[March Monster Madness] Esoterica of Thedas, Volume 2: Bestiary


Mike Evans (aka WrathOfZombie) sent me a link to this page via email and I was floored, both due to the quality of the work and to the simple fact that this awesome document was out there online and I didn’t know about it!

Behold the Esoterica of Thedas, Volume 2: Bestiary, a 76-page tome of Dragon Age monster goodness. The Esoterica covers all manner of creatures based on Dragon Age: Origins, presented for use in the tabletop roleplaying game. It also includes an 8-page Creature Creation section with tips and charts (including Size rules!), as well as nine new spells based on the videogame.

If that wasn’t enough, it then goes into a comprehensive bestiary ranging from domesticated animals to wild creatures, darkspawn to demons, constructs to dragons. Basically, if you saw it in Dragon Age: Origins, it’s probably in here.



Stunt Man


Well I don’t know about you fine people but one of the things I immediately fell in love with when I first ran the Dragon Age RPG for my group was the stunt mechanic. Those first Blight Wolves outside Vintiver in The Dalish Curse nearly decimated my players, but then the tide of battle flowed back their way and they swiftly cut down the snarling beasts. I’ve heard a few players say that this first encounter nearly turned them off the RPG as a whole but for me anyway this is when I decided that Unisystem had been knocked off it’s perch as my favourite RPG and Dragon Age now reigned supreme.

Of course the stunts aren’t the only reason I love Dragon Age. I could go on about the intriguing world Bioware have created with it’s dark fantasy edge, or the simplicity and retro feel that Green Ronin gave us in their ruleset. But then I’d be babbling and keeping you fine people from the purpose of this post.

Within a week or two of playing the pen and paper RPG and still heavily enamoured with the CRPG I decided to expand on the stunt list. I looked to the CRPG for inspiration and went about transferring as many as the abilities from the Dragon Age: Origins game to be used as stunts in GR’s RPG. They seemed to go down a treat as a year later I got messages of support from people and requests for more.

So here we are. I’ve readdressed some issues with the original stunts I created and clarified some points, and I’ve also added a whole page of new stunts: Mage, Unarmed and Special. I hope everyone enjoys them and they bring more fun and excitement to the fast paced combat of Dragon Age.


Dragon Age New Stunts by Saisei (PDF; 6.8 MB)


[Beyond Dragon Age] AGE of the Rising Sun


You’ve dug deep and helped the people of Japan with your donations toward relief from the March 11 9.0 earthquake and tsunami. For that we are incredibly grateful. We hope that those donations will help the people and nation of Japan recover from this natural disaster.

As promised, in recompense, we are releasing AGE of the Rising Sun, a 13-page collection of material bringing Mythic Japan to the AGE System. Inside you will find two backgrounds and six monsters, plus notes on weapons and armors. It was written by Josh Jarman and myself, Daniel M. Perez.


Moral Conundrums & Tough Choices in Your Game


One of the things I’ve learned since I began GM-ing Dragon Age is just how good placing moral conundrums in front of your players is.  The Dragon Age adventure philosophy, by design, encourages this approach to story-telling, and I’ve found that it really makes players become more involved in the story you are all trying to tell.

So as I’ve been trying to develop adventures and stories in this fashion, I’ve thought of ways to introduce these concepts at the table.  It requires you to put on a storyteller cap, rather than an “encounter designer” one, but it’s a pretty rewarding thing to see players scratching their heads trying to figure out what the right course of action is in certain situations, or what the moral thing to do would be.


[March Monster Madness] The Fachan


I heard the growl echo all around me, every hair in my body standing on end. I turned around, intent on facing my enemy and instead I faced my nightmares. There stood a creature fully a head taller than I, its single, bloodshot eye staring at me with all the hatred in the world. It had a broad and muscled body with a single arm jutting from the center of its chest, and a single, powerful leg that propelled it closer toward me. I tried to raise my blade, to defend myself, but I was terrorized; I stumbled backwards, tripped over my feet, dropped my sword, and ran for my life. I could hear the creature pursuing me, tearing through the darkening thicket, taking powerful jumps that drew it closer and closer. I howled a scream of agony as I felt the monster’s claw tear through my jerkin and my skin. I thought I was done for. The ground opened up below me and I tumbled down a small ravine, away from the creature. It was days later I learned what kind of creature I’d faced, and I can honestly say I hope to never run into a fachan ever again.

– From the journal of Amergin Ó Míl


AGE of the Rising Sun: Donation Drive for Japan Earthquake Relief


On March 11, at 2:46 PM local time, Japan was hit by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, the strongest one to ever hit the country and among the top five most powerful earthquakes in recorded history. Some thirty minutes later, a massive 10-meter tsunami slammed against the northeast part of the country, bringing further devastation and destruction. When the waters receded, entire villages had been wiped clean off the map, and thousands of people had lost their lives. Even for a “first-world” country like Japan, this tragedy and the continuing aftermath are too much to handle alone.

The RPG and Hobby Gaming community has once again stepped up to the plate to help those in need around the world. DriveThruRPG is collecting donations for the Red Cross as well as featuring individual publishers who have put together deals to drive donations toward earthquake relief. We at the Dragon Age Oracle want to support these efforts as well.

For the next week (March 15-23), we are hosting the AGE of the Rising Sun Donation Drive. How do you participate? Simple:

  • We invite you to donate any amount you want to the charity of your choice collecting funds towards Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief efforts. Any amount and any charity will do (including those drives being hosted by DriveThruRPG linked to above).
  • Once you have donated, lets us know in the comments; let your action inspire others to do the same.

On March 24, in appreciation of all your generous donations, we will release AGE of the Rising Sun: Mythic Japan for the AGE System, a collection of material put together by Josh Jarman and Daniel M. Perez.

Help the people of Japan in their hour of need, and in one week grab your katana and enter the AGE of the Rising Sun.

[March Monster Madness] Monster Design in Dragon Age and the AGE System


To go along with March Monster Madness, I recently took a close look at the existing monsters in Dragon Age with the goal of better understanding what tools are available for monster design.

The Basics

Abilities and Focuses

All monsters have the standard 8 abilities which represent it in very generic terms. Is the monster strong? Fast? Tough? Persuasive? All of those questions should be answered by a quick glance at the monster’s ability ratings. Here are some sample ability ratings taken from the monsters included in Set 1:


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