Forums: Index > Game DiscussionRacialised Romance?
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With Bioware talking of making the romance content of DA:I more complex than ever before in their games, and confirming that romance options will have a defined sexuality, I was wondering what are the chances of your player race impacting on romance? For example, Cullen seemed pretty anti-Qunari in DA2, it's certainly plausible for him not to pursue a romance with a Qunari Inquisitor. Of course this just might alter some dialogue and make the romance more angsty or whatever depending on context.

Might it seem more realistic to lock out certain races for some characters? Would an Elvhen companion fighting for his or her people really want to start something with a human?

Personally I think all races should be open for all companions, but with all the talk of creating more realistic and complex romances, this idea of some characters favoring their own race or only a few came to me as a plausibility.

Perhaps the best option is for the race to affect the type of romance - e.g. and Elvhen character would pursue a more traditional romance with another elf, but perhaps a more confrontational romance with a human.

So what do you think, should Bioware lock out certain races for romance options? or should they be left open? -- (talk) 13:59, May 1, 2014 (UTC)

I see no reason for Bioware to avert the old potato that love conquers all. Especially since race was no obstacle to romance in Origins. As game developers go, Bioware are somewhat famous for being among the most progressive (if not the most progressive.) Within reason, anyway. It makes no sense to me that they'd suddenly up and reverse their stance on interracial relationships.

That said, I do see where you're coming from. If prejudice against a certain group is part of a character's background, it only makes sense that it should come up. Hell, it's just plain bad writing and even offensive not to. ("Normally I hate knife-ears, Inquisitor, but your sexy is just too overwhelming! Now let's forget all about me saying your race is good for nothing and go put some footprints on the ceiling!")

I don't believe that races should be locked out for romance, though why anyone would want someone who looks down on them is beyond me ("I love the way you think I'm sub-human, baby, let's go put some more footprints on the ceiling!"), but unfortunately it is depressingly realistic for someone to refuse possibly the best thing that ever happened to them because of their politics and prejudices. 14:48, May 1, 2014 (UTC)

^(hahaha that got me thinking about Fenris and my Female Mage Hawke) I am going to be REALLY unhappy if i find outmy female qunari mage cant romance the person she/i want to ,sure it may be more realistic and whatever but i dont like being blocked from options on a video game that ia all about customisation ,choices and playinghow you want to ,it just seems like a good way to lose a lot of certain fans.Blitzbear93 (talk) 15:54, May 1, 2014 (UTC)Blitzbear93

This is just a matter of personal taste, here, but I'd rather have characters remain realistic and true to themselves than be fluid with their nature for no real reason other than catering to the players whims. Like how you can't save Leandra, it's part of the story and that's just how it is. If you can't romance someone for whatever reason, that's part of the story and just how it is. There's other games that let you exercise complete control over characters and their love lives (like The Sims) but I believe the more control the player has over someone who's not the main character, the bigger the trade-off in plausibility. And I'll be honest, it's less satisfying. Like, for the sake of argument, if Casablanca were a Bioware game, and you could fix it so Ilsa leaves her husband and stays with Rick, or Rick and Renault become lovers instead. Sure, the player gets to have it left all up to them, but the story suffers for it. 19:44, May 1, 2014 (UTC)

The only races I see as a banned romance is a dwarf and qunari, more male qunari than female qunari because it would be, well I do t think I need to get into detail, but I can see a male or female dwarf with a female qunari more that a male or female dwarf with a male qunari because, you know. 18:00, May 1, 2014 (UTC)

Because the animators have so much trouble matching short and tall models? CLuhrsen (talk) 20:06, May 1, 2014 (UTC)
I think they mean, because nuzzle. Silver Warden (talk) 20:51, May 1, 2014 (UTC)
Ah, love can overcome any obstacle. This one in particular just requires a stepladder.
Unless you mean what I think you mean, in which case there's no reason to believe male qunari, um, eh, have trouble finding shorts that fit. For all we know they could have laughably small genitalia, like Russell Crowe. 21:19, May 1, 2014 (UTC)
Sten's remarks to Morrigan about Qunari sex implies that the males can go into some kind of lust-filled trance state, wherein they could unintentionally injure the other person if they are not physically sturdy enough to handle it. So hypothetically, a Qunari male could injure a non-Qunari during sex because of various physiological differences between races (bone strength, tendon/muscle strength, skin thickness, etc.). Even if the key fits, the lock could get shattered if someone slams the key into the lock with all their might. Of course, Sten could have been bsing Morrigan to get her to leave him alone, in which case Qunari sex could be no different than human/elf/dwarf sex.
As for size differences? Dwarves might be shorter than humans/elves, but they're just as wide, so... Silver Warden (talk) 03:29, May 2, 2014 (UTC)
^ XD thats amusing ,it was weird ths height distance between my dwarf female and Alistair in one od my playthroughs yet that still qorked out (looked odd though ,or they could just do what the did with Mass Effect, when Shep and Garrus or Shep and know the player doesnt actually see what happens (unlike DA where you see some of what happens) and besides Ohgren commented on how he was juat the right size to show a human girl a good time qunari arent that much taller than humans really so i dont think itd be to much of a problem i think youd have more of a problem convincing a qunari to do ...that.Blitzbear93 (talk) 21:40, May 1, 2014 (UTC)Blitzbear93

As long as they don't make sex the ultimate goal of the romance, i'm fine with whatever path BW decides to go. Seriously, getting into relationship with a companion should elicit some extraordinary reaction from them. Like... taking an arrow for you or helping you manage your army or something. ANYTHING other than :" Hello my love, let's have sex before the final battle!" Jesus... enough with cheap porn lines. I bet Lisa Ann could write better romance.--Markurion (talk) 23:01, May 1, 2014 (UTC)

Unfortunately, spend about eight seconds on any anywhere from tumblr to deviantart to AO3 and it becomes rapidly apparent that sex between fictional characters is all that most fans seem to give a crap about. 13:38, May 2, 2014 (UTC)
Never thought of this but you're right, we the true geeks seem to be over fixated of fictionalized sex between our characters?? Maybe it's because the most vocal group of fans are the freaky oversexed teens (as in they want it but ain't getting it). Also, we have been taught that the true show of love to someone is sex so that's where they are going with sex scenes in games I think and I doubt they'll change it sometime soon 'cus it is embedded into our culture.--Dave The Maniac (talk) 14:48, May 2, 2014 (UTC)
Which is funny, when you think about it, because the most important relationships we have in life are usually not sexual. All relationships to other people shape and define us in one way or another, for better or worse, and yet sexual ones are in the minority. There's the relationships you have with your parents (or surrogate parents), grandparents, brothers, sisters, teachers, friends, enemies, rivals, bosses, subordinates, comrades, I really could go on and on. But every fandom seems to be strangely obsessed with making every relationship sexual in nature, often to the expense of a more interesting dynamic. Don't get me wrong, I'm no prude, but I find that attitude to be something worse than immature; namely a pitiful lack of imagination. 16:04, May 2, 2014 (UTC)
Yeah maybe it could be because the most vocal group of gamers are the guys who spend all their time on the internet, with a relation only with their fleshlight.--Dave The Maniac (talk) 16:15, May 2, 2014 (UTC)
That's only half of it. There may be a vocal group of male gamers who objectify female characters, but there's just as loud a group of female fans writing all the porn. 16:49, May 2, 2014 (UTC)
It's all because of Rule 34. The interwebz are largely anonymous, so any and every sexual desire will inevitably be expressed in one fashion or another. Fan-fic porn is just a small part of that. I can guarantee you there's porn on house flies and combs. (No I haven't looked.) There's also the fact that everyone's ultimate motivation for everything in life is either to get laid or get some food (or drug or other consumable substance). Everything else is either a means to one (or both) of those ends, or a way to repress them. Fan-fic porn (or just porn in general) can appeal to anyone who isn't getting laid 24/7.
And if you think about it, wanting to bang a fictional character is no less disturbing than wanting to slaughter thousands of nameless soldiers/zombies/aliens/robots/darkspawn. And not only do we actually get to see that happen, we take part in the action. I don't have any problem with extreme violence or sex being depicted in any medium, but complaining about and/or trying to censor the latter when in real life the former is infinitely worse is just baffling. Silver Warden (talk) 18:31, May 2, 2014 (UTC)
I just think that the focus on sex we have in this world is baffling, yes it is great to get laid but it's not everything in life and certainly not the focus of being in a relationship. TBW, ask around in the chat and I'm no prude... just thinking aloud.--Dave The Maniac (talk) 19:07, May 2, 2014 (UTC)
You're right, though, especially when you said above how we're bombarded by the media with the message that sex is the goal of any relationship and true sign of love. Pffffft. If that were remotely true, one night stands would be marriages. Personally I think the goal and truest sign of love is trust. Practically speaking, just about anybody can have sex with anyone else. Not everybody can trust, and not just anybody can be trusted. Raidenshred (talk) 19:32, May 2, 2014 (UTC)
To not focus on sex would be baffling. Unless of course our society came under immanent threat for our very survival, or there was a massive food shortage and people were starving. Humans are animals. All animals strive for survival. All adult animals that are capable of sexual reproduction strive for sex if there are no physical threats present and they are well fed and have a secure territory. Other than the homeless, this is the condition of virtually everyone in western society. So, sex naturally becomes the priority for all adults capable of reproduction. Romantic relationships form because we have an innate instinct to pair bond with a mate in order to more efficiently raise children. Monogamy also drastically reduces the risk of STDs, so the instinct to form relationships has a direct benefit even to the physical well being of the participants.
Everything else about a relationship is a side effect of sex or a means to achieve it. Remove sex from any romantic relationship and it will fall apart. That doesn't mean that people can't or won't find more satisfaction or enjoyment out of aspects of a relationship other than sex, but sex is crucial to all romantic relationships, even though most people never recognize this consciously.
So, simulating a relationship that centers around sex in an RPG is not (necessarily) perverse or crude. It is in fact natural and extremely realistic, especially given that the characters are all basically super-athletes in perfect physical condition and that they spend a lot of time together in close quarters. It's actually unrealistic that only the Warden/Hawke gets in a relationship. Maybe Inquisition will be different. I hope so. Silver Warden (talk) 23:25, May 2, 2014 (UTC)
A true sign of a relationship would be if the other character took an arrow to the back meant for the Inquisitor or even have an specific quest for the romanced character.--Dave The Maniac (talk) 20:04, May 2, 2014 (UTC)
You're not wrong. Heh, it's actually quite refreshing to encounter someone more cynical about human behaviour than myself. Of course, I can't speak for others, but my reasons for wanting to play DA (or other games, for that matter) weren't for the purposes of simulated slaughter. I play games for the same reasons I watch movies or read books; an entertaining story. Games have an advantage of being more immersive. If Bioware tried to sell me DA as all the shagging and slaughter I could stomach, I'd have passed. Though I admit I'd probably be in the minority there, since there's no arguing that sex sells and violence is a narcotic. Of course, censorship is worse. Let something stand on its own merits (or lack of them), I believe, and let individuals decide for themselves about it. If it results in a mad scramble for the lowest common denominator, it's an unsurprising pity, but not a race to the bottom I have to take part in. 19:25, May 2, 2014 (UTC)
Lol finally someone that plays games for the same reason I do... dude you get a thumbs up!!!--Dave The Maniac (talk) 19:59, May 2, 2014 (UTC)

If it makes sense for a character to have a preference for or against a certain race then I'm all for it. I don't think it should be implemented just for the sake of it though. Rayvio (talk) 03:26, May 2, 2014 (UTC)

In Thedas there is more racism playing in affect for romantic relationships. elves primary concern is reproduction and continuation of their species. Therefore the elves view interracial relationships as betrayals, as half elven children will look primary as the partner's race than elf. It also rules same sex relationships impractical, for such unions do not produce elven children. The Dwarves are a proud race that have a superior view of themselves. It's also shown that have a hard time reproducing with their own kind, therefore making it harder to mate with other races. Plus they are also an traditionalist culture, likely not will to accept new people into influence their culture. The Qunari on the other try not to infuse emotions with reproduction. They bred only certain people to together to get the best results from offspring. The humans just view other races as inferior, making social mores that discourage unions with other races.

i expect the iron bull to be romancable only to qunari inquisitors if not only to femqunari and with luck varric romancable and maybe only to female dwarfs(varric i think is more of an open possibility for everyone) but im pretty sure on the iron bullFaye_Cousland (talk) 21:04, May 02, 2014 (UTC)

Emotion not being a part of reproduction is only a Qun teaching, not a racial thing. It has already been confirmed that the Qunari Inquisitor will be Vashoth, meaning they have no affiliation with The Qun whatsoever (they were born and raised outside of it). This would also imply that the Qunari Inquisitor would associate emotion with sex/reproduction just as the majority of society (outside of the Qun) does. WhiteClaudia (talk) 16:25, May 8, 2014 (UTC)

Honestly, I'd be glad about racism locking out romances. It would make sense with the characters we already know. I don't believe that anyone we know would partner with a Qunari (except for other Qunari). I can only see Cullen romancing humans,elves, and maybe dwarves. I believe Cassandra would only romance humans. Varric would only date female dwarves, as he refuses Hawke and says this in DA2 (unless he's changed).Aedan Amell (talk) 03:48, May 5, 2014 (UTC)

Right. If players have standards, why shouldn't NPCs have own?FirstDrellSpectre (talk) 05:25, May 5, 2014 (UTC)

It would very interesting to see what the romances would be like if certain LIs wouldn't romance with certain races. Though I don't Bioware would actually do that. Seraphim47 (talk) 12:48, May 5, 2014 (UTC)

Personally, I feel that realistically an Elf or Dwarf character is naturally the least likely to have an interracial relationship. I mean look at the DA universe. Elves and Dwarves, especially Dwarves, are in desperate need of a population explosion. So in a real setting no I don't see Elven and Dwarven PC's allowing themselves to fall in love with someone outside their species or race or whatever. I have to admit, in DA:O I would purposely allow Alistair to break up with my Elven PC's and get my PC's to fall in love with Zeveran instead because it seemed more realistic, and hey I wanted some beautiful brown Zeveran babies lol.

At the same time, I feel players should ultimately have the choice. That's what Bioware games have been about as long as I have been playing them, and that's how they should always be. I will say one good thing about DA2 was the fact that all main romances were bisexual. If a player wanted Anders to be gay in their playthrough, then Anders was gay in that universe. The same true about a straight Anders or Merrill being straight in that players' universe. People on the Bioware social really pissed me off when they were whining about a character being Bisexual or Gay. Like wtf? It's every players own unique universe.

As for the funny bit above about Qunari being um... large? LOL! It would make sense, but you never know. For all we know Elves could be the biggest. Or Sandal. Enchantment in those pants! Okay I'm stopping now lol!

Sliver Warden, not to call you out or anything, but I don't believe sex is the be all end all of a relationship. That line of thinking is close to the idea that men can't control their sexual urges which is a concept that many less educated countries believe. We know that every mentally stable adult male, female, intersex can control their sexual urges. Sex is great, but there is a lot more to life. If one's life revolves around any one thing, that's a pretty wasted life. --Jamirflyd (talk) 16:46, May 5, 2014 (UTC)

Not what I meant at all. There's a difference between a conscious goal and a subconscious need. For example, consciously, a person may enjoy the taste of cheese burgers and choose to eat one but subconsciously, people prefer eat things that will provide them with sugars/fats because those things are harder to find in nature. However, people can control what they eat, to the point where some people will starve themselves to death. Sex is no different. It typically isn't the conscious goal of a long term relationship, but take it away and the relationship will starve. Obviously men do not go into a lust-filled berserker frenzy if they don't get any. But a romantic relationship cannot be maintained with out sex. Note that when I say sex, it doesn't have to be intercourse, other types of sexual contact will do.
Two people whose romantic relationship breaks down from a lack of intimacy won't necessarily hate each other and go their separate ways. (Though this is often the case.) They can remain friends and may still love each other in a different sense. They may even work together to raise their children in a so-called 'loveless marriage' (or other arrangement). But without sex any romantic relationship will starve. This doesn't make sex 'the end-all be all', it means sex is the basic, intrinsic, instinctive drive that gives our bodies the power to produce something more than what is necessary. That doesn't necessarily relegate it to just physical pleasure. It is not possible to paint a picture without a brush, but that does not make a painting any less beautiful. Sex is the brush that paints love. Silver Warden (talk) 19:56, May 5, 2014 (UTC)

So ironic that we were talking about platonic relationships on the chat, and why not!?! But I feel as though that there shouldn't be racial restrictions, but that shouldn't count out some characters being unromanceable because they simply don't prefer those from other races. Heck, my first inquisitor will probably go for the same race, but i should note that qunari females in concepts don't look that bad. Lazare326 (talk) 21:09, May 5, 2014 (UTC)

There are so many different kinds of love, and sex is but the smallest part of most of them. Sometimes "just" a kiss can be more intimate than sex ever could. Real love is for someone's mind and personality. You only appreciate the body that mind comes in. That's the difference. Love does not wither and die without sex, it dies without trust. Look what happens to couples who have sex but lack mutual respect, it's the stuff of goddamn nightmares. 21:06, May 5, 2014 (UTC)
Whoever you are, you totally missed my point. For one thing a kiss is (usually) sexual contact, which I stated can substitute for actual intercourse. Nor did I ever say that trust was not necessary for a long term relationship. Both are. As for 'real love' being for a person's mind and personality, I agree. But physical attraction comes first. As in, it literally happens first. And if it goes away, romantic love becomes something else. What that is could be anything from utter hatred to familial love. But romantic love is sexual by definition. Look it up.
And don't tell me what I do or don't appreciate. There's no need to make this personal. Silver Warden (talk) 21:20, May 5, 2014 (UTC)
I didn't mean you you. I meant "you" in the general sense. I should have said "people", my bad, sorry. The rest of it, I think we're just going to have to agree to disagree on. 11:57, May 6, 2014 (UTC)

I think we should. They did in Mass Effect, at least.

Sure, you had Tali, Garrus, and Thane. But they weren't romanceable (at least Tali and Garrus) until you already spent an entire game with them, unless you didn't with Garrus. But that's something that most people did to see how that worked in ME2. Anyway, Tali and Garrus hadn't actually expressed feelings until Mass Effect 2. Thane was in a vulnerable position in his life, so that made sense for him to romance a human. Tali and Garrus were more of from races that didn't really promote cross species mingling. Liara, an Asari, did. She is from a species that openly encourages such things. All of the other romances were human. The ones that counted towards achievements, that is. All of the races in Dragon Age have a very, frankly, racist view of who should fall in love with who. Elves and Humans are the only ones who are, to say the very least it's the only appropriate word for it, accepted if they fall in love with one another. I'm not saying they're accepted by everyone, but I'm saying less heads are going to be turned from an Elf and Human in love than, say, a Dwarf and Elf. Or Dwarf and Human. My point is that I believe the romances should be racialised because that's the established canon in Dragon Age. It can change, but that'd be one of those they'd have to approach it properly. I don't see Cullen falling for a Mage as in character, frankly. Dabuddah (talk) 05:30, May 6, 2014 (UTC)

Cullen had a crush/was in love with the female Mage in origins, so I don't think he'll have a problem with it now, but it would more than likely come up once or a few times that your a mage when in a relationship with him, which would be interesting, class and specialization affecting relations--Jcama (talk) 06:30, May 6, 2014 (UTC)

Love how everyone brings that up as defense for romancing Cullen as a Mage. Did you guys even finish the tower as a female mage? Cullen pretty much stopped crushing on them after being in the prison. Another thing is he doesn't even make a pass at female Hawke. After the events at the circle tower, I believe that it'd be out of character for him to like a mage simply because he was ready to purge to circles. I'm not saying he didn't have reason, but yeah. Dabuddah (talk) 15:42, May 6, 2014 (UTC)

I think racial restrictions in regard to the romance make sense and it would be about time that they were implemented. The elven Warden has only the saving grace of being effectively sterile to avoid the risk of siring a dirty elf-blooded, so their example makes a bit more sense. But despite all of the lore implications regarding interbreeding throughout the entire setting, there seem to be a lot of those damned half-breeds around, and I think the prejudice should be more apparent from NPCs. Dwarves, naturally, should want to breed among their own, and most Qunari know nothing else but to breed when they're told to do so, and *only* then. Mages are not quite their own 'race', but their nature should also warrant special treatment from any possible paramours they may have. All in all, I'd definitely like it if some of the elves would kindly STOP killing off their race slowly and the humans would likewise keep to their own as well. EzzyD (talk) 08:31, May 6, 2014 (UTC)

That...sounds oddly racist. "Keep to their own." I get that there are biological considerations here, but keep to their own? Really poor way of phrasing it. Anyway, it should be noted that while Orzammar dwarves are very "pro-dwarf", surface dwarves don't appear to have that hang up. Same goes with city elves vs the Dalish. The Dalish are very insular and xenophobic. The city elves have every reason to hate humans, and most prefer "their own" over humans, but it's not that shocking that one or two would fall for a human.
As for the Qunari, we've yet to encounter any instance of Qunari sexuality. For all we know there's never been a Qunari cross species relationship, it could be physically impossible. Also, the Inquisitor will be Vashoth, not bound by the rules of the Qun. Not sure about the Iron Bull, but given his name, he's probably also Vashoth or Tal-Vashoth. Silver Warden (talk) 18:14, May 6, 2014 (UTC)
It's not my prerogative nor my job to cater to your sensibilities with my phrasing. I was merely putting forth my opinion in the manner that I desired to. I believe the Dalish could be a bit nicer, but I do not hold them at fault for wanting humans to stay far away from them; there are scant few reasons for them to trust anyone who is not also a Dalish. The surface dwarves are, of course, a bit more open since they usually are not banged over the head with the "Tradition Stick" from the moment of their birth. Heh. As for Vashoth, I agree that there is no current precedent, so I stuck with what we have seen of those who are still a part of the Qun. But back to the elves; in nearly any other fantasy setting, it would be a much lesser concern to interbreed with humans, and most of that would come from prejudice based on societal or historical precedents than the nature of the child themselves (half-elves being very common in a setting like Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms, for example, and are actually quite accepted since they blend both races near-perfectly), but in DA the risk is two-fold, since every child they sire by a human is one less elf that could have been born to continue the species, and I'd prefer that the elves keep existing. EzzyD (talk) 20:32, May 6, 2014 (UTC)
we haven't seen a Qunari with a real sexuality because we haven't met a Qunari who had no affiliation with the Qun. This will be our first time actually seeing a Vashoth Qunari. I firmly believe the "no sexuality" thing is a Qun thing, not a racial thing. Those of the Qun (even if they're Tal-Vashoth) were conditioned under that lifestyle, to not associate emotion with reproduction/sex. But those who were never a part of the Qun, would not be conditioned that way, and therefore, I think they would be like the majority of Thedosians and associate emotions with it. WhiteClaudia (talk) 16:34, May 8, 2014 (UTC)
I was just pointing out that taken out of context, saying "stick to their own" could very easily be misinterpreted. It would be like calling a Vashoth Qunari "one of the good ones" or saying, when talking about the elves "some of them had better lives as slaves." I know what you mean, but you appear to have deliberately chosen phrasing that was intended to incite offense. Perhaps that was not the case and you were simply being careless. It just seems like you could have easily said something else, like "elves should be more worried about going extinct".
Anyway, I think that elf/human relationships aren't as common as are portrayed in the game, because of player bias - we're seeing the exceptions, because they are problematic, and the Warden & Hawke are people who go around solving other people's problems. Also, humans are in a position of power over the city elves, so a fair amount of the elf-blooded children are probably the result of either coercion or elven women trying to get a better life for themselves by becoming the mistresses of some human lord. A lot of elves work as servants for humans, and aren't really in a position to refuse a male human's advances. Silver Warden (talk) 17:56, May 8, 2014 (UTC)
Raidenshred, Dave the Maniac, you aren't the only ones. It's good to see other folks not thinking of themselves as animals. Humans want more than food and sex. It's what makes us humans.--Markurion (talk) 01:46, May 7, 2014 (UTC)
Humans ARE animals. Last time I checked, mammals are animals. We are mammals. Biology for you. WhiteClaudia (talk) 16:36, May 8, 2014 (UTC)
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