Implements of Artifice

by Jay Godden, edited by Isaac Rolfe and Rob Heinsoo, art by Rich Longmore

Read the introductory post here.

In a previous age, a predecessor of the Dwarf King, known as the Princess of Cogs and Wheels (see Book of Ages!), had a deep and productive alliance with the Archmage of the time, He Who is Blessed of The Heavens. The serious magical advances made during this era included permanent teleportation circles, the school of magical thought known as Thaumaturgy that sees arcane and divine magic as different expressions of exactly the same phenomena, and the invention of Crystal Golems. Perhaps the most significant result of this synergy was an order of mages, made up mostly of dwarves, forgeborn, and gnomes, who blende mechanical marvels from Forge with the flourishing wizardry of Horizon. 

These scholars of reality invented contraptions, advanced the art of magic item creation leaps and bounds in a few generations, and mastered the creation of mobile constructs as companions and assistants. During their time, they were known as the Order of Blessed Cogs, and drew from many echelons of society. Many of them were blacksmiths, some traditional mages, and others began their study as priests. In ages when the Princess of Cogs and Wheels is a character in histories and legends, what remains of the order is usually referred to as The Artificers.

It was extremely challenging to become an Artificer, requiring years of study and advanced understanding of a wide range of skills and topics. Following the death of the Princess of Cogs and Wheels, the order’s numbers began to decline. Soon, there were only a handful of true Masters left, desperately trying to hold onto their craft and teach the next generation. It didn’t take long for most of the equipment, technology, and magic items that the artificers relied on to do their work to fall into disrepair, with no-one skilled enough to maintain them properly. In the 13th Age, artificers have all but died out, and it takes a genius with supernatural intuition to retread the steps of their forebears. Working from half-broken prototypes or faded schematics, several would-be geniuses have made some progress, relearned forgotten secrets, or revitalised an ancient relic, but none have achieved the heights of the Order of Blessed Cogs. Where standard scholarly work no longer suffices, more direct means of accessing artifacts might. The would-be Artificers often become adventurers, delving into ancient ruins and exploring the widest reaches of the Dragon Empire in search of artefacts and lore. Those that are lucky may find some of the items described below.

Set bonus: You create a small construct that can help you with tasks and in combat. It gains a number of features from the Wizard’s Familiar equal to X.

[[RH note: In a couple spots, I’ve added alternatives related to the current 2E playtest rules. In this set, it’s just the default bonus for belts and a couple quips that might be fun instead of quirks.]]


Adventurer Tier:

Belt Full of Mechanisms

Belt chakra, +1 recovery; [[current 2E: Add +1/level to the healing you gain when you roll a recovery.]]

Ability (Quick Action): This bulky leather belt is full of pockets and pocket dimensions filled with all manner of gadgets, tools, and trinkets. You can spend a recovery to pull out the perfect non-magical tool or material for a job as a quick action. This allows you to roll twice for the next relevant skill check and choose the result you prefer. Quirk: Like to hum tunes absentmindedly as you work. [[Quip: “I know it’s in here . . .” ]]


Scroll of Enchantments

Book chakra

Ability (Recharge 6+, Quick Action): You can enchant a nearby item worn by you or an ally with the effect of your choice from a rune of your tier. The effect lasts until the end of the battle. Quirk: Constantly swapping in and out items of equipment and tinkering with your gear.


Champion Tier:

Endless Fusillade

Light or heavy crossbow, +2 to hit and damage with ranged attacks

Ability (Passive): While attuned to this crossbow, you gain the Rapid Reload feat for free if you do not already have it. Use the highest out of your Dexterity and Intelligence modifier to determine to-hit and damage with this crossbow. 

Once per battle, after hitting an enemy with an attack, you can reload this crossbow and fire it again at the same enemy as a free action. Quirk: Makes “kerr-CHUNK, vvrRp vrp vrP, tsk TSK phffff” noises while shooting with their crossbow as if playing pretend, even though it’s loud enough by itself really.


Spell-Storing Ring

Ring chakra

Ability (Daily, only usable outside of combat): Your or an ally can cast any spell they have prepared into this ring, and mark it off as used according to its normal usage frequency. At any point in the future, even after full heal-ups, you can discharge the spell from the ring as a Quick Action, regardless of its normal action All other elements of the spell, casting range, number of targets, remain the same. Doing so expends the spell and another must be cast into the ring for it to be used again. If an attack roll needs to be made, use the highest of your Dexterity or the casting stat of the original spellcaster. Quirk: Think of your companions as projects to be worked on, with lots of annoying personality and complexity in the way of their fundamental workings. [[Quip: “As I planned.” ]]


Epic Tier:

Plates of Absorption

Armour Chakra, +3 AC

Ability (Recharge 11+, Free Action): After you are hit by an attack that deals fire, lightning, force, acid, cold, holy, or negative damage, activate this item as to take half damage from the attack. The next attack that you make will deal the same damage type instead of its normal type, and its damage dice increases by one size. Quirk: Takes on pieces of the personality of people you recently read about. [[Quip: Laugh but in a strange voice related to the energy you’re absorbing.]]

Player Sidebar: See this quirk as an improvisation challenge to invent historical or fictional people that your character has been reading about in downtime, and to add some new mannerisms to your character.

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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