Paint and Song

by Rob Heinsoo

Tonight’s the night for our Teachers of the Court 13th Age campaign.

We just turned 4th level and it’s my job to choose monsters-worth-playtesting for tonight’s action.

The campaign is named after the cover story the PCs adopted to put off agents of this campaign’s infernal Archmage: “We’re not weird adventurers, we’re Teachers sent by the Court of Stars to help teach the children of Yellowrock learn how to read music, and elvish, and . . .um. . . swing a battleaxe.”

Last week, celebrating the day the Second Edition Kickstarter launched, our heroes ended up fighting inside a painting we were attempting to use as a teleportation bolthole, escaping from the Archmage’s fiend factory, which has just bumped itself up a tier and was gonna kill us.

It was my character’s fault we were in a painting, since Esh’s unique is that she stepped out of a painting created once by the Priestess and again by the Elf Queen. The GM modeled the oddity of fighting as 2D creatures by placing our minis in a single line. That’s the conga line of doom pictured below.

It was a close-run thing, with two of us dropping all the way to four Skulls, one more Skull and we’d be dead. Luckily the troll stopped succeeding with its regeneration save just about the time our bard realized that casting color spray inside a painting might be more effective than usual! We lucked out in what was going to be the last round of combat, one way or another, and lived to tumble out of an old man’s harbor watercolor on the Santa Cora docks.

About those Songs: The wonderful bard illustration above is by Josh Calloway, with final painting and lighting from Lee Moyer. The illustration captures something that’s important about the bard in this edition: they don’t have to play their instruments during combat. Thanks to bardic magic the instruments play themselves!

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