Category Archives: General

13th Sage: How to Create an Adventure Using a PC’s Background

In the 13th Age Facebook group, a new GM asked for good examples of PC backgrounds. I offered some, but couldn’t help also giving advice on what makes a good background. (It’s one of my favorite mechanics in the game.) I said that a good background doesn’t just outline your character’s backstory in three or […]

Call of Chicago: Liam Tobin, Spymaster

“Tall, gaunt, cynical, with tragic eyes … like a man who had seen the inside of hell.” — description of Liam Tobin by IRA mole David Neligan Michael Collins, the George Washington of Ireland, picked a 23-year-old man named Liam Tobin to be his spymaster. If I were related to George Washington’s spymaster, I’d never […]

13th Sage: Behind the Scenes of Crown of Axis, Part Two

In part one I described how Crown of Axis began with an invitation to write the next big introductory adventure for 13th Age, and my idea to set it in the Emperor’s city of Axis. I just had to convince Rob Heinsoo this was a good idea! First, I read everything ever written about Axis in […]

13th Age: The Register of Capricious Constellations

by Julian Kay As penned by Viriel Pyrolea, formerly an esteemed seer of Lightwood, recently appointed as Imperial Astrologer. His appointment is rumored to be penance service for promoting piracy along the Spray. The capricious register consists of constellations held as neither strictly opposed to Imperial fortunes, nor loyal. Use in Imperial heraldry isn’t unknown, […]

Ability Lists as an Improv Checklist

When running a most improvised scenario (either something as ambitious as the Dracula Dossier or just riffing off a paragraph or two of notes), One Useful Trick is to have a copy of the investigative ability list for your game to hand, and check off abilities as you call for them or the players use […]

Call of Chicago: Paperback Writer

“Colonel Buchan’s novel Greenmantle has more than a flavor of truth …” — T.E. Lawrence, to Robert Graves In Britain, the first rank of spy novelists has long included writers from the ranks of actual intelligence agencies: John Buchan (British Army Intelligence Corps), Somerset Maugham (MI6), Graham Greene (MI6), Dennis Wheatley (London Controlling Section of […]

Treacherous Treasure

By Julian Kay In the early days of our hobby, before players learned to yearn for lofty quests, adventurers’ motivation was simple: treasure was what we needed. Using wealth to draw enemies towards a trap is a standard real-world and literary trope, but early fantasy games went a step further, turning the wealth into a […]

See Page XX – December 2007

The following articles originally appeared on an earlier iteration of See Page XX in December 2007.  In this issue, Robin D Laws discusses three ways you can resolve interpersonal conflicts in the GUMSHOE system. Interpersonal conflicts also feature in Mystic Moo’s Yuletide pantomime, and Simon Carryer reminds us of the fun of festive travel with […]

The Dying Earth Random Quote Generator

In the early 2000s, DyingEarth.com featured a Jack Vance Random Quote Generator. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to figure out how to incorporate a random generator into WordPress without adding new plugins – so, in lieu of that, here’s a random table of 68 Jack Vance quotes for you to play with at your leisure. […]

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