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13th Age Converting 13th Age's Eyes of the Stone Thief to D&D 5E

Eyes of the Stone Thief is a mid-level adventure for 13th Age which involves a living mega-dungeon which hunts the PCs. It's tag line is "Can you kill the dungeon before it kills you?" It's a big, 360-page hardcover. Publisher Pelgrane Press has converted two sections from the campaign to 5th Edition, which you can pick up free if you've got Eyes of the Stone Thief, or which you can purchase at their web store or DTRPG.

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13th Age is - rightly - known for it's interesting monster design, and it's excellent ENnie-nominated Bestiary, which includes lore, variations, related rules, lairs, environments, plot hooks, and more. You can see their take on the standard Orc here. As you can see, their approach to monsters is a little different to 5th Edition's.

This 39-page 5E conversion contains The Maw and The Gauntlet, two sections of this vast living dungeon. If you're a 5E fan, but are curious about how other "D&D-based" variations approach things, this is a good way to dip a toe in and take a look.

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Talking of 13th Age, you can grab the PDFs from the Bundle of Holding right now at a knock-down price. There's the 13th Age Core Set ($19.95 gets you the 325-page 13th Age rulebook, the 13 True Ways rules expansion, and the 13th Age Soundtrack), and there's the 13th Age Adventures ($14.95 gets you The Book of Demons, The Book of Ages, and the newest collection of magical treasures, Loot Harder). And if you pay a little more, you get a whole ton more stuff. And 10% goes to charity!
 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

EthanSental

Adventurer
After Arilyn’s post, it would be worth a read for those game designers sidebars...mainly for Heinsoo since he was the lead designer on 4e and see his thoughts from one game and infer from his 4e design.
 

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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
After Arilyn’s post, it would be worth a read for those game designers sidebars...mainly for Heinsoo since he was the lead designer on 4e and see his thoughts from one game and infer from his 4e design.
Both authors had serious D&D pedigrees. As you mention, Rob Heinsoo was lead designer for 4e, but Jonathan Tweet was also one of the three lead designers for 3e.

To quote from the intro:
So the designers worked on 3e and on 4e. How does this compare?

Critics complained that 3E weighed the game down with rules for everything, turning an open-ended roleplaying game into a complicated simulation, arithmetic on a grid. 13th Age is a rules-light, free-form, gridless way to play a story-oriented campaign.

3E took the game forward in terms of player options and universal mechanics, and we have followed suit.

Critics compared 4E to a board game or miniatures game that distanced itself from its roots. 13th Age is about story-oriented campaigns not minis, and it revisits its roots with its setting and rules.

4E took the game forward in terms of balance and game play, and so do we.

I believe I read somewhere that they designed the game they'd want to have in their regular weekly group.
 

JeffB

Legend
The design sidebars are great. Often R&J switched their views after consideration and playtesting. In addition, people who now are heavy involved in 13A, like Ash Law, Cal, Wade , and Gareth , also have their own design philosophies including their own views on things like Icon mechanics.

The Gamemaster's Resource book is a must buy IMO for all it's variants, insights, and deeper dives into the system. It even Includes ways Rob has added/modified his games since the core book's publication.
 

BrokenTwin

Explorer
I've got to second/third/whatever the appreciation for the design sidebars. Being able to see into the designers' heads is great when you're trying learn and adapt their work to your table.
 


Condiments

Explorer
13th age is excellent! So far, it has replaced 5e as my game of choice. The system just works better for me.

  • Icons encourage player buy in for your setting. I created my own homebrew list of icons and my players are already directing the story in directions depending on their icon relations. The players get tokens based on how many 5 and 6 dice they roll which they can spend on variety of things for in-game benefit. I also direct overarching story threads based on which icons are getting the most rolls.
  • Battles are smooth and fun thanks to awesome mechanics like the escalation dice. It's easier to construct bigger set piece battles than 5e which I prefer to run over tons of encounters.
  • Monster are just flat out better! Each monster usually has something unique to it that makes each battle different. Also that stat blocks are nice and small.
  • Backgrounds took some getting use to for our group but they're a ton of fun. I have a better idea of who my player's characters are because it comes up in game.
  • Not having to deal with the adventuring day model has been a huge game changer for me. It's been so freeing not to have to contrive encounters to just burn player resources or twist all my adventures to have time pressure so rests aren't so easy. My stories have gotten better and the pacing is WAY better because there is less fluff.
If you haven't give the system a shot! It's not for everyone but neither is 5e.
 

Anoth

Adventurer
I like 13th age. I can’t use icons the way the rules tell me too. I have them pick them for role playing ideas.
 
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JeffB

Legend
I like 13th age. I can’t use icons the way the rules tell me too. I have them pick them for role playing ideas.

Not sure if you saw my post above- but there are several takes on Icons/Icon rolls and their usage outside the core rulebook (pick up the GM book!) Like Dungeon World and Fronts, I think most new to the 13A system have a tough time wrapping their head around the core book's presentation as a rule element (it's poorly done- and scattered throughout the book), but love and take inspiration from the idea of the Icons and handle Icon rolls in whatever way they see fit for their game.
 
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