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Michael Maneval
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We're nearing the end of our Eyes of the Stone Thief campaign, but I am not going to let it end without running this encounter! (pg 92)

New Years Eve Holiday One-Shot Actual Play Report

For New Years Eve, I got together with some old friends from high school to play a Christmas-themed 13th Age game in which they are tasked with killing Santa. The players, however, decided to design their characters as an homage to 2016/political caricatures. Below is my summary of the session.

Player Characters:

Arnold Rump - Half-Orc Barbarian. Notable features: Intends to make the orc horde great again! Weapon: A grate. Backgrounds: Small Loan of a Million Gold, The Greatest

Hillary Clefttongue - Snake Cleric. Notable features: Domain of Life/Death reskinned as Domain: Obamacare. +1 to Death Saves. Thanks Obama! OUT: Whatever it takes for me to get elected.

Birdie Sanders - Duck Trickster. Notable features: has a -10 to attacks. Backgrounds include Goodwill Worker, Social Worker, Political Science

Twenty Sixteen - Tiefling Rogue. Notable features: Harambe Animal Companion; Backgrounds: Celebrity Deathknell, Memes

Hillary Clefttongue and Arnold Rump are on the campaign trail to become the next Orc Lord! To do so, they must travel the Dragon Empire and hunt down those Electors - and kill them! (Electors are 538 political enemies designated by the orc horde to be killed. The campaign trail to hunt them down may or may not follow the Koru Behemoth paths: "The Election Year: The only thing that can keep the Koru Behemoths away.") Our adventure opens with Arnold Rump narrowly leading Hillary Clefttongue in number of Electors slain. Birdie Sanders still thinks he's running; he has not managed to kill any Electors. Twenty Sixteen is tagging along because - hey! Killing famous people! That's his kind of fun!

The campaign ("The Most Intense Game of 'Hide and Seek'") has led Hillary, Arnold, Twenty, and Birdie to their next Elector - a baker in Glitterhaegen! But alas, in the quiet snowy streets the party is ambushed by... children? They scream "FOR SANTA!" and launch a barrage of attacks and traps. (Reskinned kobolds with trapster abilities) Arnold Rump is surrounded by three puppy-riding children! In a whirlwind attack, the first kid ducks, the second receives a bloody nose from the grate, and the third is hit so far, he goes flying off into the distance. Arnold Rump takes out the remaining children bit by bit. Birdie Sanders is pushed into a spiked pit hidden in the snow by one child. Twenty Sixteen and Harambe engage with a child, but due to one of the child's ruthless traps, ends up with a beehive to the face. While hiding in the spiked trap from the first child, Birdie turns his attention to the child Harambe is attacking. The child charges at Birdie but slips on the ice and slides head-first into a spike. A child hiding in a snowdrift chucks ornaments at Hillary, but one of them was accidentally one of the beehive traps (thanks to our tiefling, Twenty Sixteen). Twenty Sixteen turns his attention on the child attacking Birdie and hurls a dagger at him. This attack is amplified by a well-timed distraction by Birdie (thanks to Feckless Strike) that ends with a knife through the head of the child (taking 50 damage when he only had 5 hp remaining to begin with). Blood splatter!

"Who here carries knives? Not me!" - Twenty Sixteen
"No! My pantsuit!" - Hillary Clefttongue
Arnold Rump turns some of the children into a salad. Yum!

Birdie Sanders skates on the ice to the bakery in order to kill his first Elector - crashes into the storefront window with a comedic "SPLAT!". Arnold Rump breaks the door entering and finds their target - the Elector. The Elector realizes what they are there for and tries to escape out the back exit. Arnold Rump and Hillary Clefttongue follow, while Twenty Sixteen opts to check the expiration dates on food - after all, if it says '2016', then it's his! Arnold Rump catches up to the Elector: "It's grate to see you!" He uses his Grate of Ruin (see "Book of Loot" - basically, results in ruin falling upon things associated with the target; ie: a king killed by a weapon of ruin would find his kingdom cursed to crumble.) Arnold Rump is happy to know that his grate will ensure that the bakery fails now that the Elector is dead. The GM points out that the bakery probably was going to experience setbacks anyway without its head baker. Regardless, 1 point for Arnold Rump!

The commotion with the Elector has drawn the attention of the towns people. They pour out into the streets to meet with the candidates. Many heads are shook. Many babies are kissed. Arnold Rump, of course, decides to change it up and shake the baby and kiss the hands. Birdie Sanders tries to take this opportunity to explain his message, but instead keeps getting handed babies. One may walks up to Birdie Sanders and asks for him to save his baby from Santa. The children of Glitterhaegen (from ages 4-12) have run away from home and formed gangs in the streets to rumors of a "Santa Claus." He wants Birdie Sanders to look into it before his baby falls prey to whatever arcana is to blame for this! Birdie Sanders turns to Hillary and Arnold and says: "Santa's an Elector." He turns back to the man and says "Everything will be under control!"

"Feel the Bird!" - GM
"...Is that like Pat the Bunny?" - Twenty Sixteen

"Grip the podium, hope for the best" - Hillary Clefttongue, on how she's handling the crowds of people

The party hunts down a lead for a child that used to be under the sway of Santa Claus - Bobby Jingle. Arnold Rump decides that interrogation is the way to get information out of this 13-year old. Twenty Sixteen decides to engage Arnold in a Twitter war to distract him while Hillary and Birdie question the child in a less threatening manner. Birdie Sanders offers a pastry from the Elector's bakery as a bribery: "That's not blood on the pastry. That's raspberry filling!" They learn that Bobby Jingle left because he was on the Naughty List. Why? Because he refused to kill someone Santa told him to kill. Birdie Sanders pulls out a calculator out of his magical bag of random loot and gives it to Bobby as a gift. Naturally, as a 13 year old, Bobby immediately proceeds to spell BOOBS on the calculator. They learn that Santa seems to be magically controlling the children and that the children are based out of the STEAM TUNNELS!

Cut to the Steam Tunnels: What's your light source? Light reflecting off of Arnold Rump's bald spot! After killing a wandering child, the party finds their secret lair with Christmas tree. They are all sound asleep. Arnold Rump carefully steals a set of silver bells from one child and retreats a safe distance to the party. He rings them near his ear and instantly knows where Santa's Workshop is. (Unfortunately, unbeknownst to the rest of the party, Arnold Rump is now under the influence of Santa! Arnold pockets the silver bells for himself and leads the party onwards.)

Santa's Workshop is in the clouds above the Giantwalk Mountains. Arnold Rump calls upon his commercial dragon transportation company acquires a three-headed (green, white, and red, naturally!) dragon. His friends board. He takes first class. As they near Santa's Workshop, Jack Frostlings (reskinned pixies) start attacking the noses of the party, but they quickly manage to fight them back.

The party approaches Santa's Workshop, but finds two Cloud Giants standing guard. Arnold, Hillary, and Twenty Sixteen sneak past the cloud giants legs and reach the door while Birdie decides to approach this situation by going down the chimney (that very clearly has smoke coming out of it). One cloud giant notices and tries to attack the duck, but accidentally hits his friend. This initiates a brawl between the cloud giants, giving the party time to get into Santa's Workshop. Don't worry, though - the duck still plans on going down the chimney!

As Twenty Sixteen picks the lock and opens the door, Birdie Sanders lands in a pot of soup and - cartoon style - leaps out of it and runs right past his friends and out the door into the snow to cool his rear-end off. This, of course, has drawn the attention of the elves at work. One elf demands to know who they are. Arnold Rump introduces himself and finds that he's on the Nice List (see: the silver bells magical effect). He tries to figure out what he wants for Christmas: His brand steaks: "Rump Roast"? Nah. No, he wants to kill Santa for Christmas because Santa is an Elector (or so Birdie Sanders has led him to believe!). The elf departs to find Santa.

The remaining elves determine that Birdie, Hillary, and Twenty Sixteen are on the Naughty List and attack. Arnold Rump breaks free of the silver bells effect.

"I don't hear those sleigh bells jingling in a ring ting tingling tune." - Arnold Rump
"All I want for Christmas are your two front teeth!" - Arnold Rump

The elves (reskinned hell imps) attack by kicking the players in the chestnuts. They wind up large toys with clock faces to attack (reskinned zorigami). Birdie Sanders, in an effort to stop more toys from being wound up, knocks them down like dominoes.

All too soon, however, Santa (reskinned weretiger) arrives: "HO! HO! HO!" Immediately, he knocks down Hillary Clefttongue down in two hits. The following round he kills Twenty Sixteen with one blow. ("We still have Harambe!" "Santa Claus is going to town on 2016.") Birdie Sanders calls upon his Icon Relationship with the Crusader to procure a pentagram of a dark god to combat Santa. He embeds the iron pentagram into a cookie and prepares a glass of milk for his plan (Santa = fey; iron + fey = sad fey). Of course, by this point, we have the song "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" on loop. Right at midnight (in real life), after toasting with champagne, Twenty Seventeen dives through the window and stabs Santa in the back! It's worth mentioning, of course, that Twenty Seventeen looks just like Twenty Sixteen but all the 6s have been crossed out with 7s; Twenty Sixteen is still dead on the ground.

Hillary Clefttongue - standing once more - announces: "I'm going to invoke Obamacare!" (Domain Life/Death). Birdie Sanders, dressed as an elf, delivers the pentagram infused cookies with milk to Santa, Scooby-Doo style. Santa eats the cookie and screams as the Crusader's power strikes him. He overcomes it, but is very displeased with the elf. (Mechanical benefits: -4 attack and defenses for Santa, but Santa does gain a damage bonus). In anger, Santa Claus crits Twenty Seventeen, knocking him down. "Well, 2017 isn't going to kill Santa." With one mighty swing of a grate, along with points from the trickster's abilities, Arnold Rump strikes and kills Santa unexpectedly. Remember though that this is the Grate of Ruin. He has killed Santa, but the things most associated with Santa will now also crumble: "I JUST KILLED CHRISTMAS" - Arnold Rump.

"I'm going to skedaddle before he realizes Santa's not an Elector." - Birdie Sanders. He takes Santa's hat, gets in the sleigh and flies away with some now-unemployed elves.

Disappointed that Santa's not an Elector, Arnold Rump sits for a second. He then turns and kills Harambe. Hillary stabilizes Twenty Seventeen.

Post one-shot wrap-up: "I'd like to us my icon relationship with the Prince of Shadows - I mean Putin - I mean the Prince of Shadows - to have ravens bring Hillary's hacked mail."

Overall, had a fun night! Happy New Years!

I'm curious as to when 13th Age Alliance might be starting up (or at least the new organized play season).

The panel at GenCon got me excited about it (helping to open my eyes and more or less getting the gears to turning in my head as to what organized play could be for my area; we have a lot of interest in 13th Age). I'm gathering some GMs to help me run it for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Club at my college and am just curious as to when it is likely to begin.

(I understand that it'll be ready when it's ready and whole-heartedly support that! I also understand that release dates are never really precise with 13th Age. I just want to get an idea on what to expect)

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I thought I would share something that I've been using for 8 months that my players have really enjoyed.

After running a 13th Age campaign for a semester at college, I grew tired of waiting for everyone to pass around the single core rulebook we had when we played. A few bought the core book, but not enough to really fix the problem. So I printed out the SRD and stapled them together by class. Eventually those wore out towards the end of the semester.

Over the summer, somewhat inspired by the OD&D reprints I saw, I created booklets with cardstock covers and pages from 13th Age and 13 True Ways printed inside on normal printer paper for the players to use. Most everyone that I have had use these have really enjoyed them and it has helped speed up the game a bit.  

Nonetheless, I thought I would share this idea. It does become a problem when two people choose the same class, but at that point I usually shrug and say "Hey, I've done my part to make this easier. You guys should buy your own copy of the book or print off the SRD or whatever to make it work."
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I'm giving one of my players the "Drake Form" spell from Deep Magic (pg 77), but we're a little confused on the wording. The 'claw, claw, bite' attacks have a base dmg of 10 and then 10 more if you roll nat 16+. At 5th level, it says "hit or miss, add 10 damage to the attack. At 7th level, it says "hit or miss, add 20 damage to the attack."

We're trying to figure out whether this means:

A) At level 7, you would deal 40 damage (10 base + 10 from 5th level + 20 from 7th level) on a normal hit.

B) At level 7, you would deal 30 damage (10 base + 20 from 7th level) on a normal hit.

Any thoughts?

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For tonight's session, I actually prepared 6-7 letters to an important NPC in the campaign. (The Archmage's Superiors mentioned in 13 True Ways have a mysterious sixth member who is rarely heard from, called Superior 6.) The chaos mage, in a rather amazing stroke of luck, randomly got both "fireball" and "evocation." The final battle of the evening was against a mummy. On the altar, beside where the mummy was, was Superior 6's pile of mail. The chaos mage successfully evoked fireball and dealt 100 damage to the mummy (who nearly went down, but not quite!). I ruled that the letters also caught fire. The bard, on his turn, quickly poured his keg of beer on the papers to put them out.

So what do we do? We take the letters that I had prepared, go outside, light them on fire, and then after its burned for a little bit, we poured beer on it to put it out. Live action roleplaying? :D

(Some ended up in better condition than this one. A few of the letters were completely unreadable. This one pictured below is sort of middle of the road.)

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I decided to experiment with using the escalation die to structure an entire session, allowing the players to add it to their rolls outside of combat. Overall, it was successful, but probably is better to be used as the exception rather than the rule for most campaigns.

I think there was a bit of talk about a GenCon pickup option for 13 True Ways preorders. Given that the convention is about a week away, who should I contact about it?

I'm going to be running a 13th Age game (probably The Folding of Screamhaunt Castle) at my college's small gaming convention in a couple of weeks. I'm trying to work up some pregens for it, but I'm not sure what route to go with them. On one hand, it might be smart to stick to simpler talents that don't involve much work. On the other hand, I'd love to show off some of the cooler talents from each class that really make it different than D&D (like the rogue's Swashbuckling or the ranger's Tracker ability). (I'm already thinking that Vance's Polysyllabic Verbalizations wouldn't be good for a one-shot, but maybe Cantrip Mastery?)

Having only GMed and never really played I'm not really sure how complicated that might make it. Any suggestions?

I’m running a 13 hour level 10 one-shot session of 13th Age this week since it’s spring break. In it, the Icons all disappeared mysteriously last week. Since then, chaos has erupted as factions break down a little as the high ranking members all try to become Icons. The players get to decide what they want to do: Become Icons? Learn where the old Icons went? Destroy the Icon system somehow? Destroy the world? Save the world? (Perhaps a little bit of everything?) I have already considered what it would mean to not have the Icons. For example, without the Great Gold Wyrm, demons are flooding into the south, but without the Diabolist, the demons lack a central authority figure and they are conquering the world very quickly at all.

This is the first time I’ve run anything higher than level 4 in 13th Age. From those who may have some experience with high level play (especially level 10), is there anything I should be concerned about? I’d heard that in 4e, epic tier play broke down/combat lasted forever. Is this the case in 13th Age?
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