Thursday, August 18, 2022

13th Age 2e: More Info

As I promised in the first installment, here’s a look at the final five bullet points on the list of “Here’s (some of) what’s coming in 2e”. People interested in joining the public playtest in six or eight weeks can write me at and I'll ping back when I've added you to the list.

More flexible handling of kin/ancestry powers: We’re not using the term ‘race’ in 13th Age 2e. I should have listened to Jonathan when he suggested we skip the word back in 2012. Some games have moved toward speaking of ancestry. That works. We’re trying ‘kin’ in our current playtest document.

Unlike in the 1e core book we’re providing two or three possible ‘hero powers’ for each kin, giving players the opportunity to make their character less cookie-cutter—if your group has two high elves in it they’ll have more interesting choices than who uses their teleport power that round.

We’re also making it clear that you can tell the story of your character by mixing ability score bonuses and hero powers that don’t usually go together. The manuscript’s current note looks like this:

Customizing your kin: Thanks to the fact that character classes provide a choice of two ability scores, it’s generally possible to play a pretty-good character of any class, no matter what kin you’re playing. But given that you’re also coming up with your character’s backgrounds, and a One Unique Thing, there are compelling story options for most any character to use the ability scores and hero power of any kin they choose.

Are you the only human adopted by the Dwarf King? Maybe you look like a human but say That’s Your Best Shot? like a dwarf (page XX). Are you a silver folk rogue who teleports in a silver flash and calls your power silverspark teleport?

You can mix and match kin looks, outlooks, ability scores, and powers as you like. Leverage backgrounds and uniques if you wish, or let your character’s story evolve during play.

As part of adding choices for everyone, hero powers that weren’t that great have been improved or replaced with better options . . . and yes, Elven Grace has been nerfed. My players will no longer torment me with all-wood-elf parties. Pre-playtesting, Elven Grace looks like this:

Elven Grace (Hero Power)

At the start of each of your turns, roll 1d6 to see if you get an extra standard action. If your roll is equal to or lower than the escalation die, you get an extra standard action that turn. You then stop rolling for Elven Grace until you've taken a quick rest. Alternatively, you can pass on the extra action and keep rolling each turn.

Champion Feat: Once per day, roll a d4 for elven grace instead of a d6. If you don’t get an extra action, this daily option is not expended.

Scarier monsters and cooler treasures: We’re not changing monster math, but we are adding nastier specials where they belong and rethinking some of the large and huge monsters that made it hard to design interesting encounters at high levels.

Digging into the math, we realized that some of the treasures PCs have been using don’t keep up at epic tier, or come all that close to keeping up. So… cooler treasures? Yes, with math that shouldn’t be a problem to apply to previously published treasures.

By the way, I should mention that all the benefits that 2e PCs are enjoying aren’t being balanced by changes in monster math . . . but we are changing the recommendations for how tough battles should be for experienced players, and testing methods of doing that without increasing combat length.

More banter, better advice: We understand the game a lot better. A lot of the advice we gave nine/ten years ago turned out to be only half-right (or worse). So, we’re writing advice we are sure will be useful, and arguing about real things instead of talking hypothetically about campaigns none of you had gotten around to running yet!

New and better take on the fighter: If you like the original fighter, you can keep playing them—but you’re probably going to love the new fighter. For now I’ll just say that most of the fighter talents stayed, maneuvers turned into things you choose to do instead of deciding everything after your attack roll, and the fighter has a talent that encourages them to maintain a balance of offensive and (somewhat) defensive maneuvers. Also: I adapted good stuff from the Humakti class in 13th Age Glorantha!

New cover from Lee Moyer & Aaron McConnell: Not just a cover, but also new art, they’re both extremely excited to show the results of their level-ups since 2013.

As are we. More soon.


  1. My Wood Elf player will hate it, but it is a welcome balancing of that power. :D

  2. Please revised/improved multiclassing rules! All of this sounds great, but it's definitely the area that still needs the most work.

  3. I wish there were few extra levels beyond level 10 that grant more story-focused benefits and access to greater ability to influence the world. We could limit the character level bonus to rolls at 10 max. Or use the unified bonus like 5e’s proficiency bonus.