Part 134: Can't Make An Omelette Without Breaking WardensPART 134: CAN'T MAKE AN OMELETTE WITHOUT BREAKING WARDENS
The truth exposed! Bianca has found the person responsible for destroying trade caravans in the Wending Wood; an elven mage under the mistaken assumption that her sister had been kidnapped by humans. In actuality, the darkspawn had faked evidence to manipulate the situation for some mysterious, probably evil, reason. Bianca confronts the mage in the ruins of an elven camp...
I... want to die where my loved ones died. Will you give me that, at least?
I just wish to talk.
[Mercy won out in the poll, so let's be nice.]
The darkspawn were playing the humans against the elves.
What? The darkspawn are mindless. It is not possible.
The weapons here were planted by the darkspawn.
I wondered why anyone would discard the weapons, but you say the darkspawn planted them?
That would mean the darkspawn killed my people and took my sister!
I found this trinket on a darkspawn.
[Near the end of the last update.]
That... that is Seranni's. She would never willingly part with that; our mother gave it to her before she died.
Why would the darkspawn do this?
Murder is fun? I don't know, but I'm going to find out.
You have no reason to trust me, but let me come with you.
After you killed all those people? And attacked me?
I fell for the darkspawn's deception and I took lives, this is true. I see now that this was a mistake.
[The VA puts a lot of Sorry! Not Sorry energy into that line. Fuck those humans, amirite?]
I swear to you that if I get Seranni back. I will leave this place. For good.
Oh, all right. Come with me.
This elf should be brought to justice. Why should we assist her at all?
You don't know what it's like to lose family. I can't say I wouldn't have done the same to save my sister.
My name is Velanna, if you care for such things. Do you know where the darkspawn might dwell?
Tunnels, most likely.
There is an abandoned mine some ways to the north of here; the tunnels run far into the earth.
We will likely find the darkspawn there.
VELANNA JOINED THE PARTY!
[Another mage for us. Velanna starts with mostly damage spells and debuffs, compared to Anders, who started with mostly heals and buffs. It doesn't make much difference in the long run as there are enough skill points available that you can build them both however you want.]
[She also starts with the Keeper specialization.
Keeper has some weird unique talents. The first level talent is 'One with Nature' which shields the caster and creates an AoE centred on them which damages any nearby enemies. Downside is that you can't move while it's in effect. Second level is 'Thornblade' which does a ton of damage and has a quick-ish cooldown, but can only be cast on enemies in the 'One with Nature' field.
Third level is Replenishment, a passive that lets you regen health whenever anything dies in the 'One with Nature' field. Capstone ability is 'Nature's Vengeance' which is like Thornblade but more so.
I haven't used it much, so correct me if I'm wrong Keeper fans, but Keeper is not very good. You need enemies to get close to you to use the abilities, and you're immobilized while you use them, which seems like a very bad idea for a squishy mage.]
[Anyhow, let's get going. The door on this structure has opened, letting us access the mines beyond.
I've ditched Nathaniel to let Velanna into the party, because he got the lowest number of votes in the party select poll. Also because he sucks. ]
[I've also equipped Velanna with some of
Some tasteful decor in this spooky old mine. I like a good circle.
Why are miners always tunnelling into Forbidden Places?
Yeah, they should leave it to the professionals.
Do you hear something?
[Pauldron designs by Nomura of Tokyo.]
So you are the commander of the Grey Wardens.
Do not be frightened. Your injuries have been tended to.
I apologize for what I must do. I do not wish to be your enemy.
But now is not the time for this. Rest.
Uhhggghhhh. My head.
Wait. Where are my pants?
Seranni! Oh creators, what have they done to you?
They haven't done anything. I... I'm fine, Velanna. It's not me he wants...
I have to get you out before something bad happens. I don't want anyone else to be hurt.
Yes, all right. Let me out and I'll take you home.
The darkspawn have your things. You can still get it all back if you're careful and clever.
They're going to come to check on you. You have to hurry.
(Persuade) Please tell me what's going on. You must know something!
I don't know anything! But take this key. It... it opens a chest in the emissary's room. Maybe you'll find some answers there.
Wait, how did you get this?
I... I found it...
And I'm the Queen of Antiva.
They're coming! You have to go, find a way out of the mines! Please!
I can't just leave you! Seranni, wait!
We need to get gone too... How come I'm the only one naked?
The darkspawn gave these clothes to us.
Nice ones too. Clean, warm, soft. Nice lavender smell.
Ugh. Let's see what they left in our bags.
[This is a traditional RPG prison section, where all your equipment is confiscated and you have to sneak out, except it's busted and broken in a variety of weird ways.
Firstly, only your equipped items are removed. If you planned ahead and unequipped your gear before this section, you could just re-equip everything now.
Secondly, if your Warden's equipment is Too Powerful then you lose it forever. Not a joke. This is why Bianca is in her underwear instead of wearing generic clothes- the game bugged out and deleted her bow and chest armor permanently.
Really. It did that.]
[For now, I've equipped Bianca with Velanna's old robe from my inventory, so she doesn't have to spend the entire dungeon running around in her smalls. I'll use console commands to get her stuff back once we leave. Good job I'm playing this on the PC.
For everyone else, this first group of darkspawn drops a pile of crappy weapons, so our party doesn't have to fight with their bare hands anymore.
Also, I have no idea how Justice used Peon's Plight five times in a row. Bugs!]
Smells like nerd in here.
A library... with cages.
Neat handwriting. Suspiciously neat.
So. This is what truly happened.
Of course. Didn't you believe us?
I don't trust easily.
Good job we're so trustworthy then.
I think we need to leave now.
[There's a little puzzle in the lab- the left lever rotates the position of the flaming orbs one space clockwise, the right toggles the rear row of orb's flames on/off. By pulling the two levers
[When all the orbs are off, the green gas fades away.]
What was this experiment meant to prove anyway?
[We can access the gas room from our cell block through a previously locked door.]
I think we found what the experiment was for.
[The chest in here contains some really good loot. This bow is about to come in very useful.
Pentaghast family, eh?]
Hmm, darkspawn standing under ancient, crumbling statuary. I smell an opportunity.
This seems an impractical location for a siege weapon.
Don't question it. Just know that the God of Ballistae smiles on me.
Good ol' ballistae. Never fails.
Is that smell coming from you?
Good. I was worried it was normal for dwarves.
That... that ghoul has my things! She has it all! I'm going to get it back. Are you with me?
[You have to fight four Experimental Subjects as you make your way though the dungeon, each equipped with a party member's gear and corresponding class. These aren't true 'mirror matches' however, as the Experimental Subjects are very weak.
This is also why Bianca's gear is gone forever, as the gear requirements for her top tier equipment are too high for the Experimental Subject NPC, preventing them from spawning. So we only get to fight three Subjects.]
Hope you don't mind a few bloodstains on your cloak, Velanna.
Hey, there's someone alive back here.
You're the Warden-Commander! I... would not have expected to meet you here.
Did those bastards get you too?
You know me?
I was to help rebuild the Fereldan Wardens, just as you were. We were at Vigil's Keep less than a week when the darkspawn came.
I think I'm the only one left.The others are dead or worse.
What are the darkspawn doing?
I'm not sure. The emissary who leads them is more cunning than any darkspawn I've encountered. He's fascinated with Wardens.
But listen--there is a darkspawn here carrying a huge maul. He crushed my legs. He took my wedding ring.
Don't worry, it doesn't mean you're married. Unless he gave you a ring back.
Please, Commander, slay him. Bring the ring to my wife, Nida, in Amaranthine. Tell her I died trying to make this world better.
I'd rather bring you to your wife.
No! I'll only slow you down. Please, do this for me. It is all I ask.
He died the moment he said that. He must have been more badly wounded than he looked or sounded.
We should do this task. I like helping widows.
[You can just see the Experimental Subject wearing Justice's sinister armor, behind that Hurlock.]
[And that's Justice re-equipped. None of these battles are too challenging, as the game assumes you're under-geared for everything in here.
Also in this room is a soldier's corpse with an interesting possession.]
[Who do we know who talked about wanting a spyglass?]
Oh! Oh, its exactly as Varlan described! But shinier!
May I... keep it? I know I shouldn't. We're not supposed to have belongings in the Legion.
Well, Grey Wardens are allowed to have things.
As you say, Commander. Thank you!
[This makes Sigrun very happy, with a huge +14 to approval.]
[Nug-snuggler is an awfully cute way of saying 'sheep-shagger'.]
[Normally this room has two Experimental Subjects, but because of the aforementioned bugs there's only one.]
[And that's Sigrun geared up again. We're almost back to full power.
There's also a Silverite Deposit in here. Back at base, Wade can turn it into armor for our troops. And what's more important than our troops?]
I hadn't noticed.
Could I offer you a poultice? Something? Anything? The sight is quite... distressing.
I apologize, and I thank you for your offer, but nothing can be done. Kristoff's body is dead.
I shan't hope for the smell to improve, then.
No, you probably shouldn't.
[Anyway, here's a man with a big hammer.]
[The dragon tamer has some drake sidekicks, but if you stay in the doorway most of them won't engage. On his own the dragon tamer goes down quick.]
[Leg Crusher's the name and leg crushing is the game. This is the maul that mauled Keenan, and the darkspawn had his wedding ring. We just need to return it to Amaranthine for our reward.]
We need to get this back to Vigil Keep. Then we will make the omelette of the gods.
[Eventually the mine loops round and take you back inside the buried temple structure.]
[There's never any explanation what this temple is, by the way.]
This looks like someone's bedroom. A darkspawn bedroom?
Do darkspawn even sleep?
Do darkspawn dream of blighted sheep?
There is something foreboding about this hallway.
You are not supposed to be here.
Neither are you.
You are wrong. I have an arrangement with the creatures.
I bring them supplies. They give me gold.
Oh no, the darkspawn have discovered capitalism.
Do you know what's going on?
No. All I care is that the darkspawn honor our arrangement.
Questioning them would be... inadvisable.
Why would the qunari work with the darkspawn?
The Qun is a lie. I am Tal Vashoth--outcast. My life is my own. I do not help the darkspawn; I help myself.
What if the darkspawn corruption affects you?
It will not. I have been promised protection.
Why would they promise that?
I provide a service.
Would you consent to trading at Vigil's Keep?
Vigil's Keep? Hrm. That is the Grey Wardens' keep, near Amaranthine. Yes, I know it.
[This expands the inventory of the shops at the Keep.]
If there is coin to be had, Armaas will be there. We will meet again... if you survive this place.
I'll just be on my way.
Go, then. I will say nothing of you to the darkspawn.
[We could have bought stuff off that guy, but none of his stock is interesting. Hs primary role is to allow us to sell things if we need to clear out our inventory. Once we go through this door next to him, we can't return to the mine, so we need to make sure we have enough space to carry out all the unique loot.
The game doesn't warn you about this, which can be a nasty surprise if you haven't explored thoroughly.]
[Not one, but two dragons! This is a fun fight. They fly around the room, engaging and disengaging at will.]
[They have the usual dragon powers, plus a bit of blood magic for fun. You need to burn one down as fast as possible to get yourself some breathing room.]
[Once one dies, the fight gets a lot easier. This is because whenever the surviving dragon flys away from your party it leaves combat. This means your dead party members are resurrected, you skill cooldowns reset and your health and stamina regen rapidly.
The dragon doesn't restore any of its health when it flies away, so you get a big advantage for the rest of the battle.]
[It can still do some irritating shit though.]
Phew. Good work team.
Guess we're having dragon ham with our omelettes tonight.
No! Why is she with that monster? We must get to her!
We'll find another way, I promise.
This leads to the Deep Roads. I can smell it. One never forgets the smell of the Deep.
The home of the children of Stone. Yes...
They say Wardens can sense darkspawn even deep beneath the ground.
I would join the Grey Wardens. Give me the ability to hunt down these monsters in the Deep!
The Joining could kill you.
I am not afraid of death.
You cannot mean to have this murderer join our ranks! She should not be allowed to escape justice so easily!
So no one's allowed a second chance? She'll give up everything to join us, isn't that enough?
I will pledge my service to you in exchange for the powers your order can grant. What say you?
Very well. Welcome to the Grey Wardens. We're always hiring.
Ma serannas. Shall we go then? I've had enough of this place.
NEXT TIME: The beginning of the end of the beginning