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Moral Conundrums & Tough Choices in Your Game

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One of the things I’ve learned since I began GM-ing Dragon Age is just how good placing moral conundrums in front of your players is.  The Dragon Age adventure philosophy, by design, encourages this approach to story-telling, and I’ve found that it really makes players become more involved in the story you are all trying to tell.

So as I’ve been trying to develop adventures and stories in this fashion, I’ve thought of ways to introduce these concepts at the table.  It requires you to put on a storyteller cap, rather than an “encounter designer” one, but it’s a pretty rewarding thing to see players scratching their heads trying to figure out what the right course of action is in certain situations, or what the moral thing to do would be.

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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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