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 For those interested in 13th Age

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Felorn Gloryaxe
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PostSubject: For those interested in 13th Age   Mon Jun 10, 2013 4:07 pm

This is a video for those interested in 13th Age.



For those that don't know what 13th Age is go here: http://www.pelgranepress.com/?cat=248

To me it seems that 13th Age is almost an evolution of the 4th Edition rules. Much like Pathfinder is to 3e.

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PostSubject: Re: For those interested in 13th Age   Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:43 pm

Does look good. Another great system is Dungeon World, although it's not much like 4e.

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PostSubject: Re: For those interested in 13th Age   Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:02 pm

I've heard of Dungeon World. What is it like?

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PostSubject: Re: For those interested in 13th Age   Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:03 am

Felorn Gloryaxe wrote:
I've heard of Dungeon World. What is it like?
It's an extremely rules-light, story-centric system that's basically D&D-ish at only skin-deep level; mechanically it's nothing like D&D -- Marvel Roleplaying Game seems like a closer comparison to it -- but what I really like about the system is that it has a lot of good DMing tips as well.

You don't have to take my word for it, since a free version can be found here Smile

In terms of number and weight of rules, I'd say that Dungeon World is rules-light, 13th Age is rules-moderate, and all editions of D&D are rules-heavy.

Currently I'm running 13th Age for a couple of campaigns, and this Sunday I'm off to run a one-shot adventure as part of my birthday Smile Personally the main appeal of 13th Age to me is that while it's a narrative-oriented system, it still feels like a game much like D&D has felt like to me. Dungeon World definitely does well as a medium for narrative, but I'm not comfortable (yet) with the idea of having sessions end up more like an exchange of stories than a game where stories can be made from.

Oh yeah, and in terms of character customization, 13th Age has a lot more to offer than Dungeon World Razz
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PostSubject: Re: For those interested in 13th Age   Wed Jun 12, 2013 7:05 am

^ What he said. ^ Also, LiMs originally come from Dungeon World's fronts.

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PostSubject: Re: For those interested in 13th Age   Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:42 am

Is 13th Age in print yet?


I really like having new material to look forward to, and I've played a lot of 4e. Having something that's in the same sort of spirit when my group finally tires of 4e would be cool.

also, I wanted 5e, when it came, to be an evolution from 4e, with heavy influence from 2e, fixing the mistakes of both. Kinda sounds like 13th Age is that game, more or less.
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PostSubject: Re: For those interested in 13th Age   Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:47 am

Gah. I really hope that his "how I feel about 4th edition" thing is a matter of all the shit he's gotten about the game, and not about how he feels about the game itself.
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PostSubject: Re: For those interested in 13th Age   Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:35 pm

doctorbadwolf wrote:
Is 13th Age in print yet?


I really like having new material to look forward to, and I've played a lot of 4e. Having something that's in the same sort of spirit when my group finally tires of 4e would be cool.

also, I wanted 5e, when it came, to be an evolution from 4e, with heavy influence from 2e, fixing the mistakes of both. Kinda sounds like 13th Age is that game, more or less.

Indeed it is! Smile Those who pre-ordered can get their copy of the game around July I think Very Happy

And yeah I think 13th Age does fit that exact description.  You can get a preview of the mechanics in the following links, including an Excel-based Character Sheet that'll help give you an idea of how the system works Smile

GM Aid
Player Aid
Rob Heinsoo's 2-Hour Game Demo
Automated Character Sheet
13th Age Resources Page in Pelgrane Press
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PostSubject: Re: For those interested in 13th Age   Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:59 pm

THanks! 


that whole "engaged" thing is actually really close to how I handle gridless combat in 4e.
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PostSubject: Re: For those interested in 13th Age   Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:59 pm

the intercept thing, though, I hadn't thought of. Stealing that for my system. Razz
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PostSubject: Re: For those interested in 13th Age   Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:46 pm

It does sound good.

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PostSubject: Re: For those interested in 13th Age   Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:41 pm

Admittedly if you prefer a more balanced game for 13th Age you may have to implement a few houserules -- primarily in the number of powers that complex classes get -- and you might have to add a few talents & feats for certain classes to give them greater utility, but otherwise it works quite well off the bat; I've yet to convert characters from D&D 4E to 13th Age that didn't get to retain the feel of said characters, even though mechanically they don't all have the AEDU of D&D 4E.  As I mentioned in another thread, the fact that you're balancing for only 10 levels instead of 20 or 30 is quite the godsend, and the transparency of the system allows you to turn simple classes into complex or semi-complex classes, and vice versa, making it easy to make the game look much more like 4E if desired.
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PostSubject: Re: For those interested in 13th Age   Tue Jul 09, 2013 5:24 pm

I still want to purchase a copy of 13th Age. I was going to yesterday but for some reason it kept declining my card.

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PostSubject: Re: For those interested in 13th Age   Tue Jul 09, 2013 8:12 pm

Felorn Gloryaxe wrote:
I still want to purchase a copy of 13th Age. I was going to yesterday but for some reason it kept declining my card.
You can send an e-mail to Cat Tobin, he's in charge of stuff like this cat@pelgranepress.com
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PostSubject: Re: For those interested in 13th Age   Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:08 pm

The ten levels thing is the biggest thing making me wary of the system.

My problem with level based systems tends to be that they don't allow long enough character progression.

4e, of course, had plenty of levels, but the last ten were so weird that I didn't like them. It wasn't anything to do with the game breaking down, it was just the whole Epic design goal. I don't want that either. I just want more levels, that increase at the same rate as the first ten levels.

-shrug- we'll see.
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PostSubject: Re: For those interested in 13th Age   Fri Jul 12, 2013 1:17 am

doctorbadwolf wrote:
The ten levels thing is the biggest thing making me wary of the system.

My problem with level based systems tends to be that they don't allow long enough character progression.

4e, of course, had plenty of levels, but the last ten were so weird that I didn't like them. It wasn't anything to do with the game breaking down, it was just the whole Epic design goal. I don't want that either. I just want more levels, that increase at the same rate as the first ten levels.

-shrug- we'll see.
If it's simply a matter of "character progression", you can always use the Level Increment system in 13th Age, where instead of gaining an entire level after 3-4 adventures, you can end up gaining a fraction of your character's next level after each session or adventure, allowing you to stretch or shrink the leveling scale as needed. Then there's the fact that experience points in 13th Age don't exist at all, which means you can play four hours a day, twice a week, for an entire year and reach only level 4 after all that, with other in-world stuff that can represent character progression, like gaining an army, constructing a fortress, crafting new spells, and other events in the world.

Stretching the 13th Age system so that it fits 20, or even 30 levels can easily work just by adapting the Level Increment system of 13th Age so that instead of a more fluid "you gain one portion of your character's next level", you end up with "you gain one level, which grants you a third or half of what a PC normally gains in the original leveling system.", distributing stuff so that level 10 13th Age default = level 20, 30 or even 60 in your homebrew setup.

Then there's the question of "when does your character actually stop progressing within the context of the game?" If the answer is that they don't stop (*ever*), then yes level-based systems might be problematic... although considering that historically speaking, campaigns rarely reached past level 10 in D&D -- much less level 20 (and this includes D&D 4E) -- due to both mechanical and plot issues, if your group don't want to retire their characters after facing off multiverse and multi-planar threats by the time the highest possible level is reached, then I'd have to wonder myself: how do you continue the character progression of characters that have already achieved everything possible relative to their characters within the scope of the game?

Short of it is, DM dictates level progression in 13th Age. Character progression is wholly the purview of the players as they face the numerous challenges given to them by the DM.
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PostSubject: Re: For those interested in 13th Age   Fri Jul 12, 2013 2:16 am

Look, I get that you dig 13th Age. That's cool.

But please don't pull the "we disagree so I'm going to question how you play the game" thing.

Wanting more levels is not about wanting to go past the silly epic level campaign stuff of DnD Epic levels, or even ever go anywhere near those things.

While the incremental level thing might work, it also very easily might not. It depends how much a character normally gets per level, honestly. If it amounts to what DDO does with enhancements, it won't be good enough, and I won't get that much use out of 13th Age.

To give a possibly better example, I want Star Wars Saga to have more levels, but to not have anything even vaguely resembling dnd's epic content, ever. I just want more levels feature the same sorts of things available at previous levels.

Remember, in my last post, I went on a mini rant about how I don't like epic tier in 4e, because it's too wacky and out of control.
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PostSubject: Re: For those interested in 13th Age   Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:48 am

Normal level increments (check each one until you get all of it, which puts you one step short of actually leveling up):

  • Ability score bonus (levels 4, 7, 10)
  • Feat
  • Hit points
  • Magic item "slot"
  • Power/spell
  • Ability checks bonus
  • Talent (levels 5 and 8 for simple classes, 6 for Fighter)
  • Icon Relationship Point (levels 5, 8 )

Attack (to-hit, damage) and defense bonuses only increase when you actually level up.

Limiting ourselves to constant bonuses, that's 4 things acquired per increment by all classes, 5 if you count the bonuses you gain when you actually level up.  More complex classes get slightly more stuff (+1 power per level) than simple classes (+1 talent at levels 5 & 8 ), but given how simple classes are designed to be simple to play and simple to manage, the slightly lesser number of features acquired per level seem appropriate enough.
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PostSubject: Re: For those interested in 13th Age   Fri Jul 12, 2013 4:00 pm

So, you get one of those things per increment?
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PostSubject: Re: For those interested in 13th Age   Fri Jul 12, 2013 5:33 pm

doctorbadwolf wrote:


...Wanting more levels is not about wanting to go past the silly epic level campaign stuff of DnD Epic levels, or even ever go anywhere near those things.

While the incremental level thing might work, it also very easily might not. It depends how much a character normally gets per level, honestly. If it amounts to what DDO does with enhancements, it won't be good enough, and I won't get that much use out of 13th Age.

To give a possibly better example, I want Star Wars Saga to have more levels, but to not have anything even vaguely resembling dnd's epic content, ever. I just want more levels feature the same sorts of things available at previous levels.

Remember, in my last post, I went on a mini rant about how I don't like epic tier in 4e, because it's too wacky and out of control.

I agree. A rulebook with more levels should be available. But I don't think high levels should be about toppling gods. Never in my opinion should PCs get the chance to kill gods. I wouldn't mind seeing Core D&D being lvls 1-30. Then make two product lines: One that continues leveling as normal, and one that goes on to epic level stuff. The epic stuff could have its own separate support including a DMG 3, a Epic Monster Manual, and epic player support. The other book series could be called something along the lines of: "The Adventure Continues: (Insert Player Manual Name here)" where it continued leveling character like normal without the crazy stuff.

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PostSubject: Re: For those interested in 13th Age   Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:00 pm

doctorbadwolf wrote:
So, you get one of those things per increment?
Yes. In the official character sheet, there's a list of increment bonuses that have a checkbox next to them. Simply check place a check for each increment bonus that you gain, until you actually level up.

The increments are consistent across all classes, with the only difference found in the form of acquiring more powers vs. acquiring more talents. You can probably stretch this out to even more levels, since the algorithm is consistent throughout the tiers, and the only problem you'd have would be at the DM side, since the hit points and average damage that monsters acquire per level is a little harder to gauge from there...

... having said that, Jonathan Tweet's algorithm on adjusting monsters might actually be useful in this regard, where you can see how adding a level and raising all of its stats = +1 to hit and defenses & +25% to maxHP and average damage.

With all this in mind, you can probably set up an algorithm that would allow you to play 13th Age from level 1 to level infinity, where a level 1000 PC could be doing 1000d10+STR^n and a monster would have insane amounts of hit points...and you generally need not even re-design the classes for those astronomical levels if you don't want, although modifying spells to scale might be a problem.

That being said, treating 13th Age as a level-free system seems possible as well, not only through the existence of level increments, but because the game itself does not require PCs to level up. True, the default is that you level up after around 3-4 game sessions or roughly 12-16 scenes/fights, but there is no requirement for the DM to level up PCs.
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PostSubject: Re: For those interested in 13th Age   Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:35 pm

Yeah...

I get the value of all that, but what it means for me and my group is that it's a system that supports 10 levels, or you can have levels that don't do that much, with some where you get something as boring as more HP, and nothing else.

We'll probably try it anyway, because so much else of the system looks cool, but I doubt it will be something we'll play a lot of.

One of the things that makes 4e such a good system for us is that we can start a campaign as already experienced, relatively powerful characters, and have that feel right (by feeling different than campaigns where we start as fairly green adventurers) and still have a campaign that has plenty of room to grow.

As I've said before, what I don't like is that the way power scales in 4e makes higher levels unavoidably crazy/cosmic.

The rarity of a system that allows what we like to do in 4e, without the extraneously epic high level game is the reason that I'm building my own system right now. Well, one reason.
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PostSubject: Re: For those interested in 13th Age   Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:51 pm

If you're going to try it out, you might also want to check this out: http://www.pelgranepress.com/?p=9061 (from the DM's point of view that'll be http://robheinsoo.blogspot.com/2012/09/playing-13th-age-at-penny-arcade.html )

While you can run 13th Age the same way you run typical RPGs, what I've learned from both reading that page and running the game is that 13th Age is designed with improvisation heavily in mind; if you combine it with Dungeon World's GM Moves the task becomes even easier, but even on its own it suffices for my own needs.  In addition, just like in 4E, 13th Age has PCs starting out as actual adventurers -- none of that "I start off weak and easily killed" (that's what level 0 mooks are for) -- but because it's scaled for 10 levels rather than 30, the power scaling for me is still within reason**. So maybe I'm just baffled as to why you're so wary about 13th Age's character progression even though it seems to do just about everything you're asking from the system.  Is it because you're used to D&D's 20+ level scaling with EXP, even though D&D 4E can easily be scaled down to 10 or 15 levels if you compress feat + half level bonuses into the rest of the system?  I don't know, I don't want to make assumptions.

** based on my analysis of both D&D 4E and 13th Age, even though the story scaling of 13th Age is the equivalent of level 30 D&D 4E, mechanically 13th Age characters progress up to the equivalent of level 20 D&D 4E characters, and while there's an imbalance in number of powers/class talents, when you consider the fact that D&D 4E Ranger powers are mostly comprised of A) Twin Strike and variants, B) powers that let the Beast Companion attack simultaneously with the Ranger, and C) powers that favor mobility and dps, I've always found that there are only a fairly small number of powers from 4E that actually need translation to 13th Age at the mechanical level.
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PostSubject: Re: For those interested in 13th Age   Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:14 am

You know...it actually might have been better if I hadn't read that.

I really don't like what he calls the "Mephistophelean School" of GMing. It requires a superb GM just to make it not irritate me.

I'm still going to give the game a try, but that article discourages me. Not just because it presents that sort of GMing as a good thing, but because it posits the idea that 13th Age runs best when you let "storytelling mechanics" determine where the story goes, which in my experience leads to very random, and thus often nonsensical or at least somewhat disjointed adventures. I don't want players figuring out what sort of person their character is by what dice result come up. I want them thinking about it and coming to the table with characters that already have motivations, quirks and other characteristics.

IDK. The article may have just rubbed me the wrong way. Like I said, still gonna give it a try.
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PostSubject: Re: For those interested in 13th Age   Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:24 am

  • Characters in 13th Age already have "motivations, quirks and other characteristics" through a combination of their One Unique Thing, Backgrounds (think FATE's Aspects or Dogs in the Vineyard's backgrounds), and the "alignment" system also known as Icon Relationships.
  • When you look at how Relationship Dice -- the mechanic you seem to claim makes players figure out "what sort of person their character is by what dice comes up" -- actually work, they're there for utility more than anything; by default the DM isn't forced to allow every relationship die roll, and usually the relationship dice roll is more as an improvisation aid than anything (remember, in those entries Rob Heinsoo does not plan out his demos, and relies heavily on what the players themselves create).
  • To add to this, as long as you design your sessions with Backgrounds, One Unique Thing, and Icos in mind, it's very unlikely that you're going to end up with "nonsensical or... disjointed adventures". How can it be disjointed when you design the session or campaign around the PCs' Icons, and the default answer to relationship die rolls would be one of three things: "Icon help you", "Icon helps you but at a price", "Icon doesn't help you"? At worst you're just going to make tweaks that make the players' lives easier or harder, but still headed towards the same direction that you planned out.

I'm guessing you're the type of DM that loves to prep for your games, and 13th Age can definitely be run that way -- you can have players roll their relationship dice at the end of every session instead of at the beginning so you have lots of time to create an adventure -- but the system does provide you the tools that can help you improvise during scenes and even create whole (random) sessions that can easily be strung together into a cohesive story, because even though they're randomly created, they still adhere to the stories found in the PCs' backgrounds, unique things and Icon relationships.

The articles I included highlight those tools, and I decided to share them because in most of its mechanics, dynamics and aesthetics, the system can already be considered the spiritual successor of D&D 4E, so why highlight features that D&D 4E does just as well?
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