Tuesday, May 30, 2023

WIR 13th Age #2

 Picking up where I left off, it's away from skills ... I mean backgrounds, and into feats.

You get a new feat at every level. In your early levels, these are adventurer tier feats, then champion feats and finally epic feats. This is our first sign that the scale of this game is super-compressed. I might get more into this later, but there are only 10 levels in the game. To someone coming in from D&D 3.x or 5e which have 20 levels, or D&D 4e with its 30 levels, this feels very small. The feats generally feel pretty significant, so it's likely that each level will represent a significant bump in ability.

The downside of this section is its brevity. There are only a handful of feats listed here, with the majority of the space taken up by lists of feats elsewhere in the book. Since feats are intended to be significant, they often work to enhance the specific powers of the various classes and need the context of being in the class description in order to make sense, I guess.

Some feats list benefits for multiple tiers and I'm not 100% sure what happens with those. Like if a feat has an adventurer and a champion entry, what happens when my character hits champion tier? Do they automatically get the champion benefit? Do I have to take the feat again, this time at champion tier, to get the benefit?

There are a couple of references in the text to re-speccing your character as they advance, so I'm guessing that you can have a feat at adventurer tier, then once you become a champion, you can spend your champion feat slot to upgrade the feat to champion, but then you are left with an empty adventurer tier feat slot so you can fill that with a another adventurer tier feat. It feels complicated, but it's probably fairly simple once you actually get in to it.

The gear section is unimpressive, but that's probably more feature then bug. "This is supposed to be the indie-style, story-telling game of heroic fantasy, not a bean counting simulation" I imagine someone saying, though it doesn't appear in the text of this book. No information is given other than an item's name and its price. No weights, because "encumbrance rules are stupid." and no other details because "that would just restrict the possibilities of the story." Again imagined quotes. But they do spend some time on what the coins used in the setting look like, which does hit the "style over substance" vibe that they seem to be going for.

Now we get into the races section. This was published before "races" became problematic enough that publishers started exploring other terminology. I'm going to use "race" here just because they use it.

They are divided between major races and optional races. The major races are human, dwarf, 3 kinds of elf, half-elf, gnome, half-elf, half-orc and halfling. The optional races are dragonspawn, Holy One, Forgeborn, and Demon Touched.

The optional races are versions of the various races that were made core in 4e that got backlash. The Holy Ones are Aasimars and the Demon-Touches are tieflings. Dragonspawn correspond to D&D's dragonborn and the Forgeborn are intended to be the warforged. 

The rules surrounding any of them are very simple. They get a +2 bonus to any one stat (most races have a few defined options, but humans get "Any")  and a power that they can enhance with a champion tier feat.

The class section begins with a listing of the game's classes in order of ease of play. Not only is that sort of refreshing, but the fact that the fighter class isn't the highest on the list is a pleasant change as well. Both D&D and Pathfinder have positioned the fighter as the "I hit it with my axe" class, where the rookie player can just roll to hit when called upon in combat and basically do fine. But in this case, the barbarian is the "roll and shout" class. Fighter is actually in 4th place behind the barbarian, ranger and paladin.

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