Sunday, December 6, 2020

Playing the Dragon Age RPG (and Gathering Your Party)


Hello, all you lovely kadans and lethallen!

First off, thank you for helping to make #DragonAgeDay our most successful ever! Thus far, we've raised over $12,400 to benefit the NAACP Legal Defense Fund -- and we still have lots of amazing items left for auction! You'll have two more weeks to grab some of those last delectable reward items, or to simply add your donation to the tally, so we hope you'll stop by Tiltify and take part! 

Meanwhile, one thing that came out of this year's series of videos and streams for Dragon Age Day was a lot of appreciation for the Dragon Age tabletop RPG, and a frequent wistful expression from many viewers that they would really love to play the DA RPG, but they either can't find a group in real life to play with, or they aren't sure how to do so.

This is where I hope I can make a difference. I thought, here, that I'd give you a really simple intro to the DA RPG game (and how to play online with others), and then send you over to Discord, where my group's very kind and talented GM Pat "SnarkKnight1" (whom you may remember from this year's DA RPG panel and one-shot) has generously created a permanent open invitation to join a Discord group called Dragon Age: Discord to help you get started, ask questions, connect, and more!

As far as this little intro, please do note that I am not an expert in any way! I've only been playing Dragon Age RPG for about two years, and there is still so much for me to learn (just recently, I realized I'd goofed on adding spells to my spell slots, so I am really a dork on this stuff). But Pat is terrific, as are many in this community, so this is just to get you started.

Getting Started with the DA RPG

What do you need to get going? Not much! 

It's really easy to get started playing the Dragon Age RPG, and while the rulebooks are incredible (more on those in the next paragraph), you don't necessarily need those to start playing.

Because Green Ronin is fabulous, they offer some incredibly helpful free files that mean you can jump right in, super fast! These files include instant, wonderfully useful downloadable PDFs -- I'm also including one from Roll20 as well:

Larger Resources

The Dragon Age Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook should definitely be on your wishlist at some point though. The game eventually led to the Fantasy Age engine, and every once in awhile, Green Ronin has even given away PDFs for free. And then there's the Faces of Thedas sourcebook, which was released after Inquisition, and which further expands on lore, history, and more. Pat just reshared his past review of this, along with pros and cons, as well.

Meanwhile, on a side note: In addition to creating the new Discord space, Pat very nicely helped to give me a little more description on the progression of the Dragon Age RPG system from Green Ronin:

"Green Ronin released three box sets, each one had more rules and supported levels 1-5, 5-10, and 10-20. Then, after Inquisition came out, they released the Core Rulebook, which combined all the box sets and cleaned up some of the rules. They then released Fantasy Age as the generic version of the ruleset." He adds, "Fantasy Age has rules for Halflings, Orcs, and some additional rule changes, and it also cleans up a few things like how in Dragon Age, magic is all that mages need. Fantasy Age splits that between willpower and intelligence. It got rid of magic as an ability and brought in Accuracy and Fighting as abilities to balance things a bit better."

Meanwhile! As far as the Game Core Rulebook, do me a favor and don't panic when you read this sucker. Because while it's beautifully written by Chris Pramas (with bonus Genitivi sidebars from Mary Kirby!), flawlessly produced, and it's thorough and incredibly useful, it can also be intimidating. It's 440 pages long. So as you start off, just maybe use it as a reference -- get the info you need, and keep in mind that this game can be as intensive as you choose for it to be, if that makes sense.


Meanwhile, if you're a GM, or looking to become one, you might consider getting the Dragon Age Game Master's Kit, which includes a three-sided hardback screen that puts the basic information right in front of you, and which also includes a lot of simple, useful information that helps you get started quickly on your campaign.

Next, you'll need the following:

1. Internet access

2. Discord
Visit https://discord.com/ to get the app. It's probably the easiest way to jump on headphones and chat/play aloud with other players.

3. Roll20
Visit https://roll20.net/ and sign up for a free account. Your GM should ideally already have a game link for you there, but if they don't, or if you are the GM, Roll20 makes it easy for you to create your online game space.

Roll20 has some useful features that make it easy for you to get going, and that I found really helpful to me when I was a new player.

These include:

  • An online chat option (extraneous if you're using Discord)
  • An online dice roller (it's easy to use but no substitute for the satisfying feel of using real dice!)
  • Character Journals for all participating characters, and where you will create your own character journal and access their character sheet. Each Journal includes:
  • Your Character Bio and Info -- general info on your character (and where you can jot down your character's life, experiences, details and physical attributes.
  • Your Character Sheet -- this is the single most important thing for me on Roll20! More on the character sheet farther down, along with tabs for Persona, Powers, Focuses, and Magic.
  • Attributes & Abilities worksheets
  • Handouts, which are extra lore items you can share with other players about your own character's past or experiences.
  • As well as some fun options for GMs and players with stuff like a lore Compendium, online Jukebox, etc.

Building Your Character Sheet


You have some great decisions as you begin when it comes to race, class, and character, and very much like Dragon Age Origins itself, you have an incredibly diverse amount of options when it comes to your character's history and experiences because these will have direct impact on your character's talents -- on everything from what classes they can play, what languages they speak, what their talents are, and more!

For instance, if you're a mage, are you a Circle Mage, a Magister from Tevinter, or an Apostate hiding your nature? Are you an elf who believes in the Creators, a Chantry faithful, a Tal Vashoth, or a Grey Warden?

The best part of all this, though, is if you've played the Dragon Age videogames already, you've already absorbed much of this information and can use that to inform your choices!

True to Dragon Age, you can choose from four races for your character: elf, human, dwarf, and qunari.

You can then choose from three classes: Warrior, rogue, and mage. Where it gets interesting is choosing your subclasses, or specializations, and these will arise from your character's chosen backstory. And let's face it, as most of us know from Dragon Age Origins and beyond, these specializations can be incredibly rich and specific.

The Character Sheet

Your Character Sheet is so much fun to fill out, and your GM can help you do that if you're starting from ground zero.

As with most tabletop systems, you'll start with the following basic categories (the Dragon Age versions are very similar to those found in Dungeons and Dragons, although not identical):

  • Health (your life force/total health)
  • Mana (your "power" or "magic" source)
  • Speed, Defense, and Armor
  • Communication
  • Constitution
  • Cunning
  • Dexterity
  • Magic
  • Perception
  • Strength
  • Willpower

All of the above will evolve and potentially increase as your character progresses.

You'll also be able to use your sheet to fill out your Attacks (and applicable ranges), Weapons, Spells, and other Equipment. You can also note how much money you have in Currency.

Dice, Your Dragon Die, and Stunt Points

Plus, ideally, at least three (3) 6-sided dice (with one of a different color, recognizable as your "Dragon Die"). Everything in Dragon Age RPG comes down to your 6-sided dice, and all ability checks, for instance, are simply rolling those 3d6 and seeing what fate has in store.

What's fun, though, is the inclusion of "stunt points" in the gameplay. Stunt points happen if you roll for an ability test and succeed, and two of those dice are doubles. Depending on how high the doubled dice are, the more stunt point options you'll have.

For instance, let's say you roll a 16 for dexterity -- two 5s and a 6. This means -- if you succeed -- you have 5 stunt points, which you can "spend" as either Combat Stunts, Spell Stunts, Exploration Stunts, or (my favorite) Roleplaying Stunts. If you choose roleplaying stunts, you can spend your points on charismatic moments, jokes and bon mots, flirtations (ALWAYS CHOOSE FLIRT), or on actions that increase your willpower or that deliberately enrage your opponent.

And, like I said, while you can use Roll20 for online dice rolls, honestly, get some physical dice. Because there's something wonderful about actually rolling the dice! And before you know it, you'll be collecting dice, hoarding them in dice bags, and purchasing things like dice trays! Good times.

Gathering Your Party and Moving Forward

And don't be intimidated. All you really need to get started with the DA RPG is you, the Internet, a basic knowledge of Dragon Age, a character you create, and three 6-sided dice. Don't stress yourself out as you start, just have fun, allow yourself to make mistakes, and do what's most fun for you, whether that means playing yourself as a character, or playing someone who is truly unlike you at all! Bonus points if you try playing with an accent! (And be kind to others who do so -- accents are TOUGH.)

As I mentioned, the fabulous Pat (Snarkknight1) has generously launched a carefully organized and categorized channel on Discord that offers a space where you can learn the ropes, ask questions, and connect with other players seeking groups across the globe!

I hope this helps you get out there and play the wonderfulness that is the Dragon Age RPG tabletop game. My favorite thing about it -- beyond the terrific friendships and fun with others in my group (and with the groups of friends -- an ever-widening circle) is the way it brings you into Dragon Age in a new and very strangely immersive way.

As I mentioned in our recent Dragon Age RPG tabletop discussion for Dragon Age Day, the tabletop game can really change your perceptions in fun ways. Like, I'd never gotten the real and visceral fear of being an apostate in Thedas until playing the game, when it became quickly apparent that my elven apostate was a constant target, despite her clumsy attempts to disguise her mage staff as a "fishing pole." Every city street became a minefield, so that even a simple walk through a new town was filled with the dangers of templars and other potential enemies.

I've been playing the Dragon Age RPG for two years, and it has brought me so much fun, as well as in-game moments of adventure, tension, laughter, betrayal, sadness, grief, and joy! I hope the gameplay does the same for you.

Gameplay Startup and Resources

As you connect with other potential groups, keep in mind what kind of playstyle you think you might prefer -- hardcore roleplay, hardcore tabletop gameplay, or more casual approaches? My own advice is that you look for a friendly mix of experienced and new players -- new players can bring so much fun to the experience, and experienced gamers can be wise and wonderful guides to those first battles and hurdles, too.

Last but not least, just in case it helps, here's a final overview of some resources you might want to check out, including all the links I referenced here throughout as well:

 

I'll look forward to seeing you in Thedas!


Friday, December 4, 2020

Mysterious Answers from Solas, Cole, and Bull!

In celebration of #DragonAgeDay 2020 (OUR BEST EVER, PEOPLE), I received a mysterious e-mail from the always awesome Patrick Weekes, who was nice enough to forward on answers from characters beyond the Fade!

So here we go!

Which would you pick? Earth 2020, or Thedas during Blight, Meredith’s Kirkwall, or the Breach?

SOLAS: The Breach is far too close to home, reminding me of my regrets. I would not live there if I had the option.

I could not bear to watch the Blight destroy the world of Thedas, so I chose your Earth, and sought to share my wisdom.

Wikipedia did not like my citation, “Witnessed in the Fade.”

Would you undergo The Joining?

THE IRON BULL: I get to fight monsters AND there are free drinks?

What's your weapon of choice?

COLE: No rhythm, so the worm doesn’t come. He’s dancing again, like before when he sold music. Laughing, leaping, but they always say he’s walking.

Which demon would show up to tempt you at your personal Harrowing?

IMSHAEL: Choice. Spirit.

What's your personal canon/favorite race and class in Dragon Age?

SOLAS: Each race has their own majesty, a beauty almost tangible, and each in their own—

THE IRON BULL: Just say “elven mage.” We all know you’re thinking it.

Your literary read of the day: Swords and Shields, Hard in Hightown, or The Randy Dowager?

THE IRON BULL: I think that Swords & Shields has a more compelling love story, but it also steers into some problematic territory.

KREM: He has a subscription to The Randy Dowager.

THE IRON BULL: For the ARTICLES.

Which Dragon Age follower CHARACTER would you romance?

SOLAS: I cannot give away my heart, for knowing what regrets will come would tarnish any momentary solace.

BRIALA: I have so many questions about ancient elven culture! If only someone could explain it to me!

SOLAS: Oh, no

And y'know, y'all, I'm just leaving it here. It's just so good. HAPPY DRAGON AGE DAY! And thank you to Patrick for sharing their secret access to some of our most loved/hated characters! 

Dragon Age Audio Wizard Presley Hynes Shares Even More Silly Answers...

Presley Hynes is a talented audio artist at BioWare, and recently shared answers to our diabolical silliest (and unsilliest) questions for Dragon Age Day. Check out Presley's answers below!

Which would you pick? Earth 2020, or Thedas during Blight, Meredith’s Kirkwall, or the Breach?

PRESLEY: Thedas because Mabari.

Warden, Hawke or Inky -- which are you, at heart?

Hawke.

You wake up with the Anchor/Mark. What do you do?

Probably scream. Then start figuring my life out.

Would you undergo The Joining?

NOPE.

What's your weapon of choice?

Bow and arrow usually. Daggers as a side weapon.

What do you name your Mabari?

Bambam.

What's your personal canon/favorite race and class in Dragon Age?

I will forever love any kind of elves and that will literally never change, so Elf Rogue is my life.

Which demon would show up to tempt you at your personal Harrowing?

Envy or Pride.

Which Dragon Age follower would you romance?

DORIAN.

Who's your favorite Dragon Age villain and why?

Solas because I want to punch him.

What's your favorite romance ship? (Canon or non-canon, platonic or romantic)?

Krem/Bull.

You get beamed to Thedas: What's your job--and would you survive?

I’d just follow people around with coconut shells and Monty Python it. Whether or not I survive for more than a day is up for interpretation.

Your literary read of the day: Swords and Shields or Hard in Hightown, or The Randy Dowager?

Hard in Hightown.

Favorite Dragon Age herb or plant?

Unsure on how to answer this plant question.

Who do you feel is the most misunderstood Dragon Age character?

Bull.

Which quarters at Skyhold would YOU pick for yours?

Unsure about quarters.

What would be your approval rating at Halamshiral during Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts? Are you prim and proper or dancing on tables?

Oh... 2? Maybe? I'd be on the tables FOR SURE.

Favorite Dragon Age creature?

NUG.

Favorite Qunari or Elven term?

Ma vhenan... my heart.

Favorite Inquisitor mount?

Harts!

What would be your Dragon Age "watchword?" 

I'm laughing too hard to answer this one.

Last but not least... what are your feelings on Plaidweave?

It's the one true high fashion.

Now on to the UNSILLY questions! What was your role (or roles) in working on the Dragon Age games?

I'm an audio artist on the upcoming Dragon Age.

What does increasing inclusivity and diversity in the games industry mean to you?

SO MUCH. I think everyone will be better off with diverse teams and ranges of backgrounds.

What's your favorite book?

GOOD OMENS, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

I love that book so much. I've read it a dozen times, literally. Meanwhile, what's your favorite movie?

Into the Spider-Verse.

So gorgeous! Meanwhile, who's your favorite artist?

Barenaked Ladies, Astrid S, Dua Lipa.

Who or what inspired you to work in the games industry?

I’ve been a gamer all my life. Seeing the amazing audio work being done in games made me really interested in learning more.

What's your favorite thing about your work?

The creativity and passion I see in everyone around me. It’s an amazing atmosphere filled with incredible minds.

What's your favorite thing about being part of the BioWare team?

Everyone is so in love with what they do and the games they’re making. BioWare really does seem to attract amazing people.

What was your proudest accomplishment with BioWare so far?

Designing the audio for the Luminary in Anthem. I was only here for a few months at that point, and the fact that the team trusted me to make something really cool for it so early on was an honor, and was very encouraging.

What was your proudest contribution to Dragon Age?

I’m working on the newest game and haven’t been here for the others, so I can’t say much, but being a part of the creature team and working with the animators and gameplay designers to make the creatures come alive and feel fun to encounter has been an incredible experience and I’m super proud of the work I’m doing on them.

What part of your work is most challenging or satisfying for you?

Most challenging is probably keeping my creative energy focused. Sometimes it’s tough to really stick to ONE idea when so many things can be done with a new feature, and sorting it out and focusing on a smaller part of it can be rough. Most satisfying is when we start seeing a creature come together for the first time. Meshes are in place, VFX are in place, sound is in place, and suddenly it’s a living, breathing organism.

What’s your funniest moment on Dragon Age work?

We did a recording session of a bunch of percussion instruments and found out that a squeaky horn squeaked into a timpani while manipulating the timpani’s pitch is an absolutely HILARIOUS sound and we have a bunch recorded, but don’t know what to use it for.

What was a favorite team or collaboration moment for you?

NOTE: BIOWARE REDACTED THIS. (Shout-out to the devious MAD BEE!)

Which Dragon Age team member(s) did you always want to call out as deserving of special praise?

Esther Ko is an incredible human. She is always so passionate in her work, she’s outspoken and does everything she can to make sure everyone on the team is not only happy and satisfied with work, but also makes sure everyone feels included and that their voices are heard. She is amazing to work with.

Is there a song or music style that inspired your work on Dragon Age?

This is a tough one, ha ha ha ha ha. The Lord of the Rings soundtrack comes to mind. Trying to hear all of my sound design within Middle Earth has been fun.

Thanks so much for taking part, Presley!

Sheryl Chee Gets Silly for Dragon Age Day!

Sheryl Chee is a talented senior writer at BioWare whose work is an intrinsic part of the Dragon Age universe, and whose philosophy degree reveals itself in her characters' complex and compassionate conundrums.

Luckily for us, Sheryl has shared her thoughts with us despite my very silly questions for Dragon Age Day 2020, and we are so excited and privileged! Let's see what she has to say -- onward!

Okay, Sheryl! You wake up with the Anchor/Mark. What do you do?

Panic. Then drive to Patrick’s house to panic some more. Everything DA-related that happens is now Patrick’s fault, obviously, because they are the lead writer.

This is the BEST ANSWER EVER. Meanwhile, what's your weapon of choice?

A stale baguette.

What do you name your Mabari?

Rabbit.

Which demon would show up to tempt you at your personal Harrowing?

Imshael, the Choice Spirit. They seem like a fun time.

I LOVE IMSHAEL. (ahem) Okay, onward: What's your favorite romance ship? (Canon or non-canon, platonic or romantic)?

Not romantic, but I love the friendships between Blackwall and Sera, and Isabela and Aveline.

You get beamed to Thedas: What's your job--and would you survive?

I’d bake bread. I hope I’d survive.

Your literary read of the day: Swords and Shields or Hard in Hightown, or The Randy Dowager?

The Randy Dowager’s new satire inspired by Hard in Hightown.

What would be your approval rating at Halamshiral during Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts?

Not great. They’d throw me out for embarrassing myself.

Favorite Qunari or Elven term?

It’s more of a phrase, but “Meraad astaarit, meraad itwasit, aban aqun.” And also, the classic “Taarsidath-an halsaam,” of course.

Now for some UN-silly questions! What's your favorite book?

That’s such a difficult question! One of my all-time favorites is Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters. In the last year or so I’ve been obsessed with the Murderbot Diaries, a series by Martha Wells.

What was your proudest contribution to Dragon Age?

I’m probably proudest of the various characters I’ve written for the DA universe. They’re always fun to write, and I enjoy seeing the fan reactions, whether it’s love or hate.

Is there a song or music style that inspired your work on Dragon Age?

There’s never a specific style of music that I listen to while writing. It always depends on my mood. I love making Spotify playlists and I frequently put one together that reflects the character or area that I’m writing for. I have noticed that I listen to a lot of electronica if I’m trying to pump myself up to write something that’s a little more tedious. For instance, combat barks. I think I listened to Kesha’s “Timber” on repeat for an entire day while writing barks for Inquisition’s multiplayer mode.

Asa Roos Gives the Scoop!

MORE GOODIES!

As we celebrate #DragonAgeDay 2020, BioWare's talented team has blessed us with an assortment of wonderful insights from its writers and creatives, and I'm so delighted to be able to share answers to our silliest questions from the talented Åsa Roos, a UX-designer at BioWare in Edmonton!

SILLY QUESTIONS

ME: Which would you pick? Earth 2020, or Thedas during Blight, Meredith’s Kirkwall, or the Breach?

ÅSA: Meredith’s Kirkwall. At least there wasn’t a pandemic and it’s close to the sea.

Warden, Hawke or Inky -- which are you, at heart?

I am totally Hawke. Not very important, really, just someone who wants to take care of their family.

You wake up with the Anchor/Mark. What do you do?

Scream for a few hours and proceed to find Solas to ask him what the hell he was thinking. Wasn’t once enough?

Would you undergo The Joining?

If I had a choice no. If I didn’t have a choice I would, and then promptly die.

What's your weapon of choice?

Sarcasm.

What do you name your Mabari?

This one I got from Karin and Patrick Weekes. The Dread Woof. Or just Dog, like in most of my playthroughs. I’m so lazy.

What's your personal canon/favorite race and class in Dragon Age?

Elf Rogue or Elf Mage. I prefer to keep the Darkspawn at a distance. And the Qunari. Pretty much everyone, now that I think about it.

Which demon would show up to tempt you at your personal Harrowing?

Pride, probably. Or Envy. Close call.

Which Dragon Age follower would you romance?

All of them. Well. I’d probably have a crush on Varric that I never told him about, and then I’d be best friends with Dorian and eat cheese with Alistair. I’d have a crush on Alistair as well, but I’d never tell him either.

Who's your favorite Dragon Age villain and why?

Solas, because he is multifaceted and very, very human in all his fallibility.

What's your favorite romance ship? (Canon or non-canon, platonic or romantic)?

I would really like it if Morrigan found a friend she could drink tea and talk magic with. She deserves it.

You get beamed to Thedas: What's your job--and would you survive?

I’d probably end up in Denerim, making rivets and chainmail for Wade and Herren, having Wade stress me to death with his attention to detail. Most likely I’d be killed in the siege of Denerim, but not in any noble fashion. I’d probably die from an ogre sitting down on me by accident or something.

Your literary read of the day: Swords and Shields or Hard in Hightown, or The Randy Dowager?

I’d slip Swords and Shields into a cover of Hard in Hightown.

Favorite Dragon Age herb or plant?

Bees. No wait. Dawn Lotus.

Who do you feel is the most misunderstood Dragon Age character?

That Chantry sister outside the Chantry in Denerim who just can’t seem to get the Chant of Light

right.

Which quarters at Skyhold would YOU pick for yours?

I would kick everyone out of the library and put a bed in there.

What would be your approval rating at Halamshiral during Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts? Are you prim and proper or dancing on tables?

Sad to say I’m prim and proper, but my sarcasm would probably tank my approval score.

Favorite Dragon Age creature?

Dragons. Especially the sleeping dragon in the Hissing Wastes. It’s so cute!

Favorite Qunari or Elven term?

Vashedan. It’s very useful and not many people who haven't played Dragon Age know what it means.

Favorite Inquisitor mount?

War nugs!

What would be your Dragon Age "watchword?"

Please don’t hurt me!

Last but not least... what are your feelings on Plaidweave?

If Anders wears it as a kilt, I’m all in favor!

UN-SILLY QUESTIONS

What was your role (or roles) in working on the Dragon Age games?

I am a UX designer on the coming Dragon Age game.

What does increasing inclusivity and diversity in the games industry mean to you?

A lot. This is why I eventually found my way to BioWare. These games have meant the world to me, and as a game developer, I wanted to be part of creating something that would mean just as much to new players and returning players.

What's your favorite book?

Unfair question. All of them! It’s actually a series of books. Martha Wells’ the Murderbot Diaries.

What's your favorite movie?

Another unfair question. It depends, but my fall back is always Alien or Mad Max Fury Road.

Who's your favorite artist?

The limitations! I really like Bat for Lashes almost all the time, but I also enjoy Puscifer.

Who or what inspired you to work in the games industry?

I started playing TTRPGs really early, and I was always fascinated by them, the fact that you could build a world and people could populate it but it didn’t really exist. When I had the opportunity to work in games, I took it.

What's your favorite thing about your work?

Everything. But I love problem-solving and systems so when I can dig into a really complex system and figure it out, that’s what keeps me going.

What's your favorite thing about being part of the BioWare team?

The people I get to work with. We have an outrageously smart team and people I really admire and appreciate working with.

What was your proudest accomplishment with BioWare so far?

I could tell you, but Darrah would kill me. No seriously, I can’t say anything about it because it’s part of development.

What was your proudest contribution to Dragon Age?

I can’t tell you that either.

EXCELLENT! Meanwhile, what part of your work is most challenging or satisfying for you?

The most satisfying part is when I find a solution to a really tricky problem that just works. I work with user experience design so a lot of what I do is smooth the way and enhance the work of other teams.

What’s your funniest moment on Dragon Age work?

When the puns about Darkspawn spun out of control in a meeting chat. People had to tell us to get serious. We punned about that as well.

What was a favorite team or collaboration moment for you?

All of them are. My team is amazing.

Which Dragon Age team member(s) did you always want to call out as deserving of special praise?

Game development is a team effort, and everyone does important work. I don’t think anyone specific should be called out. Everyone’s work is important for us to be able to build the game, from QV to programming via art and design and production.

Is there a song or music style that inspired your work on Dragon Age?

Not really, although I do spend a lot of time listening to game music because it’s instrumental and it helps me focus.

Is there anything we haven't asked that you always wished someone would ask about working on Dragon Age?

“Does Mark Darrah really drink that much tea?” Yes, yes he does.

Last but not least: What was your most inspiring moment in 2020, if you feel like sharing it?

I think any time we reach a point when a part of the game comes together and we can see all the work we’ve been doing is pretty amazing. Because we’ve done it while working from home, all of us.

Thank you so much, Åsa!

BioWare's Brianne Battye Answers our Silliest Questions (and Some Serious Ones Too)!

As most of us Dragon Age fans already know, Brianne Battye is a talented writer at BioWare who contributed her talents to Dragon Age Inquisition, Tevinter Nights, and who is also a poet in her own right.

Here, to celebrate #DragonAgeDay, she's provided us with an inside look at her own answers to our silliest (and not quite silliest) questions for 2020!

Here goes!

So, Brianne! Warden, Hawke, or Inky – which are you, at heart?

BRIANNE: Hawke. Mostly Purple Hawke.

You wake up with the Anchor/Mark. What do you do?

1. Panic.

2. Poke at it.

3. Panic.

Which demon would show up to tempt you at your personal Harrowing?

Have we seen an Anxiety demon? It would be an Anxiety demon.

I feel this on a very personal level. If there was a 2020 demon, it would totally be Anxiety, right?

Onward!

You get beamed to Thedas: What’s your job and would you survive?

Could I still be a writer? Maybe Varric could introduce me to his publisher. I hope I’d survive, but this IS Thedas.

Favorite Dragon Age herb or plant?

Dawn lotus. They look like lily pads and I love lily pads.

Which quarters at Skyhold would YOU pick for yourself?

I mean, there’s a lot of spare rooms so probably a room no one’s using. If it’s out of the follower, advisor, or Inquisitor rooms… Leliana’s space. It’s quiet, not too bright, has a proper roof. I’d make friends with the messenger birds.

What's your favorite Dragon Age creature?

Definitely fennecs! I would love a fennec friend.

Favorite Inquisitor mount?

All of the harts!

What are your feelings on Plaidweave?

Okay, I’m one of those Canadians with five different button-down plaid shirts in her closet. So, it’s all good.

What’s your favorite book?

It changes depending on when you ask me. A book I read this year and loved: This is How You Lose the Time War, by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone.

What’s your favorite movie?

Like books, this answer changes when you ask me, but a lot of the time it’s Howl’s Moving Castle.

What part of your work is most challenging or satisfying for you?

I love writing and creating stories, but work isn’t always easy. There have been a lot of challenging and stressful times over the years. When I’ve heard from people that something I helped create meant something to them—something serious or something that just made them smile—I can’t express how much that means to me.

Which Dragon Age team members did you always want to call out as deserving of special praise?

Our transfer to Work From Home was very abrupt. Everyone working on IT support has done an incredible job getting the team set-up and (virtually) coming to the rescue when issues arise. I also want to call out our Facilities team who helped coordinate our transfer to Work From Home and who continue to arrange virtual events to help people feel connected.

Thank you so much, Brianne! And happy DRAGON AGE DAY!

 

Sylvia Feketekuty Answers Silly Questions for Dragon Age Day 2020!

Happy Dragon Age Day 2020!

Hello all you amazing Thedosians! Thanks to our wonderful friends at BioWare, we've gotten some fabulous responses to the incredibly silly list of questions I sent over to them for 2020. We're so proud that this is our third consecutive year for #DragonAgeDay, and this year we're raising money and awareness for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund!

Sylvia Feketekuty is a brilliant writer on the BioWare team, and she was nice enough to respond to my silly questions list with the following wonderful and whimsical answers!

ME: Sylvia, you wake up with the Anchor/Mark. What do you do?

SYLVIA: Probably panic!

What's your personal canon/favorite race and class in Dragon Age? 

I prefer mages in RPGs. That said, when I was playing through my content during DA:I’s development, I created a dwarf warrior just to change things up. I’d like to replay Inquisition as my standard female human mage one day, maybe just before the game I’m working on now releases. I think that could be fun.

Which demon would show up to tempt you at your personal Harrowing? 

This is tough! Fear, sloth, despair? All good candidates.

Who's your favorite Dragon Age villain and why? 

Probably one of the ones I’m working on now.

SO EVIL! (sigh)

Meanwhile: What's your favorite romance ship? (Canon or non-canon, platonic or romantic)? 

As Josephine’s writer, she’ll always be my favorite!

You get beamed to Thedas: What's your job--and would you survive? 

If I can read the language: time to be a Chantry clerk! My survival probably depends on whether a fresh disaster is rolling across Thedas or not.

Your literary read of the day: Swords and Shields, Hard in Hightown, or The Randy Dowager

I’m very curious about Swords and Shields, after Cassandra’s reluctant endorsement.

Favorite Dragon Age herb or plant? 

Crystal Grace. The bellflowers are beautiful.

Favorite Inquisitor mount? 

The harts, because I was not prepared for the sound they make when I first tried them out.

Last but not least... what are your feelings on Plaidweave? 

I’m True Neutral on Plaidweave.

And now, for a few more serious questions! What was your role (or roles) in working on the Dragon Age games?

I’ve been a writer at BioWare for eleven years now, but Inquisition was my first Dragon Age game. When I came on, I remember a whiteboard with quick descriptions of the core cast. “Diplomat?” was scribbled under the advisors. Our lead writer at the time, David Gaider, told me I could pitch that character, and that was the start of Josephine.

I was also the writer on three wildernesses, developing quests with the level designers for Crestwood, the Fallow Mire, and the Hissing Wastes. For our critical path story, I wrote “Champions of the Just” (though most of Abernache was Luke Kristjanson) and “What Pride Had Wrought” (though Dave did some of the conversations inside the temple). And I was also one of the writers on Jaws of Hakkon and Trespasser.

What does increasing inclusivity and diversity in the games industry mean to you? 

For anyone who wants to make a game to be able to do so in safe, supportive environment. That’s a pretty broad statement, but I think removing extra hurdles and bad practices is the only way forward. 

Who or what inspired you to work in the games industry? 

Playing games as a kid. They were these weird, wonderful worlds you had to explore on their own terms. That’s still very special. The magic’s never left.

What was a favorite team or collaboration moment for you? 

I wasn’t positive we could get a sword duel for Josephine’s romance. Then her cine designer, Richard Boisvert, arranged for motion capture of people dueling and was able to craft the scene. I was amazed, and still am, he figured out a way.

Another favorite collaboration was developing Crestwood with level designer Raylene Deck. Because we had a dungeon available, we were able to tie it into the Fade Rift in the lake and the dam and the overall story of the area. I was really pleased with that, because I’d always wanted to write an old-fashioned dungeon jaunt.

Is there anything we haven't asked that you always wished someone would ask about working on Dragon Age?

Good question! Probably “what little-seen people or places in the Dragon Age universe would you like to explore?” Which is a tease, because that’s exactly what I’m doing now at work. One day!

Last but not least: What was your most inspiring moment in 2020, if you feel like sharing it?

It’s not one single moment, but I’m grateful every day for my friends for keeping in touch, playing games with me over the internet, and generally helping me through.

Thank you to Sylvia for sharing her thoughts with us! And HAPPY DRAGON AGE DAY!

Playing the Dragon Age RPG (and Gathering Your Party)

Hello, all you lovely  kadans and lethallen ! First off, thank you for helping to make #DragonAgeDay our most successful ever! Thus far, we...