Re-Dragon Age: Haven holidays (all dragons inclusive)

Tea: Just water

Demons defeated and mages enlisted, it was time for our heroes to do an Indiana Jones and find Dragon Age’s equivalent of the holy grail, Andraste’s ashes. Many of Arl Eamon’s knights had apparently been attempting this but had come back empty-handed. Could we succeed where they’d failed? Well, it’d be a short game if we couldn’t…

The one lead we had was that a Chantry scholar named Brother Genitivi (insert genital joke of preference here. Hehe, insert.) had been researching the ashes and may have made a significant find. Thus, we set course for Denerim, capital city of Ferelden. We made it about 2 miles before calamity struck, as we were lured into a trap. Yes, a seemingly hapless young lady with bandit issues was simply the bait, as Puss in Boots struck! His latino suaveness was no match for our main character powers however, and so his men were killed and himself captured. His life forfeit with his employers due to failure, Puss revealed his name was Zevran, that Loghain had hired him and that he was quiet happy to team up with is in exchange for not killing him. Since we were on a hiring spree (and Zevran is the game’s sole male same sex romance option and I hadn’t yet decided who to woo) we agreed to this. Only one more character and the gang’s all here!

Back at camp, it was time for more personal side quest set up, with Leliana revealing that prior to donning the wimple she’d been an agent of espionage, Alistair asking if we could track down his half-sister in Denerim and Allesian giving Morrigan her mother’s grimoire which we’d uncovered in the mage’s tower. I know, I’m just as disappointed as you that the dog doesn’t get his own sidequest.

Arriving at Denerim, we found ourselves once again handling any number of sidequests; helping the city watch do their damn jobs, getting into duels and helping the families of illegal mages evade the Templars. We also got to introduce Alistair to his sister Goldana, who it turned out was grumpy and bitter and proceeded to berate the poor guy for basically existing. Poor guy just can’t seem to catch a break. Outside, Alistair wondered if he was doing it all wrong. This represents a splitting point for the character, as your dialogue options can lead to Alistair becoming a bit more aggressive and self-serving. However, as I’m playing this the virtuous babyface way, I told him that he should stick to his guns and continue to be optimistic about the human condition. We also had are first meeting with Wade the smith and his perma-harassed salesman/husband Herren. Ain’t nothing like watching two guys bicker like an old married couple, and I’m not just saying that because that’s how Il Porcupino describes mine and Omarscen’s relationship…

Such side guff dealt with, we popped into Brother Genitivi’s house, only to find him gone and his assistant doing his best to dissuade us from following, claiming the whole endeavour was cursed. We were not to be denied, however, and began the RPG protagonist’s default course of action, ransacking someone’s home. The assistant decided the best response to this was to solo attack 4 armed and armoured adventurers, a bold tactical choice that won him one free decapitation. A little more searching revealed the body of Gentivi’s actual assistant and a note revealing the brother’s destination to be Haven. Sweet, a holiday camp!

As we departed, visions of pony trekking and kayaking in our heads, Loghain was off being grumpy in a cutscene as Tim Curry informed him of Zevran’s failure and the fact that several banns had gone “fuck the man” and were preparing for civil war, while the Queen voiced her concerns that daddy dearest hadn’t been entirely telling the truth about King Pillock’s demise. Imagine how much worse he would have felt if he’d realised we’d been just down the street and he hadn’t even noticed?

Arriving at Haven, our heroes were doubtless heartbroken to discover it was not a holiday camp but in fact a small village filled with creepy and unwelcoming locals practising a weird version of Chantry rites with men in charge. Had we stumbled into a MRA stronghold? Were fedoras and neckbeards in our future? Thankfully no, as they just turned out to be nutjob cultists who’d kidnapped Brother Genitivi. Springing him, he led us into the mountains, to an ancient temple, wherein the ashes were stored. This marked something of an upswing in the game’s difficulty, with the enemy NPCs making better use of combined tactics (if I’d had a penny for the number of times my frontline fighters were hit with a misdirection hex…) and the tendency for each fight to take

place in a room full of booby traps. Still, despite the slight slogging nature of the journey, we made it through in one piece. It was then down into the bowels of the temple, wherein we ran into the cult’s leader Kolgrim, who claimed that Andraste had been reincarnated as a dragon and that they were guarding her and would we mind awfully destroying the ashes so Drastegon or whatever could regain all her powers? Unsurprisingly, the answer was no. This answer had to be repeated several times as the fight with Kolgrim is quite a tough one, since you’re required to talk to him before fighting, meaning your entire party starts right in front of him, and his henchman include two wizards smart enough to not do the same.

After eventually dealing with Kolgrim, not to mention a whole bunch of infant dragons, we emerged on a mountainside to find a holy shrine and an all grown up dragon. Thankfully that dragon wasn’t interested in a fight unless we blew the special horn Kolgrim’s corpse so lovingly provided, so could be saved until later. Inside the shrine we were greeted by ghostly spirits and several challenges designed to test our worthiness. This being a Bioware game, this naturally included riddles and a pressure plate puzzle. This managed not to be too obnoxious, as the elevated camera angle (that for some reason the XBox version doesn’t have) made the puzzle easier to manage, and the riddles were integrated into the mythos of Andraste quite well. What was baffling was when the initial spirit insisted I should feel a bit bad about not having been able to get to my cousin Shianni before she got… well, whatever happened to her since they didn’t say at the time, despite the fact I’d done all I reasonable could. Fuck you, you ghostly prick!

Passing the trials, we reached the ashes and grabbed the pinch we needed for Eamon. We then collected Gentivi and then headed for the patient, where, as luck would have it, we were just in time to save Eamon, who gave us a shiny new specialisation class as a present. Yay! We then formed our plan against Loghain. Eamon would bring all the banns and arls together for a Landsmeet, where we would expose his evilness (presumably by just pointing at him and going “for fuck’s sake just look at the man!”) and present Alistair as the true heir to the throne. Alistair wanted no part of this, but since no-one gives a shit what Alistair wants, the plan was agreed. While this was all being prepared, we would gather the forces promised by the other two treaties. Surely that would be a mere formality though. Right?

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