The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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    JNAProductions's Avatar

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    Default 13th Age-What's It Like?

    And is it worth getting? I hear it's similar to 4E D&D, and I liked 4E for what it was.
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    Default Re: 13th Age-What's It Like?

    There's a lot of similarity with 4e, yeah; the design teams had heavy overlap.

    It's simpler than 4e. Combat doesn't need a map because all distances are measured as (IIRC) engaged/close/far, and many classes' attack abilities run off what you'd call "basic attacks" in 4e, with class-specific add-ons. Even the spellcasters who re-select spells daily have a lot less to keep track of.

    There's some customizability of build, but most differentiation mostly comes from "backgrounds", vague descriptions of what the character used to be or do. Backgrounds form the bulk of skill use -- you tell the GM how your background applies to the task at hand, and she says Yes you get the mechanical benefit or No you don't, then tells you which statmod to add to the roll. Backgrounds are entirely freeform and player-defined, but everyone gets the same cap on how much mechanical benefit they can get, except that a couple classes can spend class resources to get more (rangers, rogues and I think wizards?).

    13th Age has a couple things I haven't seen elsewhere. One is relationships with certain forces or teams, called "icons", like the wild people, the sneaky selfish people, the destroyers, the empire or the holy people. All players get the same amount of those, too, again with the caveat that some classes can spend resources to get more/closer relationships. The icon relationships randomly come into play once or twice a session, and adjudication of that is very interesting but really requires a GM who can come up with stuff on the fly. The relationship can be positive, negative or mixed, so one character might randomly get a benefit because they're good with the Dragon icon while another gets a benefit for opposing the Lich icon.

    The other special thing in 13th Age is the escalation die in combat. Basically, the PCs start out at a relative disadvantage, but each round, as things get more desperate, the mechanics move more in their favor. It tends to lead to splashy, fight-for-your-life battles and strongly discourages starting with a nova round, since your special stuff is more likely to hit (and in some cases also becomes stronger) the longer you wait.

    I like it but it's not my favorite. The scaling seems weird to me, the GM should be very well suited, and I want more mechanical detail for PCs. (Plus the backgrounds thing is extremely exploitable in a way that can make some players feel left out.) I'd happily play more with a good group of people.
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    CarpeGuitarrem's Avatar

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    Default Re: 13th Age-What's It Like?

    I liked it, it took what I liked about 4th and what I liked about 3.5 and sorta mashed it together. It's not as rigid as 4E, and the powers turn into things that are pretty wild at higher levels, but it's got interesting combat dynamics like in 4E. It's punchy and clean and colorful.
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    Default Re: 13th Age-What's It Like?

    It has a bunch of good ideas, but the implementation... isn't super great.

    Let's compare Tieflings and Wood Elves for a second here:

    Tieflings: +2 Int/Cha, and 1/battle convert an enemy's natural roll of 1-5 to 1, and DM-fiat up a minor curse.
    Wood Elves: +2 Wis/Dex and roll a die at the beginning of each round. If you roll under the escalation die's value, you get an extra standard action that round. Die size goes up whenever you get a bonus action.

    One of those abilities is much stronger and less situational than the other one.

    If you want to take a look, Pelgrane Press released a SRD.
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