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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default D&D 5e or 13th Age?

    Hello all,

    I'm currently writing an original world for use in a fantasy campaign. I was assuming that this world would have D&D 5e as its engine, however I was recently pointed toward 13th Age as something my group might be interested in. Are there any distinct weaknesses or strengths that one has over the other, and which would be easier to handle as a novice DM?
    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    I want to create a world that is full of possibility, and one of the best ways to handle it is by creating a bunch of stories that haven't yet been finished.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    At this point, however, I'm thinking way too hard about the practical problems of running a battle royale school for Russian assassins, so I think I'll leave it there.
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    Default Re: D&D 5e or 13th Age?

    Well, I'll speak to the strengths and weaknesses of 13th Age. There's a whole other current thread going on about 5E's weaknesses. From my perspective:

    1. 13A has too many classes that take away player agency. Fighters, Bards, and a couple other classes all depend on random die rolls to figure out what you're doing that round. It's annoying for me at least.

    2. 13A has some classes that are entirely set to "noob" difficulty, such as Paladin and Barbarian. It's nice to have some simple options for newbies, but those classes should have more complex builds available as well, for experienced gamers.

    3. The races are all built well, so you don't need to pick the optimal race for a particular class to have an effective character.

    4. The base setting is fantastic, at least in my opinion. It really inspires me.

    5. There's a good balance between caster and martial classes, which doesn't exist in 5E.

    Hope this helps.

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    Default Re: D&D 5e or 13th Age?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja-Radish View Post
    Well, I'll speak to the strengths and weaknesses of 13th Age. There's a whole other current thread going on about 5E's weaknesses. From my perspective:

    1. 13A has too many classes that take away player agency. Fighters, Bards, and a couple other classes all depend on random die rolls to figure out what you're doing that round. It's annoying for me at least.

    2. 13A has some classes that are entirely set to "noob" difficulty, such as Paladin and Barbarian. It's nice to have some simple options for newbies, but those classes should have more complex builds available as well, for experienced gamers.

    3. The races are all built well, so you don't need to pick the optimal race for a particular class to have an effective character.

    4. The base setting is fantastic, at least in my opinion. It really inspires me.

    5. There's a good balance between caster and martial classes, which doesn't exist in 5E.

    Hope this helps.
    Can you elaborate on point 1?
    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    I want to create a world that is full of possibility, and one of the best ways to handle it is by creating a bunch of stories that haven't yet been finished.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    At this point, however, I'm thinking way too hard about the practical problems of running a battle royale school for Russian assassins, so I think I'll leave it there.
    In my posts, smilies generally correspond to my expression at the time. As an example, means "huh?" and "Hmm..". Also, "Landis" is fine.

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    Default Re: D&D 5e or 13th Age?

    Quote Originally Posted by Landis963 View Post
    Can you elaborate on point 1?
    Umm...it's hard to explain, but I'll give it a try. Fighters, Bards, and one or two other classes have a mechanic called Flexible Attacks. It works like this: you have a number of attack powers that do damage plus give you a side benefit of some kind, like +1 to AC or to the next attack against your target, or something similar.

    However, you can't choose which power you want to use. Each power has a specific d20 die roll that triggers it, like "any even roll"' or "16 and above". So the power you can use is entirely dependent on the d20 roll, it's random. Some people don't mind the random die shenanigans, personally I dislike it.

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    Default Re: D&D 5e or 13th Age?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja-Radish View Post
    Umm...it's hard to explain, but I'll give it a try. Fighters, Bards, and one or two other classes have a mechanic called Flexible Attacks. It works like this: you have a number of attack powers that do damage plus give you a side benefit of some kind, like +1 to AC or to the next attack against your target, or something similar.

    However, you can't choose which power you want to use. Each power has a specific d20 die roll that triggers it, like "any even roll"' or "16 and above". So the power you can use is entirely dependent on the d20 roll, it's random. Some people don't mind the random die shenanigans, personally I dislike it.
    We tend to roll poorly as a group, so random die shenanigans might not be the best fit for us. Is the treatment of magic different from D&D, and if so, how?
    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    I want to create a world that is full of possibility, and one of the best ways to handle it is by creating a bunch of stories that haven't yet been finished.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    At this point, however, I'm thinking way too hard about the practical problems of running a battle royale school for Russian assassins, so I think I'll leave it there.
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    Default Re: D&D 5e or 13th Age?

    Quote Originally Posted by Landis963 View Post
    We tend to roll poorly as a group, so random die shenanigans might not be the best fit for us.
    Nonono, actually that could be good -- many of those abilities do something on "any even roll" (hit or miss) or that sort of thing. The racial ability of half-elves also lets them make some adjustments to make their preferred bonus a little more likely, so if your player wants to be one of those classes, have them be a half-elf.

    Quote Originally Posted by Landis963 View Post
    Is the treatment of magic different from D&D, and if so, how?
    Vastly. There are far fewer spells, and only a couple classes have access to improvisational magic to expand that list.

    But there are more important differences, I'd say:
    • Compared with any D&D edition at all, 13th Age is less defined, less cut-and-dry. For example, there are basically three 'ranges' for combat effects -- engaged, nearby or far away. You couldn't get away with that in a 5e game.
    • Skills are flexible and they reward inventiveness. Every character has an equal dose unless they sink extra build resources into getting more.
    • Every character must have ties to the world, and those ties give benefits and create complications. The mechanic for this has a trigger that's easy to understand, but it needs the DM and/or player to get creative.
    • Multiclassing is impossible in the basic book and discouraged in others, so each PC's one class is pretty much everything they can do in combat. 5e would be better for players with weird concepts.


    Quote Originally Posted by Landis963 View Post
    Are there any distinct weaknesses or strengths that one has over the other, and which would be easier to handle as a novice DM?
    Whew. Improvisation is key. If you and your players make stuff up quickly, 13th Age can be really great, and if you don't, you should probably avoid it. So what does "novice DM" mean to you? Would you prefer flying blind (but not needing to look stuff up every couple minutes) or using a crutch (but having a clear answer most of the time)?
    Last edited by Dimers; 2017-06-11 at 12:40 AM.
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    Default Re: D&D 5e or 13th Age?

    Magic is very similar to 4E if you ever played that. Not at all similar to 5E if you've played that.

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    Default Re: D&D 5e or 13th Age?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja-Radish View Post
    Magic is very similar to 4E if you ever played that. Not at all similar to 5E if you've played that.
    I have never played 4E. I've sat in on a 3.5e game (and played a Pathfinder one-shot or two), and some 5e, but never 4E.

    EDIT:

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimers View Post
    Every character must have ties to the world, and those ties give benefits and create complications. The mechanic for this has a trigger that's easy to understand, but it needs the DM and/or player to get creative.
    I do like the idea of more focused magic (allows me to streamline more than 5E would), but this scares the writer in me who's afraid of his worldbuilding work developing an irreconcilable fault. Exactly how tied to the fluff is the crunch? Also, I'm not sure I like the idea of characters being locked into one class from the word go.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimers View Post
    Whew. Improvisation is key. If you and your players make stuff up quickly, 13th Age can be really great, and if you don't, you should probably avoid it. So what does "novice DM" mean to you? Would you prefer flying blind (but not needing to look stuff up every couple minutes) or using a crutch (but having a clear answer most of the time)?
    Well, this is my second time behind the DM screen (and first time without a co-DM), so a crutch would not be unwelcome. With that said, however, I am getting into this to enhance my improving skills, so if 13th Age ends up working better for my purposes I can deal.
    Last edited by Landis963; 2017-06-11 at 01:34 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    I want to create a world that is full of possibility, and one of the best ways to handle it is by creating a bunch of stories that haven't yet been finished.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    At this point, however, I'm thinking way too hard about the practical problems of running a battle royale school for Russian assassins, so I think I'll leave it there.
    In my posts, smilies generally correspond to my expression at the time. As an example, means "huh?" and "Hmm..". Also, "Landis" is fine.

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    Default Re: D&D 5e or 13th Age?

    As someone who has been in a 13th Age campaign for a year, it kinda sucks.

    Characters don't tend to get much variety in combat, and way too many classes are dependent on dice rolls to activate effects and whatnot. While it is more balanced, it feels quite video-gamey in that abilities are tied almost exclusively to combat, and the way a mage and a warrior play is pretty much the same.

    As for out of combat stuff, the background system is way too fiddly and GM-dependent, and there's not much for characters to do. Since almost every ability is tied to combat, there's little out-of-combat utility.

    Overall, I'd have to recommend 5E over 13th Age. 5E has a more interesting progression and is more developed in areas outside of combat, and while both suffer from similar design philosophies (bounded accuracy, for one, which is good sometimes, but can be infuriating with skills and can negate player agency via RNG), 5E suffers from fewer flaws.
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    Default Re: D&D 5e or 13th Age?

    Personally I dislike 5E so I couldn't recommend it. However, 13th Age is a heartbreaker as well. There are some great things in the system like Backgrounds, which blow away the 5E version. The setting is also way better and more original than the Realms. Races are also much better built and balanced in 13A, no uber races like the Half Elves and Mountain Dwarves in 5E.

    However, the random dice shenanigans the developers love so much in 13A rub me the wrong way. Other people don't mind it, but I don't like it.

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    Default Re: D&D 5e or 13th Age?

    Quote Originally Posted by Landis963 View Post
    Exactly how tied to the fluff is the crunch?
    It isn't. The game does mildly encourage refluffing, and even where it doesn't, the effects of abilities are generic enough to match lots of different descriptions. For instance, when I made a wood elf monk|ranger multiclass, I described it as a demon-infused brownie mounted on a half-tamed magebred kirin.

    But the strength of 13th Age isn't in crunch at all. If you and your group like crunch, 5e will do you better, particularly as far as classes go. 13th Age is for ... mmmmm ... for weaving a story together in unexpected ways.
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    Default Re: D&D 5e or 13th Age?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimers View Post
    It isn't. The game does mildly encourage refluffing, and even where it doesn't, the effects of abilities are generic enough to match lots of different descriptions. For instance, when I made a wood elf monk|ranger multiclass, I described it as a demon-infused brownie mounted on a half-tamed magebred kirin.

    But the strength of 13th Age isn't in crunch at all. If you and your group like crunch, 5e will do you better, particularly as far as classes go. 13th Age is for ... mmmmm ... for weaving a story together in unexpected ways.
    13th Age allows you to multiclass? Everything I've heard (including the other people in this thread, thanks BTW for contributing) suggests otherwise. Is that something you decide on from the word go or is it through character progression?

    In fact, what I'm getting from this thread is "pick up some mechanics from 13th Age, but don't use it as the core engine. That's what 5E is for."
    Last edited by Landis963; 2017-06-12 at 03:36 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    I want to create a world that is full of possibility, and one of the best ways to handle it is by creating a bunch of stories that haven't yet been finished.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    At this point, however, I'm thinking way too hard about the practical problems of running a battle royale school for Russian assassins, so I think I'll leave it there.
    In my posts, smilies generally correspond to my expression at the time. As an example, means "huh?" and "Hmm..". Also, "Landis" is fine.

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    Default Re: D&D 5e or 13th Age?

    Quote Originally Posted by Landis963 View Post
    13th Age allows you to multiclass? Everything I've heard (including the other people in this thread, thanks BTW for contributing) suggests otherwise. Is that something you decide on from the word go or is it through character progression?
    Multiclassing is introduced in the book "13 True Ways". It's usually a start-of-game decision but CAN be introduced without too much trouble during a level-up. It basically makes you equal(ish) parts from each class, and you're that way for the rest of the game -- like multiclassing (not dual-classing) in AD&D 2e. More than two classes isn't possible, aside from a couple class abilities that let you cherrypick other classes' powers. The implementation is a bit clunky but balanced.
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    Default Re: D&D 5e or 13th Age?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja-Radish View Post
    Umm...it's hard to explain, but I'll give it a try. Fighters, Bards, and one or two other classes have a mechanic called Flexible Attacks. It works like this: you have a number of attack powers that do damage plus give you a side benefit of some kind, like +1 to AC or to the next attack against your target, or something similar.

    However, you can't choose which power you want to use. Each power has a specific d20 die roll that triggers it, like "any even roll"' or "16 and above". So the power you can use is entirely dependent on the d20 roll, it's random. Some people don't mind the random die shenanigans, personally I dislike it.
    i looove the fighter random stuff, it's like he can be dangerous all day long, terrific. A few "activatable" abilities as well would be perfect (cant rem now if 13A fighter has activatable abilities)
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    Default Re: D&D 5e or 13th Age?

    Could one steal 13A settings and races to use in a 5e game?
    Last edited by goto124; 2017-06-12 at 11:47 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by goto124 View Post
    Could one steal 13A settings and races to use in a 5e game?
    Easily. The setting is basically a set of factions first and foremost, and they transfer. The rest might take a bit of homebrew, but it's nothing difficult.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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    Default Re: D&D 5e or 13th Age?

    Glad I found this thread. I have DMed 13th Age almost exclusively for 3 years now, playing an average of 3 evenings a month. I also have DM'ed 5e, and I only use homebrew settings. Like the OP, I also am a fanatical world-builder, and obsess over having a consistent setting. I have even started novelizing my campaign and recently completed the first draft of the first of 7 books, which came in at 125k words.

    I really like running 13th Age, that said, it does have flaws.

    The Good:
    • BALANCE. This game is mathematically sharp, everybody can pretty much contribute equally.
    • BACKGROUNDS. Simple, intuitive, and make the player think more about their character.
    • FAMILIAR. All the fantasy stapels are there, and its easy to pick up.
    • SUPER EASY TO HOMEBREW. I have made a 13A version of all the totem barbarians, a better ranger that actually uses favored enemy as a feature not a talent, a warlock, and a completely new class called alchemist (think artificer). These were all super easy to make and balance.
    • MULTICLASSING: its basically old school dualclassing, but it is simple, its elegant, and its balanced.



    The Weird:
    • ICON RELATIONSHIPS: I use them for character and world building, not any of the other stuff. Implementing them the way the book suggests is hard for me, my campaigns react to the players, not random dice rolling telling me who is involved in the adventure - I already knew that when I came up with the villains and supporting cast. HOWEVER I also had to homebrew new talents to make up for my not using them the way the book suggested.
    • FLEXIBLE ATTACKS: Like another poster, some of my players hate them, some like them. As a player in the system I don't mind them, but I can see why some people would not like it. I just have those people play a refluffed ranger or rogue. You are essentially choosing what resource minigame you like when you select a class, and then we fluff or reskin it to fit your idea of your character. Damage dice is based on your class, not your weapon. Also fighters and bards get "on demand" stuff that does not require the randomness as well as their flexible attacks.
    • NOT ALOT OF RULES FOR SKILS: I like this. It makes my players think for themselves, and encourages them to think outside the box. some people want things a little more direct, they would not like backgrounds - my groups loves them.
    • WHAT IS A DAY REALLY? This is my group's, but not me as DM, biggest gripe. A "day" is 3-4 adventures, no time limit. This is part of how the game maintains its balance. I implemented a houserule to give my players some benefit to a good night's rest, but honestly the balance is way better treated like this than with long rests like in 5e. It can be a little strange for PCs to get used to though.



    The Bad:
    • NOT ALOT OF WRITTEN CRUNCH: This is my first of two complaints. If you do not like homebrew, or reskinning and fluffing stuff, then the player options can be very limited. My group has had the success we have because I help guide people to classes they will find mechanically interesting, and help them use them to make the PC they want to play,and then we tell awesome stories together. This ties into the next complaint.
    • OVERLY SIMPLE CLASSES: Now this applies, intentionally, to mostly barbarian, paladin, and ranger. Some people would argue fighter, but I will tell those people that the number 2 villain in my ongoing campaign is a by the book fighter that has absolutely wrecked my PCs, and escaped, every time they encounter him. Fighter is fine. But the three classes I listed above, are overly simple. There is a reason I did significant homebrew on two of those three classes, and paladin is on my list to write some new talents for. That being said - this is a very minor complaint, and its only resulted in one person wanting to reroll a character - which happens in other systems too.


    I am a huge advocate for 13th Age, and an unapologetic fanboy. 5e is also very good, but man 13th Age is SO EASY to GM! I spend very little time balancing encounters, and I get to spend that time coming up with cool plots, locations, and game stuff instead. Also the way the system is set up with icons and backgrounds, I don't even have to ask payers for backstories anymore, they just figure them out on their own while making their characters! You also only need one book to get started, and they have a OGL pdf for free.

    ONE BIG CAVEAT!!!!
    13th Age intentionally builds in limited resurrection magic, limited teleportation access, and more importantly, almost NO mind control magic. This can drastically affect the setting that you are writing, and may sway you one way or the other. For my setting this was fine and even desirable, for others it may not be. Nobody is using dominate person on the king, or suggestion on the giant with the exception of some very rare things. I like this for my game, and I like the resurrection and teleportation restrictions even more - it makes it actually fantastic when they occur. YMMV.
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    Default Re: D&D 5e or 13th Age?

    How many of the classes in 13th age use these flexible attacks? Also how easy is the system to GM? (mostly how much work is it coming up with the npcs?)
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    Default Re: D&D 5e or 13th Age?

    I played a dwarf-forged paladin in an about year-long Thule game, mostly since I could do tanking, healing, and heavy hitting in one package; the DM wasn't going to allow a dwarf-forged until I appealed to his love of Terry Pratchett's Small Gods by specifying he was an animated statue embodying the spirit of a minor Atlantean sun god. I'd taken one of the paladin talents that let me count as a cleric.

    If we were going to play again, I'd either do a sorcerer or a fighter. The flexible attacks is easily cheesed by making sure you have an option available on all your die roll options.

    We liked the "advance" system where you get benefits from the next level, which makes up for the relatively lower level cap.

    There's also a lot more customization available, even at first level. For power-users (non-basic-attack types), you can customize your abilities, or your class features and talents. That was one of our biggest complaints about 5e character creation.

    Mostly I'd like more "official" stuff to come out, but so far there's generally enough for us. We'll probably do another regular game again after our Iron Kingdoms game winds down.

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    Default Re: D&D 5e or 13th Age?

    Quote Originally Posted by Delusion View Post
    How many of the classes in 13th age use these flexible attacks? Also how easy is the system to GM? (mostly how much work is it coming up with the npcs?)
    Fighter and Bard are the only ones I think? I've never run 13th Age but I'm running 5E now and I can't help but think 13A would be easier to run.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Delusion View Post
    How many of the classes in 13th age use these flexible attacks? Also how easy is the system to GM? (mostly how much work is it coming up with the npcs?)
    Bard
    Fighter
    Druid (Warrior and Shifter)
    Sorcerer (some spells)
    Occultist

    You can do a lot to mitigate having to use these based on how you build them except for with fighter and bard. I personally like them though - I kind of think of them as the warrior taking advantage of an opening and this is how our group narrates them - makes combat with the fighter much more cinematic.

    @Ninja-Radish:
    I have been playing mostly D&D for somewhere around 15 years, and I'm the guy everybody wants to DM. I have switched my group to 13th Age BECAUSE of how balanced it is and how easy it is to GM. It is so much easier to build good battles and encounters, which lets me use my prep time for maps, stories, and quests.
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    Default Re: D&D 5e or 13th Age?

    I ran a 13th Age game wherein the PCs were fighting against an enemy army of Orcs that had been incited to violence by a powerful human man who was intent on destroying and conquering the northern reaches of the play area. He'd already conquered one Dwarven citadel and marched a massive quantity of Ogres and Orcs on the major Elven City in the region. The campaign was meant to take characters all the way to the level cap (10).

    At 10th level, different classes get some AMAZING abilities. And the Rogue/Thief in the party, knowing what his amazing 10th level ability was, made sure to get the entire group captured by the Enemy. The Enemy had them brought to his uberspecial heavily fortified camp to gloat when the Rogue used his capstone to rob the Enemy.

    He stole his Authority.

    See, the capstone feature of a Thief in 13th Age allows you to steal intangible concepts from other people. It's ridiculous and weird, crazy, and it can be kinda fun...

    So he stole the Big Bad's Authority, ordered the guards to take him into custody, and became the "Evil Overlord" for 24 hours, which was long enough to declare victory, pay the mercenaries what they were promised from Big Bad's treasure horde, and disband the big bad evil army. By the time the effect wore off, the Big Bad was dead, so even though the "Authority" reverted, Big Bad couldn't do anything.

    It was certainly the most... Memorable end to a campaign. Though it rang a bit hollow for the other PCs whose main contribution in the story became "Managed to get the Thief close enough to the Big Bad"

    It's definitely an interesting system, but unless you intend to tell a -particularly- grand tale, I'd suggest 5e D&D.
    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    Not everyone has the resources or the ability to become a wizard or a sorcerer, after all. Warlocking just requires a pact, very democratic, really. Doesn't require wealth or a magical lineage, just a promise, and all of your problems will go away.

  23. - Top - End - #23
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    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Oct 2013

    Default Re: D&D 5e or 13th Age?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steampunkette View Post
    I ran a 13th Age game wherein the PCs were fighting against an enemy army of Orcs that had been incited to violence by a powerful human man who was intent on destroying and conquering the northern reaches of the play area. He'd already conquered one Dwarven citadel and marched a massive quantity of Ogres and Orcs on the major Elven City in the region. The campaign was meant to take characters all the way to the level cap (10).

    At 10th level, different classes get some AMAZING abilities. And the Rogue/Thief in the party, knowing what his amazing 10th level ability was, made sure to get the entire group captured by the Enemy. The Enemy had them brought to his uberspecial heavily fortified camp to gloat when the Rogue used his capstone to rob the Enemy.

    He stole his Authority.

    See, the capstone feature of a Thief in 13th Age allows you to steal intangible concepts from other people. It's ridiculous and weird, crazy, and it can be kinda fun...

    So he stole the Big Bad's Authority, ordered the guards to take him into custody, and became the "Evil Overlord" for 24 hours, which was long enough to declare victory, pay the mercenaries what they were promised from Big Bad's treasure horde, and disband the big bad evil army. By the time the effect wore off, the Big Bad was dead, so even though the "Authority" reverted, Big Bad couldn't do anything.

    It was certainly the most... Memorable end to a campaign. Though it rang a bit hollow for the other PCs whose main contribution in the story became "Managed to get the Thief close enough to the Big Bad"

    It's definitely an interesting system, but unless you intend to tell a -particularly- grand tale, I'd suggest 5e D&D.
    That's a pretty cool use of that rogue ability, but I can see where it would be anti-climactic for the others.

    In my campaign I level them more slowly than the book says to, and there is a level cap of level 8 (I use this for NPCs as well). This means that if you choose to multi-class you will never gain 9th level spells and powers, and if you are a single classed character you use incremental advances to get them - making your choice of WHICH spell or power you choose very significant.

    I think the choice of 5e vs. 13A kind of has to do with these:

    1. How often you homebrew. (13A is easier.)
    2. How much personal campaign material you are willing to write. (5e has more published adventures, settings, and material.)
    3. How much time you want to spend balancing encounters or if you care. (13A is easier, but 5e has more stuff.)

    Our campaign is pretty epic (in terms of scope, not power) and the next one will be even more so, as a sequel to this one. I also built my setting from the ground up finding setting justifications for 13A mechanics, or making house rules for setting mechanics.

    I personally prefer 13A, but I have to say, I REALLY like 5e, and it is my favorite edition to date.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    To say that there is nothing new under the sun, is to forget there are more suns than we could possibly know what to do with and that there are probably a lot of new things under them.

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