My friend Jack bought a copy of Eyes Of The Stone Thief and, despite knowing
that I was DMing a 13th Age game. Knowing that I’m the sort of DM who takes modules
and adventure books and tears them into pieces to assemble something from the spare
parts, he still lent me his copy.*
Now, as I said, I usually just take adventures and use them for parts, but this book
hooked me with a killer concept – the Stone Thief a sentient, mobile dungeon that steals
architecture to build new dungeons – and wonderful, descriptive encounters. Also, there
are no railroads. Well, rather, there are railroads but they’re complicated and chaotic, like
a Brio train set up by half a dozen overtired toddlers hyped up on Pixie Stix. The
dungeons can be different every single time you enter it, with dozens of differently sets of
rooms to run through.
Not only that, but some of those room-sets feed into different approaches to the
dungeon. Are your players trying to take over the Stone Thief? Well, there are rooms that
lead you to information about the care and feeding of the Stone Thief, as well as hints as
to how you control it. Are they trying to destroy it? There are rooms for that too. Are they
just trying to get their stuff back after the Stone Thief swallowed it? Yep, there’s rooms
for that, too. And the types cross over, so you can have a party enter the Stone Thief
thinking, “I need to get my gear back,” and leave thinking, “I think I can destroy that
monster.” It’s . . . heady. Like someone handed you a stack of campaign notes with tons
of helpful stick notes rather than a linear adventure.
Shortly after reading his copy, I bought one of my own, intending to run a Stone
Thief campaign at the earliest opportunity.
The problem was, I was already running a 13th Age game in a setting I’d spent
some months creating and wasn’t ready to give up. And then my wife realized something
I hadn’t – we’d already spawned a gamer, and he had a friend. That is, my 12 year old
son had expressed interest in playing D&D in the past, and so had his best friend.
And so our gaming group was made – My wife, Christy, my son, Graeme, and his
friend, who we’ll call M. I rounded out the traditional four character party with a GMPC,
a sorcerer. The next blog post will be about character creation in 13th Age and how it
worked for us.
* Insert copious maniacal laughter.