Saturday, July 05, 2014

Awesome! I'm glad you're embracing my lifestyle as an armchair roleplayer. The next step is get yourself a velvet jacket and a large snifter of brandy.

Long as we're talking games, figured I'd talk about 13th Age and what makes it look cool too. It's by a couple of long-time D&D guys (Jonathan Tweet is one of them, forget if he worked on 3rd or 4th ed.) It's a reimagined, streamlined d20 game that takes some of the best stuff from 3rd and 4th while eliminating a lot of complexity, while bringing in many interesting ideas of its own.

- One Unique Thing: At character generation you decide on One Unique Thing about your character. Ideally this is something that informs the campaign. Could be something like, "I'm the only surviving elf in the world," or "I'm the only man Prince Whatsisdick trusts around his sister."
- Skills. Skill are rad. Instead of buying points on skills you buy points in backgrounds and then apply those backgrounds whenever it's appropriate. You make up the background yourself and they can be  basic or fancy. For example, I take "Studied Blacksmithing with the Dwarves of Cavetown +3". Whenever I'm doing something I can justify as related to that background I get the bonus. That would cover obvious things like making a sword, but it could also apply as a diplomacy bonus when I'm dealing with lower-class, tradesman sort of dwarves. I probably know my way around Cavetown, too.
- Archetype relationships. So the idea is that there are 13 powerful individuals in the world of the game, called here the archetypes. There's the Archmage, the Priestess, the Diabolist, the Lich King, and so on. You have a relationship with one-three of these characters which you define at character creation with points that give you positive, conflicted or oppositional relationships with these characters right from the start. At the start of every session, for each of your relationship points you roll a d6, and 5-6 results in that archetype somehow becoming involved in the session. For example, if enr0n has an opposed relationship with the Diabolist and rolls a 6 at the start of the session, perhaps one of her demonic hit squads is coming for him while everyone is chillin' at the inn. Looks like it keeps the GM on his toes in terms of planning, but I think it has lots of potential.
- Escalation die. At the start of the 2nd round of combat, you place the most ginormous d6 you have access to on the table at 1, and advance it by 1 every round. This is the "escalation die" and the PCs (and certain monsters) use it as a bonus to all their attack rolls. In other words, as the fight goes on attacks become deadlier and whiffs get reduced. It also makes more sense to save your powerful one-shot abilities (dailies) for later in the fight rather than everyone blowing their load in the first couple rounds. There are also various abilities that interact with the escalation die (like things you can only use when the die's at 3+).

There's a lot more (really interesting class and levelling design, fast combats, narrative range bands a la WFRP 3rd rather than grid-based ranges) but this is already pretty tl;dr so I'll stop there. Would love to play it though (and all of the other games we've been mentioning)!

As is my way, I spent a few lunch breaks and train rides trying to convert Earthdawn to it. Didn't get too far but I might pick it up someday.