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13th Age Help me 4e-ify my 13th Age game

ve4grm

First Post
A bit of background:

When 4e came out, I fell in love. I had started gaming with 3.0 (and then 3.5), but had gotten tired of certain things about the game, and 4e was a breath of fresh air. Fighters could keep up with wizards, save-or-die was gone, healing surges gave everyone a modicum of self-healing, defenses instead of saves actually standardized the entire core mechanic!

Unfortunately, after a few years, the weight of 4e began to drag on me as well. Combat length made it hard to feel like progress was being made, classes within a given role felt too same-y. It was time to explore other options.

And I found 13th Age. I loved it. Still do. It kept most of what I loved from 4e, and added some of its own excellent twists. I love the Background system, the escalation die, the ways it kept the combat balance I wanted without making classes feel too similar. Pretty much everything.

But lately, I've found myself missing a lot about 4e.



I miss Paragon Paths - splitting off from your core class a bit to differentiate yourself from others.

I miss multiclass feats - the ability to add a bit of flavour and versatility with only minor investment.

I miss tactical fights - marking, flanking, cover, fights where positioning, terrain, and strategy matter.

I miss forced movement - pushing, pulling, jockeying for position. Part of tactical fights, but not completely.

I miss 4e monsters - this one's mostly on me, but I feel 13th Age monsters default to being a bit simpler than 4e ones, and I just need to remember to give my 13th Age monsters additional interesting abilities. Weirdly, I'm torn about whether I miss rolling dice for monster damage, which means I'm probably good without it.

I miss PCs being able to set up combos - part of tactical fights, but meaning those situations where multiple party members contribute to one amazing outcome. Example: Fighter marks the baddie, while the Rogue gets into backstab position. The Warlord issues a challenge, allowing the monster to attack him, while simultaneously allowing the Rogue to backstab, and also triggering the Fighter's mark ability.


Some of these wouldn't be easy to reintroduce. True combo-creation would require a complete overhaul of the classes, for example.

Others, I really want to do something for. This thread will be for brainstorming and compiling solutions to them. All help is welcome!
 

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ve4grm

First Post
Not as such. There's a lot that 13th Age introduced that I like better. Really, I like the most of the skeleton of the game better.

I like how skills work, how damage scales, how spells level up, how (almost) every class has their own feel.

I just want to take some of what I liked about 4e and bolt it onto 13th Age.
 

ve4grm

First Post
Here's the ideas I've been tossing around so far.


Tactical Combats

In most fights, use 13th Age rules as written. During big or set-piece battles, do the following:
  • Give everyone Speed 6.
  • Add in Flanking/Combat Advantage.
  • Moving around someone (from a threatened square to another threatened square) required a disengage check just as moving away does, or else provokes an OA.
  • Give basic cover rules (basically as 4e or 5e, minor defensive bonus, can block line of sight).
  • (EDITED) Nearby becomes 6 squares. Far away becomes 12 squares. Close Nearby becomes a Blast (originates from you).
  • Multi-target spells become "X by X area" where X is the die type. Targets include allies if they're in the area.
    • So Denial's 1d4 nearby enemies in a group becomes a 4x4 area within range 6.
    • Color Spray's 1d4 nearby enemies in a group becomes a Blast 4, since it's a Close spell.
    • Fireball's reckless cast (2d3 enemies but also allies) becomes a 6x6 area, plus any allies engaged with targets (so no hitting with just the edge of the fireball).
    • Other weird spells on a case by case basis.


Forced Movement

When in Tactical mode
  • Remove "Pop Free".
  • Replace with "Slide X"
    • Slide 2 for at-wills.
    • Slide 4 for encounter or recharge powers.
    • Slide 6 for daily powers.
    • Double distance if it only targets yourself.
 
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JeffB

Legend
Other than I feel 4e monsters have more variety, and I prefer a couple 4e classes over their 13th Age counterparts, I guess I like how 13th Age handles most things vs. what you [MENTION=63492]ve4grm[/MENTION] mentioned you prefer in 4e.

Before 13th Age came out, I stripped down 4e quite a bit for my kids group. I eliminated the grid, replacing/rewriting powers with similar abstractness (?) as 13A did, or just eliminating things that were too tied to the grid. I think you may want to incorporate some 13A into your 4e instead of vice-versa.

E.g. I got rid of marking (not a big deal as we only had a slayer). Powers would have something like "affects 1d3 creatures at short range". I would get onto the Monster Builder in DDI and just re-write/change the powers of Monsters/NPCs and print them out. This is something I dearly miss. For all the hate they got, I loved the DDI tools for tweaking and printing out monsters/items, etc.
 
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Arilyn

Hero
Remember, with 13th Age, you can swap abilities between classes fairly easily, as long as they roughly balance. This can help with the feel of multi-class feats that you said give you a little feel from another class. As far as monsters go, I feel 13th age critters have lots of options to them. Not sure what's more interesting about 4e critters. Because of the way 13th Age handles movement and ranges, I though it might be hard to incorporate grid tactics, but it sounds like you've solved that. Some classes like the commander and occultist have interrupts that help other players. Not exactly combos though, but heading in right direction?

I feel because of the nature of 13th Age, it is customizable, but takes some effort and thought. Definitely, my favourite D20 fantasy game.
 

ve4grm

First Post
Remember, with 13th Age, you can swap abilities between classes fairly easily, as long as they roughly balance. This can help with the feel of multi-class feats that you said give you a little feel from another class. As far as monsters go, I feel 13th age critters have lots of options to them. Not sure what's more interesting about 4e critters. Because of the way 13th Age handles movement and ranges, I though it might be hard to incorporate grid tactics, but it sounds like you've solved that. Some classes like the commander and occultist have interrupts that help other players. Not exactly combos though, but heading in right direction?

I feel because of the nature of 13th Age, it is customizable, but takes some effort and thought. Definitely, my favourite D20 fantasy game.

Talent swapping will definitely be part of it, but that's a fairly major investment. I'd like to have something feat-sized available as well. That said, my ideas for Paragon Paths might be how I introduce minor "multiclassing" too.

Yeah, the monster thing is mostly a reminder to me to incorporate those lessons learned from 4e when making monsters. As for what 4e monsters have that 13th Age tends not to? Generally things like auras, interrupts/reactions, etc. Stuff that's interesting, but more work to keep track of. I don't mind a little bit of work, so I need to remember to add such abilities when it fits.

Combos may be a lost cause outside of the classes you mentioned, and that's fine. They're a relatively minor part of what I want, anyways. If I can develop a Paragon-Path-ish system that doesn't unbalance things, and have a working set of tactical rules that we can drop down to when the situation calls for it, I'll be happy.
 



... Fighters could keep up with wizards, save-or-die was gone, healing surges gave everyone a modicum of self-healing, ...

... Combat length made it hard to feel like progress was being made, classes within a given role felt too same-y....

...I miss tactical fights - marking, flanking, cover, fights where positioning, terrain, and strategy matter.
...I miss PCs being able to set up combos - part of tactical fights, but meaning those situations where multiple party members contribute to one amazing outcome....


Some of these wouldn't be easy to reintroduce. True combo-creation would require a complete overhaul of the classes, for example.
4e's elaborate, tactical, set-piece combats and intra-party combos are possible precisely because the class designs were so consistent and used Roles. I never bought the 'samey' characterization of that, each class seemed plenty unique both in flavor and how they played, but 13A went the other way and has classes that are mechanically- & resource- differentiated and used the full-heal up as a sledgehammer to balance them. That sacrificed some of the things you want back, and you prettymuch can't have them without gutting 13A classes and re-imposing built-in (rather than DM-enforced) class balance, and, particularly, Roles.

OTOH, lots of other stuff you can just port straight. The 4e handling of movement/positioning and forced movement and OAs, for instance, should just pop into place.
The advancing die that makes things work better later in the fight I thought was interesting
The Escalation Die, yes, so easy to simply add to any d20 game to make combats less front-loaded and wrap up a little quicker. It'd've been a nice addition to 4e, especially if added /instead/ of feat taxes. ;)
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
The Escalation Die, yes, so easy to simply add to any d20 game to make combats less front-loaded and wrap up a little quicker. It'd've been a nice addition to 4e, especially if added /instead/ of feat taxes. ;)

Yeh... I have been considering having powers that work better later in a fight as a power by power effect... but
 

ve4grm

First Post
4e's elaborate, tactical, set-piece combats and intra-party combos are possible precisely because the class designs were so consistent and used Roles. I never bought the 'samey' characterization of that, each class seemed plenty unique both in flavor and how they played, but 13A went the other way and has classes that are mechanically- & resource- differentiated and used the full-heal up as a sledgehammer to balance them. That sacrificed some of the things you want back, and you prettymuch can't have them without gutting 13A classes and re-imposing built-in (rather than DM-enforced) class balance, and, particularly, Roles.

OTOH, lots of other stuff you can just port straight. The 4e handling of movement/positioning and forced movement and OAs, for instance, should just pop into place.

Honestly, I was always pretty happy with the differentiation between classes, but I feel the criticism has merit.

It's mainly the movement/positioning part of tactics that I'm gunning for, so I'm hoping you're right. Any thoughts on my initial suggestions above?
 

Honestly, I was always pretty happy with the differentiation between classes, but I feel the criticism has merit.
There was a genuine issue hidden behind that criticism - abhorrence of class balance in any form. That it had to be obfuscated speaks to the pathology of the edition war. Which is over, so it doesn't matter.

It's mainly the movement/positioning part of tactics that I'm gunning for, so I'm hoping you're right.
I see no major obstacles to just adopting the 4e grid & movement rules - 13A conveniently gives movement/range/area in feat as well as it's default/abstract TotM terminology. Just divide by 5, anything 'close' not obviously an omni-directional burst becomes a blast.
Any thoughts on my initial suggestions above?
Oh, not the in OP...., I'd missed that, initially...

Here's the ideas I've been tossing around so far.


Tactical Combats

In most fights, use 13th Age rules as written. During big or set-piece battles, do the following:
  • Give everyone Speed 6.
  • Add in Flanking/Combat Advantage.
  • Just fine.
    [*]Moving around someone (from a threatened square to another threatened square) required a disengage check just as moving away does, or else provokes an OA.
    I'd just take the 4e movement/OA rules whole-cloth. Disengage checks are a convenient-for-TotM abstraction.
    [*]Give basic cover rules (basically as 4e or 5e, minor defensive bonus, can block line of sight).
    [*](EDITED) Nearby becomes 6 squares. Far away becomes 12 squares. Close Nearby becomes a Blast (originates from you).
    I really thought 13A gave us numbers to work with?
    [*]Multi-target spells become "X by X area" where X is the die type. Targets include allies if they're in the area.
    I don't know about die type. But 4e really doesn't have a huge variety of AE sizes. Almost all are either 3x3 (blast 3/burst 1) or 5x5 (blast 5/burst 2). There's the occassional burst 3, but everything bigger is usually an ally-only buff, an environmental effect, or a single-target-in-the-AE if it's actually an attack.

    So Denial's 1d4 nearby enemies in a group becomes a 4x4 area within range 6.
    [*]Color Spray's 1d4 nearby enemies in a group becomes a Blast 4, since it's a Close spell.
    [*]Fireball's reckless cast (2d3 enemies but also allies) becomes a 6x6 area, plus any allies engaged with targets (so no hitting with just the edge of the fireball).
    [*]Other weird spells on a case by case basis.
    Strikes me as trying too hard. If power has a reckless option, it affects creatures, otherwise enemies, for instance, would seem a fine rule of thumb.

    [*]Remove "Pop Free".
    [*]Replace with "Slide X"
    Well, shift X.
 
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ve4grm

First Post
Woo, lots of feedback! Thanks!

There was a genuine issue hidden behind that criticism - abhorrence of class balance in any form. That it had to be obfuscated speaks to the pathology of the edition war. Which is over, so it doesn't matter.

Not entirely just that. My wife, for example, will list 4e as her favourite official D&D version, but also felt that they took balance a bit too far to the point where things felt same-y to her. She really liked the Battlemind when it came out, because the power points felt different from the existing classes, for instance.

While I don't agree completely, the "different but balanced" options of 13th Age really appeal to her.

I see no major obstacles to just adopting the 4e grid & movement rules - 13A conveniently gives movement/range/area in feat as well as it's default/abstract TotM terminology. Just divide by 5, anything 'close' not obviously an omni-directional burst becomes a blast.

...

I really thought 13A gave us numbers to work with?

Nope. No numbers. Just vague positioning. See the SRD link below, it's the same in the core book.
http://www.13thagesrd.com/combat-rules/#Position

I'd just take the 4e movement/OA rules whole-cloth. Disengage checks are a convenient-for-TotM abstraction.

Fair option. There aren't many powers that rely on disengage checks. But without a solid marking mechanic, I think the 4e system makes it too easy to move away. Will need to consider this.

I don't know about die type. But 4e really doesn't have a huge variety of AE sizes. Almost all are either 3x3 (blast 3/burst 1) or 5x5 (blast 5/burst 2). There's the occassional burst 3, but everything bigger is usually an ally-only buff, an environmental effect, or a single-target-in-the-AE if it's actually an attack.

Fair point. 13th Age area powers typically target 1d3 or 1d4 enemies, so this ends up making them 3x3 or 4x4 typically. Every so often you get a 1d3+1 (probably 4x4) or 2d3 for the reckless fireball (6 sounds good here).

Strikes me as trying too hard. If power has a reckless option, it affects creatures, otherwise enemies, for instance, would seem a fine rule of thumb.

Only one spell has a reckless option, I think. All I was really trying to do was make it so that Reckless couldn't do the precision edge-targeting that you can see sometimes, or else it wouldn't be very reckless.

I think I'd rather keep Creatures as the default target, again so positioning tends to matter. But I'm not quite sure how to handle this yet.

Well, shift X.

Eh, same thing. Forced movement without OAs in any direction. Shift just tends to be when it's targeted at yourself, while slide is at others, right?
 


Not entirely just that. My wife, for example, will list 4e as her favourite official D&D version, but also felt that they took balance a bit too far...
Abhorrence, mild distaste, 'OK to a point,' whatever. ;P

Eh, same thing. Forced movement without OAs in any direction. Shift just tends to be when it's targeted at yourself, while slide is at others, right?
Shift is voluntary. So Slide can be used to free an ally from a grab or on an immobilized ally, for instance, and the ally can't decline it. For example, the Skirmishing Warlord has a feature that lets an ally shift as a free action, while the Bard has a feature that slides an ally... (Because, y'know, they're not the same... )
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Abhorrence, mild distaste, 'OK to a point,' whatever. ;P

Shift is voluntary. So Slide can be used to free an ally from a grab or on an immobilized ally, for instance, and the ally can't decline it. For example, the Skirmishing Warlord has a feature that lets an ally shift as a free action, while the Bard has a feature that slides an ally... (Because, y'know, they're not the same... )
Well the bard is magic...
 

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