Note: This post contains spoilers for the Amber Rage adventure for the Dragon Age role-playing game.
A few weeks ago, I started running Amber Rage, an adventure for Dragon Age from the Blood in Ferelden supplement. Three of the players were from my Dungeons & Dragons group and the fourth was a friend of one of those players. We were all pretty new to the Dragon Age system, but no one was new to role-playing games.
We handled character creation through a group session to cover the basics of the game and then emails to finish up the rest of the work. The group ended up having two Avvarian warriors, a city elf rogue, and an apostate elf mage. Character creation was pretty quick and everyone seemed happy with their characters.
The four adventurers helped to fight off the initial attack on the village of Sothmere and then were eager to volunteer to find the shadowmoss for Old Stoyanka. They set off the next morning and dealt with the first few obstacles without too much problem. When they found Josef in the abandoned village of Wichford, they quickly beheaded him in order to prevent him from succumbing to the Amber Rage. They then continued on their way into the Korcari Wilds where they decided to bypass the Chasind village of Dosov in order to avoid any more fights with Chasinds.
When the enchanted crow they were following stopped, they performed the ritual to ritual to attract the fire sprites. Unfortunately, a crab was drawn to the stench of the boiling potion and attempted to eat it before the fire sprites arrived. The heroes managed to hold off the crab and then the group’s mage caused it to explode with one of his spells.
At dawn, the fire sprites arrived and the group followed them to a grotto with a pool of water. The fire sprites appeared to be diving into the water and swimming through an underwater tunnel, so one of the Avvarians swam after them. After a few seconds, he emerged in a cavern and spotted a giant snake coiled in the chamber. He quickly swam back to the grotto and warned his friends. The elves decided to wait outside because neither felt comfortable swimming through the tunnel, but the other Avvarian agreed to swim inside and face the serpent. Together the two warriors confronted the guardian serpent and together they perished.
After a few hours, the elves decided that the humans had failed and they decided to make their way out of the Korcari Wilds rather than risking their lives against the serpent. Unfortunately, they had lost their way and were left to wander around the wilderness. Soon, they were cornered by wolves. Both of the elves attempted to run, but the mage was taken down and eaten while his cousin slipped away into the forest.
The last elf continued to wander in what he hoped was the direction of Sothmere and eventually arrived at an abandoned Chasind village. He decided it was safest to skirt around the edge of town, but was still spotted by a giant blight owl lurking on the rooftops. When the elf tried to hide, the owl swooped in and slashed and pecked the lone elf to death.
Despite the adventure ending with a drawn out TPK, I think everyone had fun playing. One of my regular D&D players said that he likes the system more than D&D simply because it is more lightweight. Combats definitely moved faster and we were able to fit more activities into a single session compared to D&D 4E. On the GM’s side of the screen, I think Dragon Age looks more challenging to plan for because there are fewer tools for determining appropriate challenges for a group of characters.
My Friday night gaming slot is moving to a different game (a session of Land of Og, then Dresden Files), but I’m sure I’ll either play or run Dragon Age again in the not too distant future.