Friday, July 20, 2012

13th Age

You may have noticed that I've been putting time into developing ideas for 13th Age this week.  The Escalation Edition has really grabbed me and I've had a blast the few times I've run it.

I came late to the party on 13th Age, in many ways. I didn't find out about it until the end of the first round of playtesting and I was in full DnD Next Closed Playtest mode, so I still didn't look very hard at it.  I played a bit of the second playtest, but again it was drowned out by the DnD Next Open Playtest.  I did however, like enough of what I saw on the second playtest to preorder the game and get the Escalation Edition PDF.  I'm very, very glad that I did.

Several things led me to investigate 13th Age.

First, we'd been playing quite a bit of Pathfinder and at higher levels we started thinking 4E might be easier for many of our newer players to learn.  So we began moving to 4E, which worked out pretty well, but high level seemed to be bogged down in choices, or at least the illusion of choices.  I was looking for some kind of compromise to the two.  Describing 13th Age like that is unfair however, it really seems to pick the best parts of each edition of DnD and many of the other games both creators have worked on.  I particularly love that 10th Level is Epic play, that suits my tastes just fine.

Second, when my hiatus from the Gatherers game is over, I had the idea of switching games systems to represent new planes.  13th Age, along with FantasyCraft, HackMaster 5E, AD&D 1E and Arcanis were all under consideration.  13th Age is definitely going to be the choice for the next Plane they go to, if not longer.

Third, while I understand WotC is trying to produce polished material for the Open Playtest, I'd like something new from them.  Fire Opal Media has given me a nearly complete game and I really appreciate that.  I don't expect a complete game from WotC yet, but I'm disappointed with the speed of new material.

I decided to run 13th Age this weekend and again earlier this week by continuing the Duchy of St. Cuthbert game.  The characters were leveling up to 2nd level and I simply converted them to the new system as I leveled them.

I thouroughly enjoyed 13th Age, which is not surprising as I'm a huge fan of both Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet, the game's developers.  I really appreciated Heinsoo's role with the Feng Shui RPG, when he was with Daedalus and have followed Tweet's work since Over the Edge and WotC's edition of Talislanta.

"A love letter to DnD" is a perfect description of the game and I'm a trifle sad to say that it has climbed over DnD Next to be on top of my list of preferred games to run.

Dicey, my plush Escalation Die!
I very much enjoy the Escalation Die (starting at round 2 you set a D6 to 1 and every round it increases until it reaches 6).  The number on the die is added to the "to hit" rolls of PC's and some opponents.

I can't recommend the game enough and I've already reskinned the Barbarian into a Psion for a player (I'll post it soon).

If you like the best spiritual components of DnD, Feng Shui, and Over the Edge in one game, buy 13th Age right now.

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