Not digging the whole buy this set, then this set & then

Discuss our dark fantasy adventure tabletop roleplaying game based on BioWare's computer game, Dragon Age Origins.

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Not digging the whole buy this set, then this set & then

Postby Souphin » Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:07 pm

Rather than a boxed set will there be a book of all the CORE stuff needed to play DA, from 1st lv to 20th
In 2000 when D&D 3.0 came out the option to buy the Core 3 books at $20 bucks a pop was cool and with those books one could play the game and have lots of fun. Now with 4th edition the books are about $35 each and to get all the classes and character options presented in the predecessor one would have to buy PHB1,2,&3 about $100 for stuff that should be core rule book stuff.
Now for the case of DA, it looks like it's packaged to be one set 20-30, then another, then another, and another. For that's a lot of stuff on the shelves. Will there be a Player book for just player options and one for DM options, as a dm I am cool with a creature book too. But in 4th I'm already carrying phb 1&2, martial powers, arcane powers and primal powers.
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Postby Ryngard » Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:59 am

I love the boxed set tier format!

Trust me, your investment into Dragon Age RPG will be FAR less than that of D&D.

They won't be changing the design so no point getting upset... either decide its worth a shot (due to Dragon Age being awesome and Green Ronin's history of excellence) or not.

But yeah, imo I think this is a good move. I've been playing rpgs (D&D and Star Wars mostly) for more than 20 years and as each edition of D&D comes out I get excited only to have my interest wane and drop after the slew of products flood the market... the rules minutia slog down my games, etc.

Dragon Age is going back to our roots in the 80s, and in a GOOD way. Give it a try!
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Postby Iltsuger » Tue Nov 10, 2009 2:57 am

I understand where you're coming from, but when you look at it another way, we're sort of learning a new system for the first time. In order to know if we even like it, we have to play it first. We get that chance at relatively cheap with this boxed set.

When we decide we like it we can move on, but at the same time we can experiment and try new house rules before the official guidelines come in. To me that's exciting, because you're basically afforded the opportunity to test the important parts first, and modifying them, only later adding to the difficulty and complexity.

Since this is a new system, I like not being bombarded with all the rules and being expected to integrate them, since I feel I might be able to change the system at will and won't like it if I have to tear out a bunch of different mechanics just to improve one mechanic for my campaign.

Another factor is development and production costs, I think. If they brought in everything at once, it would probably be more expensive, and suffer from the same problems those "buy all these books to play" sets have. Further, Dragon Age may be considered to be a niche project, as it has to capitalize on the popularity of Dragon Age while Dragon Age is still well-known, AND appeal to a market that isn't exactly related 1 to 1 with the pen-and-paper game players (I know of pen-and-paper groups who don't use computers in their lives at all!).

Especially with the niche costs in mind, I don't blame them for not risking the entire product at once. I figure that if I get a hold of the basic edition and like it, I'll be willing to shell out more. If I don't like it, I'll have only paid 30 dollars. The fact that it only goes up to level five seemed constrictive until I realize that many of my campaigns never got that far. I like creating characters more than trucking them on through to the end, myself.

I think you were asking, Souphin, about the format, and yeah, there's a DM book and a Player book, so you can keep things separate. I imagine monsters will be in one or the other, likely the DM but I'm not sure. Since Dragon Age seems to concentrate its monsters a bit, there won't be as wide a range of creatures, at least to start, although I'm pretty much guaranteed to make up my own monsters to suit my campaign.
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Postby mhensley » Tue Nov 10, 2009 3:35 am

I love box sets, but I'd still like to be able to buy a hard cover rulebook later on that has everything collected together.
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I total dig it

Postby wolfram_stout » Tue Nov 10, 2009 9:32 am

Hi,

First timer here. The tiered box set is what sold me on this game. My wife bought me the first 4ed books for me for my birthday. $90 bucks, I played it once. I enjoyed it but not enough to make it my game of choice.

With DA, I can buy the first 5 complete levels for the game, for a fraction of the cost. Or buy the full set of levels in installments.

Well done. I am sold.

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Postby Souphin » Tue Nov 10, 2009 9:40 am

Come to thiink of it I do have books of games I never play. I just like having a complete player book and D&D phb 4th seems low on player options at each level for each class(1st lv fighter: choose 2 out of 4 powers) and the DA game has talents ( something like powers)it looks too close to the same thing and I feel like the limited talent options will make us feel we have to buy add-on books
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Postby discuit » Tue Nov 10, 2009 9:43 am

If I recall correctly it is also being released as a PDF. So if you want you can just buy those if you want. You can just make up your own rulespedia with them! Everypnes a winner! I personnaly can't wait for my box. Especially now that all of my group have bought and are playing the pc game. So when we kick off Everyone will know the world and lire. Something that I look forward to exploiting and exploring.
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Postby Iltsuger » Tue Nov 10, 2009 9:49 am

I understand your skittishness in that regard, since I know folks who have sunk a lot of money into 4E. I think the basic game is perfectly playable on its own, though. No need to keep buying out of habit, although I can understand the compulsion (the industry seems to be built on that compulsion).

I look at this as a sort of friendly way to get started, since you'll have everything you need to start. Considering how much all 3 books cost for 4E it's a decent buy, even if the instructions themselves are only 64 pages for the two books.

Since it has full advancement up to 5th level, you can sort of gauge whether or not the game's for you with a smaller purchase price than it would take if they gave you the expensive, hardcover big brick all at once.

I dunno, I mean, I like the mechanic as I read it, but of course I'm like the rest of us here with little to go on and no experience with the actual game, so I don't know how well it all works together. When it comes out I'll weight the expense of the box vs. the pdf, get whichever, and try to get it tested to see how well it works with the people I know.

I think their opening offer is reasonable, and I think the gaming community is a more creative bunch than it gives itself credit for, because we often become slaves to releases that slowly churn out the options. In this case, I don't feel like it'd necessarily be a crippled game out of the box. Again, I have no experience with the game, though, so I'm not 100% certain :)
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Postby Pramas » Tue Nov 10, 2009 12:51 pm

If the game does well, it's entirely likely we'll release a book that compiles all the rules in one place, but it'd be some time after all four boxes were out so we're talking several years down the road.
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Postby 77IM » Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:00 am

To use 4e as a benchmark: My group played for about a year (36 sessions) and just reached 11th level. That means that we've only used about 1/3 of the material! Of the $90 investment in the 3 core books, we could regard $60 of it as wasted because 2/3 of the material is relevant to the Paragon and Epic tier. (This is not quite true -- there's some material, like Skills and Combat and a lot of the stuff in the DMG -- which is relevant at all levels. But most of what WotC sells is Powers, Feats, Items, Monsters, and Adventures -- all of which are limited to a span of a few levels.)

I think 4e would have been MUCH better if the first set of books had been Heroic-tier only. They could have made them 1/3 the size (and lower cost), or packed them with 3x as much useful material. I'm really glad Dragon Age RPG is going to take this approach.

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Postby MacLeod » Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:42 am

I like the idea of an introductory set that leads into an advanced set... What I don't like is that GR plans on doing FOUR. Two is perfect, three is pushing it and four just doesn't seem appropriate.

I'm not sure if the DA TTRPG is going to have subclasses like the video game... but if so, it would make sense to have the first half of the game based on the basic classes and then the subclasses get introduced in the second half of the game.

Oh well, I'll buy it either way but I'll still be shaking my fist at GR.
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Postby Ryngard » Thu Nov 12, 2009 4:55 am

I think it will work very well as 4 boxed sets.

Just a correction... the game (video game) doesn't have subclasses at all. At levels 7 and 14 you pick a specialization which gives you a few stat bonuses and unlocks a new talent chain.

You remain your original class the entire time.

It is more like... AD&D 2e's Kits if anything.

But it isn't like prestige classes.
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Postby Iltsuger » Thu Nov 12, 2009 5:54 am

Not a big fan of prestige classes, so that's good news. But does skipping specializations have any possible benefits?
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Postby MacLeod » Thu Nov 12, 2009 8:43 am

In the video game, no. As Ryngard noted, you would be missing out on some stat bonuses and new Talents.

Ryngard wrote:Just a correction... the game (video game) doesn't have subclasses at all. At levels 7 and 14 you pick a specialization which gives you a few stat bonuses and unlocks a new talent chain.
You remain your original class the entire time. It is more like... AD&D 2e's Kits if anything. But it isn't like prestige classes.

I think that is less of correction and more of a matter of perception. The choice of specialization impacts that character's role in combat. If the specializations are brought over to the DA RPG, they will have a similar effect plus a heavy impact on the story.
That to me sounds like more than just a little flavor. You can imagine the fundamental difference (both story- and gameplay-wise) between a mage-smiting Templar and the raging Berserker, yeah?

As for the comparison to Prestige Classes... DA's method is very much the same idea only done in a much more intelligent fashion. In fact, I think with a few tweaks that the system the video game has in place would work perfectly for the pen-and-paper version.
Not that we will see that in the first boxed set... I begin to wonder if we will see it in the 2nd given that this isn't a direct system port.
Ryngard wrote:I think it will work very well as 4 boxed sets.

Do you think it will work well when your players have exceeded level 5 and the next boxed set isn't due out for months...? I know that most groups have multiple games to play... but I still feel like four $20~$30 boxed sets is 100% unnecessary.
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Postby Radioactive Ape Colin » Sat Nov 14, 2009 2:56 pm

I'm excited about the tiered release because I remember D&D doing exactly the same thing with its BECMI boxed sets back in the day, and you know what, those worked astounding well and sold incredibly well for all the reasons folks are positive about them now. Having the basics initially keeps the cost down (a necessity given that a boxed set is more expensive to produce but sure as hell looks more like a "game"), and doesn't overwhelm the new gamer with a morass of material to read (folks can easily be put off by hundreds of pages of rules). It's a bold move, and I applaud GR for doing it. Sure, that it worked insanely well once is no guarantee of success, but if it does, even it brings in a hundred or so new gamers to this niche hobby, it'll have been worth it.
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Postby 77IM » Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:04 pm

Iltsuger wrote:But does skipping specializations have any possible benefits?


Each specialization has a basic benefit (usually a stat boost, like "+1 Dexterity and +2 Damage" or something similar). The base benefit is free when you get the specialization. So there's no reason not to take a specialization at level 7; it costs nothing other than your level 7 specialization pick slot.

...Except that you need to Unlock the specialization by doing particular things in game. Some of them are easy (Shapeshifter, for example, is practically automatic) but others are hard. For example, I am now level 8 and have not yet found the specialization I want (Duelist), so I haven't picked any yet.


Once you get the base benefit, the other benefit is access to a talent tree specific to that specialization. It's only access, though; you need to spend talent slots (you get about 1 talent per level) in order to take the talents. And that means not spending those slots on your main class's talents. The specialization talents don't seem exceptionally better than the main class talents, just more... specialized. So it's up to you how many of those talents you take; you could take none of the specialization talents and just stick to core class talents. In that sense, the specialization is optional.

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Postby Crimfan » Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:18 am

Iltsuger wrote:Not a big fan of prestige classes, so that's good news. But does skipping specializations have any possible benefits?


The video game has no benefit for not specializing, but it wouldn't be hard to do something like throwing the PC two extra stat boost points or something like that at 7th and 14th level if you want to forgo specialization.
Specialization unlocks extra techniques (basically you get one of these per level) but you only have so many of those, so if you want to buy them you're not buying other techniques. I try to get a specialization if it's available and fits the character concept, but I may not necessary buy the techniques down its tree. Example: My human warrior PC has Champion maxed out, because it fits the concept. Leliana (the human bard) has Duellist but I haven't invested in it.
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Postby Iltsuger » Wed Nov 18, 2009 1:09 pm

That's a good point about not purchasing other talents. You still get the flat stat bonuses, though, so it's still better to get a specialization, it seems.

Specializations seem modular though, like people could design new ones pretty easily. That, and maybe there'd be a sort of true path that sticks to the basics, and maybe that could be a specialization in itself. Less talents, maybe, but some other bonuses to the side depending upon class.
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Postby Crimfan » Wed Nov 18, 2009 3:11 pm

Iltsuger wrote:That's a good point about not purchasing other talents. You still get the flat stat bonuses, though, so it's still better to get a specialization, it seems. Specializations seem modular though, like people could design new ones pretty easily. That, and maybe there'd be a sort of true path that sticks to the basics, and maybe that could be a specialization in itself. Less talents, maybe, but some other bonuses to the side depending upon class.


Right, it wouldn't be hard at all. Specializations open up more options at higher levels for those who want to take them---probably the best way to compensate someone who doesn't take them would simply be to add a few extra stat points they can allocate as desired when a specialization could be taken. As I recall gaining a specialization adds +1 stat of your choice, plus some fixed stat boost relevant to the specialization, and then opens up a list of four new techniques (which you still need to buy as usual). Even just getting stat boosts you can allocate yourself would be very nice.

The video game rules are undoubtedly too complex to carry over directly to a tabletop environment, but the general Class-Level => Skills (things everyone can learn) and Techniques (specific to a class) is straightforward and seems pretty robust to me. It's missing those cool non-combat things that everyone wants (though many Skills cover it to some degree) and non-combat utility magic, but neither of these seem all that hard to add. Characters of a given class will feel relatively similar, but definitely won't be copies of each other.

Aside: A tabletop version of Mass Effect would be "teh awesome." :) If it used the same game engine that would be even more so. :D
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Postby Iltsuger » Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:52 pm

Yes, Mass Effect *passes out, mouth foaming*
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Postby Ryngard » Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:54 am

Yeah. I'm very interested in a Mass Effect RPG. It would work like playing Star Wars but better I think. I love my Star Wars but ME just translates to a table-top RPG far better IMO.
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Postby Congzilla » Thu Nov 19, 2009 6:30 am

The OP's comparison of D&D 3.x to 4e is way off base. The 3 books were not $20, and there were actually way more splat books for 3 than there are for 4.

That said I think a lot of people seem to forget that D&D 1e was actually released the same way Dragon Age is being done, in multiple box sets each picking up where the last left off.
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Postby Crimfan » Thu Nov 19, 2009 6:58 am

Congzilla wrote:That said I think a lot of people seem to forget that D&D 1e was actually released the same way Dragon Age is being done, in multiple box sets each picking up where the last left off.


True enough but that in and of itself doesn't mean much. Computer games back in the 80s came on tape drive....

I'm an old timer so condition my opinion that way, but IMO boxed sets are a major turnoff (though I'll still get this one). Hardcover is nice and sturdy, nothing falls out, etc.
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Postby Congzilla » Thu Nov 19, 2009 7:09 am

Crimfan wrote:
Congzilla wrote:That said I think a lot of people seem to forget that D&D 1e was actually released the same way Dragon Age is being done, in multiple box sets each picking up where the last left off.


True enough but that in and of itself doesn't mean much. Computer games back in the 80s came on tape drive....

I'm an old timer so condition my opinion that way, but IMO boxed sets are a major turnoff (though I'll still get this one). Hardcover is nice and sturdy, nothing falls out, etc.


I like hardcovers as well. I was very pleased Wizards completely dropped the paperback format for 4e. But I do really really miss campaign settings coming in a boxed set. They used to come with so many more maps and handouts that just cant be done in the hardback format.
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Postby Crimfan » Thu Nov 19, 2009 7:32 am

Congzilla wrote:I like hardcovers as well. I was very pleased Wizards completely dropped the paperback format for 4e.


Bound paperbacks that are sturdy are OK with me. Of course their adventure format (folder with flimsy insert books) eats dirt.


But I do really really miss campaign settings coming in a boxed set. They used to come with so many more maps and handouts that just cant be done in the hardback format.


Yeah, the old Greyhawk boxed sets. :)
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