Welcome back to Come Roleplay With Me, where I make myself look like a terrible gamer by failing RP challenges miserably.
As promised last week, this time around I decided to venture into Bioware’s excellent RPG, Dragon Age: Inquisition. Let me now regale you with my glorious failure to rid the world of all magic as Grumblehammer (and hopefully have a good old grumble in the process).
What are we waiting for? Grab your sword and your bag of holding: it’s time to go on an adventure.
The Grumblings of a Magic Hater
I tried to make Grumblehammer look as much like a boring old archetypal dwarf as I could. He had a beard, he was balding, he had a big droopy nose, he had beady untrusting eyes and his name combined the two most cliché aspects of dwarfhood.
However, in order to make my dwarfy dwarf firmly grounded in the Dragon Age universe, I gave him a small tattoo on his face, as befitted his casteless nature. All casteless must brand themselves with tattoos, to remind them that they’re lower than all the other dwarfs (and dwarfs are pretty low to begin with – only partially because of their height impediment).
Just as I did in my playthrough of Fallout: New Vegas, I played in a single session under Permadeath rules. When my party bit the bullet, there was no going back. I was having none of this new-fangled saving and loading malarkey – dwarfs are too proud for that nonsense. Nope, I decided (stupidly, as it turns out) to play one of the more difficult RPGs of recent times in the most unforgiving way there is. I also decided to further torture myself by choosing to play on hard.
In case you were wondering, yes, I have a masochistic streak.
My game started with a literal bang as Grumblehammer survived an explosion that had destroyed the Temple of Sacred Ashes and killed everyone else inside. But how? Certainly not due to any namby pamby magic, that was for sure. In place of the temple was left a great rift through which demons were pouring into the world. This rift had left its foul mark on Grumblehammer too, his hand now glowed with an eery green light. As he was questioned about the incident, he played it cool – stern and stoic, as any good Dwarf should be. In fact, he only spoke to show his contempt for his captors: the mysterious Leliana, and the strangely attractive Cassandra. Not that a dwarf would be attracted to a long-legged human. Perish the thought.
Eventually, Grumblehammer begrudgingly agreed to help these humans close the rift, despite their treatment of him. He reasoned that he’d probably be suspicious of somebody in his situation too. The whole thing stank of magic.
Grumblehammer hated Magic.
After fighting off several demons, earning Cassandra’s grudging respect in the process, the two made their way towards the rift, attempting to seal it using a mysterious mark on Grumblehammer’s hand since the two seemed intrinsically linked. On their way they came across a dwarf working alongside an elven mage. Had this hairy chested fool no decency? He was helping an apostate elf, who deserved nothing other than the sharp end of a sword. He ignored everything the two of them had to say and pushed on, reasoning that his vengeance could be carried out after the task at hand was complete.
Grumblehammer chose to take the mountain path, rather than the more direct route, reasoning that as a native mountain dweller, he’d be better suited to this than most. His idea was simple – fight his way to the rift, destroy the rift, and try to kill the elven mage in the process.
All in a days work.
The way to the temple was riddled with demonic scum and smaller rifts, but they were no match for a proud, grumbling dwarf. He closed them with ease, further proving their theory that he was the key to closing the great rift at the temple. This foul magic would be undone yet!
When he finally arrived at the ruins of the Temple of Sacred Ashes (which was now, ironically, mostly ashes) he and his captors bore witness to a vision of the Sacred Mother’s death, who called out to him for aid before her end. Thankfully, this seemed to convince the foolish humans of his innocence. As this vision faded away a tear suddenly appeared and a great pride demon came forth from the rift, it’s very presence sending shivers of disgust into Grumblehammer’s dwarfish bones. He charged, without thought of anything else other than purging this magical being back to it’s hellish domain. Several of his companions fell, but when the dust settled, Grumblehammer was still standing – the corpse of the demon at his feet. He then slowly raised his hand to the rift, closing it with another almighty bang.
He awoke several days later to find that he was now being worshipped as some sort of herald to Andraste for his deeds. It was all human nonsense of course – he held no stake in their religion. He didn’t believe in any God, so why would God believe in him? The pious fools even resorted to starting up an Inquisition (nobody expects the Chantry Inquisition!). He wasn’t interested in anything they had to say; it was only because the strangely alluring human, Cassandra, pleaded for his help that he choose to stay and aid their cause. He still refused to allow any mages near him though. Filthy magic-users. However, it was this hubris that proved the downfall of Grumblehammer. He travelled to the Hinterlands with only Cassandra and Varric protecting him, leaving Solas behind.
With the region being torn apart by renegade templars and mages who seemed not to care whether they killed each other or civilians, poor Grumblehammer found himself smack bang in the middle of two opposing factions, both of whom were just as bad as each other. But Grumblehammer would rather deal with zealotry over magic any day of the week. Sure, Zealots are nuts – but at least they’re predictably nuts. With a magic user, you never knew what to expect: you could wake up one morning to find yourself turned into a rabbit, or with an extra tentacle or two.
Once Grumblehammer had purged their ilk from the land, peace would most certainly return. He planned to find an ally in the Templars – surely they would empathize with his noble cause? Sadly, things never worked out the way he wanted. Despite attempting to convince the templars in the area that he despised magic as much as them, they still attacked him. So much for predictable zealotry. With sadness in his heart, Grumblehammer readied his sword to draw blood against these fellow mage hunters.
However, before he’d even had time to swing his blade, a group of four mages ambushed his party from the rear. He sighed in disgust.
Caught between five templars and four mages, Grumblehammer and his two companions fell in a blaze of arrows, swords and spells (although he took a few of those magical scum with him in a blade of glory).
So ends the tale of mighty Grumblehammer, too proud, too dwarfy – now dead.
I’ll admit it, I failed my challenge miserably again (playing without a mage on Hard is, well, hard). However, it wasn’t as bad as cowardly Joe (who only reached level three). Grumblehammer managed to reach the proud heights of… level four. At this rate, by the 7th or 8th week I might actually manage to complete a challenge.
As much as I love Dragon Age: Inquisition, I have to admit defeat: I don’t think it suits how I like to roleplay. I prefer to have more freedom and not have to follow a main questline. I’d also rather my character was a silent blank slate, the voiced protagonist has too much personality for me to fully RP a character of my own devising. But maybe that’s just me. What do you think? Do you prefer roleplaying a character on a specific story or would you rather have more freedom, away from the main questline? I’d really love to hear your thoughts.
For next week, in honor of May the fourth just passing, I’ll be playing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. As always, it will be done in one sitting and with permadeath, since they make things more exciting (and excruciating). My challenge will be to walk the line between good and evil, trying to balance out my character as neither a Sith nor a Jedi. I don’t want my character to be a typical Jedi, all robes and suppression – he’ll be sure to make up his own mind. He has the force, and he does what he wants!
I know this is easier than my usual challenges, but I just really need a holiday from all these difficult things…
As always, please share your own experiences in the comments, and Come Roleplay With Me again next week!