Tuesday, June 4, 2024

13th Age Interview List, Annotated, with a Bit of 4E

Blue Dragon in Battle, 2E art by Simone Bannach

The interview list comes first. At the end there's a note about this weekend's 4E interview and streaming game on the GenCon channel!

I’ve been busy with interviews the past few weeks. Mostly about 13th Age, often about the 2E Kickstarter that’s about to end on Thursday morning, sometimes about D&D 4e and other games. Here’s a slightly annotated list of recent interviews, starting from the most recent to appear and going back to the earliest in this cycle, more or less!

The interview with Tim Linward at Wargamer.com was the best interview because he homed in on one of 13th Age’s two strongest pitches. As Wade Rockett puts it, “13th Age is what happens when dnd designers, not suits, have creative control over dnd.” Tim also turned so many good phrases himself that I was writing them down. We also covered inspiration from Frostgrave’s business style and a refusal to emulate Warhammer, and a bit on the creative/slash/destructive nature of the playtest games in the group Jonathan and I play in.

Of course J-M DeFoggi’s streaming/video interview with both me and Jonathan for Beyond the Table was the best interview because Jonathan and I teased each other as we roamed through many aspects of game design, from using everyday speech in our rules (as a continuity with the hobbyist nature of early roleplaying) to creating characters with art cards in Everway (which also has a beautiful new 2nd edition) to the new structure of the ranger class that has kept it out of the current packet. (It will show up in the Gamma Playtest Packet and an update that will come a bit after the Kickstarter). I also learned that one of my cardgame designs is Heinsoonian and I hadn’t realized it.

Just before that, Mildra the Monk’s interview of just-me was the best interview because he systematically grilled me about 2E’s treatment of eight of its nine character classes. He gave me a pass on the fighter, probably because I’d discussed that in a Discord call after the impromptu 13th Age 2E Launch Party. (There will be a similar event/Q&A session on the 13th Age Discord channel at the end of the Kickstarter on the morning of Thursday the 6th, starting around 10 am Pacific Time.)

I’ve been pestering my friend Matt Miller to launch his gaming podcast “From the Depths” and he finally soft-launched to put the interview out on Bandcamp. It’s the best of the interviews because Matt has a Radio-God-Voice and because he edited down nearly two hours of conversation and we talked about so many things, including 4e.

Ben Riggs & Scott Bruner invited me to an episode of Reading D&D Aloud. The text I chose was the Arduin Grimoire by Dave Hargrave. That probably makes it the best interview for people who love echoes of the early days of rpgs. We didn’t get much deeper in the Grimoire than the top and bottom of the experience point rewards chart (What's Worth More XP? Nuclear Weapons or Satan's Pitchfork?) and some of the entries on the special ability charts for each of the classes, which led discussion of One Unique Things. (Jonathan’s interview showed up a couple days later: Do We Play RPGs Better Now Than in the Past?)

Teos Abadia had me on Mastering Dungeons while Shawn Merwin was away. I can’t believe we covered such a diverse list of topics in under an hour, Teos keeps things moving while asking great questions. You can see the list on the Youtube page, and skip around to what interest you. We nodded to a bunch of games I worked on or designed, the OGL, working on teams, 4E’s goals, 13th Age’s innovations, and plans for 2E beyond the Kickstarter. He had a longer list of questions we didn’t get to that I was looking forward to answering, so maybe this will happen again.

There was another text interview that may have been the best because Andrew Girdwood of Geek Native wasn’t convinced by my attempt to evade answering questions about the future of the industry. I talked a bit about how solitaire rpg gaming used to mainly consist of reading game books, and now includes watching people play. And I got to talk about the whole 2E creative team for a minute.

La Taberna del Rol introduces itself in Spanish, and then in a couple minutes starts an interview in English with Spanish subtitles. Sin duda fue el mejor. We introduced our plans for 13th Age 2E and our desire to build a tool kit that other games could borrow from. I demonstrated my occasional inability to make an elevator pitch. We talked a lot about 4e and whether it was ahead of its time, and what the heck was going on with the OGL.

And speaking of 4e…. here’s a teaser link to a 4e interview and game session that hasn’t happened yet! Peter Adkison is celebrating D&D’s 50th Anniversary with interviews and games by as many of the designers as possible. I’ll be running a 4E game for Andy Collins, Liz Argall, Wade Rockett, and Derek Guder on Saturday, June 8th, two days after the 13th Age KS ends! It will be on https://www.twitch.tv/gencontv, Saturday, June 8th, at 10am pacific time. We'll talk about the game first, then play.


  1. Mr. Heinsoo,
    I am an avid Arduin fan and playtester for Empcho's upcomming Arduin Bloody Arduin RPG.
    I was hoping to talk with you about the project and your love of Arduin.

    Is there an email or discord I could reach out to you on?

    Thank you I look forward ymto your reply.

  2. Drats! My phone did me dirty at the end there. I look forward to your reply. 😀

  3. These interviews offer an insightful journey into the world of 13th Age, blending nostalgia with innovation. The depth of discussion on game design, from the roots of RPGs to modern innovations, is both engaging and enlightening. Particularly fascinating is the exploration of 2E's character classes and the nod to 4E's legacy. The upcoming 4E interview promises to be an exciting addition to the celebration of D&D's 50th Anniversary. Can't wait to delve into more adventures and insights from these seasoned designers!