13th Age – Second Darkness – Session 5

by wolvercote66

ImageWe’re already onto Book 3 in the Second Darkness Adventure Path.  The second book took up only a single session as the PCs managed to rip through the content in no time.  13th Age also plays much faster than Pathfinder so GMs, be prepared!

The PCs were subjected to a swarm of Akatas and Zombies along the beach which could have been much more difficult but I provided two NPCs to assist in the battle and also, paced out the appearance of the monsters.  The new ranger that replaced the slain rogue has given us a chance to enjoy having an effective pet.  I come from a 2nd edition background where pets were independent entities that didn’t cost the PC their actions each round as 4E does.  13th Age returns to a model closer to older editions of D&D and that in my opinion is a great thing.  The ranger’s wolf proved its worth in this battle, soaking up and dishing out a respectable amount of damage.

This session was easily the weakest run so far.  By weakest, I mean least compelling.  Distractions and joking ran rampant at the table and I had a hard time reining it in.  Every GM has to battle and balance this out.  We’re socializing and enjoying each other’s company and having some much needed laughs and if we didn’t have that, we wouldn’t be at the table in the first place.  On the other hand, many of us get one night a week to play for a few hours and we would like to devote that time to the game at hand.  GMs especially as they devote hours of prep-time to the game and then to not be able to have your PCs remember key points of plot or their purpose can suck the life out of you right quick.  This was one of those nights where I lost the table.  So while we got through the planned “content”, it felt tedious.  Some nights are going to roll like that.

Balancing each battle has been a big challenge for this conversion. This session’s battle felt easier overall.  I leveled the party to 4th halfway through the evening and right away, the damage output was noticeable.  I have to say, I’m excited to see how the higher levels feel.  The cleric managed to drop one monster with a 60 point strike and then in another fight, dropped two mooks that had 18 HPs each.

Next session will likely bring the PCs face to face with their first 13th Age dragon and my version of the Gray Render.  I expect some bruises will result.