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Valmy's ADHD Dragon Age playthrough

Started by Valmy, April 10, 2015, 09:51:59 AM

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So some time has passed. Not sure how much...maybe a year? Orlesian Wardens have set themselves up in the Arldom of Amaranthine. The Darkspawn have mysteriously not returned underground but retreated to...well this area...and have broken up into warring tribes. A new recruit named Ser Mhairi is leading our heroic Warden-Commander to Vigil Keep to take control when we discover the Darkspawn have broken inside from underground. Lorcan expresses surprise the Darkspawn could have done such a thing since they only did this exact same thing at Ostagar. But I guess this is weird behavior for Darkspawn when it is not a Blight.

Sweet the first companion is a tank! We smite many Darkspawn.

'The pain of this ugly hat is too much to bear!'

We rescue a few Vigil soldiers who then flee out of the keep. Huh. Hard to find good soldiers these days. The first bug makes its appearance. One of them was supposed to give me a quest to help the injured soldiers but it bugged out. So instead I just found the injured guys and was puzzled I couldn't interact with them. A little less polish on this one.

Then we meet Anders. This guy really annoyed me back when I first played this expansion. He takes the nuanced problem of the mages and the Circle and just turns into an emo tantrum. Yeah Anders the Circle needs to be reformed, Lorcan agrees, but um...well I don't need to point out the obvious. Plus the dude is just too cool for school. He has a certain sneering smugness about him.

'Only one red haired dwarf I know who would be insane enough to take on that many Darkspawn single-handedly'

Hell yeah Oghren again! Um...still rather you didn't abandon your family and crap. That also annoyed me a bit back in the day because it seemed to contradict the epilogue. Glad to have him back now though. But damn it is not really my Oghren, he has the same armor but his stats and skills are all different. Ah well. Maybe he atrophied being happily married for a bit there. Wait he tracked down Felsi, married her and had child and ran off all in a year? Maybe it has been longer than that.

Now I read 'The Calling' way back in the day so I kind of remember the Architect, an intelligent Darkspawn who had a new vision for his kind. A Grey Warden Dwarf woman, one of the silent sisters, betrayed the Wardens to help him I think. When I heard the attack was being led by a talking Darkspawn I thought maybe it was him.

'Intelligence has not made us any more pleasant'

The Captain of the Guard was killed but I manage to rescue the seneschal and a bunch of civilians. Killed the talking Darkspawn but it was not the Architect. I guess these guys are the outcome of his plan. Anyway I like the keep and the fights were not hard but it was an enjoyable way to start the module. Then I was delighted to get a visit from King Alistair.

'Ok seriously you cannot even bow to the King? What is with this guy?'

Alistair and Lorcan were a bit cold but decent, showing the rift was still there after letting Loghain live. Continuity bonus! He brought a woman with him that I at first thought was Ser Cauthrein but it turned out to be a Templar come to get Anders. I was pleased to see I could conscript him and Alistair said he would allow it. Weird I didn't think secular lords had any authority over the Grey Wardens or the Chantry. I am sure Anders will be complaining about being chained to the oppressive Wardens any minute now.

Next we do the Joining for my new recruits. I am totally lapping Loghain here in Warden recruitment.

'Noooooo! NOT THE TANK! Damn it take Anders instead!'

So that was it for Mhairi :(. At least she went out more bravely than Ser Jory.

Holy cow there are a lot of sidequests in this thing. I have only just started and already my journal is packed. Plus, in the tradition of Bioware games like DA:O and KOTOR, I have three main quests to be completed in the order I choose. Herren and Wade were back, I think Wade is David Gaider being pressured by EA and Bioware suits like Herren. I dropped 80 gold to fix our gates but I think upgrading the keep should be a top priority with hordes of talking Darkspawn about.

Oh and it seems the Darkspawn took all the Orlesian Wardens prisoner. Interesting. Maybe they are being recruited by the Architect like that Dwarf was in the book.

The Wardens had captured Tim Curry's son Nathaniel Howe. I naturally conscripted him into the Wardens because that is what I do. He took being conscripted by the man who ruined his father's evil plans surprisingly well....except for the part where he promised to try to kill Lorcan at some point. Now I was sure Rendon Howe's son was named Thomas Howe in Origins so I thought for a bit that was a continuity error. But no we soon met the Howe's old groundskeeper, still working on the property, and discover Thomas Howe died in the Battle of Denerim. Nathaniel's sister is in Amaranthine so we will look her up soon.

All Howe's old vassals come to pay homage and one of them says there is a conspiracy to overthrow me already. Damn these nobles work fast. Also I decide to send out soldiers to help the peasants with my thinking be if the Darkspawn attack the city or the keep the walls will give us time to counter-attack. Eh probably doesn't work that way but I had little else to go on.

Finally one of the guards told me to venture into the cellars of Vigil Keep to find out where the Darkspawn broke in and plug the hole. That seems like a really sensible thing to do so I will do that first.

'The heroic grey wardens of Ferelden sans Loghain. The emo guy, the drunk, the guy who has promised to betray them, and their fearless leader. Oh yeah things are looking up'

Anyway a shitload of stuff happens really fast in this expansion. The plot thickens and so forth. The bugs make me nervous though.

Glad to see the save seems to have transferred over alright.

Stuff I did this session:

NOTHING! Indeed only four decisions from Awakenings and to avoid be spoilerfied I am not going to select any of them until I am finished.

Quote"This is a Russian warship. I propose you lay down arms and surrender to avoid bloodshed & unnecessary victims. Otherwise, you'll be bombed."

Zmiinyi defenders: "Russian warship, go fuck yourself."


So we delved deep into the cellars of Vigil Keep. Ok not really that deep. The dwarf trap maker planted a huge bomb which blew up a bunch of darkspawn during the battle earlier and he caused a bunch of cave ins in the cellars...but nowhere else fortunately. The first pile of rubble was cleared but inside were a bunch of prisoners who had turned into ghouls in a remarkably short period of time. I wonder if the Darkspawn did this themselves when they captured them. That is kind of scary. We also found an ancient Avvar crypt (the barbarians ancestors of Ferelden who supported Andraste against the Tevinter Imperium) and of course their corpses attacked us. Did they do this everytime the Howes walked into the basement? I guess maybe the Darkspawn did this as well. We found a few nice heirlooms for Nathaniel which helped with his dark brooding personality. I bet the ladies love him. I think Oghren even asked him if it was an act to get chicks. One of those Heirlooms was a pretty awesome bow. It seems his Grandfather tried to join the Grey Wardens and this was his bow.

We eventually come to another cave in and it will take sometime to go deeper into the cellars so I guess it is off to Amaranthine. First we detoured to deliver some ransom money to some thugs...we got the hostage but delivered DEATH to them instead. Yes I know Lorcan tries to keep everybody alive but he didn't any money after upgrading the keep.

'Damn straight we are not executing function "working"! We are executing function "killing"!'

We arrive at Amaranthine and things are kind of shit there. There are refugees outside the city the guards are not letting in. Damn the Arl should do something about that! Oh wait that's me. Huh.

A smuggler asks me to help him smuggle stuff past the guards. He even knows who I am. Does he really think the acting Arl is going to break his own laws? Well actually these are the former lands of Rendon Howe.

First I meet 'The Black Wolf' who is going to help me get ahead of the conspiracy to overthrow my rule. He wants 50 Gold first so that will have to wait a bit.

'Beware The Black Wolf Mr. Knight. Hey that almost kind of works here.'

Everything costs so much more here up north. We meet the contacts for the main quest. A couple hunters who found a rift entrance to the Deep Roads, a Merchant who tells us of problems in the Wending Woods blocking the trade routes from Denerim, and a Grey Warden named Kristoff disappeared into the Blackmarsh in pursuit of something. All those sound pretty urgent. I think I am going to go to Blackmarsh first to find that warden. I hope he is a tank.

Meanwhile lots of sidequests here. I am not sure if the really bad spelling of the Blight Orphans is cute or kind of sad. Just like Vigil Keep the content is really dense here. Anders meets a friend of his who tells him the Templars moved the phylacteries here from Denerim during the Blight. He asks for help and against Lorcan's better judgement, chances of Anders eventually becoming an abomination or blood mage are significantly high, he decides to go along. Anders is a Grey Warden now after all and not under Chantry or Circe jurisdiction.

'So...did I ever tell you about what happened to the last guy I helped destroy his phylactery?'

Well it does not go much better this time. Some nutty Templars, including the lady who was with Alistair before, laid a trap for him. Um what part of conscripted into the Grey Wardens do you not understand? Way over the line. I know the Templars have a stressful shit job, are insular drug addicts recruited as children, and have to put up with unsympathetic mages like Anders but damn. So I killed my first Templars. Bleh. Then Anders said mean things about First Enchanter Irving which probably pissed Lorcan off since that was his mentor. That is gratitude for you. Actually the Chantry here just seems a bit more nefarious than it did in Dragon Age: Origins. The Reverend Mother in Amaranthine was all about dogma and guilting you about donations. Heck I might have given one if she even had the decency to give us a blessing. Speaking of the Chantry outside I met:

'Wynne! So how did it go in Tevinter with Shale? Wait I can't ask you that? Because it really seems like I would want to know that.'

Wynne is back with the Circle. She is going to a meeting of mages where it seems the Libertarian faction is calling for full revolt against the Chantry and a civil war. Anders is appalled and says that goes way too far. Wait Anders thinks that? Maybe he is not so unreasonable as I thought. She wants me to find a key mage for this meeting who is somewhere in the Wending Woods...well we are going there anyway. Happy to help a friend.

We also meet up with Nathaniel's sister. It seems he missed his father's reign of terror and tells him how off the reservation he was. Nathaniel takes it fairly well. Maybe Lorcan will not wake up one morning and see Nathaniel there all 'you killed my father, prepare to die'.

'Sorry brother but now we are cursed with daddy issues'

I help the Templar's track down some apostate mages and damn if this little burg is not bursting with them. I hunt down three as part of the quest but that was only the start.

'It is almost like there was something those Templars could have been doing instead of trying to illegally capture Grey Wardens'

I am basically enjoying the expansion so far but the pace feels a bit jam packed so far. Maybe it will get a bit less harried once I get into the main quests.

I manage to shut down the smuggling bastards who tried to recruit me earlier. With all that loot plus a few other quests Lorcan manages to get enough money to pay The Black Wolf for his assistance.

'The Grey Wardens in action'

Ok so I have a couple side locations. One to protect the farmers from Darkspawn and another to crush the Noble Conspiracy thanks to the intelligence I just paid dearly for. I think I will swing by the Black Marsh and then hit those two locations. Then the Wending Woods and finally the Deep Roads Rift.

I got a kitty for Anders and he almost seemed charming until he said his old cat in the tower got possessed by a rage demon and killed three Templars. And he was proud if it. Damn I hope that was a joke. Oghren got visited by Felsi and things could have gone better. It seems she told him it would be hot if he became a Grey Warden but she tells him she was only roleplaying. Ah hot dwarf sex. I hope I can find someway to help him do the right thing here.

Next: Finding Kristoff in Blackmarsh.

Quote"This is a Russian warship. I propose you lay down arms and surrender to avoid bloodshed & unnecessary victims. Otherwise, you'll be bombed."

Zmiinyi defenders: "Russian warship, go fuck yourself."


Well Blackmarsh was really something. Out of all the 'blood mage does evil things and hilarity ensues' plots this one had the most hilarity yet. Two thumbs up!

'It's not that bad. I'm not saying I'd like to build a summer home here, but the trees are actually quite lovely'

Nathaniel informs me his father used to tell him stories about Blackmarsh. Back during the Orlesian occupation, about 40 years before, the town of Blackmarsh just up and vanished. That sounded wild but I guess I should have figured it all got sucked into the fade. We arrive at the town and is in pretty bad shape being abandoned for four decades. And hey look werewolves!

'Huh did Zathrien curse these people to?'

Reading the codex it seems now Werewolves are for when a demon possesses a wolf...I think. Then the Darkspawn corrupt said demon possessed wolf making them blighted. And damn these ones are rough. There is a rogue variety and ambushes and immediately uses overwhelm. They can take out a full health Warden in a few seconds. I had to be careful with my paralyzing spells to keep them in check. I guess nobody said Werewolves had to be the result of that one curse. Still feels like a retcon and there was nothing particularly key to the plot about them being here. But whatever it was fun.

'Veil tears? Well that cannot be good.'

It seems an Orlesian Baroness ruled this village during the occupation (which is why she is a Baroness and not a Bann) and the village was attacked by a High Dragon. She somehow managed to stop the beast but then started feasting on the blood of children. Then well...the village just disappeared. And these holes in the fade appeared. Fascinating.

After many groups of those werewolves we find Krystoff's body and immediately are attacked by a new kind of darkspawn: really freaky looking grub monsters that can chew shit up if they get too close to you.

'Wait that is the vulnerable stage?'

Let's just say I am not looking forward to facing the non-vulnerable stages...well ok that is a lie I actually am. The fights are really getting turned up in this expansion this is classic Bioware. I should have given this expansion a shot back in the day.

Plotwise is this the new vision for the Darkspawn the Architect had in mind? Hideous monsters even more horrible than before? Somehow I thought it was a more constructive vision than that.

'Damn I don't think he will be coming with us boys.'

Krystoff is dead and a talking Darkspawn called 'The First' (the first what?) ambushes us with more Darkspawn. He speaks of a 'mother' who is a rival of 'him'.

Valmy's Dragon Age theories:

1. I think 'him' is the Architect. I think the 'mother' is Maric's Grey Warden companion who teamed up with him. I think she got turned into a broodmother and is now the Architect's rival. The tribes the Darkspawn have split up in are his and her supporters.

2. I think Flemeth is an Old God and the dragon form you fight her in is actually her real form. And she uses her daughters to hop from body to body like the corrupted Old Gods, The Archdemons, do with the Darkspawn. And she sent Morrigan to save her Old God from the Darkspawn. And that is why she knew the spell that enabled the soul to be collected in the Dark Ritual.

Unlike the Dagna Archmage thing I am actually serious about these. Nobody tell me if I am right I will find out eventually.

Anyway he uses some sort of magic and we are all drawn into the fade. We fight off the Darkspawn that got sucked in with us and he runs off claiming 'the Mother' betrayed him. Man a fade section? And we got a woods section and a Deep Roads section. All we need to make this a mini DA:O is to defend Amaranthine from hordes of demon possessed corpses. Actually it kind of seems like the Circle of the Magi tower is pretty much every Dragon Age plot. I guess they just get more and more crazy. I suppose I am ok with that.

'Oh hell yeah! Love the fade'

Eventually we seal the rifts between the fade and the real world and fight our way into the fade version of Blackmarsh. It seems the people got mad at the Baroness for using the blood of their children and sustain herself and got mad and burned down her castle. She then cast a spell which sucked everybody into the fade. The fade spirits have noticed and a spirit of Justice has rallied the people together to storm the castle and bring justice to the people from the tyranny of the corrupt nobility. 'Aux barricades citoyens! Haut les coeurs et vive la revolution!'

Anders, of course, wants us to support the Baroness because even though she literally drinks the blood of children she is a mage and stuff. Man for somebody who gets to much angst over having an inconvenient life for being a mage he sure doesn't give much of a fuck about all these poor bastards held captive in the fade. Anders man. What a piece of work that dude is. Anyway I appeal to his selfish sociopathic nature and he agrees to go along with me. Ironically this raises his approval to 100. He loves me.

'A bas les pauvres!'

So we smash down the gates and the glorious revolution is afoot. The talking darkspawn was on her side so we fight him and the Baronesses demonic servants. When we win she uses blood magic to throw everybody back into the real world using 'the First's' blood. All the poor peasants die since their bodies rotted ages ago. The spirit of justice gets sucked into Krystoff's dead body.

'Ok so um...try to act natural. Nobody will notice you are a walking corpse'

He decides to avenge Krystoff's murder by the Darkspawn and joins the Grey Wardens. Wahoo! And he is a tank! Gosh now I need to send somebody back to Vigil Keep to make room for him...huh....whoever will I pick?

But seriously I would probably pick Anders here anyway even if I loved him. I need a rogue and I need to keep Oghren around to build his approval. Well and Lorcan a mage so I don't need him.

Justice enchants our weapons to harm fade monsters in the real world and we go close the fade rifts from real world side. Then we battle with the Baroness who somehow moved over with her fade form intact...and then transforms into a massive fade beast and we have a huge fight to the finish. Man I am so glad I have a tank now, this made the battle a lot easier. Hail to the Grey Wardens! Damn all I came here to do was find Krystoff but it got weird really fast. I enjoyed this part. Anyway another community destroying blood mage/abomination slain.

Ok so the skull of the High Dragon the Baroness...did whatever she did still there I have been finding a bunch of dragon bones. They fit on the skull and I found the last one right after slaying her. So I went back and put the bones on the skull. And this opened the door behind me and I got a glimpse of a dragon fade monster being sucked into the real world...or at least I think that is what I saw. So Lorcan and company go after it. Then we get the baddest ass battle I have had in Dragon Age yet.

'This is going to hurt isn't it?'

Flemeth had nothing on this girl. 'The Queen of Blackmarsh'. She delt out shitloads of damage and was flinging us all over the place. It kind of played out like an old WoW boss fight with different stages, or like the Archdemon fight I guess. Lorcan won and let me just say the potion stash is a bit lighter now. Damn I am still giddy over how much fun it was. I never could have done this without Justice.

Sure my Grey Warden unit may contain a sociopathic apostate, a brooding ex-noble, a child abandoning dwarf, and a corpse abomination possessed by a fade spirit but I am feeling good about this. These freaks are growing on me. We head back to Vigil Keep.

On the way we get a scene of 'The Mother' hearing about the death of 'the First' and the Grey Warden victory in Blackmarsh. It sounds like she wants to get the Darkspawn back to looking for another Archdemon and I know the Architect wants to get them to stop doing that. Or maybe she means something else by restoring the 'sweet music'.

She looks sort of like a dwarf. She does talk but maybe getting turned into a Darkspawn gives you your tongue back. Or maybe I just dead wrong with my theory :P
Quote"This is a Russian warship. I propose you lay down arms and surrender to avoid bloodshed & unnecessary victims. Otherwise, you'll be bombed."

Zmiinyi defenders: "Russian warship, go fuck yourself."


I pulled my copy of 'The Calling' to remind myself what the Architect's plan was. He wanted to make peace between the Darkspawn and everybody else by introducing the taint to everybody. The dwarf who supported him was Utha. So that might explain why they made so many people Ghouls in the Vigil Keep cellars. I have to admit turning everybody into ghouls (or Grey Wardens) seems like a pretty evil plan to me. If Utha is this 'Mother' and her plan is even worse it must really be something.
Quote"This is a Russian warship. I propose you lay down arms and surrender to avoid bloodshed & unnecessary victims. Otherwise, you'll be bombed."

Zmiinyi defenders: "Russian warship, go fuck yourself."


Wow a lot happened in this session. Oghren had a dream where Hespith turns into the Broodmother along with lots of other random things. If Hespith really is the 'the Mother' well I bet we all feel stupid for just letting her go back in Dragon Age: Origins' main game.

I get back to the throne room and Nathaniel says he was wrong about me and is glad he followed in his Grandfather's footsteps and joined the Wardens.

'You Nate are my best friend, until the end, we'll always be together! Best friends. Best friends are we! Sorry about that whole killing your dad thing.'

Well until the end of this expansion anyway. Always good to have the party poison expert on your side.

Seneschal Varel tells Lorcan he has to sit in judgment as acting Arl. Lorcan protests, insisting he is no more qualified than the average elected judge in Texas.

'Gentlemen, I find the law very explicit on murdering your fellow man, but there's nothing here about killing a Chinaman. Case dismissed.'

First case was for killing one of the Arl's sheep. The punishment for a poacher is death. But serving under Lorcan in the military is basically a death sentence so conscript him I do.

The second case involves a bridge owned by one of my supporters that Arl Rendon Howe legally gave away to one of his supporters. Not wanting to contradict the law Lorcan promised to compensate the loyal noble for his loss. With what I am not sure. Pretty sure even in Texas courts you have to be more specific than that.

Finally a thuggish noble was caught covered with blood after allegedly murdering the noble who spilled the beans on the conspiracy against me earlier. There is no hard evidence linking him to the crime but we will, erm, lock him up pending our investigation. Little busy with the Darkspawn so he will have to wait until we get to it. So sorry. But nobody will say Lorcan is not fair.

Once this is done Lorcan is informed the rubble in the cellars is clear. Hopefully we can secure it now. It goes down into the deep roads. Two deep roads adventures!

'The realtor wasn't kidding about ample storage space'

The heroic Wardens delved down into the deep roads cutting down Darkspawn and finding numerous bits of evidence about the alliance between the dwarves and the local barbarians. To the point they find yet another ancient imprisoned evil. Man how many is this yet? And how did the Darkspawn get by without waking it up? Anyway Lorcan does not know the trick so a great battle ensues. One the ancient wraith is slain he takes off to plot his revenge...which came in the next room. The Wardens faced a massive Ogre leading the Darkspawn and once he went down, the wraith possessed the corpse and made him stand back up.

'Um guys I need to back up a bit for um...a more tactical view...yep you just keep it there.'

Once that is done our dwarf engineer meets up with us and shows us we just found a dwarven lock like the one that protected Orzammar. It gets locked which should give us a decade or more. Surely even I can finish Dragon Age: Origins by then.

Flushed with success we head out into the countryside. First we stop by the farm where the conspiracy against me is meeting up. And damn if we don't show up right when they are meeting, in broad daylight no less. And amongst them is the woman we just gave a bridge to. I see the compensation will go to the other noble in much more equal terms than we thought.

'The Antivan Crows send their regards once again. We will get it right one of these days.'

The Crows really are the worst assassins ever. They never try to poison Lorcan or anything, they just run up and try to stab him in the face. Though I guess in this case we attacked them. In any case that is one crushed conspiracy. I pity the fool who attempts to overthrow the Hero of Ferelden.

Next we rush to aid that farm where Darkspawn have been sighted and...

'Those Darkspawn been giving you any trouble ma'am?'

Let's just say their timing was less ideal this time. Next down to the Wending Woods to open communications and trade back to Denerim. I decided to go here first instead of delving into the open Deep Roads entrance because I had sent all my soldiers to help the farmers and not one buck private to aid the caravans.

'Just call me Lorcan the late'

Yeah the Grey Wardens are showing up just in time to not save the day. The road is littered with corpses and destroyed caravans. Hordes of scavengers and bandits are going through the remains being fought by one vengeful Dalish elf and her angry tree friends. A letter we find indicates the Dalish were thought to be responsible for raiding the caravans and the local militia went out to drive them off. Well mission accomplished guys.

We reach the looted Dalish camp and are immediately struck that the militia left all their weapons at the camp for some reason...almost like somebody wanted the Dalish to think it was Ferelden men who did it.

'You were too late commander. My entire unit was massacred.'

'Yeah that is kind of my thing today.'

So we find the last survivor of the militia who explains his unit arrived to protect the caravans, thinking the Dalish had been attacking them, only to be killed by the Darkspawn. We find a mass grave nearby where the corpses are noticeably without their weapons. So it seems obvious what happened. The Darkspawn were raiding the caravans and framing the Elves. The human soldiers showed up and the Darkspawn massacred them. Then they went to the Dalish camp and massacred THEM and tossed all the human weapons there. And this one Dalish survivor totally buys it. One thing we have gathered from two Dalish quests in Dragon Age is the Dalish might be a bit slow.

This is a magical forest though, as Oghren humorously points out a few times, so there are magical things here. For one we find granite for Vigil Keep's walls, ok that is not so magical. We were finding a few things from the Avvar Barbarians so we once again find actual Avvars. Gotta love Bioware. These are frozen statues.

'You may not believe this but I have been frozen in this place for ONE THOUSAND YEARS'

'Actually not as unusual as you might think'

Lorcan convinces the statue he is never getting better and best to relax and embrace eternity.

Then we find an old Tevinter...something...treasure hiding thing.

'Nobody has solved this infernal puzzle in ONE THOUSAND YEARS....give me a minute.'

Actually it took me quite a bit to puzzle this one out. I knew you were supposed to somehow connect each little node. Eventually I figured it out that you do that in such a way as you end where you started. Fun little puzzle. I hope Bioware keeps doing these. Finally we find the botanist mage Wynne sent us to find and we send her off to help sanity prevail and prevent a mage revolt. She had a noticeable Scottish accent which confused me. What Thedas Kingdom has a Scottish accent? The Free Marches?

The Wardens made their way to the Dalish camp and got ambushed by the angry Dalish Elf who runs off sending hordes of trees after us. After we win we track her down at the Dalish camp. Lorcan points out that no actual human army would leave all their weapons laying around. She sees his logic but Lorcan really wins her over by producing an elf charm he found on the Darkspawn, and it just happens to belong to her sister. So she joins up for great justice! Speaking of justice, Justice is not at all amused we are recruiting a murderer into our ranks but he was not around when Lorcan recruited Loghain so I guess he can be forgiven for being surprised.

'I am a Dalish Elf blinded by a desire to gain vengeance against the evil Shem who I blame for all my people's miseries for centuries. Yet somehow I am still more reasonable than Anders.'

Actually she seems kind of like Elfy Morrigan. Lorcan probably finds her hot. Her name is Velanna and she says there is a nearby old Silverite Mine where the Darkspawn are probably coming from. Sorry Oghren time to hit the showers, and right when we are about to leave the pansy forest to. Not that Oghren ever showers.

'Hey it is the Architect and Utha! Sorry for thinking you were 'The Mother' Utha!'

The Architect is waiting and captures Lorcan and company. They wake up without any of their gear but at least have clothes on. The Architect treats us better than Loghain did in Fort Drakon. Velanna's sister, looking noticeably ghoulish (so does Utha actually), frees us and gives us a key to a chest in the Architects chambers. She runs off just as soon as a group of Darkspawn run in. Amazingly we crush them barehanded. Grey Wardens actually are ninjas. Then we find the Architects laboratory.

'What exactly was he testing? Humanicide?'

Not sure how seeing how many dead bodies one can put in one room helps end the Blight but I am sure you meant well Architect. The Wardens fight their way through the Architects lair. It seems he gave our gear to ghouls, I mean Ghouls that correspond almost exactly to each of us. Like Velanna got an elf mage ghoul. Finally we find the last surviving of the Grey Wardens captured in Vigil Keep.

'You were too late commander.'

'Oh by the Maker...'

He has no idea what the Architect captured him for. It seems the Architect is very interested in Lorcan for some reason. He asks Lorcan to gain vengeance for him and gives him his wedding ring and tells Lorcan to deliver it for his wife in Amaranthine. Lorcan swears it will be done. Velanna thinks that is sentimental tripe. Damn she really is Elfy Morrigan.

'Welcome Mr. Amell to my underground lair'

The Architect greets us with Utha and Velanna's sister Selanni. Wait was Lorcan let out on purpose? I just do not get bad guys. Anyway instead of mutated Sea Bass he sics two dragons on us. While he watches and does not intervene. Probably could have won otherwise. What exactly is his plan again? After the Dragons are dead the three of them retreat.

Velanna wants to find her sister so wants to join the Grey Wardens and use their Darkspawn tracking powers. Lorcan is eager for any more Wardens, even unstable elf mages. Justice is not amused.

'-10 approval? Pfft Alistair laughs at that.'

Another incredibly dense adventure in the style of gathering the armies in Dragon Age: Origins. The ambiguity on the plot was nice, for awhile there you almost buy the humans actually did kill the Dalish and that the maybe the bandits were responsible for the caravan raids. The fights were pretty crazy, or maybe just the damage dished out in level 30+ adventures. Bad guys and good guys (especially Lorcan) would have lots of health and then suddenly peel over. For some reason this stopped once we got underground. Rogues now have this crazy AoE archery talent they just shoot into friend and foe alike. It is nuts.

One more main mission. There are some bugs in this expansion and I have been trying to look them up as discretely as I can without getting spoiled. It seems there is one more warden to recruit, there is one for every side mission, and once I get her I need to head back to Vigil's Keep and do all the remaining side missions I can because things get buggy between the end of the third mission and the endgame stuff. So the next update will be until I head back to Vigil Keep after recruiting the sixth Warden.

There is a little epilogue to the Wending Wood stuff. Utha is very disappointed the Architect let me go, I was key to their plans, but the Architect assures her their shared vision will come to pass. Really she should be mad at Selanni.

Quote"This is a Russian warship. I propose you lay down arms and surrender to avoid bloodshed & unnecessary victims. Otherwise, you'll be bombed."

Zmiinyi defenders: "Russian warship, go fuck yourself."


On the way back Lorcan and company found a merchant being assaulted by Darkspawn and saved her. She is coming to Vigil Keep to trade, along with a Quinari trader we found in the Architect's lair.

Lorcan got back to Vigil's Keep to find the peasants have risen up in revolt demanding we give them access to our grain stores. Huh. I had to think a bit about this one.

'Hero of Ferelden? Pfft whatever. What has he done for us lately?'

If they had just asked for the grain Lorcan would have given it to them but you cannot let them get away with intimidating you into giving it to them. Oh and for some reason we let them all into the court yard. Security at Vigil Keep is somewhat questionable. Anyway Lorcan threatens them all with death and hellfire unless they disperse and they do. If you are going to come after the tyrannical noble you better bring your portable guillotine folks. Hopefully with the trade routes secured now we can get some food from the south.

Lorcan enters Vigil Keep to find Loghain waiting for him. How embarrassing he had to be there during this whole revolt thing.

'An angry mob eh? I see you have taken lessons in governance from me'

Loghian and Lorcan get along great now. Loghain is hilariously being sent to Orlais, of all places, to get him out of Ferelden where he is considered too politically dangerous. Could have used you old man, good luck. Is this the last we see of Loghain in Dragon Age? Probably. Though I guess Inquisition at least knows he is still alive.

Then Velanna does the Joining.

'Tastes like human oppression'

Fortunately she lives. With that Oghren, Nathaniel, and Justice join Lorcan on his trip to the Knotwood Hills in search of this ravine. Indeed the whole freaking roof of the Deep Roads collapsed...or I guess the not-so-deep roads. Really just the roads. Climbing down we find some Darkspawn dragging away a lady dwarf and we quickly dispatch them. Her name is Sigrun and she is the last survivor of the a Legion of the Dead unit that went to investigate Darkspawn activity in the ancient Dwarven city of Kal'Hirol.

'Welcome to the team! Wait Oghren hit on you already?'

Seriously Oghren was harassing her literally 2 seconds after she joined up. Nathaniel went back to Vigil Keep but Sigrun has an absurdly low cunning score so she could not get all her mechanical skill :(. Hate leaving those locked chests behind. It will take two levels to fix that. Otherwise she is a pretty badass melee fighter. Kind of reminds me of my Dwarf Commoner character actually. We enter in and find a dying dwarf. It seems 'the Mother' has a whole ton of Broodmothers down there making lots of those Childer things. Should be cool. However we are not the only ones trying to shut her down.

'Darkspawn gain intelligence and the first thing they do is try to murder each other. Really makes you think.'

The Architects boys are there as well. A surprisingly large amount of dwarf stuff is still intact so I guess the Darkspawn have only recently come into this place. Dwarf ghosts are also haunting the place..which is weird on a few levels. I thought they did not go into the fade? Sigrun explains it is the stone memory. In any case it seems the Casteless armed themselves and performed a heroic last stand so they were all posthumously adopted into the Warrior Caste. How noble. We get the stone to take the Orzammar Dwarves back at Vigil Keep so this gets recorded in the Shaperate later.

'The next stage of Darkspawn Childer. Charming'

Eventually the party comes to another puzzle. This one was done about 100 times in Skyrim so I crack it immediately.

'The old match the symbol with the plate one eh?'

Shortly after this we come to an exit to the surface, which we take to go do all the sidequests and so forth to avoid the bugs after the three main quest parts are done. I really hate this, I try to keep in character when I play and there is no way Lorcan would ever do this but what can you do? We get back to Vigil Keep to induct Sigrun into the Wardens.

First we drop off some Iron Ore to Wade and Herren. Vigil Keep fully upgraded!!

'Now witness the power of this fully armed and operational Vigil Keep'

That probably does it for recruiting Grey Wardens. Huh Loghain didn't even get me one did he?

'Behold your Grey Warden class of 9:31 Dragon!'

Next I spend an annoyingly long period of time making runes. Man it is horrible when your main guy does not have the skill since some sadist put the merchant inside the throne room. You have to buy the stuff, exit the throne room and make it, and then zone back in. You cannot even look at the Runecrafting screen inside so hope you remember what you need.

Anyway next: sidequesting then back to Kal'Hirol to find those Broodmothers.
Quote"This is a Russian warship. I propose you lay down arms and surrender to avoid bloodshed & unnecessary victims. Otherwise, you'll be bombed."

Zmiinyi defenders: "Russian warship, go fuck yourself."


So we went off to Amaranthine to do side quests and on the way we were waylaid by elves. Velanna's elves to be specific. There we discover Velanna and a small core of her followers were kicked out of her Dalish Clan for hating humans too much. This is roughly equivalent to being kicked out of a nationalist Ukrainian group for hating Russians too much. Being kicked out of the Black Panthers for wanting to stick it to the man too much.

'But some of the my best friends are humans'

Man my Wardens are really pieces of work. Anyway her clan makes it clear that Selanni only followed her out of family loyalty so Velanna feels obligated to go after her. Lorcan swears it will be done.

It just gets weirder since as the party enters Amaranthine Lorcan's other new Warden also runs into an old friend:

'So she framed you for a crime on the behalf of the Carta after you put trust in her and got you exiled from Orzammar? See this is why the Grey Wardens need background checks.'

Yes Sigrun used to work for the Carta. Later Sigrun confesses she feels guilt for having ruined the dwarf's life and makes amends. She also feels guilt for being the only member of the Legion who assaulted Kal'Hirol still alive and says once we stop the Darkspawn she is going down to the Deep Roads to die. I guess Lorcan knows who will be going on that suicide mission. Just kidding when he is in charge every mission is a suicide mission.

Finally Justice confronts Kristoff's widow in the Chantry. She tells him to avenge his death, conveniently what Justice was already doing. A very disturbing way to say goodbye to your dead spouse'

'Lorcan is thinking 'damn my life is weird''

We tie up all the loose ends in Amaranthine. When Lorcan actually does the Blight Orfans quests it is obviously a scam. Man some sick bastards out there man. But we go ahead and do them anyway just out of curiousity. They get pretty silly like scaring local women and playing pranks on the Revered Mother. But nothing much happens. Ah well. Last we go to salvage the wreckage of a ship that was headed to Amaranthine. With his amazing timing Lorcan shows up just as it is getting looted. And of course they have a blood mage. Because every criminal gang with over three people does.

'I think only a tiny minority of mages actually get stuck in the Circle'

Once that is done the party goes back to Kal'Hirol. I was all ready to delve deep into the depths of Kal'Hirol, fighting through hordes of Darkspawn and slaying many Broodmothers. Instead there were just too long hallways and one big fight. Pretty lame. The Lower Reaches of Kal'Hirol might be the worst dungeon ever made by Bioware.

'Inferno Golem SMASH!'

When Lorcan, Sigrun, Oghren, and Justice arrive The Inferno Golem is holding the leader of the Architect's invading forces and the leader of the Mother's is about to have the Inferno Golem rip him in half. The Mother's talking Darkspawn, the Lost (does the Inferno Golem: fight for the Lost?), then turns on us. Our melees are now complete forces of unstoppable destruction now all buffed up on Paragon Runes. I swear this craft stinks, not only is it really absurd to make the runs they kind of unbalance things. Anyway the Inferno Golem pounds on Justice and barely scratches him while Sigrun and Oghren make short work of the The Lost. The battle is over and Lorcan barely had to do anything. Down another hallway we find a pit containing all the Broodmothers with a giant stone boulder above them being held up by a couple chains. Darkspawn strategy at its finest. Cutting the chains killed all the Broodmothers. Kind of disappointing and lame compared to what I had expected. Anyway the last of the suspected Darkspawn bases has been taken out and the 'choose the order of events' part of the plot we have come to expect after DA:O and KOTOR is at an end.


So we head back to Vigil Keep. On the way back we get a scene from The Mother cackling hysterically following the loss of Kal'Hirol.

'If all monsters were designed by Caliga'

Once we get back the Nobles are in the throne room fretting about four armies of Darkspawn marching over the countryside. The Army has fallen back to Vigil Keep from their countryside patrols. In the middle of the Council of War an Elf bursts into the throne room.

'I have actually been here for 40 minutes, I was just waiting for a dramatic moment'

The Darkspawn are attacking Amaranthine in force! I wonder if it is the Architect or the Mother? It will take too long for the army to march there, indicating the failure of Lorcan's military strategy. Only a small group can make it in time. Lorcan volunteers. Hearing that it is a suicide mission, Sigrun also volunteers. I had to think about this one. Lorcan will take Nathaniel, Velanna, and Justice.

Velanna since I want her with me when we confront the Architect, so we can use her to turn her sister if we can. Nathaniel because despite Sigrun being a force of awesome destruction Nathaniel is much better at rogue skills. Justice because we need a tank.

That leaves Oghren, Sigrun, and Anders (who is delighted to be left out of this foolishness and wishes Lorcan luck) behind to stay with the Army in Vigil Keep.

Lorcan and company rush to Amaranthine. Unless Dragon Age continues to do that foolishness of always letting enemies into the court yard before fighting them it looks like the Darkspawn are still outside the walls.

'Please tell me you remembered to close the gates. Don't be like Arl Eamon'

Darkspawn Childer are there so this is the Mother's Army.

Next: Lorcan's latest suicide mission
Quote"This is a Russian warship. I propose you lay down arms and surrender to avoid bloodshed & unnecessary victims. Otherwise, you'll be bombed."

Zmiinyi defenders: "Russian warship, go fuck yourself."

The Brain

Women want me. Men want to be with me.


Thanks Valmy, for posting this. Very good read. :)

I liked Awakening not so much for its plot, but the NPCs were ok, though I hated Oghren in it - he had his arc in DA:O where he went from drunk jerk to honorable warrior. Now he's even worse than when you first met him.
I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein's brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.
—Stephen Jay Gould

Proud owner of 42 Zoupa Points.


Quote"This is a Russian warship. I propose you lay down arms and surrender to avoid bloodshed & unnecessary victims. Otherwise, you'll be bombed."

Zmiinyi defenders: "Russian warship, go fuck yourself."


Quote from: Syt on May 15, 2015, 02:36:15 AM
Thanks Valmy, for posting this. Very good read. :)

Hopefully I am just getting started. Two DLCs and two more Dragon Ages to go.

QuoteI liked Awakening not so much for its plot, but the NPCs were ok, though I hated Oghren in it - he had his arc in DA:O where he went from drunk jerk to honorable warrior. Now he's even worse than when you first met him.

That pissed me off something fierce when I bought it originally. It is one of the reasons I gave up on it. Well that and I got crazy busy with school. I have made my peace with it. He just sorta marries those two parts of himself in this game. He rebels against the honorable warrior and is working out his stuff. Funny for the character who refused to be whiny.
Quote"This is a Russian warship. I propose you lay down arms and surrender to avoid bloodshed & unnecessary victims. Otherwise, you'll be bombed."

Zmiinyi defenders: "Russian warship, go fuck yourself."


As suicide missions go this one was kind of weak sauce. Lorcan and company charge valiantly and butcher the Darkspawn valiantly. Once this is done the Captain of the City Guard comes out of the city.

'I see Marshall Petain was hired as Captain of the City Guard'

Lorcan vows to go into the city anyway. At this point a talking Darkspawn, they are called Discples so I guess I should call them that, name 'The Messenger' runs up to inform them the majority of the Mother's armies are marching on Vigil Keep. The Architect wants the Wardens saved so wants Lorcan to go back to Vigil Keep to defeat the Mother. Lorcan refuses. Then the Vigil Keep Captain of the Guard, who followed Lorcan there, informs him that they could just burn Amaranthine to the ground, killing the Darkspawn inside, and then march back to Vigil Keep. Remembering the fate of the Austro-Hungarian 2nd Army in 1914 Lorcan refuses. We didn't come all this way just to let Amaranthine burn.

'Do you not know how this hero thing is supposed to work?'

Oh and it seems the Darkspawn attacked from underneath the city so the gates were not a factor. Actually they just have a palisade built at the gates to the city even so. I mean WTH? They have all these big impressive fortresses in Ferelden but none of them have doors.

So the wardens are joined by the darkspawn disciple and the guards and charge through Amaranthine hacking down all the evil darkspawn we find. Man there are not that many. I don't get it Bioware knew how to do this right with the Battle of Denerim but there is nothing particularly difficult or epic about the Battle of Amaranthine. Once the Darkspawn are defeated scouts inform Lorcan that another army is on its way to Amaranthine. The party goes and rests in Chantry. When the Darkspawn arrive they don't rush the entrance but instead attack from underneath again. They are coming from the Inn. Oh hell they are using that smugglers entrance aren't they? You would have thought Lorcan and company would have plugged that up once they cleared out the Smugglers. Lorcan military strategy strikes again. We have to defeat the three Darkspawn Generals to drive off the army.

'Grey Wardenicons unite to form DEVASTATOR!'

We find the first one inside the inn. And they rush back to the entrance to the smugglers entrance and sure enough, that is how the Darkspawn are getting through.

'Did somebody just toss a grenade?'

Seriously inexplicably Nathaniel and three darkspawn near him just pitch over dead. They all had high health and I have no idea what did it. Weird.

Anyway that was the second general. After clearing out the Darkspawn in the smuggler's cave they burst out of the exit on the other side of the walls. Waiting for them was a giant armored Ogre and the third Darkspawn General.

They were made short work of.

'How you like me now?'

The darkspawn disciple that has been helping us tells us where the Mother's lair is. Then I order him released.

'Go get them Warden!'

Man that was pretty easy for a suicide mission. I mean I am playing on 'Nightmare'. Bioware should feel free to make me work for it. Ah well. The survivors of Amaranthine cheer Lorcan as he runs off to face the Mother. It is like he is the Hero of Ferelden or something. I hope the walls can hold at Vigil Keep.

The Mother has buried herself under a dragon grave yard. Lorcan and company fight through waves of darkspawn and a freaking High Dragon (not a huge challenge anymore but at least I got that High Dragon + Darkspawn battle the Sacred Ashes trailer promised way back in 2009: ). Morrigan was not there to walking bomb any Darkspawn but Lorcan did it in her honor.

The entrance is in an ancient Tevinter structure. After entering we meet Selanni but she is clearly loyal to the Architect now. Damn what does this guy have going? First Utha now her.

'My sister meets a handsome darkspawn and she just forgets I exist!'

Velanna is pretty upset. We move onwards facing more darkspawn and Childer. By the way the adult form of the Childer was not as horrific or giant as I thought. I guess I had pictured eldritch horrors of nightmarish proportions. Instead they are just a slightly tougher versions of the others. Meh. There are Tevinter Crystals to collect here to empower the towers that will provide magical effects to help me in the fight against the Mother. In the second tower we get the final showdown with Utha and the Architect. Instead the Architect wants to talk. He explains that he is creating the Disciples by reverse 'The Joining' them using Grey Warden blood he has been getting freely from Utha. This gives them intelligence and frees them from their compulsion to seek out the Archdemons. But it also creates evil Darkspawn like the Mother. Well I have loads of questions about this like will the Darkspawn stop capturing our women and turning them into horrific Broodmothers and if so won't that lead to the extinction of his race? But I can only ask so many questions. Lorcan is also in the business of ending the Blight and how much worse can this Architect actually make the Darkspawn? They only exist to destroy the world as it is. So he agrees to go along with it, against Justice's objections. I mean the Architect did some bizarre and inexplicable shit in his lab so he is probably full of shit knows maybe he is sincere. His explanation that only wanted to talk to the Wardens in the Wending Wood makes no freaking sense at all given what happened there. I mean why did that require locking us up and give all of our stuff to ghoul experimental subjects? Why were two dragons sent to kill us? Just WTF? Ah well.

'Peace in our time!'

He will help us against the Mother. The party descends to meet her and she is alone. She reveals that she is trying to convert the Darkspawn back to how they were before and I think is trying to destroy all the Grey Wardens so the Architect can no longer use their blood to create disciples. Furthermore she probably wants the Blight to succeed. She also reveals that the Architect was the one who found the last Old God, Urthemiel (the Old God of beauty so I guess Morrigan and Lorcan's demon child is going to be gorgeous...the best kind of demon child), and tried to reverse join it trying to end the Blight. Instead he caused one. 'That was unfortunate' says the Architect. You think? Anyway I think I knew that already from the book.

The final battle is on! Lorcan mostly runs for his life while the tentacles and childer swarm over him. This allows Velanna to stand untouched and help Justice with the Mother.


I used the magic from the Tevinter towers to good effect. Soon the Mother is in desperate straights.


Hey Lorcan actually uses magic for the final blow instead of a sword like in DA:O. I thought that was weird since I was not aware he even knew how to use a sword.

The Mother is slain! The Blight is defeated for good and Lorcan is the Hero^2 of Ferelden! But wait? What happened to the Architect? What happened to Vigil Keep? Glad you asked.

The Darkspawn

Meh it is not like the Darkspawn are not always compelled to try to start a new Blight anyway. Not sure what those other Grey Wardens are basing their concerns on. The Darkspawn clear the upper Deeproads taking some pressure off the dwarves. I call that a win.

City of Amaranthine:

Hey check it out! Sorry the Messenger spread the taint around but it looks like he meant well. Also nice to see Lorcan's failed military strategy had positive political results.

Vigil Keep:

The walls held baby! Victory for the Wardens! Funny this is how the game tells you this.

The Arldom of Amaranthine:

Bann Esmerrelle was the Bann of Amaranthine. I guess she was the leader of the conspiracy and killed herself. Weird. Anyway hell yeah I cowed those traitorous nobles. Alec is that sheep stealer I conscripted into the army. Damn everything is coming up Lorcan in this epilogue, everything he touched turned to gold.

The blade is the one made out of the super dragon 'The Queen of Blackmarsh' and was used by Justice actually. I guess the Antivan Crows finally did something right.  The armor was also made by Master Wade, that was the upgraded gear he forged for the troops from the ore Lorcan found. How many military orders came from this adventure?

The Wending Wood:

Well ok not even a great hero like Lorcan can help the lot of the Dalish not suck.


Huge win for King Bhelen and Orzammar there. The only thing I remember about house Helmi is that they were supporters of Lord Harrowmont. But good for them I guess.


Haunted castle in a werewolf filled marsh! Motivated seller!


Now Anders is one of the more spectacularly selfish characters I have seen in these games. Morrigan grew up outside of society so was only aware of how the Templars and the Circle impacted her and her mother. And Flemeth is, in my opinion, one of the Old Gods and Morrigan is a special snowflake seemingly immune to fade spirits and demons. But Anders grew up in the society so he knows the purpose and is aware of the dangers. He just doesn't give two shits, he only cares that it creates problems for him personally. Despite supposedly being all about freedom, he was eager to leave all those people imprisoned in the fade if it meant getting a little more goodies for himself by kissing up the Baroness. So I like this ending, Anders turned out to be a hero and stayed committed to the Grey Wardens despite a desire to bail on them. He found his purpose. I feel much better about this character and always backing him despite his flaws. Well done Bioware.

Velanna (printed over her boobs):

Velanna was passionate and hot blooded who was especially sensitive about her clownish ears. One of her redeeming characteristics was her love for her sister and in the end she could never reconcile the decision of Selanni to join the Architect. That ended up killing her. Probably something to chew on in there someplace. Not a bad arc there.


Everybody's favorite brooding disgraced noble. He redeemed his house and himself and restored the Howes to power. Well done sir. Wait he saved Fergus? Come on.

Wait what did Justice occupy next? Maybe somewhere a little girl's dolly telling her to take revenge on bullies. Anyway Justice was a Planescape Torment-esque weird companion. They had some interesting parts about him adapting to the real world. Also one hell of a tank.

Sigrun and Oghren:

Sigrun I barely knew ye. But you overcame your criminal past and died with honor. Oghren survived the siege, becoming a hero like Anders, and combined all the aspects of who he was in these games. He stayed a lewd and obnoxious drunk, and honorable warrior in the Grey Wardens, but also became a decent husband to Felsi and father to their child.


It seems he got upgraded to the Savior of Ferelden. Ding! Lorcan has moved on to the Frostback Mountains to seek out Morrigan. And it seems he is not to return...intriguing.

What was entered into Dragon Age Keep (remember that?):

So while I was not the biggest fan of some aspects of the expansion I really enjoyed it. Even though I read the Calling I missed the part about how you can reverse 'The Joining' on Darkspawn so nice twist there. Also the Mother turned out to be just some Broodmother and nobody we knew. The number of quests was just ridiculous. I am not sure how many I did but it was over 60, that is enough for a full game not an expansion.

I was not a huge fan of the reduced interaction with the companions and the Rune Carving system. Also the ending was a bit underwhelming outside of the fight with the mother. It did have the most awesome fight in all of the Dragon Age I have found so far in the 'Queen of Blackmarsh'. I get kind of a high from a really great fight like that I cheered when I won. That fight Sigrun, Oghren, and Anders got to have at Vigil Keep sounds awesome. Wish I could have been there.

I think it is better than 'Tales of the Sword Coast' because it had its own plot and story and not just a few side adventures. I am not sure it can really be compared to Bioware's other expansion, the Throne of Bhaal, just because of the vastly different scope of that one.

Is this it for our hero? Not even close!!111

Well ok pretty close. Two more adventures remain for the Savior of Ferelden Lorcan Amell. It is time to return to the Deep Roads with The Golems of Amgarrak.

Quote"This is a Russian warship. I propose you lay down arms and surrender to avoid bloodshed & unnecessary victims. Otherwise, you'll be bombed."

Zmiinyi defenders: "Russian warship, go fuck yourself."


By the way whatever happened to Lorcan's Mabari Warhound? I guess I figured Barkspawn was his trusty companion forever. He was missing in the expansion and they never say why. Does this never get explained? Did he die of Darkspawn Taint or something? I guess I have to hope he gets mentioned in one of the next DLCs.
Quote"This is a Russian warship. I propose you lay down arms and surrender to avoid bloodshed & unnecessary victims. Otherwise, you'll be bombed."

Zmiinyi defenders: "Russian warship, go fuck yourself."


Come on baby
Don't fear the reaper
Baby take my hand
Don't fear the reaper
We'll be able to fly
Don't fear the reaper
Baby I'm your man

Ok maybe one should not fear the Reaper, but one should fear the Harvester.

'What will get Lorcan back adventuring? Some damn fool thing in the Deep Roads'

So the Golems of Amgarrak. It was sort of like a horror film. I really liked the start of KOTOR 2 where you show up at that empty station where a disaster had occurred and you had to piece together the clues. I also like the concept of the film 'Event Horizon' which had a similar thing going. Going into Amgarrak Thaig and seeing everything was very very wrong but not knowing quite why had that thing going. So that was great. However it turned out it was yet another 'hey lets invite the demons of hell in and solve all of our problems' thing. Does this ever go well in the Dragon Age universe? 'We decided to break into the Fade and recruit demons and man everything has been awesome since'. Losing track of how many times this happens in Origins.

Oh and remember when I wished the Darkspawn Childer had more of an Eldritch Horror thing going on? Well let's just say I got what I wanted.

This DLC definitely worked being its own separate story, it only had the loosest ties to anything. I am glad they didn't try to tie it in to Origins like they did with Warden's Keep which probably also would have worked better this way.

Anyway Lorcan is in Orzammar at the ceremony to honor the defenders of Kal'Hirol and gets a letter from a member of House Dace. House Dace had a part to play in Origins, though I did not mention it here. If you side with evil Prince Bhelen he wants you to show House Dace documents (forged documents) indicating that Harrowmont was double-crossing them (which he would never actually do). To deliver the letter Lorcan and company had to track down the head of House Dace in Aeducan Thaig. Thus being deceived by Bhelen they joined his team.

So when House Dace had a problem evil King Bhelen recommended they ask Lorcan for help. In a decision he will probably regret for the rest of his life and deep into the afterlife Lorcan agrees. A platoon of Orzammar soldiers, led my Brogan Dace, disappeared exploring Amgarrak Thaig. In this place the Dwarves tried to recreate the research of Caridan once the Anvil of the Void was lost. Why they did this way out in the Deep Roads and not in Orzammar I don't know. Brogan's brother, Jerrik Dace, and his Bronto named Snug (because he sleeps in Jerrik's bed and it gets snug...not kidding) accompany Lorcan on this crazy suicide mission. In addition to finding his brother Jerrik also hopes to recover the research in the Thaig.

'Thirty veteran warriors have all disappeared? I am sure a Bronto and two dudes can easily take care of it'

Now I honestly had no idea what this DLC was all about or what kind of enemies I would be facing. Probably Golems. But I was worried it would just be more smashing of Darkspawn. And at first that is what it looked iike.

'Here we go again'

Fortunately these are the only Darkspawn that Lorcan sees. A bit of the way in they found both a control rod and a golem. So now they have a dwarf, a human, a Bronto, and a Golem. Liking our odds better now. There is definitely something not right though. There is a weird mist in the cave and fade monsters like Revenants and Arcane Horrors are about. Oh and the map looks exactly like Ortan Thaig...eerie. Soon they find the entrance to the Golem research erm...lab I guess. Inside we see a little freaky creature scrambling around. It is called 'The Harvester'.

'What a cute little hideous monster!'

The place is weird, there are all these chests and doors we cannot open and things we cannot interact with shaded blue and purple. It was kind of like how some things you could not interact with in the Fade section in DA:O without turning into your Arcane Horror form. Eventually they find a room with four freaking Golems that they very much can interact with. This was a fun fight, four huge boulders flying right at them the second the fight started was fun. Damn that was the kind of situation Bioware did not put us in much before. It was an omen.

'Oh well now you tell me'

We find Brogan Dace but he is also blue shaded and we cannot talk to him. Eventually the monster leads them to the pile of arms and legs that are the remains of the platoon of dwarves. Later it leads them to a room with a switch that changes the Lyrium flows, the dwarves just flooded this place with the stuff to make their golems. So there are five different versions of this place, four of them probably in the Fade. We do the switch and they enter the blue shaded version where they find Brogan Dace. His mind is pretty much gone, horrified by what his unit endured.

'Do Orzammar veteran benefits cover PTSD counseling?'

He tells us to find the scholar Darion who was with his unit and has been researching the place. He joins the crew and is a tank. Thank the Maker. Basically now they explore the whole area fighting lots of hard fights with ridiculous amounts of elite and boss level Golems and Fade ghosts. The notes and research they find indicate the dwarves created some horrifying new Golem by implanting demons into dead corpses. WTF were they thinking? Anyway things go horribly. I have to make sure they explore every single area in each version of the dungeon. We enter one room with a hilariously hard fight.

'Four bosses at the same time man!'

Now in this room you have to be in the purple world to enter, but you have to be in the normal world to see the Golems and the switch to take you to green world to loot the chests. But you cannot leave the room in the green world. The Golems will all attack you if you approach the switch. And the fight is just impossible, the boss level golems are tough but easily doable on their own but four at the same time plus two elites? Well ok it probably is possible from some invincible Arcane Warrior character but you know I hate that class. So I figured the switches had to be the key since the Golems only exist in the real world. So I sent our golem in to agro the golems and then we all ran like hell for the blue switch. Once we flipped it the Golems were all spread apart and we could take them down. Damn Bioware that was cool, a fight you really had to think about.

Darion eventually concluded the forge that made the horrors had to be destroyed along with the whole fucked up place.

'He's dead Jim. At least he had the decency to leave his journal beside him.'

Finally they find the switch to turn on the last version of the place, the red version. Darion had already told them how to solve the puzzle to do it. Well obviously he didn't tell them his journals and notes did. So they pass through the red door to the forge and they finally find that creepy little monster...which then jumps on a massive eldritch creature constructed from the bodies of many dwarves and forged from pure evil.


And then HOLY SHIT IS THIS A HARD FIGHT. Seriously the 'Queen of the Blackmarsh' had nothing on 'The Harvester'. This was an eldritch evil of legend. I really had to resist the urge to look up the fight on the internet. I spent hours trying to crack this thing. It is just ridiculous how many different non-explained unintuitive elements in this fight you have to figure out. Like during the fight the room flashes back and forth from the real world and the red shifted fade version. You cannot hurt The Harvestor with physical weapons in the red fade version. So you have to run to a Lyrium switch in the corner to get it back to the real world. And it freaking summons Skeletons all the time and these guys hit like freight trains and can be elite or boss level. I think at one point there were three boss level ones of them plus the Harvester running around. Four Bosses at the same time baby! Hiting the switch inexplicably kills the Skeletons sometimes...maybe. But basically you have to hit this switch every freaking chance you have.

'Sir Lorcan ran away, bravely ran away away!'

The strategy eventually came down to having everybody drink health potions like crazy and the Golem using its healing power every time it could. Brogan was using carapace every chance he got. Lorcan activated his Elemental Chaos spell and went running in circles trying to hurt stuff, hitting the switch, drinking potions, and healing while trying not to get hit too hard by the hordes of Skeletons typically in tow. Again a lucky Riposte by those Skeletons typically meant a dead Lorcan. That usually ended the fight and this is fight can easily last a half hour. So I had to restrain myself so not to damage the tender ears of my children. Two hour DLC my ass. I easily spent twice that on this fight alone.

'Taste my Elemental Chaos. Sweet sweet death'

Oh yeah and once you defeat it and start cheering...well there is a second phase. The horrible little monster jumps off the golem of evil it and you have to kill it to. It is kind of like the second phase of the Saren fight from Mass Effect only much more difficult. And if you fail you have to repeat the fifteen to twenty minute first phase again.

'I am still alive! Because fuck you!'

Fortunately this is a much easier section...well except for some reason your melee guys cannot hit the skeletons. They are like invincible to weapon attacks. Which is fucked up. Once I killed The Harvester but those damn unhittable skeletons killed us. Unkind thoughts were thought.

But the final time I did the fight I had it down. Nobody died or really was in danger of dying, even the Bronto, and we took him down in both phases with everything going according to plan. That was pretty freaking sweet let me tell you. However this fight had so many damn un-intuitive elements and bizarre bullshit in it I am not sure I would really call it fun. But I was damn glad to win.

What happened next did not really make sense. So I thought we were destroying the forge but I guess killing The Harvester somehow did that? Anyway Jerrik Dace, like a freaking psycho, wants to find all the rest of the research and preserve this house of horrors. Brogan, now lucid, tells him he is nutty and we need to leave. Well that and the place is caving in. Why I have no idea. Maybe stones just cannot tolerate this much evil in such a concentrated area.

'Um Jerrik this is the most fucked up place I have ever been and I cannot even begin to tell you how many fucked up places I have been to.'

So we run out while the place collapses hopefully never to be seen again.

'Ok we made it. Next time you need help please contact one of the other Saviors of Ferelden.'

Then, in true horror movie tradition, as our heroes flee we get a view of tons more Harvesters escaping out of Amgarrak Thaig to terrorize the world. The dwarves really need to just get over this Golem obsession. DA2 should probably be about stopping these things.

So that was one crazily awesome DLC. I had very low expectations after Viper pronounced it shit but that was really good.

So next time Lorcan Amell, the now PTSD suffering Savior of Ferelden, will be seeking out his lost love Morrigan and their Old God progeny. Morrigan told him not to follow but love will find a way. Or not. Find out soon!
Quote"This is a Russian warship. I propose you lay down arms and surrender to avoid bloodshed & unnecessary victims. Otherwise, you'll be bombed."

Zmiinyi defenders: "Russian warship, go fuck yourself."

The Brain

Nice. :)

I don't have the patience for difficult fights. :(
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