Wednesday, June 26, 2013

First Printing

There was a wonderful Fed Ex package this afternoon. I kept it secret until Jonathan came over for tonight's 13th Age game. 

Up until now, Jonathan had deliberately avoided seeing most of the art and layout. So opening the book has been a very happy moment, and one that I think will be repeated elsewhere, soon. 

And now we play!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Return of the Grove

At the start of our last 13th Age session, I decided that I was finally going to start using the Player Picks suggestion from page 189. It was Jonathan’s rule originally and I’ve used it a bit but never gotten into the habit.

Then the game happened. And I was reminded of why I tend not to have to use the option of giving the players a vote on an element that will reoccur.

Because Sandilarion the oldest elf in the world, discovered and saved the ancient fey temple named Trill that he had spent a century or more running as a friend of the sprites, though those memories had previously been suppressed by the Archmage’s just-fallen ward . . .
... and Haara the monk wood-shaper discovered that he can truly shape wood, into buildings and tree homes even, as one of a lost line of Architects from the party’s fallen blood-line . . .
...and Thorin the dwarf bard found a helmet of a dwarven hero also named Thorin but from another world, and so Thorin sang The Song of the Broken Brother for the first time and began learning songs from that other world, where dwarves rule the Empire not humans . . .
...and Talimir the rogue/ninja slipped through shadows far more effectively than anyone had ever done (so mysterious….) and reported that he had done his best to dig an intricate network of ambush tunnels beneath the grove (which was bullshit but inspired bullshit and will no doubt turn out to be true, in the long run) . . .
.... and Brial the autistic elf bard found the bardic Keystone he had been supposed to find up on Vantage where it had fallen after Vantage exploded, temporarily crushing Sandilarion's ancient grove, and when addressed properly the Keystone revealed that Brial's magic is so alien and unknown (even to the Archmage) because it literally an echo of a Great Chord struck on some other world (Brial being the name of one of our PCs from a 3.5 game called The Nine Chords) . . .

Well. You can see that there’s a lot of stuff coming that’s going to be coming back. No player votes necessary. 

The funniest moment of the game came when Talimir was intent upon getting everyone into ambush positions in the sacred grove. The plan (originally created by Brial) was to ambush the undead 17th Legion as it cut past the grove headed to the battlefields to hide for the day. But when the PCs reached the holy ground just in time to set the ambush, every PC other than Talimir started what you could probably call an independent craft project. Sandilarion and Haara performed a ritual to save the sacred grove, newly crushed and almost destroyed by the fallen Keystone and other pieces of Vantage. Thorin sang a song, an ancient battle hymn of the other world his helmet is telling him about, to wake up the broken Keystone, and then Brial lectured the Stone, telling it all about himself, but of course Brial ended up saying things he hadn't known until that moment. The grove erupted in woodsy-sprite-filled splendor and the ambush was entirely ruined despite Talimir’s best advice. So the PCs just had to get the job done in straight combat.

And they still believe there were no consequences for spoiling the ambush. Ah, I love GMing. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Ambush Bug

Matt Nelson entered the Monster Art +13 contest for 13 True Ways with the following proposal:

The older fantasy art that stands out to me depicts the moment right before a losing battle.  It doesn’t show what happens in the fight – the threat of doom can be more captivating than the violence itself.  Instead, it focuses on that moment when the heroes realize they’re outclassed – seeing the dragon’s eye looking in through the window or dozens of undead crawling out of the ground around them.

I suggest a piece depicting a party trekking through the Frost Range.  A gigantic Remorhaz bursts out of the snowy ground behind them, and the fur-clad heroes turn to face the monster, drawing their weapons and realizing that their luck has run out.  

Want something smaller? Lose the snow and make it an Ankheg. (Any monster with a silent "h" works."

The remorhraz is getting loving attention in the 13th Age Bestiary and I didn't want to double-cover it in 13 True Ways. The ankheg waved a pincer signifying "I would love to ambush some halflings and gnomes."

Hence this great thumbnail from Aaron McConnell. Maybe it's called "I'm Your Silent H."

I feel a little awful about this illustration. Not because of the panic on the faces of the fleeing halflings. No. I feel something awful because the brave halfling woman standing her ground is NOT a Shaman. Another title of this rough sketch could be "This is not a chaos shaman." Doesn't matter what Aaron wrote up on top of the illustration. This woman is a druid.

We'll show you the chaos guys quasi-soonish.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Norman Dee-Dee-Dum

This is a picture of Lisa’s bike still showing her race tag from the triathalon she was in last summer. You’ll note the wonderful number. She normally wouldn't keep a race number around but she kept this one because really, how could she get rid of 1066?

A few weeks ago we were talking with a friend who had no idea why the number 1066 would matter. We started explaining the Norman Invasion.

“Oh man,” he said, “enough, I learned everything I wanted to know about Normandy from Saving Private Ryan.”