Posts Tagged 'thedas'

rederiswrites:

Proposed: Thedas is not a ‘medieval’ setting

I don’t know about you, but when I was first considering the overall state of Thedas, mostly for worldbuilding purposes, I was semi-consciously thinking of it as a fairly typical pseudo-medieval-Europe.  And that’s natural enough, because in Origins, Ferelden really did look like that.  Thatching, half-timbering, nobles in fortified castles, a fairly monolithic church around which much of society was built.

The further you go into the franchise, though, the more problems you encounter with this.  Kirkwall as a city doesn’t give off a particularly medieval vibe, nor does its government.  You have sailing ships that are more advanced than Europe saw in the middle ages, you have the Qunari with their mind-altering drugs and poison gases and explosives, you have a popular novelist.  A popular novelist requires printing presses, paper manufacture, relatively widespread literacy, and fairly complex shipping systems to exist.  The first European novels were published after the medieval period.  Come Inquisition, we have the almost Baroque Orlesians, broadsheet newspapers, and a lot of things most people probably didn’t notice, like cast iron cookstoves and Bianca Davri’s steam-powered thresher.

Here’s the thing.  Okay here’s a lot of things.  I once had pages of notes trying to work this out, and I’ve tried a dozen times to make a post about it, but it’s too much.  I give up being organized.  So here’s some of the things:

  • Ferelden is a poor backwater.  I know, I’m a rabid Fereldan too, but to the rest of Thedas, it is canonically the arse end of nowhere.  It is no more a good example of the overall technological state of Thedas than the hills of my Appalachian home (where people lived without power or indoor plumbing well into the 20th century) in the 19th century were a good indication of the state of things in 19th century Boston, even though they were only a few days’ ride apart.
  • Thedas’ history and development is in no way like the real world.  It’s a place where the world faces a potentially fatal apocalypse ever few hundred years.  Again, the first game is pretty misleading in this regard, because we neatly wrapped up that Blight in, supposedly, a year, without it ever escaping the borders of one country.  The First Blight lasted over a hundred years and ranged across all of Thedas.  Far and away the shortest Blight besides the fifth still lasted 12 years and destroyed entire kingdoms.  That’s five huge periods of world war and cultural destruction.
  • Magic.  I mean, obviously.  Now, the tangible existence of magic and demons in the Dragon Age arguably has a lot to do with the strength of the Chantry, which has set itself up as a protector from these evils, thus providing an excellent excuse to accumulate military power and suppress dissent.  It doesn’t really effect everyday life much for anyone but mages in the Dragon Age–most people have never seen a mage, and only the wealthy can afford enchanted items.  But of the five empires Thedas has seen, only two (dwarves and Qunari) put any emphasis on technology, and the earliest two (Elvhenan and Tevinter) relied very heavily on magic, and thus presumably had very little incentive to develop technology.
  • The Qunari deliberately suppress at least some technological innovations in the south.  Remember your friendly neighborhood dwarf who liked to blow shit up from Awakening?  His name is Dworkin Glavonak.  You meet his cousin Temmerin in DA2 during the Finding Nathaniel questline, and he tells you that Dworkin’s been driven into hiding by the Qunari. (video)  Certainly sheds new light on why no one outside of dwarves seems to have explosives or gunpowder in the south.  Orzammar dwarves may be the exception here because a) they use lyrium in their explosives, thus making them self-limiting due to the restricted access to lyrium, and b) since Orzammar is a closed society and you cannot come in from the outside, the Qun could not easily place spies in Orzammar society anyway.

So let’s look again, not starting from Origins but look back from Inquisition.  And this time when we look, we find a world that

  • has steam technology, albeit very new–steam-powered threshers were invented around the 1850′s
  • has cast iron stoves such as were not invented in our world until the 1850′s
  • has a canonical reason for lacking gunpowder–which, in turn, completely changes the nature of warfare (or more accurately, doesn’t change it, since it’s guns and cannons that put an end to armor and swords and siege weapons)
  • clearly has printing presses, even if we don’t see them, because there are popular, cheaply printed novels and broadsheet publications and banned book lists

And it’s not quite all from later games, either.  Branka was made a paragon for the invention of ‘smokeless coal’–which isn’t actually a thing in itself but rather a process which removes the impurities from the coal so that it then burns cleaner.  Which, as far as I can ascertain, is a process that was developed during, you guessed it, the 1800′s.

Now, I’m not trying to excuse all the inconsistencies in technology or claim that the devs did a good job of following through on all the implications of things they stuck into Thedas.  Frankly, I think it’s a weak point in their worldbuilding.  BUT it’s really going to keep not making any sense if you try to insist that the setting is more-or-less-medieval-Europe.  In fact, I think it’s futile to try to match Thedas up to any period of real-world development, partly because Thedas’ history is just too wildly different, and partly because a lot of the worldbuilding is done by sticking a bunch of cultures into a blender and picking out what they like.  But if you start thinking about it as a place where technology has continued to develop in places to something roughly congruent to the western world in the 1850′s, but with none of the socioeconomic conditions that created the Industrial Revolution, you might be a bit closer.

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bendingwind:

Interactive Map of Thedas v.2.0

An update! A bit later than I anticipated because I discovered that tumblr removes input fields from custom pages and had to find another hosting solution.

New Features:

  • Ability to hide/show features (borders, labels, etc.)
  • Deep Roads Map (many thanks to higheverrains, who allowed me to extrapolate from their Deep Roads theory and add it as a feature to the map! It is hidden by default but can be viewed by checking “Show Deep Roads Map” under Show Features.)
  • Two different distance grids (each with 30km/60km versions based on average walking/riding distance in a day) based on different theories.
  • Labels on the oceans and seas!
  • Added a handful of additional locations from DAI

Improvements / Bug Fixes:

  • Zooming in/out functions more smoothly now
  • West Hill is now in the correct location (… also thanks to higheverrains)
  • … Rivain no longer gets chopped in half when you zoom in on it.

Coming Soon(ish):

My next goalpost is to refactor some of the code to make the map load more quickly. Once that is complete, I’ll probably gradually move into adding additional detail based on the location maps from DAI. Let me know if you are interested in helping out! (No coding experience required, just a basic image editor and some patience)

Interested in seeing more?

Let me know what you’d like to see! If you go the extra mile and give me rough coordinates for the location on the map + the zoom factor you were viewing it at when you got the coordinates, I can have it up much more quickly!

Let me know if you see any incorrect/outdated information.

View the New Map Here

Dragon Age doesn’t know what century it’s in

trulycertain:

withthebreezesblown:

celeritassagittae:

So, what I think I miss most about Dragon Age: Origins is the way it felt consistently medieval.  Not completely, they brought in things from a lot of different cultures, and in fact, even managed to make up some of their own, but it was all woven into this framework of a series of different civilizations where the cultural fabric in all communities was membership to the same religion.  You had your outliers, to be certain–your pagan Dalish, your isolated dwarves, your foreign Qunari, but if you were part of what the Chantry would deem “civilization,” you probably went to your Chantry on a regular basis, even if you didn’t believe what they taught, because that’s where you got your news.  They even reinforce this mechanically with the Chanters’ boards.  (Something that notably disappears in Inquisition, when they really move away from this idea.)

In other words, it looks a lot like the actual Middle Ages, a lot more than “medieval fantasy” normally does, because it actually recognizes the role of religion as a keeper and transmitter of consistent culture.  More amazingly, its analog of the Roman Catholic Church isn’t automatically demonized… in a 21st century video game.  I was gobsmacked.  Sure, they definitely were much more of the “we must do this this and this to get the Maker to love us,” but that’s about what I expect from a religion that doesn’t teach that its slain founder was resurrected.

And even then, we get people like Leliana, who, despite all evidence to the contrary, believe the Maker is still working and still loving people.  (“Cool,” I immediately think.  "When this is over, can I have Leliana start a Reformation?“)

The problem is, in subsequent games Bioware started playing around a lot more with different cultures in space and time, which is completely fine.  But in later games, they didn’t make the same efforts to fit them in together with everything else.  Which is why I say Dragon Age doesn’t know what century it’s in.

So I finish Origins completely in love with Thedas and its culture.  It feels like a fully realized world, and if it draws heavily from fantasy tropes, that’s perfectly fine.  They’re still putting their own twist on them.

Then I start playing 2, and I run into this guy:

Keep reading

The fact that the masses are not illiterate has always puzzled me a little too. In Origins I assumed they were–I could see nobles being educated, but every one else? I mean, I think it’s made pretty evident in the first game that the education Alistair receives as part of templar training or the education that a mage receives are not the standard that every citizen of Ferelden can expect. Even Leliana kind of justifies her education when she talks about being raised by Lady Cecilie. And then along comes Dragon Age 2, and, no, apparently everyone but Fenris can read.

I really love your hypothetical situation with Varric. It’s 9/10s of the way to actually being a fic. It wants to be a fic. I want it to be a fic. It’s a beautiful explanation of how to reconcile the existence of fiction in Thedas.

Oh, this is fascinating and so clever.

So Varric blurs the lines, but rather than in the sublime way that you expect from high fantasy, it’s very mundane.  It almost invites skepticism, rather than wonder […] the cynical, bitter darkness of 2 is so different from the bleak, elegaic darkness of Origins and Trespasser.  It feels almost painfully modern.  (And I’m still not really sure how “dark” vanilla Inquisition ever got, when the worst things that happened were either inside your own head thanks to a demon or got erased thanks to, “magical time travel, go with it.”)

Yes. That is exactly why DA2 didn’t work that well for me, and I’m so glad someone put it better than I could have. I enjoy things like Hard in Hightown and the genre-blending metacommentary – they’re a major part of my love for Dragon Age – but you’ve got to play to some of the rules to bend them. (I actually love the “reading peasantry” thing and find it a welcome change, but it’s certainly not historically accurate.) DA plays with things like the nature of mythology, grand themes…. the human characters work because they’re placed against such an epic, unknowable background.

And the theory of how novels got off the ground is fantastic.

How do people come to realise they are mages? I’ve tried to read up on it but I can’t find anything on how magic manifests in people. Is it dreams/nightmares interacting with demons in the fade? Is it accidents and maybe even accidentally injuring someone?

ageofdragon:

It can happen in a lot of ways and varies person to person. Some have dreams and others wish things that happen, all of them see their magic first and foremost though and cause some kind of accident (they can be harmless or deadly).

Usually around puberty someone may begin to have nightmares of darkness, of freezing caverns, or burning forests and when they awake from those dreams they’ll be very cold or very hot. If left too long they may wake to a room of frost or curtains on fire.

Magic can also manifest without dreams though. Someone may pick on them and they wish ill on them, unknowingly setting the bully’s hair on fire or freezing them to the ground.

The one thing that seems to be consistent is that the magic manifested is always of the elemental kind (which is also implied as the easiest school to learn). Almost always around puberty, though could be a little before or a little after. And that if there was any ancestry of magic, especially recent, there is a higher chance for one to have magic manifest. Basically the family will be more attentive of magic and will usually catch the signs earlier (i.e. unusual nightmares, temperature or natural changes, etc.).

oswald-the-mage:

dawriting:

livinginthedas:

 Dragon Age Calendar Spreadsheet

Hello everyone! So yesterday I went on a bender and made a Dragon Age Calendar to help me plan out the dates on my fanfiction and I figured I would share!

About the month names: I only used the low names for each month, as the high names are really only used by scholars or courts. I also put the english month names in there for reference, but you can totally change it or get rid of it if you want to!

Also; Each month has the canon 30 days, as well as it’s own spreadsheet (you can see them at the tabs on the bottom). I also wrote in the holidays. I chose 9:40 dragon just cause and started the year on a Sunday because that was easiest (We really have no idea what day of the week any year was started on, honestly. If we do I am completely ignorant to it and someone should tell me)

Other than that, everything is blank and ready for whatever you want to use it for!

SO How do you go about obtaining this for yourself? It’s easy! Just follow these steps:

  • Click this link! 
  • -Once it opens, hit file at the top. You’ll see that you can do three things:
    • Download it in the format of your choice. 
    • Print it
    • Or, you can make a copy, which is only available if you are signed in to your google account. Basically what this does is make a copy of the calendar in your drive. This copy is now yours to do as you please– edit it to your hearts content!

Make sure to take note of the tabs at the bottom! Each month has it’s own spreadsheet for you to write things on!

I hope this helps! Let me know if I missed anything or if you have any questions. If there is enough demand I might try to make the next year’s map as well, so let me know if you’d be interested okay? Cool bean

(also I’m tagging @dawriting not just so they’ll see it but also so ya’ll can go take a look at this awesome blog if you want more references and things like this. Very handy if you are a dragon age fic author!)

Thank you for the compliment and the rec. 🙂

@writersofthedas

dragonagenews:

From the Bioware forum:

Hey Keepers!

We’re pleased to introduce a brand new feature with this release. We know the history of Thedas is long and intricate, but we’ve made an easy way for you to explore and learn about past Dragon Age events. This feature is known as the World Lore section.

You can access the World Lore section by logging in to the Keep (log out first, if you were already logged in),opening the left-hand menu and selecting ‘World lore.’ “

http://forum.bioware.com/topic/571681-new-keep-release/

bendingwind:

Interactive Map of Thedas v.2.0

An update! A bit later than I anticipated because I discovered that tumblr removes input fields from custom pages and had to find another hosting solution.

New Features:

  • Ability to hide/show features (borders, labels, etc.)
  • Deep Roads Map (many thanks to higheverrains, who allowed me to extrapolate from their Deep Roads theory and add it as a feature to the map! It is hidden by default but can be viewed by checking “Show Deep Roads Map” under Show Features.)
  • Two different distance grids (each with 30km/60km versions based on average walking/riding distance in a day) based on different theories.
  • Labels on the oceans and seas!
  • Added a handful of additional locations from DAI

Improvements / Bug Fixes:

  • Zooming in/out functions more smoothly now
  • West Hill is now in the correct location (… also thanks to higheverrains)
  • … Rivain no longer gets chopped in half when you zoom in on it.

Coming Soon(ish):

My next goalpost is to refactor some of the code to make the map load more quickly. Once that is complete, I’ll probably gradually move into adding additional detail based on the location maps from DAI. Let me know if you are interested in helping out! (No coding experience required, just a basic image editor and some patience)

Interested in seeing more?

Let me know what you’d like to see! If you go the extra mile and give me rough coordinates for the location on the map + the zoom factor you were viewing it at when you got the coordinates, I can have it up much more quickly!

Let me know if you see any incorrect/outdated information.

View the New Map Here


Blogger Gatherings!



Click the button for reports from the 2010 Spring Blogger Gathering, hosted by Linett of Nimrodel!

Berethron of Brandywine hosted the 2010 Summer Blogmoot.

The Winter Blogmoot was held on December 4, 9 p.m. EST at the home of Telwen of Silverlode.

Next up: The Spring Blogmoot of 2011 shall return to Nimrodel with Tuiliel (Whart, aka user-1027520) hosting! Linett is looking forward to another local moot!

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