Apostate & Seeker

Jan 18, 2015 by

Conversations like this reinforce why Cassandra and Solas are my favorite companions in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Cassandra: Solas, if you do not mind me asking, what do you believe in?
Solas: Cause and effect. Wisdom as its own reward, and the inherent right of all free willed people to exist
Cassandra: That is not what I meant
Solas: I know. I believe the elven gods existed, as did the old gods of Tevinter. But I do not think any of them were gods, unless you expand the definition of the word to the point of absurdity. I appreciate the idea of your Maker, a god that does not need to prove his power. I wish more such gods felt the same.
Cassandra: You have seen much sadness in your journeys, Solas. Following the Maker might offer some hope.
Solas: I have people, Seeker. The greatest triumphs and tragedies this world has known can all be traced to people.

Courtesy the Dragon Age Wiki.

She maintains her faith, is compassionate and wants to genuinely help others, but she isn’t pushing. He believes in gray areas, grounded, realistic, and firmly in people. They’re two different individuals, with very distinct approaches, but you’d want both on your side with such a devastating series of events happening.

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Patience, Your Characters Will Speak

Jan 12, 2015 by

My Inquisitor, Nirwen, and Solas.

My Inquisitor, Nirwen, and Solas.

This piece contains no spoilers.

I appreciated this piece, “How I Realized My Dragon Age: Inquisition Character is Gay” by Mike Rougeau at Kotaku. It spoke to me, since this is how I play BioWare RPGs. Since the company’s games are full of choices, yet framed by story and circumstances, I create outlines in my head of the type of character I’d like to play and weave more threads into the fabric of her (nearly always a her) existence as events unfold and I make choices. This also includes any character romances I might pursue.

“My in-game alter-egos always romance the characters who I actually feel attracted to. In Dragon Age: Origins that meant I flirted with Leliana and ultimately wound up with Morrigan, her inner darkness impossible for me to resist. Throughout the Mass Effect series my Commander Shepard maintained an on-again/off-again, sometimes long distance love affair with the blue alien Liara. I loved her attitude and her squishy tentacle hair, and I felt a connection with her “

Like Rougeau, I play and let myself simply be drawn to whoever I am drawn to. I usually know who the options are from the start, but that’s all. In Dragon Age: Origins (tiny spoiler warning for those who haven’t played it) my Warden, Amaya, wound up marrying Alistair, newly crowned king of Ferelden, but whom she recalled as an awkward, shy young man with the spiky hair and compassionate, kind personality. It felt right to consider Amaya heterosexual. My Hawke paired up with Anders in the end. In Mass Effect, I too felt a connection to Liara. I related to her, agreed with her much of the time, found her charming, pretty, passionate, nerdy, and again, was drawn to her. If Liara were a real person and I were a single woman, this would be someone I’d be interested in. It felt right to consider my (canon) Shepard lesbian. That wasn’t solely based on deciding to pursue a relationship with Liara (whose people, in lore, are monogender and look like blue humanoid women), but based on ideas, feelings, experiences, and imagination. I built further backstory utilizing the blocks left to me by the Mass Effect writers, my class choice, the two choices for her background (Earthborn and Sole Survivor), and my own imagination. Part of who she was included running away at a young age, struggling to survive, being a bit of trouble early on, being kind to animals, learning she had a sharp eye that was later honed into Infiltrator class training, finding it almost impossible to trust others out of a mix of fear and inexperience, and yes, liking women.

In Dragon Age: Inquisition, I play an Elf I named Nirwen. An elven female Inquisitor who is open to any gender has the most romance options. I chose not to play yet another human because I didn’t feel like playing nobility once more, and in doing so, inadvertently wound up with six potential options (Blackwall, Cullen, Josephine, Sera, Iron Bull, and Solas).┬áThis time, I feel right to call my Inquisitor pansexual or fluid. I decided to approach my Inquisitor in a similar manner, to get to know the other characters and see who stood out to me; who I felt a connection with. Ultimately, I decided on Solas. Solas’ personality, who he is, what he stands for, his concern for the world, both material and immaterial, all of those are attractive, even magnetic qualities, to me. He surprises me, the player, with the depth of his experiences and each new fact.

A screenshot of my Shepard and Liara.

There’s something to be said for feeling your characters out, taking your time, and listening to what they say to you. I don’t usually create characters to look like myself, but somewhere deep down, there is a part of me in them all. Each character, even when existing in the same world, as my three heroic women of Thedas do, should have their lives, speak for themselves, tell me who they are. I talk about feeling right, but that’s the best way to describe when details, identities, personalities, even reasons behind decisions slide into place like puzzle pieces. Whether the piece placed is one that will grow out into a whole when others are added or the final element, each brings a certain thrill. What is it worth living multiple lives if they’re all mirrors?

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Down the Unintentional Rabbit Hole at Skyhold

Jan 9, 2015 by

Skyhold mystery object

March Hare meets Mad Hatter in some horrible melding accident in the bowels of Skyhold.

In my last session of Dragon Age: Inquisition, something odd happened. It’s a game bug I’ve seen many times before, but every time it happens, there’s a twinge of excitement in being lost in a hidden place. It’s a bit of Alice falling down the rabbit hole. As an explorer, that’s always going to appeal to my innate curiosity, the desire to look behind, to see the bones, the forbidden. I opened the door at Skyhold leading to Solas and suddenly, the whole thing broke, I saw sky, and tumbled right through the floor.

Pieces of Skyhold were around me, though technically above, with NPCs floating, going about their scripted business. I imagined what it might be like to genuinely be trapped in that spot with full vision of the others around, oblivious to your plight. I laughed at my predicament, since it was a peek into the weird. I turned around, and in the corner, spotted something strange in the otherwise empty area where I found myself. The rabbit hole and Alice thoughts were accurate since this strange item in the corner looked like The March Hare borrowed the Mad Hatter’s hat. Nothing like it exists in the real, complete, Skyhold. Unfortunately, I could not get close to this oddity, since when I tried to draw nearer, it disappeared. When I finally reached the spot where it was, a tune that sounded like a music box began to play. This music can still be heard by the entryway, but fades in and out if I move too far away, just like in the bugged out space between.

Fell through the floor at Skyhold

I managed to get myself back into the game properly by diving off the open side and freezing in place before being left in a hallway that appeared inaccessible from anywhere else. I could select one door that said “Main Hall”, and I was transported, after a loading screen, to the throne.

I’m left wondering if Solas had brought me back to the Fade for a few minutes.

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