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Playtest Observations


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I wasn't involved in the Kickstarter, so I am new to the party...apologies to any and all to whom this info is not all that informative. I had never played or even read 13th Age until the 13G pdf dropped.

I ran through the demo scenario for GenCon with my home group tonight. Had time to do every option in the encounters in a little under three hours....and we had a lot of roleplaying for what really boils down to a combat mechanics demo. There were four PCs, all from the pregens that came with the "scenario".

I love the lack of anything resembling a plot/story. Having the characters discuss backgrounds and their runes, then make rune rolls gave us more than enough material to populate the area around Arkat's Hold with so much spontaneous detail I could have run a six hour session from just the first half hour of character finalization. 

The last couple years I have run Glorantha games using Dungeon Crawl Classics. This game has a similar feel to that, but at the opposite end of the spectrum. The DCC group was always getting used as a mop in combats. The campaign actually ended in a TPK because I compared the group unfavorably to the trolls they played in the previous campaign who were BEASTS, and their immediate response was to become troll food in the next encounter. 

13G characters are very powerful. After the first encounter, in which the Jack O Bear dropped itself to 50% in the first round due to Hazzard the Trickster being The Most Badass Man Alive, I scaled the rest of the combats for a party of 6. The party of 6 distribution for 4 players made the combats a little better, but they were still extremely one sided. This isn't a bad thing (it's a demo), but I think the next time I run it I will scale it up even further.

As it is, the scenario is supposed to be just a combat grind to get players used to the system. The backgrounds and runes give the GM plenty of material to throw together a serviceable story, but it really is just a session of "kill these monsters".

The Trickster is amazing. We were all laughing like children a few times at how silly the class is...

13G is basically "Kickass DnD Characters in Dragon Pass," which is a great fit for my home group, who are hit and miss on Glorantha stuff. The way the runes were tightly integrated into the system made one guy in particular have a lightbulb moment where he stared off into space and said "coooooool"...although RQG, HQ and et al do a similar thing, it worked for my group better in this system because even with a generic "kill the bad guys" scenario, each rune bond seemed to give the group ideas they could apply in the demo. The Humakti used his death rune to narrate a troll skiff made of giant insect carapace they conned off a contact they generated in New Crystal, came up with a story about why it was even there, and started up the river using a sailor background and their two wind rune successes. I loved that they were doing everything they could to avoid combat in a combat scenario.

Loved the demo, group really enjoyed themselves, will be buying the first hard copy I see at GenCon.

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I ran the GenCon scenario eight times over the last few days. 

There was not a single time the games were even remotely similar.

One scenario was basically a race war on a small island, one had prospectors trying to mine silver, one revolved around a conduck getting busted at Duck Point, one (not making this up) ended in TPK because an NPC shady figure who resembled Don King got his hands on a comb that controlled fate, another had the Trickster befriending a throng of trollkin and turning them into something like the Seven Dwarfs...unreal how different every single experience was.

The only common thread was everyone had a blast. Really great game. The rune rolls at the beginning of the session mean that the players will dictate a full scenario to each other and be invested in the story because it came from them. I have always run games like this anyway, so this game is a great fit for me. 

Highly recommended.

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