13th Age: Guild Mistress, An Alternate Icon

All year long we are releasing alternate icons for 13th Age. Read previous entries in the series: the Usurper, Deposed Heir, Fleshcrafter, Herald, and the Wandering Spirit. This month we thought we would bring you a second icon, one that fights for better working conditions for crafters and artisans all the while taking a crippling cut of each sale: the Guild Mistress.

The Guild Mistress fights for better wages and better training for talented workers. From smiths to glass blowers, caravan masters to slave trainers, spellcasters to sellswords, they all have a guild to train them, hone their skills, and have a place to meet others of their kind. They all give a cut to the Guild Mistress whether they can afford it or not.


“Everything is for sale. The only question is what is the price.”

Frequent Location

Goldport, better knows as the Hub, sits where the largest river meets the ocean. It is the center of all trade traffic throughout the land.

Common Knowledge

The Guild Mistress controls all commerce in the land. The flow of good and services can be shut off at her whim.

The Icon and Adventurers

The Guild Mistress frequently works with adventurers, hiring them for additional security or as investigators to put down troublesome actors that threaten the guilds, even if they are guild members. However, she only goes so far with individual adventurers, cutting them off from guild employment if they do not join a guild themselves.


Allies is a strong word for Guild Mistress. As long as they do not disrupt business, she can work with them. While the Usurper’s actions caused business to come to a halt while seizing power, trade quickly returned once the political instability subsided. The Fleshcrafter relies on a constant flow of fresh spare parts. Both the Herald and the Deposed Heir’s forces need arms, armor, and supplies to address wounds.


Today’s allies can be tomorrow’s enemies if the price is right or the other disrupts business. The Deposed Heir attacks trade caravans that supply the Usurper’s forces. The Usurper attacks crafter that harbor loyalties to the rightful monarch. The Herald attacks shop keepers that are secretly houses of worship for the Mad Cultist. All of these earn reprisals from the Guild Mistress, until these icons pay for their actions in gold.

Being insubstantial, the Wandering Spirit requires nothing from the Guild Mistress. Add to that a not-insignificant amount of the suffering the Wandering Spirit has returned to avenge has been caused by the Guild Mistress, and these two icons are forever enemies.


Starting her career as a slave trader, she organized the merchants into their own guild and got independent guilds to sign onto an organizing agreement. Through considerable blood, swear, and other people’s tears, she rose in power and influence throughout the known world.

The Reason to Fear

If you do not make the Guild Mistress enough money, she is only too happy to sell you to someone else.

Like the Wandering Spirit, one who has nothing to buy or sell to the Guild Mistress is the Mother, the equal and opposite of the Great Druid. Read all about this hag icon of the fey world next month at the JBE Blog.

Looking to play 13th Age while social distancing, Download Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races at the Fantasy Grounds Store. You can also find it at the JBE Shop and DriveThruRPG.

13th Age: Wandering Spirit, An Alternate Icon

All year long we are releasing alternate icons for 13th Age. Read the first ones in the series: the Usurper, Deposed Heir, Fleshcrafter, and the Herald. So now we present to you the Wandering Spirit, is the equal and opposite of the of the Lich Queen.

The Wandering Spirit was a living icon in a previous age. They were thought to have been at peace over a century ago, but the cries of pain by the living roused them from their eternal slumber to wreak havoc among the living.


“Dealing out justice after death may have less timely but no less necessary.”

Frequent Location

The Ashen Fields, the scene of a terrible battle in a previous age. To this day, the ground is ash grey and plants still refuse to grow there. However, the Wandering Spirit can show up anywhere.

Common Knowledge

While it is said that the Wandering Spirit meters out justice, no one is exactly sure what draws their attention in the first place or how heavy-handed that justice will be. Even worse, no one knows how small of an injustice a person commits before the Wandering Spirit hands out justice. The question everyone is afraid to ask is if injustices committed by their ancestors will come back to haunt them.

The Icon and Adventurers

The Wandering Spirit frequently communicates with adventurers personally, showing up in dreams or in unperson and asks for certain jobs to be completed. These jobs range from carrying out the death sentence the Wandering Spirit has pronounced on someone to finding a lost toy for a child. Most often, the instruction are vague, requiring adventurers to investigate and find a hidden source of a problem and make a judgment call on what should be done. It is rare for adventurers to turn down the Wandering Spirit if for no other reason than the icon knows where ancient magic items are hidden away or entombed and is happy to share such knowledge for carrying out such assignments. If anything, adventurers are the only true ally the Wandering Spirit possesses.


Unlike most icons, the Wandering Spirit has no true allies. Emissaries from other icons frequently return, unable to find the Wandering Spirit. The few emissaries return having met the icon carrying a message to the icons warning them to stay away. Some simply do not return. Most believe them dead, their souls devoured by the Wandering Spirit. Other rumors about such missing emissaries tell of them serving the ghostly icon, willingly or otherwise.

Some icons that the Wandering Spirit would form alliances with see the Wandering Spirit as some sort of abomination. The Herald sees the Wandering Spirit as another unholy undead. The Deposed Heir has ordered the execution of enough of the Usurper’s agents to fear the wrath of the Wandering Spirit. While it is true that agents of these icons may have to work with the Wandering Spirit, that day has not yet come.


While few icons are stupid enough to try a direct attack on a powerful spirit who can appear in dreams, that does not mean they do not work against the Wandering Spirit either. Waylaying someone working on behalf of the ghostly icon that is interfering in their plans may not earn a reprisal, one hopes. Of course, if the offending agent of the icon dies in their sleep or is killed by some adventurers, was it the Wandering Spirit’s doing?

In his quest for power, the Usurper has sought the aid of the Wandering Spirit; those emissaries seldom return. The Fleshcrafter is both afraid of a confrontation with the Wandering Spirit and hoping to trap them. A spirit that powerful under the Fleshcrafter’s control joined to a golem would make for an unstoppable creation.


All anyone knows for sure about the Wandering Spirit is that they appeared out of seemingly nowhere approximately 5 years ago, telling adventurers to handle situations that no one else will. In fact few would even know of the Wandering Spirit’s existence were it not for adventurers carrying out such acts in the Wandering Spirit’s name. Whether the Wandering Spirit has any agenda beyond sowing chaos in the name of justice is not something widely known or demonstrated.

The Reason to Fear

Every living person should fear the Wandering Spirit, never knowing if the next judgement the Wandering Spirit pronounces will be upon their head.

One who professes to fear nothing, not even the Wandering Spirit is the Guild Mistress. Read all about this leader of organized labor as the next alternate icon we will be describing right here on the JBE Blog.

Support the series by sharing it on social media and by downloading 13 Rogue Talents and Powers at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, and the Open Gaming Store.

13th Age: The Herald, An Alternate Icon

All year long we are releasing alternate icons for 13th Age. Read the first ones in the series: the Usurper, Deposed Heir, and Fleshcrafter. This month’s entry, the Herald, is the equal and opposite of the of the Diabloist.

The Herald wields the power of Heaven and the gods. Not only that, the Herald leads an army of paladins, fighting to keep an army of unspeakable horrors from entering our realm. Agents of the Herald move throughout the Empire, watching to see if some untold nastiness slips into our realm unnoticed.


“By the gods’ will, we live to fight another day. May we be so fortunate again tomorrow.”

Frequent Location

Fort Divinity, the last piece of inhabitable land before entering the Blighten Lands and the Rift beyond.

Common Knowledge

The Herald is one of pure heart. Those that bear her symbol and work in her name are believed to be one of pure heart, even if they are only mortals.

The Icon and Adventurers

The Herald frequently works with adventurers because those that would cause destruction and pain everywhere. The Herald gladly works with those she disagrees with when directed to do so by the gods, trusting the deities know more than she.


The Herald and the Deposed Heir are allies but have a complicated relationship since he frequently asks where was Heaven and the gods when his family was slain. The Great Gold Dragon and the Herald have their difference but put them aside and work together since they share common goals. The Usurper wants the support of the Herald since it will help secure his claim on the throne. As such he works with the Herald, even if the Herald does not trust him.


The Fleshcrafter rejects the gods, believing that trust should be placed in mortals and in their eldritch studies, pitting himself against the Herald. The Great Druid feels that the Herald’s people take what they want from the land in their pursuit of their aims and that this disrespect has gone on too long.


There was only one survivor of an attack by unspeakable horrors that slithered out of the sea that devoured much of a small coastal town, the one later knows as the Herald. Since that day, the Herald has worked tirelessly to that that never happens again. While she doesn’t always succeed in rescuing everyone, she always saves some and drives the horrors away.

The Reason to Fear

Those that deal with things so terrible that they will shatter a person’s sanity should fear the Herald for all the justice she will bring down upon them.

The Deposed Heir is not the only one that has a complicated relationship with the Herald; the Wandering Spirit is one that would join the Herald’s side, if the forces of Heaven did not find his very existence repugnant. Read all about the equal and opposite of the Lich Queen soon.

Support the series by sharing it on social media and by downloading 13 Cleric Domains and Spells at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, and the Open Gaming Store.

13th Age: The Fleshcrafter, An Alternate Icon

All year long we are releasing alternate icons for 13th Age. We started this series off with the Usurper and continued it with the Deposed Heir. This month we continue the series with the Fleshcrafter, the equal and opposite of the Archmage.

In some ways the Fleshcrafter is just like the Archmage: they both seek knowledge and arcane power and want their followers to learn and educate themselves. That is where the similarities end, however. Where the Archmage wants lift many up with magic, the Fleshcrafter wants to suppress the masses with magic. The Archmage’s power comes from the living mastering eldritch power, while the Fleshcrafter’s power comes from a few crafting an unthinking army of the dead and various constructs. Where the Archmage thinks of the good of the many, the Fleshcrafter thinks only of the desires of the few.


“You displease me. Run fast or my hoard will devour you.”

Frequent Location

Bone Hill, a city that built around the Fleshcrafter’s tower.

Common Knowledge

The Fleshcrafter’s source of power centers around his mounds of dead bodies that he turns into his undead hoard. Such creations unerringly and unquestionably follow his orders.

The Icon and Adventurers

New adventurers seeking missions from the Fleshcrafter receive missions frequently involving disruptions in the flow of dead bodies to Bone Hill. He has also been known to hire adventurers to retrieve some new type of undead creature so he can study it. He may disguise these for those with a conflicting relationship as helping the people bringing corpses to the tower or by helping the local population by ridding them of some uncontrolled undead and bring it back to study.

Adventurers that the Fleshcrafter knows better and has more experience with are sent to find unique and exotic components to craft new golems and undead.


The Usurper supports the Fleshcrafter’s experiments like no other. In return, his undead armies keep the masses from rising up against the unlawful successor to the throne.


The Lich Queen sees the Fleshcrafter as competition, stealing bodies that she can use to create for her undead army.

While the Dwarf King respects the Fleshcrafter’s skill in golem crafting, he finds the use of dead bodies, especially dwarven bodies, to form his creations as utterly repugnant.


Few considered the Fleshcrafter a person of consequence until his army of undead and golems marched upon the land. Before then, he was an overlooked wizard that the Archmage ignored. He was chased from town to town when the locals discovered what his creations involved. Now he is looking for payback for perceived wrongs.

The Reason to Fear

The Fleshcrafter believes that anyone not subservient to him is against him. He sends his creations after them.

The icon that opposed the Fleshcrafter more than anyone is the Herald, the one that knows how to call upon the power of Heaven and even bring angels into a fight in desperate times. Read all about this alternate icon next month.

Support the series by sharing it on social media and by downloading 13 Wizard Cantrips and Spells at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, and the Open Gaming Store.

Pathfinder 1e: What Kinds of Products Do You Want For Your Game?

We’re hard at work here at JBE on the upcoming Book of Beasts: Character Codex. While we have a number of our own ideas, we want to hear from you: what kinds of products do you want in your game? Vote in the poll below. If you have something specific in mind or if you can’t see the poll, leave a comment below.

Before we talk more about the poll, check out our existing Pathfinder 1e products at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, and the Open Gaming Store while they are up to 40% off their regular price. This sale won’t last much longer, so grab these titles now.

Options include:

  • Low-level adventures (levels 1-5)
  • Mid-level adventures (levels 6-10)
  • High-level adventures (levels 11-15)
  • Game-ender adventures (levels 16-20)
  • Long adventures (cover 10+ levels, able to make a full campaign out of them)
  • Options for existing Paizo classes (includes archetypes, classes produced by Paizo only)
  • Options for existing Pathfinder Compatible classes (share which ones below, there’s quite a few)
  • New classes (something totally new, yes, we do have ideas)
  • New monster / NPC books
  • New feats or spells
  • New / expanded races
  • Small settings (cities, towns, etc that can be incorporated into any setting)
  • Large campaign setting (able to play several campaigns here)
  • Other (describe in the comments below)

EDIT: Because we can’t seem to allow multiple option voting (to many options, I guess), I allowed repeat voting. So you can vote in the poll as many times as you want. I ask that you don’t vote for the same option more than once; it will make the results less accurate. So let us know all the options you want.

Vote in the poll now:

13th Age: The Deposed Heir, An Alternate Icon

All year long we are releasing alternate icons for 13th Age. Last month we started this series off with the Usurper. This time we bring you the rightful heir to the throne. The Deposed Heir is a true force in the world and a worthy part of your game.

The Deposed Heir is the equal and opposite of the Crusadress. Where she is highly organized and fights for herself when she is not battling the Diabloist and their demonic forces, the Deposed Heir fights to for the good of all people. While his ultimate goal is to retake the throne, he worked in the interim to prevent the good people of his empire to not fall at the hands of monsters and those willing to inflict harm for their own personal gain.


“For the good of one. For the good of all. We stand together, or we fall together.”

Frequent Location

Hurstshire, a small village hidden in the Fangtree Forest. This location serves as a hideout and base of operations to conduct hit and fade operations in the Usurper’s forces.

Common Knowledge

The Deposed Heir is a symbol of hope throughout the Empire. When monsters and the Usurper’s thugs attack, the people hope the Deposed Heir’s band of heroes will rescue them from their grim fate.

The Icon and Adventurers

The Deposed Heir has little ability to pay adventurers. As such few that rally to his cause stay when their bellies grow hungry. Those that do believe in justice and honor. His rewards tend to be in things unrelated to material wealth.


The Deposed Heir has no official allies. Those that would side with him protect their own. Unofficially, the Archmage and High Priestess send those loyal to them on missions that will help the Deposed Heir, under the guise that they are helping the people and unaware of how their actions thwarted the Usurper’s plans. Trade missions from the Dwarf King and the High Elf get raided with mysterious frequency and en up in the Deposed Heir’s hands.


Unfortunately, the list of the Deposed Heir’s enemies is not so short. While the Usurper is the icon that pursues this icon with the most gusto, the Orc Warlord is not far behind in being well motivated. The forces of the Deposed Heir’s now deceased parent gave chase to the Warlord’s troops and now the Orc and those forces are eager to return the favor.

Less of an enemy and more of opportunists attempting to seize some power are the Diabloist and the Lich Queen. Should the Deposed Heir fall, these two will have one less symbol of good being a perpetual thorn in their figurative sides.


The heir to the Empire’s throne was taught both statesmanship and military tactics. Instead of taking an easy assignment with the military, he served as a battlefield officer, fighting, eating, and sleeping alongside those he commanded. That was where he was when the capital was attacked. The assassin sent to kill him did not count on the loyalty of his comrads choosing to die in his stead. Now he uses that same training to survive and strike at those that would do the people harm.

The Reason to Fear

Attack the weak and powerless and the Deposed Heir will hunt you down and make you regret your cruelty, at least for a short while.

All this leads us to the equal and opposite of the Archmage, the Fleshcrafter.

Support the series by sharing it on social media and by downloading our 13th Age titles at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, and the Open Gaming Store.

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.


“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.


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.


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.


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.

Running an Epic Con Game: Adventure Preparation

If you want to run a game at a convention, you want it to be epic and for people to remember both you and your game. Much of that has to do with what you do before you get to the table as much as what you do during the game. Previously, we talked about how you make pregen characters and set up the character sheets. Today we are looking at preparation for your adventure.

1) Decide What to Show Off

When you are running a game, the most important thing is showing how is this game different. If you are running what would otherwise be a Pathfinder and D&D adventure just in a different system, the gamers leaving the table will think they might as well have been playing one of those games. You need to show them what is different with this game to make them want to give up their regular game and play the game you are running.

Take Traveller for example. Unlike D&D/Pathfinder, the combat and skills are the same system and skills can switch their “attributes” depending on the situation so any introduction convention game should show these off. So firing a gun uses See Dex and the Gun Combat skill. However, if a player wants to perform a ballistics test on the weapon, that would use Intellect or Education. So I would make sure to show off how those skills can switch attributes. If your game lets magic users cast unlimited spells but have to make a roll, make the adventure that requires magical solution.

This does not have to be exclusively about system. Setting is just as important a difference to communicate. If your game makes dragons far more approachable and not be a bag of fire-breathing hit points, show that off in your game. If your setting has a major city made of giant mushrooms and pixies are in charge of construction, show that off. D&D and Pathfinder tend to take themselves seriously so an adventure and setting that was more light-hearted would be a welcome change. Show that off.

And with that we move to our second point.

2) Aim to Use 75% Of the Time

If you have a two-hour time slot, make a 90-minute adventures. Four hours? Make a three-hour adventure? If you run over your time, players are going to be unhappy with you and remember your game in a negative light. Players will be players and will screw around. Good. They should. If they do, that means they are enjoying your game. But that uses time you would otherwise use for your game. Leave time for them for sheer enjoyment. 75% is a good aim. If you finish with an hour to spare, they have extra time to wander the dealer’s hall; they won’t be upset. They will be unhappy if you are cutting into their lunch break or missing the start of their next game. Build in time for that.

My final point involves the adventure itself.

3) Structure a 4 Act Adventure

When you make a four-hour adventure, divide the adventure into four parts:

  1. Character Evaluation / Introduction
  2. The Hook
  3. The Twist
  4. The Finale

Character evaluation begins the moment you and a player get to the table. The players present get to start looking at the character sheets right away and pick what they want to play. Reward the early arrivers with being able to get the character they want.

Introduction is where you tell the players what the adventure is. This is when the wounded guard stumbles into the tavern reporting that the prince is taken before dying. Here is where the players get the mission before the message self destructs. Try to keep this part to no more than half hour.

Second part is the hook. Here is where the players go, “This is fun!” Show off what makes this game fun. The twist is pure plot, where something is revealed or discovered. These two parts should take 30 minutes to an hour in a typical four-hour game.

One of these two sections should be combat. The other should be problem solving. If both of these are problem solving, the players will get tired and worn out. If both are combat, it will be a slog and get to be boring. Making each different keeps them interesting and lively.

The final section is the climax. The finale should be a surprise to you let alone everyone else at the table. Sure you should have an idea of how it goes, but players should be allowed to do whatever they want. If the big bad is guarding a MacGuffin and you figure they are going to fight the big bad in a climatic battle and they instead decide to sneak past and steal it, don’t put unreasonable impediments in their way; let them do it their way. Forcing them to do it your way will make them think their choices have no impact on the game, and it will spoil their fun. Let them do what they want.

If you are looking for an excellent adventure to run for a convention game for Pathfinder or D&D 5e, grab yourself the adventure Deadly Delves: Along Came a Spider. Download now at the JonBrazer.com, DriveThruRPG, and the Open Gaming Store.

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