13AgeLogoFull_small-300x300The Complete 13th Age RPG Starter Kit at More Than 25% Off

Get the ENnie award-winning 13th Age roleplaying game, 13th Age Bestiary, 13 True Ways, AND ALSO the 13th Age Soundtrack — all at more than 25% off what you’d pay if you bought these titles individually. Go to the Pelgrane Online Store and look for 13th Age Bundle under the 13th Age heading.

What hast thou in thy bundle, friend owlbear?

13th Age features everything you need to play the d20-rolling fantasy game, with core classes (barbarian, bard, cleric, fighter, paladin, ranger, rogue, sorcerer, wizard); rules for icon relationships, One Unique Things and backgrounds; mechanics and guidance for building fast, exciting battles; new and classic monsters, plus DIY monster rules; gear and magic items; and lots of advice for hacking and customizing the rules to fit your needs.

13 True Ways is the first supplement for 13th Age, with more character classes (chaos mage, commander, druid, monk and necromancer); more monsters and magic items; more details about the Dragon Empire; and a brimstone-scented* chapter on devils by Robin D. Laws.

The 13th Age Bestiary brings new takes on familiar monsters, plus GM guidance for building battles with multiple creatures, the hierarchy of liches, a playable fungaloid race, odd trivia**, and much more.

The 13th Age Soundtrack features themes for each icon and locations in the Dragon Empire, battle music that gets more dramatic as the Escalation Die climbs, and evocative background music for chases, rests and remembrance.

Buy Now

* Not literally brimstone-scented. Please don’t contact customer service because your PDF doesn’t smell like rotten eggs. (If your PDF does smell like rotten eggs, contact your doctor.)

** Bugbears are funny. Sure, they’re also psychopathically cruel and may hammer your skull after stealing the loot you were both supposed to share, but they’ll probably say something funny in the process and prop your unconscious body in an inappropriate and hilarious position.

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13th Age combines the best parts of traditional d20-rolling fantasy gaming with new story-focused rules, designed so you can run the kind of game you most want to play with your group. Created by Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet, 13th Age gives you all the tools you need to make unique characters who are immediately embedded in the setting in important ways; quickly prepare adventures based on the PCs’ backgrounds and goals; create your own monsters; fight exciting battles; and focus on what’s always been cool and fun about fantasy adventure gaming. Purchase 13th Age in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

Dungeons of DrakkenhallTales of the 13th Age is our free organized play program for the 13th Age roleplaying game. Each month’s adventure is designed so that GMs can customize it for their own group, but players can easily bring their characters to other Tales of the 13th Age events. Register here and embark on a world-spanning epic campaign across the Dragon Empire!

A classic dungeon crawl, 13th Age style! Any journey to Drakkenhall, the city of monsters, would be eventful enough. But when disaster strikes, you have an opportunity to infiltrate the personal vault of the Blue and steal her secrets. You’ll have to face cunning traps, horrific monsters and dragonic mother of all sorcery herself. Can you survive the Dungeons of Drakkenhall?

Dungeons of Drakkenhall is an 8-hour organized play adventure for 3-7 8th level characters, designed to be played in four weekly 2-hour sessions. It is the 12th icon-themed adventure in the Tales of the 13th Age series and comes with a free, full-size downloadable 22″ x 25.5″ poster-sized dungeon map.

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13th Age combines the best parts of traditional d20-rolling fantasy gaming with new story-focused rules, designed so you can run the kind of game you most want to play with your group. Created by Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet, 13th Age gives you all the tools you need to make unique characters who are immediately embedded in the setting in important ways; quickly prepare adventures based on the PCs’ backgrounds and goals; create your own monsters; fight exciting battles; and focus on what’s always been cool and fun about fantasy adventure gaming. Purchase 13th Age in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

ROB_tileMy Playtest Feedback Process

by Rob Heinsoo

I’m just about to start going through playtest feedback for 13th Age in Glorantha. I thought readers of this blog might be interested in how I process playtest feedback for 13th Age books.
Sometimes I read playtest feedback right away. But usually I wait and read as much of it as possible in a single big batch. Glorantha’s first playtest is going to take the big batch approach.

In either case, I take the good ideas I like out of it, or notes that seem to be identifying major problems, and write them down in my own words in single sentence summaries, sometimes noted as to whose feedback they came from. I keep these notebook pages of possible playtest changes going through the entire process. (I write small so I can fit a lot on a two page spread!)

When I’m ready to implement the changes, I start by reading the whole list of possible changes. After crossing off notes that have proven incorrect, I start in and work through the notebook pages list, crossing notes off as I deal with them or decide they aren’t actually problems. How do I decide when comments aren’t problems? A few ways, but mostly through uncovering that the rest of the feedback supports a feature a couple people found problematic, or discovering that the original comments were in fact inaccurate, or by creating new design elements that sidestep the issue, or by weighing the evidence and judging that what bothered the tester is a feature instead of a bug!

Sometimes I’ll get playtest advice that’s so good, accurate, and important that I want to make changes immediately. That happens most often during playtest feedback on classes, when something sparks that can fix a lingering problem or create a wonderful new dynamic.

In most cases, it’s better to wait a few days or weeks longer and make changes in one thoughtful extended pass, because even small changes can require multiple revisions scattered throughout the document. Revising the same sections multiple times because of repeated changes is not only maddening, it also seems to increase the risk of me screwing up a change that should have rippled out to multiple pages of the book.

I suspect that other designers handle playtest feedback differently. But I admit that I’m not sure. I haven’t asked many other designers how they handle the playtest revision process with RPGs.

Here’s a picture of what a typical page of playtest process looks like in my notebooks. These were notes from last year on Robin’s The Strangling Sea.

Yes, I’m still writing in notebooks. When I’m rolling with design work I’m usually just typing into a computer, but when I’m noodling ideas or writing notes about things I want to think about before acting on, I use a pen.

 

 

And while I’m taking photos, here’s the pile of all the notebooks I’ve used for 13th Age design. They’re all from my friend Sara’s company, MakeMyNotebook.com, I love the weight of the paper and their spiral-bound durability as well as the fun covers. I’ve used one full book already for 13th Age in Glorantha (blue robot) and it looks like I’ll use up at least another half (black fish).

(This was previously posted on Rob’s personal blog, robheinsoo.blogspot.com)

ROB_tileBy Rob Heinsoo and ASH LAW

At the Gen Con 2014 Monster Design workshop, ASH LAW, Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, and I collaborated with the audience to create a new 13th Age monster from scratch. It was great fun, and our audience-collaborators all signed my black book so that we could list their names at the end of this piece to say thank you!

ASH took notes on the results of the design workshop, wrote up the agreed-upon mechanics, and added the adventure ideas appearing below. True clue: if an adventure idea looks like a play on a book or movie title/plot, there’s a high probability ASH was behind it!

There’s a good deal of text below, but the monster is not actually complex. It’s just weird and different, and needs to be fully explained. As you’ll see from the story ideas that follow, the workshop explored the routes by which one compelling monster can twist a campaign, much like a character’s One Unique Thing.

–Rob Heinsoo

Shadow Mongoose

A coiling mass of corporeal shadow, commonly referred to as a mongoose because of speed, aggressiveness, and persistent legends that they’re the ancient enemies of the nagas. That would explain why the nagas seem to have lost or hidden all their eggs . . . .

8th level spoiler [elemental]

Initiative: +15

Rikki-tikki-claw-claw +13 vs. AC—24 damage

Natural even hit: Make a second rikki-tikki-claw-claw attack as a free action.

[quick action] Theft of fate +13 vs. MD (one target that has been hit twice by the shadow mongoose this battle)—The shadow mongoose steals an icon die from the target. The target may not use the stolen icon die, until the shadow mongoose gives it back, or the shadow mongoose dies.

Crit: …and the relationship that the adventurer has with that icon flips from positive to negative or negative to positive. Conflicted relationships are unaffected.

Shadow speed: As a move action the shadow mongoose may teleport into engagement with a target that it missed the previous round.

Play dead: Once per battle the shadow mongoose may fake being dead. Only magical senses and a DC 25 skill roll from the PC who struck the ‘killing blow’ will detect that the creature is still alive. Shadow mongooses like to fake their deaths so that they can escape battle with their stolen icon relationships. Since shadow anatomy isn’t entirely biological, this ability functions like fleeing the battle if it succeeds, the PCs can go ahead and blast away at what they think is the corpse, but they’ll be fragging the mongoose’s shadows, not the mongoose itself.

Trickster: The shadow mongoose can change shape, though not mid-battle. Shadow mongooses sometimes join adventuring parties as helpful hirelings, love interests, or local guides in order to repeatedly steal icon relationships from adventurers.

Nastier Specials

Drop the loot: The shadow mongoose flees the battle. One nearby enemy of the shadow mongoose gains an unwanted icon relationship worth 1d3 icon dice. This new relationship is temporary, lasting only until the end of the next game session.

AC   21

PD    18                 HP 188 (see Shadow fate)

MD  22

Shadow fate: When the shadow mongoose dies all the icon relationship dice that it stole return to their owners. The person who killed the shadow mongoose gains 1d3 ‘5’ icon dice results with a random icon that they do not have a relationship with OR a 6 with the Prince of Shadows if they do not have a relationship with him (roll 1d3 for relationship type: 1= Negative, 2= Conflicted, 3= Positive).

Lost icon of nagas

It may be that there was once an icon that was somehow related to the nagas, a Duke of Nagas. If that was the case then it was ‘defeated’ by the shadow mongooses, its power and influence stolen away piece by piece by the shadow mongooses. Even today the shadow mongooses have an enmity with the wise nagas, stealing their eggs and destroying their crystal libraries.

Ancient icon results

Shadow mongooses live for a very long time, and might have stolen icon relationships with the Duke of Nagas or another ancient icon like the Dream Princess, the Dark Jester, or anything else you feel like introducing into the game. Perhaps there was an ogre icon, or a divine platinum dragon, or an icon that was a dark spider goddess. Whatever you pick, killing a shadow mongoose might give you a temporary icon relationship with that ancient icon. Exactly what that means for your game is up to you.

Elemental shadow, the rise of an icon

We’ve put this creature’s type as ‘elemental’ and said that it is made of shadow. That means shadow is an element, alongside Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water. There are a couple of other shadow-themed creatures in 13th Age (such as the shadow dragon, shadow thieves, etc) and if you do decide to go with shadow-as-an-element then you might want to switch them to shadow elementals too.

What does it mean that shadow is an element? Druid elemental caster mechanics don’t reference shadow, nothing else links to it, so what’s up?

Well, if you decide that shadow is an element, then shadow mongooses might be its heralds. Perhaps the element of shadow is on the rise, growing in power and warping the world. This ties shadow mongooses into end-of-the-age style plots, where the status quo is upended and a new order is ushered in. Exactly how this links to the mysterious Prince of Shadows is up to you: maybe he’ll become a Shadow King; or maybe he is the remnant of a lost time of shadows working to bring back the elemental shadow; or maybe he’s secretly a shadow mongoose trickster.

If you don’t like that idea, then switch the creature type to undead or beast—though these creatures don’t really feel like either, so maybe make this creature an aberration. Yes, aberration feels like the best fit here, if you don’t like the idea as shadow-as-an-element.

Indispensable allies

Referenced in the mechanics is the fact that shadow mongooses like to join adventuring parties or befriend them in order to steal their icon relationships. The shadow mongoose might be a friendly tavern owner who lets the adventurers stay with her free of charge, a love interest for one of the adventurers, a local guide, a wise sage ready to offer advice, or a plucky young henchman who wants to one day be just like his heroes (the adventurers). Shadow mongooses don’t need to kill adventurers, they just want to steal their icon relationships; it is in the best interests of a shadow mongoose to help adventurers out. As far as the shadow mongoose is concerned, adventurers are the proverbial geese who lay golden eggs.

At the GenCon 2014 panel where this monster was created some of the audience wanted to have some way to detect shadow mongooses, and the idea of some tell-tale sign was talked about… though we never got around to specifying just what that sign might be.

ASH says: For some reason it sticks in my mind that the shadow mongoose is a consummate shape-changer and trickster that can never change its eyes.

Rob says: Eyes seem like too much of a give-away. I’d probably say that every mongoose has a tell, but it’s always different, and you usually don’t figure it out until after the mongoose has been exposed. One mongoose always smells just a bit like cinnamon the first time you meet it, another whistles that ancient tune called Dreams of a Lost Age, and so on.

 Iconic Crystals

What do shadow mongooses do with their stolen icon relationships? Again at GenCon, the idea of iconic crystals was raised: some sort of egg-like geode that allows the owner to mystically alter their fate and gain the aid of icons. If this is so then maybe they can be traded with other creatures to gain their aid, or even swapped with adventurers. Certainly a crystal-filled stone egg that gives you an icon relationship die is an unusual treasure.

Adventure seeds

Love in the time of shadows. A shadow mongoose tricks a party member into falling in love with it, only to later fall in love with the adventurer for real. Now it works to protect the party while attempting to avoid its secret being revealed. The party is constantly plagued with mysterious happening, strange co-incidences, and sightings of shadowy creatures.

Raiders of the lost egg. The race is on for an iconic crystal said to grant a relationship with the Wizard King. The adventurers must beat rival groups to get it for an icon, and claim their reward. Not only are agents of all the icons involved in the race to the lost egg, but a shadow mongoose has slipped into one of the parties.

The ape slaves of howling island. A shadow mongoose has made a tidy fortune as one of its assumed identities as a writer of sensationalist adventure stories, with lurid titles such as ‘the dragon of vengeance’ and ‘the lost treasure of curse castle’. The shadow mongoose, seeking new material, joins the party to chronicle its adventures (and sneakily steal icon relationship dice).

The temple of phantom shadows. A shadow mongoose openly approaches the party, revealing its true self. It wants them to open up an ancient tomb and retrieve the golden statue of a goblin found therein—they can keep the rest of the treasure for themselves. Obviously it is a trick of some sort, so what does the shadow mongoose really want?

The unicorn’s legacy. The owner of the Prancing Unicorn tavern in Concord has been discovered to be a shadow mongoose and has fled the city. The adventurers find themselves, as they have the largest bar tab, to be the inheritors of both the Prancing Unicorn and the large debt on the property. Now the party must settle a debt not theirs, run a tavern, avoid suspicion that that are shadow mongooses, and keep an eye out for the return of the true shadow mongoose.

Tricksters abound. An ancient naga is headed to Horizon to meet with a college of wizardry and share its knowledge. The adventurers are hired to provide security for the meeting, which will take several days. Just after the naga arrives one of the wizards turns up dead, their body disintegrated. The adventurers know that at least one of the wizards is an imposter, but who?

Final Thanks

When your player character has lost their connection to the Priestess because of a whirling shadow beast they could have sworn they’d killed twice, here are the people you’ll want to thank at GenCon!

Ben Roby

Brad Main

Dave Thompson

Jack Kessler

Jim Davis

K8 Evans

Kyle Rimmer

Michael Mineval

Sarah Miller

Steven Warzeha

Wade Rockett

Yoel Rodriguez

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13th Age combines the best parts of traditional d20-rolling fantasy gaming with new story-focused rules, designed so you can run the kind of game you most want to play with your group. Created by Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet, 13th Age gives you all the tools you need to make unique characters who are immediately embedded in the setting in important ways; quickly prepare adventures based on the PCs’ backgrounds and goals; create your own monsters; fight exciting battles; and focus on what’s always been cool and fun about fantasy adventure gaming. Purchase 13th Age in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

Candles Clay and Dancing Shoes coverYour PC has gold to burn? Spend it on something that could make everyone’s lives more interesting—especially the GM! Here are six new useful, bizarre, and effective one-use magic items, festooned with multiple adventure hooks and campaign variants. Is that dwarf wearing a featherlight skirt beneath his kilt? If you fire an exorcist missile at a dybbuk at twilight, which one of you screams first? What happens to your spell list if you drink too much gnomish tinto wine (secret ingredient: grave dust)? Answers to these and 75 other magic-item related questions, yours for one low monthly price!

Candles, Clay & Dancing Shoes is the third installment of the 13th Age Monthly subscription. It will be available to buy in the webstore in April. When you subscribe to 13th Age Monthly, you will get all issues of the subscription to date.

Stock #: PEL13AM04 Author: ASH LAW
Artist: Joshua Calloway Pages: 8pg PDF

The Coin Zombie

This newly arrived 13th Age zombie has two inspirations.

First, I’ve been reading Jason Sholtis’ compilation of The Dungeon Dozen: Random-Tables for Fantasy RPGs. “Reading” may be the wrong word, but I’ve definitely been picking it up and allowing photons from its pages to slam into my eyeballs.

Second, I like the way one of the zombies in Cal Moore’s Shadows of Eldolan adventure randomly ends up with a pumpkin stuck on its head and keeps on fighting, since hey, what does a zombie care? I started wondering if there was another interesting zombie I could insert into a crowded market-scene, and the mook below is the result.

My guess is that the coin zombie is a necromancer’s attempt to answer the age-old problem affecting most zombie attacks, which is that normal people start running away when zombies attack, and people run faster than zombies. A small expenditure of coins, an enchantment based on mortal greed, and you’ve got a zombie that magically convinces its targets to stick around and be eaten.

If your PCs are the type who count every coin, feel free to let them collect coins of various denominations that add up to 1d4 gp per coin zombie after the fight. If innocent bystanders and NPCs ended up getting nabbed by the jackpot or sticking around to pocket coins, subtract a few from the loot. If your PCs are the type to track down every last coin . . . [[insert GM stage-whisper]], curse the coins. They did fall out of a zombie’s guts, so they were cursed to begin with.

Coin Zombie

We’re not sure where you got the idea that treasure falling out of dead monsters was a good thing, but it wasn’t from this booby-trapped horror.

2nd level mook [undead]

Initiative: +2

Greedy claw +7 vs. AC—3 damage

C: Lethal jackpot +7 vs. MD (1d3 nearby enemies/bystanders)—3 ongoing psychic damage, and if target moves while taking ongoing psychic damage, it can only move to the jangling pile of coins that fell out of the zombie’s crumbling body to cause this attack.

   GM: If you’re feeling merciful, say that a quick action to pocket some of the coins gives a +2 bonus to the save against the ongoing psychic damage. (This GM message brought to you by Jonathan-Didn’t-Write-this-Monster.)

     Limited use: 1/battle per coin zombie, when that coin zombie is dropped to 0 hit points.

Headshot: A critical hit against a coin zombie cancels one mook’s lethal jackpot ability that turn, though if the crit eliminates more than one coin zombie, others will still trigger their own lethal jackpots.

AC      17

PD      12                       HP 8 (mook)

MD     16

Mook: Kill one coin zombie mook for every 8 damage you deal to the mob.

Punch - King of Puppets, frontispieceTraditionally in the West, Friday the 13th is a day of calamity: plans go awry, every advantage is met with a disadvantage, and any act can have unintended consequences.

In that spirit, here are three cursed magic items for the 13th Age roleplaying game:

Mr. Punch’s Hat (+2 armor at adventurer tier): Once per day when you drop an enemy to 0 hp with an attack using a melee weapon, you can shriek, “That’s the way to do it!” in a grating, high-pitched voice to gain a +2 bonus to your next attack with that weapon this battle. If you do, you take a –2 penalty to MD until the end of the battle. Quirk: Violence is always the answer.

Wand of Misrule (+2 implement at adventurer tier): You take a –1 penalty to skill checks based on Wisdom. When you score a critical hit while using this implement, the target is confused (save ends). If the natural attack roll is 1–5, a random nearby ally takes 1d6 psychic damage. Quirk: Speaks in riddles.

Staff of Misrule (+3 implement at champion tier): You take a –2 penalty to skill checks based on Wisdom. When you score a critical hit while using this implement, the target takes 1d6 psychic damage and is confused (save ends), and you can make a second attack against a nearby or far away enemy. If you roll a natural 1–5 on the second attack, you take 1d6 psychic damage and are confused (save ends). Quirk: Has contempt for authority.

 

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.

OPTales of the 13th Age is our free organized play program for the 13th Age roleplaying game. Each month’s adventure is designed so that GMs can customize it for their own group, but players can easily bring their characters to other Tales of the 13th Age events. Register here and embark on a world-spanning epic campaign across the Dragon Empire!

For centuries, the Mystic Orrery has accurately predicted celestial events and their effect on magic. But its predictions are becoming increasingly erratic, and it turns out that an Archmage of a previous age removed some parts and hid them away from her successors. Now the whole Dragon Empire is at risk as the rules of magic begin to fluctuate. Powerful wards keep the Archmage himself from retrieving the needed parts — but those wards don’t account for people like you.

The Archmage’s Orrery is an 8-hour organized play adventure for 3-7 8th level characters, designed to be played in four weekly 2-hour sessions. It is the 11th icon-themed adventure in the Tales of the 13th Age series.

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.

Friday the 13th Age LogoEvery Friday the 13th, fans want to know what we’re doing to celebrate 13th Age. Because let’s face it: every Friday the 13th should be 13th Age Day.

So now it’s official. Starting this Friday the 13th — and on every Friday the 13th after — we’re going to try and TAKE OVER THE WORLD. We want to fill Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and blogs with 13th Age, so that people ask, “What’s this incredibly cool game that I’ve never heard of, but everyone’s suddenly talking about?”

To participate in Friday the 13th Age, just post something cool and useful for the game online with the hashtag #FridayThe13thAge. (Feel free to use the image on the right.) For example:

  • Link to a monster, magic item, icon, setting, homebrew class, house rule or play aid that you or someone else in the community created.
  • Share helpful 13th Age GM tips,.
  • Tell people about your favorite 13th Age product, whether it’s by Pelgrane Press or a third party publisher who’s creating great 13th Age material.
  • Link to a 13th Age podcast or YouTube channel that deserves more attention.
  • Play 13th Age and post a pic; or play online via Google Hangout or Roll20.
  • One Unique Things!
  • OWLBEARS

Friday the 13th Age Deals

To celebrate this Friday the 13th Age, we’re launching the 13th Age Soundtrack and 13th Age Monthly on DriveThruRPG. We also plan to make Shadows of Eldolan 13% off all day Friday on DTRPG and on our webstore.

 

 

13th Age - Death Of ThroneWhen you’re adventuring in the 13th Age, things sometimes get…out of hand. Maybe you stumbled into (or instigated) a violent uprising against the local authorities. Or maybe, thanks to that ritual you performed at the heart of a living dungeon, you accidentally brought about the end of the age — and massive armies dedicated to opposing icons now fight to determine who will rule the age to come.

Mechanics for mass battles in an RPG should help determine:

  1. The outcome of the major conflict
  2. How the events in that conflict affect the PCs

In the megadungeon adventure Eyes of the Stone Thief, the PCs might become involved in mass combat. For that particular scenario, the focus is exclusively on the PCs and how the chaos around them helps or hinders their fight against their enemies. So the mass combat mechanics Gareth devised for that scene are more like terrain effects than they are rules for running a wargame-within-a-game (such as the free mass combat rules recently provided for Dungeons & Dragons).

Gareth and Rob Heinsoo are collaborating on full rules for 13th Age mass combat, to be published in 13th Age Monthly. In the meantime, here are the PC-focused mass combat rules from Eyes of the Stone Thief:

PC-Focused Mass Combat Rules for 13th Age

These mechanics are useful when you want to run mass combat like a battle in a Shakespeare play: the focus is on the fight between the PCs and their enemies. The larger conflict takes place offstage, and is only relevant to the extent that it helps or hinders the characters.

Don’t bother with tracking the hit points of the various combatants, except the ones the PCs are actually fighting. Just describe the carnage as the various sides battle it out, while the PCs take on the toughest part of the enemy forces.

Allied and enemy forces are represented with d6s. At the start of battle, give each side a number of d6s from one to three depending on the strength of each fighting force (call them “Ally Dice” and “Enemy Dice”). A gaggle of ill-equipped peasants might warrant one die; a small to medium-size force of trained fighters give two dice, and a huge force of well-motivated soldiers are worth three dice.

NOTE: In Eyes of the Stone Thief, the number of Enemy Dice is determined by a mechanic called the Alert Level which tracks how aware the monsters are of the threat posed by the dungeon-crawling PCs. It’s quite cool, but it’s a mechanic specific to situations where the PCs are lurking about in a dungeon, so we’re not going to worry about Alert Level here.

Each round, roll the dice for each side.

For every 6 in the result, that side does something that affects the PCs’ fight. If the 6 is a result of the Ally Dice roll, it’s a help; if it’s a result of the Enemy Dice roll, it’s a hindrance.

For every result of 5, that side does something that affects the PCs’ fight, but at a negative cost to themselves.

Possible effects include:

Help Hindrances
An ally chucks a spear into an enemy that one of the PCs is engaged with. The enemy takes 3d8 damage. An enemy takes a pot-shot at a PC—it’s a +10 attack vs. AC for 4d8 damage.
The cheering of your allies invigorates a PC; that PC can heal using a recovery. Add a bunch of enemy mooks to the fight as reinforcements.
The enemy forces fall back; increase the escalation die by 1. The enemy forces hold firm; the escalation die doesn’t increase this round.
Your allies push forward; remove one Enemy Dice. The enemy forces push forward; remove one Ally Dice.

 

Let cool PC stunts and killing big foes remove Enemy Dice. Removing all Enemy or Ally Dice doesn’t mean there aren’t any enemies or allies left, just that they’re not going to affect the PCs’ fight for the rest of the battle.

Example 1: The PCs have freed some gladiators who were enslaved by orcs, and are trying to fight their way out. The GM gives the players two Ally Dice to roll, and puts down two Enemy Dice on her side of the table. She picks different colored dice, because one is for the orcs and the others are for monsters that broke out of the gladiatorial arena.

The battle starts, and all the dice get rolled. On round 2, one of the Ally Dice comes up with a 6. The GM asks the players to describe how one of their allies helps out, and a player decides that one of the gladiators — infamous for fighting dirty — jumps into the fray and gouges out the eyes of an orc warrior. That orc is now hampered.

Later that round, a PC pulls off a difficult stunt that kills every mook in the PCs’ battle with a single hit. The GM removes an Enemy Die as some of the smarter orcs in the larger battle witness this act, and decide to quietly flee while they still can.

Example 2: While the armies of the Dwarf King clash with an invading army of dark elves, the PCs face off against the dark elf general and her personal guard of elite sorcerer-knights. Because both sides have shown up in full strength and ready for war, the GM gives the players three Ally Dice to roll and puts down three Enemy Dice on her side of the table. 

On round 4, one of the Ally Dice comes up with a 5, and two of of the Enemy Dice come up with 6s. The GM asks the players to describe how one of their allies helps out in a way that costs them somehow. A player decides that one of the Dwarf King’s paladin commanders stops to heal a badly-wounded PC, but is killed doing so. Suddenly a cheer goes up from the dark elves as a powerful demon joins the battle, incinerating scores of dwarves with a wave of its hand. This, on top of the loss of the paladin, is too much for the dwarves and they fall back. The GM reduces the escalation die by 1 and the players can only roll 2 Ally Dice next round.

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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