Background Info for Dragon Age Posts

As I work on my Game Therapy posts, I come across concepts that fans of the franchise will understand and others won’t. These ideas are foundational to the world I’m describing and the tensions my characters face, so I’m compiling a list here for reference.

Added on 5/31/16

  • Magic is widely feared, and mages are locked in giant libraries/apartment buildings to learn control of their powers. They can never leave, so they lose their families, their homes, and their freedom on the same day. They don’t marry; they don’t form close relationships; they just try to survive and avoid the attention of the guards. Some guards are fair and some are brutal.
  • Magic users are called “mages.” Their library-prisons are called “Circles,” named after their order “The Circle of Magi.” Guards who serve in these prisons are called “templars.”
  • Mages who do not live in the circle/who have not been captured by the templars are called “apostates.” They are often feared, because people think they are “maleficarum,” or “blood mages.” This type of magic uses blood as a power source, and it can be the mage’s blood or someone else’s.
  • Learning blood magic requires a mage to make a deal with a demon. Demons are corrupted spirits that embody a strong emotion (like rage, desire, or fear). They are willing to give various gifts to mortals, but they always take something in exchange, and they are not bound to uphold their end of the deal.
  • People who are possessed by demons are called abominations, and their bodies usually warp into hideous forms. Abominations will kill people at random until they are destroyed.
  • People discover their magic around the age of 12, but a few people are later or earlier than others. When I say “advent age,” I am referring to this time period.
  • The rite of tranquility removes a mage’s connection to the fade, removing their emotions, ability to dream, and personalities. It also prevents them from being possessed or using magic. Someone who has undergone this rite becomes “tranquil.”
  • The fade is the dream world/spirit world where demons and spirits live. It is the source of all magic. Humans and elves visit the fade when they dream, but only their minds visit this world, and most people can’t process what they are seeing.
  • Rogues are stealthy, fast fighters who use a pair of daggers or a bow. Warriors are strong fighters who use a weapon and shield, a two-handed weapon, a crossbow, and possibly more. Mages use a staff to focus their spells.

Added on 6/14/16

  • “Party member” is an RPG term that basically means “character who comes with you and fights at your side.” In this game, they are AI-controlled, but can be micromanaged if desired. They also have distinctive clothes, home bases, lots of scripted dialogue, and opinions on your actions.
  • Fenris is a party member, a warrior, an elf, and a former slave. His former master was a mage and a member of government in a country ruled by mages (but not the one that the game takes place in). His unresolved trauma has created a deep hatred of magic and those who possess it.
  • Anders is a party member, an apostate, an abomination, a human, and a healer. As I said above, abominations usually are warped monsters, but Anders is… different. He looks human, and his personality still shines through. As the game progresses, his possession intensifies, giving him blackouts, periods of murderous rage, and generally scary  outbursts. All the while, the human part of Anders mourns his lost control and gradually resigns himself to his fate.
  • Merrill is a party member, an apostate, a Dalish elf, and a blood mage. She is meek and socially awkward, apologizing her way through early interactions with Hawke. In Abigail’s world, a member of Merrill’s clan recently saved the world from a large scale invasion/plague (in Dragon Age: Origins) and died in the process. Merrill is focused on recovering her clan’s past, regardless of the cost, and this desire has led her to blood magic.
  • Dalish elves live in tribes throughout the countryside, trying to maintain the culture and lifestyles of their ancestors. They are nomadic and they worship a pantheon, rather than adhering to the monotheistic culture of (most?) humans/city dwellers.
  • The Chantry is… difficult to summarize. It’s a human-run church, following a monotheistic religion, with a holy text comprised of the songs composed by Andraste, its founder/holy woman/bride of the Maker. It runs the templars and the circles, and it has a history of occasionally using warfare to carry out its goals.
  • The Maker is the Chantry’s god. He created spirits/demons first, then humans/elves/qunari/dwarves/anything else out there. After that point, he went silent for a while until he reached out to Andraste, and then he went silent again. Some people are fine with this, some struggle with their faiths, and others flat out reject this.

2 thoughts on “Background Info for Dragon Age Posts

  1. Pingback: Game Therapy: Dragon Age II, Part 1 | flicker spark

  2. Pingback: Game Therapy: Dragon Age II, Part 2 | flicker spark

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