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Old Dec 3rd, 2014, 02:56 PM
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Character Creation Walkthrough

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13th Age Character Creation Walkthrough
Hello all! Welcome to the 13th Age game, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

I am going to attempt to follow earlier character creation walk-through examples posted by our wonderful New Player Solo Game DMs (find those here) as well as the one posted by site staff in the FAQ. Please note that at the time of this post, there is no 13th Age character sheet template in the site's Profiler, but we're trying to make one. I will be using text hidden behind a button for this walkthrough, but you can view the character sheet that was published with the core rulebook here, or several pre-generated character sheet examples here.

May 2016 Update! There is now a 13th Age sheet in the Profiler! It may still have some bugs to work out, but there is the option to use that now, as well as all of these other options. I will attempt to get this walkthrough updated to reflect the Profiler sheet as well as the text-based version at my earliest convenience.

Wall of Text warning. This post is lengthy, and may take some time to read through. I've included headers and hidden large blocks of text behind spoilerbuttons so you can hopefully find the sections you are looking for easier.

13th Age Character Sheets
13th Age is a game well-suited to building mechanics after you have an idea for your character already. As you may notice in the character sheet example below, the Backgrounds, Icon Relationships, and One Unique Thing define the character before the mechanics button is even clicked. This is partly why I chose this example sheet (which yes, is one of my own active characters). I copied bits and pieces from other players, so I claim no ownership of the design creativity. I am going to use this template as we go through the character creation steps, but keep track of your character however best makes sense to you. I've included the code for those of you who may wish to use the same format, but if it looks too complicated don't worry. Just get all the information typed in, that's all you really need.

There is a form-fillable PDF version of the character sheet which I think is the best overall, but that's just my opinion. If you don't have a way to save this online for your GM to see (you could use Google Drive) then you may want to stick to plain text. I really like the 13th Age sheet Birched designed for us! Just create a new character in the profiler (click My Characters, under the tools menu).

There is also this Excel sheet recommended by one of the DMs, but please note there is one error! When you open the sheet, in Excel or Google, scroll down to where it has "Class Features", at B37. Double-click on B37 and you should find =VLOOKUP(C3,'Classes & Stats'!A1:B18,2). Change the A1:B18 to A1:B20 and you're all set. (Thank Kaji, who figured out the problem. )



Step One: Choose who you wish to be.

Step Two: Make the mechanics fit your concept.

Step Three: Finish the nitty-gritty numbers.
Warning: rolls have been deleted from this post.

Last edited by Aethera; Aug 8th, 2020 at 06:01 PM.
Old Dec 14th, 2014, 05:16 PM
Aethera's Avatar
Aethera Aethera is offline
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Character Sheet Terms Explained
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W
Most of these come straight out of the glossary of the Core Rulebook, but some I've added myself in hopes of covering every term you might have questions about. If I have missed anything, please let me know.

Ability / Ability Score: One of six character traits usually referred to as ability scores that figure into attacks, defenses, hit points, damage, skill checks, and other elements of play. Monsters don't have ability scores unless they really need them for some reason.
AC: see Armor Class.
Advance: see Incremental Advance.
Adventurer Tier: The adventurer tier comprises levels 1 through 4. This tier is the kobolds and ogres phase of your career. We often call all PCs adventurers, but that refers to characters in general, not an adventurer-tier PC.
Armor Class (AC): A defense stat, the number that an attacker must roll to hit a target when using regular weapons. Technically it should be your “Armor Defense,” but we love “Armor Class.”
Attack Bonus: Your level, plus your ability bonus, plus any other bonuses you can scrounge up, added to your attack roll. Player characters also add the escalation die.
Attack Roll: A 20-sided die roll, to which you add an attack bonus. If the total is at least as high as the target's defense, the attack is a hit. If it's a natural 20, it's a critical hit.
At-Will: You can reuse an at-will power freely. It never runs out.

Background: A broad term or concept describing a character's suite of skills, talents, knowledge, and experience. You, the player, define your character's backgrounds in free-form game-world terms.
Battle: Many spells and powers last for one battle, a single fight scene. If you need to count the minutes, five or so should do. The important thing is that abilities that last for one battle are meant to force a choice: use the spell now; or use it in a later battle? Spells or powers that are used once per battle require the same choice, but you will have the opportunity to use it again in your next battle.

Charisma (Cha): An ability, your force of personality and social grace. Hard to define, hard to miss when it walks by.
Champion Tier: The champion tier comprises levels 5 through 7. Your adventures in this tier take you far afield and to the halls of power.
Class: The name for the set of mechanics (abilities, talents, powers, spells) that apply to your character. Not necessarily the same thing as your character's profession.
Close-Quarters Spell: A spell that you can cast while engaged in battle, without drawing the usual opportunity attacks.
Constitution (Con): An ability score, your toughness and endurance. It's the one ability that every class needs.
Critical Hit (Crit): If the 20-sided die comes up 20 on an attack roll, the attack is critical (a "crit") and deals double damage. Some attacks and class talents do fun things with crits. If you get lucky and you manage to double the damage again, triple it instead. If you manage to double your triple damage, bump it up to quadruple, and so on.
Crit Range: If you can score critical hits on natural rolls other than 20, you have an expanded crit range.

Daily: Some class talents are usable once per day. For better play balance, a day is loosely defined, and you get your used daily talents back when you heal up (see full heal up).
Damage: Attacks and special traits deal damage, which reduces the defender's hit points. Characters and stories are great and all, but it's also fun to reduce the bad guys' hit points.
DC: stands for Difficulty Class, meaning the number you need to succeed. This is your target for your die roll plus all relevant modifiers. (Example: A DC 10 check is fairly easy. I roll my d20, add my level, the relevant ability modifier, and the relevant background. I could roll a 3 on the die and still succeed, as long as my level, ability modifier, and background add up to +7 or more.)
Defense: Armor Class, Mental Defense, and Physical Defense are defenses that define how hard you are to hit with various attacks.
Dexterity (Dex): An ability, your agility, reflexes, and handiness. It factors into Armor Class, Physical Defense, and Initiative, making it generally useful.
Disengage: You have an opportunity to get away from enemies you're engaged with in battle without risking opportunity attacks.

Engaged: Locked in battle. Engaged characters might draw opportunity attacks if they use ranged attacks or spells and take their eyes off their closer enemy. If they move away from enemies they are engaged with, they draw opportunity attacks unless they successfully disengage first.
Environment: The difficulty level of the location/setting where the characters are adventuring. There are three levels of environment: adventurer-level, champion-level, and epic-level. More often than not, characters fight in environments of their own tier. The exceptions, higher or lower, tend to be interesting.
Epic Tier: The epic tier comprises levels 8 through 10. Characters in this tier are dealing with Icons directly and battling really nasty monsters.
Escalation Die: Starting on the second round of combat, the PCs get an attack bonus. It starts at +1 and increases by +1 each round until it maxes out at +6. This bonus offsets the fact that all monsters have defenses one higher than they should be. The party starts each fight in the hole and fights its way up.

Far Away: Distant enough from battle that you won't get caught in fireballs that hit the front rank. Also, enemies must spend a round closing with you before they can engage you. This is the opposite of nearby.
Feats: Characters gain one each level. They let you hand-pick your own bonuses and the boosts to your powers and talents. Make your favorite attack better, master your favorite spell. Feats are ranked adventurer, champion, and epic.
Flexible Attack: Instead of deciding what attack to use and then rolling, characters with flexible attacks roll first, then select an attack that the natural unmodified result of their attack roll can trigger. It suits the bard because the bard gets to tell the story properly after seeing their roll; it suits the fighter because of the fighter's many combat tricks.
Free: When speaking of combat, a free combatant is not engaged by an enemy. When speaking of recoveries, a free recovery doesn't subtract from the number of recoveries you have available that day.
Free Action: An action that takes almost no time, like speaking, dropping an item in hand, or activating some powers.
Full Heal Up: Your hit points rise to maximum. You also get back all the spells cast, powers used up, recoveries used, and other daily and limited-use features.
Fumble: When you roll a natural 1 on an attack or skill check. A fumbled attack has no effect, not even miss damage. If you're shooting into a battle or doing something else risky, it might be bad for you. For skill checks, the check fails, usually in some particularly bad way.

Gather Power: A flashy sorcerer schtick in which the sorcerer spends their turn setting themselves up for a double-strength spell next turn while still getting a small random benefit as the power whirls about them.

Hit Points (HP): A measure of how not-dead you are. Damage reduces hit points. At zero or lower, you're unconscious and pretty close to dead. Hit points measure more than your physical capacity to suffer wounds; they also represent intangibles like your will to fight. Use your recoveries to get back hit points lost to damage.
HP: see Hit Points.

Icon: Each character is related to a few of the world's mightiest heroes and villains, who are known as Icons. Ultimately the icon and their followers drive the action in the campaign, especially when the followers are player characters.
Incremental Advance: In advance of your next level, you can gain some of that level's benefits. At the end of most sessions, you can choose one upcoming benefit and start using it during your next session. Pick the advancement you think you need for upcoming challenges. For the record, if you use an incremental advance for a spellcaster like a chaos mage or a terrain caster druid who casts all spells at a certain level, you only get to cast one spell at a higher level thanks to the advance.
Initiative: The number that determines who goes first in a fight. The highest initiative goes first, and so on.
Intelligence (Int): An ability, your capacity for analytical and abstract thought. It is not the same as bookishness, just often related.
Intercept: Blocking an enemy from racing past you, especially when they’re trying to get to an ally behind you. Since the characters in the battle are not actually toy soldiers on a table, they can move to intercept enemies when it’s not their turn, within reason.

Level: How extraordinary you are, from 1, promising beginner, to 10, world-renowned hero. Monsters go up to level 14.
Limited-Power: A nonbasic attack that has a limited number of uses per battle or per day; for example, once per battle, daily, or recharge after battle.

MD: see Mental Defense.
Mental Defense (MD): A defense stat, the number that an attacker must roll to hit a target with mental manipulation, psychic attacks, stealth, trickery, obfuscation, and the like.
Modifier (mod): Many d20 rolls add the modifier from one of your character’s ability scores to the roll. The modifier for an ability score equals your ability score minus 10, divided by 2, rounded down. All the character attacks that say they add an ability to the attack or damage roll are actually adding the modifier from that ability, but we decided we didn’t want to write mod or modifier thousands of times so we’re explaining it as the default.
Mook: The lowest scale of monster, equivalent to a fifth of a regular monster’s threat, except at low levels, where they’re a third. GMs use them by the dozen. The horde of mooks has a single pool of hit points, letting powerful attacks cleave through them in twos and threes.
Multiclass: Two classes combined into one; you get talents, powers, and spells from both classes at a cost of acting at a level lower in each one.

Natural 1: When the roll of a 20-sided die comes up 1. Also referred to as a fumble. Usually means something bad happens in addition to your failure, such as hitting an ally instead of an enemy or making the check harder for the next person who tries it.
Natural 20: When the roll of a 20-sided die comes up 20. Also referred to as a critical hit (if it's an attack) or critical success (if it's a skill check). Often shortened to "crit". Usually means you do extra damage, learn extra information, or succeed well beyond expectations.
Nearby: By default, all the participants in a battle are nearby each other. That means that they can get to each other with a move action, if they can navigate any obstacles in the way. If there’s a reason for someone to be farther out, they are far away.
Next To: Generally close to another creature; an enemy engaged with you is next to you, as is an ally also engaged with the same enemy. It is occasionally important for spells or powers where the target needs to be touched.
NPC: A non-player character that the characters interact with; usually run by the GM.

Oils: Oils are special items that confer a magic bonus to a weapon, spellcasting implement, or piece of armor. The bonus lasts for one battle.
One Unique Thing (Unique): You invent a characteristic or story element specialized to your character, some advantageous trait that sets him or her apart.
Opportunity Attack: An attack you make when an enemy gives you a chance to hit it, usually by moving away from you without disengaging or by casting a spell when engaged with you. It’s a free action.

PD: see Physical Defense.
Physical Defense (PD): A defense stat, the number that an attacker must roll to hit a target with poison, a bull rush, a fireball, or other physical attacks without weapons.
Per Day: See daily and full heal up.
Per Battle: Some character talents, powers, and spells can be used one time per battle, while others can be used a limited number of times. After using a per battle feature, you get it back with a quick rest or full heal-up.
Potion: Potions are special items that provide a magic effect to their drinker, especially healing.
Power: Powers are things a character can do or abilities that a character has, often attacks of some sort.

Quick Action: A quick action you can do once on your turn, like draw a sword, open a door, reload a crossbow, etc.
Quick Rest: A short break after a battle allows you to regain your used per-battle talents, powers, and spells. You also roll to recharge each used, rechargeable power. You can use recoveries to regain hit points as many times as you like, though a staggered character must use at least one recovery.

Race: The species of your character. Human, High Elf, Wood Elf, Dark Elf, Half-Elf, Dwarf, Halfling, Gnome, Half-Orc. Some GMs may allow Dragonic/Dragonspawn, Holy One/Aasimar, Forgeborn/Dwarf-forged, or Tiefling/Demontouched characters.
Rally: You can rally during a battle to regain a few hit points. It usually takes the place of an attack and it usually costs you one of your recoveries.
Recharge: After each battle, when you get a quick rest, you can roll for each of your used, rechargeable powers, including those used in a previous battle, to see if they recharge. They all recharge when you get a full heal-up.
Recovery: Your ability to regain lost hit points. When you take a recovery, roll 1 die per level and add your Con modifier (x2 Con mod at champion level, x3 at epic). That’s how many hit points you regain. You can do that 8 times per day, more often if you’re exceptional even for a player character hero.
Recovery Dice: Determines how many hit points you can regain when you spend a recovery. Depending on your class, your recovery dice are d6s, d8s, or d10s.
Relationship: Each player character has relationships with one or more icons. At the start of most sessions, and as the GM requests, you roll one, two, or three d6s (sometimes even four d6s or more), depending on the relationship’s overall usefulness. If you get any 6s, you gain an advantage of some type. If you roll any 5s, you gain an advantage but also suffer interesting consequences.
Resistance: If your target has resistance against your type of attack, you deal half damage unless your natural attack roll equals or beats its resistance. Resistance is rated 12+, 16+, or 18+.
Ritual Magic: The ability for a practiced ritualist to use magic in a free-form way, if given time to concentrate and improvise.
Round: A unit of time that’s something between three and seven seconds, long enough for everyone to get to take a turn in initiative order. We’re flexible thinking about how long each round might take because dramatic pacing fluctuates and we’re not being precise about measuring distances.
Rune: Magic glyphs that grant a magic bonus to a weapon, spellcasting implement, or piece of armor. In addition, a rune provides a random magic ability. The effect lasts for one battle.

Save: A roll to avoid some bad effect or get out from under one that's already affecting you, usually made at the end of your turn. You have to roll 6+ (easy save), 11+ (normal), or 16+ (hard) with a d20 roll. If a save doesn't specify its type it's a normal save.
Skill Check: A d20 roll made to see how successful you are using a skill. Roll a d20 and add your level, the modifier bonus for the relevant ability, and a bonus for any background that applies. The same background can be used with different abilities. Your “bodyguard” background, for example, can be used with your Wisdom to size up a dangerous situation or with Charisma to give effective orders to people you’re protecting.
Speed: Usually you move fast enough to get where you want to go in a battle. By default, any character is fast enough to close with anyone nearby, unless there are obstacles. If there’s some real doubt as to whether you can cover a distance, instead of counting squares, the GM will call for a roll of some type, possibly a skill check (such as with an athlete, warrior, or acrobat background) or maybe just a save.
Spell: A magical attack or other effect. Spellcasting draws opportunity attacks from engaged opponents, unless it’s a close-quarters spell. Some powers and class features are magical without being spells.
Stabilized: PCs at 0 hp or below are unconscious and dying, but if they’ve been stabilized by an ally, they won’t die as a consequence of failed death saves. Another hit from a battle axe could do them in, surely, but not a failed death save.
Staggered: Reduced to half maximum hit points. Sometimes you can only use a particular power when your target is staggered. Sometimes it’s only if you yourself are staggered.
Standard Action: An action you can do once per round, up to and including making an attack.
Strength (Str): An ability, your bodily power and capacity for force. It’s good for more than hurting things (as if hurting things weren’t enough).
Stuck: Creatures that are stuck can’t move, disengage, pop free, change position, or be moved by another without teleporting.
Stunned: Stunned creatures take a –4 penalty to defenses and can’t take any actions.
Summoning: The act of bringing forth a partly magical creature using a spell that will serve you and fight for you.

Temporary Hit Points: Bonus hit points that are not added to your normal hit point total but are the first hit points you’ll lose when you take damage. They also don’t stack with each other. Temporary hit points always go away at the end of a battle.
Tier: There are three tiers of play: adventurer (level 1–4), champion (level 5–7), and epic (level 8–10). The tier defines the difficulty of challenges that the characters will face, with champion tier harder than adventurer, and epic harder than champion.
TPK: Total Party Kill; also known as “time to start a new campaign”.
Turn: Each creature gets its own turn in initiative order during a round, its chance to shine or fumble.

Unique: see One Unique Thing.

Vulnerable: A condition that expands the crit range of attacks against you by 2 (normally 18+). Some monsters (and occasionally PCs) are vulnerable to a type of damage, expanding the crit range of any attack by 2 that deals that type of damage against the vulnerable creature.

Weakened: Creatures that are weakened take a -4 penalty to attacks and to defenses.
Wisdom (Wis): An ability, your intuition, insight, and perceptiveness. Unfortunately, this trait seems to serve unholiness as well as it serves holiness—maybe even better.

Last edited by Aethera; Jul 4th, 2015 at 04:07 PM.
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