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Comparing and Contrasting the Worlds of Thedas and 21st Century Earth

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By now, four parts in, you should all have come to the realization that Allu don’t give a shit. She’s a bit like Francis the Honey Badger. We have now come to the part of this series that fills her warped little heart with sadness and rage. If you are a current or former member of any Special Forces, active military that has been to a warzone, a former or current revolutionary guerilla fighter, or a police officer who has been to the colloquial ‘mean streets’, you may happily blitz past this section. Unless you like watching others suffer, in which case enjoy.


You. Are. Not. A. Badass.

You . Are. Not. A. Badass.

Say it with me now: You are not a badass.




Realism is the name of this game, so we’re going to be looking at this as realistically as possible. In the grandest style of writing, this chapter is going to be an exercise in questions! (And then some logic, because why not.) Kindly follow along, because this chapter is super important.


  1. Are you of sound body? As in, do you have a pronounced inability to engage in actual hand-eye coordination, can you run two miles without falling over and dying?
  2. Do you actively go outside and enjoy it?
  3. Are you capable of providing your own food in a civilization that does not have mass production? (That means, there is no grocery store.)
  4. Can you stand the sight of blood?
  5. Are you able to inflict harm on people, emotionally and physically?
  6. Can you actively survive in the wilderness? No, there is no camping. All you get is a knife, can you last a week?
  7. Do you know the proper way to punch someone in the face? Have you ever done it?
  8. Can you break someone’s bones and not puke after?
  9. Do you know how to fight? Self-defence, while lovely, is not fighting.
  10. Are you comfortable enough in your body to put it in high-stress situations like rock climbing?
  11. Do you have a fear of heights? The dark? Spiders? Rodents? Bandits?
  12. Does the thought of complex surgical procedures make you gag?
  13. Can you, be honest, look at photos of an autopsy and not gag?
  14. Can you look at a dead body and not feel a sudden urge to go home and never leave your bed?
  15. If you have a choice between killing a man and letting him beat a child, do you kill the man?
  16. If you have a choice between starving and killing a chicken, do you kill the chicken?
  17. Did you know that when you kill someone, they usually void their bowels? Are you prepared for that?
  18. If a six foot tall man with a sword comes at you from a ninety degree angle with the flat of his sword, do you dodge or do you block? If you block, where do you block the sword?
  19. Are you afraid of rape?
  20. Do not fucking lie. Can you kill a man for no reason other than the fact that he was in your way?


For those intrepid souls who answered yes to any question that involved killing, blood, or violence… go fuck yourselves. You liars. (Unless you legit work on a farm and have killed a chicken or other animal before, in which case carry on with the answer to that particular question.)


Murder is wrong.


The most common separates murder into two degrees, and treats voluntary and involuntary manslaughter as separate crimes that do not constitute murder. First-degree murder: any intentional murder that is willful and premeditated with malice aforethought. Felony murder is typically first-degree.” - Wikipedia


Thou shalt not murder. It’s a commandment. There’s a variety of it in pretty much every major religion on the planet. (For the love of all that is shiny, Satanism is basically a giant list of ‘don’t be a dick unless the person legitimately deserved it.) It’s also a law. Because killing other people in our society is a sign of mental instability. A willingness to kill your fellow man is, in our society, considered a giant neon banner that you do not need to be in society. Hurting other people is also considered wrong. It’s called assault or battery, sometimes both, and is a crime.


Shockingly, this is not going to stop a bandit in Thedas from killing you to take what you have.


Thedas is not a world where ‘help me Obi-Wan, you’re my only hope’ is going to do you much good. Now, murder is still a crime in their world. Surprise, that’s a common facet of society. It’s actually one of the core tenets of being considered a civilization. But, Thedas only believes murder is a crime when you kill the wrong people. And then, as far as I can tell from Orlais and Ferelden, they kill you for it . Jail is a fun word that might as well mean ‘sit here and wait while I fetch the executioner’. Or, and the numerous side quests back me on this, they send some competent murder machine to go murder you.


Zevran and the Antivan Crows do not knit for their livings . Knitting is a fun, relaxing activity for their downtime, however.You know, when they aren’t out murdering everyone in sight. You don’t fuck with Antiva man, you just don’t.


But Allu, you say as you take personal offense to her calling you out on your bullshit, I know how to fight people.


That’s lovely. I’m super proud of you.


Do you know what it feels like to stab a man in the neck? How about in the kidney? How about what arterial blood spray looks like? Ever stabbed someone so hard that their limbs came off? How about that time that Peter Jackson, the lord of research and the fine details, was terribly wrong ?


If you’ve ever watched a list of the worst sports injuries ever, congrats, you’ve probably seen that goalie whose throat was slit by a hockey skate .


You. Don’t. Know. Shit.


You can say you know all the things in the world about anatomy and physiology and how to take a person down with style and literary precision, but there is a very large difference between reality and fiction . A modern character, or yourself, belongs to the realm of reality (and suffering). We traded our mental capacity to kill people for insulting our mothers for the ability to tweet about Kim’s latest baby naming tragedy. It stopped being socially acceptable to run about with swords… actually it was Japan had them last . Even Sweden doesn’t approve. There are weapon carry laws for every state in the United States and country across the world. Look them up sometime.


We are not mentally prepared for the sort of trauma Thedas is. They literally grow up in a place where banditry and piracy are actual occupational choices, where thieves and assassins ply their trades with little to no repercussions. Templars are more than just names in a history book but an actual force dedicated to controlling mages, a potentially violent subsection of their society who can be possessed by violent demons. Dying a violent death at sword point is a common statistic in their world.


It’s an act of insanity in ours.



But Allu, you say as you read, I’m trained in how to fight people. I have a whatever belt in whatever fighting style.


That is lovely. So does Allu. She has multiple belts in multiple disciplines. You know what they don’t cover in those styles? How to deal with people who legitimately want to kill you outside of the mats. Guns and knives? Oh, we cover that under ‘don’t’ and ‘take it away’, right before ‘now run like hell’. Martial arts and other combative styles focus primarily on unarmed combat. Some of them have weapons training, but are done with training weapons. If you reach a high enough belt in various disciplines, you may be considered skilled enough to practice with live steel.


The name of that game is to avoid hurting people. Making your opponent (or partner if you’re doing a showcase) bleed is a sign of poor training.


Now, there are some of you who may be reading this who belong to the SCA. (Why yes, I know what that is, I’m in the Stellar Kingdom of Ansteorra and find you all quite awesome.) A fair chunk of you actually practice the combat styles that may be encountered in Thedas. This is awesome.


Any Asian, Native, South American, or any other non-European practitioners are also quite awesome. Your style will be one that will be very difficult for Thedosians to deal with. If you practice unarmed martial combat, remember that they have armor on (for the most part) and do what you do.


Aikido, Judo people, keep doing what you do. I would recommend looking at the armor of Thedas and medieval Europe and seeing where you can get holds in.


If you have prior training and have never actively used it to seriously hurt people, you are going to be at a disadvantage. In this day and age, we focus on disabling and demoralizing our opponents.


Ever see that video of the real life Catwoman ? She’s quite awesome. What about that guy who decided nope, not today ? That’s the sort of thing martial arts practitioners do.


In our world? That makes us badasses. Martial arts or combatives training to that degree is a rare skill. Every once in awhile you get something on the news where someone has had it up to their eyeballs and uses those skills to put the hurt on people. It’s quite awesome to us.


In Thedas? Most of the people you would be looking to kick in the head are going to have at least some level of skill with the art of combat.


You’re going to have to be at the level of Zhuge Liang , Cu Chulainn , Ching Shih , these women , Malala Yousafzai , Theodore Roosevelt and so on. To be a badass of Thedas you need to be on the level of historical badasses.


Now, way at the beginning of this I gave a list of people who could merrily skip over this section unless they were bored. There is a reason why it is that list specifically.


Every single one of them has had a hand in the death of someone. Either it was to protect their country, people, or for whatever reason. That is what they are either trained to do or what they had to become in order to accomplish that. They are badasses.


You are not.


Get it through your head.


You cannot fight like people in a video game. For the most part, you can’t even keep yourself fed . You are what Thedas is going to consider a sheltered noble because there is a very high likelihood you don’t even know how to use a knife beyond ‘pointy end goes in other person’.


I have probably offended a bunch of you. I do not care. Please get it through your heads that you do not have the capacity to be a badass. You are going to need to train, train hard, and train quick. Find yourself someone to protect you, because you are not going to be able to do it yourself. Find someone competent to train you, do not attempt to make shit up on the fly. That’s how you get killed.


In reality, people die when they are killed . There is no magical ‘end of battle resurrection’. Consider going into Thedas a giant welcome into Nightmare mode you can’t drop the difficulty on.


The people I specifically listed off at the beginning already know how to deal with this sort of thing . They have studied logistics, teamwork, tactics, strategy, military history and doctrine. Those people have put that knowledge to work in the field, on battlefronts, on missions. These people are the ones who are trained professionals who know how to handle themselves and others in high-stress volatile environments.


You haven’t.


So sit your ass down.


Accept your shortcomings.


Do something about it.