May 25 2018
In the latest episode of their incorruptible podcast, Ken and Robin talk fantasy heists, Fat Leonard, invented slang and the Poison King.
May 25 2018
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May 18 2018
In the latest episode of their XP-grubbing podcast, Ken and Robin talk in-game reward, how Ken picks games, persuasive maps and Hobby Lobby’s Sumerian incantations.
May 16 2018
A creature for The Esoterrorists
The Outer Dark Entities known as sheeple slip through thin spots in the membrane caused by the belief that a dangerous contaminant or source of disease exists nearby. They enter our reality only in rural areas where domestic livestock roam. Sheeple feed on the fatal terror of farm animals. Cows, pigs, sheep and horses all instinctively fear these quadrupedal, pseudo-mammalian creatures. When a sheeple fixes its terrible gaze on its animal target, the poor dumb beast suffers an immediate, fatal heart attack. The psychic energy released by this sudden death nourishes a sheeple for weeks.
Though sheeple vary in appearance, investigating agents of the Ordo Veritatis can generally expect a demonic entity with the body of a sheep and the distorted face of a bat, snapping turtle, or ogre-like human.
Sheeple exude a psychic residue exerting a mind-control effect on humans exposed to it over a period of months or years. They employ this to command locals to defend against external threats. With glassy eyes, upturned pitchforks and outraged cries against outsiders messing in their affairs, these peasants, farmers and shepherds chase away anyone getting too close to a sheeple lair. Those who don’t take the hint get stabbed or shot.
Mostly interested in feeding and with no great boons to offer Esoterrorists, sheeple rarely take part in overarching conspiracies. When they do, they’re forced into it by more powerful ODEs. They hate to be rousted from a fruitful earthly habitat. Hikers, real estate developers and property surveyors stumbling into a sheeple lair may be killed by the entities or their human defenders. This can trigger a wider search, another influx of visitors, more killings, and a monstrous cycle of bloodletting that eventually leads to a briefing from Mr. Verity.
One area recently overrun by sheeple surrounds a US-sponsored disease research facility near Tbilisi in the Republic of Georgia. Efforts of Russian propagandists to use the installation to fan anti-American sentiment are certainly paying off for the sheeple, who find it easier to come through the membrane with each passing month.
Abilities: Athletics 6, Health 7, Scuffling 8
Hit Threshold: 3
Alertness Modifier: 0
Stealth Modifier: +2
Weapon: +1 (Jaws)
Armor: +1 vs. Scuffling
May 14 2018
Sometimes a class is a bit more than a single class! The new demonologist class in Book of Demons is a bit like the druid in 13 True Ways in that it uses talent choices to define its class features and spell lists. The three demonologist paths—corruption, flame, and slaughter—have features in common, including resist abilities to specific types of damage and demon summoning. However, two demonologists with talent choices in different paths can play extremely differently.
As with the druid, you can mix demonologist talents from the different paths to create the character you want to play. With a single talent in a path, you’re said to be an initiate. You’ll have access to the path’s spells and its summoned demon, but not as much access as a demonologist who has become a devotee of a path with two of its talents. Use all three talents in the same path and you’re a fanatic—which may be a worthwhile choice for raw power, but will cut down on your versatility.
If you’re curious about the mechanical feel of the characters you can create using the different paths, here are the arguments for why each path might be the most interesting.
Corruption is the best path because you already know your enemies are weak, and your spells and talents will ensure it.
Talents from the path of corruption tend to power-up the effects and conditions your spells (and sometimes your allies’ spells) place on enemies. Examples include Contagion, a talent that transfers a condition to a different enemy when an enemy suffering from one of your spells drops; and Inimical, a talent which raises the saves required against all your spells. These bonuses apply to any spells you cast, not just corruption spells. For example, if you take Inimical as your one corruption talent and choose two talents from the flame path, all the ongoing fire damage your flame path spells deal will be harder to save against.
The demons summoned by corruption path demonologists are spoilers, oozing creatures that somehow daze or weaken enemies, creating conditions your corruption path talents may be able to manipulate.
Flame is the best path because everyone burns when you say so.
A demonologist heavily invested in the flame path might play something like a summoning-capable sorcerer who specializes in fire spells. Unlike the hypothetical sorcerer, however, the flame path demonologist gets better at overcoming resist fire abilities the more talents they invest in the path. In playtesting, that made the difference between a path that no one could see themselves playing, and a path that could handle descending into a hellhole.
The path’s spell selection is more than just fiery offense. Spells like flaming teleport and flame shroud and golden claw (pictured at right!) interpret fire control as a source of improved mobility, so that demonologists on the flame path are a bit more survivable than similar brittle spellcasters.
Slaughter is the best path because you get to wear heavy armor, chop enemies up with swords and melee spells, and still summon demons.
I admit that it’s hard to dispute the slaughter path argument. Previously you could multiclass into a character who wirlds both swords and sorceries in 13th Age, but this is the first class implementation that deliberately invokes at least three Elric-tropes.
I’m not sure that the slaughter path is better, per se; but I know it’s popular, whether mixed with one of the other paths or followed to a full-fanatic three talents.
The demons summoned by slaughter path demonologists include two of the new demons added in this book, the claw demon and the hungry maw.
Art by Rich Longmore
May 11 2018
In the latest episode of their lightly resined podcast, Ken and Robin talk CIA boardgames, game fiction, fantasy world wine and the Roanoke colony.
May 4 2018
In the latest episode of their expose-filled podcast, Ken and Robin talk Counterspy, con man films, Alex Roberts and the geomancy of the L.A. Times.
May 2 2018
The latest edition of See Page XX is out now!
Featuring the release of a 13th Age dice tray and the 13th Age Battle Scenes bundle, as well as the first three episodes of the returned Iconic 13th Age podcast, we also look at Cthulhu culture and tabletop in China, the QuickShock iteration of GUMSHOE, and demons in 13th Age (both demonic boons and higher level summonings).
It’s all in this month’s See Page XX!
May 2 2018
Recently we’ve gotten some feedback from players on the summoning mechanics for champion and epic tier druids and necromancers that coincides with how we handle summoning in new books like 13th Age Glorantha and Book of Demons. In this column, I’m going to take the opportunity to extend one of our summoning improvements to the classes in 13 True Ways.
The change is simple. Use the following rules adapted from 13G and Book of Demons to help summoned creatures contribute to higher level battles.
Attack bonuses: Summoned creatures use the default bonuses of their summoner’s magic weapon or implement, if any. In other words, if you have an attack and damage bonus from a magic weapon or implement, so do any creatures you summon.
Defense bonuses: Similarly, summoned creatures use the default bonuses of their summoner’s armor, cloak, and head items, if any. In other words, default bonuses to AC, PD, and MD from magic items also apply to your summoned creatures. As with the attack bonuses covered above, this only applies to default bonuses. Bonuses and abilities that come along with an item that are not default bonuses only apply to summoned creatures if they specify that. At present, not many do.
This is the only change. Stick with the current rule that druidic and necromantic summonings don’t automatically add the escalation die to their attacks—both classes have feats that get around that, or you can spend a quick action to add the escalation die to the druidic/necromantic summoned creature’s attack (see 13TW page 11).
May 2 2018
It was International Tabletop Day over the weekend, and we hope you had a great day, whatever you ended up playing! We’re gearing up for another Big Day in the gaming calendar – namely, Free RPG Day 2018 – and our bumper-sized offering for this year, an adventure for both The Fall of DELTA GREEN and Cthulhu Confidential, is shuffling its way off the printing presses as we speak. We’ve also been busy with other work; we were so impressed with a 13th Age dice tray produced by one of our foreign language licensees that we decided to get some made ourselves. We’re releasing the PDFs of the final Battle Scenes book, Fire & Faith: Battle Scenes for Four Icons, and the accompanying full-colour Map Folio, and with those, a collection of all six Battle Scenes books & map folios in print or PDF only format. 13th Age Glorantha is still on pre-order, as is The Fall of DELTA GREEN; the Book of Demons for 13th Age is now available, and all pre-orders have been shipped.
- 13th Age dice tray – Roll your successes in a custom dice tray for 13th Age
- The Battle Scenes Complete Bundle – Get High Magic & Low Cunning, The Crown Commands, and Fire & Faith – plus the Map Folios – in print or PDF format
- Fire & Faith: Battle Scenes for Four Icons and Fire & Faith Map Folio PDF Bundle – 36 illustrated and mapped battle scenes for the Crusader, Priestess, Great Gold Wyrm, and Diabolist: one set of battles for each of the three tiers of play.
- 13th Age Glorantha pre-order – Pre-order the full-colour new Glorantha setting for 13th Age, from our good friends at Chaosium
- The Fall of DELTA GREEN pre-order – Pre-order the full-colour GUMSHOE adaptation of Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game and get the PDF now
- Book of Demons – Get the new Demonologist class for 13th Age
- View from the Pelgrane’s Nest – Simon Rogers on what’s new in the Nest
- See P XX: QuickShock 101 – Robin D. Laws goes through QuickShock GUMSHOE, a new iteration of GUMSHOE being used in The Yellow King RPG
- The Black Book — Marginalia – Steven Hammond with the latest update on the Black Book character generator
- A Tale of Two Secret Cults – A brief introduction to RPGs and Cthulhu culture in China, by Hao Zhang, our Chinese licensee for Trail of Cthulhu
- My Latest Experience with Experience – Robin D. Laws on designing Improvement systems in GUMSHOE when there’s no intellectual or structural justification for them
- Development Diary: The Fall of DELTA GREEN – Kenneth Hite talks through the double translation of the Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game system to GUMSHOE, and from the modern day to the 1960s
- Eternal Lies Campaign Play Pacing and Management Suggestions – Author Will Hindmarch responds to Eternal Lies pacing questions on Google+ (***WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR ETERNAL LIES***)
- The Plain People of Gaming: Demonic Boons – To celebrate the release of the Book of Demons, Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan presents ways to bring more demons into your 13th Age campaign
- Player-Facing Combat in GUMSHOE – Simon Rogers looks at a way of reversing traditional GUMSHOE GMC attacks to make them more player-facing
- Pelgrane GMs needed for Origins and Gen Con 2018 – There’s only two weeks left to register events for Gen Con – please get in touch if you’d like to run games!
Resource page updates
- 13th Sage: Updating Druidic & Necromantic Summonings – Rob Heinsoo adapts rules from 13G and Book of Demons to help summoned creatures contribute to higher level battles
- The Iconic podcast is back! In April, they launched their first three episodes. You can listen to them here:
- 13th Age Character Builds. In this series by ASH LAW, we feature two different builds for every 13th Age character class, at all levels. ASH suggests how the builds might be used, and offers tips on playing each character. Stats are based on the point-buy method, and the characters have no non-standard elements