Tuesday, November 14, 2023

The Bard, an intro adventure, and two playtest campaigns: 13th Age 2E progress

It has been a busy month!

Kin powers on the Pelgrane website: I’ve been running some of the new kin powers on the Pelgrane Press website. These are powers that may change in the design process. They’re not guaranteed to be what shows up in the Beta packet, but they’re what we’re using now.

Humans are here. Dwarves are here. And the silver elves, aka drow, are here.

Jonathan’s work: We played through the first playtest of the new introductory adventure Jonathan wrote for the back of the book. It went great and it covered territory not explored in Blood & Lightning, our original intro adventure. Jonathan helped Paul, a new 13th Age GM, with GM-support material while Paul was running the intro. Jonathan has also been working on the monster chapter and analyzing the current state of several revised 2E classes, with results feeding into the playtest.

Teachers from the Court: Our second-level playtest spun out of the intro-adventure is now called “The Teachers from the Court,” since that became our PC group’s cover story. The campaign has spawned notable shifts in the barbarian, and seems likely to create some things for the ranger.

Bards among us: And since last week, the playtest includes the actual 2E bard! The high-elf dance-bard that Sean had been using with was entirely playable but had little to do with the direction the bard class is headed. I’d handed Sean a playable pseudo-bard that I’d mocked up to play in J-M DeFoggi’s Rumble in the Stacks adventure that’s being serialized on the Iconic podcast.

My main job last month was to create a bard with a structure that hasn’t been seen in other F20 games. Given that bards have generally not entirely lived up to their potential, I’m happy to experiment with something new. I’ve got the class playable up to 5th level and later this week I’ll be tackling higher level spells.

The Dwarfoids Campaign: For nights when we don’t have a full quorum for Teachers from the Court, I’ve restarted the third level campaign I was running before we started designing 2E. The initial concept: Suicide Squad for dwarven deviants looking to prove themselves to the Dwarf King. I call it Spearpoint, the players call it Dwarfoids, and their irreverence is winning. You’ll find the original outline of the campaign here.

Now that we’re testing 2E, several characters experienced personal transformations.

Tuli, the lava dwarf chaos mage, has kept his back story but is now a cleric. To differentiate him from the cleric in the Teachers campaign, Tuli is the most random and worst cleric possible. By which I mean, healing is not his thing, and all his talent/domain choices have been chosen as the things we think players are least likely to embrace. Testing by setting oneself on fire. Tuli can take it. He’s a lava dwarf.

Djkuud, the disturbingly almost-undead ‘hopping monk’ who’d served the Gold King, is now a spellfist sorcerer, testing the breath weapon approach the sorcerer in the Teachers campaign avoided. Less mobility, more firepower. Same creepiness.

Jak Manblood is still proving that he’s the dwarfiest of all fighters, and now he’s doing it using the new maneuvers and without using the Combat Rhythm talent, because our playtest nerf-hammer seems to have pounded that talent down far enough that it is not necessarily the correct option.

The Occultist, Thorinn Oakenshield, has retired to be the charismatic leader of the derro clan who call themselves The Startouched, now converted—by our heroes—to a way that’s closer to the King’s Forge. And instead, Jonathan is playing Gurski, a half-orc barbarian. In this campaign, half-orcs are derived from dwarf barbarians on the frontiers rather than from humans. Gurski has a secret One Unique Thing that none of the rest of us (including me, the GM) know about. What we do know is that Gurski is testing a promising revision of the rage mechanic.

And finally, a photo taken during the Teachers from the Court game by Rob Dalton. Jonathan added a caption to it, using my nickname, Beto.

Beto: Hmm, these rules are too harsh. Must adjust.

JoT: Hmm, these rules are too forgiving. Must adjust.

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