13th Age

Elevator Pitch: A love letter to D&D from head designers from 3e & 4e, featuring some storygame mechanics as icing.

Core Resolution Mechanic: 1d20 + Modifier vs. Target Number

Dice Used D&D-style dice sets

Summary

The Ages of the world are defined by the Icons, figures whose influence pervades the world: the Emperor, who sits on the Dragon Throne of the Empire of Man, the Lich King whose undead armies seek to destroy it, the Archmage, greatest of mortal wizards, and so on. As the Ages turn, Icons rise and fall based on their actions, and those of their agents . . . and enemies.

In this world, heroes are defined not just by their class and race, but by the ties that bind them to the Icons, whether good, bad, or a little of both. Every hero is unique in some way as well; players can define their place in the world and the world itself by choosing what way that is.

Fantasy adventure awaits! Will you heed the call?

System Features

Characters pick from D&D-style races and classes, each of which gives choices of talents and a bonus to one of the 6 traditional stats. Some also have maneuvers or spells to choose between. Armor and weapons are largely abstracted and based on choice of class.

Characters also get to pick points of Icon Relationships, which can be Positive, Negative, or Conflicted. For every point in a Relationship, the player can roll a d6 to find out whether that might come into play (which could be enemies of the Lich King giving them useful information or knowledge learned from the Archmage helping them out), which could be good, or good . . . but with complications. And, of course, even without Icon rolls, these connections are useful for the GM as they represent the character’s various entanglements with the world.

Each character also gets to choose One Unique Thing about their character. This is a non-mechanical benefit, but can provide all kinds of narrative possibilities. The OUT lets players define their character’s place in the world, and give the GM plenty of story points to hook into.

Scenario

Blood & Lightning (13th Age Core Book)

It’s difficult to exactly describe the adventure since its hook varies based on the Icon relationships of the characters, but here’s an overly generic version: Adventurers travel to Boltstrike Pillar, a wizard-oriented community in the wilderness, from which a fine but violent magic weapon is to be passed along to someone else. When things inevitably go wrong, it’s up to the heroes to make it right!

Getting the Game

You can get both the hardcover and PDF from the publisher Pelgrane Press. or just the PDF from DriveThruRPG. You can also read the SRD if you just want a little more information about how the game works.

13th Age

Ann Arbor Game Day zcipher