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Questions about 13th age group size and campaign length

Uqbarian

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I have a couple of questions for folks who have played 13th Age.

How well does it play with seven or eight players? Are there any things that are likely to be more difficult with larger groups?

Very roughly, what is an expected campaign length (i.e. how many sessions to get from 1st level to 10th level)? The book recommends levelling up after every three or four full heal-ups, which is twelve or sixteen standard combat encounters. Would an average group normally get through three or four fights in a session, or is it more like one or two fights per session?

To some extent these boil down to the same question of how long combat encounters take. I'm used to running 4e D&D; I get the impression 13A will run quicker, but as I haven't played it yet, I don't know if it's significantly quicker.
 

Aegypto

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We've been playing once in a fortnight on average for one year and half, and the characters have reached 6th level, but we've been playing Eyes of the Stone Thief (which screws with level advancement) and we take longer than average for combat (we get one or two fights per session).

It took about six months to get the PCs to 4th level, for what's worth.
 

Uqbarian

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We've been playing once in a fortnight on average for one year and half, and the characters have reached 6th level, but we've been playing Eyes of the Stone Thief (which screws with level advancement) and we take longer than average for combat (we get one or two fights per session).

It took about six months to get the PCs to 4th level, for what's worth.
Thanks, that's useful info. Are your sessions in the 4-to-6 hour ballpark?
 

AndrewTBP

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I've been running my campaign since early 2014 every other week with short 2 - 3 hour sessions, 1 fight per session. We're at 9th level now. I've never had more than 6 players.
 

Aegypto

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Thanks, that's useful info. Are your sessions in the 4-to-6 hour ballpark?
Usually, but closer to the 4 hour mark. There's pizza ordering in the middle, and some of the players get easily distracted.

We didn't really have much experience with D&D before this, and some of the players are into powergaming, so rules discussions are frequent. I also suspect things would go faster with more efficient spell management on behalf of our Cleric and Sorcerer, but we never get to sort that out)

For the record, the party has four players (Fighter, Cleric, Rogue and Sorcerer). We had a couple of sessions with guest players, which took party size to seven (including a summoning-specialized Necromancer) and that took forever
 

Uqbarian

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One possible non-combat issue that's struck me is that a large group might have too many icon rolls to easily handle. Again, I don't know how true that is.

I've been running my campaign since early 2014 every other week with short 2 - 3 hour sessions, 1 fight per session. We're at 9th level now. I've never had more than 6 players.
Thanks!

Usually, but closer to the 4 hour mark. There's pizza ordering in the middle, and some of the players get easily distracted.

We didn't really have much experience with D&D before this, and some of the players are into powergaming, so rules discussions are frequent. I also suspect things would go faster with more efficient spell management on behalf of our Cleric and Sorcerer, but we never get to sort that out)

For the record, the party has four players (Fighter, Cleric, Rogue and Sorcerer). We had a couple of sessions with guest players, which took party size to seven (including a summoning-specialized Necromancer) and that took forever
Yeah, we probably end up at closer to 4 hours of game time too, after eating and catching up.
 

Kath

The Furthest Away
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I've run with 6 players a few times, and it does slow things down compared to a smaller party. Nowhere near as badly as e.g. D&D 4th, and the usual tricks to speed up combat all apply (e.g. decide what to do *before* it gets to you, roll damage dice along with the attack roll etc).

Icon rolls can be a pain with a big party. I use a house-rule to ensure that every player gets 1 icon advantage per session; if they're not used up in that session, they're lost. The onus is very much on the player to suggest how to use the icon point, which worked well with my group. I give the players a folded piece of card listing the benefit they have to help them remember and to serve as a way of tracking if it's been spent or not.

Icon house rule
Write down a 1-6 list. Assign each of your three icon relationships to two spots, in whatever order you want. The first spot for each icon is a complicated outcome, the second one is a straightforward benefit. Roll 1d6 at the start of the session, and that determines what you get.

E.g. If someone has 2 positive points with the dwarf king, and 1 negative with the lich king they have the following list:
1. Dwarf king, complicated.
2. Dwarf king, benefit
3. Dwarf king, complicated.
4. Dwarf king, benefit
5. Lich king, complicated.
6. Lich king, benefit
They roll 1d6 at the start of the session and get a 4, giving them a straightforward with the dwarf king to use that session. If they don't use it, it goes away and they roll again at the start of the next session.

If a character has more than 3 points of relationships, start a second d6 table (with some blank spaces) and roll two dice at the start of the session. E.g. if the above character gets a 1 point complicated relationship with the Three, they'd have a second list:
1. The Three, complicated
2. The Three, benefit.
3. Nothing
4. Nothing
5. Nothing
6. Nothing
At the start of the session they now roll 2d6. The first d6 is used for the first table (and so will *always* give something) and the second d6 is used for the second table.
 

Wuluag

Omnia Sunt Communia
Validated User
I have a couple of questions for folks who have played 13th Age.

How well does it play with seven or eight players? Are there any things that are likely to be more difficult with larger groups?

Very roughly, what is an expected campaign length (i.e. how many sessions to get from 1st level to 10th level)? The book recommends levelling up after every three or four full heal-ups, which is twelve or sixteen standard combat encounters. Would an average group normally get through three or four fights in a session, or is it more like one or two fights per session?

To some extent these boil down to the same question of how long combat encounters take. I'm used to running 4e D&D; I get the impression 13A will run quicker, but as I haven't played it yet, I don't know if it's significantly quicker.
I've been running some of the Organised Play content (specifically Into the Underworld) and that gives out an incremental advance at the end of session. with the 4th being a full level up. Those adventures tend to have 4 encounters - usually a couple of fights (often tougher than the standard battle as calculated in the core) plus one or two resolved by Skill Tests. That seems to be a pretty decent pace.

I've run with 6 players a few times, and it does slow things down compared to a smaller party. Nowhere near as badly as e.g. D&D 4th, and the usual tricks to speed up combat all apply (e.g. decide what to do *before* it gets to you, roll damage dice along with the attack roll etc).

Icon rolls can be a pain with a big party. I use a house-rule to ensure that every player gets 1 icon advantage per session; if they're not used up in that session, they're lost. The onus is very much on the player to suggest how to use the icon point, which worked well with my group. I give the players a folded piece of card listing the benefit they have to help them remember and to serve as a way of tracking if it's been spent or not.

Icon house rule
Write down a 1-6 list. Assign each of your three icon relationships to two spots, in whatever order you want. The first spot for each icon is a complicated outcome, the second one is a straightforward benefit. Roll 1d6 at the start of the session, and that determines what you get.

E.g. If someone has 2 positive points with the dwarf king, and 1 negative with the lich king they have the following list:
1. Dwarf king, complicated.
2. Dwarf king, benefit
3. Dwarf king, complicated.
4. Dwarf king, benefit
5. Lich king, complicated.
6. Lich king, benefit
They roll 1d6 at the start of the session and get a 4, giving them a straightforward with the dwarf king to use that session. If they don't use it, it goes away and they roll again at the start of the next session.

If a character has more than 3 points of relationships, start a second d6 table (with some blank spaces) and roll two dice at the start of the session. E.g. if the above character gets a 1 point complicated relationship with the Three, they'd have a second list:
1. The Three, complicated
2. The Three, benefit.
3. Nothing
4. Nothing
5. Nothing
6. Nothing
At the start of the session they now roll 2d6. The first d6 is used for the first table (and so will *always* give something) and the second d6 is used for the second table.
I am stealing this house rule! :D

I may still use the 'story guide' implementation during a session where it makes sense, and also between to focus my planning.
 

ezekiel

Follower of the Way
Validated User
I've run with 6 players a few times, and it does slow things down compared to a smaller party. Nowhere near as badly as e.g. D&D 4th, and the usual tricks to speed up combat all apply (e.g. decide what to do *before* it gets to you, roll damage dice along with the attack roll etc).

Icon rolls can be a pain with a big party. I use a house-rule to ensure that every player gets 1 icon advantage per session; if they're not used up in that session, they're lost. The onus is very much on the player to suggest how to use the icon point, which worked well with my group. I give the players a folded piece of card listing the benefit they have to help them remember and to serve as a way of tracking if it's been spent or not.

Icon house rule
Write down a 1-6 list. Assign each of your three icon relationships to two spots, in whatever order you want. The first spot for each icon is a complicated outcome, the second one is a straightforward benefit. Roll 1d6 at the start of the session, and that determines what you get.

E.g. If someone has 2 positive points with the dwarf king, and 1 negative with the lich king they have the following list:
1. Dwarf king, complicated.
2. Dwarf king, benefit
3. Dwarf king, complicated.
4. Dwarf king, benefit
5. Lich king, complicated.
6. Lich king, benefit
They roll 1d6 at the start of the session and get a 4, giving them a straightforward with the dwarf king to use that session. If they don't use it, it goes away and they roll again at the start of the next session.

If a character has more than 3 points of relationships, start a second d6 table (with some blank spaces) and roll two dice at the start of the session. E.g. if the above character gets a 1 point complicated relationship with the Three, they'd have a second list:
1. The Three, complicated
2. The Three, benefit.
3. Nothing
4. Nothing
5. Nothing
6. Nothing
At the start of the session they now roll 2d6. The first d6 is used for the first table (and so will *always* give something) and the second d6 is used for the second table.
Not a bad Icon house rule, but I'd probably make one tweak: let either the player or maybe the person to their left (or something) *choose* which die is which table? Because as it stands this technically makes that 4th relationship point not worth very much. The option to subtly alter your "fate" or pull strings seems like a good shift. Not required, but if I ran 13A I'd probably do it.
Edit: actually I'd say let them choose which table the *first* die applies to, before the second is rolled. That way, they have *some* control...but they never have everything.

As for the OP: remember that the escalation die is your friend for combat situations, and that the mix of different complexity classes can be valuable to you. If your party is Wizard, Druid, Monk, Commander, Occultist, Rogue, and Bard, you'll feel the weight of all those mechanics. Encouraging Paladin, Fighter, Barbarian, and Sorcerer will help alleviate some of that mechanical weight.
 
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Kath

The Furthest Away
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Not a bad Icon house rule, but I'd probably make one tweak: let either the player or maybe the person to their left (or something) *choose* which die is which table? Because as it stands this technically makes that 4th relationship point not worth very much. The option to subtly alter your "fate" or pull strings seems like a good shift. Not required, but if I ran 13A I'd probably do it.
Edit: actually I'd say let them choose which table the *first* die applies to, before the second is rolled. That way, they have *some* control...but they never have everything.
It doesn't matter where on the tables a specific icon relationship is, you still have a 1/3 chance of it turning into an advantage for the session. Each relationship takes up two points on a table, and you always roll 1d6 per table (not sure if I was clear about this before!).

If you have 'The Three' on slots 1-2 of table 1, it's just as likely to turn into an advantage as if it's slotted into slots 1-2 of table 2 - in the first scenario, you've got a 1/3 chance of the first die triggering it; in the second scenario, you've got a 1/3 chance of the second die triggering it.

The most you can do is slot three copies of the same relationship into one table which is a 100% chance of triggering. If you spread them over two tables (because you had another relationship point), you is a chance of not triggering any of that relationship in a given session - but also a chance of getting two advantages, not one!
 
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