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Headscratchers / Dragon Age: Origins

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UPDATE: Dragon Age: Origins Headscratchers grew too massive for one page. The second part was removed and placed in a Part II, and a third part to Part III. 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 - Part III

Massive unmarked spoilers, ho!


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    Sten and the Tevinter blood mage 
  • At the end of the quest to investigate the elven alienage in Denerim, you discover that a powerful Tevinter blood mage has been in charge of trafficking elven slaves back to the Tevinter homeland. Sten has several reactions that badly derail his established characterization:
    • Instead of fighting, the blood mage offers the Warden a deal - he will give them a large sum of gold and proof of the slaving operation if the Warden allows him to leave with all the slaves. Sten approves. The same Sten that in almost all cases aggressively favors a fight and in the quest immediately prior to this one, suffers a steep disapproval drop if you surrender to Cauthrien instead of fighting. Also, the Tevinter Imperium is the Qunari's archnemesis and has been for hundreds of years at this point, so for Sten to be ok with a powerful member of the Imperium to walk out with a bunch of slaves is truly baffling.
      • Sten believes the Warden should be completely focused on fighting the darkspawn and the Archdemon specificaly so whatever gets them to doing thtat the fastest is Sten's preferred course of action. So avoiding a battle that has nothing to do with fighting darkspawn gains his approval.
    • However, that pales in comparison to his reaction if you fight the blood mage and win. Before dealing the final blow, the mage will offer the Warden another deal: the blood mage will sacrifice all of the elven slaves in the room using blood magic to give the Warden a minor constitution boost. Sten approves if you take this deal, saying "A prudent choice, even if such foul magic must be involved." What. In literally every other conversation you have with Sten about magic, he unambiguously condemns it as a natural disaster whose practitioners could barely be called sentient (he tells the Warden that magic-users in his homeland have their tongues cut out). He is the Warden's biggest supporter if the Warden decides to kill all the mages in the Circle Tower, and is in turn the Warden's biggest critic if you use magic to save Arl Eamon's son Connor from the demon. But for some reason, he approves of a thoroughly defeated powerful mage from his own people's greatest enemy using forbidden magic to slaughter a dozen or so elves to empower the Warden, and then allowing that mage to leave alive. What possible in-game reason could there be for this totally out-of-nowhere shift in priorities?
      • Again, he wants you to do whatever it takes to fight the Darkspawn, even if it means accepting a Saarebas's help.

    Howe's Plan 
  • What exactly was Howe's ultimate goal when he seized Highever? The Couslands were universally beloved and his coup is hardly secret. King Cailan even tells the last Cousland that upon his return from Ostagar, Howe will hang. It's probable that Howe didn't expect any Cousland to escape, but Howe would still have to answer to Cailan upon his hypothetical return as to why he now controls Highever and its popular ruling noble house (that he was subordinate to, as a vassal) has been completely exterminated. In reality, it would seem to Howe that the only route to self-preservation would be to ensure that Cailan never returned from Ostagar, but that raises significant questions about when Loghain decided to turn on Cailan.
    • He was planning to get away with it because he was supporting Logain and Logain was planning to be in charge by the time anything could be done about it. Logain was planning for the king to be out of the way (one way or another depending on how Ostagar went he'd either be dead or emotionally broken by the defeat) so Howe had free reign to do as he pleased, though probably not for long even without the Warden and their allies interfering given how many of the noble families he was pissing off.
    • Pretty much how he got away with it for so long. The Couslands where relativly close with Orlais, close enough that the claim they where in cahoots with Orlais and therefore traitors works well enough given the lack of counter-argument. Sure, people might not fully believe it, but will they actually care enough to risk civil war and lay siege on a theryn's city to restore the reputation of a noble line that has died out?

    Zathrian's Curse 
  • During the Nature of the Beast quest, when choosing to attack the Dalish you have the dialogue option at the camp to expose Zathrian in front of everyone and reveal he's the one who cursed the werewolves. Yet no one from the clan- Lanaya, Athras, Sarel, no one- bothers to call him out on it and his refusal to revoke it being the reason for their troubles and deaths of their loved ones.
    • Their ally switched sides and is about to help a pack of feral werewolves eat them alive, they probably don't really lean towards discussing fine shades of morality at the moment.
    Assault on Amaranthine 
  • During the assault on Amaranthine, the darkspawn manage to sneak in past their defenses after the main attack by using the smuggler's cove. Why wasn't it blocked off/defended? The Warden Commander would know about it if they completed the smuggling quest on either side.
    • Construction takes time, and there may have been some administrative foul-up. Everything we see about Amaranthine and the arling in general just goes to prove that most of the Fereldan nobility can't tie their shoes without assistance.
    • Until a few months before the game, the arling was run by Rendon Howe, the poster child of everything wrong with nobles. He probably knew about the tunnels and deliberately kept them secret so he could profit off the smuggling operations. He and his lackeys couldn't have cared less about the civilians as long as they got more power and money. There just wasn't enough time between leadership changing hands and the invasion for anyone to organize the massive effort sealing the tunnels would require.
     Ambassador Gainley 
  • During the "Trial of Crows" questline, you wind up having to bump off an Ambassador Gainley in Orzammar, as he's there as Loghain's representative. Except Orzammar is on lockdown, with nobody allowed through the gates, and Loghain's other mook Imrek hasn't been able to get in. Is the gate guard just dicking with people, or has Gainley been sitting inside Orzammar since King Endrin died, perhaps figuring that if he leaves he won't be able to come back? Is Imrek there to bring a message to him? What's going on here?
    • I assumed he'd been there since before the lockdown. As I recall, Endrin hadn't died very long before the Warden shows up, and presumably the lockdown didn't happen *immediately* (the lockdown was more because of the chaos of choosing his successor than just because the king had died), though it probably happened relatively quickly. It's likely that Imrek was there to connect with Gainley in some capacity (deliver a message, find out what's going on, etc) or he was there on the assumption Gainley had failed to do what he was sent to do - if the lockdown started shortly after Gainley arrived, they may not even know if he made it into Orzammar in the first place (either being turned away or running into some other sort of misfortune on the way there). Alternately, the dwarves aren't quite as insistent on no surfacers coming in as they seem and Imrek just got slapped down because he showed up and started demanding entry instead of requesting it and explaining why he needed to be there.
     Killing Connor rage 
  • Why is Alistair so upset if you decide to kill Connor or Isolde do it even if you have no mages in your group at the time, let Jowan go free and haven't been to the Circle yet meaning it was your only choice. Also, wasn't Alistair the one who SUGGESTED DOING IT IN THE FIRST PLACE if he's with you at the time?
    • Because it was a horrible thing that happened. You can point out there was no other choice and he will acknowledge that but he's still upset about the turn of events. Some times people get upset no matter how nicely you try or if you had no other options.
    • You can still go to the Circle Tower and recruit the mages if you haven't been there yet; it just means that you have to do the entire Broken Circle quest before saving Connor, and Alistair will hammer you over making the decision to not go to the Circle if you don't. Of course, that doesn't fix all of Alistair's hypocrisy: he'll still complain about you not going to the Circle or trying anything else even if he was there to see said Circle get annulled! And yes, he does indeed say that killing Connor is the only option because he's too far gone ... only to turn around and complain about you deciding to go through with it!
     Why didn't Duncan recruit Soris? 
  • In the City Elf Orgin Duncan doesn't recruit Soris because he believes he's not capable of being a Grey Warden unlike the Warden, but that logic doesn't add up. If you're a male, then Soris helped you break into the castle and kill every person their for the same reason you did. If you're a female it makes even less sense, because then he broke into the castle with your fiancé and was the one to make it out alive.
    • He has the courage but not the skill, that's the whole point, the Wardens only recruit the very best which all the potential players are but their starting friends are not.
      • Yes, but as I already mentioned he had helped the City Elf Warden accomplish what made them in Duncan's eyes fit to be recruited into the Grey Wardens. The Warden didn't slaughter every person at that estate by him/herself which is why they were both going to be sent to the dungeons.
      • It doesn't matter that he helped, he's not good enough to be a Warden.