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[Let's learn] 13th Age

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
A non-exhaustive list:

  • I had intellectually known this, but this time around it really started to sink in that saves in 13A are basically unmodified. Your stats don't help, your level doesn't help. There are a few specific cases where something gives a bonus or a penalty, but it's basically just easy/normal/hard, roll 1d20. I guess I welcome comments on that, if anyone has any. Does it bug people? I'm not saying it's a problem--it's just a different design choice than I'm used to.
Its less of an issue if you had exposure to D&D 4e; they worked similarly there, and similarly, a lot of what we think of as saves were moved over to attack rolls.


  • I also started to wonder during the fight whether this game ever uses the straight attributes (not the modifiers, which obviously come up a fair bit). I saw a monster in Book of Ages that had a specific ability that triggered depending on how a roll compared to the target's (something) score, but other than that I can't think of where it would matter that you have a 14 STR instead of 15. Is there something I'm not thinking of? Would the game basically be the same if in a 2nd edition they just did the modifiers and forgot about the scores?
Honestly, most D&D derivatives are like that. Its not a surprise that True20 and M&M finally got there.
 

NinjaPaladin

Member
Validated User
Before you do that, do consider the following:
Sorry, Rue. That was intended as a joke.

As someone playing 13th Age and D&D 5E simultaneously, I finding myself loving both systems’ combat.

(For clarity: my personal preferences here. Not objective truth.)

For 13th Age:
  • I love the escalation die -- it encourages holding onto your cool abilities until you have a higher chance to hit, and I have found that my D&D games still involve a fair amount of alpha-striking.
  • I love how most fights take 4 rounds at most (barring boss fights). I realized I was a little frustrated with a D&D fight when it entered round 6 or 7, and we all pretty much knew how it was going to end, but we still had to clean up the leftover baddies.
  • I love how variable effects are tied to the dice roll -- it allows for more complexity without making the creature much more difficult to run, and it captures the previous edition "monsters can do a lot of things" feel that I sometimes feel D&D 5E lacks.
  • I love how PCs feel tough and capable even at low levels, and the simplicity of the increasing weapon dice for damage.
For D&D 5E:
  • I love Advantage, which gives the DM a simple way to reward player creativity without a long consultation of the rules. While I get good old-school enjoyment from "Okay, that's 12 on the die plus 4 level plus 3 Dex plus 1 for the magic sword plus 2 Escalation plus 1 for the bardsong," I find that a lot of folks at my table don't love that. They do like "Roll with Advantage, and if you're super-close but still not hitting, throw in the bardic thingie!"
  • I love ability-based saves rather than defenses -- maybe it's just how I first played, or maybe it's the feeling of having my fate in my own hands, but I really prefer D&D's saves to 13th Age's defenses.
  • I prefer D&D 5E's use of distances -- simple enough that you can do it in theater of the mind if you want, but people with minis and a map can use them. As I noted up-thread, I ended up sort of throwing Fate's zones into 13th Age sideways to cover those occasional times when I had more complex geography in mind for the maps.
  • I love how D&D offers a slightly easier on-ramp for new players. I thought that 13th Age's on-ramp was fine for new players until I had to explain to someone playing a fighter how all their flexible attacks worked. Some of that is just the Fighter not being the New Player Class anymore (I feel like the Ranger or Paladin are better there, with most of the choices handled at character generation, and with both classes offering enough power and survivability to make "I attack each round" viable as a strategy for a new player), but having folks get used to playing as a basic character before getting a bunch of special abilities to track is really a good call for new players.
At this point, I will happily run either, and my ideal system would probably steal some elements of both in a way that most likely broke painfully when I tried to actually play it. :)
 

JoeNotCharles

Registered User
Validated User
Piggybacking on this thread to ask a rules question:

Is it just me or does 13th Age not have any rules for stealth or concealment? There's invisibility but I can't find anything less total than that. I can't find any monsters that would be what 4E terms a "lurker" and even the Rogue doesn't have any stealth-based abilities that I noticed. Even Sneak Attack doesn't explicitly mention being hidden from the target - it applies when you have an ally engaged with the target, which I guess represents its attention not being on you.
 

Nate_MI

Hail Tzeentch!
Validated User
Piggybacking on this thread to ask a rules question:

Is it just me or does 13th Age not have any rules for stealth or concealment? There's invisibility but I can't find anything less total than that. I can't find any monsters that would be what 4E terms a "lurker" and even the Rogue doesn't have any stealth-based abilities that I noticed. Even Sneak Attack doesn't explicitly mention being hidden from the target - it applies when you have an ally engaged with the target, which I guess represents its attention not being on you.
There's Backgrounds and invisibility spells and a few monsters like Redcaps that focus on disappearing and surprising you. There's not much consideration given to sneaking around, though -- this isn't Basic where you are supposed to loot a tomb without doing any fighting.
 

JoeNotCharles

Registered User
Validated User
There's Backgrounds and invisibility spells and a few monsters like Redcaps that focus on disappearing and surprising you. There's not much consideration given to sneaking around, though -- this isn't Basic where you are supposed to loot a tomb without doing any fighting.
I was thinking more about attacking from surprise. I'm trying to adapt some 4E monsters whose powers involve hiding and then attacking with advantage (specifically the 1st level "human cutthroat" so the supernatural recap mechanics wouldn't be appropriate). I guess I'll give them a version of the Rogue's sneak attack, but that's pretty generic. Wolves get the same power to represent pack attack tactics, for instance.
 

Spaßwolf

Registered User
Validated User
I was thinking more about attacking from surprise. I'm trying to adapt some 4E monsters whose powers involve hiding and then attacking with advantage (specifically the 1st level "human cutthroat" so the supernatural recap mechanics wouldn't be appropriate). I guess I'll give them a version of the Rogue's sneak attack, but that's pretty generic. Wolves get the same power to represent pack attack tactics, for instance.
For ambush siuations you get a surprise round (where a chosen ambusher and the ambusher with the highest initiative get to act before the first turn). I don't think there's anything like that for individual combatants that join a fight later.
 

Nate_MI

Hail Tzeentch!
Validated User
I was thinking more about attacking from surprise. I'm trying to adapt some 4E monsters whose powers involve hiding and then attacking with advantage (specifically the 1st level "human cutthroat" so the supernatural recap mechanics wouldn't be appropriate). I guess I'll give them a version of the Rogue's sneak attack, but that's pretty generic. Wolves get the same power to represent pack attack tactics, for instance.
You could give them an ability to pop free and then some kind of charge attack, to represent fading into darkness and popping out again. Take a look at how Redcaps are statted up in the Bestiary 1.
 

Antendren

Member
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I was thinking more about attacking from surprise. I'm trying to adapt some 4E monsters whose powers involve hiding and then attacking with advantage (specifically the 1st level "human cutthroat" so the supernatural recap mechanics wouldn't be appropriate). I guess I'll give them a version of the Rogue's sneak attack, but that's pretty generic. Wolves get the same power to represent pack attack tactics, for instance.
There's also the Rogue's shadow walk, which could be flavored as nothing more than disappearing like Batman into the rafters.
 
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