owlmoose: (ffx - yevon)
[personal profile] tklivory ask me to compare and contrast the Maker (Dragon Age) and Yevon (Final Fantasy X), which is a fantastic question. Two god-figures, two religions, two metaphors, two cultures. More different than alike, but with a similar founding principle: protecting the planet and the people while attempting to harness and control its world's greatest power. How do these two gods manifest, and how do their similarities and differences shape their respective worlds?

Very long, lots of spoilers, including for DA: Trespasser. )
owlmoose: (da - aeducan)
[livejournal.com profile] classics_lover asked me for my thoughts on Dragon Age dwarves. Let me show you them.

If I have a reputation of any sort in Dragon Age fandom, it's probably as a dwarf fan, especially the two dwarf Grey Warden Origins -- the Dwarf Noble is my favorite origin, with the Dwarf Commoner as a close second. I've written quite a lot of fic about my Brosca and my Aeducan, and the single DA story I'm most proud of is an AU about a Brosca and Aeducan working together. I also created and sporadically maintain the Dwarf Appreciation Society on Tumblr. So DA dwarves are a bit of a niche for me, and one that I'm happy to sit in.

The obvious next question is "why dwarves", especially when I've never been particularly drawn to the dwarves in any other fantasy universe. And I think the short answer is politics and storytelling.

Anyone who knows me from Final Fantasy XII fandom can tell you that I am a fan of stories that are dense with politics, and that make the political situation an important part of the storytelling. Politicking is a theme that runs throughout the Dragon Age universe, but nowhere is it denser or better done than through the Orzammar quest in DA:O. However, this is only really true if you play a dwarf origin. My first time through, I played a human noble, and although I liked playing through Orzammar and the Deep Roads well enough, it's a much richer experience with more personal resonance if you play a dwarf. The events of the origin come back in both cases, especially for a Brosca, and unlike most other Wardens, a dwarf might have deeply personal reasons for wanting to see one candidate or the other on the throne. I like how the various character and political threads come together, and considering the different ways they can come out. And I find myself drawn to this story of a formerly immense and proud civilization on the decline: the ways some factions are fighting against it while others are looking for ways to grow and change, to fight the coming extinction of their way of life. And a not-insigificant percentage just leave, abandoning the old ways to set up a new life and integrate into surfacer society.

Aeducan is my favorite origin. When I decided to start a second game (before we'd even finished our first!), I spent half a day playing through the events of all the origins besides Cousland, and I knew immediately that my Aeducan was the character I wanted to carry forward. She's also the character I consider my primary canon Warden. But in terms of coming back to Orzammar, Brosca is hands-down the most interesting and best written -- their personal connection through Bhelen through Rica gives them higher stakes in the political game, as does their past association with the Carta.

One of my disappointments with DA2 was the lack of dwarf characters (I don't think there's a single named female dwarf character in the entire game) and the scarcity of new dwarf-related lore and content -- not much besides the Deep Roads expedition and a bit in Legacy, since Varric is not very connected to dwarven society -- so I was pleased to get more in Inquisition, particularly the ability to play as a dwarf again. My first Inquisitor was a Cadash, and although I was a little surprised to discover that she was a surfacer, it's a character choice I appreciate. I'm really intrigued by the ways that different dwarves adapt to surfacer culture. And although I could have wished for more dwarf-specific content, I did appreciate the connections we did get, particularly the opportunity to learn a little more about the Carta. Scout Harding, too, provided a bit of a window on how a dwarf might fit in with a mostly-human community. (Although we do see other dwarves living in Redcliffe -- I wonder if she knows Dywn, or is somehow connected to him?) And of course the return of Dagna made me extremely happy, even if a part of me was hoping that the master arcanist was going to be Sandal. The lack of an explicit meeting with Sandal and Bodahn Feddic in DA:I was a small disappointment, but no less real for that. Much as I like him, I had been iffy on Varric's return as a party member, but overall it worked out for me, especially in the ways it tied into the red lyrium thread.

And of course we got an entire dwarf-focused DLC in Descent (even if I found that particular sidequest somewhat disappointing as a player). Cut for Descent Spoilers. )

As for the future, I'm hoping we get a better window onto the obvious problems in Orzammar, and I'd really like to get to Kal-Sharok at some point. The tease we got for that on the Inquisition war table was more tantalizing than satisfying. But I was glad not to see it ignored, and have hope that it's setting up more for the future.
owlmoose: (da - brosca)
Title: Going Undercover
Fandom: Dragon Age (DA:O/DA:I)
Rating: Gen
Wordcount: ~1700
Characters: Kasia Brosca, Zevran, Leliana, Cullen, Scout Harding (briefly)
Spoilers: Yes, through Here Lies the Abyss
Notes: Inspired by a prompt on the [community profile] 21_days Dragon Age fest, but finished about a month after deadline. There's an amnesty period coming up, but I didn't want to sit on it that long, so here we are.

Also on AO3.


"Goodness." Zevran Arainai stopped at the top of the endless stone stairway and pulled out a handkerchief to mop at his brow, taking a few deep breaths. "Did they really have to build it this high up?"

Kasia Brosca shielded her eyes against the sun and peered up, up, and up some more, her gaze finally falling on Skyhold fortress where it loomed above them, flags snapping in the wind. "Would you want to lay siege to it?"

'Point'. )
owlmoose: (da - cadash)
I started on Thursday and finished on Friday. So it wasn't very long -- certainly not a post-game expansion on par with Awakening -- but as a coda to the main storyline I thought it worked very well. Lots of questions answered, and the way is cleared for DA4 (which hasn't been announced yet, but, yeah. It's clearly coming).

Some thoughts and points to ponder (reposted and expanded from Tumblr):

Spoilers! )

What did everyone else think of it? I'd be curious to discuss it, and also the other DLCs, now that the story is done.


Sep. 9th, 2015 11:54 pm
owlmoose: (da - cadash)
I finished Descent tonight and Trespasser is now downloading, hooray! I should have a good chunk of time tomorrow night to at least get started, hopefully will finish up over the weekend.

Descent was all right. It could have been a lot better. I much preferred Jaws of Hakkon, though. Also I am discovering that Blackwall is basically indestructible and can win almost any battle single-handedly. How did I not realize this before?
owlmoose: (da - cadash)
I presume everyone who follows such things knows about the final DA:I DLC coming out next week, Trespasser. I'm looking forward to playing it, because I think it's good that they're bringing the Inquisitor's story to an actual end (rather than providing a bunch of different possible directions as they did Hawke and the Warden). However, it's been announced that it's a post-game DLC, meaning that once you play it, you can't go back and finish any of the open world stuff -- including the two other DLC stories, Jaws of Hakkon and Descent. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I picked up Descent right away because dwarves, but I'd been putting off Jaws of Hakkon. I was unable to buy it right away because it was a Microsoft exclusive then, and once it came out for PlayStation I had sort of forgotten about it (and remained somewhat irritated by the exclusive release). And I started Descent with Kendra, not Malika, and there was just no way I was finishing Kendra's complete game in time (What Pride Had Wrought is up next). So suddenly I was feeling the pressure to get Malika through both Descent and Jaws of Hakkon... by Tuesday.

I just finished Jaws of Hakkon tonight, so that's not going to happen. (I'd have to play literally all day tomorrow, and I don't think that would go over very well with certain people who I'm married to.) But I did want to talk about JoH, because I really enjoyed playing it, and I'm very interested in the revelations about the history of Thedas and the Last Inquisitor. There were a lot of things I was into: spending more time with Scout Harding, learning more about the Avvar, some fun puzzles and gameplay (I could have done without the easily-triggered hostile wildlife, though, especially those goddamn spiders), many of the new characters (Kenric -- does anyone else think he's sweet on Harding?, Svarah Sun-Hair, Storvacker -- I totally recruited Storvacker). I ran the area with Blackwall, Dorian, and Varric, and that made for a great combination, both in terms of banter and their comments on events. Almost all of the side quests helped expand our knowledge of either Ameridan or the Avvar, and it had some of the most beautiful and compelling environments in the entire game.

But yeah, Ameridan's story is particularly of interest, and mostly what I wanted to talk about.

Major spoilers behind the cut. )

Anyway, big rec, for anyone who's playing or has played DA:I. Like DA2 and Legacy before it, a DLC is now officially my favorite part of the game.

Day off

Aug. 14th, 2015 10:09 am
owlmoose: (coffee)
I decided to play hooky from my casual job today for the entirely necessary purposes of (theoretically) writing in the morning and (actually) playing the new DA:I DLC this afternoon, which I started on Tuesday night but didn't get very far. Since it's intended to be mid-game, and T wasn't interested in playing it with me, I decided to take in my Trevelyan rather than my Cadash, and I'm a little worried that we aren't high-level enough -- my usual party of Varric, Dorian, and Cassandra keeps just barely not dying, when normally we plow through standard enemies like they're butter. Kendra is a two-handed warrior, so normally Cassandra tanks while she slashes, but Cassandra is spending about half her time unconscious. I might have to bring someone else, or spec someone differently, or see about upgrading Bianca.

Meanwhile, more coffee, and perhaps I will actually start writing now. And then maybe a drop by the bookstore -- new N.K. Jemisin and John Scalzi books are out, yay!
owlmoose: (Default)
Just a cold, but a bad enough one that I missed three days of work and didn't have energy for much beyond lounging around the house. So what did I do? Consumed a bunch of media!

1. Read comics: Nimona, the latest Captain Marvel collection (Chewie!), and the first three volumes of Matt Fraction's Hawkeye. I've had the Hawkeye books for awhile, and I actually bought and read the first one when it first came out. But then I put off getting the second, and then when I did get it I wanted to re-read the first one before reading it, and then I didn't get around to doing that either. So I read them all in one fell swoop yesterday. And they were great, although predictably I liked the Kate Bishop volume the best. Is the next one out yet? I know it's ending soon, or maybe already has, but there must be at least one more (that was quite a cliffhanger). Nimona was delightful. I don't know whether its initial publication as a web comic messes up its Hugo eligibility, but if not, it's definitely in my first round of nomination picks for next year.

2. Caught up on the last few months of PBS Idea Channel, which I hadn't watched since March or so. Or almost caught up, anyway -- I decided to take a break after the video that discussed Lewis's Law. One of the things I've always appreciated about the host, Mike Rugnetta, is how unapologetically feminist he is, and how he refuses to debate the validity of feminism as a philosophy. So when he spent his entire comment response to that episode pandering to "egalitarians" whose poor feelings were hurt when he compared them to MRAs, I was pretty disappointed. (I don't think egalitarianism, in and of itself, is necessarily a bad philosophy, but those egalitarians who set themselves up in direct opposition to feminism are 1. missing the point of feminism, especially intersectional feminism, and 2. not taking privilege into account.) I get wanting to keep your community open to a wide range of viewpoints, and I concede he may have worded his comparison clumsily, but there's nothing wrong with setting the terms of the debate. I hope this doesn't mean that he either avoids feminist topics in the future, or starts treating them all with kid gloves in order not to offend. Honestly, I'm not sure which would be worse.

3. Picked up my Dragon Age: Inquisition replay. I left my Trevalyen warrior stranded in Halamshiral for months, so I started by finishing up there, and then I played through the remaining Grey Warden quests (as well as a bunch of sidequests in the Western Approach, a few in the Hinterlands, and Varric's companion quest). Some spoilers. )

4. Watched a good chunk of Season 2 of Star Trek: Voyager. I never watched all of Voyager, and not long ago I was struck with the idea of revisiting it. I had remembered watching it for a few years, then getting bored when it became The Seven of Nine show, and most of the first season episodes were familiar, but the second season has been almost entirely new to me. I vaguely remember the business with Seska, and a couple of other things, but either I actually didn't watch it regularly or have blocked the whole thing out. It's been enjoyable to rediscover how much I loved Captain Janeway and B'lanna and Harry and the Doctor, and there's no one I dislike (although I prefer Neelix in small doses). It'll be interesting to see when it starts getting familiar again -- I know I was watching when Seven joined the cast, but I don't remember exactly what season that was, and not much about what was happening before that.

5. With T, watched Jupiter Ascending (which was bananas, but a fun kind of bananas, but I didn't fall in love with it as deeply as many of you did -- probably my expectations were dialed way too high), the Roger Ebert documentary Life Itself (which was lovely, and if you have any interest in Ebert -- and can handle watching a man in slow decline, since it was filmed over the last few weeks of his life -- I recommend it), and the first episode of Sense8 (promising, although I don't think I'll be able to binge on it).

Back to work today -- I don't usually work my part-time gig on Mondays, but I fell far enough behind this week that I want to at least start catching up. Fortunately I think I'm up for it, although I am a bit sad to end my mini media feast.
owlmoose: (da - alistair)
Title: Face the Music
Fandom: Dragon Age
Rating: M-ish
Wordcount: 12,051
Characters: Alistair, Fiona, Teagan, Bianca. Gen, with passing references to past Alistair/f!Cousland and Fiona/Maric
Spoilers: For the mage and Grey Warden questlines in DA:I
Notes: Written for the 2015 round of [tumblr.com profile] dragonagebb. My attempt to answer the question of what a exiled Alistair might have gotten up to during the events of Inquisition. Featuring wonderful accompanying artwork by [tumblr.com profile] stupidlullabies. Thanks to [personal profile] phdfan for a lifesaving beta read.

Summary: Over a decade after he walked out of the Landsmeet, Alistair never expected he'd end up back in Redcliffe as Arl Teagan's master-at-arms, training knights and guards, avoiding his memories -- and fighting the effects of the Calling, which came on more suddenly than he'd expected. As he begins to consider whether he needs to leave, a new responsibility falls on his shoulders: the security of Grand Enchanter Fiona and the other mages taking shelter in town.

On AO3
owlmoose: (da - flemeth)
Have some short fics I haven't crossposted here yet, including my stories for this year's Kiss Battles and some Tumblr memes. All links go to AO3.

Kiss Battles

Title: Learning to Lose
Characters: Lulu, Yuna
Prompt: "They get closer and closer to the end, and Lulu doesn't know if she'll be able to see the thing through when they reach the finish line."

Lulu thought she knew what she was getting into.

Title: Five Years and a Hundred More
Characters: Larsa/Penelo
Prompt: She sees he's grown up.

Dancing at the five-year anniversary of Larsa's coronation.

Title: Visitor
Characters: Flemeth/Solas
Prompt: The Old Days
Notes: Major, major DA:I spoilers.

Flemeth has an unexpected visitor in the Wilds.

Other Flashfic

Title: Minor Acts of Sedition
Characters: Malika Cadash, Sera
Prompt: "I have one word for you: sing-a-long!"
Notes: I haven't completed the quest this story references, so apologies for any missteps with canon. But I think it should be close enough. No real spoilers.

When Maryden the bard sends reports of scandalous songs being sung, Malika Cadash has to hear them for herself.

Title: A Different Life
Characters: Blackwall/Malika Cadash
Prompt: n/a
Notes: Written to dive a little deeper into a conversation that Malika and Blackwall never properly had about his past. Major spoilers for Blackwall's personal quest.

A conversation put off too long.

Title: Good Company
Characters: Alistair/Sereda Aeducan (pre-ship), Duncan
Prompt: "Are you flirting with me?"

Alistair, Sereda, and a lighthearted moment at Ostagar.
owlmoose: (da - hawke)
Title: Rescue
Fandom: Dragon Age 2
Rating: Gen
Wordcount: ~2800
Characters: Sebastian, Merrill, Varric, Hawke
Spoilers: Nothing overt, set during Act 3
Notes: Written for a long, long ago fic giveaway on my Tumblr. The request was "Varric, Merrill, and Sebastian get lost in a cave. Where did Hawke go?"

Pretty much what it says on the tin. :) Also posted on AO3.

'I thought dwarves were supposed to navigate underground by instinct.' Sebastian laid a careful palm against the pile of boulders blocking the way forward. )
owlmoose: (CJ - make out)
Somehow I ended up modding two kiss battles this year. Both of them are running strong, but both can always use more players!

Dragon Age Edition

Final Fantasy Edition
owlmoose: (da - varric)

Welcome to the 2015 Dragon Age Kiss Battle!

Any kind of kiss is welcome -- het, slash, femslash; shippy, familial, gen; cheek kisses, mouth kisses, kissing of... other things; serious, fluffy, silly, or all three at once; fanfic, fanart, whatever you come up with; anything goes!

The post is now open! I don't anticipate closing it, so come by any time!


  1. To leave a request: Post a comment with character(s) and, if desired, a prompt. Put the pairing/character(s) in the subject line and the prompt in the body of the comment.

  2. To respond: Reply to the prompting comment. Include characters, rating, and title in the subject line. .

  3. Multiple responses are both allowed and encouraged!

  4. There is no limit to the number of prompts or responses you can post.

  5. Prompts from all Dragon Age canons and tie-ins are welcome, including DA:I. There is no rule against spoilers in prompts, but please do your best to be considerate. If a prompt response includes significant Inquisition spoilers, make sure to note it in the subject line. Readers should be aware that there may be spoilers in prompts as well as responses.

  6. Crossovers and AUs are welcome!

  7. Artwork can be posted inline, but try not to make it too large. Please link to images that are very large or NSFW.

  8. Please, be kind to others regarding pairing choices, prompts, or anything else. This game is for everyone! :)

  9. Anon commenting is on, as is OpenID, if you neither have nor want a Dreamwidth account.

  10. Send your friends! :D

If you have questions, please ask them here. Thanks, and happy kissing!!
owlmoose: (da - zevran)
It's coming! Update: It's here!

Based on the Kiss Battle that has run in the Final Fantasy fandom for the last few years (credit to [personal profile] seventhe for the most recent variation on the rules), this is just a fun way to celebrate February with lots of fun kissing fanworks. Any kind of kiss is welcome -- het, slash, femslash; shippy, familial, gen; cheek kisses, mouth kisses, kissing of... other things; serious, fluffy, silly, or all three at once; fanfic, fanart, whatever you come up with; anything goes!

The official post will go up on Thursday, February 5th, probably around 10am Pacific Time. Watch this space for more!

OpenID and anonymous commenting will be on, so you don't need a Dreamwidth account to participate. If you're curious to see how the game works, here's a link to a battle from a couple of years ago.
owlmoose: (da - seeker)
I've gotten my DA:I replay through Skyhold, which of course means that I've now played Champions of the Just. And so the Dragon Age writers continue their trend of setting up a world where odds are most people will sympathize with mages, but actually providing a better-written and more satisfying experience when you choose to work with templars. Spoilers beyond.

Spoilers are behind the cut. )
owlmoose: (da - cadash)
I started another DA:I game (who is surprised), and in the process I finally figured out how to get screencaps off my PS4. So here, some snaps of my Malika Cadash and my newly-created Trevelyan, Kendra.

Malika Cadash )

Kendra Trevelyan )
owlmoose: (da - anora)
Two things. First, because I've seen a couple of people wondering about it, the Dragon Age Kiss Battle is definitely a go this year -- I'll be hosting it in my journal again (as well as co-modding the Final Fantasy Kiss Battle; guess I know what I'm doing the first two weeks of February). So watch this space!

Second, and I meant to say something about this earlier and failed, but yesterday was More Joy Day, and what I decided would bring joy to me, and hopefully to others, was some Alistair/Anora fluff. So, have some Alistair/Anora fluff, a day late but who doesn't need some more joy on a Friday?

Title: Expecting
Fandom: Dragon Age: Origins
Rating: General
Wordcount: ~700
Characters: Alistair/Anora
Notes: Post-game. May cause cavities. Fits in with the Fidelity continuity. Crossposted to Tumblr.

The healer had barely left Anora's rooms before Alistair charged inside, eyes wide, face flushed. He stood in the door and gripped the handle, his knuckles turning white. )
owlmoose: (da - aeducan)
We finished last night. Almost 100 hours, wuff. I think I'm going to keep this save around for wrapping up non-plot sidequests, because I never want to do the whole epic scale thing again. Just companion quests and enough extra levels and power points to wrap up the plot, thanks.

My general impression is that it was a little too long, a little too open world, a little overwhelming with all the sidequests and gigantic open areas. I did appreciate that many of the sidequests bore relationships to the main plotline, but it would have been nice to see the connections drawn more strongly, and more often have actual consequences reflected in the main plot. The main storyline, whenever we got around to getting on with it, was interesting enough, and a reasonable follow-on to what came before. Exactly what I would have done, with these characters and this world? Probably not, but I appreciate both what they were trying to do and the various ways in which they pulled it off.

My thoughts on the characters are similar to my feelings about ME2: too many characters, and the pacing in conversations, personal quests, and character development seemed off. In part, this is probably the fault of how T and I played the game -- because he doesn't have the patience to go through long dialogue trees with them repeatedly, we end up missing some conversations and consequently doing things out of order. Dorian's personal quest never fired, despite our having quite high approval with him; I gather this is a bug, and a disappointing one. Our LI was Blackwall, which had its high and low points (more behind the); I liked it well enough, but T found it underwritten, and I can't say I completely disagree with him.

More thoughts, with spoilers. )
owlmoose: (da - aeducan)
I've come to the conclusion that I'm going to have to play DA:I for all three of my major canon universes. I probably would have anyway, but now I'm far more motivated to do so. Although which Inquisitor to match to which canon is still an open question. Also some thoughts on the romance so far.

Spoilers for Skyhold and Crestwood. )

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