13th Age: The Usurper, An Alternate Icon

Something I’ve thought about for years is a number of alternate icons for 13th Age games. Some are radical changes from the standard icons. Others are an equal and opposites from the norm. For too long I have kept them to myself. Today I am sharing the first of them with you.

The Usurper is the equal and opposite of the Emperor. Where the Emperor tries to be a unifying force for the good of all, the Usurper cares only for himself. He may have ousted the Emperor from power, but he does not have complete control over the land. He has the support of orcs, hobgoblins, and many other monstrous races that helped him attain power. The nobility are not entirely convinced supporting the Usurper is a great idea, but those that want to live pay lip service and taxes required of them.

The Usurper does not care for those that do not support him and is more than willing to let them succumb to the ravening hungers of his supporters. He wants to prove to everyone, especially himself and his long since dead and unloving parents, that he is just as important than those that came before him.

Quote

“Those disloyal to me shall not live to see the dawn.”

Frequent Location

Farenia, his makeshift capital and the center of his support.

Common Knowledge

The Usurper is the symbol of uncertainty throughout the Empire. No one knows which of his whims will win the day, law and order or pettiness and revenge.

The Icon and Adventurers

The Usurper frequently hires adventurers to keep peace throughout the Empire, but the best paying jobs go to those with a positive relationship towards him. Those higher paying jobs range from disposing of guards still loyal to the former monarch to rounding up villagers that spit at mention of the new ruler and bring them to the Usurper for reeducation.

Allies

The Usurper is supposed by the Orc Warlord. Without his armies, the Usurper would not have had the strength to sieze control. The Orc Warlord is allowed to terrorize a part of the Empire he has wanted for some time. The Three Dragons also supported the Usurper as they provided air support during the fight for control for the Empire. They were paid a considerable amount of gold from the Empire’s coffers for their assistance. Rumor has it they send a messenger with “requests” that the Usurper dare not refuse.

Enemies

Where the Emperor and the Great Druid held an uneasy truce, the Usurper blatently ignores That long held truce in an effort to prop up his government. The Great Druid sees the clear-cutting of forests and wholesale slaughter of animals as a declaration of war and is responding in kind. Both the Dwarf King and the High Elf have met with Usurper and have found him wanting; both have told their people to not support him. The Usurper takes such a stance as proof of hostility from these icons.

History

A former well-funded noble, the Usurper rose to power through a mix of cult of personality and paying others to support him. Few thought him truly dangerous until after he seized control and began executing detractors.

The Reason to Fear

All will be fine with the Usurper in charge until he decides that you are the enemy.

All of this leads us to the next in the series of Alternate Icons, The Deposed Heir, as a replacement for the Crusadress. But that is for next time.

Download all of JBE’s 13th Age products at JonBrazer.com, DriveThruRPG, and the Open Gaming Store.

Treat Yourself After the Holidays Sale

Didn’t get what you wanted for Christmas? Trying to figure out if you got more ugly sweaters or socks? Another “World’s Greatest” mug just not doing it for you this year? We at JBE understand and figure it is time you give yourself a little Christmas present. Whether you play Pathfinder 1e, D&D 5e, 13th Age, or 1e Mongoose Traveller, we have RPG PDFs just for you at 25% off their regular price at the JBE Shop.

Head over to the JBE Shop now to get all the races, class options, spells, magic items, adventures, monsters and more for your game. Any PDF that we have to download that is normally $2 or more, you can grab right now for 25% off. That is an awesome deal that you should not pass up.

This lasts only until the new year so grab these deals now. Head over the JBE Shop today.

Unleash 13 New Barbarian Talents and Feats Upon Your 13th Age Game

Crush Your Enemies, See Them Driven Before You, Hear Their Lamentations

Cut down wounded foes with prejudice! Scream in fury as you cross the rubicon in the blink of an eye! Teach the teeming hordes the true meaning of fear and rage! Barbarians strike relentlessly and decisively, cutting through enemy lines before their compatriots can so much as nock an arrow or utter a cantrip. Now you can go beyond the core book and unleash your character’s berserk power in ways you’ve never done before.

13 Barbarian Talents and Feats is the latest in our 13 Class Options series for the 13th Age Roleplaying Game. Inside this 10-page PDF, you will find:

  • 9 New Feats spanning 6 of the existing barbarian talents in the core rules which offer players fresh spins on classic character choices
  • 3 New Adventurer-Tier Talents that will strike terror in your foes’ hearts, help you take severe punishment even when you’re unarmored, or let you swap targets on the fly to aid an ally in need
  • 2 New Champion-Tier Talents for enhancing your mobility on the battlefield and continually bolstering your defenses
  • 2 New Epic-Tier Talents to shake your opponents’ resolve or merge the power of the Icons with your own

Enter the Fray with a Blood-Curdling Howl in the 13th Age.

Download 13 Barbarian Talents and Feats for your 13th Age barbarian today at Jon Brazer Enterprises’ Shop, DriveThruRPG, and the Open Gaming Store.

13th Age: A Barbarian Charging into Battle

Few things are as iconic with barbarians as them charging headlong into battle with no fear of the consequences. Everything from the infamous Leeroy Jenkins charge to Conan running into battle and beyond, you point a barbarian at an enemy and they will charge straight at it and attack until it is D.E.A.D. Here we are giving you a talent to do exactly that. The new Champion Tier talent Bellowing Charge sees you going after a far away enemy while the feats make it more difficult for enemies to stop you. Is there a caster on the far side of the battle? Charge straight threw them and take it out. That is what barbarians do and with 13 Barbarian Talents and Feats you can too.

Bellowing Charge

One battle per day, you can move to engage a far away enemy and make a melee attack against them. Enemies between you and your target may still attempt to intercept you, however.
Champion Feat: Add the escalation die to your AC and PD until the start of your next turn. This bonus takes effect after you declare you are using Bellowing Charge, immediately before you move.
Epic Feat: You can now use Bellowing Charge once per battle. Enemies must succeed on a normal save (11+) to intercept you when you charge.

Download 13 Barbarian Talents and Feats for your 13th Age barbarian today at Jon Brazer Enterprises’ Shop, DriveThruRPG, and the Open Gaming Store. Be sure to check out last week’s preview with the Adventurer Tier talent Brutal Blow.

13th Age: Barbarian’s Brutal Blow

The barbarian class in the 13th Age Roleplaying Game was designed from the ground up to be “straightforward and easy to play.” Not only that, the designers come right out and say that the barbarian is “a good class for a new player.” While this is a great starting point, more experienced players may find the barbarian class to be a bit dull after a while.

That is where our new supplement 13 Barbarian Talents and Feats comes in. We are breathing new life into your barbarian character with a number of brand new talents. There is no better place to start than the Adventurer Tier Talent you can choose at character creation than Brutal Blow. This new talent starts off by letting one of your allies hit harder after you stagger an enemy. However, it really shines when you start taking the feats. The Adventurer Feat gives you a fear aura after staggering a non-mook. By the time you hit epic tier, you are a freaking aspect of terror for all enemies to behold and cower.

Brutal Blow

Whenever one of your attacks staggers a non-mook enemy, a nearby ally of your choice may add your Charisma modifier to their next attack roll.
Adventurer Feat: One battle per day, when you stagger a non-mook enemy, you gain a fear aura for the remainder of that battle. Your base fear threshold is the same as a normal monster of your character level, as shown in the Baseline Stats for Normal Monsters table under DIY Monsters (see the 13th Age Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook, Chapter 7: Monsters)—add your Charisma modifier to the number given there.
Champion Feat: The threshold of your fear aura from Brutal Blow is now increased by the escalation die value. Additionally, your chosen nearby ally now adds double your Charisma modifier to their next attack roll when Brutal Blow is triggered.
Epic Feat: You can now gain a fear aura from Brutal Blow in every battle you fight. Additionally, you now double your Charisma modifier before adding it to your fear threshold.

Download 13 Barbarian Talents and Feats for your 13th Age barbarian today at Jon Brazer Enterprises’ Shop, DriveThruRPG, and the Open Gaming Store.

13th Age: So What is In the Age of Races?

Available right now at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, and the Fantasy Grounds Store is the Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races for Fantasy Grounds (13th Age Compatible). So what is inside? All the racial information for 10 new races. These races include:

  • Android
  • Catfolk
  • Geppettoans
  • Gillfolk
  • Hagborn
  • Lizardfolk
  • Merfolk
  • Moonblooded
  • Samsarans
  • Tengu

You can see a number of screenshots with a handful of the images included and how the text for the races are presented in the images below. Clicking on the images brings up a larger version. Check them out now.

13th Age: Take Your 13th Age Character to Fantasy Grounds

A New Age for These Races

Go beyond the standard fantasy races and play a new breed of hero! These intrepid adventurers forge their place in legends with claw, fin, spell, and sword. Now you can play one of these heroic races in your home game and battle monsters like never before.

Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races introduces 10 of playable races for your 13th Age Compatible game. This supplement gives you everything you need to include the following races at your Fantasy Grounds table:

  • Androids, born of logic and circuitry originating from beyond the stars
  • Catfolk, who can reroll an attack or save once per battle
  • Geppettoans, wooden constructs who rebelled against their former masters
  • Gillfolk, human-like dwellers of the deep sea fighting the horrors below
  • Hagborn, who can reroll an attack or save once per battle
  • Lizardfolk, which bite and tear their enemies to shreds
  • Merfolk, who can sing a siren’s song to doom their enemies
  • Moonblooded, half-lycanthropes who become bestial in battle
  • Samsarans, that can draw on their past lives to aid them in battle
  • Tengus, crow-like creatures consumed with greed and avarice

Be Heroic With These New Races Today!

Download the Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races now at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, and the Fantasy Grounds Store.

5e/Pathfinder/13th Age: Guide to Minions

In a previous post, I wrote up a guide to mini-bosses. The thing about mini-bosses, they’re nothing without those to boss around. Today we are following that post up with the group that makes the last group possible: minions.

Minions come in all shapes, sizes, and levels of willingness. While fantasy and science fiction races that are weak, selfish, and not particularly clever are typically seen as the normal minion groups, always remember the Empire in Star Wars treated Wookiees as minions and that species is anything but weak or selfish and Chewbacca proved they are quite clever. So what makes a minion a minion?

1) Minions are Controlled in Some Fashion

Whether it is a psychic link that takes over a mind or a security of a regular pay check, the mini-boss gives orders and the minion follows. That at the end of the day that is what makes a minion a minion. Does that make most of the civilized world someone’s minion? Yes actually it does. However, I am not advocating you overthrow your boss. Remember it is both the organization treats those minions as well as those outside the organization that determines whether the company is evil or not. A lumber company that hires orcs and hill giants as a way to give them honest work as opposed to raiding human villages, gets all the appropriate permits in an above board fashion, works with the local fey to remove select trees with their permission, and hires orcs to guard the logs on their way to the mill still uses minion even if those minions are working for a good company. Compare that with the human only lumber company that bribed officials to work a section of forest right next to the good company. They attack the fey and fight the hill giants and ogres whenever they leave the human permitted area and enter the other company’s territory prompting both to defend themselves and possibly attack back. Not only does the human company fail to plant new trees but they also try to steal the felled trees from the other lumber company. This company as well uses minions. The first one controls their people with a regular pay check and a desire to be law-abiding citizens; the second controls their minions through a desire for violence and quick cash.

While the word minion has negative connotations, it covers employee, freelance contractor, slave, indentured servant, thrall, and many others just to name a few. Use the full breadth of the term to give real variation to your organizations, evil or otherwise.

2) Minions Fill a Variety of Roles and Can Be Found at Every Level

Frequently, I hear the question, “Why doesn’t [insert name of ultra high level NPC in the setting] just take care of this minor problem?” The answer is simple: they can’t handle everything. Take a modern world variation of that problem: if you have a question on your taxes, do you go to the best accountant in the world or do you go to the local accounting firm and ask someone there (an accounting minion to use a gamified term)? The best in the world is busy handling other cases that can pay more. Instead, we get it handled by an accounting minion. Now if you start a business and it becomes rather sizable, you’ll need higher level accounting minions. You wouldn’t ask them to do plumbing work because they do not fill that role. You would need a minion that is trained in plumbing.

Same is true for fantasy games. Kobolds are the go-to minions when mining, gnolls when taking slaves, hobgoblins when needing military like precision, goblins for random violence, and orcs when slaughtering people indiscriminately. Each of these has their own role. So why not just have a higher level one handle this? Well the higher level hobgoblin is training the next group of recruits, the higher level gnolls are working their connections to sell their slaves, higher level kobolds are scouting out potential caves to mine, and on and on. The higher level ones have better uses for their time than to do the same thing as their lower level compatriots.

So when you get to a higher level, you need new minions to fight. Demons, devil’s, undead, and giants are the classics. Unless you are playing a convention/organized play-style game where one session has nothing to do with the other, these higher level minions are working towards the same end (if a different aspect of the overall plan) as those same low level minions. Why would the giants and devils be working towards the same ends as the kobolds and gnolls? The simple answer is ‘because the big boss of the whole campaign is all having them work towards a single goal.’ While you could train up a bunch of orcs to do your bidding instead of working with a number of different groups, it would be much simpler to take advantage of some other group of minions’ natural strengths when they lend themselves to solving a particular problem. Just like you don’t ask an accountant to do plumbing, you don’t ask a goblin to solve a problem that a requires patience and planning, things devils excel at. So change up the monsters you are using as minions to fulfill a different aspect of your big bad’s overall plan.

3) Minions Have Similar Stats, Despite Being Individuals

Minions are a collection of individuals. Each one has different stats if you wanted to take the time to create unique stats for each. However, minions can instead be represented by a single stat block. Sure, that single stat block is not going to catch the nuance of one loving to solve true crime mysteries while another appreciates listening to music, but if all you are having them do is fight the PCs, then those abilities don’t really matter. Making a minion stat block that presents average stats for a group saves considerable time.

Back to that accounting example for a second. All those accountants at the tax firm can be represented by a single stat block. You don’t need to assign stats for their individual hobbies and other life events unless it is somehow relevant. You’ll need their ability to crunch numbers and use their stapler offensively. Maybe wield a letter opener if you want to be cute about it. Remember these are supposed to be average stats for the group, not specific stats for everyone. Making a single stat block for the whole group doesn’t prevent you from making a single stat block for a specific accountant. So you can have a stat block for the NPC that discovered the company’s fraud and became the whistle blower. Had that NPC not done that and just stayed another face in the crowd, they would still be just another minion with the same minion stats. As always, the Order of the Stick has a great comic that exemplifies what it is like going from a minion to a named NPC.

Quick tangent here: feel free to change the stats of any monster in the monster books. If the book says a lizardfolk has 5 hit dice (as an example), feel free to make it 3 if it fits your needs that way. Five is just an average. Maybe this tribe is composed of young lizardfolk. Maybe they’ve been starved or are sickly. The book has average stats. Raise or lower them as your game needs. This goes doubly true for specific NPCs instead of minions. Individuals can vary widely from the average of their kind. Just remember to change its level of difficulty to match the new stats.

Speaking of monster books, be sure to download our monster books for Pathfinder 1e, DnD 5e, and Mongoose Traveller 2e.

Christmas in July Sale 2019

It’s the middle of summer. The temperature is murder. In about a month, it will be time for new role playing groups to form and for existing groups to get back together and roll some dice. So now is the time for you to grab some of the best PDFs on the market at 25% off their regular price over at DriveThruRPG. What better place to start than with Jon Brazer Enterprises’ Pathfinder, D&D 5e, 13th Age, and 1e Mongoose Traveller books. All the books you have been wanting are now on sale. Grab them now for this awesome price.

Traveller

All of our 1e Mongoose Traveller books are on sale. for 25% off. Grab the Vehicles of the Frontier, Mech Squadrons, Fighters and Small Ships, and of course the d66 Compendium. See all of our other 1e Mongoose Traveller RPG books we have for sale right here at DriveThruRPG. All of these books and more you can treat yourself to right now at a great price.

Fifth Edition

We have an awesome group of Deadly Delve adventures available for Fifth Edition for 25% off during the Christmas in July Sale. Check out our 1st level adventure Doom of the Sky Sword, 2nd level adventure Rescue from Tyrkaven 7th-8th level adventure Reign of Ruin, and 15th-18th level adventure Temple of Luminescence. Prefer to make your own adventures? Grab the Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Forbidden Woods. Are you a player? Grab the Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 1 and Player Races 2. Get all these and more for Fifth Edition.

Pathfinder 1e

Sticking with Pathfinder 1e? Here are some awesome options you shouldn’t pass up while they are on sale. Want to play a new race? Grab the Book of Heroic Races Compendium and the Advanced Compendium for even more options. Play a spellcaster? Check out the Book of Magic: Signature Spells 2, 7 Spellcaster Feats, Patron Hexes, Insurgency of Summer, and Pirate Spells. Need modules beyond the low levels? Check out the 9th level Deadly Delves adventure The Gilded Gauntlet, 11th level adventure The Chaosfire Incursion, 12th level adventure Nine Lives for Petane, and 16th level adventure The Dragon’s Dream. There is lots more for Pathfinder on sale now.

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