So. That was. A lot. In one sitting.
And by THAT I mean major, major plot spoilers. Like, so major that you should stop reading now if you want to be surprised at all. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
So I take my nice mages to go close the rift. That takes about 30 seconds of cut-scene in which Solas and Cassandra talk a little and a bunch of people fall over. And the rift is closed. And I was like, “Huh. Okay. That was… underwhelming.”
And then I’m back at Haven. And then all shit breaks loose. All the shit. All the loose. All at once.
So we get attacked by red lyrium crazed Templars who are pissed about all the things, by Corypheus (a twisted darkspawn-Tevinter-Magister-from-1000-years-ago who was part of a DA2 DLC that I played), and by a false archdemon (aka mean dragon). AT THE SAME TIME.
Needless to say, this does not end well. We channel a little bit of Mulan and cause two – yup two – separate avalanches to take care of the Templars, because there are so many of them (mostly represented by a really creepy and pretty string of torchlights moving toward Haven through the mountains). Corypheus and the false archdemon we do not so much defeat as distract while the residents of Haven escape through a back passageway into the mountain.
Khaaras’s job is to be the distraction, which is actually avalanche number two. It’s a fairly effective distraction, really. So avalanche caused, then run like hell to keep from dying in it, which of course isn’t going to happen (Khaaras is the player-character, after all), and then spend a very effectively long time trudging through snow (and I mean trudging – they deliberately slow you down in this part so that you can hardly move, a very effective tactic to reinforce that Khaaras is exhausted, in pain, and likely dying) before reaching the survivors of Haven.
And then lots of very Lord of the Rings-esque climbing of mountains and standing in the sunlight looking epic. These sequences made me really glad I spent the time to make Khaaras look as epic as possible, because the silhouette of a giant badass horned Qunari on a mountaintop was totally worth it.
And then you find a random castle (partly ruined) in the middle of nowhere. It’s called Skyhold (logically). And this is your REAL base of operations. Like, with a bedroom and places to store stuff (like those bottles of booze you’ve been collecting) and everything. In fact, Skyhold is so damn big that it has its own fasttravel points. And I’ve gotten lost like five times already.
But before that could happen I had to be officially named Inquisitor. So now not only am I in the Inquisition, I share a title with General Torquemada, which makes me feel a little sketchy. I mean, I’m trying to be a good and nice (or at least merciful) Inquisitor, but still.
It is at this point that I realize how very little of the game I must have played thus far, given that I’ve only just gotten my real base of operations. I am at about 35 hours of gameplay and I just found my house. Take that in for a minute.
Yeah. I’m scared, too.
Now in the midst of all the kerfluffle I managed to acquire a weird kid named Cole with a hat that hides what would be the worst hair ever. Turns out, Cole is a spirit (not a ghost exactly, but he is dead), and Vivienne and Solas get into a huge argument about whether we should keep him or not. Sadly, as hot as Vivienne is and as amazing as her outfit and character are, I’m starting to hate her. She’s intolerant and rude, and not in a fun way. She essentially told me Haven was all my fault (I didn’t pick it, actually – Cassandra did) and that I’m a horrible person for allowing the mages to live. Oh, and Cole is an evil demon and I should kill him. I’m not currently speaking to Vivienne, despite the fact that she’s still got the best hair and hat in the game.
Instead, I let Cole stay. He’s creepy, but whatever. So was Justice in DAA. Right… remember how that turned out (with Justice possessing Anders who then blew up a Chantry). Oh, well. I’m doing it anyway.
The other really interesting thing that happens is that Varric remarks how he has this “friend” who knows about Corypheus, and then Cassandra has kittens. Yup, Varric – who has been telling Cassandra for a decade about how he doesn’t know where Hawke is (which is the entire point behind DA2) – actually does know where Hawke is, and the answer ends up being Skyhold (not because Hawke has been at Skyhold, but because Varric invited him – or her, depending on what the player chose to do in DA2).
So then you get the chance to customize Hawke to look sort of like you had him/her look in DA2 (they import gender and class automatically depending on what you chose in the Keep/last playthrough). So my Hawke is male and a mage, and I make a somewhat sad attempt to keep his face consistent, and mostly just end up trying not to make him look stupid because of the sheer horror that is hair (and facial hair) in this game. It kinda works.
It’s actually pretty neat to talk to “myself” from another game (and yes, they got the same voice actor, thankfully), even though it’s a little weird not to be able to control how he responds. But he pretty much reminds me of the stuff that I as the player know from the DLC (but which, of course, Khaaras doesn’t know because he wasn’t there), then says he’ll meet me somewhere to talk more about it. Okay, quest for later.
And Cassandra has more kittens than I thought possible, just short of killing Varric. So I have to deal with that emotional mess. But I like both Varric and Cassandra, so that requires a little smoothing over. I think it’s going okay.
I also get to sit in judgment of some people, including an Avvar chief who has been catapulting goats at Skyhold because I killed his son (in the Mires). So that was kind of amusing (because catapulting goats). I let him live. I think I should have sent him into Tevinter. Alexius is next on the “judgment” list, and I put him in prison, because I don’t like murdering people and I’m not confident he wouldn’t actually destroy the world (again, sort of) if I didn’t. Nobody’s happy with me about that – not Alexius, not Dorian, and not Cassandra. Oops.
Now it’s time to head back to the nice War Map and go kill some random things and collect some shards and all that jazz. And avoid the plot for a while because that just took up all the plot I can handle for a while.