Dragon Age pen and paper game review

The game system covers most of the options allowed in the video games while giving you the flexibility to create  a unique character. You are able to choose between the three classes and four races found in the electronic games. Each of the three base classes (Mage, rogue and warrior)  has seven options for prestige classes. These cover most of the prestige classes it does skip some of the options that are more specific to one area. An example is the rift mage.

Backgrounds:

Your race country of origin and status are chosen here. Each choice will alter your character in specific ways. While you can not play as tranquil you can be Human, Elf, Dwarf and Qunari. Along with Noble and commoner Ferelden or Orlesian. There is enough information for the in-depth players without making it complicated for new players. Each background allows you to pick or roll for bonuses to stats or proficences.

Classes:

Mage- The biggest change between this and many other games is the magic system. Your mage starts with three spells chosen by you and uses a mana system. With many of the more powerful ones having the requirement of others forming the ability tree.

Rogue- While you start as the typical rogue with backstab and leather armor you are able to specialize to create a unique character.

Warrior-  Start with training in two weapon groups instead of one. You also start with leather and metal proficiency. 

Magic system: The mage fraternities are described if you wish to have a connection to one. Each gives a little depth to a character while choosing one will not change your stats.

Mages can wear armor with the only drawback being that it will cost more to cast spells. Casting any spell other then the basic spells comes with a chance to create a miscast. This can be as simple as accidentally burning yourself to summoning something that you have no control over.

Spells and abilities: Your progress is along ability tree tiers. Requiring you to work through some to get to abilities that you want to have.

With adventuring you also have a chance to build/create your own organization if you choose. Since even with all the lore available you still have the space and flexibility to add a lot to the world. Much of the history of the world has been shown to be veiled in shadows and uncertainty of fallen civilizations that came before.

The crunch: Dragonage has an extremely simple game mechanic that takes 3D6+ability+focus/tool to perform most tasks from combat and casting to social interactions and item creation.. You roll for your 8 stats or can use point buy. With the simplicity I have to wonder about the replay ability.

-Brian DeForest

Starfinder Armory?!

The long awaited Starfinder Armory released for game stores last week, and it has some pretty awesome additions for your space-faring adventurers. Consisting of only two chapters, this supplemental equipment book has some perfect variants of weaponry and class options for you to chose from.

The first chapter covers all of your equipment needs, new weapons (Including my personal favorite, the Shout Projector), new mods, new armors both mundane and powered, new vehicles, quite a few implants and drugs and other magic items and equipment. Overall, the new weaponry feels balanced and well thought out. The new vehicles add more modes of transport for more exotic planets. The weaponry opens up some interesting ideas for characters involved in ranged combat and includes many varied damage types.

The second chapter covers a variety of class options for each class and the new Augmented class archetype. The class options are interesting to say the least and I feel they require a thorough amount of testing (Or rather, breaking). The Augmented archetype can be placed on what seems to be any class and can turn your character into a really neat cyborg. This chapter is the fun one in my opinion, as it offers a TON of variety that wasn't seen before in Starfinder.

Interestingly, what WASN'T included is almost as important as what was, as starship features weren't included. This leads me to believe that a starship book is in the works and should be coming soon! Stay tuned with us for more updates as we hear them for the Starfinder series.

-Matt Aarons

Pathfinder 2.0 Playtest; My first impressions

The long awaited 2nd edition playtest of Pathfinder is out! So, how is it? At first glance, the books are well made and feel great. The content feels just as well made, an interesting cross between the innovations of Starfinder and the simplicity of D&D 5e. So let's go over it chapter by chapter.

First off; Ancestry. This is where your adventure truly begins, ancestry is the basis of your character. All of the races have their own feats which allow you to make more varied characters than 5e offers, but nowhere near as much content to dig through as Pathfinder 1e. Interestingly, Half-orc and Half-elf are only available by taking human first and then burning your level 1 feat into it. This feels a bit awkward but makes a lot of sense thematically. The inclusion of 5e style backgrounds means that characters can be as widely varied or as specialized as you please, plus they add neat lore options, like Alcohol lore (Looking at you barkeep). Overall, the feeling of a character can be whatever you'd like (as in most RPG systems) but the building process allows you to really flesh out a character at creation. The inclusion of Starfinder's bulk system offers a much needed improvement to carry weight.

Secondly, Classes. Core classes are exactly what you would expect from a Pathfinder setting, including the quintessential classes (Fighter, Monk, Druid, Ranger, Wizard, ETC) and Paizo's favorite; The alchemist. Overall, classes are extremely variable, it would be difficult to make two druids that do exactly the same thing and that can be said of all of the other classes. Each class has a series of Feats that become available at certain levels. These stack on your ancestry feats to make your build as truly terrifying or as hilarious as you'd like. Overall though, each of the classes feels unique and fun, with a huge amount of builds available.

Moving on to the skills. Paizo has really outdone themselves with this system. Gone are the days of crunching numbers to shout an obscene score such as a 110 in a crafting check or a sneak of 108. Instead, skills are played much like they are in 5e, mostly your ability score and proficiency bonus with any associated items tacked on at the end. For the most part, you can attempt any skill untrained, however training adds much to the skill you're trying to attempt. Training comes in the form of the TEML system, which stands for Trained, Expert, Master, and Legendary. This training comes from your class, background, and skill feats.

Which brings us to chapter 5, feats. The chapter 5 feats are all associated with a certain skill and allow you to do more with that skill, however, they require a certain amount of training with the skill. For instance, as a rogue, trained in Thievery, you can take the Pickpocket feat at level one, which does pretty much what is says on the tin. Overall, this adds a huge amount of flexibility to what you can do with your character. Skills become more fun and useful, even in combat, rather than the series of dull checks that were required before.

Chapter 6 goes over equipment and how it works. For the most part, armor, weapons and items work the same, but their weight has been converted over to the Bulk system that Starfinder uses. This makes tracking your carry weight SO MUCH EASIER! Overall, the items system is pretty standard for a fantasy RPG with nothing too ridiculous standing out.

Now comes my personal favorite, Spells. The system for spells in 2.0 seems super intuitive, Most casters max out at 3 spells per day and progress up the spell levels quite a bit faster. A large part of that is the introduction of 10th level spells, spells that were utterly game breaking before fit into this category, things like Wish, Gate, and Time Stop with a few new ones thrown in. The most striking thing in this chapter is the druid's breakaway from Divine spells. They're now considered a "Primal" caster. Personally, I think this is a great move, opening the druid up to a much more varied toolbox, rather than just working off of the cleric list with some extra stuff. Overall, pretty well done.

Advancing to Advancement, this is a very interesting chapter. This is where a lot of the customization of your character comes in. This chapter includes archetypes such as Cavalier and Pirate, as well as multiclassing options and the games first, and so far only, prestige class, Grey Maidens. This chapter is the perfect addition to all of the class options in creating your character how you want it to be played. Overall, some amazing content here, with your options numbering in the thousands at this point.

The rest of the book includes generalized combat rules and a list of loot, a lot of this part i simply didn't have the patience to read and rather skimmed over. The biggest thing in this section is the way combat works from the player side. Every player now gets 3 actions, but attacking multiple times imparts serious penalties. Other than that, Fighters are now the only ones who get attacks of opportunities, which adds a lot to the otherwise fairly dull class.

Overall, the book feels well connected and well thought out. Personally, I can't wait for the full edition to come out.

 

-Matt Aarons