I’ve been spending a bit of time perusing the 13th Age playtest rules (Escalation edition). This is not a review, you’ll find plenty of those elsewhere.
Oh go on then. A quickie. I like it quite a lot. I have a lot of respect for the authors Tweet and Heinsoo. Their pedigree is something special. This game has a dual natured but very personal vision. If you buy into that vision, you’ll love it. If you don’t there’s a lot of elements that will jar. I’m not completely sold on every aspect. I wish they would commit to decisions more, rather than sell that vagueness as a benefit. But still. I like it.
There are some absolute gems in this game, even at such an early stage. In fact, I don’t really want to see much more polish on the great ideas here, they work more for me as inspiration. I’ll come back to the notion of icons in another post. I’m definitely stealing that notion. But the bits I really like are in the world building section.
I haven’t seen this get a lot of commentary. The mechanics get most of the review space. That’s a shame. If nothing else the world map is almost worth the price of entry on its own. I’ll be having that for my world for sure. It’s been designed with a game in mind rather than being geographically correct. It’s got an ocean at its centre with cities spread along the inner coast, all confidently positioned as gateways to adventure. Correct.
And then there’s the behemoths.
The koru behemoths are a widely scattered population of twelve to twenty enormous eight-legged creatures from the dawn of the world. They look something like a cross between an elephant and a turtle, but each Behemoth has grown in different ways and reshaped its shell carapace to suit itself, so no two look alike. The behemoths are so large that it’s difficult to form an accurate opinion of what an entire behemoth looks like since you can only see one angle at a time.
That last sentence pushed me from interested to salivating. Brilliant. As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I’m looking to sci fi for some inspiration, and that’s the home of the Big Dumb Object. Iain M Banks has giant sky whales living in space going air bubbles. Big enough to have civilisations on them. I fancy something along those lines in my setting.
The behemoth entry continues with four named examples. I love the idea of these beasts taking the same circuitous route around the world for eternity, with the world having to adapt to the behemoths path. When one plunges into the sea and walks through the straits, that’s the kind of sight I’d like to base an adventure on (who would also be there to see it? Could it be the worlds greatest diversion? From what? What if the submerged behemoth never resurfaced?)
Yeah. I’m cutting and pasting this world directly into mine.