The Dragon Age Obsession Saga Continues…Part 4

InquistionPosterAs I’ve now finished a second playthrough of Dragon Age: Inquisition, I felt it was time to wrap up this series of posts.  Here are posts one, two, and three which are in regards to starting the game and importing a history, character creation, and dialogue and romance options with companions to bring you up to speed.  I am unable to discuss any of the DLCs because after the first one was released, Bioware decided not to release any others on the XBox 360, so I haven’t purchased any of them.

The anger I have about the gaming industry’s ploys to wrangle more money out of their gamers is real.  I was not ready to fork out $400 for a new gaming console, but if I want to know the rest of the story, that is exactly what I’ll have to do, and because you all know I’m passionate about this story, I’m going to do it…very, very soon.  ARGH!  As this post is not a rant on that, I’ll save that for fuel for another day.

This post is about the grand scale of the story of the world of Dragon Age.  Inquisition is part three and a culmination of the events in the previous two games where story lines and characters come together.

Origins-WardenShieldIn Origins, game one, your protagonist is from one of six “origin” stories (2 human story lines, 2 elf, and 2 dwarf)  in which each avenue ends with you becoming a Grey Warden, an old order of warriors chosen to fight a specific evil known as darkspawn and their archdemon, an old god twisted by their tainted blood.  They live underground and are rather hideous, similar to Tolkien’s orcs.  The presence of an archdemon is a time referred to as a Blight and when the Grey Wardens are needed most, as they are the only real solution to ending a Blight.  In this first game, there are a number of obstacles to overcome while you try to unite the country against the impending threat, and there is treachery around every corner as the Wardens are declared traitors after an initial battle against the darkspawn.

There are a number of characters who you meet in game one that will progress forward through each game, some of them taking on major roles in Inquisition.  Same can be said of characters from game two.  Fun fact: if you’re game one character is a human mage, you will be related to the protagonist in game two.

DA2In game two, you are a human whose family has escaped the Blight and traveled across the sea in search of a safe haven.  The entire game takes place in and around the city of Kirkwall.  Although many people didn’t care for this game, especially in comparison to Origins – you could only play as a human, there was a lot of repetition in the floor plans, and the primary single location of the city as the backdrop – this is where game three is setup; the conflict between the mages and the Templars.  Without giving too much away, one of your allies takes drastic action that incites a war between the mages, who are considered dangerous and are required to live in prison-like societies called Circles, and their captors/overseers, the Templars.

Fun fact: there is a Dragon Age 2 DLC that introduces you to a powerful darkspawn named Corypheus.  It was Hawke’s father, a mage, and the Grey Wardens who imprisoned him.

DAIGame three begins 10 years after the events of game one.  Your protagonist is found as the sole survivor of a terrible, cataclysmic tragedy where a resolution to the Mage-Templar War was supposed to transpire.  A conclave was called at the Temple of Sacred Ashes in Haven, a village you will have discovered in game one.  With no memories of what happened and a strange mark upon your hand, you are considered responsible for a number of the current problems, including a giant hole in the sky; a Breach in the veil, the line between reality and the spirit world, is the source of a demon invasion.  An old form of justice, an inquisition, is formed to solve the many problems that the world now faces.

Everything you’ve learned from the past two games will pay off as you make your way through Inquisition.  The things you know about the Wardens are relevant.  A relic you found in game two has resurfaced with a vengeance.  You will see old, familiar faces (Hello, Flemeth) and meet interesting, new ones (Well, hellooo Solas).  The world of Dragon Age is vast and all encompassing, and you will discover how well it’s constructed.  I instantly became devoted to the series because it combined things I love such as fantasy, medieval times, old world orders, magic, dragons, romance, and adventure, and then went above and beyond to make it a fully fleshed out universe.

As I’ve tried to end each of these posts with some relevance to writing, you will find, if you choose to play, how key world building is and character development.  It’s key to think multiple steps ahead, whether you’re writing a single story or a series.  How do people know one another?  This may reflect in how supposed strangers speak to one another upon meeting – there may be a history there.  What is their religious affiliation?  How do they feel about the history of their people?  Their government?  What consequences do their actions have later?  This is a good one to consider, especially in a serial.  Actions taken by a character may have unforeseen consequences that may be fun to explore later.  Think of the domino effect.

Consider epic tales like Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones.  I would count Dragon Age among them.  There is so much more going on than the happenings of one person, and you get to live it first hand, well, vicariously through your character.  Your decisions have bearing on the world around you and shape it.  You become a leader in each game; you build loyalty and friendships or enemies.  You get to save the world, and maybe the boy too.  😉

Aren’t these a few of the reasons we write?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of posts as much as I’ve enjoyed talking about it.  I could do so much more.  I’m continuing my fanfiction shortly, so if you’re not inclined to play, you can follow along the journey of my Origin character as she tries to save the world and the boy.  I will continue to post them here, as well as on Wattpad and Archive of Our Own (which I just realized needs to be updated).

Have a great weekend and Happy Writing!

A Discrepant Writer Reviews: The Quest

The QuestI am not a reality show watcher.  Other than RuPaul’s Drag Race, I have only seen snippets of shows, mostly through The Soup.  Randomly searching through the Netflix options, The Sis and I came upon a reality competition show called The Quest.  We turned it on out of curiosity, but not only were we hooked, we’re ready to sign up for next season.

Here’s a quick synopsis: Contestants are transported to a magical realm to help a kingdom under attack from a dark force.  Through a series of adventures where new skills are learned and tested, one will rise above the others to wield a magical weapon that will help them defeat the impending evil.

Now here’s what I liked about the show.  It’s a fantasy world created and filmed in a castle in Austria.  The queen of the realm, her advisors, and her kingdom played their roles wonderfully.  They had backstories and stayed in character, adding an authentic feel to this world.  It’s a combination of role playing and competition where the contestants, aka paladins, actually helped one another to succeed.  There was very little in-fighting or backstabbing, something I generally expect from most of these “reality” based shows.  Also, there was never any mention of prize money.  A trip to Europe to live out your childhood fantasy of saving a kingdom as a worthy knight is prize enough.  This is another reason I feel the competitors were inclined to be kinder to one another.

The elimination round is judged by the Greek mythological Fates (and you know how I have a soft spot for them), and you’re guided and mentored by a knight of the realm.  Now for my cosplayer friends and fellow fantasy genre enthusiasts, doesn’t this sound like the ideal competition for us?!  *A spoilery bonus, the eliminated contestants return for the final fight, so there is an honest sense of teamwork and camaraderie.

There is no telling who will be the winner.  Size and speed don’t necessarily give you an overwhelming advantage, as some rounds required a variety of skill sets.  Overall, the show is a lot of fun, and I highly recommend it to those who prefer to spend their time in the books and movies of other worlds; where dragons rule the sky and heroes are created, where you can live in a castle, make friends with the queen, and save the day.5stars

It makes me want to cosplay all the more and join the Society for Creative Anachronism, which I’ve been meaning to do for ages.

Give it a watch, or if you already have, share with me your thoughts.

Guilty Pleasures

I’ve had a snippet of this post pending for some time, and after reading through some blogs I decided today was the day to talk about something we all have…

TVblueGuilty pleasures.

Admit it.  We all have at least one; be it a book, a tv show, a movie, or what-have-you, that we enjoy for no reason.  It doesn’t have to be Oscar worthy, or popular, but for some reason we just love it.  Geek culture has opened the door to more possibilities, allowing things that were once hidden – under beds, in the back of closets, and only looked at in the privacy of our rooms – to have their day in the sun.  This is something I fully endorse.  It allows us to be more honest about who we are, what we like, and unites us with other like-minded people, even if only virtually.  It gives us a place to be ourselves.

SleepingBeautyI was born a Disney princess.  After many years it felt like it should be something that should be tucked away and that I should “grow up”, but it is absolutely a part of me.  If you’ve ever read my “about” page, it’s all laid out right there.  I do love the color pink.  I love the idea of love at first sight.  When my feminism falters, I do still want my Prince Charming to rescue me.  I want to be wooed.  I love castles.  And twinkle lights.  I love long flowy dresses and chivalry.  I want happy endings.  But this is not my guilty pleasure because although at times I felt it was something I should outgrow, I’ve never kept it a secret.  This is just me.

Dragon Age is also not my guilty pleasure.  My love affair with England (and everything related including its men) is also nothing to be shy about.  But I do have a few.

Confession time.

I don’t know why and I don’t dig deep into wondering why I will watch, every time they’re on, films like The Abyss, Twister, or Lake Placid.  Every time.  I don’t think I have any tv watching guilty pleasures, because I don’t watch any reality tv or anything I think I should be embarrassed about.  I don’t think.  I did watch two seasons of Brett Michaels’ Rock of Love years ago during a marathon weekend, but that’s it.  I am so thankful to not have cable right now though.  Netflix really limits what I have access to.

I don't know what I'm looking at..But my new guilty pleasure is the whole fan fiction thing, which includes “shipping” (the idea of wanting two fictional characters to get together, and this is regardless of sexuality or even being within the same canon – I found an Alias/Captain America crossover that I just loved, and am waiting for more).  This is something that always sort of floated in the back of mind, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized there was an outlet for it.  In addition to the tamer side of fan fiction (my DA fanfic falls into this category, for now 😉 ), I have been introduced to what can only be considered smut, and as a princess (and still a naive one at that), this is all new to me.  I have to keep Googling terminology.  But I secretly love it.  Well, not a secret any more.

So what about you?  What are your guilty pleasures?  Are you willing to voice them aloud?  C’mon…share. 🙂

An Odd Sense of Accomplishment

DA-MageFirst of all, I’d like to thank you all for your continued support while I’ve posted and rambled about this particular topic, for what seems like days on end.  I appreciate having such a kind and welcoming space to share in.

So…Chapter One: The Brecilian Forest (a fan fiction story based on a video game, Dragon Age), is complete.  Yes, chapter one.  After some thinking and the revelation of the pleasure this story gave me, I’ve decided to continue the story of my mage according to the game’s timeline; just snippets of events that could have or may have happened while on this adventure.

Potentially 7 chapters overall, with each chapter a different location visited in the game; Redcliffe Village & Castle, Orzammar, the home of the dwarves, The Circle Tower, the home of the mages and my character’s former home, and finally Denerim, the capital city of this fictional land.  A lot happens in Denerim, so I’m thinking this will be broken into two chapters, one earlier on in the timeline, and another chapter wrapping up the story as this is where the final battle in the game takes place as well.  And then I was thinking, I may need to do a “what happens after all the fighting is over” chapter.  I want my happily ever after, or what ever that might mean for my characters.

There is a scene near the end of the game in which a decision must be made that could have a tremendous impact on the characters, and this is something I have always wished to explore, the emotional ramifications of that choice.  In the game, there is a short conversation, a snippet of a scene if one choice is made, then it fades to black, never really to be discussed again.  Nope, not having it.  I want to explore the potential pre and post conversations more in-depth.

BrecilianForestCaveThis became so much more than I ever intended.  One writing prompt image of concept art started it all.  I just started writing.  I had no idea or concept for the story, no outline, no timeline, or a vision until last night.  It all sort of just came together, and now this part of my hero’s journey is complete.  It’s a little over 6,500 words and it wrapped up nicely.  Well, I think so considering the lack of vision.  If you’ve been following along as I’ve posted, I did a little rewriting, so there are newly added scenes.

I wrote the story in the first person because I liked the idea of it almost being like a journal of this character; to see the world through her eyes, to hear her thoughts, to feel her emotions.  As a screenwriter, I have to write almost removed from all that because of the style and technique that screenwriting requires.  And I truly believe that writing this has helped my writing overall.  I was excited to sit down and write, which, as my fellow writers can attest, can sometimes feel like a chore.  Sometimes writing is painstaking, a challenge, and we can sit for hours without accomplishing much more than a few sentences.  I sat down a few times and wrote 6,500 words.  Me.  That’s why I entitled this post “an odd sense of accomplishment”.  I’m kind of proud.

I’m not sure how to post it, so I’ve added it to the Excerpts section here.  I broke it down into 4 sections, but it is all on the same page.  I’m also thinking of adding it to the fan fiction website I mentioned the other day, Archive of Our Own, in an effort to be a part of that community.  And if you’re wondering how this all began, you can read my post about my Dragon Age Obsession here.

Have a wonderful and productive weekend everyone!

And thanks again!  xx, Rach

Open to Suggestion

Hi all!

suggestion_box_icon

I am calling on my fellow bloggers – Who or what blogs do you recommend?  Offer up to me some of your favorite writing, screenwriting, geek culture, sci-fi/fantasy, history, something for an Anglophile, or anything that piques your interest blogs…I am open to suggestion.

Feel free to promote yourself! 😉

Thanks!
xx, Rach

My Dragon Age Obsession

DA3CUsword&ringsI am not the first to talk about this, and actually, it may appear I’m late to the party, but I’ve been focused on being helpful, and I’ve been so serious lately, that I’ve forgotten to explore some of the other things that intrigue me.  Case in point, the upcoming release of the new game in the Dragon Age series, Inquisition.  Due October 7, 2014.

I am so excited!  For those of you who don’t know this about me yet, I am obsessed with Dragon Age.  Thank you, David Gaider, creator of this fantastic world!  The original game, Origins, was the most fun I’ve had playing a game in a while, and I unabashedly admit to playing it through three times (as each different class, and every time I romanced the same character because I cannot be mean to him or refuse him, I’ve tried, but I always feel badly about it, to which my sister openly mocks me).

For those of you unfamiliar with the game, here are a few reasons why I love it –

  • It takes place in a magical medieval land
  • There are wonderful backstories and character development, and it takes time and effort to build relationships
  • There is wonderful dialogue, comedic side comments during gameplay, and multiple options for romance
  • The game encompasses issues regarding race, religion, and politics
  • You become part of a group known as the Grey Wardens, a legendary order of warriors/guardians, and due to actions within the game are one of two left in the land, and the only hope of defeating the impending threat of a demonic-type horde
  • There are multiple threats and obstacles to overcome
  • The events in this game can be uploaded to DA2 which then shapes some of the events in that world, and then those will affect the third.
  • And for a writer, all of the intricacies are a great lesson in story, character development, and world building

And this is what this obsession has done to me  – For Christmas, my sister bought me the wonderful and comprehensive compendium.  I have been inspired to write fan fiction.  I have played with the idea of getting a DA inspired tattoo (I don’t have any).  I have bought music from the soundtracks.  I have read books based on the game.  I have looked for jobs at Bioware.  There was a contest to have your voice included in the new game, and I was preparing for it, then went out of town and missed the deadline.  There was some anger for a few days.  I’m still angry.  I have looked and will eventually buy some memorabilia, i.e. a sword, tee-shirt, what-have-you, when I’m not broke.  I want to buy a PC (I use Apple) just so I can create mods (extra scenes with new dialogue, special armor, etc. that can then be inserted into the game) for the PC version of the game, which then requires I re-buy the game for PC.  I have an entire folder on my computer dedicated to DA artwork.

I can’t draw, and I am amazed by the talent on DeviantArt and their interpretations and styles.  The first two images are Alistair, the Grey Warden and travel companion my character romanced every time (and a female Warden).  The second two are Fenris from DA 2, who is a broody elf (with reason) whom my character also romanced.  I love these!  And am thankful to all the artists.

RomanticAlistair&Elf(incamp)Alistair&Lady(Disneyesque) FenrisDAII-Fenris

So here’s a little forewarning as to why I might be MIA come October. 🙂 And thank you for letting me get that off my chest.

Have a great week!

DeviantArtists: Smilika (images 1 & 4), rooster82 (#2), and  RinaCane (#3)

Escapism

Alistair&Lady(Disneyesque)Today is about escape.  I need a little break from the recent bout of insanity that has made a home for itself in my life.  As my blog is not only about writing, but fantasy and romance as well, I thought today would be a good day to just drift…

I have a minor obsession with a video game called Dragon Age.  The first game in the series is brilliant, and I will hold myself back from commenting further as this is not meant to be a review.  I Googled it and found myself on Deviant Art, a wonderful site, where artists take characters they love and create new and beautiful images (and other art, cosplay, fan fiction, etc.).  I cannot draw, and that saddens me sometimes when I see images like these.  Here are a few from DA that I wish I had on my wall:DAII-Fenris

As a writer, an image is sometimes a great way to visualize a character or place.  If you visit my Facebook page, you’ll find albums of pictures I’ve discovered that help me with each story https://www.facebook.com/RachaelCMarek/photos_albums), and give you a little insight into the types of stories I’m working on.  In each, I have one I refer to as a “touchstone”.  One image that defines the story in my mind.  Enjoy!

Artists displayed: rooster82.deviantart.com, smilika.deviantart.com, and rinacane.deviantart.com

FenrisThank you to them for their beautiful work and for giving this fangirl something more for her obsession and imagination!  I’m now inspired to escape by playing a little DA…Have a good day!