Path of the Grey Warden 9: Originated

So it looks like rambling about my progress through Dragon Age Origins turned into a thing I’m sticking with, surprisingly. Check out the rest of my babble-through series here:

This is it! My 9th and final progress babbling post for the Dragon Age Origins Ultimate Edition. I can’t believe I actually stuck with something I said I was going to do… wow. Anyway, Grey Warden Ellen’s epic journey wrapped up with the Golems of Amgarrak DLC. However, I made a little side objective for myself before calling it a game – see the other 5 Grey Warden beginnings.

You know what? I think this is why the game has the word Origins in its title! There is a total of 6 different ways to start the game, depending on the race/background you choose. Each offers a completely different story, but they all tie together and branch out into the overall world beautifully.

Warning: This post will contain SPOILERS for the beginnings of the game. If you don’t want anything ruined, please stop reading my ramblings. Thank you!

Grey Warden Ellen was a Human Noble. I babbled about her beginning in my first impressions post, but to sum it up quickly – her last name is Cousland and the Mabari war hound was her pet at the start (he was harassing the kitchen staff… good boy). Arl Rendon Howe betrayed her family, murdered her parents, and took her castle, leaving her with no other option but to flee with Duncan to become a Grey Warden. The other five follow the same pattern – it’s business as usual, you meet Duncan, something terrible happens, and then you have no other option but to become a Grey Warden. So, everyone ends up in Ostagar, but each have their own personal tragedies that brought them there. Here’s how my time with the other 5 went.

Surly Brosca – Dwarf Commoner

surly 1
Yes, I had to name my first dwarf Surly… sorry

As a member of Orzammar’s casteless (basically treated like dirt), poor Surly lives in some rough conditions. Him and his sister, Rica, have to sell themselves to a local crime lord, Berhat, to make ends meet.

surly 2
Dwarven society seriously scares me.

The game starts with Surly and his sis chatting with the crime lord. To put it bluntly, Rica’s job is to get knocked up by a member of Orzammar’s Nobel community so Berhat can cash in, and then they are free to go. Surly is just some hired muscle (a much easier job). Surly is none to pleased that his sister is being treated like a baby-maker, but alas, they have no choice but to do what they’re told. Such is the life of a Dust Town resident. After chatting with his ill mom, I go outside to talk to Surly’s buddy Leske about the mission.

surly 3
Leske is a real character!

The first job is for Surly and Leske to deal with a surface dwarf trader who’s holding out on Berhat. That ends with me killing him in the middle of a tavern, while everyone else happily turns a blind eye. The next job is to rig the sacred Proving event for Berhat so the longshot fighter wins. Normally casteless scum like Surly aren’t allowed in the Proving area, but Berhat’s pass gets him in no problem. In the lobby is where Surly meets Duncan for the first time. After they make their way into the fighter area, they find the dwarf Berhat wants to win, Everd, is passed out, stone cold drunk. To prevent Berhat from killing them, the brilliant new plan is for Surly to wear Everd’s armor and fight in the proving under his name.

surly 4
Aw, shucks. It was going so well too…

Surly pwns in the Proving and wins. Unfortunately, drunk Everd wakes up, stumbles into the arena, and blows Surly’s cover. The king is pissed that casteless scum has defiled the Proving, but Duncan insists Surly is still a great fighter… but you know how dwarves are. Next, Surly wakes up in Berhat’s secret prison with a woman named Jarvia taunting him (Berhat wants to keep him quiet). Surly and Leske break out easily, thanks to the dumb guard watching them. They find Berhat bad-mouthing Rica, kill Berhat and his henchmen, escape, and get caught by the King. Duncan extends the offer for Surly to come become a Grey Warden, instead of facing Orzammar’s justice system. Surly agrees, says bye to Rica and Leske (he promises to look out for Rica), and it’s off to Ostagar!

Daylen Amell – Human Magi

daylen 1
It’s not easy being a Mage, let me tell you.

Daylen has been confined to the Circle of Magi tower on Lake Calenhad since he was a young lad. It’s now time for his Harrowing ritual – where an apprentice becomes a full mage (or dies).

daylen 2
The Fade is always a bad trip.

Daylen’s story opens up as he is about to undergo the Harrowing ritual. Basically, an apprentice mage has to enter the Fade and slay the demon who is after them. If he fails (or takes too long), the Templars in the real world will kill him. No pressure, eh? The Fade trip starts out with Daylen talking to a mouse (turns out to be a failed mage), getting some gear from a Spirit of Justice, and stumbling upon a grumpy bear-like Sloth demon. It takes some convincing and a pop quiz, but Sloth teaches Daylen’s mouse friend how to turn into a bear. With all this done, Daylen faces off against the demon pursuing him, and wins. Mouse sold out Daylen to the demon, and he goes off on a rant about how the Circle and Templars are idiots. Next thing Daylen knows, he’s waking up with his buddy Jowan (hey, Grey Warden Ellen knows him…) looking down at him with concern. Looks like Daylen passed. Jowan is worried about his own Harrowing, and the two friends have a nice chat.

daylen 3
Friends come first, no matter what. And seriously, don’t mess with Chantry sisters!

Next, Daylen meets Duncan, who is talking with First Enchanter Irving and the Templar in command, Greagoir. Irving suggests Daylen escort Duncan to his quarters, and he gets to know him better along the way. Soon after, Daylen meets in secret with Jowan and his lady friend Lily (a Chantry sister). They have a bit of a problem. It seems Jowan is destined to be turned Tranquil (a process where dangerous mages are stripped of all emotions). Jowan doesn’t want to lose his freewill or love for Lily, so they beg Daylen to help them escape the tower. Daylen reluctantly agrees to go along with it. This is so wrong, but he’d do anything to help a friend. The plan is to break into the vault and destroy Jowan’s Phylactery (sample of blood Templars use to track mages). To set up the heist, Daylen squashes some giant spiders to get Senior Enchanter Leorah’s approval for a fire rod from the Tranquil mage stock keeper, Owain. Unfortunately, the vault door is immune to magic, but they take the long way around, bashing Sentinels as they go. After a chat with a talking statue, they blow a hole in the back of the vault, smash Jowan’s Phylactery, and hastily exit.

daylen 4
Uh-oh… busted!

As they exit the vault they are greeted by Irving, Greagoir, and some very unhappy Templars. Caught and cornered, Jowan decides to show his Blood Magic colours when Lily is threated. He slits his hand open, and unleashes the evil power to knock out his enemies. Lily is horrified and no longer wants anything to with Jowan, so he flees the tower alone. Daylen helps the First Enchanter to his feet, and takes full responsibility for what happened (trying to protect Lily as well). Lily thanks him but accepts her fate for dealing with a Blood Mage. Before Daylen’s punishment is determined, Duncan suggests he become a Grey Warden. He was impressed by Daylen’s drive to help a friend. To Greagoir’s dismay, the First Enchanter agrees with Duncan, and it’s off to Ostagar!

Tipsy Aeducan – Dwarf Nobel

tipsy 1
Yes, I had to name my second dwarf Tipsy… sorry.

Being dwarven nobility is a dangerous game. As the daughter of King Aeducan, Tipsy’s own brother may be her most dangerous enemy while she navigates the rocky political climate.

tipsy 2
Much more posh than the dwarf commoner intro.

Tipsy starts out in her quarters talking to her assistant, Gorim (I chose the option to ship them as lovers… tee hee). Tipsy has just received a big military commission and her dear daddy, the King of Orzammar, is having a big feast in her honor. Before the festivities go down, Tipsy Aeducan goes out on the town for a bit. After breaking up a disagreement between a scholar and noble idiot, Tipsy runs into her two bros – oldest Trian and youngest Bhelen. Trian is next in line to be king, and a total ass. Bhelen is tagging along behind his big brother, but seems to care about Tipsy as well. I choose the option for Tipsy to head to the Proving, but instead of just watching, I make her compete (as daughter of the king, she is well within her rights to do whatever she wants). The surprise entry, and victory, earns Tipsy a boatload of honor and respect from everyone. When it’s finally feast time, Duncan is in attendance. There is a big mission to bash darkspawn in the Deep Roads tomorrow. Tipsy will be taking her first commander job during the exercise.

tipsy 3
What a nice little bro…

Before the mission the next day, Bhelen warns Tipsy that Trian is planning to kill her, seeing her as a threat to the throne. Well, isn’t Bhelen a good little bro? Tipsy proceeds with caution into the Deep Roads assault. The plan is for Duncan and his Grey Wardens to fight in the darkspawn filled caverns, Bhelen leads his men to scout a clearing, and Tipsy gets a super-special mission to recover an ancient dwarven artifact shield. Tipsy meets up with the scout and they discover bodies of darkspawn, suggesting someone beat them to the shield. Sure enough, a mercenary group tries to kill Tipsy and her crew, but they get crushed by the dwarven warrior princess. Tipsy finds an Aeducan signet ring on the head merc’s body, meaning Trian is the one who hired them. She grabs the shield and heads back to the group. When she gets back, she is shocked to discover the dead body of Trian, and Bhelen rushing over with his father in tow.

tipsy 4
Ouch! Betrayal sucks.

To the approaching King, it looks like his dear daughter just murdered her big bro. Tipsy is given a chance to explain herself, but it doesn’t go well. The two men under her command lie and say they saw her kill Trian, while Gorim protests. Alas, no one believes Gorim due to his closeness to Tipsy. Bhelen obviously set the whole thing up, taking out his two older siblings in one fell swoop. Next, Tipsy finds herself in a jail cell while Gorim delivers the unfortunate news. She has been sentenced to exile – her name to be stripped from the records, and then left to die in the Deep Roads with just a crappy weapon. Lord Harrowmont has told Gorim to tell Tipsy that Duncan is still in the Deep Roads, and he may be her only hope. Gorim and Tipsy kiss goodbye, Tipsy is ditched in the Deep Roads, and she battles her way to Duncan. The wise Grey Warden accepts a strong Aeducan into his ranks, and it’s off to Ostagar!

Tydor Tabris – City Elf

tydor 1
Gonna get this out of the way first – everyone called him cousin, and it reminded me of Niko Bellic from Grand Theft Auto IV (I amuse myself easily).

City elves are no longer slaves to humans, but they are still treated like dirt and isolated in a place known as an Alienage. Tydor is part of a close community here, and it’s time to celebrate his big day.

tydor 2
Still less annoying than a Navi wakeup call.

Sleepy Tydor’s quest begins with his cousin Shianni waking him up. It’s Tydor’s special day and the lucky elf gets to marry a woman he’s never met before. Thankfully, he’s not alone! His cousin Soris is also getting hitched to a mystery lady, and today will be a glorious double wedding ceremony. Tydor gets up, changes into fancy clothes, and explores his Denerim Alienage home for a bit. Friends and family all wish him well (with the exception of a cranky elf woman and her son). When he finds Soris, they chat about how nervous they are, and hope their wives-to-be are good people. Suddenly, a human noble idiot intrudes on the Alienage, telling his men to “Grab a whore”. He immediately sets his perverse sights on Shianni. Shianni promptly knocks the idiot on his ass (you go, girl). The noble and his men leave, warning the elves they just messed with Vaughan – the Arl of Denerim’s son. Shianni is worried but Soris calmly states “It’ll be fine. He won’t tell anyone an elven woman took him down”. Tydor and Soris finally meet their brides (who are great). Before the ceremony happily kicks off, they have a chat with a loitering human named Duncan. He happens to be friends with the Alienage’s elder.

tydor 3
This is ridiculous. Worst wedding ever.

The ceremony is rudely interrupted by Vaughan, to the anger of the Chantry mother performing the ceremony. Vaugh dismisses her and storms on stage. He tells Tydor he’ll have his bride back before the honeymoon, and then punches the elf unconscious. Tydor wakes up to Soris’s bad news – Shianni, their brides, and the women in the wedding party have been taken to Vaughan’s estate. Vaughan and his men are doing Maker knows what to them as they speak. Tydor and his community are outraged, but feel powerless to do anything. Duncan helps them realize what needs to be done, and he gives Tydor his sword so they can go rescue their ladies in dire distress.

tydor 4

Tydor and Soris infiltrate the estate, pretending to be elf servants. They soon discover a horrible scene with a group of men standing over a dead elf woman from the wedding party. They say “It’s a shame. Nice body that one”, and I took great satisfaction in killing those assholes, let me tell you. Next, Tydor confronts Vaughan, who’s done something unspeakable to poor Shianni. Vaughan says the women stay. Tydor can go home and they will be returned tomorrow “slightly worse for wear”. And that’s when Tydor and Soris killed the scumbag. Tydor runs to Shianni’s side. She’s terrified and hurt, but alive. The rest of the women are unharmed. I guess that ass wanted to make Shianni pay for what she did to him first. They head back to the Alienage and Shianni is cared for. Unfortunately, Tydor killed the arl’s son so someone has to pay for that. Tydor takes full responsibility when the guard arrives, and before he is dragged off, Duncan recruits him into the Grey Wardens. Tydor says bye to his loved ones, and it’s off to Ostagar!

Nightnova Mahariel – Dalish Elf

nightnova 1
Gotta rock the Vallaslin! It’s a cool Dalish face tattoo thing.

Dalish elves roam the land in tight-knit clans, keeping their distance from the humans (shemlen) who hate them. Nightnova and her hunting buddy have just corned some unfortunate shems who were trespassing on Dalish turf.

nightnova 2
Nightnova’s day starts off alright.

After hunting in the forest, Nightnova and her BFF Tamlen have their bows drawn, aiming at some unfortunate human interlopers. The humans mean them no harm, so Nightnova convinces Tamlen to just let them go. Before the humans depart, they tell the pair about some cool ancient ruins they found nearby. One of the humans shows them an item they took, and Tamlen recognizes ancient elvish written on it. Tamlen and Nightnova head into those ruins, hoping to learn more about their elfish heritage and become clan heroes. Inside the ruins, they notice its human architecture, but with statues of the Creators (the gods the Dalish worship). Puzzled, the pair continue forward. When corpses start coming to life and attacking them, it’s clear there’s some freaky magic in here. After battling through undead, the pair slay a diseased bear-like creature in a room with a mysterious giant mirror. Tamlen thinks he sees something move in the mirror and approaches it. Nightnova warns him to stay away, but it’s too late when Tamlen touches it.

nightnova 3
Duncan… is… is… that you, buddy?

Tamlen says he sees a great blackness, and panics saying something is after him. Nightnova suddenly looses her grip on reality, and the last thing she sees is a strange human looking over her. Next thing she knows, she’s waking up in her Dalish camp. Everyone is relieved she is still alive. While talking to friends and Keeper Marethari, she learns she almost died and the Keeper’s magic saved her life. She also learns that a human named Duncan saved her from the ruins. To add to her pounding headache, her BFF Tamlen was nowhere to be found. Fearing the worst, the Keeper sends her first, Merrill, with Nightnova back to the ruins to find Tamlen. On the way, Merrill notes that Nightnova looks quite pale, but our shero elf pushes forward. This time the ruins are filled with darkspawn, and Nightnova and Merrill fight their way back to the mirror.

nightnova 4
Alas, cruel fate…

In the mirror room, they find Duncan. He recognizes Nightnova as the unlucky elf he pulled from the ruins earlier. Duncan also has some horrible news to deliver. The mirror has tainted Tamlen and Nightnova. Tamlen is likely dead by now, and Nightnova will die slowly from darkspawn disease. Not even the Keeper’s magic can save her, it only bought her some precious time. It’s hard news for Nightnova to swallow, but she accepts it as she watches Duncan destroy the mirror. There is hope for Nightnova though, and Duncan has a chat with the Keeper when they return to camp. I learn more about Dalish history while waiting for the verdict. After some time has passed, Duncan and the Keeper discuss Nightnova’s cure. Her only hope is to leave her clan behind and become a Grey Warden. It’s the will of the clan, and the only way Nightnova will survive; she has little choice in the matter. The Keeper gifts Nightnova with a ring, and after taking one last look behind her, it’s off to Ostagar!

Wow! Quite a lot of misery in these origin stories, huh? The worst one for me was probably the city elf one. It dealt with some pretty heavy topics regarding sexual assault. I’m glad Vaughan got pwned in the end. I also really, really wanted to continue with my Dalish Warden, but I have SO MANY other games to play. Someday, maybe!

But, there you have it! My big Dragon Age Origins progress babbling project is complete. I probably wrote a small novel’s worth of stuff on this game by now, but I do intend to do an unqualified review of the game next. Thank you to anyone who followed me through these posts! I had a blast writing them, so I hope someone out there got some entertainment out of it too.

Wannabe Writer’s Notes:
-If you want to read a freaking fantastic fanfiction that follows a Dalish Warden’s journey, I highly recommend you check this one out – I Will Call You Home: A Recounting of the Fifth Blight
-Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates it!

Thanks for reading!

10 thoughts on “Path of the Grey Warden 9: Originated

  1. “Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates it!” – I do celebrate it. Thank you.

    Seems like a good ‘un, this, like WoW but more complex and without the endless “Go here and grind for a bit and then bring me 10 of the things you grinded” missions. Plus, Alistair. No Wario, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I mean, obviously the Dalish elf origin is the best because of totally objective reasons. But definitely one of my favorite things is how all the stories do loosely connect with each other, but the story can still stand on its own with just knowing one “perspective.”

    Thanks for the plug for the fanfic, too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I only played through Dragon Age once so it’s cool to read what the other origin tales are like. Bioware put a lot of effort into content that most players wouldn’t ever experience. I have to agree that the City Elf one isn’t for the weak of heart. The one I went with was human mage.

    Liked by 2 people

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