Sunday, June 5, 2011

RPG Spotlight: Dragon Age

It has been hundreds of years since the last Blight ravaged the world of Thedas. Many believe that it can never happen again, that the Dragon Age will pass without the rise of such evil. They are wrong. Beneath the earth the darkspawn stir. A new archdemon has risen and with it a Blight that will scourge the lands and darken the skies. The nations of Thedas need a new generation of heroes, but who will answer the call?

You may have heard of Dragon Age from the popular video game series of the same name. The game was published by Green Ronin, a company that has published RPGs like Mutants and Masterminds as well as A Song of Ice and Fire. Dragon Age is based on the world of Dragon Age: Origins and brings to your table the dark fantasy world of Thedas.

The cover is a good indication of the darkness that actually inhabits this world. A rogue wields a bow as a warrior slashes with an axe and mage uses arcane magic to strike their foes. The artwork is very well done. You get not only the view of the classes, but race/class combinations: elf, dwarf and human, respectively. Character creation seems fairly simple. A character can play either gender and it has no negative or positive effects on any classes. The game is very mage-heavy. Warriors and rogues are pretty straight-forward, but mages are divided into two subclasses: Apostates and Circle Mages.

Dragon Age Set 1 is an adventure set for characters of level 1-5. The 64-page Player's Guide includes an introduction to tabletop roleplaying, background on Thedas and the nation of Ferelden, a complete guide to character creation, rules for character classes and talents, a primer on magic, and the basic game rules. My first impression was: Levels 1-5? Really? Why would you only need levels 1-5? However, upon closer inspection of the gaming materials, I can safely say that you probably will be playing at each level for a sufficient length of time.

Set 2 isn't slated to be released until January 2012. If you picked up this RPG upon its original release in Jan 2010, then you'll have played it for a near two year before you get the next set. 2 years to gain 5 levels? As I've not played it yet, I cannot comment on this, but it does seem like an interesting concept. Leveling in a game such as Dungeons and Dragons is so linear. It is hard for me to imagine playing at the same level for a long period of time, but even the GM's information includes story arcs and seed stories for adventures.

If you're interested in the world of Dragon Age and want to learn more, I would definitely suggest checking out Dragon Age Dark Fantasy Roleplaying. List price is $29.95 and you can find it at your Friendly Local Game Shop.

Have you played Dragon Age RPG? Let me know what you think in the comments!

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