Monday, December 25, 2017

Getting 13th Age Started

13th Age.

We loved the level 1-10 play of D&D 4th Edition, but this is another one of those games for us that I just can't get off the ground with my group. To be fair, we have had some interest in D&D 5 but that is waning since some of my central players didn't find what they wanted in some of the classes and options. I still have a chance for a D&D 5 game if I can muster some excitement for the rules, but finding something beyond the classic Faerun, Greyhawk, etc, settings revamped just does not feel like it is happening for me.

So 13th Age for me is in a "sit on the bookshelf and read" sort of place, and I would love to dive in. Why this and not an old standby like Pathfinder or even the mildly warm (to my group, not speaking for the game overall because I know a lot of people are super into it) D&D 5?

I would like a game that does a more heroic and story based fantasy experience, honestly, and I would love to revamp our old D&D 4 campaign to come back from the dead and live again in a rules system where the classes and the powers are closer to what our group loved about the old 4th Edition D&D rules, rather than retcon and retool for a more traditional D&D 5 type of experience.

I know, if you have some interest in D&D 5, why not push it and start something? Well, really, honestly, D&D 5 is more of a traditional game, and the premise of our D&D 4 game was that the old ways (3.5 and earlier) were dead and that "equal power" sort of hero championed in D&D 4 was "how things worked" in this new plane of existence. It was a unique, special, and cool sort of place that was more larger than life and epic battled than older versions of the game felt, at least to us. That is, before the imbalances of D&D 4 soured us to the whole game in the later levels and the "turn denial" mechanic reared its ugly head as the path to victory.

So rolling back to a more traditional version of a fantasy game - be it Pathfinder or D&D 5 - is a non starter for that campaign.

13th Age, but the same set of designers and designed along those same heroic story lineages, seems like a great fit for another go-around in that world - at least just for me. It is simple, story based, the classes are similar, the world is one that would fit in that campaign, and the mechanics seem like an evolution of 4th Edition into a strange and exciting direction I have not seen in other fantasy games.

But without player interest there shall be no return to this world. It sucks because there are stories I know I can tell with this better than other games in the genre.

It is one of those things unique to out hobby, you can have a game sit on the shelf for ages until someone finds a spark and it ignites in your group. I am thankful we have the Call of Cthulhu game going as that is getting players around the table these days - if not for just the holidays where people are willing to try new things and hang out in a festive spirit. People expect to have fun this time of year, and it is cool this has taken off and I can referee it in that spirit.

We shall see, I guess. I expect either 5th Edition D&D or 13th Age will take our fantasy game crown at our gaming table in the near future, and that is a big "if" the stars align and that spark of inspiration can be found.

Until then, the Elder horrors lurk in the shadows and we are all in with Chaosium's horror game.