Recently, I had a conversation with a fellow Dragon Age RPG player on Twitter and the topic turned to the Midgard project by Open Design and how much was still being done there to create a new campaign world compatible with the Dragon Age game. For those that don’t know, Midgard is the largest Open Design project to date, and it will bring a fully fleshed campaign world to life building on Open Design’s past success with the City of Zobeck and its associated gazetteers and adventures. One thing few people realize is that while the book is being developed to be compatible for the Pathfinder Role Playing game, a detailed appendix in the back of the book will give Dragon Age players and game masters everything they need to move their games from Bioware’s world of Thedas to Midgard.
Readers of Dragon Age Oracle got a chance to see what was happening with the Midgard world early on with an excellent interview on the site with Wolfgang Baur, the mastermind behind Open Design. In talking about the development of the world on Twitter, though, I realized that there’s not a lot of updated information out there about where the project is at in its design process and what’s left to be done for Dragon Age compatibility, i.e. why should a Dragon Age player get involved in the project at this late stage of development? Well, there’s lots of reasons, read on to find out more:
Here’s what you need to know about the Midgard project.
First off, I should tell you that it’s about 40 percent complete. The first region, The Seven Cities, has entirely gone through the editing process and should be available to patrons soon. The second region, the Western Wastes, is wrapping up now, though a couple new forums just opened up this week to hammer out the final details of the region. So that area is still very much active. There’s still three or more major regions to go, including the Eastern Steppes, the Dragon Empire of the far east and the ancient elven nation of the Arbonesse and the Domains of the Princes. (The design on that last section is being led by Jeff Grubb). So there’s still lots to do if you want to get involved.
If you’ve never been a part of an Open Design project, it’s pretty fantastic. The lead designers create much of the bedrock of the world, but then ask patrons to pitch in by coming up with details such as the rulers of the seven cities, new towns or adventure locales, new adventure ideas, or new criminal societies and creatures. Those pitches all get placed in polls and all the patrons vote for their favorites, which then become part of the final design.
When creating pieces of the book, the lead designer will sometimes start a discussion, and then patrons hash out what they would like to see happen on the forums. Patrons bounce ideas off each other and tweak and modify each other’s pitches to make them really shine. Then, either a senior patron or lead designer takes all that feedback and distills it into a concrete entry for the book. It’s a fun, creative process, and the collaborative nature leads to the development of the best ideas presented.
As far as Dragon Age, Wolfgang, who also serves as editor-in-chief of Kobold Quarterly, has made a definite commitment to be the leader in third party Dragon Age support. Kobold Quarterly #13 was the first place to carry an article by Chris Pramas on alternative Dragon Age backgrounds that could be used to play the Dragon Age system with Green Ronin’s Freeport setting. And there have been Dragon Age support articles in almost every Kobold Quarterly since, including an excellent recent article by Jeff Tidball about using the ridiculously fun Stunt system from Dragon Age in other game systems.
In terms of the Midgard project, patrons already have developed about six or seven new AGE system backgrounds unique to the setting, and Wolfgang has committed to creating a total of between 16-20 to appear in the world book. Still left to be created are new spells, specializations, magic items and honorifics, all of which need to be crafted to be setting-specific. So there’s still lots to do to get the Midgard AGE appendix ready to roll.
As I’ve said on Twitter, Wolfgang already has commissioned one Midgard AGE-system bestiary book, which should be available later this summer. There’s already talk of a second one if the first is a hit, and if so would require a lot of work.
He’s also put out a call for Midgard Dragon Age backgrounds and adventures to be published both in the magazine and on the Kobold Quarterly blog. And there will be web-only Dragon Age material that coincides with the release of new books and articles such as the bestiary.
So, like I said, a lot to do, and when it’s done it will be a complete fantasy world with enough information included in the main book to be completely compatible with the Dragon Age game and AGE system. That means we can finally move our games out of Thedas, and if the recent past is any indication we’ll continue to receive great support for our games from Kobold Quarterly and Open design.
Feel free to post any questions, but there’s a little background on Midgard. Hope it helps push anyone sitting on the fence about getting involved over the edge into full patronage.
Oh, one last bit of advice: There’s been so much created for the world already that the patron forums can be a little overwhelming if you should be coming in new for the first time. My advice is to first read through only the most recent, active threads (which you can tell by the time stamps of posts) and dive right in with the discussion taking place NOW. Don’t feel like you have to know the whole backstory to get involved making suggestions and letting your voice be heard. Once you get a feel for how things work, go ahead and read through some of the older, less active material to get a sense of how we got to where we are today.
To get involved with the Midgard project, click here.