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[Let's Read] 13th Age Bestiary

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
Well he hasn't gotten to the whole "enslaving the world to the Dark Gods" thing yet. And a fair number of people think he never will, that the forces of the Abyss are endless. So it's setting an evil (the Crusader) to contain an evil (the Diabolist) and stopping either of them from mustering enough power to threaten the right-thinking folks of the Empire.
That's kind of the point though; while the Crusader is good at forcing back demonic forces, he's pretty much willing to use any tool to do it. He might well be able to close all those Hellholes if he was allowed to operate unchecked--but the price would be way, way too high.

Honestly, I suspect the only reason he's tolerated is there's just not enough forces working for the Great Gold Dragon and the Priestess to handle the problem.
 

Nate_MI

Formerly 'Raveled'
Validated User
Join us as we stab our imagination as we take the fight to

Eidolons
No one's quite sure what an eidolon is. Or rather they do know -- eidolons are spirits that embody concepts and seem to be able to enter and interact with our world at will. But due to their infinite nature it's almost impossible to talk about eidolons as a group. They act in concert with their concept; an eidolon of cowardice will encourage you to run from a butterfly while an eidolon of self-sacrifice will tell you to jump on every grenade, even when you're the only one around. Eidolons can look like people, or beasts, or weird geometric patterns, or natural formations, or a combination of any of the above. They can be any color and patterned however you like. Sometimes eidolons manifest on their own and sometimes they attach to a person or animal or stick around a place; sometimes they wander wherever they wish. As you can probably tell, a lot of the answers with eidolons boil down to "who the fuck knows?"

All eidolons do share a few abilities, though. They can split reality, which splits the party into d4 iterations of the battle. I assume they only use that when they want to talk and not fight, because otherwise you're increasing the difficulty of the fight by a factor of 2-4, which pretty much guarantees a loss. They can warp time by setting the escalation die to a random d6 roll; that would be a very useful ability for an eidolon ally. Reshuffle space swaps the position of two people on the battlefield. Finally, all eidolons are actually undying and when reduced to 0 HP they merely discorporate and return to whatever weird realm they're from.

An eidolon who wants to test a low-level party might manifest as an eidolon in humanoid form, a triple-strength 1st lvl Troop [Spirit] with 81 HP. It has a dark-matter fist vs AC for damage that's pretty much any damage type you care to choose for it. It can also try a mind-shattering whisper vs MD for psychic damage or transreality tendrils vs PD for negative energy.

Sometimes the eidolon sticks around to protect a person rather than champion a concept. An attached eidolon is a 3rd lvl Troop [Spirit] with 45 HP. It can attack with sharp claws, sharper teeth vs AC for holy damage or a long tongue vs AC against up to 3 enemies for ongoing acid and holy damage.They can fly, or change their shape to hide as a person's pet, and twice per battle they can activate a fear aura that affects anything engaged with them that has less than 30 HP.

If you make it angry than an eidolon in war form is a triple-strength 4th lvl Troop [Spirit] with 162 HP. They attack with scissors, scythes, and chains vs AC for damage and on a natural 16+, a bit extra damage. The eidiolon can force you to see the awful truth vs MD to deal psychic damage and make the target weakened, and every time the target attempts to save against it one of their allies takes additional psychic damage. Finally the eidolon can express the awful nature of reality vs PD to make the target hampered (save ends). Every time the target fails the save, they take psychic damage.

An eidolon looking for something might be an eidolon in hunting form. This is a triple-strength 6th lvl Troop [Spirit] with 270 HP. They can only attack with slashing jaws vs AC but every time they connect the target must start making last-gasp saves. If they fail four, they don't die -- they fade out from battle until the eidolon (or possibly another one) chooses to bring them back.

When an eidolon chooses to protect a place they show up as an eidolon in guardian form. This is a triple-strength 9th lvl Troop [Spirit] with 520 HP. It can attack twice a turn with empowered weapon vs AC for holy damage. If both attacks land on different targets, it can use its divine proclamation as a quick action. Divine proclamation vs PD targets all non-immortal creatures within the sound of its voice (does that include deaf creatures?) and deals thunder and holy damage, and ongoing holy damage and weakens the target (save ends both. The same save, or just the same rank of save? It seems ambiguous). One per battle it can use word of judgement vs MD for a boatload of holy damage.

No words on how to put an eidolon into a fight but there is a section on eidolon blessings and curses. It's pretty standard fairy tale stuff, though I do like curses like becoming drunk at a tavern and being forced to clean its kitchen.

Icons
- The Archmage's official position is that eidolons are spontaneous manifestations of magic. They take humanoid forms because humanoids shape magic, but they're nothing more than a weird form of elemental.
- The Priestess views eidolons as messengers from the gods. They show up in the Cathedral regularly and there's an entire order of holy sisters dedicated to helping them with whatever they need to do. Eidolons who show up elsewhere in Santa Cora are helped along their way.

Adventures
- An eidolon of bliss invites the party along on a night of revelry and celebration. Can they keep with a ghost? Why have they been singled out? What sort of parties does a spirit take them to anyway? And what sort of force exists in opposition to the eidolon of having a good time?
- An eidolon gives the party a map to an island that will calm the Iron Sea. Once they get there they'll have to contend with the eidolon guarding the island.
- An adventurer finds out that their birth, and maybe their entire life, was orchestrated by an eidolon to bring about a prophecy. How will they react to learning their entire life has had a spirit godparent pulling the strings in the background? Will they still want to go along with their fate?
- An eidolon hands the party a message to deliver. Along the way they'll be attacked by all manner of assassins and villains; it's actually a ruse to draw the eidolon's enemies out of hiding.
- An eidolon has declared a prophecy and arranged a dragon attack to keep things on the proper path. Will the heroes agree to slay the dragon and move on, or will they investigate a force that puts a town in danger for its vague purpose?
- An eidolon sets out to test the party on its antiquated notions of heroism. Can they bend enough to pass its tests, or will they convince it to update its hoary old ideals?
- An eidolon of peace charges the heroes to go to a party where their rivals will also be in attendance. Can they maintain a civil face for the night in exchange for a mighty blessing?

Thoughts
I don't like eidolons. They're almost literally dues ex machina and while they can usefully be used to draw the party into any plot or one-off adventure the GM has planned, I prefer to see my quest-givers integrated into the world a little more. The way I could see it being interesting is to justify a multiclassed character -- a charismatic and well-loved Fighter finds that an eidolon of leadership bonds to them and suddenly they're a Fighter/Sorcerer. A Rogue with a great fate finds an eidolon bonded to them and suddenly they're a Rogue/Cleric. Or a Wizard is disdainful of physical strength and an eidolon makes them a Barbarian/Wizard to teach them a lesson.

I do find it interesting that eidolons all seem to have holy attacks. That lends credence to the notion that they are from a different world, perhaps whatever supernal realm the gods dwell in. Or maybe people misunderstand the nature of the gods and holy energy and a future Alienist will set them straight.

Up Next: Is this a template?
 

AndrewTBP

You are Number 6
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I thought the use of eidolons in the Six Feats Under campaign was interesting. The inhabitants of the Moon.
 

DannyK

One Shot Man
Validated User
It’s filler. I can screw with my players in a whimsical fashion without this write up.
 

Nate_MI

Formerly 'Raveled'
Validated User
On a second read-through, I find it faintly damning that all these stat blocks are Troops. While there's nothing wrong with having plenty of Troops in a fight, if eidolons are capable to being anything then surely there should be some Spoiler or Wrecker or Leader eidolons.
 

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
Personally, they kind of work for me, albeit in a special-purpose role; they remind me of Dragon Age spirits more than anything else.
 

Nate_MI

Formerly 'Raveled'
Validated User
The thunder is the roar of a tiger when you're talking about

Elemental Beasts
Elemental energies swirl and flow everywhere around the Dragon Empire. Sometimes these spirits focus themselves into an independent vortex, but sometimes they anchor themselves onto an animal and empower it with their authority and magics. Elemental beasts are always local to a region, but they may by drawn to the closest manifestation of their associated power; a volcano might be patrolled by a tiger that's outwardly like the others creeping through the jungle at its base, but this tiger makes it nest in the active caldera.

Mechanically, elemental beasts are the closest thing we've seen to a template in all of 13th Age. You start by taking a basic animal and giving it an elemental grouping. This sets its level and gives it some basic abilities, but you can increase its effective level by giving it more and more powerful abilities. In this way you can start with a venomous snake (1st lvl), give it some earth-based powers, and end up with a 2nd lvl snake who can slither through the ground.

We'll start with the elemental groupings. The powers of air grant flight, resist thunder 16+ and resist lightning 16+. In addition they can take one or two of the following abilities: Swirling winds forces any ranged attack against this creature to be rolled with disadvantage. Swirling dust devil vs PD makes the target dazed (save ends). Gust front lets the creature pop free when it makes a natural even hit. Static field forces enemies engaged with the creature at the start of its turn to take some lighting damage. Finally, lightning rod means that any attack that targets this creature's allies with lightning damage will instead target this creature (with its resist lightning). Unsurprisingly these powers mostly focus on keeping the creature unengaged and mobile. Raptors, and possibly other strike-and-fade creatures like wolves and tigers, would benefit the most from this.

The powers of earth give the creature resist force 16+, resist poison 16+, and the chance to make a save against any effect that move them. They can choose between a bonus to MD, taking normal damage from critical attacks, a burrow speed, a bonus to charge damage, or an ability to heal once per battle while in contact with the earth. These benefit creatures who have plenty of offense but lack defense, like badgers or toxic frogs.

The powers of fire give the creature resist fire 16+, resist lightning 16+, and the ability to use the escalation die on turns that it's targeted by fire or lightning damage. They can choose between ashen earth that does damage to everyone engaged with the creature, magma skin that does more damage to whoever hits the creature with a melee attack, burning breath vs PD for fire damage, obsidian shards which heals the creature when it's hit by cold damage (???) or heat exhaustion which means engaged enemies only get half healing. These abilities seem to be best enhance something with plenty of HP and offense that could use some chance to hurt people when it's not their turn and to stop their enemy from healing.

The powers of water give a creature the ability to reroll natural 2s on attack rolls, resist cold 16+, and resist acid 16+. In addition they can choose to deal cold damage to everything engaged with them, disengage from battle freely, get an expanded crit range when staggered, gain bonuses when fighting underwater or in soggy environment, and attack bonuses against anyone who attack it last turn. It strikes me that water would benefit creatures with lots of attacks the most, giving them the most chance to trigger critical attacks and enjoy rerolls.

The rest of the entry are a half-dozen generic animals; bird of prey and big cat and the like. Good additions to the menagerie the other books already gave us.

Any fight against a mundane animals can be spiced up by making them elemental animals instead. Even settled locations might have rats of water in the sewers or air wolves making off with livestock. Fire animals are often seen with kobolds devoted to the red, orc raiders, and fire giants. Water beasts are prized pets among sahuagin, pirates, and swamp hags. Earth creatures are used by derro and dwarf populations in equal measure. Air monsters can be found throughout most of the Overworld, along with sorcerers of the Blue and airship crews.

Icons
- Wizards have been trying to create elemental beasts under laboratory conditions for decades. The reason for the experiments seem to change regularly, suggesting there's something about these creatures that the Archmage doesn't want to talk about.
- The Elf Queen offers sanctuary to any number of elemental beasts, and many noble-born elves take to making them pets. If the adventurers need to find a fire bear that's used to being around people the Queen's Wood is probably the place to start.
- Orcs love fire. A pet who makes fire means it's the best pet.
- Dragons like feasting on elemental creatures. They report feeling a satisfying "tingle" when the animals are resting in their belly.

Thoughts
A fine set of abilities to add to any natural encounter. This is the closet we've seen to a template yet in 13th Age and it's kind of loose, but I like how it adds variety to know elements. Oh it's just a wolf pack -- until they fly! Oh it's just a bear -- until it burrows under the earth! It's a fun twist on things that keeps the fantastical edge that's so easy to lose at lower levels.

Up Next: An entry with a little kick. One that will get your goat. Some boys who are always horn-y. I hope this entry isn't too satyr-ized.
 

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
Yeah, I don't know how often I'd use the elemental beasts as a standalone, but as an encounter add-on they have all kinds of potential uses.
 

Nate_MI

Formerly 'Raveled'
Validated User
I hope you don't think I'm too obsequious when we talk about

Fauns
Fauns are a breed of wild forest-folk, part goat and part man, with curling horns and a love of music and drink. They are tied to the High Druid and the magic of the wild spaces, but much like centaurs they also interact with settled peoples quite a bit. They don't like to own or work farms or really be tied down to one place at all, but most fauns are masters of satire, poetry, ballads, and epic songs and you're far more likely to see one playing in the street then you are plowing a field or making pots to sell. They are, in all things, a combination of nature and civilization; human body & goat legs, human face & antelope horns, human skills & wild magic. The entry presents versions of fauns who are long-time residents of the Empire, as well as a version where the fauns are a new people brought in by the High Druid, perhaps to counter the rising toxic tide of the Orc Lord.

If you insult a bard you might find yourself fighting a faun troubadour, a 2nd lvl Spoiler [Humanoid] with 36 HP. They can heckle vs MD for psychic damage, and on a natural 18+ the target is hampered (save ends). They can only do this every other turn, so on their off moments they'll fall back on bob and weave and headbutt vs AC for damage. On a miss with that attack they can pop free, and if an enemy rolls a natural 1 on an attack the troubadour can use heckle as a free action against them, even if they've already used it.

One who lives more in tune with the wilds might be a faun harrier, a 4th lvl Archer [Humanoid] with 90 HP. They can swing twice per attack with their hatchet vs AC for damage. Their real attack is pinning shot vs AC for damage, and on a natural 18+ the target is stuck (save ends). On a natural 2, 3, or 4 they reroll the attack against a random target!

A wise and mystical faun is a faun keeper, a 5th lvl Blocker [Humanoid] with 70 HP. They can swing with a gnarled staff vs AC for damage or cast a snare vs PD for damage. The leader of a gang of fauns could be a faun bandleader, a 5th lvl Leader [Humanoid] with 52 HP. They can blow on a horn of power vs PD that targets all nearby enemies with thunder damage, and on a natural 18+ one ally can make an attack as an interrupt. If they're close-by they can strike with their baton of office vs AC for damage.

A faun enchanter is a 6th lvl Spoiler [Humanoid] with 88 HP. They can strike with a swift hoof vs AC for damage and the enchanter pops free from the target. Or they can use a whispered sonata vs MD against up to 3 enemies for psychic damage, and on a crit the target is dazed (save ends).

A faun harrier is a 4th lvl Archer [Humanoid] with 90 HP. They can attack twice with their hatchet vs AC for damage, or fire a pinning shot vs AC for damage against one enemy, and on a natural 18+ the target is stuck (save end).

A faun keeper is a 5th lvl Blocker [Humanoid] with 70 HP. They can whap you with their gnarled staff vs AC for damage or cast a snare vs PD for damage. On a natural 16+, the target of the snare is pulled away from their current target and engages with the keeper.

A faun bandleader is a 5th lvl Leader [Humanoid] with 52 HP. They can blow a horn of power vs PD to affect all nearby enemies with thunder damage and on a natural 18+ one ally can make an attack on an enemy. Or else they can attack with their baton of office vs AC for damage.

A faun enchanter is a 6th lvl Spoiler [Humanoid] with 88 HP. They can strike with a swift hoof vs AC for damage and the enchanter pops free from the target. Or they can use whispered sonata vs MD for psychic damage. On a crit the target is dazed (save ends).

A faun ranger is a 7th lvl Archer [Humanoid] with 90 HP. They carry a longsword vs AC for damage and on a natural even roll they can make a second attack against another target (but not any further attacks). At range they can make a pinning shot vs AC against two enemies at once, and on a natural 18+ the target is stuck (save ends).

A faun outlaw is a 7th lvl Troop [Humanoid] with 92 HP. They can attack with a thief's dagger vs AC for damage and on a natural 18+ the outlaw steals a random magic item from their target. They can also feint & dodge vs PD to make their target stuck until the end of its next turn (save ends). On a natural 18+ the target loses all their actions as they're all tangled up in trying to hit the faun. The faun can do this attack as a move action, but only twice per battle.

Fauns are people, without any strong influences in a particular direction. Adventurers are most likely to fight one on the midst of a bar brawl, but some fauns go wandering and end up as bandits. Those fauns may masquerade as victims in an attempt to draw in potential marks, or they may snipe from the trees, or they may lead the bandits with magical skill. Particularly mad (or drunk!) fauns may be found along redcaps!

Icons
- The illusions courses at the best colleges in Horizon are all taught by a set of faun triplets -- or the same one?
- Unscrupulous demon-hunters and those looking to claim the Crusader's bounties will sometimes collect a faun's cloven hoofs instead of going after more dangerous enemies.
- Fauns aren't known as a particularly devout people, but the Priestess always has time for a faun with a new story of the gods.

Adventures
- Settlements near New Port are being terrorized by "wood-grained goat man." The High Druid denies the fauns are involved, and employs the adventurers to discover the truth before an Imperial legion arrives.
- A cult of fauns set out to summon their old god Satyrus in the middle of Axis. As the magical energy spreads throughout the capital, it inspires revelries and riots. Can the heroes discover the source of this unrest before the city tears itself apart in a bacchanalian riot?
- A faun maiden stole a magical lute and joined up with her half-brother the bandit. Now they're signing to passing merchants to convince them to turn over their gold. The Imperial throne wants the bandits and wants the instrument smashed. Their father wants his errant children captured alive and brought back, safe and sound.

Thoughts
The fauns work well as a way to inject wildness into cities. Much like Bacchus and the transformative, ecstatic potential of wine and drugs, throwing a faun into any setting is almost guaranteed to add some chaos to a night. They work well to break up staid parties or liven up harvest festivals, and once you've trained your players that they're mostly harmless entertainers and drunkards you can spring the 6th lvl faun wizard on them. Fauns are a good addition, it not one that would show up in every campaign.

Up Next: A short entry.
 
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