Part 18: Arts And CraftsPART 18: ARTS AND CRAFTS
Traitorous Teyrn Loghain has pinned the crime of regicide on the Grey Wardens, letting him seize the throne! Meanwhile, in the podunk village of Lothering, our heroes have run into a possé of angry soldiers and a mysterious red-haired nun...
[Swarmed by soldiers in a sordid saloon! This would be a tough fight except for the fact that if you K.O. the commander it ends instantly. Oh well.]
All right, you've won! We surrender! Jazz hands!
Good. They've learned their lesson and we can all stop fighting now.
Take a message to Loghain.
W-what do you want to tell him?
Hell have to do better than this.
I'll tell him. Right away. Now. Thank you!
I apologize for interfering, but I couldn't just sit by and not help.
So I see. Where does a sister learn to fight like that?
I wasn't born in the Chantry, you know. Many of us had more... colorful lives before we joined.
And I thought they just made up those stories for the magazines.
Let me introduce myself. I am Leliana, one of the lay sisters of the chantry here in Lothering. Or I was.
Those men said you're a Grey Warden. You will be battling the darkspawn, yes? That is what Grey Wardens do?
I know after what happened, you'll need all the help you can get. That's why I'm coming along.
Why so eager to come with me?
The Maker told me to.
Right... I believe this is where I back away slowly.
I-I know that sounds... absolutely insane--but it's true! I had a dream... a vision!
More crazy? I thought we were all full up.
Look at the people here.
We'd rather not.
They are lost in their despair, and this darkness, this chaos... will spread. The Maker doesn't want this.
What you do, what you are meant to do, is the Maker's work. Let me help!
I need more than prayers, I'm afraid.
I can fight. I can do more than fight. As I said, I was not always a lay sister.
I put aside that life when I came here, but now... if it is the Maker's will, I will take it up again. Gladly. Please let me help you.
Very well. I will not turn away help when it is offered.
Perhaps your skull was cracked worse than Mother thought.
I've a soft spot for angry redheads.
Thank you! I appreciate being given this chance. I will not let you down.
...Although the way she emphasised will not is giving me pause.
[As we now have more than four followers we get taken to this screen, which lets us select our active party.
On the recommendation of the thread, I've installed the dog mod, so Barkley can stay with us as a fifth party member.]
[Leliana is an archery focused rogue, so she duplicates Bianca's role and most of her skills at the moment.]
[Her unique accessory hints at Leliana's affection for religious gifts, although you could probably have guessed that from talking with her for 5 seconds.
I wouldn't describe the Maker as having unending patience though, considering Chantry lore has him abandoning his creation twice...]
[Leliana also has a Bard specialisation. Specialisations give you access to an extra talent line and provide a small boost to some of your stats.
Bard talents are generally sustained abilities that provide buffs to the whole party, at a cost of the caster's max stamina being reduced while active. They're pretty useful, but mean Leliana can't spam skills the way other party members can. Not yet at least.]
[Our other allies also have specialisations, I just haven't discussed them yet for reasons of space.
Alistair, appropriately, has the Templar talents. These provide both passive buffs and active abilities that make him better at fighting mages.]
[Morrigan is a shapeshifter, and her bonus talents let her change into a variety of monsters. She starts out able to turn into a giant spider, which is pretty but means she can't cast any of her other spells while transformed. Best used when enemies attack in melee range.]
[Bianca herself can gain two specialisations, one at level 7 and one at level 14. But you can only unlock specialisations once you've been taught them by a party member, or by buying a (incredibly expensive) skill manual from a shop, or by doing the one random sidequest in the game that unlocks each of them.
Weirdly, once unlocked they stay unlocked for all future playthroughs, so because of my old save files Bianca can select any specialisation I want as soon as she hits level 7. I'll still show off the sidequests though.]
You going to make more trouble? We've about all we can stand in Lothering now.
Sorry about the mess...
They had it coming, and they were trouble enough themselves. So long as you're don't start more, I won't get excited.
Right, then. Name's Danal. Sorry I can't chat much... as you see, we've a full house.
Who were those men I fought, exactly?
When Teyrn Loghain marched by, he left those fellows behind to look for Grey Wardens. I suppose that's you?
Of course not.
Despite the conversation you just had in front of me with the red-haired girl? The one where you said you were Grey Wardens?
You must have misheard.
And the Grey Warden amulet you're wearing? And the Grey Warden bow you have? And the fact that the guy behind you has GREY WRDN tattooed on his knuckles?
You must have misseen.
What can I get you, then?
I'll have that comically oversized bottle of wine please.
It's not for sale. Sorry, but this is ol' Darnel's best friend right now.
I don't suppose you have any rooms?
Look around... people are sleeping on the floors and in the attic. That's how many rooms I don't have.
Have you heard any rumors?
There's knights from Redcliffe wandering the countryside, looking for the place where Andraste's Sacred Ashes are said to lie. Can you believe that?
The urn holding Her Ashes is a myth, and yet these knights say they were sent to find it anyhow to heal Arl Eamon. I didn't even know he was ill.
Neither did we. I wonder what could be wrong?
Maybe he has the Blight? If so, then times are even darker for Ferelden than any of us thought.
Anything else I can get you?
Heard any other rumors?
Some folks aren't happy about Teyrn Loghain being named regent. There are rumors he had something to do with the king's death.
Isn't that the most ridiculous thing you ever heard? The darkspawn killed him, sure enough. If Teyrn Loghain couldn't save the king from that end, then nobody could.
Ah ha ha ha haaaaa... I'll be going.
Luck speed your way.
If you're here about food, take it up with that bleedin' runt by the chantry.
I got other gear to sell.
You're out of food?
A whole mess of refugees come in and leave near every night.
All have hungry bellies, sad tales, and mementos for barter.
I sold that bleeding merchant outside about half my larder two weeks back, and now he's charging outrageous sums for all my food.
You jealous you didn't think of that first?
Hardly. I may be a cantankerous old coot, but I'm not going to beggar everyone comes by for a loaf of bread.
And the merchant is getting away with it?
For now. If that gouger isn't careful he'll wind up in the cage with the qunari or worse, mark my words.
People get more desperate by the day.
I'll see what I can do about the merchant.
I'm sure these simple folk can organise their own lynch mobs.
You will? Odd thing to be doing. But we'd appreciate it.
Know of any well-paying work in Lothering?
Check the chanter's board by the chantry. There's good jobs there.
...I don't suppose you know anything about poison?
This conversation just took an interesting turn.
I have... dabbled in such things.
I figured if I kept asking I'd find someone!
I'd pay good coin for some simple poison. Something to slow them beasties down or make them think twice.
I'll see what I can do.
Thanks. I might have some ingredients in stock. Don't really know what you need.
[There are three quests scattered around Lothering designed to teach you about crafting. The old geezer wants you to make some Venom, a basic poison, which you normally use to give a small temporary boost to your weapon damage.
Crafting itself is pretty straightforward- as long as you have the raw materials you can churn out the goods. Venom requires a bottle and some toxic extract; the old man himself will sell you bottles, and the extract can be farmed from some giant spiders lurking outside town.
You also can't access this quest unless you have the poison-making skill. All rogues start with it by default, and Leliana also has it, but if you're not a rogue and were an asshole to Leliana (you swine!) then you're kind of stuck.]
Any luck with that poison? Or you here to see my stock?
Wait a minute... I've just realised. This man has a really tiny head! Look at it!
Maker's breath, you're right! It is tiny!
Sssshhh! I have what you asked for.
Splendid! If those beasties come on my land, I hope it teaches them a lesson.
Here's enough gold to cover any of your expenses and then some. *Laughs*
Well done. We've successfully helped a tiny headed old man get a divorce.
But he said...
I know what he said.
As I live and breathe. You're the Grey Warden everyone's been talking about.
I knew it!
You heard nothing! Nothing!
I represent the Blackstone Irregulars. We're a mercenary company that fell on hard times after the war with Orlais.
I'm sure you know that times are getting worse every day. With your help the Irregulars could be of use to Ferelden once more.
Why should I help you?
The Blackstone Irregulars fought alongside the king's army against Orlais. We've helped nobles defend their land and given our service to people in need for generations.
Our current captain, Raelnor, is an honorable man who sees that we can do some good in Ferelden once more. He is so confident in our mission that he trusted the Grey Wardens would support us.
How can I be of service?
Our leaders thought you might be willing to help. Each of our posts in Ferelden will contain letters addressed to you.
Unlike most who work with us, you're getting letters straight from Raelnor and Taoran, our leaders. I hope this tells you how highly the Irregulars regard the Grey Wardens.
Or how desperate you are.
I'll take a look.
Thank you. When you completed a mission, just return to me or any of our members stationed at an Irregulars post. We'll make sure your efforts are rewarded.
Maker's blessings light your path.
[Right, so you know how in a lot of RPGs you have quest boards that give you access to the sort of cheap padding sidequests that they couldn't be bothered with voice acting for?]
They don't sugar the pill, do they?
[Dragon Age: Origins has two types of board. The Chantry ones, which we'll see next update, are often simple kill X number of monsters type quests. The Blackstone boards, on the other hand, laugh at those people who like to have clean quest journals, as they often require you to travel all over the world to complete. The ones we have access to now are Scraping the Barrel and...]
[...Dereliction of Duty. Both these quests are basically the same. Find [PERSON] in [LOCATION] and [MAYBE] kill them.]
[Anyway, let's get out of here.]
I'm sure that's not going to be important.
Hello... uhh, stranger. I d-don't suppose you know anyone that can make traps?
I'm quite familiar with traps and the like.
I would... happily pay you to make some. There's wood, nails, and other goods around the village and the forest.
[So this is the trap-crafting tutorial! Same deal as the poison-making tutorial- you just need to make a few basic spring traps (which only knockdown enemies) for her. As no characters start with trap-making, you have to actually learn it to access this mission. I never bothered on my initial playthrough and my OCD tormented me forever about missing this quest.]
But you probably already know that. Sorry! Come back if you make some.
Do I scare you or something?
All st-strangers do. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to offend you.
You seem nice.
I have the traps for you.
Oh! What a relief.
Thank you, stranger.
[The rewards aren't even that great! Just a little money and XP.]
I have a wonder, Alistair, if you will indulge me.
Do I have a choice?
You find that curious, do you?
In fact, you defer to a new recruit. Is this a policy of the Grey Wardens? Or simply a personal one?
What do you want to hear? That I prefer to follow? I do.
You sound so very defensive.
Couldn't you just crawl into a bush somewhere and die? That would be great, thanks.
Are they always like this?
You have NO IDEA.
You got a bed for the night? You taken care of? *Coughs*
Hmm... You look better armed than most refugees that come through.
Not implying you're a deserter or the like. I'll trust you can take care of yourself.
What's going on here?
Ever since good King Cailan passed, refugees and soldiers have been passing through.
I'm the Elder here and I've my hands full making sure refugees don't turn to petty theft or worse. *Coughs*
Ser Bryant at the chantry is seeing to matters of defense and such--he'd have more of an ear for your type.
Too much to do, and not enough time.
Do you need any help?
I don't suppose you know anything of tonics, medicines, or herbs?
I don't, but my friend does.
Then you may be able to do us a lot of good.
[And this is the last crafting quest, this time for herbalism. Morrigan always starts with herbalism, and she's a mandatory companion, so this quest is impossible to miss...
...almost. If you get caught stealing in Lothering, the Elder refuses to talk to you. Thank heavens for quick save.]
All manner of travellers come through, many injured or sick. We do our best, but we're out of supplies.
There's medicinal herbs in the woods to the north. If you make a few poultices, I'll scrape together some sort of payment.
I'll write all you need to know in this note here.
[You need an Elfroot, a type of herb that grows wild, and a bottle to make a healing poultice. Yes, a bottle. Despite it being a poultice. Ugh.]
Have any luck finding herbs in the woods?
I didn't need them. I've been stripping plants everywhere I've been on the off chance they'd be worth something. Here you go.
This will help many people. You're a good sort, you know?
You marsh folk are all thieves and liars!
Enough! People here are already desperate and frightened--they don't need you two coming to blows!
But what about my food!?
I said enough!
Huh. That's... What is that?
You aren't one of my captors.
I have nothing to say that would amuse a dwarf. Leave me in peace.
You're a prisoner? Who put you here?
I'm in a cage, am I not? I've been placed here by the Chantry.
The revered mother said he slaughtered an entire family. Even the children.
It is as she says.
I am Sten of the Beresaad--the vanguard--of the qunari peoples.
I am Bianca. Pleased to meet you. I think.
You mock me. Or you show manners I have not come to expect in your lands.
Though it matters little, now. I will die soon enough.
This is a proud and powerful creature, trapped as prey for the darkspawn. If you cannot see a use for him, I suggest releasing l him for mercy's sake alone.
Mercy? I wouldn't have expected that from you.
I would also suggest that Alistair take his place in the cage.
Yes, that's what I would have expected.
I suggest you leave me to my fate.
What did you do to end up in here?
I have been convicted of murder. Have the villagers not spoken of this?
Who did you murder?
The people of a farmhold. Eight humans, in addition to the children.
Are you guilty?
Are you asking if I feel guilt, or if I am responsible for the deed?
However I feel, whatever I've done. my life is forfeit now.
If you feel guilty about the murder, why did you do it?
Either you have an enviable memory, or a pitiable life, to know nothing of regret.
...Capturing you must have been difficult.
There is no difficulty in capturing prey that surrenders.
You didn't resist capture?
I waited for several days until the knights arrived.
Because I wished to.
Are all conversations with you going to be like this?
Right. How long have you been here?
Twenty days, now. I shouldn't last much longer. Another week at most.
That's a long time to live without food or water.
Compared to your kind, maybe.
Aren't you interested in seeking atonement?
Death will be my atonement.
There are other ways to redeem yourself.
Perhaps. What does your wisdom say is equal to my crime?
Are you being sarcastic?
I always sound like this.
That doesn't answer my question.
You could help me defend the land against the Blight.
The Blight? Are you a Grey Warden, then?
Why do you ask?
My people have heard legends of the Grey Wardens strength and skill... though I suppose not every legend is true.
Perhaps if you told the revered mother the Grey Wardens need my assistance. It seems as likely to bring my death as waiting here.
I'll leave you for now.
To be left here to starve, or to be taken by the darkspawn... no one deserves that, not even a murderer.
So, after the woman who claims the Maker tells her who to stab, we're now going to try and recruit the 7 foot tall child killer?
He seems contrite. And... uh, big and angry.
I really think we need to review our open-door policy.
NEXT TIME: The Maker wants you to live a happy, full life. And also to kill all these giant spiders, thanks.
NEW CODEX CONTENT:
Letter from Blackstone Irregulars