Tabletop Game: Dragon Age
The Tabletop RPG
adaptation of the Dragon Age
role-playing video game series designed by Chris Pramas and published by Green Ronin
in 2009. The players take on the roles of the warriors, rogues, and mages
in a darkly Heroic Fantasy world of Thedas
and specifically, in the Southern kingdom of Ferelden known from Dragon Age: Origins
. The game was released in three sets, for character levels 1-5, 6-10, and 11-20, respectively.
The game's core mechanic, similar to that of the d20 System
, is to roll a GURPS-like
3d6 (three six-sided dice), add the ability score and skill modifiers, and compare the result to the target difficulty score. One unique aspect of dice-rolling in DA
is the so-called "dragon die"—a die that is colored differently from the other two and whose value determines the degree
of success on a successful overall roll (e.g. how much information is revealed upon examination, or how complex a stunt a character can use in combat, etc.).Tabletop
featured a game GMed by Chris Pramas himself for its season one finale
The game system itself provides examples of following tropes:
- Back Stab: The rogue's special move works by running up to an enemy and attacking in the same turn for an attack and damage bonus (it only works with melee weapons).
- Big Badass Battle Sequence: Set 3 adds in a rule set for Mass Battles, each taking three parts and with "crisis points" when near success or failure. The book goes on to describe how the battle of Ostagar fits within this system, the Tower of Ishal section acting as the second part's crisis point.
- Character Alignment: Averted. The morality of the player characters is completely up to their role-play.
- Character Customization: The players can select gender, class, name, background, and starting items of their character. The rest (attribute scores and skills) is randomized, though later additions have allowed a Point Build System.
- Class and Level System: There are three classes (see below) and the characters go up in level as they progress through an adventure. The highest Character Level the system is designed for is 20.
- Combat Medic: Since the mages combine the healer and the nuker roles, they become this.
- Critical Hit: Averted. The Stunt mechanic is used instead (see below).
- Damage Reduction: Armor works by reducing the damage taken.
- Dual Wielding: It is possible to dual-wield weapons with a proper perk, but the rules of two-weapons combat are somewhat murky.
- Eight Stats: Communication, Constitution, Cunning, Dexterity, Magic, Perception, Strength, and Willpower. Of these, Communication and Perception are unique to the tabletop adaptation (the rest are found in the video games). The ability scores typically range from -2 to +4 and act as modifiers for dice rolls.
- Fighter, Mage, Thief: Like the video games, the tabletop adaptation includes three basic classes known from Dungeons & Dragons (the Clerics are lumped with the Mages).
- Game System: The Adventure Game Engine (AGE) was designed specifically for the game, although it is pitched as a setting-independent ruleset.
- Health/Damage Asymmetry: Averted. Both player characters and enemies play by the same damage-dealing rules.
- Hit Points: All characters start with a preset number (e.g. warriors with 25), which grows as they progress.
- Honest Rolls Character: Enforced by the game manual, as the entirety of a characters' initial statistics is determined by consecutive dice rolls.
- Loads and Loads of Rules: Averted in a conscious attempt to go easy on the newcomers to tabletop gaming.
- Mana: Mages have a pool of mana points from which they can cast their spells (except the very basic ranged attacks, which are free).
- Multiple-Choice Past: Like in Origins, the players can select one of pre-generated backgrounds for their characters, which affect their starting stats. You can no longer play as a dwarf/human noble, but get additional backgrounds to choose from, depending on the set:
- In Set 1, you can be a Dalish or a city elf, a dwarf commoner, a Circle or Apostate mage (elf or human), an Avvar, and a Fereldan freeman (the latter two were actually planned as playable origins for humans in DAO but were cut before the release).
- Set 2 adds High-born/Low-born Dwarf, Orlesian exile, and Fereldan Craftsman. It also suggests more variety in the mage backgrounds through customizing the geographical origins of Apostates and Circle Mages.
- Set 3 adds Orlesian Noble, Escaped Elven Slave and Tevinter Altus (noble mage). Across all three of the player guides, there are a total of thirty backgrounds.
- Path of Most Resistance: The GM's manual suggests rewarding players with Experience Points based on how much trouble they had overcoming each challenge—in other words, the harder the path they choose, the more XP they get.
- Player Party: The game is designed to be played in groups of 3 to 5 (plus Game Master).
- Point Build System: One of the first House Rules to be developed for the game was a PBS to help offset the sheer randomness of character generation.
- Purely Aesthetic Gender: A Player Character's gender does not affect any gameplay mechanics.
- Skill Scores and Perks: The perks, known as "ability focus", are tied to an ability score and give +2 to certain actions.
- Special Attack: If an attack roll (typically 3d6) produces a double (two dice with the same number), you can perform a "Stunt" of your choosing against the targeted enemy instead of a basic attack. Stunts can entail dealing extra damage, or targeting an additional enemy, etc.
The Dalish Curse sample module uses following tropes: