Bad Gamer Part 29: What Happens If You Play Through Dragon Age: Inquisition Like a Total Jerk?
Catch up on previous Bad Gamer installments if you missed them!
The Winter Palace:
I’m sat in the hall with the Exalted Council. It’s a shit show. Neither Ambassador is truly on our side and even Josephine, bless her diplomatic heart, can barely keep up with them. I can’t help but let my head slide tantalisingly close to the desk in front of me. If I just started whacking my forehead against it maybe all of this needless banter and debate would stop.
Luckily for me, one of Leliana’s messengers arrives. She needs to speak with me. Now. Thank the bloody Maker! I walk out of the hall without saying a word, without even a hint to where I’m going, the Ambassadors yelling in protest at my back as I do. Maybe Leliana has saved me from the meeting so I can go and do whatever I want instead. Alas, no such luck. Leliana shows me what she has found, what she has pulled me from the meeting for: a dead Qunari warrior in full armour. No one knows how he got into the Winter Palace. I take a deep breath. Here we fucking go again. Do I have a magnet for this bullshit?
As we inspect the body, I wonder if Bull would know anything about this. He comes to look and claims he doesn’t know anything about it which means this is likely a rogue faction. Okay, so where did this fucker come from? How did he even get in here? Thankfully, there’s a blood trail. I follow it up the side of a wall and into an upper floor storage room where there stands an active bloody Eluvian! Wait. How the hell did this get here? There’s no time like the present to figure out what the hell is going on, so I step through the Eluvian into the Fade.
The blood trail continues out here and leads us to an inactive Eluvian. It looks like the warrior tried to get through this one first, then came through ours as it’s coated in blood. There’s another trail leading to another active Eluvian on a ledge further away. We decide that this is probably where the Qunari warrior came from. I gather my party together and we step through the Eluvian to see where it leads.
Elven Mountain Ruins:
Why was a Qunari warrior coming from Elven ruins in the mountainside? The more we try to figure out what’s going on, the less any of this makes sense. We find another fallen Qunari, then another active Eluvian surrounded by Qunari turned to stone. There are scorch marks across the ground beneath the stone Qunari. The sight alone is enough to send chills down my spine. What did this? Maybe I should just go back to the council meeting because this is total bullshit. Vivienne, who graciously came along, tells me we probably ought to find out who did this before things get worse. She’s got a point. Better to deal with it now than to wait when it’s ten times worse. So, through another Eluvian we go.
This time, at the other end of a broken bridge, a group of Qunari warriors fight an unseen enemy. If we want to find out why they’re here and what the hell they’re playing at, we need to get to them. Unfortunately for us to do that, we have to do a bit more Eluvian surfing. We’re also being attacked by spirits who absolutely consider us intruders and want us to go very much away. You know, I’d really love to accommodate them and go back to the Winter Palace to get drunk, but we can’t all get our own way, can we?
A barrier I can lift with my mark reveals more information when I use veilfire on it. According to the inscriptions, this place was created by Fen’Harel, the Dread Wolf, the Elven God of Misfortune and Trickery. Ahuh, sure. I read on. This place was created not for evil purposes, but to exist as a refuge for Elven slaves. Hold on one second. Fen’Harel protecting his people? That’s contradictory. Fen’Harel is feared by my people for a reason. We move on. More barriers and messages reveal that Fen’Harel was not actually a God, but a mortal with magical powers. A mage. Stranger still. We also learn that all the Elven Gods were not Gods at all but Evanuris, Elven Mages who pretended to be Gods to enslave their own people. Good god, if this is true, then the Dread Wolf was telling former slaves the truth and his actions against the Elven Gods were warranted.
At some point in our Eluvian surfing, my mark interacts strangely with an Elven artifact and I get a sudden but never ending surge of power. It hurts like hell, but I ignore it. There’s no point in letting this lot see me cry and think me weak. I’m the Inquisitor. I’m the one who sent Corypheus packing. I blink back the tears and shake it off.
We make it across the bridge but the Qunari don’t want to talk. They’ve holed up in the Temple on this side of the bridge and start attacking us almost immediately. They want to kill us? Hey, we have an alliance, you fuckers. I yell at them to stop, but they give me no choice but to kill them. Once the fight is over, we take a look around. Inside the temple ruins there are statues and drawings of Fen’Harel. Is this a temple devoted to him? I wonder what part he has to play in all of this, though if he really was mortal, he’s long dead. Dust in the wind. We find a cache of weapons that the Elven slaves must have used to fight back the Evanuris in an attempt to take their freedom back from the false Gods and this is all looking far more likely to be real. What would my Keeper have said about all this if my clan were still alive?
We find a letter on one of the Qunari warriors telling the soldiers to use the Eluvians to gain access to the Winter Palace. Bull seems pretty distraught. The Qun are acting like we’re at war and he doesn’t know why. Either way, this points to a future attack on the Winter Palace, so I’d best go and save the day. Again.
There’s also another note about this mysterious Mage, the one who turned the Qunari to stone back on the bridge and burned the stones. So much to deal with, so little fucks to give, but if we fix this problem before it gets too out of hand, this will show the Council that there’s no point in questioning the Inquisition’s existence. We are the guardians of Thedas. Let us do our bloody work.
The Winter Palace:
Cullen, Leliana and Josie gather around while I update them on the Eluvians and complications with the Qunari. They don’t understand the Qunari plot either. If they’ve given up on our alliance then so be it, but wouldn’t they have called Bull back before attacking or even involved him in it? Maybe they abandoned Bull because he’s spent too much time with the Inquisition. Josie is more worried about the Exalted council—they were insulted when I walked out but I don’t really give a fuck. I’m doing this to save them. Josie can deal with their hurt pride while I do my job.
I head back to the Crossroads in the Fade to try and find out more about the Qunari plot. Somehow, another path has been created here to yet another active Eluvian. We just catch sight of a Qunari warrior running through it. We follow, leaping through the Eluvian, which opens up into:
The Deep Roads:
Maker, really? The Deep Roads? We traverse through the tunnels, killing Qunari warriors and deepstalkers. Blackwall—I’m sorry, I refuse to call him Ser Rainier even if Vivienne makes a point to—is doing nothing but whining about his lot in life so I break ahead of the group. I can’t listen to him anymore without feeling the urge to kill him.
We go around a corner and into another tunnel to find a human huddled in the near darkness! At first he tells me to get back, but when he sees my mark he drops his weapon and begs me to stop the Viddasala. Sorry, the what now? He doesn’t even care if I’m working with Fen’Harel or not. Okay, back the fuck up: 1) who or what the heck is a Viddasala and 2) we’re not working for Fen’Harel and I’ve no idea where you got that impression. If Fen’Harel did exist, he’s gone. Dead. Dust. Bull pulls me aside and tells me a Viddasala is a Qunari Mage of high ranking in the Ben-Hassrath. If the Viddasala are involved, the Qun mean business.
The human continues. He explains that this is a lyrium mine. The Viddasala has been giving Saarebas, or Mages, lyrium to make them more powerful. Bull says that’s a load of crap as no Viddasala would ever do that. Hang on Bull, why would this human make it up and where would he have heard the terminology but from the Qunari operating this mine? No, Bull. I think you’ve been led astray and the Qun have decided to declare war on us and keep you in the dark. The human suggests that using the explosive devices the Qun are using to mine with would be the best way to stop all operations here. I agree. Let’s save Southern Thedas from certain doom. The human asks if he can go. Uh, no. You’ve already betrayed the Qunari by revealing their secrets, and you’ve already told them a bunch of ours. I’m not about to let a snivelling coward reveal our plans to destroy the mine. I kill him, and you know, it’s actually strangely satisfying to watch Shem blood splatter against the floor. Right! Now for the mine.
We find the explosive primers and set the gatlock explosives. The mine starts to collapse around us. As we escape, I wonder who the hell is going to tell the others we’re probably at war with the Qunari? Everyone looks to me. Why is it always bloody me who has to do everything?
The Winter Palace:
My war council are at a loss for what to do. And while we’re discussing what might be going on, both the Ambassadors for Ferelden and Orlais step in. They are furious with me for some reason. What now, you guys? Apparently one of my servants attacked an Orlesian servant. Please. They probably had good reason for doing so and I’m about to tell them I really don’t have time for this idiocy when Josephine cuts me off and tells them I will look into it immediately because of my understanding of the situation. Urgh. Sure, fine, whatever. Just continue to speak for me, Josephine.
I go outside to deal with the commotion.
After I listen to my own servant, I order the Orlesian servant arrested. I trust my people more than your own, Monsieur Ambassador. My Inquisition spy informs me she found a letter on the servant. It’s in Qunari. I take it to Leliana who crudely translates it into a set of instructions to go through an Eluvian near a bookshelf to get to the Viddasala. Score! See, I can trust my own people, but we definitely can’t trust anyone else. That servant must be a Qunari spy, one of their operatives. One of the watching Orlesian nobles tells me the Ambassador will hear about my actions. Yes, he will. Now run along, I’ve Thedas to save.
We jump back into the Fade and, just as before, we can see a group of Qunari warriors running to the next Eluvian.
The Shattered Library:
We step through the Eluvian into a library turned upside down by a magical catastrophe. Was this an Elven library? There’s too little time to wonder about it, to look around, as I’ve a Viddasala to catch and interrogate. There’s one thing for certain as he step through the library: this place makes my head spin. One floor hangs above us, upside down, stretching out for forever into the sky. The Qunari are there. A spirit of the library welcomes me in Ancient Elven, then warns us someone not with the Qunari recently woke the librarians, whoever they are. Was this person the agent of Fen’Harel everyone keeps referring to? The Mage who has always seemed one step ahead of us? Apparently the librarians are now “ill”, so we’ve to watch out for them. Oh. That’s just great. Is anyone else creeped out or is it just me? How is this always happening to me?
As we make our way through this messed up library, archival spirits reveal that Fen’Harel actually created the Veil, the barrier between the Fade and the real world. How could a mortal do that? There’s something not adding up about all of this, and to top it off my mark is getting worse with every new Elven artifact we come across. I just want to go back to Skyhold and close the gates forever. Just shut all of Thedas out. Can we do that?
We travel through the Eluvians to raise a bridge so we can get to the other side and above, or below, depending on your perspective. My mark blossoms in pain once again, but I flex my hand and lo, I’ve a new ability. Now I can inflict pain on my foes by drawing on it to help us. This is awesome. Look how much power I have now! No one’s going to fuck with me when they see what I can do! Vivienne gives me a wary look, but I think she’s just jealous. We raise the bridge to get to the Qunari, and the “librarians” swoop out to attack us. I swear, no one touched the books, but they’re definitely angry about something.
After we’ve dealt with the “librarians”, we pass through the Eluvian across the bridge. It takes us right to the Viddasala and her soldiers. She tells me she’s surprised I was allowed to walk free after I closed the breach, that my time is done and I need to end my magic. Bitch, please. I run one of the most powerful organizations in Thedas and I took down Corypheus almost single handed. You’re nothing to me and soon you’ll also be a smear on the floor. I tell her she’s not up to killing me, which I think strikes a nerve.
She’s pissed that Fen’Harel’s agent has prevented them from saving innocents. When the breach initially appeared, their plan was to assassinate our leaders and take back control as it was obvious that we were unable to control our magic. Uhh, Corypheus was Tevinter, for one, and also a one off mad man with an Elven orb. And saving innocent people by declaring war is an idiotic, contradictory motion. She tells us that all will have to die now. Yeah, sure. Whatever. If I let you, which—hey—I’m not. Where do these kinds of people come from? Psychotic killers everywhere and only little ol’ me to stop them.
The Viddasala tells her men to kill me and meet her at the Darvaarad afterwards. As I sling curses and spells at the Qunari, I imagine the faces of the Ambassadors back at the Winter Palace. They’ve no idea what I do for them. What I sacrifice for their safety. And when I’m back, I’m demanding their respect.
When the Qunari Warriors are dealt with, I ask the archivist spirit where the Viddasala went. It tells us that the Viddasala is going to a place called the Darvaarad. I’ll need a keystone to activate the Eluvian to gain access, so I rummage through the pockets of a few Qunari corpses. Thankfully I find one. With an approving nod to the archival spirit, I’m back through the Eluvians to the Winter Palace.
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 of @noblegasqrtly. You can find her on Twitter @efissenden, or check out her other series for TMS, Game Changer.
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