E3 Primer: Factions

See it on Youtube: http://youtu.be/brbVFWyLgYM


Warning: this video contains spoilers from Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2. Minor spoilers from The Masked Empire and Asunder are also featured, but major elements of the plot have been avoided. Viewer discretion is advised.

Some live for peace. Some live for power. And others just want to see the world burn.

Welcome back, to my E3 Primer, sharing everything we need to know so far, about Dragon Age: Inquisition. My name is Ashe. Today's subject is factions: the people and nations you'll find on your adventures in the next Dragon Age game. Let's begin.

The nation of Orlais. Drawn into chaos, the Empire is split between two sides: Empress Celene and Grand Duke Gaspard de Chalons. Let's start first with the Empress.

Celene the First is the Empress of Orlais, the youngest leader to have ever ascended to the throne. Trained as a bard, she is skilled in both weapons and etiquette. She's also one of the best at playing the Great Game. Her rule has always focused on the improvement of culture and knowledge through education. Not just for humans, but for elves as well. She's led quite the cultural renaissance during her time on the throne.

On the other side is Grand Duke Gaspard de Chalons, chevalier and military mastermind. He's famed for his prowess in battle, but as far as politics go, he's not friendly to any outside of Orlais - especially Ferelden. He staged a coup against Celene for the throne, under the belief that Celene was rescinding power to the Divine and the Chantry, and in hopes of forcing Orlais back to its former glory. 

The conflict between Celene and Gaspard will be tearing Orlais apart. The only people truly profiting from this circumstance are merchants selling weapons for warfare. The poor and the elves are suffering greatly for it. Meanwhile, the nobles don't care and still hold their fancy parties. 

The struggle is for power. Orlais is anyone's for the taking.

The Grey Wardens have been quiet since the last Blight. While tragic heroes in many people's minds, since the Archdemon Urthemiel's death, many of the Wardens' actions are suspect. And depending on the actions of the Hero of Ferelden, there may be more factors to consider. 

1. During the events of Soldier's Peak, the Warden meets Avernus - a Grey Warden mage who has been researching Grey Warden blood and unlocking its magical potential. If Grey Wardens could become more powerful through their blood, there may be very few that can stop them.

2. The Architect may still be alive; him or his followers will be gathering more disciples that may either follow his teachings or go insane like the Mother. Intelligent darkspawn is something very few know to be real, though they have now descended into the deeper parts of the Deep Roads. 

3. Corypheus is still at large, whether Hawke chose to save Larius or Janeka during the events at the Vimmark Mountains.

And 4. During the Qunari occupation of Kirkwall, a small assortment of Grey Wardens revealed their taking on of secret mission of high importance, involving something even more great than the Qunari invading.

Whether or not these past events will affect the future, in the trailers it is very apparent that the Inquisition will (or at least, have the chance) to attack and overthrow one of the Warden's fortresses...for reasons unknown. The goal of the Grey Wardens has always been to end and prevent the Blights, but to get rid of these heroes that are the only ones capable of destroying an Archdemon is a risk.

All the mages are scattered, though there is a centralized group among the former mages. (Please refer to Dragon Age: Asunder regarding this specific instance). The following on screen are the most active fraternities previously of the Circle, who will have presence in the Inquisition. Mage leaders will meet heads of the Chantry at the beginning of Inquisition, but the names of the specific people to attend this peace talk are currently unknown. However, it's apparent their current goal is one thing: survival.

Oppositely, the Templars and Seekers who used to serve the Chantry, to ensure peace between those of magic and those without, are no longer bound to their oaths. The Nevarran Accord, an agreement that the Templars and Seekers must serve the Divine, are no longer obligated due to the agreement's nullification. Some templars have been helping mages. Some have been hunting them. Regardless, all templars will soon suffer from lyrium withdrawal and soon turn to other methods to get their fix. That...which I will address in a few minutes. 

The Inquisition. Nobody expects it. The original Inquisition was founded during the ancient times - a loose organization that hunted quote "heretics and mages in the name of the Maker". According to Brother Genitivi, while they did search for blood mages, they were vigilant in protecting innocent mages as well. At the end of its bloody campaign, the organization became the basis of what we know now as the Templar Order.

The Inquisition we know in the Dragon Age is a new organization built independent of the Chantry and other nations. It will abide by no other rule but its own. Its purpose is to find the cause of the Veil tearing in Thedas - and to punish those who get in the Inquisition's way.

Demons are unorganized. Beasts attack by instinct. But, there are those who actually have objectives. Goals. And the most dangerous thing? Intent. Two of the enemy factions we will face in the Inquisition are the Red Templars and the Venatori.

The Red Templars
In regards to the Red Templars, let's take a step back to recall Dragon Age 2 and the Kirkwall Deep Roads expedition. In Year 31, an expedition was headed by three parties: Bartrand Tethras, Varric Tethras, and Hawke (the Champion of Kirkwall). Heading into the deepest part of the Deep Roads, within a primeval thaig not seen in centuries, the expedition finds an idol completely made of red lyrium. Raw red lyrium drives the most level-headed minds insane, as seen by the individual downfalls of Bartrand Tethras and Knight-Commander Meredith. However, red lyrium has the ability to give incredible magical capabilities to the user, even if not a mage. 

Fast-forwarding to the time of the new Inquisition, the Red Templars are former templars who have dabbled in red lyrium as a source of power. Some of the abilities gained by their...experimentation...include casting flaming projectiles and extraordinary movement. The Red Templars's militaristic organization has started to spread across Thedas, capturing villagers and forcing them into slavery and other circumstances. 

One particular creature within the Red Templar ranks is the Behemoth - a huge, red-crystalized monster that can affect the environment around it. Other enemy types for the Red Templars include standard archers and melee-wielding warriors.

Little is known of the Venatori: where they specifically come from and what their clear purpose is, however Bioware has hinted many small things.

The Venatori are composed of mages and mindless marauders. In the demo revealed at PAX Prime last year, one of the Venatori mages screamed "HE WILL REIGN". The cult is in service of a master, that is clear, however the true purpose is unknown. They have been taking residences in the deserted keeps and strongholds scattered across the landscape.

This cult's members have a shapely-pointed mask and a very dark atmosphere surrounding their presence. The banner they wear on their loinclothes? Tevinter.

The mages seem most conscious, while the named Drudges and Gladiators seem less...talkative. Nevertheless, they are a force not to be flimsily trifled with, unless you have the manpower to defend yourself.

Without all the spoilers, that's the list of factions we know so far involved in Inquisition. I highly suggest reading the two most recent Dragon Age books: Asunder by David Gaider and The Masked Empire by Patrick Weekes. Links to buy them on Amazon are listed in the description.

Thanks for watching! Be sure to keep a look out for more parts of the Primer. My name is Ashe and take care.