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 For those interested in 13th Age

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doctorbadwolf
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PostSubject: Re: For those interested in 13th Age   Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:50 pm

Actually, I plan a basic framework and theme, and improvise from there. I just don't like how 13th Age, from what I've seen so far, handles it.

" so why highlight features that D&D 4E does just as well?"

Well, because 4e does them just as well, and does other things better, IMO. Razz
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chaosfang
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PostSubject: Re: For those interested in 13th Age   Sat Jul 27, 2013 2:00 am

doctorbadwolf wrote:
Actually, I plan a basic framework and theme, and improvise from there. I just don't like how 13th Age, from what I've seen so far, handles it.

" so why highlight features that D&D 4E does just as well?"

Well, because 4e does them just as well, and does other things better, IMO. Razz
If you're looking at 13th Age as D&D 4.5E, then of course you're going to be disappointed because it doesn't carry over everything from 4E.  I look at it as a game that gives a nod to every edition of D&D, taking the lessons from 4E and going from there.

I'd really like to understand what sort of things you're really looking for that can't be catered by either D&D 4E or 13th Age, or what D&D 4E does that 13th Age doesn't.  So far the only things I can think of are warlord, action points, very detailed tactical considerations (combat advantage, charging), homogenized class structure and heavy fluff.

  • If it's making martial classes awesome, 13th Age already does that with every non-caster class in the game at the mechanical level, even with the lack of powers for everyone that isn't a Rogue or Fighter.
  • If it's freeform storytelling, again 13th Age already does that with its backgrounds, Icon relationships and One Unique Thing.
  • If it's being able to improvise and modify a prefabricated framework on the fly, it already has that with the monster tables, environment-based DCs and improvisational to-hit and damage, as well as other improvisational tools including Icon Relationship dice rolls (D&D 4E only has variable DCs, improve damage and monster creation formulas).
  • If it's tactics, even without the warlord there's already a lot of tactics you can take into consideration due to how intercept and a lot of other mechanics intermesh with each other.
  • If its customization, 13th Age already does this with its backgrounds, Icon relationships, One Unique Thing and the part where as long as your DM is okay with it you are free to swap class talents with either class talents from other classes or class powers.
  • If it's progression, again 13th Age offers progression that's similar to D&D 4E's in that at each level you gain something, but instead of 4E's setup where you can gain different powers that have the same effect (see: Rain of Steel and equivalent daily powers at levels 15 and 25), you get more feats that let you specialize in your class talents and class features, and you're also able to get either more powers or more class talents.


And with regards to the exceptions that I'm aware of...

  • warlord: again to be added in 13 True Ways supplement as Battle Captain, and was originally slated to be filled in by just the Bard, were it not for popular support through Kickstarter.
  • action points: made a single player's turn longer, encouraged "nova" dogpiling by a party, especially if there was a warlord in the group (solos easily became mincemeat as a result). Personally I'm glad it's gone, especially since in its place the design of monsters allow multiple mooks to be killed simultaneously in true heroic adventurer style using only basic attacks.
  • very detailed tactical considerations (combat advantage, charging): aside from 13th Age already adding tactics & strategy through conditions, talents, powers/spells, rituals, and use of backgrounds and ability checks, a lot of the tactics became such a standard operating procedure that there's nothing really interesting about them anymore.
  • homogenized class structure: for the purposes of balancing classes, yes 4E achieves it through this, but when you look at powers some tend to be more like spot fillers than anything: Ranger powers are mostly Twin Strike variants, Barbarian abilities are mostly more damage and maybe a self-buff/heal or two, Paladins generally fall into just 3 categories (damage-dealer, tank, healer/buffer), which dips into (Battle) Cleric territory.  So far I've been able to translate every 4E character I've handled mechanically and thematically to 13th Age, mostly without the need to modify or add any mechanics (but just in case I do need to houserule in stuff, not only is the system transparent enough to make homebrewing easy, there's also a fanbase in the Google+ Community that's willing and eager to help with their own set of homebrew material).
  • heavy fluff: ironically, 4E is best known as fluff-light, and just like 4E 13th Age leaves all the fluff up to the groups rather than defining it in the core book for easy refluffing.  Having said that, even in the book there are a lot of details that can help inspire players to create their own characters that work well alongside or in place of existing content


What have I missed out?

EDIT: so far the only concerns I see are "it's ten levels only" and "it works best when storytelling is done randomly." The former is mainly an issue of story/game pacing, the latter is simply a style of DMing that is supported by the game. Rob Heinsoo prefers random rolls, Jonathan Tweet prefers a more systematic approach, both styles are supported in 13th Age.
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