My wish came true and the group was able to get back together one more time in order to finish playing the Dragon Age adventure we had started, A Bann Too Many.

Where our first session went a bit slow while everyone got used to the game and system, this was not the case for the second session. The most time we took was right at the start of play when the GM awarded experience points for the first session and we all leveled up, so we spent about 15 minutes getting everyone’s character to level 2. Frankly, it only took that long because it was the very first time we’d gone through the process and because the apostate mage’s player took a while before deciding on the choice of his next spell. Then we were ready to play.

Unlike the report on session one, I want to get into some of the actual events from the story, so be warned, there be some spoilers ahead.

One of the things that most appeals to me about Dragon Age characters is that, at level 1, they are actually pretty tough baddies capable of dishing out some nice amount of pain. Play actually supported this; as I wrote, in our first session six player characters took on 23 bandits with merely some minor wounds to show for it! Once I was done leveling my Avvarian warrior, his claymore went from dangerous to downright scary; I mean, a +7 to attack (5 Strength, 2 Heavy Blades focus) at level 2 is just impressive, and once we actually entered combat this was proven to be absolutely true. Not to mention that during this game the dice were just loving the player characters: we rolled about 8 sets of doubles over the course of our first combat encounter, with an average Stunt Point total of 4 (though we also rolled two 6s!), so we got to deal some respectable amounts of damage as well as do cool stuff. The GM? Not so much – the dice were just not working with him, but hey, that’s fate for you.

We got to do a lot of roleplaying at this session as well; a lot more than some of the more fight-oriented members of our party were interested in, maybe, but it was necessary in order to deal with the plot of the adventure. We discovered our characters were far more mercenary than we actually thought, and I, personally, was surprised to learn how callous my character could be based on the situation at hand. Apparently my Avvarian warrior did not give a rat’s ass about the Fereldan lowlanders’ legal issues beyond what he was hired to do and one emotional connection that emerged with the town’s innkeeper, who had also lost a loved one much like Gwydion and Oswyn had. I found this interesting, as a player, especially because there was no backlash from the game itself against my character behaving this way.

In fact, in playing the arrest, conviction and execution of the local Bann, we ended up seeing the gritty side of Dragon Age. We had enough evidence to link him to a ring of bandits that had been terrorizing the town, but after fighting the bandits and then a big Mabari dog, which we had seen at the Bann’s side earlier, we came to learn that there was magic afoot (the Mabari dog turned into a mage when it was finally killed). As we confronted him and saw this blank look on his face, we began to suspect some sort of mind control sorcery, but try as we might (and we truly tried), we couldn’t find any evidence to prove the Bann had been controlled by magic. So you know what happened? The townspeople and the town leaders decided that this Bann was to be executed for his transgressions. We went searching for something, anything, that could provide proof to possibly save this Bann, but we just came up empty. You know what happened? In the morning that Bann, despite his pleas of innocence, was hung in the town’s square.

The GM, Enrique, was fairly shook up by this turn of  events. “You guys killed an innocent man,” he said to us as we wrapped up the game. “No,” I replied, “the town killed the man behind the bandits that killed a few people around here. We tried to find something to prove his innocence, but couldn’t. Tough break.” That’s the kind of world this is, and frankly, I welcome the chance to roleplay in such a setting.

While I must put my roleplaying on hold during the semester, it looks like the rest of the group will go on playing Dragon Age. I envy them to tiny little bits.

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