13th Age: Choose your Favourite Icon

Most d20 games have powerful NPCs who shape the world behind the scenes. 13th Age brings them forward, making these thirteen powerful NPCs into icons the PCs will aid or oppose over the course of each campaign. Inventing your character’s relationship to the mighty icons who rule or shape the world is key to engaging your character with the game world. RPGs about vampires have clans, RPGs about pagan highlanders have cults, and 13th Age has icons.

This article features a summary of all the 13th Age icons. Scroll down for a poll to decide your favourite, enter our design-your-own icon competition, and read a more detailed description of one icon, The High Druid, here.

When you generate your characters,  you scan over the icons and read the full entry on any icon who intrigues you. As you decide on the relationship to the icons that suits your player character, remember that it’s the nature of this magical world that even the most powerful figures need a lot of help to accomplish their goals. The icons have risen to power levels where they balance each other in an uneasy equilibrium. To advance their agendas further, the icons need heroes and champions to tip the balance in their favor. You play those heroes.

The Archmage has preserved the Empire for centuries and created astonishing new lands. He has also threatened the fabric of reality with experiments you’d have to be brilliant or hugely arrogant to attempt.

The Crusader is the armored fist of the Dark Gods. So long as followers of the gods of light stay the hell out of his way, the Crusader turns his wrath against the demons that would destroy the world his own gods want to rule. Follow the Crusader if you must win at any cost.

The Diabolist controls fiends and tampers with forces even the Archmage avoids. She likes her victims screaming and her chaos pure while claiming that the demons she summons would otherwise overwhelm the Great Gold Wyrm who seals the Abyss. There are two differences between her and her demons: First, she likes keeping destruction personal rather than universal. Second, she’s capable of kindness, so long as it comes as a great surprise.

The Dwarf King is lord of Forge, the dwarves’ new homeland beneath the mountains. He’d love to reclaim the dwarven Underhome lost to war against the dark elves and the creatures of the deeps. But now that the Empire is stumbling, the dwarves find themselves manning the mountain walls that shield the Empire from the orcs and monsters of the north.

The Elf Queen rules the Court of Stars, the one place where wood elves, dark elves, and high elves come together as peers and allies instead of as rivals or enemies. Honed by centuries of experience, the Queen’s innate magic at least equals the Archmage’s spells.

The Emperor rules the world’s greatest human kingdom, known as the Dragon Empire for the mounts of its mightiest warriors. All the signs suggest that the age is turning, but will the Empire fall or shift to a new balance?

The Great Gold Wyrm is the world’s protector and the inspiration for holy orders of paladins and independent heroes. Although the Gold Wyrm’s physical form seals the gap that prevents the Abyss from erupting into the world, its dreams and the agents it employs still move through the world, helping those who will fight and even die for what’s right.

The High Druid is the champion of the resurgent Wild, and the spiritual and magical leader of spirits of nature and the elements that were chained by the Empire but are now working themselves free. She might be the great force that shakes the Empire to pieces or the hero who destroys the destroyers and points to a new way to live.

The Lich King is the lord of the undead, a fallen tyrant who intends to conquer the Dragon Empire and restore his ancient kingdom. He’s not entirely insane and mostly understands that ruling a kingdom is not the same as destroying it.

The Orc Lord is a figure of legend. The last time he walked the land the Lich King fell, in part because of the Orc Lord’s attack. Who will fall before his hordes this time? Who won’t?

The Priestess hears all the Gods of Light and speaks for those who please her. She is part oracle, part mystic, and part metaphysical engineer, since she created the Cathedral, an ever-expanding temple with rooms or entire wings for each of the faiths she favors.

The Prince of Shadows is part thief, part trickster, and part assassin. To some he is a hero; to others a villain. He has squandered the riches of the dwarves, murdered the hopes of a dragon, and plundered the dreams of a god. His exploits have changed the world, but none can tell you his ultimate goals or motives.

The Three were among the first dragons to walk the world. The Red is a living engine of destruction. The Blue is a sorceress, perhaps even the original mother of all sorcery. The Black is queen of shadows and assassins. Unlike the Great Gold Wyrm, who must fight alone, the Three have learned to join forces.

Which 13th Age Icon is your favourite?

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15 Responses to “13th Age: Choose your Favourite Icon”

  1. RSIxidor says:

    I could barely decide between The Three and The Great Gold Wyrm. The Crusader, the Archmage and the Orc Lord all sound really cool as well.

  2. [...] – NPCs PCs will aid or oppose over the course of each campaign. We include a summary of the icons here so you can vote for your favourite, and The High Druid, an example [...]

  3. George says:

    The more i hear about this game, the more it sounds D&D-finally-done-right.

  4. I had a tough time choosing between the Prince of Shadows and the Lich King.

    Before coming to this poll, my knowledge of the 13th Age was limited at best. Now I’m eagerly anticipating it!

  5. All the rock honestly! Great work!

  6. SneakyKitty says:

    The Priestess and the Diabolist concepts intrigue me. I voted for the Diabolist only because of this line:

    “Second, she’s capable of kindness, so long as it comes as a great surprise.”

    I’m no great fan of D&D, but I’m very interested to see what becomes of 13th Age.

  7. [...] Talking about the Icons doesn’t violate my NDA, because you can read about them on Pelgrane Press’ web site. [...]

  8. [...] informs which Icons your character has a connection to. Icons (as previewed in various forms on Pelgrane’s website) are the embodiment of fantasy trope archetypes, and to me is a large part of the “love [...]

  9. [...] Last post, I talked about creating a list of Icons for Planescape. Today I’m going to present the list I came up with in a similar format to that found here. [...]

  10. White Hat says:

    Of course the Crusader is the #1 choice *eyeroll*.

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  11. [...] those dealing with the Icons of the world, and the PCs’ relationships with them. These Icons are powerful figures in the world, such as the Emperor, the Archmage, and the High Druid. While the [...]

  12. [...] informs which Icons your character has a connection to. Icons (as previewed in various forms on Pelgrane’s website) are the embodiment of fantasy trope archetypes, and to me is a large part of the “love [...]

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