Dragon Age Oracle Contributor (AGE of the Rising Sun) Josh Jarman (@JoJa_RPG on Twitter) has decided that helping me put together AGE of the Rising Sun over a weekend and creating 50 new AGE monsters for Open Design’s Midgard campaign, as well as being a Senior Patron for Midgard, did not put enough Dragon Age/AGE System in his diet and has now started a new blog over at JoshJarman.net.

The birth of a new AGE blog is more than enough reason to get us excited, but Josh has a definite plan in mind for his that is, simply, just awesome. In his own words from his introductory post, Introducing Character Traits for the AGE system:

Specializations further develop character concepts with both story and mechanical elements, and also provide an example of how to bolt more complex game mechanics on top of the existing background and class system. Specializations function like talents that are tailored to fit a particular character concept. This system provides players and game masters a framework for adding their own, more complex game elements to the AGE system by developing similar talent-like abilities that can be tied to backgrounds or class concepts.

For players looking to implement a more rigid race and class structure to their AGE games, specializations offer a hint at how to build a tighter structure on top of the lighter system. Using specializations as a starting point, I’ve developed a new mechanical element for the AGE system for use in my home games: Traits.

Traits work much like specializations except that they add new character-defining abilities tied to the character’s background and race, and they offer a way to force the race and class paradigms of old-order role playing systems into the mechanical framework of the AGE system.

[…]

Traits allow for the creation of new backgrounds built out of the class concepts we’re familiar with from the history of fantasy roleplaying. We still use the three classes from the AGE system, but traits can make it possible to create such familiar tropes as Paladins, Clerics and Sorcerers. Also, creating a separate set of traits pegged to character race gives us a way to differentiate between dwarven, human and elven paladins, for instance, without having to create new backgrounds for each.

In this way, the background serves as a career or training foundation, while the choice of race allows for physiological and cultural differences within the same background.

This idea is fascinating and I look forward to seeing Josh tease it out and build it post by post, showing yet another way in which the seemingly light AGE System can be molded to achieve new and robust results.

Josh has ambitious plans for his project, and as he goes, he will also share some posts with us at the Dragon Age Oracle that show his progress and designs.

Fans of game design and system hacking will surely find Josh’s blog interesting, so drop by JoshJarman.net and see the first of his new designs using Traits for AGE: The Paladin.

All the best, Josh!

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