Maybe you heard that Night’s Black Agents, the supernatural spy-thriller game by Kenneth Hite, scored two silver ENnie awards at Gen Con; and that its new expansion Double Tap sold out at the show.
I ca hear you asking, “Can I try this amazing-sounding game at PAX?” and “Is this an opportunity for me to get my first-person shooter console-loving friends into tabletop RPGs?” YES YOU CAN, and YES IT IS.
Peter Darley is GMing Night’s Black Agents at Indie RPGs on Demand, Washington State Convention Center room #305/306 on these days and times:
- Friday, 1PM-6PM
- Saturday, 11AM-4PM and 5PM-10PM
- Sunday, 1PM-6PM
I’m serious about the FPS thing, by the way. Night’s Black Agents lets you play a badass Jason Bourne or Ziva David style covert operative, going up against a sinister vampire conspiracy in exotic locations across the world. Using high-tech weapons, networks of contacts and cool spy gear, you can evade, outwit and destroy your foes in exciting cinematic ways.
Drag your friends to Indie RPGs on Demand and try this game! You won’t be sorry.
Are you going to PAX Prime in Seattle? Hey, us too! Here’s a roundup of all things 13th Age:
Play 13th Age - 13 awesome GMs will run 13th Age at Indie RPGs on Demand, Washington State Convention Center Room #305/306, with games starting every hour. We’ll also have Very Special Guest GMs, and never-before-seen monsters from the 13th Age Bestiary.
- Friday, 10AM-7PM - Guest GM: Rob Heinsoo, all day.
- Saturday, 10AM-7PM – Guest GM: KISW’s The Rev. En Fuego, 3PM-7PM
- Sunday, 10AM-7PM – Guest GM: EA BioWare’s Patrick Weekes, Noon-4PM
- Monday, 10AM-4PM
Buy 13th Age - Gamma Ray Games is in the same room as Indie RPGs on Demand, and has stacks of 13th Age books to sell. Get your copy at PAX!
Get a 13th Age poster map, art print or original sketch from artist Aaron McConnell - Aaron will be at the 13th Age table, WSCC level 2 on Saturday and Sunday, 2PM-4PM. His wares include:
- 11×14 prints of icons and other 13th Age art ($20)
- High-quality 18×24 map posters ($40)
- Custom 11×14 sketches ($50)
Not at PAX? Play online with Aaron R. on Saturday at 9PM EST – We’re happy to announce that Aaron (aka WolfSamurai and Phelanar) has joined the 13th Age team as our official Online Organized Play GM. Aaron runs an award-winning online 13th Age campaign and demoed the game for Erik Kain at Forbes magazine. He’ll be running a one-shot on Saturday for those of you who aren’t at PAX. Contact him on Twitter or Google+ for details.
Ask us questions - We have a table at WSCC level 2, where friendly and helpful people from Fire Opal Media will happily talk to you about the game. Look for the banners with the Diabolist and Archmage on them.
Play Night’s Black Agents - Want to take a break from 13th Age and play a Pelgrane Press game where you kill vampires and do cool spy stuff? Peter Darley is GMing this awesome RPG by Kenneth Hite at Indie RPGs on Demand:
- Friday, 1PM-6PM
- Saturday, 11AM-4PM and 5PM-10PM
- Sunday, 1PM-6PM
We hope to see you there!
UPDATE: All of our events but one (The Lost Tower of Suln in the VIG Lounge) are sold out! If you want to play 13th Age at Gen Con, find us at Booth #101 and sign up for the 2-hour demo with GM Rob Heinsoo. See you in Indy!
Want to play 13th Age at Gen Con? As of right now we still have a few openings in these games — anywhere from 1 seat to 4 seats. Grab your place at the table!
RPG1352025 – Danger At Deathless Gulch SOLD OUT
Start Date & Time: Thursday at 11:00 AM
Duration: 2 hours
Location: Marriott : Indiana Blrm D : 2
Journey to the badlands of Midgard’s magic-blasted Wasted West to recover a magical tome from a crashed dwarven airship. This adventure will use icons from the Midgard Campaign Setting.
RPG1351150 – The Lost Tower of Suln (VIG only)
Thursday at 2:00 PM
ICC : VIG Lounge
The tower is back, and the Icons are moving to control an artifact of Achmos. Pre-gen characters provided. Generate Uniques, Backgrounds, and Icons then play the module. VIG and VIG Companion only.
RPG1352435 – Blood and Lightning (Fast and Furious Version) SOLD OUT
Thursday at 7:00 PM
Marriott : Indiana Blrm D : 3
Boltstrike Pillar is under attack! Fight, fast-talk or sneak past squads of mooks and nightmare creatures as you ascend the pillar toward your ultimate foe. Every game will be different.
RPG1352023 – Blood & Lightning SOLD OUT
Friday at 1:00 PM
Marriott Blrm 3 : 6
A hidden enemy threatens Boltstrike Pillar, one of the Dragon Empire’s magical nodes. Defend it at all costs! Your choices during character generation ensure that no two games will be the same.
RPG1352021 – Blood and Lightning (Fast and Furious Version) SOLD OUT
Saturday at 10:00 AM
Marriott Blrm 7 : 4
RPG1352034 – Caverns & Cave-Creepers SOLD OUT
Saturday at 11:00 AM
Marriott Blrm 7 : 3
A spider cave, and a wizard who will pay well for their eggs. But so will his sorceress rival. And someone else will pay to see the eggs destroyed. Wait, is this 13th Age or Fiasco?
RPG1352039 – Blood and Lightning (Fast and Furious Version) SOLD OUT
Saturday at 1:00 PM
Marriott Blrm 7 : 3
RPG1352031 – Caverns & Cave-Creepers SOLD OUT
Saturday at 5:00 PM
Marriott Blrm 7 : 6
RPG1352022 – Blood and Lightning (Fast and Furious Version) SOLD OUT
Sunday at 11:00 AM
Marriott Blrm 7 : 5
MAYDAY: Two of our Gen Con volunteer GMs had to cancel their con plans. That’s 14 hours of 13th Age gaming that won’t happen, unless heroic GMs step up to take over their slots.
If you can help, please email firstname.lastname@example.org!
In return for your help we can offer swag, and a chance to hobnob with our designers — including a daily GM huddle with Rob Heinsoo.
We have learned that last year’s operation in Morristown, New Jersey failed to end the vampire threat. Kenneth Hite and John Adamus urgently request assistance at DEXCON 16 from 10:00AM – 6:00PM, Saturday, July 6, 2013 to counter yet another assault by the undead…
…or to participate in it.
The Operation: The 2013 World Night’s Black Agents Championship will be run in two rounds by Night’s Black Agents designer Kenneth Hite, assisted by John Adamus. Players can come for either, or both sessions:
- The first round is a LIVE ACTION session in which players portray agents, vampires, and the holders of the clues to a terrifying conspiracy.
- Surviving agents follow those clues to an explosive final tabletop round.
Prizes: Up to five winners (determined by survival and excellence) will receive FREE 2014 combo memberships to METATOPIA 2013, DREAMATION 2014 and DEXCON 17.
Get more details, and order Night’s Black Agents from the Pelgrane Shop.
Night’s Black Agents brings the GUMSHOE engine to the spy thriller genre, combining the propulsive paranoia of movies like Ronin and The Bourne Identity with supernatural horror straight out of Bram Stoker. Investigation is crucial, but it never slows down the action, which explodes with expanded options for bone-crunching combat, high-tech tradecraft, and adrenaline-fueled chases.
Jon Spengler of Dorkadia volunteered to run 13th Age at Norwescon in Seattle, and posted about the experience on his blog. He’s kindly given us permission to share his article here.
If you’re interested in running 13th Age at a con or at your local game store, we’d love to know! Contact me at email@example.com
I was introduced to 13th Age through a demo run at PAX Prime 2012. The demo was so unique and so fun that I preordered the game immediately after PAX. It was the hands-on experience that made me fall in love with the game. When I was asked by Wade Rockett to run a few demo games at Norwescon 36 this past weekend I jumped at the opportunity!
The convention material for 13th Age is perfectly crafted to show off the strengths of the system. (And it’s publicly available.) It’s a simple two hour structure: in the first hour the players at the table pick from a selection of pregenerated characters and brainstorm their one unique thing, icon relationships, and backgrounds. The second hour is an improv adventure born from those unique things that features a single combat encounter.
The demo is truly bare bones, little more than guidelines for adventure improv and a few sets of monsters to throw at the heroes. But because the meat of the demo is character creation, the players start the game engaged, leaning forward, and invested. In fact, the demo consists almost solely of what makes 13th Age so different from other “d20 rolling games”: the mechanics that give narrative voice to the players. Players of more traditional games start out wary of such mechanics, but by the end everyone is pitching ideas on why exactly “thick headed” is just about the best damn background for a barbarian ever. (It bashes down doors AND helps in social situations!) The improv, player-centric nature of the demo material is brilliant.
I also created PC and monster tokens for the demo using 1-1/2 inch rubber grippies made to protect hardwood floors from furniture. I’m going to make a post about these before long, they were easy to make and really work well for GMs like me that have to pack everything they need in a bag before they head out to game.
The demo I ran was a hoot. All five of my players were engaging with the mechanics, laughing, and buying into the narrative mechanics. I did forget to have the players roll their icon relationships (which I’m kicking myself for) but ultimately it didn’t get in the way. One of the players was a friend of mine that had only tangentially been introduced to roleplaying games. I’m happy to say that she enjoyed herself.
The one unique things were exactly the sort of gonzo flavor that 13th Age revels in that other games would shy from. We had a bard that could sing the dead awake, a paladin that received visions, a half-elf half-dwarf, a barbarian cursed with eternal rage, and a sorcerer that punched the god of honor and lightning, receiving some of its power. That was a fun one to workshop out! There was very little story game experience in the group but it only took the gentlest of nudges to get every single person exploiting the hell out of the creative power they were given. It was really great to see the trepidation melt away as the players took the reigns and ran with the system.
The combat was fast and furious, most of the players immediately grasped their class powers in a matter of a single round of combat. The cleric buffed, the barbarian smashed, paladin smote with impunity. Huge success.
Jonathan Tweet and Ash Law, head of 13th Age Organized Play
I had a great time running the demo and hanging out with the 13th Age crew. I know that all five of the players at my table enjoyed the freedom of the character creation and enjoyed the combat. I had more than one person walk away with their character sheet in their pocket, which is exactly what I did when I left my demo at PAX 2012 and preordered the game. The demo was a success; my only true regret is not being able to run a second game due to time constraints!
In case you haven’t gotten the message yet, you should all really check out 13th Age. (It should be on store shelves in a month or so.)
I have to add a special shout out to Ash Law. He was so busy coordinating the demos and gathering players that it seems like I only got to speak with him for a few minutes. But in the small amount of time I watched him run his demo I realized he was one of the most charismatic, energetic, and creative GMs I’ve ever seen in action. Just reading his comments on the 13th Age G+ community shows his passion for the hobby and his complete understanding of the dynamics of roleplaying. I’m going to try to take some of that magic I saw and apply it at my table.
13th Age is scheduled to be published June 2013 by Pelgrane Press. Pre-order 13th Age at the Pelgrane Shop, and download the v.6 draft of the rules to start playing now!
We ran 13th Age at Emerald City ComicCon last weekend. As with all our demos, players had the opportunity to choose their character’s One Unique Thing — the characteristic in 13th Age that doesn’t provide a mechanical benefit, but which sets that individual apart from everyone else in the adventure (or even the entire world.)
Here are just some of the uniques created for the adventurers who sought fortune and glory in the Dragon Empire this weekend:
- The only housebroken dwarf
- The only dwarf with a crippling fear of mice
- “Drrrrrrrr” the dark elf sorcerer adopted by a family of zombies
- The tallest halfling ever known, due to being stretched on the rack by the Crusader
- The only dwarf made of pure iron
- The only paladin in service to the Prince of Shadows (“I’m more a mob enforcer than a holy man.”)
- “Frostbitten”, a wizard covered in a thin layer of ice due to an accident during wizarding school
- The only elf to be alive when the Wizard King fell…and also happened to have fought on his side.
- A rogue absolved of all sins past and future by the Priestess
- A half-orc barbarian with two heads, and one of them is the evil twin
- The only half-elf to be raised by dwarven nobles
- A paladin who had his tongue cut out for his crimes before being redeemed by the Priestess
- A cleric who healed the Crusader’s mortal wound while in captivity
- A half-elf ranger cursed to slowly turn into a tree
- A half-elf ranger cursed to kill all plants near her
- A halfling with a wooden leg that he had carved into a flute
- A gnome bard who can’t tell dragons apart (has conflicted relationships with the Great Gold Wyrm and the Three)
Many thanks to my fellow GMs Ash Law, Daniel Splitter, Cail Musick-Slater and Eric Franklin for running such stellar demos. We had a great time at the con, and turned a lot of people on to 13th Age. In fact, some of our players had never played an RPG before! Here are some photos via Eric Franklin (the hi-res ones) and me (the non-hi-res ones):
Our Seattle-area 13th Age GMs will run demos at Emerald City ComicCon this weekend. We haven’t heard exactly where yet, but here’s the gaming area map — you’ll find us somewhere in there. Or just wander around yelling, “I DECLARE FOR THE LICH KING!” and we’ll yell back.
Come by and join a game of 13th Age:
- Friday, March 1 4pm – 8pm
- Saturday, March 2 10am – 7pm
- Sunday, March 3 10am – 5pm
Also, head over to Artist’s Alley to meet artist Aaron McConnell, see art from the upcoming game, and commission a sketch of your character or one of the icons.
My own shift is on Sunday. I hope to see you there!
Emerald City Comic Con is coming up the end of this month, and the 13th Age crew will be there — Rob Heinsoo and our volunteer GMs will run demos, and I’ll be in the Artist Alley.
I’ve had to turn commission requests down within the past year due to my work schedule, but I’m making the time in the weeks leading up to the convention to do some!
If you’re interested in getting an original drawing of your favorite 13th Age Icon or character, please email me at aranmcconnell(at)hotmail(dot)com with “COMMISSION” in the subject line, to pre-order yours now.
Here’s what I’m offering:
- A black and white single character sketch, full figure or head (like the icons below), 9″x12″ for $50.
Anything beyond that, such as a character along with an icon, is going to cost at least $75 and will depend on the complexity of the image. I think we’ll both be happiest with a straightforward concept that is boiled down to the elegant essence at the core of a character. The sketches at the bottom of the post were done with that sentiment in mind.
So, if you’re planning to be at ECCC please consider signing up for a demo of 13th Age and pre-ordering a sketch! Pre-ordering is the best way to ensure that you’ll be able to get a sketch.
The last time I attended a convention was PAX in Seattle last year and it was a good time. At one point, Lee Moyer and I were both at the table drawing collaborative sketches based on suggestions from fans of 13th Age. The two examples shown at the top of this post are The Leviathan, described to have a “lobster-esque body with the torso and head of a woman, braided beard and eyes without pupils,” and an “11 year old sorcerer boy with ties to the Elf King.”
We were able to work on suggestions like these at PAX because the “commission craze” hasn’t really caught on there like it has at ECCC. At the Comic Con word is out that artists are willing to do sketches for money…surprise, surprise. The pre-order concept has been a popular solution for the artists who want to do more commissions than they can accomplish in a single weekend.
Thank you, and I hope to see you in Seattle!
Rob Heinsoo wasn’t the only GM representing 13th Age at ZOEcon in Seattle. Ash Law (The Reliquary) gives his convention report:
The Dwarf King’s Double’s Second Beard
Our session started with me standing outside the room at ZOECon giving away books. That’s right, I had a load of old game books and was just giving them away! We inherited a ton and while the wife and I picked out the cool or rare stuff (original box set D&D!) we were left with a random assortment of games and supplements that we had no space for. However, plenty of gamers felt differently and classic games found new homes. It was like Christmas, only with less elves and more geeks.
Talking of elves and geeks, I rounded up five players for 13th Age. We ended up with three elves: an elf wizard, an wood elf ranger, and a dark elf sorcerer. Added to the party were a stalwart dwarven fighter and a halfling thief.
At the start of the game I had a good long think about why the group was together. Everyone had a positive icon relationship to the Dwarf King … except the halfling. The halfling had as his One Unique Thing (a neat 13th Age mechanic that lets you shape the world) that he could perfectly imitate a dwarf, and as a background had put 5 points into “I braved untold dangers to steal the Dwarf King’s favorite magical drinking tankard”. Wow – with a cool background like that, adventures just write themselves! So there they started, with the ‘heroes’ being bought in to find the Dwarf King’s missing tankard, and the halfling being bought in to the grand hall in chains.
The dwarf fighter Bristlebeard (as played by Stan!) had as his One Unique Thing that he was the Dwarf King’s body double. Not only did he turn up at official functions when it was too troublesome for the Dwarf King to attend, but he was the second dwarfiest dwarf alive. Naturally Bristlebeard was appointed party leader, with the elf wizard acting as ‘parole officer’ for the halfling.
The group set out to find the mysterious strangers to whom the halfling had sold the sacred tankard, and discovered (thanks to the wood elf ranger who had as a background “Famed Far And Wide As A Tracker [4 points]”) a trail leading northwards to the most northerly of dwarven forts. Worse, the tracks were of a small orc army.
Hitching a ride with the ladies of a dwarven ‘comfort wagon’ due to visit the fort (“Who can resist Bristlebeard’s charms? No dwarf woman – that’s for sure! [3 points]”) the party made quick time towards the fort, as the drow rode ahead on his beast (One Unique Thing: “I have a loyal giant battle tick”). The drow’s keen eyes spotted orcs in the fort, and worse the orcs had spotted them. The drow sorcerer rode back and the party came up with a plan … Bristlebeard and the drow would distract the orcs, while the wizard, ranger, and halfling rogue slip round the back of the fort.
I had the sneaking characters make some Icon Relationship rolls. Both the ranger and the wizard succeeded on rolls for their positive relationships with the Prince of Shadows. We decided that they had attempted to rob this fort in the past as a one-off job for the Prince of Shadows, each of them disguised and unaware of the other’s identity as part of an elaborate heist that didn’t quite work. Not only did they know the layout of the fort but they knew the best place to climb over the back wall.
Meanwhile Bristlebeard convinced the orcs that he was in fact the Dwarf King, and proceeded to moon them with his ‘second beard’. With the orcs distracted and terrified the sneak attack squad climbed in the back, and the halfling got to try out another neat part of 13th Age – “Fail Forward”. The halfling failed his climb roll so I gave him the option – succeed on climbing up but fall off the top of the wall into the courtyard, or climb up but get his coat stuck on a nail and have to free himself. He chose to fall face-first into the courtyard and down he went!
The orcs spun around to see the sneak attack squad getting into position, but before they could react the drow sorcerer charged forward on his riding tick. He hit two orcs with a blast of firey magic, and I pointed out to the player that he might want to use his racial special ability – drow are renowned for their cruelty. Laughing, the player added extra damage to his successful attack and sent orcs screaming off the palisade wall into the courtyard below. Then his tick climbed the fort’s defenses with the sorcerer on his back!
A ten-round fight followed, and I would spare you dear reader from the boring bits, except there weren’t any. In the next half hour the heroes made derring-do, buckled their swash, roared battle cries, and at one point the wood elf jumped sideways off the fort while firing his bow four times, John Woo style. 13th Age really has cool classes. Really cool.
The wood elf ranger was firing arrows, followed by more arrows, and then heck, some more arrows. The halfling was rolling around the place, stabbing and firing his bow. The dwarf stomped around the place, kicking crotches and falling into defensive stances. (He missed a lot, but hey, even when a dwarf fighter misses he can still kick real hard and drop back behind his shield). The elf wizard teleported around the place and put orcs to sleep. The sorcerer … he ‘sorcled’ the heck out of everything with fire and ice and lightning (from the back of a giant bug).
After the battle the party entered the still smoldering ruin of the fort’s forge to discover the Dwarf King’s magic tankard and a magic sword, around which the bodies of the slain dwarves of the fort were arranged in the pattern of a rune. With the sorcerer and the wizard blasting ice magic to make everything safe, Bristlebeard the dwarf rushed in to disrupt the ritual.
Alas, it didn’t work. A demon-thing erupted from the ground and the orcs arose as zombies. While all this was occurring, the drow sorcerer had fabulous magic powers revealed to him as he held aloft the magic sword and loudly proclaimed “I have the power”. There was lightning, a ghostly castle appeared, and the drow’s giant riding tick gained armor.
Another furious battle followed, the dwarf holding the demon-thing at bay while the others fought the evil orc zombies and the sorcerer ‘bravely’ had his tick drag him out of combat and help him run away. It turned out that the whole thing was secretly a ploy by the drow to seize control of the sword that the dwarves had kept hidden in their obscure northern fort, a sword that he knew about because of his connections to the Prince of Shadows – and with that another playing piece was promoted in the great game between the Icons.
With grins around the table we called it a day. Drow are sneaky, halflings and dwarves rock, and elves channel the spirit of John Woo.
If all this sounds like a fantastically good time to you, pre-order 13th Age today.