Dragon Age: The Ferelden Scrolls #3 – Iron Bull’s Nipples*

Continuing my Dragon Age: Inquisition diary. Earlier chapters here, and once again there are spoilers of a sort.

I haven’t been super-impressed by my battlechums to date. Whenever I talk to Cassandra I feel as though she’s forever on the cusp of admonishing me for being late with my homework. Disco-chested sex dwarf Varric walks the walk (and you can tell by the way he uses his walk, he’s anyone’s man) but I couldn’t say he’s talking the talk just yet. Egg-faced spirit-botherer Solas just makes me feel weird, and not in a climbing the rope at gym class way.

I’m pretty relieved to have recruited two new battlechums. They’re far more entertaining. And, er, maybe they are a bit more on the climbing the rope at gym class spectrum.

After a vaguely irritating quest involving searching for red handkerchiefs in Orlais, Elfnonymous joined the party. Manic, irreverent Sera belongs to The Friends of Red Jenny, a guerilla protest group whose anti-nobility activities comprise the lethal and the mischievous.

Her stated aim is to be Robin Hood (though I had her learn how to use daggers and stealth, seeing as Varric was already doing the ranged rogue thing for us), but so far she seems very much in it for the lolz. Stealing people’s trousers, for instance. She gave them to me to sell afterwards, but I’m disappointed to report that the traders would only offer me 16 Dragon-groats for them.

Sera’s a laugh. She doesn’t take much of anything seriously, which is a breath of fresh air amid all the hand-wringing about Templars vs Mages, the big green holes in the sky and whether I’ve been sent by a god or am the anti-Christ. She steals kills from the rest of the party, and laughs about it when they complain. She has already deemed me “well fit.” Oh, and she’s got a cool fringe. Do I fancy her a bit? Maaaaaaaaaaybe, but right now I’m fixated on someone else’s body.

Mercenary boss/self-confessed spy The Iron Bull is Qunari like I am, though he did say that I don’t count because I wasn’t raised under under the same religion. We do get into it about the religious stuff a bit, which is a conversation for another time, and a whole lot of other topics about our race, this land and his past too. I talk to Bull more than I do anyone else, but what I’m really doing whenever I chat to him is checking out his nipples.

The Iron Bull’s body is fascinating. He’s both muscley and fat; sometimes he looks like horned Adonis, sometimes he looks like Obelix wearing a Goth hat. How big must the collarbone necessary to support shoulders quite that broad be? Are those pecs or moobs? Or is it just that the torso’s normal size but the head tiny? And should the nipples be quite that far south?

Despite being Qunari, I don’t have much of an idea what a topless male Qunari is supposed to look like. For some strange reason my mental image of warrior men going on massive fantasy adventures always looks like a hybrid of Tyler Durden and He-Man. The Iron Bull very much does not fit this image, and I find him infinitely more fascinating because of it. He’s both grotesque and magnificent. He’s clearly raw power, but I badly want to know just how far out that belly will flop if he ever takes off that girdle. I’m not unconvinced that I’ll find out before too long.

It’s the nipples I keep going back to, though. The pecs are like fatty paving slaps, sure, but those are some pretty damn big nipples too. They’re wider than his chin. They’s so low-slung. Almost an udder. What is the story of the nipples, and of the vast, almost tectonic chest-squares on which they sit? Why are they so mesmeric despite looking kind of awful?

If there’s one thing I like even more than The Iron Bull’s nipples, it’s how he says goodbye:

‘See ya.’ So.. gentle. Charmed from tip to toe I am.

* I am well aware that he prefers to be called The Iron Bull, but I just couldn’t get that to fit in the headline box.


  1. Barchester says:

    Does he suffer from microcephaly? His head is distractingly small.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      Microcephaly or megasomaly? You decide.

    • SXO says:

      I seriously can’t get over how out of proportion his head is from his body. I thought the headline picture was photoshopped at first, but no, this is how the character actually looks.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        Then again, who are we to actually argue which proportions are right for a Qunari?

        And no, i don’t think they opted for a quick and dirty “fuck that, it’s a fantasy race so we won’t ever bother to put the effort”. I think they simply went for what they liked.

      • thekelvingreen says:

        That’s a standard trick. Make the head smaller in proportion and the eye is tricked into seeing the body as larger and by extension, stronger. A lot of giant robot art uses the same technique.

        What’s weird to my eye is that the screenshots — the top one in particular — make it look like his face is a flat texture applied to a smooth blob. It’s like the N64 all over again.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          He really has a flat face, really. This game doesn’t really skimp in polygon count, it actually has one of the most credible and better implemented uses of tesselation in recent times aswell.


          I thought the first pic had a fish-eye lens effect.

  2. Lars Westergren says:

    I think it’s great that this time one of the gay male love interests in fantasy is something else than a slim elf.

    I wasn’t all that impressed with DA2 or any of the installments in the ME series, but I’ll keep buying Bioware just for being gay friendly. Played the first hour of DA3 yesterday. Looks freaking gorgeous. Feels like a great mix of semi-Bethesda open world exploration, and story driven content. But combat complexity plus story and dialogue quality is where the real meat (ahem) is for me, so I’ll reserve final judgement until I have played a lot more.

    Tentatively optimistic though.

    • Jockie says:

      On a related note, Iron Bull’s second in command is Trans. During one of the companion interaction bits you can chat a little about it, with Iron Bull chastising you if you ask if he’s bothered that ‘He is a She’.

      • nunka says:

        Aha! I knew it! Thanks for pointing this out. I mentally yelled “HELLO TRANSMAN!” the moment he spoke up in that intro cutscene. (Though I may be hyper-aware of such tells, as a transwoman.) It’s both completely fantastic and a terrible shame that you apparently have to romance Bull to access that dialogue – fantastic because Krem’s trans-ness is not flown like some token “Look at how inclusive we are!” flag… and a shame because I don’t dig the manfolks. :(

  3. jeeger says:

    I really like the character designs (Heh, when I saw the picture of Varric, I immediately knew who the “sex dwarf” was). They kinda look like real people… but why is everyone so distractingly shiny? Are they being oiled in regular intervals? Did you install a mod?

    • Diziet Sma says:

      I’ve found that if you have the texture mesh’s set at anything other than the max character models are really really shiny, the hair renders in cut scenes to look like plastic with spot highlights. It’s possibly that, since I discovered how off putting it was I put mine back to high/ultra or whatever the highest setting is.

  4. padger says:

    He really is rather buff. Traps like Tom Hardy.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      I’m glad there is someone else who appreciates the magnificence of Tom Hardy’s traps.

  5. Mungrul says:

    I seem to be in the minority in that I find Sera intensely irritating. I think the voice actor does a bad job, which isn’t helped by the utter meme-tastic gibberish the writers are feeding her.
    I’ve only just got Iron Bull and Vivienne, but of the extra characters on top of the initial three so far, Blackwall’s the most likeable. Iron Bull & Vivienne seem interesting too, but Blackwall’s my man.
    Solas is pretty interesting and has some cool things to say about dwarves and the veil, but I mostly feel I have to take him along as he’s the closest I’ve got to a healer.

    I’m also not convinced that making the major socialisation beats only occur at Haven was the right thing to do. I want to spend as little time there as possible before continuing my journeys through the lovely open world. So the only way I get to know these misfits is by their open world barks.

    • Jockie says:

      Agree on Sera, whether it was the writing or the delivery the character didn’t add up to much for me. After every conversation I was sort of thinking ‘So why are you here?’.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        She wants to matter, but then she doesn’t know what she wants, or what she is. Being sort of insane doesn’t help her either.

        And no, i don’t think making her a wildcard is a quick cop-out by the writers, i feel she’s more nuanced than that. I still can’t really say i like her, it’s actually the opposite, but it’s not bad writing for me if they made me feel that in the first place.

      • Wowbagger says:

        When Baltheer (sic?) says this to Vaan in FFXII I laughed quite a bit, then posed the question to myself as well and immediately stopped playing.

    • xsikal says:

      Absolutely agree on Sera. Incredibly, incredibly annoying. I could use a dual daggers rogue, but I’m going to do without because I want absolutely nothing to do with her.

      I’m not really a fan of any of the companions so far. Iron bull is okay but looks ridiculous. Cassandra is annoying (particularly to someone who doesn’t like religion). Solas and the enchanter woman are just kind of there (although they have some pretty bitter dialogue with each other). Varric is probably the closest thing to someone my companion would actually bother to hang out with if combat weren’t a factor, although the Warden is… well, warden-y. (Too bad there are already plenty of fighter companions)

      Couple that with the frankly poor keyboard and mouse controls and a tactical mode that’s a far cry from DA:O’s, and I’m regretting my purchase, just a bit.

  6. Rafotron says:

    ‘ fatty paving slaps’. Guess I’ve found my new burlesque stage-name.

  7. Moraven says:

    I have something for you Iron Bull

    (Iron Bull romance)

    Iron Bull speaks softly into your ear.

    “There we go. No Inquisition. No war. Nothing outside this room. Just you and me.”

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      You can see Josephine totally wanted in.

    • Geewhizbatman says:

      Lovely–Finally a fantasy world that transports me to a truly better, magical place…

      I mean the way he—-OH MY GOD! THAT GIANT HAND, WATCH OUT!!!!

    • Harlander says:

      Argh, I read the comments…

      *vomits forever*

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        Yeah, youtube comments are usually… Well…

        Then again, outside the niche shores of websites such as this very one, YouTube is actually far more closer to representing the majority of the world, so yes, it’s full of horrible people and that’s your proof. Enjoy!

      • Fontan says:

        Never read the comments, never.

    • AngoraFish says:

      OMG… I must now buy this game

  8. Jamesworkshop says:

    he just comes from a long line of husky qunari

  9. Monggerel says:

    I doubt anyone would call THE IRON BULL’s physique realistic, but it’s still a far more honest (if grotesque-ish) depiction of someone whose job it is to swing heavy objects into heavily objectionable people than the fucking Tyler Durdens that overpopulate all forms of media. Which I appreciate.

    There should be way more characters in video games who are not traditionally attractive and are also not the main villain. Yes this is meant to censor what devs can and cannot do.
    Can: what I want them to.
    Cannot: what I don’t want them to.
    That’s right. It was me. All along.

    • carvabass says:

      Agreed, this is what actually strong people look like. Really strong people generally don’t have six packs. At least that’s what I tell myself in the mirror every morning…

    • Manco says:

      Yup, elite warriors shouldn’t look like fitness models or bodybuilders. Strongmen or powerlifters, or hell, heavyweight MMA competitors (who are probably the closest thing to physical warriors we have left as modern soldiers aren’t into swinging pieces of steel around anymore) are much more realistic physiques.
      The Iron Bull might look a bit uncanny because of the dimensions of his chest, but it really isn’t that far from reality. As someone else mentions, he looks quite a bit like Brock Lesnar.

  10. amateurviking says:

    I’m really enjoying myself with this so far, but find myself crippled with indecision WRT class/race combos. It is so hard to pick, given that you’re stuck with the choice for a really long time, and I’m not big on replaying 100hr epics.

  11. jcvandan says:

    Just had a good old chuckle at this. Funny the weird stuff in games that most of the time people just don’t notice.

  12. Horg says:

    ”And should the nipples be quite that far south? ”

    The nipples are about where they should be, aligned with the top 3rd of the bicep. What makes Mr. T. I. Bull look a bit uncanny valley, is there is too much T. I. Bull ABOVE the nipple.

  13. PopeRatzo says:

    Best RPS headline clickbait ever.

  14. jonahcutter says:

    His physique looks a bit like Brock Lesnar’s.

  15. pepperfez says:

    I haven’t been super-impressed by my battlechums to date. Whenever I talk to Cassandra I feel as though she’s forever on the cusp of admonishing me for being late with my homework.

    I saw this line without the headline or image and imagined some very strange goings on at Castle Shotgun.

    • SuicideKing says:

      I thought for a moment that Alec had named his companions after his…companions.

  16. Ryuuga says:

    I have to say these diaries actually half tempt me to play this, after having stopped playing Dragon Age 1:whateveritwascalled rather early in the campaign. These charmingly wonky side characters might just make up for a bit!

  17. teije says:

    For the sake of diverse representation, I”m hoping there’s another character who’s an under-developed male with a sunken chest and spotty facial hair. The “Skinny Ass” would be his handle.

  18. statistx says:

    Well, the horns and udders suggest Qunari descended from Cows. ^^