So when renay first suggested this idea to me, I assumed it would be too hard to bring the two universes together. I'm not one who can just throw together characters from different canon settings willy-nilly -- I need to have an explanation for why they're in the same place at the same time. But the concept settled in the back of my mind, and the next time she brought it up I had the following epiphany:
-- Darkspawn emerge from beneath the ground.
-- Ivalice is filled with caverns, mines, and other underground settings.
And voila, I had a mechanism of connection. That was where my vision began: darkspawn bursting from the Zertinan Caverns, with Grey Wardens not far behind, Queen Ashe and Warden-Commander Elissa Cousland coming together to make a stand against the enemy. (I never even considered using any other Warden in that role. The idea of these two women working together was just too appealing.) Of course, there are many factors to consider when you combine two worlds and stories that are so different. These are some of the thoughts I find the most interesting.
1. Magic. How magic works may be the largest gulf between the two universes: it appears that anyone in Ivalice can learn how to cast spells, whereas only those Thedans born with a connection to the Fade will have any magical ability at all. I brought this difference up in "The Joining" but didn't even bother attempting an explanation. I have a feeling I'm going to need to get into a little more depth in Part Two, especially if Alistair and Ashe (whom I always consider a paladin-type) go into battle together. Nathaniel brings up the possibility that Alistair may not be able to use his Templar abilities to dampen magic, and I haven't decided whether or not that will be a problem. Will the Fereldens be able to learn magic here? Does the Fade even exist in Ivalice? Questions I have not yet answered, and which will take more pondering.
2. Merging different levels of technology. Ivalice is an odd mix of high and low technology, and in truth I've always had a hard time deciding what tech they're likely to have in any given situation. Airships and aircars exist, but the common people seem to mostly walk or ride chocobos. Do the people of Ivalice have electricity? Computer tech? Long-range communications? Are the "technologies" we see mostly driven by magic?
Meanwhile, Dragon Age is a medieval tech world beyond doubt. I underplayed this aspect in Part One because I didn't really want to deal with the implications of the Fereldens being overwhelmed by wonders at every turn, but I may do more with it in the future. Have to admit, the business with Nathaniel and Alim's first ride on an airship was a lot of fun to play with.
3. Mist vs. Darkspawn Corruption. One of my first thoughts when pulling these worlds together was the potential to draw a parallel between the way a Blight corrupts the land and the devastation at Nabudis. This led to other ideas, such as the darkspawn going out of their way to avoid the Wood, and Fran's ability to sense the taint (and it's really too bad that I can't write her as romantically involved with Balthier, because how delicious would *that* angst have been?). I see a connection to Mist here, and maybe nethicite, but I think I need to do more research to figure out how that's going to work.
4. The Occuria as "Old Gods". One of the big questions, of course, is why the darkspawn have been drawn to Ivalice in the first place. If the archdemons are the Old Gods of Thedas, then might it be logical for the Occuria, or one of their number, to serve the same function here? I've thought of involving Morrigan or Flemeth -- Morrigan, especially, although whether she would be working for or against the Wardens isn't clear to me -- but that leads me to the question of why either of these women would take an interest in Ivalice. Magicite, perhaps, or the Occuria themselves? This is probably the aspect of the merger I'm fuzziest on.
So, that's where I am right now, at least in terms of bringing the worlds together. I have a lot of thoughts on the characters, too, and why I created the connections and teams I did, but that can wait for another day.
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