I Messed Up.

Endgame spoilers

I’m at the Landsmeet, the trial/tete-a-tete against my rival Loghain, the guy who’s seized control over the country over the bodies of countless others. I’ve marshaled my forces. Regrettably, I gave up the chance to have a sweet coterie of werewolf bodyguards when I released them from their curse, but I’m still feeling pretty good about this. Loghain is gonna pay. I’ll sweep the approval of the nobles and then I’ll go on and save the world.

I’m confident even as the tribunal riddles me with questions. Didn’t the Grey Wardens betray the nation? Am I responsible for the death of the king? Did I spirit away the queen as part of a cruel plot to depose Loghain? No, no, no. I’m cool, you guys. Loghain’s the jerk! HE spirited away the queen (his own daughter)! He’s been running a slave trade in the ghettos! He fled the field on the day of battle! While we’re knee-deep in darkspawn invasions he’s making plays for power!

Videogame logic dictates I’ll seize the day. I’m comfortable because I’m the awesome hero. I’ll put my BFF Alistair on the throne and everyone will like me. With that in mind I’m not immediately shaken when the queen — the queen whose life I just saved — comes out and accuses me of kidnapping. You jerk! That was Loghain’s doing!

(I guess I should’ve waited until AFTER the Landsmeet to mention my plan to seize her throne)

In an instant the conversation shifts. She’s convincing people I’ve committing all these heinous deeds. Uh, HELLO, I had a bunch of werewolves at my beck and call and gave them up for the greater good! How noble is that?

The vote is called. The first two nobles go my way. I experience a brief surge of confidence. Turns out they were the only supporters I had. Hey, you guys, remember when I did that super-heroic thing where I killed all the demons in the mage tower? No? Nobody?

No, nobody remembers. Loghain wins four votes to two. I sit and stew and accuse myself of all the wrong moves I’ve made. When I routed those slavers they offered me a signed letter that would implicate Loghain in their dirty dealings. Why didn’t I take it?? No wonder everyone hates Grey Wardens: they’re so politically inept that they’ll tell the queen their plan to depose them and follow with “but we can still be friends, right?”

My self-flagellation lasts a few moments. It feels like forever. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Prison? And then what? Game over?

It’s not game over. It’s a videogame, after all, and videogames want you to win. As the palace guards are closing in a rousing cry of “Fuck this!” comes from my pal Arl Eamon, “They won’t take us without a fight, men! WRECK THEIR SHIT!” The battle isn’t particularly hard. The palace guards me are no match for my double fireball and backstab surprise, especially when I’m blazing through the game on Casual difficulty. After the victory I pound my hands on the table and say, “Alistair’s king, any objections?”

There are no objections. There’s a lot of fancy language, and there’s a blood feud of Alistair vs. Loghain in there somewhere, but I know the score: I made a shitload of bad decisions both during and before the Landsmeet and the game gave me an out. I accept my title of leader of the armies against the Blight in guilty silence and never a word is spoken about my violent coup. It was videogame logic, not me, that beat the demon horde.

I feel humbled.

  • Big Winters

    I think this is a pretty great example of the good and bad side of videogames. Good because of the sheer amount of possibilities possible, and the idea that you can be the bad guy here, and still carry on with the game. However, if memory serves, to ‘win’ the landsmeet, all you have to do is a couple of fetch quests before it. Also, while there ARE a lot of outcomes, the vast majority of them only result in the text box changing at the end of the game. Sure it was cool, putting my bro Alistair on the throne with Anora, but all I got at the end of it was a text box saying they were kind and generous, and Alistair showing up in the expansion just to say, ‘oh hey, whats up, sorry can’t join you, being the king an all…’

    I’ll give them props, but the fake kind of props, the kind that makes you want to work harder to get the REAL props. I feel that the punishments should of been harsher though, maybe putting you in prison, forcing you to sit out their efforts to kill the Archdemon, then they call you in or something, I’m not sure. I don’t think you can base it on your ‘end-of-quest’ choices, because if you choice the bad options, you would of got the benefit of the werewolves/templars but with the guilt to offset it. I’m not sure, but they at least tried.

    By the way Dave, if you have any inclination to play the Dragon Age DLC (the Golems of Amgarrak and Witches Hunt ones) I would do it BEFORE Dragon Age 2, because apparently they carry over.

  • Dreg

    I had the same reaction to the ritual decision with Morrigan. I should have known that Alistair would do anything I told him to do without question, whether it was slaughtering scores of my enemies, rising to the throne, marrying a stranger or having a one-night stand with my ex-girlfriend. He must’ve been the kind of kid who gets his tongue stuck on a frozen flagpole just because some older kid told him to.

  • I dunno Dreg, even Alistair can lose his shit if you try to spare Loghain.