is his bloodline.
Said "bloodlines" were really just cults of obsessive compulsive schizos who banged their own uncles, aunts, sisters, brothers, cousins, parents, etc just to keep their descendants as insane as themselves (which sure explains how half the entire European nobility ended up with hemophilia). Heredity is pointless and does not make someone a good ruler, people were just too foolish to see that. (Just look through a list of every such ruler in history. Notice how nine tenths of them were failures and disasters at the job.)
And? That was the system. Its the same system Ferelden works under. Whinging about it doesn't change the fact that its still a medieval society that places extreme value on bloodline. It's not a good system but its the one they operate under.
You appear to be forgetting that you are the one depending on the "bloodline" argument above all. Ferelden already has a queen, but your character is trying to depose her at the Landsmeet. Alistair's heredity is the only claim you have to overthrow the current ruler like this.
According to The Calling prequel book (which is canon), Alistair's real mother is an elven Gren Warden named Fiona (half-elven hybrids are always purebloods of the other race). The scullery maid was his step-mother. Yes, the novel does not make it clear that anyone other than Maric, Fiona, and Duncan knew the truth, it is quite possible that Eamon did. Granted, in this case, being the son of an Orlesian elven mage would probably work against Alistair on every level (given that most Ferelden humans hate all three). Still, being royalty has to count a lot, especially since the rebels spent so much effort in protecting the royal bloodline during the Orlesian occupation. Anora, on the other hand, is the daughter of a man who was not born of noble blood and became a teyrn by merit alone.
Alistair is not sterile. Grey Wardens can have children, but the chances of that are extremely low even with a non-tainted partner. Two Grey Wardens trying to have kids would have infinitesmal chances of succeeding.
Where is all this "You are forced to argue the validity of bloodline" stuff coming from? First of all, it's true that the Theirin bloodline does NOT make Allistair a good king, Eamon is the only person who insists it does because he's a traditionalist. It gives him a "claim to the throne" that he can argue before the Landsmeet, which is important not because it makes him a great king, but because it gives you an excuse to kick Anora, and by extension Loghain, out of the king's throne. It's a cheap rationalization that can be used to depower the greatest threat to your goal. And when push comes to shove, you DON'T have to actually back Eamon's play; if you think Anora has a better claim to queen, you can back Anora as queen. At no point are you required to actually believe that Allistair's blood would make him a good king.
'Return to Ostagar' BLC confirms a rumour from the original game, references a questline that got cut due to time constraints - Anora's (perceived) infertility, and Cailan's 'duty' as King to find a wife that could produce an heir. AND YET: If you are romancing Alistair, yet try to set him up with Anora, whilst still showing you care for him (it's FOR PEACE etc) she will remark upon her previous husband Cailan 'having his women'. He never outright told her of this, but she knew. (She laments the possibility her second husband will ALSO be constantly looking at another woman.) I don't know much about medieval times, and I suppose one could always go by A Wizard Did it - literally - but I get the impression there wasn't much in the way of contraceptives in those times. (Added by Human Female Nobles choosing the line "It won't be for lack of trying!" re: an heir, and getting the response "good thing we started when we did" in return.) So...none of Cailan's 2+ mistresses produced heirs either...? I'm starting to think the Anora wasn't the one with the sterilty.
Cailan is the royal child, not Anora. It's easier to pin the blame on the Queen for not having children, since they can't depose Cailan. It's quite possible that Cailan was sterile. But there were, actually, medieval contraceptives. Usually made of animal intestines, but then, so are sausages.
See Shakespeare's Julius Caesar for an example of this, where Caesar blames his wife Calpurnia for infertility and has her undergo a humiliating ritual in order for the gods to "cure" her. For any male ruler, being seen as sterile would be an insult to his manhood at the very least.
Point of the Wardens
Why must we cut short and utterly destroy ruin our entire life to contract some demon disease? Where is the POINT in this if normal people are perfectly capable of fighting darkspawn? (seeing as there's LOTS of people who fight lots of darkspawn in the game, yet save for you and that one guy, not a single one of them is a Grey Warden. Yet they are all unaffected by this "taint").
Well, it's said that the Taint lets them detect Darkspawn, if I'm not mistaken.
Well that's what the game claims, yet the ability doesn't appear to exist. We still get jumped almost constantly by darkspawn who are using Stealth...
Gameplay and Story Segregation—it's still a canon ability that they have. Regardless, that's not the main point of the Wardens. They are there to slay the Archdemon.
The game explains this at the end—you will find a senior Grey Warden who was kept captive, and he will explain to you that the real reason Grey Wardens are necessary is because the taint makes it possible to truly slay the Archdemon. If the Archdemon is killed by anyone else, it will possess the nearest darkspawn and rise again. Because of the taint, the Grey Wardens are, essentially, becoming darkspawn. By being the one to slay it, the Archdemon's soul attempts to possess the Grey Warden, but I guess it's like matter/anti-matter, because the two souls collide and destroy each other, thus killing the Archdemon and the Grey Warden.
Then when the times comes to kill the dragon, why can't we just take a swig of the darkspawn blood stuff right before we need to kill it?
For a number of reasons. It's not just darkspawn blood, the stuff they drink at the Joining also contains lyrium and a drop of Archdemon blood. Given the strange properties of lyrium, that seems like the sort of thing that needs to be consumed quickly. Even if that's not the case, anything containing it could be lost or destroyed on the battlefield. Barring even that, people tend to pass out after drinking it, giving the "big unoriginal magical dragon" time to summon its minions to kill the Warden while they're unconscious. Furthermore, it behooves the Wardens to have as many people on the battlefield who can kill the Archdemon at a moment's notice as possible in case the guy chosen to do it gets killed before he can strike the final blow. This seems to be Riordan's main motivation for wanting to put Loghain through the Joining (he probably just didn't count on Alistair jumping ship if that happens). The Taint also forces Wardens to stay in line; even if they leave, either the darkspawn will find them or they'll find the darkspawn, giving them incentive to stay with the Wardens rather than desert. Finally, it's very heavily implied that the Taint improves the Wardens' prowess in battle and anything that does that is a big bonus to an order that fights monsters.
Aside from the ability to kill the Archdemon, the lore makes it clear that simply being near Darkspawn can be hazardous to your health. Anybody spending too much time in darkspawn-infested areas runs the risk of contracting the taint and either dying painfully or turning into a mindless ghoul. Grey Wardens, being already tainted, can run into the deepest depths of the horde without being affected. This ability, alongside the implied darkspawn sense, allows the Wardens to get close enough to an Archdemon to kill it and end the Blight as well as defend against darkspawn in peacetime. The order exists because it produces people capable of dealing with any potential threat the darkspawn can provide. Outside of them, nobody except two remaining dwarven cities is at all prepared to handle such a thing and even they have no way to end a Blight.
I'll also note that the Joining is potentially fatal, so if your plan is to "take a swig of the darkspawn blood stuff" before fighting the Archdemon, you could end up reaching the dragon and then dying on the spot without even touching it.
But many dwarves spend their lives fighting Spawn, and yet they appear to be none the worse for wear.
The Dwarves are dying out. Being tainted makes one go crazy and die, so they probably just kick infected people out into the Deep Roads rather than keep them around Orzammar. Sure, the warriors we see are fine, but that's because they're the survivors. The fact that the Dwarves are losing against the Darkspawn means that in reality, way more people are dying than are coming back.
But all of those "perfectly healthy" nobles and soldiers who help you defend Denerim are still perfectly fine afterwards, too.
The ones that came back are fine, not so much the guys who didn't. I dare you to pick out 20 indivdual soldiers who lived through that mess without any symptoms. Anyway, the point of the Wardens isn't merely to fight darkspawn (though they are prepared to handle any 'spawn-realted menance), it's to end Blights. Without a Warden taking the final blow, the Archdemon will never stay dead and the darkspawn will keep pushing until every single one is wiped out (which the broodmothers make impossible).
But then why not just form a lineup of people who have a chance of surviving, and make them each drink the stuff in succession and send the first one who survives to stick the claymore in the thing's head?
When? Where? During the battle, when they need people to fight through hordes of darkspawn to even reach the Archdemon? Duncan recruits the best for the Joining and two die. And, of course, they don't have unlimited Archdemon blood, which they need for the Joining. They have to be conservative.
So you're proposing that they wait until the Blight reaches the point where it becomes obvious to everyone (when tens of thousands of darkspawn are on the march), somehow pinpoint who would or would not survive the Joining, then pin all their hopes on these random people (who have likely never seen a darkspawn, let alone been trained to fight them) and just pray that they make it through everything unscathed to kill the most powerful creature in the world? That is quite possibly the stupidest excuse for a "strategy" that I've ever heard. The only reason your Warden gets close is because they had a year to prepare and had one more experienced Warden cripple the dragon into sitting still. That was a miracle in and of itself. Your plan is pure idiocy.
And it also is not the Grey Wardens plan. As was stated many, many times, only a handful of Wardens were even in Ferelden and all of them were wiped out at Ostagar. Furthermore, they had called in more Wardens from Orlais to help them, said Wardens being trained and experienced and perfectly capable of holding their own on the battlefield, but Loghain wouldn't let them cross the border. If the Wardens had been allowed to operate unfettered there probably would have been hundreds in that last battle, only one of which being necessary to make the killing blow.
Lord Aeducan's Son
So why do we never find out what happens to the Dwarf Noble PC's son? What is eventually supposed to happen with him? We never hear anything more about him after the "Of Noble Birth" quest (which itself was disappointingly small quest, and was extremely bugged no less so you'd always fail it regardless). Which quite sucks because in my opinion They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot.
...I don't fail that quest. I've never failed it. I do know that's a bug, but I've never heard it to be a permanent one. In any case, the epilogue cards only tell you what happens so far into the future. Assuming dwarves mature at about the same rate as humans do, perhaps they decided that twenty years into the future to tell you who or what your son will become was too much? He also might do nothing of important, so there'd be a slide saying "And as for the Hero's son, he grew up to become a miner, married, and had three young children." Not important enough to warrant a slide.
Well you're lucky, cause it's totally screwed in my PC version and I always fail after doing everything I was supposed to do. And not a single "workaround" has ever worked for me. And I haven't been able to locate any fixes for it in the modding community... damn Obvious Beta.
Human Noble Taking The Throne
Why wasn't a Lord or Lady Cousland an option to take the throne of Ferelden at the Landsmeet? I mean, let's look at it this way: your claim to the throne, as the last scion of the oldest and highest noble family in Ferelden, is far stronger than either Alistair's (bastard) or Anora's (daughter of a commoner teyrn), you have the support of the Landsmeet, and the Grey Wardens are flatly in no position to tell you that you can't do whatever the hell you want. You can already get a consort position with Alistair or Anora without the slightest complaint (and strong approval) from the Landsmeet, so why isn't it an option to cut out the middleman?
Because your claim to the throne is weaker than the claim of the current Queen of Ferelden, and weaker than the claim of the only remaining child of the previous King. Where the hell did you get the idea that being a Noble somehow sets you above Royalty? That isn't how it works at all.
Alistair is a descendant of Calenhad's line, while Anora is the current queen. The Cousland family is an old one and very powerful in Ferelden, but your father still wasn't the king.
To look strictly at primogeniture. Alistair: First off, he's a bastard (the rules for which are muddy at best; by default, they don't inherit anything), second, he's not even a known bastard unless you bring him up. Anora, meanwhile? Actually, she's not the "current" Queen, she's a dowager queen with no sons, and queens don't inherit; thus, nobody holds the Theirin claim (the game doesn't have a detailed genealogy). Now, this aside (and irrelevant; elective monarchy FTW), Alistair can be pushed aside and be the happier for it (either not brought up, or by having him skip the throne), and you and the Landsmeet would have every grounds to have Anora shoved aside even if she did have a claim (the term for this is "attainder"). So I don't see how either Alistair or Anora is a strong enough obstacle to keep a Cousland with control of the Landsmeet off the throne, especially when the Landsmeet will accept an Alistair who's nothing more than an obvious puppet for that Cousland.
Because you aren't doing this simply to take the throne, but to gain the support to fight the Blight. Right now the nobles are a step away from all-out war when they already have a well-liked queen. Your Warden, respected as he or she may be, is no more special than any of the nobles there. Alistair and Anora, however, are the children of the country's two greatest heroes and are both one form of royalty. Through status or bloodline, they are the only candidates with enough sway to get the panicking nobles to unite. A Cousland, while not good enough to take the throne themselves, can basically be the deciding factor by marrying one of them. Your Cousland presenting him/herself without any more support (Howe made quite certain that a human noble was on his or her own after the attack) is just another voice added to the shouting. Not enough to get everyone behind you soon enough to end the Blight.
Agreed. Anora isn't just the old Queen, she's the old popular Queen whom the nobles were well aware actually ruled their country. Alistair has a less stronger standing—after all, it's more difficult to put him on the throne than Anora. But he is still the son of the family that created and has always ruled Ferelden. In a hereditary monarchy, bloodlines are everything.
Legitimate bloodlines, yeah. Alistair, except for the backing of the Warden (Cousland or no) and Arl Eamon, is a kitchenmaid's get; nobody at the Landsmeet had a clue who the guy was until Eamon dragged him out from the carpet. Logically, Alistair's candidacy is a joke by the "we need to kick the nobles together," since Anora is the "default candidate" who everyone will accept (and if it weren't for Loghain screwing things up and Anora making a complete bitch of herself, it wouldn't even be a question). Hell, if we want to be honest, the "default candidate" is Loghain, despite a 0% Approval Rating; if the Warden doesn't throw the dirt out against him, the Landsmeet will stand with Loghain regardless. So if some bastard who nobody's ever heard of and a commoner who rose to the nobility by badassery (even if said commoner is the father of the Queen) are strong enough to get Ferelden to stand together, then I'd personally bet on (with the support of Eamon and the negotiated support of the rest of the Landsmeet) the de jure Teyrn of Highever being able to take the throne.
People like and trust Eamon—perhaps he had some sort of special credentials from Maric to prove who Alistair was. Maybe Alistair has the Theirin mole, or something. Regardless, they do accept him. If Anora was the perfect ruler for the throne, Alistair wouldn't be an option. But the Cousland Warden trying to grab power would probably make her/him seem like an upstart who only wants power. S/he has no real claim to the throne other than being a high-ranking noble. If she can claim the throne, why shouldn't the others try? They're nobility, too. Maybe from a commoner's perspective the Cousland's make the most sense, but to a nobleman's, the Cousland's don't have a better claim than they do.
There's also the fact that the Cousland warden had every single resource they could claim either stolen or destroyed by Howe's men. Killing Howe did not undo his damage or change the fact that the Warden has noting beyond the clothes and weapons currently on them. Eamon, a respected noble possessing all that stuff that the Cousland does not, voluntarily refuse to try any throne grabbing specifically because he didn't want to give the other nobles any ideas about power grabs so close to the final battle. Your Cousland has nothing to offer aside from bloodline and Alistair has you beaten in that respect. Supporting Anora or Alistair makes your Warden seem more motivated by desire to protect Ferelden while demanding that they make you ruler just seems like a particularly insistent power grab. You'd be no different than Loghain in the eyes of the Bannorn if you did so.
Every single resource aside from those you've grabbed in game, you mean (including Eamon's army and the votes of the Landsmeet). Admittedly, I'm mostly kvetching about Gameplay and Story Segregation here. In-game, you can challenge Loghain without bringing up the Alistair issue at the Landsmeet, even if Anora turns against you and backs Loghain. In short, you've just overthrown Loghain with your own resources, counting the nobles who you've brought under your control or otherwise convinced, and Anora was caught out backing a convicted traitor. Also, I'm stating that Alistair isn't a rival claim to yours, because nobody knows about him unless you bring him up, and he's not going to try for the throne without someone sockpuppeting him. So I'd argue that Anora can be trashed, and if not Anora and not Alistair, then Cousland is next in line.
Having abstained from this discussion until now, let me add something: you're thinking about this as John Q Public would, which is far removed from how nobility thinks of these things. The general goal of the Landsmeet is to unite Ferelden against the Blight. Therefore, your options are based upon what is the most likely option to achieve that goal. Eamon (who is an extremely popular and influential man) backs Alistair because he is primarily loyal to Maric's lineage; he says as much to you in his estate in Denerim. Anora is loyal to no one but herself, so good luck with that. In short, the Couslands are viable options, but are less likely to avoid civil war—which is important considering that was the Landsmeet's entire purpose.
Alistiar may be both unknown and a bastard child, but he's still the only Therin left. Ordinarily he wouldn't be seriously considered, but the nobles know that if they reject him, they lose the entire Therin bloodline in a single generation. That's a grim enough prospect that, combined with Eamon's support, it allows the Bannorn to overlook the circumstances of Alistair's rearing and put him on par with Anora as a contender to the throne. The Cousland Warden, however, just doesn't have enough backing them to put them on this level.
It would be much worse if they knew who Alistair's real mother was - an elven Grey Warden mage from Orlais. That's three or four strikes against him right there. The scullery maid mother looks like a much better prospect now.
Zevran tried to kill us...twice?
Assuming you recruit Zevran and are fond of taking Leliana and Alistair with you to places, Alistair can eventually ask Leliana what women see in the elf, and he then comments that Zevran is "an assassin who has tried to kill us more than once". Where did he get the idea that Zevran tried to kill you a second time? Is he just being (understandably) paranoid and "catching" Zevran lurking around camp suspiciously, or have I somehow utterly managed to miss the second attempt? After all, they can have this conversation long before the Taliesin encounter, and if Zevran betrays you then...well, why would Alistair be asking what women see in him anyway? He's dead.
Yeah, this gets me, too. Dialogue is one of the things that gets done first, so perhaps at one point in the game, he did try to kill you more than once. They might have removed it for a variety of different reasons, perhaps because no one would tolerate a character on your party that keeps trying to kill you.
I don't know, if he was just as amusing I'd probably tolerate him. Anyway he doesn't seem to be very effective at killing you. (Of course, the one time he tries—since I've never had him betray me—he wasn't exactly trying.) I suppose we'll just have to assume Alistair's a little paranoid and thought he saw Zevran attempting something.
Maybe he counts the falling tree as separate from the attempt to stab you to death?
Not being able to come on to Alistair or Morrigan as a gay character
I'm not saying I would want same sex romances with Alistair or Morrigan, but if Leliana and Zevran can hit on you when playing a straight character of the same sex, why can't your gay/bi character hit on the straight party members? Tell me their reactions wouldn't be absolutely hilarious.
Actually, I always thought you should be able to hit on your entire party. It would certainly set up canonical reasons why Sten isn't attracted to you, when fans complain who they want to romance. Mass Effect, too—it'd be nice to try and hit on Kasumi or Zaeed only to be shot down.
Agreed. Though you do get some interaction when playing a female warden; Sten reacts with surprise about you being a woman, you ask if he's flirting, he doesn't know what the word means. Oghren hits on you while drunk, you go along with it, he passes out.
Oghren hits on male characters too. My (admittedly, gay) male elf mage freaked a little, in fact. Then he found out Oghren thought he was a woman...
Al getting nooky'd in prison
The ending to WH confused me. Somehow she still had a kid even though my Warden never touched her, and neither did Loghain. The only explanation I could think of would be that she somehow slept with Alistair after the Landsmeet but before the night she came offering the DR. But how is that even possible if he was locked up in a tower somewhere waiting to be executed?...
Glitch. Witch Hunt is full of 'em. This does not happen with normal games. Did you get the latest patch?
That is a glitch but that's actually a fairly reasonable guess as to how it would have happened; Morrigan turns into a cat/mouse, sneaks passed the guards, taps Al. Fridge Brilliance if I've ever heard it.
But that does not, however, explain how either the Warden or Loghain died, as they must have. Still, totally plausible otherwise (if she were willing to touch him with a ten foot pole, that is).
Internal injuries sustained during the fight?
Limited party dialogue killing immersion
Alright, its understandable they can't have dialogue for every single event in game, but there's a certain amount of mood dissonance when I'm in the dead trenches, covered in blood, and I start to talk to Morrigan, and I get that happy giggle from her because we're in a relationship. Or Alistair saying "Your wish?" Or Liliana telling me how sweet and attentive I am. Or no one acknowledging the freshly dead broodmother in the room. Am I the only one freaking out about that thing? And while that is the most annoying instance, there's a few others; Guys, we just killed a freaking high dragon! No one has anything to say about that? Or Flemeth; I bring Alistair along, not only does he know her, he's been suspicious about her sending Morrigan along from the start. He doesn't have anything to say in the pre-battle banter? Or Liliana; she's a bard who tells legends of Flemeth and she doesn't have anything to say standing right infront of the woman?
Hi there, welcome to RPG games in general. This sort of immersion-breaking thing where characters don't directly acknowledge what is happening has existed since roughly the first time there was an RPG with party members who have distinct personalities.
Even so, sometimes it just doesn't make sense. Alistair is clearly uncomfortable discussing private matters in public and occasionally refuses to kiss the player if someone in the party is disapproving, and yet you can have a conversation in which he forces you to choose between him and Zevran/Leliana... in between hoards of darkspawn trying to kill you at Redcliffe castle. (You can even ask him if he thinks this is an appropriate time for this, with a hoard of darkspawn in the background, and he'll reply that if he waited for an appropriate time he'd never get anything done.) I'm not asking for situation-specific responses at every turn, but it would be great to at least disable the options that make no sense.
Circle Tower Stockroom
Why in the world is there a 30-ft tall, labrynthian cavern on the second floor of a tower which in on a tiny island in the middle of a lake?
It's not so complicated in the Mage origin which shows what the tower looked like before the demons started tearing it apart. As for the design decisions, the tower is a remnant of the Tevinter era. Nobody knows exactly what the Imperium used it for before the Ferelden Chantry turned it into mage jail.
In the Mage Origin, you have the option of going into the storeroom to clear it of spiders. It is enourmous, easily larger than any given floor of the Tower, while simultaneously being on the the second floor and only accessible by doors that are obviously on the outside wall, in addition to being, as I said, a cavern. The exterior view of the tower simply does not accomodate the storeroom.
The simplest explanation is that the door connects to a stairway that goes underground. Of course, it's not a great idea to have a storage area at the bottom of a staircase, but the Tower is already inconveniently-structured and was repurposed from an already-existing building, so it's not perfect.
The quest giver for that sidequest actually explicitly states that there are caverns honeycombing the rock under the Circle Tower, and the mages are just making use of them for storage.
Ser Cauthrien way too powerful
How in the name of the Maker did Ser Cauthrien get to be so powerful? She's a level 19 human warrior, and her in-game stats give her +3400 health! (For reference, the High Dragon has just under 3800 and the Archdemon has about 4200.) She's nearly on par with the game's toughest dragons in pure endurance and equal or better than them in most other stats. I can understand if they need to make a boss particularly strong in order to be challenging, but the idea that any normal human could become that powerful really pushes it. Humanoid warriors at Cauthrien's level would have a little over 200 hitpoints if they never put any points into constitution, and maybe 500 at the absolute most if the only attribute they ever increased was constitution. It would have been workable if there had been some In-Universe explanation (e.g. Loghain hired a Blood Mage to unnaturally increase Cauthrien's strength so she could defeat the Warden), but as it is, it's simply absurd, especially given that Loghain is much, much weaker than his supposed lieutenant.
Given how incredibly Bad Ass she is, and that she doesn't have the PR baggage Loghain does, why can't you recruit Ser Cauthrien into the Wardens after the Landsmeet?
Considering the fact that you probably just cut her boss's head off, she's probably not in any hurry to join your club.
The fact that you kill her right before the Landsmeet makes that idea just a little complicated. Just a little.
You don't have to kill her. A little persuasion can work wonders.
I just did a little testing on this using a Good Bad Bug with the Tomes of the Mortal Vessel, and I have the answer. Ser Cauthrien has a vitality score of around 650 points(more than any player can legally have in general not just in vitality), which would put her health at around the 3,400 range.
There really isn't a Watsonian reason, but the Doylist one is that during the Anora rescue Cauthrien was intended to be a Hopeless Boss Fight that most likely lead to you getting captured, and during the Landsmeet and Darkspawn Chronicles was intended to be a regular boss (and a Skippable Boss at the Landsmeet). Granted this can lead to the very strange situation where she shows up at the Landsmeet even if you killed her at Howe's home, but then got taken down by the archers. Even if you beheaded her or hit her with Walking Bomb. On the bright side, that means you get two copies of the Summer Sword.
Ser Cauthrien way too weak
In Darkspawn Chronicles, you encounter Ser Cauthrien, but she isn't any stronger than any other human soldier, waaaaaaay weaker than the Nigh InvulnerableBadass she was in Origins. Is this just The Worf Effect, or was Ser Cauthrien deathly sick AND badly injured at the time and thus inhibited to the relative strength of an ordinary person?
At the Dalish Camp, you have the option of screwing over an elven couple by sleeping with one of them, thus ruining their relationship. Most of the party's reactions seem in-character, with Leliana disapproving and Morrigan and Zevran approving of your nasty actions. However, the weird thing is, if you play a male Warden and seduce the elf woman, Wynne actually approves +7! At the same time, if you are a female Warden and seduce the male, Wynne disapproves -10. What is up with that? What kind of twisted Double Standard is Wynne running on that she thinks it's okay and commendable for a male Warden to seduce an elf woman and ruin her relationship, but is harshly disapproving of a female character who does the same to the man?
I'm pretty sure that her gaining approval is a glitch.
Yeah. The toolset has it written as a high decrease, but someone coded a high increase.
And here I always thought Wynne thought the elven guy was a whimp and so the girl should find a better man to care for her. She might be the wise, old kind of character, but since Dragon Age is Darker and Edgier, her judgment can be flawed, too. That was my explanation, anyhow.
The many tactical wonders of Redcliffe
First of all, the secret tunnel from the Redcliff castle outside. Obivously it originated as a way to evacuate the castle denizen or send messengers in case of a siege. So where is the outlet? In some remote inconspicious place under clever disguise, right? Nope, it's a plain trapdoor, barely covered with hay, in the windmill, twenty paces away from the main bridge. Didn't it occur to anybody that the ostensible escapee would emerge right in the middle of the invading force? That is if they happend to be so infinitely thick they fail to find the trapdoor in the first place. Not to mention that said windmill sits on top of a cliff, which means that whoever made the tunnel had to drill all the way down.
Who's to say that was the only escape tunnel? Teagan told you about that one because it was convenient for your party. Why should Teagan provide you a map of every secret in the castle if you don't need to know.
This is entirely beyond the point. My issue is with this particular tonnel, namely with its profoundly nonsensical and idiotic location. And climbing up the cliff and then down through the cliff sure as hell was not convinient.
Sure, the tunnel may be inconvenient. Hell, that might help with concealing it. No one's going to look for a tunnel in such a difficult location. That being said, the tunnel seems more likely to be a route to enter the castle than to exit the castle. In fact, it might have been constructed by sappers who took the castle previously.
It's difficult, sure, but it's right in front of the main gate, from where there's only a single narrow passage leading down. How could an escapee be expected to evade the sieging army after they emerge from it? As for it being counstructed by sappers, why would they start it up there, rather than on the moat side?
Then, there's Bann Teagan. Ok, he keeps quiet about the tunnel so he could use your help against the undead, I get it. But why the hell does he stay quiet after you make it clear that you don't want to defend the village?! He knows that you want to get into the castle, so why not help you do it, so that maybe you could solve the problem even before the attack, or at least distract and thinnen the enemy? It's not like he has much to loose.
Teagan doesn't know that the hordes of undead have a single entity conjuring them. He's not a mage. Nobody who lives in the Redcliffe really understands magic. Even if he suspected that the problem could be solved by killing one target, there's still the fact that the villagers will get slaughtered while they wait for you if you cannot solve the problem by nightfall. Even if he did know, he has no reason to suspect that you or your group is skilled enough to handle whatever unnatural horrors are being unleashed in the castle until he's seen you in action.
It's not like he has much to loose. He keeps quiet - you go away, the village is screwed. He lets you inside the castle, and maybe you manage to do something useful. As for your abilities, doesn't the membership of you and Alister in the freaking Grey Wardens account for something?
Say that your group doesn't fine a magical "I win" condition in the castle. Say that, for some reason or another, it takes you longer than an afternoon to explore the area and you stay away until after sunset. If that's the case, the villagers are completely screwed. Sure, the player knows that there's just one powerful demon causing it all, but Teagan doesn't. All he knows is that an army of monsters is threatening to wipe Redcliffe off the map come sundown. If the village is to survive, they need some trained bodies out there right now. He's not going to risk everything on you until he's got some assurance that the village will see the next sunrise (if you abandoned them, then he's got nothing left to lose counting on you). He told you himself, saving the civilians is his top priority. It's not a good plan, but based on what Teagan knows at this point, it's the only hope Redcliffe's got.
Just in case this wasn't clear, I'm only refering to the "evil" option where you turn down Teagan's plea for help. In this case the villagers are already screwed, and the only chance he's got left is that if he shows you the tonnel, you somehow manage to stop however is behind the attacks. What, is he calling your bluff?
I agree with the first parts, but as for the last part about your skill, he never need see you fight if you abandon Redcliffe.
You managed to wipe out an entire village worth of undead to get to him. That's a pretty good way to gauge fighting prowess. He may not have seen you do it, but he'd know that the only way anybody would get to him is by going through the newly bolstered zombie horde.
Do you? I don't even remember. I could argue that he never sees you do that, as he's unconscious, but I get your point.
Speaking of which, for the PC this must be the most egregious example of Stupid Evil behavior EVER. "So long, the only people who might know the way into the castle but withhold that knowledge for some reason. We are now leaving you to your grisly fate, thus depreaving ourselves of the only mean to complete a key objective! In hindsight this makes absolutely no sense, but hey, at least Morrigan approves." I'd understand if the evil option was to wring the information out of Teagan, but simply to leave? What the hell is that supposed to achieve?
But Teagan isn't saying anything about secret passages. Your Warden is assuming they don't have one. They can visit Redcliffe Castle and stare at the door. How many other times have paths magically opened for the player because the player needed them to? You're right, I don't think it's smart, but it's not quite brain-numbingly stupid.
But in this case what would be the in-game reason for the "evil" Warden to return to the village after the attack? For all you know all the villagers are now dead, and the castle is just as inaccessable as before. What, do you get an off-screen "My God, What Have I Done?, we should go back and look for survivors" moment after you leave? Or does GenreSavvyness kick in, saying that "the Maker" will not allow this part of your quest to end in a stump no matter what you do? This is why I regard it as glaringly Stupid Evil.
The Warden probably went to look for another way in. It's never confirmed that Eamon is dead, and they still need to see him.
Then why leave at all?
To avoid the undead. The villagers tell the Warden that they only get attacked at night, so the Warden leaves before the day ends and spends the night somewhere safe. The Warden then heads back to the village during the day, when there are no undead around, so the group can poke around safely.
First of all, the objective of their poking was to find a way into the castle, where all the undead, bolstered by the ex-villagers, resided. So instead of handling a part of the enemy force on friendly grounds (the undead masters would hardly send the whole host, leaving the castle unprotected), they'd have to handle the whole and enhanced enemy force on hostile grounds! I hope Morrigan is proud of her ruthless pragmatic effeceincy. Second, what makes the Warden think they'll even find a way in on their own? I mean, if there was one, surely Teagan should know about it, so, again, the sensible "evil" option would've been to elicit the information out of him by whatever mean necessary). Finally, what exactly prevents them from poking around when they first arrive to the village?
1) Characters who abandon the village still need a way to get into the castle in order to find the only nobleman who might be able to aid them. Choosing not to help the villagers is shortsighted and heartless, but if chose that option, you only have yourself to blame. Nobody's forcing you to listen to the impatient Sten or spiteful Morrigan here. 2) Teagan is a smart guy dedicated to protecting civilians. He's not going to be easily fooled into giving the best warriors he has a reason to leave until the siege is broken. As for taking the info by force, remember that you're here to beg Eamon for aid. Harming his brother for protecting the village would not be a great way to make a first impression. 3) You can poke around the village for an entrance, but you have neither the knowledge nor tools to actually find and use the tunnel without Teagan's support.
2) Teagan is an idiot. From his POV the "evil option" looks like this: the party arrives, the party listens to his plea for help, the party turns around and leaves. That's it, there's no particular "reason to leave" he might give or not give them - they are already leaving. He is winning nothing by keeping silent at this point, while telling the truth might give him at least a meager chance. As for the second part, you're right, of course, but abandoning a whole village to the undead is not exactly endearing either, which is why it's called "an evil option". I'm just saying that taking the info by force would've been much less Stupid Evil than leaving. 3) Neither do you after the undead attack.
There's no "give me the key to the castle escape tunnel" option because your character does not know that there is an escape tunnel before Eamon lets it slip. As far as you know, that trapdoor in the windmill leads to grain storage rather than a tunnel under the lake. If you refused to fight the undead, exactly why should Teagan trust you with one of his family's biggest secrets? You've clearly stated that you don't care enough about your goal to fight these monsters. Why should he expect that you'd be willing to fight through the source of the undead if this battle was enough to give you pause. As far as he knows, you've decided that Eamon isn't worth dealing with all this stuff and you're not coming back. When you do return to the now desolated town, Teagan sees that you've got the will and skill to get to Eamon and gives you the key in hopes of saving his family. This isn't a Karma Meter game. They options aren't "light side vs. dark side", they're just your decisions. If you decided to leave, you decided to leave. It's Stupid Evil, but it's an option for players who don't want to bother with the war sequence. Storyline wise, you can be as big of an asshole as possible, but getting Eamon's support is your only option for organizing your armies to end the Blight. No Arl Eamon, no progress. You go back to the village the same reason you go out on a wild goose chase in the Deeproads for Branka: sheer desperation. Don't blame the game for giving you the option to act like a moron if you choose it.
Uhuh, a trapdoor that you cannot open even with all the lockpicking skill in the world. Boy, do these guys treat their grain seriously! Really, that fact alone deserves further investigation, but nope, you can't even select the door untill "it's time". La-ame! Next, isn't it obvious that you're not leaving out of fear (you are willing to enter the castle, aren't you), but because you see no point in staying after having been explicitly told that there is no access to the castle. Certainly it would not conviniently appear out of nowhere once the battle is won, would it? Furthermore, what "will and skill" are you talking about? All you do is return to the village without even fighting anyone. Most imnportant, so far I've yet to understand what exactly makes Teagan reluctant to tell the "evil" Warden the secret in the first place. If you still leave afterwards, he'll be dead anyway, and besides, in what way could you possibly use this knowledge that he might be wary of? Like what, are you going to sell it to Orlesians or something?
Teagan explains that they cannot evacuate the village, because the undead attack whoever try to leave. How is this possible? Does the demon maintain a blockade around the village, strong enough to overpower the squad of knights stationed there or is he able to sense the escape attempts and teleport zombies around? In the former case why don't you run into the blockade and why doesn't it partake in the night raid? In the latter why isn't this ability used during the night raid (zombies have to either move out from the main gates or cross the lake).
Moving dozens of civilians on foot a significant distance from the village under the supervision of maybe six authority figures would take more than one day. Come sundown, everything near the village is gonna get mobbed by shambling corpses without any barricades. If they had more manpower and resources, sure an evacuation could be organized, but as they are now, defending until aid can arrive is the only real option.
Except that Teagan doesn't put it this way, saying instead that they can't leave, because the undead will attack the fugitives in day time'. My question is how is that possible.
All that proves is that Teagan didn't phrase himself clearly enough, not that he didn't have a point. If the village had the resources to evacuate or storm the castle, they've have done so by now.
Unless somebody didn't think it through and threw in a flimsy Handwave to justify another challenge for the player. Regardless, how many "resources" do you need to get a couple dozen people across a two day walking distance, especially when most of them can more or less fend for themselves? And now for my refrain, what the fuck did they have to loose? They stay - they are dead, they try to leave - they've got a chance to break through. As for the barricades, yeah, it would've been a valid reason, if someby actually bothered erect them in the village!
Quite a few. You'd need food for the transit, you'd need carts and horses (the latter of which are lacking in Redcliffe) to transport the wounded and sick, which there will be plenty of. And don't forget that even without the undead, there's darkspawn all over the country. The undead, meanwhile, don't need food or rest and can run down the evacuees very quickly. It's too much of a risk.
1) If they don't have food, how the hell are they supposed to survive anyway? 2)They have boats, and the undead most certainly cannot swim.3) If the darkspawn infestation is that bad, then they are no safer in Redcliff (Shale's village testifies). 4) The undead don't seem to bother your party when you leave the village. 5) The notion of risk is much less valid when the alternative is certain death.
1) They have food at the village. They would need to load it up to take with them if they wanted to leave. 2) The undead can travel under the water, and could attack if they started loading up boats. 3)The darkspawn are nowhere near Redcliff at that point. I don't know how you missed that. 4) It was already explained to you that your party can leave much faster than the villagers can. 5) Why exactly do you keep insisting that the villagers staying has to result in their certain deaths when it is entirely possible for the situation to end without anymore of them dying?
3) Leaving their existing fortifications and moving overland where they have no defenses or shelter, while carrying wounded and children, leaves them significantly more vulnerable to roving darkpawn groups than simply staying int he relatively fortified village. We see what happens to refugee columns trying to leave villages and reach Denerim: they get freaking slaughtered. At the very least, staying in the village gives them a chance than fighting the darkspawn in the open, with tireless undead troops trying to runt hem down too. 4) Well, gee, I wonder why. Maybe they're focused on killing the villagers? Besides, Tegan doesn't know that. He's not omniscient.
The night battle itself. Let's see, we have a convinient ground between easily barricadable bridge and narrow ravine, i.e. perfect bottlenecks, and a fortified Chantry. The enemy lacks any kind of ranged and/or siege weaponry. So, where we going to position our defenders? Why, right in the open, of course, where the undead will swarm us in no time! *Bang* *Bang* *Bang*
The defenders are positioned at the first significant space just beyond the passage into town and right outside the Chantry walls. Not ideal positions, but decent enough to stem the tide of undead from the castle and protect the remaining civilians. Considering that the defense is run by a bunch of stressed civilians and a handful of grunt-level knights, that's not too bad. Woefully insufficent for beating the undead hordes, but not quite as bad it could be.
Why outside the Chantry? I reckon all the civilans take cover inside (if they don't, they are brain-dead, and Morrigan is right for once) so why the hell not join them and make your stand there? Again, it's not like the undead have siege tools.
The Chantry, while sturdy, is not a fortress. If the undead make it to the gates, they will get in. Unless the Chantry has some escape hatches we don't know about, fighting in there would put militiamen, zombies, and civilians together in cramped quarters. It'd be a recipe for disaster even if it weren't for the fact that any casualties will bolster enemy numbers. As such, keeping the fight as far away from the Chantry as possible is imperative. Sadly, they just don't have the manpower or resources to build a perimeter around the lake, so guarding the entrance was all they had.
While it may not be an actual fortress, it's the next best thing. The doors can be braced, the windows barred. And it's spacious enough to allow the civs to cover in the back part, while the warriors would stand their ground at the gates. Regardless, any walls and doors are better than none, amirite?
The chantry is made of wood. It should be very obvious why you do not want to be in there in case of a siege. The undead don't appear to be intelligent enough to use fire, but Teagan doesn't know that. If he has everyone hide in the chantry, it would be trivially easy to burn it down around them. And judging by the placement of the defenses, it looked as though the militia were planning to hold behind the barricades outside the chantry and eventually fall back inside if those barricades were overrun. If they'd held inside the chantry, their backs would be to a wall, which is a Bad Thing. One of the most basic rules of constructing a defensive position is to always have at least one line to fall back to, with preferably more than one. Realistically, the barricade outside the chantry is quite effective for something hastily assembled by a mostly militia force, with only a few holes in it that could be easily defended by troops. It's not the plot's fault that the combat AI is so poor that it can't effectively defend choke points, but if this was a real battle the militia would do remarkably better.
Is it me, or are Teagan and Murdoc simply the worst fucking leaders any settlement could be unfortunate enough to have? Besides the miriad idiotic decisions already mentioned above, let's summarize the "efforts", that the Warden make in preparation to the battle. He tells the blacksmith that they'll try to find his daughter (which isn't even necessary), pays a mercenary a sovereign to join the fight (which, by the way, nobody bothered to reimburse, but whatever), whips a couple more blokes into service, proposes to use oil barrels to set up firewalls and utters some inspirational platitudes. Which exactly of these staggering feats couldn't the so-called "authority figures" accomplish on their own?!
The Blacksmith refused to talk to anybody except the charismatic or intimating Warden. Forcing him to work would be both sadistic and stupid as he'd (intentionally or no) produce lower quality work. Said mercenary had locked himself in his house and refuses to meet with you unless you break down the door and pay or intimidate him into the fight. Two things that untrained, currently homeless villagers are not going to be able to do. Aside from them, the Warden is able to bully maybe three other people into the fight, maybe one of them has any real experience. Hardly a big difference. The oil barrels were found in the ransacked general store that nobody had any real reason to look into since all food and valuables were gone. As for the platitudes, they were given by a Grey Warden, a legendary hero. Of course people listened to them more than their neighbors.
Yeah, the legendary hero, sure. Whose heroic exploits by that point amounted to something between "bugger" and "all". Weren't the knights, not to mention Teagan himself, intimidating and charismatic enough to make one promise (or kill one whiny bitch, since it is a valid option to solve the gear problem, and anyway is this a fucking "Dark Fantazy" or not), break one door and plank one golden coin up? As for the rest, why do you have to bully those blokes and find those barrels? The guys are supposed to be desperate! They should be combing the village with the finest comb in search for anything that could give them even a slightest edge!
Whose heroic exploits by that point amounted to something between "bugger" and "all". You may not have accomplished much personally, but you are a Grey Warden, with the full weight of their legendary reputation behind yourself. From what Murdock says, they did attempt to convince the blacksmith to repair their equipment, but he refused to do so when they wouldn't launch an attack on the castle to rescue his daughter. Murdock was likely fully capable of breaking down the door and confronting the blacksmith, but doing so might have simply resulted in him attacking them and getting killed, which would ruin the whole enterprise from the start. It's not like Murdock knew that he was keeping a hidden cache of equipment, and the equipment he has is pretty sub-par anyway. Murdock seems to be more intent on trying to convince the blacksmith to help and capitalize on a good resource instead of just killing him ("Dark fantazy" doesn't mean "kill everyone, problem solved"). As for Dwynn, Murdock faces a similar conundrum; if he tries to force Dwynn to fight, he runs the risk of Dwynn possibly attacking him, and no matter how that turns out it would hurt all involved. Dwynn is unlikely to be cowed by Murdock and his militia, and I suspect that they don't even have that much money available to convince Dwynn to fight. By comparison, you're a heavily-armed squad of hardasses that include mages, qunari, an oversized axe-wielding dwarf, and possibly a golem; Dwynn is much more likely to follow your lead. Also, you're leaving out the important fact that before you arrived, these people had morale that was at absolute rock bottom. They were convinced they were going to be wiped out, and had no hope of surviving. The general reaction of such a realization is utter despair, which can cripple any hope of forming an effective resistance. Bad morale can destroy rational thought very easily.
Alistair's misinformed gossip
When playing as a male Warden and engaged in the "juicy gossip" conversation with Alistair, where he asks about how my character felt about the other characters, he asked if my character had a thing going with Morrigan. No matter what dialogue option was picked, he seemed to come to the conclusion that my character did. This despite that I wasn't romancing Morrigan, didn't have her approval particularly high, and this particular character was actually going for Leliana. What is up with that? How does Alistair get the idea that I have some sort of connection with Morrigan, and why can't I convince him otherwise? Does he make some equally stupid assumption if you're playing a female Warden and have Zevran in the party?
No, you hit a bug. Are you positive you aren't on the romance path?
It's pretty easy to get on Morrigan's romance path by accident. Check out the Dragon Age wikia for tips that show exactly where the triggers for romance plots are.
Or, Alistair's jealous.
Distance between Redcliffe and Denerim
We're told that Denerim is 3 days away from Redcliffe. But then come the endgame sequence, once you arrive at Denerim for the big finale, everyone acts as though less than a single day has passed since you left Redcliffe. Um, what the heck? Even if your massive army sprinted all the way there, which I find highly unlikely, getting there that fast would be impossible.
I honestly don't remember anyone saying that only one day had passed. Where was this, exactly?
If you preform the dark ritual with Morrigan and talk to her before the battle, I believe the ritual is refered to as happening "last night". Could be wrong, and its likely just a mix up.
It takes three days normally to travel between Redcliffe and Denerim, but the army can get there in two days via forced march. Eamon says as much when you arrive at Redcliffe.
But Morrigan still talks about the ritual taking place "on the eve of battle" and then when you talk to her at the gates of Denerim, one of your dialog options is "About last night..." uh, weird?
Shortest pregnancy ever? (Dwarf Commoner origin)
Just how long was the warden at Ostagar, the wilds, and Lothering? Rica goes from not showing at all to having a newborn son, even if you go back to Orzammar immediately after Lothering.
A year or so.
How? It doesn't take that long to travel around Ferelden. The Joining and the battle of Ostagar took place the same night. If you were out cold in Flemeth's hut for nearly a whole year, why didn't Morrigan of Flemeth mention how long it was? Where does this massive Time Skip fall?
There is no massive Time Skip. In the Mage Origin, after you recruit Wynne, she tells you it's been a year since you left the tower. Other Origins indicate that around the same amount of time passes (i.e. Rica & the Dwarf Noble's babies are already born by the time you go back). It's implied that traveling around and stuff actually is taking a long time, but the game just leaves those parts out because they're boring.
Dwarves also appear to have shorter gestation periods than humans. Oghren and Felsi already have a kid by the beginning of Awakening, which is 6 months after the absolute earliest they could have conceived.
But that doesn't make sense, even if you go directly to Orzammar after Lothering everything still seems like a whole year has passed already. And even after you've zigzagged all over Ferelden and recruited everyone you need for your army, everything still acts like it's been precisely one year.
Is there any reason given for you to not go help Amaranthine/Vigil's Keep before going to kill the Mother? Amaranthine I can understand, as they would probably be wiped out if you saved Vigi's Keep. But depending on the player's choices, the Keep can be pretty well-equipped to hold off the Darkspawn until you arrive. And they shouldn't be in a big hurry to kill the Mother: she can't move.
I don't think any of them actually knew that the Mother couldn't move, so they probably were in a big hurry to kill her. She is the one organizing the Darkspawn in the region, so taking her out was the number one priority. The Darkspawn are only really dangerous (as in, capable of destroying countries) when they have direction, which is why decapitating their leadership is the standard method of defeating them.
Inability to recruit additional Grey Wardens after the Landsmeet
Why on earth is Loghain the only person anyone thinks of inducting into the Wardens after the Landsmeet? Riordan mentions that there are too few of you and that he's willing to be pragmatic and fight beside the man who tortured him if it will increase the chances of victory. Alistair doesn't want to do this, fine, but the thing is at this point you've encountered dozens of Badasses against whom he doesn't hold a blood grudge that you could use that Joining Cocktail to recruit instead. Sure, some of them (e.g. dwarven Proving fighters, First Enchanter Irving, etc.) may be too far away at the moment, but there's at least one (Ser Cauthrien) who, assuming you didn't fight her, is in the same building as you are. Methinks giving players the option to spare Loghain created more Fridge Logic than the dev team intended.
The devs were going to give you the chance to recruit more people into the Grey Wardens, but they ran into trouble implementing it and so it got cut. As for an in-universe explanation, I would suppose they just didn't want to risk anyone else dying. They already have a couple of Wardens, and everyone is going to fight the Darkspawn fairly soon, so at that moment having a couple of your best warriors die in the Joining might not seem worth it. They didn't have much trouble with Loghain taking that risk because they didn't really care if he died.
That in-universe explanation doesn't really make sense, though. Based on what we know, the chances of a recruit surviving the Joining process are well above 50% (Daveth and Mhairi are the only two recruits we see who don't survive drinking the cocktail, while the Warden, Loghain, Oghren, Anders, Velanna, etc. all do, and Alistair mentions that in his Joining only one person died). Given that if the Archdemon isn't slain the chances of everyone in Denerim dying are close to 100%, it would seem well worth the risk of losing a couple of elite troops to give more people the ability to deal the blow that will end the Blight, as opposed to pinning all your hopes on Alistair, the Warden, and Riordan. This appears to be a situation wherein Stupidity Is the Only Option.
That's nice. Look, you already know the real reason. Why are you still talking about this?
Well, the whole point of the Headscratchers page is to complain about things that don't make sense. It's not something that ruined the game or anything, but I think it would have been better had they just left the whole "recruit Loghain instead of executing him" option out, because while it's clear the developers were trying to create an interesting moral dilemma for the player, the way they did it is really contrived and it's annoying rather than intriguing when a game tries to present something as a Sadistic Choice when there is such a readily apparent way to Take a Third Option that's not allowed because they just don't want you to be able to do it. Sure, there are limits to what a writer can do because of the medium, but good video game writing should try to avoid drawing attention to those limits.
I understand that not having a certain option can be annoying. But game developers honestly cannot be expected to implement fifty choices in every situation so that everyone gets everything they want. And, I don't really agree that cutting things they do have so that there are no options available is better. You could bring up that same point with the Origins, and say that logically there are a lot more people that Duncan could have recruited, and so they should have given the player a lot more options in who they got to play as. And in fact, they were going to put in more Origins than the six we saw. But they ended up cutting those other ones out, because it was taking too long and wasn't really critical enough to be worth delaying everything else. And finally, if all you want to do is complain, write a review. You know the answer to your question already, so I'm not sure why you feel the need to bring it up again.
I acknowledged that there are limits to what writers can do. I don't expect every conceivable option or possible scenario that would be possible in, say, a Pn P game. Mostly, DA does a good job of covering up those seams with a well-constructed story. The Origin stories are a good example - sure, there are a million possible origins for a Warden, but having Duncan have only visited those six different locations during the relevant time period is a perfectly decent Hand Wave for restricting the options in the game to the six we have. But the Loghain thing just comes off as something that was tossed in as an afterthought. If you're going to present players with a difficult choice for the sake of dramatic impact, it should be structured so that there really are no other options in the situation in question, or at least none that wouldn't be readily apparent to your average third grader. Personally I'd rather have a story that offers fewer choices but is well-written and makes sense rather than one that offers more choices but is sloppily written and requires the characters to be unreasonably stupid to work. But anyway, I do agree with you that I've whinged enough about this particular point, so I'll leave it here.
You get Loghain right after the Landsmeet. At that point in-story your characters don't have any reason to make more Grey Wardens. This scene happens right after the Landsmeet. At this point, all five of the armies you've gathered are on the march. Since Riordan didn't bother to tell you why Wardens are so important (he assumed you were already told) you didn't push for any more recruits. Riordan probably assumed that you had some plan cooking, picked out Loghain for his usefulness as a sacrifice legendary skill and ran off to do some last minute scouting for the darkspawn horde. He could have objected and demanded more, but that'd involve blabbing one of the big secrets of the Wardens in front of all the important people of Ferelden to explain why he'd desperately want bunch new recruits right now. Riordan only explains himself to you on the last night before the final battle, by which point there simply wasn't enough time to recruit anybody else on your level. Basically, you don't get any extra Wardens because of poor communication. Not like it'd really help anyway; the only use a rookie Warden has in this battle is acting as a sacrifice and only one is needed for that. If they aren't skilled enough to get to and kill the Archdemon then they're no better than regular soldiers.
The game flat-out tells you through dialogue with Alistar that he doesn't know how the joining ritual works. You need archdemon blood to turn someone into the Grey Warden. There's also implications that the ritual also takes some type of magic or at least other reagents, none of which are mentioned. Alistar and the Warden just aren't aware of how to performing the joining. It's not just ingestion of Darkspawn blood, because then anyone battling Darkspawn would turn into a Grey Warden (or die) by complete accident.
Orlesian accented Warden?
A female human Warden with the Sultry voice set has a noticeable Orlesian accent. Why? I mean, it makes sense for a newly created Warden for Awakening/Golems/Witch Hunt, who was dispatched from Orlais, but for a Ferelden human woman? How could a mage raised in the Circle in Ferelden or the young scion of one of the most prominent Ferelden noble families pick up an Orlesian accent? Especially egregious given that elves get a properly unaccented version for their Sultry voice. Now, I could understand if they wanted to differentiate the human and elven voices, but the human and elven Sultry voices are still voiced by the same person, with only a different accent. Not only was it weird, but it made talking to Leliana very creepy when I realized that my character had the exact same voice as Majorlaine.
Since you never actually hear the Warden's voice during conversations, I don't see how it's a big issue.
You still hear their remarks during combat and when activating abilities, and I still imagine their voice saying the lines when I select them. Not that it's really a really huge issue or that it impeded my enjoyment of the game or anything, I just found it really odd from an internal logic basis. Why does a Sultry voiced Ferelden woman sound like an Orlesian?
Mages can be sent to foreign circles. Wynne's son, Rhys, was sent to the Orlesian magi circle. It's entirely possible that the Sultry voiced mage came from Orlais, and they'd likely have developed their accent before being sent to the circle. I've heard it said that the mage pc came from Kirkwall, though I haven't been able to find a confirming source. As for the noble, no idea. Maybe picked it up from a maid? It's also entirely possible that they're putting it on to get the "sultry" effect.
The mage PC isn't from Kirkwall. The mage PC is related to Hawke's family in the second game, which largely takes place in Kirkwall.
The Amell family comes from Kirkwall, and in fact have noble origins there. While it's not necessary that an Amell Warden comes from Kirkwall, there is definitely some strong foreign blood in him/her.
The Contradictions of the Qun
The qun, as explained by Sten, doesn't seem to be internally consistent. At first glance, everyone is locked into their roles. Sten says all you really need to know is that he likes swords, goes by his rank and expects that of everyone. Then he turns around and criticizes the notion that people can be easily summed up, delivering his hilarious line about elves being more than "a lithe, pointy-eared people who excel at poverty." Isn't that sort of summation *exactly* what the qun teaches?
"People can't be easily summed up" isn't a lesson that the Qun teaches. Sten was just being a smartass.
The Qun does seem to lock everyone into a rigid caste, but when Sten delivers that line, you're asking him to tell you about his people as a whole, not any individual qunari. Sten might think that an individual's role is crucial to their character and is all you need to know, but asking him to sum up what the qunari race as a whole is like is something else entirely. Sten didn't mean that individuals can't be easily summed up, he was telling you that the qunari aren't a Planet of Hats that can be detailed in a couple of sentences, any more than all humans or elves could be.
Apathetic reactions to nudity
No, I'm not talking about how the whole party can run around in their underpants without eliciting so much as a stare from the NPCs in the game, as it isn't reasonable to assume that the developers could alter every single interaction in case you want to do it naked. What I'm talking about is the one point in the game where the plot calls for you to strip down, and there are only a limited number of characters (the companions) that can be present. That is, the last test before you find the Urn of Sacred Ashes, when your party has to remove all equipment in order to advance through the flames. None of your companions even respond. You'd think they could at least put in a couple of smart comments or complaints, as it wouldn't really be different from how the companions make comments on decisions throughout the rest of the game.
Either being half-naked is not as uncommon as one would think, they don't feel that they should be embarrassed given the circumstance during the Urn of Sacred Ashes, or... actually, that is rather strange. It's no wonder why Dragon Age II got rid of armor customization for party members other than the main character. But that doesn't stop Hawke from stripping down to underwear only. The only plausible thing to think of is that in the world of Thedas, public nudity is only when a person is actually nude, and even then, people don't seem too concerned about it, especially during a Blight.
Can't deny being in relationships enough
When the Warden is in a romance, it seems that Everyone Can See It as well. Alistair will mention it in his gossip, and there's nothing the Warden can say to convince him otherwise. Wynne will notice no matter what and comment on it, and the closest thing to a denial is, "I don't see how this concerns you." Where's the persuade checks? In fact, it seems like the only person who can be persuaded to accept, "You're mistaken, we aren't in a relationship," is Leliana. Why can't you lie to anyone else that you're Better as Friends or She Is Not My Girlfriend? Is the Warden really that obvious about it? How is it so apparent, even if said romance hasn't amounted to anything yet except a single flirtatious comment in the relative privacy of the camp? Dammit, where is that Master Coercion when you really need it?
Clearly the Warden/their love interest spend a lot of time making goo-goo eyes at each other, right from the very first flirty comment. Morrigan hints at that, anyway.
Considering that your your party is normally confined to a relatively small campground when not on duty, it'd be hard to hide anything from each other. Alistair flat out tells you that whomever your Warden does not take with them on a mission has little better to do than sit around and gossip with the others. Beyond that, why should you bother lying about a relationship? There's not any real benefit for doing so within your group barring a love triangle situation. Unless your the kind of person who lies for kicks or is completely unreasonable about privacy (which would be near impossible to achieve in this situation) there's no reason to bother.
Firstly because Wynne insists on shoving her unwanted opinions wisdom down the Warden's throat if they're in a relationship with anyone and loses approval for most of them. It would have been nice to be able to use coercion to avoid both the disapproval and the lecture. Secondly, for characters and situations where the Warden really doesn't have any intention of carrying the romance to completion. It's possible to get on a romance path accidentally (Morrigan's if a male character makes any comments that are even slightly playful or flirtatious, Leliana's if you complete her personal quest and pick the wrong dialogue option even if you don't flirt with her, Zevran's if you don't firmly refuse all of his advances, etc), in which case the Warden would actually have a very good reason to deny that they're in some sort of intimate relationship. My City Elf Warden somehow ended up "in a romance" with Morrigan, and I couldn't convince Alistair that I had no interest in her. It's entirely possible to end up "in a romance" by accident. Wynne even asks you, "I just wanted to ask where you thought this relationship was going." Given that, it is disappointing that I could't say, "It isn't going anywhere, I don't intend to seriously pursue a relationship with them," or "It's nothing, they're attracted to me, but I don't return it."
Unless you get ridiculously defensive, you only lose approval with Morrigan's romance (as Wynne and Morrigan hate each other with a passion), and you get that back by the time you reach "adore" with her and Wynne backpedals to apologize like with anybody else at that level. Despite her warnings, Wynne's actually neutral about the other three romances. As for your second point, it's pretty easy to get into a romance by accident in this game, but they are considered for the purposes of the story. So long as you've triggered the "relationship flag", it doesn't matter how you personally feel about the characters: as far as the game is concerened, you are in a relationship and your group (who, again, really have nothing better to do than gossip most of the time) know about it. The Dragon Age Wiki has a section that allows you to know where the triggers are and how to avoid them if you need it.
What bugs me more is that Wynne will tell you that "half of us aren't getting any sleep, with the way you two carry on all night" if you're in a relationship with Zevran, even if you haven't actually slept with him (in response to, "You know about Zevran and me?" — otherwise she just asks you where it's going and warns you that he only ever seems to have one thing on his mind). Apparently our rousing games of pictionary are keeping everyone else up?
If you beat the game as a City Elf, you'll have the option of elevating the status of elves in Denerim, and will even be asked to name yourself or Shianni as the Bann of the Alienage. Um...why Shianni and not Cyrion, the Warden's father? I like her as a character, and she does know firsthand the atrocities of human oppression, but she doesn't strike me as leader material. Not when Cyrion is older and far more level-headed.
Cyrion didn't seem that interested in leadership. Sure he's your father, but it's not like he really organized anyone.
How do we know she is? At least Cyrion is there when the decision is made and could have been asked (assuming you weren't a bastard by letting that Tevinter mage kill him or ship him off to slavery), and he seemed on par with Valendrion. Shianni on the other hand, must be found (probably at a bar) and basically told "Guess what? You're now the first Elven Bann in the history of Human politics and the next moves you make could potentially help free your people from oppression or sink them even further. No pressure."
It's been a while since I've played the city elf origin(never beat the game with a city elf, though), but I don't remember Cyrion showing anything resembling leadership ability.
Shianni actively fights back against humans tromping all over the Alienage. She actively opposses the Tevinter mages when they start acting suspicious, and she organizes the elves in the Alienage to fight back against the darkspawn. Cyrion....stands around being mostly useless. Who do you think is a better choice?
Cyrion can become the Bann if the Warden makes the ultimate sacrifice.
So assuming you spared Kolgrim and his lackeys and the High Dragon, and the village's existence subsequently becomes exposed by Genitivi, how come no one made any organized efforts to destroy them or something? I mean, they did murder people to feed to the Dragon...
When Genitivi announces everything that happened, people head to the ruins to look for themselves. The expeditions there find nothing, and Genitivi is discredited as a fraud. He commits suicide. The dragon attacks the surrounding country side, but no one manages to find its lair.
But surely some people must have stumbled across Haven and it's inhabitants... they try to hide, but it's impossible to avoid running into them on the way to the Temple. Or did nobody ever actually find the Temple in that ending? But if you exterminate the cultists, kill the dragon, and leave the ashes, the ending says that the place becomes a mecca for pilgrims. Whatever happened to the Guardian?
One of the other endings says the dragon is looking for a new lair. Presumably, the cultist just pack up and leave when their town is exposed. They've done that before, and they have no more reason to stick around now that the ashes are gone. The Gaurdian just never gets mentioned again, so maybe he only needed to test one person before deciding mankind was worthy of seeing the ashes. Or maybe he's still testing everyone that goes there, there's no real way to know.
Fort Drakon prison
Out of curiosity, why do they throw people into prison in Fort Drakon... naked?
In case they're wearing clothing enchanted with something nasty and to ensure no concealed weapons, of course.
What bugs me is that they seem to have no idea that my Warden, a mage, required more than bars and being disarmed to neutralize. Sure, you can't just look at someone and immediately pick up that they're magical and I recognize that all those fireballs I've thrown might as well have been invisible, but Cauthrine really should have jotted down such an important detail about a known fugative suspected of being the largest threat to national security alive. You cannot tell me she didn't know. Loghain met my Warden, he knows he's a fomer circle mage. He's obessed over the guy as an Orleasian operative for almost a year and given out decent descriptions of his likeness. Sure, a separate sequence for mages would be a lot of effort, but considering how people go on an on about how dangerous magic is, you'd expect something. The ability to make people explode by thinking at them hard is not something to overlook.
Humiliation, possibly. Or alternately, a cheap excuse to show off Alistair's lovingly rendered physique, which I'm totally okay with.
Magic fireballs not catching fire
This is a relatively minor issue in comparison to the rest, but I would just like to put out there that it really bugs me that everything in the game is made of stretchy wet clay. Wouldn't setting an Earthquake or Fireball spell off in the midst of the Alienage, a district composed of run-down wooden shacks, I may add, do at least a little bit of damage otherwise?
Welcome to videogames. That applies to just about everything that isn't Red Faction.
So apparently, Jowan destroys his phylactery, and the Templars can't find him because they don't have any of his blood. Despite the fact that, as a Blood Mage, he practically douses everyone with GALLONS of his own blood to get away. Um...?
Did you see that Awkward Zombie comic, too? In any case, I suspect the phylacteries are more special than just a vial of blood—we know they have some element of magic, since they never evaporate or dry out. Possibly if the blood isn't extracted in a specific way, it can't be used.
When Jowan destroys his phylactery, he just drops it on the floor and it shatters, spilling blood everywhere. From this, its fairly safe to infer that if the blood is spilled and allowed to dry out, then it is useless for tracking purposes. None of the blood he uses to attack the Templars looks to be in any condition to be used before it would have been dried-out enough.
To a qunari warrior, one's sword is representative of the soul - if one loses it, one has lost his soul. If Sten were to return to Par Vollen without his Asala, he would be executed as a soulless abomination. So what happens when a qunari's sword breaks in combat? Historically speaking, swords were expendable items, and it would be highly unrealistic for someone engaged in active combat to use the same sword for more than a couple battles, let alone years, without it breaking or otherwise being rendered unusable. Gameplay and story segregation not withstanding as there is no weapon fatigue mechanic in the game, it seems like a pretty gaping hole in their philosophy.
Qunari swords are apparently made from a special metal—and considering that such fantastic materials like "dragon bone" exist in which to forge weapons and armor, it can't be said how easily they would be broken. And, if they are—swords can be reforged.
Yeah. If the sword is broken, they fix it. Or issue a new sword to the qunari whose blade was damaged/broken. That said, the above troper has a point; swords don't generally break in this setting, because any sword of decent make is built out of materials that don't readily break.
Also, one's sword isn't their soul. Every qunari has a tool that they consider their soul, and for every soldier, that tool is a weapon(not necessarily but most often a sword). That being said, that specific weapon isn't the one they have to use. Sten can and will use weapons other than Asla once he has access to better swords. Doesn't matter what weapon they use, it's keeping the special one in their possession that's important.
Yeah, and even if it does break in battle there's no rule (that we know of) saying he can't just scoop up the broken pieces and carry them with him until he can get them fixed.
Presumably Qunari assume that any soldier that is missing their weapon deliberately abandoned it in order to preserve their own life (ie cowardice). Old Roman soldiers were similar with their shields. They were told "Return carrying your shield, or lying on it" (ie dragged back dead) and any soldier that dropped their shield in battle did so in order to fall back (which was not allowed, you either killed your opponents or died with honor and all that). Returning with a half shattered shield was fine, they'd simply be issued a new one, as it proved they did not falter in the face of an enemy. Qunari are likely the same. If they returned from battle with a broken weapon hilt they'd be commended for their courage and issued a new sword. But returning unharmed and without a weapon meant they dropped it and did not remain in the battle to retrieve it. Granted Sten's circumstaces were not this, but its likely trying to explain semantics about this (or anything to any Qunari really) would be considered excuses. Remember it takes Sten a very long time to accept the whole "Playing it safe and gathering allies" thing instead of simply heading right for the hoarde and either going out in a blaze of glory or winning, and you either have to have given him back his sword making him too grateful to object, or defeat him in combat in order to prove that you really are strong and have a plan, and aren't just being a coward. Qunari aren't really that reasonable.
Female Noble Can't Propose Before Landsmeet
I just played through the game as a female noble who romanced Alistair and became his queen at the end, and I have to say I was kind of annoyed with how I had to set it up. After killing Loghain, you get to decide whether Alistair or Anora will rule Fereldan. One option available to female nobles is to say "Alistair will be king, and I will rule beside him." Why the need to spring it on him like that in front of the other nobles? It seems like an option you should be able to discuss with him before the Landsmeet starts, especially if you're romancing him. A male noble who wants to rule beside Anora has to arrange it with her beforehand, so why isn't there an option to do the same with Alistair? Up until that point, I was playing my Warden as a fairly honest person who wanted to stay with Alistair out of love, yet forcing the player to spring it like that made her come across as a manipulative bitch making a power grab. (That's Anora's territory, damnit!) It's not too much of an issue (it certainly doesn't seem to bother Alistair) it just irked me.
Because he would have turned you down. He would have pointed out that, if he was going to become king, he would need to father an heir, and the chance of doing so with another Grey Warden was next to nothing. When you spring it on him in front of the Landsmeet, you don't give him a choice in the matter.
Not necessarily. You can persuade him to agree to the match in your conversation afterwards - why not simply move that discussion to before the Landsmeet? It's very out-of-the-blue, as-is.
Ok, insanely minor thing, but Bodhan specifically mentions being married to a woman in Denerim when talking about having adopted Sandal. You can spend quite a bit of time with him camped right outside of Denerim. Never meet his wife, never hear him talk about his wife after that, nothing. In the sequel, he never once mentions her(which could mean she died during the battle of denerim). That this character, if she even existed, is so ignored bugs me.
In hindsight, this kinda bugs me too. I mean, if Bodhan is a traveling merchant wouldn't he travel with his family?
I can understand him not traveling with his wife during the blight; dangerous out out on the road. Sandal, he needs for enchanting, that is half his business, after all(plus he seems to be aware of Sandal's Crouching Moron Hiddin Badass nature). But it seems to me that with all the people you bump into in Denerim, adding Bodhan's wife wouldn't have been too much trouble. But what bugs me is that his wife gets no mention at all in DA 2; if she's dead, it would have required all of three lines of dialogue to cover that. If she isn't, then he's apparently abandoned her.
Assuming you kill the Cult and the High Dragon, and let Brother Genitivi live, then the Urn and it's temple become a mecca for pilgrims. Except that the cultists and dragon weren't the only dangers. There's still the The Last Crusade-esque Gauntlet that could very well kill you. How did they get around that?
The temple around the Gauntlet could serve as a holy site, and only the most devout pilgrims would be allowed to brave the tests to visit the Urn.
Simply put, they wouldn't get around it. Filtering out people who aren't strong enough, in mind or in faith, is the whole point of the Guantlet. And what better way to filter out those with weak minds and weak faith than to tell them they'll be killed if they fail the tests?
Of course, after your character and his crew go through the Gauntlet that first time, they can traipse through it on subsequent visits with no trouble at all, since all the traps and whatnot are deactivated. Now, maybe we assume that the Guardian will reset them at some point after the end of the game, but we don't see that actually happen. For all we know, once the Gauntlet has been passed, anyone else who likes can come and go as they please.
"How Do You Know I'm a Mage?"
Several times during a mage Grey Warden's travels, he/she will encounter someone who is instantly able to identify him/her as a mage. The Grey Warden, who will typically be wearing mage's robes, possibly also a mage cowl, and carrying a mage staff, will then have the option of asking this person how they know he/she is a mage. Just once during this game, I would have liked to have the Warden ask, "How do you know I'm a mage?" and have the answer come back, "You're wearing Circle robes and carrying a big stick with little arcs of energy crawling all over it. Not exactly traveling incognito, are you?"
Yes, well, some of us played arcane warriors and/or hated mage robes so very much that we would rather put our mages in leather armor than any robes, regardless of the defense benefits. Though, admittedly, you'd still think the stick would be an obvious tip-off.
Even an arcane warrior can be recognized, especially if elven and/or female: Warden: "How do you know I'm a mage?" Bystander: "You're a 100 pounds girl wearing more than her weight in armors while weaving that huge sword like it was a butter knife: do you think I'm that blind, Mage?"
It depends how you equip your arcane warrior. Light/medium armor and a longsword or daggers wouldn't be "you must be magic" unusual, even for elves.
The Architect's Really Bad Idea
You know, for such a brilliant guy, the Architect isn't really all that bright. Apparently, he started the Blight that you spend Origins putting down when he woke up the latest Archdemon in an attempt to perform his bastardized Joining on it and "awaken" it the way he did his Disciples, on the theory that if he did this, the darkspawn would stop seeking it out and there would be no Blight. This is really stupid on a several levels. Why? Well, an Archdemon that hasn't had any contact with the darkspawn isn't an Archdemon, it's an Old God. That means that to even try this idea, the Architect would have to dig up this Old God, infect it with the darkspawn taint (thus turning it into an Archdemon), then somehow get it to chug Grey Warden blood and hope that this will both awaken it and make it non-evil. Let us count the ways this is wrong. First, the Architect hasn't really had a lot of success in making awakened darkspawn non-evil, has he? The Mother is awakened, as are all the Disciples following her. And even the Disciples that follow the Architect are pretty damned evil: witness the Withered's unique way of negotiating for peace with the Grey Wardens (which involves slaughtering everyone at the Vigil except for the Commander) or the Seeker's little tangent with Velanna. In all likelihood, awakening the Archdemon would simply have turned it into an unbeatable Magnificent Bastard, instead of a semi-mindless monster. Second, if your goal is to avoid a Blight, and waking up an Archdemon triggers the Blight, and you've found a slumbering, pre-taint Old God lying around, here's a suggestion: tip off the Grey Wardens about its location, and let them kill it. Problem solved, without the very real risk of starting the crisis you were supposedly looking to avoid. Finally, let's say, for the sake of argument, that the Architect's plan worked just as he hoped it would: he woke the Old God up, tainted it and turned it into an Archdemon, and then awakened it, thus eliminating its darkspawn mentality. What's the outcome here? It retains its original personality? Well, that's probably not optimal, either. Remember what this thing is: the evil god of the evil Tevinter Imperium, which, according to legend, was only put down in the first place by the hand of the Maker Himself. You wake that thing up with its original personality, and it could just decide to rebuild the Imperium and conquer the world. Is there any level on which this plan was not really, really stupid?
I think you weren't paying attention. The plan wasn't to make the Old God "non-evil", as that isn't what his joining ritual does, and the Architect doesn't care about that anyway. His version of the joining ritual cuts the Darkspawn off from the song of the Old Gods, allowing them to develop sentience. His hope is that it would work the other way around as well; if he cut the Old Gods off from the Darkspawn, then their song couldn't reach anyone, and all the Darkspawn would be free. In his notes he admits that he doesn't know if simply killing all the Old Gods would end the song, which is why he decided to see if his joining ritual would work. It was an epic failure, but not stupid on every level.
Inconsistencies with Golem origins
The Reveal when you find the Anvil of the Void is that Golems are created from living dwarves, as they need a soul to live While it's foreshadowed earlier by a Codex entry you find in the Deep Roads, it's treated as a huge revelation. It's repeatedly stated that the secret for making Golems was lost. Yet, if you have The Stone Prisoner DLC, Shale can find out her true name and origin by travelling to an old abandoned Thaig and looking at a memorial. Um, little problem there...
Cadash Thaig has been lost to the darkspawn for a long time. It's not like the dwarves can just pop in there really quick and find out how golems were made. They probably don't even know that memorial is there.
I think the original poster meant it's treated as a huge revelation to the PC, which it wouldn't be if Shale had already told him/her everything. Of course, the OOC reason why this is so is that the Orzammar quest was completed and shipped in the original game before The Stone Prisoner was completed, and therefore couldn't be rewritten to accommodate it.
No, I mean it's treated as a revelation even to the dwarves. NO ONE knew how Caridin made Golems, it was kept a secret from almost everyone. Whenever you talk about Golems, they always say "the secret to making them was lost" or "Caridin never told anyone how to make them," they never say "well, we know he needed living souls to do it." Wouldn't that be the sort of thing you'd mention? The problem is why there's a memorial in Cadash Thaig to the dwarves who gave their lives to the Anvil. It doesn't make any sense.
Actually, that's exactly the sort of thing you wouldn't mention if you wanted to keep doing it. Generally speaking, people are not too keen on letting people do things that are Powered by a Forsaken Child, even if it would probably benefit them, because it's just morally wrong. If word got out exactly what went into creating a golem, people would be up in arms about it. And even if they weren't, you probably wouldn't see a whole lot of people willing to volunteer anymore.
I can't actually find any evidence that the ancient dwarves didn't know that golems were forged with the souls of the living. That knowledge was lost to the dwarves by the time Origins rolls around, certainly, but there's no Codex or piece of dialogue that indicates Shale and the other volunteers didn't know what they were getting into.
When you first get to Caridin's Cross, ask Oghren about the Anvil. He'll tell you that every golem every fielded by the dwarves was forged by Caridin on the Anvil, and that Caridin never told anyone how it worked.
Name Styling Fereldan Nobility
What format should one use to refer to a member of the Fereldan nobility by name? Should one use "Title First Name" or "Title Last Name"? The game, for some reason, uses both, even for the same title. Loghain Mac Tir, for example, is always referred to as "Teyrn Loghain," while Bryce Cousland is always called "Teyrn Cousland." Similarly, Rendon Howe is known to all and sundry as "Arl Howe," but Eamon Guerrin is styled as "Arl Eamon." In real life, different cultures use one style or the other, and using the wrong one to refer to someone would be considered terribly rude. (Also, not a headscratcher, just a question: if there are arls and arlessas and teyrns and teyrnas, why are there not banns and bannas?)
No clue on the first part (the writers probably just forgot), but as for the second question, IIRC, the only female banns we see hold the title in their own right, while the terynas and arlessas we see are wifes of teryns and arls.
Feleden doesn't strike me as the kind of society that is built on precise adherence to protocol. There's a couple of instances where knights will specifically ask the Warden how you, specifically, want to be addressed as, which makes me think that each noble establishes how they wish to be addressed, and everyone uses that. In this case, Howe would say that he wishes to be referred to as "Arl Howe" while Eamon says that he would prefer to be called "Arl Eamon." Nothing more complex than that.
Most Fereldans only have one name anyways, with last names being reserved for nobility. So it would likely seem more natural to the people of Fereldan to refer to them by their first names.
It might be a north/south thing. Highever and Amaranthine are wealthy and powerful regions to the north, on the coast, while Redcliffe and Gwaren are in the southern country. Also, Loghain was born a commoner, and probably was only referred to by his first name for most his life.
Game encourages suicide?
You start the 'real' game with four seemingly equal options of where to go. You have encouragement from Alistar to go to Redcliffe, and from Morrigan to go to Denerim (which I considered much the better plan, anyway). And yet the game devs WANT you to go to the Circle Tower. It's designed that way. So why on Earth did they all-but-tell you to do otherwise? I get that both suggestions are appropriate for the characters - but really, the devs design the quests. This is just silly.
Because RPG fans are big on choice. Even if the choices are virtually irrelevant.
How do you know they want you to go to the Circle Tower?
They don't. They want you to choose which direction to go to first. Admittedly, Redcliffe and Orzammar are harder paths, but not impossible. I usually go to Denerim first when I leave Lothering and build up levels and gear doing those quests, then head to either the Circle or the Brecilian Forest.
Teagan skips the Landsmeet?
The Landsmeet is a gathering of nobles - banns and arls and what-have-you, all in charge of certain areas of land. Teagan's a bann himself, so why doesn't he go along? I mean, he was there when Arl Eamon suggested the Landsmeet, and his vote would certainly be in your favour.
Unless any vote Eamon casts supersedes Teagan's. His bannorn may be in Eamon's arling or something.
Or possibly everyone assumes Teagan's wishes coincide with his brother's - Fereldan families seem very close-knit (e.g. the Hawkes, the Couslands and, to an extent, the Howes).
Or maybe he wouldn't get a vote at all. Eamon doesn't cast a vote - maybe those who have explicitly chosen a side aren't permitted to influence the Landsmeet's decision. Loghain himself would presumably have a say in a Landsmeet in different circumstances, wouldn't he?
...Damn it all. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, for your entertainment I have defeated my own argument.
Mage Recruited Before Alistair?
I don't think the time frame for any of the other origins is ever explicitly stated, but in one fairly early conversation with Wynne it is revealed that a Mage Warden PC was recruited by Duncan and left the tower a year previously. Coupled with Alistair's statement that he had been a Grey Warden for only about six months when he met you, would that mean that Duncan recruited a Mage Warden PC before he recruited Alistair? If that is the case, and if you assume, I think reasonably, that you were traveling with Duncan all the way to Ostagar, wouldn't you have already met Alistair when he was recruited?
Alistair was recruited six months prior to Ostagar, which seems to occur a few weeks to about a month after the Warden is recruited, so no, he was definitely recruited long before the Warden. Wynne says that you've been gone a year after you finish up at the Circle. Similar comments are made about a dwarven Warden upon returning to Orzammar. The latter makes sense because the intention seems to be for the Warden not to go to Orzammar until they're already dealt with the Circle, Redcliffe and the Urn (which makes them having been gone a whole year more likely) whereas the Circle is intended to be the first treaty quest the Warden completes, creating some Fridge Logic about what a mage Warden has been doing all this time. Ultimately, it's probably best just not to think about it too much.
Accents Make Absolutely No Sense
I noticed this the first time I started playing the game. I'll lay it out for you as best I can. The Fereldan accent is a British one, the Antivan accent is either Italian or Spanish, and the Orlesian accent is French. The weird part is this: Humans and elves from both Antiva and Orlais will have their respective accent, but only humans from Fereldan will have the Fereldan accent; elves from Fereldan, even City-born elves, will have an American accent. What. The. Hell. Dalish elves have American accents in the first game, so you COULD say that City elves kept that accent, but in Dragon Age 2, well, now the Dalish have an Irish/Scottish accent! So, in that case, where the hell did the American accent for City elves come from? I really doubt they spend a lot of their time hanging around dwarves.
Yes, the City Elves have their own accent. They're their own distinct subculture who tend to restrict themselves to a particular area of a city and therefore develop and maintain their own culture. It's actually a quirk of linquistics that when you have multiple ethnic groups in close proximity, each with develop their own distinctive accent. Have you never watched a movie set in New York City? So yes; the City Elves having their own accent is actuallyTruth in Television. The American -> Welsh accent change was a deliberate design decision/Retcon to make the Elves more distinctive.
But the city elves don't have their own accent, they have dwarven accents. Personally I dont mind the creators trying to give different regions different accents, but what confuses me is when a elf-blooded human has a english accent, despite his motehr haveing a Welsh accent, his father a Spanish, and being raised in a community with North American accents.
Messed Up Summoning Priorities
In the book you use for the "Summoning Sciences" sidequest, it is made quite clear that the Magi consider the Fade Rifter to be by far the most dangerous of the three creatures that the book teaches how to summon. Yet, the Fade Rifter is a relatively weak creature (only Lieutenant ranked) and seems unable to leave the summoning area of its own volition. By contrast, the Trickster Whim, the second creature summoned, is a Boss ranked creature, is clearly very dangerous, and is able to simply teleport away once summoned, thus free to terrorize the countryside (which it does). Did it not occur to whoever designed the lesson plan used for the quest that maybe the Trickster Whim should be treated with as much caution as the Fade Rifter, or maybe more?
None of the entities are suppose to be able to escape. The only reason it was possible is because the person summoning them didn't do it properly. The Fade Rifter is used to scare apprentices into being careful, while the Trickster looks, and is suppose to be, harmless, because it isn't allowed to do anything. And besides, the Trickster Whim doesn't attack the person who summoned it, while the Fade Rifter does.
A possible What The Hell Hero moment:
Doesn't it strike anyone as conspicuously hypocritical that Duncan keeps giving the spiel about how Grey Wardens do 'whatever it takes' to stop Blights (and Alistair does too), but when asked what to do if the Archdemon appears, he says 'Leave it to us, don't attempt to engage it'? Given how once the Archdemon dies the Blight is over, and given how ONLY Grey Wardens can actually score the killing blow on it, it'd make more sense to have every single available Warden, regardless of experience or (especially) emotional attachment, dogpile it and kill it, no matter how many losses are sustained.
Duncan's words before the Tower of Ishal, on the other hand, come across as an attempt to protect Alistair... which would be all nice and good if he hadn't earlier murdered Ser Jory in cold blood, ignoring how he'd be making a widow of a pregnant woman who might be unable to take care of herself. So... yeah. Shouldn't he be prepared to sacrifice Alistair in a heartbeat as well, then, since, as he keeps repeating, WHATEVER IT TAKES TO STOP THE BLIGHT? Seems like the old man can talk the talk, but not walk the walk...
And no, the fact Alistair and you are green is no excuse. Again, ARCHDEMON. Kill it, end of Blight. Makes no sense at all for him to tell ANY Warden to stay back, it'd make sense to order a bum rush. Whatever he was thinking, at that point he was gleefully disregarding his own propaganda.
Alistair flat out says Duncan always gave him special treatment. Hypocritical? Perhaps, but it is at least consistent with what we know about Duncan. It also seems likely that Duncan honestly didn't think the Archdemon would show itself so early in the Blight and was just humoring the Warden. In fact, given that it's still in the Dead Trenches by the time the Warden gets to Orzammar, it seems that it really wasn't there during the Battle of Ostagar.
Duncan did honestly consider the possibility the Archdemon would show its scaly face, he even blatantly mentioned it to Cailan. "Your Majesty, you should consider the possibility of the Archdemon appearing" were the exact words he said. So he wasn't humoring anyone, he'd considered the possibility himself. He just happened to be a hypocrite about the whole 'Do everything you need to' thing, but then again, it does fit with his general attitude. He comes across as someone who ends up sucking up to authority figures for fear of going too far, but borderline bullies around those below him and has no qualms actually going too far with them. It may be unkind to say, but when your order's motto is basically 'Do whatever to accomplish our goal, price is irrelevant', acting as wishywashy around Cailan as he did just because you're afraid of shaking up your position is stupid. There's more urgent things to take care of than worrying about Grey Warden rep - like STOPPING the Blight. You can worry about the bloody PR later, Duncan. The King actually lends you an ear and has sympathy for your order, so stop tiptoeing around, ignore Loghain and just persuade him. Or is the main character the only one who has any clue about coercion?
Given the Wardens' uncomfortable history in Ferelden, looking as though he's trying to manipulate the king for his own purposes would be a good way of proving to everyone that the "Blight" is nothing more than an Orlesian plot. Given that, at this point in time, there is no actual evidence of any Blight and even the king is beginning to doubt the existence of an Archdemon (which he specifically tells you when you arrive in Ostagar), Duncan is trying to tread carefully. The concern here being, if the Wardens are accused of breaking neutrality for the second time and banished from Fereldan, who will stop the Blight?
Duncan knew about Alistair's origins, so that's probably why he received special treatment. Alistair tells you it always changed how people treated him.
Generally speaking, attempting to "bum rush" the Archdemon with waves of mooks just results in dead mooks. I never summon troops during the final battle with the dragon because they're completely ineffective and get killed off like flies. The fact that Alistair and the Warden are totally green IS a valid excuse, because they'll just get in the way.
Indeed. The Wardens might be willing to kill people if it's necessary, but I don't see why that means they should throw away lives when there is no benefit for doing so. Really, from any practical perspective, Grey Wardens lives are much more valuable than that of ordinary soldiers, as you need at least one Grey Warden to win, and so risking them in combat should be done only if there isn't a better way. Duncan had, at that point, far more experienced Wardens under his command, and an entire army backing him up. The older Grey Wardens would be sent to fight the Archdemon, as they are the only ones that could reasonably be expected to have a chance of actually beating it, but if they all died, I don't see how sending recruits out to get slaughtered would accomplish anything useful. It would be more practical, albeit ruthless, to have the recruits hang back while sending the regular troops to fight the Archdemon, and have them slowly weaken it even as it slaughters most of them. And then, once it's sufficiently disabled, you can have the recruits run in and deliver the killing blow. Risking some of your Wardens for a chance at victory makes sense, but you shouldn't risk all of them on a single attack, because if they fail, you've lost all chances of winning.
And to make a counterpoint of this, if you don't send ENOUGH Wardens at the Archdemon, you run the risk of it killing a few and then, y'know, flying away. Because it has wings. At which point you'll have to either find a way to get it back down (and let's face it, there won't always be a Riordan ready to awesomely leap on its back and mutilate one of its wings so it stays put), or resign yourself to the fact that you just wasted time and experienced GW's lives doing nothing of note to the damn thing. It's simple, cold, calculating logic: if killing a single target would end the war for good, then you should devote all your resources to doing so, no matter what the price is. New Grey Wardens can be made once the Blight has been quelled and things calmed down. At theat point in time, however, the most sensible thing is to have the damn thing dogpiled. And please note that Grey Wardens are only green in terms of how long they've been Grey Wardens. ALL of them have a good deal of experience fighting in general (even, and sometimes especially, your main character), and would be of more use than non-GW rank and file soldiers.
Are you laboring under the impression that if you simply send "ENOUGH" Wardens to kill the Archdemon, it will automatically be defeated? Because that really doesn't make any sense. There isn't some preset limit to the number of Wardens the Archdemon can fight. Holding a handful of Wardens back doesn't somehow increase the risk of the Archdemon killing a few and then flying off, because there is absolutely nothing preventing that from happening in the first place. Sending all your Wardens wouldn't mystically keep it from flying away, so the risk of that happening isn't a reason to send more Wardens at all. And your "simple, cold, calculating logic" seems to be forgetting that you've only got a limited number of people capable of killing the Archdemon. Yes, it makes sense to focus everything on that target in order to win, but if you've only got a limited number of chances to win, you shouldn't gamble everything on one shot. To kill the Archdemon, you only need one Warden to deliver the final blow, while fighting it is something that technically anyone can do, so "dogpiling it with Wardens" doesn't even accomplish anything useful. All it does put everyone capable of killing it at risk for no benefit.
Go tell that to nations in the past who actually won wars by using human wave tactics. You can't argue with the simple fact that dogpiling someone WORKS when done with sufficient numbers, especially if done to prevent people from moving. In the case of the Archdemon, it at the very least would prevent it from taking off and just, y'know, raining death on you from above, which thanks to the Darkspawn's own ballistae, can't even be prevented by your own anti-air equipment, since it gets destroyed while you're going towards the tower. Ostagar wasn't Fort Drakon, there's no convenient Riordan diving from above and mutilating one of the damn dragon's wings to force it to land. In that situation, what you want if the Archdemon appears is to have as many people actually capable of permakilling the Archdemon as possible in the area, so that there's no chance of a non-Warden accidentally killing it and ruining everything... and given that humans were grossly outnumbering Wardens, and given how in the heat of battle it's easy to forget that you aren't supposed to deliver the killing blow, sending regular humans at it is simply too dangerous an option, and could make it all in vain.
Dogpiling someone to keep them from moving might work in real life, but that's because in real life most people aren't gigantic flying dragons. And you seem to be basing your tactics on a misunderstanding of how the whole Archdemon death>soul transfer thing works as well. Honestly, this whole things seems to be less about the characters acting illogically and more you not understanding what tactics should be used in this situation.
Ants are perfectly capable of taking down insects 50 times their size, often with wings, by dogpiling them. I'd think it'd work for humans too. Yes, there'd be loss of life, but Alistair blatantly spells out that no Blight has ever been stopped without massive loss of lives - even from Wardens. The important thing is to kill the Archdemon in such a way that the Wardens will be the closest to it when it dies - not a Darkspawn or someone else with the taint, which in a grand melee where darkspawn blood is drenching everyone is guaranteed to be most of the army present, but the Wardens specifically. You can't afford to mess up that one, or it'll start all over again. That's why I'm saying use the Wardens to dogpile it - that guarantees at least one will be the closest to it, rather than it finding a convenient way of escape through someone who either is a Darkspawn or already carries the Taint, possibly without knowing it because he just received it. But never mind, agree to disagree. As a whole, seems to me Duncan didn't handle the whole situation very well from the get-go.
Just because ants can take down bigger insect doesn't mean they will. Again, you seem to be under the impression that the Wardens will automatically defeat the Archdemon if they try to fight it. Your whole strategy only makes sense if the Archdemons death is already guaranteed to happen in the first place. The problem with that, as we're trying to point out, is that you are never going to have a guarantee that the Archdemon is going to die in any particular battle. Holding Wardens back isn't a matter of trying to save lives, its a matter of not blowing all your shots at killing the thing at once. All in all, you seem to base your strategy on the unsupported preconception that killing the Archdemon is easy to accomplish simply by sending lots of Wardens at it, which isn't true no matter how much you insist it is.
A good leader does not waste the lives of their troops unnecessarily. It doesn't matter how many Wardens you throw at the Archdemon, the only one that matters is the one that could kill it. That means that it's best for the Wardens to use only troops with the best possible chance of accomplishing this feat, which neither your character or Alistair were anywhere near prepared to do at the time. Alistiar and your Warden are both young and green at the whole Warden job. In your character's case, they've only just recovered from the Joinining. Sending them in to fight the Archdemon at Ostagar would end with them dying at the hands of either the horde or the dragon itself. That would cost them two very good recruits with no gain. Better to send them off on the low-danger mission the king demands that Wardens attend and take the tougher guys with you. The Grey Wardens might be ruthless, but they aren't stupid. If you survived the Joining, that means that the order has already invested in you and would rather not use you as a meatshield when there are more important things to accomplish. Doing "whatever it takes" only applies if what you do actually contributes to the goal. Killing a non-Warden who's about the chicken out? That's cold blooded, but eliminates a potential security leak. Sending off two recruits on a near suicidal mission where you're not sure if the target is even present despite the presence of more experienced members? Not useful.
I wasn't arguing for sending Alistair and the Warden on the frontlines, I was arguing about the wisdom in Duncan telling them to STAY AWAY if the Archdemon actually showed up. Alistair is only green in the sense that he's new as a GW, but he had trained as a Templar for years before joining, so he has more experience as a fighter than most. And as for the main character, that may be a good excuse for anyone except the Dwarf Noble, given how said Dwarf noble, in order to even reach Duncan, had to wade basically naked through a couple dozen Darkspawn and was just fine. To be fair, that's less Duncan's fault and more the game not considering factors such as what origin you're using - the Dwarf noble probably has more experience fighting under his/her belt than most Grey Wardens, given how s/he lived in a cutthroat place surrounded by Darkspawn AND was implied to have participated in Provings before the Origin itself. The fact s/he's considered one of the best fighters in Orzammar helps. Having such a person hang back is just ludicrous, if you need good fighters, there's nobody better at the whole darkspawn killing than dwarves, Duncan even blatantly says as much.
Does your dwarf have a lot of experience fighting gigantic, flying dragons? No? How about being massively outnumbered by darkspawn when they've got a single intelligence guiding them to kill him/her specifically instead of mostly ignoring them? Still no? Then their past experience is null and void. Unless Templar training is more comprehensive than I thought, that goes for Alistair too. Remember, there is absolutely nothing preventing an Archdemon from simply flying away if they don't feel like they can win. The only reason you got up close to it in Denerim is because an older Warden managed to cripple it into sitting still. That took an extremely risky and ultimately fatal maneuver that only worked because of the sheer height of Fort Drakon. Human Wave tactics are pretty damned useless when your opponent is as powerful and mobile as the Archdemon. In fact, the sheer number of darkspawn in a Blight make human wave tactics laughably ineffective because the 'spawn outnumber everyone.
No Grey Warden alive at the time of the game had any experience with any of the above, so the argument's null and void. Archdemons only show up in Blights, Dragons are rare and keep to themselves, Ogres only appear in Blights (stated in the Codex), so nobody at all among the Grey Wardens could have experience in that, and everyone's on the same level. Oh, and about Riordan? There's no Fort Drakon to jump off of, and as I mentioned, the ballistae of the allied forces were immediately disabled by the not-nearly-as-stupid-or-blind-as-everyone-thought Darkspawn, who pretty much aimed at them first and foremost. If Duncan was entirely relying on those to keep the Archdemon from flying by and torching everyone, including the so-called senior Wardens, then he massively miscalculated and somehow assumed the Darkspawn were too stupid to aim for the obvious siege weapons... forgetting that during a Blight, the average Darkspawn is led by something a lot smarter than a human. So basically Duncan either had no idea what he'd do if the Archdemon DID appear (since, well, he can't bring it down, and the Archdemon can just fly by and turn him to a charred corpse), or he relied entirely on the ballistae, in which case he's got to have the worst tactical sense I've seen in the whole game, since putting all your eggs in one basket when you might face a flying creature that absolutely has to be brought down is a good way to lose them. How about a backup plan? And no, Loghain's men didn't count. Ground troops. Just as ineffective against a flying monster as anyone else. Duncan really should've requested more anti-air support, instead of keeping quiet for fear of pissing the King off. Just say "Oh, my lord? The Archdemon is a goddamn zombie dragon. We might need more dakka to bring it down, otherwise it would just pass over us and kill us all in a blazing holocaust!". Come on, man, that's perfectly acceptable!
Exactly what sort of anti-air gear do you think that these people have? It's not like they have a whole lot of flying enemies that would necessitate any anti-air weaponry. Short of the ballistae, the only thing that Fereldan's got for long distance is archers (pinpricks to an archdemon), catapults (slow, inaccurate, and difficult to reload), and mages (Chantry sisters made too much of a stink to put them to good use). They don't have cannons or explosives to work with, so ballistae are the best they've got. Cailain refused to take the battle seriously enough to prepare anything close to capable of bringing down a darkspawn horde let alone the Archdemon. Duncan knows full well that Cailain's being a glory hog dolt, but the Wardens' place in Fereldan is still too weak to risk losing royal support by throwing their weight around. He knows that the Archdemon probably isn't in this battle, so he's not too insistent on forcing the issue and plays along likely hoping that he could talk some sense into the king after he's actually seen what he's up against. He sends you and Alistair on to the tower under Cailain's order to appease the king, but not lose anyone all the powerful for the coming fight. Adding two rookies to the battle won't significantly improve the odds when you've got several dozen people with years of darkspawn fighting experience. Encouraging rookies to take pot shots at the most powerful creature in the world when you're still working on a plan to take it down is just begging them to pull something stupid that could easily cost you the fight.
...I had a witty response to this, but then realize this is pointless as neither of us will concede. I'll just say this and be on my way. By 'begging them to pull something stupid', do you by any chance mean something like, oh, I don't know... jumping from the tallest tower of an ancient fort to try and land on the back of a dragon in high-speed flight? Let's not mince words: what Riordan did was exactly the kind of stupid, foolish and reckless thing that one would expect rookies to make, and it got him killed. It also is the only thing that actually allowed you to finally kill the Archdemon for good, as it was crippled and forced to land. Simply put, when the situation is dire, you shouldn't look at things like experience and whatnot and trying to cut your losses, you should try and take the most direct way to end a conflict - in this case, killing the Archdemon. You can always make more Wardens later - it may be a callous thing to say, but Daveth was on to something when he said that if it'd end the Blight, he'd sacrifice himself and a lot more - and you never know that the so-called greenhorns actually manage something awesome specifically BECAUSE of their recklessness. Frankly, the player character manages to stop the Blight in large part thanks to doing things he by all rights should've failed to do or wasn't expected to do, and/or by setting morals and preservation of life aside when needed, depending on what choices you make about the Werewolves and Golems. A large part of this comes from him simply not knowing any better about his success chances, or knowing and ignoring them anyway. Sometimes, recklessness is what you need to win, not playing it safe. If everyone played it safe, half the battles in ancient Japan and China, to mention two notable countries with examples, would've gone very differently...
Riordan's stunt was reckless, but he didn't really have any better options. Denerim was burning around him, the Wardens are down to three active fighters including himself, and the Archdemon was rampaging plain view. If the city falls, Fereldan falls and the Archdemon gets a country's worth of land and resources to build up the Blight in full. This was the last, best hope for ending the Blight so a reckless move honestly couldn't hurt the cause too much. It was the riskiest move possible, but the situation was completely desperate. Like you said, it was the only reason you had a chance at victory. Ostagar was a different story: the Wardens were numerous, the Blight still relatively limited, and the Archdemon nowhere to be found. The situation was dangerous, but not the desperate, all-or-nothing final battle. There's no reason for idiotic heroics here because they had alternatives. Why waste resources and risk untrained rookies getting in the way when you aren't even certain that the main target will be there? Had Loghain not decided to cut his losses, the battle may not have been such a disaster. The end result of the battle on both the front lines and in the tower prove that the Warden and Alistair wouldn't have survived, let alone won the fight, so keeping them away from the main battle was probably the best move. There's a thin line between being reckless and pragmatic versus wasteful and stupid. Risk-taking can win battles, but only if you do so properly.
Duncan didn't order Alistair and the Warden into the Tower of Ishal; Cailan did. Keep in mind Duncan's position here. The Wardens had only recently been let back into Ferelden after an exile of centuries, and their numbers in Ferelden were far too few to actively resist the king's armies. If Duncan managed to piss Cailan off, then he could simply exile them again. Then, they're either kicked out of Ferelden or killed resisting arrest; either way they're not fighting anyone. If Cailan didn't order the Grey Wardens, then its quite possible Alistair and the player Warden would have been on the front lines. As it was, on the slim chance that the Archdemon would show up, Alistair and the player Warden would have to abandon their post (possibly before the signal was lit) and run all the way from the tower to the battlefield to fight it.
Isn't the more obvious answer simply that Duncan hadn't told you about the need for a Warden to die? He believes in doing whatever it takes to stop the Blight, but he stresses that you not confront the Archdemon because you don't know what it will take to stop it. He and the other Wardens do.
I can't believe nobody thought of this yet; Duncan was close to becoming overwhelmed by the Darkspawn taint, and if the Archdemon showed up he wanted to be the one to sacrifice himself rather han let anyone else who still had years left to live take the blow and get their soul destroyed. When he orders you and Alistar to stay away he's keeping two inexperienced and new recruits from needlessly throwing their lives away.
Duncan also has the suspicion that the plan is going to fail. He isn't 100% sure that the Archdemon will even show up, plus the inherent unpredictability of battle will mean he and the other Wardens might not be in a position to successfully engage the Archdemon. He wants you and Alistair to stay back as a sort of insurance policy should things go quite awry. Just might not have been expecting things to go as horrendously as they did.
Most people are overlooking that Wardens can detect the presence of the Archdemon. The Warden does not know anything about the Archdemon at that point (unless you want the possibility he received knowledge off screen which was never mentioned). Duncan brings up the possibility of the Archdemon showing up when someone questions whether or not it is a true Blight, not necessarily because he thought it would happen. His comment was most likely intended to reinforce the idea that this was a Blight, not simply a minor incursion.
Okay, so it's established that... err... at some point in the story, an entire year passes. However, I'm still utterly clueless as to when this time skip occurred... can someone please enlighten me?
Probably a combination of the time to and including Ostagar and the time when you were unconscious
The time scale in this game is really screwed up thanks to the fact that you can take the quests in any order and, apparently, travel for weeks on foot off-screen every time you change locations. That's probably why Wynne's "nearly a year since you left the Tower" conversation sounds so weird. Thinking about that, I'm kind of surprised that the party doesn't complain more about the sheer amount of time and effort you force them to put into sidequests like delivering mail while ignoring the Blight for the most part.
The game operates on Comic Book Time. Example: you will be apprised of King Endrin Aeducan's death by either the bartender in Lothering or Bodahn in your camp right after the Battle of Ostagar, but you will be told that Endrin died "not three weeks ago" when you arrive first arrive at the gates of Orzammar. This will happen even if Orzammar is the last quest you initiate before the Landsmeet and you therefore have been traveling for months (Dagna mentions at one point that it takes three weeks to get from Orzammar to the Circle Tower and back, so imagine how long the trek from Redcliffe to Denerim must be).
Covering Your Mouth
Darkspawn blood normally does horrible things if ingested, a slow painful death, ghoulification and eventual transformation into Darkspawn being the well known results. So the hell doesn't anyone take the precaution to cover their mouths when facing a situation where Darkspawn blood is likely to be spilled in violent sprays and gushers all around? A simple face mask would do wonders to stop errant drops of blood landing into a mouth screaming war cries in battle.
During the battle of Ostagar, it seems like the bulk of Cailan's army had their faces exposed.
Grey Wardens at least can claim immunity (in a fashion, after 30 years or so it still gets them) from the taint.
Dwarves MIGHT be able to get a pass by claiming to have higher resistance to it, much like their resistance to magic, and inhuman toughness like Oghren or having resistance to Darkspawn blood bred into them via generations of Forever War against the Darkspawn.
Sadly, the only forces that have the sense to wear masks as part of their usual gear are Legion of the Dead and Loghain's own faceless goons.
Masks would offer little protection, as darkspawn blood can still get into your body through open wounds. You accumulate those pretty quickly in open battle. It's also stated that some of the darkspawn, like shrieks, coat their weapons in their own blood.
It's also implied that the mere presence of the darkspawn can lead to corruption.
Misconception. Darkspawn taint does not spread through ingestion, it spreads through simply being in contact with the darkspawn. Exposure to their blood can be fatal, and ingestion probably speeds up the process, but you can contract the taint just making contact with their blood, and there's some implications that it may be airborne, considering how the environment changes wherever darkspawn roam. Covering your face won't help, and medieval armor is far from a NBC suit.
Bowstrings non existent
Hmm, has anyone else noticed that bowstrings are completely absent in Origins AND Dragon Age II? Why in the hail do all the bows in DAO or Dragon Age II not have any bowstrings? I do archery in real life, so to me that's a colossal, major screwup and immersion killer right there, as obviously a real bow would be totally unusable without a string.
It's an engine limitation. Bowstrings would need to expand and stretch to be properly animated, and the engine doesn't handle that very well.
It's a fantasy world. Maybe they're made of giant spiders' silk, so thin as to be effectively invisible to the naked eye. That could also be why shields and weapons just seem to stick to people's backs - the harnesses and what not are made of the same stuff. Or it could be the above-mentioned engine limitations.
Wynne and Shale's journey after the game
So, one of the possible epilogues says that Wynne and Shale are going to travel to Tevinter to try and find a cure for Shale's golemism. But am I remembering wrong, or weren't the Tevinter mages uniformly (or at least, mostly/by reputation) Blood Mages? One would think Wynne would think twice about going to them for help.
Most of the big ones are pretty bad, but some are perfectly well-meaning. Regardless, there's really no other option. Thanks to the Chantry's obsessive bans any all but the most minor of magical research (even simple dissections for medical purposes are banned for fear of blood magic) everywhere else, Tevinter is the foremost authority on magical phenomena. It's a risk, but if there is any hope of restoring Shale, it'll be there.
The Tevinter Imperium is portrayed as a very advanced (for Thedas) society, and also a nation that was (until relatively recently) extremely wealthy. So why do the magisters (members of the Imperium's ruling class) all dress like refugees from a Conan the Barbarian story? You would expect guys described as living in garish opulence even today to not dress like cavemen. (Interestingly, there is one mage robe in the game credited to Tevinter origin that doesn't look like this. It's the Vestments of the Seer from the Witch Hunt DLC.)
There's only two styles of mage robes in the game : Conan and regular. Chalk it up to limited character models. Some Tevinter wear regular, some wear Conan. There's a lot more variation in the sequel, and the Tevinter mages encountered in that game wear much better outfits.
Design issues also explain why half of the mage staffs in-game look like burned sticks rather than weapons made of various metals.
Loghain is depicted as a scheming Orlesian-hating hardass in Origins, but his character in The Stolen Throne makes him seem not even half of what he is in the game. He has reasons to hate Orlais, certainly, but he's hostile to the idea of joining Maric's rebellion, of fighting against the Orlesians and at one point even tries to leave the rebellion only to be made an officer and obligated to stay. It's made pretty clear that the only reasons he sticks around is his friendship with Maric and his love for Rowan. So did he have a midlife crisis or something?
Loghain is a lot older in the game than he is in the novel. In the time in between the two, he gets to see the rebellion succeed, the Orlesians driven out, the country rebuilt and the old freedoms and prosperity restored. He spends decades leading the government as one of the nobility and defending the country from Orlesian plots to regain control. Maric and Rowan both pass away and Loghain is left helping their son run the country. He became truly dedicated to helping Fereldan at some point between the novel and the game.
The Howe Contradiction
The in-game codex and certain in-game dialogue indicate that the Howe's fought on the side of the Orlesians before being brought to heel by the Couslands. Arl Tarleton Howe, Rendon Howe's father, is mentioned specifically as being hanged and Rendon deciding to join with the Couslands for the rebellion. The Stolen Throne, however, indicates that the Arl of Amaranthine is Byron Howe, who joined the rebellion after one too many humiliations by the Orlesian king of Ferelden. He's even mentioned by Nathaniel Howe as an uncle who was revered as a hero of the rebellion.
Most likely it's because, like many other minor lore discrepancies in the franchise, BioWare just plain forgot or misremembered it. In-universe, the mostly likely explanation I can think of is that the Howe family was divided into factions, Tarleton and Byron leading different branches of the family. Since they were brothers, it's certainly possible, especially if the elder of the two was illegitimate (thus weakening his claim) or they were twins or something.
Actually, at that point in time, the Howes ran Harper's Ford(Aldous mentions it in the Human Noble origin). Byron died during the rebellion, and Amaranthine was given to the Howe family later.
I don't have the book on me to confirm, but I recall that Byron Howe explicitly was the Arl of Amaranthine in The Stolen Throne. He was able to command a large force of men to join the rebellion, and was put in command of nearly half the rebellions total strength by Maric.
How is it possible that Leliana, who can give you a big speech about the lore surrounding every other major location in the game (except Haven and the Temple of Andraste, which have been deliberately hidden for centuries), doesn't know anything about Lake Calenhad? It's only just about the most storied place in all of Ferelden, with legends about it dating back to before Andraste's time.
It is pretty strange. My theory is that before going to Fereldan, she sat down and read her ass off about local tales, but just never got around to Lake Calenhad for some reason (This probably goes against Leliana's song, but I'm thinking on my feet here).
Blood Mage cut out scene
I know this scene was cut out but a whole deal with attacking the Warden for being a blood mage seems rather stupid to me. Irving, Wynne and Greagoir will try to kill the Player Character if he/she is not persuasive enough. They attempt to murder only person who was willing to save their asses and is important for Ferelden’s survival. They will do it even though they just saw you wiping the floor with a pride demon abomination (a very POWERFUL being). At best they get themselves killed, at worst they doom Ferelden. Greagoir brushes off your argument that he has no legal authority over you, even though he respected the Right of Conscription before. It’s like their intelligence suddenly goes down once they hear “blood mage”.
You're seeing it from the omniscient perspective of the player. At worst, they get themselves killed; at best, they save Ferelden from an insane Pride Abomination waiting to happen. The Warden has no importance to Ferelden's survival whatsoever as far as anyone outside the Wardens is concerned, because every single fact about the importance of the Wardens is a deeply-kept Warden secret. Just like with Loghain, as far as they know, the Warden is completely irrelevant to defeating the Blight, because "The Grey Wardens must defeat the Blight" is nothing more than a tired rhetoric that the Grey Wardens use to justify their continued presence in the various nations, with no factual basis to support it.
They do know the Warden and Alistair are building an army to defeat the Blight. If you do the Circle Tower quest as the last one you arleady have the Arl of Redcliffeat, elves and dvarves at your side. They don't have to know only you can kill the Archdemon. Arresting you will prevent you from doing your job (which you are apparently quite good at since you managed to convince all these fractions to fight with you). They should be interested in stopping the Blight. The wole situation looks more like Greagoir and Irving know you are a blood mage and are trying to find an excuse not to arrest you. Even if you aren't persuasive enough Greagoir doesn't shut up about the Grey Wardens doing always what is needed. All he has to do is to tell Wynne they can resolve this situation later. She was the one pushing for your arrest.
Not everyone even believes that this is a Blight. Blood Mages are universally hated. They won't stand for a Blood Mage, even if you happen to be a Warden. And having several armies at your back doesn't mean dick to them except that you're a good Blood Mage.
How did the Warden explain to the other Wardens about the Dark Ritual?
Surely the other Wardens would know something was up when both of the only Wardens in Ferelden survived killing the archdemon? Of course they could tell the truth, but that would open a whole other can of worms. How would they explain that without telling the truth? (they couldn't tell Riordan was the one who sacrificed himself, for example, as a lot of people present on top of Fort Drakon saw the the PC deal the final blow and still live)
They could just go, "Uh, I dunno...we got lucky?" and the Wardens decided that, on rare occasions for some unknown reason, you can survive. Maybe it was previously the most senior Warden who took the killing blow (since he was about to go on his Calling anyway), and they figured having a young recruit do it gave you a chance at survival - tainted enough to call the dragon's soul, pure enough to drive it off?
It's not as though they have the liberty in the world to figure out exactly what happened. All the Wardens in the Anderfels know is that there was a Blight, and the Ferelden Wardens defeated it. Not even the Orlesian Wardens know what exactly took place. And for all the witnesses there were, the Wardens are hardly going to send someone to track down every one of them and cross-reference their accounts in order to figure out what happened. That said, if you don't import a Warden to Witch Hunt, you can explain that you're looking for Morrigan to try and pin down what her involvement was in the Blight.
Remember that this is the Fifth Blight, meaning a grand total of five Archdemons have been killed. While it should obviously raise some eyebrows, it's's still closer to "Huh, that's not what happened last time" than to "What? That's not how it works!"
Quite possibly the Warden just plain told them the truth. It's pretty clear the Grey Wardens are down with demon summoning, blood magic, and lots of other things so long as they're used against Darkspawn. The only risk in explaining is that they might be worried that Morrigan was flat-out wrong about the Archdemon soul being destroyed in the jump. Alternately, a modified version of the story where Morrigan used her mysterious magic powers to redirect the Archdemon soul to Riordan while he was bleeding out would also be acceptable.
What would there be to tell them? The Archdemon is dead, the Blight is ended and a senior Grey Warden from Orlais is dead in the doing. Sounds pretty open and shut to me.
It's strongly suggested in post-Origins DLCs and Dragon Age II that Grey Wardens outside of Ferelden were not told the whole truth and are still sniffing around, even after 7 years. Even if your Warden didn't use the Dark Ritual and died, King!Alistir says there are Grey Wardens constanly asking questions in Denerim. There is a good reason to keep it quiet. Wardens exists to stop the Blight and if the Archdemon's soul survived there can still be another Blight. They may want to hunt Morrigan and her kid down to make sure this doesn't happen.
This is something I have Alistair wonder about (fruitlessly) in my fanfic, but it genuinely bothers me. Riordan tells Alistair and the Warden that at the Joining, the recruits drink a mixture of darkspawn blood, lyrium, and Archdemon blood. What I really want Bioware to tell us is... why? Who was it, all those ages ago, who decided that this particular mixture of ingredients would solve the problem? And my other question is about the words spoken at the Joining. Duncan says they've been spoken "since the beginning" - but who made them up for the first Grey Wardens? Basically, I just want another game or a DLC or even a book that explains the history of the Order in full, because there's a lot of things about them that don't make a lot of sense.
The first Wardens did it. They came up with it, and they came up with the words. Some mage at the beginning stumbled on the right combination of stuff. It's an ancient tradition, honestly, exploring the exact origins would only cheapen it, just like how the Star Wars prequels (and the EU) do very little but remove the mystique and mystery surrounding ancient events.
The words are just an oath, not some magical incantation. They're pure ceremony, not necessary for the physical transformation. As for the mixture, it was likely created after somebody figured out exactly why the Archdemon wouldn't stay dead during the first Blight and applying theoretical knowledge to "real world" scenarios like any other medication. There was probably a bit of trial and error going on, but given the dire situation of the First Blight (i.e. a full century of darkspawn attacks) it was probably seen as fully justified.
The Wardens began drinking that concoction for the same reason that most people currently still use remedies developed thousands of years ago. Trial and error by those studying drugs and medicine eventually lead to discovering a particular combination of ingredients having a particular effect.
Exactly. A mixture of darkspawn and archdemon blood and lyrium probably isn't too difficult to come by on the battlefield - the First Blight lasted two hundred years, during which the Archdemon (Dumat) was probably "killed" quite a few times, leaving lots of blood spraying around. According to the wiki, the Wardens weren't initially special in any way besides being "seasoned veterans from darkspawn battles," and it goes on to mention that one of their number suggested deliberately consuming darkspawn blood. The other two ingredients probably followed in time.
Bann Teagan's questionable choice of attires
Okay, so in that first scene where Bann Teagan chews out Loghain (uh, not literally), we see him dressed in full mail armour while everyone else (besides Loghain) is in noble clothes. This is explained by him having come straight from Ostagar to attend the meet. Okay so far. But when the time comes to defend Redcliffe from hordes of undead, he chooses to do so...in his noble clothes? Did I miss something? Was his armour still in the wash?
He probably left the armor in Eamon's castle or somewhere else outside Redcliffe village. The undead attacked while Teagan was touring the village for whatever reason and he got caught unawares. He can't make it back to the castle (that's where the undead came from) and he can't abandon the villagers, so he's stuck trying to defend the town with just a spare sword and shield and the clothes on his back.
Alistair's Isolde Angst
I get that Alistair's a good-natured guy, but I really can't comprehend why he gets so broken up if Isolde sacrifices herself to save Connor, considering that, by his own admission, the woman deliberately made his childhood miserable out of petty jealousy.
Probably because he knows what it's like to grow up without a mother, and now that's what Connor will have to do.
Disliking someone =/= wanting to see someone dead. Alistair is good at being the bigger person and taking the high road, and he shows with with Isolde. He understands where she's coming from and never takes it personally. He doesn't hate Isolde, he even says he knows her concerns are reasonable. Combine that with hating it when children grow up without family, and his reaction makes sense.
The Circle Incompetent at their job?
The given goal of the circle is to gather all the mages in one place so they can be kept under close watch due to the danger they represent. Except that even without counting the whole Abomination accident, most mages in Ferelden are allowed to operate outside the Circle without much impediment. Maybe 10% of all mages you encounter are Circle mages. The rest are most likely all apostates. The village of Haven? Probably had 40 mages in the temple alone. The Dalish? Plenty of mages operating there without the slightest overwatch. Similar to the mages employed by various underworld types (I somehow doubt the Templar authorize mages to go work with the thugs attacking people in Denerim). Even if one argues "Most Circle Mages died during the massacre but there were far more than we saw" and Space Compression, the entire circle fits in a single 5 story tower, so they can't be that many. Meanwhile none of the templars ever realize that their "solution" to the mage problem was completely non-functional? That you can't walk anywhere without encountering apostate mages?
Both the Dalish and the village of Haven are, by design, extremely isolated from the rest of the human world, and, as a result, are difficult for human authorities like the Circle to keep track of to any real degree (in the case of Haven, it's implied that most people don't even know the village exists). And the size of the Circle might be explained by the fact that only a portion of mages make it all the way through the training...
The Circle in Ferelden is not the entirety of the Circle. It is most likely the smallest, least important branch of the Circle due to it being in Ferelden, a backwater, relatively unpopulated country for any race, except the Dwarves, who can't be mages. In addition, the Dalish are only technically apostates. The very low number of Dalish mages (at most two per tribe and those are numbers they struggle to maintain), technically not being subject to any authority that actually acknowledges the Circle in any meaningful way, and extreme neutrality, means that Templars don't bother with them as a rule without being provoked first.
In addition, excluding Haven (where there is a dragon that no one noticed, as well) and the Dalish, there are very few apostates, especially compared to the Circle's numbers, even just the Ferelden branch, and the few apostates that are around are almost, as a rule, powerful enough to easily take down Templars that come across them. Meaning that the Templars have to take a large force to the middle of nowhere Ferelden in order to take out an apostate that would otherwise not do anything significant beyond existing. Not surprisingly, they choose to prioritize apostates in more densely populated areas that haven't been depicted significantly in the games.
From what we see in conversations with the various NPC citizens, it really seems like someone has to be turned over to the Circle by their family or a neighbor who tells the Templars. However, as we see in the sequel, entire families of mages can go years without being noticed by Templars living in the same town. It stands to reason that these apostates were either raised in secrecy outside the Circle by their families (as Isolde tried and miserably failed at) or learned to fend for themselves. Templars don't seem to go looking for apostates unless they get a report of someone performing blood magic or demon-summoning, and even then it seems to be difficult to root them out, as (obviously) mages outside the Circle don't have phylacteries for the Templars to track them by.
Lily and Aeonar
There's one thing that always bugged me about the ending of the Mage origin. Why the snap decision to throw Lily in Aeonar? Especially when it was proven that Jowan had indeed lied to everyone, even his friends, about being a blood mage? Even if she had intentionally helped him, why was Greagor so quick to throw her in a mage's prison? She's simply an initiate who had forsaken her vows. Is Greaigor so heartless that he'd throw an ordinary human into the Thedas equivalent of Azkaban just for helping a blood mage? The whole thing didn't sit well with me. It felt overly excessive, even for the situation. Being an ordinary human with no magic, Lily was hardly a threat. Being stripped of her priesthood and sent away would have been enough.
Unintentional or not, she is a Chantry initiate who knowingly allowed a blood mage to escape. Given the Chantry's views on blood magic, it make sense that they'd give the most extreme punishments to one of their own who knowingly betrayed them like this, even if there was no malice behind it. Your mage can try to defend Lily, but she'll tell you she believes she deserves this punishment, being a loyal Andrastrian.
Not to mention that she's probably feeling really guilty about not spotting the signs that Jowan was dabbling in blood magic earlier.
Bringing People Into the Fade
I've been scrolling through and hadn't seen anything that addressed this: during the Redcliffe quest, in order to save Connor you have to send a mage into the Fade. To do this, either Jowan has to be there and offer to use all of the blood in Isolde's body, or you have to go to the Circle and request the assistance of a few mages (and even they have to bring a bunch of lyrium). And this is all to send exactly ONE person into the Fade. But then in DA2, Marethari is able to send not just Hawke, but three of Hawke's companions into the Fade to rescue/kill Feynriel. By herself. No extra lyrium/blood drama needed. Is Marethari just a special flower?
The situation with Marethari may be a special case because she was dealing with a somniari.
I had always assumed this was because Marethari was Dalish, and using Dalish magic. It's hinted that Circle magic works differently than other types— Morrigan knows magic no one else has heard of, Merrill and Valenna have different spells and specializations that other non-Dalish characters can't learn naturally. I always figured that there are easier ways to send people into the Fade than the way Jowan and the Circle do with Connor and Isolde, but the Circle isn't aware of these types of magic. Considering according to some sources, the original pre-Dalish elves basically single-handedly invented Blood Magic, it's fair to say Dalish magic is pretty powerful.
It's also worth noting that, in the Mage origin, it's mentioned a few times that Jowan isn't a very good mage, and that's why he turned to blood magic: because he thought it would make him better. Maybe all the really powerful and skilled mages in the Circle were, you know, eaten by abominations, and that's why it took so many of the less-powerful survivors to accomplish the task.
I always assumed it was because the Veil is demonstrably thinner around Sundermount than in other places. If you play Awakening, it doesn't take anything particularly special for the First to bring your entire party (and itself) into the Fade from the Blackmarsh, an area where there were already numerous Veil Tears. Likewise, Sundermount is a place where the Fade already intrudes upon reality quite a bit—shown both by the presence of the possessed skeletons and in comments by Anders or Bethany—so it's probably much easier for a mage to bring people into the Fade from that area than from a more "normal" place like Redcliffe Castle.
Cullen's misplaced feelings
I'm really not sure why this guy claims to "love" (and subsequently loathe) a woman that he clearly doesn't even know personally? He only seems to "know" her by observing from afar, as the templars always do... which makes him seem more like a Stalker with a Crush than anything else.
A powerful crush can feel a lot like love to somebody without experience, which a young Templar recruit would not have.
Other Grey Wardens from Prologue
During the Dwarf Noble prologue, Duncan has an entourage of three other Grey Wardens in his company. Why were they not with him in any of the other Origins, even the Dwarf Commoner? And why do they inexplicably vanish afterwards? I know they probably died with all of the others after the disastrous Battle of Ostagar, but why were they not at the King's camp?
Presumably they either were and Duncan had them off running errands the same way he had you doing things, or they were doing...Warden stuff like preparing for the battle and wandering around and you just never ran into them. You can only be in one place at once, after all.
You see maybe 40 people, total, in the camp before the battle. Of course you don't see all of the other Grey Wardens. You don't see all the mages, or all the King's men, or all of Loghain's army, either. You only see an extremely tiny fraction of the people participating in the battle.
The guard at the gate of Ostagar (who is very easy to miss) mentions that most of "your people" (Wardens, since he says it no matter which origin you have) are in the field with the rest of the army. Presumably Duncan had everyone but the three recruits and Alistair out boosting morale amongst the troops.
How does anyone know that taking out the Archdemon costs the Warden's soul? It's not like anyone has actually been to the afterlife, and the player only encounters a handful of ghosts. All that can be verified is the Warden dying and the Archdemon not reincarnating.
It could be it's something of a form of in-universe Wild Mass Guessing, complete with some basic reasoning behind the surmising. During the first Blight, perhaps they had tried killing the Archdemon without a Grey Warden, only to see the nearest darkspawn become the new Archdemon. Assuming by then that they'd already established that Grey Wardens share many traits with Darkspawn, and then finally had one kill the Archdemon, perhaps the rest was them just hazarding a guess and passing it along as tradition. Either way, the point's somewhat moot - as you said, the important bit is that the only way to keep the Archdemon from reincarnating is to have a Warden kill it, apparently. The rest is either them guessing, or perhaps an unknown source we haven't seen yet.
While replaying the Mage Origin, I noticed that if you talk to the guy who is getting Duncan's room ready in the Tower, he'll tell you that the Grey Wardens only ever have one mage recruit at a time among their ranks. Not only is this blatantly untrue as of Awakening, but it also seems really stupid. What if that single mage recruit didn't survive the Joining? I get that anti-mage prejudice might make it politically difficult for the Grey Wardens to have a whole bunch of magic users in their order—I'm sure the Chantry, and possibly also the government, depending on who was in charge, might start getting on their case about it—but surely there's some middle ground between "one mage ONLY" and "overrun by mages." I'm willing to accept that maybe an imported Hero of Ferelden Warden tasked with rebuilding the order after the Blight would do things his/her own way with regard to picking recruits, but what about a newly-created Orlesian Warden who allows both Velanna and Anders to attempt the Joining? If the player is also a mage in Awakening, that means that fully half your party (and, by extension, up to half of all active Wardens in Ferelden, depending on what happened to Alistair) are mages. It's just a stupid, easily-missed bit of throwaway dialogue, and the guy might not even know what he's talking about, but the illogic of it really bugs me.
The simple answer is that the mage prepping Duncan's room was wrong. Alternatively, it's possible the one mage policy extends to circle mages and wouldn't apply to apostates(which both Anders and Velanna technically are).