I’ve been asked at panels, on social media and in person about the effect of D&D 5th Edition on 13th Age.  The concern is that 5e will negatively affect 13thD&D Age sales is also averred to in this excellent review of the 13th Age Bestiary over at Geek Native. Won’t the new version of 5th Edition have an impact on your sales? My answer is, I sincerely hope so.

When D&D 5e came out, I held my breath. How good would it be? Would it upset people? Would it divide the market?  D&D has to be vanilla. I mean that in the best possible way – it has to appeal to as wide a range of people as possible.  It was an extraordinarily difficult brief, but Mike Mearls and his team did it. It’s a great game, and there is no noticeable division amongst players of previous versions.

Thank goodness.

sD&D is the pioneer, with the sales muscle of a big corporation behind it; it’s the category brand, the market leader, the gateway drug. If D&D succeeds, RPGs succeed. (I’m putting aside the special case of Pathfinder for this article, owlchubwhich I might discuss another time). As the co-founder of ProFantasy Software, I am keenly aware that sales of Campaign Cartographer 3 depend on the size of the roleplaying game market – really – the number of tabletop gamers. And we are all D&D players, from the Forge to the OSR. There may well be some churn between different RPGs, but nothing that affects us. The only table-top RPG non-roleplayers can name is D&D.

But this leaves room, more than room, for the distinctive quirkiness of 13th Age and other similar games in the category. D&D can’t speak in the voice of the individual designers, push ideas to the edge of too far, or even irritate reviewers with informal language. But there is room for games which do.  I do like the idea that 13th Age is, in some way, a serious competitor to D&D. Hah – we are a pimple on the buttock of their enormous sales! The theory assumes we are talking about a static market, and that 5e is taking share from other RPGs – absolutely not.

What a succesful D&D 5e does is increase the number of gamers.

13th Age appeals to a certain percentage of gamers.We hope that it will continue to appeal to a growing percentage of gamers. However, with D&D 5e a big success and the market getting larger – we don’t have to appeal to a growing percentage gamers.  Tiny companies can’t do much to increate market size. Market leaders can. If we appeal to the same percentage of gamers, we will still be selling an increasing number of copies. As it happens, we are doing both.

So in answer to the premise D&D versus 13th Age, who wins?

Gamers win.


We found the shark man washed up on the shore, north of the spot where the Old Wall reaches the sea. The others, eager as always to declare themselves free from the constraints of mercy, would not aid him. I gave him a share of my meager catch and went hungry myself. He ate sparingly; a few hours later he rallied enough to speak. Cursed as I am to question and chronicle, I asked him of life beneath the waves. These are the words, as I marked them down.

“Though I thank you for the food, you should know that I am dreaming now. This waterless surface world, though you might believe it to be real, is but a place we go in nightmares, when the waters grow turbid and sleep eludes us.”

Surely this could not be true, I told him. The might of our 13 icons surely intrudes below the waves, undeniably affecting the lives of air- and water-breathers alike. Yet deny it the shark-man did:

“Your supposed icons are but strange reflections of the 13 true icons, who rule the lightless depths,” he said.

“First among them is the Shark Mother, queen and progenitor of my people, who keeps the waves safe for our hunting and slakes our ceaseless hunger.

“Our greatest enemy is the Lizard King, potentate of the accursed reptile men, who dare to compete with us for cruelty.

“Others, like the Colony, neither oppose our aims or force us to oppose them. The Colony rises from the ocean floor, a vast complex of colorful spires, always building and creating.

“The Vent sends lava and dust into the seas from its deepest trench. She keeps the demons from draining the waters of life-giving air.

“Her daughter, the restless Crab, scours the world for stray demons, yet eats many others in her compulsive quest to clean it all.

“Opposing her is the Shell-Borer and its many drilling minions, who pierce through shells and armor and seek to split the Vent for good.

“The Mermaid rules the sunken cities of men who once breathed air, but now swim with the tails of fishes. Her people fear us, though they are not so good to eat as they assume.

“Kelp Woman protects the vegetation, and the things that are neither plant nor animal. This is good, for without her bounty, the things we eat could not maintain their numbers.

“The Phantom imposes a semblance of order on the revenants of sunken sailors. Some of you dreamlings call him Davy Jones, though I don’t know why.

“Many-Arms waits for us to falter, so that his formless servitors may take our hunting grounds. We fear only the largest of them.

“The Collector fills a palace with the messages from the distant gods, imprinted on the surfaces and mottles of shells. In them he reads omens, from which his ever-changing doctrines grow.

“Sharpjaw aids the weak and darting creatures. Beneath his japes and jests lies deadly intent. Feel the currents and sense his presence.

“Of Leviathan I will not speak. To name him is to summon him, and his wrath is a mountain.”

My companions, who fate had rendered impecunious, chose to take the shark man inland in hopes of selling him to an Imperial official. A few days into the journey his skin dried out, and he piteously died.

Because I breathe air and not water, I have never managed to confirm the truth or fancy of his account. Yet chronicle I must.


13th Age answers the question, “What if Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet, lead designers of the 3rd and 4th editions of the World’s Oldest RPG, had free rein to make the d20-rolling game they most wanted to play?” Create truly unique characters with rich backgrounds, prepare adventures in minutes, easily build your own custom monsters, and enjoy fast, freewheeling battles full of unexpected twists. Purchase 13th Age in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

The Eyes of the Stone Thief, like the eponymous beast, is a monster. It’s on a par with the Ennie-Award winning Trial of Cthulhu campaign, Eternal Lies, and may well be the largest book we’ve ever published. I was intending for it to be monochrome, as Eternal Lies is, but then I saw the beautiful maps, and the idea of full colour grew on me. By this stage, the art, all monochrome, was pretty much in.

 the_grove_04

So I broached the subject, gingerly, with my colleagues.

I want colour, I said. Surely the artists could just colour the pictures in? You know, get the crayons out and stay within lines? My ten-year-old can do that.

Gareth Hanrahan was all flappy-handed about it on Skype, though full of “Can Do” as always. I interpreted the flappy hands as “No”. Cat Tobin fixed me with a steely glare and said “this book is ready to lay out.” She also pointed out that “colouring in” is not a technical term artists recognise and I should not mention my ten-year-old’s artistic endeavours in this context. Robin D Laws, in a spirit of compromise suggested we do colour plates. Rob Heinsoo laughed with pleasure at the sheer foolishness of it.

Gar approached each artist and asked them to colour one piece each. The colour art in 13th Age uses washes of colour, which mades colouration slightly less problematic. This is what we got.

Rich Longmore

richmaw richmaw colourPat Loboyko

castleonedgefinal

castleonedgecolortestlores Anna Kryczkowska

Godtick

GodTick_project_1

Juha Makkon

http://raide4.com/commissions/pelgranepress/10_1_gamblingskeletons_inks_lores.jpg

http://raide4.com/commissions/pelgranepress/10_1_gamblingskeletons_colors_lores.jpg

This is working, I thought.

All the artists stepped up and promised to colourize their art for the difference in cost between colour and monochrome, and do it by the end of September.  To keep us on schedule, Chris Huth is doing the layout in colour and using the monochrome pieces as placeholders, to drop in the colour when we have them. This plan was enough to gain acceptance.

I hope the scope, ambition and pure fun of this epic adventure is enough to interest our audience. I have no idea if, commercially, colour is the right choice – the book wil certainly be more expensive. In this case, I’m really doing this just because I want to and because I can, and because it made Rob Heinsoo laugh.

 

Gar, Rob, ASHThe freeform story rules in 13th Age require a different approach to adventure design. At Gen Con 2014, Philippe-Antoine Ménard (aka Chatty DM), Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, Rob Heinsoo and ASH LAW presented a seminar on how to design great adventures for 13th Age. Video recorded by Kendall Jung.

Watch this on the 13th Age YouTube channel here.

 

13 True Ways front coverWe shipped 13 True Ways to Kickstarter backers before GenCon straight from the printers, and it turns out they weren’t packaged according to my wishes, and so some of them were damaged. I am very sorry about this. It seems like a lot of copies even though it’s a small proportion of the total.

You are welcome to keep the damaged copy for yourself or pass it on to a friend.

Please email support with your details and we’ll get you out a replacement. It really helps us with the printer if you send a photo of the damage, but you are not obliged at all. Because Indie Press Revolution is shipping them out and they have post-GenCon decompression and Burning Man to contend with, this won’t be for a while – provisionally the end of next week.

At that stage all unshipped US and Canada True Ways and other Pelgrane pre-orders will be shipped.

For rest of world customers (including the Pelgrane office!) we are waiting to get tracking on books shipped to the UK for onward shipment. I’ll post when we have this information.

by Rob Heinsoo

ROB_tileNew 13th Age players often ask whether the escalation die could be applied to all monster and NPC attacks as well as to player character attacks. The short answer is “No” because the math of 13th Age expects that only the PCs (and dragons!) get the escalation die. Adding the escalation die to all monster attacks would make monsters far more deadly and would eliminate our game’s dramatic curve, in which battles start out stacked against the heroes but tip in their favor as they dig in and fight.

But dragons are already an exception, along with a couple other lethal monsters in specific situations. Let’s look at a couple other cases in which supplying the monsters with escalation die armaments might improve your game.

Campaign Losses

PCs who flee incur a campaign loss. If that loss led to the empowerment of a particular evil icon, perhaps the forces of that icon would start benefiting from the escalation die until the PCs set things right. Instead of the brute force tactic of giving these particular enemies the escalation die as an attack bonus for all attacks, I’d probably spring it as a surprise when the escalation die becomes even.

Adding the escalation die when it is even to attacks by monsters associated with the Lich King, or the Orc Lord, or whoever, has a few advantages over adding the die to every monster attack roll. First, it comes as a surprise in the middle of battle, and a surprise that is easily explicable if you can somehow tie the enemy’s empowerment to some consequence of the PCs’ campaign loss.  Second, adding the escalation die only when it is even preserves the PCs’ status as something special—they always have momentum and destiny on their side, but now they’re going to be scared because the bad guys are sharing the power. Third, the battle acquires more urgency if the empowerment gets phrased as obvious magical effects that are appearing only when the escalation die is even. The PCs will want to finish the enemy off before there are too many more even rounds. Fourth, adding the escalation die only half+ the time means you’re slightly less likely to brute-force the PCs into another campaign loss! But you can threaten the PCs with the possibility that the enemy icon’s forces will always have the escalation die if they screw up again. . . .

Escalating Apocalypse

If your campaign has moved to the apocalypse side of the timeline, you might start by giving all monsters (or a chosen subset of most-dangerous-foes) the escalation die when the escalation die is 1. At first, monsters’ access to the die ends as soon as it rises to 2. But then they start benefiting until the die moves to 3, and the PCs understand that they need to finish the campaign’s major plots and halt the apocalypse before it escalates further.

Horror Games

If you decided to run a 13th Age horror session, in which all the PCs were more or less meant to die, then giving the monsters the escalation die from the start would be perfect. If I was running such a session/campaign, I’d probably say that the PCs don’t have the escalation die at all . . . . until one of them has died in the battle! To stretch out the horror, a PC death would take the escalation die from the monsters and give it back to the surviving PCs.

If you feel like running one of those kinder-gentler horror games where people get torn up but don’t always necessarily die, then you could flip this switch at the moment a PC falls to 0 hp, you softie.

Named Villains

If a named villain escapes a battle, the next time they surface to fight the PCs, consider giving them the escalation die. They’ve taken the PCs measure. They’re the hero of their own story. They’re a threat to remember.

————————-

13th Age answers the question, “What if Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet, lead designers of the 3rd and 4th editions of the World’s Oldest RPG, had free rein to make the d20-rolling game they most wanted to play?” Create truly unique characters with rich backgrounds, prepare adventures in minutes, easily build your own custom monsters, and enjoy fast, freewheeling battles full of unexpected twists. Purchase 13th Age in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

Gen Con is almost here, and we have some great seminars lined up. Pelgrane Press has also submitted a GUMSHOE panel as well as an overall Pelgrane Press panel, and we hope to see those go live soon.

13th Age Adventure Design
Date & Time: Thursday at 1:00 PM
Duration: 1 hours
Location: Crowne Plaza : Pennsylvania Stn C
The freeform story rules in 13th Age require a different approach to adventure design. Rob Heinsoo, Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, Philippe-Antoine Ménard and ASH LAW will talk about how to design with icons, backgrounds, uniques and more, and answer your questions.

13th Age GM Roundtable
Date & Time: Friday at 3:00 PM
Duration: 1 hours
Location: Crowne Plaza: Grand Central D
Rob Heinsoo, Mike Shea, Ruth Tillman and Wade Rockett share their advice on how to run 13th Age, from handling icon rolls to collaborative world building and beyond. Got questions? Bring ‘em!

13th Age: Year One
Date & Time: Saturday at 3:00 PM
Duration: 1 hours
Location: Crowne Plaza: Victoria Stn A/B
13th Age debuted one year ago at Gen Con! Join Rob Heinsoo, Simon Rogers and Wade Rockett as they talk about where the game is now, share what’s coming next and answer your burning questions.

13th Age Monster Workshop
Date & Time: Sunday at 2:00 PM
Duration: 1 hours
Location: Crowne Plaza: Pennsylvania Stn C
Join Rob Heinsoo, Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan and ASH LAW as they build a new monster that’ll take advantage of the game’s mechanics to deliver all sorts of nasty surprises at the table.

Pelgrane Press has received 15 nominations in 11 categories for 9 products in this year’s ENnie awards, in a field festooned with stellar games and publishers. And this year, 13th Age is up for Best Game, Best Rules, and Product of the Year.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE. Midgard Bestiary: 13th Age Compatible Edition from Kobold Press (designed by ASH LAW and edited by me) is nominated forBest Monster/Adversary.

There are so many great RPGs in the running this year that it’s hard to go wrong. But if you honor us with your vote, we’d be incredibly grateful.

(And hey, check out the free ENnies Sampler 2014 that Pelgrane posted on DriveThruRPG, with excerpts from each nominated book and music from the two nominated game soundtrack albums.)

Black DragonOver on the very active Google+ 13th Age community, Sean Dunstan has pulled together a complete list of monsters from the core 13th Age rulebook, the 13th Age Bestiary and 13 True Ways. John Clayton has kindly reproduced that here in table format; you can also download it as a zipped Excel spreadsheet on the 13th Age Resources page.

 


Level Monster Size Role Type Book Page #
0 giant ant normal troop beast Core 206
0 kobold grand wizard normal mook humanoid Bestiary 123
0 squib swarm normal mook beast Bestiary 179
0 stirge normal troop beast Bestiary 197
0 stirgelings normal mook beast Bestiary 197
1 archer stirge normal archer beast Bestiary 197
1 cobbler stirge normal blocker beast Bestiary 197
1 decrepit skeleton normal mook undead Core 246
1 dire rat normal mook beast Core 206
1 ettercap acolyte normal mook humanoid Bestiary 73
1 fungaloid creeper normal troop plant Bestiary 83
1 giant scorpion normal wrecker beast Core 206
1 goblin grunt normal troop humanoid Core 229
1 goblin scum normal mook humanoid Core 229
1 gravemeat normal mook undead Bestiary 97
1 human thug normal troop humanoid Core 235
1 kobold archer normal mook humanoid Core 237
1 kobold warrior normal troop humanoid Core 237
1 orc warrior normal troop humanoid Core 242
1 skeletal hound normal blocker undead Core 246
1 skeleton archer normal archer undead Core 246
1 swarm of bats normal spoiler beast Bestiary 13
1 watch skull normal troop undead Bestiary 109
1 white dragon hatchling normal troop dragon Bestiary 219
1 wibble normal mook construct Bestiary 223
1 wolf normal troop beast Core 207
1 zombie shuffler normal mook undead Core 251
2 aerial spore normal mook plant Bestiary 83
2 ankheg large troop beast Core 208
2 avenging orb normal caster humanoid Bestiary 204
2 bat cavalry large wrecker beast/humanoid Bestiary 14
2 bear normal troop beast Core 207
2 boombug normal troop beast Bestiary 113
2 bugbear scout double-strength troop humanoid Bestiary 24
2 claw flower normal spoiler plant Bestiary 161
2 destroying sword normal wrecker humanoid Bestiary 204
2 dire bat normal troop beast Bestiary 14
2 enduring shield normal blocker humanoid Bestiary 204
2 ettercap hunter normal blocker humanoid Bestiary 73
2 feral warbanner double-strength caster construct Bestiary 207
2 giant web spider large blocker beast Core 207
2 goblin shaman normal caster humanoid Core 229
2 hellwasp normal spoiler beast Bestiary 113
2 hobgoblin warrior normal troop humanoid Core 230
2 hook scuttler normal blocker beast Bestiary 113
2 human rabble normal mook humanoid Bestiary 208
2 human zombie normal troop undead Core 251
2 hunting spider normal wrecker beast Core 206
2 kobold hero normal leader humanoid Core 237
2 kobold skyclaw normal mook humanoid Bestiary 124
2 lizardman savage normal wrecker humanoid Core 237
2 medium brass dragon normal troop dragon 13 True Ways 184
2 medium white dragon normal troop dragon Core 218
2 newly-risen ghoul normal mook undead Core 225
2 orc archer normal archer humanoid Bestiary 156
2 orc berserker normal troop humanoid Core 242
2 orc shaman normal leader humanoid Core 242
2 pit-spawn orc double-strength mook humanoid Bestiary 156
2 razor shark normal mook beast Bestiary 187
2 sahuagin raider normal troop humanoid Bestiary 187
2 skeleton warrior normal troop undead Core 246
2 skin devil normal troop devil 13 True Ways 168
2 splotchcap normal archer humanoid Bestiary 175
2 sporrior normal wrecker plant Bestiary 84
2 swarming maw normal wrecker beast Bestiary 113
2 trog normal spoiler humanoid Core 247
2 wererat normal troop beast 13 True Ways 205
2 zombie beast large troop undead 13 True Ways 207
3 barbellite normal troop beast Bestiary 179
3 blue sorcerer normal caster humanoid Bestiary 21
3 braincap double-strength wrecker plant Bestiary 84
3 bugbear normal troop humanoid Core 230
3 bugbear schemer normal leader humanoid Bestiary 25
3 catacomb dragon large wrecker dragon Bestiary 17
3 cave orc normal mook humanoid Bestiary 156
3 cenotaph dragon normal troop dragon Bestiary 219
3 Crusader warbanner double-strength caster construct Bestiary 208
3 dawn zorigami normal spoiler construct Bestiary 225
3 death-plague orc large spoiler humanoid Bestiary 158
3 dire wolf large troop beast Core 207
3 dretch normal mook demon Core 210
3 drow spider-mage normal caster humanoid Bestiary 58
3 ettercap supplicant normal caster humanoid Bestiary 73
3 ettercap warrior normal blocker humanoid Bestiary 74
3 fire bat normal mook beast 13 True Ways 162
3 fungaloid drudge normal troop plant Bestiary 84
3 ghoul normal spoiler humanoid Core 225
3 gnoll ranger normal archer humanoid Core 229
3 gnoll savage normal troop humanoid Core 228
3 goblin bat mage normal spoiler beast/humanoid Bestiary 14
3 hell hound normal wrecker beast Core 234
3 hungry star normal wrecker aberration Core 235
3 imp normal spoiler demon Core 210
3 intellect devourer normal spoiler aberration Bestiary 116
3 kobold dog rider normal troop humanoid Bestiary 124
3 kobold engineer normal leader humanoid Bestiary 124
3 large brass dragon large troop dragon 13 True Ways 184
3 lemure normal mook devil 13 True Ways 169
3 magma brute normal wrecker construct 13 True Ways 163
3 medium black dragon normal wrecker dragon Core 218
3 medium bronze dragon normal wrecker dragon 13 True Ways 184
3 ochre jelly large wrecker ooze Core 241
3 ogre large troop giant Core 240
3 ogre penitent large blocker giant Bestiary 149
3 orc battle screamer normal leader humanoid Bestiary 157
3 Orc Lord warbanner double-strength caster construct Bestiary 209
3 orc tusker normal troop humanoid Bestiary 157
3 otyugh large blocker aberration Core 243
3 pixie pod double-strength leader plant Bestiary 161
3 pixie warrior normal spoiler humanoid 13 True Ways 198
3 poddling normal mook plant Bestiary 161
3 redcap normal wrecker humanoid Bestiary 175
3 rust monster normal spoiler aberration Bestiary 184
3 slime skull normal spoiler undead Bestiary 109
3 small air elemental normal wrecker elemental 13 True Ways 189
3 small earth elemental normal troop elemental 13 True Ways 189
3 small fire elemental normal troop elemental 13 True Ways 189
3 small water elemental normal blocker elemental 13 True Ways 189
3 spinneret doxy normal spoiler humanoid Bestiary 120
3 trog chanter normal leader humanoid Core 247
3 weaver swarm normal mook beast Bestiary 61
3 werewolf normal troop beast 13 True Ways 205
4 awakened trees normal mook plant 13 True Ways 202
4 azer soldier normal troop dwarf 13 True Ways 162
4 barbarous bugbear normal wrecker humanoid Bestiary 25
4 basilisk large wrecker beast Bestiary 10
4 Blackamber skeletal legionnaire normal troop undead Core 246
4 cambion dirk normal mook demon Bestiary 31
4 centaur lancer normal troop humanoid Bestiary 35
4 chaos beast normal troop aberration Bestiary 39
4 chaos behemoth huge spoiler aberration Bestiary 40
4 chaos brute large wrecker aberration Bestiary 39
4 chaos glorp normal mook aberration Bestiary 39
4 chuulish slave normal troop aberration Bestiary 51
4 demonic ogre large spoiler giant Bestiary 149
4 derro maniac normal troop humanoid Core 216
4 derro sage normal caster humanoid Core 216
4 despoiler normal caster demon Core 210
4 dire bear large troop beast Core 207
4 drow soldier normal mook humanoid Bestiary 58
4 elder spore normal mook plant Bestiary 85
4 ettercap keeper normal leader humanoid Bestiary 74
4 flesh golem large blocker construct Core 231
4 fungaloid empress huge wrecker plant Bestiary 85
4 fungaloid monarch double-strength leader plant Bestiary 84
4 gelatinous tetrahedron huge blocker ooze Bestiary 88
4 ghoul fleshwripper normal wrecker undead Bestiary 97
4 ghoul licklash normal blocker undead Bestiary 97
4 ghoul pusbuster normal spoiler undead Bestiary 97
4 gnoll war leader normal leader humanoid Core 229
4 half-orc legionnaire normal troop humanoid Core 233
4 harpy normal spoiler humanoid Core 234
4 hell imp normal spoiler devil 13 True Ways 170
4 hobgoblin captain normal leader humanoid Core 230
4 honey devil (slime devil) normal troop devil 13 True Ways 171
4 huge brass dragon huge troop dragon 13 True Ways 185
4 jest bones normal spoiler undead Bestiary 109
4 kobold bravescale normal blocker humanoid Bestiary 125
4 kobold dungeon-shaman double-strength caster humanoid Bestiary 125
4 kobold shadow-warrior normal mook humanoid Bestiary 125
4 large white dragon large troop dragon Core 218
4 lethal lothario normal leader humanoid Bestiary 121
4 lich baroness normal spoiler undead Bestiary 135
4 Lich King warbanner double-strength caster construct Bestiary 210
4 medium copper dragon normal spoiler dragon 13 True Ways 185
4 medium green dragon normal spoiler dragon Core 219
4 minotaur large troop humanoid Core 239
4 ogre berserker large wrecker giant Bestiary 149
4 ogre crusader large troop giant Bestiary 150
4 owl bear large wrecker beast Core 243
4 ravenous cannibal normal mook humanoid Bestiary 212
4 screaming skull normal troop undead Bestiary 110
4 troll large troop giant Core 248
4 wereboar double-strength troop beast 13 True Ways 205
4 wight normal spoiler undead Core 249
4 woven normal mook humanoid Bestiary 121
4 zombie of the silver rose normal mook undead 13 True Ways 207
5 air elemental normal wrecker elemental 13 True Ways 190
5 binding bride normal spoiler humanoid Bestiary 121
5 bulette large wrecker beast Core 208
5 cambion sickle normal troop demon Bestiary 31
5 centaur raider normal wrecker humanoid Bestiary 35
5 common treant normal spoiler plant 13 True Ways 202
5 demon-touched human ranger normal archer humanoid Core 235
5 dire boar large troop beast 13 True Ways 160
5 drow sword maiden normal troop humanoid Bestiary 58
5 earth elemental normal blocker elemental 13 True Ways 190
5 ettin large troop giant Core 224
5 fire elemental normal wrecker elemental 13 True Ways 190
5 flaming skull normal caster undead Bestiary 110
5 frenzy demon normal wrecker demon Core 211
5 gargoyle normal troop construct Core 224
5 gelatinous cubahedron huge blocker ooze Bestiary 89
5 gelatinous cube huge blocker ooze Core 241
5 ghast normal wrecker undead Bestiary 98
5 gorge dragon large spoiler dragon Bestiary 17
5 green bulette large wrecker beast Bestiary 27
5 half-orc tribal champion normal wrecker humanoid Core 233
5 hobgoblin warmage normal caster humanoid Core 230
5 huge white dragon huge troop dragon Core 219
5 hydra, 5 heads huge wrecker beast Core 236
5 Iron Sea shark double-strength mook beast Bestiary 188
5 kobold dragon-soul normal troop humanoid Bestiary 125
5 lumberland dirt-fisher huge wrecker beast Bestiary 28
5 manticore bard large caster beast Bestiary 139
5 mantikumhar large spoiler beast Bestiary 139
5 mausoleum dragon large troop dragon Bestiary 219
5 medium blue dragon normal caster dragon Core 219
5 ogre champion large wrecker giant Bestiary 150
5 ravenous bumoorah normal wrecker beast Bestiary 28
5 rust monster obliterator normal spoiler demon Bestiary 184
5 sahuagin normal wrecker humanoid Core 245
5 sahuagin glow priest normal caster humanoid Bestiary 188
5 smoke devil normal troop devil 13 True Ways 172
5 swarm prince normal spoiler humanoid Bestiary 121
5 swaysong naga large leader beast Bestiary 143
5 thunder bat normal archer beast Bestiary 15
5 warped beast normal wrecker aberration Bestiary 70
5 water elemental normal blocker elemental 13 True Ways 190
5 wendigo spirit large wrecker undead Bestiary 212
5 werebear large troop beast 13 True Ways 206
5 whispering prophet normal leader aberration Bestiary 216
5 wraith normal spoiler undead Core 250
5 wyvern large wrecker beast Core 250
6 apex zorigami normal spoiler construct Bestiary 225
6 bat demon (squishy) normal mook demon 13 True Ways 164
6 bearded devil (barbazu) large blocker devil 13 True Ways 173
6 blizzard dragon large wrecker dragon Bestiary 220
6 blood rose double-strength wrecker undead 13 True Ways 195
6 cambion katar normal wrecker demon Bestiary 31
6 centaur champion double-strength leader humanoid Bestiary 36
6 centaur ranger normal archer humanoid Bestiary 35
6 chuul large spoiler aberration Bestiary 47
6 chuulish swarm normal troop aberration Bestiary 47
6 clay golem large spoiler construct Core 231
6 corpse dybbuk double-strength troop demon Bestiary 64
6 coursing manticore large spoiler beast Bestiary 140
6 crimsoncap normal spoiler humanoid Bestiary 175
6 death blossom double-strength caster undead 13 True Ways 194
6 dire tiger large troop beast 13 True Ways 160
6 drider large caster aberration Core 223
6 drow spider-sorceress normal caster humanoid Bestiary 59
6 frost-wurm large troop beast Bestiary 180
6 gelatinous octahedron huge blocker ooze Bestiary 89
6 hag normal spoiler humanoid Bestiary 105
6 hill giant large troop giant Core 225
6 ice zombie normal mook undead Bestiary 79
6 intellect assassin normal spoiler aberration Bestiary 118
6 jotun auroch huge mook beast Bestiary 78
6 large black dragon large wrecker dragon Core 220
6 large bronze dragon large wrecker dragon 13 True Ways 185
6 lich flower double-strength blocker undead 13 True Ways 194
6 lokkris normal mook beast Bestiary 61
6 manticore large archer beast Core 238
6 medium red dragon normal wrecker dragon Core 220
6 medium silver dragon normal spoiler dragon 13 True Ways 185
6 Medusa outlaw double-strength wrecker humanoid Core 238
6 ogre mage knight large wrecker giant Bestiary 152
6 parasitic dybbuk double-strength spoiler demon Bestiary 64
6 poison dandelion double-strength spoiler undead 13 True Ways 195
6 sahuagin mutant double-strength wrecker humanoid Bestiary 189
6 sparkscale naga large leader beast Bestiary 144
6 specter double-strength wrecker undead 13 True Ways 201
6 spider mount large troop beast Bestiary 60
6 vampire spawn normal spoiler undead Core 249
6 vrock normal spoiler demon Core 211
6 weretiger large troop beast 13 True Ways 206
6 winter beast large troop beast Bestiary 79
7 bergship raider large spoiler giant Bestiary 77
7 big air elemental normal wrecker elemental 13 True Ways 191
7 big earth elemental normal blocker elemental 13 True Ways 191
7 big fire elemental normal wrecker elemental 13 True Ways 191
7 big water elemental normal blocker elemental 13 True Ways 191
7 bronze golem large blocker construct Bestiary 100
7 cloud giant mage huge caster giant 13 True Ways 165
7 cloud giant thane huge wrecker giant 13 True Ways 165
7 crustycap normal wrecker humanoid Bestiary 176
7 devil of the fangs huge spoiler devil 13 True Ways 180
7 drow darkbolt normal archer humanoid Bestiary 59
7 ethereal dybbuk double-strength wrecker demon Bestiary 65
7 fallen lammasu large wrecker beast Bestiary 131
7 frost giant large spoiler giant Core 226
7 gelatinous dodecahedron huge blocker ooze Bestiary 90
7 gnoll fiendfletch normal archer humanoid 13 True Ways 196
7 gnoll shredder normal blocker humanoid 13 True Ways 196
7 hezrou large troop demon Core 212
7 hooded devil normal troop devil 13 True Ways 174
7 hydra, 7 heads huge wrecker beast Core 236
7 ice sorceress large caster giant Bestiary 77
7 lammasu warrior large troop beast Bestiary 131
7 large green dragon large spoiler dragon Core 220
7 manafang naga large leader beast Bestiary 144
7 medium gold dragon normal caster dragon 13 True Ways 186
7 moon dragon huge troop dragon Bestiary 220
7 ogre mage large caster giant Core 240
7 orc rager normal mook humanoid Core 242
7 phase spider large wrecker beast Core 244
7 umluppuk huge spoiler aberration Bestiary 69
7 void dragon huge caster dragon Bestiary 18
7 volcano dragon large wrecker dragon Bestiary 168
8 adult remorhaz large wrecker beast Bestiary 180
8 black skull normal caster undead Bestiary 110
8 cambion hellblade normal wrecker demon Bestiary 32
8 Carid, reseeded triple-strength troop plant 13 True Ways 254
8 couatl large spoiler beast Bestiary 52
8 elder swaysong naga normal leader beast Bestiary 144
8 fire giant large wrecker giant Core 227
8 frost giant adventurer large spoiler giant Bestiary 78
8 fury devil (erinyes) normal wrecker devil 13 True Ways 175
8 giant praying mantis large blocker beast 13 True Ways 161
8 glabrezou large caster demon Core 212
8 iconic chimera large wrecker beast Bestiary 42
8 lammasu wizard large spoiler beast Bestiary 132
8 large blue dragon large caster dragon Core 221
8 lich count double-strength spoiler undead Bestiary 135
8 marble golem large troop construct Bestiary 101
8 mummy double-strength wrecker undead 13 True Ways 197
8 ogre lightning mage large caster giant Bestiary 152
8 parasitic lightning beetle normal mook beast Bestiary 164
8 purple larvae normal mook beast Bestiary 165
8 purple worm huge wrecker beast Bestiary 164
8 rakshasa double-strength caster humanoid Core 245
8 shadow dragon large caster dragon Bestiary 193
8 shadow thief normal mook dragon Bestiary 193
8 stone giant large troop giant Core 226
8 stone golem large blocker ooze Core 232
9 black pudding huge wrecker ooze Core 241
9 bone devil (osyluth) large troop devil 13 True Ways 176
9 chimera large wrecker beast Core 209
9 deep bulette huge wrecker beast Bestiary 28
9 despoiler mage normal caster demon Core 213
9 djinn large spoiler giant Bestiary 93
9 dread specter triple-strength wrecker undead 13 True Ways 201
9 drow cavalry double-strength wrecker humanoid Bestiary 59
9 elder sparkscale naga normal leader beast Bestiary 145
9 elder wendigo huge spoiler demon Bestiary 212
9 empyrean dragon huge spoiler dragon Bestiary 18
9 epic air elemental normal wrecker elemental 13 True Ways 192
9 epic earth elemental normal blocker elemental 13 True Ways 192
9 epic fire elemental normal wrecker elemental 13 True Ways 193
9 epic water elemental normal blocker elemental 13 True Ways 193
9 fire giant warlord large leader giant Core 227
9 giant vrock large spoiler demon Core 214
9 headless zombie normal troop undead 13 True Ways 207
9 hoard spirit normal mook construct Bestiary 169
9 hoardsong dragon large spoiler dragon Bestiary 169
9 hooked demon normal mook demon Core 213
9 huge black dragon huge wrecker dragon Core 221
9 huge bronze dragon huge wrecker dragon 13 True Ways 186
9 lammasu priest large caster beast Bestiary 132
9 large copper dragon large spoiler dragon 13 True Ways 186
9 ogre minion large mook giant Bestiary 150
9 prismatic ogre mage large caster giant Bestiary 153
9 skull of the beast large wrecker undead Bestiary 110
9 soul flenser normal spoiler aberration 13 True Ways 199
9 the flensed normal mook aberration 13 True Ways 200
9 wraith bat normal mook undead Bestiary 15
10 barbed devil (hamatula) normal caster devil 13 True Ways 176
10 dusk zorigami normal wrecker construct Bestiary 225
10 efreet large wrecker giant Bestiary 93
10 elder manafang naga normal leader beast Bestiary 145
10 great fang cadre (orc) normal mook humanoid Core 242
10 iron golem large wrecker construct Core 232
10 large red dragon large wrecker dragon Core 222
10 large silver dragon large spoiler dragon 13 True Ways 187
10 massive mutant chuul huge wrecker aberration Bestiary 48
10 nalfeshnee large caster demon Core 214
10 river devil normal wrecker devil 13 True Ways 180
10 spawn of the master (vampire) normal mook undead Core 249
10 storm giant huge archer giant Core 228
10 treant titan large spoiler plant 13 True Ways 203
10 vampire normal spoiler undead Core 248
11 elder couatl large spoiler beast Bestiary 53
11 greathoard elder huge wrecker dragon Bestiary 170
11 huge copper dragon huge spoiler dragon 13 True Ways 187
11 huge green dragon huge spoiler dragon Core 222
11 ice devil (gelugon) normal leader devil 13 True Ways 177
11 large gold dragon large caster dragon 13 True Ways 187
11 medusa noble double-strength caster humanoid Core 239
11 remorhaz queen large wrecker beast Bestiary 180
12 ancient purple worm huge wrecker beast Bestiary 164
12 flamewreathed dragon huge spoiler dragon Bestiary 170
12 horned devil (conugon) large troop devil 13 True Ways 177
12 huge blue dragon huge caster dragon Core 222
12 lich prince double-strength spoiler undead Bestiary 136
12 marilith large troop demon Core 215
12 smoke minions normal mook construct Bestiary 171
13 balor large wrecker demon Core 215
13 Hagunemnon large wrecker aberration Bestiary 69
13 huge red dragon huge wrecker dragon Core 223
13 huge silver dragon huge spoiler dragon 13 True Ways 188
13 river devil minion normal mook devil 13 True Ways 181
13 the final devil huge leader devil 13 True Ways 181
14 huge gold dragon huge caster dragon 13 True Ways 188
14 pit fiend huge wrecker devil 13 True Ways 178
15 tarrasque huge wrecker beast Bestiary 201

01LootEven as I write this, the indefatigable Chris Huth toils into the Canadian night, putting the finishing touches to The Book of Loot, our upcoming compendium of new magic items for 13th Age. The book’s crammed full of wonderful treasures and potent creations of sorcery, along with several items that we ourselves call out as utterly unforgivable puns.

Not every item written made it into the book for one reason or another. Some were cut for thematic reasons, others for balance. Here’s one that fell early on, on grounds of complexity. It’s an Epic-tier item associated primarily with the Emperor icon.

Epic

Chessboard of the Ages: There is no mistaking this item; the board of onyx and marble, and the gold and ruby playing pieces are described in songs and sagas from previous ages. However, the pieces are subtly different each time – the pawns change to resemble the allies and enemies of the chessboard’s bearer, while the features of the Icons of the Age appear on the other pieces.

When you first take possession of the chessboard, the GM gives the role of your opponent to some rival, ongoing villain or even an enemy Icon (GM: roll relationship dice if you want). Usually, it’s the Lich King or Orc Lord. You have the opening move. Once per battle, you may ‘move’ by activating one of the chess pieces as a free action. Each piece has a different ability. You may use each ability once per piece (so, you can use the pawn power eight times total in your life, most of the other powers twice ever, and the king and queen powers once each). A piece disappears when used.

Unlike most magic items, the chessboard doesn’t have a recharge value. Once you use a power, you can’t activate any of the chess pieces again until your opponent takes a move (or until your opponent voluntarily forfeits the chance to use a power – see the King, below, for why that might be a good option)

The powers possessed by the chess pieces are:

  • Pawn: One nearby ally may take an extra standard action in their next turn or heal using a recovery as a free action.
  • Rook: Cast teleport (as the wizard spell) to travel to any stronghold or flee from a battle without incurring a campaign loss
  • Knight: Gain three paladin talents with all associated feats until the end of a battle or call a legendary hero to aid you for one battle
  • Bishop: Cast any one Divine spell of up to ninth level or automatically succeed at any one skill check, no matter the difficulty
  • Queen: Either copy the powers of any  other chess piece remaining on your board (other than the king) or sacrifice the queen to remove any one piece possessed by your opponent, other than the king.
  • King: You may only use the king’s power if you have at least twice as many pieces left as your opponent, and your opponent has suffered a significant defeat in the real world outside the chess game. When you use it, the chess game ends and the chessboard vanishes. However, your opponent is magically compelled to perform one task for you as a forfeit for losing the game. You may specify the task as you wish, and the opponent must obey.

Quirk: You share your opponent’s dreams while playing. 

I may be mad – no, I am mad – but I can count. Eight pieces for good, eight for evil, that makes sixteen. But they say there are but thirteen Icons in the Empire. Who are the other three? Or do some play both sides, like the treacherous harlots they are?

-        Erach, crazed preacher

 

13th Age answers the question, “What if Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet, lead designers of the 3rd and 4th editions of the World’s Oldest RPG, had free rein to make the d20-rolling game they most wanted to play?” Create truly unique characters with rich backgrounds, prepare adventures in minutes, easily build your own custom monsters, and enjoy fast, freewheeling battles full of unexpected twists. Purchase 13th Age in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

 

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