The Let's Play Archive

Dragon Age: Origins

by Inferior

Part 89: Bear With Me


Previously posted:

To gain the assistance of Lord Harrowmont, Bianca must infiltrate the secret base of crime lady Jarvia and steal some incriminating documents held within. Is it possible? Can Bianca go an entire update without betraying someone? What are the economics of drug dealing? Is garnet worth more than malachite? How will Barkley the Wonder Hound cope with an unexpected rival? Find out all this and more in UPDATE 87: A GRIZZLY MURDER...

The Carta base should be near here...

H-have you a coin to spare, m'lady?

It's for my son. He's sick. He hasn't any clean clothes to wear, or anything to eat today. N-neither have I.

Your face isn't marked. What caste are you?

I am nothing! My family has disowned me. I am no longer welcome in any Mining Caste hall. Unless...

But no! I can't bear to even think of it!

What's wrong? I'm a complete stranger and I'm heavily armed. You can trust me.

My name is Zerlinda. I wasn't always like this. I was born to a Mining Caste family. We weren't wealthy, but... I never went hungry before.

Now it's all gone. And it's my own fault, ancestors curse me, but there's nothing I can do to set it right!

What happened?

I fell in love. He seemed so exotic, you know, tough and smart and never had to bow his head to anyone.

He was casteless, and I think... no, I know he was just trying to father a higher-caste child, so he could petition for status.

[A refresher: in Orzammar's rigid caste system, children take on the caste of their same gender parent, and a parent can petition to be adopted into the caste of their child. Combine the two rules and you incentivise 'gold-digging' to level-up through the castes.

Dwarves have low fertility rates, so these rules are there to encourage nookie and minimise inbreeding while keeping the poors in their place.]

But our child... was a son, casteless like his father. My parents disowned me and stripped my caste from me.

Unless I agree to abandon the child in the Deep Roads and pretend I never bore him.

That's horrible!

I cannot abandon my baby.

The shapers teach that only children of true lineage exist, not those born casteless. But they never carried a child.

He cries like any other infant and smiles when he's warm and full. I can't kill him because of an accident of birth. An accident I forced on him!

Maybe I could reason with your family.

Y-you would do that? But why?

A good question.

What usually happens is: I run your errand then you apologise for not having any money, but instead hand over some old heirloom that turns out to be a +5 Amulet of Superlativity.

I don't have one of those.


Positive. I'm very, very poor.

Nuts. Well, I'll probably do it anyway.


Don't look a gift Warden in the mouth.

Then I cannot offer enough gratitude. But I warn you, my father is a stiff-necked man. His name is Ordel and he's usually at Tapsters in the evening.

I do not think he will listen to you. But I will wait anxiously to see if you can do what you promise.

[On the way out of Dust Town is this fine fellow. We first spotted him in the last update.]

Who're you? You don't look like any guardsman I ever saw, and that's not much of a uniform.

That sounds like a man with something to hide.

To tell the truth, I was supposed to meet someone. A traveler, like you. But it doesn't look like he's made it through the gate.

Any chance you're looking to make a little coin?

I'd have to hear what you're asking. Are we talking slightly naughty or spectacularly illegal?

I'd say its... dangerously roguish. Human kings, you know, they make these ridiculous laws.

Like about who gets to buy and sell lyrium, the sacred gift the Stone provides us to show her love. No law should regulate that.

The laws are meant to keep mages away from the stuff, so there‘s always buyers in the Circle Tower. I've got one man, name's Godwin, he's expecting a delivery of a stone's weight.

Godwin? ...Oh, the guy who likes hiding in wardrobes

I don't care about my client's fetishes. You want an investment opportunity, I could see fit to, say, sell you that lyrium instead--at the reasonable price of fifty sovereigns.

You can keep it or--since you can travel freely from here-~sell it to Godwin, who you know is buying.

And, uh, if you bring back his return order, I could pay you... say twenty sovereigns as a finder's fee?

(Persuade) Fifty's a bit much when you've got no options. Forty.

[If we didn't have enough money, Rogek would disappear after we spoke to him and we'd permanently lose access to this quest. This seems a little unfair to the poorer player, as the lyrium deal is probably the single most lucrative sidequest in the game. The rich get richer, I guess.]

(Sigh) You haggle like a merchant-born. Deal.

Here's the lyrium, then. You, ah, probably don't want to take it out of the box.

I'll be waiting for the next order somewhere out of sight. Say... just around the corner?

So now I'm a lyrium runner. Mom would be so proud.

I am not carrying that.

Relax, I'll carry it. It won't affect me... Unless I try eating it or something.

Hm. That would be entertaining to watch.


I wonder which one's Ord--oh, there he is.

What are you looking at, stranger?

Are you Ordel?

I could be. What business is it of yours?

I met your daughter.

I have no daughter. Could be you met a casteless whore claiming she was once mine.

Ain't you a peach. (Persuade) If you don't take Zerlinda back, she'll die.

What? You think she'd die just to keep that thing? She knows what she has to do to come home.

I never wanted her gone, just the little cur. Can't she see she'd have a better life if she got rid of it?

Could you pretend your child never existed?

I’ve been trying. It's not as easy as I thought.

Look, just tell her... we never meant to hurt her. It just seemed best that...

Oh, just tell her to come home. Her mother and I are waiting for her.

And so you persuaded the father to forgive his foolish daughter and welcome her home. 'Tis difficult not to sense a little... wishful thinking?

Then try harder, Morrigan.


Y-you're back. I thought you weren't coming. What did he say?

Your father wants you both to come home.

Both of us? I don't believe he said that. I've never heard him refer to my son as anything but trash. He calls him "it!"

But maybe... maybe Mother convinced him, or you did. Oh, my friend, I cannot thank you enough!

If this were a story, my son would grow to manhood and pledge himself as a knight in your service! When he grows up, I will send him to you. I promise!

Should we now wait 16 years for this errand to pay off?

Let's just get back to work. So, where's Jarvia's secret Carta base...?

Oh, there we go. Man, the Orzammar Tourist Board is going to get in a lot of trouble for putting this on the maps.

(This door appears to be made of solid stone. There are no visible means of opening it.)

(On closer inspection, there is a small slot concealed in a fold of the stone, just big enough for a finger.)

(Put finger bone token in the slot.)

(The door unlocks.)

Hey, hey, the gang's all here.

What's the password?


Get out.

No, wait... "Jarvia sucks lizard eggs?"

Looks like we have a martyr, boys.

Woo, violence! Everyone light your sparklers.

And we're done. They didn't even offer to take our jackets.

This place is more than just a warehouse.

They must have undermined half of Orzammar to build all this.

The soliton radar's lighting up!

[The carta hideout is massive and filled with enemies. Most are just cannon fodder, but there's a few explosive traps thrown in to make things interesting.]

[Small rooms + lots of enemies mean a lot of battles turn into jam ups around the doorframe.]

Anything worth looting?

I can think of more intimidating crime names.

[A fun little sidequest for our dungeon adventure. Find the three chests, take the cheapest loot from each, get a special prize.]

[Carta Assassins are perhaps the most dangerous regular enemy in this place. They can stealth themselves and backstab you for big damage. They don't do it often though.

There's also a few mage mercenaries around the place, but they mostly focus on buffs and debuffs rather than throwing around fireballs.]

Phew. Good fight. Think I picked up some new skills from it.

[I finally decided to invest another skill point in Bianca's Ranger proficiency. Now we can summon bears!]

...I think my bear is defective.













(so much blood!)










That'll do, Death Bear. That'll do.


Please stop eating that man's junk.

[Anyway, in this room we can find the first part of that sidequest we ran into earlier.]

[The box contains a silver ring, a gold ring and an emerald ring. We need to take the least valuable. What do you think it is? Write your answer in your copybook now.]

[The second box is at the end of this hallway.]

[It contains an iron dagger, a steel dagger and a red steel dagger. But which is least expensive?]

[The final box is... uh... just behind that enormous explosion of gore.]

[This is Pique's box. It contains a garnet trinket, a malachite trinket and a fluorspar trinket. So, what's the cheapest doodad?]

What is that smell?

These must be the Carta's stables.

Cheer up, grumpyface.

I always look like this.

[At the back of the nug pens is Jammer's stash. To unlock it we need to have collected:

1. The Silver Ring
2. The Iron Dagger
3. The Garnet Trinket

Did you get them all right?]

[Our reward. Not bad!]

[We're near the end of this dungeon now.]

So, Harrowmont finally realized we're taking the city, yet he still can't be bothered to send his own men.

Well, you picked the wrong side, stranger. It doesn't matter who's king, as long as there's a queen!

OK, two things.

One: You have amazing hair.

Thank you.

And two: You're awfully cocky for someone whose entire carta is dead.

You'll pay for their deaths a hundred times over.

Kill them! But leave the pretty one alive: I have plans for her.

[And then violence happened.

Jarvia is a beast in combat. She's a dual wielding rogue, so her damage output is nuts. She can stealth and backstab characters, which is damn near an instant kill to Bianca and Morrigan even this late in the game. The room is also full of explosive traps which do nothing to her but are lethal to the party.

On top of that, there's 5 other chumps with her, including one elite, and a second wave shows up once they're all dead. Best strategy is to whittle down the first wave of adds and then throw everything at Jarvia. Still, tough fight.]

Watch out for the--!


Good boy Barkley. Nom on those nummy throat meats.


What a mess. At least we bought Dust Town some relief.

[Jarvia has some nice gloves, as well as a useful key.]

Looks like it fits this lock...

...This would have come in handy a year ago.

There's a way out up ahead...

Gah! By all the beards of my ancestors! How did you... where did you come from?

Y--you made a hole in my wall!

Yes, you should get it fixed.

It's going to cost me a fortune, isn't it? I can't believe this.

There better not be more of your trouble-making kind crawling in after you. I swear, this city is going to the criminals and the nugs...

I blame society. Well, bye.

NEXT TIME: A pungent new "friend" and a perilous "rescue" mission.

Cut to Kal Sharok