Part 92: Big Momma's HousePART 92: BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE
Our heroes head to the Dead Trenches, site of the ancient fortress of Bownammar, in search of the Anvil of the Void and the missing Paragon Branka...
The proverbial dead trench.
That is a lot of not-dead dudes.
The Archdemon! We kill that, the Blight ends.
Do you have a plan for killing the demonic undead dragon and its entire army?
Feed it the smelly dwarf. Perhaps it will die of alcohol poisoning.
Feed it the golem. Perhaps it will die of... jerk... poisoning.
Well, that's convenient.
[So that was our introduction to the Dead Trenches, a sneak preview of the final boss and a hearty bonjour to 50,000 darkspawn, most of whom we're going to have to fight. RIGHT NOW.]
[IN THIS CAR PARK.]
[There's a small group of dwarves already here fighting the darkspawn, which is helpful to us as they're functionally immortal. And there are a lot of darkspawn.]
We're drowning in the damn things!
[New mobs of darkspawn keep charging across the bridge. You have to fight three waves in total. None are particular strong- the Alphas are the only elite units- but attrition will wear you down.
This keeps cropping up in the battles in this area. If you let the AI handle them, you'll have run out of stamina/MP before you're halfway done. Careful management of your skills is key. Or having Morrigan vaporise everything while chugging MP-restoring potions.]
And we're done.
Atrast vala, Grey Warden. I've never seen one of your kind in the Deep Roads.
That's the warmest greeting I've had since returning.
Your past means nothing to the Legion of the Dead.
Our oath ignores caste, family, history. It lets us act without distraction. Despite what we might have thought of you in life.
Ah, passive aggression. Still, it's an improvement on regular aggression.
What do you want here, warden?
I'm looking for allies.
The darkspawn squat in our tunnels between Blights. Why would you pull us away from our defense? Give me a good dwarven reason.
I will buy you so much liquor you will probably go blind.
Give me a better dwarven reason.
I need to find Paragon Branka.
Who put this dull idea in your head? We've got other things to worry about in Orzammar... ah, now I see.
The deep lords in the Assembly can't make up their minds, so the pretenders need added inﬂuence. I get that right?
That's about it. You have anything useful to add?
Warden, you've got your work cut out for you. Paragon Branka is dead, everyone with sense knows it. Past our line, the darkspawn kill everything.
Why hold back?
I'd gladly lead an assault through the Dead Trenches, but without an ass in the throne, we have no orders. I won't take fool's gold from a pretender.
You need orders? 'Kill darkspawn'. There you go.
You want to go digging blind, you go right ahead.
I've been digging blind for a long time.
Cut back on the liquor.
Ha. Ever heard of the Anvil of the Void?
Like dusters have heard of respect. Never seen it, and if it exists it wasn't meant for me.
But if you're looking for Paragons, you may as well look for the anvil. And endless Lyrium.
Tell me more about the Legion of the Dead.
Wondering what your life would be like if you had stayed in Orzammar? Few others of our kind would have you.
We accept anyone, and are revered in advance as heroes who have and will die in glorious battle. Even murderers.
I'm no murderer! I was framed!
The Legion knows those words well. It's the song of the recruit hoping for a way back to caste or honor.
That would be nice.
They get their head out of the smoke and accept their fate, or the Stone takes them.
Good luck, Grey Warden.
[Who's ready for some
[The darkspawn are relentless as you cross the bridge. New spawns show up and charge you down repeatedly.]
Do you fancy helping any time soon?!
No, we're good.
[It's important to keep your guys from advancing too far, else you'll be overwhelmed.]
[At the end of the bridge is an ogre and ten genlock archers. If you lure the ogre onto the bridge the archers won't follow, making the battle a lot simpler.]
My chopping arm's gone numb.
I have splinters.
I can taste metal.
Well, Grey Warden, I'll give you credit for backbone. You've dug a line through the spawn.
Still no sense in your head, but you've got skill.
Any idea how we open these giant metal doors?
Let us know if you find any Paragons. You're as likely to find a dozen as one.
And Warden, watch yourself. Drunks make poor allies.
That's no way to talk about the human.
...Sod it. There's got to be another way around.
Oh hey, the Bownammar emergency exit.
[Is it just me or does Bownammar sound like the name of a wookiee?]
[As soon as you engage this group the three Genlocks in the back run away.]
[Too bad Barkley's a hunting dog.]
[They lure you into an encounter with a few hurlocks, an angry bronto and a Genlock Emissary who starts by lobbing a fireball at you. He then follows up with a few more fireballs. It's a bad time.]
[At least we made it to the other side of those big ol' doors.]
Wow. This place is on another scale.
[The main bridge is out, so we'll need to find a way around.]
[Shrieks start showing up in increasing numbers now. Their stealth habits are infuriating. You'll think an encounter is over when suddenly... BAM!]
Huh. I didn't expect a mummy to have such a nice pair of shoes.
[This starts a sidequest to find all the Legion armor pieces. It's very good armor, so well worth hunting up. It also unlocks 'The Dead Caste' codex entry, which I'll put at the end of the update.]
This is a Warden helmet... How many have died down here?
Eh, take comfort that your head'll be useful to someone after you've gone.
Like, as a football or something.
[Traps and darkspawn ahead.]
[Bownammar is almost constant darkspawn fights, with occasional giant spiders.]
[Also, sweet loot.]
Are legionnaires always so insufferably morbid?
They're not called the Legion of the Jolly, Morrigan.
Wait... something's coming.
[The Ancient Darkspawn is a ridiculously tanky hurlock that shows up in this tunnel if certain conditions are met. He fights like a regular Hurlock Alpha- some buff skills, no direct damage abilities- but he has mountain of HP, so this fight can take a while.]
[The Ancient Darkspawn only spawns if you've collected the other pieces of the Topsider's sword and visited the grave in Ortan Thaig.
He drops the final piece and a nice bit of money. Now we just need to go....]
BACK TO ORTAN THAIG
A week's march back, and all for...?
[Increased damage against darkspawn would be more helpful. Cool inscription though.]
A LONG MARCH LATER...
That was a productive two weeks. Well, back to work.
This room looks intact.
No, wait, nevermind.
[It's best to pull some darkspawn away from the group before wading in, as this is the second hardest fight in the area. And it's completely optional, but I ain't going to miss out on the sweet loot on offer.]
I... didn't know darkspawn had that much blood inside them.
I am glad I could help further your education.
[The real threat comes from this beefy boy, the Genlock Forge Master. He has no abilities but he hits like a goddamn freight train full of fists.
I had Shale occupy him while everyone else mopped up the rest of the darkspawn and, even with Shale on maximum tankiness settings, the Genlock still knocked off a quarter of his HP with every swing.]
[And our reward is...]
[...not really worth it.]
Why is there meat on the walls?
At least this is meat-free.
Did you say something?
AND THEN THINGS GOT REAL FUCKED UP
Sixth day, her screams we hear in our dreams.
Eighth day, we hated as she is violated.
This is the most disgusting poetry slam I've ever attended, and I've been to some really disgusting slams in my time.
What is this? Someone new? Impossible.
Feeding time brings only kin and clan. I am cruel to myself. You are a dream of strangers faces and open doors.
I am no dream. I can help you.
No. No you can't. There's nothing left. There's body and there's hope, and both are turning...
They come. They... they vomit, they violate, and they chant. They scream, oh, how they scream.... Then the change comes.
All I could do was wish Laryn went first. I wished it upon her so that I would be spared.
But I had to watch. I had to see the change. How do you endure that? How did Branka endure?
Branka! Where is she?
D-do not talk of Branka, of what she did. Ancestors preserve us, forgive me. I was her captain and I didn't stop her.
Her lover, and I could not turn her. Forgive her... but no, she cannot be forgiven. Not for what she did. Not for what she has become.
Right. What did she do? What did Branka do?
I will not speak of her! Of what she did, of what we have become! I will not turn!
I will not become what I have seen! Not Laryn! Not Branka!
Wait! I-- Oh, damn it all.
How can it keep talking at a distance like that? Are there tubes in the walls?
[Tactics Ogre: Hit With Swords.]
Hey, we made it to the other side of the bridge.
[Examining the rubble gets you a secret codex entry.]
Who wishes to bet that these spirits will try to kill us in the next three minutes?
[There's loot in the altar at the end of this strange room.]
[This helm is the last piece of Legion armor we needed to find. A quest marker now appears and points us to a secret cache.
Besides the helm, there's also a legionnaire's key that we need to proceed.]
[I guess ghosts really love keys.]
I win the bet.
[We needed the key to unlock this big door.]
[This section of the game is a real trip. I appreciate Bioware putting in the effort to make the Forces of Evil actually disgusting and malevolent, as opposed to, say, making them green cockneys in armor and calling it a day.
Nevertheless, after 60-odd hours of PG-13 Heroic Fantasy, it is a heck of a tonal shift to introduce cannibal mutation vomit rape orgies to the fiction.
Anyway, the sarcophagus on the right contains the final thing we need to find for the Legion questline.]
[The quest now points us to the Shaperate back in Orzammar. Some ancient Legionnaire had the cockamamie notion to get the Legion of the Dead turned into an actual noble house, and we're going to make it happen. See The Dead Caste codex at the bottom of the update for more details.]
What... is all this?
[there are a lot of unpleasant gurgling noises on the soundtrack here, and I can't think of suitable onomatopeia for them]
Where do little darkspawn come from?
They come from this.
[And then it starts screaming.]
NEXT TIME: THE NEW FLESH
NEW CODEX CONTENT:
The Dead Caste