Meet the Party: 13th Age #2

A bard who got in trouble with the law of the Dwarf King, and now has to track down his own patron Icon! A city-born ranger who’s doing her best to serve the wild, even if not everyone in the wild welcomes her. A crusading paladin trying to do the right thing and slay the demons of the world while wondering if she’s going far enough – or is already too far gone. An apprentice wizard to the Archmage who would be on the quick path to greatness, except he doesn’t always deliberately cast his spells – or cast his spells.  Each Meet the Party article gives you an entire group of ready-to-play adventurers (maybe even some heroes) for your gaming needs for a variety of systems and settings. We’re heading back to a land where adventurers get mixed up with world-altering Icons and always have One Unique Thing going for them as we once again Meet the Partyfor Pelgrane Press’s 13th Age!

As the title of the article gives away, Meet the Party has addressed 13th Age before. Created by people who were responsible for the creation of 3.X and 4th edition D&D, 13th Age is both familiar and different to veterans of the classic game.  Hands down the biggest differences are the relationships that each character has with one or more of the Icons, larger-than-life NPCs who shape the world around them with their power and influence, and the fact that each has a One Unique Thing that serves as a purely narrative tool for the players and GM to use. There are a good number of mechanical differences as well, largely meant to streamline character creation and progression so you don’t get bogged down in minutiae. If you’re new to 13th Age, check out the article linked above; it includes notes spliced into the characters outlining the important differences between 13th Age and D&D. Now, with classes and races not seen in that original article, let’s Meet the Party!

Ipapip Ishkabibble, Gnome – Level 1 Bard

Str: Con: 12 Dex: 16 Int: 12 Wis: 12 Cha:18

AC: 13

Physical Defense: 11

Mental Defense: 12

HP: 24

Recoveries: 8 Recovery Dice: 1d8 + 1

One Unique Thing: “After I was caught smuggling, the Dwarf King granted my parole – if I help track down the Prince of Shadows.”

Icon Relationships: Prince of Shadows 2 (Conflicted), Dwarf King 1 (Conflicted)

Backgrounds: Battle Skald +3, Smuggler +3, Diplomat +2

Racial Power: Small, Confounding, Minor Illusions

Class Feature: Bardic Songs, Battle Cries, Spells

Powers/Spells: Pull It Together!, We Need You!, Stay Strong!, Battle Chant, Song of Heroes

Talents: Balladeer (A Round for the Prince of Shadows), Battle Skald, Storyteller

Feats: Battle Skald (Adventurer)

Equipment: Flute, Leather Armor, Shortsword, Dagger, 20 GP

Ipapip Ishkabibble serves as bardic support for the party, while also being a good combatant and ‘face’. His Battle Cries allow him to help his fellows by letting them use recoveries, roll saving throws, and gain boosts to AC by getting the right roll while using an attack. Battle Chant is an offensive spell that Ipapip can use instead of a melee attack to also activate Battle Cries. Battle Skald grants him the knowledge of an extra Cry, while its Feat allows him to use his Cries to benefit himself for one battle per day. Song of Heroes is a sustainable song that grants Ipapip and his allies an attack bonus. Thanks to the Storyteller Talent he can let a companion re-roll relationship dice once per scene; for his own part, Balladeer allows him to sing a song that increases his relationship dice with the Prince of Shadows, with some complications. As he levels up and learns more Balladeer songs, Ipapip will be quite adept at navigating the tangled web of Icons. Last but not least, being a gnome grants Ipapip a number of benefits: a bonus to AC against opportunity attacks, a chance to daze opponents when he strikes them, and the ability to produce small but potentially useful illusions.

Delia Stonechild, Wood Elf – Level 1 Ranger

Str: 12 Con: 12 Dex: 18 Int: Wis: 16 Cha: 12

AC: 17

PD: 12

MD: 11

HP: 24

Recoveries: Recovery Dice: 1d8+1

One Unique Thing: “I am the first ranger of the elven court and the High Druid to have actually grown up in a city.”

Icon Relationships: Elf Queen 1 (Positive), High Druid 1 (Positive), Emperor 1 (Conflicted)

Backgrounds: Tracker +5, Agent of the Queen +4, Acolyte of the High Druid +4

Racial Power: Elven Grace

Class Feature: N/A

Powers/Spells: N/A

Talents: Two-Weapon Mastery, Double Melee Attack, Tracker

Feats: Double Melee Attack (Adventurer)

Equipment: Leather Armor, Longsword x2, Longbow, 25 GP

Delia Stonechild is, like most 13th Age Rangers, a comparatively simple character with few frills. That definitely doesn’t keep her from being effective. Arming herself with two longswords, she’s focused on being a deadly force in melee combat; even when she misses, she deals a little damage. Double Melee Attack drops her damage slightly to grant her the chance to make a second attack if her first roll has an even result, hit or miss; the attached Feat gives her a bonus to that second attack if it’s against a different opponent. Two-Weapon Mastery gives her a flat-out bonus to attacks just for using two weapons in the first place. The Tracker Feat adds the Tracker Background to her already useful Backgrounds at an automatic +5, in addition to granting her the use of terrain stunts. Finally, Elven Grace has a chance to grant Delia extra standard actions on her turn!

Vierdril, Dark Elf – Level 1 Paladin

Str: 18 Con: 14 Dex: 8 Int: 12 Wis: 10 Cha: 16

AC: 18

PD: 12

MD: 13

HP: 30

Recoveries: 8 Recovery Dice: 1d10 +2

One Unique Thing: “I am the only Drow Paladin in the world.”

Icon Relationships: Great Gold Wyrm 1 (Positive), Crusader 1 (Conflicted), Diabolist 1 (Negative)

Backgrounds: Combat Medic +2, Adopted Acolyte +3, Demon Hunter +3

Racial Power: Cruel

Class Feature: Smite Evil

Powers/Spells: N/A

Talents: Bastion, Lay on Hands, Way of Evil Bastards

Feats: Smite Evil (Adventurer)

Equipment: Battleaxe, Plate Armor, Shield, Holy Symbol, 25 GP

Vierdril brings a powerful blend of sheer toughness, healing, and offensive power to the party. As a plate-armor-wearing Paladin she’d already have the highest AC in the party, and the only person with a higher PD or MD is the Wizard. Bastion further increased her AC, while also letting her bear some of the damage from an ally when they’re hit. Not satisfied with sharing the load of damage, Lay on Hands also allows her to heal herself and others by spending one of her recoveries. On the offensive side of thing, Smite Evil grants an attack that uses it an extra d12 of damage and lets the attack cause half damage on a miss. Its attached Feat grants a +4 attack bonus whenever Vierdril uses Smite Evil. The Way of Evil Bastards means that a use of Smite Evil isn’t expended of it kills a non-mook. Finally, Cruel allows Vierdril to inflict ongoing damage on a successful hit once per battle.

Nandon Mihram, Human – Level 1 Wizard

Str: Con: 12 Dex: 12 Int: 20 Wis: 14 Cha: 8

AC: 11

PD: 11

MD: 14

HP: 21

Recoveries: 8 Recovery Dice: 1d6 + 1

One Unique Thing: “Sometimes I cast spells without meaning to – spells I don’t actually know.”

Icon Relationships: Archmage 2 (Positive), Emperor 1 (Positive)

Backgrounds: Magical Prodigy +4, Arcane Archeologist +4

Racial Power: Quick To Fight, Bonus Feat

Class Feature: Cantrips, Cyclic Spells, Overworld Advantage, Ritual Magic

Powers/Spells: Acid Arrow, Blur, Color Spray, Magic Missile, Shield

Talents: Abjuration, Evocation, Counter-Magic

Feats: Shield (Adventurer), Abjuration (Adventurer)

Equipment: Dagger, Robes, Wand, Component Pouch, Archaeologist’s Kit, 50 GP

Nandon Mihram is, as a wizard, one of the more complex characters a 13th Age player could choose. First off, he’s tougher than he looks. Shield forces an opponent to re-roll an attack, and its Feat allows Nandon to choose which of the two results the opponent gets to use. Abjuration means that whenever he casts a daily spell (like Acid Arrow) he gains a significant bonus to AC, and Abjuration’s Feat extends that bonus to Physical Defense. On the final bit of ‘keep the caster alive’ Blur makes enemies outright miss a fifth of the time, with Nandon being able to put that effect on himself or an ally. On the offensive side there’s the devastating Acid Arrow, the always-hitting Magic Missile, and the cyclic spell Color Spray; if Color Spray is used on a turn where the escalation die is even, it is not expended. The Evocation Talent lets Nandon max out the damage of a spell targeting Physical Defense once per battle. Finally, the wizard has all sorts of useful tricks up his sleeve: cantrips, utility spells, self-explanatory Counter-Magic, and Quick to Fight’s ‘roll initiative twice and pick your result’ effect.

Who They Are

Ipapip Ishkabibble is not unlike many bards. He travels the land singing his songs, paying his respects to the Prince of Shadows, and generally gets up to no good. Unfortunately for him the thing that makes him stand out from other bards isn’t a good thing. He’s always been blessed with a silver tongue, but in using it to bypass certain ‘draconian restrictions’ he went and got himself caught avoiding tariffs and taxes. The ‘friends’ he was trying to help pulled a runner, of course, leaving Ipapip holding the bag. The Dwarf King didn’t throw the gnome into jail for very long, however. Instead, he made a deal: if Ipapip helped in the Dwarf King’s efforts to bring the Prince of Shadows to justice for all of his theft and mischief, then the bard would be allowed his freedom. Now Ipapip is stuck between the archetypal rogue and the paragon of dwarven fighters, the absolute last place a gnomish bard wants to find himself.

Delia Stonechild was born in an Imperial city, and grew up surrounded by civilization and under the laws of the Emperor. While she had little tangible reason to complain about her circumstances, she was never able to shake the feeling that she was meant to be somewhere else. She left the city behind at a young age (for an elf) and traveled into the wild; it wasn’t long before she stumbled into the Elf Queen’s court, which she believes to this day was intentional on the Queen’s part. The Queen welcomed her, and the Queen’s ally the High Druid also rejoiced in Delia’s return to the wild. For her part the ‘Stonechild’ took quickly to the idea of living in service to these two great Icons, and reveled in having found her place in the world. Not all was perfect, however. Members of the elven court and lesser druids both continue to disdain Delia for her origins, and she lives with the knowledge that not everything of civilization is wrong or bad. Life continues to present its challenges; thankfully it is the nature of rangers to persevere.

Vierdril was the sole survivor of internecine dark elf conflict that wiped out her family and house; only sheer luck or cruel mercy could have spared her the fate of her kin, and she’ll never know which is which. A group of paladins, foraying into the darkness, came upon the site of the massacre and found the young drow. One among them took pity, and effectively adopted Vierdril into their order. As she grew, she took quickly to the tenets of the Great Gold Wyrm, and willingly dedicated her life to cleansing the world of evil. However, she has long had issue with a lack of restraint; her adopted parent and mentor has often cautioned her against being overly zealous and harsh, but she finds it difficult to hold back when the presence of evil seem so obvious. The Crusader’s tenets of unyielding assault upon demons appeal to her, even though his lack of compassion appalls her. It’s easy to be good when you’re predisposed to it; for Vierdril it will always be a struggle, although at least she can say it’s a noble one.

Nandon Mihram is one of many lesser mages studying under the Archmage and assisting that mighty personage in protecting the interests of the Emperor. He is naturally talented beyond many of his peers, however, and is often trusted by the Archmage to travel the land to retrieve arcane artifacts of varying origin and potency. He would be the model student, if not for his . . . ‘condition’. For a time Nandon suspected that he had sorcerous blood in addition to his arcane learning, but a thorough examination proved this to be false. For some reason the young wizard can and will, with no warning or intent, become the source for spells that he might not even have studied. This makes Nandon an anomaly and a danger to the unprepared; instead of standing out as a wizardly prodigy he is thought of as a wizardly freak. He continues his work and continues to study himself to find the source of his ‘condition’; thankfully, adventurers are used to stranger things, and he was found a (temporary?) home among them.

How They Interact

Pip has taken quite the liking to Delia. While the bard and the ranger couldn’t be more different in terms of personality, in lifestyle they are similar: both wander the land, staying in one place for only a short time if at all. She’s also quite helpfully connected for a ranger, and singing before the Elf Queen is a longtime dream of Pip’s. Vierdril is, like most paladins, a little worrisome for someone who views the Prince of Shadows as someone to be emulated. On the other side of the coin, if Pip really is forced to hunt down the Prince, a paladin who likes swinging a battleaxe a little too much could be helpful. Nandon is fascinating, if a little high-strung. Delving into ancient ruins in search of ancient artifacts makes for great songs, and then there’s Nandon’s little power incontinence problem! The mystery is appealing, and a sudden errant spell makes a story much more interesting (if potentially dangerous in the moment).

Delia thinks of Ipapip as a bit of a bother, as the little gnome seems physically incapable of ever shutting up. It sort of cramps Delia’s style, is all, what with her thinking of herself as a stoic professional. He’s pretty helpful, though, and no pragmatic ranger worth the title would forget that. Maybe she’ll introduce him to the Queen some day. Vierdril is a little . . . intense, even for Delia, and then there’s the old wood elf v. dark elf history. She can’t deny that that Vierdril is trying to do good, however, and Delia also feels a sort of mutual fish-out-of-water kinship with the drow. Nandon is an agent of one of the High Druid’s common opponents, so Delia shouldn’t much care for the human. However, he’s by no means a malicious soul (accidental fireballs notwithstanding), and is actually a reminder to Delia that not everything from behind Imperial walls will be hostile to her. It’s food for thought.

Vierdril considers Pip a friend, despite his somewhat shady history and ongoing habits. In a life of stern service and never-ending-threats the gnomish bard can actually make her laugh and forget her troubles for a while. Even her mentor said it wouldn’t be good to be ‘on’ all the time. Delia lives a very different life compared to Vierdril’s, and serves very different masters with very different goals. That said, while the Elf Queen and High Druid are often ambiguous figures, neither of them cares for the Diabolist or her demonic minions. Common ground (including the fact that Delia has also found herself somewhere very strange relative to her birthplace) forms the basis of their relationship. Vierdril cares little for Nandon’s professional goals; the machinations of the Emperor and the Archmage mean little unless they interfere with the bigger picture of the Gold Wyrm’s struggle against evil. The wizard is a decent man, however, and deserves protection as much as any other.

Nandon‘s social skills leave a lot to be desired, and as a result it took quite a bit of time for him to come out of his partly-grumpy partly-cautious shell. Once he did, however, he came to more or less enjoy being in the presence of his companions. Ipapip is a friendly traveling partner who always has a story to tell, and often seems interested in Nandon’s own adventures (something that’s rare enough for Nandon to appreciate it greatly). Delia’s a bit on the quiet side, which suits Nandon just fine, and she’s the perfect partner to have when traveling through the wilds to some ancient ruin of the Wizard King’s reign. Vierdril is intimidating, to be sure, and the . . . enthusiasm she sometimes displays with her battleaxe is a little unsettling for the bookish wizard. She’s also dependable, however, and Nandon trusts her implicitly. The fact that none of them shun him for his unpredictable magic has more or less cemented them as his best friends in the world.

The Future

Will Ipapip actually fulfill the terms of his parole and bring the Prince of Shadows to justice before the Dwarf King, or will the bard be able to wriggle his way out of this one? Will Delia ever truly feel at home in the wilds, or will her city-born origins have her always walking between two worlds? Will Vierdril maintain the path of the righteous or fall under the sway of the Crusader and pursue evil without mercy for those in her way? Will Nandon discover the secrets of his magic and master his unpredictable gift or fall victim to it?

That’s for you (and your dice) to determine!

Originally posted 7/1/16 on the Mad Adventurers Society!

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