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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.

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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

It’s All In The Presentation

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“We haven’t seen a Dungeon yet, all we’re doing is talking to people, bringing down corrupt political figures, and killing monsters out in the wilderness.  This is really different.”

My D&D 4e campaign consisted of my homebrew storyline, which was the backdrop for the published adventures I hacked a bit to fit my storyline. By the published adventures, I mean the ones that were the first set of modules put out for 4e by Wizards of the Coast.  Now, let me say, I enjoyed running those modules.  Sure, some people had massive problems with Keep on the Shadowfell for example, but I found it as a nice way to get into 4e, for both DM’s and PC’s.  I had no big issues with it.  Sure, they were combat focused with some roleplaying sprinkled in, but we had a good time with them.  The Dungeon Delve book also served a part in my campaign, as a source of ready-made encounters I could re-skin and shoehorn into my game as well.

All was fine and dandy, until we hit Paragon, as character options got too unwieldy for my players, combats took forever, and the game ended… If you read my blog (NewbieDM.com) regularly you know the story… So now here we are with Dragon Age.

Dragon Age has a completely different published adventure philosophy than 4e has, or at least had upon its release (the later 4e adventures written by Logan Bonner are pretty good).  Right now there are only 5 published adventures (officially) available for the Dragon Age game: one comes included in the boxed set as an introductory adventure (“The Dalish Curse”), another comes in the GM Screen (“A Bann Too Many”), and three come in an adventure supplement called “Blood in Ferelden”.  Since the boxed set only covers levels 1-5, all these are low-level adventures meant to give you a clue as to how adventures for Dragon Age should be presented and run.  I’ve already run the one in the GM Screen, and the first one in Blood in Ferelden, “Amber Rage”.

Warning, there are spoilers ahead.

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The Fourth Class: However…

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In my last post, I discussed a possible fourth class for a generic fantasy AGE System. This came from one of Chris Pramas’ conversations with his Twitter followers, where he said that one of the reasons why he may consider a fourth class is the majority of gaming groups have four players and this should make it easier for these groups to just pick one character from each of the four classes and go. Putting aside the question of the size of the average gaming group, there were some interesting comments brought up in that Twitter discussion about what class that should be. I weighed in, arguing that what was missing in for a generic fantasy AGE-based game was a true ranged weapons archetype. If I want to play Dude With A Bow And Arrow, the Rogue class says it’s the one to go with (heck, even the image of the Rogue is the Dude), but to actually aspire to Legolasian heights, initially Warrior sounds better.

However, I think there is a better – and easier – way to achieve this character idea instead of creating a whole new class. Indeed, there is a simple way to get in both that Priest class and live up to the description of the Rogue as the one that’s supposed to be the archer: each class has paths.

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The Fourth Class

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Recently, Chris Pramas of Green Ronin asked the Twtitterverse if he were to add a fourth class to a generic fantasy game based on the AGE system, what should it be? The majority of respondents went with a Priest class. But is that the right way to go? Let’s take a look at the three classes that exist in Set 1, and see if what roles in a generic adventuring group aren’t being filled.

The Mage is the guy with magic: lightly armored, big magic spells. The magic in Dragon Age is broad enough, that even expanding the spell lists to a generic fantasy game, you can cover quite a lot with just the basic class. Even looking at the magic spells only in the first book, you’ll see that a priest class is already in there. With the description of the Mage and his first few class powers, all that’s needed is to change out the word “Arcane” for “Holy” in the Arcane Lance skill, and choose the Creation Mage suite of spells for a first level character, and bam! There’s your priest. (Actually, it’s your AD&D Cleric. You’ll be able to “turn undead” using the Horror or Repulsion Field spells in Set 2.)

Now the Rogue, she’s the dirty fighter of the group. Sneak in and stab is what this character is all about. She’s the one that “can launch devastating attacks with [her] backstab ability”, and a look at the class powers in Set 1 and in the beta Set 2 document all point to that. Backstab works with melee attacks, Bluff adds onto that, Dirty Fighting in Set 2 is all about melee.

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