Burning Ferelden (Dragon Age in Burning Wheel?)

So, I’ve utterly devoured Burning Wheel Gold in a single day, and I love it. One of my very first thoughts was, besides “This is one of the best Tolkienesque games I’ve come across, ever! Okay, the best,” a rather simple idea: “This reminds me of what I feel Dragon Age should have felt like.”

Because, when you come down to it, Dragon Age: Origins, for all that it was hyped up as (dark, gritty fantasy with dire consequences for magic), wound up being a high-magic (down to the potion-chugging) dungeon crawl with grimdark elements. Mind you, I really enjoyed it, but I think there was still a lot of potential there. Enter BW.

It doesn’t actually seem like it would take a lot of work to run a BW campaign in Ferelden. Many of the Lifepaths map to existing concepts, such as the Circle or the Chantry, and even the Dwarves, Humans, and Orcs (aka Darkspawn) need very little alteration, just some name-adding. Elves are just humans with the Fey Blood trait.

Has anyone actually tried this? Does it seem like I’m missing anything major? (This actually seems like something that would be really fun to play in or even run.)

EDIT: Ha! I already realized something big missing: Qunari. I’m sure there’s plenty of players who’d want to play those…so there’s an entire race that would have to be homebrewed up.

I thought the same some time ago, the concept of the Gray Wardens have a great BW potential.

For the quinari, they should be easy, with common traits like Massive Stature, something that heightens the taps to Power and Forte, maybe, and some character traits like Honor-bound or something like that.

One of the cool things to add should be possession mechanics for the magi characters that reflect more of the original magic concept of the setting.

Stay cool :cool:

I started doing so but got distracted by something shiny. I narrowed down a list of what needs doing and did some.

  1. Grey Warden LPs
    a) Custom trait for the Joining
  2. Decide between overhauling Elves or have the Alienage Elves be treated as humans with their own set of cultural traits.
  3. Decide between overhauling Elves or make a Born Dalish and other Dalish LPs.
  4. Decide on Magic system.
  5. Perform some minor tweaks to Dwarven racial traits.
    a) Tie Oathsworn into the caste system.
    b) Replace Shaped from Earth and Stone with a trait related to lyrium exposure and usage in crafting.
  6. Implement College of Magic from Magic Burner for Circle Mages with leads to Noble Court and City.
  7. Add Apostate trait to all Peasant, Village, Outcast magic users.

What I got done

Grey Warden LPs, first draft
The Concept: Grey Wardens are extraordinary individuals who spend their lives in the eternal fight against the Dark Spawn and the first defense against the horrors of a Blight. Only they have the fortitude - mental and physical - to keep fighting against all odds and take down an Archdemon. Low times make them younger than many equivalent LP numbers but they tend to have less skill points. The high number of +M,P LPs means starting characters (assuming Born LP, 2nd LP, Initiate, Warden) will have high potential for opening skills and, overall, be more ‘heroic’ in body and mind than normal.

Requirements: Cannot be 2nd LP taken.
You can get into Initiate from basically anywhere with the idea being that something you did in the 2nd LP (or later) got the attention of the Wardens for recruitment. Initiates face a sharp learning curve and spend most of their time studying the journals of Wardens past and training to survive their first encounters with Dark Spawn. Initiates often accompany Wardens or Warden-Commanders on trips to non-native nations to ingrain that they now have a responsibility to all those who the Darkspawn would attack.
Time: 2
Res: 8
Stat: +M,P
8 Skill Points: Dark Spawn-wise, Blight-wise, Deep Road-wise, Appropriate Weapons, Armor Training, Tactics, Riding, Intimidation
1 Trait Point: The Joining
The Joining: I didn’t finish the details but I was thinking three effects. One, as per Sworn to the Order, it overrides previous belief/responsibility traits. Two, it grants a related belief, as per Sworn to the Order. Three, it grants an Emotional Stat (I never named it) with uses for sensing Darkspawn, FoRKing into Health and Forte tests, and when it reaches 10 the character goes on one last outing into the Deep Roads, never to be seen again.

Requires: Initiate or Knight, any 2 sorcerous LPs, any 2 soldier LPs, any 2 guard LPs, and the Joining.
You either survived your time as an Initiate or where recruited later in life after you could already hold your own or where in a position where being a “raw recruit” would not make sense. And yes, in that case, you’d have to pay full price to get the Joining in order to take the Warden LP. I meant to add more LP options appropriate to Dwarves and the Dalish Elves.
The Warden LP is the majority of the Grey Wardens. The character has survived long enough against Dark Spawn that he is a veteran by any army’s standard; an individual with few peers outside the Grey Wardens. Wardens often travel in small groups, looking for signs of Dark Spawn, treating with nobility of various nations to remind of old oaths, and recruiting new members to the order.

Time: 4
Res: 15
Stat: +M,P
6 Skill Points: Blight-wise, Soothing Platitudes, Persuasion, Oratory, Uncomfortable Truth
2 Trait Points: Determined, Cynical, Cold-Blooded, Cold-Hearted, Merciless

The Grey Wardens are primarily equals; though seniority grants a certain first among equals status when they work in groups. However, some Grey Wardens are given the trust of commanding one of the Grey Warden’s few permanent fortresses or chapter-houses and is responsible for the surrounding region. These Warden-Commanders rise from those Grey Wardens who have shown an aptitude as leaders.
Requires: Warden
Time: 6
Res: 25
Stat: +M,P
6 Skill Points: Command, Strategy, Regional Geography-wise, Read, Write
3 Trait Points: Authoritative, Callous, Booming Voice, Fearless, Cool Headed

Master of the Peak
Also known as the First Warden, the Master of the Peak is the leader of the Grey Wardens and commander of Weisshaupt Fortress.
Requires: Warden-Commander
Time: * (Player may choose a time ranging from 2 to 20 years)
Res: 75
Stat: +M
4 Skill Points: Etiquette, Griffon-wise (if appropriate to Age), Ancient History, Obscure History
1 Skill Point: General
1 Trait Point: -

My thoughts on Magic System

Use the following from the Magic Burner:
Art Magic
Can recreate most effects from the game without the insane action costs for the more specific Abstraction and Distillation. The more magic in Dragon Age tends to avoid finicky effects that Art Magic cannot reproduce.
Blood Magic
Maleficarum 'nuff said.
Only available to tweaked Dwarf LPs and a made Tranquil (College of Magic setting) LP.
Because everyone knows that one guy/gal who’ll summon anything from the Fade if it’ll get them another advantage die. Oh, and Maleficarum tend to do this. And you can’t have summoning and chatting with demons without…
Maleficarum, until they get ripped apart serving as a door for a demon or until “Well, it seems you’re familiar with a whole other Chantry, because the one I know wouldn’t hesitate to shove a sword of mercy right through her heart.”

Art Magic Schools
The following are the subsets in Dragon Age of magic and my next post will organize these into schools for use with Art Magic.
Mana Alteration

Addendum to previous post: Abstraction and Distillation could be used, but it requires more effort and I was lazy when doing this.

The school creation process consisted of a few steps. The first was to strip down each subset to its usable pieces. The pieces are then reassembled by theme of effect: elemental manipulation, “raw magic” manipulation, spirit manipulation, Fade manipulation, and body manipulation. If you are interested in how I came up with those check out below. I kept the schools broad because I am a fan of options when casting (more ways for the players to get into trouble when casting goes bad). If you wanted each of those categories could be broken down more. Next up: example spells.

Anything enhancing spellcasting is straight out. Let’s see what’s left
Mastery - Arcane Bolt, Arcane Shield
Attunement - Fade Shield
Field - Repulsion Field, Invigorate, Arcane Field, Mystical Negation
Not bad, focus seems to be raw, unformed magic and manipulating the Fade.
Everything is usable as this is the basic “toss elements” set. Just a question of if Primal should be one school or if each element should be a school. We’ll come back to that later.
Healing - Rejuvenate, Regeneration, Mass Rejuvenation
Enhancement - Heroic Offense/Defense/Aura, Haste
Glyphs - Glyph of Paralysis/Warding/Repulsion/Negation
Summoning - Grease, Stinging Swarm
Kind of an odd mix of healing, buffing, and terrain control/denial. The creation of material does not gel well with the other theme of enhancing the healing/physical abilities of others. Heroic Aura is an anti-arrow magic field, not exactly matching the theme either.
Common theme? “I’m not touching you, nyanya!” We’ll fix that later.
Anti-Magic - Spell Shield, Dispel Magic, Anti-magic Ward, Anti-Magic Burst
Mana Alteration - Mana Drain/Cleanse, Mana Clash
The use of a Mana Alteration style spell greatly depends on parsing intent out from effect because BW doesn’t have mana. I’ll get more into how something like these spells might be done later.
Death - Walking (Virulent) Bomb, Death Syphon
Walking Bomb is a tricky one and may not actually be possible. Depends on how strictly you want to stick to the Art Magic rules.
Telekinesis - Mind Blast, Force Field, Telekinetic Weapons, Crushing Prison
Interesting how Force Field feels so similar to Heroic Aura’s effect in phrasing and effect. Wink.
Debilitation - Weakness, Paralyze, Miasma, Mass Paralyze
The flipside of Enhancement.
Hexes - Vulnerabiliy/Affliction/Misdirection/Death Hex
Continuing the same theme as Debilitation.
Sleep - Disorient, Horror, Waking Nightmare
Draining - Drain Life, Death Magic, Curse of Mortality, Death Cloud
Very similar to Death under Spirit.

Some examples using Abstraction and Distillation: http://www.burningwheel.com/wiki/index.php?title=Category:Dragon_Age

Huge stipulation/House Rule Options: Art Magic may be Hastily (as far as I know that is not a normal part of Art Magic). Other option is allow the use of Caps from Abstraction and Distillation for Destroy with Sorcerous Fire!.
A lot of the casting times are beyond a single exchange for an average spellcaster. This is fine for Range and Cover (and as a spell caster where you want to be) but I have a personal preference for giving my players lots of rope to hang themselves if they so choose. High risk, high reward casting (a Paralysis when the Darkspawn is close enough to notice that poor excuse for a mustache, for example) is something I like available. The use of Caps would allow less powerful versions of damage type spells that would be more along the basic staff attacks or Arcane/Fire Bolt
Neither are necessary though I’d suggest then that each Mage Staff have a pre-made Spell Matrix with a good number of charges (rechargeable) of either Arcane Bolt, Fire Bolt, or whatever is appropriate for the Mage in question.

Elemental Manipulation
As per Destroy with Sorcerous Fire! with One Test duration (Ob4, Ac4). Not fire, but Lightning. If you want to incorporate the, ahem, Tazer aspects of the spell, then use Destroy with Sorcerous Fire! with Hinder[Agility/Weapon Skill/Speed/Whatever you feel represents bodily spasms the best, +1Ob] and a One Test duration (Ob5, Ac5).

Flame Blast
As per Destroy with Sorcerous Fire! with One Test duration and Group breadth (Ob7, Ac7).

As per Destroy with Sorcerous Fire! with Conflict duration, Hinder[Speed, Agility, +3Ob], and Crowd Breadth (Ob13, Ac13)

Rock Armor
Help[Armor, +1-3D] with Conflict duration and Personal breadth (Ob3-5).

Arcane/“raw magic” manipulation
Arcane Shield
Help[Agility, +1-3D] with Conflict duration and Personal breadth (Ob3-5).

Glyph of Repulsion
Evoke [shove, versus Power] with Conflict duration and Group breadth (centered on caster and affecting those who try to get close) (Ob 4+Power, Ac2).

Glyph of Paralysis
Evoke[Immobilize, versus Forte] with One Test duration and One Person (affects whoever enters it first) (Ob1+Forte, Ac2).

And that was as far as I got in writing. I can think off-hand how to do other spells but I never put them down on paper.

, spirit manipulation, Fade manipulation, and body manipulation

I am not sure about the LPs.

I feel that the Initiate LP has too much skill points for so little time. Also, the Grey Wardens are a military order, so maybe you’ll need to make some appropriate weapon as the obligatory skill. Also the trait “the Joining” makes no sense, since the idea of the initiate is that it’s in probation until the ritual of the Joining (like the start of DA:O, when you make some missions under Alastair tutelage with the other recruits, Daveth the thief and Ser Jory). How about an “Under the Right of Conscription” trait? It might give you an affiliation with the Wardens, remove, as you said, responsibility/beliefs traits and also add an darkspawn related belief “slot”.

I can’t understand the requirements for the Warden LP, I mean, why a knight would ignore the Initiate process? Also the 2 sorcerous/soldier/guard lps requirement are kind of redundant, since you already are an Initiate (kind of a “soldier” lp). I would just make the Initiate lp as a requirement. Also I don’t see why a Grey Warden should have Soothing Platitudes or Persuasion. Now it’s in this lifepath where I’d put a “the Joining” obligatory trait. The Joinin could open a new emotional trait and even give you a new reputation as a full Grey Warden.

I ran out of time in the computer, good luck with the project :wink: !

Stay cool :cool:

Whoa, that’s a lot of impressive work! I don’t know how much stuff unto itself the Grey Warden path needs, though. I’m actually wondering if you couldn’t re-purpose a lot of existing lifepaths to do the same stuff.

It’s simple to pump stuff out when you plan on revising it later (which I never did). DagaZ has some really awesome ideas that never occurred to me as I was treating initiate more like people who go to the Wardens to join and the DA:O character as a Born Noble/Page/Squire (at least the one I played) at the beginning of the game. I like his version more than mine.