Comparing 13th Age to D&D 5e: Part 1

Discuss Pelgrane Press's 13th Age rules here. Discussion of the Dragon Empire campaign setting can also be held here.

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Tim Baker
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Comparing 13th Age to D&D 5e: Part 1

Post by Tim Baker »

The Play to See What Happens blog has started a series of posts comparing 13th Age to D&D 5e. I appreciate that the blogger is a fan of both games, and is working to explain where the games are similar and where they differ. His goal isn't to "prove" that one system is "better," but to educate the reader who may not be familiar with one system or the other. I look forward to reading future installments.

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shesheyan
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Re: Comparing 13th Age to D&D 5e: Part 1

Post by shesheyan »

Interesting read. The article confirms my analysis of these systems.

I'm an avid war gamer. I play INFINITY, which is probably the most demanding wargame on the market these days.

But, when I play RPGs I don't want to play an ultra-codified «mini-combat game» with role play bolted on it. It's not what I am looking for when I DM a game. D&D 5e is certainly more «fast and loose» than 13 age, 4e and 3e. It doesn't force you to use a grid for combat. I use the grid only for major combat scenes. For the other scenes we use «theater of the mind» combat description.

On the other hand, I tried Dungeon World and it was too vague for me. Numenera-Cypher was closer to what I wanted. Even though its not a d20 game Monte Cook used a very codified d20-like style for the rules. It creates a jarring effect between the first impression of the game and how it plays at the table.

Modern AGE is currently giving me the best of both worlds. The wall between combat and non-combat is non-existant. All the rules use the Stunt mechanic, yet it offers just enough combat codification to satisfy the wargamer in me.

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Tim Baker
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Re: Comparing 13th Age to D&D 5e: Part 1

Post by Tim Baker »

I'm glad to hear that you have a good understanding of what you enjoy in RPGs. That's very helpful in finding games that will be fun for you.

The article may not have made it clear that 13th Age handles combat using theater of the mind. All distances are given in abstract range bands. So in that way, I find 13th Age combat a bit more fast and loose than 5e, since we never stop the action to figure out how many enemies are caught by a fireball or whether the dwarf can reach an attacker with a single move. It's a simpler combat system in a lot of ways, due to fewer conditions, no tracking of concentration, and a few other details as well. I think it comes across as having more of a combat mini game because the language around combat is more precise and don't attempt to describe effects in natural language that would extend outside of combat.

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