Ring Side Report- DUAL RPG REVIEW of 13 True Ways and 13th Age Bestiary

I haven’t gotten any new 13th Age products in a while, and now I get two!  Let’s go through these starting with….

 

Product– 13 True Ways

Producer– Pelgrane Press

Price– ~$40 here http://www.pelgranepress.com/?p=12292

System– 13th Age

TL; DR– Love 13th Age?  BUY THIS NOW!  98%

 

Basics– MORE 13th AGE!  This book is the first player focused book for the 13th Age system.  This book covers several areas including new classes, items, monsters, living dungeons, and much more.  As always, the systems assumes you make up whatever you want and gives enough to get you started, but suggests you dump anything you want to make the story your own.

 

Mechanics or Crunch– Sweet jumping archmage, this book is full of new mechanics.  The new classes themselves are a crazy mix of new ideas.  I felt there is more of focus on modifying the encounter die which an interesting take on the mechanic.  There are the standard fare that people have requested like the necromancer and the commander (warlord from 4e DnD), but monks and druids really shined in this book for me.  Monks feel real to me now.  Sure, I like the Pathfinder monk and whatever system lets me punch goblins in the face, but this system is the first one to add some surprisingly heavy and accurate depth to the class.  Monks now have different kinds of strikes and forms just like any other real word martial art.  Druids have levels as the focus on different aspects of nature resulting in the class covering a shape changer who with different magic spells on different terrain or just being a crazy woods warrior guy/gal.  Both these classes get some serious focus in the book.  The new monsters are amazing and fun as well.  Items are great.  The best part of all this mechanics discussion is the banter between the writers.  The writers want you to write your own game and mechanics, so when they don’t have a consensus, they give you each side’s opinion and let you have fun.  Great book! 5/5

 

Theme or Fluff– Here is some balance combined with some amazing writing.  The book doesn’t tell you any story, but give you all the stories to tell.  An example of this is devils.  A major crux of the 13th Age system is that demons are going to destroy the world.  That’s the one thing that is universal in 13th Age, and that’s something you can completely disregard or rewrite and everybody’s happy!  Now devils are introduced with this book, but where do they come from?  Well this book gives you different origin stories relating to each of the icons.  And NONE of those are the reason in your game if you want them to be!  The book does an excellent job of providing Lego blocks for you to play with and showing you how the writers put them together but encourages you to build whatever you want to play with. 5/5

 

Execution-This book is laid out pretty much like the first book.  That was done fairly well, but it does have a bit of a “textbook problem”- lots of words on pages that are not broken up enough.  More pictures or colors on the powers, or space would help break up the text a bit more to help engage the reader.  I do like the pictures that are in the book, but I would like a bit more.  This isn’t by far a badly laid out book but, but a few more breaks would really help here. 4.75/5

 

Summary-THERE IS MORE 13th AGE OUT THERE!  Fans like me have been clamoring for more 13th age since there was a 13th age!  And, this product shows it’s been made with care and love for the system.  I love the new classes, powers, places, monsters, and items.  This book does monks right for the first time!  If you like 13th Age even a little bit, GO BUY THIS ONE NOW! 98%

 

Well now that I’m done drooling over one 13th Age product, here is another!

 

Product– 13th Age Bestiary

Producer– Pelgrane Press

Price– ~$40 here http://www.pelgranepress.com/?p=12144

System– 13th Age

TL; DR– More well done pieces to fit into a 13th Age game. 100%

 

Basics-Here ther’ be dragons!  This book is the first stand alone bestiary for the 13th Age system.  Each section describes a monster type, giver several versions of the monster, stories about the monster, a picture, and how it relates to the icons and the world.

 

Mechanics or Crunch– Need more monsters?  Here you go!  All the monsters work well and feel like cogs that fit the 13th age system.  The most important thing here is there is a TON of monsters to throw at the PCs and all the monsters feel like they belong and are fresh, yet something you expect in this world.  All the toys in the monster’s arsenal are well done.  Heck, if things are going too well for the players every monster gets an extra section on how to make this even nastier!  5/5

 

Theme or Fluff– Like I said before, everything fits.  That’s the most important part of this system.  Things “fit”.  All the monsters have story driven components that make them easy to just throw into a 13th Age game.  Monsters just don’t get a stat block and you hope for the best, you get a story, icon relations, and pictures-the whole nine yards.  This book is as much a story book as it is a bestiary. 5/5

 

Execution- Honestly, no complaints here.  I love the way 13th Age handles monsters-minimal stat blocks combined with stories and pictures.  Lots of breaks in the text make this a breeze and a joy to read.  This is a page turner making you want to read the next entry.  This is an awesome bestiary. 5/5

 

Summary-This is quite frankly an amazing bestiary.  If you run 13th Age, you need this book.  It’s got great stories to help you write your adventures and excellent pictures to help your players visualize the monsters.  And those are the tools I need to actually use any product in my games.  Simple put-13th Age GMs need this book. 100%

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