Happy Dragon Age Day 2021!
Every year, I send over a bunch of "Silly Questions" to BioWare peeps, and every year, instead of ignoring me, a bunch of them have been kind enough to respond. This year, they responded in one giant Q&A, and it's so full of BioWare and Dragon Age goodness that you'll just have to read it yourself to fully appreciate its magnificence.
And thank you so much to BioWare, and to Patrick, Karin, Sheryl, Luke, Cameron, Ryan, Mary, Sylvia, John E., John D., and all for taking part!
You are transformed into an animal in Thedas. Which creature or animal NPC across the Dragon Age world (books or games) would you choose?
Patrick Weekes: "I would choose a dragon. I would actually end up a bogfisher."
Karin Weekes: "An Avvar war nug, which is obviously major life goals. (Thank you, Luke!)"
Sheryl Chee: "Baron Plucky, one of Leliana's ravens."
Which tavern would you prefer, the Hanged Man or the Herald’s Rest?
Patrick: "Herald's Rest, because of the singing."
Sheryl: "Hanged Man, because I'd be afraid to look under the tables."
Which Dragon Age character is your favorite and why? (Not one you wrote!)
Cameron: "Sister Petrice in Dragon Age 2. I admire her unapologetic bluntness, her absolute focus on her goals, her politicking and scheming--all without being sexualized or denigrated as a woman. We don't have nearly enough female characters like that in pop culture. I want a whole series about her; I would play it forever."
Which Fade spirit would you like to meet, and why?
Karin: "A spirit of Wisdom, because I need all the help I can get."
Which demon scares you the most and why?
Patrick: "Pride -- only not pride like a conqueror or a tyrant. The specific feeling of pride one gets in needing to show off how clever one is. A demon of Cleverness, maybe. That's the demon that would 100% get me. When your favorite Batman villain is the Riddler, you have to accept some things about yourself."
Who’s your favorite NPC across Dragon Age—the person with a small part but a big impact?
Luke Kristjanson: "Sutherland and his company from Inquisition. He and his little group were just a side thing for me and the Level Designer for Skyhold, a little piece of extra content, but we loved them so much. We were very protective of them, and building their arc was end-of-day fun. Sutherland’s a plucky guy assembling essentially a Level One D&D party to adventure and help where he can, and his table missions are full of little nods to classic adventure modules. I borrowed the name Sutherland from a college friend with the same infectious optimism. I had to include his company in Tevinter Nights, because I want their story to go on."
Which Dragon Age character is your strangest or most embarrassing crush?
Patrick: "Merrill. I have a type."
What’s your favorite musical?
Patrick: "OKAY, SO. For sheer musical bravado, it's Les Miz, but in terms of the one I watch and rewatch, it's Into the Woods, which I watched daily on VHS as a teenager. (Sondheim recently passed away, and someone described his style as "Beloved but not popular because he was often too clever for people to appreciate," and once again, my favorite Batman villain is the Riddler, sorry, it's me, the one who goes in hard for the nerds.)"
Karin: "I cannot narrow it down to even a short list, but the one I probably know the most songs and lyrics from by heart is The Sound of Music."
Casting Challenge: Muppets as Dragon Age characters. Go!
Patrick: "Cassandra is Miss Piggy, Leliana is Gonzo's chicken (Camilla?), Cullen is Fozzie, Sera is Janice, Dorian is an impeccably dressed Dr. Teeth, Cole is Gonzo, Vivienne is... oh, no, I'm running out of female Muppets. Anyway, the Iron Bull is Cookie Monster."
What’s your favorite line of dialogue in the Dragon Age world?
Karin: "We stand upon the precipice of change. The world fears the inevitable plummet into the abyss. Watch for that moment... and when it comes, do not hesitate to leap. It is only when you fall that you learn whether you can fly." - Flemeth
What’s your favorite Dragon Age romance moment?
Patrick: "As a player, I burst out laughing when the third dagger came out of SOMEWHERE in the love scene with Isabela."
Karin: "When Cassandra, Cullen, and Josephine walk in on The Iron Bull and the Inquisitor. The clipboard placement was exquisite".
Sheryl: When Alistair--SPOILERS--gets himself killed to save the Hero of Ferelden, even when she dumped him.
Which of your talents is the best or funniest?
Patrick: "I do a pretty good Kermit the Frog impersonation, and a not-bad-at-all Wookie!"
What’s the worst thing you ever did in Thedas?
Patrick: "As a designer, I believe I am on the record as regretting making 'You accidentally got your Dalish clan killed,' a series of war-table operations. As a player, it was when I accidentally got Leliana's approval too high in DA:O too quickly, and I bypassed the chance to opt into a romance, so in order to get her approval lower so that the dialogue hub with the romance option would appear, I had to start insulting her. We were soulmates, and then I had to start calling her a liar and a murderer so that she'd get angry enough that I could start dating again."
Cameron: "Selling Fenris back into slavery because I needed the gold for a better sword is bad, right?"
You can go out carousing for a night in Thedas. Who goes with you?
Patrick: "Sera, Dorian, Bull. Team YOLO all the way."
Karin: "Ladies' Night with Wynn, Flemeth, Isabela, Aveline, Harding, Shale, and Dorian."
Sylvia Feketekuty: "Definitely Leliana and Josephine! I feel there'd be some escapades, but they'd make sure I got home in one piece. I really liked developing their relatonship with Sheryl Chee, and it'd be fun to sample the cocktails of Thedas with them."
What’s your favorite beverage? Favorite cocktail, for those who partake?
Patrick: "Grande nonfat no-whip hot chocolate with four pumps of cinnamon dolce."
Cameron: "Scotch, neat, and the peatier, the better. I want to taste the sea and the bog and the smoke in my drink."
Sheryl: "Tea. I don't drink water. I drink tea. When I do drink water, it's warm or hot, to better approximate tea."
What Dragon Age question, conundrum, or puzzle is your favorite?
Luke: "Indirectly, the Quizquisition, the weirdo who haunts Skyhold and waylays you with trivia. It was the product of one tired day in the cafeteria, and a Faustian bargain with the Art Lead. In exchange for me adding the Quizquisition, he promised he would get us nuggalopes. So I created Lord Trifles Minutiae and his randomly rotating questions, and little did I know that 'nuggalope' would become 'war nug' and fully fledged mounts. Best deal I ever made."
Patrick: "I really like the choice about making Cole more Spirit or more Human, because it doesn't feel like there's one choice that's clearly good and one that's clearly evil. It's a choice I see people disagreeing about even when they agree on a lot of other things, and I like that a lot."
Sylvia: "The Quizquisition! (That was Luke Kristjanson's. Lord Trifles Minutiae is a fun weirdo.)"
What music was/is on your personal Dragon Age playlist?
Karin: "I can't edit to music with lyrics, so I listen to things like John Williams pieces; soundtracks like Pirates of the Carribean, Hunt for Red October, and Rob Roy; Celtic instrumental music; Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite; and sometimes choral pieces written in languages I can't understand, a la Rachmaninoff's All-Night Vigil."
What’s your favorite non-BioWare video game?
Luke: "Borderlands 2 is a real sweet spot that consumed hundreds of hours. OneShot hit me like a freight train. Just so perfect. But I suppose I have to say the Fallout series pulls me in more than most. There’s something about the melancholy of the setting that I love."
Sylvia: "I've said it before, but System Shock 2 made a huge impression on me and is still one of my favorites. I replay it every few years or so."
Which character would you most like to play chess, checkers, or Battleship with?
Ryan: "Solas, so just when he opens his mouth to say 'Checkmate,' I can pretend to sneeze and send all the pieces scattering."
Sheryl: "Sera. She'd lose interest before I would so I wouldn't feel bad about just wandering off."
You get to play D&D or the Dragon Age RPG with Dragon Age characters for a night. Who do you pick and how does the game go?
Mary Kirby: "We actually did this! Jennifer Hepler ran a Dragon Age tabletop game, and I played Sister Petrine, Chantry Scholar from the codex. I barely tolerated adventuring with Brother Genitivi, and our party wound up fighting our mage when he became an abomination."
What’s your canon judgment of Storvacker?
John Epler: "Always recruit. When you have the option to recruit a bear, you take it. Every time."
Sylvia: "Recruitment. It's time for that bear to see the world!"
Who or what inspired you to work in the games industry?
John D.: "I'm extremely lucky to say it was BioWare. And then somehow I had the good fortune to end up working for them. Playing KOTOR and Mass Effect 1 really opened my eyes to narrative possibilities in games. They had a huge influence on me and I vowed somehow I'd get a job in the games industry. I only dared to dream I'd get a job working for BioWare. But one day a writing position opened up, I applied, and a few months later I was writing for Mass Effect 2 DLC. It's been an amazing ride since."
Luke: "Tabletop. D&D, Champions, Paranoia, Dragon Magazine. As a kid, I didn't have friends who played, but I kept finding weird box-sets in used bookstores that had rules for making your own stories. I had dozens of sourcebooks from as many systems before ever playing in university. When the opportunity to apply at BioWare presented, I didn't know jack about making video games, but I knew roleplaying. I wrote a 40-page module using Champions as a base. Tabletop is what got my foot in the door."
What was your proudest contribution to Dragon Age?
John E.: "That's a toss-up between the Varric hug in Inquisition, or getting it so elves and dwarves could romance The Iron Bull. Both were significant technical challenges. In the case of the Varric hug, I think it was an important roleplaying moment for players to get the chance to comfort Varric, who'd been with them all throughout. In the case of Iron Bull, it was an opportunity to let more players take the romance and give dwarves and elves more romance options."
Cameron: "Daring Patrick Weekes to write an entire ability tree's descriptions in iambic pentameter (Double Daggers in DA:I). That they rhymed the ability upgrades with the base descriptions was just icing on the poetic cake."
What would your Fade “Greatest Fear” gravestone have written on it?
Patrick: Only Made Things Worse
Karin: Squandered Her Opportunities to do Good Things
Ryan: Got Eaten
Sheryl: Couldn't Handle the Responsibility
Last but not least: What was your most inspiring moment in 2021, if you feel like sharing it?
Patrick: "Seeing our fan community come together to help others in need with Dragon Age Day and the support for Gamers for Groceries fundraisers. It is incredibly humbling to see people come together and do something to help others, and it made me most optimistic in a year filled with reasons not to be."