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  • atheran
    started a topic Lore?

    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?

  • eliastion
    replied
    Re: Lore?

    Originally posted by Tiger's Heart View Post
    Should this be reference to Redcliffe rather than Lothering as I can't recall a castle there.
    Yes, sorry, I meant Redcliffe, my fingers just wrote something else on their own

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  • Red Eye
    replied
    Re: Lore?

    Well, essentially it is a couple of things. I think when most people think of an Inn in fantasy RPG they get a picture of enjoying a few tankards of mead in the main room, catching the local gossip from the broad collection of patrons also enjoying some brew, and then off to their private chamber where they sleep on a lumpy mattress. Now, as I said, that image isn't wholly fiction but it is also a bit misleading since almost every Inn featured in an RPG is done this way.

    Using Medieval England as an example, inns were typically where you could rent a bed (more likely space in a bed), and these typically did have halls for eating and drinking. The thing is they were not public places, and innkeepers would generally serve only to their guests (thus nixing most of the local rumors affair that normally happens here, more accurate to depict tales from elsewhere). You would likely find a single room with several beds as opposed to private accommodations (though DA does a good job mentioning this at least), and these would normally fit up to three grown people. It was only at the more upscale establishments that you'd find chambers with just a bed or two, normally at a hefty cost for that privacy. There were separate establishments for locals to go drinking (again, much like today): taverns were typically for wine and alehouses for ale. Of these establishments alehouses were the rowdier as one could likely expect.

    But ale and cider were often home made; one in the household may well be skilled in brewing (a common skill to have in this era actually). Due to this a tavern in a smaller English settlement was often someone's home. When a neighbor opened a fresh batch of ale the community might go to their house, pay a few pennies, and sit and drink with their fellow villagers moving to another house later. This would have been very common in the smaller settlements rather than seeing a dedicated tavern, which is something that I don't see come up often in RPGs or literature. There are other fairly common options for accommodations as well in a similar vein. Travelers could normally expect the hospitality of individuals of equal or lesser social standing, enjoying their food and beds in exchange for tales from the road and a tip. For instance, if one were fortunate enough to stay with a 14-century merchant, the accommodations were normally much nicer than any inn. Alternately one might actually go to a hospital, in that era these were not just for healing, but also for hospitality.

    Now, I do agree (and stated previously) that the likely source of this is for the sake of simplicity. Less locations, less details, less to manage when designing a story, game, or running a campaign. Anywho, I hope all that better addresses what I was getting at for you. As it stands these small discrepancies can throw off some of the demographic details and cause skews in those numbers when translating from reality to RPG or vice versa. As such, it was more directed at the percentage of probabilities that shonuff had provided about establishments appearing in a particular population since these discrepancies will directly modify those types of numbers. It was also more a passing comment than anything, since again it doesn't weigh that heavy on the main point of the thread either, and I still agree with the points shonuff is making.

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  • atheran
    replied
    Re: Lore?

    Originally posted by Tiger's Heart View Post
    Should this be reference to Redcliffe rather than Lothering as I can't recall a castle there.
    Probably

    Originally posted by Tiger's Heart View Post
    In DA:I, Redcliffe has quite a large number of people inside the walls (which didn't really exist in DA:O) and this obviously doesn't represent all the population - there are a number of fishing boats etc too.

    Tiger's Heart
    I'll need to replay DA:I then I remember nothing about it and having two reference points instead of one is always better.


    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.
    Besides the obvious that tavern is a place to eat/drink and inn is a place to sleep (like a medieval motel) am I missing something here? Because in several occasions in medieval history one building could serve both functions. Unless we go really strict with the definitions and have several types of such buildings such as, "tavern" should be restricted to upper-class establishments that serve wine. "Alehouse" to the common establishments, and "inn" possibly used for any place for lodging but not limited to that only because if we really want to add class differences there would be several different kinds of inns as well depending on the district. I believe in fantasy medieval world building most writters end up using inn to cover all of them for simplicity.

    Another question is... Does the 1 million population in Ferelden count the Chasind and the Avvar population? That doesn't seem to be the case so considering that the Capital and possibly the most populated area has 70.000 population. With the city of Amaranthine at around the same number of population (if not more) considering it was the capital some 30 years ago (and guessing it was the highest populated city under the Orlesian rule and people only recently started moving to Denerim). By some really dirty math I'd say 150.000 population in those two cities and that leaves us with 850.000 people for the rest of Ferelden. Which is good considering medieval demographics if not on the low side. London for example had around 15.000 population as a capital while England had 1-3 million population in around the 12th century.

    That means that the majority of a country's population live in farms outside the cities which to some point explains why we might have small settlements with big population as all those agrarian people that may have never went to nearest city still counted towards the population of that settlement so a city like Denerim for example might have a population of 70.000 while it has 20.000 people that actually LIVE in the city. And especially a settlement with the geographical position of Redcliffe should have a small number of traders (taking advantage of the imperial highway and trade with Orzammar or Orlais) but the majority would still be working on farms around the settlement which might explain to some degree the difference between the population of Redcliffe and the lack of houses (no I'm not saying 10-15 houses are enough, but that with say 2.000 population in Redcliffe and around a hundred of them living in the castle, around a hundred houses would be enough with 1400ish people working in farms (having their houses at the farms as well) and one inn or tavern (probably inn or both inn and tavern in the same building as there has to be a place for traders to stay) should be enough).

    I'll add more soon but need to take care of something first. Also I know I'm talking about general Fereldan demographics for the most part but I believe it's something we need to set as a base before we start working on specific areas of the country. Also we need to take the general geography in mind to see the population distribution in the country some time soon (I'll try to make a fancy photoshop map for this )
    Last edited by atheran; 02-24-2015, 03:13 AM.

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  • Tiger's Heart
    replied
    Re: Lore?

    Originally posted by eliastion View Post
    Also Lothering is a village/town that supports a castle, supposedly one of the more important castles, really. Going by its outside looks (and before we even consider that it might be "scale down" too) it is a respectable fortress. 200 people seems more like the standard crew + inhabitants + servants in the castle alone...
    Should this be reference to Redcliffe rather than Lothering as I can't recall a castle there.

    In DA:I, Redcliffe has quite a large number of people inside the walls (which didn't really exist in DA:O) and this obviously doesn't represent all the population - there are a number of fishing boats etc too.

    Tiger's Heart

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  • eliastion
    replied
    Re: Lore?

    Also Lothering is a village/town that supports a castle, supposedly one of the more important castles, really. Going by its outside looks (and before we even consider that it might be "scale down" too) it is a respectable fortress. 200 people seems more like the standard crew + inhabitants + servants in the castle alone...

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  • Red Eye
    replied
    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.

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  • shonuff
    replied
    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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  • Red Eye
    replied
    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).

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  • shonuff
    replied
    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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  • atheran
    replied
    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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  • Lynata
    replied
    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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  • shonuff
    replied
    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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  • atheran
    replied
    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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  • Wired_Wolf
    replied
    Re: Lore?

    There are also the graphic novels, and full novels to help fill in lore-gaps.

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