D&D General The 13th Age 2nd Edition Kickstarter Has Launched

Updated, streamlined, and backwards-compatible!

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13th Age was released 10 years ago as a 'love letter' to D&D. Designed by D&D 3E's Jonathan Tweet and 4E's Rob Heinsoo, it streamlined the game and introduced innovations such as the Escalation Die, and it's One Unique Thing, a trait that every character has which is individual to them.

2nd Edition is now here--streamlined, clarified, backward-compatible, and updated with revised classes, monsters, and more. And, unlike the single book format of the original, this version comes in the form of a 240-page Player's Handbook and a 160-page Gamemaster's Guide.

You can pick up both books for £40 in PDF or £100 in hardcover format, plus dice, a GM screen, and more.

There's a free preview document available (12-page PDF).

Designer Rob Heinsoo spoke to EN Publishing's Jessica Hancock about 13th Age 2E last year on the Not DnD show.


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Do you really consider 13th Age to be D&D? I've only played it once, but it seemed about as far from D&D mechanically as, say, Mutants & Masterminds.

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Swapping out the existing icons for something totally different (ie FR-style gods) seemed like the easiest thing to change in 13th Age, at least to me.

You just need to make sure your replacement has global (or at least setting-wide) reach.
I prefer animistic settings − and the icons kinda are. But I would rather have them as opt-in, for players who are interested, and less baked-in so DMs can shuffle them around (without needing to rewrite rules).

Do you really consider 13th Age to be D&D? I've only played it once, but it seemed about as far from D&D mechanically as, say, Mutants & Masterminds.
When introducing it to people, I often call it "an alternate universe's 5e." It's about as different as any edition change before.

Warm take: I do think there's a lot more people getting tired of 5e who would be much happier with 13th Age than PF2, because most people don't want more crunch/precision, they often want more room to tell stories (but they don't want much less crunch either which is why OSR and PbtA aren't stealing tons of market share.)


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Yes! That's one of the things I like about the system. It's quite modular.
One of the things i loved in the 1st edition book that I hope they continue was frequent sidebars directly from the Rob and Jonathan. Many of them addressed why they did a rule in a specific way, or the effects of changing certain rules, optional rules, and even in one case where they disagreed on a rule and the points for both sides.

Makes it really easy to hack when you have that insight into the design process.


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Do you really consider 13th Age to be D&D? I've only played it once, but it seemed about as far from D&D mechanically as, say, Mutants & Masterminds.
The 1st edition was a d20, based off the D&D 3.x OGL material since it came out prior to 5e. When you consider that one designer, Rob Heinsoo, was the lead designer for D&D 4e and brought a lot of that in (Bloodied -> Staggered, Healing Surges -> Recoveries, A/E/U for powers, etc.) with the names changed because the 4e GSL was rather restrictive, and the other designer Jonathan Tweet was one of the lead designers of D&D 3ed, it's as close to an edition of D&D as you can get without it being published by WotC. Rob and Jonathan if I recall have described it as the game they would want to run/play in their Wednesday night D&D game.

Now, just like 5e introduced new mechanics like Advantage/Disadvantage, as 4e did before it and 3.x before that, so did 13th Age. That has been common in edition changes of D&D since forever.

Now, if you look at the 1st edition core book monsters, they were very D&D. But the Bestiaries (fantastic products!!) strayed from this and took their own voice. 2nd edition, much like PF2 became even more of it's own thing than PF1, will also likely come in more to it's own.


Doing the best imitation of myself
To answer a question about "is this game similar to D&D" I will definitely say yes. It is for me, but I think the real answer depends on what you think the core of D&D is.

You still have:
  • The same classic ability scores with the same formula for bonuses from 3E on.
  • The core classes. You have your 3E classes and definitely all the classes you'd expect from before 3E.
  • You have the expected D&D races, which are called kins.
  • You have levels. Only 1-10, but definite tiers of play along with that.
  • You have hit points and armor class. Hit points are higher than you might expect. Armor class is in the range you might expect.
  • You have combat with a standard initiative and action system from 3E on.
I have introduced 13th Age to people who have only played D&D. They had no issues adapting to it at all. I just made sure to give them the more basic character classes to play to get started.

Is 13th Age just D&D? No, it has quite a few new things to bring to the table as well, but if you've played D&D, you will be familiar with the game.

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