Eyecloud

By ASH LAW, development by Rob Heinsoo

From the moment we entered the tomb, we felt like we were being watched. We all felt it, even Sigurd. I admit I was almost grateful to watch him squirm, for a change.

—Mamoru the Justly Paranoid

Heralds of warped magic

Clouds of floating eyes appear near rifts in time and space, in areas where old magic has turned in on itself, and near the graves of wizards who died horrible deaths due to magical misadventure.

Some wizards say that these eyeclouds are reality’s way of checking in on where things have gone wrong—a bit like wibbles (13th Age Bestiary), but more proactive. Even if true, this has the advantage of not ruling out other possibilities. Maybe eyeclouds are forward scouts, or heralds of a strange pantheon from elsewhere. Maybe they’re related to the fomori from 13th Age Bestiary 2 (page 80)Or maybe eyeclouds are associated with creatures forbidden to enter official 13th Age products, though there’d be no keeping them out of your home games if you chose.

Eyeclouds are sometimes ‘tamed’ through magical rituals and set as guardians over tombs, or used by some of the darker icons as watchdogs. Some rituals allow a sort of twisted attunement to the monster, allowing its master to see what the floating eyes see.

Interpreting the warp: The reality warp attack below has a trigger that asks the GM or the player to figure out which ally the targeted PC happens to look at next. It’s a fun ability to determine by roleplay, but a truly determined PC could try to use their willpower to look at no one, or at the ally who can best take the hit. GMs, if you feel like a PC is trying to control their vision better than you think they could, make them pass a hard skill check (DC 20) using Wisdom or Intelligence to handle the warp without an unwary or unconscious glance at an ally they’d been trying to avoid: “Mustn’t look at Kevitch, he’s nearly dead! . . .Whoops.” .

Eyecloud

This monster looks like trouble.

Double-strength 4th level spoiler [aberration]

Initiative: +9

 

Reality warp +9 vs. PD—16 force damage and 4 ongoing force damage

Natural even hit or miss: The target deals 8 force damage to the next ally that they look at (or deals the damage to themselves at the end of their next turn if they haven’t looked at an ally).

 

R: Wearying gaze +9 vs. MD—Target is hampered, easy save ends (if the target rolls a natural 16+ to save, this attack recharges!)

Limited use: 1/battle as a quick action

 

Flight: This eyecloud moves like a swarm of bees.

 

Nastier specials

Hard to hit: This eyecloud takes half damage from melee and ranged attacks on turns when the escalation die is odd.

 

AC  20

PD  18           HP 112

MD 15

 

Dread Eyecloud

You’re guessing most of the eyes in the cloud aren’t human eyes, but if you spend any time really looking at it, you’re going to be in trouble.

Double-strength 10th level spoiler [aberration]

Initiative: +15

 

Flesh warp +15 vs. PD (two attacks)—40 damage and 20 ongoing damage

Hit against an enemy taking ongoing damage from this attack already: The target grows an extra eye, through which enemies can see. Until the eye is cut out (standard action, 20 damage) the target has a -2 penalty to all defenses against ranged and close attacks.

 

R: Dread gaze +15 vs. MD—Target is confused, save ends but recharges the power.

Limited use: 1/battle as a quick action

 

Flight: This monster moves like a mid-migration colony of bats.

 

Nastier specials

Even harder to hit: This eyecloud takes half damage from melee and ranged attacks, unless it has been hit by a close attack since its previous turn.

See the opening: The flesh warp’s power to cause an enemy to grow an extra eye now works on any enemy taking ongoing damage, regardless of the source of the damage.

 

AC  24

PD  26           HP 380

MD 25

 

Unfamiliar familiars

A lone floating eyeball, somehow separated from its cloud, makes for an interesting familiar for magic-users who are used to dealing with the outer realms of reality. A weird wizard might have one, sure. But what about a necromancer, or a chaos mage? True, these classes don’t normally get familiars—but a GM could make an exception for a player who is willing to invest a talent.

Getting a floating eye: A floating eye familiar could be the last eye from a swarm of floating eyeballs, or could be the magically enchanted eye of another slain monster. Imagine a ranger walking around with the magically preserved eye of a dragon as a pet. The occultist could even decide to ‘free’ one of their own eyes and imbue it with a demi-life of its own.

Familiar abilities: Floating eyeballs miss out on some familiar abilities from page 150 of the 13th Age core rulebook (no counter-bite, mimic, poisonous, tough, or talkative). Floating eyes always get the alert ability as one of their two starting abilities, and get the option of some new abilities too:

Sight beyond sight: You can see what your familiar sees, as though it were your own eye

Insightful vision: When you are in the presence of something invisible your familiar rolls a save (11+) to see it anyway

Keen eye: Once per battle when you would normally miss with a ranged attack, add 1d3 to the attack roll (the natural roll is unaffected)

Flying?: FYI, a floating eye without the flight ability just hovers about near your head, and must have the flight ability before it gains the scout ability.

Adventure Hooks

Delve complications—The adventurers are dungeon-delving, and whoever or whatever is at the heart of the dungeon knows their every move. Soon the cause becomes apparent: floating eyes spying on them. Do the adventurers chase after and fight the eyes, or would they be heading into a trap?

The eyes of the cabal—A cabal of wizards have died, and their eyes have returned to life as a monster. The adventurers must find the cabal’s bodies and properly inter them, or face eyecloud monsters that resurrect each nightfall.

Watchful eyes—The adventurers are offered a ‘tame’ cloud of eyeballs to act as a watchdog for their base of operations. The cost? One of them must give up an eye to become the new owner of the watchful eyes. The twist is that whoever gives up an eye gains a secret relationship die with an unexpected icon who is now able to spy on the party.

Warped vision—The adventures encounter an area of warped wild magic, and one of their eyeballs detaches and floats away. Later the party encounters a cloud of floating eyes. Can the party somehow subdue the eyecloud and ‘rescue’ the lost eye?


13th Age combines the best parts of traditional d20-rolling fantasy gaming with new story-focused rules, designed so you can run the kind of game you most want to play with your group. Created by Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet, 13th Age gives you all the tools you need to make unique characters who are immediately embedded in the setting in important ways; quickly prepare adventures based on the PCs’ backgrounds and goals; create your own monsters; fight exciting battles; and focus on what’s always been cool and fun about fantasy adventure gaming. Purchase 13th Age in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

13th Sage: Speeding Combat

By Rob Heinsoo

My current 13th Age group are more interested in roleplaying than the details of combat. Maybe that’s not precisely true, but at this early stage of the campaign, the game sings when we’re roleplaying and drags if we have too many rounds of combat. Two rounds is fine. Three rounds is OK-ish. Four, not so much. So I’m experimenting with a couple ways of speeding things up, and I’m happy to hear other ideas in the comments.

More damage, less hit points: The first requires a tiny bit of math, possibly on the fly but easy to accomplish ahead of time. I’m reducing the monster’s hit points and increasing their damage output. My first experiment will reduce monster’s hit points by a third. A gnoll who normally has 75 hit points will only have 50. Meanwhile, I’m gonna experiment with increasing the monster’s damage output by a third to a half. The gnoll’s mace normally deals 18 damage, now it’s going to deal 24 minimum. That will probably be scary enough, no need to go to a 50% damage increase, but we’ll see.

Lunar escalation: In fights against particularly powerful enemies, I’m going to use the Lunar escalation die rules from page 309 of 13th Age Glorantha. The short version is that the escalation die increases by 2 each round, and the enemies share the escalation die when the GM rolls beneath the current escalation die on a d6 at the start of the round. When the escalation die reaches 5 or 6, it cycles down by 2 until it reaches the bottom and cycles back up. Check out the printed rules for the details, it definitely pushes the pace and heightens the tension, so I think I’ll use it when dramatically appropriate rather than tying it to a particular Dragon Empire faction.

Less dice-rolling: I’m finally going to give in and do it Jonathan’s way, figuring out average damage for most player character attacks. I’ll probably have people roll damage when it’s dramatically satisfying to see the roll. And I know this won’t work for the player who comes with a new set of amazing polyhedral dice every session! But several players in this group will be perfectly happy not rolling damage 90% of the time, and we’ll find ways to make their d20 rolls more interesting if they aren’t already more interesting thanks to their abilities.


13th Age combines the best parts of traditional d20-rolling fantasy gaming with new story-focused rules, designed so you can run the kind of game you most want to play with your group. Created by Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet, 13th Age gives you all the tools you need to make unique characters who are immediately embedded in the setting in important ways; quickly prepare adventures based on the PCs’ backgrounds and goals; create your own monsters; fight exciting battles; and focus on what’s always been cool and fun about fantasy adventure gaming. Purchase 13th Age in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

Occultist

by ASH LAW

The occultist is an odd class—there is only ever one occultist in any campaign. The occultist is The occultist, singular.

As the occultist you’ll need to pay careful attention to what is happening at the table. Most of the occultists powers involve rewinding time, nudging reality, and so forth. Your powers all interact with and are triggered by the actions of others, so you’ll be keeping a constant eye on what is going on at the game table.

As an occultist you get more talents than just about any other class: six compared to the usual three. Your choice of talents is far more important than your spell selection to what your character can do—after all your spell selection can be chosen anew at the start of each day. In addition, your flexible recharge feature lets you pick a new spell when one recharges instead of recharging the same spell (in effect you roll to recharge spell slots rather than spells). So with the spells listed in occultist builds I’m listing the spells that you are most likely to pick at the start of each day, rather than the totality of occultist spells that you might use throughout the day.

Focused-Rebuke Occultist

Download Focused-Rebuke Occultist character sheets here.

This build is intended to maximize your potential damage output by making enemies vulnerable to you, increasing your chances of karmically rebuking them, and enabling you to target the lowest of MD or PD.

In battle whenever you start a turn with focus you should immediately use a quick action to cast karmic rebuke, then use your standard action to regain focus. As soon as you cast an interrupt spell and lose focus you should use your superior rebuke talent to attempt a free karmic rebuke. The rest of the tactics for this character involve staying out of melee combat, but close enough to the fight that you can be effective with your interrupt-action spells.

Oh, and by using unwinding the soul we increase the chance of critting (paired with superior rebuke that gives us a lot of potential crits).

Talents

Brain-Melting Secrets

When you hit an enemy with a psychic attack they can’t attack you on their next turn unless you are the only nearby enemy. As we are going to try for the maximum rebukes possible that means we’ll also shut down potential attackers from targeting the occultist. The adventurer feat makes this talent play nicely with warp flesh.

Superior Rebuke

With the feat that we’ll take at 1st level this talent gives a 30% chance of casting karmic rebuke whenever you lose focus. At champion tier rebukes also happen 20% of the time when you roll initiative (but see the racial choice for how we’ll get that number higher).

Unwinding the Soul

On a natural 11+ spell attack make the target vulnerable to your attacks until the end of the battle.

Warp Flesh

Twist your spells to target PD instead of MD if that would work better for you, and get bonus temporary hit points with that feat.

Icon Channeler (gained at 5th level)

You lose three icon dice (giving you only one at champion tier and two at epic tier) but you always get a ‘free’ 5 result which you can apply to any icon when you roll your icon dice.

Otherworld Shadow (gained at 8th level)

Your shadow is a companion to you, taking attacks on your behalf.

Race

Humans with their quick to fight racial power tend to act first—meaning that you’ll be able to get focus early in the battle. That extra human feat is going on improved initiative to further improve the chances of getting initiative early and to make up for the low Dexterity of this build. At champion tier, the human racial power meshes nicely with the champion feat for superior rebuke—increasing the chances of an early rebuke to 40%!

Attributes

Intelligence is sovereign for this character, with and Wisdom it’s equal consort: Str 8 (-1) Con 10 (0) Dex 8 (-1) Int 19 (+4) Wis 19 (+4) Cha 8 (-1).

1st level

Attributes: Str 8 (-1) Con 10 (0) Dex 8 (-1) Int 19 (+4) Wis 19 (+4) Cha 8 (-1).

Racial Power: quick to fight

Talents: brain-melting secrets, superior rebuke, unwinding the soul, warp flesh

Spells: karmic rebuke (class feature), better yet-here, moment of karma, brilliant comeback, inevitable fall

Feats: improved initiative, superior rebuke

2nd level

Spells (1st level: karmic rebuke (class feature), better yet-here, moment of karma, brilliant comeback, inevitable fall, timely mistake), new feat (brain-melting secrets).

3rd level

Spells (1st level: better yet-here, moment of karma 3rd level: karmic rebuke (class feature), blood for blood, fortune smiles, strike of the last breath), new feat (warp flesh).

4th level

+1 to three attributes (Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom), spells (3rd level: karmic rebuke (class feature), better yet-here, moment of karma, blood for blood, fortune smiles, strike of the last breath, brilliant comeback), new feat (unwinding the soul).

5th level

New talent (icon channeler), spells (3rd level: better yet-here, moment of karma, blood for blood, 5th level: karmic rebuke (class feature), crooked step, stifle, fortune smiles), new feat (superior rebuke).

6th level

Spells (5th level: karmic rebuke (class feature), better yet-here, moment of karma, crooked step, stifle, blood for blood, fortune smiles, strike of the last breath), new feat (brain-melting secrets).

7th level

+1 to three attributes (Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom), Spells (5th level: better yet-here, moment of karma, blood for blood, fortune smiles, 7th level: karmic rebuke (class feature), crooked step, stifle, arcane loop, liberating blow), new feat (unwinding the soul).

8th level

New talent (otherworld shadow), spells (7th level: karmic rebuke (class feature), better yet-here, moment of karma, crooked step, stifle, blood for blood, fortune smiles, strike of the last breath, arcane loop, liberating blow), new feat (superior rebuke).

9th level

Spells (7th level: better yet-here, moment of karma, crooked step, stifle, 9th level: karmic rebuke (class feature), blood for blood, arcane loop, liberating blow, hasten fate, rewind the skeins), new feat (brain-melting secrets).

10th level

+1 to three attributes (Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom), Spells (9th level: karmic rebuke (class feature), better yet-here, moment of karma, crooked step, stifle, blood for blood, fortune smiles, arcane loop, liberating blow, hasten fate, rewind the skeins), new feat (unwinding the soul).

Ocultist

By ASH LAW

The occultist is an odd class—there is only ever one occultist in any campaign. The occultist is The occultist, singular.

As the occultist you’ll need to pay careful attention to what is happening at the table. Most of the occultists powers involve rewinding time, nudging reality, and so forth. Your powers all interact with and are triggered by the actions of others, so you’ll be keeping a constant eye on what is going on at the game table.

As an occultist you get more talents than just about any other class: six compared to the usual three. Your choice of talents is far more important than your spell selection to what your character can do—after all your spell selection can be chosen anew at the start of each day. In addition, your flexible recharge feature lets you pick a new spell when one recharges instead of recharging the same spell (in effect you roll to recharge spell slots rather than spells). So with the spells listed in occultist builds I’m listing the spells that you are most likely to pick at the start of each day, rather than the totality of occultist spells that you might use throughout the day.

Shadow-Blade Occultist

Download Shadow Blade Occultist character sheets here.

This build is all about survivability—increasing defenses, avoiding damage, and preventing enemies from attacking you. Meanwhile the build gives you the flexibility to either cast spells or use an edged weapon in melee combat.

Your hewer of truth talent lets you use edged melee weapons without penalty, and an epic feat for your implements will let you use a magic weapon you find as a spellcasting implement. However, keep in mind that you’ll want to gain focus to cast spells, and that requires a standard action. If you choose to attack with a melee weapon, you’ll not be using that action to gain focus. The otherworld shadow and stance of necessity talents give you the ability to either negate damage against you, or to boost your defenses. The fourth starting talent is brain-melting secrets which prevents enemies that you attack from attacking you back.

At champion tier the icon envoy talent gets you the ability to mess with icon rolls to the party’s benefit. At epic tier superior rebuke gives the ability to cast karmic rebuke when you lose focus.

Talents

Brain-Melting Secrets

When you hit an enemy with a psychic attack they can’t attack you on their next turn unless you are the only nearby enemy. This means our usual spell choices are going to focus on psychic damage whenever possible.

Hewer of Truth

Use edged melee weapons without penalty, using Intelligence to attack and Wisdom for damage. When you hit an enemy engaged with you with a spell, you deal twice your miss damage to that enemy.

Otherworld Shadow

Your shadow is a companion to you, taking attacks on your behalf and giving you extra recoveries.

Stance of Necessity

Boost your defenses for a whole battle, and with the right feats aid your allies too.

Icon Envoy (gained at 5th level)

Improve the icon rolls of the party.

Superior Rebuke (gained at 8th level)

A 15% chance of casting karmic rebuke whenever you lose focus.

Race

For this odd class, why not an odd race? The twygzog (13th Age Bestiary page 87) is a rare plant rather than humanoid race. Their fungal biology power gives a once-per-battle save reroll (including death saves), and the fungal survivor feat gives mid-battle healing when you miss with a melee attack—pairing nicely with your higher likelihood of making melee attacks with this occultist build and ensuring the no melee attack you make is ever wasted.

Attributes

Intelligence and Wisdom are key attributes, with Constitution is also useful for higher hit points: Str 8 (-1) Con 16 (+3) Dex 10 (0) Int 18 (+4) Wis 15 (+2) Cha 10 (0).

1st level

Attributes: Str 8 (-1) Con 16 (+3) Dex 10 (0) Int 18 (+4) Wis 15 (+2) Cha 10 (0).

Racial Power: fungal biology

Talents: brain-melting secrets, hewer of truth, otherworld shadow, stance of necessity

Spells: karmic rebuke (class feature), bitter lessons, inevitable fall, moment of karma, timely mistake

Feats: otherworld shadow

2nd level

Spells (1st level: karmic rebuke (class feature), moment of karma, bitter lessons, timely mistake, inevitable fall, brilliant comeback), new feat (retain focus).

3rd level

Spells (1st level: inevitable fall, brilliant comeback 3rd level: karmic rebuke (class feature), moment of karma, bitter lessons, diversion of pain), new feat (hewer of truth).

4th level

+1 to three attributes (Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom), spells (3rd level: karmic rebuke (class feature), moment of karma, timely mistake, bitter lessons, inevitable fall, brilliant comeback, diversion of pain), new feat (delayed magical healing).

5th level

New talent (icon envoy), spells (3rd level: bitter lessons, timely mistake, inevitable fall, 5th level: karmic rebuke (class feature), moment of karma, fateful confrontation, call of doom), new feat (fungal survivor).

6th level

Spells (5th level: karmic rebuke (class feature), moment of karma, fateful confrontation, call of doom, bitter lessons, timely mistake, inevitable fall, brilliant comeback), new feat (retain focus).

7th level

+1 to three attributes (Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom), Spells (5th level: fateful confrontation, bitter lessons, timely mistake, inevitable fall, 7th level: karmic rebuke (class feature), moment of karma, liberating blow, call of doom, brilliant comeback), new feat (otherworld shadow).

8th level

New talent (superior rebuke), spells (7th level: karmic rebuke (class feature), moment of karma, liberating blow, fateful confrontation, call of doom, bitter lessons, timely mistake, inevitable fall, brilliant comeback, diversion of pain), new feat (arcane implements).

9th level

Spells (7th level: fateful confrontation, bitter lessons, timely mistake, inevitable fall, 9th level: karmic rebuke (class feature), moment of karma, rewind the skeins, liberating blow, call of doom, brilliant comeback), new feat (retain focus).

10th level

+1 to three attributes (Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom), Spells (9th level: karmic rebuke (class feature), moment of karma, rewind the skeins, liberating blow, fateful confrontation, call of doom, bitter lessons, timely mistake, inevitable fall, brilliant comeback, diversion of pain), new feat (hewer of truth).

Demonologist

By ASH LAW

The demonologist is the class for players who like things a little risky—who like playing close to the edge. Sure, you get to raise demons and bind them to your will, but if you falter you’ll unleash something very nasty into the world (and potentially against the party).

Demonologists get three talents, and how those talents are spent determine the path or paths that your demonologist is on, and the benefits that those grant.

Dilettante Demonologist

Download Dilettante character sheets here.

This demonologist refuses to be bound to any one path, instead drawing power and using it as they choose. This makes for a character with a lot of flexibility, but at the cost of some of the benefits that fully committing to a path would grant. An initiate of all paths, master of none.

This build concentrates on keeping effects going, and trying to get extra actions. To that end the build focuses more on curses and dealing ongoing damage than on summoning demons.

As an initiate of all three path’s you’ll get: resist poison 12+, ignore poison resistance 14+ or lower, resist fire 12+, ignore fire resistance 14+ or lower, and resist melee damage 10+.

You also get these bonus spells: summon corruption demon (1x daily), summon fire demon (1x daily), and summon slaughter demon (1x daily)

Additionally, as a slaughter path initiate your base AC in light armor is 13 and your base AC in heavy armor is 14 with a -2 attack penalty.

Talents

Contagion

Transfer a save-ends effect from a dead enemy to a new enemy.

Flare Up

When an enemy saves with an odd roll against an effect you caused, move the effect to a new enemy.

Sacrificial Blade

When one of your attacks drops a non-mook enemy (or the last mook in a mob), roll a save to get an extra standard action.

Race

The wood elf’s elven grace gives a good chance of extra standard actions, a nice synergy with sacrificial blade.

Attributes

Charisma is vital, Constitution is secondary, and we don’t want to skimp in too many other areas so we’re going for a fairly balanced build: Str 14 (+2) Con 16 (+3) Dex 10 (0) Int 10 (0) Wis 10 (0) Cha 17 (+3).

1st level

Attributes: Str 14 (+2) Con 16 (+3) Dex 10 (0) Int 10 (0) Wis 10 (0) Cha 17 (+3).

Racial Power: Elven Grace

Talents: contagion, flare up, sacrificial blade

Path bonus spells (daily): summon corruption demon, summon fire demon, and summon slaughter demon

Demons on the roster: demon toad, burner, claw demon

Path of Corruption spells: stab in the soul

Path of Flame spells: feed the flame demons

Path of Slaughter spells: the rending

Resistances: resist poison 12+, resist fire 12+, resist melee damage 10+

Ignores resistances: ignore poison resistance 14+ or lower, ignore fire resistance 14+ or lower

Feats: sacrificial blade

2nd level

Corruption spells (stab in the soul), flame spells (feed the flame demons), slaughter spells (the rending), new feat (stab in the soul). Demons on the roster: demon toad, burner, claw demon.

3rd level

Corruption spells (stab in the soul, misfortune), flame spells (feed the flame demons, keep burning please), slaughter spells (the rending), new feat (keep burning please). Demons on the roster: hopping imp, hellhound, hungry maw.

4th level

+1 to three attributes (Strength, Dexterity, Charisma), corruption spells (stab in the soul, misfortune), flame spells (feed the flame demons, keep burning please), slaughter spells (the rending), new feat (misfortune). Demons on the roster: hopping imp, hellhound, hungry maw.

5th level

Corruption spells (stab in the soul, misfortune), flame spells (feed the flame demons, keep burning please), slaughter spells (the rending, implacable destruction), new feat (sacrificial blade). Demons on the roster: vulture demon, big burner, frenzy demon.

6th level

Corruption spells (stab in the soul, misfortune, killing doubt), flame spells (feed the flame demons, keep burning please, golden claw), slaughter spells (the rending, implacable destruction), new feat (elven grace). Demons on the roster: vulture demon, big burner, frenzy demon.

7th level

+1 to three attributes (Constitution, Dexterity, Charisma), corruption spells (stab in the soul, misfortune, abyssal bargain), flame spells (feed the flame demons, keep burning please, golden claw), slaughter spells (the rending, implacable destruction), new feat (keep burning please). Demons on the roster: hezrou, pincer demon, laughing demon.

8th level

Corruption spells (stab in the soul, misfortune, abyssal bargain), flame spells (feed the flame demons, keep burning please, golden claw), slaughter spells (the rending, implacable destruction), new feat (sacrificial blade). Demons on the roster: hezrou, pincer demon, laughing demon.

9th level

Corruption spells (stab in the soul, misfortune, herald of the apocalypse), flame spells (feed the flame demons, keep burning please, golden claw), slaughter spells (the rending, implacable destruction), new feat (keep burning please). Demons on the roster: boar demon, lesser balor, marilith.

10th level

+1 to three attributes (Strength, Constitution, Charisma), corruption spells (stab in the soul, misfortune, herald of the apocalypse), flame spells (feed the flame demons, keep burning please, golden claw), slaughter spells (the rending, implacable destruction, blood for blood), new feat (blood for blood). Demons on the roster: boar demon, lesser balor, marilith.

The upcoming Book of Ages describes dozens of potential ancient Icons, the heroes and villains of past Ages of the Dragon Empire, from the Enchantress to the Explorer to the Steel Colossus and the Zealot. These Icons once bestrode the world. Some vanished when the wheel of history turned and their power faded; some endured or changed, becoming the Icons of the present Age we know. Others may return in Ages to come.

And some fell.

The 13thAge Bestiary 2 presents the concept of the Fallen Icon, a once-great icon now diminished and ruined, but still a campaign-ending threat. Each Fallen Icon lists a bunch of campaign victories that the player characters can pursue to weaken their foe before facing the Icon in a final battle. As guided by the Sagely Wisdom of Twitter, here’s one of the Book of Ages Icons in all her fallen glory.

 

The Princess of Cogs and Wheels

When all that’s left is the plan. No meaning, no choice, no life, just cold design.

In Ages past, before the fall of the Dwarven Underhome, the Princess of Cogs and Wheels was the Dwarf King’s ambassador to the surface world. As a diplomat, she pitted factions and armies against one another, using the fabulous wealth and influence at her command to put intricate schemes into motion. As an inventor and patron of the arts, she built machines of astonishing complexity, especially clocks and automata. Wild rumours spun around her – that she could foresee the future or even travel through time, that she was the head of various secret societies and conspiracies, that she had a hand in every catastrophe or unexpected victor.

 

Origin Stories

What became of the Princess? How might she return to trouble the heroes of the 13thAge?

  • Dwarven Civil War: The Princess was cast down by the Dwarf King when he moved his throne to Forge. Did the Princess try to stop the Dwarf King from claiming his kingdom near the surface? Was she involved in the destruction of Underhome by the dark elves? (Maybe she deliberately betrayed Underhome to its enemies, believing that the Dwarf King would be killed and she would become Queen.) In this interpretation, the Princess has survived as a secret conspirator in Forge, plotting against the Dwarf King – a mistress and patron of derro and evil dwarves.
  • Time Traveller: One Age was not enough to contain the ambition of the Princess. She built a machine of cogs and sorcery that could travel forwards in time, leaping from one Age to the next. She intended to use this machine to shepherd the Dragon Empire through history, interceding when necessary to keep events on course. However, travelling through time is perilous, and long exposure to the howling chaos-winds in the spaces between has corroded the Princess, body and soul.
  • Preserved by Machinery: Determined to ward off the ravages of time, the Princess turned to various bizarre methods of preserving her youth. When alchemy, sorcery and necromancy failed, she began to replace failing organs and limbs with clockwork, until only the machine remained.
  • The Secret Icon: The Princess has never gone away. She’s been the secret icon behind the scenes, more elusive than the Prince of Shadows, manipulating the Empire. Oh, the original Princess died many Ages ago, but another took on her mask and mantle, and another and another and another. Individuals may perish, but the conspiracy is eternal.

 

Wheel Knight Defender

The sworn defenders of the Princess, implacable and unyielding in their devotion.

10thlevel defender [HUMANOID]

Initiative: +18

Whirling Sword +15 vs. AC – 40 damage

Whirlwind of Steel +16 vs. AC (two attacks) – 40 damage, usable only if at least one other Wheel Knight Defender is engaged with the same enemy.

R: Deadly Archery +16 vs. AC (one nearby enemy, or one far away enemy at a -2 penalty) – 50 damage

Perfect Timing:  Wheel Knight Defenders gain a +4 bonus to opportunity attacks. A moving foe struck by a Wheel Knight Defender’s opportunity attack must stop moving.

Perfect Defenders: A Wheel Knight may automatically pop free of an engaged foes to intercept an enemy who is moving to attack the Princess.

(1/battle) Perfect Devotion: If an attack would reduce the Princess to 50 hit points or less, and the Wheel Knight Defender is nearby, the Wheel Knight Defender may throw itself in the path of the blow. The Defender takes the damage itself and is destroyed.

Fanatic: Immune to fear and confusion.

AC 26

PD 20   HP 250

MD 24

 

The Princess of Cogs and Wheels

You’re one microscopic cog in her catastrophic plan…

Triple-strength 10thlevel leader [HUMANOID]

Initiative: +20

 Axe of Necessity +15 vs. AC – 175 damage

Natural 18+: The target is also Weakened (hard save, 16+ ends)

C: Spinning Buzzsaw +15 vs. AC (up to four attacks, no more than one attack on any single target) –100 damage

Natural even hit: If the target remains engaged with the Princess until the start of her next turn, she automatically hits with a free Spinning Buzzsaw attack on that target.

Critical Hit: The victim’s hand, limb or head gets severed.

Machinations of the Princess: At the end of any turn in which the Princess is not hit by an attack, she steals the escalation die until the end of the next turn. She and her allies gain the benefits of the escalation die in the next turn.

Timeshift: As a free action, the Princess of Cogs and Wheels vanishes from the battlefield. At the start of her next turn, she may reappear anywhere on the battlefield. She gains a +2 bonus to her attack rolls on the round she reappears. Alternatively, she may choose to retreat from the battle entirely. Limited use:2/battle

Now, Spring The Trap! Add a number of Wheel Knight Defenders to the battle equal to the value of the Escalation Die. Limited Use: 1/battle

Interfere and you shall suffer: If an attack would stagger or kill the Princess, she may threaten to inflict a campaign loss on the player characters, even if they are victorious in this battle. The players must describe the nature of the campaign loss, and it should be a painful one. The attacking character may choose to accept this campaign loss and strike the Princess, or voluntarily miss instead.

You Are Divided! As a quick action, pick a player character. For each Conflicted Relationship Die that player character possesses, the player must choose: either turn that die Negative, or the Princess gains 250hp or adds another Wheel Knight Defender Limited use: 1/battle. A character may only be targeted with this ability once per campaign.

You Shall Be Betrayed! As a quick action, pick a player character. That player must choose one Positive Icon Relationship they possess. That relationship becomes Negative instead. Limited use: 1/battle. A character may only be targeted with this ability once per campaign.

 All Your Foes, Arrayed Against You! At the start of the battle, All player characters roll their Negative Relationship Die. For each die that rolls a 5 or 6, add a monster or give the Princess an advantage of some sort connected to that icon. Limited Use: 1/campaign

AC 27

PD 20   HP 750

MD 24

 

Campaign Impact

Even Fallen, the Princess is a relatively subtle Icon. Unlike the shambling Forest that Walks or Great Ghoul (Bestiary II), she operates behind the scenes, plotting and conspiring. An epic-level group can defeat her – if they can find her.

A returned Princess might try to:

  • Overthrow the Emperor and install a puppet in his place
  • Become the secret vizier manipulating the Blue
  • Foment conflict between the High Druid and the Empire
  • Conspire against the Archmage so he stops interfering with her time travel experiments
  • Frame rival Icons (say, the Elf Queen) as demon-worshippers so the Crusader attacks them

Countering the Princess

For each campaign victory the player characters achieve, they cancel one of the Princess’ abilities in the following order.

First PC Campaign Victory: Remove her Machinations of the Princess ability

Second PC Campaign Victory: Player’s choice  -remove either Interfere and You Shall Sufferor All Your Foes, Arrayed Against You!

Third PC Campaign Victory: Remove Timeshift

Campaign Victories

A few possible campaign victories against the Princess:

  • Discovering the location of her ancient fortress and learning her secrets
  • Finding a way to foresee the future
  • Gaining the blessing of the Dwarf King
  • Finding relics connected to the Princess in Underhome
  • Infiltrating the Princess’ cult

SaveSave

Demonologist

The demonologist is the class for players who like things a little risky—who like playing close to the edge. Sure, you get to raise demons and bind them to your will, but if you falter you’ll unleash something very nasty into the world (and potentially against the party).

Demonologists get three talents, and how those talents are spent determine the path or paths that your demonologist is on, and the benefits that those grant.

Bloodcaller Demonologist

Download Bloodcaller Demonologist character sheets here.

Let’s face it, you picked this class to revel in slaughter, and that’s what this build does best. By focusing your talents in a single path, you become a slaughter path fanatic. You’ll a wade into battle, taking half damage from most melee attacks against you, and dealing out half damage with your own missed melee attacks!

This build isn’t subtle, and neither are the demons that you call forth. Most of your magic is focused on making your melee attacks magically destructive, drawing blood from your enemies—so expect to be right in the middle of the action.

As slaughter fanatic you’ll get: resist melee damage 14+. You also get bonus spells: summon slaughter demon (recharge 11+)

Additionally, as a slaughter path fanatic your base AC in light armor is 13 and your base AC in heavy armor is 14 and you have no penalty for using any armor or using a shield. You can use heavy weapons without penalty, deal your level in miss damage, and when you are not staggered you use your casting attribute (intelligence for this character) for attacks and damage instead of strength.

Talents

Blood and Slaughter

A bonus daily summoning of your slaughter demon.

Demonic Reinforcements

Call on demons to possess your enemies.

Ravager

Provided you are not staggered, when you miss with a melee attack you deal half damage.

Race

Tieflings with their curse of chaos power and unique ties to this class work well with the slaughter path.

Attributes

Instead of Charisma tieflings use Intelligence for demonologist class features and powers. A high Strength and Constitution are vital for this build: Str 14 (+2) Con 16 (+3) Dex 10 (0) Int 19 (+4) Wis 9 (-1) Cha 8 (-1).

1st level

Attributes: Str 14 (+2) Con 16 (+3) Dex 10 (0) Int 19 (+4) Wis 9 (-1) Cha 8 (-1).

Racial Power: Curse of Chaos

Talents: blood and slaughter, demonic reinforcements, ravager

Path bonus spells (recharge 11+, plus extra daily use): summon slaughter demon

Demons on the roster: claw demon

Path of Slaughter spells: blade polished in blood, hate, reckless slaughter

Resistances: resist melee damage 14+

Feats: reckless slaughter

2nd level

Slaughter spells (blade polished in blood, hate, reckless slaughter, the rending), new feat (resist melee damage). Demon on the roster: claw demon.

3rd level

Slaughter spells (blade polished in blood, hate, reckless slaughter, follow the blood), new feat (demonic reinforcements). Demon on the roster: hungry maw.

4th level

+1 to three attributes (Strength, Constitution, Intelligence), slaughter spells (blade polished in blood, hate, reckless slaughter, follow the blood, deceptive wound), new feat (blade polished in blood). Demon on the roster: hungry maw.

5th level

Slaughter spells (blade polished in blood, hate, reckless slaughter, follow the blood, deceptive wound), new feat (resist melee damage). Demon on the roster: frenzy demon.

6th level

Slaughter spells (blade polished in blood, hate, reckless slaughter, follow the blood, deceptive wound), new feat (demonic reinforcements). Demon on the roster: frenzy demon.

7th level

+1 to three attributes (Strength, Constitution, Intelligence), slaughter spells (blade polished in blood, hate, reckless slaughter, follow the blood, deceptive wound, mass slaughter), new feat (blade polished in blood). Demon on the roster: laughing demon.

8th level

Slaughter spells (blade polished in blood, hate, reckless slaughter, follow the blood, deceptive wound, mass slaughter) new feat (resist melee damage). Demon on the roster: laughing demon.

9th level

Slaughter spells (blade polished in blood, hate, reckless slaughter, follow the blood, deceptive wound, mass slaughter), new feat (demonic reinforcements). Demon on the roster: marilith.

10th level

+1 to three attributes (Wisdom, Charisma, Intelligence), slaughter spells (blade polished in blood, hate, reckless slaughter, follow the blood, deceptive wound, mass slaughter, blood for blood), new feat (blade polished in blood). Demon on the roster: marilith.

I’ve started running a new 13th Age campaign for my Fire Opal Games comrades and their families. The PCs are (apparently) questing to recover a goddess who most of the world has forgotten. The Elf Queen has several statues of the missing goddess in one of the halls she devotes to her friends, and she wants to know who it was and why the goddess is lost to her.

The quest took the PCs to a uniquely laid out halfling tavern in Concord. (Actually, I don’t think it’s unique, it’s how most halfling establishments should be organized; but that’s a story for another time!) Viv—the former adventurer who owned the bar—had the info the PCs needed, but asked for a service from the PCs: an exorcism of sorts, a cleansing of the bad spirits that had taken over her tavern’s original location. Not just bad spirits, bad alcohol spirits. They’d been weakened over time by the evaporation of the worst of the lot, the Grimtooth Ale. But Viv’s age and the death of her dwarf pal, Rak, meant she needed help. Adventurers who’d finagled heavy winnings out of her tavern’s mantis-fights seemed like people who might get the job done.

All of this prologue is to explain why this month’s installment of 13th Sage is a couple of spirits-related spirits. For the battle I used wibbles (13th Age Bestiary) recast as bad-champagne bubble mooks. A couple of natural 1s with spells cast during the battle probably should have created more wibble-bubbles, but it was more important to keep the game moving for the all-new players. Happily for the newcomers, they cruised through this battle without encountering the worst the spirits had to offer. Your PCs may not be so lucky.

Roll initiative!

 

Rockfist Ale Dreg

Hic.

1st level troop [spirit]

Initiative: +4

 

Thump go boom +6 vs. AC—6 damage

Natural 18+: PC is hampered (hard save ends, 16+, but PC receives a +8 bonus on save if they can tell a story worth hearing that involves beer—the save automatically fails if the story is longer than one minute)

Miss: 3 damage

 

Spirit body: For each attack against this spirit, a PC uses their best mental ability score (Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma) instead of the ability score they normally use for attacks. Use the same mental ability score to determine damage.

 

AC   17

PD    15                 HP 32

MD  11

 

Bad Wine Spirit

Disgusting oozy ectoplasmic slime that won’t stop whining.

2nd level spoiler [spirit]

Initiative: +6

 

Wet slap +6 vs. AC—6 damage

Natural even hit: target slides somewhere the spirit thinks is funny; may require a second +6 attack vs. PD if the location is going to result in serious damage to the target.

 

R: Bubbly laughter +7 vs. MD (one nearby enemy)—4 ongoing psychic damage and confused (save ends both)

Limited use: Only on the turn after it scores a natural even hit with wet slap (but against any target, not just the one it slapped).

 

Spirit body: For each attack against this spirit, a PC uses their best mental ability score (Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma) instead of the ability score they normally use for attacks. Use the same mental ability score to determine damage.

 

AC   16

PD    13                 HP 40

MD  15

 

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

The Book of Demons is out in print this month, so in celebration (unholy, raucous, and malignant) of that fact, we present a way to bring demons into your 13th Age campaign a little more.

Demons are always scratching at the walls of their prison, looking for a way out into the world. There are magical rifts and hellholes and summoning spells, of course, but demons can’t be choosers. Sometimes, the only way out is to squeeze through the narrowest of cracks—like, through a soul in a moment of pain or terror. A demonic boon is a special form of iconic benefit that a cruel GM might offer a vulnerable player. Say you’re in a dangerous pickle, and you really wish that you’d rolled a 5 or 6 on your relationship die. The GM might offer you a demonic boon—the chance to retroactively turn that relationship roll into a success.

You called for help, and someone answered. Just not who you were expecting. The benefit’s not coming from the icon directly—it’s coming from the forces of the Abyss.

If you accept a demonic boon, treat it as though you’d rolled a 5 on your relationship die—a benefit with strings attached, and the demons are the ones holding those strings. Don’t worry, it’ll only be a small favour to repay.

Probably.

And demons never (hardly ever) charge interest…

Spoor of the Abyss

Boons only happen in places where demons already have a toe-hold in the world. They happen near hellholes (or near places where hellholes are about to form), in places haunted by demons, sorcerers, or Diabolist-cultists, or in areas where the barrier between dimensions is naturally thin.

While demons are naturally drawn to the mighty, blazing, juicy souls of heroic player characters, they’re not that picky. Ordinary mortals and non-player characters might get demonic boons if the conditions are right. If you run into a little girl who really wanted a kitten and got one that talks (and teaches her to throw fireballs), or meet a farmer who’s gone from drought to bountiful harvest overnight, there may be a demon nearby.

Demonic boons might be delivered by imps and other obviously demonic entities or by demons masquerading as spirits or servants of the icons. A wary adventurer can usually spot some demonic tell—glowing eyes, sharp teeth, or the smell of sulphur.

Archmage: Demons are creatures of magic, and more than a few wizards and sorcerers have ended up in the Abyss out of hubris, damned by their pursuit of forbidden knowledge. Such spellcasters could be let out of the Abyss (briefly) to pass on some tidbit of arcane lore or juice up a spell.

Crusader: The Crusader’s servants don’t get demonic boons—they take them by force instead. The Crusader binds and enslaves demons to do his bidding, and is well aware of the seductive tricks and traps that demons might employ. Servants of the Crusader are never offered boons. Well, hardly ever—for all their oaths to the Dark Gods, for all their demon-binding magic, for all their fanatic hatred, there are times when even a Crusader feels fear…

Diabolist: If you had the demonological equivalent of a tunnelling electronic microscope, an arcane machine that could detect the most infinitesimal of supernatural influences, you might be able to tell the difference between a regular Diabolist relationship benefit and a demonic boon. Maybe.

Dwarf King: Dwarves are generally too solid and down-to-the-primordial-roots-of-the-earth to be tempted by demonic influences. Demonic dwarf-boons tend to work using existing grudges and hatreds—the demons won’t try to trick you or seduce you, they’ll just offer you that little boost of magical power or physical might to smash those ancestral enemies.

Elf Queen: Demonic boons from the Elf Queen cluster around the dark elves. There are old and deep connections between the dark elves and the demon realm, and it’s easy to demons to sneak in that way…

Emperor: The Emperor stands for law and justice, the antithesis of demons. Demons trying to sneak in demonic boons for this icon, therefore, always show up in disguise. Armoured knights with their faces hidden behind visored helms, legal documents warped and rewritten by demonic sorcery, malicious trickery disguised as moments of good fortune or justice.

Great Gold Wyrm: Like the followers of the Crusader, those who serve the Great Gold Wyrm are on guard against demonic boons. Clever demons, therefore, offer their boons as tribute, playing on the hero’s pride. Oh mighty paladin of the Great Gold Wyrm, we could not hope to defeat you, so take these offerings as your rightful due…

High Druid: Shapeshifting demons can take the form of animals. Talking cats, talking birds, talking trees—are these kindly servants of the High Druid, or demons in disguise?

Lich King: The power of the lord of graves is centred on the isle of the Necropolis, so he aids his servants through ghostly emissaries, chilly omens, and secretive servants. It’s easy for demons to mimic any of these, especially for nalfeshnee and hezrou, both of whom have the rotting stench down pat.

Orc Lord: Those who follow the path of the Orc Lord tend to stab first and ask questions later. Even questions like, “Hey, why am I suddenly blessed with this demonic fury, and why does my blood catch fire on contact with the air?” get glossed over.

Priestess: Demons convince followers of the Priestess to accept their boons by offering them in times when other people are in need. Out of healing spells and your companion’s at death’s door? A village wracked with disease? That kitten climbed a tree into the overworld and is now stuck beyond space and time? Do you want others to suffer or are you good and holy enough to accept a little compromise?

Prince of Shadows: If there’s one thing about the Prince, it’s that he’s honest. The Prince knows the value of a good deal, a bargain fairly made. His agents will take a boon when the time and the price are right.

The Three: Demons typically use the Red as cover. The Red Dragon’s barred from the Empire so he works through emissaries (check), he fosters random destruction (check), and he’s got a whole fire-and-brimstone shtick (check). Hey—are we completely sure the Red isn’t a demon?

 

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