Cleric Domain: Clockwork OR Artifice

Turn, you tiny engines;
Let your faith be the power that turns the coils of my everwound springs.
Turn, my adventurers!
Turn me on!

Uff da. This has been a big gap between days 1 and 2. Every project hitting deadline at the same time at the dayjob will do that, I guess. In ‘celebration’ of my recent spate of over-working myself, I’m presenting the most industrious of cleric domains for Day 2: Clockwork OR Artifice! Continue reading  

Cleric Spell: Anoint

We’ll stay out ’til 4:00 and we’ll get into fights, 
With a bottle to show you just how…

Initially, I planned on including spells and domains in the same post for Cleric-mas, but I realized that the upcoming summon spells will require a LOT of text. Plus, having the anoint spell as its own post gives me an excuse to use The Malört Song as an epigraph.

The adventurer feat for the anoint spell presages a trend you’ll see through a lot of the spells I’m posting for Cleric-mas. In the 13th Age Monthly issue about summoning spells, the designers introduced feats that key off a cleric’s domain choices. I ran with this idea as a way to further define the relationship between domains and spells. Continue reading  

Cleric Domain: Beer OR Sacred Waters

On the first day of Cleric-mas, my GM gave to me:
Beer … (in a tree)

Those words, paraphrased from the Wise Brothers McKenzie, open the first day of Cleric-mas. I’ve started with the domain that I created for the Midgard one-shot at ValorCon Chicago, as that’s what got this whole idea moving along. Since most 13th Age cleric domains use two possible descriptors, I’ve done the same here. In addition, I’ve posted a new 1st-level spell, anoint, that fits with the domain’s ability. Continue reading  

the 12 Days of Cleric-mas

Welcome to the 12 Days of Cleric-mas!

What’s Cleric-mas?

A completely made-up holiday reference I’m using as an excuse to post new ideas and mechanics for clerics in the 13th Age role-playing game.

Seems unnecessarily elaborate

Probably, and even a little silly. But I had ideas for 12 posts about clerics, and it’s the holiday season, so the idea stuck.

What are the 12 days?

I’m glad you asked. Each time I post in the next few weeks, I’ll update this list with the new link. It’s like an Advent calendar, except the posts won’t necessarily be on consecutive days and its after Christmas. And you’ll get words instead of chocolate. And we’re dealing with fictional religions instead of real-world ones. Otherwise, just like an Advent calendar. Continue reading  

Midgard Heroes for 13th Age: Darakhul

‘Twas the night before Cleric-mas, camped near the lake,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mist drake;
Except for the party’s darakhul cleric,
Because the living dead never sleep a lick.

Next week begins the ’12 Days of Cleric-mas,’ a series of posts in the vein of 13th Age Monthly, but with a sillier name. Oh, and they’re all focused around new domains, spells, and possibilities for playing clerics in 13th Age.

A couple of the posts reference undead player-characters, due to the fact that I’m drawing from the Midgard setting for inspiration. This setting, published by Kobold Press, is a little more far-flung and Grimm than a lot of Western F20 settings. Its take on deities and how they overlap amongst cultures is what grabbed my attention.

Before I get to the clerics, though, I’m spending a moment on the darakhul, the high-functioning ghouls of Midgard whose subterranean empire is a constant threat to the above-ground world.  Continue reading  

Fast Forward One Year

I sit at our new computer desk, listening to a shuffling playlist while the laptop downloads the newest OS, and I wonder what to do about all the written and unpublished stuff on said laptop. I wonder about that because I’m updating the OS, which always gives me slight anxiety around all our files, most of which are either my words or Steph’s pictures.

Some of those words find publication, though it’s very much a tip/iceberg ratio. Steph and I use shared documents to collaborate on our J&STAC columns for the Addison Recorder. This blog was meant to be a clearinghouse for a lot of the random (often game-related) words, for the content that wasn’t a fit at the Recorder or other places. But then I started mixing in freelance and other blog work, and the purpose became muddled.

I was writing 10,000 words a month for the Recorder, so I started using this site to promote that — but Twitter seemed a better avenue for that.

I was going to potentially write on tabletop game topics for another site, so I stopped doing so here — but then communication with the other site disappeared.

I was going to start posting stuff I’ve been working on in the meantime — but then I don’t know if it would be better suited for pitching to other sites or publications. (While I consider myself a savvy wordsmith, I consider myself quite naive on freelancing and the related industries.)

Meanwhile, waiting around to hear back or figure out what I should do just causes this blog to sit around unused, which defeats the above-stated purpose. So I might as well start publishing stuff here while I wait.

Speaking of, the download for the new OS is ready. Time to shrug in the face of anxiety and hit the button.

RPG Artifacts: the Anti-Life Symbol


I’ve been surprised how much I’ve enjoyed creating material for 13th Age games. It’s as though, after decades of supernatural and horror-based RPGs, my brain is throwing out all the fantasy & myth ideas it’s been saving up. Not surprisingly, the influence of darker RPGs still pokes through, as evidenced by a cursed magical item I created for a recent campaign.

True magic items in 13th Age are meant to be rare and priceless, even though the canonic world of the game is one of prevalent magic. How free that magic is, or who controls & directs such magic, is a common point of tension and narrative hooks. This item subverts that idea a bit. Continue reading  

From the Recorder: Steph & I Talk October #1s

Another dispatch from the Addison Recorder, wherein Steph and I look back at some of the new #1 comic book issues that were released in late September through October. I learned very quickly that a lot of books have problems with a #1 issue — they spend so much time with setup, introductions, and exposition that the issue is usually over just as you get into it. That said, I was very pleasantly surprised by the new mini-series Butterfly, from Archaia. My favorite of the month.

From the Recorder: Hannibal meets American Football

Historically accurate representation of the 2014 U. of Michigan football program.

Over at the Addison Recorder, Bean invites me to assist with his weekly NCAA football pick ’em. I make a lot of references to the Punic Wars, he adds a lot of gifs from the Hannibal TV series. We’re serious prognosticators, don’t ya know.