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.
“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.
Why Do Gunslingers Give So Many GMs a Heart Attack?
I think by now we’ve all had that argument with our storytellers. You know the one. It has raged across forums and at more Saturday night gaming tables than I’d care to mention after Paizo released Ultimate Combat. It’s the debate that starts with the question, “May I play a gunslinger?”
The Argument for Gunslingers
The simplest argument is that if a player has the book, and that book is part of the canon of a game, he or she should be allowed to play it. This is particularly true if a GM is running a game set in Golarion, the world Paizo has detailed for Pathfinder games and where at least three countries have gunslingers aplenty (the Mana Wastes, the Shackles, and Numeria, for those who have the Inner Sea World Guide handy). As long as players are willing to explain how their characters came to practice the art of the gun, and why they aren’t found within those national borders, there’s really no reason to bar them.
Lamia tread a strange path of violence and magic — and for a tiny few, redemption.
Though extremely rare, lamia adventurers do exist. They are almost exclusively outcasts who have struck out on their own or escaped the wickedness of their brethren. Cut off from the matriarchy and its debauched rituals, might they be something more than monsters? Might they become… heroes?
Advanced Races 8: Lamias gives you everything you need to play a lamia adventurer in your Pathfinder Roleplaying Game campaign.This 15-page sourcebook by designer Marc Radle includes:
8 alternative racial traits including Constrict, Mystical Tattoo and Wisdom damage
6 new lamia feats including Highborn Lamia, Serpent’s Eyes and Snake’s Tongue
2 new prestige classes, new favored class options, a new spell and oracle mystery, and more!
You carry the mysteries of night and magic deep within your dark heart, child of serpents—and you will need them to survive in a world that hates and fears you. Get Advanced Races 8: Lamias and play a truly strange and exotic hero!
The largest and fiercest kobold in a generation, Roka does not dodge or scurry. She charges into battle, rending her foes with tooth and claw. However, Roka is not simply an unthinking killer, she is also the priestess of the strange and bloody kobold goddess of eggs and pregnancy, Clutchmaw. Mangouger uses her rage and strength in the service of her bloody goddess. She defends vulnerable clutches of kobold eggs from all danger, and she tracks down neglectful or slacking kobold husbands to put the fear of her goddess in them.
Roka’s father did not tend to his mother when she was pregnant with Roka’s clutch deep within the kobold ghetto of Zobeck. Instead, he gambled and schemed and lived high, while Roka’s mother struggled to catch rats and other vermin for food. The resulting clutch was a single, battered egg, and Roka’s mother protected it until she hatched, but died of starvation soon after. Despite her circumstances, the Mangouger was already a strong and tough pup, and she soon dominated the local hatchling pack. Within a few years, she was already pit-fighting and going head to head with giant weasels, dire rats, and adult kobolds. Her feral, throat-ripping combat style was popular and Roka became a minor celebrity.