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Vancian Magic Redux

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Recently I took the time to read through the entirety of Dragon Age Set 1. I’m talking cover-to-cover. Not many games have read as easily as this one did. It fired me up to start talking DARPG again. So looking back at my first post and all the comments that resulted from it, I want to take another stab at the beast that is Vancian magic.

Before I go too far, let me be clear that this work is being done toward a home-brewed setting that I’ve been struggling to find a system for. This setting is steeped in the Elric stories of Michael Moorcock, seen through the lens of Jack Vance with a dash of H.P. Lovecraft thrown in for spice. I know that many gamers today are not into the fire-and-forget style of spells, but it is near and dear to my heart. So here it is…

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Tweet Treasures

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Treasure Chest

Every so often, something wonderful happens on Twitter: amidst the usual online sarcasm and pics of lunch dishes, a meme emerges that is actually cool and of lasting value (lasting meaning longer than it takes to read the tweet and chuckle). #TweetTreasure is one such meme.

Created by Daniel Solis, the meme entails tweeting a treasure in less than 140 characters (including the #TweetTreasure hashtag). The offerings so far have leaned towards the fantastic-but-with-a-small-price, which makes them fairly interesting. There’s no mechanics attached to them, so these could be adapted to any game.

I have included some Tweet Treasures below which I felt were thematically appropriate for the Dragon Age RPG setting and power level. Feel free to stat them up for your own games; it shouldn’t be too hard to assign mechanics to these words. And of course, take a look at the #TweetTreasure hashtag for many more treasures.

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A Review of the Dragon Age Forge

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The other day I sat down to think about how I could contribute to the Dragon Age community. My first thought was regarding a form-fillable character sheet for easy tracking, updating and printing of PCs for the game. Before beginning such an endeavor I thought it wise to check out the Dragon Age forums to see if someone had already started such a project. Lo and behold, someone already beat me to the punch and did me one better at that.

Forum poster Sync, from Melbourne, Australia, had started a thread regarding building an Excel spreadsheet character generator similar to the Heroforge project for D&D. This sounded really exciting. I’m a fan of the Heroforge sheets for 3.5 and found them a great help in keeping things up-to-date on my characters. Even thought the forum thread was from a couple of months ago, Sync had updated the first post with a link to the completed version for download. So I downloaded version 1.01 (apparently it had already gone through one revision) and started playing.

Download:

Dragon Age Forge (ZIP; .6 MB) External Link

This file is an Excel spreadsheet of the 97-2003 variety. You will need Microsoft Excel to make use of this spreadsheet. I have not tried to upload it to Google Docs nor open it in OpenOffice (both freely available software) to see if they would see if the file would still work. I also did not try to convert it to a newer version of Excel, but ran it in compatibility mode. If you are running Excel 2007 or later, you may have to enable macros in order to get the full functionality of the character sheet.

How does the Dragon Age Forge do after playing with it for a while? Read on.

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Launching The Summer of Stunts!

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The summer convention season is upon us and it’s time to roll some dice! During the next three months gamers all over will be battling hordes of darkspawn and performing feats of heroism, whether at home, their local store or one of the big summer gaming conventions, Origins and Gen Con. We want to see Dragon Age played to the hilt and thus we are launching the Summer of Stunts!

During the months of June, July and August, we want you to play as much Dragon Age (or your AGE inspired hack) as much as you can. We want to see those dice rolling and we want to see Stunts being performed! When you play, record the number of Stunt Points generated per session and the Stunts performed by the heroes, then come back and let us know in the Summer of Stunts page. Or you can grab the image to the right and write your own blog post linking back to us. On Twitter, be sure to boast by using the hashtag #daosos.

At the end of August, we’ll tally up the results and see how many Stunt Points and Stunts were performed and bask in the glory of all those heroic feats.

We have set up sign-up pages for Origins 2011 and Gen Con 2011 so you can add the info of any games you are running at the two summer conventions, whether these are scheduled events or after-hours games. Help spread the awesomeness of Dragon Age and the AGE System by running the game for fellow gamers!

May you have a great summer gaming season and an awesome Summer of Stunts!

[Tower of Druaga] Lessons From A Play-by-Post

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As I have mentioned before, I am running a play-by-post (PbP) game of Dragon Age set in the world of the Tower of Druaga anime series. I have only one player, my friend JJ Lanza (who wrote the Vancian Magic post for the Oracle), as I originally made a prerequisite to joining the game having to watch a certain amount of episodes from the show and JJ was the only one to rise to the challenge. Neither of us had ever played in a PbP game before, only in play-by-email (PbEm) games, but we figured we’d just hit the ground running and pick it up as we went along.

We have been playing for a couple of months now and I have learned a few important lessons that are worthy of sharing. In many ways these are applicable to roleplaying games in general, not just to Dragon Age, though there’s one lesson specific to this game as well. My hope is that our hard-earned lessons can help others run smoother games online or face-to-face and create a more enjoyable gaming experience.

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