This is an open thank you letter to Gamehole Con, who flew me and many other game designers across the country a couple weeks ago for a sweet and extremely well-organized weekend of gaming.
Personal highlights included. . .
. . . .meeting Tom Wham and watching him demo Feudality, because I’ve played so many hours of his games over the years, and it was wonderful to watch him explain one of his creations.
. . . running a session of 13th Age in Glorantha that rivalled the 6 Feats Under session for sheer manic energy, particularly when the trickster managed to go airborne via a Life-infused Air spirit he’d caught in his bag of mischief.
. . . running another 13th Age in Glorantha session that nearly led to a permanent change in the curve of Humakt’s sword, which is a fancy way of saying that the Lunar Empire nearly Illuminated the PCs’ quest.
. . . a panel about 13th Age and many editions of D&D that Jonathan Tweet and I ran Saturday morning.
The panel centered on a question and answer session. I don’t believe anyone recorded it. I don’t recall all the questions, but I wrote a few of them down. The answers below incorporate some of Jonathan’s answers and most of my own.
Q: Do the icons know they are icons?
A: Jonathan and I assume that the icons know they are icons and that this is a term that means something in the world. Greg Stolze’s The Forgotten Monk novel shows this well, the world and ages of the Dragon Empire make sense when the icons are aware of their own status. It would be possible to run a campaign where the icons weren’t at all certain of their status, but that feels like a different approach than what we’ve chosen as our baseline.
Q: Where do the conversational sidebars come from?
A: Our standard banter. The fact that we don’t always agree, and felt like showing that we sometimes disagree helps free up GMs and tables to play things their own way, since not even the designers entirely agree on all points. And most of all, a desire to use a conversational tone.
Q: Why was the druid missing from the core book?
A: Simply didn’t have a good version of it ready for when the rest of the book was done. Same for the monk, which was on the cover of the core book partly because I was trying to inspire myself to make sure I finished it, but no.
Q: What was the last icon added?
A: I asked the audience to guess. The second guess got it: the Crusader. I realized we needed an icon for evil characters who wanted to be part of the establishment, highly ambiguous heroes.
Q: Were there other icons we did not add?
A: Yes, and I’ll name three. We talked about a Merchant Prince, but went with the Prince of Shadows instead. Jonathan had argued for Tiamat, especially as an evil dragon inspiration of cultists, but I didn’t like that and we gave her stuff to the Diabolist and the Blue of the Three. And finally, I had proposed a Mother of Dungeons, something in the center of the world creating living dungeons and sending them up as eyestalks, and Jonathan shut that down by pointing out that it wasn’t really someone PCs would be able to have a meaningful relationship with, which helped establish our understanding of what it meant to be an icon in the first place.