Mark Plays ‘Dragon Age: Origins’: Hour 26

In the twenty-sixth hour of Dragon Age: Origins, I head to Orzammar with Shale, where I finally experience (some) of the Deep Roads. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to play Dragon Age: Origins.

Hour Twenty-Six

I absolutely do not regret swapping out Shale for Alistair. Do I miss Alistair’s whining or his fights with Morrigan? Sure. They’re entertaining. But within thirty seconds of picking up Shale, they stomped on a chicken and shrugged at me, as if they meant to say, “Well, what am I supposed to do? I’m a golem.”

I didn’t think it was possible, but Shale is the sassiest, most sarcastic character in the entire game, and I am 100% positive of this. Their voice is scathing, and everything they say to me is dripping in wit and snark. I love Shale so much! They have no hope in me achieving my plan to defeat the darkspawn, yet they stick around purely because I’m interesting. Bless. They also were quite excited that I equipped them with fire crystals for their armor and weapons because they gave Shale a slimming effect. Seriously, how is this character so incredible???

Anyway, I spoke to Shale a couple of times during this hour, but for the most part, I was completely preoccupied by the Deep Roads. Well, there was yet another moment on the way back to Orzammar where my party was attacked by darkspawn. Y’ALL ARE SO MAD AT ME. Just wait until I destroy you at the end of this game, I swear. And I honestly think I’ll be able to do that because the group I’ve assembled is ridiculous. Right before I entered the mines, I gained a new companion: HELLO, OGHREN. He starts things off well by insulting me and my appearance before begging me to take him along. Oh, so that’s how you’re going to play this, right? So despite that he didn’t make a good first impression, I thought that it might be prudent to take a dwarf down into the mines. He seemed to know a lot about the Anvil of the Void, and apparently that’s related to golems. Wow, how stoked will Shale be? COMPLETELY STOKED is the right answer. Oh gosh, what if they find a golem friend to have a budding romance with? I approve already.

The Deep Roads are yet another part of this game that impresses me from a design perspective. The area is massive and looks nothing like any of the other levels. Molten lava flows underneath sandy colored bridges made of stone. The entire place is brightly lit, which makes it kind of creepy, too. I’m so used to dark corridors and things hiding in the shadows that I’m unnerved by the Deep Roads. I went to Aeducan Thaig first, and nearly got lost twice. Jesus, these maps are like labyrinths. Where’s David Bowie’s crotch? Am I going to have to fight that next? I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the boss at the end of this. I mean, seriously, in one of the chests, I found a bag of limbs. WHY IS THIS EVEN A THING THAT EXISTS IN THE FUCKING GAME??? I really don’t want to know what this is for, do I? OH GOD.

I was also rather ecstatic about my party during this entire hour. The combination of Shale and Oghren is UNBELIEVABLE. They could crush deepstalkers or Gemlocks with a SINGLE HIT. We absolutely fucking DECIMATED everything we came across. I also earned so much XP from disarming traps, which is fantastic. I’m almost to level 16 with Roslin! Morrigan leveled up to 15 AND NOW SHE HAS CRUSHING PRISON. I have wanted this since I was able to shapeshift into a mage during the Fade part of the Circle of Mages, AND NOW SHE HAS IT. Oh my god, do you realize how fun it is to be able to customize so many characters??? I’ve never played a game like this in my life. It’s brilliant!

My party then made its way to Caridin’s Cross, an epic roadway UNDERGROUND. I can’t get over how cool this is! I unfortunately didn’t get to explore all that much because I spent nearly 45 minutes exploring Aeducan Thaig, but I did manage to BEAT A REVENANT! WITHOUT DYING. IT TOOK LIKE 15 SECONDS. I AM SO PROUD OF MY PARTY. THIS NEVER HAPPENS. Oh my god, I remember the first time I conjured one up, and I thought it was the end of the world. Now, they ain’t shit, y’all.

I’m interested to find out exactly what this Anvil is and who Branka is as well. Onwards I go!

My Character Stats

Strength: 27+4
Dexterity: 25+8
Willpower: 21
Magic: 14
Cunning: 19
Constitution: 24

Heroic Stats

Kills: 484
Damage dealt: 97004
Friendly-fire damage dealt: 0
Greatest damage dealt: 90
Contribution to party damage: 32
Hit rate: 85
Most powerful foe slain: Revenant (FUCK YEAH, TAKE THAT.)
Injuries: 18

The only change to any approval numbers was to Shale, who gained +12 over three conversations. They like me.

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59 Responses to Mark Plays ‘Dragon Age: Origins’: Hour 26

  1. Ryan Lohner says:

    Oghren is voiced by STEVE BLUM, one of the great voice actors working today with an incredible range. Right now, you'll probably know him best as Amon from The Legend of Korra. Speaking of actors, after hearing Kate Mulgrew and Tim Russ, I wondered here if Ethan Phillips would show up voicing a sleazy merchant. And later that very same day I came across the merchnt in Orzammar who he voices! Okay, the guy's not very sleazy, but I'm still calling psychic powers on this.

    • Araniapriime says:

      SPOILERS for Dragon Age 2:

      Gur thl jvgu gur TBETRBHF ibvpr jub qbrf Sraevf va QN2 qbrf fbzr ibvpr jbex va QN:B nf jryy. Fvapr V cynlrq QN2 svefg (LRF, V XABJ, JUNGRIRE) V pna'g uryc ohg erpbtavmr gur tybevbhfarff bs gur ibvpr bs zl snibevgr pbzcnavba naq vainevnoyr ebznagvp vagrerfg.

      • @Ninjababe says:

        Spoilers for DA2:

        Gung'f gur jubyr ernfba V xrcg Sraevf va zl cnegl jurarire V pbhyq. Uvf ibvpr. [snaf frys]. V cynlrq gur tnzr n frpbaq gvzr whfg gb ebznapr uvz. (Naqref jnf svefg gvzr guebhtu).

        • Araniapriime says:

          Spoilers for DA2:

          Vg'f abg uneq gb ebznapr Naqref, ur guebjf uvzfrys ng lbh, gur uhffl! V qvqa'g yvxr uvz zhpu — gbb pyvatl naq juval naq tevz (V xabj ur'f qvssrerag va Njnxravat ohg V unira'g cynlrq gung lrg). V cynlrq vg guebhtu n pbhcyr bs gvzrf naq unq wbl va xvyyvat uvz ng yrnfg bapr. YBY

    • stumpoman says:

      Blew my mind when i found out Ney Eraqba Ubjr was voiced by Tim Curry. I don't know how i didn't realize it before.

      • Shiyiya says:

        I know, right? It was so obvious when I went back and listened after finding that out, but I did NOT pick up on it.

        • snapsnzips says:


          I had no idea. And Duh. I may never be able to think of him as skanky ever again.

          • Shiyiya says:

            Stop thinking about him and watch Rocky Horror instead! Tim Curry looks MASSIVELY different anymore, anyway.

          • elenuial says:

            How could you think of him as NOT skanky, knowing he's voiced by Dr. FrankNFurter himself? XD

  2. Passing by says:

    Bloody hell! I've NEVER been able to defeat a Revenant! Except the one in Redcliffe, but that one kinda got his fangs pulled in comparisson to the others.

    Also massive unpreparedness, seriously.

  3. I love Oghren so dearly. Even though he always dies for me. And Shale is indeed the very best of all things. I just want to reiterate my love for the deep roads. But most of my thoughts have to be saved for next time (assuming you did complete it in your next hour.)

  4. Araniapriime says:

    … I'm not fond of Shale. I usually leave them behind. And I didn't pick up Oghren at all because I didn't know he could be a companion and he was being a dickhead so I didn't let him go with me.

    I'm also playing a warrior, not a rogue, so I miss getting a lot of the locked chests, even when the rogues in my party come with me because they always have "insufficient skill." They are useless, useless.

    • stumpoman says:

      a tip for lockpicking. you need 30 cunning and 4/4 lockpicking to open everything in game. 40 cunning works with 3/4 lockpicking. 50 cunning with 2/4, 60 and 1/4 and 70 and 0/4

      • Araniapriime says:

        That's a lot of cunning! No wonder!

        • Ryan Lohner says:

          I'd say three or four Baldricks worth.

          • Araniapriime says:

            But is it as cunning as a fox what used to be Professor of Cunning at Oxford University but has moved on and is now working for the U.N. at the High Commission of International Cunning?

        • snapsnzips says:

          Cunning and Dexterity are key for a rogue. I often don't bother to update my constitution at all and my strength just to get me past the mage's circle. Once you get Lethality, it uses your cunning for damage instead of strength so you can load it on. Cunning also affects your number of tactics slots and persuasion (I think on that last).
          From the Dragon Age Wiki (
          Increases effectiveness of rogue talents, e.g. Stealing
          Prerequisite for many skills such as Coercion
          Increases persuasion, making Coercion unnecessary
          Increases lockpicking, making Deft Hands unnecessary
          Higher cunning opens up specific dialogue options

          • stumpoman says:

            If i remember correctly the current best build is 30 cunning, whatever willpower keeps you comfortable, enough str to wear what armor you want and all the rest into dex.

    • TrampyMcBitca says:

      I play as a warrior so I always have Leliana in my group for picking locks.

      I always try to pick the lock first even though I know I can't, just so I can hear her say, "Allow me. I can do that for you." I bet you can, Leliana. I bet you ca….oh you can't. FAIL! But I still love her. :)

    • Shiyiya says:

      I never have Oghren in my party when I don't have to in Origins.

      Awakening spoilers: V ybir univat uvz naq Naqref gbtrgure va zl cnegl va Njnxravat, gubhtu. Gurve onagre vf UVYNEVBHF.

  5. @Ninjababe says:

    I adore Oghren's conversations with everyone else in the party… Which is a major reason why I went to Orzammar first in my current playthroughs.

    I also adore the dwarven culture and history in this game. "Oh, there's a Blight? That's why we're seeing less darkspawn down here. Let us know when that's over, okay? We'll be on vacation until then." No, no one really says that in Orzammar, but I get that impression over time by talking to the dwarves. At first, it annoyed me. Then, after talking to more dwarves and thinking about it, Wow…

    V gevrq rirelguvat V pbhyq gb trg gur Yrtvba bs gur Qrnq gb sbyybj zr gb onggyr nsgre pebjavat n xvat va Bemnzzne. V jnag gubfr thlf ng zl onpx!

    Naq, V thrff vs vg'f na bssvpvnyyl fnapgvbarq nezl jvgu beqref sebz gur Xvat, gur qjneirf gung uryc lbh ng gur raq bs gur tnzr nera'g onaarq sebz Bemnzzne naq znqr pnfgryrff?

    • Eliestav says:

      Fighting Darkspawn is considered a sacred duty to the dwarves. According to one of the dwarf origins, Joining the Grey wardens exempts you from the whole casteless surfacer rule. I assune the same would be for opposing a blight.

  6. Peter says:

    Bu Znex. Fgvyy fb hacercnerq sbe gur Qrrc Ebnqf.

    Svefg qnl gurl pbzr, naq pngpu rirelbar

    • EmberQuill says:

      Avagu qnl fur tevaf naq qribhef ure xva…

      Tbqqnzavg, gung cneg perrcrq gur uryy bhg bs zr.

      V pna'g jnvg hagvy Znex ehaf vagb gur Nepuqrzba va gur Qrrc Ebnqf. V qba'g xabj jul V qvqa'g rkcrpg vg gb or gurer, ohg qhevat gur ragver phgfprar jvgu gur Nepuqrzba, V jnf zhggrevat "Ab jnl," bire naq bire ntnva. V jnf ABG rkcrpgvat gb frr vg orsber gur raq bs gur tnzr, naq V fcrag gur phgfprar jbeevrq gung vg jbhyq fcbg zl cnegl orsber vg syrj bss.

    • Shiyiya says:

      Fur fjryyrq naq ghearq terl naq fur fzryyrq yvxr gurz.

      Tbq gung cneg jnf perrcl. V raqrq hc jvgu Urfcvgu'f punag ehaavat va zl urnq sbe yvxr n jrrx. Cbbe Urfcvgu.

      Gur Fgbar unf chavfurq zr, qernz sevraq. V nz qlvat bs fbzrguvat jbefr guna qrngu. Orgenlny.

  7. Ryan Lohner says:

    If you take Oghren to the Pearl and choose a lesbian encounter, he'll sneak into your room. Fun times.

    • Passing by says:

      Apparently (haven't seen it meself, yet), if you can get Isabella, the Female Warden and Leliana in a threesome, he faints.

      • EmberQuill says:

        How did I not know this?

        I mean, I've never visited Orzammar before doing most of Denerim, but still, that would have been absolutely hilarious! Next time I do a playthrough (I'm already long past this point, in my current one), I'm definitely bringing him along.

    • Araniapriime says:

      That's… kind of gross, but whatever.

    • Mikka says:

      Oh wow, I have to try that. Also, Garibaldi! :D

  8. BornIn1142 says:

    Jesus, these maps are like labyrinths. Where’s David Bowie’s crotch? Am I going to have to fight that next? I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the boss at the end of this.

    Hahah, as if you – or any of us mere mortals – stood a chance against David Bowie's crotch.

  9. BettyTheThird says:

    is the best

    Oghren, too.

    Deep Roads give me life and anxiety at the same time.

    Nothing else to say, as I am preparing to pull an all-nighter to finish one of my papers. Uff.

    • Drugar says:

      I love Oghren so much. Five minutes into my party, he was asking Alistair if he was banging the Warden, using about ten euphamisms even less charming than 'banging'.
      Every time he finds a way to be a bigger pig than I thought he was. <3

  10. @LJmysticowl says:

    Oh, man, the Deep Roads. Just remembering that storyline makes me want to curl up in a corner and cry. You know how you describe your friends watching you read the last chapters of the Deathly Hallows? That's how I'd watch you play this part of the game.

    Jura gur Oenaxn'f nonaqbarq naq unys-genafsbezrq ybire jnf nyjnlf fvatvat va gur onpxtebhaq (bu tbq, gur fvatvat) naq gura gbyq ure fgbel, V unq n zvabe rzbgvbany zrygqbja. Guvf tnzr vf gbb jryy qbar sbe zl gnfgr fbzrgvzrf! V fgvyy fuvire guvaxvat nobhg vg.

  11. Bookman230 says:

    Oghren and Shale, two of my favorites and a very strange, effective, and hilarious combination.

    Also, Steve Blum. *swoon*

    If David Bowie's crotch was a boss, and Zevran was left behind, he would be so pissed.

  12. Eliestav says:

    First time Awakening
    Erpehvgrq Angunavry, qvq n ohapu bs fvqrdhrfgf, naq fgnegrq gur oynpxfznefu dhrfg, naq tbg genccrq va gur snqr. Bu wbl. Gur snqr.

    So something I’ve been pondering since Zvunev qvrq.

    Bhg bs nyy gur anzrq Terl Jneqraf V'ir zrg fb sne, gurer jrer Qhapna, Nyvfgnve, Evbeqna, Fbcuvn Qelqra, Nireahf, Btuera, Naqref, Angunavry, Xevfgbcu, cbffvoyl Ybtunva, naq gur cynlre punenpgre.

    Even assuming that the Player is female, the Wardens have roughly a 5:1 ratio of men and women. And that wouldn’t bother me so much if Ferelden wasn’t so progressive everywhere else. I’ve seen female military commanders, arena fighters, senior enchanters, and highway bandits. And they pretty much ARE the clergy. So what gives?

    • @LJmysticowl says:

      Isn't there a similar gender disparity among the Templars we encounter in game?

      I was trying to think of some fanwanked storyline excuse, but I'm going to say it comes down to: designers didn't like molding metal armor over breasts.

      • Passing by says:

        The question that would follow then is: why would female Templars have their cuirasses moulded to accomodate their breats? It might be more comfortable, I guess (not speaking from experience here), but is reduces the armour's effectiveness. A more practical solution would be to simply bind them down and wear a regular cuirasse.

        • Eliestav says:

          The templars I can excuse because I've seen relatively few of them to make a decent sample size. But I've seen female templars, and they wear the same armor as the dudes. Besides, the templars are the arm of the chantry, and the chantry is run by women. They probably don't have a problem with female templars.

          AS for the practicality of boobplates, this is worth a read.

          • Passing by says:

            YES, this is exactly what I mean. can I just say that Elizabeth's suit of armour is absolutely wonderful? Both practical and pretty. Haven't seen the film, though.

            The Chantry may be led by women, but does Templar recruitment go through them as well? It might be some internal gender division.

            Speaking of organised religion with a mono-gendered military arm in combination with an egregious example of boobplates: hereby I present the gender swapped version: the Adepta Sororitas, the Sisters of Battle from Warhammer 40K.

          • Passing by says:

            And there I go, forgetting about Xavtug-Pbzznaqre Zrerqvgu. I didn't play DA2, though

    • abbrakadabbra says:

      spoilers ahead!
      V guvax vg unf fbzrguvat gb qb jvgu gur snpg gung srznyr jneqraf rffragvnyyl ghea vagb oebbq zbguref? Orpnhfr nyy Terl Jneqraf pneel gur gnvag (gungf jul gurl tb gb qvr jura gurve gvzr vf pbzr) Fb vg'f qbhoyr hacyrnfnag sbe jbzra. V zrna, unir lbh FRRA gur oebbqzbguref?

      • Eliestav says:

        Gur gnvag vf fybjrq gb fhpu na rkgrag gung npghnyyl gheavat vagb n qnexfcnja vf dhvgr hayvxryl, naq lbh'er tbvat gb qvr va gur qrrc ebnqf sne orsber gung unccraf. Orfvqrf, vs gung jrer gur pnfr, jul yrg nal jbzra wbva ng nyy?

  13. guest_age says:

    I'm so glad you have crushing prison. It really is just the best of spells. I love it.

    Also glad you love Shale.

    Perpetually unprepared, though. <3

  14. adaptation says:

    Ugh, I'm so glad you have Oghren and Shale with you. They're my absolute favourite characters. I think Oghren is an acquired taste for a lot of people, but he and my Warden are always buds. And he's worth it strictly for the party banter, especially if you're romancing someone.

  15. adaptation says:

    Oh, happy N7 Day, Mass Effect fans!

  16. AmaneSaiko says:

    Ah The Deep Roads, I have a really complicated love/hate relationship with The Deep Roads. Mostly because I need to explore everything and The Deep Roads just go on and on forever. But the level design is so pretty… in it's weird and strange way.

    Oghren is fantastic, I didn't like him much at first but he grew on me, like a lot. His banter is endlessly entertaining and I will never get sick of it.

  17. TrampyMcBitca says:

    Where’s David Bowie’s crotch? Am I going to have to fight that next?

    Wow, there's a mental image I didn't think I'd ever have.

    Hold me…

  18. biblioteknician says:

    Uhm, I was ETERNALLY DISTURBED when I found bags of SEVERED LIMBS just SITTING IN THE DEEP ROADS. This game, dude.

    Now I'm regretting never ever bringing Shale with me ever. The problem, I think, was I had three or four playthroughs before getting any of the DLC, so Shale never felt like… a proper party member to me, the way the rest of them did. Alas!

    • JackoDaGreat says:

      Gur ont bs frirerq yvzof frrzf nccebcevngr va uvaqfvtug.

    • snapsnzips says:

      I never figured out how to use her fighting skills. I took her with me once through a Deep Roads play through but it was difficult as i never figured out her stuff.

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