Nick's Gaming Blog

Dragon Age Chronicles, Part 2

Currently, I’m experiencing a bit of Dragon Age: Origins “burnout,” and as much as I’d like to attribute it to the insane amount of time I’ve piled into it (roughly 42 hours, which, for me, is a lot) or that fact that Origins and I have been “going steady” for near on two weeks now, I know what it is.  And, to be honest, I’m not certain if I’m pleased with my ability to discern the truth, or startled with just what encompasses said truth.

Specifically, the fact that Leliana and I are now umm…a “couple?”  I’m not certain what we are.  We’ve never called each other girlfriend and boyfriend, and we’ve certainly haven’t sent out the wedding invitations, but…we’re something.

Is this sad?  That’s a rhetorical question…don’t answer it.  Obviously the above-mentioned paragraph is somewhat of a joke…but not really.  Not in the sense that I’ve always found these romance options, and the way in which they’ve matured, not only in content, but also in the complexity and nuances of how such operates…to be fascinating.  But that’s all for another post.

Meet Leliana. I thought about having her meet the folks, but most strangers that catch Leliana off-guard, she tends to riddle with a quiver-full of arrows...so maybe not yet.

The point is, it’s interesting trying to play the game with the intention of totally impressing someone, and having to be consciously thinking “What would (insert party member’s name) do?”  You have to watch how you act to them, how you handle certain scenarios, how often you put them in the party, what gifts you give them, and how you treat them in general.

Unlike some of Bioware’s last games where you could romance people with utterly opposite aims and views…you could be Hitler and the most pious of inter-galactic nuns would follow you to the ends of the universe…Origins requires a bit more…tact…anyway, getting off track.  Please allow me to return you to your scheduled programming.

*Ahem*

Classic Morrigan.  Instead of bemoaning her loss of loved ones or never quite knowing what became of them…OR asking me to locate them, what does Morrigan request?

*sigh*  That I murder her only known relative in cold blood.

Talk about “first date jitters.”

“So, I was thinking you could pick me up at 8, but before we go to that nice Italian restaurant on 7th, I’ll stay here while you murder my mom.”

Flemeth is old...like, really old. Like "was having birthdays before BC became AD" old. That old.

Granted, Flemeth was harvesting her daughter’s body for some skin-hopping practice comparable to that in Avatar…and this wasn’t the first time she’d pulled this Forever Young-esque stunt.  Come to think about it, my willingness to bring Morrigan along with me near the outset of the game meant that I’d actually aided Flemeth in the training of her new host.

Whoops.

Well, I didn’t want anybody bringing me in on charges of “conspiring to assit a disturbingly old hag in the transmigration of her spectral essence to an unwilling host.”  That’s like, what…thirty years in the slammer?

The point is, I felt bad for Morrigan, the only member of my party that would have taken a couple throws at a dunk tank of kittens suspended over battery acid if there was some chance of personal progression.  Well..Shale would have done it for no reason at all, but I digress.

"So I've kinda been stand-offish this whole time and frequently snide and impolite toward other party members but, could you spare a minute to murder my sole parental figure?"

More or less, Morrigan was not a “damsel in distress,” and I was loving how uncomfortable it made her.  Had there been an option to make her wear one of those long pink conical Princessy hats with the ribbon at the end, I would have done it.

What’s that?  What stat bonuses would it have?  +2 to Willpower, +3 to Magic, and +22 to “Guess I should stop being a stuck-up bitch and admit that I need your help…and possibly the finely chisled form of your body.”

Also, given the opportunity, I would have dressed her up as Princess Leia and hade her reenact the “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope” scene, but with my name…though you probably figured that part out.  Sten could play C-3P0 because he’s tall, and because I hate him and ol’ Goldenrod equally.  But I digress.

What’s one to do?  Well, thankfully Dragon Age has this relationship thing “down pat”; I wasn’t about to do something like this without consulting my semi-sorta-kinda girlfriend, Leliana.

Sidenote: Someone should make a video for that song by Liam Sullivan called “Shoes” (better known as “Let’s Get Some Shoes”) with Leliana’s incessant chats about shoes blended in.  It’d be great.

"These shoes are 300 FUCKING dollars...LET'S GET 'EM!"

Is it bad that I was more concerned that Leliana would disapprove on the grounds that I was going out of my way for Morrigan than, say, because I was set on slaying an individual that had rescued me from certain death, and done nothing to threaten my well-being as an individual?  Yeah…I thought so too.

The problem?  Flemeth’s whole “Extreme Body-Snatching Makeover?”  COMPLETELY aesthetically-driven.  This wizened old woman wasn’t about to let me cart her off to a senior citizen’s home, where several years of high-stakes BINGO and habitual neglect by the orderlies would inevitably take their toll.  She was not about to “go gently into the night,” to paraphrase Dylan Thomas.

Now this is not to say that all old people are awful.  Some old people assemble puzzles.  Some old people rock in chairs on their porch and knit mittens for their 18 grandchildren.  Some, however, await the inevitable fact that their progeny will one day attempt to kill them, and will take preventative measures to avoid such.

Like…say…turn into a fucking dragon.

Why couldn't Flemeth have just played Wii Bowlling at the senior center instead? Ughh.

Again, there was a flood of mixed feelings, the overarching one being guilt.  I was expecting to maybe just give Flemeth a nudge at the top of the stairs, and given the remoteness of her hut, I wouldn’t even have to lie (and poorly, I might add) to the neighbors about some act of senility  on her part.

More or less, I felt bad that I was upset that this old lady was defending herself.  Does that make sense?  It’s like hitting an old person with a stick, then somehow being surprised when they cold-clock you with their walker, not only shouldn’t you be surprised at their actions, but ashamed at your own that resulted in such a retort.

I’ve now fought Flemeth a total of four times.  None of them were carefully thought out, nor were they assisted by any cold, calculating mind or online/offline print game guide.  None of them lasted long.  None of them involved me killing Flemeth…nor anywhere close to such.  Every once in a while, once I’ve gained a few new abilities I return, hoping that somehow, that’ll turn the tide.  And…maybe somewhere down the line, it will.  And until my patience, my abilities, and my planning arrive at said point, I’m going to remain quite irked that a senior citizen decided to defend herself.

Oh, and even though I think most of you know the sort of individual that I am, let me make something clear, lest some of my comments regarding Morrigan be misconstrued by those that don’t know me as possibly “misogynist” or “sexist.”  Obviously that which I wrote was in the hyperbolic over-the-top satirical style I’m known for, my taking issue with Morrigan’s unwillingness to admit needing any sort of assistance until the above-mentioned quest has nothing to do with her being a woman, or that women exist to be continually rescued by men.  It has to do with being a stuffy, asocial party member that does not understand how team dynamics work.  I find Sten to be an asshole for the very same reason…and at least for my playthrough, sometimes Shale, too.

It’s just that neither of those two individuals, after being such jerks, have asked me to murder a significant family member of theirs.  The idea that characters can have views so frequently opposing yours, and question almost every move you make and every step you take…I’ll be watchin’ you and then somehow decide that it’s “personal favor time.”  Ughh.

And  Leliana, whose as equally an independent woman and free-thinking individual as Morrigan, I don’t mind one bit.   Sure, I did help her out in looking into the fact that her old master might just have put a “hit” out on her, but I didn’t mind assisting her one bit, because we got along, and she called the shots on the whole matter anyway…I was just “hired help” when it came to that.  I’m certain that if you and Morrigan “gel” and you find Leliana’s sometimes naive disposition to be disconcerting, the entire flip-side of this argument will hold true for you.  Again, the big difference here is the whole matricide issue.

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