May 16, 2013
A Look At The Fluff Of The Dragon Age Role-Playing Game
I adore BioWare games. Mass Effect and Dragon Age: Origins both rank near the top of my favorite video games of all time. Why? Storytelling. It is all too easy to immerse oneself in these games, so when one of their games is made into the setting for a table-top game, the fluff is all that you carry with you from your experience playing the video game; the Blight, tensions between the Templar and the Circle, beings crossing over from the mysterious Fade. Its all there. The Dragon Age Role-Playing Game merely gives players a new way of experiencing it.
As with Star Wars: Saga using the entire canon of Star Wars as its fluff, the Dragon Age Role-Playing Game uses what players of the video games got to experience in the first and second installments of the game. Where this differs from Star Wars: Saga is that, at its core, Dragon Age has always been a game. The player has always controlled the central characters of the story and the decisions made were their own. This is an advantage that Dragon Age has on Star Wars as it makes it incredibly easy to deviate from the canon, or simply insert the players’ characters into the roles assigned to the main hero of the video game. Doing so feels like less of a betrayal of the original and more of just another alternate play-through.
I have run the game several times, and I have always used events of the original video game to drive forward the plot. The characters all meet and take part in some small adventure, usually comprising the first session of play. This inevitably draws the notice of Duncan of the Grey Wardens, who is looking for potential recruits to undergo the Joining to become Grey Wardens themselves and help defend Ferelden against the threat of the rising Darkspawn Blight. The characters travel with him to Ostagar, sometimes having an adventure or two on the way, and then must prove themselves truly worthy of joining the Wardens by going into the Kocari Wilds and retrieving vials of Darkspawn blood for the joining ritual, as well as lost treaties the Grey Wardens left behind in an old, abandoned outpost. Those who have played Origins will recognize this as the opening segments of the video game, the only difference being that there is more than one main protagonist and, unlike the first game, these protagonists are far from silent.
From there, my games have differed. In one, the characters followed the same sequence of events that took place in the original game. In another, they were asked by King Cailan to take a number of secret documents to Orlais, to the Queen, asking for her aid in fending off the Blight, only to be attacked while in passage and forced to track down those who stole the documents in the city of Kirkwall. Both games were incredibly fun, enjoyed by those players who had played the game as well as those who had not. Using elements of the world as presented in the games, as well as my own creativity, I was able to use the fluff of the world to create a fun and unique experience for my players, which is always my goal as a Gamemaster.
So much work has gone into the world of Thedas for the Dragon Age video games, and the Dragon Age Role-Playing Game makes good use off all of that wonderful fluff. I highly recommend the game, both to those who love the video game and role-players in general.
Image Credit: Photos.com