Secrets of the Truthcallers

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

Read the introductory post here.

In the much anticipated Second Edition of 13th Age we can expect to see a few changes to magic items. For the 13th and final article in this series, we explore a magic item set designed to emphasise some of the newest features of 13th Age loot, and get you started collecting a set in the new edition!

Compatibility: Magic items from the first edition will remain completely compatible with second edition, the underlying maths and assumptions are going to remain the same, with just a few tweaks to bring some less exciting chakras up to the level of typical weapons and armour type items, and a change to quirks.

RH: Quips more often that quirks. Some of the magic items presented in 2E still have quirks, and if there are quirks that are great fun to play with, keep ‘em! But 2E items often have quips, words or phrases you’re meant to yell, chant, sing, or mutter as you activate the item’s power. Different items have different personalities, so if the quip doesn’t suit your sense of the item, adjust your epithet! 

The Truthcallers: It’s common knowledge that The Priestess is the mouthpiece of all of the Gods of Light, but the specific whispers and revelations she is actually privy to are more closely guarded information. Some of the secrets revealed to her by the Gods are the powerful words that were used in the creation of the world. Each creature, rock, lake, city; they all have a True Name. If you know the True Name of something then you have some power over it. Demonologists have known this for Ages, and many grimoires of the true names of fiends have been brutally fought over across time. 

The Priestess knows that this information falling into the wrong hands would be devastating, and so she has begun to weave the information into magic items, such that only heroes aligned with her interests are able to attune to the items and begin to learn some True Names. Groups of these people have come to be known as Truthcallers.

Set Bonus: Unlike most other sets, each PC can only attune to one item from this set at a time. In this case, X is the number of items attuned to by the party as a whole. When a PC attunes to an item from this set, their True Name is revealed to them (make sure you pick something you like!) and to show their faith, this True Name must be revealed to one ally in your party. Once per level, that ally can give you a +X bonus to any dice roll, after seeing the result. You’re not allowed to prompt the ally to give you this bonus, it has to come from them! The Quip to activate this power is uttering the True Name of the target, reminding them of their innate uniqueness and heroism.

Adventurer Tier:

Gloves of the Glyph (Daily)

Glove, Gauntlets Slot: +2 on Str, Con and Dex skill checks using your hands, such as climbing or prying a door open (champion: +4; epic: +6)

These gloves reveal the True Names of buildings they touch to you, but only as symbols written in the primordial script of creation, not as sounds. They were created to halt the spread of Vampires throughout Santa Cora, giving rise to the myth that they must be invited through a threshold. Once per day you can cast the wizard cantrip Knock and take 20 on any associated skill check, or cast the Wizard utility spell Hold Portal at your level or lower, using +6 instead of your intelligence modifier. “Open sesame” “You shall not pass!”


Organ Girdle (Daily)

Belt, Swordbelt, Kilt, Skirt, Girdle, Sash Slot: Add +1/level to the healing you gain when you roll a recovery (champion: +2/level: epic: +3/level)

Using the True Name for the organs in your body you can avert the most mortal of injuries. When an enemy hits you with a critical hit, you can take half of the damage of the attack and deal the same amount of damage back to the enemy. “Not the face!” *Weak whistle of a lung deflating* “Liver shot!” *Speak the True Name of an organ*


Champion Tier

Parchment Shield (Recharge 11+

Shield Chakra: Increase your maximum hit points: by +1/level (adventurer), +2/level (champion), +3/level (epic)

This plain wooden shield is adorned with hundreds, if not thousands, of scraps of parchment, each bearing the true name of a creature in the world. When an enemy moves past you to engage an enemy, you can trigger the magic of the shield and have that enemy spot their True Name fluttering on your shield. When they do so they immediately redirect their movement to engage you instead, as if you had intercepted them. “Over here” “Look, you are already here” *meaningful eye contact and a tilt of the shield*


Seismic Staff (Daily/Desperate) (This is a daily power, but it recharges the first time you fail a death saving throw or spend your last recovery each day)

Staff Slot

Default bonus: Attack and damage with arcane or divine spell or attack: +2 champion; +3 epic.

As a quick action, you can invoke the True Name of the piece of land you are standing upon, causing it to quake and crack. Each nearby ally and enemy must make a save. Enemies that fail the save become stuck (save ends)  and take 2d8 damage (epic: 5d8). Allies that fail the save must choose to be stuck until the end of their turn or take the damage. “Sunder” *Ancient words that sound like cracking rock and creaking oaks*


Epic Tier

Book of Names (Daily/Desperate) (This is a daily power, but it recharges the first time you fail a death saving throw or spend your last recovery each day)

This unique glowing tome contains the True Names of most creatures that have ever been or will be, though its alien design makes it incredibly difficult to reference. As a standard action you can find and speak aloud the True Name of one nearby creature with 400hp or fewer, finding the word for a version of that creatures destiny that is fantastically heroic or doomed to defeat. Enemies whose doomed names are spoken are stunned until the end of their next turn. Allies whose heroic destiny’s True Names are spoken can heal using a recovery and roll an 11+ recharge roll for a number of expended limited use powers equal to the escalation dice. “Rise ____” “Cower ____”


Compatibility: All of these magic items will be compatible with first edition, just use the old default bonus for the shield, gloves, and girdle, and add in some quirks related to Truth, The Priestess, and Forbidden Secrets if you don’t like the Quips. Maybe reduce the potency of the staff too. Inversely, to convert any of the previous sets to second edition sets, change the default bonuses of any shields, belts, gloves to those seen above, make any staffs about twice as powerful or able to be used twice as frequently to account for the doubled cost, and consider adding the Desperate recharge for any Daily items that could save your behind in a pinch, then replace any Quirks you’re uninspired by with Quips your table will enjoy hearing as the items are activated.

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