13th Age

High adventure by Zoom, from the Faerûn to the Dragon Empire to the Lands of Rûl. D&D 5th Edition (Wizards of the Coast), 13th Age (Pelgrane Press), Shadow of the Demon Lord (Schwalb Entertainment)

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13th Age

Post by nemarsde »

Looks like bigby, nem and rossi have been talking about 13th Age, using the 7 Icon Campaign. Here we will copy and paste various exerpts from our emails, discussing the game and how everyone's 13th Age campaign setting is home grown using the Dragon Empire as a basis.

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Tranche 1 Emails

Post by nemarsde »

On Tue, 21 Jul 2020 at 22:58, rossi720 <ross.d@goplay.com wrote:

For extra Cleric options to use in a Vincent build, see Dark Alleys & Twisted Paths' extra Domain Talents and spells.

Frex I'm thinking Archery / Hunting for a gunslinging angle, and Metal / Smithing for being a creative technologist.

On Tue, 21 Jul 2020 at 22:38, nemarsde <nem@goplay.com wrote:

Try this for a character sheet.


On Tue, 14 Jul 2020 at 20:57, Bigby <bddb@goplay.com wrote:


Well of course if you want to take a slight Lord of the Rings spin on things, the orcs might be quite into industry and technology!



On Tue, 14 Jul 2020 at 20:25, nemarsde <nem@goplay.com wrote:

Yeah, I think the god-parasites will have really gone to town on the
formalisation of their religion. Sort of a combine of Christianity and
Ancient Egyptian.

They think they do god's work. Yet the Hierophant is the figurehead of
their religion. The difference is, whilst others seek Enlightenment,
she really is Enlightened and realises the truth of the matter.

Technos might not actually be a god in the same way Cor is, btw.
Technos should probably be a paradigm, an ideal, a nirvana, that the
ancient space race believed in. The notion of a universe
comprehensible through scientific study.

"Magic" is anathema to that, because it's made up and contradictory.
It shouldn't work but it does on Cor, because Cor himself is an

I don't think I want to define the Wild Queen quite yet. She upholds
the Wild, yes, and at the very least that means she (and the elves)
understand what the Cosmos is. The Sun and Moon go round the planet,
etc. I'm picturing her as a sort of Maleficent character, but what
else that might mean I don't know yet.

The Dwarf King and his people are locked in a crusade against the
demon hordes that are rising from Hell beneath the earth, flooding the
dwarves' ancestral homes.

All the dragons, The Three, and the Golden One, I'm imagining as
Chinese-style Immortals. Humanoid avatars, with a Chinese fantasy

The Orc Lord I haven't thought about. His forces are piled up on the
frontier as in the boilerplate setting. That's where they might stay.


On Tue, 14 Jul 2020 at 19:38, rossi720 <ross.d@goplay.com wrote:

Clerics and other miracle-workers as unwitting god-parasites? That does tickle me.

Presumably most worshippers would have to be oblivious to the discomfort caused to Cor, folks generally like to think they're doing the right thing after all.

Hmm. Maybe it's not the worship directly being an issue, but the fact they've fractured his power into a pantheon of competing entities?

(I'm guessing Technos isn't part of Cor at all - are there many other gods similarly independent, or is that unusual?)

What is it about the Wild Queen's actual approach that makes it less draining on Cor? Just removing they intermediary gods, or something about the practices too?

On Tue, 14 Jul 2020 at 17:11, Bigby <bddb@goplay.com wrote:

Could be an interesting take on the traditional Geia theory. The planet wants nothing to do with the pesky infection that is life on it. Not only would Cor not want any follows taking his energy but would be actively pursuing a program of fighting the infection!

The Wild Queen may believe that all-life is sacred and be in opposition to Cor. Or could view humans as a scourge that needs eradicating to protect all other life. Would make for a weird dynamic where they both want to purge humans, but Cor wants to purge all life.

Maybe a little too destructive though.

On Tue, 14 Jul 2020, 17:06 nemarsde, <nem@goplay.com wrote:

Well I was thinking, if Cor is this wild, dreaming god-planet, upon
which sentient life has found itself, maybe Cor doesn't want a
religion made out of him. Maybe his worshippers are extracting divine
magic from him.

The Wild Queen might have the opposite stance, and be about "being
one" with the planet. Not take-take-take like the religious nuts in
Santa Cora.


On Tue, 14 Jul 2020 at 15:30, Bigby <bddb@goplay.com wrote:

Makes sense.

Its fine for the "earth" and animal kingdom to be separated concepts.

On Mon, 13 Jul 2020, 07:59 nemarsde, <nem@goplay.com wrote:

7 Icons questions whether The Hierophant would be based in Horizon or
Santa Cora. I think our Hierophant is a Horizon-lass. Santa Cora is
clearly related to the god, Cor. Probably named after some Christ-like
figure from ancient times.

I imagine it as still being a religious town, a centre of worship of a
pantheon of gods, which are all manifestations of Cor. These religions
would probably believe that the Sun and Moon revolve around the

This puts an interesting spin on the Wild Queen. If Cor is effectively
an Earth-god, what does that mean for the Wild?


On Wed, 8 Jul 2020 at 16:29, Bigby <bddb@goplay.com wrote:


I am digging the idea that Vincent is the reluctant hero. Counterpoints nicely with Ross's character. Should make for some good roleplaying opportunities down the line when responsibility is thrust upon him.



On Wed, 8 Jul 2020 at 14:31, nemarsde <nem@goplay.com wrote:

Yes, something is definitely coming together.

And that's a nice idea about seeking out Krull. As a kid, I recall
wanting an awesome magic throwing star thing like the hero has, but I
haven't watched it since.

Masters of the Universe. This has some great costume and set design
for the Eternia scenes. Frank Langela is brilliant as Skeletor. This
aesthetic more than any other is what I have in mind. Obviously most
of the film is set in small town America but don't let that distract

https://cdn.collider.com/wp-content/upl ... iverse.jpg


https://www.syfy.com/sites/syfy/files/s ... rse_03.jpg

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/33/c9/45 ... 92bc16.png


On Wed, 8 Jul 2020 at 14:00, Bigby <bddb@goplay.com wrote:


On Wed, 8 Jul 2020 at 10:47, nemarsde <nem@goplay.com wrote:


That was a productive if a little late convo last night.

Yeah, I was really tired last night. Went straight to bed after and slept for over 9 hours.

It's important not to be discouraged and remember that
head-scratching, head-banging, conflab and spitballing are all part of
the creative process.

The issue for me is that my tried and trusted method of character creation was not available. So I was left floundering like a beached fish. And it was getting stressful.

So Big, your ideas have inspired me in a sort of Eighties, sci-fantasy
direction that I'm definitely digging.

I think your cleric (we'll call him a cleric for now, even if he
doesn't end up as one) could have a close relationship with The
Heirophant, and I'm now seeing her in a different way too.


I have this notion that the Heirophant has deduced that the world, the
planet or at least its Core is actually a god, and that Hell is
growing out from the Core.

This ties in very timely to coronavirus, the environment, and that New
Age idea of Earth trying to rebalance or purge itself of humanity.

Maybe this Core God, who we might call Cor (as in Cor Blimey!), is
Hellish, or Hell is just something Cor has created to carry out the
purge. (Kind of like creating a virus pandemic.)

Ok! This is useful anchoring for me.

Anyway, Ross mentioned an idea from 13th Age Book of Ages that in a
previous age, a starship crashed on the planet and caused a kind of
magical revolution. I love this. It reminds me of the Coldfire
Trilogy, one of my all-time favourite fantasy novels. I think this
magical revolution might have been a chain reaction from the
super-science of the ship or possibly the sentient creatures onboard.

This changed a world that was amorphous and constantly
changing---reflecting the mind of Cor (like one planet-scale living
dungeon)---into something more solid, static and Earth-like. Conflict
has ensued ever since.

Archmages have defined laws of magic to keep the whole thing together,
piecemeal, more like English Common Law than the Laws of Physics. But
kind of like English Common Law, it's groaning under the weight of its
own baggage and labyrinthine, often arbitrary, sometimes ridiculous.
Like nunchuks are banned.^^

In The Heirophant's opinion, it's on the verge of collapse, Cor is
angry, she can't fight that but she has a vision. Deep within her
conclave in Horizon, she builds a temple to an older god, one from
where the starship originated. Technos let's call it. A temple that
will use magic to ascend to the heavens, into the Outer Space, before
leaving Cor behind. On this temple-ship will be her chosen followers
and it will carry them to a future away from magic. A future of
technology. Stable. Logical. Sustainable.

But of course that means her grand plan is basically saying to the
Dragon Empire, "Screw you guys, I'm going home", so it's top secret.
And who will take her place? Will the surface of the planet be left to
bubble up into one global Hell? Will someone save us all!?

A couple of things here we can riff on. My original concept had Vincent dealing in relatively low tech stuff. Hi-tech epic starships did not come into it. But let's go with that. Lets say that the Heirophant has to work with what she has. Vincent. He is not ready for the hi-tech stuff. So is being spoon fed things at a pace that will not explode his mind. It may be that Vincent cannot cope with the full story. But maybe the next generation will be able to.

I also envisaged Vincent as a starter. Not an epic character that saves the planet. I'm not big into the larger than life heros thing. But again lets go with that. Lets say that what Vincent wants and will get are two very different things. That there is not time to lead Vincent graduall. That he does need to be the hero. And over time the Heirphant is going to get less gentle and less hand holding. Maybe the story (our campaign) starts with that turning point. Vicnent, mild mannered cleric and possibly the only Technos worshipper on the planet, neds to become a hero. Fast.

Anyway, the anchoring has helped a lot. The above hints at some one unique things and some icon relationships as well.

I don't know, I'm spitballing, but there's something cool going on here.

I'm seeing a world that's kind of like Krull, mostly medieval and
backwards but with these weird cities or castles, shiny centres of

I have seen this movie, but a long time ago. Time to dig it out!




On Sat, 4 Jul 2020 at 10:43, Bigby <bddb@goplay.com wrote:

Right. So really 13th gives you a skeleton framework but encourages the players and GM to fill in the meat. Interesting.

On Sat, 4 Jul 2020, 10:32 nemarsde, <nem@goplay.com wrote:

As concisely as possible:

13th Age assumes your game will have factions. It wants your
characters to shape and interconnect with those factions.

So it starts by laying out 7 (13 as standard) Icons. These are the
Iconic figureheads of the factions.

The names of the Icons are determined by the gaming group, as are the
names of any factions they might command.

If we were to adapt Star Wars by this method, we might say The Three
are the Hutt Cartel, with Jabba being one of the bosses. The Wild
Queen would probably be Yoda (we only ever see him without his
lipstick), the Heirophant Princess Leia and the Rebellion, which would
make the Emperor the Queen of Hell (you just know he wears fishnet
tights and garter-belt under that robe) and the Galactic Empire his
faction. The Guardians of the Whills would be a faction of the Wild
Queen. The Inquisitorius would be a faction of the Queen of Hell, etc.

So for example, our Dwarf King will probably have a name, a well known
name. He might be the latest in a long line of Dwarf Kings, he might
be a reincarnation of an earlier one, or he might be deathless, maybe
he's the first ever dwarf and has no name, we just don't know yet.
This is a large part of the fun of a 13th Age game. It's very

Because of how it plays, you don't have to decide all this stuff at
the start either. Let's say yours and Ross's character concepts make
no mention of the Dwarf King, you show no interest in the Dwarf King,
and the GM has no ideas for the Dwarf King. Pretty good chance the
Dwarf King will never crop up, so he remains just the Dwarf King,
side-lined, never developed any further that than.

When you create your character you decide what Icons they are
connected to. This might be because they know the Icon personally, or
are involved with a faction of theirs (which you'll probably make-up
yourself). Their relationship with the Icons can also alter what
abilities they gain from their character class, so that's worth

The idea is that by the time you've created your character, the game
world is interwoven with them.


On Sat, 4 Jul 2020 at 00:22, Bigby <bddb@goplay.com wrote:


I've read it. Not sure I understand the nuances of what it means. Fortunately I have no preconceptions. This would be useful to discuss on Tue. What the icons really mean for the game.



On Fri, 3 Jul 2020, 20:23 nemarsde, <nem@goplay.com wrote:

There's something coalescing here and it definitely has an Eighties
fantasy vibe that I'm digging.

That 7 Icons Campaign PDF is required reading though, so go through
it, let it percolate. It's effectively what we have for a campaign
setting at present, so is the foundation on which we build.

Let me know if you've read it.


On Thu, 2 Jul 2020 at 23:41, Bigby <bddb@goplay.com wrote:


It might be that Cleric fits nicely as a counterpoint to the Necromancer. Sorcerer however may be a nice counterpoint to science. So I learn all about magic and the damage it has done, the failed attempts to repair the world and reckon that there must be a better, different way. I might have to use magic to get there, but maybe the end goal is the destruction of all magic, arcane, divine and otherwise.



On Thu, 2 Jul 2020 at 23:32, Bigby <bddb@goplay.com wrote:


I will take a look at the Monk and Bard. Bard does not quite feel right. Sorcerer might even be an option?



On Wed, 1 Jul 2020 at 23:21, rossi720 <ross.d@goplay.com wrote:

Curious stuff, cheers for the update.

If you fancy looking at alternative classes to Cleric, it occurs to me you could do a wandering sage / loremaster / holy man type with a Bard (potent hymns and chants?) or indeed a Monk.

(both have a few more mechanical aspects to play with than Cleric, which is a fairly straightforward class iirc)

Would Vincent see the overabundance and / or overuse of magic in the world as a problem to be addressed? Can it be addressed at all, or is the world too broken by past magical calamities to be fixed with scientific rigor?

I'll throw some mumblings together regarding my own ideas tomorrow hopefully.



On Wed, 1 Jul 2020, 21:49 Bigby, <bddb@goplay.com wrote:


I have given this some more thought and here are the notes as they develop.

A cleric instructed in science and technology.
Blends both faith, magic and science.
Always writing and sketching in a notebook.
Always playing with gadgets. Experimenting. Will have a spyglass, watch, compass and other such trappings of science and technology. Always looking to do things by science not magic. maybe he sees this as a way of freeing the world from endless magical calamity.
Maybe someone older. Balding.
Maybe noble born. Maybe he has lands and income. But he cares little for the trappings of nobility.
Wears glasses.
He is a seeker of knowledge.

No idea yet about the one-unique-thing.



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7 Icon Campaign

Post by nemarsde »

Rather than us all take out a subscription, here is the relevant issue 08:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BhjN9A ... sp=sharing

The notion is that 13 Icons might match nicely with the 13th Age title, but 13 is overkill for most campaigns. 7 Icons is more than enough to work with.

So far it seems like our heroes will be mostly tied to The Hierophant and the Queen of Hell.

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Fillable PDF Character Sheet

Post by nemarsde »

Yes, you can hop into InDesign and make your own, bespoke to your character, a la the official pre-gens.

If you can't be bothered, here is a fillable PDF character sheet:

http://13thage.org/index.php?option=com ... load&id=50

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Post by nemarsde »

  • He grew up in Portland, Oregon, USA... a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.
  • As a grown-up, he was the captain of a colony ship called Europa that crash landed on Cor millennia ago, before the ages were recorded.
  • He has Japanese heritage.
  • His favourite Ninja Turtle was Leonardo. He can't remember whether the Ninja Turtles were real or made-up.
  • At some point after the crash he unlocked awesome magical powers, becoming one of the first Icons, known in legend as the Wizard King.
  • Millennia later, he found his way to the Hidden Valley and became a 10 year old again and has lived happily ever since with his room-mate Vincent.

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Post by nemarsde »

  • He was born and raised in a wealthy, noble house in the Dragon Empire.
  • He was always ingenious, good with his hands and inventing things, relying on engineering rather than magic.
  • As a grown-up he learned of a god to rival Cor, a god from the Elder World called Technos, who could make magic without magic.
  • At some point he sought out the Hidden Valley, reverted to a 10 year old and has lived their happily ever since with his room-mate Shingami.
  • He made Shingami a toy Leonardo (though he has no idea what a Ninja Turtle is).

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The Hidden Valley

Post by nemarsde »

  • The Hidden Valley has an mild climate with warm summers and wet winters.
  • It is a steep, riverine gorge, heavily wooded, with fast flowing cascades leading to a small but very deep boating lake and calmer waters downstream.
  • There is a village built along the banks of the river, home to a few hundred people.
  • The buildings are mostly wood and ceramics, in an ancient, rustic style.
  • There are elder nagas living in the village. They are friendly, wise and patient.
  • There is a forgeborn monk living in the village.
  • There are other children, all around 10 years old. Some have come and gone over the past two years.
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