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Bad Gamer Part 4: What Happens If You Play Through Dragon Age: Inquisition Like A Total Jerk?

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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, Part 2, and Part 3

Naturally, we begin again in Haven. Josie’s worried that some people in the Haven might have been treating me unkindly for being an elf. I’m not sure why this is suddenly an issue for her. Did they not know I was an elf when I was first strong-armed into the Inquisition?

Though, I suppose she’s not really worried for me personally, she’s more worried that the Inquisition isn’t at full support. The rest of Thedas will only follow us if we present a strong, unified face. She’s kind of right, though I don’t know if they’ve bitten off more than they can chew with an elf in the fold if they’re this worried about being accepted and supported by others. What will the people say about a Qunari, I wonder? What do they say about Leliana’s sometimes underhanded dealings? People are such hypocrites.

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Emone tells Josie that the stories spread about Dalish elves are absolute nonsense; but when she’d like to know more about us, and how I grew up, I stop to think. On the one hand, I could tell her that this knowledge is not for outsiders, but then I’d not be helping to stop the idiotic stories. I decide to try and help. If I’m meant to position myself as a leader more and more, I ought to paint myself in a more favourable light, even if its absolutely untrue. I tell Josie I and my clan are hardworking. Which is partly true. Emone is pretty lazy; she’d much rather be in bed than having to deal with all this though it’s kind of fun for her being slightly popular and powerful. Her clan, on the other hand, are hard workers. Before I head back out to the Hinterlands, I pass judgement on those who live in the cities who have their food delivered to them, which I’m sure went down really well with high-born Josephine. We conclude our conversation with the understanding that my clan will no longer be ignored as a result of my actions with the Inquisition. No more sweeping us underneath a rug!

Hinterlands

My first step is to visit the farm to deliver the news that the watchtowers have been constructed, and then it’s back to Horsemaster Dennet to secure our mounts. They’ll be welcomed—my feet ache from walking everywhere! Does Dennet seriously think that we have the time or energy to look after the horses? I “persuade” him to join up. Vivienne, the darling, helps me manipulate him into it by suggesting she can more than easily secure an Orlesian Horsemaster in his place if he feels he can’t come with us. Dennet is a proud man, so he opts to come to Haven rather than have an Orlesian, of all people, take his place. Huzzah. Another victory for me—ahem—I mean, for the Inquisition.

After that, it’s a search for Bergrit’s claws, solving my first Astarium, and then onto find Warden Blackwall, who I find passing on advice to a group of recruits. I don’t know if this is all that’s left of the Grey Wardens, but if it is then that’s just kind of sad. The three recruits don’t even have any armour. Still, I promised to seek Blackwall out so we’ll talk. Before we can even begin, a battle begins and Emone ends up in the midst of it. Again. We manage to save the recruits, who I learn from Blackwall are only here to protect their families and take back what the thieves had stolen from them. Alright, I admit, that’s kind of noble of him to help. Blackwall cleverly figures out I’m not a farmer (hah) and asks how I know who he is. I’m here for answers, so we get straight to it. While I ask him questions, it’s clear that Blackwall has a strange way about him. He claims the Wardens wouldn’t have killed the Divine—it’s not in their nature to act in a political manner, but at the same time has a moan about the Wardens always being forgotten each time the blight is vanquished.

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He’s also on the defense immediately, which makes Emone think he’s got something to hide or knows more than he’s willing to let on. I ask him if he’s seen any Grey Wardens. He hasn’t, and then goes on about how inspiring Wardens can be, how they can make you a better person. Emone is kind of tired of this conversation already. She’d like to go have a bath and put her feet up, not dance around in conversational circles with someone who clearly doesn’t want to speak a hell of a lot of actual truths. I accuse him of not giving me much to work with in this investigation and walk away. Somehow, in all of this, Blackwall thinks this could be an ideal moment to suggest joining the Inquisition. Really? What in our conversation made you jump to that crazy conclusion? Still though, we could always use more swords and at least then I could keep an eye on Blackwall myself—make sure he isn’t lying re: how much he knows about a possible Warden connection to the Divine’s death. Hooray, more agents!

Emone and co. close another fade rift on their way through the Hinterlands (just how many of these are there?) and receive a mission from Widow Maura to retrieve her dead husband’s ring from templars who murdered him because they thought he was a rebel. What arseholes. Even if I’m doing this to kind of help someone, I’m actually going to take far more pleasure in this than I ought to on behalf of my brethren Dalish. We then encounter a scout worried for his partner, Rifts, who has gone missing (lol, Rifts?), set up another camp or two, discover a smuggler’s cave which Vivienne thought was “lovely!”, save a couple of scouts, return the ring to the Dalish widow, take Ram meat to the Hunter at the Crossroads to feed the poor and encounter another bloody dragon which we ran from on my sound advice. They ought to give me some kind of medal for being so nice to everyone. Hard though it is to bite my tongue and perform these tasks, if I’m going to have true power I need the people on my side.

And then we come across an Elf Mage, Mihris, when I take Solas where he needed to go in the Hinterlands. Why is she here? Where did she come from? And did Solas know she was here? I tell her to leave as I don’t trust her one bit. She’s not happy and hopes the Dread Wolf will get me. Urgh, who? Anyway, I leave her and discover the entrance to a cave, clear the demons out and activate this artifact we’ve found. It’s all very convenient that Solas knew exactly where to come. Equally curious is the fact that Mihris is gone as soon as we emerge from the cave. Urgh, I really do not trust anything Solas has to say or do.

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After a whole slew of other minor missions, we finally hit the road to Redcliffe Village. But when we come to the gates there’s a rift blocking the way. I’d been worried on the way up about what I might find there, especially after Cassandra’s worry for seeking the Mage’s help out, but this wasn’t exactly what I’d expected Well, I should have expected it, especially as nothing is ever easy and these rifts are everywhere. We go to work on the demons. Make it look easy in fact, and I hope people are watching. Funny thing is, there’s a weird temporal disturbance after I close the rift—one that Vivienne notices immediately. Forget the rifts, there is clearly something tremendously wrong here. Why am I always involved in these things? Grand Enchanter Fiona has invited me here from Val Royeaux, so the first objective is to find her, but a Scout announces Fiona’s actually given up control of Redcliffe to Magister Alexius. Blackwall is immediately on edge. We all are, though no one in Redcliffe seems overly fussed. Some idiot storyteller stops Emone to impart a warning: to be wary of statues. Statues? Has she any idea what’s going on around her? Emone nods, smiles, and quickly walks away. I wander around Redcliffe Village, amazed that everyone is standing around gossiping. It’s no wonder nothing ever gets done.

We step into The Gull and the Lantern to meet with Fiona. Vivienne tells Fiona she looks absolutely dreadful which makes me smirk a little. How very like Vivienne. Fiona wonders what has brought us to Redcliffe, so I tell her to drop the act. She’s the one who invited us here! Fiona denies going anywhere near Val Royeaux, but she’s lying. She has to be. It was her. Fiona doesn’t know what has brought us to her, but she tells us the situation at Redcliffe has definitely changed. The Free Mages have pledged themselves to the bloody Tevinter Imperium. Iron Bull sees this as evidence for why we don’t trust Mages, which is a bit harsh. It’s not really like we can trust you, Bull. You’re a double agent.

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Regardless of our sentiments, Fiona has no power to bargain with the Inquisition so our trip here to garner their support has been for nothing. I tell her she’s made a huge mistake. Allying with the Tevinter? Pledging support to them? What absolute nonsense. Fiona claims she had no choice. She had to save her people, but from what was she saving them? From those who thought the rebellion were responsible for the Divine’s death or from something else?

I don’t get the chance to ask because Magister Alexius turns up and interrupts our meeting. How very convenient. I suspect that we’ve been watched as soon as we stepped through the gates, maybe even before then. Alexius knows all about me and my survival in the Fade, which tells me he’s interested in the Inquisition. Hopefully he’ll be up for making some kind of bargain so we can get this breach sealed and I can either go back to being a nobody or live my life in luxury after saving the entirety of Thedas. Preferably the latter if I get some kind of choice. Alexius thinks our plan to use Mages to seal the breach is an ambitious one. He’s a bit of a moron. There’s a gigantic ass breach in the sky, so of course the plan to seal it would be an ambitious one. How else would we pull it off? I can’t help sassing him. It’s actually super fun. Felix, his son, randomly collapses during this meeting and both he and Alexius leave for Redcliffe Castle, with the promise that we’ll continue this on another date. The only thing is, Felix has handed Emone a note warning her she’s in danger and asking to meet him at the Chantry. While I suspect it’s a trap, Vivienne is more than right when she points out that we’ve more questions than answers at this point and we might as well go along.

Redcliffe Village Chantry

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This place is gorgeous. I’d live here if I had the chance, and maybe one day I will when I’m powerful enough to demand anything I want. When we enter the Chantry we find Dorian Pavus fighting off demons. We seal the rift together and Dorian introduces himself. What a handsome bugger! Bull takes an immediate dislike to him, warning Emone that “the pretty ones” are usually the ones to watch out for. He’s absolutely right to be suspicious, though part of me hopes its also because he’s jealous. Bless.

I tell Dorian to stop grandstanding after he gabs on about the way he managed to get us all there. Pretty or not, Dorian has orchestrated this entire spectacle to manipulate us into wanting to be his allies and he needs to get to his point and fast. He reveals that Alexius has distorted time so he could reach Redcliffe before anyone else to secure control of the southern Free Mages. Dorian sounds absolutely bonkers. Both Emone and Vivienne question his judgement—no one has ever been able to manipulate time, but Dorian insists. I still don’t really trust him though, and perhaps I’m right not to. He helped to develop this kind of magic after all.

Felix arrives to tell us Alexius has joined a cult called the Venatori and it’s all in the favour of getting to me. I’d be touched if I wasn’t so irritated. Dorian bids us farewell—when we’re ready to take on Alexius I only need say the word and he’ll be there. Excellent. More people to do away with.

Next time we’ll visit the Hissing Wastes, see if we can’t track Red Jenny down and maybe even take on Magister Alexius himself!

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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