Path of the Grey Warden 3: It Should’ve Been Me…

This is the re-posting of the Dragon Age Origins babblethrough series I did on my old website. This article was originally posted on October 9, 2017. Enjoy past me’s ramblings!

Don’t worry! I haven’t forgotten about my Dragon Age Origins progress ramblings series. I’ve just been busy, you know, actually playing the game and trying to write other things and whatnot. I left off last time at the part where I crowned the new Dwarf King of Orzammar (I truly don’t want to remember what I had to go through for that). So here we go from there, until the bitter end of the main campaign…

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Finally, a game that understands me!

!!!SPOILERS AHEAD!!! DO NOT read anything else unless you want this great game ruined… I’m serious.

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Asschabs! You really do need yer pants there, buddy.

After my fun times with insane Paragons and beyond creepy Broodmothers, I decided to go up to the surface for some fresh air, even though I had a few side quests to knock off in the Deep Roads, still. It had been a while since I chilled with my peeps in camp, so that was my first stop! And wow, how did I ever enjoy camp life without that sodding dwarf, Oghren? He’s usually cranky, mostly drunk, and sometimes passed out… a fine addition to Grey Warden Ellen’s crew! He taught me how to be a Berserker too. As Oghren eloquently put it, Berserkers “get real mad and kill things”. That sounds like perfect specialization for me! I also caught up with my other companions before wrapping things up and heading to Denerim:

  • I heard a cute squeaky noise and noticed the Nug I gave Leliana is a camp resident now. She also named him Schmooples. D’aww!!
  • Wynne told me a heartbreaking story about how she failed her student, an elf mage named Aneirin. She was young and too strict with him. As a result, he ran away and was apparently killed by the Templars. She wanted to find out what happened to him, for closure. I helped her out and discovered he was alive and living in the Brecilian Forest (some vengeful elf people may have tried to kill me for not telling them where the cured werewolves went… they’re dead now). Aneirin was very forgiving after Wynne apologized, and he gave her a parting gift. Wynne also seems much happier now so yay!
  • Shale and I discussed what Caridin had told her in the Deep Roads – she’s a she and was once a dwarf. I braved another trek to the Deep Roads to give my Golem buddy some closure. In Cadash Thaig (an oddly lush area considering it’s underground), the truth was confirmed and Shale recovered some memories of being Shayle. She almost stopped calling me “it” after. I’m flattered!
It Should've Been Me 3
Diplomacy with these sodding assholes is gonna be hard.

With Grey Warden Ellen’s affairs in order, it was off to Redcliffe to hitch a ride to Denerim with Arl Eamon. After a cool cutscene about Denerim being the heart and soul of Ferelden, etc., I got to have a nice chat with my two hated enemies and a woman I don’t remember meeting before: Loghain (traitorous nug-humper!), Arl Howe (he murdered my parents and took my castle in the intro… RAGE!!), and Cauthrien (she’s Loghain’s lieutenant so I hate her by default). They were going on about the Landsmeet, Eamon’s illness (or attempted poisoning), and taunting me about my murdered family. It was very hard but I managed to get through it with only one death threat against them (Grey Warden Ellen’s anger management classes are paying off). When the idiots departed, I got to explore Arl Eamon’s posh Denerim residence. All my companions were around so I chatted with them for a bit. It was nice to not have to sleep in the Ferelden wilds for once. My next big task was to get as many nobles as possible on my side before the big Landsmeet event. While I was chatting with Eamon about strategy, Queen Anora’s handmaiden showed up and begged for help with a dire situation. Apparently, Loghain locked her up in his castle and may possibly want to kill her (his own daughter for crying out loud… asschabs!)

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Revenge is a dish best served cold. Special thanks to Morrigan for casting a frost spell before Howe’s big death scene. Too perfect!

Well then, I quickly set off on a rescue mission (after fighting off an Antivan Crow ambush for Zevran), and I easily infiltrated the castle disguised as a guard. When I got to the queen’s room, a magical seal was on the door that Howe and his minions put there. Why yes, I got to kill Howe! Yay!! But first, I had to go find him, which involved making my way through a depressing torture dungeon. Along the way, I freed another Grey Warden named Riordan (Alistair and I aren’t alone after all), saved a scantily clad nobleman from a torture rack (he promised his daddy would help me in the Landsmeet), and helped a few other depressed half naked prisoners. With the queen freed, I made my way to the exit… only to lose an unwinnable battle with Cautherine (I think you can kill her but still ultimately lose). Alistair and I were carted off to jail, and Leliana and Morrigan quickly started working on an escape plan with Eamon. What great friends I have!

It Should've Been Me 5
Oh my… well, uh, this is… um… probably not the worst time I’ve been captured in a video game…? *giggles uncontrollably*

So, Grey Warden Ellen wakes up half naked in a horrific dungeon cell with the painful screams of other prisoners echoing around her. But it’s not so bad because my dorky knight man is here too, and also half naked (tee hee). I wasn’t too, too upset but figured I should try to escape anyway. It’s cool that my friends are on the way, but Grey Warden Ellen refuses to sit by and do nothing (yes, I see many obvious terrible jokes I can make here). I faked an illness and Alistair and I took out the guard who came to investigate. We got our equipment back and fought side by side to the exit, just like the champion warrior couple they are. Morrigan and Leliana did show up near the end, and away we went! I made it back to Eamon’s estate unscathed. After a chat with Anora about how her father Loghain has gone mad, I resumed my mission of charming the local nobles to support me at the Landsmeet. There is apparently some unrest in Denerim’s Elven Alienage (a slum area where the poor city elves are forced to live in) so that’s the next stop! The area was closed off previously due to a plague or something…

It Should've Been Me 6
Those Tevinter shemlens are the worst, eh? To them I say: len’alas lathdin!

Okay so “unrest” was putting it lightly. Long story short, that Howe ass led a purge against the poor elves (including attacking an orphanage… I’m extra pleased I coldly murdered him now), then some were afflicted with a Blight related plague, and finally the Tevinter Imperium swooped in to enslave the elves in a human, er, elven trafficking ring, with the approval of Loghain himself. Wow, that’s some rage inducing stuff there. I know I’m a shemlen too, but I respect the elves and really hate how they are being treated in Ferelden society. Grey Warden Ellen unleashed her inner Berserker to end the slavers and got some dirt on Loghain for the Landsmeet in the process. I also frequently paid this street elf and his ever-increasing number of friends that kept asking for money. I’m rich from all my pillaging so I didn’t mind sparing some Sovereigns for the less fortunate. I surprisingly met a decent Templar dude here too, Ser Otto. He offered me a side quest that led me into the now haunted orphanage. It was creepy with the ghost kid and all, but nowhere near Broodmother level creepy. Unfortunately, Otto got himself impaled with a pitchfork by the head demonic terror. Nice guys always get it, huh? I cleansed everything without issues though. After the Alienage was taken care of, it was time to head to this big Landsmeet thing, at last.

It Should've Been Me 7
If only real life had a previous save file to revert to when I screw up with the talking thing.

When I arrived, Loghain’s lap dog Cauthrine attempted to kill me in lobby. This battle was quite winnable and she’s dead now. Then it was diplomacy time! And oh boy, did I ever screw it up worse than I could’ve imagined. I messed up so badly that I reverted to a previous save file to try again. Here’s how my Landsmeets went down:

  1. I tired really hard to be diplomatic, answering everything civilly and all that. I pulled out the Loghain is a slaver enabler card, and Anora also showed up to badmouth her dear traitorous daddy. Everyone was on my side and I kicked Loghain’s ass in an honorable one on one duel. My axe has a Lightning enchantment so it was fun watching him get zapped. Things were going swimmingly, but then Riordan had the brilliant idea of turning Loghain into a Grey Warden. I went with it, but Alistair WAS NOT pleased at all (like he said “Being a Grey Warden is a privilege not a punishment”). Alistair demanded to be king, but I chose Anora to be the queen instead. To thank me she wanted to execute Alistair… to which I said HELL NO! But my dorky knight man still thought I betrayed him, and then he left me forever… Ouch! Nope, that’s not how this goes down so I tried again.
  2. I was much less diplomatic and ended up turning the Landsmeet into an all-out brawl with Loghain’s men. I have to say this way was much more fun!! Anyway, I won again and I let Alistair kill Loghain for vengeance about what happened to Duncan at Ostagar. Alistair was cool with me choosing Anora to be queen, and we all lived happily ever after! No, wait… there’s still a Blight to deal with.
It Should've Been Me 8
Yes, LightningLeliana has a Lightning enchantment on her weapon too… what? Lightning is such a badass enchantment that I think everyone should have it! Yay for Lightning!

Next it was off to Redcliffe to defend it from an onslaught of darkspawn. I fought my way to the castle and got the lowdown on the situation. The big bad dragon (aka archdemon) has appeared and it is heading off to destroy Denerim. Seriously? I was just there… sigh. Anyway, I got to rest in Redcliffe Castle for the night. Riordan took Alistair and I aside and gave us the brutal truth about why Grey Wardens are needed to kill an archdemon. Unfortunately for us, a Grey Warden needs to sacrifice their life in order to kill the archdemon for good. Otherwise its spirit will just keep jumping to other darkspawn… or something like that. Thankfully, Riordan volunteered to take the bullet for Ferelden (he’s the eldest), sparing my dorky knight man and I.

It Should've Been Me 9
Oh why, why, why didn’t I trust you, my wisecracking witch friend…? WHY!?? I’ll explain later… sigh.

Before retiring for the night, I was surprised to find Morrigan in my room with a very weird proposal. Basically, she wanted me to talk Alistair into sleeping with her so she could create a child in some Dark Ritual thing. The child would be able to hold the soul of the archdemon without being killed, thus preventing the need for a Grey Warden to die. In return, she wanted to keep the child and raise it – no questions asked. My first thought was: “You want to do WHAT with my dorky knight man?!”. My second thought was: “What evil could an archdemon child do to the world?”. In short, I didn’t trust Morrigan at all and adamantly declined her proposal. She left me saying “Fare you well, my friend. I do what I must, and so shall you.”

It Should've Been Me 10
Maker save the queen.

My witch-less battle for Denerim went down the next day. After an epic scene where every faction I recruited made their way to the city, it was final battle time! First, a big showdown at the gate happened where all my companions got to fight with me, instead of the usual 3 I have to choose. I cleared that easily and I was instructed to bring 3 people with me to go after the bad dragon, while the rest watched the gate. I chose Leliana, Alistair, and Wynne for my dragon slaying team. It was really neat, and very emotional, how everyone had a little chat with me before I left on the final mission:

Wynne – “Whatever happens now… to either of us, know that I am proud – infinitely proud – to have called you a friend.”
Oghren – “As one of the blighters, I sodding salute you. Let’s show them our hearts and then show them theirs.”
Shale – “And… do try not to get swallowed whole. If the beast were to fly about afterwards and poop it out, irony would dictate that it would land on me. I couldn’t take it.”
Max (my Mabari war hound) – *worried whining*
Sten – “You have carried us far. Do not doubt that.”
Leliana – “You are a dear, dear friend, and I will stand with you, to whatever end. This day we will forge a legend of our own.”
Zevran – “Say hello to the Archdemon for me. He never writes anymore, it’s rather distressing.”
Alistair – “And this could be it. Soon this will be finished, one way or another. And I love you. Always.”

Oh, Maker… I love these people so much!! Excuse me while I go wipe something out of my eyes.

It Should've Been Me 11
Yep, I definitely chose the right badass team!

Phase one was battling my way through the crumbling city. Each area had a wave of tough enemies to clear out. I’m an idiot and died at first, not realizing I could summon the factions I recruited by clicking them in a new menu that popped up on the right of the screen. Side note: It appears I missed a faction somehow? If any Dragon Age experts are reading this, please let me know who I missed (Present Me’s Note: It’s the Golems if you didn’t destroy the anvil… thanks Athena!) As I battled my way through the city, I switched to the gate party once to control their fight. Very neat! I told the elves in the Alienage to get to safety as well. Before I reached the keep, something devastating happened during a cutscene…

It Should've Been Me 12
That’s Riordan falling to his death after failing to solo kill the archdemon. OMG, you idiot!!! And you know what that means, don’t you?! NO!

Yeah, I ignored what Riordan’s untimely death implied, and fought my way to the top of the keep with my dear friends at my side (phase 2). I enjoyed every precious second because I knew someone was probably going to die when I got to the top of this damned keep. Oddly enough, the little enchantment dwarf was there to trade and enchant things for me. I’m not going to ask how he got there, but I’m glad he made it. Before I knew it, many demons were felled and I started the epic final boss fight.

It Should've Been Me 13
Easy there, big fella!

The final battle went quite well for me. I hadn’t used my Dalish friends yet so they kicked dragon ass with their bow attacks! The fight was mostly smashing the dragon, but there were a few other mechanics at play. Sometimes it flew away and summoned waves of darkspawn. Another time it flew to an area I couldn’t reach so I had to use a siege weapon on it. Once it went down… ugh. It’s hard for me to type about so I’ll just screenshot caption the rest of this.

It Should've Been Me 14
Archdemon down! Yay!
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Oh right… that little issue… sigh. Alistair and I argue over who gets to kill the archdemon. He wouldn’t let me do it.
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Leliana and I watch helplessly as Alistair bravely delivers the final blow…
It Should've Been Me 17
It Should've Been Me 18
Alistair dies, my Grey Warden is a hero, all my companions go their separate ways (except Zevran comes with me to rebuild the Grey Wardens). Before the credits rolled, it was cool how the game explained the implications of many of my choices throughout the adventure. I was really sad about the ending I got though. Tis too true… I should’ve listened to Morrigan, dammit!!

THE END? Nope! Not even close. This is the Ultimate Edition so I’ll be rambling about the DLC campaigns next.

It Should've Been Me 20
RIP, my dorky knight man… I’ll never forget you.

For my entire Dragon Age Origins Babblethrough series of posts: Becoming the Grey Warden > Order to Orzammar > Ah! Broodmother?! KILL IT!!! > It Should’ve Been Me… > The Brutally Betrayed Bard > Where’s the Wisecracking Witch? > Awakened > Defeated by Darkspawn > Gruesome Golems > Originated

Thanks for reading!

If for some odd reason you want to read more of my posts, you can find a somewhat organized (and usually up to date) archive of my ramblings… I mean, articles here!

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"Lightning" Ellen

My name is Ellen, and I've been babbling on the interwebz about video games for over 15 years. Video games themselves have been a large part of my life since 5-year-old me first encountered a SNES in a children's hospital. Fun times... Video game escapism is still the #1 coping mechanism for adult me these days.

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