Saturday, September 20, 2014

13th Age Campaign Design Blog: Icons

So, my next campaign is going to use the 13th Age rules. It's a ruleset that combines the "theater of the mind" with basic tactical combat* and has tools that make it easy for the DM to use the setting as "crunch."** It also simplifies character play and DM prep to a monstrous degree which means, naturally, that I'm biting off way more than I can chew when it comes to campaign prep overall.

One of the major narrative thrusts of 13th Age are the Icons. These are personages of such great importance to the world that they're actually a part of the setting - your character's relationship with these figures is something that will affect the course of the campaign, and occasionally you'll have to roll dice to determine how much on an impact they have.

The book presents a list of Icons and they're actually quite good. Really good, in fact, so much so that for the first time I can recall I've actually used setting material from a books without significant modification. I've still worked on some of them, though, and I've put a link below to the document as it stands now. There are probably contradictions throughout, I know, and I'm still missing The Mighty Hero, The Shadow Prince and the True Paladin, but it's a start.

* Combat still uses minis, but on a much simpler map and not 3.x+'s combat grid.
** There are standard saves and standard damages for environmental hazards, so you can make travelling a swamp feel more dangerous than navigating a forest, but without rolling on a random event table every time, giving the DM (and the group) narrative control.

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