A (ridiculously self-indulgent!) summary of my first character’s journey up until the Alienage section in Denerim before the Landsmeet. Spoilers up until then, and please don’t comment with spoilers for the rest of the game!
Here’s the character page (female Elf mage). I am annoyed the picture hasn’t uploaded… unless that is something I have to do manually? I don’t know! She has short red hair with lots of ties in it, a gray tattoo on the right side of her face, and chubby cheeks.
Character babble behind the break, because I’m pretty sure only Kate and Denis are actually interested in this~
Okay, so, I started out playing my one stock character I fall back on in pretty much every RPG: a female mage who is really concerned about being nice to everyone and doing The Right Thing, but is also rather naive and too quick to trust people (ie. in this case, Jowan!!). This is usually sufficient for most RPGs, where you just have a “good” and “evil” option, but not for DA. What I loved about the beginning was it, through dialogue choices and decisions early on, forces you to develop your character right away, get their attitudes and values lined up and figure out their backstory, in a way that informs the rest of your game experience. So I had a pretty good idea of who my character was by the time she was recruited to the Gray Wardens.
She was pretty glad to get out of the Circle, honestly. She hates the Chantry and saw a lot of parallels between how mages and elves were treated (an attitude that changed after actually visiting the Alienage for the first time! Turns out mages are actually pretty lucky! More on that in a bit). I missed Leilana somehow, but that interaction would have been fun. Eleniel has no problem separating people from the institutions they represent; despite not being particularly fond of the Circle, she has a lot of respect for both Irving and Wynne because they had always been kind to her. Same with Alistair (it helps that he isn’t religious, either!). At the same time, she quite looked up to Morrigan, even if she didn’t understand her very well at first.
Jowan was a constant conundrum. She ended up turning him over to the Circle after curing Eamon; maybe it would have been better to let him go, but, while his betrayal had worked out pretty well for her, she was still pissed that he had completely screwed over Lily, and hadn’t even tried to find or rescue her or anything. What kind of bullshit is that? And it would be better not to risk him being used by Loghain again, right? Right? Surely they will welcome him back and not simply make him Tranquil?? Not so much…
Obviously, she sided with the Mages in the Circle arc (oh, Cullen…), and prevented the werewolves from killing the Dalish while still ending the curse. The Anvil of the Void quest was a little tougher, but ultimately destroying it seemed like the Right Thing to Do. As did releasing that racist ass in the Arl of Denerim’s dungeon, even though it made Zevran mad–okay, the dude hates elves, but we are in some serious need of some allies!
These last few quests have been particularly interesting as far as character development goes; the Alienage in particular was a bit of a turning point, since after living a sheltered life in the Circle she finally had a wake-up call as to how privileged she really is. And as a result she had no goddamn mercy for that nasty slaver. The stakes were high before, but now it’s Serious Business.
And she has a definite selfish streak when it comes to Alistair. She gleefully promised Anora she would support her as queen (but pretended to drive a hard bargain); anything to keep Alistair from having to become king. She had already gotten the speech from Wynne about how responsibility is limiting, and after living in the Circle the last thing she would want is yet more limits, so she’s very sympathetic to Alistair’s protests against being king. The Right Thing to Do in this case would seem to be for Alistair to marry Anora, to have the legitimacy of Alistair’s bloodline as well as Anora’s strong leadership, but Eleniel will not even consider it. No way! And besides, why would Anora want to hide behind another man when she should get all the credit and praise from the people for her great leadership? (Yup, keep on telling yourself that, justify it any way you want…)
(Although it was kind of hilarious when she was telling Eamon that Alistair would be such a crappy king! And he was like “Stop talking about me like I’m not right here!” Sorry!)
So that’s where I am right now… I am at a bit of a turning point so I wanted to get this down before heading into the “endgame.” We’ll see what happens and how my character changes even more.
UPDATE: SPOILORS FOR THE REST OF THE GAME~!
Okay, so. THE LANDSMEET! This was pretty epic. Eleniel confronted Loghain with the evidence of slavery and plotting to assassinate Eamon, and Anora came out against him. The nobles sided with her 5-1. So it came down to a duel! Eleniel chose Shale as her champion (Cheating much?! I initially did it myself but had a very difficult time and ended up losing and having to do the whole Landsmeet over). And afterward she executed Loghain, for the slavery BS (HOW is that for the good of Ferelden, again?! Good for SOME of Ferelden, I’d say…) and because it wasn’t worth risking having the traitor hanging around where he can’t be trusted. (Briefly considered letting Alistair have his revenge, but didn’t want to look like the kind of person who could sentence a person to die but not carry out the sentence herself… that ended up not mattering.) Anora snatched at the throne and Eleniel handed it to her; luckily she didn’t feel the need to try and execute Alistair.
Soooo, remember that selfish streak? Kinda turned out to be a HUGE DEAL! Freaking Morrigan! That was quite the decision. She ended up taking the deal and convinced Alistair to do it (by telling the truth)… turned out to be a pretty good decision, too, considering that old Orlais Warden crashed and burned. Didn’t trust that guy! What I find interesting is that in a lot of fantasy, you often start out with a selfish or childish character who then learns about Duty and being a good person and self-sacrifice and shit, but my character’s arc was more along the lines of initially trying to Do the Right Thing, and realizing that the right thing isn’t always the best solution, and sometimes it pays off to be pragmatic, especially when that is what pretty much everyone else is doing. The Right way, or most pure way, or whatever, isn’t easy, and much of the time it may simply not be worth it.
She took Alistair, Morrigan, and Wynne to the final battle. The Archdemon fight was ridiculous, actually… Wynne and Eleniel died halfway through (!!), leaving me to control Alistair (and I STILL didn’t know any of his abilities), popping health pots and hacking away at the Archdemon until it finally fell, when I was down to just two or three potions. Phew. And then tiny little elf mage lady Eleniel picked up a huge goddamn greatsword and dealt the killing blow, and it was totally rad.
After the coronation, she asked that the Circle be granted its independence from the Chantry. The Circle may be messed up, but at least they won’t have religious zealots hanging over them all the time. I loved Zevran’s ending, where he talks about going off and traveling, but returning once in a while for wine and friends. Aww! In the end Eleniel stayed in Denerim with Alistair until he had to go off to that fort or something? And she’s just hanging around doing fuck all? I don’t know. This is the only part of the ending that disappointed me, and it’s because I was always vague when people asked what she was going to do after the Blight, so now I’m annoyed. I found out I had a save file from before Lothering was destroyed, so I went back and was able to recruit Leilana. I may play the whole thing again making the same choices but MAKE A DECISION about the ending. Another 40 hours or so just to change a couple sentences in the epilogue. Yes. (Although, I also intend to up my approval rating on characters other than Alistair, Wynne, and Morrigan, heh.) Also to fix my build. And to play out the romance again, NOT GONNA LIE.
Either way, I am starting a new character, she is a Dalish elf. Don’t let the pigtails fool you! She’s sneaky. Though so far my plan for her to be a human-hater isn’t really working out since she’s decided to respect Duncan. Maybe that has to do with the whole saving her life thing? She doesn’t mind talking shit about Cailan (who DOES look a whole lot like Alistair!) behind his back, though. But that is for the next absurdly self-indulgent character babble post.