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Footnote: 13th Age

Given I mentioned the use of a 13th age mechanic in terms of the icon relationships, I thought I’d explain basically what I’m doing and what exactly the game I got it from is.

Basically it’s an RPG by some of the designers behind 3rd and 4th edition. It has a focus on role playing above combat and it’s got a lot of mechanics I like that can be ported into those editions without much alteration. If any catch your eye I have a beta version of the sourcebook (not everything’s there and its unreleased, so not something to be shared around) copied to the shared folder for more information. If you want to use any of these mechanics, let me know.

A quick rundown of some of the mechanics it uses are:


Adventurers don’t live in a vacuum – they have relationships to the powerful forces of the setting that they can call on over the course of their adventures. This I thought was simple to port and hopefully makes the world feel a lot more alive – a Galaxy’s a big place, might as well have recurring characters. besides, I love reputation systems, so I’ve done so verbatim. Weeeelll, I say verbatim, but I took a few creative liberties with who they are and what they do. They roughly correspond with the outlined archetypes, but none as obviously as you might think. So don’t worry about spoilers is what I’m saying.

Backgrounds instead of skills.

You put points into different elements of your background then when you need to make a skill check you roll 1d20+relevant ability modifier+relevant background. It’s a really flexible system that rewards cunning role playing. This kind of replaces the entire skill system, so if anything it’s something to keep in mind when thinking about your skills, not something that necessarily needs porting.

One Unique Thing

Each character has one non-mechanical unique thing about them that defines them, and differentiates them from the rest of the population. The only reason this isn’t a thing I’ve ported is you can totally already do this yourself. It’s non-mechanical, so feel free to go nuts with it if you want.

Escalation Die

As combat progresses, a d6 increments, adding onto attack rolls as the party learns their foe’s tactics and how best to defeat them. This seems easily open to being added, but with a party this size, you’ll probably have no trouble with combat, at least until I figure out what you guys are capable of.

Incremental Advances

As you complete encounters you can earn a potential feature of your next level up as a kind of try-before-you buy system. Be it a minor ability, attribute bonus, skill increase etc. You don’t have to keep it, but it means as you go on, your learning and experience is represented, and you get to test out how new abilities work with your build. This is usually a reward for excellent role playing, but 13th age only has 10 levels, compared to 4th edition’s 30, so there’s really not any reason it needs to be included – you have planet of opportunities to respec anyway.

Gridless Combat

13th Age is a very flexible system and wants to keep the action open to interpretation. This can’t be ported to 4th edition for obvious reasons.


The system isn’t finished and they’re still working out the kinks, hence why this is a 4th edition game, not a 13th age game, but I’ve said before, this campaign will have a role playing focus, so these can be seen as optional systems to help  you do so.

None of this has to go anywhere and I was totally not payed by the creators to include this stuff (I wish – I got this from their kickstarter) but these are some options on the table so to speak.

Categories: Behind the Scenes
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