Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Warriors of Fantasy: Wielders of Fighting Sticks

Those who sweep and swipe and flick and flurry

Fantasy Equal: Anders
Favoured By the Race of: Any
Favoured By the Class of: Mage
Damage Type: Magical/Bludgeoning

The staff is a simple and underestimated weapon. Being struck by a sword (slashing damage) or an arrow (piercing damage) sounds and probably is way more devastating than being pounded by a staff. What makes a staff such an appealing weapon, in my opinion, is that it is not entirely intended on hurting your opponent, but also provides you with some additional functions to defeat your foe.

Given your staff is strong and resilient enough you can effectively parry incoming attacks. Thrusting one of the ends of the staff at your opponent yields a range advantage. The best additional utility it provides, however, is to disable your opponent; disarming, tripping and keeping your opponent at bay.

The staff is seldom seen used by brawny warriors. It is however favoured by monks, who specialize in simple weapons (given they don’t prefer their fists) and any magic user. Magic users, of course, use a staff to channel their spells and magical energy. You would seldom find a sorcerer or wizard (or even a druid for that matter) not using a staff or a wand. Once a magic user has spent all his spells and/or mana, the only way he can defend himself is with the use of his trusty staff.

One of these magic users is Anders, a character featured in Dragon Age Awakening as well as Dragon Age II and also the partner of my character on my first play-through of Dragon Age II. Anders is what is referred to as an apostate mage. In most realms featured in Dragon Age, magi are seen as beings with immense power. That power however comes with a price. Those born with magic are always led to temptation by demons from the Fade. The Fade is an alternate realm only magi can enter. Here dwell spirits and demons. Demons especially wish to invade the world outside the Fade. By exploiting a mage’s weakness(es), a demon may be able possess a mage and use him/her as a host to survive outside the Fade and cause havoc in the ‘real world’.

Once a mage is possessed by a demon, he/she becomes an abomination; a monster of even greater power and utter evil. Due to the threat magi hold towards humanity, they are kept in what is called the Circle of Magi. Here they learn to control their powers and resist the temptations of demons. They are guarded by an order of knights, called the Templars. Templars are trained to withstand and resist magic and fell any magi who are to break the rules of the Circle. Anders is an apostate, for he is free after escaping the Circle of Magi. He despises templars and wants nothing more for his kind to be free.

As a mage, Anders always wields staff, which is a rather powerful weapon in Dragon Age II. Using his staff, Anders is not only able to channel powerful healing magic, but also able to launch missiles of a particular element (fire, ice, earth, electric, spirit) at his foes with a flurry of impressive looking sweeps and swipes.

Anders is a passionate and kind-hearted, yet fragile soul. It was a pleasure to court him and aid him in his cause throughout my first Dragon Age II experience. Dragon Age is the only worth-while game series I know of that allows for gay role-playing. And the two romance options in the second installment are far more interesting and pleasing to the eye than the single option from Dragon Age Origins. If you’re into fantasy role-playing games I would certainly recommend it.

Found this just now...

"It is the Maker who creates mages. The Chantry was built by men, and it can be brought down by them."

“Anders, the light-hearted rebel mage from Dragon Age: Origins, Awakening, has changed. Urged by his friend Justice to fight the Circle of Magi more actively, Anders agreed to become Justice's human host… only to find that his anger at the Circle warped Justice into the demonic spirit of Vengeance. Now Anders must struggle mentally and physically to maintain his control over the demon within... at least long enough to see the Circle of Magi overturned forever.”

“Staves are a traditional prop for the elderly and infirm, and this has led to their association with wisdom.

The ability of a staff to perform wonders is also featured prominently in the scriptures of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Moses and Aaron, in their task to liberate the Hebrews from Egypt and deliver them to the Promised Land, employ staves. The staves are capable of performing miraculous feats to demonstrate the power and authority of God.

Staves are also associated with wizards and other users of magic and sorcery. Haraibou (literal translation meaning 'purification stick') were staves that were used by the miko (Japanese female exorcists) to fight demons in Japanese lore.”