Those Dragons Sure Are Ageing (Dragon Age Megathread)


#61

It’s whether or not you’re a mage or a rogue/warrior. If you’re a mage, your sister dies. If you’re a warrior/rogue, your brother dies. There can only be one of each class in this family.


#62

Well thats a way to do it I guess. Gotta balance that Hawke family party composition.

But yeah. I get really frustrated at the degree to which the Mages you party up with in DA feel like theyre meant to make the player question the liberation of a heavily policed and oppressed population. It kinda makes the core conflict of post-Origins DA hard to vibe with if youre not playing a Mage yourself.


#63

Mages as a metaphor for oppression were doomed from the start imo. The city elves, dalish, and casteless dwarves were a much better way to explore that. The trouble with mages as a metaphor for disenfranchised people is that no one who’s actually disenfranchised has magical powers and can possibly turn into a demon if left unchecked. The second the Dragon Age team decided that this was what they wanted to be the central conflict of their story–because Origins genuinely left a lot of wiggle room as to where they could have gone–they were kind of fucked.


#64

Is this going to go the same place as the last Dragon Age thread (yeah, there was one, and real talk, I give this thread two weeks tops and dare you to show me wrong) where a startlingly popular consensus said, nay assumed right the idea of locking up all the mages because unlike real disenfranchised people, they have magic powers? Is this going to be like when y’all ignored that the APEX AI in Dragonfall was a serial killing AI because it shared our anarchistic views then made a false equivalency between it and the dragons?


#65

No idea. I figure all that’s been said on that topic has been said by now. It’s a dumb plot point and they shouldn’t’ve went there.

Anyway, I’ve been playing DA:I all day and Josephine is the most useless bisexual I’ve ever met and I love her dearly.


#66

So wait, does this mean Solas is a Hotep?


#67

There was a thread about Dragon Age 4 expectations, not about the series as a whole. And also you vastly underestimate my love for Dragon Age.

Anyway any time anyone thinks it makes sense to want to lock up mages I feel incredibly sad. Especially when they use the argument “but they could become possessed, as opposed to disenfranchised people in real life!!!” That…argument has literally been made about autistic people, among others. Like they’re bombs that could go off at literally any point and therefore they need to be detained. And even if there are no real-life parallels, locking up a group of people simply because of what they are is a huge yikes. So yeah hard agree on your point there.

ETA: Whelp I hit enter here before making my point.


#68

Wasn’t Anders now spirit fused with the literal concept of justice and going through some serious emotional turmoil as well? It’s hard to say he was actually in real control of his own mental faculties.


#69

I believe there’s some dialogue about how the demons (“spirits”) can’t make anyone do anything they don’t want to do deep down, but how trustworthy that source is I dunno as I don’t even remember who said it.


#70

Sure, if you can believe Anders say of it. I’ve always assumed it’s supposed to be nebulous if Anders’ state of possession in Act III of DAII is actual increasing or if he’s lying to everyone to cover his own radicalism, see also: when he tricks you into helping him search for gunpowder ingredients.

That is one thing I like about DAII (which, I will start repeating ad nauseum now, is the best DA) is that everyone has rich enough nuance that their big mistakes–because, I’m pretty sure Varric even says this at some point, the whole story of DAII is about people making big mistakes–can be seen as due to more mundane human reactions to pressures upon them as opposed to the more easily reached supernatural explanations. Anders was more likely radicalized than Justice started giving a damn, the abominations you fight are almost always mages at the end of their ropes, Meredith, Merrill, Fenris, few and far between are the flat characters as everyone makes their worst mistakes after their various shitty situations reach their most stressing.

And this is maybe presented best in the fact that only after finding the double secret lore hidden across all three acts of the game do you get the picture that during the height of Tevinter Kirkwall went through a smorgasbord of dastardly rituals and what-have-you to weaken the veil in the city and that’s probably why it’s such a crappy place that ruins lives left and right. Or alternatively, this ruins my argument.

Also, fun fact about Anders: Canonically “Anders” is a nickname because his family is from the Anderfells, we never learn his real name and the only time it’s mentioned is when Anders is giving his stuff away because he’s going through his “gonna be a martyr” phase and he gives Varric a pillow with his name embroidered on it his mother had made him. Since it’s DAII, a pillow wasn’t in the budget so we never see it, but what it means is that as far as we know Varric is the only person that knows Anders’ real name and he is exactly the sort of person to never reveal it.

Now, since I’m on DAII: Fenris. The elf with the Kitty Pryde tats and the sexy voice of Gideon Emery who I now realize in horror will probably be recast as none of the elves speak with American accents anymore. Anyway, hypothetically, does he side with or against the egg? I have genuinely heard good arguments either way.


#71

That’s still not actually being in control. That’s like you get hypnotized and a suggestion removes your inhibitions. We all have stuff we want to do but don’t because of social pressure or other outside factors, the whole spirit of justice part of the equation nullifies that.


#72

From time to time I remember that Thedas stands for The Dragon Age Setting and a shithead smile shines across my face.


#73

I can’t see Fenris siding with Solas. He doesn’t have fondness for “Elvish” culture, hates mages, and the thought of ripping apart the veil is the clearest reason for him to stab the egg. Of the previous party members, really I can only see Velanna and Merrill siding with him. Even then, its still seems a little off for Merrill. I am trying to think of a non-elf who would aid him too and nothing comes to mind.


#74

The whole thing with mages is that they use the language of a repressed social class, but also possess magical powers that are fundamentally dangerous to normal people. I always enjoys that Dragon Age never really backed down from the idea that most Templar’s heart was in the right place, even if they their leadership and history sucked. While also making is overwhelmingly clear that any one mage left to his or her devices could do a lot of harm if things go sideways. And all of that could be a main plot for any game, but it is just backdrop to the full plotline of Dragon Age. And unsolvable conflict that requires humans to recognize when terrible decisions are being made by people in power, rather than finding some utopian solution.


#75

It’s basically fantasy X-Men. I love Bioware but they do have a habit of just airlifting entire sci-fi/fantasy franchises into their worlds.


#76

At least Dragon Age has other repressed classes in the world, like elves. That has always been the big shortcoming of “mutants” as a repressed class, that they are a replacement for black and brown people so we don’t have to really talk about racism. And they are a repressed class of people that can fly and walk through walls. Dragon age avoid that by having several contexts for repression and a wealth of interesting cultures.


#77

I couldn’t tell you. Not only did DA2 bore me to tears, but I don’t care much about most of the characters in it to try and argue for/against them. Iirc, the only time a spirit is fully in control of someone, it’s when they’re dead (e.g. Wynne, Cole). Anders was still alive and less possessed as he was fused. In fact, it’s outright implied that it was his influence that turned Justice into Vengeance (which is a whole 'nother bag of weird wording re: morality and perspective I’m not gonna go into), because Spirits in the DA setting are influenced by people into becoming demons. If we ever got to go to a place that was less Hostile toward magic and spirits (i.e. Rivain, the Avvar settlements), we’d be able to answer this with more certainty. As is, we can’t really tell, and that’s probably the point. It’s a matter of what the player wants to believe, and I believe Anders was mostly in control of himself due to previous indicated factors mentioned in this thread and in a few articles I’ve read.

This probably isn’t a very good case against Anders being entirely at fault for what happened, but I can really only say what I’ve read, seen, or been told. Maybe if I finished that game, I could have more than a half-debate about this, but I’m not going to bother for a good long while because in terms of fun gameplay and a good system, DA2 is bottom rung.

@Plansix: I miss when city elves and casteless dwarves and the Dalish existed in the setting past your PC instead of the whole War Table thing tbh. We’ve gotten a pretty good focus on Dalish elves and humans in every game, but city elves and dwarves as a faction feel like they’ve totally vanished from the setting. Like, boy do I know those two origins had some issues (major ones in the case of city elf), but Inquisition doesn’t even give you the option to be a city elf and part of me is sad about that. Fucked up that All Surface Dwarves Are Criminals though. :confused:


#78

I always took the surface dwarfs to just be the marginalized people who lived outside of the legal structure, so they are criminals because other dwarfs named them criminals. Most of the surface dwarfs you meet are super chill.


#79

Mm-hm! They sort of go to good length to set up the fact that that surface dwarves are legal merchants for the most part, but literally have to go through the Carta to sell surface goods to dwarves in Orzammar because they’re all Like That. Varric wrote a whole codex entry about it you can find. I just wish it was reflected in the dwarven PC for DA:I.

I might have an over fondness for the dwarf commoner origin, since it was the first I played, which is why I’ll never shut up about the dwarves. The entire opening sequence is such a great mix of sad reality, desperation and almost bumbling fucking sitcom errors that I can’t help but love it. Duncan’s absolutely confused reaction on why the dwarves are so mad at your PC for winning is also really good.


#80

The Dwarf Origins are my two favourite in the game. My PC was a Dwarf Noble, and that Origin does a much better job at the political plotting and intrigue stuff you’d want from a story focused on shitty nobility than the non-mage Human one, which imo is extremely boring.