After seven years away, I'm going back to GenCon. It's been far too long since I was last there, and even longer since the late 1990s when GenCon was an annual pilgrimage for my gaming group. I'm looking forward to going back.
The Dragon Age Role-Playing Game is a rules-light, fast-playing pen-and-paper game based on Bioware's computer RPG of the same name. It's published by Green Ronin. My lunchtime gaming group is currently running through "The Dalish Curse" introductory adventure from Set 1, and I've decided to assemble a list of resources for the game.
The dwarven warrior D'klar Ironforge stood on the Deep Roads bridge eying the darkspawn before him. Spittle from the creature's mongrel face glistened in the reflected light of the lava far below. Covering its black-furred hide were the crudely-arranged castoffs of dwarven chain and planted, while its obsidian-clawed hands held a short sword wet with the blood of Ironforge's kin.
With a guttural shout, he charged the creature, bringing his battle axe down in a killing arc that sliced through the cracks in darkspawn's armor, cleaving its spine and sending it crumbling to the stone. The dwarf hefted the axe from the corpse and looked up. The rest of the darkspawn horde stood at the other end of the bridge. He grinned. "Who's next?"
Scenes like this one are something we love to recreate in fantasy pen-and-paper role-playing games. How you do it depends: it could be an improved critical feat in Pathfinder or an armor-piercing daily power in Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, or it could just be flavor text added afterwards. It works well enough, but the game mechanic geek in me finds the feat/power option too limiting. Sure, I want to bury my axe into the darkspawn scum … but when fighting a dragon, I just might rather hit and run instead of going toe-to-toe with the beast.
It is a dark time for Star Wars role-playing games. There's no official role-playing game being released, and fan-generated content for older games is tapering off. Fortunately though the Order 66 podcast continues to pump out new content for Saga Edition, there's a new AGE-powered Rebellion Era playtest document, and an X-Wing miniatures game from Fantasy Flight Games.
Green Ronin's Dragon Age: Set 2 is available for pre-order as a print-and-pdf bundle: buy the boxed set for $39.95 and get the PDF for $5. The new set looks like it'll throw some meat onto Dragon Age's efficient skeleton by expanding the game to level's 6-10.
MEPACon Spring 2011 is being held Friday, April 8 through Sunday, April 10. It's the 10th anniversary of the convention, and they're going to be having a special reception Friday night. As always I'm looking forward to the convention, but this time around I'm taking my own advice and only running two RPGs.
The Dragon Age RPG intrigues me. With a lightweight rules system, mana pool-based magic, and a killer background setting, it seems like the sort of game that could help pull me back into fantasy role-playing. After spending a night learning more about the game for a Knights of the Dinner Table column, I decided to order the game. It arrived Saturday afternoon, and I wasted no time in getting to the unboxing.
When the Dragon Age RPG hit last year, I wasn't sure what to make of it. While I was intrigued by the boxed set, and liked the computer game's setting, I wondered if there was enough space in the market for another fantasy RPG.
It looks like the answer is yes. While D&D 3.x, D&D 4.0 and Pathfinder remain very popular, it seems like Dragon Age is benefiting from its its introductory nature (the boxed set covers levels 1-5), Edition Wars fatigue, and its Old School vibe. I've read about more than a few people who've turned to Dragon Age after getting burned out on D&D.
I can't help but look at my own group and wonder if Dragon Age might not be the game that gets us back to the fantasy genre. The Edition Wars forced us to abandoned D&D for Star Wars after 12 years of adventuring in Greyhawk; Dragon Age just might be the Switzerland we need to get back to swinging swords and slinging spells.