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Wrangler of Dragons: An Interview with Jeff Tidball

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Jeff Tidball is a gaming industry veteran with enough credits to his name to fill up the ending of a movie. One of his most recent titles is Lead Developer for the Dragon Age RPG published by Green Ronin. But, what exactly does that mean? Curious about finding out the answer to that question, and frankly, reveling in any excuse to chat with someone with as much experience in our hobby as Jeff, I fired off a few questions his way.

Not only did Jeff take the time to answer them, he then invited me to barrage him with some follow-up questions as well. The end result is a fantastic interview that sheds some light into the behind-the-scenes process of producing the Dragon Age RPG line by the man who can rightly be called the Wrangler of Dragons.

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A Bann Too Many No More

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My wish came true and the group was able to get back together one more time in order to finish playing the Dragon Age adventure we had started, A Bann Too Many.

Where our first session went a bit slow while everyone got used to the game and system, this was not the case for the second session. The most time we took was right at the start of play when the GM awarded experience points for the first session and we all leveled up, so we spent about 15 minutes getting everyone’s character to level 2. Frankly, it only took that long because it was the very first time we’d gone through the process and because the apostate mage’s player took a while before deciding on the choice of his next spell. Then we were ready to play.

Unlike the report on session one, I want to get into some of the actual events from the story, so be warned, there be some spoilers ahead.

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Our First Adventure

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I finally had the chance to play a roleplaying game since coming back from Gen Con and the game on tap was Dragon Age from Green Ronin. Running the game was my friend Enrique, and joining us was his usual gaming group, plus me. Let me cut to the point right away: I had a ton of fun. A metric ton. Part of it was because the guys in the group were a fun bunch to hang out with and they welcomed me in immediately as one of their own, but also because the Dragon Age RPG simply rocks. I would dare say that, yes, it rocks you like a hurricane. We played for just shy of 5 hours and not once did I hear anyone complain about the game, not once; in fact, as the night progressed, the praises for it simply heaped up. The system was easy to grasp, quick to resolve and engaging for all at the table, especially during combat when the “Doubles Watch” went into full effect, everyone just chomping for a chance to yell out “Doubles!” and spend those Stunt Points for cool effects. Through the banter, the catching-up, the food and drinks, and the barrage of comments/taunts/insults in Spanglish, the game held our attention and interest, and delivered some solid old-school RPG fun. This is where I get wordy, as I wanna talk about the adventure
we played and why this game left me with a smile on my face.
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Cut and Paste PDF for the Dragon Age GM Screen

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There are a few charts that I feel are inexplicably missing from the Dragon Age GM screen that should really be there, and those are:

  • Treasure Category
  • Experience Point Rewards

So I cooked up a pdf that you can print out and place right over the space wasting GM Tips in the middle panel of the screen, the box on the top that starts with “Focus On The Characters”.

Cover that tips box with the PDF attached to this article.

How these two charts didn’t make the cut is beyond me.

Grab them here: treasure.xpchart.dagmscreen

 

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