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Three New Specializations

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A recent post on Dragon Age Oracle (Specializations in AGE, by Caelen O Ruairc) sparked some interesting debate and a request for more specializations. So here are, three specializations that I’ve been working on as part of an “AGE of Conan” mod that I’ve been developing. I think they are general enough for most games but I’d certainly appreciate any feedback! 

Corsair

Warrior/Rogue Specialization

Whether a pirate or a privateer, on the Western Ocean or the Vilayet, as a corsair you are a master of the seas.

Class: Warrior or Rogue

Corsair Talent

Requirement: You must have a Dexterity of 2 or higher

Novice: You learn the Cunning (Seamanship) or Cunning (Navigation) focus.

Journeyman: You can understand the pirate code used by your group or in your area. Also, you can re-roll any Strength (Might) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) tests that are made on board a ship (e.g. in the rigging, when boarding another vessel etc) but must keep the results of the second roll.

Master: You can re-roll any Cunning (Seamanship) or Cunning (Navigation) tests but must keep the results of the second roll. When acting as the captain of a ship you gain +1 to all Communication (Leadership) and Cunning (Military Lore) tests.

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Rethinking Specializations: The Stance Warrior in Dragon Age/AGE

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Iconic Warrior

A while ago I posted some thoughts over on my personal website on the idea of warrior stances as an alternative to specializations. I asked Daniel if I could revisit the subject here, with a little more attention paid to the balance between these homebrew elements and the tools that already exist in the game.

Stances for Dragon Age are not a new idea. Since Set 1, we’ve had the stunt Defensive Stance, which implies a martial readiness used to ward off follow-up attacks to the character’s actions. Other Dragon Age fans have taken the idea of stances farther by adding a bevy of stances that confer static bonuses on the character. But my goal was to devise a system that gave players another option to choose from during levels 6, 8, and 10 when the only class powers they receive are the advancements in their specialization talent. With only two boxed sets in print, each class only has three specializations to choose from at present, none of which may conform to a player’s chosen character concept.

The stances system presents five warrior stances of roughly equal power, allowing the character to pick and choose between them as the situation demands. From the five available, warrior characters pick the one they want to learn at 6th level instead of choosing an available specialization. Unlike a specialization talent, the chosen stance does not grow in power as the warrior gains in levels. Instead, the warrior perfects new combat maneuvers, gaining the use of a second choice of stance from those provided at 8th level, and adding a third stance to his or her repertoire at 10th level.

An obvious benefit of the stance system of warrior specialization is that players can change stances during a fight, allowing them to use the bonuses and abilities granted by a particular stance to meet the present challenge. A warrior must spend an activation action to enter or change stances, and can leave a stance as a free action.

The warrior can never gain more than three stances, but with the game master’s permission could retrain, or replace an existing stance with a different one. Warriors can only choose to retrain stances when they reach a new level. This last rule will have to be revisited after we see what’s in store for level advancement in box set 3.

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[Review] Midgard Bestiary for AGE

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Open Design has just released the Midgard Bestiary, a collection of 50 monsters from their own Midgard setting, brought into the AGE System.

Bestiary PDF bought and read. I shall now attempt a review.

First off the layout. It’s really nice and simple. Each creature has a nice chunky stat block which takes up usually around half a page, the other half being taken up with creature fluff and description and a nice piece of artwork. Apart from the great looking cover there’s only a spattering of colour within the book, which is fine because I assume those who would print it would print in black and white. So you won’t miss much.

The artwork itself is nice. Generally strong throughout. Some pieces have clearly had more time put into them than others but there is something fitting about the sketch-like look of the less complete pieces. That isn’t to say you’re looking at an unfinished stick man; all the pieces serve to give you a strong idea of how the creatures should look.

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Specializations in AGE

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The AGE system presented in Dragon Age Set 1 provided many ways to define your character.  Background, class, and Talents could be combined to create characters with a lot of diversity.  Set 2 brought us Specializations, which allowed players to go a step further in making their PCs stand out from the rest.  It provided three Specializations for each class, for a total of nine.  These allow for a variety of character types, especially for most small to medium-sized gaming groups. However, there is also plenty of room for additional specializations, whether for specific campaign settings or for more generic fantasy settings.

When I started writing Specializations, I was focused on Stunt Points.  I thought up a number of abilities that allowed characters to use Stunt Points in different ways and created Specializations around them.  But something seemed odd, and I made myself read through the Specializations in Set 2 again.  What I realized is that out of the 27 powers throughout the Specializations, only two of them rely on Stunt Points.  This made me sit back and think a little more about how new Specializations should work.

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