Why do it with 20 when you can do it with 6?
Never again will you hear your friends say, “What dice was that again?” because the Dragon Age tabletop RPG does away with your precious d20. That’s right. No d20 – there’s nothing but d6’s in this game.
Want to make an attack? Three d6.
Want to persuade some fool out of his coin purse? Three d6.
Want to balance on a felled tree over a chasm? You guessed it. Three d6.
Our first impression is this game is stupid simple. In fact, we were leery to play it because of its simplicity, but coming off of a yearlong D&D 3.5 campaign, some of us were begging for a break from the tedium. Dragon Age RPG was an amazing breath of fresh air.
Pick between 3 classes: warrior, rogue, or mage. Then pick from 3 of the core races: elf, dwarf, or human; the Qunari are also a playable race depending on which story kit you buy. It may seem a little limited up front, but you can take each of those classes and races in 2 or 3 different directions. Okay, so it’s not the most innovative selection ever, but I said it was simple, right?
The game gets more interesting once you start playing.
Dragon Age RPG has a unique stunt system that sets it apart from D&D. A stunt is a unique ability that you can do in combat, social situations or really anytime you do something that you have to roll for. When you roll doubles, your third die, called your dragon die, tells you how many stunt points you have to spend. This is where combat gets nasty quick. Stunt points let you: trip your opponent, strike them twice, hit a neighboring target, taunt people into backing down, inspire people to follow your cause, and a whole lot more. At low levels it’s pretty simple, everyone has access to the same stunts but as gain that sweet experience and level up your stunt list evolves with your power level leading to a more customized character. There’s a whole list of stunts for combat, social situations, and magic use.
Which leads me to the next difference: magic.
Most of the time, a mageling is pathetic at low levels – they either run out of spells right away, or get killed in one hit. That’s not the case in Dragon Age RPG. Mages don’t have spell slots like they do in D&D. As in the video games, in the world of Thedas, your mages now have access to mana pools that they cash in to fire off spells. In one of the starter kits, the pre-built mage comes with a 18 mana points, enough to blast off 9 arcane lances, 18 minor heals, or 6 rock armors. Beware, dipping into the fade to cast spells is not without its dangers. Also like the pixel based games, you too can become corrupt and become possessed and turn into an abomination, if you fail to have the right resolve. It’s not easy to become corrupt, it’s basically akin to crit-failing 3 times in a row. Let’s be real though, if you do that you should just considered rerolling your character anyway, because it’s cursed.
The ease of this game is one of its selling points. You don’t have to sit down with a massive rulebook and study it; Dragon Age gets the rules done in 63 pages.
Oh my gosh, I almost forgot to mention – it’s freaking Dragon Age on your tabletop – what’s cooler than taking down darkspawn and an archdemon?
Definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a good ‘intro’ into the world tabletop RPGs, or even for the veteran player who just wants to try something a little more fast-paced.
Dragon Age RPG – As Seen on Tabletop: