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Why Are You In This Party? Musings on various character types

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  • Why Are You In This Party? Musings on various character types

    I have been thinking about how you get certain types of characters together as a party. Obviously working for a group such as the Grey Wardens or the Inquisition can allow for a varied group, but some others are tougher. Take for example the typical group of freelance adventurers/tomb raiders/treasure hunters. In D&D they meet in a tavern and away they go; in Dragon Age it isn't that simple.

    ELVES: The general prejudice against elves in Thedas makes it interesting to have one in the party. As in the real world, not all humans hate elves. An elf can be a valued friend for a human who grew up with them. Most humans hate elves out of ignorant prejudice, but with the right ties, a city elf can fit. Dalish elves are more difficult; gaining the trust and friendship of a properly played Dalish could be a campaign in itself! However, if the group has a goal that aligns with the Dalish Elf's goals (say, a group whose focus is recovering lost historical lore not for profit per se but for the knowledge to be gained), it can work.

    DWARVES: In general, these can fit very well, but if the campaign is set on the surface, any such dwarves are considered casteless by dwarves of Orzammar. Not really an issue if you never plan to go there. In my game, I assume anyone who takes the Surface Dwarf background was probably born on the surface, and anyone who takes one of the other backgrounds is a more recent exile.

    CIRCLE MAGES: This one gets tricky for me. In most cases a Circle Mage just can't take off and go adventuring whenever they feel like it; they are locked up in the Circles. Very influential people such as powerful arls, kings, empresses etc. can sometimes get a mage-advisor pried loose from the Circle but I am betting Templars keep a close eye on such people. It requires a very good justification to have a Circle Mage in a party.

    APOSTATES: They can go where they please and do what they like...but they always have to look over their shoulder to see if the Templars are coming. The interesting issue to me is the ramifications for the rest of the party. The penalties for harboring an apostate can be severe, even more so if that apostate is a user of Blood Magic. And it really is not practical for the apostate to hide their abilities from the rest of the party.

    TEMPLARS: I think you'd have to be like Alistair; a Templar who left the order before getting addicted to lyrium. Templars also would not have the freedom to just go off and adventure. Templar abilities can be learned outside the order, through books or instruction by other ex-Templars, but it should be tough to find them. Interesting question: are the Templar abilities given in the rules assuming the use of lyrium, or would the Templars who use lyrium be even more powerful?

    Allen

  • #2
    Re: Why Are You In This Party? Musings on various character types

    Originally posted by Allensh View Post
    I have been thinking about how you get certain types of characters together as a party. Obviously working for a group such as the Grey Wardens or the Inquisition can allow for a varied group, but some others are tougher. Take for example the typical group of freelance adventurers/tomb raiders/treasure hunters. In D&D they meet in a tavern and away they go; in Dragon Age it isn't that simple.

    ELVES: The general prejudice against elves in Thedas makes it interesting to have one in the party. As in the real world, not all humans hate elves. An elf can be a valued friend for a human who grew up with them. Most humans hate elves out of ignorant prejudice, but with the right ties, a city elf can fit. Dalish elves are more difficult; gaining the trust and friendship of a properly played Dalish could be a campaign in itself! However, if the group has a goal that aligns with the Dalish Elf's goals (say, a group whose focus is recovering lost historical lore not for profit per se but for the knowledge to be gained), it can work.

    DWARVES: In general, these can fit very well, but if the campaign is set on the surface, any such dwarves are considered casteless by dwarves of Orzammar. Not really an issue if you never plan to go there. In my game, I assume anyone who takes the Surface Dwarf background was probably born on the surface, and anyone who takes one of the other backgrounds is a more recent exile.

    CIRCLE MAGES: This one gets tricky for me. In most cases a Circle Mage just can't take off and go adventuring whenever they feel like it; they are locked up in the Circles. Very influential people such as powerful arls, kings, empresses etc. can sometimes get a mage-advisor pried loose from the Circle but I am betting Templars keep a close eye on such people. It requires a very good justification to have a Circle Mage in a party.

    APOSTATES: They can go where they please and do what they like...but they always have to look over their shoulder to see if the Templars are coming. The interesting issue to me is the ramifications for the rest of the party. The penalties for harboring an apostate can be severe, even more so if that apostate is a user of Blood Magic. And it really is not practical for the apostate to hide their abilities from the rest of the party.

    TEMPLARS: I think you'd have to be like Alistair; a Templar who left the order before getting addicted to lyrium. Templars also would not have the freedom to just go off and adventure. Templar abilities can be learned outside the order, through books or instruction by other ex-Templars, but it should be tough to find them. Interesting question: are the Templar abilities given in the rules assuming the use of lyrium, or would the Templars who use lyrium be even more powerful?

    Allen
    Any circle mage can leave with permission from the First Enchanter. Mages in Orlais even often live outside the tower, most of them working for various nobles. There are tons of ways for it to work.

    The rest of them have the sort-of "Don't be a dick" thing going for them. So long as you don't act outside the social contract of the party (although there is some space for give for characters to bounce off one another), you'll probably be fine.

    I mean, think about the party makeup in the games. Jesus, they couldn't be more disparate and often hate one another (see: Aveline vs Isabella over the course of three acts, they start to love one another), but they have one motivating purpose.
    Last edited by OzMills; 11-28-2014, 06:14 AM.

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    • #3
      Re: Why Are You In This Party? Musings on various character types

      Originally posted by OzMills View Post

      I mean, think about the party makeup in the games. Jesus, they couldn't be more disparate and often hate one another (see: Aveline vs Isabella over the course of three acts, they start to love one another), but they have one motivating purpose.
      Well, in Origins and Awakening, they're also held together by a overriding purpose; in 2, its apparent more about what you can only call the cult of personality around Hawke.

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      • #4
        Re: Why Are You In This Party? Musings on various character types

        The problem with circle mage and templar can to some extent cancel each other out. All you need is some Circle Business and there you go - you have both a reason for traveling circle mage AND for travelling Templar - since said mage is not all-that-trusted yet, it would make sense for Knight Commander to give said mage a nanny
        Also, templar specialization could brobably be taught by some castaway without ever being a Templar candidate himself. Also, an actual ex-Templar that actually IS addicted to Lyrium but DOES NOT work for the order anymore makes for quite a bit of drama and gives some urgency - he really needs his dose...

        As for dalish elf, introducing him into party could actually be quite easy. A lone Dalish can mean someone who left the clan or was even driven out for some reason. He can't really settle anywhere, he needs some company and he is probably a competent hunter and warrior - Dalish who are not won't live too long. Basically, such an outcast is pretty much a natural-born adventurer, much like outcast qunari are. And adventurers do mostly operate outside bounds of normal society, it's perfectly normal for them to be more accepting. You don't care that much for shape of ears of someone that keeps your ass in one piece.

        City elf could be, perhaps, more tricky - but it makes sense that he did something... that he really shouldn't. Had to run away and so it happened that he found adventuring companions rather than bandit group to join.

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