Mark Plays ‘Dragon Age: Origins’: Hour 41 – Warden’s Keep

In the forty-first hour of Dragon Age: Origins, I discover why Soldier’s Peak is infested with demons, and then the end begins. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to play Dragon Age: Origins.

Hour Forty-One

Let’s rename this game:

Dragon Age: Your Whole Existence is a Lie

Dragon Age: Expect Awfulness All The Time

Dragon Age: It Always Gets Worse

Dragon Age: Just When You Think We’re Done Messing You Up, There’s Another Plot Twist

Dragon Age: Borrowing Liberally From The School of George R.R. Martin and Joss Whedon

Dragon Age: Hahahaha, You Thought It Would Get Better

Dragon Age: Just a Reminder That It Always Gets Worse

Dragon Age: Humanity Has Made a Huge Mistake, and Here’s Proof of That

Dragon Age: Morally Ambiguous People Choosing Terrible Things

I think you get the idea. “Warden’s Keep” is the very last mission before the Final Battle, and it is a goddamn doozy of a story, one that is remarkably relevant to the story I’m just about to complete. I love this exploration of what it means to be a Grey Warden and what lengths people in Ferelden will go to stay alive. Are Avernus’s experiments awful? Absolutely. Does that negate the fact that he was trying to resist a tyrannical government and sought any means necessary to survive? No, and I’m glad that the game ultimately gave me a choice about what I should do with Avernus.

First of all, though:

HAHAHA WHAT. I AM LAUGHING TO STOP FROM SCREAMING. Oh my god, Levi has to see his great-great grandmother possessed by a demon. THANKS FOR RUBBING THIS IN HIS FACE. It’s after this moment that I learn of the full extent of what Avernus was doing all this time. By the way, he’s still alive. But even before this, I did something extremely foolish: I drank his alchemical concoction.

I know, I know, it was a terrible choice! However, I was rewarded with two new abilities: The Tainted Blade and Dark Passage. AWESOME, I GET TO USE MY OWN BLOOD FOR ATTACK AND DAMAGE BONUSES. How does this game keep getting more disturbing???

Normally, I play Roslin as a character who is unsympathetic towards those who oppress or manipulate others, and I’ve loved to keep that headcanon characterization in mind whenever I’m presented with different options for the game. However, I did something different when faced with Avernus. I knew that I had to use him to seal up the hole in the Veil in the Grand Hall, so I didn’t want to kill him before that.

So after fighting all the demons that came pouring out of the Veil, Avernus submitted himself to my mercy. Occasionally, Roslin can be merciful, but that’s not a common thing for how I’ve played the game. Seriously, how many people have I joyously murdered? But at the end of this journey, I knew that the Blight was coming down on Ferelden, that the stakes were higher than ever, and Avernus might be able to begin to atone for his sins by helping out the Grey Wardens. I was actually surprised that I didn’t lose approval points from anyone in my party. I did, however, observe some wistful sadness from Shale:

Bless your heart, Shale.

I had one final thing to take care of in Soldier’s Peak. After poking around a bit, I found a painting that was glimmering, and reciting the Grey Warden oath in front of it produced a magical chest from behind a panel in the wall:

Yeah, Asturian’s mystery was AWESOME. And now Alistair has Asturian’s Might! Actually, here are the lovely enchanted weapons Roslin and Alistair have:

THANK YOU, SANDAL. You are wonderful! Actually, the Drydens are wonderful, too. Two new merchants and a PARTY STORAGE CHEST are now at my disposal!!!

I didn’t expect to finish this DLC during this hour, so that left me with one option: travel to Redcliffe Village to meet up with my forces to fight the Blight. Holy shit. The end of the game is here! IT’S REALLY HERE. Oh god, I honestly have no idea what this is going to be like. I imagine I’ll have to fight an Archdemon at some point, but how else will the game deliver an action-packed ending? Will all my hard work and pedantic playing pay off in the end? Have I built up a good party? How the hell is this going to work?

While I only got to entrance of the castle in the last 20 minutes of this hour, I got a taste of what this battle is going to be like, AND IT IS GOING TO BE INCREDIBLE. I am so happy that this game sends entire herds of darkspawn to attack me. It’s chaotic. It’s satisfying to use party tactics to distract the more powerful ones (like the Emissaries) while taking out the archers or the grunts. I have to constantly assess the situation and determine what’s the best way to approach a wave of enemies. THERE ARE SO MANY ENEMIES. And I haven’t even gone inside the castle yet! I’m curious as to why the messenger seems freaked out by Riordan’s arrival. What happened? What did he find in the south??? Unfortunately, my hour ran out, so I’ll have to find out in the next hour. I’M SO EXCITED.

My Character Stats

Strength: 27+6
Dexterity: 36+12
Willpower: 23+5
Magic: 14+2
Cunning: 24+5
Constitution: 27+2

Heroic Stats

Kills: 736
Damage dealt: 178969
Friendly-fire: 0
Greatest damage dealt: 90
Contribution to party damage: 29
Hit rate: 88
Most powerful foe slain: Arl Howe
Injuries: 36

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