The post-playtest first draft of 13th Age is now available for download for Escalation Edition customers. I’ve sent them an email with the details. Rob’s introduction detailing the changes in since the playtest draft follow the cut
Welcome to the Escalation Edition: V1.0
This Escalation Edition isn’t the finished product. You’ll be getting updates as the game moves towards its final form.
Those who are new to the game may want to skip a couple pages ahead to the INTRODUCTION. Those who have been playtesting may want to know some of what has changed in this edition compared to the second round playtest document. As we move through the final phase of development, we’d be happy to receive concise playtest feedback on the pieces that have changed.
General feedback may not be as necessary as it was earlier in this process. We already have 700 pages of playtest feedback from our two playtest rounds that we are working through so there are still many changes and corrections to come, but feedback on the things I’m about to call out as new-in-this-draft could be quite valuable.
Chapter 1: ICONS changed little.
Chapter 2: CHARACTER RULES had at least one change of note. We took motivation out of the list of necessary character creation steps, since most characters were turning out well-motivated already. It’s still available as an option.
The Gear section at the end of the chapter is also largely new, including revised weapon categories and the notes on economy. Reorganization will likely take this elsewhere in the next edition.
Chapter 3: RACES probably hasn’t changed much, though elven grace for wood elves is much improved and will be fun to test.
Chapter 4: CLASSES got a lot of work.
New feats: Feats are from complete, but many classes have new feats and we’re on the way toward offering adventurer, champion, and epic feat options for talents, spells, and attacks that should have them. And yes, there’s a feat list attached as a separate PDF and we will keep it updated.
Talents, not features: As a single class character you choose three class talents. No more getting features and feats confused.
Classes with many changes: Cleric is mostly revised. Paladin talents reworked.
Clean-up work: Barbarian, bard, fighter, and sorcerer all got cleaned up quite a bit. Still a few more powers/spells coming for each, but these are in decent shape.
Holding steady: Rogue didn’t get much attention yet.
In-progress: The ranger and the wizard are both in-progress while accounting for playtest-driven updates and new design that’s not yet visible but has resulted in the removal of a couple pieces that used to be there. The wizard still needs its feats. The new version of the monk hasn’t shown up either. There are @ marks all through these classes, the marks that both JoT and I use as a sign that there’s work to be done.
Class almost certainly not joining the party: The druid class will not be appearing in this book. We’ve attempted some ambitious stunts to make the druid fun and different. The stunts are too ambitious to be properly finished in the time we have. We’ll have to make the druid available some other way when we’ve had time to get the design right.
Mechanics not done yet: The multiclassing revision isn’t done. It has a limb stuck in at the end of the class chapter but it’s not usable yet.
Chapter 5: COMBAT RULES has had minor changes here and there. Notable additions include a subtle reinterpretation of hit points, rallying as the action you take to recover some hit points on your own, a rule for two-weapon fighting and our use of the term wounded to refer to creatures who’ve lost at least half their hit points.
Chapter 6: RUNNING THE GAME is still the hodgepodge chapter that makes both Jonathan and me wince. Yeah, it needs to be entirely reorganized and have some of its contents placed elsewhere in the book where they belong.
I *think* there are only two significant changes in the chapter.
The first is a chart listing the Skill Check DCs and Impromptu Damage numbers for traps, obstacles, and things like falling off a cliff at different tiers and degrees of difficulty.
The second is important. It’s a reaction to our own games and to playtest feedback that indicated that high level play was too easy and got easier the higher you went. We thought about the dynamic and have implemented a solution in this draft that is going to need to be tested.
The new system is on page 182 of this document: Building Battle Encounters. It’s certainly the biggest change in the manuscript and the thing we will be working on most. In brief, at adventurer tier you fight monsters your own level. At champion tier you fight monsters that are one level higher. At epic tier you punch two levels above your weight. We revised our monster math so that this makes sense, eliminating previous bump-ups that would have made the monster numbers too high.
Chapter 7: MONSTERS has had almost no work put it into it recently. Soon.
Chapter 8: THE DRAGON EMPIRE didn’t get much work put into it. It’s not likely to change a great deal unless you count the transformation that will occur as the map merges into the document. And yes, we’ve figured out how to make the current layout work with the map.
Chapter 9: MAGIC ITEMS has grown quite a bit. The idea that magic items are alive has paid dividends. The chapter isn’t finished (notably missing some item quirks) or developed or edited, but it’s turning out as great
Chapter 10: INTRODUCTORY ADVENTURES is about to be revised. The changes are waiting for me to accompany them with newly designed monsters.
PLAY AIDS: What we’ve got for you this time are our first draft character sheet and the first version of the feat list. I’m happy with both, but they will change quite a bit before publication.