When we last encountered our heroes Persimmon Gaunt and Imago Bone at the end of the novel The Scroll of Years, they were forced to make a choice—a choice that no parent should ever have to make. To protect their child from several very powerful evil forces, they had to trap their son named Innocence along with the daughter of their ally in a pocket dimension that can be accessed only through a magical scroll. To keep these children safe, Bone was forced to drop the scroll in the sea to keep it from those who would do harm to him and his. To find the scroll and to save their children, Gaunt, Bone, and Snow Pine embark on an epic quest. Their first stop is to travel even farther to the east to consult the great demi-god Monkey for sage advice. As with all things dealing with Monkey, there is a price. Monkey knows how to get to the scroll, but, for the information, these parents must bring Iron Moths back to Monkey. Iron Moths’ cocoons produce the almost magical iron silk (think fantasy Kevlar). But a quest is only a quest if it is difficult, and this one makes difficult look easy.
In our tour of interesting locations, we find ourselves amid the nodding flowers and prickly thorns of someone’s garden. Or perhaps the garden belongs to nobody. That is your call! Again, these items are left in plain sight, and you can use them as starting points to flesh out some other interesting things if the player characters choose to look around a bit more. If you want to roll randomly for one, use the handy number provided with each entry to figure out your result on a d12. You can also pick the one that works for the area in which your characters currently linger.
Kobold Press has recently released a version of the Midgard Bestiary that is compatible with 13th Age, the new d20-style RPG by Rob Heinsoo and me. Wolf Baur and I go back 20 years, and he asked me to explain a little about 13th Age to his audience of Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and 3.5 players.
As the lead designer on D&D 3E, I’m heartened to see people still playing a version of the game system that my team and I developed. I’m especially grateful to my old friend Lisa Stevens and Paizo for Pathfinder, which breathed new life into the system when Wizards of the Coast switched to 4E. I can’t help but be proud and humbled by how well the system has stood up all these years.
So then, why did Rob and I design 13th Age? Because we share a vision of how the well-loved d20-rolling system could work faster and with more emphasis on your character’s story. In light of the 13th-Age-compatible Midgard Bestiary, here’s what you might like to know about the system.
In some ways it represents a continuation of the work I did on 3rd Ed, emphasizing the classic tropes of D&D while streamlining and rationalizing the rules system. In other ways, 13th Age brings a new approach to the system, with more storytelling and customization.
All heroes need foes to vanquish. Myths from a variety of ancient cultures involve people overcoming great odds to save their loved ones, to fight against the whims of gods, and to defeat the minions of those gods. This article introduces foes from classic tales of Greek mythology to Green Ronin’s Dragon Age system. Some will seem familiar. Some will have a different twist than you may have seen previously in other fantasy roleplaying games. They can be used as is for many campaign settings or you can re-skin them for use in Thedas.
I have tried to keep to the classical characteristics of the monsters described below as opposed to regurgitate characteristics shown in other roleplaying games. However, the recorded myths involving these monsters vary, and in some cases I have taken some poetic license in combining or leaving out some of the characteristics from myth.
“I’m not going to argue with you, cockroach, nor engage in tittle-tattle with a creature unable to beat a slug at snap or a hedgehog at cribbage. I’m referring to the thing you just put in the cupboard.”
“Oh that, ’tis nothing master, just some stray kitten I found.”
“I see, then let me have it.”
“Yes, master, here it is.”
“Kitten, you say. How odd. I thought they normally had four legs. Tell me, how would you describe this kitten of yours?”
“Unpleasing to the eye.”
“I see, and how many legs would you say it had?”
“Thirteen. Yes, I must confess, slimeslave, that I have yet to hear of any kitten with thirteen legs, pale flesh, and two heads. Not to mention the wings. You’ve been at my transmutation spellbook again haven’t you?”
“If I said yes would you punish me less for being honest master?”
Anyone can have a cuddly kitten, a funny gerbil, or pet snake. These creatures are commonplace, but what kind of animals might appear in a pet shop where a manticore is a common sight, or in a world that breeds chokers and gibbering mouthers? Such places would surely have more exotic creatures than a slobbering collie dog or a purring fat cat.
Here is a list of exotic pets, together with a brief description if necessary. These creatures can become the basis for odd familiars, or even odder animal companions, the stuff of menageries or the servings at table. Some are less exotic and more tragic, some may defy logic, and others may in fact be fake. Some are very real, yet to look at them you’d think someone would have to make them up. Have fun with all of them, and be prepared to be surprised about just which are real and which are fantasy.