13th Age House Rules: Icon Relationships and Rolls, take 1

I’ve been thinking about how to use the icon relationships over the couple of past days. This is my first attempt at formulating a policy.

1) All icon relationships are tied to backgrounds characters have: for every icon relationship a character has, we’ll mark one or more of the backgrounds as representing that relationship.

This is essentially to just make sure the context of the relationship is known — and to highlight cases when a relationship isn’t represented elsewhere on the sheet. If that’s the case, we’ll add a zero-point background to account for the relationship. The nature of the relationship needs to be talked about a bit. Is the character actively seeking promotion from the icon? Is the character actively supporting the icon? Is there debt either way? Is the relationship through intermediaries or direct? What kind of intermediaries? Etc. This should all be copacetic with the background.

2) Rolling a 6 gives the player (not the character!) a boon they can cash at any time. They can suggest the form the boon takes. Some possibilities: supernatural help, helpful flashback, a single use item they’ve had all this time, information they have access to, a friendly face, etc. The boon must involve the icon in some way. The form the boon actually takes is still up to the GM, though. Alternatively, instead of spending the boon the player can invest it to get in deeper with the icon: this requires a corresponding action by the character, but it can be fairly minor: sending a report of something they’ve discovered to an appropriate agent of the icon, etc. These boons can be saved.

We’ll see show this goes… this is my attempt to separate out the player currency and plot-fodder aspects of the relationship rolls. I think boons can be reasonably potent, but not earthshakingly so: there’s an average 1 per session per two players available, and with 5 players in the table that’s more than 2 boons per session. I’m thinking “a bit less potent than a daily power” might be a good guideline, but given how each use should also be semi-unique, it doesn’t really need to be an exact match. Whatever seems apropos.

3) Rolling a 5 is story fodder for the GM. I will take them an you will know that icon will somehow complicate your life in near future.

Because there’s on average 1 of these per two players as well, I’ll probably sometimes save them up and combine them. If you’ve rolled several 5s for the Elf-Queen but she hasn’t been featured at all — worry.

I’ve now run one session like this. Doing the background connections seemed very worthwhile indeed, and though there wasn’t really a chance for me to spend the 5s yet as most of the session was a long combat, the 6s seemed to work fine, and the players seemed to like them as well.

Happy so far. Time will tell.


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