Terrible Emperor’s Atonements

by Jay Godden, edited by Isaac Rolfe and Rob Heinsoo, art by Aaron McConnell

Read the introductory post here.

When the Terrible Emperor was overthrown by the first monks, there were many spoils of war. Wanting to avoid the sort of consolidation of power that this Emperor represented, the monks split up the most potent of these items and distributed them to different monasteries, and even to groups that didn’t get on with the monks. They also deliberately seeded rivalries and mistrust among the remaining monasteries, preventing them from ever wishing to share these relics with each other. A few particularly enlightened monks understand the true agenda, and part of their watchful gaze lays on these items, as well as the current Imperial Regime (their main purpose), making sure that two or more of them don’t land in the lap of the same adventurer. A PC who starts completing the set should be prepared for Oathbound Monks of increasing skill to descend on them. They don’t necessarily wish to defeat you, just for you to relinquish all but one of your Atonements.

Some of these items were wielded by the monks that took part in the final battle, and some were the Terrible Emperor’s own arms and armour. All were imbued with the same resonant magic at the moment of his defeat, bound together by that moment in history. The most powerful dweomer to remain is the Emperor’s Invulnerable Breastplate. This is the last remnant of the magic that the Terrible Emperor used to ward himself and his soldiers against conventional and magical attacks; “no weapon nor spell may harm me”, yet this armour pales in comparison to the mass ritual of the history books.

Set bonus: You may reroll any Icon Relationship dice with the Emperor, Dwarf King, Elf Queen, Lich King, or The Three (if they’re mostly about ruling Drakkenhall in your game), X times whenever you would normally roll icon dice. The first 6 you roll with the Grandmaster of Flowers (if an active Icon) is a 5 instead.


Adventurer Tier

Signet Ring of the Imperial Marshall

Ring Chakra

Ability (Recharge 11+): Roll a d6 at the start of battle and consult the table below, you gain the racial power of this species that was part of the Imperial Army during the Terrible Emperor’s reign. If you select a power you already have, you may use it twice this battle (humans roll 3 d20s for initiative). 

1: Human

2: Dragonborn

3: Half-Elf

4: Half-Orc

5: Holy One

6: Tiefling

Quirk: Always wanting to recruit people to your cause, even those who would obviously be out of their depth.


Red Belt

Belt chakra, +1 recovery

Ability: When you use the bonus recovery from this belt, you gain Resist Fire 16+ until the end of the battle and receive only half of the rolled healing amount now. At the start of each of your turns for the rest of the battle you receive this same amount of healing again, but must make a save at the end of your turn for the effect to continue. Quirk: Always looking for someone to change their opinion about some fundamental belief. The fires of Change lead to Rebirth, which leads to Enlightenment.


Fingerless Gloves of the Meticulous Soldier

Glove chakra

Ability (Unlimited uses as a monk, Daily if not): If the wielder is a monk, and they have used the opening, flow and finishing attacks from the same form in sequence, hitting with the finisher will hamper the target  (save ends). For non-monks, once per day, you may declare you are the Perfect Soldier. If you hit with your next attack this turn, your target is hampered (save ends). Quirk: Has to do everything in the correct order, with complex rituals for everything from going to sleep to making tea to preparing ambushes.


Champion Tier

Grandmaster’s Wedding Band

Ring Chakra

You may elect any PC or NPC that you have met and have a good relationship with (the relationship needn’t be romantic). When they are about to die, you can choose to take the effect of whatever was about to cause their death (if they are about to fail their last death save, you take one failed save; if they took damage to reduce them to below their negative hp threshold, you take that damage; if they die of old age or natural causes, you die of those causes instead).

Ability (Daily): You can call upon your bond with this person to reroll a single d20 that is related to that character or your relationship. Treat this like a minor icon benefit in terms of when it can be applied. Quirk: To best protect those you love, you should grow detached from them and the world.


Sandals of Falling Blossom

Boot chakra, +2 to disengage checks and other fancy footwork

Ability (Recharge 6+): When you get forced to move or receive additional movement, such as being forced to pop free from an enemy, getting an additional move action from a Commander, or being able to pop free thanks to a monk form, you may make a stunt as part of your movement. No skill check is necessary; the magic of the boots ensures your acrobatics are successful. Stunts might be turning a forced pop free into a backflip to engage a new enemy, additional movement may be able to take you directly vertical as you ascend like a wuxia action star on wires. Quirk: Likes to leap straight into danger, running into melee with the biggest monsters, antagonising the Imperial nobles with the largest armies, and jumping across misty chasms with no visible landing.



Crown of Light

Helmet chakra, +3 MD

Ability (Daily, Quick Action): Make an attack vs MD using your highest mental stat against one nearby creature that can see and hear you. On a hit, the target becomes dominated by your will: if they were hostile, you stun them until the end of their next turn; if they were flatfooted (usually “were surprised and haven’t acted yet”, GMs discretion since flatfooted isn’t a 13th Age thing) or have torn allegiances, you confuse them until the end of your next turn. Quirk: People fight amongst themselves constantly. They are their own destruction. If only a strong hand, your hand, could guide them away from infighting and squabbling, into an Age of peace and light under your benevolent rule.


Invulnerable Breastplate

Cursed light or heavy armour, +4 AC

Ability (Recharge 16+, Free Action): For the rest of the battle, you resist 18+ all damage that does not come from natural weapons or unarmed attacks. Attacks that ignore this resistance have their crit range against you expanded by 4 at all times, whether the effect is active or not. Quirk: Paranoid that everyone around you who isn’t armed to the teeth is an assassin.


GM Sidebar: You’re encouraged to allow big epic tier monster claws to bypass the resistance. A dragon’s breath should be close enough to a fireball that the invulnerability works. A dragon’s natural claw though? That should hurt just fine. Edit the details of this verbal loophole to fit your own campaign’s idea of the Terrible Emperor’s invulnerability and the sorts of foes your epic tier PCs will be facing.

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. 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.

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