Yesterday, I travelled up to Worcester for the fifth annual UKdndtweetup and ran a Parsantium game using the 13th Age rules. We had a lot of fun!
The adventure I ran, Murder at the Hippocampus Baths, was for 4th level characters so I used the pregen characters from the 2 hour demo on Pelgrane’s website as a starting point but changed some of the classes and races around for a better fit with the Parsantium setting, then levelled them up. At the start of the game, I sat down with the six players and got them to come up with uniques, backgrounds and icon relationships for their characters. Because this was a Parsantium game we used the icons I had written for Dragonmeet with Steve Dempsey’s help – of these, the Archmage, the Maharani, the Mummy and the Water Lords were the most popular. (I’ll write all the icons up in more detail soon and post them here on the blog.) The game was new to everyone, I think, but they seemed to grasp the concepts pretty quickly and we ended up with the following diverse bunch of characters:
Farraz Yusufi, a vanara wizard who passed his wizard school exams with the lowest marks ever
Iroas Jainson, dwarf cleric of Amarani the All-Knowing and only living possessor of an amazing secret of the dwarves
Tanveer, human fighter and travelling clock and pocket watch merchant; has business dealings with the Cult of the Black Mother and on the run from the Water Lords
Arthani, halfling rogue from Sampur who doesn’t believe magic exists
Dregor, gnoll ranger who hates the wilderness after a terrifying experience in the Feyshore Forest for which the Elf Queen was responsible
Basil, dragonkin paladin of the Platinum Knights of Themicia, who spends his spare time teaching the local children
Next, we did icon relationship rolls and I allowed those who rolled a 5 or 6 to choose a magic item (again from the two hour demo) as a gift from the relevant icon. After a brief discussion about how the PCs knew each other before the start of the adventure, we jumped straight into the action with the party stopping thugs from the Golden Scimitars smashing up the Golden Bean Tree coffee shop. The players started off using mostly basic attacks but as the combat went on they started experimenting with the different talents and powers on their character sheets. It was hard to tell if I’d made the bad guys’ defences a little too high or if it was just a lot of unlucky dice rolling from the players, but the thugs proved slightly tougher opposition than I intended.
The second encounter involved the PCs getting mixed up in a street brawl between the Most Excellent Order of Stonemasons and the Guild of Potters and Tilemakers with the Golden Scimitars providing additional muscle to their masonic allies. In this battle, we decided Basil’s background as a teacher gave him a bonus to perception checks (teachers need eyes in the back of their heads!) and Farraz used his Lightning Bolt to take out three mooks, confusing Arthani, the non-believer in magic. Tanveer got one of the Scimitars, a halfling named Cyrus, to surrender and used his pocket watches to tie him to some handy railings.
Interrogating the halfling, the PCs learned that something was due to happen at the Hippocampus Baths that evening. With a few hours to kill, the PCs visited the headquarters of two of the Artisans Ward’s guilds in an effort to find out more of what was going on, then went to the White Palm tavern where the landlord begged the party to get rid of the Golden Scimitars spies on his staff. Another clue here seemed to be pointing to the Hippocampus Baths so the party decided to head there next.
At the baths, I ran the third and final encounter, featuring a battle in steamy, slippery surroundings against Golden Scimitars assassins sent to kill the Guildmaster of Weavers and Dyers. I used the cambion katar from the forthcoming 13th Age Bestiary for Tuzniq, the tiefling assassin – a deadly 6th-level wrecker. Tuzniq managed 40 points of damage on Basil with a critical, taking him to -3 hp, and followed this up with two hits for 20 points of damage each on Tanveer who saved himself with his Heavy Warrior talent. Iroas was called upon to do plenty of healing on everyone in the fight, especially Farraz who had ended up on 11 hp with no recoveries remaining. The PCs pursued Tuzniq down into the hypocaust and finally finished him and his fire genasi ally off in the hot, cramped surroundings beneath the baths.
I thoroughly enjoyed running the game thanks to the great group of players taking part and think they all had fun too. Combat was pretty fast and I think everyone enjoyed the variety of powers at their characters’ disposal once they got used to their PCs (always a bit tricky in a one-shot con game). Although the icon relationships and magic item quirks didn’t come up much during the course of the session, they definitely would have done in a longer-running game and they certainly helped bring each PC to life. I created quite a few stat blocks for the NPC enemies in the adventure, so will try and post these here in the next couple of weeks 😉
Finally, thanks to all the players, to Adam Page for organizing the day, and to everyone who bought a book!