Thursday, February 12, 2015

Crushing on 13th Age

I’m a little in love with 13th Age. Thomas has been running an online 13th Age for John and I and it is all kinds of enjoyable, enjoyable enough that I am more than happy to get up at 6:30am on a Sunday morning to play regardless of whether or not I was up until 1:30am drinking and playing boardgames the night before or that I had 8 hours of Numenera to run later that afternoon. (You can find more on my initial thoughts here).
Go read Thomas’ last post on running 13th Age, he covers a more story/montage based technique that he took from a 13th Age module that I quite enjoyed. This post will be here waiting for you when you get back.

So, what do I love about 13th Age? Using backgrounds as the skill mechanic, One Unique Thing, the Icons, the setting (more on that later in a later post), the approach to classes where each is distinct in flavor and in mechanics. The introductory adventure, Blood and Lightning, which is one of my favorite adventures I’ve read, played or run. Previously I had complained about my Rogue not having enough choice of powers, but hitting 3rd level really fixed that issue (and were I to make another rogue or advise someone making another rogue, I’d recommend that they not double up on powers/class features that did similar things, as I ended up with the Tumble feature and Tumbling strike).
But until this last week I didn’t have my own copy of the hardbook, just a copy of the pdf ( and previous experience has taught me that it’s often better to have a hard copy of at least the core rule book at the table when I run the game, even if I’ve got the PDF that I can pull up on one of them newfangled tablet thingies. But I really wanted to run Blood and Lightning, so I ran it using D&D 5E, porting in the 13th Age Background/Skill system and Icons, with their attendant mechanics. I also used the GM Intrusion for Inspiration mechanic discussed in this post.
To my amazement, it all worked pretty well, I had 4 players who created 3rd level characters and we played through the entire adventure (with character creation) in about 6 hours. Integrating the 13th Age background/skills mechanic into 5E went a little smoother than last time, partly because many of the players had been exposed to it before and because it was my 3rd D&D 5E game running/playing with that mechanic. The Icons worked into the game easily as well, I continue to be impressed at how well they impart a sense of setting and tone even when only briefly introduced, but I suppose that they are, well, Iconic. All in all an excellent time was had by all.  And now I really want to run 13th Age itself (and have the core book in hardcover to do so), especially since I want to run Eyes of the Stone Thief for my Sunday group after I finish my Numenera run, because it looks so incredibly cool (warning for my players, you shouldn’t look too much because spoilers). But I’m going to be good and hold off on pulling the trigger on the pre-order until I get my group to decide if a 13th Age MegaDungeon hunt is what they’d like to do next.

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