Bad Gamer Part 10: What Happens If You Play Through Dragon Age: Inquisition Like A Total Jerk?

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Western Approach

We return to the wonderfully sandy Western Approach to deliver the dragon bait to Frederic. With all the things I’ve needed to do lately, I completely forgot about the intestines and feathers in one of my bags. Let me tell you, this was not a fun surprise at all. We hand over the materials to Frederic, whom I’m convinced has not moved from this spot in days, and he gladly offers to refer to us by name in his findings if they’re ever published. Frederic, I learn, is on the trail of a specific dragon: Abyssal High Dragon, which I’m not so sure I ever want to meet.

A gang who call themselves the White Claws have set up traps in the area Frederic thinks is likely the next place the dragon will end up in—at least, according to his research. As I run toward the traps to disarm them I wonder how this always happens—how I always end up roped into the most ridiculous of events. We dismantle the traps and fight off the White Claws who come running to stop us but are obviously too late.

Hissing Wastes

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The council believe it’s important to build up our army, resources and knowledge of Corypheus’ plans before we can approach the Wardens or finalize our plans to attend Empress Celene’s ball, so Josephine suggests we visit the Hissing Wastes on our way back from the second excursion into the Approach. Scout Harding puts it pretty neatly: “this space is full of space”. The Wastes are exactly that, but with the presence of Dwarven ruins and the Venatori after something inside of them, there must be something important here. Something that might even help us against Corypheus.

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It’s pretty here. Peaceful, even, and with the wind whipping by my ears as we gallop on horses across the desert, I can briefly forget why I’m even here. The peace doesn’t last long. We close some rifts after one of the fiercest battles I’ve encountered yet. Are these demons learning from one another’s mistakes? Learning our weaknesses? Or are we just over tired? It’s hard to tell.

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We take a momentary breather overlooking the land. Bull whistles, says that’s a whole lot of nothing we’re looking at, but Blackwall has keener eyes and sees a campfire off in the distance. I let him lead us there, thankful for a moment to myself, without being watched, observed and criticized.

The Venatori are extremely easy to spot in in this place, especially when they have campfires burning. After we lop their heads off and burn their bodies, we search the Venatori camp. Apparently there’s a treasure here they’re after. Hey, I like treasure! We come across a letter in one of the camps speaking of a missing patrol and go out to find them and see if they have anything of worth on them. We find their bodies in a valley full of poisonous spiders and all they have on them is a tiny worthless trinket. A ruddy valley full of spiders. Urgh. My skin still crawls every time I think about it. Back to the Venatori. They’re focusing on the Tomb of Fariel and any related ruins which were built by a great Dwarven family as resting places for their dead. I’m slightly bemused by Bull’s fascination with these places, with his amazement regarding how old they really are. I’m just happy looting them.

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Somewhere outside the third of these tombs, a stall in the valley catches the eye: 1) because it’s out in the bum fuck of nowhere and 2) because I don’t see anyone actually manning it. I take a quick look at the merchandise only to feel a wet nose against the back of my hand. It’s a bloody great dog. He gives me this look as if to ask “are you buying or just fucking browsing?”. Is this stall run by a dog? I need to go lie down. I think I’m hallucinating.

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When we come up to the entrance of another of the tombs, this one a gigantic door in the side of the mountain, we find that the doors have been sealed by debris and rubble. Bull states rather unhelpfully that we’re “not getting in that way”. Duh. I tell them we’re best off tracking down some Venatori and making them tell us what they know. The reality is much easier but less fun: we find a note just outside of this entrance telling the recipient that several slaves were crushed to death under the rock, prompting them to retreat to the top of the mountain and dig their way into the tomb from that direction.

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On our way there we close some more rifts and I am really loving my new ability to wield this spectral sword. Admittedly it’s a little more risky, but there’s nothing better than swishing my blade through a demon’s body and hearing that satisfying thump. A hunter called Mag warms her hands over a firepit out in the Wastes. She tells me of a legendary beast I ought to slay for good money—something she does to keep the men and women of Orlais in their finery. I tell her I’ll think about it, thinking I’ll probably just forget about it, but Bull has that look in his eyes. Excitement. Any more delays and I fear we’ll never be ready to face Corypheus. He’ll win because we were playing around in the sand.

We trash the Venatori camp in the mountains and find more tombs beyond, taking as much treasure as I can carry. Bull continues to comment on the architecture, on the craftsmanship. We all look at him differently after this excursion, though I’ll be the last to admit it. Or perhaps Blackwall would be. At first, Bull’s concerned that we’re looting, but he figures it’s probably better than letting the Venatori get their grubby little hands on any of this. Our last task here is cemented when Bull grins and tells us we ought to find the last temple and take the treasure from it—this tomb is the grandest of them all, or so we’ve been led to believe, and now we have the key fragments from the other tombs we’re far more prepared than the stinking Venatori could ever be.

The Tomb of Fariel, the last and largest, is also the most out of reach. It’s a two hour ride due east, a long and grueling ride, so when we arrive only to find a dragon guarding the entrance I’m tempted to smack Bull across the face for talking me into this. Thankfully, the dragon in question is a really poor guard and is sound asleep. Snoring, even. We sneak past and into the tomb beyond. As this is Fariel’s tomb, the Dwarven Lord whose son’s tombs I’ve already ransacked, I’m half expecting alarms or booby traps of some kind when we take the treasure. But nothing happens. We sneak back past the sleeping dragon, and I try my best not to giggle when Bull expresses his disappointment. He wanted to fight the bloody dragon. He can go right ahead, but I’m not attacking one on purpose! Not that stupid!

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A messenger greets us back at camp. I have to return to Skyhold at once. Josephine has some bad news for me.

Skyhold

Josephine shuffles nervously around the office and won’t meet my eyes which is very unlike her. I’m not in the mood to ask leading questions though, so I wait to hear what she has to say. My Clan, the Lavellan Dalish, extended a warm hand some weeks ago when I became Inquisitor. They also asked for our help as bandits were attacking them. I left it in Josephine’s capable hands completely failed them. My Clan is gone.

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I can’t even see straight. I’m mad. I’ve been busy trying to protect everyone else, do the Inquisition’s bidding, and they couldn’t even protect my people? I tell Cullen to ready the soldiers. We’re off to Adamant Fortress so I can kick in some skulls.

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Adamant Fortress

The plan is to use the trebuchets to batter the old fortress walls while soldiers cut me a path to Warden Commander Clarel. Josephine and Cullen remind us that some Wardens may join our cause if Clarel is taken down or made to see sense, so this and she are our main objectives.

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The fortress gates fall easily enough though a hard battle is being fought across the battlements as I step into Adamant. Cullen begs me to help the soldiers on the battlements, but I remind him what’s at stake here. If I don’t get to Clarel in time, if the Wardens are allowed to unwittingly raise an army of demons, we’re toast. I’ll help if it’s convenient and on the way, but no more than that. These soldiers know what their job is, what they’re here to do and I will not be their wet-nurse.

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Fighting through the courtyards and corridors of Adamant is easy enough, especially with the thought of my lost Clan spurring me on, fueling my anger. We meet with Hawke on the battlements. She asks what I’d like her to do. I’d like her to help keep the demons and Wardens off my back. I don’t care if that’s selfish—I’m important here. If I don’t reach Clarel, there’s no point in us being here. A letter from Clarel to Erimond lies discarded on a table along the battlements. Clarel doesn’t appear convinced that the Warden Mages are alright after they go through the ritual. They are cold, unfeeling and unlike their former selves. I wonder if this means the larger ritual will be put to an end.

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Unfortunately, I’m far too optimistic. Clarel is up on a stage overlooking a courtyard with Erimond. The ritual has begun and looks almost complete. I should have known that they’d not put a stop to it. Erimond yells for us to be stopped—that they must complete the ritual. Wardens go to draw their weapons against the Inquisition but something in me makes me step forward. I tell them Erimond only wants to complete the ritual for Corypheus’ gain, no more. Clarel is well aware of Erimond’s plan to bind her to a demon. She’s proud to make the sacrifices no other person would. But when I mention Corypheus her certainty falters. How can these people be so blind? Look at what’s really going on! Clarel shakes the moment of doubt off and orders the ritual to be completed.

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Hawke and Stroud plead with the Wardens not to do this, to not make us kill them. I stay silent. I want to be ready for whatever they’re about to lure through the veil. Fuck the Wardens. Blackwall tries to talk some sense into them. It seems to work for some, as they turn back to look at Clarel. She, in turn, begins to realize that things might be wrong—she suggests that they look into the charges laid before them to avoid any more bloodshed. But it seems Erimond is ready for this circumstance too. He summons a present from Corypheus—something to use if I turned up to challenge the ritual. It’s a dragon—an archdemon. Clarel stares on in horror as it swoops over us, snarling and snapping its jaws. Then she attacks—first Erimond, then the dragon. She tells the Wardens to help us, then goes running, presumably to chase Erimond as I’ve no idea where he ended up and we all know how much of a coward he is.

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We defeat the demons with the help of these Wardens who decide to join us, then run up the stairs in the direction Clarel disappeared to. The dragon seems almost hellbent in chasing us, goading us. I’m wondering if this whole thing is a trap, but then I round the corner to catch Clarel blasting Erimond onto his back.

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He tells her she could have served a new god. Clarel will never ever serve the blight, nor any like Corypheus who manifests it. She’s so angry with him, she grinds her teeth as she steps toward him. It seems like a moment for a victory strike and for us all to go home, but then the dragon reappears, snaps its jaws around Clarel’s body and throws her across the floor. It starts toward us, and we back up toward the broken parts of this battlement that opens out onto a very steep drop.

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Death by falling or being eaten alive? I’m not really sure which is the better option. Thankfully Clarel emits a huge burst of power as the dragon steps over her. It falls down like a house collapsing, the momentum of its fall pushing it across the floor. It slides toward us and we have to scramble out of the way, letting it fall from the fortress, but then the battlements disintegrate beneath us. We try to run for safety, but suddenly I’m falling—

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.

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