13th Sage: Rolling for Complications

ROB_tileInspired by the new rune narration mechanics in the upcoming 13th Age in Glorantha book, I’m experimenting with a twist on the icon relationship rules in my Dragon Empire 13th Age campaign.

As before, a roll of a 5 or a 6 on the six-sider gains an icon relationship advantage. But in this campaign, the 5 and the 6 are pretty much the same, and it’s usually up to the player to say they want to use the advantage and suggest how it’s being used.

Instead of 5 always being a complication, I roll for a possible complication when the player uses the icon relationship advantage, normally after the player has said what they’re hoping to get out of it. I roll a d20—on a 1-5, there’s a complication, and I get to tweak the story and make it interesting.

Since I’m using the new icon tiles from Campaign Coins, the players usually keep the green side up in front of them to show they have an icon relationship waiting to be used. If they end up rolling a complication and I feel like hanging on to it, keeping it poised for later use, I tell them to turn the tile over to its red side.

I like this mechanical tweak because the complication comes as a dramatic twist, not as a definite consequence of using the icon relationship advantage. We’ll see how it goes.

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