Save Versus

RPG observations, wisdom and tools from an early adopter

Month: August, 2013

Human Outlaw Captain – 13th Age

My band of outlaws now have a leader.  I pushed this one a little I think.  OP?Image Human Outlaw Captain – 13th Age

Eschewing civilized lands, outlaws choose their own captains; usually the strongest or most cunning of their number.

3rd level leader (Humanoid)

Initiative: +6                                                                                                   HP: 44  AC: 17  PD: 16  MD:16

Longsword +8 vs. AC – 9 damage

R: Longbow +8 vs. AC – 9 damage                                                          Natural even hit: The outlaw captain can make a second longbow attack (no more) as a free action.

(Special Trigger) Desperate measures: When half of the outlaw captain’s allies have been slain, (round up) the outlaw captain and its allies may make an attack as a free action.

Last ditch effort: Make a note of the escalation die when the outlaw captain becomes staggered. The outlaw captain and its allies gain a bonus to their attack and damage rolls equal to the escalation die for the rest of the battle.

Human Outlaw – 13th Age

Who hasn’t run into bandits in the wilderness?  Here’s an interpretation to consider.  Outlaw Captain is next.  Open to critique as always.Image

Human Outlaw – 13th Age

Desperate bands of deserters, thieves, and the lost; outlaws roam the wild, beholden to no one but themselves.

2nd level Troop (Humanoid)

Initiative: +5                                                                                                     HP: 32  AC: 16 PD: 15 MD: 14

Longsword +7 vs. AC – 8 damage

R: Longbow +8 vs. AC – 8 damage                                                            Natural even hit: The human outlaw can make a second longbow attack (no more) as a free action.

Turn the tide: Whenever an enemy is staggered, the human outlaw gains a +2 bonus to its next attack roll.

Catchphrases…or color commentary for your NPCS or PC

ImageCatchphrases and RPGS. Can we make it through a single session without someone uttering one?  (“It’s only a flesh wound!”1)  I think not.  We’re all guilty of this guilty pleasure. (“Wake up! Time to Die!”2) Movies, books, comics, TV shows, memes, we’re inundated by them on a daily basis.  We all use them and take varying degrees of pride in dropping one in at an appropriate opportunity. (“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”3) They are a little bit of verbal spice to toss in as required. (“Go ahead, make my day.”4)

Of course we all know the abusers. (“Game over man! Game over!”5) The people who don’t have that refined sense of timing or appropriateness, (“I see dead people”6) or even worse, screw up the phrase completely. (“You talkin’ to me?”7)  Then we have two choices, grin and bear it (“You can’t handle the truth!”8) or heap piles of scorn upon the guilty party. (“Say hello to my little friend!”9)

I’ve gone a step further at times and used great lines from film or books and popped them into bits of dialog an NPC might use (“When a man lies, he murders some part of the world.”10) or give a character a memorable catchphrase. (“It’s a good day to die”11)  I’ve made notes for myself, jotting down memorable lines to use at a later date. (“The weak are meat the strong do eat!”12) 

What are some of your favorite catchphrases that you’ve tried to work in to your game with a mind for adding some color?

1 – Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 2 – Blade Runner. 3 – Jaws , 4 – Sudden Impact, 5 – Aliens, 6 – The Sixth Sense, 7 – Taxi Driver, 8 – A Few Good Men, 9 – Scarface, 10 – Excalibur, 11 – Little Big Man, 12 – Cloud Atlas

Dark Elf Vanguard – 13th Age

Here’s my dark elf, surface patrol leader, ready for fine-tuning.

Image Dark Elf Vanguard – 13th Age

A veteran of many surface patrols, the dark elf vanguard is ever the first to step out of the shadows.

5th level Leader (Humanoid)

Initiative: +8                                                                                                         HP: 80  AC: 21  PD: 19  MD: 20

Sword +10 vs. AC – 10 damage                                                                   Natural even hit: All allies receive a +1 to attack rolls until the end of the dark elf vanguard’s next turn.

R: Light repeating crossbow +10 vs. AC – 10 damage                                 Natural 16+: The target also take 5 ongoing poison damage (normal save ends, 11+).                                                                                                     Natural 19+: As above, and the dark elf vanguard can make another light repeating crossbow attack as a free action.

Strike from the shadows: Trained to avoid detection, a dark elf vanguard prefers to lie in wait and strike the unaware. When there’s a chance of such an ambush, give the PCs a skill check (DC 25) to notice the dark elf vanguard and avoid being surprised.

Fear of failure (group): Allies inflict their level in damage on a miss.

Dark Elf Scout – 13th Age

Still in the midst of putting together a number of encounters and I found myself in need of some Dark elf foes.  A dark elf surface patrol to be precise and my first component of the patrol is the scout.  I will be working on a “leader” type next but here’s my rough draft of the dark elf scout.  I’m purposely avoiding the use of “classic” dark elf abilities like cloud of darkness and faerie fire.  I personally have always found them to be unwieldy abilities.

Dark Elf Scout – 13th Age

Trained to strike quickly and silently, the dark elf scout is seldom seen until it’s too late.

4th level Troop (Humanoid)

Initiative: +9                                                                                                         HP: 60  AC: 19  PD: 17  MD: 19

Sword +9 vs. AC – 9 damage                                                                       Natural 16+: The dark elf scout may make an additional sword attack on the same target as a free action.  This may only be used once per round.

R: Light repeating crossbow +9 vs. AC – 10 damage                                   Natural 16+: The target also take 5 ongoing poison damage (normal save ends, 11+).                                                                                                       Natural 19+: As above, and the dark elf scout can make another light repeating crossbow attack as a free action.

Strike from the shadows: Trained to avoid detection, dark elf scouts prefer to lie in wait and strike the unaware. When there’s a chance of such an ambush, give the PCs a skill check (DC 25) to notice the dark elf scout and avoid being surprised.

Giant Wasp – 13th Age

ImageGiant Wasp – 13th Age

You hear the rumble of its wings first and then it darts into view, a man-sized wasp flying faster than your rising fear.

Medium 2nd level Troop (Beast)

Initiative: +9                                                                                                         HP: 40 AC: 16 PD: 16 MD: 11

Mandibles: +7 vs. AC – 7 damage                                                               Natural 16+: The giant wasp can use a stinger attack with a +3 bonus against the same target as a free action.                                               Dizzying swarm: This creature gains a +2 bonus to attack rolls for each other ally engaged with the target (max +6 bonus).

Stinger +7 vs. PD: – 5 damage and 5 ongoing poison damage

The Glade of Lost Dreams – Forest Encounter – 13th Age


Put together a “random encounter” for a future outdoor exploration session.

The PCs are exploring a dense and ancient forest far from civilized lands.  Massive trees, hoary with age are all there is to be seen, aside from the occasional moss-covered boulder or babbling rivulet easily leapt over without a second thought.  Overhead, the thick canopy of leaves hides nearly all the sky, stilling any possible breeze.  The air is stuffy, almost musty with age and the smell of untold centuries worth of rotting leaves. Several hours have passed and the day is nearing noon when ahead a sudden brilliance catches your eye.  A patch of golden sunlight has pierced through the roof of green illuminating a small glade.  Hurrying to explore this one bright patch in the gloom, you come to the glade’s edge where your eyes take a moment to adjust to the sudden brightness.  Shielding your gaze, you see before you a tiny meadow of tall grass and wild flowers no more than ten yards across and twenty wide. Butterflies dance above the grass but otherwise you notice nothing else aside from the lightning-scarred trunk of a long dead tree on the glade’s far edge.  Crawling up the side of that trunk is a delicate vine that has curled its way up the dead trunk to a height of about eight feet and at its apex is a flower, a dark flower, the color of ebony.   You feel strangely compelled to immediately get a closer look at this bloom of haunting loveliness and throwing caution to the wind, you start walking across the glade, determined to do so.

Here’s how this encounter “should” work. Once the characters have spotted the orchid, several of them will investigate. Either through the compulsion of the orchid or otherwise.  The orchid itself is not all that difficult to destroy but one round after the PCs have reached the orchid and are dealing with their sleeping allies, the giant python will emerge from the hollow of the dead tree to devour whatever has fallen asleep.  The giant python is immune to the effects of the orchid and is simply taking advantage of the situation the orchid creates.

Black Bat Plant-3977 (Tacca chantrieri)

Orchid of Lost Dreams – 13th Age

This hypnotic and lovely flower seduces you with its dark petals and trailing fronds. Its soothing perfume entrances you and stifling a yawn, you struggle against the sudden urge to put aside your troubles and rest.

Medium 4th Level Spoiler (Plant)

Initiative: +10

HP: 8 AC: 8 PD: 8 MD: 4

R: Aura of Irresistible Beauty: +9 vs. MD (1d3+1 nearby creatures) – The target is compelled to immediately approach the orchid with a complete disregard of caution (effect lasts until the end of the orchid’s next turn).

Natural even hit: The target also drops whatever it is holding in its haste to get closer to the orchid.

Morbid Fragrance: +13 vs. MD (1d3+1 nearby creatures) – The target falls unconscious (hard save ends, 16+; it also ends if the target takes 10+ damage).

Miss: The target is weakened (normal save ends, 11+).

GIant snakeGiant Python – 13th Age

A massive serpent, able to crush and consume prey much larger than its smaller cousins.

Large 4th level Troop (Beast)

HP: 140  AC:19  PD:19  MD:14

Bite: +8 vs. AC – 12 damage

Natural even hit: The target is also grabbed and the giant python can also make a crushing squeeze attack as a free action against the target.

Crushing Squeeze: +14 vs. AC (one enemy its grabbing;includes +4 grab bonus) – 24 damage

Note: This specific Giant Python is immune to the effects of the Orchid of Lost Dreams due to continued exposure or some type of mutation.

Assassin Vine – 13th Age


Assassin Vine

The assassin vine is an aggressive, carnivorous plant that survives by grabbing and crushing animals and depositing the carcasses near its roots.

Large 4th Level Wrecker (Plant)

Initiative: +6

HP: 56  AC: 17  PD: 17  MD: 14

Entangling Vines: +9 vs. PD (2 Attacks) – 6 damage

Natural even hit: The assassin vine can grab the target.

Constriction: +13 vs. AC (one foe it’s grabbing: includes +4 grab bonus) – 16 damage

Lashing Vine: Once per round, an assassin vine can make an entangling vines attack as a free action against a moving nearby creature it is not engaged with: on a natural even hit, the target is grabbed and its movement stops.

Giant Spitting Roach – 13th Age

Necessity is the mother of invention.  Prepping for a future campaign and I needed something suitably gross for a potential “random” encounter. 13th Age is not overflowing with creature options yet so one must create.

Giant Spitting Roach

These crawling horrors are about the size of a large dog and highly aggressiveThey can be found nearly anywhere from caves to forests to sewers.

3rd Level Spoiler (Beast)
Initiative: +6
HP: 32  AC: 18  PD: 16 MD: 12

Bite : +6 vs. AC – 6 damage.
Natural 16+: The target also takes 3 ongoing acid damage.

R: Acid Spit +8 vs. PD (one nearby enemy) 10 acid damage plus 3 ongoing acid damage.

Wall-Crawler: These insects can climb on ceilings and walls as easily as moving upon the ground.

How “Your One Unique Thing” is really what it’s always been about for me.


13th Age’s “One Unique Thing” is everything role-playing should be about first. The story.

For me, it’s how I’ve always approached role-playing in all its forms.  It’s been about a name and a story.  If you are like me and started playing as a teen, you were heavily influenced by pop culture or fiction.  In my case, it was the Lord of the Rings.  I read the trilogy for the first time when I was 13 and that was it, I was obsessed with Tolkien’s world and truly, since then it’s been a constant search to recapture that feeling of wonder ever since.  It was shortly after that I discovered D&D and boy was I thrilled! Here was a way to experience a world similar to Middle-Earth all over again and I could be a part of it myself!

My first real character was based on the character Glorfindel from the trilogy.  I was always drawn to this mysterious elf-lord and so I rolled up an elf Fighter/Magic-User and named him, of course, Glorfindel.  I even made a back story for him.  He was the son of the elven deity, Corellon Larethian, marked with a blue crescent moon upon his chest. You never forget your first.

This brings me back to “Your One Unique Thing”, I took out my 1st edition Player’s Handbook and searched for anything that might have directed me to create a back story for Glorfindel in there.  On page 34 there is a heading titled, Establishing The Character, reading through its three paragraphs, it says the following. “Next you must name him or her, and possibly give some family background to personify your character.”

That’s it.

I can’t connect with my characters at all if I don’t give them some kind of story.  I may be an exception here but certainly I’m not alone in feeling this way.  The best characters always have a story, a unique quality that colors them and brings them to life. This is why I love 13th Age’s “Your One Unique Thing”, it pushes you to be creative, even just a little bit.  It encourages story, and that’s why we play.