Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dragon Age - Character Hooks and Inspirations

I hinted heavily earlier this week that I would be talking more about my upcoming Dragon Age campaign. Today's post is going to take a look at the collaborative effort I've made with my players to branch their characters out beyond just a character sheet. We did character creation last Friday, and I think everyone was pretty happy with how things turned out. We did it by the book with one exception. The rules call for random 3d6 stat generation - in order of appearanceof stat on the character sheet - and allows for switching two scores once all are rolled for. I allowed instead for everyone to roll up one more roll than was needed to fill the eight stats and drop the lowest. They then could put their two highest scores into two of their three primary stats and had to put their third highest score into a secondary stat. While random generation is fun, I wanted the guys to be able to pick the class they actually wanted to play instead of forcing the warrior-loving guy to accept his 18 in magic, for example. We ended up with two mages, a rogue, and a warrior. A nice mix if not a little magic-heavy.

What you'll see below is a write up I sent to my four players after we completed character creation and discussed what their short- and long-term goals are. We also discussed a little bit of how the characters know each other at the beginning of the game. From there, I took what I know of the adventure I'll be running and made it all fit together. We'll be playing the adventure that comes with the box set which I'll just be referring to as "The Curse" since the title gives too strong an impression of the plot. Keep in mind that the audience is my players, and I've only made a few edits to make it publishable for the blog!
So based on your characters' long term goals and where the adventure takes place  (between the Brecilian Forest and Gwaren), I've developed these hooks for your characters. The game takes place just a few weeks before the Battle of Ostagar, so Cailan is currently king, and there are rumors of a fifth blight developing in the Korcari Wilds. Here is a great, simple map to help you all with the places I'll name below:

Chuck (our city elf Circle Mage Pylos), Keith (our as-yet-unnamed human Circle Mage), and Keegan (our Freeman Warrior and Templar-in-training Anrothan): Pylos and Keith's character have begun their quests to someday rise to the position of Archmage. They've decided to work together since they each want to pursue different paths to power and figured they could use all the help they could get. Keith's character is interested in pursuing the ways and knowledge of the Fade while Pylos is interested in finding powerful magical relics and tomes, possibly in favor of destroying them and consuming the resulting lyrium to increase his power.

You have set out from the Circle Tower in the center of Lake Calenhad, taken the West Road until reaching Lothering. Pylos and Keith's character were accompanied by a Templar Knight - Brelind Catar and his apprentice Anrothan. You were content to merely wandering Ferelden, running into whatever adventure you could find.

At Lothering, the magi discover that a Bann in South East Ferelden is looking for adventurers willing to explore and map out the Brecilian Forest. The Brecilian is known as both a territory with a unique connection to The Fade and as a treasure hunter's paradise for rare artifacts - potentially some possessing quite a large amount of magical power. It's also known as a cursed forest occupied by lycanthropes or worse. The saying goes - "If in the Brecilian you feel like someone's watching you - you're right."

It was decided then that you would set out to the village of Boyce to meet with Bann Quintish about his commissioning of adventurers into the Brecilian Forest. The Bann is a sworn bannerman to the great Teyrn Loghain Mac Tir of the nearby city Gwaren. It is on this path to Boyce that you come across Vintiver as they are conducting the feast and celebrations of the Harvest Festival. This is where our story begins.

Ah, but alas, there is one more detail to tell. As you made your way through the Brecilian Passage in the Southron Hills, you were attacked, quite unexpectedly, by a great ogre and his surprisingly strong party of darkspawn. Templar Catar ended up sacrificing himself to hold off the orgre's onslaught while you three escaped. The last glimpse you had of Catar was him leaving the ogre with a serious wound from a flaming brand before being crushed under the ogre's great axe. All you know of the ogre is a name - "Rocthal" (this isn't so important right now, but may be a good hook for future fun at a higher level). At this point, Anrothan's not quite a Templar sworn, and your journeying outside of the Circle Tower without a full-fledged Templar is only a small step above outlawdom.

Mike: Alas poor Vengest Straken, the roguish surface dwarf. Cursed from birth with a taste for the hard stuff, he just couldn't ever find a place for himself within the strict social mores of Orzammar. Outcast at an early age, it is indeed a miracle that the young drunkard was able to survive at all as a surface-dweller. Even among your fellow dwarven outcasts, it can be incredibly difficult to find acceptance amongst your own kind on the surface because of your love of the drink.

But fear not! Young Vengest has a purpose - he has a dream! He has adopted the goal of becoming a self-made dwarf. Through his own cunning and haggling skills, he has connived a long-term sales strategy that simply cannot fail. It starts by gaining fortune and reputation as a great explorer and bringer of "the deals" to the masses. Then comes the fortune. Vengest dreams of one day having a "Straken's Shop" street cart in every major town and village bringing the people what they need at an heroically affordable price.

At the beginning of our adventure, the honorable Vengest has found himself travelling for a short period with a band of Dalish Elves. The Elves are entertainers and have welcomed Vengest into their caravan as a trade partner/caravan guard. It isn't until the night of the Harvest Festival in Vintiver do the Dalish truly find out the depth of Vengest's ability to epically party (Vintiver is known for its fine vintages afterall).

That's all I got! I'm going to write tomorrow a little bit about what I'm doing to make my Droid X my GM's best friend in preparation for Friday night and our first session of Dragon Age!


  1. Aww that sounds fun! Blast my unavailable-ness!

    Good writing :)

  2. Hopefully it will be fun! Maybe after this first adventure you can jump in. We'll have to see how long it takes us to get through it, but there's no reason we couldn't include a fifth character into the party (although I'd enforce a strict "No More Mages!" rule on you).


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