Expedition to Castle Ravenloft in the 13th Age: Session 2

This is an Actual Play broadcast of Expedition to Castle Ravenloft using the 13th Age RPG.

Following the ambush, our players investigate the mysteries of the dark opal and the empty village. We learn how rituals work in the 13th Age and the villagers are rescued.

This concludes the shake-down adventure, The Ghosts of Aniel. We finished early, so we spend a 20 minutes at the end talking about how the 13th Age is working for us so far.. first impressions and comparisons to D&D.

Next session we begin Expedition to Castle Ravenloft.

Our characters are are:
Ember, the human fighter–played by Bryant (@gamercow)
Kenthis, the human sorcerer–played by John
Heinrich, the human cleric–played by Pierce (@sorcerer_blob)

I first ran Ghosts of Aniel back in 2006 as a precursor to Expedition to Castle Ravenloft. The Galadiir was originally a gem of three wishes–two of them used. The author’s intent was was for the players to use the wish to restore the village as it was supposed to be obvious (somehow) that Navea wished them all into the ethereal realm with his dying breath.

Wouldn’t you know it, the players elected to keep the wish and left the village stranded! We must have been ha’f-way through the Ravenloft campaign before they finally used it an I didn’t have to worry about it anymore.

I didn’t want to risk that happening again, so I made us something brand new.

The Galadiir

This dark opal is a powerful artifact of the Drow.

True Seeing: When you look into the dark opal and speak the command word in elvish, the opal becomes a dark lense through which you can see the invisible and the ethereal.

Phasing: The gem has additional powers which can be accessed at a cost. When one of these abilities is activated, the wielder temporarily reduces the number of hit dice they roll for recoveries.
1 die ~ Ethereal Jaunt: Until the end of the battle, you may become Ethereal until the start of your next turn. This is a free action.
3 dice ~ Summon Phase Spiders: as a standard action, you summon a swarm of 2d4 phase spiders.
5 dice ~ Gate: As a ritual, you can open a portal to the ethereal realm for 1d6 * 10 minutes.

Quirk: The wielder shuns the sun and prefers attack from ambush.
If the wielder exceeds their magical item limit, they soon retreat to the ethereal realm and will only willingly return for brief periods of time.

I am happy with the range of abilities that I present with this gem. The theme seems strong and consistent throughout. The whole thing makes sense and it will be cool bit of treasure to see in action when the players find a new use for it.

What I’m not happy with is how I explain the cost of activating the additional abilities. Even after revisions it sounds clunky to me.

The design of the gem unintentionally led me to how the villagers could be rescued–a nut I had yet to crack when I was playing with it. I loved the idea of rituals in 4E and I was happy to see that is one aspect of that D&D edition that made it into 13th Age. The players seemed to take to it too, once they understood what was happening. Hopefully we’ll be playing with rituals again!

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~ by Hunter Rose on August 2, 2014.

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