Thursday, July 23, 2015
Things I Love About 13th Age
So recently I've been posting and working on a lot of house rules to 13th Age, and taking a look at some of the game's structure (which I'll post soon). This might lead my gentle reader into thinking that I don't like the game. Which is partially correct, there are most definitely things that I don't like about the game. However, there are some things that I absolutely love about the game - which I want to touch on here real quick.
The impetus for this post came from another blogger that I follow, 1d30 had a post on "The Yin and Yang of Treasure Division." This post, for those who you who choose not to follow the link, talks about many different ways to handle dividing up the party's loot at the end of the adventure. Which is a part of gaming that can cause great contention. And reading this article I said to myself, thank God I don't have to deal with that. See, in 13th Age magic items cannot be bought, that's in the rulebook - so I decided to run with that concept and ignore the gear the monsters are using completely, instead I give all my players one magic item of their choice every level (and yes, that means they started with one at first level). So there is no selling loot, no arguing over who gets what, everybody gets something and since they can choose hopefully they are all getting something useful (well, the magic item rules (or lack thereof) are a bit wonky, but still). I still remember playing the whole Rise of the Runelords campaign and having to write down every item, ask who wanted what, total the costs and then the selling prices, and divide that evenly amongst everybody. It was a colossal pain in the posterior that I had to go through at the end of every gaming session (calculating the value of spellbooks was a particular torture). Not having to do it has been a wonderful boon for both myself and my players.
You know another thing I'm glad I'm not calculating? Experience. At the end of every adventure all the players go up a level. Period. We don't meet very often, so a nice fast progression lets everybody develop more and more of their character's powers and awesomeness. How much XP is the level 0 peasant worth? None. No XP. Ha ha, ding dong the witch is dead. It was another huge waste of time to track that stuff and I'm glad to be rid of it.
Massive list of skills, class skills and skill points per level? Gone, and good riddance. Everybody started with the same number of points and I've been giving them an extra one every level (since we use the Expertise and Approach system, which is a little more complicated than the vanilla book's Backgrounds). <pushes the Staples "easy button">
While there are things that bother me a lot, and baggage that has haunted 13th Age from other D&D versions, I do have to admit that they did a nice job of simplifying things and dropping some really annoying mechanics that did not add anything meaningful to the game. Some people may love crunching the numbers and fighting over the spoils - I sure don't, and I want my players to focus on their characters' development and the storyline, not the logistics of maintaining a "murder hobo."