Tuesday, March 4, 2014

13th Age, 3e, and Two Bestiaries

Last week, Jonathan wrote a neat essay on how 13th Age design relates to his work on 3e. It's a cogent account of how we wove threads from earlier editions of F20 into something new-ish in 13th Age. Jonathan has a gift for cutting to the core and the essay explains design decisions we haven't said that much about elsewhere.

Jonathan's essay appears on the Kobold Press website as a guide to 13th Age for interested 3.5 and Pathfinder fans, and to help our friend Wolfgang Baur promote the new 13th Age compatible Midgard BestiaryThis third-party 13th Age work is a collaboration by the adventuring team of LAW & Rockett. 

Midgard Bestiary 13th Age cover

That's designer/developer ASH LAW who runs 13th Age OP and designed many of the bug-whack monsters in the upcoming 13th Age Bestiary from Pelgrane; you will thank him later when your party's cleric insists on donning a chuul-antenna helmet, or when a hag's death curse twists your PC's social life around her dead bony finger. ASH is joined by the evil twin of Wade Rockett, who runs community relations for Fire Opal and who wrote the splendid Midgard icons that appear at the back of the Midgard Bestiary, just after the nine new 13th Age-compatible player character races, many of them monstrous.

That brings me to one of the wonderful things about the two upcoming Bestiaries. I ended up running the Pelgrane book, and there were a bunch of design approaches ASH suggested using throughout it that I only wanted to use just a little. So instead, ASH ran with them at full speed in the Midgard book. To name three examples:

  • Things You Might Find On on a Monster's Corpse (loot instructions!)
  • Magic items made of monster parts (or their powers)
  • Monsters as races

The Kobold Press book does a lot with these concepts. Our Pelgrane book does just a little bit while spending most of its effort in other directions, particularly in story hooks and powers related to the icons. The result is a pair of monster books that will complement each other well.

The 100+ page Midgard Bestiary is out now. The 240-page 13th Age Bestiary from Pelgrane is due in May, but if you pre-order it now you can download the full text. As Jonathan's essay suggests, you may even be interested if you're not playing 13th Age yet.

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