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  • Lore?

    Helo there, this is my first post in these forums.

    I want to say that I always (well since Origins released) loved the Dragon Age world, mostly due to it's complexity and the lore behind it all. I played all the games and even read some of the books and I was thrilled when I got asked to play an RPG about it. I love RPG's even tho' I only ever played DnD and WoD. I do not own the books for Dragon Age mostly because they're out of print and I eagerly wait for the big book I read about that'll summarize them all in one. My friend who GM's this owns them and I borrowed them for a week to read stuff.

    I'm sad to say I'm a bit dissapointed about the lore in the books. They simply state the bare minimum of the world of Thedas which I get it that in the 60ish pages of the books is all they can fit considering they have to also add rules and adventures, but still... Even in World of Thedas Volume: 1 there's not enough. Maybe there's enough to run a game and know the differences between an Orlessian and a Fereldan to roleplay them correctly but the world feels quite empty, considering I have an 83 page fan made book for a city that plays a really small part in the Shackled City adventure path describing everything from city customs to libraries to NPCs. Again, it's a fan made book about a city.

    So I wanted to ask, are there such books for the Dragon Age RPG? I downloaded the Esoterica volumes 1-4 but they're not quite what I wanted. If there are not are there any people interested in this? I know I am, since I'm planning to GM a small campaign in the summer for my friends and right now I'm playing the games again in order to unlock every codex in each of them and see how the NPC's speak or react to things to help me start such a huge task of fleshing out a world. I once did it for the Shackled City and there I only had to flesh out a medium sized city only and it took me a couple of months, not a world. I'll start with Ferelden as it'll be the place that the campaign will probably be at and once I'm done maybe I'll move out to other regions. Do you people want me to post what I make in these forums? (I'd really like that in order to get some feedback as I'm not a master or anything in things concerning Dragon Age and yet, I want to be 100% lore and canon friendly).

    Also if there are any people interested in helping out I could really, really use some help (possible through a shared google drive folder?)

    What are your thoughts on it? Is it worthwhile or completely pointless? Should I post here or not? Anyone willing to participate?

  • #2
    Re: Lore?

    Sounds interesting, and I am in some ways doing this myself for my own campaign presently by adding details as I go on to our Obsidian Portal page allowing for more and more lore to become established. To be honest, that is one of the things that I think draws me in so much to the Dragon Age setting - so much is still left open and up for interpretation which can allow for each GM to craft a unique world under the same general tapestry. Being as we are intending for this to become a long term campaign I expect that over time we will have filled in our own version of Thedas quite well. I presently just worry about the details I know are about to come up due to logical flow or on the spot as my players shine a focus on something.

    Either way I find the idea of the project quite interest, and I would say feel free to post on here about it (I'd be interested in tracking your progress).
    Dragon Age: Requiem

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    • #3
      Re: Lore?

      nice idea

      have you seen these? a great addition as setting background.
      Dragon Age: The World of Thedas Volume I: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brJWdmE0nPI
      Volume II (coming in May)

      Last edited by Galotta; 02-16-2015, 01:09 PM.

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      • #4
        Re: Lore?

        Originally posted by Galotta View Post
        nice idea

        have you seen these? a great addition as setting background.
        Dragon Age: The World of Thedas Volume I: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brJWdmE0nPI
        Volume II (coming in May)

        I have the first one. It works great for thinking of hooks or giving players infor for those who took the lore feat. Eagerly awaiting May.

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        • #5
          Re: Lore?

          Yes, my friend has it. But as I said in the first post that too, has little information. It's a very nice book all in all but not what I'm looking for. It describes a world with information that almost everyone who has played the first game knows already, it doesn't flesh the world.

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          • #6
            Re: Lore?

            There is the partly completed Esoterica Vol 5 - Almanac in which I am trying to add more levels of detail. Hope to have this finished soon. Completed sections can be found by following the link in my Sig.

            Tiger's Heart
            Beware what lies beneath, The Tiger's Heart in the Woman's Hide; The Iron Fist in the Velvet Glove.

            Esoterica from Thedas and other useful items: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/k2o8apfsb...UWPXCFQSa?dl=0

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            • #7
              Re: Lore?

              There are also the graphic novels, and full novels to help fill in lore-gaps.
              The Veil Codex
              Random Weapons and Armor Tables
              Injuries

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              • #8
                Re: Lore?

                Hey there! Been some time that I was playing the games and reading on DA stuff...

                First of all thanks for your suggestions. The Almanac is quite helpfull for fleshing out a city by the way. It gave me lots of ideas and I (impatiently) await for the full release

                As for the novels I knew about those but couldn't find them in any local store so I ended up ordering the first two from amazon. Will be some time tho' before I have them shipped in Greece

                Now I have some question about some problems I have. I decided to start working small, so I started with Redcliffe. With a population of 200 people it's a crash test before I move to a big city like Denerim with 70.000 people or maker forbid Kirkwall which I cannot find any information about it's population but I'd estimate around half a million.
                The first major problem is the maps. From DA:O Redcliffe has 10-15 houses total. There's no way 200 people fit in there and rulling that around 120 people live in the castle is wrong. We could say that around 50 of them or so live in the castle (The Arl family and the people that help with the Arl family's everyday chores) but that leaves me with around 80 homeless peeps (estimating 6 people per house on average). How should I tackle that? Should I add more houses to the map? Same problem goes for every town/city and the bigger it is the bigger the problem.

                Another thing that I have not decided yet is people jobs. Until now in all the villages/towns/cities I created for DnD I used mostly medieval jobs (and approximate distribution of them based on population and the settlement's background). Should I do the same in Dragon Age, or are there some specifics I'm unaware of?

                Once I solve those problems I'll post here everything I create mostly using forums formatting as I'm not very familiar with pdf creation. (also if there are any other fan creations around those lines I'd like to see them to get some ideas. Right now I'm only aware of a 5 page unfinished Denerim attempt).

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                • #9
                  Re: Lore?

                  I'd say that the Redcliffe population is a typo. The text says that it has a population to rival a teyrnir - Highever has a 20K population, and Gwaren has 8K. So I personally would say that Redcliffe has a 2K population. At 200, it's smaller than Lothering. The map discrepancy can be explained because regardless of size, DA:O is a video game with graphical limitations.

                  As to Kirkwall, at one point it allegedly had a million slaves, so I'd say that 500K current is as good a guess as any.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Lore?

                    In 99% of all cases, video game maps are at best only an approximation of what the real thing would look like, both due to manpower shortages, but also because the developers wouldn't want you to spend an hour walking through the town before you get to why you're there. Personally, I'd add both a couple more houses, but also a few farmsteads in the nearby area which would be counted to the town's population. And, of course, to keep in mind that "back then" having a rather large family (about a dozen or so, including additional hired labor) in one of those steads would not be uncommon.

                    As far as jobs go, Ferelden is a rather medieval setting, so I'd say looking to real world history should be a good inspiration. The only thing that's really different is the sanctioned use of magic, but given its relative rarity I would not think that a town as small as Redcliffe has a specialized vendor for it, and instead magical goods would (if at all) only show up as rare items in the inventory of normal merchants. Once you get to Denerim, on the other hand, you might want to add 1-2 shops that act as resellers for enchanted items from the Circle.

                    For countries other than Ferelden, I'd tweak profession distribution slightly according to their respective historical inspiration -- Orlais a bit more like Renaissance France (for example, the Bioware website had a web-based game that took place in a Orlesian town that was almost entirely devoted to glassmaking), and Tevinter toward Imperial Rome (slave markets being the most obvious trait).

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                    • #11
                      Re: Lore?

                      Originally posted by shonuff View Post
                      I'd say that the Redcliffe population is a typo. The text says that it has a population to rival a teyrnir - Highever has a 20K population, and Gwaren has 8K. So I personally would say that Redcliffe has a 2K population. At 200, it's smaller than Lothering. The map discrepancy can be explained because regardless of size, DA:O is a video game with graphical limitations.

                      As to Kirkwall, at one point it allegedly had a million slaves, so I'd say that 500K current is as good a guess as any.
                      Well... About Redcliffe I'd say the part about rivaling a teyrnir would be a typo. In the Regions wiki it clearly states Redcliffe as an Arling instead of a Teyrnir. Plus we know of no Teyrn of Redcliffe three games so far. We only know the Arl. Also the teyrnir or the arling is an area not simply a settlement, the way I understand it it's more like a state comparing it to our world. Granted Redcliffe is the biggest of the settlements in that area but still. Also I believe that the main reason of this comparison is not the population but the status and the usefullness of it, due to its position between Orzammar and Orlais. As it says in the wiki as well "Such favorable conditions caused the domain to be named an arling in spite of its small size." altho' in the previous sentence it states that "Redcliffe is one of the largest and most prosperous towns in Ferelden". Now if it really could compare to a teyrnir based on it's population alone it'd be bigger than Denerim considering Denerim is an arling as well...

                      I do believe tho' that 200 people are a bit on the low side to be honest, but also in Origins it is clearly smaller than Lothering. And of course you're right about the engine capabillities and why they couldn't make the cities larger to be accurate.

                      But still... Do I dare expand the maps, while trying to keep it canon friendly? Or what?

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                      • #12
                        Re: Lore?

                        If it's one of the largest settlements, then 200 places it below Denerim, Amaranthine, Highever, Gwaren, Lothering, and probably several more. If it is one of the most important settlements, it will have a larger population, too. The transience of the caravans would create more permament employment. It is not a teyrnir, but that is an almost superficial separation - a teryn is just a powerful Arl in reality.

                        And yes, the maps should be expanded. Video games are representations, and not real. If you go just by the video games, Redcliffe only has about three dozen citizens - 2/3 of which are guards and only two children (about the only children in Ferelden).

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                        • #13
                          Re: Lore?

                          My sentiment on most of the maps is this - they are only giving you a portion of the area to explore. We do not see all of Denerim, only specific areas. Same with Amaranthine City in Awakening (we can see on the map that other areas exist on both, in different ways of course). So, I agree that you should be comfortable expanding on most of the maps. Lothering is actually probably one of the closest areas we have that we may be seeing almost all of it (save for the lords manner, which is likely displaced from the village some). The trick, really, is to balance the provided lore of the world with the visual representations we are provided since we lack the facet of perspective when approach most of what we see (do we really know the exact scale that Bioware is using in any of the games - not really).

                          The other thing to consider is the viability of the settlement. If you go by what you see in the games only, most settlements would collapse and fail within a year or two. They lack many needed facilities to keep the location functional. This means there is a lot we are not being shown, logically. I think a 2K population in Redcliffe would probably be reasonable based on the descriptions of the location from lore (large for the fact that it is a village technically and not a city like Denerim, but fitting because of the strategic location it rests in and the lore supporting it being an area that can compare to the likes of Highever and Gwaren which is likely just a population based comparison).
                          Dragon Age: Requiem

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                          • #14
                            Re: Lore?

                            Going by medieval demographics, at a population of 200, there is a 1% chance that Redcliffe would have a blacksmith and an inn - 13% for a blacksmith and 10% for an inn. That chance would be raised slightly because of the remoteness of other population centers and it being on a trade route. But even then, it stands to reason that those services need supporting.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Lore?

                              In fairness, that could also be the disconnect between fantasy tropes and reality. Most services and demographics are poorly represented in fantasy literature. The idea of the mixed Inn/Tavern is one that immediately jumps to my mind every time in these discussions as history does not have very many examples of these at all (normally they were different locations entirely). Even the layout and function of the Inn itself is normally misrepresented to reality.

                              With that all said though, I admit I still tend toward shonuff's method of logic here, and still use real world as a basis of comparison even with those issues being in place. Either way you go about it though, the point remains that you should be more than happy to modify what the CRPGs represent to us, either viewing them as a scale model or that there is area you are not being shown that you can just tack on and include what you need in there.
                              Dragon Age: Requiem

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