Archives for category: 13th Age

I finally got around to play the last session of my Star Wars one-shot adventure testing out the 13th Age ruleset. So here is what I got from Mythic: Encounter 6: NPC action, increase bureaucracy
Interpretation: This one is simple and it fits perfectly. Because of the increased security and the imperial lockdown Ash is greeted by lots of red tape after landing…

After the intense encounter with imperial customs in station space I was relieved to finally touch down inside a hanger bay of Zelpoint Station. But my joy didn’t last long: Out of the cockpit window I could see two stormtroopers standig guard at the hangar bay exit doors and one stormtrooper accompanying another imperial customs inspector who was already waiting for me. What the hell?! I was just checked…alright, so let’s see how this goes. I lowered the ramp and walked down into the hangar.

“Greetings citizen. I am imperial customs inspector Bane. I need to see your cargo manifest.”

“Well hi there insepctor Bane. Call me Ash and I think there must be some kind of misunderstanding here. I was just checked and inspected by your colleagues out in space. They found everything to be in order. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here now, would I?”

“You probably wouldn’t but I need to see your papers none the less. I have strict orders to inspect every vessel after touchdown. No exceptions. So please Mr. Ash, your cargo manifest.”

I was glad that I had those forged cargo papers. They already passed one inspection, I am sure they will pass another one. So I handed him the datacard…

“Hmm, there seems to be an irregularity with the verification checksum…”

“Oh, yeah, that. That’s nothing to worry about. The guy who filed the manifest got the loading dates mixed up with another shipment and had to alter the loading date after the manifest was filed…just a minor bookkeeping error, nothing more.”

“Is that so? Well, I am afraid I have to run a very thorough forensic diagnostic on this cargo manifest. Until this matter is resolved I am afraid I have to detain you and confiscate the cargo until the issue is resolved.”

He signaled the stormtrooper next to him to put me into binders. Damn! I hate this forsaken sector of space. It has brought me nothing but complications. I had to make a split second decision: Let them take me and hope that it all works out, the chances of that being practically zero, or make a run for it while I still have access to my ship and only a short way towards the ramp. Here goes nothing…

As the stormtrooper moved I jumped back and pulled my blaster. While firing a few distracting shots at the stormtrooper I dashed towards the ramp. Blaster fire erupted and deadly red blaster bolts sizzeled through the air. A few of them hit the ramp and hull of the ship. A stray shot grazed my shoulder but thanks to my heavy plastoid weave leather jacket I was not injured badly, just some minor burns. I finally managed to close the ramp behind me before the stormtroopers could board the ship.

Thank the maker the engines were still warm so I could make a quick exit without a long warm-up sequence but the imperials still got enough time to sound an alarm so the first vessels to greet me out in space were four imperial TIE-fighters in close formation.

I immediatly calculated a small micro-jump just away. I needed to get out of here fast. The ship was in bad shape and I had to be gone before the bigger vessels managed to close in on me. Green laser fire zipped past the ship. I twisted and rolled and pulled every trick in the book to keep the TIE-fighters at bay and the ship out of their sights.

Finally, the navicomputer was ready. I pulled the levers and escaped into the safety of hyperspace. A few moments later I reentered realspace in the vast emptiness of the endless void. The first thing I did was to jettison the cursed cargo. This sector and I, we didn’t get off to a good start. I failed to complete a delivery, I was set-up and on the imperal wanted list in this region of space. I know when it is time to leave and I was overdue. I calculated a course into a more familiar region of space. So long Tamesh Sector. You won’t see me in a while. I engaged the hyperdrive.

So this concludes my adventure with Ash in the Tamesh Sector and my test of the 13th Age system. Coming from 4th Edition D&D I quickly adapted to the mechanics and I enjoyed the adventure, but I think I will stick to lighter systems for solo roleplaying. I will also retire Ash in the Star Wars universe because for future Star Wars adventures I will stick to my Edge of the Empire campaign that I will continue.

Last but not least the game mechanics:
I asked Mythic if I will be checked after touchdown and assigned very likely odds. Mythic said yes.
I then asked if my forged papers pass the inspection and assigned likely odds, because they already did before. However, Mythic said no.
I then tried to fast-talk my way out somehow with a skill check vs. DC 20 which I also failed.
Finally a short battle against a group of mooks (using the 13th Age stats by level table to quickly whip up the opposition) during which I fled back onto the ship.
The space chase and dogfight was another skill challenge. I needed 4 successes against DC 20 which I managed to get before getting blown up.

Ash’s adventure nears completion in encounter 5 of my one shot adventure testing the 13th Age ruleset.

Encounter 5: Consulting Mythic I got NPC Action, oppress/prison: Taking the advice straight out of the Mythic GME book to create a little sentence I read that as an NPC oppresses somebody or something to imprison them. So for me this one is obvious: The Empire has blockaded Zelpoint Station to root out and imprison suspected rebel sympathizers that are hiding on the base. In my Edge of the Empire campaign I ruled that one hex on the space map equals one day of hyperspace travel, multiplied by the ship’s hyperdrive multiplier. However, I think that is a little to much. It would take forever to get anywhere and it does not really fit with what we see in the movies. So it will be one hour per hex, multiplied as usual. So to get from Aldere to Zelpoint Station takes 7 hours x 2 = 14 hours. If I would play a more sandbox style game I would make a random encounter check with a 10% encounter chance per hour or set interval of hours. However, since this is a one-shot and I determined beforehand that I will play a total of six encounters I will not do that in this case.

After the Quarren left I ran a self-diagnostic to check the hull strenght after our emergency repairs. Structural integrity was at around 50% and I had restored the deflector shields. That was good enough for now. I calculated a course to Zelpoint Station and engaged the hyperdrive. 14 hours later I arrived at Zelpoint Station and was in for an unpleasant surprise: The station was under some sort of imperial blockade!

Three strike class cruisers have set up a triangular perimeter around the base. Thank god I dropped out of hyperspace pretty far away. I powered down immediately and reduced all energy emissions to the bare minimum. It got pretty cold pretty quick in my YT-1300 since life support was also powered down to minimum. So there I drifted in space thinking about what to do next. The only logical, sane and reasonable thing would be to immediately turn back and come back some time later. But then again I was itching to complete this damned delivery. If I could pull this off and sneak this crate in right under the nose of the imperials that would certainly increase my reputation around these parts which in turn would probably make it easier to find high profile contracts. So I got cocky and figured “What the hell, let’s do this!”

I started with a very limited narrow bandwith sensor sweep to get some flight data on the TIE patrol patterns. Even though I couldn’t make them out with my naked eye from this distance I was sure there were TIEs around. There always are. So I gathered some data and started to plot my course.

My plan was to close in from below the base, powered down, all systems off, no life support and just drift in, carried by momentum. Once close to the structure I would sneak into a docking bay. In theory it sounded easy enough.

My course calculations were pretty good. I drifted in slowly, everything was powered down including life support. I was wearing a sealed spacesuit. Almost there…

Damn! Suddenly the proximity alert went off. A flight of two TIEs crossed my path. I must have missed them on my initial scan. I was hailed. The usual line. Stop your ship, prepare for scan…bla…bla…bla.
I did my best and tried to fast-talk myself out of this one like so many times before, making up some story about burnt out control ships that rendered most of my ship’s systems useless, that I needed emergency repairs at the station and stuff like that.

However, they didn’t buy it. They ordered me to hold position and prepare to be boarded by a customs inspection team. A shuttle was already on it’s way.

I thought about the right course of action for a few moments. Should I make a run for it? I didn’t give myself decent enough odds for that, not with this ship in it’s current state. So I figured I had to trust my “negotiating skills”.

A few moments later two imperial custom officers and a detachment of four stormtroopers boarded my ship and searched everything. Of course they found the crate of spice but I had forged cargo papers declaring the content as a fine shipment of Devaronian Pepper. However, they insisted that I open the crate for a visual confirmation.

Here goes nothing. I hoped that whoever prepared the shipment was smart enough to indeed hide the spice somehow within the crate. With one hand I opened the crate, the other hand wandered slowly towards my heavy blaster pistol, ready for anything…

Thank the gods! The spice was indeed hidden within or underneath Devaronian Pepper. The custom officers inspected the content of the crate but found nothing at odds. I relaxed a little. I didn’t expect this to go so smooth. I was free to leave and landed at Zelpoint Station shortly afterwards…

Game Mechanics:
The initial scan conducted by Ash was a skill check using the Wisdom modifier and the Corellian Smuggler background against a DC of 20, which I failed. I determined that because of the failure, Ash’s data was incomplete.
The stealthy approach was a skill challenge (as in 4th Edition DnD). I needed 5 successes (against DC 20 using again my smuggler background and my Dex modifier as a pilot check) before three failures. I completed the challenge successfully with one failure. However, since I failed the initial scan check, I consulted Mythic (50/50 odds) if I was still detected and I was.
Fast talking was the usual bluff check using Charisma and the Man of the Streets background against a DC of 20. I failed the check therefore I had to face a customs inspection. I consulted Mythic to see if my shipment was indeed concealed and I got an exceptional yes result and therefore asked Mythic again if the inspectors buy it and assigned pretty good odds because of the exceptional success before and they did.
Looking forward to the final session…

Alright, I finally continued my adventure in the Tamesh Sector with Ren “Ash” Ashfield testing the 13th Age ruleset. I returned to my old and favored method of posting, which is a full prose writeup of the session with game mechanics and behind the scenes notes as a seperate paragraph at the end of the session report.

So, here we go…

Encounter 4: Consulting Mythic I got NPC action, transform/peace. I interpret that as follows: The actions of an NPC enable me to end the hostilities with the planetary security in Aldere and enable me to pass through. I figure the Quarren from the prelude who gave me the mission got wind of the intended set-up. He takes it personally because it would ruin his reputation if people know that one of his jobs he procured and gave out went bad. He actually has a score to settle with Ash’s employers because of that.

So there I was, drifting through the darkness of space between the stars. My ship hold together but only barely. I suffered severe hull damage, a lot of circuts melted in the firefight. I would need all my hotwiring skills to patch that baby up. So I better get to it. I got my toolkit out and assessed the damage. Or to be more precise, I tried. I had no idea how the hell I was supposed to fix this mess. Wires were melted together, chips burned to crisp. This was way beyond my skill. Looks like I wouldn’t make a delivery anytime soon.

To make things worse, the proximity alarm went off. Something approached. Great, just what I needed! How did they find me so quick? I was in the middle of nowhere. The ship that approached me was one of those fancy new YT-2400 transports. A successor to the famous YT-1300 and better in every aspects. I was hailed, a rough aquatic voice came over the intercomm:

“Glad to see you are still in one piece. Looks like you have some skill afterall.”

“Who is this? And how the hell did you find me out here?”

“The name is Lurak. We have met before. I am afraid I am the one responsible for this mess you find yourself in. I was the one who hooked you up with this job back on Camil. Regarding your second question, I had a little something installed on your ship while you waited for the pickup on Camil, just in case if you had decided to bail on me.”

“The Quarren! You got a lot of nerve showing up here. That smelled like a set-up back there in Aldere. You don’t happen to know anything about that do you?”

“It was a set-up. Shortly after you left one of my contacts on Camil who owed me a favor warned me about the possibility that the people I worked for were looking for a decoy. Some poor guy who could be used as a diversion, a distraction, so that a bigger shipment could go through unnoticed.”

“And that guy just happened to be me, great. Now what?”

“Well, I have a reputation to lose. I don’t like to be taken for a fool. If word of this unfortunate event gets out I will have a hard time getting people to trust me. A man in my line of work values his reputation highly you know.”

“I don’t care much about your reputation. I am in it for the money. I expected to get paid. Now it looks like I have a several thousand credit repair bill that I have to worry about and a hold full of spice that I can’t drop off because the recipients actually turned on us and wrote that shipment off. Great. See, I am a mover, not a dealer. I don’t have that many connections in this part of space to find a lucrative offer for this stuff.”

“Relax, I have an alternate buyer. And they pay premium, double your agreed upon fee. You will get 10,000 credits upon delivery.”

“And what about my repair bill?”

“That will be taken care off. After you made the drop, I will give you the contact details of a good mechanic. You go see her and she will fix up your ride.”

“Alright, you got yourself a deal. So where is the new drop off point?”

“A space station called Zelpoint Station. Do you know this place?”

“Yeah, I have heard that name a few times. Never been there though. A civillian station that features some heavy industry and large scale production facilities for all kinds of stuff.”

“That’s the place. Just set her down there, go into the Wild Goose cantina and tell the bartender that “the eagle has landed”, together with your bay number. Then you just enjoy a nice drink, wait 30 minutes, after that the bartender will pay you if all goes well.”

“And what about the mechanic?”

“The bartender will call me after he payed you, I will call you and give you the details.”

“Got it. You are willing and able to help with my repairs by any chance?”

“That’s one of the reasons I’m here. Prepare the hatch, I will dock at your lower hatch.”

It took us about a day of work before basic functionality was restored, I had minimal shielding and weapons power. Lurak left and wished me well and I plotted a course for Zelpoint Station.

Game Mechanics:
First off, the encounter played out differently than I first interpreted or imagined but that is a good thing. Nothing should be set in stone in a solo rpg. This was a rather calm and peaceful encounter but part of that is thanks to Mythic. So first I made a repair skill check using my unconventional mechanic background and Intelligence as the used ability. I only got a +4 bonus and failed a check against DC 20.

The conversation was guided by Mythic GME questions. I used the Fate Chart with the Chaos Factor locked and set at 5. I asked if the Quarren had alternate buyers and assigned somewhat likely odds (65%) and got a yes answer.

I then asked to see if I got more money with 50/50 odds and got a result of 4 which is an exeptional yes, therefore double pay.

I then assigned unlikely odds (35%) regarding the mechanic contact and the assistance with the repairs but again I was lucky and got two yes results.

To see if Ash knew anything about Zelpoint Station I made a skill check using his Intelligence and his Well-Connected Man of the Streets background for a total bonus of +6. I rolled 14 and got a total of 20. I figured that’s high enough, so Ash heard of the place.

Encounter 3:

I rolled PC negative, Betray / Opulence. Interpretation: Ash is betrayed by his employer, who is working for an opulent Hutt. Ash is used as a decoy who got tipped off to the authorities of Aldere so that a bigger shipment of the Hutt’s organization can pass through, while the attention is focused on him.

The journey to Aldere was long and uneventful. I used the time in hyperspace for some routine maintenance and some physical exercise and target practice. I really need to upgrade this ship’s engines to cut down on this unprofitable travel time. However, it is relaxing. You don’t have to worry about much, since unpleasant encounters in hyperspace are very rare.

Also, I am not really sure about this ship. I can’t really call it my ship since I stole it out of necessity and she doesn’t have any modifications made by me. It is basically just a basic YT-1300, which is not bad. The YT-series are reliable and get the job done…but I really need to make it my own. Maybe if I spend some money on her and made some upgrades I can build a “relationship” with her. So, as soon as I have enought money I will spend it on upgrades and only then will I give her a name. Till then, the serial number has to do.

I came out of hyperspace far out in the Aldere system. Aldere was a system devastated by a planet encompassing civil war which ended just a few years ago. Large areas remain uninhabitable because of the destruction. The inhabitants are still struggling to recover. Maybe the shipment I am carrying will help them to relax a little, who knows.

I plotted a course straight for the planet. On Camil I was instructed to head for the coastline of the eastern continent where I was to land on a private landing pad belonging to a mansion. In-system traffic was sparse. It looked like I was in for a smooth trip. Nevertheless I powered up weapons and shields to be ready for any unpleasant surprises.

Halfway to the planet I picked up three contacts that launched from the planet and headed straight for me. I got a bad feeling about this. I was hailed.

“YT-1300, this is Lieutenant Knox from Aldere Planetary Security and Customs. Power down weapons and engines and prepare to be boarded for inspection.”

What the hell? Why do I always have such bad luck with the authorities?

“Lieutenant Knox, this is Commander Malik responding. I don’t intend to land on Aldere, I am just passing through. I needed to exit hyperspace because of technical difficulties with my engines. I am performing repairs as we speak. I strongly advise against boarding me. There is increased radiation from the engines that I need to get in check.”

“Acknowledged Commander. However, we still need to board and inspect you. We will be wearing shielded environmental suits. Maybe we can assist with your repairs.”

Something didn’t feel right here…

“I am afraid I will have to disappoint you. My engines just came back online. But thanks for the offer, I am leaving.”

I shut off the comlink, went to full throttle and started calculations for an emergency micro-jump out of the system.

Of course my YT-1300 was not fast enough to outrun planetary security vessels. It didn’t take them long to catch up with me. They started shooting, the show began.

I had no intention to slug it out with three planetary security craft. My goal was to keep the ship together long enough until I could make a quick exit.

BAM! I got hit by a full salvo. The aft shield collapsed. However, I still had some tricks up my sleeve…

BAM! Damn! I was the better pilot, but they had the smaller and faster ships. Another volley hit me at starboard.

Come on…only a few seconds left.

BAM! I took hull damage and was venting atmosphere. Thank god the emergency hull sealing system was still working and patched the hole with a durable foam that hardened into a solid mass upon contact with the vacuum.

Done! Let’s get out of here…

Just as another volley hit me I made the jump to lightspeed.

I had calculated just a small micro-jump out into deep space.

Time for some emergency repairs while I let things cool down for a moment…

Game Mechanics:

I failed a bluff roll while negotiating with planetary security. However, since I determined that Ash was tipped off as a result of the encounter roll the difficulty was pretty stiff (DC 25).

Space combat was once again handled as a skill challenge. I needed three successes against a DC of 20. My pilot modifier was +11 (+2 level, +4 Dex mod, +5 smuggler background) and the Combat Capability (CC) was still +0. A +11 check vs. DC 20 is not to bad, however, I managed to fail two times resulting in 2 points of hull damage (I decided on a hull rating of 4 for a standard YT-1300).

I then made an astrogation check against DC 15 for the micro-jump. This time I used my Int modifier instead of the Dex mod. I failed the check but adopting a philosophy of “fail forward” I ruled that I still made the jump but suffer another point of hull damage (because of the stress on the vessel or another parting hit).

This leaves me with one point of hull left in deep space…

Encounter 2:
I rolled NPC Action, vengeance/war.
As NPC I rolled randomly on my race / profession table and got Quarren Mercenary. My interpretation: The Quarren Mercenary was hired by another smuggling group to exact vengeance against the group that hired Ash in the ongoing drug war.

I wanted to avoid drawing attention from planetary security so after launch I headed straight for the atmosphere and orbit first. In space, I made a small detour around the planet and re-entered the atmosphere on the far side of the spaceport. I flew low, avoiding settled areas as much as I could and headed for the coordinates.

The landing site was a small jungle clearing. I gently sat my ship down but kept the engines in standby mode, just in case I needed to make a quick exit. I lowered the ramp and stepped into the clearing, hand on my blaster.

“Anybody here!?”

A few moments later, a group of four Rodians came out of hiding. Two of them were pushing a repulsor sled with five large crates loaded onto it.

“You are late.” one of the Rodians said.

“I wanted to make sure that nobody takes notice of our little exchange, so I made an effort to avoid any planetary security scans.”

The Rodian just nodded and signaled his men to load the cargo. They complied.

I got some instructions to follow after arrival on Aldere and then the Rodians disappeared into the jungle.

I took of and backtracked my course to orbit. As I entered the higher atmosphere my scopes showed a vessel on an intercept course. A Firespray patrol craft. These vessels were not used by planetary security and I got a bad feeling about this.

I tried to contact the vessel, but it didn’t respond. It kept a short distance but by now it was obvious that it followed me. I calculated the shortest path to the edge of the planets gravity well and went to full throttle. The Firespray followed.

The attack came at the halfway point between the planet and the edge of the gravity well. Without a warning the Firespray started shooting. I had my shields up, now it was time to fly!

I pushed the ship to the limit. The enemy pilot was good, but I gained on him. However, I took two heavy hits. The aft deflector shield collapsed. I really needed to invest some money in this ship to upgrade her specs! Come on baby, hold together!

I had to resort to every trick in the book but I managed to get to the edge of the gravity well. The jump to Aldere was already calculated. The Firespray gained on me again and fired as I punched it and made the jump to lightspeed…

Game Mechanics:
To get to the rendezvous point in the jungle without drawing the attention of planetary security I rolled a pilot check vs. DC 20 to “fly casual”.

The dogfight was my first try of my narrative, skill challenge like, space combat “rules”. I enjoyed it. I ruled that I needed three successes to “win”, which in this case meant I got away. I gave my ship a hull rating of 4 and a Combat Capability of zero, since it is an of the rack ship. The check was a pilot check vs. DC 20. I rolled three successes in a row, so I took no hull damage and escaped unscathed.

For the hyperspace calculations I made an astrogation skill check vs. DC 15.

Here comes session two of Ash’s adventure featuring the 13th Age ruleset. I said before that I limited the adventure to a prelude and six further encounters. So here comes encounter number one (technically, it is number two, since the prelude featured an encounter as well, but I count the prelude as prelude and the encounters as encounters…I know, it doesn’t really make sense….).

Encounter 1:

I rolled PC Negative, punish/extravagance, interpretation: Ash is followed by the members of the street gang he encountered in the prelude who want to get revenge for his extravagant show of superiority in the cantina. They tracked him down via a network of informants and wait for the perfect moment to strike…

I lay low for two days, mostly staying in my ship. However, I needed a few things before I could head off towards the coordinates to load the cargo. So in the morning of the second day I had to make a short trip into town. I locked the ship down good, checked my blaster, threw over my trusted leather jacket and headed towards the market district.

Something felt wrong. I had the distinct feeling that I was tailed. I used a few tricks I picked up during my career to single out any possible shadows. Nothing special, basic stuff, walking around in circles, quickly running behind a corner and waiting there and stuff like that. Sure enough, without much effort I was able to confirm my suspicion. Three thugs, a Rodian, a Shistavanen Wolfman and a Twi’lek, were on my tail.

I drew my blaster, stared right at the Twi’lek who I thought to be the leader of the pack and addressed him directly:

“Listen buddy! If you want to get the jump on me you have to do better than that. That little dance in the cantina was just a warning. You guys are way out of your league if you think you can mess with me. We don’t want to ruin a beautiful day like this one with a little bloodshed that early in the morning do we now? I was just about to leave and mind my own business, so let us just be reasonable and drop this thing.
I will count to three. If you are still there I swear I’ll put you down so fast, you wouldn’t know what hit you! One! Two!”

I could basically see the Twi’lek thinking about it, trying to estimate his odds. He was uncertain…..but not stupid. Before I got to three he made a quick gesture with his lekku and turned away. The others followed. I was relieved. I didn’t really need any more attention but I wouldn’t have hesitated for a second. Fortunately, no killing was necessary.

I finished my business in town, went back to the ship and lifted off, setting a course for the coordinates I got…

Game Mechanics:

This was a short session, however, by my standards it was still an encounter. In my book, an encounter is any situation that involves risk and a chance of failure. In this case, I had three decision points that could have affected the outcome and turned the encounter into something nasty.

First, I had to check if Ash notices his assailants. I made a skill roll using his Wisdom modifier + Man of the Streets background + level for a total of +8 and I set the difficulty at 18, which is between a normal and a hard task (normal is 15, hard is 20). I succeeded which gave me the chance to try to intimidate them. Second I intimidated with Charisma mod + level + Man of the Streets background (total of +9) vs. a DC of 20. I succeeded again so third I determined if they let me go by using Mythic. I ruled the successful check would not automatically mean that Ash gets away, just that the possibility is there. If Ash had failed the check, he would have been attacked for sure. However, because of the successful check I assigned somewhat likely odds and rolled a yes result, so I got away and the encounter was over.

So even if it was a peace of cake encounter it still featured three chances to fail.

And like I said before: A good piece of advice for solo rpging that I read is: Always give yourself a chance to fail!

I got this from this wonderful article here:

http://shiftkitty.angelfire.com/DDSolitaire.pdf

Credits go to Lora Allen for writing it.

After converting or more precisely creating Ash as a second level 13th Age character it was time to play. Since I want to play one-shot adventures with Ash I decided to use a freeform modular approach, like I did to finish my Risus adventure, meaning I will decide on a fixed number of encounters that are played in order in the context of a backstory.

So I decided I will play a prelude which is used to obtain a quest and six encounters thereafter. The encounters will be generated using Mythic as a random idea generator and should relate somehow to the quest or, in the case of later encounters, to the encounters that happened before.

I played out the encounters mostly in my head, taking sketchy notes by hand. For the write-up I will use the I perspective I tried before, I kinda liked it. Also, notable game mechanics will be explained in a seperate section at the end.

The adventure begins…

PRELUDE

After the unpleasant turn of events during and after my last assignment I decided to stay away from corporations for a while and do a little independent work. In the past I heard a few spacers talk fondly about the Tamesh sector. According to spacer talk it is an out of the way sector on the edges of the Outer Rim, bordering the Unknown Regions. The imperial presence there is supposed to be light, most officials are thought of as receptive for monetary persuasion and one should be able to make a decent profit there without to much trouble. So I decided to check it out.

After some asking around I was pointed towards the planet Camil in the Camil system. The planet was known for being the religious enclave for an order of disciplined monks, the Servants of Zen. Even though the monks chose to live a simple life, forsaking most of modern technology to stay spiritually pure, they have a well-trained and well equipped security force that employs top-notch technology. Their primary mission is to safeguard the monks and ensure that they can lead their life of simplicity. Their secondary mission is to strictly enforce the planet’s laws and regulations. According to rumors the monks generate a fairly healthy profit by selling rare spices and “drugs”, substances that help in meditation, that they produce according to a recipe passed on over generations.

The trade in these substances is regulated and restricted, however, there seems to be a very large demand for it. This is where independent merchants like me come in. I had a contact in the beautiful costal city of Limra, located in the tropical region of the planet on the southern continent. The area around Limra was dominated by fertile plains and a tropical rainforest. Limra only had a landing pad and a limited service starport. I gently sat my ship down on the pad and headed for the Portside Cantina, where I was supposed to meet my contact.

After a few minutes I was approached by a Quarren. My contact.
“I was told you are in the transport business.” the Quarren said.
“That is correct. What do you need transported and where to?”
“Me? Nothing. I just happen to know somebody who does.”

“Fine with me. So whats the cargo and the destination.”

“A few tonnes of rare camilian spices that need to get to Aldere. Without going through customs first.”

“I figured that much. And I heard security here is pretty tight, even if it doesn’t look that way.”

I checked my datapad and realized, that it is also a pretty long trip.

“Also, Aldere is not exactly around the corner. My fee is 8000, 4000 in advance.”

The Quarren chuckled and looked at me slightly annoyed.

“Who do you think you are. You will be paid 5000 after the delivery.”

Alright, so the usual dance begins…so be it.

“I am someone who knows what he is doing. Do you think I am new in this business? I’ll settle for 7000.”

“Listen flyboy. I got a lot of people that I could call for the job. I decided to talk to you. So you better prove your worth first or I’ll call somebody else.”

Well, let’s book this one as a business establishing endavor.

“Allright, but you will pay 50% in advance.”

“Let’s make it 30% and we have a deal.”

“Agreed. So how does this go. Where do I load the cargo.”

The Quarren handed me a data chip and asked me to be at the stored coordinates at noon two days from now. I had just put away the chip as a group of four ruffians entered the cantina and headed straight towards our table. I immediately knew that trouble was coming our way.

“Hey you little stink. We told you to stay out of our turf. Looks like you need a little reminder. And if I don’t allow you here, we certainly don’t allow your friend here as well.”

The ruffian was addressing the Quarren, his followers eyed me carefully. I knew how to handle these local wannabee gangsters. They think they are big fish, however, they swim in a small pond. Probably none of them ever left this planet. They prey upon the fear of the common people and are probably not used to resistance. The best thing in a situation like this was to seize the initiative…

“Listen Uglyface. Didn’t your parents teach you to be quiet if two adults are talking to each other? You got exactly ten seconds to take your fellow Hollowbrains and get out of here or I will be forced to send you to your room.”

I stared at him, showing no sign of anxiety or emotion, my hand rested on the grip of my blaster. He seemed shocked and puzzled at the same time. I was right. He didn’t expect resistance. But he was probably to stupid and proud to just leave. So here we go…

“Ten!”

I used the table to propel myself towards him, hitting him square in the face. His nose broke, blood was everywhere. Before the guy next to him knew what hit him I smashed his kneecap with a short kick and brought my knee up in his face as he bent down from the pain in his knee. Then I was rushed by the remaining two and took some heavy hits. These guys knew how to throw a punch, I’ll give ‘em that! After my quick start the battle extended in a full-scale brawl. I got pretty roughed up but in the end I stared at four beaten and bloodied ruffians laying on the floor.

“Let’s get out of here.” I told the Quarren.

“I think we are done anyways. I’ll be at the coordinates in two days. Maybe you should keep a low profile for a while. I’ll do the same.”

I made a quick exit, hand on my blaster, ready for anything…

Game Mechanics:

The negotiation was handled with a Charisma modifier + Man of the Streets background + level (for a total of +9) roll vs. a DC of 20. 13th Age does not track skill modifier for NPCs or works with opposed rolls. All skill checks are made against a DC determined by the “environment” in which the character acts. A DC of 20 is a hard task in an adventurer tier environment (levels 1-3). I figured it would be hard for a new face to be able to get 8000 credits. I failed the first roll so I tried for 7000 and fumbled (natural 1) so I decided the negotiations were over. Take it or leave it so I took it.

The intimidation attempt against the thugs was a similar check against also a DC of 20 which I failed. However, with my initiative modifier of +10 I got the initiative as a sure thing. The opposition where 4 level 0 mooks for starters, to get a feel for the combat rules. The combat was played with generic pawns on a sketchy map, quickly scribbled onto an erasable battlemat. I used melee basic attacks (unarmed strikes). First impressions: I like everything. To just roll against DCs is liberating, no need to come up with NPC stats and the abstract positioning without counting squares speeds combat up a lot but still gives a good impression of who is where an doing what. The mooks combat stats are quickly generated by the tables in the monster generation section of the SRD which is basically D&D monster math:

AC is level + 16

Attack is level +5

HP and Damage are found in the table.

First verdict: Nice start.

Oh, I almost forgot: The encounter was generated by the Mythic result dominate/fears which I interpreted as a street gang is dominating this part of town because of the fears of the inhabitants. And of course they don’t like it if somebody is conducting business on their turf. And I survived the brawl with 2 HP left! I took a couple of critical hits. But thanks to my heroic approach all HP are restored after a short rest, meaning after an encounter. From what I have read so far, 13th Age is similar to D&D 4e and assumes that you basically go into an encounter fully healed (they also use healing surges, however, they call it “recoveries”) so the encounters are balanced against fully healed heroes, which means my approach does not break the system.