Sunday, 12 January 2014

Age of Upheaval 1 - Introduction (FR + 13th Age)

For some time now, I've been wracking my brain trying to think of a way to make 13th Age feel "right" in the Realms and specifically in the context of Icons and Icon relationships. The idea of using existing NPCs and/or organisations just didn't seem to work for me.

However, earlier today I read this post by the noted FR author Paul S Kemp about the period leading up to the Sundering, the next novel-selling, world-changing RSE:
The gods know that Lord Ao will rewrite the Tablets of Fate at or near the end of The Sundering, and many of Faerun’s powerful know that as well, or speculate that it might be so, or least know that something is afoot. They do not, however, know what that might mean for them. As a result, lots of forces are put in motion during this time: armies, Chosen of the gods, powerful clerics and archmages, all of them trying to figure out what is going on and how best they can weather it and/or turn it to their advantage, etc.
This period represents the end of what some FR authors and designers are calling the Age of Upheaval and it seems perfect for a 13th Age-based Forgotten Realms campaign. What we have also seen in the two published Sundering adventures, Murder in Baldur's Gate and Legacy of the Crystal Shard, is the return of the Chosen of the deities and what seems to be an attempt by the deities to increase their influence as the Age of Upheaval draws to a close.

It reminds me a lot of the situation involving the Icons in the 13th Age world.

So I propose a Forgotten Realms campaign called the Age of Upheaval using the 13th Age rules and converting 15 or so of the deities into Icons. Each PC would be required to have have at least one positive or conflicted Icon relationship with a deity and at least one negative Icon relationship with another deity.

It may also be that one of more of the PCs have as their One Unique Thing, "I am the Chosen of (deity)" or "I am destined to become the Chosen of (deity)" or variations on that basic theme. ("I am fated to destroy Bane's influence in the Western Heartlands" is another way these could go.)

The core conceit is that the deities are jockeying for influence before the close of the Age of Upheaval. That's because at the end of the Age of Upheaval, Ao will rewrite the Tablets of Fate and the power and influence of each deity will be set in stone, as it were, for the duration of the next age.

Each of the 15 or so deities that I write up as Icons will have specific goals to accomplish. PCs who have a positive relationship with an Icon will, naturally enough, seek to advance those goals and, of course, the reverse is also true. The beauty of this is I don't really need to come up with much of a plot other than to work out 3-5 goals for each of the Icons and then set the PCs loose in, say, Waterdeep or Baldur's Gate and see what happens next.

I'm also thinking that to provide some structure at the start I can either begin with a heavily rewritten version of Murder in Baldur's Gate or I can revisit the Mere of Dead Men series for 2E which was effectively the first adventure path to appear in Dungeon.

Basically, I want to start the campaign with a battle over the remaining power of deities who met their demise during the Time of Troubles. Mere of Dead Men seems even better than Murder for this both because it is better written and also because the Mere actually contains some of Myrkul's remains. I could also tie this into the Crown of Horns artefact which is noted as containing the last of Myrkul's identity and power.

And I even have some decent cover art for my first adventure:

I've been wanting to run Mere of Dead Men for more than a decade: this looks like my perfect excuse to do that and also to get a 13th Age game going. I'll give some thought now to the Icons and include them in my next post....

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