[Beyond Dragon Age] Mystara Adversary Compendium I


Dragon Age Oracle collaborator and AGE System wiz Byron Molix hits it out of the park once more with his new project, the  for AGE.

You will remember that Byron is the author of Mystara: The Known World, a campaign setting that brings the classic D&D world to the AGE System. Now Byron unleashes a collection of 112 classic creatures perfect for the Mystara setting or any fantasy world. The creatures in the compendium follow the alternate rules set up in the Mystara campaign document, but they can be easily converted back to “default” AGE with very little adjusting.

Follow the link below, download your copy of the Mystara Adversary Compendium I, and bring a classic adventure-gaming monster back to your table today. My favorite? Two words: porcine orcs!



Vancian Magic Redux


Recently I took the time to read through the entirety of Dragon Age Set 1. I’m talking cover-to-cover. Not many games have read as easily as this one did. It fired me up to start talking DARPG again. So looking back at my first post and all the comments that resulted from it, I want to take another stab at the beast that is Vancian magic.

Before I go too far, let me be clear that this work is being done toward a home-brewed setting that I’ve been struggling to find a system for. This setting is steeped in the Elric stories of Michael Moorcock, seen through the lens of Jack Vance with a dash of H.P. Lovecraft thrown in for spice. I know that many gamers today are not into the fire-and-forget style of spells, but it is near and dear to my heart. So here it is…


Dragon Hack: High Fantasy Adventures for AGE


Ready for some over the top, high-fantasy adventure? Thanks to an earlier post here by Daniel Perez, some of you know that I’ve been building a sort of Pathfinder conversion for the Dragon Age game over on my own blog at joshjarman.net. I say Pathfinder because that seems to be the most popular fantasy game available right now that’s built on the old d20 System Reference Document engine. But the point of my little side project is really only to port the race and class paradigm most gamers are familiar with from that and similar games over to the Dragon Age system, resulting in a project I called Dragon Hack. Whether I call it a Pathfinder, 3.5 conversion, or something else entirely, isn’t important. What is important is it gives players who are hesitant to play a game without a variety of customizable race and class choices an option to do so while playing the AGE system by Green Ronin.


It’s All In The Presentation


“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.


Fire and Forget: Vancian Magic for Dragon Age


I was struck by a thought as I was driving home last night (no one was hurt and I was able to maintain control of my vehicle). I was thinking about the AGE system used in the Dragon Age Dark Fantasy Roleplaying Game and how it felt like an Old School game. While I haven’t played it yet, what I’ve read so far suggests this to be true, except for one thing: spell casting.

DARPG uses a mana point (MP) system for casting spells. Mages have an allotment of MPs to spend on the casting of each spell. This is a dynamic and free-form system that plays very much like a video game: pick a spell and spend your MPs, keep casting until you run out of MPs, rest to recover MPs, repeat. I’ve watched my son do this when he plays a spell-casting character in World of Warcraft.

But it doesn’t feel Old School enough for me. I come from the “fire and forget” school of D&D and think that is a perfectly natural way for magic to work, especially if you’ve read Jack Vance’s Dying Earth series. So, I began a little thought experiment as I drove: could you use the AGE system to mimic the F&F approach to magic.

My first thought was to have the mage characters spend their MPs each day “memorizing” spells. I think the number of MPs might need to change a little bit and stress from armor also has to be taken into account. I haven’t been able to allot much time to this thought exercise so here is my first pass.

Please leave any and all feedback in the comments. Based on it, a revision could be issued down the line.

Vancian Magic for Dragon Age & AGE System


[Beyond Dragon Age] Mystara: The Known World


Beyond Dragon Age is a series exploring using the AGE System for anything other than the Dragon Age RPG, whether it is differing styles of fantasy, or other genres altogether.

I admit it: from the moment I internalized enough of the Dragon Age rules to realize they had the just the right flavor of complexity I want in my games of late, I started thinking how to apply them to port over elements from that other fantasy roleplaying game, Dungeons & Dragons. Yes, D&D is a game in its own right, but it’s also its own genre almost, with its own tropes and conceits, settings and monsters that carry through editions in order to make the games “feel” like D&D. That is what I began to think about.

Frankly, the prospect seemed daunting the more I thought about it, and I simply filed it in the back of my mind. Checking out the Green Ronin Dragon Age forums quickly showed that many others had had the same thought as the “D&D via AGE” thread was one of the most popular. But where I, and others, simply gave up the task as being too onerous, one forum member by the name of Siroh tackled it with the zeal of a paladin in hell. The result: Mystara for AGE.


Two Games Under My Belt (Contrasting Dragon Age and D&D 4e)


Hey everyone, this is my first article here at the Dragon Age Oracle, and I thought I’d write a bit about the game and running it versus the other game I run, D&D 4e. This isn’t a comprehensive comparison, just some general thoughts about the subject. I now have two Dragon Age sessions under my belt as a DM–pardon me–GM, and feel a lot more comfortable in the role, so I wanted to write about the experience so far.

First and foremost let me get this out of the way: I really like this game. Here’s the deal, do you like the old D&D Rules Cyclopedia? Well if the Rules Cyclopedia were to hit the gym for a few weeks before senior prom, it would be Dragon Age. It’s old school-ish, but with some meat on its bones. It’s got that old school vibe, where the DM gets to not necessarily be a rules repository and is instead a judge or referee of situations. I like that, it’s fun.

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