All of my MCs across the DA universe are mages. I
always play a mage. If given the choice,
ALWAYS. My Wardens, Hawkes, and
Inquisitors are all mages (much love, dwarves).
Even if I play different races I play as a fire-throwing, ice-dropping,
lightning-’sploding MAGE. Who doesn’t love raining down arcane
destruction on their enemies? At the
same time, I’m not a very strategic player.
By the final stages of all my games I’m more Leeroy Jenkins than stealth
assassin. What can I say? I like to DPS the doody out of a playthrough.
So it kind of bothers me whenever I see fans (or non-fans)
talk about how weak mages are. Who doesn’t
get peeved when their babies are less capable or less formidable than other
characters? Sure, you can have
characters like this
who are pictured as rather weak and physically incapable
(and let’s save all of the Chantry and social implications for a later date,
shall we?) with very good reason for that, but at the same time you have
and of course…!
who are incredibly robust!
I mean, look at Garrett’s arms :O.
They need their own national boundaries.
There is a very good reason for the various states of
fitness seen in these characters, and that is this: physiologically speaking,
error drives all improvements in the body.
This is true in cognitive improvements (brain function), strength
(muscle improvement), and the application of skilled tasks (brain and muscles
Active mages are some of the physically fittest people in
Thedas. Let’s call physical fitness a
combination of muscular strength, aerobic capacity, muscular endurance, body
composition, flexibility, and neuromotor fitness1). Who is always having to run away from enemies
in a battle and change their position (until you’re playing tank anyhow)? Who lifts a wooden or metal staff over and
over and over (and rotates it and swings it and changes its
position2,)? You might say, but a staff weighs a LOT less
than a sword! Well, @queenmelisende (a
graduate student of medieval studies) has shared with me that, “…probably around the same as a two handed sword would be my guess”*.
So, let me break down some of the physiology here for
fitness, and really explain why mages are not inherently weaker or less
physically capable than their rogue and warrior counterparts. If anything, the combination of physical
capability and magic gives them incredible potential.
Just as a review, let’s say the body is made up of only a
few things; muscles, bones, nerves, the heart, lungs, and brain. There are a few other things, yes, but these
are the big ones. Muscles are fancy
strings that are attached to your puppet workings (aka bones). Nerves run down from the brain through a
super duper tunnel and then branch out to all of the muscles to tell them to do
stuff. The heart (and its vascularization)
gives them energy to do stuff, and trust me, muscle movement takes up more
energy than anything else. The lungs make sure the heart and its stuff is
Bones and muscles and hearts and lungs and the brain respond
to stress, AKA error. Whenever you put
extra stress on bones (lifting a ten-pound staff), they go through the process
of absorbing more calcium from the blood stream to become denser and capable of
handling the extra stress**. If your
biceps brachii and deltoids attempt to lift a weight they are not used to
carrying, they send signals to the brain that something is not quite right. Neural adaptations begin to form at the same
time that the muscles produce more myosin and create more troponin-C contact
sites (the binding of myosin heads and troponin-C sites is what allows for
muscle contraction)***. When you are running around the countryside (and let’s
be real, Bioware didn’t give us a horse until Inquisition!) your lungs and
heart work in concert to make sure that your legs are getting enough oxygenated
blood to supply ATP via the Citric Acid Cycle so that all of those little
myosin heads and troponin C sites can do their job. Anyone who has tried to do aerobics over a
period of time knows how hard it is to get started if you haven’t done anything
for a while. Your lungs buuuuuurrn,
probably moreso than your muscles. It gets easier if you continue at the same
level for a while and then it gradually becomes harder as you increase your
challenge level. You increase
stress. You increase the opportunity for
error signal to your brain and for the body to “correct” the error. Over time your brain gets smarter, your lungs
and heart become more efficient, plus they cheat by growing more
capillaries. Muscles transition their
fibers to types that work more efficiently (IIx to IIa), and your bones become
denser (this is all, of course, if you do not have pathology to contend with
that interrupts the typical process).
At this point I should also mention that while muscles and
brains get smarter, they adapt according to specificity. Skill in throwing clay pots does not convert
to skill in sewing, even though they both require a level of dexterity with
one’s hands. Running 5Ks does not
convert to skill in bicycling, even though they are both great aerobic
activities. You practice for the skill
in which you want to be successful.
Now, it’s really cool to see mage Wardens go on their
journey to physical fitness. For
Aeducans and Broscas and Couslands and Mahariels and Tabrises, they start out
pretty fit and skilled. Amells and
Suranas… maybe not so much? How much
physical exercise are you encouraged to have when you’re locked in tower for
the majority of your life? But then these
mage Wardens go to Ostagar and it’s a very in-your-face life or death scenario. There is no recourse BUT to become fit. Still, who doesn’t headcanon their Surana or
Amell being amazingly badass by the end of their story?
On the other end of this spectrum you have Farmer [mage]
Hawke and all of the mage Inquisitors, who have literally been fending for
their lives for years, either in Lothering on the run from Templars, or in the
years leading up to the events of Inquisition.
Rogues are fast.
Warriors are strong. I’m not
cracking on either of those classes, but mages?
Mages, IMO, are fast AND strong.
They spend their time either running from enemies (uh, hello mage!Hawke
and the Arishok) or swinging a very heavy staff non-stop during the fights. They are getting the best of both worlds in
terms of cardiovascular improvement and resistance training.
Not only are their legs getting a workout (running and
climbing and jumping and maintaining standing balance,) but they are using SO
many arm and back and chest muscles (biceps brachii, triceps, coracobrachialis,
pectoralis major and minor, latissimus dorsi, all four of the rotator cuff
muscles, rhomboids and deltoids and more).
Even the swinging of their staffs usually involves footwork comparable
to that of a warrior.
Which brings me to the last distinction. If I have been mostly comparing the efforts
of warriors and mages, let me finish by comparing their fighting types. Depending on the battle, how often are
warriors locked in a combat situation where they are having to overcome a force
greater than the staff they are hold?
How strong is their enemy? They
aren’t chopping a tree down, but swinging a sword until their opponent is
defeated. A fight may last 5 minutes max7? Probably less. Then they move onto their next target. During that time muscles are able to relax
and re-uptake ATP. My argument is that
the fighting style of mages, when mages are fighting and not running, is more
like a marathon. Whereas warriors fighting
style might be likened closer sprinting.
Is one stronger than the other? Hmmmm, okay maybe, but only in the way that Navel
oranges are more tart than Gala apples. You
can’t compare them entirely. You just
can’t say mages are weak weak weak.
Aside from game mechanics and limitations with the character
creator, in terms of body type, warriors might look more boxing ring fighters,
throwing hard punches and having fewer moments of aerobic activity, while mages
look more like gymnast-twirlers. They are
not trained for fighting hand to hand, but they could probably hold their own based
on strength, and are certainly not unfit.
So, yeah, warriors are still the undisputed heavy
hitters. Dorian is not displacing
Cassandra any time in that regard, but is anyone going to say that Mage
Garrett/Marian Hawke would be incapable of defending themselves in a fist
fight? Let’s just ask Carver about that.
Have some lazy citations and addendum:
- Garber, et al. “Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults: Guidance for Prescribing Exercise”. 2011. American College of Sports Medicine. 10.1249/MSS.0b013e318213fefb
- PlaystationLifestyle. “Dragon Age: Inquisition – Mage Combat Gameplay”. https://youtu.be/iAVgDND0PKE. Accessed June 29, 2016.
- * This is not easy information to find, but she
has done so much medieval research that I trust her expert opinion on the
matter. @queenmelisende and @gerundsandcoffee. May 01, 2016.
- **FYI, ladies, your bodies max out on the amount
of calcium storage they will do by the time you are 30. What does this mean? When you’re older and you’re actually
concerned about brittle bones IT WILL BE TOO LATE TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. AVOID OSTEOPOROSIS AND LIFT LIKE CRAZY WHILE
YOU’RE YOUNG. Ask me if you want a citation on this. Like I said, lazy me, but it’s legit!
- ***The first 6-8 weeks of resistance training
are neural adaptations and not muscle hypertrophy. Basically, your brain is learning (or
re-learning) how to do a skill. Again, ask me for citation if you’re interested. I will find it for you.
- How to Fight Write. Accessed June 29, 2016. Originally posted June 22, 2016.
- All pictures taken from Dragon Age Wiki. Accessed June 26, 2016.
Just a couple of addendums!
1. A sword would weigh more than a staff. A sword weighs around 2-4 pounds. A staff usually weighs about 1 pound. Source; I’m a martial artist of 15+ years experience who’s trained with staffs and Japanese swordsmanship extensively, and I am also a HEMA and SCA fighter who’s used many different types of European sword. (Single hand, hand-and-a-half, and full on two handed broadswords)
2. That doesn’t matter much when you’re swinging it around for hours at a time. One pound will still feel like a hundred after a couple hours of staff work.
3. You get sick guns. I can bench press 20 pounds more than I weigh and staff and sword work is 100% of my upper body work. I haven’t done a pushup in forever. My shoulders are cut as hell.
4. You feel it in your abs and back too the next day.
5. So yeah mages who swing a staff a lot would be in pretty good shape.
Addendum to your addendum #1:
DA staffs usually have REALLY FUCKING heavy accessories on the end like Malcolm’s Honor. I mean…. a foot tall metal/gold plated statue of Andraste on one end with a blade on the other would make it a LOT heavier than “normal” staves, one would think.
Granted some are heavier than other, but Hawke’s staff (and Orsino’s dragon headed thing) is a monster.
True. The ornamentation would probably take a staff more into the polearm weight class of 3-6 pounds, though you don’t usually acrobatically twirl a polearm all around the way you can a lighter staff and the way you see the mages doing in lots of games. The blades fuck the balance ALL up. Watch some techniques done either with European polearms or with Eastern polearms and you’ll note that the techniques are far different from staff techniques.
Really when it boils down to it DA mage staffs are the staff equivalent of one of these. I.E. something that looks fantastic and cool onscreen but wouldn’t be super-practical for actual use.
(The sword, not the ah-nold)
But yeah the point stands you would have to be fit as hell to swing those things around all day.
Posts Tagged 'long post'
Tags: dragon age, i love seeing posts like this!, long post, mages, this is such a spectacular and well thought out discussion all around
Tags: comic, dragon age, fenhawke, fenris, giggle, long post
These goofs ♡
Tags: folk songs, giggle, heehehe, long post, oh dear
im putting together a couple of scottish folk mixes bc that’s what i do and im honestly curious if anyone in my country has ever been unequivocally happy about anything ever
scottish trad music genres:
- Everyone I Love Is Dead
- The English Have Stolen All My Sheep
- You Want To Be My Boyfriend? First You Must Answer These Riddles Three
- The Protestants Have Stolen All My Sheep
- I Love You A Lot But You’ve Left Me And It’s Raining [fiddle solo]
- The Sea Is Treacherous, Just Like The English
- One Time Bonnie Prince Charlie Punched Me In The Face And It Was Awesome
- The Fairies Have Stolen All My Sheep
We have of course the traditional Irish music genres to go with them:
* Everyone I Love Is An Allegorical Representation of Ireland
* The English Stole My Farm And Put Sheep On It
* You Were My Boyfriend But Now You Won’t Even Come To The Window To Look Upon Me And Our Dead Infant Child (In The Rain)
* Whack Fol Too La Roo Umptytiddly Good They’ve Stopped Listening Now Let’s Talk About Revolution
* Something In Irish, I Think It’s About Fairies, Or Maybe A Cow
oooo can I add to this? don’t forget Appalachian folk balladry, the American cousin of Scottish and Irish traditional music and just as uplifting as its Anglo-Saxon highland forbears!!!
- I Left Everyone I Love Back Home In The Holler To Be With This Guy Who Doesn’t Wear Shoes Or Have Teeth But He Plays A Mean Jug
- The English Told Us Not To Move West Yet, We Ignored Them, My Entire Family Was Killed
- You Were My Boyfriend But You Tied A Sack Of Rocks To My Petticoats And Threw Me In The Creek (And My Baby Too)
- Mama Loves All 14 Of Us A Lot But She’s Weary Of Our Shit And Now She’s Dyin’ (Gather Round)
- The McCleans Stole A Firewood Log From Our Pile So We Won’t Rest Until The Last Of Their Male Kin Is Laid In The Cold Ground
- We Knew The River Would Rise But We Still Didn’t Fix The Levee
- The River Rose, The Levee Broke, Everyone Died, It Was Just As We Reckoned (dulcimer twang-a-lang)
- When The Rebels Come A-Marchin’ I’m A Southern Man And I Feed Their Horses My Best, When The Yankees Come A-Marchin’ I’m A Northern Man And I Feed Their Horses What The Rebels Left
- The Tennessee Valley Authority Killed All My Sheep Somehow
Don’t forget that old standby “The Mine Collapsed and Everyone Died”!
I think someone needs to put in a word for the English folk tradition though:
- I Met a Girl and We Went Hunting (It Was a Metaphor for Sex)
- I Met a Girl and We Caught Some Birds (It Was a Metaphor for Sex)
- I Met a Girl and We Found Her Lost Pet (It Was a Metaphor for Sex)
- I Met a Girl By Staying At Her Parents’ House and She Made My Bed (It Was an Especially Thinly-Veiled Metaphor for Sex)
- I Am a Girl and I Regret Engaging In Metaphors for Sex Because Now I’m Pregnant
- I Met a Girl and Bribed Her Into Sex But She Stole My Horse and Ran Away With It
- I Met a Girl At an Inn and We Had Non-Metaphorical Sex But She Stole My Stuff The Next Morning and Now I Have Syphilis
- Your Fiance Died Either at Trafalgar or Waterloo, Let’s Get Married, I’m Glad You Said No Because I’m Really Him In Disguise
- Lord Nelson Sure Was Awesome
- The Press-Gang Dragged Off All the Important Men in My Life (And Now They Are Dead)
- Farm Laborers Are The Salt of the Earth And Are Never Grindingly Poor
- Begging Is a Completely Viable Career Option With Flexible Hours and Unlimited Access to Alcohol
OH GOD HELP ME I AM LAUGHING SO HARD I CANNOT BREATHE
(plus I know every variant of each and every one of these songs and I’ll send you the links if you want)
I once tried to write a folk song which was all folk songs. I see now I was not trying hard enough…
Tags: current favorite book, long post, six of crows
Because it warranted one. Desperately.
It’s also spoiler free!
Six Reasons Why Six of Crows is Awesome and Why You Should Most Definitely Go Out and Buy Yourself A Copy of this Masterpiece Now:
1. The Concept
A motley gang of thieves pulling off the greatest heist ever. I mean, HOW FREAKING COOL IS THAT? And you thought Bonnie and Clyde had it bad…. You’d have to be suicidal to try and pull this heist off…and I absolutely love it. Plus, this is like nothing I’ve read before. (I’m not well read in gangs of thievery, that really needs to change.) It does however, kind of remind me of the show Leverage.
But that’s a story for another day.
2. The Characters
Matthias Helvar: A convict with a thirst for revenge.
You confused little drüskelle you.
Jesper Fahey: A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
Jesper, Jesper, Jesper, you gun-loving little spirit.
Wylan Van Eck: A runaway with a privileged past.
My little precious child.
Inej Ghafa: A spy known as the Wraith.
with a troubled past.
Nina Zenik: A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
Bless your soul.
KAZ FREAKING BREKKER: A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
Or did I mean, Kaz (heart)Breaker…. ha ha ha.
3. The Plot
It’s fast paced, with new surprises at every turn. Honestly, some of these things happened so quickly I was just like “WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED!?” But that’s what makes the book so amazing. I never found myself seeing how many more pages it was until the end (I just know that I can’t be the only one who does this sometimes) because for all intent and purposes, I never wanted it to end. Ever.
And the ending? Let me tell you a little bit about the ending. It’s the kind of ending that makes me hate the fact that the second book doesn’t come out until September 2016. (It’s not even early September, it’s the end. I cry.) I also (kind of) regret reading the book so early because of the goddamn ending. I swear Leigh Bardugo, you are a master of crushing hearts….
4. The Action
I personally love action in a book. It’s part of the reason why I tend to gravitate towards high fantasy novels more than any other type….it’s because of the action. And this book certainly does not disappoint on the action scenes. (There’s a lot of them) and I never find myself getting bored or wondering when it’ll jump to the next part.
5. The World Building
If you didn’t like the Grishaverse before (tbh I don’t know anyone who didn’t) or haven’t been exposed to it, well what better way to start/give it another go! The best thing is, you see a whole completely new part of the Grishaverse (for those of you who read Shadow and Bone) and let me tell you, this is just as amazing. It’s like a new, in-depth submersion. Like I probably wouldn’t want to live in Ketterdam, but I totally would at the same time. And like the White Castle, yeah the people might be a little weird but you can’t say it isn’t cool. It’s a freaking fortress that’s totally one out of our childhood fantasy books.
6. THE FREAKING BOOK ITSELF LIKE HAVE YOU SEEN IT!?
(Not my photo btw, it’s from xingsings.wordpress.com, but it captured the beauty that is Six of Crows)
Final Verdict: WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Go grab yourself a copy.
Tags: important life lesson, long post, psa
If you do things that others know about, you will attract a lot of criticism.
People will think you’re wrong a lot. Sometimes you will actually be wrong; sometimes you won’t be.
Sometimes people will be vicious. Sometimes people will try to hurt you as badly as they possibly can.
No matter how well you do things, there will be people who are disgusted by what you do and think you’re a terrible person.
No matter how politically neutral the thing you do is, people will attack it for political reasons. (Either a specific reason, or they’ll say it’s frivolous and that you should be fighting global warming or poverty or something instead.)
If you charge money for what you do, people will be outraged (including people who would never work for free.)
No matter how much you charge, people will angrily tell you that it’s too much.
Even if you work for free, people will be angry with you for addressing some things but not others. Or for not giving them what they want fast enough.
No matter how well you consider other sides, someone will angrily accuse you of censorship or refusing to listen.
And so on and so on. No matter what you do, there are people who will be angry and disgusted by it. There will be people who will hate you. There will be people who try to hurt you to make you stop. This happens to absolutely everyone who does things that a lot of other people know about. It is possible to live with that.
(Part of the way to live with that is by learning to keep perspective in the face of other people’s anger.)
A note about criticism – it’s important to be open to criticism, because sometimes you will be wrong. In order to be truly open to criticism, you have to get past the desire to appease everyone who is mad at you. If you try to please everyone, what ends up happening is that you end up deferring to whoever is the loudest and meanest. Listening to criticism in a good way means you have to be selective — and it also usually means disengaging from jerks.
You don’t have to be perfect to do things that matter. If only perfect people could do things, nothing would ever get done. Everyone who has every done anything has also been flawed in a serious way. Because that’s how people are.
It’s also important to remember that you don’t owe the world a heckler’s veto. There will always be people who don’t like you or your work. That doesn’t mean you have to stop. It doesn’t mean you have to engage with them. It just means that you’re being noticed, and that some people don’t like what they’re seeing.
tl;dr If you do things that people notice, some people who notice will be mean to you and try to convince you that you are terrible. That happens to everyone who does things. It doesn’t mean you’re terrible. It means you’re visible. Being open to criticism doesn’t mean giving the world a heckler’s veto. It’s ok to do things even if you’re imperfect and sometimes people are angry at you.