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):
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.
The Archmage (image)
Signature item(s): Hat, robe, spellbook
Related cosplay: Wizard, Sorcerer, Chaos Mage
The Crusader (image)
Signature item(s): Elaborate armor, helmet, shield, sword, thick chain
Related cosplay: Dark Paladin, Cleric of the Dark Gods, Ogre Crusader
The Diabolist (image)
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
The Elf Queen (image)
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)
Signature item(s): Dragon crown, goblet, sword
Related cosplay: Dragon Rider, Gladiator, Half-Orc Legionnaire, Half-Orc Commander
The Great Gold Wyrm (image)
Signature item(s): None
Related cosplay: Paladin with shield and golden armor
The High Druid (image)
Signature item(s): Green hooded cloak with antlers, dagger
Related cosplay: Druid, Ranger, Wild Elf
The Lich King (image)
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)
Signature item(s): Spiked armor, axe
Related cosplay: Orc Berserker, Orc Shaman, Warrior of the Great Fang Cadre
The Priestess (image)
Signature item(s): Headdress, shepherd’s crook
Related cosplay: Cathedral Acolyte, Cleric of the Gods of Light, Monk
The Prince of Shadows (image)
Signature item(s): Hooded cloak, curved dagger, a big stolen gem
Related cosplay: Any type of thief, bard, rogue or swashbuckler
The Three (image)
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