Bad Gamer Part 12: What Happens If You Play Through Dragon Age: Inquisition Like a Total Jerk?
It’s bright and early—actually, it’s late afternoon, but I deserved a lie in—when Leliana summons me to the tower. She tells me her agents have encountered many of Corypheus’ supporters. One woman, Calpernia, has been leading the Venatori in search of Elven ruins. She proposes that we stop them. What a novel idea! Why ever didn’t I think of that for myself?
To find out more about Calpernia, Leliana suggests I meet with a merchant named Vicinius they’ve been investigating and charm any information out of him. Are you fucking kidding me? You have agents everywhere, and I’m to go in, probably be recognized , and try to trick this man into revealing information? There’s not even a guarantee the man knows anything of importance, but this is what I’m to spend my time with? I suggest it’s far easier to just warn the man that the Venatori are sniffing around, quickly earn his trust and bleed him of his intel. In and out. Leliana, would you like me to do your job for you too?
On the way down the stairs, I find Dorian in the library, fuming that the selection on hand is such shit. Shall I make you my Master Librarian, Dorian? You can fill the shelves with whatever you please as long as you shut your pretty mouth. I tell him to find another library or stop whining. Dorian swears he isn’t whining, like a petulant teenager might, but he eventually relents. He’s wound up about the events at Adamant—more specifically about us going physically into the Fade—something that he claims hasn’t happened in over a thousand years. I’m wondering what he’s getting at. Am I meant to be proud? Dorian’s more worried about others trying to follow me into the Fade to perform the same trick. Dorian begs me to keep news of this quiet, but it’s not really my problem, and besides everyone probably already knows. He claims his other worry is for my safety—that if the people become aware that I’m just a regular ol’ flesh and blood meat sack that they’ll try to come after me, but they’re already doing that, aren’t they?
Regardless of his issues with the Fade, Dorian is determined to unearth Corypheus’ history—his real name—so he can prove to the Venatori and others that Corypheus is without the power of the Gods and shouldn’t be worshipped or blindly followed. Good luck with that, Dorian—I’m just going to be over here actually y’know, fighting him.
I return to the throne room to find the hall has been completely finished. It’s quite lovely, actually, but I don’t have time to marvel at it before I see Varric. He looks awful, no doubt in mourning for his friend Hawke. Varric tells me a really long, totally uninteresting story about Hawke’s past—I get that he’s sad, but could he take this elsewhere? Hawke offered to stay in the Fade—it was her choice. Varric wanders off, mumbling to himself as usual and I return to my actual job. What does Varric even do around here anyway? Whenever I return to Skyhold, he’s stood in the exact same spot. Lazy idiot.
Lord Erimond awaits my judgement. Oh, this is gonna be good. Erimond demands a swift death so he can bask in the glory of Corypheus. He shall have nothing he wants. I sit for a moment and think. What’s the worst I can do to a Mage? I should know. I sentence Erimond to tranquility—he may never wield power or enter the Fade ever again. He’ll be utterly useless to Corypheus. No glory for you, Erimond! Erimond, as you might imagine, is none too pleased by this sentencing. Oh well, perhaps you ought to have sided with the bad guys and killed all those people.
Another prisoner to judge. Ser Ruth, a Senior Warden, who helped slit the throats of other Wardens and surrendered to us. She begs for a public execution. Drama queen, much? If she truly couldn’t live with herself, then why wouldn’t she throw herself from a bridge or fall on her blade? Not waste my time. Still, we’re all here now—no point in halting proceedings. Ser Ruth can’t live with herself so she’d rather be an example of the cost of Warden life and choices. Okay, well that’s good enough for me. I send her off for a bit of traditional public humiliation. Time in the stocks followed by a life in the mines? That’s much worse than a quick death, and more than what Ser Ruth deserves for killing her soldiers and wasting my time.
Josie asks for my help reviewing certain matters and somehow I spend the next hour or so listening to her complain. I ask if she’s always had this much trouble relaxing. Josie worries I think her a gossip—I just think she’s a bit long winded. Talks far too much for her own good. She takes it in her stride though, and tells me she best get back to work. Yes, you best.
I walk out onto the grounds. Cassandra is the midst of walloping Bull in the middle with what looks like a large club. He makes some snarky comment about how this is the reason why the Qun don’t allow women fighters and thankfully Cass knocks him on his arse or I’d have done it for her. Total misogynistic shit head. (Writer’s Note: Bull is my Dragon Age BF, so this is super hard for me and Brynn, my previous Inquisitor). Cass hands me the club and tells me to take over.
Bull explains that the exercise is designed for him to master his fear—fears that have arisen after facing that gigantic Nightmare demon. I hit him. Again. And again. He’s actually … enjoying this? I have to admit I am too, but not for the same reasons. What I wouldn’t give to show this Qunari who’s boss. But then he actually calls me boss, and something very strange starts to happen. I start flirting with him—that he obviously likes it rough and he responds in kind. I didn’t know I could even blush that hard. Next time we’re out in the field, I’m going to level a nasty spell his way just to pay the bastard back.
Turns out I don’t have to wait long to get my own back because Krem, Bull’s second in command in the Chargers, teases Bull for his “pillowy man bosoms” and offers to help him bind them. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard.
Sara corners me on the way out of the Tavern. She can’t believe what we went through in the Fade for one minute. Yes, Sara, cast judgement even though you weren’t there. It’s not like we haven’t all corroborated our stories. Not like the Wardens and Inquisition soldiers saw us go in and come back. I shrug her off and walk away.
Blackwall is cutting wood; he’s angry that the Warden’s sacrifice was only for Corypheus’ gain. It’s hard to feel much sympathy—Wardens know their lives are always at risk and they sided with Erimond, a stark raving mad-on-power Erimond. They were too blind to see the risks. Blackwall argues that Clarel only wanted to protect everyone; that this is why she made those choices. I don’t believe that really. As noble as Clarel was at the end, I think she was more afraid of failing and it made her stupid. I remind Blackwall that it can’t always end up the way he wants it to, but he still clings to hope like a mad man on a raft in the midst of a typhoon. He’s a fool to think the Wardens are wholly good. No one is.
I catch Cullen and Dorian playing a game. Nice to see everyone has so much time on their hands these days. Cullen trounces Dorian, which is worth it to see that arrogant smug crawl off his face. He leaves. Cullen offers to play me, but I don’t really think we have time for all this. I refuse, then send him back to work.
Emprise du Lion
I decide to go the long way round to meeting this Vicinius in Val Royeaux, and check in with our scouts in Emprise du Lion. Good god, this place looks like hell on earth. Scout Harding tells me that most of the people have already fled but the rest are caught between rifts and Red Templars. And it’s also fucking freezing here. I should have brought my woolen socks; I can’t imagine how Bull feels—well, I can, but I wish I couldn’t. It’s distracting.
In Sahrnia, or what’s left of it anyway, we come across Mistress Poulin who admits the Red Templars’ presence is her doing. She sold her family’s quarry to them. Lovely. I don’t really talk much more to her because she’s a bit of an idiot for selling the Templars something so valuable just for the money. Soon we’re leaving Sahrnia behind—its people are devastated and it’s a bit depressing. I need to find something to hit before I start thinking too much about my own clan—did they resemble the people of Sahrnia after the attack? Mad with grief? I should have been there to protect them.
Michel de Chevin, a disgraced courtier, greets us on the way out. He’s pleased to see us—a demon named Ishmael is his quest, and now we’re here he’s hoping the Red Templars will get out of his way now I’m around. Why do I feel as if everyone is just waiting around for us to turn up and solve problems? I bid him well and lead us up the mountainside.
We fight a myriad of Red Templars and destroy them, pushing further and further up the mountains. The way I see it, the more Red Templars I kill today, the less I have to deal with tomorrow. We make it to the top and this hulking mass of walking red lyrium, a behemoth, stands in the way. We tag team it and pull it to pieces. Easy enough. Across the top of this mountain we find a myriad of villagers in cages. I set the first couple free, but to be honest this is a massive waste of my time. Someone else’ll be along to set them free soon enough. I’m off to do my actual job, which isn’t to babysit every fucking villager.
Michel meets us outside Suledin Keep. Apparently the Red Templars are pissed I’m killing them off, and they’ve sent demons to Sahrnia as a result. Michel has to return to help the villagers, and we have to destroy Ishmael. I’m sorry, what now? Maybe if Michel hadn’t been too chicken shit to keep his word, he might not have had to leave the court in disgrace, and maybe he’d have even killed this demon by now.
I push us through Suledin Keep. At one point, we turn the corner and what do we find but a bloody fucking giant? Colossal, disgusting beast of a man. We take turns in taunting it to one corner, then attacking it from behind. I’d feel bad about cornering it a bit more if it weren’t, you know, trying to kill us, but ah well. Soon enough there’s a giant at our feet and I think we’re home free when another giant rears its monstrous head. Good gods. By the end, we’re bloodied and tired, but I want this job done now and push the others, limping and bleeding through the rest of the keep. I’m sure that they all hate me but I don’t really care much to tell the truth.
We come face to face with Ishmael the demon. He corrects us: the spirit. Bull growls from behind me: he hates the “talky ones”. But I’m listening. He says we’re too violent, that this is worrying to him. That’s an interesting statement. We’re the violent ones? What about your big fuck off giants out front? The villagers in cages? Red Templars attacking us? I tell him to start talking and fast. Ishmael tells me I have a choice. We don’t kill him and he’ll grant me riches, power or virgins. Hey, what about those riches? It’s not like I’m actually getting paid for this Inquisition business, and it might be nice to have a retirement fund if I actually manage to survive our run in with Corypheus. I tell him to humour me: if he gives me riches, I’ll let him go. He actually delivers! Ishmael transforms into a giant bird and flies off, leaving precious stones behind for me to sell on. Great! Now I don’t have to deal with killing this bastard, and I get paid!
We find an injured Red Templar on the balcony. He can’t believe we let Ishmael go. Dorian and the others tell me the soldier is too far gone—there’s nothing to do to save him. Well, it makes my job easier, doesn’t it? I turn away and leave him to the business of dying. Suledin Keep is now mine. We hang the Inquisition flag, and then I go off for a well deserved nap, my hand closed tightly around my bag of precious, expensive stones.
Once I’ve had enough sleep, I steal down to the market and sell my stones. My purse might be heavy, but at least my heart is light. What a glorious outcome! I take a look at Judicael’s Crossing, the bridge the Red Templars destroyed. With a little ingenuity and hard work from my Inquisition, and we just might be able to fix the bridge and see what lies beyond it. Perhaps there might be more demons I can barter with. Now wouldn’t that be nice?
Emma Fissenden is a writer of all trades. When she’s not pushing through her next rewrite, she’s playing too many games and the Editor in Chief @noblegasqrtly. You can find her on Twitter @efissenden, or check out her other series for TMS, Game Changer.
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