Dragon Age: Inquisition – Who to Support at the Winter Palace?

Yeah, I know.

Somehow I ended up playing Dragon Age: Inquisition again. Out of nowhere, I was itching to make a dwarf Inquisitor and, well, I feel like the game just gets better with every playthrough.

The Winter Palace Ballroom. Love the art that went into it.

I was working (or rather attempting to work) on a different post. It bored me (since not having WoW and its community anymore, I have to admit, video game blogging has become extremely challenging. Anything I write sounds utterly stale.) so I went and played the Winter Palace segment.

Whenever I do these in-game story decisions, I love seeing what other players choose and their rationale. Even on first playthroughs, I can’t resist. I don’t have that kind of trouble making decisions IRL, I swear!

Since we’re talking about a 3 year old game (in that shitty zone between “becoming less popular” and “classic”), though, all relevant discussions are dated. Plus I promised myself to never post on message boards (or Reddit or whatever the cool geeky kids use to socialize these days) again. I suck up too much internet time as it is and all I end up doing on message boards is making a fool of myself. Anyway, I figure I need content I actually want to write, so why not?

So here it is, how my Inquisitors decided to end the Orlesian civil war.

Spoilers so here’s a cut.¬†

1- The original Inquisitor – Curious, people-pleasing Mage Trevelyan: Three-Way Truce

If you want the best outcome, the most scenes, the biggest ego boosts in your adventure games, ask a lot of questions, be Canadian-polite and adopt a “all knowledge is worth having” attitude. And since I’m very much a leave-no-stone-unturned and everyone-must-love-me-all-the-time kind of gal, I have a natural affinity for adventure games.

Trevelyan was my first, so she empathized with her fellow mages, understood Templars, respected the Chantry and could play her way around a ballroom. While she had a decent enough head for politics, she had no stomach for ruthlessness. Digging up the right dirt on the throne contenders was childsplay and when time came to use it, she was pleased to collect Briala’s spy network, Gaspard’s army and Celene’s alliances in one sweep, without rolling any heads.

Mage Trevelyan. Also known as Character Creator Fail.

From a metagaming perspective, in the long term, the three way truce is probably the worst outcome. A foresighted and welled versed in monarchy politics Inquisitor could probably guess that, but the average Inquisitor is worried about the impending end of the world and doesn’t concern themselves as much with the distant future. She’ll collect as many resources as she can and put as many politicians in her pocket as will fit.

Back to the metagaming, getting the right information and using it correctly on a blind playthrough is highly unlikely. I found the locket on my own and would have probably found Celene’s chambers as well, but I was nervously checking my statuette and coin count, which eventually let to some guidance in brokering peace. I doubt I would have managed the brokering part on my own, especially since I wouldn’t have guessed it possible.

2- Innocent-but-Getting-The-Hang-Of-This Lavellan: Gaspard with Briala Pulling the Strings

I didn’t play Lavellan too differently than Trevelyan (I try, but the people pleasing is hard to stamp out), but given she’s Dalish from a trade-savy clan, I played with that approach. She didn’t feel much affinity for the Halamshiral and Val Royaux elves, but she respected Briala and was baffled by the fighting nobles. She wasn’t stupid, but she was a novice at large scale politics. Plus, Briala creating opportunities for elves in Orlais could provide indirect advantages for her clan.

Briala. Here with Cadash, not Lavellan.

Lavellan had grown a lot during her time as Herald and Inquisitor. She started off relatively sheltered and clueless, but a fast learner (likely why her Keeper risked his First to spy on the Conclave). In order to learn, she took her advisers’ words to heart. So when Leliana suggested Briala ruling through Gaspard as an option for leader, Lavellan made it happen.

3- What’s-In-It-For-Me Cadash: Celene and Briala Reconcilled

I went into this playthrough aiming for an asshole character. I fail at RPing a dick (and lets be honest, DA:I makes it hard to be a consistent jerk) and ended up with a more nuanced sarcastic, shrewd and no nonsense dwarf. Blackwall despised her for like 5 minutes. I started off the ball with the expectation of a Gaspard alone ending, but like my attempts in asshattery, it didn’t work out. Cadash was easily convinced by Briala’s “Think of what you could do with a network of elven spies at your disposal.”

Much to my surprise, Cadash ended up with the best look. I don’t know if the creator is especially dwarf-friendly or if straying from my usual redheads is what did the trick, but I absolutely love how she turned out.

As the player, I wanted an option I hadn’t already taken that includes Briala, so Celene and Briala it was. From my character’s perspective, she’s not a big fan of change. She was successful in the world she knows. She is mildly supportive of the Chantry and the Circles of Magi, not because of any religious or fearful angles, but because they’re the framework she learned operate in. She became Inquisitor because it was that or game over. The game never allows her state it outright, so she says she’s fighting for order, for the world to remain as close as possible to the one she can exploit. Celene has ruled for 2 decades, by now her policies and alliances are predictable. Gaspard is a considerably different ruler, not just a “different ass in the throne”. The organized crime networks Cadash is so familiar with will be changed. Not to mention how unpredictably his warfaring nature will upset the markets. She would have to relearn who’s-who and make all new contacts. She knows her post-Inquisition life will be a pain as it is. She can’t go back to her family nor to Carta, and having everything and everyone she knows in Orlais reset is just too much. Celene stays on the throne.

Potential Inquisitors for the other options

There are two options left, the solo ruler ones. I feel I’ll have trouble fitting those in because no matter how determined I am, there’s no way an Inquisitor determined to cultivate power and worried about world destruction would not take Briala’s offer. Which leaves the options of someone who is very stupid, or someone who really distrusts elves.

Celene Rules Alone

I feel like this would fit a very self-righteous human-centric Inquisitor. I supposed I could do a very rigid, old-school religious character. She (or he – I do need some male Inquisitors as well) sends Cole away, despises Dorian for being Tevinter and tells Sera she doesn’t fit. The mere thought of it makes my people-pleasing stomach do flip-flops.

The One and Only.

That Inquisitor would, however, be horrified by Briala and her spies and would absolutely put her holier-than-thou self between the Empress of Orlais and Florianne.

Since none of the non-human races come from backgrounds that would encourage them to be old-school religious, Trevelyan would be the best choice, likely a warrior or an archer. A mage could be brainwashed in becoming rigidly pro-Chantry, but I would have to drop the self-righteous part. Could be fun to play an extremely self-loathing character, though I’m not sure how well the in-game dialogue allows for it. But since I’ve already played a human mage, I’d want to explore a different class anyway.

Gaspard Rules Alone

Not sure how much the game allows it, but I think an unsubtle, warmongering Inquisitor would be happiest with Gaspard on the throne sans Briala. Character choice-wise, I think my wargmonger would be Qunari or Dalish. I would have already used non-mage Trevelyan for my Celene run and the Carta dwarves are too subtle for all out warmongering. Even a very pro-violence Cadash would want access to Briala’s resources, I think.

Gaspard. Who’s actually a really pleasant dude. I had no problems watching Celene being assassinated, but my heart crumbled at Gaspard’s execution.

And there we have it. If I were to do all the playthrough I want, there would be 8: a female and male of each race. Also one for every romance, if I counted right. Given how fast I play, though, there’s a tiny, tiny chance I succeed before…oh…my 70th birthday.

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2 Comments on “Dragon Age: Inquisition – Who to Support at the Winter Palace?”

  1. Michael Lawson Says:

    Can’t read, because spoilers. I also started The Witcher 1, so it may take a bit longer to get to the rest of the DA games for me.

    Still, your comment that the game gets better with each playthrough is a good sign that DA:I will eventually be considered a classic of the genre.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Yeah don’t read if you want to avoid spoilers!

      I decided to skip the Witcher 1 since everyone kept telling me how different it was from the other two. I started the Witcher 2 but I keep getting…distracted…

      I’d love to see DAI become a classic. I think the reason why I like it better the more I play is that the first time around, I was compelled to do EVERYTHING. It’s very time consuming with little payoff. Once you know what happens, though, you can pick and choose based on what you feel like doing and what you think your character would do. The story isn’t as flexible as Origins and someone has to like roleplaying at least a little, but I love every playthrough more and more and get sad whenever I see someone dramatically hating on the game.

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