13th Age – When Icons Interfere

by Bedlamdan

Rob Heinsoo mentioned in an interview that, should an Icon relationship roll fail in 13th Age, he’s introduced an optional rule where another Icon somehow interferes with the roll by using a d12. I really like that, so I’ve come up with some decent rules of thumb for what could happen when a specific Icon interferes when I’m starved for ideas.

The idea is to give players the option to treat any failed Icon relationship role as if they had rolled a five, but with the caveat that the complications they endure from the interfering Icon are far more dangerous than what would have happened if they rolled a five naturally.

Archmage Interferes: The characters suffer a magical mishap while getting what they want. This can range from Minor, where the players hold on their magic items suddenly slips for a moment as they overcome their mental defenses; to Major, where the Archmage’s wards fail for a moment, exposing the party to bad weather or other mishaps; to Dire, where they inadvertently stumble onto one of the Archmage’s most hubristic experiments.

Crusader Interferes: The characters must deal with the cruelty of authority figures while getting what they want. This can range from Minor, where the players must deal with corrupt guards or a too-suspicious keeper of the peace; to Major, where the party falls victim to an overzealous Crusader; to Dire, where the dark gods the Crusader follows take a passing interest in our heroes.

Diabolist Interferes: The characters must deal with madness while getting what they want. This can range from Minor, where a lone madman interferes with the party; to Major, where they stumble upon the schemes of a dangerous and deadly cult; to Dire, where the party becomes the necessary sacrifice to fulfill a very dark prophecy.

Dragon Emperor Interferes: The characters must deal with the tribulations of the Empire while getting what they want. This can range from Minor, where damaged roadways, petty fines, or a lax bureaucracy impedes their journeys; to Major, where they are involved in the plots of important men and women; to Dire, where the party is betrayed by a trusted friend for the sake of a grand advantage.

Dwarf King Interferes: The characters must deal with greed while getting what they want. This can range from Minor, where they must offer bribes to those who have what they need, to Major, where the wealth of the party is coveted by those who are dangerous, to Dire, where the fortunes of the party take a dramatic turn for the worse.

Elf Queen Interferes: The characters must deal with deception while getting what they want. This can range from Minor, where the players are misled by the true nature of their adventure; to Major, where they are cheated out of rewards that they are rightfully due; to Dire, where an adroit manipulator seeks to use the party as his or her expendable pawns.

Great Gold Wyrm Interferes: The characters must deal with zealousness while getting what they want. This can range from Minor, where a devil may care hero meddles with the party’s business; to Major, where the excessive valor of their foes puts the party on the back foot; to Dire, where they are forced into a heroic (or more likely, suicidal) quest that will shake the world.

High Druid Interferes: The characters must deal with the forces of nature while getting what they want. This can range from Minor, where their attempts to survive wild places are dogged by misfortune; to Major, where territorial beasts take issue with the party’s blunderings; to Dire, where a beast far older than at least two Ages wrecks everything around the players.

The Lich King Interferes: The characters must deal with the terrors of death while getting what they want. This can range from Minor, where a haunted spirit never gives the party a moments rest while moaning at them; to Major, where the dead rise from their graves due to a failure to give the dead their due; to Dire, where the Lich King himself seeks to add servants of particular ability to his armies, and decides the party will do nicely.

The Orc Lord Interferes: The characters must deal with war and violence while getting what they want. This can range from Minor, where unreasonable and angry people attempt to assault the party, to Major, where a significant band of orcish warriors pass through the area the party is traveling, to Dire, where the Orc King himself unfurls the banners of War, and his armies unleash a storm of violence around the players.

The Priestess Interferes: The characters must deal with stifling morality while getting what they want. This can range from Minor, where a curmudgeonly holy man seeks to chastise the party for sins perceived or real; to Major, where the players are hunted for a crime they did or did not commit; to Dire, where the gods of the Priestess take a passing interest in our heroes… for their own good, of course.

The Prince of Shadows Interferes: The characters must deal with rampant criminality while getting what they want. This can range from Minor, where thieves or footpads skulk in the shadows; to Major, where a powerful enemy hires the most dangerous professional assassins he can buy; to Dire, where the Prince of Shadows himself puts a price on their heads.

The Three Interfere: The characters must deal with monstrous savagery while getting what they want. This can range from Minor, where a particularly savage monster takes issue with the party; to Major, where a warband of marauders are attacking the first bit of civilization the party encounters; to Dire, where a particularly ancient Dragon seeks to make slaves, or at least lunch, of the party.

Of course, that’s not to say that these events happen literally as written, just that something in the same ballpark occurs for these complications. How nasty the complication is depends on the party’s circumstances at that moment, and the GM’s odds of making something interesting out of it rather than just flat out murdering them.

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