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“Classes” and “Races” Guide For New Players

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If you are a veteran of the system, this post will only be going over familiar ground. With that warning given, let us proceed.

One viewer recently wrote to me asking for a comprehensive list of Dragon Age races and classes. I made these videos to explain how things work in the tabletop version of the game.
Here I will explain that there are three classes, but the real choice of flavour comes from your specialisation or sub-class, as it were.
I then go on to list them by name.

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Set 3 Organisations

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I and many other players have been impressed with the organisations section of set 3.

hex connect

For those who don’t know about it, it basically allows you to run a group of some kind, and determine their relative power with stats: Might, Wealth, Influence, Intrigue and Magic; all of these with focuses too!
Then they have a Scope, which is the degree to which they cast their influence outwards, e.g. regional.
Finally, they have a Structure which acts like a player character’s armour in lessening “wounds” taken and a Stability, which is effectively the organisation’s “health pool”.

Certain events can occur that improves or damages the stats or stability of a group. It does also mean that players can create their own groups and run it, seeing its highs and lows over time.

This is a quite inspired idea and I thought I would kick things off by giving two examples of organisations I have already designed that currently reside within my own GM’d campaign. Those of you who follow my group’s progress via my YouTube vidcast series will know how these factions have developed to this point, and you will understand that this has been created according to where they are at now.

Clan Redhold

Redhold, the Avvar tribe has gone from strength to strength since the party met them in ‘Where Eagles Lair’. They are making a huge power play over the region and are now involved in the ‘War of the Axes’, which is a minor conflict between the Avvar tribes and the Chasind refugees, pushing North into the mountains to escape the growing darkspawn forces in the Korcari Wilds.
Redhold have systematically gone about conquering other nearby holds by any means they can, to (initially) replenish their lost barbarians and critically their peasantry. However, this growth of power has seen that already far exceed what they were before, and with no end seemingly in sight…

Might: 3 (Raiders, Specialist Troops: Mountain Fighters)
Wealth: 1 (Goods, Services)
Influence: 2 (Foreign Power: Orlais)
Intrigue: 1 (Secrets)
Magic: 1 (Lore, Mages, Speciality: Creation)
Scope: 4 (Regional)
Structure: 4
Stability 40 (and growing)

House Baranti

Bann Nicola was encountered by the player group during ‘The Tangled Web’ module. When all facts were revealed, the party felt powerless to stop her and instead opted to help the devil they know versus the devils they don’t. She was after all still finding them true objectives that appear to be above board. She also has something on all of them…something she could use against them were they to turn on her.
She is a very powerful political player, with ties and holds on nearly every corner of the world. Her spy force is impressive and gives intelligence for the group to go about their missions.
Is she evil? But of course…However, she is also a politician, so that is a handy asset…

Might: 1 (Speciality Troops: Scouts)
Wealth: 3 (Treasure, Goods, Services)
Influence: 6 (All)
Intrigue: 5 (Spies, Counter Spies, Assassins, Secrets)
Magic: 1 (Lore, Specialised: Blood Magic)
Scope: 2 (World), Scope: 4 (National) Scope: 6 (Regional)
Stability: 30

Adventure Feedback for GMs

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Perhaps one of the worst things for new and old game masters alike, is the lack of feedback you can get on all your hard work.  For game masters (GMs), new ones in particular, they can begin to question their own worth to the players.  This in turn leads to despair, then to fear of not being the best thing for the group, and then either the Dark Side or the end of the game…I’m pretty sure it’s the latter.

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Regardless, simple steps can be taken to ensure the GM’s spirits are buoyed and the campaign is both rich and worthwhile to all with the likes of an Adventure Feedback Form.

This form can be given to willing players (in return for a little game experience points if need be) and ask at least 3 simple and short questions; What worked for you in this adventure?  What didn’t work for you in this adventure?  and What would you like to see in the future, any ideas or suggestions?  Then ask them to rate this adventure on a scale of 1 to 5.  If you make this a word doc form you print out for each player and hand out, perhaps at the bottom you could politely finish the form with, “thank you for your time, I will reward you with X experience points for helping me out” or some such.

I hope this helps both game masters and players alike.  Long may your adventures throughout Thedas continue…

But what do you think about such things?  Do you find you question yourself as a GM?  Do you think this feedback form idea will help?  Do you have ideas of your own to help resolve such concerns?

Please feel free to share your thoughts and leave a comment

(Editor – Thanks Martin, I just made a video about this subject of GM uncertainty, you can find that below)

‘Tier 1’ Suggested Adventure Path (Levels 1-5)

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A good many RPGs assume one of two things: The PCs have known each other for a long time and have been travelling together for almost as long, or the PCs just decide to adventure together on a permanent basis after coming together for a single mission.
A good way to get the PCs to stick together is to give them a patron to work for. In Dragon Age: Blood in Fereldan, the PCs will run into Bann Nicola Baranti but more on her part in this set-up later.

The first adventure you should consider running is ‘An Arl’s Ransom’ which can be found in the free PDF Quick Start Guide: http://grfiles.game-host.org/dragon_age_rpg/DragonAgeRPGQuickstartGuide.pdf
We moved on to “The Dalish Curse” next.
This sets up the PCs to at least arrive in Denerim where you can run a scaled down version of ‘A Fragile Web’ up to the point where the Party deal with the Chantry of the Stilled Tongue, as it is here the PCs meet Bann Nicola who proceeds to offer the Party a position in her household as representatives, with the Bann acting as their sponsor or patron. At this point you can feel free to run the remaining adventures as you see fit to match your group’s Levels in game. From there, you can run the adventures by their recommended level order. See the recent Oracle post: https://dragonageoracle.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/welcome-to-dragon-age-explore-the-adventures/ containing a list of all the adventures, both Official and fan made. After all of that, you can return to and finish ‘A Fragile Web’ hopefully with your players being Level 5 if not bordering on 6.

(Editorial Note: Thanks Lory, and I would like to add as I GM’d this campaign, that this plan serves to build a proper relationship up between the Bann and the party, rather than it simply being over and done with in one mission. This makes the twist connected to her all the more meaningful and shocking to the players!
Also bear in mind that the new collected edition book (all three sets rules together) will contain a new and different mission to the Dalish Curse, so this will factor into your tier 1 plans mentioned above as it becomes available. The hope is that Green Ronin will also make this adventure available separately, at the very least as a PDF release – but I know for a fact that they are making internal enquiries about doing that very thing.)

Flashback Adventures

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I recommended running lower-level adventures, that your group had surpassed in level, as flashback adventures, and some of you were left scratching your heads no doubt.
Nice idea Martin, just how the flames do I do that exactly? Well, bare with me and I’ll tell you.

First, set the scene of how this flashback adventure begins. If you’re Carac and Tanadil in Robert Freemantle’s game, I bet you’re in the pub drinking and bragging to anyone who’ll listen. I’m also willing to bet you’ll exaggerate your prowess and victories in the past. Huh, it’s almost like meeting Varic at the very beginning of Dragon Age 2…

"It all started when..."

“It all started when…”

Now then, you’ll need each of your player characters re-adjusted back to the level of the adventure, either exactly if you keep records of these things, or as best as you can remember (even the most honest of storytellers exaggerate a little), or your players can exaggerate a lot. Ask your players if they wish to be honest about regaling others with this tale or exaggerate.

Please note that for flashback adventures, your players will get experience points as usual. However, if players choose to exaggerate, you can simply adjust down a jot the experience for each encounter. So a hard encounter will only net them 200xp for an exaggerated account and an easy encounter nothing at all. (See below for more ideas on this).

The more your players wish to exaggerate their past tales, the less experience they’ll net for each encounter, so don’t forget to clue your players in as to this fact before they portray themselves as god-like in their re-telling of adventures.

Now all you (dear GM) have to do is run the adventure, and you (dear player, if reading this) must simply enjoy…

(Editor – Nice idea Martin, and I would add to that to make sure you come back to the place where the tale is being told for NPC reactions to plot points, or interesting story outcomes. Also, this degree of exaggeration could be used to have players describe what they saw in the places they went to, therefore creating their own level of difficulty. All of that said, adjusting an outdated module to be a harder experience is a skill in and of itself, and certainly an idea to likewise consider. Both would play out differently, thus giving you options for what you want to run).

Give it a go and be sure to comment how you got on.

Welcome To Dragon Age – Explore The Adventures

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(Editor – Below is the first post from one of my freshly appointed roving reporters).

Hi there folks, just wanted to introduce myself; I’m Martin Garner — likely known to many of you as Vosoros.  I may not be overly adept with the computer games of Dragon Age, but I can certainly help you out when it comes to the RPG stuff by Green Ronin.

The Dragon Age RPG offers far greater freedom of character creation and portrayal than any of the PC games that’s ever come before…or likely after.  It’s rich, simple to play and so character focused that you can literally find yourself anywhere in Thedas that a skilled GM is willing to craft an adventure for.

But herein lies the games (current) issue; a lack of adventures.  Don’t worry, the Green Ronin folk are on top of this, it’s just a matter of a fair few unfortunate delays.  Once Set 3 is finally released, I think we can happily anticipate a nice flow of adventures and more.  Thank you Jack (Current set 3 dev – Ed) for providing such wonderful glimpses as to your future and current work in this respect.

Thankfully, many wonderful fans have taken to crafting adventures in the interim… myself included.  Whether you’re a GM or a player, I’ll direct you here to the complete collection of Dragon Age RPG Adventures (official and fan written).  If you’re a player, please don’t cheat and read them… just pass this information along to your GM so they can provide many more hours of fun for you and the group.  If you’re the GM, a little advice if I may: don’t despair of so many low-level adventures — consider running them as flashback adventures as players regale NPC’s with tales of their past glories, and award them the experience as they play through such things.

Well, that’s all for now folks, take care.

The Secret to Background Creation

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Do you enjoy the Dragon Age RPG? Wish you could invent your own Backgrounds? Do you think this is a short introductory paragraph? WHO CARES!? Here is my official “How To” on creating your own Backgrounds. More

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