Once the Dalish agreed to join me, I left to meet the dwarves. So, the elves were fairly stereotypical, or maybe generic is the word I should use: they were forest elves, and there’s really not much more to say.
But how about the dwarves? Do they live underground, collect gems, and build wondrous things? Look at that statue; it’s all you need to know.
I get a laugh every time I see this guy. He’s standing at the market outside the dwarven city, trying to look intimidating. But he’s wearing deep lavender battle armor, a silly helmet with long funny horns, and I think he’s cross-eyed.
Outsiders are welcome to camp outside the dwarven city, but one needs the dwarves permission to actually enter the city itself. Loghein sent an emissary, whose having trouble at the gate. The dwarven gatekeeper, however, lets the Warden inside without fuss. I guess being part of the Wardens comes with its perks.
I nag about the dwarves being stereotypical, but the city is very pretty. I wonder how they stand the heat; I mean, tey are literally over a volcano. It should be too hot for anybody to stand. Or even if they are fine, the humans in my party should be sweltering in their armor. But nothing is ever made of it. I find that odd because this game tries to be realistic and dark, and sheds blood all the time; but people sweating from heat is something they forget.
By the way, notice the weird stained-glass window on the right side in the second picture? What’s up with that? I don’t think any of the other windows in the city are stained glass, so why that one?
The problem of the day: ascension conflict. The dwarf king is dead and did not leave any clear instructions about who should succeed him. Unlike human lands, hereditary succession is not assumed. The two candidates for the throne are Prince Bhelen Aeducan and Lord Pyral Harrowmont. Harrowmont claims that, while he was at the king’s deathbed, the king named him his successor. Prince Bhelen claims there was no such statement, and that his father would have wanted him to be king.
Their debate turns bloody as Prince Bhelen’s lieutenant kills one of Harrowmont’s men. Good way of emphasizing that nothing will be done unless the Warden settles this matter.
It’s hard to decide whose side to take. I went with Harrowmont because he seemed relatively cool-headed and genuinely disinterested in the throne for personal gain. Also, he and Prince Bhelen each have a quest for the Warden. Prince Bhelen’s involves what appears to be fraud. A friend also told me that if you agree to help Prince Bhelen, then take his fraudulent letter to scribes, they reveal the fraud; I tried that out, sure enough it’s true. I really don’t need any more proof that Harrowmont is the one to go with; although Alim, my PC, doesn’t mind some deceit, he doesn’t want to be the one deceived. Especially because a person who deceives me once is likely to do so again; Prince Bhelen is not a good long-term ally.
Harrowmont wanted me to prove my loyalty to him by helping him win the upcoming tournament. The side that won would gain acclaim and popular support, helping solidify their claim for the throne. It’s like a duel of honor, where the duelists aren’t the concerned, but seconds who fight in their place. I’ve always felt that’s kind of cheesy, like aristocrats paying commoners to go to war in their place.
However, before the battle could commence, I had an opportunity to sway some of Harrowmont’s disillusioned fighters to rejoin the tournament. In retrospect, I might as well have done nothing, because they don’t help in the fight. I mean, during one or two battles, you can choose to have one or both of them help you in the battle, but you could instead pick your own party members, and your own party members are going to be much better combatants than these guys.
The tournament is a series of four battles against increasingly difficult opponents, under ostensibly different situations. Practically, this just means that sometimes I fight with allies, sometimes without, and sometimes I fight more than one opponent solo. I don’t know how that last one is considered fair; it’s not like Prince Bhelen has anything less at stake than Harrowmont. Is there a battle going on in the background about which I am just unaware?
These are the opponents for the four battles. The battles themselves, like I mentioned, aren’t particularly impressive. Strategies vary from “hit one guy with a spell” to “hit many guys with many spells”. I do like main enemy #3’s helm, though. Tres chic dwarven battle gear.
After a few easy fights, I was found the victor of the tournament. But Harrowmont wasn’t done yet sending me on quests. Next, I needed to clear out a gang of thieves in Dusk Town, the poor district of the city.
Wardens: Protectors of the land. Heroes of battle. Errand boys.
Finding the thieves isn’t a mundane task. Oh no, you have to jump through another hoop to find them. See, the thieves get into their base through magic doors that appear and disappear throughout Dusk Town, and which can only be opened by using the appropriate word. What…? How do dwarves, who can’t use magic, have magic doors in the middle of their poor district? Were the writers even paying attention to themselves when they wrote this? Ugh… I’m going to try to not question the game’s inconsistencies. They’re starting to give me a headache.
So, I find these thugs and beat the crap out of them. Then they told me where to go and what to do in order to access the secret passageway.
The only thing here worth mentioning is the bizarre trap on one of the chests. There is a chest which cannot be normally accessed unless three other chests each have one specific object removed from them. I have no idea how this works. Are the three objects somehow weight-attached to this chest? Is it… dare I say, magic? What’s going on? How are these four chests connected? Why do I need to take items out of three other chests in order to take an item out of the last one? It’s not like I use those items to somehow unlock the last chest. Ugh… let’s talk about the boss.
Too shiny! Can’t stare at directly! Need sunglasses!
Jarvia likes to mix it up in melee and has a crew of thieves lurking around the battlefield. They’re “false stealth” thieves, I think; the kind that aren’t really there, but appear as if they are coming out of the shadows. There are also a bunch of difficult-to-notice wire traps around the area. I kept dying because I kept activating them without noticing. Jarvia fights up-close, then lures the party back toward the traps. I had Zevran spending part of the battle disabling traps while everybody else was busy fighting. Jarvia has a lot of hit points, so it’s impossible to disable her long enough to prevent her from getting up and moving into position for her traps.
A secret passageway leads out from the back of Jarvia’s base. Cue another rare moment of DA humor, as the party busts through a wall in a merchant’s shop, pissing him off. He’ll still sell goods to the party whenever they come through, but he is royally ticked at them for the rest of the game.
*sigh* One more task from Harrowmont. To solidify his claim for rulership, he needs a Paragon’s support. The Paragons are legendary dwarves, people who have accomplished incredible tasks, such as creating the golems the dwarves once used in their wars. In particular, he wants the support of Paragon Branka, a powerful smith who wandered into the Deep Roads (full of spiders and Deepspawn) in search of the lost art of golem manufacturing. I agreed to go searching for her, in hopes she was still alive.
But I’m not going alone. Oghren, Branka’s husband, insists on coming along. He’s a drunk, but a good fighter.
Oghren is the only dwarf who joins the party. Dwarves, in general, do not fit all the stereotypes often associated with them in common lore; at least, not the negative ones. Oghren, however, does have at least one of the worst stereotypes (drunkenness) to the fullest an is, unfortunately, the one who joins the party and thus makes the biggest impression.
We traveled the Deep Roads together, fighting Darkspawn, spiders, and more of those little creatures with the sharp teeth.
This crazy dwarf is one of the unfortunates who inhabits the Deep Roads. I don’t know how he has survived so long, but everything else seems to leave him alone. I learned what I could from him, then put him out of his misery.
In the deepest part of the, ah, Deep Roads, I found a bridge leading to a Darkspawn city. Yes, the Warden is about to destroy an entire Darkspawn city. What’s his relative power level again? Mind you, you can do this quest at the beginning of the game.
Also, dragon! The dragon depicted here is either breathing fire or has a really bad sneeze. I so look forward to doing vlogs, where I can better capture some of these events.
The dragon takes off flying. It seems like the same dragon from the Warden’s dream. Is it an arch-demon?
The dragon leaves, but the rest of the Darkspawn come charging across the bridge. My party fought their way through, aided by the Legion of the Dead, a group of dwarven warriors dedicated to combating Darkspawn in the Deep Roads.
I was hoping the Legion would follow me across the bridge and into the city, but they don’t go that far. Why not? This seems like a dream come true for them. An opportunity to destroy all Darkspawn in the area.
I felt epic running through the city, killing everything in my path. But then things got creepy. As I was tromping down a passageway, I heard a creepy voice calling out, reciting a bizarre tale…
The talespinner is this sad creature. As near as I can tell, one of two things happen to the dwarves who are captured by the Darkspawn here: the males are killed and the females are turned into monsters that give birth to more Darkspawn. They’re fed the flesh of the males, which erodes their sanity, then they somehow get transformed into…
…this. Let us all hope this is the most disgusting thing I encounter in the game, because it’s almost vomit-inducingly ugly. The monster fights with long tendrils and its overwhelming hideousness. But even once you have beaten it, the battle is not over. For its appearance will haunt you long after you defeat it.
In the next area, we found Paragon Branka. She wasn’t willing to come back. Her obsession with the Forge has consumed her. She has sacrificed every member of her team in an attempt to get to the Forge, and is very close, but nothing has worked thus far. So… yeah, we don’t get to just drag her back. We are forced to help her get past the traps.
This is definitely the coolest trap. It’s a gigantic four-faced statue surrounded by four anvils, and protected by spirits. To destroy it, the party needs to destroy one of its protectors, then attack its respective anvil, thus destroying the respective statue’s face. Each face needs to be attacked three times to destroy it, and they shoot attack beams (blood, at one point).
After passing the traps, I found the anvil. And a little more than that…
No, this isn’t a mobile suit of power armor form Warhammer 40K. It’s Paragon Caridin, the one who created the golems in the first place.
He explains why we need to destroy the anvil: 1) he is simply unable to do it, and 2) golems are created from sacrificed dwarves and he came to hate doing it.
Shale, by the way, is one such golem, and it is at this point that Caridin reveals that point, along with Shale being a girl. It’s a surprise because Shale’s VA definitely sounds like a male. I wonder if all golems sound the same, or if it’s just a weird twist that made Shale stuck with that voice… or if that’s just how Shale has always sounded.
More importantly, I needed to decide whether I was going to side with Branka or Caridin. If I side with Caridin, I need to destroy the anvil. If I side with Branka, I need to kill Caridin.
I tried siding with Branka. I really did. I wanted the power of golems on my side. However, it put me in a bad position. First, Shale leaves the party. Second, Shale turns against the party. Third, I must fight all the golems, Caridin, and Shale. It’s just a battle I could not win.
So *sigh* I sided against Branka. And here’s another example of bizarre battle scripting. Branka somehow gains control of several of the golems, even though she might have never interacted with a golem before, and they should be more loyal to Caridin. Furthermore, Caridin does not help me fight. Why?
Regardless, the fight ends with Branka dead. Caridin agrees to toss in his support as a Paragon, and as proof of this, he forges a crown for whoever will become king.
Watching a golem hammer out a crown on an anvil of legend is an epic scene. It’s events like this that make me really enjoy this game.
But now the Warden must uphold his part of the deal. Time to destroy the anvil.
Amazingly, it takes just one blow from a puny mage to destroy the anvil created by a legendary smith. Let’s pretend the hammer is just able to do that.
But now that the anvil has been destroyed, Caridin wants his own torment to come to an end.
He turns toward the edge of a cliff and jumps. Goodbye Caridin, we hardly knew you, but your legacy will live on… maybe. Depends on whether I exterminate every other golem in existence and then Shale asks for her own destruction at end game. In which case, Caridin’s legacy won’t live on; it’ll pretty much just be gone.
Oghren, by the way, is surprisingly cool with the death of his wife. He’s quick to forgive the party for her death. That seems a little weird to me. It seems like a cheap way of letting him stay int he party. He’s kind of upset about it, but… not so upset he won’t stay with the group? I’m not really sure where his resolve comes from. Then again, after we get out of Orzimmar, he goes to hit on an old friend of his. So… he’s a sleaze? I have trouble thinking of nice things to say about Oghren.
Here’s the Golem Registry. It contains a list of all the golems ever made. I am showing this mainly because it looks pretty cool.
We returned to the Dwarven Assembly with the crown and Caridin’s blessings. With the Warden’s proclamation, and the crown, Harrowmont was made king.
Cool looking crown, mm? But not everybody agrees with Harrowmont’s ascension.
Prince Bhelen decides that if he isn’t going to be crowned king, he will just take the crown for himself. What a whiny brat.
Easily-won battle ensues!
Harrowmont agrees that the dwarves will give their aid to the Wardens in their time of need. Furthermore, I convinced the Legion of the Dead to come topside and offer their aid as well.