Children of the Icons cover“I’m the child of an icon.” This One Unique Thing taps into one of fantasy’s most powerful archetypes — and generates a huge amount of player investment in the campaign. Here, players will find inspiration and advice on how this deep connection can play out at the table. For GMs, Gareth presents four possible “children of the icons” campaigns along with two tough monsters that show how iconic parentage can be used to create interesting NPCs.

Children of the Icons is the fourth installment of the 13th Age Monthly subscription. It will be available to buy in the webstore in May. When you subscribe to 13th Age Monthly, you will get all issues of the subscription to date.

 

Stock #: PEL13AM05 Author: Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan
Artist: Rich Longmore Type: PDF

13AgeLogoFull_small-300x300The Complete 13th Age RPG Starter Kit at More Than 25% Off

Get the ENnie award-winning 13th Age roleplaying game, 13th Age Bestiary, 13 True Ways, AND ALSO the 13th Age Soundtrack — all at more than 25% off what you’d pay if you bought these titles individually. Go to the Pelgrane Online Store and look for 13th Age Bundle under the 13th Age heading.

What hast thou in thy bundle, friend owlbear?

13th Age features everything you need to play the d20-rolling fantasy game, with core classes (barbarian, bard, cleric, fighter, paladin, ranger, rogue, sorcerer, wizard); rules for icon relationships, One Unique Things and backgrounds; mechanics and guidance for building fast, exciting battles; new and classic monsters, plus DIY monster rules; gear and magic items; and lots of advice for hacking and customizing the rules to fit your needs.

13 True Ways is the first supplement for 13th Age, with more character classes (chaos mage, commander, druid, monk and necromancer); more monsters and magic items; more details about the Dragon Empire; and a brimstone-scented* chapter on devils by Robin D. Laws.

The 13th Age Bestiary brings new takes on familiar monsters, plus GM guidance for building battles with multiple creatures, the hierarchy of liches, a playable fungaloid race, odd trivia**, and much more.

The 13th Age Soundtrack features themes for each icon and locations in the Dragon Empire, battle music that gets more dramatic as the Escalation Die climbs, and evocative background music for chases, rests and remembrance.

Buy Now

* Not literally brimstone-scented. Please don’t contact customer service because your PDF doesn’t smell like rotten eggs. (If your PDF does smell like rotten eggs, contact your doctor.)

** Bugbears are funny. Sure, they’re also psychopathically cruel and may hammer your skull after stealing the loot you were both supposed to share, but they’ll probably say something funny in the process and prop your unconscious body in an inappropriate and hilarious position.

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13th Age combines the best parts of traditional d20-rolling fantasy gaming with new story-focused rules, designed so you can run the kind of game you most want to play with your group. Created by Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet, 13th Age gives you all the tools you need to make unique characters who are immediately embedded in the setting in important ways; quickly prepare adventures based on the PCs’ backgrounds and goals; create your own monsters; fight exciting battles; and focus on what’s always been cool and fun about fantasy adventure gaming. Purchase 13th Age in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

Dungeons of DrakkenhallTales of the 13th Age is our free organized play program for the 13th Age roleplaying game. Each month’s adventure is designed so that GMs can customize it for their own group, but players can easily bring their characters to other Tales of the 13th Age events. Register here and embark on a world-spanning epic campaign across the Dragon Empire!

A classic dungeon crawl, 13th Age style! Any journey to Drakkenhall, the city of monsters, would be eventful enough. But when disaster strikes, you have an opportunity to infiltrate the personal vault of the Blue and steal her secrets. You’ll have to face cunning traps, horrific monsters and dragonic mother of all sorcery herself. Can you survive the Dungeons of Drakkenhall?

Dungeons of Drakkenhall is an 8-hour organized play adventure for 3-7 8th level characters, designed to be played in four weekly 2-hour sessions. It is the 12th icon-themed adventure in the Tales of the 13th Age series and comes with a free, full-size downloadable 22″ x 25.5″ poster-sized dungeon map.

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13th Age combines the best parts of traditional d20-rolling fantasy gaming with new story-focused rules, designed so you can run the kind of game you most want to play with your group. Created by Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet, 13th Age gives you all the tools you need to make unique characters who are immediately embedded in the setting in important ways; quickly prepare adventures based on the PCs’ backgrounds and goals; create your own monsters; fight exciting battles; and focus on what’s always been cool and fun about fantasy adventure gaming. Purchase 13th Age in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

ROB_tileMy Playtest Feedback Process

by Rob Heinsoo

I’m just about to start going through playtest feedback for 13th Age in Glorantha. I thought readers of this blog might be interested in how I process playtest feedback for 13th Age books.
Sometimes I read playtest feedback right away. But usually I wait and read as much of it as possible in a single big batch. Glorantha’s first playtest is going to take the big batch approach.

In either case, I take the good ideas I like out of it, or notes that seem to be identifying major problems, and write them down in my own words in single sentence summaries, sometimes noted as to whose feedback they came from. I keep these notebook pages of possible playtest changes going through the entire process. (I write small so I can fit a lot on a two page spread!)

When I’m ready to implement the changes, I start by reading the whole list of possible changes. After crossing off notes that have proven incorrect, I start in and work through the notebook pages list, crossing notes off as I deal with them or decide they aren’t actually problems. How do I decide when comments aren’t problems? A few ways, but mostly through uncovering that the rest of the feedback supports a feature a couple people found problematic, or discovering that the original comments were in fact inaccurate, or by creating new design elements that sidestep the issue, or by weighing the evidence and judging that what bothered the tester is a feature instead of a bug!

Sometimes I’ll get playtest advice that’s so good, accurate, and important that I want to make changes immediately. That happens most often during playtest feedback on classes, when something sparks that can fix a lingering problem or create a wonderful new dynamic.

In most cases, it’s better to wait a few days or weeks longer and make changes in one thoughtful extended pass, because even small changes can require multiple revisions scattered throughout the document. Revising the same sections multiple times because of repeated changes is not only maddening, it also seems to increase the risk of me screwing up a change that should have rippled out to multiple pages of the book.

I suspect that other designers handle playtest feedback differently. But I admit that I’m not sure. I haven’t asked many other designers how they handle the playtest revision process with RPGs.

Here’s a picture of what a typical page of playtest process looks like in my notebooks. These were notes from last year on Robin’s The Strangling Sea.

Yes, I’m still writing in notebooks. When I’m rolling with design work I’m usually just typing into a computer, but when I’m noodling ideas or writing notes about things I want to think about before acting on, I use a pen.

 

 

And while I’m taking photos, here’s the pile of all the notebooks I’ve used for 13th Age design. They’re all from my friend Sara’s company, MakeMyNotebook.com, I love the weight of the paper and their spiral-bound durability as well as the fun covers. I’ve used one full book already for 13th Age in Glorantha (blue robot) and it looks like I’ll use up at least another half (black fish).

(This was previously posted on Rob’s personal blog, robheinsoo.blogspot.com)

Candles Clay and Dancing Shoes coverYour PC has gold to burn? Spend it on something that could make everyone’s lives more interesting—especially the GM! Here are six new useful, bizarre, and effective one-use magic items, festooned with multiple adventure hooks and campaign variants. Is that dwarf wearing a featherlight skirt beneath his kilt? If you fire an exorcist missile at a dybbuk at twilight, which one of you screams first? What happens to your spell list if you drink too much gnomish tinto wine (secret ingredient: grave dust)? Answers to these and 75 other magic-item related questions, yours for one low monthly price!

Candles, Clay & Dancing Shoes is the third installment of the 13th Age Monthly subscription. It will be available to buy in the webstore in April. When you subscribe to 13th Age Monthly, you will get all issues of the subscription to date.

Stock #: PEL13AM04 Author: ASH LAW
Artist: Joshua Calloway Pages: 8pg PDF

Punch - King of Puppets, frontispieceTraditionally in the West, Friday the 13th is a day of calamity: plans go awry, every advantage is met with a disadvantage, and any act can have unintended consequences.

In that spirit, here are three cursed magic items for the 13th Age roleplaying game:

Mr. Punch’s Hat (+2 armor at adventurer tier): Once per day when you drop an enemy to 0 hp with an attack using a melee weapon, you can shriek, “That’s the way to do it!” in a grating, high-pitched voice to gain a +2 bonus to your next attack with that weapon this battle. If you do, you take a –2 penalty to MD until the end of the battle. Quirk: Violence is always the answer.

Wand of Misrule (+2 implement at adventurer tier): You take a –1 penalty to skill checks based on Wisdom. When you score a critical hit while using this implement, the target is confused (save ends). If the natural attack roll is 1–5, a random nearby ally takes 1d6 psychic damage. Quirk: Speaks in riddles.

Staff of Misrule (+3 implement at champion tier): You take a –2 penalty to skill checks based on Wisdom. When you score a critical hit while using this implement, the target takes 1d6 psychic damage and is confused (save ends), and you can make a second attack against a nearby or far away enemy. If you roll a natural 1–5 on the second attack, you take 1d6 psychic damage and are confused (save ends). Quirk: Has contempt for authority.

 

13th Age answers the question, “What if Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet, lead designers of the 3rd and 4th editions of the World’s Oldest RPG, had free rein to make the d20-rolling game they most wanted to play?” Create truly unique characters with rich backgrounds, prepare adventures in minutes, easily build your own custom monsters, and enjoy fast, freewheeling battles full of unexpected twists. Purchase 13th Age in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

OPTales of the 13th Age is our free organized play program for the 13th Age roleplaying game. Each month’s adventure is designed so that GMs can customize it for their own group, but players can easily bring their characters to other Tales of the 13th Age events. Register here and embark on a world-spanning epic campaign across the Dragon Empire!

For centuries, the Mystic Orrery has accurately predicted celestial events and their effect on magic. But its predictions are becoming increasingly erratic, and it turns out that an Archmage of a previous age removed some parts and hid them away from her successors. Now the whole Dragon Empire is at risk as the rules of magic begin to fluctuate. Powerful wards keep the Archmage himself from retrieving the needed parts — but those wards don’t account for people like you.

The Archmage’s Orrery is an 8-hour organized play adventure for 3-7 8th level characters, designed to be played in four weekly 2-hour sessions. It is the 11th icon-themed adventure in the Tales of the 13th Age series.

13th Age answers the question, “What if Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet, lead designers of the 3rd and 4th editions of the World’s Oldest RPG, had free rein to make the d20-rolling game they most wanted to play?” Create truly unique characters with rich backgrounds, prepare adventures in minutes, easily build your own custom monsters, and enjoy fast, freewheeling battles full of unexpected twists. Purchase 13th Age in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

Friday the 13th Age LogoEvery Friday the 13th, fans want to know what we’re doing to celebrate 13th Age. Because let’s face it: every Friday the 13th should be 13th Age Day.

So now it’s official. Starting this Friday the 13th — and on every Friday the 13th after — we’re going to try and TAKE OVER THE WORLD. We want to fill Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and blogs with 13th Age, so that people ask, “What’s this incredibly cool game that I’ve never heard of, but everyone’s suddenly talking about?”

To participate in Friday the 13th Age, just post something cool and useful for the game online with the hashtag #FridayThe13thAge. (Feel free to use the image on the right.) For example:

  • Link to a monster, magic item, icon, setting, homebrew class, house rule or play aid that you or someone else in the community created.
  • Share helpful 13th Age GM tips,.
  • Tell people about your favorite 13th Age product, whether it’s by Pelgrane Press or a third party publisher who’s creating great 13th Age material.
  • Link to a 13th Age podcast or YouTube channel that deserves more attention.
  • Play 13th Age and post a pic; or play online via Google Hangout or Roll20.
  • One Unique Things!
  • OWLBEARS

Friday the 13th Age Deals

To celebrate this Friday the 13th Age, we’re launching the 13th Age Soundtrack and 13th Age Monthly on DriveThruRPG. We also plan to make Shadows of Eldolan 13% off all day Friday on DTRPG and on our webstore.

 

 

13th Age - Death Of ThroneWhen you’re adventuring in the 13th Age, things sometimes get…out of hand. Maybe you stumbled into (or instigated) a violent uprising against the local authorities. Or maybe, thanks to that ritual you performed at the heart of a living dungeon, you accidentally brought about the end of the age — and massive armies dedicated to opposing icons now fight to determine who will rule the age to come.

Mechanics for mass battles in an RPG should help determine:

  1. The outcome of the major conflict
  2. How the events in that conflict affect the PCs

In the megadungeon adventure Eyes of the Stone Thief, the PCs might become involved in mass combat. For that particular scenario, the focus is exclusively on the PCs and how the chaos around them helps or hinders their fight against their enemies. So the mass combat mechanics Gareth devised for that scene are more like terrain effects than they are rules for running a wargame-within-a-game (such as the free mass combat rules recently provided for Dungeons & Dragons).

Gareth and Rob Heinsoo are collaborating on full rules for 13th Age mass combat, to be published in 13th Age Monthly. In the meantime, here are the PC-focused mass combat rules from Eyes of the Stone Thief:

PC-Focused Mass Combat Rules for 13th Age

These mechanics are useful when you want to run mass combat like a battle in a Shakespeare play: the focus is on the fight between the PCs and their enemies. The larger conflict takes place offstage, and is only relevant to the extent that it helps or hinders the characters.

Don’t bother with tracking the hit points of the various combatants, except the ones the PCs are actually fighting. Just describe the carnage as the various sides battle it out, while the PCs take on the toughest part of the enemy forces.

Allied and enemy forces are represented with d6s. At the start of battle, give each side a number of d6s from one to three depending on the strength of each fighting force (call them “Ally Dice” and “Enemy Dice”). A gaggle of ill-equipped peasants might warrant one die; a small to medium-size force of trained fighters give two dice, and a huge force of well-motivated soldiers are worth three dice.

NOTE: In Eyes of the Stone Thief, the number of Enemy Dice is determined by a mechanic called the Alert Level which tracks how aware the monsters are of the threat posed by the dungeon-crawling PCs. It’s quite cool, but it’s a mechanic specific to situations where the PCs are lurking about in a dungeon, so we’re not going to worry about Alert Level here.

Each round, roll the dice for each side.

For every 6 in the result, that side does something that affects the PCs’ fight. If the 6 is a result of the Ally Dice roll, it’s a help; if it’s a result of the Enemy Dice roll, it’s a hindrance.

For every result of 5, that side does something that affects the PCs’ fight, but at a negative cost to themselves.

Possible effects include:

Help Hindrances
An ally chucks a spear into an enemy that one of the PCs is engaged with. The enemy takes 3d8 damage. An enemy takes a pot-shot at a PC—it’s a +10 attack vs. AC for 4d8 damage.
The cheering of your allies invigorates a PC; that PC can heal using a recovery. Add a bunch of enemy mooks to the fight as reinforcements.
The enemy forces fall back; increase the escalation die by 1. The enemy forces hold firm; the escalation die doesn’t increase this round.
Your allies push forward; remove one Enemy Dice. The enemy forces push forward; remove one Ally Dice.

 

Let cool PC stunts and killing big foes remove Enemy Dice. Removing all Enemy or Ally Dice doesn’t mean there aren’t any enemies or allies left, just that they’re not going to affect the PCs’ fight for the rest of the battle.

Example 1: The PCs have freed some gladiators who were enslaved by orcs, and are trying to fight their way out. The GM gives the players two Ally Dice to roll, and puts down two Enemy Dice on her side of the table. She picks different colored dice, because one is for the orcs and the others are for monsters that broke out of the gladiatorial arena.

The battle starts, and all the dice get rolled. On round 2, one of the Ally Dice comes up with a 6. The GM asks the players to describe how one of their allies helps out, and a player decides that one of the gladiators — infamous for fighting dirty — jumps into the fray and gouges out the eyes of an orc warrior. That orc is now hampered.

Later that round, a PC pulls off a difficult stunt that kills every mook in the PCs’ battle with a single hit. The GM removes an Enemy Die as some of the smarter orcs in the larger battle witness this act, and decide to quietly flee while they still can.

Example 2: While the armies of the Dwarf King clash with an invading army of dark elves, the PCs face off against the dark elf general and her personal guard of elite sorcerer-knights. Because both sides have shown up in full strength and ready for war, the GM gives the players three Ally Dice to roll and puts down three Enemy Dice on her side of the table. 

On round 4, one of the Ally Dice comes up with a 5, and two of of the Enemy Dice come up with 6s. The GM asks the players to describe how one of their allies helps out in a way that costs them somehow. A player decides that one of the Dwarf King’s paladin commanders stops to heal a badly-wounded PC, but is killed doing so. Suddenly a cheer goes up from the dark elves as a powerful demon joins the battle, incinerating scores of dwarves with a wave of its hand. This, on top of the loss of the paladin, is too much for the dwarves and they fall back. The GM reduces the escalation die by 1 and the players can only roll 2 Ally Dice next round.

13th Age answers the question, “What if Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet, lead designers of the 3rd and 4th editions of the World’s Oldest RPG, had free rein to make the d20-rolling game they most wanted to play?” Create truly unique characters with rich backgrounds, prepare adventures in minutes, easily build your own custom monsters, and enjoy fast, freewheeling battles full of unexpected twists. Purchase 13th Age in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

Unintentional High Druid cosplay at Gen Con 2014

Unintentional High Druid cosplay at Gen Con 2014

Organized play isn’t just about adventures and swag: there’s also cosplay! Here are some tips on cosplaying characters in 13th Age.

Connect With The Icons

Every 13th Age player character has a relationship (positive, negative or conflicted) with one to three icons. These are the 13 most powerful and influential non-player characters in the game’s default setting of the Dragon Empire, and embody familiar fantasy tropes such as the Archmage, the Lich King, the Elf Queen, and so on. You can easily cosplay as one of the icons using artwork from the book as a reference, and the tips below as a guide. You can also cosplay as someone with a relationship to one or more icons.

How? Each icon has a unique symbol (click the image to enlarge):

13th_age_icons_by_dlimedia

You can download the symbols as Adobe Illustrator 8 files thanks to David Flor.

If you look closely at the 13th Age illustrations by Lee Moyer and Aaron McConnell, you’ll find the symbol for an icon in each one, indicating that the icon’s influence is present somehow. You can modify an icon’s clothing to a great degree and still be recognizable as that icon if you carry the appropriate props (see below) and display that symbol somewhere on the costume.

Likewise, if you incorporate these symbols into an original costume, you embed that character in the world of 13th Age. Someone familiar with the game can tell at a glance whether you’re playing someone who’s allied with the Dwarf King, Elf Queen, Lich King, Orc Lord, and so on.

Your Elf Queen is The One True Elf Queen

13th Age gives GMs and players tremendous freedom to adapt and reinterpret the game’s default setting, and that extends to cosplay as well. Want to genderswap the icons to create the Lich Queen, or Elf King? Want your Crusader to be a beacon of light and hope instead of the ruthless Fist of the Dark Gods? Go for it! The icons are yours to play with. You can even play icons from ages past or future, such as the Wizard King, the Fool and the monastic Grandmaster of Flowers.

This flexibility also means that you don’t need a lot of costuming skill or a big budget to represent an icon. A great idea and enthusiasm trumps budget and execution. In an upcoming article we’ll show you some ways you can do 13th Age cosplay on a shoestring.

13th Age Cosplay Props, Color Swatches and Ideas

Here’s a list of the 13th Age icons with the items that make them recognizable. I’ve also included some ideas for icon-related costumes you can make, some drawn from the 13th Age core book and some from the 13th Age Bestiary.

 

Download Color Swatches and RGB Values for the 13 Icons (.ZIP)

 

The Archmage (image)

Archmage-cosplay-swatch

Signature item(s): Hat, robe, spellbook

Related cosplay: Wizard, Sorcerer, Chaos Mage

 

The Crusader (image)

Crusader-cosplay-swatch

Signature item(s): Elaborate armor, helmet, shield, sword, thick chain

Related cosplay: Dark Paladin, Cleric of the Dark Gods, Ogre Crusader

 

The Diabolist (image)

DIabolist-cosplay-swatch

Signature item(s): Horns, bat wings, occult tattoos

Related cosplay: Cultist, Demon, Evil Wizard, Demonic Ogre

 

The Dwarf King (image)

Signature item(s): Crown, hammer

Related cosplay: Any dwarf or forgeborn construct

DwarfKing-cosplay-swatch

 

The Elf Queen (image)

ElfQueen-cosplay-swatch

Signature item(s): Triple-star jewelry, and a butterfly, moth or dragonfly

Related cosplay: Drow Darkbolt, Drow Spider-Mage, Drow Soldier, Drow Sword Maiden, Drow Spider-Sorceress, High Elf, Wood Elf, Redcap

 

The Emperor (image)

Emperor-cosplay-swatch

Signature item(s): Dragon crown, goblet, sword

Related cosplay: Dragon Rider, Gladiator, Half-Orc Legionnaire, Half-Orc Commander

 

The Great Gold Wyrm (image)

GreatGoldWyrm-cosplay-swatch

Signature item(s): None

Related cosplay: Paladin with shield and golden armor

 

The High Druid (image)

HighDruid-cosplay-swatch

Signature item(s): Green hooded cloak with antlers, dagger

Related cosplay: Druid, Ranger, Wild Elf

 

The Lich King (image)

LichKing-cosplay-swatch

Signature item(s): Crown, glowing red right eye, gloved right hand

Related cosplay: Blackamber Skeletal Legionnaire, Lich Baron/Baroness, Lich Count/Countess, Lich Prince/Princess, Necromancer

 

The Orc Lord (image)

OrcLord-cosplay-swatch

Signature item(s): Spiked armor, axe

Related cosplay: Orc Berserker, Orc Shaman, Warrior of the Great Fang Cadre

 

The Priestess (image)

Priestess-cosplay-swatch

Signature item(s): Headdress, shepherd’s crook

Related cosplay: Cathedral Acolyte, Cleric of the Gods of Light, Monk

 

The Prince of Shadows (image)

PrinceOfShadows-cosplay-swatch

Signature item(s): Hooded cloak, curved dagger, a big stolen gem

Related cosplay: Any type of thief, bard, rogue or swashbuckler

 

The Three (image)

Three-cosplay-swatch

Signature item(s): None

Related cosplay: Sorcerer of the Blue, Assassin of the Black, the Blue in human form, the Black in human form, any dragonic race

 

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