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[Beyond Dragon Age] AGE of Conan

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“Know, O Prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the sons of Aryas, there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars. Hither came Conan, the Cimmerian, black-haired, sulleneyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandaled feet.”
The Nemedian Chronicles

Welcome to the Hyborian Age! AGE of Conan is a modification of Green Ronin’s Dragon Age role playing game inspired by a post on the Dragon Age forums, where a comment was made that the rules would nicely complement a Conan-based setting. This is version 0.1 and will work to create playable characters in the AGE of Conan. Eventually I would like to add a number of extras, like poisons, alchemy, organizations, mass combat and a bestiary.

Please feel free to leave feedback here or at my website. Thank you and enjoy.

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[Poll] How Do You Use Goals In Your Game?

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I have been thinking for a long time about Goals in AGE/Dragon Age and due to a game I am playing now, I find that I am ready to start addressing some of those thoughts on paper. Before that, though, I would like to conduct a poll among our readers.

I want to know, in general, how do you use Goals in your game. Choose one of the options below and if you’d like to elaborate (and I personally would like it if you do), PLEASE leave a comment elaborating on your choice. I want to hear from the players and GMs out there before I sit down to write my post(s). Thanks.

Magic Via Stunts

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My mind has continued to dwell on the topic of Stunts and this time around it has turned to how magic interacts with this game mechanic. We already have Spell Stunts in the game that allow Mages to enhance their spellcasting as it happens with various effects (d20 players know these as metamagic feats) and those are really good. I mean, I have seen Mages cast Stunts-enhanced spells that have stopped entire combat encounters cold in one action. Given the flexibility of Stunts, however, I have kept wondering how these could further couple with magic to create interesting and neat effects for the game.

I have two people to blame for this post, Mark Miller (@mrkmllr) and contributor Josh Jarman (@joja_rpg). Every so often I see Mark and Josh chatting back and forth on Twitter about Dragon Age and the AGE System as they hash out ideas and mechanics for their games and for Josh’s project, Dragon Hack. One night I saw a tweet fly by that captured my attention, talking about having a kind of Stunt that allowed a character to cast a spell. Hmm… I chimed in, told them I liked that idea, and they went on. It’s a concept that has come up in conversation a couple times now, but none of us has done anything with it yet. I’d like to change that and Brian Molix’s recent update to the Improvised Magic rules for AGE gave me a great idea.

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Improvised Magic in Dragon Age/AGE System [Revised]

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Author’s Note: This is a revised version of my article on Improvised Magic (May 13, 2011). All costs have been playtested and run through a spreadsheet to number-crunch every official spell into this system. Consider this the final version.


In many games with magical power, it isn’t that mages codify the supernatural so much as they enforce their will on the world and the supernatural provides the effect. As they practice, they become able to generate the same or similar effects over and over, so often that they “learn” a spell. Still, sometimes in a game with a limited number of known spells you yearn to have the ability to improvise something off the cuff, even if you know it won’t be as easy as casting a spell you already know.

So, I present the following thoughts for the generic AGE system. I am not sure whether this fits Dragon Age specifically, but I don’t think it matters for canon. If it works for your table, use it, or modify it. These ideas were inspired by Shadowrun and the discontinued Dragonlance Fifth Age game.

Improvised Spell System

When a mage improvises a spell, he decides on a clear effect and then uses the following charts to place it into game terms. With that final context decided, the player can cast his spell. Each component of the spell adds to the total Value of the improvised effect. This value is important in determining the TN and the mana cost.

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[Environmental Stunts] The Swordstorm

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In the previous post I outlined some general thoughts on creating environmental Stunts that take advantage of specific types of adverse weather or interesting locations. In this post I present a more fleshed out example of an adverse weather system that should be generic enough to show up in most fantasy campaign world, a terrible system called the Swordstorm.

Swordstorm

The dark clouds rolled in a few hours ago and churned incessantly in the sky until they disgorged their fury upon the land. The rain fell hard right from the start, driving at the earth with angry force, creating rivers of mud in seconds. The gray-blue twilight that had descended with the storm was only broken by the regular flashes of lightning cutting an electric swath across the skies and down to the ground. Wind blew from all sides, howling, tearing up the landscape. The booming sound of thunder seconds later shook everything to its core. This was no mere storm; this was one of the legendary Swordstorms that rolled in every few years down the mountains and across the plains. It would last for days and it would sow destruction that would take years to recover from.

Of course the enemy would choose this time to make their attack…

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