Follow TV Tropes


Fanfic / Life on Thedas

Go To

Life on Thedas is a Dragon Age fanfic that has the basic Self-Insert Fic setup. Guy plays video game, goes through some unexplained incident and winds up in the world of the video game. In this fic, the narrator wakes up in the middle of the Ostagar battlefield surrounded by mutilated corpses, is nearly killed by two darkspawn and it all goes downhill from there. Enter Elisa Cousland, a Genki Girl with a darker side, who quickly becomes the narrator's Warrior Therapist.


There are similarities to Mass Vexations, obviously, as the writer is a self-confessed fanboy that often reviews Vexations 2 chapters. Then Herr Wozzeck endorsed the fic on Vexations 2, so that says something.

Be warned; due to a First-Episode Twist, you should read until chapter 6 if you don't want to be spoiled.

The following tropes apply to Life on Thedas, in addition to the tropes found in the source material:

  • Action Girl: The Warden, natch.
  • As You Know: An odd variation. At first original dialogue was directly transcribed, but further on the author just writes his own by paraphrasing the events of the game. The narrator also tries to avoid slipping up and revealing something he shouldn't know. For example, Morrigan suspects that he knows about the Dark Ritual because he asks if she'd "be willing to die for something really important."
  • Advertisement:
  • Author Avatar: Of course, but with a heaping dose of Self-Deprecation.
  • Batman Gambit: The narrator tries one to protect Redcliffe Village during the Arl of Redcliffe quest. It backfires. Badly.
  • Berserk Button: Elisa's seems to be threatening her party members.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: The narrator ponders if he has to die to go home after a Life On Mars-style hallucination, just like Art. The difference is that the narrator admits he wouldn't have the guts and he'd probably run away if the situation arose.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Elisa is usually very pleasant. Getting on her bad side isn't a good move.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The party saves the narrator in Lothering when he stops to help Bodhan Feddic.
    • Malcolm comes out of nowhere to save the narrator after he sets Redcliffe village on fire.
    • Subverted when the party charges into the carta hideout to save Malcolm to find him saving himself quite nicely.
    • Advertisement:
    • In short, just take a shot each time Malcolm pulls one and you'll be too drunk to read the rest.
  • Blow You Away: For some unknown reason (presumably thematic purposes) the narrator can use wind magic.
  • Body Horror: Turning into an abomination isn't fun. Especially when it's happening to the narrator.
  • Breaking Speech: Bhelen gives a couple about Elisa's choice in Orzammar.
  • Broken Ace: Elisa shows a few shades of this, between her almost-bipolar switches from Genki Girl to Tranquil Fury - especially when Arl Howe is mentioned, and the revelation that she's a Death Seeker.
  • Butt-Monkey: The narrator can't catch a break.
  • Canon Foreigner: Two so far. The Black Knight and Epona, the latter eliciting a Flat "What" from the narrator.
  • Cassandra Truth: When asked by Elisa, the narrator explains that he's from another world. She thinks he's just making up an interesting backstory and accepts him into the party.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Malcolm returns and defies Flemeth to save the party.
  • Character Development: The narrator is noticeably less timid in the latter parts of the story, and of course his fighting skills improve.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Desire Demon possessing Connor recognizes the narrator. This is left basically uncommented-on until the Circle Tower, when Uldred apparently awakens a demon inside the narrator.
    • Not to mention that in the Circle Tower Wynne recognizes the narrator by his assumed name. The narrator then flashbacks to when he met Wynne at the army camp in Ostagar. Despite the fact that he only entered the Dragon Age world AFTER the battle.
    • The fact that the narrator's mind apparently follows Inception rules in the Fade is certainly not going to be forgotten, complete with a good-counterpart for the Mal figure. Maybe.
    • During their first training session, the narrator works out that the biggest flaw in Elisa's style is that forcing her onto the defensive is the easiest way to beat her. Come chapter 10, the narrator uses this in his fight with Zevran.
    • The narrator is forming Social Links with the party. This is a HUGE unfired gun.
  • Christmas Episode: Which included the start of the narrator's involvement with Morrigan.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Understated, but visible. For example, in Redcliffe he jumps at the chance to kick down Dwyn's door 300-style. It doesn't work. On the whole his mental train derails when he's agitated or scared, such as during the defense of Redcliffe village where he debates whether to call the attackers zombies or undead.
  • Colossus Climb: Zevran gets to perform one of these on Flemeth in her dragon form.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The narrator doesn't have much sword skill, so he makes up for it with this.
  • Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story: The narrator tells the Warden that he was a commoner who ran away from home to join the army at Ostagar, then survived the battle and came to find her. Subverted, as the narrator is actually the City Elf PC, who actually was at Ostagar but lost his memory. Maybe.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The friendly duel between Elisa and Zevran.
    • Possessed!narrator murders a whole bunch of darkspawn without breaking a sweat.
    • Invoked at the conclusion of Orzamamr. Duran Aeducan kills Bhelen without any effort whatsoever.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The narrator strikes out on his own for a couple of chapters, even managing to kill Flemeth.
  • Dead Fic: Last update was May 2011.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The entire fic is a World of Snark - possibly the only non-snarky character is Leliana.
  • Death Seeker: Elisa, at least in part.
  • Demonic Possession: The narrator. It leads to struggles and nightmare fuel alike.
  • Determinator: Despite being cursed by a werewolf Elisa escapes her tent to help the others.
  • Disney Villain Death: How Uldred is disposed of, though it doesn't fulfill its role as a Gory Discretion Shot.
  • Dream Within a Dream: The narrator lands in one after getting pulled into the Fade. The recurring dream of his station of awakening is implied to be the third dream level, or limbo.
  • Dual Wielding: The Warden's combat style. The drawbacks of the style are addressed, however, and Elisa is shown to be constantly honing the style. The only time she dual-wielded two full-size swords was to curb stomp the Broodmother.
  • Dudley Do-Right Stops to Help: The narrator pulls this to save Bodhan Feddic and his son from darkspawn outside Lothering. Thankfully the party saves him before he's overwhelmed.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Sigrun is part of the Legion of the Dead detachment the party comes across in the Deep Roads. The narrator is utterly confused.
  • Epic Fail: As the narrator concocts a plan to protect Redcliffe village and subsequently burns the whole thing down save for the chantry.
  • Expy: Malcolm is essentially Dragon Age's version of Father Nier.
  • Eye Scream: The demon pulls this on the narrator in one of his nightmares. Malcolm lands his axe in Dragon!Flemeth's left eye, too.
  • Filler: The Christmas Episode ends up subverting this. Not only is Sten's personal quest resolved, but Elisa and Alistair receive their Relationship Upgrade. Plus the narrator and Morrigan kiss.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: The narrator becomes this with the rest of the part over the course of the story.
  • First-Episode Twist: The narrator is a mage possessed by a demon. It's only revealed in chapter six, but it's pretty much the central conflict of the story from that point on.
  • First Kiss: The narrator and Morrigan in the Christmas Episode.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: The first few chapters include some complaints about Ferelden's medieval trappings, but they fade as time goes on.
  • For Want of a Nail: The narrator's presence does change a few things, such as another Chasind Grey Warden by the name of Malcolm surviving Ostagar, but a multitude of other things happen that seemingly have nothing to do with him. The Warden having a much more affecting personality, for starters. More importantly, the narrator is apparently an abomination the whole time. Then again, the narrator is the City Elf PC, so that complicates things.
  • From a Certain Point of View: The narrator never actually lied to the party. He's just talking about memories of his past life in the Alienage that he lost.
  • Genre Savvy: Both the narrator and, oddly enough, Elisa. She playfully discusses some fantasy hero tropes with the narrator when he does badly in training. At least one of them is actually true.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: The narrator gets these when the demon takes full control of him.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Teased but ultimately averted with Malcolm.
  • Heroic BSoD: The narrator goes through one in the Fade at the Circle Tower where he admits he knew it was a dream the whole time, but wanted to stay because it's two years ago and his parents aren't divorced. It takes Elisa's Patrick Stewart Speech to get him out of it.
    • Elisa goes through a couple herself - first a minor one when her family sword breaks, the second when she and Alistair get a Relationship Upgrade, but finds herself agreeing with Wynne's sentiments.
    • The narrator has another one when he loses control to the demon, running away from the party. He needs a Cool Down Hug from Wynne to get better.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: In spades, especially about the Redcliffe incident.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Pulled off by Zevran and Elisa during the Princess Bride re-enactment, though anyone who saw the scene could guess the spoiler.
  • I Warned You: Malcolm pulls this on the narrator when he betrays him.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: The narrator's signature weapon is the Green Blade, a katana-like elf sword. However, he gets a regular bastard sword later, regulating the Green Blade to a backup monster-killer.
  • Meaningful Name: Ventus, which is Latin for wind. When Uldred awakens his powers, wind is a prominent part of the ensuing Power Incontinence. He also uses it to help kill the Pride demon.
  • Mental World: The narrator has one that he winds up in a lot. It slowly gets more corrupted as the demon gets stronger.
    • It's also pretty much the Station of Awakening from Kingdom Hearts, but then again the narrator is a gamer.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: The narrator burns down Redcliffe village and blows the top off the mage's tower, both by accident.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: The narrator experiences Elisa's memories of Howe's attack and it nearly kills him. Subverted with Malcolm, as his memories give the narrator the strength to fight off the demon.
  • Mind Screw: The fic seems to be taking the Life On Mars bent. Is he in a coma dream? Is he simply a resident of Ferelden gone mad? Or has he really been transported to another world? Evidence for all three of these is starting to pile up. Not to mention his Fade dream, which goes all Inception-y.
  • The Mole: Malcolm.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The narrator burns down Redcliffe village. This doesn't go well.
    • Nice job using that plate on your armour, narrator. It's only making the seal keeping the demon at bay break down.
  • Ninja Prop: The demon in the narrator gets strong enough to hijack the narration.
  • No Name Given: The narrator adopts the name Ventus, but through The All-Concealing "I", completely avoids mentioning his real name. Then his pregame memories vanish, so even he doesn't know it.
  • Pensieve Flashback: The narrator gets one to one of Malcolm's memories when he uses blood magic on him.
  • Quit Your Whining: Morrigan, in true Tsundere fashion, hurls these at the narrator whenever he might start Wangsting.
  • Razor Wind: The narrator uses this in chapter 18 under the demon's influence. It Clean Cuts an ogre.
  • Red Right Hand: The narrator gets one after rescuing Connor from the Fade. His bound armour gets corrupted, giving it a dark grey colour and clawed fingetips.
  • Reforged Blade: Alistair offers to collect the pieces of Elisa's sword after it explodes in response to her Heroic BSoD. She refuses.
    • Also, Topsider's Honor plays it straight and even replaces the first sword.
  • Running Gag: The narrator mentioning people's voice actors and people mentioning how he burned down Redcliffe village.
  • Shout-Out: Way too many. Just for starters there's a million to Mass Vexations.
    • The title is one to Life on Mars.
    • On the Kingdom Hearts front, the narrator calls himself Ven(tus), and has a dream that plays out very similarly to an 'awakening' from KH.
    • Elisa quotes Zaeed in reference to what Arl Howe did.
    • The narrator quotes Jolee in one conversation with Morrigan.
    • During the defence of Redcliffe the narrator mentions the amount of zombie kills it took to get a particular achievement in Dead Rising, then comments that in Dead Rising he wouldn't have anyone in MY STOOOOOOOOOOORE!
    • When Elisa breaks her sword at the mage's tower, she uses two short swords afterwards. This is referenced as going Highlander: The Source.
    • After Zevran's ambush is defeated, Elisa offers a fair duel in exchange for a chance at living. Their dialogue and actions will seem fairly familiar to many people.
    • The narrator during a training session with Morrigan: "Kamehameha, bitch."
    • One to the game of The Witcher in chapter 12, with 'I hear Grey Wardens can parry an arrow in flight'. It almost has the same outcome too.
    "I'm a Witcher," I growled in a Batman-esque voice. "Once I give you twenty Dire Bear asses I wish to sex up your village's entire female population. Then I want dirty playing cards of them. No, don't ask why."
  • Socially Awkward Hero: The narrator to a T, though this improves as he begins to feel more comfortable with the rest of the party.
  • Supporting Protagonist: The narrator shows a lot of this, even edging to Overshadowed by Awesome considering what a badass Elisa is.
  • Take a Third Option: Due to not being limited by the gameplay, rather than Bhelen or Harrowmont, the Warden ends up choosing Duran Aeducan, the Dwarf Noble PC, to be king.
  • Take That!: An affectionate one to Mass Vexations when Zevran is recruited, as the narrator wonders if he'll act wildly out of character because he doesn't like him.
    • Later, through a set of circumstances the narrator ends up with an equipment set a lot like Geralt's. He then talks about 20 Bear Asses and all the gratuitous sex to himself.
  • Tarot Motifs: Goes hand-in-hand with the Persona 3 reference. So far we have Leliana as the Moon, Elisa as Justice, Wynne as the High Priestess and Malcolm as the Tower.
  • Tempting Fate: The narrator internally snarks after burning down Redcliffe village that he'll probably end up blowing up the mage's tower. Well, not all of it. Just the Harrowing chamber.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Elisa pulls this on Uldred in "Dreams and Demons". It doesn't work, obviously, but the still-embedded sword becomes a weak point that the party attacks to inflict massive damage.
  • Tranquil Fury: A favoured tactic of the Warden's.
  • Wham Episode: Both Redcliffe and the Circle tower, though particularly the latter because not only does it throw the narrator's reliability into question, it reveals that he's been an abomination the whole time.
  • Wham Line: "Ven, where's Leliana?"
  • Wrecked Weapon: The Cousland family sword is broken, well, exploded, defeating Uldred. It causes Elisa to have a minor Heroic BSoD.
  • You Are Not Alone: Wynne comforts the narrator about his possession with a big hug.
  • You Are the Translated Foreign Word: "And there's the Dragon Age version of 'siha'."

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: