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This will be rather long:
I know this too little and too late, only as a bit of curiosity to DA addicts like myself: an attempt at analysis of the Landsmeet mechanism. I haven’t been able to find it anywhere in detail (unfortunately, the wiki entry does not provide correct information in some respects), and if there’s a way how to look right into the game code, I don’t know how to do it, so I’m posting here my materials and conclusions, in hope that someone more knowledgeable will do what I couldn’t.
I guess that by now, everyone knows the famous part as revealed by the devs (http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/47/index/456876/3):
Anora's support is worth 3
The Grand Cleric's denunciation is worth 2
Each named noble who supports you is worth 1
Persuasive arguments are worth 1
Failed arguments cost you 1
Just to make sure that the principle is clear: the points needed to win the Landsmeet have little to do with the actual vote as you see it: it is well possible to garner the majority of “votes”, and yet lose. However, the basic explanation of the point system does not cover all the intricacies of the debate, which is what I would like to tackle here. For the sake of clarity, I’ll put down an overview of the persons, rounds, arguments and responses:
The persons are listed in the order as they vote:
Queen Anora +3/-3 (does not vote herself, it's the support which counts)
Grand Cleric (optional) (+2) (does not vote herself, it's the support which counts)
Vaughan Kendalls of Denerim (optional) (+1)
Leonas Bryland of the South Reach +1 (by default; doesn’t count)
Alfstanna of the Waking Seas +1/-1
Sighard of Dragon’s Peak +1/-1
Ceorlic -1 (by default; doesn’t count)
Wulff of the Western Hills +1/-1
nobleman associated with Crows (optional) (+1) never played the quest, so not sure about the position
the last noble - "Bannorn representative", sums up the vote
The numerical values of the individual persons’ votes are unambiguous, possibly with the exception of the last noble. I haven’t been able to find a direct statement from the devs that he, in fact, does not count as a vote but represents “the voice of the people”, but I’ve seen hints at it over the internet and the thread mentioned above seems to imply it, as well. Moreover, in none of my playthroughs of the Landsmeet (more than 40 combinations), his “vote” and the outcome of the Landsmeet ever differed. Besides, he is not a “named” noble, so according to the point system, he really shouldn’t have a vote of his own. Optional points are those which only the Warden can collect; if he fails to do so, the persons remain silent and do not side with Loghain. Bryland and Ceorlic vote by default and their votes counterweigh each other, therefore can be ignored in the analysis.
Now the arguments – I’m using a single-word summary of the gist of the argument, and I’m leaving out Loghain’s responses (I just do hope that their variations do not matter)
Alistair - no response
Ostagar (PC) - Bryland: “Some of us are curious, Loghain, about precisely what happened at Ostagar.”
Blight (PC) - Alfstanna: ”There are enough refugees in my bannorn now to make that abundantly clear.“
- - Wulff: “The south has fallen, Loghain. Will you let the darkspawn take the whole country for fear of Orlais?“ (default??)
Ostagar - Ceorlic : “Oh, do continue! The Landsmeet hungers to hear the tacticall analysis of Ostagar from a spoiled child!” (default)
- - Ceorlic: “Must we listen to these unbased accusations?” (specific occasion)
slavery (“citizens”) - Sighard: “What’s this? There is no slavery in Ferelden! Explain yourself!“ (indignant)
Howe - Sighard: confirmation of the charge (Tortured Noble quest completed)
Anora - no response
Ostagar - no response
Alistair (PC) - Alfstanna: “Indeed, do we not owe it to Maric to see his son on the throne?“
slavery (“elves”) - Sighard: “Selling elves? Explain this, Loghain.” (somewhat annoyed)
Blight - Wulf: “I can vouch for the validity of the threat, if anyone cares to doubt it.” (default??)
Howe - Sighard: confirmation of the charge (as before)
Eamon - Alfstanna: confirmation of the charge (Lost Templar quest completed)
- - Grand Cleric: denunciation (Lost Templar quest completed)
So far, the given facts; now the speculations. Unfortunately, my own experiments are based on the single Warden of mine, a Cousland with maxed coercion, who dutifully did all the quests and secured the votes of Alfstanna, Sighard and Vaughan beforehands, passed all persuade checks and ran the debate mostly with Anora’s support. I obtained some data from a friend’s playthroughs without doing quests and with various combinations of support, but since I have only reports from a single person whom I couldn’t really bother to run experiments indefinitely, some confirmation from more people would be more than useful. The speculations below are based mostly on my own experiments; when I am drawing on the friend’s results, I’ll explicitly state that.
Establishing the value of the arguments is not as easy as it may seem, since it quickly becomes obvious that some arguments are not as valid as expected, some are more valid than others but not worth as much as yet others, and that the bipolar+1/-1 model is too simplified.
The easiest to determine are Howe and Eamon (quest-backed by Sighard and Alfstanna) as the arguments with most weight, since in the version without Anora’s support, they’re the only ones allowing victory. The starting basis here is 0 (Anora -3, the support of A+S+V +3), i.e. the victorious outcome ≥5 is based solely on the argumentation:
Blight (??, Wulf +1) – Howe (+1) – Eamon (+1, Grand Cleric’s denuciation +2) = 5??
Blight secures Wulff’s vote but the exact value of the argument itself cannot be determined as the outcome does not distinguish between a 5 or 6-point victory. However, swapping Howe for e.g. slavery, which is supposed to be backed by the documents, in the second round, leads to losing the debate:
Blight (??, W+1) – slavery (??) – Eamon (+1,GC +2) = 4??
Therefore, I assume that the previous case was won by exactly 5 points and that the Blight argument is worth 0, while the slavery is worth less than Howe and costs me at least 1 point in the debate.
The question whether the slavery argument is worthless (0 points), or even harmful (-1) can be established in comparison with other arguments; in the versions with Anora’s support, the starting base number is 7 or 5, depending if you ever use the Blight argument or not (Anora +3, the support of A+S+V +3, Wulff +1/-1):
Alistair – Howe – Ostagar (lose)
Alistair – Howe – slavery (win)
As it occurs, slavery argument is worth less than Howe, but more than Ostagar, which between the values +1 and -1 inevitably sets its value as 0. The fact that slavery is worth more than some other arguments can further be confirmed e.g. by
Blight – Ostagar – Anora (lose)
Blight – slavery – Anora (win)
So, the original equation with base 0 (Anora -3, A+S+V +3)
Blight (??, W+1) – slavery (??) – Eamon (+1,GC +2) = 4??
can be filled as
Blight (0, W+1) – slavery (0) – Eamon (+1,GC +2) = 4 (lose)
It seems that the varied responses to the charge of slavery in round II and III do not matter; since the argumentation sequences with switched order arrive at the same result:
Ostagar – slavery – Ostagar (lose)
Ostagar – Ostagar – slavery (lose)
(as compared to:
Ostagar – Howe – Ostagar (win)
Ostagar – Ostagar – Howe (win))
However, with the arguments of Alistair and Ostagar the order does matter:
Alistair – slavery – Ostagar (lose)
Ostagar (PC) – slavery – Alistair (PC) (win)
In the first variant, neither argument provokes any response, while in the second there is a persuade check, followed by a positive reaction (in some combinations, the PC is not stated with Alistair, but Alfstanna responds in the same way as if there was). Therefore, I assume that the positive responses to otherwise weak arguments offset the formerly negative value, setting the general outcome to 0, whereas the lack of response leaves the value of argument as -1. The basic number for a sequence not using Blight is 5 (Anora +3, A+S+V +3, Wulff -1), so we go:
Alistair (-1) – slavery (0) – Ostagar (-1) = 3 (lose)
Ostagar (0) – slavery (0) – Alistair (0) = 5 (win)
Ostagar (0) – slavery (0) – Ostagar (-1) = 4 (lose)
Ostagar (0) – slavery (0) – Howe (+1) = 6 (win)
Alistair (-1) – slavery (0) – Alistair (0) = 4 (lose)
Alistair (-1) – slavery (0) – Howe (+1) = 6 (win) )
If the system really works this way, I suppose that slavery is also considered as a -1 argument and it’s Sighard’s response which sets it to 0. (This can only be confirmed in the version where you don’t give Arl Eamon the documents; is it even possible?) The same then probably applies to Blight and Wulff’s response.
The estimate of the numerical values of the individual arguments in each round then is:
Ostagar (PC) -1/0(PC)
Blight (PC) -1/0(PC)
Alistair (PC) -1/0(PC)
To complicate the matters more, it seems that a particular sequence of arguments matters, as well. No combination of arguments starting with Alistair (-1) – Ostagar (-1) EVER wins, and it is in this particular combination you hear Ceorlic’s other response about unbased accusations. With the base 5 and Eamon adding +3, which equals 8, the combination of arguments costs me at least 4 points. I suppose that Ceorlic’s response is an indication of some penalty, possibly of doubling the negative points.
Alistair (-1) – Ostagar (-1 special!) – Eamon (+3) = 6 x (LOSE)!!!
Concerning the role of the responses, I could much use a version of the Landsmeet with failed persuade checks to confirm my conclusions, so I’m rather speculating here, based on the friend’s playthrough without securing the support of the nobles via quests beforehand.
The use of Blight (PC) in round I gains the votes of Wulff and Alfstanna and slavery secures Sighard. My guess is that without using Blight, Alistair (PC) in round III will secure Alfstanna, as well. (My own playthroughs confirm that Wulff’s vote can be obtained by Blight in round III, as well.) Therefore, it turns out that with Anora’s support, you can win the Landsmeet even without doing quests:
Blight (0, W+1, A+1) – slavery (0, S+1) – Alistair (0, Alfstanna hardly counts twice) = 6 (win)
– Are you still with me? ‘Cause only now is where the problems start: the role of Ceorlic’s negative response to Ostagar in round II. I’m quite sure that the argument is worth -1, or else I wouldn’t be winning the sequence of arguments with the base 5:
Ostagar (0) – Ostagar – (-1) – Howe (+1) = 5 (win)
(cf. Ostagar (0) – Ostagar – (-1) – Alistair (0) = 4 (lose)
However, why am I losing this one then (base 7):
Blight (0) – Ostagar (-1) – Anora (-1) = 5 x (LOSE)!!!
while I still win
Blight (0) – slavery (0) – Anora (-1) = 6 (win)?
Either there is again the penalisation for the sequence of two arguments with negative value but this time there is no indication of it, or I’m making a mistake somewhere.
Furthermore, the friend “played without saving or talking to anyone besides Anora and won the Landsmeet”, using the Blight – Howe – Eamon. She got the standard A+W response after Blight and no responses after Howe and Eamon, and Sighard voted with Loghain. It should go then, with base 3 for Anora’s support:
Blight (0, W+1, A+1) – Howe (0??) – Eamon (0??) = 5 MINUS Sighard = 4 x (WIN)!!!
It is possible that with all the versions she ran, she put down a wrong result or confused the argumentative chain and I’m chasing ghosts here; a confirmation from a third party would be highly welcome.
Anyway: this is all I am able do on my own. Thanks to anyone who has read so far; any feedback will be highly appreciated. I intend to do a major edit of the Landsmeet page, at least to purge the inconsistencies and factual mistakes, but I’d like to hear from you first, since I am well aware that all my speculation based on the incomplete data may be totally and completely wrong. --Ygrain (talk) 21:15, July 1, 2011 (UTC)
PS Is there a way how to paste in tables from MS Word?
Interesting read. I definitely thought it was odd because in my recent play through I'd done enough to garner at least 5 votes, yet all of a sudden we've lost and we're preparing for fistycuffs. I just tried to go through and figure out which votes I got but it's all over the joint. Only ones I know for sure are Wulfe and Alfstanna's votes. I've got no idea how the Grand Cleric affects it now, as I figured revealing Loghain having a bloodmage go for Eamon actually garnered you + votes, but that doesn't seem to be the case. This equation you've got is how I went about it: Blight (??, W+1) – slavery (??) – Eamon (+1,GC +2) = 4??. I think where I've come undone is the fact that the slavery argument doesn't seem to matter to the nobles really. I think the evaluation that the last noble who says anything is in fact more of a summary of the votes as a whole, as in mine, the last few voted Loghain I think, and the last did. S13Kuro (talk) 05:10, July 2, 2011 (UTC)
- I've reorganized the order of the persons according to their vote and put in the full version of the equation: Blight (0, W+1) – slavery (0) – Eamon (+1,GC +2) = 4 (lose). In your version, you didn't have Anora's support, right? and the -3 that costs you effectively nullifies your support from the nobles. If you did hand in the slaver's documents, Sighard voted with you, as well. Also, I suppose you didn't have Vaughan and/or the guy from the Crows quest?--Ygrain (talk) 05:50, July 2, 2011 (UTC)
Mentioning Ostagar after the first round will -always- result in a negative, and to get the positive by mentioning it in Round I you need to pass a persuade check. 126.96.36.199 (talk) 09:40, July 2, 2011 (UTC)
- Well, yes, I thought that it was obvious that Ceorlic's reaction always comes as negative but I'll try to make that clearer; as for the PCs, I have no data on what happens after a failed PC. I assume that nobody speaks and the value remains -1, as in the cases without the PC (Alistair in round I and Ostagar in round II). It seems that very few people fancy a Warden with low coercion :-) --Ygrain (talk) 09:52, July 2, 2011 (UTC)
One question: the Landsmeet article here says that you can win the Landsmeet without Vaughan or the Crows noble - I presume that this is in the version with Anora's support, since the friend claimed that her earliest playthroughs without the Crows guy always ended in brawl (and from I can conclude out of the numerous posts over the internet, this problem was much the same for everyone). Can anyone confirm that? --Ygrain (talk) 14:12, July 8, 2011 (UTC)
So, here's a draft of what I'd like to swap the Landsmeet decision section for:
The decision is basically a popularity contest and you need five "points" to win the Landsmeet. However, the point system has little to do with the voting as presented in the cutscene and the player may arrive at a confusing result of seemingly winning the vote, yet losing the debate.
- Anora's support = 3
- The Grand Cleric's denunciation = 2
- Each named noble who supports you (via successful quest and/or argument) = 1
- Each named noble who supports Loghain (via failed quest and/or argument) = -1
- Persuasive argument = 1
- Failed argument = -1
You can gain the support as follows (the nobles are listed in the same order as they vote in the final cutscene):
- doesn’t vote herself but speaks at the end of the debate against Loghain, if you talked to her prior the Landsmeet, promised to support her claim for the throne and didn’t insist that Loghain must pay for his crimes. Not meeting these conditions results in her speaking against the Warden. The Warden's reply to the accusation of kidnapping Anora does not affect anything.
- Grand Cleric (optional)
- doesn’t vote herself but denounces Loghain if the Lost Templar is completed and the charge of poisoning Arl Eamon is brought up in the third round of the debate
- Bann Vaughan Kendalls of Denerim (optional)
- you can release him from Howe’s prison in exchange for his vote
- Arl Bryland of the South Reach
- votes for the Warden by default and doesn’t count to the support (outbalanced by Ceorlic)
- Bann Alfstanna of the Waking Seas
- votes for the Warden on the basis of:
- quest – completing The Lost Templar by giving Alfstanna her brother’s ring at the Gnawed Noble Tavern prior the Landsmeet
- argument – passing the persuade check either with “Blight is the threat here, not Orlais” or with supporting Alistair’s claim in the third round of argumentation.
- Bann Sighard of Dragon’s Peak
- votes for the Warden on the basis of:
- quest – completing the Tortured Noble by releasing Sighard’s son from Howe’s prison
- argument – bringing up the slavery charge
- Arl Wulff of the Western Hills
- votes for the Warden on the basis of:
- argument – saying that Blight is the real threat either in the first or the third round of argumentation, regardless of the persuade check
- votes against the Warden by default and doesn’t count (outbalanced by Bryland)
- nobleman associated with Crows (optional)
- votes for the Warden on the basis of:
- quest – completing the Trial of the Crows
- the last noble
- does not count as support but summarizes the general outcome of the Landsmeet (his vote and the outcome of the debate never differ)
Optional points are those which only the Warden can collect; if he fails to do so, the persons remain silent and do not side with Loghain.
There are multiple ways how to win the Landsmeet. Completing the quests and securing Anora’s support allows for a great variability of the debate. You should only be careful when presenting the arguments of Ostagar or Alistair’s claim to the throne, as they aren’t backed by any evidence and without the successful persuade checks will cost you points. Any argumentative chain starting with Alistair’s claim in the first round and continuing with accusing Loghain of committing treason at Ostagar in the second round (neither has a persuade check available) leads to losing the debate, no matter how many support points you have garnered.
Winning without Anora:
If you cannot rely on Anora’s support, you have to secure as many votes prior the Landsmeet as possible, meaning you have to complete the quests and either release Vaughan and/or do the Trial of the Crows. You then have to bring up the strongest available argument in each round, i.e. Blight in the first round, Howe’s crimes in the second and poisoning Eamon in the third one.
Winning without completing quests:
You cannot bring up the arguments of Howe and Eamon since you do not have any proof. You need Anora’s support and persuasive arguments which do not cost you any points, which is Blight in the first round, slavery in the second and Alistair’s claim (with a successful persuade check) in the third.
If I remember correctly, you don't need to promise Anora that you won't execute Loghain prior to the Landsmeet (I'm not even sure there's an option to do that). Just telling her that you'll back up her claim to the throne is enough to get her support. She'll simply say that she would prefer it if there was a way to spare his life, but she won't demand it as a condition for her support. Nilfalasiel (talk) 10:36, July 21, 2011 (UTC)
- I'm _almost_ sure she betrays you if you insist that Loghain must pay for his crimes but not from my own playthrough; I'll check it out. --Ygrain (talk) 12:34, July 21, 2011 (UTC)
- That sounds likely, but what I meant is that you don't need to insist that he pay for his crimes, but you don't need to say you won't execute him under any circumstances either. Wasn't there a dialogue choice that essentially amounted to "I'll see what I can do, but I don't promise anything"? Or maybe it was the "I won't execute him" choice that was worded more ambiguously. Nilfalasiel (talk) 11:12, July 22, 2011 (UTC)