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Videogame to Tabletop: Campaign Journal 2

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With this series I’m continuing to chronicle my Dragon Age RPG conversion of the Origins storyline.  This is a recap of our second session of that storyline.  Unfortunately, the game was cut short due to a small fire breaking out in my bathroom (everyone is okay).  Here is a link to part 1 of the series.   We pick up our recap in the Korkari Wilds…

Campaign Journal 2

Having defeated the darkspawn and collected their blood, the party next wanted to see if they could find their horses.  Some tracking and searching led them to the corpse of one of the horses, it seemed to have been eaten by blight wolves.  The wounds were fresh enough to  scare party into thinking the pack of wolves may be nearby, so they marched on deep within the Wilds. While searching for the horses, the party’s rogue spotted what looked like a small tower or ruin off in the distance, and they figured that would be as good a place as any to search.

Game bit:  The horses were never meant to be found, they were spooked and for me that was the last of that.  They insisted on finding them, so I indulged them in some rolling for searching. This led to high rolls and the opportunity to have them find the ruins.

They arrived at the ruins, and started searching and looking around.  The Avvarian caught something from the corner of his eye, he said it looked like a pony sized spider that stopped to look at them and quickly went into the trees and out of sight.  The party decided to remain vigilant, but weren’t going to go searching for spiders, as they had a job to do.  They found a trap door and a set of stairs that went down into the ground, so the mage lit a small light in his hand and down they went.

Game bit:  The spider was my way of introducing Morrigan, she knew that they were here and was watching them.

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Videogame to Tabletop: Campaign Journal 1

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So I’ve decided that my Dragon Age campaign will switch to following the story line (albeit a bit altered) of the videogame.  My 5 players are level 5, and we’ve gone through most of the published adventures, which I believe springboard nicely into getting noticed by the Grey Wardens.  I wanted to chronicle my conversion of the video game unto the tabletop, so I’m going to do it here at the Dragon Age Oracle, the web’s best place for Dragon Age content outside of Green Ronin’s site.

I’ll pick up the story after finishing the adventure included in Set 2, “The Autumn Falls”.  There, they caught the attention of the Nevarran Grey Warden Commander, who instructed them to go to Ostagar and meet The Ferelden Commander, Duncan.  Behind the scenes, Duncan already knew about this group of people because they had helped stop a Darkspawn assault on the Avvarian village of Redhold, and had defeated a Desire Demon in Denerim.  Duncan was waiting.  The party’s journey towards their fate would begin in the port city of Amaranthine, where the ship bringing them from Nevarra back to Ferelden docked….

Campaign Journal 1

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Eaten By A Dragon: Lessons From A Playtest

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Late last night I couldn’t sleep so I got on Twitter and checked if my pal, NewbieDM, was around. We had talked about maybe doing some late night Dragon Age gaming but really, I would be happy with just some monster bashing for a bit. Newbie was around, but didn’t have anything planned, so we decided to run a combat encounter against one of the playtest Midgard creatures designed by Josh Jarman, the Young Cave Dragon (also one of the winners of March Monster Madness). Another one of our mutual Tweeps, Edwin (@TheRealEdwin) saw the exchange and wanted in, so off to Skype we went to fight a dragon.

It went exactly as you would think a fight against a dragon would go. And it was glorious. It also revealed a few lessons worth noting down both as playtest feedback but also as general information for other Dragon Age/AGE Game Masters.

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Our Own Helm’s Deep II

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Last night saw the end of the PC’s role as the Heroes of Redhold, an Avvarian settlement in the Frostback Mountains of Ferelden, and it ended on a kick ass note that truly showed how much stunts can turn the tide of battle in the Dragon Age RPG.  First, a quick recap, and be warned, there are spoilers here for the “Where Eagles Lair” adventure from the Blood in Ferelden supplement.

The party was tasked with defending the settlement from a horde of Darkspawn, in exchange for information about a kidnapped noble’s daughter.  The siege was designed as a series of three phases, with the first phase having them face three times as many genlocks as PCs before  moving on the to the following phase.  You can read about that here.

Last night’s game saw the PCs involved in phases two and three of the siege.  Here’s a quick recap of how it went, and what I took from it.

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Our Own Helm’s Deep

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I ran a real neat encounter in my Dragon Age game, and I thought I’d share it here, along with some ideas you could steal from it for your game.  The encounter isn’t mine, it’s part of a published adventure found in the excellent Blood in Ferelden supplement for the Dragon Age RPG.

The encounter has the party becoming the main defense against an army of invading darkspawn who are about to attack an Avaarian camp.  The party has to defend the wall, and keep the darkspawn from overrunning the defenses.

Warning: From here on, there are spoilers for “Where Eagles Lair.”

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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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The Dalish Curse: An Online Game

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I was sitting at home, very bored, when I decided to run an impromptu game of Dragon Age online. Sunday during the day I sent out invites to a few people who had expressed an interest when I mentioned it on Twitter, and managed to get four players. At 11 PM EST (and with players literally all across the US), we got on Skype to play The Dalish Curse, the introductory adventure included in the Dragon Age Game Master’s Guide (no spoilers below).

I have never hosted a game via an online virtual tabletop (VTT); I have played in games that have used MapTool, but someone else has done all the heavy lifting and I simply connected and played. Eventually I scrapped the VTT idea and decided to use good old Skype coupled with Google Docs for maps and info reference. I pulled the maps from the PDF copy of the GM’s Guide I have, pasted them onto individual Google Docs, and put together a Stunts reference sheet for the players, then shared the folder with everyone. For dice , we used an online dice rolled found at Catch Your Hare, which is especially neat as it displays the dice results graphically and by die, as opposed to the sum of all dice rolled. Each player picks a color for their dice, and I ruled that the middle die is always the Dragon Die, making it easy to see how many Stunt Points were generated on a roll of doubles. Easy peasy.

My four players were Tamara Deeny, Thomas Deeny, Ryan Macklin and Brennen Reece, and all four signed up for the game via my post on Twitter. We used When Is Good? to figure out a time when we could all play, and jumped on Skype at the appointed time for some dark fantasy adventuring. To save time, I had the players choose from the pre-generated characters available on the Dragon Age RPG website. The party consisted of Masarian, a Dalish Elf apostate mage (Ryan); Ackley, a Ferelden Freeman rogue (Thomas); Kedwalla, a Surface Dwarf warrior (Tamara); and Shinasha, a City Elf rogue (Brennen). We played using the rules in Set 1, though I added the Exploration and Roleplaying Stunts available on the Set 2 Playtest document so we could take them out for a spin.

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