Saturday, April 16, 2022

Show Demiplane Your Support for 13th Age Nexus

I submitted a request for Demiplane to build 13th Age Nexus (which would offer features similar to Pathfinder Nexus or D&D Beyond), based on their recent call to fans to submit feedback about games they'd like to see the platform support.

If that's something you'd be interested in, please add to this thread on the Demiplane forums.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

13th Age Official Variant Rules Collection


Over the years, 13th Age has accumulated variant rules that the designers have shared with us. This page attempts to collect the variant rules in one place, summarizing each rule and providing a reference to the original source.

  • Alternative Ability Score Array—Use this ability score array, which is better than the point-buy would allow, but on the bottom end: 17, 15, 14, 13, 12, 10. Source: 13th Age Glorantha p. 24.
  • Force Salvo—Replace the adventurer tier feat with one that requires the wizard target each enemy only once. There are some other options offered as well. Source: 13th Age FAQ.
  • Grabbed—When you're grabbed, the monster deals automatic damage to you as a free action equal to half the original damage of the grab attack. If you try to make a ranged attack while grabbed, you're subject to an opportunity attack. Source: 13th Age Glorantha p. 66.
  • Icon advantages—When rolling icon relationships, treat both 5's and 6's as advantages. When a you use an icon advantage, roll a d20. On a 1–5, the advantage comes with a complication (the equivalent of a 5 in the core rulebook). Source: 13th Age Quick Start Rules p. 11.
  • Incremental Advance—You may only take one new power or spell as an incremental advance per level. Source: 13th Age Glorantha p. 74.
  • Ranger animal companion—A ranger with the Animal Companion talent uses the updated rules for the druid animal companion (e.g., you can cast spells on your animal companion). Source: 13 True Ways p. 41.
  • Drunken Style Monk—This is a monk fighting style that didn't make it into 13 True Ways, but was included in the playtests. It was further refined and included in a Sage Advice article.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Escalation Issue 9 is Available

Escalation Issue 9 Cover
I'm pleased to announce that Escalation Issue 9 is now available! You can find it on the Vault of the 13th Age. This issue's theme is House Rules. There are rules for icon relationships, NPC companions, consumable item creation, increasing monster challenge, injury and dying, initiative, packing even more richness into a natural die roll, and more. Some of these house rules complement each other, while others directly conflict with one another. As a huge fan of tweaking a system to make it my own, I hope you'll enjoy the options that you'll find in this issue—some come straight from my own table!

We love to hear feedback, so let us know what you enjoy and would like to see more of in the future. What's missing that you'd like us to include next time? What didn't work so well, and we should consider omitting? This is the community's fanzine, and we want to make it as useful as possible for you.

Please consider submitting articles that expand upon the theme of the High Seas for Issue 10. See the information on the right side of the page if you'd like to submit an article or art.

Thanks again to everyone who made this possible!

Monday, May 24, 2021

Articles Needed: Pirates and Nautical Fantasy

Swashbuckling Adventurer
We tried something new for the upcoming issue's theme, and ran a poll. By scoring three options from 1 to 5, our fans voted for "Pirates and Nautical Fantasy" with 138 total points. The runners up were "Modern or Near Future Fantasy" with 114 points and "Fantasy Robots and Power Armor" with 108 points. So it was pretty close, but we have our winner for Issue 10!

I wanted to share some of the ideas for other issues (or perhaps standalone articles) that were submitted with the survey responses. We're always looking for interesting articles, and don't require all articles in an issue to be strictly related to the theme. If you're interested in fleshing out one of these ideas, please drop us an email with your idea.

  • The overworld (two suggestions for this one)
  • Environmental hazards and how to take advantage of them
  • Apocalypses
  • Areas of the Dragon Empire
  • More adventures
  • Variations on mechanics, such as icon advantages, uses of the escalation die, backgrounds, and failing forward
  • Beyond the Dragon Empire
  • Using 13th Age to run a game in Mythic Europe
We'll add some of these to our queue of issue theme ideas. Perhaps you'll see them in future polls!

If you're looking for ideas for an article, here are some thoughts that we had. You aren't limited to these suggestions, of course.
  • PC options – What themes, feats, races, or even completely new classes fit in a campaign dominated by pirates or underwater adventure?
  • Nautical combat – How can you model ship-to-ship combat in a simple way that still feels like 13th Age?
  • The Iron Sea – The Iron Sea is inhospitable to say the least. What lies beneath its surface? How have brave adventurers managed to brave the tsunamis and giant monsters, and what's valuable enough for them to risk their lives?
  • The Strangling Sea – How would you extend or enhance the Strangling Sea adventure?
  • Adventure! – Whether it's exploring the islands of the Midland Sea or diving beneath the surface of the Iron Sea, there are endless opportunities for nautical adventures.
  • Monsters – Can you ever have enough aquatic monsters for your game?
  • Treasure – Pirates love their booty. What items are worth the risk of diving beneath the waves or facing the ships that sail atop the seas?
Whether you're submitting an idea for a nautical article or one of the other ideas shared by the community, you can find submission guidelines and our email address at the top right side of the page. I look forward to seeing the community's take on the Midland Sea, the Iron Sea, and beyond!

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Escalation Issue 10 Theme

While the team works on the final edits, layout, and art for Escalation Issue 9, I thought this would be a good time to reach out to the community to gather your thoughts on Issue 10. We've received some suggestions on Discord, Facebook, and MeWe for the next issue, and I always appreciate the proactive engagement from fans of 13th Age!

I created a short survey with the community's suggestions, and now it's your chance to share what you're most excited to contribute toward. Don't see anything that catches your interest? That's okay—send your suggestions at the end of the survey. I'll keep the survey up for at least two weeks (until May 10, 2021), and possibly longer, depending on how work on Issue 9 is progressing at that point.

Complete the Survey

I look forward to checking out the topics the community is most enthusiastic about!

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Escalation Index

I was floored to learn that community member Heath Glandon spent over three months building an index for the content found in Escalation issues 1–7. You can find Heath's labor of love on the Vault of the 13th Age. There are three different indexes: Topical, Author, and Artist. Definitely check it out!

This incredible collection is available as both a web page, which can be picked up by search engines, and as a consolidated PDF—perfect if you want to print it out or refer to it offline. Just scroll to the bottom of the 13thage.org page to find the PDF download.

I wanted to learn more about Heath and what prompted him to create this index, so I sent him some questions. He was kind enough to respond and grant me permission to share his reply with the community.

Escalation: It’s not every day that a fan takes the time to build something like this on the community’s behalf. What motivated you to do it? 

Heath: I’ve been playing 13th age for awhile, and have even searched for and used some of the many user-contributed resources at 13thage.org. I had even noticed the Escalation Fanzine issues there on the site, but never really got into them until recently. I think the way people find things most of the time these days, is through searches. I’d be looking for something specific, like some additional Cleric spells, so I’d do some web searches or browse the folders at 13thage.org or 13thagesrd.com. Never did it occur to me to look through the Escalation issues. Once I started reading them I realized how valuable they are, how useful the content is, and how they are being overlooked by the average player. If there were some way for the contents of these issues to be indexed and searchable, well, that would make all the difference. I knew what a huge task it would be, and that it might never end, but so worth it. It can be frustrating when you remember reading something and then being unable to find it later.

Escalation: What’s your methodology? Are you using any technology to help?

Heath: I had already gotten my user-contribution feet wet by uploading a resource for character creation, so I thought to myself, “I’m going to be reading through all of these issues anyway, why not just build the index as I go, then paste it into an article so it will come up in searches?”

My methodology was simple. I read through every issue, one page at a time, and tried to categorize everything as simply as I could, typing into a word processor. As I read each article, I would ask myself, “Where in the index would I hope to find this information? What word or section would I be looking in and be excited to find this article? What words would stand out if I was trying to find this article in the future?”

Escalation: How has the index already been a help to you? How might someone use it that they might not have thought of? 

Heath: For me, it’s often trying to find that thing again that I read that one time. I’ve used the index to find those things, like when I wanted to share with someone the way ASH LAW described the classic alignments. Or that magic item that made it hard to lie. Or how to do a wedding (which wasn’t under “wedding” but under “marriage”).

When it’s time to create a new character, I’ll see if there are any variations in the index that might apply to my class (Oh yeah, forgot about lycanthropy. THAT would make an interesting character...), or wrap some lore around one of the magic items in my background, or consult the list of divine blessings for a One Unique Thing.

Planning new campaigns is easier when you skim through the index, too. All these ideas just start flowing. So many possibilities for those duergar underdwellers. I need a town like Sun Falls, and they’ll be at war with the frost giants. These guys over here are going to be in league with a necromancer baddie, maybe someone like Nemo Haze.

Escalation: How long did it take you to create it, so far? When did you get started?

Heath: I started in the middle of November 2020 and got through issue 7 at the end of February 2021. At work, I am often writing and testing scripts so I’ll code for a while, then launch the script, and while it’s running I’ll check my email and tech tickets. But if there are no issues for me to deal with while I’m waiting for my script to finish, I do some other something. From November to February that something was reading and indexing the Escalation issues. I’ve still got issue 8 to go, plus I hear 9 is on its way. And I haven’t even looked at the Skyfall and Under Pressure adventure issues.

Escalation: Would you mind sharing a little about yourself?

Heath: I’ve been happily married for almost 30 years, with four awesome kids, who are no longer kids (all of which are currently in a 13th Age campaign together). I’ll even be a grandpa this year, Lord willing. I’m a Christian with a seminary degree, hoping to become a pastor one day (find me on YouTube or sermonaudio.com if you have trouble sleeping). I’m also an IT guy, but that’s just my day job.

Escalation: When did you get started with RPGs? With 13th Age? Are you typically the GM, a player, or a mix? 

Heath: I got started as a kid around 1985 with the D&D Basic set. Soon after, I purchased the Expert, Companion, and Master sets. I had a small group of friends that would play with me. One of which bought every Advanced D&D book that came out. I preferred the less-restrictive rules but enjoyed reading his books anyway. Planning out adventures and creating NPCs consumed all of my time. Countless hours were spent drawing continents, dungeons, traps, and battle scenes, all on graph paper of course. Other genres besides fantasy always intrigued me, but as a player, I never found one that worked well.

College happened and role playing stopped altogether. When my kids got old enough, I realized I had a whole group of people to role-play with living in my own house! But alas, my two boys were the only ones truly excited about it at first. I searched around for a generic game and got involved in play testing Strands of Fate with my boys. Later on, they wanted to get into a more meaty game, so we bought D&D 5e and played around with that some, until one of my sons heard about 13th Age. Wow. Just wow.

Once my sons grew old enough, they have typically been the GMs of the games I’ve been playing, including my current games. One of my sons has led the last four 13th Age campaigns I’ve played. The other son is currently creating his own superhero based system and we are in the process of creating our characters now.

Escalation: Thank you so much for sharing that information about yourself. I'm a huge proponent of passing our hobby along to the next generation, so kudos to you for gaming with your kids!

I'm so appreciative of the hard work you've put into this project. It's such an amazing tool for the community. Many thanks to you!

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Seeking Volunteer Editors for 13th Age Glorantha Project

The Escalation team is working with Evan Franke of Exploring Glorantha fame on a 13th Age Glorantha special issue: Red Moon and Warring Kingdoms. This exciting sourcebook will introduce followers of the Lunar Way as the heroes of their own stories. Far from Dragon Pass and the Lunar Empire where the 13th Age Glorantha (13G) core book takes place, these Lunars are faced with an existential threat to their way of life in the lands of Fronela.

The book will establish the central conflict in the region and provide a history and gazetteer, serving as an primer to those 13th Age Glorantha players who were introduced to the setting in the 13G core book. It will also offer new classes, playable races, and feats. We hope the book proves valuable to both 13th Age fans and Glorantha fans, even if you're unfamiliar with the setting or the 13th Age system.

To produce this book while still releasing future issues of the Escalation fanzine, we need help from the community. A draft of the book is already complete, and now we're seeking volunteer editors to ensure that it's the highest quality when it's released. We need copyeditors and developmental editors. Whether you're familiar with Glorantha or with the 13th Age game system (or neither one), we could use your help—you don't need experience with both the setting and the game system to lend a hand.

We understand that volunteer work isn't your day job—Escalation is put together exclusively by volunteers, so we totally get it! We'll work with your schedule, your availability, and your areas of expertise to connect you with chapters that you're best suited for.

If you're interested in learning more, please email us at escalationfanzine (at) gmail (dot) com. We'd love to provide additional details that you can use to consider whether you're able to assist us in getting this work to the fan community.