13th Age is published by Pelgrane Press, and was co-designed by Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet, both alumni of various Dungeons & Dragons editions. These 2 gentlemens backgrounds speak volumes :
About Rob Heinsoo
Rob Heinsoo has created dozens of role-playing games, card games, miniatures games and board games. He led the design of the edition that shall be named of Dungeons & Dragons® and wrote or led the design of many edition that shall be named sourcebooks. Rob also designed the wonderful card game Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mt. Skullzfyre. Other recent game designs include THREE-DRAGON ANTE, THREE-DRAGON ANTE: Emperor s Gambit, Inn-Fighting, Dreamblade, FORGOTTEN REALMS® Campaign Setting, and the first nine sets of D&D Miniatures®. Games he worked on in the 90 s that have aged well include Shadowfist, Feng Shui, and King of Dragon Pass.
About Jonathan Tweet
Jonathan Tweet has been creating games professionally for 25 years. He created or co-created the roleplaying games Ars Magica (1987), Over the Edge (1992), and Everway (1995). He started writing for Dungeons & Dragons in 1992, and in 2000 he became the lead designer of the games third edition. In addition to roleplaying games, Jonathan has created and contributed to card games, miniatures games, computer games, and fiction.
The first chapter entitled Icons sets the tone for the entire book. The Gods have left mortals to figure things out in The 13th Age (You can include the God’s if you wish, but they play no part per say, very distant and always looking on in there role) What we have here is, Icons quasi-deities that represent the major alignments.
Chapter two covers all the ins and outs of our character creation rules. It offers two alternatives – traditional rolling of stats and a point buy system. The one thing that took me by surprise with the creation system is the “One Unique Thing.” It really makes your character stand out. You are not just the same elf ranger that is out in the world, you’re the elf ranger that does not like to kill things, or the elf ranger who is afraid of heights, there are not charts to pick this out, you make this part up, so your imagination is your only limit as to what that “One Unique Thing.” Could be.
Chapter three and four will deal with races and classes. You will find the standard D&D 3e classes.
Each class is balanced with another class, Which, I liked, so you really want a well-rounded party, fighter, magic user, rogue etc., as they all play off each other well, and need each other to survive. Also, there are standard races for any fantasy setting with the optional rules for creation of new ones (including, those seen in the edition that shall be named, or playing the role of the “monster”).
Chapter five brings us, the combat rules, which are fairly streamlined here, and easy to understand, unlike some of the other D20 based games I have read/played, which is a VERY good thing.
Chapter six, is all about Running the Game, a rundown of what every Gamemaster should know about, some examples on how to use Icons, the loot and experience system are well covered here.
Chapter seven is the SRD Monsters section. Well laid out and tells us how to use them, and how to create something new from a monster of old.
Chapter eight will cover the lands you will be adventuring in and the dungeons you will delve.
Chapter nine brings us everyone favorite Magic Items, All the standard magic items from D&D are here, as well as some rules on creation of new magic items.
Chapter 10 brings us is a fine open ended adventure entitled Blood & Lightning – Which is a great intro on how to create an adventure and what it’s like to play 13th age, it gives you a chance to jump right in and play after creation of your characters of course!
My Final Thoughts
If you and your group want a deep storytelling experience, then look no further, there is so much you can do with a story in 13th age, the game is built around the story. I can’t stress how much that the storytelling plays into 13th age, this game to me, is built from the ground up for storytelling.
Let me take a second and talk about the artwork, it’s stunning and well done. There were times as I was reading this PDF, I would just stop and look at the artwork, and have to go back and read the section again, because I was just lost in the artwork.
If you’re looking for a D20 based game, you can’t really go wrong here, the rules are easy to pick up and there is much you can do with them.
After my friends and I finish are Curse Of Strahd 5E adventure, I might suggest we give this a try, as I can see how they would find many ways to go off the rails with this!
Official Website And Ordering Information
To find out more information on 13th Age, you can head over to the official page over at Pelgrane Press
If you would like a hardbound copy it can be found on Amazon.