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The Reluctant Alchemist's Guide to Thedas (Vol. 2)

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Author's note: Welcome to RAGtT! This is your friendly splash page/reading guide. If you're here, you might have already stumbled on Vol 1 of The Reluctant Alchemist's Guide to Thedas, which got orphaned in error. I am currently working on a reposting/back-edits of Part 1. This is Part 2.

  1. If you are a new reader, then please be aware that this starts in the middle of things. You probably could hop in mid-way, but I highly recommend you check out the original story first and see if it's to your liking. 
  2. OR. Whether you're a new reader, or a returning reader considering a re-read from the beginning, I am rewriting/updating/remastering RAGT Vol 1 found here -- the story will largely be the same as the original, but now cleaned up and with lots of bonus content, including more in-depth characterization, added banter, Easter eggs, philosophical asides, wisecracks etc.

A few notes about what RAGtT is and isn't to help you decide whether to commit to this wall of text (in the interest of managing expectations):

  • The tone is humor, but the world-building is dark. I take some of the worst choices that could have happened in the previous two games (and some that couldn't have happened in-game at all) and combine them into a particularly crapsack version of Thedas.
  • The main character is not the Inquisitor, and is not "oracular" -- she has no prior familiarity with the games or the game world. (Of course, that doesn't mean that she won't impact events). 
  • This is a canon-compliant(ish) AU and is skewed towards original fiction. RAGT follows the game's timeline relatively closely up until the end of Act I, but deviates quite drastically after that. This is not a retelling of the canonical story we all know and love. With that in mind, I treat the universe of this fic as its own standalone world, in that it tries to build an overarching explanation for what an MCIT would be doing in Thedas in the first place. This also means that while characters have their in-game motivations and plans, they are also reacting to a completely different set of parameters, so the overarching plot shifts accordingly.
  • If you would like a change from a predominantly Western European fantasy world-building, this draws a lot on Central European and Slavic folklore and quite a bit on Central Asian religions and mythology (for reasons pertinent to the plot).
  • And, probably most importantly in terms of managing expectations, this is not a "The MCIT Will Fix-It." I mean this in the sense that RAGtT is explicitly not a Modern Girl Saves Thedas wish-fulfillment power fantasy, and I very deliberately write (or try to write) against the grain of that trope. If you're mostly accustomed to the structure of the YA "Chosen One" narrative or if you're looking to re-experience the player character role from the games, this story won't fulfill those expectations. Relatedly, this is really meant for a mature audience: the world is messy and complex, power(s) come at a cost, choices are often morally ambiguous, characters play the hand they've been dealt however well they can (and fail quite often), and the night is dark and full of terrors ;)

A few additional notes:

  • The main character is an overeducated, hyperactive smart ass, so RAGT often meanders through philosophy, literature, science, mythology, folklore, history and whatever else is on my reading list at the time. This also means that this is "niche" writing -- if you don't particularly enjoy the occasional intellectual romp, cosmological puzzle, or musings on alchemy to go along with your adventure plot, this is likely not the story for you.
  • Romance and relationships are certainly there, but are somewhat secondary (or at least incorporated into) the plot. Relationship tags are meant to establish the pairings to help people avoid ones they might not want to read about. This is a long fic with a very slow plot build, hence relationships are subject to change over time. Also, while this work is tagged "angst," and while some of the main relationships I write are predictably complicated, none of the primary ones will be abusive, psychologically reprehensible, or "dark." The angst is more about the world state and plot choices -- characters in romantic pairings make mistakes and butt heads, but by and large treat each other decently. If you are in search of romantic angst tinged with eroticized abuse, this story really won't deliver.
  • NSFW chapters are marked with a * in the table of contents
  • Particularly graphic/violent chapters are marked with a ^ in the table of contents

Final note: I am not a professionally-trained writer, so I use this platform to try out different genres and experiment with storytelling. Your comments not only warm my soul -- they also help me improve my writing. I appreciate the intellectual labor and time you put into composing them, and I'll usually respond and "chat back." <3 Happy reading!