Archives: Dragon Age: Inquisition

Uh oh, Scooby Doo!

Ok, so my new castle is pretty nice. In fact, check out my quarters! Thanks, Inquisition, this is all paying off.homeThat said, there are things to be done. First step is a quick trip back to the Storm Coast to finish stuff up there. Not a whole lot to say about the situation there; just some madness and a chance to negotiate that we didn’t take up.

next houseI did find my next irl house. Screw you Emer. I’ll take this one — and the rain, and the view.

legitEmer also stumbled upon this very odd place for a snack. The cheese is still there, as well, which is just WEIRD. This game is WEIRD. This is a cliff face about thirty feet up, slammed by wind and water. I mean, that’s where I’d have a picnic, right?

dorianWe also get another chance to see just how annoyed Dorian is — Blackwell’s asked him if the Elder One is “one of yours”. He doesn’t respond well.

Storm Coast as finished as it can be for the moment, it’s time for an extra depressing assignment: off to Crestwood.



Oh what a relief. Just when Emer was thinking she might have to go someplace bright and cheery, we find that we’re still in an AWFUL WORLD. Burn it all down.


We arrive in time to see the grey wardens fighting off a blight attack — we help, and then they skip town. Blackwell, your people are assholes. Just so you know. So, once upon a time there was a town (Old Crestwood) that got drowned by a dam burst. And now there’s a rift down there, so all the dead of Old Crestwood are coming back to life and attacking. Sounds like this is a job for The Inquisitor!



Someone doesn’t agree but Emer doesn’t take orders from signs! Actually, in this case she does — kills some bandits, establishes a base camp, and goes to drain the lake so she can get close enough to the rift to drain it.

Old Crestwood is pretty bleak.

warcrimesBodies just piled together, as the blight had hit already. We burn the bodies at the request of a chantry sister, so their souls can be freed.


There’s also this very odd scene of death. Was he betting with the cheese and cheating and was then murdered by a wedge of cheese? Just. What?

Still, weird stories are the least of our concerns. It’s off to close the rift; through the mining tunnels we go.


Correction: into the spider infested mining tunnels we go. Why. Just, why.

hauntedWe have some terribly worrisome companions in the form of red, miserable ghosts following us. (In the Sims, a red ghost indicates death by fire. Fun fact!)

ScreenshotWin32_0202_FinalThings aren’t so good down here. People died poor, painful deaths.

scratchesWhere hanging might be better than waiting for the water to claim you. No way out.

obviousClever observational skills from my team; we had already found about eight bodies by this point. Good job guys!

oldsAnd here he is, the pride … or rage, I can’t remember … demon. He’s guarding the dwarven halls that lead to the rift. “Oh, look, they’re still lit!” says someone in shock. True, but by WHAT? I can’t figure out what provides the lighting here.

dwarven mysteries

Think those are lanterns? Guess again! Just reflected lights. The dwarves are LOUSY MAGICIANS is what I’m getting at, and I don’t think we can trust them!

Well, another rift, another yawn later and we triumphantly return to town to let everyone know they’ve been saved. Only the mayor is missing! This feels like a Scooby Doo plot!
warcrimesredux“And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn’t for you pesky Inquisition!”

With a goat.


So Emer’s stuck wandering the snowy filled wastelands, and considering I’m currently living in the snowy filled wastelands it made me tired just watching her. Somewhere in the mountains, she figures, she’ll find her friends. Wandering through snowy wastes in the hopes of finding someone is just the sort of decision making I like to see in my video game characters. Christ.

Of course, this is a video game, so she collapses at exactly the same moment that her companions find her. All the escapees from Haven are huddling in this tiny camp in the mountains and they’re feeling pretty hopeless about things. A lot of people died, the inquisition leadership are fighting amongst themselves, and Emer’s pretty much had enough with the whole deal.


Mother Giselle, a chantry leader we met earlier in the hinterlands, has not given up hope though. She sings an old hymn that draws everyone together — and to their knees in front of Emer.



But lest Emer take this moment to feel good about herself or the progress of this story or even to smile, Solas comes in like SUCH a buzzkill.

Turns out the orb the elder one has was stolen from the elves. And when that particular fact comes out, the already keen elf hatred is going to explode — unless Emer somehow changes things. Basically the elves indirectly caused the breach. GREAT, that’s just GREAT. For fuck’s sake Solas, why not pile on some more.

dontwanttoWell, now that we’ve been thoroughly depressed, it’s time for some brighter news.

morninghasbrokenSolas brings us to Skyhold. You guys, you gave her a CASTLE. It’s cold comfort for the fact that apparently Emer’s turned into Atlas, the whole world on her shoulders, but you know. Castle. It helps.

youshouldnthaveIt’s a bit of a pit at first, although it improves rapidly between visits. On her first morning there, Emer leaves her bed to find her friends gossiping about her. Jerks.

talkingshitActually though it turns out they are offering her something quite big: the head of the inquisition.

imthebossFinally, some goddam recognition. Emer plays it cool, though, saying she’ll lead for faith. Solas and Sera are pissed — they want her to lead for the elves and change their standing, but all along people have said that Emer’s the herald of Andraste, and it feels cold to turn away from Andraste’s grace for more partisan matters. Once this is all over, she can be the example by which elves are judged; getting others to warm to her now is more important (although in truth almost no one approves of this call, whatever. At least she didn’t say: “I’ll do it for POWER!” which was literally one of the options).

It’s around this time that Emer sits on the throne for the first time. She’s not super psyched about it.


But she’s the leader, and so she has to. First up, ATTACKING. WITH A GOAT. Oh god I loved this guy; I basically let him escape without punishment.



Emer stops to chat with Cole.

stoppedlisteningI mean, that’s what I do when Solas starts lecturing, so I’m not surprised characters do as well. Cole’s an odd duck. If I had done the Templar quest I might understand a bit more, but from what he’s said — he’s not quite a demon, not quite a ghost, but something in between. He can feel and hear what people are thinking — helpful in the case of people who are dying. Still, he wants to put someone out of their misery, and I had a really hard time deciding what to do about that. On one hand, yes, suffering. On the other hand, the person wasn’t asking to die — although they were asking to make the suffering stop. Maybe the braver thing to do would have been to let Cole kill them, but Emer asked him not to — pointing out that no one knows the future and that any number of things could happen.

dorianmadShe also stops to chat with Dorian, who she’s very sad she can’t romance. Dorian’s awesome, and also VERY ANGRY because everyone blames his people for the blight and in fact for this breach since the Elder One is one of them. But like, Dorian, Emer’s an elf. People don’t even bother blaming them for things, they just hate them and kill them and also, remember Dragon Age Origins? They also rape them with impunity. So, you know. I feel your pain, but TONE IT DOWN a bit.

lessthanthreeNext, another attempt at romancing Bull. He has Emer put on a mage disguise and go with him around the camp; we have some invisible drinks with some new recruits, keeping Emer’s identity a secret. He explains afterward that although ideally she’d know every person in her army, it’s useful to at least know a few faces — to realize that these are actual humans, not just a army of people to be sacrificed on a whim. Oh, Bull. I love you. Why won’t you let me romance you.


Meanwhile, I’m getting romanced like mad by this fellow. I mean, check out that dialogue. I might have to give in if Bull doesn’t loosen up a little. He’s a good second bet.

somethingsomethingChecking in on the mission table. HAHAHA, oh scribes. You are the best.

Anyway, it’s time to leave the warm embrace of Skyhold and go out and save the world some more.



Oh. It’s you.

My Emer’s no fool. She’s closed the breach but she knows — despite of or perhaps because of the dancing inquisition in Haven — things are far from over. She’s 100000000% right.

This young fellow, who we would have met in depth had we done the Templar quest, shows up with some really surprising news.


Someone’s coming to hurt EMER? Are you SURE? But everyone loves her! -_-

Anyway, turns out the Elder One is SUPER PISSED that we closed the breach, that Emer has the mark he was supposed to, that we keep messing with his shit. The inquisition makes a valiant effort against his demons and red templars but sheer numbers and the very small size of Haven don’t add up to a defensible position.

rocksfallingThere’s a plan for a moment — Emer sets off some trebuchets and buries some troops, but there’s a moment where it’s clear the battle is lost and we toddle off for a last stand in the chantry, saving some but not all of the Havenites on the way. I was REALLY SAD about the ones that I didn’t get to in time — I did save the alchemists and a couple of other people, but I missed the barmaid :/ Boo. Emer’s super sad about it.


Also the fact that we’re all going to die. That’s not really happy either.


Just when all seems lost, here comes the game’s early bad guy with his shot at redemption — he’s dying because he fought off a templar, but he knows of a secret path known only to the chantry that will help the people escape. Of course, the forces of the Elder One might be a bit suspicious if the chantry is suddenly empty.

oh meGREAT THANKS COLE. He’s such a ray of sunshine. The answer is pretty clear — Emer’s served this long to save the world, what’s certain death to save everyone versus certain death and everyone else dies too? She’s nothing if not noble.

Outside, we get our first good look at The Elder One who looks like every villain in a fantasy movie, walking out of the fire, hands crackling with power.

ohitsyouAnd like every villain everywhere he spends some very important exposition time telling Emer how much he despises her, how he wants to be a GOD, how she’s going to die. Once upon a time he was a Tevintar magistar (Dorian, also Tevintar, is particularly pissed off about this when he finds out) who entered the fade and became a darkspawn in the blight. He’s imprisoned but escapes because we need a story line  because he’s very powerful. He’s basically done all of this to sow discord and also to restore Tevintar power and also to become a god. He’s pretty clever — he’s infiltrated the templars with red lyrium, he’s stolen the orb of destruction from the elves (Emer doesn’t know this yet, but Solas sure does). And of course, he’s responsible for the mass killing at the consortium that started all of this trouble for us.

wellshitAlso he has an enormous dragon. This is called Dragon Age, remember?

amiturningevilEmer’s clearly got a plan, though, because she’s a heroine in a fantasy tale and no mere dragon and evil man with unimaginable powers can beat her.

elderThe Elder One is super pissed when he figures out what the plan is — she’s going to bury the now empty Haven, and hopefully him with it. Only he’s got a dragon so while she’s able to bury the town and escape, so does he. Sigh.

escapeEmer’s work is never done.

Rocks fall. Everyone Dies.

When last we left Emer she had gathered up her erstwhile companions from the dungeons in the future. Because that’s a thing that happens in Dragon Age: Inquisition! Dorian is still positive that this can be all undone, which appears to be a great comfort to all the afflicted companions, most of whom are looking worse for the wear. They’re all Lyrium poisoned…although Fiona has it worse.

ouchThe Lyrium is growing through her, basically eating her from the inside out. The mage storyline is very very dark. She tells us that Leilana is here and we must find her. Everyone’s a bit bossy.  We have a skin crawling exploration of the place. It’s pretty clear that when things went bad they went bad QUICK.


bad sceneAnd then we find Leilana.

mygirlShe’s clearly been through a really awful hell. But, you can’t keep this one down.

unbrokenShe’s the unbroken one, clearly. Her torturer is broken in many many places, including his neck. SUPER THIGHS. Bless her.

It’s a disturbing moment because a) we find out that it’s only been ONE YEAR since Emer was cast into the future. ONE YEAR. And in one year the Empress has been assassinated and the Inquisition has fallen and everything is an utter shambles. Leliana is SUPER ANGRY. I’m very scared of her. She calls Emer out for being cavelier about it all — “This is just a dream to you, but it’s been our LIFE for a year. I WANT REVENGE.”

We’re just going to give her what she wants. The gate Alexius is hiding behind can’t be opened without shards of lyrium, so we have to go kill a bunch of people. You’re welcome, Leiliana.


This is a seriously bad and hopeless future. Emer kind of regrets making this choice because look at how much is on her shoulders now. She has to make the choices that make sure this NEVER HAPPENS. It’s a lot to ask for some poor elf cast into this position with a mark she didn’t ask for.

Once inside the gate, it’s time to confront Alexius. To no one’s very great surprise, he is corrupted due to association with the Elder One. He’d sided with him in a desperate bid to save his son’s life. Dorian is actually surprisingly compassionate about this, considering everything we’ve seen:


But then Dorian was his apprentice before the madness took hold, so he probably has a bit of extra love for the guy. Anywho, it’s not just about Felix — he also wants Tevinter to rule, so he’s a bit of a power hungry ass. He promised the Elder One he could go back in time before the breach and change the past — meaning, I suppose, Emer would have never been marked. Unfortunately, this is beyond his power and the Elder One is VERY ANGRY.

Well. He’s no match for us (Alexius, that is. The Elder One would be trouble). Emer ably dispatches him and we return to the past — just in time to convince Alexius of the past that he’s making the wrong choice altogether. Felix helps:


Unfortunately, just when it looks like things are making some sort of sense, ALISTAR appears and boy is he PISSED. Can’t trust a mage, he says. Can’t trust them at all.


He kicks the mages out altogether, which means Emer has a choice to make. She can welcome them as equals, or she can enslave them. She knows she’s going to piss off a whole lot of people, but despite the bad apples we’ve met a lot of unhappy mages who haven’t really done anything wrong. Enslaved people aren’t going to be any more trustworthy, and if she’s going to close the breach she needs them.

I play her as a softy, and I think it’s interesting that there’s going to be troubles ahead as a result — the better move would have been to enslave them and sort it all out afterwards. But, she’s a victim of plenty of bias and hatred because she’s an elf. It’s hard for her to justify extending that to some other group.

Still, nearly everyone disapproves of this move. WHATEVER jerks it’s not up to you is it!

Now the big moment — can we close the rift with the help of the mages power? OF COURSE WE CAN. I took zero screenshots but you’ll have to take my word for it.

Job’s finished! Time to bask in the glory of a new day!


Oh WHO ARE WE KIDDING. This isn’t even close to being over.



Let’s go to the future!


When last we left Emer it was time for her to make a choice between Templars and Mages. She deliberated and promptly f’d off to go do more entertaining things, like getting Iron Bull to join the party so she could flirt shamelessly with him.

tranquilWhen we were in Redcliffe village, Emer was sneaking around and learned that all of these freaky little skull pillars are made from the skulls of the Tranquil. The tranquil, by the way, are mages who failed their test in the fade — and are then cut off from it. The process removes their emotions,  making them creepy and inexpressibly sad. The idea of their skulls now being used in these…whatever they are? It doesn’t sit well.

Anyway, our little side trip to the Storm Coast was short lived because I really just wanted to get Iron Bull in my party. I mean, look at him.

lessthan3There are other reasons. Let me count the ways.

bull me too bull ScreenshotWin32_0124_FinalThis latter proves the difficulty of hitting on him, btw. He won’t even give me flirt options anymore -_- Damnit Bull! Also, I think that Emer actually approves of this choice — if he loses the slightest bit of health she’s all “SOMEONE HELP BULL!” in a panic. Bless her.

Also, I can’t decide if Cassandra is afraid of the dark, of spiders, or both because as soon as we went into this cave I got a message:


I’d mock, but really. Disapproving of this cave probably shows remarkable common sense.

We also took a quick trip to the marsh to rescue some soldiers and kill some zombies and find a maddened apostate and kill ‘im. The place was horrific and depressing — notebooks and letters tell the story of people dying slowly, trying to save their neighbors, watching the undead rise. Ugh.

interior decoratingThis is the lovely, well decorated and cosy home of the madmen who have overtaken the marsh. Everyone has such good taste!

By the way, I didn’t get a screenshot of this, but the father of the chieftain who is leading this little band of madmen comes to avenge his (“idiot”) son by literally throwing a goat at Skyhold. A goat! A GOAT. Emer’s face, man.

bogunicornEmer took one look at her new mount from the fallow marshes and decided Binky was going to be the only thing she rides, thank you very much.

Ok. Can’t put it off anymore. Emer has to decide between the mages and templars. I did some research to try and help decide. I found both the mages and the templars awful, by the way — you have the jerkass templars who abandon Val Royeaux and the jerkass mages are clearly setting up a trap for us and there’s no happy choice here. I chose mages on strength of having the more interesting quest according to forums, but I didn’t feel good about either choice.

cullenCullen thinks he can tell Emer what to do and she reacts like a rebellious teen. SCREW YOU YOU AREN’T MY REAL DAD I’M GOING TO GO MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE MAGES.

This is the point in the game where I start pissing pretty much everybody off on the regular. /shrug.

The council works out a fancy pants plan to get us in their safely and disable Alexius’ forces and in we go. Unsurprisingly, our “negotiations” turn nasty real quick.

self confidence

Poor Emer. No one likes her. She gets the last laugh (well, for a second she gets the last laugh) when Alexius tries to take them into custody and turns to see his guards all killed. Hah!


Unfortunately we aren’t laughing for long. Dorian shows up to confront Alexius and after a moment of tense discussion we are thrown into the future. WELL SHIT.


Dorian’s pretty pragmatic about it — “eh, let’s figure out when we are, it’ll be ok.” I like being lost in time with him. It keeps me calm.


Bad news. The place is drowning in Lyrium. That’s not a good sign.

what number did he start at

The first order of business is to explore and we start finding our companions. Iron Bull is passing the time in a healthy manner, of course. I have to wonder what number he started on…

Next, we’ll finish up in the future and learn to be very, very scared of someone who is part of the Inquisition war table.







Emer’s curiosity about the Friends of Red Jenny must be assuaged, so before she heads back to the Hinterlands to FINALLY gain entrance to Redcliffe (screw you you snotty mages) we take a quick side trip to this strange, moonlit courtyard in Orlais.


This is the first time we’ve seen the moon and while I’m actually grateful that there’s not day/night cycles (some areas are hard enough to navigate under the sun) I quite like the impression it gives me that Em’s a damn miracle worker — look at what she has accomplished in ONE DAY! fight

No one was particularly surprised that there was a fight brewing with this gentleman who was certainly sure he was famous and that he could beat us…Poor fellow. EffortRight. But before we can convince him of the error of his ways, out pops Sera:

seraThe nobleman obviously immediately says What like every fool who fell for that joke ever and Sera assassinates him — but not before the alarm goes out that there’s trouble. Before our intrepid party can even summon up a weary sigh, Sera assures us that there’s not a thing to worry about — as she’d snuck into their storehouses and stolen their breeches.

“Uh,” said someone (probably Cassandra, the most pragmatic of my group) “but why didn’t you steal their weapons?”

nobreechesRight, ok. We dispatch the guards, listen to her madness:


Add Sera to our party and invite the Friends of Red Jenny to be our spies and it’s time to go to Redcliffe!


Well. Almost. First there’s a side trip to the mines of Vallmar (whose key we found in the random house up in the woods that used to serve as the arl of someone’s lover’s house. Parse THAT. Mostly a bandit hideout now). I LOVED Vallmar because it was gorgeous and also because I felt like I was in Ironforge. The idiotic bandits and dwarves and probably a number of other fools are deep in the Lyrium business, poor fools, and most appear to be dead or insane. Also, rift demons. What a mess.


Correction: a BEAUTIFUL mess.


Correction: a beautiful HOLY mess.

We clear it out and open it up as a roadway and go to Redcliffe.
Well. Almost. First we meet Blackwall who is busy teaching some hapless farmers how to use shields. Grey Warden? Into my party you go!


Cranky grey warden, of course. Is there any other kind?

(Actually my entire party is cranks:)



Apparently I didn’t bother taking any screenshots in Redcliffe Village but the short version is the former Grand Enchantress, Fiona, has been kicked out of her position and someone new is in power. Alexius seems eager to make arrangements with us (red flag, NO ONE wants to make deals with the inquisition, Emer’s not falling for this!) but is distracted by his son’s “collapse.” Felix (the son) hands a note over asking for a meeting in the Chantry because, and this will come as a shock, we’re going to be betrayed and we are in danger.

If you could see Emer’s face now, it’d be about as shocked as a … what’s unshockable? As that.

In the Chantry is a rift and Dorian, a mage who previously stood under Alexius and is very good friends with Felix. Emer closes the rift and has an alarming chat where she learns there’s danger of a) betrayal (again, unshocked face) and b) time travel. Joy.

Back to Haven and then the big choice: Mages or Templars.


Madame Snappy-Snips

Today, Emer continues her increasingly worrisome adventure in the Hinterlands and takes a quick trip to Val Royeaux to try and convince a very hostile chantry to support the Inquisition.


In every lair of templar, mage or bandit there seems to be some vein of red lyrium. I WONDER IF THIS IS A PLOT DEVICE. It’s time to move on, Emer thinks.

First, though, she must stop the wolves from attacking the farmers. Through a very complicated series of deductions, she figured out that the Wolf Cave was where they were hiding. Very subtle.


And by some strange coincidence, there are statues of canines in the wolf grotto! Hmm. Anyway, there was a rift demon there (but no rift) corrupting the poor wolves so Emer promptly dispatched him and then the wolves were her best friend. Annoyingly, as they promptly attacked a druffalo back at Redcliffe Farms and then died to it, leaving Emer et all to kill the very annoyed beast. In front of its farmer owner. Who did not react to this barbarism. Oh, video games.

Oh, and the wolves also dropped this! legit

Because sure, why wouldn’t a wolf being wearing a rare amulet grinding 2% bleed on hit. Totally legit, video gamessssss.

And a quick aside, there’s a lot of interesting and sometimes lovely and sometimes horrifying sculpture here in the Hinterlands, but SERIOUSLY what the hell is this.

what is this

We’ve done all we can usefully do so its off to Haven to see what our war table would like us to do. Well, we would have done that, only there’s a total brawl happening in front of the chantry. Mages and Templars that have joined the Inquisition have forgotten that they’re joined under a common cause and are busily accusing each other of killing the Divine. Emer is mentally breathing a sigh of relief that they aren’t blaming her for once, and Cullen is not having ANY OF THIS.


What’s with the smug face, sir? What’s with the red eyes? Are you taking some chemical enhancement to deal with this stress?


Anyway, Cullen is full of sass anyway. Check out this snarky put down. Bless.


Unfortunately for everyone involved, our newest task is to go off to Val Royeaux, the capital city of Orlais, to try and charm the Chantry into loving us and lending us their support.

vrstrangetimesEveryone who walks by looks at Emer like she’s carrying bubonic plague. Not an auspicious start.


At least the scenery is pretty, though! And just when Emer begin to worry that no one has any sense of humor around here…


I LOVE this vandal (who marked nearly every plaque).

The Chantry’s expecting us — with its leader standing ready to negotiate…hahah just kidding no one likes us.

ughhhEmer’s getting realllllll tired of this crap.

vrexcusemeREAL. TIRED.

But before her bow and arrow can come out the head of the Templars in the area knocks your lady out. Hooray, the happy inquisition adventurers think, finally someone is on our side!

Yeah. Right. The templars hate everyone and their leader tells off Cassandra for starting the Inquisition and trusting Emer and so on and so on. They also announce they are withdrawing from Val Royeaux, who no longer deserve their protection. And ok, look, these folks are a bit mad, but in these dark, dark, dark times the Templars seem to be completely abandoning their training and tenants in favor of hurt feelings and a real bad attitude.


Gee. I wonder why he’s acting so out of character. Surely he’s not been corrupted. SURELY NOT.

Fiona, the Grand Enchantress of the mages is there, as well — in contrast to the mad templars, she invites our parties to at least negotiate in Redcliffe village. In Mages vs. Templars right now, Mages are definitely winning.


Someone shoots an arrow into this crowded square with a message for us. This seems very VERY irresponsible, friends of Red Jenny, but I’m all about an adventure.

We’ve done all we usefully can in the city, although I obviously take this opportunity to go for a wander and look for the red handkerchiefs that will lead me to Red Jenny. This place is a treasure trove.



Yes! More Randy Dowager!

vrsnappysnipsI am naming every pet I get from now on Madame Snappy-Snips, no matter sex or type.








Stealing from the poor.

It happens in a lot of video games, especially RPGs. There you are, wandering without permission into someone’s house, and you find them all upset over something. You listen with half an ear to their sob story — Maura’s, in this case, telling Emer how her husband was killed by templars when he was hoeing the garden because they thought the hoe was a sword.

image (2)


And then you see it.

image (1)

And then, no matter how moral a character you are playing, no matter how good you are about helping the ill and tracking down thieves and petting puppies and comforting babies, AND THEN you show your true nature.



And you may comfort yourself by bringing back a token to the apparently willfully blind homeowner, but it’s too late. You are already branded as the person who STEALS FROM THE PEOPLE THEY ARE HELPING.
You monster.




Having fought off chantry naysayers and given her full hearted support to the Inqusition, Emer and party (limited choices being Cassandra, Varric and Solas) head to the Hinterlands to win the hearts and souls of some very tired people.

I like Dragon Age’s open world ish feel. I arrived in the hinterlands and started picking up quests, going in the opposite direction to the main quest tracker because guess what game, you don’t get to tell me what to do, I AM MY OWN PERSON.

My general play style is collect all the quests and then complete them in a big loop. It’s actually not the most efficient method because there are quests every freaking where and they had me backtracking frequently, so I wised up and made a beeline towards…


binky3This horse. He is amazing. And tell me you don’t have the song stuck in your head nowmyhorseisamazinggiveitalick. And he is named Binky, yes — to Jordan’s disgust. But whatever, he named his horse SEABISCUIT and if we’re going for cultural references the name of Death’s horse is FAR superior to SEABISCUIT.

Anyway, horse acquired, we do some wandering. We meet the crazy cultists in the hills (they are worshiping the rift in the hopes of appeasing the power that opened the rift in the first place) and ok maybe that’s kind of nuts but check out these digs.


I mean, I’d join this damn cult in a heartbeat. Emer handily convinces the leader that she’s the real deal by closing a rift they had at the end of their little compound here, and I take back what I said about wanting to join them, who builds a hq on a rift, who DOES that. Also in here is a very sad nobleman waiting for his lost love (whose body Emer literally stumbled over on her way here). He appreciates our kindness in letting him know. There’s also a son who has been trying to convince his parents to join him in the cult; they won’t leave their farmland. Unfortunately for everyone involved, there’s a very ill mother who needs a potion that only the son can make — I suppose this is supposed to reinforce the tough choices of war (and to humanize the cult) but actually it just made me think WRITE THE POTION DOWN DUMBASS.

There’s an overarching theme here — things have been bad in the hinterlands for a long time. The templars and the mages have been killing each other without pause, and killing innocents caught in the crossfire, too. And no one — not the chantry, not templar or mage leadership — has bothered to try and make things right. People are skeptical about Emer’s ability to help them, and very skeptical about her claim to be the Herald of Andraste, but when she does something for them, their gruff gratefulness is touching.

I spent a lot of time in the Hinterlands just looking at the scenery, to be honest. lovely

I also stumbled upon a worried guardsman who was missing a colleague. I found her, beset by templars, and saved her. Weirdly, there was a dead mage at her feet, and signs of a picnic…after some pointed questioning she admitted they were passing the time.scandalThe good news about this — about DA:I in general — is that the scandal is because she was dallying with a mage, not because she was dallying with a woman. Emer’s a soft heart, so she lets them off the hook — “I shouldn’t worry,” she said, leaving  the presumably heartbroken guard to her work.

There are definite signs of corruption here — more than just templars and mages gone mad, there’s an outside source working on them. Emer read this letter:



Proving, I guess, that there’s still some thread of control left in the corrupted. He died under this very alarming statue, which had rotting fruit at its base.


Emer’s companions don’t comment, but I’d like to think she’s growing more and more alarmed at what she’s seeing here. Even the animals, the wolves and bears, are growing more angry.

ogrepoopLook, I know that food is scarce and no one should let anything go to waste but those sausages look very alarming like ogre poop and Emer must have felt a little sick to her stomach after seeing them.

Having rescued good mother Giselle of the chantry at the battle of the crossroads (some battle, there were three groups of templars/mages!) and agreeing to try and convince the chantry of her status as the herald, Emer decides to stop in back at Haven to see how folks are doing and, you know, poke. So how are folks doing? Well, they’re blind drunk apparently.

ddWhich is probably a natural reaction to the past few days, really, but I feel for the poor DD here, bored and alone amongst his passed out companions.


There are also some amazing portraits that Emer’s got a chance to look at in detail:ears mrburns

She stops to chat with Varric, who warns her that he’s both flattered and “inclined to lie extravagantly” and with Solas who doesn’t waste this chance to sigh over Varric (and his chest hair. And his wit. Oh, Solas).varricandsolas

There’s also this alarming fellow who looks like Sander Cohen from Bioshock. He apparently is the owner of Haven and he is NOT HAPPY about the goings on and the shelter the Inquisition is offering to refugees. Emer is a bit of a shit stirrer here, probably because she’s terrified by that FACE what the hell. There’s probably some essential piece of Dragon Age lore that explains this all. Anyroad, our amazing ambassador, Lady Motilyet, sugars him into patience.


Haven thoroughly explored, it’s time to head back to the hinterlands to finish it up. And to be brave.afraid

I met a dragon.



Sunday I lost four hours playing Dragon Age: Inquisition. I haven’t even made it out of the first questing zone, the Hinterlands, because I cannot resist finishing every damn quest, finding every damn landmark, closing every rift.

More, I actually CARE about the story. It’s not mindless completion. I want to increase the inquisition’s reach. I want to prove to these skeptical, traumatized people that I’m there to help, to kill the thoughtless templars and mages who are destroying the world. I’m hooked.

It was good timing. I needed a game that distracted me from WoW, that tried out my new graphics card, that looked pretty. It worked.

So let’s talk.

Within the first few moments of the game, this happens.




And then, like, this happens.


Look. I’m not afraid of spiders. But I DEFY you to look on that detailed, leathery back and those lotus eyes  and not SHUDDER. I might have a touch of Trypophobia. Don’t click on that if lotus flowers freak you out, fyi.

Anyway. Emer, my girl, is being chased by those while desperately trying to reach a glowing golden figure with no discernible features. I’m beginning to think this might be a horror game.



Emer awakes in a cell, hands bound and a pair of very very angry women glaring at her. Nothing like being greeted by a furious woman demanding a reason to not kill you. Elmer’s designed for maximum sad face. It’s an effective tool, as angry Cassandra found out within a minute of meeting her.

E:”What, EVERYONE DIED? /sadface.”

C: “Shit. Shit. Ok, fine, I’ll use you, just stop it.”

Emer’s got a problem. Her hand is on fire and everyone thinks she is a mass murdering fuckhead and Cassandra would like to rip her throat out except she’s needed. Outside, she gets her first glimpse at the scale of the emergency.

I feel REALLY foolish about this joke.

I feel REALLY foolish about this joke.

Cassandra thinks Emer might be able to close the rifts and frog marches her through the town full of very very furious people, some of whom aren’t falling for Emer’s face.


After all, everyone is dead. Remember. EVERYBODY IS DEAD, DAVE. DAVE. EVERYBODY IS DEAD.


Cassandra unbends enough to cut Emer’s hands free and they toddle off, happily enough, to go face the rifts. Every once in a while the rift pulses and Emer collapses in writhing agony (Cassandra helpfully explains that it IS KILLING HER in shouty terms, because that’s reassuring, CASSANDRA).

About halfway through the trek, tripping over dead bodies (and looting them, because Emer’s cold), Emer gets her first Rift experience:


Her reaction is 100% appropriate.


The THING and its minions are promptly dispatched, Cassandra unbends enough to let Emer keep a weapon, and we get to meet the love of my life.


Oh Varric. I don’t know why I love you so, but I do. I would hope you’re romanceable but I’m afraid your heart already has two claims laid on it: Bianca the crossbow and Solas the elf.


The FLIRTING between these two if they’re in your party is UNBELIEVABLE. Varric, for some reason, has nicknamed Solas Chuckles, and Chuckles here can’t help asking Varric personal questions about his history — “merely curious!” Pfft. Two more obvious and oblivious flirts I have never seen.

Party complete, we meet a chantry hardass (and jackass) that I forgot to take pictures of, decide to take a trip through a snowy mountain pass, go through a creepy mine, rescue some scouts and arrive at last at the most horrific, burnt body strewn place I have ever seen.


Emer doesn’t have time to be traumatized by this, though, because a bigger challenge awaits our poor foursome, in the form of a massive rift and its equally massive guardian. Hey, Emer girl, remember that eeeuggghhh face from before? Bet you regret wasting it so early.



Jackass McGee is no match for Emer and her compatriots, so he’s killed and she closes the rift and promptly passes the fuck out — but not before a cut scene informs Cassandra et al that Emer was actually innocent all along. Probably. Go figure.

Emer awakes back in Haven where people are warmed, slightly, to her. A quick wander around:


Neither Emer or I are reassured by this note on our treatment at the hands of Solas. Yikes. She feels lucky to be breathing.

matriarchyThat’s right, fucker, this here is a damn matriarchy.

dontwrongthesepeopleEmer. Take note. These are the ancestors of the Havenites (I think). Just, don’t piss them off.

furrowingGoodness gracious!

Anyway I was caught up in the story for the next few minutes, but the gist is the Chantry and the Templars can’t be trusted (and are fighting amongst themselves, because that never changes) and with no Divine in place to lead Cassandra, Leiliana, Cullen and others have decided it’s time for the Inquisition to be reborn. Emer agrees, and it’s off to the hinterlands to begin our true story.


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