Part 114: Here We Go AgainPART 114: HERE WE GO AGAIN
[VIDEO: Back in Action]
With the death of the archdemon, the Blight was defeated...
...but the darkspawn did not simply disappear.
Most of the horde scattered north from Denerim towards the Coastlands...
...and there fractured into warring tribes.
The region fell into chaos as the darkspawn emerged from hidden lairs to terrorize the countryside...
As the new Warden-Commander of Ferelden, it is your responsibility to rebuild the order and deal with the lingering threat.
You have come to Amaranthine to join the rest of the Grey Wardens at Vigil's Keep, once home to Arl Rendon Howe but now property of the order.
The lack of a proper welcoming party as you grow close, however, indicates that something is amiss...
What is going on? Why are there no Wardens here to greet us?
The lack of a proper welcoming party indicates that something is amiss.
That's quite a labored way of putting it, ma'am.
Something is wrong. Quickly, Commander!
[And we're back! With brand new friends! And the same old darkspawn!
Let's kill these genlocks and get some intel from this malnourished loser.]
It's you! The hero of Ferelden! Oh, thank the Maker!
[Awakening lets you import the Warden from Origins, but if they died in the final battle you have to create a new character to be the Commander. This new protagonist isn't the Hero of Ferelden, but instead is a Warden from the rival kingdom of Orlais, sent in to stabilise Ferelden following the Blight. They have to deal with a lot of grumbling from the angry locals.
We don't have to worry about that though because Bianca's back, and everyone loves her! Probably. Possibly.]
How did this happen?
I don't know! They came out of nowhere!
All I heard were screams and people dying; I got out as fast as I could and ran into these...
You need to help them. You need to do something!
Are there any other Wardens alive?
I think there was a mage right behind me. He might have been a Warden, I don't know.
I'll just follow the trail of charred corpses and see what I find.
I'll see l can't find some help. There has to be a patrol on the road.
We don't have a lot of time, Commander.
Nice swordwork. You're not just a guide, are you?
Oh! Pardon me, Commander. I'd assumed proper introductions would be taken care of at the keep.
My name is Mhairi. I was a knight in the king's service until I was recruited a month ago, but I haven't taken my Joining yet.
[Mhairi is a tank. She's good at hitting things and being hit by things.]
The seneschal sent me to bring you back. I was not expecting this!
The darkspawn launched a sneak attack. That's unheard of.
This isn't a Blight. How could they be so organized? I don't understand.
Perhaps something else is leading them.
Other than an archdemon, you mean? Frightening thought.
Depends on the leader. Who's in charge here?
Varel, the seneschal. He is the keeps steward, I believe, working for the Wardens.
Let's keep moving.
Right! Let's teach these evil bastards a lesson.
[Before we set out to fight some evil bastards, let's check out our ALL NEW SKILL AND ABILITIES, NOW WITH EVEN MORE INSTANT DEATH.]
[There are three more skills- Vitality and Clarity give you flat bonuses to HP and MP respectively, and Runecrafting lets you create the equipment-augmenting runes that you previously could only find or buy.
Awakening also lets you put runes on armor, whereas base Origins limited you just to weapon enhancement. There are accordingly a wider range of runes to use.]
[Each class and weapon style also gets four additional talents. Warriors have Second Wind (restores 'almost' all their stamina), Peon's Plight (instantly kills a regular enemy or crits a boss), Grevious Insult (forces all enemies to target the warrior) and Massacre (Peon's Plight everyone near the Warrior).
These are all awesome, and let you set up some devastating combos when combined with magic spells that trigger on enemy deaths.]
[The new Weapon + Shield talents are Juggernaut (damages everyone you run into (???)), Carapace (reduces damage for a short time), Air of Insolence (increases threat generated) and Bulwark of the Ages (brief invincibility).
These are all not awesome. I picture some Bioware drone sat at a desk, desperately trying to think of something exciting for Shield Boys to have, and failing utterly.]
[Enough skill chat, time for the violence]
We're here to help!
[There are soldiers scattered around the Keep's exterior, fighting off the darkspawn. Take too long to intervene and they will almost certainly die. There's mostly no reward for saving them, but it's nice to be nice.]
[There's also a merchant attempting to fight off the darkspawn with his fists alone. Props for courage, I guess.]
[There actually is a reward for saving this guy, but it doesn't appear for a while.]
This gate leads to the inner courtya--
No one knocks me on the ass and lives.
[This soldier comes under attack the moment the gate explodes, which make it difficult to get to him in time. It's worth it though, as he has a sidequest for us.]
I don't know what I would've done if you hadn't come. We're running out of bandages here.
There are supplies on the other side of the courtyard. Bring bandages--hurry!
[Importing a character from Origins has left me over-powered for the opening areas. We're four levels over what a new character starts at. ]
[Bianca levelled up, letting me unlock some of those sweet new archery talents. I don't want to overload this update with mechanics chat however, so we'll get into the new rogue abilities next time.
Those medical supplies we were looking for are in the chest nearby.]
[The only reward is XP. ]
[There's some nice loot in a chest by the wounded soldiers that guy was guarding however.]
[Enough dicking around in the rain. Let's storm that keep!]
Unbelievable! The keep has been overwhelmed!
How did the Wardens not sense the darkspawn coming? I don't understand it!
Honestly, that power never works when it would be useful.
There were dozens of Wardens here. Surely one of them must have had a suspicious migraine!
Something strange is definitely going on.
For the darkspawn to have ambushed the keep so effectively-I didn't know they were capable of such a thing!
It doesn't matter. We will defeat them.
Right. They won't get away with this!
It was polite of these guys to wait for us to finish talking.
Er... I didn't do it.
Oh, don't get me wrong. I'm not broken up about them dying, to be perfectly honest. Biff there made the funniest gurgle when he went down.
[In case you forgot, that's the armor of the Templars, everyone's favorite god police.]
Not too fond of them, huh?
Oh, I know, I know. Most people enjoy being kicked in the head to be woken up each morning. Me, I'm just so picky.
You may call me Anders, my dear lady. I am a mage and, sadly, a wanted apostate.
Good to meet you, Magical Alistair.
An apostate? At Vigil's Keep?
You weren't here when we arrived. I'm sure I would have remembered such a lovely woman as yourself.
We were just stopping here on our way back to the tower. Just a short rest, they said, and now they're dead. Such a shame.
You're not a Grey Warden? You're an apostate?
That's what they call someone who doesn't believe in being chained up in the tower, so yes, I suppose I am.
The templars captured me and were taking me back. And then, you know, darkspawn attacked. Could be a sign, yes?
A very convenient sign.
Isn't it, though? The Maker moves in mysterious ways.
Well, tell you what. I'll help you, and we can discuss what comes later... later, once all these bastards are properly put down, yes?
ANDERS JOINED THE PARTY!
[Anders has a bunch of healing spells, and starts with enough free talent points that you can spec him however you want. Mages are still utterly overpowered in Awakening, but the other classes aren't quite as inferior anymore.]
[Following the path takes you back outside the keep.]
I'm no tactician, but I always thought ballistae should point away from what they're protecting.
I stand corrected.
[Back inside the keep, there's a mystery lever to pull.]
This should open that portcullis.
Oh, we're scared now. Don't come over here. Ha!
It'll take more than that to kill us, beasties. Come again if you dare!
I don't know who this mysterious stranger is, but I think I love him.
Are there a lot of high explosives lying around in here?
I... don't know.
[Past the portcullis is another Emissary and some more hurlocks. It'll start the fight by throwing a fireball in your face, but at this point Bianca's tough enough to tank it without slowing down.]
[Yes, he's back.]
[He's the only party member from Origins that rejoins us in Awakening. You lucky people.]
A-ha! There you are!
When these darkspawn showed up, I thought, "just you wait until the new commander gets here and you'll all be spitting teeth out of your arses!"
Followed the screaming, and sure enough, here you are. Good on ya!
Did you have something to do with this?
Think I maybe picked up a few tricks from Branka, hey? Nah, I just kill darkspawn, I don't train 'em.
Came here thinking I might try my hand at becoming a bona fide Grey Warden.
Aha ha haa... Oh god, you're serious.
He was here when I left. I can't believe the Wardens didn't kick him out.
Hey! If it isn't the recruit with the great rack!
Yes. A prize for the Wardens to be sure.
I know, I know, too good to be true, right? Hey... who's the mage? Boyfriend? Should I leave you two alone?
Wow. A dwarf that smells like a brewery. You never see that anywhere.
Huh. A mage comedian. Thought those normally died young.
It's good to see you again.
I find that hard to believe.
As do I.
I'll grow on you. I'm a real grower.
Now let's go introduce some darkspawn arses to my foot. Only polite thing to do.
OGHREN JOINED THE PARTY... AGAIN
[Oghren fights the same as in Origins, a small man with a big... weapon. He's not equipped with his gear from Origins, and comes instead with a new greataxe and legion armor set.
His approval has also reset to zero, so we're going to have to work hard to be friends with him again. Because who wouldn't want to be friends with a violent lecherous alchoholic?
BONUS FACT: If his approval gets low enough in Origins you can fight and kill him. He still shows up in Awakening. If the Warden is the same, then they have a fun conversation where Oghren claims he woke up naked in a ditch somewhere with no memory of what happened after the fight.]
[There are four civilians being menaced by darkspawn throughout the inner keep. Saving them all gets us an XP reward. They're all along the critical path, so you will save them unless you're trying really hard not to.]
Anyways, there's a dying dude with important facts for us through here.]
Commander, Rowland was a knight recruited from Denerim like me. We must do something for him!
He looks beyond healing magic. Maybe a shot of whiskey for the pain?
I like the way you think.
Stop joking! This isn't funny!
The... the commander?
I'm here, Rowland. I'm sorry I didn't come sooner.
We only had a moment's warning before they were on us, Commander.
The seneschal ordered a counter-attack, but they came out of nowhere! Theres one with them, a darkspawn who talks; his magic is powerful.
A talking darkspawn? The lad must be delirious.
There's something in my blood! It hurts!
Hold yourself together, Rowland.
It was an honor to meet you, Commander. I wish I could have fought at your side just once...
I will avenge you, Rowland. I swear it.
[It's now a running fight against a large gang of darkspawn from here to the exit.]
Forward to victory!
[Eventually we make it to the roof of the keep.]
Oh, this is final battle territory all right. Trust me, I know my roofs. Rooves? ...Roofs.
It has ended just as he foretold.
[Hey, remember Baldur's Gate?]
Be taking this one, gently. We are wishing no more death than is necessary.
Necessary? As if your kind has ever done anything else!
You are thinking you know of our kind, human? It is understandable. But that will soon be changed.
Others will come, creature! They will stop you!
There it is!
It seems your words be true, more than you are guessing.
It is talking!
Well, let's shut it up already!
Capture the Grey Warden. These others, they may be killed.
[That well-spoken fellow is The Withered. He doesn't look very withered to me, but oh well.]
[In other news- Virulent Walking Bomb: Still Good.]
[The glowing effects on him are from the new Warrior ability 'Carapace', meaning he's taking less damage for the next 20 seconds. It won't save him.]
We'll need to take him alive, if we want to solve this myste--
Did you say something, Commander?
No, just talking to myself. As usual.
Commander, I owe you my life.
Hmm... soldiers on the road. It seems we have more company.
Hopefully they're more hospitable than our previous guests.
It looks like I arrived a bit late. Too bad. I rather miss the whole darkspawn-killing thing.
I'd wanted to come and give the Wardens a formal welcome. I certainly wasn't expecting this. What's the situation?
About the usual.
What darkspawn remained have fled, your Majesty. The Grey Wardens who had arrived from Orlais appear to be either dead or... missing.
Missing? As in taken by the darkspawn? Do they even do that?
I do not know, your Majesty. I know only that we cannot account for all the Wardens.
I see. At least the hero of Ferelden is still here, and alive. That's something, right?
Looks like you'll need to rejoin the Wardens after all. I'm putting the band back together.
Toss the throne aside, spend my time adventuring at your side just like old times? Very tempting.
Come on, man. I still have your bass.
You have quite the task ahead of you. Really, I'd like to help you fight darkspawn, but you're on your own for the moment.
Hey! What am I? Chopped nug livers?
From the smell, that's not a bad guess.
I came here to join the Grey Wardens, and from the looks of it, you could use the extra hands! Where's the giant cup? I'll gargle and spit!
You're not allowed to spit.
Heh. That's what I always says.
Actually, maybe extinction is preferable.
I... suppose all are welcome, in this dire time.
Joining the Wardens, hey? Well good luck with that.
King Alistair! Your Majesty, beware! This man is a dangerous criminal!
Oh, the dwarf is a bit of an arse, but I wouldn't go that--
She means me.
This is an apostate who we were in the process of bringing back to the Circle to face justice!
Oh, please. The things you people know about justice would fit into a thimble. I'll just escape again, anyhow.
Never! I will see you hanged for what you've done here, murderer!
Murderer? But those templars were--oh, what's the use? You won't believe me anyhow.
It seems there isn't much to say. Unless... you have something to add, Commander?
Hey kids! We're back with a bullet, a bullet named 'conscription'. Do we recruit Anders into the Wardens?
PRO: Good with the magics
CON: He totally did murder those dudes
Aaaand, do we also recruit Oghren into the Wardens?
PRO: It's Oghren!
CON: It's Oghren!
Yes/No responses for each, voting closes in three days, see ya!
NEXT TIME: Put on your robe and drink the red Kool-Aid
NEW CODEX CONTENT:
Letter from Zevran