backseat dogs

Okay but DAO modern, semi-real-world AU where, instead of walking and camping, the warden and their companions are driving across Fereldan (several times, as the game usually works out).

Flemmeth gives you a ride to Lothering, but after that she insists on keeping the car she and Morrigan share for herself, and the persuasion check to talk her out of it is impossible. After you kill the bandits, you can just take one of their cars. You start out in five-seater that’s in *decent* condition, making it the best of all the choices. (Who gets to sit up front and who has to share the backseat with Dog?) Once you get to Redcliffe, though, Teagan will offer you his 8-seater chevy. He mostly uses it for hunting, so you don’t have to worry about it if you get blood on the seats or if Dog sheds everywhere.

Is your warden a careful driver? (Morrigan disapproves.) A reckless one? (Wynne disapproves.) Always five miles over the speed limit? (Sten disapproves.) Does Mahariel know how to drive at all, or does only the Keeper (if even) learn how to drive, since the Dalish have no need to travel to shemlen cities and use shemlen roads? Does your warden drive all the time, some of the time, or never? How does your warden settle the inevitable argument between Alistair and Morrigan about which of them gets to drive?

Alistair constantly wants to play road-trip games. (“My grandmother went to Kirkwall and she packed…” and of course Alistair will make Sten play I-Spy with him at some point.) Morrigan finds road-trip games extremely annoying, so unless you put a stop to them (netting disapproval from Alistair and whomever he was playing with), she disapproves and pulls out her MP3-player and becomes impossible to communicate with the for the rest of the trip. Wynne does crossword puzzles, and when she can’t figure out a word, she’ll ask you about it, giving you approval if you can figure it out. Sten mostly stares out the window silently. Oghren sleeps, and snores loudly. Leliana reads in the car a lot, but if you don’t remind her to stop every now and then, she’ll get motion-sick and make you stop the van for a little while. Zevran is easily bored and asks “Are we there yet?” a lot. Loghain is THE WORST back-seat driver, but he remembers long road trips when Anora was little, so he’s good at soothing Zevran’s boredom.

There is an ambush waiting for you at every gas station. All of them. Every single one. A pit of dread grows in your stomach as the gauge nears E. Does your warden start trying to siphon gas from innocent cars at night, to avoid the gas stations? Nice try, but you get ambushed while siphoning gas. 

And the most important question of all: Who controls the music? Is your warden dictator of the music? Is there a schedule? Or does your warden wield the stereo like a political weapon? Why spend money on gifts when saying “Zevran gets to pick the music from here to Orzammar,” nets you +15 approval (though varying degrees of disapproval from other party members, depending on how much they hate Zev’s music) and is free?

But consider carefully. Morrigan knows all the words to every Evanescence song. Sten ONLY listens to classical. Zevran has a surprising affinity for Taylor Swift. Leliana’s tastes are all over the place and more than half of her music is in Orlesian, but she will INSIST you sing along with her. Oghren likes heavy metal, but he won’t pay attention and Zevran will change it on him after five minutes. Loghain doesn’t believe that anyone has made decent music since Elvis died (and Maker help you if Leliana plays Orlesian music when he’s in the car). Wynne prefers to keep the radio off and make everyone talk to each other. Alistair is all alternative rock, all the time.

What song was on the radio when your warden and your chosen LI got busy in the backseat for the first time? When you stopped to sleep for the night (because not everyone can sleep in the car), what song did Leliana find on the radio and beg you to dance to with her? Did you do it?

Everyone has a smart phone and there is only one charger in the car. Managing this will require all of your warden’s political skill.