The 13th Age interview: media relations in a screenshot

21 May



13th Age game designers Jonathan Tweet and Rob Heinsoo, bookended by Forbes reporter and watchful PR person.

“The Kickstarter, which Rob described as ‘dumb’…”

Watch the interview on YouTube and check out the review that Erik Kain wrote.

I’m Running 13th Age at Gen Con. Come Play!

10 May

13th Age logoPUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Pelgrane Press seeks GMs to run Night’s Black Agents, Ashen Stars, Trail of Cthulhu, 13th Age, Hillfolk, Esoterrorists, Dying Earth and other games at Gen Con – short demos and/or adventures. GMs will be compensated with store credit and swag. Interested? Let me know!

Gen Con Indy has posted its lineup of 2013 events. If you’re going, you can add the ones you want to attend to a wishlist and then officially register for them on the 19th.

I’m going to run two games of the 13th Age fantasy roleplaying game at Gen Con, and I hope you’ll join me:

Danger at Deathless Gulch (for Kobold Press)

Description:  Journey to the badlands of Midgard’s magic-blasted Wasted West to recover a magical tome from a crashed dwarven airship. This 13th Age adventure will use icons from the Midgard Campaign Setting.

I ran Danger at Deathless Gulch at Gen Con 2012 using the Old School Hack system, and it was a huge amount of fun. Switching to 13th Age is more than a matter of porting the characters and monsters over — 13th Age has completely different strengths, and I look forward to drawing on them to create a wholly different (but equally madcap) adventure.

Deep Gnome Rising (for Pelgrane Press)

Description: Lord Azbqiplth of the Deep Gnomes sets up court in a city of the Dragon Empire — and brings the Underworld’s madness with him! Choose your PCs’ backgrounds, uniques and icons, and go sort him out.

With this adventure I’m going to use the improv-heavy mode of 13th Age gamemastery, starting with the location: the characters’ icon relationships will determine where the Gnome King decides to set up his court. That’s all I’m ging to say about it for now, because I’m still working on the adventure.

I also hope to take in some panels this year and play a game of Night’s Black Agents, the vampire espionage game by Kenneth Hite. What are you looking forward to at Gen Con 2013?

How long have opportunity attacks been around in fantasy RPGs?

13 Apr

13th Age Escalation Edition v6In the 13th Age roleplaying game, if you’re fighting an enemy with a sword, axe, spear or other melee weapon, according to the rules the two of you are engaged. (Congratulations!)*

If one of you wants to break off the fight and go somewhere else — whether to retreat, or to run over and help your buddy, or attack someone else — you have to roll a disengage check on a 20-sided die. A successful roll means you break off combat and move away with no penalty. A failed roll gives you two options. You can stay in combat (with no penalty), or you can disengage anyway, and your enemy gets a free swing at you. This, for those unfamiliar with roleplaying games, is called an “opportunity attack” or “attack of opportunity.”

On an RPGnet thread about 13th Age, someone who hadn’t yet seen the game said that opportunity attacks in the rules were a deal-breaker for him. This prompted someone else to ask how long this rule has been around in D&D. This sort of question puts me into Obsessive Researcher Mode.

I pulled out my  Moldvay Basic and 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons books, and went hunting. Sure enough, early versions of opportunity attacks were there under different names.

In Moldvay D&D Basic (1981), page B25 describes two ways of breaking off engagement in melee combat. In a “fighting withdrawal” the defender can back up at half his movement rate without becoming vulnerable. A retreat allows the defender to move backward at more than 1/2 movement, but gives his opponent +2 to hit and the defender can’t make return attacks.

The 1st edition Dungeon Masters Guide (1979), page 70 says breaking off from melee “allows the opponent a free attack or attack routine. This attack is calculated as if it were a rear attack upon a stunned opponent. When this attack is completed, the retiring/fleeing party may move away at full movement rate, and unless the opponent pursues and is able to move at a higher rate of speed, the melee is ended and the situation becomes one of encounter avoidance.”

So opportunity attacks go back to at least 1e. If you own 0E or Holmes Basic, I’d love to know if it’s in there as well.

*That joke never gets old.


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