Part 112: Not With A Whimper, But A BangPART 112: NOT WITH A WHIMPER, BUT A BANG
The darkspawn have invaded Denerim, and Morrigan has made a fateful offer. The final, terminal, post-penultimate battle is at hand...
Then have you decided?
[Goons voted for the sex ritual. Unsurprising, really.]
All right. I agree. Lets do this.
A wise decision. I shall wait here, then, while you go and speak with Loghain. I urge you to be convincing.
This is going to be weird.
I'm surprised you're still awake.
I was also surprised to see the marsh witch outside your room, earlier, glowering quite intensely even for she. Is something amiss?
Morrigan brought me an offer, actually.
And it involves me in some capacity?
You must take part in a magic ritual.
And? What is my part? Do you need my blood?
Fluids are involved, yes.
Why did the witch not come and speak to me of this herself?
Because you need to sleep with her.
I see. I would ask if you were joking, but of course you're not, are you?
I should never underestimate your capacity to do the unexpected, but this seems a stretch even for you.
So, you intend to save us from the archdemon through... this ritual. What kind of magic demands such an act?
The gross, sticky kind. It's some kind of ancient magic of Flemeth's.
The abomination of legend. This is the source of the ritual? (Scoffs) How charming.
Even so, none of this is necessary. If Riordan fails, simply let me take that final blow. Let me make amends for what I have done, if it comes to that.
Even if that's what you want, it may not be an option.
That may be true. I could die before ever reaching the dragon. Still, this is unwise. Do not ask me to be a part of it.
(Persuade) I believe this is necessary, but I'll leave it up to you.
You could order me to obey you, yet you do not. (Sigh) If... this is truly what you think is wise, then I will... do as you ask.
Let us find the marsh witch and do this thing quickly, before I change my mind.
'Twould seem your talk is done?
The witch wishes to get right to the point, it seems.
That is the plan. What is it to be, then? Has a decision been reached?
Loghain has agreed to your... request.
You'll have to forgive me if I shut my eyes and think of my dead wife.
You would rather make love to a desiccated corpse than me? My, but you are full of the unexpected.
[My favourite joke in the entire game.]
Let us go somewhere more private, Loghain. This will not take long at all.
Oooo, sick burn.
I'll just... leave now.
[The game plays romantic music over this scene, which is unpleasant. It makes sense when you're playing a male Warden and Morrigan is your sweetheart, but in this situation it's skeevy as heck.]
[This ritual is the only way for you to get through the final battle without sacrificing someone, there is no secret fourth option. The message is that the writers really, really wanted you to see Nude Morrigan.]
[And, while we're here, how come Morrigan wears a bra to have sex but goes bra-less the rest of the time? I have sent EMAIL AFTER EMAIL to Bioware on this subject, but the COWARDS refuse to re--]
THE FOLLOWING MORNING...
[VIDEO: To War!]
[A lot of major scenes in this update look a little blurry because they come from pre-recorded cutscenes instead of in-engine. 640x480 was apparently the maximum video resolution possible in ye olden times of 2009.]
Daddy's going to war, son. Be brave for your mother.
When will you be home, papa?
Never. I am almost certainly going to die horribly. The world is a charnel house of misery and pain, and my death is but one grain of sand on the beach of agony.
Well, he had to learn sometime. Goodbye forever.
We have gathered all the forces we can.
The darkspawn horde is sure to reach the capital before us, and so we must race to Denerim as quickly as we can.
The lives of many thousands hang in the balance. We must not forsake them.
You have gathered an army to replace the one lost at Ostagar, Grey Warden.
Let us pray that it will be enough.
Before us stands the might of the darkspawn horde!
Gaze upon them now, but fear them not!
The woman you see beside me is a dwarf, raised to the ranks of the Grey Wardens! This is not her home, and yet she still fights with honor and passion!
She has survived despite the odds, and without her, none of us would be here!
Today, we save Denerim! Today, we avenge the death of my husband, your King Cailan!
But most of all, today we show the Grey Wardens that we remember and honor their sacrifice!
For Ferelden! For the Grey Wardens!
I knew it would end like this.
Get back here y--oh, beans.
[The City Gates battle is us + all our friends vs. the darkspawn + all their friends. It's a real fun time.]
[The enemies are mostly weak grunts. This fight is simple, but it's still a fun way to set up the scale of the battle.]
[Once absolutely everything is dead, Riordan shows up.]
You've managed to fight your way to the gates. We're doing better than I hoped.
That will change quickly.
Bloody nug runners! We're outnumbered three to one!
What are we to do now, Riordan? You have a plan, I assume?
The army will not last long, so we'll need to move quickly to reach the archdemon.
I suggest taking Loghain and no more than two others with you into the city. Anyone you don't bring with you can remain here to prevent more darkspawn from entering Denerim on our tails.
How are we going to fight a flying dragon? I feel like I should have asked this before we set out on this mission.
We're going to need to reach a high point in the city... I'm thinking the top of Fort Drakon might work.
You want to draw the dragon's attention, I take it.
We have little choice, though I warn you that as soon as we engage the beast it will call all its generals to help it.
I can sense two generals in Denerim. You may wish to seek them out before going to Fort Drakon.
I'm sure that if we did slay those generals, it would stop the darkspawn in the city from doing a lot of harm!
It may also waste resources trying to find them. The decision is up to you.
[We have to kill at least one to get to Fort Drakon anyway, so this isn't much of a choice.]
Do you know where these generals are?
Neither of them are near Fort Drakon currently, but there are too many darkspawn here to tell you more.
There are already several units of our allies within the city by now. They may be able to come to your assistance if you call them, but their strength will be limited.
Now, who do you wish to take with you into the city?
Loghain, Morrigan, Sten and Barkley. Team Awkward Conversation.
Anyone else will need to remain here and assist in keeping more darkspawn from coming in the gates behind us. Who will lead them?
Oghren has led men into battle before.
Fine! Let's just move onto the blasted main event, already!
♪ We're going to die, going to die, going to dieeee. ♫
Good. That should be sufficient. Or amusing, at least.
Nothing you have done has prepared you for what you face now. May the Maker watch over you.
Goodbye Riordan. See you on the other side.
So this is it then. All that we've been through has led up to this.
Whatever happens now to either of us, know that I am proud--infinitely proud--to have called you friend.
Farewell, and may the Maker watch over you.
So. This is it.
You going to get all emotional on me?
Huh. Well, not anymore, I'm not!
You took in a drunken disgrace of an Orzammar warrior. You gave me a reason to fight and the will to keep going.
You helped me find the one woman in the sodding world who might put up with me, and you helped me get past Branka so I could have someone new.
I owe you a lot, Warden. I consider it a fine honor to die for you and your cause.
We'll make it throught this, Oghren.
We might, and we might not. I'm betting on "not."
I'm having second thoughts about putting you on defence duty.
Let the stone turn red from the blood of heroes. Today I will be the warrior you taught me to be.
So the archdemon is next, is it?
Part of me is glad that it has decided to leave me here at the gate, but the other part is... apprehensive?
I would almost say that I feel concern for something other than myself, even maybe for a soft, squishy companion... but that would be silly, wouldn't it?
Thank you, Shale. I appreciate the thought.
And... do try not to get swallowed whole. If the beast were to ﬂy about afterwards and poop it out, irony would dictate that it would land on me. I couldn't take it.
You've ruined the moment, Shale. I hope you're proud.
Very. Well, then. I suppose this is it? Have fun storming the castle.
See you in hell, Barkley.
Are you ready?
The enemy waits. Shall we grant him the death he asks of us?
It's only fair.
Then let us bring this gift to the archdemon.
We will take the field. And stand together to see our enemy fall.
So, this is it... this is the end. We've come so far. It's strange knowing that all our fates will be decided in a matter of hours.
I wish I could go with you.
It's less dangerous here.
I respect your decision to keep me here, even though I would have gladly stood by your side, even to the death.
You have been a true friend and I... I will be extremely cross with you if you... don't return. Be careful out there. I will see you soon.
So we head into the city together. As it should be.
Once this is done, no matter how it turns out I will be gone. You are aware of this, yes?
I was hoping you would stay for celebrations. We could make fun of Alistair together, like old times.
I do not think that would be wise.
(Sigh) Allow me to say only one thing before we go.
I knew nothing of friendship before we met. And I will always consider you such.
Live well, my friend. Live gloriously.
Now let us see this finally done. The archdemon awaits.
Let's get this over with, then. There is little time to waste.
No fond reminiscence of all the good times we shared?
I tried to kill you repeatedly and failed. Well done you.
So here we part ways. You do not wish me to stand by you, in the end?
I don't want to put you in that kind of danger.
Oh, now you worry about my health! (Laughs)
In truth, for the chance to be by your side I would storm the Dark City itself. Never doubt it.
I will be back, I promise.
Then I shall hold you to that.
[Here we go!]
[The two generals Riordan mentioned are located in the Market and the Alienage. We have to pass through one region to proceed to the palace, but killing them both prevents them showing up in the battle against the Archdemon.]
[The market district is full of ogres. Their arc from boss to grunt is complete.]
[Bianca has hit the peak of her Ranger skills, and can now summon GIANT BEARS. Look at the size of that boy!]
[We can also call in support troops from the various armies to
These dwarven soldiers have high defence but low attack. Because we cut a deal with Kardol of the Legion of the Dead back in Orzammar, we also get some upgraded Legion troops in the mix.]
[The darkspawn general in this zone is a beast, but we have numbers on our side. And a bear.]
The streets run red with the blood of our foes!
I'll say. We'll need to swim to Fort Drakon at this rate.
[The general drops this fantastic helm on death. I always hate it when games give you cool loot when it is way too late to make effective use of it.]
[On to the Alienage.]
Y--you! It's you! The Maker sure gave you the gift of good timing, didn't He?
There is a large group of darkspawn approaching and the gates won't hold! We need your help!
I'll handle this! Get yourselves to safety!
A-all right! I only hope there is time to--
They're breaking through!
Run, all of you! Run for your lives!
[The darkspawn are battering down the wooden gate on the right. Before they do that we can prepare for the fight to come...]
[...by casting Blizzard on their formation. If I'd brought Wynne along, this would be a great time for a Storm of Century.
Eventually the darkspawn will break the gate, and their second general will enter the fight.]
[This general is a powerful mage, although his spells can be disrupted by hitting him hard enough.
I also summon a squad of Dalish elves to defend their brethren's ghetto. The elven troops are great ranged attackers, but fragile up close. They're fantastic here, as the gate forms a bottleneck the party can blockade, letting the elves bombard incoming darkspawn reinforcements.]
[A lot of darkspawn grunts spawn in for this fight, but as long as you kill the general quickly enough, they don't pose much of a threat.]
[The general drops this icky staff. Returning to Shianni gets us another reward too.]
You saved many lives here today. Thank you.
Please take this. I pray it helps you in your coming battles.
We have to go. May the Maker watch over you.
Take care, Shianni. At least things probably can't get any worse for the Alienage.
Don't say that!
[Shianni's gift is this neat ring, which I give to Loghain. We found the Dusk ring back in the abandoned campground in the Brecilian Forest.
Dawn and Dusk are the only rings that have a set bonus, I think.]
No time to waste, we need to get to the palace before--
If that had been six foot to the left, we'd be in serious trouble.
Perhaps the archdemon needs glasses.
MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE GATES...
Beware! A large group of darkspawn have broken away from the battle!
They're charging this way! They'll be here any minute!
I've barely got a buzz on! Damn critters!
[So, while our main party heads to the palace, the left behinds have to protect the gate. There's an achievement on offer if we can do it without letting more than half the soldiers die in the process.]
[The Ogre Alpha is the only real threat here. Kill him early and this is a cakewalk.]
[Alpha genlocks and hurlocks will occasionaly charge through the gate, but it's mostly just die-in-one-hit grunts. This fight is more tedious than anything else.]
I'm amazed by this unusually large amount of blood.
We're gonna need one big sponge when all this is done.
Shall I send word that the gates are secured?
For the moment, yes.
MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE PALACE DISTRICT
[VIDEO: Riordan Takes to the Skies]
It's time to do something incredibly stupid. Again.
[And that's the end of Riordan. We never find his corpse and no-one is sad about his death. That's pretty depressing, but he did go out like a champ.
Meanwhile, the archdemon crash lands on the top of Fort Drakon.]
We have to get up there before it takes off again!
[The Palace District is a series of battles up staircases, with ogres throwing rocks at you the whole time.
I summon some human troops as reinforcements. Humans have no real strengths, but no weaknesses either. They're alright, as usual for fantasy.]
Get him, Death Bear Mk. 2!
[The last obstacle is 'just' an Emissary and several dozen grunts. The numbers get crazy in the last Denerim battles.
Once they're dealt with, we can head through this gate to Fort Drakon.]
[I summon mage support for the last push. Mages are seriously powerful but very weak to direct attack. We also don't get many of them- only 12 total, compared to 50 for the other support troops.]
Fireball the darkspawn not the Warden. Darkspawn not Warden!
Sorry! It's my first day!
I think I'm getting the hang of this!
Stay put and don't set fire to anything else. Besides darkspawn.
A terrible destructive force came through here. Neither man nor darkspawn left living.
Don't get poetic now, Loghain, I was starting to tolerate you.
Oh no, the Borg!
[It's actually a Genlock Conjurer and his posse of Shades. The Shades are absolutely not a threat at this point, and are made even less so by Morrigan exploding them with Virulent Walking Bomb.]
[Without his adds, the Conjurer falls fast.]
[Pushing deeper into the Fort gets us traps and zombies.]
I hope every corpse around here isn't getting turned, or we're going to be waist deep in the angry dead by noon.
You're surrounded by darkspawn corpses! What happened here?
[Sandal is in the final dungeon to
[Behind this door is my second favorite joke in Dragon Age.]
[Surprise! Fifteen genlock archers all aiming directly at us.]
[Morrigan shot another Blizzard in their and we called it a day. There is literally nothing in that room other than the enemies, it's a dead end with no treasure.]
No time left!
That's the best plan you have?
Well, there's no kings nearby we can betray, so yeah, that's the plan we're going with, Captain Strategy.
[The Archdemon is a unique and fun fight, although a bit easier than the other dragon battles in the game. It has most of the same physical attacks as them, although without the AoE stun, and its Dragon Breath does Spirit Damage instead of Fire. It can also fly around the arena, forcing you to chase it down repeatedly.]
[At range it can create big spinny death tornados (yes, that is the technical term). They don't do much damage, but they disrupt your mages and other ranged characters.]
[Darkspawn will spawn on the roof throughout the fight, and halfway through the fight, the archdemon will summon in a large crowd of darkspawn reinforcements. It can also forcibly detonate those darkspawn at random for a burst of AoE damage.
Fortunately, we have our own allies to take the pain. Beside the support troops, you're joined by some immortal NPC friends from the story. I had Arl Eamon, First Enchanter Irving and Kardol, who are all surprisingly useful, although they'll prioritise fighting darkspawn instead of the archdemon. That's all up to you.]
[There are also ballista around the roof that you can fire at the archdemon for fair damage. They take a little while to turn into position though, so you need to have your tankier party members distract the archdemon, exactly as I am not doing in this screenshot.]
[One cool visual touch is the archdemon has the large gash in its right wing that Riordan cut during his heroic sacrifice.
Anyway, its health is just about gone so it's time for the big finish. See you in the next update!]
It's not over yet!
[VIDEO: The Grand Finale]
And then it was over.