Bad Gamer Part 14: What Happens If You Play Through Dragon Age: Inquisition Like a Total Jerk?

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Winter Palace

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Time for the ball! I was hoping for a dress, but I suppose this uniform of red will do. Bit strange to have all the Inquisition wear the same as we stand out like sore thumbs, but what the hell do I know? Duke Gaspard greets us at the gate.
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He marvels at my accomplishments and wonders what I could achieve with the full support of the “rightful” Emperor of Orlais. Somehow, I don’t think he’s referring to Empress Celene. Gaspard reminds me that he’ll not forget his friends. If I help him, he’ll help me. Then he offers me his arm, excited at the prospect of shocking so many—a hated usurper and the Herald herself walking into the ball together? Scandalous. Boring, I think. I’m here to stop an assassin, not add to the rumour mill. Gaspard believes that the Elven delegates are harboring the Tevinter assassin. I think it’s more likely to be his own people, but whatever. I’ll look into both factions either way. Gaspard asks me to look into the assassin as discreetly as possible, but I don’t really care for the “game” of nobility, so I’m planning on ignoring that particular bit of advice. He steps away and will meet me just inside.

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As I walk through the grounds, a woman tries to get my attention by calling me “rabbit”. She can fuck right off, no matter what she wants. Rabbit, indeed.
Josie heads me off at the gate and reminds me to watch my every move and word. Everyone will be scrutinizing, judging. Let them. Fuck everyone. I just want to get this over with so I can go get drunk in the back somewhere; propriety and the game be damned.
The Vestibule of the Winter Palace is immensely beautiful. It’s a bit sickening, especially coming off seeing the poor and hungry refugees of the ongoing war, but I don’t have long to think about it before Gaspard offers to guide me into the ballroom.

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Actually, I don’t really have a choice, but I at least refuse to take his arm. I grimace and follow his lead. I am announced to the entire court and have to suffer the open stares of guests as I make my way to the other side of the grand hall to meet Empress Celene. Gaspard and Celene clearly have some unresolved issues for he snaps at her and stalks off, leaving me alone.
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Celene introduces me to Duchess Florianne, who is responsible for the entire ball but is somehow surprised to find the Inquisition in attendance. Very odd. Florianne snarks a bit, then leaves. Celene is very pleased, if a bit too gentle, and I can’t really help it when I blurt out that an assassin is here. Oops. Celene brushes this aside; assassination threats are nothing to wave away, though, so I urge her to call off the ball. Just cancel it now. Celene tells me I need to drink some wine and recover from whatever has made me take leave of my senses. All around me are people staring and whispering. Gossiping. Let them.
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Leliana drags me into the corner. She believes dealing with this situation would be far easier if we could strike from Celene’s side. She tells me Celene is fascinated by the occult and even has an advisor—an apostate Leliana has dealt with in the past. Why is this only coming up now? Leliana’s pissed I’ve questioned her. She grits her teeth, tells me to investigate the guest wing and stalks off back to the ballroom proper.

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After a little walking around, I find Bull. He’s got the right idea. All he wants is to kill something, maybe wear one of the noble’s skulls as his fancy mask. I’d join him if I could, truly. I wander around, picking up tidbits of drama and gossip as I go, when something catches my eye. It’s a wax cylinder with a message inside. The first part details the comings and goings of the servants, but the rest is a message to Briala to get someone into the servant’s quarters. Something has “gone wrong” there. Good god, maybe Gaspard was actually right. Either way, it’s just another thing for me to investigate.

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Three of Celene’s handmaidens startle me. They have a message for me from the Empress. If can get rid of Gaspard in some way, she’ll pledge her full support for the Inquisition. Somehow I don’t think this is Celene’s message. Perhaps Briala bribed them?

I climb up a wall to the blocked off upper floor and find a letter from Celene to a Lady M, the enchanter Leliana was worried about. Celene was concerned for her safety and requested the enchanter be at her side. I manage to get into one of the nearby rooms only to find a bloodbath, but I’ve no idea whose side might have done it. As I return to the ballroom to tell Leliana of my findings (and by the way, why am I doing all the work while the others get to enjoy the ball?) someone stops me in my tracks. She’s so beautiful, I can’t help but smirk. She wonders what on earth might have brought the Inquisition to this ball, but something tells me that’s just bait to see what I know, or what I’m willing to reveal. Why can’t people just get to the point instead of dancing around the truth? I get the strange sense that this woman, whoever she is, knows all. She introduces herself.
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Her name is Morrigan, and she is the apostate who serves Celene, the one Leliana spoke of. She’s noticed how busy I’ve been (at least someone has), and wonders if we’re searching for the same prey. I try to step extra carefully. Who knows if Morrigan is the assassin herself? Morrigan reveals she has already killed a Tevinter agent recently—an intruder on these very grounds who had a key on his person. While Morrigan can’t leave Celene’s side for long, I can, and I can search for the door this key opens.
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I’m pretty sure this key will open the door to the servant’s quarters so I gather everyone and head there. Lo and behold, the door creaks open. The servants are dead. Dorian’s been a sulky bugger, so I’ve invited Vivienne along in his stead this time. She wisely, if rather depressingly, tells us that the servants are always the first to go on account of preventing them from raising the alarm.
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We move into the gardens, past bodies and bodies of the fallen dead. One body is not that of a servant though, but of an emissary of the Council of Heralds. The crest on the dagger sticking out of his back? Gaspard’s. Would he be so bold? So careless? We don’t have time to consider before Venatori agents chase a screaming woman into the gardens and kill her. The leader leaps to the second level and disappears. We systematically head through the apartments in the gardens and kill any Venatori in our way. One tries to run off but meets with a blade to the face.
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An Elf emerges from around the corner. She sneers and sarcastically tells me she’s happy to see me not slumming it in the kitchens with the rest of my people. What. A. Bitch. Briala admits that she is impressed with our work, though. She comes down to avenge or save her people, and I’ve already done the work for her. She asks if the Emissary’s death was my work. Of course not. I don’t know who this person thinks I am, really. Briala concludes it must be Gaspard’s work: that he must be planning a strike tonight. I’m really not sure to be honest—neither of them appear to be planning much of anything.
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Briala admits she misunderestimated me—she wonders what I might do with an army of Elven spies. I wonder what she wants from me, except for Gaspard’s head. She actually wants our support at the peace talks—she’s convinced I’ll be part of them before the night is up. Probably, if things go the way they usually do.
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I return to the ball. Florianne meets me at the ballroom door. Why am I not surprised she wants to have a little chat now? She asks me to dance as there will be less of a chance of eavesdropping guests. If I must, I must. Besides, Josie is going to choke on her wine when she sees me! Florianne talks in circles as we dance, but she finally gets to the point—she’d like me to meet the Captain of Gaspard’s mercenaries. He knows all of Gaspard’s plans. She begs me to stop Gaspard.
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Sure enough, Josie is the first to meet me after I leave Florianne on the dance floor. She’s impressed by my moves. Maybe I’ll become The Dancing Inquisitor? Tap everyone to pieces, or something.
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Leliana and Cullen join us. They’ve heard all manner of things and want to know what’s going on. Maybe if you lot had been helping me, you might know what’s happening. Urgh. Lazy, bloody people. Leliana suggests we let Celene die. That Corypheus wants chaos. Even if we save her, she might still bring unrest to the area. I’m a little shocked to tell the truth, but then Leliana has never been one to mince her words. They look to me. According to Cullen, one has to emerge victorious. Are they expecting me to choose? Good god, they can’t be serious. I get the impression that none of them want to be held responsible for a single thing that goes on.

Why would we want Gaspard or Briala on the throne? At least Celene knows how to rule—the other two are jumped up little twerps. Leliana and the others set me a challenge: to both save Celene and her Empire. She has to win over Briala and Gaspard both. Why is it my challenge? Why do I have to bloody do everything? I tell Cullen to get his soldiers into position and stomp off, muttering under my breath.

Royal Wing

I head off to the Royal Wing to investigate Gaspard and Briala as much as I can. Hopefully I can find something to blackmail both of them. Leliana has warned us that we are in extreme danger coming back here, but it’s only served to excite Bull. And when aren’t we in danger these days? Clearly there is something dangerous back here, though, as a scream rips through the hallway. We burst into a room to find the Venatori leader from earlier stood over a cowering Elf. The leader flees through the window. Good riddance.

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The Elf is thankful—we saved her life! Apparently Briala had said to the Elf that no one was meant to be in these rooms, so clearly Briala is up to something. I try to wheedle the information out of her. It doesn’t take much. Apparently, Briala used to sleep with Celene in the past and acted as her pet, while Celene purged their alienage. No one, it seems, is a good match for this throne. I offer protection to the Elf in exchange for her sworn testimony. She accepts and runs off to Cullen for safety on my orders.
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Blackwall heard a familiar noise—the sound of a rift. Here? We run toward it, ending up in a garden surrounded by soldiers and, sure enough, there’s a bloody rift. But that’s not the most important part of the whole scenario: Duchess bloody Florianne is behind all of this.
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I’m an idiot, and so is everyone else, including the very poor Spymaster Leliana. Perhaps if she hadn’t been commenting on shoe buckles all night, I wouldn’t be stuck in the middle of a trap right now. Florianne is so pleased I finally walked into her trap—Corypheus wants the Empress dead and Florianne doesn’t want to disappoint him. What does everyone see in that mangled arsehole? Celene leaves to assassinate the Empress herself.
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I have to get back to the ballroom before it’s too late—though if I have to kill them all and run Orlais myself we’d be in much better shape. No more intrigue, no more plots! We kill the demons, close the rift and rescue Gaspard’s Captain who has been tied up out here. He blames Gaspard for being tied up out here. It was Florianne who told him to come out here, but he knows for certain that this would have come from Gaspard. Urgh! Enough, already. I can see Bull’s fingers twitching toward his axe, and I don’t fucking blame him one bit. The Captain keeps talking: Gaspard wanted to move on the palace tonight, but didn’t have enough men so he hired the mercenaries and the Captain. All he wants to do is get out of here—so he vows he’ll tell everyone of Gaspard’s plans if I so wish, and off he goes.
When I arrive back in the ballroom, Cullen asks what I want them to do. I say take Florianne down now. She’s pissed me off, and I want to smack her across the face in front of everyone. Seems I’ll get my chance. In the middle of Celene’s speech, I confront Florianne. She tries to grab Celene, but we whisk her out of the way. Gaspard watches on in horror, apparently not part of this plot at all, as Florianne kills my men and flees. At least Celene is alive; I didn’t fail my end of the bargain, even if the rest of my team are completely incompetent. I chase Florianne out the window into the grounds where she and her men attack us. I kill Florianne and make my way back to the palace to try and sort this mess out.
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Celene demands I tell her what’s been going on. Despite the fact that Briala knew about Florianne’s involvement and did nothing, she was actively gathering evidence against Gaspard to help as she believed he was the ringleader.
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Gaspard was only ever out for himself even if, as he claims, he knew nothing of Florianne’s plans. I support Briala in front of the Empress. I could always do with more Elven spies, especially as Leliana’s own agents seem not up to the task. Gaspard is sentenced to death, and Briala is pardoned but exiled.
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Celene announces to the entire court that they stand with the Inquisition, which is great and all, but my feet are about to fall off and all I want to do is eat and collapse into bed. I slip into the back finally. Morrigan joins me on a balcony. Despite escaping, it seems there are always people to entertain. She wonders if I’ve grown tired of the compliments and toasts from the nobility. Obviously I have. I mean, they’re nice and all, but enough enough enough! Morrigan announces that she’s been instated as Liaison to the Inquisition on Celene’s orders. That’s nice. I guess I don’t get a say in the matter then? Morrigan tells me I need all the help I can get, then tells me she’ll meet me back at Skyhold. I get the sense I’m in for even more trouble than I thought.
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Josie watches Morrigan go, then steps out herself. Can’t get a moment of peace around here it seems. She tells me I look troubled. How do I tell her I just want to be left alone for once? Josie wonders if I’d like dance with her. If it gets the memory of dancing with the adder-like Florianne out of my head, then gladly. It really doesn’t matter how much we spin around though, I still can’t help but wonder what I’ll have to deal with next.
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Emma Fissenden is a writer of all trades. When she’s not pushing through her next rewrite, she’s playing too many games and working as 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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