Part 119: Critical ChunksPART 119: CRITICAL CHUNKS
Amaranthine! City of Adventure! And Crime! And Dubious Orphans!
I once knew someone who bought a piece of Andraste's shin-bone in the Amaranthine market.
[The market district has a weaponsmith, who sells weapons, an apothecary, who sells potions, and a grocer who sells magical artefacts. And alcohol. No shin-bones though.]
[None of the merchants have any dialogue, it jumps straight to the shop screen when you interact with them. This is a real time-saver.
Also in the market...]
Delilah? Is that really you?
Nathaniel! I had feared the worst!
[Back in Episode 4, we learned that Nathaniel's sister was alive and had married a merchant in Amaranthine.]
Times must have been hard, Delilah. But you can do better than this. Come back to the estate until we find somewhere else.
What? (Laughs) Oh, Nathaniel! I didn't marry Albert out of desperation. I adore him!
I was so glad to get away from Father's evil--this life is so much better.
Father's evil? Isn't that overstating things a little? He got caught up in politics...
You weren't here. You didn't see what he did, Nathaniel.
You want the culprit who destroyed our family? It was him, without question.
I... had no idea.
Of course you did. But you always worshipped father, right from when you were a little boy.
Come, brother. Let us sit and catch up a bit, shall we?
A NICE CUP OF TEA LATER...
She said she wants me to come back, once all this is done. Meet her husband. She's due by the spring.
She seems happy. She said Father deserved to die! I still can't believe it.
[The VA's gearshift halfway through that line is pretty great.]
You don't believe her?
I thought he had his reasons. It was a war, for Andrastes sake!
Before I went to the Free Marches, he was never... how could he have changed so much?
It's not your fault, Nathaniel.
I wish I'd known some of this sooner. I feel like such a fool.
Now, please... let's get back to our business. I need to think.
[Our next stop is the portly man standing next to Mervis (Mervis?).]
You're the sort who delights in helping the common man, yes?
Depends how common.
May I direct you to the Merchants' Guilds board?
Something you need help with?
Me? No, not me, personally.
Folk here often need goods from far-flung parts. They post the requests here.
There is good coin in this, particularly with trade halted by the trouble on the roads.
If you ever feel inclined, please... take a look at the jobs available.
[It's another quest board to complete, although we can't complete most of them yet.]
What even is this?
Drinking poison is the hot new fad amongst today's youth. Kids, eh?
[There are five bottles of poison hidden around Amaranthine. Find them all, turn them in, get money.]
"Side effects include: hair loss, itchiness, nausea, cramps, dysentery, insomnia, warm eyeballs, dizziness, vomiting, muscle spasms, necrosis, weight loss, decapitation, weight gain, priaprism, 'the dreaded wibblies', paralysis, heart palpitations, cold eyeballs, dysentery, spontaneous combustion, tendonitis, spinal dislocation, damp gums, temporary deafness, permanent deafness, dysentery, hysteria, nose bleeds, loss of pitch, sudden agonising death, and dysentery."
Give us a swig.
So good to see you again.
Here's your poison.
It seems I owe you a reward, yes? Yes, of course.
[In the north of the city is the mysterious armored man we were told about when we entered Amaranthine.]
I see you got my letter, Commander.
It's an honor to meet you.
The Dark Wolf, I presume?
In the flesh.
The less you know of me, the better. But by some, I am called the Dark Wolf.
In the depths of the city, there is murmuring.
Murmuring that nobles want you dead. I'd like to help.
Hold on bucko. You are not the Dark Wolf. I am.
Y-you are? I thought perhaps the first Dark Wolf was killed or imprisoned.
I am very much alive.
You must admit that your current position does not leave time for shadow games.
It's the principle of the thing that matters. You're disrupting my brand.
Think of me more as a franchisee. You see, I have hopes that the Wardens will prove more fit to rule this land than the late Arl Rendon Howe.
His confederates are the conspirators. But to unearth their identities. I'll need resources. Fifty sovereigns.
So you're doing this out of a sense of civic duty?
Corrupt, miserly nobles have beggared many a proud commoner.
Some commoners turn to distasteful occupations just to survive.
Is it not fitting that they would want to strike back in the only way they're able?
Yeah! Class war!
Ain't you a princess?
Ix-nay on the rincess-pay. Fifty sovereigns it is.
It will be done. Give me some time.
[While we're waiting for that, let's do another job for our local religious extremists.]
[The Amaranthine Chantry is exactly the same as every other Chantry we've been in. The Copy and Paste School of Design didn't open just for Dragon Age 2.]
May I help you?
I read your posting on the Chanter's Board.
I am fortunate indeed that the Commander of the Grey has taken a personal interest in this matter.
I'm sorry our note was vague, but Amaranthine is a hotbed of maleficar activity.
Details of who and what they were about would undoubtedly get back to them.
It's more likely than you think.
Apostates and maleficarum are all too common across the nation, alas.
I have worked with an artist to create these sketches of the three suspects.
If you could confront them and question them, you would be doing the Maker's work.
[There are no actual sketches. We find the maleficar by wandering around town until a passerby starts muttering to themselves.]
You bloody bastard! You won't catch me!
Gorblimey, guv'nor! That scallywag's gettin' away!
[He just runs away until you shoot him in the back enough times. Another victory for the good guys!]
What's that in his head?
Residual magic energy stuff. Probably.
Remind me why I keep you around?
My incredible cheekbones?
...Did you know that was going to happen?
Do you think I would have stood so close if I did?
Weren't we supposed to ask him some questions?
[The corpse really did explode for no reason. I dunno, man.]
Stop her! She's being too normal!
[This quest is disturbing. The maleficars barely fight back, they are audibly afraid of you and you kill them easily. It's evil business, but it doesn't have the framing of an evil quest, if you see what I mean. The templar isn't all 'mwahahaha, I sure do hate mages', no-one throws a guilt trip at you for it (although Anders Disapproves) and there's no Good Option to take instead.
It's just a terrible thing you do for money. Very D&D.]
Stop! We're basically the police!
[Killing the last maleficar will give you an objective to kill their previously-unmentioned master.]
[He's the only one with any combat chops, but its still 1 vs. 4 in a confined space.]
[I don't recall critical hits being this chunky in the original.]
Give shelter to the weary, and lift up the weak; in time, the Maker will see and smile upon your deeds.
Wow. Being the iron fist of the state pays really well.
[There's another sidequest we can tackle in the Chantry.]
We'll check it out for you. Any excuse to visit the pub.
[In the back of the bar is this note.]
This better not end with a bed covered in rose petals.
[The orphans... orfans notice board has been updated too.]
The orphans sure do drink a lot of alcohol.
Bless their little hearts.
[These are all straightforward fetch quests. Only the moonshine one has any combat.]
[A little shack in the Amaranthine market has a collection of very angry drunks defending the orphan-approved moonshine. The fight is easy, and all we have to do is return the moonshine to the box for a few XP points. No money reward though. Darn cheapskate orphans.]
[Anyways, we were on the trail of a missing husband. His note said he was up on the catwalks. There are quite a lot of catwalks around the city walls, and it is quite a pain in the ass to have to search them all.]
And you're quite the dirty little mage.
I do my best. Still, I'm no ale-swilling mountain of belches like you!
And I'm no winking, slack-jawed coward like you.
True! We should form a club!
Get a room you two.
[The note's on the catwalk overlooking the Amaranthine outskirts.]
There's a house that needs restoring...
How are you going to tell the wife?
[And thus ends The Most Depressing Scavenger Hunt Ever.]
Its more that he is rather attached to me. Isn't that right, Ser Pounce-a-lot?
Isnt that name a little... ridiculous?
What do you think I should call him? Frederick?
There are worse names, I suppose...
[I knew a cat called Fred once. It's a good name!]
[We've wasted enough time. The Fake Dark Wolf should have finished his investigation by now.]
Doors busted down, skulls thumped, and vices preyed upon.
But I have answers.
That was quick.
My services are expensive for a reason.
I could not unearth the conspirators' identities. They are paranoid.
But I know that they meet at Old Starks Farm on the Feravel Plains.
Then I must make haste.
Maker be with you.
[We could have killed the Wolf after getting his help, if were feeling more machiavellian.]
Time to nip this conspiracy in the bud.
You're all under arres--
Ah, forget it.
So, who was the mastermind of this little coup?
"Lady Liza Packton."
Aaand... "Lord Guy."
Not Lord Guy?! He's the brother of Lady Gal!
We're done here.
WHERE TO NEXT?
Enough farting around with conspiracies and suicides. Time to get back on the main story train. But which plot thread shall we follow first?
1. The Righteous Path. Bianca and pals travel to the Wending Wood in search of whatever's been burning all the trade caravans. Spoilers: darkspawn are involved. Also elves.
2. Last of the Legion. Back to the Deep Roads to blunt the darkspawn's advance. Oh boy!
3. Shadows of the Blackmarsh. A Grey Warden disappeared in the mysterious Blackmarsh, and we have to find them. Things get weird.
Each story will give us a new companion, and uncover a different part of the darkspawn's dire purpose. So you've all got that to look forward to. Vote now!
NEXT TIME: More questions.
NEW CODEX CONTENT:
Pilgrims and Amaranthine