February 24th, 2010: A Crimson Oars mercenary said he would rip out Etheria’s eyes and then piss in her skull if she looked at him the wrong way. Aah!
I like it when party members talk amongst themselves.
We went to Brother Genetivi’s house and found his assistant, Weylon. He did not know where Genetivi was, either. Our only lead: Genetivi said that he would be staying at an inn near Lake Calenhad. Ugh, there again?
We delighted a blacksmith by giving him our Drake Scales to make a suit of armor. For some reason, his boss was very hesitant and tried to dissuade us from ordering the armor. What’s his problem?
It was funny. The artsy blacksmith won’t let anything let in the way of the job, but his boss was quavering in his boots. In the end, art won, though.
February 25th, 2010: Master Wade already finished the armor, but he insisted that it was garbage. He said that he would make better armor.
February 26th, 2010: At the Spoiled Princess, Etheria asked around for Brother Genetivi. The owner was clearly hiding something, but he refused to admit to ever serving the man.
Outside the inn, we were attacked by Cultist Reavers! They were backed up by Cultist Archers. I suspect this isn’t a coincidence. Our only lead took us back to Weylon…
March 4th, 2010: Weylon attacked us in the name of Andraste, whose ashes were said to be those in the Urn of Sacred Ashes. The silly fool died without giving us any more clues.
The corpse of the real Weylon was in the bedroom. Genetivi’s research was in a chest. It suggested that the western town of Haven may have hidden secrets pertaining to the Urn.
Leliana sang a pretty song at camp. She learned it after her mother died. It sounded like other music in the game.
Sten disapproved of being in the mountain village of Haven. He thought that it would have been best to go after the Archdemon. He suddenly took up arms against Etheria, but she defeated him, and his respect for her increased.
The Cult of Andraste’s leader in Haven attacked us. A false wall in the chantry hid Brother Genetivi. He thought that the Urn was hidden in a temple on the mountainside. He took us to the temple and unlocked the door with the cult leader’s medallion.
The temple had been overtaken by the snow years ago. It was also infested with cultists.
This game should autosave more often.
Morrigan did not like Leliana’s song, but Sten seemed touched. He’s a strong and mysterious character.
One of my complaints about this game: warriors die a lot. In most RPGs, the warriors are the tough ones.
March 6th, 2010: The temple flowed out into a cavern littered with cultists and dragonkin.
Everntually, we met a cultist who claimed that Andraste overcame death itself.
Apparently, she got turned into a dragon. How? Why? Who?
Embarrassingly, I had to retreat from the caverns because we ran low on health poultices, and the cult makes me need them.
March 8th, 2010: Etheria returned to the lair with Leliana, Morrigan, and Wynne. They defeated Kolgrim and his allies.
Beyond the lair, an exit to the mountaintop. The dragon flew overhead and away.
The mountaintop area led to an internal Gauntlet. Inside, the Guardian of the Urn of Sacred Ashes awaited. He required four tests of faith to determine if Etheria was worthy of but a piece of the Sacred Ashes.
Before he let her attempt the Gauntlet, he asked if she believed if she failed Jowan. She replied that he should have known that she would do the “right thing”. Honestly, she feared what the Circle would do to him if they got to him before she did.
The Guardian observed that she did not dwell on the actions of herself or others. Then, he questioned her allies.
He asked if Wynne ever felt like a mere mouthpiece for the Circle and the Chantry. She admitted that she did sometimes suffer doubt over her mission.
The Guardian saw into Leliana’s heart and pinned her faith as a way of gaining attention, despite the Maker’s clear absence from the world. She was offended, but maintained the strength of the purity of her beliefs.
Morrigan flat-out rejected his “games”, and he respected her wishes.
“The way is open,” announced the Guardian. “Good luck, and may you find what you seek.”
The hall beyond the door hid the spirits of those who knew Andraste in life. They asked questions in the form of riddles. Upon answer, they spirited off towards the exit.
The spirits ranged from Andraste’s childhood friend, to her mother, to the elf that conspired her demise, to the man that ended her life for mercy’s sake, to the mage that carried out a cruel famine against the Imperium, to the man that felt small in her life compared to the Maker, and even the man who carried her ashes to the mountain.
The door opened. Jowan was waiting behind it. But it was just a version of him created for the Gauntlet.
Jowan: “It makes me happy, knowing that you will be the mage I never could.”
He gave Etheria something and vanished.
In the next room, we had to fight ghostly versions of ourselves. Now that’s what I expect out of a Gauntlet!
The next room had a fun(ish) puzzle whereupon buttons on the floor created a bridge for one person to cross. You had to figure out the right order of buttons for the other three characters to stand on.
The room after that had an altar – and a wall of fire. Leave your equipment behind and walk through the flames to be deemed worthy of some of the Ashes of the Bride of the Maker.
Leliana and Wynne were all googly-eyed over it, but it just looked like a fancy vase to Etheria. Morrigan was just sarcastic, as usual.
Unlocked Ceremonialist and Journeyman.
We returned to Brother Genetivi and showed him the Ashes. He initially confused them with dust, but then he got very excited. He insisted on telling others about the Urn’s existence. Leliana agreed, but the others were more doubtful. We’ll see who benefits from all this in the long run.
At last, we have the Ashes. I want Alistair to be there when they give them to Arl Eamon. Of course, it could backfire horribly, but I have little doubt that Andraste’s ashes are the real thing.
The Gauntlet was sooo much more interesting than a clump of grueling fights.
The spirit of Andraste’s mother lamented her daughter’s violent fate.
I love it when these characters assert themselves. I think that this game has my favorite cast of any BioWare game I’ve ever played.
So… I guess that dragon wasn’t Andraste. Maybe we should have slayed it, but if it didn’t bother us, we didn’t have to bother it.
Inhabitants of Thedas
Humans: In terms of character classes, the most well-rounded people of Thedas, capable of melee, espionage, or magic.
Most of the humans of Ferelden seem British, but there are also people who hail from the distant country of Orlais, which occupied Ferelden until Loghain Mac Tir helped bring that rule to an end. There seems to be a lack of racial diversity amongst humans in Ferelden, but there was an Orlesian woman with Asian features in Denerim.
Later on in the game, there is a black guard of a dungeon.
Orlesians like Leliana have a luscious, exotic, and vaguely French accent.
Elves: Gorgeous – but short – people with pointed ears. They ruled Thedas at the height of their civilization when they also had the secrets of immortality. Today, most elves exist in the alienages of human cities, or they scratch out little corners for themselves in the cities’ darker slums, or go to live amongst the fiercely territorial Dalish elves in the wilds. Zevran’s mother was apparently Dalish.
Elves have a preternatural talent for magic due to their innate affinity with mana.
Dwarves: Shorter still, dwarves may become the next elves as their underground kingdom becomes consumed with a battle against the Darkspawn.
Dwarves are natural craftsmen, but they are naturally resistant to magic, which prevents them from becoming mages.
Qunari: The race I know the least about besides dwarves. My knowledge of the Qunari rests completely with Sten, and he’s pretty reluctant to talk about it, meaning that he believes that others could hardly understand his kin. They seem to have a doctorate called the Qun.
Their language contains some unique swear words.
They are big, manly warriors that basically enslave their mages so that they don’t have to deal with maleficarum and apostates.
The game’s manual makes no mention of Qunari.
Dragon Age II considerably changed the looks of elves and qunari, making for another divisive change between games. Then, Dragon Age: Inquistion would change them back to resemble their DA:O incarnations more closely.