Using AGE for TES

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

Using AGE for TES

Postby Grumm » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:57 pm

Wondering if anyone out there has used the AGE system for running a game set in the Elder Scrolls universe. I've been kicking around the idea of doing a conversion for a while now, but I want to see if there's one already out there; as it stands it looks like there would have to be a lot of work tweaking the system to work with the setting better.
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Re: Using AGE for TES

Postby Hellebore » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:04 pm

Was thinking similar things after playing Skyrim.

The only things you'd have to do is remove classes and allow anyone to take magic spells. DracoDruid has created a classless system: viewtopic.php?f=33&t=10333

I made a classless and leveless system as well: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xdb ... l=en&pli=1

Enchantment is a bit different to DA enchantment, using souls etc. But that shouldn't be too hard to emulate.

The basic concepts are already there - Talents translate to Perks (at least in Skyrim) fairly well (two handed, one handed etc). They won't great identical effects, but they represent the same things.

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Re: Using AGE for TES

Postby Grumm » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:10 pm

I was think that the magic focuses and spells would have to be tweaked as well; sub in Alteration, Destruction, etc for the DA ones, then create the spells from the TES games.

Also thought about giving focuses five levels: Novice (+1, necessary stat level 0), Apprentice (+2, necessary stat level 2), Journeyman (+3, necessary stat level 4), Expert (+4, necessary stat level 6), and Master (+5, necessary stat level 8 ).
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Re: Using AGE for TES

Postby Hellebore » Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:16 am

Yeah, you really just have to redivide the spells into TES schools, with maybe a few unique ones given the quirks of TES (Soul Trap for example). You could rewrite the whole lot for TES, but IMO spells are generally generic enough to work in most settings.

IMO anything past +3 gets a bit much - the average roll is 10.5 and defence is already really low anyway. Given the DA rules' standard of 3 levels, novice, journeyman, master, you can just create three levels of focus.

It's one of the issues with using a bell curve dice roll, too many bonuses really skew the results.

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Re: Using AGE for TES

Postby Loswaith » Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:38 pm

An alternative is simply to have focuses become skills and simply increase them as you would attributes, while either leaving attributes as a base unskilled value that either cant be increased or costs allot to increase.

You could even scrap attributes entirely and simply use racial skill breakdowns from Skyrim (or any other Elder Scrolls game) as the base values.

It realy depends on how close you want to mimic the mechanics of Skyrim/Elder Scrolls or whether you want just to use the setting.

The harder things to convert would be the item creation and spell creation aspects, assuming you want them at all.

Hellebore wrote:... It's one of the issues with using a bell curve dice roll, too many bonuses really skew the results. ...

Well it realy depends its only an issue if the deviation between TN and bonuses are proportionally skewed. If there is a reasonably even increase the bell curve is maintained its just higher numbers in the curve.
So for example, if your getting +5, but the base TN is 14, thats no difference than a TN 10 with a bonus to a roll of +1, as far as the bell curve is concerned.
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Re: Using AGE for TES

Postby Hellebore » Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:59 pm

To do that would require everything being scaled to the PC's stats - so monsters would all need scaling Defence scores and so on in order to keep up with the large increase in PC focus bonuses. It's possible but it seems like too much work just to facilitate the ability for a PC to have 5 levels of a focus instead 2-3.

IMO if you want to use the DA rules to play TES then you shouldn't mess with them too much, otherwise you might as well just write a set of rules instead. When the rules approach 50% house rules and modifications I'd say it's time to write something tailored to the setting rather than trying to fiddle with something else.

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Re: Using AGE for TES

Postby Loswaith » Wed Dec 14, 2011 3:33 pm

I agree with you on that.
For the most part monsters/Adversaries would need changing though as the Dragon Age adversaries and the Elder Scrolls ones are a fair bit different, so would need to be created anyway. As Elder Scrolls doesnt realy have anything akin to the darkspawn, or other corrupted creatures, even undead are more traditional fantasy in style.

I guess it depends if the mechanics of Skyrim/Elder Scrolls are wanted too as the AGE system cant realy handle that kind of development well for the reasons you have mentioned. While part of the allure of the Elder Scrolls setting is in it's mechanics IMO.
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Re: Using AGE for TES

Postby Hellebore » Wed Dec 14, 2011 5:32 pm

Yeah you'd have to strip the darkspawn from the game, although having said that the ogre might make a good skyrim giant standin, sans regeneration. Giant spiders are there, wolves are there. Most of the adversaries you fight are humanoid rather than monstrous, or at least that's whiat I've found playing Skyrim. Actually there are also the Falmer which are cave dwelling gollum types. Perhaps the genlock could sub for one of those?

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Re: Using AGE for TES

Postby kwanzaabot » Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:35 pm

I've actually been working on something like this. I think the biggest problem is how character creation works. You've got to either scrap backgrounds and classes completely and give every race the ability to do whatever they want, or (what I'm doing) come up with a warrior/rogue and a mage background for every single race, gutting any unnecessary focuses along the way and coming up with setting-appropriate ones that aren't necessarily backed up by game stats.

There's a fine line between what works in an Elder Scrolls videogame and what works with the Dragon Age rules.
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Re: Using AGE for TES

Postby shonuff » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:57 pm

One thing you would have to do to really get the TES feel is have a bunch of broken quests. Adventures would just have to stop at random points with no way to complete them.
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Re: Using AGE for TES

Postby drakahn99 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 5:30 pm

i think all you would have to do is rename some of the specializations. and add in factions similar to how they did the grey wardens, for the thieves guild, the college of winterhold, the companions, the scarlet brother hood.

the game i'm currently running is set during the blessed age 8:45. with those factions mixed in, for mysterious reasons the wardens have disappeared from every country, i will bring them in at a later date close to around 8:80 with a twist to the official story line.

I have changed the circle mages to closely resemble the white tower from wheel of time, with the Templar taking the dual roles of warders, who will not hesitate to strike the mage down if they happen to become possessed. this gives them a feel of the main characters in wind talkers, there to protect but will do what it takes to keep them from falling even if that means killing the mages. effectively every mage is an apostate until level 5 where they have to travel to the college and participate in the harrowing, the difference between an apostate and a tower mage is the mage has had more formal training and most likely will finish the harrowing.

the deep roads i have also changed to resemble the ways from the wheel of time series as well with the dwarves being the fallen protectors of them, this explains why the dwarves could historically travel relatively quickly from place to place even though there were many miles of deep roads to travel.

i'm using the orlesians to represent the empire, from skyrim. and having the qunari also invading, as well, the players will decided how to handle being under the rule of 2 separate outside forces, and how they want to play it off. its really a mash of the 3 settings, and seems to get the feel i'm going for. without needing to deal with the blight and offering more role playing opportunities to solve problems.

to get the feel of tes you do not need a class less system.
the spells in dragon age are generic enough to represent most of the tes spells.

if you break the skyrim class system down, you have levels, which you gain from practicing skills, when you get a level you get a point to put in to a perk

if you compare it to what happens in age, you earn xp from the gm, which you use to up a skill focus a stat and usually earn a mastery every so often. the systems are not all that different, the mechanically it is backwards in that your getting skill ups before your leveling up your character, but the end result is the similar enough.

if you want you could even set it in the arbor wilds/frost back mountains to get the Germanic/barbarian feel. although ferelden was historically a barbarian society, so you could play up on that more than has been in the computer games.

all the work you really need to do is flesh out the factions, add in extra backgrounds to represent the new races in skyrim, and change the circle mages to college mages.


if you've ran savage worlds, they give good advice on how to do what your trying to do,

basically is dont worry about the minute details and go for the flavor of the setting using the balanced rules you do have. and fill in the big holes. with the factions and advanced classes that represent the core feeling for your setting.

if i were to look at both settings i would say the big difference is the societies are different (can handle that with role playing)
there is no blight instead your fighting dragons.

all you need to do is represent the factions from skyrim. the easiest way to do that is to look at the wardens from dragon age and give them abilities that are similar,in most cases your factions give you extra abilities as you progress through their quest lines, and really you dont have to be roguish to join the thieves guild. nor do you have to be a spell caster to join the college. which is why i suggest using the wardens method to represent what your getting when you join them.

all that said i would wait until you see set 3 before you make any major changes to the system. you never know that might have ways to accomplish what you want. ive made it clear to the players that any house rules i come up with to handle situations may be superseded by set 3 or 4, but in the mean time we will use house rules as a temp patch so we dont have to shelf the game because we have exceeded the levels.
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Re: Using AGE for TES

Postby Loswaith » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:22 am

drakahn99 wrote:...
if i were to look at both settings i would say the big difference is the societies are different (can handle that with role playing) there is no blight instead your fighting dragons.
...


The societies are a big aspect of difference but not excessivly so, though I think the single bigest difference is that in The Elder Scrolls magic is safe and can be used by everyone.
While for Dragon Age magic has major risks to its use and you basically have to be born with the ability to use it. Not everyone can use it, but everyone born with it can use it whether they are trained to control it or not (the latter usualy ends up badly).

As for the dragon aspect I think thats more the case due to players being Dragon Born than any excess of dragons in the world (unlike the darkspawn for DA). The characters fate is tied into dragons, so dragons need to be there.
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Re: Using AGE for TES

Postby Grumm » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:17 pm

As far as classes and player characters, I'm likely going to keep the DA classes. In the video games you're playing the great, unique, destiny-ed hero, so you're able to do anything and/or everything whereas every other character in the world falls into one of the three more traditional roles. For a tabletop version I think a limited class system would work best, possibly adding in three mixed-classes (Warrior-Rogue, Rogue-Mage, and Warrior-Mage) Where the player would have to select which aspect was more dominant; ie, is he/she a big dumb warrior who can sneak, or a sneaky, backstabbing rogue who can hold his own when getting stuck-in? A Mage who can pick locks, or a warrior who freezes their opponent?

Taking a warrior as the dominant side, it would mean reduced health and less weapon groups in exchange for beginning with a single spell and a small amount of mana/magicka (say, 1d3+(magic/2)).When given the option to acquire a new level in a talent, the character could instead choose to select a new spell, and at each level would gain an amount of mana/magicka equal to their magic stat.

As for focuses/skills, perhaps three levels would work best instead of five (Novice, Journeyman, and Master, at +1,+2, and +3 respectively). I don't like the idea that, no matter how long a character is out doing his/her thing, they only ever get +2 from a focus. Stat increases help mitigate this, but then again I don't like the 'all focuses go up by one/no focuses go up by one' mechanic of it. For them, with differing levels, when a character could gain a new focus they could instead increase a currently possessed focus by one level so long as they had a base stat of the appropriate level.

A lot of the spells from DA could be imported easily enough, but there would need to be a slew of new ones added (Bound items and summoned creatures immediately come to mind, as does Muffle). The DA focuses of Spirit, Creation, etc would be replaced with the TES schools (Alteration, Conjuration, etc). The magic system would likely see the least amount of tinkering.

Whole slew of monsters and enemies would need to be added, but the biggest challenge will be importing the alchemy system.

Weapons and armor would also need to be tweeked, though not by much; in fact, it might be easier to make weapons and armor made of certain materials (ebony, for example) work off of the DA 'they're rare as hell so getting one is a big deal' system.

Some of the DA specializations would likely get tossed, with new ones added in based upon the factions in the game world.



The setting would likely be after the events of Skyrim, though I'm a fan of the pre-Thalmor Invasion world myself.



PS: @shonuff I hear ya. One of my houses (Hjerim) has Calixto permanently inside of it, and he tries to kill me every time I set foot inside. He goes down after a hit or two, but it's still aggravating that I can't kill him because the quest glitched. Oh, and I can't complete the Stormcloaks side of the civil war since, when I go to attack Solitude the soldiers that are supposed to be there never appear.

Among other problems... glitchiest game I've ever played by a mile.


PPS: Thanks to everyone for all of the comments and suggestions on this. It is very much appreciated.
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