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Dragon Age Thread - Qunari with Fancy Hats

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  • Gaming-FreakGaming-Freak Registered User regular
    I'd say Harrowmont was less of a racist and more of a Xenophobe and Traditionalist. He was narrow-minded and had no desire to advance Dwarven culture beyond what it currently has been for the past few centuries. Bhelen realized that if things continued as it were, Dwarves were fucked. Yeah he did terrible things, but he desired a massive overhaul in their culture for the sake of advancement and a more open-mindset to outside help as well as a slow but sure and eventual removal of the caste system (which is beyond backwards and messed up).

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  • Dr. ChaosDr. Chaos Post nuclear nuisance Registered User regular
    Thats the thing about Bhelen that sucks. He wasn't doing it just to gain power, he really did want to make a difference.

    God...he's so damn vicious though. Confusing me with his morally gray but well intentioned cut throat motives.

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  • PLAPLA The process.Registered User regular
    Well, he could try asking Harrowmont politely to abandon his traditions.

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  • SchadenfreudeSchadenfreude Mean Mister Mustard Registered User regular
    The only character I played that supported Bhelen was when I played as a Dwarven noble.

    I'm not sure why. Probably 'cause I played him as a completely pragmatic asshole. He did no sidequests, abandoned Redcliffe first go around to come back later, sided with Branka, the Templars and with the werewolves the only party members he had were Morrigan, the dog and Alistair (Until he ditched him for Loghain) because he never met Lelianna, left Sten in the cage, murder-knifed Zevrahn, killed Wynn in the mage's tower - maybe he got stuck with Oghren... I'm sure he killed him if able.

    It was the most efficient game of DA:O I ever played. Two-handed warrior; only ever put points in Strength and finished the game in under 8 hours (On hard). Just cut a straight line right through the story.

    Basically Dwarves (Of the DA flavour) are assholes so I played appropriately. Would recommend, if only so you can constantly belittle Alistair and tell him he's an idiot.

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  • MancingtomMancingtom Registered User regular
    Dragkonias wrote: »
    Mancingtom wrote: »
    Yeah. I'm hoping that this time around the Dalish have more personality than "shems bad, elvhen good," and other pandering allusions to Native Americans.

    Umm...I think saying Dalish are "pandering allusions to Native Americans" is reductive of both cultures at best.

    I just dislike the tropes involved, as it usually reduces an unmitigated and ongoing tragedy into a trite nature vs. tech or civilization vs. nomadism debate. To be fair, that doesn't really apply to the Dalish. though I see shades of it.

    What I'd like to see is a Dalish storyline that focuses on them as their own culture with their own internal issues and conflicts. That's something we've seen with every other group in the game. The closest the Dalish have come is individual conflicts, like Merril vs Marethari, but nothing on the scale of Mage vs Templar or Bhelen vs Harrowmont.

    Speaking of which, I think the Bhelen/Harrowmont choice is one of the most well-implemented gray choices in any Bioware game. Most of the time it just boils down to good guy or bad guy, tradition or progress- but in Orzammar it's all subverted in a favor of something far murkier and interesting. I'd place the Krogan as a close second, as we have yet to see the consequences of either choice there.

    Although, my Warden is a Human Noble, so I wonder what that arc is like as a Dwarf Noble or a Dwarf Commoner.

  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    The face/voice actress for Samara has cosplayed as Samara, so there's at least one person who I think has zero regrets.

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  • CaptainNemoCaptainNemo Registered User regular
    Samara is so gorgeous she physically hurts to look at for long periods. Also, she never need Shepard to be her space therapist, and that's a goddamn delight.

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  • SpoitSpoit *twitch twitch* Registered User regular
    But yeah, the behlen vs harrowmont decision point is probably the closest they came to a morally grey choice. I mean seriously, who sides with the werewolves

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  • CaptainNemoCaptainNemo Registered User regular
    Well, the trick there is to take the third option and break the curse. That's really the golden ending of that. And honestly, the whole Landsmeet is a pretty grey sequence. You can be pragmatic as fuck there if you play your cards right.

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  • BlackjackBlackjack Registered User regular
    Spoit wrote: »
    But yeah, the behlen vs harrowmont decision point is probably the closest they came to a morally grey choice. I mean seriously, who sides with the werewolves
    Any time you find yourself asking "seriously, who [insert completely horrible and reprehensible thing here]?"

    The answer is Morrigan.

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  • BassguyBassguy Ghost Ride the Dragon Registered User regular
    Spoit wrote: »
    But yeah, the behlen vs harrowmont decision point is probably the closest they came to a morally grey choice. I mean seriously, who sides with the werewolves
    Yeah, the copout of "compromise, and everybody wins" always feels lazy and VERY video game-y to me. I felt the Geth and Quarian conflict in ME3 could have been amazing, but you can video game your way to the "good solution."

  • CaptainNemoCaptainNemo Registered User regular
    And then there's the Anvil of the Void, whether or not to activate the Rite of Annulment, that whole business in Soldier's Peak, etc. Really, there's a lot of grey choices in Orgins.

    Probably because of...

    the Grey Wardens.

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  • SpoitSpoit *twitch twitch* Registered User regular
    Well, the trick there is to take the third option and break the curse. That's really the golden ending of that. And honestly, the whole Landsmeet is a pretty grey sequence. You can be pragmatic as fuck there if you play your cards right.

    (That's my point, why wouldn't you do that. See also, defiling the ashes)

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  • Dr. ChaosDr. Chaos Post nuclear nuisance Registered User regular
    edited July 2014
    Spoit wrote: »
    I mean seriously, who sides with the werewolves
    *raises hand*

    How often do you get to see a horde of werewolves massacre a group of tree hugging elves?

    Only once and it was beautiful.

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  • CaptainNemoCaptainNemo Registered User regular
    Dr. Chaos wrote: »
    Spoit wrote: »
    I mean seriously, who sides with the werewolves
    *raises hand*

    How often do you get to see a horde of werewolves massacre a group of tree hugging elves?

    Only once and it was beautiful.

    That's basically the plot of Overlord 2, just with satanic pikmen instead of werewolves.

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  • Dr. ChaosDr. Chaos Post nuclear nuisance Registered User regular
    edited July 2014
    Dr. Chaos wrote: »
    Spoit wrote: »
    I mean seriously, who sides with the werewolves
    *raises hand*

    How often do you get to see a horde of werewolves massacre a group of tree hugging elves?

    Only once and it was beautiful.

    That's basically the plot of Overlord 2, just with satanic pikmen instead of werewolves.
    I really need to finish the first one. Was having fun but we all know how it goes, I saw a new shiny on sale somewhere and dumped Overlord into the backlog pit.

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  • Gaming-FreakGaming-Freak Registered User regular
    Dr. Chaos wrote: »
    Thats the thing about Bhelen that sucks. He wasn't doing it just to gain power, he really did want to make a difference.

    God...he's so damn vicious though. Confusing me with his morally gray but well intentioned cut throat motives.
    What he did was rather cruel and borderline unforgivable in some cases. He arranged his brothers to be "out of the picture" permanently so he could gain the throne, and if he wins king-ship, he orders Harrowmont's execution, and his faction hunts down Harrowmont's remaining family too. However he explains that this was because he didn't want anyone left to oppose him. People will view him as a tyrant, but a tyrant who brought progress and change, presumably for the better. And he wasn't completely cruel; he fell in love with a casteless woman, seeing her more than just a "caste-hunter", and made her his queen after she gave birth to his son. He even stated that one of his ideals was to remove the caste system completely and help those who were labeled 'casteless'.

    He's kind of an example of how a tyrant who forces a new era can actually help a nation progress, rather than stunt its growth and ruin it and its people.

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  • MancingtomMancingtom Registered User regular
    Dr. Chaos wrote: »
    Thats the thing about Bhelen that sucks. He wasn't doing it just to gain power, he really did want to make a difference.

    God...he's so damn vicious though. Confusing me with his morally gray but well intentioned cut throat motives.
    What he did was rather cruel and borderline unforgivable in some cases. He arranged his brothers to be "out of the picture" permanently so he could gain the throne, and if he wins king-ship, he orders Harrowmont's execution, and his faction hunts down Harrowmont's remaining family too. However he explains that this was because he didn't want anyone left to oppose him. People will view him as a tyrant, but a tyrant who brought progress and change, presumably for the better. And he wasn't completely cruel; he fell in love with a casteless woman, seeing her more than just a "caste-hunter", and made her his queen after she gave birth to his son. He even stated that one of his ideals was to remove the caste system completely and help those who were labeled 'casteless'.

    He's kind of an example of how a tyrant who forces a new era can actually help a nation progress, rather than stunt its growth and ruin it and its people.
    Exactly- and that is an extremely uncomfortable idea for a democratic society. Goes to show that sometimes the uncomfortable idea leads to the best storytelling.

    CaptainNemo
  • SchadenfreudeSchadenfreude Mean Mister Mustard Registered User regular
    My immoral (And to be honest more than a little bit racist) dwarf noble reasoned thus: "I'm on a mission to fight Darkspawn. Who would be more useful to me in a fight? Pansy-assed, limp-wristed elves with names like Daisy and Tulip? Or a pack of big giant wolf-beasties!? Why the wolf-beasties of course."

    One dead Arch-demon later and history has proven him right (Probably - given his previous form I dread to think what he ended up doing with his army of Werewolves and Golems after the battle).

  • Dr. ChaosDr. Chaos Post nuclear nuisance Registered User regular
    edited July 2014
    I love the DA dwarves, everything to do with Orzammar, their history and the thaigs.

    Easily my favorite culture.

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  • BassguyBassguy Ghost Ride the Dragon Registered User regular
    edited July 2014
    Dr. Chaos wrote: »
    I love the DA dwarves, everything to do with Orzammar, their history and the thaigs.

    Easily my favorite culture.
    But... the caste system is so jacked. I simply can't abide by dwarves who buy into the whole caste thing. That's largely why I tend to like surface dwarves.

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  • KrathoonKrathoon Registered User regular
    edited July 2014
    Also, the way the Golems are created is pretty messed up as well.

    Next up for me is running trough both Golem DLC quests.

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  • PLAPLA The process.Registered User regular
    The benevolent autocrat. The only problem is that he can stop being benevolent, or die.

    Cambiata
  • Dr. ChaosDr. Chaos Post nuclear nuisance Registered User regular
    Bassguy wrote: »
    Dr. Chaos wrote: »
    I love the DA dwarves, everything to do with Orzammar, their history and the thaigs.

    Easily my favorite culture.
    But... the caste system is so jacked. I simply can't abide by dwarves who buy into the whole caste thing. That's largely why I tend to like surface dwarves.
    I'm not talking about how great or fair they are, I'm just saying I find them the most interesting.

    I sure as hell wouldn't like to live there with the caste system and darkspawn creeping up on them.

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  • BassguyBassguy Ghost Ride the Dragon Registered User regular
    Krathoon wrote: »
    Next up for me is running trough both Golem DLC quests.
    I've been playing DA:O recently, and I just tried to play Golems of Amgarrak the other day. It's REALLY tedious. A huge portion of it is a giant switch puzzle. It's not really difficult, but I found it to be incredibly annoying. I didn't even bother playing it when I first played DA:O years ago.

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  • Santa ClaustrophobiaSanta Claustrophobia Ho Ho Ho Disconnecting from Xbox LIVERegistered User regular
    It's kind of cool for the lore. But it really just feels like a cut dungeon. Maybe shit cut when the Derp Roads got too long...somehow.

  • CaptainNemoCaptainNemo Registered User regular
    Amgarrak isn't great. It's interesting seeing the origins of the Harvester, though.

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  • JavenJaven Registered User regular
    edited July 2014
    Dr. Chaos wrote: »
    Thats the thing about Bhelen that sucks. He wasn't doing it just to gain power, he really did want to make a difference.

    God...he's so damn vicious though. Confusing me with his morally gray but well intentioned cut throat motives.

    I...don't really believe this.

    I don't debate he was good for the dwarves (the closing crawl flat out says this) but he was definitely doing it just to gain power. You don't kill or exile every single living member of your family AND subvert the political system of your kingdom everytime someone disagrees with you 'to make a difference'. Dude was a power-hungry monster. He just happened to make decisions at the right time that benefitted others as well as himself.

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  • CaptainNemoCaptainNemo Registered User regular
    Actually, while a cold fuck politically, he's incredibly progressive with regards to the caste systems, and seems genuinely in love with his casteless girlfriend, even making her his fiance, as I recall. I don't think calling him a monster is fair. He's a bastard, sure, but looking at the other dwarven aristocrats, well....

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  • MancingtomMancingtom Registered User regular
    Javen wrote: »
    Dr. Chaos wrote: »
    Thats the thing about Bhelen that sucks. He wasn't doing it just to gain power, he really did want to make a difference.

    God...he's so damn vicious though. Confusing me with his morally gray but well intentioned cut throat motives.

    I...don't really believe this.

    I don't debate he was good for the dwarves (the closing crawl flat out says this) but he was definitely doing it just to gain power. You don't kill or exile every single living member of your family AND subvert the political system of your kingdom everytime someone disagrees with you 'to make a difference'. Dude was a power-hungry monster. He just happened to make decisions at the right time that benefitted others as well as himself.

    When the choice is between "change everything about your culture" and "go extinct," I'm not sure there's really a difference between doing it for power and doing it for the greater good. If there is, then it's one that strikes me as largely academic. Without Bhelen, the dwarves are doomed. Plain fact. With Bhelen, the dwarves might be able to push back against the Darkspawn- which is something that benefits all of Thedas. Whether his reasons are selfish, altruistic, or a complex mix of both, doesn't really matter in the end.

    Similar to the way that Loghain's motivations- jealousy or patriotism- are immaterial because in the end, his sheer incompetence nearly doomed Ferelden.

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  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    Yeah you can't really make the argument that everything he does is for positive change, mostly because you, yourself, can play one of the people he tries to murder. So unless you're deliberately planning to play a traditionalist dwarf (in which case you'd vote for Harrowmont in any case), then Bhelen is just being a murderous dick to you.

  • DerrickDerrick Registered User regular
    Cambiata wrote: »
    Yeah you can't really make the argument that everything he does is for positive change, mostly because you, yourself, can play one of the people he tries to murder. So unless you're deliberately planning to play a traditionalist dwarf (in which case you'd vote for Harrowmont in any case), then Bhelen is just being a murderous dick to you.

    I don't think one precludes the other. This is especially so if you're roleplaying a character cut from the same cloth, personality wise as well as blood.

    That's just game recognizing game right there.

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  • Santa ClaustrophobiaSanta Claustrophobia Ho Ho Ho Disconnecting from Xbox LIVERegistered User regular
    If he was doing it just to gain power, then why bother to make any choices that reform dwarven society? What would be the point of that?

    Or, he knew that in order to reform his society, that it was going to have to get bloody in order to get these hide-bound imbeciles to toe the line.


    The single hardest thing for a leader to do is get people who are entrenched in their beliefs and opinions to change their goddamned minds. Otherwise, the opposite was true. Harrowmont wasn't doing it for power, wasn't a monster, and wanted the best for his people by changing nothing and stagnating. 95% of the Bhelan denialism comes from people who played as a dwarf noble. The other five percent are people who think he could've succeeded if only he'd kiss hands and shook babies.

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  • BassguyBassguy Ghost Ride the Dragon Registered User regular
    Overall, I tend not to think too much about dwarven culture -- much like the other races in Thedas. Out of site, out of mind. I much prefer to spend my time with Dragon Age hating the chantry and the qun. The closer we get to DAI, the more excited I am about getting to piss off every religious figure I come across.

  • CaptainNemoCaptainNemo Registered User regular
    If given the choice between two bad dudes, go with the bad dude will at least accomplish some kind of good. Bhelan might be a fucker, but the end result of Bhelan's rule is infinity preferable to Harrowmont killing the species just to maintain the toxic status quo of a prejudiced society.

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  • MancingtomMancingtom Registered User regular
    If given the choice between two bad dudes, go with the bad dude will at least accomplish some kind of good. Bhelan might be a fucker, but the end result of Bhelan's rule is infinity preferable to Harrowmont killing the species just to maintain the toxic status quo of a prejudiced society.

    Exactly. That's also why I usually pair Alistair and Anora on the throne. Yes, Anora is a scheming jackass who did nothing while her country collapsed, and was only driven to action by her father's idiotic paranoia. But she's smart, and she can play the game the best of anyone in Ferelden- with the possible exception of Arl Eamon. Alistair has the heart of a king, but not the head- he is, and will forever be, too kind. Put them together and you have chance at getting the best of both worlds. Anora can play the game that keeps the country running. Alistair can actually unite the people through faith rather than fear or through a name. Hence the super hopeful ending scenes for this route.


    One thing I really like about Inquisition's setup is the purported focus on leadership. That's a cool theme in and of itself, but we would be remiss to ignore how that theme plays through the first two games. Origins is chock full of terrible leaders. Zathrian, Harrowmont, and Loghain fail at their duties because they are unable to put their people ahead of themselves. Half the point of Dragon Age 2 is how leadership, no matter how competent or benevolent, can only go so far. I'm really excited to see what Bioware can do with a story centered on the subject.

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  • KetBraKetBra FISTS OF JUST ICE! Registered User regular
    edited July 2014
    Actually, while a cold fuck politically, he's incredibly progressive with regards to the caste systems, and seems genuinely in love with his casteless girlfriend, even making her his fiance, as I recall. I don't think calling him a monster is fair. He's a bastard, sure, but looking at the other dwarven aristocrats, well....

    As someone who played dwarf noble on his first play-through, I disagree

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  • AspectVoidAspectVoid Registered User regular
    Bassguy wrote: »
    Overall, I tend not to think too much about dwarven culture -- much like the other races in Thedas. Out of site, out of mind. I much prefer to spend my time with Dragon Age hating the chantry and the qun. The closer we get to DAI, the more excited I am about getting to piss off every religious figure I come across.

    If you actually hated the Chantry, you wouldn't use one of the most devout members of the Chantry as your personal picture. You know, just saying...

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  • NotoriusBENNotoriusBEN Registered User regular
    Social reform is possible though, and can be rather quick. I can pull analogies from US History for it. Slavery being abolishing in 1865 after being a 200 year institution, to more and more progressive integration of african americans, to notable Reformists from Frederick Douglass to Sojourner Truth to Harriett Tubman. I'm painting in very very broad strokes here, but the point is that change is possible to make over the course of time, and sometimes you have catalyst figures like Martin Luther King Jr. that can launch a movement forward by decades, to the point where we barely even think about it except as some sensationalist clickbait to get views and rile up the grandparents and parents (hyperbole, of course).

    Looking at an analogy with a monarch in charge, one can look at the spread of potatoes in Europe. The conquistadors of Spain brought potatoes back, along with all the gold they pillaged from the 'heathen' south american empires. The peasants of various nations wouldn't eat potatoes because they were ''tasteless, odorless, fit only for animal consumption, not mentioned in the bible, look like nightshades and thus things of the devil." Take your pick. The royals and upper societies realized that potatoes could be used as another staple crop in conjunction with wheat, since wheat prices were on the rise. England launched a media pro-potato campaign. Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette wore potato flowers and ate potatoes in banquets, King Frederick of Prussia tried the same, but was more successful in planting a fuck-ton of them on royal property and putting up a heavy guard on them. In line, with Fred's wishes, thieves stole potatoes from him because anything worth guarding was worth stealing (this is fucking real life). The Czars outright forced the peasants at bayonette point to plant the damn things and eat them.

    Anyways, coming back to Dragon Age, maybe the casteless are more of a sizable minority than we know about, and that even though there is a status quo with the caste system, there are those within the system that are sympathetic to ridding dwarven society of it. Maybe the dwarves on the whole are not as stubborn as we are led to believe of racial stereotypes.

    tldr Bhelan, while a cold pragmatic bastard, is one of those catalytic figures that can push forward social reform. The question should be did he really do it for the greater good? Or did he do it for his baby momma?

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  • Santa ClaustrophobiaSanta Claustrophobia Ho Ho Ho Disconnecting from Xbox LIVERegistered User regular
    Improving society as a whole as an excuse to get some? I fail to see the problem here.

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