Another day, another fantastic review for 13th Age – in this case, coming from Extrakun over on RPG.net, who rated it a 5 (Excellent!) for both Style and Substance. Describing it as a “lean and mean medium crunch game which is a blast to play”, Extrakun goes on to explain that:
“I have been looking for my ideal fantasy RPG for a long while and usually ended up disappointed because of some aspects coming up short. 13th Age ended my search – the ways the game deals with combat, magic items, adventuring and character development are just exactly what I wanted.”
“I review 13th Age as a d20 game with an emphasis on story, medium crunch character development and combat, and ease of play. By those criterion, I will say 13th Age has succeeded admirably.”
This just in from the printers. The book blocks are printing now, but they are going on a three-week break, and the books will be bound in early July to hit our delivery times.
Craig Landers, who has taken this product under his Texan wing, tells us that their presses run at 12,000 sheets per hour when going full blast, and the folder runs at about 4-5 thousand sheets per hour. The colour looks excellent.
Christian is very close to being finished with the layout for Hillfolk, and it’s really capturing the feel of the game. We’ve also had a picture from the printers of one of the bags for the Hillfolk tokens. Here are some initial mock-ups of how the books, the cards and the bag will look.
Jack Vance, master-story teller, is dead. He died aged 96, with a huge body of work and a wide but subtle influence as part of his legacy.
In his eponymous story, Mazirian the Magician encompasses spells, forcing them with great effort into his cerebellum then releasing them at moments of narrative convenience. They are gone from his memory as if they never were, like a military-grade hard-drive scrub. Amongst the majority of the fantasy roleplaying community, that is how he is best remembered – via Gary Gygax, as the Vancean spell system. But I’m not knocking Gygax; it was his lengthy bibliography in the Dungeon Master’s Guide which lead me to Vance in the first place. Vecna is Vance, and while Vance was bemused by roleplaying games, he returned the favour with his character Lord Gygax (though perhaps it helped that Gygax is a properly Vancean name).
Vance’s stories are the opposite of Mazirians’s spells. They encompass you, they creep out unexpectedly – when ordering fish off-menu, conversing with a cold caller, or picking out a telling detail for a story. A friend has even snuck some of his choice phrases into Hansard. Vance is no moralist, but it is clear from his writing that he is fascinated by human foibles and the richness of culture: art, music, food and dance. Once his tales have captured you, it’s hard not to view the world through Vance-tinted cusps: not rose exactly, more a novel hue brought into being by his subtle view of the world. He offers cruelty, humour, the great sweep of history; the mighty brought down, and yet with time to pause at a plant and describe vermillion petals and heady scent.
In 2001, I was inspired with Sasha Bilton and Mark Fulford to approach Vance’s agent, a fox-faced vagabond if ever there was one, to acquire a license for the Dying Earth Tales. I shared (and now share again) an office with James Wallis, then of Hogshead Publishing, and it was through him that I contacted Robin Laws and set off on the path to becoming a publisher. We paid over the odds for the license, I know now, but I also know that Jack Vance benefitted, so it was a pleasant lesson. I spoke to Jack Vance, who chuckled gently when he recounted the exploits of Cugel and encouraged us to leave things open, not to pin everything down with numbers and definitions. Without Vance, who knows where I would be. Perhaps I have neglected Vance a little in the headiness of the new, but Vance always subtly reminds you of his presence; and the Gaean Reach will get the push it thoroughly deserves.
Here I am in Spain, looking over a white-washed adobe wall, pale-headed eagles soaring above, surrounded by extravagant viridian blooms, scarlet bottle brush and tiny five-pointed jasmine. In the distance, a dry path winds up through olive scrub, then over a hill and out of sight. Now I raise a glass of Golden Porphirion, sup and spill a little in remembrance of a modest man and a great writer.
Erik Kain recently gave 13th Age an excellent review on Forbes.com, saying:
“…one of the best systems I’ve encountered—and I’ve either played or read the rules to countless d20 systems at this point—is 13th Age, a game cobbled together by Jonathan Tweet and Rob Heinsoo.”
He then goes on to say:
“13th Age is … fun, fast, and accessible and encourages imagination from players and GM alike. It bakes some very cool new ideas into the d20 ecosystem while keeping all the major pieces intact. Of the many systems I’ve read recently, it’s one of the best. The demo adventure I was able to play was a lot of fun, from character creation to combat, and left me excited to play more (which is a good sign.)
And since it’s part of the OGL it’s simple to use it for everything from 3rd Edition to Pathfinder. In many ways, it’s exactly the progressive design that I think a lot of D&D fans were hoping for when 4th Edition came out and that fans are now hoping for with 5th Edition.”
You can read Erik’s full review here, and you can watch the interview he does with Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet about 13th Age below.