DRAGON AGE: BULLSHIT EDITION

Elves and Elf Accessories
Lots and lots of stuff happened

A month of hiatus (due to holiday scheduling trouble) and several sessions passed before the GM remembered to update the Adventure Log.

The party arrived in Highever and met up with Clan Ralaferin, where Moli was reunited with her family and Alvar was the same but less happily. He went to find some of his old friends, got drunk while fishing with them, and ended up gathering them together to found a new clan (Enasalin) with himself as Keeper (despite not being a mage). Talan helped. There was an epic raid on the castle to steal recover Sacred Texts from the library.

Meanwhile, while hanging out at the newly-established Dalish library, the party met Morrigan. She was doing research on Eluvians, and as a group (with Zevran) they tried to bait her into acting like a mind-controlled person. Luckily for Morrigan, Gisele hadn’t gotten to her (yet) and she just thought they were kind of crazy.

Barthelas came from Clan Thanedhul on behalf of his father the Keeper, who had heard there were strangers in town that Clan Ralaferin seemed willing to listen to. He asked to speak with them. Honora stayed behind doing research while the others went. On their way to the outskirts of town to meet the Keeper, they ran into Alvar, Talan, and Alvar’s new clan, which was too much for Moli to handle and she fled back to her clan and the reassuring authority of Keeper Neria. (Moli retired as a player character.)

Clan Thanedhul’s keeper, Elrathion, asked the party to help him prevent disaster by convincing the clans to move out of Highever. The political situation was very dangerous, because many humans had been displaced and were massing around Fergus Cousland in preparation for something drastic. To make matters worse, people from the Chantry had been poking around which could only mean holy shit guys there might be an Exalted March. The party immediately latched onto the Fergus Cousland part, and the keeper told them Fergus was in a town called Harper’s Ford. They decided to go and talk to him, fulfilling their mission from Anora and getting a better grasp of the Highever debacle. Barthelas went with them to represent his clan and so he could report back to his father.

They found that Fergus had no desire for further bloodshed, but his hands were mostly tied by obligation to his people (and inability to stop them when they finally decided to take action) and all he’d be able to do is delay the inevitable. The party explained to Fergus about Gisele being a blood mage/abomination and he agreed to join Anora against her, but he would have to deal with the situation in his former teyrnir first and foremost. Unable to leave Harper’s Ford, he sent Aria Wulff (the player character replacing Moli in the party) to act in his stead with his signet ring as a symbol of his allegiance and authority.

The party got drunk at an inn in Harper’s Ford before coming back to Highever, and managed not to get into any brawls that night. Talan and Alvar had a very unfortunate sexual misadventure that has (for the moment) sunk Talan’s chances with him.

While they were there, Jowan literally tripped over Astrild while trying to find them, and was delighted he’d run into the right people. Jowan, now calling himself “Levyn”, had come to town in his continued efforts to help people and do good things to make up for being a terrible blood mage and almost destroying Redcliffe. He’d presented himself to Fergus and Fergus, managing to get the “formerly a blood mage” bit out of him, directed him to link up with the player characters.

Lynund, Jowan’s templar friend/sort of bodyguard to whom he hadn’t explained his intentions, was kind of upset at him for taking a huge risk. At least that worked out okay.

The party, with failmage and failtemplar in tow, went back to Highever. Honora was very upset at them for leaving her behind and possibly getting killed, while also being troubled that such a thing upset her at all. The others caught her up on the situation with Fergus and the clans. As a group, they got to hear Jowan’s sad history and gave him hope that maybe his imprisoned former girlfriend could be rescued one day. (They did this while also teasing him about how Lynund is totally his boyfriend, somehow.) Honora vowed to take him back to Tevinter when this is over.

(Talan got some Dalish romance advice from Barthelas (give him a wolf pelt, it’s tradition!) and tried it on Alvar and it failed miserably. Astrild is considering doing the same for Honora with a nug, maybe.)

Keeper Elrathion accepted the party’s report and they tried to brainstorm a way to get the clans to move. The party has decided that their best chance is to fake the appearance of a Dalish god, which is going to be amazing no matter how it ends. They have the cooperation of a whole clan and several mages, so maybe they can make it work? Aria and Alvar did not get into a fight during this conversation, which was An Accomplishment because of the contentious and obviously polarizing subject matter.

They went to where Alvar’s clan had started setting up camp and began to make preparations when they noticed that his clan’s two non-First mages had disappeared. They assumed (correctly) that they were off banging somewhere. Alvar sent Andruil to find them, but she returned visibly upset and alone. She led them to where the two elves had been detained by Cassandra Pentaghast and the Seekers she was traveling with, because unsupervised mages are bad.

Cassandra’s job was just to investigate the situation so she wasn’t super invested, and because the keeper of the clan had showed up she agreed to release the mages with a warning. The party talked to her about what she was doing here and, upon hearing she was investigating for the Divine, told her that Gisele was a blood mage/abomination. (Honora would’ve liked to be more subtle about it, but Riesa blew the whole thing open with a grin in typical Riesa fashion.) They did not, however, tell her who they were working for. Or that a solid percentage of them were apostates. Or anything else incriminating, luckily. She was eager to hear about this and told them the Divine was sure to act once she heard, though that could give no guarantee of a timetable or secrecy due to Chantry bureaucracy. (And, admittedly, the Divine being hella hella old.)

Cassandra told them they had begun to suspect something was rotten with the queen, and in exchange for an interview with Zevran about it as concrete proof (with her word that they wouldn’t drag him back to Val Royeaux over it) she told the party that now the darkspawn were subdued in Amaranthine, word was that the queen had started digging there. For something. Who even knows.

Honora began to hatch A Plan to use her scholarly credentials to infiltrate Gisele’s operation, but that would of course be after they tried to fake divine intervention in Highever.

Will the party successfully convince the Dalish that the gods want them to go somewhere, anywhere, else? Will it end in fire, tears, and scared halla? Who knows! Find out next time on Dragon Age: Bullshit Edition!

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On a Boat

This week, the party made the voyage to Highever from Denerim. They fought a sea serpent and killed the shit out of it, highlights included Astrild jumping down on one of its heads from the ship’s mast and the final cannon shot (a combined effort from Brinn and Riesa) rolling 30 solid damage.

Andruil made her first attack of the game and we were all so proud.

Everyone reached level 3!

Upon landing in Highever, Honora checked for mail from Anora. Anora was very pleased with their progress and also offered Zevran her protection, which he may or may not take her up on depending on how things go.

The party prepared to make their way through Highever to find Fergus Cousland and for the dalish to meet up with their clan again. Alvar in particular is worried about this and has conscripted Talan into being his pretend boyfriend for intimidation purposes.

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Achievement Unlocked: A Bird In The Hand
In which the party rescued Zevran

Bringing Zevran back to the ship, the party assured Peregrine that they weren’t actually bringing a homicide investigation down on the Ataashi. Eustace tied Zevran up with his +1 rope of good tying, then Honora had a look at him. Based on her experience with such spells in Tevinter she could easily identify the signs of blood magic compulsion, but undoing the spell required more blood magic. (She would have kept that quiet if Riesa hadn’t also figured that much and oh-so-casually mentioned it as loud as possible.) Honora used her own blood to break the hold on Zevran and he recovered his faculties.

It ended up being the friendliest possible kidnapping. With assurance that he wasn’t about to be killed and patience with his magic-addled memory, the party got Zevran to divulge that he’d had some kind of personal disagreement with Gisele just after the defeat of the Archdemon and she must have ensnared his mind then. He’s been under the spell for several months and his memory of this time is hazy. Regaining his free will and discovering how Gisele had betrayed him shook Zevran badly, and the party was kind to him. (And flirty. Because Moli and Alvar.)

Zevran admitted that, at first, he’d been suspicious about how conveniently Gisele had always found perfect, even impossible solutions to the problem they faced during the Blight, but he had stopped wondering as he came to trust her. Now that trust is gone and Zevran is in danger should Gisele discover he’s been freed. Given his options, he’s chosen to help the party out. Whether that will be by returning to Gisele’s side and risking himself to feign compulsion or by doing what he can while on the run remains to be decided. Luckily, according to Talan‘s history of reading (probably tevinter romances), it’s unlikely Gisele knows that the spell has been broken so he has some time before his absence is noticed. Overall, he’s pretty torn up over the whole thing. He hasn’t admitted it to the party but it’s plain OOC knowledge that he was honestly in love with Gisele and believed in her.

Zevran also confirmed what the party had heard in rumor: that Gisele is doing something in Amaranthine about Darkspawn that are still on the surface.

After Zevran crashed, considering it was dark out and he’d had a long day, Honora (with Alvar’s help) arranged a coded message to be sent back to Anora in Gwaren describing this new information and confirming they’d had the most productive layover ever.

Astrild brought Honora some red meat to help her recover from the use of blood magic, and they talked in private (with several other pcs eavesdropping and gossiping, of course) about the earlier awkward situation, and in doing so created a brand new awkward situation. They established mutual respect and a desire to be friends despite misunderstandings or discomfort, and had a handshake that lasted just a little too long. Is this the first step on the road to Honora accepting her feelings toward another woman? That remains to be seen!

Meanwhile, Astrild plans to put feelers out as soon as possible about returning to Orzammar. Astrild has had a very, very hard day.

What will become of the party OTP? What will they find in Highever? What kind of shenanigans can the team get up to on a boat with Zevran Arainai for a week? And, most importantly, will Alvar’s goat ever become a warrior?

These answers and more lie in the future on Dragon Age: Bullshit Edition!

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Denerim

The party arrived in Denerim and set off to find a lead at The Pearl. They arranged a meeting with a member of The Nine Fingers, pretending to be interested in selling qunari horns with Talan being a traitor to his people. While at the Pearl they saw Zevran Arainai but did not approach him, and also there was totally a guy there who looked like King Caillan. Eustace also collected useful gossip about goings on in the city.

While they awaited the appointed time, the party visited the Denerim Alienage so that Brinn could find out what happened while she was away. The dalish elves climbed the Venadahl tree and got yelled at by Bann Shianni, who gave Brinn the bad news that her mother had died during the Blight. The party also found out about Loghain selling elves into slavery at this time.

Brinn visited her old home one last time and took a trinket for remembrance, and the party super awkwardly tried to comfort her and wasn’t very good at it.

They met with Varoth in the Denerim market and managed to convince him through intimidation and seduction (Moli even getting his messenger bird number) that they were legitimate qunari horn traders. Varoth directed them to a warehouse at the docks where they could find his superiors.

The party brought the tal-vashoth pirates with them and sent Alvar, Brinn, and Moli to sneak in the back while the others came in the front. Brinn managed to steal Darion of the Nine Fingers’s logbook before the front party triggered a fight. They had a bag of tea they were pretending was their qunari horn “sample” and, when Darion demanded to see it, Riesa lit it on fire and threw it in his face. Combat ensued.

After driving off the last of the brigands, the party looted some coin, the stuff on the dead guys, and illicit substances. (Talan found the coin and divided it up, but Alvar successfully rolled seduction to get a better share.) Most interestingly, they found a letter in Darion’s log that seemed to be a tip telling him qunari horn could be sold as dragon horn for a tidy profit. It was not signed, but stamped with a rose symbol.

Honora and Astrild were very impressed with each other’s success in the fight and Astrild tried to make a move on her, but finally ran up against Honora’s homophobia. Honora was shocked by the idea and even more shocked that the rest of the party is SO INCREDIBLY GAY. Not that they’d been hiding it. She bailed from the situation and went back to the Aban-Ataashi to wait, and the rest of the party decided to go drinking at the Pearl. Astrild in particular had some sorrows to drown after that.

At the Pearl they ran into Zevran again. While some of the party (read: mostly Alvar) had an intense discussion about goats, elven gods, and old dalish stories, they (Brinn and Riesa in particular) began to notice something was weird with Zevran. He seemed to be watching them, especially Talan. They aggressively grilled him about his duties and the queen, and he was extremely defensive of Gisele. They showed him the letter too, on the chance he might know some of the shady sects running in Denerim, and Zevran failed to hide that he recognized it and that it had something to do with Gisele.

Brinn and Riesa, very unimpressed with Gisele after hearing she spared Loghain after the slave trading incident, really got him upset. Brinn noticed as he became more and more ardent in the queen’s defense his eyes were beginning to flash strangely pink, and she drugged his drink while Riesa distracted him. The party successfully kidnapped Zevran, explaining to any concerned onlookers that he was drunk and they were taking him out for fresh air. This also worked on a city guard that noticed, and it helped that Moli’s seduction roll success continued there.

Now they have the queen’s own assassin passed out and are taking him back to the Ataashi where, perhaps, Honora can tell them something about the enchantment he seems to be under…

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Gwaren after the Deep Roads

(Honora was passed out during this due to magic backlash from some botched rolls, ie: her player wasn’t able to attend)

On the road back to Gwaren they were ambushed by hunters from the Dalish Clan Viddaris, who threatened them a bit but ultimately Moli and Alvar managed to defuse the situation. The Viddaris hunters mocked them a little and mentioned that Clan Ralaferin had gone north to Highever.

Upon returning to Gwaren, the party met Shark and Tass as Shark was chasing a human that had stabbed him. The party caught the human, talked Shark down from killing him, and turned him over to the city guard. In doing so, they impressed and befriended the two pirates.

The party went shopping and threw a wild party at the Dog and Barrel. (The most notable purchase was Alvar buying a goat, which he is trying to attack train.) Highlights include an epic drinking contest that came down to the wire with Alvar just barely beating Talan, skinnydipping in the harbor where Eustace outswam a pirate from the Aban-Ataashi, and various party members getting laid. (Eustace and Gowen were just awkward and adorable and Gowen worried a lot about him swimming in the cold harbor.)

The next day, Honora woke up. While the party interrogated the man they’d met yesterday and found he was trying to earn money from qunari horn smugglers, Honora received summons from Anora Mac Tir.

Anora spoke with the party and, with some shrewd maneuvering by Honora, they came to an agreement that the party would work for her in exchange for political favor to Honora’s family and for pay for their work. Anora seeks to overthrow Queen Gisele, and is sending the party north to monitor the situation in Highever and to recover Fergus Cousland.

The party decided that they would first go to Denerim to figure out what the deal was with qunari horn smuggling as a favor to their new pirate friends, and in exchange The Aban-Ataashi’s crew gave them free passage.

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The Deep Roads Expedition

The year is 9:31 Dragon. After the heroic efforts that brought the end of the Fifth Blight, the city of Gwaren in southeast Ferelden is in a sorry state. Lying so far south means it was ravaged by the darkspawn during the Blight, though the walls were not truly breached, and the surrounding countryside is lain waste and the dark forests have gone fae and strange. After a crushing defeat at the Landsmeet, Anora Mac Tir is no longer queen. She returns as teyrna of Gwaren now that her father Loghain has been made a Grey Warden.

In Gwaren, a member of the tevinter magisterium arranges for an expedition into the deep roads under the teyrnir. Honora Kaloethes believes she has located a possible entrance to Gwaren Thaig, which was sealed during the chaos of the First Blight roughly a thousand years ago. The recently ended Blight means that the roads are nearly free of darkspawn, and it is a once in a lifetime chance. She gathered together a band of brave, possibly desperate, and at least half crazy opportunists to join her in this endeavor. They agreed to go, with only the promise of gold and glory binding them together in the face of their already-apparent tendency to bicker endlessly.

The party travelled to the entrance Honora had found. As they explored, they found a sealed door with a lock made with a lyrium circuit. Despite the efforts of the party mages, they couldn’t open it and moved on. They also found the corpse of a man killed (apparently) by darkspawn, and find a journal detailing his last days on the body. He was a treasure hunter who had come down with two other men, but had become separated when they were attacked by spiders. Interestingly, it seems one of the other men had found something he was sure was a key to the sealed door.

Knowing this, the party elected to attack the giant spider nest when they found a side tunnel covered in webbing. Riesa and Eustace used magic and a torch to set fire to most of the spider nest, though luckily the party managed to recover anything useful off the two treasure hunters’ corpses before the fire ruined them.

Having the key to the lyrium lock, they backtracked to the sealed chamber and discovered that it was an outpost of Gwaren Thaig. They found several weapons and potions, arrows good for shooting darkspawn and the undead, and an old protective rune made for a dog collar that Alvar promptly put on Andruil. Most interestingly, however, were the old dwarven reports that Honora and Astrild read to discover that there was, in fact, another potential entrance to the Thaig. The Gwaren dwarves had sealed it but had not had time to collapse the tunnel of the underground river they’d channeled to bring in water. Based on the work Honora had done to find the entrance, she could also find this channel. The party agreed (over a meal of cooked spider for the brave and rations for the rest) to pursue this entrance.

On the way to the channel they encountered a pack of darkspawn returning to the deep roads from the surface. The darkspawn captain was carrying a massive ancient dwarven wrench and almost beat Brinn to death with it. Highlights of that fight include a failed roll to play dead, Riesa rolling a natural 6+6+6 to burn things, Talan’s first kill, and the world’s bravest hurlock that wouldn’t fail a morale check no matter how badly outnumbered he was.

After routing the darkspawn and remaining cheerfully unblighted, the party found the old channel and used the dwarven wrench to activate the mechanism that would drain the section between there an the Thaig. Unfortunately, the ancient chain broke in the water. Eustace got to prove his swimming skills by diving in and pulling the chain out so they could feed it back through and finish draining.

This gave them a convenient, flat, and safe road straight to the gates of Gwaren Thaig, where they found the last opposition: a pack of dwarven skeletons that had been possesed by rage and hunger demons over the long years. By now, the party worked smoothly as a team to make quick work of the threat.

Triumphant, they entered the ancient thaig to claim whatever they and their wagon could carry in dwarven relics. It was a good day. Despite their tendency to squabble, light things on fire, and (lately) botch magic rolls, things were definitely looking up for the Infighting Squad.

Little did they know of what was still to come now that they had reached level two…

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Prologue: Why Are We Here?
The setup for the first session

Regardless of your reasons, you’ve been in Gwaren for at least a little while. You’ve seen Teyrna Anora return from Denerim with all the cheer of a winter funeral. Politics aside, the city has been very busy repairing damages and trying to clear out the glut of refugees that have been weathering the Blight here.

Not you, though. You’ve found more interesting work. A Tevinter magister came south early in the Blight to study the darkspawn and was stranded here in the chaos. Since, however, she’s found a brilliant opportunity: With the Blight just ended, the upper levels of the Deep Roads are mostly empty of darkspawn. Honora is mounting an expedition, because it’s not just surface dwarves in Kirkwall getting in on that action.

Not only is this an opportunity to collect information about the darkspawn, it’s also a chance to look for an entrance to the long-sealed Gwaren Thaig which (as far as anyone knows) has lain untouched since the Divine age.

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