Jul. 22nd, 2016

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Poor Leonette Trevelyan. She’s been thrown out of the Fade, touched by the Maker, snubbed by the Chantry, and now taken over by an envy demon, all in the space of a month. And she’s got me hanging over her shoulder, being fascinated by everything.

In the last part of scrapbooking in Thedas, I found a codex entry that tells us Envy is a subtype of Sloth. More than a few people were confused by that, myself included - and, honestly, I’ve always been pretty confused by Therinfal Redoubt, too.

Well, Therinfal is done again, and boy, do I have thoughts. But let’s start out with the more general issue of why envy is a subtype of Sloth, of all things, before we get onto that.

“That was a Sloth demon?!”

Yes, Leonette, that was a Sloth demon. )
charamei: (Default)

mynameiskodak asked:

Hey, I was wondering if you had any meta thoughts on Malvernis, from the Dragon Age 2 Legacy DLC?


Oooh, Malvernis!

Full disclosure: I’m not currently at home, so I can’t play through Legacy to check anything. I’m writing this using only the wiki, YouTube videos, and my own memory.

This is mostly relevant because it means: 1. I can’t take screenshots, and 2. I have not had the opportunity to scrutinise tiny details for ten minutes solid.

I have to break this text up somehow, though, so here’s a picture of Hawke.

Now. Malvernis!

Read more... )
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I thought I had a thing, so I replayed Golems of Amgarrak (which should tell you how much I thought I had a thing, because I fricking hate Amgarrak), and I am no closer to either proving or disproving the thing than I was before I dragged poor Alim’s ass through the Deep Roads but I’m going to try to verbalise this anyway:

  • Amgarrak = some kind of attempt to create an artificial Titan?
  • Amgarrak’s colourswitching doodaddery = somehow related to the Void/ to making golems? If the ‘real world’ = white then Void = black?
  • Maybe proof that mortals are basically spirits with corporeal bodies???
  • Something something something Orsino something Forgotten Ones something Harvester?

Some attempts at putting these thoughts into words under the cut. No solid or even semi-solid answers here, sorry - just a lot of question marks and confusion. Hopefully someone else can see something I’ve missed.

Read more... )
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So. An inevitable outgrowth of this is that I need to work out what my Forgotten Ones-worshipping Inquisitor actually believes in, ideally before she has another conversation with Solas.

And that means I need to pull away from pure lore for a bit and try to work out how the corrupted transmission of elven lore has affected those other elves.

See here for the canon sources and theories which I am basing this post on.

“I cannot stress enough how much I am going to murder the next person who calls me Dalish.”

To start with: I’m going to just go ahead and name these guys the Clans of the Forgotten, because I really, really doubt that either they or the Dalish would acknowledge the others as their own and I’m fed up of dancing around the word ‘Dalish’ in these posts. Undoubtedly the writers have a better name for them. If anyone can find it anywhere, please let me know.

Spoilers under the cut. All quotes are from the wiki page unless otherwise stated.

Read more... )
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So we know printing presses exist in Thedas, and we know paper is relatively cheap in Thedas, because both of these things have to be true for Varric to be an internationally-bestselling writer of trashy fiction.

And in the real world, the popularisation of the printing press created an information boom that was every bit as massive and revolutionary as the invention of the Internet, and a corresponding spread in sedition.

So consider the following:

City elves, hiding presses in their homes, using tiny, barely-readable type to compress the entire Canticle of Shartan onto a single A4 pamphlet. “Read this and then burn it,” they warn, as they pass it discreetly in the street. In some homes, Shartan is tinder every Sunday.

Anders is not the only mage with his own press. In the mage underground a fierce battle is waged in paper and ink, a natural extension of the arguments among the Fraternities. The Libertarians, Aequitarians and Isolationists pass pamphlets back and forth with such haste that sometimes the ink has barely dried on the page before three responses are posted through the door. Loyalists are rare in the underground, but their occasional output has been known to cause the entire paper supply in a small town to dry up as rebuttals flow in. The Lucrosians charge two silver apiece for their pamphlets, and are generally ignored.

(Sometimes mages escape with books, or find a rare copy in their wanderings. These are preserved and jealously guarded, copied as many times as the ink will allow. Amaranthine is a known hub for the underground magic tome trade... how else would the Warden-Commander find a book on blood magic there?)

(And sometimes those mages are elven, and the books are not about magic but about history, and the city elves print those, too, binding them with care and placing them somewhere anyone can go and look, because it is their history, and now their book, and it belongs to all of them, every single one.)

Paper is not as eternal as the Stone, but the Stone rejected surface dwarves long ago, and so they write their Memories onto paper and copy them relentlessly, storing them in endless libraries and warehouses across Thedas. If one archive burns, then the Memories will live on elsewhere. They write tales of Orzammar, too, and copy what they can from expeditions to recover lost thaigs, for one day Orzammar will fall. On that day the Stone may be lost, but the paper will live on.

It’s rare for casteless dwarves to be literate, but the surface is a land of opportunity and Sigrun is not the only one to learn. They have little interest in Memories, but a great deal in stories, and they tell tales of Paragons that Orzammar would never allow: Branka was off her nut, Tethras once fucked a bronto, Aeducan stole the invention which made him Paragon from another dwarf. Perhaps the stories are true, perhaps they aren’t, but they heal wounds their readers have had for so long that they had forgotten what it was like to be whole.

(One day a mage hands one of their manifestos to the carta dwarf they’re buying lyrium from, and a whole new group of furious essayists are born. It begins as simple venting - they do not have the mages’ academic training - but they learn quickly, and soon their newfound skills find a new target in the Merchants’ Guild for its perpetuation of Orzammar’s caste systems. One essay has a print run of 5000 and is read by at least twice that number of dwarves. It makes its way back to Orzammar, and soon the few literate inhabitants of Dust Town are doing readings to a dozen of their friends at a time, crammed into tiny buildings with guards posted on the doors.)

The Chantry bans private printing presses, but the nobles protest, because they need their weekly slander mags to keep up with the Game - and truthfully, many of the clerics like to read those as well. (Only to be informed about the depravity of the modern age, of course. They certainly don’t enjoy such scandal.) Templars raid homes, but the mages and the elves are careful, and the dwarves have lyrium to offer in exchange for silence. The Chantry tries to discourage literacy among the lower classes, but a learned child is a blessing upon his parents and unto the Maker, and the lower classes can spot hypocrisy a mile away.

And so the information age sweeps Thedas. The people are angry, the pamphlets impossible to stamp out, and the revolution draws ever closer.

charamei: (Default)

It occurred to me that I haven’t actually seen any in-depth commentary on the Forgotten Ones since Trespasser came out... which is kind of a shame, because I think we can make some fairly educated guesses about them, their natures and their motivations now.

To recap the non-spoilery stuff: the Forgotten Ones are the ‘evil’ half of the Dalish pantheon, gods of disease, malice, spite and fear. Most of their names have been lost, though we know of Anaris, Geldauran and Daern’thal. And Fen’Harel is said to have been a member of both pantheons, the only being able to convince both sides he was one of them. (We’ll get to that in a bit.)

Worship of the Forgotten Ones was banned in the time of Halamshiral, but continued in secret regardless; there are clans of elves who worship them, and I am avoiding using the word ‘Dalish’ in this sentence because I suspect the Dalish would vehemently deny those clans as their own. I doubt humans see much of a difference, though.

Oh, yes - and the Forgotten Ones have vallaslin associated with them.

So with that out of the way, let’s move on to the spoilery bits.

Read more... )
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Hmmm

If Void is to Fade as taint magic is to fade magic

& if hints we’ve had about ancient elves being basically the same as human Cole* are correct

Then are there spirits of the Void too? Are they what Andruil was hunting?

Darkspawn = Void spirits taking physical form just like ancient elves possibly = Fade spirits taking physical form?

Maybe the Void has its own physical part just like Thedas is meant to be the Fade’s physical part, and people (= darkspawn) live there?

What happens to mortals when they die? All Solas says is ‘not what happens to spirits’, which is highly unhelpful. Corypheus, Architect etc could have ‘died’, gone to the Void, then created new physical bodies? That’s probably a bit convoluted esp given they had to do it in a few months maximum, probably more like a couple of days

Thoughts?

* ‘Ancient elves were tied to the Fade’; Cole in Trespasser, possibly on Solas, ‘He didn’t want a body, but she asked him to come’; references in Trespasser to individual elves being sundered; Dalish myths about Elgar’nan + Elgar’nan means ‘Spirit of Vengeance’; Mythal reduced to a wisp and possessing Flemeth, etc, etc

Obligatory question mark to turn on answer box?

charamei: (Default)

I just wrote this up for someone in my inbox: it’s the most thorough description of What We Know About The Blight that I’ve done in a while, so here are the important bits without any of the personal, private-reply stuff:

1. The Blight acts exactly like magic.

  • During Broken Circle, certain party members (Morrigan and... Alistair? I think?) will comment that the squishy organic ooze in the higher levels looks remarkably like the Blight.
  • The Origins codex entry for lyrium tells us that ‘Mages [who take too much lyrium] have additionally been
    known to suffer physical mutation: The magister lords of the Tevinter Imperium were widely reputed to have been so affected by their years of
    lyrium use that they could not be recognized by their own kin, nor even as creatures that had once been human‘.
  • The Taint can be used to
    cast spells, which is how genlock emissaries exist and also why Corypheus gets twice as much power from red lyrium as from normal lyrium.
  • With normal magic, you get blue lyrium. With Taint magic, you get... red lyrium.

2. It’s probably somehow connected to the Void.

  • ‘Yet even a god should not linger there, and each time she entered the Void, Andruil suffered longer and longer periods of madness after returning. Andruil put on armor made of the Void, and all forgot her true face. She made weapons of darkness, and plague ate her lands.’ (Here)
  • ‘[...] the Empty Ones grew to believe that the Blight was to be the tool by which the Maker would end all of creation. They preached that it came from the Void, a place of nothing,’ (Here) (That’d better not be a hint that Solas is going to start another Blight in DA4...)

3. The cure for it is probably having been possessed by a spirit.

Note the wording, because it’s important: the cure is not being possessed, but having been so. Anders still has the Taint because Justice is still with him*, but Fiona - who became possessed in The Calling and was saved in the same way as Connor can be - does not. This would also explain why Seekers seem to be immune to it; they’re possessed too, but only very briefly. And Leliana’s Blight resistance is probably from a similar source: I think her ‘vision’ may have involved being temporarily possessed. (A reminder here, as well, that if you get the Circle to cure Connor then Irving makes a vague reference to subjects of the cure being somehow ‘forever changed’. Considering the Seekers have undergone a very similar experience, and also that Connor can be found in Redcliffe Castle in the Dark Future when Alexius is experimenting on Blight-resistant people, I think this may be what Irving is referring to.)

Avvar mages are probably all immune to the Taint, as are cured Tranquil (see: Seekers).

*Possibly also because Justice was previously in a Warden body, and may have picked up the Taint and brought it with him into Anders?

Extrapolating from that, and from what Karl says about Anders ‘bringing the Fade into the world’, I think the cure might actually be being touched by the Fade, rather than a spirit per se. If Solas destroys the Veil, it’s possible that he would cure every Grey Warden in Thedas as a side-effect...

...and,
since it’s now looking very unlikely that the Veil exists outside of Thedas, the Hero of Ferelden may have cured themself simply by leaving the continent.

4. So to sum up...

If we take normal magic to be ‘Fade magic’, i.e. magic that comes from the
Fade, then the Blight/darkspawn magic might be ‘Void magic’, i.e. magic that comes from the Void. This doesn’t explain how it got into the Black City (my guess is eluvians) or why the Blights are a thing (my guess is Veil + something to do with dragons: ‘the blood of dragons is the blood of the world’, etc), or indeed what the heck darkspawn even are, but I believe this is a solid foundation in what it is. And from there, eventually, we might get to the rest of the answers.

charamei: (Default)

Or, Falling Into The Sky: Why The Dwarves Aren’t So Wrong After All

“You can’t go outside! You’ll fall into the sky!” Orzammar dwarves cry, in defiance of countless surface dwarves, Grey Wardens, and other surfacers repeatedly telling them that they won’t. And, indeed, in defiance of the fact that they themselves aren’t all glued to Orzammar’s ceiling. Falling up just happens out there, okay? Gravity doesn’t work right with all that sky messing things up.

As superstitions go, it’s an understandable one. Leaving Is Bad, for reasons that I doubt even the Shapers fully understand any more (maybe you shouldn’t have wiped the Titans from the Memories, guys). But there must be a reason, and what does the surface have that Orzammar doesn’t? Sky! So clearly the sky is dangerous. Perfectly logical. You know, I heard lightning comes from it sometimes. And the Fade is in the sky! The Fade has demons. Demons are in the sky. They’re probably the ones throwing lightning down at surfacers! Wow, that sky thing sounds terrible, I’m so glad we don’t have it down here!

Yeah, uh. That was before The Descent and Trespasser came out. Putting together the information we have now, I think there might be a more solid foundation to that superstition than we thought. And as with anything Trespasser, it all comes down to the nature of the Veil.

Sorry, dwarf fans, but this means that once again, we have to start with the elves.

Why is it always the elves? )
charamei: (Default)

Some more of those travelling Keeper headcanons, because seriously, you wouldn’t believe how many problems these guys solve:

  • The reason we’ve never heard of them in-game is quite simply that a bunch of mages, travelling alone or in tiny groups, who act as the backbone of Dalish society are really vulnerable to Templars. The Dalish would rather let humans continue believing that exile nonsense than risk the Chantry completely crippling their communications network in a single generation - which it could do, if it tried. Lavellan’s ‘We gave them to other clans, or...’ line is them nearly breaking silence, catching themself, and stopping just in time.

  • They carry news between clans - everything from ‘So-and-so has had a baby’ to ‘The Grey Wardens request our help to fight the Blight; the army meets at Redcliffe in four months’. They also ferry clan members between clans, if a swap is taking place, and valuable artefacts between clans, if somebody wants to borrow somebody else’s arulin’holm.
  • They act as independent judges during times when a clan’s Keeper is too involved to be neutral, or when there is a dispute between two clans who can’t reach an amicable settlement on their own.
  • Some of the braver (or perhaps stupider) ones will venture into alienages periodically to perform marriage, birth and death rites. Needless to say, they’ve been avoiding Kirkwall in recent years.
  • Also, you know, sometimes Dalish kids elope and need a priest.

  • They take on apprentices, when there are children in need of training. Some of the really brave/stupid ones will even smuggle mage kids out of alienages before the Templars come down on their heads. (These kids, in turn, often grow up to be the ones who’ll wander back into alienages...)

  • They also take on clans in the case of a Keeper, First and Second all dying, or if the only clan mage left standing is too young to take on full responsibilities...
  • ...on which note, yes, they can do vallaslin too.
  • There are Dalish myths about them - both the normal kind of myths, in which they are usually total badasses, and the urban legend kind, the ‘I hear they have somewhere secret to go to commune with the gods’ kind. They actually don’t, but hey, a little mystique is good for the image.
  • Don’t ever raise your blade to a travelling Keeper. They bear a vast, sacred burden, and the least we can do is treat them with utmost respect. If you really think one’s possessed, then you’d better have some damn solid proof.

charamei: (Default)

I just need someone, somewhere in the narrative, to acknowledge that Dalish society is going to be really fucking complex, okay

I need 200-odd clans united by a few common cultural ties but with widely disparate traditions and opinions on those cultural ties, who know that no two of them are truly the same - how could they not, when they trade members and meet up ten times a century - and who embrace those differences, because none of them have the whole truth but parts of it lurk within all of them, all their strengths and all their weaknesses

I need travelling Keepers who hold their people together with their bare hands, who travel vast distances from clan to clan to bring the news that so-and-so has had a baby or Clan Virnehn is no more, who take on lives of dreadful isolation and constant fear of Templars because you can’t have too many mages in a clan but they are still Keepers, they are still Dalish, they are still needed and valued and they still have so much to offer

I need feuds and alliances that go back to the days of Halamshiral and sometimes even before, because history and tradition are everything, because if you can’t remember the past then what are you, because those bastards traded us 30 infertile halla one spring and we all nearly died, and that shit matters even if it happened in the Towers Age and nobody alive can remember it, not even Zathrian

(And because our two clans were founded by twins, or so they say, who loved one another so dearly that when they fled the Dales and had to go their separate ways, never to see one another again, they cried for ten days and ten nights and swore their descendants would never exchange a cross word, and so we will not, because we are Dalish, and we remember)

I need in-jokes so obscure that you need an atlas and a solid grounding in Dalish history just to understand why a hunter from Clan Suviniel seeing the sea for the first time is remotely funny, much less to understand that five generations ago they tried to take their halla across the Waking Sea and it was such a fiasco that the tale is still told around firesides to entertain the children, and the big children, and all right, sometimes the hahrens too

I need songs about how much your clanmates are irritating you today, about the fall of the Dales, about clans escaping the Dales and irritating one another, all in the same verse

I need Lavellans whose eyes flash fire when they learn what was done to Minaeve, who ask what clan and which Keeper and did they really think nobody would find out, who in their very first letter home write with a hand that shakes in anger I’m fine, Keeper, but let me tell you what Clan Saerim have been doing to their children, who tell Hawen, Lanaya, Mihris, Merrill, anyone and everyone they meet, who get the word out, who create consequences

I need Halamshiral to feel simple, because the steps may be different and the forks may be fancier but at least everyone present believes broadly the same thing about the Maker, Andraste, Orlais itself, and the same can never be said of Dalish clans and Falon’Din, Mythal, Halamshiral, Arlathan

I need Solas and Vivienne and Dorian to arrive in these simple, backwards camps and suddenly find themselves completely out of their depth, because it goes the other way as well, the politicking is familiar but the steps are so different and there are no fancy forks or even frilly cakes, not here, not for a very long time

I need the Dalish to feel like a living, breathing culture, because they are, because they should be, because even a culture obsessed with its past lives in the present and because wherever people go, we make societies around us, and the Dalish are no different, because a people can be proud and silly, stubborn and flexible, open- and close-minded, and a living, breathing, real life people can do these all things at the same time.

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