Sorry for the novel length rambling, don't stress and have fun following your muse, as long as you avoid my DNWs I am sure whatever you make will fill me with happy shippy joy :) Basics:
DNWs: Sad endings (a little bittersweetness is ok), contagious zombie-ness, parasites, sympathetic rapists, rape, incest, child harm, underage sex, gender essentialism (Men are like X/women are like Y), simplistic "the chantry is 100% right" attitudes supported by the narrative, onscreen sex without feelings.
Note: I am fine with vague references to most DNWs, especially if they happened in canon. Also, I don't disapprove
of sex without feelings, and for someone like Isabela would actually prefer her to be into it than have her be slutshamed or OOC. I just have a weird squick about seeing it described in detail.
What I want: something happily romantic, and either fic that tells a story or art that implies one.
For fic I strongly prefer that story be one where the characters go through (overall positive) emotional change. This means I tend not to like established relationship fic unless it contains some personal or relationship growth. A bit of plot is good too. I like moments of change in art, too, but it's not as much of a priority.My general preferences
In all works I like a sense of empathy for all the characters, even any villains, and subverting power relationships both big and small. And for shippy works I like a dynamic of emotionally incompetent people flailing together and somehow mostly working things out. My somewhat contradictory preference for any sexual desire is that it be treated as separate to love by the narrative, but HAPPEN to be connected to love for the characters.
Pretty much my favourite thing in ship fic is a POV character with a great deal of self doubt coming to the realisation that they really are important to the person (or people) they love, especially if it's a one two punch of "OH NO I LOVE THEM" followed by "OMG THEY LOVE ME TOO". The obvious way to do this is a getting together story, but "realising there is more to this friends with benefits relationship than just sex" moments work too and may be more in character for some of these pairings. I like relationship dynamics to be pretty balanced, and the love interest(s) should have some self doubt too. POV shifts so that everyone in the pairing gets their turn to be all OH NO/OMG is AMAZING if you feel up to it.
With art, I absolutely love "OH NO I LOVE THEM" and "WAIT WHAT THEY LOVE ME" moments if you can come up with a good scenario, but also really enjoy in character moments of connection and affection that capture what makes the couple great. With these pairings in particular pretty much any cute couple scenario will make me go aww :)
One of my favourite plots for shippy fic or art is the couple working together to achieve something, where we see how they bring out the best in each other and work well as a team. A lot of these characters have VERY strongly held beliefs and goals, and I'd love to see them respect each others beliefs and help each other achieve their goals.
Also forced intimacy is my JAM. Huddling for warmth, fake dating, all of it. So great for OH NO THEY'RE HOT :D
Note: I generally prefer non-noble female PCs but just do whatever works for the story. I'm cool with original first names. I tend to get thrown out of works that go too far from canon with the NPCs, but enjoy when OCs and PCs add some subtle background diversity eg disabled/non binary/fat etc characters. No making a big deal about it, though, please. A post about what I generally like in fanworks
if you want EVEN MORE ideas.On smut
I tend not to enjoy sexually explicit art, though a bit of sexual charge can add spice, especially to OH NO THEY'RE HOT. The dynamic I describe in the next paragraph certainly doesn't go astray in (mildly) sexy works.
I can enjoy explicit fic, but have pretty narrow tastes: mild sexiness or fade to black is fine in a wide range of scenarios, but explicit sexual scenes only tend to work for me if the POV character (a) loves their partner (b) is feeling some negative emotions about having sex. I don't want to see these characters mistreating each other, or being sexually miserable forever, so it would have to be (a) external to the couple or internal to the POV character (b) resolved by the end.
So, for example: a fic where Fenris, Hawke and Isabela have sex which everyone tells themselves is meaningless but they're all just in denial, then it ends with the three of them happily together. Or Sigrun and Velanna have angsty "we're about to die (oh no you're dying too and I love you)" sex during the fake calling, but then everything turns out ok. Fenris/Isabela:
What I love about this pairing is that they recognise and respect each other's mutual yearning for freedom. I thus see them being VERY careful not to push or pressure for commitment or discussions of feelings. And while I do see those things happening slowly over time, I can't see them ever getting married or being an entirely conventional couple. I tend to imagine them as poly but am fine with them being monogamous.
I'm naturally inclined to stick with the canon that they started out as friends with benefits, but if you'd rather a different start that's cool. Either way, what I live for is moments of tentatively growing trust and connection.
Specific DNW: either of them being unambiguously only into the opposite sex. You don't have to make it explicit that they're bi, just don't contradict it.
I'd love to hear what they're up to during Inquisition, or see them working together to fight slavers or other bad guys. A quiet moment of peace and connection (maybe after some badassery!) would be lovely too.Fenris/Isabela/f!Hawke:
So what I love about this setup is that it gives all three of them such great reasons to be consumed with self doubt. I like a scenario where Act 2 progressed much like canon does if Hawke romances Isabella and then Fenris, and Act 3 starts with Fenris and Isabela both thinking "I should just accept I ruined things with Hawke and hope they find happiness with [other love interest]", while Hawke thinks "Oh no I alienated BOTH of them" and the three of them are awkward and angsty at each other until they figure everything out.
All the stuff I said about Fenris/Isabela above applies to them inside the triad. Given the dynamics in canon I tend to see them being initially more focussed on Hawke and only coming to feelings for each other more slowly, if at all. I am fine with their relationship not being explicitly romantic in the work as long as they end up with a strong close friendship, but romance would be awesome if you can get it to work.
I know how hard it is to capture all three sub-pairings in ot3 works, but if you can manage it via multiple POVs/pictures or whatever that would be spectacular.
I don't care if Hawke is a mage or red/blue etc, but would want her having her own Emotional Issues and not being too much The Well Adjusted One. Maybe similar issues to Isabela and Fenris, or maybe something contrasting like being friendly but socially awkward. Note that while I'm cool with nb!PCs, Hawke has to be a woman for this prompt or you'll break the rules of the exchange.
A weaving together of the Fenris and Isabela romances into a coherent whole would be great. Or maybe Hawke is in a relationship with one of them post DA2 and then they all get reunited, and it's all awkwardness and guilt, and then catharsis and smooches. (off on the wild seas with Isabela? I tend to see them as poly already but that doesn't solve everything) Or Fenris and Isabela team up to rescue Hawke from the fade! Or a picture of them collapsing together affectionately after a successful battle.Bethany/Merril:
What I love about these two is they're both easily dismissed but have hidden depths. I can see them recognising that about each other, and making each other feel understood and respected.
I like this pairing a *little* fluffier and less consumed with angsty self doubt than the others, but cutely shy self doubt is A+. My preferred scenario tends to be post DA2 with Circle Bethany, since that makes it easiest to imagine a happy ending, but there's something to be said for an emotionally fraught reunion in Act 3 with Warden Bethany (that moment would make for good art!)
I'd love to see them doing magic together, or helping rebuild/fix Kirkwall (SOMEONE has to do something about all that evil magic architecture). Or working together to rescue Hawke from the fade! If you can fit in Merrill getting the chance to examine and use one of the bazillion working eluvians from DAI/Trespasser all the better :D
No smut for this pairing please but fade to black is fine.Cassandra/Leliana:
Ah, so much history and such complex feelings! I love that they have years of mutual trust and respect, and in some ways are very similar people, yet they have this pain and awkwardness between them (that we can fix with our imaginations ;)).
I'd love to see them work through the pain of the events of Inquisition, and their differing views on the future of the Chantry, and find their ways to a closer and more comfortable relationship. They will never agree on everything, but can still respect and help each other.
I would absolutely love to see Cassandra coming to the horrified realisation that she's into Leliana AFTER Leliana becomes Divine. Leliana could either not realise what's going on and wonder why Cassandra is being so weird all of a sudden, or flirt a bit (either as a joke or sincerely), get rebuffed, and take out her frustration and hurt feelings by flirting and watching Cassandra squirm (which Cassandra would probably read as pure trolling) Since Inquisition I have been tormented by a frustratingly vague mental image of Leliana in her Divine outfit flirting with Cassandra in a somewhat personal-space invading way and Cassandra blushing like crazy as she is torn between retreat and reciprocation. Leliana is a decent person at heart and cares for Cassandra, so she wouldn't take it TOO far, and being me I want her to have some self doubt and mixed feelings too.
If sexy!pope Leliana isn't your jam I'd be happy with anything that gets them closer and happier after the events of Inquisition without glossing over their differences too much.Velanna/Sigrun
: What I love about these two is that they have both, in their way, been made bitter and resigned by pain and loss, and are willing to throw their lives away. They also have a shared love of snarkily deflating privileged humans/nobles/men :) Yet their different personalities make for a charming contrast, and could lead to mutual benefit: Sigrun helping Velanna be less serious all the time, and Velanna encouraging Sigrun to be less passive.
What I really want to see is the two of them helping each other value themselves beyond their use to others, and to find things worth living for. I am imagining a friendship with shippy overtones or a "meaningless doomed fling" where, in either case, they realise they actually want to stick around and open up to each other, and have to reassess their life and plans. I don't want them giving up on their values, just finding a way to pursue them and still be happy.
Prompts: Sigrun helps Velanna find her sister, or come to terms with not finding her. Helping each other through the fake calling, and maybe realising they don't want to die yet. Getting to know each other's cultures and experiences: visiting a Dalish clan (maybe helping them stick it to some sucky humans!), learning about the weird dwarf stuff from Descent etc. Or just art of Sigrun being flirty and Velanna going OH NO SHE'S HOT.