Game Play | Dragon Age: Origins | Ostagar, Part I
Picking up right where we left off, Duncan and Elissa arrive in Ostagar, with Dog tagging along closely, and the strange trio immediately run into the King, Cailan, upon arrival. He's a bit of a Tim Nice-But-Dim type, fascinated by the myths and history around the Grey Wardens.
He really is a nice guy though, and offers to help Elissa bring Arl Howe to justice for his slaughter of the Couslands once the Darkspawn threat has been defeated. Duncan makes it known that he doesn't think it will be quite as simple as Cailan thinks, but the King just shrugs it off and leaves.
The Grey Warden then explains to Elissa that she will need to undergo a ritual called the Joining, along with the other two recruits already in camp, before she can become a Grey Warden and tells her to find Alistair before heading off to the area set aside for the Wardens with Dog at his side.
This leaves Elissa free to explore the area, although she is barred from the Tower of Ishal by a guard who says that deep tunnels were found underneath the tower so it's off limits until it is needed as part of the planned battle against the Darkspawn.
Heading into the camp, Elissa gains a meeting with Teyrn Loghain, father of Cailan's wife, Queen Anora. He's not a fan of the Grey Wardens or King Cailan, although says that despite this, he does still remember the fact that the King is in charge still.
Elissa continues to explore the camp, engaging in conversation with multiple guards and hearing the first spoken mentions of Flemeth and the witches of the wilds; Ash Warriors, who fight alongside Mabari hounds; a deranged survivor of a scouting party attacked by Darkspawn; and receiving a blessing from a Sister of the Chantry.
She also meets the other two recruits for the Grey Wardens: Jory and Daveth. Jory is a worrier, and doesn't seem too bright either; while Daveth is a bit of a scoundrel and fairly cocky too. They contrast each other well, but neither really comes off as being especially likeable.
Elissa also encounters a man imprisoned for deserting, surprising me with his nudity as I forgot that he was originally in just his underwear! Still, it makes sense considering that the army is going to need all the resources on those fighting, so why waste any material on a prisoner?
The thing is, he claims he wasn't deserting (although he was planning on doing so at some point in the future), but he was sneaking around the camp to try and steal the contents of a chest belonging to the mages, but had only managed to obtain the key before he was caught.
He offers the key in exchange for food and drink, so Elissa convinces the guard to let him have something as what is effectively a last meal, and gains the key, even if she could've just killed him and taken it as he's going to end up dead anyway.
Speaking of the mages, Elissa is prevented from speaking to most of them thanks to the Templars guarding them, but is able to talk with Wynne - who expands on the very first cut-scene about the relationship between the Darkspawn and the Fade - and a Tranquil - a mage who has been made emotionless after having their tie to the Fade cut and their magical abilities removed.
Done with exploring the area, Elissa tracks down Alistair, who is enjoying winding up a mage who is aware of the Grey Warden's past as a Templar (the Templars effectively act as mage hunters and guards to stop them abusing their power).
The pair return to Duncan, who is annoyed at Alistair's actions, before saying that he will be sending the younger Warden with the three recruits into the Korcari Wilds to retrieve three vials of Darkspawn blood and old treaties that force the various groups of Ferelden to aid the Wardens during a Blight.
This is a much quieter section after the origin, but does a lot of work establishing the world outside of what the player has experienced so far. The Mage/Templar dichotomy especially is something that will have a much larger impact further down the line - in this game and the sequels.
One final note, playing as a human warrior (or rogue) actually removes a quest here where you are asked by the Ash Warrior kennel master to get some herbs for a sick Mabari hound. This is how the other characters get their own dog, but you don't have to worry about that if you choose one of the options available as a human noble. Privileged elite, eh?