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[Tower of Druaga] Lessons From A Play-by-Post

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As I have mentioned before, I am running a play-by-post (PbP) game of Dragon Age set in the world of the Tower of Druaga anime series. I have only one player, my friend JJ Lanza (who wrote the Vancian Magic post for the Oracle), as I originally made a prerequisite to joining the game having to watch a certain amount of episodes from the show and JJ was the only one to rise to the challenge. Neither of us had ever played in a PbP game before, only in play-by-email (PbEm) games, but we figured we’d just hit the ground running and pick it up as we went along.

We have been playing for a couple of months now and I have learned a few important lessons that are worthy of sharing. In many ways these are applicable to roleplaying games in general, not just to Dragon Age, though there’s one lesson specific to this game as well. My hope is that our hard-earned lessons can help others run smoother games online or face-to-face and create a more enjoyable gaming experience.

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[Beyond Dragon Age] The Tower of Druaga: Backgrounds

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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.


In my last post I waxed poetic about backgrounds and what they can represent in your game beyond race/culture specifications, using my Tower of Druaga game as the example. Now it’s time to show you the finished product.

The basic backgrounds I came up for Tower of Druaga are Adventurer, Fated, Looter, Noble and Veteran. These five account for the vast majority of the main characters in the show (in fact, there are only two characters that don’t fit these backgrounds and I suspect they are special cases anyway, so I’ll cover those later on).

You will find the write-ups below or in my Tower of Druaga campaign at Obsidian Portal. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

Backgrounds

Adventurers gather in Meskia for fame and fortune, hailing from from all walks of life and all lands near and far. More than a place of origin, however, backgrounds represent the various kinds of people that decide to brave the mythical, demon-guarded tower.

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The Background on Backgrounds

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When making a new character, the third step, after coming up with a concept and rolling/choosing your attributes, is choosing a background for your character. Players need to know where their characters come from as this decision shapes many details both story-wise as well as mechanically.

My first order of business in planning my Tower of Druaga game using the AGE System was to define the character backgrounds. Since I am not really setting out to create a full-fledged sourcebook, my initial though was to simply reskin as many of the backgrounds in the Dragon Age Player’s Guide to suit my purpose; based on whatever my players wanted to play, then I would create anything new as needed.

At least that was the plan.

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[Beyond Dragon Age] The Tower of Druaga

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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.


Over the holiday break, I watched the anime series The Tower of Druaga, a fantasy action series set in a Babylonian/Sumerian-inspired world where a giant tower has risen from the land and adventurers set out to climb it to gain fame and fortune. Happy as I would’ve been with a popcorn sword & sorcery anime, what I got was a fairly complex dramatic story with a fantasy action backdrop. I liked the anime lots, and I’ve written a blog post about why I liked The Tower of Druaga.

As I keep watching the show, it was immediately evident that this could be an interesting setting for a roleplaying game, not surprising considering the anime is based on a Nintendo videogame from the 80s, so it has the tropes already built-in. Given that I’m lately enamored of Dragon Age and its basic approach, I knew this was the system I would want to use to create a Tower of Druaga game. Given that I have just started the new semester at the university and my time for roleplaying has now dwindled down to zero, I devised that I could still pull it off if I ran the game online via email or forum, which has since become my plan. I even went ahead and created a campaign for it at Obsidian Portal where I can keep all my notes together as I slowly develop it.

While I did talk about why I liked the anime as a series, I’d like to talk about the things that attracted me from it to want to devote time that I barely have to crafting a new world for one single game.

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