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Review of 13th Age Glorantha

Andy Evans

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I’m somewhat surprised he concludes that 13th Age Glorantha is the most complex of the three systems. While I think that’s true of the play, RQG comes across as quite intimidating to start and in some of the magical subsystems and HQG is more complex to get one’s head around if one is used to just rolling dice to see if he or she hits. 

I don't think he is wrong. It was just a perspective that I had to think through to see the sense of it. Still, I think I’m going the 13AG route because, while complex, it is complex where my players are familiar with complexity. I want to spend most of my time introducing a truly wonderful world to romp around in. 

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On 3/6/2019 at 12:20 PM, KingofElfland said:

I’m somewhat surprised he concludes that 13th Age Glorantha is the most complex of the three systems.

Thats' probably becuase 13th Age is offshoot of the D&D class and level system, so you get some of that complexity to start. RQ and HQ are both simplier mechanically that 13th Age, with fewer rules, modifiers and special cases. But, if it is complexity your players are already family with, then it will seem less complex. 

Back in the day, my local D&D players took well over an hour to generate RQ3 characters, while they could churn out AD&D characters, complete with multi-classing and proficiencies (weapon and non-weapon)  within 20 minutes. My RQ players, on the other hand, could generate an RQ3 character in under ten minutes. 


HQ is probably the simplest of the three, mechanically, as it uses the same die mechanic to handle everything. The tricky bit is learning how to apply the in game circumstances to that die mechanic. 

Edited by Atgxtg
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Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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13AiG character design is a lot simpler if you just give PCs ALL the feats for their level instead of having them choose. I almost went nuts trying to choose, even for a class I knew well.

You can keep combat balanced by just adding monsters/levels. Echoing Ken Hite here (~I never worry about play balance in Night's Black Agents; I just add vampires!~)

Also recommend putting the full feat descriptions on the character sheets. Significant extra work up front, but saves lots of time in-game.

There is a lot to keep track of in combat. Different escalation/berserker dies, does Chaos steal the die, what do the Lunars get, plus ongoing effects, special conditions. I find rolling for initiative every round for everyone reduces the fun/momentum significantly, even though I do group rolls for the monsters.

Combats rarely go more than 3-4 rounds. The players do huge amounts of damage compared to the monsters and are more likely to do something special. That said, there are also monsters that can put down a PC in one hit, and that's scary. The rules really make the PCs feel the pain with monster special attacks and conditions. Combat is always interesting because monster attacks are well described: "Filthy Lance", "Stretchy, Multi-Fanged Maw". Not to mention that the PC powers are lots of fun. Having a gigantic troll Dark Walk and appear behind the enemy, seemingly out of nowhere, is so cool! Not to mention that on some attacks it turns out the troll BIT THEM. Makes Yelmalians scream "AAAAGH! Get that thing away from me!"

I've played HQ and FATE in Glorantha and liked both, but RQ and 13AiG make combat much more memorable and interesting. You stop worrying about all those special Walktapus powers like regeneration and poison gas in HQ (or maybe I wasn't playing right). On the other hand, in RQ PCs are never far from death. In 13AiG they can really mix it up with some Dorastor-level enemies and still live to talk about it. It's sort of like your RQ2 PCs from back in the day, the ones that didn't make it, are back for revenge.

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