Friday, November 23, 2012

Playtest Review: 13th Age, Escalation Edition v5

So, Andy (CarpeGuittarem) came over for Thanksgiving day (Happy Thanksgiving BTWs!!!), and we had a blast! There was guitar playing, turkey eating, TWO, count'em, TWO Fiasco games, and much fun was had by all. We also finally tested out 13th Age, which I had pre-ordered and am waiting for oh-so-patiently.  I liked what I found.

The players were Andy, a human rogue with a complicated relationship with the Elf Queen, and my youngest sister, Naomi, who played a drow paladin (who's unique thing was that she was the last drow on the face of the earth). We amped this game all the way up to 10th level, since it was going to be a one-sbot, and we decided upon a suitable storyline for our game. The Dwarf King had wiped out all other drow for taking over his old kingdom, and only Irene, Naomi's drow, had escaped his wrath. The Dwarf King had given over his allegiance to the dark and evil Crusader, if only it meant that last damn drow would die. Well, the Crusader took him up on the offer. Incidentally, Andy's character had a very negative past with the Crusader as well, and was very... well... well-known.

Character creation took about as long as expected, considering I had them make the top level characters. This is one of the points I already like about the game: there are only 10 levels, and each level really actually counts. Neither of the players had any trouble, and put characters together relatively easily. The talents are concise, easy to explain, and are presented well in the PDF. While the rogue came out as an incredibly competent (and AWESOME) character, Naomi's paladin didn't seem to have a very defined niche, being more of a utility class than a straight damage class.

Overall, the mechanics are my favorite rendition of the d20 engine so far. There's an awesome escalation die, which makes the combat easier for the PCs as the fight goes on if they work together. I really enjoyed the Icons mechanics, and they help the GM not have to prep beforehand. Battles are easy to prep and run and considering that this is a combat game that's a really good thing.

On the whole, I really recommend getting this game when it comes out. This is very much so the definitive d20 fantasy game, and I know I'll be running this instead of 4th edition from here on out...

UPDATE: Since the writing of this review v6 has come out, and things have changed a little bit. Paladins are now officially the "you can't kill me or anyone else class". Awesome.