Dragon Age: The Ferelden Scrolls #5 – Politics

Continuing a Dragon Age: Inquisition diary. Pretty heavy spoilers in this one, probably.

It’s not easy, being a member of a magical class that most of the world is convinced will destroy it. It’s also not easy being a member of a race who like demons and have, in the eyes of some, a culture of religious oppression. This place doesn’t trust mages and it doesn’t trust Qunari, but its only known hope that the evil spirits invading from the sky can be stopped rests on my Qunari mage shoulders. As such, I get asked for my opinion, and my decision, rather a lot.

The politics of Thedas are dense, and steeped in conflicts that span generations. In a nutshell, these are the major issues, and for most of those involved they’re a bigger deal than the fact there’s a massive hole in the sky chucking out murderous ghosts.

The Mages are hunted by the Templars, who used to be the strong arm of The Chantry (the church, basically) but lately they’ve become extremists so there’s another fight on there.

The South (grim, keeps getting invaded by otherworldly horrors) and the North (posh, into slavery) don’t see eye to eye.

Humans are rude to Elves, particularly about their ears.

Everyone distrusts Qunari.

The Qunari distrust non-religious Qunari.

There are mages who are allowed to do their thing wherever, and they don’t like the mages who aren’t allowed to do their thing wherever.

Somehow I’m supposed to fix all of this. Word has it that two guys already fixed it all a couple of times in the past, but clearly it didn’t take. Funny how intrinsic tribalism and prejudice can’t be solved with the click of someone’s fingers, eh?

My hands are tied, to a degree, in that I’m a mage and a Qunari, so while I do have the option of dicking those factions over, my sympathies inevitably lie with them to some degree. Even so, I can’t get my head around anyone thinking getting into bed with the Templars was the right thing to do. Sure, they’re concerned that unfettered Blood Magic will result in human sacrifice demons all over the place, but did they have to be quite so genocidal about it? It seems to me that if you side with the mages, you’re basically running the risk of something terrible happening because of a few rogue elements. If you side with the Templars, you’re basically guaranteeing that something terrible will happen – i.e. anyone in a robe winds up in a mass grave somewhere.

But I’ll never know if the Templars could have been talked into moderation. The final straw was when one of their leaders thumped an old lady from The Chantry in order to demonstrate that the Templars were no longer behold to the church. Listen, man, I am all in favour of church/state separation, but when you’re doing stuff that even Richard Dawkins would blanch at, I’m not joining your club. Instead, when offered a critical choice between recruiting either the mages or the Templars to the ranks of the Inquistion, I went with the mages.

Everything went to hell, basically. Sera was pissed with me. Cassandra was pissed with me. Newbies Vivienne and Dorian were pissed with me, despite both being mages (because they’re the sort of mage who thinks they’re better than other mages). The Iron Bull – bully! – was pissed with me. No-one’s left yet, but I’m going to have to tread very carefully. Moustachioed preener Dorian needs to be flattered. Vivienne wants to hear that there’ll be control. Sera needs to know that I don’t think lulz=trolling. Bully hasn’t got anything new to say to me yet, but at a guess he wants to hear that I’m cool with his having been forcibly raised in a religion that forbids a whole mess of stuff. I can’t be bothered to find out what Cassandra wants, as she’ll only look grumpy whatever I do.

Only Solas, pocket-sized, facially disturbing ghost-whisperer that he is, is on board with choice to not just bring the mages onboard, but let them have the run of Inquisition HQ rather than be our prisoners. Solas Slightly Approves of almost everything I do or say, so long as I at least seem to have thought about it, but for this one, shining, golden moment, Solas Approves. Thanks, shellhead. I really appreciate that. But this doesn’t mean I have to look at your terrifying face, alright?

Oh, I forgot to mention. I had to go time-travelling to the future and witness the apocalypse in order to bring the mages onboard. There was red everywhere, pretty much everyone was dead and Leilana looked all old and was really, really angry. Otherwise, seemed pretty similar. Dungeons and looting and bad men with swords and all that. Anyway, back to normal now. That’s what we heroes do, so stop blooding questioning my every decision. Sera, Bully, Dorian and Vivienne, I’m looking at you. If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the intense, fate-deciding political decisions that I brought you along to even though I didn’t have to.

I do have just one regret about siding with the mages. This guy’s now hanging around the Inquisition camp:

Aaaah get it off me get it off me get it off me. Jesus, man, you’re worse than Solas. What is it with Elven mages around here?

24 Comments

  1. Orija says:

    Someone linked me to what seems like the first decent Kotaku article in ages. Worth a read: link to tay.kotaku.com

    • Jamesworkshop says:

      I’ve made a similar case about the mixture in terms of the broader nations but certain groups like the grey warden seem a very logical place to have disparate membership since they travel so extensively.

    • Cinek says:

      Dragon age at any point was a “Dark European Fantasy”? o_O Somehow the game I played was more like “a generic struggle between light and darkness” than anything close to “Dark European Fantasy”. Either guy confused Dragon Age with The Witcher, or he somehow played the game in completely different than I did with vastly different set of missions than these I seen.

    • amateurviking says:

      Worth pointing out two things:

      1. that article was written by a member of the Kotaku community rather than any of their actual staff.

      and

      2. It’s total nonsense, bordering on nonce sense.

    • kael13 says:

      I was about to write that Inquisition perhaps just doesn’t want to deal with rape as a theme when it’s got so much going on. But I don’t know.. No signs or hints or anything of sexual assault in a world set in civil war, with the ravaging of farmlands and villagers’ bodies strewn everywhere does raise your eyebrows and make you wonder if it has been somewhat sanitised.

      But then his complaint that it’s good v evil doesn’t make much sense when the conflict between freedom and order is more morally grey than he believes.

      • spron says:

        Well, in my playthrough- where I haven’t finished half the stuff or explored 1/3 of the stuff in the Hinterlands- I’ve already found a letter that relates pretty clearly the attempted rape of a peasant by a Templar. The outcome is not good for anyone, including the letter writer.

        I’ve also convinced a local scout to join the Inquisition after she related her “seduction” of a wandering mage. “Seduction” is in quotes because the mage was actually running for her life (yes, seducer and seduced are both female, and that’s presented as matter-of-factly in game as it is by me here) trying to escape Templars so, at best, the scout took advantage of a desperate woman in a desperate situation. The scout, as mentioned above, is rewarded for her “abilities” by being asked to join the Inquisition as an “Agent” and instructed to put her “skills” to work for Leiliana.

        So while I haven’t seen graphic images of sexual violence and abuse, the world of Inquisition certainly does include rape and other horrific acts, not very far underneath the surface.

        • gorgonaut says:

          Really?
          I thought those two had a kind of secret thing going on, and wanted to keep it hidden. Mind you, I was rather tired, so I may have missed a few details.

    • The love doctor says:

      I got to the part where the author opined the lack of “mass rape” in the game and closed the article in disgust. Who the fuck plays a game and thinks “you know what would really improve this game? Mass rape.”

  2. jasta85 says:

    damn, looks like everyone hates mages, I was going to play my second playthrough by joining the mages and have Iron bull, Sera and Vivienne in my party, but now they’re all going to hate me.

  3. Drake Sigar says:

    Keeping the mage down is status quo for just about everyone but mages, and even then a very specific (unlicensed) group of them.

    • Monggerel says:

      Then again, the TEVINTER MINTER HINTER WINTER lands are chock fulla fucklug tmages waving their magic dicks in everyone’s faces, providing a pretty good example of what happens when you don’t keep kicking the superpowered minority. And they didn’t even have the hundreds of years of provocation JESUSTE! provided.

      That said, fuck the templars, frelyf4lyf, live young + die hard boiiiii

  4. Jamesworkshop says:

    Having the Templar made sense to me(abominations are just as threatening to magic users), I had more problems with the circle structure, So I would approve of them (Templar and mages) not being a part of the chantry

  5. amateurviking says:

    Oops! Realised too late that these have got slightly ahead of me story wise. I’ll be tuning out until I can get a decent chunk of playtime under my belt (this weekend Maker-willing).

    Whilst I haven’t made the choice between templars and mages yet, I mistrust how pantomime villain-esque the templars have been set up as (punching the old lady etc). Expecting some kind of bait and switch later on. The Warden and the Champion both sided with the mages to a greater or lesser extent so I suspect I will continue in that tradition though.

    • Snidesworth says:

      I didn’t end up siding with the Templars, but the impression I got from the mission text was that it involves appealing to the people among their ranks who aren’t total nutjobs. Mr Lord Seeker has clearly gone off the deep and and between previews and his codex card I’m pretty sure I know why.

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    Mungrul says:

    Okay, so you’re following broadly the same story as me Alec. So I must ask, what was your reaction to the singalong musical interlude?

    To those reading this who haven’t got that far, shitting you I am not.

    • Bereil says:

      Gathering around the fire singing kumbaya was… yeah, what was that scene?

      I was faintly annoyed that my mage who can set anyone on fire couldn’t keep himself warm in the snow.

    • kael13 says:

      I started off apprehensive, but then the singing was actually quite good and it fit the theme of recent loss.

      They sing all the time in the Lord of the Rings. You expect it of this lot as most of them are devout religious types.

    • Alec Meer says:

      It was a little embarrassing, yeah. Someone’s seen too many blockbusters where the city rallies around the hero in his darkest hour and all that rot. But it might have worked if DAI’s characters weren’t quite so Team America.

  7. fenghuang says:

    Damn, the way you described Templars and Mages made me think about Gamergate sides.
    Critics trying to keep supporters down because some supporters will turn to extremist tactics (blood magic) and harass/harm others.
    Yet siding with the critics meant condemning all the supporters.

    • Monggerel says:

      HAHA YOURE SO RIGHT!!1!

    • bill says:

      Not really. There weren’t really any sides, except in the heads of the nutty gamersgate extremists. There was the nutty extremists (blood magic?), the confused guys following them (easily lead minions / thralls?), and everyone else just wishing they’d shut the hell up and go away. (er… tea drinkers?)

  8. racccoon says:

    Shame I so want to play! I’m still awaiting my upgrade to i7 4gig intel

  9. bill says:

    So are the Qunari supposed to be an analogy for islam or something?

    • Anthile says:

      The Qunari are an odd mix of Islam and Confucianism. It blends philosophy and religion but it seems atheistic in nature.
      I suppose that makes Seheron not-Sicily and Par Vollen not-Egypt although both appear to have plenty of jungle.