Bad Gamer Part 3: What Happens If You Play Through Dragon Age: Inquisition Like A Total Jerk?
Bad Gamer is a new series following one woman as she tries to play her way through RPGs as the biggest asshole possible. Mild spoilers for the first few hours of DAI follow. Check out Part 1 and Part 2.
Before I duck back out into the Hinterlands, I do my rounds in Haven. I visit the tavern and end up meeting Flissa for the first time. I correct her on being Dalish and not being from an Alienage, and dear lord this woman is so awkward about the way I look, even if I’m on edge a little. “Things on my face?” Urgh, please shut up, Flissa.
Each time I talk to Solas, I want to punch him in the jaw because for reasons. I ask to know more about him because I need to know I can trust him, and he offers to tell me anything I want to know. We debate the nature of spirits and whether or not they are real and can be defined as his friends. I tell him spirits cannot be friends, but Solas is so unmoved by anything I say! Spirits are shaped by people, is what I argue, so how can they be real? Solas immediately shuts me down, but of course he does in the face of any kind of criticism.
I catch Leliana praying in the tent. She asks if the Maker needs more blood, if the game he’s playing makes sense. What does it mean? But how am I meant to know? I’m not Andraste’s Herald. I’m simply playing this role because I was given no other choice! I’m not sure why I need to point this out to Leliana again, but I do anyway. Leliana responds that the Maker demands everything from them, so it’s probably best that I don’t believe in him. What about my own beliefs? My own Gods? Do I not get a say in this? Leliana brings up Justinia’s death again, and I respond that people die. It’s what they do. Just because Justinia was a woman well respected does not mean that she is immune to death.
In my game state, Leliana should be dead, but she’s a pretty pivotal part of Dragon Age: Inquisition, so I was curious how BioWare would explain this away. She was resurrected but aches to know why. I tell her these are her own problems. No one listens to mine, so why should I listen to theirs? Leliana concludes that she shouldn’t show weakness. Emone overhears a conversation between Leliana and one of her agents about a traitor, and she has the opportunity to speak out against or for the death of this agent. I will not abide those I cannot trust, so of course I encourage Leliana to kill him. Leliana is pleased that Emone agrees, but of course she is. I brush this attempt at making friends off, and tell her that I only hate traitors, that’s all. Leliana thinks that this is a pretty harsh view, which is pretty rich coming from her, but she supposes that this is a pretty normal attitude for troubling times.
When I step back inside the Haven’s main building, the war council convenes in the hall to discuss what went wrong in Val Royeaux. Leliana’s agents sent word before we arrived back, so everyone is up to date. Cullen is genuinely surprised that the Templars are so against helping the Inquisition, but it’s not surprising considering a Dalish Mage is a major figure in the movement. I’m just thankful that the bloody Chantry have been shut up. And so now the choice between finding the Mages or the Templars is raised. I might be playing as a jerk, but I’m also a jerk with some sense left.
We ought to seek out the Mages; power like mine, a Mage, helps to close the smaller rifts, and I don’t see what the Templars are going to do to help with this situation, so I opt for seeking out the Mages at Redcliffe. Cassandra argues that the Mages are desperate for support and will do anything to get it. Is that such a bad thing? I mean, we’re practically doing that ourselves, so I simply remind her that there are always dangers around. Cassandra then argues that the apostates could have been responsible for the deaths at the Conclave. I think Cassandra just has issues with me going to the Mages in general. The group disperses, making no concrete decisions. Leliana tells me about the Grey Wardens going missing and the odd timing of it, and I have to agree. She asks me to search for Blackwall in the Hinterlands, a Grey Warden, to ask him about the disappearances and put her mind at rest. My work as Inquisitor is never done, it seems.
I catch a Marquis and Josephine arguing over Haven in her office. He doesn’t think the Inquisition have the right to be there at all. To be honest, I don’t really have time for this whiny Marquis—where’s Vivienne when you need her? After I point out that we’ve better things to worry about, Josephine asks the Marquis if the Empress has even acknowledged that the Marquis owns the land yet. He doesn’t take too kindly to that, but agrees we can stay for now. Josephine reminds me that the Marquis and other Inquisition guests will report back when they return to Val Royeaux and that we ought to be as nice as we can to them. While I do see her point, it’s kind of ridiculous that we have to bend and scrape to these arrogant arseholes when demons and rifts are popping up all over the place. Why is it I feel like a naive child being sent to play hero anytime I question someone?
A fighter named Krem arrives with a message about Tevinter soldiers on the Storm Coast, and gives Emone an invitation to watch Iron Bull and his Chargers fight them. Urgh, I’m so nervous. I don’t know how I’m going to be mean to Bull. It’s going to break me to do this to my Kadan. I was going to visit the Hinterlands to find Blackwall, but I might as well rip the band aid off now and go meet Bull.
When I arrived, Scout Harding reports that rebels in the area are making things hard for them. More soldiers are in danger. More people to try and save. Oh, and there’s also a dragon. Brilliant.
After a brief skirmish on the beach, Emone and Iron Bull meet for the first time. It feels pretty good to be “reunited” with him, but I’ve a job to do here. I comment that it’s an odd time for a drink when he tells his men to break the casks out, but Bull only laughs. He tells me it’s going to cost the Inquisition a lot of money to bring on the Chargers, but they do seem like seasoned warriors, so its well worth welcoming them into the fold. Bull is glad and points out that the deal is even better because I get him too. Oh, if only Bull. If only.
Bull also reveals he’s been ordered to spy on the Inquisition by the Ben-Hassarath, which isn’t the greatest situation, but Bull is also offering up any and all information he gets from them as well. I warn him not to make me regret hiring him and the Chargers, then make it clear that all reports will be checked prior to being sent or I’ll sick Cassandra on them.
We encounter a dragon, kill our first giant, and discover a few sidequests I definitely missed in my first playthrough, which makes me wonder just how much I’ve missed. Emone discovers what looks to be a sacrificial shrine beneath a large cabin. Cassandra says this place makes her skin crawl, and I have to agree. We also discover the missing Inquisition soldiers have been murdered by Bandits in the area, so I track them down after constructing a Mercy Crest with which to challenge the Bandit Chief. While I could have extended mercy to the Bandit Chief himself, he is ultimately responsible for the deaths of the Inquisition Soldiers, and I can’t really let that stand. The good news is that the Blades of Hessarian are now at my own personal service, and I’m starting to like the implications of my growing power.
I return to Haven briefly to visit the war council and send them on more quests, but Iron Bull catches my eye outside the gates. I suggest he go and help Cullen train the new recruits instead of just watching them, but Bull doesn’t do well leading large groups and would rather stick with the Chargers. I am trying to piss him off, but Bull is so laid back about everything.
He suggests the Inquisitor has no leader, and he’s kind of right. All of us are vying for more influence over the other to see things done their way. Emone is the Herald of Andraste, but she has no one specifically loyal to her at Haven. Leliana has her agents, Cullen his troops, Josephine has the diplomats to contend with, and Cassandra was the one to really pull all of this together. She’s the one who started this, but she doesn’t seem to want to lead. It’s a bit frustrating. I suggest to Bull that maybe I should lead, and he scoffs and asks why. Well, I can seal rifts with my mark, and so without me there’s no hope and no Inquisition. The people formed this movement around me, so I should be in power, shouldn’t I? Bull doesn’t think that’s a reason to lead. Leaders aren’t chosen for skill, but for their ability to make hard decisions and deal with the consequences. Sorry, Bull, but I’ve kind of already been doing that.
Still on my way to the council, I encounter Vivienne. She asks if I am a self-taught Mage, and I remind her I’m Dalish and don’t need a Circle to learn within. Vivienne smugly asks if the Dalish will take everyone under their wing if the Circles are not restored and, although she slightly scares me, I reply that justice ought to be done. I think she misinterprets my answer and approves.
Vivienne wants to know if I think the Circles should be reinstated. This question is always a tough one to answer. On the one hand, I’ve encountered several Mages who just want to go back to the safety of their Circles, but on the other I’ve seen so much abuse go on in the Circles that it’s hard for me to swing one way or the other. If I push everyone back to their Circles, is that me being a jerk, or is that me saving them? If I agree the Circles should be disbanded and Mages should be free, is that me ruining Thedas, or is that me being a fair, just leader? I tell Vivienne I’m here to seal rifts, not to fix everything, but Vivienne isn’t convinced I know what I’m talking about. No matter what my aim is, my actions will always have consequences. No one should have that kind of power, should they? Vivienne believes the world would be left in darkness if no one leads the way, but isn’t the world always in some kind of darkness anyway?
So, I absolutely intended on meeting Sara and Blackwall this time, but it didn’t quite work out that way. Next time, I’ll meet them, push my way through the Hinterlands, the Storm Coast and maybe even take a visit to the Fallow Mire.
Emma Fissenden is a writer of all trades. When she’s not pushing through her next rewrite, she’s playing too many games and editing fiction at @noblegasqrtly. You can find her on Twitter @efissenden, or check out her other series for TMS, Game Changer.