exalted marches

When Cassandra asks Lavellan if they believe in the maker

What Lavellan says: I believe in Elven Gods.

What they mean: your religion is single highhandedly responsible for the almost complete destruction of my culture and it’s people and every time someone calls me the Herald of Andraste it serves as a slap in the face, not only because of the injustices done on my people, but also because it shows that your people really don’t give a shit about all the awful things they did to mine. so to answer your question, no. i don’t believe in The Maker, and I don’t appreciate being called the Herald, but both are being shoved in my face constantly anyways so why does it even matter what I think?

So I think my favorite war table example of Advisors Being Extra so far has to be the Mourning Halla operation where the Dalish are like “hey so since you found out some of the events precipitating the Exalted March on the Dales were part of a big Romeo and Juliet misunderstanding, we would like to gift this human village our ancestors attacked an Apology Deer but we’re worried they won’t accept it” 

and your options are like 

Cullen: March it into the village with troops, RED CROSSING WILL TAKE THIS APOLOGY DEER AND THEY’LL FUCKING LIKE IT 

Leliana: I can convince them it’s actually a trophy of their victory over the Dalish, it will work JUST FINE as long as the humans never find out the truth and the Dalish never find out what we told them 

and I’m like Andraste’s tits you two, Josie please tell me you have some sensible diplomatic solution like you know the mayor of Red Crossing so you can personally explain the situation to him or–

“I can twist the noble who controls red crossing into accepting this, but it will end two marriages and lead to at least one duel.”

JOSEPHINE FOR FUCK’S SAKE

*whispers “the Chantry was a sociopolitical institution that maintained power through threats of Exalted Marches, had two standing armies that it kept in check through combinations of indoctrination, confinement and addiction and edited its own holy text in order to further the oppression of elves, relied on upholding multiple systems of oppression in order to further its own power, and deserved to fall apart as wholly as possible” into the distance*

Thedas Connections

I love that Merrill is from the same clan as Warden Mahariel.

I love that Inquisitor Cadash is related, however distantly, to everyone’s favorite bird-hating golem, Shale.

I love that the Hawke family is related to Warden Amell.

I don’t love that Warden Surana was taken so early that they can’t remember who their family was… but I do love the potential that gives fanfiction writers to invent their own fascinating backgrounds.

I love that Warden Brosca is related to the prince of Orzammar (and that they get a statue in a special spot in Orzammar).

I love that the Trevelyan family is related to House Pavus.

I love that the Cousland’s ancestors were involved in Flemeth’s story… and also werewolves.

I love that Clan Lavellan was savvy enough to send a spy to the Conclave, and then bold enough to demand the Inquisitor be returned to them unharmed.

I love that Warden Tabris’s mom passed down a knife that has been in their family since the Exalted Marches called the fucking Fang of Fen'Harel (!!!!)

I love the letter Adaar gets from the Valo-Kas Mercenaries that has a P.P.S. that says “If you are dead, disregard this message.”

I love that House Aeducan was begun by a dwarf who led the dwarven armies against the darkspawn during the First fucking Blight, holy shit!

I love that Serault is the last destination of Divine Justinia before the Conclave, and that the poor Marquis of Serault gets kidnapped and needs to be rescued by the Inquisition!

Basically, I love that the Warden, Hawke and the Inquisitor (and even the Marquis of Serault) all have a place and history and a gods-be-damned stake in this world, regardless of where they come from.

I’m just going to come right out and say it.

I would do anything for more DA2 content. At this point, I would literally rather a DA2 remake/sequel/spin-off than DA4 -I’m in that deep. 

Give me that scrapped Fenris novel. Give me that Exalted March expansion that never happened. It’s six years late but I don’t care, I’ll take it. 

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed DAI and am really excited to see where the Solas plot leads… But I have never, ever, loved a cast as much as I love the DA2 characters, and it breaks my heart to think that we may never see any of them in game again.


Anders is sometimes accused of being a terrorist, which is interesting, since the game provides multiple examples of actual terrorists as a counterpoint. I don’t think the idea is entirely the fault of the audience, as Bioware is clearly aware of the current cultural association between exploding buildings and terrorism, and I know some of the writers made comments in that direction. But if that’s what they were going for, it’s one of those places where authorial intent failed utterly.


They seem to have forgotten that the defining feature of terrorism isn’t violence (although of course by its very nature it is often violent) but fear. It’s right there in the word, but even so.


When Anders blows up the Chantry in Act 3, it is not meant to inspire fear. It’s not a threat: ‘Let us go, or this is what we will do to you’. If it were, it would be a pretty bloody useless one. Though, of course, magic is used to light the fuse the primary weapon is gaatlok – gunpowder. He is incredibly secretive about the formula – even Hawke, helping him, doesn’t know he also needs charcoal – and has no expectation of surviving the act. Repeating it would be a pain in the arse. Anybody who wanted to would have to start from scratch.


Rather, it is a public demonstration of the helplessness of the mages. He commits a very public crime. And it immediately becomes clear that no authority figure is even slightly interested in dealing out justice. Hawke can kill him, if they are so inclined. But if they don’t, no one is going to force them to. You can be a completely pro-Templar Hawke and waltz into the Gallows with Anders in your party to participate in the Rite of Annulment, and the Templars do not call the whole thing to a halt – because, hang on, here is the actual perpetrator.


It is an excuse to do what they were planning to do anyway. They’d find an reason, one way or another, regardless of Anders’s actions. But this one is handy. Meredith claims that her hand is forced because the city would demand vengeance. Would it? Maybe. We never find out. It does, however, tell us how Meredith plans to spin the attack. The mages were always going to be victims of her fear and her power grab. This just makes it visible.


The people who really do deliberately inspire terror in Kirkwall are the Chantry. Meredith has been ruling the city through threats of violence for decades:


Meredith’s message was clear: remember who holds the power in Kirkwall. Remember what happened to Threnhold when he overreached. To drive home her point, she presented Marlowe with a small carven ivory box at his coronation. The box contained the Threnhold signet ring, misshapen, and crusted with blood. On the inside of the lid were written the words ‘His fate need not be yours’.

World of Thedas II


She’s also practising on the mages in the Gallows – three Starkhaven mages are made Tranquil at random, just to demonstrate to the prisoners in the Circle that it is within her power to do this. By Act 3, of course, she’ll have expanded her reach further, using her Templars to harass and assault Kirkwall’s citizens.


But, until Act 3, Meredith is something of a background figure. The ultimate villain lurking behind the scenes. The clearest foil for Anders is Petrice.


Here, then, is our actual terrorist. Petrice’s end goal is violence: she wants the people of Kirkwall to take on the Qunari. Of course it wouldn’t end there. There would be a war, and an Exalted March and (in her head – almost certainly not in reality) the crushing of the Qunari by the might of the righteous Chantry.


And her method is inspiring fear. Her assaults are relatively small, but calculated to make each side think of the other as violent, dangerous and evil. She’s arranged for the murder and mutilation of Qunari before: the bodies left for Arvaarad to find, so he would think Hawke and the Saarebas were responsible. She’s used poison gas on her own people (it would have been blackpowder, had she been able to get her hands on any) in an attempt to frame the Qunari. Here, she has arranged for the torture and murder of a Qunari delegation, to demonstrate to the Arishok how far the ‘faithful’ will go to be rid of the Qunari. Eventually, she will have a high-status Qunari convert murdered so she can use his death as propaganda.


Everything Petrice does is designed to frighten people. There’s a threat behind every strike: If we don’t fight the Qunari, look what they'll do. Each act of violence is aimed at inducing a panic response – in the full knowledge that, eventually, people will be frightened enough to make war.


The contrasts are numerous: Anders is a commoner, a Fereldan (in addition to the whole mage thing), and at present living in the sewers. Petrice is apparently of noble Orlesian stock (so says The World of Thedas), and belongs to the most powerful institution in Kirkwall. The first quest actually makes a point of this: while the people of Darktown rally around their healer and Anders is quite at home there, Petrice, a Chantry sister supposedly responsible for the wellbeing of Kirkwall, is painfully out of place even in Lowtown. Moreover, whereas the underground falls apart around Anders, Petrice is a rising star – a Sister when Hawke first meets her, a Mother by Act 2. Where Anders’s plan requires that he take the blame for his actions, Petrice does everything she can to shield herself – she always works through agents, and here she sells out her own accomplice.


The common ground is a fervent belief in a cause, and at some stage (right off the bat for Petrice; in the endgame for Anders) a belief that violence is the only way to move forward.


And in the cause lies the important contrast.


Anders’s plan is only of value if he’s right. He’s not trying to inspire fear. It’s knowing that the fear is already there that prompts him to act as he does. If he’s wrong and the Circle and Templars are not oppressive institutions designed to control and brutalise mages – then he gets hauled off to prison (and no doubt subsequent execution), and nothing happens to the other mages. Once the Chantry blows up, he can’t lose. It doesn’t matter whether he lives or dies. It doesn’t matter whether Hawke saves the Circle or helps destroy it. The Templars do hold innocent mages accountable for something they had nothing to do with. The word goes out that the Annulment of the Kirkwall Circle was unjust. The Templars impose harsh restrictions on mages of other nations, who had even less to do with all this than the Kirkwall mages – and Fiona seizes her chance.


Point pretty well made.


Petrice, though, is trying to control people’s actions through fear. She is trying to make the people of Kirkwall think the Qunari are a terrifying threat, while still making them think they can take them in a fight. She is using fear to manipulate people, without any regard for the truth. By the time the Qunari uprising begins, Petrice is either dead or disgraced, making her a personal failure. But the uprising itself demonstrates how painfully wrong she was. A small, depleted Qunari force takes control of the city in a matter of hours. No fight, no war, with the Qunari is ever going to be easy – and one that started in Kirkwall would almost certainly result in the loss of the city. It turns out that the Qunari were easy prey for her before this because they didn't want to fight.


And that shreds her other argument. She has been depicting them as unthinking savages. Terrifying in their brutality, yes, but so inherently less than Chantry folk (specifically humans), that they cannot help but lose. But the truth is that they have thought about this. The Arishok has been trying to avoid bloodshed. The Qunari troops have resisted provocation to a heroic degree. The Qun is what it is, and certainly no better than the Chantry. But the Qunari – the horned people who make up the majority of its adherents – are not monsters, just people like any other. Big, strong people who could have wreaked havoc a hell of a lot earlier, had they not been trying to keep the peace.


It’s easy to make people afraid, particularly if you’re willing to lie and kill to do it. But if that’s all you’ve got to work with, you’re pretty well screwed. And, well, there you go. Terrorism. Inspiring fear in order to achieve political ends. That’s Act 2′s story.

3

If you hear a marching band, is your soul exalted? No, you march. If you hear a waltz, you dance. If you hear a mass, you take communion. It is the power of music to carry one directly into the mental state of the composer. The listener has no choice. It is like hypnotism.

Ludwig van Beethoven, Immortal Beloved (1994)


     Sources: (1) (2) (3)

I am full of salt this morning, so I’m getting into it.

I love Inquisition overall, it is a fun good game. BUT I absolutely hate that the game was filled with hating on the Dalish and tearing them down. The Dalish are fucking amazing. Yes, they have their issues as all societies do but the Dalish are those who chose not to live in the human cities, who took to the wilds and disappeared. 

And casual fucking reminder that the Dalish have a separate culture from Ancient Elvhenan. Each clan has a distinct culture of its own too, complete with their own stories, songs, traditions, and potentially even vallaslin to dedicate themselves to their gods. 

Another causal fucking reminder that the Dalish had everything stolen from them. Since the elves were enslaved by Tevinter to when Orlais lead an “Exalted March” to seize the Dales, the elves have had their history stolen from them and warped by humans. So it is not a surprise for humans to have greater access to books and stories of the past and of ancient Elvhenan but the humans do not know more about the Dalish than the Dalish do and they do not understand the cultural implications of what they use. 

The Dalish deserve better than what Inquisition gave them.  

muse-multiverse  asked:

DAI companions and advisers reacting to Teen!Lavellan post trespasser getting black out drunk after finding out that the elven religion is a big ass sham built on slavery and brainwashing? Especially the andrastian companions, to whom they ask "are you happy now?" (because I am a horrible horrible person :3)

Cassandra: The question cuts her to the core, and in that moment the Seeker cannot help but remember every time that she could have supported them –encouraged their beliefs rather than questioning their faith- and she feel sick. Was she so desperate for the Chantry to be salvageable and her mentor to be avenged that she was willing to cast her own Exalted March on their lives? The answer to that frightens her, but where that might once have caused her to lash out she instead holds her peace. At this young elf’s side she has learned patience and understanding, even against her instincts. And so she does not respond to the question as they expected, but simply folds them into a stilted hug.

“Who could find happiness in the face of such pain? I am sorry for all that you suffer, and will be with you through this as you stood beside me when my own faith was shaken.”

Varric: He’s by no means a Theologian, but no one in the Inquisition is better suited to handle misplaced drunken anger. It’s not a situation that can be handled with a story about Hawke or some tale from Kirkwall though, and so the dwarf grabs a pint of his own and sits next with a tired sigh.

“I walked away from the Stone, you know. Bartrand never really did, I don’t think, but it never mattered to me. It was part of Orzammar and the whole backwards way of life they have below the surface. The Maker and the Chantry…they were sort of trappings of surfacers and so I stepped into that at first. And…shit, I don’t know if the Maker is really there or not, but I’ve also never had to stand there and have someone I trusted tell me that he’s a murdering lunatic either.” He downs some of the alcohol and pats them on the shoulder. “I’m not happy about this, Kid. No one is. But you fixed our religious shit when it was broken, so we’ll do what we can to return the favor.”

Solas: While he’s not there in the aftermath, Solas felt their despair in the crossroads. Everything the Dalish had taught them is turning to ash before their eyes, and in truth a part of him weeps for the Da’len. For one so young they showed such wisdom and understanding, and to cause pain in what they had always trusted in brings him no joy. But it was for other young elves that he had made his choices in the first place, and he must follow through for them now. And yet the sight of them in pain and crushed will haunt him for many nights to come.

Vivienne: She is not, but the question does not offend her. The young elf before her has proven to be a true friend more than once, and despite their years she has always trusted them to make the best decisions. More importantly in this particular moment is the fact then when her world was falling apart –when Bastan was dying before her and nothing she was trying was going to work- they h right there for her. Fighting dangerous animals in dragon ridden territory for a mage whose believes are in contradiction to their own. But Madame de Fer has watched them grow from a young elf more frightened by their surroundings than they wanted to admit into a confident Inquisitor learning to navigate power and political turmoil like they were born to it.

But now they need someone who isn’t so deeply involved, and she has been made of iron for far longer than they have. “I am angry, darling. Angry for you, angry for what has happened. I will stand for you in this, even if you don’t want me to right now. None of us are happy for your suffering, my dear, but we will help you to make it right.”

Blackwall: Thom Ranier once stood on the side of a road in Orlais and lost faith in all he believed in, and now –decades later and hopefully wiser- it hurts to watch the same thing happen to a younger and far more innocent person. Their pain resonates with what he had felt when Gaspard betrayed everything he had fought for, when the Gray Wardens had crumbled beneath him. Bht there was no one to catch him then—he is standing both arms ready if they stumble.

“Never happy for that, lad/lass. But here for you, when you are ready to be again.”

Sera: The resulting argument is loud and painful and full of words that neither of them mean, but when the dust has settled and the wounds have healed the fight is the best thing that can happen. They might be far more elfier than she ever wants to be, but Sera has always cared about the little people. And right now, with only one hand and no sobriety and so much pain in them Sera can only see them as someone who needs a Red Jenny at their back.

“Nobs and gods and all doesn’t matter. We’re going to fix it, yeah? We fixed the sky and we can fix this.” And when the inquisitor finally breaks down it’s on her shoulder.

Dorian:  Maker how many times has this been him? Sitting in a tavern and too drunk to think or speak anything but exactly what is burning through him in that moment. And its more than he can bear. Lavellan probably doesn’t know what is going on before he is hugging them tight. He can’t stand to see them hurt, and quite honestly his faith has never been a huge part of his life. But he knows that they are hurting, and for the teen who has been strong enough to stand before Orlesians and Fereldens and Magister Halward fucking Pavus Dorian can find some strength to stand for them.

“Happy? No. But I am here for you, and whatever you need. You are so strong, and I am sure you can do this. I know you can.”

Iron Bull: He’s lucky enough to be spared the pained questions, but that means that all he is left with is grief. And if he has lost the Qun then Bull is right there. He knows exactly how he feels, exactly how it feels to have everything you believe destroyed through what you care about. And he would never trade the Chargers, he’s made that choice and will gladly live with it. But they are so young and so shaken, and all he wants to do is wrap them up like the Tamassran he truly is and take care of them.

“Easy, imekari. We can’t fix this right now, we can’t make this better. But we will.” And his bg hands are gentle as they rest on their shoulder, very subtly pushing the alcohol away.

Cole: “So much hurting and everything is gone, why would he do this why why why.” The pain is so much, and Cole doesn’t know how to stop it. But he sits with them and after awhile that’s enough.

Josephine: She just wants to hold them. Oh how many times has she said, out loud, that she thinks they are the Herald of Andraste or that it would be easier if they were the herald of Andraste? How many times has she not dismissed their beliefs, but simply forgot about them in the face of her other duties. They are younger than Yvette but already so burdened with responsibility and she could have been helping instead of making it worse.

She probably doesn’t say much and might have to leave to hide her ters, but the next morning the Inquisitor wakes up in a darkened room with everything needed for a hang over and a letter in Josephine’s hand outlying the first political steps needed to stop Solas and the promise of her total support.

Leliana: Its a hard question for the most Andrastian spy master who ever walked the earth. If she still truly believes that the Maker spoke to her during the Blight then she is, in a way, even more sympathetic to them. She knows what it is to face your gods and come out changed from it. And they are so young, younger even than the warden was. Her protective instincts are in full force, and it comes out in her answer.

“I am happy you came back. I am happy we have the chance to protect you now, when we couldn’t afford to before. I am so happy that you are safe. The rest can be fixed.”

Cullen: Maker’s breath where does he even start? How many times did he cry out to the Maker, to Andraste, to anyone he thought would hear him in Kinloch. For a long time he thought no one answered, though later he was able to accept that the Warden was very likely an answer to those. But while most Andrastians are raised from birth to believe that the Maker has turned his face from them he knows that the Dalish have different beliefs. And finding out that your gods are actually evil rather than locked away but general caring can’t be easy. Still…

“Happy that you aren’t actually the Herald of Andraste? Actually yes.” At their incredulous look he reddens and rubs his neck awkwardly. “It’s such a burden for one so young, and we know you don’t believe, so this means that you can finally just go back to beig you and have as normal a life as is–”

At that point the inquisitor is probably just holding onto them and blubbering because they haven’t had anyone really encourage them to give up the role, so he just awkwardly pats them on the back and starts to lead them to the door.

–Mod Fereldone

Merrill is Dalish. She is a Dalish elf whose entire character arc centers around her devotion to and investment in her people’s history, and in supporting them.

Dalish history with the Chantry is shit. Like, “Exalted March” shit.

In my ideal canon, after the Kirkwall Chantry goes up, there’s a moment of stunned silence on all sides before Merrill pipes up, in that very mild tone that she has, you know the one, “Good riddance!”

am i the only one that doesn’t like this trend of making dalish elves completely oblivious to the chantry?
its like they want them to look like “savages” that don’t know anything about the world outside their culture, when im pretty sure dalish would be hyperaware of the chantry?
shit like not knowing what a divine is when she sent an exalted march to wipe them out, or not knowing who andraste is when she is literally the only human figure they respect since they allied with her to free themselves
like
i understand the dalish being confused by human culture, thats totes okay n pretty normal i believe, but it rubs me the wrong way when you talk about them going all “whats an andraste it sounds like a nasty ass disease” or “what is a divine”
like they’re stupid or something

Main reason for Exalted March DLC cancellation? Frostbite.

Mike Laidlaw goes into detail on how the move to Frostbite ended up being the reason why the famed Exalted March DLC never came to light.

More tweets after the 6:24pm tweet… (still going!)

EDIT: Here are the following tweets in paragraph form.

“The Chantry becoming VERY UPSET while various aspects of the qunari started to make moves on the turbulent Free Marches. And this it fell to Hawke to stop things from going to hell (again) while working with Starkhaven and the pirates of the Armada.

I recall fondly that for the big first panel we did at PAX west (prime back then) we all had shirts with missing letters. I recall fondly that for the big first panel we did at PAX west (prime back then) we all had shirts with missing letters. I still have mine. The missing letters spell out Estwatch, which is where the Felicisima Armada missions were based.

The Internet, as it does, had guessed all of the locations within minutes of the panel starting. You guys rule ;) Beyond that, there were some really interesting stories to tell, and a chance to learn more about Sebastian’s family. But as it stood, I think shutting it down was the right call to focus on the engine change.

One last anecdote: our marketing liaison at the time was -certain- our PAX panel would get no people. 9:00 at night, basement room (though big! Held 900). But you folks proved him wrong. We had to turn hundred away. And let me tell you. After parts of DAII’s “feedback cycle” that meant a LOT to me. And then we all sang Mark happy birthday. So good.

I’m pretty sure that experience was why Mark and I were so committed to a big gameplay demo for DAI at PAX. A way to say thank you.

And that’s my story! Thanks for reading along. /endMarch”

Send all your questions, concerns, likes, follows, and emojis to the awesome Mike Laidlaw on Twitter @Mike_Laidlaw.

9

The Dales

“A great exodus of elves undertook the journey to their new home, crossing ocean, desert, and mountain. Their city, the first elven city since the fabled Arlathan, was called Halamshiral. A new era had begun for the elves.

But the old era wasn’t through with them. In their forest city, the elves turned again to worship their silent, ancient gods. They became increasingly isolationist, posting Emerald Knights who guarded their borders with jealousy, rebuking all efforts at trade or civilized discourse. Dark rumors spread in the lands that bordered the Dales, whispers of humans captured and sacrificed to elven gods.

And then came an attack by the elves on the defenseless village of Red Crossing. The Chantry replied with the Exalted March of the Dales, and the era of the elven kingdom came to an end. Halamshiral was utterly destroyed, the elves driven out, scattered, left to survive on goodwill alone.”

- From Ferelden: Folklore and History, by Sister Petrine, Chantry scholar

The Anderfels | Antiva | Elvhenan | Fereldan | The Free Marches | Orlais |
Par VollenRivain | The Tevinter Imperium |

Through Glory’s Rise and Grace’s Fall

Fenris/f!Hawke, 4113 words, sfw. Hawke tries to make up for her failures by staying in Kirkwall in the wake of the Chantry explosion, but soon comes to realise that she will be of more help by leaving the city altogether. At least she doesn’t have to be on her own. 

Read here on AO3


Words never bothered her before.

Apostate. Refugee. Basra. Shem. Bitch—usually in combination with “Fereldan” or “dog lord,” as if that made it clever.

Words never bothered her—and she’s been called many—until Kirkwall snatches the title it bestowed upon her and spits it back in her face.

Thanks for nothing, Champion.

Void take you, Champion.

Shove your help, Champion.

Funny how that works. Save a bunch of plump nobles from the big bad oxmen and you get a title and a medal, but keep a towerful of mages from getting slaughtered by their gaolers for a crime they didn’t even commit, and Kirkwall retracts its favour at head-spinning speed.

It was home, once. The mages she frees aren’t stupid enough to stay, but she does—tries to put the city back together as she did her mother’s favoured tea plate as a girl, though her hands were always more suited to breaking things than mending them. Some glue and a bit of magic made the plate serviceable again, but all she could ever see thereafter were the cracks, the split second when the porcelain slipped out of her fingers to shatter at her feet. All she sees now is the red hue of the blast, seared in shades of blue on the inside of her eyelids.

Never again will Kirkwall be the same. Never will it be more than the collection of its scars, a grim reminder of her failure, a pretty plate lost to a girl’s carelessness. At once she knew it, standing there with her heart about to fall out of her chest: the same terrible certainty that dawned on her when the darkspawn horde rose on the horizon of Lothering like a black sun, the sort of soul-rending moment that one ought to suffer only once in a lifetime, if at all.

Her second home, lost—and the second home she lost, too.

Keep reading

4

Landscapes of Thedas – Exalted Plains [2/?]

“Seven hundred years ago the elven nation fell on these fields. The elven army was defeated by the combined forces assembled for the Exalted March called by the human Chantry, defending their land to the last breath. Then the settlement of Ville Montevelan was founded by one of the ‘heroes’ of the Exalted March, Sister Amity, and presided over by the allegedly elf-blooded Mayor Agur.“

Ferelden Politics And Society

All folk belong to a social class, and each class has its own rights and responsibilities. However, in Ferelden, unlike nearly all other countries in Thedas, members of the nobility are not considered to be intrinsically better or afforded more rights than any other class; they just have different ones. It is true that nobles are generally treated with deference, but this is often due more to the (correct) assumption of martial ability than social status. Nobles from other lands frequently find Ferelden commoners to be phenomenally insolent in comparison to the fawning treatment that they are used to.

Ferelden Nobility tend to dress more practically then their foreign counterparts, that does not always mean they have a sense of restraint however. Really guys? Really?

The primary purpose of the nobility of Ferelden is to fight for their people against all threats— human, darkspawn, or otherwise. While nearly all Fereldans boast some level of martial ability, nobles are expected to excel at warfare—it is, literally, their “job.” The nobles of Ferelden do not own the land. They likely have some small holdings, with more powerful or influential lords controlling progressively greater keeps or fortresses, but it is the freeholders that actually own the farms, the crops they produce, and the profits that come from selling their goods. In Ferelden this matters a great deal, because it is the commoners who are actually the patrons of the nobility. Each freehold chooses which bann or arl it gives allegiance to and the decision is renewed each year. A group of freeholders dissatisfied with the protection they are getting from their local bann can remove their patronage and give it to another bann— though likely one within a fairly short riding distance.

Alistair is a possible king of Ferelden. He would look badass here but for the fact that he doesn't use two handed weapons.

At the top of the noble structure sits the King of Ferelden, whose court is in the capital city, Denerim. The King is entrusted with advancing the interests of all the people of Ferelden in both war and trade. While the King can suggest new laws for the land, the “King’s Law” is in fact generally dictated by precedent and voted on by the Landsmeet, a legislative body made up of all the nobles of Ferelden that meets once a season within Denerim to deliberate on issues and bring grievances before the King. Not all of the nobility can regularly make the trip to Denerim, so many send a proxy, either a younger family member or a trusted commoner, to vote in their place.

The Bryce and Eleanor Cousland ruled Highever at the outset of the 5th blight. It would be a shame if anything HAPPENED to them! 

Directly beneath the King are the teyrn, warlords of such power and influence that they have multiple banns, and arls, sworn directly to them. There are two Teyrnirs in Ferelden at present, Highever and Gwaren.

A Ferelden Bann. 

Beneath the teyrn are the arls, powerful banns who control critical fortifications or regions of land along the borders of Ferelden. Banns make up the bulk of Ferelden’s nobility. There are a great many banns with widely varying levels of power throughout the kingdom. When the banns speak with one voice, they are the greatest power in Ferelden, but this is rare, for they’re a quarrelsome lot. Trivial feuds, which occasionally give rise to petty wars, are far from unknown among the bann.

Ser Cauthrien is/was a Ferelden knight of commoner birth

The least of the nobility is the Fereldan knight, a heavy infantry soldier sworn to serve a greater noble. The prestige of a given knight is greatly influenced by whom he is sworn to serve. They have no particular code of conduct, valuing fighting skills and leadership abilities before all else. While some knights do control land, it is never very significant, as anything more would mean they would be regarded as a bann. In Ferelden, commoner soldiers of exceptional fighting skill have a very real chance of being knighted and joining the ranks of the nobility. Fereldans are proud of this “social mobility,” which is rare in Thedas.

Don’t mess with the Crafters

Because Ferelden’s social system developed directly from the Alamarri tribes, it carries their barbarian values within it. A hunter is certainly a valued member of his tribe, but there are many other hunters. A man who can craft a fine weapon, on the other hand, has a rare skill and is thus more respected. The craftsmen of the Alamarri tribes, the woodworkers, the smiths, the builders, and so forth, organized themselves over the years into semi-formal groups known as “crafthouses” that shared knowledge and trade secrets with one another. They truly became a power unto themselves, though, when they made their members swear to put crafthouse before tribe.

While the crafthouses have no formal political power, only a fool ignores them as they have total power over their particular craft in Ferelden.

Once upon a time the Chantry had pretty robes.

The majority of Fereldans believe in the Maker’s Chantry, following the words of the Prophetess Andraste. Those who do not believe generally hold their tongues. However, while priests of the Chantry are honored in Ferelden, they do not have the political influence that they enjoy in the Empire of Orlais and other nations. Fereldan priests are considered part of the crafting class and are expected to focus their attentions on spiritual matters. The Chantry has been trying to increase its political influence for a long time, but they have not been very successful. That the Revered Mother Bronarch, Grand Cleric of Ferelden, put the Orlesian usurper Meghren on the throne did not help their cause.

Don’t mess with the freemen either… in fact just don’t mess with Ferelden. Are you listening Orlais!?

Beneath the crafters are the freemen, who make up the bulk of the common classes. Scholars split the freemen into “High Freemen”—freeholders, soldiers, innkeepers, and other employed persons; and “Low Freemen”—criminals, prostitutes, elves, and other riffraff.

Freemen are exactly that in Ferelden—they have the right to go where they will, live where they choose, and earn such a living as they may. There are no serfs in Ferelden; all are paid in coin or barter for their work.

Most fereldens are Freeholders and  typically live on freeholds, farms that may have been worked for generations by one or more families. Freeholds are highly social and communal with everyone pitching in to help their neighbors. Freehold governance varies wildly, but generally involves a council made up of representatives from each family that decide on what to plant, what to build, which bann to support, and so forth.

A circle mage, apparently they also got a fashion downgrade.

The Fereldans, as a people, tend to be highly superstitious and extremely distrustful of magic. It is no accident that the Circle Tower of Ferelden is/was situated on a remote island far from the more populous cities. Long ago it was in Denerim, but an angry mob burned it down. Magic use outside of a restrictive set of rules is/was forbidden.

Mages are/were required to join the Circle of Magi. Those who do not are/wer called apostates and hunted down by Chantry templars.

An Apostate. Note the sneaking around and friendly “I’m not an insane bloodythirsy villan” look.

Apostates who practice forbidden blood magic are known as maleficar and they are feared above all.

Gee I wonder Why? 

To guard against the use of proscribed magic and demonic possession, templars are/were stationed in every Circle tower. The Chantry admits that mages can be useful against foes like darkspawn, but their trust of mages only goes so far.

Dwarfs like beards. Except for hipster dwarves. They wear theirs on their chests.

The Fereldans don’t know a great deal about their dwarven neighbors in Orzammar, other than that they’re a stout folk whose troubles are many and whose craftsmanship is exquisite. Neither, in fact, do the dwarves living in Ferelden. Long estranged from their kin, the bulk of Ferelden’s dwarves belong to a dwarf caste known as the “Surfacers” and they are regarded with barely concealed contempt by their kind, though this apparently doesn’t prevent Orzammar dwarves from doing business with them. Long years ago, Fereldan crafters regarded merchants with distaste, as they profited from goods they had no hand in creating. When dwarves first started selling their wares within Ferelden’s cities, the locals thought they were the crafters of the goods in question, and the dwarves saw no need to educate them otherwise. The dwarves eventually offered to move the merchandise of the various crafthouses for them, which was agreed to, so long as they didn’t undercut human goods with their own. This accord grew over the years into the creation of the Trader’s Crafthouse, which now handles the selling of goods throughout Ferelden and beyond, even as far as Orlais and the Free Marches.

Note the pointed ears.

Old stories relate that there was once an elven empire in the north, but the Tevinter Imperium destroyed it long ago and enslaved its people. The words of the Prophetess were instrumental in convincing the elves to rebel against the Tevinter and after the fall of the Imperium, the elves were granted a country of their own south of Orlais called the Dales, in return for their help. For several centuries, all was well, until the elves were found to have accepted Andraste’s words, but not her faith. The Chantry called for an Exalted March against the people of the Dales for daring to adhere to their old gods. The Dales were sacked and their people scattered, now a nation without a home. The elves that still cling to their old beliefs are known as the Dalish elves, an insular people who travel the wilds in massive wagons drawn by huge white stags and have as little truck with humans as possible.

But they do know how to party.

The rest of the elves now live in human settlements, but inevitably apart in an area sectioned off for their use called an “alienage.” Some alienages are walled off, but this is as much for the safety of the elven families as it is to protect humans from the “thieving knife-ears.”

bad things happen to elves who try to move out of the alienage 

Elves are a graceful people with fair features. They are usually servants or laborers in Ferelden. While their lot is not easy, they are paid for their work and have rights, which is seldom the case elsewhere. Many Fereldan elves hold that they have far better lives than their people in other countries, as they would rather be poor freemen than rich slaves.

DOGGIES!

Since the days of the Alamarri when wolves fought alongside warriors, canines have been highly regarded in Ferelden. In modern times, dogs have taken the place of wolves. Many communities allow dogs to roam freely, and “own” them collectively. Breeding is an ancient tradition and a wide variety of dogs exist. One of the most famous breeds in Ferelden and beyond is the “mabari”—a huge, mastiff-like war hound of incredible intelligence, capable of responding to complex orders.

Extracted, edited, and compiled from the Dragon Age Table Top RPG by bloodypenofferelden (a few of the pictures from the wiki) More to come!

anonymous asked:

(1/2)WRT the Chantry: A lot of DA fans seem to think that the Chantry is a bad thing, which aught to lose its army, or be otherwise diminished. But this, to me, seems a risky proposition. Thedas lacks any real formalisation for international relations. The factions of Thedas are largely relegated to reasonably polite interactions due to Chantry oversight, and no other organization seems ready to fill that gap (given the fates of the Inquisition). Without some bureaucracy for war, trade and such.

Oh, Anonymous person. What did I say? ‘Please not another ask about how the Chantry should absolutely have an army’. And what do I get?


Anyway, I’m still missing your part 2, but this was a week and about 14 boxes of tissues ago, and besides, unless the part 2 is a ‘Belated April Fools!’ I’m not sure I’d survive it. So. I’ll just work with this.


But why do people keep asking stuff like this? I mean – we have real-world examples, both historical and current, of why giving a religious organisation a) weapons, and b) political power is a really fucking awful idea. How many corpses do we have to scatter across history before people work this out?


1) The Chantry as somehow the only people who are capable of handling international relations.


I have no idea where this idea would even come from. I realise that pre-First Blight history gets a bit murky, but it’s not as though humans, Andrastianism, Orlais or the Chantry somehow invented diplomacy.


Groups of ancient elves seem to have traded and worked with humans:


What’s more, those elves who spent time bartering and negotiating with humans found themselves aging, tainted by the humans’ brash and impatient lives.

– Arlathan: Part One


and the dwarves had trade deals with the Tevinter Imperium before the Chantry ever existed:


It was with the Tevinter Imperium that things changed. Paragon Garal moved the seat of power to Orzammar to more closely oversee the trade that began with the surface. It seemed that our people were entering a new age of prosperity.

– Orzammar History: Chapter One


Moreover, consider this, from a Chantry source, no less:


The queen spent decades making alliances in the ancient Rivaini way: marriage. She wed her many children and grandchildren strategically into nobles houses across the continent. Within thirty years, Antiva was so well-connected that any hostile action against it would force half the nations of Thedas into war.

– Queen Asha of Antiva


Two obviously noteworthy things here: one being that Antiva is in no way relying on the Chantry even slightly to keep things civilised; two being that Asha is doing things ‘the ancient Rivaini way’, which is to say that nations have been handling international relations through mutual defence pacts and intermarriage since well before the Chantry was even thought of. And just to follow up, note the specific reference to Rivain, a specifically multicultural and largely non-Chantry society:


The influence of the Qun, if not absolute adherence to its teachings, is present throughout Rivain, getting stronger as one heads north toward Kont-aar … The Rivaini people trace their roots to pantheist ancestors, and many in Rivain still believe that their god and the universe are one and the same … Nowhere in Rivain is the Chantry influence stronger than in Dairsmuid, the capital. Rivaini royalty are Chantry faithful, but also progressive in their beliefs, if only out of necessity. The nation, with its patchwork of cultures, remains one entity through consensus and compromise.

World of Thedas I


Does any of that make it sound as though the Chantry is somehow essential to maintaining international relations? In fact, one might say it looks as though diplomacy is strongest where the Chantry is weakest.


2) The Chantry as somehow morally capable of handling international relations.


I mean, that’s pretty laughable. ‘Reasonably polite’? Polite? Try rampant bigotry and racism:


The Chantry began and has continued to be a predominately human organisation. Other races are seen to be further from the Maker. The elves have their pantheon of false idols. The dwarves worship themselves. The Qunari are worst of all, actively crushing the worship of the Maker and desecrating Chantry values in the name of the Qun. For these reasons, other races are considered all the more worthy of saving. The Chantry believes the Maker won’t return until even the Qunari sing his name

World of Thedas I


Look at all that lovely prejudice the Chantry rolls around in every morning. Again, two things of note:


1) Despite the claim that all of this is because these peoples follow different religions, the simple fact that the Chantry is just outright fucking racist. There are countless Andrastian elves. Now try to imagine an elven Divine … or Grand Cleric … or Revered Mother … or anything.


2) The Chantry’s ideals are toxic to diplomacy. They not only believe that their religion is the right one, but that any non-believer is actively preventing the return of their god. Their whole philosophy is ‘If you’re not with us, you’re against us … and the Maker’.


Conversion is their primary mission. They will do it by persuasion, politics or outright violence – and have done all three. This means that the Chantry is hostile, not only to elves, dwarves and Qunari, but even to non-Chantry humans. Those Rivaini pantheists? Evil. The Chasind? Evil. The Avaar? Evil. Other Andrastians who don’t follow the Chantry? Evil. Remember that the Annulment at Dairsmuid happened because these people were practising non-Chantry traditions. They weren’t hurting anyone. They were following their own faith. And they were murdered for it.


Note that this is also a problem that, as bad as it is now, is only likely to get worse. Thedas is only one continent on the world Dragon Age inhabits. Traders trade and explorers explore; there has been some contact already. There’s a whole world out there that has never heard of the Chantry. How do you think it’s going to go when long-term contact is established?


I don’t know what you mean about polite interactions. At best, it sounds like you mean that two Chantry faithful humans might be able to bond over how superior they are to everyone else. And guess what? That’s not what functional diplomacy looks like.


3) The Chantry as some kind of neutral organisation with the right to manage international relations.


Um. You do know that the Chantry isn’t some lovey-dovey politically neutral faith that sprang out of the ether, right? You know it’s the official religion of the Orlesian Empire, right? You know – one of the most aggressive, intolerant, I’m-taking-your-land-because-it-is-the-Maker’s-will countries in Thedas?


It was founded by Kordillus Drakon, as part of his campaign of conquest:


At the time, the ‘nation’ his mother ruled over was not even half the size of modern-day Orlais, and unified only in their love of Andraste and shared hatred of everyone else. Prince Drakon believed it could be much more. For he had a vision. He believed Andraste had appeared to him in a dream when he was a child and and charged him with redeeming the world in the eyes of the Maker.

He began his holy quest at the ripe old age of sixteen by taking to the battlefield. At the time, each clan had its own variety of the cult of Andraste, its own rituals, traditions and versions of Andraste’s words. Young Drakon unified them by the sword.

Their campaign of expansion stalled as they met heavier resistance in the North. Drakon, fearing that his cause was failing because the Maker questioned his devotion, refocused his attention on glorifying his god. He began by demolishing the ancient Ciriane fortress that was once home to Jeshavis herself and using its foundations to build, he said ‘a chantry where the one true song of Andraste shall forever after be heard.’

World of Thedas II


Its first Divine was military leader:


According to Chantry writings, Justinia I was, before her coronation, the only female general in Emperor Drakon’s armies and a devout missionary of Andraste … Divine Justinia I is most well known for compiling the Orlesian Chantry’s interpretation of the Chant of Light. Her version of the Chant has survived with few changes to this day and is still recognised as part of the canon.

World of Thedas II


This is a religion that was designed, on purpose, to be part of the Orlesian war machine. It may seem logical to talk about ‘Andrastianism’ and ‘the Chantry’ as though they’re synonymous, but that’s only because the Orlesians murdered the fuck out of anyone who disagreed with them, then proceeded to slander their memory.


The Chantry declared an Exalted March on the Dales, giving a blatant Orlesian land grab the holy seal of approval. This has resulted in the destruction of a nation, the dispersal of a people and the near destruction of a rival faith. It did bugger all to intervene when Orlais occupied Nevarra, and the Orlesian occupation of Kirkwall is framed as a religious liberation. Later, explicitly to please the Orlesian empire, it engineered the downfall of the viscount of Kirkwall in order to undertake a covert Chantry take over of the city. Meghren, the Orlesian ruler of Ferelden during the occupation, has a Grand Cleric as an advisor – she does eventually turn on him, yes, but throughout much of The Stolen Throne you will see her attempting to legitimise his rule, which is hardly the act of an organisation attempting to protect a weaker nation from the depredations of a strong one.


On other fronts, multiple Exalted Marches have been conducted against Tevinter, which of course is in no way about two imperial powers butting heads for fun and profit, to the detriment of everyone else. And when the Chantry warred with the Qunari, it was the Qunari who came to the table. Why? Because Chantry diplomacy is always ‘murder everyone who disagrees with us’, and the Qunari, for all their other flaws, recoiled in horror from Chantry barbarity.


International relations. Right.


4) The Chantry as somehow disinterested even in its own right.


Never mind Orlais for a moment. The Chantry, in and of itself, is hardly some kind of disinterested international watchdog.


Consider lyrium. It is in Chantry interests to retain a stranglehold on the lyrium trade – they are able to use it to control their templars, to bolster the powers of their mages when approved, and to earn a tonne of money by handing it off to the Tranquil. Probably the fact that lyrium can only be safely mined by dwarves is the only thing keeping them safe. Also note another motive for repeated conflict with Tevinter: that’s the other big lyrium consumer.


So … what exactly is it that you think the Chantry is doing that makes life better for anyone? Why do you think that it is somehow managing international relations in a fair and just manner? Because people like Cassandra and Josephine think so? But they are Chantry devout humans – in many ways the beneficiaries of Chantry crimes, whether they intend to be or not.


What you think is risky, I think is a basic step toward a functional civilisation. I want to take away everything the Chantry has: its armies, its political power, its obscene wealth. All of it. You know what I think it can still have, at the end of all that? Freedom of religion. They don’t want to leave anyone with that.