homebrew system for Dragon Age
Tossing this out there for the gaming geeks to play with: I think you could run a Dragon Age tabletop using the Pathfinder system.
(I know there’s a DA-specific system out there. I haven’t heard very good things about it, and particularly object to the way each book only covers five levels, requiring you to buy four books to have a “complete” game. True, Scion did something similar — but they also did a remarkably good job of putting other worthwhile content in all of their books. Very few companies pull that off.)
I figure that, at its core, you make warriors into fighters, rogues into . . . uh, rogues, and mages into sorcerers. A spells-per-day system is rather different from the mana-based system of the video game, but on the other hand, the video game is wall-to-wall combat, which a tabletop game wouldn’t be. (And this opens up the potential for mages to have spells useful for any purpose other than nuking people. Seriously, one of the great flaws in DA worldbuilding is that as near as I can tell, mages are only good at killing and destruction — there’s no peacetime use for their magic, with the lone exception of healing, that would allow them to be anything other than a threat to society. And how often do you see them out in public, healing people?)
The nice thing about Pathfinder is its (relative) adaptability: if somebody wants to play a Dalish hunter, say, they could play a skirmisher — a ranger without the spellcasting abilities. You can customize the differences between a Dalish Keeper and a Circle mage by using the sorcerer mechanics, but letting them pick from different spell lists (like druid and cleric), and also by picking different bloodlines. You can toss in some Traits to vary things a bit more, too. And then specializations you model with prestige classes: borrow the barbarian rage mechanic for berserkers, maybe some paladin mechanics for templars, cook up something for blood mages, and so on.
You’d have to tack on a few additional rules, like something to handle demonic possession or action in the Fade. But I think this would strike a decent balance between accuracy and simplicity: it comes vaguely close to the feel of the actual game (with level-based advancement, feats as talent equivalents, etc), while not requiring vast amounts of untested modding to make work. (I originally thought of modding it a lot further — replace Charisma, Intelligence, and Wisdom with Magic, Cunning, and Willpower; make d20-style mechanics for the talents in the game — but that rapidly became a nightmare of effort.)
I haven’t played Pathfinder very much yet, though, so I don’t know if there are improvements or problems I ought to think about. Any thoughts from the peanut gallery?