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View Full Version : Suggestions for running a solo game based off of (or similar to) Dragon Age?



Roll Fizzlebeef
2010-03-25, 04:19 PM
My brother is in love with this game, and he also wants to try tabletop roleplaying games. The problem is that I have very little experience DMing, and no experience running solo games. I need help with:
*Setting (please tell me more than just "Dragon Age," I haven't played the game much, and I need ideas on what to do exactly.) This includes background story, plot hooks, and inspiration.
*Making encounters
*Making a game that's good for one player

Also, I've heard of a tabletop game based off of Dragon Age. Should I check that out (basically, I'm asking for your opinion of it), or use the D&D 4e books I have already?

Any tips would be appreciated.

Gametime
2010-03-25, 04:21 PM
Would your brother be playing a single character, or controlling an entire party of them himself? In the actual game, you have a party, and can switch between controlling different people. In tabletop play, that can get a bit cumbersome, and risks being overwhelming for a new player.

Roll Fizzlebeef
2010-03-25, 04:22 PM
Would your brother be playing a single character, or controlling an entire party of them himself? In the actual game, you have a party, and can switch between controlling different people. In tabletop play, that can get a bit cumbersome, and risks being overwhelming for a new player.I'm pretty sure he's going to be running a whole party of 3 or 4. I'll need to be careful to not make the encounters tedious, though. Any tips for speeding up encounters?

Swordgleam
2010-03-25, 04:40 PM
I've heard good things about the Dragon Age tabletop game, so I'd say check that out.

Coidzor
2010-03-25, 05:15 PM
I'm pretty sure he's going to be running a whole party of 3 or 4. I'll need to be careful to not make the encounters tedious, though. Any tips for speeding up encounters?

I'd recommend finding some other players if possible that'd be interesting.

Roll Fizzlebeef
2010-03-25, 07:07 PM
I'd recommend finding some other players if possible that'd be interesting.Unfortunately, my brother is kind of seclusive about this, and this is the first time he'd ever be playing a tabletop rpg. He wants to be the only player.

HunterOfJello
2010-03-25, 07:47 PM
There's probably a guide somewhere around here on DMing a solo game. In general, I discourage players from playing more than one character.


A better solution would be to have him control himself and his dog or something and then give commands to other party members.


~~~

Give him a short campaign as a solo player then try and find some other people to play with. D&D is a very social game and having 3-4 players and 1 DM makes everything smoother and fun. The game was designed for a party of adventurers, not one person.

I don't have much experience with solo campaigns, but one player controlling 4 PCs just sounds like it would turn into a mess.

Gralamin
2010-03-25, 07:52 PM
Also, I've heard of a tabletop game based off of Dragon Age. Should I check that out (basically, I'm asking for your opinion of it), or use the D&D 4e books I have already?

Any tips would be appreciated.

Well, the Dragon Age Tabletop currently is only 1 to 5, and your options are limited. On the other hand, it gives a feel much closer to that of Dragon Age's fluff.

4e would be a good substitute if you want to stay on the heroic side, though.

a typical hero
2010-03-26, 05:02 AM
On the setting:

Dragon Age (one of my favoured games, too) is very very grimdark.
Every story related choice should have a "good" and a "bad"-alignement approach but even if you doing the "good" part, you'll end up with doing something "wrong".

Don't create clearly "white" or "black" characters, story, factions and so on. Everything should be "grey"

If you never played the game I'll give you an example:
SPOILER ALERT
The dalish (wild elves) settled down in a forest. They are getting attacked by feral werwolfs. The wounded elves are going to turn to werwolfs themselves.

You want the dalish to help you fight against the great enemy, so you're willing to help them.
On your way to the boss of the werewolfs, you discover that the boss-elv cursed those humans hundreds of years ago to be werwolfs after a couple of them murdered his son and raped his daughter.
They are biting the elves so the boss-elv has to lift the curse.

Your decision:
Help the elves and kill the wolfs.
The dalish will fight for you, but you just killed an entire community of beings who suffered for hundreds of years from a curse without having to do anything with it. The criminals are long dead by now.

Help the wolfs and kill the elves.
The wolfs will fight for you, but you just killed an entire community of elves who had nothing to do with the curse.

Try to persuade the boss-elv to remove the curse.
He won't agree and you have to kill him. So you just took the old, wise, embittered community leader from the elves.

In addition, magic among the humans is strictly regulated by the church. There is one mage academy in each bigger kingdom consisting of different countries (you should look up the specific titles and names for a better feeling). Every mage is trained here baring some wild mages outside of the church's grip.

Delta
2010-03-26, 05:24 AM
I've heard good things about the Dragon Age tabletop game, so I'd say check that out.

I'm currently playing the DA pen & paper in an IRC game and it's a really interesting game so far (we're still level 1 so I can't say too much about the details of the system), I'd recommend it as well.

Oh, and of course I recommend playing Origins as well, obviously. Best way to get a glimpse of the world, and IMHO, it's one of the best CRPGs there ever was, if not the best.

Mewtarthio
2010-03-26, 09:54 AM
Don't create clearly "white" or "black" characters, story, factions and so on. Everything should be "grey"

If you never played the game I'll give you an example:

Why, of all things, would you pick the Dalish Elf story as an example of moral ambiguity? That's seriously the most clear-cut choice in the entire game outside of the really blatant ones (like "Will you sacrifice hundreds of lives in an unholy ritual that makes you slightly tougher?").

a typical hero
2010-03-26, 10:46 AM
Why, of all things, would you pick the Dalish Elf story as an example of moral ambiguity? That's seriously the most clear-cut choice in the entire game outside of the really blatant ones (like "Will you sacrifice hundreds of lives in an unholy ritual that makes you slightly tougher?").

I don't think it is as clear as you suggest it to be.

The wolfs are attacking uninvolved elves (besides their leader).
Don't know how about you, but to me this is evil.

The elven leader won't lift the curse, even though the criminals are long dead by now.
That is evil to me.

Both factions have a good reason for their actions, but both are doing it in an evil way.

There are some choices where it is more difficult to decide (for example the night with morrigan before the final battle), but I think it is good enough.

Math_Mage
2010-03-26, 11:08 AM
The moral choice at Redcliffe Castle (if you haven't already been to the Circle Tower) is much more ambiguous than the one in the Brecilian Forest, IMHO.

FoE
2010-03-26, 11:28 AM
Dragon Age (one of my favoured games, too) is very very grimdark.

It's not exactly Warhammer 40K, though. You can do some good for a few people.


Why, of all things, would you pick the Dalish Elf story as an example of moral ambiguity? That's seriously the most clear-cut choice in the entire game outside of the really blatant ones (like "Will you sacrifice hundreds of lives in an unholy ritual that makes you slightly tougher?").

Aren't you referring to the Alienage elves? :smallconfused:

Math_Mage
2010-03-26, 11:35 AM
Aren't you referring to the Alienage elves? :smallconfused:

He's saying that the Dalish elf story is one of the most clear-cut choices aside from ones like in the Alienage.

FoE
2010-03-26, 11:43 AM
He's saying that the Dalish elf story is one of the most clear-cut choices aside from ones like in the Alienage.

"One set of knife-ears is the same as the rest," said Bann Vaughan.

Now, as for solo games well, those can be tricky. I can't really speak for the Dragon Age pen-and-paper game, but 4E is generally slanted towards group combat and dynamics.

It's one thing to keep track of one or two characters, but three or four? That might prove exhausting after a while.

I have heard of Solo campaigns that ran sort of like the game Overlord: you had a main character with a cast of disposable flunkies. Kind of like a Ranger in Dragon Age. Would you consider running something like that?

aberratio ictus
2010-03-26, 02:25 PM
The moral choice at Redcliffe Castle (if you haven't already been to the Circle Tower) is much more ambiguous than the one in the Brecilian Forest, IMHO.

Why so? You can still decide to travel to the Circle Tower if you haven't been there before.

Mewtarthio
2010-03-26, 02:33 PM
Why so? You can still decide to travel to the Circle Tower if you haven't been there before.

That always struck me as a bit metagamey. Sure, you probably know that everything in Bioware is stuck in a permanent state of stasis when the main character isn't around (well... usually...), but in-game, you're still leaving a freaking Abomination sitting in the castle while you go do whatever.

So, it should have been a morally tough decision (you're risking dozens of lives, but if everything works out, you'll save everyone), except the game doesn't really acknowledge it.

Douglas
2010-03-26, 02:42 PM
Well, there is the mitigating factor of the abomination having a demonstrated aversion to direct forceful confrontation and a repentant Jowan being there to make such a confrontation necessary for it to do anything. Now if you killed Jowan, don't think his repentance is genuine, or told him to run for it, that's another matter. If you let him out of his cell to try atoning, though, he volunteers to keep an eye on Connor while you're gone if you go for the Circle.

aberratio ictus
2010-03-26, 04:17 PM
Well, there is the mitigating factor of the abomination having a demonstrated aversion to direct forceful confrontation and a repentant Jowan being there to make such a confrontation necessary for it to do anything. Now if you killed Jowan, don't think his repentance is genuine, or told him to run for it, that's another matter. If you let him out of his cell to try atoning, though, he volunteers to keep an eye on Connor while you're gone if you go for the Circle.

What he said. Also, I actually suspected that me leaving the abomination be for a time would have some negative consequences... but it seemed to be better to take the risk instead of going with the alternatives.

Delta
2010-03-26, 05:34 PM
The moral choice at Redcliffe Castle (if you haven't already been to the Circle Tower) is much more ambiguous than the one in the Brecilian Forest, IMHO.

Well it would be a pretty tough choice if you wouldn't be able to take the "knight in shining white armor to the rescue!" option number 3 which is offered to you from the start and doesn't really inconvenience you in the slightest because you need to go to the Tower, anyway.

aberratio ictus
2010-03-26, 06:01 PM
I really didn't find any of the choices that hard morally. The toughest ones in my opinion were how to deal with this assassin guy and that other guy later on (you know who I mean, I won't spoil it for the others): Kill them or let them join you. The first may be a bit harsh, the second may be a bit idiotic, depending on who you ask. I blame the game for not allowing you to take them prisoner.

Math_Mage
2010-03-26, 06:50 PM
Well it would be a pretty tough choice if you wouldn't be able to take the "knight in shining white armor to the rescue!" option number 3 which is offered to you from the start and doesn't really inconvenience you in the slightest because you need to go to the Tower, anyway.

Oh. I was not aware that you could just leave the Desire Demon to stew, and thought that the choice to go fetch mages from the Circle Tower only worked if you'd already been. Meh.